Thursday, December 31, 2009

Truck on over to The Penny has Dropped -- there is a wonderful 2010 break up letter to Fear. No matter what you are afraid of for the upcoming year or how you have spent the last year being fearing of something, totally worth the read!!

(and to give credit where credit is due, I wouldn't have read the post at all if it wasn't for wonderful Magpie Girl -- so thanks to her for her link!)

31 December 2009

I like letting go of an old year much better than making over-the-top NYR's. Think about this.

On little pieces of paper, write down the things that happened this year that you want to put into your past. I am not suggusting you forget them (because you lived through them and they are a part of you) but write down the things you do not actively want as part of your present.

Once each one is down on a piece of paper, take them to your fireplace or your firepit outside and light each one on fire...individually. Watch each of the pieces burn to ash and make a firm commitment to let those things stay in the past. You have dealt with them, quit letting them take up valuable brain space and move past them.

Your weight and eating behaviors sometimes need to fall into this catagory. We spend so much time stressing about how we look or feel or fit into our jeans and on occation, we need to just let it go.

You are at the weight you are at today. There isn't an inherint good or bad associated with the number on the scale. It is what you make of it. "But..." you say, "What about my health -- carrying more weight than I should makes me more unhealthy. That is an inherent bad." And to that, I will, again, say:

Multiple studies have come out in the last couple years that talk about a much looser link between health and body size than was thought in the past. Science is pointing to weight and disease as the symptom of poor health not the bottom-line reason for poor health (If you are interested in taking a new view on this check out either Health at Every Size or Good Calories/Bad Calories).

Here's my point: Let it go. Today is a day of closure. Prepare to move on. You're here and that means you have more time to do what you need to do. But you have to clear some brain space to get ready to move into the New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Disappointing Start

My big plans for this week (once most of the holiday stuff was done) was to design and implement a website (how hard can it be, right?) for the new Eating Coach E-course (Hurray! Hurray!! It is almost done!!)

The website would provide more information about the new E-course. It would give new clients formal exposure to what the program is and how it works. It would offer a platform to securely pay for the services the client was interested in. --Seems like a reasonable thing, right? I have been blogging for a while -- so a website seems like a step I should be able to navigate, right? I had a plan, a time table, a guiding vision, I had talked to people about hosting plans, DIY website creation, etc.


1. The other day, I signed up with (feeling really good about myself at this point. On the way! First steps all taken care of!! Invested the money -- now I am committed!)

2. Had to call Tech support because I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't let me log into my account. (Argh! Minor disappointment -- have to wait 24-48 hours to have them get everything set up on their end -- oh well, -- I reset my time table and blocked off a chunk of "Website Creation" time later in the week -- still feeling pretty good.)

3. Logged onto the account (Hurray! It worked!!) But couldn't figure out where the templates were so I could start creating. Found a help directory that showed me how to write some HTML code and upload it to the web -- that was pretty cool since I could go to --which I now own -- and see the code that I installed there! But still couldn't find the templates -- thought this should be easier than it was seeming to be.

4. Finally, I broke down and called Tech Support (again). Here, I should add that both times I called GoDaddy tech support, I got to a Real Person right away! They were super helpful and didn't make me feel stupid AT ALL! Which was a treat!

On the second call to GoDaddy, Shawn asked some questions and figured out that I did not buy the correct items. Essentially, I rented the space to put a website but I didn't buy the package to help me create the website. HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT!!!!!

By the time I got off the phone with Shawn, I was completely deflated and feeling stupid :( He did a great job of explaining what I needed and how things on his site work but all the excitement I felt for the project had leaked out because I was facing an emotional setback.

So...why am I sharing this???

Here's the thing -- the basics of this story are the basics of most stories where the lead character thinks she has a great plan to get her where she wants to go. Whether it is a website and new service offering is the goal or the goal is learning a new technique to manage her weight -- the process is still the same.

1. Starting out with a plan and an optimistic view that this is going to work.

2. Suffering a minor set back. Dealing with it. Having it take a little bit longer that she would want it to.

3. Having a bit of success and starting to get the excitement going but realizing perhaps she hasn't thought this whole process through as thoroughly as she thought.

4. Asking for help because she is at a standstill when she really thought this was a slam dunk. Disappointment!

So here's what I have learned:

1. I still need a website -- so, like my friend Amy tells me -- It's time to put on my "big-girl pants" and get moving.

2. I am going to have to ask for help.

3. I can't let setbacks get me so disappointed that I give up.

4. It will happen -- just not as quickly as I had originally thought.

I hope you all can see the connection to your weight management I am trying to draw here.

Discouragement happens in life. Don't get waylaid just because things aren't going like you thought they would. I am still disappointed that I won't have the website up and running by New Years Day, but it will get there if I actually move past my disappointment and start "doing". The same is true for your weight. I know it can be disappointingly slow -- just don't give up. Keep "doing" and you will get there.

(And when you get stuck -- email tech support @ and I won't make you feel stupid, I promise!)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Quick head check

We are almost done with the holiday eating season. How are you feeling about your eating?

Here's what I want...I want you to really think about this question. I want you to verbalize your answer -- either write it out or take the time to put your thoughts into words in your head. I don't want you to just read the question and then move on under some vague set of uncomfortable feelings.

So, seriously, how are you feeling about your eating?

Do you feel in charge of your decisions?

Do you feel like you are running here and there, eating and eating things you don't really want? (Honestly, this is the way I have spent some of my holiday time)

How do you feel physically? I would expect a good many of you are like me and have eaten much differently in the last couple weeks than you do normally, with regards to the kinds of food you are eating. How are those types of foods effecting you? (I am feeling sluggish and off -- too much sugar floating around in my blood stream, I expect. I feel like I should get out and move just to burn off the sluggishness I feel).

Body's react to different foods in different ways. My experience will not directly match your experience but the important part is for you to understand your experience. If you take time to think about how you are feeling, you will know what kinds of foods make you feel good and the ones that make to feel subtly less good.

You will be able to see the situations that cause you to slide into the mode of eating just because the food is there. You will see the people you eat with who help you be more in charge of your eating behaviors.

Once you know these things, being more mindful in the present moment becomes easier because you can plan ahead.

Monday, December 28, 2009

10 Ways to save on Health care Costs

Jay Parkinson just published an interesting post on how to reduce health care costs. (he is the author of the prescription I posted a couple of days ago)

As his patient in Manhattan, a person can log into his site, let him know why you want to be seen, schedule an appointment, pay for the visit using PayPal, and then Dr. Parkinson shows up at your home for your appointment. Neat, huh? No more waiting the waiting room. No more being subjected to all of the germs and unfriendly, overworked office staff. But here's the thing -- he won't bill your insurance. You pay out of pocket. The upside? Lower costs of the visit.

Would you pay out of pocket if it cost you less?

What if going to the doctor was just like ordering at a restaurant -- there is a menu, a schedule of fees and you get to order a la carte.

The reason I am bringing this up (on an Eating Coach blog) is because it has direct application to EC and the mindset that clients bring to health care and weight management.

This is what I have found:

1. Many (if not most) people coming to my fitness facility feel they are paying enough per month already and will not spend more on a series of Eating Coach classes. **Side note: a large percentage of members list losing weight as their primary driver for joining the facility.**

2. The mindset, for many people, is: if insurance is not paying for a service, they will not pay out-of-pocket for it either. People have told me that if a program costs $350 and the insurance company will pay $200 (leaving them with $150 out of pocket) they would pay for the program. But because a program costs $150 and insurance doesn't cover it, they will not pay for it. --Why is that?

