Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Hi All!  For those of you who haven't been to class with me to discuss Michelle May, her wonderful books, and her outlook on the difference between mindful eating and dieting -- here is a wonderful!!  short article to explain the differences.


Seeking Balance -- sometimes it's not that easy

Gretchen, at The Happiness Project, brought up the discussion of opportunity costs today in her post.  It seems to resonate with the idea of discernmentI pick up this weekend from Dancing with the Dream.

Gretchen describes opportunity costs as When a resource (like time or money) is scarce, taking advantage of one opportunity means forgoing another opportunity.  And by this definition, we are talking about deciding between two good options.

So when you are using your resources to be more mindful of your eating, it is costing you the luxury of eating however and whatever you want without a care in the world.  Both of these eating styles have their merit and have their place in life.

The question then rounds back to discernment.  Discernment is being able to make a judgement about what it is you really want.  Sometimes, all I want is to sit on the couch, veg and eat something extremely salty -- yum!  But if I was doing that night after night, that would no longer be discernment, it would just be a calorically expensive habit.

On the other hand, my mom complains that all the "good food/bad food" labelling and dissection that goes on, has taken much of the joy out of eating the foods she grew up on since now she knows that the lard, bacon grease, and highly refined sugar (used in some of the best dishes I have ever eaten) are not "good" for her.  So, hyper-mindfulness can also be a problem.

So all of that being said, what it comes back down to (as with so many other things -- perhaps it is even the eternal quest of life?) is balance.  Balancing the needs of the moment with the needs of a lifetime.  Balancing rest, ease and peace with the action necessary to create a life full of health and happiness.  Being able to take the long view and still see what's right in front of you.

Eating is just one example in a life choke full of examples of things needing balance.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life is in the Doing

This afternoon I was giving some thought to how cool it would be to be a professional blogger.  Get to write all day -- surf the net looking for neat ideas to share.  Sit around in sweats and not worry about "punching a time clock".  So I gave this fantasy a little play time and then realized I really would enjoy that job but only for about a week.

Here's the thing though -- the internet is only so interesting.  Much of what I really love about life is found not just in the talking about thing but the actual doing of things.  Reading or watching golf is only so entertaining -- but once you try it, you either love it or hate it but it is entirely different that just thinking about it.

Much of what we talk about here comes from you.  My clients tell me stories, I read interesting studies that I think you might enjoy thinking about -- this is a forum to make connections.  The key to making connections useful and interesting is to see how they can be used in other areas of your life.  How can they improve your life?

Without the opportunities to make connections both with people and with information, my life would be less interesting and I would be less effective in the "doing" end of things.

So how about you?  How do you use this blog?  Are you one of the people who reads and finds it interesting but then shrugs it off as you put the first coffee mug of the day in the sink?  Or are you one of those people who is using this to jump start your conversations about eating with yourself and others?

I will absolutely keep you if you're here just to think about things and lightly try them out.  What I hope, though, is that you are talking about your eating habits and patterns of mindfulness with people whose opinions matter to you.  That is one of the reasons I love this forum -- you can share your thoughts/victories/ and seeming defeats with the rest of us and expect to get support, encouragement and a fresh set of eyes focusing on the issues.

Keep talking, keep thinking, keep making those connections -- both with information and with people.  Mindfulness comes from deliberately paying attention to what is going on around you so that you can act on it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Watching the Grass Grow

This weekend, I spent some time sitting on my deck reading.  The book wasn't holding my attention and I found myself gazing out onto my lawn.

A few years ago, when I moved to this house, the lawn was really new.  It didn't look so much like a lawn as a really short corn field with the grass seeds just sprouting in rows with very larges bare spaces between the sprouts.  It has taken a couple of years but with some attention and fertilizer, the yard is looking pretty good.  There are still some small bare patches where the grass hasn't filled in all the way but I am pleased with the progress.

I am sure it would have come in quicker if I had installed a sprinkler system but I have issues with using drinkable ground water for watering the grass (not to mention paying for the electricity, water, etc to make the grass grow so I can spend more time and gas to mow it).  The point is, the yard is coming in slow but sure and I am happy about how it is looking.  By the end of summer, it might even look great!

