Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Put Yourself on the Schedule for Weight Loss Success

From personal experience, I know that if I don't schedule when I am going to move my body, it just doesn't happen. Somehow they day has gotten away from me and I crash on my bed one pooped pup.

To assure that doesn't happen, I plan my exercise routine for first thing in the morning. Well, second. First I drink a big glass of water with a squeeze of lemon...then I put in my 15-20 minutes routine. Then I know it is done and I can check that off my list for the day.

It is great to start my day with 2 positives within the first half an hour--really sets the tone for success!

You are as important as any other person, business or task. You schedule in other meetings and commitments...and you can schedule yourself in, too. Maybe you don't want to exercise first thing in the morning like I do (and so does the First Lady, btw)...that's okay, but decide when you will and then put it on your schedule so you don't "forget" or have the day slip away from you!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Weight Loss Success in No Time

Don't have a lot of time to devote to the gym? Well, the good news is you don't have to!

The way to improve your fitness is to move your body regularly, but that doesn't mean you have to sweat it out pumping iron a couple hours a day.

If you are just starting out then start off slow. Don't try to add an hour of exercise to your routine all at once--chances are you won't keep with it. Instead, commit to 15 minutes a day. In the beginning don't worry about working out hard, just get up and move--and have fun with it! The biggest challenge for most people is making the initial change, so make it an easy change to stick with. You will have MUCH better results if you consistently move your body for 15 minutes every day than you will if you exercise for 2 hours once or twice a week.

If you are already exercising but find that you are running short on time, either you don't have more time to add to your workout, or you need to cut back on the time you currently spend moving, then bump it up just a notch for just a few minutes. You can actually get a better cardio workout in by alternating high intensity (faster speed, steeper incline) with lower intensity (slower pace, level terrain.) You can do this walking in your neighborhood or on any number of machines like treadmills or cross-country ski trainers--and even in the pool (well, you can't adjust the incline but you can alternate your speed and you can add fins or hand paddles to work different muscles.) 20 minutes will actually give you a really good work out!

In just 15-20 minutes a day you can actually make a big difference in your health and you will start to see results in your fitness level and your weight loss success! And, as the saying goes, nothing breeds success like success!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Cookie Update

OK, going to buy Christmas cookies in the late afternoon of the 23rd was not the best option! Or perhaps it was! There was not a large selection and many that were there were so unappealing there was no pull at all. I did find a nice tray of European cookies dipped in chocolate for under $5--I've bought these before for twice that, so maybe waiting until the last minute is a good idea!

There was also a German box of cookies which we settled on because of the "fun factor"...very similar cookies but in a box that is literally a yard long! It just cracked me up! Even better is that the "yard" was made up of 3 sealed packages which helps me with my gives me a little time to think, do I REALLY want to open another package?

So I have a little chocolate fix, a little Christmas fun and it won't spoil my weight loss success! Sounds like a Happy Holiday to me!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Want Cookies!

I'm finding myself wanting Christmas cookies...even during my meditation I had images of Gingerbread men dancing in my head! And yule logs and Danish sugar cookies and chocolate...lots of chocolate!

I recognize that a lot of this is because I did not go "home" for Christmas...even though these days we rarely have much in the way of treats at the holidays, either here or there, the holidays evoke memories of times when Christmas cookies were plentiful in our house. And maybe because that was about the ONLY time of year that treats were plentiful (my mom was always watching my weight even if I wasn't!)

Thoughts of baking started peculating this I really want to bake or just to eat cookies? Not sure, but I suspect that since I actually looked at my old recipes and wasn't 100% inspired that if I go to the store and buy myself a couple of treats that will be enough to satisfy the urge. I think it is really an emotional thing more than anything else.

So, I'm taking my "no forbidden foods" motto to heart and I'm going to the store! I've eaten a nice snack so I'm not starving. Then, if nothing screams out at me and I still want cookies I will come back home and do a little baking--and I know I have neighbors who will help me eat any extras!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Weight Loss Success Killer: 1 Little Word

There is one little word that will kill any attempts to successfully lose weight. It probably isn’t the word you are thinking about. It isn’t “fat” or “sugar”…those are real things…this word can’t even claim that space in reality. This word lives completely in our minds.

Any guesses now? “Can’t”…not the word I’m thinking of, but it is another killer. But “can’t” speaks to our belief in our ability while the word I’m referring to speaks to the reason behind our efforts...our mindset about weight loss.

The word that we must eliminate from our vocabulary in order to permanently and healthfully experience weight loss success is “should.”

As Louise Hay tells it, the word “should” is always about making us wrong. We were wrong in the past, as in, “I should have exercised yesterday” or “I should not have eaten that cookie.” Or we are wrong now, as in, “I should lose weight because my doctor says I’m unhealthy” or “I should get out and walk but I don’t feel like it.” Or we make ourselves wrong in the future, as in, “I should set a goal to run that marathon in June” or “I should be at my goal weight by my wedding.”

It seems that we “should” all over ourselves…and it really doesn’t help in the long-run. Oh sometimes we can motivate (or intimidate) ourselves for a while with “should” and “should not” but it rarely sticks.

The reason is that “should” never springs from internal love and desire. Should always comes from an external focus. Even if we are the ones imposing the “should” (and we almost always are) it stems from the idea that we are not good enough, that we must fit someone else’s perception…that we must somehow be different.

In order to achieve weight loss success that lasts beyond the honeymoon we must have the internal desire that comes from loving ourselves. And that includes loving ourselves right now, as we are, fat and all! By loving and accepting ourselves and being appreciative of our current selves we are then opening ourselves up to an even “better”, healthier version in the future.

So as you are thinking about the New Year’s Resolutions you are going to set for yourself, delete any that start with “should” or “should not.” Instead, sit quietly and look at what your real motivation to lose weight is and focus on that. When you have a heart-felt motivation it will prove much stronger than any externally driven “should” and it will see you through challenges that you may face in the future and you will literally lose weight through positive thinking!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Weight Loss Tip: It's a Brand New Day

To really have permanent weight loss it is important to look at each day as a brand new starting point. This shift in your mindset can make a HUGE difference in your success.

The habit that most of us have developed is to condemn ourselves when we go off our eating and exercise plan--when we "fall off the wagon" as it were. We criticize ourselves instead of recognizing that we just don't have to be perfect. And we criticize and criticize until we feel like complete failures...and then what do we do? We eat to feel better! We medicate ourselves with food.

This is the vicious circle we have created for ourselves over the years...and it is one of the reasons that diets don't work!

Diets are temporary...and sadly, the results from dieting are usually also temporary. To create lasting results we have to look at our process in the long-run.

You cannot change what you did in the past. You can't "uneat" the foods you consumed, nor can you exercise now for days you missed last week or month or year. The only thing you have any control over at all is this minute, right now.

Did you blink? Well, then that minute is gone, so you have control over this this this one.

Since you cannot change what was done in the past then berating yourself for it really is pointless. Let's look at what we CAN change--that fleeting moment that is "now."

Every day we wake up to a clean slate. Every day we can strive to make the healthiest choices possible in that moment. Depriving ourselves today because we overate yesterday is not the healthiest choice. Neither is overeating today because we "slipped up" yesterday.

Today is totally independent of what we did yesterday and what we may do tomorrow. Focus only on right now and ANYTHING is possible!

Accept that you overate and recognize that action was in the past. Every action in the past got us to where we are today. If we want to be in a different place next year, a healthier body for example, then we must change our actions right now. If we make small changes and regularly apply those changes until they are habits then we MUST be different in the future!

Notice I said "regularly" and not "perfectly" or "daily." It is NOT necessary to be "perfect"...if is important to be balanced and realistic about what you will eat and do. That is why I encourage you to start with super small steps and get used to those.

Following this logic of every day being a clean slate and that you only have control over the current moment, you may have surmised that every moment is also brand new! How liberating is that! You can choose to have control right NOW even if a minute ago you ate more than you intended! You don't have to wait for the new day for the clean slate--you can erase it right this instant if you choose to.

So instead of saying "I ate 5 Gingerbread men so I might as well eat the entire Yule Log too" remind yourself that you are human and that you can start over, "I ate 5 Gingerbread men but that is in the past and I am choosing in this instant to make healthy choices...honestly, I am so full I would not enjoy eating the Yule Log right now so I am going to pass."

