Tag Archives: Eating

Infographic: Prevent Holiday Over Eating

Just in time for all of the holiday parties…

Prevent Holiday Overeating with These 3 Tips from 100poundsin1year.com

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Why do these tips work?  Find out in “Eat to Thrive,” a free eGuide from 100 Pounds in 1 Year absolutely brimming with more reasons food can be a friend.

 

 

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7 Ways I Got My Body Back

January 2nd (and the Monday after New Year’s) are HUGE days for anyone wanting to lose weight.  I’m rebooting this post as a way to encourage anyone shooting out of the starting block today.

Seven years ago, I had a dream which I’ve never really been able to shake. I always wondered what it meant. I think I’ve finally figured it out. At the time, I was working with a therapist. I shared the dream’s details with her. I described the dug-out pit I occupied and how it resembled a sunken site of an old, archeological dig. We surmised why the pit’s fence – which ran along the top of the ground above me, at shoulder height – seemed more like a military perimeter. With its bulky timbers reinforced by steel rebar, I wasn’t going anywhere. Why did it need to be so strong? More intriguing, however, were the holes underneath the fence. Someone had dug out gaps underneath the fence. Just enough space for a torso appeared along the edges every ten feet. Why had no one filled them in? Had hope carved out each escape route, and I hadn’t bothered to replace it? Maybe there was no point, since a pair of army boots stood patrol on the other side of every hollow. Why the necessary precaution? Who was out there, standing in those boots, and why did I stand inside, alone? I felt trapped. My solace was the open, blue sky above me. Puffy, white clouds paraded over me. This brings me to my biggest question…

Why didn’t I just fly out?

All notions of “flying dreams” aside, this seems a legit question. I acted as if the sky was a roof. There wasn’t anything holding me back, except me. In thinking of the top seven lessons I’ve learned throughout my weight loss journey, that’s the clincher. I see this self-limiting pattern over and over. Each of these seven ideas healed some element of whatever, or whyever, I was my biggest obstacle.

