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Eating as a Part of Your Life—Not Letting it Consume Your Life

When you want to get into a routine and build something into your life, one way to do it is to schedule and plan.  For some, this is also true when it comes to dieting.  You schedule the number of meals you will eat that day based on when the plan tells you to and you restructure your life around that plan.  You are always thinking about what you are supposed to be eating next, will you be eating it “on time” and if you didn’t pack it with you, will you be able to find something comparable.  You find the only thing you are thinking about is food.
I want you to remember a time, if such a period existed, where you weren’t worrying about your weight or your food.  You lived your life and when you were hungry you ate, you stopped when you were full and you weren’t frantically wondering if a food fell into your plan if you wanted to have it.  For many of you trying to get back to this memory, it might take you all the way back to your childhood days—and that’s OK.

 

When you are younger and there is less to worry about, that carefree attitude translates easier to food.  Eating is just something you have to do in between all the other fun things you look forward to doing every day.  Now that you are older, sometimes food is the fun part of your day, and sometimes it is something to worry about.  Whatever end of the spectrum you fall on you still shouldn’t be living for or living in fear of it.  Accepting food as part of your day rather than something your entire world has to stop for makes it easier to accept a healthier non-diet lifestyle rather than a diet mentality.

 

If you weren’t so hungry and you didn’t eat as much lunch as you normally do, or if you waited an hour later than usual to eat it, that’s OK!  You are listening to your body.  Maybe one day you had a very intense work-out and your body told you to eat a little more at lunch time than you’re used to—listen to it!  Pardon the pun but go with your gut and listen to what it says rather than restricting it to a pre-determined schedule that might not fit into your day.  Eating is a necessary part of life, but it doesn’t have to be your life.

 

Your Turn to Take Action: Try and focus on the things in life you enjoy that are not related to food this week.  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

Evaluate and Feel Great!

Woman with thumbs upWhen you have a diet mentality, there are a lot of things that can take away from you feeling positive about yourself.  Remember those days you didn’t follow “the plan” and you felt that you had failed?  Feeling like you needed to hide to eat something you wanted to eat because that would make it less of a disgrace to your “diet,” or feeling pressure to order food you don’t even want because the people around you know you’re dieting and you can’t let them see you “cheat.”  Not to mention the only way of evaluating yourself on a diet is by weighing yourself, which as you know, is not a true testament to success in a healthy lifestyle.

The beauty of intuitive eating is it opens up a world that wants you to feel good about yourself.  If you have been progressing on a mindful eating journey, now is a great time to step back and look at all the positive progress you have made.  I want you to evaluate where you are at in the following:

  • Have you been able to look in the mirror and start finding more things that you like about yourself?
  • Do you find yourself eating foods you previously deemed “evil” and being able to enjoy them?
  • Have you tuned out negative self-talk and started to focus on positive aspects of the lifestyle you are living?
  • Have you asked your loved ones around you for their support in this healthy journey?
  • Is your scale collecting dust in your home somewhere because it is no longer a symbol of success in your mind?
  • Are you exercising because of how it makes you feel rather than to negate calories?
  • Are you stopping when you’re full and eating when you’re hungry?

If you said yes to any of these questions then you should feel proud.  These are huge hurdles to jump over when overcoming the diet mentality and to clear any of them is a great accomplishment.  The more of these questions you can answer as “yes,” the better you will continue to feel about your healthy lifestyle and your relationship with the food you eat.

Your turn to take action:  How do you feel about your intuitive eating progress so far?

Being Intuitive With Exercise—Part 2

I hope since last week you have been able to think about how you fit exercise into your life.  If you are making any one of the three mistakes discussed, then today I have some ways for you to reframe your thinking of exercise so that you will see it as a more positive aspect of your healthy life!

  • Making Time.  One of the biggest if not the biggest excuse for people not exercise is not having time.  Even it is just 10 minutes a day you devote to some type of movement that is beneficial to the body.  If you get accustomed to making those 10 minutes work, you may start to see how you could add on more.
  • Schedule it!  Just like any appointment in your schedule, make your time to exercise one that you cannot miss.  By putting it in your planner you are making it a commitment like anything else you have that day.
  • Start Small.  By getting active in life in general, you start reaping the benefits of exercise.  Try some of these easy steps:

–          Park your car farther away so that you are elongating the walk to the entrance of the building

–          Take the stairs rather than the elevator.

–          Carry an extra shopping bag in each hand to simulate weights and strengthen your shoulders.

  • Choose What You Love.  Exercise can be and should be fun and enjoyable.  Instead of just joining a gym, perhaps joining a sports league or exercising with your kids will make it feel like less of a negative experience as it may have in the past.
  • Don’t Force Things.  Don’t feel like you have to wear a certain outfit to go to the gym or be the best one in a class you want to take.  Do what makes you happy, wear what makes you comfortable, and feel good about the fact that you are exercising.  Everyone is focused on themselves in a gym and they are not looking at what top you decided to wear, so go ahead, hop on the spin bike!
  • Listen to Your Body.  Some days you might feel sick and you might be too tired to work out.  That’s OK.  Paying attention to how you feel is so important to the whole intuitive eating process.  Just remember if you miss a day, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed.  Get right back to it the following day and the missed day will be a thing of the past!

