Third Time's a Charm

Glck - Symbole
Never fear, your Get Stuff Done 1 x 31 prompt is here!
Today we’re looking at the list you made on Day 1 and reviewed on Day 2 for the third time so we can chunk it down into doable deeds.
Remember on Day 1 when I said your list could include a couple “wouldn’t it be nice if...” items?
Well, despite your inability to get these items done in 15 minutes or less or even 31 days or less, there is a reason these things made your list. It’s the same reason they show up as New Year’s Resolutions every year. Against all odds, you still want to accomplish them.
Whether it’s lose 20 pounds, write a best seller, give a TED talk, start a garden, adopt a child, or donate your work clothes to Dress for Success, these things are possible.
They are, however, going to require a different strategy than the one you’ve been using for your New Year’s resolutions.
You know when someone says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,”  and they usually follow it up with, “It’s all small stuff?
Well, the secret to any big project, dream, goal, or desire is to break it down into the small stuff. You will most likely not be able to achieve this goal by August, but you can be 31 days closer to it than you were in June. It’s up to you.
You’ve heard it a hundred times.  Rome wasn’t built in a day. The journey of a thousand steps starts with the first one.  The way to get impossible stuff done is to consistently take the smallest, easiest, least intimidating task on your road to Shambala. Then, one day, without even realizing it, you’ll be leaping tall buildings in a single bound.
So, get your list and let’s break it down.
Okay…

  • How many things on your list are absolutely intimidating?
  • How many things overwhelm you just looking at them?
  • How many things excite you?
  • How many things are you looking forward to doing?
  • How many things require an elaborate plan?
  • How many things are neither dreadful nor desirable but just need to get done?
  • How many things have to do with your health and well-being?
  • How many things have to do with money?
  • How many things have to do with relationships?
  • How many things have to do with your business?
  • How many things do you honestly feel you will do?

No judgment here. I just want you to be realistic about this challenge. If you don’t think you will do it, don’t want to do it, don’t have to do it, or don’t need to do it, cross it off your list. If you have no emotional incentive to do it, you won’t.
I don’t know about you, but in my world, more stuff gets done the day before I leave for vacation or on Friday afternoons between 4:30-6pm when my staff and students have gone for the weekend than any other time. I have written more since I’ve had a 40++ hour/week job than I ever did when I set my own schedule.
As much as I rail against deadlines and structure, nothing lights a fire under my feet faster than knowing I can no longer procrastinate, the buck stops with me, and I will pay the piper for dilly-dallying.
Which is why even though you have 11 other months to get stuff done, you and I are going to get stuff that matters to us done every single day this month.
Okay. Let’s review.

  1. You’ve made your list.
  2. You’ve checked it twice and uncovered your motivation.
  3. You are going to chunk it up, break it down, and take a small step or two on the most doable action items on your list.

For example, a couple of years ago, I got my groove back, lost those 20 pounds, and now have a lot of clothes that I hope to never wear again that are taking up significant storage space. I am determined to donate these clothes to the local Dress for Success organization this month.
The logistics of laundering, labeling, and lugging these clothes to the donation site an hour away on the second Saturday of the month from 10am-2pm are a bit daunting.
But I desperately want to reclaim my storage space and I’m committed to donating these clothes to people who can use them.
The only way for me to get this done is to chunk it up.
Here’s what’s happened so far.  Day 1 I read the article about Dress for Success.  A week later I called to ask  some questions. I talked to someone who told me to email a staff member who would help me set up an appointment.  A week later I emailed that person to set up an appointment. Since appointment times are during my work day, I need drop the clothes off on the second Saturday of the month. Since that is coming up quickly, this week I need to pick out and label the first round of clothes to go. Taking all of them at once is too overwhelming since I’m not exactly sure what they will take.
Do you see how one item on your list may take all month?  Five to fifteen minutes at a time.

Inch by inch, it’s a cinch. Yard by yard, it’s hard.

