Monday, March 29, 2010

Dare to Change Your Truth


True or false?
If believing the following statements are all true would mean you could easily achieve your weight loss goal, would you be willing to circle all of them as true?
Would the act of physically drawing a circle around the word TRUE start to make a connection in your brain about your desire and the actual things you would need to do to attain your desire?
Do thin people live their life as if most of these things are true?

1) I enjoy eating small healthy meals. TRUE
2) Eating fast food daily is not healthy or good for me TRUE
3) I weigh what I weigh because of what I eat TRUE
4) By changing the amount of food I eat, I can change the amount that I weigh TRUE
5) I can switch to using a smaller plate when I eat dinner and easily start to lose weight (or fill my plate with lots of vegetables) TRUE
6) My mind is easily satisfied into thinking I am eating enough food if my plate does not look empty TRUE
7) I can put one scoop of ice cream into a 1/2 cup sized bowl and it will seem like three times as much as in a 2 cup bowl TRUE
8) If I am stressed out and wanting something to eat for comfort, eating an apple or a banana would be a great way to calm me down TRUE
9) If I am feeling stressed out and I notice I am not hungry, I could instead choose to take a quick walk TRUE
10) I love the way that real home made food tastes TRUE
11) If I am ordering food that comes in Small, Medium, Large, choosing a smaller portion size will be smarter and make me thinner TRUE
12) I am losing weight by eating less processed food and more real food TRUE
13) I am feeling lighter and happier TRUE
14) I am feeling more calm and relaxed around food TRUE
15) It is easier and easier for me to skip eating "free food" in the office TRUE
16) I fill my shopping cart with fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grain TRUE
17) When grocery shopping to lose weight I can easily choose to skip buying packaged / boxed food that is high in sugar and fat TRUE
18) I can eat anything and lose weight TRUE
19) What I eat isn't as crucial to what I weigh as How much I eat is TRUE
20) Switching out one of the sodas or "other beverages" I drink and replacing it with water is helping me lose weight TRUE
21) I am feeling better and better about my ability to lose weight enjoyably and easily TRUE
22) If someone gives me a box of chocolates, I can first evaluate if they are my favorite TRUE
23) If there are chocolates in the box that I don't enjoy, I can toss those as a gift to myself TRUE
24) If the box of chocolates aren't my favorite kind -- the ones I would rank highest on my list of best quality most delicious, I can toss them and easily lose weight TRUE
25) I could plan to replace the non-favorite chocolates eventually with one piece of my favorite treat and that would be a smart easy way to avoid eating 3,500 calories TRUE

Sorry, I was on a bit of a chocolate kick here...

26) A pound box of chocolates is too much to eat in one sitting without feeling sick TRUE
27) I can see myself at a slimmer weight TRUE
28) I can imagine my clothes feeling looser and baggier on me every day TRUE
29) My actions are directly connected to my feelings and beliefs TRUE
30) I am able to lose weight by changing what I am eating TRUE
31) By eating oatmeal for breakfast I can satisfy my hunger for at least three hours TRUE
32) Oatmeal is a better choice for breakfast than a pastry, donut, or bagel TRUE
33) I want to make better choices to easily lose weight TRUE
34) At lunch time, I am focused on eating something that tastes good and is satisfying TRUE
35) By bringing my lunch to work with me, I am able to lose weight and save money TRUE
36) As my waist line slims, my savings account grows TRUE
37) I am feeling happy and loved TRUE
38) Thin people do not always clean their plate TRUE
39) If a thin person were to eat what I eat on a daily basis they would weigh what I weigh TRUE
40) I am able to eat less food and feel more satisfied when I take time to savor every bite TRUE

These are some of the things that I have begun to think on a daily basis that have helped me lose a total of 105 pounds and counting.

By intentionally thinking these and other positive thoughts I am training my brain to think like a thinner person.

My actions are in accordance with my beliefs. If I see that my actions are not helping me achieve the results that I say I want to achieve, then I have a hidden motive at work.

My actions are the physical representation of what I really believe.

By embracing this as true, I can use that as a way to see that I believe something at a deeper level of my mind than I previously wanted to admit.

If I say losing weight is easy and effortless, and then I stand at the pastry case in the morning battling in my mind between a good choice (skipping the pastry) and a not so good choice (getting the chocolate croissant) then I am saying I believe weight loss is a struggle and I need to battle to make good choices. I am able to either tell myself it is easy to make a good choice (skip the pastry) or tell myself that I don't believe it is easy and effortless to lose weight.

What I gain by believing it is easy to lose weight is I lose weight and it is easy. I am achieving my goal. I am in control and I feel good about the direction I am moving in.

