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Am I Always So Bubbly and Happy?

8950365_sAs I sat down today to write my post for the iEat Mindfully™ blog, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to write about.  But then it came to me.  Earlier today, I was told for about the 10th time this week, how bubbly and happy I am.  “Am I always like that, my client asked me?”  And I realized, yes, when I am teaching my clients about intuitive eating, I absolutely am giddy, bubbly and oh, so happy.

 

You see, for years when clients came to me for help in losing weight, I would create a healthy eating plan that fit into their lifestyle.  It included foods they liked, times they should eat, and even recipes.  My clients did very well…when they “followed” the meal plan.  But what happened when they didn’t “follow” the meal plan?  Or when a life event, stress, or bad day at the office had them dipping into the cookie jar.  Out went that healthy meal plan.

 

I dreaded the sessions when I would weigh a client and the rest of the session revolved around why they only lost 1 pound, or why they gained ½ pound.  I got so burnt out….I just wasn’t enjoying my work any longer.  This is when I knew I had to find another solution for my clients who struggled with chronic dieting and overweight/obesity, which I believed would in turn bring the passion back into my work.

 

That is when I found intuitive eating.  After spending time researching, studying, learning, and applying the principles of intuitive eating into my own life, I slowly worked it up into a program that would help transform my client’s lives.  It wasn’t easy at first.  Trying to get people to trust me that they should give up the “diet” or the “meal plan” wasn’t easy.

 

I quickly realized it really was more a matter of whether they could trust themselves.  After years and years of dieting and listening and following what other people/diet programs told them to eat, when to eat and how much to eat, well I guess it’s only natural that one would lose trust in themselves.

 

Fast forward to today…I am helping many people learn to regain that trust in themselves; to shift their mindset away from a diet mentality; to listen to their internal hunger and satiety signals.  The light bulbs that go on in their heads in our sessions are truly inspiring to me.  The “aha” moments are like no other.

 

So, yes, I am always bubbly, giddy and happy when I am working with my intuitive eating clients.  That’s what happens when I am doing what I love to do…when I am passionate about the transformation that I help my clients achieve.  Thank you to my wonderful clients.  I absolutely love working with you!

 

Your turn to take action:  If you would like the light bulbs to go on for you, head on over to http://www.talkwithbonnie.com and we will schedule a time to talk.

 

 

The Trials of Technology and Intuitive Eating

Eating while on cellDid you ever look around while you are walking somewhere and notice the people around you?  Is it more common that they are on a smartphone, listening to music or interacting with some electronic device rather than conversing with one another and paying attention to their surroundings?  I know for me the answer yes.

 

Technology has a way of taking over our lives, making us distracted.  When that distraction carries over into your eating, it finds you mindlessly munching away, not even aware of how much food you are consuming.  It also takes you away from being able to focus on your hunger and fullness cues, making it more difficult to be intuitive.

 

Sometimes it is nice to have information constantly at your fingertips.  You can look up food items at restaurants if you decide to eat out and you can look up healthier dining options if you find yourself stuck somewhere without any pre-packed meals or snacks.

 

But the problem is you develop a reliance on that technology rather than using your own common sense and internal signals.  If you are in the mood for a slice of pizza but one of your apps is telling you that you haven’t burned enough calories or you have eaten too many calories for the day, you decide to deny yourself of that pizza.  Then later on what happens?  The deprivation from earlier in the day leads to overeating on pizza that night.

 

You can see how technology can sometimes fight being intuitive.  Having so much reliance on electronic devices has you not relying on one of your most important devices—your brain and your body.  So hang up, turn-off, and listen to your hunger signals and desires rather than your iPhone app!  See how it goes.

 

Your turn to take action: Commit to not using technology or calorie counting apps for the next 3 days.  Listen to your internal signals and consider your needs.  How did it feel?

The Many Voices of Hunger

peace with food programThere are many facets of intuitive eating…thus the “10 principles”, which are what I call your empowerment tools to help you acquire and understand your internal cues that drive your hunger and satiety.  If you are unfamiliar with the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating, read more about them here.

 

One of the intuitive eating principles is Cope with Your Emotions without Using Food.  There are many emotional triggers that can lead you to emotional eating.  Identifying those triggers and finding ways to cope without turning to food is key to overcoming what might be plaguing you for a long time.

 

Sounds easy to say, but not so easy to do, right?  Yep, I agree.  I work very closely with my clients on this principle and it can take a long time to overcome, especially if you have been using food to cope with your life for many years.

 

I have recently come across a book called The Emotional Eating Rescue Plan for Smart, Busy Women.  Now, it’s not to say that men don’t experience emotional eating, but this book happens to focus on women who have a lot on their plate and tend to put their needs on the back burner.  Sound familiar?  Yes, I’ve discussed this before, the need to practice self-care, and make yourselves a priority.

 

The Emotional Eating Rescue Plan for Smart, Busy Women helps to define hunger in ways that you may never have thought of.  The definition of hunger as “a strong desire or craving” has the reader starting to think that hunger might be experienced for something that is not actually food.  Utilizing the tools in this book, you will begin to differentiate between hungers.  The reader is guided through a series of questions to help figure out what she is really hungry for….love, companionship, fun etc.   You are not given answers, but you are encouraged to explore and journey on the path of self-discovery.

 

This book is a great resource to complement your intuitive eating journey.

 

Cooking and Intuitive Eating

hearthealthycooking

Do you love to cook?  Do you take the time to prepare what you love?  As a past dieter (I’m hoping by now you are on your way to saying that!), consider how you decided what you were going to cook for dinner.  More than likely it was what the “diet menu” dictated for the night.  If you didn’t like the choice, I bet you still made it because to deviate from the menu would mean you “broke your diet”.

 

So think about it.  When you were dieting, and you cooked what you were told to cook, did you really enjoy it?  Did you derive great satisfaction from it?  I have many clients who are wonderful cooks, and unfortunately stopped cooking when they were on the diet rollercoaster.  It was too tempting to cook “something really good” and not be able to eat it.

 

Now think about the last yummy meal you cooked as an intuitive eater.  You took the time to figure out what you really wanted to eat, you pulled out a favorite family recipe or opened up a new cookbook, and took the time to prepare what you wanted.  How did you feel?

 

I have been working on writing my next cookbook which, although is not yet titled, will incorporate the principles of intuitive eating.  I have had so much fun creating and testing new recipes.  As an intuitive eater, it has opened my mind and my meal options to so many delicious foods that as a past dieter, I would not have eaten.

 

By taking the time to ask yourself what you want to eat, and taking the time to prepare that food, you will feel more satisfied, more in tune with your internal signals and more nourished.

 

It doesn’t have to be anything complicated.  It can be a simple sandwich, a plate of vegetable crudité with hummus, or if you are feeling adventurous, a three-course meal.  The key is to approach it from an intuitive eating standpoint and find ways to make cooking an enjoyable part of your life.

 

Your turn to take action:  Ask yourself what you really want to eat for dinner tonight.  Take the time to prepare and enjoy it.  Let me know how this experience was for you.

 

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?

4 Dangers of Chronic Dieting

While many people can admit to dieting at some point in their lives, there is a difference between wanting to lose 1. 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!

4 Side Effects of Dieting

1.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.

2.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.

3.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?

4.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 and movement that feels joyful and gentle is the true way to feeling at home in your body and living a happier and healthier lifestyle.

Your turn to take action:  Want off the diet roller coaster? Sign up below to Break the Spell of Diets in 3 Days! You’ll be amazed at the feeling of freedom!

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?