July 2016    

Sustaining Motivation – How to Keep Going when Life gets In the Way

Getting Motivated for Exercise – Winning Tips that Work Amazingly, we’re halfway through the year already! Many people start out a new year with the intention to stick to healthy habits, but soon find that intention alone has its limitations. So here are some winning tips to get you back on track. You don’t have to wait till next January! These are the strategies I teach my clients and the ones I use myself to maintain my weight loss of over 100 pounds.

  • Start with why – and go way beyond weight loss

A study that looked at why people start an exercise program found that people who said they were doing it to lose weight ended up spending the least amount of time exercising, up to 32 percent less than people who were doing it to enhance the quality of their lives. Some examples were: to sleep better, to have more energy and be more productive at work, to build confidence, to be a healthy role model for their kids. When exercise is tied to quality of life you’re more likely to do it even on tough days.

  • Change how you think about exercise

If you automatically associate the word “exercise” with “sweat and pain”, “hours of hard work”, “childhood humiliation in PE class”, “failure”, and other negative thoughts, you’ll avoid it like the plague. On the other hand, if you associate the word “exercise” with “fun”, “a gift to myself”, “an investment in my future”, “time with my friends”, “my me-time”, “a way to clear my head and zap my stress”, “my favorite music”, “my time to catch up with my favorite TV shows”, or other pleasant thoughts, you’ll find that you can’t wait to get to it. How to get there? Find something you enjoy doing. Expand your notion of what exercise is. Did you know that there are literally thousands of activities that could be described as “exercise”? To learn more, read my blog post titled “But I Hate Exercise!”

  • Plan for potential challenges

You know those days when nothing goes as planned? They’re going to happen – your kid gets sick (or you do), you have an unexpected deadline to meet, an old friend is in town and wants to get together, or you just feel super-tired that day. Have a plan in place for how you’re going to handle situations like these, and don’t let them derail you. For example, if your kid is sick and you can’t leave the house, think about how you can still get a workout in at home. Find an app or website you can use in the comfort of your living room. Even if you have to do less that day because of the deadline or the dinner with your friend, less is better than none. Flexibility is key. And skipping a day doesn’t have to lead to you totally abandoning ship – so long as it’s not a habit.

  • Set doable goals

Set yourself up for feelings of success by creating small, doable, specific, actionable goals. “Alternate 15 seconds of jogging with 1 minute of walking” works better than “train for a 5k”.

  • Remember that action builds motivation – not the other way around

If you wait till you “feel motivated”, you could be waiting a long time. The notion that motivation leads to action is a misconception. In fact, action builds motivation because:

  1. You realize that it wasn’t so hard once you got started
  2. You start to enjoy the initial results
  3. You feel good about yourself for taking the action

Keep this in mind and you’ll soon find that living a physically active life has become a habit!

August 2016    

The Top Thinking Traps to Avoid so you can Stop Regaining the Weight you Lost – Part One

This month, I’m discussing the most common types of thoughts that can trip you up when it comes to maintaining your hard-earned weight loss – what I call Thinking Traps.

Thinking Traps are the types of thoughts that keep us stuck in a negative situation, make us feel bad, and lead to us believe things that are not true.

Here’s the first one:

Filtering

Filtering is when you look at only one aspect of a situation, to the exclusion of everything else. You take the negative details of a situation and blow them up in your mind, while filtering out (or ignoring) the positive aspects of the situation.

Example: “I won’t enjoy the vacation because I have to avoid all my favorite foods or I’ll gain weight”.

Common result: abandoning healthy eating for the whole vacation (and perhaps beyond), weight gain, feeling discouraged, and possibly giving up on maintenance – once again.

Better thought: “I can’t wait for this vacation because there are so many fun activities I’m going to be doing, and I feel so good in my clothes now”.

How to get there: Focus on all the positive things about the trip. Write a list. Take a piece of paper and make two columns. On one side write down all the things you’re looking forward to. On the other, write down what you’re not looking forward to. Most people find that the positive side is much longer! And you can apply this technique to other situations in your life.

