The Value of your Health

How much is your health and wellness worth to you?

Think about this for a moment, maybe more than just one moment and give your most honest answer. I find that most of us don’t put nearly enough value into this element and we have to ask, why not?

We spend a few hundred dollars a month on a car payment.

We spend a few thousand dollars on a house payment.

We spend hundreds of dollars a month on the foods we eat, the places we visit, the bills we pay, and so on…

But for some reason, when it comes down to exercise and eating the right foods; we think, “Oh, that’s okay. I’m good with what I’m doing.”

Why?

Is it because we feel good at this point in time? Is it because we aren’t willing to do something uncomfortable or scary or possibly something we may fail at? Is it because we’ve been taught that doing things for ourselves is selfish?

Or is it deeper?

Is it because we see ourselves as who we truly are, in a very vulnerable way, and working on our bodies and our health may just make us seem more vulnerable to the outside world?

Being different is hard. I know when I began my fitness plans, everyone around me thought I was nuts.

“Kathy, you work out soooo much”

“Kathy, when are you going to relax and just eat ‘normal’ again?”

“Kathy, you are SOO strong and dedicated…I could never do that”…

It got to the point that everywhere I went, I knew that my presence would make people uncomfortable.

Why?

Not because I was giving myself the attention and taking care of my body’s needs.

No, it was because I was different. I was doing different things and standing out.

This, my friend, is scary stuff.

Being different makes other people stop and pay attention. They wonder, why are they doing things different. Then they start to wonder why they are not also doing things that way. And it makes them uncomfortable.

Because we all want to be similar. We all want to belong. We all want to be “normal”…

But what the heck is “normal”, anyway?

Can’t I be a good friend, parent, sister, spouse, etc…and still be considered ‘normal’ because of these traits?

In order to stand out and be ‘different’ to some people, meant that I would also become ‘normal’ to another group of people. And this is awesome.

When you find your ‘people’, you are given new hope. When you find the friends who believe in what you believe in and are willing to fight for what you are fighting for; you are no longer alone.

You now belong to a “group” again.

 

It doesn’t mean that your family and friends who don’t follow your new goals need to be pushed away, it just means that your relationship may shift a little. Only if they choose.

You keep being you.

You keep putting more value on your body than you do on your car or your house.

You freaking LIVE in the same body for your entire life! Why would you NOT??

So, I ask you again, how much value do you give to your health and wellness?

If you need a group to support your goals, we have a private forum on Facebook. Just click HERE to join us.

 

Advertisements

Dealing with food cravings

 

You know the feeling, you’re humming along on your new diet and exercise program and the BLAM!… you’re hit with the strongest cravings for every food item that isn’t listed on your meal plan.

What do you do?

For most of us, when we are at our most vulnerable (like when we are hungry and buzzing from less than stellar nutrients and calories) – we give in to the cravings and eat anything …and pretty much everything in our vicinity.

Why does this happen? Why do we sabotage ourselves when working on being healthier and and losing weight?

Here are some simple take aways you can implement right now to diminish these cravings when they come. Because, first of all, we can never stop them entirely. Why? For one thing, our bodies are used to a certain amount of food and energy we feed it and when it realizes that the “norms” have changed, it reacts by telling us to EAT MORE FAT! This is actually a good thing if we were really starving but in reality…we are not, but our body doesn’t know this. It also reacts erratically when it comes to hormone fluctuations that occur with stress in our lives, foods that we eat and a plethora of real life happenings that occur.

Simply put; we will have cravings at one point or another. We just need to understand how to minimize the power and impact over us and work on balance so we don’t feel deprived.  Here are some ways you can lessen and overcome these cravings as they come:

  1. Make sure you are eating enough calories to sustain your body’s basic needs. This means calculating (or doing some of your own research on foods eaten and satiety) your body’s calorie needs on a daily basis and then adding in additional calories for your workouts and activity levels. You’ll then subtract no more than 300-500 calories per day to be in a “calorie deficit” and be able to lose weight. The problem with this formula is that many of us underestimate our body’s needs and think that cutting back on calories more drastically, will help us to lose weight faster. This is a bad idea. Another common practice is to eat mostly “diet” food items that give us close to nothing in terms of nutrition and our body is now in hyper-active “starvation” alarm mode. How to change this? Once you know your calorie needs to lose weight (again, don’t cut more than 500 calories a day to minimize your body’s starvation cues), choose whole foods and eliminate all diet and processed foods. This will help to “feed” your body the nutrition it requires, even when you are cutting back on calories so that your body doesn’t work against you to eat more. Choose a large assortment of vegetables (the more colorful, the more nutrients), lean protein choices, whole grain carbohydrates (these are NOT bad for you) and don’t forget to get in enough healthy fats like nuts, nut butters, avocados, and olive oil. In order to create a “happy balance” in your mind and your body, plan to eat a food that’s completely off limits at least once or twice per week. This can be a decadent dessert you would crave or a serving of your favorite fat-laden foods. The key is to eat these fun treats with dignity and a fork or spoon in front of other people, rather than shoving un-portioned amounts into your mouth with your hands. Trust me, this will be one of the most important steps you can take in helping to curb those nasty cravings.
  2. Now that you’re on track with your food choices and getting in enough calories to sustain your body’s daily needs, let’s talk about what to do when you get a craving and aren’t planning your treat yet. Imagine this; you come home from a busy and stressful day at work and you eat dinner with your family and sit down to relax on the couch while watching the latest episode of “The Walking Dead”…when all of a sudden…BLAM! You need something STAT! On a commercial break, you head into the kitchen and open the refrigerator door to stare into the abyss…what do I want? What do I want? ..you ask yourself. You close the door and open the pantry door, only to repeat the process again. You may go back to the refrigerator and stare again…hoping to find what you’re looking for. But guess what? If you ever find yourself doing this, standing in front of the open refrigerator or pantry wanting something …but not quite sure what that something is…close the door and go someplace quiet. Sit down and feel that emotion. Because, that feeling of “wanting something” and not knowing what you want in food…means you are hungry for something emotional. It could mean you need to cry. You might need a hug and a close friend or loved one to listen to something that’s bothering you. You might need to grab a pillow and beat the crap out of it. Whatever it is, it is not about food. This is huge. We use foods for so many things and we wear foods when we overdo it on the emotional things. Start a journal and write down what happened that day and what you felt and start to process your emotional ties to food. Food used in this way is no different than overdoing it on a drug or alcohol. It gives us a rush of a good feeling and takes away that emotional need – but only for a brief moment. Then it passes and we need more…or we stop and find out how to deal with that emotion. I know, this one is deep but it’s important to get ahold of.
  3. Hormones and habits. I really don’t have much more to say except they can wreak havoc on our healthy plans. We may be humming along just fine and then BLAM!…we want to eat everything covered in chocolate. Or we may prefer crunchy foods when stressed out and hormones get out of control. Another issue is the habits we’ve created in eating certain foods when we feel these hormone surges. This takes some time to break. Again, it isn’t easy to do but trust me, it’s EVERYTHING as you move forward in your weight loss and fitness goals. Journaling will help you find patterns that bring about specific cravings and you can then learn how to better deal with them before they show up. One important thing to realize too, is when you give in to your craving and binge…you need to accept what happened and move on. Don’t beat yourself up or throw in the towel. Find out what happened and why you had your break down…and deal with it better the next time around. Because there will be a next time if you don’t…and there might be a next time even if you do.

 

There you have it on simple solutions for your emotional eating. I struggled with this for many years and the only other thing I didn’t mention above is getting therapy when dealing with deeper emotional needs. I hope this helps you today and shoot me a message if you would like to share your story or questions with me! 🙂

Diet is a 4-Letter word!

 

So, it’s the weekend, right?

I know too many people who take that as a free for all in terms of eating and doing anything they want. I totally get it cuz I always did the same thing before…and then for some reason couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t seeing my results! :-/

hmmmm…seems pretty obvious but maybe not.

I want to share exactly what and why you probably have heard this a zillion times and the reasons they are critical to our body’s success.

We have gone through our entire lives learning from the media. Learning from the diet industry. Learning from other people that share their “thoughts” and “opinions”, right?

