Monday, February 28, 2011

Thought for the Day....

The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom.....for we never know what is enough until we know what is more than enough. --W. Blake

**the ending slide in a TED presentation from the author of The Mesh**

Friday, February 25, 2011

Do something Friday

Chasing healthy.

Those of you that follow me on Twitter (@Kristi_EC) may have seen this tweet yesterday:

RT @DonHunt3: McD's oatmeal has more sugar than a Snickers, only 10 fewer calories than cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin.

Oatmeal with more sugar than a candy bar!  So...tell me, is that "healthy"?  We are getting so many conflicting messages from our world.  Our media is telling us what is healthy (think protein bars, energy drinks -- things that people living 100 years ago wouldn't even consider food...let alone healthy).

Science is telling us what's healthy -- butter, then margarine and not butter, to back to butter.  Not iceberg lettuce and then ....sure enough, iceberg lettuce is nutritious.  Eggs, then absolutely no eggs, then maybe it's okay to have some eggs.

You can eat a restaurant salad thinking it's a better choice than the steak and baked potato you really want, only to find out there were more calories and fat in the salad.

It's disheartening!!  Especially when you are giving up the foods you love in favor of the foods that are "healthier" only to find out that they really aren't!

How do you make your food choices?  Are they based on science?  Your preferences?  Or what you can eat the greatest volume of without feeling super guilty?

Science doesn't understand the complex interactions food has in one body -- let alone all of our individual bodies.  I'm not saying you should completely stop listening to what you are being told are healthy eating choices -- just to evaluate them and see if they make sense to you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Work home balance -- a new definition of success

Hi all!  I just finished watching this video (speaking of work / home balance, the video is less than 11 minutes long and it has taken me 10 hours to view it all!).

It doesn't specifically deal with any kind of mindful eating issue -- but since most of the eating we do doesn't have anything to due with our physical hunger, I'm going to ask you indulge me here.

As you watch, please give some thought to:
  •  how you define success and how that compares to what the speaker is presenting.
  • How his view of timeframe for success differs from yours.
I hope you enjoy!  I thought he ROCKED!

**video box not showing up?  click here**

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

If you had an extra 30 minutes?

This post got me thinking.  If you had an extra 30 minutes right now, what would you do?

We all set are own priorities -- you might think your boss does or your children do -- but that's a cop out.  You set them -- you might choose what is more important to others rather than what is more important to you, but the choice is yours none the less.

So...that begs the question:  If you got an extra bit of time today, how would you spend it?  And why aren't you doing that right now???

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's all about how you USE the tools

Our biggest problems have no technological solution. We have come through the industrial age, the information age. Now we need to prepare ourselves for what I call the human engineering age and address the relationships which enable societies to work.

What are our biggest problems?  Let's make this easier -- what are the top 3 issues in your life you would like solved?  List them really quick -- without putting too much thought into it.

So....where does your weight fall into your list?  Is it on there is a straight forward fashion or is weight hidden in some other aspect.

We are living in an age where most everyone I know understands what it means when I say "there's an app for that".  And yet, technology isn't providing solutions to our problems.  But here's what I think is interesting  about the quote above -- technology isn't supposed to provide the solutions to our problems -- it is supposed to provide new TOOLS to allow us to solve our problems.

A diet is a tool -- not a solution.  Changing your behaviors is a solution.

Weight loss surgery is a tool.

Exercise is a tool.

Mindfulness is a tool.

Special K and Subway are tools -- they are not solutions. 

Solutions to our problems come from within us -- when we see the tools available and make use of the ones that seem most sensible to us.

A hammer won't facilitate the installation of a new picture unless you pick it up and swing it.  Neither will any weight loss tool work until you put it to work -- you are your own solution.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Do something Friday

The other day, I got grilled about my eating habits.  And then....I was told that my eating habits were wrong for me.  Really???  I thing they work pretty well for me!  Sure -- I over eat sometimes (sometimes by choice and sometimes because I get too distracted to be mindful).  But for the most part, I think things are working out okay for now.

Have you stopped to really notice all the people out there telling you you're doing it all wrong?  Sure, there's the commercials trying to tell you to use their products.  But there's also your best friend, spouse, coworker -- most of them trying to be helpful, I'm sure -- but sending out the message that they know how you should be eating better than you do.  NOT TRUE.

