Archive for the ‘How to Eat’ Category

Where Will You Be In Your Future?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Woman gazing at futureCoaches often use future focused tools to help their clients envision how they’ll feel when they reach their life goals. These goals could be career goals, relationship goals, money goals or health and fitness goals.

Just about anything.

These tools focus on your ‘end game’. How will you feel when you reach these goals? Exactly what will your life look like when you get where you want to go?

The theory is if you can identify how you will feel when you lose weight or get out of debt, you can create that feeling right now in your life. And this will make reaching your goal much easier.

I’ve done it myself, and many of my clients do it all the time. It works.

But, in the heat of the moment when you’re facing down an unplanned purchase on an already maxed-out Visa, or a double fudge chocolate cupcake on an already maxed-out full tummy, the vision of your end game is harder to conjure up.

It seems that in the moment, the temptation of the food or the sale feel stronger and more tempting than your vision of your possible future.

So here’s what I do:

Start asking yourself what the consequence will be for you if you buy this, or eat this, and keep doing that for the next five years.

  • How will you feel?
  • What will you weigh?
  • What will your Visa bill look like?
  • Will you feel healthy and fit and energetic?
  • Will you have saved enough to buy your dream house or start your business?
  • Will you have the relationship you want?

In other words, if you keep doing what you are doing now, stop for a moment and really think about the road you are traveling on.

Where will this road lead?

If you don’t make a U-turn, are you okay with where you will end up?

If not, then use that vision of the future you DON’T want to spur you into action: put down that cupcake, put on your gym shoes, stop spending money you don’t really have and get away from that reality show.

Sometimes, knowing what’s ahead of you and what you don’t want can be a stronger motivator than the vision of what you do want.

Every Bite Counts

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Woman eating bite size portion

“But I’m only eating healthy stuff,” some of my clients protest. “And I can’t lose weight! I’m stuck!”

Great quality, healthy food.

But.

It doesn’t really matter what you’re eating if you’re eating more than your body needs.

We all have systems in our body that aim to keep us at equilibrium.

Balance.

We get signals when we’re hungry, and then we eat to stock up on fuel.

We get signals when we’re no longer hungry, and we stop eating.

When we stop listening to these little, sometimes subtle signals, we take ourselves out of balance.

Out of equilibrium.

We get too hungry or too full.

When we get too hungry we usually compensate by overeating, swinging to the other end of the pendulum.

Geneen Roth used to say that for every restrictive diet we go on there is an equally strong and opposite binge waiting in the wings.

I agree.

So what I see a lot, in between the extreme restriction and the constant overeating, is that some of us are stealth nibblers.

Little tastes of different things. A bite here and a bite there.

Some high quality fuel, some junk.

It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that when we are in this nibble habit, we are eating unconsciously.

My own specialty is passing the kitchen to get water to bring to my office and grabbing a handful of almonds. Healthy, right?

Or after a meal, I’ll grab some dried cherries, or dried papaya. Better than pie, I’ll think.

We pass the kitchen and grab what we left on the counter.

We don’t want to make a phone call, so we open the fridge and have a few bites of leftovers.

We’re tired in the afternoon so we make an apple and peanut butter plate.

But we’re not hungry.

What happens when we eat these little things and our body isn’t signaling us to eat?

We waste the food.

We waste it in our bodies.

Our bodies aren’t asking for a refueling, so we take it in and having no need for it we just store it as fat.

Just that simple.

So it doesn’t matter if it’s baby carrots and hummus or your kids’ French fries… if you’re not hungry, you don’t need it.

And if you eat it, it counts.

If it’s not water, it counts.

I challenge you, for one day, to notice every single bite you put into your mouth.

It doesn’t matter what it is.

When Does Fun-Size Candy Stop Being Fun?

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Fun-sized candy barWhen Halloween is over, what happenings with all that leftover candy in your house?

Are your fun-size treats still fun?

Or are you paying too high a price for all the fun you’ve had?

Halloween is a great holiday.

The costumes.

The decorations.

And yes, the candy.

Many of my clients start thinking about the candy to come in early September.

Imagine, a nationally-sanctioned holiday that encourages you to have gobs of sugary treats on hand.

