Want to be FREE?

We all want to be FREE…

Free to DO what we want.
Free to BE who we want to be.
Free to be HAPPY living a life we love.

Yet we often feel as if something is stopping us from truly feeling free.

This morning, despite a super busy schedule and a daunting “To Do List,” I chose freedom to take a break and admire the daylillies in my garden. This is one of my joys of summer. Their season is short and each blossom lasts for one short day. So I chose to allow myself to be FREE to enjoy and admire the blossoms of the day – even though my mind said I “should” have been handling all the things in my Inbox, or doing one of the dozens of things on my growing “To Do List.”

FreeGuess what? When you die your Inbox will still be full and you’ll still have a “To Do List.” The time to be FREE is right here and now.

So today I allowed myself the luxury of a few minutes of peace and happiness admiring my lillies – no guilt, no thinking about the Inbox. Just enjoying the moment and smiling.
For me, that felt FREE.

What do you mean by “Free?”

“Free” can be defined (with the help of dictionary.com) as: the state of being at liberty rather than in confinement; immunity from external control or interference. I think of being free as having the luxury of choice because when you choose something you feel less confined, more in control.

Here’s how freedom starts:

                              You have to WANT it
                              You have to CHOOSE it
                              You have to ALLOW it

What do you want to be FREE of?

    • Burdens or obligations?
    • Continual worry?
    • Emotional eating or excess weight?
    • Stress or anxiety?
    • Overwhelm?
    • Obsessive thoughts or actions?
    • Depression?
    • Insomnia?
    • Clutter?

Now, what do want instead?

Figuring this out is sometimes half the battle. Clients often have a hard time telling me what it is that they really want. What they think of first are all the things they don’t want. If you didn’t have those things, what would you want instead that would make you feel more free?

Once you know what you want, then you choose it. Sounds simple; actually doing it requires re-learning some of your “old” habits of thinking. Let’s start with how you think of the concept of “choice.” Choice always leads to greater freedom.

Think There are Some Things You Have No Choice Over?

I challenge you to think again, and I know sometimes it’s not easy. The problem comes in when your mind is tricked into believing that you have no choice. No choice about the responsibilities, the diagnosis, worry, anxiety, emotional eating, depression, clutter, etc.

The truth is that you always have a choice, even when it feels like you don’t. Even when you do something you don’t really want to do (like staying up late to finish that cleaning, going to the doctor, or doing that one thing that “needs” to be done), you ARE actually making a choice to do it.

You could always make a choice to NOT do it. It’s just that there would be consequences of making that choice and because of the consequences, you choose to do it. Understanding this leads to a much greater sense of empowerment than feeling like you had no choice in the matter.

Choosing is always more empowering than feeling like you “have to” or that it simply has to be a certain way. Choosing always feels better than living with something because you think you “need to” or “must.”

Re-training Your Mind: Part 1 = Choosing

The key to feeling free is to expand your awareness of your choices, and realize you are constantly making choices that are YOUR choices. Realize that there are many choices which at first may not appear to be options. This requires developing a new skill: re-training your mind to think differently and expand your choices. It takes skill, time and practice to start seeing choices where previously you couldn’t see any.

Example…

Let’s say you “have to” pick up your daughter from school immediately due to sudden illness. It really feels like you “must” do this because your child is ill and the school says you “must” take your daughter home immediately. But to do it, you’ll have to leave work in the middle of a very important customer meeting which will probably mean your company loses business from this customer (which is entirely unacceptable to your boss).

trueHonestly, you always have choices:

  • Leave and pick her up?
  • Ask someone else to pick her up?
  • Pay someone to pick her up?
  • Have a taxi pick her up?
  • Have her take the bus home?
  • Wait and pick her up after this meeting?
  • Wait and pick her up at the end of the day?

Can you brainstorm others? Your mind may have immediately discarded some of those choices and judged them as not viable. Realize you actually make split-second evaluations of the consequences of every choice. Some consequences you prefer over others. Then you choose. You don’t “have to” do any one of them. You choose one that you’ll do.