My lawn is a lot like creating a habit of mindful eating.  When you start, you might see some nice rows of neatly sprouting mindfulness but there are going to be bare spots between them -- the bare spots might even be pretty big.

But with some attention, education, and practice, the mindfulness starts to fill in and spread.  It might take longer than you want but your mindfulness will grow so that it covers all of your life.  When you work on your mindful eating practices like this, you let the elements of your life (parties, happy times, sad times, busy and boring times) play a role in nurturing your habits.  There might be some times where you forget to be mindful -- but when the practice is slowly (and therefore sustainably) grown, you are putting deep roots down for your behavior change.  This is a natural cycle of grow, nourish, and grow again.  The filling in process will happen naturally without overwhelming your resources and time.

I have to admit, it frustrates me that I don't have a gorgeous yard yet.  On the other hand, I haven't had to give up any of my fun summer activities to make sure I am home to water, fertilize, mow, seed, etc.  -- you know, all those things that are necessary to get a beautiful lawn in one or two seasons.  And summer is too short to let your lawn (or your weight loss) run your life.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Do something Friday

Do you live in a reactionary world?

Reacting is an interesting response.  We live in a culture that seems prone to reacting to situations.  Not much of what happens in life is THAT unexpected.  Perhaps the timing of an event might suprise us -- but the actual event would probably not be that unexpected if we had taken the time to look up from all the "important" stuff we were doing to see what was happening in the world around us.

Take, for example, your work environment.  In most jobs I have come across, there is a pretty big cause and effect factor.  If you know your job and take the time to think about things, most of what happens could be anticipated reasonably well.  When I am successful in anticipating a likely scenario, I can make a plan or have an idea of how I need to deal with that situation.  It doesn't sneak up on me.

Another issue with reacting being your go-to M.O. is you are always at the mercy of someone or something else.  What ever is causing you to react has all the power -- you never get to chose a path -- your situations are always in charge of your life.

Reacting happens a lot when we are uncomfortable.  The tendency is for us to feel the discomfort and make a change to stop it.  When a reactionary person is in an uncomfortable situation, they either run away from it, quickly work to change the situation so it is more tolerable, or zone out thus removing themselves from the discomfort.

Many of us have been taught hunger is an uncomfortable situation -- that hunger sneaks up on us and hits us over the head with a frying pan.  --Not true.

The sensation of hunger doesn't have to be uncomfortable -- it can be just another sensation - like hot or cold, that will need to be addressed but doesn't need to run your life.

Many times clients will tell me that they hate the sensation of hunger and do anything to avoid it (thus eating a ton more calories to ward off hunger that isn't there).  Remember what hunger is -- it is your body's signal you need calories for energy.  Acting on this signal means recognizing it when the hunger level is small and making a plan to eat something -- you are in charge of that decision and can make appropriate choices.  You can act on your sensation.

We get into trouble when we don't pay attention to the small level of hunger and end up feeling crazy hungry -- which sends us running for the nearest fast food or vending machine, eating way too much too quickly and then feeling stuffed, guilty, and defeated because we feel our body's have betrayed our intentions to lose weight.  The feeling most clients don't like is not hunger -- it is the crazy, overpowering, out of control hunger that sends them into reaction mode.

The key to dealing with this is paying attention.  Hunger is pretty anticipatable.  If you don't eat for a while, you are going to get hungry.  If you wait longer, you are going to get more hungry.  If you check in with your body once in a while during the work day, you will notice the small sensations and be able to act on them.  You won't be at the mercy of an uncomfortable situation because it will be a situation you recognize and can act on.  But the real key to giving up the reactionary life is to be aware of your surroundings (both in your internal environment and external environment) -- that way there aren't as many opportunities for nasty surprises.

This weekend, start looking for reaction responses.  Is there a way to anticipate what is likely to happen and turn that reaction into just action?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Are you a Recreational Dieter?

Is dieting such a part of your life that you assume you will have to be "on a diet" or "off a diet" for the rest of your life?  Can you envision a diet-free existence?

It strikes me sometimes that people don't want to lose weight as much as they want to talk about how hard they are trying to lose weight.  Or how little they eat.  Or how they know exactly how to "do" the program they are "doing". 

