lifestyle

Death to Dieting: Give up Dieting and Save Your Life

Photo courtesy MedicalNewsToday.com

Photo courtesy MedicalNewsToday.com

Since I last posted about my journey with food, I felt like I was wandering aimlessly and at the end of my rope.

 

I felt hopeless and helpless when it came to my weight. I had lost 9 lbs. since the beginning of the year but now it seemed the only way to get the scale to move was to starve myself.

 

I needed support and a plan but which one?!

I was confused by all of the ads. Oprah loves Weight Watchers, Marie Osmond loves Nutrisystem. Even Dr. Oz seemed to have a different health expert every day, tout the benefits of their weight loss plan.

 

Everyone had advice for losing weight.

 

Then I began having bouts of nausea, vomiting and stomach pain. I went for blood tests and an ultrasound to see if I had gallstones.

 

The ultrasound showed no gallstones but the blood work shocked me.

 

My cholesterol was 233! Thirty-three points higher than recommended!

 

My crappy diet was coming back to haunt me and it scared me.

Suddenly this was less about losing weight and more about being healthy.

Photo courtesy MVPPT.com

A dear friend had been telling me about a program that she discovered about a year ago called CHIP.

 

CHIP stands for Complete Health Improvement Program and is sponsored by Rochester Lifestyle Medicine.

 

I resisted CHIP at first because it is about adopting a whole food, plant-based diet; no meat, no dairy.

 

It was hard to imagine life with no steak, butter, eggs, and OMG! No cheese or ice cream!

 

In my mind that meant food with no flavor and that meant SUFFERING!

 

But I watched my friend change her life over the last year simply by changing her diet and increasing her activity.

 

She’s lost 25 lbs. and no longer takes medication for fibromyalgia. She’s 65 years old and looks and acts at least 20 years younger!

 

And she certainly is NOT suffering!

 

So I checked out CHIP.

 

The program is based on studies by top researchers around the world like Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and T. Colin Campbell. The studies they cite, like the China Study, are not funded by the pharmaceutical companies, the food lobbyists or others with an interest in skewing the results.

 

The program looked sound and I knew my current lifestyle was leading me down the path to heart disease and likely an early death.  It was time to change.

 

In July, I signed up for CHIP and met 17 other people who were struggling like me.

 

Twice a week, we learn the truth about the typical American diet and how it contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and more.

 

They share with us the research about how eating a whole food, planted-based diet can reverse disease.

 

We look at the difference between the typical American diet and what research has found to be the optimal diet for health.

 

There is no judgment. No one is telling us we HAVE to change. They simply educate us and we decide the changes we want to make.

 

Some of us have jumped in and embraced the optimal diet. Others have decided to make a few changes each week.

 

I could not do this on my own.

 

I need the support of others who are going through the same thing. We encourage each other and talk about how to handle challenges like eating out or dealing with family and friends who are not supportive of our new lifestyle.

 

Since July 15th, I have been eating the optimal diet and I can honestly say that I love it!

Courtesy of Allison's Gourmet

Courtesy of Allison’s Gourmet

My fear of eating bland, tasteless food was totally unfounded!

 

Along with a textbook and a workbook, they also provided us with a cookbook.

I am having a blast trying new foods and have learned how to change recipes to suit my new lifestyle.

 

And listen to this: as long as I am eating foods that are part of the optimal diet, I can eat as much as I want!

 

I feel like I should have gained 20 lbs. because of the amount of food I’m eating. But I’m actually losing weight!  It’s crazy!

 

Am I perfect? Of course not. I eat potato chips and taco chips. And I still  have a drink a couple times a week. This may change as time goes on but for now, I’m not going to beat myself up.

 

After one month of eating a plant-based, low fat diet, I have not only lost 4 1/2 lbs but I have lowered my cholesterol by 32 points! And, no more nausea, vomiting or pain.

 

It wasn’t easy getting here but it’s getting easier every day! I’m eating food that I love and I know is good for me. Physically I feel better and mentally I feel free!

 

If you’ve been struggling like I have, check out CHIP and see if it’s right for you.

