My Philosophy

Together, We Will Move Mountains

sharing life’s lessons

I think I was born with a broken appetite gizmo, which I undoubtedly made 10 times worse (albeit innocently) with bizarre diets, starving, not eating fat and over-exercising, among other things. But, if all those things didn’t work, what was I to do?

Turns out, with all its pain, self-recrimination, and seeming failure, my history could actually be my greatest teacher. If I could just reach beyond the paralyzing self-condemnation and disappointment, I would be able to see the clever but insidious justifications and rationalizations that kept me stuck in the same sabotaging food patterns. Once I could find the common threads, my particular Achilles heels that consistently undermined me, I could come up with specific strategies which worked like lynch pins or tipping points to turn me around and move me in a different, more effective direction.

Once I could get to the truth of what pushes me over that edge (and I know you know the edge I mean), and especially where it starts, I could learn to get ahead of the self that doesn’t care and effectively “head myself off at the pass” before it was too late – before that other me got a grip.

While I’m sure there are components of my psyche and spirit that also drive my urge to overeat that I’ll no doubt be working on till I’m dead and buried, I now know that I don’t have to wait to solve these to manage my weight. So, while they may still bury me with a bit of that food addict alive and kicking inside of me, they won’t bury me overweight and unhealthy!

After 16 years in practice, I have found that virtually everyone, with a little analysis of their patterns and the proper coaching, can come up with tools that we can tailor to their personality and life circumstances. These tools can effectively change what ends up in your mouth and just how you live your day to day. Better still, the actions you learn to take will actually generate the motivation that you thought had to come from outside you. I call this process, “weight management for the otherwise competent”.

And, here’s the best part: the fact that you are reading this is proof enough that you still have the one critical component that ONLY YOU can bring to the table – the desire – that little seed of hope that I’ll call grace – to find a way to change. If you will but stay the course, I promise you, the rest can be learned.

So, here’s the sure fire recipe for your success: You provide: your history, your honesty and staying power. I’ll provide: insight, compassion and creative solutions. You bring the grace and I’ll bring the shovel. Together we will move mountains.

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Thin for Real – Skinny Rules

self empowerment tools for weight management

  1. You’re never going to be perfect, so get over it. The only truly perfect food plan is the one that accommodates what you actually do. No one adheres to someone else’s food plan (i.e. “diet”) indefinitely. Eventually the real you shows back up. Promising yourself perfection is unrealistic and often ends up just being an excuse to “blow it” entirely.
  2. Weight management is not about intelligence or willpower. If it were, all the smart, tenacious people would be thin. It is a set of learnable skills that need not depend upon “your head being in the right place”.
  3. Eating real food works best…oh rats! If you could eat badly and manage your appetite and calories, you probably would have succeeded by now. An over-fed but under-nourished body stays hungry – appetite biochemistry will out. Chewing promotes satiety. Vegetables are as good as free.  
  4. Your body does not “start over on Monday”. The bank never closes, never stops counting, no matter how valid your reasons are for overeating (not when you are stressed, too busy, overwhelmed, don’t care, are on vacation, or even on your birthday). Weight management ultimately comes down to accountability. Your can “save up” or you can “pay back”, but if surpluses aren’t balanced off, you wear them. That’s why, if you lose weight but go back to your old habits, you’ll gain the weight back.
  5. Always save for a rainy day. Every week, routinely build in a couple of days where you eat under your budget, creating a buffer in advance for the overeating you can realistically assume you will do. We’ll call them “skinny days”. Since the opportunities to overeat abound, try to have these healthful but under-eating days whenever there isn’t a reason not to. My guess is you’ll have no trouble figuring out how to spend those savings!
  6. Use a food diary to tell yourself the truth about who you are (without judgment). Your very own history holds the keys to your future success. Promises without analysis of what you need to do differently the next time are useless. And, if you cannot change a behavior, then you need to work around it. A food diary is your greatest ally for managing in imperfection.
  7. Learn to predict your triggers and have a plan. No plan is a plan to not have a plan.  When you can anticipate your “slippery slopes” in advance, you can take steps to “head yourself off at the pass” before it’s too late and you find yourself unwilling or unable to do so. It’s hard to stop a train once it’s going 100 mph!
  8. You’ll have exactly as much motivation as your own actions create. Your momentum (positive or negative) is the direct result of what you have done to influence it – good or not so much.  Your successes or disasters are not happening in a vacuum.  Your actions (helpful or Action indicates intention.
  9. Move – there’s just no way around the exercise thing. See # 8! Your activity level is the single best predictor of your ability to maintain you weight loss. Period.  Your body becomes what you ask it to do – be a burner or a storer.  Up you you.
  10. Create an environment that supports your intentions. Your weight is a direct reflection of the foods with which you surround yourself.  Your environment will be as safe as you have gone to the trouble of making it. That means putting foods in, not just taking foods out.  It is almost an insult to your intelligence, but you can stage your success instead of hoping for your head to stay in the right place.
  11. Routine, routine, routine. Weight management skills can become “mindless”. The more routine your behavior becomes, the easier it is to sustain. The behaviors that are causing you trouble now are just unhelpful habits you created by repetition. Your new behaviors will become just as “second nature” with a little practice.
  12. Don’t negotiate. Negotiating simply means that you are trying to rationalize yourself into something that you will later regret. Otherwise, there would be no need to have a conversation at all. Not debating is easier, that’s all.
  13. Stay convinced. Even the thrill of being thin wears off eventually. Find catalysts that serve to remind you of how worth the effort this is to you.

