Monday, April 26, 2010

Emotional Baggage and a Little Spring Cleaning

Baggage is getting expensive lately. Been on a flight lately and had extra baggage? Jeez! Who's making the money on that one? The airlines are forcing us to re-evaluate our packing patterns, aren't they? Have you ever gone on a trip and not worn 1/2 of what was in your bag?

Baggage is getting wasteful. We are accumulating a lot of "stuff" in our lives. We have so much more than we need. Ever go through your closet and really look and realize you don't wear 1/2 of what is hanging up?

And what about emotional baggage? What emotions are trapped in our minds and what emotions are trapped in our body? Childhood pains, broken relationships, failed goals, anger with someone. Where is it all stored? Is it in our mind or our body - or a little of both?

Spring is blooming in Atlanta. It's beautiful, just beautiful. Green everywhere, flowers, trees, the city is absolutely alive with freshness and life. A perfect time to do a little bit of Spring cleaning. Clean out the clutter, clear out the accumulation, get rid of the extra baggage. I love and I hate Spring cleaning! I love the results and how fresh and open my house is afterwards, but I hate doing the actual cleaning.  I love the feeling of not feeling messy or cluttered, but I hate going through things that I may or may not need or want. But it is a necessary and rewarding part of life. In the end, I feel much better and happier when I only have what I need and want.

So what about some emotional Spring cleaning? How can we clean out our mind and in the process, clear our body?

Well, let's take cleaning out a closet as an example. I know, fun stuff, but you know you feel better after you do it...You take 3 bags with you:
1. Throw away - these are items you have not used or worn in the last year. Outdated, torn, ugly.
2. Give away - these are items that you just do not wear or use, but that are in reasonable shape and someone else could use them.
3. Keep and take care of.

Each item in your closet goes in Bag #1 or #2 and everything left over is #3. How much do you put in bags #1 and #2? Quite a bit, isn't it? Seasons change, our bodies change, styles change. It all adds up to clearing out the clutter, giving to others and then we can see the beautiful things we have remaining and can focus on that.

We can do that emotionally too. 

Let's take that emotional clutter: Childhood pains, broken relationships, failed goals, anger with someone. Now let's go to cleaning, take 3 bags with you:
1. Throw away - these are thoughts and memories you have not used or worn in the last year, but they stay with you. Outdated, torn, ugly. Past pains, failures, things from the past that are not good for you, but you just can't get rid of. Release them, what's past is past, concentrate on the future. Just throw them away.
2. Give away - these are thoughts and memories that you just do not wear or use, but that are in reasonable shape and someone else could use them. Wasted emotions - anger, jealousy, resentment. What's the use of holding onto them? Now don't give these to someone else, who needs that? But give them away. Give the power of those emotions away. Picture blowing them into a balloon, tying a knot in the balloon, then going outside and releasing the balloon.
3. Keep and take care of. Take stock of what you have. Do you have a house? Do you have a family? Do you have a job? Take care of what you have. Make it as pretty as you can. Love what you have.

Emotional clutter can definitely affect your body. Holding onto emotions, holding onto stress, holding onto past events that keep you back from living in the present. Release that clutter, let go of the emotions, and THEN and only THEN, can you truly get rid of your baggage and start anew with your body.

Spring cleaning anyone?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

An Emotional Detox Diet

Help! I need to detox. Help! I need to lose weight. Help! I just need to get the bad stuff out.

Wait, here's help. Another detox diet. Ever done one of those? Be honest, I know you have. Detox diets are a magic fix, aren't they? If you haven't tried one, you KNOW someone who has and are impressed that they lost __, so many pounds in one week! Wow! All you have to do is give up food, right? Anybody can do that for a week, right?

