Archive for the ‘Habits’ Category

It’s Not in There

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

it’s not in thereDo you open your fridge every time you pass it?

Do you ever wonder what you’re looking for?

Are you looking for happiness?

For relief?

For a nap?

It’s not in there.

Are you looking for love?

For a friend?

For comfort?

It’s not there.

Are you looking for a better job?

Smaller bills?

A bigger paycheck?

It’s not there.

Are you looking for grateful kids?

For a more attentive husband?

For the answer to what you want to do with your life?

It’s not in there.

Nope.

Nothin’ in there but food.

Only good for hunger.

And some pleasure.

That’s it.

Loving Yourself Changes Everything

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Loving YourselfLoving yourself feels better than loathing yourself.

We’ve all heard these words.

So, what else is new?

The question is, what does self-love look like in your daily life?

Here are some examples of self-love from my own life and the lives of my friends and clients.

  1. When you love yourself, you listen to and honor your body. You rest when tired, you eat when hungry.
  2. You spend most of your connection time with people who genuinely care about you  and value you.
  3. You always put fun things in your ‘to do’ list because you always deserve to have fun. You don’t have to earn this.
  4. You give yourself food that is healthy, and also delicious.
  5. You take the time to care for your body in ways that make you look and feel great.
  6. You choose to exercise in some form, because it’s a gift you give to yourself.
  7. You have the same compassion for yourself that you’d have for a beloved friend.
  8. When you don’t do something you’re trying to do, you gently look at the ‘why’ with compassion and curiosity.
  9. When you fail at something you’ve attempted, you simply step back and try another door. No judgments.
  10. When your thoughts take you to a dark place, you question these thoughts, instead of automatically believing them.

How do you love yourself?

Taking a Leap of Faith

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Dear Cookie,

I start my day with the best intentions:

  • I will stick to my eating plan today.
  • I will do a workout early in the day.
  • I will drink lots of water today.

But then, something happens that throws me off course.

And I don’t do anything that I planned!

I’m so frustrated with myself and even worse, I am beginning to lose hope that I can EVER get to my natural weight.

What’s wrong with me?

C.S., Brooklyn, NY

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Taking a leap of faithDear C.S.,

There is NOTHING wrong with you.

At all.

Read those words again.

And try to relax.

Here’s the deal:

When we’re trying to create new habits, and at the same time get rid of habits we’re not happy with, we all tend to do what you’ve done. That is, make a list, get excited and plunge in.

The first problem with your scenario is that you are trying to change too many things at once:

Your eating.

Your workout.

And even your water intake.

So for starters, pick one.

(Yes, I know you want to do all three yesterday. Still, pick one.)

It’s far easier to put your focus on one desired action than on three.

Pick one and write out your intentions of what you want to do in the morning.

Then choose a way to remind yourself several times during the day to focus your attention on the new habit you want to cultivate.

Most of my clients either set the alarm function on their phones or on their computers to ring or vibrate at different intervals. This wakes you up and reminds you that you want to focus on your goal. There are also small, inexpensive timers… I use one called Gymboss.

Now, another thing I see you doing is a common mistake.

You’re focusing on the action you want to change, for example, you want to drink more water during the day.

Drinking the water is an action.

But what creates that action is the thought you think right before you do it.

So you need to wake yourself up (figuratively) and then program your mind with a thought that will make drinking the water easier.

Some examples of thoughts for this goal are:

  • Drinking lots of water during the day gives me energy.
  • I feel great when I get enough water.

I’d like to leave you with one more thought and that’s about losing faith in yourself.

If anyone in the world has done or is doing what you want to do, then you know it’s possible.

And if you create the right scenario, with supportive thoughts, and set up your environment for success, then there’s no reason that you, too, won’t succeed.

Think of the things you’ve accomplished in your life that took practice, and didn’t necessarily come easily.

Draw on these memories for strength and resolve. Have faith in yourself.

Then relax and focus on your goal.

You’ll do it.

Take that first leap of faith.

Why The No Hurry Approach To Weight Loss Works

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

the no hurry approachWhen it comes to achieving our goals, no matter what the goal, we all have one thing in common:

We want it now.

As in today.

Or even yesterday.

Why do we expect everything to happen so fast?

