Monday, January 31, 2011

Your Time is Precious

Take Action Today
 Time's precious -- sometimes we all forget that.  And then something happens (let's be honest, usually it is something bad) that shakes us out of our rut and makes us realize that we are living in the past or living in the future but most definitely not living in the present. 

Here is your call to action:  if you've been reading this blog for a while but haven't committed to putting it into action, or....

You were really living your mindful eating but have fallen off the wagon just a bit....

Now is the time to take action.  Today.  You can appreciate the fact that you are living, breathing, have the opportunity to make decisions for yourself.  Live today today.  Eat today for your needs today -- taste every bite and put down the ones that don't taste fantastic -- just for today.  I bet it will make you feel GREAT (today)!

And while I appreciate all of you out there who are reading and thinking about wanting to become more mindful -- thinking about it won't do anything for you -- action is what counts!  So....print this out, make lots of copies and post them everywhere in your environment -- your desk, your fridge, your bathroom mirror, attached to your car keys, folded around the money in your wallet -- TAKE ACTION TODAY!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Do Something Friday

We're at the last Friday of January (can you even believe it??)  If you're one of the people who likes to start fresh at the New Year, how are you doing with the changes?

One of the downfalls of setting new goals is that we get so focused on them (and possibly not attaining them) that we forget to check back in to see if the goals are actually working for us.

For example, I might set a goal that says I am going to limit my eating out to once a week (I pay better attention to my hunger and fullness signals when I am not distracted by the never ending bread basket...yum!).  So, let's say I am doing a bang up job with cooking dinners and preparing my lunches at home......but then.....something happens.  (Actually, that something is called Life and it usually happens when we make all these smart plans).

So, Life happens and I am told I will be joining a new committee (which, of course, it meeting over dinner once a week for the next two months).  Oh... and did I mention that my college friend is coming to town for a weekend and we are all getting together for that?  And...oops!  another set of meeting will be happening during lunch for the next two weeks...etc.

Obviously, Life may be thwarting my goal of limiting my eating out. 

Now is the time to sit down and see if there is something I can salvage out of this goal or...if I should set this goal aside (as a decision not a default).  Chances are I am going to need to change up my goal in some way.  Eating out is going to be more necessary for the next few months -- how am I going to say on track with my weight management?

This is what I mean by checking back in with your goal.  And 4 weeks into the New Year, I suspect there might be some tweaking needed for yours.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Learning Experience

Not every failure is a learning experience. 

But some definitely are.  Ever come back to your senses only to realize that you are half a quart of ice cream into an emotional eating binge -- and it's 3 am? 

That is a learning experience.

If it's the 8th night in a row that you've had this realization, maybe this isn't really a learning experience.  You've learned what you need to know -- now you need to put your knowledge into action.

I'm all for learning and continual refinement, but there comes a time when action is really what counts.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Success is harder than it looks. -- Mark McGuinness

I just read an interesting Ebook written by Mark McGuinness, entitled Freedom, Money, Time and the Key to Creative Success.  One of the most interesting statement made in that interesting read was the quote above.

We have talked about it here and I am sure you have experienced it in other areas of your life, as well.  Success is harder than it looks.  Look at any "overnight" success (the real ones -- not the viral,  15- minutes -of-fame ones) and you will see much more work went into their "overnight" than one is led to believe.

Even if you take the time to watch an hour Biography on someone who has created success, you will notice that they fill that hour up with a lot of living that isn't necessarily success just to get to the success story part.

Next time you are getting discouraged with results (in managing your weight or any other aspect of your life) remember:

Success is harder than it looks....for everyone...not just you :)  Keep struggling through so you too can create the success part of your story.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Important or Urgent

Ever notice that the urgent tends to get done -- independent of whether or not the activity is actually important?  Important, on the other hand, gets kicked to the side...for the noisier more urgent matters.

We're not good at figuring out what is important for us in the long term. 

Controlling blood sugar? Important.
Eating at another fast food restaurant because you're hungry right now? Urgent.

Getting another set of stairs in?  Important.
Getting to another meeting on time? Urgent.

