You seem to point out all the things you do wrong to yourself all the time. How about flipping the script in your head and make a decision to start counting all the things you did right – or good – for yourself this week and keep building on that success.
How can there possibly be any stress at this time of year! Children are happier (or is that crankier?), bosses seem nicer (maybe a Christmas bonus is coming?), and life seems easier with Bing Crosby singing in the background about White Christmas’ every where you go.
Maybe that’s not your reality. For most people, it probably isn’t. Maybe most of the time you find yourself saying “falala this!”
It makes me sad to think that we lose sight of what this time of year is all about but the truth is we’re moving at such a fast pace that those important things get lost in the shuffle.
Our expectations about this time of year can leave you feeling like you fall short. Expectations have a way of making you feel like you don’t measure up, and disappointment rears its ugly head.
When expectations collided with our reality, we can find ourselves over-eating, easily irritated and constantly frustrated. Here are a few tips to help you with what I call Seasonal Expectations:
First of all, learn that saying “NO” is okay to do. We get so stuck on what we should be doing that we lose ourselves in the chaos. The added stress of those feelings that the Holidays bring just aren’t worth it. Do what you have to do to keep yourself sane and that usually means saying NO to family, friends, co-workers, commitments at your childs school, functions at church, community gatherings….the list could go on and on.
Secondly, only do the things that make sense to you and that bring joy to you. Be with the people that you love and do the activities that you really want to do. When you do that, you’re more likely to enjoy what you’re doing and the participation doesn’t seem so laborious or overwhelming.
Third, and finally, take charge of those things you can control. Be deliberate about keeping yourself mentally, spiritually and physically healthy. Take a 10 minute brisk walk. Choose to eat well. Pray. Be in the moment (that’s hard sometimes) and stop fretting about the next moments. Read a good book, watch a good movie, have dinner with a friend, attend a church service, take an aunt and uncle out to lunch, instead of shopping – walk twice around the mall.
I saw a quote recently that I pass on to you. It’s a reminder to put things in perspective – especially during this ‘happy’ time of year.
“You owe it to yourself to find your own unorthodox way of succeeding,
or sometimes, just surviving.”
So have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and then we can move on to Valentines Day (just another celebration with more expectations)!!
With one more Holiday under our belts, may I remind you we have a couple more to go – Christmas and New Years! Ugh. If I had a dollar for everyone who said to me this past week that they’ll “start their diets after the Holidays,” I’d be a richer woman but the truth is you hear it all the time. Maybe you have even said it recently.
There is something about the Holiday season in which we throw everything we know about eating properly out the window and food becomes a glorious gift wrapped in rich, sweet and delicious temptations that we love to open, enjoy and divulge in. We convince ourselves that it’s useless to try at “this time of year” and give ourselves permission to lose control all day, every day and then…..the guilt sets in.
Guilt is an intense emotion. One definition of guilt says,
“a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.”
After reading the definition you’re thinking – “yep, that’s me.”
I’m wondering if you can try this today, and in the next couple weeks. I’m wondering if you could start to look at “dieting” as the food you consume (take in) versus something you go on, and then off. Flip the script you have in your head about what a diet is. Just try it.
I’m also wondering if you could start to look at your diet (aka – your daily intake of food) as something you control instead of you feeling out of control. And here is the exciting part, to NOT deprive yourself of foods you want to eat.
That is a very scary thought for some of you but the minute you deprive yourself of some kind of food is the minute you are more likely to partake, and the two minutes of pleasurable eating is followed by hours of guilt.
It’s time to break the chain of bondage that the word “diet” holds over you.
Start by understanding the concept of a thinking thin lifestyle. You can still enjoy the bounty of food that the Season brings but you don’t have to have as much, or all the time. You can consciously tell yourself “no, not right now” or “no, I’m not really hungry” or “no, I don’t need it” and live through it.
The minute you make a conscious choice, not mindless eating, to slowly and deliberately enjoy what you’re eating – the taste, the smell, the texture – you are more likely to be in control. You can start making very deliberate decisions (mindful eating) about something as simple as your portion size, and even whether you want to finish what’s on your plate. Something as simple as leaving food on your plate is a powerful choice.
