Archive | November, 2011

Every woman has the exact love life she wants…..right?

30 Nov

I came upon a blog the other day called “Chronically Single Girl” when I googled “Every woman has the exact love life she wants.”

A movie I had on in the background while working this weekend–some hopeless romantic comedy– sucked me in.

I love quotes, and being me– the single, less-than-excited-about-making-a-big-effort-to-find-“the one” –girl that I am right now, I had to know what others thought about this line.

As much as I sometimes despise my current status, I also cherish it. Do I have the exact love life I want? I think I do. Or do I?

This blog referenced the line from the movie, and not surprisingly, all of the posts were up-in-arms, “are you kidding me?!” conflagrations about the utter stupidity of this line. “If we had the exact love lives we want, why have we been looking so long and still haven’t found HIM!”

Of course I had to comment- What if you’re looking in the wrong places or in the wrong way? What if your expectations are set too high….or too low for that matter? What if you’re not supposed to be with anyone right now because you have some important things to learn about yourself before you meet your mate?”

Maybe I just laid out all my personal justifications for not having someone in my life right now. Or maybe this is all real and true and I’m just an optimist and really believe that my life is unfolding the way it’s supposed to unfold.  I have a big role to play in this, obviously. My time is being spent in other areas though, careerbeing the big one.

Chronically single sounds abysmally dismal! At least the girl could make fun of her circumstances. The blog likely lead her toward new relationships and she ended up meeting someone through them! Who knows.  I can’t help but believe that this quote really does speak the truth. Despite my transient feelings of aloneness and the thoughts I sometimes have about how nice it would be to have someone to share things with, am I doing anything to change my situation? No. So I really do have the exact love life I want, right?

What do you guys think? Does every woman have the exact love life she wants? (You “guys” can chime in too!) 🙂

Every Woman Has the Exact Love Life She Wants

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Change your Brain to Change your Body

29 Nov

I’m proud to live in the city deemed the fattest in America. What a difference I can make when the majority of individuals whom I meet are unhealthy, fat, and saddled with habits that have them knocking on death’s door!

 

On the other hand, while opportunity is ripe to extol the virtues of healthier nutrition and optimal exercise, I am constantly barraged with evidence of a clear lack of motivation to make even one small change to the  behaviors that have created this epidemic in the first place.

 

At what point does one look down, realize that he can’t see his feet, and question the behaviors that have gotten him there? What’s the turning point that spurs one to decide that steps must be taken to turn around their encroaching tide of fatness?

 

The consequences of obesity are clear. Aside from the metabolic risks, being overweight or obese means signficant psychological damage.

 

I realize this may sound harsh. In no way is this article meant to demean those who are overweight or obese. My goal is to draw attention, yet again, to what I so desperately wish each person would take notice of and actually move on.

 

Recent studies have demonstrated how the human brain and cognitive faculties are impaired by increased body fat.  Once a person reaches a BMI between 25-30, they demonstrate a 4% reduction in brain matter. A BMI over 30, and your brain loses another 4% of volume and looks 16 years older than a brain from a normal weight individual. In other words, as brain weight goes up, brain function declines!

 

The frontal lobe, the brain’s chief of decision-making, becomes smaller with increasing levels of body fat. Given the hundreds of food choices we make each day, frontal  lobe function is quite important. Food cues abound.  Through advertising, convenient options, and fast food restaurants on every corner, temptations are everywhere. Our frontal lobes help us to say no and exert self-control!

 

If you are reading this and you are overweight, you might be thinking, “Gosh, maybe that’s why I don’t have any willpower!” If you are thinking this, I won’t let you use your smaller frontal lobe as an excuse for overeating! There are natural ways to influence brain health to impact behavior change. 2009 research presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Ingestive Behavior found that depressed patients who followed a 6-month behavioral weight loss program not only lost weight but also reported significantly less depression. Results from the world’s largest brain-imaging/brain-rehabilitation study on active and retired professional football players to determine the relationship between professional-football participation and brain damage demonstrated that as football players undertook behavior change programs to improve their brain health, they also lost substantial amounts of weight—as much as 100 pounds.

 

Brain scans taken from individuals who have made lifestyle changes including increased exercise, healthier food intake, stress reduction, appropriate supplementation, more sleep, and changing negative thinking patterns have revealed changes in the appearance of the brain.

 

The lesson: CHANGE YOUR BRAIN AND YOU WILL CHANGE YOUR BODY!

