The Why of Fat Shaming and How to Handle It

“Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind.  It means you don’t see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being.  To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence.” 
Eckhart Tolle
The Reality…
Tonight, I had the privilege of attending an Evening with Eckhart Tolle in Miami.  The experience was very powerful to say the least.  In anticipation of the evening, I have been re-reading Tolle’s best-selling book “A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.”  I really love his perspective on the ego and the way the ego strengthens itself through identification with external things, such as possessions or even the physical body itself.  Tolle suggests that in western culture, the physical appearance of the body contributes greatly to our sense of who we think we are, and our relative worth as compared to others.  Hence, our self-worth can be dependent upon our physical strength, external appearance and level of fitness.   As a result of our cultural conditioning, many overweight and obese people have a diminished sense of self-worth because they perceive their body as ugly or imperfect. 
The Challenge…
So, what does all this ego and cultural conditioning stuff have to do with fat shaming? 
Fat shaming is typically discussed in terms of normal weight people criticizing or harassing overweight people about their weight or eating behavior.  A completely unacceptable reality of our society, right? Remember the playboy model who took pictures of an overweight woman in the locker room at the gym, and posted it online for everyone to see along with some completely derogatory and insulting commentary? “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either” were her cruel and inappropriate words.  That case involved an invasion of privacy and there were criminal implications, but wouldn’t it be interesting if everyone who fat-shamed other human beings were held accountable in some manner?  

The playboy model is the perfect example of a deeply unconscious person who seeks to strengthen their own ego by belittling or making others “less than” through criticism or ridicule.   
In my experience, fat shaming is not only coming from the fit and slender people.  There is also a lot of “self-shaming” going on in our society because of our cultural conditioning.  If you’re carrying around a few extra pounds or more, have you personally felt a diminished sense of self-worth because of your weight, or felt “less than” someone better looking or in better physical shape?  Do you have negative thoughts and internal conversations with yourself because your body is less than perfect?  I used to do that to myself regularly, but the weight didn’t come off permanently until I disassociated my sense of self-worth from my level of attractiveness and physical fitness. 
The Solution…
For the overweight or obese person who has experienced the pain of fat shaming, I offer the following:
1.     If you experience fat shaming, try to intellectualize and internalize the inner workings of the person who has subjected you to fat shaming.  They are unconsciously seeking to strengthen their own ego by making comparisons and establishing superiority.  This has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them.
2.     Realize that all structures are unstable, temporary and will eventually yield and fall away.  This includes your physical body and the near-perfect body of the person subjecting you to fat shaming.  Every living body is destined for the same fate.  And placing too much value on external physicality is the cause of great suffering for many when the inevitable deterioration occurs.
3.     According to Tolle, your greatest protection against a deeply unconscious person is to focus on your own consciousness.  Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways of going beyond your own ego, and also dissolving the collective human ego (and the collective human ego is most definitely a conversation for another day….).
4.     Finally, pay attention to your own internal conversations (thoughts) and make sure you are not engaging in your own form of fat shaming via self-shame.  If your goal is to become a healthier version of your current self, your thought patterns will need to change from self-shaming thoughts to thoughts of self-love and empowerment.
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?? 

Five Things You Should Know About Happiness and Weight Loss

The Reality…

The truth is being dissatisfied with the way you look or feel can be a very unhappy-making experience.  But which comes first, the unhappiness or the extra weight?  I would argue that happier people make better choices for themselves, which may keep them from becoming overweight in the first place, and at the very least will make taking action to lose weight that much easier than it would be for a person plagued with unhappy thoughts.
The Challenge…

If you consider weight loss a prerequisite to your happiness, you may want to consider plan reorganization.  You may find it a challenge to love yourself as an overweight person (that’s right, and exactly as you are right this moment), but the fact is self-love, happiness, respect for, and commitment to, oneself will ideally proceed, or be undertaken in conjunction with, weight loss. 

