How to Use Meditation Mantras to Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals

The Reality… 

Have you ever heard that the thoughts you think directly impact the results you get in life?  There are dozens of quotes circulating that point to that truth.  I love reading them because not only do they highlight and confirm a universal truth, but they also show how long historically thoughts about thought have been thought!  Here are a few of my favorites:

·                  “A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes” – Mahatma Gandhi
·                “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives” – Henry David Thoreau
·             “Man, alone, has the power to transform his thoughts into physical reality; man, alone, can dream and make his dreams come true” – Napoleon Hill
·                “Anything you can imagine you can make real” – Jules Verne
·                “Our life is what our thoughts make it” – Marcus Aurelius
·                “As someone thinks within himself, so he is” – Proverbs 23:7
So, assuming the truth of the matter, that your thoughts make your life what it will be, if you are a person who thinks good things are going to happen, then good things are more likely to show up.  If you are a person who always sees the negative in everything, you probably have some more negative stuff coming your way. 
The Challenge…
What if you are a person who truly wants a great life, filled with great successes, experiences and people, but you are plagued by a history of negativity and negative thought?  What if you are an overweight person who truly believes there is no possibility for living in a healthy body?  You know the answer, right?  As long as those are your thoughts, you likely won’t have very much success overcoming your weight loss challenges.  The good news is that it’s possible to recondition your brain to think great thoughts, and one option for reconditioning your brain is with the use of meditation and meditation mantras.
The Solution… 
Meditation is an excellent tool to help shift your mindset on any issue, including health and weight loss.  As you focus during meditation, the brain is much more susceptible to new and improved thoughts such as solutions, positivity, and goal achievement.  With the help of meditation, people can learn to better control their thought processes and improve their concentration. 
The development of meditation mantras, which can also be read during the course of your normal day, can aid in the process of shifting your mindset through meditation.  For example, repeating the mantra “I am a person committed to regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle” or “I only desire healthy and nutritious foods” or “I love every cell of my body” may sound completely untrue the first time you whisper it to yourself, but in time and with focus and concentration through meditation, your brain will come to believe it, your paradigm will shift, and you will have come a long from a previous mindset such as “I will never be able to lose this weight!”  Meditating on empowering thoughts for just 15 minutes a day can result in a tremendous shift. 
Why not give positive thinking a try and figure out for yourself if history’s greatest thinkers were on to something when they said the results we get in life start with our thoughts?  I challenge you to develop 10 meditation mantras that are positively stated and meaningful to your goals and spend no less than 15 minutes each day repeating those mantras in a meditative state.
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??  

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The Secret of Time Management in Weight Loss

The Reality…
Doing everything that must be done to succeed at weight loss can be daunting.  You have to figure out what you’re going to do for exercise.  You have to figure out when you are able to fit that into your schedule.  If you’re planning to work out right after work, you have to have an exercise bag packed and ready to go in the morning.  You also have to figure out when you’re eating and what you’re eating.  You have to go to the grocery store and buy healthy food options.  You have to spend time preparing the meals.  Finally, you have to decide what you’re going to do to reduce your stress and make time for those activities.  Sometimes taking the time out to “reduce the stress” can create stress itself because your mind might wander to all the things you have to get back to when you’re finished de-stressing. 
The Challenge…
It can be a challenge to pull everything together on top of your existing life obligations.   Planning in advance and time management is key to the process of ensuring you effectively manage the three components of weight loss:  diet, exercise and stress management. 
The Solution…
My work with weight loss clients incorporates something called the Weight Loss Triangle Program.  The theory of the program is that weight loss is impacted by three factors: (1) Food and Drink Intake – what you put in your mouth, (2) Exercise – how you burn calories, and (3) Stress & Stress Management – how to effectively manage life stress.  Based upon the individual factors and preferences of each client, a simple protocol is developed to put them on the road to achieving a healthy weight.  Clients are encouraged to reserve a two hour period on Sundays to plan in advance what they will do each day of the upcoming week to achieve their weight loss goals. 
Using the considerations below, a protocol is developed and followed by the client until they achieve their desired weight and level of health:
  • Food and Drink Intake – based upon the client’s schedule, eating times and food and drink to be consumed are determined in advance.  The client decides how quickly or slowly they desire their weight loss to occur, and we plan accordingly.  Many clients elect to incorporate in “planned cheats” each week. The natural consequence of this decision, of course, is that weight loss comes at a slower pace, but the client is more content and less likely to abandon the eating plan since it is specifically designed based upon their goals, objective, and schedule. “Planned cheats” can include desert once a week, two free meals eating out each week, a certain number of permitted alcoholic beverages each week. 
  • Exercise – b:ased up the client’s schedule and current level of fitness, exercises to be performed, amount of time to be spent and days to exercise are determined in advance.  Again, the amount of exercise the client elects can very based upon how much effort they wish to expend, or their schedule in the upcoming week
    • Stress Management– depending upon the level of stress in the client’s life, we work together to develop stress management techniques that are meaningful to the client, and we decide in advance when the client will incorporate those techniques to effectively manage stress, and the effects of stress which can interfere with weight loss. 
Using time management and planning in advance translates to a much higher success rate for achieving weight loss goals than figuring it out “on the fly” each day.  
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??  

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How to Mingle Celebrating Life and Weight Loss

 

The Reality…
 
My daughter just celebrated her birthday this past week! 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??  

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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??  

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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??  

📅

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??