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.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's holding you back?

Are you afraid of jumping into mindfulness with both feet?  Is it fear that if you ate every time you were physically hungry you would gain 1000 pounds in a week?  Are you afraid to become curious about your behaviors because you think there is something there is something there inherently broken and beyond fixing?  Deep down, do you think you are going to fail anyway so why bother?

But your weight bothers you!  You spend a lot of time worrying about how you look, which clothes will fit, how you will possibly make it through the holidays -- do you want to live this way forever?  Is this what you think life has to be?

It's not.

You can find your natural weight.  You can learn to eat and enjoy your food with ease and grace.  EVERYONE who wants to put the training time in can acheive this.  No muss, no fuss.

You can reconnect with your sensations of hunger and fullness. 

You can learn to taste what is currently in your mouth without worrying about what the next bite is going to be or if there is going to be enough.

But first you have to figure out what EXACTLY what is holding you back.  Are you willing to take a look at yourself in the mirror and figure out the answer to that question?

Monday, October 4, 2010

What did you notice?

Did you spent some time getting letting your hunger build this weekend?  What did you notice about those physical sensations?  Were you surprised at how the experiment went?  Or did you forget to do it in the hustle and bustle of the weekend?  Each answer will tell you something about where you are choosing to spend your attention.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Do something Friday

When was the last time you let your physical hunger guide your eating for a day? 

This weekend, take the time to be guided by your internal cues for a day.  Let yourself get hungry -- not sick -- just growly (think level 2).  Then when you are ready to eat something, sit down in a calm environment with no distractions and pay attention to the taste, texture, and smell of your food. 

Eat until you're satisfied and then -- no matter what it still on your plate -- put the food away until the next time you are physically hungry.  --Just for a day, give it a try.  You might be surprised at how what you notice about your eating patterns.