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6 Tips to a Mindful Holiday Season

The holiday season is a joyous time, but it can also be a very stressful time. Your celebrations likely include hosting friends and family, which means lots of planning, cooking, cleaning and entertaining. This stress can start to affect how well you listen to your body – which is why it’s extra important this time of the year to take care of yourself.

 

Taking Care of YOU

 

When it comes to taking care of yourself, start with what your body needs.

 

Is it an extra 20 minutes of sleep? Or, making time for yourself to exercise, read a book, or take a bath?

 

Whatever it is that helps you to remain relaxed and calm, make the time each day to do it!  Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks or ask family and friends to help. Your physical and mental health is just as important as everyone else’s!

 

The Day of the Dinner Party

 

You got this! You’ve worked hard to take care of your own needs in the early weeks of December. But now that the big day is here, and your company will be ringing your bell, (or you’re ringing their bell), do you push your needs to the side?

 

Along with taking care of yourself leading up to the holidays, it’s also important to take the steps you need to on the day of the dinner party to ensure you are honoring and respecting your body’s needs.

 

6 Tips to Help You Stay Mindful During the Party

  1. Plan ahead. It’s important to plan ahead so you can enjoy your favorite foods without guilt. The day before the big dinner party, plan out what you will eat for breakfast and lunch that day. It’s important to stay nourished so you don’t arrive at the dinner party too hungry!
  2. Focus on friends and family. The holidays are all about spending time with your family and friends (I know you know this, but it can be challenging to remember this when you are not at peace with food). Give thought to something special that you love about each guest, and be sure to tell them how you feel. Put the focus on them, not the food.
  3. Savor your food. Focus on each bite of food that you put into your mouth. Experience the taste, texture, flavors and aroma of the food. Do you like it, dislike it, or it’s just okay?  If you aren’t fully satisfied with it, don’t finish it.
  4. Sit down at the table. Eating while standing around the buffet table or while walking around will decrease your attention and satisfaction with your meal. Instead, plan to sit while eating. Fill your plate with food and find a table to sit.  Friends and family will likely join you and you can enjoy nice conversation while being more mindful of your eating.
  5. Listen to your body. It’s important for you to take the time to listen to your body’s inner signals as you are getting satiated.  Stop eating when you feel comfortable, you can always wrap up the rest for another time.  This will help you enjoy the homemade pie without guilt.
  6. Indulge in your favorites. Don’t avoid your favorites that come around once a year. Avoidance can lead to caving in and then to overeating.  It’s much better to eat a small portion of something you really want than to give it up entirely. Choose those foods that you don’t typically have year-round. Take a portion and enjoy without guilt.

If you’re looking for more help to ensure you have a stress-free holiday season, look no further than right here!

December 1st marked the month-long Holiday Special of my Stress Less, Eat Less – Holiday Edition Program. This program is designed to help you develop personalized strategies specific to your situation to help you beat holiday stress eating.

 

In this program, you can go at your own pace. I will walk you through the 3 simple steps to developing a calm mindset and learning the strategies you need that will help you stop stress eating in its tracks.

 

Click the link here to read more about the program and sign up today! You can also reach out to me here if you have any questions.

 

Here’s to a stress-free holiday season!

 

Intuitive Eating Doesn’t Mean Disregard Nutrition

Okay, this is a serious topic for me. As a registered dietitian nutritionist I believe in honoring one’s body though nutrition and movement. This means thinking about the foods you eat in terms of how it helps your body function on a daily basis as well as how you move your body to keep your joints and muscles supple and your bones strong.

 

As an advocate of intuitive eating and a certified intuitive eating counselor, I help clients incorporate gentle nutrition and joyful movement into their practice, when the time is right.

 

What do I mean “when the time is right?”

 

Most, if not all, of my clients are coming to me with a disordered eating background. They are chronic dieters, going on and off diets to find the “perfect” diet to help them get their “perfect” body. Along with the diet is excessive exercise. They spent hours in the gym or in some other form of exercise for the sake of burning calories and losing weight.

 

For these clients, it’s most important to help them shift their mindset and change their relationship with food and their bodies before we talk about gentle nutrition and joyful movement. For these clients, it is very important that they learn to lift the food restrictions and take ALL conditions off their food in order to make peace with food.