People like to be right.  Or, more importantly, they hate to be wrong about themselves.

I HATE to be wrong about myself  -- and it doesn't even have to be about something earth shattering.  It took me, literally, 3 years...36 come to grips with the fact that I wanted to get rid of my beloved, fabulous, absolutely perfect, cute-girl-truck and buy an SUV.  Not because anyone was making me but because my tastes had changed and I was ready to have a more functional (read boring) vehicle.  3 years of grappling with an image of myself as a truck-driving-girl --- seem silly???

People identify with being on a diet.  Hearing people talk about dieting is sometimes like hearing people talk about their Harley Davidson -- it's a club.  People connect around diets.  If you've had the experience of losing a great deal of weight and people ask you about your experience, do you get that same feeling of acceptance and connection from that conversation?

Sometimes, I think we are afraid to let go of the idea that you don't need to diet because you might lose that feeling of dieting (notice I didn't say weight loss) support that striking up a "dieting conversation" brings.

So the question becomes -- are you willing to reevaluate whether dieting has become part of your self-concept?  Is it something you do so you fit in to your world?  and most importantly -- are you willing to change?  You've got time to answer the questions -- no rush -- 36 months is a long time :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Good ideas must die ???

Tuesday morning (bright and early, I might add) found me on the road with my boss.  However we ended up there, the subject lighted on the idea that new ideas/concepts (even plants for that matter) won't grow unless there is space created for them.  If your garden is choke full of flowers, there isn't any space for new varieties to bloom.

If your business is choke full of good ideas you are working on, you can't just keep adding new projects to the mix because there aren't enough resources available to cultivate them.

Yesterday, I asked you "what makes your heart sing?"  -- you don't have infinite resources to keep adding personal and professional projects on your plate -- at some point, something has got to give.

I was looking for inspiration for today's post and GapingVoid had the cartoon above as it's Biz Card of the Day.  The message was right on target with the conversation I had this morning.  And in line with some of what we talked about yesterday. 

Sometimes, you have to give things up.  Period.  Now...don't be sad.  Don't get mopey.  You don't have to give up anything you don't want to -- remember, I don't want you feeling deprived!  But sometimes even good ideas need to be let go of so you can give the great ones a chance to develop.

For example:  Let's say you think it's a good idea to eat more vegetables and fruits than you currently do.  THAT is your weight loss plan.  It is a solidly good idea.  You can ask anyone -- everyone will agree with you -- eating more vegetables and fruits is a good idea.  But what if you don't like veggies and fruit???

Are you ready to let this good idea go and create some space for a great one to emerge?  What if you stopped forcing yourself to eat a salad at every meal and work on eating your potato chips out of a small bowl when you sit in front of the TV in the evening?


If you made a commitment to put all of the cookies you eat on a plate and sit down at the table with no distractions (no reading your favorite magazine while munching!) and eat as many as you can focus on.

Maybe one of these would be the GREAT idea that helps you achieve your weight success.  There's only so much time and attention you can pay to your eating -- you need to find the GREAT ideas!  The good ideas will only get you so far....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What is it you really want out of life?

Over the last year or so, I have been reading a lot about Social Media and the new model emerging for business.  Now, it might just be the authors I have been drawn to but it seems to me there are a lot of people out there talking about doing what you love.  Both in the professional and personal sense, it seems that there is a new emphasis on passion for life.

It has really inspired me because, honestly, I love!!! most of what I get to do in a day.  Sure, there are thing on my to-do list that I have to just gut through but for the most part, I like going to work.  And then I like leaving work and going home to do the things I get to do there, too.

I don't think this just happens.  And I don't think I am particularly lucky in the sense that some how passion for what I get to do was just conferred on me through no effort on my part.  Maybe part of it is luck (or the Universe or God or whatever) and part of it is being willing to look up from the day to day tasks and see if there is something out there that I should be working toward.  (and there almost always is ... and there is almost always an uncomfortable feeling that accompanies that realization)

So what makes your heart sing?  What do you want to create today (and don't tell me you're too busy to think about this or create something today -- we're all busy)?  And here's why it is important to your eating habits and weight:

Most of us eat recreationally.  We do it because we're bored, angry, anxious, we're feeling uninspired.  Those are not healthy reasons to eat!!