So, what’s on your list that you need to break down?
Does it make sense now why it was important to establish your why on Day 2?  This isn’t easy stuff.  If is was, you would have done it already. Knowing your “why” will get you through the “how“.
And remember, you’ve got the support of the group.
Share your questions, suggestions, ideas, or lists in the comments below.
 
 
 
 

Get Stuff Done 1 x 31

 
3D render of astronaut
It’s that time of year again!
July is our Get Stuff Done 1 x 31 Challenge month.
What is the Get Stuff Done 1×31 Challenge?” you ask.
It’s a way to slowly but surely knock out those little tasks that gnaw away at your peace of mind. It’s committing to daily micro-movements that move the action of your life along at regular clip, without getting stuck in the doldrums.
“What do I have to do?” you wonder.
I’ll post a prompt here each day. You just have to read it.  And act on it.
“Why would I do this?” you protest. “I’m already overwhelmed!”
Well, you don’t have to do it. But it’s fun. It’s free. It’s different. It only takes 5-15 minutes of your day. You’ve got support along with some built in accountability. And it feels really satisfying to get even the smallest stuff done.
Here are 7 Rules to Success for this challenge:

  1. The activity will only take between 5 -15 minutes… because who doesn’t have at least 5 minutes? (If you’re into it, feel free to spend more time.)
  2. You have to actually do it, not just think about doing it.
  3. Approach each day’s challenge with an open mind. (“Been there, done that” attitude does not lend itself to openness. Avail yourself to new twists on familiar themes.)
  4. Be present to the task at hand. Save multi-tasking for the other 23 hours and 45 minutes of the day.
  5. Have fun with it. Judging, criticizing, or censoring yourself – or me! – takes all the fun out of it.
  6. Post your responses, reactions, or results in the day’s comments. It’s more fun  when everyone contributes!
  7. Enlist a friend or two or twenty to join you. This will definitely boost your accountability and your popularity as leader of the pack.

The truth is you don’t get stuff done at all once. Overnight success is often years in the making. Your life moves forward decision by decision, action by action, thought by thought.
For the next 31 days, let’s move the needle on our mojo measuring devices so that by August 1, collectively we can feel as accomplished as all get out.

 

Obsolescence or evolution?

Vintage typewriter and phone office
As I reached for the last couple of pumps from the only mousse that makes my hair look thicker than it is, I lamented the inevitable obsolescence of almost every product I love, from shoes to health care products to television shows. My Body Full™ instant bodifier has been discontinued, leaving me to begin the quest for more magical mousse.
I know this is nature’s way of preventing me from staying stuck in the last millennium. But after searching high and low for products that work for my particular makeup, I wish my favorite things would stick around longer. Kind of like how I wish swim suits would be available in stores during the summer.
I like to think of myself as an early adopter, one who is quick to embrace new ideas, try new technology, leap and learn to fly on the way down.  But the truth is, when things change so quickly and so often, it’s hard to get my bearings.
In theory, I love the idea of apps that make my life easier. In reality, if I can’t find my phone,  I won’t be able to find the list I organized and color-coded and filed under such a clever name I can’t even remember it.
I make supreme efforts to set myself up for success. Yet I’m easily distracted by all the bells and whistles that guarantee it. By the time I get all these systems in place, I’m too perplexed to do the actual work. (Learning curves can last a lot longer than one might think.)
This morning I embraced the idea that creativity coach Eric Maisel taught me a long time ago.  I simply must create in the middle of things. There is really no other way around it if I want to get anything accomplished or, in my case, written.
Life is too messy or busy or random to declare, “These are the only conditions that I can birth this baby” – whatever this “baby” may be.  As we all know, babies have been born in taxi cabs, bistros, and barns. And these babies have gone on to do great things.
So I will complete the blog post I started when I still had mousse. I will also renew my WordPress site for another year and update the look of it while I’m at it.  I’ll write another chapter for my How to Get Your Groove Back course. I’ll write before I book a flight and hotel room for next weekend.  I’ll write in between unclogging the shower drain, potting some plants, walking the dogs, enjoying a camp fire, and attending a graduation party. Because this is how life guarantees I continue to evolve.
I am incredibly curious about any number of things. In order to fully explore them, I have to cultivate the conditions for them to take root. This means continually letting go of things, ideas, relationships, products that are heading for obsolescence, whether I think it’s time or not. It means taking the time and making room for what matters most.
All any of us have to do is look through a high school yearbook to realize the wisdom in letting go of what we once believed to be fashionable, cool, or important. I’m not sure any of us could have predicted the path that brought us to where we are today.
Maybe it’s that mystery that motivates us to keep tossing our caps in the air year after year as we transform inevitable obsolescence into ongoing evolution.
Promising Future
My best advice to 2016 grads?  Resolve to evolve. You’ll figure out the rest along the way.
Feel free to share your best advice in the comments below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

