Category Archives: Tools

Should You Weigh Yourself?

Should you weigh yourself if you have a history of eating issues?

Should you weigh yourself if you have a history of eating issues?

I’ve decided to cut back from posting a new blog every week to just 2 a month. I’ve been pumping out a new blog every week for a long time and my brain is starting to feel a little fried when it comes to keeping the content fresh. On one hand I’m kind of bummed to take a break from it (I love to not break a long streak!) but I also need to listen to my needs and get out of that kind of perfectionism. I think backing off a little will help bring back some creativity that I feel I’ve been lacking in my writing lately. It will at least free up some of my time to work on other things I want to do in my business which is something I have to do.

Today’s topic is a question that I hear many people asking and my answer is a little more unconventional than you might think considering the business that I’m in.

Is it okay to weigh yourself?

Should you throw out your scale if you’ve struggled with body image issues or disordered eating?

This is a question that comes up a lot for women who have struggled with some aspect of their relationship to food or their body.  Many health and mental health professionals and those in the body positive movement usually recommend that we toss out our scales.

I personally think it depends on the individual person and their specific relationship with the scale.

I go through periods where I weigh myself daily and then I sort of walk away from it for awhile and might only weigh myself once or twice a month, sometimes I go through longer stretches where I don’t weigh myself for a few months (mostly in the winter!). This works for me. I don’t get anxious about not weighing myself and I don’t get anxious about the number when I do.

When I weigh daily, it confirms for me that the way I am eating and the amount I am exercising is the right amount for my body.

It also has helped me understand the normal fluctuations in weight that my body has week after week or throughout the month, which results in not being alarmed by them. Lots of things contribute to our weight going up or down a pound or two – salty food (up), slow digestive transit time (up), dehydrated (down), week before period (up) etc. Weighing regularly has made me very comfortable with these changes.

As someone who has been challenged in her eating habits and used to be so dependent on tracking calories to know if I had eaten too much – the scale helps confirm for me that I’m on the right track (since I no longer count calories and instead use my hunger / fullness signals as a guide). Weighing myself occasionally tells me that the way I’m living is working, that I am in tune with my hunger signals (or when my eating issues are cropping up again) and that my intuition is working. It actually reinforces some of the good things I’ve worked on in the last 3-4 years.

When I take breaks from it for longer than a few weeks at a time, I find it’s like a silent decision I’m making that I’m going to go a little rogue with my food choices for awhile. I’m choosing to silence my hunger signals and while there’s nothing wrong with doing this once in awhile, I do have a history of really going overboard for long periods when I avoid the scale. If it don’t “see” it, it’s not happening! It’s a way I can lie to myself. For me, purposely avoiding the scale is an indication that I’m heading into unhealthy territory. It’s the opposite of what you’d expect!

When I’m using the scale as a tool, it doesn’t have a ton of power over me. I don’t give the number a ton of meaning. The number doesn’t tell me I’m good or bad, that I’m worthy or unworthy. It mostly serves to tell me if I’m staying present and being honest in my choices or if I’m trying to hide from myself.

Using the scale occasionally gives this former yo-yo dieter the confidence to keep choosing foods that both give me the nutrition I need and also tastes and textures that I enjoy. When you’ve had 90 pound weight losses and also 60 pound weight gains in your life, you realize that you are someone who can easily turn a blind eye to your ups and downs, and the scale helps me keep my eyes open to my actions. It’s something I keep in my personal tool box because even though I don’t put pressure on myself to weigh a certain amount anymore (and I do think it is possible to be healthy and overweight), I do know that if I allow my weight to creep too far back up and stay up, I am increasing my risk for diabetes (too much of this in my family history) and complicating my own history of high blood pressure (and each year that passes, I would be increasing those risks). I’m heavily motivated by living longer and healthier than the people in my family who passed away too young and for me, I know that keeping my weight stable is an important part of this, again, for me personally.

I know this is not the right thing for every woman with a similar history as mine. And I know there are many other women who feel like they get completely crazy over the scale.

It’s important to know yourself and listen to what is right for you, rather than doing what the masses are doing, or what a stranger on the internet says (that includes me – just because I’m sharing that using a scale helps me stay mindful, doesn’t mean that my answer is right for you).

Some women really become obsessed with the scale in a very unhealthy way. If the number on the scale isn’t a number they like, it can ruin their day or their whole week, it can make them restrict food and punish themselves with harsh exercise. It can make them feel helpless, worthless and value themselves less. Feeling this way can lead to really unhealthy behaviors.  For these people, not weighing themselves is a better idea. Using a scale causes them stress, anxiety and depression. In these cases, it’s not a tool, it’s punishment.

The key to knowing if you can continue weighing yourself or not is how much meaning you give it. In my opinion (and experience), if you can use the scale as a tool in a neutral way, that has about as much effect on how you feel about yourself you as tying your shoes does, then it’s probably okay to keep using the scale in some way. If you can step off the scale and not feel virtuous or ashamed, you might be able to still use it. If you don’t feel the need to do something in retaliation to what number is on the scale, you may be able to still use it. It’s important to know how it affects you.

If you are wondering if you should toss your scale out or not, ask yourself:

How do I feel after I weigh myself?

Do I feel virtuous or depressed depending on the number I see?

Do I feel the urge to do “something” to affect my weight in response to the number I see?

Does even thinking about giving up the scale make me feel very anxious? Why?

When in doubt, talk to your doctor or a professional you trust who is aware of your history to discuss what would make the most sense for you. And trust your gut!

Do you need more support with emotional eating? Come join my Ending Emotional Eating Group on Facebook to talk with other women going through the same thing. We’d love to see you there!


Have you gotten my newest free guide You Have What it Takes? If you’re an emotional eater, overeater or longtime dieter who wonders if she has what it takes to change her relationship with food, then this for you. And it’s free. Click on the image below, then enter your name and email and it’s yours!

