Break Up with Your Scale

Weighting scales with  measuring tape. Diet concept. 3d

It’s Day 14 of my 21-Day detox and we’re heading into the homestretch. While the daily discipline required to stay on course is intense, I’m loving the confidence that comes with cleaning out my body and mind while connecting deeply with my soul.

There are as many reasons to do a cleanse, detox, or a purification as there are people who do them. Many people, however, do them to lose weight. And if they diligently follow a particular protocol, they usually do.

Unfortunately, unless they continue with the habits put in place during the detox, the results usually aren’t sustainable. Granted, the first couple of days, no one wants to continue after Day 21. But about half way through when they start feeling better, they might consider it.  By the end of it, they may have lost all desire to go back to their pre-detox habits.

I’m all for breaking up with unhealthy habits. Because breaking up is hard to do, my first rule when detoxing is to Become a Badass. I mean this in the best possible way.

You must be kind and compassionate to yourself and others. But you must be ruthless with the terrible tales you tell yourself about your inability to stick with anything for more than a minute.

Cleansing requires considerable courage. Toxins come in many forms – from the foods we eat to the air we breathe to the people we surround ourselves with.

When I detox, I’m no longer able to tolerate toxins the way I did before. Becoming a Badass is an act of bravery. I have to let go of things I no longer need since holding on to them sabotages my health and well-being.

For example, as my first official act of Badassery, I broke up with my scale. To me it was a liar, a terrorist, a tyrant, and a thief.  I decided to no longer accept its feedback as a measure of success or failure during the detox or any time.

I refused to let the scale diminish anything I might innately know about my body, like how it feels, what it needs, how I nourish it, or how I find pleasure in it. I refused to let an ever elusive number impact my day, my mood, my perspective, or my relationship with myself or others.

I have no need to give my power over to something as fickle as a firecracker. A scale can’t measure if I feel lighter, leaner, or more confident. It can’t begin to measure how much clearer my thoughts or complexion are or how much more emotionally available and spiritually connected I am. It cannot imagine the thrill of embodying fully.

The thing is I’ve always possessed the power to expose the scale for what it is. I  trusted it more than myself when I was younger. But not anymore. I trust my body to weigh whatever it wants to when I am nourishing it well and moving it meaningfully.

As a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, I know the damage a scale and what it represents can have on self-worth and body image.  I’ve seen how it contributes to a multitude of eating disorders.

If you have a healthy relationship with your scale, you may not need to break up with it.  Maybe your issue is with something else. Whatever it might be, call it out.

This is necessary in order to follow my Second Rule of Badassery:  Take back your power from whoever or whatever shamed you or made you feel less than all of who you are.

I’ll leave you with these words for advice. “Never ask if anything makes your butt look big. Assume you look marvelous because YOU are marvelous. You’re a Badass, for goodness sake. 🙂

Who or what do you need to detox from this week?  I’d love for you to share if you dare in the comments below. 

Also, if you are interested in learning more about detoxing, I’m starting a new project called The Detox Diaries.  If you’d like to follow along, let me know and I’ll send you an email when the blog is ready.

If You Give a Moose A Muffin…

Elk in the woods

There is a series of children’s books written by Laura Joffe Numeroff  and beautifully illustrated by Felicia Bond detailing the outrageous shenanigans that follow when a child takes a seemingly innocent first step like giving a moose a muffin, a dog a donut, a cat a cupcake, a pig a pancake, or giving the mouse who started the whole thing a cookie.

When I stepped into this experiment called getting my groove back a year ago, I had no idea I would be stepping into a similar situation as the unsuspecting character who gave the moose, the dog, the cat, the pig, and, of course, the mouse what they wanted.

As we’ve all learned even if we haven’t read these fabulous fables, one thing leads to another and another ad infinitum.  Some of these things are hilarious, some are mischievous, some are expensive, some are silly, some are unfortunate, and some are surprising.

And surprise, it turns out, is one of the things that most of us try to avoid.  But according to the authors of the fascinating book called Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected, it’s one of the things we should embrace in order to spark the best kind of change in our lives.

The thing about my journey or any journey is that we don’t ever really know what we’re in for, even if we think we do.  The brilliance of our ignorance or beginner’s mind is absolutely essential if we are to be open to what lies ahead.

Preconceived notions or assumptions of how long it is going to take, how much it is going to cost, how easy or difficult it might be are usually based on our past experience or that of someone else.

Even though that experience may serve as a helpful guide, it will continually pull us out of the here and now if we are not open to the element of surprise and the many gifts of an unpredictable present.

