People Pleasing and Putting Yourself First

Woman with healthy skin and towel on headWhen you are on an airplane and the emergency procedures are being explained, do you notice they tell you to always put your oxygen mask on first before helping others?  The reason you are told to do that is so that you are able to help others.  If you disregard your mask and try to help your children or loved ones instead, you would pass out and be of no use to anyone.

 

This is a good metaphor for those of you who do not take the time to take care of yourself in life.  When you are too busy running around and doing for everyone else, it is easy to become drained, sick or resentful.  By taking time to care for yourself, you are actually helping to be more present for your loved ones.  It may seem like your needs are not as important as those around you, but again, if your needs are not met, how can you be the best you can be for everyone in your life.

 

The other thing is, the people in your life want to see you happy and fulfilled.  If you feel like they may not be supportive of you taking time for yourself, explain to them how meeting your needs will make you better at helping them with theirs.  They will also enjoy seeing you happier and calmer, rather than the stressed and snippy you that might come out when you are doing for everyone else and not tending to yourself.

 

Worse yet, what if being a people pleaser is actually harming your health?  Weight gain, high blood sugar, and elevated blood pressure are all physical side effects of neglecting yourself in order to please others.

 

Eating healthy is one of the first things to go when you are taking care of everyone around you but you.  You might find yourself saying you do not have time to plan or make your meals and snacks because you are busy making your children’s.  Or, perhaps you are on the go all day running from place to place that you forget to eat and find yourself ravenous at the end of the night when everyone is tucked into bed.  Being healthy is its own type of oxygen mask.  A healthy you breeds healthier individuals around you, which is a win-win for everyone!

 

If you need help finding ways to take care of yourself, check out my recent blog post 10 Ways to Combat Stress!  Remember, your loved ones need you, but they need you to be happy and healthy more than anything.

Your turn to take action:  What will you do to take better care of yourself?

The Stress and Food Cycle

Sad woman eating donutIn the previous article I listed many healthy ways to manage the stress in your life.  Notice I did not list “indulge in comfort food” or “treat yourself with food” as one of the healthy alternatives to stress.  Yet how many people use food as their “go to” cure for stress?  If this strikes a chord with you, you are not alone.

Food is a very common tool that some people use to try and mediate stress.  However, food as a “cure” typically provokes even more stress.  Comfort foods that people often turn to are laden with sugar and fat and are not the kind that makes you feel good when you finish it.  It is the type of food that is easy to overindulge in and become overfull, and full of guilt.  This behavior can be the cause of unwanted weight gain.  You then feel more stressed, engage in more mindless eating and experience more remorse.

You can break free of this vicious cycle by understanding the real reason you use food to deal with your stress and by incorporating 3 simple steps into your life.

Take the first step to self-discovery by tuning into my free mini-webinar 3 Simple Steps to Stop the Stress and the Weight Gain.  This webinar will give you an introduction to the strategies you need to combat stress, as well as insight into how to best avoid the stress all-together.

Just click here for instant access to this webinar and let me help you break free from this cycle!

Your turn to take action: Do you turn to food when feeling stressed, overwhelmed or emotional?  What action will you take next time you are feeling this way instead of eating?  Please share in the comments below.

The Connection between Sleep and Your Body Weight

Couple sleepingHave you ever found yourself trying to fit all the things you do into your day’s schedule and deciding the only way to get them all done is to cut back on sleep?  If the answer is yes, chances are this was not a one-time occurrence.  Not only does constantly cutting back on your sleep make you less productive due to the fatigue you experience, but more and more research supports the idea that a decrease in the hours you sleep at night can actually promote weight gain.

The connection between sleep and weight gain can be found in two hormones: leptin and ghrelin.  Leptin is the satiety hormone, responsible for feeling satiated.  After eating, your leptin levels rise because your body is satisfied and knows it has enough food.  Ghrelin is the hunger hormone, which tells your brain when its time to eat.  After you eat, ghrelin levels decrease.  Studies show that when you are deprived of sleep, your leptin levels decrease and ghrelin levels increase.  This is why when you are low on shut-eye, you sometimes feel a constant hunger, because these hormones are out of sync.  The higher the ghrelin, the more your desire for high calorie foods full of sugar and fat.  This also adds to weight gain.

