Melissa Costello

Author Archives: Melissa Costello

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

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

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. 

April 6, 2018

3 Steps to Stop Food Obsession

How to fall in love with your food

​​Long term dieting, counting calories, restricting and depriving yourself of your favorite foods can lead to one thing: Food Obsession. Being on a diet creates a constant stream of thoughts about food; what you can't have, what you can have, how much you can have, how many calories, and so on. It's exhausting....

And ​included in those obsessive thoughts, are ​are all the ​judgements and food rules that you have been taught along the way. We try to eat perfectly, and stay away from the "bad" and "forbidden" foods that we feel out of control around. When we are "on track," we feel good, but we have to fight to stay there...it's not consistent and then the dreaded pendulum swing happens.

Learning to love your food and enjoy/savor it versus obsessing about it, will be the key to shifting your relationship to it. It will also free up a whole lot of brain space in your head, and the energy you spend thinking about food all the time.  And when I say "loving your food," I don't mean the out of control feeling you have when you're around it, or that you can't stop eating it. That's not what truly loving and being connect to your food is. The obsessive, out of control feeling is how you are ​​giving ​your power away to it. It ends up controlling you.

When I was dieting, binge eating and struggling with food obsession, I was afraid to eat and I ​there was a constant, running total in my head of the calories I consumed. I then based how I felt about myself that day as a result of the calories I ate, or didn't eat and if I was "good" or "bad" with my eating. Or the weight I lost, or didn't lose. It was such a vicious cycle. 

​Over the years of coaching hundreds of ​clients and supporting them in truly shifting the way they approach food, I have ​witnessed ​incredible ​courage and powerful transformation happen. And what my clients come to realize, is that their struggles with food have nothing to do with the food! The food is just the symptom of something deeper.

​Learning to love your food and enjoy it versus obsessing about it, will be the key to shifting your relationship to it.

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Step One to Stop Food Obsession

Identify Your Food Rules

​The diet industry is notorious for ​instilling food rules. And we all know the diet industry does not provide long-term solution. Look, I know it can feel scary to let go of food rules, because we feel as though we might get out of control without them. But having food rules keeps you stuck in deprivation and also creates bad feelings ​every time you eat something you think is "bad." Another important thing that having food rules prevents​ is a connection to, and trust of, our bodies.

​By identifying all the rules you have around food, you can then start to shift your mindset so you experience some more freedom and a loosening of the grip on food obsession. This journey is all about being able to trust yourself and your body to make choices that will serve you. I used to have a hard rule about not eating past 8pm. Or that eating pastry and candy was bad. And guess what? I'd end up bingeing on both of those things and doing it in the middle of the night. SO much for those rules.

The moment we put rules on food, our brain goes into survival mode. Especially when we deprive ourselves of the things we love.  And guess what? Then we want those foods even more. ​

When I finally let go of my food rules, I realized that I didn't even really want cupcakes or candy anymore. So, now if I want sweets, I choose to have ​them sweets in a form that feels good to me and my body. I take the time to truly savor them without judgment, and I give myself FULL permission. 

  • Take out a piece of paper, and write down ​the top 3 food rules you have that you can think of.
  • Choose ​the one out of those 3 that feels like it would be the easiest to break; focus on that one for the next few days. For example; if you have a rule about ​​a cheat ​meal on weekends, allow yourself to have ​those foods more regurlarly during the week so you don't feel deprived and go overboard.
  • Notice what happens when you start to allow yourself permission to eat these foods and let yourself ENJOY and SAVOR them. Do your best to take away the judgment. It might feel hard at first, but you can do it. 
  • Every time your mind wanders to the rule, and you go into judgement, bring it back to the present moment and focus on what you are doing. Tell yourself it's OK!!! Because really, it truly is OK!

