Friday, December 30, 2011

Do something Friday....

Yesterday, I told you about the book The Flinch.
Today, I'm going to encourage you to commit to something that makes you flinch.  Whether it's an exercise program or changing the way you eat -- the New Year is a great time to make a fresh start.

But here's the difference:

I want you to commit to it for a year.  2012: The Year of _________.

What's it going to be?

Write it out.  Commit to it.  Post it somewhere.

Need help sticking to it?  Try this service.  It lets you set up your goal and then emails you reminders to post your progress.  For extra incentive, you can put some money on the line.  Every time you do not achieve your goal for the week, it will make a donation to your charity of choice (and charge your credit card for it!).

It is easier than ever to hire an e-coach, join a group trying to make the same changes you are, get educated (although sometimes people spend so much time educating themselves they never act on the education), find the resources you need to be successful in your behavior change.

The one thing none of us can do for you is make the decision and get started.  That's your job -- get to work!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Flinch

I just read a book by Julien Smith called The Flinch.  I love him almost as much as I love Seth Godin -- they're of the same vein (although Julien swears a lot more -- so be warned if you go to his blog!)  No swearing worries in the book though.

The book spends its time talking about the automatic reflex we are all born with to pull back when something outside our comfort zone hits us.  On the very first page, Julien uses the example of boxers -- you have to get over the reflex to pull back when you're about to get hit, if you ever want to become a boxer.

I have no desire to become a boxer.  I don't really ever want to experience getting hit in the face.  But I do want to grow as a person and that means change.  Which, let's face it, might sometimes be worse than getting hit in the face.

We're hard wired to avoid change.  Change is a challenge that, when we were hunter gatherers, we didn't have the luxury of exploring.  Our environment dictated how we were going to spend our days -- change meant taking time to adjust -- which meant we might starve to death or get eaten by a bear if we didn't adapt fast enough.

Fortunately, that isn't our experience today.  The likelihood of me getting eaten by a bear is really small.  We have new battles to fight and a new environment to adjust to.  We have food available at every corner of our modern world and we don't have to move very much to get it (or get anything else, for that matter).

Today, it actually requires less front-end effort to be overweight and unhealthy than it does to be fit.

But notice I said front-end effort. 

You can either put in the work now (park farther away from your destination, take every set of stairs you can find, go out of your way to understand your hunger/fullness signals, package up part of your restaurant meal so you don't overeat...) or you can put in your work later (more doctors appointments because you have diabetes, visits to your cardiologist to check on your stents, trips to the drug store to pick up your blood pressure meds, visits to your orthopedist because your knees and hips are killing you.....).

Near as I can tell, we don't get out of this life without doing the work. (well....unless we do get eaten by the bear).  Our best bet is to pick the kind of work we want to do.....or maybe we don't want to do it but it's the work we can live with. 

Me?  I like choices (even if change scares the pants off me).  I want to create a life that gives me as many options as possible.

Need some inspiration or a kick in the pants?  Read Julien's book, Flinch!  The upside is it's free -- the downside is right now it's only available for Kindles.  Borrow one if you have to -- it's worth taking the time to understand the flinch you feel whenever I suggest keeping a food journal, letting yourself get physically hungry, or committing to an exercise program.  That flinch you feel, it's telling you something.

About the book.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I don't have time.....

Yes, you do.  You have exactly as much time as anyone else.  We all only get 24 hours.  Sure, yours are full.  Mine are full too.  Shoot!  Even a toddler's day is full  -- it's full of different stuff but let's face it, the kid's busy all day!  Maybe you're trying to earn a living, keep the house clean, repair the car, and shovel the driveway clear.  You're busy -- believe me, I get that.  But it really comes down to priorities.
Are you ready to let some other things slide (so your house isn't spotless or your kids have to cook dinner a couple night a week) so you can get healthy?

Small changes in how you eat (we've talked about that -- just a 9 bite reduction per day) will start your weight loss.

Just small amounts of extra movement (as little as 10-20 minutes) will start you on your path to a healthier self.

Are you telling me you can't find 20 minute and 9 bite in your day?  Of course you can.  The question is -- are you willing to look?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More no and more yes

The interesting thing about how many of us approach food is how automatically "no" oriented it is.

No carbs.

No fats.

No sweets.

No junk.

We tell ourselves no....a lot.

But we don't tell ourselves yes.

Yes, I am making a healthy choice.

Yes, I am making a guilt-free choice.

Yes, I am doing this and I feel good about it.

What if we reframes our no's?

No, this food doesn't taste good -- it is not worth the calories.

No, I am not hungry.  I am not going to finish the food on my plate.

No, I don't want desert.  I am choosing to be finished with my meal.

There really isn't anything wrong with no's and there's nothing particularly virtuous about yes's -- it's all in how they're used.  Are you making choices or running on autopilot?  Do you recognize the no or the yes running through your mind as you make those choices?

Mindful eating is all about deliberately choosing the no or the yes to suit your purpose: feeding your body or fueling your soul.  Sometimes food can do that and other times it can't.  Do you know the difference??

Monday, December 26, 2011

Thought for the Day -- on looking back.....

"Then at some point, for some stupid reason, I asked him what he was going to do.  And he grew serious.

--Mostly, he said, I've been thinking about what I'm not going to do.  When I think of the last few years, I've been hounded by regrets for what's already happened and fears for what might.  By nostalgia for what I've lost and desire for what I don't have.  All this wanting and not wanting.  It's worn me out.  For once, I'm going to try the present on for size." -- Amor Towles in  Rules of Civility

Friday, December 23, 2011

Do something Friday -- making a list and checking it twice!

Ok -- quick!  List off the top three things you're looking forward to this weekend.

Done?  Okay.

Whatever your top three are -- be mindful of them.  Be where you are when you're there and pay attention to what's happening around you.

If you're eating and that food was in your top three -- for goodness sake!  sit down and taste it!  Savor it!  Enjoy it!  Don't talk to a relative all the way through it and miss the experience!

If family is on your list -- pay attention to them as you talk to them!!  Look them in the eyes -- don't let your eyes wonder to see who else is in the room or what everyone else is doing like you're going to miss out on something!  Be attentive of your time together!  Enjoy them!  Don't eat your way through that conversation.

Be mindful of what's in front of you.  Whether you're eating, visiting, driving somewhere, whatever -- be where you are.  You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it!

Merry Christmas, all!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2012: The year of ???

What's your 2012 going to be the year of?  Do you know yet?  Do you usually set a course for your year or just let it unfold as it will?

I've done both.  I like both.  If there's not really some burning desire to accomplish something in particular, it's great just to let the year unfold and see where I end up.

On the other hand, if I've got something I really want to tackle -- the first of the year is a great time to start that process.  We're not talking about a New Year's Resolution here -- come with a build in expectation that they will be completed or forgotten by February 14. 

The Year of XYZ means figuring out how to focus on something for a whole YEAR!  It's a declaration that this year is going to be different than the last one.  It means when you start to fall off the wagon, you can't just quit and call it a day (because the year isn't done!)  It means you have time to try an approach and if things don't work out as you planned, you can try another.

A year means you are giving yourself time to practice, learn, fail, try again, experience success, and give yourself enough time to live with the change.

So....what's 2012 going to be the year of for you?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Being Conscious

For those of you that find mindfulness starts out as a behavior to manage weight but then creeps into other areas of your life and actually makes them better's an interesting post on being conscious from the coach Brooke Castillo.

Being Conscious

How do naturally thin people know they're going unconscious in their lives?


I know I'm going unconscious when I overeat or eat when I'm not hungry.  It's my signal. My reminder.  My alarm.

Whenever I have even a hint of it, I stop and consider my mind and what I'm trying to avoid feeling.

I can usually find it.  (I've had lots and lots of practice.)  Then, I do my work to get back on track and conscious of my thoughts and my feelings again.

Now I hear the signal after about three bites of eating when I am not hungry.  When I first started, I would become aware only after I had gained five pounds.

But how to naturally thin people do this?  They don't overeat when they go unconscious.  They don't have a signal as clear as an overfull stomach or weight gain.

 I now know.

After years and years of coaching people from all over the world, I know that we all have our signals.

For some, it's drinking vodka. For some, it's buying stuff they can't afford. For some, it's sleeping with random partners.  And for others, it's raging, cutting, drama-ing, overworking, cleaning, or drugs.
We all have our signal that we've become unconscious.

That we're doing something that will ultimately not serve us, in order to dull the vibration of being alive in this moment.