And how convenient that the food industry came up with the adorable ‘fun-size’ for candy!

So, how many pieces of fun-size candy can you have before it stops being fun?

It’s like all other pleasures.

There’s a tipping point.

Too little, and we tell ourselves we’re deprived.

Life isn’t fair!

Poor us!

Too much and we cross over into the land of shame, regret and self-flagellation.

What’s the answer?

How do you find that middle ground where pleasure is pleasurable, not painful?

Let’s start right now.

Look at your leftover treats.

Weed out what you don’t really love.

Toss it or give it away. Today.

Now take a look at what’s left and decide what’s really worth eating.

You are an adult.

Of course you can give yourself some candy.

But you need to decide what, when and how much to have.

Put the candy that’s left away so you’re not fantasizing about it all day.

And when you decide you’d like a little treat, indulge.

Enjoy.

Taste.

Savor.

And then move on.

It will be there waiting for you until your next treat time.

What you’ve just done is SO smart!

You’ve taken charge.

You’ve made a decision.

You’ve enjoyed.

You’ve stayed in the pleasure zone.

No more guilt, shame or pain for you.

It just doesn’t taste good.

And it’s certainly not fun.

Vacations and Parties and Travel, Oh My!

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Do you do well managing your eating and self-care Monday through Friday, but get thrown for a loop on special occasions and vacations?

vacations

Many of us lead full, busy lives filled with restaurant meals, big events and some vacations. Our lives are literally filled with special occasions.

To manage their everyday life, my clients develop a plan for eating, taking care of themselves, for movement, even for how to think to get their best feelings.

Yet sometimes, they’ll feel stress about how to handle an upcoming business trip, or the snacks at church after services, a big wedding or a dream vacation.

Their stress comes from telling themselves: This isn’t normal.

It’s not my 9 to 5 routine.

I won’t be able to handle this without losing control.

How can I maintain my eating plan if I go on this cruise?

Here’s the deal:

It is normal.

It’s a different version of normal.

Just like the weekend is a different version of the workweek.

If you are lucky enough to have a full life with lots of events and occasions and celebrations, don’t put down your fork.

But do put down your fear.

These events are special but don’t have to be difficult.

They are just variations.

So embrace them.

Anticipate them.

Plan for them.

And while you certainly want to enjoy them, you want to be guided by your own internal thermostat.

Your own internal rules.

One of my clients calls it her own GPS system.

So no matter where you are and who is offering you the taste delight of a lifetime, you always check in with your own inner wisdom first.

This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t enjoy a special food treat at an event.

It just means that you should treat it like you’d treat any other decision you make for yourself.

  • Am I hungry?
  • Is this a worthy choice for me?
  • Will I feel better or worse after I eat this?

You get to decide.

So enjoy your full, busy and very social life.

Enjoy its irregularities and its contrast from every day to special.

But know that the special events are also just another part of your life.

And you always get to choose how you want to be in every situation you encounter.

So don’t panic.

Enjoy!

Why Overeating Leads to More Overeating

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Overeating and OverwhelmedWhat triggers you to eat more than your body wants?

It all starts with a thought.

That thought leads us to a feeling, good or bad, it doesn’t matter.

And that feeling leads us to take action.

When we take action, we get a result.

Overeat often, and the result you’ll get is extra weight.

This is basic Cognitive Behavioral Psychology.

Now picture this scenario: you have eaten past hunger, past comfort.

Physically you feel overstuffed and uncomfortable.

Your emotional feeling might be something like shame, regret, depression, anger, or hopelessness.

All of those feelings come from your thoughts.

So after you overeat, as soon as you start to feel these negative emotions, you feel uneasy.

As these bad feelings begin to arise, resistance also arises. You don’t want to feel shame or depression or hopelessness.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Eat more.

Overeating begets more overeating because of what we say to ourselves.

When we start beating ourselves, our survival instinct kicks in and we want relief.

We want it now.

We want to feel better.

How can we do this?

The easiest way to drown out a bad feeling if overeating is your modus operandi, is to overeat some more. (If you overspend, or overdrink, or over-anything, your M.O. will be to do more of the same.)

And this cycle can go on and on until you are really physically ill.

After we overeat, we commonly think, “Oh well, I blew it, I may as well keep going and enjoy this food and start again tomorrow.”