Happiness is truly an inside job. It is never based upon what is going on “out there”, meaning what others think, say or do, or negative world events.  Happiness is a choice we make internally, for ourselves.  And so is unhappiness.  As human beings, we have the power to decide whether we will chose thoughts that lead us to positive or negative feelings.  It stands to reason that the decisions we make when we are experiencing negative feelings will lead us to very different results in life than the decisions we make when we are experiencing positive feelings and emotions.  Negative thoughts and feelings can cause us to seek solace in food, or not value, in the moment, the long term goals and values we have set for ourselves.  Conversely, positive thoughts and emotions can be very empowering, and lead us down a very different path.  The path we go down, meaning the actions we take as a result of our thoughts and feelings, will leads us to a particular result.  Not coincidentally, positive thoughts (routinely thought by happy people) will get you positive results (in weight loss, and everything else in life).  And negative thoughts (routinely thought by unhappy people) will get you negative results (in weight loss, and everything else in life).

So it comes in very handy that you literally get to choose whether to be happy or unhappy.  It seems like a no-brainer to me, but if you’re not quite sure yet which would be the better choice, review five things you need to know about happiness that will result in actions that will impact your weight loss.  If you never lost a pound, wouldn’t this be a better way to live anyhow!?

The Solution…

Below are five things you need to know about how happiness and weight loss go hand-in-hand:

  1. Happy People Make Healthier Choices
  2. Happy People Produce Lower Levels of the Stress Hormone Cortisol
  3. Happy People Enjoy Living in the Moment
  4. Happy People Have a Higher Level of Respect for Themselves
  5. Happy People Honor Commitments to Themselves
The Invitation….

Please leave me 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??  


How to Avoid Stress Eating in the Midst of Your Stressful Day

The Reality…
In a recent blog, I wrote about the prevalence of stress in today’s world, and offered 10 tips to manage stress.  (If you missed it, click here to read Ten Tips to Manage Stress.)  The reality is that if we do not learn to effectively manage our stress, we may instead find ourselves managing a whole host of other undesirables. To reiterate, the failure to manage stress can result in anxiety, depression, insomnia, premature aging, mood disorders, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.  On top of all those serious health concerns, failure to manage stress can also result in weight gain, and over time, obesity, stemming from poor food choices made while under stress.  I am referring to what is commonly called “stress eating” and nothing can take a woman off track with weight loss faster than a high stress day and the stress eating that somehow gets her through it.   
The Challenge…
The challenge, of course, is that those urges to stress eat strike when we are at a particularly vulnerable point emotionally.  Those of us who stress eat seek solace in “comfort foods”, which are typically packed full of sugar, flour and calories.  Those comfort foods provide an extra dose of dopamine to make us feel better, at least temporarily, which is one of the reasons we crave them.  Dopamine is known as the “feel-good hormone” because it provides feelings of euphoria and bliss.  No matter how much better your body may feel after eating “comfort food”, the body will still be at risk for the undesirables referenced above, and you certainly won’t be any closer to the your weight loss goals, especially if your stress eating occurs with any regularity.  In addition to the ten tips provided in the prior blog, which are more of a proactive and overall approach to stress management, below are some techniques you can use “in the moment” to avoid stress eating in the midst of your stressful day. 
The Solution…
If you are in the habit of experiencing stressful days because of your job or relationships, then it makes sense to plan in advance for a healthy interruption that you will implement when stress arises.  I encourage you to have at least five healthy interruption techniques at the ready.  Below I offer a few ideas to get you started, but ultimately you will want to develop techniques that are meaningful to your particular circumstances.  Tell yourself in advance that the stress may be coming, and if it does, you are prepared and will employ one of your techniques before you resort to stress eating.  Nine times out of ten your stress will dissipate without the need for food, and your body and brain will eventually become conditioned to the fact that food is no longer your answer to stress relief:
    1.  Have a safe space designated within your office or home (wherever you find yourself encountering stress, to the extent practical) where you can go light a candle or incense, close the blinds or drapes, and exercise some deep inhalations and exhalations.  Even five minutes of respite can bring about a shift in your stress level and allow you to push the reset button simply with space and breath, and not food.
     2.   Another option to deep inhalations and exhalations in your safe space would be to listen to a quick guided meditation. 