  1. Food can transform from currency into contentment. For most of my life, I’ve used food as currency. Food to feel my value. Food to reward my effort. Food to stand in for any desire I could not fill. The problem with this strategy is that I never experienced fullness. By using food as currency, I limited the amount of joy and contentment I could feel because food can only do so much. In addiction terms, I could only get as high as my next hit. I couldn’t stop this limiting cycle until I felt my intrinsic worth. I needed to connect with that unearned merit which abides at depths universal to us all. A Biblical poet put it best: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” (Isaiah 55) When I experienced my natural worth — which I cannot earn or have enough of anything to pay it back with — that’s when food transformed from currency to contentment.
  2. I do not have to lose 100 pounds before I feel better. When I first decided to lose 100 pounds in 1 year, I thought I wouldn’t be happy until I dropped all that weight. In reality, I felt better after shedding just 15 pounds. I can remember having more energy, feeling less pain, and sleeping better within weeks. The 100 pound goal gave me enough hope to launch my journey, but it didn’t have to power me all the way. In fact, the inherent restriction of my goal, as it was defined by a total number of pounds within a given time frame, became a burden. That expectation felt heavier than the extra pounds I was carrying. In order to continue, without the heavy restriction, I had to trade big expectations for tiny victories. It’s those everyday wins which took me the rest of the way, bringing the finish line to me.
  3. “Set Point Theory” isn’t as sexy, but it makes more sense. “100 Pounds in 1 Year” sure rolls off the tongue, but without the pressure of numbers, I made space to learn an amazing lesson, called “Set Point Theory.” Basically, it’s what keeps lost pounds from never coming back. Researchers have found that a slow burn — no more than 5% of total body weight every three months – keeps weight loss below our starvation radar. If I lose weight any faster, then I could be wasting my time and shooting my future self in the foot. According to Set Point Theory, in order to lose 100 pounds in 1 year, I would have had to start out weighing over 500 pounds. Indeed, that’s exactly where some folks start. For others, however, patient, compassionate weight loss and a return trip to the calculator and will avoid return trips to the diet isle.
  4. Weight loss is not a straight line but a meandering path through the woods. If I zoom out on my journey, taking a Google Maps view, I see lots of pitfalls and rabbit trails along the way. At first, I hated these obstacles because they slowed down my weight loss. But the hurdles just kept coming. They didn’t slow down until I slowed down. Turns out, I needed the hidden meaning in every detour. I learned to sink into the sand because there was probably something in there for me. If I tried to skip over it, I usually came back to it, anyway. I could only go as fast as my heart and mind could handle. Ironically, once I geared down to soul speed, I found oodles of freedom to play and experiment. Pit stops became hidden treasures and weight loss an adventure in living. My self-limiting insistence on a linear, start-to-finish highway to happiness seems silly and unrealistic to me now.
  5. Relationship brings results. So often, I’ve turned to tips and strategies for results, but copying other people’s fitness success works more like trying to push a button from behind by yanking on the circuitry. Tactics like counting calories, logging hours of exercise, or tracking total steps, these aren’t what cause fitness. They’re what comes after; after the choice to just show up, after frustrating days of missed workouts, and after the next day when I decide to pick up where I left off. All of these moments create a relationship, which is what really brings results. By sticking only to what worked for other people, I actually limited my options. When I drilled down to healing my relationship with myself, that’s when the power kicked in. I found out that I could trust my gut to lead me to my next, best step. Granted, it didn’t feel great all the time. I had walked around like a floating head for years; I was that disconnected to my body. It was scary to reconnect with my heart and mind through my body, even painful at times. But by staying authentic, no matter the circumstance, no effort was wasted.
  6. Get thinner but never stop getting thicker. I want to get thick, in my soul I mean. I want to slather on layers of life. I got into this journey by opening up to desire. I don’t want to stop now. I want to stay engaged with the juiciness of the Big Wow that infiltrates every part of every day. I think back to my days of eating drive-thru in my car on my lunch hour. I remember how utterly bored I felt with my life. To me, becoming thinner has happened more out of a sense of fullness, rather than depriving myself of joy (with food or otherwise.) By feeding awe and curiosity, I continue to uncover reasons to keep making healthy choices.
  7. I decided that I Already Have My Body Back. After losing 62 of my 100 pounds, I came to a crossroads. You may remember a recent blog when I slammed the proverbial table and declared, “I want my body back, dammit!” You know what came up after that release of pent-up angst? A quiet voice humbly whispered, Why not just decide to have it, then? This challenged me. What do you mean? I retorted. I can’t JUST DECIDE.   Turns out, I can. There’s this tune from The Antlers, called “Palace” (totally the sound track to my journey.) One phrase slays me: “…the day we wake inside the secret place that everyone can see.” That’s what this is. It’s inhabiting the beauty I’ve kept hidden from myself but which everyone around me has always seen. It’s the decision to fly out of the pit. This is possible because getting down to my real self wasn’t like peeling layers of rotten flesh from an onion. Not at all. It felt more like connecting with the orb inside. I kept nurturing myself. The onion grew bigger, got brighter, until its paper skin could no longer hold the glowing bulk and had to break off and fly away to make room for more. Granted, I couldn’t have gotten here before now. I needed more than a nice idea to try on. I needed to experience my body in healthy ways. I needed to trade out old clothes for new. I needed to climb mountains. I needed to see muscles flexing in the mirror. Now, though, I am ready to be who I’ve always been.

Take Home Tip

 

Why not just fly out?

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For more in-depth, down-and-dirty-details of how I learned these lessons, check out the 100 Pounds eGuides

Listen to “Palace” by The Antlers

7WaysIGotMyBodyBackVisionBoard100Poundsin1Year

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The Christmas Hangover

a tired, Christmas pooch

I’m rebooting a past holiday post, as its a great reminder for when this time of year gets overwhelming. Its easy to eat and eat out of sheer exhaustion, so I hope this helps.  Enjoy!

