Making and Keeping Your Resolution in 2017

The top New Year’s Resolution of recent decades is “to lose weight”. This was certainly my solemn promise to myself every year from 1970 to the new millennium. But the results never lasted and there’s one simple, but profound reason why…

Real change happens from the inside out.

Dieting caused us to focus on the wrong things; we poured our valiant efforts into changing our outside behaviors rather than changing our inner beliefs.

WE WERE GIVEN THE WRONG ANSWER: Restrict your food intake and increase your exercise.

It seems so clear, right? But in reality we haven’t been able to stick to this formula because it never got to the root of the issue.

Here’s what dieting never taught us: Our actions begin between our ears – not on our plate. Until we change how we think, we will not be able to permanently change how we eat.

WE DO HAVE A REAL SOLUTION: A universal truth…

Our thoughts lead to our feelings.

Our feelings lead to our behaviors.

Our behaviors lead to the results we want,
or the consequences we don’t want.

What we think determines how we eat.

  • If I think food is the only way I can sooth myself when I feel anxious, I’ll feel helpless to do otherwise.
  • If I think food is fattening and dangerous, I’ll feel uneasy around it – which leads to reacting irrationally rather than responding intuitively.
  • If I believe I should eat “perfectly” I will feel ashamed when I don’t, which leads to all sorts of unhealthy behaviors and consequences.
  • If I believe my body is only worthy of respect at a lighter weight, then I will have a very hard time valuing it enough to take kind care of it – which is what it takes to stay at a lighter weight.

And if you feel weak, defeated and hopeless after years of “failed” diet attempts, you will struggle to believe you’re a strong and capable person, even though you are!

Reminder: You’ve never failed a diet. Dieting has failed you.

BOTTOM LINE:  If you want permanent results in 2017, please don’t plan another diet for this January. Instead, put your good effort into changing how you think about your body, yourself and the good gift of food…the rest will take care of itself.

If you aren’t sure where to start, click here and read this, then call me. I would love to help you get what you want this year, and keep it for the rest of your amazing life!

Step Into Your Power This Christmas Week

xmasIt’s Christmas Time!!!

So there’s a lot of stuff going on – a lot of Beauty to be discovered. A lot of emotions to be felt. And for most of us, a lot of preparation yet to do. And inevitably there will be some wishing, some missing, and some longing – along with the celebration.

And food.

Lots and lots of food.

When it comes to food, realize your strength.

Step into your personal power to mindfully connect with it.

The simple act of becoming present puts you in charge.

If we do nothing this week but decide to be genuinely mindful of what we eat – if we simply decide not to eat on auto-pilot – this practice alone will bend things in our favor.

Yes, at times we may still eat more than we wish we had, but we will choose to do it much less often when we show up for each bite. Much of our overeating comes from being in “automatic-shovel-mode”, but once we turn our dial to “every-bite’s-an-experience-I-don’t-want-to-miss-mode” a whole new world of pleasure opens up to us!

Heads up: In the beginning of our liberated eating journey, our mindfulness will bump up against our old patterns – like “Clean your plate” and “Since I’ve blown it I might as well…” but those old messages can’t hold up under the power of intentional connection with one’s self and one’s food.

Connection is what life is all about.

When we make a practice of it, things start to shift in a life-giving direction.

And while we’re at it, let’s slow down and connect with all of it…

What if we stop and relax? What if we breathe and show up for it?

For the people.

For the moments.

For the holiness.

May each of us step boldly into our power to connect this week, and may that power spread to our souls, revealing richness and meaning and peace as it deepens us.

Have a very Merry Christmas y’all!

7 Big Reasons Not To Diet (Again) In January

day-1891529_960_720Pardon me for being blunt, but here goes: Picking another diet for a New Year’s Resolution in 2017 is dumb, dangerous, and damaging. We didn’t know this in the 1970’s when we got excited about our first diet – but we know it now. This isn’t theoretical; the evidence is irrefutable.