3   3.  Grab a bottle of water and go for a quick walk outside.  The water will help your body to feel as if it is being satiated, the walk will get your body moving and your blood flowing, and the fresh air will prompt you to breathe.  The whole experience will give you a fresh perspective.  

     4.  Have an understanding with a friend or family member that you will each provide each other with support in stressful times where either of you might otherwise feel tempted to stress eat.  Place a time limit on the phone call.  Even five minutes on the phone with a friend who understands what you are trying to accomplish with weight loss and the stressors of your life can quickly bring you back into perspective while allowing the food urge to pass unsatisfied.

The Invitation….
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??  


What You Need to Know About Five Hormones that Impact Weight Loss

The Reality… 
As women, we have probably all been accused at one point or another of being hormonal. Perhaps a little insulting, but actually true.  With that said, all humans are full of hormones, not just women!  If you’re overweight, those hormones are likely not as balanced as they should be.  The bottom line is all bodies have a unique hormonal response to food, drink and lifestyle, and you must have the utmost respect for your hormones and determine, through experimentation, what works best for your body to bring it into hormonal balance.  
How do you know when you’re in hormonal balance?  Your moods stabilize.  You naturally maintain a healthy weight.  Your body sends messages that it’s time to eat only when it is in true need for fuel.  And when you are satiated, your body sends the message that you are full and should stop eating.  While you are working to achieve your ideal body weight, you must appreciate and yield to the power that your hormones have to not only wreak havoc on your weight loss but also make you feel pretty darn uncomfortable in your skin when they aren’t balance.  Hormones also have the power to bring your body back in balance and allow you to achieve a healthy weight for life.  
Below are five hormones that can impact weight loss for women:

  1. Cortisol
  2. Ghrelin
  3. Leptin
  4. Insulin
  5. Estrogen 
The Challenge…
When the five hormones above are out of balance, they can prove a challenge to your weight loss plans.  Further, in some case, going on a diet will impact your hormones and impact your weight loss plans.  Below is a brief description of each hormone.
Cortisol. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. High cortisol concentrations increase abdominal fat, the type of fat more closely linked to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Ghrelin.  Ghrelin, made in the stomach, is the hormone that stimulates appetite.   Your body is designed for survival so when you begin a diet and reduce calorie intake, ghrelin levels increase and make you hungry to protect you from starvation.  
Leptin.  Leptin is a hormone that is secreted from your fat cells, and it signals your body when it’s full and should stop eating.  Overweight and obese people have high levels of leptin, but the leptin signal isn’t working due to a condition known as leptin resistance. Leptin resistance can cause hunger even though the body has more than sufficient fat stores, and can also negatively impact the number of calories that are burned.
Insulin.  Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use.  Like with leptin, if you regularly eat a lot of sugar, your body produces an elevated level of insulin and over time your cells are less responsive to the presence of insulin and become insulin resistant.  Intermittent fasting, the topic of two of my recent blogs, has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity. 
Estrogen.  Estrogen is made in the ovaries, and plays a role in body-fat distribution. Many women report that changing estrogen levels affect their weight, particularly around menopause. They may notice that they are gaining weight, or that it is more difficult to lose weight.
The Solution…
The brief descriptions above do not even scratch the surface of the intricacy and interplay between your hormones, and how they can potentially impact weight loss.  And as I mentioned above, each person has a unique hormonal response to a given set of circumstances.  However, the basics on these hormones is a starting point and you now have information about which hormones are relevant to weight loss.  I would highly recommend as you embark on a weight loss journey that you make it your business to know all about the hormones that will impact your weight loss success, and pay particular attention to your unique hormonal responses.  Knowledge is power when it comes to your hormones, and knowing what is going on inside as you attempt to lose weight can put any temporary failures you experience in perspective for you.  As you research, bear in mind there is conflicting data out there, especially on the internet.  The good news is that incorporating into your lifestyle the three components we target in my 6-week weight loss program “Weight Loss for Stressed Out Ladies” (healthy diet, exercise and stress management) will help bring your hormone levels into balance over time and help you achieve a healthy lifestyle. 
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??  