We are paying, indiviudally and collectively, in many different directions for our weight gain. We (as a nation) spent $45 billion on diet stuff (books, diet pills, diet food, programs, etc) last year!! This is not counting all of the medical expenses related to weight gain (diabetic medications, joint replacements, physical therapy, surgeries, blood pressure meds, etc). And I won't even get into lost productivity!

With the healthcare insurance debates going on in the House and Senate, with the current state of the ecomony, and with the cost of medical goods and services, I think it behooves us to reconsider our long-held beliefs about the purpose of health insurance and how we are spending our healthcare dollars.

If you spend $300 out-of-pocket today and it saves you that much in co-pays for your blood pressure med over the next 12 months -- would that be a worthwhile Return on Investment?

Now, if you factored in the improvements to your health and sense of well being, wouldn't that sweeten the pot?

So much of the cultural focus on weight has to do with aethstetic. Unless you are a professional model (or want to be), an actor, a spokesperson, Vanna White, etc., from a financial prospective, aethstetics is a secondary concern. Of primary concern should be the ability to maximize your quality of your life, the extra physical energy you will get because you are not carrying extra physical weight around all day, and the extra emotional energy you get from not WORRYING/FEELING GUILTY/STRESSING/FEELING DEPRESSED, etc. from weighing more than you feel you should.

Think about the AMAZING things you could accomplish with increased health, energy and sense of well-being. And all because you have shifted your thinking on what healthcare is, who should pay for it, and what the goal of healthcare should be (one of these days I will rant on Why We Should be Actively Maintaining our Health! -- but not today).

Give it some thought: What are you really worth? How do you really want to live? Are you willing to pay to optimize your life or do you want to let someone else make those decisions for you?

Carpe Diem, my friends.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

24 December 2009

We have been talking about Mindfulness (in eating and in general) for 136 posts.

Put it into practice today and tomorrow!!

Enjoy, ladies and gentlemen. Your family, your friends, the people that drive you crazy -- they all deserve your undivided attention while you are with them.

Merry Christmas and I will talk to you on Monday.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


We talk a lot about what not to eat. We get rewarded for what doesn't go into our mouths. But every once in a while, I like to put the reminder out there.....

Mindful eating is about understanding and respecting both when you are full (the usual emphasis) but also when you are hungry.

Case in point:

The other day, I was back at my fav Mexican restaurant for tacos and chips. I started the trip over by asking "Am I physically hungry or just bored?" The answer was a resounding "I am PHYSICALLY hungry".

When I got there, I ordered my usual (minus the Coke -- there will be Coke aplenty at upcoming events -- plus, one of my daughters just launched into an infomercial like schpeal about the effects of soda acid on teeth ... thus positive peer pressure to nix the soda). The usual is 2 tacos -- one veggie and one chicken. They deliver the little basket of chips and the fresh salsa while I wait -- yum!

The tacos got there pretty quick and they were delicious! When I finished the last bite of the second taco, I was still physically hungry! I don't know why -- it was weird and unnerving. Usually that much food is either perfect or too much -- I have never had it be too little.

There were still some chips left in the basket. I could have eaten those but they really didn't sound great. I wanted another taco. After a little debate (and time to see if the fullness signals kicked in) I ordered and ate another whole taco.

I don't know what was up with that whole situation but I can assure you I was hungry.

It sometimes takes a strong desire to look past the immediate gratification of eating to lose weight but if you are losing weight mindfully, you need to be prepared for the odd increases in hunger that sometimes happen. I am not telling you you should eat the third taco all of the time -- just be aware of what your body is telling you so you don't spend the afternoon searching for food and wondering what is wrong with you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I just want to put this out there. We still haven't had Christmas yet and I know your brains are just chock-full of to-do lists -- but underneath it all, I want this idea percolating.....

Think outside the box for your New Year's Resolution. No more "get fit", lose weight, get healthier NYR's for you. How many years have you made those???

This year, get creative. Saya at Mac and Cheese Lifestyle has some novel thinking.

I like her underlying theme of connection. It is so much easier to make changes in your life when they are small, personally meaningful, and lead you to greater connections with the life you want.

Here is my example:

If you want to eat more mindfully -- call up a fav friend, ask them out to dinner (or over for dinner) and explain that you want to practice eating mindfully (smelling the dish before you take a bite, chewing the food consciously, breathing between bites, enjoying the colors of what you have chosen, paying attention to how each bite registers on your fullness scale, etc) -- get that person to participate in the experiment with you. They will describe things using words you would have never thought of. You will get to know them better while getting to know yourself better.


If you want to move more: Create a goal to visit 1 neighbor a week and plan on walking there. I know during the winter I just want to sit on the couch and watch TV, hiding from the cold. But...if I walk to a neighbor's house, I can have a quick visit and a quick walk back -- moving but also connecting with the people I won't see outdoors until April.

Make a plan to move while you are talking to your out-of-town college roommate on the phone. (Treadmill, eliptical, outside walking -- it doesn't matter, whatever works for you).

I love the idea of creating an intention for the New Year -- but be smart (and successful) about it. Like so many things, if what you have done in the past hasn't worked, change it up. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The best prescription ever!!

Alright....this might be the last mention I make of something I read in the new compilation e-book (but I'm not going to firmly commit to that just yet!)

Here's what I am thinking for this week -- yes, I know you're busy! Me too but surely you can find the time for this:

A prescription fro Jay Parkinson, co-founder of Hello Health. Jay says:

Your health is up to you.
Start small.
Eat well.
Eat less.
Move your body.
Love your lover.
Be a good friend.
Let others care about you.
Say you're sorry.
Laugh a ton.
Drink one (sometimes two) for me.
Buy more experiences than things.
Create your health.
Do it yourself.

How about that for a Christmas list?
How about that for a gift to yourself and others?

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Season of Gratitude

You hear it a lot this time of year -- I am grateful for...

So, seriously, what ARE you grateful for?

I've gotten on a couple rants lately -- being grateful for your ability to physically move throughout your day.

--being grateful you have enough to eat that you can weigh more than you want to.

But I just came across the idea that "Gratefulness is a muscle, not a feeling. You need to work it out daily."

Think back to yesterday -- what two specific foods are you grateful you got to eat yesterday?

What are you going to eat today that you are grateful for?

In my house, we don't pray before we eat (except on holidays when my mom makes me :)

It is my tradition to "Cheers" before we eat. The thought being -- it is a time to recognize we are all sitting together at the table and about to eat. It is that breather that allows us to focus on what we are about to do. A time to focus appreciation and gratitude for the people and food of that moment.

If you only eat what you were grateful for, how would your eating habits change?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Doing more of what is working well

Yesterday, I referenced Seth Godin's e-book (seriously worth the read -- free download, how can you lose??). While I was reading this morning, I came across a page talking about change. Information on making changes comes through to me all the time -- it is what I seek out because it is the heart of my work with clients.

Here is what has shown up from at least 6 avenues recently:

We are taught to focus on what is not working in our lives -- Thought being : If we can see what is broken, we can fix it. However ... what if we asked ourselves "What IS working today?" And then, "How can I do more of that?"

With my personal training clients, it is important for me to figure out and re-enforce with them the things they like about activity -- how can I get them to do more of what they already like??

Same with my Eating Coach clients -- where are they already being successful and how can we build on those successes?

If you like food, how can you learn to like food more? Increasing the attention you are paying to what you're eating will allow you to develop a greater appreciation for the food you love.

If you like leaving the table feeling full, let's give you a vocabulary to describe what sensations you like so you can maximize those.

If you like and feel successful when you leave the table guilt-free, how do we build on that feeling so you experience it more often?

Asking questions, building relationships (with your support system and with yourself)and moving toward something will encourage positive behavior changes. An upward spiral, if you will. Each success makes you want to have another because the experiences are rewarding.

