Archive for the ‘How to Eat’ Category

Do You Always Save the Best for Last?

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

saving the best for lastRecently I had a nice restaurant dinner with my husband and we decided to share a dessert. It was a large, delicious piece of banana cream pie, a specialty of our favorite local restaurant.

David did what he always does with dessert; he plunged right in. And I did what I always do: I tried to save the best for last.

Why do we eat pleasure food so differently?

I know that my eating style comes from years of dieting. Dessert was considered either off limits or so special that you needed to make it last. And if you did have dessert, you knew that restriction and a fresh start were just around the corner.

Because as soon as you were finished indulging, you were headed right back to the old lean eating plan.

So what happened with me and David was that while he dug in and got his best bites, full of thick, crunchy sweet crust and soft creamy filling, I was trying to make mine last. I started nervously watching how much he was eating. I worried that I wasn’t getting my share. And I lost the whole experience of the pie.

I missed it. I missed my pleasure.

Also, by trying to save my share of dessert, I saved the best delicious part (the crust is my favorite) for last, and when the end came, I wasn’t really hungry anymore. But I ate it anyway.

Why? Because it was the best part.

If you are either always watching what you eat with strict, hawk-like vision, or eating whatever you want with total abandon, you probably spend more time worrying about your eating than enjoying your food. And that’s a waste.

If you give up the idea of dieting, and allow yourself to eat banana cream pie, and French fries and Snickers bars, you won’t be worried about when they will be gone.

You’ll know that they will always be there. When you’re hungry you can eat them again.

So right now, in the moment, there is no need to save anything.

Instead of saving, and building a little fort around your dessert so no one takes a bite, it’s time to actually savor.

Take your best bite first.

Make every bite a delicious experience.

And get rid of that scarcity mindset. You don’t have to overindulge. And you don’t have to hoard it for the bare winter to come.

Just enjoy it now. Like David does.

Eating Is Always Your Choice

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

girl makes a choiceYou are always in charge of your eating.

Whether your choice is to eat or not eat.

How much you choose to eat.

When you start eating.

When you stop.

And, of course, what you eat.

Being in charge gives us a sense of freedom. It takes away the need to struggle.

No need to call upon willpower.

You don’t have to be ‘good’.

Because you are not forcing yourself to follow some external rules.

You are simply in charge and are following the guidelines of your body.

Eat when it’s hungry.

Stop when it’s satisfied.

And give it what it wants.

But, as soon as you begin to tell yourself to ‘be good’, or to ‘be careful’, or to not have something so you can lose weight as fast as possible, you will begin to rebel.

You will feel like you are being deprived.

That there is some restriction on what you can and cannot eat. And that you are no longer in charge.

And that, my friend, is the kiss of death to eating like a naturally slim person.

When you make up rules for yourself, or you follow someone else’s rules for your body, you will want to rebel against the rules and eat with abandon.

Your brilliant brain will respond to restriction and deprivation with overindulgence.

Binge eating.

And weight gain.

It’s just a little thing called survival. And we’re all wired for it.

Your brain is just doing what it’s supposed to do.

So play along.

Stop telling yourself that you have to eat or not eat something.

Instead, you are choosing to eat or not eat something because you want to, and because you think it will feel good and right in your body.

Not because you have to.

Because as soon as your brain hears: don’t, have to, should, or must!… it will respond with the urge to eat…

And you are not in survival mode.

Be relaxed as you make your choices.

And teach your brain that is wired for survival that you are just fine, thank you.

You don’t need to overdo anything because you are always able to get what you need.

You always have a choice.

And having choices is what freedom feels like.

Why You Should Never Start Your Diet On A Monday

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Monday Green Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds - Days of the Week Series.Let me amend that statement.

I’m not a believer in diets. Diets actually cause overeating and binge eating. So let’s call it ‘your weight loss program’.

How many times have you said this to yourself:

  • I’ll just start Monday.
  • Or, I’ll start after the holidays.
  • Or after the New Year.

The thing about Mondays or any other arbitrary starting point is that those dates are meaningless.

What we’re really saying is ‘not now’… I just can’t commit right now.

And that is the problem.

We can imagine committing sometime in the future, but not now.

And that future date never happens. Because when Monday or New Year’s Day actually come, we then let some other little imperfection in our behavior push back our starting date again.

And again.

And we become more demoralized. Less confident. And our weight continues to add up from this psychic procrastination.

So what can you do? You still want to lose weight. And for whatever reason, you think you have just blown your effort and need to get back on the wagon as soon as it’s convenient.

