Category Archives for "Blog"

November 13, 2020

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. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead to digestive upset, bloat and a sluggish system that can take days to recover from.

Here are some powerful tips 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 that can lead to eating emotionally.

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 absorption 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 and restrictions around what you will and won't eat during this time, or to label foods as good or bad. You may even find yourself making negotiations or deals with yourself before you even 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 fully 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 THREE: How to avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

Focus on Presence and Connection

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; to create deeper connections. Get out a board game, have a conversation, 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 your body needs or can process.

Tip FOUR: How to avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

Choose, Don't Try and Control

As I mentioned in tip two, 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 and often your eyes can be bigger than your stomach, or maybe you don't want to miss out, so you overdo it.  Just remember, that you do have the choice and you will probably feel a whole lot better if you choose instead of trying to control it all. 

Tip FiVe: How to avoid overeating at Thanksgiving

Practice the Pause

This is something I teach all my VIP private 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 attune 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 aware of when their body is at 80% full. Food expands in the system after we are done eating. 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; it's kind of like a sigh. Then I stop, put my fork down and take a break. I give myself a little time to check in and see how my body feels before continuing on. Often if I wait, I realize that I am plenty satisfied.

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 and your body will have a hard time digesting and assimilating the nutrients you just took in.

Here's the deal, 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 instead. 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

Be of Service

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!

June 9, 2020

How to Build Empowering Habits that Stick

​Building new habits can feel overwhelming​, and ​difficult to even know where to start. That sweet little phrase, "old habits die hard.." is no joke. Habits are formed over time so our brain has less to do, and ​can go on autopilot without thinking.  Research shows over 40% of your actions come from habits, which frees up time to focus your energy on the important stuff.

But what about when it comes to habits that are harmful, or don't serve ​you, like mindless eating at night in front of the TV that leads to guilt and shame, or grabbing the afternoon candy bar when you're feeling tired? These types of habits ​ can feel really difficult to break​ AND they don't help you become your best self.

​One of the reasons why, is because the habits are run by our subconscious, and as Jen Sincero, Author of You Are a Badass puts it, the subconscious is like a ninja ​and will do all it can to present you with super juicy temptations that will knock you straight back into your comfort zone.

We al​l have these habitual places where we get stopped - a threshold we reach where ​we get too close to actually reaching our goals for our own comfort. Crossing over this threshold is exactly what we need to create permanent transformation in our lives, and get out of the comfort zones that keep us stuck.

This is terrifying to many of us and that is exactly the reason why our subconscious minds will gather all the tricks it can to ​stand in our way of making change. Can you say self-sabotage?

To be honest, most of us are oblivious to this stopping point and have a lifetime worth of excuses that we use to keep us playing small, ie., I don't have enough time, I'm too lazy, I will never lose weight, so what's the point, or I need to try another diet, the one I'm doing doesn't work, or, I will just start over tomorrow.

​How to change habits for good

​To change your habits, you must have a plan; one that is realistic and doable. You must be tenacious about it​ while being willing to break through the terror threshold, no matter what persuasion the subconscious ninjas use to pull you back into your old sticky ways.

Once you give in to that one little negotiation of, "oh it's just one cookie," or "I need that glass of wine to help me relax," you've abandoned yourself once again and given your power over to the habit you are trying to break.

So let's look at the steps you can take to build NEW, healthy habits and get rid of the ones that are keeping you stuck in the vicious cycle, that you KNOW you want to break out of. 

​You can't do anything if you try to do everything. -Jen Sincero

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Know your why and hold it tight

​​​It will be pretty dang hard to change habits, if you don't know why you are doing it, or if you don't have a big enough reason. If your goal is to get healthy, lose weight or give up binge eating, you must know WHY you want ​these things.

What will having those things provide for you? Will it give you freedom, peace of mind, the grace to live your life guilt-free, or what? What is your BIGGER WHY? Just ​stating that you want to get healthy is not enough.

​Honing in on your why may seem cliche, and you might even be thinking, "Well Melissa, I know my why, but still can't freaking change my habits no matter how​ hard I ​try." Trust me, I hear you, but ​that's where you are already starting to make excuses for all the reasons WHY you can't change, instead of staying focused on what it is that you really, truly want and ​what you need to do to get there.

So get out a piece of paper and write down ALL the habits you want to change along with your BIG FAT WHY next to each one. 

Circle ​the ONE ​habit that you know is preventing you from reaching the next level in your life. That's the habit we are going to work on shifting for you. It's best to start small, gain momentum and then move on to the next habit. 

​​Negotiations ​be gone!