What would I gain by thinking weight loss is hard and painful? I may feel better about not having achieved my "goal". But to be really honest, my "goal" to lose weight painfully and with lots of effort wouldn't be a great choice to make.

I don't like doing things that are difficult and painful. My whole being cries out to make my life easier and more enjoyable. If I were to stand at a cross road and one path was black and in the distance I could see everything was blackened by fire and there were shells of burned out cars and people were in pain, and the other path was sandy and sunny and in the distance I could see rainbows and a beautiful garden -- why on earth would I chose the living hell? When we tell ourselves that losing weight is painful and difficult, that is exactly the choice we are setting up in our mind.

We may gather a few images of some healthy foods that are so healthy they don't even seem edible and put them on a scale across from a gorgeous image of what ever junk food we love to eat. If I were to ask, which would you prefer-- a bowl of cold oatmeal or a chocolate croissant fresh from the oven. Prefer? Is it even a question -- you go for the croissant.

But if I were to ask you, which would you prefer -- achieving your goal weight or getting fatter and fatter. Again, is it even a question -- you'd prefer to achieve your goal weight.

So when you are faced with a warm bowl of delicious oatmeal or a dry day old chocolate croissant that someone put their fingers on after having wiped their nose before they went home sick with the flu -- which one would you prefer -- one bowl of yummy oatmeal please.

So what story do you want to tell yourself in that moment of battle to be able to achieve your bigger longer term goal?

Both these techniques can be helpful tool to you:
Change the question to help change your mind.
Change your answer to help change your mind.

By changing your mind you can lose weight easily and effortlessly.

1) I do not have to struggle TRUE
2) I can make good healthy choices TRUE
3) I don't need to buy a nutritional guide and weigh food to lose weight TRUE
4) My body is more complex than science has figured out TRUE
5) I am drawn to healthier foods TRUE
6) I stopped eating fast food because it is gross TRUE
7) I can make better and better choices TRUE
8) I love my ability to change my mind TRUE
9) Seeing things in a new light can make my life easier TRUE

What are some things you'd like to believe?

1) I am cutting back on spending, and my bank account is getting larger and larger TRUE
2) I am making better choices TRUE
3) Work is getting easier and more enjoyable TRUE
4) I find it easy to accomplish my goals TRUE
5) Parking spaces are waiting for me exactly where I want to park TRUE
6) I make someone happy every day TRUE
7) I am loved by my friends and family TRUE
8) I am happy and healthy TRUE
9) I am easily able to get eight hours of nourishing sleep at night TRUE
10) I feel lighter and better when I eat the right amount of food TRUE
11) If I feel full several hours after eating, that is my clue that I ate too much and I will choose to eat less at my next meal so I can feel better TRUE

What are some things you'd like to believe?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Take the 90-Second Challenge

Pete Cerqua's book "The 90 Second Fitness Solution" contains the exercises that have had the biggest impact on changing the shape of my body.

The "Wall Sit" and the "Plank" are two staples of exercise/fitness books and magazines; but I have never come across someone who describes how to do it the way Pete does.

You can log onto his site "90-second fitness" (link below) to take the "90 second fitness challenge" and download his description of how to do these exercises the Pete way.

The first time I did the "Wall Sit" I made it 30 seconds and almost gave up because it was so easy. I had already lost about 80 pounds at that point using inspiration and advice from countless books. I was thinking, yeah I am strong, this is easy. I am glad I didn't stop there because at 35 seconds, it got my attention. I noticed I was feeling muscles I hadn't felt in a long time, and by 45 seconds I was on the floor, in a good way. Now I wasn't timing myself, so I don't know if I really made it 30 seconds before it felt hard, or it just felt like 30 seconds. We are generally terrible at timing how long something takes when it comes to something uncomfortable.

I think the challenge to hold the position for 90 seconds is brilliant. It really helps illustrate what happens when our every day muscles get fatigued and those other deeper sleeping muscles are invited to awaken. My legs aren't recognizable from what they looked like before! The results are astounding.

I recently re-read Pete Cerqua's book and took a break from the gym and have focused on the Wall Sit and Plank, I have lost 5 pounds in the past two weeks, and am now officially under 150 pounds. Another huge milestone. At this point my focus is on gaining muscle and losing fat.

Why gain muscle? Well, it looks better than fat. You can eat more. Muscle increases your metabolism. Strength training makes your muscles metabolically active which means that you burn more calories over the course of the week (including during your sleep) the more muscle you have. I have a great description of this from Dr. Furhman that I may share in another blog post.