So the question is:

What is working for you? (I won't except the cop out "nothing is working well" -- think harder!)

And how can you do more of that today?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One of the best things I have read lately....

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.
The second best time is now.

True for so many things -- including today's Mindful Eating.

(From Seth Godin's new e-book page 23. A quote from John Wood -- Founder and Executive Chairman of Room to Read)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How did we get so off course?

You all know I am not opposed to handing out strategies for holiday eating! Many of the other Intuitive Eating professionals that I correspond with are doing the same things this time of year, as well. I just logged onto my LinkedIn account to see what those professionals are saying and realized something.

Sometimes, we talk about eating (especially holiday eating) like it is a war.

"The Fight to Eat Healthy during the Holidays"

"Battling Food Addiction"

"Battling Sweets"


Unlike an alcohol or cocaine addiction, eating is something we do every day -- we HAVE to! The experts say the weight gain associated with unhealthy eating is what is driving up our rates of cardiovascular disease. Maybe it is just the stress we put on ourselves to eat "healthy foods" (as defined by the magazines in the grocery checkout lines -- and their information keeps changing).

Why is the US doing such a bad job? Why are our waist lines increasing when so is the amount of money we spend per year on diet food, supplements, gym memberships, home exercise equipment, etc? Why is all this hyper-focus on health making us sicker???

I think it is stress. Leave yourself alone. Give yourself a break.

That doesn't mean you can start an eating free for all! It means getting back to listening to your body. You understand what your body is telling you. When are you hungry? What are you hungry for? When you eat that food, how does it make you feel? How much of it do you need to eat to feel comfortable? How soon will you get hungry after eating that much of that food?

Have you taken the time to know the answers to these questions? If your answer is no, my question is why not? Most people tell me it is because they didn't know they needed to know the answer -- no one had every asked the question before.

And yet we (as a society) talk endlessly about the current "health food" craze. We talk endlessly about our weight problems, our health problems. We can dissect the number of Weight Watcher's Points in any given food. But food isn't the problem. Food just is -- it isn't inherently good or inherently bad. We are the important piece of the food equation. Every body digests each food in its own way. One person might absorb 50 calories out of a particular amount of food while someone else isn't as efficient and is only able to absorb 45 calories out of the same amount of the same food.

You are the important piece of the equation. It doesn't matter what your best friend is doing -- you are a different person. You have different likes and dislikes. You react to food differently.

Don't take someone else's word as the final authority on what you should be eating or not eating. Answer the questions for yourself! How to eat for you. And don't stress -- there is no right or wrong answer -- eating is an individual thing -- just work on asking and answering the questions.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Do something Friday

Today, make a commitment to enjoy your weekend. All of it.

The shopping.
The driving in the snow.
The shoveling the sidewalk.
The eating.
The parties.

Whatever you have scheduled, make a conscious effort to enjoy it -- tis the season!

You can teach yourself the habit of enjoying life more -- but you have to make a choice about how you want to look at life.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yourself as a guest

Over the next couple weeks, you are bound to entertain and to be entertained. Pay attention. How do good hosts and hostesses make you feel? How do they welcome you to their home and their tables? How do you welcome your guests? What thoughts go through your head as you prepare for their arrival?

Now think about how you welcome yourself home? Or don't you, this time of year? Do you set out lovely tableware for yourself so that eating can be an event? Do you take the extra 20 minutes to prepare something you are really hungry for or do you just eat whatever and then feel unsatisfied when you leave the table?

Yes...I know everyone is busy. But honestly, when are we not?? You can say that this is a crazy season (and I would agree) but realistically, will it get slower in January? February? Once the kids are out of school? If you are like me, you can pretty much bet it won't slow down all that much -- it is just that the activities change and "the season" isn't the only thing people are talking about.

So give some thought to how you can welcome yourself home and welcome yourself to your own table.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Slow Down!

I have noticed that the days are starting to accelerate towards Christmas. The pressure is mounting to get the shopping done, house cleaned (didn't I just do that?), presents wrapped, etc, etc, etc. Everything is taking longer because many other people are trying to do the same things I am -- at the same time -- in the same space -- yikes! We're tripping each other up!

So now what?

Slow down. Dinner is one of those things that goes by the wayside during the holiday season. We eat out more because we have parties, etc. But we also eat out more because we are too tired or busy to cook. Take-out and dining-out are fine -- you know I have never said anything bad about having someone else doing to cooking for me but...

If you are picking up take-out or eating at a restaurant, remember the portions are going to be much larger than you need.

I went out to dinner with a group last weekend and ended up walking out with 2.5 pounds of pasta in left overs -- seriously! The opportunities to over eat are plentiful. Start to be aware. When you know you are going to be eating out, especially this time of year, make a plan before you get to the restaurant. You can always order an appetizer or share a meal.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday food abundance

This weekend was cookie making time at my house.  I have many kinds of cookie I like to make but the one I most enjoy is sugar cookies.  I know I should let the kids help when I am in the kitchen -- but I like making them so much and I want them to taste so good, I can't cede control of any part of the process to the girls.

Once the cookies are baked and frosted, they have to sit on the counter to several hours to allow the frosting to dry a little so when I stack them in the bag, they won't smear and end up with green tree frosting on Santa's pink frosted boot. 

Once they were drying on the counter, we packed up and headed out for the day.  By the time we got home in the evening, the whole house smelled like butter cream frosting.  If you are not familiar with homemade frosting, let me enlighten you.  It is everything good in the world -- powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and butter (real butter -- not margarine).  AND...if you leave a whole batch out all day, your house smells sooooo good.  But, we all know that smell is a powerful trigger to eat.  So the question becomes, "Now what?"

You all know by now that for me putting cookies in the freezer is no kind of deterrent.  Frozen just means better. 

So...the holiday season has started.  All of the wonderful things that are only available for a limited time (so I should eat as much as I can while it is available!!??) is here and what am I going to do about it?  I bagged the cookies up tight.  Washed the counter down really well.  (ate only 2 of them in the process -- but I can tell you that I experienced them more than ate them)

They are in the freezer now.  I have resisted eating any more -- I have to take them to a cookie exchange this weekend (so I can't eat too many or I will show up with only 4 cookies to exchange and that just looks bad).  But here's the thing -- It is 8 December and we still have many days until Christmas is here -- let alone making it all of the way through until the Epiphany when the holiday season officially ends -- What kind of plans do I have in place so I don't go off the deep end -- either with indulging or with denying myself???

Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Don't bring things home.  If you have to take something to a potluck/cookie exchange/party/ whatever, give it away or throw it away (or just make less to begin with) so you don't bring it back to your house.  There is going to be plenty of holiday eating, if you made it in the first place, you can make it again at some other time in the future -- don't bring it back.

2. Make less in the first place.  (This is true for everything except the molasses cookies my mom make -- keeping making lots of those!!  There are never enough and they are soooo good frozen).  Everything else -- we don't need whole pieces of pie/cake/cookies-the-size-of-your-head -- make 'em smaller and make fewer of them -- make the treats special with their limited quantity.

3. If you need/want to make your goodies and you (like me) cannot be trusted to have them in the kitchen freezer -- move them into a seal-tight plastic tub (like the ones you keep your ornaments in) and put them in the garage.  If the garage floor is all covered in gross, half melted snow, chances are less you will sneak out there in your socks to get a goodie.

4. Pack them into the goodie baskets you intend on taking.  If you have them nicely arranged and packaged to go, there is less of a chance you will break into the pretty packaging and eat 5 or 6 -- since then you would have to rearrange them and redo the packaging.

