Archive for the ‘Manage Your Mind’ Category

Dare To Be Mediocre

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

 

mediocre

 

Recently, one of my favorite clients came to me with a bad case of overwhelm. She was in graduate school in an accelerated program, caring for her family, working in her own business and was responsible for all the other little details of life that fill our days to the brim.

She happens to be super-capable, and very smart, so she naturally expected herself to be getting A’s in all her graduate courses.

Naturally.

The problem with this was that it would require enormous amounts of study time that she chose to give to other things, like seeing her kids and her husband and sleeping. Working. Caring for herself. To name a few.

So, what I proposed was what one of my own professors in graduate school proposed to me: Dare to be mediocre.

What! This was the antithesis of everything I believed.

Be your best.

Always do your best.

Strive for excellence.

Never stop trying.

Relax.

I’m not saying ‘Don’t care! Do sloppy work! Whatever!’

(By the way, I’m too old to say ‘whatever!’)

What I am saying and what I had to learn myself is this:

Life is short.

We have to pick and choose where we spend our precious time and attention. If you’d like to learn more about focus and where you choose to put yours, listen to my podcast Weight Loss Made Real, Episode 12, right here. <insert link to that podcast please on my website>

So not everything can net you a perfect result.

The best.

An A+.

For this client, it meant striving for a B+ instead of her usual A.

Does that mean you don’t care about what you produce? Or your route? Or your end result?

NO.

You care very much.

But you are being intentionally picky.

You’re giving yourself permission to do ‘OK’ work in some areas of life.

Sometimes you’ll excel.

Sometimes you won’t.

But I’ll bet if you give yourself this permission to be mediocre sometimes, in some areas, you’ll surely enjoy the journey a lot more.

Try it.

And let me know.

Are You High Maintenance?

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

high maintenance womanOne of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is the concept of ‘high maintenance’. Who qualifies for that title, and who doesn’t.

If you’re anything like me, when you hear the phrase ‘high maintenance’ you might think of someone like Paris Hilton. What also comes to mind for me are visions of a woman who is spoiled, demanding and accustomed to getting her own way.

Not a pretty picture.

In fact, in my own life, I’ve always prided myself on being a low maintenance kind of woman. The phrase ‘I’m okay’ has been radically overused by yours truly.

As in:

  • I’m okay, I don’t need anything.
  • I’m okay; I don’t want any special treatment.
  • I’m okay; I’ll just have whatever is left over.

Lately, I’ve been noticing the low maintenance qualities that many of my clients have adopted.

  • They might eat whatever is easy, which is often not what’s best for them, nor what they really want.
  • They let others take priority status, putting their needs on a back burner.
  • And, they don’t give themselves anything beyond life’s basic necessities, because they dread being thought of as selfish or spoiled.

Does this sound familiar?

It does to me!

So, what if we were able to take the concept of being ‘high maintenance’ and turn it around from being a mild insult, to a high compliment?

What if high maintenance meant that as a very together person, you were an expert at meeting your own needs?

How shocking!

But consider the consequences of NOT morphing into the High Maintenance Lifestyle:

  • You frequently feel irritated because of all that is not fulfilled in you.
  • You rarely get what you really want.
  • You have little to give to others, so when you do, you give with resentment.
  • As a result of not getting what you need AND want, you might seek refuge in temporary fixes, like overeating, overspending and generally numbing yourself out to make up for the constant small (or large) disappointments.

When you are a loving person who is also high maintenance you are filling your own cup.

It’s nice to be around people who take good care of their needs; there’s no neediness or graspiness. It’s very attractive.

People who are high maintenance in a good way live in environments that support them. They eat food that nurtures them. Their relationships work because they have good boundaries and standards of how they expect to be treated.

Life flows. It feels good.

And it’s a far cry from the vision of Paris Hilton.

So, how do you go from being a low maintenance ‘whatever’ kind of woman to a high maintenance, respected and lovable kind of woman?