When you can make this mindset adjustment then you WILL have weight loss success!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Weight Loss Tip: Pick a Treat

This time of year treats are everywhere, so don't even try to tell yourself you are not going to partake in any. That's just not realistic--and like a diet, it doesn't work! And if you do succeed chances are really good that at some point in the New Year something inside you is going to rebel--and she will be pissed off, and rightfully so, that she missed out on some of the year's best goodies!

Rather than risking the wrath of this inner demon, pick a holiday favorite (or two...) and really enjoy them. Savor every morsel. Really taste the flavors, feel the sensation in your mouth and across your tongue. Enjoy it for as long as you can.

It isn't about eating massive is about relishing what you do eat. The pleasure is in the mouth, so let it linger there a little bit longer before you swallow.

So if you love candy canes and divinity, then enjoy them and leave the Gingerbread men for the rest of us!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gratitude Book Project

I am super excited to finally be able to let the cat out of the bag...this project has been so much fun and so fulfilling...and for this next part I need YOUR help TODAY, Wednesday, Dec. 15

I have been honored to be asked to be a co-author of an incredible new book: "The Gratitude Book Project: Celebrating 365 Days of Gratitude" and we are going for an ambitious goal--to become an Amazon best-seller!

So if you are looking for an inspiring book, either for yourself or as a gift for a loved one, please consider this book that will provide that inspiration day after day--all year long!

And, feel good about your purchase for another reason: 100% of the proceeds from the Amazon sales go to 4 worthwhile charities! That's right, 100%--we don't get a dime!

The goal is to get as many sales as possible on Wednesday, Dec. 15 in order to hit that best-seller mark. Why is that so important? Well, best-seller status will get us a lot of traction and help us earn more money for these worthy charities.

So who gets the money?
We have selected four non-profits to receive the proceeds from our sales on Amazon:

* ASPCA for the prevention of animal abuse
* FeedingAmerica
* Make-a-Wish
* Women for Women International

How do I order?
Ordering the book is easy,just go to Amazon and search for "The Gratitude Book Project" or you can click on this link that will take you directly there:

This book is special to me because it really helps remind us of all the things that we do have to be grateful for...things we often over look. Some simple things and some really big ones, too--like YOU!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Accept this Gift for Permanent Weight Loss

Most of the people I meet who are trying to lose weight do not have a very high opinion of themselves, and certainly not of their bodies. When asked what is wrong with them, the response is generally first a look that seems to scream, "Are you kidding??? Isn't it obvious?" and then they will recount the many faults they see as a result of not being the "proper" weight...their thighs, double chin, flabby arms, cellulite, muffin top and on and on.

I believe that we must first learn to embrace our beauty--as we are (fat faults and all)--in order to achieve a satisfying, successful and permanent weight loss.

Underneath our criticism of our bodies due to our weight is really a dissatisfaction with our bodies in general that no amount of weight loss will fix.

Somehow, most women have absorbed this idea that beauty looks a specific way. In other cultures, beauty may be marked by attributes that we find odd. As an aside, if you didn't see Jessica Simpson's series on beauty, it is worth watching as she explores this very concept.

As our world becomes more homogenized these concepts of beauty may begin to meld into one accepted definition of beauty, which I find rather sad. Truth is, "beauty" is merely a concept, an idea. Beauty is not a thing and it is not even a specific look...otherwise it would be identical everywhere.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is an idea that has been expressed in writing since at least the 3rd century BC. It is true today, yet somehow we have chosen to allow someone else's vision of what is beautiful obscure our own.

This is the great disservice that beauty pageants do to our young women. We are taught from an early age that if we do not conform to a specific body type we are not beautiful. We are taught if we are too old, or too young, to be eligible for a pageant that we cannot possibly be beautiful. Thus girls and women of all ages and body types struggle to fit this single model.

I recognized at an early age there was no way I would be able to compete in a beauty pageant. My bones and musculature just didn't fit the mold. I was too short and too heavy to be beautiful. Even when I wasn't fat, I couldn't accept that I was not. After all, I weighed more and was shorter than the Miss America crowd, therefore I must be fat. In my young mind that was the only explanation!

Whether you are naturally pear shaped or have a build more suited to shot-putting than running track you do not fit this narrow mold of beauty.

Well, this mold deserves to be shattered, and shattering it is one of the best gifts you can give yourself! By breaking the mold, you free yourself to be the best person YOU can be, not limited by anyone else's preconceptions.

Accept that you are beautiful just as you are right now. Even if you are still overweight or out of shape. Even if you think your nose is too big or you don't like the shape of your butt. You do not have to love every single aspect of yourself...but you don't have to criticize them incessantly, either!

Beauty is the entire package, not just one part or even the sum of those parts. It certainly isn't a balance sheet where you list on one side all the best parts and on the other side all the weaknesses! Beauty starts with a belief in yourself, in your core being, which is much, much more than even our physical bodies--and waaaay more than what our physical body looks like!

Give yourself the gift of looking at yourself, including your body, in a new way. This may be the best holiday present you can possibly give yourself. If you've been well-practiced at judging your body against others then this won't be easy--it won't be a cheap that you ran to Walgreen's to buy. But then, the best gifts rarely are. It will be a gift that takes time, effort and consideration.

This is a gift that will keep giving to you for years to come. And ironically, as you learn to see the beauty in yourself as you are in this moment, you will find the path to a permanent weight loss--because you will have started the shift in your mindset regarding losing weight.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Weight Loss Tools on Sale for the Holidays

Wanted to share the news--Hay House is having a sale on their Holiday Gift Catalog--items are as low as $1.

Catalog 2010 - 125x125

This sale is ONLY good online and through Dec 11 so don't wait too long to take advantage of awesome products from some of the biggest names of the day.

Some of products I use and highly recommend:

Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life--The Movie (2 DVD expanded Edition), normally $29.95, sale price $10

Abraham-Hicks, Law of Attraction series, set of 12 (including 2 brand new DVDs) $125, a savings of more than $100!!!

Brand New Items that I am excited to be ordering at a big savings:

Marianne Williamson's brand new "A Course in Weight Loss", book lists for $24.95, get it here for only $16.22 (CDs also available if you'd rather, list $29.95, only $19)

Louise Hay's "Experience Your Good Now!" $12.56 --that's 30% off for this hardcover with CD

Abraham-Hicks "Getting Into The Vortex" guided meditation (book and CD), list $24.95, here only $17.46

Other teachers that I love with books, CDs, DVDs, music, meditation, fun, personal development...for adults and kids, you or as for gifts (too many to list them all!!!)
Deepak Chopra
Doreen Virtue
Wayne Dyer
Dr. Christiane Northrup
Dr. Brian L. Weiss
Sylvia Browne
Byron Katie
Jorge Cruise
Joan Borysenko

Just click on the banner and you'll be taken directly to the catalog where you can get all these and so much more--but remember, these prices are only good through Dec 11!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Weight Loss Success: Naughty or Nice?

Are you one of those who is determined to achieve Sainthood by sticking to a strict diet over the holidays? Do you really think this is going to put you on Santa's "Nice" list?

In your martyrdom are you turning into a Grinch, making others uncomfortable with your decision to forgo all treats this season? Sure seems like that would get you a place on the "Naughty" list for sure.

What if you can lose weight over the holidays and not deprive anyone of the special foods of the holidays--yourself included?

Well, there is a way. Life during the holidays, like the rest of the year is about having balance. You have got to have some fun and enjoy the time, but you don't have to eat everything in sight.

The secret to not gaining a Santa-like waistline over the holidays is to be conscious of your eating. You don't have to announce to the world that you are "on a diet." That will be the best way to insure people try to entice you to eat, "just a bite" because they don't want to be the only ones eating it!

Instead, ask yourself, "Am I loving myself by eating this?" If the answer is no when someone offers you a treat, simply reply, "No thank you." No explanation needed.

Loving ourselves can include treats--because they tastes good, even because they are a little indulgent, or because of the fond memories invoked. Loving ourselves does not mean gorging or eating past enjoyment. There's that balance thing again! Loving ourselves also allows us to forgo treats when we truly don't want them, without needing to spoil it for others.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Even Bees Are What They Eat

"Red" an interesting article today about I'm not much into bees but the headline got me

Bees turn red from cherry juice

Turns out a bunch of bees in New York have been sipping on runoff from a Maraschino Cherry plant and it is having an effect. The bees are turning red although whether the cherry juice is coating the bees or they are actually changing color from the inside out is not clear.

One thing that is for sure is the honey the bees are producing is actually red.

What is actually turning the bees and the honey red is not cherries, per se, but the Red Dye No. 40 that is used in the making of Maraschino Cherries.