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 1.00.41 PM

I know from the young age of 11 years old, I thought I had to be on a “diet”…at ELEVEN YEARS OLD!  It was a constant up and down battle with myself and listening to the media, reading magazines and hearing my peers talk about their thoughts and feelings about what the best practices were and what products and secrets would help with the weight loss.

I went to Weight Watchers at 15 and learned how to portion my foods out but I know at the same time I was still filling voids in my habits with the frozen treats that the company provided for sale. I’d eat great for breakfast and lunch and then “earn” a Weight Watchers frozen chocolate brownie cake for my after lunch as a “treat”. Then the same thing for after dinner with another “treat”. Some days, I’d even warm up a frozen Weight Watchers cinnamon roll and eat it with a serving of cottage cheese as my “breakfast”.

Now these are not terrible habits, as I was able to lose 20 lbs initially doing just that. But was it healthy? Could my body sustain this way of eating long term with no negative effects later down the road?

Honestly, it wasn’t ideal in terms of nutrition. This was a simple and effective weight loss system that kept me in the “diet” phase. I could not be in the best shape; inside and outside by following this plan. I mean, think about it…we can always lose weight doing anything that cuts out any food groups or is restrictive in any way for a short time, right? Losing weight is not the issue…keeping it off  and living our healthiest lives possible is where the battle lies.

There are a zillion plus one diets out there at any given time…and counting. Just google the word “diet” and a plethora of calorie and nutrition restrictive programs will pop up. Drink juiced veggies and fruits all day and lose weight! wow! Surprising? Not really, you’re cutting out every other food group that exists so why wouldn’t you lose weight doing this? But could you do this for the rest of your life? Would you want to?

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 12.59.33 PM

How about the diet where you eat just protein, veggies and fats? Sure, you will lose weight because you cut out a whole food group! No carbs/grains so that must mean that they are “bad” for us, right? WRONG!! Our bodies require carbs for certain times and energy needs; so in terms of sustaining this way of eating…probably not! (just give it a try long enough and see how grumpy and lethargic you start to feel over time)

How about drinking a “Quick Slim” diet shake 3 times a day and eating a salad for dinner? Of course you’ll lose weight! That’s not the dilemma here either! Have you read what’s inside those “diet” drinks and shakes? Do you know what half of those ingredients are or where they come from? Why would you put that into your body just to lose weight when losing weight is not the issue? Keeping the weight off and feeling good about ourselves is the problem. Get to the root of the problem in order to find the solution. Diets are just bandaids. They temporarily “cover up” the problem but never deal with the solution. So the yo-yo cycle continues..and we call ourselves “weak” and feel we have no real “willpower”.

hmmmmm

Is what you’re doing now helping you long term? Fast forward 5-10 years from today and imagine you practice the same eating and fitness program until then. Will it benefit you more or less in the long run? I’m not saying to get rid of everything we enjoy; heck, I eat cake, cookies and candy regularly and am not interested if someone tells me I can’t have them! What I am saying is that we need to stop pretending that the issue is in losing weight. We can lose weight over and over and over and over again….and you know what? Some of us might be okay with that process. But think about the body and how it takes a beating each time with the weight gain and the weight loss repeatedly done over the years. We break down lean muscle tissue and we replace it with more fat stores than we began with before the word “diet” was introduced into our lives.

So today, in honor of this weekend, choose to treat yourself kindly to 1 or 2 foods or drinks that you enjoy. The rest of your meals and drinks should be chosen based on good nutrition. Stop buying crappy diet foods. Make sure any drink, shake or food you choose is filled with only the best ingredients and fulfills your body’s daily requirements of vitamins, minerals and full nutrition. If you’re overdoing it on the weekends, only to go cold turkey again on Monday…something is off balance.

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 12.58.59 PM

It’s not your “diet”…it’s your habits and mindset. I would love to hear from you if you agree or disagree with this! Please feel free to comment below. 🙂

 

Hormones Driving You Crazy???

Does it sometimes feel like you are doing everything right and yet you have that extra body fat that you still cannot get rid off?

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 8.34.24 PM

Does it drive you insane too?