Four Steps to Creating a Healthier Life Balance

The Reality…
I previously posted a blog featuring ten tips to reduce stress — stress being one of the three components of the Weight Loss formula I advocate.  (If you missed it, click here to read Ten Tips to Manage Stress.)
One of the tips I offered to reduce stress was to examine how you spend your time and incorporate more balance into your life.  
Life balance is one of my favorite topics!  
I love this topic because I used to be really, really bad at juggling. Mastering the juggle was key to my current level of happiness and fulfillment.
In fact, I love the topic of mastering the juggle and life balance so much I decided to hold a multi-day retreat to help women master this important topic.  It’s called a Life Box Retreat, and it will dive deep into everything I discovered about the process of mastering life balance in my personal journey.
For more information on the Life Box Retreat, please click here!  The guest list will be limited to 5 women only, and I hope you will consider joining the women who have already made the investment in themselves to be there.
So, balancing the competing areas of your life definitely requires some strong juggling skills, and I can honestly say that most people I know have definitely NOT mastered the art of the juggle.
Have you??
Do you find that when you’re thriving in one area of your life, the other areas seem to suffer a little…or a lot?  Do you get stressed out because of all the competing demands and find yourself unable to keep up?  Do you find yourself constantly breaking commitments to yourself, especially in the area of health and wellness?  If you answered YES to any of those questions, you probably need at least a little work on life balance. 
Life balance is a necessary component of happiness and fulfillment in life.  
So why is it so hard to achieve?
The Challenge…
Our lives are filled with so much wonderful subject matter.  Love and Marriage.  Children.  Friends.  Relationship with Self.  Health and Fitness.  Travel.  Hobbies.  Personal Development.  Spiritually and/or Religion.  Service to Others. 
But it’s easy to lose sight of how wonderful each of the areas of your life can be when you’re experiencing stress over how to pay enough attention to all areas.  
I used to consider some areas of my life necessary, but not necessarily wonderful.  Work.  Home. Finances.  To name a few. My commitment to those areas was more of an obligation and necessity of adult life.
My perspective — in other words, my mindset — made it impossible for me to enjoy any of the time spent in those areas.
But I invested some serious time and effort on mastering mindset.
And for that reason my current perspective is that each of my life boxes is wonderful, and that attitude alone adds to the fullness of my life and naturally helps me manage my stress.  None of it’s a burden and none of it bogs me down.  And when I lose sight of that perspectives, I am quickly able to remind myself that the “less” fun stuff is merely part of the journey, and without the “less” fun stuff, the fun stuff would not be near as joyous!
There’s so much beauty in that balance, but achieving the balance can be tricky. 
The Solution…
The solution I found to creating a healthy balance in life involves the four-step process outlined below.  I have tweaked the process somewhat over time, but the overall framework is the same.
Step 1:  Identify and Assess Your Life Boxes.  Make a list of your life boxes — these are all the areas of your life, including anything you would like to incorporate going forward.  Once you have your list, evaluate your life boxes using the following questions:  How much time do you spend in each box?  Are there boxes you would like to close forever and put out with the recycling? What is your level of satisfaction in each life box?  How do you prioritize each life box?  And does the amount of time you spend in each box correlate to the level of priority you assigned to the life box?
Step 2:  Set Goals for Each Life Box. What kind of relationship do you want to have with your spouse or partner?  Your kids?  How much time do you want to spend with your friends?  How much time do you want to spend on travel, if any?  What are your goals for your professional life?  How much wealth do you wish to build? How do you want to organize and manage your home?  What level of health and fitness are important to you, and how do you get there or maintain? How can you combine different areas to maximize efficiency in your balance?  Can you exercise with a friend or your spouse?  Would your family share a vacation with friends?  If you’re married, some of these will be joint goals.  The point is to spend some time setting a direction for each area so you know where you are headed.
Step 3:  Plan Accordingly.  Part of life balance is planning.  If you are proactively looking at each area of your life as you plan your week ahead, you can be sure to incorporate actions that will not only bring you into balance but also ensure you are headed towards the achievement of your stated goals at all times.  Of course, there will be periods that lack balance for one reason or another, but the key is to always be paying attention to where your time is spent so that you never go too far out of balance and never stray too far from the attainment of your goals in every area of life.
Step 4:  Prioritize. Clock time is limited, so it helps to establish priority items for a defined period of time.  You can use any time as a frame of reference, meaning for this week, or this month or this quarter, my top priority will be “x” or “x,y, and z”.  Most of my clients are weight loss clients, and we discuss pretty early into our coaching relationship that they must make their health and weight loss goals the top priority if they are to achieve their desired results.  With weight loss, falling into the health and fitness area, as the number one priority until desired results are achieved, a time slot for exercise, food and drink intake and stress management is always reserved and takes priority over everything else.
If you haven’t been successful devising your own plan for life balance, or don’t even know where to start because you feel so overwhelmed, I highly recommend you try the four-step process above. Or better yet, attend my Life Box Retreat in October, where we will delve deeply into the key issues that impact life balance with the goal of life transformation.
Whatever you decide, I can assure you that any attempt to bring your life into balance will be worth the effort and investment.
The Invitation….