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A Reminder After This Exhausting Election: Let Yourself Feel Those Feelings

Feel those feelings!

Feel those feelings!

I’m not going to fill this space by telling you how I feel about the results of Tuesday’s presidential election. If you know me, you already know what I’m thinking and feeling and as much as I try to incorporate some of the personal into my blog and certainly into my social media presence – ultimately I want what I put out here to be helpful and not just self-serving and venting (this is a space for my business after all!).  Along those lines, feelings are very raw for many of us right now and tensions in our country are high so one way I can be of help is to make this week’s blog post something constructive and supportive.

This is a just a reminder to let yourself feel the feelings you are having this week. About the election. About the candidates. About the state of our country and the people in it.

If you are feeling sad. Feel sad. Be sad.

If you are angry, disappointed, disillusioned, disgusted, dismayed and demoralized (all those d words work perfectly here!), then let yourself feel them.

Really feel them.

This doesn’t mean you should wallow or indulge in your misery or disappointment for days or weeks on end but it’s necessary to let these feelings run their course. We as people try to avoid feeling uncomfortable under almost any circumstances and when these shitty feelings arise, we want them to go away as fast as possible. We take pills to go to sleep so we don’t have to think about it. We drink so we don’t have to feel it. We eat so we can numb ourselves out.

Don’t try to numb yourself out right now. Don’t avoid, resist, repress or push away what you are feeling. Don’t try to change it. Don’t try to take action on those feelings.

If you are feeling bad, that’s ok.

Let it be there.

It will end.

I promise.

You will feel good again.

These uncomfortable feelings will not last forever.

All feelings pass, even the ones that feel unbearable.

Your job right now is to process this and get really good at feeling your own discomfort. This is part of being a human -feelings are a huge part of being human. And we can’t have the positive feelings in life, without the balance of the negative ones. The best feelings in the world feel as good as they do because we have the awful feelings to compare them to. We can’t and won’t get through life avoiding ever feeling uncomfortable.

None of your feelings are wrong and you are not wrong for having them.

Don’t take any action right now (feeling feelings is not an action – it’s a way of being, of allowing). We can take action later (starting with how we treat each other).

All you need to do right now is feel.

Express yourself if you need to (talk to a friend or write!). Cry if you need to. Hug your loved ones. Eat nourishing and comforting food. Get some fresh air and some blood pumping exercise. Be present. Feel what you are feeling.

Acknowledge it.

Accept it.

And when the feeling is dissipating (it may take a few days), think about how you want to feel going forward. What do you want to see in the world?  How do you want others to view the US? How do you want to view the US? What do you wish was more common in our political system? And what you do wish there was less of? What qualities do you wish our fellow citizens possessed more of?

Then go out and be those things.

Live your life as an example of what you want in this world.

Treat people how you want to be treated.

Spread love. Kindness. Tolerance. Authenticity. Empathy. Grace. Charm. Beauty. Knowledge. Understanding. Honesty. Dignity.

That’s your homework for this week – feel your feelings and embody the things you want to see more of in this world.

HUGS!!

Andrea


Need more like this? Check out this earlier post on feeling your feelings.

Then download your free copy of Healthy Eating Shouldnt Be a Workout:  Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living (includes recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways to save money and more!).

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes We Make When Trying to Halt Emotional Eating

Don't set the world on fire while you're changing your relationship with food.

Don’t set the world on fire while you’re changing your relationship with food.

This blog post was supposed to go out early Thursday morning but when I went to put the finishing touches on it Wednesday (last minute, of course!) we had a local internet outage that lasted several hours and by several hours I mean from about 12:30 until 6pm!! I love how easy technology makes our lives most of the time, but I really hate how much we’ve come to require it. So many aspects of my job depend on it and most things come to a halt when it’s not working. And when things aren’t working for me, I tend to have a total meltdown. I’m not very mature when things don’t go my way or according to plan. I didn’t know what to do with myself (luckily, there is always something that needs doing around the house! I took a forced break to house clean after my last client!)

This behavior translates into other areas of my life.

When things get tough, when I don’t understand something, when I hit a wall, I flip out and give up. I essentially set my emotional world on fire. Emotionally I’d just say “No way, not going to do this, feel this or experience this!”. I do this when I’m learning something and struggling with it. When I discover I’m wrong. When I don’t like an outcome. You name it. And in the past, I would turn to food to cope with whatever I didn’t want to feel. Whatever obstacle I encountered would be attempted to be climbed over with food. It was how I soothed bad feelings.

I don’t do that anymore. Or at least, I rarely do it now. And if I do catch myself reaching for food when I don’t want to feel something, I’m aware of it and can bring my attention to the feeling.

If you’re an emotional eater, I know you can relate to this. You probably have a bit of an “all or nothing” mindset yourself. If a little bit of something will help, then a lot will really cure it! Right?  Let’s burn it all down and start over! Because of this kind of thinking, and an inability to deal with uncomfortable emotions, emotional eaters tend to fall into several “traps” of the same nature when they are trying to stop eating emotionally. Instead of viewing it as a staircase where we make changes step by step on the way up, we try to leap from the bottom step to the top step without touching on the steps in between. We want to skip over the hard parts. We want to get from A to B without feeling uncomfortable on the way there. But that’s not possible!

I want to share a few of the most common mistakes people fall into when they are trying to halt their emotional eating in the hopes that you can avoid getting stuck in them like I (and so many others) have. Watch out for these!

