How To Overcome Toxic Limiting Beliefs Around Food and Body

Stefanie Grace with a doughnut and salad - diet culture, toxic limiting beliefs around food and body

What Beliefs Do You Have When It Comes to Food and Body?

Food is the enemy! My appetite is bad! I hate my body!

For many years I lived my life being guided with these negative, limiting and toxic beliefs around my body and the food I eat. I would not say it out loud, because I was ashamed, but I constantly was accompanied with the thoughts.

These thoughts were limiting my life to a degree I was not aware of at the time. It sounds very hard, but it’s true:
I secretly wished I would not have a sense of taste, because then I would not crave for so much food. I truly believed my appetite was the reason for my binge eating, comfort eating…

It was very clear to me, if I did not know how something tastes I could not have the cravings for it, which means I would eat less, which means I would lose weight and losing weight was the only way to reach happiness.

And in my reality everything would be ok if only I would have the perfect body. I would find peace and ease in life, as soon as I reached a certain weight and fitted in a certain size.

“If only I would have the perfect body, everything would be ok forever!”

That was a very toxic belief!

The trick with our belief system is, the more power we give them, the more they become our reality. So in order to change the relationship with food we first have to become aware of our toxic beliefs.

So ask yourself on this point:

  • What beliefs do I have when it comes to food and body?
  • Do they lead to a relaxed relationship, to freedom?
  • Or do they always bring me to a point where I restrict eating?
Stefanie Grace, looking at a doughnut.

How Toxic Beliefs Can Affect Our Body:

Here’s a little secret: Toxic negative beliefs can cause greater damage to body, mind and soul than any low quality food!!!

Despite the fact that our beliefs become our reality, they do affect our body on a physiological level. Whenever we fear, get anxious, angry or fulfilled with hate our body reacts in a stress response and the sympathetic nervous system gets activated and dominates. We breathe more shallowly and faster (oftentimes without being consciously aware of it), our heart rate gets faster, blood pressure rises and insulin and cortisol in our body increases.

When the body is in this survival mode the metabolism shuts down.
When you’re being chased by a lion, you don’t have time to think about rest and digestion.

  • The majority of the blood gets pumped into the limbs, because they need to be ready and active in case we need to run away or fight.
  • Cortisol inhibits muscle growth and high insulin can cause dysregulation of the appetite,
  • and because the body fears for life it strongly holds on to every single calorie.

Imagine now you are eating/ not eating/ training/ resting in a constant fight or flight (survival response) mode.

No wonder why it seems so hard to lose weight, why we think we have a slow metabolism and an appetite which is out of control… It’s NOT your fault, it’s not because you are weak, or have less willpower than others. No, it’s the constant stress response you are in BECAUSE OF the toxic beliefs you have about your body and the food you eat.

“I am learning to take care and nourish
my body in a loving way.”

What Can We Do Now in Order To Change?

Simple. Get out of the stress response, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest & digest” mode of the body. When the body does not have to fear for survival, it can relax.

The heart rate and blood pressure regulate themselves, the breath is deep and slow and the metabolism runs at full speed. The body happily uses the calories and nutrients because it does not have to fear starving.

Using the BREATHE is the easiest way to get your body into a relaxed mode and out of stress response. Once you breathe like a relaxed person your body will notice and your brain will think “Oh I am breathing like a relaxed person I must be relaxed then”, and switches into relaxed mode, the parasympathetic nervous system dominates and your whole body physiology changes.

As mentioned before, first you have to become aware of this pattern, then catch yourself in these moments and decide to breathe deep and slow as long as you can/want/need.

BUT this has not yet solved the root cause of the stress response: the toxic negative beliefs.


Stefanie Grace happy in the kitchen preparing food

Again, become aware of the beliefs, and then CHANGE them. 

On a certain point, when we have ingrained some beliefs for many years, it is hard to just swap them into a positive statement. For example, if you have told yourself your whole life: “I hate my body”, it will be tricky to just change from one day to another into: “I love my body.” Because you just won’t BELIEVE it.

BUT you can start with a step in between and change “I hate my body” to ”I am learning to take care and nourish my body in a loving way.

Instead of “Food is the enemy” let’s say: “Food is nourishing me” and instead of “My appetite is bad”, let’s try: “I am learning to regulate my appetite.”


And always remember: if you don’t change anything – nothing will change.
It’s a practice and you just can not fail.

Thank yourself for taking the time to read, as I do.

Love & Light, yours Grace.

When Your Eating Disorder Becomes Real

women crying

Diagnosis: Bulimia With Anorexic Features


This blog post is a very personal story.
The reason why I still want to share it here, is to encourage you to reach out for support, for help, for guidance, in case you need, because you deserve to heal and you don’t have to go through it on your own!

I will start the story at the pit point of my life, when I reached the peak of my pain. The moment where the emotional leverage was big enough to make the decision to change. It was on a holiday in Thailand, where I’ve been traveling with my younger brother for a month. At this point of my life, I had no self-worth left for myself and overplayed my lack of self-confidence with a cute smile and acting happy all the time.

After years of dieting and telling my body, my self terrible things in the mirror, I reached a moment where I had no respect left for myself and felt like a complete failure. To still get these short moments of positive validation I literally gave my body away and met a lot of men during this time.

On these holidays I got sick after too much partying (including overnight stays). I got a severe bladder infection, but even then, I did not listen to the signs of my body. I did not care about this body anymore. I was craving for validation – for the feeling of being someone worthy for a short moment, I was craving for a quick fix. And so I continued with the life-style I was living, while ignoring the pain and the blood in my urine.

After some days I got some rest on an island, gave in and went to the hospital. My infection has gone very bad, I had to do a lot of tests and stayed in bed in the hotel for some days. One day my brother motivated me to go out to the beach restaurant in the afternoon to get some sun in my face. We didn’t talk much, we were just sitting there in silence slurping the fresh mango juices and watching the waves.
Without any expression I said to him: “Once I’m back in Vienna I will start therapy”. 
“That’s a good idea”, he replied.

Sick Stefanie Grace Therapy Eating Disorder
Watching The Waves Thailand Stefanie Grace

The picture shows me on the day I decided to start a therapy. I had a high fever and was suffering from a severe bladder infection due to my disrespectful lifestyle towards my body.

