Friday, April 29, 2011

Do something Friday

Food doesn't equal love.  McDonald's doesn't love you when they hand you your Big Mac any more than Speedway loves your car when you fill it up with gas.

Food is fuel.  A necessity.  A transaction -- your body needs fuel to run on and that is what food is.

The emotional boost we get from eating comes, not from the food, but from the feeling that we are being taken care of.  Whether it's the self-medication of eating a whole container of ice cream because we're sad or feeling loved because someone took the time to cook our favorite meal -- it isn't the food -- it's the experience of eating that makes us feel good.

Because we're lead very busy lives, we just role up the food (which you can see) with the experience (which you can feel) and we get the false impression that food is the experience.

It reminds me a story I heard a few years ago:

A friend was getting out of his car at a place of business.  As he got out of his car, the business owner's dog got hit by a car on the street in front of the business.  As the injured dog ran past on his way back to the building, he ran past my friend standing in the parking lot.  From that point on, when ever my friend visited that business, the dog would bark and growl at him.  --the dog had associated my friend with the pain of being hit my the car.  The object (my friend) had taken on the role of the experience (getting hit by a car).

This processing technique is not unique to dogs because it is the same thing we do with food and many other situations in our lives.

The great thing about uncoupling the object from the experience is that you will then be freed to soak up as much experience as you want (calorie free) and limit the amount of object (calorie dense), manage your weight, and feel more content with the food you do eat because you won't have to deal with the guilt of over-eating.

But it's going to take some mindful practice of unhooking the object from the experience to make this happen.  And that begins by being mindful of how your food really tastes (not just running on autopilot and saying it tastes good because you expect it to) and paying more attention to your experience of eating.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Heart killing words

I was having lunch with an accomplished surgeon recently who told me the two words that will kill the heart fastest are the words “ought to.” --Don Miller, from his blog

"Ought to" -- is that why you're trying to lose weight?  Might there be a reason that spurs you on more effectively?  Some vision of your future you find easier to see yourself living if you cared for you body in a way that strengthened and nurtured it rather than treated is like something to be beaten into submission?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two People

An excerpt from another blogger -- there is much more to this post but the first two lines struck me:

Two people

There are two kinds of people on the planet.
Those who make excuses.
And those who don’t.


Which one are you choosing to be?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thought for the Day...

No one ever won a race looking sideways.  --Chris Brogan

Doesn't matter what other can eat, how little they exercise, or that they are naturally gifted.  You have to do what you have to do to get where you want to be.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Do something Friday

Put down the wrench.

Set realistic goals for your weight loss.  It won't be easy -- make sure you are in for the long haul.

If you need help, send me an email and we can work together.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Purpose of Mindfulness is....

to bring more joy to your life.  As you notice what you're doing, as you start living in the moment, mindfulness let's you appreciate your experiences more vividly.

Get a grip -- food is just fuel.  It isn't love.  Food isn't joy.  It is the experience of eating that is joyful -- if you are missing out on the experience, how is more fuel going to help?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some of the Fitness Industry is feeling excluded!

So today I noticed on my fitness information stream, that there's quite a flap going on in an (admittedly) small corner of the world.  It seems that George Washington University's Department of Public Health and Health Services has published a white paper on "Improving Obesity Management in Adult Primary Care" (sounds sooo interesting, right?).

The paper itself wasn't the cause of the flap in my fitness professionals' world -- the cause was that no fitness providers were consulted in the writing of this paper.  --Wow!  Big, huh?  Well...big enough that it has collegues of mine all over the nation fussing over it.

In the interests of full discloser, I have to admit, I haven't read the white paper yet.  It's in my bag and next on my task list -- but what I can say for sure it this:

No matter who was consulted on this paper -- YOU are the only one that can actually do anything about your weight management.  Your doctor can't do anything about your weight management. I can't do it for you, either -- because if I could, it would be done (I just hate tasks hanging over my head!).   And neither can the Weight Watchers consultant down the street.

Each of these professionals can help give you tools.  That's it.  (Sorry to disillusion you)

Your physician can offer you education, prescriptions, some motivation (usually in the form of "you need to take care of yourself and here's why...).

I can give you a set of Mindfulness tools.  Email you each day and encourage you to pay attention to what you're putting in your mouth, make choices about what goes in and what stays out, and teach you how to figure out if you are eating because of physical hunger or emotional hunger.  I can even work with you every week to offer accountability and reinforce the habits you are trying to develop.

Your Weight Watchers consultant can teach you to count points, educate you about good and bad fats, teach you the difference between "good" carbs and "bad" carbs.