Well, we do live in a pretty speedy world.

  • Instant chats.
  • Faxes.
  • Emails.
  • Overnight express.
  • Microwaved food.
  • Express dating.

We have a drive thru for everything… meals, banking, oil changes, even dry cleaning.

In our life today it’s more outside of the norm to do anything slowly. We hurry from one thing to the next.

Consciously.

Deliberately.

And when it comes to food, eating and our bodies, we want to make changes that have instant results.

Want to change a habit?

Bingo! That shouldn’t take long, should it?

Sometimes we think that if we want change and are clear about what we want, and know why we want it, well then, it should happen immediately.

Real change can be quick.

As in an ‘aha’ moment.

An awakening.

A sudden shift in your perspective.

But for change to be lasting and deep, you have to practice it.

You have to create new pathways in your brain.

You have to set a new default for how you think.

And this takes time.

When you are trying to lose weight, you are looking for a physical change.

But that physical change needs to start on the inside.

So your thoughts, your deep beliefs and your feelings need to change.

Only then will it become easy to take the actions that will lead to weight loss.

Pounds of fat coming off your body are the results you want.

And this result is the last thing to show up, when you are making changes from the inside out.

So if you are looking for fast results, you are planting the seeds of failure.

You will be disappointed easily and give up on yourself.

This happens with some of my clients.

They start making small changes and start to move in the right direction. But very quickly they become impatient and fall off track. Their desire for fast results derails them.

So what’s a good way to think about time when you’re trying to lose weight or get fit?

  • There is no hurry.
  • Feeling pressured and rushed won’t allow you to be thoughtful and aware of what you are doing.
  • Tiny changes work.
  • Consistency works.
  • Time has a way of bringing together small efforts and repetition and multiplies their effects.

So instead of going the quick fix route, instead of looking for the magic pill, look to see what small, sustainable changes you can make.

Your results will be huge.

Be patient. Don’t hurry.

It will come.

No Time To Lose Weight?

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Woman consulting her time plannerAre you constantly telling yourself that you don’t have enough time?

  • To exercise?
  • To plan your week?
  • To take care of your body?
  • To see your friends?
  • To be alone?

As you know, we all have the same number of hours in a week. Yet some of us accomplish all kinds of things that move us closer to our goals, and some of us don’t.

The answer may be to grab hold of the time you have and choose how you’d like to spend it. Don’t let life just flow around you unless you are perfectly happy with where it’s taking you.

Being a natural planner, I just love to stand back and look at my time and my ‘to do’ list and figure out how they can meet up.

But many people don’t want to think about what’s coming next. They hide behind the thoughts that they have no control of their life, of what’s coming, and of how they got where they are.

It also stands to reason that if you’re always thinking you don’t have enough time to do what you’d like to do, you’re probably also thinking that now isn’t a good time to get things done.

  • Like lose weight.
  • Like change jobs.
  • Like really look at your relationships.

This is your wake up call.

Now IS the time.

Now is when to make changes, to make different choices, to take responsibility, to act.

I know that our time on earth is relatively short.

If we don’t stand back and get some big picture perspective, we can trick ourselves into believing that we have a huge future rolling out in front of us.

Maybe we do.

But maybe we don’t.

We just don’t know.

So stop putting off anything you care about.

Don’t worry about how hard something may be.

You can get help.

You can do research.

You can do a lot of things that would surprise you.

But seize the moment.

You have time right now.

Do something.

Stop Running From Discomfort

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Mother_DaughterXSmall-300x199Recently I found myself in an old familiar setting.

One of my teenage daughters had come home from school in a mood. Let’s just say, it was one of those teenage moods.

I was in the kitchen with her, and suddenly realized that I was mindlessly snacking.

I did a quick check-in with myself.

No hunger.

And I realized that just like that I had slipped into an old pattern… I started to feel uncomfortable and immediately started eating to remedy the discomfort.

Although most of that behavior is gone for me, it still occasionally rears its head.

And it’s good to notice that even after doing lots of work, sometimes you react with old patterns.

So here’s the story:

When you begin to feel uncomfortable, about anything you’re thinking about, notice the feeling coming over you.

Pause.

And then welcome the discomfort.

It’s here to teach you something.

To give you the inside path to your thoughts.

