How can I have the best holiday ever and not gain weight?

Yes you can.
I’ll teach you how.
It’s very simple.
Decide that you are in control. Of your thoughts. Of your feelings. And of what you eat.

4 tools from 4 brilliant writers:
1. Ask yourself this primary question every morning: “How can I have the best holiday ever and not gain weight?” The question shifts the focus to having a great time rather than worrying about what you’ll eat. Primary questions (thanks Tony Robbins) enable you to determine the flavour of your day.
2. Decide that you will eat according to your internal hunger signals, no matter what. Your host is watching what you eat. Check in – hungry? Enjoy it. Not hungry? “It looks delicious and I’m so full I couldn’t eat another bite”. Your favourite dessert. Check in – hungry? Enjoy it. Not hungry? Remind yourself of your goal, think about how you’ll feel after, and pass. Brooke Castillo gives us permission to express our appreciation with words.
3. Never let yourself get too hungry, especially before a party. Geneen Roth reminds us that for every starvation there is an equal and opposite binge.
4. Aim to eat whatever you truly enjoy and to truly enjoy whatever you eat. Martha Beck gives us this seemingly simple goal, which will result in effortless weight loss. Don’t ever eat anything you don’t love. Whatever you’re eating, stop as soon as you stop loving it.

Here’s how it works:
I’m on a road trip with my family. My primary question is: “how can I be really connected with my family and feel great at the same time?” For me, feeling great includes feeling light and energetic, and that excludes eating heavy starchy foods, and exercising. But I’m on the road, and my eating and workout options are limited. Also, we stop according to the collective hunger signals of the family, which may not correspond with mine.

No problem. No worries about putting on weight. I know I won’t.

I bring fresh fruits and veggies in the car, protein bars and homemade trail mix (raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dried cherries, raisins, dark choc chips YUM). I know I always have foods I love to eat.

If I’m hungry before we’re about to stop, I eat in the car. I never wait. That would risk getting irritable with my family, and overeating when we do stop. My primary question reminds me that if I allowed that to happen I wouldn’t feel great. If I’m not hungry at the restaurant, I don’t eat. I focus on the first part of the question: I connect, laugh, joke, and have the best time.

At every stop, there’s a unique specialty advertised on the table. If I let external circumstances control my behaviour, I would say “I couldn’t help it, I will never be here again, and I had to try it”. Instead, I’m honest with myself. So what if I never taste the freshlybakedwarmapplepiewithcaramelfillingandhomemadepumpkinicecream? Good question: so what? So I’ll feel great, I’ll have had a great time with my family, AND I’ll have proved to myself that I eat only according to my inner signals, and never let external signals control me.

There’s always opportunities to move. I just did a “gym class” led by my six year old daughter in the parking lot of a gas station in Statesville, North Carolina. My thirteen year old daughter was horrified at how stupid I looked running and jumping across the beacons. I felt great and loved the moment of connection with my two younger girls.

So… two days into the trip. How’s it going? I’m having the best trip ever and I feel great, thank you for asking! Let me know how you had the best holiday season ever and didn’t gain weight. If you want to learn more, I have a few individual coaching spots left for January, and I will be starting 3 new group coaching sessions. Email me to reserve your spot.

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Are you ready to end the war?

I was telling a friend about one of my favourite Martha Beck weight loss tools. It’s called “bag it, barter it, or better it”, and can be applied to any area of your life.

Anything you don’t want to do, consider whether you can bag it – simply not do it; barter it – pay someone to do it or swap favours; or, here’s the one I love – better it – find a way to make it something you want to do.

I do this with exercise, even though I really love running for the sake of running – the feeling of freedom, the stillness in the ravine near my son’s school – I better it by downloading lectures and classes on topics I’m passionately interested in, and only listen to them when I’m running.

She looked at me and asked “What stops you from listening to them other times? Why wouldn’t you just break the deal?”

I had never considered breaking my agreement with myself.

Without thinking, I answered “Because I’m no longer at war with my body”

There was a very still silence for a moment as we considered the enormity of this discovery.

We had both struggled with our weight for a long long time, and never considered that we could put an end to the war. Now I had. We both started to cry. Me from the enormous relief of the peace that I had voiced. She because of the realization of the war inside her.

I can help you put down your weapons, give you the tools to find peace.

Because when you’re at war with yourself, no one wins*

*thanks to Brooke Castillo for this brilliant, yet obvious observation

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How do you spend your family time?