Common Mistakes We Make When Trying to Halt Emotional Eating:

  1. We equate getting better with being perfect. Healing from emotional eating does not mean you’ll never have another moment where you put food in your mouth for reasons other than hunger – it just means you’re making a concerted effort to eat thoughtfully and while fully present most of the time. Some days it will look really great, other days it’s going to be ugly. Don’t make too much of it. The day to day is really is no big deal.
  2. We get too dogmatic about the rules, tools and which teachers that can help. Some people need to eat mindfully 100% of the time to stay on track, others do better when they eat every 2 hours whether hungry or not. Some only listen to what Geneen Roth’s ideas or only Kay Sheppard’s or only Ellen Satter or only their Yoga teacher and are distrustful of anyone but their preferred “guru”. There are lots of teachers, tools and rules that can help you have a better relationship with food. You don’t have to subscribe to one and one only. Try to remain open minded and be willing to listen to the experiences of others, even if they’re different from your own. You never know when you might learn just another way to peace. And different tools and teachers will make sense for us at different times in our lives. It’s ok to change with time.
  3. Avoiding social situations that center around food. Don’t you dare kill your social life. If you want to heal your relationship with food, you have to be able to manage food in all settings and that includes socially. Consider each social situation with eating as a component as practice in figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. Maybe you need to eat a snack before the event so that you don’t go overboard during. Maybe you need to eat cleanly and thoughtfully during. Maybe you need to eat exactly what you crave during so that you don’t go home and binge. Go to events. Eat. Be thoughtful about it. Let yourself be human and enjoy human things.
  4. Automatically banning the scale. Yes weighing ourselves obsessively doesn’t help and if weighing yourself causes you to feel bad or virtuous depending on the number that appears, then yes, you should try reducing your use of a scale (and dumping it completely in some cases). But if you’re one of those people who can weigh themselves and it’s entirely neutral for you, then it’s ok to keep using it as a guide. I find weighing myself several times a month gives me feedback that tells me if I’m on the right track in listening to my hunger signals and stopping when I’ve had enough. When it moves up or down a few pounds I don’t worry (normal fluctuations) but if I see if trending too far in any direction, I know that means I’ve gone off track and helps me bring my attention back to where it should be. When I’ve stopped weighing myself completely, I tend to go back to old eating habits and it has on more than one occasion resulted in unhealthy amounts of weight gained. So I keep the scale in my arsenal of tools. That works for me. It does not work for others. The only way you should keep using the scale as a tool is if it is no more upsetting than taking your temperature would be. When we take our temp, we either have a fever or we don’t. It doesn’t affect how we feel about ourselves or our body. Can you be that neutral with the scale? You need to decide what is the most loving thing to do for you.
  5. Thinking that it’s not worth doing if you can’t do everything. You may have great success when you first start implementing different tools and strategies to conquer your emotional eating. This is the “honeymoon” phase. Things will go well, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world, and then because this is real life, something will happen that throws you off your game. You’ll find yourself back at square one, resorting to all your old habits and when you get sick of it and want to get back at it, it won’t feel quite so easy to implement those tools back into your life. You’ll feel resistant and even resentful. You’ll wonder why you ever thought you could do this in the first place. You’ll think everyone who claims they healed their relationship with food is a fucking liar. Slow down. Take a step back. You don’t have to get yourself back to where you were when you slipped. That’s a huge hurdle! Just pick one tool or one strategy that was working for you before that seems doable and go from there. You will get to where you were before, but not by skipping any steps along the way. Just pick up the pieces one at a time!

You didn’t become an emotional eater overnight. It’s not like one day you were eating normally, competently and the next day you turned to food for comfort. It was a coping strategy that you adopted over time in response to certain situations. In many cases it developed over many years. We have to have patience in changing it. We have to accept that we’re going to stumble a little, slip a little and that it might be uncomfortable, sometimes painful and often ridiculously slow! Be cautious of falling into these traps, take your time and don’t judge yourself for wherever you are in YOUR process. This is your journey and you need to do it however makes sense to you.


How are you doing with you own emotional eating or chronic dieting struggles? Could you use some support? If so, contact me to set up a Discovery Session. It’s free.

Like this? For more, download your free copy of Healthy Eating Shouldnt Be a Workout:  Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living (includes recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways to save money and more!).

Why Self Care is So Easy to Preach but Hard to Do

Finding it hard to make time to write in your journal? Sometimes self care practices can feel isolating because we are already spending too much time on our own.

Finding it hard to make time to write in your journal? Sometimes self care practices can feel isolating because we are already spending too much time on our own.

Self care is the big thing these days. It’s replaced eating kale and drinking smoothies as to what clues everyone else into the fact that you’re into “wellness”. Everyone is doing it! Or everyone means to do it. Everyone is at least thinking about doing it.

Yeah, you know you should meditate, exercise and write in your journal. And healthier eating is definitely something you want to do. And someday you’ll have time for epsom salt baths and dry brushing too. It’s been a zillion years since you connected with nature and last time nature connected with you it left a welt the size of a quarter and you had to take benadryl for 3 days. Self care is totally on your priority list!

But no matter how many times you think, “I’m totally going to start doing that” (Tomorrow. Ah, Monday! Um, maybe next month?), another big chunk of time passes without you having made any time for self care practices.

 

What gives? Why is self care something we preach often but so hard to do in reality?

 

Two reasons come to mind for me.

  1. Because it’s not really a priority for us but we think it should be a priority because according to the media and all the women who actually go to the yoga classes you wish you could drag yourself to, it’s basically what’s going to keep us sane and healthy and not making time for self care is tantamount to to giving the middle finger to your health.Along the same lines:  YOU aren’t a priority in your life. Your job, your family, your volunteer work or school obligations, your DVR queue, heck, even social media comes first. There’s no room for self care because you are not high enough up on your priority list. The only way you’re going to start making room for it is if you move something else further down the list.The only way to have self care find a way into your life is by changing your priorities.

