Multitasking or Mindfulness? Slow Down to Slim Down

Multitasking and mindfulness. Have you considered how each of these practices affect weight management? I have and I want to share those thoughts with you! I mean just look at photos from the 1970s or earlier and what you’ll usually notice are thinner adults and children. This has often been attributed to changes in our food supply and activity levels, but I also want to point out a major lifestyle change that drives up cortisol production from stress and our storage of fat. We have moved from a society of mindfulness to one of multitasking.

When I was a child, families often grew some of their food. Meals were served at table where conversation was shared without the distractions of electronic devices or other media. Shared meals with extended family or friends was a frequent ritual on Sundays. Sunday was a day of rest. Most people who worked only worked Monday through Friday. My Mom enforced “quiet time” an hour before bed. At this time, the kids went to their rooms to read, draw, or engage in some other quiet activity. No radios, phones, or televisions were allowed. Most families practiced prayer even if only at the surface level before meals and bedtime. Families spent time outside together playing and enjoying nature. They played games together and encouraged creativity and problem solving. Mindfulness was a part of daily life even though we had never heard of that word.

From Mindfulness to Multitasking

Today, the ability to multitask is often listed as a job requirement. In fact, I grew up with the notion that multitasking was a desired and necessary function for every woman seeking to enter the workforce. I practiced multitasking in the household by picking up and cleaning up as I went from one room to the next. I’d have laundry going, soup cooking, dinner on the stove and a knife in my hand prepping for the next day’s lunch. I enjoyed watching tv at the end of the day but found I’d be reading, on the computer, or eating while watching a show. The multitasking seemed to never end. I even carried this habit to bed, looking at my phone, playing games, reading a book, watching tv, and sometimes eating. This was normal for me. After consideration though, multitasking has to go! There’s a time and place for everything. Some things need their own sacred time. Our internal organs need their own sacred time.

You have probably heard not to eat before you go to bed. It’s actually a good practice to allow your body time to digest before going to sleep. The reason for this is your internal organs weren’t designed so much for multitasking. In the early days of the human race, a person could be eating a handful of berries and suddenly be faced with the threat of being attacked by a predator. That person’s body very efficiently switched from digesting to running or fighting to survive. Blood and oxygen was diverted from the digestive system to the heart, lungs, and muscles. Digestion could resume once the physical threat was gone. Our body still functions like that.

What does this have to do with eating and sleeping? Something similar happens. The body repairs, restores, and recovers during rest. These tasks are so important that when the body has to make a choice between digestion and work, work wins. Anything just eaten will quickly convert to stored energy for future use (fat). You will not get the full benefit of proper digestion. We have to stop mulitasking food and sleep. Mindfulness is nothing more than being aware of what we are doing right now in this very moment. Pay attention to your food and digestion. Then, allow your body to do it’s best maintenance work while you sleeep.

If the body can’t multitask internally when faced with digestion versus danger or digestion versus maintenance, how do you think it multitasks when you’re busy eating and watching tv or eating while driving or eating while getting ready for work? We have to slow down to slim down. Our weight loss efforts might be in vain if we are too busy for mindfulness in our eating habits. When we are mindful while eating, our senses are heightened, We enjoy our meals more. Our satiety kicks in sooner which means we’ll probably eat less. We’ll begin to recognize when certain foods don’t agree with us. We’ll learn to listen to our bodies. We’ll begin to make healthier choices. We’ll gain all of these benefits just by slowing down, saying no to so much multitasking in our lives, and allowing mindfulness to be part of our daily routines. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. For further research, I encourage you to read works of Marc David, Founder of the Institute For The Psychology of Eating.

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5 Healthy Eating Habits For Weight Management

Healthy eating habits promote weight management. Wouldn’t you agree? I think the lack of healthy eating comes down to one of three reasons. She is naive. She doesn’t have the information she needs to make healthy choices. She is indifferent. She may know how to eat on the healthier side but chooses not to nourish and protect her body through healthy eating. Or, she is overwhelmed because she lives in the information age. This article is for the naive, indifferent, and overwhelmed. It outlines five healthy eating habits that promote weight management.

It can be an introduction to healthy eating habits for those who struggle with weight management. It can serve as a reminder to those who have the knowledge but do not use it. And, it can be short guide for those who are overwhelmed with information. Let’s keep it simple. Let’s look at five key healthy eating habits that promote weight management.

Healthy Eating Habits

Drink Water

About 60% of your body is water! Your brain is about 75%. Every life sustaining system in your body requires water, but let me talk about two big reasons you want to drink water if you want to lose weight or you struggle with weight management. First, one of the reasons you may have food cravings that lead to overeating or poor food choices is your body needs water. Drinking ample amounts of water helps you process and absorb nutrients from the food you eat. When your body doesn’t absorb the nutrients it needs, it prompts you to eat…and overeat since if you’re not absorbing nutrients well cravings will continue. And second, adequate amounts of water are needed to process and eliminate toxins through the many detoxification organs in your body including the intestines, kidneys, liver, and skin. When the body is not able to eliminate waste material, it surrounds the waste particles with fat cells to protect your organs. These protective fat cells remain bubble wrapped around the waste particles and accumulate in your body until your body finds a way to get rid of them.