5.  If you really, really need that treat, SIT DOWN AND ENJOY IT!!!  Don't just eat it quickly -- shoving it in like a guilty child -- taste it.  Enjoy it.  Appreciate it -- you worked really hard to make something so delicious -- you are eating it and it is going to cost you a certain amount of calories -- get the maximium amount of enjoyment out of it!!  And then walk away happy...don't you dare feel guilty about it!  Life is too short for that.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Local Norms

I am reading Connected by Christakis and Fowler right now.  If you read Blink or Freakonomics -- this is that kind of book.  The kind of book that takes a bunch of studies and mashes them together and talks about things I wouldn't think I would have the patience to read -- all in a way that is fun and entertaining.

One of the behaviors that authors talk about is how we (humans) like to be better (in whatever way is important to us) than those around us.  For the most part, we don't see ourselves in competition with the supermodels in magazines -- we see ourselves in competition with the woman next to us in the checkout line, our group of friends, and/or the person in the cubicle next to us.  This is true, according the authors, not with just how we look but also how much we earn, how bright our children are -- whatever we personally value.

It's like that old adage we have all heard a thousand times -- if you and a friend are running away from a bear, you don't need to be faster than the bear -- just faster than your friend.

Remember a few years ago when a study made all the news channels that said, if your close friend becomes obese you have a greater likelihood of becoming obese, too.  Yeah, that study was done by the authors above.

When I went back to college (as an adult), all of my classes were in the building next to the college field house.  The building housed the University Recreation Center, the Physical Education department, the Exercise Science students, the Athletic Training department -- you get the picture.  Think hundreds of kids (people) walking around carrying Nalgene bottles.  No soda machines in the whole building.

In this environment, people looked at you weird if you were carrying a bottle of soda (don't even think about carrying in a McDonald's bag -- you might end up with no willing  lab partner for the whole rest of the year).  As a result of this environment, I could drink 2 liters of water (out of my super-cool Nalgene bottles, of course) easily throughout the day.  I probably would have drank more but the campus water is gross so my super-cool bottles were filled with water from home and when it was gone, I was done).

Now, it's a mighty stuggle to drink 2 liters a day and I am exceedingly pleased if I can get 1.5l down.  The difference is that nobody says/looks/acts one way or another whether I am drinking water or sheepishly sipping my beloved 32oz. fountain Coke.

I have to provide my own peer pressure to drink water because nobody at work is going to do it.  And ,while in some ways, I should think this is liberating, I don't.  I don't because it would be so much nicer (read easier) if someone was helping me do the things I know I should do.

Okay, we've talked enough about me --  Let's think about your eating.

How do the people you surround yourself with (or those who just surround you whether you would wish them to or not) -- how are those people effecting your eating behaviors?

A while ago, I talked about the perfectly paced Tapas meal I had and how wonderful that whole experience was.  I don't think I wrote about the exact opposite experience I had with a speed eater several months ago and how when the food came, my eating companion took off at the speed of light and I was matching bite for bite until I realized what  I was doing and made a conscious effort to slow down.

How are your people effecting you?  Which ones effect your choice of food (in the helpful direction and in the unhelpful direction -- important to note both)?  Which people do you look to when you need to justify your size (or beat yourself up because you are on the losing end of that competition -- important to note both)?  What changes would you be willing to make to your external environment to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives?  If you can't (or are unwilling) to modify your external environment, what might you be willing to do to change your mindsets to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives?

Don't be a mindless victim of your environment -- there are always choices to be made.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Do Something Friday

What causes you to stop eating? is not always because you are stuffed.  In the book Eating the Moment, the author gives the following list of some of the reasons people stop eating:

1. You run out of the food you like.

2. You run out of time.

3. You are bursting at the seams.

4. the entertainment comes to an end.  (The show you've been snacking to has ended.)

5. You are "emotionally" full. (Now that your stomach is full, you no longer feel empty inside)

6. Your plate is finally clean.

7. You are overeating and get busted by your partner.

8. You got your money's worth.

Today and tomorrow:  when you have finished eating, give some thought to why you stopped -- and then take the extra step of writing that insight down.  You may be suprised at what kind of pattern you see developing.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What does it take to be a successful Eating Coach client?

I was reading Seth Godin this morning and the subject matter was how to be a great client.  It reminded me of several years ago when I started writing a New Friend's Owners Manual for myself (you know -- codifying all of the things a new friend should know about me and my particular quirks).  I didn't get very far on the project and never gave it to anyone.  But it was a very good exercise for rediscovering myself.

So this mornings post reading made me connect my project with my clients and how it might be helpful to them to understand what I am going to ask them to do. goes...

To be a successful Eating Coach client, you need to:
1. Be willing to suspend your judgment -- of yourself, of new ideas, of your past and your future.
2. Be willing to set aside every bit of dieting advice/knowledge/urban legend you have ever heard.
3. Be willing to pick up and examine each of the #2 to see if each of those fits you and the way to want to live.
4. Be willing to listen to your body.
5. Be willing to work with your body -- not beat it into the shape you (and very likely someone else) thinks it should be.
6. Be willing to look for and celebrate the small victories.
7. Be willing to change how you approach eating  -- just because you have always done it one way doesn't mean it works for you.
8. Creatively and honestly problem solve with me.

That's it.  Openness, honesty (with yourself and with me), creativity.  That is all it takes to lose weight and enjoy your food, your body, and your life more.  That is the path I want to help you get started on and openness, honesty and creativity pave the way.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Vision for your Life

You have heard me talk about goals. It is really important to have goals -- a destination -- little steps you can achieve and tick off the list as you go. Yesterday, I told you it was my goal to get the E-course ready for the offering by the first of the year. That is a goal. Goals give you a sense of accomplishment -- a sense of making progress.

But what about your vision for your life? Do you have one? A vision for your life is deeper than just a goal or even a series of goals. If you could create any kind of life you would like, what would it be?

Finishing a marathon is a goal. You would probably have a goal time you want to finish under.

Moving to a big city, where you could walk to work, run along the linear trails, meet up with your runner friends for a coffee at your favorite coffee house after your training run would be the start of a vision.

Goals are good -- If I choose not to uproot my family and move them to a big city to fulfill my vision right now, goals will help me get started creating parts of the vision that are currently available to me.

If I can picture what I want my life to look like in my mind's eye, I have a greater likelihood of creating that vision.

If your vision for your life is to no longer worry about what you should eat. To eat, enjoy and then move on with no guilt about that piece of cheesecake or bowl of pasta alfredo made with real, full-fat cream. To feel comfortable with who you are and what size you are because your size fits your lifestyle to a T. How would that change the other parts of your life?

Where are you going? It is important to know that before you decide how you are going to get there.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What the Universe reminded me this morning...

You know how I keep going on and on about just starting ... little baby steps ... "it's all a process" ... don't worry about being perfect ... etc. Sounds familiar, right?'s the thing ...

I have been working on a 12 week E-course for Eating Coach. Delivered on line -- email and phone sessions with me -- resources and feedback from the comfort of your own home -- sounds cool, right? I have been working on it for a couple months but you haven't heard me talking about it. You haven't seen it posted on the blog. I haven't put it out there. You wanna know why?

Because it is not "perfect". I have worked and worked on it but haven't taken the ACTION step of putting it out there because it has not attained "perfection". Stupid, huh?

Even when, a couple weeks ago, I read the blog about plan not being of any use at all unless it is put into action.

So this morning, I received 2 quotes from a friend:

Perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. --Angelique Arnauld

Falling short of perfection is a process that just never stops. --William Shawn

This was my wake up call. Waiting to put myself out there until everything is perfect means I will never put myself (or my work) out there.

