Notice Anything Strange Lately?

Something strange is happening…

Last week I watched as a young woman stumbled up a flight of stairs because she couldn’t take her eyes off her phone. I sat next to a man in church whose pocket vibrated repeatedly the entire hour. And my wellness clients’ ability to get through an entire coaching session without looking at a screen of some kind is much more a struggle than it was ten years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting in judgement here. I understand the pull. I can scroll through FaceBook “for a few minutes” only to wake up thirty minutes later feeling weirdly anxious. My body and brain give me red flags but I don’t always listen.

Research is discovering more and more about why these tiny devices are so addictive. If we hope to live rich, full lives we’ve got to make some important choices.

I’m certainly not planning on ditching my phone, mind you. Just this week I FaceTimed with sweet MayMay in Seattle, watched our son’s soccer team win a game out west, and got photos in real-time from Bob in the Dominican Republic. I love how connected we can be even though we’re scattered.

But here’s the thing…I really don’t want to wake up a few years from now and realize I’ve wasted precious time staring at my dang phone, and I know I could if I don’t make some careful choices now.

I’ve been working on some safeguards and a personal key question that can help me make a decision easily when I’m clearly headed into cellphone-zombie-land.

I’ve got it boiled down to this so far:

Is this phone activity making me more awake to the life and love I want, or less?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

As a wellness coach I see firsthand that often all it takes is one small change to jump start a whole cascade of other big changes in our lives. With this in mind let’s consider a one week experiment – something that can open up some fresh spaces for us without too much work.

Look over the choices below and pick one – or design your own. One new thing for one week. That’s all.

Take your pick:

  • Take a week’s vacation from Facebook.
  • Turn off all phone notifications – no rings, dings or pings.
  • Declare mealtime and/or bedtime phone free.
  • Don’t check or answer work messages after work. Inform co-workers so they don’t think you’re dead.
  • Add something fun to your week that requires no technology. Leave the phone at home for this activity. Walk, swing, read a real book in a hammock, ride your bike. Do this fun thing 3 times this week for 10 minutes.

Then reflect on your week and identify a few valuable take-aways and any next-steps you might want to take as a result of your observations.

I’m going to join you – and I would dearly love to hear what you discover…

PS – Don’t miss this 9 minute TED talk: Why Our Screens Make Us Less Happy


Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

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.
      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.
           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.
                           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.
                                                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.