 

And that often means eating foods that you might think are not “nourishing” for the body. But you are accomplishing something very important when you do this. You are making all foods emotionally equal, taking foods that once were on that mighty pedestal DOWN!

 

“How can you tell people to eat donuts, croissants and ice cream? You are a registered dietitian nutritionist!” is a question that I do get, thankfully not as often anymore. But it is a question that opponents to intuitive eating are often asking (not so kindly I might add). They think intuitive eating totally disregards nutrition.

 

This is not so!

 

If you are one of those people who think that, listen up.

 

Intuitive eating does NOT say “eat whatever you want, whenever you want it”. This is a misconception.

 

Intuitive eating is not about instant gratification. I see the donut, I want the donut, I eat the donut.

 

Nope! That’s not what intuitive eating is about.

 

Intuitive eating encourages you to stop and think about the foods you are choosing and how it feels in your body. It encourages you to discover what foods satisfy you more, sustain you longer and help your body function better. And, it does all this WITHOUT RULES of “eat this and don’t eat that.”

 

My intuitive eating work with clients is based on a foundation of 3 essential ingredients:

  1. A Healthy Mindset
  2. Caring Support
  3. Nutrition Education

 

Yes, nutrition is important. But a healthy mindset needs to be in place along with a support system and self-care practices. Then, and only then, are you ready for gentle nutrition.

 

If you’d like more information on working with me to incorporate these 3 essential ingredients into your intuitive eating journey, contact me HERE. There’s no time like the present!

 

 

4 Tips to Best Handle Life’s Stressful Events

Life happens. Twists and turns appear out of nowhere and even as an intuitive eater, you may lose focus and fall back to some of your dieting ways.

 

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 at times, but you don’t want to lose yourself to life’s surprises.

 

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 what can you do to keep moving forward during stressful times?

 

4 Tips for Moving Forward and Not Backward During Stressful Events

 

1. Focus on your big WHY. When 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 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 headspace and find peace within yourself.

 

2. 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.

 

3. 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.

 

4. Tap into the messages your body is sending you. Your body speaks to you, yes it does. But too often during a busy stressful time, you don’t hear it because you are not listening to it. Instead of putting energy to fretting about the worry at hand, stop and listen to the messages your body is sending to you. Is it tired? Hungry? In need of conversation with a loved one? This will help you gain clarity and continue to move forward, honoring yourself and your body.

 

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 so you can enjoy 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.

 

Want more tips to manage the stress and overwhelm in your life? Listen to this free class I recorded – 3 Steps to Stop the Stress – and the resource I’ve made available to you at the end of the class.

 

 

Handling Life’s Twists and Turns

Life happens. Twists and turns appear out of nowhere and even as an intuitive eater, you may lose focus for a bit.

 

The truth is that no matter where you are on your intuitive eating journey, stressful life events are bound to occur. It’s 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 big WHY to keep you pushing through the obstacles.

 

When you feel life weighing you down, you may feel inclined to turn to food… But food is meant to nourish you, not be used as your crutch. There are other things you can do to help you handle life’s twists and turns that don’t involve food. I’m here today to help you find out what those other things are (and they are often different for everyone).

 

I will turn the question around on you for a moment. “What can you do to keep moving forward when life throws you curveballs?”

 

Before you answer that, 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 body? Was it to be a good role model for your kids? Was it to stop the diet madness?

 

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 tough times discourage you from working to better your health and yourself, use mindfulness to clear your head space and find peace within yourself.

 

Here are 3 things you can do to help you handle life’s twists and turns:

 

1. Prioritize your own needs. 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 needs 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.

 

2. Take time to unwind each day. This can be movement you enjoy, 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.

 

3. Write down your motivation. Instead of making 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 continue along your 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.

 

Special invitation for you: Come join an amazing group of women in the Intuitive Eating Mastery Circle. They are navigating life’s twists and turns while successfully moving forward on their intuitive eating journey. Get all the info and join us here!

 

My 2018 Theme Word Revealed

Happy New Year! This is the first blog of 2018. I’m very excited for what’s to come in the New Year as I’ve been speaking to so many women (and a few good men!) who are truly ready to give up dieting. Hard to believe especially on January 3rd when there is so much talk about New Year’s resolutions and the new diets that will finally “help” you get the body you always wanted.