Can you relate to this particular Thinking Trap? If so, can you see how a different type of thought can help you stop regaining the weight?

I’d love to hear how this strategy works for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!

The Top Thinking Traps to Avoid so you can Stop Regaining the Weight you Lost – Part Two

This month, I’m discussing the most common types of thoughts that can trip you up when it comes to maintaining your hard-earned weight loss – what I call Thinking Traps.

Thinking Traps are the types of thoughts that keep us stuck in a negative situation, make us feel bad, and lead to us believe things that are not true.

I discussed the first one in last week’s newsletter. Here’s the 2nd one:

Polarized (or “black and white”) thinking – also known as “all or nothing” thinking

Black and white thinking is when you see everything at one extreme or another, with no gray zone.

Example: “Either I’m completely on my healthy meal plan – or I’m completely off it. There’s no way I can stay on it for this entire vacation, so I might as well not bother and just start over when I get back”.

Common result: unhealthy eating for the entire trip, weight gain, feeling discouraged, and possibly giving up on maintenance – once again.

Better thought: “My plan is to eat healthy on this trip, but also allow myself a small portion of a few of my favorite indulgences so I don’t feel deprived. I know I can approach food with a sense of balance, and also stay active to compensate for just a small amount of change to my regular nutrition plan”.

How to get there: Avoid thinking in terms of words like “either/or”, “always/never”, “perfect/awful”, “everyone/no-one”, and “everything/nothing”. Make a written plan that is doable and emphasizes the middle ground.

Can you relate to this particular thinking trap? If so, can you see how a different type of thought can help you stop regaining the weight?

I’d love to hear how this strategy works for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!

The Top Thinking Traps to Avoid so you can Stop Regaining the Weight you Lost – Part Three

This month, I’m discussing the most common types of thoughts that can trip you up when it comes to maintaining your hard-earned weight loss – what I call Thinking Traps.

Thinking Traps are the types of thoughts that keep us stuck in a negative situation, make us feel bad, and lead to us believing things that are not true.

Here’s the 3rd one:

Overgeneralization

Overgeneralization is when you reach a conclusion based on just one piece of evidence.

Example: “I love chocolate, so I’ll never be able to maintain a healthy weight”.

Common result: giving up before trying.

Better thought: “I love chocolate, so my plan is to eat a small amount mindfully and really savor it, to see if I can stay in control. If I can’t, I’ll know that I need to rethink this plan”.

How to get there: Start with “I love chocolate so…” and brainstorm some endings to that sentence stem that don’t include the word “never” but continue with “and so I will…”.

Here’s another example: “I hate going to the gym so I’ll never be able to keep the weight off”.
Better thought: “I hate going to gyms and so I will try out some other types of activities that I haven’t yet tried to see if I like them any better”.

Can you relate to this particular thinking trap? If so, can you see how a different type of thought can help you stop regaining the weight?

I’d love to hear how this strategy works for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!

The Top Thinking Traps to Avoid so you can Stop Regaining the Weight you Lost – Part Four

This month, I’m discussing the most common types of thoughts that can trip you up when it comes to maintaining your hard-earned weight loss – what I call Thinking Traps.

Thinking Traps are the types of thoughts that keep us stuck in a negative situation, make us feel bad, and lead to us believe things that are not true.

Here’s the 4th one:

Mind Reading

Mind reading is about holding onto assumptions and conclusions based on “knowing” other people’s thoughts.

Example: “My friends will think I’m no fun if I go to the restaurant with them and order a healthy meal while they all enjoy their favorite high-fat, high-calorie indulgences”.

Common result: Overindulging, weight gain, feeling discouraged, and giving up on maintenance – once again – or avoiding the social event, feeling resentful, and overeating to compensate.

Better thought: “I feel really good about myself and the way I take care of my health now, so I don’t care what other people think. I might even inspire some of my friends to make some positive changes for the sake of their own health.”

