Melissa Costello

Author Archives: Melissa Costello

February 6, 2019

The One Big Barrier that Prevents Weight Loss

Weight Loss Barriers

​​​Weight loss can be a life-long challenge for many people. It's hard to know what to do when there are so many diets out there making promises that just don't deliver.

​When I was yo-yo dieting (most of my life) and trying to lose weight, I constantly felt like a failure. It wasn't until I discovered ​the ONE major barrier that was preventing me from losing weight and keeping it o​ff that everything completely changed for me....My Inner Critic, aka., Inner Meanie.

Yep...you read that right.

​We all have an ​"inner meanie." You know, the one that tells you "you're not enough", "that you ruined your diet, so what's the point," or says "you don't deserve to be happy," or tells you regularly that "you're ugly and fat," or "that you will never get it together or be successful at weightloss." Where do these voices come from?

​One thing I know for sure; ​we all come into this world as a pure bundle of love. We are all innately deserving and worthy of a life of joy, abundance, happiness and love. But things happen; painful things...we believe what little Johnny down the street says about us, or if one of our parents tells us to be seen and not heard, and we start to put on armor...

One of my clients recently shared with me that when she was 7 she climbed a tree, and the boy below her looked up and shouted out that she had fat legs. From that point on, that little girl believed her body was ugly and fat. And as you can imagine, she struggled with yo-yo dieting, binge eating and weight loss her WHOLE life...no surprise there.

For most of us, our inner critic starts when we are young. Mine ​started around the age of 12 when my body ​began to chang​e. There were a lot of things modeled to me in my household that made me believe I needed to have a perfect body to be valued and loved. My family life ​also ​felt of control a lot and so I started to control my food as a way to feel safe.

​As I got older, my inner critic became meaner and meaner. I literally hated my body and was full of self-loathing. This is how all the food craziness and yo-yo dieting started. Over time I put on roughly 30 pounds, and hated myself even more. I was emotional eating, overeating and binge eating regularly, which fed my inner-mean girl.  My body was a result of all the mean, horrible things I said about myself, and all the choices I had made.

It wasn't until I started to look deeper and work with my coach, that I truly ​began to understand that my inner-​meanie was actually the biggest barrier to my weight loss.

Think about it...why would my body (or anyone's body, for that matter) want to release weight, and be healthy if all​ ​I was doing was beating it up, pinc​hing it, calli​ng it ugly and scoffing at it in the mirror??? And then, I would feed it bad food to make matters even worse. 

As my friend, Christie Miller says, "The stories you tell yourself about your body create your current results. The more you say negative things, the deeper the stories get buried in our cells and psyche. These stories, negative thoughts and limiting beliefs are keeping you stuck in a body you hate, at a weight you despise and from actually living a life you really want."

If you want to feel better about yourself, and lose weight, and be happy then you must change ​the stories you tell yourself, including the nasty, comments loaded with self-loathing and self-hate.

​​​Start by becoming aware

​​Take some time to notice ​the things you say to yourself.

What is the constant dialogue running in your head. Are you extremely hard on yourself? Is nothing ever enough? Do you constantly feel rejected and unworthy? What stories are you telling yourself about your journey with weight loss? What do you say about your body regularly?

​Self-criticism tends to become habitual over time. We sadly get used to saying and hearing the negative internal commentary. The way to start to shift it is to first become aware of it.

Track your thoughts for a few days and see what you notice. Write them down.

​​re-frame those ​Inner Meanie Comments

As humans we are wired to be negative, it's part of our survival mechanism, but you can change this. ​Every time you hear yourself say something mean, turn it around right then and there. ​ Tell yourself ​beautiful, loving things that will help you lose weight and live a life you love. You won't believe it at first, but that's ok...keep going anyway.

​This will take practice and mindfulness, but you can do it. You CAN change your thoughts about yourself over time. I am a shining example of that. 

Remember, you must take responsibility for y​our own growth and transformation. No one else will do it for you and it all starts with your mindset and shifting the things you tell yourself.  

Would you EVER say the mean things you say to yourself to your child or best friend? Absolutely not. So why do you say them to yourself??? 

Bring Compassion to your inner meanie

​​​The one inside of us that is mean, is the one that was hurt at some point in life. ​We pushed that part of us aside, for fear that the pain would be too much to bear. That forgotten part of us is where the inner-meanie ​was born.

​Your Inner Meanie is there for a reason, actually. It's there to get your attention. The way to calm the inner-meanie is to give it lots of love and ​compassion in the form of self-care, acceptance and appreciation.

​Start to appreciate yourself and all the things you bring to the world. Focus on the reasons why the people around you love, and care about you. Write those things down and read them often. ​

When your inner-meanie starts to spout, ​tell her or him that you ​hear her/him, but you're going to choose to think something else, something more empowering. 

​Try these things on and practice them over and over. The ​most empowering way to lose weight and keep it off for good is to ​shift your mindset and to fall in love with being kind to yourself.

​To learn more about shifting your mindset when it comes to weight loss, check out ​my Blog on How to Ditch the Diet Mindset. 

The ​most empowering way to lose weight and keep it off for good is to ​shift your mindset and to fall in love with being kind to yourself.

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January 9, 2019

5 Steps to Ditch The Diet Mindset

Dieting

​​The number one  biggest issue that most of us have when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off for good is that we are stuck in a Diet Mindset.

This mindset was created by the billion dollar Diet Industry (no surprise there) to keep us buying products that will take us to the "promise land" of weight loss. The problem is, this mindset keeps us stuck in the suffering with food and keeps us yo-yo'ing up and down with our weight. ​I'm sure you know by now that dieting does NOT work for long-term sustainable weight loss.

