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

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Focusing on the urgent not the important

In the reading I have done in the last week, the title idea has come up over and over again. The October 18 entry of Simple Abundance, one of Seth Godin's blogs last week and in three magazine articles I picked up over the weekend.

How much time do you spend running from one fire to another, trying to put them out? It's exhausting! Plus, how many of those urgent things are really that important to you? Or are they a priority now because someone is making so much noise about it you are dealing with it just to shut them up?

So...this week, give it some thought. What is really important to you and what are you doing because it is urgent. Yes...we all have fires that need to be put out but is your weight urgent (and if you say yes, why? You didn't get to the weight you are since yesterday? What is driving you to say losing weight is urgent now?) it important but not a three-alarm fire just yet?

Great! Important I can work with. Important means you put it in your schedule to deal with right now -- today. For lunch, what is your plan for eating 3 bites less than you normally would? Can you Kid's Meal your lunch? Could you box half of it up before you dig in?

Take action today -- not because it is urgent but because it is important.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chalk one up for Mindfulness

I have told you all in the past, I love!! to eat. But here's the thing -- sometimes I eat like there is no tomorrow (really!! -- anything that is not nailed down is goin' in! And I am STARVING when I sit down) Other times, I am not hungry at all. It sometimes freaks me out when I am going through on of those "Hungry/Starving all the time" stretches -- but I don't seem to get in too much of a crank when I don't get hungry.

Then there are the times that life gets too busy to cook. You know how it goes -- one kid needs to be here, the other dropped off there, project at work is due, house is a wreck, lawn needs to be mowed... with all of that going on, sometimes I don't cook. So...the kids cook, or we eat something quick that really isn't a meal so much as just concentrated grazing.

A few weeks ago, we went through that cycle. I didn't really cook a meal (maybe for a whole week). I mean, there was soup for dinner, or pasta or whatever but the food was just stopping the hunger and not really inspired -- so there wasn't a whole lot of reason to eat much.

By that Friday, I was feeling blah! Nothing seemed to be going right and I couldn't seem to muster my usual sunny disposition.

That night -- because I didn't want to eat just anything (again)and because I didn't feel like cooking, the girls and I ordered pizza. We were veggin' and eating pizza in front of the tv (which normally doesn't happen so it is a treat for all of us).  As I was half way through my second slice, I noticed my mood was improving. My sunny disposition was returning. Life looked more positive than it had when I handed the delivery guy my money. Weird, huh?

But here's the thing -- good food feeds the soul -- not just the body. Food elicits all kinds of neurochemical reactions in the brain but good food also make you feel nurtured.

I don't know why I had such a strong uplifted mood boost from the pizza -- I haven't ever noticed that sensation before. But it doesn't really matter why it happened -- the point is it did. And the more important point is that I recognized it. If I would have been on autopilot, I wouldn't have noticed it and the opportunity to know myself better would have passed on by.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Settling in - yes. You're relax.

With grows/exploration/being creative, initially, there is resistance. Resistance to change. Resistance to the possibility of failure. --Successful people find ways to overcome this resistance.


Here's some irony for you...I work in a great fitness facility and I am so busy, it is very hard for me to workout with any consistancy. So... I decided to start doing yoga in the mornings before work (stress management with the crazy holiday season coming up!)

After some initial bumps in creating a plan, this morning I did my first home yoga session. Have you ever tried to touch your toes at 5:30am before having coffee? I can assure you, every single muscle was soooo tight -- even the opening poses were difficult.

As I was struggling through the routine, a rememberance of an article about yoga popped into my head. Now...for those of you who don't know -- yoga is a whole lifestyle comprised of much more than just the poses you see on TV.

The idea behind yoga (or my paraphrased version, anyway) is that yoga poses put you into uncomfortable positions (positions that make muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints stretch) and ask you to relax into the discomfort. Yoga makes you stand in ways that make you very unstable with the goal of not falling down -- and be relaxed in your stance. Yoga asks you to challenge yourself so that you become less rigid, more flexible, better balanced and have greater understanding of your body. All of this for healthy growth.