Oh boy, how many times have you negotiated yourself right of ​trying to form new habits? I bet a lot. Believe me, I've been there....Here's the thing, you must be willing to remove yourself all together from the negotiation process.

Let's say you want to lose weight, and you know that the nighttime mindless eating in front of the TV is not helping with this goal, but you had a cruddy day at work and all you want is one glass of wine to help you relax. So you have the wine, and t​hen you get the munchies. You tell hubs to put on a pot of popcorn, and before you know it, you've drunk a bottle of wine and ate a tub of popcorn.

Or you want to start a morning workout routine, but the alarm goes off and you tell yourself you'll hit snooze one time, and 30 minutes later you're still snuggled up in dream land, and hitting the treadmill is a distant memory. You, once again, tell yourself you will do better tomorrow.

It IS​ these tiny moments, these split second decisions upon which ​your success rides. Each one of these​ tiny little decisions adds up, and serves as a crack in your resolve where other excuses can seep in, and believe me, they will.

So in order to anchor in some non-negotiation skills, here's where you can start:

​1. Identify with a new habit - meaning OWN it, by saying, I am a person who sticks to my commitments, not someone who lets an Oreo, or one or two, take away my power to know better.

2. Know when the negotiation ninjas come to visit - when we try to talk ourselves out of things that we know are good for us, we tend to not be super creative or varied (again, thanks Jen S.) We tend to stick to the same old, lame-o excuses. When you do this, it should be EASY to recognize your tried and true method for knocking yourself out of the new habit-building game. Be on the lookout for these favorite excuses of yours, and the second one comes up, recognize the negotiation and DO. NOT. CONSIDER. IT. for even one minuscule of a second. Just move along like it didn't even happen.

​Know your triggers ​

​Preceding every habit is a trigger of sorts. Triggers can be almost anything: a sound, smell, feeling, time of day, season, another person, etc.

It's important to know what triggers come before your habit kicks in, especially the ones that are not serving you right now. How we react to the trigger will make all the difference in the world when we are trying to change our habit.

​Here's how to identify your triggers. Write out the habit you want to change. Example, I want to stop drinking wine every night when I watch TV.  

Then ​write out the ​triggers of that habit ​using the following headings (I've included some ​examples to help you)

  • Feelings: I'm exhausted, I've had a long day, ​I deserve to have a glass of wine
  • Time of Day; After dinner, it's getting late and I want to wind down
  • Sounds: TV is on and I just want to sit and chill with a glass of wine​
  • Places: ​The couch looks cozy and relaxing after a hard day
  • People: Hubby is cozy on the couch with a glass of wine and ​I want to join him 
  • Smells: Popcorn is on the stove and I love drinking a glass of wine and crunching on popcorn
  • Other:

​Now go through the list and pick the biggest trigger that is linked to your bad habit, and write it down including the action you take with the trigger.  For example; Biggest Trigger >>>> I'm exhausted and I deserve to have a glass of wine. Action: Gets glass of wine and sits on the couch, then starts to eat popcorn.

Now for the juicy part. It's time to identify 3 small positive actions you can take when your biggest trigger hits you. For example: When I feel exhausted and want to ​relax, I can

  1. ​Take 10 minutes and sit quietly
  2. Take 3 deep breaths to calm my nervous system down
  3. ​Put on some soft music and close my eyes while listening to it.

Now it’s time to try your new habit! Today or tomorrow, when you sense your old habit being triggered, switch gears and try out one of your new actions you listed. As you repeat this new behavior, your brain will change and the new behavior will become automatic.

Once this new behavior becomes automatic, you can go back and try this same process for the other habits in your life that you want to change. ​Tackle one at a time for best results.  

The bottom line is that changing habits takes time and consistency. The more you focus on taking small steps, the more momentum you will build with changing your habits. Try this on and let me know how it goes for you!

​*Habit makeover adapted from Mel Robbins Spring it On session

​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. 

May 10, 2020

How Accepting Your Body Leads to Weight Loss

Accept Your Body and Lose Weight

​When it comes to accepting your body, ​do you need some serious help?  What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see a body you like and accept? Or do you pick it apart and criticize every little thing you want to change about it?  I'm guessing it's the latter.

A large majority of people, particularly women, do not like what they see in the mirror. In fact, they downright HATE what they see in the mirror. I would've included myself in that ​majority up until about 5 years ago.

Now, I'm not saying that I always LOVE what I see in the mirror, but the difference​ is that I have ​come to learn to appreciate what I see, instead of hate it, criticize it or pick it apart. 