Learning to distinguish emotional eating from physical hunger?  Important.
Enjoying your meal because you had a stressful day? Urgent.

We always get our true priorities accomplished.  Is what you did yesterday the important stuff -- or the urgent???

Monday, January 24, 2011


If worry were an effective weight loss program, women would be invisible. -- Nancy Drew

Don't live with the ineffective programs!  Find something that works and do more of that.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Do Something Friday -- fear.less

I just read the most interesting interview with author Steven Pressfield.  I want you all to read it!  He discusses fear and how limiting it can be.  He talks about small step and how to start something and how sometimes you just need to push through. 

Even though the focus of his interview is his own writing process and experiences, the interview is worth the read if you have an open mind about your own inner process and how fear plays into your successes and failures -- from weight management to raising kids to making a career change.  I can't recommend this interview enough!

The below is just an excerpt to get you thinking:

.....You know, I think there are two things, and we’ll do the easy one first. There’s a term in mountain climbing called “Exposure.” A climber is exposed when there’s a big drop underneath him, and he’s not exposed when there’s a ledge underneath him.

So you could be five feet from the summit of Mount Everest, but if there’s a ledge under you, you’re not exposed. But if you’re 20 feet off the ground and there’s a straight drop underneath you, then you’re exposed - and being exposed is when you really need to be a great mountain climber. So, I think one of the fears is just falling off the side of the mountain, which is a pretty valid fear because it’s no fun to crash and burn. But I don’t think that’s the big fear. The big fear is more of succeeding than of failing. I’m not sure why that’s so terrifying, but it is.

It’s like that famous cartoon from the New Yorker where a perplexed-looking person is standing in front of two closed doors. One door says “Heaven” and the other says “Books about heaven.” It’s so much easier to read the books about heaven because you know, if I open that door and go to heaven, holy cow. I think we’re all terrified of that, to be what we’re meant to be. Because then all the responsibility lays on us and we can’t hide behind anything. Certainly the people that I admire are those who’ve picked the door that says Heaven and are not afraid, or if they are afraid, they’ve overcome that fear and aren’t afraid to be everything they can be and not hold back anything....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It goes on forever....

This may not be a comforting thought.  But you're adults, right?  You've handled lots of uncomfortable thoughts.

Managing your weight is a day to day thing.  Everyday.  You can take some days off if you want but at some point you're going to have to pick up your awareness again.  Maybe something will make you do that -- like your pants won't button.  Or maybe one day you'll just realize you don't feel as good as you used to.

And at that point, you're going to have to start paying attention to what is going in your mouth again.  The only variable is what you are going to weigh at that point.

Perhaps you think this is a bleak assessment.   I think it is the truth the diet industry doesn't really want you to know.  There are no magic beans, no magic machines, no magic pills -- there is no magic to managing your weight.  Just awareness and decisions to be made.

We are fortunate enough to live in a land of abundance -- but we aren't doing a good job managing that blessing.  Maybe it's time we start.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Opportunity creates the need

Have you ever stopped to notice how many times in a day the mere realization that something is out there creates a "need" for you to have it?  This is the principle commercials exploit.  This is why I wanted (but ended up telling myself no and walking away) a two pack of the most beautiful blue aluminum water bottles in Target today.

I certainly don't need more water bottles (even though these were BEAUTIFUL!).  I have a blue and an orange liter Nalgene bottles, a .75 liter, and a yellow .5 liter bottle.  I truly don't need any more -- how much water can a girl drink?  But just seeing them sitting there on the shelf all shiny and new made them better than the ones that are strategically scattered along my daily path.

And might say, they're only $9 for the set -- what's the big deal?  But the deal is that I don't need them.  They probably won't add $9 worth of value to my life and I have (literally) no space on my water bottle shelf for them.  So what would I gain?

I would definitely gain a moment of the satisfaction of owning them.  I might enjoy them the first time I drank out of them (or maybe I wouldn't notice).  It isn't that I really need them -- I just thought I did because I was presented with an option to buy them.