Fabulous quality family time for me this week:

Monday: cardio class with my gorgeous thirteen year old daughter.
She was proud of how hard I worked.
I do.
Every time.
I’m forty six and I jumped higher and ran further than her.
(of course, she doesn’t have to try to be perfect – she’s my girl)

Tuesday:  Group Power class with my gorgeous twenty four year old niece.
I’d love to say my weights were heavier than her’s
But hey, I was there and I was pumping.
And they were heavier than the teacher’s.
But hey, who’s competing?

Yes, I see those of you who knew me up until a few years ago.
You’re shaking your heads in disbelief.
You’re checking your eyesight to make sure you’re reading accurately.

See, that same daughter, before she could speak in full sentences, she recognized every Starbucks sign in the city.
Of course, she’d been to them all with her mom.
It was ‘quality family time’.
We’d take books, toys, and cuddle while we sipped and snacked.
By the time she was four, she was a regular at the trendy restaurants in our neighbourhood.
We’d bring workbooks, colouring, board games, and play while we dined and drank
It was ‘quality family time’.

Now quality time with mom is a bike ride, walk, or exercise class.
Fun time with the whole family may involve tag in the backyard, or a dance party in the   living room.
If the little ones are practicing handstands or dance moves, I’m in there with them.
Curtains are drawn.
I’m so so uncoordinated and can’t keep a beat.
We end up laughing more than we move.
But hey, it sure beats sitting on the sidelines cheering like I used to do.

Of course, if the ride is long or strenuous, there’s often a Starbucks at the halfway mark.
That gorgeous thirteen year old?
She is a teenager after all, and her mom will do anything for some quality time with her.

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What are you teaching your children?

This morning I was planning how many donuts to buy for our first Chanukah celebration tonight. My daughter said “Uncle David eats lots of halves, so buy lots for him”.
I laughed.
I was remembering the many Saturday afternoon tea parties at my house.
A huge gaggle of female relatives, sitting around the table for hours.
Eating slivers of cake.
Many many slivers over the course of the afternoon.
I can’t have a whole piece, I’m dieting” (they were ALWAYS dieting).
“I’ll just have a taste” (my granny’s favourite)
My sister and I used to laugh that they ate way more than one piece with all their slivers!   And they didn’t even enjoy the cake.
Because they were pretending that they weren’t eating.
Fog eating, my teacher, Brooke Castillo, calls it.
Eating behind your own back.
As if it won’t count if you don’t pay attention.
So it does double damage: weight gain and shame.

The best news: when I told my daughter that Uncle David takes only halves because he’s worried about his weight and doesn’t allow himself a whole donut, she disagreed and said “no, he only wants a half”.
Major internal HI-FIVE for me!!!!
My children don’t know about dieting, deprivation, shame, or lying about what you eat.
They know that you eat what you love to eat
You eat when you’re hungry
You stop eating when you’ve had enough
You never eat it if you don’t love it
They know that
their body is perfect
stunningly uniquely perfect.
Four children.  Four different body types
All perfect
Now THAT feels like freedom.

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“Can you nudge against the sound?”

My inspiring NIA teacher asked this during our class this morning.
What a great question.
She was referring to the sound of the mesmerizing band that plays during our class.
What a great question, I thought, thinking of my thoughts.
Can you nudge against the sound of your own thoughts?
Can you get a little closer and really hear what you tell yourself?

“I’m stressed and overeating because my son can’t cope at university”
“My husband is the cause of my overeating”
“I don’t have enough time”
“My daughter is driving me crazy”
“I’m a wreck”
“I’m out of control”
My clients think these thoughts all day every day.
This is a sample from just one group coaching session.
I feel exhausted and drained just typing them.
My fingers literally feel heavy.

We don’t even notice this constant chatter.
We are so used to the internal whipping.
On Monday I asked them to say these thoughts to a picture of themselves as a small child.  Not one of them could do it.
Yet we talk to ourselves this way all day every day.

Can you nudge in and listen?
Your freedom depends on it.
Those treacherous thoughts?
They’re the cause of your overeating, overspending, oversleeping, over-anything.

Can you nudge in long enough to take notice?
Your freedom depends on it.
Grab them.
Bring them to your consciousness.
You can change the thoughts.
It will change how you feel.
Then you will change how you behave.
And your life’s results will be different.
This is what coaching is all about.

I will support you as you nudge against the thoughts.
I’ll be with you as you pull them out of the darkness.
I won’t be afraid as you feel the feelings.
I’ll breathe with you as you find the replacement  thought that brings you peace.
How will we know it? It’s a thought you totally believe.
And it makes you feel better.
We’ll both hear you sigh with relief and see your body relax and smile.
You’ll lose weight without noticing.

And you won’t need me anymore.
You’ll enjoy nudging against your calming, joyful thoughts.