Flashback to the Thanksgiving before committed to losing 100 pounds in 1 year.  This was an unusual time of insight for me.  Not only was I ready to get gutsy and make some major life changes (read more at Eat to Thrive), but I could see myself from outside myself.  Such eye-openers are a gift because they don’t happen all the time, but, when they do come, I try to sit up and take notice.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I snuggled into the corner of the couch with a cool, ceramic bowl of cereal cradled in my hands.  This wasn’t just any cereal bowl.  It was the biggest bowl I could find; large enough to hold leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving dinner.   As I balanced the heavy bowl in my left hand — making sure no milk spilled over the edge — I held an extra-large spoon in my right.  I dunked that spoon three inches deep into the cereal, lifted out a heap of granola and rice flakes, stretched my mouth wide, and shoveled it in.  I plunged again.  And again.  And again.  I snarfed that bowlful in minutes, stuffing mouthfuls as fast as I could chew and swallow.

As I tipped the bowl to my lips to sip the last puddle of sweet milk, I saw my reflection; not in the bottom of the bowl, but inside my mind.  I saw myself, and I was sad.  I wanted that cereal to make me feel better.  I set the bowl down and, not for the first time, felt a familiar bloated feeling expand my stomach into a cereal baby.  I tried to get still.  I asked myself, Why am I so sad?  Once I made space to ask the question, the answer was right there.  Everyone at work – plus most of my family — had the week off, but I was still working every day.  I wanted time off, too.  What about me?

That day, I wrote myself a reminder for next year:  It read:  “Ask for Thanksgiving week off (Remember cereal snarfing last year?)”

That act – of noticing my pain and finding a way to change things – sparked a new holiday tradition for me.  Now, before the holidays get too hectic, I take time to reflect on how I want the season to look.  This is a new skill for me.  I always thought I had to endure the holidays, like I had no say in how they played out.  I braced for the stress:  running extra errands, scrunching parties into schedules, stretching the Christmas budget, and — worst of all — muddling through the hollow letdown of the day-after-Christmas Hangover (Not necessarily alcohol-induced, more like “expectation induced.”)  It never occurred to me that I have a choice in how the holidays roll.  Turns out, I do.  It just takes a few, simple questions, thoughtfully answered in a quiet space before all the holly and jolly begin.

To that end, I’d like to share with you my simple reflection routine for the holidays.  I use the following questions to frame my intentions.  Things don’t always go as planned, but that’s o.k.  Knowing my intentions lowers stress.  Feeling centered matters most.  That way, when surprises pop up, I don’t create a story in my head that I’m helpless or pushed; I just adapt to find another way towards my intentions.  O.K.  Here’s my holiday reflection routine, plus my intentions from this year…

In Early November:

  • What tradition(s) do I look forward to?  What tradition(s) would I like to let go of?
    • I like gathering around the table, full of family, goodies, and random chatter.  I’d like to let go of the pressure to find that perfect present, and just enjoy my time with each person.
  • How do I want to feel during the holidays?  What activities fuel this feeling?  What activities take from it?
    • I want to feel relaxed.  I’m going to hang some extra twinkle lights in my home, so things feel cheery as the nights get darker earlier.  I’d like to ditch trying to make it to every community Christmas event, and just focus on one favorite — maybe the showing of White Christmas at a local art house theater (Where we come dressed up, sounds like fun.)
  • Gift buying – how do I want to feel, standing in line at the store or clicking through the Check Out online?
    • I want to be happy enough to give the cashier a smile and complement him/her.  I want to not feel burdened by money, so I will make some homemade gifts this year (go to Christmas Treats that Won’t Make Me Fat? for hubby’s Cranberry Walnut Bread recipe.)  I want to feel smart and efficient by being picky about online shopping, so I will do some research before rushing over to Ebay.
  • Gift giving – after all the presents have been unwrapped, and all the “thank you’s” said, what thoughts do I want running through my mind?
    • I want to still have something to look forward to.  I hate feeling bloated in my body and my mind.  Maybe go showshoeing or sledding that evening?