Are you making the leap I'm leading you to?

Okay -- yoga is a metaphore for you mindful eating practice. Putting yourself in the uncomfortable (and sometimes scary) position of trusting your sensations of hunger and fullness and relaxing about the outcome.

In the beginning, is feels very foreign and unnatural -- how can you relax? You have been trained to be forever vigilant for the foods that are going to cause you to blow your diet!! But as you practice, as you start to link how you feel with what you do and what you do with how you feel. You become more adept at dealing with the discomfort of living by your own insights. You become better balanced with the amounts you eat. You become less rigid with your food rules and more flexible in your outlooks on eating.

All of this promotes personal growth --healthier patterns of eating and more joy with eating and non-eating times.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Are you willing to settle in?

Settling in: Quieting down enough to feel what you feel.

Settling: Reaching the conclusion that this is all you are Fated to have and you had better just get used to it.

We are talking about settling in today. Are you willing to feel uncomfortable? Cravings, generally, are feelings that make us feel uncomfortable -- we have trained ourselves to get rid of the feeling of discomfort as quickly as possible -- that is why we find ourselves staring through the glass of the vending machine having no recollection of how we got there.

To become more mindful means to register and acknowledge those uncomfortable feelings. Experts say cravings come and go quickly (most in 90 seconds). If you can hold out on a craving, it will go away -- But you need to be willing to feel uncomfortable for a little while.

Uncomfortable isn't bad. It is not something to be avoided. Feel it. Embrace it. Learn to live with it and understand it. Act -- don't react to it -- there is a BIG, HUGE Difference!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Is Mindful Eating a Free Pass?

I have talked in the past about diet rules and how they provide structure to a program. They provide a box for you to stay inside of. Sometimes, that is a nice, safe feeling -- for a while anyway.

So where is the box when you are trying to eat mindfully? Clients, in the past, have sometimes mistaken me when I say "Eat what sounds great!" for "Eat as much as you want of whatever you want and you will still lose weight". This is not the case.

The box with mindful eating is that you are reconnecting with your sensations of hunger and fullness. And learning to differentiate between physical hunger and trigger eating. Saying no to yourself when you feel the urge to trigger eat (in response to stress, let's say) can be a very empowering thing. It is your higher self taking action and moving you in the direction you want to go.

Now, as far as the eat whatever sounds great, the box is that you have to be paying attention and eat the smallest amount that gives you the greatest amount of pleasure. Let's be honest, how often do you eat just one Hershey's Kiss? One CAN be enough IF you are paying attention to the texture, flavor and aroma --not just popping it in, chewing like a fiend and looking for the next one before the first one is totally swallowed.

It takes real work to learn to pay attention. It doesn't just happen. If you are eating mindfully, you can eat anything you want but that freedom comes with the responsibility to pay attention through the whole process -- and not overeat!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What do you Deserve?

How much of your "fun" eating is based on merit? On the thought that you "deserve" it? Why is it a question of deserve? Why do you try to justify your food choices? Who are you justifying them to?

When I talk to clients, there is a big hurdle for them to get over -- if they want to become successful with eating more mindfully. That hurdle is JUDGEMENT.

Why is cake a "bad" food? Why is spinach is "good" food?

Do you know the micro nutrients of both? Or did someone once tell you that spinach was good for you and cake is bad?

Do you deserve to eat a whole cake? Probably not anymore than you deserve to eat a whole bowl of spinach. Food can be a treat -- something wonderful just because and for no particular reason.

But food shouldn't be a reward for doing something else. I worked out for 30 minutes on the treadmill -- I can have dessert tonight!!??? Shouldn't working out be it's own reward? Shouldn't savoring a dessert be it's own reward?

