Monthly Archives: December 2015

How was Your Year? What’s up for next year?

Year EndJust a few more days before 2015 is over. So hard to believe!

I feel like I just wrote my last email/blog post of 2014 so I’m totally amazed by how quickly this year went by! I like to spend some time at the end of each year to take stock and to see where I want to change or improve things. I think it’s an important thing to do to make sure I continue to grow and change!

This might be a boring post for you – I’m really just analyzing some of my year but I want to lay things out on the table. I’m a work in progress. I’m learning as I go. I’m not afraid to pick up and change course when I don’t like where I’m headed. I hope you see that too. If you don’t like how 2015 was for you, you can make 2016 different.

In one of last year’s last posts, I wrote about how I wanted more of a heart-centered business and to let go of some of the “shoulds” that were coming from my head and not my heart. I also wanted more calm. Let’s see how I did.

Heart Centered vs. the Shoulds
I’m going to say in this area, some ways I did great and in others not so great! I launched several new programs, some of which came from a “should” place. The meditation program was one of those. I felt I should run it – I love meditation, I think the mental and physical benefits of doing it are amazing and I want to share that with others in an accessible and easy way . . .but . . . I felt I had to launch that program because it was part of a package I bought from a company who creates programs for life coaches when I first graduated. It was supposed to take some of the work out of starting the online portion of a coaching practice – but that program (along with some others) was FULL of typos and poorly proofread components that I had to spend hours and hours just making it ready to sell. I eventually felt I had to launch it because #1 I wanted to make back the money I spent on it but also because I had put so much time into just making it usable! By the time I actually launched it my heart was no longer in it and I felt bitter about it. It’s hard to sell something you don’t feel great about! I believe in meditation and I think an online program can be a great tool for getting started in it, I just wish I had dropped this one before I spent so many hours trying to get it going. I felt sour about it and that showed in my marketing. It was not done in a heart centered way (which is hilarious since the subject was meditation!!). If the original program wasn’t such a mess, I could have spent a few hours making it more fitting to my niche – emotional eaters and those who want to stop dieting – but I was so annoyed by the poor quality control that I barely had the time to just correct their errors, let alone change the content to fit my specific needs. Oy! Not the heart centered approach I wanted to have. The “shoulds” won in this case.

But other than that, I’ve done really well staying focused on the heart. My writing has picked up (I’m sending out at least 1 email and blog post every week these days) and I’ve really started to focus on writing about where my heart is (emotional eating!). I’ve let go of more of the “generic” aspects of health coaching. Yes, many people need help with learning how to eat cleaner or how to get more sleep or what foods they should be avoiding etc. and I do help my clients with that, but more importantly, my clients and readers need a place where they can discuss what is going on with them, uncover why and how they can take steps to move forward. No one is going to be able to eat cleanly when their job and home life is falling apart or needs support. I can support them with a desire to eat cleanly but I’m better suited to help them understand why they are eating so poorly in the first place and they make much more lasting changes this way. Heart-centered has won in my writing and in my one on one coaching practice. Yay!

To remain true to my heart, I’ve also decided to retire the 12 Day Detox program. I hate the word detox and I hate the idea that you can fix your problems in 12 days . . .the program attracted people who were looking for the next quick fix diet and while I’m happy to be able to provide a short program to give people a taste of a cleaner lifestyle, it completely goes against my philosophy of making changes slowly so you can be in it for the long haul (and not yo yo diet the rest of your life). Will I never run a new short term clean eating program again? No, I’m sure I’ll do one again some day but you can bet it will fit into the mold I want for my business and my life better. Heart-centered win!

I guess in a way, I’m honing in more about where I want my coaching practice to be and that means doing away with some things – January will be 2 full years I’ve been coaching and while it’s been amazing, at times I felt like I was just plucking ideas out of the sky even if they didn’t fit in my long term plan. I want more cohesion in 2016. I am not a natural marketer and don’t know the first thing about branding but I know my “brand” included not promoting products that I’m not totally enamored with.