In addition to the hormone imbalances, a new study recently came out regarding the “mismatch” between the body’s circadian rhythms and the actual schedules people maintain.  The busy social calendar you keep can leave you sleep deprived to sometimes chronic levels.  Your circadian rhythms are based on day and night levels of sunlight and darkness, which should control the optimal window for being awake and being asleep.  Pushing yourself to stay awake through more of the dark periods is leading to a disruption in these patterns, and potentially contributing to habits that cause an increase in weight gain.

While it may seem like a good place to cut back in order to fit more into a busy day, sleep should be regarded on the same level as proper nutrition and physical activity.  It is equally important when maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Just like the “me time” I discussed in a previous blog, getting enough sleep is not selfish, but rather it makes you a more productive and present person whose fuse isn’t set off by a lack of sleep.  Treat yourself to 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and you will find yourself more in control of your hunger and tackling your busy schedule!

Your turn to take action: How many hours of sleep do you get at night?  What strategies will  you use to get more shut-eye?

Here We Go Again-Another Fad Diet

Woman on scaleJust a mere couple of months into 2013 and Americans have latched on to a new “magic bullet” called “The Fast Diet.”  To summarize, the “Fast Diet” recommends limiting your calories on two, non-consecutive days during the week to 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men.  The other five days you are free to eat whatever you want.  The creator of the diet, a doctor from Britain, claimed that following this plan resulted in his own 20 pound weight loss in two months, as well as reduction in his blood sugars and abdominal fat.

However many experts are skeptical due to the lack of human testing.  Without proper research, it is unethical to make a statement to the public that this diet is safe.  Any diet restricting calories to under 1000 is suspect because no human being, no matter what their weight, should be consuming that little energy if they want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  The up and down caloric patterns that occur on a day to day basis also throws off your metabolism and keeps it from working in a regular rhythm, something that could actually cause weight gain.  Another issue is it encourages erratic, mindless eating on the 5 days of the week that you are not fasting by telling people to “eat however they want.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to always eat “however you want”?  Well, that is what the iEat Mindfully™ program is all about, minus restricting calories and having to follow any rules!  Unlike the type of mindless eating the “Fast Diet” encourages five days a week, the iEat Mindfully™ program encourages you to eat whatever you want by honoring your true hunger and respecting your fullness.  It is not a diet, but rather a way of life.  There are no unhealthy restrictions on any day of the week.  You simply learn what your body needs, and have a mutual respect for it and the food that you consume.

Like fashion, diets are nothing more than trends.  They come and go with the season.  However knowing your body and living a healthfully is always in style.

Your turn to take action: What are some diet trends that have let you down?  Have you made a commitment to give up dieting?

Eating for Wellness, Not Weight Loss

When you are a child, there are so many exciting things to experience every day, and meals and snacks are just a part of the routine.  Life is not driven by your meals and snacks and whether or not you will eat the “right” or “wrong” food.  There is pleasure in the friends you are with and the joys each day brings.
When you focus too much on eating and dieting, food begins to control your life rather than being a part of your day.  You find yourself cancelling your lunch date with your friends because you are afraid there will be nothing on the menu that you “can” eat.  You find you are lacking energy to do daily tasks because you are eating very little calories because your plan “told you too.”  These are all food rules that you are following to hopefully lose weight and they are removing the pleasurable experiences from your life.

 

Instead of focusing on your food as a tool for weight loss, focus on it as a tool for wellness.  Food is fuel.  It should not prevent you from living your life, but rather it should help you live your life.  For example, do not skip breakfast because you are worried you will overeat the rest of the day.  Have a hearty nutritious breakfast such as oatmeal with fruit and nuts or scrambled egg whites in a whole grain tortilla.  You will see how much energy you have to start your day and will find you are not “starving” by lunchtime.