I love that food is my signal.  What I used to curse, now I love.  It is my consciousness creator.  It's my gift.

What's yours?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

For those of you who tell me you can't imaging eating less that you already do....

I understand.  I like eating too.  I like how food tastes.  How it makes tv time less boring (because...let's face it -- only 8% of the stuff we're watching is actually engaging and interesting -- the rest is just white noise to make us feel okay about sitting on the couch).  How it's not very hard to start a conversation with someone you don't know if you have a cocktail plate in your hand (automatic source of conversation about how fab this or that is, right?).

Lots of people tell me they don't eat very much and can't imaging eating less.

And then the other day I had someone tell me that she is more mindful of what she's eating because, due to the healing process of a (non-bariatric) surgery, eating leads to pain.  So whenever she thinks about putting food into her mouth, she finds herself weighing the need for that food against the pain that will come after.

All of the sudden -- there is something more uncomfortable than the feeling of being bored...or anxious...or tired....or sad...or whatever it is that drives you to eat when you're not actually hungry.

Now -- although I know many of you are saying to yourself "Man! I gotta get me some of that surgery!  I could be thin in no time" -- you may be missing my less obvious point.  And that is:

Food only has that much power over you when there is nothing else with greater power.  You don't need to have pain for this.  You could create a powerful positive vision to weigh each of those decisions against.  (like training for a 5k or half marathon or learning how to rock climb or taking your grandkids for a hike to the waterfalls in the UP).  Whatever you feel your weigh is holding you back from doing -- you can make that your guiding vision.  You may find you can make that more important than finding your next 3pm fix of stale, breakroom Christmas cookies.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thought for the Day...what do you need to create your success?

......The idea that we need to be fit and trim and sane and organized to do good work is baloney. The best stuff I’ve done, I’ve produced under excruciating pressure of time and money, amid massive Resistance, insecurity and self-doubt, with my personal life in chaos. Not that I’m recommending such a state. But the fact remains: you can light up the board even with both hands tied behind your back and your feet sunk in forty pounds of cement.  --Steven Pressfield

No matter what your situation -- if managing your weight is important enough to you, you can be successful at it!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Do something Friday -- choice

"I had no choice, I just couldn't get out of bed."

"I had no choice, it was the best program I could get into."

"I had no choice, he told me to do it..."


It's probably more accurate to say, "the short-term benefit/satisfaction/risk avoidance was a lot higher than anything else, so I chose to do what I did." --Seth

Really?  No choice or just too much work?  People average 250 food choices per day.  You don't have to change them all -- just a few -- to make a huge impact on your weight and your health.  Isn't that worth a little time and attention this weekend?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We spend so much energy on trying to lose weight....

Is that what you really want ---- to be thin?  If that's it, stick with your goal -- learn how to eat less.  End of story.

If what you are really trying to achieve is a high quality life, full of health, energy, vitality, interesting people, interesting experiences -- maybe you need to do something other than just trying to manage your weight.
Are you picking the right tool for the job?  Check this out!  Maybe it will inspire you to add another tool to your toolbox!

Can't see the video? Click here!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


A couple days ago, a client of mine was telling our class how her grandson likes to go out everyday to eat with his buddies after their sports practice.  Because he only gets a fixed allowance (and maybe because he is a teenager), by the end of the week, he doesn't have any money left to eat.  So he has to sit at the table and drinks water while everyone else is eating.

Funny, huh? (In the "well, that is a great opportunity to learn money doesn't grow on trees" kind of way)

It really doesn't have anything to do with us, right?  Because we're older and more mature (and have a better understanding of economics?). 

But wait a minute......isn't this EXACTLY what many of us do?

Set aside the money issue for a moment.

Given that there is only a fixed number of calories you can eat and not gain weight (the amount equal to what you burn in a given day), if you eat too many, you are going to use up all your allotted calories for the week before you have finished that week.  --Should you want to stay at a given weight, you are going to have to do the equivalent of sitting at the restaurant with you buddies drinking only a glass of water.  And isn't that exactly what a diet is???

Wouldn't a better solution for that grandson be to spread his food allowance out for the week so he doesn't spend as much during the first part of the week but in turn can then eat something everyday when his group is out?

And wouldn't it make so much more sense for us to do the same thing in our eating?  Eat a little less everyday so we don't ever have to diet?

Hmmmm....maybe we're not so mature after all.  Bummer!  But that doesn't mean we can't learn to make different choices.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Remeber those changes I was talking about??

Well, here's one of them:

For just over 700 posts, we talked almost exclusively about mindful eating as a way to manage weight.

But we all know (whether we want to deal with it or not) that exercise can play an important role in our overall health -- regardless of whether or not we lose weight.

So, if you find yourself in need of a little assistance with your health and fitness resolutions, my friend, Jen, over at Athletic Performance might have just the solution you need!

Are you ready to be Finally Fit?

Athletes and active people have all had to start somewhere. There isn’t any one of them that didn’t have to work to get where they are.

If you are frustrated or overwhelmed by the thought improving your fitness level, Finally Fit may be just the program for you!

You can choose the length of your commitment: 6, 8, or 12 weeks.

Get 30 minutes of one-to-one coaching three times a week with a training program designed to jump start your success! And, because what you eat is as important to your results as how you train, packages also include sessions with a registered dietician!

Package prices range from $306 – $575. For more information or to find out how Borgess Athletic Performance can help you reach your goals, contact Jen at or call 269.552.2340!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thought for the Day....on saying "no"

"Whenever we deny our need to say 'no', our self-respect diminishes.  It is not only our right at certain times to say "no"; it is our deepest responsibility.  For it is a gift to ourselves when we say "no" to those old habits that dissipate our energy, 'no' to what robs us of our inner joy, 'no' to what distracts us from our purpose.  And it is a gift to others to say 'no' when their expectations do not ring true for us, for in so doing we free them to discover more fully the truth of their own path.  Saying 'no' can be liberating when it expresses our commitment to take a stand for what we believe we truly need."

 --John Robbins and Ann Mortifee from In Search of Balance: Discovering Harmony in a Changing World.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Do something Friday....finding moderation

Yesterday, the question was "How do you feel about spending this holiday season learning how to eat in moderation?"

If you have even the tiniest inclination in that direction, I encourage you to start practicing today!

Start by cutting out anything that doesn't look fantastic.  There are a myriad of options in what to eat.  It will require more planning but you can make a commitment to eating only food you love.  Because food you love is more scarce than regular food, most people who eat this way end up eating less.

"But wait!" I hear you saying now....."if I only eat stuff that looks fantastic, I'll eat too much!"

(don't kid yourself -- chances are, if you're reading this blog, you may very well already be eating too much!)

This is where a second skill comes in.  You need to only eat what tastes fantastic.

Even the most delicious food ever created will stop tasting fantastic at some point.  If you want to learn moderation, you have to be willing to take the time to actually taste the food you're eating.  When you are no longer hungry (which is different than being full), food loses its fantastic taste.  That is when you put down the fork!

Most (maybe all) of my clients don't believe this will truly work.  But the ones who develop these two skills are the ones who never have to diet again.  Are you interested in being included in that group??  Then get practicing just these two things!

(and if you're interested in being coached through the holidays, feel free to send me an email and we can talk!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

One of the keys to healthy living is moderation.....

One of my favorite sayings is "Everything in moderation....including moderation".

Most of us have heard the first half of that.  And it is sound advice.  But, honestly, without the second half, how do you know what is moderate?

Everybody (or at least everyone I know) goes off the deep end once in a while.  Stay up too late, drink and/or eat too much, put yourself under too much stress, etc.....  if we didn't go to the extremes once in a while, how would we know where they are?

Chances are you already know what it feels like to eat past the point of moderation.  How do you feel about spending this holiday season learning what it feels like to eat just to the point of moderation?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Recover your Rhythm

One of the reasons many people struggle with the holidays is we have the misguided idea that we can do it all. 

We can work all our regular hours, exercise like we know we should, shop, party plan, get the kids to all of their pre-vacation activities (should anyone have to go to 2 band concerts, 2 ballet recitals, a class party, and 3 holiday field trips all in December??), cook healthy dinners, make (not so "healthy") potluck treats......

It's too much.

Our groove gets messed up.  Things are too chaotic.  And what (for many of us) is the answer to stress?

Stress eating. (which, by the way, leads to more stress -- since then you are stressed out about all the food you just ate!)

How do you get your groove back?

Start by planning a little better. 