How many times is food like that for you?  You aren't even thinking about food and someone will tell you there are cookies in the break room.  Pretty soon that is all you can think about -- the cookies (that you didn't want, much less need) sitting available in another room in your building.

Sometimes, you just need to tell yourself no and walk away.  There isn't any room to store them.  They're not worth the price you are going to pay for them (even if they are free -- sometimes free is expensive too).

You could say there's only two of them -- what's it going to hurt?  But I counter with the question:  there's only two of them, what's it going to help?  Two uneaten means calories lost on your way to your goal.  And you've made a responsible decision to manage your resources wisely.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rachel Ray is right

I am working in my kitchen today, getting ready for the week.  The week promises to be crazy busy (aren't they all?) going here, going there.  On the menu for the week is potato soup.  So...out comes the garlic, the onions, the potatoes....  Picture it:

I am all wedged in the corner of my counter smashing garlic with the knife so I can take off the skin, bits of skin are flying everywhere -- the floor, behind the coffee pot, under the toaster....  The board is covered with the little white bits and they are getting in the way as I'm chopping (or maybe it's mincing...haven't learned the difference from Rachel yet), when it hits me.....

I am being stupid and short sighted.

Rachel Ray is all about making cooking work into our schedule's right?  That is the basis of her whole show and probably one of the reasons I really like watching her.  She is also a big proponent of the garbage bowl.

If your not a fan of hers, let me explain.  The garbage bowl is where you put all the bits of stuff you aren't going to cook.  The ends of the carrots and onions, the shavings, and yes, even the bits of garlic skins.

If you have the bowl on the counter, you don't have to let the garbage accumulate on your board.  You also don't have it flying off your board and on to the floor.  And you don' t have to keep using your gunky hands on your cabinets to open the door to where you store your trash can.  Voila!  All of it is in the bowl and you only need to dump it once.

Long story short:  a garbage bowl makes my cooking easier and tidier.  Which makes my whole cooking experience more pleasurable (which increases the likelihood I will do it again).

The problem with a garbage bowl is that I am not habituated to using one.  It actually takes bits of garlic skin flying under my fridge to remind me that perhaps I need to rethink my system.  The bowls couldn't be more conveniently located in the cupboard directly in front of me when I am prepping -- but they don't do me any good unless remember to get one out and use it.

So all of that is you encourage you:  don't think just because you haven't mastered a new habit that you are unable to.  Just because it isn't your front line reaction, doesn't mean you can't train yourself in a different direction. 

Sometimes it just takes the garlic bits blowing around your kitchen to make you take the extra step of following through on a plan.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Do something Friday

How do you feel?  Do you know?

Are your shoulders tight?  Does your back hurt?  Are you fighting a cold?  Are you tired? 

Our bodies provide us a wealth of information about our state of health.  A good many people, after a medical diagnosis, will realize that they "kind of knew" what was going on.  One of the issues with being from the West, though, is that we don't make an effort to tap into these powerful signals while they are still small.

Take some time this weekend, and it doesn't have to be an hour -- just 4 or 5 minutes, to sit quietly and listen to the signals your body is sending you.  What do you think it is trying to tell you? 

Do you notice you feel tired?  What kind of tired -- sleepy? weary? tense?

Is your neck sore?  Is that tension from work? Are you fighting a bug?

This practice will do 2 things.

1. It will give you practice in assessing your physical state -- which is what you do when you are assessing hunger and fullness.

2. It will give you more information about what you might need to work on (dealing with the stress at the office, etc) so you can have more energy for changing your eating patterns.

It might be uncomfortable to just sit there and scan.  You might be a little afraid of what you might find.  But my position is that these situations are happening whether you are consciously aware of them or not, and if you are aware, you might be able to make changes for the better.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lots of Ideas - Zero Execution

This time of year, weight loss ideas are especially abundant.  It might be easy to get started with one and leap to the next one as soon as it flits across the TV.

Execution is what makes all the difference.  If you don't feel you can execute your new regime LONG-TERM, it probably isn't the right regime for you.  Scale it back, modify it to suit your needs, or dump it all together.