    How to change this. Make a list of how you spend your time. Account for every hour or half hour of every day for a week. Laundry, dishes, preparing meals, time in the car, staring out the window etc. put everything down on paper. When you see where all your time goes, it might make it easier to find something you can stop doing (or get help doing!) or something you can do less of and that is where you can make room for self care. But first you have to acknowledge that you deserve a place at the top of your priorities. What can you stop doing? What can you do less of? Is there anything that is taking up a big chunk of time that you are surprised by? Can you change that? Are you willing to change that? Compiling a list like this and analyzing what can be changed can help you find a spare 30 min to an hour to add in some form of self care. Start there and when you see the benefits of that small bit of time, you may be motivated to look for more.

    Meditation is a powerful tool to connect to your higher power, but can sometimes be a lonely place to be if you are feeling disconnected.

    Meditation is a powerful tool to connect to your higher power, but can sometimes be a lonely place to be if you are feeling disconnected.

  2. You’re going through a period of isolation or disconnection. As beneficial as self care stuff is to our lives, most of the stuff we do for self care is a solo practice that gets us deeper into our heads and sometimes that’s the opposite of what we need!Maybe you work a lot of hours in a private office, spend a lot of time in your car, work from home, spend all day caring for others, or have very limited social time. All of these things can start to make you feel isolated and doing self care practices that bring the focus on “you” can make you feel even more so. The last thing you want to do when you spend a lot of time alone is sit quietly in your own head space! That’s sometimes why we turn to food, drink or our electronic devices more than we want to – we’re seeking the comfort and the “feeding” that human relationships and interactions can give us and we are trying to substitute it for other things. We just can’t feed disconnection with those things and they will keep getting in the way of a self-care practice until we get some true self care by interacting with others!In this case, the only way to make yourself want to do solo practice self care stuff is by starting with one of the most basic self care needs – and that is social interaction!

    How to change This. Go have some fun and conversation with other humans! What is your soul hungry for? How connected to others to you feel? Do you have several people in your life that you connect with regularly? Go out and connect with them. Schedule time with your girlfriends. Have brunch with your siblings. Find an event that interests you in your area on meetup.com and meet some new people. Maybe you want to connect in a way that gives back to others? What about volunteering at a soup kitchen or senior center, or becoming a Big Sister/ Big Brother? You could also become a mentor for someone in your field. Friends don’t live nearby? Try video chat.

    When you connect to others deeply and regularly, you’ll find meditating, journal writing or exercising is something you’ll start to look forward to (and you’ll actually be able to do it).

I’ve gone through both of these myself – as a solopreneur the isolation one comes up regularly! I’ve found it really hard to stick to a meditation practice lately (even my doctor suggested I use an app and set a timer, but I just couldn’t get myself to do it). I know the benefits of meditation and I’ve had success doing it regularly during different periods in my life, but lately, asking me to sit down and meditate felt worse than going to the dentist! I finally realized it’s because I’m already alone in my own head too much! How and why would I want to spend even more time there? Haha! I’ve been making an effort to have more time with other people during the week, whether it be a networking event or a walk or lunch with a friend and it really helps me feel better (and more interested in doing other things that are good for me).

What is your experience with self care? Do you find it challenging to stick to a routine? Are you making yourself a priority and is self care truly a priority for you or just something you “think” should be a priority? Have you been spending too much time alone lately? Is isolation or disconnection something you have been feeling? What is something you can do this week to feel more connected to others?


Keep your eyes open for a special offer coming soon! 

In September I will be making a special (limited quantity) offer to those of you who are new to coaching, that will make trying it more affordable! Make sure you are on my email list so that you don’t miss this offer when it’s ready! Joining this list automatically means you receive my free eBook Healthy Eating Shouldnt Be aWorkout:  Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living (includes recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways to save money and more!).

How A Coach Can Actually Help You

Think of coaching as a tool you can learn to use on your own to navigate through life - like using a compass or celestial objects in nautical navigation. You don't need a coach forever - but you might need one to get you going.

Think of coaching as a tool you can learn to use on your own to navigate through life – like using a compass or celestial objects in nautical navigation. You don’t need a coach forever – but you might need one to get you going.

If you’re on social media at all today, odds are you’ve seen a million shiny posts and advertisements from coaches telling you they can change your life, help you reach your full potential and if you’re a coach, they’ll help you have your first 6 figure year (cue the eye roll from my fellow coaches!)! If you see these posts regularly, odds are you are someone who is interested in the self-help genre (which is why these ads and pages appear in your feed) and you are probably, at the very least, a little curious about what coaching is and what it can do for you.

The way these big coaching gurus talk in their ads and videos would make you think that they have some major secret, some big piece of the missing puzzle that you don’t have. The profession of coaching is a little shrouded in mystery. But what exactly do coaches do???

There are a lot of different types of coaches out there: career coaches, life coaches, health coaches, nutrition coaches, accountability coaches etc. They’re all a little bit different because of what their focus is, but assuming they’ve gone through a coach training program of some kind, they are going to work from similar tenets of coaching. You should know that coaching isn’t a regulated profession in the US and that means someone can call themselves a coach without any type of training or education. On one hand, this is a good thing – there are many career and life paths that can make someone an incredible natural “coach” without a specific training. But on the other hand, there are wackos out there who are trying to sell products that could be harmful or they are calling themselves a “coach” but operating far out of the scope of practice of coaching by trying to diagnose or treat clients like some highly regulated professions do. Please know that a coach who has been trained properly and who has your best interests in mind will not and can not diagnose, treat or prescribe. I’m getting a little off topic but just know I’ll get into that in more detail below!