Try the 90 second challenge, and time yourself. Don't count to 90 -- it is amazing how quickly we can count when we are exercising. Wendy Becker has the best description of this in one of her podcasts (Yell At Your Fat - free on Itunes) where she describes her 16 mile walk to the mountain near her house. She says at the two mile marker she is feeling a little tired and by the tree that she knows is the half way four mile marker of the eight miles to the base of the mountain she is feeling a second wind. I listened in awe as she described doing this walk every day.

I remember listening to this episode for the first time over the winter as I was driving to the gym, I had been walking two miles a day that week and was thinking, I have to at least walk three today.

Then,as I am turning into the gym parking lot Wendy describes the first day she does the walk with her new pedometer. Suddenly her sixteen mile walk becomes a two mile walk... it just felt like sixteen miles! Who can't relate to that!

Try the Wall Sit!

Have a good weekend,

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We're all mad here...

"We're all mad here." said the Cheshire Cat.

We live in an upside down land. A land where people prefer to eat garbage and health food is a term that is oft used with a sense of derision.

I've been wading through my collection of diet fitness weight loss materials.

Dr Joel Furhman - Eat to Live
Dr Joel Furhman - Nutritional Excellence
Deepak Chopra - Perfect Weight
Dr David Kessler - The End of Over Eating
Tosca Reno - Eat Clean Diet - Recharged!
Keith Klein - Beyond Diet (podcast)
Pete Cerqua - 90 Second Fitness Solution
Michael Pollan - Food Rules
Dr. Ian Smith - The Four Day Diet
Jillian Michael's Master Your Metabolism
Jillian Michael's Making the Cut
Gregory Joujon-Roche - One Body, One Life
Dean Ornish, M.D. The Spectrum
Steven Pratt, M.D. SuperFoods HealthStyle
Renee Stephens - Inside Out Weight Loss (podcast)
Wendy Becker - Yell At Your Fat (podcast)
Lee Labrada - Lean Body Promise
Prevention Magazine
Self Magazine
Women's Health Magazine
Body & Soul Magazine
Cindy Crawford - The Next Challenge (exercise video)
Dierdre & Robert Griswald - Lose Weight Auto-Matically (cd, affirmations)

and on and on
Over the years I have amassed quite a collection of advice on how to eat for health, how to lose weight, and how to be fit.

Currently I am compelled by Dr Furhman's arguments regarding health and longevity; but it is at odds with Tosca Reno's Eat Clean philosophy when it comes to what to eat and how often. Tosca Reno's strategy regarding eating small meals every 3 hours is also recommended by Keith Klein and Lee Labrada (not surprising as they all come from the physique body building community). Renee Stephens and Dr Furhman recommend getting hungry between meals. Renee uses the idea that most people have a tradition of eating three meals a day and that being hungry isn't something to fear. Furhman, in his audio series "Nutritional Excellence" talks about what happens when your body is repairing itself. According to Furhman between digestion, our body begins a process of repair which includes releasing toxins from our body. The symptoms of that release can include feeling light headed, having stomach rumble, and other uncomfortable feelings that most of us have gotten used to thinking of as hunger. He says hunger doesn't manifest in the stomach but in the throat.

I recently started eating 6 small meals a day and recommended this to my sister and a few friends. I think this strategy works well for people who have dieted in the past and have a response to hunger that triggers eating a lot of food without feeling full. I never thought of myself as a binge eater, but I did all the behavior of binge eating (without the purging). If you have a habit of having a hard time stopping when you are super hungry, then despite the reasons it may be excellent to eat three meals a day, if that isn't working for you, try smaller meals every 3 hours.

When I think of sources of inspiration I draw upon, I like Renee Stephens podcast. I've listened to all 110 episodes and counting, many more than twice. Wendy Becker's podcast series only has 14 episodes, but her unpolished show is refreshing and humorous. Bob and Dierdre Griswald's "Lose Weight Auto-Matically" which has affirmations that you repeat while driving is a good way to start to reprogram your thoughts, as is Paul McKenna's audio cd "I Can Make You Thin". I also think Gregory Joujon-Roche's positive attitude is very inspiring. I gave this book to a friend and ended up buying it again. The conviction he has that you can change your body is nice to draw upon.

How can anyone possibly navigate all the conflicting knowledge and advice we are exposed to?

I think Dean Ornish's book "The Spectrum" offers a nice way to encapsulate it all.
Imagine a spectrum from very unhealthy to extremely healthy; the more you move toward healthier choices, the healthier you will be.