 

And feel free to reach out with any questions regarding my experience.

 

To learn more about CHIP, go to Rochester Lifestyle Medicine and click on What Is CHIP?

 

If you do not live in the Rochester, NY area and would like to find the nearest program, go to Lifestyle Medicine Institute.

Photo courtesy of RochesterLifestyleMedicine.com

Photo courtesy of RochesterLifestyleMedicine.com

Dealing With My Inner Critic

Inner critic

Thanks to all those who have shared with me either through Facebook or in person, what has come up for you as a result of me sharing my weight loss journey.

I’m grateful for the honesty and for the opportunity to know that we are in this together.

 

Here’s my update:

 

-I have been consistent with my exercise, running or walking 2.5 to 4 miles at least every other day.
-I have drastically reduced my consumption of sugar, flour and meat.
-I have increased the number of vegetables and fruit I eat.
-I am down 9 lbs.

 

I even went to NYC for a few days and was able to come home without having gained any weight.

 

I’m glad I’m writing all of this down because the voice in my head has been very active lately and this is how it has been going:

 

Me: “I lost 9 lbs!”
Voice in my head: “You need to cut down even more so you will lose more, faster. Stop eating sweets and snacks all together, you shouldn’t be eating any of that stuff anyway if you’re really serious about losing weight.”
Me: “But I’m ok with how it’s going…”
VIMH: “You’re not doing good enough! Look at those people on Facebook who are posting pictures of all the weight they’ve lost. And you’ve only lost a measly 9 lbs.! You have at least another 15 lbs. to lose! You might as well give up now, you know you don’t have the willpower and besides wouldn’t some peanut M & M’s taste real good right now, but you can’t have them because you need to lose weight…”

 

And on and on and on!

Photo courtesy www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Photo courtesy www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

 

Needless to say these thoughts caused a downward spiral as I let them take control.

 

This felt so familiar.

 

I could feel that sense of wanting to give up, feeling helpless and hopeless, the feeling that I can never be happy eating food that was good for me and that I will never lose AND keep this weight off.

 

The next step of this pattern is letting myself have cake to celebrate a birthday, after all it was just one small piece. Then it’s having ice cream 3 nights in a row just because I wanted it.

 

Suddenly I felt terrible. And I don’t just mean psychologically, I mean physically. I wasn’t sleeping well. I felt bloated.

 

I felt old. I know I’m getting older but I have never felt old.

 

Suddenly I realized I had lost track of why I wanted to lose weight in the first place.

 

After reading Danielle LaPorte’s book, The Desire Map a couple of years ago, I started setting my goals with the idea that it is not the goal I’m actually after, it’s the feeling I will have once I reach that goal.

Posted on my office wall, my vision, how I will feel when I achieve this vision and what I can do to feel those feelings NOW!

Posted on my office wall: my vision, how I will feel when I achieve this vision and what I can do to feel those feelings NOW!

 

Since then, I have not only reached my goals but I have actually enjoyed getting there.

 

The reason I want to lose weight is because I want to FEEL better! I want to feel confident and empowered.

 

I noticed that when I eat good healthy foods that is exactly how I feel, confident and empowered both physically and psychologically.

 

When I binge on cookies, candy, chips and cake, I feel better, temporarily. Then comes a wave of regret and the after effects of all those carbs which includes mental fogginess, bloating and the path to diabetes.

 

I’m eating healthy whole foods again. I have more mental clarity and feel happier.

 

I also like going to bed just a little bit hungry. I sleep better and seem to dream more, which I love!

 

A lower number on the scale is just a result. The real reason I want to lose weight is to feel happier, more powerful and confident. And I can achieve that right now just by the food choices I make.

 

How will you feel when you reach your ideal weight? What can you do right now to connect to that feeling?

 

I’m Afraid Of Food!

The delicious cake my niece made for my mother's birthday. I didn't have enough sense to be scared!

The delicious cake my niece made for my mother’s birthday. I didn’t have enough sense to be scared!

When I decided to tackle my weight thing once and for all, I went back and did an “autopsy” to determine why things went sideways in the past.