Calm
One of the things I mentioned in the post I linked to at the top of this post was that I wanted more calm in 2015. Two of the ways I maintain feelings of calm are #1 with physical activity and avoiding anxiety. I actually did great there!

I made physical fitness a priority – most weeks, I exercised at least 5 or 6 days, whether it was through barre classes, walks, weight lifting, HIIT intervals or biking and whether it was for 90 minutes or 10 minutes. I moved my body regularly and listened to it when it asked for time off.

And when I say avoiding anxiety – I know some of you are laughing at that, like you have a choice, right?! In getting to know myself really well (something that I think is key to making changes), I know now exactly what things bring out my anxieties and I take steps to not let that happen. One way I do this is with my thinking. I know, when I have a thought around worrying about my health (one of my anxieties), that if I let myself think about it, pay attention to it, my anxiety and worries will grow. If I say “ok brain, I hear that you are worried about this, but I am not going to give it attention right now” it stops the crazy worries from growing. It keeps me in a state of calm. And had I spent extra time indulging in those thoughts, the only thing i would have gained from it was more stress. I really made an effort to check myself and not indulge in the very thoughts that make me crazy. It’s probably been the best year so far for my medical anxiety in all the years I’ve had it! Yes, I still had a few episodes but the ones that I had were just a blip on the anxiety radar instead of a full on panic attack (or 3 day panic paralysis). Once you know what works for you with eating, anxiety, procrastination, whatever, you have to work it. You have to apply it for it to make a difference and I did and I am and it’s awesome. Calm is good.

Eating
Lastly, I want to talk about food and eating this year. My weight is the same as it was at the end of last year. I’ve been between 155 – 160 for over a year now. It’s a little more than I ultimately want to weigh but I feel good. I feel strong. It’s not a struggle to weigh this. I don’t have to restrict and I’m not going up and down in huge amounts. I eat whole foods most of the time but I can let go and enjoy a party feast or have a piece of cake or buy a bag of chips these days without all hell breaking loose. There are things I wish were different about my body sometimes but overall, shit’s not so bad! I know they are people who look at me and think “How can she feel ok being overweight?” and that’s their problem now, it’s no longer mine.

It feels way better to be a bit heavier than I want to be but have this freedom and relaxed attitude around food, than it did years ago to reach the weight I wanted to be but have to work really hard to stay there and worry about every bite that went in my mouth. Because of this (weighing more, relaxing my eating), I’m able to enjoy life more. I’m able to enjoy my time with friends and family more. I’m able to enjoy a meal out with my husband more. My time is mine to do with what I want and isn’t just a countdown to how many days I have to lose weight before an event. It took a lot of work to get here and it was not a fast process but it’s been so worth it. I’m using a heart centered approach with my choices around food and the payoff is huge. Heart centered win here!

What’s next
In 2016, I want to continue this heart-centered approach with my business and with myself. It just feels right!

How did you do in 2015? What were you hoping for more of this year? What did you want less of? What do you want for 2016? And ultimately do you believe you will get there? (Think about this deeply – If right now you do not think it’s possible to reach a 2016 goal then it won’t be possible to reach it.) Take stock of your year and hopes for next year and please share with me!

 

 

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Overeating is a First World Problem (and how that might actually be a good thing)

12-22-15 blog post coverThese are a few things I’ve found myself getting pissy about the last few weeks:

  • I went to unload the dishwasher only to realize that I had forgotten to run it the night before and it still contained dirty dishes.
  • We ordered new LED battery operated Christmas candles for our windows (that were highly rated on Amazon) and when they arrived they didn’t come with batteries. We finally got batteries and turned them on and they were so dim you couldn’t even see that there were candles in the window.
  • I’m finally all caught up on my DVRs of The Walking Dead, only to realize that it’s the mid-season finale and I’m going to have to wait until February to watch it again. Grrr!
  • I was thawing a 7lb local pasture raised chicken in cold water all day, only to find out when it was time to start cooking that it was still frozen inside. I had to cook the thing for way way too long to ensure the entire bird had reached a safe temp, so most of the meat was dry and stringy.
  • It’s been so mild out (in the 40’s and 50’s) that I’ve been waking up in a ball of sweat because I’m using my usual winter bedding (flannel sheets and a down comforter) anyway.
  • I desperately need a massage (my hamstrings are a mess from barre & weight lifting) but my massage therapist isn’t available at a time when it’s convenient for me.