Stick to your guns, my friends!  You are the only one who can learn to trust and understand what signals your body is sending you.  You are the only one who can act on those signals in a meaningful way.

Sure -- that means you have all the responsibility for your weight management because no one else can do it for you.  But it also means you don't have to let others tell you your doing it all wrong and their way is the right one.

So eat 4 cookies and don't feel guilty about it. Or don't eat dinner if you had a big, late lunch and aren't hungry.  There are no hard and fast rules unless you decide there are.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sacred Cows

This blog post just reminded me of a phrase that had fallen off my radar and out of my vocabulary.

Sacred Cows -- those rules of thumb that once made are never brought up for reconsideration.

Can you name your Sacred Cows?  Here are some that I hear a lot:

1. I have a slow metabolism.
    Although it may be true that you are not carrying as much muscle as someone else and you have a sedentary job, remember the reason a person gains weight is that they are eating too many calories for the amount they are expending.  If you can't expend more -- eat less.  I have yet to find a person who didn't have an extra 9 bites to leave uneaten.

2. I can't lose weight because I don't have enough time to work out.
     See explanation #1

3. I have never been successful at maintaining my weight.
     Today is a brand new day.  Past performance is not an accurate predictor of future performance -- what you are eating today is a great predictor  of the number of calories you are going to store as fat today.

4. I already know what I should do.
     Fine.  Great.  But are you acting on that knowledge?  If the approach you know isn't helping you, maybe it's time for another approach.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  What are your sacred cows?  Click on the comments button and share your list.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

9 Destructive Reasons We Cling to Clutter

Okay -- the below is an article the Christine wrote about "stuff" but I as I read, it seemed very applicable to the "stuff that we eat".  As you read, see if it makes the same kind of sense for your eating patterns as it does for your home organization patterns.

9 Destructive Reasons We Cling to Clutter

by Christine Kane

"Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A retired man once told me he loved going camping with his wife because camping showed her how simple life can be "without all that bloomin' stuff she keeps everywhere!"

He's right!

Our lives are meant to be simple. Our intuition and creativity thrive when given freedom and space. Clutter is a disease. Each moment we ignore the reasons we hold on to things we don't want, those things rob us of energy, health, and clarity. Yes, clutter is destructive!

If you're a clutter-clinger, be kind to yourself. Begin with an awareness of your thoughts and excuses. For starters, read over this list to see if you can find YOUR excuse!

Clutter Excuse #1: "I'd be a mean horrible person if I..."
Guilt is heavy gooey energy that convinces us we're bad people if we let go of heirlooms, knick-knacks, unwanted clothing or gifts.

These items clutter up our lives and keep us in a comfortable - but draining - place. And conveniently, we never have to decide what we actually do want in our environment. We become environmental victims. Often, that spreads into other parts of our lives too!

Clutter Excuse #2 - "I spent so much on it!"

Do you punish yourself for having made a bad choice by keeping the item around? Or convince yourself that you're going to get your money's worth - even if it drains the heck out of you?

You won't. And it will.

We've all done stupid things. And we've all had to let them go. Now it's your turn.

Clutter Excuse #3 - "I might need this someday."

I often wonder how many idle telephone cords exist in the world. Way in the back of old desk drawers. Stuffed on closet shelves. They can't be gotten rid of.


Because we might need them some day.

Evidently, some day - in spite of technological progress - you're going to need that particular grey phone cord that came in the box with a phone you bought in 1989.

Throw it out. Now.

Same thing goes for: The broken fax machine, switch plates from your first house, and every glass flower vase that came with deliveries.

Clutter Excuse #4 - "I might do this someday."

I know. I know.

Someday you'll take those broken pieces of china you've collected and create a beautiful mosaic birdbath. And you'll go through those stacks of magazines and make that collage for your sister's 30th birthday party. (She's 51 now.)

Now - I don't mean to deny you your plans and dreams. However, I urge you to consider experiencing the infinite relief that appears when you let old project ideas go.

Call your sister and tell her the collage ain't gonna happen. Buy a mosaic birdbath from an artist who makes her living from creating such treasures.

And then, make space for what you want to do. Don't fill your space with what you should do.

Clutter Excuse #5 - "I gotta look good to my guests."

CD's. Books. DVD's. Are these items treasured? Or are they simply a prop so your guests will be impressed by your intelligence and diverse tastes?