I think there’s more to “I blew it” than meets the eye.

After you ‘blew it’, do you really enjoy what you are continuing to eat?

Really?

“I blew it” implies you goofed, and now you may as well give up.

I say “I blew it” is a cover for “I can’t stand this discomfort one moment longer. I need food.”

So you eat.

And now you can focus your thoughts and your energy on what you just ate, how you blew your program again, and what’s wrong with you. Mostly what’s wrong with you.

It’s a never ending cycle.

Sounds crappy.

Feels crappy.

Imagine this: next time you overeat, and you’ve completed the first round of food, just sit. Get away from the food, and set a timer for 15 minutes. See what you feel. Notice what you’re thinking. (Here’s a worksheet to help you do this… click here to open.)

But here’s the deal: don’t go to your usual feeling-squasher. Sit with it. Let it pass though you. Here’s where you have the power to stop. To turn things around.

You don’t have to complete this overeating episode in the way you always do. You can break the chains that bind you any time.

What if you completely changed your perspective?

Instead of thinking that you boarding a fast-moving train and can’t get off, think of this:

You overate.

But it’s what you do after that will pack on the pounds of shame. Dr. Stephen Gullo, a diet guru to New York City high society, calls it the ‘slip to sleep syndrome’.

After your first slip, your first bite of something you didn’t have hunger for, your first phase of overeating, if you stop, you can minimize the damage to your psyche. Not to mention your body.

But what most of us do is continue the damage until we go to bed that night, bloated and wounded, adding insult to self-injury.

You’ve never blown it.

What does ‘blown it’ mean, anyway?

2 Keys to Ending Your Eating Problems

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

eating problemsWhether you’re trying to overcome your eating problems and lose weight, or stop bingeing, or end your emotional eating, your overall goal is this:

To learn to eat like a naturally slim woman. Not a woman who diets. Not a woman who denies her own hunger just so she can stay on a plan.

But a woman who eats in a really natural way.

Learning how to eat like a naturally slim woman eats sounds really simple.

You eat when you’re hungry. And you stop eating when your body’s had enough.

But in reality, it’s a really complex issue. And doing those two simple things can get derailed faster than you can imagine.

So you need some tools. You need some ways to keep yourself on track.

And there are two big things you need to do on this journey of changing yourself that will help you.

The first is to figure out what you want. Not just what size jeans you want to wear. And not just what number you want to see on the scale in the morning.

But on a deeper level, what do you want your life to look like? What kind of woman do you want to be? And what will your daily life be like?

The second key to making big changes in the world of eating is to understand why you want to make these changes. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to stop eating emotionally? What are the feelings you’re after? Are you trying to feel more peaceful? More confident? Are you trying to raise your self-esteem?

If you can get clear on exactly what you want, and why you want it, painting a truly vivid picture, then you can use that to motivate yourself to end your eating problems.

To motivate yourself to do what you need to do. When you need to do it. And to never give up.

Binge Eating, Emotional Eating and Compulsive Overeating: What’s the Difference?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

fridge and eatingMost of my private clients come to me with many complaints about how they’re eating. They assume they are all binge eating, even though most of them aren’t.

Since they all want to learn to lose extra weight and eat like a naturally thin person, what’s the big deal about figuring out what kind of problem they have?

Why can’t they just try to eat less?

Figuring out and really defining your eating problem is the first step to learning to eat naturally and shedding your extra weight.

But, as a subject, it’s a little bit boring. It’s not a fast, sexy subject. I get it.

If you don’t pause and figure out what you’re doing and WHY you’re doing it, then choosing a solution is like buying a lottery ticket.

There’s a small shot it may work, but then again, there’s a really good shot that it may not.

If you eat to avoid an emotion, or eat in response to an emotion, you’re probably an emotional eater. And your solution will be all about learning to manage those emotions.  Like a pro.

If you have recurrent urges to eat large quantities of food, pretty often, regardless of what triggers those urges, chances are you’re a binge eater. Those urges come from your lower brain, just like the survival instinct. Your brain thinks you need to binge in order to survive. Your solution will be all about recognizing that urge for what it is, and deciding rationally not to obey it. You need to learn a little bit about how your brain works, and you’ll be able to master this.