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you start putting your needs high on the list:

  1. What do I need in this situation?
  2. What do I really want?
  3. How do I want to be treated in this relationship?
  4. What feels right to me in my gut?
  5. What’s in my best interest?

It may feel odd at first.

Your goal is to have your needs fulfilled and have it feel completely natural to  you.

When this happens, you will be able to deal with all that comes your way from a place of abundance instead of lack.

And that’s a definition of high maintenance that I can support.

The Self-Compassion Diet

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Self-CompassionA while back, a friend sent me an article she thought I might be interested in. It still stands out in my mind.

It was from the New York Times, in the Health section, written by Tara Parker-Pope, entitled Go Easy on Yourself, A New Wave of Research Urges”.

The article talked about self-compassion as a critical ingredient needed for happiness, self-esteem, easy weight loss, and just about everything we all wish for in our vision of a good life.

It cites research from the recently released book, The Self-Compassion Diet, by Jean Fain.

So, what is self-compassion?

Well, you know the old Golden Rule? Always treats others as you want to be treated yourself.

This is a modification of that rule: Always treat yourself as well as you treat others.

It may be, for many of us, the missing ingredient in getting ourselves to reach our goals.

As I read through the article and the many comments it sparked, I noticed how many people felt that self-compassion was something we had enough of. Time to toughen up and do what you need to do.

But others disagreed.

One of the comments on this article was from a woman who said: “No one in the world hates me more than I hate myself”.

So let me ask you: If you make a mistake, do you berate yourself before moving on and correcting the mistake?

Are you afraid you’ll be a worse mother, a heavier woman, a less efficient worker if you are nice to yourself?

What is self-compassion?

  • It’s seeing yourself without judgment, without disappointment or disapproval.
  • It’s seeing your true self with clarity and honesty, and still feeling love for yourself.
  • It’s being able to accept flaws in yourself without condemning.

If self-compassion feels so good, why even debate it?

Why don’t we all have busloads of self-compassion all the time?

It’s because we fear that if we aren’t harsh and critical, we’ll just go off the deep end.

Become a total sloth.

Be unproductive.

Gain 50 pounds.

Lose all our motivation.

But here’s the deal: Being compassionate toward yourself is not the same as feeling sorry for yourself. Feeling sorry for yourself keeps you stuck. Feeling compassion is like putting a cozy blanket of comfort around you, and saying, ‘You’re ok’.

It doesn’t hold us back from our best work, or from our best self, or from our best habits.

It fills our cups, letting us move forward.

It’s always easier and feels better when we move from a place of love, and understanding.

Comforted.

Full.

Not needing to fill ourselves up with things that don’t quite do the trick.

Like brownies, when you’re lonely.

And chips when you’re overwhelmed.

So, what’s the trick to feeling self-compassion?

  • When something goes wrong, pretend that your most beloved friend was responsible, instead of you. How would you talk to her?
  • When you are doing something that isn’t in your best interests, rise above the scene. Look down at yourself on the ground. And remind yourself of your big game plan.
  • When things aren’t perfect, remind yourself that you’re not alone. We’re all human, we’re all in this together, and we certainly all screw up. So there.

Self-compassion.

Sounds good to me.

How Do You Tell Your Story?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

my story concept on small blackboard

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

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

And on, and on…..

No one said life was easy.

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

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

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

That’s true for everyone.

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

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

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

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

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

So, what’s the answer?

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

Here goes:

You focus on the bright spots.

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

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

Look at this past year and name these bright spots.

Think about them. Focus on them.

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

Create your new story.

There are things you do well.

There are things that are going your way.

There are things you can be grateful for.

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

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

Who’s Your Role Model?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

role modelI recently saw an ad for the drug Singulair. The tag line caught my eye. It said, “Someone who’s got what you’ve got is out doing what you’re not.” The model in the ad was exercising. The ad was for a drug for treating asthma.

But it made me think.

Every week, my clients and I set ‘weekly intentions’. These are things they want to focus on for the week. Things they want to achieve.