At the end of the group, my clients believed that:
“My son’s studies are his business”
“My husband is a good man”
“I have the exact amount of time I need”
“That’s just my daughter being my daughter”
“Maybe I’m okay just as I am”
“I am learning that I choose to be in or out of control”

Better thoughts to nudge against for sure.
Not free and clear yet.
But better.
And a thought that is just a bit better to nudge against feels a lot better to feel.

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What’s for dinner?

Tonight, dinner was tea and cookies.



Usually dinner is veggies – lots of them, roasted, sautéed, souped, raw, any way. I looooove veggies. Never met a veggie I didn’t love (okra’s not really a veg right?)

Tonight, I really felt like cookies and tea.

In my old life, I would have felt like cookies and tea at dinner time.

And I would have made myself tofu and veggies.

Later, I would have rebelled and eaten the cookies.

After, I’d have served myself a helping of regret and shame.

Followed by a few more courses of binge eating.

Now, I’m honest with myself.

I eat consciously.

If I want cookies and tea, I may choose to have them and tell myself the truth:

That’s dinner.

And while it’s not a dinner that fuels me very well, for tonight it was just what I wanted.

And what I chose.

Some nights I may choose not to have cookies and tea for dinner even if I want it.

Could be I’m teaching a class and want to be sharp.

Could be I’ve already had some joy foods today and want to balance them with fuel foods.

But tonight, I chose it.

That’s what I love about my program.

No rules.

Just connecting with my body, listening to what it wants.

So revolutionary.

So obvious.

So simple.

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Let’s meet for coffee… without the coffee… or the muffin?

I met my Dad for coffee this morning.

We had the best time – chatting, catching up, connecting.

He had a latte and homemade pumpkin muffins I brought for him.

I had – nothing.

An hour before we met I was hungry, and I always eat when I’m hungry. I never make my body wait until my schedule says it’s time to eat. This morning, my body required a green smoothie (yum) and some of those muffins (equal yum).

Then I arrived for my coffee date. I sat in my car and realized that I was full. It would be entirely foreign to me now to ignore my body’s signals and eat when I’m not hungry. I thought about having a herbal tea, but realized that I did not even feel like that.

I worried that my Dad would mind if I didn’t eat. Would it be uncomfortable for him to eat alone?

Society’s norm is, when we meet for coffee, we both have coffee and maybe something to eat. When we meet for lunch, we both eat lunch, often matching each other’s courses. Sometimes we forget that the purpose of the date is to connect emotionally and socially. The food is just the excuse to get together.

So, I got him his coffee, offered him his muffins, and we started talking, and talking, and laughing, and connecting. And I didn’t notice that I wasn’t eating or drinking, and neither did he.

And if he had, that would have been his business, not mine.

I learned from my coach that sometimes we use food to disconnect from the people we’re with. I made a decision to never miss out on the present moment by eating when I’m not hungry. That way, I’m connected with myself, and I’m connected with my partner.

Next time, I may have a decaf soy caramel latte, or a croissant. Depends what my body is telling me.

For today, it was pure connection, and it felt great!

I would love to teach you how to connect with your body – it’s effortless it’s fun and it’s forever!

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‘Does this feel like love?’

I ask myself this coaching question whenever i’m faced with a dilemma (thank you Susan Hyatt!). Still in New Orleans. My husband and I have a routine when we travel: he goes for an exploratory early morning run while I sleep and discovers the perfect breakfast spot, as well as interesting places to meander through for the day. This routine has worked well for almost twenty years. As all good marriages evolve, so too has our routine. Now he comes home from his run, and maps out my run for me based on the routes he’s discovered. I’m not fast enough to run with him (yet).

Today I was thoroughly enjoying my 7km run through the vibrant French Quarter in New Orleans, soaking up the sights and sounds, when I slipped and fell. I scraped my knees and calf quite badly. Immediately I wondered if I should stop running.

It would be a very valid excuse, I was quite banged up.
I did a quick mental check – bones? intact. Joints? Still moving. It was just skin damage.
I checked my feelings in my body – give up?
Not one cell agreed to do it.
I couldn’t wait to get started again.
The reason is, running felt like love to me today.

If I had been running because I wanted to lose weight, or because I told myself I had to exercise today, or because I ate a piece of cake last night, that would have been running out of self-hatred.
And I would have jumped at the chance to use the fall as an excuse to stop.

But now exercise feels enormously like love to me.
And that’s why I do it.
And that’s why I choose it over lunch dates, manicures, or sleeping in.
And each time I run, I prove to myself that I’m worthy of my love.
And all other love can only come from that place.

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Do you want to be that kind of person?