Bees don't have very long lives, so the effect of what they drink shows up pretty quickly.

With people it takes longer. That can be the bad news--by the time the effects show up it might be too late to do anything about it. But it can also be the very good news! We have time to correct our behavior and change the outcome!

All it takes is small changes in our behavior to have a huge impact on our lives. Most of us look at the prospect of losing weight as, OMG I have to lose 25 pounds or 50 pounds or 100 pounds, or whatever is the total number of pounds we want to lose and figuring we have got to go on a massive diet--or it is so overwhelming why the heck should I bother? Instead, we deserve to shift our mindset about weight loss and look at the small steps. If we are conscious about our behavior and make small changes then we must achieve our weight loss goals!

For me, I'll pass on the Maraschino Cherries and the diet!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lose Weight Over the Holidays? Yes I Can!

How many times have we heard (or said) that it is impossible to lose weight over the holidays?

Granted, if we look at it on the surface it would seem to be pretty darned hard. What with all the extra treats around. People are giving food, bringing it to the office, making special meals...and everything this time of year seems to be packaged with extra fat or sugar--or both.

So how does one lose weight over the holidays without coming across as the next big Grinch or feeling like we totally missed out?

The first step is to decide that it truly is possible. Yep, your attitude about it is crucial. As long as you say and believe that you cannot lose weight over the holidays, then believe me, there is no way that you will. Oh, you could starve yourself and have a slight dip but it won't last.

On the other hand, if you repeat often enough "It is possible to lose weight over the holidays" or better yet, "I can lose weight over the holidays" then you will actually begin to believe it. You will even start to see ways that make it possible and perhaps even easy!

Does this mean that you can eat gallons of ice cream covering plates of pies, platters of meats and cheeses and all the food you can possible stuff into your face? Well...I've never tried those affirmations!

What I do know is that when you start to believe that something is possible, it becomes possible. Maybe you end up eating less, while still enjoying your special holiday favorites--just in smaller quantities, or you end up moving your body more, or maybe your body processes the food more effectively...or maybe your focus is shifted off the food and put somewhere else. Don't really know the "how" at least not for everyone. For myself it seems to be a combination of all the above.

When I remind myself that it is possible to lose weight (or maintain weight) over the holidays...or at any time, for that matter...I become more aware of my health choices. I crave foods less. I move my body more. I'm certainly not dieting--they don't work anyway--I'm enjoying my favorite treats and even some that aren't my favorites. I know that when I have a positive attitude about losing weight then I am in control and life is just so much easier...and no one thinks I'm a party pooper either!

Here are some affirmations for losing weight over the holidays:

It is possible to lose weight over the holidays
My body craves foods that nourish it
I can enjoy holiday treats and still lose weight
I move my body and feel good
The holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy friends and family
I am loving and loveable and I feel great
My body sheds excess fat easily
I love this time of year because it sets me up for success for the new year
My body naturally reaches the weight that is healthy for it

I was reminded of this simple shift in thinking when I watched Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life again recently. You don't have to be "sick" to benefit from the film although people with a variety of illnesses have benefited from Louise's teachings. I used her affirmations and inspiration in my own 125 pound weight loss journey and so I totally recommend her book and film, but I'm partial to the film. I own and suggest the complete set that has the affirmation toolkit and extra interviews.

Hay House, Inc.

Happy Healthy Holidays to You!Link

Monday, November 29, 2010

Weight Loss Pledge: Making and Keeping It

Have you noticed we tend to make the pledge to lose weight at night (again? finally? once and for all? for real this time?)? Okay, maybe it is mid-afternoon...but it seems like we never pledge to lose weight early in the day. And when we do make the pledge we always want to start "tomorrow."

I figure we make the pledge to start the next morning because we want the fresh slate of a new day...or maybe because we want the head start not eating while we sleep gives us!

But how many mornings arrive where we find our resolve has vanished. Maybe we wake up hungry, or maybe it is something else.

My theory is we feel fatter later in the day. Our bellies distend a bit further from food not yet digested. We swell from water retained in our not properly flushed systems.

We wake feeling less bloated and gravity hasn't worked its black magic on us...weighing us down all day long yet. This can lead us to thinking that maybe our situation isn't really that bad. Poof, our best laid plans from the night before disappear on the cool morning air.

So why is it that there is an abundance of weight loss pledges made and so few kept? It has got to be more than the difference between evening and morning.

I believe one of the reasons the pledges slide away so easily is because the night before we were committing to a diet and all the negative connotations behind that word hidden by the shadows of darkness are strong in the light of day.

Instead of dieting, (we do know that diets don't work, right?) let's commit to Refusing to Diet.

And let's do it right now.

No matter what time it is. Don't say "tomorrow."

If you are feeling compelled to say "I really want to lose weight" then the time to start is NOW not in the morning. Not tomorrow. Not Monday. Not on the 1st. Not next year. It is NOW. This instant.

Because it isn't about a diet. It isn't about restricting yourself for chunks of time known as days or weeks or months. Losing weight successfully is about making small changes that you can live with--for a healthy lifetime.

So raise a big glass of water and toast to your health--from this moment:

I choose to regain my health and drop this excess weight. I Refuse to Diet and here's to my healthy, energetic, slender body--I deserve it!

Cheers to that!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Diet Nightmares of Thanksgiving Past

Today as I was making turkey soup (one of my favorite Thanksgiving activities) I flashed back to past Thanksgivings when I would deprive myself of foods I loved because I was dieting.

Particularly memorable was the very first Thanksgiving that I made on my own, in my apartment.

I was a sophomore in college and had been cast in a theater production (Boccaccio Rhythm Theater…a bawdy collection of stories based on Boccaccio’s Decameron from the 1350’s…yes, this was a musical based on the era of the Black Plague.) OK, so that’s a long side note, the point was we were required to be present for rehearsals the day before and day after Thanksgiving. Since it was 100 miles each way and I didn’t have a car, there was no way I could go home for Thanksgiving.

Thus my first Thanksgiving away from home, my parents came to see me, and I prepared the full feast. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie (from fresh pumpkins) and a mock mincemeat pie for Dad, his favorite. I don’t remember what else I made, but there was ample food for probably dozens of people even though there were just 4 of us—but that’s part of the Thanksgiving tradition, right?

Sounds like a pretty good memory right? Everything turned out well, to my recollection.

The thing was, I wouldn’t eat a bite of it.

Because I was dieting.

You see, that summer I had gone on the now-infamous “liquid protein diet.” I drank less than 400 calories a day. I was coaching and teaching swimming, so I swam my laps and was in the water pretty much all day long. It worked. I ended up losing over 60 pounds by the time I was done—about 15 more than I should have as a matter of fact.

At the beginning of November that year I weighed in at 110 pounds. I thought I was still fat and I was determined not to gain the weight back. So when I was up to 113 pounds right before Thanksgiving I decided that I wouldn’t eat again until I lost the 3 pounds. This was actually the method the diet prescribed and boy, did I follow it to the letter.

But I couldn’t stick to it. Not for long. This is one of the very real reasons diets don't work. Because I never dealt with the emotional reasons behind my eating, I was destined to ultimately overeat and gain weight.

I’m not saying I’m perfect these days, but I’m sure a lot better! I eat for health and for pleasure…and, yes, sometimes I eat for emotional reasons even though I know that’s not the healthiest choice. Taking of the mantle of perfection has really been liberating for me and allows me to love myself as I am now and allows for me to grow and become even better in the future.

That is something I am extremely grateful for!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Course in Weight Loss for Less

If you are a fan of Marianne Williamson, then you might know about her new book "A Course in Weight Loss" which Oprah was touting on her show recently. I've learned it is available in book (hard cover only) and CD (6 CD set) formats.

List price for the book is $24.95, for the CDs $29.95

You can get the book here and save yourself $5, or get the CDs and save $6.

This is new stuff, so I haven't yet read or listened, but love Marianne's other works so I'm betting it is great. Plus, if Oprah likes it... ;-)

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thank God I'm Not Dieting

This is absolutely the worst time of year to try to diet. The sights and smells of food are everywhere, and the association of food with good times and family are so deeply entwined during the holidays that start this week and wend through December that it seems if you diet you are eschewing family not fat.

So what is a person to do? After all, studies show that the average American gains 5 pounds between roughly Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Do you give in and decide 5 pounds isn't so bad, I can get rid of that in the new year? Or do you manically cut calories wherever possible in the faint hope that you will be thankful to be "below average" for once in your life?

How about neither of those options?