​You will need to dismantle​ your rules one by one in order to keep your ego from freaking out! The ego doesn't like change and notices immediately when you're taking a different action. Like I said, pick one that doesn't feel so big, but would feel freeing if you let it go. Over time you will build the trust and confidence in yourself and you will not need to have food rules ever again

Step two to Stop Food Obsession

Stop Dieting and Build Self Trust

​Most of us have been on a diet at one time or another. There is one thing I know about dieting; it keeps the obsessive food thoughts VERY alive. And it also is the creator of all the food rules we tend to live by, as mentioned above.

If you truly want to begin to loosen the reins on your food obsession, you must be willing to give up dieting. Over 90% of people who lose weight on a diet, gain it back (and then some.) This vicious cycle is exhausting and keeps us stuck in survival mode, and self-loathing. When we are dieting, we are in survival mode, and our mind will latch on to anything it can to create safety for us. This means obsessing about the food that we are depriving ourselves of.

I'm sure you've had the experience time and again of telling yourself you will start over on Monday, or "be good" for the rest of the day, or never eat sugar again; and what happens? You quickly fall off track or overeat those foods you swore off just hours earlier. The natural order of things will always create a pendulum swing, so when you are constantly obsessing over food, and restricting yourself, there will be a swing to the other side to balance things out.

The first step is to start to pay attention to your dieting mindset. Identifying your food rules will definitely help with this. Notice all the times you think about food, and all the negative talk you have around it. Awareness is the first step in giving up the dieting mindset. The more you put these new strategies into practice, the more you will begin to trust yourself.

​We search for answers all over the internet ​but never check in with our​ most important source of wisdom, our bodies!

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Step t​hree to Stop Food Obsession

​Get Off every List about Nutrition, Fitness and Diets

​Yep, that's what I said. With social media and the internet, there is a constant barrage of information coming at us all the time that can be confusing, and feel overwhelming. The other day a client of mine emailed me to say how confused she was after hearing two different experts talk about the best diet for curing Type-2 diabetes. 

One of them said a high carb, low fat diet was the best way of eating, and the other one said a low carb, high fat diet is the answer. Who is right?? ​This is why we are all so dang confused, and feel like we will never figure it out. We search for answers all over the internet ​but never check in with our​ most important source of wisdom, our bodies!

​I do believe that most of us understand the basic rule of thumb when it comes to healthy eating, but then why do so many of us struggle to figure out how to eat? Because we are listening to everyone outside of us, versus our own body. By getting off all nutrition, diet and health lists, you can start to learn to rely on yourself and your body to give you the information you need. And trust me, it will.

When I stopped looking for answers outside of myself, and started to attune to and listen to my body's own wisdom, it changed my world. My body knows exactly what it likes, and what it doesn't like. But so many of us will override these signals our body is giving us, or the things we are craving to follow some diet because it worked for your neighbor's-daughters-boyfriends- sister. NO!

Start by unsubscribing from all those email lists you are on. The ones that confuse you, or leave you feeling like you still don't know what the answer is, or how you should be eating. Look, when it comes to nutrition, there​ really isn't that much new information out there​. And most of the time people are looking for the next quick fix, or that THING that will finally make them lose weight. But none of those things will be the answer, or work for the long term. But building trust with your body, and shifting your behaviors and mindset around food WILL!.

Continue to practice taking different action when it comes to your relationship to food. By doing that, you will begin to create new neural pathways, that will eventually become brand, new healthier habits down the road. Remember, this is not a quick fix solution, and takes consistency, and patience. You have to be more committed to your freedom, then getting sucked into another external diet or program that will only lead you back to the same place.

YOU GOT THIS!

​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. 

March 2, 2018

VLOG: Stop Blaming The Food and Learn to Enjoy It

Stop Blaming the Food

​It's easy for us to blame food when we are making poor choices, or say we have addictions to food, or that we are out of control with food. And even easier to blame our body when ​it gains weight, or d​oesn't look the way we want ​it to. We think it's fighting against us.

​What I have learned through my years-long struggle with food and body image issues, is that both are blameless. I only blamed them because I wasn't looking deeper at what was driving me to eat the food and hate my body. I had to start to take responsibility for my actions and behaviors, and that meant ​looking at what was behind my need to set food rules, and what was behind my emotional eating, and all the other crazy ideas I had in my head about food and my body. Food was just the symptom of something else going on that I wasn't ready to face.

