Archive for the ‘Planning for Success’ Category

What Will It Take?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

What will it take to get to where you want?A while back, the Wall Street Journal had an article that caught my eye, entitled “Second Acts – What do you do for an encore?”

The article profiled four people aged 50 to 65, all of whom completely reinvented themselves at midlife.

One particular woman piqued my attention. Lisa Fisco.

Lisa is a 50 year old woman who spent the first half of her life as a television producer. She’s a single mother who worked hard to make ends meet. Eventually the struggle and stress took its toll on her health.

Her constant exhaustion and pressure triggered her to overeat, and she ended up gaining 100 extra pounds.

Lisa was a former athlete, who used to play soccer and rugby in college. And now her life and her body were almost unrecognizable to her.

So what did she do?

She didn’t join a health club.

She didn’t get a personal trainer.

Or go on a diet.

She decided to train for the Olympic weight-lifting team.

Yes, the Olympics.

As a young girl Lisa loved lifting weights with her dad, and watching the events with him during the Olympic Games.

She researched, found a coach and decided that she would do whatever it took to be in the 2012 Olympics games.

Whatever it took.

She quit her job and took a less demanding job, allowing her time to train five hours a day, five to six days a week.

To say she is committed is such an understatement.

In the process of ongoing training, Lisa lost 100 pounds, and is in the process of losing more to qualify for a lower weight class.

She must win several preliminary competitions to reach her goal of making the Olympic team. If she does, she will be the oldest Olympic weight lifter in the history of the Olympics.

And here are her words: “It’s not that life is so short; it’s just we wait so long to begin.”

And there you have it.

What are you waiting for? What do you dream about?

What have you told yourself is just too hard?

Dreams don’t die, but efforts fade and focus changes.

What will it take for you to be the person you dream of?

To finally lose the extra weight you are carrying around?

To make peace with exactly who you are?

To take steps to create the daily life you long for?

If anyone has ever done what you want to do, then you can too.

But maybe we should take some lessons from Lisa.

  1. It’s never too late to have a second act. Or a third. Or a fourth.
  2. Instead of focusing on how hard things will be, simply say, “What will it take?” and start with baby steps.
  3. Don’t keep putting off what you really want.

All we know for sure is what our reality is right now.

We don’t know what the future holds.

But you can bet that Lisa Fisco looked straight at her reality, and knew that she didn’t want more of the same in her future.

So she simply started with: What will it take?

P.S. This picture is NOT Lisa Fisco. But you get the idea.

Thin Is Not Your Goal

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Thin is not your goalIf you’re anything like my clients, you probably think you’re too fat. You think you need to lose weight.

Wow, that sounds harsh, even as I type these words.

But the truth is that in our country, at any given time, almost half the adult female population wants to lose weight.

That’s hard to imagine. So many of us are not happy with how we look, how we feel, how we are in this world.

And we think we need to be thin.

Well, being thin is not a good goal. It has nothing to do with your body, your shape and who you were meant to be in the world.

Most of us aren’t physically capable of being ‘thin’. But we hold up pictures of very skinny models as an image of what we aspire to.

Sounds like a recipe for failure. And not only failure.

Sounds like a recipe for unhappiness.

Because if we don’t take into account who we are, how our genetics play out in our lives, and what we are physically capable of, that image of ‘thin’ will always be like the carrot on the stick in front of the horse.

We never get there.

So, what do we do?

Well, if you think you have extra weight on your body that’s slowing you down, that’s increasing your risk of weight-related disease, and that’s messing with your self-image, it’s time to do something about it.

But know that your self-image can be good regardless of what the number on the scale says. It’s all about how much you love yourself. And the more you love yourself, the better you’re feeding yourself, and taking care of yourself.

Part of the quest for thin comes from comparing ourselves to others. And very likely, comparing ourselves to media images and cultural icons (think: movie star!)

This comparison habit brings us one thing, and it’s not ‘thin’… it’s pain.

The only person we should be comparing ourselves to is us. And even that is dicey. Because comparing yourself to you of ten years ago is fruitless. You’re not the same person you were, and your body is not usually capable of what it was ten years ago.