 

Promise yourself you will not miss plans with friends because of the venue they are eating at.  Be mindful of your hunger, order something that you are going to enjoy, but honor your fullness and know when it’s time to stop.

 

By making food a positive force in your life, you will end that unhappy relationship and be on your road to wellness AND weight loss.  Your decisions will no longer be controlled by food, but what you want to do and what you want to eat.  As long as you keep the principles of intuitive eating in mind, you are good to go!

 

What is one food rule you live by that does not coincide with eating for wellness, and how will you change it?

Repair Your Relationship with the Mirror

MirrorIt is not always easy.  You’re standing in the dressing room with a new outfit on and the fluorescent lighting hits all the “trouble spots.”  Or you just ate dinner and are changing into pajamas and you catch a glimpse of your stomach in the bedroom mirror and are not especially thrilled with what you see.  Very rarely do people voluntarily stand and look at themselves in the mirror out of the joy of seeing what they look like.  They stand in front of the glass and start picking themselves apart.

 

Does this sound familiar?

 

The first thing to remember is not all mirrors are created equal.  Some mirrors are wider and make you appear wider, just like you might weigh more on one scale over another.  It is simply a piece of glass that shows you a reflection of your appearance.  Yet you see it as a tool that can facilitate a negative dialogue with yourself.

 

In a recent blog post I talked about not being so hard on yourself.  Repairing your relationship with the mirror coincides with all the things mentioned in that post.  It all comes back to loving who you are and speaking positively about yourself.  Instead of hiding from the mirror, embrace it.  After all, it lets you take a look at you, and gives you the opportunity to see the wonderful person that everyone else does.  Mirrors reflect what is seen on the outside, but spend a few seconds longer in front of it and you can start to think about who you are on the inside.

 

Instead of picking yourself apart, look into the mirror and notice parts of your reflection that you are proud of.  Then look harder and see into the person you are looking at.  Think about all the things you handle on a daily basis and be proud of everything you regularly accomplish.  The person you see looking back at you is wonderful, whether or not the fluorescent lighting is flattering or unflattering.  Be happy with the person staring back at you.

 

Spend a full minute staring at yourself in the mirror and come up with five things you love about the person staring back!  I can’t wait to hear what you discover!

Change the Tape that Plays in Your Head

tape 2It can be frustrating to not achieve the weight loss goals you have set out for yourself.  Often you might see this as a failure and a reflection of who you are as a person.  You therefore develop a negative internal monologue with yourself that tends to only perpetuate weight gain or the inability to lose weight.  Bullying yourself is not the way to long lasting weight loss, nor is it part of a healthy lifestyle.

Many times the roadblocks in the journey to weight loss are not a lack of nutrition education or even support, but rather they are barriers you put up in your own psyche that prevents you from moving forward.  Your emotional health is key to your physical health, and talking yourself down will not lead to success.  How many times have you eaten what you consider “poorly” or not in keeping with your “diet plan” throughout the first half of the day, and your inner voice starts bullying you saying, “You can’t even make it a few hours without eating unhealthy” or “Can’t you stick to anything?  You’re such a failure!  You’ll never lose weight!”  The disappoint that accompanies these thoughts almost always leads to more unhealthy choices throughout the rest of the day.

Instead of criticizing yourself, be your own cheerleader.  The day is not ruined if you chose to eat a bagel for breakfast instead of oatmeal.  Tell yourself it is OK and move on.  There are so many more things to the day than what you eat.  Food should only be a part of your life, not what controls it.  The more you can shift your mind from the negative to focusing on all the great things about what you do in a day, the more success you are sure to have on your weight loss journey.

Support from others is great and is a key piece in the weight loss puzzle, but the support you give yourself is equally if not more important.  After all, you are on this journey for you and nobody else, and while weight loss is great, achieving happiness and a sense of peace with the way you maintain a healthy lifestyle is even better.

Please share with me at least 1 thing you are proud of that you did today!