After Christmas

(The day after Christmas is a juicy time for reflection, since that hangover feeling still stings strong.)

  • What did I like best about this year’s holiday season?  How can I do that again next year?
    • Last year, I sure enjoyed connecting with my brother who visited from Chicago.  Next year, if he can’t make it, maybe I could skype him or play some online game with him.  Or maybe we could levy a bet on a Steeler’s game.  I’d love to visit him in Chicago someday.
  • If I were Santa Claus, what would I do on the day after Christmas, after delivering billions of presents all around the world in 24 hours?  Can I make time/space to do that for me now?
    • I would get a haircut and schedule a deep, soothing massage.

Feel free to change up these questions and make them work for you.  Also, be sure to print out your answers and keep them in a safe place for next year’s reflection.

Before I finish, you may wonder, How does all this relate to losing weight?  First, consider the fact that stress (especially six weeks of it during the shortest days of the year) almost guarantees weight gain (read more at Chronic Stress and Weight Gain).  Also, planning ahead can mitigate some of my mindless munching because I’m more present, more centered.  There’s nothing like a party platter to shortcut my best intentions, especially when I didn’t have time to eat dinner because I had to stop at the post office to mail gifts.  Lastly, there’s a happy spillover effect from creating intentions and watching how they change my reactions to circumstances.  Intentions are like built-in homing beacons.  They become reference points to help me track where I’m at on my mental map.  Experiencing that level of control – even the extent to which I let myself get out-of-control – can fuel my self-esteem and store up some seriously good ju-ju for the coming year.

Shelby writes sassy, inspiring stories of weight loss.  Shelby lives in Missoula, Montana where she works out at The Women’s Club Health and Fitness Center.  

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Dear Phat Girl: 3 Ideas+1 Big Ass Principle to Prevent Overeating During the Holidays

Dear Phat GirlDear Phat Girl,

The Holidays are just around the corner, and I’m already cringing at all the food and sugar and drinks there will be. I want to enjoy the season, but I’ve got a history of overeating. I’ve tried all the advice you read in magazines like counting calories, eating off smaller plates, and having a salad before a party. Thing is, I’m smarter than the plates or the calories, and I know how to bend the rules. Isn’t there something else I can try that will work better – preferably with alcohol? Thanks for your advice.

 Sincerely,

 Stuffing the Stuffing in Newport, CT

 Dear Stuffing the Stuffing,

I’m reading your email and doing a halleluah jig! I love it when all of our best efforts have failed us. Why? Because these sorts of letdowns reveal how bankrupt most quick tips are of any real power. That realization is the beginning of change. Truth is, the end of one experiment is often the beginning of a new route not thought of before. It’s through repeated trial and error that I’ve discovered the kind of success that trumps the tricks and leads to lasting results. In this regard, there are no failures. We’re all just learning as we go, peeling the layers away and (sometimes) crying over our onion. Sounds like you’re ready to go deeper and make a hearty, life-stew out of those onions.

Before I reveal the recipe, though, I’m glad you mentioned the Big Three tips for portion control that have been chewed-to-death. You’re right. We are smarter. (Really? Who knew? WE DID!) The truth is, when I want more food, I’ll find a way to get it. Counting calories? Heck, I’ll just do two work outs – tomorrow. Smaller plate? No worries, I just go for seconds. Become Vegetarian before the Christmas Party? Hah! There’s plenty of room in my gullet for red wine and a lick off the ol’ cheese ball. Like I said, we’re smarter than any diet rules.