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Excerpts from My Journey

sharing life’s lessons

All my life I’ve wanted someone to tell me how to generate willpower and to sustain motivation. I still don’t know the answer to that question, although I’ve been successfully managing my weight for several years now. As a formerly 40 lb. overweight, 2 pack a day couch potato, I can promise you that weight management does not require a “psych”, but rather a problem solving attitude. It is a skill you can learn.

With compassion, humor and the right coaching, we will find solutions you can live with everyday.

Somewhere along the line, I gave up on the epiphanies. Oh, I’ve had many of them, sometimes in the form of a real “aha” during therapy, sometimes as inspiration from a new diet book. Yet no diet program, however effective at curbing my appetite, and no insight, however mind-blowing it was at the time, has ever made food a permanent non-issue for me. Even medications provided only a temporary fix. And if the fix is temporary, so is the weight loss.

For a while I’d be cured. But eventually I would give up on their plan and go back to my real life. Finally I found the key. Make their food plan fit my lifestyle! I began focusing my energy on what I can change. I learned to take action, and to stop waiting for my head to be in the right place. It’s great when it is, but my weight management need not depend upon it.

Along the way I did arrive at three critical insights.First, that successful weight management is not about intelligence or willpower. If it were, all the smart, tenacious people would be thin. Second, that I can use specific strategies to create the right outcome even when I’m not motivated. Third, that my own actions have a direct bearing on my motivation. It is not happening in a vacuum.

Think about this logically…The actions you take create your “psych”. if you put a lot of time into doing things that stimulate your appetite, is it any surprise when you’re motivated to overeat? If, on the other hand, you deliberately invest your energy into behaviors that are pro-weight/health management, then your actions are actually creating a positive momentum. 

The actions you take create your psych.
You are responsible. Happily, these new behaviors, once learned, will become second nature, since all habits (healthy or unhealthy) are created merely by repetition. And, the best part is that if you can take your body, your mind usually follows. Not necessarily the other way around. This is great news!

I would love to tell you that I have some magic bullet that will make this process easy, but that has not been my experience. If you are ready to get off the weight merry-go-round, I can show you how. Ask yourself this one question: “Am I willing to examine my life, to develop effective strategies, and then to spend some time practicing them until the new patterns are firmly in place?”

If you are ready to get off the weight merry-go-round. I can show you how.

My job is to coach you on using your own history to develop realistic plans for managing your weight/health with your life as it really is and you as you really are right now. I will teach you to generate your own positive momentum and help you develop individually tailored strategies to get the results you desire. These tools are learnable for anyone. With compassion, humor and the right coaching, we will find solutions you can live with everyday.

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