Here is what you can do:

Always start now. No matter the day, the date, the year or the holiday. As soon as you deviate from your plan, first figure out what you can learn from it. And then continue. There is no big start. Just a continuing road that you will be on.

Always.

Does that mean you will always have to be focused on losing weight?

No! It simply means that taking care of yourself physically and emotionally is a life-long endeavor. And you are never done.

You never fail… you just get feedback.

It’s like the kids’ game of warmer or colder… are you getting warmer… closer to your goal? Or colder, further away?

Every step keeps you on your path of living your life. It’s like a huge experiment, where you are constantly checking your results to see if you like what you are creating.

And if you do, stay on that road.

If you don’t, well, make an adjustment. Right now.

With the next meal.

The next drink.

The next snack.

Now is what we have for sure.

So do it now.

The Delicate Art of Responding to Your Hunger

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

hungerWhen we talk about eating when we’re hungry and stopping when we’re satisfied, it sounds so simple.

So why do so many of us have trouble doing this?

  • We frequently let ourselves get too hungry. And usually this results in eating so much we end up overly full.
  • Or we don’t wait to feel the hunger signals, and eat whenever we are stimulated from the outside world… we may see a Taco Bell commercial, (my husband’s favorite on Sunday evenings) and suddenly get an urge to eat.
  • Or we’re hungry, and eating, and we completely miss the signal that we’ve had enough. We focus on the food and how delicious it is. So we keep going until we are bursting and remorseful.

Why do these things happen when the instructions our bodies come with seem so simple… eat when you’re hungry and stop when you are satiated?

There are many reasons we’ve trained our bodies and brains to get off kilter. It’s no accident… it takes practice.

Here’s what can happen that can derail us:

When we are used to dieting we’re learning to eat according to a plan. Not our bodies’ plan, but someone else’s plan. So we learn to feel hungry but take it as a sign that our diet is working. We’re supposed to be hungry, right? And so we don’t respond to the hunger. We ride it out and power through it. Whoo hoo! Weight loss is around the corner! Or so we think.

But, eventually, our survival instincts click in. They are genetically installed in our brains to prevent us from starving. So when we’ve been hungry enough, for long enough, boom, we’re suddenly finding ourselves elbow deep in a bag of chips. We simply couldn’t resist anymore.

And then, as a result of this ‘near-starvation experience’ (to your brain, anyway!) you will overeat to make sure that you’re not in danger of starving again in the near future.

If you’ve been a dieter many times, and who hasn’t, then your survival instincts are permanently on high alert… so anytime we see food, smell food, or see someone else eating, we get an urge to get some. Quick.

We’re not really physically hungry, but this urge is strong.

And it can feel impossible to not obey it.

Thus, compulsive eating and binge eating are born.

Or, let’s say you try to always eat ‘perfectly’… whatever that means to you. No carbs. No sugar. No fat… (What ARE you eating??)

And after a while of doing this, your body will drive you right up to the fattiest, sweetest, and starchiest treats you’ve ever seen.

And it will make sure you get more than your share.

Because you’ve been depriving yourself. And that old survival instinct in your lower brain simply can’t be fooled.

When you have been depriving yourself and you finally give yourself some of the ‘forbidden’ foods, you won’t be able to stop.

It’s as if you have switched on something in your brain that is going for it… way past satisfied, way past full, all the way to grossly overstuffed.

It feels terrible, and you feel like you’ve been possessed.

So, what’s the remedy?

How do we actually get ourselves to eat when we’re a little hungry, and stop when we’re a little full?

Take a look at my hunger scale.

Your goal is to wait for a little hunger. A little emptiness. It’s a signal. You might have conditioned yourself to feel panic along with hunger. There is nothing to worry about. If you are reading this, most likely you don’t have to worry about starving. When you feel the slight hunger, just notice it, and begin to think about where your next meal is coming from.

If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy knowing ahead of time where that next meal is coming from.

And this means planning, shopping and maybe doing a little bit of prep work. It’s ok. This is part of taking care of yourself.

Did you ever watch a mother traveling with her children? She probably has a bag bigger than one of the kids, filled with all kinds of food… snacks, drinks, fruit, maybe even whole meals.  You deserve this same treatment… getting your hunger needs met easily.

For now, just know that the hunger you feel doesn’t require panic. Just planning.

When you eat, the goal is to be awake… so you can tell when your stomach is near filling up in a comfortable, light way.

And then you can stop.

There will be more next time.

You’ll definitely enjoy it more when you’re hungry again.

And so it will go… a little hungry, to a little full.

Never starving, never stuffed.

It really is simple.

