Archive for the ‘Self Care’ Category

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?

Do You Suffer From F.M.S.?

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Yes, you read that correctly.

F.M.S. Not P.M.S.

F.M.S. is a syndrome, or a theme, that runs through our lives. It stands for ‘fear of missing something’.

I first heard about it at Christine Kane’s Uplevel Live Retreat.

Christine suggested we use our down time, out of the conference, to network and brainstorm with our fellow retreaters.

However, she cautioned, if we needed rest and time to regroup, we shouldn’t let our f.m.s. get in the way of taking care of ourselves.

Fear of Missing Out

Hmmm. Interesting idea.

And one of the major themes of my life.

I recognized, sheepishly, that I’m governed by the fear that I might miss something if I don’t say yes to everything.

Saying yes to everything, as you may imagine, hasn’t worked out that well.

Saying yes to food I don’t need, but that I don’t want to miss, led me to gain over 20 pounds.

Saying yes to volunteering requests that simply couldn’t fit into my calendar led me to burnout and a permanent fear of chairing committees.

Saying yes to my kids’ requests for things that didn’t feel right in my gut led to regret, and backtracking, and fights that didn’t have to be.

So how could I have identified my fear of missing something?

And how can you?

Here’s what I do now.

When faced with a choice of eating something that everyone around me is eating, when I’m not hungry, I check in with myself. Question one: am I hungry? If not, why do I want to eat this? Usually I pretty quickly get in touch with thoughts like: it looks so good, I don’t want to miss it. Bingo: I’m afraid of missing something good.

Solution: I tell myself that I won’t miss something I didn’t really want in the first place. I can have it when I want it, which is actually when my body is hungry, not my mind.

When faced with a request for my time even if the idea sounds tempting, I check in. What’s driving me to say yes, when there isn’t a blank spot in my schedule? Is this something I really want to do, or am I afraid of missing something?

Solution: I tell myself that if I WANT to say yes, something else has to go. Like too many clothes in a crowded closet, I can’t squeeze one more thing in unless something leaves. Then I make a choice.

When faced with a decision to allow my girls to do something, that I, as an enlightened parent, am tempted to give to them as an experience, I check in and ask if it will really make sense right now, or am I afraid of losing an opportunity?

Solution: I tell my girls that many opportunities are tempting. We have to practice being finicky with our choices. And so we are.

If you find that some of your choices lead you to results that don’t fit in the life you’re creating, it’s time to look more closely at those choices.

Give yourself the F.M.S. acid test.

Are you afraid of missing something?

Your time is valuable.

Your attention is valuable.

Your focus is valuable.

F.M.S. is a default choice.

Make the choices of your life from a clean place, not a default place.

What are you afraid of missing?

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.

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

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.

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 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.