Same goes for you (although, maybe you are further ahead on this than I am). Start doing. Put yourself out there. Start being more mindful today than you were yesterday. If you do that, I will finish my E-course and have it ready by the first of the year.

Together, we will get to where we are going. But to do that, we both need to start today.

Monday, November 30, 2009

So maybe we've gone off track...

I was sitting here thinking about getting the Christmas shopping done this week. My goal is to have it all done by 12 December so I can enjoy the last days before Christmas without the gift-buying/just-one-more-quick-stop/one-more-quick-thing stress.

I read a post from a group member on linkedin looking for our favorite "cheat foods" (those foods you can eat when you're on a diet that don't lead to weight gain --seriously...don't get me started!).

Here's what's buggin me:

We have such an idea that more is better -- more food (it's our right to be able to eat whatever we want), more stuff (the "American dream" on steroids), more, more, more.

We are tired. We are overweight. We are feeling frustrated because there is always so much more to do.

Maybe we need to recalibrate. We just had Thanksgiving -- if you had to pick 31 things you were grateful for, could you do it? And what, once you finished your list, would be left off the list that you automatically think you just couldn't live without?

Is one of the items on your list that you got stuffed on Thanksgiving? If it is not one of your top 31 things -- did you really need to be that full to enjoy the holiday?

A couple years ago, during a move, I made a vow that I wouldn't move anything into the new house that I didn't love or wasn't useful. There were a lot of items that didn't make that cut. It has taken me a while to furnish the house so that it really looks like a house and is still a work in progress. But I can honestly say, everything sitting around has meaning for me and has the ability to make me smile.

How would life be if we started approaching things more like that? And I am not just talking about our stuff here (obviously, since this is a blog about eating).

What if you only put things on your plate that had the ability to make you smile? What if you stopped eating while you still had the ability to feel great about the amount you had eaten? What if we stopped thinking it was necessary to have more (stuff/food/square footage in our houses/ whatever) and started seeking out the things that make us smile and keep raising the bar to find the best of the best -- not settling for something that doesn't meet our standards? What would your fridge look like? Seriously, would the non-fat ice cream be in there??

Do we need "more stuff" or do we just need the "stuff that makes our hearts sing"?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Do something Friday did yesterday go? Today, take a few minutes to sit down and think about the decisions you make yesterday that you felt really good about. Also, think about any decisions you made yesterday that didn't seem mindful -- and then take the next step to make a plan for how you are going to do things differently next time (because next time is coming up soon!!)

Remember: Successes are going to be more than what you left off you plate -- the something-wonderful that you ate and really enjoy is a success too!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I just read an interesting post from Dream Garden Coaching entitled "Why is Ma Ingalls Happier than You?". It is a fairly long essay but worth the read if you have the time. The short version and my take on it is this:

The author posits the reason Ma Ingalls was happier than many people today was that she was productive (what we must do to generate energy for our survival and comfort). Essentially, she spent a great deal of her time creating (creating food, clothing, homes, etc). Today, we spend a great deal of our time maintaining (what we do to preserve the body and its possessions).

**the definitions in parentheses are from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book Flow**

It is human nature to create -- a drive we are born with. It fuels us and drives us -- it doesn't really matter what the medium of the creativity is, as long as it is meaningful to the person who is engaged in it.

However, who among you gets really stoked about maintaining? Sure, I like to mow my lawn (a lot, really) but for me it is more than just maintaining it -- it is all about creating a beautiful yard. I like blogging -- the posts I feel really good about are the ones that are creations -- not posting just because it is a task I need to complete by 7am. I like to run but don't enjoy it as much when I know I "should" do it to keep healthy. I really enjoy it when I am in the mindset that the running time will be used to create an elevated mood or used as a time of peace and quiet.

How are you approaching your eating? Are you creating? A healthier relationship with food/a healthier body/a greater awareness of your habits?


Are you using mindful eating as maintenance: something you have to do in order to keep you from falling apart?

It is hard to keep slugging it out if you are just trying to maintain. The job never ends -- there is always more eating behaviors to be mindful of -- you can never stop and if you aren't mindful then you are one step behind.


If you are creating, you are moving forward. You are never a step behind because that step just hasn't been taken yet. You are working toward something (becoming more mindful) and you are tapping into a basic human drive and harnessing it to get you to where you want to go.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Celebrating the absence of Hunger

When was the last time you celebrated not being hungry? I am definitely not talking about celebrating being full -- I am talking about the gift you have to be able to feel hunger and then get something to eat -- from your fridge/vending machine/drive-thru/grocery store/desk drawer/ co worker's desk drawer/etc. And then to actually NOTICE when that you are not hungry anymore?

I am not sure I know anyone right now who is hungry by necessity. There is a group of people who work very had to deliver backpacks full of food for the weekend to kids who, without the backpack, would be hungry over the weekend. The group delivers hundreds of backpacks to my district's schools each week (and that was last year -- what about this year?)-- so the hungry walk among us. But I am not one of those people. When I am hungry, I will eat or not but it will be my choice, not because I have no other options.

I have said (and I really mean) I enjoy food. I enjoy the social that comes from eating with others. When have you eaten 200 calories (think cup of yogurt or an apple and a piece of toast) and celebrated (or even noticed for that matter) that you are no longer hungry. You started hungry but now feeling is gone and you are moving on.

Something to think about this week -- being grateful you are lucky to have enough and that you do not need to go to bed without.

I hear people talking about being overweight all of the time but I do not hear them acknowledging that it is because they are so blessed that they have the privilege overweight.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The other side of the Coin Friday, I spent our time together ranting on my soapbox (did you get the reference from Friday's picture?). This weekend, like working people all over the country, I was cleaning like a fiend to get ready to have my fam over for Thanksgiving.

I have talked before about my theory of how much time it takes to keep a house clean. So, truth be told, I didn't figure I had much to do this weekend -- just the general stuff (bathrooms cleaned, soap down the kitchen counters -- versus just wiping them with the dish rag -- you know the drill). Weeellll....6 hours of cleaning later, I realized there is a reason the women of previous generations felt it imperative to do spring cleaning (right before the Easter guests arrive) and fall cleaning (our case in point today).

Friday, I asked you to enjoy the your process of moving and your eating. I can tell you, I would much rather have laid on the couch all weekend watching 30 Rock (On Demand) than doing the cleaning that I had to do. But now, as I sit here, know that later in the week, I might be crazy but it won't be because my house is dirty -- I am glad I put the work in. So even though I wasn't enthralled with the process, my life is better because of it.

So here is the other side of the "Enjoy the process" coin -- sometimes you just have to gut it out so that you can not have to worry about something later. That goes for movement. That goes for learning to be more mindful with your eating. And, obviously, it goes for Thanksgiving cleaning of the house.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Something I Hate!!

Last week I was fortunate enough to be involved in a conversation with Michelle May, among others, on HOW WRONG IT IS TO TURN EXERCISE INTO PUNISHMENT FOR EATING!!!!

This is, obviously, a subject close to my heart. As many of you know, I am an exercise physiologist. Everyday, I work with people to increase the ease with which they move. Sometimes, their barriers to activity are physical -- sometimes, they are psychological.

Michelle was voicing my side of the argument. When people use exercise to punish themselves because 1. they feel they weigh too much and exercise is how they are going beat themselves into the correct shape or 2. they ate something they "shouldn't have" and now they need to "work it off" or 3. they want to eat something they "shouldn't eat" but need to exercise to "earn the right" -- this makes exercise PUNISHMENT!

Seriously, people -- what are we doing to ourselves when we do this?????

We diminish the pleasure of the food we have eaten/will eat. Guilt? Hello!!

We make ourselves feel bad about the way we look.


