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 positivity. 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:

Business winners

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!”

SnackingHow 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 of sustained weight loss, 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?”

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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Looking for love is a quest that fuels endless drama, fills Amazon’s order queue, and funds dating service executives’ retirement accounts.

The drama plays out online, through texts and on Facebook.

Valentine’s Day drove a hornet’s nest of fury my way when I went on the NBC15 news to suggest (gasp!), most people have the quest backwards, and self-love comes first.

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Valerie wrote to admonish me:  “LOVE IS ABOUT GIVING, NOT RECEIVING!” she yelled (yes, those are her caps).

“What are you going to give, if you can’t fill your own needs?” I asked.

“I understand self-love,” Adelaine wrote, “But I know I shouldn’t get too full of myself.”

“I bet the world would simply stop turning on its axis if that happened, Adelaine.

“I have heard that concept of loving yourself first a hundred times, and it is just baloney,” Cindy told me.  “I mean, what does that mean anyway?”

Cindy, I’m writing this blog for you.  And I will tell you what it means.

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Today, our culture is big on doing.

It’s also big on measuring, judging, denying and overindulging.

Research shows the incredible rate of weight regain after a diet resulting in a 30-lb. loss to be 97-99%.

Doctors are so desperate to make change, the American Medical Association has reclassified obesity as a disease, so they can justify highly invasive and expensive weight loss surgery which, by the way, causes complete regain in between 66-78% of patients, depending on the statistics you read.

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Despite extremes taken to lose weight:

1. Via exercise:  injury ends roughly 65% of weight loss efforts made with exercise, usually because exercisers are going beyond their fitness levels to excessive amounts of exercise.

2. Via fad dieting:  look at cleanses – can you think of a more ridiculous idea ever suggested to a food addict, that they simply and suddenly STOP eating?

the fact remains YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING TO LOSE WEIGHT.

That’s because losing weight is not a DOING thing.  Witness the things we DO:

  • We adopt our employers’ idea of how much we should overwork and overstress.
  • We overfill our schedules when every sane person knows they should only book 60% of the calendar because STUFF HAPPENS.
  • We think we are more valuable or important when drama reigns in our lives, driving excessive eating, drinking and drugging.
  • We take prescription drugs instead of addressing WHY we are anxious, depressed or overweight.

So, losing weight isn’t about food, or calories, or the gym.

It’s about WHO you are BEING in your life.

Whether you’re being what (you think) society expects you to be, or being the important big wig at work, or even being the subdued wallflower who never voices her needs because she doesn’t want to bother anyone, or using all your precious energy taking care of everyone else… it’s the state of BEING that needs addressing.

  • Living truthfully about your needs means you don’t choke them down with a donut.
  • Expressing emotions clearly and truthfully means you don’t medicate them with a box of cookies.
  • Refusing to hide or pretend is a positive fat melter.

It’s time to stop DOING and start BEING thin.