Say No to Sugar

High levels of sugar can cause imbalances with your insulin and sugar levels leading to fat storage, the urge to eat more because your body isn’t absorbing energy effectively from food, and it adds calories without a whole lot of nutrition. Sugars are simple carbohydrates with high glycemic loads, no fiber, no vitamins, and no minerals. In addition to the many forms of sugar, you should also try staying away from artificial sweeteners. They may have fewer or no calories, but your body reacts in the same way as sugar when it comes to urging you to eat more. Sugar is addictive. It’s not easy to stop struggling with sugar as sugar cravings may stem from a variety of reasons. The key is to become aware of what triggers cravings for you and to reduce or eliminate hidden and added sweeteners from your diet.

Pitch Processed

Eat what nature intended–food you can find in nature. Can you find a package of pretzels growing from a tree? Can you dig up some cookies, crackers, or cakes? Can you grow some Oodles of Noodles or a frozen dinner? Food that is designed in a lab, produced in a factory, and mass marketed through advertising is usually full of chemicals (artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, stabilizers), added sugar, salt, fat and calories. Many of the things we eat are food-like products rather than food. Even when real food is in the ingredients such as wheat, it is denatured through processing. That means you lose out on things nature intended through the loss of nutrients and fiber. Think this isn’t the case? That is the reason why you see “enriched” on the labels of many breads. Vitamins have been lost through processing. The company then “enriches” the product by adding back in some vitamins. We probably don’t know all of the nutrients that have been stripped, so how can we possibly add them back in? Just something to ponder. Eat as close to nature as possible to help keep your diet balanced with nutrients and fiber that nourish your body, prevent cravings, increase energy, and keep you from overeating.

Fiber is found in plant foods. It’s important for good health and weight management for several reasons. It improves regularity and helps prevent constipation. Fiber helps absorb and eliminate toxins from the body. It’s good for the heart and lowering cholesterol levels. It helps with weight loss and weight maintenance. It feeds good bacteria in the gut. adds bulk to your diet and slows digestion down enough that your brain has time to register you’ve had enough to eat before you eat too much. Fiber rich foods such as fruits and vegetables also come packaged with water and nutrients your body needs. Friend fiber for good health!

Rah Rah For Raw!

It’s probably prudent to eat a combination of raw and cooked food. Cooking breaks down fiber and makes some nutrients easier for the body to absorb. In addition, some nutrients are increased with heat (i.e. lycopene in tomatoes and beta carotene in carrots). On the other hand, cooking breaks down other nutrients and destroys some enzymes. Eating raw fruits and vegetables encourages chewing which helps prepare the body for digestion. The water and fiber content of raw foods slows digestion and help fill you up. The water and fiber content also helps carry out waste so you’re not carrying around extra weight from inflammation and constipation. Raw foods are easy prepare, transport, and eat. Increase raw foods in your diet and you’ll be saying too!

There are many more healthy eating habits for weight management, but these five are a good start. I believe it’s always best to start where you are and build from there. Make small changes over time. So, can you do it? Drink more water. Reduce sugar. Reduce processed foods. Increase fiber intake. Eat more raw foods.

Julie Butts is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® (IIN™), the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA), and the American Council on Fitness (ACE). She is a certified health coach and weight management specialist who combines holistic and conventional wisdom to support women who crave lasting weight loss. Her personal mission is to inspire, educate, and promote lasting weight loss through healthy balanced living. She offers a variety local and online programs to support her clients and is known as The Lifestyle Mentor for Lasting Weight Loss™. Subscribe to her newsletter to receive your free copy of Awareness! Weight Loss Success For The Average Woman and to gain access to her free monthly mentoring calls.

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Weight Loss Excuses We Feed Ourselves

Your health, happiness, and weight management manifest from a unique and complex set of circumstances, events, environments, and living called your life. Everything in your life affects your being–mind, body, and soul. The food on your plate, your activity level, the reasons you eat when you’re not hungry as well as countless other things, all play a role in getting to a healthy weight and keeping it there. Why does weight management stay elusive for many? Perhaps it’s the weight loss excuses we feed ourselves that give us permission to settle for less than our goals.

“It’s easy to come up with reasons why we can’t be happy, why we can’t accomplish a dream, why we can’t overcome a problem. As long as you’re making excuses, you’ll stay where you are. Excuses give us permission to settle for less than God’s best. Get rid of the excuses–you have the power to overcome anything.” — Joel Olsteen Ministries

Ten Common Weight Loss Excuses

  1. Knowlege

  2. I don’t know how to lose weight. I’ve lost weight in the past, but I can’t seem to keep it off. I don’t know how to lose weight and keep it off. Should I work out with weights or bands? Is walking in the neighborhood enough? Do I have to starve myself. Maybe I need a new diet book with recipes to follow. I don’t know! I just don’t know. Is it really worth it?

  3. Time

  4. I don’t really have time exercise. I honestly don’t have time to shop and cook! And, I don’t have time to try new healthy recipes. If I had the time, I’m sure I would be fit, healthy, and unaware of my weight. If I had time, I might even meditate. If I had enough time, I might learn about some of these lifestyle things everyone is saying affects my weight.