We take something that could be equally as pleasurable as eating (movement) and turn it into a negative consequence for enjoying life.

NOW ...

I work with people EVERYDAY who are struggling to maintain their abilities to move through this world. When I say that -- I just want you to be clear -- I mean, some of my members here are working hard every day to stay mobile enough to assist in their transfers from their wheelchairs to bed/car/tub/etc.

And then there are people who take the amazing gift of movement (the ability to get up from your desk chair and walk to the water cooler/copier/etc.) and turn that gift into a punishment.

We are talking about two separte things here -- eating and movement. I am asking you to enjoy them both. Find the pleasure in them both.

Eat the bites you can while ENJOYING/EMBRACING/BEING DELIGHTED with each bite.

Move as much as you can while ENJOYING/EMBRACING/BEING DELIGHTED with each step.

Please, please, please (aaaahhhhh...the asking has now degenerated into something one step up from begging) don't punish yourself!! The world will do enough of that for you -- care for yourself both in eating and in movement. Add a little more love to the world by being loving to yourself.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What is the least amount of weight loss you could be happy with?

If you didn't have to change any of your behaviors, what is the least amount of weight you could lose per week and still be happy with your progress?

If you were losing the least amount of weight above, what would be the most you would be willing change to achieve that weight loss over the long term?

I have told you in the past, that eating 9 bites a day less that you currently do, would give you .5 to 1 pound of weight loss per week.

Would you be willing to eat 3 bites less and lose 1/3 of a pound per week? 1.3 pounds of weight loss per month ... over a year... year after year until you get there?

Give it some thought.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Do you feel like you are fighting your body or working with it?

(and really...who is going to win that contest?)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Maybe life does come with an instruction book?
(Thanks to Patti)

Take action today!

Today, make a plan to EXPERIENCE the first four bites of everything you eat.

Put a rubberband (or 12 if you need to) around your wrist to remind you this is what you are trying to do.

Don't eat the first four bites while you are reading emails.

Let the conversation drift around you at the dinner table (for the first four bites).

Experience what you are eating -- see if it changes how you feel about what you picked to eat today.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gimme a break...indeed

Yesterday, I will in the car and heard a radio commercial. I tried to find a link to it but was unsuccessful -- maybe you will come across it in your listening, too.

The gist of the commercial is the announcer telling us that coffee breaks used to mean taking a break from work to enjoy a cup of coffee. Now, he informs us, coffee breaks only last the amount of time it takes to get the cup of coffee back to our desk to continue our work. The coffee, that used to be a pleasure to drink, is now just caffeine to fuel our productivity.

Because the coffee won't bring us the pleasure it used to, we should have a Kit Kat bar on our coffee break. This will make it the real break from work we are looking for....

...Really??? Are you listening to what marketers are selling you? You are feeling over-stressed, over-worked, unappreciated (honestly, who doesn't from time to time) but do you really need to buy into the idea that food/chocolate/candy/something from a vending machine is going to make you feel soooo much better?

Some evening take a look at how food is being marketed on TV. Many of the pitches are directing us to use food as an escape from whatever else is going on. How do you think that works for those of us who run on autopilot and do not understand we are packing on pounds because we are being taught it is okay to not deal with the real issues and just use food to make us feel better???

If you need a break from the work piling up on your desk -- there are 100 different ways to make that happen that don't involve food. Figure out when you are running to food because you need a break from the work at hand.

In fact -- need a break right now? Here is a kind of fun link to a mini Kit Kat film -- take your break this way -- without the mediocre candy bar.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do something Friday

Today: come up with one part of the process that you can enjoy.

Example: Can you enjoy taking a walk in the sunshine? Make it happen this weekend -- not for the end-all-be-all goal of losing weight -- just because you can enjoy the process.

Do you like coffee and a sweet roll as your Saturday morning ritual? Put down the magazine, drink the coffee and really, really taste each bite of the roll. Not because you are trying to limit your bites to reduce your calories -- just because you know you are going to enjoy the roll even more.

Can you turn down seconds on an average-tasting meal -- not because I tell you that is the pathway to a more healthy-weight-you -- just because you realize you can say "no" to seconds and leave the table feeling great about your choice.

Today come up with your idea. This weekend -- take the time to impliment it.

Enjoy the process. Enjoy your weekend :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My theory

I have a theory about keeping a house clean -- It is going to take 4 hours (let's say) per week to keep the house looking good. Now...I can spread that cleaning out over the week (think hanging up my clothes each time I change instead of throwing them on the floor to be dealt with all at once) -- so that I do the onesy, twosey things (the equivalent of 3 hours of work) through out the week in 1 -5 minute intervals and leaves me with with a balance of 1ish hours at the end of the week where I clean the tubs, vacuum, etc. OR...

I can do nothing all week (leave the clothes on the bottom of the closet, not lightly sweep the kitchen after the kids cook dinner, etc.) and spend 4 hours on Saturday morning cleaning like a banshee.

With the later scenario, I don't have to do as much throughout the week, but I also don't get the pleasure of walking into a house that, for the most part, looks pretty good every evening when I get home.

The same is true for eating patterns.

You are going to have to put the work in in one direction or another. You can consciously think about your eating habits most of the time. Eliminate unmeaningful bites here and there throughout the course of each day OR...

You can not give it any thought (but of course you really will -- it will just be those "beat yourself up" kind of thoughts that aren't productive) -- throughout the course of time but eventually you will reach a point where you are unable to deal with your weight and then it will require a concerted "dieting" effort to get you back to the place you want to be.

There is no "Get out of Jail Free" card. There are no easy answers to controlling our weight in our culture right now. The best you can hope for is to find a way to manage what you eat that lets you enjoy life, be happy with the decisions you are making, and gives you the best shot at "living long" and "dying short".

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Never underestimate the power of Connected

I was looking around the fitness center today -- and what did I see???

Why are weight loss programs like Biggest Loser, Weight Watchers, and Atkin's successful?

A big reason people come to my fitness center is to be connected. Connected with others who are battling illness, recovering from an event, or struggling with a diagnosis. Biggest Loser, Weight Watchers, and the Atkin's revolution connected people -- gave them something to talk about. Gave them common ground to share their experiences. Let them belong to a tribe of others like themselves. Humans need that. --It is not a want -- it is a very basic essence of being human.

I just read an article that said 25% of Americans currently live alone (compared with 7% in 1940).

Research out of Duke University says that between 1985 and 2004 the number of people with whom the average American discussed "important matters" dropped from three to two. The number of people who said that there was no one with whom they discussed important matters tripled" In 2004 individuals without a single confidant made up a quarter of those surveyed.

Interesting statistic but how does this figure into our discussion??

If (and there is a large amount scientific data to support this)we humans need to be connected to each other -- and we have all watched the success of those lucky few on Biggest Loser or experienced the power (abet in the short term) of Weight Watchers -- why not harness this need to help us achieve our long-term weight loss success.

Get connected. Start talking to your friends -- the ones that will really support you in deed, not just in words. Talk to your family -- get their buy in for slowing down mealtime. Find the friends that are willing to explore their eating behaviors with you. Create your network of support. Talk, blog, compare notes. Don't just drone on about food -- explore your attitudes and listen to others talk about theirs.

You will all gain support and end up losing inches.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This is not a news flash...

I just got done reading a research article about the efficacy of the Wii Fit gaming system as a mode of cardiovascular exercise. Then I moved on to an article entitled Could Vitamins Hurt Your Workout?

Good Lord, people! Why, I ask you, are we still searching for the fountain of youth? Let's think about this...

