Friday, July 29, 2011

Do something Friday

Most health solutions aren't medical, they're social.

I just read this post and it reminded me of the importance of where we live our lives.  Live it in a house full of 17 year old boys and you are going to think you barely eat anything -- so how could you possibly be gaining weight?....they don't and you eat much less than them....can't be the food.

Eat with a person that loves to eat out -- you're going to eat out more than may be helpful for weight management.

Spend evening time with a TV snacker?  It's a challenge to not eat when that person lovingly brings you a bowl of ice cream every evening (whether you want it or not).

Much of your weight management might be modifying some of the environmental factors that trip you up.  I'm not suggesting you get rid of the significant other that likes to eat out or bring you ice cream -- that's a little extreme.  But maybe you need to find some other place to be in the evening besides in front of the TV -- it's a lot harder (and socially less acceptable) to have a bowl of ice cream while you're strolling down the sidewalk in the evening.

Or maybe you need to make it more of a priority to get back in the kitchen and prepare a simple meal once or twice a week to provide lower calorie meals that will balance some of the higher cal restaurant meals you eat during the week.

This weekend, take a look at your environment.  Is there one area you could modify to aid in your weight management practice?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Question

Do you spend more time questioning what you're going to/what you should eat?  Or questioning if you're hungry at all?

My guess -- you spend more time questioning the food.  Why?  Because we assume we're hungry every time we eat.  Otherwise we wouldn't be in the kitchen, in front of the vending machine, standing in line at the convenience store or drive-thru.

This is an approach that is patently not working for us, though.  And not to point fingers but I feel relatively safe in saying it isn't working for you, in particular.

Science doesn't understand the ins and outs of food composition.  Just a few years ago, everyone "knew" iceberg lettuce to be perfectly worthless in terms of nutrition.  And then researchers found that it contains a compound that promotes brain health.  Well duh!  It's tasty and grows in the ground -- it probably has some redeeming value.  If you watch the research coming out, situations like this occur all the time.  We love headlines about new "super foods".  And we feel frustrated and cheated when the something we like to eat is labeled bad for us (but we don't stop eating it!).

All of that labeling though, is a moot point when it comes to weight management.  The super food du jour still has calories and if you aren't physically hungry, those calories are still going to be stored as fat -- no matter what kind of food they come from.  If you are malnourished, "what kind of food should I eat" is an important question.  If you are overweight, that question is not relevant -- and we use it to justify our choices.  "Healthy food" is the cover we use to justify our overeating -- and it's making us gain weight.

I think we need to learn to ask better questions of ourselves!  What do you think?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Really paying attention vs. getting caught up in what's next

Today, I was thinking about really paying attention vs. getting caught up in what's next.  TV does this to us.  We can have a brand new car sitting in the garage -- but the minute a car commercial comes on, we're comparing what we have to what we don't.

Technology thrives on this behavior.  I had to have the new Samsung MP3 player (in a super cool green) but as soon as a newer version came out, I was pining after that one.  (and now it's sitting in my workout bag not being used because I can use my phone to stream music from Pandora).

How many times have you hurried through a plate of food to get to the second plate?  Are you aware you do this?  Most of my clients aren't until they really start talking about their fast eating behaviors and what really is motivating them.

How many times do you munch through the first cookie without paying any attention at all because you know the next one is on it's way?  Or ask (with half a piece of pizza left) if there is more in the kitchen?

You can't enjoy the taste of food you aren't currently eating.  Why are you paying more attention to what's coming up than what's already here?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stay in Choice

I just read a lovely post about "staying in choice".  I find that phrase interesting because in three short words, our whole world can change.  Realize that you have a choice about how you handle your life.  You don't always get to chose your circumstances but you always have a choice about your reaction to them.

Recently, I had an email from a friend who talked about staying away from "bad" foods.  I worry about her because "bad" foods are usually the fun ones.  They are usually the ones we resist .... until we can't take it any more and go off the deep end.

I'm like this with Girl Scout cookies.  I shouldn't be allowed to have them in the house because I won't say "not today" to them....ever!  It is always "yes, today!!"

But even in this situation, I can stay in choice.  I can choose to buy them -- knowing that how every many boxes I buy, it will take exactly that same number of days to eat them.  Or I can not buy them ... and, truth be told, not even really miss them.

What I can't do is resist them.  That is a circumstance I just can't change right now (or more accurately, I don't want to put the work into changing it -- because it would take A TON! of work!!)

Once I accept these quirks of my personality, I realize I can "stay in choice".  I can choose to modify my behavior or my environment -- but either way, I don't have to let me quirks derail me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thought for the Day....