You're Not Getting Older, You're Getting Better

Colorful sparkler, close-up.
It was the early seventies when I first heard a commercial for Loving Care reassure me, “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better.” At the impressionable age of 7 or 8,  I had high hopes of getting older and better.  However, it’s taken me decades to truly appreciate the wisdom of this bit of marketing.
Contrary to popular belief, getting older does not mean stepping off a cliff into an abyss of aches and pains, memory loss and incontinence, age spots and unsightly facial hair. These things may or may not come with the territory, but they definitely don’t define what I’ve come to see as this grace period I’ve grown into.
I went begrudgingly into my forties. I was attached to being relatively young, reasonably attractive, and readily available. I feared crossing the threshold into middle age would catapult me into oblivion. I assumed I’d immediately become invisible, undesirable, and unemployable.
That was not an appealing option.
The better option was to own my throne and step into a Queendom of my own making. The world needs more Kings and Queens, grown up men and women who know who they are, understand what they have to offer, and are not afraid to contribute to the well-being of the world. Instead of depending on the world to define them, who they are defines the world.
We live in a youth-obsessed society. Letting go of the goodies surrounding princes and princesses isn’t easy. We’ve all grieved our glory days. Yet every age has its upsides. Unfortunately, we tend to focus more on the downsides the further on down the road we go.
As founder of the Midlife MacGyver Movement and an enthusiastic advocate of Getting Your Groove Back, I’m here to put a stop to all the trash talk about aging.
As I settle into my fifth decade, I’ve never felt more confident about my ability to move about the planet, share my ideas, open my mind, inhabit my body, learn from those who are different from me, relax into the unknown, and trust my ability to handle whatever happens next.
I’m living the dream, albeit a very different one than I imagined when I was half my age. If someone would have suggested to my younger self I’d be living where I’m living, doing what I’m doing with the people I’m doing it with, I wouldn’t have believed them. And yet if I connect the dots, there’s no doubt I would be here now.
I recently read an article by Ramit Sethi called Why Successful People Take 10 Years to “Succeed Overnight.”  It caught my attention in part because I’ve always joked it’s taken me 40 years to achieve overnight success. And by “success” I mean the way I measure it these days. This, too, is very different than I would have defined it even a few years ago.
Sethi talks about the underappreciated power of sequence and using the domino strategy to take one small step.  Like dominoes, that first small step is followed by a little bit bigger step and so on, creating the momentum that can ultimately move mountains, or at least very large dominoes. He explores the invisible scripts that run and often sabotage our lives, and how the treadmill of disappointment can derail us right when we’re on the verge of a breakthrough.
If you’ve lived long enough, you’ll recognize where you’ve succeeded and where you’ve strayed. And if you’ve learned anything, you’ll know without a doubt, you’re not just getting older. Fortunately for all of us, you’re getting better.
Today I embark on another trip around the sun, chalking up another year to experience. Of the many things I’m grateful for, one is getting to show up in your inbox unannounced and share stuff that catches my fancy.
Thanks for reading and allowing me to do the thing that makes me feel the most alive and the most vulnerable.  Open a vein and let the words pour out.
 
 
 

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.

