“Our society and the media teach us that we are not enough and that if we chase beauty, then, maybe we’ll be worthy” with Liz Bane and Marina Kostina

Honestly, and sadly, it started with the pursuit of vanity. Vanity may sound shallow, but in our culture it is so powerful! Practically every young girl out there today is seeking to be MORE. More beautiful, more thin, more sexy. Our society and the media teach us that we are not enough and that if […]

Honestly, and sadly, it started with the pursuit of vanity. Vanity may sound shallow, but in our culture it is so powerful! Practically every young girl out there today is seeking to be MORE. More beautiful, more thin, more sexy. Our society and the media teach us that we are not enough and that if we chase beauty, then, maybe we’ll be worthy and can find love and the perfect life. These messages have destroyed the self-esteem of millions of young girls and that is really sad.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Liz Bane. Bane is a Wellness Concierge and the Founder of Life in Balance. Based on the concept of bio-individuality, she provides personalized, holistic service addressing matters of weight, food, exercise, stress and sleep– all the components necessary for a life in balance.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

As far back as I can remember, I have been fascinated with health and wellness. I was a professional dieter for over 40 years! From Weight Watchers to Atkins to South Beach, I’ve done them all. Dieting hopping is a familiar experience for many women, I’m sure. Years ago, I hired a nutritionist to come to my house once a week, weigh me, and keep me on a 1500 calorie a day diet. Ugh, I hated that! So humiliating and exhausting to track every morsel of food. Every diet I tried, every fad I experimented with left me hungry or losing weight only to gain it back. I have the stretch marks to prove my years of doing the ‘diet roller coaster dance’ so many times! Throughout those challenging years, not a day went by that I didn’t use all my mental and emotional energy thinking about what I was going to eat, how I could lose ten pounds or wondering if my clothes would fit. It was exhausting! Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was on a focused mission to solve my battle with food and weight loss.

In 2013, at the age of 50, real change finally arrived in my life. I moved to Boston and met Heather Costa at Revolution Juice. It was through daily trips to her store for an organic green juice and lengthy conversations about eating a whole food, plant-based diet, that I began a new journey.

In 2015, I took a yoga class in London from the famous Julie Montagu. She spoke of her journey as a health coach, raising four children, teaching yoga, and writing cookbooks. I was so inspired I decided to follow my heart and take a leap of faith, registering at the world-renowned Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). IIN is the largest nutrition school in the world with over 100,000 graduates. Through a rigorous year long program, individuals graduate with a degree as a certified holistic health coach.

What I learned in the IIN program provided me with a peace of mind about food and my body that I didn’t know was possible — and my mission to share that knowledge and gift with others became clear. In January 2018, I graduated from IIN and walked away from a 20-year career to follow my heart and pursue my lifelong passion of health and wellness. Liz Bane Life in Balance, Wellness Concierge Service was born!

What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?

For me it’s about authenticity, kindness, gratitude and love! These are values by which I try to live my life. I was fortunate to have found a beautiful yoga practice which, after 15 years, keeps me calm and centered in order to live these values everyday. Through my yoga practice I became aware that life presents daily learning opportunities. For example, how not to be reactive in the moment. I just started to pay attention, to be more open and to listen. These tools or ‘the gift of yoga’, which I call it, has allowed me to become self aware, present and grounded. And from that place of calm I work everyday to be the most authentic, best version of myself sharing kindness, gratitude and love with my family, my community and hopefully, that trickles to the world at large.

Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?

Honestly, and sadly, it started with the pursuit of vanity. Vanity may sound shallow, but in our culture it is so powerful! Practically every young girl out there today is seeking to be MORE. More beautiful, more thin, more sexy. Our society and the media teach us that we are not enough and that if we chase beauty, then, maybe we’ll be worthy and can find love and the perfect life. These messages have destroyed the self-esteem of millions of young girls and that is really sad.