 

You are smarter than that. How do I know that? Because you are reading my blog:)

 

Okay, seriously. No good will come from starting a new diet now that a new year is here. But it’s so darn tempting! Even those of you on the intuitive eating journey might find it a wee bit tempting to just try the new diet you read about, and then come back to intuitive eating.

 

It won’t work. Don’t fall prey to that.

 

I know that giving up dieting and your ‘dream’ body is tough. I get it. But really what you are giving up is disappointment and false hope, which is what every diet gives you. And I’ll take that any day! Can I get an Amen!

 

Every year I reflect on my own life and journey, both personal and professional. And I choose a theme word that will drive all my thoughts, decisions and actions for the next year. I’ve given this a lot of thought and I’m ready to reveal my word for 2018…

 

Self-Care!

 

This is not a new concept to many of you, I’m fully aware of that. And, it’s not a new concept to me either! I teach my clients to move their self-care up the totem pole, from the back burner to the front burner…as part of their intuitive eating journey. As a matter of fact, Building Your Support and Self-Care Plan is Step 2 in my 5 Step Intuitive Eating Program called Freedom to Eat Forever™.

 

But you know what. I am human. And what I reflected on at the end of 2017 is that my own self-care was starting to move back down the totem pole. And, I felt it in many ways, including physically, mentally and emotionally.

 

So, I am committed to moving my own self-care back up to the top so that I can refill my cup and then better serve my family and my clients.

 

I’ll share more about how I’m going to do this on a special Real Talk with Bonnie Facebook Live tomorrow, Thursday January 4th at 6:15 pm EST on my Facebook Business page.

 

Make sure you LIKE my page HERE so you get notified the moment I go live. You don’t want to miss this!

 

In the meantime, comment below and let me know what YOUR theme word is for 2018!

 

Oh, and if you’d like me to help you build your self-care plan, just request to speak with me at www.TalkWithBonnie.com

 

 

 

Can Intuitive Eating Lead to Your Natural Healthy Weight?

This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question comes from a new member in my online community:

 

“Can intuitive eating lead to a natural weight?”

 

This is a great question. The short answer is yes, I believe that it could. But the longer answer requires us to have a bit of a conversation.

 

What does ‘natural weight’ mean to you?

 

Do you mean that if you “do” intuitive eating, will you lose weight? The truth is, some people lose weight, some gain weight initially, and some people’s weight remains stable. Keep in mind that the process of becoming an intuitive eater is NOT a weight loss program.

 

I’m going to repeat that. Intuitive eating is not a weight loss program. And if anyone tells you that it is and promises you weight loss, then run the other way.

 

Intuitive eating helps you change your relationship with food and your body, it helps you regain the trust in your inner body wisdom to guide your eating. You have this ability deep within you, it’s just buried under years of dieting and trying to interfere with what your natural weight is.

 

Back to the question…what is a natural weight?

 

A natural weight is the weight your body will maintain with ‘normal’ eating and ‘normal’ movement. This means no food restriction and no boot camp exercise regimes pushing yourself beyond your limits.

 

The problem is that your natural weight may not match the weight you have in your mind that you desire, which is likely influenced by the surrounding diet culture, current fashion, celebrities and even recommendations of your doctor to lose weight to an unrealistic number based on outdated height and weight charts and calculations.

 

So take a moment and ask yourself if you are chasing an unrealistic weight or body size. A lot of clients that I start working with are. They have a number or vision in mind of what they want to look like, but that is not realistic for them. And, let’s add to this equation your genetics. Genetics also plays a role in determining body size, and this may not match up to the weight or size you have in mind.

 

I do believe that your body will balance out at your natural healthy weight by practicing intuitive eating consistently, respecting and caring for your current body, and practicing self-care.

 

How long will this take? No one knows. Just enjoy the process as it’s happening.

 

 

The Ultimate Mother’s Day Gift

Is your Mother’s Day already planned out from start to finish?  Do your plans include going out for brunch and ending with a nice dinner and dessert?

 

Are there any plans not around food? Maybe going for a walk or just spending time with family?

 

If your plans only include food, you are not alone.  It is very common to celebrate Mother’s Day with food. Food is often associated with celebration.

