Friday, December 31, 2010

Do something Friday

"If it's not in the house, I won't eat it."

Have you had this thought before?  I'm sure most of you have.  Give it some thought -- most of the holiday food you still have  in your house, is there because it is not the best stuff.  People gave it to you.  You feel it's wrong to "waste" food. isn't the stuff that knocks your socks off.

And even if it is, the question becomes, "Haven't you had enough of it by now?"

You all know how I feel about New Year's Resolutions -- but I do love fresh starts.  How about clearing out your cupboards and counter tops and getting rid of all that stuff you just don't need?  You can get a jump on feeling great in 2011 because you won't be dragging all the remnants of your 2010 holiday junk food into the New Year.

Start drinking more water for the next couple days.  It will help clean up all that holiday sugar floating around in your blood.  It's warmer today (relative term for this time of year), take a walk outside and breath some fresh air.

End your 2010 on a great note and make it really easy to feel good about the start of 2011!

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

9 Bites

Before you hit the Barnes and Noble diet rack in preparation for the January 1, 2011 Beat-Yourself-into-Submission-through-Diet-and-Exercise 3 week crash course that ends up with you a few pounds lighter but sore, demoralize, guilty, and sneaking ice cream at 3am so your spouse doesn't see you.....

Think about this:

The only thing standing between you and your goal weight is 9 bites a day.

If you reduce your intake just that much, you will lose .5-1 pound per week.

You don't have to give up your cookies at break time -- just eat a couple less.  You don't have to switch to lettuce salads with no dressing instead of going out to dinner with your friends.  Just eat a few bites less than you to right now.  It's a lifestyle change to change your size -- quick fixes are called that for a reason...they don't last.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

8 Common Places that people Trigger Eat

1. In the car where you think no one else can see you.

2. At your desk while you are busy reading emails.

3. While you are cooking dinner -- Are you really tasting what you're cooking or just reflexively putting the spoon in your mouth?

4. In front of the TV after dinner.

5. At the morning meeting where doughnuts are being served.

6. Anytime you walk through the break room and something is sitting out -- REMEMBER: if it's in the break room, it's there because the owner of the supposed delicacy didn't want it sitting in their environment where they could eat it.  Why is that?  Chances are it's not that delicious.  If it was, they would have invited you to have some and gotten the credit for bringing it in for their office mates!

7.When you first hit the kitchen after a stressful day at work.

8.Almost any time during the holidays.  Short of locking yourself in a bunker stocked with pre-portioned rations, just know this is the time of year we do a lot of trigger eating.  Try to pay attention and make choices you can feel good about.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Found time, found money, found calories

Here's one of my personal philosophies:  found time and found money are a gifts -- something special should be done with them.

Think about the last time you found money.  Whether it was yours to start with (the $20 in the pocket of your winter coat) or someone else's (money you found blowing down the street), according to my philosophy, that is money you didn't have a few minutes ago -- obviously, it is a gift from the universe and should be put to use in a fun and special way because it came to you in a fun and special way.  Bills don't count (unless you've really been stressing about bills and it would be fun to slap an extra $20 on the credit card bill to get you closer to done with paying for Christmas).

Found time -- think snow day -- or your boss cancelling a meeting which leaves you with an unexpected extra 4 hours at the last minute.  How will you employ that time?  Doing more of the same, old, boring stuff?  Or are you going to look at this like a bonus and turn that time into inspired, creative action?

And what about found calories?  What if, through your exploration of your eating habits, you discover calories you eat that aren't adding value to your life?  Are you going to keep on doing what your doing in the same old manner (getting the same, predictable results)?  Or....are you willing to look at those found calories as an opportunity to leave that food uneaten (and not make up for it with something else).  Are you willing to see these calories as ones that don't make your life better but leaving them uneaten will help be helping you reach your weight management goal -- all without sacrificing that calories you ACTUALLY ENJOY EATING.

What do you think?  Are you willing to get creative with your "found" items?  If you didn't know you had them a few minutes ago, you couldn't have a plan on how best to use them.  It just might be the perfect time to get a little bit creative.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Weight management is no accident

You've seen the person who manages his weight seemingly effortlessly.  The only difference between him and you is he has mastered some skills you haven't ...yet.

He isn't smarter, more motivated, more disciplined.  He just learned how much he can eat to maintain his weight.  He might over eat sometimes but then he will under-eat at others to compensate.  He uses his signals of hunger and fullness as a guide -- and throws some common sense in there, too.  Chances are he has done this long enough that he doesn't really even realize what he's doing anymore.

All of those are skills you can practice (and practice and refine and practice some more) until they become as natural for you as they are for him.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Remember what's important

Today, it is not food, your weight or your pant size.  The importance of this season, for many of us at least, is Love -- family, friends, people you enjoy all gathered together.

Don't worry about food.  Be mindful of the important details over then next few days.  Focus your attention on those around you that matter.  Enjoy the time together.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Do you remember....

Do you remember, as a kid, sitting down at the table and eating just as fast as you could so you could get back outside to play?  Do you remember your mom watching you and at some point saying,

"Slow down!  Breath, would ya!  You're gonna choke!!"

I don't know about y'all -- but I'm feeling the holiday pressure.  Everything was going along smooth -- I was on schedule -- then all of the sudden: WHAM!  I'm behind for Christmas.  Work has a new project that needs a lot of attention.  I forgot to schedule time to do some extra baking.  My shoulders are up to my ears.  My knuckles are white on the steering wheel.....and why?

To make sure the Season of Love goes off without a hitch?  Because this is how I create the Season of Peace?

If you can relate to this at all -- let's borrow some of Mom's sound wisdom :

"Slow down! Breath, would ya! You're gonna choke!!"

Your family and your friends (you know, the ones your "doing all this for") love it more when you're relaxed than they do when the table settings are perfect.  Put your mindfulness to great use and be aware of the eating, drinking, laughing, and sharing that happens this time of year with those around you -- and then it really will be the Season of Joy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Make your schedule ahead of time....

Seth Godin

Zig taught me this twenty years ago. Make your schedule before you start. Don't allow setbacks or blocks or anxiety to push you to say, "hey, maybe I should check my email for a while, or you know, I could use a nap." If you do that, the lizard brain is quickly trained to use that escape hatch again and again.

How do you spend your time?

When I coach a group or individual in the process of mindful eating, we use journalling as a tool to increase awareness of EVERYTHING that goes into our mouths -- not just the stuff we feel okay about remembering.  This is important because if you can see how you're currently spending your calories, you can see opportunities to change behavior patterns that you might not even comprehend you are participating in.  That is the beauty of journalling -- it allows you to lay out your behaviors in black and white and see them all at once.