When the choice is yours, I promise you will feel more free no matter which choice you make.

Now you’re in the driver’s seat of your life, instead of letting people or circumstances or old, limited thought patterns dictate your life.

Re-training Your Mind: Part 2 = Allowing

Once your mind learns to generate more choices and to consciously choose, the next skill is ALLOWING the freedom. Like I allowed the luxury of being with the lillies without guilt or worry about what wasn’t getting done, you can re-train your mind to accept your choice. No second-guessing, no analysis-paralysis, no regret, no guilt, no worry. Simply allow your choice to be and to unfold. This re-training takes practice. Accept your choice and enjoy it as much as you can, knowing it came from your power to choose. Stay in the present moment with it as much as you can.
In the allowing is where you can really experience feeling free.

Top Five Holiday Sabotaging Thoughts for Dieters

christmasornament-stencilThe holiday season often brings real challenges for those watching their weight, and especially for those with emotional eating tendencies.

The pressures of parties, cookies, and traditions, on top of the emotional stress and anxiety that often arise at this time, can create a troublesome chain of events:

Troublesome thoughts    ==>
                 Troublesome eating    ==>
                                 Gaining unwanted weight    ==>
                                                       More troublesome thoughts…

I think you’ll find this article reprint helpful (from my colleague Deborah Beck Busis, LSW, Diet Program Coordinator at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy):

Top Five Holiday Sabotaging Thoughts

During the holiday season, dieters often experience a variety of sabotaging thoughts that, left unchecked, can ultimately lead to significant weight gain. Here are five of the most common holiday sabotaging thoughts and helpful responses to them. We have also included sample Response Cards for each thought. If you think you’re likely to have this type of thought, consider making a similar Response Card and reading it throughout the holiday season.

We have to do it this way; it’s tradition.” During the holiday season, it’s important to examine your traditions to see if you necessarily have to keep all of them, or have to do each one exactly as it’s been done before. Just because you’ve always done things a certain way does not mean that you have to continue doing them in the same way. If, for example, you traditionally bake 10 kinds of Christmas cookies with your family, and then wind up eating way too many and gaining weight, what would be the advantages of changing this tradition? Perhaps instead of 10 different cookies, you could agree to bake 2 or 3 kinds. That way, you’ll still have the traditional aspect of cookie-baking with your family, but will be less tempted to overeat. Further, if you decide to change traditions or skip some of them, you can always decide to put new, healthy traditions in place, such as taking a family walk after dinner (which would be good for everyone). It’s important to not feel bound by traditions with negative consequences and instead be willing to consider amending some or starting new ones.

Response Card:

Just because I’ve always done things a certain way doesn’t mean I have to continue. Changing or instituting new traditions will not make the holidays less special because the meaning behind what I do will be the same.

I have to prepare everything perfectly.” Especially during the holidays when you’re probably a lot busier, it’s important to really think about your priorities and question whether it would be helpful to change them. If, for example, you always cook and prepare a holiday feast from scratch, you may want to consider saving time by buying some pre-made side dishes and then using the extra time to exercise. If you prioritize wrapping all your presents perfectly, you could consider wrapping them less perfectly and then use the extra time to prepare a healthy meal instead of relying on easy takeout. Just because it’s the holiday season does not mean that you need to do everything perfectly. It’s important to reflect on your priorities, and if you make healthy eating and exercise top priorities, you will have to make concessions in other areas.
 

Response Card:

Things don’t have to be done perfectly over the holidays. It’s important that I keep my priorities in mind and figure out what I can cut back on to make time for my most important goals.
 
 
I won’t be able to enjoy myself unless I eat everything I want.”Especially during the holiday season when treats and desserts seem to lurk around every corner, it’s important to remember that it’s not all-or-nothing. It’s not as if you’ll be able to eat everything you want, whenever you want, or you won’t be able to eat anything you enjoy at all. There is, in fact, a huge middle ground. It is perfectly reasonable to plan in advance when and where you’ll have extra treats, but it probably can’t be every single time treats are offered to you if you want to reach your goal. It’s important to remember that not eating treats has its own rewards, too. When you stay in control and don’t give in every time you’re craving something, it means that you’ll be able to enjoy maintaining your weight (or even losing weight). While you won’t necessarily get the (momentary) enjoyment of eating certain treats, you’re likely to experience significant enjoyment when your clothes still fit, when you step on the scale, and when you feel good about yourself. 
 