I really knew it was now or never - but something has to change.

Back in Austria I had to go to hospital again for more check ups and thanks good – everything was fine. I decided to go to a yoga class in a studio – until that point, I mostly practiced on YouTube from home. The teacher advised us to lay down on the mat and to close our eyes. “Watch your thoughts”, she said and so did I, but I could not hold them shut. It was so noisy in my mind and tears just came out of my eyes, I felt so much pain and so vulnerable.

I did not know where to go to get some help, but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.
I was too embarrassed to tell anyone, so I googled in incognito mode “first help psychotherapy Vienna”. Thanks to Austria’s amazing health system – I got a lot of options with free first consultation – which was very important for me as a poor student.

On the day of my first appointment, I was very excited and scared at the same time.
I was afraid they wouldn’t take me or my problems seriously and send me away again. But at the same time, I was afraid that they would confirm I had a problem, whatever that problem might be. However, I went there, sitting in front of a stranger, who asked me what brought me here. I started to talk. Shared the story of my life, my feelings, my worries, with this woman I never met before and I remember it felt surprisingly good. To finally be able to speak out loud what was in my head and ingrained in my body. I felt anonymous and not judged at all. Of course, we have been talking a lot about my nutrition and the way I see myself as well and in the end I had to fill out an exercise sheet, where you could see women in different body shapes and had to select the body I thought was most likely mine.

Finally she told me that I made a huge step already to have called this practice, but they can’t keep me. They have to forward me to an Institute for People with Eating Disorders. For a moment my whole world stood still. I felt sick and wanted to vomit. The woman gave me some contacts from different institutes in Vienna where I could call and she sent me away.

So, another first consultation, another time sharing my whole story and many more tests to go through in the “Institute for People with Eating Disorder”. The psychotherapist told me at the end of the consultation the diagnosis: Bulimia with Anorexic features. BOOOOM – Again, the world was on hold. But this time, I felt a huge relief as well.

It felt so good to finally know what was “wrong” with me. To finally feeling seen, feeling felt and understood.

Of course it was not the first time that I had thought that I might have an eating disorder. I knew my eating patterns were different from others, but I just couldn’t fit myself into a box. I studied nutrition and knew all the symptoms of the different eating disorders, but none of them fit my profile. My therapist then explained to me: we are all different, symptoms are different and you can have traits from several eating disorders at the same time. Well… that made sense. And there I was, diagnosed with an official eating disorder. I felt like someone put a stamp on my forehead.

I always thought Bulimia is when you vomit, but I did “only” vomit maybe 5 to 10 times, so I thought I’m not bulimic. BUT bulimia describes as well the fact of compensating calories, however you do that. And that was something I mastered in life: if I ate dinner, I didn’t allow myself breakfast, if I had cake I had to go for an extra run, if I overeat I took laxatives and so on…
I also had the idea in my mind that you have to be life-threateningly skinny to be anorexic. BUT anorexia also describes the constant habit of seeing yourself in a very different way, mostly as too fat, being incredibly afraid of gaining weight, hating your body and no longer having a connection to one’s own body.

I felt relieved because I knew I finally would get help. 


I was proud of myself, that I took the step to ask for help, to overcome my fear of not being taken seriously and finally would receive professional help. My healing journey began and I went to therapy once a week. Added Yoga classes in my schedule again and learned to take care of myself in a respectful way. This also meant taking a step back from party life and social contacts.

The journey was tough, with lots of highs and lows, sometimes I doubted my way and a lot of times, I doubted myself – but I never quit.

Stefanie Grace resting on the beach

Healing needs time and you have to be ready for it.

You need to allow yourself to feel vulnerable and reach out for help, because you don’t have to do this on your own. When your car is broken, or you put the wrong fuel in – you are also reaching out for an expert or to someone who knows how to fix it. Same goes for your computer, the electricity, and the water system in your house. There is an expert for every field. So why do you think you have to solve your mental and physical problems on your own then? 

After years of healing, getting to know and to love myself, I made it my mission to help others on their journey to find peace in their bodies and create a loving relationship with food.
Life can be good and enjoyable! – You deserve to heal.
And you deserve to feel good in your skin, that’s your f***ing birthright!!!!

I really hope I could emphasize a little bit more, how important it is to speak out and reach out for help you need. Thank you for taking the time to read and thank yourself for taking the actions that are required. If you feel the need to talk to someone – I am here to listen.

Woman looking happy into the camera - Stefanie Grace

How To Overcome Emotional Eating?

Overcome Emotional Eating

What Is Emotional Eating and Why Is It Happening?

Let me answer this question with a practical example with a short story about Sarah (could be any other name!), a woman in her mid-30s who is actually quite content with her life if it weren’t for this one BIG thing that weighs on her every day.

Sarah works in an office. She likes her job and enjoys working overtime sometimes. She is very mindful of healthy, freshly prepared food and takes food to work every day, but every night when she gets home she finds herself snacking on sweets in front of the fridge. 

Every evening when she comes into the apartment she immediately heads for the kitchen as if remote controlled. She is not hungry, she knows that, but still she can’t help it. The desire is too great. 

She has often tried to trick herself, to change the habit by trying to hide the chocolate in another drawer, or to eat an apple instead, but none of her attempts have succeeded. Each time she gives in at the end and runs back to the fridge. Even the attempt to buy no chocolate at all failed. As she even took the effort to run to the store again.

The frustration of emotional eating in front of the fridge

When Guilt and Shame Kicks In, the Vicious Cycle Begins

Sarah does not understand what’s “wrong” with her. She feels weak and undisciplined. 
“Others can do it, can’t they?”
“I just don’t have enough control over myself.”

She begins to verbally beat up on herself more and more. As a failure, as a loser who can’t manage to simply do without. The feelings of guilt increase more and more and she feels incredibly ashamed of herself. 

Every night she goes to bed with the same good resolution:Tomorrow I’ll start all over again. Tomorrow night I’ll make it, it’s too late for today, but tomorrow I’ll start the new diet.” 

And every day the same game starts all over again. Sarah is caught in the vicious cycle. 

