Mastering the Juggle – How to Effectively Balance Your Life

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.  (If you missed it, click here to read Ten Tips to Manage Stress.)  One of the tips 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, and mastering it was key to my current level of happiness and fulfillment.
Balancing the competing areas of our life requires some strong juggling skills, and most of us have not mastered the art of the juggle.  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?  If you answered yes to either of those questions, you probably need to work on life balance.  Life balance is a necessary component of happiness and fulfillment in life. 
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 the appropriate amount of attention to each area.  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.  And because of my perspective I didn’t enjoy any of my time spent in those areas. My current perspective is that each area of my life is wonderful and adds to the fullness of my life.  None of it’s a burden and none of it bogs me down.  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 involved the four-step process outlined below.  I believe finding life balance was a key component of managing stress and achieving a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy body weight. 
1.     Identification of Your Areas of Life.  Make a list of the areas of your life, including anything you would like to incorporate prospectively.
2.     Set Goals for Each Area of Your Life.  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?  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.
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.
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 the coaching 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. 
I highly recommend trying the four-step process above, or devising your own life balance plan.  Bringing life into balance with evaluation and planning is the key to relieving the stress that comes from being out of balance and pulled in different directions by all the competing areas of your life.
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??  

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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??  

📅

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??  

📅

How to Mingle Celebrating Life and Weight Loss

The Reality…
Today is my beautiful daughter’s 26th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Lauren Victoria Hanley!!
Lauren now lives in Boston and there are many miles between us, so our means of birthday celebration has changed.  However, today I think back fondly on our family’s celebration of life events over the years when we were all together.  When celebrating life events in our family, all roads led to the Melting Pot.  In case you don’t know the restaurant, it’s definitely not a place to hang out on the regular if you’re trying to lose weight.  The Melting Pot is a fondue restaurant where you can indulge in a four-course meal featuring cheese fondue, salad, main course, and finally (as if you could possibly need any more food), a yummy pot of chocolate fondue for dessert.  
Celebrating life!  How can we say no to that?  Why would we want to? Celebrating life events is part of the sweetness and joy of life…..…the birthdays, the anniversaries, the promotions, the graduations.  The list of things to celebrate goes on and on.  And while every family celebrates life events differently, there definitely seems to be a food-based theme to most celebrations.
The Challenge…
This “celebrating life” thing can definitely get in the way of weight loss.  I have this awesome client, and whenever we talk through what has taken her off course for the week, it’s usually not stress eating or a failure to incorporate exercise into her routine like most of my other clients.  It usually seems to be her busy schedule of life celebrations.  Her weeks are packed full of kid birthday parties, grand openings, or family celebrations of one kind or another.  There is a lot of happiness taking place in her life, and that’s a great thing!   And like most of us would, she considers each of these events something that she could not possibly miss.  Of course, since she doesn’t miss any of them, and enjoys them to the fullest, when she steps on the scale, she doesn’t usually get news she is happy to hear. 
The Solution…
This is a tough one from a coaching perspective.  Since coaching is all about helping clients achieve goals and design a happy and fulfilling life for themselves, how could you coach them to stop celebrating life??  

The solution lies in balance, especially during the process of losing weight and becoming healthy and fit.  There must be an undoing of what was done to get you overweight, or worse, obese.  If your goal is weight loss, you must be 100% committed, and you must make some tough decisions about how to spend your time, including either saying no to certain events because you have made a decision to limit your eating and drinking during weight loss, or alternatively, a change in the way you experience or partake in the celebrations.

If you find it important to never miss a life celebration with friends or family, then you must make a choice about how you will show up and what you will do while celebrating.  With advance planning, you can attend but not indulge in the food offerings. 

Weight loss involves sacrifice and discomfort for the period of undoing what has been done to your body, but the healthy body you have at the end of the process makes the sacrifice and discomfort well worth it.  


So make a choice about how you will conduct yourself during your period of losing weight.  How many celebrations will you attend during the course of a week?  Will you enjoy the food and drink offered, or will you just show up and be there to be part of the celebration without indulging in food and drink?  And then pay attention to the result you are getting.  If you find that too much celebrating is interfering with your weight loss plan, then decide to show up different for those life celebrations or take a brief reprieve from those celebrations during your period of weight loss.