Response Card:
 
It’s not all-or-nothing. I can still enjoy some holiday food and also enjoy all the benefits of weight loss. Besides, if I go overboard, I won’t feel good about myself or my eating.
 
 
It’s okay to eat whatever I want because it’s the holidays, and besides, everyone else is.” Unfortunately your body processes calories in the same way, 365 days a year. Your body doesn’t know or care that it’s the holidays, that it’s your birthday, that it’s the weekend, that you’re on vacation, or that you’re at a special event. Regardless of the day or the circumstance, if you take in too many calories, you will gain weight. This means that if you want to work on losing or maintaining your weight, you can’t eat everything, even though it’s during the holiday season. Similarly, your body also doesn’t know or care what everyone else around you is eating. It only knows what you are eating. So just because everyone else is eating five cookies, it doesn’t mean that you should eat five cookies, if it’s not in your plan. Additionally, make sure you look out for the sabotaging thought, “I was so good and didn’t eat all those other things, so it’s okay to eat this [food I hadn’t planned].” Just as your body doesn’t know or care what day of the year it is or what anyone else is eating, it also doesn’t know how many treats you turned down – it only knows and processes the foods you do eat. So just because you said “no” ten times, does not necessarily mean it’s okay to say yes the eleventh time. 
 
Response Card:
 
My body doesn’t know or care that it’s the holidays, that everyone else around me is eating certain foods, or how many treats I already passed up. It only knows what I eat, so I have to be deliberate in all of my decisions.
 
 
I’m just going to let go and enjoy. I’ll get back on track once the holiday season has passed.” This may be one of the most common holiday sabotaging thoughts – and the one that can lead to the most weight gain (and subsequent unhappiness). It’s important to remember that deciding to just “let go and enjoy” comes with consequences, particularly once the holidays are over. Think back to previous holiday seasons – how did you feel afterwards when you decided to just throw in the towel on healthy eating? Did you feel good about yourself? Did you feel good about gaining weight, about having your clothes fit differently, about having to struggle to try to get back to normal eating? When you were coping with the negative consequences of letting your eating get out of hand, did you wish you had done things differently? This is the year that you can start doing things differently! This is the year that you can work on maintaining a healthy balance during the holiday season, responding to your sabotaging thoughts, and enjoying all the benefits that come from staying in control over you eating, both physically and psychologically. This can be the year that’s the model for every year to come. Why wait? 
 
Response Card:
 
Letting go over the holiday season in the past has never helped me to achieve my goals. While I may enjoy eating a lot in the moment, I always feel terribly about it afterwards when I gain weight. This year, it’s worth it to me to do things differently so that I end up in a better place.
 

——————————–
Reprinted with permission and written by Deborah Beck Busis, LSW, Diet Program Coordinator at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

Interrupt Emotional Eating

Looking in the RefrigeratorYou can’t get over emotional eating unless you can learn to interrupt/break the automatic habit.  In the moment you are reaching for food or standing aimlessly in front on the refrigerator, try this:

  1. Change your environment: move out of the kitchen, move to another room or area of the house or office, or go outside and breathe some fresh air.
  1. Change your physiology: belly breathe for 2 minutes, drink a full glass of water, do jumping jacks, or wash your face.
  1. Change your mind: here’s where the real work is and where the real change can happen. Start by writing down all the thoughts in your mind at that moment. With persistence, and perhaps assistance, you’ll discover which thoughts and emotions are triggers. You will need to do this in order to make lasting changes in your eating habits.  

Emotional Eating Quiz

Is it really food you are craving, or comfort?

Answering YES to more than one of the following questions may mean your eating patterns are driven by emotions rather than hunger.

