Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

Dare To Be Mediocre

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

 

mediocre

 

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

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

Naturally.

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

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

What! This was the antithesis of everything I believed.

Be your best.

Always do your best.

Strive for excellence.

Never stop trying.

Relax.

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

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

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

Life is short.

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

So not everything can net you a perfect result.

The best.

An A+.

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

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

NO.

You care very much.

But you are being intentionally picky.

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

Sometimes you’ll excel.

Sometimes you won’t.

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

Try it.

And let me know.

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.

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.

The 3 Main Reasons It’s Hard To Stop Eating

Friday, November 6th, 2015

stop eatingAt this point, we mostly all know that naturally slim women eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’ve had enough.

Simple, right? Waiting for hunger is the easier of the two parts of this equation. And for most of us, stopping is quite a bit harder.

There are three main reasons why it’s hard to stop.

If you can look them in the eye, and identify them when they show up, you’ll know what to do so you CAN stop eating when you’ve had enough.

First, many of us disconnect from ourselves when we’re eating and go on autopilot.  We go through the motions of hand to mouth without much conscious thought.

We may have been hungry when we started eating, but who knows what we feel now? We’ve stopped paying attention and just keep eating.

Solution: Stay connected to how you’re feeling all the way through the meal. Pause and check in. Are you hungry? Keep checking and stop when you’re not.

Second, when we notice our bodies have had enough food for the moment, some thoughts may flit through our minds. Quite innocent-seeming, they lead us to keep on eating.

Thoughts like: Mmmm, this is delicious! I can’t stop. Or: Wow, this is so good! I need to finish this. Or: OMG, this is unbelievable! I’ll never get anything this good! Keep going!

Notice that if you only thought the first part of these little inner conversations, everything would be fine. You’d simply be enjoying your food. And you should enjoy your food.

It’s when you add thoughts like: I can’t stop, or I need to finish this… well, then you’re finished. Because you’re instructing yourself to keep eating.

Sounds like no big deal, but that’s exactly why you feel helpless in the face of certain foods.

Solution: try this; just say to yourself, this is so good! Versus: this is so good, I just can’t stop.

Can you see the difference in how the words make you feel?

And as to the last reason it’s so hard to stop eating when our bodies have had enough, well, it’s the food.

Any time you eat a combination of sugar and fat, or fat and salt, and it’s made of processed ingredients, you need to know that these foods were deliberately manufactured to make you want to keep eating.

They were designed by scientists in the food industry to initiate unstoppable cravings once you start eating these foods. And they work.

Solution: you’ll have to stay super conscious if you choose to make these kinds of foods your meals or snacks. You can win, but you need to stay awake.

So be on the lookout for these three saboteurs and you’ll have a fighting chance. To eat when you’re hungry, and to actually stop eating when you’re satisfied.

The 4 Worst Words You Can Say When You’ve Had An Eating Slip

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

 

eating slipWe’ve all been there. We make a commitment. We plan what we’ll do, how we’ll eat, and even exactly what we’ll eat. And then, we slip.

Oh well, it’s not such a big deal, right? We’ve slipped before, in fact, we’ve all had an eating slip before.

But it’s what we do AFTER the slip that has the most impact on our results.

Do we lose weight? Do we gain weight? Or do we beat ourselves up and keep starting over again?

For many of us, it’s choice number three. We slip, and then we say, Oh well! I’ve already blown it. I may as well keep going.

And so we eat ourselves into a fast ride down a slippery slope.

In doing this, we quickly undo any progress we may have made, and send ourselves into the detention hall of dieting, where we sit and contemplate what a failure we are.

And how we’ll never get this right.

So, next time you have an eating slip, and trust me, you will definitely have a slip, here are some other words you might try on for size:

  • Oh well, I wonder why I ate that?
  • Hmmm, what’s going on for me?
  • Interesting! Let me think about how I’d do that next time.

Get it? Thinking any one of these things instead of ‘I’ve already blown it’ can take you down a much better path. A path where you have a good shot at making progress on the way to your goal.

Try one of them and see if you get a much softer feeling.

And that softer feeling, my friend, will let you absorb your slip and keep moving. And that is truly your goal.

5 Reasons Your Weight Loss Goal Isn’t Working

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

weight loss goal

When I work with my private clients, I do a combination of teaching them new concepts, and then also coaching them so they can get themselves to take new actions.

What often comes up is total confusion about why they struggle in the first place. If they know what to do, why can’t they just do it?

That’s why I first help them clear their path. This means that we explore together exactly why their efforts to achieve their weight loss goal hasn’t worked so far.

By figuring this out, they can avoid going into the spin cycle they usually do, repeating all the same old mistakes over and over again.

So here are the five main reasons why setting a weight loss goal isn’t working for you, and what to do instead.

1. The number of pounds you want to weigh isn’t motivating in itself.

When you choose a goal weight, and pick a range of pounds that would make sense for your body, your age and your lifestyle, this number is exciting for about 10 minutes. Then, it’s just a number. And that number isn’t enough to motivate you to stay on track.