What we are reading is within the context of our daily lives. We may think eating a diet without processed foods sounds extreme, but if we lived 100 years ago, Dr. Joel Furhman's advice would have been common sense.

Michael Pollan has a more friendly way of describing this in his book "Food Rules". This is a book with rules, that are really just an elaboration on all his research that he summed up as "eat food, not too much, mostly plants". Also known as "Eat food your great grandmother would have recognized as food." What is Go-gurt anyway?

I think that is a nice note to leave this on.
It doesn't have to be complicated or overwhelming.

Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
And I respectfully add, savor and enjoy every bite.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Grocery Shopping Idea and Better Choices

Grocery Shopping Idea
Start your grocery trip in the produce section and take in all the wonderful choices we have. Do the strawberries look good today? What about grapes, or blueberries?
You can make great choices at every turn. I go to the grocery store with a list. There are whole aisles I don't need to visit. If I already am stocked up on oatmeal, I don't need to look at anything in the cereal aisle. I'd rather have a real potato than potato chips, so I can skip the chip aisle without giving up what I love. I like eating high quality chocolate, there isn't much at the local grocery store that falls in my favorite food list. A favorite chocolate would be something like a chocolate chip truffle from See's candies not a bag of Hersheys. If I am going to indulge, I go all the way -- I don't want second best.

Throughout my twenties as I was trying and failing to lose weight, when I was picking the deprivation diet plan path and saying, no more dessert, no more alcohol, no more cookies, no more sour dough bread... I would stick with it for a while, lose some weight and then give up.

Through it all I was making bad choices every day, but I was really struggling with those choices.

I remember sitting in a diner around the corner from my work and looking at the breakfast menu and wondering which would be smarter, bacon, eggs and hash browns and whole wheat toast, or bacon, eggs and pancakes. I wasn't even thinking skip the bacon hash browns pancakes and hold the butter on the toast. I would order, the food would arrive, I'd say, I'm only going to eat 1/2 the toast, or 1/2 the pancake, or just 1 piece of bacon, and then I would get down to that part, still want to eat and feel like, well, I paid for it -- I might as well eat it.

Eating this way wasn't enjoyable. I felt self conscious ordering the food, I didn't fit into the booth, I felt out of control about what I was eating and I was making all these little deals with myself and they weren't working. I was causing myself a lot of needless pain.

I remember a co-worker of mine who was tiny. She was my dream size, and I remember seeing her sitting at her desk with a piece of fruit and that was her breakfast and I wished I could be satisfied by something so wholesome looking. Some days she would have grapefruit and the smell of it was so comforting. My family ate grapefruit from time to time, when I was a little girl, but usually covered it with in a layer of brown sugar -- which though delicious was not the best idea.

I have stared eating an apple for breakfast and I eat one as a snack some days. I managed to lose 100 lbs in part by giving up those diner breakfasts of hash browns, bacon, pancakes, sour dough toast and eggs and instead eat a bowl of low sugar instant oatmeal. I liked the instant oatmeal because I could buy it in the single serve packs, and I only eat one package. Now, I eat 1/2 cup rolled oats, not instant that I cook with 1 cup boiling water and add fruit to. I don't know if I would have been able to make such a huge leap to start. It would have depended on what I thought about what I was doing. Knowing how you react to what you are doing is very powerful. It is your clue that either It works for me/I enjoy this, or it doesn't work for me/I don't like it. I strongly recommend trying new things, but if you have a strong aversion to oatmeal, pick a healthy cereal like Kashi Go Lean, or have some fruit and a piece of whole wheat toast with some almond butter.

Keep searching for the best choice that will meet both your taste bud's and your waist line's "It works for me/I enjoy this". Skipping breakfast entirely used to land me in hot water when lunch time rolled around and I was starving, now I arrive at lunch full of energy and the good nutrition I eat actually boosts my brain power and gives me a second wind.

Everyone has their own autopilot stories. If you have eaten the same thing for breakfast the past three days, then you know what I am talking about. It is how regular customers can go into restaurants and say, "the usual".

If you are like me, and find that you tend to have favorites wherever you go -- you can use this to your advantage. Instead of giving up the thing you love entirely, is there a way you can keep the part of it you love best and substitute something else for the other part? If you need help with this, post your comment and I will brainstorm with you to come up with a better alternative. Better because it will help you reach your goal of maintaining a healthy fit body easily and enjoyably.

What's your favorite breakfast,lunch, dinner?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Changing from Need to Want

What do I get out of being fit and healthy?
Here are some of the reasons I can think of, feel free to chime in with your own.

