Archive for the ‘Self Care’ Category

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?

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.

How to Handle the Worst Day of Your Life

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Worst Day of Your LifeRecently my daughter called me. I could hear the pain and frustration in her voice, as she told me she had the worst day of her life.

She had a series of mishaps and frustrations, one after the other.

And indeed, in her mind, it was a worst day scenario.

Everything that could have gone wrong, did.

And everything piled up, making a bunch of medium-sized challenges feel like huge mountains.

So here’s what I told her.

All problems pass.

And it’s true. That is my belief.

I knew from experience that in the moment, she may not have been able to see through the cloudiness of her thoughts about her day.

But in the morning, the sky would be clear again. And all would seem more fixable.

Does that mean what felt like problems weren’t problems at all? Not necessarily.

But sometimes there isn’t anything to do but stand back, notice how your mind is multiplying the pain, and if there isn’t some action you need to take right now, or some decision you need to make right now, then the best thing to do is to wait.

Take a break. Give yourself some loving self-care. And know that tomorrow, you will find solutions. And many times, that won’t even be necessary.

Because many things just resolve themselves with the passage of time.

Think of any problem you faced recently.

Remember your pain and angst while you were in the middle of it, trying to figure out a solution. Often, in the heat of the moment, there isn’t an evident solution.

But time is known to give us the gift of perspective. We can wake up and see things through a fresh lens.

And so it goes.

When I think of the old saying, ‘This too shall pass’, boy, is it ever true!

Do You Have The Wrong Idea About Self-Discipline?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

self-disciplineWhat’s your reaction when you hear the phrase self-discipline?

Do you think it’s hard?

Unnatural?

Something that feels like punishment?

Actually, self-discipline is something you do for yourself.

For your benefit.

And it can feel really loving and good.

When we run from self-discipline, we end up allowing our feelings to run the show.

We make decisions based on our mood in the moment.

We exercise no self-control.

And we make choices based on short-term thinking.

This gets us somewhere.

But unfortunately, it’s not usually where you want to be.

Because our moods give us great information about what we’re thinking.

But running your life based on what kind of mood you’re in is like playing the lottery.

Here’s what self-discipline really means:

It means that you have and use the ability to do what you should do.

Whether you feel like it or not in the moment.

Because it’s for your greater good.

So if you’ve committed to upping your health a level, maybe you’ve decided to start an exercise program.

You wake up and don’t feel like getting out of bed.

If you think self-discipline is harsh and unnatural, you stay in bed.

Nice.

For maybe an hour.

But then you are creating a habit of ignoring your desire to better yourself.

If you know that your moods may come and go, then when you wake up and feel like staying in bed, it’s in your best interest to know that you mood will pass, and know that you’ll feel SO good if you do exercise.

And then do it.

How do you define self-discipline?

Is it working for you, or against you?

Do You Hold It Together All Day, Only To Lose Control At Night?

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

nightA good number of my clients are working women. Some have businesses. Some have careers. And some have families.

But all of us have one big thing in common.

We all have a very full plate.

The funny thing is that if you sneaked a peak at most of these women during the day, during their time to be responsible to the people in their universe, you’d see some pretty sharp management skills.

Deadlines get met.

Obligations get fulfilled.

Priorities set.

And goals reached.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is you.

The problem is when everything around you is taken care of, but you are last on your list.

This is the norm for so many of us.

We don’t think we have the right to even think about ourselves until everyone and everything is taken care of.

So, the day goes on.

You work your butt off.

And there’s money on the fact that you may not necessarily get what you need.

So what, you ask.

What’s the big deal?

I’m a responsible adult.

I have duties.

I need to fulfill my promises.

All well and good.

Until the evening.

If you get home at night after a day of being everything to everyone around you, then I’m guessing there’s not that much left for you.

And the quickest way to satisfy a hungry heart is to eat.

Well… actually it isn’t.