  5. Money

  6. I don’t have enough money to buy a gym membership or equipment to use at home. I don’t have enough money to work with personal trainer or health coach. I don’t have enough money to eat healthy food. If I had enough money, I could be healthy and happy, too!

  7. Equipment

  8. I don’t have weights, bands, balls or other fitness equipment. I don’t even have room in my house for gym equipment if someone gave it to me. It would probably just take up space and collect dust like it does at everyone else’s house. It’s just a big waste of money anyway.

  9. Overwhelm

  10. I’m in a place of no return. I’ve put on so much weight that it’s out of my control. The only thing that comes to mind is seeing one of those weight loss doctors. That scares me. I don’t want to have surgery. I don’t think I can afford it anyway. Maybe I can do some things at home to improve my health. I wonder if I should try the diet without bread? Maybe I should try a cleanse? I feel lost, totally overwhelmed. I don’t want to be in the place. I’m too overwhelmed to make any progress at all.

  11. Fear of Failure

  12. I’ve tried a lot of things in the past. I’ve tried diets, points, shakes, pills, exercise programs, support groups, and having a workout buddy. I know if I try again, I’ll just fail again. I might take off some weight, but I know I’ll be right back here wondering what went wrong. I don’t want to fail again. If I don’t join the gym, I won’t have to go. If I don’t start an exercise program, I won’t have to get off track. If I don’t give a concerted effort to eat healthy, I won’t feel like I let myself down when I splurge or indulge.

  13. Shame

  14. I want people to love me for who I am on the inside not what I look like on the outside. I’m ashamed because of something that’s happened in the past that made me feel unloved. I carry that shame with excess weight to hide those deep feelings. I’m not ready to deal with those feelings.

  15. Embarrassment

  16. Honestly, I’ll be embarrassed if I leave the house in work out clothes. And can you imagine what they’ll think at work if they see me bringing my lunch and eating healthy food? When people start noticing I’m losing weight, will they congratulate and encourage me while secretly thinking of how fat I’ve become? I know I’ll be out of breath before I get around the block. People will laugh at me. I’m embarrassed thinking about it.

  17. Not Good Enough

  18. I wear this layer of fat as a beautiful veil covering my inner truth that I am not good enough. I know I’m not good enough because people I loved and trusted have left me. They told me I wasn’t good enough through either their words or actions. I don’t want anyone else to hurt that part of me, so I protect her with an outer covering. If you love me for who I am now, then I am good enough.

  19. Fear of Being Judged

If I start losing weight and getting healthy, I’ll be judged. People will talk about my weight. They’ll make fun of the way I’m eating. They’ll roll their eyes when I make changes to my regular routines to engage in healthy activities. They’ll say I can’t do it. They’ll say I won’t do it. They’ll say I’m fat for a reason.

How You Can Overcome Weight Loss Excuses

Step 1: Ask yourself if it’s really true. Challenge your beliefs. Will everyone really judge you? Can you live a healthier life without making six figures? Is there a way to get started with just one small step today?

Step 2: Ask yourself why you’re using the excuse. Does believing that you’re not good enough give you permission to live a smaller life? Does losing weight mean you might have to deal with something internal at a deeper level?

Step 3: Ask yourself how you can stop hiding behind that excuse. As for support. Learn to set your intentions and then act on them. Learn to prioritize and organize. Give up procrastination and treating your health as an after thought. Empower yourself to make a difference in your life and in the lives of those around you.

Take a moment to write down the quote at the beginning of this article. Put it in a place where you can read it daily. Ask yourself if you’re using any of the excuses mentioned in this post. Ask yourself what other weight loss excuses are present in your belief system. Ask yourself how you’d help a friend overcome these excuses. Then, be that friend to yourself. “Get rid of the excuses—you have the power to overcome anything.”

Julie Butts is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® (IIN™), the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA), and the American Council on Fitness (ACE). She is a certified health coach and weight management specialist who combines holistic and conventional wisdom to support women who crave lasting weight loss. Her personal mission is to inspire, educate, and promote lasting weight loss through healthy balanced living. She offers a variety local and online programs to support her clients and is known as The Lifestyle Mentor for Lasting Weight Loss™. Subscribe to her newsletter to receive your free copy of Awareness! Weight Loss Success For The Average Woman and to gain access to her free monthly mentoring calls.

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Using Your Internal GPS to Move From Fear to Love

What if you had a GPS that you could follow in life, a GPS that helped you find peace, happiness, health, and harmony? Whether or not you believe in a power greater than yourself or a connection to others through spirit, there’s no doubt that each of us has a built in internal guidance system. This internal GPS can help you make choices that support your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

We are born with an innate ability to know right from wrong. We are born with an instinct to survive. We are guided from birth by two opposing emotions: love and fear. Our survival depends on moving toward love and away from fear.

Everything we experience in life moves us toward love through expansion or away from love through fear and contraction. Our internal GPS gives us direction through emotions or events that either cause expansion or contraction within our emotional and physical world. As with every GPS, the system only gets you where you want to go when you know where you want to go and you know how to use the system. We can all agree that peace, happiness, health, and harmony are all places we strive to find. The question is not where we want to go but rather how to use our internal GPS.