The key is to think ‘what’s my personal best?’

What’s the right weight for my body, this body, this frame, and these genetics?

What weight will make me healthier, and give me more energy, and allow me to move around easier?

It’s not ‘thin’.

Thin is a place you never get to.

Do yourself a favor.

Be healthier. Eat from hunger. Eat good stuff.

Make those your goals.

Not thin.

Shape Your Life, Shape Your Body

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

shape your life to-do listAll of my weight loss clients are intelligent.

They have full, demanding lives.

Lots of relationships.

Many, many things on their ‘to do’ lists.

And, of course, there’s that annoying issue of carrying some extra weight on their bodies.

Sometimes it’s just 10 or 15 pounds.

Sometimes it’s a lot more.

Life moves along. Urgent things get done. Some things don’t.

Some things stay on the list forever.

  • Like taking care of yourself (what does that even mean to you?)
  • Like planning your meals so you actually have what you need in the house.
  • Like making time to stop and check in with yourself before you eat. Are you hungry?

When we create the habit of taking care of the loud demands, and putting off what’s not urgent, eventually even those quiet whispers get loud.

Your 10 pounds turn into 30.

You can’t find your gym shoes under the piles in your closet.

Your fridge is full but everything is past its expiration date.

The last time you had a physical was 2002.

When we procrastinate taking care of our lives, there will be a price to pay.

We sacrifice living the true, beautiful life we were meant to live, in the body we were meant to have.

We’re not happy. And we think the big problem is our weight.

Here’s the story: When we let things pile up, everything suffers. Long lists of things to do sometimes lead us to stressful thoughts. It becomes harder and harder to focus on the present moment because of all the things we’ve put off. They’re lurking.

So, how can you expect to eat well and listen to your body with all that psychic noise?

You can’t.

In order to reshape your body, the first step is to reshape your life.

This year, the focus of much of my coaching and writing will be about creating the life you want, getting what’s most important to you done, and taking care of yourself.

So, right now, even though you may want to lose some extra pounds, I invite you to take a different approach. Take a look at your life and really face all that you’ve been avoiding. And pick one small thing that you can take care of.

Now cut that thing in half.

And in half again.

Until it is so tiny a step, that success is visible.

And, as you get things in order and create loving and sustainable habits, you will wake up and feel lighter.

Mentally.

Emotionally.

Physically.

I will come back to this subject many times this year. Look for worksheets and all kinds of tools to help you navigate through this process. Because when you focus your attention on cleaning up and reshaping your life, reshaping your body will be a cinch.

xoxo,
Cookie

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.

The 3 Top Things to Work on to Make Weight Loss Easier

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Self care to make weight loss easierIf you’ve spent any time listening to my iTunes podcast, Weight Loss Made Real, you know that I look at the work I do with my private clients as divided into three main areas to make weight loss easier. I talk about this in Episode #4.

There are lots of things to work on, but these three main areas come up all the time, and smaller issues fit into one of them.

These three areas to make weight loss easier are Your Body, Your Mind, and Your Self-Care.

Your body includes how you eat. What you eat. When you eat and of course, when you stop eating. But it also includes how you take care of your physical body. Getting checkups when you need to. Taking care of your teeth. And getting enough sleep and rest.

We tend to take these things for granted. But these things are truly foundational for our whole life. So paying attention to them would definitely benefit you and make weight loss easier.

Your mind includes how you think and feel, because those things affect what you do, how you go through life. How you think and feel determines whether you find life a struggle, or an easy flow. Most of us certainly would prefer the flow, but aren’t aware that it’s in our realm of control to create our flow by the way we think.

And in the self-care area, so many things make a huge difference in our daily existence! They all come under the heading of what we need to be happy. Do you even know what those ingredients are for you?

Sometimes as adults we just react to our lives. We forget that we can play a very active role in creating what we want. We don’t need to be passive.

And how we care for ourselves is a giant factor in our results… what our life looks like right now.

When we think of self-care, lots of us women think our main options are taking a bubble bath and lighting some candles.

But that’s just one thing on a menu of self-care that is personalized just for you.

