Tag Archives: positive

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

12 Jan

ghost-crab_w725_h476Have you ever heard of the Crab Theory? It’s pretty interesting. Here it goes: if you place one crab in a pot, it will easily crawl out, but if you put multiple crabs in a pot, they will pull anyone down who tries to escape to ensure they all meet the same fate.

There are many theories on the why: jealousy, resentment, equal the playing field, feel better about themselves… kinda sounds like human nature, huh? Have you ever attempted to make a positive change, like cutting down on cookie consumption, only to have your spouse restock the cookie stash (after you asked him/her not to) or your best friend telling you you’re “no fun” since you don’t want to go to the coffee shop that sells your favorite cookies? Yep, that sucks and makes doing something good for yourself feel like a drag.

Social support is critical when making positive change. So until your new change has become a habit, try spending a bit more time with people who build you up and a little less time with those that tear you down. While you build your new power posse (the friends and family that will go on a walk with you and enjoy eating healthier foods), try communicating the importance of why you are changing to your other friends and family and how much you’d appreciate their support. You can even assure them that while you want to be healthier for your grandkids, you will not guilt or pressure them to do the same. Who knows, if they don’t feel judged or feel scared that you’ll leave them behind, they may even warm up to ditching those cookies too.

Thrive During Change: The 5-Step Anti-New Year’s Resolution Plan

29 Dec
Set your sails and avoid the rocks along the way.

Set your sails and avoid the rocks along the way.

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. It isn’t because I don’t believe in growth and bettering one’s self–I’m totally down with that. It’s because the “New Year’s Resolution” thought process that we’ve known sets us up for failure. Too lofty (“I know I haven’t exercised in 15 years, but I’m going to start going to the gym…”), too much (“… every single day at 5am…”), too dependent on societal cues  (“…because losing weight will help me get that date!”). So let’s thrive in 2015 and look a little differently at how we can start our positive lifestyle changes on a path of success!

1. How Do You Want to Feel? Danielle LaPorte writes in her phenomenal book, The Desire Map, that we spend a great deal of our time seeking goals or things to make us feel a certain way. For example, do you think having the perfect body will help you ditch your toxic partner and find a better job? It won’t because the perfect body doesn’t exist (without Photoshop)… but doing things that make you feel happy, sexy and courageous will help you realize your inner awesomeness, build confidence and you will become aware that you DESERVE (yes, you darling!) to be in a healthy relationship and a job you enjoy.

Action Step 1: Ask yourself, “How do I want to feel?” and make a list of words that resonate with you. Then, write down simple things (aka wearing my favorite perfume makes me feel sexy) you can do on a daily basis to feel that way.

2. Expect Challenges. Going through the transition of change can be painful. Anyone remember puberty? I know my awkwardness shined brightly throughout all those middle school pictures. Todd Herman, sports psychology coach, has the answer to stick to your changes. He says that the reason why we start off like a rock star during our New Year’s resolutions is because our brain temporarily floods our body with feel-good neurotransmitters to tell us good job and that it loves the fact we are treating our body awesome with exercise and healthy foods.

After about a week, we feel the resistance, the un-motivation. This is because our neurotransmitter levels went back to normal (and good thing, otherwise we’d literally go crazy). We think we’re just lazy and that it’s too hard to change; however, our cells are having a party transforming into healthier cells for us! They just need a little bit more time to reshape themselves (longer than our neurotransmitter support can give us).

Action Step 2: Celebrate when you feel resistance because it means you are making positive changes and your body is LOVING it! Push through the awkward puberty of change by: 1) breathing, 2) reminding yourself why what you are doing is important, 3) say it out loud, “I’m changing.” and 4) read the next step…

3. Make Small Corrections. So you missed a workout. It’s cool. Our life isn’t a typewriter. We don’t have to throw it all away just because we made a mistake. We are on a journey and can course correct, making small adjustments so we don’t hit that huge rock in our path again.

Action Step 3: What do you need to make this change successful? Is it packing your workout bag at night and having it in the car? Is it keeping almonds in portioned bags at work for emergency snacks? Whatever it is, do it. And if it doesn’t work, change it.

4. Start Small. You’ve decided you want to be healthier and exercising more is how you want to get there–hooray! Rather than going from zero to seven days per week of gym time, start slowly and build your confidence that this new positive change is easy peasy.

Action Step 4: Choose a number that sounds too easy. Maybe it is exercising one day per week for 30 minutes or focusing on swapping out one non-healthy snack with 25 almonds. Whatever it is, practice it. If it doesn’t work, re-read Step 3 and change it.

