Posts tagged #weightloss

Why I Threw Out My Scale (Plus 3 More Gentle Ways to Measure Progress as You Heal Your Relationship with Food)

Earlier this year, I was reenergized to clean up my apartment by watching the Netflix series “Tidying Up” with Japanese decluttering expert Marie Kondo.  If you’ve ever spent time decluttering, you’d know that the hardest thing can be getting rid of the things to which we have emotional attachment.

To counteract this phenomena, Marie has her clients do one two things:

1) Pick up the item and hold it in their hands

2) Ask themselves: “Does this bring me joy?”

I love this question because a simple “Yes” or “No” answer helps you bypass the emotional attachment to make a clear decision on whether or not to keep something.

As I picked up the scale that had been sitting in my bathroom for years.  Immediately, I was taken back to the memories I had with this item. For years, when I was dieting and struggling with food, I remember feeling anxious and excited each morning when my my internal dialogue would go something like:

“I’ve been so good this week…. I’m soooo gonna see the numbers go down…. Oh wait, let me pee first so that doesn’t mess up the number”  (If that’s TMI for you, sorry I’m not sorry :P)

From here, one of two things would happen

SCENARIO 1

If the scale went down, I would rejoice!!!  “YES, my efforts are paying off!!”  Then, I’d go through my day feeling proud, confident, and excited.  

SCENARIO 2

  If the scale went up, (which inevitably it would at times due to hormonal fluctuations, water weight, etc.)  I would feel devastated and proclaim to myself: “Why bother?  I’m going to be fat forever!”  The saddest part of this is that this type of thinking would often lead me to eat emotionally.   I was victim to the dieting mentality. Studies do show that dieters can often be triggered to overeat emotionally by having a bad scale day.  What a crazy, insidious cycle!!!

Returning back to the present day, with the scale still in my hand, the clear answer was, “No, this doesn’t bring me joy.”  Since making peace with food and quitting dieting, I also realized that the scale had been collecting dust since I hadn’t even used the scale in a few years…  So into the Goodwill donation box it went...

While the scale can be useful for certain things (weighing your luggage or for people who can be completely objective about the numbers), for me and my clients, it would set off a cycle of self-loathing and sometimes binging.  So if you you are all like me or my clients, I invite you to let go of what’s not working for you and what is not bringing you joy. There plenty of options to measure your progress in a way that is more gentle and useful for the long-term.  

Why I threw out my scale.png

So if you’re ready to ditch the scale, here are 3 More Gentle Ways to Measure Your Progress

  1. By your choices - Perhaps you decided this week you’d cut your sugar intake in half and did that consistently for the week.  Excellent! That’s amazing progress and will lead to the external results you are looking for. Or perhaps like a client of mine, you practice different mindfulness tools and measure your progress by how often you practice...then soon realize that your binges are getting smaller or have disappeared!

  2. How your clothes feels - Perhaps you have a particular skirt or pair of jeans that is a bit more snug.  You can use this as a more gentle way to check in with how you’re doing in your efforts.

  3. Tune into how your body feels - Weight loss isn’t everything.  After all, have you met people who have lost weight but feel miserable?  After your efforts, do you feel more energetic? More calm minded and centered?  Celebrate those internal wins because they are what will keep you going.  

I’d love to know your thoughts! What tip resonated most with you? Please comment below!

The Connection Between Sleep, Binge Eating & Weight Gain

**BEEP BEEP BEEP**

“UGHH…” I thought to myself… ” After more seconds, my boyfriend then proceeded to climb over me to turn off the alarm that was meant to signal it was time for me to get up.

Even this morning, I had planned to get up early to blog and work on some items for my clients but after realizing the even the caffeine from my boyfriend’s Chai Tea wasn’t helping, I soon realized how sleep deprived I was and that I had been staying up late for combination of things this week, including but not limited to dance classes, hanging out with my boyfriend, watching countless videos on Instagram, and binge watching the entire 3rd season of “Stranger Things” (yes, so guilty here, even coaches have things they can consistently improve upon!)