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??  

📅

The Sugar Seduction & How to Stay Strong

The Reality…
Have you ever met a guy who was so sweet in the beginning of the relationship?  He lured you in with his charm and sweet talk.  You quickly got used to that feeling he gave you and found yourself craving him morning, noon and night.  However, before too long, you weren’t feeling so good at all.  The original sweetness that drew you in had turned into something very unhealthy.  Yet despite how unhealthy it was, you found it very hard to walk away.
THAT KIND OF GUY IS JUST LIKE SUGAR! 
The Challenge…

As is the case with matters of the heart, it can be very challenging to resist the delicious feelings sugar gives us, even after we experience its ill effects and understand intellectually its harm from a health and wellness perspective.  Sugar (and love….and sex) have an addictive quality to them because of the large amount of dopamine that gets pumped into our systems when we are under the influence.  So, understand when you are feeling this way about sugar (or love, or sex), you’re not necessarily crazy or stupid or undisciplined.  It’s your biological predisposition.  You and your brain (the one sending you messages that you’re going to die if you don’t have the sugar…or the love) are operating exactly as designed since both food and sex are necessary to our survival as a species.  When you engage in behavior the brain perceives as necessary for survival, you experience a release of the “feel good” hormone dopamine, which causes the sensation of pleasure, happiness and satisfaction.  The brain’s whole idea is to get you hooked so that you survive, and it seems to work quite nicely.

The tricky part about sugar is that it can lead to changes in dopamine receptors, meaning that a tolerance for it develops and more of the dopamine-inducing substance is needed to get the sought after feel-good feeling.  In some cases, there is a decreased ability to get pleasure from other substances and experiences, so sugar can seem like your only source of pleasure and the only thing that will satisfy you. 

The Solution…

While I would recommend a complete and immediate elimination from your life of the guy described above, I recommend a slower approach with the sugar following the steps below:

  1. Evaluation – Since many of us eat on auto-pilot and aren’t really sure what we have put in our body by the end of the week, it may be useful to spend a week or so evaluating when, how much and under what circumstances you are indulging in the sugar.  This means you have at least an extra week during this evaluation period to carry on your love affair with the sugar, so enjoy it while you can because getting as much sugar as possible out of your diet is fundamental to weight loss and maintaining a healthy body.  During the evaluation period, also notice the content of the food you are consuming.  There are lots of foods that are less obvious about their sugar content.  For instance, you may not feel you are consuming a lot of sugar when you have a shrimp cocktail or a plate of pasta and sauce, but you can consume your entire recommended amount of added sugar in one sitting with a generous portion of either of those options.  Use the evaluation period to really understand how much sugar you consume on a weekly basis, so you can decide which sources of sugar you would prefer to cut from your diet.  For instance, if you’re not ready for an abrupt break up with desserts, you may instead choose to eliminate spaghetti sauce or soda from your diet.
  2. Reduction Plan – Based upon the evaluation of your sugar intake, you should plan to reduce your sugar intake by 50 percent.  You get to decide what sugars you will eliminate.  I personally started with my coffee, and eliminated the sugar I had routinely added to each cup.  I also noticed that I ate dessert far more often than I realized, so I limited myself to 2 desserts per week.  Wine is another option I see with many of my weight loss clients.  Cutting back on the amount wine consumed during the week is beneficial to many factors that impact weight loss, including sugar intake.
  3. Decide Whether to Eat in Moderation or Eliminate Completely – The more slowly you tackle the reduction of sugar from your diet, the less painful it will be.  If you are in the habit of consuming large quantities of sugar, you will likely experience some withdrawal symptoms such as cravings and crankiness when you reduce sugar intake.  It’s up to you whether you attempt to achieve your weight loss goals while continuing to consume a reduced portion of sugar, or whether you decide to eliminate sugar all together.  I still indulge from time to time, but the truth is once I reduced my sugar intake drastically it seemed my taste buds were reset and when I do enjoy a sugary dessert now, it doesn’t taste near as good as I remembering it tasting in the past. For that reason, sugar is no longer able to seduce me into violating my commitment to myself to stay healthy and fit.
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??  

📅

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??  

📅

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??