Look, in the "old days" if I only gained 5 pounds over the holidays I would have been ecstatic! Geez...I was known to gain 20 pounds in a weekend--and it all seemed to land on my hips, overnight, just by looking at food much less eating it.

So how do we avoid packing on pounds without missing out on the holidays?

First make sure you don't label foods as off-limits or put them on some list titled "Forbidden Foods"...that is a path to disaster, if not now it will come back to bite you in your thighs later. By making favorite holiday treats taboo you just want them more...the little kid inside of you feels deprived and so you, at some point, when you least expect it, go off the deep end into the binge pool.

Instead, make sure you have lots and lots of healthier choices that you love as well. Make it easy to snack on those and to have flavorful, healthy choices available during meals. For example, I love grilled I splurge and got this vegetable I normally associate with springtime and will have it with my turkey. Notice I said, that you love! This isn't about having healthy choices that feel like punishment...if you hate brussel sprouts this is not the time to try a new recipe with them in it just because it is "healthy"!

Take what you like but leave the rest. If you are like me, there are some Thanksgiving traditions that you can do without. If you are the cook you might actually get away with not serving them...but if your least favorite is the apple of your honey's (or parents' or kids') eye then, guess know you are going to have it around. Just because it is on the table doesn't mean it has to end up on your plate!

I might be brought up on charges of treason, but I really am not a big stuffing fan. People have told me I "have to" try their recipe...that if only I find the right recipe I will be a convert. I finally figured out that it is okay that I just don't like it...I don't "hate" stuffing, but I'd rather have my calories in the form of more mashed potatoes or pie...but that's just me.

Remember, this is not the last time you will have this meal, or this dish! In our age of convenience we do not have to relegate eating turkey and pumpkin pie to only Thanksgiving. When you reach for the cranberry relish or the sweet potato casserole or other treat, take a couple bites knowing that even if the unthinkable happens and there is no more that day, you can always get more!

Make it about people, not food. Connect with the people at the table more than the food on your plate. Holidays are about stories, about family, about friends. Yes, we share good food, but make the food the garnish while the "main course" is the conversation. And if you are talking and listening and obviously having a good time, chances are good no one will notice if you skip the seconds--including you!

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful that I have given up dieting. It didn't ever work for why stress about it? Instead I focusing on what is really important. I'm going to savor the food I do eat and be grateful for its abundance; I will have some healthy food and some pie and ice cream too; I will eat comfortably knowing that there will always be more where that came from; and I will really connect with my loved ones this holiday season. That's a lot to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Eating Ice Cream and Losing Weight Successfully

Everything is relative...and so, relatively speaking yes there is healthy ice cream.

This article from Shine gives you some choices: America's Healthiest Ice Creams and Yogurts

They give you all sorts of numbers....calories, fat grams, etc, if you are into that.

What is super important to keep in mind is the portion size. The article is citing buying a serving in a ice cream shop--not a container in the grocery store. A "serving" or scoop is about 1/2 cup.

It is tempting to say for the same money I can buy a pint at the store (when it is on sale)...but if you find that you would eat the entire pint then you are better off paying more per bite and getting a cup--or you will find yourself emptying the container. In that case multiply the calories quoted by 4. Yep, there are 4 servings in that pint.

Whether you choose one of the lower calorie suggestions or you are like me and really are a dark chocolate fanatic, buying a scoop instead of a pint can help us savor a favorite treat without throwing our sugar senses totally out of whack.

I know some people like to buy low-fat, or low-sugar, or ice milk sorts of desserts. That's fine if you honestly like the taste. If not, you are better off enjoying smaller portions of foods you really like. That keeps you from feeling deprived, which is a direct, "do not pass go" ticket to a binge!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weight Loss Tip: Go for Color

One of the easiest ways to make sure you are getting a good balance of nutritional elements is to have lots and lots of color in your diet. That is a super tip for losing weight, too, because in general if it is naturally colorful it tends to be lower in calories and fat.

Of course there are my personal favorite, ice can often have a lot of color to it, even if it is all natural. But the added sugar and fat doesn't make it the healthiest least not for every meal, every day!

The point is to move away from the bland, beige meals. Enjoy the rainbow...either in a meal, a day, or over the course of several days.

Today was a "red letter day" for me...

What do I mean by a red letter day? Well I had lots of red foods, of course. This gave me great taste, good complex carbohydrates and lots of lycopene for good measure!

I had broiled Provencale tomatoes and beets for example. I love how easy they are and how you can take advantage of a hot oven created for one to make the other!

If you've only ever had pickled beets, give baked beets a try. I'm not fond of pickled beets but I love beets baked or boiled.

Baked Beets
Heat the oven to 350.
Wash the beets and clip off the greens, leaving about an inch or two on the beet. Do not remove the root.
Place the beets into an oven proof dish (with a lid) in a single layer.
Add a small amount of butter or olive oil and salt & pepper if desired...or just leave them plain.
Bake in the oven until tender. The time will depend on 1) the size of the beet and 2) the age of the beet. The younger the beets the less time it will take (maybe under 1 hour) Older beets will take longer.
Once the beets are done, I like to cut off the root and the remaining top and peel them before serving. But beets are great cold, so if you cook extra leave them unpeeled and store in the frig. They can be added to soups, salads, salsa...just about anything you want a little color on.

Provencale Tomatoes
Turn oven to broil.
Slice tomatoes into thick pieces.
Place on a broiler pan.
Brush a very light bit of olive oil on the tomatoes.
Sprinkle with herbs and spices. I love Herbs de Provence and a little pepper, but you can try Italian Seasoning or salt-free Spike or any herbs you prefer. Since tomatoes are naturally high in sodium I do not recommend using any salt on your tomatoes.
Place the tray in the broiler for about 10 minutes.
Keep an eye on the tray as everyone's ovens are different.
Serve the tomatoes hot.

You can serve the tomatoes as the main vegetable or sprinkled with feta cheese for a light lunch.

Maybe tomorrow I'll "go green".

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weight Loss Challenge: Swinging on a Moody Star

An important factor to our weight loss that people often forget about or totally our mood or mindset.

How we feel about ourselves, our bodies and even how we feel about food directly impacts our ability to lose weight.

It is extremely common to gain weight when we are feel depressed and to lose weight when we are happy. While that may be common, there are many people who gain weight when happy and, like my mother, lose weight when depressed. This demonstrates that there is no one "diet" or eating program that will work for everyone...not even in the same family. We all react differently to different foods, moods, exercise programs--everything!

If you are the type of person who, like me, tends to gain weight when depressed or stressed (or mad, or sad...or whatever) there is a way you can combat the trend!

Believe it or not, the real problem is not the food. If it were the food, you wouldn't be able to have it around'd eat it and gain weight all the time, not just when you are depressed. The problem is eating food in response to the emotion.

That is why substituting a lower calorie version of your favorite food or even substituting a healthy food doesn't solve the problem, because, I repeat, the problem is not the isn't the calories.

By eating low-fat frozen yogurt in place of ice cream when depressed you are not changing the eating in response to emotion behavior. The behavior you changed was the one in the grocery store! Now, not only are you eating when depressed, you are probably less satisfied, but feeling deprived and yet martyr-like so you actually might eat MORE than before! Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

Replacing the chips with carrot sticks doesn't work either. Sure it is a healthy food, but we are still reaching into the frig (or pantry) and stuffing down our problems, rather than reaching into our heads and hearts and working on the real issue.

Don't want to work on your "issues"...don't think you have any? Fine. Whether you are numbing your feelings with food or not, you are engaging in unconscious eating.

Instead of eating, come up with a list of things that you can do that will help you feel more joy without getting you into the vicious cycle of eating and then gaining weight and therefore feeling bad again...which makes you want to eat, etc!

Everyone's list will be different...mine includes enjoying the sunrise, spending time in my studio, reading, doing puzzles, going for a walk and enjoying the fresh air, riding in the could be playing with animals, playing on a swing, listening to music...the list can go on.

Write down YOUR list and keep it on the frig or the pantry...wherever the food you tend to reach for is help you remember your goal and give you some choices. It totally puts you in control...rather than eating unconsciously you begin to eat thoughtfully and that makes all the difference.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weight Loss Secret: Treat Yourself Like Your Car

I recently heard from a young man who said he knew he would lose weight even if he ate snacks and treats all the time as long as he burned more calories than he ate. He went on with some extensive math calculations on how many calories the average sedentary person burns and how he will be able to lose weight by adding some additional exercises and dropping his calorie intake to under 2000 per day.

