Friday, September 30, 2011

Do something Friday

Feast or Famine  --have you ever stopped to think about how many situations in life this applies to?  Beyond the obvious eating, it seems like this is the way life goes...

Car's running great and then....4 or 5 repairs need to happen all in a row.

Things at work are settled and groovin' smoothly and then.....7 new projects come in and everyone is now crazy.

I don't want to sound negative about the feast times -- they are definitely a blessing -- but they are always followed by some kind of famine.

Famine is the time when we readjust, when we work really hard, when we make difficult choices and changes -- whether you love it or hate it, you know it's coming and we're going to have to deal with it in some way.

The big question is:  How are you going to handle?  With grace and acceptance that this is the way the world works?  OR....kicking and screaming because life is so unfair?

The thing about kicking and screaming is it takes a lot of energy and doesn't get you where you need to go.  Acceptance and grace don't have quite the dramatic flare -- but in the long run, require less energy and are actually productive.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Beacon of Hope

The below is a blog post I ran across yesterday:

Apologies for the continued hiatus

Apologies for the continued and still continuing hiatus, readers. I’m talking time off from school/work/research/blogging and have been for some time now, for those who weren’t aware. I have an unfortunate slew of health issues (auto-immune disease) that I’m dealing with right now and have had to step back from some things to keep the work-life balance in check. Hopefully, I’ll be making my return to blogging (and physics [and health]) soon.

Notice anything interesting?  Here is a person who is (literally) willing to tell the world that she can't do it all all at the same time.  She has things going on right now that require more of her attention and to keep her life in balance, she recognized she needed to make some changes.  AND THEN she actually acted on her self-analysis! 

I hope you take this as the beacon it was for me.  We can't do it all, all of the time.  We make choices about how to balance our lives.  Sometimes, we need to set aside things that are important so we can deal with other things that (right at that particular time in our life) is more important.

We all make choices everyday.  What choices are you making?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Another excerpt from a fear.less email

"...I just noticed today that the trees are sprinkling their leaves on the ground.
It's getting cooler. Autumn is here. This doesn't seem that exciting. It happens 
every year, without fail. And yet, whenever it does, I always feel compelled to 
point it out. It's difficult to make Fear.less's Facebook status anything other 
than "LOOK OUTSIDE GUYS. LOOK. LEAVES."

I had a cup of coffee this morning, as I often do. It wasn't a new flavor. I did 
not experiment with different ratios of cream and sugar. It wasn't a particularly 
notable coffee-drinking experience. But as I was drinking it, I thought, "Man, I'm 
drinking coffee. I like this part of the day. I feel like a real writer."

What I took from these observations is that I am superficially aware that the 
mundane stuff that we (and nature) repeat over and over are actually quite special, 
but not always ready to embrace that. It's the distinction between a routine and a 
ritual. Both are repeated, but rituals are active and sacred celebrations...."

The email continues on but I wanted to comment on how EXACTLY the author has reached into the essence of what we talk about here.  Life isn't about the food we eat.  It's about the experiences we have when we are eating.  Whether that means the social experiences we have associated with a meal or actually experiencing the food we are eating (and in a perfectly mindful world it would be both!). 

We repeat our eating schedules with such regularity that it takes something tremendously out of the ordinary or an intentional burst of conscious thought to move us from our routine and into an appreciation of how blessed we are when we EXPERIENCE mindful eating behaviors.

Maybe that sounds dumb when you're staring down the PBJ that's been sitting on your desk all morning.  But it is an amazing thing that we are blessed enough to have food to eat and loved ones to share it with!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thought for the Day...

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
--Thomas A. Edison

Friday, September 23, 2011

Do something Friday

I've been reading a lot of research lately about how decision making is a limited power.  There's only so many decisions you can make in a day and when you wear out this decision making muscle, we start making easy decisions  -- which are generally the "do nothing right now" decisions.

The good news is that we can exercise this "decision making muscle" and learn to have more stamina when it comes to choices.  But it takes conscious effort and practice.  And planning.....

Planning because if you just don't have the power to make positive choices about your eating behaviors in the evening (when you've used all your decision making muscle up for the day) then you should at least consider staying as far away from the buffet and you can.  Planning because if you house is full of trigger eating foods (the sweet, salty or crunchy that you can polish off in one sitting), you probably shouldn't be relying on willpower to keep you out of the kitchen during evening TV time.

This weekend spend some time noticing how you feel as you make decisions throughout the day.  Do you feel tired?  Are you more likely to run on auto-pilot?  It pays to understand your strengths and weaknesses -- and then plan accordingly.

For more information on decisional fatigue, click here for the NYTimes article.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Be the Bamboo


Sometimes life doesn't happen like you planned it.  In fact -- that is probably true most days.  Isn't that old adage: the only constant is change?

