Friday, December 30, 2011

Do something Friday....

Yesterday, I told you about the book The Flinch.
Today, I'm going to encourage you to commit to something that makes you flinch.  Whether it's an exercise program or changing the way you eat -- the New Year is a great time to make a fresh start.

But here's the difference:

I want you to commit to it for a year.  2012: The Year of _________.

What's it going to be?

Write it out.  Commit to it.  Post it somewhere.

Need help sticking to it?  Try this service.  It lets you set up your goal and then emails you reminders to post your progress.  For extra incentive, you can put some money on the line.  Every time you do not achieve your goal for the week, it will make a donation to your charity of choice (and charge your credit card for it!).

It is easier than ever to hire an e-coach, join a group trying to make the same changes you are, get educated (although sometimes people spend so much time educating themselves they never act on the education), find the resources you need to be successful in your behavior change.

The one thing none of us can do for you is make the decision and get started.  That's your job -- get to work!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Flinch

I just read a book by Julien Smith called The Flinch.  I love him almost as much as I love Seth Godin -- they're of the same vein (although Julien swears a lot more -- so be warned if you go to his blog!)  No swearing worries in the book though.

The book spends its time talking about the automatic reflex we are all born with to pull back when something outside our comfort zone hits us.  On the very first page, Julien uses the example of boxers -- you have to get over the reflex to pull back when you're about to get hit, if you ever want to become a boxer.

I have no desire to become a boxer.  I don't really ever want to experience getting hit in the face.  But I do want to grow as a person and that means change.  Which, let's face it, might sometimes be worse than getting hit in the face.

We're hard wired to avoid change.  Change is a challenge that, when we were hunter gatherers, we didn't have the luxury of exploring.  Our environment dictated how we were going to spend our days -- change meant taking time to adjust -- which meant we might starve to death or get eaten by a bear if we didn't adapt fast enough.

Fortunately, that isn't our experience today.  The likelihood of me getting eaten by a bear is really small.  We have new battles to fight and a new environment to adjust to.  We have food available at every corner of our modern world and we don't have to move very much to get it (or get anything else, for that matter).

Today, it actually requires less front-end effort to be overweight and unhealthy than it does to be fit.

But notice I said front-end effort. 

You can either put in the work now (park farther away from your destination, take every set of stairs you can find, go out of your way to understand your hunger/fullness signals, package up part of your restaurant meal so you don't overeat...) or you can put in your work later (more doctors appointments because you have diabetes, visits to your cardiologist to check on your stents, trips to the drug store to pick up your blood pressure meds, visits to your orthopedist because your knees and hips are killing you.....).

Near as I can tell, we don't get out of this life without doing the work. (well....unless we do get eaten by the bear).  Our best bet is to pick the kind of work we want to do.....or maybe we don't want to do it but it's the work we can live with. 

Me?  I like choices (even if change scares the pants off me).  I want to create a life that gives me as many options as possible.

Need some inspiration or a kick in the pants?  Read Julien's book, Flinch!  The upside is it's free -- the downside is right now it's only available for Kindles.  Borrow one if you have to -- it's worth taking the time to understand the flinch you feel whenever I suggest keeping a food journal, letting yourself get physically hungry, or committing to an exercise program.  That flinch you feel, it's telling you something.

About the book.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I don't have time.....

Yes, you do.  You have exactly as much time as anyone else.  We all only get 24 hours.  Sure, yours are full.  Mine are full too.  Shoot!  Even a toddler's day is full  -- it's full of different stuff but let's face it, the kid's busy all day!  Maybe you're trying to earn a living, keep the house clean, repair the car, and shovel the driveway clear.  You're busy -- believe me, I get that.  But it really comes down to priorities.
Are you ready to let some other things slide (so your house isn't spotless or your kids have to cook dinner a couple night a week) so you can get healthy?

Small changes in how you eat (we've talked about that -- just a 9 bite reduction per day) will start your weight loss.

Just small amounts of extra movement (as little as 10-20 minutes) will start you on your path to a healthier self.

Are you telling me you can't find 20 minute and 9 bite in your day?  Of course you can.  The question is -- are you willing to look?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More no and more yes

The interesting thing about how many of us approach food is how automatically "no" oriented it is.

