Candy Candy Everywhere!!!

VclearanceToday as Valentine candy is taken off the shelves (and put on the sale rack) Easter candy will take its place, so it’s the perfect time to talk about the year-round temptation to overindulge.

Those of us who struggle with feeling sane around food can be highly affected by this constant barrage of “special” sweet treats. The opportunity to indulge is cheap, easy and right under our noses, creating no small amount of cognitive dissonance…

We want to eat the candy AND we don’t want to eat the candy.

Let’s take a deeper look so we can better deal with the sweet treat parade and stop torturing ourselves.

Changing perspectives:

I.   “I’m going to miss out if I don’t (over)indulge.”

Everything looks so delicious and special…it only comes around once a year…

Let’s challenge this idea and turn it on its head. What if you begin to ask yourself:

“What will I miss out on if I DO (over)indulge?”

  • My goals and dreams of vibrant health are farther away
  • My confidence to live reasonably with food is shaken
  • My energy is lower – I feel heavy and tired
  • My mind is less peaceful – I feel disappointed and regretful

Think about what you’ll miss out on if heavily marketed and ever-present “special” treats are driving your bus instead of your true and deep desire to feel great in that body of yours.

You’ll miss out on…

  • The realization that YOUR LIFE is a special occasion and you can show up for it feeling healthy and fit
  • The empowering feeling of a growing freedom and balance around food
  • The knowledge that YOU are in charge and no longer under the spell of commercial forces and special occasions
  • The gift of growing vibrant health and energy – in your mind as well as your body

II.      “But everybody else gets to eat all they want.”

Feeling like the only one who isn’t eating “all I want” certainly can feel like unfair deprivation.

But is this really true?  Let’s challenge this myth…

The truth is that people who feel energetic in their body are not going to over indulge – at least not very often. They usually eat exactly what they want – but since they don’t like feeling stuffed and heavy, they eat a few bites of their favorites and that’s that. It simply isn’t true that everybody is going to eat tons of candy.

So as the Easter candy is showing up on the shelves, take a deep relaxing breath and know that it has no “special” power over you.

We’re challenging long held beliefs about our need to overindulge.

We’re replacing old worn-out life-draining beliefs (left over from our dieting days) with strong liberating life-giving ones – because our lives are very special occasions indeed!

Valentines – All About Love…and Candy!

valentine-chocolate-boxFor those of us who feel prone to over-do-it with sweet treats, holidays can cause a great deal of anxiety. This time of year abundant colorful, heart-shaped goodies are in-your-face unavoidable!

Let me encourage you to think about how you might love yourself (not just others) this year. What will you be most happy with, food-wise, once the whole thing is over?

We don’t have to wake up on February 15th with a chocolate hangover.

We have choices.

We have power.

Let’s take a quick look at some of our conflicts and some of our options…

THE CONFLICT: We want the candy and we want to live in a body we enjoy. Those two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Let’s look at 2 things that might help us sort this through:

  1. UNDESERVED POWER – Remember, candy isn’t fattening. No food is fattening in and of itself. Overeating it is. Sugar isn’t a morally wicked substance either. You’re not a bad person if you eat chocolate and a good person if you eat an apple. If we see sweets as wicked and dangerous, we’re giving them more power than they deserve. It’s just candy; it’s not all that. You can choose not to eat any of it, or you can choose to savor some slowly – with no guilt whatsoever.
  2. UNREASONABLE ALL-OR-NOTHING – Because we tend to think of candy as “bad” we also tend to eat none of it, or A TON of it. This takes reasonable moderation off the table. Thinking of food as “good” or “bad” is faulty thinking and leads to extremes.

Now let’s look at some What-Ifs that can help us think through what will be the most satisfying choices for ourselves this year. Consider each one and then pick the scenarios that please you most and go for it.