When it comes to reaching our goals and becoming leaner and fitter, what we eat and how we exercise is just the beginning. There is so much more that needs to be addressed and one of the biggest roles to deal with is or HORMONES!

Dun-dun-dun….(enter theme music here) 😉

Let’s talk about hormones, my friend. We have so many different hormones and if any of these become out of balance; our bodies can start to store extra fat.

Wait, WHAAAAAAT??

You read that correctly! (ding ding ding~)

Due to our stressful lifestyles (and who doesn’t have one, right?), going on crash diets and exposing ourselves to toxic chemicals on a daily basis is a one way highway to hormone hell!

Let’s talk about the 4 most common hormones that are responsible in storing that extra body fat…

1. Insulin

If you have ever suffered from weight issues, you can pretty much count on the fact that you have (or have had) and insulin imbalance. Well, what exactly does this mean, right? Insulin is a hormone that tells our bodies how to store energy…and if this is out of whack (like I said, who isn’t?)..the body will store energy as FAT.

HELP! How to remedy this problem now:
– Avoid simple or High GI carbohydrates like bread, pasta, white potatoes, or anything with refined sugar or excess fructose content
– Increase your good quality lean protein choices

2. Estrogen

Estrogen is another hormone that is commonly responsible in weight gain, storing fat and cellulite. Too much of this is really not a good thing at all. HELP! Want to know how to get a handle on it now?

– Avoid plastic that contains the chemical BPA. This has been linked to increasing levels of estrogen in the human body. If you do eat or drink from plastic, make sure its BPA free.
– Avoid or limit soy products
– Cut out alcohol as this can affect the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen
– Increase your fiber intake (approx. 25 to 30 grams per day)

3. Leptin

Now leptin is a hormone that can help us. It tells us when to stop eating. Score, right? Well, if our leptin levels are too low, then this can lead to overeating and again…our bodies storing more of that fat and putting on weight.  HELP ME! How to get utilize this hormone to help us instead:
– Make sure you get enough of good quality sleep (at least 7-8 hours a night..not “I can get by on 4 hours”…)
– Eat slowly and mindfully (turn off all your phones, tvs, computers and electronics and savor your foods!)
– Chew your food (too many of us gulp it down and our bodies cannot register it was ever really eaten)
– Avoid MSG at all costs!!!!

4. Cortisol

Now here’s the biggie…cortisol is the hormone that your body produces when it feels like it’s under attack. Boy, do I know about this one!! In the caveman era, they required cortisol to help survive in the many dangerous situations that surrounded them daily. The problem with our current day and age is that everything that stresses us out is creating more of this hormone. It raises the levels within our bodies way beyond what we can handle.
What happens when this results? Well, elevated cortisol levels increase our sugar and carb cravings (sound familiar?) which then leads to overeating and increased hunger…and this results in our bodies storing more fat. Increased cortisol levels actually break down our muscles, which will then slow down our metabolism. (and this is bad news)  HELP ME!! What can we do about this today?
– Introduce calming practices to your daily routine like yoga, meditation or deep breathing techniques
– Get more sleep and focus on quality
– Get out in nature as much as you can
– Eat a healthy well-balanced diet
– Listen to relaxing music when you feel your stress levels rising
– Ask for support from family and friends

11822518_10207550766758159_3593415923851733741_n

Hormones are nothing to ignore. Dieting only creates more imbalance so the best suggestion I can give you today is to stop dieting!!!!! 

Eat clean and wholesome nutritious foods. Work on regaining balance to your body and supplementing with dense nutrition, such as Shakeology.  Start going to bed at a decent hour and getting your body on track to creating healthy sleep patterns. Do more of what brings you peace and joy and limit stress as much as you can. Reach out to others for support and don’t accept anything less. Need more help? Send me an email and we could match you up with our next support system to help you succeed today.

http://www.spazzykay@gmail.com

It’s up to you to take that first step. Will you?

How did I get here?

In my blog, I share so much about where I am now; how I’m doing with my current progress in my fitness and health journey and tips and ways to help you succeed in your own personal fitness and health goals.

