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Navigating Life’s Surprises as an Intuitive Eater

big whyLife happens. Twists and turns appear out of nowhere and even as an intuitive eater, you may lose focus and veer off track.

 

The truth is that no matter where you are on your intuitive eating journey, stressful life events are bound to occur. It is okay to feel stressed or anxious, but you don’t want to lose yourself to life’s surprises. I encourage you to stay focused on your health rather than slipping back into old ways.

 

When you feel life weighing you down, it may feel most comfortable to turn to food but the thing is, food is meant to nourish you, not be used as your crutch. So next time you find yourself in this situation, what can you do to keep going and to stay on track?

 

First, I want you to really focus on why you are on the intuitive eating journey. As you feel like you are falling apart, ask yourself the reason you embarked on your intuitive eating journey. Was it to feel better in your own body? Was it to stay healthy for your kids? Was it to get off medication?

 

Chances are your “why” still resonates somewhere within you, even on your darkest days. Let this motivate you. Some days are easier than others but if you keep your “why” in focus, you can navigate the bumps along the way. Instead of letting the bad times discourage you from working to better your health and yourself, use mindfulness to clear your head space and find peace within yourself.

 

Make every day the best it can be by prioritizing your own needs. That may mean making a list of goals, tasks to tackle, or fresh produce to pick up from the grocery store. Each step in the right direction is an important one.

 

You can make the most of each day by scheduling time for your own priorities into your daily routine. There is a time for work, a time for taking care of the needs of others, and a time to care for yourself. This includes time to sit down for meals and to be engaged, mindful and do nothing but focus on your food.

 

Take time to unwind each day. This can be exercise, taking a bath, catching the newest episode of your favorite TV show, or talking with a friend. Remember that you do not have to navigate alone. At times life is too much to balance on your own so reach out to friends, coworkers, family, and loved ones for support when you need it. By letting go of pent up emotions, you will be clearing your mind and allowing more room for mindfulness.

 

You may be thinking “but I don’t have TIME to relax.” Trust me, I know the feeling. With busy schedules, sometimes it may feel like there is just no time to unwind. Even just taking 15 minutes to vent to a friend or to decompress your thoughts onto paper will benefit your day and your overall goals.

 

Instead of taking time to make excuses as to why you cannot do this or that, put that energy towards focusing on the reasons you embarked on your intuitive eating journey. Write down your motivation and the messages your body is sending you. You will gain clarity and feel motivated to trek on this journey.

 

The truth is, life comes at you fast. You cannot go back in time but you can make the most of your present and future. Honing in on your intuitive eating and mindfulness will help you navigate through life’s obstacles and keep you on track to being the best version of yourself.

 

Always remember, when you are feeling low, there is nowhere to go but up! If you keep your focus and mindfulness, you will find inner peace on even your worst days.

 

Are Negative Food Messages Causing You to Gain Weight?

Woman apple-cupcake decisionIt’s no question that obesity is a major concern in the United States. The rise in obese adults in the last few years has given authorities a reason to take action.

 

Today there are a number of campaigns out there trying to steer the public towards healthier food choices. However, some of these messages are actually backfiring. The reason? Because they’re delivering strong negative messages instead of positive ones.

 

Researchers are finding that negatives messages such as “sugary snacks are bad for you, don’t eat them” can actually cause you to choose these foods rather than ignore them. Interestingly, positive messages around sugary snacks that don’t illicit negative feelings about eating them have less of an impact in you choosing these foods.

 

One study from Arizona State University wanted to see if this theory was true. The study included 397 participants who were given a positive or negative message about sugary snacks in the form of an advertisement. Following the ad, the subjects were offered cookies on their way out.

 

What they found was that people who received the negative message consumed 29% more cookies than those who saw the positive message.

 

The researchers wanted to further explore the effects of messages on food choices. This included a negative message, a positive message and a balanced message that portrayed even-handed information about the benefits and drawbacks of consuming sugary snacks. In this study, 324 people participated.

 

The results of the study found that participants who were shown the negative message consumed 30% higher unhealthy snack choices compared to the group who received the positive message. The group that received the balanced message consumed 47% less unhealthy snacks. What this study ultimately shows us is that advertisements in the media have an effect on influencing how you perceive food and even the choices you make.