No matter how good the program looks on paper -- if you can't (or don't want to) execute it, it won't work for you. 

And if you know you can execute but haven't started the ACTUAL DOING yet, what are you waiting for??

Carpe Diem!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Food for Thought part 1

Give it some honest thought --

Why are you trying to lose weight -- fear or love?  Setting aside all other options... if you had to characterize it in one direction or another, which would it be?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thought for the Day....

You don't drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there. --Unknown Author

Is your goal for the day to tread water, swim for the shore, or sink?  As I see it, those are your options.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What do you do in the face of potential failure?

Trying something new always comes with a risk that you might not be successful.  Always.  As in, there is no way to get around this situation. 

What I believe is that everyday we wake up is something new. might still be going to the same office, dealing with the same people, same issues, same problems -- but although it might sometimes seem like you are living the wake-up scenes from Groundhog Day, if you take a little bit deeper look, you will see that each day definitely comes with its own set of challenges.  Which makes each day new.  Which makes each day a situations fraught with inherent risk that you might fail in an area you don't want to.

The upside of this rather dismal outlook is that if you have the potential to fail, you also have the potential to succeed.  And one isn't really more likely than the other because neither of them has been predestined.

So it all comes down to choice and how you actually react in the face of potential failure.  Do you curl up in a ball and let failure find you?  Do you stand up straight, lift your chin, do what you need to do and walk away at the end of the day knowing you have done your best?

People make 250 (ish) choices about what, how and how much they are eating every day.   All of them comes the risk of failure -- but you don't have to make them all perfectly -- you don't even need to make most of them perfectly -- you only need to improve a few of the decisions you make each day to get to reach your healthy weight.  Given that, the odds of success are in your favor.  So...what are you going to do about that?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Do something Friday

We are a week into the New Year.  How are you progressing with the transition back to non-holiday eating?  The end of the week is a great time to set the stage for the beginning of next week -- and we want that to go well, right?

Take a minute, get out your Post-Its.  Write down 5 eating behaviors you did well this week.  It can be:
*drank water instead of soda at lunch (even if you only did it once -- it still counts)
*started to eat the cookie from the break room -- threw it away after 4 bites

You know the stuff I'm talking about.  Recognize what strengths you played on this week.  Then, put the Post-it somewhere you are going to see it next week -- your computer, your mirror in your bathroom.

The idea is to create a reminder of what you have accomplished and what you are striving to do more of next week -- setting the stage for reinforcing new habits.

Be positive.  Figure out what you did well this week.  Do more of that next week!  You can make these changes stick -- it just takes repeating them until they feel natural.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

When less is more

When did you learn that more was better?  If a small ice cream cone was good, a large one was better -- why is that?  I bet it wasn't because you appreciated the extra ice cream a lot.  I bet the large was better than the small because it meant you were getting older -- older kids can handle more ice cream and when you're young, that's what you want, isn't it?  To be older.  So, more ice cream is better because it makes you a Big Kid.

I remember being a kid at our small town diner and ordering a BLT.  Picture it:  3 layers of white bread (toasted, of course) with bacon, mayo, tomatoes -- all stacked up and stuck through with those fancy long toothpicks with the cellophane on the top.

I can still hear my aunt saying "Oh my! If you can eat that whole thing, I'll eat my hat!"  and I did eat the whole thing -- because I knew I was much older, wiser, and had more ordering acumen than she was giving me credit for.  More was a sign that I knew what I was doing.

Sometimes, more is just to prove to someone? yourself? that you can.  I can have this whole giant DQ Blizard -- of course I can -- you just watch me!

I think sometimes we assume we love food and our thoughts stop there.  There is no deeper analysis about what is motivating us to eat enough that we gain weight.  What does food mean to you?  And you're going to have to do better than "I love food" or "We need to eat to live".  If you are eating enough to gain weight, you are past the point of needing to eat to live.

What does more mean to you?  And could less work for that too???

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What's different this year?

This time of year, I get a lot of people telling me this year won't be any different than last year.  They wanted to lose weight last year.  They made a plan last year.  They stuck to the plan last year (for a while, at least).  They workout out.  They cultivated mindfulness.  They DID ALL THAT -- LAST YEAR and here they are in the same spot.