8 Excellent Reasons to Challenge Yourself

Comfort Zone/ Challenge Sign Concept

During the month of July I led a  group of through my Get Stuff Done 1 x31 Challenge.    The goal was to do one thing each day for thirty-one days  on our to-do, to-dream, to-become list.  These things needed to be small steps that didn’t require a lot of planning or equipment and could be done within 5-15 minutes. 

While I could go into detail about the impressive things  participants got done, what I’d rather share is why taking on a challenge that catapults us out of our comfort zone and into the “What was I thinking?” zone is so important.
The reason for doing anything that challenges us physically, mentally, emotionally, spirituality, financially or all of the above is because we forget what we are made of.   We lose sight of our superpowers and the only way to reactivate them is not to just dream the impossible dream but actually do something about it.
While it may seem like trying something for a few weeks, twenty-one days, or a month  or two won’t change  a lifetime of bad habits, you may be surprised what a little forward momentum will do for you.
Here are eight excellent reasons to act on your desires and take on  a time specific challenge.
#1 – Focus is required.
Whether it’s 3 days or 30, knowing you have a finite amount of time to achieve certain results definitely clears your calendar of any unnecessary clutter or distractions and allows you to focus on the goal at hand.  If you think you have all the time in the world to work on your website, draw up a will, or lose twenty pounds, that’s how long it will take.  If you have a timeline, a plan, and a schedule that’s non-negotiable, you’ll get down to business.
#2 – Resources rush to the rescue.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” The universe will meet you halfway but you have to take the first step.
When you are committed to the challenge, synchronicities occur.  From random songs on the radio to books that fall off shelves to old friends who suddenly call with the exact information you need, assistance is all around you.  Tune in to it.
#3 – Activation energy is unleashed.

In her TED talk, Mel Robbins talks about “activation energy” or the energy required to overcome the inertia you will experience when faced with the physical reality of changing your behavior.
Whether that’s throwing off the covers and getting out of bed a half hour early to write instead of hitting the snooze button or walking away from the chocolate chips crying out to you from the cupboard, you will feel a gravitational pull to old habits that you will have to conquer as part of your challenge.
#4 – Next steps are revealed.
The great thing about taking the first step is that in order to get anywhere, you have to  take another.  You do not have to know where it will lead or how long it will take to get there.  You only need to pay attention and take the next step when it is revealed.  Attempting to blast through all of the steps at once is not only incredibly destructive but hides the treasures that can only be found in navigating  a tricky terrain.
#5 – Perfection is not an option.
The quickest way to learn a something is to fail a few times.  Just like getting lost will help you find your way the next time, failing is a sure fire way to help you continue to refine and define your reason for wanting to master this skill or challenge.
You don’t know what you don’t know when you begin.  But you get leaner, fiercer, and smarter as you gain experience. Or you soften, become more compassionate, and wise.
As most people training for a marathon will tell you, they are not in it to win it. By qualifying, participating, and completing, they achieve something beyond winning.
You are not taking this challenge to become perfect.  You are taking this challenge to become more of who you know you can be.
#6 – Expect the unexpected.
At some point during the challenge something will surprise you.  Whether it is something you learn about yourself or an opportunity that presents itself, your efforts will be rewarded when you least expect it.
#7 – Freedom comes through discipline.
One of Gretchen Rubin’s Secrets to Adulthood is,  ” What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” The biggest lesson I’ve learned from any challenge I’ve completed in the last year is this.  Freedom comes through discipline.
Discipline makes those hundreds of decisions that could derail me so much easier to make.  I just say no.  Not for the next 21 or 31 days or however long it takes.  Doing what I need to do every day instead of once in a while or when I feel like it makes all the difference.
#8 – You are capable of more than you imagined.
Until you activate your superpowers, you don’t know you have them.  Until you do what you say you want to do, you’ll never know that you can not only do that, but so much more.
One of  Danielle LaPorte’s truthbombs encourages us to “Love the necessary hard work.”  While it may be difficult to believe in the beginning, you will come to respect this advice. Once you have walked through the fire, felt the heat of the challenge, and come out on the other side, you will not only understand the wisdom of these words, you will be an example of them.
I’d love to hear about the some of challenges you’ve taken in the comments below.