Are you an Emotional Eater?

  • Do you often eat when you’re not physically hungry?
  • Does your hunger come on suddenly?
  • Do you crave specific foods (often times, carbs or sugar)?
  • Do you want to eat when you’re upset, lonely, sad, worried, bored, or irritable?
  • Do you sometimes feel a sense of regret or guilt after eating?
  • Do you find yourself eating unconsciously (and suddenly surprised at what or how much you just ate)?
  • Have you been on lots of diets and put lots of energy into losing the same weight again and again?
  • Do you feel like even though you just ate, you still want more?

Woman looks into the refrigerator

No matter what you weigh, if you are used to eating when you aren’t hungry and any of the above questions ring true for you, you are using food to fill other needs. But there is never enough food to take upsetting situations or feelings away. There are never enough sweets to make sadness go away…never enough snacks to make boredom go away. You get the point.

The real solution to ending battles with your weight: learning to change the underlying thoughts and feelings that cause you to use food for comfort.

The Cure for Yo Yo Dieting

Dieting again?Bathroom Scale iStock_000001667800XSmall

Losing the same weight you’ve already lost before?

That’s Yo Yo Dieting. Been there done that.

Why Diets Don’t Work

We do what we do based upon the thoughts we think (conscious and subconscious) and the emotions we feel. Diets focus only on eating behavior, when the underlying thoughts and emotions are what really make or break success.

I don’t like the word “diet” because it usually represents a very temporary behavior. We temporarily change eating behavior until we either reach or abandon a goal.

But Yo Yo Dieting runs deeper than just the behavior. With repeated weight fluctuation over the years (and keeping several sizes of clothes in your closet to accommodate this), you set yourself up for perpetual dissatisfaction with yourself.

Diets don’t work because they focus on the behavior instead of focusing on the root cause of the behavior: your thoughts and emotions.

Your weight is always driven by what you think, believe and feel.

In working through my own history with fluctuating weight, I’ve developed passion and expertise in counseling people who want to get to the root of old patterns with weight/food, and stop sabotaging themselves.

I help people not only achieve and sustain their goal weight, but to feel better about themselves AT ANY WEIGHT. Diets don’t work when you can only be happy if you achieve a certain weight.

Most Common Causes of Yo Yo Dieting

  • Body image

Body image is what you think, believe and feel about yourself and your body. Yo Yo Dieters often think: “If only I lose these __lbs, then I’ll be happy.”

This kind of thinking sets up conditions for self-satisfaction or self-love (i.e. happiness). You need to eliminate the conditions. We all need unconditional self-love.

Love yourself first and the weight will drop off easily and stay off. Why? Your eating behavior will come from healthy, happy thoughts and feelings, leading to EASY healthy, happy eating behaviors! You gain power and the food loses the power it previously had over you.

According to a recent study, women who had counseling to improve their body image lost a higher percent of weight than those who did not see a counselor.

Yo Yo Dieters often tell me, “But I love food, that’s the problem.” Believe it or not, it is possible to love food AND maintain your ideal healthy weight. So if that’s not happening, it’s a sign that there’s another problem. Usually it’s a sign that underlying thoughts, beliefs and feelings (about self and about food) need to be changed.

Imagine loving yourself fully and without judgment or regret
no matter what the scale says. This is hard for many of us.

Put conditions on loving yourself and your weight will be a Yo Yo over time. When you come to love yourself as you are now, the food and the weight lose their emotional attachment. What you eat and what you weigh become choices driven by healthy, happy thoughts and feelings.

  • Comfort eating

Yo Yo Dieting is associated with emotional eating, or comfort eating. This happens when you’re not eating for hunger, or to fulfill physical needs, but to FEEL better. Ask yourself why you need to feel comforted by food?

I’ve heard countless stories of people reaching their goal weight and then gaining it back when they realize (mostly subconsciously) that life isn’t suddenly perfect, and they aren’t suddenly as happy as they thought they would be. This feels bad. Feeling bad and thinking bad go hand-in-hand, and this is a set up for self-sabotaging eating behavior.