​For years, I had this crazy morning "ritual"  where as soon as I woke up ​and got out of bed, I would walk to the bathroom, ​pull my shirt up, look in the mirror and see how big (or ​flat) my stomach was. It was my ​Morning Fat Check.​

If I was dieting or depriving myself, or I had started some new meal plan or fat burner, I would check to see how much weight I was losing, or if any of the pudge had ​miraculously disappeared overnight.

​If was off the rails with my food, which happened more often than not, I would lift my shirt, stare at my bloated belly, pinch my love handles and curse myself.  ​Then I would swear to start over and "be good" for the rest of the week.

I would start to make the running list in my head of all the foods I had to stay away from, and​ make a promise that I would only eat salad for the next 10 days and nothing else.

It was exhausting, and seriously detrimental to my well-being AND self-esteem.

I truly hated what I saw every time I looked in the mirror. It didn't matter if I was thinner than the day prior, or not. I would criticize, poke, pinch, prod and shake my head in disgust. This ​was the way ​I started every single day for years, so you can imagine how I ​entered into the day feeling about myself.

​Sometimes I would end up on the floor in a ball of tears when I was trying to get dressed for work. Other days, I felt on top of the world, because my stomach looked flat that ​morning, and I was convinced that whatever I was doing was FINALLY working, and I was a rock-star. But that didn't last long, because I would eventually overeat and break that big lofty promise I made to myself, yet again.

Basically the Morning Fat Check set the entire mood of my day into motion. Most of the time, it resulted in a SHITTY one (excuse my French) of devastation, feeling like a failure and riddled with shame and disappointment.

The big turning point for me was the day I called a close friend of mine for support. I was in tears about how fat I felt. I hated the way I felt in my skin. I was gaining weight and felt puffy, bloated and defeated. And I was out of control with my eating. ​ I was looking for someone​ ​to be in the trenches with me; to feel my pain.

​But what I got instead was a hefty dose of tough love. The words my friend said in that moment stung me, but they were the catalyst to me deeply healing the years long​ ​battle with food and ​my body, 

​After she waited for me to finish whining and complaining, she calmly said,  "I'm sorry you feel this way and you are struggling, but this obsession with your body and weight is SO self-absorbed. GO OUT and BE OF SERVICE. STOP feeling sorry for yourself, get off the couch, get outside and make a difference in someone else's day that needs you." 

​BAM! It was like a stinging slap in the face, but it was just what I needed to hear. ​​​Those words set a series of events into motion that ​dramatically transformed the way I see myself, and my body​ to this very day.

So, here are a few of the steps I took in order to learn to come into acceptance with my body, and stop hating myself. This change didn't happen overnight, but I was committed to ​the process. It required patience, consistency and a tremendous amount of courage.  

​Step One to Accepting ​YOUR BODY

​Stop the Morning Fat Check + Daily Weigh Ins

The first thing I did was give up the Morning Fat Check and I stopped looking in the mirror so much. As hard as this was to break, it was a huge part of my healing process.

Beating my body up and criticizing it ​first thing in the morning, left me feeling depressed, angry and defeated.  ​No matter what I did, it was never enough.

And ​the crazy thing is, ​weight can fluctuate anywhere from 2-7 pounds within a given day depending on circumstances, so I never knew what it was going to be from day to day and that created even more uncertainty and feelings of ​failure.

​So, I vowed to stop lifting my shirt, looking in the mirror and stepping on the scale first thing in the morning. I even threw my scale away!

At first, I ​had a huge fear of getting out of control if I wasn't constantly checking my weight or size. Because how would I gauge if I was getting skinny or not? How would I know​ what to feel about myself that day and if I was reaching the goals I had set to lose weight?

But, what started to happen, as I let go of the constant ​ slew of externally focused, self-deprecating comments and lifting my shirt each day, was that I started to focus on ​the amazing other qualities I had and how I felt from the inside. ​

​​Step ​Two to Accepting ​YOUR BODY

​Practice Appreciation

This was a powerful practice for me in body acceptance. Once I gave up my Morning Fat Check, and started to focus on how I felt internally, it prompted me to truly feel connected to the mirac​le of my body.

As a nutritionist, yoga teacher and former massage therapist, I have studied a lot about the body. I understand a lot about the anatomy of it, and what foods are good for it, etc. but I ​always treated my body as a separate entity. I was disconnected from it, and felt it to be a burden. 

I hated that it wouldn't listen to me, or drop the weight I wanted it to, when I wanted it to​. I felt like my body was constantly betraying me and I was ​in a constant battle with ​it.

Each day I committed to writing down and/or saying three things to my body that I appreciated about it. ​ I focused on it's strength, health, and all the little intricacies of my body that I often don't think about because they run on auto-pilot, literally.