No carbs.

No fats.

No sweets.

No junk.

We tell ourselves no....a lot.

But we don't tell ourselves yes.

Yes, I am making a healthy choice.

Yes, I am making a guilt-free choice.

Yes, I am doing this and I feel good about it.

What if we reframes our no's?

No, this food doesn't taste good -- it is not worth the calories.

No, I am not hungry.  I am not going to finish the food on my plate.

No, I don't want desert.  I am choosing to be finished with my meal.

There really isn't anything wrong with no's and there's nothing particularly virtuous about yes's -- it's all in how they're used.  Are you making choices or running on autopilot?  Do you recognize the no or the yes running through your mind as you make those choices?

Mindful eating is all about deliberately choosing the no or the yes to suit your purpose: feeding your body or fueling your soul.  Sometimes food can do that and other times it can't.  Do you know the difference??

Monday, December 26, 2011

Thought for the Day -- on looking back.....

"Then at some point, for some stupid reason, I asked him what he was going to do.  And he grew serious.

--Mostly, he said, I've been thinking about what I'm not going to do.  When I think of the last few years, I've been hounded by regrets for what's already happened and fears for what might.  By nostalgia for what I've lost and desire for what I don't have.  All this wanting and not wanting.  It's worn me out.  For once, I'm going to try the present on for size." -- Amor Towles in  Rules of Civility

Friday, December 23, 2011

Do something Friday -- making a list and checking it twice!

Ok -- quick!  List off the top three things you're looking forward to this weekend.

Done?  Okay.

Whatever your top three are -- be mindful of them.  Be where you are when you're there and pay attention to what's happening around you.

If you're eating and that food was in your top three -- for goodness sake!  sit down and taste it!  Savor it!  Enjoy it!  Don't talk to a relative all the way through it and miss the experience!

If family is on your list -- pay attention to them as you talk to them!!  Look them in the eyes -- don't let your eyes wonder to see who else is in the room or what everyone else is doing like you're going to miss out on something!  Be attentive of your time together!  Enjoy them!  Don't eat your way through that conversation.

Be mindful of what's in front of you.  Whether you're eating, visiting, driving somewhere, whatever -- be where you are.  You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it!

Merry Christmas, all!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2012: The year of ???

What's your 2012 going to be the year of?  Do you know yet?  Do you usually set a course for your year or just let it unfold as it will?

I've done both.  I like both.  If there's not really some burning desire to accomplish something in particular, it's great just to let the year unfold and see where I end up.

On the other hand, if I've got something I really want to tackle -- the first of the year is a great time to start that process.  We're not talking about a New Year's Resolution here -- come with a build in expectation that they will be completed or forgotten by February 14. 

The Year of XYZ means figuring out how to focus on something for a whole YEAR!  It's a declaration that this year is going to be different than the last one.  It means when you start to fall off the wagon, you can't just quit and call it a day (because the year isn't done!)  It means you have time to try an approach and if things don't work out as you planned, you can try another.

A year means you are giving yourself time to practice, learn, fail, try again, experience success, and give yourself enough time to live with the change.

So....what's 2012 going to be the year of for you?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Being Conscious

For those of you that find mindfulness starts out as a behavior to manage weight but then creeps into other areas of your life and actually makes them better's an interesting post on being conscious from the coach Brooke Castillo.

Being Conscious

How do naturally thin people know they're going unconscious in their lives?


I know I'm going unconscious when I overeat or eat when I'm not hungry.  It's my signal. My reminder.  My alarm.

Whenever I have even a hint of it, I stop and consider my mind and what I'm trying to avoid feeling.

I can usually find it.  (I've had lots and lots of practice.)  Then, I do my work to get back on track and conscious of my thoughts and my feelings again.

Now I hear the signal after about three bites of eating when I am not hungry.  When I first started, I would become aware only after I had gained five pounds.

But how to naturally thin people do this?  They don't overeat when they go unconscious.  They don't have a signal as clear as an overfull stomach or weight gain.

 I now know.

After years and years of coaching people from all over the world, I know that we all have our signals.

For some, it's drinking vodka. For some, it's buying stuff they can't afford. For some, it's sleeping with random partners.  And for others, it's raging, cutting, drama-ing, overworking, cleaning, or drugs.
We all have our signal that we've become unconscious.