My first reaction is, Heaven help this guy...I wonder if he has ever tried to diet before?

Begin healthy and losing weight is not just a math equation...and certainly not a simple one! First of all, there is no "average" person...we are all unique and we react differently to different foods, exercise and moods.

Second, even if you caloric intake is low, you can not heal your body and create healthy, lean tissues if you eat junk food all day long.

Rather than counting calories and trying to figure out the math of losing weight, treat your body at least as well as you would your vehicle. You wouldn't put sugar in your car's gas tank and expect it to run, would you? No, you give your car the proper grade gasoline and oil that it requires. You keep the radiator filled. You check your battery. You inflate the tires to get the best mileage.

Your body is a fantastically complex machine and deserves similar treatment. Give your body good quality fuel, as in lean protein, complex carbs, healthy fats. Drink plenty of pure water (filter it yourself and save money and the environment) to help keep your system flushed and well regulated. By eating small amounts fairly often you keep your battery charged and like putting your car on cruise-control you can keep going and going without the roller-coaster ride of sugar rushes and crashes.

Quit counting calories and keep yourself on the highway of life, looking good and cruising by eating the right foods every day!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Freezing for Weight Loss Success

No, I'm not talking about freezing your buns off as you walk in the morning...although walking is good, that kind of freezing isn't so much fun.

One of the "weighs" that I save money and time and have had weight loss success is by making extra portions and freezing them. Buying fresh fruits and veggies is awesome...but if you throw it in the garbage because you didn't eat it then you are just tossing your money out along with it.

Rather than buying already frozen produce I will often freeze my own...whether it is tomatoes I got as a great deal at the farmer's market or organic raspberries on sale at the grocery store...they all freeze well. Then, during the dark days of winter I can pop out a couple frozen berries and have a reminder of the glory days of summer!

I've long been a "freezer" as opposed to a "canner"...canning scares me. Perhaps irrationally, but the thought that if I do it wrong I could poison my friends and family has kept me from this past-time.

People often think that if you freeze something it will last forever. I had a roommate who ate her frozen fish 2 years after the catch. While it won't kill you, the taste and the nutritional value is just not the same.

So it is a good idea to date everything you put in the freezer and then rotate the contents so you use the oldest things first.

If you want specific tips on how to freeze items, check out this article from The More Conscious Consumer blog...but I definitely discourage you from adding sugar or sugar syrup to the items you are going to freeze. And the info I got this summer about freezing whole tomatoes was fantastic--so easy, no blanching required!

So stocking up makes sense...but as a general rule, plan to use the food in the next 2 months. See this quality chart from the Food Safety and Inspection Service for more details. won't hurt you to eat it if it has been frozen longer as long as it has been consistently kept cold. So you don't have to throw it away...but start to use up the old food and only add what you will reasonable use in a couple months.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happiness vs Weight Loss and Fitness--Which Comes First?

Following up on yesterday's post about the link to happiness and weight loss success, I received a comment:
Being fit and attractive is a great benefit to your happiness.
While I don't exactly disagree with this...everything else being equal (which it isn't...but for the sake of argument...) of course we would be happier as fit and attractive people than if we are out of shape slobs...

The thing is, that being "fit and attractive" is no guarantee of happiness! Just ask the myriad of celebrities and models, considered to be among the most attractive how they feel. Being "attractive" is a completely subjective thing...and it doesn't really matter if other people find you attractive if you feel like you are anything but.

What I have learned is that when we are happy then we learn to love ourselves...all of us...include our limitations, "flaws", weaknesses, and yes, even our big noses and thighs and cellulite. When we can do that...scratch that...when we can BE that person...then we are attractive from the inside out. We take care of our bodies because we WANT to. We eat foods that nourish us, that give our bodies the energy, vitamins and minerals we need...AND the taste sensations that please us.

This creates a wonderful cycle...because by eating better and moving our bodies we set up a fantastic chemical reaction within our bodies and we feel better. We feel better so we care for our bodies. We care for our bodies and we feel better.

I've tried to use getting fit as my goal...saying that I would be happy when I lost "x" pounds (10 or 20 or 100...depending on where I was in my life.) But that never worked for me.

If you are not happy NOW the chances are you will not be happy "if/when." Instead IF you do lose the excess weight you will just find something else to be unhappy about.

If you decide to have a specific weight or size (or physical fitness level) be a requirement for you happiness then you are setting up yourself for a sad and sorry life. If you don't figure out why you are really unhappy you will just remain fat--as your safe excuse for being unhappy.

Instead of waiting for "xyz" event--make a choice to be happy now. Why miss out on the beautiful things life has to offer to you just because you aren't perfect? And why deprive the world of your light just because you don't see yourself as perfect?

My goal is to be the happy person first. I firmly believe that when I am happy and loving FIRST then I am healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. It doesn't mean that I never cry or get means that I accept myself as the imperfect human I am.

That acceptance of my imperfection is what, ironically, allows me to improve and become better each and every day. Or not!

And maybe, just accepting myself right now I can help someone else in their journey to health and fitness and weight loss success!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weight Loss Success and Happiness Linked

I graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo back a few hundred years ago...and even then the city was a great place to live, work and study.

Today, SLO or "SLO Town" as we lovingly called it, is ranked the No. 1 city in the United States for overall emotional health. Not surprisingly, physical health also ranks high there as well, including low rates of obesity...some 9% points below the national average in fact!


I think not.

Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones, a book that teaches us how to live longer, healthier lives, long touted by Dr. Oz, has a new book soon to be published entitled, Thrive. You can preorder the book through Random House by using this link. The book isn't actually available until Oct. 19, 2010.

In Thrive, Dan connects happiness to our health and fitness...and what may surprise some folks, connects art with happiness!

Being a sculptor myself, I find this as no surprise. Art has a way of tapping into our emotions, often without our conscious awareness of it. Looking at a sculpture or painting can bring our feelings of joy or anger...and artists have long used that ability in order to engage audiences and patrons.

In the book, Dan mentions the former mayor of SLO, Ken Schwartz, and that he likes to quote a Persian proverb:
If you have but two coins, use one for bread to feed the body and the other for hyacinths to feed the soul.

Dan continues that art is like flowers, that both feed the soul and claims that,

Happy people usually have access to art--painting, film, sculpture, theater, music--and live in places that are attractive to the eye.

It is a natural extension then, that if we want to be happy, healthy and more slender that we should take time to appreciate things that nourish our soul. What nourishes your soul? Are you energized or calmed when looking at flowers (hyacinth or other blooms)...the mountains or the sea? The grasslands? Beautiful trees reaching for the skies? Cloud-filled vistas? Or paintings or sculpture?

Or are you touched by listening to music? Poetry? Watching a theatrical performance? Film? A dance?

Beauty is, as the saying goes, in the eye of the beholder...but finding beauty around you and appreciating it is more than just a treat for the eye!

Just goes to prove my theory that weight loss is not just about what you put in your mouth, it is truly what you put into your mind and spirit.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Scary Time of Year

This has always been a scary time of year for me.

Is it because of ghosts, goblins and little witches that are appearing and will increase in numbers as the month progresses?

Only in part...

You see, it began with back-to-school and continued through Valentines...well, Easter actually if I'm being completely honest.

So what was this fear that consumed half my year?

Food. Specifically--candy!

Yes, candy scared me!!!

Because I felt I had no control over it. Instead, it seemed to control my life. I merely had to walk by the aisle in the know the ones...loaded with bags and bags of candy. The mere smell was enough to give me a sugar high. And the sight of chocolate instantly added 10 pounds to my already abundant thighs.

At least that is how it felt.

Fortunately now I AM in control. Candy no longer has this insane power over my life. It isn't that I don't eat candy...I do...just occasionally and in small quantities. And I have the power to control when, what and how much I eat. It is pretty amazing.

I am so grateful that I've experienced this change in my life...because not only has it allowed to drop 125 pounds, I am physically, mentally and emotionally so much more healthy.

Look, I still love a good piece of candy, but I'm free of the ghostly chains that had me consuming bag after bag that I bought "for the kids"...and I don't even have any!

If you want to know more about how I did sure to visit my other site (conveniently named Refuse to Diet)...and read my book for the tools that I developed that helped me on my weight loss success journey!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's OK to Refuse to Diet

I just read another blogger's post giving us permission to Refuse to Diet...since he was touting "my" line I of course had to read his take on it.

His site is more about exercise, but he admits that most people can't fit in an hour every day--a realist in that regard. He also mentions that counting calories isn't the answer...after all

let's be real, you won't be able to count calories for the rest of your life.