I attended my first Weight Watchers meeting when I was 13 and a just few pounds overweight. By the age of 19, I was a sophomore at the University of WI, a modern dance major, and by then I was legitimately 45 pounds overweight. Not ideal for a dancer, not ideal for a young girl’s self-esteem and not something I talked about with anyone. In desperation I handed over $1000 to a local weight loss clinic in September and they put me on an 800 calorie a day diet consisting basically of broccoli and lettuce. And, voila, three months later I had lost 30 pounds. In January, feeling thin and confident I auditioned for NYU School of Dance. My plan was to transfer my Junior year to one of the greatest dance schools in the world in one of the most amazing cities in the world. I had a big dream and I was determined. I had worked for three months with a well known choreographer on my audition dance. My mom bought me a shimmery turquoise blue leotard. I felt beautiful, confident and ready. When it was my turn to audition, I turned on the tape recorder (it was 1982!) and the music didn’t play. The tape deck was broken! I looked around the room and decided to do the dance regardless. I could hear the music in my head. I crushed it. And, sure enough, two months later I was accepted into NYU. But sadly, in those two months between the audition and the acceptance letter, something shifted in me. My grandfather passed away and I could no longer sustain my broccoli and lettuce diet. I was feeling lonely and, not surprisingly, I started to gain back the weight. Slowly but surely it started to creep back. The more I gained, the more distraught I became, the more I started to sneak junk food into my dorm room, alone. By the time I received the acceptance letter I had gained back 20 pounds!

When I received the letter I called my parents and in one quick outburst I told them I’d been accepted but, I was declining. My dad, having felt confident after the audition that I was going to be accepted, had bought tickets for us to fly to New York, tour the school, see a broadway show and put down a deposit! My parents were stunned. What, why? I just shut my parents out and said I’d changed my mind. But I hadn’t. I was humiliated. How could I show up looking this way, feeling out of control about food and my weight. I turned my back on NYU, and sadly stopped dancing and changed my college major. This was a pivotal moment in my life. And, would you believe, for over 20 years I blamed my parents for not coming up to UW to talk with me to understand what had happened. I blamed them for allowing me put an end to my dancing career. Years of regret followed. Years of wasted emotional energy. That was over 35 years ago. I now accept responsibility for my actions. I am grateful for that time in my life, the experience and learning. It was honestly that moment, that very painful time in my life that was the seeds of my passion for wellness and building a business to help others. My goal now is to help people get healthier.

The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?

People are not happy in America because our minds and bodies have been hijacked by industry and greed. As a result, we’re sick, overweight and we’ve lost our way. The big food industries including dairy, meat and sugar have hijacked our food and turned it into a toxic substance that looks like food but is filled with hormones, pesticides and overwhelming amounts of sugar hidden in almost every packaged food. Walk through an airport or a city street and you will see more obese people than has ever been recorded in American history. Plus, technology and social media have hijacked our minds with iphones. Our ability to communicate with people, face to face, to be present and in the moment, is gone. This loss of the art of communication is especially true for millenials and younger generations to come. Show me a table at a restaurant with four, 20-year old girls talking to each other. No, they’re on their iphones texting other people about what they’re doing and posting pictures of their food. Lack of real personal connection leaves us empty and searching for more. That emptiness combined with the damage to our bodies from fake, toxic food is a recipe for major unhappiness.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I think about bringing goodness to one person at a time. My work with individuals is incredibly high touch. If I can help one person change their daily routine to eat clean, move their body and care for their mind, the ripple effect of that change has the potential to bring goodness to the world. I work with many young moms who come to me to lose weight after having kids. But from our first conversation together, they’re asking me questions about feeding their children. They want to feed their kids healthy but our culture is making it super challenging. I try to teach this idea of the “healthy ripple effect” in the home. It starts with the mom. If she can learn to eat clean and maintain a healthy kitchen then it’s going to naturally impact the children and her spouse. This ripple continues out to extended family members, friends and colleagues. I’d love to see the ripple find its way into our public schools where they are serving children Goldfish and Cupcakes. Have you ever considered why so many children have ADD and ADHD and other emotional conditions? I would go so far as to say it’s a result of what is at the end of their fork! I have a powerful message of 360-degrees of wellness and sharing it with one person at a time will hopefully bring more goodness to the world as part of a larger wellness revolution.