That we're doing something that will ultimately not serve us, in order to dull the vibration of being alive in this moment.

I love that food is my signal.  What I used to curse, now I love.  It is my consciousness creator.  It's my gift.

What's yours?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

For those of you who tell me you can't imaging eating less that you already do....

I understand.  I like eating too.  I like how food tastes.  How it makes tv time less boring (because...let's face it -- only 8% of the stuff we're watching is actually engaging and interesting -- the rest is just white noise to make us feel okay about sitting on the couch).  How it's not very hard to start a conversation with someone you don't know if you have a cocktail plate in your hand (automatic source of conversation about how fab this or that is, right?).

Lots of people tell me they don't eat very much and can't imaging eating less.

And then the other day I had someone tell me that she is more mindful of what she's eating because, due to the healing process of a (non-bariatric) surgery, eating leads to pain.  So whenever she thinks about putting food into her mouth, she finds herself weighing the need for that food against the pain that will come after.

All of the sudden -- there is something more uncomfortable than the feeling of being bored...or anxious...or tired....or sad...or whatever it is that drives you to eat when you're not actually hungry.

Now -- although I know many of you are saying to yourself "Man! I gotta get me some of that surgery!  I could be thin in no time" -- you may be missing my less obvious point.  And that is:

Food only has that much power over you when there is nothing else with greater power.  You don't need to have pain for this.  You could create a powerful positive vision to weigh each of those decisions against.  (like training for a 5k or half marathon or learning how to rock climb or taking your grandkids for a hike to the waterfalls in the UP).  Whatever you feel your weigh is holding you back from doing -- you can make that your guiding vision.  You may find you can make that more important than finding your next 3pm fix of stale, breakroom Christmas cookies.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thought for the Day...what do you need to create your success?

......The idea that we need to be fit and trim and sane and organized to do good work is baloney. The best stuff I’ve done, I’ve produced under excruciating pressure of time and money, amid massive Resistance, insecurity and self-doubt, with my personal life in chaos. Not that I’m recommending such a state. But the fact remains: you can light up the board even with both hands tied behind your back and your feet sunk in forty pounds of cement.  --Steven Pressfield

No matter what your situation -- if managing your weight is important enough to you, you can be successful at it!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Do something Friday -- choice

"I had no choice, I just couldn't get out of bed."

"I had no choice, it was the best program I could get into."

"I had no choice, he told me to do it..."


It's probably more accurate to say, "the short-term benefit/satisfaction/risk avoidance was a lot higher than anything else, so I chose to do what I did." --Seth

Really?  No choice or just too much work?  People average 250 food choices per day.  You don't have to change them all -- just a few -- to make a huge impact on your weight and your health.  Isn't that worth a little time and attention this weekend?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

We spend so much energy on trying to lose weight....

Is that what you really want ---- to be thin?  If that's it, stick with your goal -- learn how to eat less.  End of story.

If what you are really trying to achieve is a high quality life, full of health, energy, vitality, interesting people, interesting experiences -- maybe you need to do something other than just trying to manage your weight.
Are you picking the right tool for the job?  Check this out!  Maybe it will inspire you to add another tool to your toolbox!

Can't see the video? Click here!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


A couple days ago, a client of mine was telling our class how her grandson likes to go out everyday to eat with his buddies after their sports practice.  Because he only gets a fixed allowance (and maybe because he is a teenager), by the end of the week, he doesn't have any money left to eat.  So he has to sit at the table and drinks water while everyone else is eating.

Funny, huh? (In the "well, that is a great opportunity to learn money doesn't grow on trees" kind of way)

It really doesn't have anything to do with us, right?  Because we're older and more mature (and have a better understanding of economics?). 

But wait a minute......isn't this EXACTLY what many of us do?

Set aside the money issue for a moment.

Given that there is only a fixed number of calories you can eat and not gain weight (the amount equal to what you burn in a given day), if you eat too many, you are going to use up all your allotted calories for the week before you have finished that week.  --Should you want to stay at a given weight, you are going to have to do the equivalent of sitting at the restaurant with you buddies drinking only a glass of water.  And isn't that exactly what a diet is???