​In fact, dieting messes with the metabolism so much it almost makes it impossible to keep the weight off when we go back to eating without all the crazy restriction. If you have to be on a diet to maintain a certain weight, then that's not the right weight for you.​ Check out this study done on Biggest Loser Participants confirming this.

​In my most recent live workshop, I shared my 5-step framework on How to Ditch The Diet Mindset.  ​I am sharing it here with you so that you can have t​he very same framework that is ​part of my bigger 12-week Food Freedom Mastery LIVE group program​.​

I want you to be able to understand how you can immediately start to shift out of diet mindset into a more empowering way of being with food and weight loss. ​

​If you have to be on a diet to maintain a certain weight, then that's not the right weight for you.​

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​​Step one: ​discover Your Food history

​Knowing your food history is a big component in healing your issues with food and yo-yo dieting. If you are someone who has been struggling with weight issues ​since you were a child, or found yourself using food for comfort, then it's important to look back and understand why.

Many of us take in the information that is being modeled to us from our parents and turn them into our truths. We also take in information we hear from other people, especially our peers. One of my coaching clients shared with me that when she was 7, she climbed a tree, and the boy down below told her that her legs were fat. 

From that day forward, at a very young age, she ​formed the belief that something was wrong with her, and so she started to turn to food for comfort. There are millions of instances like this that happen when we are young.

I was constantly made fun of for being flat-chested and having a big butt. These things stuck with me and started my crazy, obsessive 30+ year journey with food and skewed body image.

So, in order to truly understand why you struggle so much, it's important that you take some time to discover your Food History, which is where your beliefs about food, and even your weight started. ​

​ACTION: With a journal, sit down for 30 minutes and write out ​all the messages you got about food and your body from a very young age, through where you currently are with food. Include what you saw your parents do or say around food and their weight. Did they diet a lot? Did your mom say she was fat? Or was always trying to lose those last 10-15 pounds? Put it ALL on paper! This is a very eye-opening and cathartic process, so allow yourself the full 30 minutes.

​step two: ​Identify your food rules

We all have rules around food. Sadly, that's a by-product of Diet Mindset. We hear ​"experts" sharing their two cents on what is good and bad, or what we should or shouldn't eat based on the current diet trends.

​The problem with ​that is we are all so different as human beings. No one way of eating could ever work for every person. This is where the diet and health industry is extremely flawed. 

Look, I've been a vegan/vegetarian most of my life because that is what works for me. It changed my life and helped me heal from many childhood illnesses, but that doesn't mean everyone should eat that way. It also doens't mean that I will be that forever. What I have learned is that I need to be flexible based on what my body needs.

​The things we hear about food are detrimental to our physical, mental and emotional health. Food is what we need to survive, and with all the emphasis we put on how to eat, takes away the sheer pleasure of eating. I know that many of us ​understand on a basic level what foods are nourishing and what foods aren't, yet we are still confused. ​Your body is actually the one source that will tell all, if you really listen. 

ACTION: For the next two days, I want you to notice all the things you say about food to yourself or others. What are your inner thoughts about food when you go to eat it? Do you label foods good or bad? Healthy or unhealthy? How do you feel about what you are eating? Do you feel bad if you eat a donut? Do you berate yourself for going off your diet? Do you tell yourself, "What's the point?" if you mess up? 

Take time to write down all these thoughts either in a journal or your phone. After two days, see if you notice any themes. Also take note of ​how you feel about this process. This will give you great insight in to just how much you think about food and feel bad about choices you make.

step t​hree: ​​hone in on hidden hungers

​​My definition of hidden hungers is, all the reasons we eat other than actual physical hunger. I used to eat for all sorts of reasons; loneliness, stress, sadness, fear, discomfort, you name it, I ate for it.

​I had a lot of hidden hungers, but mostly it was because I felt alone. I ate to ease my loneliness. Food was safe for me. It was like a friend I ​could always rely on to be there to comfort me. It never talked back or turned it's back on me, like many humans had in my lifetime.

What I learned through my journey of healing my food issues, was that these hidden hungers, kept me stuck in a vicious cycle with food. I would overeat, and even though I felt good while I was doing it, I ALWAYS regretted it and hated myself after. This resulted in me putting on about 30 pounds of weight that my body didn't need. IT also resulted in my ingesting thousands of calories my body didn't need.

How do I know this? Because once I healed my relationship with food, I went down to my natural weight and have stayed there for over 7 years now.

ACTION: To hone in on your hidden hungers, sit down for 10 minutes, and in a journal write out all the reasons you eat other than physical hunger. Even go as far as writing down all the times you eat throughout the day without being physically hungry. Write how you feel when you are eating, and what you are looking to get from the food. This will give you insight into how often you eat when you do not have physical hunger. \

​I go much deeper into this process, and what to do with these Hidden Hungers in my Food Freedom Mastery Program so you can transform them once and for all. 

step four: ​Pinpoint limiting ​beliefs

​This step directly ties in with Step 1 + 2. Once you understand your food history and all the rules ​you have create around food, then ​you can start to look at your deeper beliefs about food​, your bo​dy and ​yourself, in general.

Most of what drives overeating, emotional eating and binge eating is a deeper belief that you are broken, or flawed, or not good enough. That is the reason ​why so many of us self-sabotage. Self-sabotage doesn't just happen, it's the result of a faulty belief system. 

One thing I know for sure is that beliefs are just beliefs, they are not truths. Good news here, because that means they can be altered and ​you can create NEW beliefs, just like ​you can transform your mindset around dieting.

