When clients come to me to lose weight one of the first things that I ask them to do is to keep eating exactly as they have been for a week and to keep a detailed food journal.
A food journal helps me, and my client, identify patterns and learn why they are overeating and overweight. For years I just thought I overate because I was ‘greedy’ or had ‘no will power’. I had shame around not being able to control my eating, and when I felt that shame and thought I was incapable, I would seek comfort in food and eat more.
When I understood all the reasons why humans have evolved to overeat, when I learned about food and eating with regards to our physiology, neurobiology, psychology and evolution it helped me to overcome that shame and frustration. This in turn enabled me to work with my body and brain, and not against them as I had done for years.
So here are the five things that I ask clients to observe and record when we start working...
There are many coaches out there and many different coaching methodologies. The type of coaching that I offer is ‘Causal Coaching’. This means that I treat the cause of my clients’ problem, or the reason why they are not getting what they want in life, and not just the symptoms.
What I mean by that is when a client comes to me because they can’t lose weight, I don’t tell them what to eat, instead I work with them to help them understand why they are overweight in the first place. Of course, on the surface it’s obvious ‘they overeat’, but what we want to understand is why they overeat. Is it because they want to avoid stress or boredom? Is it because they are insulin resistant and their hormones are out of balance? Or is it because their brain is constantly seeking highly refined foods for a dopamine fix?
When a client comes to me with a problem it can be really tempting to want to tell them how to fix it. If they...
Your past no longer exists except in your mind. All you have is now. The past is over, and the future is in your imagination. All you have in this moment are the thoughts you are thinking. If you’re thinking about your past, that isn’t your past. This is a huge distinction. Your past is over. The only way your past exists at all is in your thoughts about it now. Otherwise, it doesn’t affect you in any way.
Your thought right now about your past does affect you. All your thinking affects you deeply in this moment, but what happened to you in your past does not. Your past is over and doesn’t affect you, and then there are your current thoughts about your past, which do affect you.
Your past no longer exists except in your mind. That is a huge concept. When I ask you about your past now, what is it? It’s your story about your past.
If you had amnesia and you had no memory of your past, it would have no influence on you in terms of your...
I found hormones fascinating when I studied them as a part of my biology degree. They were one of my favourite modules, even though I didn’t realise then what an impact they have on impact on our lives. Something that I have a heightened awareness for now that I’ve been married to a type 1 diabetic for more than 20 years.
Put simply, hormones are the body’s little messengers, which get produced in one part of the body, such as the thyroid, adrenal or pituitary gland, pass into the bloodstream or other body fluid and go to distant organs and tissues where they act to modify structures and functions. For example:
Learning the art and science of intentional eating has been an important part of my weight loss journey.
By intentional eating, I mean that I plan what I am going to eat for every meal at least 24 hours in advance. This may sound restrictive, but it saves a ton of time and mental energy.
It’s a bit like once you’re married you don’t have to think about dating, who you should or should not go out with, how often you should see them. It’s a whole lot of emotional energy saved and it’s the same with intentional eating.
I have a food plan. Each week I decide what I am going to eat for every meal. My weekly food plan incorporates regular foods, exception foods, joy eats, drinks and meals out. My regular foods are foods that I chose to eat regularly. I chose them because they provide fuel for my body and I feel good when I eat them. For me these include: all vegetables, meat, poultry, fish dairy, rice and potatoes, coffee. I eat limited...
When my coach told me that the reason, I was so busy was because I was ‘slopping in my time management’, and that when I told her ‘I don’t have enough time’ that I was lying, I felt a bit affronted. She said that I didn’t need to be so ‘busy’ that I just needed to manage my time better.
The idea that the problem with my busyness was me, and not all the things that I had to do, was a bitter pill to swallow. My brain kept saying ‘yes but, she doesn’t know how much I have going on’.
I feel that ‘coping with having so much to do’ is a part of my identity. The thought of moving on from that and not being busy any more was, and still is, tough to wrap my head around.
My coach tells me that detailed planning of my life and my day and throwing away my to do list creates freedom and takes away the busy feeling and overwhelm. I have yet to master this skill, but I wanted to share the practice...
Practising believing something you don’t yet believe, is like adding fuel to the fire if you are striving towards achieving a new goal, whether that is weight loss or something else. The first step to doing that is becoming aware of what you currently believe, what your current thoughts are.
Your brain likes to be efficient. It doesn’t like to think new things. Thinking new things takes a lot of energy. Your brain likes to think things it’s already thought before because those thoughts flow easily along well-worn super highway like neural pathways. New thoughts need to create their own new path. Your brain doesn’t judge between thoughts that are positive and wonderful and lovely. Your brain wants thoughts that are familiar.
And so, it doesn’t filter it out. It just says, well, we’ve thought that a lot so let’s keep thinking it. And it’s likely that some of those thoughts aren’t helping you and are in fact...
Buffering is something we do to avoid fully experiencing our lives. We don’t want to face the truth of our lives because we don’t want to experience negative emotion. We think we are entitled to feel happy all the time because we are constantly bombarded with ways to feel pleasure.
There is value to constraint: to less food, to less drinking, and to less stuff. Yet we’re sold on the idea of more. We feel like we need to eat more, drink more, and have more. Constraint is what being married is all about. We constrain ourselves to one person. This constraint gives us freedom from chatter in our brains and gives us the opportunity to focus on so many other things thatwe want to do with our lives.
I can remember feeling as though dinner time was the highlight of my day. I can remember self-medicating with food to make me feel better, a quick biscuit or chocolate here and there helped me to feel less stressed. I used to overeat when I went out for meals...
We’re so confused about how relationships work. We’re under the impression that other people need to behave a certain way so we can feel good.
We have so many rules for our relationships that we have stopped experiencing them and are locked into our expectations of how these relationships should be instead.
Our relationships are simply our thoughts about another person.
Let me give you an example. I have an imaginary friend, Justine, who I love. She’s amazingly fun, gorgeous, smart, funny, and loyal. However I’ve noticed that not everyone has these same exact thoughts about Justine. How is that possible? Justine is fun, gorgeous, smart, funny and loyal. Why doesn’t everyone who knows her think that she’s as amazing as I do?
Think about it. Someone else can know Justine and have a completely different relationship with her. Why? She hasn’t changed. Their relationship with her is dependent on their thoughts about...
Why do we want to feel our emotions? Yesterday’s blog post addressed how most of us resist our emotions, react to them, or distract ourselves from them. Today I am going to explore how we can learn to feel our emotions, how we can allow them to be there.
But first let me remind you why we want to do that. We typically avoid or distract ourselves feeling negative emotions because we don’t like how they feel. The problem is when we do this, we are giving more power to the negative emotion and it tends to grow out of proportion. Also, when we avoid negative emotions, we often do things that are not in our best interest like eat biscuits and crisp, drink, shop or gamble. We partake in these pleasure-seeking behaviours to avoid feeling the negative emotion, which may work for a while but then typically, if the avoiding behaviour has a net negative benefit, we end up feeling worse than we did to start with. Also, often when we react to an emotion, for example we maybe...