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?