Plan on packing your lunch for the next couple weeks.  Make sure they include veggie and fruits.  Ensuring you're getting your vitamins and minerals (in natural food form) will help keep your energy levels up for all the running around you're going to be doing.

Plus, if you're packing a majority of your lunches for the next couple weeks, you can have a little bit more control with your portion sizes.  Especially if you know your going out in the evening, a smaller lunch makes it easier to limit your overeating.

The other upside of packing your lunches is you will be less likely to do 7 other errands when you run out to pick up your lunch.  You can use that time to take a breather, go for a walk, read a book, or plan your evening shopping.  You can choose to take that time to destress.  -- and if you're managing your stress better, there's less of a chance you're going to stress-eat.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

If you're waiting for someone to save you......

It's time to give up.  Did you read about San Fransisco banning toys in "unhealthy" kids meals.  Obviously, they were gunning for McDonald's Happy Meals.  McDonald's solution?  Sell the toys for 10 cents with the purchase of a Happy Meal.  Happy kids, more money for McDonald's.  Legislation doesn't work.

Parents teach their kids eating habits that can last a lifetime.  The government can't do it for us.  You know why??

Because Congress just declared pizza a vegetable for school lunch principles...or did it?  Hmmm....

When push comes to shove, you are in charge of what you put into your mouth.  You make your own decisions.  It may not be easy to make the choices that will help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight --- but you are the only one who can do it for you.

Get started today!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thought for the Day....

This is straight from Seth:

That's what we spend most of our time doing. The breakthrough speech that will change everything, or the giant insight that opens every door. We fret about the apocalyptic ending, the big crash, the slam climax as well.

Of course, it almost never happens that way.

Products and services succeed one person at a time, as the word slowly spreads. Customers defect one person at a time, as hearts are broken and people are disappointed. Doors open, sure, but not all at once.

One at a time.

One at a time is a little anticlimactic and difficult to get in a froth over, but one at a time is how we win and how we lose.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Do something Friday

photo credit: mayari
Have you ever used a gratitude journal?  In this season of want, want, want, buy, buy, buy -- a gratitude journal can offer an interesting moment of clarity on what is truly important to you.  It always amazes me what a difference it makes to actually write something down.  I may think I know what I would say but the process of committing something to paper is much more clarifying than just thinking it through in my head.

This weekend, pick up a pen and paper and take some time to write down what you are grateful for.  If you're anything like me, you will find there are lots of things to put on that list, both big and small.  But what I bet you won't find on that list is the afternoon snack, the ice cream in front of the TV or most of everything else you eat in the course of a day.

Don't misunderstand me, I am very grateful for having food to eat.  But that is very different than being grateful for the Snicker's bar that I picked up when I got gas.

The goal of this exercise is to give you a new tool to measure what you eat.  Is it something you need because you're hungry?  Is it something you want because it is sooooo delicious?  Or is it just something.....and therefore you think you should eat it?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Something that drives me CRAZY!!!

I hate it when people comment on what others are eating, in the "should you really eat that?" kind of way!  Not just when I am on the receiving end of the comments -- but when anyone is on the receiving end of comments.

It makes me want to stand up and scream "LEAVE THEM ALONE! YOU AREN'T BEING HELPFUL!!" an aside, they are making my job harder.

Guilt and "shouldn'ts" don't work in the long-term.  They just don't. 

Lots of things don't work in the long-term.  Atkins, for example.  It doesn't work because most of us don't want to live that way any longer than we have to to get the weight off.  Definitely not a long-term solution.

Sure...guilt and shouldn'ts stick with us -- but they don't stop us.  They just make us feel bad about our eating.

Want a new approach?  One that might be a great fit for your family (since eating behaviors and obesity tend to run in families)?  Check out the NPR story on the Packard Pediatric Weight Control Program. Kids don't need the guilt......and neither do you!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shared sacrifice

I usually try to steer clear of the word sacrifice.  When it comes to eating behaviors, sacrifice is a pretty charged word.  However, I just read this post from Modern Meeting Standard.  The subject matter of that blog is all about organizational change -- which really isn't what we talk about here.....or is it?

Organizations are nothing but a group of people with a common mission, right?  Keep that in mind as you read:

Organizations that desperately need to change often don’t because it forces only some to make sacrifices.

The logic is sound: let’s try to negatively impact the least number of people we can in order to minimize suffering.

Unfortunately, the most rational solution doesn’t always work. The perception of unfairness can act as a roadblock to progress.

So if staff have to limit their expenses, maybe management should too.

If Dad and son have high cholesterol, maybe Mom and Sis should join in on salad-only dinners too.

If the team is truly committed to the mission, to achieving something great together, shared sacrifice is not only a nice thing to do, it’s essential. The key is creating a culture and mission worthy of sacrifice.

If you think about the need to change (and alter some behaviors that aren't working for you), something's gonna have to go.  Sacrifice doesn't necessarily mean awful -- it just means letting go.  And maybe you should encourage your eating partners to share in this behavior change too.  It will help you to have the support and may ultimately improve their quality of life too!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Too much stuff!

Saturday, I had to go on a big, late night sorting jag. What started out as a simple task lead to a complete ah-ha moment.....I had too much stuff.

"How," you may ask, "did you realize you had too much stuff?"  Well, let me tell you.... My house isn't tiny and I have ample storage space, and it was much too difficult to take care of all the stuff I was trying to take care of.

There are number of ways to handle too much stuff.  One way is to build more storage.  Another way it to stop caring how difficult it is to put stuff away (I only use that stuff a couple times a year, anyway, right?  Just deal with the discomfort when I have to). Or....I can get rid of some stuff.  Deal with it in any manner and...viola!  Problem solved.

The interesting thing about these options it that none of them are right or wrong.  Chances are, when you think about your stuff, one option sounds more appealing that the others.  That is your go to solution.  We all have go-to solutions -- it allows us to navigate life more efficiently.  (Much the same way many of us park in the same area of the parking lot everyday.  It allows us to find out car more easily and frees up the brain space it takes to remember where we put it)

The question is -- is that your solution for your weight? 

Do you buy larger clothes?  Do you not worry about it most of the time (until you are getting ready to go to a party, wedding, or funeral)? 

Is it time to deal with the root issue and get rid of those bites that aren't meaningful?  You know the ones...the ones you could leave uneaten and you really wouldn't miss.  The last two bites of ice cream in your bowl.  The third cookie.  The last forkful of dinner off the kid's plate as you're clearing the table.

Those are the bites that don't matter -- find 'em, get 'em out of your mouth.  You'll be happier and healthier because of it!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thought for the Day...

Fuel yourself. Drink much more water. Eat the best food you can afford. Never settle for food. Celebrate it. (Sometimes, greasy beach pizza is the celebration.) --Chris Brogan

Friday, November 25, 2011

Retrospective look at Mindfulness

How'd you do sticking to your plan for yesterday?  (do you even remember making the plan?)

Take some time to WRITE DOWN a couple things you did really well.  Yes....there really are at least several.  Keep that paper handy for the next month.  It can be the basis for your Holiday Eating Plan of Attack!

Then right down one thing you would like to change next time you have a holiday event that involves food (don't they all?).  This can be your opportunity for growth.

The goal is to increase your awareness so you can make a few (highly impactful) positive choices.  This will allow you to gracefully navigate your holiday eating for the next month....and beyond!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Today, I am thankful I have a warm home, plenty to eat, and loved ones to share both with.

Today, I will sit down at my table and eat food prepared by those I love.  My blessings come not from the fuel for my body (although I am thankful for this) but the love I feel which fuels my soul.

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Do something Wednesday

Okay, people -- it's time to make a plan for tomorrow.  If you're like many people around here, you're already starting to get stressed about eating tomorrow.....or at least that is the way people are phrasing it to me.

Actually, they aren't really worried about eating tomorrow -- they're worried about gaining a bunch of weight tomorrow (which isn't really likely) and possibly, they are worried about tomorrow being the kick off to an eating fest for the next 4 weeks.

Here are a couple things to remember as you make you're plan.

1.  Be realistic -- if you love dessert, it's unrealistic to tell yourself you're not going to have any.  A better option would be to use a small dessert plate and not go back for seconds.

2.  Feeling guilty is a choice (and a waste of energy!).  Use that energy and power of choice to make the smarter decision of eating only until you are comfortable.

3.  Even though turkey is "low fat", if that's what makes you feel too full -- you've still overeaten!  Someone made the point today that he eats turkey all year -- no celebration in that!  You don't have to eat the turkey if you don't love it!  Leave that room for something you love to eat and can't get very often.