This practice alone helped me to create such a deep appreciation and honoring of my body that I didn't want to say mean things to it anymore. And the funny thing is, after a while, my clothes started to fit looser. Go figure.

​Step ​​THREE to Accepting ​YOUR BODY

​​Tune in and Listen to Your Body

As I mentioned in step two above, I was in a constant battle with my body and completely disconnected from it. By practicing the daily appreciation of my body, I was also able to ​attune to it more. 

I started to pay closer attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle signals that my body would give me. After I ate, I would notice how I felt in my body, not what my mind thought about what I ate (which was usually full of judgement, by the way.)

This would help me feel connected, and be able to give my body what it needed. I stopped listening to the craziness in my mind, and the outside world, and starting listening to the wisdom of my very own body. 

This usually looked like resting more often, not working out as hard, or pushing as hard and doing a whole lot less than I was used to. I relaxed more, and ​​ate less because I was paying attention to my ​satisfaction cues. I slowed down at meals and enjoyed what I was eating. I was getting fuller quicker and didn't overeat as I normally would when I was distracted.

All of this led to me feeling so much more at home in my body. I would check in and see ​what type of movement would feel good instead of what I think I should do (to lose weight.). Some days it was yoga, some days it was hiking, others it was weight lifting. 

​My body appreciated this. And it started to change. It didn't happen overnight, it was a journey, but one that has been so empowering and transformative.  

​Remember: accepting your body takes patience, practice and Consistency.

​​Not only was I ​implementing these steps on a daily basis, I was also doing some further personal growth work to look at my skewed relationship with food. Although it's all connected, I had to dig deeper to get to the core of some of my eating behaviors.

​These​ 3 key elements mentioned above were the most powerful ​and truly helped me come to an incredible acceptance of my body, which resulted in ​my body normalizing to it's natural weight over time.

​So, I'm curious; How do you feel when you look in the mirror? What has been your experience with your body? Do you feel accepting of your body? Or do you loathe it and fight against it? 'd love to hear your thoughts and comments below​.

March 10, 2020

Self-Sabotage: Three Tips to Overcoming it so you Can Feel Empowered

Overcoming Self-Sabotage

Self-sabotage seems to be the #1 obstacle that most people struggle with when it comes to weight loss, consistent healthy eating, positive lifestyle choices and exercise.

I was recently working with​ one of my private clients who expressed that no matter how many times she ​went on a diet, she would ​ultimately end up sabotaging herself. She would start off strong and all gung-ho, do great for a couple of days, but then something would snap, and she would go off the rails.

When I inquired deeper about what led her to "snap," we uncovered a pattern of hiding....she had been hiding her whole life behind a mask of, "Everything is OK."

She pretended that she was good, and that she had it all together, no matter what was happening in her life. She didn't want anyone to know if she was struggling, or having a hard day because she had a limiting belief that would make her look weak or incompetent.

​So, she hid behind a fake smile even though inside she was bubbling up with anger and resentment. It was a lot to hold up every day and she felt exhausted, inauthentic and out of alignment with her truth. Feeling this way regularly, ultimately​ led her to sabotage herself every time, even with the simplest of thing​s.

How hiding leads to self-sabotage

When we hide, like my client does, we are being untrue to ourselves and others. We are being in-authentic and fake. No one can know the real us if we are hiding behind what I call, safety masks.

I used to be a master at hiding....

Behind food....
Behind being a "good" girl....
Behind shame....
Behind rear....
Behind being busy....
Behind a fake smile....
Behind needing to look and be perfect....

And you know what I learned? All the hiding resulted in a tremendous amount of suffering and consistent self-sabotage. It also drove me to overeat, binge and use food as a crutch. 

When we hide who we are for fear of being judged, looking stupid, being seen as a weak or whatever other god-awful judgement we have, we are disconnected from ourselves and our truth. And, being disconnected from from ourselves, is the fastest track to self-sabotage because we are walking around always feeling like something is not-quite-right in our lives.

​Here are some examples of ways we hide....

Trying to control everything, especially our food....

Perfectionism...(I'm a recovering perfectionist!)

People Pleasing and Over-giving...(leads to resentment)

Good Girl Syndrome....

Over-Achiever...

Hiding behind these masks of perfectionism, control, over-achiever, and people pleasing is a way we try to keep ourselves safe in the world; it's a protection mechanism which often ​leads to burying our heads in a pint of ice cream."

When I asked my client what would happen if people really knew the truth about her, she burst into tears. She couldn't even fathom that anyone would like her if they saw her "not-so-nice" side, or if she really spoke her mind, or asked for what she wanted.