​One thing I know for sure is that beliefs are just beliefs, they are not truths. 

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​ACTION: In order to know what your limiting beliefs are, go back to your food history and your food rules. Look at the themes you noticed. Sit down and write out all the deeper beliefs you can extract from what you see there.

For example, I created food rules, because my deeper belief was that if I ​was overweight, no one would love me. So, these rules were crafted from a deeper belief about my body image and not feeling good enough. This original belief came from watching my father and brother's ​fantasize over the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue year after year at a very young age.

 I took this information in and made up the faulty belief that if I didn't look like a model I woudln't be loved or get attention. It wasn't anyone's fault, but as a child this is what I took in. So, I went on a mission to have the perfect body which resulted in YEARS of suffering.

step f​ive: ​​upgrade + redirect 

This final step in the 5-Step Ditch the Diet Mindset will actually help you create new, more supportive beliefs, which will, in turn, help you reprogram your brain and ​result in more sustainable, healthier habits.

​As I mentioned above, beliefs are NOT truths. ​You have the power to change them. It will feel hard at first, because to be honest, they have been a source of comfort for years, even ​though they create suffering. ​

Most people don't understand​ ​how powerful these limiting beliefs ​are in their present-day lives, and how they are directly linked to why and how we sabotage ourselves, especially with weight loss and food.

​ACTION: To complete this 5-step process, take the sheet of paper where you wrote your limiting beliefs. Go down the list and next to each one, I want you to write an upgraded belief that is more realistic and true. Note: this will feel really uncomfortable because you WILL NOT ​buy into the new belief just yet. ​All you have to do is make sure it's 50% believable.

Here is an example from my own limiting beliefs:

  • Limiting Belief: No one will love me if I am fat. 
  • Upgraded Belief: Love is not determined by my body size. I am lovable exactly as I am right now.

​Take about 20 minutes to go through this process. Once you have all of your upgraded beliefs, write them out on a separate sheet of paper, or put them in the NOTES in your phone and read them daily. Whenever you catch your mind wandering to a judgement about yourself, or self-criticism, identify that belief and redirect it with a more upgraded version in the moment.

Do this over and over and eventually you will create a new brain groove, with a much better belief system intact and you won't even think about dieting ever again! 

​Following these steps will help you Ditch The Diet Mindset for good. And as I mentioned above, I take a MUCH deeper dive into this content inside my Food Freedom Mastery 12-week Program that is open now for enrollment. If you want to learn more about it, click here.

Let me know how it went for you! Comment below or ​post in my Private Food Freedom Breakthrough Group (click image below to join)

Much Love, Melissa

December 14, 2018

How to Avoid Burnout this Holiday Season

​​The holidays are a time where many of us get caught up in a whirlwind of overwhelm and stress. Our to-do lists double and even triple, with the addition of holiday parties, decorating, shopping and cooking.

It's easy to get sucked into the eye of the storm and not see a way out until January 2nd hits. By this time, it's almost too late and burnout has set in. But this doesn't have to be the case for you this holiday season. You do have a choice.

You ​CAN ​thrive through the holiday season in a peaceful and balanced way, so when the New Year comes you​ feel ready to move forward in an empowered way, instead of feeling like you have to start at square one and fix all the damage you did.

Below are my Top ​3 ​Actions to Help You Avoid Burnout this Holiday Season: 

​ACTION ​1: HOW To ​Avoid ​​Burnout this HOliday Season

​Choose Wisely

​​​It's no secret that this time of year can be filled with obligations and family traditions that often feel overwhelming. During my annual 7-Day Balanced and Blissed Holiday Challenge, I challenge ​hundreds of participants with the action of choosing things that feel aligned with them, versus participating out of obligation​.

This very action includes being able to say No, which can be hard for a lot of people. In order to not burn yourself out this holiday season and avoid the overwhelm that often comes along with it, I encourage you to choose your experiences and to-do's wisely.

Here's how to do that:

Take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Write the heading, "To-DO" on one side, and the heading "Events" on the other. Write out everything you feel like you have to do under the "To-Do" Heading (ie: getting a tree, baking cookies, decorating, buying gifts for everyone at the office, ​even long time traditions), and then write out all the events you need to attend including kids (if you have them) plays, holiday parties and bake sales under ​the "Events" heading. 

Once you ​complete your list, go down each column and circle anything that IS a priority or feels GOOD for you to do. Then go through the list again and X out anything that feels heavy or like an obligation. Note: This process won't be easy, especially if you are a people pleaser or someone who is afraid of being judged for not participating. You will also have to learn to let go a bit and really tune in to the things you WANT to do (see below).  

Once you complete the X + O process, go through the circled items, or any items that you are questioning on the list and ask yourself the following questions: 

How is this bringing balance to my life?
How is this bringing bliss and joy to my life?
Will this bring balance to my life if I do it, or will I feel resentful?
Is this something I feel obligated to do? If so, can I shift it to feel balanced instead? ​


If the item feels obligatory, overwhelming etc, cross it off your list and LET GO! You will be OK, I promise. Often we will do things out of obligation or fear of what others will think of us if we don't bake cookies for that bake sale, or show up to that party.

​Once you have gone through this process you will feel much clearer. Complete it by writing the remaining items in your calendar. Block out one hour windows of time to complete tasks such as shopping, baking or wrapping gifts. This will help you manage your time better.​

​​ACTION ​​2: How to ​avoid ​​burnout this holiday season

​Implement the 10 + 10

​​This practice will be one of the most powerful ​actions you take ​for yourself this holiday season. Life coach and personal growth guru, Tony Robbins says, "If you don't have 10 minutes to give yourself, you don't have a life...." This is so true and one of the main reasons why people feel stressed out and overwhelmed.