Yes, I agree moving your body is important for your health, and yes I agree you don't have to exercise an hour ever day, and yes I do not believe counting calories (or fat grams or carbs) is the answer. So while we are on the same page so far, that is where our paths start to diverge.

The answer from this guy is the typical mathematical less and move more. Not bad advice, it just isn't really the answer. Real weight loss success (by that I mean the permanent kind...not just another roller coaster ride down a size and up two) is determined by our mindset, not the stuff we put in our mouths or what we do with our bodies. It starts with what we put in our minds!

This guy's solution?

be careful what you eat after 4 p.m. and don't overeat. Eat until you get comfortable and not until you get full.

Said like someone who has never had a weight or eating problem!

If you only have a couple pounds to lose, or if you have a temporary weight gain then losing weight can be a simple formula...but if you have carried excess weight most of your life despite your efforts at dieting...or if you weight a significant amount over a healthy amount...then "being careful" to not overeat is waaaaaaay too much of a simplification.

I will say I like this guy's low impact exercises, so go ahead and check him out at

Low impact exercises are so important when you are just starting out or if you have a lot of weight to lose. Face it, if you are carrying 40, 50, 100 or more extra pounds that is already a lot of impact. Definitely check out isometric and other low impact exercises but also be sure to just move in any way you can...whatever YOUR body will allow. Do it for your health, and yes, it will help you to lose weight too.

Yes, by all means, Refuse to Diet...but don't set arbitrary rules like be careful what you eat after 4pm or don't eat after 7pm unless you believe that is something you can keep up with 80% of the time for the rest of your life! I use 80% as my benchmark because I know there will always be exceptions (life happens, you know what I mean?) Besides, arbitrary rules are...well, arbitrary. They don't take into account YOUR life, your abilities and your lifestyle.

Start with your mind...figure out why you want to lose weight, recognize what may be holding you back...and become a conscious eater. Engage your mind and you WILL lose weight.

If you want specific tools to help you figure this out, check out my book, Refuse To Diet, available on Amazon. And if you have any questions about the worksheets that I developed to help me in my 125 pound weight loss journey let me know...I'd love to help!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Corn Sugar No Better for Weight Loss Success

Oh give me a break! The Corn Refiners Association is trying to pull one on the American public.

Apparently we have gotten smart about recognizing high-fructose corn syrup as bad for us and our weight loss efforts--and general health goals-- and they are feeling the heat.

But rather than make a healthier product (no that would cost them money) they have petitioned the FDA to change the name to "corn sugar"....

A rose by any other name would smell sweet...we're not talking about roses...but this sweet super simple carbohydrate will be just as toxic no matter what they call it.

Keep your eyes and ears out folks! And stay healthy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How Long WIll I Use This Excuse to Overeat?

A few years ago the question I asked myself was this:

How long will I allow my father's death to be the latest excuse for being fat?

The answer that came back to me was NO LONGER.

That started my journey to become healthy in earnest...and I dropped 125 about a year.

Today the question I am asking myself is:

How long will I allow my mother's LIFE to be my latest excuse to overeat?

While I'm not 125 pounds overweight any longer, I recognize that emotional eating is a large part of what got me there...and could get me right back there if I allow it.

It is completely up to me to decide if I want to remain healthy or not. And if I do, then I must reaffirm my goals of feeling good about myself and being a conscious eater.

My mother is having some health issues that are stressful for the family...and I want to help and yet when I found myself grabbing food and not really tasting it as it went down I had a deja vu kind of light bulb moment.

I must continue to make MY health the #1 priority in my life. After all, if I don't make it a priority then who will? I also have to accept that I don't have control over my mom...what she does, or does not choose to do regarding her health. I can offer help and then I have to let it go.

This is a big challenge that a lot of women face. Guys too of course, but generally speaking more women are in the caregiver role then men are...

You may be caring for a child, an aging parent, an ill spouse, a friend or sibling...or perhaps you are a caregiver by profession. No matter who you are caring for, it is so important that we remember our primary responsibility is to ourselves.

I know this sounds selfish. I was brought up that we put ourselves last...and I was brought up to be obese! No coincidence. We have to challenge that training and retrain ourselves to believe in our own worth.

So I'm reminding myself to give up the excuses...there is ALWAYS an excuse if you let there be one. I intend to remember to love myself...and that includes choosing ways other than eating to deal with my emotions most of the time...and to be gentle on myself on the occasions when I choose to overeat anyway!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Do You Hate Yourself Because You Are Fat?

If you hate yourself because you are fat, then you are not alone. Millions of folks in this country...more female than male, but not restricted to any not like the way our bodies look. We've been taught that "we" are our bodies...and therefore, if we do not like the ways our bodies look then we do not like ourselves.

What I've found is that while we THINK we hate our bodies (and therefore ourselves) because we are fat, the inverse is actually true: We are fat because we hate ourselves and our bodies.

I know this flies in the face of conventional, scientific if this is news to you, realize that you are not alone in your beliefs and that I am not alone in this way of thinking. From weight loss pros like Geneen Roth to spiritual teachers like Abraham more and more folks are coming on board to this idea.

Do we become fat because we eat too much and/or move our bodies too little. Yes and no. Do we stay overweight because we eat too much and/or move our bodies too little. Again, yes and no...

It isn't about what we eat or how much we eat. It is more about why we eat and how we feel about ourselves and what we eat.

The better we feel about ourselves the more healthy we tend to eat. When we love and respect ourselves and our bodies we are better able to listen to our body and to take care of it and eat what it needs in order to be at its most healthy state. Sometimes this may be MORE than what we were eating before. Sometimes it may be less. Sometimes it may be different foods, other times it will be about when we eat.

One of the biggest challenges that we face is to learn to love and appreciate ourselves. Right now. No matter what our size is. No matter what we just ate.

Instead what we typically do is say we will love our bodies (and ourselves) when we've lost 5 pounds (or 50 or whatever the magic number is for you.) Sometimes our love is even more conditional than that...not only do we require weight loss to be deserving of our love, we require it in a specific time frame!

Sometimes we aren't aware that we are restricting our love...we just think we will be happier, more popular, more athletic, more __ (you fill in the blank)...but no matter what that "more" is, if we need to lose weight in order to experience it then we inherently feel we are "less" than enough...not good enough...somehow inferior...and all those feelings are about lack of love.

Hating our bodies is a complete waste of our time and energy. Nothing good comes from hate. It does not motivate us for permanent weight only perpetuates itself.

If you want to have true weight loss success...healthy, natural and permanent...then it starts with learning to love yourself.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Love Is In the Air

It is fall and it is time for us to "go back to school" and learn to love ourselves.

Loving ourselves is crucial to attaining our health and fitness goals...we just cannot have permanent weight loss success if we hate our bodies, and by extension, ourselves.

Tall order I know. We have loads of practice hating ourselves. We deserve to cut ourselves a little slack and not expect to have overnight results.

We won't change from loathing ourselves to loving ourselves overnight any more than we will be 300 pounds one day and 150 pounds the next.

Both changes take time...but if we change the first one the second will naturally follow.

I developed a technique that helped me to learn to love be able to actually look myself in the eye and say, "I love you Laurie" and not feel like a big, fat liar!

I reveal this technique in my book, Refuse to Diet: Weight Loss Success Starts with Your Mind...Not Your Mouth and in this month's topic on my website

I hope you'll join me as autumn brings out the bounty of love...and teaches us that small changes bring us big rewards in health, happiness and the slender bodies we deserve!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Weight Loss Success Defined

I have talked to lots and lots of people about weight loss...and weight gain...and the challenges that we face in truly having long-term success in achieving our health and fitness goals. We all have one thing in common--the desire to have this success, that most of us find to be elusive.

This common desire got me thinking about how I define "weight loss success." In discussing the idea with others I have heard so many different ways we choose to define success and I wonder how YOU define it.

  • Is succeeding at weight loss only realized when you reach a specific number on the scale or clothing size?
  • Is success lowering cholesterol or percent body fat?
  • Is success for you fitting into a special outfit--your wedding dress, for example?
  • Do you measure success with a tape...your waist or hips have gotten smaller by so many inches?
  • Does success mean that you have more can walk or run or swim or bike more easily? further? faster?
  • Is success only achieved when you can eat whatever you want without gaining weight?
  • Do you deem it a success because of how others view you--that others think you are more beautiful? healthier?
  • Is your success about how you feel physically? emotionally?
  • Is success only achieved at the reaching a specific goal? by reaching and maintaining it (for how long)?
  • Or is success the daily journey, seeing healthier habits evolve, maybe even before you see results on the scale?
  • Can you deem your weight loss efforts successful if you reach your goal even if others think you weigh too much?
What is your definition of weight loss success...and why? Let me know how you determined what gauge you are using to measure your success (or lack of it!)