How to get there: Accept that you really can’t read other people’s minds, and you can’t predict the future. Make a list of some other possible thoughts that your friends might have, such as “I wish I had his/her motivation/commitment/strength/resolve….”.

Can you relate to this particular thinking trap? If so, can you see how a different type of thought can help you stop regaining the weight?

I’d love to hear how the writing exercise worked for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!

The Top Thinking Traps to Avoid so you can Stop Regaining the Weight you Lost – Part Five

This month, I’ve been discussing the most common types of thoughts that can trip you up when it comes to maintaining your hard-earned weight loss – what I call Thinking Traps.

Thinking Traps are the types of thoughts that keep us stuck in a negative situation, make us feel bad, and lead to us believe things that are not true.

Here’s the 5th and final one:

“Should” statements

“Should” statements are all about using a rigid set of standards to determine how everyone, including yourself, should act.

Example: “I should never waste food – even if I’m full and even if I don’t like it.”
Here’s another one: “I should eat all of this, because I paid for it”.

Common result: Overeating, possible weight gain, discouragement, and giving up on maintenance – once again.

Better thought: “Wasting food goes against my values, but so does not taking care of my health. I could save this extra food for another meal”.

How to get there: Ask yourself what kinds of “should” thoughts you tend to have when it comes to food and eating. When you find yourself having an “I should” thought, ask yourself “who says so”, and “how do they know what’s best for me now, at this particular point in my life?”

Can you relate to this particular thinking trap? If so, can you see how a different type of thought can help you stop regaining the weight?

I’d love to hear how this exercise worked for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!

I hope this month’s discussion of “Thinking Traps” has given you some helpful “food for thought”!

September 2016

Move Forward into Wellness this Fall – Part One

Although it doesn’t feel like it from where I’m writing, with temperatures still in the 90s, we’re officially in the fall season!

The fall (or autumn as it’s known in some parts of the world) is for many people a season of change, and a time for new beginnings. The academic year has started for students, teachers, parents and other caregivers, and many people have returned to a more structured daily routine than the one that characterized the long, hazy days of summer. Vacation is over, and along with it the relative freedom and spontaneity of the summer season.

When it comes to general wellness – as well as weight management – fall is a great time for a “restart”, or at least for a review of goals or a renewal of commitment. If you’ve remained on track with your weight management and general wellness goals, “yay you!” The challenge will be to stay on track despite the temptations and busyness of the fast-approaching winter holiday season. On the other hand, if summer presented challenges for you in terms of staying on track with weight and general wellness, you could be at risk for weight gain between now and January.

So each week this month I’ll be talking about ideas for new beginnings this fall, in terms of weight management and general wellness.

Week One: Set a goal

Did you know that September is officially known as “self-awareness month”?

Take some time this week to assess where you are in terms of general wellness and weight management – and where you’d like to be. Look at these areas: nutrition, fitness, weight, general health, and stress management. Rank yourself on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high) in each area.

Take just one of these areas, the one that you’d most like to work on, and ask yourself what you’d need to do in order to increase your self-ranking by just half a point by the end of the year.

This will be your overall wellness goal for this final third of the year. Your goal should be small, doable, and not at all overwhelming. Remember, it’s about moving forward by just half a point.

Now, create your first action step and time line.

Here’s an example from one of my recent coaching clients:

Allyson ranked herself a “5” on nutrition. In order to get to 5 ½ by the end of the year, she said she’d need to increase her consumption of vegetables from 2 servings a day to 3 servings per day. She said the easiest way for her to do this would be to pick up a bag of salad from the grocery store and add some to the sandwich she took to work for lunch each day.

I’d love to hear how this strategy works for you, so please feel welcome to email me and let me know.

I hope this newsletter has given you some inspiration!