If you are getting inspiration from other areas of your life, we a) won't have time and b) won't have the inclination to misguidedly search for inspiration from food -- you will be charged up on your new project (whatever that is). 

It's worth a try, don't you think?  It's summer -- the time for trying something new, making changes, making plans, living life.  But you have to start today -- because right now is all you're sure you'll get.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Here's what I learned this weekend....

This weekend, like people all over my county and state, I was without power.  From sometime Friday night until sometime late Sunday afternoon, there was no electricity to be had.   I talk about mindfulness a lot.  You would think I would be better at being mindful, being grateful for things than this weekend proved me to be.  Here are a couple of the things I learned:

  • The prospect of taking my clothes to the laundromat strikes fear into my heart.
  • No matter how many times I go into the bathroom and flip the light switch, if the power is out, it still won't turn on.
  • You can't make any kind of lunch if you a) can't open the refrigerator door and b) can't use the electric stove.
  • It's not much fun to eat when your choices are coming out of a can and can't be warmed up.
I can't stress it enough -- it wasn't fun to eat.  Yes...we did get take out (and that was a thousand times better than something cold and out of a can) but my snacking was seriously cut down.  There was so much awareness of not being able to look into the fridge to see if I could some up with something fun to eat because every time I felt myself starting to head into the kitchen, the voice in my head said there wasn't really any point. much do I really graze???

But the other interesting thing is that I didn't starve to death.  I ate much less this weekend than I have in weekends past and I was more active outside (there wasn't any TV to watch or computer to play on) -- so I'm sure I burned more calories than some other weekends -- but I didn't get significantly more hungry. 

Most all of us could do with eating less than we do.  Maybe we don't want to -- but we could -- and we would be just fine.  Put your kitchen off limits for a period of time and see how you adjust.  Notice that as you practice not going in there, it becomes just another habit -- it happened pretty quick for me  -- just a couple days without power.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Do something Friday

How much water do you drink?  Notice I didn't say fluids -- I said water.  Not only does water have no calories, it is exactly what we need to replace the fluids we lose during this warmer weather.  Many of us misinterpret our thirst for hunger -- so not only are we increasing our number of calories when we eat instead of drink, we aren't giving our body what it really wants.

This weekend, when you think you are hungry, drink a glass of water first.  Not as a way to cut calories but as an attempt to become more in tune with your sense of thirst.  It is heating up outside (thank goodness!) and we are going to be sweatin' more as we mow the lawn, walk to the corner, and take the trash out. 

As you drink the water, pay attention to how it makes you feel.  If you are dehydrated (and it doesn't take much dehydration -- only 2-3% fluid loss)  your thinking less clear and  you feel tired and sluggish.  I can lose that amount of fluid mowing my yard -- and that only takes 45 minutes.

Grab a bottle this weekend and start drinking.  With more fluid on board, I bet you are going to feel more energized and more awake.  Wow!  I don't know anyone who would turn that down!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Overeating on Healthy Food

Recently, I have had a number of conversations with people about "healthy food".  It seems we all understand the concept of not overeating when we crack open that box of Twinkies -- it might not stop us...but we understand that it isn't such a good choice to eat Twinkies until we are stuffed.

Often, though, people seem to think that it is okay to overeat on "healthy" food.  Like the calories you get from baked chicken, brown rice and a garden salad are going to be processed differently than the calories you get from a Twinkie  --  they' re not.

The definition of overeating is eating any time you are not physically hungry. matter what your food choice...when you are eating in the absence of your body's signal that you need calories to continue doing what you're doing (hunger signals) are overeating and those calories will be stored as fat.  Period.

All right -- we overeat all the time -- that is true.  A little here and a little there -- that piece of birthday cake in the break room you just can't pass up.  The dinner you're not hungry for but the family is ready to eat.  It happens and it is not a problem.

The problem is when people justify their overeating because it is "healthy" food.  Like having nutrients is going to make it okay  --  you don't need the nutrients right then -- you aren't hungry.  Therefore, even the "healthy food" isn't all that healthy since it is just getting turned into fat for storage  ---  it that the kind of health you're looking for???