We must learn to listen to our emotions and to our physical body by understanding the feelings of contraction and expansion. Contraction is associated with tension, feeling withdrawn, isolation, selfishness, greed, sadness, anguish, anxiety, pain, anger, heaviness and stress – those feelings that make us feel alone and scared. Expansion is associated with aliveness, freedom, connection, happiness, joy, serenity, calm, generosity, satisfaction, lightness and well-being – those feelings that make us feel connected and safe.

Now, let’s look at a practical application of our internal GPS. Let’s say you overeat at Thanksgiving because it’s tradition. You feel sluggish and heavy in the stomach as a result of overeating. These are feelings of contraction. Your body is telling you that you’ve gone the wrong direction. Your body is working overtime to try to recover. Now, when you took those first few bites, you probably experience feelings of contraction. You enjoyed good food with good company. You felt warmth and nourishment. Your body and mind were rewarding you for the direction you were going – nourishing your body and connecting with those around you.

Let’s look at another example. You’re under a lot of stress. You don’t recognize the feeling of contraction, so you ignore the tension, acid in your stomach, fatigue from lack of sleep, headaches from not hydrating and breathing. You ignore the direction your internal GPS is trying to give you, direction to slow down and change your course of action. As a result, perhaps you suffer an injury that forces you to slow down. If you could’ve recognized the feelings of contraction, you could’ve moved toward things that bring expansion and moved away from the stress causing all your suffering.

As we move through life, we get off course. Our internal GPS helps us get back on course. My challenge to you is to start paying attention to your emotions and to the signals your body sends you on a continuous basis. Try identifying what you’re feeling. Does it feel like contraction or expansion? If it feels like contraction, what can you do to move away from fear and toward love?

Julie Butts is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® (IIN™), the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA), and the American Council on Fitness (ACE). She is a certified health coach and weight management specialist who combines holistic and conventional wisdom to support women who crave lasting weight loss. Her personal mission is to inspire, educate, and promote lasting weight loss through healthy balanced living. She offers a variety local and online programs to support her clients and is known as The Lifestyle Mentor for Lasting Weight Loss™. Subscribe to her newsletter to receive your free copy of Awareness! Weight Loss Success For The Average Woman and to gain access to her free monthly mentoring calls.

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10 Tips For Increasing Daily Calorie Burn

Who wants to burn more calories throughout the day without a grueling workout? Most people make little choices throughout their day that directly affect the amount of energy (aka calories) needed to function. What would happen if you made a few conscious changes? Those small changes could add up to big results. That’s what could happen! So, I’m writing this article, 10 Tips For Increasing Daily Calorie Burn, to help you start thinking about how you can add more physical activity to your daily living and pump up the amount of calories you’ll almost effortlessly burn.

Increasing Daily Calorie Burn At Work

Tip # 1: Stand

Standing requires more effort than sitting. That means you’ll burn more calories just by spending some of that work time standing rather than sitting. Whether you’re tied to a desk or not, stand. Even standing five minutes per hour is helpful. You’ll be increasing daily calorie burn and allowing your body to stretch at the same time.

Tip # 2: Reduce Your Email

Reduce the amount of email you send. Let’s be social. Instead of sending an email, get up and walk down the hall. Commit to only send emails when there’s a great physical separation or when the other person is not available. Email is a convenience. So is walking. What would you do if you lost that capability? Increasing daily calorie burn through walking rather than hitting that email send button.

Tip # 3: Find the Stairs and Skip the elevator

When given the opportunity to choose between taking stairs or pressing an elevator button, choose the stairs. You’ll be increasing daily calorie burn on the way up and again on the way down (or vice versa). Walking up and down stairs uses both your upper and lower body muscles. It helps with strength, flexibility, stability, and aerobic endurance. Now about that elevator button…it might work out your index finger. Bottom line. Find the stairs. Skip the elevator.

Tip # 4: Park and Walk

I like the idea of finding a parking space that allows you the opportunity to walk a little. That extra little walk to your work building and back to your car after work is another way of increasing daily calorie burn. There are two awesome side effects of this strategy. First, you’ll have an easier time finding a parking space and second, you’ll be able to eliminate the stress of driving around fighting for the closest spot. Why do we do that anyway. Forego the before work self-induced parking lot stress. Park at a distance that allows you to enjoy a short calming walk.

Increasing Daily Calorie Burn Around The House

Tip # 5: Wash the Dishes

Dishwashers are nice, but grandma burned far more calories washing each dish than pressing a button to let a machine do the work. You don’t have to let completely go of this modern convenience. Find a compromise. Perhaps you put glasses and silverware in the dishwasher and hand wash the remaining dishes. The next time, maybe you load plates only. Have a little fun with it. Think of washing dishes as an opportunity to increase your daily calorie burn.

Tip # 6: Make Your Bed

Making your bed allows you to stretch a little bit first thing in the morning and to burn a few extra calories. For many people, making their bed also creates a sense of accomplishment, organization, routine, and cleanliness which creates a more calming, less stress environment.

Tip # 7: Vacuum and Sweep

Vacuum your carpets and sweep your floors on a regular basis. These two household chores actually incorporate several muscle groups and engage your heart and lungs.