The reason why Sarah’s diets don’t work is because they don’t treat the cause of her problem, but only the symptoms. 

She tries to control her eating by forbidding herself to eat – that requires a lot of energy and always puts her in the same position of giving in and overeating on sweets. 

The root cause is not that she is too undisciplined, has no control over herself, or doesn’t have enough willpower…. The root cause lies in an emotion that is not given space. And this is it: 

Emotional eating is when we use eating to cope with feelings.

And this is where it is important to start. Sarah tries to satisfy an emotional hunger with chocolate every evening. To fill an emotional hole that hasn’t gotten enough attention. 

Only after Sarah starts to look more into herself, tries to find out with curiosity and compassion which feelings need more space and how she can take care of these emotions, she is able to not even think about the chocolate anymore. 

Sarah might feel lonely because she lives alone in the apartement, she might be overwhelmed at work, she might just need more self care in any way… 

Emotional eating is when we use eating to cope with feelings.

Practical Tips to Break Out of the Vicious Circle

  • Observe yourself: When do you eat emotionally?
    When do you eat remotely, without feeling that you can’t stop?
    When do you eat even though you are not hungry?
    When do you not eat at all?
    When do you feel guilty and ashamed after eating?

  • Stay curious and in compassion with yourself.
    As soon as you become aware of these moments, ask yourself the question:
    “Why did I reach for food? How do I feel right now? Is there a feeling that I didn’t want to allow?”

  • Ask yourself what you are really hungry for.
    If it’s not physical hunger, maybe you’re hungry for rest, hungry for connection, for sports, for nature, for love, for a warm bath,….

Make it a habit: every time you catch yourself eating emotionally. To pause briefly, breathe deeply, and ask yourself:

What am I REALLY hungry for?

Take care of yourself and the emotions that need space: 

  • Maybe you are stressed – then take some time out.
  • Maybe you feel alone – then call a friend
  • Maybe you feel sad – then cry
  • Maybe you are angry – then scream or do some exercise, or dance
  • Whats on your list? 
How to overcome emotional eating

Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article.

I hope I was able to give you a brief and practical overview of what emotional eating is all about.

I could write a book about it, because there is so much to say, and will do so. But until then – here are easy to digest blog posts on the topics.

And whenever you’d like some support along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

All the love!

Yoga During Pregnancy and After Giving Birth – Part II: Postnatal

Mum and Bub graphic

How Can a Woman Support Her Body and Mind After Pregnancy and How Much Is Too Much?

In my previous post I was writing about the benefits of yoga during pregnancy, before giving birth. Now I would like to share the benefits and beauty of a yoga class postnatally.

I haven’t experienced becoming a mother yet, but I am very grateful and excited to support new born mamas in their postpartum time with my knowledge and empathy.

Yoga After Pregnancy - Postnatal

After labour the body of a woman is changing and as Ina May Gaskin beautifully said: her emotions, mind and spirit also change for the rest of her life. These changes are wonderful, if the woman is able to accept them and adapt her practice and her life accordingly to them.

The postpartum period, which starts right after labour, is the time when the hormone levels and the uterus size are returning back to a non-pregnant stage. The time a woman needs to recover from birth, depends on how the baby has been delivered (vaginal birth, c-section…) and on the physical and mental condition of the woman before. In any case, the puerperium time is the most important time to rest. The puerperium or puerperal period describes the first six weeks after childbirth, where the mother should mainly stay in bed or around the bed to give her body the best conditions to heal, to recharge her energy levels in order to give energy to her newborn. 

During this time a woman can start bringing tone back to the muscles of the abdominal region and the pelvic floor, only with gentle awareness breaths. As soon as all the wounds are healed, she can start with gentle exercises of the deeper inner muscles. How the woman treats her body in the first month after birth is crucial for a long-lasting recovery.

Whenever and however you give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body, and your spirit for the rest of your life!  Ina May Gaskin

How Yoga Can Help With a Various List of Benefits 

Yoga is not only asanas, physical postures, yoga is so much more. Meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation, practice of devotion and surrender. There are so many new challenges a mum has to face. Yoga can be a wonderful tool to support and help to manage them with more ease and joy.

  1. Helps to relax, to find peace and calmness in body and mind.
    Especially in the early time postpartum the new mum is struggling a lot with her energy. Long nights with only a few hours of sleep and an overwhelming feeling are very natural. 

Yoga helps to: 

  • to decrease anxiety, fear and stress.
  • to relax, to calm down the mind.
  • to boost Serotonin and Dopamine.
  • to recharge the energy levels.

Tools: restorative poses, guided meditations and breathing exercises.

  1. Helps on a physical level

After labour the pelvic floor and the abdominal muscles are experiencing a lack of strength and muscle tone. This can increase the possibility for incontinence and pelvic floor prolapse (even months later).  It is very normal that the new mum is feeling stiff in the neck and experiencing shoulder pain or lower back pain due to the long hours of breastfeeding. 

Yoga can help: 

  • to find the tone of the muscles again. 
  • to decrease common pains of shoulder, neck and lower back.
  • to get back to the well-being weight in a gentle and mindful way.
  • to improve posture, balance and coordination.
  • to promote better circulation and can reduce high blood pressure.
Tools: stretching and strenghening poses and exercises.

  1. Empowers a woman in her new role as a mum

When a woman becomes a mum, her role changes. Change can be very uncomfortable a lot of times. Facing new challenges, dealing with a rollercoaster of emotions and an overwhelming feeling. 

Yoga can help: 

  • to be able to adapt to these changes in a respectful way towards yourself.
  • to release certain emotions and feelings rather than let them be stuck in the body 
  • to honour this sacred time, her body and to cultivate self-love during this whole process.
  • to learn to listen to your own intuition – what’s good for the mother is good for the baby.
  • to learn to surrender and to adjust in the best way you can in any challenges you are facing, without the need of judging.

“Compassion towards ourselves is the foundation for any compassion towards others. If we let ourselves become tired and run-down caring for others we have less to give everyone. We need to look after our own health too by making time for quietness and rest. In practising compassion we speak kindly to ourselves and notice whether our inner voices are supportive and friendly or judgmental and demanding. We are patient when we falter, for parenting makes amateurs of us all as we confront its never-ending new stages. It helps us cultivate self-awareness, not guilt.”

