Archive for the ‘How to Eat’ Category

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.

Binge Eating, Emotional Eating and Compulsive Overeating: What’s the Difference?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

fridge and eatingMost of my private clients come to me with many complaints about how they’re eating. They assume they are all binge eating, even though most of them aren’t.

Since they all want to learn to lose extra weight and eat like a naturally thin person, what’s the big deal about figuring out what kind of problem they have?

Why can’t they just try to eat less?

Figuring out and really defining your eating problem is the first step to learning to eat naturally and shedding your extra weight.

But, as a subject, it’s a little bit boring. It’s not a fast, sexy subject. I get it.

If you don’t pause and figure out what you’re doing and WHY you’re doing it, then choosing a solution is like buying a lottery ticket.

There’s a small shot it may work, but then again, there’s a really good shot that it may not.

If you eat to avoid an emotion, or eat in response to an emotion, you’re probably an emotional eater. And your solution will be all about learning to manage those emotions.  Like a pro.

If you have recurrent urges to eat large quantities of food, pretty often, regardless of what triggers those urges, chances are you’re a binge eater. Those urges come from your lower brain, just like the survival instinct. Your brain thinks you need to binge in order to survive. Your solution will be all about recognizing that urge for what it is, and deciding rationally not to obey it. You need to learn a little bit about how your brain works, and you’ll be able to master this.

And if you’re on the ‘see food’ diet… bear with me here… if you see food and then eat it, you’ve just conditioned yourself to have some really unhelpful habits with food that you can replace.

All these different eating issues, once they’ve been defined, all respond to changes in the way you think. And thinking about these issues unemotionally is your key to success.

Changing how you eat will change your body. Changing how you eat has to come from changing how you think. And changing how you think comes from correctly identifying and defining your problem. Let’s start there! Do the work!

How To Stay On Track When You Travel

Friday, November 6th, 2015

travelDo you tell yourself all kinds of stories about how hard it is to stick to your eating plan when you travel?

I used to do the same thing. Until I realized that it’s always within my control. No matter how many restaurants I go to. No matter how delicious the food. No matter how many unique experiences I have.

It all comes down to deciding. Deciding what you want to do ahead of time.

Deciding how you’ll eat. You don’t have to know WHAT you’ll eat. But if you have in place the basics of how you’ll eat, you’re all set.

Here’s why.

When you really want something, like losing extra weight and taking care of yourself, you need to make some big decisions. Ahead of time.

So when you’re out in the world, you don’t have to decide a thousand times what to eat, over and over again.

It doesn’t matter who you’re with. What the menu says. Or what country you’re in.

What matters is your decision to be committed to yourself. It’s your decision to be the kind of woman you admire. And this is something you decide before you go.

So all those little, several-times-a-day decisions are easy.

Because they’re all guided by the big one, which is:

I’m the kind of woman who takes care of myself no matter where I am.

And so your decisions will follow. And you can leave the stress at home when you travel.

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.

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. After dieting don’t forget to follow a guide for quitting the diet. You are on your own team, creating the rules, and you are the captain.

This is something you can do.

Are You Eating Too Fast?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

eating too fastDo you ever look down while eating and feel surprised to see your empty plate?

It’s amazing that we can eat so fast and so unconsciously that before we know it, the food is gone!

Are we satisfied? No.

Because we ate so quickly that it didn’t have time to register in our brains.

What a waste of a meal!

When you eat with friends or family, are you often the first one to be finished?

Or maybe you’re eating while you text, talk on the phone or watch television. These distractions can put you on autopilot, and your speed will increase without you even noticing it.

Sometimes we let ourselves get overly hungry.

And when we ignore our hunger until we’re starving, (figuratively, not literally) then it’s super hard to notice our speed.

It’s also hard to really notice our food and get enjoyment from it.

Sometimes we simply have a fast-eating habit.

Maybe when you were a child, there wasn’t enough food. So you rushed to get your share.

Or maybe you zoned out because your parents argued at the dinner table.

So you ate as fast as you could, to get away from the meal.

Whatever brought you to this point, you’re here now and it’s time to figure out how to slow down.

Why should you slow down?

Eating is for nourishment AND pleasure. And if we rush through our meals, we are also rushing through our pleasure.

If we eat too fast, we also tend to miss the signal that we’re satisfied… that we’ve had enough. This leads to weight gain or at best, maintaining your weight where you are today.

And as we continue to eat quickly, we get more and more distance between our awareness and our bodies. We stop hearing our signals of fullness and hunger. And that simply doesn’t feel good. Because by the time we stop eating, we are overly full.

So how do you slow down?

First, decide what you’ll be eating, with whom, and when.

Wait to be hungry. Nice and hungry. Not so hungry you will grab anything you see.

Make your food appealing. Taste, visual, texture, setting. Stop before you eat and admire your plate. Smell it. Appreciate it. Then dig in.

But commit to consciously eat slower. Put your fork down a few times to pause and check in with yourself. Are you still hungry? If so, keep going. But go on eating slow enough to hear the signal to stop. Allow yourself to relish it.

If you truly want to enjoy your food, then slow down.

Rushing through your meal will actually diminish your eating pleasure.

And if your goal is to lose some extra weight, slowing down will let you stay connected and continue to make good choices.

Just Tell Me What To Eat!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

what to eatLet’s face it.

We all like being told exactly how to do something.