When my butter, bacon (even bacon grease), eggs, whole milk eating great-grandma cooked -- she didn't worry about low-fat anything (did I mention molasses cookies made with lard? YUM!!) She didn't worry about low/no sugar varieties of foods. She didn't think about "getting exercise". She ate. She moved. She actively lived her life.

I can't attest to whether or not she ever bought some kind of anti-wrinkle cream that promised amazing results or whether she ever "watched what she ate". But I can tell you that she was a wonderful cook and meals at her house were (to my memory) delicious and always came with dessert (real whipping cream -- mmm mmm mmm!)

I assume, like much of her generation, she didn't snack all of the time, she moved when she worked, and she didn't drink soda on a day to day basis.

I think she did a better job of appreciating the food she ate and eating things because they nourished her body and soul. She didn't need to rely on research articles to tell her she should move more. She didn't need them to tell her to eat lots of whole foods. These things would have been common wisdom of the times -- just like as we age we are going to get wrinkles and lose muscle mass and eventually be no longer young. Perhaps we should head back to that common sense approach. Enjoy the simple pleasures that life brings,not over analyze them and not spend so much time trying to stay young that we forget to appreciate what we are doing right this minute.

Monday, November 9, 2009

You're the boss of your own body

How much do you believe this? How do your eating patterns change when people are observing you? I expect most of you change your behavior, at least some of the time, when you think you have an audience (I know I do).

But here is the thing -- shame is never a long-term motivator. If you can't deal with what you are doing, if you are sneaking around and hiding the kinds of eating you are doing, is that really being helpful to yourself? Are you really taking care of your own body?

It is not another person's job to get you to the healthy weight you are working towards. That means their comments on what you are eating, should be eating or should not be eating are not necessarily helpful -- And can, at times, be harmful or hurtful.

How would your life change if you NEVER had to sneak around to eat what appealed to you? If you felt confident enough to eat the large piece of cake in front of your friend, not by the light of the fridge after everyone else was asleep?

Reaching a weight that feels healthy to you means coming to grips with the fact there are foods in this world that some people think you shouldn't eat. But if they add value to your life, eat them. Disregard the naysayers that obviously don't love cake the way you do. You are the boss of your own body -- you are the one that needs to care for it. Sometimes, that means a walk in the evening. Sometimes, that means a salmon salad. And sometimes, that means a big piece of cake for dinner.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Do something Friday

I have been reading the book "The Positive Power of Negative Thinking" and I have to say, it has completely changed my perspective. Whether you are a glass half empty kind of person or you see that glass half full (or you think your an optimist only to read the book and find out you are a defensive pessimist -- like me) it is worth the read.

The gist of the book is looking at the strategies people use to manage anxiety. That goes well with what I just found ---

I just found a scale that doesn't tell you your weight. After programming it for the first time, all it does is tell you whether you have gained or lost since setting it. I love that there are not numbers to get fixated on. It seems like it would be a breath of fresh air not to have to stress about the actual weight number.

What do you think?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


What has willpower gotten you in the past? Have you lost weight using willpower? If you are like most of us, you have.

But have you kept it off? Can you keep your willpower strong forever?? Probably not.

The problem with using willpower exclusively is that you get tired of it. You just get worn down with telling yourself no all of the time. It's hard. And not fun. And you are either successful (totally strong) or not (opps, I ate that piece of cake! What was I thinking? Well...the day is shot now! I will start again tomorrow) --how helpful is this attitude??

Remember yesterday, we talked about willingness? How would it work if you substituted willingness for the willpower you have used in the past?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Being Willing

Have you ever really thought about "Being Willing" to lose weight?

It is different than wanting to -- sure, most of those I talk to want to lose weight -- to hit that number on the scale. Yes, please. Tomorrow, if that would be convenient! Wanting to lose weight is all about the destination.

Being willing to lose weight is different. It is about the process. If you have been reading this blog or know me at all, you know I am all about the process (messy as it is most of the time)

Being willing means you are opening to looking at your behaviors and seeing what works for you and what does no long does. Most of what you do, you do for a reason. But is that reason allowing you to move in the direction of your dreams?

Being willing means trying new things. Even if you don't think it will work -- consider trying it -- what is the worst that will happen? You will not lose weight? You will gain a bit more during the experiment? Are you gaining weight right now because you are tenaciously sticking to your current patterns?

Being willing means taking a good, hard, compassionate look at what you eat that you could willingly give up and not feel deprived.

Being willing means stepping outside your comfort zone and tolerating your discomfort to get your weight heading in the direction you want it to go.

Are you willing? Or do you just want to.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dissecting and cataloging our food

"To know objects only through dissecting and cataloging them is to miss their full reality. It is to fall asleep amidst the mystery and to become numb to the wonder of this great Earth." - John Daido Loori

The above is why Americans don't enjoy their food like the Europeans do. (it has been scientifically tested -- we enjoy food less)


Because Europeans have been trained and are culturally supported in the idea that they should enjoy what they are putting in their mouths. We are culturally trained and supported in the notion that we need to eat food that is "good for us" (ie green or at the very least comes in a green package) or no-fat or belonging to some other subcategory of "healthy" which may or may not actually be "healthy" for you.

We Americans miss the big picture that if we want a hamburger, we probably don't need 1.5 pounds of beef -- but the beef we do get should taste great (and not like frozen, preformed sawdust).

We need to stop spending so much mental energy on whether or not some scientist thinks this is a good food and start paying attention to whether the food is hitting this spot! If you pay attention to what you eat -- you will eat less but enjoy it more.

(Thanks to Patti for the quote)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mindfulness in both directions

It might be because most of my clients are trying to lose weight or perhaps just because, as a culture, we are so concerned with thinness but I tend to spend a lot of time trying to get people to eat less -- but there is another side to mindful eating.

The other side is understanding (and being okay with) the times you are truly more hungry than normal. Case in point ---

Last night at dinner, I sat down like normal not feeling overly hungry. Once the first bite of food hit my mouth, I realized that I was starved! I couldn't really figure out why until I realized I had eaten a lot less than normal during the course of the day and had been busy working on a couple projects -- the kind that require a certain amount of brainpower to get done correctly.

Because the projects needed to be completed by the end of the day, I was working steadily on those and not giving much thought to the hunger that was building throughout the day.

So, long story short, for dinner I ate a much greater volume than normal before I started to feel something sitting in my stomach. I even slowed down (in case I was eating too fast) to let the fullness sensations catch up.

The non-judgement mindfulness requires, extends to accepting the times when you are more hungry. To be able to trust your sensations enough to act on them and not freak out is important in both directions --fullness as well as hunger.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Do something Friday

Today is the end of the work week. Either you are counting the minutes until you can go home OR you are working like a madman to get what you need to done so that you CAN go home. Stress either way. Potential for trigger eating either way.

What to do....

When you know you are going to trigger eat (face it -- sometimes you just need SOMETHING to get you through) pick the perfect food -- not just any old thing.

Today, for me, the perfect food is a fountain Coke. What I am actually going to get is a 20oz bottle of Pepsi because I am in the latter scenario (working like a madman so I can leave the building). My building only has bottled Pepsi and fountain Coke is all the way across the campus at the Speedway.

Now...I could try to eat the apple that is sitting on my desk -- certainly, a more nutrient filled option than Pepsi. However, the apple has no appeal (pardon the weak pun). If I eat it, it will not satisfy me and I will still end up with the Pepsi. (And have consumed extra calories)

Out in our cafe there is a protein bar -- nope, that isn't going to do it either.

Three cookies from McDonald's after work? Nope. Not only will I not be able to make it that long -- the cookies don't sound that good and I will get a Coke while I am there and since I drove all the way there for cookies, I will get those too.