I really want to talk about how as a “coach” I can actually help you reach your goals because every so often, I get an email from someone who is having certain symptoms and want to know my thoughts about it. Or they want to drop 20 pounds and want me to create a meal plan for them. And I have to tell them that I’m not the right person to help them with that stuff. I can help you understanding your emotional eating and help you move away from chronic dieting with targeted lifestyle changes and support. I can’t provide therapy and I can’t “fix” you.

My value as a (health) coach isn’t to diagnose you (I can’t do that), prescribe a treatment plan (I can’t do that) or give you detailed meal plan (I won’t do that). It’s not even to fill you up with knowledge about getting healthier or about how you should change your life. And it’s not about giving advice (believe it or not, I rarely give advice to my clients).

Before you wonder why in the world you would hire someone like me, let’s go a little deeper here.

You already know what to eat, you already know what you “should” be doing to feel better, have more energy and live a longer, healthier life. You probably are already aware that you are eating emotionally and that you need to feel your feelings to stop it. You probably already know that the non-stop diet you’ve been on since you were 11 is making it impossible to eat normally as an adult. But knowing all these things (that we are bombarded with daily) is not the same as actually being able to put them into practice. You can know things on an intellectual level and still feel like there is a missing piece.

Sometimes we need an outsider to help us see what that missing piece is.

My value as a coach is helping you change your habits. I can show you how to actually fit these things into your life. I can help you understand and navigate past your self-sabotage. I will help you transform one small step at a time. I can hold you accountable when you’re not being accountable to yourself.

I’m not a doctor, dietician or personal trainer. And I’m not trying to be (and no other professional coach will pretend to be either!). I am a master of implementing lifestyle change. I’m a master of adapting habits.

Many people see their doctor, a dietician and a personal trainer to make life style changes – yet often they still lack a piece of the puzzle to get where they want to be. Your doctor tells you what you need to do to get healthier. Your dietician tells you what macros you should be eating and how many calories and then your personal trainer will work your body in the right way for your goals. But if you don’t do what your doctor suggests and you don’t buy and prepare the foods your dietitian recommends and you don’t show up for your personal training appointment, you’re going to be exactly where you were when you started. A coach is the missing piece that helps you actually do these things.

A coach is also someone who can help you learn to listen to the voice inside you. That voice that you or others have shut down again and again to the point where you aren’t even sure that’s “you” anymore. A good coach helps you figure out your own answers instead of giving you the easy answer. I’m not here to be your best friend. I’m here to help you get out of your own way.

And how do we do that? Not with meal plans (remember, you know what to eat), pills or workout plans. But instead with:

Support (both the loving and tough love kind).

Accountability (ever notice it’s a lot easier to get something done when someone else is depending on you to show up?).

Guidance (I may not dole out advice left and right but if you are on a dangerous or unhelpful path I’ll let you know).

As an objective Sounding Board (I’ll help you weigh pros and cons without inputting my own opinion)

Ideas and solutions (for fitting it all in, getting out of your own way and dissolving excuses).

Provide tools and exercises to help you understand why you work the way you do, help you get unstuck and see the potential possibilities (yes this will often include writing!).

That’s how I can help. Not with diagnosing, treating or prescribing. Not with telling you how to live your life. Not with putting ideas in your head.

If you need an analogy (and we all know I love analogies), think of it this way:  You have a ship loaded with supplies ready to cross the Atlantic (we’re time traveling here – this is before modern GPS!). You may even have a crew on board, ready and willing to sail with you. But you don’t know the first thing about navigation (and your crew is too busy to help you with that). I’m the one who can teach you how to navigate using celestial objects. I can teach you to use a compass. I’m the one who can give you the tools necessary to get yourself from A to B  over and over again, on your own. You don’t need me to make the trip – that’s all you. But I can give you the support and tools to make it a reality.

One of the things that was most appealing to me when training to be a coach was that in coaching we believe that people have all the answers inside of them already and our job is to help bring that out in them. People are already whole, complete and sometimes just fall off track because they have lost the ability to hear and see themselves fully. Coaching can help you connect to yourself again so you always know the right answer for you.


Still interested in coaching but afraid to pull the trigger? Keep your eyes open for a special offer coming soon! In September I will be making a special (limited quantity) offer to those of you who are new to coaching, that will make trying it more affordable! Make sure you are on my email list so that you don’t miss this offer when it’s ready! Joining this list automatically means you receive my free eBook Healthy Eating Shouldnt Be a Workout:  Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living (includes recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways to save money and more!).

What if We Focused on What We Want as Much as We Focus on What We Don’t Want?

Notice how much attention you give to thoughts about what you don't want or don't like about your life. What might happen if you turned things around?

Notice how much attention you give to thoughts about what you don’t want or don’t like about your life. What might happen if you turned things around?

Three years ago this week I walked into my job after the long 4th of July weekend and gave my notice. I had spent the previous 6 months dreading almost every day, not sleeping and finding myself in tears both at work and at home, way way more than normal. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Looking back at it now, I wish I had spent my energy differently during those last 6 months there. I was so unhappy (managerial changes, layoffs etc) and so vested in my own misery that I couldn’t see anything other than my own unhappiness. It was like this massive grey cloud that obstructed my senses, so thick and impenetrable, I walked around with it held out in front of me, assuming that the grey cloud I saw everywhere was confirmation that everyone around me at work was also miserable. Some of them had their own clouds for sure (it was an ugly year for the company), but I was coloring my entire world with the way I had chosen to think about my situation. And I thought that the second I walked out those doors that that grey cloud would be gone forever.

When I embarked upon starting my own business, those same grey clouds would appear every so often, not as dark and thick as before, but certainly enough to make me question what I was doing (do I know enough? am I good at this? was I insane to quit?? etc). I realized that my situation wasn’t fully to blame for my unhappiness – a huge chunk of it was because of how much time I spent thinking about how bad things were at work. I was basically growing my unhappiness by cultivating thoughts about how deeply unhappy I was, all day long, over and over – with every interaction I had.