I know for a fact that when I don’t get enough sleep, I’m less productive with work, make poorer decisions, and find myself in more mind-numbing situations, such as scrolling through Facebook or watching hours of TV.  Lack of sleep just seems to compound on itself… You feel so tired that you’re less efficient, meaning you may stay up later to get something done or get more distracted, and hence continues the cycle of feeling like *SHIT*.  (Also, have you ever thought to yourself, if someone says to you, “You look tired.. That they’re actually saying you look like SHIT?” Anyways, I digress :D ...).

This brings me to my point… I have found that sleep to be one of the keystone habits that set everything else in your life up for success.  Whether you’re cranking it out at the gym, working hard in the office, or taking care of kids, you need sleep. It’s the time our bodies have for rest, rejuvenation and repair.


In fact, when we look at the connection between lack of sleep, binge eating, and weight gain, we find countless anecdotes and studies that show:

  • Lack of sleep increases cravings and and especially for high-calorie foods 

  • Lack of sleep has affects on our mood - which may lead you to overeat, binge, or take it out on your significant other

  • Lack of sleep impacts our effectiveness in everything - our ability to reason, to complete our workouts, and to communicate and be present at work and at home

When I look back on the days, when I personally struggled with nighttime binge eating, I realize how insidious the cycle was.  When I’d stay up late to finish an assignment, I would often use food to keep me company and stay awake. Since my willpower was lower at the end of the day, I would often binge or overeat.  At some point, eating at night became such a habit that even if I didn’t have a good reason to stay up, I would find myself picking from the fridge and (I was embarrassed to say) picking food from my roommates.  Eating late would then disrupt my sleep even set me up to be even more tired and feeling disgusted the next day.

I am so very glad that this pattern is something that does not affect me today.  I would argue that sleep is one of the most important habits to prioritize if you’re looking beat binge eating and improve your eating habits.

So here are my recommendations to improve the quality of your sleep:

  1. Examine your current habits.  Then make your plan to improve your sleep duration and/or quality.

Whenever we want to change something, we first have to understand where we are.  I recommend taking some time to reflect on your current habits. What time do you tend to go to bed?  What are you doing before bedtime? How easy is it for you to fall asleep at night? What time do you tend to get up?  How do you feel in the morning when you get up? Are you energized and alert? Do you wake up without the alarm clock? Or when the alarm goes off do you snooze and roll over?  If it’s the latter, you could use more sleep!

On average, people need anywhere from 7-8 hours of sleep; however, we are all different so this would require a bit of experimentation.  I would recommend to start with planning out your bedtime at least 8 hours from the time you wake up, then seeing if after a week if you wake up naturally before or after the alarm clock.  If you find you go to bed at 11, with the plan of waking up at 7 am, but keep waking up at 6:30 am, this probably means your body needs 7.5 hours optimally.

If you find yourself staying up late often and not being able to give yourself the full 8 hours to sleep, I recommend examining why this is happening and what you are doing during this time.  Are you staying up late watching TV, working on assignments for school or work, and/or eating? How is this serving you? Or if it’s not, what might you do to change the situation?

  1. Increase your blue light exposure during the day and decrease it at night.

Blue light is essentially like caffeine for your brain.  The sun is the biggest producer of blue light, so as the sun sets in the evening, it turns on our hormones, specifically melatonin, to signal that it’s time to sleep.  Fast forward to modern day, where we have 24/7 exposure to blue light from our laptops, computers, and televisions, the natural signals that our bodies produce for sleep 

So I recommend spending some time in the sunlight each day to increase your blue light exposure or investing in one of those artificial bright lights, especially if you live in an area with limited sun exposure like Seattle where I currently reside.

At night, turn off you electronics 2 hours before bed time.  You can also look into certain applications that turn off the blue light on your devices.  Lastly, I’m personally experimenting with blue light glasses, which you can put on at dusk to limit your blue light exposure.  (Now that Stranger things is done… I myself will be putting this back into practice)

2.  Stop eating at least 2 hours before bed time

Many people feel uncomfortable and are unable to sleep well if they are too full from eating.  I recommend refraining from eating within 2 hours of bedtime. Some people prefer to go to bed a “little hungry,” while others (including myself) prefer a neutral state (“I’m neither hungry nor full, not really thinking about food”).  Plan out your meals so that you can honor your bedtime.  

