iPhone App Fix Coming Soon!

Attention iPhone users!  It seems that the latest iOS operating systems updates have caused a glitch for the app In the Moment – Mindful Eating.  It is likely that if your app works, you have not yet performed these updates.

We are working on it, and it should be fixed soon, and more!  There will be a couple of upgrades added at the same time.  Please be patient in the meantime, as anyone looking at the app for the first time will think the app doesn’t do much – because in its broken form it doesn’t!  Watch for updates here or on the Facebook Page.  It should be fixed by the first week of January.

“Coffee is far more than a beverage” and food is almost never simply fuel.

I had coffee with a friend recently.   Retreating from the cold Wisconsin weather, we settled in, warmed up, and savored the wonders of our steamy beverages:  the taste and warmth of the drinks, to be sure, but also the experience of connection in a cozy setting.

Later she sent this:

Yes!  We eat – and drink – for reasons that are complex and interconnected.  Do we ever eat simply for physical hunger and nourishment?   If so, it is rare, at least in developed countries.  I understand the metaphor of a human body as a car, and we want to use good quality fuel, but it’s not that simple!

We are human beings, not machines, so eating decisions are always interesting blends of physical hunger, pleasure seeking, and emotional needs.  We often weigh these factors unconsciously, so food decisions can seem to be controlled by factors beyond our control.  “I don’t know why I ate those cookies.  I couldn’t stop, and I didn’t even really like them that much.”  (In reality, the cookies may have been a mindless attempt to meet an emotional need, one that might have been more truly soothed with a non-food solution.)

I believe that one reason we tune out and don’t hear our genuine needs is that our diet-focused culture seldom encourages that kind of non-judgmental observation.  Why would we be curious about that if we believe that we should just follow a plan no matter what?!  Why question that craving?  Just resist it!

People who blindly try to follow a rigid eating plan do not always realize that ignoring real needs does not make them disappear.  In fact, the opposite is usually true; ignoring them is more likely to cause uncontrolled eating that appears to have no logic other than “I have no willpower, and I’m a total failure.”  There’s not much insight in that kind of thinking!

This is not to say that having a plan is a bad thing.  It is actually a very good thing if a plan is defined as having an intention to do something, but any plan that will work long term must be chosen, not imposed.  That means it should make sense for your body and be realistic for your life.  Maybe most importantly, any good plan for human beings needs to be flexible.

We know what we need if we pay attention.  If we listen, true needs (sometimes for physical nourishment, but sometimes for more complex things like warmth or comfort or pleasure or pain avoidance) become less mysterious and we can choose to honor them and care for them kindly, or we can decide to ignore what would be truly supportive and act outside of our best interests.

Either way, a choice is better than mindless default.  Choice always leaves the door open for a kinder approach next time, and choice is less likely to cause regret and disappointment, guilt and shame.

Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating: Not the Usual List

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I don’t know about you, but I am tired of reading the re-runs of holiday eating tips this time of year.  Every time I see the teasers on the cover of every magazine in the grocery store rack, I can’t resist looking to see if anyone has come up with something different than “Bring a veggie tray to the party” or “Don’t go to a party hungry.”

Those who struggle with weight know that the biggest calorie gluts come during the times they feel defeated, hopeless, or simply tired of trying so hard.  “I give up!”  or “It doesn’t matter anymore; I’ve already blown it.”  Strategies for these times and these moods will save far more unnecessary calories than choking down endless carrot sticks and celery at a party while simultaneously exhausting willpower by resisting even the smallest bite of anything pleasurable.

Before the pent-up tension sets the same old pattern in motion again this year, or if you are one who just “punts” until January 1, try my tips instead.  They are not tips for a “perfect” eating plan, but they are tips for improved eating this season, improvements that can continue into the New Year and beyond.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope your feast includes delicious food as well as many happy moments with family and friends.

Life itself is the proper binge. – Julia Child

Kim’s Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating  

1.  Look at your holiday eating beliefs.

  • Are you going into the holidays believing you will gain weight? Do you believe you can’t control yourself?
  • What you believe is powerful! Thoughts can become actions. Try entering the season with a more curious attitude. (“I have had trouble in the past controlling myself around holiday baked treats. This year I will stay more mindful and observe what happens.”)

2.  Consider your stress level and simplify (not just food, but holiday expectations !).  Stress can – and often does – affect eating.

3.  Modify your plan and be “intelligently flexible”.

4.  When facing an eating decision, ask these questions:

  • What am I looking for right now (body nourishment, pleasure, something else)?
  • Does this feel kind?  Please treat yourself kindly.

5.  Do what you can to balance your brain chemistry for better self control.

  • Don’t go hungry.
  • Control blood sugar levels and mood by eating plenty of high fiber fruits and vegetables, along with a good portion of protein.
  • Eat concentrated sweets in moderation.
  • Get plenty of sleep, sunlight, laughter, exercise, friendship, and positive thinking to keep brain chemistry in a happy balance.

6.  Stay present: If you disappoint yourself, remember that you only have this moment to make changes. You cannot have a re-do, but in this moment you can do something more important – forgive yourself and change your long-term thinking.

7.  Try the app I developed to help people with the human side of eating challenges (In the Moment – Mindful Eating).  

Put the entire situation into perspective. How many days of “holiday” are there – really?  What will you do and how will you treat yourself on all of the many other days in between the few special events?

Is holiday time a bad time to start making lifestyle changes?

What do you think? I hear a lot of people making statements like “I know the holidays are a bad time to start anything . . . .”, “I might as well wait until January . . . .” . . . . . etc., etc. Is this a bad time to try making any changes at all?

If you are one of the many who wait . . . and wait . . . and WAIT for the perfect time to start making changes, I have a different point of view on the subject. I think any time, any day, is a perfect time – THE perfect time to start if that moment is now. Why? Because this very moment is the only one any of us has to make changes.