Tip # 8: Wipe Off the Mirror and Sink

Wipe off the mirror and sink of your bathrooms daily. You can even wipe off your sink every time you use it. Just keep some wipes under the vanity or in your linen closet for easy access. The circular motion of these activities will engage your shoulder and arm muscles and increase your daily calorie burn.

Increasing Daily Calorie Burn With Family and Friends

Tip # 9: Play Outside

Play outside with your kids. Engage them in a game of slippery slide in the summer or a snowball fight in the winter. Teach them how to play frisbee golf. Enjoy a game of softball, kickball, basketball or football. No kids? No problem. Get your adult friends together. Mix it up. Horse shoes, corn hole, or volley ball anyone?

Tip # 10 : Play Inside

Don’t let the weather or nightfall keep you from burning calories through play. Bring the fun inside. Have a party. You’ll burn a load of calories cleaning your house, setting up the party, cooking, and cleaning up afterwards. You’ll also burn calories just by being with friends laughing. Why not try some indoor games like Bunco or Charades that will get you physically moving and laughing?

Increasing daily calorie burn isn’t rocket science. It’s about adding a little extra movement. It’s about not always taking the easy way out like pushing a button. It’s about laughing, enjoying life, reducing stress, and using the muscles, skeletal frame and amazing cardiovascular systems. What are some of your tips? What small actions can you take today? Remember that small actions can add up to big results over time. Get healthy. Be healthy. Stay healthy.

Julie Butts is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® (IIN™), the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA), and the American Council on Fitness (ACE). She is a certified health coach and weight management specialist who combines holistic and conventional wisdom to support women who crave lasting weight loss. Her personal mission is to inspire, educate, and promote lasting weight loss through healthy balanced living. She offers a variety local and online programs to support her clients and is known as The Lifestyle Mentor for Lasting Weight Loss™. Subscribe to her newsletter to receive your free copy of Awareness! Weight Loss Success For The Average Woman and to gain access to her free monthly mentoring calls.

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5 Ways Relationships Affect Weight

Relationships affect how we perceive and live our lives. Family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community, strangers – they weave together memories and experiences. But have you ever wondered if relationships affect weight? I think they do in at least five ways: social influence, food choices, activity levels, stress management, and habits. Let’s take a closer look at how relationships affect weight.

Relationships Affect Weight Through Social Influence

Relationships influence how we eat, the foods we choose, and the things we do or do not do on a regular basis. Our weight is also affected by social influence. If we’re at a party where alcohol is abundant, we may be influenced by our peers to drink. If someone brings in a birthday cake at work, we may be influenced to eat a large slice. If we’re at a restaurant with peers, we may make poor food choices based on the choices of others. Social influence may get us out of bed and to the gym to meet a friend. It may find us at a the top of a mountain taking in a serene picturesque view. We may try a green smoothie because our best friend added them to her diet and says she has more energy now. Social influence affects the decisions we make on a regular basis whether or not they have a negative or positive effect.

Relationships Affect Weight By Influencing Food Choices

Take a closer look at how you eat. Do you eat foods similar to those of the family who raised you? Do you tend to eat the things that other members of your household enjoy? Do you eat at the same places as your three closest friends? When you try to make healthy choices, do you find it difficult because of the choices made by those you love? Do you find it difficult to eat healthy at work when your co-workers bring in donuts, cake, and fast food? Do you find it hard to eat healthy at home when family members want chips, ice-cream, cookies, and sodas in the house? By the same measure, when you find someone who brings in a healthy meals to work use this to your advantage. Ask them how they prepared the meal. What ingredients were used? What do they like about it. While relationships affect weight through negative influence, they can also affect weight through positive influence.

Relationships Affect Activity Levels

What do you do for fun when you have time off from work? Are you and your friends active? Do you like the idea of kayaking adventure or riding a bicycle on a local trail or do you prefer a movie, a quiet night in with pizza, a tailgate party with beer, snacks, and a football game? Where do you park at work? Do you fight to find the closest spot? Do you take the elevator or the stairs? What do your co-workers do? Do you live with someone who enjoys going to the gym, taking regular walks, or running on a treadmill? Do you live with someone who watches a lot of tv, avoids yard work, and doesn’t want to do anything that might break a sweat. How do you fit into this picture? Are your activity choices similar?

Relationships Affect Weight Through Stress and Stress Relief

Another way relationships affect weight is through stress and stress management. How do you feel about your boss at work? Does your boss create stress in your work day or find ways to create an environment of creativity, teamwork and trust? Do your co-works vent throughout the day or encourage one another? Do your family members or friends frequently talk about being sick, tired, or frustrated? Do you have positive people in your life? How do you feel around them? Why do you take the time to have tea or coffee with a friend? Do you take walks with friends, plan meals together, listen to music, do yoga, or other stress reducing activity? Think about how your relationships affect your stress levels.

Relationships Play An Important Role in Behavioral Modification

While social influence, food choices, activity levels, and stress management are all important aspects of weight management, behavioral modification–lifestyle changes–are critical to sustaining healthy habits, a healthy weight, and a healthy life. Relationships play an important role in behavior modification. There’s a saying that if you share a joy you double it and if you share a sorrow, you cut it in half. Let me add to this. Sharing a new behavior with someone you know and love helps solidify the decision while keeping it to yourself makes it easier to revert to old behavior.