It’s something you need to plan ahead. And have many options to pick from. And those options are all different.

Some things you’ll want to do alone, like take a nature walk outside. Or give yourself a comfy, cozy cup of tea and a nap.

Some things will involve other people, like that friend who’s always there to listen to you when you’re trying to solve a problem. Or go shopping.

And some things require advance planning, like a weekend away. Or a night out that calls for a babysitter.

Consider creating your own self-care menu. Think about what you do right now to take care of yourself. What’s missing? What would you love to be doing? And how can you make giving yourself some of these things on a regular basis, just part of what you do to take care of you.

I know for sure that when you take care of your body’s needs, and you manage your mind, you’ll be living quite a different life from what you are now doing.

And, if you add in the third type of focus, your self-care, it will feel like the final loving touch you’ve been missing.

2 Keys to Ending Your Eating Problems

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

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

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

But a woman who eats in a really natural way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why it’s Okay to Say No to Yourself

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

say ‘no’As adults living in the free world, we somehow have gotten the idea that we should never have to say ‘no’ to ourselves.

We believe we shouldn’t have to deny ourselves anything.

Anything to eat. To buy. To do.

Even if doing these things hurt us in the long run.

In the moment of choice, we mistakenly think that we deserve to have whatever we want.

We tell ourselves that we will feel deprived if we say no. To anything.

And so we create a life of giving in to whatever we desire in the moment. We honor all of our urges, cravings and wants.

When we do this, we create the equivalent of a spoiled brat. And that spoiled brat is us.

We know that giving a child whatever she wants, whenever she wants it, isn’t helpful to her in the long term.

But sometimes we want to avoid conflict and so we cave. We give in.

But if we are responsible adults, sometimes we need to face the discomfort of being the tough parent and saying ‘no’.

This is exactly what we need to do for ourselves. Yes, life is abundant and there’s a lot to tempt us. Yes, we should embrace all the choices in front of us and accept many of the gifts we are offered.

But if we say yes all the time to whatever we want, when we want it, we aren’t doing ourselves a favor.

We are creating a future filled with results we may not want. And an adult version of a spoiled child.

When we say no to ourselves, we say yes to possibilities.

When we say no to eating something just because it looks good when we’re not hungry, we are saying yes to listening to our body.

When we say no to following an urge to binge, we are saying yes to a much higher version of ourselves, who is free from the chains of binge eating.

When we say no to overdrinking and staying up too late, we say yes to a body that is cared for and ready for all that life has to offer.

What do you want to say no to… that will ultimately be a true yes for you?

What Do You Need To Subtract To Lose Weight?

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

subtractMost of the clients I work with have a strong drive to either lose weight or get their eating to be more peaceful.

They all have desires and goals.

And, most of them know what steps they have to take to reach these goals.

Frequently, in working toward our desires, we put all of our focus on what steps to take.

But just as frequently, what we don’t do is as important as or even more important than what we do.

Continually adding more things into your day or week is like shopping for new clothes when your closet is stuffed to the max.

Your closet has no room, right?

When you say yes a few times too often, your schedule has no room for introspection, planning or evaluating how you’re doing.

Here’s an example:

You want to lose weight.

You have a plan.

But you consistently overschedule yourself.

So you have no time to breathe and focus on your weight loss project.

Your subtraction solution might look like this: stop saying yes to everything while you pause and truly assess not only whether you want to say yes to this opportunity, but to see if you have the time to spare.

If you subtract your ‘saying yes to everything habit’ from your life, then you will have time to spend 15 minutes a day reviewing your plan, tweaking it, and getting feedback on how you are doing.

We forget that we are in charge of us.

Running our lives by saying yes to everything puts us on autopilot and our desires never get fulfilled.

The reality is that we always get to decide what we allow in, who we are close to, what we agree to, and what we take a pass on.

So, before you say ‘yes’ automatically to the next invitation or opportunity that comes your way, pause.

See if you truly have the space for it.

See if it still allows you to focus on what is most important.

Do you need to subtract something before you add something new?

Then, make the call.

You are the CEO of you.

It’s always your choice.

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.