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?





What’s Holding You Back from Saying YES to a Path of Intuitive Eating?

I’ve just completed launching my program Freedom to Eat Forever and I’ve spoken and emailed with a lot of you. Many of you were ready to jump in and leave dieting behind for good. And some of you were hesitant. That’s fine, I respect that. You just weren’t ready.  Yet, it’s important to explore the reasons why you were hesitant. They likely include time, money, or fear.


Let’s start with time. You know the age old saying “there’s never enough time in the day”. Sometimes when there’s an unknown, it’s hard to figure out if you’ll have enough time to commit to it.  But here is another saying I’m sure you’ve heard…you make time for the things you really want to do. So while  you may not be sure what type of time commitment you are able to give to learning a new way of approaching your relationship with food, it’s likely that if there wasn’t another underlying reason, you probably can allocate some time to take care of you in this very important way.


So, let’s look at the next possibility – money. Many times you ask for an opportunity to come your way, you wish for it, you dream of it. And, it is presented to you. Yet, you turn it down. I understand it’s scary to invest in yourself because what if you’re not successful? What if the results are the same as they have been in the past? At some point you need to move beyond this fear if you believe a new and different approach can work for you. You need to move out of your comfort zone, think outside the box and recognize that what you’ve tried for years and years just hasn’t served you. Thus, maybe it is time to invest in yourself in a very real new way and give yourself the chance to finally be free of food and body worries for good. A new approach gives hope.


The third possibility is fear. Fear of what? Fear of actually not dieting anymore. If you are committing to giving up dieting, then you might worry that you will lose control of your eating and constantly overeat. I fully understand your dilemma. Diets are safe for you. They tell you what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. You don’t need to make any decisions. But let me ask you. Is this really how you want to live your life? Or, do you want to be in charge of your own body and your own food choices?


I’ve given you some things to think about. If you want to further explore these areas, feel free to contact me.


Wishing you success and forward movement on your intuitive eating journey.

I Ate a Feta Cheese Veggie Quiche. Would You?

Have I mentioned recently how wonderful it is to be an intuitive eater? Yes, I know I have and my hope is that you are moving forward on your intuitive eating journey.


I want to share an example of why it’s so wonderful to be an intuitive eater.


I’m just back from vacation visiting my parents in Florida. The sunshine was fabulous, and it was really nice to relax and spend time with family. One evening, my husband and I went out to dinner. As I looked over the menu, I wasn’t quite sure what I was in the mood for, and then my eyes landed on the Feta Cheese Veggie Quiche. I decided that THAT was exactly what I wanted. I was contemplating ordering one of the dinner salads (which also sounded delish), but when I read the description on the quiche, I really knew that this was what I wanted at that moment.


Never having ordered a dish like this before, I wondered what it would look like. When it arrived, I was very pleased. The piece of quiche came with two types of side salads drizzled with dressing. I started to eat, savoring every bite. I put my fork down in between each biteful so I can focus on the food that was in my mouth, and not the next forkful.


You may be reading this and wondering why was this so special. I’ll tell you why.


Before I became an intuitive eater, I followed a “healthy meal plan” and would NEVER have ordered this quiche dish in a restaurant. I would have figured it was too fatty, greasy and cheesy. I would have ordered either an egg white veggie omelet with salad and baked potato (which I still love by the way) or one of those dinner salads I mentioned earlier, even if I really wanted the quiche. I would have gone the “safe” route which really limited my eating pleasure.


But now, I asked myself what I really wanted to eat in that moment, and when the answer was the Feta Cheese Veggie Quiche, I went with it and I enjoyed every bite. No guilt, no worry, just pure pleasure.


For many of you reading this, if you struggle with yo-yo dieting and a diet mentality, it is very likely when you go on vacation you think like this: “It’s vacation, I’m going to eat what I want and start my diet when I get back”. We both know that this way of thinking leads to overeating and weight gain and continuation of the vicious cycle of dieting.


Bottom line is this: you can eat what you love and eat intuitively and mindfully while on vacation (and even when you are not on vacation).


Your turn to take action: Choose a food or menu item this week that you would never think of eating if you were on a diet. Eat it mindfully, tuning into your satiety signals, and describe the experience below.


5 Tips to Help You Eat Less

If you’ve been working on losing weight by following diet plans, you are probably eating a certain amount of food that the diet tells you to eat. But the truth is, there are other strategies that you can use to help you eat less.


Learn about those strategies on this week’s episode of The Diet Free Zone Show™.


Just click the image below.

5 Tips to eat less







After you watch the show, please leave your comments below and let me know which tip works best for you.

5 Ways to Handle Food Pushers

Hand Stops CakeYou’ve probably experienced what I am about to talk about.


There you are at a friend’s home for dinner. It’s dessert time and she brings out a homemade apple pie. You left room for dessert, but you truly don’t feel like having apple pie. You much prefer to have the fresh berries with a dollop of whipped topping.


Your friend says “here, have a piece of apple pie”. And, you say, “no, thank you”. And she says “oh come on. I baked it just for you. One bite won’t kill you”. You say, “okay, I’ll have a small slice”.