So...based on that, "What," they ask me, "would be different about this year?"

And the only answer I can come up with is -- You are.  You are a different person than you were a year ago when you did those things.  You are older, smarter, dumber, more or less attached to a particular outcome for your life.  But one thing I know for certain -- you have changed.

And since you are the magic ingredient in the equation that means maintaining that healthy weight (or not), I am sticking to the position that past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.  Only you know for sure if you are going to create mindfulness today -- it is all completely up to you.  What kind of a conversation do we want to be having next year at this time?  The creation of that conversation start with your choices today.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What makes you You?

Okay -- we are though the holiday season.  If you saw your family at all during the last few months, you certainly must have experienced yourself through their eyes.  How many times did you hear "Oh, You! You're so funny." smart...such a character...such a jerk (depending on how your holiday was going :)

Point being -- you probably heard a few words that describe how others see you.  But the question for today is, "How do you see yourself? -- What makes you You?"

If others think you're smart but you think you're a moron -- you probably don't think smarts is one of the characteristics that makes you You.  If you think you're funny and only a few people laugh at your jokes, you might still feel your humor is a big part of what makes you You.

If you're a wine lover and you are trying to lose weight on the Atkin's diet, obviously, the diet is going to effect one of the characteristics that make you who you are -- I am relatively certain in my prediction you won't stay on the Atkin's diet for very long -- because you like being who you are and don't like things that conflict with that.

In the same way, if you're a black and white, by the book kind of person, mindful eating may not be a good fit for you.  The very lack of hard and fast rules that feel freeing to some may just make you feel like you have no solid landing space.

No sense in trying to make a lifestyle change that is actually changing something you hold near and dear to your heart (You).

So give it some thought.  If you had to describe who you are, what would you say?  And are you trying to make changes to your eating behaviors that are in direct conflict to who you feel you should be? 

Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Class for the New Year

Want to jump into the Mindful Eating action?  Sign up for the Eating Coach group training class starting next week!

This 6 week class will give you information and an action plan to bring more mindfulness to your table!

Class starts next Wednesday, January 12 from 12-1pm
and runs through February 16.

Click here to register and chose Eating Coach Group Training from the drop down menu!

Relative vs Absolute

Two things happened that week that I have been kickin' around in my head.

1. The other day, I wrote a post discussing the differences between absolute and relative strength (one is how much you can lift period.  The other is how much you can lift relative to your size.) 

2. I received several emails from you all in response to the post about "that person" who seems to naturally possess the eating skills you are working on.

The readers' responses was something akin to "maybe he just has a better metabolism".  Now, the thing I know about thoughts on weight loss is -- if a couple of you take time to write it, many of you are thinking the same thing.

Here's what I want to make clear:

Just like there are absolute and relative strength.  There are two ways of looking at eating.  Sure, you can say that "that guy" has a great metabolism -- but I bet you a buck, if you made him eat more than he does on his own, you would fatten him up.  (anyone ever experienced that with a slim and trim man you start cooking for? Many of 'em start gaining weight from the first time they walk into your kitchen!)

The point is -- it is easy to get stuck on the fact that other people can eat more than you(absolute eating) and still maintain their weight.  And yes, it maybe seems unfair.  But the point I am hoping you take to heart is it doesn't matter how much someone else does or doesn't eat.  If they are maintaining their weight at a constant level -- their calories in are equally their calories out (their relative calories).  That has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you.

You need the appropriate number of calories for your body composition, activity level and genetic/gender predisposition (your relative calories).  Life isn't fair on this -- men will always be able to eat more calories than women because men develop more muscle (which used more calories to maintain itself) than women.  It's just the way we are all made -- not fair but doesn't change the issue at hand.  --Which is, your body will tell you how many calories you need to maintain your current weight.  If you want to weigh less, eat a few less bites. 

Comparisons do no good.  Calling yourself unlucky doesn't change the task at hand -- it just makes you feel worse about having to do it.