Move Forward into Wellness this Fall – Part Two

This month, we’re discussing ideas for new beginnings this fall, in terms of weight management and general wellness. When it comes to general wellness – as well as weight management – fall is a great time for a “restart”, or at least for a review of goals or a renewal of commitment. If you’ve remained on track with your weight management and general wellness goals, “yay you!” The challenge will be to stay on track despite the temptations and busyness of the fast-approaching fall/winter holiday season. On the other hand, if summer presented challenges for you in terms of staying on track with weight and general wellness, you could be at risk for weight gain between now and January.

As the weather cools and the days shorten, many people spend less time outside. As we get busier at this time of year, we may succumb to “comfort” or “stress” eating. Previous research, in fact, has found September to be the 2nd most likely month for weight gain, after December. Our bodies are aware that winter is on the way, and try to get ready by storing increased amounts of fat.

Week two: Try something new

Fall is a great time to try out a new produce item, and/or a new recipe. Fall produce is starting to appear in the stores, and the fall/winter holiday season is right around the corner.

So for this week pick a fall produce item and try out a new recipe. If you’re in North America, you can use this resource to see what’s in season in your state: http://localfoods.about.com/od/searchbystate/

And here are some great resources for finding healthy recipes using seasonal fruits and vegetables:

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/
http://www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder
http://www.prevention.com/recipes
http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/category/eat/recipes/
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/healthy-recipe-finder

I’d love to hear about any great recipes you find, so please feel welcome to email me and share them with me.

I hope this newsletter has given you some inspiration!

Move Forward into Wellness this Fall – Part Three

This month, we’re discussing ideas for new beginnings this fall, in terms of weight management and general wellness. When it comes to general wellness – as well as weight management – fall is a great time for a “restart”, or at least for a review of goals or a renewal of commitment. If you’ve remained on track with your weight management and general wellness goals, “yay you!” The challenge will be to stay on track despite the temptations and busyness of the fast-approaching fall/winter holiday season. On the other hand, if summer presented challenges for you in terms of staying on track with weight and general wellness, you could be at risk for weight gain between now and January.

Week 3: Take it outside
Now that the weather is finally cooling down (or getting warmer if you’re in the southern hemisphere), bust workout boredom by trying out a new outdoors activity. Or try out a new fitness class.
Here are some ideas:

  • Rake leaves
  • Go fruit-picking
  • Explore a pumpkin patch
  • Get a group together for a pick-up ball game
  • Go for a hike or bike ride
  • Plant a vegetable garden
  • Volunteer to help clean up a park or beach – or to help plant a community garden
  • Participate in a community fun run
  • Take a dance class, or a tai chi, pilates or yoga class

I’d love to hear about any fun outdoors fall activities you discover in your local community, so please feel welcome to email me and let me know.

I hope this newsletter has given you some inspiration!

Move Forward into Wellness this Fall – Part Four

This month, we’ve been discussing ideas for new beginnings this fall, in terms of weight management and general wellness. When it comes to general wellness – as well as weight management – fall is a great time for a “restart”, or at least for a review of goals or a renewal of commitment. If you’ve remained on track with your weight management and general wellness goals, “yay you!” The challenge will be to stay on track despite the temptations and busyness of the fast-approaching fall/winter holiday season. On the other hand, if summer presented challenges for you in terms of staying on track with weight and general wellness, you could be at risk for weight gain between now and January.

Week 4: Step up your self-care

Self-care is about purposely taking actions to care for your physical, emotional, mental, relationship/social, and spiritual health. Adequate self-care can be challenging for many people due to limited time, energy, or other resources, as well as the misconception that self-care is somehow “selfish”. According to a recent study, the consequences of inadequate self-care include depression, chronic lifestyle-related (and completely preventable) diseases, poor dental health, and substance abuse risk.

What does self-care mean to you? If you’re not sure at first, start with the basics – nutrition, hydration, exercise, stress management, sleep and rest, recreation and fun. Set a tiny, doable goal. For example:

  • drink a glass of water on waking
  • add a couple of slices of tomato to your sandwich
  • call a friend
  • start a gratitude journal
  • listen to some uplifting music
  • watch a sunrise or sunset
  • remind yourself of what you appreciate about yourself
  • simply breathe and meditate for a few minutes
  • avoid negative news stories

For more ideas about tiny goals, take a look at this post:
http://tinybuddha.com/blog/45-simple-self-care-practices-for-a-healthy-mind-body-and-soul/

I’d love to hear about what you try out in terms of a new and tiny self-care activity, so please feel welcome to email me and let me know.

