The Story I Just Can’t Forget

sunsetA friend told me a story recently I can’t get off my mind.

A missionary was living in a small African village. She asked her friends and their chief if they would introduce her to the people who lived in a nearby village. Early one morning they began their trek. She was excited to meet new people and was eager to get there. They walked awhile, then found some shade and sat down, she assumed, to catch their breath. After more walking they sat down again – they chatted, sat peacefully, then walked some more. In time they sat again. This happened several times and she was getting more and more antsy each time they stopped.

Finally she got up enough nerve to ask someone why they were stopping so often and he said,
“So our spirits can catch up with our bodies.”

Wow – what mind-jarring, life-recalibrating, much-needed ancient wisdom.

How often do we Westerners feel we’re meeting ourselves comin’ and goin’? How often are our crazy-busy minds out in front of us – on to the next thing before the last one is done?

These wise villagers knew well what our western research is spending lots of money and time to discover:

We humans are in need of quiet – of down time. (click on blue for more)

Our brains are not built for a constant flow of information.

We now see more information in one day than our ancestors processed in a lifetime…

Our minds, bodies and even our eyes suffer from the overload.

As a mindful eating coach I spend my days helping people slow down and re-connect with their bodies, to re-remember how to stop and experience the joy of eating and moving again.

The simple practice of chosen-mindfulness changes us.

We begin to awaken – to feel more fully and deeply alive.

And not just at the table.

This is something all of us can do – and – no one can do it for us. Each of us must accept the responsibility for the stewardship of our own mind and soul. In our distracting world, peace will need to be intentionally cultivated – it’s not a given.

You are the only one who can make the space and time to sit in quiet contemplation.

What are you doing right now to relax, to allow your spirit to catch up with your body each day?

Here are a few ideas…you will find your own:

  • Quietly read, pray, meditate
  • Play, stroll, exercise, stretch, yoga, walk, etc.
  • Art – draw, paint, color, finger paint, etc.
  • Music – listen or make your own
  • Play with children, ride a bike, swing…
  • Enjoy your pets, a garden, a hammock…
  • Deep breathing, biofeedback, massage, muscle relaxation

There are so many ways to feel anchored peacefully in yourself again. Find your way.

Especially in the 21st century, unless you move to a village with no wifi, you will need to be fierce for your own peace, for finding your way of allowing your spirit to catch up with your body each beautiful day.

One Question You Gotta Answer

1How long have you wanted to lose weight? Exercise regularly? Get your cholesterol down?

If you’ve wanted to make those kinds of changes for a while, you’re not alone. Most of us have at least one area where we would like to see some change.

We tend to ask ourselves questions like “Why can’t I lose this weight?” or “How often should I be going to the gym?” or “What should I be eating – or not eating?”

“Should” and “why can’t I” questions are rarely helpful.

Here’s a powerful question that can help us move the needle when it comes to changing things:

How much energy am I willing to put into getting what I want?

Stop a moment and allow yourself to give this some thought. Be sure to ask with a kind and sincere tone. If you have an accusatory or critical tone (like you should be willing to give it your all!) the question will be meaningless.

This is an important question to answer sincerely. Until we know this, we tend to set ourselves up for disappointment, expecting more than we can or will invest right now.

When we ask this question several important things happen:

1. You take “should” out of the mix

Should is a notoriously poor motivator. It’s pushy and usually leads to shame. Shame might push us into doing something for a while but never leads to lasting results.

2. You give yourself permission to be honest.

Knowing how much energy you’re willing to expend right now helps you make realistic plans.
If you realize you don’t have a lot of energy to spend (or even enough “want to”) you can adjust accordingly. This is a great time to pick the low hanging fruit – which leads to another good question:

What small step could I take right now?

Sometimes doing one new thing, even if it seems small, can jump-start a whole cascade of good things.

So, if you’ve been wanting to make changes in your exercise routine, your weight, or your cholesterol, try starting right here…

How much energy are you willing to put into getting what you want?

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!