Well -- I for one am seeing it in my life.  And from here, it looks like it's true for everyone else I know.  And it certainly beats the alternative (death -- which seems pretty permanent to me).

So....Let's work on working with life.  Be the bamboo today and don't get blow over in the storm.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Choices

The trick to this all is creating enough simple paths and putting success in our way every day.  --Chris Brogan

Chris just embarked on a new health behavior change program and wrote a post about some of the choices he is making.

The quote above struck me because he made a point about creating new paths to positive behaviors -- but equally important is to make those paths SIMPLE!

If chips are a food you often over eat -- don't keep them in your house!  You can still eat them -- just make it much more difficult to get them.

Make the simple behaviors easier.  Pack your lunch so it's easier to say not today when you're asked if you want to go out for lunch.

Start eating with other people trying to eat smaller portions -- it makes it so much easier to control yours.

You control much more of your environment that you may assume at first glance.

Take a second look.  See if there is a simpler path.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sometimes Fancy doesn't Pay

I have been working on the Athletic Performance blog.  I came up with a GENIUS idea to increase people's awareness of this new Borgess offering.  I created a Power Point, uploaded it -- man! I was sure pleased with myself!

And then the blog melted down.....

So I fixed it!  (Hope springs eternal!)

I was clicking around on it -- making sure it was in good working order.

And then it melted down again.....

Had I stuck to old methods of paper distribution of Power Point information, the blog would be intacked.  But.....

I would never learn how to use the new tools technology is providing me.

Hmmmm.....

Even though I am tired, cranky, and frustrated (sound familiar?), I think I will still choose to keep working on this new skill until I get it right (or until IT takes away my blogging privileges :)

How about you?  Ever get tired, cranky, and frustrated because the new skills you thought you had mastered have led to a meltdown?

Whatcha gonna do about it?  Give up???  I don't think so!!  Get back in there!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thought for the Day...

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Old Chinese Proverb

Friday, September 16, 2011

Do something Friday

So yesterday we talked about getting untangled from other's opinions and judgments.  Sweet!  You've got that mastered now, right?  Well....maybe not but......

What about your judgments of yourself?  If I had a dime for every time I heard someone describe themselves as "bad" because of something they ate .... I would be rich, rich, RICH!!  How about you?  How many times in the last two days have you said (to yourself or someone else) that you were "bad" because of something you ate?  And on the flip side:  How many times in the last two days have you given yourself a mental high five for an eating behavior?

You are the best person to give yourself positive feedback -- mostly because you know if it was genuine (or not).  Research indicates there should be 7 positive interactions for every one negative interaction if one wants to have a flourishing relationship with another person or group of people.  (if there are never any negative interactions -- we assume that person is just blowing smoke.  And if there are more negative interactions, the quality of the relationship degrades)

I'm not sure there has every been a study that looks at ratios of interactions one has with one's self.  But I bet a similar ratio holds true.  We all need to give ourselves well-deserved credit when we behave in a positive manner and constructive criticism when we don't.

How many of us can say we are consistently good at that?  Hmmmmm....food for thought.

Spend some time this weekend assessing your internal dialogue.  Start a tally list -- what's your ratio?  Or maybe, a more easy version is it write down the date and time of every negative self-directed thought.  If it takes you all weekend to gather some -- hooray!  you're probably hitting a pretty solid positive/negative ratio.

But if you end up needed to write down the hour:minute:second of each negative thought to keep them straight, perhaps you have some work to do in reframing your dialogue with yourself.

First things first -- spend some time investigating what you're currently doing.  Don't assume you know!  You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tangled

photo credit: Bill Bradford
Today, I read a really insightful post by Chris Brogan.  It was entitled Untangled and it has a sister post (Take back your Strings) which got me thinking about the power we give other people.

It is other people's right to judge us.  We can't control it -- it's in our very nature to make judgment about others.  This is hardwired into us and allowed us, if we were good at it, to survive in the dangerous past.  Even in the modern area, books like The Gift of Fear and Blink point out the inherent value in the judgement skills we possess. 

Where the problem comes in isn't that people judge us  -- It's that we may give their judgment more weight than it deserves.

Think about that video from last week of the model getting ready for a shoot.  The final picture isn't of her -- the print that is actually published in the magazine isn't of a real person.  The real person was just the starting point for artist to improve upon.  So....how much importance should I put on someone saying I am not the right size because I do not look like the picture in the magazine?

When you consider that "person" isn't even real, maybe the fact that I'm not her shape or size isn't really that important.  Maybe I shouldn't get all tangled up in that judgement.  And if I do let myself get tangled up in it, it is a choice I have made to give it more power than it deserves.

Chris' suggestion from the post today was to look at our own tangles.  Where do we feel criticized?  How do we deal with these feelings?  And what do they motivate us to do in the future?