By starting your day with what I call the 10+10, you will set yourself up to feel grounded, balanced and connected this holiday season instead of harried, frazzled and buried under your to-do list.

The 10 + 10 consists of 10 minutes of movement and 10 minutes of "me" time first thing in the morning. ​Of course, both of these ​activities can be longer, especially if you like to do your workouts in the morning, but start with a minimum of 10 minutes for each.

​Most importantly though, is the 10 minutes of "me" time where you either meditate (I love using the Insight Timer App), breathe, read something uplifting​ excerpts from a book (here is my favorite,) connect to your own heart, journal ​by ​dumping whatever is on your mind on the page, or set intentions for the day.

This action is life-changing and will set you up to have a more empowering and connected day so that you don't' feel as overwhelmed by all you have to do.

Also, studies show that ​ people who have consistent morning routines are more successful than people who don't. Instead of hitting the snooze button 3 or 4 times, get up out of bed and give yourself the time you deserve. 

​​Action ​​3: How to ​avoid ​burnout this holiday season

​​P​ractice Presence 

​Many of us are living in the future or the past. This causes anxiety and overwhelm.

​You are ONLY one person, who can only do so much. The more you keep thinking about ALL the things you have to do, versus staying present and doing the next "right" action, the more ​stressed out you will feel.

​Practicing presence is one of the most impactful and balancing things you can do for yoursel​f this holiday season. I know ​it doesn't come easy for most, myself included, but you can access it with a little bit of awareness and pause.

Every time you catch yourself feeling anxious or overwhelmed, STOP and take a deep breath. Seriously. It's incredible how quickly it works. Know that these feelings come from you not being present. Then take another.

Once you take 2-3 deep breaths, ​then ask yourself if you are living in the future and worrying, or are ​you focusing on the task at hand and what's in front of you?

By taking this pause, you will get reconnected to the present moment and then you can make a discerned choice ​ about what needs to be done next.

Again, you are ONLY one person, and can only do so much. DELEGATE if you need to. Ask for help and don't think you need to be Superwoman or Superman. 

By following these 3 empowering actions this holiday season, I guarantee you will feel so much more balanced and peaceful by the time the New Year arrives. And if you are concerned about weight gain this holiday season, ​check out my recent blog about How You Can Avoid Holiday Weight Gain.

December 5, 2018

How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain + Thrive this Season

​The holidays ​are in full swing. Stores are bustling, parties are happening and people are stressing. It's no surprise that most people will gain anywhere from 5-15 pounds throughout the holiday season. 

With the amount of sugary treats, high-calorie foods and a constant flow of libations, it's easy to take in a whole lot of extra calories that your body doesn't really need. Not to mention, the amount of stress we put ourselves under, which also includes lack of sleep and overextending ourselves (aka people pleasing.)

​I want you to thrive this holiday season, and not just survive. Most people will do their best to "just get through it" and then deal with the consequences of that in January, which in my opinion, is not an empowering way to start off a brand new year. It feels like a very large mountain to climb....

Here are 5 Tips to support you in having a Thriving holiday season void of weight gain, guilt and regret;

​​​Tip ​One: How to ​Avoid ​HOLIDAY WEIGHt GAIN

​Move Your Body, No Matter What

​This is usually the first thing to get pushed down to the bottom of our to-do list at this time of year. But, it's ​more important than ever for you to move your body in some way over the holiday season, for more reasons than ​avoiding weight gain.

Exercise helps to relieve stress, stabilizes your blood sugar, keeps your metabolism fired up and also supports healthy sleep habits.​ This is not the time to avoid your body movement, even if it's for only 20 minutes a day, just do something. And preferably something you enjoy!

If you struggle with this commitment, invite others to join you, so it doesn't feel so grueling, and you will have a real reason to show up. 

​Tip ​TWO: How to ​avoid ​HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN

​Savor and Enjoy the Treats You Love

​Just because there are ​tons of treats around all the time, especially some that we only see once a year, doesn't mean you need to stockpile them and overdo it. This doesn't serve you on any level; mentally, emotionally or physically.

​Plan to enjoy and truly savor the treats you do love. Take a few bites, really taste them. Put them on a plate, walk away from the table and go sit down to eat. Don't put any negative thoughts toward yourself or the food, because that will only make you want to indulge more, and leave you feeling full of regret.

I love to stick to the 80/20 or 90/10 guideline, of enjoying those sweet treats about 10-20% of the time throughout the season. This way I don't feel ​deprived or restricted, and I can REALLY enjoy what I am eating without all the thoughts of guilt and regret.

Tip ​T​HREE: How to ​avoid ​HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN

​Focus on What Matters Most

​If you keep your ​attention on what the holidays are really about, which is being with family, connecting and spreading cheer, then food won't be the central focus. It can be easy to get caught up in the holiday craziness, but remember, you ​DO have a choice about what you put in your mouth and where you put your attention.

​Get in the habit of focusing on all the blessings you have right NOW in your life, especially when you start to worry about overeating and feeling out of control around all the treats that are hanging around. The holiday season has much MORE to offer than food....

​Tip ​FOUR: How to ​avoid ​Holiday weight gain

​Learn to Say No + Let Go

Overextending yourself during this time of year will deplete you, and create feelings of resentment. Resentful people usually turn to food to help them feel better. Also, if we are burned out and depleted, it's harder to make sound decisions that are in alignment with our healthy lifestyle.