If you want to make positive changes, become more aware of how the relationships in your life affect your weight management efforts. Find people who influence your life and choices in positive ways. Weight management is more complicated than counting calories or carbs. Awareness is always the first step in any positive change. Become aware of how the relationships in your life play a role in the success of your weight management efforts.

Julie Butts is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® (IIN™), the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA), and the American Council on Fitness (ACE). She is a certified health coach and weight management specialist who combines holistic and conventional wisdom to support women who crave lasting weight loss. Her personal mission is to inspire, educate, and promote lasting weight loss through healthy balanced living. She offers a variety local and online programs to support her clients and is known as The Lifestyle Mentor for Lasting Weight Loss™. Subscribe to her newsletter to receive your free copy of Awareness! Weight Loss Success For The Average Woman and to gain access to her free monthly mentoring calls.

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One Dozen Tips For Increasing Energy

Haven’t we all had those moments or days when we just don’t seem to have enough energy to do what we want or need to do? Well, here are a dozen tips for increasing energy. Practice as many of these habits on a regular basis as you can. You don’t have to live with low energy and fatigue. What helpful tips can you add to this list? Leave your comments and share this post. Maybe we’ll all find a new nugget for increasing energy.

Tips For Increasing Energy

  1. Add greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and citrus fruit to your diet. These are all nutrient dense and fiber rich foods that promote increased energy levels for different reasons. Minimize animal protein, including meat and dairy as well as liquid and solid fats which are calorie rich, nutrient and fiber poor and require a lot of energy to digest.
  2. Hydrate. Drink plenty of water. All of you internal systems require water to operate efficiently, including your brain and nervous system. It will also help prevent constipation which can weigh you down (pun intended).
  3. Movement. All forms of exercise help move waste out of our body (lymphatic and digestive systems), increase circulations and oxygen levels, and allow us to do more with less pain.
  4. Allow your body and mind enough time for rest, repair, and recovery. Get enough sleep. Take a nap when you can. Meditate. Spend time in natural. Do whatever helps you release tightness and troubled thoughts and experience calm, relaxing serenity.
  5. Turn on the lights! Where there is light, there can be no darkness. Try to get out in the sunlight everyday for a natural dose of Vitamin D. You might even want to get tested to see if you need to supplement Vitamin D.
  6. Surround yourself with positive people. Always see the positive in every person and every situation. Walk away from negative, angry, sarcastic and gossipy people and situations. You can love the person and still choose how you react to their behavior.
  7. Engage your senses. Wear bright colors like yellow, red or orange. Add scents like citrus, lavender, peppermint, or flowers to your day. Try a hot shower, a cold shower, or a tepid shower to stir up your circulation. Slide into some fresh, crisp bed sheets. Organize your closets and drawers. Taste some dark chocolate, berries, coconut, or nuts. Listen to soothing music, your favorite upbeat music, or whatever stirs your soul.
  8. Change your thought patterns when you feel stuck, depressed or negative. Focus on the moment, not the future. Focus on what you need to do next and nothing more when you feel those moments of struggle. Try helping someone else to take your focus off of your problems. Spend time with others. Laugh!
  9. Challenge your mind. Journal, write a letter, story or poem. Unleash your creativity. Allow yourself to remember what it’s like to be a child. Play.
  10. Lean on others. Talk to a friend. Ask for help. Get support. When you share a sorrow, you cut it in half. When you share a joy, you double it.
  11. Get inspired. Learn something new. Relive happy memories. Visualize yourself as energized, happy, active, and well.
  12. Increase your oxygen availability through meditation, deep breathing, exercise, and eating greens.

Julie Butts is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® (IIN™), the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA), and the American Council on Fitness (ACE). She is a certified health coach and weight management specialist who combines holistic and conventional wisdom to support women who crave lasting weight loss. Her personal mission is to inspire, educate, and promote lasting weight loss through healthy balanced living. She offers a variety local and online programs to support her clients and is known as The Lifestyle Mentor for Lasting Weight Loss™. Subscribe to her newsletter to receive your free copy of Awareness! Weight Loss Success For The Average Woman and to gain access to her free monthly mentoring calls.

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10 Helpful Tips for Measuring

One thing that drives me crazy is the obsession many people have with counting calories and measuring every little thing. Yes, portion sizes are out of control. Yes, we do need to be mindful of calories and portion sizes; however, let’s not take the fun out of cooking and eating. Maybe we should look at measuring with new eyes. Take a look at these ten tips for measuring. What tips would you add?

