How to Be Fully Committed to Yourself and Your Weight Loss Goals

The Reality…
I had an interesting conversation with a coaching client last week.  We were discussing her desired weight goal, and that the difference between success and failure would be her level of commitment. I suggested that her level of commitment would be driven by the strength of her relationship with herself, and then I asked her to tell me about the quality of that relationship.  The question confused her initially because, admittedly, she had never given thought to the fact that she even had a relationship with herself.  Like many of us, we think of a relationship in terms of a connection with another person, and we can be committed to another person in ways we would never dream of being committed to ourselves.  The truth is we all have a relationship with ourselves, whether we realize it or not.  Our relationship with ourselves drives how successful we will be when we tell ourselves we are going to do something.  It will determine how we allow other people to treat us and what we will tolerate.  And as it relates to weight loss, it will determine our level of commitment to the process, and ultimately our success or failure.
I would argue that the relationship with ourselves is the single most important relationship we will ever have, and the quality of that relationship is solely our responsibility.  And most importantly, the relationship with yourself can begin to improve merely with the recognition that improvement is needed.  If I had to place a wager, I would bet every time that people who are overweight or obese have a good bit of work to do on their relationship with themselves. I include my former self in the description, because until I worked on my relationship with myself, my commitment to things was definitely fleeting. As was the case personally, I would also bet that a failure to address the issue of relationship with self prior to, or in conjunction with, a weight loss plan, will likely result in a failure of any weight loss plan. 
As I continued to coach my client, I asked her to consider herself as a separate person when she evaluated the quality of her relationship with herself, and I asked her a series of questions.
If she were, say, a girlfriend by the name of Sally, how well does she think she treats Sally?  If she made a commitment to Sally, would she keep the commitment or would she back out on Sally at the last minute?   The answer was she was putting Sally last all the time.  She said YES to everyone else, so whenever Sally had a need she felt she had to say NO.  She treated Sally with disrespect.  She actually didn’t even like Sally all that much, and Sally could feel the fact that she wasn’t liked, loved or respected. It’s no wonder Sally didn’t trust her, and didn’t really believe a world that came out of her mouth.  She had disappointed Sally over and over again, and as a result, her relationship with Sally wasn’t a very good one.  
  
The conversation continued for a while with a discussion of the different ways she showed up for the other people in her life.  Like many of us ladies, she was fully committed to all her other relationships and doing her best at all times for those “others,” but her relationship with Sally was an entirely different matter. It was a pivotal session for my client because she experienced the realization that if she didn’t improve her relationship with herself, she would never have the level of commitment needed to make her health a priority and take the action necessary to succeed and meet her goals. 

The Challenge…

What would you do if you had a relationship with someone who treated you like that?  What would you advise a loved one if they found themselves in a relationship with someone who treated them so poorly?  And most importantly, if you honestly evaluated your relationship with yourself in the manner described above, what would you learn?  Would you come to realize that you don’t treat yourself very well at all, and that you don’t make yourself a priority?

The challenge lies in redefining your relationship with yourself, and with others, so that you are able to prioritize your own needs and desires.  I’m not recommending that you abandon your work and parenting responsibilities whatsoever, so please do not misunderstand me.  This is more an issue of balancing out the competing demands and making sure your own needs and desires are met.  I am asking you to recognize that in order to have a good relationship with yourself, and to set the tone for how you expect to be treated in relationships with other people, you have to say YES to yourself on the important stuff like health and longevity, even if it means saying NO to others at times. But, how do you start saying NO when you are so used to saying YES to everyone but yourself?

The Solution…
The solution is simple, yet at the same time, very hard.   You must learn to say NO so that there is sufficient time to say YES to yourself.  As part of my 6-week weight loss program, clients incorporate solutions to the three different components of weight loss that must be effectively managed to sustain a healthy body weight – food and drink intake, exercise, and stress management techniques.  Additionally, clients will take time to plan what they will do in the upcoming week, in consideration of other responsibilities they must schedule around, to manage those three areas.  Clients understand that they must be 100% committed and “All In” to accomplish their goals.  Once their plan is set for the week, they do not make exceptions (barring a true emergency, of course) for any reason.  Clients recognize that in the past they have not planned at all, or have cancelled their plans for themselves for things far less significant than a true emergency.  In the course of the program, clients learn to respect the commitments they make to themselves, improve their relationship with themselves, and, finally, to just say NO so that they can say YES to themselves.  Please evaluate your relationship with yourself, and decide whether your relationship with yourself might be holding you back from achieving those goals!
The Invitation….