But eating is fast, it’s available and it’s what most of us have learned to use to patch up the worn spots of the day.

So if you hold it together all day, and explode with emotional eating at night, there’s a reason for that.

And I’m asking you to gently take a look at it.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

It’s all about figuring out how to get your needs met during the day.

Even with your full plate.

Because if you don’t, there will always be payback time.

At night.

And it’s a hard habit to get out of.

The first step is to see what’s happening.

It’s surely not that you’re not smart enough.

It’s just that you’re caught in a spin cycle.

And you need to stop.

Pause.

Find a way to make your needs move up to the top of the list.

During the day.

And you’ll begin to see that loss of control in the evening just fade away.

Why Being Your Best Matters

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Be The Best Version Of YouDid you ever hear artists or writers talk about their ‘body of work’?

It’s what they create, what they contribute to the world during their lifetime.

I’m not an artist. But I do consider that I have a responsibility to my body of work.

What’s my body of work?

It’s me. My life.

All that I am.

Because all that I am profoundly affects those I am connected with.

I believe that my life matters.

It’s the vehicle from which I contribute to the world.

And my contribution is important.

Your contribution is important too.

Maybe you’re not sure exactly what your contribution is.

Nevertheless, it exists.

Just by being in this world, you are having an effect on all people and things you come into contact with.

So the way I like to look at it, is that YOU are your body of work.

You.

Your brain, your ideas, your feelings, and your physical being.

You house the essence of you.

And you owe it to the world to be your best.

So if you feel like it doesn’t matter what you do, or whether you take care of yourself or not, or that being your best isn’t worth the effort, you are wrong, my friend.

You are your body of work, and it all matters.

What do you want to work on to be your best?

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.

Your Absolute First Step Toward Weight Loss

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

First stepMany of the inquiries I get from women who want to lose weight ask this question: “What’s the first step I should take to lose weight? I’ve tried so many times before… I don’t know where to start!”

And this common question has led me to think: What do most people do when they make that big decision to lose weight?

I’m sure you know your own routine.

You begin to search for the latest, best diet.

You start planning your food.

Maybe you join a gym or hire a trainer.

And of course, you grit your teeth, clench your fists, and make a truly determined promise that this time will be different.

This time you won’t mess up.

You won’t fall off the wagon.

And you commit to staying away from your favorite treat.

As most everyone on the planet knows, these tactics don’t work.

At least not for long.

Yet we keep doing the same things over and over in the desperate hope that this time it will go well.

Making a plan to lose weight is good.

I’m a firm believer and supporter of making a plan and having a backup plan or two or even three.

But when we haven’t done anything about the shame and self-hatred we carry about our past failures, we are doomed to slip back into our old habits.

Our new promises won’t mean a thing.

Trying to lose weight without releasing your pain about past efforts is like trying to climb a mountain and thinking constantly about the last time you had to turn around and go home.

No surprise that it won’t be long before you fail again.

So the big question is: what is the absolute first step you can take toward weight loss that truly works?

Wipe the slate clean.

Yes.

Forgive yourself for past failures.

Stop obsessing about why you couldn’t succeed in the past.

Stop focusing on all the problems you ran into and couldn’t solve.

And definitely stop telling yourself that something is wrong with you.

Why do you NEED to do this?

Because going into any endeavor with bad feelings about the outcome will program your brain.

And then as soon as you stumble, (and you will definitely stumble) you will give up.

And giving up is your crash and burn.

It’s the guarantee that you’ll never lose this weight.

How do you do this? How do you get that truly fresh start?

Start catching yourself saying, ‘This will never work.’ ‘I’ll never be able to do this.’ ‘Why should I even bother trying?’

These are your signals that you’re slipping into that old habit of letting your past create your future.

Take the first step and erase your old slate.

Start fresh.

I don’t care how many times you’ve failed when you tried to lose weight.

Starting clean and fresh is the only thing that will work.

Let It Go

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

let it goOften, we have trouble looking forward. Why? Because we are focused on things we think we’ve done wrong.

