3 Critical Keys To Permanent Weight Loss

number 3If you want to weigh less, permanently, here are three important things to consider:

  1. You will need to eat less (and possibly better quality) fuel, permanently.
  2. This smaller amount of fuel will need to be satisfying to you or you won’t be able to sustain it.
  3. To consistently eat reasonably requires having a peaceful, balanced relationship with food, so you aren’t compelled to eat when you’re not hungry.

These three reality checks can help us come to grips with what it takes to reach and keep our goals.

Hint: HCG shots and Nutri-system will not cut it long term.

Here’s how this played out in my life: I didn’t gain the freshman 15. I gained the freshman 40, and I enjoyed getting there with reckless abandon…bottomless Dr. Pepper while studying, drive-thrus, stacks of Cowboy cookies from Safeway, Waffle House at 2 in the morning. The only problem was I hated my body, and food preoccupation was stealing my very life.

Fast forward 40 years. After three decades of brutal food-dysfunction, chronic dieting and body-hatred, I stumbled into recovery and now help others do the same; that’s a long story for another time.

Right now let’s take a closer look at how the three keys apply to a real life – mine:

1. To keep a comfortable weight I will need to eat less for the rest of my life – not just for the duration of a diet. I’m around 40 pounds lighter now and if I want to stay here I need to consistently live with the smaller amount of fuel my body needs to maintain this lighter weight.

This boils down to biology:

  • Small bodies run on a smaller amount of food.
  • Medium bodies run on a medium amount of food.
  • Larger bodies run on a larger amount of food.

2. I had to find a way of eating I really like, one I could easily and happily continue. It’s gotta be a lifestyle, not a diet. Here’s the beautiful irony – I enjoy eating now more than I ever have. Savoring, appreciating, getting up from a meal feeling deeply satisfied and refreshed. I wouldn’t go back to feeling heavy, stuffed, numb and miserable for anything!

3. Eating reasonably meant I needed to build a new relationship with food and my body. Peace with food is not about muscling through by sheer will power. I needed an authentic change from the inside out.

ONE MORE REALITY CHECK: WE CAN’T HAVE BOTH: No one can deeply enjoy their life while living in a love/hate relationship with food or body. Our human capacity simply does not allow room for both. A rich life demands your whole heart. And so does an addiction*.

The good news is that you can, I can, anyone can live peacefully with food & body. Both are our friends. Your body is your constant companion and food keeps it running so you can go live your amazing life.

With encouraging support, solid science, life-giving thoughts and time, you can have the comfortable and stable weight you’ve dreamed of.

 

*There are different schools of thought about whether we can be addicted to food, technically speaking. Food is a different substance from drugs and alcohol. Never the less, a dysfunctional relationship with food (and body) steals life-energy from us as surely as any chemical addiction does.

 

One Good Doc With One Good Answer

diabetes-1326964_960_720Nobody likes feeling stuck!

Many of the wonderful people I get to work with are stuck when I meet them. One good reason to hire a wellness coach is to get unstuck. Together we can find our way over, through or around any obstacle!

If your weight and health are not moving in the direction you want, here’s a book I often tell people about:

Always Hungry? by Dr. David Ludwig.

Now before you read any further, please do not hear me saying you should eat this particular way. This is merely one possible solution that I’ve found to be scientifically sound, especially for people who are struggling with weight related health issues.

Here are some of the reasons I like this book:

  1. It’s written with the understanding that eating mindfully and intuitively (liberated eating) is foundational. Without a reasonably healthy relationship to food and body none of us will ever enjoy a balanced or peaceful food-life, no matter how “perfectly” we eat.
  2. It’s especially beneficial for those with serious health concerns like diabetes, health disease, etc.
  3. It’s good science – as we know, there’s a lot of bad so-called-science out there.
  4. It’s not about deprivation, so people aren’t hungry eating this way.
  5. It’s not impossibly strict. There’s room for all foods “as tolerated”. After you have followed the eating guidelines and reached a comfortable weight, you can add back what you miss. You will know how much you can add by keeping an eye on how well your pants fit.