Please leave me feedback on this blog, or any questions you might have, as a comment below!  Feedback is greatly appreciated.
 
To get started on a deeper dive into stress management and permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??  

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Think Your Way to Healthy & Fit

The Reality…
Decades ago I read a book called “Women Who Think Too Much.”  I bought it because I was oftentimes accused of thinking too much by my loved ones.  Overthinking. Overanalyzing.  Making the lives of everyone around me too difficult, including my own.  Is there a correlation between being an overthinker, happiness and weight gain?
The Challenge…
Overthinking can present a challenge to the achievement of your weight loss goals for several reasons.  First, if you are someone who overthinks a plan to death in an attempt to make sure it is the perfect plan that cannot fail before you are willing to take any action towards weight loss, then you are going to spend too much time planning and not enough time actually taking any action that will lead you to your desired goal.    
Achieving health and well-being, through weight loss if you are overweight, is a very active process.  It’s about taking action, not being in your head.  It’s about proactively taking action to reach your desired goal. People who overthink are obviously spending more time in their heads than they are at the gym or walking in the park.  By way of contrast, overthinking is passive and often results in stress and anxiety which can hinder your weight loss progress, not to mention any other area of your life.
In addition to being passive with your thought processes rather than physically active and working toward your weight loss goals, overthinking presents another issue peripherally related to weight loss.  When we are overthinking, we tend to focus our attention on our dissatisfaction with past events or the worries about the future.   When we are in our heads, we are not in the present moment.  The truth is we should spend only enough time in our heads as it take us to (a) learn a lesson from the past, positive or negative, that gives us a distinction or competitive edge in our decisions about what is happening in life right now, and (b) give us a direction in which to head with regard to our desired result.  To the extent we are caught up in heads and overthinking about the injustice of this event or the fear about some future event, we are creating stress and anxiety in our bodies.  And as we know, stress and anxiety in our bodies can trigger stress eating which can lead to weight gain and can also trigger high levels of cortisol which studies suggest interfere with weight loss.
The Solution…
The solution, of course, is to get out of your head and take action.  Don’t worry about finding the perfect plan or solution before you take action.  Keep track of what you have done, notice if it has worked, and if it hasn’t, change course and try a different action.  Also, spend less time in your head fretting about the past or worrying about the future, and enjoy the present moment.  It’s the only moment you actually ever have because the past is gone and cannot be re-written, and the future is an illusion that may or may not ever happen.  Today is all you ever really have.  Embrace it, be fully present in it, and take action toward your desired goals.
The Invitation….
To get started on a deeper dive into permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??  