 

But let me take this a step further. The diet industry and other health gurus and experts out there who are telling you “don’t eat carbs they are bad for you (or gluten, sugar, etc… you can fill in the blank with all the negative messages you are told), are actually setting you up to crave these foods and eventually break down and overeat them. This in turn perpetuates the restriction/deprivation/dieting/feeling guilt and shame vicious cycle that so many overweight people struggle with every day of their lives.

 

Is this you?

 

Do not be fooled; be aware of the information you’re exposed to and stay alert to inaccurate information from biased sources.

 

For more information on becoming the expert of your own body, download my free e-book here

 

Your turn to take action: What negative messages have you fallen prey to that led you to overeating those foods?

 

Is Intuitive Eating a Weight Loss Program or Not?

Woman with question marksMore often than not, people struggling to lose weight will say yes to a new diet that hits the market. Whether the catch phrase is diet, program, system or technique, if it is something they haven’t tried, you can bet they are going to get suckered into the claims that THIS is the diet, program, system or technique that will finally help you achieve the weight loss you pray for.

 

So when I was having a conversation the other day with a woman who was asking me about the intuitive eating work I do with my clients, I wasn’t surprised when she asked me about the “weight loss program” that she was interested in learning more about.

 

I quickly stated, “Intuitive eating is not a weight loss program”.

 

Whoa! Wait a minute! That stopped her dead in her tracks. Her mouth dropped open. “If it is not a weight loss program, then what is it”, she asked.

 

I proceeded to explain to her that the intuitive eating work I do with my clients is a step-by-step process to help them transform their relationship with food, where they end the battle with food and their body and achieve great pleasure in eating once again.

 

You see, all the years of dieting has caused food to be your enemy, and has led you to feel guilty after eating foods that you deemed “bad” by the diet industry. On top of that, each time you eat one of these bad foods, or you overeat and feel shame and guilt, you also feel miserable about yourself and your body.

 

Intuitive eating puts all things back into perspective. Intuitive eating reminds you that you are in charge of your food choices and your body. You have the inner wisdom to know when you are hungry and when you are full, when you should start eating and when you should stop.

 

The process of learning to become an intuitive eater puts you back into the driver’s seat of deciding what foods you want to eat, how you want to dress, and helps you to love and respect yourself, and your body again.

 

In turn, as you learn to live life as an intuitive eater with an inner love that shows kindness to yourself, gentleness with yourself and ultimately acceptance of yourself, something wonderful happens. You start to release weight! You start to feel your pants become loser, your stride become longer, your walking pace become quicker and your breathing become easier.

 

Yes, you will naturally lose weight, returning to what is a “natural, healthy weight” for your body, not an ideal weight based on a calculation and a chart.

 

So, is intuitive eating a weight loss program?

 

No, it is not.

 

Can you release weight when living life as an intuitive eater making conscious food choices?

 

Yes you can!

 

Sounds pretty darn good to me!

 

Your turn to take action: Contact me if you would like to get started on your intuitive eating journey. Just click here to learn more.

 

Is it Possible to Eat without Food Worry?

Woman eating fruit saladIf I told you, a chronic dieter, that you can recapture the pleasure in your eating and look forward to your meals with excitement and not fear, dread or worry, what would you say?

“No way, impossible.”

“I wish!”

“I doubt it!”

 

I know that this might seem unachievable to you, having battled with your weight for years, being on and off diets without long-term success. All these diets have caused food to be your enemy, which is quite unfortunate because food is meant to nourish your body.

 

How many times have you accepted a lunch date with your girlfriends, or dinner date with your partner only to worry for hours beforehand what you will order and if you are going to overeat? The worry about how many points the salad dressing is, how many calories are in the creamed spinach and concerned that you will leave the restaurant feeling bloated, heavy and miserable.

 

All this fear and worry leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. You DO overeat, you DO feel guilty and ashamed and you DO leave the date feeling bloated, heavy and miserable.

 

In my work with my clients, I help them to understand that through the process of learning to be an intuitive eater, you actually lose this food fear and food worry and instead leave the restaurant or dinner table feeling utmost pleasure in what you have just eaten (and you were able to focus on your wonderful dinnertime companion instead of thinking about eating too much food).

 

The secret is in SAVORING YOUR FOOD! This means slowing down and taking the time to enjoy all the qualities of the food you are eating including taste, texture, temperature, aroma and appearance. This sounds a lot like mindful eating, doesn’t it? Yes, it is and it is exactly what I teach my clients as they move along their intuitive eating journey.