Detox Take-Away #8 – Sleep On It

Newborn Baby Boy in a Teddy Bear Costume

I’m a big fan of sleeping, dreaming, snatching some shut-eye, napping, you name it. Sleep provides the necessary perspective that excess caffeine or carbs can’t quite copy despite our attempts to chemically induce enlightenment.
It turns out sleep is also a really important player in the weight loss game. Experts consider it as important to health, well-being, and weight as diet and exercise. Yet almost two-thirds of us don’t get enough sleep in a typical week.
Most of us know what it feels like to be sleep deprived. But we may not be aware of its consequences.
Because fatigue dulls the activity in the part of the brain where decision making and impulse control reside, making good decisions becomes increasingly difficult when drowsy. When we’re overtired, the brain’s reward centers seek something that feels good. Temptations we may have been able to resist when well-rested cause us to cave when can’t keep our eyes open.
The type of foods we want when we’re sleepy tend to be of the energy dense, high carbohydrate variety.  Think candy bars, cookies, chips, soda, or energy drinks. These cravings coupled with a lack of impulse control can lead to bigger portions, late-night snacking, and all kinds of actions that can lead to weight gain.
Lack of sleep messes with our metabolism as well as hunger and satiety hormones like gherlin and leptin that clue our brain in to when we’re hungry and when we’re full. Cortisol can spike, sending the message to conserve energy and store fat. Insulin can also be impacted, making it difficult to process fats in the bloodstream and adding to the hunger hormone havoc.
Realizing this, one of the new habits I incorporated during the detox was getting more sleep.  This meant going to bed earlier. This was challenging because I often don’t get home from work until 7 or 8pm and then there’s dinner, dog walks, a little tv time, and tending to my blogging business.
I had to give up my late night routine of regularly bathing my eyes in the artificial light of my electronic devices and engaging in activities that stimulated my brain (Lumosity, anyone?). I needed to shift from work mode to relaxation mode. While unplugging a device shuts it down immediately, unplugging myself takes a little while.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to worry that I had eaten a heavy meal or consumed alcohol or caffeine before bedtime during the detox. However, it did make me realize how often doing so had interfered with my sleep.
By creating a reasonable regular bed time, I also established a natural and consistent waking time.  (No alarm clock for me, thank you.) I used to live for the weekends so I could sleep in. Now I find myself getting up at approximately the same time no matter what day it is. Mainly because my brain is badgering me to write and my belly is begging me to eat.  At last I have the energy and enthusiasm to create a day worth writing about.
What about you?
Do you get enough sleep? What helps you get the rest you need? How does not getting enough sleep impact you? What steps can you take to get more sleep?
Leave a reply below.