Sarah Napthali, “Buddhism for Mothers”.

Often the Question Arises: How Much Is Too Much? And Safety Guidlines

Golden rules of postnatal yoga and safety guidelines

1. Listen to your own intuition – you know best, what’s best for you. If something doesn’t feel right, leave it – if it feels good, go for it.

2. Listen to your body. I’m not in your body, I can’t feel it as you do. What I can do is to give you guidelines, instructions of the poses and share my knowledge, but whenever you feel you want to adjust a pose to make it more comfortable for your body, feel free to do it. Whenever you can’t find a pose, just rest in a child pose or on your side body, or back.

3. Challenge yourself in a respectful way. Do not force yourself in any position, but always keep in mind that you are stronger than you think. The body only gets stronger in challenging situations.

4. Breathe – there’s nothing more to add ;).

5. Allow and accept interruptions – there will be times, when you have the baby next to you while practicing. There will even be times when you will practice together with the baby. And the baby will get hungry at some point and the baby will cry… Don’t see these moments as a destruction of your practice – see it as a new part of your practice. You can always pause a video and go back in again. And during the live calls you can still be part of the class, even though you are feeding your baby – this is all part of the course.

Be careful with deep stretching/ overstretching:

The hormone ‘relaxin’ which is very important in the prenatal stage, in order to make the tissues, ligaments and muscles soft to create space for the baby, needs around six months after giving birth to decrease its level. Because of that it is important in the postpartum period to not overstretch the muscles but to find a nice balance. Stretching can help a lot to relieve stress in the body and mind and can decrease pain of the body due to long hours of sitting, laying and breastfeeding poses. 

Be careful with over strengthening:

After birth the body needs rest. No matter how the baby has been delivered, labour leaves wounds and they need time to heal. If a woman is forcing her body in this time to workout, she can damage a lot in the deeper tissues. 

It is important to start slow. To get the muscle tone back in the pelvic muscles and abdominal muscles needs time. Focusing on strengthening the deep tissues of the muscles can prevent and decrease incontinence and pelvic floor prolapse. The same counts for running, which depends if running has always been in the routine or not. 

When it comes to strengthening the abdominal muscles, it is important to clarify first if and how big the rectus diastasis is. When the belly grows during pregnancy, the abdominal muscles have to seperate in the middle to create space. After labour they need time to close again before starting work on strengthening them.

Thanks for taking the time to read – let me know in the comments your thoughts and experiences. 

How To Turn Self-Hatred Into Self-Love & Bodypositivity

Ligaya practicing self-love

Do you love yourself?

Are you able to look into your reflection in the mirror – into your own eyes – while saying: “You are beautiful!
Or is this something you would never believe? Is it easier for you to say the opposite, because you believe it more? Telling oneself “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t like my body”, “I am too fat”, often seems easier, than doing the opposite.

There was a time, where I only could tell myself, how much I am disgusted by this body. I told myself all the things I don’t like about this body. I spoke it out loud, while looking into my own eyes – “I hate this belly, I don’t like this body”.

I am not enough. Picture infront of the mirror.

Consequence of Negative Self-Talk

Many times we don’t realize, that we nourish our inner critic while doing this, so it grows bigger and bigger and without even knowing we cultivate self-hatred by telling oneself over and over again, that this body is not good enough, that we are not okay as we are – and in the end – we manifest self-hatred and self-hatred becomes our reality.

My body is not good the way it is.

In consequence of this depression and anxiety arise. Our self-value, self-love and self-esteem are diminished or gone and the frustration grows bigger. We find ourselves in a negative spiral without a way back out.
It sometimes seems impossible. 

But, let me tell you, there is a way out! It can be a long and sometimes hard journey – but it’s definitely worth it going.

Self-Love First. You Are Enough.

Selflove Picture of Ligaya, Stefanie Grace

Tools To Change Negative Self-Talk And Self-Hatred Into Positivity and Self-Love

Here are some tools to change your negative self-talk into positivity.

Start a journal
Reflect on your day, your feelings, your actions and thoughts. What are your triggers and how do you react to them? Why do you feel how you feel?

Be kind with yourself and practice self-compassion
Start talking to yourself like you were talking to a child or a beloved person. You would never be so hard on someone else like you are with you. Practice being kind towards yourself as well, show compassion and always remember to be more patient.

Practice meditation
Meditation helps to get your mind clear. Find calmness in meditation and start with positive affirmations while combining them with your breath, e.g.: breath in “I am” breath out “enough”. Meditation is a great tool to bring yourself back to this present moment – out of the past and back from the future. Notice the sensations in your body, the feelings and emotions which arise – what are the thoughts, the actions which led to those emotions?

Find your ways of self-care
Take care of yourself and find your tools of self-care. Some people need to go to a yoga class or a run, others feel the need of a bubble bath in the candle light. Maybe you need a long walk in the forest or a dip in the sea? 
Self-care can mean to enjoy a cup of tea while reading a book, crafting something or painting a mandala. 
Everyone has a different way – try some and find your way.

Feel your body
It’s really important to rebuild a healthy connection towards the body again. Best way to do this, is to feel the body. Close your eyes and touch your body very gentle. Like you would caress the body of a beloved person. Feel the silhouette of your body and the touch on your skin. Appreciate it and respect it. It is your home, your only one and it’s a good one, just the way it is. Give yourself a hug.

Start with positive affirmations
Tell your reflection in the mirror that you are beautiful the way you are, that you are enough, that you love yourself. And always remember: it needs time to overwrite a manifestation, it needs time to manifest a certain believe. And most important, it needs you to believe this new believes!

After many years of telling yourself one thing, its not done by simply telling yourself ONCE the opposite. You need to say it over and over again. You need to hear it over and over again. You need to say the words, hear the words in your voice in all your confidence!

Let me know if you have experienced negative self-talk and self-hatred and how you are/were handeling it?

Thanks for taking the time to read,
Love & Light, Namasté yours Nini

How Does the Menstrual Cycle Affects a Women’s Body and the Training. What Is PMS and How To Deal With It?

PMS is affecting the training, body and energy level of a women.

