Archive for the ‘How to Eat’ Category

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.

Just Tell Me What To Eat!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

what to eatLet’s face it.

We all like being told exactly how to do something.

Why waste time experimenting and failing and starting over?

When we desire to lose our extra weight, it’s no different.

Tell me what to eat!

Give me some structure!

Just spell it out for me!

I sympathize.

Truly.

Wouldn’t it be cool and easy if someone could just tell you exactly what, when and how much to eat?

There are tons of diets out there that do just that.

But here’s the problem with them:

Diets are external rules.

They have nothing to do with your body.

Your situation.

Your needs, and your hunger.

I want you to figure out what to eat.

With my help.

You can create the structure you crave.

And it will work better than any diet.

Because you’ll be the designer.

Here’s where to start:

  1. What do you like to eat?
  2. That actually feels good in your body?
  3. That gives you energy?
  4. And doesn’t make you feel like you need to take a nap and open your pants?
  5. And when you’re done, you feel light, energized and satisfied?

Take some time and sit down.

Make a list of foods you like that like you back.

And do the work.

Plan some simple meals. Shop for the food. Prep the food. You know… wash some veggies, and cut up some things you can grab.

What about rules?

You create the rules.

If it makes your stomach upset, take it off the list.

If it leaves you bloated or headachy, take it off the list.

If it makes you literally unable to stop eating, like one of those puffy, salty, super-processed snacks, have it just once in a while, if you want.

It’s all up to you.

But, you will have structure.

It’s just your own structure. Not mine.

Not Weight Watcher’s.

Your body will tell you how much to eat.

Your body will tell you what to eat.

And your body will tell you when to stop.

I know. I know.

This wasn’t exactly what you wanted.

You wanted me to tell you.

So let me ask you one last question:

Do you want to do what works?

Or do you just want someone to tell you what to do?

Again.

Rejecting Diets Doesn’t Mean Eating With Abandon

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

rejecting dietsOur biggest problem when trying to lose our extra weight is our black and white thinking.

See if this sounds familiar:

We reject the restriction of a diet.

We don’t want to be told what to eat.

How much to eat.

Or when to eat.

So we think our only option is to eat whatever we fancy, whenever the mood strikes us.

And then we can’t understand why we’re still carrying around some extra weight.

We are rejecting the old diet mentality.

Those rules that come from the outside.

You know. All the books, plans, and diet programs.

We reject them because they’re generic, we can’t sustain them, and they make us feel like something is wrong with us.

But the problem is that we then assume the only way out of that restrictive way of living and eating is to reject all guidelines totally.

So we eat anything and everything in quantities that have nothing to do with hunger or fullness.

Of course, we gain weight!

And we’re shocked.

Disappointed.

Frustrated. There seems to be no solution.

But there is a solution.

And it requires a very small mental shift.

A slightly different way of looking at your eating.

It’s the middle way.

Created by you.

Your own internal, not external, guidelines.

So there’s nothing to rebel against.

You eat when you’re hungry.

And you stop when you’ve had enough, physically.

You manage your mind so your emotions don’t lead you to eat from false hunger.

And you stop eating because overloading your body really doesn’t feel good.

No restricting and dieting.

No rejecting, rebelling and stuffing.

Just the simple middle way… your way.

I Was A Little Depressed – Why That’s Good!

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

depressedIf you follow my blog or newsletter you’ve probably read about my little accident a while ago.

I had slipped on the ice, broke my ankle and had surgery.

I was mostly immobile for 5 weeks, plus another 4 – 6 weeks in a walking cast.

Three months of being in a cast.

At first I felt pretty neutral.

I worked on figuring out the logistics of my situation:

  • Getting food.
  • Finding someone to walk my dog.
  • And learning how to be as independent as possible.

When that had been taken care of, I found myself a little depressed.

The reality of lying around for 3 months was getting to me.

Exercise was a big mood-booster, and for a while, it was mostly off limits.

So, why did I consider my mild depression a good thing?

Because I wasn’t eating my way out of it.

I didn’t escaping into chocolate, potato chips or ice cream.

I actually allowed myself to feel a little sad, and it was okay.

I noticed how I felt, and I just sat with it.

I wasn’t fighting it.

I knew it would pass, and even in the midst of it, when I was engrossed in something, it faded away… and then periodically would come back.

But even though it seemed to be hanging around a bit, I made a decision.

I could do sad.

I could allow it.

I could think about being depressed in a different way: how much worse things could be, how lucky I was to have people around me, and how great that the feeling wasn’t permanent.

But in the meantime, I experienced ‘sad’ and truly saw that I didn’t need to eat to make it go away.