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

80% Full

I recently had a client come to me and ask if my goal was for her to stop eating when she is 80% full.  I hadn't really every thought about quantifying it like that.  But let's give it some thought:

Let's say 100% full is measure by anytime you leave the table having any thoughts at all about your waistband being tight, that you shouldn't have eaten that last helping or feeling like you need to take a nap. 

Thanksgiving (if you tend to get stuff there) is extra credit.  You have moved Heaven and Earth to be able to accomodate the extra food you eat on Thanksgiving.

80% then would be a great goal!  Think of a gallon zip lock bag -- what would 80% full look like?  Now put your two fists together -- if that is the size of your stomach, what would 80% of that look like?

The trick of this is that it takes some finesse to hit 80% and not go over.  Think about how much brain power it would take to fill up your gas tank to 80% ?  You can do it but you have to think about it because the hard stop doesn't work for 80% -- it only works for 100%.

So, see what you can do with this.  Maybe you're a numbers/quantification person and this seems more sensible (measureable) to you.  However you conceptualize it, the goal is to eat a bit less.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Get creative

You know how I am always telling you to get creative with your weight loss....losing weight for the long term is about finding something that works in your life - not superimposing a weight loss way of life over your existing life (quite frankly, that is too much life going on right there).  Well, here is a good example of some women that did that.....

Yesterday, I watched The Secret Life of Women: Extreme Weight Loss.  The show tells the story of 3 women who have been successful losing 100's of pounds of weight.  It's not very overly dramatic and the women are pretty honest about what has worked for them in the past (and what did not).

The thing that I find endlessly fascinating is that each one of these women (much like all of you) needed to find their own path.  My path won't work for you, neither will any other "expert's", nor even your best friend's.  The idea is for you to look around and become inspired by what you see and then put your own special twist on things to make it yours and sensible to you.

One of the women in this show actually started using YouTube to document her weight loss as a way to be accountable to someone (or 15,000 someones) about her everyday choices  -- she runs a video blog.

What do you need to be successful -- I am pretty sure you already know the answer to that -- you might not know how to make it happen for yourself yet but that's something different.

Give it some thought -- wish you were Oprah so you could afford a personal trainer and chef -- there are ways to get that support without spending a million dollars.

Wish that you could take some time out and move to Biggest Loser land so you could concentrate on what needs to be done for your health?? -- maybe you can't step out of your life just know but there are ways to create spaces of time to make your changes happen.

Just need a task master to keep you on track?  Again, there are a million ways to make this happen -- the challenge is to find one that works for you.  Get creative in your problem solving -- don't close your mind to any of the ideas that pop in just because they are new.

Who knows -- maybe you will be the next video blogger success and I will be able to say I knew you when...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Normal v. Optimal

As an adult, it is "normal" for you to be on either a blood pressure lowering drug and/or a cholesterol lowering drug and/or a diabetes medication.  A vast majority of our population is.

As an adult, it is "normal" to eat 3,790 calories per day (that is an actual statistic -- not something I just made up). 

So -- think about when you sit down with a group of peers -- do you eat as much as they do?  Do you take as many meds as they do?  Do you want to be normal?


Do you want to eat less than they do, stop having to take as many meds as they do, and live an optimal life in optimal health?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Losing It

Change is hard.


I just spent the last 43 minutes watching Jillian Michael's new reality show Losing It. I have, in the past, avoided her shows like the plague. I just don't like the screaming and drama -- argh! Today, however, it struck me that she probably is doing something right since people seem to love her despite (or maybe because of) her screaming at them. Oh...and did I mention that her show is On Demand right now -- so I didn't have to plan my day around her or anything.

So... 43 minutes of her working with a family in their home and in their gym. The thing that suprised me the most (since, again, I am not a Biggest Loser fan) was that she didn't spend that much of the show with them in the gym. She spent the biggest part of the show talking to the family members, finding out what was going on in their heads. Because, and this shouldn't be a news flash to most of us, food isn't the problem -- lack of exercise isn't the problem -- it is almost always your head that causes the body to go down the path of weight gain.