I just read an interesting manifesto from ChangeThis entitled 168 hours.

168 hours happens to be the number of hours each of us is allotted every week to get done everything we need to/want to get done.

Interestingly enough, the author suggests anyone who feels they do not have enough time during the week to get done what they really need/want to, should fill out a 168 hour log for the same reason -- to find the bites of time that we are not using to further our personal and professional goals.  The author says:

Think about it. If you work 50 hours a week—far more than time-use studies

find the average American works—and sleep 8 hours a night (56 hours per week) this leaves
62 hours for other things. That’s plenty of time to hang out with your children and your
spouse, to exercise the 2.5 hours per week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
recommends, to volunteer or take up a hobby, or to just read or relax. And that’s all while
getting enough sleep!

62 hours a week full of choices about how you are going to spend your time -- think about that!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Do something Friday

I just read a wonderful post by Steven Pressfield (author of, among others, Bagger Vance).  In his post, he wrote a wonderful narrative about his newest  book and what it took to get it finished.  The whole post finished up with the thought:

"....panic less....and work on the problem more."

What if that was your mantra for managing your weight?  How would things change for you?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bricks and Flowers

A few months ago, a friend of mine shared that before he retired, he kept a "Bricks and Flowers" file of his professional accomplishments.

I had no idea what a "Bricks and Flowers" file was -- and still don't know if it is a "done" thing in business or if this was his own invention.  Just in case you find yourself in the same boat, a Bricks and Flowers file is where he put the "You did a great job"/"Thanks for your hard work"/ "You're the best!" notes -- those are the Flowers.  He also put the "What were you thinking?!"/"You stink!"/"I'm gonna have you fired!" memos, as well.

The conversation went on after his mention of this file but the thought of it has stuck with me for all these months.  It actually inspired me to start a Bricks and Flowers file of my own.  But here's my problem:

I don't know why he kept the Bricks?  Is it the morbid imperative that urges us to almost run over a fireman while we crane our necks to get a glimpse of an accident?  Is it the same as that undeniable urge that to linger just a second longer than necessary on the Jerry Springer Show as you are flipping through the channels?  Is it part of the same desire to run our tongue over a sensitive tooth to see if it is still hurting (which, of course, it always is)?

Why would anyone keep the bad  stuff?  Just in case you want to relive the bad stuff?  Or is it learn from?

In the case of my friend, I haven't yet remembered to ask him the question.  For myself, I HATE reliving the bad stuff -- reopening wounds that are healed or at least heavily scabbed over.

But... I don't want to have to live those situations out over and over again with different people and in different situations.  Maybe the point of keeping the Bricks is so that I can pull them out every once in a while and see where I have come from.  Perhaps they will give me insight (once the embarrassment and hurt has subsided) that will give me even more perspective down the road.  And certainly, having the Flowers in the same file helps a lot.  Just when I start feeling really crummy at all the negative comments, here are 7 positive comments to ease the pain and provide some balance.

When I am coaching, it is painful to see the client carrying around a huge mental Bricks and Flowers file where there are no Flowers to be seen.  Bricks seems to carry more weight (pardon the pun). 

Give some thought to your BandF file.  --How's it stocked?  Is it balanced?  Are you working on filing away the Flowers as hard as you are working on filing away the Bricks?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Core values

Seems like I everything I have read in the last two weeks has been talking about core values.  There has been enough of this talk that I started recognizing the pattern sometime earlier last week (and it has just continued to show up everywhere!). I spent some time (I'll admit it wasn't a lot of time but consider it a rough draft) of my core values.

**I respectfully retain the right to change any or all of these.  This is not a comprehensive list and they are in no particular order **

My core values:
  • Education (both formal and informal)
  • Creating personal relationships based on respect
  • Authenticity
  • Striving for excellence in all areas
  • Creativity
  • Weirdness (an all white picket world would be immeasurably boring)
  • A recognition that all things are possible
  • Fundamental value of human life (I considered changing that to all life -- but then how would I justify killing the spiders that like to move into my garage?)
  • Cultivating Joy
I wasn't sure if I was just blowin' smoke with this list -- you know...making it sound good for when I wrote about it -- so I put it to the test against how I run the Eating Coach work I do.  I think it is a good test case since I have created every part of that program.  So here goes:


Ok....I started listing the values along with an explanation of how I applied them to the Eating Coach program.  I was really crackin' along and had gotten to creativity (half way) when I realized that this whole section was smacking of narcissism and even my attention was wandering -- I can't imagine your experience would be any better.  So I erased it and will get to my point.

What are your core values?  And how do they play into your eating behaviors?  If you hold emotional openness as a value but are eating as a way of keeping from screaming and breaking down in front of your spouse perhaps you should look at realigning your behaviors to your values.

There are a million ways our behaviors get out of whack from our values -- and if you have every experience a moment when you realize you are out of whack, you know how much of a relief it is when you are able to line things up again.

Eating behaviors are a window to our values and world views.  They offer key insights into our deeper selves.  It is worth some time thinking about what you value above all else and then taking a look at how your behaviors are lining up.  You might surprise yourself at what you discover.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mindfulness. Why???

Why would you chose to be mindful?  What's it really matter?

In the last two weeks: 
someone lost a loved one.
someone experienced a life altering accident.
someone received bad news about their health condition.

Life's short.  And very, very precious.  If you don't believe me, ask one of the people who have experienced one of these things this close to the holidays.

If you're weight matters to you -- do something about it.  Mindfulness means experiencing what you are living at this moment -- what you are eating when you're eating it, living it, experiencing it, trying to avoid it.

The alternative is to live in the past or live in your future (that may or may not happen like you think it will) -- but the end result is to throw away your present.  Others don't have that option right now.  Please don't waste the opportunity to make choices for yourself -- that's what we all want, anyway, right?  to have choices?

Make yours today.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Do something Friday

A thought for your weekend:


it does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble
or hard work.  it means to be in the midst of those things and still
be calm in your heart.  --unknown

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How often do you feel proud of yourself?

I know...most of us don't like to brag.  Bragging isn't what I'm talking about though -- bragging indicates you're talking to someone else about your accomplishments (usually in a way that makes the listener feel diminished).  I am talking about actively recognizing those situations (eating and otherwise) that you feel really good about.

