Archive for the ‘Habits’ Category

Why I Feel Sorry For Rob Kardashian

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Rob Kardashian diabetesIn my inbox today was a link to an article from the New York Post entitled: Why Rob Kardashian is a health warning to his generation.

It seems that Rob, at age 28, with about 100 extra pounds on his body, has now been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

And the media is buzzing with the news, blaming his medical condition on his weight.

We aren’t privy to the details of Rob’s health, and although extra weight is known to be a risk factor for diabetes, we don’t know for sure that there’s a connection.

But that’s not what bothers me and creates the sympathy I have for Rob Kardashian.

When we aren’t great managers of our minds, we tend to react to thoughts that flow through us. Some thoughts we just ignore or don’t even notice, and some thoughts we latch onto and blow up.

These thoughts, if painful to us, cause some of us to escape them. And we may escape them in different ways. It might be with food, known as emotional eating. It might be with overspending. Or gambling. Or drugs or alcohol.

Growing up we aren’t taught to manage our minds, and most of you may never have even heard the term. But if we don’t manage our minds, and food is our ‘feel better quick’ drug of choice, we will go to food when we’re upset, or stressed, or even happy. And the result is extra weight.

I’m guessing that with a family as in the spotlight as Rob’s family, there must be a certain amount of pressure to fit the mold of the beautiful, wealthy and famous Kardashians. And if Rob had difficulty fitting this popular cultural mold, I can imagine that food may have become his feel-better drug of choice.

I’m guessing.

And if this is true, then not only has Rob had to deal with the Kardashian effect of living his life in the public eye, but as his weight grew, he also was living his struggle in the public eye.

When you’re a smoker, or a shopper, or a sex addict, in a sense, your struggle is somewhat private. The world can look at you and not know what’s going on inside.

But when you use food to numb out your feelings, and the result is extra weight, the whole world knows. And your struggle becomes part of the public domain.

If you’ve ever struggled with emotional eating or habitual overeating, chances are you are wearing the results of your coping mechanism on your body.

But it’s really a private matter.

You are dealing with it, or not, in your own way. You don’t have to discuss it, refute it, or comment on it. Except maybe to your mother on Thanksgiving.

And that’s how it should be. It’s a private struggle, and if and when you decide to deal with it, that is your choice. But in the meantime, the world shouldn’t be voting and weighing in and discussing your issues in the newspaper and on social media.

So let’s give Rob Kardashian a break. Let’s leave him to deal with his struggle in peace.

And of course, give that same gift to yourself. The world doesn’t get an opinion on your weight.

Why it’s Okay to Say No to Yourself

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

say ‘no’As adults living in the free world, we somehow have gotten the idea that we should never have to say ‘no’ to ourselves.

We believe we shouldn’t have to deny ourselves anything.

Anything to eat. To buy. To do.

Even if doing these things hurt us in the long run.

In the moment of choice, we mistakenly think that we deserve to have whatever we want.

We tell ourselves that we will feel deprived if we say no. To anything.

And so we create a life of giving in to whatever we desire in the moment. We honor all of our urges, cravings and wants.

When we do this, we create the equivalent of a spoiled brat. And that spoiled brat is us.

We know that giving a child whatever she wants, whenever she wants it, isn’t helpful to her in the long term.

But sometimes we want to avoid conflict and so we cave. We give in.

But if we are responsible adults, sometimes we need to face the discomfort of being the tough parent and saying ‘no’.

This is exactly what we need to do for ourselves. Yes, life is abundant and there’s a lot to tempt us. Yes, we should embrace all the choices in front of us and accept many of the gifts we are offered.

But if we say yes all the time to whatever we want, when we want it, we aren’t doing ourselves a favor.

We are creating a future filled with results we may not want. And an adult version of a spoiled child.

When we say no to ourselves, we say yes to possibilities.

When we say no to eating something just because it looks good when we’re not hungry, we are saying yes to listening to our body.

When we say no to following an urge to binge, we are saying yes to a much higher version of ourselves, who is free from the chains of binge eating.

When we say no to overdrinking and staying up too late, we say yes to a body that is cared for and ready for all that life has to offer.

What do you want to say no to… that will ultimately be a true yes for you?

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?