I admire Dr. Ludwig’s research and conclusions. As I’ve read other articles and interviews with him I find that I admire his balance. He doesn’t tout that he has THE ONLY ANSWER for everyone. He acknowledges there is not one perfect way to eat. He leaves room for individuality and intuition. He  admits that studies can contradict each other, and that there is no one-size-fits-all answer for everyone when it comes to eating for health. He seems to be genuinely concerned about people and their quality of life.

If you and your doctor aren’t happy with the progress you’re making with your health, this is a resource worth reading. Click here to check it out.

If I can help, just holler!

At least 18 Things To Know About Weight Loss

For 60 years our American Dieting Mindset has looked at weight gain and weight loss in terms of calorie consumption alone – how many calories you take in and how many calories you burn up.

Turns out it’s not that simple.

scales 2There are other non-calorie factors that can affect our weight. Knowing this can help us work from multiple angles to reach and keep our best health and weight.

Certainly our lifestyle is the first place to explore and adjust. It doesn’t help to go looking for miracle cures, quick fixes or specialists if your lifestyle is making you sick – but – if weight release continues to be difficult after making consistent and reasonable lifestyle changes, then this list offers other variables to explore.

Here are some possible non-calorie reasons we might struggle with weight:

1. Sluggish metabolism – due to under-eating, under-moving, restrictive dieting, aging, etc.
2. Over-consumption of alcohol also lowers metabolism
3. Certain medications
4. Muscle to fat ratio – Muscle burns more fuel than fat tissue, by far
5. Poor digestion and nutrient absorption – recent research is showing that eating quickly and not experiencing enough pleasure from your eating experience can have an adverse effect
6. Not having a reasonable balance of macronutrients – fat, carbohydrates and protein.
7. Poor nutrition
8. Over-consumption of refined sugar and flour can affect blood sugar and insulin which affects the body’s ability to release weight.

Here’s what Dr. David Ludwig, endocrinologist and obesity researcher, has to say:

“Are we really to believe that, for someone on a diet, a cup of cola with 100 calories would be a better snack than an ounce of nuts containing almost 200 calories?

“New research has revealed the flaws in this thinking. Recent studies show that highly processed carbohydrates adversely affect metabolism and body weight in ways that can’t be explained by their calorie content alone. Conversely, nuts, olive oil, and dark chocolate – some of the most calorie-dense foods in existence – appear to prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart disease…

“All this time, we’ve been diligently following the diet rules, but the rulebook was wrong!”

9. Stress, depression, negativity and anxiety can affect cortisol levels which can in turn affect weight
10. Insufficient and poor quality sleep
11. Menopause and other hormone issues/changes
12. Health issues – hypothyroid, diabetes, Cushing syndrome, etc.
13. Certain food allergies
14. Getting too little physical activity
15. Genetics and family history
16. Insulin resistance
17. Leptin resistance
18. Chronic inflammation

As you can see there are many possible reasons to have mercy on yourself for not being able to lower your weight.

I’ve coached people who have reduced their calories to starvation levels and still haven’t seen weight release – very disheartening indeed. Once they understood that there are other factors at play beside sheer calories we could be about the good work of finding their unique and specific solutions. And so can you.

There is always a way through!

3 Ways To Get Unstuck From A Weight Plateau

stuckIf your weight has been stuck in one place for a while, in spite of eating mindfully, here are a few strategies that have proven to be helpful for many people.

As always, these strategies are not meant to be turned into diet rules. These are simply ways to work with, not against, your biology. These ways of living with food are friendly to fat burning and weight release.

  1. Sugar & Flour Free Menu – There are TONS of delicious foods to eat that do not contain processed white flour or refined sugar. Building a menu of whole foods and avoiding refined/processed fuel allows your insulin and blood sugar levels to stay steady. This is important because elevated insulin causes your body to hold onto your fat tissue, and wildly varying blood sugar levels cause you to crave sugar…among other things.