My contention is that we don't do this enough.  Sure...I might feel proud of myself if I won the Pulitzer or became United States Fitness Czar (my secretly cherished dream).  But other than those two huge accomplishments -- what about the rest of the time?  Do I do things that merit my own attention and appreciation?  I think so!

When I can sit at a family dinner and eat a comfortable amount of delicious food and then stop eating -- I should feel pleased with that accomplishment.  If I get to experience the positive feeling of a comfortable amount of food in my stomach and then I get the added bonus of a mental high-five to myself for my attention to my hunger and fullness level, that is a double positive experience for me.  Recognition of this means I will be more likely behave in a similar manner in the near future (because everyone loves to feel good, right?)

The question becomes -- can you find those bright spots in your eating behavior and highlight them?  And if you do, will that lead you to create those situations more often?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A thought from the Happiness Project

This is a quote from Goethe.  At first reading, it is easy to see how this could be applied to the world around you -- the people you meet, work with, see socially.....but what if you read it with an eye for how you would apply it internally?

"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

If you practice this for a day, would it change you?  If you lived this out, would your weight take care of itself?

**The Happiness Project page that inspired the question**

Monday, December 6, 2010

Who are you in your own story?

For months now, marketing people everywhere have been talking about the importance of telling a good story. Stories are how we relate to each other. When I tell you a story, you will gain insight on who I am and whether you may want to pursue our relationship further.

But what stories are you telling yourself? Stories (or running commentary) are how most of us live our lives. We have conversations with ourselves in the shower full of hand gestures and heated arguments that never take place in real life. Our attempts to find our keys when running late in the morning are met with critiques about our brainpower and lack of focus..... We think and relate (both to ourselves and others) with these stories.

Sometimes our stories are so ingrained, we don't even notice our roles. So give it some thought -- are you the hero of your story? Or the victim.

I could be wrong (be sure to tell me, if you think I am) but I think those are the only two choices we get.

Hero: the one who takes charge. You don't have to save or fix everyone but you are doing the work that matters to you.

Victim: the one who is stopped from doing the work that matters to them by forces (seen or unseen) beyond their control. You may be doing good work but you aren't as satisfied with your life as you would like to be -- "you just can't help it -- it's not your fault."

Victims can be spotted easily because they use the phrases "If only I could...." , " Well, maybe someday I can...", or "If only he/she would .....then I could....".

Being a hero doesn't mean you win every time -- every Disney movie ever created will teach us that. But Hero's never quit. They might think about it, in the dark of night. Even when success looks like it will never happen, ultimately they never give up. They never settle -- maybe change goals but never settle for something less than what they know in their heart is right.

Victims are victims because they accept what is given to them even though it isn't what they want. They try, unsuccessfully, to be happy with what they are given but it doesn't work. They feel thwarted at every turn.

The interesting thing about heroes and victims isn't that they are fundamentally different breeds or that they are given fundamentally different circumstances to work within. The difference lies in what they do with what they're given.

Any Victim is only one decision away from being the Hero of her story.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Do something Friday

Sometimes there are no Secrets

Yup!  I read this title somewhere else and it got me thinkin'.  I was talking to someone yesterday and said almost the same thing.

If you're gaining weight -- you're eating too many calories.

It might not seem fair -- "my hormones" you say (and believe me...I am expecting many "I told you so"s about that one in the next 10 years) -- but the fact of the matter is:

Your body won't store it as potential energy (ie fat) if you actually need it to keep going (ie fuel).

So if you want to lose weight, you need to eat a bit less than you do now.

If you don't want to eat less but you still want to lose weight, you need to move more.

Two options.

No secrets.

No Magic Beans.

This weekend, spend some time really giving it some thought.  Do you want to do this ...or not?  Either way is okay but being muddled (wanting to keep eating and moving the same amount as usual) will keep you at the weight you are  and add to your frustration.

Just make sure you are clear in where you want to be and your chosen method to get there.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Your past doesn't really matter

Get over it! 

If you were really mindful yesterday...Great!  but it doesn't matter today -- mindfulness today is what matters.

If you crazy-stress-ate yesterday -- it doesn't matter.  Let it go and choose mindfulness today.

We aren't looking for perfection in our behaviors -- we are talking about making our next eating decision a mindful one.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I have found myself not really myself the last couple weeks.  And sure...I can tell you that work has been crazy busy, lots of things need immediate attention, there was none of the quiet time I need to be creative (which, for me, is as important to my well-being as food or air)....  I was driving all over the place getting people where they needed to be....  I wasn't sleeping enough in my attempt to get everything accomplished... All those things are true, and yet......

They weren't really the root cause of my distress.  When I (finally) stopped looking at the easy (and seemingly logical) answers for my unsettled-self, I noticed how fear was running my show. 

Instead of acting (staying up late or getting up early to get caught up because there were things that needed to be closed out), I was reacting (staying up late or getting up early to get caught up because I was afraid someone would see me failing if I didn't get projects closed out). 

Instead of acting (driving everyone where they needed to go because that is one of my responsibilities), I was reacting (driving everyone where they needed to go because if I couldn't get them there, they wouldn't get done what they needed to get done....and it would be my fault).

And I could go on and on (and on and on and on)......

But here's the interesting thing:  Work is still busy.  The holidays (with their tasks and responsibilities) are still here.  Everyone still needs dropping off and picking up.  Laundry is still be created.  Dust is still settling on coffee tables.  Voicemails, emails, text messages are still coming in. 

But once I realized it wasn't the work that was exhausting and disquieting my mind -- that it was my fears--(that I wouldn't get caught up, that I was struggling and no one should see that, that if I couldn't get this all done and make it look much of a loser would I be?)

***And interestingly enough -- what bothered me wasn't that I would be a loser -- it was that I didn't know the quantity of "loser-ness" it would make me.  The fear of the unknown -- that was my root cause!!***

  • How much of a loser?
  • What would happen if everyone wasn't delivered, on-time and dressed perfectly for the occasion, where they needed to be?
  • What would happen if they emails didn't get answered within the customary 1 business day?
  • What would people say if they saw me struggling to maintain my customary optimism and composure?  (and btw, this one happened -- and now I know -- nothing bad happened)

Julien posted the other day that fear means it's not happening right now.  That's a liberating thought.  If you're fearing something, you're not going through it.

It seems like often-times, the Holiday season brings out many of our fears -- but we're so busy and there are so many easy, logical reasons for us to be feeling the way we do, that we don't look deeper to see that we are actually being driven by our fear. 