4.  Lighten up!  Thanksgiving is about being thankful.  It's very hard to be grateful for your blessing if you're bemoaning any part of the day that lets you spend time with people you like! 

5.  Buck up.  Be sensible.  Pay attention to what your body is telling you.  It's one meal.  They are all just one meal.  Take 'em one at a time and get the greatest amount of satisfaction you can in the least amount of calories --- you'll do just fine!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wanted: The Perfect Plan

I just read an interesting NY Times article about how too much information can be a barrier for novice runners.  The first bit that struck me was:

"That response is an indication, exercise researchers say, of two things: how hard it is for someone who is not used to running to suddenly take up the sport; and how unnecessarily complicated advice about running has become as “experts” battle over shoes and running form and training programs."

That got me thinking that even though I love the volume of information now available on an infinite number of subjects -- many common-sensical things are getting lost in the noise.  It seems unlikely now for people to embark on any kind of fitness, diet, or other health improvement without trying to seek out the golden Perfect Plan.

The big problem with that is:  The Perfect Plan doesn't exist.  It seems to me that the search for The Perfect Plan gives you some activity to undertake (the search for The Perfect Plan), which will ultimately fail (because it doesn't exist in the first place) so that you can then say you "tried" to make the said fitness, diet, or other health behavior change ---- without actually putting all that energy into DOING THE WORK OF CHANGING.

"Not my fault," you can honestly say (to yourself but I won't believe it).  "I tried.  This just wasn't The Perfect Plan for me."

Set your sights a tad lower.  You don't need The Perfect Plan.  You just need a Good Enough Plan For Today (FEPT).  A FEPT expires at the end of the day -- so sure, you're going to have to actually get another for tomorrow -- but it has the significant advantage of constantly being fresh and applicable to the circumstances you find yourself it.  They're just so "Now!"

“You have to be more patient than anything you have heard or read about,” Dr. Raglin said. “People are indoctrinated with what they can achieve in a short time with a little bit of work. But the reality is very different.” 

This is advice that, in the article, was meant for those who wanted to start running -- but I think it is applicable across the board -- weight loss, raising a well-adjusted child, creating a career, pretty much anything you think is worth doing is going to take much longer than you think it will (or want it to).

That's no excuse not to start!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Do something Friday

"The left hemisphere gives names to objects in order to reduce and simplify them. One nose is like another, for example, so when we're asked to draw one, we retrieve the symbol we have for "nose" from our memory, reproduce it and move on.

The right hemisphere, by contrast, is visual rather than verbal. It's capable of seeing more deeply and subtly than the left, immersing itself in what's actually there, in all its richness." --The Energy Project

Think about this -- we have successfully reduced one of the most complex social, biological, and personal experiences (eating), down to a set of numbers to be manipulated.

We've traded taste for calories.

We now run away from fat and toward anything labeled "Baked".

We eat out of paper bags, while we're driving, routinely.

We spend hours and hours watching Food Network stars preparing beautiful, delicious foods -- but we won't take the time to actually practice these arts.

We've sucked the creativity and joy out of eating.

And then we reinforce this behaviour by allowing ourselves (and yes, this is an active choice we make!) to feel guilty about what we just ate if we weren't "good enough".

It's time to get over that!  It's not working!!  How many times have you been on a diet only to end up here reading this blog???

It's time to starting training the other side of your brain.  The creative side that can make something delicious and satisfying from simple ingredients.

It's time to start thinking about how those baked chips taste (sawdust, anyone?)  And how the fat-laden ones taste too?  (are they really as good as you think they are? -- do they stop tasting good because you eat too many without thinking?)

It's time to start cooking so you can connect with the food you eat on an emotional level.  Find some table companions who will go on this journey with you.  Start using meal time as a chance to relax and connect with people you love -- not just as time to multi-task and get yourself to the next appointment or soccer practice.

I'm not talking about remaking your whole life by tomorrow (or chaining yourself to the kitchen).  That's not my style!  I'm talking about preparing one meal this week with the intention of sitting down and tasting that food.  Of having your house smell like home.

Of reclaiming your creative brain.  There are better, more effective ways to solve our weight problems!!  We just need to create them!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Winds are shifting

Hi, readers!  I've been mulling this over in my head for a while and just wanted to give you a heads up.  Over the next couple months, the Eating Coach blog is going to be going through some transition.  Many of you may not know that I have been working really hard here at Borgess (or at least my little part of Borgess) to change the way we use social media to reach out to you all.

This blog has actually been serving a dual purpose of educating y'all on the principles of  Mindful Eating while it offered me a little test kitchen to see how social media works.  I appreciate all the time, attention, and support you've offered me since I started writing here (just under a 800 posts ago!)

Here's the thing:  mindful eating is just one piece of the puzzle to being a happier, healthier you (and me).  There are lots of other equally important pieces that don't get a lot of attention and I think you deserve to hear about them too. 

Much like the rest of you, your eating behaviors are tied into stress management, self esteem, what's going on at work, the behaviors you learned growing up, your activity levels, etc.  and I think it is important to start taking a look at those behaviors too.  Maybe there are some small changes we can make that will help you be mindful in some other aspect of your life!

So, I hope you'll stick with me through this transition.  Keep your comments coming and I hope you enjoy the additional scope the blog is taking on!

And as always, thanks for your support!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why embrace change....

Because change is going to happen whether you want it to or not. 

If you're status quo is gaining weight -- you need to change your behaviors -- behaviors are what got you to the weight you are.  Or, if your not going to not change your behaviors --your weight will be what keeps changing.

I'm shocked at how many people just don't understand the change principle.  You can fight it if you want.  Argue with it.  Not like it.  Complain about it.  Whatever.  Change doesn't need your input -- it's rolling already.

You, however, may want to put your own spin on change.  Maybe you want to change direction.  Maybe you want to control the speed.  Those options are open to you (sometimes, at least).

I'm sorry you don't like it.  (and I honestly, mean it!  I don't always like change either) But whether I like it or not has very little bearing on what needs to be done.  You're not going to be able to reason or argue you way out of change.  AND you're wasting precious time and energy when you try to....  (who has so much energy that they can waste it??  --not me or pretty much anyone I have ever met!)

So pick a direction.  Decide what change you can deal with, pick up that ball, and move it along.  (You don't really have a choice).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November is NaNoWriMo

November is NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.  Weird, huh?  It is a month where people challenge themselves to write a whole novel starting 1Nov and finishing before midnight on 30 Nov.  1667 words per day. 

The interesting thing about this is -- if you want to succeed in getting that much down on paper, you have to let it all hang out for 30 days.  You have to ignore your inner critic because there's barely just enough time in the month to write -- there won't be time to rewrite.  And there sure won't be time to spend any time stuck on a blank page (fear of not being "good enough" is a usual cause of writers block).  Actually...fear the cause of much of the inaction and non-decision making I see everyday.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is all about getting your novel born -- not to create the next best seller in 30 days.  Stellar quality and cohesiveness aren't what participants are striving for.  Their goal is to practice ignoring Lizzie and get something done in 30 days.

Great goals! 

What if we took that approach with our weight management?  What if, instead of undertaking the pursuit of perfection, we set our sights on practicing mindfulness for EVERY bite that went into our mouths for the next 30 days?  What would it take to make that happen? yourself.  A willingness to know that the way you accomplish this task might not be pretty (and it certainly won't be sustainable) and that you will make a lot of mistake but also improve EVERYDAY! 

You may learn that sometime it is important to get a volume of practice under you belt before you expect to see the results.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thought for the Day....

Plans are great.

But missions are better. Missions survive when plans fail, and plans almost always fail. --Seth Godin

Friday, November 11, 2011

Do something Friday

Learning to manage your mind.

The holiday season is closing in and with it, the 400 commercial an hour designed to make kids want every toy under the sun.  Those toys you know your kid isn't going to play with -- they don't even like XYZ!  They just want it because marketers are genius at selling to kid.  And kids aren't old enough to be able to sort through the facts that they are being manipulated into wanting this over-priced piece of plastic that's going to break 2 minutes after they take it out of the package. (which probably isn't all that bad a thing considering the piece of plastic is only just about that interesting and even if it lasted longer, what are the chances the kid is going to play with it more than that anyway?)

But much different are we than the kids?  Oh!  Wait!  Except for the fact that we're older, probably have better access to credit, and can tell our parents to back off when they try to give us "great" advice, WE'RE NOT ANY DIFFERENT IN LOTS OF SITUATIONS!