For example, at the end of my How to Get Your Groove Back class I wanted to give participants the opportunity to physically experience what we had been discussing and understand what it felt like to change eating habits, improve energy levels, curb cravings, reduce hormonal fluctuations, etc.

So five of us embarked on a 21-Day Purification with the assistance of a functional medicine doctor and me, their newly certified Eating Psychology Coach.

Having done something similar six months ago, I thought I knew what we were getting into.  Suffice it to say, I did not.  Surprise!  The first day my predominant thought was, “What was I thinking?”  I’m sure the others were wondering the same.

But as the days progressed and we figured out what we could eat, found our comfort foods and figured out how to prepare them, and started losing weight and noticing a difference in our energy levels, skin, moods, and stress levels, we were amazed at how quickly we were adapting to the new world order.

In a very short time, we were able to make significant shifts in our outlook and health that previously none of us thought would be sustainable. Ironically, as much as we looked forward to Day 22, that’s when the real work started.

Like the unlikely actions that follow feeding a moose a muffin, I’ve become this version of myself I’d only imagined I could be.  I’m actually excited about kitchen knives and cutting boards, joining a co-op, and spending  the weekend tackling the clutter around every corner (while listening to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo).

As Einstein said, No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” It wasn’t that I was unhappy before.  I just knew if I wanted to get to my own personal Promised Land, I was going to have to take a different route if I intended to get there this lifetime.

So I did what we all need to do from time to time.  I did what graduates and retirees and entrepreneurs the world over are urged to do.  Give a moose a muffin.  And let the adventures begin!

Share if you dare in the comments below. What grand adventures await you?

Detox Take Away #7 – Rhythm Is Gonna Get You

eating design

One of the concepts I am learning from my Eating Psychology coaching certification program is that timing is everything. From when we introduce new concepts to our clients to when and what we feed ourselves, there is a rhyme and a rhythm that can help us get results quicker or sabotage every step.

For many of us time is of the essence.  We hurry about grabbing meals on the go, eating in our cars, at our desks, and at all times of the day or night. We skimp on sleep, forgo our intentions to exercise, and collapse on the couch.  The accumulated impact over time can lead to weight gain, digestive issues,  sleeping challenges, you name it.

We’re a society out of sync with our rhythms. While that may not sound like a big deal, think back to the last time you traveled across multiple time zones and attempted to seal the deal on a major account as your body was desperately seeking sleep.

Our bodies really do talk to us. And not just once in a while. Like streaming video, our bodies are a constant feedback system. Our job is to listen. If we ignore the messages the body sends, it will pump up the volume.

One way I’ve learned listen  to my body is to eat when I am best equipped to metabolize meals. The first meal sets the rhythm for the day.

Eating breakfast lets our bodies know the fast is over.  Since there is no threat of starvation, there is no need to conserve energy and slow down metabolism.  Eating breakfast heats up the fuel burning mechanism in our bellies and prepares us to process the nutrients we need to get through the day.

Metabolism moves into it’s peak when the sun is highest in the sky. By eating our biggest meal between 12-1:30pm, we deploy our best digestive agents into active duty.

Body temperature then dips between approximately 2-5pm.  This explains that afternoon slump or the need to nap. Then temps start to rise again around 4-6pm.

Metabolically speaking, it makes sense to eat a healthy breakfast, substantial lunch,  and moderate evening meal.  Unfortunately, that’s the opposite of what people practice.

Many of us have a mini breakfast (if we eat at all), followed by a moderate lunch, and then go all out at dinner. This can be difficult pattern to change since the evening meal may be the one time your family gathers during the day.  It may be the only time you have to make a meal or the first time you get to relax and unwind.

I get it.  It’s a challenge for me as well.  I work long hours and often times I don’t eat lunch until 2 or sometimes 3pm. I usually don’t get home until 7pm, making dinner late as well. My new goal is to eat lunch by 1:30pm.  I’d also like to eat less during the evening meal (preferably before 7pm) leaving me with time to take a walk and digest my meal before going to bed.

It’s one thing to know better and an entirely different thing to do better.  I share this information with you not to so you have another item on your should do list but so you gain some awareness into the part rhythm plays in our overall health and well-being.

Recovering your rhythm can take some time.  You can start by experimenting with when you eat, even if you have no interest in changing what you eat.  Notice how you feel. Then pay attention to when you naturally want to move, sleep, work, and play and how you feel when you honor your instincts and follow your own rhythm.

I’d love to hear about your experiences. How does the timing of meals impact you?

Share if you dare in the comments below.