Remember this: we are motivated by two things: Fear or Love. Which of these keeps you clinging to items because of appearances?

Clutter Excuse #6 - "I Don't Know Where It Goes."

When items don't have a home, it's harder to determine whether or not they are clutter. Some things may seem like clutter - like the cute card that your daughter made that floats around from drawer to drawer - but they're not clutter.

They're homeless.

Once you start defining spaces for items, then it's easier to see when something doesn't fit anywhere and should just get tossed.

Clutter Excuse #7 - "My thoughts don't have any power. Do they?"

Everything has energy. The thoughts you have about the things in your home CREATE energy. If you are surrounded by stuff you keep out of guilt, then your environment holds guilt. If you hang on to stuff given to you by your ex, and you still feel bitter - then there is bitterness in your home.

Get it?

It's either fueling you or draining you. If anything triggers you, then that is your barometer. Let it go.

Clutter Excuse #8 - "But I never wore it!"

See Clutter Excuse #2.

Clutter Excuse #9 - "There's too much stuff!"

Overwhelm can stop us in our tracks. If this article makes you aware that there are lots of items in your life you don't like, then go slow. Schedule small chunks of time each day. It takes time to be clutter-free! But the newfound clarity and lightness are worth it!


So....what do you think?  Are you collecting "stuff" and storing it in your body for any of the reasons above?  Click on the comment button below the post and share which part of your eating behaviors you saw in the article.

About the author:
Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 12,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Every wonder why you do what you do?

I just finished reading Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion.  It was a fantastic read on what researching is telling us about our autopilot decisions.

From why donations are always asked for AFTER the fundraising lunch to why we move from new car browser to new car purchaser faster when there is another customer looking at the car at the same time we are, the studies provide huge insight into how our unconscious works with us and (in this land of plenty) against us.

Fear of scarcity (which when you boil it down, is what hunger is) is a huge automatic driver for many people to eat.  Many of us want to eat as much as we want without gaining extra weight because we don't want to feel hunger (read experience scarcity).  We have been trained that way both in the near term (Depression parents and grandparents have imprinted on us we should clean our plates) and in the long term (when we were hunter/gatherers our ancestors NEEDED to each as much as they could when the opportunity presented itself because they couldn't predict when the opportunity would arise again -- obviously, this isn't our issue any longer!).

So -- recognizing some of our automatic drivers (and how the food marketing people exploit them) goes a long way to being able to mindfully make different eating choices. 

Give it some thought -- is there one particular situation that triggers you to overeat consistently?  Click on the comments button below the post and name your nemesis.

**by the way:  Just wanted to thank the staff at the Borgess Library!  They are always super helpful in getting me the great reading material I request -- You guys Rock!!

And...if you're a Borgess employee interested in reading Influence, the Borgess Library has a copy and I will return it shortly.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Whether you believe in the spirit of the holiday or that it is just a celebration made up by Hallmark, Valentine's Day is here.

There are so many ways to get thrown off your groove on this holiday -- have you considered what you actually want for the day?

Do you want chocolate because it sounds "Knock your Socks Off!" good or do you want it just because that is what you expect for today -- today is a chocolate day so therefore you should eat some?

Are you going to order dessert with dinner because you want to spend your calories in that direction or this is a "Special" dinner and special dinners always come with dessert?

What defines this holiday for you?  How do you want to end the day -- being able to check off the chocolate/flowers/dinner/dessert=love checklist?  Or do you want to end the day feeling loved by yourself and your someone special?

How do you feel about trading in your Valentine's day chocolate for a stroll with  your Valentine?  Click on the comments button below this post and weigh in.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Do something Friday

Take three breaths before you eat anything.

This is my task for you this weekend.  We all know how important deep breathing is -- it relaxes you immediately.  It provides more oxygen to your body -- which will allow you to think more clearly (important when you're starting to eat, right?)

Three deep slow breaths will also set the tone for your eating speed.  Again, this is important because the slower you eat, the fewer calories you will eat in the 20 minutes it takes to start feeling full.

There isn't any downside to consciously breathing before you eat.  I am relatively sure that the above makes sense to you in principle. But have you come up with reasons this strategy won't work for you yet???

