Interview with Dana James

Interview with Dana James

May 18, 2018

Many of us put ample effort and determination into improving our diet and exercise plans, yet find ourselves slipping back into old patterns. Why is that? Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN, the Expert in our upcoming call for Living Wholly's “Virtual Speaker Series”, has found that our behavioral patterns and self-doubt often sabotage those best laid plans. In answer to this common struggle, she’s identified 4 common archetypes that color our relationship to food and our bodies, in order to clarify the best path to lasting transformation. Set aside 5 minutes, take the test and discover your archetype here. I found it quite insightful and the results opened my eyes to information that is quite supportive for my journey. Give it a try!

Dana James is a Columbia University educated, triple certified nutritionist who is also trained in cognitive behavioral therapy. She is the founder of Food Coach NYC and LA, and a functional medicine nutrition practitioner that helps correct biochemical and psychological imbalances through nutrition intervention and psychological exploration. Look out for her recently published book titled "The Archetype Diet: Reclaim your Self-Worth and Change the Shape of your Body". We had the opportunity to interview her and thought you would enjoy learning more about her life's work, intentions and ways that she is uplifting the planet. Read on.

Interview with Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN

Living Wholly: In your words, how are you serving the world and contributing your gifts?

Dana James: I’m hoping to radically change the conversation around weight loss. For far too long, the overriding paradigm has been fixated on the physical aspect of weight gain without looking at the why behind our eating behavior or the why behind our biochemical imbalances.

Let’s consider the psychological: Why do you use food as a reward, comfort, distraction, pacifier or grounding tool? It’s not that it simply tastes good! It has to do with where you source your self-worth comes from. Unless you address the why, you’ll fall back to old patterns.

The physical is similar. It’s not just a matter of accepting that your hormones, gut microbiome or metabolism is out of balance - you need to find out why. I explain the why in "The Archetype Diet: Reclaim Your Self-Worth and Change the Shape of Your Body" and do this through the four female archetypes: Wonder Woman, Nurturer, Femme Fatale and Ethereal.

Living Wholly: What inspired you to write your recent book "The Archetype Diet"?

Dana James: I was inspired to write this book because of the emotional pain I saw women enduring because they thought they were stuck in a cycle of weight gain/weight loss, shame and guilt. I wanted to give them hope that there was a solution. But the solution wasn’t a quick and easy fix or a bio-hack - it is a complex understanding of our biology and beliefs. If it was easy to understand our whys, we wouldn’t have an epidemic of women who feel constantly ashamed because they “can’t” stick to their word.

Living Wholly: What two archetypes do you most resonate with?

Dana James: I like them all because a complete woman has cultivated the positive aspects of all four archetypes, but my dominant archetype is the Wonder Woman. The Wonder Woman’s self-worth is based on success and achievement - she’s driven, determined and astute, but if her Wonder Woman traits become too dominant she can disassociate from her feelings, intuition and the sensual pleasures in life. This leaves her feeling as if something is wrong. Food (or alcohol) can become the coping tool.

The solution is to break the belief that her self-worth is based on an external factor, like success. Only then, will her habits and patterns change. Each archetype has a similar journey to break their self-worth matrix.

Living Wholly: By having awareness of the archetypes you most connect with, how does it support you to thrive?

Dana James: Once you identify your archetype, you immediately become conscious of your subconscious drivers. A hint - it’s not willpower but where you source your self-worth from. You’ll also know what hormones dominate your physical body and how to change them with food and supplements. Each archetype has a different way of eating because they have different hormonal influences from their lifestyle and source of self-worth.  

Living Wholly: In your experience, what is one of the most common reasons that humans feel disempowered with food and their bodies?

Dana James: People often feel disempowered with food and their bodies because they unconsciously believe that their value as a person is contingent on some factor - success, looks, giving to others or being different. It’s not. Their self-worth exists because they were born. Any belief other than that can cause disempowered with food and the physical body.

Marianne Williamson has a great quote, which I use for the Femme Fatale archetype: “You can’t be comfortable in your skin, if you believe you are your skin.” The Archetype Model shows you how to break this erroneous belief that your value is contingent on some external source.

Living Wholly: What teachers have you worked with and/or currently work with to inspire and support your evolution in consciousness?

Dana James: I’ve deeply immersed myself in Jungian philosophy, Greek mythology and vibrational medicine - these teachers span from Carl Jung to Marion Woodman, Jean Shinoda Bolen MD and Richard Gerber MD. This immersion occurred after I received my Masters in Nutrition and Functional Medicine Training, as I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what happened beyond food and the biochemical - the answer lay in the mind.

Living Wholly: What is one recommendation for those experiencing a challenge/s with their health?

Dana James: Don’t fret. There is a solution. Your body knows how to heal itself - so does the mind.

Living Wholly: What is a daily practice that supports you with attunement, personally and professionally?

Dana James: I want women to develop a jewelry box full of tools they can use depending on the situation. My daily practices change based on what I feel I need. Right now, I’m in the midst of a pre-launch book campaign and I’m more stretched than I like to be. I wasn’t feeling good about myself, I'd gained some weight and my hand was going into the candy bowl.

Once I recognized this, I paused and asked what I needed - it was restoration and resilience. I made the decision to drop wheat and wine. I added a daily green juice. I started meditating twice daily. And I asked for help. My body and mind quickly returned to equilibrium and I feel like myself again.

Living Wholly: What does living wholly mean to you?

Dana James: To be completely honest with yourself in all circumstances, asking, “How do I feel and why am I doing what I’m doing?”

Living Wholly: How can people learn more about your book and offerings, and work with you?

Dana James:

  • Please join me on Living Wholly’s “Virtual Speaker Series” on Wednesday, May 23rd at 6 pm pst! I will speak about “Finding your Female Archetype: Tools for Transformation.” We will explore your relationship to food, why "life" gets in the way, best ways to eat for your body type, and will bust through restrictive food myths. Learn more here and confirm your spot.
  • My book can be pre-ordered here. I encourage you to take the time to read it and do the exercises. Knowledge is only one piece of this puzzle - you must experience something to really understand it.
  • My Instagram is @danajames

Because our relationship with food and our bodies impacts so many facets of our life, it’s an important relationship to regularly observe, evolve, and nurture. We hope you can join us on Wednesday, May 23 at 6.00 pm pst, as Dana elaborates on the female archetypes and explores the integration of body and mind, science and psychology, so we can experience profound whole-being shifts. Register here. We look forward to seeing you on the Zoom.

with love and humility,

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