 

This month is National Nutrition Month. The theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”. This theme meshes wonderfully with the message of mindful eating. Take the time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasure, great flavors and social experience that food can bring to your life.

 

Would you like to participate in a free 7 day challenge where you can learn how to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”?

 

This challenge is happening in my private Facebook group. It’s called:

 

Challenge - Savor Flavor-When-Where

Savor the Flavor of Eating

7 Day Free Challenge

 

Discover:

– What’s behind the “HOW”, “WHEN”, “WHY” and “WHERE” you eat.

– Begin your journey towards a more mindful and pleasurable eating style.

 

Join us for Free by clicking here. There is no opt-in required to join our group. This takes you to my private Facebook group. All you have to do is request access to join and Walla! I’ll accept you and welcome you in.

 

The challenge starts on March 7. You can only participate if you are part of the private Facebook group, so click here now and request access to join.

 

 

The Most Important Step in Losing Weight

It's all about your mindset-no logoI’m going to keep today’s blog short. It’s a quick message for you, although I realize it might not be so easy or quick for you to internalize.

 

I was asked a very interesting question yesterday. The question went like this:

 

“What is the most important thing I can do to lose weight besides changing my eating?”

 

I imagine what comes to your mind, besides food, would be….exercise. But that’s not what I answered her.

 

The very first and most important thing you need to do if you want to lose weight and never gain it back is to CHANGE YOUR MINDSET!  That’s right. It has nothing to do with food.

 

You’ve tried changing your food and exercise before. You’ve been on multiple diets, on and off. You’ve gained weight, you’ve lost weight, and you’ve gained the weight back again.

 

You’ve exercised at the gym, at home, you’ve done boot camps, you hired a trainer, you tried Zumba and even spinning.

 

And, you are right back where you started from. Trying to lose the weight again.

 

This is because you have been starting at the end, not at the beginning. You have been so focused on what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat as dictated by the diet plans and what is “healthy”, that you aren’t understanding the big WHY– why you choose what you choose, when you choose it. You are stuck in a diet mentality and are afraid to let it go.

 

It is most important to start by changing your mindset around food, around dieting, around your body and your life. As a dieter, you must move past your dieting mentality and the idea that you need to deprive yourself and/or restrict yourself of your favorite foods in order to lose weight. You must move past the thought that you must “follow” what someone else tells you to eat because you no longer trust yourself to make those decisions.

 

The sooner you can do this, the sooner you can develop a healthier relationship with food and allow yourself to be guided by your inner body wisdom to know when to start eating and when to stop. However, if you say in the cycle of food worry, you will continue to think it’s the food that’s at the core of the problem, and that’s just not so.

 

There’s a lot more I can say on this topic. We are discussing it in our online private Facebook community.

 

Come and join the discussion.

 

 

3 Tips to Increase Mindfulness in Your Kitchen and Home

Shalom zachor 2Big news! My son and daughter-in-law had a baby boy! That’s my second grandchild (both boys) and I am super excited. He came into this world a bit earlier than expected and took us all by surprise. But he and mom are doing well and we couldn’t be happier!

 

We celebrated my new grandson’s homecoming from the hospital with a celebration in my home on Friday evening. I had less than 48 hours to plan this big event so I went into overdrive. My husband and I immediately started making lists of what we needed to buy. Cake, fruit, drinks etc…..

 

Shalom zachor 1The party was terrific. Happy times and cherished memories with family and friends.

 

After the party, I looked around. Wow, I had SO much food left over. As usual, I overbought, thinking I wouldn’t have enough. This is where the challenge began.

 

In order to continue my mindful eating practices, it’s important to set up my environment for success. If I was to leave all the cake and pastries on my kitchen counter, then it would be very tempting every time I passed in and out of the kitchen. So, I packed everything up in storage bags, labeled it and carefully put it in the freezer with the intention that I will take it out the next time I have company over. In response to my children’s request, I did leave out some of grandma’s blondies:)

 

I believe it’s important to be realistic. As an intuitive and mindful eater, you know that you eat when hungry and not because it’s “just there in front of you”. But, there are times when even the most intuitive and mindful of eaters will dip into the cookie jar – well – just because.

 

In order to minimize this mindless eating, it is important to set your home up for success.