So what about you?  How much of the stress or disquiet you're feeling is actually, at it's root, fear of the unknown?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday did your Thanksgiving eating go?  Share three eating successes you had yesterday.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I am thankful for:
  • Being able to spend time with my loved ones here.
  • The opportunity to have known the loved ones no longer with me.
  • My warm house.
  • To be able to share a meal with those I love.
  • For sun shining through my windows.
  • For the clean water that runs out of my tap.
  • For the ease with which I can move about my kitchen preparing the meal.

The meal is a vehicle to share my blessings -- eating more of it than makes me comfortable does not make me more blessed.  It just distracts me from the things that are important.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No deprivation

Has it ever seemed like you only have two choices during the holiday season:

1. Gain weight
2. Give up all your fav foods at the holidays (or at least give up all the delicious ingredients that make holiday foods taste good -- I don't care what you say....mashed cauliflower might taste good but it isn't a even up substitution for mashed potatoes!!)

A good many of us give up our best eating intention soon after the holiday season starts.  And some of us even give up before the holidays start since there really isn't any reason to put it off -- we know we won't stick to our good intentions anyway!

It really (REALLY) doesn't have to be that way!   You always have more choices than just those two.

How about adopting the FOOD SNOB attitude?

Don't eat the dried out fudge, day old cookies (or gasp!  the store bought cookies you can get any ol' time of the year).  Don't eat the casserole you brought to the party -- you can make it for yourself some other time.  Don't take the salad because you "think you should" -- like a few greens or stalks covered in dressing or dip are going to some how absolve over indulgence.

Pick the cookie that has so much butter in it you can smell it even when it's cooled.  Have the real sour cream and cream cheese mashed potatoes.  Don't worry about skimming every mili-ounce of fat off the top of the turkey gravy. 

And when you take that bite of cookie, mashed potato, or dressing with gravy on it --- appreciate that taste.  Don't shovel it in!  When the taste stops making you say "WOW!! OH MY GOODNESS -- THIS IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER EATEN!!" stop eating.

There will be left-overs.  Or another dinner in the near future.  This isn't your one and only chance.  Remember that it feels OH MY GOODNESS GREAT! to leave the table and still be able to tie your shoes.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Hard Part

What's the hard part of losing weight?  You've done it before....and you'll do it again, so you have the first hand experience.

Is it starting?  The diet, the exercise program, the new lifestyle.....  

Is it losing the first 10, 20, 100 pounds?

Is it maintaining the diet, exercise program, new lifestyle?

Or is it that the road seems to stretch infinitely far ahead and when we look up, we see hardship, deprivation, and continual work until the day we drop over or stop caring about weight?

My supposition is it is really the secret thought (read fear) that it will ALWAYS be work and it will NEVER be easy -- that is the hardest part.

No matter which part is the hard part -- notice that some of my suggestions (or the ones that pop into your head) aren't as hard for you (and might even be stuff you consider easy).

Can you do more of the easy ones and less of the hard ones?  Will that work to get you where you want to go?  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Do something Friday

We have talked a lot about resistance and the Lizard brain. We all know what it is to feel paralyzed by the resistant voice in our head. But fear not! Below is the beautiful beginning of Steven Pressfield's blog about resistance. He is talking about creating art -- but think about the art as creating your best you.

I appologize for (and warn you in advance) the swearing in the upcoming paragraph -- I hope you can excuse the word choice, if it bothers you, and see through to the author's intent.

The Opposite of Resistance

Here’s a subtle but crucial point for us to hold in mind as we slog through the trench warfare of the artist’s journey, battling Resistance every step of the way.

Remember: Resistance arises second.

What comes first is the idea, the passion, the work we are so excited to create that it scares the shit out of us.

Resistance is the response of the frightened, petty, small-time ego to the brave, generous, magnificent impulse of the creative self. Resistance is the shadow cast by the innovative self’s sun.

What does this mean to us, as we duel our demons? It means that, before the dragon of Resistance reared its ugly head and breathed fire into our faces, there existed within us a force so potent and so life-affirming that it made Resistance freak out and load up the sulfur and brimstone. Resistance isn’t the towering, all-powerful monster before whom we quake in terror. Resistance is more like the pain-in-the-ass schoolteacher who won’t let us climb the tree in the playground.

But the urge to climb came first.

Maybe resistances is the signal you are on the right track -- maybe instead of denying or running from it, we should spend the weekend looking for it. What do you think???

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.
 ~Dale Carnegie

Here it is -- the whole philosophy of mindful eating -- do small jobs well.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Think about your local mall -- somewhere, tucked on the ends or at the corners embedded in the mall there are anchor stores.  These are the stores that draw people to the malls -- The stores that spend marketing dollars to get us to drive to the mall.  Most of the other stores live in the shadow of the anchors and rely on the store front merchandizing to draw customers into their store once the anchors have done the job of getting us into the mall in the first place.

People have anchor behaviors, too.  Those behaviors that make up the bulk of how we interact with the world.  Our optimistic (or pessimistic) attitude, our mak- it-happen (or sit-back-and-see-how-things-develop) behaviors, etc.  The rest of our behaviors develop around our anchor behaviors.

I think eating behaviors are one of those non-anchor behaviors.  We develop the ones we have because we are influenced by our anchors.  Do you see yourself as an active, athletic person?  You are going to eat to support that anchor in your life.  (Have you ever noticed how many times formerly active people still eat like they are active -- even though they are logging huge hours sitting at a desk all week?)

Thanksgiving is next week (like I need to remind you, right?)  And in the spirit of thanksgiving (the act not the dinner), give some thought to your anchor behaviors and beliefs.  Are they still true for you?  Are you really still the active athlete you were before the new job, house, and kids?  Do you assume you are still a very optimistic person when upon closer reflection you notice your wine intake has gone up this last year as a way to de-stress because your company is on uncertain ground and you are not happy with the direction your bosses are taking it?

There is something to be said for being thankful -- but there is also something to be said for an honest appraisal of the situation.  If you don't know where you are, you will have a hard time getting to where you want to be.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I have been hearing a LOT of judgment lately about different kinds of foods.  Everyone is getting geared up for the holiday season and talking about what they "can" eat, "should" eat, and "healthier" options.  We've talked about this before but I just want to throw it out there that the issue I have with judging food as good or bad, is that we extend that judgment to ourselves as we eat that food.

If a person eats a big, healthy salad and a bowl of (non-cream) soup and they see that as  "good" choices, then they are "good" by extension.  And you know what?  I bet most of us out there making this choice are good people -- but not because we ate the soup.

On the other hand, if that same person eats 2 pieces of cheesecake (and cheesecake is "bad"...everyone knows that, right???), then they are "bad" by extension.  And that is just not true -- because the soup already proved they were "good" right?