We are all really good at rationalizing why simple ideas like this won't work.  I have had people tell me their lunch period is only 20 minutes so they can't possibly take the time to eat more slowly.  Right.....really?  Are you telling me that the 4 seconds you take to breath and relax is going to make that much of a time crunch for you?

What really is happening with most people who throw up roadblocks at this point is that they are uncomfortable with the idea of waiting to eat for the 3 breaths.  They don't want to slow down because it goes against their training to eat as they are capable of in their time-scarce lunch period.
How do you feel when you start to eat -- calm, rushed, flustered, numb???  Click the comments button below this post and let's talk about it!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


You don't need more just need to decide.

The above was Seth Godin's post yesterday.  I have to say I like the brevity.  However, I think for our purposes, it needs to be ammended.

I am more inclined to say -- You don't need more need to take action.  Deciding isn't the hard part in this.  Which part of "eat whatever you want -- just eat less of it" is there to decide on??  I assume your thought process goes something like this:

Do I need to lose weight?  Yes.

Do I want to give up pizza, burgers, eating out with friends, icecream, cookies and any hope of ever enjoying another dessert for the rest of my life?  No.

If those two conditions describe you -- diets won't work for you.  Period.  All you are left with is the tool of Mindful Eating.  No decision required because that is your only option.

That leaves us with:  Taking action.  How are you going to put mindful eating into practice??

No....seriously!  How are you going to do it?  Click on the comments button and share.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thought for the Day....

"Progress has little to do with speed but much to do with direction."

Are you mindfully being mindful today?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Weight management takes True Grit

“I do not entertain hypotheticals, the world as it is is vexing enough.”  -- a line from True Grit.

It doesn't matter (anymore) what you did yesterday.  It doesn't matter (yet) what you are going to do tomorrow.  What are you going to do today?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Do something Monday???

Okay -- the back to basics got in the way of our traditional task for the weekend.  Well...I'm not teaching you very well if you can't roll with what life throws your way.  So, we're stepping out of our traditional plan and I'm setting a task in front of you today -- for the week.

Start journalling your H-F levels.  I mean it! -- start writing down how hungry you are before you start eating and how full you are when you finish.  It doesn't have to be some fancy-schmancy journal -- just staple some note cards together and get on with it!

The high points of this exercise are as follows:

Write down the time you start eating.
How hungry you are (using a number from the scale you learned last week)
and then write down the number of how full you were when you finished eating (again, from the scale)

Just that for every time you eat during the week.  No need to write down how much you ate or what it was -- just how hungry were you when you started and how full were you when you finished.

Starting right now....GO!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Back to basics -- Lucky Number 7

So...the magic number 7.

Yesterday, I said that 7 is the trickiest but possibly the most useful number on the scale. Here is why...

When you are physically hungry and start to eat, there is a space in time when you have eaten enough calories that the physical hunger is gone but you have no sense of fullness.

A good example of this is if you have ever run home to pick up the kids before heading out to some kind of kid activity and grabbed an apple off the counter. Before you start eating, you are at a level 3. You eat the apple (one of the smaller apples not the ones the size as your head)and when you are done, you are no longer hungry -- but you have no sense of fullness either. The reason you stopped eating was probably because the apple was gone -- had there been more, chances are you would have eaten more. But there wasn't, so you didn't.

Maybe you haven't ever paid attention to what that feels like but trust me -- it is possible, as you are eating a meal, to notice that you are no longer physically hungry and not full either.

The reason it is helpful to recognize a 7 is that if you are eating something that has no value to you (for me, an example is boxed mac and cheese -- gross but it takes care of the hunger). I do not want to spend my precious, hard-earned calories on boxed mac and cheese -- sometimes, it is necessary to eat it (if the kids cook it)to get rid of the hunger -- but I don't want to fill up on it!

Recognizing when hunger is gone, gives you one more opportunity to stop eating if the goal is just to get rid of the hunger.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Back to basics -- the middle

The last couple posts, we have been talking about the Hunger/Fullness Scale. We have covered both ends but how about the middle?

One of the questions I get asked ALOT is, "Do you expect me to only eat when I am hungry?"

NO! In our culture, there are any number of reasons to eat -- one of them is for the physical body but a great many of them social (think birthday parties, wakes, business lunches, graduation parties... Not to mention because you are happy, sad, stressed, angry -- need I say more?)

