Archive for the ‘Perspective’ Category

I’m Not the Life of the Party!

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Life of the PartyHaving reached a certain age, after much consideration, therapy and coaching, I have come to recognize certain truths about myself.

When I was younger, I viewed these truths as faults.

Negatives.

Things to definitely work on, as in my goals for the year and New Year’s resolutions.

Now that I am mellowing and tuning into my own wisdom, I realize that these ‘facts about Cookie’ are not only NOT faults, but I have come to look at them as somewhat endearing qualities that I possess.

I can laugh at myself more, much to the distress of my daughters, who tend to be easily embarrassed.

So here’s what I’ve learned and have come to accept and yes, even love about myself:

Ok, so I’m not the life of the party. Any party. No matter what I wear or how I get ready. Never have been and never will be. 

But I know that I’m really comfortable and do well in small groups with intimate conversation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m a latecomer to technology, social media and all things related to my computer.

But I’ve cobbled together a real business doing what I love, and learning or getting help in my weak spots.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m a certified introvert. I’ll never get up for karaoke, so please don’t challenge me.

But I’m an intense, intuitive listener. I’ve learned to hear between the lines. That trumps my singing ability every day of the week.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

There are certain subjects that make my eyes glaze over and drool come out of the corner of my mouth. In the past, I’d work really hard to get better at these things.

Now I leave them to someone else, someone who comes more naturally to them. And I focus my energy on my own genius subjects. I’m good without being an expert at everything.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What do I attribute this maturity, this relaxing of standards, and this self-acceptance to?

Age.
Growth.
Work.
And love.

It feels so much better to know who I am.

What it is that makes me special.

So, I’ll never be the life of the party.

I have a feeling I wouldn’t look that good with a lampshade on my head, anyway.

Goin’ Gray!

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Woman coloring her hair to remove grayAllow me to clarify for a moment here.

The hair coloring process of Cookie Rosenblum will not be stopping anytime soon.

Nope. Covering my gray hairs will continue indefinitely.

The gray I’m talking about is beneath my crowning glory. And yours too.

It’s your mindset.

You know how you (and a million others) may have a tiny tendency to think in black and white?

Here’s how it goes:

  • You see yourself as either a good person or a terrible person.
  • Either you’re on a strict diet or eating everything that doesn’t have a pulse.
  • You might be glued to your couch eating chips, or you find yourself training for a marathon.

Sound familiar?

Well, here’s the deal.

Nothing is all good.

Or all bad.

Especially not you.

Striving to be all good all the time is guaranteed to do nothing but make you feel bad about yourself.

And why would you want to do that?

Conversely, telling yourself you’re a terrible person because something you tried wasn’t perfect puts you down that slippery slope of self-judgment.

Neither extreme works.

Neither extreme feels good.

So, go for gray.

Be okay with being just okay.

And know that being okay doesn’t mean giving up, not trying at all, or doing your worst.

It means, simply, that sometimes it’s okay to just do okay.

Not great.

Not terrible.

But okay is okay.

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?

You Are Not Deprived

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

deprivedSo many of us fear deprivation.

And one of the areas that we fear this most in is eating.

Although we all want to live in fit and healthy bodies, as soon as we begin to create our new reality, feelings of deprivation creep in.

Uh oh.

I can’t do whatever I want.

This isn’t fair!

I can’t eat whatever I want.

I can’t live like this!

I’m so deprived!

Guess what?

You are not deprived.

When you decide that you want something and go after it, usually it means that you’ll be taking some actions that are different than what you are currently doing.

So, if your goal is a slim, fit body and lifestyle, chances are you’ll be eating and moving differently than you are right now.

But, when you make a decision to do anything…

You are the boss.

You are the creator.

You are choosing what you do, for you, and for the goals you want most.

Deprivation comes when you can’t do or have something you really want.

So, you can do whatever you want.

You can eat whatever you want.

You are in charge.

Always.

When you choose to make changes, you are never deprived.

You are choosing a different reality.

A reality more aligned with what you really want.

So stop telling yourself you’re deprived.

It’s a lie that keeps you stuck where you are.

You are making a choice to take care of yourself in a different way.

Different.

Not deprived.

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?

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.