Many times people think they "should" lose weight and feel terrible about themselves because they can't summon the gumption to take the steps necessary to change the situation.  Upon closer reflection, some people find that they are okay with their weight and haven't summoned up the energy to change it because it is actually somebody else's tangled thought pattern that is trying to get them to make this change.

And other times, once people have the realization that the driver for their change is a tangled up thought, they can let that tangle go and find a genuine reason to change their behaviors that is more rewarding to fulfill.

If any of this sounds even remotely reasonable, I suggest you click on over to Chris' posts.  I didn't do them the justice they deserve -- and the subject matter is one we all deal with from time to time (or quite probably way more often than we would care to admit!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's Embarassing to be Yourself

This is another email I received from fear.less.  I decided to cut and paste the whole thing because I thought it was a great read!  Hope you enjoy (and more importantly, find it thought provoking!!)

.........Fear.less contributor and fellow writer Po Bronson blew my mind when he 
spoke of the "fantasy bubble" in which we encase our dreams. We hide our 
most sacred ideas and most comforting desires because it's easier to shelter 
them on our shoulders as angels. To make them a reality, whether that means 
opening a blank document or starting a conversation, is to make them vulnerable. 
In our minds and when we are alone, our thoughts and fantasies are perfect, 
whole and insulated. As soon as you take the first step to making them real, 
they are just a fraction of themselves. It's disorienting, it's not quite like you 
imagined, you're confused, you don't want to get caught, you shouldn't have 
done it in the first place.

This is true of just about everyone, even if you're type of person who says 
"I don't have guilty pleasures because there's nothing to feel guilty about" or 
"I am comfortable with who I am". I started this by saying it's embarrassing to 
be yourself, but it's not, really. What's truly embarrassing, and vulnerable, and 
exposing, is to show yourself. To show your enthusiasm and your sensitivity. If 
at your work, at your home or on your website, it serves you to be a 90% or 
80% version of yourself, it's easy to keep doing that.

It's awkward to be the one who shows compassion to someone crying in the 
hallway, even though it's probably worse to, you know, be the one crying.

It's humiliating to divulge that what inspires or validates you is unusual for your 
age, gender or some other social norm, even if it really helps.

It's embarrassing to confess that your fears and insecurities just keep coming 
back, even though it seems that way for most other people, too.

It's shameful to admit that you haven't taken any impressive steps toward what 
you really want, even though no one can support you if they don't know, and even 
though it might not even be true.

This doesn't always happen, and that's actually what's so bad about it. When we 
win a few easy victories, we can trick ourselves into thinking "Woohoo, authentic 
living! All eight cylinders ablaze!" Not to take anything away from small victories, 
which should be celebrated. But getting comfortable with less than we can achieve 
is less than we deserve. There is great satisfaction, fulfillment and power awaiting 
us on the other side of honest self-expression and deliberate vulnerability and that 
can be hard to keep in mind. What is your current level of sincerity doing for you? 
What would happen if you dialed it up?

Also, "authenticity" is a dodgy word that messes people up. I'm not trying to accuse 
anyone of being "phony" when I don't even know you personally. But I do want to see 
what happens when people, including myself, don't dial themselves back as much 
and surround themselves in support. Like Po Bronson says, "You need to be around 
people who think it's okay."

I'm glad we could talk about this. Well, I'm off to play some video games marketed 
toward children. It's where I get my best ideas.

Matt
 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Scarcity

Does the word make you worried?  Honestly, when was the last time you experienced scarcity (as it relates to food)???  Sure, there are hungry people out there (or right around the corner for that matter).  They experience scarcity daily -- but I bet that isn't really you (since you're reading this blog).

The drive that causes you to pack in 6 cookies (or two steaks) before you eating companions, otherwise know as the competition, can get to them, is left over from a time in our collective history where that skill was important to our survival.

That very same instinct is killing us now.  We are blessed with too much food.  Scarcity isn't an issue.  You can always get more.  Maybe it's not more of the exact thing you want -- but you aren't going to perish of starvation!

Slow down!  Eat only what you have time to taste.  Don't let your blessing of abundance harm you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thought for the Day....

Each year I resolove to believe there will be possiblilities.  Every year I resolve to be a little less the me I know and leave a little room for the me I could be.  Every year I make a note not to feel left behind by my friends and family who have managed to change far more than I. --Wendy Wasserstein.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Do something Friday

"No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted...."

Okay, all.  A friend just showed me this video.  It makes me wonder if situations like these shown have any impact on why, how, or the pressure we put on ourselves to manage our weight.

I can't embed this video here like I usually do.  You're going to have to click over to YouTube's site to see it.  But it is totally worth the effort and time!!

And then spend some time this weekend giving some thought to your expectations for yourself.  Where did they come from and are they serving your best interests?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Win an Extreme Fitness Makeover....what???