Understand Yourself by Understanding the Menstrual Cycle, Premenstrual Syndrome and How This Affects Your Training.

<< I wake up in the morning like any other day, I go to the bathroom for a shower and dress up. I realize that my pants are much tighter than usual and after a look into the mirror I wonder what I ate for dinner yesterday that I’m so bloated. However, I continue with my morning routine – yoga, workout and meditation. After the first movements I feel a pain in my lower back, so I take it easier and continue with my workout – but after the first block of exercises I feel exhausted and tired. My body feels heavy and weak.
And so I take a rest – notice my feelings, my emotions – I could cry immediately, I feel vulnerable. After finishing my morning routine more or less I’m craving for food, a big desire for something sweet. After breakfast the craving lasts and I feel like eating the whole day.
In the evening I have another training on the program – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The slightest contact feels very painful and I hesitate rolling. On the way home I reflect my day, start counting on my  calendar in my head and suddenly I realize – I must be quite in the end of my monthly cycle. >>

PMS sends its regards. 

Even though I’m tracking my cycle pretty good by checking my temperature, my cervical mucus and my calendar, I sometimes get surprised by PMS the week or days before my period starts again. 
To understand a little bit more what’s going on in the female body during this time of the month and how it’s affecting the energy levels and trainings, I wrote this blog post which I want to share with you. 

PMS is affecting the training and energy level of a women.

The Menstrual Cycle

Before talking about PMS, it´s necessary to understand the complex cycle of the female body which continues every month – from puberty until menopause. I start with a little overview of the two phases of the cycle, important hormones, where they come from and what their main jobs are. If you want to know more about the phases read on below.

GnRH – Gonadotrophin releasing hormone – releases from the hypothalamus – triggers the release of FSH and LH from the anterior pituitary gland 
FSH – Follicle stimulating hormone – releases from the anterior pituitary gland –  stimulates the growth of the egg in the follicles
LH – Luteinizing hormone – releases from the anterior pituitary gland – triggers the ovulation, the exit of the egg out of the follicle
Estrogen – secrets by the granulosa cells (cells of the follicles) in the first phase of the cycle and by the Corpus Luteum in the second phase of the cycle –  triggers the development of breast tissues, the lining of the uterus and the expression of female sexual characteristics
Progesterone – secrets by the Corpus Luteum (the cells of the follicle AFTER ovulation) –  thickens and maintains the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) as a preparation for implantation of a fertilized egg

2 Phases of the Cycle

I.                 Follicular Phase –the phase where the egg is developing in a follicle in the ovaries. This phase starts with the first day of the cycle  the first day of the menstruation  and can vary in the duration, mostly around 14 days.

II.               Luteal Phase – the phase starts with ovulation when the egg exits the follicle, ready to get fertilized. In case of no pregnancy  the body starts preparing again for a new cycle. The luteal phase always remains 14 days. 

Drawing of the hormones of the menstrual cycle.

The Follicular Phase

The follicular phase starts with the first day of menstruation, which is the beginning of the cycle.
Characteristics of this phase:

  • Basal body temperature lower
  • Estrogene level low and starts to rise
  • Progesterone level is low
  • FSH and LH start to rise
  • Cervical mucus is thick and untransparent

The menstruation bleeding is the break-down of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and takes place, when there is no fertilized egg to implant in the lining. To renew the lining for the next attempt, it has to break down first.
The hypothalamus releases a hormone called ‘gonadotrophin releasing hormone’ (GnRH), this hormone triggers the release of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) & LH (luteinizing hormone) from the anterior pituitary gland.
The main job of FSH is to stimulates around 5 to 20 follicles in the ovaries, which means they start to grow an egg inside. The cells of the stimulated follicles (called ‘granulosa cells’) secrets estrogen, which is important for the development of breast tissues and the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and causes the cervical mucus to become thinner and more transparent.

The body prepares for the possible fertilization. The endometrium starts to become thicker and enriched in blood and nutrients, so a fertilized egg could implant.
At the same time, the follicles grow and the concentration of estrogen rises, this gives a negative feedback to the hypothalamus and the release of GnRH stops and so does the release of FSH & LH. Because of the drop of FSH smaller stimulated follicles die (only one remains).
Shortly before the ovulation LH reaches its peak (around day 14 in the cycle) and since the main job of LH (luteinizing hormone) is to trigger the release of the egg out of the follicle – the ovulation begins.

How does this affect the training?
During the follicular phase women experience higher pain tolerance and the average energy level seems higher. At this time the female body can easily perform high-intensity workouts.
Since the estrogen levels increases during the late follicular phase, strength training can be beneficial.   

With the Ovulation the second phase of the cycle starts – the Luteal Phase.

The Luteal Phase

As mentioned already this is the phase where LH (Luteinizing hormone) triggers the egg to exit the follicle and ovary to get fertilized in the fallopian tubes. In case of a fertilization the egg gets implanted in the endometrium in case of no pregnancy, the endometrium breaks down to renew itself.
Characteristics of this time:

  • Oestrogen level is high
  • Progesterone starts to rise
  • The basal body temperature changes and rises (because of progesterone)
  • Cervical mucus is thin and untransparent which allows the sperms to travel (only at the time of the ovulation – after it gets thicker again)
  • FSH & LH level decrease

The follicle which releases the egg collapse and transform to the ‘Corpus Luteum’ – a mass of cells – which secrets the hormones progesterone and estrogen.
The job of progesterone is, together with estrogen, to thicken and maintain the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) as a preparation for implantation of a fertilized egg. In addition, estrogen is working on the breast tissues as well.
When the egg has been fertilized it implants in the lining and the embryo secrets the hormone ‘human chorionic gonadotrophin’ (hCG), which gets detected by a pregnancy test. The hCG keeps the Corpus Luteum alive in order to keep the progesterone concentration high and the lining of the uterus thick. (In case of a pregnancy the placenta takes over the progesterone secretion after around week 5-10).
When the egg hasn’t been fertilize the Corpus Luteum breaks down, because there is no secretion of hCG,
which would keep it thick. In further consequence the concentration of progesterone and estrogen drops and the endometrium breaks down, because the womb doesn’t need the lining, since there is no egg to implant -> menstruation occurs -> GnRH triggers the release of FSH and LH and the cycle starts from the beginning.