My biggest connection to the show came when Jillian was talking to the daughter of the family (who had undergone bariatic surgery already, btw) and Jillian asked her:

"Why would you choose to fail when success is an option?"

Why would anybody? Why not success? You have to go one way or the other, right?

The best I can come up with is that change is hard. Sometimes, it is only a little hard/scary/nerve wracking. And sometimes it is hugely distruptive, smack you in the face, think your gonna die painful. And that is what life is about. Pain and triumph. Learning, changing and growing. If it is isn't at least a little uncomfortable, you aren't pushing yourself.

The discomfort of a change is why most people give up an exercise goal. Don't let anyone kid you -- it doesn't feel comfortable to train hard. People who are physically fit and active have come to some kind of understanding that the discomfort is okay, tolerable, and actually a positive thing -- it signals they are working hard enough to stress their body into change.

The discomfort of eating less is why most people give up on a weight loss goal. Again, it isn't comfortable to eat less than you are used to. Not only do you have to think about it and make a conscious choice about smaller portions, you have to actually start appreciating the benefits of not feeling so full or you will be back to your larger portions in no time.

But it is possible for you to be ultimately successful. And because of that, I'll ask you Jillian's question:

"Why would you choose to fail when success is an option?"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Starting a conversation.....

Perhaps you are already up on the maelstrom that has accompanied this picture (actually it's an add for the T-shirt).  But for those of you that have missed it, what do you think of the shirt?  It is what I preach here but would it hit you differently if you saw the ad or your daughter came home from the mall wearing the shirt?

(I'll fill you in on the details later -- first I want your reaction)  Click the comment button just under the post -- you don't need to sign in or anything.  Don't be shy -- let your voice be heard!

And for those of you getting this via email:  zip your comments off to and I will  post them for you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

4 minutes

Again, Seth Godin is a genius!

I was reading a back post and came across a sentance (regarding an entirely different subject) that so applies to weight control, eating, and everything else in life, I can't make the font big enough. 

If it's important enough to spend an hour complaining about, it's certainly important enough to spend four minutes to just do it in the first place.


4 minutes -- 4 minutes of attention can save to hours and hours of stress, grief, guilt, doctor visits, trips to the pharmacy to pick up for blood pressure or diabetes meds.  4 minutes of attention might be all it takes for you to realize how good you feel when you are tuned into what your body is telling you.  4 minutes of conscious attention might start you on a path to a more consciously engaged relationship with yourself, your spouse, your kids, your best friend.............

Next time you start to complain (to youself or someone else) about your weight, recognize how much time you are willing to devote to the subject.  Could that time be better spent?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Brooke Castillo's Conversation

Are you this client?

Brooke: What would your life be like if you could only eat when you're hungry?

Client: Horrible. That would suck.

Brooke: Why?

Client: Because when it tastes so good it makes me happy.

Brooke: So, overeating makes you happy?

Client: Yeah. Sometimes.

Brooke: How do you know you are happy when you are overeating?

Client: What do you mean?

Brooke: Are you smiling? Laughing? Feeling joyous inside your body?

Client: Um. No. Actually I think I'm feeling guilty.

Brooke: While you are overeating?

Client: Yeah.

Brooke: So overeating makes you feel guilty? Not happy?

Client: Right. So I guess happy isn't the right word. It comforts me.

Brooke: Overeating comforts you?

Client: Yes. Like when I am out to dinner with friends. Or after a long day of work.

Brooke: So what is comforting about it? Is it physically comfortable when you overeat?

Client: No, not physically. It is actually physically uncomfortable. Emotionally it is comforting.
Brooke: How does overeating emotionally comfort you? How do you know you are comforted?

Client: Well, it feels better than trying not to eat it. Let me put it that way.

Brooke: Ok. So it feels bad not to overeat and it also feels bad to overeat? Is that what you are saying?

Client: It feels bad after I overeat. During it feels good. It tastes good.

Brooke: So when you overeat food that tastes good, you feel good?

Client: Hmmmm. Well I guess not. No. I feel physically uncomfortable, guilty, and kinda anxious while I am doing it-not just after.

Brooke: So, what I hear you saying is that to avoid feeling bad, you eat and feel bad.