She thought she would be perceived as a brat, or a bit$h, especially as a woman working in a high-powered job. 

How we acquire these masks

We all come into the world the same way; as a little bundle of pure, unconditional love and joy. We have no language, no belief systems, no ideas and no awareness of our ego. We are happy and present.

Over time, as we grow and learn, all kinds of things are projected on to us from the outside world, and those closest to us. Some of us grew up without loving parents, or we had parents who expected a lot from us, or there were kids in school who were mean, or teachers who didn't believe in us.

We may have received a lot of messages of not being lovable, worthy or good enough. Whatever it was, these messages were programmed into us as a belief system during the formative years of ages 0-9, as we create our core memories.

The challenging part is that we take those belief systems with us into adulthood without any awareness of them and they usually end up running the show without even knowing it.

They show up in the form of self-sabotage, overeating, food struggles, addiction and more. We keep experiencing the same challenges over and over, and we don't understand why.

Tip #1 for Overcoming Self-Sabotage

When I was in the spirals of sabotage, I felt as though I would never get out. I thought I was broken and needed some serious fixing. What I learned over the years in my healing journey, is that I wasn't broken, I was hiding. I wasn't being true to myself, or anyone else for that matter.

I began to take a deeper look within and ask myself some important questions about who I wanted to "be", and how I wanted to show up in the world.

The answer that came was profound at the time, because it wasn't about anything external, or anything I could acquire. It was all about being an example of love, authenticity, presence and inspiration for others.

YOUR ACTION: Get brutally honest about who you want to be in the world. Ask yourself what would truly make you happy. Write a list of everything that comes to mind. This process could be scary, because it may require you ​to take a hard look at ​your current situations at work, at home or in a relationship.

Once that's done, ​figure out what feels the most important right now for you and then take one tiny step toward whatever that is for you. Even if it feels scary or unknown taking a small step will feel empowering and inspiring. L

Listen, we all know how fast life ​goes by, so do you want to keep living the way you are, or do something about it?

Tip #2 for Overcoming Self-Sabotage

Start to share your most vulnerable truths with others you trust. Let people know you are struggling. Be transparent.

​Most of us are trained to not show vulnerability for fear of being deemed weak, and consequently we often pretend everything is o.k., even when it's not. This can also drive us straight to the refrigerator.

So, find the person you know that will hold your deepest truths in confidence and share from the heart. Ask for them to just listen and hold sacred space for you.

I guarantee you will feel a sense of freedom, and as a result the self-sabotaging behaviors will start to lessen because you will feel supported.

Tip #3 for Overcoming Self-Sabotage

Practice Self-Compassion and Kindness.

None of us are perfect or have it all together. It's completely impossible. Most of us have an inner critic that is relentless. That inner critic is your biggest saboteur.

Start to become aware of the mean things you say to yourself, and turn them into a statement of compassion.

For example, if your inner critic keeps telling you that you are a failure because you can't stay on track or keep weight off, then it's time to hush that voice, and find a different thought instead that is more empowering.

When my inner-critic rears her ugly head, I hear her and literally say, "STOP," out loud. Then I redirect that thought to a place of self-compassion and kindness, by telling myself I am OK just as I am, and I am doing the best I can.

This helps me to stay present while also stating something that is believable versus lofty. You don't want to pendulum swing too far away from the original thought, because your inner-critic will definitely balk.

In closing

Furthermore, breaking the pattern of self-sabotage takes time, consistency and patience. It doesn't happen over night.

These ingrained patterns need a lot of attention and action. You are responsible for making the change in your life and remember, you have the power to make a choice. Your inner-saboteur doesn't have to run the show.

If you practice these 3 tips regularly you will begin to feel your inner-saboteur fade into the background, little by little and you will feel more empowered each day! 

How to Lose Weight Naturally and for the Long Haul

Lose Weight Naturally

When ​most people attempt ​weight loss, they usually want it to happen quickly. You know, ​the promise of a "quick-fix," "lose x amount of pounds in x amount of days," or "lose weight fast," draws us in and makes us feel like we have finally found the answer.

I'm wondering, how many gimmicks do you see out there making false promises of fast weight loss, or having the  body of your dreams in x amount of days, BUT ONLY if you stick to their highly-restrictive diet? I'm guessing ​your newsfeed is loaded with them...

What the diet industry doesn't tell you, is that it will be impossible to stay on that diet long-term. You WILL eventually gain the weight back, because statistically over 95% of people gain weight back that they lost​ from a restrictive diet within 1-3 years.

One thing I know for sure: Dieting is NOT sustainable. #truthbomb

And I'm pretty sure you know it too. Yet ​we can easily get so stuck in the vicious cycle of it becuase of the BIG. FAT. LIES. that are fed to us.