If you are gaining weight -- from a strictly biological standpoint -- you are eating too much. You are taking in more calories than you are expending. There is no judgment here -- these are just the facts. It is not a matter of you deserving to eat more. You can continue to eat like you do -- there is nothing wrong with it (again -- no judgment) but you will continue to gain weight. You can eat less than you do (and you will lose weight) but it won't make you deserve anything more. It will just get you to the weight you want to be.

Eating isn't about justice -- some people can eat more than others and still maintain a health weight. If you can't eat that much -- it isn't a comment on you -- it just is your reality. You need to find a way to make it work for you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What story are you telling?

I have a couple favorite marketing blogs (gapingvoid -- don't you just love the name? and Seth Godin's) and one thing they have in common is how much they talk about the story a product is trying to relay. Successfully marketed products have compelling stories people like to share. (Think Harley Davidson or Coke -- "Open Happiness"? really?)

Now, the great thing about smart marketing is they tap into how people think -- so it pays to listen to what they have to say.

So it begs the question -- What story are you telling -- to yourself and to others?

Are you telling yourself you are a healthy, successful person who is being proactive with your weight management? Or....are you telling yourself you would like to be successful but for whatever reason, you can't (genetics...too busy...hate to workout -- so obviously I can't lose weight...I have always been big -- ask my mom...etc).

Are you willing to sell those stories over and over to yourself? Is that the story you want to reinforce?

If you don't like how this story is working for you -- change the story. Words and stories matter -- especially the ones you tell yourself. Create a story where you are the hero (or heroine). Keep your mind focused on living that healthy story. Elevate your expectations for yourself. You are capable of this. You are strong. You make positive decisions (one at a time) for yourself. You are on a journey -- one stride at a time. You can.

Just because you have before -- doesn't mean you can't now -- because you are trying something different. Because you are learning about how to be mindful. To figure out what you want and work towards that goal. To use the skills that helped you acheive success in all of the other areas of your life -- for your health and positive weight management.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Do Something Friday

Drama -- Yesterday, Leo at ZenHabits entitled his post "Live Simply, and Save the Drama for Your Mother".

What drama do you feel about your weight? When does it cause you stress? Drama almost never motivates for the positive. Usually, drama motivates to punish. ("I'm so FAT! I need to EXERCISE! I CAN'T eat THAT!!) Is that attitude HELPFUL??? (I suspect if it was -- most of us would be thin)

So...lose the drama! Over the next couple days, figure out what triggers your drama meltdowns and then pick one positive behavior you can use to replace the drama.

Let's say you feel the drama rising when you are deciding what to wear in the morning -- stop. Take a deep breathe (literally) and let it out slowly. Relax your shoulders. Let the tension out of your body. And tell yourself one thing you appreciate about yourself. Do you have great ankles? Are you a good cook? Do you feel good when you wear the purple sweater? One nice thing to replace the drama.

By feeling good about yourself (rewarding yourself for being who you are) you are encouraging more positive changes so you can feel even better about who you are. The cycle grows on itself.

Because quite frankly, you mama -- as much as she loves you -- doesn't want your drama!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I was thinking about change this morning. Sometimes change feels like a mountain. A mountain doesn't seem so scary, though, when you understand that mountains are a conglomeration of rocks, sand, pebbles, etc. Even if a rock is really big -- it is not the size of the whole mountain.

So when you are working on behavior change that feels like a mountain to you, make sure you are looking to loosen up the sand and pebbles first.

Do what you can do -- doing something small and being successful at it is more important in the long term than making some larger change only once.

Need a visual? There's still time (before it snows on Monday :( to go out into your driveway and find some small stones. Keep then in your desk at work. When you make a choice you feel positive about -- take a stone out and line them up on your desk. Start the process over the next day. If you are mindfully looking for positive decisions, it is more likely you will make them.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pain as a motivator

The other day, I was asked my opinion on bariatric surgeries. I went off -- in my customary, trying-to-be-balanced way (with limited success) and ended with the thought that one way bariatric surgery works is to make it painful for people to eat more than just a little bit. The new "smaller stomach" fills up on smaller amounts of food -- providing pain as a feedback to stop eating.