And only after you allow yourself to feel the feeling, can you go inside and work on it. Change it. Or not.

But first you have to feel it.

Then you can figure out what’s going on.

If you eat you will smother the feeling, and lose touch with the thought.

So grab the opportunity.

Stop running from discomfort.

You’re More In Control Than You Think

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

You're more in control than you thinkOne of the lies we tell ourselves when we’re not happy with our weight is that we’re out of control.

So, let me ask you: What’s your weight right now?

Okay, now tell me why you don’t weigh 50 pounds more than that?

What’s that you say?

Oh, I see. You have an ‘upper limit’. That is, when your weight reaches a certain number, a number you have decided is a line you don’t want to cross, you change your behavior.

In most cases, when the scale reflects your upper limit back to you, you start thinking, feeling and acting in a way that promotes weight loss. Or at least stops weight gain.

So here’s my point.

We’re never really out of control when it comes to what and how much we eat. When we think a particular thought, that thought creates a feeling. That feeling prompts us to take an action.

When our thoughts are aligned with our true desires, we get what we want.

We eat with more awareness.

We make better choices.

We stop eating when we’re satisfied.

We stop gaining weight and eventually release our extra weight.

You’re In Control

Be open to the idea that you’re always in charge.

In the world of weight loss, you are constantly choosing thoughts that either move you towards overeating, or thoughts that move you towards listening to your body.

All you have to do is draw the line sooner.

Lower your upper limit.

You are in charge. In control.

Can’t Get Started?

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Swimmers get startedSometimes, the hardest part of getting where you want to go isn’t staying on the path and it isn’t finishing. It’s how to get started.

When I work with private clients, we frequently make a weekly plan of action to get them started on their weight loss journey. This plan might cover areas like eating, movement, mindset, self-care and overcoming any upcoming challenges. Together, we set goals in these areas.

Often my clients will come back the following week with some of their goals accomplished.

Of course, this is good.

Other times, my clients will return to our next session with none of their goals accomplished. They report feeling ‘overwhelmed’ and unable to make any movement at all.

This too, is good.

How can that be?

When you find yourself unable to do what you know you want to do, it could mean several things.

It could mean that you have made your steps too big.

Like trying to go from eating MacDonald’s daily to eating only organic vegan.

While that example seems obvious, many of us set the bar too high, too fast when trying to accomplish anything. We think about what seems reasonable to do and we disregard where we are starting from.

That leads to overwhelm.

And overwhelm leads to inaction.

Being unable to get started can also be looked at as your own personal barometer.

You might even consider it a blessing!

Although it may feel frustrating when you can’t get started on something you want to do, it may be because you have conflicting beliefs about what you are attempting.

When you want to change a habit, think about what you believe about your current habit.

If your main belief about changing that habit is that it’s really hard, and because you’ve never done it before it’s not likely you will succeed, then you will unconsciously work to prove yourself right.

But what’s great about this roadblock is that it gives you a chance to unearth those beliefs that prevent you from getting started, and gives you the opportunity to replace them with beliefs that will help you.

Another possibility that might hold you back from getting started on something that you really want is the payoff you are getting from NOT changing the old habit.

Yes, even with some behavior you really want to change, and are so mad and frustrated with yourself for doing, there’s something you’re getting out of it.

For example, if your goal is to plan your meals and shop so you have what you need in the house when you need it, when you don’t plan and shop, the payoff might be: 1) you get to spend that time doing something else, 2) you get to eat like you have been, without really thinking, or 3) you get to avoid confronting yourself and seeing what comes up when you do something new and uncomfortable.

If you can’t get started on something that you really want, think about these questions:

  • Why do you want this?
  • Is this reason really compelling?
  • How will it make you feel if you can achieve this goal?
  • Does it feel right in your gut?
  • Have you broken your steps down into small enough bites?
  • What beliefs might be holding you back?

Now, take the tiniest, baby step.

That step might be so small that you don’t think it’s worth mentioning.

But it is.

And all those baby steps will add up.

Right now, I hear some mumbling about how long things will take with these tiny baby steps.

Time will pass at the same rate, whether you take these steps or not. But if you do, you will inevitably get where you want to go.

Take one step today.

