Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Big, Bold Moves!

Hi, all!  Here is an email I received the other day -- I thought y'all might enjoy reading what Matt from Fear.less (a fantastic ezine, has to say about Big, Bold Moves!  Enjoy!
 
.....It's easy to get impatient on your quest to be fearless. You read the books and 
the magazines, you feel pumped up and ready for action, and then you wake up 
the next morning and things are pretty much the same. When you're impatient 
and want to shake things up, you begin to think about doing something Big. Big 
things are deliberate, autonomy-assuring actions that change your daily life: 
quitting your job, moving to another country, going back to university, that sort of 
thing. Maybe you have friends who are doing something big, or you saw a movie 
or read a Fear.less story where someone did something you think is big and it 
worked out for them.

Humans like big, bold moves because they are flashy and they can be indefinitely 
postponed. Sometimes they are even useful. But flash can be illusive. Everyone 
knows an attractive person who is unkind to others, or a person who flaunts their 
material wealth but is actually in debt from poor money management. This is a 
similar thing. It's an alluring but incomplete narrative.

Our contributors always talk about baby steps, little things, small victories. These 
phrases are not as sexy as the idea of a strong, independent man or woman telling 
his or her stuffy corporate boss to shove it and then starting a new life. But they 
are important. They're not called baby steps just because babies take them, but 
because babies need them to learn to walk. You have to gradually build up to a 
wholesome, satisfying level of courage and mindfulness. If you could do it 
overnight, everyone would.

I would never discourage anyone outright from making a massive life-changing 
decision. That would be tyrannical. But you have to develop a knowledge of the truth 
that rises above the romance of the situation and be able to say that yes, this gives 
me what I need for these reasons, and I will be able to handle it because I've been 
working on myself in these ways. The problems and resistance at the core of your 
being will follow you to any job and any city. No matter how much money or how 
many friends you end up making, you will have to live with yourself your whole life. 
And you know better than anyone that you can be pretty brutal to yourself.

Sometimes big brash impulsive decisions are survivable. Then again, you probably 
know someone who totally has an uncle that, like, didn't wear his seatbelt and got 
into a real bad car accident, and walked away

"Following your dreams" and "doing what you need to do" are super cool, but you 
also need to respect yourself enough to 1) scrutinize the narratives you're fed, no 
matter the source and 2) make an honest attempt to know, accept and live with 
yourself. You deserve no less than the best, right? Life is tricky because being both 
short and fragile, you have to push it to the limit while also handling with care. 
It is possible, though. Our contributors all manage it; it's so counter-intuitive, it's kind 
of poetic. Are you up for the challenge of blending drastic with diligent, style with 
substance, symphony with silence?

Matt

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thought for the Day...

So far in my life I've gone from fat to skinny and from poor to prosperous.  Having made both journeys, I can tell you that there is no effortless strategy for either.  I've had the chance to ask world-champion athletes, billionaire businessmen, award-winning actors, and platinum record-selling musicians about how they achieved success; and what I have found time  and time again is the same response: the journey to the top of your chosen field is filled with effort and sacrifice, self-teaching, and total commitment.  --Ryan Blair

The same thought holds true for getting yourself anywhere you want to be.  Just because it's simple doesn't mean it's easy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Do something Friday

“I shouldn’t have to.”  --This might be one of the phrases I hate most.  (The first one might be “It’s not fair.”)
The other day, someone actually said to me “I shouldn’t have to …” and I stood there dumbfounded – because…well, maybe you shouldn’t have to …but you do…so…what are you going to do about it??
Life isn’t fair and we all have to do things we feel we shouldn’t have to.  That’s just reality.  Telling me you shouldn’t have to is fighting against reality – like me saying I shouldn’t have been born blonde (ish) or female.  Maybe I should or maybe I shouldn’t have – but that’s what I am and it doesn’t really do any good at this point to fight against it.
What does do some good is to figure out if the results you want to get out of this life are worth doing the things you feel you “shouldn’t” have to do.  The people in this world who get where they want to be aren’t stopped by “shouldn’t have to’s”.   They roll up their sleeves and get to work.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Time management vs. Efficiency management

I just read a really thought provoking article about the difference between time management and efficiency management.  I haven't really ever given any thought to the difference.