I am not unique (though I’d like to think I am, haha!).

Most of us spend big chunks of time focusing on what we don’t want in our current situation. It’s easier to think about what’s not going well, what we don’t want, or how we don’t want things to be.

Maybe it’s your job that you hate. You get up each morning, dreading the day ahead. Even going to sleep is challenging because you are thinking about how much you don’t want to go to work tomorrow. How much of your day (or night) is spent thinking about how much you don’t want to be where you spend most of your day?

Maybe it’s your weight. You weigh yourself first thing in the morning and feel instant disappointment. You’re still fat! You go to get dressed and have a meltdown just going into the closet. You know most of what’s in here doesn’t fit your “chubby” body. You take one last look in the mirror before you leave the house and wonder how you let yourself get this heavy? How much of your day is filled with thoughts about what is wrong about your body?

Maybe it’s where you are living. It’s too far of a commute to work. It’s too far in the woods. Your house is too big. It’s too small. You don’t like how it’s decorated. You don’t want to stay there but don’t want to deal with a move either. How much of your day do you dedicate to thinking about where you don’t want to be?

Maybe it’s the people you spend time with. Your husband annoys you or he’s not emotionally available. Your friends aren’t available enough or you have that one friend who is too available and you need more space. Your family is too nosy or they’re too distant. How much time do you spend thinking you’d rather be with someone other than the person or people you are currently with?

Maybe it’s your car. It needs some work or it’s too expensive.

Maybe it’s your local grocery store. They don’t carry the brands you like or they do, but it’s always too crowded.

Maybe it’s how you spend your free time. What free time? Or too much free time?

I think that’s probably enough examples to illustrate the point. We spend a ton of our thinking time in thoughts about what about our lives is “wrong” or “too much” or not “enough”.

How many times has doing that actually changed your situation?

Does a new job materialize when you spend all day stewing over how miserable you are?

Do you suddenly start to love your body after you’ve assaulted it with the 8th “You’re too fat” message in one day?

Does your unhappiness in your current home help you find your dream home in your dream town?

No. None of these thoughts about what we don’t want in our current lives serves to bring us what we do want. Sure, some of us can argue that if we’re happy, we’re unlikely to make changes – and that a glimmer of dissatisfaction can be what sparks motivation to change. But there’s a difference between wanting more in life and finding all that is wrong in it.

If anything, spending too much time in these thoughts about what we don’t want, can make us feel even more down, even more stuck, even more unhappy and less likely to take steps towards changing our situation.

What do you think would happen if we spent more time thinking about what we do want in our lives, where we want to be, what we want to create and who we want to be? What might happen if we spent time thinking about all the things that are right in our world?

When we put our focus on the things we do want in our lives, it makes us feel gratitude, appreciation, love and even joy. When we feel more of those things, we take actions that bring us more of what we want and it can cultivate more patience, tolerance and even appreciation in the areas that we do want to change.

How do we get there? How do we stop thinking so much about what we don’t want?

Here are two exercises that can help turn your thinking around (you’ll need paper and pen or pencil for this):

  1. Think about a time when you felt super pumped up, ready to create something new, go after something big or otherwise make major changes. What was going on in your life? What were you thinking about? Who with, and how were you spending your time? Write down the thoughts that you recall made you feel the most motivated. What thoughts in your current life are most like those thoughts? How can you have more of them?





  2. Each morning or evening (whichever is more convenient for you) write down 5 things in your life that you already have that you want. We spend a ton of time thinking about the things in life that we want but that we don’t yet have. That creates feelings of drought, lack – scarcity! I’m asking you to spend some time creating desire for the things you already have. What do you have in life that you truly want? Try to list 5 different things each day, even if it’s a variation on something you’ve listed before.





 

For exercise #2, here are a few examples from my own life: I want my husband and I want to be married to him. I want to be my own boss and I want to have clients who work to have a better relationship with food. I want my active lifestyle and my strong body. I want my safe and beautiful home. I want my sweet cat. I want my empathy and my sense of humor.

It may seem silly to list out things that seem obvious that we have that we “want”  – and it’s certainly way easier to come up with a list of things we don’t want! There are some days I get stuck in thinking about how I’m tired of living so far away in the woods or that as much as I love the freedom of working from home, it gets lonely and I feel like I’ve gotten extra socially awkward since I started (haha!)  but while those things are true – there are not the only “truth” in my life. There are plenty of things in my life that I do want – exactly as they already are.

We think of “wanting” as something we do when we are going without. But wanting is also desiring what we have already and even if there are things in your life that you don’t like and do want to change, I am sure there are things that you are blessed with that you do want and you do desire. Putting your focus on those can help get us out of focusing on the stuff we don’t want – and it will release our energy to be able to be put to use doing something more constructive.

One area that this has really made an impact on for me is my relationship with my body. Someone asked me recently how I made a switch from such a negative body image to a more positive one and one of the things I shared with her was that I indulged thoughts about what my body could do more than I indulged the thoughts about what my body was lacking (in my opinion). Both types of thoughts pop in my head and there’s no controlling what thoughts we have – but we do have control over what we do with those thoughts. I started to put more energy (intentionally) into thinking about all the amazing things my body does for me every single day – breathing, heart beating, feet supporting me when I want to take a step, every muscle, bone, tendon, ligament, organ and everything else in my body serving a function every day that enables me to do really cool things. Being able to ride a bike, take barre classes, walk, run, jump, lift weights, carry groceries, think, cook, love etc.  My whole life is possible because of the body I’m in and all that she does, every day for me. Doesn’t that deserve more attention than what is “wrong” about it? It does and so I started putting more energy there. And the cool thing about that is that it fuels my decisions about what to eat or what kind of exercise I do that is more supportive of a body I love (rather than as a way to punish my body). I put more focus on what I do want about my body than what I don’t want – and that has revolutionized my relationship with her.