It’s just that we’ve trained ourselves out of this wonderful survival mechanism… and we can retrain ourselves back into it.

No panic required. No remorse either.

What To Do When You Can’t Stop Eating

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

 

Stop eating

Who hasn’t been there?

You’re eating something delicious.

Maybe a favorite treat.

Maybe something you consider one of your ‘trigger foods’.

You’re full. Your body is satisfied.

But you get an automatic thought, telling you that you just can’t stop eating.

Not until it’s either gone, or you’re stuffed and sick.

You feel helpless.

Out of control.

Ashamed.

Maybe, for a moment, you just don’t care.

Nope.

In that moment, you tell yourself that:

You want to keep eating,

You couldn’t stop if you wanted to, and

You don’t care.

Guess what?

Lies.

Lies.

Lies.

Yes, you are lying to yourself.

Here’s the truth.

Truth: When you are eating without real hunger, your body doesn’t want to keep eating.

But your devious little mind does.

It’s playing tricks on your body.

Truth: You are in total and complete control of what and how much you eat.

Always.

When you think you’re not, you’ll act like you’re not.

But when you think you’re in charge, guess what?

Stopping won’t be a big deal.

Truth: You do care.

You always care.

You may go in and out of awareness of this truth.

But it will keep coming around to remind you.

That’s why, when you finish overeating, you feel regret.

Remorse.

Self-hate.

So, if you want to stop eating when your body has had enough, take a little break.

A pause.

Step away from the food.

Give yourself a moment to think.

Check in.

Are you hungry?

Physically in your body?

If you are, eat a little bit more and check in with yourself again.

If you’re not, stop.

Stop eating.

Take a leap of faith and listen to your body.

Tell your mind to shut up!

And tell yourself, ‘I’ve got this!’

Now, walk through the discomfort of not eating.

Not a super big deal.

Just uncomfortable.

Once you do this a few times, it won’t seem as hard as it does now.

It will be uncomfortable in the beginning.

Truth: You can definitely do this.

Where Will You Be In Your Future?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Woman gazing at futureCoaches often use future focused tools to help their clients envision how they’ll feel when they reach their life goals. These goals could be career goals, relationship goals, money goals or health and fitness goals.

Just about anything.

These tools focus on your ‘end game’. How will you feel when you reach these goals? Exactly what will your life look like when you get where you want to go?

The theory is if you can identify how you will feel when you lose weight or get out of debt, you can create that feeling right now in your life. And this will make reaching your goal much easier.

I’ve done it myself, and many of my clients do it all the time. It works.

But, in the heat of the moment when you’re facing down an unplanned purchase on an already maxed-out Visa, or a double fudge chocolate cupcake on an already maxed-out full tummy, the vision of your end game is harder to conjure up.

It seems that in the moment, the temptation of the food or the sale feel stronger and more tempting than your vision of your possible future.

So here’s what I do:

Start asking yourself what the consequence will be for you if you buy this, or eat this, and keep doing that for the next five years.

  • How will you feel?
  • What will you weigh?
  • What will your Visa bill look like?
  • Will you feel healthy and fit and energetic?
  • Will you have saved enough to buy your dream house or start your business?
  • Will you have the relationship you want?

In other words, if you keep doing what you are doing now, stop for a moment and really think about the road you are traveling on.

Where will this road lead?

If you don’t make a U-turn, are you okay with where you will end up?

If not, then use that vision of the future you DON’T want to spur you into action: put down that cupcake, put on your gym shoes, stop spending money you don’t really have and get away from that reality show. Fitness combined with ligandrol will bring positive results.

Sometimes, knowing what’s ahead of you and what you don’t want can be a stronger motivator than the vision of what you do want.

Every Bite Counts

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Woman eating bite size portion

“But I’m only eating healthy stuff,” some of my clients protest. “And I can’t lose weight! I’m stuck!”

Great quality, healthy food.

But.

It doesn’t really matter what you’re eating if you’re eating more than your body needs.

We all have systems in our body that aim to keep us at equilibrium.

Balance.

We get signals when we’re hungry, and then we eat to stock up on fuel.

We get signals when we’re no longer hungry, and we stop eating.

When we stop listening to these little, sometimes subtle signals, we take ourselves out of balance.

Out of equilibrium.

We get too hungry or too full.

When we get too hungry we usually compensate by overeating, swinging to the other end of the pendulum.

Geneen Roth used to say that for every restrictive diet we go on there is an equally strong and opposite binge waiting in the wings.

I agree.

So what I see a lot, in between the extreme restriction and the constant overeating, is that some of us are stealth nibblers.