Essentially, time management is about creating a time slot for a given activity.  In our case, let's say that is the time and space to pay attention to your eating experience.  In the beginning, this time is necessary.  We need time with no distractions so we can concentrate on what signals our body is giving us about our hunger and fullness levels.

Eventually, though, we all want to reach a point where we are efficient with the use of our eating scale.  We don't want to have to set aside time every day, week, or month to sit without distractions to figure out what our bodies are telling us.  We want to be efficient at these skills.  We want to be able to use them while at a table full of our friends or family.  We want to be able to realize we don't want to danish at the business meeting while we are trying to negotiate the best deal for our employer.

The article this morning talked about how much effort the author puts into learning his chosen skills.  Learning by reading, by listening to the audio book, writing about the concept, talking with clients or friends about the concept, trying to implement 2 or 3 of the ideas into his life.  All of this reinforces and deepens the knowledge he is trying to gain.  All of these activities make the knowledge more personal to him.  It causes him to refine his thoughts about the concept and makes it more meaningful for him.

Efficiency is all about becoming so comfortable with a concept that you can do it without it causing great amounts of stress or requiring much thought.  And this is exactly the place my clients want to be with their weight management -- all the benefits without the stress.

I have full faith y'all can get there.  It just takes work......a lot of work.  A lot of dedicated time in the beginning (but not forever).

Are you willing to do what it takes to become efficient?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bumper sticker

Saw a bumper sticker today that read:

"Don't believe everything you think"

Pretty powerful if you give it some thought.  It seems like often we just assume that every thought that pops into our heads is actually true.

"Those people are talking about me."

"I look fat in this."

"I'll never lose this weight."

etc.  etc.  etc.......

Just because you think it doesn't mean it's true.  Your own thought might be holding you back!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Are you still sleeping with a nightlight?

I just read that phrase and think it's kind of apt.  How often do seemingly fearless (or at least seemingly put together) adults still use the metaphorical nightlight. 

If something really bad is going to happen in your house -- a nightlight isn't going to save you.  It just lets you see what's coming....but only if your awake.

What the nightlight does is give you some sense that you're safe -- it doesn't really do anything expect make you feel better about where you are.

Diets are like nightlights.  They shine some light (not a lot but some) on the scary situation of feeling out of control with your weight.  They let you know what you "should" be doing but only in an impractical-tool-for-the-rest-of-your-life kind of way.  So they don't really solve the problem -- they just give you the illusion that you are dealing with it.

At some point in each of our lives, there was a time when we put the nightlight away.  We realized that we didn't need it.  The dark wasn't really that scary (at least most of the time).  We found ways to put our fears to rest.  We grew up and learned we can take care of ourselves.

Are you still sleeping with a nightlight?  Are you ready to tackle the prospect of make friends with the dark?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thought for the Day...

We can sit behind our computers and self-reflect to death, but until we get out there and exercise the traits we want to uphold, we will never get to hone and strengthen our character. --Celes

Friday, August 19, 2011

Do something Friday

What if you could make the world a healthier place -- every day -- with very little extra effort?  Would you?

The other day, I got to hear Rob Lillie, of Gazelle fame, speak about making the world a healthier place.  His view (to paraphrase), is that when a customer buys a Gazelle product, they are supporting Girls on the Run, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and lots of other local events  that encourage people to get outside and move more, be more active, and be a positive influence on others.

Like it or not, we are our brothers (and sisters) keepers.  How we live our life is part of the tone of what's acceptable in the lives of our loved ones, friends, neighbors and community at large.

Your eating and activity patterns matter because we are pack animals and take our cues about what is socially acceptable from those around us.

So getting back to the original question -- you do shape your world.  Whether your stuffing yourself on a giant Blizzard or lacing up your shoes for an after-dinner amble around the block, others are watching.  When you choose to make healthy decisions for yourself and your own body, you are adding to social pressure for us all to make healthier behaviors part of our norm. 

You can make your world a healthier place.  What kind of a world are you going to create this weekend?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pressure

The below is a post I copied and pasted straight from Seth Godin's website.  Since I am pretty sure I have yet to convince you all that he is a genius so that you, too are reading his posts everyday, I wanted to share this one with you.