How to Stay Loyal to Your Weight Loss Goals on Vacation

The Reality…
Has this ever happened to you?  You have a plan to lose weight and you’re doing great, but then vacation time arrives!  As excited as you are to go on vacation, you fear you will lose the momentum you have achieved with your weight loss thus far, and worse, you fear you will gain weight and be discouraged to continue your efforts after vacation. The reality is that it’s hard to maintain a weight loss plan while you are on vacation, but there are strategies you can implement to combat the challenge.
The Challenge…
While vacation plans can involve physical activity, they often time also include lots of eating and drinking.  And more importantly, they take you (and your body) off your usual routine, which includes whatever you have decided to incorporate in terms of diet, exercise and stress management techniques to achieve weight loss.  How will your weight loss plan and your vacation peacefully co-exist?  The key is to plan in advance rather than make decisions on impulse during vacation.  There is no wrong decision so long as it is made in advance with your long-term goals in mind.  And for sure, you must abandon any thoughts that going on vacation will spell the end of your weight loss journey.  Below are a few options for you to consider in advance of your vacation. 
The Solution…
1.     Creating a Deficit.  I recently took a vacation to Peru, and I LOVE Peruvian food.  Needless to say, my advance planning involved creating a deficit for myself so that I could indulge in the local cuisine without feeling totally guilty about it.  So, what do I mean by “creating a deficit”?  My usual exercise routine includes daily walks and a weekly salsa lesson, and more intense cardiovascular exercise three times a week.  I also enjoy a relatively relaxed eating routine, meaning that I eat healthy most days, but I also indulge in dessert a couple of times a week and take in the calories and sugar of the occasional alcoholic beverage.  In the two weeks leading up to my vacation, I increased the number of intense cardiovascular workouts and I passed on all dessert and high caloric or sugary drinks.  By doing this, I created a deficit that I was able to use to offset a little extra vacation eating (and drinking…. Has anyone ever tasted a Pisco Sour??  Yummy, but not the best choice while trying to lose weight!)  It only took two days post-vacation to work off the two pounds I gained while intensely enjoying my travel to Peru.
2.     Incorporate Physical Activity into Your Vacation Plans.  Another way to stay on track with your weight loss plan while on vacation is to plan for some form of daily (or at least frequent) exercise.  In reality, we should have more time for exercise while on vacation than we do when we are at home juggling work, home and other commitments.  The key is to plan it out in advance so that your vacation schedule isn’t so jam packed that you can’t fit it in.  Also, be sure to bring whatever gear will need to make sure it actually happens, such as exercise bras, clothing and shoes.  Using Peru as an example, I knew we would be doing a lot of hiking and walking tours, so the time I needed to spend in the hotel gym was limited.  With advance planning, I was able to fit in some form of exercise each day, which definitely helped limit my overall weight gain during vacation.
3.     Be Intentional with Your Food and Drink Intake.  The truth is you can stay dedicated to your diet while on vacation if you choose to do so.  Even if you make a conscious decision not to be completely on point with your eating and drinking, the track is to be intentional with the specifics of how you will indulge.  As an example, one of my clients who enjoys frequent vacations with her husband makes a conscious choice in advance, depending upon where she is with her current weight, as to how many alcoholic beverages she will enjoy during the vacation, and in how many desserts she will indulge.  She also makes a commitment not to eat beyond the point of feeling full regardless of how much food remains on her plate and how much “free food” is made available.   She only gained a half pound on her last vacation, and she was thrilled since she usually gained on average at least 5 pounds per trip.  She also reported feeling completely satisfied as to food and drink for the entire trip, even though she is now indulging a lot less than she used to while traveling.   
4.     Put Your Weight Loss Plan on Hold During Vacation.  Last but not least, you can make a conscious decision to be lazy and eat like a glutton while on vacation if you choose to do so.  And that is entirely your decision to make.  Of course, the natural consequence of that decision is that you will experience a delay in reaching your weight loss goals, which is fine so long as you are making the decision in advance rather than on impulse.  The key is to make a conscious choice in advance about how you will handle diet and exercise (and stress management if you’re one who experiences stress with travel).  With that said, part of your advance decision making must include a commitment to yourself to get back on track the day following the end of your vacation. 
The Invitation….
I would love your feedback on this blog or any questions as a comment below! 
   
To get started on a deeper dive into permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??  

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How to Abandon Your Closet Eating Ways

The Reality…
Closet eating is the act of intentionally eating in solitude the unhealthy foods that are keeping you overweight so that others will not judge what you are putting in your body.  While some overweight people freely consume whatever they desire in front of friends and family, closet eaters feel an unbearable shame in their eating choices and prefer to secretly indulge.  Closet eaters tend to eat healthy foods in front of others, so it may seem to friends and family that their weight challenge must be something outside their control since they seem to be doing all the right things to maintain a healthy weight.  But in reality, they are consuming a lot of unhealthy foods in private that keep them overweight. 
The Challenge…
I had a roommate once who was very overweight.  We routinely made healthy meals together, and also exercised and took walks together, all in an effort to help them lose weight and get healthy.  Nothing seemed to work.  The roommate seemed genuinely confused about why they weren’t losing weight with all the healthy eating and exercise.  They speculated that perhaps some sort of hormonal imbalance was preventing them from losing weight.  One day I found a McDonald’s bag in the outside garbage can and it all made sense to me.  My roommate finally confessed that every time they were in the car alone, they would stop at McDonalds and indulge lots of unhealthy calories in the form of fast food.  Mystery solved.  Our efforts at healthy eating and exercise never stood a chance against the frequent stops at McDonalds.
In the case of my roommate, who was a classic stress eater, there was so much shame involved in the inability to stop overeating that they decided to take it on the “down low.”  What my roommate didn’t understand was that the shame they were feeling about unhealthy eating was just a feeling that came from a thought, and that thought was thought with such repetition, that it eventually became a belief system about weakness and shame and no possibility of every having a healthy body.  Once your mindset becomes fully entrenched in this type of thinking, the results achieved are not too hard to predict. 
The Solution…
The only solution anyone can legitimately offer to someone who is indulges in closet eating is that they must change their thinking about all the factors that are leading them to closet eat:  for example, the thoughts that are making them feel shame and fear of judgment about the unhealthy foods they want to eat, the thoughts that are making them believe it is better to be secretive about unhealthy eating than to make conscious choices to eat healthy and lose weight, and the thoughts that lead them to feel that the indulgence in unhealthy foods is the only thing that will make them feel better about “whatever”.  The starting point for the closet eater to abandon their closet eating ways is to identify what they are thinking when they make the decision to indulge.  Once the closet eater has identified the thoughts they are thinking at the moment they make the decision to go through the drive-through at McDonalds, for example, they can then work toward changing their thoughts and belief systems from disempowering thoughts that are causing them to closet eat and stay overweight to empowering thoughts that will cause them to eat healthy and lose weight.