  1. Fluid ounces are not the same as ounces in weight. Use a kitchen scale to measure solid things like nuts.
  2. A serving a protein is about the size of a deck of cards, including the thickness!
  3. Stock your cabinets with containers that hold 1/2 cup, 1 cup and 2 cups. This makes measuring lunches to go easy. Use the one cup container for an easy way to pack cut fruit. The 1/2 cup size is perfect for a bean salad, and the two cup containers are great for salads or soups. We tend to fill up containers and eat everything we pack. Be mindful of your container size. The closer they are to appropriate portions, the closer you’ll stick to your portion plan.
  4. A 32 ounce Mason or Ball jar has measurements marked on the side. It can be used as a storage container, a drinking vessel, and a measuring cup!
  5. A shot glass is 1 1/2 fluid ounces. One ounce is two tablespoons. That makes a shot glass convenient for measure things like salad dressings and oils. Tupperware has small plastic containers with lids that are the size of shot glasses. Measurements are also on the sides. This is a great container for taking salad dressings or nuts to work.
  6. A serving of raw leafy greens is two cups. Measure it out once. Then, pick up the whole amount with one hand. For most people, this serving size is probably the size of one heaping handful.
  7. Cup both hands and put them together like you’re holding a baseball with both hands surrounding it. This is about one cup – the size of a baseball or the size of both hands cupped together.
  8. A tennis ball is a good comparison for a half cup. You can also envision seven cotton balls or a light bulb. I like to use one cupped hand!
  9. Two tablespoons of peanut butter is about the size of a ping pong ball.
  10. Grandma had it right! Use your fingers and the palm of your hand to measure spices. A pinch, a dash, a small handful are really just estimates for small measures. Have fun in the kitchen. Learn what other measurements look like in your hand as well. Can you accurately measure an ounce of nuts in your hand? Can you measure a tablespoon of an ingredient? Sure you can! Your hands will always be with you and “handy”. Use them to estimate in the kitchen.
  11. Julie Butts is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® (IIN™), the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA), and the American Council on Fitness (ACE). She is a certified health coach and weight management specialist who combines holistic and conventional wisdom to support women who crave lasting weight loss. Her personal mission is to inspire, educate, and promote lasting weight loss through healthy balanced living. She offers a variety local and online programs to support her clients and is known as The Lifestyle Mentor for Lasting Weight Loss™. Subscribe to her newsletter to receive your free copy of Awareness! Weight Loss Success For The Average Woman and to gain access to her free monthly mentoring calls.

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Overcoming Emotional Eating

I designed a five step process to help my clients in overcoming emotional eating. I think most of us have found ourselves eating for reasons other than to nourish our bodies which is my definition of emotional eating. We turn to food when we’re sad, discouraged, feeling unloved or not appreciated. We turn to food when we’re happy, celebrating, and in good spirits. We use food to both enhance and stifle emotions. This type of eating promotes excess calories, sugar and fat as well as a sedentary lifestyle and ultimately, weight gain. So, how do I help my clients overcome emotional eating? I teach them to slow down, think about what’s happening, and to respond appropriately.

Overcoming Emotional Eating

Overcoming emotional eating won’t always be easy, but you can learn how to stop emotional eating and how to change your behavior. The first step is awareness. You must recognize that a problem exists. The second step is identifying the root cause and naming it. Once you name it, you can begin to understand what’s going on. Then, you’ll be able to confront the real underlying issues and replace emotional eating with healthier options. Let’s take a closer look at each step in the process.

See It

Overcoming emotional eating begins with awareness! You must see that at least a portion of you eating patterns are tied to emotions. You must make the connection that when you’re feeling a certain way, you find comfort or turn to food to enhance or avoid certain emotions. Some people turn to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Some people turn to food. But knowing that you’re using food for reasons other than to nourish your body is only the beginning.

Name It

The second step in overcoming emotional eating is to name it. To stop emotional eating in it’s tracks, you must recognize when you’re about to eat or overeat for reasons other than to nourish your body. For example, you’re at a buffet with family or friends. You’re satisfied and could stop eating now, but you’re thinking about going up for more. Does the need to be social drive you to go for a second round? Could you be social with an after dinner tea instead? Or perhaps you have childhood memories of not having enough or live paycheck to paycheck not knowing what you’ll be able to put on the table next? Could you be avoiding these feelings of scarcity by overindulging in the abundance of the buffet? Before you eat for reasons other than your body needs food, name it. Just naming the feeling will alter your desire.

Understand It

Once you start to name what you’re feeling, you’ll begin to recognize when you’re hungry and when you’r not. Are you sad or hungry? Are you craving love or ice cream? Are you angry or want to binge to tell yourself that everything’s okay? Some common emotional eating triggers include stress, boredom, anxiety, comfort, and eating to reward yourself. Own the feeling. Know that what you’re feeling is okay. Understand that you’ve been feeding that feeling with food.

Confront It

The next step in overcoming emotional eating is to confront the feelings that are driving you to overeat or to make poor food choices. Confront them and know that you press the button with emotional eating every time. You and you alone make the decision in what, when, how much and how frequently you eat. So, what do you do when you know you’re on the verge of indulging in emotional eating? Separate the emotions from the act of eating. Replace eating with the things that will truly speak to your feelings.

Replace It

Overcoming emotional eating is a process. It’s easy to use food to hide, stuff, or enhance emotions. It’s not so easy to see and name the feeling you’re actually experiencing. It’s not so easy to understand what you really want or need. You can replace eating with other actions. With time, you’ll be able to do this with less effort. In the beginning, you might want to seek the support of your family doctor, a therapist, a support group, a trusted friend, or a weight management specialist.