In the same way, we can revolutionize our entire life with how we direct our thinking. What if we focused on what we want as much as we focus on what we don’t want?

That’s not to say that if you’re unhappy in your job, your marriage, your lifestyle, your health etc that you should just ignore it and focus on the happy stuff. I’m not suggesting sweeping anything under the rug. I’m just suggesting that we put in an equal amount of time and energy thinking about the stuff in life that we do want as we spend thinking about the stuff we’d like to change.

This is your life and you get to make of it what you want – so do it!


Like this? For more, download your free copy of Healthy Eating Shouldnt Be a Workout:  Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living (includes recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways to save money and more!).

How to Go on Vacation without Gaining 10 lbs (but still be able to enjoy vacation foods)

Finding a way to get some form of daily movement each day is one way to prevent vacation weight gain.

Finding a way to get some form of daily movement each day is one way to prevent vacation weight gain.

Years ago, when I would go on any type of vacation or “girls trip”, I would find myself scrambling in the weeks leading up to the trip to lose a few pounds, regardless of where my weight currently was. I’d get ready by trying to eat as little as I could “safely” get away with before a trip. I even did this in 2011 when John and I eloped in California, though since we hadn’t planned on getting married on vacation until just a couple of weeks before, I only had time to drop a few pounds.

You may be thinking that the reason for the last minute weight loss before a trip was so that I would look my best during it. Well, sure, who doesn’t want to look their best on vacation? But that wasn’t really the reason. The reason I always had to work off a few pounds before vacations was really to balance out the weight gain that would definitely come during a trip!

I always saw vacations and nights out a nice restaurants as a reason to go crazy and eat and drink whatever and how ever much I wanted (probably because of my constant yo yo-ing between dieting and gaining weight). The problem with that was that a 10 day vacation became more about the food I would get to eat than about getting to experience a new place or doing fun things with my man or my friends. Inevitably, I would eat terribly all vacation long – eating foods that make me feel bloated and sluggish and eating far too much of them at every meal.

Vacation would start off fun, but by the last few days, I’d be feeling so uncomfortable in my body, that the clothes I brought with me would feel too tight and I’d be looking forward to going home just so I could have relief by “working it all off”. But not before I ate another ice cream sundae, plate of fried clams, some pastries and lots of beer. “Gotta enjoy myself, you know! Because after this trip, I won’t be allowed to eat these things again for a long time”.

Somewhere along the way, I’ve learned that letting myself go crazy and eat everything under the sun when I’m on vacation is the perfect recipe for me to A) feel horrible all vacation long, B) gain 10 lbs in a short period of time and C) set me up for messed up eating and restriction when I get back.

None of that sounds like fun or even remotely vacation-like or relaxing to me!! Yet I did it over and over. I finally realized that I don’t have to do that.

Vacation should be awesome and it shouldn’t be a free for all and it also shouldn’t mean automatic weight gain. Ok, but that brings up a lot of questions, like:  To avoiding feeling terrible on vacation and after, does that mean I have to eat super cleanly all of vacation? Isn’t life for “living”? And doesn’t that include delicious indulgent food sometimes? How can I enjoy food on vacation without causing myself discomfort, pain and emotional ups and downs but still enjoying myself? I’m a foodie, how can I go to fun places and not eat the local foods they are known for?

I’ve been doing things differently when we go away the last couple of years and I feel like I can now enjoy going to new places which includes eating delicious food, without feeling compelled to eat everything in excess and without feeling deprived and without gaining a ton of weight. In fact, when we went to Martha’s Vineyard two summers ago, I actually came home 1 lb lighter than when we left (without trying to). Not saying any of us should try to lose weight on vacation but I know it’s possible to enjoy amazing food and relaxation while on vacation without coming home 10 lbs heavier.

How do we do that?

How to Go on Vacation without Gaining 10 lbs


Start your day off with something really nutritious.

High protein breakfast in Kapaa, HI means I'm nourished and able to enjoy the whole day.

High protein breakfast in Kapaa, HI means I’m nourished and able to enjoy the whole day.

The first meal of the day sets the tone for the rest of the day. For me personally, if I start the day off with a bagel or a pastry, I will be hungry again in 2 hours and I will crave sugar and other carbs all day long. This makes it really tough for me to make choices that make my body feel good and by the end of the day I will probably have eaten enough food for two days and yet still be itching for more. On the other hand, if I start my day with high protein foods that I digest well, I have energy for hours and cravings don’t control me, which makes it a lot easier to enjoy myself. I love to start vacation days with eggs and sauteed veggies or fresh fruit. If that’s not an option, a protein bar and some fruit works great (and travels well). For you it might mean cottage cheese and some bacon or Ezekiel avocado toast. And don’t tell me you can’t get something nutritious for breakfast at restaurants. Even the greasiest diner in the world will make you scrambled eggs with vegetables or a side of oatmeal.

Make the best choice you can make at every meal.

Eating Whole Fried Trout at The Loon Lodge in Rangeley, Maine. Don't worry, I didn't eat the head.

Eating Whole Fried Trout at The Loon Lodge in Rangeley, Maine. Don’t worry, I didn’t eat the head.

Sometimes that means I have lots of really healthy options and sometimes that means the healthiest option isn’t so healthy. Let’s say I’m at the airport and food options are severely lacking (and I didn’t pack anything). Even at Starbucks, I can grab a piece of fruit and their protein sampler (or something like it). Just because they mostly serve pastries, doesn’t mean I have to choose a pastry. Use your common sense. I try to find whatever option seems to resemble “whole” foods the most (less ingredients is usually a better choice). And if the best option isn’t that great, don’t make a big deal out of it. It’s just one meal.