Little tastes of different things. A bite here and a bite there.

Some high quality fuel, some junk.

It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that when we are in this nibble habit, we are eating unconsciously.

My own specialty is passing the kitchen to get water to bring to my office and grabbing a handful of almonds. Healthy, right?

Or after a meal, I’ll grab some dried cherries, or dried papaya. Better than pie, I’ll think.

We pass the kitchen and grab what we left on the counter.

We don’t want to make a phone call, so we open the fridge and have a few bites of leftovers.

We’re tired in the afternoon so we make an apple and peanut butter plate.

But we’re not hungry.

What happens when we eat these little things and our body isn’t signaling us to eat?

We waste the food.

We waste it in our bodies.

Our bodies aren’t asking for a refueling, so we take it in and having no need for it we just store it as fat.

Just that simple.

So it doesn’t matter if it’s baby carrots and hummus or your kids’ French fries… if you’re not hungry, you don’t need it.

And if you eat it, it counts.

If it’s not water, it counts.

I challenge you, for one day, to notice every single bite you put into your mouth.

It doesn’t matter what it is.

When Does Fun-Size Candy Stop Being Fun?

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Fun-sized candy barWhen Halloween is over, what happenings with all that leftover candy in your house?

Are your fun-size treats still fun?

Or are you paying too high a price for all the fun you’ve had?

Halloween is a great holiday.

The costumes.

The decorations.

And yes, the candy.

Many of my clients start thinking about the candy to come in early September.

Imagine, a nationally-sanctioned holiday that encourages you to have gobs of sugary treats on hand.

And how convenient that the food industry came up with the adorable ‘fun-size’ for candy!

So, how many pieces of fun-size candy can you have before it stops being fun?

It’s like all other pleasures.

There’s a tipping point.

Too little, and we tell ourselves we’re deprived.

Life isn’t fair!

Poor us!

Too much and we cross over into the land of shame, regret and self-flagellation.

What’s the answer?

How do you find that middle ground where pleasure is pleasurable, not painful?

Let’s start right now.

Look at your leftover treats.

Weed out what you don’t really love.

Toss it or give it away. Today.

Now take a look at what’s left and decide what’s really worth eating.

You are an adult.

Of course you can give yourself some candy.

But you need to decide what, when and how much to have.

Put the candy that’s left away so you’re not fantasizing about it all day.

And when you decide you’d like a little treat, indulge.

Enjoy.

Taste.

Savor.

And then move on.

It will be there waiting for you until your next treat time.

What you’ve just done is SO smart!

You’ve taken charge.

You’ve made a decision.

You’ve enjoyed.

You’ve stayed in the pleasure zone.

No more guilt, shame or pain for you.

It just doesn’t taste good.

And it’s certainly not fun.

Vacations and Parties and Travel, Oh My!

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Do you do well managing your eating and self-care Monday through Friday, but get thrown for a loop on special occasions and vacations?

vacations

Many of us lead full, busy lives filled with restaurant meals, big events and some vacations. Our lives are literally filled with special occasions.

To manage their everyday life, my clients develop a plan for eating, taking care of themselves, for movement, even for how to think to get their best feelings.

Yet sometimes, they’ll feel stress about how to handle an upcoming business trip, or the snacks at church after services, a big wedding or a dream vacation.

Their stress comes from telling themselves: This isn’t normal.

It’s not my 9 to 5 routine.

I won’t be able to handle this without losing control.

How can I maintain my eating plan if I go on this cruise?

Here’s the deal:

It is normal.

It’s a different version of normal.

Just like the weekend is a different version of the workweek.

If you are lucky enough to have a full life with lots of events and occasions and celebrations, don’t put down your fork.

But do put down your fear.

These events are special but don’t have to be difficult.

They are just variations.

So embrace them.

Anticipate them.

Plan for them.

And while you certainly want to enjoy them, you want to be guided by your own internal thermostat.

Your own internal rules.

One of my clients calls it her own GPS system.

So no matter where you are and who is offering you the taste delight of a lifetime, you always check in with your own inner wisdom first.

This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t enjoy a special food treat at an event.

It just means that you should treat it like you’d treat any other decision you make for yourself.

  • Am I hungry?
  • Is this a worthy choice for me?
  • Will I feel better or worse after I eat this?

You get to decide.

So enjoy your full, busy and very social life.

Enjoy its irregularities and its contrast from every day to special.

But know that the special events are also just another part of your life.

And you always get to choose how you want to be in every situation you encounter.

So don’t panic.

Enjoy!

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?