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!