Detox Take Away #6 – Trust the Process

discovering new places

When I used to teach fitness classes, I remember thinking how much more motivating it might be for students if they could immediately lose a pound or two after completing a workout. Sure they felt better after having mobilized their bodies and activated their endorphins, but wouldn’t they be more willing to stick with it if they experienced instant weight loss?
We all know the real work of shape shifting takes time and consistent effort.  When goals are attained too easily or quickly, we can miss the message or sabotage the results. For many of us, weight is an incredible teacher. It certainly gets our attention and packs a wallop of emotion when we gain it or lose it.
Detoxing not only our bodies but also our brains is bound to take some time. We carry a lot of toxic beliefs about what we should weigh, how we should look, and how much of our value depends on an arbitrary number on the scale. Despite all my training, I’ve held on to some rather insidious beliefs about my weight that simply don’t serve me or anyone else.
Changing these beliefs and patterns of behavior is not easy.  There are a lot of variables to consider when attempting to make or break a habit. Factors like how often we automatically or unconsciously engage in the current habit, what benefits we get from continuing with the current habit, and what kind of habit we are attempting to change all impact the speed at which we can progress.
At the outset, 21 days seemed like a long time for a detox diet. However, I kept telling myself that 21 days in the course of a lifetime was not too much to ask. I reminded myself that I would gladly do this if it could save the life of a loved one. Hitting the reset button for myself might just save my own life.
I will not lie.  Some days were difficult. Every day I counted down the days until I would be done. Social situations were like land mines because they required special preparations and explanations and more effort than would be required if I just stayed home and kept the whole process on the down low.
The up side is that I felt better, cleaner, and lighter than I had in years. My brain fog lifted, my energy surged, and those few stubborn pounds melted away. But it didn’t and couldn’t happen overnight.
About half-way through the detox process I realized the only way out was through. I had to keep going. No matter how much I thought I knew, there was more to learn.  And that meant trusting the process.
Trusting the process meant relaxing into life. Trusting the process meant letting go of how I thought it should go. Trusting the process meant no matter what happened, I would be able to handle it. Trusting the process meant allowing the universe to have my back.
When I could do this, eating this or not eating that did not seem insurmountable.  Such a simple idea in theory.  But one that takes a lifetime of practice.  Or at the very least,  21 days.
Have you done a detox diet?  What lessons did you learn?
I’d love for you to share your thoughts or experiences in the comments below.

Detox Take Away #4 – Size Matters

Measure design

The size of our plate, the height and width of our glass, the comfort level of our clothes. According toBrian Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab and author of the book Mindless Eating, these are just a few of the factors that play a part in our ongoing effort to battle the bulge.

Unfortunately, these covert attempts at mind manipulation are so subtle that we seldom realize they could be  leading to weight gain.  This slippery slope can be as simple the 25 extra calories a day that add up to 2.5 pounds a year or 25 pounds in a decade.
A normal serving size on an 8 inch plate might look like an appetizer on a 12 inch plate. A drink in a tall, slender glass might seem more like a shot in a short, wide tumbler.  Wearing a track suit to a buffet may feel better than sporting Spanx or a body shaper, but if we constantly wear loose-fitting clothing, we can easily lose sight of the weight measurement many of us rely on more than a scale – how our clothes fit.
While most of us are aware of the dangers of super-sizing, we remain blissfully unaware of the advantage food marketers have on the subliminal marketing of their products. They are brilliant at getting their brands to look delicious, desirable, and therefore, in high demand.
But you and I know better. Or at least we think we do. It takes constant awareness and presence to keep our wits about us and we navigate the aisles of our supermarkets, health food co-ops, and menus at our favorite eating establishments. They are all equipped with weapons of mass distraction, designed to derail us from our best intentions of making conscious choices about how we nourish ourselves and our families.
What I learned from the detox is it takes a lot of practice to implement these ideas. It also takes a lot of education. Fortunately there are tons of books, blogs, websites, articles, and programs intent on bringing us out of the dark ages of nutrition and into the light of a new dietary day. Admittedly, the information can be overwhelming, confusing, and even conflicting.
My goal is to gather the resources I’ve found to be most helpful in my journey and share them with you. I’ll get them to you in the next week.
In the meantime, become a detective. Discover the hidden ways you are being influenced and literally shaped by habits that you may not have questioned before.
I’ll leave you with some food for thought:

  • What is a serving size? What does it look like? How does it look different depending on the size and even the color of the plate, glass, or container?
  • Do you think you eat more calories consuming handfuls of pretzels in front of the television or computer screen or sitting down at the table with a piece of pie? (Hint: When you’re unconscious about what or how much you’re eating, you’re going to eat more.)
  • How many decisions about food do you think you make per day? (Hint: It’s closer to 200 than 20.) Do you see how the sheer number can lead to poor choices?
  • Do you eat more of an item if you leave the box or package or dish on the table than if you put it back in the pantry or stove? (Hint: Make it inconvenient to grab more.)

That’s today’s take away.  Next up:  Hunger Games.  Hunger is not the enemy.
Share if you dare below any questions, insights, or ideas.  Thanks for reading.

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.
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