Are you up to the challenge of sitting with your uncomfortable feelings without escaping into food?

Why You Need To Make Peace With Cooking For Yourself

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

cookingI don’t love cooking.

Yet I’ve managed to feed my family for 23 years. And no one has complained.

There’s a collection of recipes I’ve perfected that are good, and I’ve developed some strategies to feed myself and my family with food that is tasty, healthy and quick.

But, now that my kids are away at college, sometimes I’m tempted to throw in the old kitchen towel.

If I won the lottery, a spa-trained chef would be in my kitchen in a hot second.

Since I haven’t won that lottery, I had a choice to make.

Should I give up my kitchen throne and settle into take out food, not so healthy junk food, or whatever random thing I can dig out of the pantry?

Or do I find a way to make peace with cooking?

I chose the latter.

I decided it was in my best interest to make peace with cooking and to find a way to make it fit into my life.

I care about my health, I care about my weight, and I feel good when I eat ‘good for you’ food most of the time.

And that’s what I wish for you.

The desire to do your best for you.

And in most cases of women I work with, the best for you usually involves some degree of food prep.

So how do you make peace with cooking?

You stop viewing it as a ‘have-to’.

You stop resenting what you need to do to take care of yourself.

And you start looking at cooking as a way of loving yourself.

Think of how you might take care of your pet, your child, or a dear friend. You’d make sure they were getting what they needed, including meals.

Yet, you have your life to take care of.

You have no desire to become a mini-Martha Stewart.

I get it.

Neither do I.

Do you enjoy cooking?

If you do, then just keep on planning and cooking for yourself.

But if you don’t enjoy cooking, find a way to make it easier, make it fun, make it less painful, and do whatever it takes to make it happen.

First, the way you think about cooking will either make it something you don’t mind doing, or something you dread.

Look at it as a gift.

To you from you.

Then find ways to better it, (make it easier or more fun,) barter it, (hire it out,) batch it, (cook a few things at a time to freeze,) or get help.

Two sites I enjoy for easy, yummy food are www.cleananddelicious.com and www.organizeyourselfskinny.com.

You can be creative and find a way that works for you.

And yes, rotisserie chickens are allowed.

But the biggest thing you need to do is have a little chat with yourself.

Get on your own side.

And find a way to WANT to take care of yourself.

5 Magic Words You Need to Know for Guaranteed Weight Loss

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

guaranteedLosing weight is just like working on a big project.

There are so many parts to think about and lots of steps to take.

You need to think about when to eat.

What to eat.

How much to eat.

How to stop eating when you’ve had enough.

How to disconnect those urges to binge.

And how to stop using food to deal with emotional issues.

Those are just a few of the many moving parts of a weight loss project.

But if we were to simplify things, it all comes down to eating when you’re hungry, and stopping when you’re not.

If this is the simple, key step to weight loss, how do we tackle it?

Here’s the deal:

Our main goal for weight loss is to eat the way naturally slim women eat. They eat delicious food when they’re hungry. It works.

So our first step, when faced with any eating decision, will always be to ask yourself, ‘Am I hungry?’

If the answer is yes, then eat.

Eat something you like.

Eat something that makes your body feel good, both while you are eating and after you finish: you should feel light, and have energy… not feel bloated and sluggish.

And, you should eat slow enough to taste and enjoy what you’re eating.

Now, if your answer is no, you’re not hungry right now, then you need to know those guaranteed 5 magic words… this is when you pull them out.

If you want to eat and you’re not hungry, then you say to yourself, ‘Oh, that’s just my thoughts!’ And you don’t eat.

Why does this work, and why do I consider these words to be magical?

Because as humans, we don’t do anything without thinking about it first.

First there is some situation, or circumstance… something that happens in your world.

And then you have a thought about it.

From that thought, you give yourself an emotional feeling.

And that feeling drives you to take an action.

So, if you think a thought that makes you uncomfortable, often you want to get away from that discomfort by eating.

Sounds like a good survival skill to me. But, the end result could backfire, and that’s how you might pack on quite a few extra, unwanted pounds.

By recognizing ‘That’s just my thoughts’, we are instantly separating our body’s physical hunger from our brain’s desire to escape and use food to temporarily feel better.

And once we recognize what’s going on, our understanding can be instant.

We realize that ‘that’s just my thoughts’, and then we have the power to decide what to do.

Here’s where we see instantly that we don’t need to eat.

We’re just getting a message to eat from old thoughts that we’ve practiced using over and over again.

Practicing those 5 new guaranteed ‘wake up’ words will be an ongoing rehearsal.