When you get to a plateau, think of it as a landing on the stairway to your goal. And maintenance is a lifelong plateau, so a bit of "rehearsal" for maintenance isn't the worst thing in the world.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Do something Friday

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” ~ Dalai Lama

You'll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar.  Have you ever noticed that doesn't seem to be the pervading wisdom for losing weight?  Apparently, our culture thinks shame, guilt, and berating are the appropriate methods for motivating loved ones, strangers, and ourselves into losing weight.

When your  boss repeatedly comes in and yells at you, you may be motivated to do what he asks in the short term but you probably won't invite him to the staff Christmas party you're hosting at your home.  You won't want him around and he probably won't get your best work out of you.

Is that the kind of relationship you want with yourself?  Does yelling, berating, belittling and making yourself feel guilty really make you more effective managing your weight?  No?!  Then give it up. 

This weekend, make an extra effort to be kind to yourself.  Practice patience with yourself.  Counter the negative talk with positive, actionable weight management plans and then execute on those plans.  Use the weekend to jump start your weight loss as a way to be good to yourself.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Doing one thing well

Leo (at Zen Habits) recently wrote a post entitled Do One Thing Well.  On his blog, he talks about simplicity and doing work you love.

He advice has the ring of truth to it, though, for us, as well.

Think of the weakest spot in your eating behaviors.  For many people, it is the time after dinner when they sit down to watch TV.  Pretty soon, they're in the kitchen scavenging for ice cream, salty or crunch snack and the snacking goes on until bedtime.

99.9% of the time, this is a boredom or habit driven behavior.  You may think you like it...and you really may...but could you make one small change (do something really well) and kick start your weight loss?

It has been my experience with clients, that what they enjoy in that snacking mode, is the behavior --- not the food.

If you're looking for the most bang for the least buck -- find a weak spot in your eating behaviors and alter it.  You don't have to do everything perfectly -- just do one thing well!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What's been on your mind this last month?

I just watched a quick video by Coach Dungy.  I liked the whole clip for it's message but what really jumped out at me is that he answered the question: What's been on your mind for the last month?

If someone asked you that, could you give them an answer?

...Quick...I am asking you -- What's been on your mind this last month?  What pops into your head?

Those answers represent your priorities for the last month.  Do you like what those priorities are?  Are they the ones you meant to have?  Or were they piled on you by the needs of others so your desired priorities were crowded out?

This month, in preparation for a seminar on Becoming a Life-Long Exerciser, I have been reading a book entitled 168 Hours - You have more time than you Think.  Because of this book, one of the things that has been on my mind is: how do I spend my time? 

This is important for a number of reasons:
1. How I actually spend my time is representative of my real priorities -- not the ones I wish I had.
2. I am getting ready to take on some new responsibilities in my professional life and (because time is finite) something else is going to have to give.

Ok, you're probably pretty similar to me -- this month you've probably thought about your health, family, friends, work related things --both good and bad, what to cook for dinner, etc.  But the real question is:

Do you have a focus?  If you're reading this blog daily, are you focusing on mindful behaviors for the rest of the day?  Do you commit to spending one week every month journalling your hunger and fullness levels?  Are you setting aside one lunch hour to eat by yourself with no distractions (fellow diners, email, a good book) so that you can really cultivate the habit of tasting what you are eating?

If you're not doing something deliberately, you are not going to get the results you're hoping for.  Hope doesn't create results -- Doing does.  Focus does.

What's are you going to focus on for the next month???

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Know What to Do

The below is an except from Chris Brogan's post the other day.  Please don't be offended the "fat" sentence.  I struggled with whether to include it (I don't talk that way so to me it kind of seems like swearing).  But in the end, decided that the over all message was one that I wanted to share.

More often than not, you know what to do. Before you even open that ‘how to’ book, or look for yet another blog on the topic, you know what you need. You’re smarter than you give yourself credit for, most of the time.

You Know What to Do

You’re fat. You know what to do. There’s not really a new book that will change it. It’s you who will change it.

You’re unemployed. That’s temporary, even if temporary is stretching into 14 months. You know what you need, even if that means education, a move, a change of circumstances. But I promise you that you know.

You’re broke. Money exchanges hands every day. More money than we’ll ever earn in a lifetime flows all around you. You can find ways to have some of it. You know some of those ways. Very few books or speeches will amaze you and set you on a path to claim them all.

Then Why Do We Read and Overstudy?

Because we’re afraid, because we’re procrastinating, because we feel many emotions that “seem” like uncertainty, but are more often good old fashioned lack of self-esteem. Because we’ve tried and failed one too many times and we’re upset with ourselves for this. Because we listen to our Inner Critic and we believe that He or She is right (is yours a male or female?).'s one thing to read this blog and use it as a daily reminder of what you want to accomplish.  It's a great thing if some of what I post gets you reassessing ideas about yourself or your world that you have always assumed were gospel truths. 

It's quite another thing if you are reading this blog (or diet books or watching the Biggest Loser, or going to your Weight Watchers meetings) in an effort to amass enough knowledge so that you can start losing weight.  That's not learning....that's procrastinating! 