What if, this year, for Valentine’s  Day you…

  • decide to go to your favorite market and give yourself the gift of the most beautiful fruit in season and a new-to-you cheese, and then you get on your cozies and watch a movie while you enjoy these delectable treasures?
  • decide that two or three pieces of your very favorite Valentine candy is what will bless you most this year? And what if you decided to sit down and eat them in a way that honors you, your body and your mind?
  • eat with reckless abandon, the whole time feeling guilty about it because you think sugar is a toxic poison – and if you eat it you must be a very bad person indeed?
  • eat with reckless abandon and do not feel guilty about it – but still feel out of control and heavy and sluggish?
  • decide to be Sale-Free this year? What if you decide that the bargain of saving money on leftover candy you hope you won’t eat really isn’t a bargain at all?

These scenarios give us some food for thought. Take some time and think through how you want to feel in your mind and in your body. What will you be most happy with on February 15?

There is no one-size-fits-all best answer. This kind of choice is personal – and possible.

Love yourself well this year.

 

FUN FISCAL FACT: 1.7 billion dollars will be spent on Valentine candy this year, not counting advertising dollars. Yes, that’s billion with a b.  Click here for other fun facts. 

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!

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!

3 Surprising Reasons You Need More Eating Pleasure

cake 2-1227842_960_720

 

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!

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.
  6. Ask POWERFUL, KIND QUESTIONS:

• 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 !!!

 

This One Thing Can Change Your Holiday Eating

cookie-1065911_960_720

Turn off the All-or-Nothing thinking.

I know this may sound too simple but really, y’all, this is HUGE…

This old insidious leftover symptom of dieting causes us to eat more than we normally would, and then feel weird about how we ate it. It’s a soul crushing joy-sucker.

This one mind-shift changes things drastically.

We’re all familiar with how we inherited our All-or-Nothing compulsion. We started dieting to lose some weight and the next thing we know:

  • We’re eating everything we can before each diet – saying goodbye to all the things we love which we shall never eat again!
  • We’re avoiding each “fattening” food like it’s the plague – all the while longing for exactly what we cannot have. Making certain food illegal gives it far more power over us than it deserves.
  • We’re bingeing on “bad” food after each diet and feeling weak and guilty about it – but at least we’re enjoying the old favorites we’d missed (making them even more special).
  • And then of course there’s a nice big helping of shame. Shame over not being able to stick to the diet perfectly, even though it’s not humanly possible. Shame over feeling out of control with food once we think we’ve “blown it”.

Then add some excessive food anticipation to the desperation about the deprivation – and WHEW!

All. Or. Nothing.

NO “non-diet” food, or TONS of “non-diet” food.

Enter Holiday Season 2016. All-or-nothing thinking can really kick up during the holidays. It yells at us to just go ahead and give upuntil after the new year. Go ahead and eat it ALL until January 2017 and then start that New Year’s Diet.  Again.  Just like last year.  And the year before that.

But.

What if?

What if this year is different?

What if we changed the channel in our brain from All-or-Nothing to Savor-Some-Things? A liberating idea…

Now, imagine it’s January 2017. 

The holidays are over.

What if you look back and see that you’d thoroughly enjoyed a few thoughtfully chosen pieces of your favorite Halloween candy? Or what if you’d savored one fun-size treat* every day for the entire last week of October? And what if enjoying those treats hadn’t led to eating ALL the candy because you remembered that forced deprivation was over. Forever.

What if you looked back and remembered a lovely Thanksgiving Day? You had one perfect piece of Aunt Deloris’s chess pie (my favorite since I was 8). You’d thoughtfully fixed a plate of what you wanted at Thanksgiving dinner. Not everything – but all your favorites. And you savored the meal and the day and the people. You felt a bit fuller than you normally do after The Feast of Thanksgiving, but there was no guilt. No harsh judgement. Just an observation.

What if, over the course of the Christmas season, you remember feeling relaxed and reasonable most of the time? You deeply enjoyed your favorite Christmas goodies now and then. And you’d really enjoyed Christmas dinner too.

And what if you had felt no guilt about eating these rich foods? In fact, you felt grateful. And blessed. You experienced the beauty of savoring – which is also honoring. It enriched you and your holy days.

What if you looked back and saw more peace around food this year?

And what if, when you did eat more than you wished, you said to yourself “Hmmm. That didn’t feel good. I would of felt better if I’d eaten less. I’ll remember that next time.” And what if you didn’t beat yourself up?