The bottom line is you implement different strategies to make closet eating less convenient, such as making a commitment to yourself only to eat with others, but the truth is as soon as you are alone and craving you will be right back speaking into the box at McDonalds unless your change your thinking!

The Invitation….
I would love your feedback on this blog or any questions as a comment below! 
   
To get started on a deeper dive into permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??  

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The Powerful Truth About Stress and Thought

The Reality…
In a recent blog I offered ten tips to reduce stress, stress and stress management being one of the three components of the Optimal Health Triad I advocate.  (If you missed it, click here to read Ten Tips to Manage Stress.)  One of the tips offered to reduce stress was to examine and clean up your thoughts about your life circumstance and stressors.
The Challenge…
To reiterate, if you fail to manage your stress, your mind and body may experience some undesirable side effects, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, premature aging, mood disorders, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.  Stress is also linked to poor dietary choices and hormonal imbalance that keep you overweight.  It can be very challenging to manage your thoughts about your life circumstances and the things that cause you stress, but managing those thoughts is the key to managing the stress and reducing its impact on the body.
The Solution…
So, how do you clean up your thoughts?  Thoughts seem to happen automatically, so it may feel impossible to change them, but it is possible.  And changing your thoughts is key to everything from managing your stress to getting the results you want in any area of your life. 
I learned a neat trick called modeling when I did my coaching certification with the Life Coach School.  The idea behind modeling is that all of us operate under “unintentional models” which reflect what we are “unintentionally” doing in our lives that are leading us to the undesirable results are currently getting.  The acronym for the model is CTFAR, and the acronym translates as follows: C = Circumstances, T= Thoughts, F = Feelings, A= Actions, and R = Results.  Under the model, any circumstances you encounter in life are simply neutral facts that are neither good nor bad, at least until we think a thought about those neutral facts.  Our thoughts about life circumstances cause us to feel a certain way, and the feelings we feel lead us to take a certain action.  Ultimately, the actions we take give us our results.  For example, if something we consider stressful occurs during our day triggers our conditioned thought that “when I am stressed, I eat everything in sight”, you may feel, for example, weak or disappointed in yourself.  And when you feel weak or disappointed in yourself, you may take the action of making yourself feel better by indulging in food.  The result you will get when you try to make yourself feel better with food is that you gain weight, or at the very least, you don’t lose weight.  
Above was an example of an “unintentional model”, and we want to replace the unintentional models we are currently operating under with “intentional models” that will lead us to our “intended” & desired results.  Using the above example of stress, if something we would ordinarily consider stressful occurs during our day, we can be conscious about it and decide in advance to think a more productive thought about it, such as “stress creates an opportunity for me to treat myself with extra care.”  Instead of generating a feeling of weakness or disappointment, your new thought may make you feel nurtured or strong, and those feelings can lead you to renewed dedication to your weight loss goals, which will ultimately result in losing weight versus gaining weight. 
If you are not achieving the results you desire, you must examine the results you are getting and track them back up to the thoughts you are thinking that are leading you to the undesirable result.  It always starts with a thought!  If stress and stress eating are interfering with your weight loss, try cleaning up your thoughts about your stress and life circumstances, which are actually neutral versus good or bad.
Thanks Brooke Castillo and the Life Coach School for developing such a powerful tool for change!
The Invitation….
I would love your feedback on this blog or any questions as a comment below!     

 

To get started on a deeper dive into permanent weight loss, click on the calendar below to schedule a FREE mini-session with me.  What do you have to lose but some weight??  

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