5 Big Things To Know If You Want A New Food Life

5When it comes to changing a food-life after years of living on the exhausting diet/binge roller coaster, it’s good to know some things up front. I’ve distilled these vital concepts into 13 Core Beliefs of Intuitive Eaters and 4 Core Behaviors of Mindful Eaters. You can read about these in detail in my newly updated book, The Liberated Eater, or receive them as a document as my free gift to you on our home page. I would love for you to have them!
       Here are 5 other important points to consider:
BIG POINT #1:    YOU WILL MESS UP.  Don’t let it discourage you. Falling back into old patterns is normal on any true journey of change. In fact, it’s a good thing. Few experiences teach us more than a relapse into old ways, when we examine it well.
BIG POINT #2:    YOU NEED HELP. So do I.
      We all need help to stay focused and on track in our distracting world. Do not underestimate this on-going piece of your success.
As a wellness coach this is the hardest thing to witness – people don’t believe how crucial it is to stay supported. They start out strong and motivated, make amazing changes, but then try to go it alone too soon. I’m fifteen years into my food sanity and I still need support. In fact, most wellness coaches hire coaches for themselves regularly along the way.
BIG POINT #3:   GOOD INFORMATION ALONE WILL NOT CHANGE YOU. OR ME.
           We all know what to do. Eat right and exercise. Drink more water. Sit less. Get enough sleep. We know stress will kill us. BUT, most of us continue to do exactly what we’ve been doing, in spite of deeply wanting things to be different.
The truth is we all need help making permanent and positive lifestyle changes. It’s a process, not an event. You need an advocate. You need someone who will listen to you, who wants what you want for yourself and will help you get there.
BIG POINT #4:     YOU PROBABLY THINK YOU CAN’T AFFORD THE HELP YOU NEED.
                           Most of us don’t think we have enough time to be coached.
                           Most of us don’t think we have enough money to be coached.
I see this constantly and it has moved me to do something about it. If you want an experienced coach in your corner you can have one. Here at TLE you’ll find a coach and an online community specifically designed for those who want to build a peaceful, balanced relationship with food.
I will:
  • Drop in and encourage you every morning (except Sunday).
  • I will meet with you by phone every week.
  • I will ask you what YOU most need help with – and address it on our coaching calls. I will also create podcasts and posts around these issues.
  • I will make sure it’s all downloadable so you can listen as you drive, or cook, or walk.
  • I will wade through the steady stream of new research around food psychology, nutrition and health and tell you about the best stuff I can find.
  • I will introduce you to other amazing people, like you, who are on this very same journey.
  • I have the info and steps you need neatly put into a handy 12 lesson format, downloadable for easy listening.
I am on your team. I will coach you through. And it’s unbelievably affordable at less than twenty dollars a month.
BIG POINT #5:     YOU CAN HAVE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN WANTING:
                                                YOU & FOOD CAN BECOME GOOD FRIENDS.
                                                YOU & YOUR BODY CAN TOO.
So there we have it. I know changing your food-life can feel daunting – with cravings and emotional eating and old habits and Mexican restaurants to contend with. I know they say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks (that’s a lie by the way). I know nothing you’ve tried has worked so far (because diets can’t work for oh so many reasons!).
You can indeed live with food in a sane and livable way. You can indeed feel at home and comfortable in your own body. You can indeed clear your head of food obsessions and clear the way to focus on your amazing life.
In fact – this is your birthright.

I've Been Electrocuted! (By Vanilla Oreos)

stressYesterday I had an electrifying experience; only a person with food issues will understand.

After my workout I remembered we were out of milk. I ran in the store to get a gallon and on my way to checkout I passed a display of vanilla Oreos. I was hungry. I was thirsty. I was tired. As my eyes landed on the golden packages all neat and inviting I literally felt a jolt – a jolt of desire, a jolt of wanting lots of crunchy sweet cookies and creamy icing in my mouth – one after the other.

In the old days that cookie-shock would’ve set off a crazy chain reaction:

1. Buy the Oreos
2. Hurry to the car
3. Rip open the bag
4. Eat several in the parking lot
5. More on the way home
6. Either:

a. Finish them off and throw away the empty package at a gas station
b. Take the rest home and hide them for later
c. Put them in the pantry and hope no one asks who ate most of the cookies

7. Feel sad, weak and deeply regretful – hopeless to change myself, my weight, my food addiction
8. And then of course, THE SHAME. Believe I have a terrible secret…no one knows how hooked and hopeless I am.
9. Isolate myself from others, at least emotionally – not able to be fully available because I am preoccupied with my food, my fat, my failure.
10.  Plan a very extreme diet – NO MORE COOKIES – OR SUGAR – FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, SO HELP ME GOD. AND I MEAN IT THIS TIME.

Does this sound familiar?

But here’s what happened yesterday…

I felt the old feeling and was surprised by it. I haven’t felt that impulsive/compulsive shock of desire in a very long time. That unexpected jolt was my reminder. Oh yea, even now – years later – the old deep neuropathway is still occasionally triggered, especially when I’m tired, thirsty and hungry.

But now.

Now I’m not under its spell. I have power. I have years of healing and positive food experiences under my belt. That jolt is just a feeling – an old worn out feeling attached to a distant path. I can keep walking because I know now that when I do I won’t even remember those cookies by the time I get to my car. The loving choice to keep walking is not hard to choose anymore.

PLEASE KNOW THIS:   The old path may never be erased completely (ask an ex-smoker if he doesn’t occasionally think an after-dinner cigarette would be pleasant) BUT, over time it will diminish to the point that it almost never raises its ugly head. Yesterday was a rare experience. In fact, were it not for sharing it with you now, it would be long forgotten.

