Archive for the ‘Manage Your Mind’ Category

Put On Some Socks!

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

I have to admit it; I love Raymond.Put on some socks

I mean, I love ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’.

Every single corny, over-watched, laugh-tracked episode.

With the familiar characters that almost everyone can find some version of in their own families.

It makes me laugh.

So a few nights ago, I watched as Debra and Ray were seeing their priest for some pre-marital counseling.

It seems that Ray was getting a little nervous before taking his vows, and wanted to make sure that Debra really loved him. He worried that in reality, maybe she was a little out of his league.

Well, my favorite line was when Debra yelled at Ray, “I don’t care if you’ve got cold feet. Put on some socks!”

And it made me think: maybe that’s what we all need.

A good old kick in the butt.

A reminder that a little fear isn’t the end.

Do what you need to do and get over it.

So of course I think about my dear clients.

They are brave and smart.

They figuratively climb mountains all the time in their life.

And sometimes they get scared.

But scared doesn’t mean stop.

It means getting help.

It means looking at your thoughts and questioning their validity.

It means tweaking what you are doing.

But it never means, “Stop! Turn around, and go back down that mountain…”

It simply means, “Put on some socks!”

Do You Try To Rush Through The Middle?

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Almost everyone I work with is very excited in the beginning.

Woman in the middle of a raceAh, the beginning.

The honeymoon.

The bright-eyed, bushy-tailed version of you.

Ready to do anything.

In love with the thought of what’s to come.

Hot for results. Hot for the end.

Relish the Middle

Very soon we progress to the middle.

The shine wears off.

The brow sweats.

The enthusiasm lags.

Where’s the end you promised? This in-between stuff isn’t for me!

But.

This is the juicy part.

It’s where you grow.

It’s the part where you solve problems.

This is where you do the work.

For real.

Unglamorous.

Messy.

Inconvenient.

But super important.

Relish the middle.

It’s the only way to get to your end.

Hold the Butter, Please!

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Hold the Butter, Please!I have a client who is lucky enough to be married to a wonderful guy who cooks.

Frequently he has dinner waiting for her after a long workday.

And yet.

Sometimes he does things related to dinner that annoy her.

Like butter the veggies.

Or put salad dressing on the salad.

So, what’s the big deal, you may be asking?

She doesn’t want butter.

She wants to put on her own salad dressing.

But isn’t she lucky to have this great partner who cooks for her? Why can’t she just go with the flow and eat whatever he cooks?

Well, here’s why she shouldn’t go with the flow, even though she is a lucky lady.

She gets to decide what she eats, and what she doesn’t eat.

She is learning to take charge of her life. Of her choices. Of her habits, and consequently, of her eating.

Why is it that so many of us have difficulty asking for what we need without feeling ungrateful, or finicky or overly fussy?

What happens is that we’re worried about hurting someone’s feelings. We want them to be happy, and especially be happy with us, and we try to control how they feel.

The problem with this is that it isn’t really possible to have any control over how someone else feels.

As the mother of two young women, I know this firsthand.

And I’m sure you do too.

But we all need to be able to speak up and get what we need. How can we do this without walking on eggshells all the time and obsessing and rehearsing all the potential outcomes before we speak?

We are walking a fine line between being authentic and honoring ourselves and trying to control another person’s reaction to us.

It’s ok to be nice when we’re asking for what we need.

So much more pleasant than dealing with a steamroller.

But we are not less than.

Our needs count.

Going with the flow all the time teaches us to bury our needs in order to keep the peace.

And then there’s anything BUT peace on the inside.

When you get your needs met, it allows you to feel good, grateful and satisfied.

So you will act generous, and giving and more pleasant to be around.

Aren’t you more attractive to be around when you’re getting what you need?

When people do something for you, often the drive to do this ‘thing’ comes from within them. Doing something nice for you makes them feel good.

So, in this whole cycle of all of us getting our needs met, the next time your significant other prepares a lovely meal for you, it’s really okay to say, ‘Honey, hold the butter.’

Writing Down Your Weight

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Writing in JournalIf you’re anything like me, or one of the many women I have coached, you’ve read a weight loss book or two.

Maybe you have shelves and shelves lined with them.

Perhaps they know you, in Barnes and Noble in the Weight Loss section. Or maybe they see you clicking away in amazon.com, the world’s largest virtual bookstore.

Wherever you are, if you’ve read ANY of these books, I’m sure you’ve read the advice ‘Keep a journal’.

Now, you know I’m anti-diet. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two from some of these best sellers.

So, when most weight loss professionals talk about writing things down, they are usually referring to two types of writing.