Please leave me feedback on this blog or any questions as a comment below!
If you’d like to get healthy and join me for a deeper dive into permanent weight loss, click here to schedule a FREE mini-consultation with me.  

Thanks for reading! 

Three Ways to Know if You have a Sugar Addiction and What to Do About it

The Reality… 
According to the National Institute of Health, sugar comprises 15% of the diets of American adults, and this statistic does not include foods with naturally occurring sugars such as fruit and milk.  In short, Americans are eating too much sugar, and the statistics on overweight and obesity support that position.  Excessive sugar consumption is linked to numerous health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and heart disease.
What if I told you eliminating sugar might be as hard as an alcoholic conquering his desire to drink or a drug addict giving up the drugs that are destroying his life?  We think of addictions in terms of THOSE kinds of things, but a study by the National Institute of Health reports that sugar is noteworthy as a substance that releases opioids and dopamine and might have addictive potential.  To any of us who love sugar, addictive “potential” seems more like addictive “certainty.” 
The Challenge… 
Avoiding sugar can be a challenge for several reasons.  First and foremost, it has addictive qualities so once we have had a taste of it and it makes us feel so good, we don’t want to avoid it.  From the outset, our desire is working against us.  And the marketplace is at the ready to feed the addiction.  About 80 percent of packaged food items you will find in the grocery store contain added sugars.  And it’s even worse with drinks.  Next time you drink a soda, flip the can around and feast your eyes on the sugar content displayed.  Cans and bottles of contain about 40 grams of sugar, and there are drinks on the market that are even worse than that.  According to the American Heart Association, the most added sugar a woman should eat in a day are 25 grams, so even indulging in one soda will exceed the recommended daily limit.  And typically we are not stopping with one can of soda. You will also find sugar in lots of other favorites as well:  Fruit juices (just as sugary as soft drinks, ladies), candies/sweets, baked goods, fruits canned in syrups, and low-fat or diet foods all contain way too much added sugar.  Make sure to read those labels and if sugar is listed first, quickly return that choice to the grocery store shelf.  
If you have trouble avoiding the sweet stuff you might have a sugar addiction to contend with, and if you’re trying to lose the extra weight the sugar gave you, you must overcome the sugar addiction first. 
The Solution…
If you experience any of the following symptoms related to your consumption of sugar, you may have a sugar addition to overcome before you will experience success with weight loss.
Cravings.  When you eliminate or cut back your sugar intake, do you crave it and think about it all the time?  If you crave sugar constantly, there’s a good chance you have a sugar addiction. 

Bingeing.  When you consume sugary foods, are you able to enjoy a small and moderate amount at a time…just a little nibble?  Or is it a full-on binge that doesn’t end until all evidence of sugar in your immediate area have been consumed?  If you binge on sugar, rather than enjoy it in small and infrequent doses, there’s a good chance you are addicted to sugar. 