​How often have you said to yourself, "I will never eat [insert "bad," "unhealthy" food] again," or "I will start over tomorrow and be "good?" Those two lines were famous in my vocabulary for years. I started over a million times, and I swore I would never eat cupcakes again for as long as I was alive. But that just kept me stuck in the vicious cycle with food and my weight, and I NEVER kept those empty promises to myself.

​The truth is; our issues with food have NOTHING to do with the food.

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​In today's VLOG, direct from my Facebook LIVE training, I ​offer 2 strategies you can use to start to take responsibility for yourself, and to stop blaming the food and your body. These strategies will help you to take a step back, and to begin to relate to food and your body in a different way so you can be more of a "normal" eater. 

​How you can stop blaming food + learn to enjoy it

February 1, 2018

What’s Beneath Your Binge; 3 Keys to Disrupt Binge Eating

How to beat binge eating

​Binge eating is a mystery to many of us, and it's hard to understand why we actually do it. What is it that drives us to overeat and binge on food until we feel sick, ashamed and at the end of our rope?

​One of my current clients who has struggled with binge eating most of her life, never understood ​why she couldn't heal even though she sought help from multiple therapist​s, nutritionists and organizations. ​During her binges, she ​would feel completely out of control and like she couldn't stop. She would binge ​all day long, not just at night, or in mini-sessions. She would ​overeat in massive quantities, all the foods that have been on her forbidden list for years, like bread, tortillas, chips, etc.

These foods were not allowable in her eyes, and they were "evil," because ultimately they would lead to weight gain, ill-health or she had heard from some "expert" along the way, that these foods were "BAD," and she needed to cut them out of her life.

As we dug deeper into her eating patterns and this out of control feeling with food, I would often ask her, "What's beneath the binge?" In other words, what's driving your binge eating? And it was always difficult for her to answer, but she knew that was where the real healing would happen.

This question, for many of my clients, often stops them in their tracks, and leaves them speechless, and it did with her too. ​She is the reason why I am writing this blog, because she suggested​ it so I can help others who struggle in this area too.

​The question is something ​most people never consider, or think of. They've always blamed the food, or their bodies or chalked it up to addiction, and never​ took into account that it ​could be something outside of the food that was responsible for the binge​s.

​Food, it turns out, is usually the symptom of something deeper that we are not addressing. ​I know this can be a hard pill to swallow for many, because isn't it easier to blame the food for our issues? ​Well, maybe, but that won't solve anything or help you understand WHY you are bingeing and what is driving it. It also will do nothing to help you shift your relationship to food and heal​.

Binge eating is often a by-product of restriction and dieting. It can also be ​linked to other areas in your life such as relationships, money, career, sexuality and more. ​Often times when we are not living our authentic truth, food can be an escape to that. It's a way to fill a void, if you will. ​When I was bingeing regularly, it was due to feelings of loneliness, being unsafe in the world, and uncertainty. 

Being raised in a violent household created tons of uncertainty and ​feelings of being out of control. Food became my safe haven. The place I could go to get comfort in any given moment, and feel like I had control over something, even though I ended up feeling worse afterward. It was a vicious cycle for years but I didn't know how to change it.

When I started to ​get curious about what was underneath my binge eating, ​​I started to heal and shift my relationship to myself, which led to shifting my relationship with food. ​It's not an easy road, but it's one that​ is worth traveling because ultimately it leads to freedom. Awareness will always be the first step in healing, and then comes the action.

Below ​I am sharing a few of the powerful actions I took to bring awareness to my binge eating and ultimately heal it. 

STEP ONE TO DISRUPT BINGE EATING

Get Curious and Lean In...

The first step to getting to the core of your eating issues is to be curious about them and bring awareness to the patterns. It's common to immediately go into judging ourselves and feeling guilty about what we ate, or the binge we had. Studies have been shown that as humans, we are wired for negativity and it's easy to spiral down into a well of negative thoughts. Judging yourself will never help anything and it will continue to ingrain the pattern even further.