Client: (Laughing) Oh my God. Totally!

Brooke: Being unhappy when you aren't eating, doesn't mean you will be happy when you are eating.

Client: Seriously. You're Right! I have been telling myself that the reason I am unhappy is because I can't eat all of it-but that is not true. Because I am unhappy when I do eat all of it!! I am unhappy either way!

Brooke: So maybe overeating isn't the solution. Maybe doing something that feels bad is not the solution to not feeling bad.

Client: But I can't help it.

Brooke: But maybe the reason you haven't been able to help it is because you have been believing the lie that overeating makes you feel good. And when I ask you to give up overeating, you are telling yourself that you will have to feel bad and give up feeling good. But really, you aren't giving up feeling good. Overeating doesn't really feel good to you. In fact, you know that if you start off feeling unhappy and you add extra food and weight to your body, you will feel worse.

Increasing the problem to relieve your feelings about the problem doesn't make much sense, right?

Client: Wait a minute. So what you are saying is that the reason I overeat is because I have been telling myself it feels better than not overeating? AND THAT HAS BEEN A LIE?? I can see it's a lie now, but seriously, how could I not see that before?

Brooke: You weren't looking for it. You were overeating instead. Overeating pulls you away from yourself. It is the opposite of awareness.

Client: So overeating, in the moment I am doing it, feels as bad as not overeating?! And the only reason I didn't know that is because I was lying to myself about it? I was not paying attention to the fact that I wasn't feeling good as I was doing it. I was telling myself that it felt good and made me happy to overeat? And that's why I couldn't stop myself?

Brooke: Yes.

What would your life be like if you could only eat when you were hungry?

The Gratitude Diet

A friend and client recently returned from a trip to Africa.  He was there on family business (so it wasn't a touristy, safari kind of trip)   As we talked about his trip, he inspired me to cultivate more gratitude in my life.

He said in the area he visited, a good many of the people were really happy with their standard of living -- but then added that their standard of living (that they are ecstatic about) is much much below ours (which some of us are pretty blase about).  Sure, we have it tough.  Many of us are still doing everything we can in tough economic times, just to stay in our home -- but our home is a 2800 sq. ft. house with a swimming pool and 3 car garage.  We've had to cut back and turn in our leased Lexus but we're still driving a new Impala.  Not exactly roughing it in the grand world scheme of things.

He continued to talk about his trip, the food, his hotel.  All of it made me think how much I take for granted in a day.  I turn on my tap and clean water comes out.  I might not like how it tastes -- or that it leaves a rust ring on my tub -- but I won't die from drinking it.

And what about the food I eat?  How much gratitude do I experience each day when I open up the fridge and look inside?  Sure, there are times when I am so hungry that I am truly real-time grateful for what I am eating -- but compared to the amount of eating I do -- what is that percentage of time???

And what if that is how I arranged my world?  What if I worked on only eating what I was grateful for?  How many doughnuts, Twix at 3 in the afternoon, sodas as big as my head, and that one last slice of pizza would I leave uneaten, if I stopped eating when I could no longer summon gratitude for the bite I was about to put in my mouth?

Much like most of us could live in a smaller house than we do and be just fine -- much like most of us could drive a less-nice car than we do and be just fine -- most of us could eat a great deal less food (putting us more in line with the volume much of the world eats) and be just fine .... if we wanted to and if we tried.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hi all!  I didn't forget you this morning -- the blog host was having techinical difficulty.  Just another example of why we need to be flexible :)  See you tomorrow morning (I hope!)

It's not Okay

According to a recent FastCompany article, we spend $2.5 trillion dollars on healthcare in the US annually. And much of this is spent treating type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity -- all of these are largely preventable health issues.

How long can we continue to go on this way? How long can we teach are children that it is okay to order the large anything at a fast food drive-in (or a deli for that matter). It isn't okay. It isn't okay for you to keep gaining weight.

Not because there is any one way to look and if you are not thin you are not okay -- but because you are not nurturing yourself. It is not okay to keep using food as a substitute for friends or activity or stress reduction -- because it masks the problems and does not solve them.