Looking in the RefrigeratorThe vicious cycle: bad thinking and feeling lead to “bad eating,” self-sabotaging eating, then feeling bad about what you weigh or how you look (which feels bad), then eating because you subconsciously think food will get rid of that bad feeling, then feeling guilty or bad about what you ate, leading to more feeling bad about yourself and thinking you SHOULD be able to just get this under control but you can’t, maybe there’s something wrong with you, and on and on…

Comfort eating often comes into play because most of us were never taught healthy coping skills for managing stressful/upsetting emotions.

The Cure for Yo Yo Dieting

Changing the underlying thoughts, beliefs and feelings…
that are creating the behaviors…
that are creating undesirable results.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is designed for this. CBT is a particular form of counseling that targets unhelpful thoughts. You learn to take control of negative body image and emotional eating by gaining understanding and control of your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and the behaviors that follow.

I’ve found CBT is incredibly effective for my clients, in combination with holistic solutions to managing difficult emotions and stressful situations.

“I can’t believe how easy it is now to lose the weight!”

It was a joy to hear one of my clients say this the other day. She knows it’s because she now has her thoughts and feelings (about herself and about food) under control. She’s in charge now.

Think Your Way To Thin

Get a handle on your thoughts for long-term weight lossThe diet frenzy is in full swing during this time of year. As we focus on being able to get into our tank tops, shorts, and swimsuits…we forget this simple truth:

Diets don’t work! Somehow we forgot that the last time we lost those 10 pounds (only to gain them back).

I know. I’ve been there. Now I’ve discovered how to do it differently. I read that 95 to 98 percent of dieters regain the weight they lost. Does this ring true for you?

Do you have at least 2-3 different sizes of clothes in your closet: the “skinny” ones and the “fat” ones (and maybe a size in between)?

Repeatedly Unsuccessful Dieters

Repeatedly unsuccessful dieters usually get stuck in dysfunctional thoughts about food that lead to over-eating. Self-sabotaging thoughts lead to self-sabotaging behavior.

You know how to “go on a diet.” You know how to make the calorie reduction equation work…temporarily. Who really sticks to that eating and workout plan permanently? 

The diet mentality itself is TEMPORARY and sets you up to fail in the long run.

Why? Diets deal only with our physical body: calories in, calories out. The real success or failure in keeping the weight off is not in your body, or in which diet plan you choose…it’s in your HEAD.

You are what you THINK vs. You are what you Eat

What you THINK actually leads to what you eat. At some point into a “diet,” you are tempted to eat something that’s not on the plan… tempted because of what you THINK:

  • It’s OK for me to eat this because…
  • I deserve it because…
  • This one thing won’t matter.
  • I’m sad and need to cheer myself up.
  • I’m stressed and need to calm down.
  • I need a reward because…
  • It’s a special occasion – time to celebrate!
  • It’s not fair that others can eat whatever they want.
  • What’s the point? I’ve only lost a couple pounds anyway.

How to Get Long Term Resultswoman-on-scale-istock_000011472381xsmall

Research now shows that getting a handle on your thoughts is what really helps people lose weight and keep it off. Focus only on nutritional and behavioral aspects produces relatively little weight loss and dieters almost always gain weight back. The cognitive component has been the missing piece: You are what you Think!

A Few Do-It-Yourself Cognitive Tools

Getting a handle on thoughts – this is a key way I help people make all kinds of long-term changes and now it applies to maintaining your ideal weight too. Here are a few tips:

  1. Vision Your Success. Create a Vision Board (or close your eyes and visualize) showing you at your ideal weight. Be creative so it also depicts how you FEEL at your ideal weight: how much you love yourself and love your body and love your life.
  2. Prepare for the temptations. Create a set of index cards with messages that will support and redirect you when you have challenging moments. Write things like: 
    • This craving will pass. The best thing I can do right now is stay out of the kitchen and focus my attention on something else.
    • Enjoying my body at its ideal weight is WAY more important to me than eating this tempting food right now.
    • I’m so proud of myself for all my progress! Every good choice I make makes me look and feel better and better.
    • I can be the thin me I want to be…OR I can eat whatever I want. I can’t have it both ways. I get to choose.
  3. writing-stencilMake a list of all the reasons you want to lose weight. When you think you wrote them all, then add at least 3 more. Post this list in your kitchen. Read it out loud at least twice a day. This may seem silly or unnecessary…I challenge you to “Just Do It!” and see for yourself what a difference it makes.
  4. You’ve got to stop eating and thinking unconsciously. This can be the hardest part to do on your own as the drive to stay unconscious is usually deeply programmed in unsuccessful dieters. Every time you are tempted to go off the plan, STOP in your tracks, stand up tall, and snap your fingers loudly. What are you thinking right now that led to the temptation? Write it down. Then use the other tools above to make a conscious and positive choice.

 

How To Be Free

We all want to be FREE…

Free to DO what we want. Free to BE who we want to be. Free to be HAPPY living a life we love.

Yet we often feel bogged down, troubled, or blocked…as if something is keeping us from truly feeling free.

This morning, despite a super busy schedule and a daunting “To Do List,” I chose freedom to take a break and admire the daylillies in my garden. This is one of my joys of summer. Their season is short and each blossom lasts for one short day. So I chose to allow myself to be FREE to enjoy and admire the blossoms of the day – even though my mind said I “should” have been handling all the things in my Inbox, or doing one of the dozens of things on my growing “To Do List.”

FreeGuess what?!? When you die your Inbox will still be full and your “To Do List” will still be in progress. The time to be FREE is right here and now.

So today I allowed myself the luxury of a few minutes of peace and happiness admiring my lillies – no guilt, no thinking about the Inbox. Just enjoying the moment and smiling.

Now, for me, that felt FREE.

Free of worry, free of the Inbox, free of the pressures of the “To Do List”…free for those few minutes. That’s just how freedom starts:

                              You have to WANT it
                              You have to CHOOSE it
                              You have to ALLOW it

What do you mean by “Free?”
“FREE” can be defined (with the help of dictionary.com) as: the state of being at liberty rather than in confinement; immunity from external control or interference. I think of being free as having the luxury of choice. Naturally, when you choose something you feel less confined, more in control. You truly can make choices to change or let go of things that weigh you down.

What do you want to be FREE of?

    • Burdens or obligations?
    • Continual worry?
    • Emotional eating or excess weight?
    • Stress or anxiety?
    • Overwhelm?
    • Obsessive thoughts or actions?
    • Depression?
    • Insomnia?
    • Clutter?

What do you want instead?

Once you know what you want, then you choose it. Sounds simple; actually doing it requires re-learning some of your “old” habits of thinking. Let’s start with how you think of the concept of “choice.” Choice always leads to greater freedom.

Think There are Some Things You Have No Choice Over?
I challenge you to think again, and I know sometimes it’s not easy. The problem comes in when your mind is tricked into believing that you have no choice. No choice about your actions/reactions, the burdens, obligations, worry, emotional eating, depression, clutter, etc. Choosing is always more empowering than feeling like you “have to” or that it simply has to be a certain way. Choosing always feels better than living with something because you think you “need to” or “must.”

success_failure-signs-istock_000003986459xsmall

The truth is that you always have choice, even when it feels like you don’t. Even when you do something you don’t really want to do (like staying up late to finish that cleaning, going to the doctor, driving your son to his next activity, or doing that one thing that “needs” to be done), you ARE actually making a choice to do it. You could always make a choice to NOT do it. It’s just that there would be consequences of making that choice and because of the consequences, you choose to do it. Understanding this leads to a much greater sense of empowerment than feeling like you had no choice in the matter.

Re-training Your Mind: Part 1
The key to feeling free is to expand your awareness of your choices, and realize you are constantly making choices that are YOUR choices. Realize that there are many choices which at first may not appear to be options. This requires developing a new skill: re-training your mind to think differently and expand your choices. It takes skill, time and practice to start seeing choices where previously you couldn’t see any.