Food is food is food.  There are no good foods and there are no bad foods.  If you eat too much of anything, soup, salad, cheesecake, you are going to gain weight -- that is just a fact -- not judgment.

Give it some thought.  Enjoy your food.  And when it doesn't taste fantastic, put the fork down.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What choices are you going to make today???

"I wake up every day with the realization that this is it, that there's only one shot at this life and I can either enjoy the ride and live it to its fullest and to my highest potential or I can stay the way I am."--author unknown

Friday, November 12, 2010

Do something Friday

As happens so often, the title of Seth Godin's post has inspired me:

No knight, no shining armour  --period.  That's it.  If you want to make some changes in your life, you're the only one who can do it.  Every day.

It's sometimes disheartening for me to think there really isn't a magic bullet out there with my name on it.  Sure....sometimes luck happens -- but luck isn't a strategy.  And waiting for a lucky weight loss break (contracting a tapeworm, anyone?) isn't going to make sure you get where you want to go.

Making the small decisions everyday (I just passed up my fav Sweetwater's Honey Glazed Chocolate doughnut in the break room with a "Not right now"!) will create your success.

This weekend: be your own knight -- you're the only one who can make this happen -- show us how it's done because we know you can do it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Food for thought....

Many times over the last couples years, as I have been speaking to audiences, I have used the example of losing weight on the Twinkie Diet -- if only a person was cutting down on the total amount of calories they were eating.'s the story of a university professor who did just that!  This prof lost 27 pounds in two months by eating mostly snack foods.

Please know I am not adovocating this particular diet.  My goal is to get you thinking about the relative importance of "healthy" eating versus our tendency to EAT TOO MUCH OF EVERYTHING!!  Science is coming out daily to support the idea that we are eating too many calories...period!  And if we focus on reducing our portions, we won't need to concentrate on "healthy" eating quite as much.  THAT might be something that keeps us healthier in the long run!

Click here for the story!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


One of my fav sayings in the whole world:

Moderation in all things -- including moderation.

I'm pretty sure we (as a society) are not putting the value on moderation that we should.  My example:  the rise of "Extreme" as a marketing tool.  Seriously!  Tonight when you are home watching TV, pay attention to how many times the word Extreme is used in commercials and TV trailers -- Extreme Doritos, Extreme Razors (do we really want our razors to be Extreme??), not to mention Extreme Sports...and the list goes on.

We like the end points of the pendulum swing -- they are entertaining.  But as a lifestyle, doesn't it get exhausting to live on the extremes?  Too much food and you are soooo stuffed you can't move (and all you can think about is how much food you ate and the berating of yourself that goes along with that) -- swing over to the soooo hungry you think you just might starve to death before you get to eat again ( and all you can think about is what you are going to eat or not be able to eat).

Moderation in eating is a good thing.  If you are eating moderately (think level 7 or 8) most of the time, you can over eat occasionally and it won't matter because your mindfulness training will help you eat less at the next meal (because you will be less hungry...or maybe not hungry at all).

We are coming into the season of extreme eating excess (and maybe we don't ever really leave it any more).  Moderation in your eating might be just the freedom you need to get you through the holiday with your sanity and pants that still fit.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

13 Tips for Dealing with a Really Lousy Day

The title is not mine.  And from me, you are only going to get the #1 tip on this list but click here to see the rest of Gretchen's list!

Gretchen, from the Happiness Project, lists the following as tip #1 for dealing with a Really Lousy Day:

1. Resist the urge to “treat” yourself. Often, the things we choose as “treats” aren’t good for us. The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt, loss of control, and other negative consequences just deepen the lousiness of the day. So when you find yourself thinking, “I’ll feel better after I have a few beers…a pint of ice cream…a cigarette…a new pair of jeans,” ask yourself – will it REALLY make you feel better? It might make you feel worse.

Powerful stuff, right?  How often do we head for a treat to make us feel better?  If we do it reasonably often, it is no longer a treat -- it is a coping mechanism.  Which is a much less flattering concept than giving ourselves a treat.

Food treats might distract you for a while -- but they are not going to solve your stresses and, in fact, usually end up creating more stress in your life because now you are stressed about what (or the way) you just ate, on top of the stress you ate to deal with.

Perhaps it's time to call the binging what it is -- coping with food.  And perhaps it is time to find a new mechanism to cope -- one that deals with the real issue at hand --the stress.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Difficult Difficult and Difficult Easy

I just read an interesting article about the idea of Difficult Difficult and Difficult Easy.  Difficult Difficult is doing things that are challenging, new, scary and sometime (or most times) not very fun but come with the promise of personal growth and increasing your life skills.

Difficult Easy are all those challenging activities that grind on you, wear you down, and don't teach you new skills or help you grow.

Dieting is Difficult Easy.  Sure, it's hard and you can slug it out -- but unless you change your eating behaviors, you will gain the weight back because you haven't changed the habits that caused your weight gain in the first place.  There is no growth of skill even though you put in all that work.

Mindful Eating is Difficult Difficult.  It's hard remembering to think about your hunger/fullness levels BEFORE you start to eat.  It is difficult to act on hunger/fullness information when it goes against the grain of your usual eating habits.  Sometimes you are going to want to give up on the behavior change all together.  But....

Mindful Eating is inherently an opportunity for personal growth and the learning of new skills.  Difficult Difficult but also the most rewarding.  Or as the author writes:

....And don’t, please (like my old mate) fall into the trap of mistaking hard work – even extremely hard (easy) work – for progress. Because, let’s be frank, difficult easy is really just another way of saying ‘easy’, and there is no growth in easy.....

Friday, November 5, 2010


Seth Godin just blogged about laziness.  According to him, laziness used to be about avoiding physical labor -- hiding out until the work was done. (if you have recently tried to get your teenagers to rake the yard, you understand the concept in action).

He goes on to say that in today's world, laziness is less about avoiding physical labor (as we just don't have as much of that as we used to) and more about avoiding the emotional work of situations that cause you fear.  Hiding from the fear of failure might be the new lazy.  It is so much easier to stay on the well beaten path -- because that way, even if you fail, there are others that have failed before you're not alone.

Where as, if you try something new, something that only you can do, if you fail, you will be all by yourself.  Except you won't -- you will be in the company of all of the other brave and industrious souls out there hacking their way through their own uncharted territory -- still afraid of failing but cutting their own path anyway.