But the important thing to remember is that all of that is just the prep work.  They are great things to know and great support to have -- but they (the tools) or we ( the professionals) can't DO the work. 

You are where the rubber meets the road.  You are the one that can pick up the tools and use them.

When it comes right down to it, it doesn't matter who was consulted in the writing of the report.  It matters who decides to pick up the tools and put them to good use.  We can all help each other take better care of our physical selves -- but ultimately, you decide how you want to use the abundant resources your are lucky enough to have access to and each day you have plenty of opportunities to improve.

So the question remains:  what are you doing about your weight management today?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Life is Hard

Life is hard.  Have you noticed that whatever stage you are in life, what you experienced in the past has that patina of "easier"?

Here's my theory:  Life is hard because we don't like to make choices -- we want to have it all.

This can be observed with anyone trying to develop their career, grow their family, have a fulfilling social life, and be a respectable citizen -- that is a lot to do and most of us (dare I say all of us?) can't make it all happen day to day.  We have to make choices about what is important to focus on each day, through the course of the year, and over our life time.

My other theory is that no matter what your life looks like, it would still feel hard.  If you could jettison all the money concerns, work concerns, family concerns and plant yourself on a beach somewhere (my personal fantasy) with a servant bringing you drinks and preparing your meals, you would still have to make choices. Because they are only choices you have, they will seem hard.  Really, think about it!  If you're choices in life were limited to margarita, strawberry daqs, or which kind of beer do you want -- you would still agonize over which one would be better. (think I'm crazy?  Have you seen Real Housewives of Anywhere or any other reality show?  The stuff they worry about it INSANE sometimes!)

My point is:  no matter how you think your life "should" be or what you "should" be able to accomplish, Life is going to get in your way.  Don't be surprised or let yourself get discouraged.  Life is hard and there will always be choices to be made.  The upside is that you can pick which ones you need to make:

Should I bypass the second piece of cheesecake?
How hungry am I?  And what am I hungry for?

or...

Should I start dieting again or go on meds to control my pre-diabetes??

Friday, April 15, 2011

Do something Friday

Tax Day.

So...you got 'em done, right?  Funny how the motivation of going to jail -- or just having a deadline you can't wiggle out of -- makes a difference.

Even if you have particularly complicated taxes or aren't very organized about your tax information, you spent the time getting stuff ready, right?  And maybe there are those of you who will be at the post office at 11:59p tonight -- but you'll get it in on time.

Priorities.  It's all about priorities.  You got it done because you had to.  When your weight control has the same importance behind it, you will get the same results.  It might take you right up to the deadline -- but you'll get there.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sabotage

"Just about all sabotage is self-sabotage.  We don't get forced to eat that cookie, we choose to. And so the diet is ended." --Seth Godin

The good news is -- if you are the one creating the sabotage -- you are the one who can stop the sabotage.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The end of the dieting rope -- what next?

 Do you know where to go from here?  I talked to people everyday that are at the end of their rope with their weight.  Whether the need for weight loss is driven by health, ease of movement, or trying to get into the size pants they really want to wear -- at some point, most of us reach the end of the dieting rope.

What then?

What does every diet plan have in common?  Come up with anything?  By what ever means, every product out there does one of two things -- it either causes you to burn more calories than you normally do OR it restricts the number of calories you eat by suppressing your appetite, making you feel fuller on fewer calories, or just dictating how many calories you are allowed to eat regardless of how you feel.

That's it!  It all comes down to calories -- burning more or eating fewer.  That is why high protein diets work (think Atkins) -- because they are cutting out whole food groups.  If a bunch of food you like is on the banned list, you won't eat as much.  When your steak and half a pound of cheddar are still sitting in your stomach 4 hours after you ate, more steak and cheddar are probably not going to sound that appealing -- so you don't eat.

I don't know a dieter who has never cut calories.  So my big question is:

Why are you willing to cut out the food you love when you're not willing to cut out the foods that don't make your heart sing?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A thought on Failure

All of us fail. Successful people fail often, and, worth noting, learn more from that failure than everyone else. --Seth Godin

How are you using your failures -- to tear yourself down or build yourself up?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thought for the Day....

There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” ~Dr. Denis Waitley

Which one are you choosing today?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Do something Friday

A woman walking home alone in the dark probably isn't a very good plan.  Sure people do it but that doesn't make it any smarter.  Yes...you can go off on the tangent that it isn't fair that it isn't safe for us to walk home alone -- but that it a moot point.  It is the way it is.  We have to deal with it.