We want what we want.  Even if we know it's not good for us.  Even if we know it is just going to distract us from our long term goals.  Especially, if the marketers have done a good job selling it to us.  WE JUST WANT IT!....NOW!

Last Friday, I told you it was time to get out your journals and start writing down everything that is going into your mouths. (don't worry -- just a couple weeks of can do it!)

This weekend, I want you to jot down why you are eating whatever it is you're eating.  I want you to start noticing how susceptible we all are to suggestion.  Last week one of my coworkers said she was picking up sushi for dinner -- for the rest of the week, I was craving sushi!

Dying for chips on the ride home?  Did you see a Lay's truck?  Or a billboard?  Commercial?

Sometimes, all it takes to diffuse a psychological desire to eat is to understand what initiated it.  And if you think about it -- how many of those desires lead to 200 calories here, 400 calories there?  Diffuse a couple of those situations and all the sudden your pants are going to fit quite a bit better.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Snob Diet

One of the great thing about getting my hair cut is the number of fluff magazines that abound.  These are mags I love to read but won't spend the time or money on normally because, most of the time, they're just too ....well....dumb.

Anyway, the other day, I was waiting my turn for the chair when the shop owner, Sherry, told me I HAD to read the article in this month's Glamour called The Snob Diet.  She is certain this is the way to lose weight!  Well, I gotta tell ya!  That's all it takes to pique my interest -- so...I opened up the mag she threw on my lap and started reading.

And what do ya know?!  I am a true believer that Glamour got this one right!

The Snob Diet consists of eating only those things that you truly want to eat.  No processed cheese food when what you really want is warm brie on crusty, fresh white baguettes.  No rice cakes when you really want old fashioned, popped in oil popcorn.  No salad when you're wishing for a hamburger with the works. 

Being a fashionista, the author wonders why we spend so much time worry about what we're going to wear on the outside but are willing to throw any ole garbage into the inside.

Obviously, with the freedom to eat whatever it is you really want, comes the responsibility to eat "just enough".  And just enough is the amount that is not too little (so that you're still hungry) and not too much (so that you've just stuffed yourself on that great food).

The idea is that if you're going to truly follow this lifestyle, it is going to take planning.  (If you love really good chocolate, you're not going to make any trips to the vending machine -- you don't really like the choices available there so you will avoid them as "not good enough").  And the food will taste so good, you will want to be mindful of every bite -- because you are enjoying the experience (not just hoping it will do the job).

So -- okay, I'm probably lovin' the snob diet because it's what we've been talking about for oh.....3 years now and everyone loves to be agreed with, right?  But I do want you to take the time to consider being a snob this holiday season.  Don't be afraid to turn your nose up at subpar offerings (metaphorically, of course!  No need to hurt someones feelings just because they didn't have time to make "from scratch").

If you think about it -- how many calories would you leave uneaten in a day if you were just a little bit more snobby about what's going in your mouth???

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where are you getting your information?

I love the blog Food Politics.  Marion Nestle talks about what's going on behind the scenes with food.  Sunday, an interesting point was made about "front-of-package" labelling.  The food corporations want to be able to put whatever they want onto the front of their packages -- you want to know why?

As Marion Nestle puts it: "Front-of-package labels are a tool for selling, not buying. They make highly processed foods look healthier."

Tools for selling.

And yet we sometimes forget that.

Milk - it does a body good.  -- maybe or maybe not...but you have to take it with a grain of salt if the Dairy Council (ie the people selling the milk) are telling you this.

Do you really think Pepsi Co., the company that makes Lays, cares if you choose the Baked variety or the regular?  I bet they don't.  Call me pessimistic but I think they just want your money -- they don't care about your health.

Here's the problem with the label reading we are all trying to get so good at:

Sometimes we take a shortcut and assume the conclusions that are reached on the front (ie easier to read) side of the packaging are actually true.  Just because something says it's healthier, doesn't necessarily mean it is.  And how disgruntled are you going to be when you figure out that all the time you've been eating rice cakes, Lean Cuisines, and baked chips, you could have been having snacks and meals that actually taste GREAT, leave you more satisfied, and put you in better health?

If you couldn't read anything about the food you were eating, it would all come down to how it tastes and how it makes you feel.  If it tastes great and leaves you fully satisfied, doesn't that seem like it would be a healthy choice?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chapters or Episodes

Chris Brogan just asked an interesting question to people who write blogs:

 Television shows are based on both models. In the “chapters” model, we get a little [piece] at the beginning of each episode. It says, “Previously, on ____.” Then, we get to see a few seconds that should remind us of whatever it was we saw last time we tuned in. In the episodes method, often used in sitcoms, everything seems to reset from whatever happens during the show by the time we get to the end.

This distiction got me thinking about how we view the changes we make to our eating habits.  Diets are more like episodes -- they have a distint beginning and end (usually sooner than we planned).  They usually follow the same plot line.... have you noticed?

Mindful eating is more like chapters.  Obviously, the story is longer and more well developed.  You get to know the main character (you) much better because there is more time for the story to develop.  You wake up in the morning and have the opportunity to assess how hungry you are -- that will be based on how much you ate the day before and how you timed your meals.  As you go through your day, the hunger (or lack of hunger) can continue to guide your eating pattern and the end of your evening isn't an end.  You wake up the next morning to do the same thing all over again.

Chris says, for bloggers, there is no "right" choice -- his point is that you need to understand what you're trying to accomplish.  I think the same is true for us.  If you have a specific purpose (like losing 100 pounds so you can have hip surgery), dieting is probably a really positive choice.  That specific of a goal requires some very specificly prescribed actions.

If you're trying to learn to manage your weight for the course of a lifetime or trying to gain an understanding of why and how you eat -- that is something that needs to be done over the course of time.  You won't be able to "get it" all in one neat little 30 minute episode  --  you're just too complex of a story :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thought for the Day...

When one approach is not working to reach the desired goal, that's not a reason to abandon the goal.  Instead, it is time to devise another approach." --Ralph Marston

Friday, November 4, 2011

Do something Friday

At the risk of freakin' myself out (I hate to look ahead too much because it makes the time pass too fast) -- we've officially started the holiday season.  What?!  Wait!!'s not even Thanksgiving yet?!'s the thing -- Thanksgiving is 2.5 weeks away.  So, if you want to be successful this year in effectively managing your weight through the holidays, the time to start is now.  (as in TODAY!)

Grab your journal (stack of scrap paper, post-its, old spiral bound notebook with 4 pages ripped out but your kids won't use it this year because it was from last year and they need NEW spirals this year).  It's time to get back to journalling (just until Thanksgiving Day) and reacquainting yourself with the Hunger/Fullness scale.

How is that 7 supposed to feel?

Do you feel the urge to eat every time to flip on the TV?  (you snack all season at home AND at all the parties you're going to attend!)

Are you all sugar-addicted from the 3 bags of Halloween candy you bought but then ate yourself so you had to go out and get more October 30th?

If you're going to enter the holiday season with poise (and pants that actually zip without making you cringe), it's time to start paying attention to what you feel when you're putting things into your mouth.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Composure versus Will-power

I like the idea of composure.  Heros and heroines in all exciting movies show composure -- even under the most adverse conditions.  Those ficticious people inspire me to be strive for composure in my life.

Nobody really wants to be that freakin' out person in the movies who loses it and needs to get slapped back into sanity, right?

So what if we started thinking about cultivating composure, instead of will-power, around our eating?  Would it change how you approach meals and snacks?  Would it lead you to make different decisions if you had that composed hero/heroine as your guide?

Would you chew a little slower?  Sit a little straighter (or sit instead of scarffing your food over the sink)?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Risk Management

1000 years ago, the amount of moves a peasant could take were limited. He understood the risk in his world well, but it isn’t because he was super smart. It’s because his world was small.

The world is now too big to understand how risky a single action can be. Still, some people are more adept at understanding risk than others.

Have you ever walked into a dinner party or restaurant and recognized that sick feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach?  The whole scary thought that there may be no "good" choice you can make.

Building off the conversation Julien started -- 1000 years ago, the only food risk was not having enough.  If food crossed your path, you ate it.  The risk you faced was starvation.

Now -- starvation really isn't a risk for a good many of us.  Actually, it's quite the opposite.  We are dying from over-consumption.  There is so much information out there that promises to help us reduce our risk -- but we can't take it all in.  And even if we could -- most if it is conflicting information.  That makes most of our eating choices seem "risky".

And yet...people navigate these choices all the time.  How?

Here's my opinion.