This is your moment to do something different, whether it is July, or September, or Thanksgiving Day. Keep putting it off, and the postponement becomes part of the plan. “I will start (again) tomorrow (Monday, in January . . . ).”

The avoidance of looking at change is often rooted in the belief that change needs to be dramatic and sudden. In reality, I believe that lasting changes are built from little adjustments created by changes in thinking. If you believe that this is a horrible time to start, how can positive energy toward new actions arise? Most likely no change will happen, and your usual holiday lifestyle will be sustained through your thinking.

What if you adopted a new belief this year, one that did not assume that change has to shake up your world? What if that belief allowed you to gently ease toward a more healthy holiday season – and you could give yourself credit for those little changes?

In the spirit of possibilities, remember that this very moment is the perfect one to start. Planning for minor improvements is a real opportunity for a healthy dose of comfort and joy!

Don’t take my green tea latte away!

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Imagine a favorite pleasure food, one you can truly savor and enjoy without losing control.  Is it a small piece of dark chocolate?  Or does chocolate of any kind cause you to lose control too much to truly savor it?  Maybe a single ice cream sandwich is pure pleasure without the panic?  This is so individual.

For one of my weight loss clients, a green tea latte from Starbucks is the peak of pleasure.  It causes her to feel satisfied physically and emotionally; it is pleasurable without the downside of losing control.  She told me she has even “lightened” it up by having less syrup and now uses skim milk.  It has about 250-300 calories, and “oh, are they worth it!” she says.

I believe her.  Listening to her describe the experience, I want one too – not the green tea latte, but the experience!  You see, green tea lattes are not my thing, but I understand what she is saying.  For her, green tea lattes provide a relaxing, enjoyable experience that starts when she walks into a Starbucks store to place her order.  I feel that way when I order an ice cream cone.  Pure pleasure!

During our first meeting together, we set out to find the source of calories keeping her from losing weight.  The conclusion:  candy at the office was probably responsible for an extra 500-800 calories per day, almost every day.  Along with the candy she had an extra helping of guilt and lack of control, none of which happened when she had the green tea latte.

But . . . instead of getting the candy out of sight and and saving herself from the chaotic spiral downward, she had given up the lattes on the advice of a well-intentioned trainer.  While for many of us, giving up the latte would be easy, for her it was torture and deprivation.  Giving up the candy, she told me would be much easier.  In fact, having none would be easier than tempting herself with a little and losing control.

I asked, “So, when you didn’t have the lattes, how did you do with the candy?”  Her answer:  “Terrible, worse than ever!”  A strong (and emotional) feeling of deprivation was fueling her candy binges.

The plan was easy to figure out after that.  Get rid of the candy that added so many extra calories and did not give true pleasure.  Add back the lattes.

It turns out she had really understood all along, but didn’t trust herself:  “You know, I thought that giving up my lattes was probably not a good idea, because they satisfied me so completely, but I was told they were a waste of calories.”

It pays to listen to that little voice inside.  A waste of calories for one person may be a very intelligent use of them for another.  Are you listening to your needs and treating yourself kindly?

 

Sparkly Pink Jeans and Food Cravings

 

glitter pants hanger pinkLet me tell you a quick story, one recently told to me by a young woman as we discussed a topic unrelated to eating . . . but then again, it was.  How we interact with food in our lives is so often a reflection of our tendencies in general.

So, here’s the story, as told by a yoga classmate while we considered our own reactions to rules imposed upon us:

Back in junior high school, the boys were allowed to wear blue jeans; the girls were not.  We could wear colored jeans though . . . seemed so unfair!

It really pissed me off because it made absolutely no sense.  So I got a really obnoxious pair of pink jeans – the most obvious, ugly pair I could find.  They had kinda sparkly things on them, and they were really, really PINK – I mean BRIGHT PINK!

I wore them every day, even though I didn’t like them, just because the rule was so stupid.  I mean the boys’ jeans were so beat out.  We (the girls) actually had nice-looking jeans.  UNFAIR!

I really hate it when people set rules that make no sense.  I feel like I just have to break them.

Bingo!  She hit the nail on the head.  People are often the same way when it comes to eating rules.  If they don’t make a conscious choice to follow a particular rule, it is just like someone arbitrarily telling them they can’t wear blue jeans.  The response is similar:  “I can’t eat any chocolate, huh?!  Watch me!!”  Then they eat an entire box.

Just like my friend wearing her pink pants, they really don’t want to eat that much chocolate.  They want to choose the rules (call them guidelines, if you prefer) that make sense for them.

There are lots of rules on the internet about eating.  Read carefully, and consider thoughtfully, before imposing them on yourself.  If they make sense, it won’t feel restrictive; it will feel nurturing.  If they don’t make any sense for you, they will feel like a pair of sparkly pink pants you wear just to make a point.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

We all need them – quick, easy, delicious, healthy, (and YES, pretty!) meals.  I made this last night to go with my baked walleye with almonds.  It took very little active cooking time.  I love creating dishes when inspiration hits!

When the air gets crisp, I crave fall vegetables in hearty dishes with rich flavors.  This combo of butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and white beans really did the trick.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place cubes of butternut squash and halved Brussels sprouts in a roasting pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.  Add a sprig or two of fresh rosemary (adds such a nice flavor).  Roast 20 minutes and remove from oven.  Add a drained and rinsed can of white beans (navy or other), toss and return to oven for another 10 minutes or until squash and Brussels sprouts are tender.

Remove from oven.  Squeeze lemon juice over the top and add a bit more olive oil if desired.  Add more sea salt to taste.  Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and enjoy!  (I think I will try some toasted walnuts on top next time.)

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