What can you do instead? Think about why you want to weigh that number. What will it give you? How will you feel? We may imagine that our whole life will change when we reach a certain number. But any real change will come from you: how you think, what feelings you have, and what steps you take. The number is just a thing you think you want.

The reason you want to be a certain weight is because of how you think it will make you feel. Understanding this is the first step toward figuring out how to get to that special weight. If you want to lose weight so you can feel confident, it will help if you learn how to feel confident right now. In your current body, at your current weight. Trust me when I say this can be done.

2. You expect your journey to your weight loss goal will be a simple, straight line.

Simply said, it won’t! The path to permanent weight loss will be a winding road, with lots of detours, pauses, and bumps in that road. This is the norm.

Sometimes when we run into the common roadblocks, we take it to mean that we’re not doing something right. And we just stop.

This is a big mistake. The various roadblocks you will definitely encounter are to be expected. And the most important thing you need to do is keep going.

And, of course, stop expecting your road to be a super-highway. It will be an unpaved, dirt road. And, that’s okay.

3. You set a weight loss goal, and then stay focused on the prize.

When you first set a goal, for weight loss or anything else you really want, you do want to focus on the prize. You do want to imagine how it will feel when you get there. How you will act. How you will go through your day. And maybe how you imagine people will treat you.

But once you’ve done that, you need to move your focus from the prize to the process. You need to put one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on. If you continue to focus on the end result you want, the gap between where you are now and where you hope to go will seem enormous. And possibly, insurmountable.

Figure out what your prize is. Get really, really clear on it. And then focus on the steps you need to take, day in and day out.

4. The goal sounds great, but what’s in between you and your goal?

It’s really common to create an exciting goal, and then have all your excitement fizzle out before you have a chance to make much progress.

What’s happened here is that you haven’t broken your goal down into little, doable steps. How do you get from here to anywhere? Simply by working backwards.

Once you have your goal, work backwards and keep asking yourself: right before I got to this point, what did I do? And what did I do right before that? And before that? Keep working backwards until you get back to the beginning. And you’ll find that you have all the steps right in front of you. To be taken one at a time.

5. You expect yourself to be all in, all the time.

Uh, oh. I know you thought you were doing a good thing. Committing to something you really want. That is good, but…

The truth is that when we have a complex goal, with lots of moving parts, we need to be realistic and expect ourselves to have some degree of ambivalence.

Sometimes we will feel gung ho and ultra-committed. And then sometimes we won’t. The stuff that makes our lives interesting will occasionally get in the way, and sometimes, we just won’t be excited about the hard work ahead of us.

What to do? Don’t try to pretend those mixed feelings don’t exist. We all have some amount of ambivalence about things we want, even when we are committed. Just acknowledge those feelings when they come up and find a way through them.

For every problem in reaching your weight loss goal, there is a solution that is just perfect for you.

It will take some tweaking, and trial and error to find the right solution. Expect some bumps in the road. And I suggest that you make reaching your weight goal a challenge.

Know that you have what it takes to figure things out. And that there is always support if you desire it.

I know this for sure: you can do this.

Why We Always End Up Feeling Deprived On A Diet

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

deprivedIf you’re anything like most women in the world, you’ve tried, at one time or another, to lose weight.

Sometimes, in order to lose weight, we make up rules for ourselves. Rules like: no more desserts, drink water instead of soft drinks, or cut out the bread and pasta.

Other times, we fixate on the latest diet du jour. Whatever it may be, it spells out some random rules for us.

And we set off, excited, motivated, and in the honeymoon stage for following, to the letter, these random rules.

Feeling Deprived

What inevitably happens when following a diet is that we end up feeling deprived. And we know where deprivation leads us… right into the world of eating anything and everything, whenever we want it.

Here’s the scoop on why we get this feeling of deprivation.

Someone, a diet book, a program, a guru, or Good Morning America…tells us about a new diet.

A new miracle way to lose weight.

And so we listen carefully to these new external rules.

Someone telling us what to do, how to eat, what to eat, and how much to eat.

We follow them in the spirit of hope…hope to break free of our cycle of try and fail, and we keep following them, until we crash.

These new external rules eventually prove unsustainable.

They may be too hard, too inflexible.

And so we fall of our diet.

We focus on what we can’t eat.

How we need more.

And how hard it is.

And off we go.

It’s you against the diet.

And you inevitably rebel against the rules.

The reason you end up feeling deprived is that you are trying to follow someone else’s rules that may or may not necessarily fit into your life.

Your likes and dislikes.

The amount of food your body needs may have nothing to do with a generic diet.

And you start to feel like you will never get enough.

There goes the diet, and here comes the overeating.

Just like makeup sex after a big fight, there is a huge, temporary relief as you eat with abandon, giving yourself everything that your diet didn’t give you.

So now you have a picture of why being deprived is inevitable when you diet.

What’s the solution?

To make up your own rules.

To create a plan with guidelines that fit your life, your body and your likes and dislikes.

Something that is flexible, and sustainable and takes you in the right direction.

When you decide what foods in what quantities honestly work for you, there is nothing to rebel against.