Did you know a recent study in the UK showed that an average woman will spend roughly 30 years of her life on a diet? What the.....??? It's culturally ingrained in us; it's become the norm. And it eats away at our life.

You may think because I am a Transformational Eating Coach and Nutritionist that I have my shit (excuse my Jersey potty mouth) together when it comes to food and my body. But, I am by no means perfect, nor do I want to be. 

I have learned that my many years of struggles with food went deep....much deeper than the food itself.  In fact, my biggest learning was that my struggles really had nothing to do with the food.

All the quick fixes, wanting to be perfect with my eating, restricting myself, living by tons of food rules, trying out the next miracle pill or hottest new diet all left me feeling like a HUGE failure and kept me locked up in my own food prison. None of these things helped me ​lose the weight I was trying to lose, or gave me relief from my food obsession.

​In fact, if I did lose weight (usually very little) ​I would gain it, back plus some.  I had to keep fighting with myself and my body. It felt like a never-ending battle...one that I would never win.

Back in those days, I couldn't fathom ever​ feeling freedom and ease with food, or being able to maintain a weight that felt good for me. I was obsessed, and I spent all of my energy and mental capacity controlling everything I put into my body. It left me depleted, angry and feeling miserable about myself.

​Have you been trying to solve​ your food and weight issues by going on another diet, doing a cleanse, intermittent fasting, giving up your favorite food, exercising more, restricting/depriving, and looking for the next "fix?" Well, you're not alone. 

Some of these things may help ​you make better choices for your overall lifestylfe, but none of them will work for the long-term results you are wanting. Most likely you will have to keep starting over, again and again.

I know how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle, but the things I mentioned above (which by the way make my stomach turn when I think about them) will not set you up for sustainable weight loss, or healthy habits. They will only set you up for disappointment, and eventually hopelessness.

​Aren't you sick of that yet? I hope so....

Below I​ share strategies that WILL help set you up for natural and sustainable weight loss. Now mind you, this​ is NOT a quick fix. You will need to dig deeper than you ever have before, you will have to practice the change, and you will need to let go of a whole lot of thoughts and beliefs around what you think you know.

When I first start working with my private clients, they always want me to give them a plan, and I won't....

​That is the reason they came to me in the first place, because they are SICK of following a restrictive plan and missing out on life. They know that ultimately it doesn't work, but it also feels scary not to have one...there is a lot of fear of getting out of control.

But the truth is, they already ARE out of control....so read on, to learn how you can get off the crazy diet roller-coaster and lose weight naturally, so you can keep it off and start living a saner life with food.

First Key on How to Lose Weight Naturally - Slow Down

​​I know this may sound crazy to you, but slowing down when you eat will actually support your weight loss efforts.

Too often people eat on the go, sitting in front of ​computers, standing over the kitchen sink, or ​shoveling a meal in quickly before their next appointment. It's a surefire way to eat more than your body needs, and it doesn't allow your body to digest properly or assimilate the nutrients from your food in a beneficial way.

Eating on the run, or eating quickly causes a lot of stress in the body, and we all know stress causes weight gain.

So, practice one meal a day sitting at a table without distraction and eat slowly. Taste your food, savor it, enjoy the experience.  Breathe. Look around. Take in the sights and sounds. Put your fork down and chew. This will help your body to get the nourishment it needs, and it will help you attune more to your fullness signals as well. I guarantee you will feel fuller much quicker than you have in the past, and there just might be some food left on your plate too.

Second Key on How to Lose Weight Naturally - Eat When you Feel Physical Hunger

​Do your best to eat only when you feel physical hunger. This is a big one because most of us eat quite often when we are not physically hungry, or we eat because we are afraid to feel hunger or feel empty.

What this does is gives our body food when it doesn't need it, and you know what that results in? WEIGHT GAIN! Anytime you ingest calories when you don't have physical hunger, your body will most likely store it as extra weight. The body doesn't understand what to do with all this extra food that it doesn't need.

​The quality of the food comes into play too. You CAN gain weight overeating what you deem to be "healthy" food. Believe me, I was a health food, binge eater and I put on 25 extra pounds doing it.​

So, take time to attune to your physical hunger. Before you eat, ask yourself if you are physically hungry. Wait for an answer. If you are craving something, and you think you need to eat, most of the time that is due to an emotional need. If that's the case, see if there is something else you can give to yourself other than food that will feel nourishing to you.

On the other hand, if you are truly physically hungry, than make a nourishing and honoring choice that you will feel good about and sit down and eat it slowly.