That’s why I’m working on a new eGuide called, “Ditch the Diet.” Without diet rules, I’m left to my own wanderings and designs. I have to learn to follow my gut instincts. So far, my gut hasn’t failed. It’s not that I’ve totally surrendered and become a fudge whore. Rather, I’ve discovered why I eat, which has changed how I eat, which has transformed what I eat. I want the same for you, so let me start you off with three ways to trust your own gut and bypass the overeating drama throughout the Holidays and beyond.

  1. Make friends with food. The Holidays are about celebration, and when we go to work in the dark and get home in the dark, we need a reason to celebrate. When I realized most of my Holiday snarfing was out of this simple – yet critical – need, then I embraced the buffet.
    Practical Idea: Give yourself permission to celebrate with food. See the spread as a gift rather than a burden. Then rejoice with a few of your favorites. Relish them. Let them sing Christmas carols to you as all that merriment melts on your tongue and drizzles all the way down.
  1. Less is more. When I feel deprived, I eat more. When I feel content, I eat less. Contentment, however, comes in many packages. Self-care is one form. When I discovered my tendency to put myself last in the storm of holiday busy-ness, I started tracking my contentment level. Turns out, a lot of my overeating stemmed from a latent sense of neglect. I literally came to the table starving for attention. As I learned to cull the herd of holiday to-do’s, I made space to do something special for me each day, however small. My contentment level rose and my overeating lessened.
    Practical Idea: Brainstorm tiny things that bring you joy and unwrap these moments like a petite present to yourself each day. You’ll be less inclined to stuff the stuffing because you’re already full on the inside.
  1. Give Baby Jesus a break and stop demonizing your food. When I label a food “bad,” I judge myself a “failure” when I eat it. Feeling weak or lazy is the quickest path to giving up, which means I’m primed for a gorge session. I can reroute this whole vicious cycle by ending the good/bad labelling of food and asking instead, “How will this bite make me feel?” At the very least, this makes me more honest with myself. At best, I create just enough space inside to make an intentional choice and accept the consequences.
    Practical Idea: Next time you’re holding a paper plate of goodies, examine each one and imagine how it will make you feel. The next step will be entirely, deliciously yours.

 You may notice a common theme in these ideas. They all create connection. In fact, they’re less about food and more about you reconnecting with you. Carrying too much weight can, over time, cause you to disconnect from your body and your heart. It’s no wonder, then, that when they need attention, they’ll use food to get it. The good news: your rich relationship with food can be your best teacher. This year, sideline the snappy tips — which only serve to keep you disconnected, anyway – and ask more of your food than the same old “should I/shouldn’t I” scuffle. Let food serve as your guru, your mentor, your minister. When the new year arrives, you will have gained so much more than the ten pounds everyone else did while staying in the struggle.

Take Home Tip

I’ve discovered why I eat, which has changed how I eat, which has transformed what I eat.

 Explore It More By Following the Links Below

More ways to make friends with food inside the 100 Pounds eGuide, “Eat to Thrive”

Comments or questions for Phat Girl?  Remember: every comment you enter below automatically submits your name for the monthly drawing of a FREE eGuide.

Yo, Phat Girl, I Gots Ta Ask..

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How Yoga Helped Me Find Peace with my Body, Mind, and Spirit

I’m thrilled to introduce this guest post from Cami Cote, an inspiring yogini who doesn’t let size get in her way of feeling healthy.  Cami is owner of River City Yoga in Missoula and (drum roll here…) struck a gorgeous warrior pose in Origin Magazine.  I love Cami’s story because she has done what we all have — shed pounds through sheer discipline only to find out that lasting transformation stems from our hearts and minds.  Please join me in thanking Cami for sharing her story, first published in MindBodyGreen.

 

Cami Cote, River City YogaMy first yoga teacher had a license plate that read Ahimsa. Ahimsa is a sanskrit word that means, non-violence.  This is the story of my journey to learning the true meaning of Ahimsa and finding peace with my body, mind and spirit.