Only the doing will get you where you want to be.  You know what you need to do -- do it today!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thought for the Day....

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” ~ Victor Frankl

What response are you going to choose today?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Do Something Friday

The theme for yesterday was simple technology can make life better.  Today, this article inspired me to get you thinking about things from a new perspective.
The post I read talked about a guitarist who dropped is iPhone into his acoustic guitar to take pictures while he played.  Nothing really Earth-shattering about somebody taking pictures of guitar strings in motion-- but I'm not sure I've ever seen pictures of a guitar from the inside out.  --A new view and new way of looking at things.

Plus, I have an iPhone (and a guitar) and thus have the capability of doing what this guy did -- but it never would have occurred to me to put my phone inside a guitar to take pictures.  The interesting thing is, the world is full of people who interpret their environment differently than I do.

So that is my task for you this weekend.  Stop.  Take a look around your very familiar eating environments (both external: your physical environment and the internal environment: you brain space) and see what new perspectives you can find.  Take a look at the tools you have for creating mindfulness -- perhaps there is another way they can be employed to work more effectively for you.  The more creative you can be, the greater the chances your weight management will be personal and meaningful for you -- and that is a recipe for lifelong success!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another example of Simple

I was just reading a post explaining how a simple technological advance has helped children undergoing open heart surgery.  The problem with this procedure is the OR team needs to cool a child to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (click the link if you're interested in why they do this) and the process of bringing the child's temp back up is challenging.  What is this marvelous technological advance that has made surgery safer for these tiny patients? 

A hat.

Really?  It took an epiphany to come up with this?  Mothers from all over know kids should be wearing hats to keep them warm.  And yet it took a nurse a portion of her career and a grand epiphany (when no one else was able to solve this problem either) to come up with a simple, common sense, completely obvious (if one bothered to think about it at all) solution.

This little example begs the question:

Are we being open minded with our attempts at weight management?  Are we looking for solutions to uncomfortable problems?  And are those solutions the simplest ones possible? 

High-tech won't solve your weight problem.  Surgery, fancy apps, complicated diets -- they are overly complicated solutions to an simple problem.  Eat less.  Move more.  Your body size is a reflection of your behaviors.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Making the Invisible Visible

Here is Seth Godin's post:

The Invisible Crossroads

In Career World, crossroads don't happen very often. Should I go to college? Which one? Should I quit this job? Where should I apply...

In Project World, on the other hand, every day offers a choice that could change things. Should you start a new project? Organize a conference? Open a new channel of social media? Quit something you're doing right now to make time for something else?

It's easy to get stressed and excited about the infrequent crossroads. It's just as easy to ignore the daily opportunities you have to change everything.

The last line struck me, as it relates to mindful eating.  Each time you have the opportunity to eat, that is an invisible crossroads.  Quick fix diets are one of those big project -- a very visible crossroads.  You are focused, cutting way back on your portions, and exercising like a fiend.

Mindful eating is about actually SEEING the invisible crossroads.  Picking out the "daily opportunities you have to change everything".

Are you looking for the invisible today?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It always amazes me how much fear can surround eating.  Weight management has the power to completely undo some amazingly successful people.

I don't really know if the fear ever completely goes away.  What I do know is that people feel more confident in their abilities to cope with stress eating if they practice strategies to handle stressful situations other than eating.

I know people feel more confident about walking away from a holiday buffet if they are very clear about the priority weight management is playing in their lives.

I think fear strikes us most when we don't think we have any viable options.  --like if you feel at the mercy of any whim that sends you running to the fridge.  Like when you feel you can't say "not right now" to the compulsion to dig into the ice cream carton with a spoon and eat until you notice you feel sick.

Fear can make us reactive -- much like stress can make us reactive.  And when we're reactive, we don't think clearly -- we just try to get out of the situation we find ourselves but we aren't thinking about where we may end up.

Food is nothing to fear.  You make choices about how you behave everyday.  Food isn't the exception.  It may be more challenging sometimes but it isn't impossible.  Do the work, make the commitment to yourself, and stick to it.  Take better care of yourself today!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thought for the Day.....

I love this thought!!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  --Marianne Williamson

So the big question is:

Whatcha gonna do about that???

Friday, July 8, 2011


credit gapingvoid

Although I don't subscribe to everything Hugh says, I think this cartoon has a lot of merit.  But in a way, it is also very incomplete. 

Decision for us is just the first part of the equation.  Deciding means saying something like "right now I am going to make a conscious decision to TASTE this bite of food".  -- and then you do it (because the bite is on your fork and half way to your mouth)  You have made a decision and acted on it.

But....if you decide that you "should really start tasting your food" ....but then you don't haven't decided've only wished.