What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

  1. Love: I married the love of my life at age 53 and my life has been filled with abundance since the day I met him. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t tell me — numerous times — he loves me, he needs me, he can’t live without me. And he’s sincere. His generosity of love has changed my entire being. You can eat all the kale in the world, do 100 push-ups a day but without LOVE, true wellness is difficult to attain. We need to feel connected to other people, feel respected and valued, and feel a sense of belonging. We all need and crave love. We need physical affection and intimacy. We need people to encourage us every day simply because they believe in us. And just as importantly, we need to give lots and lots of unconditional love every day. Receiving and expressing love triggers feel-good hormones in the brain which are a huge part of our overall wellness. No one says it better than James Taylor; “Just shower the people you love with love. Show them the way that you feel”.
  2. Gratitude; About ten years ago I started to see a therapist named Denise. I had a lot on my mind at that time and was looking for help to clear the cobwebs. From our first appointment together Denise talked with me about feeling my fingers and toes and being grateful for all the good in my life. I liked Denise on that first day, so I went back. But, I thought she was a bit crazy. Feel my fingers and toes, being grateful? Grateful for what? Life was one big race — from work to kids to the grocery store to making dinner and repeat. It didn’t make sense at all to me. But I kept going back. Then, in 2013 I took a yoga workshop with Bryan Kest at Kripalu in the Berkshires. At the end of the three days of a lot of yoga, we laid in shavasana, the final resting pose in a yoga class, and Bryan led us through a gratitude meditation. He encouraged us to think about the people in our life that we were grateful for and what that felt like in our body. Well, it was a transformative moment for me because for the first time in my life, the gratitude light bulb went on. After three days of vinyasa flow, breathing and being surrounded by like-minded people, I finally understood what Denise had been talking about all those years. And since that day with Bryan I continue to do that gratitude practice every time I am in shavasana at the end of a yoga class. I have a lot to be grateful for.
  3. Yoga: my yoga mat is where I find comfort, community and peace of mind. My yoga practice is what allows me to live life to its fullest because it has given me the tools to be present and mindful. My practice keeps me grounded and reminds me that I have everything I need.
  4. Work; I recently created my first Wellness Event. I worked on it for over six months to make it great. My goal was to have 75 women attend and to inspire them about my new wellness business. I spent months creating amazing swag bags, curating a healthy menu and designing a beautiful overall experience. The week of the event I was beyond exhausted and pretty stressed out. But, the night came, 80 women showed up and the energy in the room was pulsing! It was a huge success and the joy and satisfaction I received from such hard work was invaluable. Being productive and using my creativity inspires me everyday to get out of bed. I love working, always have and, I hope to keep at it forever. Retirement is not in my vocabulary!
  5. Cooking; I LOVE being in the kitchen, cooking healthy food and feeding my family. My kitchen is my happy place. Cooking healthy meals, being creative with real food, sitting around the kitchen table and enjoying a home cooked meal with my husband and daughters is about the best it gets for me. When my girls request a certain meal for a homecoming dinner or because they’ve invited friends, I consider it an honor. My gluten and dairy free turkey bolognese is an all time favorite!
  6. Kindness; Being able to rise above drama, letting things roll off my back and being kind 100% of the time is a very high bar I set for myself years ago. Not sure where it came from or why, but it’s there, in my gut. Perhaps because I was bullied as a young girl. They teased me about my hair and called me Frizzy Lizzy at the age of 13 and that stung! That pain taught me the lesson to never judge others and to never throw stones. I’m not always able to rise above bad behavior by others but I try. Thanks to Brene Brown’s book, Rising Strong, I have learned how to sit with difficult emotion and “rumble” with it until I have clarity.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?