I had a less than ideal childhood: I felt unloved, unworthy, and abandoned.  I became an overweight child, something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I was teased and bullied because of my size and I felt completely alone and powerless.  As I got older, I tried to find ways to control my life any way that I could. My primary outlets for this became diet and exercise. I’d successfully lose weight, but then I’d gain it all back, a cycle that only contributed to my feelings of self-hate.

I had always been interested in yoga, but didn’t think that I could actually do it, until a personal trainer at the gym recommended that give it a try. One day, I finally did. The teacher was kind and supportive and I felt challenged. I was hooked and knew I wanted to learn more.

Soon into my yoga journey, I realized that for the 90 minutes I was in class, I could let go of control, negative thoughts, and feelings of self-hate. However, as I went deeper into yoga, there was a part of me that wanted to be like the other yogis: thin and able to do poses such as upward facing bow pose and handstand. I thought if I looked a certain way and could do advanced asanas that I would finally find confidence and happiness.  I became desperate to lose weight; I just knew that everything I had ever wanted would be mine if I could just achieve a smaller body. I drastically cut my calorie intake and started spending upwards of three hours at the gym every day doing cardio and yoga.

And I saw results! I dropped over 100 pounds in less than nine months.  However, I was still beating myself up, physically and mentally. My self-talk was negative, and on top of that, I was over-exercising, pushing my body beyond its limits.  And ironically, despite the increased activity level and the weight loss, I didn’t feel better about myself because I weighed less; I was still in pain physically and mentally.  I had developed persistent knee pain and after several weeks, it hadn’t gone away. I had a series of X-rays and an MRI, which showed I had a torn meniscus and osteoarthritis.

Arthritis at 38, that was difficult to accept!  I had to change everything; I could no longer sustain the activity level that I’d been doing.

All of these realizations led to a downward spiral into despair.  I gained a few pounds and knew I needed to do something about it, but I couldn’t exercise the way I had grown accustomed to.  I felt like I had my life torn away from me, I couldn’t even walk without being in pain, which meant that the aerobic exercise I had been doing was out of question. As a person who has dealt with compulsive eating, body image issues, and depression, it is a real challenge to pull out of that darkness.  I gained 20 pounds, 20 became 40, and then 60 pounds. The realization that I might not get back to where I began become a real possibility. I wanted to treat myself with love and compassion, but how could I?  I was unworthy at the very level of being able to take care of myself. I had failed.

My knee injury became a defining moment in my life.  Isn’t it interesting how injuries become our teachers?  I had to give up my strong practice in lieu of a gentle and restorative practice, had to do physical therapy.  I went to a counselor and started working on my issues with compulsive eating, self-hate, and body image.  I began to meditate seriously and found joy in kirtan (call and response singing).  With all of this intensive internal work, my life started to shift and I started listening, I learned to connect with compassion and make peace with my body and mind. I had to find out what worked for me and I had to learn that could not let others determine what I should or should do in my practice.

I decided that I wanted to live and not hide; I wanted to live an empowered life and not see myself as a victim. Between yoga, meditation, therapy, and, surprisingly a knee injury, I learned to make peace with my body, mind, and spirit.

To say that yoga changed my life is an understatement.  No one told me I couldn’t practice or teach yoga, and along the way I discovered the true meaning of Ahimsa.

Cami Cote, River City YogaCami Cote is a yogini, a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance, and a kirtan wallah living in Missoula, Montana. She currently lives with hypothyroidism and arthritis, but doesn’t let those obstacles get in the way of her yoga practice or living life to the fullest. “I want to share my story to inspire people, to raise awareness of the fact that there are full figured yogis in the world despite what you see in the average yoga class, that we are strong, capable and able to practice.  Anyone that has the desire to practice yoga should get out there and try it. The yogic path takes dedication, hard work and above all self-love.” If you want to know more or connect with Cami, visit her www.rivercityyoga.net

 

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