Bring It On: How Your Challenges Make You Mighty

challenge mindset Oct 20, 2019

You wake to the sun shining on Monday, your energy is solid all morning and afternoon, and you make healthy food choices. You feel pretty badass about it all.

On Tuesday you wake to realize you’re out of coffee. Then you are stuck in traffic, arrive late to your morning meeting, and while eating lunch, manage to spill yogurt on your crotch. While you try to wash it off in the bathroom, making awkwardly intimate moves with the porcelain sink, your phone rings. And your kid needs to be picked up from school, because “We think he has tonsillitis.”

Maybe the details in your life differ, and life’s cruelty shows up instead as a sick dog, migraine, and broken eyeglasses. The details don’t matter, because some things remain the same. When we’re having one of those days, we are more likely to eat too much, cave to a craving rather than sit through it, stress ourselves out, and not get done all the things we wanted to. If you’re like most people,...

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4 Reasons You Deserve to Feel Amazing For Packing Lunch

When midday arrives, bellies awaken. The sounds of paper bags rustling, tin lunch boxes clinking, vinyl insulated bags being unzipped, and takeout menus unfolding stirs anyone who hasn’t realized it already: it’s lunch time!  The line forms at the office microwave. Desks empty and “out to lunch” signs appear in the glass doors of small shops. Kids peer down long lunch tables to see who will swap desserts with them. It’s a widespread daily ritual, the midday pause for nourishment.

And without fanfare, millions of people of all ages pull out a packed lunch. I think the people behind those packed lunches, who so often go without thanks, are heroes. Here’s why: 

Packing a lunch is an act of love.

Whether the meal is for you, for your husband, wife, or kids, you are showing that you care. You not only want that person to have something to eat, but you probably also thought about what they like to eat, what they don’t enjoy, and how much...

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The Art of Not Taking Home the Grand Prize

You know how on game shows, there may be 3 people vying for an awesome grand prize, such as a car or $10,000 round the world trip? But the people who come in second and third place often don’t just get shown the door. They get a consolation prize. 

I think the term “consolation prize” is cute and funny. It consoles you. “I’m sorry you didn’t get what you wanted, but here have this instead!” 

It’s actually a very kind move of the game shows, I think, to acknowledge the disappointment of a contestant who got all excited but then let down (in front of millions of people, to boot). It shows generosity and compassion.  

What if we gave ourselves consolation prizes when things didn’t go our way? Would that have a positive effect?

If might, if it helped us acknowledge and validate our own disappointment or distress. That’s a step up from denying our true feelings like, “nah, I shouldn’t be bothered...

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How To Order From the Hidden Menu (The YAHOO Principle)

Uncategorized Aug 25, 2019

Being trapped sucks. 

We all detest being told we have to do something, and we get cranky when our options are limited. Like a lousy hotel breakfast, many situations in life seem like a short list of options, none of which we like. 

But did you know there's a hidden menu? Life is full of hidden menus. 

We all miss the hidden menu sometimes, because we look at the obvious menu. Here is an example: The boss suggests a steakhouse dinner meeting tomorrow night. As a vegetarian we are perplexed by whether we should accept or decline the invite. The menu online is apparently a carnival of things we don't eat. The only vegetarian option is the side salad. Not even an entree salad!  If we say yes to dinner, we invest a bit in that relationship, but a side salad and the breadbasket to eat? Ugh. Plus it would be mighty awkward.  

So we consider saying no. If we say no, we might offend the boss, and then we'd need a really good...

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How to Maintain A Fighting Spirit

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

So the saying goes about boxing. But it strikes me that the same thing can be said about eating, fitness, or any other endeavour. Like a glazed-over boxer staggered by his opponent, making a blunder, facing the unknown or simply being under a lot of stress can stagger us, and we forget all about the … "Plan? What plan? Did I have a strategy?"

I've learned many lessons in my life about managing stress, and consider myself relatively resilient and capable as a baseline, but I would be a fool to deny that many times in my life, adversity has made me want to light my plan on fire, and find the fastest escape or gratification possible. And many times, I did.

So as that quote about being punched in the face ran across my mind, I decided to hunt down some martial artists -- since they have literally been punched in face (in the name of sport) and ask how they learned to keep their wits about them. These were some of the...