Think about it, having control is a very powerful thing!
Your focus isn’t on what you can’t have, but whether you’re eating healthy and still being able to include some of those foods that you think have to be off limits the rest of your life.
A thinking thin lifestyle has YOU in control, not the food. As you continue to enjoy the Holiday season, don’t trade in your two minutes of pleasure for hours of guilt. It’s no longer worth it.
I found myself pacing.
Walking back and forth with really nothing in hand.
Trying to find something, anything, that would satisfy.
On the last walk-through, I realized I wasn’t dealing with the real issue.
I wasn’t hungry but I was taking out my stress in the kitchen. With the final pass-through I realized what was going on. I wasn’t hungry, I was feeling anxious. I was anxious about a zillion little things that apparently have been building throughout the entire day. I knew it, I could feel myself do it, and now the outcome of all those thoughts were “kitchen time.”
Anxiety can come in so many forms, and not everyone who worries a lot has an anxiety disorder but some symptoms you may have are:
Emotionally: feelings of dread, feeling tense or jumpy, being irritable, experience restlessness, or just have trouble concentrating.
Physically: experience sweating, stomach upset, insomnia, fatigue, muscle tension, or headaches.
Now it’s true that long-term and on-going anxiety symptoms are typically something that needs to be discussed with your doctor or therapist but we can all have those moments of anxiousness that can just leave you feeling out of sorts. And because of those feelings, you can find yourself wandering in places (like a kitchen), and doing things that only mask the real feelings that you’re dealing with.
So some good questions to ask yourself to help you deal with those anxious moments are:
Is there responsibilities that you can give up, turn down, or delegate to others?
Can you ask for help when you need it?
Do you get the emotional support you need?
Is there time each day for relaxation and/or fun?
Always seek “balance” in your life. Minimizing and managing your anxiety can really help the stress from accumulating and for you to stay in control – and to stay out of the cupboards and fridge.
Have you ever seen yourself naked and wondered, “…what on earth happened here…”? We’ve all had those moments where you push back the shower curtain and the mirror across the way shows every little imperfections, blemish and bumps (or is that “rolls“?) If you’re so fortunate as to not have a mirror across from the shower, perhaps you’ve caught a glimpse of yourself as you scamper across the room to get ready.
Either way, some times the hard reality really hits you. You have a moment where you realize life, age, gravity, whatever you want to call it has taken over. Yes, I’m at that age where I realize I won’t be like I was in my 30’s, 20‘s, or heaven-forbid my teens, but I like where I’m at. I’m just not always comfortable with what I see.
Now here’s even more hard reality. You may not like how you look right now, but you can do something about it. Ouch, I told you that was the hard reality.
You have the ability within you to create the change you want.
I hear what you’re thinking….“but if all of these life factors outside of my control have taken over, why bother trying anymore?” The reason you bother trying is because it’s not about quantity (your weight), it’s about quality (your life). And if you’re not living the kind of life you should because of your body, then start taking Baby Steps in the direction you need to be. Baby Steps…not Giant Leaps, because you‘ll be more likely to work at little goals then trying to accomplish a big one too fast!
Sometimes seeing yourself naked can be a good thing! The “why’s” of weight loss are more important then the “when’s” or “how’s” so maybe that glimpse you see of yourself will be the number one “why” reason that you will have to start getting healthier.
Part of a winning strategy is to have a lot of plays to use until the “game” you’re playing becomes second nature. And trust me, the weight loss mind game does start to get better and change over time, with patience and self-reminders throughout each day.
In my last post I shared Mindset Techniques that can help you with your food cravings. Here are four more techniques for you to try.
If you’re still tempted to eat something you shouldn’t after you’ve done all five mindset techniques, then try as many of the Behavioral Techniques below as you need:
1. Distance yourself from the food your crave. When you experience a craving because you see or smell food, you might be able to move that food to an inconvenient place (where you can’t see it) or to get rid of it (give it away, throw it away, or put it down the disposal).