One, of course, is the old food journal. Some people like it, and many people hate it. What it does is help you become aware of what you’re really doing. Become more mindful.

Left to our own devices, we all think that we eat less than we do, and exercise more than we actually do.

The food journal helps us play detective with our reality.

But the kind of writing I am really talking about here is simply journaling.

Journaling what you are thinking, and feeling.

Why you do the things you do.

It’s how you get to the root of any problem behavior.

And that’s what puts you in the power position to make changes.

So, what’s the big deal about journaling, and why does it work?

When you think about why you’re doing something, and it stays in your head, it’s hard to be objective.

The story in your head sounds like the truth.

The only truth.

But when we take a few minutes and write down what we observe about a troubling situation, it’s like taking your thoughts and downloading them from your head, onto the paper.

Once there, you can examine them. It’s a perfect way of separating yourself from your story.

In your head, it feels like the only possible reality.

On paper, well, it’s just one possibility.

A whole new world of different perspectives suddenly becomes available to you.

It’s like having a deep conversation about you and your situation with someone else, only that someone else is you.

It’s truly amazing.

And the better you get at it, the quicker you will see the truth.

Eventually, you’ll see things clearer even before you write it down.

But seeing things spelled out in black and white, well, there’s just nothing like it.

So next time something is bothering you or you find yourself doing something you know isn’t in your best interest, and you don’t know why, sit down with a pen and paper. (Of course, computer docs work fine, too!)

  • What’s happening?
  • How are you feeling?
  • What were you just thinking?
  • Is there another way to look at this?
  • What would feel right to you at this moment?
  • What do you choose to do?

Don’t tell yourself you have to sit and write daily for an hour.

There is no minimum daily requirement.

This tool is for you.

When you want to feel better.

When you want to get to the bottom of something.

When you know you could be happier.

Isn’t that what we all want?

Stop Running From Discomfort

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Mother_DaughterXSmall-300x199Recently I found myself in an old familiar setting.

One of my teenage daughters had come home from school in a mood. Let’s just say, it was one of those teenage moods.

I was in the kitchen with her, and suddenly realized that I was mindlessly snacking.

I did a quick check-in with myself.

No hunger.

And I realized that just like that I had slipped into an old pattern… I started to feel uncomfortable and immediately started eating to remedy the discomfort.

Although most of that behavior is gone for me, it still occasionally rears its head.

And it’s good to notice that even after doing lots of work, sometimes you react with old patterns.

So here’s the story:

When you begin to feel uncomfortable, about anything you’re thinking about, notice the feeling coming over you.

Pause.

And then welcome the discomfort.

It’s here to teach you something.

To give you the inside path to your thoughts.

And only after you allow yourself to feel the feeling, can you go inside and work on it. Change it. Or not.

But first you have to feel it.

Then you can figure out what’s going on.

If you eat you will smother the feeling, and lose touch with the thought.

So grab the opportunity.

Stop running from discomfort.

Have You Plateaued?

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

plateauThe dictionary defines plateau as: to reach a state of little or no growth or decline, to stop increasing or progressing, or to remain at a stable level of achievement.

To many of my clients, the word plateau is a dreaded word.

It implies lack of movement, specifically movement towards their most desired goal… weight loss.

In your career, you might look at the level you’ve reached in your organization, wanting to move up and feeling stymied where you are.

In a relationship, a love relationship, think of the woman who believes all things should keep moving forward.

Toward marriage.

And perhaps her partner is happy to stay where he is.

When this stability happens, and we’re not where we envision ending up, we brainstorm and plan to ‘attack’ this plateau… bust through it, conquer it, and FORCE some movement.

But what if a plateau was a good thing?

What if a plateau was a gift?

Why not look at this lack of movement as a chance to regroup, to assess where you are, and to review where you want to go?

And just be there.

In the plateau.

Maybe it’s a time to get used to the movement you’ve already made.

Maybe it’s a time to breathe in your progress so far.

To make it a part of you.

Your new normal.

And from this new normal, more change may be possible.

I think, when you’re making changes and growing, whether it’s your body or your relationships, you make these changes in steps.

And when you plateau, you’ve reached a step.

Instead of panicking and beating yourself forward, stop.

Just stop and be where you are.

From this point, from this peaceful place, you can decide.

To change your actions.

To think differently about your goals.

Maybe even to change your goals.

Maybe you will decide to keep moving forward.

Maybe not.

The plateau is the universe’s way of saying to us, “Pause. You’re at this stage of your evolution. Take it in. Then you can decide.”

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.