Withdrawal.  When you don’t consume sugar, what happens in your body?  Have you experienced any of the following symptoms?  If so, you might have a sugar addition.
  • Cravings
  • Lethargy or lack of energy
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
If you are overweight, reducing the amount of the sugar consume won’t be easy at first because you’ve likely developed a sugar addiction.  However, reducing or eliminating the amount of sugar in your diet will not only reduce your risk for the health conditions listed above, but it will also help you lose weight.  Expect the discomfort that will inevitably occur, but do so with the knowledge and certainty that reducing sugar intake is not only best for your long-term health, but also necessary for weight loss. 
You have to decide whether to completely eliminate or simply reduce the amount of sugar you consume.  Complete elimination, or “going cold turkey” is going to hurt, but the truth is reducing sugar is probably going to hurt a little as well.  After all, breaking addictions always hurts, but doing so is always best for your body, mind and spirit.
The prevailing recommendation seems to be that you should work your way up to a no-sugar diet so that you gradually recondition every part of your body from your taste buds to your brain that sugar is no longer going to be a main attraction in your diet and is no longer going to be the answer to your stressors and problems.  A gradual reduction of sugar seems to be the less painful alternative, and of course, will result in slower weight loss which is perfectly fine.  For long-term conditioning and permanent results, it might be better to approach your weight loss, including reduction of sugar intake, as a marathon rather than a sprint. 
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??  

Busting Through Urges for Successful Weight Loss

The Reality…
Food and drink intake is part of every weight loss plan.  Most of us plan out the diet we think will get us to our desired weight.  Making the plan is often the easiest part.  The harder part you experience AFTER the plan is made and put into effect.  Implementation.  The “Sticking With It.”  
Until you have established a different method of managing your urges for food, you will likely find yourself experiencing the same old urges to eat, even when you understand intellectually that indulging that urge will not lead you down the path to your desired weight.  A different method of managing the urges is necessary to stop indulging them, and the ability to stop indulging the urges is necessary for permanent weight loss. In all likelihood, indulging your urges for food, no matter from where the urge arises, is as automatic for you are putting one foot in front of the other and walking. 
But what is an urge?  And must every urge for food be indulged?  What is the worst-case scenario if we do not indulge an urge?
First and foremost, I’m sure it is obvious that we do not have to indulge every urge for food, especially if we are overweight.  The truth is that if you are carrying excessive amount of fat stores on your body, letting quite a few urges pass without indulging them will certainly not kill you.  Even though your brain might be telling you that’s exactly what will happen if you don’t get some food in your body asap!
If we are overweight, we likely have a pattern of indulging every urge the body signals for food.  Our hormones are in charge of sending signals for fuel.  However, when we eat a lot of processed foods, fail to get a good night’s sleep or allow our bodies to experience excessive amounts of stress, our hormones go out of balance and we cannot rely upon the signals we receive as true indicators that the body is in need of fuel to operate.  Most people rely on the hunger messages they receive from the body, and when they appear, they are satisfied as soon as possible.  Any food that the body receives that is not actually needed for fuel is stored on the body as fat. In order to lose weight, we must stop the pattern of indulging every urge we feel for food. 
The Challenge…
The challenge comes in breaking the pattern of indulging the urges for foods that got us to our current weight.  We basically have three choices when we experience an urge for food that leads us off our path to weight loss: indulge the urge, resist the urge or allow the urge.  
Indulging the urge is at least part of the reason you now find yourself overweight.  Indulging the urge reinforces both the pattern of indulgence, urges for food generally, and your brain’s belief that all it has to do to get that desirable, yet unhealthy food is to demand it. 
Another option would be to resist the urge with willpower.  We have all used willpower to meet a weight loss goal.  The use of the willpower can be temporarily effective, but as all willpower eventually succumbs to the underlying desire, so does the temporary weight loss success with achieved with it.  Resisting the urge is admittedly a better alternative than indulging an urge, but still not a long-term solution for weight loss.
The Solution…
Allowing urges to pass unsatisfied is the only truly sustaining path to weight loss.  It will not be a fun process, I can promise you that.  Allowing urges to pass unsatisfied, especially when your established pattern is to indulge them, involves observation and dedication to your ultimate goal.  As urges are routinely observed and allowed to pass unsatisfied, your body begins to balance itself and will eventually be replaced with healthy and reliable hunger signals. 
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 Reduce Stress and Lose Weight with a Regular Yoga Practice