Example…
Let’s say you “have to” pick up your daughter from school immediately due to sudden illness. It really feels like you “must” do this because your child is ill and the school says you “must” take your daughter home immediately. But to do it, you’ll have to leave work in the middle of a very important customer meeting which will probably mean your company loses business from this customer (which is entirely unacceptable to your boss).

trueHonestly, you always have choices:

  • Leave and pick her up?
  • Ask someone else to pick her up?
  • Pay someone to pick her up?
  • Have a taxi pick her up?
  • Have her take the bus home?
  • Wait and pick her up after this meeting?
  • Wait and pick her up at the end of the day?

Can you brainstorm others? Your mind may have immediately discarded some of those choices and judged them as not viable. Realize you actually make split-second evaluations of the consequences of every choice. Some consequences you prefer over others. Then you choose. You don’t “have to” do any one of them. You choose one that you’ll do.

Now you’re in the driver’s seat of your life, instead of letting people or circumstances or old, limited thought patterns dictate your life.

Re-training Your Mind: Part 2
Once your mind learns to generate more choices and to consciously choose, the next skill is ALLOWING the freedom. Like I allowed the luxury of being with the lillies without guilt or worry about what wasn’t getting done, you can re-train your mind to accept your choice. No second-guessing, no analysis-paralysis, no regret, no guilt, no worry. Simply allow your choice to be and to unfold. This re-training takes practice. Accept your choice and enjoy it as much as you can, knowing it came from your power to choose. Stay in the present moment with it as much as you can.

In the allowing is where you can really experience feeling free.

 

Less Stress Now: Eat Stress-Busting Foods

Stress causes your body to start producing excess stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. Luckily, nature has provided us with some foods that naturally seem to help reduce cortisol, and reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. Recent studies suggest:

  • Shellfish: Omega-3 fatty acids in shellfish may reduce cortisol according to a recent study in Spain which showed that people who ate 3-4 ounces daily lowered their risk of anxiety, stress, and depression by 30 percent.Milk
  • Milk: Four or more servings of calcium daily may help lower the risk of symptoms like anxiety and irritability, according to a study of women in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Additionally, lactium, a milk-based protein, may help ease anxiety and promote the relaxation necessary for proper sleep patterns.
  • Vitamin C-rich foods: Vitamin C lowers stress by limiting cortisol production. Researchers in Germany found that when people were subjected to the anxiety of public speaking, those who took 3000mg of C felt calmer and their blood pressure returned to normal faster. Foods with Vitamin C also have the “bonus” of stimulating release of oxytocin, a “feel-good hormone.”

kiwi-dreamstimefree_472155Try…Berries, Guava, Kiwi, Oranges, Lemons, Leafy Greens, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes

Click here for another healthy snack idea!

 

Find Out What You Really Crave

Is it really food you are craving, or could it be something else?

Answering YES to more than one of the following questions may mean your eating patterns are driven by emotions rather than hunger.

Are you an Emotional Eater?

  • Do you often eat when you’re not physically hungry?
  • Does your hunger come on suddenly?
  • Do you crave specific foods (often times, carbs or sugar)?
  • Do you want to eat when you’re upset, lonely, sad, worried, bored, or irritable?
  • Do you sometimes feel a sense of regret or guilt after eating?
  • Do you find yourself eating unconsciously (and suddenly surprised at what or how much you just ate)?
  • Have you been on lots of diets and put lots of energy into losing the same weight again and again?
  • Do you feel like even though you just ate, you still want more?

 

No matter what you weigh, if you are used to eating when you aren’t hungry and any of the above questions ring true for you, you are using food to fill other needs. But there is never enough food to take upsetting situations or feelings away. There’s never enough sweets to make sadness go away…never enough snacks to make anger go away. You get the point.

Problem #1: Using food for comfort…comfort is what you really crave!

Problem #2: There’s a good chance you’re not even aware of why or how you use food for comfort. It’s a subconscious and automatic behavior pattern. You may not know which upsetting feelings cause you to reach for food.

body-image-istock_000019996761xsmallThe real solution to ending emotional eating, and ending battles with your weight, is to resolve the underlying issues that cause you to use food for comfort.