Carole, a liberated friend of ours, had been stuck at the same weight for several years. She has just released 22 pounds over the past four months merely by eliminating sugar and flour from her daily menu. This one change has moved her off “stuck” and she will tell you that she has not been hungry or felt deprived.

She’ll also tell you that the work she’s done over the past two years to build a peaceful, liberated relationship with food and her body has enabled her to change her menu without triggering the old diet mentality. Pretty cool!

2. 12 hour overnight fast – Your body has more fat burning time in the wee hours of the morning after your liver has run out of its stored fuel.  Having 12 hours between a satisfying dinner and a hearty breakfast gives your body more time to burn your fat stores as fuel. On average people who don’t eat after dinner are 25 pounds lighter than late night snackers.

3. Low carb breakfast – When you wake up in the morning your body is in peak fat-burning mode (because your insulin and blood sugar are low and your cortisol is high after your overnight fast). Eating mainly protein and healthy fat for breakfast, rather than easily digested cereal, donuts, muffins, pancakes, toast, juice, etc. will allow that fat burning state to continue into the day.

NOTE: This doesn’t mean whole grain muesli, Ezekiel bread or old fashioned oats are not nutritious; they are. We are talking about optimal fat-burning opportunity here, not nutrition.

ANOTHER NOTE: (Of course) there is more than one perspective on morning carbohydrates. There is also research that points to the benefit of eating your occasional piece of cake in the morning so you have all day to burn it off. This is valid as well. The point to remember here is that the thing that’s best for you is the thing that works best for you. Finding your best way to eat is going to take some experimenting – which can be fun! This is one big reason becoming intuitive and mindful are so important and effective.

Please remember: None of these strategies have anything to do with good food or bad food, legal food or illegal food. They have everything to do with how our bodies use and store fuel.

The one thing we do know that works well across the board for everyone who lives in a human body is that our bodies work better when they’re fed mostly real whole foods from the good earth. Large quantities of food from factories seem to confuse things.

If you’re stuck, and ready to get unstuck, consider working one, two or all of the above strategies into your lifestyle. Give each one a month, take notes, listen to what your body is telling you, and allow yourself to enjoy the process of discovery.

I would love to hear about your experience!

How Are You FEELING About FOOD?

wowThese days food is a loaded subject, and our feelings toward it can be intense. Whether you’re new to liberated eating or you’ve been on this path for years it’s a helpful practice to check in on your feelings now and then. Is food feeling like a good gift to you – giving you a sense of relaxed well-being? Or does it feel more like the enemy – causing you to feel anxious and out-of-control?

It is certainly easy to see how food might feel like the enemy for those of us who “battled it” for years. We tried to hold it and ourselves at bay—fighting valiantly with our paltry diet weapons only to end up right back where we started. There can be significant PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress from Dieting) leftover from this experience. But, if we allow ourselves to think of food as a dangerous force we will be handicapped in our efforts to make the changes we want to make. This line of thinking gives food false power and undermines our confidence.

Intentionally transforming your feelings toward food is an important part of this journey. Here are some thoughts that can help:

  • Make sure you aren’t subconsciously keeping an “Illegal Food List”. Thinking you “can’t have it” causes anxiety and might even set you up to overeat in response. Remember that you have freedom to eat any food and you have freedom not to. As a liberated eater, if you choose not to eat sugar, for instance, you are not declaring it illegal. You are exercising your freedom to choose. There is a big difference.
  • Remember how powerful your mindfulness and intuition are. People who are keenly connected to themselves and their body have an unstoppable partnership.
  • Think like a relaxed and discerning connoisseur. Peace and confidence grow when you take this position.

As you check-in with your feelings and recalibrate where needed, old defeating and draining feelings will give way to new, strong, healthy ones.

Your pants will get looser, your health will grow stronger, and your mind will be freer. Now that’s a really good feeling!

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!

