Your After-Thanksgiving Eating Questionnaire

teaThis is the perfect time to look back and glean some very valuable wisdom about yourself and your food-life. Asking good questions is one of the best ways to do this. As you work your way through the questions below, allow yourself to respond honestly, without any harsh judgement or self-condemnation.

Here we go…

How are you feeling about your Thanksgiving eating experience last week?

Was it relaxed and satisfying – an eating experience you want to repeat for Christmas?

If so, why did it work well? What thoughts and behaviors do you want to repeat?
Be specific. Identifying and owning what works for you is empowering.

If you’re not pleased with how you ate, where do you feel things got off course? What gave you the most trouble? Was it all day grazing? Sweets and desserts? Leftovers?

How might you have interacted with that food differently? Think back through and imagine things going the way you wish they had. Be specific about what supports you could put in place next time.

Usually the real obstacles are between our ears – not on our plate. Faulty thinking about food and ourselves (hanging on from our old dieting days) leads to the behaviors we don’t like.

Did all-or-nothing thinking cause you to eat less or more of something than you really wanted?

Did the old Good Food/Bad Food list cause you to feel guilty about enjoying a piece of pie?

Did anxiety lead you to eat too quickly? And too much?

As we look back with clear eyes and see what worked well for us, and what didn’t – our understanding can pave the way for real and lasting change.

As you look ahead to a December full of Christmas goodies and feasts, remember these powerful truths:

  1. MINDFUL EATING WORKS – Eating in your right mind – staying connected to yourself and your food as you eat – allows you to get a lot of enjoyment out of a reasonable amount of food.
  2. GUILT DOESN’T WORK – In fact, it makes us act crazy around food. Feeling guilty for our choices keeps us from being satisfied, and often leads to over-eating the very food we can’t relax and enjoy.
  3. A RELAXED EATING PACE WORKS – The simple act of relaxing and slowing down your eating pace does wonders. People who do this consistently end up naturally eating about 210 fewer calories a day than faster eaters. This translates into about a 20 pound release over a year’s time. No dieting. Just slowing down.

Looking back and learning from past experiences is a powerful practice. Trust yourself to find your way through.

And, if you find you’d like to have an encouraging coach walk through this process with you, I’m all yours!

3 Surprising Reasons You Need More Eating Pleasure

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Here’s a profound truth about eating that’s so simple we miss it all the time.

This truth will enhance your up-coming Thanksgiving feast and revolutionize your food-life in the new year ahead.

Are you ready for it?      …drum roll…

If you’re gonna eat it anyway, ENJOY IT!

If you choose it, own it.

3 reasons this practice is so important:

1. Pleasure is a critical part of healthy metabolism. If you don’t relax enough to experience pleasure when you eat, it adversely affects your metabolic health, and cuts digestion effectiveness by 40 to 60%. Stress elevates cortisol and insulin, which causes your body to hang onto extra weight.

2. Satisfaction is not a luxury, it’s an innate need. When your eating experience isn’t satisfying, your mind and body will keep looking for the pleasure they need by causing you to crave more food, even after your fuel needs are met. Food guilt, mindless eating, eating-on-the-run – all these common eating scenarios – leave us unsatisfied and set us up for unrelenting cravings.

3. Owning your own choices empowers you. Dieting has damaged our self-confidence and caused us to deeply question ourselves. Taking full responsibility for yourself again is healing. As you practice making thoughtful choices and stand by them, you resurrect your personal power and dignity.

So, if you decide to have a slice of Aunt Peggy’s Christmas pie this year – be all in! Sit down in your right mind, relax, thank God for it, and experience it fully for the holy day gift it is. Without judgment. Without guilt. Without reserve.

As you adopt this life-giving practice of pleasure you’ll find that you begin to choose more wisely, feel more peaceful and – your pants will begin to fit more loosely too.

One Holiday Practice, MANY Rewards!

dinner-1060352_960_720With Thanksgiving and Christmas upon us, let’s look at one very powerful practice that can change everything about your holiday eating this year.

Are you ready for it? Show up to eat when you eat. Seriously, stop eating on auto-pilot. Slow down, on the outside and the inside. If you eat in a hurry you’ll eat right past “full” every time.

EXPERIMENT WITH THIS: It’ll take some consistent practice but this holiday season is the perfect laboratory for this rewarding lifestyle. No matter how your holiday eating has felt in the past, this one can be different.

Begin by creating a whole new persona at the table.

This is the new you. Peaceful. Confident. Moving at a relaxed, easy pace. Tasting gratefully. Receiving deep satisfaction. Enjoying yourself fully!