Getting Real

As I have learned myself, getting real with yourself is the only thing that works. If you go on yet another diet, deprive yourself of this, that, or the other thing, or lose that 10 pounds again, you won’t be able to keep the weight off unless your underlying beliefs about yourself and life are consistent with living at your natural, healthy weight. And you’ll need to learn new, healthier ways to handle upsetting and anxious situations.

 

What do you Crave?

We make about 200 choices a day about food and we’re only aware of about 25, according to Brian Wansink, author ofMindless Eating. You’ve got to increase your awareness of what you’re eating and why. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get connected to your own body and understand more about both your physical needs and your emotional needs. When you’re clearer on your true needs, you can consciously choose healthy and supportive ways to fill the real “craving” of the moment.

If you’re reaching for food to help you handle upsetting situations or feelings, you will never be satisfied. To quote song lyrics, it’s like “looking for love in all the wrong places.” Maybe you’re going for chocolate when what you really crave is to feel respected. Maybe you’re eating too much ice cream when what you really crave is to have a friend to be there for you. Maybe you’re finishing off the bag of chips when what you really crave is to feel like you matter.

woman-on-scale-istock_000011472381xsmallYou Can Transform Your Relationship with Food

Know the difference between hunger and eating for other reasons. Find out what you really crave. Interrupt old patterns and replace emotional eating with healthier ways to fill your “emotional cravings.” Have the courage to get real with yourself and you can transform your relationship with food (and with yourself!) forever.

For more information about emotional eating CLICK HERE

Is It Stress Or Hunger? The Mind-Body Connection

body-image-istock_000019996761xsmallEver eat when you’re stressed? Join the club!

We’re actually hard-wired to eat when we’re under stress. This comes from the brain’s evolutionary process, from a time when fight-or-flight was a necessary daily survival skill (think Cave-People). The energy gained from the extra food calories could help the body react and survive.

Our brains still have that old wiring that unconsciously tells us to eat when we feel stress. And every time you go for that candy or chips (or fill-in-the-blank with your stress-food of choice), you reinforce that wiring.

Are you hungry or stressed?

If you think about having your morning cup of coffee and you say to yourself“Oh, I really need my grande, double, no-whip latte today!” that thought can trigger bodily sensations of wanting or craving. It can trigger physical sensations of hunger or even cause your mouth to water. At that point it’s hard to distinguish…does the body really want the latte or has the mind created the wanting?

Opening the Refrigerator...AgainPractice the Pause

Ever find yourself staring inside refrigerator when you’re not even hungry? Sometimes we eat when we aren’t really physically hungry because we are in need of something else, such as comfort, distraction, reward or a break from boredom.

The key is to interrupt the unconscious “Think-Eat” pattern so you can determine if food is actually what is needed in the moment.

To distinguish between stress-induced cravings and true hunger, you have to“Practice the Pause.” After the thought “I want something to eat” and before reaching for food…..
                              PAUSE. Take a few belly breaths.

Become aware of your body…notice whether you are experiencing physical signs of hunger, such as growling stomach, low energy, dizziness, or difficulty concentrating.

Become aware of your thoughts and emotions…notice whether you are upset about anything. Are you anxious, scared, mad, guilty, sad, or stressed?

Interrupt Old Patterns

To break the pattern of stress-related eating, you need to interrupt it:

    1. greatideaChange your environment: move out of the kitchen, move to another room or area of the house or office, or go outside and breathe some fresh air.
    2. Change your physiology: belly breathe for 2 minutes, drink a full glass of water, do jumping jacks, or wash your face.
    3. Change your mind: here’s where the real work is and where the real change can happen. Start by writing down all the thoughts in your mind at that moment. With persistence, and perhaps assistance, you’ll discover which thoughts and emotions are triggers. You will need to do this in order to make lasting changes in your eating habits.

Click here for another way to become more aware of your body, thoughts, and emotions……