Archive for the ‘Habits’ Category

What Do You Need To Subtract To Lose Weight?

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

subtractMost of the clients I work with have a strong drive to either lose weight or get their eating to be more peaceful.

They all have desires and goals.

And, most of them know what steps they have to take to reach these goals.

Frequently, in working toward our desires, we put all of our focus on what steps to take.

But just as frequently, what we don’t do is as important as or even more important than what we do.

Continually adding more things into your day or week is like shopping for new clothes when your closet is stuffed to the max.

Your closet has no room, right?

When you say yes a few times too often, your schedule has no room for introspection, planning or evaluating how you’re doing.

Here’s an example:

You want to lose weight.

You have a plan.

But you consistently overschedule yourself.

So you have no time to breathe and focus on your weight loss project.

Your subtraction solution might look like this: stop saying yes to everything while you pause and truly assess not only whether you want to say yes to this opportunity, but to see if you have the time to spare.

If you subtract your ‘saying yes to everything habit’ from your life, then you will have time to spend 15 minutes a day reviewing your plan, tweaking it, and getting feedback on how you are doing.

We forget that we are in charge of us.

Running our lives by saying yes to everything puts us on autopilot and our desires never get fulfilled.

The reality is that we always get to decide what we allow in, who we are close to, what we agree to, and what we take a pass on.

So, before you say ‘yes’ automatically to the next invitation or opportunity that comes your way, pause.

See if you truly have the space for it.

See if it still allows you to focus on what is most important.

Do you need to subtract something before you add something new?

Then, make the call.

You are the CEO of you.

It’s always your choice.

The Middle Ground Between Obsession and ‘Whatever’

Friday, December 4th, 2015

obsessionWhen you’re trying to accomplish something, something new or challenging, you need to find a way to look at what you’re doing.

You need to find a way to guide yourself toward what you want. Or, you may find yourself totally off track. And wake up, weeks, months or years later, not quite sure how you got where you are.

This happens a lot in weight loss. When we fall ‘off the wagon’, and lose our way, often we don’t get back up for a long time.

Times passes and suddenly we have a body we don’t recognize. How did this happen, we ask.

A lot of my clients complain that it’s hard to stay focused. It’s hard, in their eyes, to devote time every day think about what they want. They say they don’t want to feel obsession with weight loss. Or eating well. Or taking care of themselves.

And so after some initial excitement, they default to their usual way of thinking. Which is, ‘Whatever!’

There’s a lot of ground in between obsessing every day about your goals. And doing nothing.

You need to find that sweet spot where you keep your focus in front of you, yet don’t feel desperate obsession about achieving it.

I call this keeping your goal on the front burner. On the front burner of your mind, that is.

If what you want is out of sight, then frequently it’s out of mind. If you want something, accept that it needs to be a part of your life. Regularly.

That’s how we create habits, and don’t have to work so hard for what we want.

Do you know where your goals are? Are they out of sight, out of mind? Or are they glued to your forehead?

You get to create a livable way to stay focused. And stay accountable. To yourself.

The 3 Main Reasons It’s Hard To Stop Eating

Friday, November 6th, 2015

stop eatingAt this point, we mostly all know that naturally slim women eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’ve had enough.

Simple, right? Waiting for hunger is the easier of the two parts of this equation. And for most of us, stopping is quite a bit harder.

There are three main reasons why it’s hard to stop.

If you can look them in the eye, and identify them when they show up, you’ll know what to do so you CAN stop eating when you’ve had enough.

First, many of us disconnect from ourselves when we’re eating and go on autopilot.  We go through the motions of hand to mouth without much conscious thought.

We may have been hungry when we started eating, but who knows what we feel now? We’ve stopped paying attention and just keep eating.

Solution: Stay connected to how you’re feeling all the way through the meal. Pause and check in. Are you hungry? Keep checking and stop when you’re not.

Second, when we notice our bodies have had enough food for the moment, some thoughts may flit through our minds. Quite innocent-seeming, they lead us to keep on eating.

Thoughts like: Mmmm, this is delicious! I can’t stop. Or: Wow, this is so good! I need to finish this. Or: OMG, this is unbelievable! I’ll never get anything this good! Keep going!

Notice that if you only thought the first part of these little inner conversations, everything would be fine. You’d simply be enjoying your food. And you should enjoy your food.

It’s when you add thoughts like: I can’t stop, or I need to finish this… well, then you’re finished. Because you’re instructing yourself to keep eating.

Sounds like no big deal, but that’s exactly why you feel helpless in the face of certain foods.