Decisions we’ve made. Decisions that affect our lives, our relationships, our money, our bodies.

These decisions are already made. And already acted on. And yet we keep turning them over in our minds, over and over again.

We ruminate about our mistakes. Examine every inch of what we should have done differently.

My clients sometimes obsess about what they’ve eaten.

How they ate too much of one thing and not enough of another. How they reacted to an emotion with a bag of Oreos. Or how they can’t fit into their old jeans anymore because their size has changed.

Here’s the thing.

Once something is done, it’s done. We can’t take it back. Some things have no recourse.

What can we do when we’ve done something we wish we hadn’t?

We can let it go.

We can release it.

And in doing so, we free ourselves to move forward.

We think if we beat ourselves up enough, maybe we can undo the damage. But we only create more damage by this self-flogging.

The way to peaceful living is to live without regrets.

That means no beating yourself for something you’ve done. No name calling for something you’ve eaten.

Just let it go. So you can have peace and move on.

Oh, and yes, you can learn from your actions, from your decisions. But please, don’t stay in ‘stuck’ mode. 

Just let it go. And keep moving forward.

How to Stop Overeating: Part 2

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

overeatingLast week we talked about why we sometimes find ourself overeating.

And how that’s different from how naturally slim people eat most of the time.

Now, let’s take a look at how we can learn to stop overeating when we’ve had enough.

Imagine yourself eating dinner. You’re sitting down, enjoying your food in the moment, yet you are still conscious.

You are still aware of exactly what you’re doing. This is your goal. To stay connected.

You aren’t rushing, or shoveling food. Your breathing is peaceful and regular.

It’s about halfway through your meal now, and you pause. Put down your fork and check in with yourself. Check in to see if you are still hungry.

Get a reading. Put your fork down and pay attention. There is no rush.

This pace may be significant slower than you are used to eating. Eating fast may be why you routinely eat beyond satisfied and into overeating.

Listen for the answer.

If you’re hungry, keep eating. And if you can’t feel the physical sensation of hunger anymore, but you don’t want to stop, notice what comes up.

What are you thinking? What are you telling yourself about the food, the taste of it, and how much is left?

If you kept on eating because you were still hungry, pause again about three quarters of the way through your food.

Now, look for the signal from your body that you are approaching physical satisfaction.

Listen for that natural sigh from your body. You might find yourself taking a deep breath. If you pay attention, you will be able to hear your body telling you it’s had enough. This may come halfway through your meal, three-quarters through, or at the end.

But the end of your meal depends on how your body feels. Not on how much is left on your plate.

What does enough feel like? It feels like you are comfortably satisfied.

You aren’t hungry. You aren’t full. You feel light and energetic. Like you could take a walk.

Hint: If you need to lie down and open your pants, you’ve gone beyond ‘enough’ to ‘full’.

Now it’s important to hear your thoughts.

Often when we are eating something delicious (and I hope that all of your food is delicious!) then you may think something like, ‘Mmmmm, this is really good! I want more!’ Remember, you are making the decision to stop based on how your body feels. Not on how good something tastes.

Your mind will always appreciate something delicious and maybe want more. But as we said last week, your body does have limits.

Your goal is NOT to stretch your stomach and fit more and more in it. Your stomach will stretch. But this is not what you want to do.

You want to find that sweet spot. The place where it feels perfect. And that place is called ‘enough’.

If you misjudge and stop too soon, in a little while your hunger will return, and then you can eat again.

If you misjudge and keep eating beyond your sweet spot, your stomach will stretch to accommodate the extra food, and it will be stored as fat.

No judging yourself. If you eat too much, just know that the next eating experience will be another opportunity to find that sweet spot.

That spot where your mind and body join together to give you exactly what you need. A perfectly sized meal.

Know that in our world, we will have many more opportunities to eat the next time we are hungry. Each time, you will come closer to your sweet spot.