They listen to the feedback their own eating experience provide.  Feel stuffed and uncomfortable -- uncomfortable should be avoided -- stop eating sooner.

Feel so hungry by the time you get home that you're crabby to everyone that makes eye contact with you until you eat everything that's not nailed down?  Perhaps you should learn to plan better and not let yourself get that hungry.

Learn from your experiences -- and then implement a plan to keep you from repeating those unproductive patterns.  That's risk management!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Being a good neighbor

Julien just wrote a post about being a good neighbor -- both locally (helping a stranger with directions in his neighborhood) and globally (how we interact while we're on the web).  I've been thinking a lot about "local" lately -- both in the contexts of my FC and community "local" (Rob, from Gazelle, inspired me when he talked about how shopping at Gazelle allows Gazelle to sponsor tons of great event in my area....especially my FAV Girls on the Run).  Ooops...I digress.

Being a good neighbor....Julien says, "There’s something great about being asked to do your civic duty, either giving people directions or helping an old lady with her groceries. I have a feeling a lot of people like it. Yet in this society we are asked to do it less and less. This sense of duty and the muscle that accompany it are atrophying because we are rarely called upon to exercise it."

I completely agree with the sentiment.  It feels GREAT to put some good into the world!

What if you saw your civic duty as being a great example of healthy behaviors?  Parking further out in the lot.  Riding your bike sometimes.  Packing half of your restaurant portion into a takeout container before you even start eating.  And yes....mindfully making decisions about what tastes great (and eating that) and what doesn't (and NOT eating that).

What if you used the positive feelings you get from making the world a better place as the fuel to keep you moving on the mindful eating/ healthy weight path? 

I need you to lead by example, people!  Our world is getting unhealthier by the minute.  Leading causes of death are those related to the very easy lifestyle of little movement and lots of food.  You can make a difference today by acting on your intentions and being good neighbor!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thought for the Day...

“Your thoughts have a great impact on your health, because your body believes what your mind is thinking. The body can not discern between an actual situation and a thought.” --Ekhart Tolle

Friday, October 28, 2011

Do something Friday

The other day, I got a few questions about the definition of mindfulness.  Particularly, the "without judging your behaviors" part.

I'd like to take a few minutes (and have you spend some time this weekend) thinking about judgment.

Obviously, I am encouraging you to pay attention to what you are doing.  Autopilot behaviors tend to be very consistent -- which is great if they're working for you...but not so great if they aren't...because they are repeated without much thought being put into them.

Judgment, though, is an interesting thing because it locks that behavior up and reinforces the story you've created around it.  Stories are not necessarily "the truth", they are the slant with which we see things.  For example, my story used to be that I don't like coffee.  Well...I didn't....until I actually tried it.  And then I did.  Now my story is "I love coffee".  Another story of mine is that "I am a sweets eater".  If I believe that about myself, I am going to seek out sweets of all kinds because that behavior is consistent with who I believe myself to be -- and I prompt myself to act accordingly.

Judging behaviors means saying being a sweets eater is "bad".  There are a couple problems with this but the biggest one is that it is hard for humans to hold the concept of the "behavior is bad" in their head.  They like to jump to "I am bad because I participate in this behavior".  I am pretty sure most of you talk negatively to yourself enough that you don't really need any reinforcement in that area.

If judgmental attitudes made one skinny -- what size should you be?

So if is makes you feel bad, doesn't help you lose weight, and reinforces a skewed view of yourself, how is judgement helpful?

It's not.

All it's doing is taking your eye off the prize -- awareness.  You're not stopping before the cake on your plate is gone because you're good, you're stopping because you noticed that it isn't tasting good to you and you choose not to waste those calories on the last few bites.  It doesn't make you a better person -- only a more aware person.  It won't guarantee you lose weight -- it just provides an opportunity to cut back on calories that aren't adding any value to your eating experience -- and when you leave those out, you don't feel feel liberated!

Is that a little more clear?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A giant mess....and all for public display

I just attended a concert at Miller Auditorium where a famous (I was told) composer came out to conduct the orchestra at it played one of his pieces.  Before he took the podium, he explained that the piece we were about to hear was written at a very personally tumultuous time in his life  -- things were not going well for him and that is what the music we were about to hear was reflecting.

His speech wasn't long but it did seem to me very personal.  I sat there amazed that he could walk into the auditorium and tell his very personal tale to a bunch of strangers....who might have been sitting there judging him!  But he did it. 

And that made me wonder why.  Why would he need to explain where the music came from?  It was a beautiful, angry, chaotic piece.  It still would have been all those things if I didn't know the backstory.  So why did he share it with the audience?

Then I realized maybe I was asking the wrong question.  We all, to one degree or another, do exactly what that composer did.  We come out on the stage of the world and tell our story.  Maybe it's so others can understand us better.  Maybe so they can appreciate us more.

Since I started working with Eating Coach clients, I've struggled with not chastising them too much when they start feeling negative about the coping mechanisms (binge eating, stress eating, comfort eating, mindless eating) that helped them get to the weight they are.

These are also the skills that helped you get through the challenges of your lives -- help you get to be the people you are today.  That's not a bad thing!  Most of my clients like lots of aspects of themselves (just usually not their weight).  But you wouldn't be the person you (mostly) like, if you didn't have the eating issues you do.  So.....even if you want to change them, they are a part of your life you can use to catapult yourself to your next great heights.

Much like the composer.  He turned an awful, painful, sad, grief-stricken time in his life into a beautiful, angry, wonderful, chaotic piece of music that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to.  Maybe you are doing the same for yourself.  What do you think?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mindfulness is.....

Mindfulness eating is deliberately choosing to pay attention to what and how you are eating while you are eating, without judging your behaviors.

How much are you noticing your behavior?

How often to you find yourself judging your behaviors?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thought for the Day...

"Progress is nothing but a long chain of beginnings. In fact, stagnation is nothing but a long chain of beginnings too. And sometimes, stagnation that feels like stagnation, a bunch of starts that look like they head nowhere, is progress too. I know this is vague. It shows just how poorly we understand the nature of beginnings."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Do something Friday

Makeovers are an interesting phenomenon -- people love them.  I am addicted to Yard Crashers (HDTv's yard makeover) and their spin off House Crashers.  The idea of someone volunteering to come to my yard for 3 days -- completely redo it and make it fab.....the stuff of dreams!!

The thing I often wonder about though, is what's that yard look like in a year?  If it wasn't my dream to have it look like that (do I need a waterfall in my backyard?  Cool, right?  But still -- I'm stuck with the green slimeys in August....oh! and the water bill).

And sure, I've worked like a fiend for 3 days while the professionals were there directing me -- but do they leave me with instructions on how to take care of this outrageous Moroccan Jungle?  What if I hate to pull weeds?  Or hate to be outside? 

But we all love to be chosen, right?  Winning means your a winner and we all love that!!

I see this mentality often with weight management.  The "Sure...but Oprah has a trainer, a chef, and a chauffeur.  If I had all those things, I could lose weight too..." 

But guess what?  You're not Oprah.  And not matter how much time I spend in Home Depot, it is still very unlikely I will run into the Yard Crashers. 

If you want to control your weight and I want to have a fabulous yard, we're going to have to do it for ourselves.'s going to take more than three days (for both of us!).  And we're likely to take more wrong turns (plants that dies because they should have been planted in more shade, iced lattes you find out are 1000 calories a cup when you thought they were a "good" choice ....  read choice you thought was the calorie downgrade to the cup you really wanted but then later find out there's just as many calories in the not-so-good cup as the delicious-but-shouldn't-have-it cup.

The good news:  In the end, we'll both get there -- if we keep doing the work.  And we'll have taken our time creating something we can maintain....and that suits each of us.

So the big question is:  What are you going to do this weekend to get you closer to your goal?  I'm off to Wenke's -- fab sale on plants!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If you had an hour....

How would you spend it?  If miraculously, there was unscheduled time -- what could you accomplish?

Now the important question is:  Why aren't you doing that right now?  Why isn't it a priority to fit it into your schedule today?  Do you really want to accomplish that something?  Find the time.  Make it an actual  Don't wait until someday.  Don't let yourself fall pray to the "someday" vision.

If it's not important to you but you think you "should", maybe you "should" let it go.  If it's honestly important to you -- get to work!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I'm a big fan of mantras.  I've had lots of them over the years.  Most of them are geared to keep me exercising.  A few of them have been geared toward calming me down ......and if you know me, you know how well those have worked ;)

A couple weeks ago, I talked at the City of Portage about creating a mantra to help yourself become a life long exerciser** and  gave some examples of my favorite mantras.