It is not okay to say that you must just be this way. Or to say there isn't any way you can eat less, you already eat hardly anything right now -- your waistline says something else.

It is not okay to say you have tried everything and nothing has worked. Get creative, try something new, ask for help. This is your life we are talking about. It is about giving your family and friends more time on this Earth with you. It is about living your life to the fullest you can imagine and not regretting letting your weight stop you from doing anything. It is about creating a nation of healthy people instead of a nation where most of us are obese, on insulin and always take the stairs because we can't climb a flight of stairs without becoming out of breath. That is not okay.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Do something Friday

Respect.  Are you treating yourself with respect? 

The other day, I had a conversation in which the other person ended up doing "the right thing".  We were debating the pros and cons of the situation and came to an acceptable outcome but as I walked away from the conversation, things just didn't feel right.

The" not right" feeling has bothered me all this week and I couldn't figure out why until just last night.  The decision was made and seeingly made in a positive direction but it was made without respect for the parties involved.  It was more like giving in.  Or giving up.

It hit me, again, how important respect is.  When you are doing a great job being mindful of what you are putting into your body, are you doing it to beat your body into the shape it needs to be? Or are you doing it because your body allows you to get a ton of things done in a day and you are trying to take care of it the best way you know how?

Earlier this week, I asked if you were modeling the eating behavior you want the kids in your life to adopt.  Again, that can be a matter of respect.  You are respecting them enough to guide them in their choices in a very visible way.

Treating yourself with respect can feel very right.  Once you understand how good it feels, it doesn't take a lot of willpower to maintain that respectful relationship with yourself (which is good because we don't always have a lot of extra willpower).

So give it some thought.  As the stale donut is in your hand, heading toward your mouth, ask yourself "Is eating this donut respectful to my body?"  Sometimes (if you like stale donuts) it might be.  And sometimes (if you just weren't paying attention to what your hand was doing) it might not be.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The weight is not the problem

Weight loss sells.  Weight is what most clients are worried about and what they want to change.  Weight is the most visible manifestation of what is out of balance in clients lives.  Lose weight and the people at your office are going to notice and give you credit (and possibly be secretly or not so secretly jealous).

On the other hand, if you make changes to your eating behaviors and bring your cholesterol levels down by 30 point,s sans Lipitor, no one can see that.  You won't really inspire jealousy.  But weight isn't the real problem here.

You are not unhealthy because you weight too much.  You weight too much because you are choosing to partake in unhealthy behaviors too often.  Change how you behave and your weight will come down as a byproduct.

Eating a little bit less means less strain on your insulin producing pancreas -- diabetes risk goes down.

Eating a little bit less means less means you are eating less of the things that raise your cholesterol levels.

Eating a little bit less means you will have more energy (because you aren't digesting that big amount of food) after dinner so you feel like going for a stroll with your spouse. 

Eating less and getting a little bit healthier means you won't have to take meds for cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes -- which means you won't have all that medicine gook in your body that it has to clean up and remove.  You won't have the side effects of the drugs (that really aren't side effects -- they are actual effects of the drugs, we just don't like them).

And don't even get me started on the stress you will get rid of ......

Being more mindful of your choices opens up your eyes to options.  It isn't about being  "perfectly healthy" -- that can't be done.  It is about looking for opportunities to make small changes and letting those changes add up over time. 

You didn't start out overweight.  Your current weight is an accumulation of every choice you have made.  Why not get that process working for you in a direction you like???

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Last night I was hungry -- and lazy --  and didn't want to get up from where I was and go to the kitchen to make something to eat because I was tired.

It got me thinking that sometimes we forget what hunger is.  Hunger is your body telling you it needs calories right now -- otherwise, it is going to have to take energy out of storage to meet its needs.

If you are trying to lose weight, you are going to need to feel hunger (at least once in a while) and make peace with the feeling. I am not talking about being so starving you are going to fall over or hungry enough to feel sick -- we are talking about being willing to let yourself feel hunger and not do anything to change it.

I read somewhere recently that Americans would rather deal with the long-term discomfort of being overweight than feel the short-term discomfort of hunger.  Why is that?  What does hunger feel like to you?  Could a level 3 hunger become the comforting feeling that you are losing weight?