Detox Take Away #5 – Hunger Games

 

Tween Girl with Handmade Bow and Arrow Over White

Hunger Games is not just a popular book and movie trilogy. Hunger games are what many of us resort to in order to manage, suppress, control, or otherwise manipulate our appetite.

Many of us act as if hunger is the enemy when, in fact, hunger is a natural and instinctive response that serves a very important purpose – to keep us alive.

Especially when we’re trying to lose weight, we can see hunger as the culprit that leads us into temptation and tests our willpower. But if we can look at hunger as our friend, a helpful reminder to replenish our  resources on a regular basis, we may begin to give it the respect it deserves.

Where we often get into trouble with hunger is where we get into trouble with most things; when we’re not paying attention.

If we ignore our hunger until we’re ravenous, it’s easy to grab anything and everything in sight, regardless of its nutrient value.  We might mindlessly demolish a bag of Doritos or eat an entire bag of Oreos, but our body knows better. We may feel bloated and beat up ourselves up with guilt, but if the body has not has received the required nutrients, it will not be satiated. Consequently, we’ll keep scrounging for food.

For some, eating becomes a necessary evil in the midst of a busy life. We have so many decisions to make day after day, it’s easy to go unconscious in the eating area. With so many rules and restrictions about what we should and shouldn’t eat, it’s tempting to grab what’s fast and cheap.

But here’s the thing. In order to feel satisfied by the foods we eat we need to notice the color, the taste, the texture, the smell, and the environment. Quickly and unconsciously consuming something without giving ourselves time to register these sensations robs us of little luxuries to be found in food. Any foodie can confirm this.

Feeding yourself quality, nutrient dense foods is a profoundly nourishing way to support yourself. Running on empty is not. Would you regularly put just a few gallons of low quality fuel into your car expect it to run optimally for a long distance?

Hunger is a sign that we’re alive. How lucky for us that we’re alive at a time when food is plentiful and the choices are abundant.

During my detox I got in touch with what it’s like to be hungry. When I missed some of my favorite foods, I wondered what it would be like to feel hungry all the time. What would it be like to not know where my next meal is coming from or not have the means to buy groceries?

Those questions snapped me right out of my self-imposed pity party over not getting to eat the foods that are not that great for me to eat anyway. It was ironic that I was eating arguably the cleanest diet I had ever eaten and somehow felt deprived because junk foods were off limits.

This, of course, lead me to question all the things I hunger for. Some of them are good for me. Like wanting to be a better blogger or coach or facilitator. Others, like watching bad tv and eating Buster Bars, not so much.

I invite you to notice your hunger. What games do you play around your appetite, not just for food but for life? How to you express or suppress your hunger?

I’d love for you to share if you dare in the comments below.

Detox Take Away #3 – Less Is More.

The world in a drop of water

I love food writer Michael Pollen’s take on nutrition. In his book Food Rules he succinctly sums it up like this. “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.”

I used to think I needed to eat a lot more than I really do.  I held this belief partly because I like to eat, but mainly because I wasn’t really aware of what I was eating or fully present when I was eating.

If I don’t slow down and pay attention to what I’m eating, when I’m eating, and even why I’m eating, I inevitably eat too much, too fast, and without a clue as to when I’m actually full and fully nourished.

Most of us are so busy we scarf down our food in an ongoing attempt to keep our fuel tank from running on fumes all day.  Seldom do we stop to savor a meal or take the time to select foods that actually nourish us.

Before the detox I’d skip meals or load up on carbs, sweets, or other foods that only made me crave more of the same later.    This usually meant when I got home from work and didn’t have the metabolic power working for me that I would have had earlier in the day.

Even though it seemed like I was eating less because I was skipping meals, I was actually eating more.  By the time I did eat, I was ravenous and that seldom led to good choices.

During the detox I came to appreciate everything about a meal from purchasing the ingredients to preparing the food to presenting the meal on an appropriately sized plate.

Because I’ve always been on my own, I had not done this consistently for kids or family members. It became a profoundly nourishing way for me to support myself in making changes to the way I’ve eaten most of my life.

When we eat high quality, nutrient dense foods like I mentioned in the last post, we don’t need to eat a lot of food.  So many of us eat foods devoid of actual nutrients. This means our bodies naturally crave more food in an attempt to get the nutrients we need.

I understand it may seem more appealing to snack on a bag of chips or M&Ms than some celery with almond butter, but your brain, your body, and your belly would love it if you’d give it a try.

That’s today’s take away.

Next up:  Why Size Matters.

Share your comments or questions below.