1) I have more energy
2) I find walking up stairs gets easier the lighter I am
3) I will live longer
4) I am happier when I am in shape
5) I can wear the clothes I like
6) I feel better about myself because I look better
7) I am treating my body well
8) I feel like I am taking good care of myself
9) I am working to ensure I will live a long and happy life.
10) I reduce my risk of... fill in health risk here.
11) I feel more beautiful
12) I feel more confident
13) I feel more lovable
14) I feel stronger
15) I feel calm and relaxed more of the time
16) I like myself more
17) I like what I see in the mirror
18) I like seeing pictures of me with my family
19) I feel in control
20) It feels right

So what are things that I need to do to be fit and healthy?

1) I need to eat healthy food
2) I need to eat the right amount of healthy food
3) I need to avoid eating unhealthy food
4) I need to avoid eating too much
5) I need to exercise
6) I need to change my perceptions
7) I need to reduce stress in my life
8) I need to find more inventive ways of coping with stress in my life
9) I need to love myself
10) I need to feel safe, secure and loved.
11) I need to surround myself with people who increase my feelings of safety, security, and love.
12) I need to drink plenty of good old fashioned water.
13) I need to keep track of what I am eating and drinking.
14) I need to know what foods are healthy
15) I need to make time to exercise.

Now why wouldn't I do those things?

Well, most of us don't like doing things because we have to. I know I don't. The idea that I "need" to do any of the above things means that I will find it necessary to think of excuses any time I choose not to. What if instead of thinking of it as a "need" we re-framed it?

Maybe it could sound something like this:

So what are things that I want to do to be fit and healthy?

1) I want to eat healthy food, it feels good
2) I want to eat the right amount of healthy food, it's better than the wrong amount
3) I want to naturally avoid eating unhealthy food, it doesn't make me feel good
4) I want to avoid eating too much, it doesn't feel good
5) I want to exercise, it feels good
6) I want to change my perceptions, it makes everything easier
7) I want to reduce stress in my life, it makes me happier
8) I want to find more inventive ways of coping with stress in my life, it feels good
9) I want to love myself, so I can give others more love
10) I want to feel safe, secure and loved, it feels good
11) I want to surround myself with people who increase my feelings of safety, security, and love, it feels good
12) I want to drink plenty of good old fashioned water, it feels good
13) I want to keep track of what I am eating and drinking, it makes it easier for me
14) I want to choose healthy foods when shopping, it helps me reach my goal
15) I want to make time to exercise, it feels wonderful

By replacing the "need" with "want" and then listing a reason why we want to do it, we are building images in our minds of ourselves making good choices and that is helping us start to want to move toward a fit and healthy future.


Monday, March 8, 2010


Back in elementary school we used to have this thing called Recess! I loved getting to take a break from the classroom and run around and play outside.

Sadly, as we get older we don't call it Recess!! anymore. We call it "working out" or "exercise" neither of which sound fun.

The title of this post was originally called, "Motivation for exercise" but that sounded unappealing and doesn't convey how enjoyable it can be to move around.

"Getting into the door... or popping in the exercise DVD... or taking the first step out the door" is often described as "90% of the effort". It seems every book on fitness conveys some variation on this theme.

So, given that exercise is something you may be avoiding, or running around being less fun that it was when you were a little kid, here are some of my tried and true strategies.

When I build exercise into my daily routine I quickly get in the habit of craving that good feeling. I know it sounds insane, but it is true. I still haven't figured out a way to convince myself easily if I have gotten out of the habit, but it is true. Like the guy in Memento we need to write down the note so we remember.

I make the decision in advance and I make it a default, like going to work.

I don't wake up in the morning and ask, "Do I feel like going to work today?" Because, to be honest most days I'd prefer to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.

Because I am not a morning person by nature, I use this personality trait to my advantage. I dress in my sweatpants, sweatshirt and sneakers and put my work clothes in a gym bag. I don't allow myself the opportunity to change in the restroom at work, so I know when I get in the car that I am going to the gym.

Once I am in the door, I have a deal I have made with myself. It's called, "Just five minutes" which means, I get on the least unappealing of the three options: Elliptical, Treadmill, or Bike. And I set the timer for 5 minutes and go.

It doesn't matter how much I wasn't in the mood, once the first 5 minutes are up I almost always go another 5, and another 5 until I have done at least 4 cycles.

I did intervals on the elliptical today for 35 minutes, ranging from a very challenging 11 miles and hour (which I did not sustain for long) to a base pace of 5 miles an hour. When I was done, I did some drop weight training and then I was on my way to shower.

So, find something fun to do outside, or inside, by yourself or with a friend. If these suggestions don't appeal to you, is there something that would?