Sometimes they do.

  • They take that walk.
  • They wait to be hungry to eat.
  • They say what they feel instead of stuffing down that brownie.

But sometimes, they are full of reasons why they didn’t make it happen. Why they didn’t do what will give them what they really want.

Yet, for every reason (or excuse) they come up with, there is someone out there who is doing what my clients WANT to do.

Someone who is saying no.

Someone who is making herself a priority.

Someone who is planning ahead.

So, how can you get yourself to do what you know you want to do?

First, find a good role model.

Not the friend you can call who will bring over burgers and fries when things don’t go as planned.

Not the co-worker who needs to take a day off when anyone criticizes her work.

Pick someone who is doing what you WANT to be doing.

Study them.

Be aware: this is different from picking a celebrity and wanting to have her face or body.

This is picking a regular, everyday person, who lives a life similar to you, but who somehow manages to do what you don’t.

Because if anyone can do what you are trying to do, then you can too.

Absolutely.

So stop looking at people who are struggling.

Look at people who are just a few steps ahead of you.

You can do this.

It’s a Miracle!

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

miracle

Why do you want to lose weight?

There are about a million surface reasons why most of us want to lose weight. Deep down, it comes to wanting to feel good about ourselves.

But in the heat of the moment, when you’re staring down a piece of cherry pie (my personal favorite) and you’re not hungry, it helps to have a really strong ‘why’.

How do you want to feel when you’re at your ideal weight?

Proud… confident… empowered?

How will you walk? How will you carry yourself? What will be different about you, besides your size? How will the people in your life treat you? How will you treat yourself?

Now, picture yourself waking up one day. While you were sleeping, a miracle happened. Your body is at its comfortable, natural weight.

Visualize yourself going through your day.

What would you eat for breakfast? Why? Would choosing this food feel difficult or effortless?

Do you exercise?

How does it feel to be in this new body? See yourself getting dressed. Picture it in detail. Go through your whole day, imagining all your actions and interactions, your thoughts, your feelings.

Notice how good you feel.

Now, come back to the present.

Everything in the miracle you just imagined can start right now.

Because all the good feelings you just had… came from your thoughts.

So, if you can imagine those feelings in your daydream, you have the ability to create them right now.

And the better you feel right now, the easier it will be to take actions that will lead you to your natural weight.

Take a hint from how elite athletes prepare for a competition: envision yourself at your goal weight–not just how you will look and what you will wear, but more importantly, how you will feel.

Choose these feelings for yourself now.

You’ll be amazed at how much easier weight loss will be.

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.

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.

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 Zen of Getting Through A Challenge

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

 

Facing a challengeWe all face challenges all the time. It’s one of the hallmarks of living in the world we live in.

We face challenges in the realm of work, with our bodies, our health and with our relationships.

We face financial challenges, and challenges of the heart, where we’re trying to honor ourselves yet can’t see our way out of some bad habits.

Challenges are a part of life.

So how do most of us handle challenges?

With grit. And determination. And clenched fists.

We push ourselves through our challenge. It doesn’t feel good. But we think it’s the best or only way to go.

Why?

Just because that’s how we’ve always done it. We may struggle and claw our way to the solution. But it certainly won’t feel good.

And if it doesn’t feel good along the way, it may not feel good when you finally get there.

How do you get through the challenges of life, feel good along the way and feel good when you get there?

Try this:

You pamper your way through instead of push your way through. You are gentle with yourself during a challenge.

That doesn’t mean you don’t work and strive. It means you do it with compassion.

You look for ways to make your journey easier. This doesn’t detract from your final result. But it sure does help you get there peacefully instead of grumpy and resentful.

You treat yourself like someone you love, very, very much.

You see what you need and give it to yourself.

Rest, a break, company. You don’t beat yourself into pushing more, working harder or doing things faster.

You’ll get there. But I want you to get there feeling good.

Peaceful now. Peaceful along the way. And eventually, peaceful when you get there.