​Take a moment and write out all your To Do's, parties and commitments this season. Then go down the list and ​cross out the ones that feel obligatory or stressful, even certain traditions you think you need to keep out of fear of upsetting others. ​Last year a client of mine told her kids they weren't going to bake cookies anymore because it was so stressful for her, and she didn't enjoy it anymore. The kids were actually relieved and they created a new tradition of making homemade cards instead. 

​If you are worrying what others will think of you when you start saying no, or not doing what you always do this time of year, then tell yourself that the decision to tak​e care of, and honor yourself is the best thing you can do for those around you. 

​​​Tip ​F​iVe: How to ​avoid ​Holiday Weight gain

​​​​​Shift Your Inner Dialogue

​Most of human suffering comes from the stories we make up in our heads about things. If you are constantly making up a story that you don't have time, or that you will never be able to eat healthy over the holidays, then those things will be true.

I'm sure you've seen that quote by Henry Ford, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, You're Right."

​Everytime you find yourself spinning in your head about food, your weight, your to-do list, etc, redirect your thoughts to the present moment and what your VERY NEXT STEP will be. All you can do is put one foot in front of the other. Future thinking will only create feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. Tell that inner voice, NO THANK YOU, and then name one thing you can be grateful for RIGHT NOW and move forward from there.

Implement these Five Tips this holiday season and I guarantee you will not put on weight or feel burned out in the New Year. ​If you need ​further support, join me inside my Private Online Food Freedom Group by clicking the graphic below.  

November 13, 2018

Beat Holiday Bloat; How to Avoid Overeating at Thanksgiving

Beat Holiday Bloat

​The holidays are quickly approaching and it's the time of year where many ​people ​tend to overeat, over indulge and feel a bit out of control with food. This often leads​ to unwanted weight gain in the new year and feelings of frustration and hopelessness. 

​It's easy to overeat at the holidays because ​not only is there a lot of ​high-fat, gooey, sugary foods laying around, but emotions ​tend to run high at this time of year as well, which leads to ​eating emotionally. Emotional eating, even eating from a feeling of nostalgia, as most of us do at holiday season, results in the ingestion of hundreds and even thousands of extra calories. The average American will gain anywhere from 5-10 pounds during the holiday season due to the amount of food that is available, partnered with mindless and/or emotional eating.

But don't worry, I am here to share some ​powerful tips with you to support you in staying in alignment with your health values this season and to treat your body well, so that you can move into the New Year feeling light and balanced. Who wants to start the new year off on another diet or feeling deprived and restricted? I know I don't! ​

​​Tip ​One: How to ​Avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

​Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable

Don't starve yourself the morning of the holiday, or even the days leading up to it anticipating all the goodies you will eat. This will only set you up to have blood sugar crashes and massive cravings. 

On the morning of Thanksgiving make some time ​to move your body​ not just to burn calories so you can eat more, but to get your blood pumping​ and to give your body some care and attention.  ​Afterward, eat a hearty, healthy breakfast with a combination of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats.

This will help to set your blood sugar up for​ stability during the day and there will be less of a chance that you will overeat.  Overeating disrupts digestion ​and prevents ​proper absorb​tion of nutrients. It can also lead to heartburn, indigestion and bloat. Bottom line, it's not comfortable or good for your system.

Tip ​TWO: How to ​avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

​See the Food ​as​ Food and Nothing More

It's common to start to put rules around what you will and won't eat during this time. Or see the food as good and bad. Or you may even make negotiations or deals with yourself before you get to the Thanksgiving table. The more time and energy you spend ​thinking about these things, the more you will miss out on the experience of the holiday and enjoying the pleasure of the food.

​Come to the holiday with the intention being a normal eater; someone who listens to their hunger and satiety signals, eats what they want, enjoys it and moves on without judgments. By putting rules and attention on how much you will eat, or trying not to think about it will only keep you stuck in the vicious cycle and leave you feeling at odds or deprived. This can lead to overeating and the feeling of white-knuckling through the day.

Tip ​T​HREE: How to ​avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

​Stay Present and Mindful

Put away your phones, computers and anything that will distract you from being present with your loved ones. The holiday is about enjoying time with ​the people you love the most. Get out a board game, go for a walk or play some cards. 

Use this time to really savor each moment with the people you love. Tell stories, laugh, and connect. Pay attention to what you are doing and how you are showing up. Just because there is a lot of food around, doesn't mean you need to eat it. When ​you stay present and enjoy the experience, there is less of a chance of mindless eating and ingesting way more calories than you need. ​

​Tip ​FOUR: How to ​avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

Cho​os​e, Don't Try and Control

As I mentioned in Tip 2, by putting so much focus and attention on the food, we can often set ourselves up to "fail." When ​you are trying to control your food, or white-knuckle through a holiday, it will set ​you up to feel like ​you are going off the rails and feeling deprived. 

You are the ONLY one who chooses what to eat and how much. NO one is forcing you to eat seconds, or to have dessert. Make choices that feel aligned for you instead of trying to control it. Eat the things you love. Fill your plate in a way that feels satisfying to you. When you eat, slow down, savor and pay attention (see Tip 5.)

The truth is, our bodies don't actually NEED a lot of​ food an doften our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, or we don't wnat to miss out, so we overdo it. Just remember, that you do have the choice and you will probably feel a whole lot better if you choose instead of control. 

​Tip ​F​iVe: How to ​avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

​​​​​Practice the Pause

This is something I teach ​all my premium, one-on-one clients who are emotional eaters, over-eaters and binge eaters. It's a highly effective strategy, because it ​attunes us to what our body really needs.  Practicing the pause means taking the time to slow​ down and attun​e to your body before you eat.  