This morning, something else I was reading caused me to see mantras in a new light.

In the October 14th reading in Simple Abundance, the author defines mantra as "that personal phrase that brings all things into focus".  Cool, right?  I like all things being in focus!

But what happens when our mantras run amok?  What happens when we choose to let our mantra be:

"I can't do that.  I'm too fat."
"I'll never be successful"
"I'm a loser"   ..........

Even though I don't believe for a minute that we want those to be our mantras -- effectively, if those are the thoughts running through are head, and we are not actively combating them, they ARE our mantras.  They are bringing everything into focus.  You won't be successful in managing your weight -- your mantra says so and you are constantly reinforcing that thought.

Is that really what you want for yourself?  Don't you deserve a more positive "personal phrase that brings everything into focus"?  Maybe it's time to get to work and create a new mantra.  You can be successful.  Accept no excuses.

**if you're interested, you can download a copy of that power point.  Click here and scroll down to the "Downloadables" on the right hand side of the screen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I've been thinking about fear.  I'd like to say it's because we're getting close to Halloween but the truth is, I think about fear a lot.  Maybe that's because I think about a lot of things a lot or maybe it's because I encounter fear often.

Many, dare I say all, of the people I work with are fearful.  Some fear losing control in their lives.  For some, it's fear of rejection, fear of illness, fear of change  --  there's no end to the things we are afraid of. 

We've all heard about fight or flight, right?  When you experience a fearful situation, your subconscious makes a decision to stay where you are and fight for your life or run for the hills.

What doesn't fit into that neat little package is the pause that happens while you're making that decision.  Think about it --

If it were 1000 years ago and you were walking through the woods, what would happen if you came upon a bear?

First, your instinct would be to stop dead in your tracks, your pupil would widen so you could gather more information about this new threat, your muscles would tense, adrenaline would flow -- and these events precede your decision to stay and fight or run like mad. All this takes time -- not very much time, to be sure, but there is a space of time where you would be in a pause  -- full of fear but taking no action.

This pause is where a lot of my clients (and, let's be honest, myself) get stuck.  Full of fear, trying to gather more information so we can make the best decision possible. 

In the woods, there is a finite amount of information to be gathered.  Ground conditions, whether the bear looks hungry, our chances of outrunning it, (I'm sure there's more but never having been in that situation, I'm at a loss).....there's a logical end point to the amount of data we would need to collect -- many things (the color of the sky, chance of rain this afternoon, what we had for breakfast, or what our tribe is going to say about our stupidity for getting in the situation in the first place) are not relevant to our assessment.  Plus, there's a drop-dead time limit (literally) to make our decision.

Decisions about dealing with our fears now days are hardly as cut and dried.  It is literally impossible to gather all of the pertinent information -- with the Internet, there's not enough time in the day to read all available research on weight management.  And, we really have too much time to make our decision.  The threats we face from our eating behaviors are slow to show themselves and we can always improve our situation -- regardless of when we initiate our behavior change.

People get stuck in the pause.  They just stay fearful and don't do anything about it.  They don't fight.  They don't run for the hills.

In my experience, people who are the happiest (which is probably the greatest boost to health anyway) are the ones who pick a direction and go.  It may not be the "best" course of action -- but they're moving and not staying stuck!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thought for the Day...

Each of us has a default lens through which we see the world. We call it reality, but in fact it's a selective filter. We have the power, to view the world through other lenses.  --Tony Schwartz

Your thought for the day is coming from a great post over at The Energy Project.  It talks about dealing with difficult in other people....but sometimes, the most difficult person we deal with is ourself.  Interestingly enough, his solutions can still be applied.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Do something Friday

This weekend is the Detroit marathon.  26.2 miles.  What would happen if those runners started out sprinting just as fast as they could?  Would they be able to finish the race....

Nope.  We all know they need to start out at a pace that is much slower than a sprint -- a pace they can keep up for the whole duration.  If they start out too fast, they'll gas out and collapse.

Why would we think our journey is any different?  Changing any kind of behavior is much the same way.  Start out slow enough you can stay with the challenge for the duration -- it's always easier to speed up because you find you're going too slowly and capable of more than it is to sprint, fall down, recover and start again.  And yet, isnt' that just exactly what dieting is?

What's your plan for the weekend?  How are you going to implement your eating behaviors?  What's you plan for the fall?  How are you going to run your race with the holidays coming up fast?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why not....

Why not you?

Why not now?

What's stopping you?

Okay -- the first three answers to each of those questions...throw them out.  They are the story you tell yourself.


Why not you?

Why not now?

What's stopping you?

After the first three answers are out of the mix -- is there anything left?  Solve those issues.

It can be you.  Today.  The only limits are the ones you impose on yourself.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Have you ever noticed that it takes time to slow down enough to hold the door for someone else.  Not really a lot of time ...but still -- time to recognize there is someone there that needs to door held for them.  A split second to decide if you want to take the time to hold the door.  And the actual time it takes for them to catch up with you and walk through the door.

Kindness takes time.

It's almost the holiday season.  Pretty soon the Salvation Army bell ringers will be out.  It will take time to stop at their bucket.  Time to dig out the bills or change.  Time to drop it in and say "Season's Greetings".

It takes time to smile at someone or ask them how they're doing when they look like they're having a bad day.

Kindness takes time.  And the interesting thing is that a great many of us take the time -- or make the time -- to make those kindnesses happen.  Kindness is important, right?  It's what makes the world go 'round.

So why don't we make time to be kind to ourselves?

Take time to buy clothes that are comfortable and fit well -- not because we are the size we want to be but because we deserve a little kindness.

Take the time to notice something nice about ourselves -- perhaps it's a great hair day or we did a great job during a presentation.  Why don't we notice that? 

Why don't we appreciate how hard we work to get everything done in a day?  Why do we always expect 36 hours of work from ourselves during the course of one day?

Kindness takes time but truth be told, time is all we have.  The question is -- how are we going to spend it???

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I should stop eating....and other ignored advice

A few months ago, I had a very smart, retired man tell me that when he used to get super stressed at work, when it felt like there was no time to take a break, that was the time he left his desk and took a breather.  The more it felt like there was no time to be spared -- the more important it was for him to step back from that project, gain some breathing space, and hopefully a little perspective.

About that time, I also stumbled onto this website, Take Back your Lunch.  The gist is people make a commitment to have a minimum of one lunch hour a week for themselves.  Away from the email, phone (or electronic tether, as it's known in some circles) --  away from work.  One lunch.

We've talked about scheduling one lunch a week for you to eat without distractions -- so you can assess your hunger and fullness levels.  How are you doing with that, by the way?

My point is this:  we know what's good for us.  Taking a break, catching your breath, eating an amount of food that fuels you but doesn't make you feel sick, stuffed, or sleepy -- these are all really positive things.  And we know it (usually at the time we are choosing to act in the exact opposite manner).

What would happen if we, like the man in the first paragraph, started acting in a way that took better care of ourselves.  What if that was are overarching focus?

Honestly, how many times a month would your business go under if you took a break as the stress ratcheted up?  How much more productive might you be in the afternoon, if you got away from work for one lunch hour?  How much would your confidence in your decision making skills improve if you actually stopped eating the first time the "I should stop eating" thought popped into your head???

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thought for the Day...

The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It's your mind you have to convince. --Vincent Lombardi

Friday, October 7, 2011

Do something Friday

Yesterday, I talked to a member of the FC who is 12 pounds away from being able to knee surgery.  He has lost 180 pounds!  He has spent 3 years moving more and eating less and he is almost at his goal!!

He is no different than you.  It wasn't easy for him.  Even having 1+ pound a week loss, the fat didn't just "melts away".  He needed to learn new skills, learn a new level of commitment to himself, and learn to skip the short-term rewards (food) for the long-term rewards (better health and increased ease of movement).

He is no different than you.  He doesn't have access to something you don't.  He made a commitment, started doing the work, and found a group of people to support him along the way.

You could have the first two done this weekend!  (and if you play your cards right, a good start on the third).  All it takes is getting started (everyday).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Forgetting the Real Point

I just read an op-ed post discussing a recent Washington Post article.  The topic (of both the op-ed and the article) was Governor Chris Christie's weight -- and how that should be considered in light of the fact he may run for president.

Even if you're not really interested in politics, I think it's worth taking a look at how Travis, at Obesity Panacea, takes a stand about some long and closely held beliefs about weight.  Here's the highlights:

"...We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: weight ≠ health.  Obesity (as defined by body weight) is associated with increased health risks, but by no means are all obese individuals unhealthy."