And if you’re on the ‘see food’ diet… bear with me here… if you see food and then eat it, you’ve just conditioned yourself to have some really unhelpful habits with food that you can replace.

All these different eating issues, once they’ve been defined, all respond to changes in the way you think. And thinking about these issues unemotionally is your key to success.

Changing how you eat will change your body. Changing how you eat has to come from changing how you think. And changing how you think comes from correctly identifying and defining your problem. Let’s start there! Do the work!

How To Stay On Track When You Travel

Friday, November 6th, 2015

travelDo you tell yourself all kinds of stories about how hard it is to stick to your eating plan when you travel?

I used to do the same thing. Until I realized that it’s always within my control. No matter how many restaurants I go to. No matter how delicious the food. No matter how many unique experiences I have.

It all comes down to deciding. Deciding what you want to do ahead of time.

Deciding how you’ll eat. You don’t have to know WHAT you’ll eat. But if you have in place the basics of how you’ll eat, you’re all set.

Here’s why.

When you really want something, like losing extra weight and taking care of yourself, you need to make some big decisions. Ahead of time.

So when you’re out in the world, you don’t have to decide a thousand times what to eat, over and over again.

It doesn’t matter who you’re with. What the menu says. Or what country you’re in.

What matters is your decision to be committed to yourself. It’s your decision to be the kind of woman you admire. And this is something you decide before you go.

So all those little, several-times-a-day decisions are easy.

Because they’re all guided by the big one, which is:

I’m the kind of woman who takes care of myself no matter where I am.

And so your decisions will follow. And you can leave the stress at home when you travel.

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.

Why We Always End Up Feeling Deprived On A Diet

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

deprivedIf you’re anything like most women in the world, you’ve tried, at one time or another, to lose weight.

Sometimes, in order to lose weight, we make up rules for ourselves. Rules like: no more desserts, drink water instead of soft drinks, or cut out the bread and pasta.

Other times, we fixate on the latest diet du jour. Whatever it may be, it spells out some random rules for us.

And we set off, excited, motivated, and in the honeymoon stage for following, to the letter, these random rules.

Feeling Deprived

What inevitably happens when following a diet is that we end up feeling deprived. And we know where deprivation leads us… right into the world of eating anything and everything, whenever we want it.

Here’s the scoop on why we get this feeling of deprivation.

Someone, a diet book, a program, a guru, or Good Morning America…tells us about a new diet.

A new miracle way to lose weight.

And so we listen carefully to these new external rules.

Someone telling us what to do, how to eat, what to eat, and how much to eat.

We follow them in the spirit of hope…hope to break free of our cycle of try and fail, and we keep following them, until we crash.

These new external rules eventually prove unsustainable.

They may be too hard, too inflexible.

And so we fall of our diet.

We focus on what we can’t eat.

How we need more.

And how hard it is.

And off we go.

It’s you against the diet.

And you inevitably rebel against the rules.

The reason you end up feeling deprived is that you are trying to follow someone else’s rules that may or may not necessarily fit into your life.

Your likes and dislikes.

The amount of food your body needs may have nothing to do with a generic diet.

And you start to feel like you will never get enough.

There goes the diet, and here comes the overeating.

Just like makeup sex after a big fight, there is a huge, temporary relief as you eat with abandon, giving yourself everything that your diet didn’t give you.

So now you have a picture of why being deprived is inevitable when you diet.

What’s the solution?

To make up your own rules.

To create a plan with guidelines that fit your life, your body and your likes and dislikes.

Something that is flexible, and sustainable and takes you in the right direction.

When you decide what foods in what quantities honestly work for you, there is nothing to rebel against.

There is no feeling of being deprived.

Because choosing is the opposite of deprivation.

When you decide what works for you, gives you energy, lets you slowly shed your extra weight, then you are calling the shots.

That doesn’t mean: eat whatever you want in whatever quantities you want.  We’re adults here, right?

It means you know what works for you and you know what doesn’t.

When you honestly put together a plan for yourself of foods that feel good AND give you the results you want, then you’re on the right track.

You’ll be able to stick with your plan because it’s for you. You are on your own team, creating the rules, and you are the captain.

This is something you can do.