Stop, take a deep breath and check in before you move forward. Your body will always tell you what it wants, and it will also tell you whether it's hungry, satisfied or full. Slowing down will help you tune into those sensations even more. ​It's very common for people to shovel down the food on their plate in 3 minutes flat so they can have more, but this isn't always in service to you or your body.

You can enjoy the foods you like, but there is no need to stuff yourself to the gills with them. Your body will only suffer the consequences from the stress of that. Instead do your best to eat more mindfully. Savor the food, put your fork down between bites and engage in lively conversation with others at the table.

You can always get more, but you might not need to. Slowing down will actually help you understand if your body is full or not. And it usually supports you in eating a whole lot less than you normally would. ​Savor the experience, don't rush through it.  

Tip ​​SIX: How to ​avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

​Eat Until You Are 80% Full

Most people are not able to know when they hit this point. When you tune into your body's subtle cues (Tip ​5), you will be able to tell when you are satisfied. This will prevent you from stuffing yourself like the turkey on your table. 

​I can usually tell I am getting full when I take my first deep breath while eating. ​Then I stop, ​ put my fork down and take a break. I give myself ​a little time before continuing on, so that my food can digest.

​Your food expands around 20% after ​eating, so if you are stuffing yourself to the gills, you will be even more ​packed 20 minutes later. You can always go back and eat more if you need to, but it's better to stop before you are feeling full. Go for the feeling of satisfaction. 

​I know this will be hard, but I guarantee you'll feel a whole heck of a lot better! 

Tip ​​SEven: How to ​avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

Volunteer:

This tip is hands down my favorite one because it puts us into service before we move into our indulgent day. Spend your Thanksgiving morning helping those in need. This will put life in perspective when you see how many people in your own neighborhood don't have family to spend their holiday with, or don't have food to eat. Being of service is the best way to get your mind off food and engaged in something meaningful. 

I love to go to my local Soup Kitchen in town and serve meals to the homeless. There are tons of organizations out there and ways to be of service, so make that a part of your plan right now while you still have some time.​

​I know that navigating the holiday season can be tricky, but using these tips will support you in sticking to your health goals, as well as being in alignment with what is important to you. Take the focus off food, and put it on those around you or those in need. Your body and your health will thank you!

Have a wonderful holiday!

August 29, 2018

Tarragon Potato Salad; Vegan + Gluten Free

This light and delicious potato salad is perfect to bring to a summer BBQ, or a potluck dinner. Use red bliss, or heirloom potatoes for an even yummier salad and leave the skins on for extra nutrition. The tarragon gives it a very special flavor that will delight your taste buds.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lbs. Red bliss potatoes or combo of red, purple & creamy yellow (red, white & blue), unpeeled & chopped into small 1/2” inch cubes
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 green onion (scallion), finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon (replace with dried dill if not available)
  • 1/4 Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until tender but not too soft. Drain and cool. In a large bowl, combine potatoes with remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until cold. If salad becomes dry after a day or two, add a bit more mayo.

 

August 6, 2018

How to Decode Food Cravings

​Food cravings can be tricky, because when you have them it can feel like nothing​ else but that certain food will satisfy you, and you must have it right now or else. The ​important thing to know is that our cravings have meaning and they are critical to understand when it comes to overcoming emotional eating or binge eating.   ​The real truth is, certain foods we crave show where we ​may be needing more attention in areas of our life that may be lacking, like self-care, self-compassion and self-respect.

This can be a hard pill to swallow, but it's true. Yes, food does change our physiology, and it can feel addictive, especially after a binge, but when you are having cravings, most of the time they are ​linked to emotions. ​Food is an easy solution in the moment. It changes our state quickly and there is a sense of instant gratification. Most of us will go for that feeling rather than truly facing what is really going on. It's challenging to address our emotional imbalances, so we head to the cookie jar.

But, that only lasts for a short while. There is no escaping it. Emotional stress is a huge factor in most of today's disease in the body and mind. We are taught to deal with things, suck it up and move forward instead of slowing down to truly understand why we feel "off," stuck, isolated, ashamed or disconnected. 

When I struggled for years with emotional eating, I discovered that it was all linked to my feelings of self-hatred, which all started when I was a young girl. Growing up in an abusive household without safety and security, led me to believe that I was unlovable and that no one cared. This resulted in me feeling alone, isolated and not good enough.

Food (and sugar) literally became my friend. It was safe. It was the ONLY ​thing, in the moment, that made me feel better. But that didn't last long and it was a vicious cycle. I had to start to understand and decode my cravings, and know that I needed to give my emotional life some space and attention. Once I did that, I started to feel a sense of freedom I had never experienced before, and food started lose it's power over me.

​To start to understand/overcome your cravings and what they mean, ​follow these steps to support yourself: 

Step One to Decode Food Cravings

​Take a Pause Before You Eat

​Stopping to take a pause before you ingest any food, especially when you are in craving mode, will provide insight into why you want to eat. Take a moment to inquire within to see if something is upsetting you, or if you are tired, stressed or if there is a trigger present that is driving you toward the food. Do you need soothing, comfort, or to change your state?

Like I mentioned earlier, most cravings are emotional, especially if that specific food is ALL you can think about. If you were truly physically hungry, any food ​would satisfy you in that moment. It's important to look at what is driving your need to eat. For me it was always about loneliness, and feelings of general dis-satisfaction in my life. 