The last time I got to a weight where I was happy and comfortable, I was following a low carb diet. Not South Beach, Atkins or even paleo but one that included lean meat, fish, poultry and dairy and lots of vegetables, some fruit and grains. I ate carbs like cookies, cake, crackers and bread very rarely.

After about 8 months, I reached my goal weight and kept it off for about a year and a half.

I seem to be good at losing weight but I stink at keeping it off.

Step one in the “autopsy:” Tell the truth.

I used the excuse that I had a bad case of shingles, was basically bedridden for 3 months and the inactivity caused my weight gain.

Not the truth.

My eating habits had started to fall off before I got sick.

I had begun allowing myself a taste of cake here, a spoonful of ice cream there. Then it turned into a cookie here and a candy bar there.

At first the scale didn’t move so I didn’t panic. But then it slowly began to inch up little by little and before long I had put on 6 pounds.

My workouts became intermittent.

I was pushing myself to succeed in my business and volunteering a lot of my time. I was stressed and tired and I began to use food, mainly sweets, to make myself feel better.

I now see that it wasn’t the shingles that caused me to gain weight. It was my lack of self-care that brought on the shingles. And that led to many bags of Doritos trying to take my mind off the pain.

But the main thing I realized was, I got cocky. I thought that I would never go back to being addicted to sugar and carbs.

I even remember saying the words, “I’ll never go back!”

Words that came back to haunt me.

I see now that I lost the fear of the weight coming back. I forgot about the tired, wrung out feeling when I eat too much crap. And didn’t even consider the possibility of not only getting sick but contracting a chronic condition like high blood pressure or a disease like cancer.

I got cocky and the weight came back.

I’ve lived most of my life worrying about what others think and I’ve done a lot of work to break through that. I don’t believe I should live in constant terror and worry about becoming obese.

What I do now believe is that there is nothing wrong with a little healthy fear to keep me on my toes and out of trouble.

This fear includes a healthy respect for things like alcohol and food. It is an awareness that I have to be careful not to let my guard down too much.

I need to set my own limits and be clear where the line is.

I’m back to cutting down on processed carbs and sweets and eating more whole foods. And I’m always paying attention to what makes me feel like I want to eat and drink a bit too much.

That’s working for me right now.

Do you struggle with keeping weight off once you lose it? What have you learned from your past experiences when it comes to losing weight? What do you think about having a “healthy” fear of food?

Inspiration Point

IMG_0381I’ve recently changed the name of my blog to Inspiration Point. For those of you who remember the TV show Happy Days, Inspiration Point was where the kids would go to “make out.”

I’ve decided that I want this space to be a place of inspiration and inspiration can come from many different places and look like many different things.

So I will not only be posting some of my thoughts via blog posts but I will also be posting whatever/whoever inspires me.

Keep an eye open for what inspires you and feel free to share it in the comments below.

And speaking of eyes, how do you like these cupcakes?! I found them at my cousin’s baby shower and thought they were so cute and clever!

IMG_0382I am always inspired by the creativity of those who can take simple things like Oreos and M & M’s and turn them into something amazing!

What creative things have you seen recently that inspired you?

Women Inspiring Change Retreat

frustrated-woman-at-computer

*THIS RETREAT IS SOLD OUT! IF YOU DIDN’T MAKE IT TO THIS ONE, CHECK BACK FOR WHEN THE NEXT REGISTRATION OPENS UP.*

Join us on August 23rd, for this full-day retreat designed to help you learn how to live your best life! We will explore ways to shift our common belief that taking care of ourselves is selfish. We will uncover what is truly in the way of you making positive changes in your life.
Come and learn how to take good care of your greatest asset, you.

Located on 135-acres, the beautiful and serene Chapin Mill Retreat Center will thrill your senses and ignite your imagination.