How does this affect the training?

After ovulation the change of the hormones, the higher concentration of progesterone and estrogen the metabolism gets a boost and the body temperature gets higher than before, which is remarkable throughout daily life as in a training. High intensity trainings seem to be harder than in other phases of the cycle. 
Because of an increased fluid retention, the body mass might be higher and women feel bloated and heavier. In high estrogen levels the body stores more glycogen and utilizes more fat as fuel, since estrogen can reduce carbohydrate oxidation. This can make it more challenging to reach higher intensities in training and the body feels in need of a few extra carbohydrates which leads again to carbs cravings after ovulation so the energy intake of a woman is rising naturally (up to 300 kcal). At the time prior before the next period, as the progesterone level decreases, a lot of women facing PMS (Premenstrual syndrome).

A drawing of the stages of the female cycle.

What Is PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)?

PMS is not a mythos, but it’s not a diagnosed disease either*. PMS is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that affect many women (up to 80%) due to the huge hormonal changes. Some women may feel the symptoms more, some less.
*However, PMDD is a recognised disease and is one of the most intense types of PMS.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder can cause deep depressions, panic attacks, anxieties plus the known PMS symptoms in the second half of the cycle. Compared to PMS only up to 5 % of women can be affected by PMDD. It is diagnosed by doctors and requires treatment under the supervision of professional help.

Physical symptoms can be:

  • Swollen and/or tender breasts
  • Constipation, feeling bloated and heavy
  • Cramps, headache and backache
  • Lower tolerance for pain, noise and light
  • and lot more…

Emotional symptoms can be:

  • Appetite changes and food cravings
  • Tension, anxiety, feelings of sadness and vulnerability
  • Mood swings
  • Sleeping problems
  • and a lot more…
PMS is affecting the training and energy level of a women.

What Can We Do To Lower the Symptoms of PMS and How To Deal With It?

First of all, it is important to accept the sensations and needs of the body as they are, to work WITH them and not against them. Otherwise, we will always find ourselves in situations, where we judge our body and feelings as failures, because we’re not performing like we used to, like we think we should.
As in so many times in life the main factors, which cures the symptoms are first of all:

  • Exercise regularly throughout the whole month
  • Choose healthy foods all of the time
  • Get enough sleep and recovery
  • Find your ways to keep yourself calm and to reduce stress

Even though, women have a higher craving of sweets and sugars in this time, it’s important to find healthy ways to satisfy the desire, rather than eating high processed products with refined sugars (e.g.: bake your own sweet potato brownies, rather than buying donuts). Do not drink alcohol or smoke and reduce caffeine intake. A balanced nutrition with high intake of minerals and vitamins is crucial – so eat your veggies and fruits.

Regular exercises, in combination with enough sleep, rest and recovery, can help to keep the energy level and the mood higher. A lot of times the question pops up – what kind of exercises are good for me at this time? This is something very subjectively – some women can do HII trainings during PMS, while others find it to hard to go for an easy run. Some women find release in Yoga poses and some in massages. In any case, most important is to listen to YOUR body. If your body feels weak give it some rest, you don’t have to give 120%, just give as much as you can.

<< Only You Know Best, What’s Best For You >>

Some women may already do all this and still not find an ease of PMS. In this case, it might be an option to make a hormone profile to check if there is a lack or a peak in any hormone and/or try natural supplements like chasteberry (get in in the pharmacy) and special teas for cramp release.

Thanks for reading. I’m happy if you share your opinion and experience with me by commenting below. If you have any other tips and tricks let us know and in case you have noticed any points that I should add – please drop me a message.,exercise%20training%20and%20performance%20capacity.,some%20form%20of%20premenstrual%20syndrome.

Why Only Losing Weight Will Not Make You Happy

As soons as I have lost weight, I will be happier.

Losing Weight Will Not Fix Your Problems

“As soon as I have lost 7 kg, I will be happier.”
“I only need to fit into my skinny jeans again and I will be more social again!”
“I will love myself more as soon as I’m back under 60 kg.”
“After I completed this diet I will have a better relationship with food again.  

Maybe you will find yourself in one of these statements again… if not, I’m truely happy for you. These were all thoughts of mine I had during the time I was dealing with an eating disorder (even though I didn’t even knew I had one). I have always counted on huge changes in my life and was always hoping to change the way I see myself, as soon as I lost a certain amount of kilograms, as soon as I’m back to the weight I wanted to, as soon as I fit into jeans again, which not even weren’t my size,… and this list is even longer. 

If you can relate to those thoughts, please take the time now to reflect:

When you were at your lowest weight: 

– have you been as happy as you thought you’d be? 
– has the relationship with your partner/ your friends changed? Have you been more social again? 
– has the relationship with food changed? Could you enjoy food again? Were you able to stop dieting?
– did you have the feeling you lost enough weight? Could you stop the obsession of losing weight? 
– did you liked your body more? Did you liked, respected and appreciated your body more?
– did you started loving yourself again? Did you have the feeling of being enough?

Become happy in being you not because losing weight.

My Experience

During the time of the diet in which I starved myself and forced myself to do excessive sports, I isolated myself. Mostly, because I was afraid that a friend could have offered some cake when I visit for coffee and I knew I wouldn’t be able to say no to that cake – in fact I probably could have, but it would have triggered an binge eating attack after. Going out for dinner together was something I always tried to avoid. Of course I found ways to socialize, even though there was food involved or alcohol in a night out. Cancelling breakfast and lunch on the same day and the day after and burning calories in sports would have balanced it out again – but as you can imagine, that required a lot of planning before and after. 

The truth is, whenever I have lost weight, whenever I have starved myself with a diet and would actually have reached a number on the scale I thought I would be happy with –  I would still find myself in self-doubt again. Of course on one point, mostly in the beginning, I was happy, because I have managed to reach the goal I was aiming for, even though that would have cost me a lot of hustle and fighting against me – against food, but in the end I never changed the way I see myself. I didn’t liked myself more than before. I still had the feeling of being too fat, not good enough, I still was avoiding eating together with friends, shifting and cancelling meals. In the end the relationship to food has never changed. 