That's why I'm here -- I'm manning the Bat Phone.  If you feel like you are in need of help -- send out a shout (in the form of a comment) and the rest of us here will be here to offer help, encouragement, and support.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I can't promise you

I can't promise you that you will:

lose weight.
that you'll live longer (or live better).
that you will be happier, richer, more likable, or come closer to reaching your dreams.

I can' promise you that mindfulness will come naturally to you or that you will always feel like acting on the better impulses you have about your eating.

I can't promise you that.

I can promise you that if you are paying attention to the eating decisions you make, you will find more opportunities to be successful at fueling your body with what it needs than you ever thought possible.  It's not easy but it is always very simple.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What are you getting?

We American's love a bargin -- that's why restaurants can charge us $8 for a salad and breadsticks (two of the least expensive food items on the menu).  Even given that we can eat as much salad and as many breadsticks as we want, very, very few of us will ever come close to eating $8 worth.  But we'll try.

It is our culture to look for good deals -- look at the way almost everything is marketed on TV.  It is all about getting the most for your investment.  Tapping into that mentality must work or most of our commercials wouldn't be geared in that direction.

So...let's give some thought to what you might be gaining if you reduce your food intake by 9 bites a day:

  • You might be getting looser pants
  • An easier time climbing stairs.
  • Peace of mind that you are not ruled by food.
  • The ability to get in the backseat of a two door car.
  • To be able to shop for clothes more places (or maybe just at your dream store).
  • Have more fun traveling since airplane seats on designed for Kate Moss types.
  • To irrate your sister-in-law with your enjoyment and composure at that holidays (because you're not worrying about what you "should" or "shouldn't" eat - AND that your pants are looser!)

What else?  What makes this bargin better?  What is worth more than those 9 bites of food? -- Figure it out and you could be 5 pounds lighter for Thanksgiving and 10 for Christmas. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Do something Friday -- Keep Experimenting!

Dieters are taught rules. That is what makes diets successful -- if you follow the rules, you will lose weight.

People don't like to follow rules. Have you noticed that about yourself? Do you always come to a complete stop at stop signs? Follow the speed limit to the letter? Never take more than 8 ibuprofen in a 24 hours? Even the rules that make the most sense to us personally don't get followed all the time (I am a HUGE advocate of oral health but sometimes, not very often, but sometimes, I go to bed without brushing my teeth).

We don't do well sticking to rules about what we should and shouldn't eat -- if you've ever lost weight and gained it back, you are a case in point. Knowing this, you have a couple options:

1. Keep doing what you're doing -- following rules and then not following rules -- all the time gaining and losing weight until you decide it is no longer worth it and give up.

2. Give up rules and start experiementing. If each day is an adventure to see what unvaluable calories you routinely eat -- if you find those and decide not to eat whatever it is -- everyday is an experiement in eating. Somedays your coffee tastes great and you wish you had more .... but somedays it doesn't hit the spot -- that is the day to throw it away and pick up your water bottle. What about your coworker's world famous chili? Sometimes it will be all you expect it to be....and sometimes not.

The point is -- if you're not good at following the rules long term, give it up. Fly by the seat of your pants and find the food that fuels you body and soul.....and then EXPERIENCE it. Everything else? You just don't need it....and your pants will fit better and you will feel more successful when you don't eat it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How can I help you?

It's been 18 months since I started blogging here at Eating Coach.  Counting up the Mondays through Fridays, that's a lot of me talking to you about mindful eating.  But now it's your turn:

What can I do to help you?  Are there things you wish we would talk about?  Class ideas you have for me?  How can I help you?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Carpe Diem

car·pe di·em    /ˈkɑrpɛ ˈdiɛm; Eng. ˈkɑrpi ˈdaɪəm, ˈkɑrpeɪ ˈdiəm/

Latin . seize the day; enjoy the present, as opposed to placing all hope in the future.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Today, in an Eating Coach class, one of the participants asked my views on exercise and how I see it working as part of the Eating Coach program.  I think it is worth passing on some thoughts for you to consider.

First off -- I love exercise.  Both personally and professionally, I think we should all move more than we do.  That is the way our bodies are designed.  If you want me to expand on this theme further, give me a call and I would be happy to come to your place of business or fav coffee shop and expand on the theme!

As far as exercise fitting into the Eating Coach program or any program that is a proponent of mindful eating -- I don't feel it has a place (as in, they are two separate skills or tools -- like you can use a hammer and you can use a saw, when you are building something you might use them both but the training you receive using the saw is really separate from the training you receive to use the hammer).

Exercise is a wonderful thing and it can make weight control easier -- no doubt about that.  But if you don't like to exercise or you don't have time, my hope is that you will understand that exercise is not NECESSARY to manage your weight.  If you consider weight management to be (for the most part) calories eaten versus calories expended, then burning more calories through movement is going to help you to achieve greater weight loss but you could just decrease on the "calories eaten" side of the equation too.  Either one will work.

You know the benefits of exercise -- even if you don't like to exercise, you can't walk through a grocery store without the magazine headlines preaching the benefits of movement.  You get enough of that.

What exercise proponents don't realize (or maybe the idea just doesn't make good headlines) is that sometimes even the most dedicated exerciser has periods of life when they cannot exercise.  Whether injury or illness, work or kids, life happens and the gym or morning run goes out the window and....then what?  Is that person doomed to have a waistline growing out of control?  No...not if they ratchet down the number of bites happening on the consumption side of the eating equation.

Yes, life happens and no, we can't always make time to exercise.  Learning to trust your hunger and fullness sensations makes sense -- your body will adjust your hunger for your physical activity level.   If you are not exercising like you normally do, your hunger level will decrease.  But this is only helpful if you have the skills to listen to what your body is telling you and not run on autopilot as you serve yourself the dinner portion of the more active you.

So ....I hope that clears the exercise versus mindful eating debate up a little bit.  And truly, if you want an impassioned speech on the joys of movement, let me know.  I'd be happy to throw myself into it. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Actually Living your Life

This afternoon, the car ahead of me pulled up to a red light and stopped -- sat there for a while -- and then proceeded to go through the intersection.  The light hadn't changed -- it was still red.

My first reaction was to wonder what in the world this person was doing and hope that there was no oncoming traffic.  The second thought was -- what was this person thinking?

Obviously, they weren't thinking about the red light -- it hadn't changed -- it was still red.

We can assume they weren't thinking about oncoming traffic -- they didn't slam on their brakes or speed up as the car with the right of way honked at them.

They must of have been thinking about something else -- which is to say, they weren't living their life right then -- they were off in la-la land inside their head while what was happening in the world their body was inhabiting was going on around (but not with) them.