Post a comment and share your favorite exercise/play with the group.

Gotta go, it's time for Recess!


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Breakfast, My New Favorite Morning Ritual

I love eating a healthy delicious breakfast in the morning. First thing in the morning, I don't like to have to put a lot of effort into doing anything. I like to wake up slowly and not have to think too hard about what I am doing. Reading a recipe first thing in the morning isn't my idea of fun. So, naturally my favorite breakfast is something that involves just a few simple steps.

Step One, put water in the kettle, and boil the water.
Step Two, get a measuring cup and measure out 1/2 a cup of Rolled Oats.
Step Three, once the water has boiled, pour 1 cup of boiling water over the oats and cover with a plate for 10 minutes.

This morning, being a Sunday, I didn't have to rush to get out the door, so I took my time adding the wonderful extras that make this simple hearty dish a real delight.

I sliced some fresh strawberries, sliced a banana lengthwise and dolloped some little spoonfuls of Almond Butter with flaxseed, sliced 1/4 of an apple, and added 7 almonds to the plate while the oats "cooked" in the gorgeous Murano glass style bowl.

I added a picture of the sliced fruit and nuts to the blog, so you can see how lovely it looks.

The oats taste completely different from the glue that I used to eat when adding hot water to "instant" oats. Measuring out the 1/2 cup is easy and I can do this myself for the upcoming week, so I have them at work if I am trying to beat the rush-hour traffic down highway four to the bay.

Tosca Reno's Eat Clean Diet Recharged! was my inspiration for this cooking method. Eating Clean is something that I have been testing out over the past week, and I am definitely in the "honeymoon" phase of this eating plan. I love how I feel, I am glowing, my hair is shining, my nails are stronger, I am feeling energized with a calm strength that makes me feel like I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. That and good food too, amazing.

Happy Eating!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Eat Real Food, more often

If it comes in a can, in a box, in a bag, in a bottle, in a jar, in a carton, and you didn't put it there yourself; it isn't real food.

Real food is one ingredient, found in nature.
Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, Grain

All that other stuff that can be made by combining it is instantly suspect.

If it is made by you combining any of the above you are probably safe.

If it was made by a corporation, and you can't reproduce it in your kitchen using the basic equipment available to human beings, it isn't fit for human consumption.

Love you,

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Serving Sizes

Manufacturers and retailers end goal is to increase profit and unfortunately serving size is something that helps drive profit.

The coffee shop I love changed their drink sizes a few years ago. Small had been 8oz. became 12oz. Medium which had been 12oz. became 16oz. Large had been 16oz. became 20oz. The first few weeks of the change I would order a Large when I meant to order a Medium. It took deliberate effort to remember to order the right size.

Along with this the price increase was strategically set to have the largest price be the "best value" (like Movie Theater Popcorn).

I doubt anyone took a calculator and estimated how much fatter this change would make the customers.

To put it in perspective, I looked up the nutritional info of the nation's largest coffee chain and their 20 oz. Mocha with whole milk and whip cream has 90 calories more than their 16 oz version.

That 90 calorie increase adds up: order the new large 5 days a week that would be 450 calories more a week or 23,400 calories more over the course of a year. Over the course of a year this could be 6 extra pounds, over the course of 10 years, that one change could add 60 pounds.

Small changes over time add up. This is true as it increases the scale, it is also true as you make slightly better choices and watch the scale descend.

The next time someone gives you a serving of food, slow down and think about how much of it is your personal serving size. This is something that should change day to day dependent on what you are craving and how hungry you are.

Tonight, after a long day of projects the idea of cooking just wasn't on the table. We ordered a medium pizza with light cheese, pepperoni, black olives, mushrooms and onions. I made myself a salad as my main dish, had my one slice of pizza slowly and ate another large bowl of salad (mixed greens, kidney beans, and a splash of balsamic vinegar without oil) to feel satisfied to the point where I didn't want a second slice. This is helping me reach my new current goal of seeing 149.

Mountain Climbing and Plateaus

If losing weight were like climbing a mountain, a plateau is that bench with the great view.

You can sit down and take a look around.

You could say, "Wow, I've gone far enough... I'm going back down the mountain, this is close enough to the top."

Or you could rest, catch your breath, enjoy the view and say, "Almost there!" and get back up and start heading back up the mountain.

If you're just beginning the climb...
The great thing about having a lot of weight to lose is, in the beginning, you were eating so many extra calories, that you can shave 500 calories per day without noticing it. I know I said that like you already know how to do it -- you may or may not -- I have lots of ideas for how you can do this, and I will share them with you.