During this day long retreat, you will:

  • be led through exercises designed to uncover what’s keeping you from making lasting positive change
  • discover who you really are and how to use this to create transformative change
  • learn and practice yoga asana (movement) appropriate for everybody, and pranayama (intentional breath work) in order to manage stress and harness optimal energy
  • explore stillness and deep relaxation to refresh and revitalize yourself
  • uncover what foods are keeping you addicted and hijacking your weight loss efforts
  • get tips on how improving your digestion can lead to weight loss and increased energy
  • learn how to make smoothies and juices that taste great, are easy to make and can easily be incorporated into your daily routine

Imagine a safe and welcoming place where you can get your questions answered and learn simple, effective ways to create a body and life you will love! You will also be served a delicious and nutritious breakfast, lunch and filling snacks throughout the day. Enjoy superfood smoothies (demos and recipes just for you), delightful salads, yummy detox juices, homemade almond cherry bliss protein bars and other great snacks to keep you fueled all day.
Our Retreat facilitators are:
Linda Heeler, Professional Certified Coach, Meet Linda
Christine Porter, Certified Health + Wellness Coach, Meet Christine
Mary Aman, Master Yoga Instructor, Meet Mary
These women will bring their talents and expertise to guide you as you begin your journey toward positive change in your life.
Cost for this day long retreat is $247
Registration closes on August 18th.
To register, go to PeaceAndPear.com

Be Selfish!

04_Harried-Stafford-with-blissful-daughter-Natalia-

How many times have you said, I’ll take care of myself after I make sure everyone else is taken care of? Sounds familiar, right?

Problem is, there usually isn’t anything left and we end up worn out and stressed out.

If you’ve done any flying, you know that the flight attendants tell those who are traveling with children, that in case of loss of pressure, oxygen masks will fall from the ceiling. We are instructed to put on our oxygen mask first, then help the children (and others) with theirs.

They know that we will likely run out of oxygen before we can help too many if we don’t take care of ourselves first.

It is selfish NOT to put on our mask first. We aren’t any good to anyone if we are lying passed out on the floor.

This brings up a point I hear a lot from women. They feel “selfish” if they spend any time or money on themselves.

The word selfish means “lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.”

I assert that it is selfish for us to NOT take care of ourselves.

But what does being selfish look like? We have to trust that we will not go off the rails, say the heck with everyone else and end up “lacking consideration for others.”

I am not saying that you should put ALL of your needs in front of others. I am saying that there needs to be a mix.

For example, I knew a woman who could not afford to hire a sitter so she could go for a run or out to lunch with friends. So she scheduled time for herself  when her husband could watch the kids. She also found another woman who was in the same boat and they took turns watching each others kids so they could each have some time to themselves.

We need to take the stigma out of taking care of ourselves not only for us but for our daughters. If they see us harried and exhausted then they will likely follow in our footsteps or feel guilty if they decide to take care of themselves.

The message they are getting is that in order to be a good worker, mother or wife they must sacrifice themselves and their well being.

I don’t know about you but that scares me! I want my daughter to do and be better than me but the main thing is I want her to be happy, not exhausted!

If we all took a few minutes to be “selfish” each day, we could lower our stress and increase our health and well being.

Take a look at how you are feeling. Are you refreshed and engaged and looking forward to the day? Or are you exhausted and just getting by?

What needs aren’t being met? Do you need more sleep? To eat better food? More exercise? Time in nature or to read?

Commit right now to giving yourself something that you have not been allowing yourself and see how you show up afterward. I bet you are happier.

Imagine the impact that will have not only on you but on your relationships with our co-workers, families and friends. Don’t you deserve that?

Ready to take charge of your life? Join me for a retreat designed to help you learn how to live your best life! We will explore ways to shift our common belief that taking care of ourselves is selfish. We will uncover what is truly in the way of you making positive changes in your life. 

Come and learn how to take good care of your greatest asset, you.

Enjoy this all-day retreat on August 23rd, 2015 at the beautiful and serene Chapin Mills Retreat Center. Located in Batavia, NY on 135-acres, this country retreat center will thrill your senses and ignite your imagination. 

For more information and to register go to www.PeaceAndPear.com.