Let’s look at a few of the many well-researched reasons diets don’t work:

1. Diets backfire. Most dieters end up actually gaining weight over their diet career – not losing. Restrictive dieting has a 98-99% failure rate.

2. Diets cause cravings. When you’re dieting, your brain and body work together to force you to feed yourself enough. Eating too little always leads to eating too much, eventually.

3. Diets crush self-confidence. The dieting industry says all you need to be thinner is enough will-power. This is simply not true. Human beings do have willpower, but it doesn’t apply to primary needs like food, water, sleep and air. Try using your willpower to hold your breath for two minutes or to stay up three nights in a row.

4. Diets cause guilt. Once food is (falsely) declared a good or bad substance, we begin to believe we are a good or bad person according to what we eat. Reality check: you are not a bad person if you eat a Christmas cookie. Making food a moral issue causes our relationship with it to become strained and emotionally charged.

5. Diets wreck metabolism. Restrictive dieting actually diminishes your ability to lose weight by slowing your metabolism. The more you starve yourself the harder your body fights to keep each pound.

6. Diets disconnect us from ourselves and our bodies. Dieting requires you to ignore your natural hunger signals, instincts, and appetite. You and your body are born to work well together, but years of dieting have eroded our connection to our invaluable body wisdom.

7. Diets side-track us from Real Life. Dieting takes a lot of energy and effort! We become scale-focused and food-obsessed. We can unwittingly put life ON HOLD until after we “lose this weight”.

There are many other reasons dieting is self-sabotaging. Continuing to attempt it is putting off the real life-changing work each of us must and can do: the work of recovering the intuitive, peaceful connection with our body we were born to enjoy.

Give yourself the gift of freedom in 2017…

You and your body and your food really can be friends again – and the payoff will last a lifetime.

 

2 Strategies for Handling Constant Christmas Goodies

Don't Complicate Things This ChristmasHoliday food is everywhere!!!   It’s inescapable…chocolate bark, bacon wraps, cheesy dip and chips, sugar cookies – in the office, from the neighbors, in the grocery store – and it’s just getting started…

So how are we gonna get through this next month without constant food-preoccupation, goodie-anxiety and fear of gaining weight?

Is it even possible?

Yes. It is. And – it will take changing how you relate to food everyday, not just this time of year.

Here are 2 STRATEGIES to consider:

  1. There is no food I have to overeat in order to enjoy it fully.

This means stepping into permission and away from your old diet-shame. It’s never worked – in fact, it’s made us act crazy. Making certain foods “forbidden” causes anxiety and leads to all-or-nothing thinking. This leads us to eating none of it (and wanting it badly) or a TON of it (and feeling guilty and fat). This is a lose/lose mindset.

So let’s make this paradigm shift: There are no illegal foods – and – I am capable of enjoying a reasonable amount.

  • BEST BITES: You can decide to eat 3 best-bites. After 3 or 4 bites the taste diminishes anyway.
  • ONE “PERFECT” SERVING A YEAR: You can decide to eat one reasonable helping of your favorites this year. One delicious slice of coconut cake with boiled custard – savored fully. Once you’ve had it you don’t have to eat again until next year. This is one way to “have your cake and eat it too”.

2. There is no food I have to eat at all.

You are free. If you feel you cannot eat a reasonable amount of a certain food without overdoing it (right now), then you can step into your own power to choose not to interact with that food this year. You can always reevaluate things for next year.

  • FIND NEW FAVES: When you take something out, be sure to find a satisfying alternative to put in its place. Don’t leave a vacuum. Leaving a void invites feelings of deprivation and intense cravings. If you just can’t handle sugar cookies peacefully this year, be sure to find a spicy fruit compote or tea recipe to enjoy instead. Find new ways to treat yourself.

These 2 STRATEGIES can help you take the sting out of holiday eating anxiety. And, if you’d like to change how you relate to food permanently, let’s talk. There’s no need to spend another year feeling crazy around food!

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!