These are all #firstworldproblems, these are the problems of someone who is privileged.

A couple of months ago I was out with friends and I found myself complaining about having to find a new hair stylist as mine had recently moved to Houston (and I had been going to her since 2007). They all laughed. No matter how traumatic getting your hair cut or colored by someone new can be, it certainly is a “problem” many would rather have instead of the problems they are dealing with. While I’ve had my share of struggles and heartache over the years, the problems I have at the moment are REALLY not a big deal.

It’s all about perspective.

The fact that I have a dishwasher at all, when there are others who don’t even have clean water to drink or that I have dishes that need washing – that means I’ve been fed and my tummy is full.  That I have dim candles to return to Amazon, means I have a home to display them in. That I’m caught up on my binge-watching of the Walking Dead,  means that I have free time to relax and watch TV (and can afford cable & DVR). That my pasture raised chicken was still frozen, means that I have food to eat and even more so, that we’re well enough off that I can afford pasture raised animals. That I’m waking up in a ball of sweat due to too many blankets in these temps, means that I have a warm place to live and comfy place to sleep. That I even have a massage therapist and that I have barre classes to make my hamstrings sore, means that my basic financial needs are met and then some, leaving me a little extra money to use on these things.

I have it really good right now.

For the most part, I keep things in perspective. I know how good I have it and I’m supremely grateful for everything in my life but even when things are going well, it’s easy to find things that upset, annoy, frustrate or anger us and I’m no stranger to falling in with that.

One of the largest #firstworldproblems that I’ve ever had was being overweight. Overeating. Bingeing. Worrying about losing weight. Dieting. This problem has taken up a huge chunk of my brain’s energy over the years.

But, as much as overeating and being overweight is a real problem to the person dealing with it, it is, at it’s core, a problem that can only happen because we have access to lots of fresh food to eat and we have the security and safety afforded to us to live sedentary lives. I  know that sounds harsh. But isn’t it true on some level?

When you get upset that you binged your way through the pantry, at least you have food in your pantry to eat. When you’re pissed that you ate 300 extra calories today, at least you are financially fortunate enough to have excess calories available to you. When the scale reads higher than you’d like, that you even have the emotional bandwidth available to worry about your weight is a fortunate thing.

The next time you get worked up about something you’ve eaten, can you take a minute to put it in perspective?

What else are people suffering with around you? Chronic illness? Death of a loved one? Loss of job or home?

What about people elsewhere? There is war and sadness and atrocities everywhere. You don’t have to look that hard to find something to give you perspective.

I’m not saying that the problems we have with food and our bodies aren’t valid (they are) or that they are easy (they’re not) or that we should feel bad for feeling the way we do (feel those feelings). Obviously I think they are important or I wouldn’t be doing coaching work (which if I’m honest is a first world profession that helps people with first world problems!).

These are our lives, our problems do matter to us even if they would seem trivial to an outsider. It’s all relative. If something stops you in your tracks, if it’s preventing you from being who you want to be or accomplishing things you want to accomplish, if it’s interfering with your relationships etc – it is important. But . . . it’s also helpful to look at our struggles with a big picture view because in it, there might be a way out.

If your weight, body or food issue is a problem that others wished they had and you think others would look at your struggle with envy or think you are frivolous, maybe that’s one step in making it less of a big deal for you.

One of the reasons it’s so hard to heal from food issues is because we put so much emphasis on what it says about us. We make it into this huge thing that defines us. We believe that it’s impossible to fix. Thinking negatively about ourselves and beating ourselves up, leads to more eating, more struggle, more pain.  But, if our “problem” (being overweight, overeating etc) really isn’t that big a deal in the scheme of things, then maybe it doesn’t have to be that big of a deal to us?

Bear with me here, I’m just kind of figuring this out as I write and I won’t be saying this very eloquently.