But today, I thought I’d change it up. I thought it would be a great time to reflect on where I started and why I started. You might be dealing with your own struggles along the way and I always find it helpful when I hear from others on the issues and stories that transformed their lives so that I know I’m not in this alone.

And neither are you.

I’m asked from time to time, how much weight I’ve lost; how long I’ve kept my weight off; how I juggle my goals with my at home coaching business and my family life. But the latest question I was asked had me stop and say hmmmmm

Screenshot 2015-09-20 at 8.22.23 PM

And to make me stop and reflect on anything has got to mean something! 🙂

I was asked, “What was the reason you started to exercise and eat right?”

Like the actual reason?

Wow! What a question, indeed! Why do any of us actually start to watch our weights, to start a new diet, to embark on a new fitness program at all? For me, I have to go back to where the pain began. Because for most of us, we start a fitness and health plan to move away from pain or uncomfortable situations.

For example, if you just thought about losing weight one day, how likely are you to start making changes that very day? Most of us wouldn’t bother until we found the best plan for us; picked the  best day to start (and it’s usually a MONDAY) and then procrastinate for awhile still. But what if you went to the doctor and he/she told you that you were on the brink of a health issue or were in serious risk of developing a disease? Now, how likely are you to start now? 

See the difference in the scenarios? We tend to want to move away from pain versus moving towards pleasure more rapidly. Sure, looking and feeling good sounds like an awesome idea but do we really want to start sweating and feeling uncomfortable in starting a new plan NOW? And what about cutting out our favorite foods? Who really wants to give up leisurely sitting on the couch and watching our favorite tv shows while enjoying our favorite foods as our chillax time? Not many..

So back to the question I was asked…what was my deep rooted reason???

I grew up in a large and happy family; the eldest of five children. I was shy and reserved and felt a bit “odd” at times to most as I felt my family life was a bit “different” and “old fashioned”. I felt that I couldn’t keep up with the trends and social status among the other kids my age. I was a major introvert. I would have rather just eat my lunch alone at school and play on the playground jungle gym in my own aloneness at recess…

45507_10200354018163942_735302567_n (2)
My first grade picture; before the insecurities were formed

But that wouldn’t seem cool or “normal”… I had to have at least one or more friends. And I did. But just as childhood friends go, they can be fickle and hyper-critical of anything different and there I was, all different and stuff.

Now, this could have all been my own perceptions and maybe not even accurate in the least but nonetheless it was my truth. I seemed to find the “friends” who were just as insecure as I was, and then be swayed in another direction from some of the “bullies” and “divas” instead. I know it was a long time ago and my childhood memories are a bit sketchy, but I was usually the one student left out of the main cliques. I always wanted to be part of the “IN” crowd but I also knew that would never happen because I was so NOT the in crowd. I wasn’t even part of the “side” crowd; if there is such a thing. I can almost bet that I probably hardly spoke many words to anyone at school since I was so awkwardly shy; but in my memories, I was mistreated by so many so-called “friends”.

And so it began, my youngest memories of feeling insecure and without any confidence or confidants. I would just hide my feelings from everyone, even my family. What would they think of me anyway, not having friends?  I had to hold on to my status in some way or another. So I just pretended and imagined everything was “fine”. I would fake being sick many days so that my mom would just let me stay home; away from the drama and the trauma at school. I know, now it sounds almost ridiculous but to a child; these issues are ginormous.

It was during my 5th grade year that I remember being the first one in my class to develop.  I was taller than most everyone in class. I hovered over the boys and felt like a ginormous monster. Not cool for an 11 year old girl.

I did all that I could to “fit in” but as I wasn’t quite comfortable in my own skin, it never came across in the right way. Now I know you’re probably thinking, “seriously? this is what your first memories of struggles are?” and to that I say YES! What we struggle with as young children stick with us in such a strong and permanent way; since these are our “development” years. So, in essence, I was “developed” into my struggles with food.

I would come home and EAT. Eating soothed my insecurities. With foods, I didn’t have to prove anything. I felt wonderful; I felt loved and I felt comforted from my life’s childish stresses. Now, this wasn’t a terrible problem for me until I hit the age of 14; and noticed in a picture of some of my peers that they were now as tall as I was…but I was quite a bit ROUNDER than they were.