 "I'm under a lot of pressure..."

The ellipsis hides the most important part of this sentence:

"I'm under a lot of pressure from myself."

When you have a big presentation or a large speech or a spreadsheet due, the pressure you feel is self-induced. How do I know? Because stuff that felt high-pressure a few years ago is old hat to you now.

Because it used to be hard for you to speak to ten people, and now it takes a hundred or a thousand for you to feel those butterflies. Because not only do you get used to it, you thrive on it.

Unless you're in a James Bond movie, it's really unlikely that the pressure that you're feeling is anything but self-induced.

What you do with the pressure is up to you. If it's not helping you do great work, don't embrace it. Pressure ignored ceases to be pressure.

So what do you think of that last paragraph?  Genius, I tell ya!  Make it work for you or let it go -- applicable to so many things in life!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Aversion to Change

The thing to keep in mind, when you are contemplating a bahavior change, is that your behaviors are part of what makes you you.  To change any one of them will change who you are.

It might be a small change -- like choosing a smaller latte in the mornings.

Or a bigger change -- like my decision that I might enjoy wearing fun colored/patterned socks instead of just plain white ones. :)

If you're not willing to change who you are, you aren't going to be successful changing what you do.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Understanding -- the big disconnect

I sometimes wonder if we put too much pressure on ourselves about the way we look.  Does it really matter?

I believe our health matters a great deal.  But, from a health perspective, it isn't about how you look (at all) -- it is about what you can do.  Can you walk up a flight of steps efficiently (fitness)?  Can you process the sugars you eat (healthy blood sugar regulation)?  Are you strong enough to enjoy your life (back injury waiting to happen)?  Are you active enough to manage your stress successfully?  Do you have emotional and physical reserves to deal with the unexpected surprises that pop up in life?

None of these measures can be taken from how we look.  There are very unhealthy, unfit thin people.  There are very healthy, active, successful people with a high BMI.

I keep encouraging you to make changes and cultivate action in your life.  But action to do what?

Here's the thing -- I don't know what action you should be taking.  If you're reading this blog, I assume you are thinking (or at least assuming -- important difference) that you need to manage your weight.  While, for most of us, that is true (food being so readily available and all...), what your body should look like/how much weight you should lose or gain, is open for debate.  Only you know what feels right to you.

Clients often find that the weight they were shooting for is not where they actually end up feeling is right for them.  The weight they feel good about is usually higher than their initial goal upon our first meeting.  Often, they find what they are lacking in their life is a sense that they can be in charge of their weight -- most of the time the root issue isn't what pant size they fit into.  Once they see they can eat less without feeling like they are depriving themselves, they settle in to developing an understanding and an appreciating of their body.  --which is what they have been missing all along.

So, please understand, when I call you to act, it isn't really about not eating or even losing weight.  It's about paying attention to your life, living in your body and understanding what that really means, and choosing to treat yourself well today, no matter what your size and shape.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Do something Friday

**Disclaimer -- the way I (and I hope you) are going to interpret this quote is not what the original author had in mind -- But read on friends!  Paying extra special attention to the underlined sentence (the emphatic underlining is mine).  Click here for the original source***

With the revolution going on all around us, there's so much on the buffet you're likely to just grab something convenient. Better, I think, to decide what matters first, and go do that.  --Seth Godin

How are you going to spend your weekend -- being mindful of what you are putting into your mouth or running on autopilot.  Decide now and start.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Next Steps

 We fail when we fall in love and believe there is no next step. --Seth Godin

In love with an idea....

In love with a person....

In love with a new direction for your life....

Falling in love is the easy part.  The hard part is the actually doing.

Keeping the love alive takes work....everyday. 

Reading and exploring the idea  to its fullest.

Growing and deepening your relationship with that person you're in love with.

Taking actionable steps in the direction of your new life.

Work.  There's no getting out of it.  There's always a next step.

So you'd better start today!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

To infinity....and beyond! (the quickest way to lose heart!)

I distinctly remember the moment when I realized that if I always wanted to maintain my fitness I would need to keep working out....forever.  Depressing.  Especially since I was just finishing a difficult workout and instead of feeling successful I felt exhausted.  At that point, the prospect of future fitness stretched ahead of me like an uncrossable abyss. (It was dismal, I tell ya!)