“I’m not a morning person”
“I’m just not the active type”

These were two beliefs that I created in my teens, and lived much of my adult life around.
BUT, if these thoughts are true, then what on earth am I doing booking an 8 a.m. (yes that’s short for morning) bike tour of New Orleans on my vacation?
I have two days to spend exactly as I please while my children are at home and my husband is at his conference.

My first choice – an 8 a.m. biking tour – can’t wait!

See, a coach asked me the magic question:
well, do you want to be that kind of person?
I learned that it’s a choice we make, and we can rechoose any time we like. It’s very powerful. Once we create a story about ourselves, we seek and create evidence for this thought, until it becomes a deep rooted belief.

So I spent much of my teens and early adulthood lying in bed reading until all hours of night and early morning. Then I would have great difficulty waking up in the morning, and was bad mooded and disorganized. A perfect system of thoughts becoming reality. I was definitely not an active person, and my family will confirm that I was DEFINITELY not a morning person!

A few years ago I hired a personal trainer, who, after a complicated assessment involving protractors and other fancy equipment, told me that I have the body type of an athlete (this despite the fact that I have never caught a ball in my life!).

Hmmm, a conflict between my belief and an objective reality. I decided to solve this paradox, and coaching provided me with a technique to change my core beliefs. It’s so simple. All I had to do was find a replacement thought that was equally true and believable, and that served my goal. I decided to try out these beliefs instead:

“I am becoming an active person”
“I love to create joy in my house in the morning”

These thoughts felt real, and made me feel calm and peaceful, so I’ve simply been practicing them these past few months….

And here I am, creating evidence for the new thoughts, by choosing, out of all the endless options in New Orleans, such as my extremely comfortable bed in my gorgeous executive room overlooking the Mississippi, or cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde, to wake up early, and join Bob for a 20 mile ride through Mississippi. In fact, I’m so excited about it I’ve booked to do the Ninth Ward tomorrow with my husband.
After that, cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde!

Do you have any beliefs about yourself that are holding you back? I can help you change them, and change your life!

P.S. If you’re in New Orleans, don’t miss Bob’s fun, interesting  tours


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How much emotional baggage do you carry around in your bag?

Along my journey to end my weight loss struggle, I often found myself overburdened with keeping my options open for “just in case”. Do you find that? Are you stressed about “what if” questions – like “what if I’m hungry and there is nothing healthy to eat?” or perhaps it is in other areas of your life like “what if I want to do something different than the planned activity on my trip?” Here are 2 examples of what was in my bag when I was struggling with this.

An overnight trip at a catered event with my daughter – an evening meal, followed by brunch the next day, no shortage of food, but in addition to all our clothes, makeup and accessories, I arrived with a full bag of food: dried fruit, protein bars, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, herbal tea bags – for our 16 hour stay. On arrival, we were presented with a huge gift basket full of delicious things to eat in our hotel room, so needless to say, I repacked all this food to take it home the next day!

I felt foolish.
I felt overloaded.

I do this with personal activities too – my carry-on bag is bigger than my children’s! Every trip, I take: knitting, needlepoint, laptop, iPod, stack of books, stack of magazines.

I tell myself I don’t have to do them; I just like to know they’re there if I want to. Just in case.

It’s a lie I’m telling myself.
All that food.
All that stuff.
It makes me feel weighed down.

Does this sound like you? What’s in your bag? How do you feel about the contents of your bag when you unpack it?

Sometimes it takes a while to find the answer. I struggled a lot with that question, as, having mastered the art of backpacking across two continents in my twenties, I take great pleasure in packing the minimum clothes needed. So why did I burden myself with lots of food every time I travel?

I discussed this with my coach, and she asked me a question that changed my life.  “Which do you prefer – traveling light or having choices?” By working with my coach, I was able to understand that I could find the freedom I needed to make the right choices – not by relying on having something with me to deal with every possible scenario, but by being able to make the right choice based on the options around me at the time, and leaving lots of room in my bag for thoughts of abundance, not restrictions.

I’m now enrolled in a self-coaching class, and working on abundance thoughts.  The overloading and abundance seems connected. Often with coaching, you work on one thought, and other behaviours are released without any effort at all. It’s the magic of coaching.

So, this morning, miraculously, I find myself boarding a plane to New Orleans (6 hours travel time) with just my purse. What’s in it?  1 novel, 1 Oprah mag, 1 protein bar, 2 clementines, wallet, blackberry. That’s it.
No emotional baggage.
I love it.
Answer: travelling light. It’s freedom.

Are you struggling to discover freedom? I can help you – it’s not as hard as it seems. Contact me to book a session, and let me help you change your life: Email me.

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