This was horrifying in a whole new way. I tried “hiding” my thighs in clothing that wouldn’t accentuate my lower heavier self but it didn’t make much of a difference. Obesity has grown in recent years but when I was a young teen, this “shape” didn’t seem quite “normal” and here I went again on my insecurities of standing out. Some of my “friends” would even go as far to say that “boys like thinner girls’ bodies…and not ones like yours”….

I would have been happy to hide behind others and never be seen.  Yes, I know at that time of my life I was too scared to speak up and allow others to hear the ridiculous things I had to say. I preferred to be quiet and enjoy the chatter of others, who were more confident in their skins.

I set out to “right” my eating issues. I would restrict all that I ate and reasoned that just as eating too much allowed me to gain weight; the choice to eat too little would remedy that and I’d lose the weight again and be “normal” among my peers.

Not so much. This was the time that my starvation/binge period began. I’m thankful that I never resorted to “rid” myself of what I would binge on but it would start the awful cycle of starving myself for as long as I could handle it…or until the next bout of depression/anxiety and emotional issues would hit. At this point, I could eat the entire refrigerator contents and not blink an eye.

It was at this point, my mom saw what I was struggling with and decided to sign me up at the local gym and at Weight Watchers.

It was at these centers, I finally belonged. 

I heard stories from other women and young ladies who struggled in much of the same issues I was. At the gym, we attended small group exercise classes and the women in those classes accepted me in; just as one of them. I was invited, quite frequently, to choose my favorite move and “lead” in front of the class.

oh em gee

I was hooked. It was my place. I was finally one of the “in” crowd.

This was also the time I realized I could feel good about myself and still lose the extra weight that I had been struggling with. I lost my first initial 20 lbs and was recognized and celebrated among the other women in our weight loss group and it was a HIGH.

If I missed a class at the gym, the other ladies would actually notice and ask where I had been. So, this is how it felt to be accepted!! I couldn’t believe how wonderful this new world was! I wanted more! I wanted to SHARE with the world!!!

I looked up to and followed one of the fitness instructors and trainers; Syliva.

She was my ultimate role model. She embodied fitness, helpful tips, personality and vitality. She put up with this “pesty” young girl, following her around after classes, asking tons of training questions and food tips. Sylvia was so amazing with me that she even accepted to show me the “other side” of the gym; aka: weight room. Now, how many women do you know who actually go into the weight room? This was the area that seemed off limits because it was predominantly men who spent most of their time there. I wanted to be the exception to the rule. And so Sylvia marched me proudly into the weight room and showed me how to utilize the machines and free weights.

I remember the feeling of finally finding my “calling”. My heart was pulled into learning more about this side of life. How is it possible that I had believed for so long that just eating more or less would allow me to reach my ultimate goals? How was I not aware of this side of the world before?

Now, I realized that I had the power to tone and strengthen up my body to become fitter and healthier versus “good and bad” on my current “diet” mentality. It was about empowerment in all areas of my life; my beliefs and my confidence. Whatever you love; go out and do it whole-heartedly and you’ll never be the same again.

That’s my early story…and I’m sticking with it! Although, that is not the end of my struggles, it helped to shape my newfound passion and calling in life. I knew I would be helping to empower other women to find the workout plan for them and meal plans that best suited their needs and help them achieve the goals of feeling confident, beautiful and powerful.

What about you? 

Curbing Emotional Eating Attacks

Have you ever been attacked by a craving?

Like, you are not sure what just happened but one minute you are sitting there minding your own business and the next part is fuzzy and unclear…

but once you “come to”, you have crumbs on your shirt and chocolate dripping from your chin and your fingertips.

What just happened here? 

This is something that I had suffered through for so many years and instead of looking into the reasons why it was happening, I was under the impression that working on my sheer “willpower” would help me to conquer this beast.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.08.35 PM

not so much…

Let’s take a look at what happens when we are in the midst of a craving attack;  the cravings are driven by the chemical in our brain, dopamine. The brain seeks that rush again and again…and again! It works like a drug addiction…and “willpower” has no power over this at all.