Fortunately, no accident resulted.  But how often to we all "live" our life in this way -- engaged in part of our past or part of our future but not engaged here and now.

How often does our pattern of eating resemble this snapshot at the stoplight:

You pull up to the table -- sit there a while and eat -- get up and leave but never really engage in what was going on with the food you ate? Again, fortunately, most of the time no huge catastrophe results from this eating behavior.  But if you run a red light often enough or eat food mindlessly often enough, the likelihood there will be consequences for this behavior increases -- it's only a matter of time before you don't like the result.  And the solution to each of these situations is easy enough -- be mindful of where you are and what you are doing...when you are doing it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do something Friday

What if you ate every bite of food as if it were a blessing?  Would it change how you eat?  Would just some (as opposed to everything on your plate or all the options available) be enough if you were blessed by every bite?

Try it this weekend.  With every bite, consciously celebrate the fact that you are able to have plenty, plenty of food available to you.  Enough food that you can make the choice to eat more than you need -- but just because you can doesn't mean you have to.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The 1st Four Bites

When you are physically hungry, your taste buds are primed to experience the most amount of flavor in the first 4 bites. After about 4 bites, your taste buds have had so much information delivered to them, some of the food taste becomes "white noise".  The flavors you experience just won't be quite as good as they were at first.

 If you concentrate on being mindful for just those first bites, you will get the maximum amount of enjoyment from enjoyable foods and end up needing less to make you feel content.

And when you can boost your contentment with less food, calm and weight loss follow.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


It is a proven fact (okay...maybe not scientifically proven -- but I think you'll agree with me), you will not get as much support in your mindful eating journey as you should.  Whether it's the spouse that inadvertently brings you a bowl of ice cream while you're watching evening TV (when they didn't ask first if you wanted one) or the co work that makes a snarky remark about how little you are eating  -- some people can be downright unhelpful.

You can plan on it.  And if you plan on it, you can make contingency plans.  If it is common for your spouse to snack in the evening, talk to them about what you are trying to accomplish.  Explain to them what your thought process is and how you are trying to assess your hunger and fullness levels BEFORE the food is in front of you.

If you know it is likely for a coworker to snark on your success, play out the scenario in your head and find a suitably comfortable response to the likely situation. 

If you plan for the likely, you will have a much greater chance of sailing past these inevitable bumps in the road.  That way you don't get caught in them and have them send you sailing into the ditch.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Starting a journey

 Have you ever put any thought into how much fun it is to start a journey?  When I was a kid I loved packing, planning, getting my bag of toys ready to go -- starting is inherently positive!  Somethings gonna happen!!

I just opened up a post at Productivity 501 and the first picture to draw my attention was this one:
Just looking at this picture inspires me to write some kind of "set out on the journey of your new life" kind of post.....but what happens after???

Setting out on a journey might not seem that daunting -- but what happens when the exciting start of a new journey becomes just real life?  I am pretty sure that the crew of this ship have crabby work mates, days where the bank messes up their paycheck deposits, times when they are sick of sleeping in a teeny, tiny room.  That's real life for them -- not a vacation.

And you?  What happens after you set out on your new weight loss "journey of a lifetime"?  How do you keep your motivation when a journey of a lifetime starts looking like it's going to take a life time???

No....seriously!  I'm asking you.  How do you do it?  What keeps you going -- either losing weight or getting back onto track -- what is a more powerful motivator than inertia?

If you don't have 3 quick answers to these questions, it's time for you to do some exploring in your "own backyard".  You don't need to set out on an epic adventure just yet -- you need to figure out why you're doing what you're trying to do and why what you're doing is important to you.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thought for the Day....

When we lose twenty pounds... we may be losing the twenty best pounds we have! We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty. ~Woody Allen

Friday, October 15, 2010

Do something Friday

It always amazes me how ingrained our judgment of food is.  I talk and talk and talk to clients about how there REALLY isn't any "good" food or "bad" food and yet... even though they know this on an intellectual level, the judgment words still come out of their mouths as they describe their behaviors and the food they choose to eat.

Have you taken the time to listen to the words you use to talk about your food?  How many times do you still say you shouldn't have this food or "could have made better choices with dinner" -- phrases like that indicate you are still judging the quality of your food (which leads to judgment of yourself -- remnants of the diet mentality...not an all food fits mentality)

This weekend, spend some time listening to what your are verbalizing to others about the food you eat -- you may be surprised as just how judgmental you still are.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ray Bradbury

Below is an excerpt from an email I received from a girl near and dear to my heart.  She said she read it in Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury.

"Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together. Now, it's your turn. Jump!" I think it is inspiring, but not just for writing, life too. What do you think of the it?

So....What do you think about it?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Do you have the tools you need to be successful?

I have been pondering over an email a coworker sent me.  I had talked to her about setting up a group class for a group at her office (which would be super cool!) but that she hasn't been able to get any of the interested parties to commit. 

Here's the part I can't quite get my head around -- if a person doesn't need help cultivating mindfulness that is absolutely great! with me.  If they need help but don't mesh with me as a coach, that is okay too -- as long as they can find the assistance they need to be successful, that is what makes me happy.

But for those of us who are struggling to lose weight or maintain our weight loss -- the question is, do you have the tools you need to be successful?  Do you know what tools will help you most?

If you are dieting (or living under the dieting mentality), will-power is a tool you need.  The stronger and more disciplined you are, the easier it will be to regulate your weight-- because dieting relies on you telling yourself "no" ....a lot.

If you don't want to diet forever, will-power is not going to help you (will-power is a dieting tool and runs contradictory to mindfulness).  So then, what is the tool needed for non-dieting? could use exercise as a tool for non-diet weight management.  But what if I don't want to run 1 minute at 6.7 mph for EACH peanut M&M I eat?  What if life happens and I don't have enough time to manage my weight with exercise -- thus, making exercise a useful but unavailable tool to me?

Think about what tools you are relying on -- are they the right tools for the way you want to live your life?  Are you conforming to your tools?  Or are you looking for tools that conform to you (and not just "you" in the general sense -- "you" in the very specific sense of each one of you who are reading this right now!)  Sometimes, we buy into the idea that we can only accomplish a task in one way because those are the only way the tools will work -- this philosophy might be fine for building a tree house -- but it is not fine for building a healthier you.

So, give your tool selection some thought -- If you are still using the old stand-bys, you are going to get the same results the stand-bys always give you.  Maybe it's time to get more creative about your tool selection.

Need more information on getting the personalized tools for the one-of-a-kind-you, click here!