Solution: try this; just say to yourself, this is so good! Versus: this is so good, I just can’t stop.

Can you see the difference in how the words make you feel?

And as to the last reason it’s so hard to stop eating when our bodies have had enough, well, it’s the food.

Any time you eat a combination of sugar and fat, or fat and salt, and it’s made of processed ingredients, you need to know that these foods were deliberately manufactured to make you want to keep eating.

They were designed by scientists in the food industry to initiate unstoppable cravings once you start eating these foods. And they work.

Solution: you’ll have to stay super conscious if you choose to make these kinds of foods your meals or snacks. You can win, but you need to stay awake.

So be on the lookout for these three saboteurs and you’ll have a fighting chance. To eat when you’re hungry, and to actually stop eating when you’re satisfied.

Do You Resist Doing What Works?

Monday, October 19th, 2015

 

doing what worksThere are many, many women who make a part-time career out of searching for answers to their binge eating, their emotional eating and their seeming inability to lose weight.

They subscribe to lots of weight loss advice websites, in addition to companies that claim to have found the holy grail of weight loss… available in 30 day sizes and 90 day sizes.

They spend sometimes hours a day reading through emails extolling the virtues of fasting, taking supplements, and eliminating most of the foods they love.

Yet, when they do hit upon a true potential solution to their problem, a funny thing happens. You’d expect them to stop their search and start taking action.

But no. That’s not what usually happens.

These women find the solution not sexy enough. Or too hard. Or too long to show results. They want change but they want it fast, easy, exciting and comfortable.

The very nature of real change may contain some or none of these descriptions. Change means discomfort. Change means having insight, then practicing the heck out of something new until it takes hold.

We are so used to being in this mode of struggle that we don’t see the point where we’re supposed to stop searching and dig in!

When we find what works and resistance sets in, we want to do what’s most comfortable. And what’s most comfortable is to continue our search.

That will never get us to the result we want.

Slow down and pick a solution that makes sense to you. That others like you have tried and had success with. That doesn’t claim to be effortless, easy and quick.

And then give it time. Enjoy the process. Cultivate some self-compassion. And create a big, strong ‘why’ for your journey.

When you find what can work for you, stop searching. Deal with your resistance head on. Settle in and do the work. Take all that energy you used to use searching and apply it now to doing.

Find what works. And then stop resisting it.

Do You Have The Wrong Idea About Self-Discipline?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

self-disciplineWhat’s your reaction when you hear the phrase self-discipline?

Do you think it’s hard?

Unnatural?

Something that feels like punishment?

Actually, self-discipline is something you do for yourself.

For your benefit.

And it can feel really loving and good.

When we run from self-discipline, we end up allowing our feelings to run the show.

We make decisions based on our mood in the moment.

We exercise no self-control.

And we make choices based on short-term thinking.

This gets us somewhere.

But unfortunately, it’s not usually where you want to be.

Because our moods give us great information about what we’re thinking.

But running your life based on what kind of mood you’re in is like playing the lottery.

Here’s what self-discipline really means:

It means that you have and use the ability to do what you should do.

Whether you feel like it or not in the moment.

Because it’s for your greater good.

So if you’ve committed to upping your health a level, maybe you’ve decided to start an exercise program.

You wake up and don’t feel like getting out of bed.

If you think self-discipline is harsh and unnatural, you stay in bed.

Nice.

For maybe an hour.

But then you are creating a habit of ignoring your desire to better yourself.

If you know that your moods may come and go, then when you wake up and feel like staying in bed, it’s in your best interest to know that you mood will pass, and know that you’ll feel SO good if you do exercise.

And then do it.

How do you define self-discipline?

Is it working for you, or against you?

Do You Hold It Together All Day, Only To Lose Control At Night?

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

nightA good number of my clients are working women. Some have businesses. Some have careers. And some have families.

But all of us have one big thing in common.

We all have a very full plate.

The funny thing is that if you sneaked a peak at most of these women during the day, during their time to be responsible to the people in their universe, you’d see some pretty sharp management skills.

Deadlines get met.

Obligations get fulfilled.

Priorities set.

And goals reached.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is you.

The problem is when everything around you is taken care of, but you are last on your list.

This is the norm for so many of us.

We don’t think we have the right to even think about ourselves until everyone and everything is taken care of.

So, the day goes on.

You work your butt off.

And there’s money on the fact that you may not necessarily get what you need.

So what, you ask.

What’s the big deal?

I’m a responsible adult.

I have duties.

I need to fulfill my promises.

All well and good.

Until the evening.