What if this year you focus on eating more slowly and mindfully than last? And then next year it gets even easier – more and more relaxed and mindful with each passing year…

What if this is a beautiful journey after all?

Not a battle.

A journey of discovery – not just about food, but about ourselves?

And what if you decide to love yourself through it? To take a deep breath and trust that all will be well, even when it’s messy.

 

 

*Side note concerning sugar: I work with some liberated eaters who have decided not to eat sugar. This is not about dieting or deprivation for them – but a personal choice after exploring and finding what works best for them, right now.

Don’t Let Halloween Candy Scare You!

halloween-candy-1014629_960_720October 31st kicks off the 2016 holiday season. From now till New Year’s 2017 it’ll be non-stop fun … and food.
For those of us who’ve struggled with food and body, there can be a sense of mounting anxiety this time of year. We’re barraged by special goodies: Halloween candy, Christmas cookies, Thanksgiving desserts, traditional family favorites, etc. There’ll be round-the-clock commercials reminding us of all the things we just can’t miss. And then, of course, there are the after-holiday-sales where the “old” candy is half price.

So how can we meet this dilemma with poise and confidence? How can we enjoy the traditions and people we love best and not be hijacked by food anxiety? How can we set ourselves up for success?

Here are a few empowering thoughts for us liberated eaters:

Don’t let your anxiety scare you. It’s a holdover from our old dieting days – and it will dim in time as we continue to practice the core beliefs and behaviors of liberated eating.

Remember why you feel anxious; it’s a normal response for people who have experienced starvation. Dieting leads to excess and obsession. Food deprivation is deep and powerful and it influences us on a primal level. This is not about willpower, so give yourself a break. It’s about physiology and psychology. Our binges have not been about us being weak. They’ve been about us being human.

 Too little always leads to too much eventually, and makes us feel kinda crazy in the process.

Let’s put some strategies in place that’ll help set us up for reasonable eating over the holidays:

1. Pre-decide how you want things to go. Think ahead, before the food is in front of you. You can trust yourself with this. You are strong and capable. Think it through…

For example, when it comes to Halloween candy, here are a couple of options:

  • HAVE SOME: You might decide you want to enjoy your favorite candy in a controlled and safe way. Make a savoring date with one or two perfect pieces and enjoy them thoroughly.
  • HAVE NONE: You might not want to eat any at all this year. Perhaps you feel that one piece will lead to the whole bowl. Trust yourself to know what’s best for you right now. Take good care of yourself by eating other foods you enjoy, and let someone else handle the candy bowl for the Trick or Treaters this year.

2. Determine not to eat in secret. You don’t have to.

Eat what you’ve thoughtfully chosen, in full view of good company. Enjoy it with gratitude and grace because you are free.

3. Refuse to eat on auto-pilot. 
When you feel compulsive or hurried, just stop a minute. Take a breath. Give yourself the gift of being present for the bites you take. Mindfulness brings great satisfaction.

4. Choose a motto for your holiday season.
Mine is “There’s no food I have to overeat in order to enjoy it fully.”

5. Guard against all-or-nothing thinking – It’s a holdover from dieting back when we thought of ourselves and our food as “good” or “bad”. This led to the exhausting diet/binge roller coaster we hated so badly.

All-or-nothing thinking didn’t work then and it won’t work now. If you happen to eat more than you wish you had, just remind yourself that you wouldn’t go wreck your car just because you got a scratch on it.

You are free. You never have to eat all of anything ever again.

6. Give yourself Grace. Falling back into an old overeating pattern is a normal part of any authentic change process. Acknowledge it, treat yourself kindly and see what you can learn from the experience. What tool or thought would have given you a different outcome? Our relapses can be our very best school!

As we move toward this special time of year, decide to have a journey mindset: Be curious. Anticipate good things. Be open to discovery. Picture yourself getting stronger, wiser, more free, and more peaceful with food with each passing holiday.

Each one is a part of your story.

Each one is an opportunity to know yourself better than you ever have before.