What if, by looking at your problem briefly through the lens of someone with less privileged problems, your problem wouldn’t seem like such a big deal? If it’s not such a big deal, maybe you could be kinder to yourself? Perhaps you’d have less negative thoughts about your body, your actions, your habits? And in doing so, you’d overeat less often (by now you know that the more shitty we feel about ourselves, the more we turn to food).

The more power we give our food issues, the more strength it has to sabotage us. If we step back for a second and look at it with a different perspective, maybe we can take some of it’s power away.

The fact that overeating is a “first world problem” could be your very way out of it’s clutches. Try looking at your life with a little perspective and take some pressure off of yourself. Can you lighten up about your struggles? If not, why can’t you? What benefit is being so “serious” about your food issues bringing you?

There’s no judgement from me in those questions. I promise. I have to ask them of myself sometimes too (did you see my silly list above??). Curiosity is one path to getting out of this shit. Let’s not make things a bigger deal than they are. Wishing you, perspective, levity and kindness.

Are you on my email? You totally should be. I only send out content related to body image, weight loss, emotional eating and healthy lifestyle swaps. I say inappropriate things and the shit you are already thinking. Sign up here (you’ll get a free ebook download too).

 

 

 

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Porridge (with Leftover Rice)

Leftover rice makes a great breakfast dish!

Leftover rice makes a great breakfast dish!

When it comes to breakfast, I’m as lazy as it gets.

I’m not a morning person so when I first get up in the morning, the last thing I want to do is make food . . .but I know for me to wake up and get myself going, I’ve got to eat pretty soon after getting up or I’ll be in foggy sleep land for hours. The best thing ever is that John stopped hitting starbucks on his way to work and now makes coffee before he leaves so I now wake up to a hot delicious pot of coffee waiting for me. Wake and pour! haha!

Anyhow, breakfast for me is often a smoothie, some sort of fast egg and vegetable hash, granola, oats! Maybe some smoked sockeye, avocado and greens. Nothing too complicated. I do, however love to use whatever leftovers I have in the fridge – this girl hates waste and also gets tired of food prep.

This week, I had some leftover arborio rice from dinner and a big apple that was calling my name so I decided to make a rice porridge with it. I’ve never actually looked up what constitutes a porridge so you’ll have to forgive me if I’m calling this dish the wrong thing. I tossed in a diced apple, some spices, the rice and some almond milk in a pot, cooked it for a few minutes and then served it with butter (oh yes) and maple syrup for a warm, satisfying and easy breakfast. You can toss in some hemp or raw pumpkin seeds for a little protein boost.

As a side note: You’re probably surprised to see a white rice like arborio here! While most of the time I’m a big fan of whole grain rices – like brown, japonica or wild – I do think variety is important and occasionally make room in my life for white rices (like in sushi or risotto!). One reason I include it in our diet occasionally is because white rice is a form of resistant starch. Resistant starches are interesting in that instead of being digested and released into the blood sugar as glucose like most other types of starch, resistant starch makes its way all the way to the large intestine (undigested) where it gets fermented and feeds the bacteria that is directly responsible for keeping the cells in our colon functioning their best. Making resistant starch a part of your diet can be a good thing for your digestive system – green bananas, cooked and then cooled potatoes and rices, cashews are a few good sources of it. So while I won’t eat white rice every time I have rice – I feel good about eating it occasionally.IMG_4790

Ingredients
3/4 cup leftover rice
1 large apple, diced
1/4 tsp ground cloves
dash of ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 -3/4 cup water or milk of your choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 tbsp butter and 2 tsp real maple syrup for serving

Directions
Put everything but the butter and maple syrup in a small pot and warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally until liquid is absorbed and apple is tender, about 5-10 minutes (this will depend on your stove – I have a slow cranky one). Serve warm with a little butter and maple syrup stirred in.

For a faster version – you can microwave the rice, apple and water/milk together for about 2 minutes and then stir in your spices at the end but I’m not a super fan of the microwave and just prefer the stove for most of my cooking.

Do you want to feel overwhelmed this Christmas Season?

How do you want to feel? You can make it happen.