If you get home at night after a day of being everything to everyone around you, then I’m guessing there’s not that much left for you.

And the quickest way to satisfy a hungry heart is to eat.

Well… actually it isn’t.

But eating is fast, it’s available and it’s what most of us have learned to use to patch up the worn spots of the day.

So if you hold it together all day, and explode with emotional eating at night, there’s a reason for that.

And I’m asking you to gently take a look at it.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

It’s all about figuring out how to get your needs met during the day.

Even with your full plate.

Because if you don’t, there will always be payback time.

At night.

And it’s a hard habit to get out of.

The first step is to see what’s happening.

It’s surely not that you’re not smart enough.

It’s just that you’re caught in a spin cycle.

And you need to stop.

Pause.

Find a way to make your needs move up to the top of the list.

During the day.

And you’ll begin to see that loss of control in the evening just fade away.

Are You Eating Too Fast?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

eating too fastDo you ever look down while eating and feel surprised to see your empty plate?

It’s amazing that we can eat so fast and so unconsciously that before we know it, the food is gone!

Are we satisfied? No.

Because we ate so quickly that it didn’t have time to register in our brains.

What a waste of a meal!

When you eat with friends or family, are you often the first one to be finished?

Or maybe you’re eating while you text, talk on the phone or watch television. These distractions can put you on autopilot, and your speed will increase without you even noticing it.

Sometimes we let ourselves get overly hungry.

And when we ignore our hunger until we’re starving, (figuratively, not literally) then it’s super hard to notice our speed.

It’s also hard to really notice our food and get enjoyment from it.

Sometimes we simply have a fast-eating habit.

Maybe when you were a child, there wasn’t enough food. So you rushed to get your share.

Or maybe you zoned out because your parents argued at the dinner table.

So you ate as fast as you could, to get away from the meal.

Whatever brought you to this point, you’re here now and it’s time to figure out how to slow down.

Why should you slow down?

Eating is for nourishment AND pleasure. And if we rush through our meals, we are also rushing through our pleasure.

If we eat too fast, we also tend to miss the signal that we’re satisfied… that we’ve had enough. This leads to weight gain or at best, maintaining your weight where you are today.

And as we continue to eat quickly, we get more and more distance between our awareness and our bodies. We stop hearing our signals of fullness and hunger. And that simply doesn’t feel good. Because by the time we stop eating, we are overly full.

So how do you slow down?

First, decide what you’ll be eating, with whom, and when.

Wait to be hungry. Nice and hungry. Not so hungry you will grab anything you see.

Make your food appealing. Taste, visual, texture, setting. Stop before you eat and admire your plate. Smell it. Appreciate it. Then dig in.

But commit to consciously eat slower. Put your fork down a few times to pause and check in with yourself. Are you still hungry? If so, keep going. But go on eating slow enough to hear the signal to stop. Allow yourself to relish it.

If you truly want to enjoy your food, then slow down.

Rushing through your meal will actually diminish your eating pleasure.

And if your goal is to lose some extra weight, slowing down will let you stay connected and continue to make good choices.

Are You A Little Too Cozy With Your Pain?

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

painWow! What a crazy thought! How could anyone enjoy their pain? And, as you think about it, how dare I say that!

Of course you would never wish for your struggle.

No!

You’d do anything to get relief. I get it.

That’s what my clients protest to me all the time.

And yet, when they are faced with choices, solutions to their suffering, often they choose the same path that always brings them pain.

What does this mean, and why do we do it?

It’s simple. Sometimes it’s easier to do things that are wrong for us than to do things that are new.

Sometimes, the pain we know is more tolerable than the unknown. And often, because that new trail is so unfamiliar to us, we make all kinds of excuses to keep our pain.

You know: I’m working on it! Really! Just as soon as I have more time, I will change this darn habit.

Or when I finish the project. Or when the kids are out of the house. Or when my mother gets better.

But in the meantime, you’re miserable.

You begin to stop seeing the big picture. Your story about your discomfort keeps you complaining, struggling and feeling bad.

Does this sound a little like a lose/lose situation?

It certainly can be.

It seems that the more whatever it is we are doing gets to be an ingrained habit, the very thought of doing something different sends us into a tailspin.

We don’t ‘have time’ to even think about a solution. Or every solution sounds like too much work to us.

Here’s the thing:

We all have the ability to get used to our pain. Even at the same time that we wish it to be gone.

We get used to the same old struggle, and the same old promises that we will never do ‘that’ again.

But maybe the truth is that it takes discomfort to get out of discomfort. It takes thinking in a new way, and doing things in a different way to get new results.