 

Here are 3 tips that I do in my home that you can start doing right now:

  • Put all food away in the cabinets. Keep your counters clear. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Immediately freeze leftovers and label it for the next meal you plan to eat it.
  • Keep all food in the kitchen. Avoid having candy dishes filled with nuts and jelly beans on the living room cocktail table for when someone comes to visit. When that time comes, you can always put the candy dish out.

 

There is no perfection in intuitive eating. But, you can help your journey along by setting up your home for success.

 

Your turn to take action: What steps will you take to minimize mindless eating in your home environment?

 

 

 

Food and Celebrations: Lessons Learned

thanksgiving table with foodWhat is it about holidays and food? It seems that the word “holiday” is synonymous with the word “food” or should I say “TOO MUCH FOOD”!

 

I’ve just finished celebrating a month full of holidays. It’s been fun spending time with family…my parents, my children, my grandson. Have I mentioned my grandson lately? He is just so scrumptious! He’s able to call me grandma now…I just can’t get enough.

 

But I divert. Back to topic.

 

I told my kids that I wasn’t going to overcook this holiday. I was going to make a basic meal, ensuring that there was protein, whole grains and lots of vegetables. And I did. But the problem was…I made too much! Meaning, too many choices. I was so worried “what if she doesn’t like that, what if he doesn’t like this…I must have all these choices.

 

Well, I was wrong. After each meal ended (and there were many), I looked at the leftovers and said, “It looks like I’m putting away more than I took out”. Now, of course that’s not possible, but what I mean is people ate and then stopped. And, I was left with a lot of leftovers.

 

So, my lessons learned are as follows:
1) My family knows what it means to listen to their inner satiety (fullness signals) and they stopped eating when they were just full (okay, to be totally honest, some did eat a little past comfortable satiety, but even this happens now and then in an intuitive eater.)

 

2) Listen to my “gut” instinct. The next time I plan to make a basic meal, I need to stick to my plan and not worry that I won’t have enough food, because I always do!

 

3) Immediately freeze my leftovers, in small containers, so I have ready-to-go meals for during the week. I often work late hours, and it’s great to pull out already cooked food from my freezer so my family has a balanced meal every night.

 

4) Remember the reason we are celebrating, whether it be a holiday, a birthday, anniversary or job promotion. Food does NOT have to be the center of the celebration. Yes, it’s an important part, I won’t deny that. But, focus on the people you will be partying with, the conversations you will have, and perhaps new people you will meet.

 

What are the lessons you’ve learned from food-abundant celebrations?

 

 

How Illness Affects Your Hunger Signals

Tissue boxI’m writing this blog today with a cup of tea to my left, a box of tissues to my right and a throat lozenge in my mouth.

 

Yes, I am sick. My throat hurts, I am coughing and overall I just don’t feel well.

 

I don’t usually get sick so this is really throwing me for a loop. But I realize that there is a lesson here that I am eager to share with you.

 

After I woke up this morning from a difficult night sleep, I went into the kitchen to prepare my breakfast. What I realized as I tuned into my hunger signals was that I wasn’t really hearing hunger. I stopped to think about this. The last time I ate was dinner last night, and I am usually hungry in the morning. Yet, I just wasn’t feeling it this morning.

 

What do you think I did?

 

Well, I could have left the kitchen and said I’m not going to eat because I don’t hear my hunger. But that’s not what I did. I changed up my breakfast a bit, and had a much smaller breakfast with a cup of tea.

 

A few hours later, I sensed a gentle hunger, but still not typical of my usual hunger mid-day. Yet, I realized that it’s been some time since I’ve eaten, and it’s very important to keep my energy levels up with proper fuel. And so again, I tweaked what my usual lunch would be, and had a smaller lunch with another cup of tea.

 

The lesson I am sharing with you here is this.

 

While I encourage you to tune into your inner hunger signals as your guide to eating, there are times when those hunger signals might be blunted. And, one of those times is during illness. Therefore, even if you don’t hear and feel the hunger signals like you normally do, it’s still so important to eat so you can properly nourish your body. Choose healthful “sick friendly” foods that are easy on the stomach (and in my case, easy on my throat), but do eat recognizing that this might be one situation where you just don’t hear those hunger signals as sharp as when you are feeling well.

 

Your turn to take action: How does illness affect your hunger signals and how do you respond?