I've written before about detox diets. How they are supposed to eliminate the "bad stuff" from your body and clean out your system. How they are supposed to improve your energy and give you clarity. How hard the side effects are with headaches, tiredness and irritability. I teach my clients that there is no quick fix. Yet, every day, we are bombarded with new "detox diets" that promise outstanding results and create unrealistic expectations. We see these things every day - in magazines, TV, radio - and we say to ourselves "this cannot be true", but yet something inside of us yearns for it to be true. For it to be so easy - to detox our bodies, to lose weight, to get the bad stuff out.

What about an emotional detox diet?

What about neutralizing our emotional well being? 
What about eliminating the emotional toxins from our minds? 
What about taking out the bad and putting in the good from our head?

Is this possible? 

Detox diets address the "body burden", a cumulative load of toxins that lead to illness and other ailments including hormonal imbalance, impaired immune function, nutritional deficiency and an ineffecient metabolism.

So what about our "emotional" body burden? 

What about the cumulative load of emotional thoughts that lead to illness and other ailments including depression, poor body image, unhappiness with life and frustration with your body? Could we go on an emotional detox diet to address those problems?

I think we could. I think we should. 

How many people out there KNOW what to do to lose weight but aren't doing it?
How many people out there KEEP trying to change their body, but can't?
How many people out there have joined a gym, started working out, started walking, and still can't lose weight?

I'm going to do more studying and research on this topic, but are you interested in exploring this topic more? I am. If you are, let me know and you can come along with me. I'm NOT going to suggest a product, okay? Let's get that out of the way right now. But I want to hear YOUR feedback. If you are reading this and you agree, let me know. If you think it is BS, let me know. I will publish ALL responses -- EXCEPT those that are trying to sell a product or come with a link to a product. I'm not here to sell you a product, I'm here to help you.

Do you need an emotional detox diet? 

Monday, April 5, 2010

How do You Stop Failing at Losing Weight?

aka "I messed up again!" Now what? 

Holidays are tough, friends. Not only the family factor, where you are thrown together with people you may or may not like or get along with...but the food factor, where you are paired with food habits or "traditions" that include overeating, sugar overload, or alcohol overload. Sounds like fun, huh? All leading you to the day after, scale despair, feeling of failure again and general disgustedness. Is that a word?

So, how do you stop failing at losing weight? 

First of all, one day is not going to make or break you. You can overeat in one day, you can stop exercising, you can feel like you are losing control, but one day of this is not going to break you. However, it can start a downward spiral if not stopped. Your job is to stop the one day into becoming several days or one week. And this is typically where the problem starts. Feelings of failure and memories of past failures start to affect your mind and you start to lose hope.

When you are on a weight-loss program [with your fitness professional advising you], let's say it's a 12-week program - you will notice results in the first couple of weeks, you will notice results after a month or so, but the REAL, substantial results will not show until week 8 or 9. Week 8 or 9! What does that mean? That means you have to work hard, stick to your program, for 8-9 weeks BEFORE you are going to see substantial results. THEN you have to bring it home and work hard for another 3-4 weeks to get to your goal.

Can you do that? Do you have what it takes?

YES, YOU CAN! I know you can!

You stop "failing" at losing weight by doing the following:

-Have a plan in writing - both workouts and nutrition
-Have goals, either weight loss, bodyfat%, clothing size - measurable goals
-Putting on your blinders and sticking to your plan. Not being swayed at what others are doing OR what others say about what you are doing.
-Knowing what is real and what is not real. Things you hear, things you see, things you read. Stop falling for every weight-loss gimmick and learn to trust your inside voice.
-Finding your heart. Finding the STRENGTH inside of you.

It's not fun to fail. It's heartbreaking. I tried for 8 years to lose weight and nothing worked. But when I applied those principles, I did lose the weight and I did stick with it, for 9 years now. You can stop failing. You can stop "guessing" at weight loss and making unrealistic "goals" which are really just dreams. You have the ability to make your dreams become reality and it starts with you, what's inside of you.