Adding a couple more women to that lone walker -- now you have a group of women walking home in the dark.  Takes a little bit more planning but the increased safety makes the plan a little more sound.

Going to the grocery store hungry, buying a box of cookies (along with the ingredients for tonight's dinner), making sure the cookies are bagged at the top and opening them in the parking lot on your way home -- not such a great plan if you're trying to cultivate mindfulness -- the very situation you're eating in requires you not be mindful of the cookies.

Making sure you have a snack before you go to the grocery store (or waiting to eat the cookies until you get home, can put them on a plate, and sit down to eat them) requires more planning.  The upside is you are creating a situation that lessens the likelihood of showing up at home with nothing but the crumbs on the drivers seat and no recollection of how you emptied the entire box.

Is it fair that you need to take these extra steps?  Again, moot point.  It is what needs to be done for you to successfully be able to create more mindfulness in your life.  Which in turn will allow you to never worry about your weight or the fit of your close or if you "shouldn't" eat something. 

Worthwhile trade off??  I think so.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A thought from Steven Pressfield....

Steven Pressfield has a great blog that I enjoy reading every time he posts something new (it helps that he is a professional writer).  Today, he had some advice about writing -- but I think you may find it applicable to mindful eating and your weight management as well.....

Shut up and begin.

Have you ever heard of Parkinson's Law?...It states that:  

Work expands to fill the available time for completion.

In other words, Resistance [Lizzie]will make us fiddle around forever -- unless we draw the line and stop it.

Begin.  Begin.  Begin.  There's lots of opportunities today!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dice have no memory..

You can lay odds on what side with come up on any given throw of the dice -- and you have a one in 6 chance your right.  Every time.  Each throw is the same set of odds because dice have no memory -- they don't try to even themselves out.  Each side isn't throwing a tantrum because it wasn't chosen.  Each throw is just what it is.

What if that is how you looked at each of your eating times?   One distinct process.  A new chance to make a bet on your success without the baggage of past bets that didn't pan out.  --With no thought to what success may come to you in the future.  Just this throw.

Yes...I know we can learn from the past.  I have a post floating around in my head that deals with using reflection to help shape our future....

The throw of a dice isn't the perfect metaphor since humans are distinctly more complicated than dice.  And we LOVE (or at least are obsessed with) dragging out past into our present like a security blanket.

But try it today and see if viewing each time you eat as an isolated chance for success helps.  One thing for sure, if you are just focused on the eating time you are actually involved in, that is the definition of mindfulness -- and isn't that what we're trying to do here??

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Puttin' in the time

Think back -- how often have you been actively working on managing your weight?  Now think again and notice I said "actively".

Actively means you are thinking about what you are putting into your mouth every time it opens up.  (So in a really mindful meal -- maybe you are only actively paying attention 20% of the time)
What about all those other times when, if someone brought your eating to your attention, you would stop but since they don't bring it up you keep on munchin' away?  Are you actively working on managing your weight then?

What about the 6 weeks you were on your last diet?  Sure, in the beginning you were actively working since there was a certain amount of self imposed awareness -- and you lost weight, didn't you?

But what about the 2 or 3 days before you gave up that diet all together?  Where you actively working on managing your weight during that time frame?  I bet not!  I don't know anyone who actively manages their weight right up until the instant they decide they have had enough of that particular diet.

My point is this:  understand what you're doing.  If you don't want to actively manage your weight today -- then don't.  But don't misunderstand what it takes to make weight loss happen.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thought for the Day....

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt


No excuses today!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Do something Friday

Have you stopped to think about our grocery store situation lately?  It's not yet spring, here in Michigan, and wonder of wonders, I can go to the grocery store right now and get strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers, melon -- just about any fresh produce I want.  And most of it is reasonably affordable.

It wasn't that long ago that our families would have been eating the last of the canned....well, pretty much everything.  Potatoes and apples, if we had any left in the pantry, would be getting old and toward the end of their shelf life.  The BLT I'm eating would have been more like a BB (bacon and bread).

We spend so much time talking about weight, how we eat too much, and the frustrations of modern life that we may, from time to time, lose sight of just how blessed we are to be able to amble (and by amble, I mean drive) down to the store and pick up beautiful, nutritious food in many, many varieties.

As we head into spring (where, if we were depending on it, the next growing edible would be rhubarb -- and we would be REALLY excited about it!),  work on mindfully putting some gratitude on your plate along with your dinner.  Appreciating your blessings really makes you more mindful of how you are eating.  And if you can cultivate your sense of being blessed along with making some healthy changes to your waistline -- it really is a win-win!!