"...all else being equal, lean individuals tend to be healthier than individuals with obesity.  But if a person is already healthy, then there is little or no medical reason for them to attempt to lose weight, especially given that many attempts at weight loss actually result in weight gain."

Should  we be having this discussion about this man's weight?  In my opinion, no.  But wait, you might say, if he could be our president, doesn't that mean we have the right to expect him to control his eating and not be obese?  Think about that line of reasoning, for a minute.

I want my president to be healthy.  He or she is going to need all the health they can muster to do a hugely difficult job for the next four years.  Stress is going to wreck havoc on them.  I don't want a president that is starting off in bad health. --But that isn't what I (or the article discusses).  It discusses Mr. Christie's weight -- not his health.  And if we continue to let the difference in these two things elude us, we are missing the point too.

I want you to be health -- I don't care what size your health comes in.  The whole world is not meant to look like Barbie or a Victoria's Secret Model.  That's not the way our species has developed (and that goodness for that!)

Focus on your health.  Focus on doing things that genuinely make you feel energized.  Focus on the insides (both your mental environment and your physical environment)

Move more to release the stress that gets stored in your muscles.  Eat nutritious foods that fuel you all day.  If you focus on these things, your weight may change, but more importantly, you'll be living healthier and feeling better.  And isn't that what most of us want anyway?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Clarity of Process

Clarity is a great thing.  It's so much easier to attack a problem if you know what you're trying to accomplish.  If your path is clear, it doesn't seem to take as much work to stay on the path.  If your path is clear, it's easier to see landmarks that allow you to mark your progress.

I was just talking to some workmates about creating a clear path for our new fitness center members -- it's challenging enough to get yourself here -- the road from work to the FC is loaded with opportunities to turn the car toward home and never even get here.  If you can get yourself here, wouldn't it be great if you had a clarity about what you should be doing once you're through the doors? 

That is one reason why lots of people think dieting is the way to lose weight.  You buy a book, a program, rent a video, join a group and viola!  Instant clarity.  You are going to be told what to do, what to eat, and what you should avoid.  And it works just well enough to keep you coming back.

But then what happens?  You fall out of love with the "clarity in a box".  You want more choices than someone else's version of clarity allows.  You want to walk your own path.

There are some positive things people learn from dieting.  Think about the last diet you were on.  Which part of it did you find easy to follow?  Take that and use it as part of your new found clarity.  Add bits and pieces you find almost-hardly-not-at-all-painful.  Create your newer, clearer vision for yourself.

Clarity -- it's a wonderful thing but it takes work.  I can clean my windows in the spring -- but by this time of year, I dread accidentally ending up in the living room as the evening sun streaks through (or tries to anyway....they're really, really dirty!)

Your clarity about your eating is the same way.  You create a clear vision -- but if you don't actively work on keeping your clarity, smudges happen.  Usually, most of them aren't very big but given enough time and they will add up to obscure your vision.  That's when you notice that you can't see anything. (that's also the time some of us avoid looking so we don't have to come face to face with just how obscured our vision has become).

I can't promise you very many things -- but I think I can safely say -- just like I am always glad when I tackle the dirty windows and can walk through the living room and enjoy the view, I bet if you tackle your vision for your eating behaviours, you will be glad with your renewed clarity, too.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Can you ever really set aside your weight?

Ok -- this is not some kind of question to get you thinking and then for me to tell you you're wrong.  I'm really asking if this is possible.

I was just playing a game of Scrabble (in a vain attempt to avoid the pile of work sitting next to me) and it occurred to me that the whole time I had been trying to concentrate on the game, every chance I got, my mind flipped back to the pile of work I wasn't getting done.  The black work cloud was hanging over my head and growing larger with each really pathetically distracted turn I played.

Eventually, I realized I was putting a lot more work into redirecting my thought from work to the game than I would spend if I just sat down and wrote this post (the inspiration I was missing, ironically found in trying to avoid the whole situation).

So back to the question at hand:

Can you really ever set your weight aside and not deal with it in some manner?  I think a case can be made for one's ability to set weight aside.  Chances are if you're a huge Michigan State fan, you were able to set aside your weight concerns as you watched the game this weekend.

Completely unexpected life situations might be enough to jar you out of a weight obsession for a while.  Same with a grand epiphany.

But can a person set it aside long term without reaching some kind of resolution or acceptance of it?  Can one hide from it for, let's say a month or two, and not give it a thought?

I don't know.  I've seen people say it's possible.  From my own experience, when I don't feel like I am at a healthy weight, I can ignore the thought for hours -- but not days.

What about you?  How do you handle not being happy with your size?  How often do you think about it?  And, if you could retrain yourself to be mindful of your eating decisions, would you be spending any more time thinking in that direction than you already are being unhappy about your weight?

Click the comments button and tell me what you think.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thought for the Day....

There's a difference between an interest and a commitment.  When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when it's convenient.  When you're committed to soemthing, you accept no excuses; only results.  --Kenneth Blanchard

Friday, September 30, 2011

Do something Friday

Feast or Famine  --have you ever stopped to think about how many situations in life this applies to?  Beyond the obvious eating, it seems like this is the way life goes...

Car's running great and then....4 or 5 repairs need to happen all in a row.

Things at work are settled and groovin' smoothly and then.....7 new projects come in and everyone is now crazy.

I don't want to sound negative about the feast times -- they are definitely a blessing -- but they are always followed by some kind of famine.

Famine is the time when we readjust, when we work really hard, when we make difficult choices and changes -- whether you love it or hate it, you know it's coming and we're going to have to deal with it in some way.

The big question is:  How are you going to handle?  With grace and acceptance that this is the way the world works?  OR....kicking and screaming because life is so unfair?

The thing about kicking and screaming is it takes a lot of energy and doesn't get you where you need to go.  Acceptance and grace don't have quite the dramatic flare -- but in the long run, require less energy and are actually productive.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Beacon of Hope

The below is a blog post I ran across yesterday:

Apologies for the continued hiatus

Apologies for the continued and still continuing hiatus, readers. I’m talking time off from school/work/research/blogging and have been for some time now, for those who weren’t aware. I have an unfortunate slew of health issues (auto-immune disease) that I’m dealing with right now and have had to step back from some things to keep the work-life balance in check. Hopefully, I’ll be making my return to blogging (and physics [and health]) soon.

Notice anything interesting?  Here is a person who is (literally) willing to tell the world that she can't do it all all at the same time.  She has things going on right now that require more of her attention and to keep her life in balance, she recognized she needed to make some changes.  AND THEN she actually acted on her self-analysis! 

I hope you take this as the beacon it was for me.  We can't do it all, all of the time.  We make choices about how to balance our lives.  Sometimes, we need to set aside things that are important so we can deal with other things that (right at that particular time in our life) is more important.

We all make choices everyday.  What choices are you making?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Another excerpt from a fear.less email

"...I just noticed today that the trees are sprinkling their leaves on the ground.
It's getting cooler. Autumn is here. This doesn't seem that exciting. It happens 
every year, without fail. And yet, whenever it does, I always feel compelled to 
point it out. It's difficult to make Fear.less's Facebook status anything other 

I had a cup of coffee this morning, as I often do. It wasn't a new flavor. I did 
not experiment with different ratios of cream and sugar. It wasn't a particularly 
notable coffee-drinking experience. But as I was drinking it, I thought, "Man, I'm 
drinking coffee. I like this part of the day. I feel like a real writer."

What I took from these observations is that I am superficially aware that the 
mundane stuff that we (and nature) repeat over and over are actually quite special, 
but not always ready to embrace that. It's the distinction between a routine and a 
ritual. Both are repeated, but rituals are active and sacred celebrations...."

The email continues on but I wanted to comment on how EXACTLY the author has reached into the essence of what we talk about here.  Life isn't about the food we eat.  It's about the experiences we have when we are eating.  Whether that means the social experiences we have associated with a meal or actually experiencing the food we are eating (and in a perfectly mindful world it would be both!). 

We repeat our eating schedules with such regularity that it takes something tremendously out of the ordinary or an intentional burst of conscious thought to move us from our routine and into an appreciation of how blessed we are when we EXPERIENCE mindful eating behaviors.

Maybe that sounds dumb when you're staring down the PBJ that's been sitting on your desk all morning.  But it is an amazing thing that we are blessed enough to have food to eat and loved ones to share it with!