Every bite had the taste of unnecessary calorine, the bad conscience of not being allowed to eat and the question of how I could make up for it.

Picture of Stefanie Grace (Nini)

What Actually Will Make You Happy Again...

I would never say that losing weight will not make you happy – in fact this will always depend on everyone individually. But when it comes to abnormal eating behaviours, like emotional eating, or even eating disorders, losing weight alone will not do it, because it will not fix your problems. It will not change the way you see yourself. It will never change the relationship to food! There will still be the questions of “What can I eat?” “When can I eat?” “Am I actually allowed to eat this?”… There will always be the feeling of not being good enough.
It’s not the weight which is the actual problem, it’s a deeper emotion behind the surface.
Only after I understood my eating habits and after I got to know my triggers, I was able to detect the hidden emotions behind it and could solve the problem. Losing weight went automatically after that point!

What really made me happy in the end was the freedom to eat what and when I wanted, to do exercises, going for a run when I felt like it and not because I had to. 

Find Happiness In Being You.

Please remember at this point – you are not alone with this, is not a shame to have thoughts like this, and most important – it is NOT your fault. 
Let me know in comments or in a message how you feel about this and if I can support you in any way. 

What Does Yoga Have To Do With Veganism? Interview With Rahel

Rahel Lutz drinking tea and eating a cookie

The Vegan Lifestyle and Yoga
Interview with Rahel

In the last interview special Rahel from “Don’t Waste Your Taste” asked me questions about Ahimsa, Veganism and Yoga. In today’s post Rahel will answer the questions I asked her and she will explain what the vegan lifestyle and yoga have in common.

A few months ago, I asked Rahel if she would like to cook for my group during the Women Retreat, which will take place in Ibiza from May 14-20, 2022. Happliy she said yes, because there is really hardly anything she enjoys more than cooking delicious vegan food for other people. In combination with the daily yoga practice, the group process and the sea in front of the door, the whole thing is of course even more beautiful.

So that the readers of my blog can get to know Rahel better and her readers can get to know me better, we thought we would just interview each other. 

Rahel Lutz vegan foodblogger auf dem Hof Ring mit Grace

Since When Do You Live Vegan?

“In the spring of 2016, I decided to go vegan. At that time, primarily for ethical reasons. I could no longer justify to myself my contribution to the suffering of animals that the consumption of animal products entails. Especially not after I realized that I could live a perfectly healthy life even if I lived vegan.
Since making the switch, I’ve realized that I live a fulfilling life BECAUSE I live vegan.
This life-changing decision triggered a wave of self-empowerment for me and led me onto the path of mindfulness. An incredible number of doors have opened since then, inside and out.”

What Made You Want To Do What You're Doing Now?

“My enthusiasm and joy for vegan cooking and baking has been huge since the beginning of my vegan journey. I just love to spend hours trying out different dishes, inventing new recipes and bringing smiles to others’ faces with my creations. In 2019, the desire to share my enthusiasm with my fellow humans became unmistakably loud and I founded my blog “”. Since then, I have been able to learn a lot as co-host of the vegan YouTube cooking show of the channel “Zentrum der Gesundheit” and have achieved my first small successes as an independent food blogger. After more than two years as a food blogger, I still do what I do because I love it and it always inspires me. There’s really little that makes my heart delight and dance more than when someone tries one of my recipes and reports back that it tasted really good.”

Rahel Lutz doing the prayer pose. Interview with Ligaya

What Does Ahimsa Mean To You?

“Ahimsa for me means not causing suffering to sentient beings, both humans and animals. If I want to live Ahimsa, it is an empathic and also logical conclusion for me to live vegan. I came to this conclusion before I found myself on the path of yoga in 2017. So it was all the more beautiful for me to realize then that my vegan way of life in this respect is in line with what I consider to be a very basic tenet of yogic teachings.”

What Does Health Mean To You?

“When I feel physically exhausted or ill, or perceive my mind as very unbalanced, I lack the resources to truly enjoy my existence. I believe we are here on this earth not to be free of disease, but to learn to love life in its fullness and infinite, inexhaustible generosity.”

Rahel Lutz doing a crow pose at the riverside.

What Do You Think Man Should Change/Should Change About Mankind and for What Reason?

“In a Vipassana meditation course I learned to observe my inner world with a meditative attitude. What I learned in the course of the very intensive ten-day course is that everything changes. Everything comes into being and also passes away.
My time on this planet is finite. So what do I do with the very limited time I have here? Do I want to contribute to more suffering, or do I want to do my best to act more and more out of compassion every day?
When we ourselves get to the point where we understand that we have a choice about how to answer this question, new perspectives open up. The vegan movement, in my opinion, is a result of us becoming more aware on a collective level that the suffering we do to others always comes back to us in one way or another. That more and more people are choosing the vegan lifestyle and making a strong case gives me confidence that we want to end this cycle and we’re ready to make compassion-based choices.”

What is your motto/phiosophy of life?

Don’t Waste Your Taste” – Don’t waste your taste! This saying can be applied not only to food. Life may be tasted and enjoyed in its versatility and boundless abundance.”

Don’t Waste Your Taste

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed. 
Let me know in the comments – What does Ahimsa means to you? 

What Does Yoga Have To Do With Veganism? Interview With Nini

What does yoga have to do with veganism?

Interview With Vegan Foodblogger Rahel

In this interview special with Rahel from “Don’t waste your taste” you can get to know me better and find an answer to the question “What does yoga have to do with veganism?”.

I asked Rahel a few months ago if she would like to cook for my group during the Woman Retreat in Ibiza I’m organizing from May 14-20, 2022 – and she said yes.
So we are looking forward to a week together doing yoga enjoying the sun and delicious vegan food.

With this interview I would like to give you the opportunity to get to know me a little better. In the following lines I talk about my personal path, my vision, what Ahimsa means and also about what yoga has to do with veganism. Have fun reading through.

Health Coach Ligaya Yoga and Fitness

Who Are You and What Do You Do?

“Hi, I’m Nini and I’m a health coach. The areas I work with are yoga, fitness and nutrition. On the one hand I teach group classes, private classes, workshops and retreats on the other hand I coach people who are looking for a lifestyle change in 1:1 coachings.
My coachees come to me for different reasons, some want to get fitter, lose weight or build muscle mass, others long for more peace and tranquility in their lives and still others come because they want to change their eating habits or are struggling with an eating disorder.”