 

As you’re navigating the holidays this year, put your frontal lobe to work and plan ahead. Strategize an approach for at least maintaining your weight. Such preparation is an important component of The Diet Doc process, whether for a small get together, eating out, or a holiday gathering. Your program has to fit your lifestyle. Whatever shape your lifestyle takes, you must put your brain to work to make your progress sustainable.

URGENT!

28 Nov

So urgent! Emergency!

Is it Foreigner who graced us with this song? It’s what I want to cue every time I see someone eating frantically, food flying, crumbs spewing like the powder from a jackhammer busting through cement.
What the heck is this about? There is no tasting the food, enjoying its richness, texture, or even its aroma when you eat with urgency.

I hear often “I feel out of control around food.” Eating for someone who expresses this has become compulsive. Thoughts of food become stuck. Rumination ensues. “I want it. I need it. I have to have it. The fudge in the frig is calling my name. I can’t stop thinking about it.”

Often this type of behavior has come from previous experiences of deprivation and dieting with stringent food rules. Once you tell yourself you can’t have something, guess what the first thing is that you start wanting? What happens if you give yourself the choice to take it or leave it?
Try it- see what happens.

The sense of urgency to eat falls off the table when black and white thinking turns to compassionate decision-making and when flexibility trumps rigidity.

Ever given yourself the time before you actually open the frig or dive into the pantry to sit down, breathe deeply, and question what it is you really need in that moment?
If you did, you’d find it’s usually not food.

More urgent than anything is our need to pay attention to ourselves and our needs, our choices, and our level of awareness. Are you aware of your awareness?

Hmm…what would be a good song to represent mindful eating? Let’s hear it! Post your ideas!

Alone or Lonely?

27 Nov

Thanksgiving gave me a reason to stop and take stock. I was with my best friends. We played games, we laughed, we ate, we got silly. I was fully present. I wasn’t two hours ahead or 2 years past. I was right there, in the moment. Thankful does not even touch the expanse of gratitude I felt being in the company of my “family.”

When I got home late in the evening I experienced such a profound sense of isolation. Walking into a dark, cold house, I was utterly alone. No one was there to greet me upon arrival, wrap their arms around me, ask me how my day was, and tell me they missed me. Do I long for this? Sometimes. Do I enjoy having the freedom to come and go as I please? Absolutely.
At times I sink into feeling lonely. It’s only lonely when I put a spin on being alone. Am I by myself? Yep. So what’s the difference?
Lonely permeates the air around me when I start feeling sorry for myself, when I have thoughts of being unloved, uncared for, or forgotten about. Is this true? Of course not. And this is the reason that lonely doesn’t last long in my presence. I get to choose how and what to feel. I get to choose to wallow in what I can make up in my mind under the current circumstances. I get to choose to assess the real facts of the situation.
We aren’t our feelings. We aren’t our thoughts. We HAVE them, and then we get to choose what to do with them.
I’ve decided that being alone is teaching me how to be more independent, to make decisions without having to rely on others, to appreciate my freedom, to cherish the gift of assessing for myself who I am and what I need.
Obviously I love being with others. My life would not be full without my friends and family. We all need to walk alone sometimes to prove that we can!

I'm alone, but I'm not lonely.

Pause….for a change

23 Nov

Ever reacted to something and wonder what the heck just happened. Like an out of  body experience, suddenly you were behaving in a manner that looking back brings a sense of guilt, maybe shame, and even awe?

I’m one of the least patient people  you will meet. Well, maybe my lack of patience isn’t that severe. But it’s a skill I continue to work on developing. I used to struggle with a bit of road rage. Never did I do anything crazy or dangerous, but internally I would fume with anger when I would get cut off, when I’d see a driver talking on a cell phone and not paying attention, or when I was expected to yield when it was the other driver’s obligation to do so. I’d use some choice expletives, call the other driver names, and yes, I’m guilty of using my middle finger.  The horn is my favorite. There’s a reason we have a horn!  A lot of energy was expended unnecessarily.

I’ve been in situations with others, directly, where I have spoken without taking into consideration my motivation. Blurting something out, later I’ve recognized my inclinations were driven by a deep hurt, fear, or action I’d learned early on as a way of protecting myself.  I’ve hurt others because of my automatic reactions designed to avoid hurt!