Now comes my observation...

A couple weeks ago, I told you I had been considering no-bake cookies but didn't make them that evening. knew it was coming -- I finally made them (and ate some of them) and they were delicious! I froze most of the batch (which only makes them better, in my opinion) and have been trying (with some success) to forget they are there. But here is the thing...

In the first couple days they were sitting in the freezer, I was eating 3 or 4 a day. During the same time, my stomach started feeling ripped up. FINALLY, I put it together -- all that sugar was making my stomach hurt. Stopped eating the cookies and drinking more water -- stomach feels fine.

Yesterday, I went home and NEEDED a no-bake cookie. Ate one, knowing it was going to make my stomach hurt -- REALLY HURT -- and did it anyway. Sure enough -- stomach hurt all evening.

Why?? Why would I do this?? Doesn't it seem logical that if I knew my stomach would hurt, I would NOT EAT what I know is going to cause it? Obviously not. This was a pretty big lesson to me about what will motivate me (the thoughts of doing something healthy for myself -- things that make me feel good) and what doesn't (physical pain and things that make me feel bad).

Perhaps, this is the same mechanism at work in bariatric patients that allows them to eat enough to stretch out their new stomachs and gain the weight back (in almost 97% of the cases).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Making it difficult to fail

Diets (when you follow the rule/program/plan/whatever) make it difficult to fail. If you stick to it -- there isn't any operator error. You have had someone tell you what will work -- your job is to execute orders -- that's it.

The upside and downside of Mindful Eating is that there is only the plan you create. The plan of listening to your body and letting it guide you. This is an upside because if you love ribs, wings, and burgers, you can eat them and still lose weight. The downside is you are going to have to figure out how to implement that plan on your own. (Unless you have an Eating Coach).

Complete freedom sometimes gets overwhelming.

So the idea for you is to create situations where it is difficult to fail. One way to do that is to tell people what you are attempting. Let people support you.

There are a million ways to do this.

Ask them to hold you accountable.

Join in with a group of others who want to lose weight and work on being more mindful together. One quick way is to have to send the group one positive eating decision per day. (It can be anything -- you didn't eat a cookie because it didn't look good. You ate a cookie because it looked fantastic but you took time to access how it was tasting half way through. You let the waitress take away the rest of your dinner even though you "had more room" because you felt you had eaten enough. -- anything that is a behavior change you feel good about).

Start your own blog about your experience being mindful. You will be amazed at how easy setting up your site is and how good you feel that people are out there supporting your success and learning from you.

Get your group together and hire a coach to facilitate your collective process. That way you will all being heading in the same direction together and learning from one another (plus, it will give you like-minded people to go out to lunch with --you might be amazed how much easier it is to eat mindfully when your lunch/dinner companions are doing the same thing).

Have a coach facilitate a Mindful Meal. (you and your companions get to eat like normal but the coach calls your attention back to your experiences at intervals so you can find the 7,8 and 9)

Last weekend, I had dinner with some family friends I haven't seen in years. The man sitting next to me turned down dessert. He didn't tell me I was bad because I wanted dessert. Maybe he doesn't like sweets (I didn't ask). But it made me more conscious (but not self-conscious) about enjoying my dessert (and ultimately leaving some uneaten -- since it was no longer tasting FANTASTIC). It was a positive reminder for me -- a reminder I wouldn't have had if he had ordered dessert.

Find the people that will help make it difficult to fail.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Candy dishes

With so many of us being overweight, why are there candy dishes out all over the place? Especially at work when distraction from what I am sick of doing comes, more often than not, in the form of food?