And doing and thinking differently will be uncomfortable. Simply because it’s new.

The discomfort of the new thing doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It doesn’t mean back away! It just means you have some learning to do.

Give the new way a try. And keep doing the new thing. Keep thinking the new thoughts.

And eventually, they will become old and worn like that comfy blankie you’ve been carrying around. But with one big difference.

They will be good for you. And once the discomfort is gone, you’ll feel good.

You need to go through that uncomfortable period. It’s unavoidable.

To avoid it leaves you with permanent pain. To go through it leaves you with temporary pain.

Which do you choose?

How Emotional Eating Makes You Feel Worse

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

feel worseHave you ever eaten something with no hunger, strictly to feel better? I have. And I’ll bet you have too.

Clients tell me all the time that they are ‘emotional eaters’. This all-encompassing term includes any eating you do to relieve an uncomfortable feeling.

This feeling could be anything: shame, anger, fear, loneliness, worry.

Rarely is it ever feelings of peace, joy or satisfaction.

Often, my clients, who are frustrated about their extra weight, eat to overcome the bad feelings they have about their bodies, their ‘failure’, their inability to get themselves to do what’s good for them. So, we eat to get rid of uncomfortable feelings.

But, wait a minute!

To me, it looks like we’re soothing our pain using the very thing that causes us to feel pain in the first place. And this eating adds more pounds of pain, giving you more uncomfortable feelings.

Soothing ourselves with food, when we’re trying to lose weight, is like rubbing salt into a wound. It makes it feel worse. It makes it hurt more. And it won’t get rid of what caused the wound in the first place.

So, what can you do instead?

First, catch yourself next time you reach for food to soothe an uncomfortable feeling. Pause. And ask if this will help or compound your discomfort. Then choose something else to do.

Don’t eat. Allow the feeling to bubble up and wash over you. It will pass.

Now you can decide what to do about it.

I encourage my clients to have a list ready of things they can do to soothe themselves. Some take only a few minutes. Some take more time. Some are solo activities. Some involve other people.

Have your own personal list ready. There’s no limit to the ideas you can come up with that can give you relief.

And here’s one more tip: how do you get yourself to pause and go look at your list?

Do a preview. Start regularly mentally practicing coming up against your stress and instead of reaching for food, reach for your soothing list.  Do it often enough and it will become your new behavior.

But first, you need to stop using the thing that causes pain to relieve your pain.

Does Caring For Yourself Feel Like A Big Burden?

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

burdenI don’t know about you, but I can totally relate to how many of my clients feel. Taking care of themselves feels like a big burden. It’s not that they don’t really know what they need, but it feels so darn hard to actually do it! To make the time to give themselves what they need.

What do I mean?

Well, in order to eat like a naturally slim person, you need to eat when you’re hungry, right? So that means you need to have food in the house, right?

And that also means you need to have food that you like, that makes you feel good, easily available and accessible. So if you have nothing but a bunch of ingredients in the house that requires 45 minutes of prep time, guess what?

When your hunger rolls around, it will feel like a burden and too much work to wash, cut, prep and cook something.

No surprise. When you’re hungry, you’re hungry.

But why the big disconnect here?

We all know we need to eat. We all know we will keep getting hungry periodically, for as long as we’re around. Even though we know this, lots of us don’t want to do the work. We want it to just be taken care of. Magically.

We want to feel hungry and just sit down to a luscious meal. Who doesn’t?

But why do we argue with reality here? No one I know lives with a staff who cares for every need they have. We all, to some extent, have to take care of our basic needs.

Yet some of us are resentful. Maybe we didn’t get the care and support we yearned for when we were children. Maybe we had to do more than our share of taking care of things back when we weren’t really equipped to do so. And now, that’s the last thing we want to do.

Here’s where reality crashes into our past.

We may not even be aware in the moment, but our past pain, our past resentments and our past patterns are running smack into our present moment when we need to get ourselves to take care of ourselves. And that includes getting some food that we like, ready to eat.

Simple right? But not when we don’t even know what’s holding us back.

So, if it feels like a burden to give yourself what you need, whether it’s good food, enough sleep, breaks from work, and even, yes, time to take a bathroom break… pause. Ask yourself what’s going on. Why are you resenting and resisting doing what you need?

Uncover the reason. And then do it. Give yourself what you need. Even if you’re still mad that no one gave it to you in the past. And maybe no one is giving it to you now.

But… lucky you! You have you. To nurture yourself. To give to yourself. To feed yourself. And who better than you to know exactly what you need!