Stories are sent to me constantly detailing such behaviors. In therapy, and I see it most often with couples, I don’t find it to be true that a partner is always acting from the best he or she has to offer, or what he/she knows and understands “at the time.” Yes, folks, we act a lot of times to hurt- purposefully. It’s not until each partner can confront these not so pretty parts of themselves, however, that they can begin to heal. Step outside of the couple relationship, and look at how you react to people around you. In any sort of relationship, there is often a motive. But we may not recognize it at the time until something blows up, there is discord, and we’re butting heads.

We have to learn take time to step outside of the emotion and assess what is happening from a less judgmental place. While we are a product of what we grew  up with and how we were raised, we all need to take a breath to identify our motivations. We often react out of fear and self protection, but do others need to be at the receiving end of this?

We need to pause for a change….and to give ourselves time to implement a change!  Confront the reasons for your behavior and learn the valuable skill of self-monitoring to live more harmoniously with yourself and with others!

Commit or Quit

22 Nov

Arriving home from the World Championships, I had a multitude of thoughts swimming around in my head.

What now? What were the judges thinking? This isn’t how I imagined it going. Second place? Why not first?
What could I have done differently? Did we make the right decisions during prep to come in for a bit more size versus leaner and smaller?

Many of you who read my blog are not natural bodybuilding competitors, but the gist of what I am about to say applies to you nonetheless.

I started my prep for the World competition in April of this year. In 2009 after having placed Runner Up at the same show, I decided to take a year off and focus on other endeavors while training hard and focusing my sights on 2011.  The year flew by. The competition arrived. I had done everything I needed to do to come in at my all-time best. And I placed Runner Up. Again.

Questions. Confusion. Assessment.

Then a defining of new goals.

A week and a half has passed, and the same questions remain, however, no longer am I content just floundering around in the choppy waters of some unanswerable inquisitions. I have had to reground myself in what I know, what gives me peace, what fuels me, and the activities that sustain my fire. Am I motivated to move forward? No. I’m committed to it.

If I were just  relying on motivation you’d have seen me come back from NY and head straight to my pantry, take a week or two off from the working out, and abandon what has been important to me for over 20  years. I don’ t exercise because I’m motivated. I won’t plan my next competition because I’m motivated. I won’t choose to leave the cheese off of my pizza because I’m motivated. I do these things because I’m committed to being healthy, feeling energized, and enjoying movement, achievement, and challenge!

You might be that person who has thoughts of quitting or giving up. You might ask yourself if you can do it. You might get frustrated and wonder if something is worth it. Listen to this stuff — it’s important. But don’t act on it right away. Assess it for it’s value. Does it represent the best of you? Is it in line with who you are, who you want to be, and what you desire?

My new mantra- Commit or Quit.

If you’re going to do something, go in with every intention of doing it well. The outcome may not be ideal, but you will know that the process was engaged in with the utmost intensity.

What if fear was just a feeling?

1 Nov

What if fear was “just a feeling”?

What if anxiety, worry, and overwhelmed were just experiences in your body?

What if anger were a tight chest and shallow breathing?

It turns out that they are.

Yet, we have created categories and  labels for our thoughts and emotions. We do this to make sense of them so we “know what they are.”

But these labels keep us in boxes. They thwart our energy and cause automatic reactions.  We only “know what they are” based on the values and meanings we’ve attached to them based on the experiences we’ve had. This means that they are biased and judgmental.

I work with many individuals who express incredible discontent regarding their emotional eating behavior.  “I know I eat when I’m not hungry,” they explain. “I eat when I’m  bored, anxious, or overwhelmed.”

Bored, anxious, and overwhelmed have negative connotations attached to them.  Does it not make sense then that the individual will find a way to disassociate from them?  To run? To distance? To avoid and forget? The incentive of food is that for a brief moment, those feelings fade to the background.  Eating is the focus. The food steals the senses — taste, texture, smell, sound become consumed with the food. But when the eating is over, what remains? The boredom. The anxiety. The overwhelmed.

What would happen, however, if bored were attached to positive?

What if anxious was synonymous with “giving me a signal to take note of what’s going on around me” ?

What if overwhelmed was “This is a cue that my body is giving me to be a bit more aware” ?

Would we be so inclined to push against or away from our experience?

Our minds create the biggest barriers to knowing and paying attention within the various circumstances of our lives. Do you realize what you have missed by perceiving what is not even there to begin with?

Try observing for a day– viewing your thoughts as just thoughts and your emotions as just emotions. No attachments. No judgments.

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