I hear the same kind of experiences from clients as it relates to their weight management.  Dieting is something that eventually comes to an end.  Weight management is something we all do (for better or for worse) until the end of our days.

What helped me refocus most, after looking at the workouts stretching far into my future (and that was if I was lucky enough to be able to experience those workouts) was to refocus my gaze to the near term.  Setting goals for the next week or the next month seem more do-able than committing to a whole lifetime.  Even workouts for the next month only means 12 or 15 with some interesting bits of activity thrown in as a bonus. 

12 or 15 doesn't sound as intimidating as ....well, infinity.

Same goes for weight management.  If I ever wanted a client to freeze like a deer in headlights -- all I would have to do is encourage them to dwell (even for just a few seconds) and the days, weeks, years, and holidays they are going to have to muddle through to successfully manage their weight.  I'm all for acknowledging reality -- but geesh!  No need to be a glutton for punishment!

Instead, I encourage my clients (and by extension, am encouraging you) to refocus on this next week.  (make it a game if you can!)  How many positive eating decisions would you like to make today?  Pick a number and then keep score.  If you only set your goal at 4 and you make 5 -- double gold star for you!

And the next step -- set a new goal tomorrow.

It's not about getting to perfect -- I will never plan on working out 30 days in one month.  And a person averages 250 eating decisions per day.  250 positive decisions might be a stretch but 5 might be do-able.

The key is to break it down so you can wrap your head around what you're trying to do.  AND THEN DO IT!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Great Story

So, I read this the other day:

Any great story contains the following elements:
• A person (or group of people)
• That want something.
• And are willing to overcome conflict.
• To get it.

I love good stories.  I love listening to good stories and telling good stories.  That's entertainment.

Living a good story though -- that's something else all together.

Think about what this list entails:  You have to want something (that isn't really the hard part -- most of us have lots of things we want).  But THEN.....you have to be willing to overcome conflict to get it.

That's the part where you work hard, sweat, fail, try again, lose heart but keep moving forward anyway, don't give up, live through some dark nights -- and if you can do all of that long enough, you live you great story.

But, you may ask, how long is long enough?  And all I can answer is: Until you get to the happy part.  It might not always look like you envisioned it -- but if you're happy, who cares?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thought for the Day...

Life isn’t a Taylor Swift song, with all the hardship left out. It works more like a Normal Mailer novel, with all the gritty garbage left in. Stop falling for the romantic version of life, and start realizing that a romantic story is told with an enormous amount of pain, sacrifice, suffering and patience.  --Donald Miller

Friday, August 5, 2011

Do something Friday

Picking your Always and Nevers

I never eat red meat.

I never eat cookies.

I always choose the low fat option.

I always eat healthy.

I never snack.

If you know me at all, you know none of these are true about me.  I often eat red meat -- but only when it sounds good.

I eat cookies more than I "should" but I can usually pass up certain cookies.....the operative word here is usually.

I almost never choose the low-fat option because many, many times manufacturers put more sugar or salt into the product to replace the fat and I find myself trading taste (that I want) for other ingredients (that I don't want).

I work to get more veggies into my diet because I like veggies and vitamins tend to make my stomach hurt -- but I can't say I always eat healthy. 

The point is:  You pick your always and you pick your nevers.  They are what run through our heads and the standards we measure ourselves against.  The sum total of always and nevers tend to be an ad hoc collection we have accumulated over the course of our lives.  Some people pick up a new one every time they go through the grocery store check out line!

Some worked well for a while and now no longer fit.  And yet, we clutch on to them and have a hard time letting them go.  Sometimes they hang around our necks like heavy weights -- pulling at us with such force we feel the need to rebel against them.  How helpful is that?

Spend some time listening to yourself this weekend.  What sorts of always and nevers to you tell yourself?  Are there any you want to get rid of because they are no longer working for you???

Thursday, August 4, 2011

There are more mirrors than ever.....

sometimes what's missing is the willingness to look.  --Seth Godin

It's always interesting talking about mirrors in the context of weight management -- most of the time, it's a fast track to getting people defensive.  That's not what I'm talking about here....relax your shoulders :)

When you click over to Seth's post, you will see that he is not talking about literal mirrors but the figurative ones we use to see ourselves.  There are more tools than ever to see, track, record, interpret what we do.