Dr. Robin Berzin at Parsley Health is my modern day female superhero! Everything Robin writes, blogs or shares on Instagram are pearls of wisdom. She’s on the forefront of turning healthcare on its head through the cross section of functional medicine and technology. If you are dealing with a chronic disease or a long time weight issue, go to Parsley Health, today!

Dr. Mark Hyman’s book, FOOD, What the Heck Should I Eat, is my nutrition bible and where I learned to eat clean. It was through his book and his blogging that I was able to build my clean eating business philosophy for my clientele.

Michael Pollan’s Food Rules should be on the refrigerator of every kitchen in America. Pollan says everything he’s learned about food and health can be summed up in seven words: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” I love that!!!

Joshua Rosenthal, founder and CEO of the Institute of Integrative Health is a brilliant man and visionary. Over 25 years ago Joshua started a nutrition school in his kitchen, teaching people how to eat better. Today, IIN is the largest nutrition school in the world with over 100,000 graduates making an enormous difference in people’s health, one individual at a time. I have enormous respect and gratitude for Joshua!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

‘Life is short’ may sound cliche, but for me this quote has been extremely powerful and meaningful. Today, these three words are the backbone of so many of my decisions. My husband and I fell madly in love in our 50’s. We had four kids between us and we decided to go for it. We knew it would be a difficult transition but we followed our hearts knowing all along it would eventually be OK. Today, 6.5 years later, two of our kids are married, there are three grandchildren and we call ourselves “the modern fam”! We’ve never looked back. Life is short and to find such incredible love in the second part of our life, we had to go for it. And now, every decision we make is based on those three words. Saying no closes doors. We try to say yes all the time.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes! I was inspired to develop this new project after reading Mark Hyman’s book, FOOD, What the Heck Should I Eat? Dr. Hyman writes about eating clean. Eat real food and lots of greens! Dr. Hyman taught me about the importance and significance of eating three things in combination at every meal: lean, organic protein, good fats and greens/vegetables. He writes at length about the power of greens and vegetables and the significance of good fats in stabilizing blood sugar, keeping us focused and full and keeping sugar cravings at bay. As a result of his book, I changed what I ate for breakfast, which ultimately changed everything for me. One day, I made a salad for breakfast which included lots of dark leafy greens, avocado, hemp seeds and a splash of EVOO and fresh lemon juice. I started putting leafy greens on my husbands plate for breakfast too, along with his eggs cooked in coconut oil. He didn’t complain but instead started to proudly share with friends that he was eating salad for breakfast! I started to introduce 7-day salad for breakfast challenges and people loved it! It was helping individuals with their digestion, weight loss and decreasing sugar cravings! I started posting pictures on Instagram and voila, #salad4breakfast was born. I encourage people to keep it really simple. Just throw stuff in a bowl! Be sure to include the four ORGANIC items: 1) lean protein (eggs, hemp seeds, shrimp, quinoa), 2) good fats (avocado, nuts & seeds, olives), 3) lots of dark leafy greens and, 4) a generous drizzle of EVOO, salt & pepper.

I believe that how we start our day determines the outcome of our day. Start your day with the combination of foods that keep your blood sugar stable so you’re not chasing that sugar high all day. Avoid eating a sugar laden breakfast of yogurt or bagels. Salad for breakfast keeps you full and focused and it supports your mindset to choose healthier foods for lunch and dinner because you started from such a good, healthy place.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire real change in the world it would be through a “meditation movement”. I’d begin by radically changing the curriculum in K-12 public schools to include meditation as a priority, just like reading and writing. Teaching children to mediate daily has the power to change the world. My plan includes a “Director of Meditation” in every school district across the country implementing meditation programs in every public school starting in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Teaching children from a young age HOW to meditate and building the practice into their daily life at school will care for their minds in a way that will build a new generation of resilient people. Meditation builds life skills such as how to remain calm in the face of adversity, how to be present and grounded, how to manage stress and, all the while building self-esteem. My meditation movement has the power to reduce mental illness and violence, decrease the diabetes and obesity epidemic and ultimately happiness may prevail. This will change the world.

Thank you for joining us!

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