I hope this month’s newsletters have given you some inspiration!

October 2016

The Top 10 Things you can do when you’re Overwhelmed and Ready to Scream – instead of reaching for a Donut to Stuff it all Down -Week One

 

Have you been here?

 

Your supervisor is being an %&$@# or your significant other is in a nasty mood. Maybe your car wouldn’t start and you were late for an important meeting. Or a customer cussed you out and then sent a nasty note to your boss. Your vicious brother-in-law (or ex-BFF) is spreading ridiculous rumors about you…or some combination of the above.

The list goes on, doesn’t it, the things that can so easily get to us and weaken our determination to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and so often our response is to reach for food in an effort to chill out, calm down, or get rid of the pain. It’s never a salad or a piece of fruit that we reach for. That doesn’t do it. It’s whatever our comfort food happens to be – chocolate, chips, cookies, donuts, cake, fast food, whatever.

And you’re busy – not just busy, you’re totally overwhelmed with the demands of your everyday life, without anything extra or unexpected coming up.

When the “stress management experts” tell you to take a nice long bubble bath or go for a relaxing nature walk instead of heading for the drive-thru, you laugh: “You don’t know my life! I don’t have time to lay around in a bathtub while the kids are fighting, my partner is complaining about the fact that dinner isn’t ready, and my phone is burning up with “urgent” text messages from my attention-seeking mother!”

So what’s an aspiring maintainer to do?

This month I’m sending you 10 ideas for things you can do when you’re totally spent, overwhelmed, and ready to scream – instead of reaching for a donut (or whatever your go-to comfort food is) to stuff it all down – and they take less than a minute!

Here are the first two:

  1. Close your eyes, and simply breathe (follow the link for an example of an effective 1-minute breathing exercise)
  2. If you’re a visual person, visualize a relaxing scene or your “safe place” (follow the link and check out Relaxation Technique 6)

I’d love to hear how these ideas work for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!

The Top 10 Things you can do when you’re Overwhelmed and Ready to Scream – instead of reaching for a Donut to Stuff it all Down – Week Two

 

Have you been here?

This month I’m sending you 10 ideas for things you can do when you’re totally spent, overwhelmed, and ready to scream – instead of reaching for a donut (or whatever your go-to comfort food is) to stuff it all down – and they take less than a minute!

After all, as you and I know (and apparently those “stress management experts” don’t know!), who has time to laze around in a candle-lit bubble bath – or go for a nice relaxing nature walk – whenever we’re having a stressful day, the kids are fighting, everyone is hungry and there’s nothing ready for dinner, there are deadlines looming, and unexpected crises keep popping up?!

If you missed the first 2 ideas, you can find them here. Here are the next two:

3. If you’re an auditory person, use your iPhone to listen to some relaxing sounds.
4. Laughter heals. Check out some joke websites. Or simply smile – I promise you, it works.

I’d love to hear how these ideas work for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!

The Top 10 Things you can do when you’re Overwhelmed and Ready to Scream – instead of reaching for a Donut to Stuff it all Down – Week Three

 

Have you been here?

This month I’m sending you 10 ideas for things you can do when you’re totally spent, overwhelmed, and ready to scream – instead of reaching for a donut (or whatever your go-to comfort food is) to stuff it all down – and they take less than a minute!

After all, as you and I know (and apparently those “stress management experts” don’t know!), who has time to laze around in a candle-lit bubble bath – or go for a nice relaxing nature walk – whenever we’re having a stressful day, the kids are fighting, everyone is hungry and there’s nothing ready for dinner, there are deadlines looming, and unexpected crises keep popping up?!