Get mad! Get mad at the food that you think is stopping you. Get mad at the body that you think is stopping you. Get mad enough to do something about it. For me, there are some days where only "Eugene" can help me. Eugene is the name of the punching "guy" in my studio. He alternates between wearing a mask and pink bandana according to my mood, but there are some days when the only thing that can help me is to beat the crap out of him. Better him than the kids, right? And there are other days where I need to run it out, on the track. There are days where you could not PAY me to eat sugar and there are days where I could fall easily. But when you have a plan, you stick to it and you get STRONG, you CAN do it.

I'm here to help you. Will you stop failing? Please do it today.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What's In Your Easter Basket? Is It Healthy?

Ahh, another holiday to spend with family and friends. Ahh, another chocolate holiday. Can you go into a grocery store or drug store without tripping over chocolate bunnies or rubbing elbows with chocolate-covered eggs, chocolate malt balls, chocolate chicks, every kind of jelly bean you can think, what's in your Easter basket? A little chocolate?

How does this happen?

Easter Bunny is sneaky? It just shows up?

Easter is a religious holiday, well, it's supposed to be. In today's world, who knows? Easter has become another glorified way to overindulge, to cheapen and to forget what the holiday is really supposed to be about. Sound familiar? Put your seatbelts on, I'm feeling real honest today and will probably step on some toes, again, chocolate toes probably.

Here goes...if you are a parent and your child is overweight and you fill their Easter baskets with chocolate goodies, you are responsible for your child being overweight. There, I said it. If you are a parent of a girl who has self-esteem issues and you fill their Easter basket with chocolate goodies, you are responsible for your child's self-esteem. There is a whole generation of girls who are being brought up to believe that chocolate will "solve" everything. From the time they begin menstruation, they are taught that chocolate will help them with PMS symptoms. They are taught by mom's with their chocolate stashes in the cupboard that chocolate is a cure-all when going through stressful times.

When you are a child, you are at the mercy of your parents. I had great parents who spoiled me and showed me their love at Easter by filling my basket with toys, but most of all, chocolate. Huge chocolate bunnies. Lots of chocolate eggs. I came to expect it every year. I thought it was normal.

When you become an adult, you are responsible for your actions. You are responsible for your habits and you can change them if you want. Many young adults cling to those habits that they learn as children and continue them into adulthood. But their bodies have changed. They are no longer running outside and playing during the day, they are cooped up in an office or home, working 8-10 hours a day. Their "rec" time is spent making quick dinner, helping with homework, cleaning house and transporting kids to and from games. They don't take the time to develop new habits because it's just easier to keep the old ones. Oh, and then along comes Easter and they fill their child's baskets with chocolate, because that's what they got. And they just get more and more overweight each year.

So, what do you do now?

Do you go crazy and eliminate all candy and chocolate from their baskets? Do you just give them a little? How can you get a balance?

In dealing with my clients who are sugar-addicted, there are two ways you can recover from an addiction:
-You can cut back slowly and a little bit at a time until it's no longer a problem.
-You go cold turkey, cut it out of your life and never go back.

Which way is better?

It depends on your personality. Some people have a hard time eating just one of anything because it starts an avalanche of wanting more. Others can just cut it out and never go back. I kind of fell in between those categories. I did cut back, but at some point in my weight loss journey, I did have to cut it out completely. It wasn't forever, but it was for a good couple of months. If you are addicted to chocolate, it is not only a physical craving, but an emotional tie and an emotional addiction to it.

And that's the one you have to break.

Being overweight is not fun. You let your guard down at the holidays because that's what you've always done and you don't want to lose the joy of the holiday. But truly, the joy is in your heart, it's not in the chocolate in the basket. If you are overweight and continue to consume chocolate, then it is an addiction and that is what you need to overcome.

I do give my kids' Easter baskets, but they are not based on chocolate. I give them other things to show my love. Maybe a book my daughter wanted, or a movie my son wanted, or goofy socks, or I-Tunes gift card, something that is useful to them. You CAN show your love without chocolate, really, you can. I challenge you to try. Will you?