The Eating journal clients use is just one.  There are lots of iPhone apps -- ones especially made to journal hunger and fullness.  There are blogs, websites, forums, live group classes both in person and via the web.  There is no shortage of resources to gain a greater understanding of our current relationship with food.

But most of the clients (or potential clients) I talk to tell me they already know what they are doing wrong.  Have you ever said that to someone?  You know all about yourself, you just can't change.

Maybe that is absolutely true.  But maybe you just don't want to do the work it takes to really understand what drives you to eat (and when....and how much). 

We're a species that likes to run on autopilot because that helps us be more efficient and get more done.  For things like parking my car at work (and finding it when I get out), autopilot works just fine.  If we had to work as hard to find food as we did even 150 years ago, autopilot would work just fine too.  But we don't.

3-4 times as much food as we actually need is delivered to us each time we go out to eat.  Literally, 3-4 times.  And Americans spend  more than 50% of their food budget per year eating out.  When food is that easy to come by -- autopilot and assumptions about how much and what kinds of foods we need to feel physically and emotionally satisfied will get us to where we (as a nation) are:  overweight, obese and less satisfied with ourselves and our relationship with food than ever.

In our pursuit of ease and efficiency, we've lost our way to health and comfort.

Find a mirror that works for you -- and use it!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Worthy and Unworthy Thoughts

I can’t work when I’m traveling. The toll it takes is on my spirit. Unworthy thoughts pile up, alleviated by worthy ones. --Steven Pressfield

If I don't eat right, my attitude suffers.  The other night was a good example.  I got busy doing stuff around the house.  Spent my day in the yard, puttering along.  By evening I was pretty tired.  I didn't feel very hungry -- I just felt drained.  It was a beautiful evening and there were lots of things I could have done (gone for a walk, picked out a movie, biked to a friend's house to visit...) but nothing sounded good.  And worse than that, everything sounded bad!

My head was full of unworthy, negative thoughts.  Why?  Because I hadn't eaten very much that day and what I had wouldn't really be called high caliber fuel.  My own negativity was overwhelming me.

Unworthy thoughts seem to go hand in hand with weight management.  One change to our routine (an unexpected working lunch with our boss, the kids wanting to get pizza, etc) and our heads fill with negative, abusive language directed at ourselves.  Unworthy thoughts directed at the wonderful (albeit growing) people we are.

How do you counteract those unworthy thoughts?  How do you scrape together enough worthy ones to alleviate the others?  Are you making a conscious effort to?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Herd immunity

Here's an interesting post from Jay Parkinson, a doc who is big into Public Health.  In it, he talks about immunizing children for chicken pox.  According to him, chicken pox deaths are way down! Especially, in kids less than one year old.  The interesting part of that is that kids don't get the chicken pox vaccine when they are less than one year old.....older kids who are vaccinated are keeping these young ones free of the disease!!  This is because there aren't as many carriers and all children are less likely to come into contact with the virus in the first place.  The more kids get vaccinated, the healthier all of them will be.  They call this herd immunity -- neat, huh?

The thing about it is, even for our weight control, there is a bit of herd immunity that could protect us from the lifestyle diseases that come along with overeating.  If you have a group of friends that likes to play tennis, you are much more likely to spend a larger percentage of your time together on the courts and not a Applebee's.  You might do Applebee's too -- but the time you spend there will be less.

Have you noticed that the number of runners, bikers, and walkers is greater this year than in years past?  It's my unofficial assessment, so take it with a grain of salt, but I really think there are more people outside moving this year.

What that does for all of us is raise our awareness that we, too, could be out there moving.  It might not impact your behavior right away but you will be influenced by it as the trend grows.

Same goes for when you serve you and your family on small plates.  It becomes normal for you all to eat less -- there is less of a chance you will get up and fill your plate for the third or fourth time when you aren't hungry (it involves too much work vs. the amount of pleasure you get from the food you don't want).  It won't take long before small plates are the norm and everyone is eating a bit less because of it.

Herd immunity.  The more you engage in healthy behaviors, the more you create a world I and others can be successful in our attempts at healthy behavior changes.

Monday, August 1, 2011