The Reality…
In a recent blog I offered ten tips to reduce stress, stress being one of the three components of the Weight Loss Triangle I advocate.  Yoga is a great option for stress management and achieving your weight loss goals.  I personally have been doing yoga for more than two decades.  I initially turned to yoga as a refuge from the daily stress I experienced as a practicing lawyer and single parent.  As I started to practice yoga regularly, I experienced considerable improvement in many areas of my life, including feeling less stressed, being better able to manage stressful life circumstances, and weight loss.  When I let life get in the way of my regular yoga practice, I can feel myself shift back to moodiness and losing my cool more easily.  I can also feel the aches and stiffness in my body return.
Several years into my regular practice I decided to become a certified yoga teacher to deepen my knowledge of and commitment to yoga.  Through the certification process I learned that there was a lot more to yoga than the asanas, or physical postures, I had been practicing in yoga class. Deepening that knowledge and understanding of yoga and yogic philosophy has served invaluable in defining the direction and evolution of my life from practicing lawyer to certified life and weight coach.
The Challenge…
If you’re trying to lose weight and living a high stress lifestyle, not only should you be paying attention to the food and drink you consume and the frequency and intensity of your exercise, but you should also be mindful of managing your stress.  Stress produces the hormone cortisol (also known as the “stress hormone”), and can most definitely interfere with your ability to lose weight.  Yoga is not only a form of stress relief but also a form of exercise, so you get two benefits for the price of one with yoga.
The Solution… 
Yoga can have numerous positive effects on your mental and physical well-being.   As your practice deepens, you will find your mind wanders less and less, and you are more easily in the present moment rather than allowing your mind to wander to past injustices or future anticipation. If you are fully in the present moment you enjoy a drastic reduction in stress because stress always lies in the thoughts about past or future, and never in the now.  The sequence of asanas is intended to balance the body, with a focus on breath.  Taking deep breaths, while in a yoga pose or otherwise, has the ability to calm and improve our mental and emotional state.  Studies have shown that yoga reduces cortisol (the stress hormone), which reduces stress and allows for better sleep, which lessons the occurrences of stress eating and weight gain.  In addition to the mental and stress management benefits, the asanas develop strength in your musculature and a help you develop a leaner physique.  I strongly recommend you adopt a regular yoga practice to fully enjoy all the benefits to mind and body that yoga offers. 
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??  

Elevating your Weight Loss Success through Meditation

The Reality…
Yoga International describes the real meaning of meditation as follows:  
“Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. It is the means for fathoming all the levels of ourselves and finally experiencing the center of consciousness within. Meditation is not a part of any religion; it is a science, which means that the process of meditation follows a particular order, has definite principles, and produces results that can be verified.
In meditation, the mind is clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused. When you meditate, you are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around you. Meditation requires an inner state that is still and one-pointed so that the mind becomes silent. When the mind is silent and no longer distracts you, meditation deepens.”
The Challenge…
There are many different ways to bring oneself into a “meditative” state.  There are walking meditations.  There are meditations sitting cross-legged with erect spine and focusing on the inhale and exhale.  There are movement meditations such as Qigong or Tai Chi, which incorporate a sequence of body posture and movement and breathing.  And there are mantra meditations, where a certain mantra is the focal point of the meditation.  In each variation, the common theme is a clear and relaxed mind which focuses inward and away from the external world – and in so doing, being fully present in the NOW and detached from thoughts of the past or anticipation.  The stillness that results from a regular meditation practice has countless health and lifestyle benefits.  So, the question then becomes whether meditation can help with weight loss? 
The Solution…  
Any method of meditation can help with weight loss. 
First, meditation brings about a calmness and clarity in the mind which has been linked in studies to decreased emotional eating, increased awareness of their bodily sensations, and reduced food cravings.  Oftentimes dietary choices are made from our unruly primitive brain, which is the “toddler” of our brain structure.  The primitive brain wants immediate gratification and directs us to indulge every food urge that arises as quickly and unhealthily as possible.  A stillness of the mind results from a regular meditation practice, and the effects can be to quiet the primitive brain in favor of our more rational prefrontal cortex, who is the “elder wise man” of our brain.  The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that remembers the “big picture” and your long-term goal of living with a healthy weight and body.  Meditation can bring about the calmness and clarity that allows your prefrontal cortex to remain in charge of food choices and allows an urge for unhealthy options to pass unsatisfied in favor of the long-term goal.  Sitting quietly in a meditative state also gives a person the space to process their thoughts, challenge their limiting beliefs about what is possible for their health, and raise their standards of what they want for their mind and body. 