If you missed the first 4 ideas, you can find them here. Here are the next two:

5. Think of a happy event in your life and recall as many details as you can – give it just a minute. I promise you it will help create a feeling of calm so your mind feels clearer to start addressing your current situation.

6. Make a quick gratitude list. Ample research shows that gratitude works! There’s even a book with that title! If you have more than a minute, check out this article on the power of the gratitude list.

I’d love to hear how these strategies work for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!

The Top 10 Things you can do when you’re Overwhelmed and Ready to Scream – instead of reaching for a Donut to Stuff it all Down – Week Four

 

Have you been here?

This month I’m sending you 10 ideas for things you can do when you’re totally spent, overwhelmed, and ready to scream – instead of reaching for a donut (or whatever your go-to comfort food is) to stuff it all down – and they take less than a minute!

After all, as you and I know (and apparently those “stress management experts” don’t know!), who has time to laze around in a candle-lit bubble bath – or go for a nice relaxing nature walk – whenever we’re having a stressful day, the kids are fighting, everyone is hungry and there’s nothing ready for dinner, there are deadlines looming, and unexpected crises keep popping up?!

If you missed the first 6 ideas, you can find them here. Here are the next two:

7. Remind yourself of your greatest strengths and accomplishments and tell yourself “if I can do that, then I can handle this”. For example, “If I can get through college while working 2 jobs, then I can certainly handle my screaming kids without eating that leftover birthday cake”. Or, “If I’m strong enough to do what it takes to….then I’m strong enough to talk on the phone with my &%$! mother-in-law without eating a donut at the same time”.

8. Remind yourself that you’ve already survived 100% of your worst days ever – because you have, right?

I’d love to hear how these strategies work for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!

The Top 10 Things you can do when you’re Overwhelmed and Ready to Scream – instead of reaching for a Donut to Stuff it all Down – Week Five

Have you been here?

This month I’m sending you 10 ideas for things you can do when you’re totally spent, overwhelmed, and ready to scream – instead of reaching for a donut (or whatever your go-to comfort food is) to stuff it all down – and they take less than a minute!

After all, as you and I know (and apparently those “stress management experts” don’t know!), who has time to laze around in a candle-lit bubble bath – or go for a nice relaxing nature walk – whenever we’re having a stressful day, the kids are fighting, everyone is hungry and there’s nothing ready for dinner, there are deadlines looming, and unexpected crises keep popping up?!

If you missed the first 8 ideas, you can find them here. Here are the last two:

9. Stretch – it releases helpful endorphins that help counter the body’s stress response. Here’s a link to a quick stretching routine.

10. Text a quick “thank you” to someone – anyone who’s ever been there for you. If you have more time available, this is a great book on the transformative power of the thank you note.

I’d love to hear how these 10 strategies have been working for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!

November 2016

How to Stop Eating your Emotions – Part One

Sometimes, clients tell me that they’re driven to eat when they’re not hungry but feeling angry or resentful.
Where does this habit come from?

Growing up, many of us were subject to the kind of cultural conditioning or family dynamics that discouraged any expression of anger, even when it was completely justified. When you’re raised in this way, you learn to “internalize” or “stuff” your anger instead of learning how to express it in a healthy and productive way.

If you’re an angry eater, you’re using food to deal with frustration, resentment, helplessness, and irritation. You believe that you can’t or shouldn’t express anger, so you resort to food to stuff it down inside yourself.
Stuffing anger not only leads to weight gain, but it also drains your energy and leaves you feeling exhausted. Often, you don’t even enjoy the food. You may not even notice how it tastes, and certainly not the amount that you’re consuming.

