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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 all 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.
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
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.
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 then 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.
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)
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
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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. This 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.
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.
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 off 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 change. 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, pinching it, calling 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.
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.
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 your 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???
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.
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 the 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 body 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.
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.
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:
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
The holidays are a time where many of us get caught up in a whirlwind of overwhelm and stress. Our to-do lists double and even triple, with the addition of holiday parties, decorating, shopping and cooking.
It's easy to get sucked into the eye of the storm and not see a way out until January 2nd hits. By this time, it's almost too late and burnout has set in. But this doesn't have to be the case for you this holiday season. You do have a choice.
You CAN thrive through the holiday season in a peaceful and balanced way, so when the New Year comes you feel ready to move forward in an empowered way, instead of feeling like you have to start at square one and fix all the damage you did.
Below are my Top 3 Actions to Help You Avoid Burnout this Holiday Season:
It's no secret that this time of year can be filled with obligations and family traditions that often feel overwhelming. During my annual 7-Day Balanced and Blissed Holiday Challenge, I challenge hundreds of participants with the action of choosing things that feel aligned with them, versus participating out of obligation.
This very action includes being able to say No, which can be hard for a lot of people. In order to not burn yourself out this holiday season and avoid the overwhelm that often comes along with it, I encourage you to choose your experiences and to-do's wisely.
Here's how to do that:
Take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Write the heading, "To-DO" on one side, and the heading "Events" on the other. Write out everything you feel like you have to do under the "To-Do" Heading (ie: getting a tree, baking cookies, decorating, buying gifts for everyone at the office, even long time traditions), and then write out all the events you need to attend including kids (if you have them) plays, holiday parties and bake sales under the "Events" heading.
Once you complete your list, go down each column and circle anything that IS a priority or feels GOOD for you to do. Then go through the list again and X out anything that feels heavy or like an obligation. Note: This process won't be easy, especially if you are a people pleaser or someone who is afraid of being judged for not participating. You will also have to learn to let go a bit and really tune in to the things you WANT to do (see below).
Once you complete the X + O process, go through the circled items, or any items that you are questioning on the list and ask yourself the following questions:
How is this bringing balance to my life?
How is this bringing bliss and joy to my life?
Will this bring balance to my life if I do it, or will I feel resentful?
Is this something I feel obligated to do? If so, can I shift it to feel balanced instead?
If the item feels obligatory, overwhelming etc, cross it off your list and LET GO! You will be OK, I promise. Often we will do things out of obligation or fear of what others will think of us if we don't bake cookies for that bake sale, or show up to that party.
Once you have gone through this process you will feel much clearer. Complete it by writing the remaining items in your calendar. Block out one hour windows of time to complete tasks such as shopping, baking or wrapping gifts. This will help you manage your time better.
This practice will be one of the most powerful actions you take for yourself this holiday season. Life coach and personal growth guru, Tony Robbins says, "If you don't have 10 minutes to give yourself, you don't have a life...." This is so true and one of the main reasons why people feel stressed out and overwhelmed.
By starting your day with what I call the 10+10, you will set yourself up to feel grounded, balanced and connected this holiday season instead of harried, frazzled and buried under your to-do list.
The 10 + 10 consists of 10 minutes of movement and 10 minutes of "me" time first thing in the morning. Of course, both of these activities can be longer, especially if you like to do your workouts in the morning, but start with a minimum of 10 minutes for each.
Most importantly though, is the 10 minutes of "me" time where you either meditate (I love using the Insight Timer App), breathe, read something uplifting excerpts from a book (here is my favorite,) connect to your own heart, journal by dumping whatever is on your mind on the page, or set intentions for the day.
This action is life-changing and will set you up to have a more empowering and connected day so that you don't' feel as overwhelmed by all you have to do.
Also, studies show that people who have consistent morning routines are more successful than people who don't. Instead of hitting the snooze button 3 or 4 times, get up out of bed and give yourself the time you deserve.
Many of us are living in the future or the past. This causes anxiety and overwhelm.
You are ONLY one person, who can only do so much. The more you keep thinking about ALL the things you have to do, versus staying present and doing the next "right" action, the more stressed out you will feel.
Practicing presence is one of the most impactful and balancing things you can do for yourself this holiday season. I know it doesn't come easy for most, myself included, but you can access it with a little bit of awareness and pause.
Every time you catch yourself feeling anxious or overwhelmed, STOP and take a deep breath. Seriously. It's incredible how quickly it works. Know that these feelings come from you not being present. Then take another.
Once you take 2-3 deep breaths, then ask yourself if you are living in the future and worrying, or are you focusing on the task at hand and what's in front of you?
By taking this pause, you will get reconnected to the present moment and then you can make a discerned choice about what needs to be done next.
Again, you are ONLY one person, and can only do so much. DELEGATE if you need to. Ask for help and don't think you need to be Superwoman or Superman.
By following these 3 empowering actions this holiday season, I guarantee you will feel so much more balanced and peaceful by the time the New Year arrives. And if you are concerned about weight gain this holiday season, check out my recent blog about How You Can Avoid Holiday Weight Gain.
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;
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 just avoiding weight gain.
Exercise helps to relieve stress, stabilizes your blood sugar, keeps your metabolism fired up and also supports healthy sleep habits, as studies show. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.One year, one of my clients told her kids they weren’t going to bake cookies anymore. The kids were actually relieved and they created a new tradition of making 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 take care of and honor yourself is the best thing you can do for those around you.
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.”
Well, he’s 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.
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!
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 absorbtion of nutrients. It can also lead to heartburn, indigestion and bloat. Bottom line, it's not comfortable or good for your system.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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!
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 doesn'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.
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.
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.
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.
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 miracle 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.
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.
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.
Emotional eating is something many of us do, without being aware of it. It is the number one culprit to weight gain, and can keep us stuck in a vicious cycle with food.
It can also leave us feeling like a failure when it comes to healthy eating and "staying on track." Any time you eat without being physically hungry, it's usually for an emotional reason. These emotional reasons could be boredom, loneliness, anger, needing comfort or soothing, or just wanting to numb out. There are many others, but these are the main triggers.
Eating during times of transition can be a big trigger for emotional eating as well. Especially when we are transitioning to the evening after dinner, and life starts to quiet down. This is a time where we tend to want comfort and soothing after a long, stressful day at work or with the kids.
Although we can have good intentions, those good intentions often turn into a whole pint of ice cream on the couch while binge-watching Netflix. Identifying if you are an emotional eater is actually simple; Ask yourself how often you eat when you are NOT physically hungry. If it's more than 30% of the time, then that is a pretty good indicator that you turn to food to soothe yourself or change your state.
In this video I share my top 3 tips on how to identify if you are an emotional eating and what to do to in the moments when you feel like you might spiral out of control with food. I also share ways in which you can identify triggers for emotional eating.
Take a watch and leave any comments below to let me know what you discovered!