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Your Questions About Eating Just Enough, Answered

There are 16 habits in my book Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss, and several dozen other actions I regularly use with clients as assignments or “behavioral test-drives”. They cover everything from eating disorder recovery to sports nutrition, communicating, finding joy, boosting fiber intake, and managing sleep. And this one is (according to my clients), the hardest one: Eating Just Enough.

It’s Chapter 3 in the book, and from here on you’ll see the abbreviation we often use in my Facebook groups, EJE.

It’s the one most often that people say they work on for a long time. 

It’s the one people revisit most often after they’ve gone through all the other skills.

It’s also the one that, on average, people just entering my world have the lowest skill in. (Most of them report the highest level of skill in Eating Mostly Whole Foods, if you’re curious).

Here’s an example, because we like data, right? Look at this graph....

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6 Ways Eating More Can Help You Lose Weight

hunger weight loss Jul 30, 2019

You know that a calorie deficit is key to losing fat. So, we want to avoid excess calories where we can to make that happen, right? Yes. Mostly.

I’m a great example of someone whose default is to try and buy the least expensive item, whether that means saving 10 cents on a can of tomatoes or buying the lower calorie salad dressing when I can’t decide on a flavor. Where possible, why not save a little?

However, always trying for a minimal calorie intake can backfire, much like buying the cheapest car or blender can leave you spending more money in the long run. I’ve seen a few clients get derailed by this sort of thinking in recent weeks, so I’d like to prevent it from happening to you. Real skill in eating for lifelong leanness is knowing when to eat a little more, choose the higher calorie thing, or choose to eat instead of passing on food.

We have to make dozens, or even hundreds, of food related decisions each day. An effort to reduce calories here can...

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20 Things MyFitnessPal Doesn't Tell You About Your Calories

“I know counting calories is bad,” she stammers, but “and I hate it but, I…. I… really don’t think I can stop.” 

“Hang on a second,” I offer. “It’s okay if you count calories, I’m not for or against it, but let’s see if it’s helping you. And then we can decide if you want to keep doing it, or stop completely, or somewhere in between. And what you want this week might change form how you feel in a month, so we’ll adjust as we go. Deal?”

She looks and sounds massively relieved, and proceeds to tell me about her daily routine, calorie allowance, and what a day looks like when it goes well. Then we get to when it doesn’t go well, and the full picture comes into color and focus. This happens over and over in my nutrition assessments. I meet lots of people who have been counting calories and dislike it, and I meet a few who are actually finding it effective and happy to keep...

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How to Rock at Fat Loss When You Can't Work Out

Being unable to exercise can be a truly miserable circumstance. It usually happens for reasons which are themselves unpleasant (we’re sick, injured, had surgery, or life is just nuts with commitments and we’ve got no time to tend to our own needs). Additionally, it’s tougher to cope with these stresses if breaking a sweat is your normal stress-relief practice! If you then pile on the feeling of “I’m getting fatter and weaker by the day…” it’s pretty dismal. Arffxlqfs4o2tjqxnmnl things only calorie counters know

I've been there. More times than I like to think about. At times I thought I couldn't take it. And one could argue that my sanity was questionable, because after all, there I was crutching up and down my boyfriend's driveway in the snow after ACL surgery. Being inside and immobile was a pain greater than the impressively intense signals coming from my severed and stitched flesh. 

If you find yourself injured, sick, or for some other reason barred from getting our...

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Solving The Bread Dilemma

"When I eat bread, it's like a monster comes out. I have to stay away from it. Sugar too."

And that started my coaching call with Beth, a client who came to me for help losing weight and stopping binge eating. We had already completed several sessions and talked about her food difficulties, goals, and lifestyle but something in her voice told me, “This just got real. It’s honesty time.”  I love those moments. As a coach, it’s when I get to begin my most meaningful work. 

Beth continues to tell me how the last few days have been terrible, eating wise. She felt drained from work, yet the work kept coming. For the next 3 months, it wouldn't let up. Instead of sleeping enough, or walking outside to deal with the intense pressure, she bought and finished a box of crackers. Then cake. Then lots of bread, one slice at a time, until the loaf was gone.  A Mars bar wrapper on her desk stared at her, reminding her of more things she must have eaten but...

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