If you can’t remove the food from your immediate presence, you might be able to remove yourself from the scene. Leave the room, go to another part of the room, go to the restroom, or go outside.
2. Drink a no- or low-calorie beverage. Thirst can mask as hunger and trigger you to eat. Consider drinking club soda, water with lemon, diluted juice (if your plan allows it), or another low-calorie drink.
3. Relax. You can teach your body how to relax in a variety of ways. Your library or bookstore has tapes and books on relaxation techniques.
One simple relaxation technique involves focusing on your breathing: Breathe in and out of your nose, slowly counting to four as you inhale and again to four as you exhale. Use very shallow breaths; don’t let your chest rise and fall. Set a timer and keep up this technique for a full three minutes. At the end of the three minutes, you should feel calmer and more in control of your cravings.
4. Distract yourself. Do you remember a time when a natural distraction interrupted your craving and you later were glad you hadn’t eaten? Maybe a friend called, the dog insisted on taking you for a walk, or your boss came to discuss something with you? By the time you finished what you had to do, your craving had weakened or passed. You focused your attention on something else.
Once you stop giving in to cravings and they become much weaker and less frequent, dieting will easier.
(Mindset and Behavioral techniques provided by The Beck Diet Solution)
If you’ve EVER had a food craving, you know the overwhelming sensation that you experience. It is an intense feeling, and typically very different than “normal hunger.”
According to the Wikipedia definition, there is no single explanation for food craving. Not very encouraging I realize. The explanations can range from low serotonin levels affecting the brain centers for appetite to production of endorphins as a result of consuming fats and carbohydrates.
Foods with high levels of sugar glucose, such as chocolate, are more frequently craved than foods with lower sugar glucose, such as broccoli.
And that’s because when glucose interacts with opiod system in the brain an addictive triggering effect occurs. The consumer of the glucose feels the urge to consume more glucose, much like an alcoholic, because the brain has become conditioned to release “happy hormones every time glucose is present.
As with anything relating to weight loss, it’s the difference in your thinking that’s going to allow you to make permanent changes in your eating habits.
Dr. Judith Beck (the Beck Diet Solution) reminds us that the emotionally painful part about a craving is the struggle you feel. Once you can say to yourself with total conviction – NO CHOICE – the craving will diminish.
She goes on to describe the Mindset Techniques and the number of steps of how to respond to your next craving.
The five steps help you prepare your mindset, and you should use the following every time you have a craving:
1. Label it. Tell yourself, “This feeling is just a craving…it’s uncomfortable and intense but it’s not a (food) emergency.”
2. Stand firm. Tell yourself that you’re absolutely not going to eat the food that you’re craving. Remind yourself that you truly don’t want to strengthen your giving-in muscle and weaken your resistance muscle.
Thinking about giving in can undermine your confidence.
3. Don’t give yourself a choice. The emotionally painful part about a craving is the struggle you feel.
The craving won’t go away if you waver or say to yourself, this is so intense, I don’t know if I can stand it. Of course you can stand it! It might be uncomfortable, but nothing bad will happen if you withstand it.
4. Imagine the aftermath of giving in. Go ahead and think about eating the food you’re craving. Imagine it in your mouth. How many seconds does it take to eat it? How many seconds do you feel pleasure? Now visualize the rest of the picture – the part of the experience you usually don’t think about until it’s too late.
Picture yourself feeling weak and out of control. See yourself feeling upset, giving up, continuing to eat more and more, feeling worse and worse. As you become upset in the image, remind yourself how many times you’ve given in before, how you promised yourself you wouldn’t do it again, and hopeless you felt.
Now….what seems better – eating or not eating?
5. Remind yourself WHY you want to learn to withstand cravings.
It’s always about the WHY of weight loss. Not when you start, not what food plan you’ll be on. It’s about the WHY.
Always knowing the WHY of why you want to lose weight will come in handy through the days, weeks, and months as you start to change your lifestyle and will have to remind yourself (often) of the reasons you’re into this lifestyle change to begin with.
Over the past 40 years, American women have increased their daily calorie intake by an average of 199 calories, while men have added 179.