Third Key on How to Lose Weight Naturally - Drop the Rules + Restrictions

Lose the restriction and rules. WHAT? You're probably thinking I am crazy right now. But the truth is, all the rules and restriction are what keep you stuck in this crazy-ass cycle with food in the first place.

I know, you're afraid if you don't have rules and restriction you will go hog-wild. Well, it's possible, but my guess is, you might for a little bit (maybe once or twice,) but then those foods that you told yourself you couldn't eat, and that you white-knuckle through to not give in to, will lose all their ​allure.

Once we give ourselves FULL permission to enjoy a food without the judgement, it loses it's pull on us. I go way more in-depth about this in my Empowered Eating Experience 5-day Mini Course.

So for now, see about giving up ONE of your food rules. Maybe the one about not eating carbs because they are "bad," or the one about having a cheat meal on the weekends. Those rules DO NOT serve you.  Run an experiment and try it on for a week and see what you notice.

The bottom line is that you want to be able to build ​trust in yourself and your body. These 3 steps will help you do that. Once you can trust yourself and KNOW you have a choice about when, why and what you eat, ​then you will be able to lose weight sustain-ably and naturally.

If you want to learn more about sustainable weight loss, click here to get my most popular video, 3 Keys to Sustainable Weight Loss for FREE!

September 19, 2019

How to Build New Habits that Stick

​Building new habits can feel overwhelming​, and ​difficult to even know where to start. That sweet little phrase, "old habits die hard.." is no joke. Habits are formed over time so our brain has less to do, and ​can go on autopilot without thinking.  Research shows over 40% of your actions come from habits, which frees up time to focus your energy on the important stuff.

But what about when it comes to habits that are harmful, or don't serve ​you, like mindless eating at night in front of the TV that leads to guilt and shame, or grabbing the afternoon candy bar when you're feeling tired? These types of habits ​ can feel really difficult to break​ AND they don't help you become your best self.

​One of the reasons why, is because the habits are run by our subconscious, and as Jen Sincero, Author of You Are a Badass puts it, the subconscious is like a ninja ​and will do all it can to present you with super juicy temptations that will knock you straight back into your comfort zone.

We al​l have these habitual places where we get stopped - a threshold we reach where ​we get too close to actually reaching our goals for our own comfort. Crossing over this threshold is exactly what we need to create permanent transformation in our lives, and get out of the comfort zones that keep us stuck.

This is terrifying to many of us and that is exactly the reason why our subconscious minds will gather all the tricks it can to ​stand in our way of making change. Can you say self-sabotage?

To be honest, most of us are oblivious to this stopping point and have a lifetime worth of excuses that we use to keep us playing small, ie., I don't have enough time, I'm too lazy, I will never lose weight, so what's the point, or I need to try another diet, the one I'm doing doesn't work, or, I will just start over tomorrow.

​How to change habits for good

​To change your habits, you must have a plan; one that is realistic and doable. You must be tenacious about it​ while being willing to break through the terror threshold, no matter what persuasion the subconscious ninjas use to pull you back into your old sticky ways.

Once you give in to that one little negotiation of, "oh it's just one cookie," or "I need that glass of wine to help me relax," you've abandoned yourself once again and given your power over to the habit you are trying to break.

So let's look at the steps you can take to build NEW, healthy habits and get rid of the ones that are keeping you stuck in the vicious cycle, that you KNOW you want to break out of. 

​You can't do anything if you try to do everything. -Jen Sincero

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Know your why and hold it tight

​​​It will be pretty dang hard to change habits, if you don't know why you are doing it, or if you don't have a big enough reason. If your goal is to get healthy, lose weight or give up binge eating, you must know WHY you want ​these things.

What will having those things provide for you? Will it give you freedom, peace of mind, the grace to live your life guilt-free, or what? What is your BIGGER WHY? Just ​stating that you want to get healthy is not enough.

​Honing in on your why may seem cliche, and you might even be thinking, "Well Melissa, I know my why, but still can't freaking change my habits no matter how​ hard I ​try." Trust me, I hear you, but ​that's where you are already starting to make excuses for all the reasons WHY you can't change, instead of staying focused on what it is that you really, truly want and ​what you need to do to get there.

So get out a piece of paper and write down ALL the habits you want to change along with your BIG FAT WHY next to each one. 

Circle ​the ONE ​habit that you know is preventing you from reaching the next level in your life. That's the habit we are going to work on shifting for you. It's best to start small, gain momentum and then move on to the next habit. 

​​Negotiations ​be gone!

Oh boy, how many times have you negotiated yourself right of ​trying to form new habits? I bet a lot. Believe me, I've been there....Here's the thing, you must be willing to remove yourself all together from the negotiation process.