Which one are you going to do today?  Right now is you chance to make a decision. And then you need to act on it!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Momentum not Speed

Photo credit to psychotic zingers
My hope for you is that you're in this for the long haul.  That means no quick fixes.  No "drop a dress size in 8 minutes".  No "I shoulda starting dieting for this wedding 3 weeks what am I going to do...???"

You're looking to string your successes together and create some steam.  Not "perfection" everyday for 3 weeks and then not again until your pants don't fit  --  that's exhausting!

Pay attention to how you're feeling.   Work on strategies for yourself.  Keep what works for you and chalk the other stuff up to your learning curve. 

You're looking for positive momentum.  That is what will keep your weight management efforts successful for a lifetime.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Craving Comfort

Just as negative addictions sneak up on us a day at a time, so do positive cravings.  --Sarah Ban Breathnach

I know a client will be successful with their mindful-eating-as-weight-management technique as soon as they tell me they crave the feeling of getting up from the table feeling light and ready to move on to the next activity.

Cravings are powerful motivators.  Cravings are what take you out of your warm bed in the middle of a winter night for the left overs in the fridge.  Cravings are what cause you to drive across town, when you don't really have time, for the perfect cup of coffee.

Cravings can be cultivated.  You can mindfully look for those positive feelings when you eat less than you normally do.  How does your body feel?  Are you sleepy or refreshed?  Do you feel like your waistband is too tight or does it just feel normal?

Understanding that you can create immediate pleasurable feedback (feelings of success or physical well being as you finish your last bite of food), can make it much easier to stop eating sooner and choose to say "not today" when asked about dessert.

Sure...fitting into a size ____ will be great.  But if you've got a while before you get there, you need something more immediate to help you get through.  Giving in to the positive cravings will be just the thing!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thought for the Day....

The secret of happiness is freedom.  The secret of freedom is courage.  --Thucydides, ancient Greek historian and author

Freedom isn't about having everything you want (although, as indicated by our country's economy, this might be the pervading but erroneous popular definition).  Freedom is about being able to make choices. 

You can let others dictate what you should eat.  It definitely requires less brain power if you do that -- but will it make you happy long-term? (Obviously not or you would still be on that diet!)

And if the secret of freedom is courage, then wouldn't you want to be brave, enter the unexplored territory of trusting your own body to tell you how much food is enough?  Because isn't your real goal to be happier?  Happier with your weight?  Happier at work?  Happier when you participate in activities with your family and friends?

Are you doing the work required to live with freedom?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!!!

July 4th -- the day Congress signed the Declaration of Independence.  That is the tradition behind our day off today.  But is that what we're celebrating?  Sure...Old Navy has 2011 Flag t-shirts .... and Target has some great red, white, and blue streamers ... but much like the hot dogs and hamburgers we will eat today, they have very little to do with the actually holiday.

I watch clients do the same with food.  They get so caught up in the fact that "they love food" that they can't seem to make the mental leap that they could eat less -- especially eating less of the foods they don't love.  Even the Food Network Judges are presented with foods they don't enjoy -- and they have professionals cooking for them everyday!

Clients seems to get lost in the idea that without heaping amounts of food, they cannot possibly be content.  But I will counter with the idea that your Fourth of July celebration will not be lessened if you don't have the Old Navy flag shirt, the streamers from Target, a hot dog, and a hamburger.

I bet if you had one thing on that list and got to go to the fireworks, you would still be able to enjoy your Independence Day celebration.  And in the same vein, if you were at a weight you were comfortable with and you ate 1/2 the amount you do now, you would still enjoy life -- and maybe enjoy it more because you could focus on what really matters and not be distracted by your weight.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Do something Friday

The field is level...only in heaven. --Steven Pressfield

When I ask clients why they aren't doing what they "know they should", I get lots of different responses.  Everyone I have ever asked that question to can give me an answer.  It might be a partial answer or, in my opinion, it might not be the most honest answer -- but they can give me an answer.

What they can't answer is how they are going to overcome that obstacle.  Most of the answers I am given involve waiting for some external obstacle, situation, or force of nature (human or otherwise) to change -- because that's what they feel needs to happen for them to be successful.  But many times those things won't ever change -- or if they do, a new situation, crisis, or other force of nature will come to take it's place.

 And then what???

There will never be a better time to tackle your behavior changes -- fall won't be less busy, winter won't provide you with more time to practice and pay attention.  Your options are do it now -- even with everything else going on.....or wait, do it later with all of life's issues going on then. 

This weekend, make some time (notice I didn't say find some -- you're going to have to make this won't by magic...sorry) to sit down and list the top 3 things that are getting in your way.  This should be the easy part.

Then figure out how you are going to go around, go over the top of, or crush into oblivion those obstacles (this should be a medium amount of difficulty).

And then make those things happen this weekend (this is the hard part -- do it anyway!)