 

What if I told you there’s another way to celebrate Mother’s Day…

 

The ultimate gift you can give yourself (or another mother) is the gift of self-care!!

 

When’s the last time you took some time for yourself?

 

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.

 

Here are 3 ways you can engage in self-care this Sunday for Mother’s Day:

 

  1. Schedule Relaxing Activities. Make a list of activities that make you happy and help you relax. Pick one or two that will make you smile and laugh and allow you to truly enjoy your day.  This could be soaking in a warm tub, going to a movie with your loved ones, or taking a walk along your favorite path.

 

  1. Sleep In. For some, sleep can be a luxury. Stress can get in the way and affect the quality of your sleep as well as getting up early or staying up late to take care of others.  On Sunday, sleep in!  Let the family know ahead of time that you plan to get some extra zzz’s in the morning.  You never know, maybe they’ll greet you with breakfast in bed when you wake up!

 

  1. Recite Positive Affirmations. Maybe your day is already jam-packed and you’re excited about it and don’t want to change anything. That’s OK! You can still engage in self-care even when your day is busy. Start your Mother’s Day with positive affirmations.  Look in the mirror and spend a few minutes thinking about things you like about yourself or something you excelled at this past week that made you proud.  Keep these affirmations in mind throughout the day and repeat them to yourself as you go about your day.

 

Engaging in self-care will make you feel happier and fulfilled and allow you to be the best YOU. You will be more present for your loved ones and enjoy the little things a bit more.

 

If you need help engaging in self-care as part of your journey towards changing your relationship with food, schedule a strategy session with me on www.TalkWithBonnie.com.  I am here to help you!

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

How to Treat Yourself without Food

You’ve had a long day. Heck, it’s been a long week. You need a treat. You head to the _______ and get yourself some ______________.

 

How would you fill in these blanks?

 

When I pose this question to the women who reach out to me for help with their weight, they fill in the blanks with the words ‘kitchen” and ‘ice cream’. Or, ‘store’ and ‘chocolate’. Or ‘freezer’ and ‘cake’.

 

Sound familiar?

 

The first thought that most likely pops into your mind when you are looking for a treat is food! Why is that? Why do you associate a treat with food?

 

An emotional connection with food is created from the moment we are born and placed on our mom’s chest to bond. And then, as you get older and need comfort, you are given some milk and cookies. Of, if you fall down and hurt yourself, you are consoled with a lollypop. There are numerous examples of how the emotional connection to food continues to be reinforced around you.

 

But how has this served you now into adulthood? Not very well I’m guessing. It has led to your struggle with emotional eating and your never-ending ride on the yo-yo diet roller coaster.

 

It’s time to treat yourself with something other than food. It’s time to treat yourself like a queen and to take good care of yourself so you don’t need to find comfort in food.

 

Let me share a story with you.

 

The last few months have been very busy and well, quite stressful. So yesterday I decided to treat myself like a queen. One of my dreams has always been to have a personal shopper come into my home and go through my clothes closet with me. Toss what is no good, keep what is, and create new outfits with what I have. Then head to the store with my personal shopper in tow and buy some new clothes.

 

Well, I didn’t exactly get that full dream….no, a personal shopper did not come to my house. But I did make an appointment with a personal shopper at Lord and Taylor and meet with her yesterday. This is a complementary service for shoppers…I never knew that! She set me up in her exclusive office fitting room and brought me clothes to try on based on what I told her I was looking for.

 

Wow, what an experience. I felt like a celebrity. This was the best experience ever! I bought some really great new clothes and felt really amazing.

 

I treated myself like a queen. I felt the stress lift off my shoulders, just like that. Doing something for yourself really feels good! You don’t need food to comfort or console yourself. Taking care of your needs on all levels and nurturing yourself will help you cope with your feelings without turning to food.

 

Try it…and let me know how it works out for you. If you want to talk, just contact me here!

 

How to NOT Eat When You Are Sad

photo-1422433555807-2559a27433bdIn your life, there has probably been a day or a moment when you felt sad or lonely. Maybe even right now, as you read this blog. This doesn’t mean you have to be diagnosed with clinical depression. It just means that you are sad.

