I eat for all the reasons

During a client’s initial session, I asked what she thought she needed to stop doing. She admitted to late-night eating, and suspected that’s a big reason why she was struggling with being overweight. But she didn’t expect what came next.

There’s something about becoming aware. About making changes. About tuning into our habits. We start to notice other things.

During our second session she said, “Heather, I eat for all the reasons!”

It hadn’t occurred to her before.

But I see it all the time. I used to do it a lot. And here’s what I know for sure: if you can stop overeating, you can lose weight and actually keep it off.

So, here are three common reasons my clients and I have experienced for eating too much:

  1. “Everyone else is doing it.” What?! That excuse didn’t work with our mothers, but we use it freely. From our office breakroom to our living room sofa, if other people are eating it’s easy to eat along. Practice letting other people eat without joining in. It’s okay to feel a bit awkward or “left out” at first. Once you get used to it, it feels normal.
  2. “It’s a healthy snack.” Ever notice that this claim miraculously makes a food okay to eat? Are you hungry? Doesn’t matter. As long as it’s healthy, have at it. But extra food is overeating. Period. Substituting root vegetable chips for potato chips isn’t going to tip the scale in our favor.
  3. “I deserve a treat.” Yes, you do. And you can do it without food. Seriously. Cookies and wine are not required at the end of a long day. Mostly because, like Pringles, you can’t stop at just one. Search for new ways to treat yourself well. Really well. Once you figure it out, cookies and wine are suddenly laughable substitutes for what you really want. 😉
During a client’s initial session, I asked what she needed to stop doing. She admitted to late-night eating. But soon she noticed...
Photo by Dids from Pexels

There you have it, three common reasons for overeating.

Have first-hand experience with any of these? Or maybe the conversation spurs an “ah ha” for another reason you notice? Noticing is the first step. Like my client, once she noticed the first one, then she saw “all the reasons.” And then she could go to work on them.

Health. Weight. And Holidays.

With Thanksgiving gone and December before us, I decided this is the ideal time to revisit my “Top 50 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holidays (and Not Gain Weight).” You can be intentional with your health and weight, and still enjoy the holidays. If you’re already feeling like you’ve blown it or that you’ll wait until the New Year to think about it, then this post is really for you!