You are really strong. You may not realize it, but how many 120 lb people do you know who could pick up a 100 lb weight and carry it with them every where all the time? Not one.

If you have already made it part way up...
The great thing about having lost a lot of weight is you feel lighter and lighter. Moving becomes easier and easier. Life becomes easier and easier.

It still amazes me that I used to have a hard time fitting in a restroom stall, or fitting in an airplane seat, or getting in and out of a car, or navigating my way through a crowded restaurant, or sitting in a booth in a restaurant thinking - I almost don't fit! And then tormenting myself with the "Do you want fries or a salad?" question. That is really an evil set of options. I mean who came up with that one? Clearly someone who wants to sell a lot of potatoes. Oh, and don't get me started on popcorn, "Would you like butter on that?" Without butter, is movie theater popcorn even edible?

If you are "stuck" at a plateau, then this is a reminder to celebrate your ability to maintain the same weight -- a skill you will need to utilize when you reach your goal. You may need to add some intensity to your routine; either in the form of a little less of some of the treats you eat every day, or a little more time or intensity to your workout. I would recommend starting with the eating part of the eat less/move more equation. A lean body is built by what you eat (as in, you are what you eat) and how much you exercise follows as a distant second.

One thing I find when I am at a plateau is I have stopped challenging myself as much as I did in the beginning of my last "climb". I start out of the gate paying a lot of focused attention on what I am eating, drinking, and how much I am exercising. Once a few weeks or months go by, I need a new dose of motivation to urge me up off the bench and back toward my next mini goal.

By breaking my goal up into one week at a time helps a lot.

Trying new things is the most powerful tool you have in your plateau toolkit. If I try to change my habit of drinking whole milk in my coffee, then telling myself I can't have it won't work. But I may say, "What does plain black coffee taste like?" and I might like it. If I don't, no problem I can always add the milk. I happen to be on a little bit of a black coffee kick. I like the tartness that I get that isn't clouded by the milk. Does that mean I will never drink milk in my coffee again? Probably not -- but this may be one more tiny change that will help me break through to see 149, and at 152 that isn't such a long way to go.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fixing A Hole

Random Beatles' lyrics drifting through my subconscious as I am getting ready to call it a night.

I have been looking for something to read or do that would make me feel better. It's not that I feel bad, it is just that typical restless feeling I seem to get at about this hour that usually leads me to the kitchen for a glass of wine, or a small bite of dark chocolate.

Typically this feeling is uncomfortable enough that I keep searching until I find whatever it is that will get me through the night. That sounds more desperate than I intended. It really isn't that extreme.

In part, I think I have formed some habits that need adjusting. I keep hearing that it takes 21 days to form a new habit (and endless variations on this theme). I think that rule only applies to new habits that you don't actually love. If you wanted to set a new habit to eat chocolate croissants every morning and you already were going somewhere that sold them every morning, then I think it would only take a day to make that habit -- that's if you love eating chocolate croissants.

Coming up with new habits is really dependent upon the habit being something that you would enjoy.

What if instead of trying to squeeze a little bit of calm out of a glass or wrapper, I forged a new path?

I am standing beneath a redwood tree, bundled in a warm winter coat. The mist has filled the valley and is running it's fingers through the fern and whispering along the creek.

Even that simple moment of imagination and I am satisfied.

And to all a good night.

Loving Yourself Exactly As You Are Now

I have come to recognize this truth: by loving yourself exactly as you are now, you make the journey to where you'd rather be joyful and easy.

The more you love and respect yourself the more you will find it preferable to treat yourself really well. Your definition of what "really well" means will evolve.

For me, that means eating much different foods, and treating myself so much better than I did when I was trying to hate myself thin. I did it, I hated myself down about 60 pounds, but eventually I had to stop, it was just too miserable living without (fill in the blank) -- it doesn't matter what plan I was following at the time, Atkins, or Jenny Craig, or Weight Watchers. I didn't follow any of them as intended and I took the information and processed it through my wonderful mind. Unfortunately I really believed that losing weight was hard and painful, and boy, I did not disappoint myself.

This is where I spent a decade on what they call the yo-yo diet. I think it should be renamed the you vs. you diet. The you that wants to feel good now, and the you that wants to change. Only by getting these two desires into alignment working together can you succeed.

This is a good thing, you can stop playing tug of war with yourself and put that extra energy toward your goal -- when you do that it is like you have super powers.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shifting from What I Shouldn't Have to What I Love

Thinking of trying to lose weight, and the first thing we typically think of is, "What do I have to give up?"