How Did It Come About?

“I had a lot of problems myself years ago in terms of my diet. I was fighting bulimia and myself at the same time. I couldn’t accept myself as I am, was never good enough and had no peace when it came to eating right and exercising. I started therapy, yoga and worked a lot on my mindset and was able to turn my views on many areas 180 degrees. I got to know myself, my triggers better and learned how to deal with them. So I found back to self-love and more joy in my life. I know that many women (as well as men) feel the same way. Many feel trapped in this mindset and can’t find a way out. I have made it my mission to help others who feel the same way to make the change.”

What Is Your View of People? What Do You Understand by Health?

“Under health, or a healthy person I understand not only the freedom from disease, but a person who feels physically and mentally completely well. Whether a person is healthy I recognize above all by the charisma of the person. It is therefore not only about the physical condition, but much more about the mental, because in many cases this is the origin of complaints. Only when a person has “cleaned up” mentally and emotionally, the body has the possibility to unfold in a healthy way. That is why I like to work in all areas. Fitness, to strengthen the body, explore the limits and grow beyond them. Yoga and mediation, to strengthen the mind, become mentally fit, get to know yourself better and change certain perspectives and nutrition, to learn what the body needs to function at its best, to learn to listen to the body and feel what foods are good for us, in what quantity and when.”

Ligaya Yoga and Veganism

What Is Your Vision?

“My vision is my why and my why is what drives me, what gives me joy in my work. I inspire and support women to find self-love and joy, to tap into their power and live to their full potential.”

Ahimsa - What Does It Mean in General, How Do You Integrate It Into Your Life?

“Ahimsa is the second point of the Niyamas, the 8-limbed path of Yoga (described by Patanjali) and means “no violence, harm no one”. It is moral values of us towards the environment, towards other people, animals, nature. 

To be able to fully integrate Ahimsa in life, it requires a vegan lifestyle. But also that we do not harm any living being, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant to us, such as mosquitoes or lice. 

Ahimsa in my life: I have been a vegetarian for a few years now and have also started vegan a few times. However, never with the really strong intention of Ahimsa. Recently, I’ve been feeling the call of Ahimsa very intensely, and so I dedicated myself to a vegan lifestyle at the beginning of March.” 

If you hear the calling of Ahimsa – Follow 

In my next post you will find out more about Rahel and her story. 

Let me know in the comments – What does Ahimsa means to you? 

Why It Is the Perfect Time?

Stefanie Grace sitting and gazing at the ocean.

Why It Is the Perfect Time for a Retreat and How Fear Is Holding Us Back...

The last year has been challenging for all of us in different ways, we had to face a lot of difficulties and had to cut back with leisure activities and vacations. 
Especially the long lockdown during the grey and cold winter has drained on our energy reserves. There is no better time to recharge the body battery than with the arrival of spring. For this reason, I would like to dedicate this blog post to the next up-coming Retreat in Gran Canaria in an interview with performance coach Renato Montañés, from Toa-Toa, who is hosting this retreat together with me.

Picture of Renato and Nini (Stefanie Grace)

Interview With Performance Coach and Retreat Host Rentao Montañés

“Why do you think, it’s the perfect moment for a retreat?”

“I feel we all are in a form of retreat since the pandemic started. But sharing this isolation and being guided through practices that help us develop, especially in times like these, just seems like what many looking for, whenever tired of their homes and circumstances.”

“What’s your opinion regarding the current, global situation? Is it safe to travel?”

My own experience travelling right now, as well as all safety measures that are
in place, are minimizing risks to an extend where I feel completely relaxed
traveling. I perceive eventual PCR test requirements and masks rather as something
like extra visa regulations than something that actually hinders me.”

“Where do you see fear holding people back from such experiences?”

“Since the current circumstances are quite uncertain and changing from day to day, many of us feel like walking on eggshells in terms of decision making. Should I do this? What if everything changes again and I lose?
Fear of loss, making mistakes and/or having to deal with uncertain developments are very normal nowadays. The danger however comes from being impaired of this fear to a point where we don’t move at all and stay paralyzed with decreasing hope that one day we might move freely and without these fears. But there is always something to fear if we succumb to it. 
We can practice fear or courage. The more we feed one, the weaker the other gets.”

“What does personal development/ personal growth mean to you?”

“2 Things. Digging up and resolving restraints and patterns that keep me from flow. And the commitment to play with what I love to do to an extend where I am getting better at it with every time I invest into it lovingly.”

“How this retreat can provide personal transformation and change?”

“I feel It is the perfect playground where I can learn, work and connect dots around my topics and immerse fully into clean routines and healthy living in a safe and knowledgeable environment, at least for the time of the retreat.
This way I have the chance to practice what can sustain me when I am back home.” 


Investing into Personal Growth is like watering a plant! 

Information Regarding the Retreat and the Current Situation in Spain...

The Growth Retreat – from the 3rd to the 11th of April – will take place in the north of Gran Canaria in a beautiful villa with the view over the ocean. These 7 full days of practice are the perfect kickstart into new routines and into a healthy lifestyle to keep yourself mentally and physically fit.

Spain has been removed from the quarantine list for many different countries and to enter you just need to provide a PCR-Test. Restaurants, shops and public outdoor spots are open under the restrictions of a mask.


For more information and booking contact me via E-Mail

Or use the sign up from below.


What Previous Retreat Participants Have To Say

It was a great opportunity to learn from others, share thoughts, eat delicious meals. There was enough time to relax and explore beautiful places around. Sometimes it was challenging but it was so worth it. All in all it was very inspiring and it feels like it opend doors to myself.
More than expected. All my stress was gone, I haven’t felt that great in a long time. Additionally, I made a lot of new experiences regarding my meditation practice. Amazing.
It was challenging, but I got a kickstart for my own Routine! Really nice Group and Renato & Nini gave ther best and opened a playground of opportunities to grow.»
I have immensely enjoyed this well structured space to take time for myself and at the same time sharing this experience with a group of lovely people.