This Thanksgiving week, I feel especially grateful for my health and happiness.

Often, when I’m giving a speech or presenting a workshop, I make this statement:

“Today, I’m grateful I struggled with excess weight for thirty years.”

gratitude

It seems I always have at least half an audience who become incredulous at that statement, but, now that I’m on the other side of struggle, it’s quite easy to see the life lessons I learned on my way to success:

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In today’s world, women are stressed, exhausted and waaaaayyyyy too busy.  Is it any surprise excess weight is the result?

When stress hormones run rampant within the body, the addrenal glands are overworked, affecting every gland and organ in the body… and the body is not able to efficiently deal with the toxicity created… fatigue and fat are natural results.

It’s time for a different perspective, especially if you want permanent weight loss.

 

Is this how you gather strength…

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so you can take care of everyone else?

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In the last forty years, women have made tremendous advances in the world, busting down boundaries, raising the glass ceiling, taking more responsibility and wielding more power – and don’t misunderstand me – those are all tremendous accomplishments.

But, there’s a problem.

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Diets almost never promote permanent weight loss, and they can leave behind a damning misperception of how to treat the body.

Diets can leave us with a sense that we should constantly falsely restrict the amount we eat.

AND they can cause binging, which expands the stomach and our sense of fullness.

Here’s the easiest way to measure the amount of food to eat at a given meal – an organic method the yogis use which is simple, requires no utensils, and always “at hand.”

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Your own hands.  Form a solid joint between the blades (outer edge) of the hands from the tip of the pinkie to the wrist.

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Nothing is better for a human being than change. It enlivens, awakens, empowers. It’s a breeding ground for staying positive. Change for my clients means weight loss, greater health, new or better relationships, enlivening careers, and better leadership of self and others.

No matter what brings them to me, there’s a deeper need. They all seek to feel better, about themselves and the world. We all seek positivity and pleasure in life, whether we are conscious of this or not. If we are unconscious of our basic need to feel good, we often subvert it into addictive behaviors – grabbing bits of pleasure from overeating, overspending, overdrinking, oversexing, or even watching too much TV (where we can laugh but stay disengaged from real life).

Finding a truly positive place and staying there, however, are two different things.

With positivity and pleasure being a natural need of all human beings, why doesn’t it ALWAYS stick around when we find it? It makes sense, once there’s a breakthrough to the positive side of life, to keep the feelings around.

If that happened, you’d see people everywhere like this:

staying-positive

Two things can happen to your positivity.

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Just because the idea of “Conscious Uncoupling” hit the news via a celebrity divorce doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.  Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin may be making headlines with their divorce, but couples have been creating guilt-free, drama-free transitions that serve their greater good for years.

In 2005, I coached a woman who was avoiding a divorce because she didn’t want to displease friends and family.  Both she and her husband had acknowledged they weren’t interested in continuing the relationship.  They had deep differences and very divergent ideas of their future.  (I tell her story with her permission.)

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“I’m only avoiding it because I dread the reaction of everyone else.  I dread the trauma.  I fear we’ll be stigmatized as losers.  The truth is, we’re very happy when we are apart.”

“So, what are you going to create from these facts?” I asked her.

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You are actively pursuing weight loss.  You feel great about your efforts, which have led to noticeable results.  But, on the way to meet a friend for lunch, you begin to get a niggling feeling in your belly.  Something’s bothering you, but you don’t know what.  As soon as your friend settles in the car, the first words out of her mouth remind you why you were apprehensive.

“Please don’t tell me you want to go somewhere boring and diet-y again.  Olive Vine has all-you-can-eat pasta bowl at lunch!”

friends lose weightHow do you react?

This is a common situation for people making change.  It can cause your mind to go into overdrive.

You might:

1. begin to make excuses for her

2. remind yourself she’s your best friend

3. pretend you didn’t notice the negativity and judgment dripping in her voice

4. go along to “Olive Vine” and valiently fight to order something that doesn’t lead directly to a nap

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As I celebrate 14 years on the permanent weight loss road, my own little “self” anniversary, I’m making it a point to look back as well as forward.

Reflection is only useful if it brings greater awareness. Speaking from the beginning stages of weight loss, one of my newer clients asked me, “Oh, don’t you look back and feel bad for those days when you could enjoy eating anything you wanted?”

permanent-weight-loss-14th anniversary pic

She was earnest, and honest, but looking through the lens of her own fears. And, no, the pleasures I feel and create today don’t even compare to pepperoni pizza. They couldn’t come close to that meaningless little chocolate truffle. No, they’re not even on the same planet.

Sure, food can be a pleasure but, when your senses are tuned into life, you are constantly creating heightened states of energy, ecstasy, and expansion — within your soul, not just your body.

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Part of my real-world research as I lost over 90 lbs involved following naturally thin people around.  Asking questions.  Posing challenges.  Discerning habits.  My merciless stalking, if you will, produced a wealth of information I had never learned in my food addicted upbringing.

Naturally thin people are not thin because they are smarter, stronger or have more willpower than other people.  They are thin because they have developed habits that serve THIN, instead of making FAT.  Here are the top six:

1.   Never Eat Unless Hungry – Naturally thin people know hunger cues, and see them as signals for action.  Without the green light, they don’t eat.

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2.  Stop Before Full – Naturally thin people never feel stuffed or uncomfortable.  They feel a satiation cue which stops them right before they are completely full.  Their connection to their bodies is strong, and they honor the feedback they get from their physical body.

3.  Waste Food, Not Waist It – People who never struggle with their weight don’t worry about throwing food out when they are full, whether that means a to-go box, or the trash can.  They know that refusing to “waste food” means “waisting” it, which is just like carrying your garbage around on your body for everyone to see.

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