During that same time period, the obesity rate has more than doubled.
Let me start by saying I know plenty of young females in their 20’s who forget a child’s dentist appointment, or cupcakes for a school party, or even that they have something cooking in the oven. And it’s only the burning smell that reminds them they forgot to take dinner out on time. In fact, it makes me feel better – more normal – when I hear of the “younger generation” struggling with their forgetfulness.
But it’s not so funny when you reach a certain age…ahem, let’s say your 40’s or 50’s and you start forgetting or misplacing things. In fact ladies, what is typically the first thing that enters your mind? Perhaps the dreaded words like “menopause,” or even “half-heimers”. Come on, we’ve all used the terms to excuse our lack of…..full attention to details!
We do tend to be more forgiving of the younger female who experiences mental-blocks from time to time, but we think something is down-right wrong when us more, let’s just say “experienced gals” slip up every now and then.
But I would dare to argue that our age has nothing to do with it. Well, in most cases anyways. The stresses and commitments in our lives force us to keep the plates spinning so that it doesn’t matter what age you are, sometimes the plates are going to fall. Or for reasons that no one can explain, get misplaced.
Now I know that peri-menopause and menopause can bring on some interesting physical, mental and emotional symptoms – that goes without saying – but I want to give you permission to cut yourself some slack today and realize that it could just be the stresses in your life that are causing you to be more forgetful.
So pause, take a breathier – in what ever way that means to you – and attack things one stressor at a time.
But getting things off of your plate will help you to think more clearly and feel more in charge of your busy, busy life.
I think Will Rogers said it best:
“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.”
Go on, read it again. It’s so very true, isn’t it! May you find some peace today!
We’ve all been there. At some point – usually over the weekend – you bargain with yourself about all the food temptations that are before you. Before you know it, you’re mentally shrugging your shoulders and convincing yourself that you’ll start behaving on Monday. And you eat your way through the weekend.
What is it about Mondays that is the defining day of starting diets? Sometimes you try to shake things up and you tell yourself you’ll start watching what you eat on New Year’s Day, or after a milestone birthday – no matter what day it falls on. You might even think it’s a good sign if the first day of the month falls on a Monday. We use a lot of “psychological tricks” when starting a diet.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter when you start your diet, but WHY. Yep, that’s right. Your diet will tend to be more successful if you focus on the reasons for dieting instead of what is on your grocery list!
So what that means is it will benefit you more to set aside that grocery list and come up with another list of WHY you want to lose weight. Now on the surface that seems simple enough but for some people that requires you to “dig deep” and come face to face with those realities that you don’t necessarily want to deal with.
Here are some of those WHY realities that you may be experiencing:
*You don’t feel emotionally good about yourself.
*You’re physically winded all the time after you slightly exert yourself.
*You constantly feel tired.
*Your stamina isn’t quite what it use to be.
*You just got a unhealthy diagnosis from the doctor.
*You can’t keep up with your kids (grandkids).
*You pull back from social situations because you’re embarrassed about how you look.
The list could go on and on, and those are really hard things to look at (on a piece of paper no less), and even harder to admit. It seems easier to buy some food (to start your new diet) then to deal with the harder realities of why you should change your lifestyle because that requires a bigger action on your part.
I leave you with this today to consider:
1. There may be 18 reasons WHY you should lose weight. That’s okay. Put them in writing.
2. Just like you prepare your grocery list (whether in your head, or on a piece of paper), you must also prepare your mind. To change your lifestyle will require something of YOU. You need to be engaged, involved, and mindful of the process.
3. Know that it is a process…and that’s okay. Dieting (also what I call “eating healthy”) is a process. If you’re not use to eating the right foods, or eating healthy, it takes time to get it right. It takes time, be patient with yourself, you will start to notice the differences in your thinking about food and what you are eating because you’re doing it for the WHY reasons, and not what is considered the fastest way to lose weight on the newest diet craze.
I encourage you to stop thinking about Monday morning dieting, and no matter what day it is, it’s a good day to start working on YOU!