5. Think Outside the Box. Anyone who wishes to better themselves is a stellar human being in my book. So, as stellar human beings go, make the transition as enjoyable as possible. If you want to move your body, dislike running and love dancing, then for the love of guacamole dance–don’t run–to your mp3 player and “Shake It Off.”

Action Step 5: Okay, you know how you want to feel and what will help you get there. Now, make a list of the most enjoyable things you can do to achieve it. So, if you want to feel energetic and exercising is how you want to feel that way, but you dislike gyms, then make a list of everything you can do that you like outside of a gym (bodyweight exercises at home, yoga dvd, hike, dance, etc.). Choose your favorite, start small and rock out!

Mindful Eating for the Holidays: A Guide to Ditching Food Shame and Elastic Waistbands (Part 2)

17 Nov
IMG_1974

An eye-pleasing foundation to my Mexican Chicken Soup: celery, broccoli, carrots, red bell peppers and garlic. Pretty to look at, healthy for my body and tastes delicious!

You’ve just finished a fun dinner with friends and can’t possibly think about eating any more… that is, until you are presented with the dessert tray–a glorious presentation of apple crisp, pumpkin pie and brownie sundae topped with hot fudge sauce and candied walnuts. You order dessert, even though you are full, and  finish every last bite.

… And then it begins, “Why did I do that? I’m such a pig. I shouldn’t have done that. I feel horrible. I wasn’t even hungry, but it looked so good. Ugh, I’m disgusting.”

You’ve just experienced the strength of eye hunger, one of eight hungers we possess, compounded by your nagging inner critic (does that dude EVER take a break?). The typical American will gain 5-7 lbs over the holidays and eye hunger has a lot to do with that, so let’s explore why this little booger hampers our holiday bliss and what we can do to keep our eye hunger working for us and not against us.

First, let’s define it: Eye hunger is when you become hungry looking at food (via in person, on TV or in a magazine) or reading a recipe, even if you just ate. Many studies have proven that our eyes will override our mouth, stomach and body. For instance, subjects at a movie theater who were given stale popcorn ate it just because it was there and they could smell it. It didn’t even matter that it tasted awful.

So, over the holidays when you are surrounded by mounds of delicious turkey, mashed potatoes and caramel pecan pie slices, use these helpful tools to satisfy your eye hunger without eating double and feeling miserable.

1. Create beauty. Our eyes appreciate beauty, so use pretty plates, napkins and table decor.

2. Surround yourself in beauty. Get out in nature, savor your favorite piece of art, look at pictures of your beloved, listening to soothing music.

3. Cook and eat food of various colors, textures and shapes. Arrange it beautifully on plates and bowls. It takes just as much time, but with a little extra thought, it can make a huge difference in improving your food relationship (and health).

4. Use a small plate. Fill half of your plate with vegetables, a 1/4 with protein (meat or vegetarian based), an 1/8 with starch (potatoes and grains) and an 1/8 with healthy fats (you can also skip the starch if you have diabetes, Celiac disease, etc.). If it is a holiday or special occasion where dessert is served, consider sharing your dessert with one or two people. Or consider a healthier dessert such as dark chocolate dipped strawberries. Ummm… yes please!

Now it is your turn! The next time you buy groceries, practice purchasing vegetables of every color to ensure eye satiety (green, orange, red/purple and yellow/white). If you don’t eat a lot of vegetables, then do it with fruits and vegetables such as making a roasted vegetable salad with broccoli, carrots and cauliflower served with a protein and eating red grapes for dessert. Now that’s a feast to behold!

If you missed part 1 of this series, check it out here!

Ch-Ch-Changes!

24 Mar
Photo courtesy of thecaregiverspace.org

Photo courtesy of thecaregiverspace.org

Ahhh, puberty. Remember it? As if learning to wear deodorant and operating a water pick to clean between our braces wasn’t hard enough, we also had to navigate hairy armpits and menstrual cycles as a girl, or a squeaky voice and vivid dreams as a boy. One thing is for sure, we were all painfully awkward for a relatively short period of time for a very good reason. That confusing experience literally made us the men and women we are today… and the same is true about all worthwhile changes.

So when we want to stop exercising and eating well because…
It’s hard
I don’t have the time
It’s boring

or when we want to give up on obtaining our dream job because…
The path is too hard
I’m not good enough
I don’t have enough money

or when we keep putting off being in a loving relationship because…
I don’t deserve it
I need to be thin first
All the good ones are taken

Just remember puberty. Remember how painfully awkward it was… then smile, laugh. Because all worthwhile changes are awkward at first, but then you get through it, and the universe on the other side is better than you could have ever imagined.