Whether this is a particular food or drink, I have found that the best way to spend all day thinking about how much I would like to have it is to tell myself I shouldn't.

Our brains create images as we process things like cake, wine, beer. The more descriptive we are, the clearer the image is. Chocolate cake, glass of wine, pint of beer. Chocolate triple mouse cake, glass of cabernet, ice cold pint of beer. At a certain level of description, I can even feel my mouth water - imagine biting into a slice of lemon and if you have ever done it, you can taste the tart sour juice. And if we have a favorite brand, then the image is even louder and clearer -- and most likely has a photo-shopped type image either provided by the manufacturer of that item, or created by our own internal graphic design department that can make the food or drink the most appealing thing on earth.

If I asked you not to picture a pink zebra with purple sunglasses, the image of what I am asking you not to picture has to exist before your brain can process the "don't" part of the picture. I can't tell myself I shouldn't want to eat cake, ice cream, girl scout cookies, wine, beer and on and on without thinking of all those things. The longer I make my don't eat list, the more images that flip through my head to torment me.

Instead of telling myself I can't have red wine when I get home from work, I picture the glass or wine and then think, what is it about the wine that I want. Maybe I just want to feel calm and relaxed and that is a feeling I have successfully achieved by drinking wine. But, maybe there is something I would rather have. If it is a feeling of being relaxed, then maybe a nice soak in a hot bath (for some reason I get this image of a candle lit bath because that sounds more relaxing) would work better to relax me, without the calories.

I haven't given up any one food/drink. There are a lot of foods I no longer eat -- but that is because I am continually developing my palate to seek more and more pleasure..

Palate:The sense of taste: delicacies pleasing to the most refined palate.

That four dollar bottle of chuck just isn't calling to me tonight. Nor is the frost bitten ice cream. The more an image appeals to me, if I put the real version of it under a microscope and really slow down and taste it -- it is amazing how something like a girl scout cookie that was baked weeks ago, seems really stale and unappealing when compared to something that seems refreshing and alive like a granny smith apple.

If I said, "Don't eat girl scout cookies, eat an apple." I hope all of you reading would know just how lame a suggestion that is. If you want the cookie, eat the cookie. Enjoy it, savor it, if you had the choice to have that cookie, or a home made cookie -- maybe it would be better to hold off and whip up a batch -- at least then it is made out of ingredients you can identify -- and I am sure cooking burns calories.

Losing weight is a dream many people have. But that isn't really what they want.

Losing weight is a dream many people have. But that isn't really what they want.

If I gained a pound, lost a pound, gained two pounds lost two pounds, over the course of a year I may have lost several hundred pounds, but it isn't what I meant.

I didn't mean I want to lose a lot of weight. I meant I want to build a stronger healthier more slender body.

But that isn't all.

I want to have the process be easy and enjoyable. I want to have the weight come off effortlessly. I want to wake up in the morning feeling like I know what to do, what to eat, what to drink, how much to move to be able to achieve my goal of transforming myself for the better. I want to eat foods that are delicious that make me feel good. I want to take care of my body so it can last the many years of my life without pain and disease.

"...nature, in its infinite wisdom, really only gives us two messages:
a sense of comfort and a sense of discomfort."
Deepak Chopra, M.D.

I love this quote; it reminds me that life can be so simple. We could be guided by our inner voice that tells us yes, this would be good - or no, that would be bad. Unfortunately our Western minds have been trained to ignore our feelings. We have a knowledge within us that is sometimes so deep and true that we can't put it into words. It is a sense of knowing. It is very Western to ignore that feeling/sensing knowledge and instead try to replace it with something that can be answered by a scientific text.

In my humble opinion, I think this is why a diet plan can work very well on paper but doesn't translate as easily in the real world. The real world is messy. It isn't clean cut. We have so many choices before us every day that we could make thousands of good healthy choices, and still be overweight when you add them all up. Also, if you have ever been to the doctor when you or a loved one isn't feeling well, the amount of things doctors don't know about how and why we are sick is stunning. Test results are most often inconclusive. Advice followed strictly doesn't always yield the results they outline. We still have a lot to learn about how our bodies work and how best to heal them.

It can take me an hour to burn 500 calories, but I can eat 500 calories in less than a minute. Given this fact I could feel confident saying, "Exercise alone will not make you thin, slender, strong and healthy." There are those whose experience is contrary to that. There are people who would swear that they can eat whatever they want, whenever they want, run five miles a day and stay lean, fit and healthy. They aren't lying. They don't have a magical metabolism.

Most likely, their definition of what they want, and their ability to tune in to their hunger is different from someone who isn't lean, fit and healthy.