Why don't people have a big bowl of apples on their desk? Maybe this time of year, some do, but most of the time?

We don't need the candy -- put it away. Or only put it out on Fridays -- that way it is a real TREAT.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Do something Friday

Bliss point.

I was reading The End of Overeating and the author was talking about the importance food engineers put on finding the bliss point of a food. In this context, it is the optimal mixture of fat, salt, and sugar put into processed foods that will keep us coming back for more -- whether or not we are hungry.

Let's take that phrase and look at it a different way. Let's look at it from the perspective of:

--How much of your favorite food is the perfect amount to eat before you slip over the edge into feeling gross. If you are an M&M eater, you know that half of a medium sized bag will send you sailing past your bliss point. But three might leave you on the unsatisfied end of things.

Same can be said for any food. Love burgers or steak? Pasta with cream sauce? How much can you eat and still leave the table feeling light, satisfied and ready to move on with your day? As opposed to stuffed, slow, heavy, and ready for a nap.

Today, pick one of your favorite foods. Make plans for some time this weekend to sit quietly and mindfully eat that food. Start hungry so your taste buds are primed to pick up all of the flavors you love. Don't get distracted (no TV, books, daydreaming about other things). Keep a tally of the bites you take. The first time you realize the bite you have just taken doesn't taste WONDERFUL, be done with the food. Count your tally marks and see how many bites did taste wonderful. You might be surprised at how few it takes to actually hit your bliss point.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Go Slowly

Short-term behavior change is pretty easy. Let's say you want to start the Flat Belly Diet. You are motivated. You bought the book. You bought the journal. You bought everything on the shopping list for the first week. You're off and running. The first week -- no problem because you have a plan.

Second week -- things get a little more challenging. Food choices are kind of limited. Not as much structure to the plan -- you are having to make more decisions -- what's with that? You bought the book -- you bought the journal -- but the motivation is starting to wane.

Third week -- eek gad! Let's not even go there -- since most of you know this goes already.

Diets work in the short term. As I told the group at Flowserve yesterday -- diets work because somehow they get you to cut down the amount you are eating.
Portion size, points, cutting out a food group or macro nutrient -- all of this restricts your calorie intake in one way or another. If you are following their plan, you will lose weight.

But back to the title of the post. Where is the inherent flaw in diets?

They ask you to make a ton of changes to your lifestyle all at once.

Have you seen a diet commercial that doesn't have fine print that talks about the results being tied to following a "sensible eating plan" combined with exercise? That, for most people, is asking them to rework their whole lifestyle. Can you find an extra 8 hours a week to be at the gym AND grocery shop every week with a list provided by the diet? That kind of change is unsustainable in the long haul. It is too much.

We can put our lives on hold for a diet in the short term but eventually life barges back in and needs attention.

After my talk yesterday, one of the woman commented that I didn't talk about exercise at all. True. I know how hard they sell exercise in the US. And there are good reasons to exercise. You CAN eat more if you are exercising. BUT...

If you are currently trying to lose weight and are not exercising -- don't try to make it happen all at once. Rome wasn't built in a day and you didn't get to where you are since yesterday.

Go slowly. Go sensibly. Weight loss (or just weight, for that matter) should NOT encompass your whole life's energies. How are you going to have time to do all of the things that make your heart sing, if your weight loss is taking up all your brain space.

Pick a starting point that seems sensible to you. If you need help finding a place to start get help -- ask a friend, email me, figure it out. Work on that starting point -- get good at it.

Once you have successfully integrated the starting point into your life, you can find another small change and work on it's successful integration. You shouldn't have to drop the first behavior to add the second.

Slowly, you will see your weight heading in the direction you have been waiting for. This won't get you on the commercials promising "DRAMATIC WEIGHT LOSS IN SIX WEEK!" but you will lose weight without having to sacrifice every spare minute of your life.

And more importantly -- you will be able to maintain your weight loss for more than 3weeks!