We want to practice using those words so our brain can re-learn when to give us the signal to eat, and when to give us the signal that we might need something else.

Maybe we need to cry.

Or rest.

Or talk to a friend.

Or maybe just think.

But if we’re not hungry, then we don’t need to eat.

And it helps to recognize what’s happening: Oh, that’s just my thoughts!

The great thing is that once we realize that it’s just our habitual thoughts suggesting we eat when we’re not hungry, that’s our first step towards not eating unnecessarily.

And if you eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re not, your extra weight will come off.

Guaranteed.

How to Stop Overeating: Part 2

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

overeatingLast week we talked about why we sometimes find ourself overeating.

And how that’s different from how naturally slim people eat most of the time.

Now, let’s take a look at how we can learn to stop overeating when we’ve had enough.

Imagine yourself eating dinner. You’re sitting down, enjoying your food in the moment, yet you are still conscious.

You are still aware of exactly what you’re doing/ This is your goal. To stay connected.

You aren’t rushing, or shoveling food. Your breathing is peaceful and regular.

It’s about halfway through your meal now, and you pause. Put down your fork and check in with yourself. Check in to see if you are still hungry.

Get a reading. Put your fork down and pay attention. There is no rush.

This pace may be significant slower than you are used to eating. Eating fast may be why you routinely eat beyond satisfied and into overeating.

Listen for the answer.

If you’re hungry, keep eating. And if you can’t feel the physical sensation of hunger anymore, but you don’t want to stop, notice what comes up.

What are you thinking? What are you telling yourself about the food, the taste of it, and how much is left?

If you kept on eating because you were still hungry, pause again about three quarters of the way through your food.

Now, look for the signal from your body that you are approaching physical satisfaction.

Listen for that natural sigh from your body. You might find yourself taking a deep breath. If you pay attention, you will be able to hear your body telling you it’s had enough. This may come halfway through your meal, three-quarters through, or at the end.

But the end of your meal depends on how your body feels. Not on how much is left on your plate.

What does enough feel like? It feels like you are comfortably satisfied.

You aren’t hungry. You aren’t full. You feel light and energetic. Like you could take a walk.

Hint: If you need to lie down and open your pants, you’ve gone beyond ‘enough’ to ‘full’.

Now it’s important to hear your thoughts.

Often when we are eating something delicious (and I hope that all of your food is delicious!) then you may think something like, ‘Mmmmm, this is really good! I want more!’ Remember, you are making the decision to stop based on how your body feels. Not on how good something tastes.

Your mind will always appreciate something delicious and maybe want more. But as we said last week, your body does have limits.

Your goal is NOT to stretch your stomach and fit more and more in it. Your stomach will stretch. But this is not what you want to do.

You want to find that sweet spot. The place where it feels perfect. And that place is called ‘enough’.

If you misjudge and stop too soon, in a little while your hunger will return, and then you can eat again.

If you misjudge and keep eating beyond your sweet spot, your stomach will stretch to accommodate the extra food, and it will be stored as fat.

No judging yourself. If you eat too much, just know that the next eating experience will be another opportunity to find that sweet spot.

That spot where your mind and body join together to give you exactly what you need. A perfectly sized meal.

Know that in our world, we will have many more opportunities to eat the next time we are hungry. Each time, you will come closer to your sweet spot.

How To Stop Overeating: Part 1

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Stop overeatingAre you a finisher? Do you typically eat until all the food in front of you is gone? Would you like to stop overeating?

If the answer is yes, you are certainly not alone. But you know that finishing everything regardless of whether you’re hungry or not will give you a gift you may not really want: extra pounds.

Naturally slim women (and men) eat differently. They eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re not.

Maybe they will overeat on rare occasions… like Thanksgiving, or on holiday in an exotic place. But mostly, they simply stop when they’ve had enough.

So, how do these magical people accomplish this herculean task? Well, they pay attention.

They pay attention to how the food feels in their body. And they notice that beginning sense of a slight fullness.

The food they’re eating begins to lose its allure. And they don’t like feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. So they make a quick, body-based decision: stop now.

This isn’t a struggle that they debate and weigh the pros and cons of, because there is no drama for them. And, they know that they will eat again the very next time they’re hungry.

How do the rest of us non-naturally slim people stop eating? Most commonly, we stop when the food is gone.

Or when we’ve simply run out of steam. And when we are physically uncomfortable.

If we’ve eaten from uncomfortable emotions to start with, we might stop when the eating has sufficiently distracted us from whatever was driving us to eat.

As you can see, there’s quite a gap between the stopping habits of the naturally slim and the rest of the world.