The paus​e supports you in ​looking deeper at your cravings which is where your real healing with food begins. Giving in to cravings only keeps the cycle alive. When you are willing to get curious and inquire about what is truly happening, then you will being to understand why you crave the foods you do (read on to learn about what foods provide certain feelings and why you go toward those specific foods.)

​Step Two to Decode Food Cravings

Give Up Dieting and Forbidden Foods

​Dieting is one of the reasons why we ​have strong cravings, which usually leads to overeating and binge eating. ​Anytime we are forbidden to eat certain foods and we deprive ourselves, we are immediately put into survival mode, which makes us want that food more. We can be "good" for only so long until we go off the rails and give in to our strong cravings. 

Dieting is also a distraction from looking at your behaviors and beliefs when it comes to food and your weight. Roughly only 1% of people achieve LONG-TERM weight loss with dieting. That's a VERY small percentage, which only leads to one conclusion: Dieting DOES NOT work! 

The most important key is to know what's driving your cravings and what emotions are present when you are looking to raid the refrigerator or the cupboard. Let yourself eat the foods you love with total enjoyment and NO judgment. This will remove the forbidden-ness from them, ​so you don't feel so powerless. 

​Step Three to Decode Food Cravings

​Understand What Your Cravings ​For Certain Foods Mean

​There is a connection between the kinds of foods you are craving and what you are needing emotionally, mentally and physically. Yes, cravings do often come from deprivation, dieting and restriction, but they are also rooted in emotional needs as well. If you constantly crave the same types of foods, like creamy, sweet and gooey, or salty and crunchy, then it's important to know what those cravings mean.

Creamy, Sweet Foods: When you crave these types of foods, including chocolate, nut butters, pastries, ice cream, etc, it means you are needing comfort and soothing. These foods are often craved when someone feels alone, disconnected or needs some love and attention. They usually produce a feel-good chemical in your brain and change your state in the moment, even though it doesn't last. 

​Crunchy, Salty Foods: Cravings for foods that are crunchy and salty are usually related to people who are stressed out, anxious or angry. The act of crunching on food, helps to relieve stress. It is also a way to cover up and avoid emotional pain. In today's day and age, more and more people are stressed out from career, family pressures, finances and over stimulation. Eating these types of foods to excess will only lead to a lot of extra calories your body doesn't really need​, which leads to feelings of guilt and shame. 

If you find yourself cravings these types of foods often, it's time to take a deeper look and put some tools and strategies into place to help yourself instead of turning to food to numb out. Read on to Step 4 to learn how to do that.

​Step Four to Decode Food Cravings

​Get Support and STOP Trying to Do it Alone

​The biggest thing that stands in the way of you ending your food cravings is YOU. Remember what I shared in Step 2? Most people who go overboard and give in to their cravings time and again, will swear to deprive themselves, start over again tomorrow with a diet, or give up that said food forever. This only leads to failure and disappointment, because it's NOT realistic. And it leads to you constantly breaking promises to yourself. 

I spent years trying to overcome my food issues on my own, it wasn't until I got a coach who had been through the same struggles as I had, ​that everything changed for me and I started to understand WHY I struggled so much with my eating. 

Take a look at where you have QUALIFIED support in this are​a, not your mom, boyfriend, husband or best friend. Even though they love you and want what is best for you, they don't have the knowledge or experience to help you truly break free and overcome your food and weight issues. Seek professional help, like a coach, especially one who has been through the same struggles and have come out the other side. 

Lastly, remember that breaking these types of habits takes time, patience, consistency, commitment and a willingness to DO IT DIFFERENTLY. It may not be the fastest path to losing weight, but it will be the MOST sustainable one. As someone who struggled with emotional eating for over 25 years, I know firsthand that YOU can have freedom!!!

​ARE YOU READY TO BREAK OUT OF THE VICIOUS CYCLE WITH FOOD?

​​I work with smart, busy professionals, just like you, who are frustrated and tired of the vicious yo-yo dieting cycle. I help them to stop dieting and radically transform their relationship to food so they can say bye-bye to diets once and for all, and find their natural body weight. If you're ready to finally BREAK FREE, learn more about my ​private and group coaching to​ see how you can ​finally create the life you have dreamed of ​that is free from diets and food struggles. 

Holy Moly Green Gazpacho

Summer is officially here! ☀ Try my “Holy Moly Green Gazpacho” if you want a refreshingly cool summer soup…

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, deseeded and chopped (if not available, leave out)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Scoop out the meat of both avocados and place into a blender.   Add all of the remaining
ingredients except the oil.   Turn the blender on and let everything mix together.
With the motor running, start slowly pouring the oil through the opening in the lid of the blender.
This will help emulsify the soup, giving you a light and creamy consistency.
Season with salt and pepper.  CHILL it for an hour before eating so the flavors meld and enjoy!

Tempeh Bolognese Sauce; Vegan + Gluten Free

Tempeh Bolognese Recipe

When I first became vegan, I experimented  “veganizing” all my favorite dishes I grew up with as a kid. My dad was an Italian chef, and he made the best sauces and pasta dishes and I missed them when I gave up eating meat. Although I don’t eat much pasta these days, I still love the comfort of a bowl of Gluten Free Rotelli with Bolognese sauce (vegan, of course.) Here is my take on this delicious sauce. And don’t forget to add my Cashew cheese for extra creamy goodness.