How do you want to feel? You can make it happen.

Think about your past 5 holiday seasons. Do you have warm happy memories of them? Or do you feel stressed and overwhelmed at the thought of it being yet another December?

I love it and hate it at the same time. There’s a warmth, a feeling of love and goodwill in the world that I feel at Christmas time that just isn’t there the rest of the year. I have fond memories of Christmas from my childhood. As an adult, I hate how long my to do list is, the crowds, the traffic and the constant beckoning from retailers to buy more everywhere we go. But Christmas doesn’t have to make us want to pull our hair out. We don’t have to sacrifice our happiness or health for the happiness of others. For a long time, I struggled with this. I thought I just had to accept the chaos and stress that came with the season.

What If I told you that you could feel more of what you want to feel this holiday season? That there is room for what you want and for what you want for others?

By taking a few minutes to get clear about how you want to feel, you’re more likely to take actions that will get you there – instead of wishing the month was over already! How different will this and future holidays be if we spend more of our time in a way that we truly want?

Get a pen and a piece of paper and write down the answers to these 2 questions:

  1. What feelings do you want to feel more of?
  2. What feelings do you want to feel less of?

I want to feel more joy, calm and content.

I want to feel less frazzled, overwhelmed and exhausted.

I can have those feelings. You can have more of whatever you wrote down also.

How?

By doing more of the things that bring us the feelings we want. By doing less of the things that bring up the feelings we don’t want.
Holiday Blog page content photo

We are in charge of how we want to feel. We make choices daily, hourly, that affect this. If I choose to overeat, that is going to make me feel stressed and sick. I know this. I also know that eating nourishing foods in appropriate amounts makes me feel good. Choosing to eat well means I feel good more of the time. I want to feel good, so I’m going to take more actions that help me feel that way.

If I want to feel more joy, calm and contentedness, I need to get in touch with what brings me those feelings and then take action on those things. Again this starts with writing things down (it makes it real, concrete and more likely to happen!):

Get that pen and paper out again and write down your answers to these 2 questions:

  1. What specific actions will you take this month to feel more of the feelings you want to feel?
  2. What specific actions will you stop doing or do less of to reduce feeling the way you don’t want to feel?

You can follow my example below.

This month, to create more joy, calm and contentedness in my life, I will do the following:

To feel more Joy – I will spend more time with friends, more quality time with John, make more time for my genealogical research projects. I will only say yes to invitations that bring me joy. I will decline those that don’t.

To feel more Calm – I will get a good sweaty workout in at least 5 days a week. I will read a book at bedtime (instead of being on my phone) and I will not have more than 2 cups of coffee per day (a 3rd one managed to sneak in since we got a Moccamaster coffee maker a few weeks ago – it makes coffee irresistibly smooth).

To feel more Content – I will spend more time reflecting on all the wonderful things in my life by meditating 3 times a week and compiling a daily gratitude list. I will not give any more attention to the things that make me anxious (worrying doesn’t fix anything). I will reduce the amount of time I am on social media for non-business purposes.

To feel less frazzled, overwhelmed and exhausted – I will make sleep a priority, eat plenty of green and orange vegetables and allow for more quiet time for myself. I will eat the foods that make my body feel good and remember to avoid the ones that don’t.

There you have it, it’s like my own personal roadmap to happier holidays. If I make the actions I listed a priority and follow the path I’ve laid out for myself, I will enjoy the season a heck of a lot more. What about you? So, what do you want to feel more of and what will you commit to doing to feel that way?

Share in the comments. If you like this, please enter your email here (fyi -you get a free ebook download with signup).

The Realization that Stopped My Holiday Bingefests

Historically, when it comes to food on holidays, I completely lose my shit. Go off the rails. Eat my weight in potato chips. And gain quite a bit of weight that I end up attempting to work off all winter, sometimes longer. Even if I do well leading up to it, exercising and eating well, the day of the actual holiday comes and it starts at least a 5 day eating frenzy! Thanksgiving is no exception – my husband, brother and law and I spend the whole 4 days together reading, playing games, binge-watching The Walking Dead, enjoying cocktails and eating up all the leftovers.