So what do we learn:

  1. Over-confidence is dangerous. On some level, we will always need to remain diligent and aware of our tendency to use food in a way that takes us away from ourselves.
  2. Healthy self-efficacy is powerful.  We can be, and should be, confident that we can and will indeed live with food in a beautifully peaceful way. It is no longer our enemy or our biggest thrill.
  3. Real lifestyle change (and healing) is a process – and worth all the effort it requires. Devotion to changing your food-life and health – in mind and body – is more more more than worth the effort, time, and expense you invest.

Walking past those Oreos was empowering. They’re just a sweet treat – a dime a dozen. And I have plenty of delicious things to enjoy at home. Things that will serve me and my dreams.

Feeling free of mind and strong in body, feeling full of vim and vigor IS GOLDEN!

Life is too rich, too full of meaning and beauty to remain lost in our old food, fat, failure focus. Now we have the knowledge and support we need to gain our freedom – the liberty to live this one amazing life whole-heartedly present.

Uninstalling the Food Alarm, those emotionally charged feelings toward food, is part of our journey of change.

Look to the future, dear liberated eater…it is bright and comfortable and free. The work you are doing is good and true.

 

If you need support on your journey – or aren’t even sure where to start – check out our online Liberated Eating community. We’re walking this path together – keeping each other strong and encouraged – and we would LOVE to have you join us!

Click here for more: https://theliberatedeater.com/workshop-and-beyond/

What If You Woke Up With a New Body ?!

surprizedConsider this interesting question: What if, by some miracle, you woke up in the morning in the body you want (not somebody else’s…I mean YOURS, in decent shape). What would you do? How would you feel? Would you leap and laugh and pinch yourself? Would you try it out…maybe power-walk a few miles or dance the cha cha or run around the house in your underwear?

This is really fun to think about – and it leads us to the next question:
 What would you do to keep it? How would you have to live in order to hang onto this new healthy body?

What kind of eating, moving and intentional care does it take to have the healthy body you want?

Since the chances of this morning-miracle happening are slim – how about the chances of it happening backwards instead? What if you started caring for the body you have right now just like it already is the new one you want? That new body consistently eats mindfully and moves intentionally – even when it doesn’t want to – because the pay off is so worth it. So what’s our big take-away?

What if you started waking up each morning and living like you have a healthy body:

You choose like you’re fit.

You eat like you’re fit.

You move like you’re fit.

You live like you’re fit.

You think like you’re fit.

You see where this is going…  You would end up quite fit!

Not by in the morning, but you would certainly end up feeling like doing the cha cha in no time.

So go ahead…stop wishing things were different. Stop hating on your body. Turn on some salsa music and jump start your miracle right now!

Where Is Your Mind Taking Your Body?

blogLet’s take a vacation…an imagination-vacation. Envision yourself living in your body at the weight and health you want. Imagine that you feel as wonderfully fit as you want to feel – right now. You have plenty of energy. You feel light in your body. You feel great in your clothes. You’re not stressing over food. You’ve discovered the lifestyle that makes you feel fantastic and you’re living it.

Close your eyes for a few minutes and soak up the joy of feeling this good.

Now imagine how you’re eating in this scenario. What kinds of foods are you enjoying? What quality? What amount?

My guess is that you’re enjoying a beautiful array of fresh foods. When I ask people to take this mental journey they almost always describe eating a rich variety of scrumptious whole foods. In fact, I’ve never had anyone describe a steady diet of heavy meals, fast food or grazing on snacks all day while living out their dream of vibrant health. We instinctively know what it takes to feel great.

This brings up an important point. Where is your focus? Diets have taught us to focus on the number on the scale, exact count of calories or fat grams, our thighs, our size…scrutinize and criticize. And to what end? This focus has given us crazy food behavior, anxious feelings and, for most of us, weight gain.

Focusing on problems is draining. It stalls forward momentum, or worse.

Now go back to your imagination exercise. What would happen if you focused on feeling great? On high energy, on positive ideas, on feeling agile, flexible, strong, on eating and sleeping and moving in a way that makes you feel vibrant?

Focusing on what causes you to flourish is invigorating and empowering.

We know this instinctively: we naturally drift toward what we are focusing on.

So today. Right now. Acknowledge what you’ve been focusing on. Decide what you want your focus to be. You’re in charge. You’re free to choose your own inner dialogue. Then, someday soon that imagination-vacation will not be imaginary…

Close your eyes and think on that.

What's Your Positivity Ratio?

satA reasonable amount of life satisfaction. We all want it. We all need it.