It’s a mindset shift that rewards you handsomely. Practiced over time, this will profoundly affect you in expected and unexpected ways…

Over time, thoughtful eaters:

  • Have a high degree of satisfaction
  • Eat less, but enjoy it more
  • Develop a healthy partnership with their body
  • Become peaceful around food
  • Recognize  the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger
  • Don’t yoyo up and down – their weight is stable
  • Naturally choose nutritious foods regularly, but not exclusively
  • Experience a deep sense of well-being
  • Feel empowered and rarely susceptible to outside food influences

And here’s the incredible thing – this awareness isn’t just about your food-life. Living mindfully will spill over into every area of your life, bringing clarity and peace with it!

You Need To Know 2 Things…

girl-872149_960_720As dieters we were often, consciously or unconsciously, waiting to live, putting our lives on Pause until we reached some illusive, magic goal weight.

Problem is, there are serious unintended consequences with this line of thinking.

Putting our true selves “on hold” inadvertently sets us up to stay stuck where we are. It creates such a vacuum, a soul hunger, that it forces us to fill it with lesser and more convenient substitutes.

The very thing we do not want to do (turn to food) becomes the very thing we feel compelled to do.

And doesn’t this make sense? If we’re not stepping into the fullest version of the life we’re made for – no wonder we want to go eat cookies!

This is a fundamental piece of the liberated eating journey. We dare to begin to step out, and as life becomes more satisfying, late night eating and drive-thrus lose much of their pull.

Be you now.

Not in some distant thinner future.

When we start believing we deserve to LIVE RIGHT NOW we open the door to creating, connecting, and cultivating the interesting life we want. We won’t need to sit on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s nearly as often.

In fact – this is another irony of this amazing path we’ve chosen – when we start living from our true core the other stuff (like eating less) naturally begins to fall into place. This begs the question…

Are you playing it safe?

What do you imagine you would be doing differently if you were at your goal weight right now? Looking people in the eye more often, enjoying dance lessons or a writer’s group, walking with a confident pep in your step, wearing clothes you enjoy?

If so, you need to know two things:

  1. You will never deserve those things more than you do right now.
  2. You will not be a different person when you weigh less.

As a coach I get to be around people all the time who have reached goals – and yes, it feels very good indeed. AND, I hear quite often, “You know, I thought when I got here I would feel more different on the inside. I’m still me.” As we explore this further there is often a poignant discovery:

You were worthy all along…

worthy of living big, worthy of truly loving yourself and your one amazing life

just as you are.

One Powerful Tool For Sane Holiday Eating

typewriter-407695_960_720Halloween is behind us.

It’s the perfect time to explore: How do I feel about my eating experiences this past week? 

Let’s talk about one simple, powerful tool that will help us glean valuable lessons from this first holiday of the season and strengthen us for the rest:

Here it is: Keep an on-going travel log.

Now before you click away, hear me out…

I am NOT talking about a food journal about what you shoulda, woulda, coulda done! I am talking about a safe place to see what’s happening more clearly and make observations that’ll positively affect your next steps.

NOTE: If you don’t like to write, use the voice recorder on your phone. You can even erase it right after you record it, if that makes you feel better. The point is to…

Get your thoughts out of your head so you can
genuinely hear them, gain insight from them, and be a friend to yourself.

Each holiday season is a new voyage, whether it’s a few quiet meals or a raucous string of chaos – either way, there is The Food Thing. We can feel like helpless victims of constant holiday cuisine, or we can reframe and realize that we have a lot of agency in this matter. Keeping a travel log is just the thing.

Helpful rules of engagement:

  1. Keep it SHORT – unless you like to write long
  2. Keep it SIMPLE – If you complicate this you won’t do it. Staple some paper together – no need to buy a new journal.
  3. Keep it about DISCOVERY  Be curious. Get specific about your observations.
  4. Keep it about looking FORWARD – not being stuck in the past. A travel log is not a place to vent complaints or regrets. It’s a place to record new discoveries and insights.
  5. Keep it POSITIVE – no self-condemnation allowed. This is about looking for future solutions, not berating past choices.

• How do I feel about how I ate over Halloween?
• What do I want to remember from this, for Thanksgiving?
• What tool would have been most helpful?
• If nothing changes about my holiday eating, what will be the outcome?
• How will I handle that?

Keeping a travel log gives you a safe space to:

  • Step back and evaluate
  • Recognize what’s really going on in your food-life (ex: mindful vs. auto-pilot)
  • Brainstorm possible strategies/tools for getting the results you want
  • See and celebrate what’s working well
  • Make clear connections between yourself and possible emotional eating (holidays are fraught with feelings!) so you can be prepared
  • Remember what you really want, so you can bring your choices in alignment with those dreams

Two days after Halloween is the perfect time to get started. Don’t wait – just thinking about doing it won’t get the job done. Grab a pen and paper – or go find a quiet place to talk to yourself – whatever works best for you.

Happy holiday traveling, discovering & eating !!!