How much money do you spend overeating?

“How can I justify the cost of coaching?”
“It’s a lot of money.”
“But you don’t actually give me a diet to follow or an exercise plan. So what am I paying you for?”
“What will you tell me that I don’t already know?”

1. I won’t tell you anything.
2. You already know everything you need to know.
3. You pay me to help you find the place inside you that already knows everything you need to know.
4. Then I wave as you set off on your journey to freedom, armed with your care package of all the tools and techniques you need to eat consciously and stay connected, again, and again, and again.
5. And one day, you’re thin. You’ve lost all your excess weight. You forgot to notice because you were having such a fun life. You’re forever free.

Try this:
1. Calculate, for the next month, how much money you spend on food you eat when you’re not hungry. (For me, it was hundreds a month – I only binged on Godiva chocolates and handmade pastries from my local patisserie. Until those were done. Then I attacked my children’s Oreos and Ruffles barbecue chips – ugh but cheap at least!)
2. Calculate how much you’ve spent on ineffective weight loss and exercise programs over the past year. If you’re not at your natural weight, they didn’t work. (For me, it was hundreds again – I am partial to personalized and alternative approaches – hypnotherapy: $150 per hour, Journey mind-body healing process: $395 per session – yes that’s the correct amount you read!)
3. Compare that to three months of coaching with me. That’s right, three months. My coaching is short term and effective. My goal is that you become your own independent coach within three to four months (unless you have over 100 pounds to lose).
4. After the coaching is over, plan how you will spend all that excess cash!

Ways I now save:
1. My body becomes satisfied after one course at a restaurant, or just an appetizer and dessert. I used to order 3 courses regardless of my hunger level. Sometimes my bill is so low now that I tip 30% to make up for the server’s hard work on such a small meal. Still, I save at least $20 per meal.
2. I don’t binge anymore. Can’t disconnect from myself anymore. I won’t even eat a Godiva chocolate anymore – tastes too much of factory. Now I will only eat handmade chocolates from local chocolatiers. Yes, that’s $2.50 per truffle, but I only eat one or two, and hardly ever.
3. I no longer feel complled to buy every new organic food item I see on the shelves. I know it’s just food. Neutral. Nothing to do with me or my happiness.

What do I do with all my spare cash?
Passionately take more coaching courses so I can coach you to your own personal land of freedom, of course!

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I won’t get full… I’m full.

My six year old daughter was enjoying a customized breakfast at the STUNNING Peabody Hotel in Orlando: chocolate chip pancakes with hash browns. And hot chocolate with LOTS of whipped cream.
She explained her eating strategy: “I eat from least chocolatey pieces to the most chocolatey because I save the best for last”.

Ever the eating coach, I suggested that she eat the best parts first.
I didn’t want her to be full, and still eat the pieces with the most chocolate chips because she loves them the most.

That’s what we adults do right? Save the best for last. Which guarantees we’ll eat all of it. Even if we’re full before then.

“I won’t get full”, she told me.
Three bites later, fork drops down on the plate – “I’m full” she says matter-of-factly, and hops off the stool to begin another round of cartwheels across the grand lobby.
Fascinating. I stared at the plate. All the chocolatiest pieces remaining.

So what.
She knows there’s plenty of good food in her future.
She knows she’ll never be deprived.
And if she can’t have these delicious chocolate chip pancakes again?
So what.
She knows that these chocolate chip pancakes will make no difference to her feeling of satisfaction with life today, tomorrow, or ever.

The difference between us and her?
She’s never been on a diet.
Never been told to restrict what she eats.
Never been told to eat according to any rules.
Her hunger level rules. Only and always.
It’s possible to rediscover that kind of simplicity around food again.
My clients are discovering it every day.
And their excitement with life as they rediscover their inner brilliance parallels my six year old daughter’s energy and vitality.
Lucky I’ve done this journey, otherwise I could never keep up with them or her!

Next time your hunger is satisfied before your plate is emptied, stop eating.
If you feel panicky, ask yourself why you want to eat.
Whatever your answer, try asking this: SO WHAT?
If you need help finding the answers, that’s my specialty: Email me

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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
AND
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.

yum.

honest.

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! bev@forever-free.ca

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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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