Eat food that you actually like.

Your nutritious choices can also be foods you like!

Your nutritious choices can also be foods you like!

It has to be said that just because you are starting your day off with something nutritious and making the best choices you can at each meal does not mean that you need to eat food you don’t like. You may have read the two above and said “but I don’t like eggs (or can’t eat them)” or “I don’t like cottage cheese”. That’s fine. You don’t have to eat the things that I personally choose! You can make great choices and start your day on the right foot by eating foods that work well in your body AND that you also like. Part of our problem in this society is that we think healthy food = bland / gross food and that’s not the case. If you go into your trip trying to gag down egg whites and kale juice and you hate those things, you are going to be be miserable. Nutritious doesn’t mean going without good stuff!

Eat whatever the heck you want a few times during the trip.

You can bet I am eating baguette's and local cheeses in Paris.

You can bet I am eating baguettes and local cheeses in Paris.

I am a foodie and half the reason I like to visit new places is to try new restaurants and eat amazing delicious creations. This may seem to be diametrically opposed to being a health coach but I swear it’s not!  One of the core teachings of the school I trained to be a coach at is that real health comes from making sure we are nourished in several areas of our life. Eating well won’t do much for our health if we are also not well fed spiritually, emotionally, creatively etc. and for me, enjoying indulgent creative food on occasion feeds my spirit. On vacation, I allow myself a few meals where I can eat as indulgent as I crave with no regard for the health or nutritive purposes of the meal.  I am not going to go to New Orleans without eating a beignet. I am not going to visit Paris without enjoying a baguette and local cheeses. You probably want to know how many times during a trip I let myself eat like this and to be honest, I don’t have a set number or restriction on it. I have to go by how I’m feeling on that particular trip. It might be 3 times on a 7 day trip or it might be 5 times. It depends on where we are and what sorts of things have me salivating and how much joy I get out of it. Sometimes the “healthy” food in a location is just as amazing as the unhealthy stuff. Kauai, Hawaii was like that – fresh mangos, coconuts, avocados and the most amazing fish I’ve ever had and available at every meal. And they tasted nothing like it does when I’m at home. I aim for a balance of feeling amazing and satisfying cravings during an entire trip. I want both, so that means listening in to my body and seeing what makes the most sense. Trust yourself (the only way to grow trust in yourself is by using it sometimes).

Get some exercise or movement daily.

Going on a biking winery tour in Calistoga, CA was a blast and a beautiful way to see the area.

Going on a biking winery tour in Calistoga, CA was a blast and a beautiful way to see the area.

I have learned that I feel best during and after a trip, regardless of what I’m eating, when I get some activity every day. This doesn’t mean we need to focus on burning off the calories in the beignet or those cocktails, calorie for calorie. It’s more about keeping digestion running smoothly (which often slows on vacation) and finding ways to enjoy life that is a change from our American couch and screen lifestyle (here’s to hoping you can bring home new active pursuits you love!). Some days that might mean just walking around local shops and parks while sight seeing, or renting bikes and ditching the car (we had no car in MV only bikes!). I might spend 30 minutes in a hotel gym or do some bodyweight exercises in my room if the weather is bad or if John isn’t feeling up for exercise. I’ve dragged John out for a sunset walk on the beach. We’ve rented kayaks and spent several hours paddling and exploring lakes. I’ve spent hours swimming and lounging in a salt water pool. We did a winery tour in Napa on bikes. We hiked to a waterfall in Rangeley.  The beautiful thing about making daily movement a goal while you’re on vacation is yes, you’ll burn some calories sure, but you will also be doing things that “feed” your soul. These new experiences, with people you love are sometimes the most memorable of a trip and will last so much longer than that so-so fish and chips you thought you wanted. The key to getting activity on a trip is to think how it can add to you enjoying your day and not how it can help you eat more or burn off more. You will not enjoy your vacation if the entire thing is a mathematical exchange of calories and time.

Relax. Really

Relax and make food less of a big deal and it will be less of a big deal.

Relax and make food less of a big deal and it will be less of a big deal.

Let’s say you go overboard and do gain a few pounds on your trip. That’s ok. It happens. But there’s a limit to the amount of real weight gain that can happen in a week or two and freaking out about it is going to do you more harm than good. If you do gain weight or if you are worried about gaining weight on a trip, the best thing you can do is to not make a big deal about it and focus on eating in a way that makes your body feel good and doesn’t make you feel deprived or crazy when you get back. The more we fight with ourselves and view our bodies as a battle to be won, the more casualties there will be. Practice putting down your need to control this stuff to a T and you’ll find that weight ups and downs are actually reduced. Try to view mealtimes as a time to refuel and not as something to fear and you’ll gain trust in your body.


That’s really it. I focus on taking pretty good care of myself but also leave room for some extras while on vacation. This way, I enjoy myself and my body feels good, instead of weighed down, bloated and uncomfortable. I can have both! An awesome and unexpected side effect is that now that I have done this a few times successfully, I have less stress as a vacation approaches and during it. I am able to focus on life more before I leave (rather than how much weight I can lose first) and enjoy it more during. I’m more present. I’m more me. And the food I do eat tastes even better because I’m not ruining it with calorie calculations before the first bite even goes in my mouth.

The key to not gaining a ton of weight on vacation is to go into it trusting yourself and choosing to eat and do things that will make your body and your soul feel amazing, the whole trip. You have to decide what those things are and how much feels like enough and not too much. You are in charge of you and you fully have it in you to enjoy your vacation and all the food that comes with it in a reasonable and enjoyable way.


Like this? For more, download your free copy of Healthy Eating Shouldnt Be a Workout:  Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living (includes recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways to save money and more!).