Wouldn't a better solution for that grandson be to spread his food allowance out for the week so he doesn't spend as much during the first part of the week but in turn can then eat something everyday when his group is out?

And wouldn't it make so much more sense for us to do the same thing in our eating?  Eat a little less everyday so we don't ever have to diet?

Hmmmm....maybe we're not so mature after all.  Bummer!  But that doesn't mean we can't learn to make different choices.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Remeber those changes I was talking about??

Well, here's one of them:

For just over 700 posts, we talked almost exclusively about mindful eating as a way to manage weight.

But we all know (whether we want to deal with it or not) that exercise can play an important role in our overall health -- regardless of whether or not we lose weight.

So, if you find yourself in need of a little assistance with your health and fitness resolutions, my friend, Jen, over at Athletic Performance might have just the solution you need!

Are you ready to be Finally Fit?

Athletes and active people have all had to start somewhere. There isn’t any one of them that didn’t have to work to get where they are.

If you are frustrated or overwhelmed by the thought improving your fitness level, Finally Fit may be just the program for you!

You can choose the length of your commitment: 6, 8, or 12 weeks.

Get 30 minutes of one-to-one coaching three times a week with a training program designed to jump start your success! And, because what you eat is as important to your results as how you train, packages also include sessions with a registered dietician!

Package prices range from $306 – $575. For more information or to find out how Borgess Athletic Performance can help you reach your goals, contact Jen at or call 269.552.2340!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thought for the Day....on saying "no"

"Whenever we deny our need to say 'no', our self-respect diminishes.  It is not only our right at certain times to say "no"; it is our deepest responsibility.  For it is a gift to ourselves when we say "no" to those old habits that dissipate our energy, 'no' to what robs us of our inner joy, 'no' to what distracts us from our purpose.  And it is a gift to others to say 'no' when their expectations do not ring true for us, for in so doing we free them to discover more fully the truth of their own path.  Saying 'no' can be liberating when it expresses our commitment to take a stand for what we believe we truly need."

 --John Robbins and Ann Mortifee from In Search of Balance: Discovering Harmony in a Changing World.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Do something Friday....finding moderation

Yesterday, the question was "How do you feel about spending this holiday season learning how to eat in moderation?"

If you have even the tiniest inclination in that direction, I encourage you to start practicing today!

Start by cutting out anything that doesn't look fantastic.  There are a myriad of options in what to eat.  It will require more planning but you can make a commitment to eating only food you love.  Because food you love is more scarce than regular food, most people who eat this way end up eating less.

"But wait!" I hear you saying now....."if I only eat stuff that looks fantastic, I'll eat too much!"

(don't kid yourself -- chances are, if you're reading this blog, you may very well already be eating too much!)

This is where a second skill comes in.  You need to only eat what tastes fantastic.

Even the most delicious food ever created will stop tasting fantastic at some point.  If you want to learn moderation, you have to be willing to take the time to actually taste the food you're eating.  When you are no longer hungry (which is different than being full), food loses its fantastic taste.  That is when you put down the fork!

Most (maybe all) of my clients don't believe this will truly work.  But the ones who develop these two skills are the ones who never have to diet again.  Are you interested in being included in that group??  Then get practicing just these two things!

(and if you're interested in being coached through the holidays, feel free to send me an email and we can talk!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

One of the keys to healthy living is moderation.....

One of my favorite sayings is "Everything in moderation....including moderation".

Most of us have heard the first half of that.  And it is sound advice.  But, honestly, without the second half, how do you know what is moderate?

Everybody (or at least everyone I know) goes off the deep end once in a while.  Stay up too late, drink and/or eat too much, put yourself under too much stress, etc.....  if we didn't go to the extremes once in a while, how would we know where they are?

Chances are you already know what it feels like to eat past the point of moderation.  How do you feel about spending this holiday season learning what it feels like to eat just to the point of moderation?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Recover your Rhythm

One of the reasons many people struggle with the holidays is we have the misguided idea that we can do it all. 

We can work all our regular hours, exercise like we know we should, shop, party plan, get the kids to all of their pre-vacation activities (should anyone have to go to 2 band concerts, 2 ballet recitals, a class party, and 3 holiday field trips all in December??), cook healthy dinners, make (not so "healthy") potluck treats......