You Can Know Exactly Why You Eat

question markWhy do you eat? It can certainly feel like there are a million reasons, but when we boil it all down there are basically only three. It helps to know what these three reasons are so we can pinpoint which of them is driving us at any given moment. When we’re aware of what’s causing us to want to eat, we can make a wise decision about whether it’s time to feed ourselves or time to get busy with other things.

When we know what’s driving us, we can drive it instead of it driving us!

3 cues that drive us to eat:

  • Internal cuePhysical hunger. Your body needs fuel and it’s letting you know by making you feel hungry, growly and empty. Food tastes amazingly satisfying when your body needs it.
  • External cueOur culture is FULL of cues urging us to eat! Hot, cheesy pizza commercial. Sweet aromas wafting from the cookie store in the mall. Flashing HOT sign at you-know-where. Or how about the popcorn you can smell before you even step foot in the theater.
  • Emotional cue Our heads and hearts are full of these cues. We feel stressed, or bored, or angry, or lonely or even happy – and suddenly a plate of warm brownies feels like just the thing.

As the urge to eat hits you throughout the day today, run through this short list and decide which one is driving you. It’s a terrific exercise in mindfulness and an easy way to reconnect with your amazing body in the midst of your full life.

Then notice how satisfying it feels to wait for your true hunger. Your food tastes better. Your body feels lighter and stronger. Your energy level is high and consistent. Your mind is more peaceful and centered.

Now that’s worth waiting for!

If You’re Stuck This Is Probably Why

buddyAs a wellness coach I get to work with people all the time who feel stuck. They know what they want in terms of their health, weight and energy – but – they just can’t seem to get there and stay there. Nothing jazzes me more than watching this change!

There is no one-size-fits-all magic bullet to everyone’s best health, but, there is one thing that is universally necessary for lasting change to take place.

If you are not getting the results you want this is probably your most important missing ingredients.

What is this one thing you may ask? Exercise? Healthy diet?

No, not those. It is the very simple, very human, very profound truth that we do not make permanent lifestyle changes alone. There are mountains of research and billions of lives to prove it.

If you are not getting what you want ask yourself these questions

  • Who encourages me?
  • Who do I exercise, walk, dance or play with?
  • Who knows about my health, weight and energy goals?
  • Who is my friendly accountability partner?
  • Who is for me and I am for them?

Please, do yourself a big healthy favor. Find a buddy to meet you at the gym. Join a daily walking club. Start a recipe-share through email. Hire a coach for a time and get the one-on-one partnership you need to discover your personal blueprint for your best health.

No one has to stay stuck. No one has to stay frustrated. No one has to feel like giving up. Find the support you need and jump start the change you want right now.

Don’t take my word for it…

CLICK HERE for more on the power of NOT-GOING-IT-ALONE

For even more click here.

And still more!

Can Eating Plans Work Well for Liberated Eaters?

teaRecently I was asked if following a specific eating plan (such as Bright Line Eating or the new book Always Hungry? by Dr. Ludwig) might have the same crazy-making effects on us as the disastrous diets of our past. That’s an interesting question.

The simple answer is no. These ways of eating are scientifically sound and designed with vibrant health in mind. They can be sustainable healthy lifestyles as long as they fit the needs, preferences and desires of the people adopting them.

Unlike the crazy diets we used to try, they do not deprive body and mind of needed fuel or slow our metabolism. Balanced whole food eating plans like the ones mentioned above can bring satisfaction, vitality, high energy, brighter mood and a comfortable weight. And for some people having specific guidelines is freeing.

That said, be aware that we humans have a propensity to turn even the best guidelines into strangling rules that take the fun out of life. So remember that you’re in charge of any plan you might explore or choose – not the other way around. 

I know many mindful liberated eaters who follow specific eating plans and thrive. For them it’s a powerful compass steering them where they want to go.

I also know many liberated eaters who have no formal plan. They are mindful, intuitive and informed about what their body needs and they thrive too. For them an eating plan would feel unnecessary and cumbersome.

That’s one of the many beauties of this path – as you walk it you discover a vibrant lifestyle that’s tailor made for YOU.