When you get strong cravings or find yourself obsessing about food, take the time to pause, take a breath and then check in with yourself. Once you pause, you can ask the following questions to bring awareness to your patterns:

What am I really craving right now? What is that I am looking for food to give me other than nourishment? What am I avoiding? Why do I want to binge? What would a binge solve in this moment? 

Start here and see what comes up. You might want to spend a few minutes writing it out and just dumping these thoughts on paper to interrupt the pattern. Remember, awareness is the first step.

S​TEP TWO TO DISRUPT BINGE EATING

​Let Go of Dieting and Restriction + Attune to the Body

​Dieting is the number one culprit to binge eating AND emotional eating. Any time ​you restrict yourself, there will be a pendulum swing to the other side, guaranteed. I ​know ​we are taught that in order to lose weight, we must diet, but what that does is keeps us stuck in the dieting mindset, which will keep us in a food prison.

I understand that the idea of letting go of dieting can bring about feelings of being out of control, but what it also does is sends the message to our body that we don't trust it. Your body has it's own innate wisdom, and wants to be balanced and healthy. Unfortunately, our society doesn't support that and it's almost the cultural norm to be on a diet these days.

I believe that whatever we control, ends up controlling us. Control is an illusion, pure and simple. One thing to always remember is that you have a CHOICE. When you can start to let go of dieting, and remember that you have a choice, then you will begin to heal even further.  

There is no ONE perfect diet for anyone, and that mindset will keep you spiraling. Constantly searching for​ the perfect way of eating will keep you on edge, and in continued obsessive food thoughts.

Instead start to tune in to your body to see what feels good for it. After you eat, notice any physical sensations you have, or emotional reactions. Make a note of these, as they will start to give you information on why you struggle and binge.

​In my Food Freedom LIVE Group Program, we ​use a tool called Food/Mood Tracking where the participants will write down what they eat and how they felt before and after they ate. They will even tune in to see if there was a trigger present for their eating like stress, feeling tired, sadness, etc. This is a powerful process that attunes them to their body and emotions. The key is to track the food without judgement and to use it as a tool to uncover your patterns. Give it a try and see what you notice.

Step T​HREE to ​disrupt binge eating

​Get Honest and Show Your True Self

One ​thing I learned about myself in ​the journey of healing my binge eating was that I wore many masks. I was constantly hiding who I was, worrying about what others thought of me and trying to please everyone. This resulted in major feelings of resentment, loneliness and NEVER feeling good enough. Which ultimately led me to a box of licorice and bag of oreos. 

​I wanted people to see me in a certain light, and to think that I had it all together when in truth I was struggling inside. I look back on photos of myself when I was deep in my food struggles and ​I have a big old fake smile on my face. But no one knew it was fake, I was pretending everything was A-OK but the truth was, I was in a world of pain and battling internally with myself, my body and food on a daily.

​When I started to get real, to say what I felt, and to stop worrying about what others thought of me, my food issues started to wane. The pull toward food became less powerful and I started to feel more empowered and aligned in my life.

Showing ourselves to the world can be scary, because we are taught that vulnerability is weak.  ​But what I have learned through my journey, is that vulnerability is strength. Being vulnerable, speaking my truth and standing in my power ​has resulted in so much richness in my life. I have zero desire to hide anymore, and because of that, I no longer find myself wanting to binge, mindlessly eat or numb out with food.

​Start small, and share with people you trust that are in your inner circle. Get honest about your struggles, and let people know you need their support. I guarantee a HUGE weight will be lifted off your shoulders.

Binge eating is something many Americans are faced with daily, and the feelings of shame, disappointment and self-criticism can be overwhelming. By implementing these 3 keys, you will be taking steps toward your deeper healing, and getting to the core of what is beneath your binge. The key is to practice patience and be consistent with taking action in the moment to break old patterns. 

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