I don't know that there are any "right" or "wrong" answers or is, as one of my cyber-friends and fellow recovered dieter, Karen Anderson, says..."whatever works" I do think it helps us to look at how we define whether or not we are successful--and how we measure whether we have achieved that definition or not.

Are we placing such a tight definition on the term that it is next to impossible to achieve? Are we setting ourselves up to fail because of how we define success? Or is our definition a kick-in-the-pants goal that inspires us to make healthy choices? Or is our definition so relaxed we don't make any changes in our lives at all?

I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to the meantime, I'll think about my own definition of weight loss success!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Confessions of an Emotional Eater

One of the best ways to avoid emotional eating is to plan ahead and have other outlets for your emotions. That way you are ready and able to deal with emotions in a healthier way. One of my ways of dealing with emotions is writing on my computer, whether it is articles or blog posts or connecting with people on Twitter or Facebook or through email, I have found the computer to be a great tool in my weight loss success plan. So imagine my dismay when I am without a computer because it crashes. Then imagine, after buying a new computer, less than 2 months later the NEW one crashes--the morning I am leaving for a trip to help my 80-something mother through a surgery and multiple doctors’ visits.

Whew. I was not a happy camper.

Sure I had some other alternatives such as going for walks and talking to my family back home, but the computer and writing are such an integral part of my process that losing that outlet was a big blow for me. And I confess: I ate. A lot.

But the point isn’t really about what I could have done differently, what I could have done better; it isn’t about pointing out my flaws; it certainly isn’t about beating myself up for not being perfect.

The point is just that…I’m not perfect…and that’s okay! We don’t have to be perfect in order to be healthy. Truth is, being perfect is not only not possible for mere humans, it isn’t really healthy to strive for perfection as the goal. I know this because for many, many years that is exactly what I tried to do. And when I fell short of that goal I was really hard on myself and I either was super-critical or I just gave up on all attempts to be healthy…usually I did both! While I was labeling myself as a “perfectionist” I was really setting myself up for failure and then getting mad at myself when the inevitable happened.

My mother’s surgery went well (thanks for asking), I’m back home now, my new (and newly repaired) computer is as well, and I have brought a few extra pounds with me as a souvenir of the trip. It isn’t the end of the world…it isn’t even the end of my wardrobe, although things are a bit tighter than I’d like.

So now I can get back to dealing with my emotions in a more healthy way than by eating. But you know what? I’m not kicking myself about the eating…it definitely was a tool I used to help me through a challenge. Whether there were better tools available or not is actually beside the point. Now that I am home in an environment where I feel a bit more in control, I can go back to doing the things that I know work for me in the long run.

This trip was the perfect storm for me…allowing me the chance to eat for purely emotional reasons…and I came out of it, a bit battered but intact! I know that there will be more storms in the future and some I will weather fine and others will toss me around a bit. That is part of what life is about…it is about the long haul, not the single storm.

Ironically, by letting go of the need to be perfect I am able to accept who I am and realize that I am still a good person who deserves health…a person who can take it one step at a time, even if once in a while those steps run a little backwards! The journey to permanent weight loss is not a straight path. This experience reinforces for me that I am on the right path, that by loving myself enough to be gentle with my transgressions I will come out of it faster and healthier…and weighing less, too!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dump Diet Soda for Health and Weight Loss Success

It may seem to some that the suggestion to dump the diet soda goes against the idea of losing weight. The truth is that diet sodas do NOT help you lose weight. The reasons why may be controversial, but here are some of the facts behind and non...that might just burst your soft drink bubble.

Bone Killers: some sodas will actually take calcium out of your bones. Sodas with caffeine seem to be the biggest culprits here...whether the soda is diet of regular doesn't seem to matter.

Diabetes Risk: even one diet soda a day is linked to a increased odds of risk of both Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. Research has not conclusively shown why, but one possibility is the caramel flavoring in cola, which actually affects the boy at a molecular level and inhibits the ability to process sugar.

Weight Gain: yep, diet sodas can actually lead to weight gain because they increase carbohydrate cravings and get us used to taking in super sweet substances.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup: switching to regular soda is not necessarily healthier...most are filled with HFCS which is complete void of nutrition, spikes the body's blood sugar levels and get us on the simple carb roller coaster ride of wanting more carbs to help fight the fatigue caused by the inevitable sugar crash.

The healthiest solution is to drink lots of clean, pure water. Although tap water is "safe" I filter mine to get rid of the chemicals that municipalities put in it to make it safe.

Sometimes plain water is just not enough though, so if you want some flavor to your drink here are some of my favorite suggestions:
  • Add a splash of 100% fruit juice
  • Toss in some fresh berries (or frozen if you want a chill)
  • Squeeze in a little lemon or lime juice
  • Throw in some ice cubes made from juice or with berries hidden inside
  • Brew some green or herbal tea...chill it for a summertime treat
If you absolutely want the bubbles then try club soda or naturally bubbly water. While I don't recommend drinking lots of it (after all, the bubbles are from Carbon DiOxide...a gas that our bodies consider a waste product) as an occasional treat it gets my green light. Mix it up with the suggestions above or try adding a sprig or two of mint for a zero calorie refresher!

Don't think you can cut out the soda habit entirely? Try cutting it in half! Get your taste buds used to less sweet by splitting the soda pop with club soda or Perrier. Alternate plain water with a bubbly drink to reduce the number of sodas in a day.

Remember, improving your health and losing weight permanently is a gradual process. Don't expect to make the change in a day...keep at it and find the balance that works for you...and don't be surprised to see you have actually lost weight once you've dumped the diet soda habit!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Reject Aspartame by Any Name for Weight Loss Success

Seems the manufacturers of Aspartame have gotten a new marketing that has figured out that American consumers have realized that Aspartame is not a healthy substitute for sugar.

Have they reformulated the product to make it safer? No.

They've given it a new name!

Now on the shelves is "AminoSweet" but while it may have a new name, it is the same old Aspartame. NutraSweet is one of the old names...still found on many shelves.

Aspartame has been out for many years...and some people believe that it is safe...but the truth is that even back in 1991 reports showed at least 62 side effects from ingestion of Aspartame. These side effects include:
  • Joint Pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Cravings
  • Weight Gain
Yes, you read that of the side effects of this zero calorie "diet product" can be weight GAIN! This is mostly because Aspartame actually increases cravings for carbohydrates and it gets our taste buds used to super sweet foods. In other words, the more diet foods you eat/drink that contain Aspartame, the harder it will be to stop eating other high calorie foods with sugar and processed flours...the simple carbohydrates that provide our bodies with zero nutrition!

That is one of the reason I tell you if you are going to have something sweet, have the real deal!

Most of us know that Aspartame is in diet soda (which, again, do NOT help you lose weight...even Dr Oz and his partner Dr Roizen agree with me on this one!) Did you know that Aspartame is also in many diabetic products, diet foods, and even breakfast cereal???

Aspartame can also be found in OTC and prescription medications, vaccines and even vitamins!

You may not be able to control the intake of Aspartame in medicine, but you definitely can make sure you aren't getting it in the food and drink your purchase. Read the label and avoid Aspartame by any name!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sweeter Than Honey Weight Loss Challenge

Many folks in efforts to be more health conscious and consume fewer processed foods are making the move towards honey rather than white sugar.

This is a good idea in that honey has small amounts of minerals, enzymes, amino acids and even vitamins as well as being very easy to digest. Consuming honey from your local area can also help you fight allergies.

Eating honey after a workout can actually help refuel your body when combined with a protein...and adding small amounts of honey to the water you drink during a grueling workout (not a walk around the block) can help keep your energy up.

Honey doesn't seem to put most of us on the roller coaster ride of the massive sugar high and subsequent crash that refined sugar does...although I wouldn't eat massive quantities to test that theory!

So what is the weight loss challenge with this sweet foodstuff? It isn't with the real is with the faux honey...the imposters out there.

I'm a big label reader, but when it comes to the "honey bear" I always assumed he (she?) was filled with the healthy nectar. Turns out that may not be the case...

According to the National Honey Board packages that are strikingly similar to the real honey bear are making their way onto our grocers' shelves...filled with honey-flavored syrup--there may be little to no honey in them thar b'ars!