How to gain control over angry eating:

1. Name your feelings

For many people, this is hard. This resource may help:
https://med.emory.edu/excel/documents/Feeling%20Wheel.pdf

2. Give yourself validation for what you’re feeling. Your anger likely makes a lot of sense given the issues or circumstances you’re dealing with. If you’re not sure how to validate yourself, this article may help:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pieces-mind/201407/self-validation

3. Learn and practice healthy assertiveness skills. This article offers some great guidelines: http://psychcentral.com/lib/5-tips-to-increase-your-assertiveness/?all=1

4. Plan ahead for how you’ll handle the situation the next time it arises. Instead of letting anger derail your health and weight goals, try one of these strategies instead of reaching for your go-to comfort food: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/controlling-anger.aspx

I’d love to hear how these ideas work for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!

How to Stop Eating your Emotions – Part Two

Boredom is a common reason for eating when we’re not hungry, overeating, and/or making unhealthy food choices.
Researchers discovered that boredom is related to low levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that is related to levels of pleasure, motivation and drive. In fact, studies conducted with rats found that they will repeatedly press a lever in order to receive dopamine – to the extent that they will go without food and sleep. Other studies found that people with low dopamine levels are more at risk for engaging in drug use and alcohol abuse, in order to experience a “high” they’re lacking.

So if you find yourself in front of the refrigerator or in the pantry mindlessly munching when you have nothing else to do or when you’re putting off some task you want to avoid (like ironing, folding laundry, dusting, or working on a school or work assignment), try one of these strategies instead:

1. Acknowledge that you’re feeling bored.

2. Find ways to increase your level of interest and pleasure that don’t involve eating. Be aware that exercise helps to naturally raise your level of dopamine. Also, we often tend to experience boredom at consistent times of the day. Keep track of when you typically feel bored and plan to exercise or engage in another type of non-food-related activity at those times. Have a book you’ve been wanting to read or a new piece of music you’ve fallen in love with? Save them for those times.

3. Challenging yourself with new activities can help raise dopamine levels. Meeting new people, trying new activities, visiting new places will all help to reduce your degree of boredom.

4. Plan ahead for what you’ll do the next time you feel bored, instead of letting boredom result in mindless eating which can derail your health and weight goals. What other fun activities could you do? Do some brainstorming, make a list, and keep it handy. Be sure to include ideas that are simple and quick, as well as activities that are more complicated or time-consuming. Come up with different ideas for different settings – home, work, and other settings – and different times of the day. Include activities that require using your hands, since these make it more difficult to eat at the same time.

5. Commit to delaying the act of eating when you’re feeling bored, until you’ve given another activity a fair chance.

I’d love to hear how these ideas work for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!

How to Stop Eating your Emotions – Part Three

Sometimes clients tell me, “I know that when I’m stressed out I should do some relaxation strategies or get some exercise – but I just don’t have the time. I barely have time to breathe.” The candy bar (or pint of ice-cream mindlessly eaten in front of the TV after a long hard day) is merely a way to simply numb out. But their effects are SO short-lived – and we barely taste them when we consume them (and use them) in this fashion! And we often feel lousy right after we do this – we come crashing down physically, and our inner critic all too quickly starts up with the negative self-talk – again. We very soon feel physically blah and emotionally even lower than we did before we “inhaled” (yes, that’s what we’re doing when we use food in this way) whatever we just inhaled.

 
Sometimes when I talk about mindfulness meditation or other relaxation techniques people tell me that they already tried it and it doesn’t work for them. Or it takes too long. Or it’s impossible with the kids running around and needing their complete attention, the baby crying, the looming deadline, the messy house, and so on. I completely understand.

So just take 30 seconds (or even 10 seconds) to simply breathe – slowly and deeply. Tune in to what you’re needing and what you’re feeling right now. Don’t worry if the tears come. The sadness will pass. Just give yourself the gift of breathing, the gift of tuning in, the gift of self-awareness, the gift of being curious and interested, the gift of caring, the gift of listening – to yourself. Don’t worry if what you’re needing right now is not something you can immediately get for yourself. Just listen to your heart and give yourself some empathy and validation – just as you would a dear friend or loved one who is feeling stressed out or overwhelmed the way you are right at this moment.

I’d love to hear how this works for you, so feel welcome to get in touch by email and let me know!