It's too much.

Our groove gets messed up.  Things are too chaotic.  And what (for many of us) is the answer to stress?

Stress eating. (which, by the way, leads to more stress -- since then you are stressed out about all the food you just ate!)

How do you get your groove back?

Start by planning a little better. 

Plan on packing your lunch for the next couple weeks.  Make sure they include veggie and fruits.  Ensuring you're getting your vitamins and minerals (in natural food form) will help keep your energy levels up for all the running around you're going to be doing.

Plus, if you're packing a majority of your lunches for the next couple weeks, you can have a little bit more control with your portion sizes.  Especially if you know your going out in the evening, a smaller lunch makes it easier to limit your overeating.

The other upside of packing your lunches is you will be less likely to do 7 other errands when you run out to pick up your lunch.  You can use that time to take a breather, go for a walk, read a book, or plan your evening shopping.  You can choose to take that time to destress.  -- and if you're managing your stress better, there's less of a chance you're going to stress-eat.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

If you're waiting for someone to save you......

It's time to give up.  Did you read about San Fransisco banning toys in "unhealthy" kids meals.  Obviously, they were gunning for McDonald's Happy Meals.  McDonald's solution?  Sell the toys for 10 cents with the purchase of a Happy Meal.  Happy kids, more money for McDonald's.  Legislation doesn't work.

Parents teach their kids eating habits that can last a lifetime.  The government can't do it for us.  You know why??

Because Congress just declared pizza a vegetable for school lunch principles...or did it?  Hmmm....

When push comes to shove, you are in charge of what you put into your mouth.  You make your own decisions.  It may not be easy to make the choices that will help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight --- but you are the only one who can do it for you.

Get started today!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thought for the Day....

This is straight from Seth:

That's what we spend most of our time doing. The breakthrough speech that will change everything, or the giant insight that opens every door. We fret about the apocalyptic ending, the big crash, the slam climax as well.

Of course, it almost never happens that way.

Products and services succeed one person at a time, as the word slowly spreads. Customers defect one person at a time, as hearts are broken and people are disappointed. Doors open, sure, but not all at once.

One at a time.

One at a time is a little anticlimactic and difficult to get in a froth over, but one at a time is how we win and how we lose.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Do something Friday

photo credit: mayari
Have you ever used a gratitude journal?  In this season of want, want, want, buy, buy, buy -- a gratitude journal can offer an interesting moment of clarity on what is truly important to you.  It always amazes me what a difference it makes to actually write something down.  I may think I know what I would say but the process of committing something to paper is much more clarifying than just thinking it through in my head.

This weekend, pick up a pen and paper and take some time to write down what you are grateful for.  If you're anything like me, you will find there are lots of things to put on that list, both big and small.  But what I bet you won't find on that list is the afternoon snack, the ice cream in front of the TV or most of everything else you eat in the course of a day.

Don't misunderstand me, I am very grateful for having food to eat.  But that is very different than being grateful for the Snicker's bar that I picked up when I got gas.

The goal of this exercise is to give you a new tool to measure what you eat.  Is it something you need because you're hungry?  Is it something you want because it is sooooo delicious?  Or is it just something.....and therefore you think you should eat it?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Something that drives me CRAZY!!!

I hate it when people comment on what others are eating, in the "should you really eat that?" kind of way!  Not just when I am on the receiving end of the comments -- but when anyone is on the receiving end of comments.

It makes me want to stand up and scream "LEAVE THEM ALONE! YOU AREN'T BEING HELPFUL!!" an aside, they are making my job harder.

Guilt and "shouldn'ts" don't work in the long-term.  They just don't. 

Lots of things don't work in the long-term.  Atkins, for example.  It doesn't work because most of us don't want to live that way any longer than we have to to get the weight off.  Definitely not a long-term solution.

Sure...guilt and shouldn'ts stick with us -- but they don't stop us.  They just make us feel bad about our eating.

Want a new approach?  One that might be a great fit for your family (since eating behaviors and obesity tend to run in families)?  Check out the NPR story on the Packard Pediatric Weight Control Program. Kids don't need the guilt......and neither do you!!