Here's the take home:

Think about which food is the PERFECT food to satisfy your craving -- don't try to buy yourself off with something else and end up eating the something else AND THEN the food you really want too. Total calorie waste!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Fly causing a Car Crash

My Eating Coach class at Flowserve got the rough draft of this the other day but here goes...

I was driving to class the other day (60ish mph on a busy road)when a fly flew into my line of vision. Being a warmer day, I had some of the windows down and I was hoping (to no avail, it turned out) that the fly would make it out the window. With the driver's window all the way down, I was batting at the fly until I had the realization I was so focused on the fly that I was not paying attention to my driving.

How stupid is that??

Is it worth wrecking my car and potentially injuring myself to get a fly out of the car? What was I thinking???

Let's use this as an analogy for eating and let the fly any of the little irritations of life. The nasty comment made by a coworker, a fight you had with your son (over something trivial) that morning, the way you felt your pants fit that morning when you put them on, any of the emotional irritants we face every day that send us off in search of comfort food and solace.

On your deathbed, with your family gathered around you, can you imagine these irritants even popping into your head? Probably not -- that is how unimportant they ultimately are. So why do you allow them to control your behavior? Why do you let those flies allow you to risk getting in an eating wreck?

If you wreck your car, you are going to have a hard time getting to where you want to go and you will not be better off for the experience. If you wreck your positive eating patterns, you will not get to your goal weight and you will not be better off for the experience.

Wouldn't it be a more productive choice just to roll down the windows and let the fly find it's way out on its own time and safely continue your journey to your goal destination???

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What are you REALLY eating today?

“There are some people who eat an orange but don’t really eat it. They eat their sorrow, fear, anger, past, and future.” - Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I was just thinking about my blogging and some of the other blogs that I read. Some people only blog once a week -- I update Monday through Friday. Here is the thing that keeps me coming back to their blogs -- a certain amount of consistency. It doesn't have to be everyday -- it just means that there has to be some kind of regularity.

This is true for many of my client's weight loss attitudes, as well. Sure, who wouldn't like to lose 5 pounds every week? But most of us would be pretty content with 1-2 pounds every week if they didn't feel like they were killing themselves or feeling so deprived from all good things in life.

To have a consistent weight loss, you need to be eating just a little bit less --CONSISTENTLY. If you are doing that -- you won't need to make big sacrifices or feel deprived!

Monday, October 26, 2009


“Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Lifted straight off 37 Days post for today -- if you haven't been there, it is worth the trip!

The anti-plan. It just smacked me in the face. Everything changes all of the time. Wake up this morning with a sick kid and your day (meetings, schedules, meals, errands) -- all out the window). Often, I use the phrase, "when life happens ..." as in -- I was doing great exercising and then life happened and that habit went out the window.

We plan. That is what we do in the West. It is very hard to be like bamboo and move with the wind. We value being the strong oak -- standing steadfast (until the wind snaps us off at the base of our trunk).

Mindful eating is moving you in the direction of the bamboo mentality. Recognize where you are and what you feel. Hungry? Eat. Satisfied? Stop. Not so hard.

Unless you have been taught and taught and taught again to put a huge value on planning -- by everyone from your parents (Lord knows I work and work to get my girls to plan), to your teachers, bosses, significant others. There are very few of us that fly by the seat of our pants for any amount of time and still remain:

a. headed in the direction we are meaning to go
b. fly with any sort of grace -- no matter which direction we are heading.

My word of advice is balance. Work on balancing your plans for eating and the flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants/go-with-your-gut sensibility.

If you have the opportunity to have a day where you have no eating obligations -- wait until you are hungry to eat. See how long it takes you. If you have the curiosity -- wait a bit beyond that to see how the hunger increases. Then eat. Taste the food and when it ceases to be a pleasure, stop.

If you practice this skill, it becomes one of the tools in your tool box when life happens. It becomes a go-to-option that can serve you very well.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Do something Friday

Do you want a piece of cake or just some peace?

For a great many of us, food is the quick-fix comfort. Stressed?? Have a cookie. Bored? A soda. Lonely? A pizza. Ice cream. Pasta. A piece of cake. It is the way our culture works, but is it working for you?

Break the pattern of going to food for comfort. It doesn't solve the problem -- it just numbs the discomfort (in the short term) and leaves you feeling guilty after that.

Need an outlet to figure out what you are feeling? Try journeling. Or blogging! It is amazing how liberating it can be to get your feelings out of your head. It might not solve the problem but it can create enough space for you to figure out what is really getting to you.

Running to food is not working for you!! If it was, you wouldn't be reading this blog! Try something new. It doesn't have to be the perfect thing. It just needs to be something that may work better than running to food.

Deal with the root cause of your overeating and you won't overeat.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

He got it!!

Yesterday, I talked to someone who got the whole mindful eating concept. He was at a presentation of mine a couple weeks ago. He listened to my talk and couldn't believe it would be that simple to lose weight. But...he gave it a try. That night, on the way home, he really wanted a pizza. He picked one up and mindfully ate the first bite (was delicious), the second, the third ... by the sixths, he had had enough. He wasn't full -- the taste just wasn't there -- so he put the pizza down.

A couple days ago, I talked to two women who TOTALLY didn't get mindful eating. I explained what mindful eating entailed and the response was "I know what I can and can't eat -- I have that figured out". But, they spent a great deal of time at the vendor next to me who was selling detoxifying body wraps promising 2 inches of weight loss around your middle in 45 minutes.

***Seriously? How does that work? Let's say that it just takes half of a pound to lose 2 inches -- 1700 calories in a half pound. In 45 minutes, you would have to burn 39 calories per minute to lose that half pound/ 2 inches -- when I run, I hope to burn 10 calories per minute -- hhmmmm....

Anyway, so the women were not happy with their weight (if they spent that much time investigating the weight loss wraps) but they immediately shut down the idea of eating mindfully.

What is the difference between these two sets of people? (Aside from one made me smile the rest of the day and one just frustrated me more that I can express right here)

An open mind. A willingness to be in charge of their own life and not depend on others to lay down rules to follow. A spirit of curiosity and adventure to try something simple to see if it could be effective.

Yeh!! I love seeing a spirit of adventure and an open mind!! I am still smiling at his success.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The difference between being thin and being healthy

Yesterday, I spent some time thinking about thin versus healthy. I have talked in the past about how there are many people that are not at their "healthy weight" -- by whatever measures you chose to use -- height/weight ... BMI ...weight charts -- that are still very healthy. Conversely, there are people that are thin and fit into the tidy catagories of height/weight ...BMI...weight charts -- that are unhealthy.

More and more research is showing that weight is not the determining factor in diseases. The determining factors are those behaviors that CAUSE you to gain the weight -- not the weight itself.

You may have heard that "moderate weight loss", as little as 5-10% of total body weight, can be enough to bring blood sugars and blood pressures under control. That means for a 200 pound person, they could lose as little as 10 pounds to become more healthy.

Why? Because when you are working with your body (eating smaller meals which stabilized the blood sugar, and taking time to taste your food -- which means you are paying attention to what you are doing and not letting 1000 other things stress you out while you are eating) the body functions better. When you are enjoying your food, you absorb more of the nutrients from the food. When you are not stressed, your blood pressure goes down -- we all know that is a good thing. When you are being mindful, you will eat less which will make you feel more in charge of your eating behaviors -- reducing your stress. Get the picture?

In many cases, it is not the weight that is the problem. It is your behaviors. People who get liposuction do not see the reductions in BP and blood sugar levels that people who lose the weight do. People who get liposuction are not healthier for having removed the fat!

Get to the root of the problem -- it is not your weight -- that is a symptom of your behaviors.

Want to read the studies? Check out Health at Any Size