Meditation can also reduce excessive amounts of cortisol produced in the body from chronic stress.  Chronic stress is associated with a greater concentration of fats in the abdomen, which is also linked not only weight gain but also higher mortality. One study revealed that meditation literally reduces the density of brain tissue associated with anxiety and worrying, and by effectively reducing stress, can help with weight loss.

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??  

To Weigh or Not to Weigh? That is the Question

The Reality… 
There are a lot of different opinions about weighing yourself while working toward weight loss.  Some sources recommend avoiding the scale altogether, while other experts recommend weighing in daily.  Statistically, people who weigh themselves daily achieve greater success with permanent weight loss.   However, many popular weight loss plans, such as Weight Watchers, do not recommend daily weigh-ins.  Instead, they recommend a weekly weigh-in, if not even less frequently.   
The Challenge… 
The truth is stepping on the scale can be a negative experience, especially if you’ve been working hard to lose weight but aren’t seeing the results you desire.  I hear this repeatedly with my weight loss clients when they are less than enthusiastic about the concept of daily weigh-ins.  I understand completely.  No pounds lost, or worse, a weight gain, when you’ve been dedicated and doing all the right things is enough to send anyone off their diet and back to an unhealthy lifestyle.  I mean, what’s the point of depriving yourself if you’re not going to lose weight anyhow??
However often a person decides to weigh in, if at all, it is important that they have a basic understanding of body mechanics.  Regardless of what someone may be doing “right” or “wrong,” weight fluctuations are common because a person’s weight on any given day is determined by a multitude of factors.  For example, your weight can be affected by how hydrated you are, what you recently ate (such as salty food that may make you retain water), your bathroom habits, environmental factors and whether or not you exercised or got a good night sleep the day before your weigh-in.
The Solution… 
While researching this issue, I read a lot of material advocating against daily weigh-ins because of “scale drama” that may result if the person attempting to lose weight does not see the result they desire on the scale.  Famous health gurus included.  
I respectfully disagree. 
The number on the scale is just that…a number.  And a number is completely neutral until the person stepping on the scale thinks a negative (or a positive) thought about the number.  If you weigh in at 150, but you started at 200, you’re going to be pretty excited about that 150.  If you have been stuck at 150 for three weeks and your goal is 120, you may have a completely different thought and feeling about that 150.  Your thoughts and feelings will determine what action you take, as well as the result you ultimately get.  Would you rather be frustrated by the number you see, or excited about what you might learn from the number?  How do you experience your weight loss journey if you are excited versus frustrated? The choice is yours. 
The fact is research shows that people who weigh themselves daily are more successful at losing weight, and more successful at keeping it off.  If statistics support daily weigh-ins, why would anyone advocating for your weight loss advise against it?
The key is to understand the mechanics of the body, how and why weight fluctuates on a daily basis, and to re-program your brain to have a different thought about the number on the scale.  Instead of the number meaning you are doomed for failure, the weighing in process is merely information gathering, the knowledge of which will be valuable to your ultimate success at reaching your desired goal.  In conjunction with daily journaling about exercise, diet and stress management, your daily number tells a valuable story about your weight loss journey and what should come next to meet your desired goal.
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??