If you struggle with night time eating, it’s time to take a look at your eating habits during the day… Are you getting enough food earlier in the day or are you starving yourself and then reaching for whatever you can find in the evening?  

3.  Get moving!  But not too close to bedtime

Exercise has been scientifically proven to improve sleep quality and duration.  However, for some people, exercising too close to bedtime can lead to disrupted sleep (this includes yours truly).  In general, aim to end intense exercise at least 2 before sleep and experiment to find which activities you can do more close to bedtime (perhaps yoga) vs. would be better for earlier in the day.

4.  Create your winding down routine and make it a habit

I find that certain activities riles me up, while others calm me down.  If you’re having issues with getting to bed on time, perhaps it’s time to examine what you’re doing leading up to sleep.  My personal favorite is something I picked up from another coach, which is to read fiction in the evening. I find it’s a nice way to escape the day-to-day care and relax before bedtime.

I’ve also found that meditation at night is a great way to calm my chattering mind down.  In fact, before I discovered meditation, I would often struggle with sleepless nights where my brain was chattering loudly.  Apps like Insight Timer offer free meditations that you can use to calm your mind.

6.  Seek professional help if needed

Seek help from a qualified doctor, therapist, or coach if needed.  You deserve a good night’s rest!

So if you or anyone you know has ever uttered, “Sleep is for the weak!” I think it’s time to challenge those beliefs.  Sleep is for the powerful and the sexy. It sets everything else up for success - so why not sleep your way to the top?  Also, if you’re looking to change your eating habits and beat binge eating, the first steps may just be to get a good night’s rest tonight!


Ditch the Dieting and Meal Planning - What to do instead

It’s Monday and you’ve promised yourself that you’ll do better.  After a whole week of “bad eating,” you decide that Monday is absolutely the day you’ll get back on track.  You’ve mapped it out already - you’re going to pack salads all for lunch, stop eating sweets, and finally “get clean.

The first day isn’t too bad, the second okay, but by day 4, the sight of your spinach salad makes you gag.  You also can’t tolerate another green protein smoothie, after drinking the same thing over and over again. Your coworker asks you out to lunch and you simply oblige.

Sound familiar?  Yep, while I’m not saying that meal plans aren’t necessary (they can be useful at times), like dieting, they’re temporary and just plain suck after a while.  Then pretty soon you’re off nosediving back into the afternoon sugar pick me up, the afterwork binges, feeling like you’re back to square one.

So what can you do instead?  Here are some suggestions:

“I wish I could stop eating, but I just love food too much!”

A few years ago, I was at Vegetarian Fest in Seattle where a vegan chef and author, Alan Roettinger shared what he believed it meant to truly love someone or something.  He shared that when he fell in love with his wife, he found himself paying attention so intently on how she moved, what she said, and what she did.  To him, to love meant to give complete focus and intention.  He brought that same focus to the food he made with love.

“I wish I could stop eating, but I just love food too much!”  I am guilty of uttering these words and have heard them countless times from friends and clients, who deep down are frustrated with the weight loss process.  Chances are though if you identify as an emotional eater or someone who is overweight, you probably don’t pay much attention to your food or at all.  In fact, you may find that you eat distracted perhaps in front of your phone or the TV.  Perhaps you may find that you are using food to go unconscious and to soothe, as is common in emotional eating.

So what if you agreed with Alan Roettinger’s definition of what it means “to love.”  What would it look like to truly love food?  Perhaps you would make your meal times special.  Perhaps you would place the food nicely on the plate, focus fully on how the food tastes, and be grateful for what it provides you.

Setting the Minimum – When doing less makes you more successful

Hey there!  How are those resolutions going?  If you’re like me with my past resolutions - by week 2, I could feel myself slipping, and by the final week of January, I had already given up.

The truth is I myself find big goals sexy.  I can see myself now… in 6-months, I have rock hard abs and I’m sporting a white bikini on beach having flown to Costa Rica on my private jet where I live on an island surrounded by dolphins.  So naturally, my goals this week are to: cut out all sugar and processed foods, to exercise 4 hours a day– and oh yeah ,did I mention I’m going to land 10 new clients to start paying off the price of the vacation?

Okayyyy, that’s a grand exaggeration – but you get the point!