 

 

Business Lessons I learned From Motherhood

195956_10150132002473697_5336159_n

(Halloween 1992)

Recently I was sitting at my kitchen table working on my computer when I suddenly realized it was 3:30 in the afternoon and I was still in my pajamas.

It reminded of the days when my kids were little. There were times I didn’t get a shower until after my husband got home, the house was a mess and I had no clue what we were going to have for dinner.

Starting and growing a business is a lot like raising children.

They both consist of long hours and low pay, only at the beginning of your business, hopefully, or no pay, in the case of motherhood.

You really have no idea whether you are doing the right thing or even if what you’re doing is effective. You want to believe you’re doing a good job raising your kids but you really have no idea until they get to be adults. Same thing with a business, there’s a lot of trial, error and adjustment.

I remember standing over my sleeping child praying that I wouldn’t do something to mess them up too much.  As a business owner, I sometimes wake up at night wondering why in the world I decided to put myself out there for all the world to see if I should fail.

When my kids were in school, we were friends with their friend’s parents. There were always tennis matches, swim meets and school events where parents congregated and communed. The support of other parents was invaluable as we commiserated about the struggles of parenting.

Now I go to networking events and commune with other business women. The support of like-minded successful women has kept me in business.

Being a mom and a business owner has taught me a few things along the way:

  • Beware of people who offer advice, and there will be many. Listen but don’t be quick to take it if it doesn’t feel right for you. As with your children, your business is your responsibility. Follow what feels right for you not what the so-called experts say is right.
  • Learn from other people’s mistakes and emulate their success. My parental role models were women who had successfully raised happy, healthy, well-adjusted children. Who are the successful business women you admire? Surround yourself with them and listen for their advice.
  •  Most of all, enjoy the journey. So many people told me to enjoy my kids because they grow up so fast. That was the best piece of advice I ever received and tried to savor every moment. Now I am trying to do the same when it comes to my business.

Even with all of our struggles and mistakes, we always seem to remember the “good old days.”  Someday, these will be the good old days. Why not enjoy them now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding What Works

670px-Tame-a-Free-Spirit-Step-02

I have a friend with a background in finance and was very successful in the corporate world. A few years ago, she left her high paying, structured job, decided to downsize and began living simply.

She became a free spirit who flows from one thing to the next with very little planning.

For as long as I have known her, she has resisted structure.

I am in awe of her because I am the opposite. I love structure. I like making plans and knowing what’s going to happen and when. It makes me feel safe and in control.

I enjoy creating my to-do list and then checking things off. I like how I get things done and how I feel at the end of the day.

Lately, our conversations have turned to improving our eating habits. Of course, I began by logging my food intake. This helped me keep track of what I was eating and I felt accomplished at the end of the day.

My friend fought this. She wanted the freedom to choose what she wanted without the constraints of having to plan. However, since she didn’t have a plan, she would come home from the grocery store with things she really didn’t want.

When I don’t have a plan, I find myself standing in front of the refrigerator wondering what to eat. Then I end up eating way too many chips or cookies. All the stuff I’m trying not to eat.

Recently my friend found an eating plan that felt right to her. It called for planning meals and weighing and measuring her food.

After following this plan, she came to the realization that being free spirited was not freedom at all- it was chaos.

With her new eating plan, she felt more free than she had in a long time because she didn’t really have to think about it. She has set guidelines to follow and as long as she stays inside those she feels satisfied and happy.

So that must mean because I’m a planner, things are copacetic with me. I wish.

Because I usually get results, I think, “if a little planning is good then a lot of planning is better.” The drill sergeant comes out and begins whipping me into shape.

cartoon-angry-army-drill-sergeant-shouting-19836396

No matter what I do, it’s never good enough for the drill sergeant. I become miserable and I end up quitting or working myself so hard I burn out or get sick.

In any area of our lives, if the pendulum swings too far toward free spirit, it can lead to chaos and no results. Or if our plan is too rigid it may trigger the drill sergeant which can lead to results but not sustainable ones.

We need to aim for somewhere in between. And it always helps to have a supportive friend to share the journey.

cub_energy_lesson03_activity2_clipart1