What I teach my clients is to slow down and to think about what’s happening. What is their body and mind trying to tell them? What void are they trying to fill? What discomfort are they trying to ease? Do they know when they’re about to engage in emotional eating? Can they name the underlying emotion, want, or need? Do they understand why they go to food and how food causes chemical reactions in the brain? Are they ready to confront and overcome emotional eating? Are they ready to replace these destructive eating patterns with more supportive choices? What about you? Overcoming emotional eating is within your grasp. You can stop emotional eating. Get support and follow this five step process.

Julie Butts is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® (IIN™), the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA), and the American Council on Fitness (ACE). She is a certified health coach and weight management specialist who combines holistic and conventional wisdom to support women who crave lasting weight loss. Her personal mission is to inspire, educate, and promote lasting weight loss through healthy balanced living. She offers a variety local and online programs to support her clients and is known as The Lifestyle Mentor for Lasting Weight Loss™. Subscribe to her newsletter to receive your free copy of Awareness! Weight Loss Success For The Average Woman and to gain access to her free monthly mentoring calls.

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Emotional Eating: You Press the Button Every Time!

Emotional eating: you press the button every time! That’s right. You make a decision every time you engage in emotional eating. In this post, I’d like to talk about some of the reasons you might be pressing that button. I’ll also offer some suggestions on how to lessen the urge.

HALT!

This is an acronym used in 12 step programs to help people evaluate their urge to fall into old behaviors. The word halt stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. When you feel the urge, you’re supposed to ask yourself if you’re actually hungry or if you’re angry, lonely, or tired. Asking these questions can help guide you to better decisions. Let’s look at each of these areas with regards to emotional eating.

Am I Hungry or Is This Emotional Eating?

If you’re reaching for simple carbohydrates, sugar, salt, or fat, you might be eating to calm emotions or release mood enhancing hormones. It’s amazing how many times we put food into our mouths when we are not hungry. Hunger is a physical signal to the mind that it’s time to add calories and nutrition. Emotional eating is a mental trigger to eat and is not based on the need to refuel.

Am I Binge Eating Because I’m Angry?

Did the boss just yell at me? Did I just wreck the car? Did I just learn my spouse cheated on me? Did I miss a promotion, not get invited to a party, or have words with one of my children? Am I unsatisfied with my income or the amount of bills I cannot pay? Would it make me feel better right now to pull through the drive through, get some ice-cream, rip open a bag of chips, stop by the local bar for a round of pool and a few drinks? When the act of eating (or drinking) is associated with anger or frustration, it can be downright dangerous. You won’t be dealing with the real issue causing the anger. And, you’ll be attacking your body with low nutrient, high calorie food or food-like products.

Am I Eating Because I’m Lonely?

Are you eating because you’re alone and trying to fill a void? Are you eating (or drinking) because you feel awkward or uncomfortable in a social situation? Emotional eating fills your hip pockets and spare tire. It does not fill a void in your social world or ability to interact in a social setting. Instead of eating, put your focus on how to overcome the uncomfortable feelings you’re experiencing.

Do I Want To Eat Because I’m Tired?

Are you exhausted? Are you fatigued? Did you not get enough sleep? Are you looking for something to do? When you’re tired or bored, find other ways to energize your body and engage your mind. Take a walk or stretch, call a friend, read a book, do something in the yard or house that you’ve been putting off. Delay eating until you’re physically hungry.

How To Stop Emotional Eating in Its Tracks

Stay aware of your actions and emotions. When you find yourself getting out of bed in the middle of the night to “get a snack”, ask yourself if you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT). When you’re standing in front of your pantry or refrigerator looking for something to eat, ask yourself if you’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT). When you find yourself looking through the chips, sodas and candy aisles after filling up your tank of gas, ask yourself if you’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT).

You can truly learn to listen to your body if you’re willing to observe. You may feel tired or hear yourself sighing. You may hear negative self-talk or a I don’t care attitude dancing around in your head. HALT! You’re in danger of emotional eating. These aren’t the only reasons you might eat in response to emotions. In fact, I think the most intense emotional eating triggers are stress, boredom, anxiety, comfort and reward. The word HALT gives us a great starting point though as it teaches us to challenge whether or not we’re actually hungry.

Stop, listen, ask yourself if you’re hungry. It sounds simple. Sometimes, you might need to enlist the support of friends and family members or partner with a weight management specialist who can help you begin to see your own personal trends. It’s not easy to overcome emotional eating. It takes awareness, work and willingness. Because you’ve made it to the end of this post, I believe you’re ready to take the first steps toward change. You understand that you’re the one who presses the button in emotional eating. You are the one who has the power to reverse the tide and to stop the unhealthy insanity of emotional eating. What are your thoughts?

Julie Butts is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition® (IIN™), the American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA), and the American Council on Fitness (ACE). She is a certified health coach and weight management specialist who combines holistic and conventional wisdom to support women who crave lasting weight loss. Her personal mission is to inspire, educate, and promote lasting weight loss through healthy balanced living. She offers a variety local and online programs to support her clients and is known as The Lifestyle Mentor for Lasting Weight Loss™. Subscribe to her newsletter to receive your free copy of Awareness! Weight Loss Success For The Average Woman and to gain access to her free monthly mentoring calls.

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Compassionate help for overweight women who crave lasting weight loss.