There is no feeling of being deprived.

Because choosing is the opposite of deprivation.

When you decide what works for you, gives you energy, lets you slowly shed your extra weight, then you are calling the shots.

That doesn’t mean: eat whatever you want in whatever quantities you want.  We’re adults here, right?

It means you know what works for you and you know what doesn’t.

When you honestly put together a plan for yourself of foods that feel good AND give you the results you want, then you’re on the right track.

You’ll be able to stick with your plan because it’s for you. You are on your own team, creating the rules, and you are the captain.

This is something you can do.

Do You Compare Yourself to Everyone Around You?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

compare yourselfWhen you want to lose weight, one of the very first things you should do is take an honest peek at what went wrong in the past.

You know, all those past efforts at weight loss.

All those times it hasn’t worked.

And one of the things you might want to take a look at, as one of the possible reasons for your past failures, is that you may spend too much time comparing yourself to others.

Let’s face it.

We all compare ourselves to someone.

Some of us do it on a very regular basis.

And others do it as a once in a while check-in.

While it’s a natural thing, I want you to know that it isn’t necessarily the most helpful thing you can do for yourself.

Here’s why.

We all look around us to see how we measure up from time to time.

This is a way of looking outside for validation, when ideally, we should be looking inside.

We may do this because we don’t totally trust ourselves.

We think others know better.

Facebook is a perfect example.

We look around at how others eat.

With people posting their latest diet and actual pictures of what they’re cooking, it’s hard not to!

We look at how much our friends weigh.

So many people are posting before and after pictures of their weight loss efforts.

Of course, we look at everyone’s photos: How do they look? How old are they? Do they look their age? How do they dress?

The comparisons become endless.

We begin to judge ourselves not by how we feel, but by how we feel in comparison to how others appear to feel.

Of course we don’t really know how they feel, how they are doing.

We only know what they reveal on the outside.

A vehicle like Facebook, which is designed to help us connect, can easily turn into something that keeps us separate.

Because if we are comparing, most of us come out lacking.

And if we’re feeling not quite as good as the rest of the world out there, then we don’t want to connect.

We shrink.

And we doubt ourselves even more.

We feel less connected to the world, because we feel worse about ourselves.

So here’s the takeaway:

Our goal, whether trying to lose weight or just live a happy life, is to simply be the best version of ourselves that we can be.

There is no competition.

Except for our personal best.

As we go through life, we meet all kinds of people.

I can guarantee that there will always be someone younger, smarter, thinner and prettier than you.

And that’s okay.

Because as people, we are supposed to be different.

Our goal is not to be better than someone else.

Just to be our best.

So if you are looking around and constantly comparing yourself, put yourself on pause and ask whether this habit is helpful or harmful.

I’m giving you a worksheet today to help you figure out how to turn your compare and despair habit into something that feels much better.

What are some of your comparison habits? How are they working for you?

If you enjoyed this article, here’s another you might like: I’ll Have What She’s Having

Rejecting Diets Doesn’t Mean Eating With Abandon

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

rejecting dietsOur biggest problem when trying to lose our extra weight is our black and white thinking.

See if this sounds familiar:

We reject the restriction of a diet.

We don’t want to be told what to eat.

How much to eat.

Or when to eat.

So we think our only option is to eat whatever we fancy, whenever the mood strikes us.

And then we can’t understand why we’re still carrying around some extra weight.

We are rejecting the old diet mentality.

Those rules that come from the outside.

You know. All the books, plans, and diet programs.

We reject them because they’re generic, we can’t sustain them, and they make us feel like something is wrong with us.

But the problem is that we then assume the only way out of that restrictive way of living and eating is to reject all guidelines totally.

So we eat anything and everything in quantities that have nothing to do with hunger or fullness.

Of course, we gain weight!

And we’re shocked.

Disappointed.

Frustrated. There seems to be no solution.

But there is a solution.

And it requires a very small mental shift.

A slightly different way of looking at your eating.

It’s the middle way.

Created by you.

Your own internal, not external, guidelines.

So there’s nothing to rebel against.

You eat when you’re hungry.

And you stop when you’ve had enough, physically.

You manage your mind so your emotions don’t lead you to eat from false hunger.

And you stop eating because overloading your body really doesn’t feel good.

No restricting and dieting.

No rejecting, rebelling and stuffing.

Just the simple middle way… your way.

Some Super Simple Weight Loss Advice

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

weightYou have a goal: you want to lose some weight.

Permanently.

So you work on it.

You create a plan.

Super simple.

You do things differently.

You stop doing certain things.

And you begin doing some new things.

Add some time. And some consistency.

And voila!

You start heading toward your goal.

It works!

But… then, you stop doing what works.

Why? Why would you do that?

Maybe you’re tired of doing ‘it’.

Maybe you didn’t really think this would be a long-term thing.

And you didn’t look beyond the goal.

So now that you’re moving in the right direction, you want to slow down.

Slack off.

Stop doing what works.

Give yourself a little break.

Reality check:

You need to keep doing what works.

Always.

Make peace with it.

Note to self: Don’t stop doing what works.