INGREDIENTS FOR SAUCE

  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1-8 oz. pkg tempeh, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons Bragg’s aminos
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sundried or oven-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cans trader joe’s tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic until lightly browned and translucent. Add red pepper flakes, caraway seeds and capers. Saute for another 2-3 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add tempeh and saute until lightly browned. Add Bragg’s to tempeh and stir to combine. Let cook for another minute. Add sundried tomatoes, oregano and tomato sauce. Stir to combine all ingredients. Turn heat to low and let simmer for about 10 -15 minutes. Add balsamic and maple syrup and cook for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over prepared Gluten Free Rotelli Pasta with a dollop of cashew cheese (recipe below.) Store remaining sauce in a tightly covered container in refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze.

CASHEW CHEESE

  • 1-1/2 cups cashews, soak these for 2 hours if you dn’t have a high-powered blender
  • Filtered water
  • 1/4 cup  Nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 garlic clove
  • juice of half lemon
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

Place soaked cashews in a blender cup with just enough water to barely cover. Add remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth. This mixture should be fairly thick, so if it’s too thin, add some more cashews until desired consistency. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Will keep in refrigerator for up to 5 days in a tightly sealed container. DO NOT FREEZE!

 

May 3, 2018

How to Recover from a Binge

binge eating

​​We all know that a binge can send us off into a spiral of shame, self-criticism and defeat. Binge Eating is often a result of dieting, restriction or depriving yourself of certain foods, over a period of time, especially the ones you love. Having food rules, and judgements around food can also lead us to a binge. 

And binge eating ​can often have nothing to do with food, and everything to do with ​an event or trigger in ​your life that you may not be facing; a pain ​you haven't addressed, or situation ​you don't feel good about. 

One of my clients shared with me that ​prior to our working together, she had gone to the doctor to get a check up. She got on the scale, and he told her she needed to lose over 50 pounds. She also learned that she had high-blood pressure and was pre-diabetic. All of this "bad" news coming at once, and the idea of going on yet another diet, sent her in an emotional tail spin. That night she went home and binged for 3 days straight.

Unfortunately, the dieting mindset is ingrained in most of us. We believe that it's impossible to lose weight without massively restricting ourselves, ​and this can leave a lot of us feeling defeated and wanting to give up. If you ​are someone who has been a long-time dieter, or you have events in your life that you don't want to face, I'm sure you've had a binge episode or two. Bingeing doesn't mean you have failed, it just means that there is a deeper message needing to be revealed.  

Below are​ my top steps on how to overcome the shame after a binge ​so you can move forward with grace.

The dieting mindset often leads to binge eating or over eating. It's time to bring the diet culture to it's knees!

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Step One to ​​Recover from a binge

​Don't ​go into restriction or diet mode

​​Dieting and restricting are most likely the things that you got you here in the first place. I know it's tempting to, once again, promise yourself that you are going to be "good" tomorrow, get back on track and NEVER binge again, but you are just setting yourself up to fail. 

Refusing to make these false promises to yourself is a great way to break the vicious cycle​. By going on another diet or restricting, you keep the cycle alive, which will lead you to another binge. 

Refusing to diet is a great way to pattern interrupt the habitual cycle. We must break patterns in the moment, and the more you turn away from that old cycle, the more you will want to do what feels good for you. You want to do things that are in service to your well-being and that could mean choosing foods that feel good for your body, staying hydrated, facing your emotions and taking care of yourself, versus going into a spiral of self-loathing and hatred. 

Step two to ​​recover from a binge

​Ask Yourself This Powerful Question....

After a binge, it's important to tune into what ​nourishing and loving actions ​you can take to support yourself. As I mentioned above, you want to do things that are in service to your well-being, and by slowing down to tune into this, you are showing up for yourself in a powerful way.  This will help to connect to what you really need.

So, take a moment and ask yourself, What is the most loving and nourishing action I can take right now?

Maybe you feel lonely and need to call a friend. Maybe you are stressed out and need down time. Maybe you are angry that your boss was mean to you. Maybe your kids are driving you nuts. It's important that you ask yourself what it is that you need before you set any rules, restrictions or guidelines around food.

Once you attune to what it is that you REALLY need, instead of what you think you need (rules, diets and restriction),  then you can take action to give ​that to yourself and truly take a stand for your own healing.

Step t​hree to ​recover from a binge

​Practice Self-Forgiveness

​Typically, along with a binge comes all kinds of self-loathing, judgement and self-criticism. We feel ashamed, remorseful and overwhelmed with feelings of failure. These things perpetuate the bad-feelings and the binge cycle.

It's important to be the Warrior Guardian of your Mind in this circumstance, and to cut every negative thought about yourself off at the knees. You can do that by the powerful practice of redirecting your mind to self-forgiveness. 

Could you imagine reprimanding a small child for binge eating or eating more than they should? Could you imagine saying all the mean things you say to yourself, to a friend? You probably wouldn't have many friends left.

​Every time you think a negative thought, ​say the following out loud:

​1. Stop (this helps pattern-interrupt the thought)  

2. I forgive myself for judging myself as a failure (or insert whatever other negative words you say about yourself).

Continue to repeat #2 with all the negative judgements you made about yourself after the binge. You can even write them out on paper to make it even more powerful. T​his step helps you get in touch with your own compassion. 

Integrate these loving actions after a binge and see if you can get to the root of what your binge is telling you. There is always a message in our triggers and struggles. 

​Are you ready to break out of the vicious food cycle? 

​I work with smart, busy professionals, just like you, who are frustrated and tired of the vicious yo-yo dieting cycle. I help them to stop dieting and radically transform their relationship to food so they can say bye-bye to diets once and for all, and find their natural body weight. If you're ready to finally BREAK FREE, learn more about my ​private and group coaching to​ see how you can ​finally create the life you have dreamed of ​that is free from diets and food struggles. 

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