Ok.  I stay away from gimmicky, quick fix solutions for weight management.  But here's the thing:

My friend, Jen Query, from  Borgess Athletic Performance, is going to run an Extreme Fitness Makeover here at my Fitness Center! -- and believe you me, it won't be some quick fix, magic bullet.

What will it be?  It will be a
  • 12 week guided fitness makeover
  • Lifestyle Evaluation and Fitness Assessment
  • One on One Personal Training
  • Guided Nutrition Program
  • One on One Guided Lifestyle Development
How could this happen to you, you may ask?  Well, you need to click here to download the application.  Jen will be screening for a person who is committed to make the changes necessary to get the results they desire! -- if this is you (or someone you know) make sure your application reflects it! 

Submit your application to the Front Desk at the Borgess Health and Fitness Center no later than September 30th.

If you have other questions, you can email Jen directly at jennifer.query@borgess.com

The best part?  You may win the chance to work with professionals that will help you jump start your successful weight management and fitness goals.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Disordered Eating all Around

I met a dietician the other day -- we were talking about this very interesting new book I'm reading (more on that later!).  She made the comment she is very interested in disordered eating (different from an Eating Disorder) because most of her clients are restrictive/binge eaters. 

Without getting into a whole diagnosis for this behavior, let's just envision this as restricting, restricting, restricting -- calories, food groups, sweets (or favorites foods), etc. and then going off the deep end and eating everything you have been restricting from yourself (and in quantities that far surpass what you normally would eat).

The thought that struck me was -- "almost all her clients exhibit this behavior".  Why?  There are enough pitfalls in trying to regulate one's weight without most of us falling into a single, apparently enormous, hole!

So I've spent the decent part of a couple days mulling this over and what I came up with is:

Dieting predominately focuses on what we shouldn't do.  Don't eat too much.  Don't eat that.  Don't eat this.....

We can manage that for a while.  And because some of us have a ton more willpower than we give ourselves credit for, some of us can hold out for a long time (days of semi-starvation, or weeks without foods with flavor).  The problem with focusing your energy on "not doing/eating/having" is that the focus is accompanied by the mental picture of the object we are staying away from.

And we can only with the that desert mirage (or dessert mirage) in front of us for so long before we go crazy and binge on it. 

Think back to the last time the gloves came off and you ate what you'd been denying yourself -- did you eat more than was reasonable?  More than you wished you had?  Did you feel powerless against that food? That's binging.

And the cause?  Lack of willpower?  I think not!

I think the cause is us constantly restricting our eating.  Constantly telling ourselves "no".

What if we said "just a bite" -- and actually followed through but ate that bite in 4 smaller bites so we actually got some time to taste it?  What if we said "not right now" and waited until we were actually physically hungry before we chomped into that most perfect dinner.

Maybe there are better choices for us than just restricting until we just can't take it anymore.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pressure -- think you're immune?

How did we get the idea that we need to be a certain size or shape? Watch this and see if it sheds any light on the subject. It should be about health? I think so. But what else are we hearing .... all day long?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

Do Something Friday

So...Labor Day Weekend --  the last weekend of summer. 

Holiday weekend, yes but....this doesn't mean you automatically get a weekend pass to eat whatever isn't nailed down!  Some people make a big deal out of the fact that it's a holiday weekend and they don't want to miss out on any of the part goods -- so they plan on eating more than they know they should.

But you know what?  It's started already.  The countdown to the Christmas/New Year eating season.

If you don't practice your skills of discrimination now (you actually don't have to eat the half dried out brownie that's spent all day in the sun -- even though it is a brownie and you love those) then you won't be in practice for Halloween (next month), Thanksgiving (two months), and Christmas/New Year's (three months).

There are going to be plenty of opportunities to eat holiday food in your very near future, you don't have to take them all this weekend!  But it's going to take some planning and boundary setting on your part.  My suggestion?  Take a few minutes to figure out as much of your schedule as you are able.  Then make some choices about how you want to structure your eating behavior.  Then...write that plan down and post it on your bathroom mirror or in your car where you know you are going to see it.

Sticking to your agreements with yourself takes practice -- start now and you'll feel much more successful by the time Christmas rolls around.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

One more thing....

Sometimes one more thing is the thing that' s going to push you over the edge.  Sure...you want to be able to do that one more thing with the work ethic you usually apply to it -- but the umph just isn't there.

It's not that you no longer want the results .... of course you do.  You're just not feeling it.  One more thing is just one too many.

Solution?  Let it go -- not forever.  Just for right now.  Set a deadline to start again (commit to it and stick to it).  Just enough breathing space to dig yourself out of what ever immediate hole you're in.  And then start again.

Sometimes, that's the best way to move yourself into better health.