One of the things I enjoy the most about reading other people's blogs, is how much they inspire me.

Usually, it isn't coming up with a whole new life direction -- it is more subtle than that.  Usually, it is encouraging me to do the work I already know I need to do -- and to do it better and believe in that work more than I am currently doing.

I love the optimism sent to me, written for me (well....not to be too narcissistic -- I know it really isn't "just" for me).  But many times, the post seem to speak right to the heart of the matter I am wrestling with, kick me in the pants and get me moving in a direction that I have been meaning to get to but just not managed to yet.

Seth Godin just inspired me to work on my LinkedIn network -- yup....I have been thinking about that for a while and just not gotten to it.  CommonSenseHealth just invited me over to their new site to add to their top notch discussions.  It's all fine and dandy to know what you should be doing -- most of us do.  But it still leaves the question -- What are you doing about what you should be doing?  Today is the day to start doing.

An Upcoming Event!!

Just to remind you:

An Eating Coach Group Training Class is scheduled to start next Monday!

In this six week class, you can expect to learn to use the Eating Scale, change your perspective on how you categorize foods, and delve into the food/eating behaviors that trip you up and cause you gain weight back after you are "off" your diet.

Lots of practical knowledge about you and great support from others looking to boost their Mindful Eating behaviors!

Interested?  Click here for more details!

Monday, October 11, 2010


I just read an interesting article on orthorexia nervosa -- the obession of healthy eating.  Interestingly enough, you can get too much of a good thing.  The author used the working definition:

"(when)....the quality of the foods consumed is more important than the personal values, interpersonal relations, career plans and social relationships."

How many times have you found yourself letting food dictate all (or most or many) aspects of your life?  How many times has a new diet plan become paramount (think about cooking one meal for your family and then your diet food for yourself or not going out with friends because you would not be able to stick to your diet if you were with them).

On occasion, these are choices we all make -- on occasion, no big deal.

When food (or restriction of it) plays a large part in how we organize our day, are we really working toward a healthier, happier version of ourselves?  Or are we trying to control the our broken, will-powerless self to get to the weight we think we should be? 

How is all that control and food obsession helping you?  What happens when you can no longer exert that much control on yourself and you start binging on all of the things you have denied yourself for so long? 

Wouldn't a little more balanced approach work better in the long term?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bonus! A thought for the Day

From Brooke Castillo's blog today:

October 07, 2010

This seems like an innocent enough thought.

Seems like something that is most likely true.

Many of us spend a lot of our time thinking this in one form or another.

But, if you pay attention, you will notice this thought is very painful.

It takes us out of gratitude. It takes us out of this precious, present moment.

Your life shouldn't be better.

It should be what it is.

It was always meant to be this way.


This is the better.

Do something Friday

Eating without distraction.

In the last couple weeks, I have had several clients tell me they have worked on eating and not distracting themselves with anything else.  (So if you're reading this email while you are munching on your morning bagel or lunch.....this is the distraction I am talking about)

Reading the newspaper or a book
Mind wandering off into daydream

Distractions take your focus off the food.  People tend to eat more if they are doing something else while eating because eating, by itself, is just not that interesting after the first few bites.  And if it's not that interesting, it is easier to eat less because you are ready to move away from the meal because it has gotten boring.

This weekend -- pick a time where you can sit and eat without distraction.  Chew the food.  See how long you can sit there and just eat and pay attention to the food and your sensations without something else holding your attention. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Do you recognize the power of your situation?

You are never without power.  Food never has more power over you than you have over it.  When you underestimate or negate your power, you are giving your power away....but it doesn't mean you can't get it back.

People average 250 food choices every day.  I am asking you to make a few different choices.  Are you powerful enough to do that?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Agents of Change

Photographed by
 I just loved the title!!  Agents of change, to me, suggest enough action to make the world a more interesting place.  I just got done reading today's post from ProductiveFlourishing (again, another name I like because it seems so positive and action driven).  I loved the whole post -- I won't copy it here but I am going to give you the first couple paragraphs:

We often hear two seemingly contradictory statement from change agents:

  1. A series of small steps is the best way to get something done.
  2. You can’t cross a chasm in two small steps.
Both are true, but neither are sufficient at fully capturing reality.

There are two dynamics of change that we have to consider. The first dynamic is what I’m calling the stepping dynamic, and the second dynamic I’m calling the tipping dynamic. Both are real facets to the evolution of ourselves and the world.

Consider how an avalanche builds. Proponents of the stepping model would show that it’s just a series of snowflakes that stack on top of each other, but that doesn’t quite capture the dynamic tip that happens at the moment the snow starts moving. On the other hand, proponents of the tipping model often don’t account for the fact that without all those snowflakes, the tip would never occur.

Have you ever noticed that life doesn't play itself out in black and white?  I love the grey, truly, but it sure does make things more challenging sometimes!

So, stepping dynamic (as it applies to Mindful Eating) -- this is the part of the program where you are learning to pay attention to your sensations of hunger and fullness.  This is the part where you are actively journalling, asking yourself if you are physically hungry, and working really hard to listen to the answer.  This is the part that gets clients frustrated because it seems like "so much work".  This is where they envision staying everyday, every bite of food from now until forever.

Think of each time you ask yourself "am I hungry?" or "how full am I?" or "how does this 7th bite of pasta taste right now?" as a snowflake.  You might think that each one doesn't amount to much because each one is only probably responsible for 10 or 15 or 30 calories -- and you know as well as I do, if you have 20 or 30 or 100 pounds to lose, 10 or 30 calories isn't even a drop in the bucket. (yes, I know....mixed metaphors but it was the best I could come up with right now!)

Back to the snowflakes .....So each one individually doesn't really amount to much.  Here's where the tipping dynamic comes in.  Once you have a bunch of these little steps under your belt, the whole process becomes much easier.  You don't have to work as hard to remember to ask yourself if you are really hungry.  Recognition that you have reached a level 8 will just pop into your head without having to consciously remind yourself to check for the sensation.

And...just like the snow piling up in your street (coming soon), consistent flake accumulation adds up.  A big snow shower for 4 minutes isn't that big of a deal.  It's those lazy, large lake effect snowflakes that fall all afternoon and into the evening (even if they aren't falling that fast and furious) that will add up and change how your whole world functions.  And that is what we're going for here!  A bunch of small decisions to eat just a little bit less.  Making a conscious choice to leave somethings uneaten.  This is where weight loss and behavior changes comes from -- the stepping dynamic that turns into the tipping dynamic.