But did you know that 80% of us* are not living with a healthy level of positivity? This makes it hard to access our innate resilience, confidence and grit so we can make the changes we want to make. Without a reasonable amount of positivity we feel stuck in the muck. We don’t think we have what it takes to follow through (even though we do).

When our positivity is low we have a tendency to focus on our obstacles rather than our strengths. Being problem-focused is a constant drain. However, focusing on what’s working, the things you’re grateful for, and the things that cause you to thrive – is invigorating!

Here are a few ways to increase your positivity:

  • Identify what causes you to thrive and build more of that into your life. What makes you flourish? Where do you feel most alive and engaged? What energizes you?
  • Savor the moment –Being present for the beauty and meaning in this moment (especially the ordinary ones) is a rich practice to develop…a life enhancer that is greatly underestimated in our frenetic culture.
  • Find the silver lining in your challenges and obstacles. Take off the negative glasses and put on some positive ones. Being able to see things from a new perspective is powerful – and essential.
  • Develop resilience around your disappointments. We can summon the courage (and find the help if need be) to explore past the pain of our disappointments. Inevitably, when one door closes another opens somewhere else. What do you know now that you could not have known if things had gone “as planned”?
  • Play. Everyday do something that refreshes and replenishes you, even if just for ten minutes. Unfurrow your brow, relax your jaw, turn responsibility “off”  and enjoy something that’s really fun for you.

As we do the good work of nurturing our positivity, it will grow, and with it our joy of living will be free to flourish!

*test your positivity ratio: https://www.positivityratio.com/ 

5 Great Reasons to Enjoy “Steady Carbs”

LGILow Glycemic Index. I wish it had a better name. LGI foods are simply carbohydrates that digest slowly, keeping your blood sugar level steady. That’s a big deal if you want to feel well or release weight.

When we eat carbs with a low glycemic load some very good things happen:

1. Easier weight release & maintenance: Low-glycemic foods are nutritious, filling and delicious so you don’t feel deprived. They are NOT diet foods.

2. Disease prevention: A LGI menu reduces your risk for Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gallbladder disease, and breast cancer. WOW!

3. Increased energy: Your body digests and metabolizes LGI foods more slowly so your energy is steadier throughout the day, not on a roller coaster. A LGI breakfast keeps you feeling good all morning. A LGI lunch means you’re not yawning midafternoon due to a drop in blood sugar. Plus you won’t be prowling around for a snack after dinner because…

4. Decreased Cravings: Since your blood sugar level is not acting crazy you feel more sane and satisfied all day long.

5. Improved mood: The amount of serotonin in your bloodstream and brain is strongly linked to the carbohydrates you eat. LGI carbs make for high serotonin which boosts your mood and promotes restful sleep.

Sugary foods (high glycemic index) cause a quick release of glucose into your blood stream which feels great at first but then – as your blood sugar and serotonin levels come crashing down shortly afterward – you feel grumpy, gloomy and tired.

Filling your menu with mostly low and medium glycemic index food makes a big difference today, and for the rest of your life.

Here’s one easy guideline: Limit foods with added sugar and white flour and you are well on your way to keeping your menu in the LGI range.

Click here for an easy list: http://www.the-gi-diet.org/glycemicindexchart/

 

6 Things to Know If You Want to Be Thinner

Living in a thinner body means thinking and doing things differently, permanently. Here are 6 things that can serve as reliable compass points along the way…

war with yourself 1. Build a lifestyle you can maintain. Whatever it takes to lower your weight is also what it’s going to take to keep it off. Take time to experiment and discover what works for you.

2. Be Reasonable. If you want to be thinner than your body wants to be, you will live in a constant tug-of-war. Forget our crazy cultural skinny-obsession and listen to your body. You will know your “happy place” when you get there, if you’re listening. Dare to be more connected to your body than to your bathroom scale.

3. Be Patient. Stop thinking fast and start thinking permanent. Fast weight loss leads to fast weight regain. Quick changes rarely last. Your body and your mind need time to settle into your new reasonable way of living and eating.

4. Make Both “Fuel-In” and “Fuel-Out” Lifestyle Changes. If you only work on eating less (fuel in) it will be very hard to release weight permanently. Metabolism slows with age so the amount of food you need will decrease over time. Staying active keeps your metabolism “young”.

At the same time, if you control your weight by exercise only, all it takes is one injury, illness or burnout and you’re right back where you started—with a disordered relationship with food.

5. Be realistic. In order to maintain a certain weight you will need to take in the amount of fuel that fits a person of that weight, at your height, age, gender, and activity level. There is no way around this.

6. Eat enough and make sure it’s delicious. Remember why dieting never worked, and never will. Deprivation will lead to excess. Eating enough satisfying food is the only way of eating you can live with long term. Lucky for you and for me – fresh real food is delicious, satisfying, life-giving and exactly what our bodies are happiest running on!