Why waste time experimenting and failing and starting over?

When we desire to lose our extra weight, it’s no different.

Tell me what to eat!

Give me some structure!

Just spell it out for me!

I sympathize.

Truly.

Wouldn’t it be cool and easy if someone could just tell you exactly what, when and how much to eat?

There are tons of diets out there that do just that.

But here’s the problem with them:

Diets are external rules.

They have nothing to do with your body.

Your situation.

Your needs, and your hunger.

I want you to figure out what to eat.

With my help.

You can create the structure you crave.

And it will work better than any diet.

Because you’ll be the designer.

Here’s where to start:

  1. What do you like to eat?
  2. That actually feels good in your body?
  3. That gives you energy?
  4. And doesn’t make you feel like you need to take a nap and open your pants?
  5. And when you’re done, you feel light, energized and satisfied?

Take some time and sit down.

Make a list of foods you like that like you back.

And do the work.

Plan some simple meals. Shop for the food. Prep the food. You know… wash some veggies, and cut up some things you can grab.

What about rules?

You create the rules.

If it makes your stomach upset, take it off the list.

If it leaves you bloated or headachy, take it off the list.

If it makes you literally unable to stop eating, like one of those puffy, salty, super-processed snacks, have it just once in a while, if you want.

It’s all up to you.

But, you will have structure.

It’s just your own structure. Not mine.

Not Weight Watcher’s.

Your body will tell you how much to eat.

Your body will tell you what to eat.

And your body will tell you when to stop.

I know. I know.

This wasn’t exactly what you wanted.

You wanted me to tell you.

So let me ask you one last question:

Do you want to do what works?

Or do you just want someone to tell you what to do?

Again.

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.

I Was A Little Depressed – Why That’s Good!

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

depressedIf you follow my blog or newsletter you’ve probably read about my little accident a while ago.

I had slipped on the ice, broke my ankle and had surgery.

I was mostly immobile for 5 weeks, plus another 4 – 6 weeks in a walking cast.

Three months of being in a cast.

At first I felt pretty neutral.

I worked on figuring out the logistics of my situation:

  • Getting food.
  • Finding someone to walk my dog.
  • And learning how to be as independent as possible.

When that had been taken care of, I found myself a little depressed.

The reality of lying around for 3 months was getting to me.

Exercise was a big mood-booster, and for a while, it was mostly off limits.

So, why did I consider my mild depression a good thing?

Because I wasn’t eating my way out of it.

I didn’t escaping into chocolate, potato chips or ice cream.

I actually allowed myself to feel a little sad, and it was okay.

I noticed how I felt, and I just sat with it.

I wasn’t fighting it.

I knew it would pass, and even in the midst of it, when I was engrossed in something, it faded away… and then periodically would come back.

But even though it seemed to be hanging around a bit, I made a decision.

I could do sad.

I could allow it.

I could think about being depressed in a different way: how much worse things could be, how lucky I was to have people around me, and how great that the feeling wasn’t permanent.

But in the meantime, I experienced ‘sad’ and truly saw that I didn’t need to eat to make it go away.

Are you up to the challenge of sitting with your uncomfortable feelings without escaping into food?

Why You Need To Make Peace With Cooking For Yourself

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

cookingI don’t love cooking.

Yet I’ve managed to feed my family for 23 years. And no one has complained.

There’s a collection of recipes I’ve perfected that are good, and I’ve developed some strategies to feed myself and my family with food that is tasty, healthy and quick.

But, now that my kids are away at college, sometimes I’m tempted to throw in the old kitchen towel.

If I won the lottery, a spa-trained chef would be in my kitchen in a hot second.

Since I haven’t won that lottery, I had a choice to make.

Should I give up my kitchen throne and settle into take out food, not so healthy junk food, or whatever random thing I can dig out of the pantry?

Or do I find a way to make peace with cooking?

I chose the latter.

I decided it was in my best interest to make peace with cooking and to find a way to make it fit into my life.

I care about my health, I care about my weight, and I feel good when I eat ‘good for you’ food most of the time.

And that’s what I wish for you.

The desire to do your best for you.

And in most cases of women I work with, the best for you usually involves some degree of food prep.

So how do you make peace with cooking?

You stop viewing it as a ‘have-to’.

You stop resenting what you need to do to take care of yourself.

And you start looking at cooking as a way of loving yourself.

Think of how you might take care of your pet, your child, or a dear friend. You’d make sure they were getting what they needed, including meals.

Yet, you have your life to take care of.

You have no desire to become a mini-Martha Stewart.

I get it.

Neither do I.

Do you enjoy cooking?

If you do, then just keep on planning and cooking for yourself.

But if you don’t enjoy cooking, find a way to make it easier, make it fun, make it less painful, and do whatever it takes to make it happen.

First, the way you think about cooking will either make it something you don’t mind doing, or something you dread.

Look at it as a gift.

To you from you.

Then find ways to better it, (make it easier or more fun,) barter it, (hire it out,) batch it, (cook a few things at a time to freeze,) or get help.

Two sites I enjoy for easy, yummy food are CleanAndDelicious.com and OrganizeYourselfSkinny.com.

You can be creative and find a way that works for you.

And yes, rotisserie chickens are allowed.

But the biggest thing you need to do is have a little chat with yourself.

Get on your own side.

And find a way to WANT to take care of yourself.