But what do we do if we are trying to lose weight? What if we are focusing on replacing these attacks with healthier habits?  How do we stop these attacks and start to control their power over our brains?

Knowing our trigger points can help us understand the signs so we can work on creating a successful plan to offset the problem.

Here are some common areas that bring on the sudden attacks:

*Being under a lot of stress (ummmm…excuse me, LIFE???)

*Skipping meals and/or undereating (a big no-no but so many women practice it in hopes of losing weight)

*Not drinking enough water (seriously, who even drinks enough these days??)

*Boredom

*Lack of sleep

*Stuck in a rut

Start by learning to identify the feelings in a given moment and understand to separate those feelings from food. I will never forget one of my Weight Watcher leaders when I was just 15 years old, when I was obsessed with finding the cause of my struggles. She told us repeatedly, almost like our mantra, “if you find yourself standing in front of an open refrigerator or pantry and you don’t know what you are ‘hungry’ for; shut the door, go sit down and figure out what it is you are hungry for. Because it has nothing to do with food.’

This saying brought me so much relief through many painful times as I worked on conquering this massive and powerful beast.

So, how do we finally get control of these times? It’s all about understanding the emotions first and then having a game plan set up so we are set up for success. Here are some tips.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.09.39 PM

1. Plan a workout schedule and stick to it. You wouldn’t cancel on a meeting or appointment that was important to you, why would you not stick to a workout program that would benefit your body and your mind? I like to plan out my workout time on my calendar in pen and I don’t let myself get off track with anything or anyone else at that time. If you have difficulty during your day or evening, get up an hour earlier and just get it done. If you are thinking that isn’t fair because you want to sleep that extra hour; then go to sleep earlier if you must. But the bottom line is you that we all have 2 decisions on our goals. Either we don’t stick to it and we move further from our goals; or we just do it and the magic happens. You are just as important as anyone else that you value in your life.

2. Let’s talk about your water intake, your stress levels and the amount of sleep you’re getting. Now, don’t get me started on the fact that most of us are lacking in all 3 of these areas…let’s find out why we need to pay attention here. Our will power is lowered dramatically when we are sleep deprived, stressed out and dehydrated. Do you think that’s BS? Think about a time of known weight gain for most…’the college years’.  Crappy food is everywhere, sleep is a second thought and stress levels are through the roof…and water? Who drinks water? There are much less hydrating beverages to be had instead. Those or us who are more active, need at least 1 gallon of water every day. We also need at least 7 hours of sleep per night…and I don’t care if you can tell me that you are “good” to go after just 4 hours. That lack of sleep will catch up with you. These will create major food cravings all on their own.

3. I know I mentioned stress above but I believe it’s important enough to hold it’s own title.  I know we all deal with stresses. It is ‘life’ for goodness sake. But think about the times when you are stressed more than normal, these times make us so much more vulnerable to food cravings. Stress may not be something you can always control, but you can help your body handle it as best as possible. Exercise is a proven method to eliminate the negativity caused by stress; in fact, you feel immediately better after you are done. Ever hear of those “happy endorphins”?  Some basic activities that bring upon a feeling of euphoria are yoga, meditation and simple stretching. Plan to attend yoga classes twice a week when you are under extra stress, or just in general. Even if you only have a few minutes to relax; just breathing in a quiet place with your eyes closed for 10 minutes will lower stress levels dramatically.  Hence my Weight Watcher leader’s quote about “go sit down and figure out what you’re hungry for”, just sit and breathe…

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.10.52 PM

4. Stop the cravings! When you think of the food culprit, day or night, just firmly think “STOP!” Then picture a healthy and fit “you” instead. Do this repeatedly, even if you feel silly. It’s really sillier to NOT work on these areas so suit yourself…lol  If you make this a habit, your brain will soon begin to dismiss the foods and the cravings will begin to lessen.

5. Sometimes you just gotta have one. Diets don’t work because they focus on depriving ourselves of what we enjoy most. Every so often, go ahead and indulge in your favorite sweet treat. But instead of gorging on it in the privacy of your home, go out and eat it with a fork and a spoon in front of other people…with dignity. Enjoy the flavors and the richness of the dessert. I bet you are satisfied before you even finish it.