 

Perhaps you heard news about a loved one’s illness, you got let go from your job, lost a client or got disciplined at work. Or, maybe you are struggling with loving your body and loving who you see in the mirror today.

 

While there are a multitude of reasons why you might be sad, the question I want to ask you is how do you handle that sadness? Do you turn to food to make the pain go away? Do you say “I don’t care, I just want to eat this chocolate cake, it will make me feel better?” You very well know that while that chocolate cake will numb you in that moment, it won’t take away the original source of your sadness. So when you are finished with the cake, which lead to the ice cream and perhaps even to the Kit Kat bars, you now feel bloated, tired, have heartburn and totally disgusted with yourself.

 

And, even more sad.

 

Let me share a story with you if I may. I was having a rough week last week. Suffice it to say I have been working very hard supporting my clients, and at the same time balancing my family responsibilities. Yes, the work/life balance is sometimes not so easy.

 

I recognized I was at a point where I needed to do something. My old way of handling the emotions I was feeling would have been to turn to the peanut butter jar. But instead, I decided to ask myself “what do you need Bonnie?” And I got my answer.

 

I needed to spend time with my parents, who are out of state. I needed to hug them and talk to them and seek their advice. I needed connection as I miss them terribly. Yes, I could “see” them via Facetime, but it’s not the same. I cannot hug Facetime.

 

So, I did something I never did before. I booked a flight and went to see them, by myself. My husband and kids were so supportive. I love them so much for recognizing my need and giving me their blessing. “We will be okay”, they said.

 

I had a wonderful time this past weekend just relaxing and connecting with my parents. I took care of my self-care needs. I slept late (which was very much needed), did not put on makeup (I put on makeup every day when I go to work), went for a long walk listening to music from the time when I dated my husband-we had a special song) and sat at the pool and listened to the birds chirp. While I was only away for 3 days, it felt like so much longer and it was amazing.

 

I returned home to my family and clients rejuvenated and ready to support them from a place of abundance.

 

I recognize that not everyone can pick themselves up and leave for a few days. This certainly isn’t something I usually do either. But, you can find whatever it is that YOU need right now to help you deal with your emotions instead of turning to food.

 

Ask yourself that one simple question I asked myself. Here’s that question again:

 

“What do I need right now?”

 

Answer yourself honestly, and follow through. You’ll be happy you did.

 

If you need help learning to cope with your emotions without food, please reach out to me. Email me at Bonnie@DietFreeRadiantMe.com and let me know what you’re struggling with now.

 

 

Celebrate International No Diet Day with Me!

Today is a very special day… it is International No Diet Day!

 

This day is very near and dear to my heart as it celebrates body acceptance, diversity, and of course saying “no” to diets. International No Diet Day was initiated by British author Mary Evans Young, a feminist who led an anti-diet movement in 1992 called “Diet Breakers”.
This day of banning diets began in the United Kingdom as a day to encourage accepting your body and loving yourself and it has spread internationally. It brings attention to the widespread body discrimination in the media, those who have suffered through eating disorders and extreme weight loss plans, and the faux results that diet plans and pills promote.
The truth is that fad diets, diet products, and the way body image is portrayed in the media are detrimental to forming healthy eating and lifestyle habits. Body discrimination can be seen all around, from advertisements showing off thin models to the current “fat acceptance” movement which is quite the opposite and celebrates curves while shaming smaller physiques.
Celebrating and loving your body and yourself is the drive behind much of the work I do. Rather than restricting yourself, focus on nourishing yourself. I stress this to all my clients. Self-care and loving yourself go hand in hand. Please stop comparing yourself to others! Embrace your uniqueness and celebrate your body by treating it with nourishing foods and mindfulness.
I realize this might be really tough for you, especially if you’ve been dieting for a long time. Diets feel safe to you and you might be afraid to stop dieting. It’s okay to let go….let’s do it together. Today is the day we can all come together a say NO MORE DIETING!

 

Take the “International No Diet Day Pledge”.

 

Repeat the following as many times as you need to:

“I will accept myself just as I am.
I will feed myself if hungry.
I will feel no shame or guilt about my size or eating.
…and I will LOVE MYSELF for who I am, not who I feel pressure to be!”

 

Please know that I am here for you if you need support. Just send me an email at bonnie@brghealth.com and let me know what you are struggling with.