Still Waiting for the Next “Great Diet Miracle”?

quick fixWe are a society that is based on quick fixes.  Our lives and the technology that supports them are fast-paced, and so we expect our weight loss to be the same.  It is this principle that a majority of the weight loss industry is based on.  You are always hearing about the new food to eat that will speed your metabolism, the new supplement that will burn fat faster, or the newest fitness craze that burns more calories in 30 minutes than running does in an hour!  It is easy to get wrapped up in the advertising and buy into the marketing schemes of the people selling these products.

 

The truth is, weight loss that is brought to you by a quick fix or “diet miracle” is typically not the kind of weight loss that will last forever.  These supplements, workouts and diets come with a set of instructions.  They claim that if you follow the instructions, you will succeed.  But when the product runs out, or the diet becomes too cumbersome to continue, chances are you will gain back whatever weight you may have lost and then some, especially if the diet or supplement revolves around a very low calorie intake.

 

When weight loss is successful, it is because you have made your eating and exercise a part of a healthy lifestyle, not something you are following because you were told.  The decision to eat certain foods and exercise resides within you.  This is different than a product or a diet being what controls how you eat.  By honoring your hunger and respecting your fullness, you will know yourself better and know that you are above the fad diets and miracle products.

 

I know that it can be unnerving and hard to be patient when you want to lose weight.  It’s much more tempting to lose a lot of weight quickly by following a diet.  The main thing to remember though is that your goal of weight loss should be to get healthy for life.  Not only is it unhealthy to have your weight yo-yo, but it is emotionally taxing to feel you have succeeded only to fail again.  Eating mindfully will put you on a track to permanent, consistent weight loss, with constant emotional uplift at the thought that you are in control, succeeding on the journey to becoming a healthy person overall.

 

What do you feel will be the greatest reward from a life without dieting and miracle products?

I am here to help you.  If you would like further support, click here for a chance to speak with me!

The Gift of Support this Valentine’s Day

Flowers and chocolates are great, but most of the time material gifts do not make us feel nearly as good as a compliment from a loved one.  Even better than a compliment is support.  You are on your own individual journey into mindful eating, but while you work on loving yourself this Valentine’s Day, ask for the gift of support from your loved ones.

 

This journey into mindful eating that you are on is very personal.  It can sometimes be hard to let others in.  But when you involve the ones you love in matters going on in your life, you may be surprised how much it helps.  Chances are they have seen you go on and off the diet roller coaster so many times and they will be excited to see you embracing a diet-free approach.  They don’t want to see you trapped by a “meal plan” and they certainly don’t want to see you disappointed and not able to reach your goals.

 

So this Valentine’s Day let your loved ones in on the new, diet-free you.  Ask them for support while you travel the road to mindful eating.  Ask them what is it they love about you and let this remind you of the wonderful person that you are.  Love and emotion is a powerful thing, and the support that comes with loving relationships will certainly help you succeed!

 
Let me know what your loved ones had to say about your new diet-free mindset!

iEat Mindfully™ Program Launch

Welcome to the online launch of iEat MindfullyTM!  First, let me congratulate you for taking the first step to learning how to banish diets forever and move past yo-yo dieting! You will never have to go on another diet again! You will learn to reclaim what you were born with… and that is to be able to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied.

I want you to know that if you are a chronic dieter then you have been a victim of dieting. It’s not your fault that the diets didn’t work. The diets are what have failed. I will help you to understand how your body works and how to reclaim the ability to trust your body again.

From years of dieting, you have been taught what you “should” or “shouldn’t” eat but this puts you right into the diet mindset.  Diets don’t work; you likely figured that out if you are a part of this event.  And, the right mindset alone doesn’t work either.

So what DOES work? The real key to getting a healthy body you love is to use a tailored solution that combines three essential ingredients: a healthy mindset, nutrition education and caring support!

Throughout this program launch, I will share with you 5 steps to a body you love without dieting.  You will find those steps at www.facebook.com/BRGDieteticsandNutritionPC

Let’s get the conversation going!