Is nothing sacred?

Sugar always poses a big challenge to folks wanting to reach their health, fitness and weight loss goals...and we read lots of labels knowing that sugar is hidden in so many packaged products...but we may have been lax when it comes to reaching for the bear or other honey packages.

The good news is reading a label to check for honey purity is easy...if it's real there's only 1 ingredient: honey!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cruising for Weight Loss

If you want to improve your health, whether that is by losing weight or healing an illness or injury, and you like to cruise, then consider the

January 28 – February 4, 2011

The cruise is a private charter by Hay House...the publisher of many of my favorite books, CDs and DVDs...(if you want to see just some of their offerings that I recommend, click here)

Explore the beautiful Caribbean with these Ports of Call: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, Philipsburg, St. Maarten, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Spend a week with your favorite authors who inspire, motivate, and challenge you to reach your greatest potential! Choose from five extraordinary workshop programs throughout seven incredible days at sea.

My friends at Hay House are offering my readers 20% off registration! Cabins are limited so click here to register!

Speakers include:
  • Dr. Wayne Dyer
  • Gregg Braden
  • Sonia Choquette
  • John Holland
  • Denise Linn
  • Caroline Myss
  • Cheryl Richardson
  • Brian Weiss, M.D.
  • Reid Tracy
  • Lisa Fugard
  • Margarete Nielsen

For more information about the cruise, click here...but to get your 20% off, be sure to to put
Priority Number 156 on the registration form...or call call 888-259-9191 ext.1239 Ericka or ext.1262 Adam and mention Priority Number 156

*Please note: this offer is valid for new bookings only and cannot be combined with any other discounted offer. The discount is applicable to those attending the seminar programs only. Offer applies to the first two passengers in the cabin and is not applicable to third or fourth passengers sharing cabin. $650 cancellation fee applies through 11/11/2010. No refunds from 11/12/2010 through date of sailing.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Losing Weight is Not a Math Equation

Lots of so-called "experts" will tell anyone who is trying to lose weight that it is simply a matter of consuming fewer calories than you expend. These "experts" make it sound like weight loss is a math equation.

Having dieted most of my life and calculated calories, fat grams, carbs and just about anything else one can calculate, I can tell you that weight loss success is definitely NOT a simple math equation.

The math equation myth prevails despite evidence by millions of people like me. We are accused of cheating. We are accused of being lazy. We are told we just aren't counting everything that we are eating. We are accused of lying.

The math equation myth goes hand in hand with the diet myth. Neither is right, it isn't simply math and diets don't work either. Neither take into account human beings and our infinite variety.

In my book, Refuse to Diet: Weight Loss Success Starts with Your Mind...Not Your Mouth I explain more about some of the diet myths and why they are fact, not fiction...but still countless people just don't believe that there is any other explanation, they WANT to believe that is just math.

Except for those of us caught up in the math equation nightmare, of course.

What I find ironic is that many of the "experts" who claim you just have to expend more calories (work out more) or consume fewer calories (eat less, or eat lower calorie foods) will be the very same people who will then say on national television that we hold onto weight when we are stressed!

Hello??? Which is it, folks? Don't try to tell me that it is math and then excuse 1 person because of stress. Math is math. Math is not biased. Math doesn't give a *&#$ about your stress level. This is why mathematicians love math. This is why the rest of us do not.

Are there extenuating circumstances that can cause you to either gain weight or not lose weight despite your efforts to exercise and eat fewer calories? You betcha!

OK, there's the infamous aforementioned stress for one. Weather can actually also affect your weight loss. Whether or not you drink ample water will affect the number on the scale...and water has zero calories so that would not figure into any math equation. Some medical conditions and medications will affect your weight. Traveling, eating different foods, or eating more salt than normal...these can all affect your weight temporarily. And of course when you are building muscle while you lose fat (a good combination to go after) there will be times when your pounds will go up, even though your fat content will be dropping. Beyond all that, the source of calories is an important factor on whether or not you lose weight...and especially if you can keep it off.

These are just some of the weight loss challenges we face that dispute the math-equation theory.

I say none of this to discourage your from improving your health.

I say it to free you from the tyranny of the scale! There are no health benefits to staying obese. There are tons of health benefits for improving your health by improving your eating and moving your body more--even if you don't drop a single pound!

To lose weight successfully, permanently, you must work on your mindset. You must believe that it is possible and that you are worth it...and the number on the scale has no bearing on your value as a human being!

You must eat food that nourishes and fuels you body. The same number of calories consumed can have a different impact on your health and your weight depending on where those come from. You can eat zero fat and not lose weight...because your body needs some fat in order to lose fat. You can count calories every day but if the calories don't count you won't be healthy or have a sustained weight loss.

If you are struggling with losing weight I suggest you start with your mindset. Once you have that straight then weight loss happens naturally. If you find that you aren't dropping weight and you have made sure there is not a medical reason for it (for example, did you know that diabetes medication almost always makes a person GAIN weight?) and you truly have excess fat to drop, then
  • Reduce your stress
  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Increase your pure water intake
  • Be sure the calories you are eating are the right ones
and most important, put away the scale! Stop focusing on the number you don't want. Instead focus on the steps you are taking to improve your health...and they WILL follow!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

InexpensiveTools for Health and Weight Loss Success

We all can use some toys, *ahem*, tools to help us in our quest for health and weight loss...but knowing what products are worth it, are safe, give you results can be a challenge...and then there's the cost. of my favorite stores, Gaiam, is offering a sale and I wanted to give you a heads up! (Don't you just love a sale???)

If you aren't familiar with Gaiam, here are some of the reasons I love them:
Loads of cool Fitness Products from clothes & shoes to exercise equipment
Oodles of Health Products whether you are looking for pain relief, massage, alternative therapies
Variety of product types--videos, books, hard-to-find products
Environmentally conscious Green Products (recycled or natural elements= low impact on the earth)
Now through next Monday (July 26) Gaiam is having a sale on a variety of items that will help you reach your health and fitness and weight loss success's some of my favorites:

Yoga kit for beginners...includes a mat, block, strap and workout DVD by yoga guru Rodney Yee. This mat is different because it is marked to help you know where to put your feet and hands during poses...awesome for beginners when you can't have a teacher right there correcting your position! Fitting with the Refuse to Diet theory, these workouts are geared to be 20 minutes in length so ANYONE can fit it in to their schedule. Sale price for the kit is $12.98 (that's about what I paid for my basic yoga years ago!) A small price to pay for a great tool that can help you get in some great exercise and vary your routine...which is one of the best ways to meet your fitness and weight loss goals.

"CorePlus Reformer" this piece of equipment simulates the workout you'd get with a Pilates reformer...developed in conjunction with Pilates pro Mari Winsor (Winsor Pilates anyone?) you get the reformer and instructional DVD...note, they're telling me inventory is limited on this one, so hurry if you want the benefits of a Pilates workout in your own home...for under $30!!! Small and easy to pack you can take this with you on vacation or business trips.

Adjustable Yoga Sandals help stabilize and align your body and also stretch your feet and toes (if you have any toes that touch or cross over this can help but note it may take a little getting used to!) This is another Limited Inventory item and at only $32 I can see why!

Deep Penetrating Light Therapy OK, this is a bit pricier...but if you have health issues like depression, muscle or joint pain this RED and infrared light therapy machine may be the ticket...the light goes deep into the tissue and stimulates endorphins (those feel good chemicals) which helps block pain. The light also stimulates cell regeneration which can reduce wrinkles...less pain AND fewer wrinkles? Sounds good to me. Normally $369 but use the code "JULYSAVINGS" and get $30 off! BTW...this is FDA approved...and can be used on your face, arms, legs...we all want to look as youthful as possible and if aches and pains are keeping you from moving your body (pain is one of my biggest weight loss challenges!) this could be just the ticket.

Wooden Drying Rack I debated whether to include this...after all it really won't help you lose weight...but I love mine and you can save $10 so I thought what the saves energy and space...I get to dry clothes in a compact space and not have them shrink...AND they don't wear out as fast as when you put them in the drier so I save money that way too. Remember to use the code "JULYSAVINGS" when checking out

Not sure what you want, go to Gaiam and look to see what other deals they'll see my BalanceBall Chair on the cover (among other things) but remember, this sale ends MONDAY!

Did I tell you, be sure to use the code "JULYSAVINGS" at checkout? That way you get the best deal so don't forget...and share the savings by telling a friend...maybe a new workout buddy? Then come back and tell us what you got and how you like it...