Considering I make a lot of vegetables, this doesn’t have to be a big deal, but since there is also lots of pie, cheesecake and leftover appetizers and dips and things, it’s been ugly many times in the past. I can think of multiple occasions when I found myself sitting on the couch with a bowl of chips and dip after guests left, not even hungry, but desperately wanting that rich creamy deliciousness that I hadn’t had since the previous Thanksgiving. Sure, I ate some in front of guests, but I wanted to consume a large quantity of it, when I could enjoy it without the distraction of others.

I’d go to bed with a full and distended belly and wake up the next morning feeling physically terrible and emotionally fragile. I’d feel so defeated (by dip, it’s just dip!!!) that I’d eat breakfast and yet be counting down the hours until I could snack on whatever tasty item my mind was obsessed with in the fridge. And then I’d snack on that, and then something else, and something else, until by the end of the 4 day weekend I was sick, irritable and a good 8 lbs heavier. Getting myself back to normal eating after several days of this was always hard, especially with Christmas season following close behind.

The last couple of years I’ve been able to stop the ridiculousness before it began. What’s awesome about that is not only do I not physically feel sick for days at a time but I also get to enjoy the rest of the holiday season without feeling shitty about myself, which means I don’t do things (like binge eat) that will make me feel even shittier. It’s a wonderful feeling to not feel so compelled to bury myself in food . . .but my solution to this annual problem was surprisingly simple.

I came to the realization that I can eat these foods any time I want. I’m not just saying that. It’s the truth. If I want them, I can eat them. I have free will. I have the $$ to buy them. I have the time and energy to make them. We make food choices every day and a choice I could choose is to eat dip and chips and cake more often, if i want!

I don’t just have to wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy Ina’s pan-fried onion dip or Karina’s flourless chocolate cake and the reason I found myself going nuts on them is because I completely bought into the belief that I shouldn’t have them, I thought they were too fattening or that they were “bad” for me. I believed they were so bad for me that they took on an emotional charge – and that charge pulled me to them like a magnet and steel.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s a good idea to eat cake and creamy dairy dips daily – but once a month, twice a month? That’s really not a big deal. Keeping these foods so off limits that they could only be enjoyed once or twice a year gave them a power over me that made eating them a charged experience.

Recognizing that I’m the only one putting a limit on these foods and that if I actually want to eat them I can, took the emotional charge away from them – which means I feel less out of control around them and frankly want them way less! I may eat them more frequently but I eat far less of them when I do.

When I do eat them now, they taste good and I enjoy them, but that compulsion to find a way to eat as much of it as I can is just a memory. Because, if I want to eat it again next week or next month, I very well can!

Let these ideas sink in:

  • Rich, decadent foods aren’t “bad” and you are not “bad” for enjoying them occasionally.
  • You can eat what you want, when you want to.
  • You actually may not even want the things you thought you did when they are always available to you.

Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years are coming. Lots of holiday parties, cookie swaps, cocktails with the girls – think of what foods or drink you romanticize or obsess over and answer these questions (in your head is ok but on paper is more effective).

  • What thoughts do you have around them?
  • Describe what you hope to get when you eat these foods. What feelings will they bring you (good or bad)?
  • How does eating them make you feel about yourself?
  • Do you have any restrictions around these foods (when, how, why you should enjoy them)?
  • What do you think would happen if you could let yourself eat these foods whenever you wanted?
  • If you did eat these foods whenever you wanted, how much do you think you would eat? How long before you get sick of these foods?
  • Are you willing to let go of some of the charge these foods hold for you?

I know this sounds overly simple, and it is. It’s just one of many steps you can take to have a more relaxed life with food. We think getting better requires some major complicated epiphany but really it’s just many different steps and thoughts, practiced over and over and over again, until eating in a more loving and kind way becomes your norm. Every week I come here and write about some aspect of emotional eating, dieting, binge eating or other related subject and sometimes it won’t speak to you, other times it will hit the nail on the head. Maybe, just maybe THIS idea is one that will speak to you.

And if it does, let’s do a call! The intro session is free.