So listen to your body and make movement a part of your life.  It will be a perfect combination along with all your healthy eating and you’ll feel that much better!

Your turn to take action: Which of these tips do you think will help you overcome your difficulties to commit to exercise the most?

Fitting All Your Favorites into a Healthy Eating Plan

Tell me if this sounds familiar.  You are about to embark on the latest diet plan of the moment.  This diet requires you to avoid eating certain food that you love most; maybe that’s pasta, chocolate cake, or in some cases, even fruit is forbidden.  You assign a date for which you are going to “start” this plan and in the days leading up to the “start” you overindulge in all the foods you love that you will have to give up while you are on this diet.  Why do you put yourself through this torture?

Intuitive eating restricts no foods.  It encourages learning to make a place for all your favorites by exercising your right to honor your hunger, while still respecting your fullness.  Eat healthfully but allow yourself to enjoy food without punishing yourself or feeling guilty.  If you truly want a bagel for breakfast, then by all means, have a bagel; but tune in.  You may find that once you take the label off that bagel, half will be all you need to feel satisfied.

Food should not make you feel bad.  Diet plans foster this mentality if you decide to eat something that is not on “the diet,” conjuring up words like “cheating” and “falling off”—both negative terms that take away from the joy that those foods can and should bring you.  Yet when you are eating intuitively and giving yourself permission to eat any food, how much and how often you eat that food completely changes.  You are mentally more clear and less stressed about what you eat, which usually leads to better eating habits in the long run.

So don’t forbid your favorite foods.  Everything can be part of a healthy eating plan as long as you are listening to your hunger and fullness signals.

Your turn to take action: What food do you love that you have given up in the past?

Dangers of Chronic Dieting

ScaleWhile many people can admit to dieting at some point in their lives, there is a difference between wanting to lose weight the healthy way (slow and steady) or relying on fad diets that promise quick fixes.

The problem with fad diets is that they will most likely last just as long as it took you to lose the weight.  Instead of losing weight gradually over time and being able to maintain the weight loss, these short-lived diets will actually end up costing you more than you bargained for.

Because of their quick-fix results, many people unfortunately get caught up in the cycle of dieting for a specific event, gaining the weight back, and then trying a new fad the next time.  This is known as chronic dieting.

While these may work in the short-term, there can be negative long-term effects such as:

Slowed Metabolism– When dieting consists of a drastic decrease in caloric intake, your body will compensate for this “starvation mode”, which will slow the rate of your metabolism.  While many diets claim to speed up metabolism, they are actually doing the opposite.

More Challenging to Lose Weight– Over time, after numerous fad diet episodes, it will be harder for your body to lose excess weight, and even harder to gain back the lean muscle mass that you have lost.  After a quick-fix diet, youhave lost mostly water weight and muscle, so when you do gain weight back, it is not muscle, it is fat.  Therefore, although you may lose initial weight, the chances of you gaining even more fat back after your success is extremely high.

Altered Mood– What happens when you get hungry?  You get angry!  Not having the appropriate amount of food in your system can affect your mood because of hormonal changes and a lower level of blood sugar.  With less energy being consumed, the more tired you become as well. Is losing weight in an unhealthy fashion worth being tired and in a bad mood for?

Nutrient Deficiencies– Some diets restrict certain nutrients such as carbohydrates or complete food groups, such as dairy.  When you aren’t eating well-balanced meals, you are likely missing some essential nutrients that can lead to deficiencies and disease.

The next time you hear of a fad diet that is too good to be true, it probably is! There are many ways to lose weight fast, but they certainly are not healthy and over time can lead to further health complications. Eating well-balanced meals and letting your body guide you while incorporating consistent exercise is the true way to long-term weight loss and a happier and healthier lifestyle.

Your turn to take action:  What will you do to finally step off the diet roller coaster?

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?

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!

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!

What is Mindful Eating?

Diets are all about restriction.  Someone hands you a meal, or a diet book lays out a specific plan of what you can eat, when you can eat it, and how long you should follow this set of “rules” in order to reach your goal.  The problem with that is once the diet is “over” the weight has a tendency to come back, because there is no longer a road map to follow.

You may have read or heard the term “mindful eating” when it comes to weight loss, but it is hard to figure out what that term actually means.  Many of the issues that dieters face come from a lack of tuning into certain feelings and cues while eating.  Then they punish themselves for overeating and move on to another diet with a new set of restrictions.

Mindful eating is about paying attention to the act of eating, without judgment.  When you do this, you will find you eat when you are hungry, not for emotional reasons.  You will find that by giving yourself permission to eat, you only eat to a level of healthy satisfaction because you are tuned into your hunger and you honor it, rather than restrict yourself to a certain way of eating.  Food should be something that fuels you.  It should not be used to feed emotions.  The more attuned you become to your eating, the more you will be able to differentiate those feelings of hunger and feelings that relate to other life issues that are not meant to be handled with food.

The process of learning to become a mindful eater is a journey.  It is about taking steps towards becoming someone you love inside and out.  Becoming a mindful eater will end your search for the next diet road map, because through mindful eating, you will have already found your destination: a body you love, that you can maintain without dieting.

What are some things you can do to become more attuned to your hunger today?