Archive for October, 2008

Beating the Holiday Food Gauntlet

I know! It’s too early to start talking about the holidays. But many of you are probably already finding yourself knee-deep in Halloween candy so like it or not, the Holiday Food Gauntlet has begun. Here are some tips for keeping your waistline in check through the holidays.

Tip 1: Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full
Seems like a grand statement of the obvious but many times we wait until we’re WAY too hungry to start eating. Think about Thanksgiving Day, perhaps you skip lunch and even breakfast in anticipation of the big meal. Big mistake. By the time dinner rolls around, you’re three helpings in by the time you realized you were full a long time ago.

When you allow yourself to get too hungry, it’s very difficult to stop eating at the first sign of fullness. Rather than “saving room” for the big meal, keep yourself fueled throughout the day, and at the big meal put only exactly what you want on your plate and thoroughly enjoy each bite. Dee-lish.

Tip 2: Don’t check out
Do you find yourself grabbing a little bit of Halloween candy here and there and then suddenly realizing that you’ve eaten a bag’s worth of mini-Snickers over the past week?

Resolve not to check out while eating. Each time you reach for a piece of Halloween candy, make it a conscious choice. Are you bored? Is it just there? Or would Milk Duds really be the most awesome food you could eat in this moment? If it really is exactly what you want, choose it. If not, pass. Whatever your decision, it’s much easier to manage your food intake when you’re consciously aware of what you’re eating.

Tip 3: Find and unwind your “food rules” that don’t work for you
Do you need to clean your plate to please the host?
Should you always eat your vegetables?
Is it wrong to have pumpkin pie for breakfast?

These are “rules” we’ve bought into that were created by societal conventions. Make your own rules that work for you and promote your ultimate goal of truly enjoying the holidays without gaining weight.

Learn more about beating the holiday food gauntlet—sign up for the free teleclass October 29 here.


October 24, 2008 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment

Tuning In

[Ed note: This blog post reminds me of a time when I hauled two disagreeing coworkers into my office and made them talk about how they felt about the crappy way they were treating each other. Never had to do that again—the idea of discussing their feelings with their boss and rival was so distasteful they managed to work things out. So, yes people, today we are going to talk about feelings. Feelings are good. ;-)]

Listening to music is a great way to tune into your feelings. The next time you’re commuting/working out/going for a walk, crank on your music, really tune in and notice the emotions the music evokes. I don’t know about you, but I spent a good portion of my life pretty checked out from my feelings. Listening to music is a great way to “practice” feeling and noticing the different types of feelings you have.

Notice how some songs amplify your current feelings and how other songs can even shift your feeling state.

Hearing the over-the-top lyrics of heartbreak or “ain’t it awful” shakes me out of my own similar story. I’m better able to reflect on my own feelings and even laugh at them. It takes me out of buying into them. There’s also something about cheesy 70’s rock anthems that can always shake me out of a bummed-out state. I don’t know why, I just go with it.

So tune in and notice the following:

What emotions do various melodies evoke?

What lyrics evoke strong feelings for you?

What songs can actually alter your feeling state and in what way?

Make a playlist (or if you’re old, school a mix CD) of music that evokes awesome feelings in you and jam on it regularly. Why? Because it’s fun.

October 23, 2008 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

The Happiness Equation

I’ll be happy when:
   I’m at my ideal weight.
   The economy turns around.
   My candidate gets elected.
   I get an awesome new job/car/relationship.

It’s easy to buy into the “I’ll be happy when” formula. The problem is if you wait for everything (or even one thing) to align perfectly to be happy, you’re in for a very long and painful wait.

We think the Happiness Equation works like this:
   Thin = Happy
   Money = Happy
   Get what I want = Happy

This equation states that when the condition has been met, happiness will follow. That sucks. Here’s why:

If the condition is something you can’t affect, say the economy or the election, you are automatically giving up your own power to determine your own happiness to something that’s completely beyond your control. Your happiness is now conditional on the Nasdaq or how people in Florida count ballots. No offense to the fine people of Florida, but I don’t really want them in charge of my happiness.

If the condition is something you can affect, for example money or your weight, then you’ve set yourself up for an arduous schlep to your goal. It’s a heck of a lot harder—if not impossible—to reach your goals when you withhold happiness until the goal is met. I call this the Infinite Loop of Unhappiness and it looks like this:

If: Money = Happy

Then: Don’t have money = unhappy

Then: Demoralized that I don’t have money, not creative about making money = unhappy


Here’s the winning formula:

   Happy = Money
   Happy = Thin
   Happy = Have all I need (easy to get what I want)

The secret is to be happy first. Here’s some tips to help you get your happy on.

Find the Feeling: When we want something, we’re really looking for the feeling that thing will give us. Find the feeling now. How will you feel when you have money, a new job, a tight bod, George Clooney or Angie? Once you know the feeling you’re looking for, you can start to create that feeling in your life today.

Accept where you are right now: We think if we change something about our current reality, we’ll feel better. But with that thinking, there is always some mystical “there” that is not here. It’s like chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Accepting your imperfect life as it is right now allows you to see what’s good around you right now.

Bring the focus back to you: Trying to change others to make us happy is a losing formula. That’s like leaving your happiness to chance: If someone “behaves” then we can be happy, if they don’t then we can’t. The only person you absolutely can affect is you—focus on “behaving” in a way that makes you happy regardless of what others are doing.

Staying happy and resilient even during the toughest times just requires doing the math. How does your happiness add up?

October 8, 2008 at 5:06 pm 1 comment

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