Later that night, you are upset with yourself. Why did you give in and have that apple pie. You didn’t even enjoy it. You really wanted the fresh berries.


We call these people food pushers or pressure feeders. Why do they do what they do? And, what is the best way to deal with them?


I answer these questions in this week’s episode of The Diet Free Zone Show™.


Just click the image below to watch now.

Food Pushers







After watching the video, please share your food pusher experiences with me in the comment below.


What Does it Feel Like to Eat Without “Food Worry”?

Woman eating pizzaFantastic, terrific, freeing, amazing….I could go on and on.


If you recently attended my free webinar, or watched the replay, you heard my story, the highlight of which (in my opinion) is that for many years I was “on” a “healthy meal plan” (notice the quotation marks) that I created for myself and “followed” diligently day in and day out. I never looked at this as a diet, until I discovered intuitive eating.


If you haven’t listened to my webinar, you can still catch it here for a few more days.


What I realized through my research and training in intuitive eating is that the “healthy meal plan” I was “following” was just another diet. There were definitely foods that I didn’t give myself permission to eat, and when I did eat them, even if it was a small piece, there was a tinge of food worry that came over me. That food worry led to body worry….would that bite of cake cause me to gain weight?


When I implemented the steps toward learning to be an intuitive eater into my life, I achieved a feeling of freedom. These are the steps I spoke of in my recent webinar.


Let me give you an example of how I no longer have this “food worry”.


The only beverages I drink throughout the day are water and a morning cup of coffee. I don’t drink any other beverages because I happen to love water and how it makes my body feel. Last night I sat down to eat dinner and I had my tall glass of water on the table. I saw the orange juice container (my son was having a glass of orange juice) and at that moment, my body said to me “Bonnie, have some orange juice”. I can’t remember the last time I had orange juice, or any juice for that matter. But yet there was a feeling that is hard to describe that my body just knew that a small glass of orange juice would be right for me at that moment.


I honored my body’s inner wisdom and had a glass of orange juice. It was delicious. I enjoyed every sip.


What’s the big deal about this story? Well, four years ago while I was still on my “healthy meal plan”, I would not have allowed myself to have that small glass of OJ. I would hear my inner voice saying “don’t drink your calories”, “juice will make you gain weight”, etc….


But not last night! The only inner voice that I heard was the voice of nurturer, saying “yes, Bonnie, honor what your body is telling you”. And, that small glass filled my needs.


And, it’s not just with juice. It’s with pizza, ice cream  and all foods.


This was a wonderful feeling. No more food worry, no more body worry.


Would you like to feel this feeling too? You CAN! I promise!


Take this moment and listen to the webinar replay “How to Break Free from the Pain of Dieting and Get the Body You Love Without Feeling Deprived”.


And if you’d like, consider taking it further and join me and those who already said YES to the Freedom to Eat Forever™ Program where you will get the training, action and support you need to eat without food worry.


Hope to see you there!


If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me at . I am here to support you all the way!



How to Manage Your Emotions without Turning to Food

Sad woman eating donutOne of the things that come up often in my work with my clients is how they deal with emotional eating. We all experience different emotions throughout a given day. For some, there might be more than others. Such emotions include anxiety, loneliness and sadness. Other more subtle emotions that often might lead you to turn to food include boredom and stress. It is totally normal to experience these emotions from time to time, but how you cope with them is key. (Note: if you are experiencing intense sadness and depression, please see an appropriate mental health professional.)


So the question here is: do you find yourself reaching into the food cabinets when these emotions arise? If you do, how do you feel after you eat the cookies, candy or whatever your “go to” mood fixer food is?


I know that deep down you realize that food is not resolving the issue at hand. Yet, you still find comfort even for the moment in the box of chocolates. But you know what? After you eat them, you now have to deal with the guilt, physical discomfort of overeating and the original emotion you were trying to numb. You are now worse off than when you started.


Does this sound like you? How do you get out of this viscous cycle?


The first thing you need to do is acknowledge that you turn to food to comfort negative feelings, even to numb the emotional pain you might be feeling. Then, you need to commit to learning a new way. Before immediately turning to food, STOP and ask yourself what are you really feeling. If you can honestly say you are hungry, then by all means you should eat….a well-balanced power snack or meal. But if you are being true to yourself and really want to help yourself, you won’t automatically say “I’m hungry”. Instead, you will think about what you are feeling and how you can comfort yourself without turning to food.


If you are unsure what you need, seek out the support from a friend, counselor or therapist. Talking through your emotions instead of eating through them is an amazing feeling.  If you are not ready to face your feelings, then engage in an alternate activity.

Write down some things that you enjoy doing that can distract you during these times. Take a walk, do a puzzle, read a book, go for a ride etc.  Figure out what works for you.


I’ll tell you what works for me. When I am feeling overwhelmed, stressed or upset about something, I remove myself from the area I am at that is causing me distress. I then take several deep breaths and count down from 10 to 0. It really helps me clear my head, and prevents me from heading to the peanut butter jar:)


What works for you? Please let me know in the comments section below. And if you need help sorting through your emotions, I am here for you. Just click here and request to speak with me so you can get clear on your challenges and have a clear path towards dealing with your emotions without turning to food.