  1. Don’t make NY resolutions – it’s too easy to let yourself off the hook now.
  2. If you use the “back burner” at least have it turned on (no all-or-nothing).
  3. Prepare for the expected – it shouldn’t take you by surprise.
  4. Learn from prior years – what would you do differently this year?
  5. Plan for parties – what will you eat/drink, or not?
  6. Don’t “save up” calories – skipping meals leads to a pig out.
  7. Set your standard (e.g. # of parties, networking events, etc.).
  8. Walk 15.5 miles this month (that’s 10 minutes/day at a 3mph pace).
  9. Month of gratitude.
  10. Ferociously prioritize.
  11. No “shoulds” – you don’t have to accept every invitation.
  12. Be conscious – food simply being “there” isn’t a reason to eat it.
  13. Be picky – not all treats are worth it. Eat only the best.
  14. Honor your curfew – remember how you feel when you don’t get enough sleep.
  15. Savor holiday treats – and please don’t feel guilty.
  16. Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
  17. Be realistic – you’re only human 🙂
  18. Avoid drama – craft a graceful response to remove yourself from these situations.
  19. Go ice skating – seriously, how fun!
  20. Space out adult beverages with water.
  21. Be kind to yourself – you’re doing the best you can and so is everyone else.
  22. Maintain regular sleep times.
  23. Identify what’s most important…and don’t let it get overshadowed by the ubiquity of shiny objects this time of year.
  24. Decide what healthy looks like for you.
  25. If it’s going to be cold have appropriate outerwear on hand (eliminating that excuse) so that you can exercise and keep active.
  26. Get in the good stuff – eat it first so you don’t fill up on what’s not that great.
  27. People over food – remember gatherings are for connecting; let food be secondary.
  28. Go e-free during holiday get togethers.
  29. Don’t get hooked – others need not get you riled up.
  30. Be intentional so that your words and actions serve your priorities.
  31. Don’t lament over last night’s buffet – forgive yourself and move on.
  32. Decide how you want to feel Jan. 1 – and let that drive what you do the rest of Dec.
  33. Imagine how it feels to be in integrity – to do what you say is important to you.
  34. Take time out for yourself – it’s the only way you can fully be there for others.
  35. You don’t have to “get it out of the house.” A box of, say, See’s Candies can last into early next year – you don’t need to eat it all before Jan. 1.
  36. Caught in traffic? Breathe deeply to de-stress and focus on what’s good.
  37. Find new, healthy favorites – ever tried mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes (or a blend of the two)?
  38. Move in the morning – start your day with some bit of exercise/activity.
  39. Cheesy movie night – something that makes you smile (or happy cry).
  40. Listen to music you enjoy, and move to it.
  41. Don’t deprive – fit in your favorites to avoid Diet Deprivation Backlash.
  42. Send party food home with your guests.
  43. Take in the sunshine – it stimulates feel-good serotonin.
  44. Feeling sick? Stay home! Everyone will be glad you did.
  45. Hydrate.
  46. Eat to sufficiency – more is really not enjoyable and it starts a downward spiral.
  47. Eat when you’re hungry – being too hungry leads to over-eating.
  48. Bring a healthy potluck option – you’ll have at least one healthy choice to rely on (some people will even thank you for it).
  49. Re-gift calories – take gifts of holiday treats to a shelter or a neighbor in need.
  50. Re-think traditions – what would an enjoyable, healthy one look like?
  51. Freeze it – you’ll be happy to have a holiday treat to thaw out in January.

Trust me, it’s possible. Your effort now will pay off as the calendar turns to 2019 and you feel healthy and strong, and delighted with how you handled the holidays.

Sound easier than it feels? I can help. Let’s chat!

Are You Hungry?

Two weeks ago, I ran into someone at a conference whom I hadn’t seen in sometime. When I asked how she was doing, she said everything was going well but she’d like to lose 10lb., as she turned her gaze towards the requisite pastry that’s served at conferences and meetings around the country.
If you’ve been connected to my stuff for a while you might guess what I asked:
“Are you hungry?”
Avoiding the question, she responded that it was difficult not to eat it when everyone at her table was eating it. Her reaction is quite common.

Photo by Vincenzo Giove on Pexels

If you’re somewhere that food is being served, is it uncomfortable not to eat? Do you feel left out? Deprived? Could be any number of reasons. That’s why I encourage my clients to have a game plan for keeping to their health and weight loss goals while eating out:

  1. Be intentional: Why are you at this particular event? Is it to learn, connect with people or simply have fun? Let that be your focus and have food and drink be ancillary to the main show.
  2. Be prepared: If you know there’s going to be food, arrange to be at least moderately hungry. “Save room” as is said. And bring a portable snack with you in case there’s nothing you want to eat so as to avoid being famished.
  3. Be picky: Not all food is equal. I find many foods served at meetings and conferences are fine, but not spectacular. Even at parties, select your favorites and leave the rest.
  4. Be still: Once you’ve had enough and feel satiated, the lure of more food can derail your goals. Sit with the tension and know it will pass. Congratulate yourself afterwards for respecting fullness and sticking with your goals.
  5. Be kind: On the occasion you do overeat, it’s unhelpful to berate yourself or let one slip up define you as lacking in willpower. Forgive yourself, learn from it and commit to do better next time.

Remember that good food is around the next corner. In the moment it’s easy to get caught up in what’s right before us but the truth is, we have access to delicious food 24/7. And, a “no” to what’s in front of you is ultimately a “yes” to something else more important.
So, if eating out often interferes with your goals, try these five steps. Start with being intentional – that’s the foundation – and let the others flow from there.

 

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