Let's say you want to lose weight, and you know that the nighttime mindless eating in front of the TV is not helping with this goal, but you had a cruddy day at work and all you want is one glass of wine to help you relax. So you have the wine, and t​hen you get the munchies. You tell hubs to put on a pot of popcorn, and before you know it, you've drunk a bottle of wine and ate a tub of popcorn.

Or you want to start a morning workout routine, but the alarm goes off and you tell yourself you'll hit snooze one time, and 30 minutes later you're still snuggled up in dream land, and hitting the treadmill is a distant memory. You, once again, tell yourself you will do better tomorrow.

It IS​ these tiny moments, these split second decisions upon which ​your success rides. Each one of these​ tiny little decisions adds up, and serves as a crack in your resolve where other excuses can seep in, and believe me, they will.

So in order to anchor in some non-negotiation skills, here's where you can start:

​1. Identify with a new habit - meaning OWN it, by saying, I am a person who sticks to my commitments, not someone who lets an Oreo, or one or two, take away my power to know better.

2. Know when the negotiation ninjas come to visit - when we try to talk ourselves out of things that we know are good for us, we tend to not be super creative or varied (again, thanks Jen S.) We tend to stick to the same old, lame-o excuses. When you do this, it should be EASY to recognize your tried and true method for knocking yourself out of the new habit-building game. Be on the lookout for these favorite excuses of yours, and the second one comes up, recognize the negotiation and DO. NOT. CONSIDER. IT. for even one minuscule of a second. Just move along like it didn't even happen.

​Know your triggers ​

​Preceding every habit is a trigger of sorts. Triggers can be almost anything: a sound, smell, feeling, time of day, season, another person, etc.

It's important to know what triggers come before your habit kicks in, especially the ones that are not serving you right now. How we react to the trigger will make all the difference in the world when we are trying to change our habit.

​Here's how to identify your triggers. Write out the habit you want to change. Example, I want to stop drinking wine every night when I watch TV.  

Then ​write out the ​triggers of that habit ​using the following headings (I've included some ​examples to help you)

  • Feelings: I'm exhausted, I've had a long day, ​I deserve to have a glass of wine
  • Time of Day; After dinner, it's getting late and I want to wind down
  • Sounds: TV is on and I just want to sit and chill with a glass of wine​
  • Places: ​The couch looks cozy and relaxing after a hard day
  • People: Hubby is cozy on the couch with a glass of wine and ​I want to join him 
  • Smells: Popcorn is on the stove and I love drinking a glass of wine and crunching on popcorn
  • Other:

​Now go through the list and pick the biggest trigger that is linked to your bad habit, and write it down including the action you take with the trigger.  For example; Biggest Trigger >>>> I'm exhausted and I deserve to have a glass of wine. Action: Gets glass of wine and sits on the couch, then starts to eat popcorn.

Now for the juicy part. It's time to identify 3 small positive actions you can take when your biggest trigger hits you. For example: When I feel exhausted and want to ​relax, I can

  1. ​Take 10 minutes and sit quietly
  2. Take 3 deep breaths to calm my nervous system down
  3. ​Put on some soft music and close my eyes while listening to it.

Now it’s time to try your new habit! Today or tomorrow, when you sense your old habit being triggered, switch gears and try out one of your new actions you listed. As you repeat this new behavior, your brain will change and the new behavior will become automatic.

Once this new behavior becomes automatic, you can go back and try this same process for the other habits in your life that you want to change. ​Tackle one at a time for best results.  

The bottom line is that changing habits takes time and consistency. The more you focus on taking small steps, the more momentum you will build with changing your habits. Try this on and let me know how it goes for you!

​*Habit makeover adapted from Mel Robbins Spring it On session

​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. 

August 6, 2019

How to Decode Food Cravings

​Food cravings can be tricky, because w​hen they're happening, it can feel like nothing​ else but that certain food will satisfy you; ​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​ tends to be an easy solution in the moment. It changes our state quickly and there is a sense of instant gratification or comfort. Most of us will go for that feeling rather than truly facing what is really going on underneath the surface or addressing the challenge at hand.

It can feel overwhelming 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.

​My 30+ years long struggle with emotional eating was ​linked to not only yo-yo dieting, but also 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 t​he feeling was fleeing and was no replacement for what I really needed. I​ was stuck in 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. 

August 3, 2019

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. 

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 Culture Mindset; constant deprivation, restriction, and then the inevitable pendulum swing....

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 I use with my private clients and inside my Empowered Eaters club. 
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 Empowered Eaters Club 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

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