What I am asking you to do is be able to accurately label your experience. Be able to understand why you are about to do what you are about to do. That way, if you want to make a change -- you are working with all of the available information.

So...the middle of the scale.

4 5 6 Trigger Eating

Eating for any reason other than physical hunger!!!!!

I use these three numbers all as one (456 instead of 4,5,6)

Trigger eating is eating for any reason other than physical hunger. (Bored, sad, etc but also because it is noon and that is lunch time even though you aren't really hungry, the piece of pie your neighbor offers when you go over to visit, the obligatory appetizer when you are out with friends)

Sometimes, clients get a little nervous about "admitting" to a 456. There is nothing wrong with eating for reasons other than hunger!! What I am asking you to do is understand this is your behavior -- learn to differentiate trigger eating from physical hunger.

The last number on the scale is a level 7. It is the trickiest but possibly the most useful number on the whole scale. More on the virtues of the 7 tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Back to basics part 2

Yesterday, we talked about the fullness side of the Hunger/Fullness Scale. But what if you are the person who never really gets full and is constantly snacking?

Let's look at the hunger side of the equation.

0 Extremely Hungry

  • Physically sick, nauseous from not eating
1 Very Hungry

  • Need to eat is very strong, may be light headed
2 Hungry

  • Sense of emptiness or hollowness in stomach
3 Physically Hungry

  • The first sensations of physical hunger but you are in charge and can start planning what you are going to eat

The most important thing to remember is that we are talking about physical hunger. If you ask yourself if you are physically hungry and you have to stop to think about it -- you probably aren't! Physical hunger is like a light switch -- you either are or you aren't -- there isn't a kind of.

Often, I have started coaching a client only to have had them call me a few days in and tell me they didn't realize they haven't felt physical hunger in years. With all of the available food around all of the time, many clients never wait to eat until they are physically hungry.

The goal I set for a client is to start making a plan for what they are going to eat and how full they they want to feel when they reach a level 3. At a 3, you are still very much in charge of your ability to make positive decisions for yourself. You could still safely make it through the grocery store checkout line without adding a couple candy bars into the cart ("Don't put those into the bag, please -- I will just put them here in my purse")

If you don't eat when you started to feel the first sensations of hunger, your hunger will become more intense over time. (this differs from cravings -- more on that in a later post). Once you start getting into the level 2 and 1, your ability to make decisions on what and how much to eat diminishes. You run the risk of getting so hungry that you get more full than you intended to.

Tomorrow, we will cover the center of the scale (456).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Back to basics part 1

The Hunger - Fullness Scale

Here is a post written quite a while ago.  For those having read it before, hopefully it will be a refresher.  And for those new here, some instruction on using the H-F scale to help you create a vocabulary of fullness and learn to reidentify with what your body is telling you.

......Yesterday, I talked about not getting uncomfortably full -- ever. Simple enough in concept. How are you going to make that happen in practice?

One easy way to start this process it to understand how to use a hunger/fullness scale (think a 0-10 scale -- hunger 0-3 and fullness 8-10). For the sake of a starting point, let's start on the fullness side.
8 Full
  • You feel the first sensations of fullness
  • Anytime you have any sensation of anything in your stomach you are at least an 8!!!
9 Very Full
  • Your stomach is starting to stretch
10 Extremely Full
  • There is a large enough volume to cause the stomach to feel significantly stretched

 One of the ways to think about fullness is to visualize a balloon.

 When you have gotten the balloon out of the package and put the first small breath of air into it and it has started to take shape, that is a level 8. The sides of the balloon haven't started to stretch but there is something in there.

After you put another small breath of air into the balloon, the walls will start to stretch -- when the stretch happens, that is the level 9.

With the next small breath of air, the balloon will be an entirely different size than it started out -- this is the level 10.

At a level 8, chances are you will still feel like you should/could/want to eat more. But the thing to keep in mind is the physical sensation of hunger is gone. Eating after that point is just for your head -- your body is taken care of.

The advantage of having scale numbers to write down in your journal is that you can't argue with them. If your goal at the beginning of the meal is to eat until you reach a level 8 -- you can eat to that level and then stop. If you are relying words to describe how full you are, there is some wiggle room for the extra bite (or 3)that your head wants to experience.

And remember:

The whole point of being Mindful in your eating, is to cut out a few bites so you can lose weight while still enjoying the foods you love.