Shape Your Life, Shape Your Body

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

shape your life to-do listAll of my weight loss clients are intelligent.

They have full, demanding lives.

Lots of relationships.

Many, many things on their ‘to do’ lists.

And, of course, there’s that annoying issue of carrying some extra weight on their bodies.

Sometimes it’s just 10 or 15 pounds.

Sometimes it’s a lot more.

Life moves along. Urgent things get done. Some things don’t.

Some things stay on the list forever.

  • Like taking care of yourself (what does that even mean to you?)
  • Like planning your meals so you actually have what you need in the house.
  • Like making time to stop and check in with yourself before you eat. Are you hungry?

When we create the habit of taking care of the loud demands, and putting off what’s not urgent, eventually even those quiet whispers get loud.

Your 10 pounds turn into 30.

You can’t find your gym shoes under the piles in your closet.

Your fridge is full but everything is past its expiration date.

The last time you had a physical was 2002.

When we procrastinate taking care of our lives, there will be a price to pay.

We sacrifice living the true, beautiful life we were meant to live, in the body we were meant to have.

We’re not happy. And we think the big problem is our weight.

Here’s the story: When we let things pile up, everything suffers. Long lists of things to do sometimes lead us to stressful thoughts. It becomes harder and harder to focus on the present moment because of all the things we’ve put off. They’re lurking.

So, how can you expect to eat well and listen to your body with all that psychic noise?

You can’t.

In order to reshape your body, the first step is to reshape your life.

This year, the focus of much of my coaching and writing will be about creating the life you want, getting what’s most important to you done, and taking care of yourself.

So, right now, even though you may want to lose some extra pounds, I invite you to take a different approach. Take a look at your life and really face all that you’ve been avoiding. And pick one small thing that you can take care of.

Now cut that thing in half.

And in half again.

Until it is so tiny a step, that success is visible.

And, as you get things in order and create loving and sustainable habits, you will wake up and feel lighter.

Mentally.

Emotionally.

Physically.

I will come back to this subject many times this year. Look for worksheets and all kinds of tools to help you navigate through this process. Because when you focus your attention on cleaning up and reshaping your life, reshaping your body will be a cinch.

xoxo,
Cookie

How Do You Tell Your Story?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

my story concept on small blackboard

As a coach who specializes in helping women put an end to emotional eating, I’ve heard a lot of stories:

  • I’ve been overeating because this was a hard year for me; my husband lost his job.
  • My kids were sick a lot and I couldn’t stay away from sweets.
  • I didn’t connect with the man of my dreams this year, so I became really close with my friends, Ben and Jerry.

And on, and on…..

No one said life was easy.

In fact, my colleague Linda Spangle wrote a book called “Life is Hard, Food is Easy”.

But the way most of us look at things is that life is hard, and food is hard, too.

The fact is that even for the most blessed person, life gives us curve balls.

That’s true for everyone.

But it’s what we focus on and how we tell our story that colors our world. It even determines our weight.

It’s pretty common knowledge that whatever we focus on is what we get more of.

So, if we focus on this year’s difficulties, we’ll go through life with heaviness in our hearts.

If we focus on how hard it is to lose weight, and keep it off, and all the REALLY strong excuses we have, I can guarantee you that it will be hard.  For sure.

And if you tell yourself that when things get tough, you need sugar, or bread, or ice cream, when you aren’t even hungry, then you’re setting things up so that you will automatically strengthen those habits.

So, what’s the answer?

If you overeat when life seems hard, and you tell yourself that life is always hard, what can you do?

Here goes:

You focus on the bright spots.

  • What are you doing well, in any area of your life?
  • What nice things has someone done for you recently?
  • What can you be grateful for?
  • What tiny bits of good fortune did come your way?

And here’s a bonus question I love: What are you doing that has prevented you from weighing 20 pounds more than you do? (Hint: you are doing SOME things right.)

Look at this past year and name these bright spots.

Think about them. Focus on them.

And now focus on your eating with these thoughts in mind.

Create your new story.

There are things you do well.

There are things that are going your way.

There are things you can be grateful for.

Suddenly, your new story will feel good and natural and you will start getting different results.

And finally, remember this: if anyone can learn to eat from hunger, instead of from emotions, and can stop when they aren’t hungry anymore, then you can too.