In the beginning, as babies, we all were natural eaters. If we were hungry, we cried and mom gave us a bottle or breast. And when we were done, we were done. We stopped.

No question about it. Nothing could entice us to eat when we weren’t hungry anymore. We were masters at getting our needs met.

Fast forward 20 or 30 or 50 years and here were are, having forgotten the basics of when to eat and when to stop. But, the good news is that we can relearn how to do this. It’s a learnable skill. You can learn how to stop overeating.

Here’s what you need to re-learn in order to stop overeating when you’re no longer hungry:

First, you need to be able to read your body. And so you need to sit down and get grounded.

Check in and decide if you are hungry. It’s really helpful to do this both before you eat and midway and three-quarters of the way through.

Know that in matters of hunger, the body rules. Your mind may decide where to go on your next vacation, but it’s your body’s’ domain of when to eat and when to stop.

I love something that Geneen Roth once said: Your mind will see food and always want more. The wanting is endless. Your mind has no limits.

But your body has limits. It can only hold so much. And in knowing when to stop eating, you need to go with your body.

Know there will be more food if you stop. And, if you’ve created the habit of being a finisher, know that creating a new pathway in your brain will involve some discomfort. Not deprivation, just discomfort.

Things will get easier. But start here. Know that the path to slim is knowing when to stop.

Why Is It So Hard To Stop Eating?

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

stop eatingI teach my clients how to eat just like naturally slim people eat.

Not people who are on a diet.

Not people who are ‘being good’.

And definitely not people who are holding on for dear life.

So, how do they eat?

Drumroll…

They wait until they are gently hungry, not ravenous.

And they eat.

And then they stop eating when they are lightly satisfied.

They might still have the energy to go for a walk.

Or clean up their kitchen.

No need to lie down and unzip their pants after a meal.

Because they don’t eat until they are stuffed.

They know more food is coming as soon as they get hungry again.

So there is no panic. No despair at stopping. Just noticing how their body feels and honoring it.

Okay, this sounds reasonable, right?

But how do you get yourself to stop and why is it so hard?

Natural eaters follow a two-part process. The first part is waiting until they feel physical hunger before they eat.

The second part is waiting for a feeling of light fullness as a signal to stop.

Each part of this equation is hard for some and easy for others.

Most of the women I work with find it easier to wait for hunger to begin eating than it is to notice satiation to stop eating.

Here’s why and what to do about it:

When you are waiting to feel hunger before you eat, well, it’s a one-step process.

You simply wait. You notice. You tune into the radio frequency your body is sending out… and when it begins to read ‘empty’, you get some signals.

A faint grumbling in your stomach.

A lightheadedness for some.

A definite crankiness for others (no names, please).

And then you go about the business of deciding what to eat (based on what’s available) and how to prepare it.

Then you eat.

But in order to stop eating when your body has had enough, there are a few steps involved.

Think about this.

You start.

You enjoy the taste of what you’re eating.

And most of us, at this point, disconnect.

We think we’ve already made the most important decision and so we stop paying attention.

That’s why, despite all of our good intentions, 15 minutes or sooner after stopping, we are overly full.

How do we prevent this?

After we start eating, we immediately decide on a time period to take a break.

Maybe it’s when our food is half finished.

Maybe it’s 15 minutes into the meal.

Or maybe it’s any moment we have pre-chosen to wake ourselves up again.

We set a timer on our phone… maybe just a vibration. Or we notice the kitchen clock.

And at this point, we pause.

Stop eating. Put down our forks and knives.

And reconnect with our bodies.

Check in… am I still hungry?

How do I feel?

We do a reassessment.

And then we make a new decision.

A second decision that puts us back in charge.

If you can master these two steps, the beginning check in and the midway check in, your extra weight will fall away.

Because you won’t be eating enough to support that extra weight.

Let me know how this works for you.

Who Are You When No One Is Watching?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

watchingWho are you when no one is watching?

When you are eating alone, are you true to yourself?

When you’re not following someone else’s rules, what do you follow? Do you have your own guidelines?

Do you follow them?

When you don’t, it’s like sneaking behind your own back. That doesn’t feel so good. You feel sneaky. And you might think you can get away with it. But you aren’t getting away with anything because everything you do has a result.

We think:

I’m alone.

No one is watching.

But me.

And that counts more than anyone else in the world.

Can you eat as if you are always watching?

Not as a monitor or prison warden (my obsession with Orange is the New Black is showing here), but more as your very own accountability partner.

The goal is to want to eat from hunger every time.

And stop when there is no longer hunger. Every time.

And you want to be true and committed to this goal all the time. Alone or not.

So you ARE always watching.

And that’s a good thing.