7 Big Reasons Not To Diet (Again) In January

day-1891529_960_720Pardon me for being blunt, but here goes: Picking another diet for a New Year’s Resolution in 2017 is dumb, dangerous, and damaging. We didn’t know this in the 1970’s when we got excited about our first diet – but we know it now. This isn’t theoretical; the evidence is irrefutable.

Let’s look at a few of the many well-researched reasons diets don’t work:

1. Diets backfire. Most dieters end up actually gaining weight over their diet career – not losing. Restrictive dieting has a 98-99% failure rate.

2. Diets cause cravings. When you’re dieting, your brain and body work together to force you to feed yourself enough. Eating too little always leads to eating too much, eventually.

3. Diets crush self-confidence. The dieting industry says all you need to be thinner is enough will-power. This is simply not true. Human beings do have willpower, but it doesn’t apply to primary needs like food, water, sleep and air. Try using your willpower to hold your breath for two minutes or to stay up three nights in a row.

4. Diets cause guilt. Once food is (falsely) declared a good or bad substance, we begin to believe we are a good or bad person according to what we eat. Reality check: you are not a bad person if you eat a Christmas cookie. Making food a moral issue causes our relationship with it to become strained and emotionally charged.

5. Diets wreck metabolism. Restrictive dieting actually diminishes your ability to lose weight by slowing your metabolism. The more you starve yourself the harder your body fights to keep each pound.

6. Diets disconnect us from ourselves and our bodies. Dieting requires you to ignore your natural hunger signals, instincts, and appetite. You and your body are born to work well together, but years of dieting have eroded our connection to our invaluable body wisdom.

7. Diets side-track us from Real Life. Dieting takes a lot of energy and effort! We become scale-focused and food-obsessed. We can unwittingly put life ON HOLD until after we “lose this weight”.

There are many other reasons dieting is self-sabotaging. Continuing to attempt it is putting off the real life-changing work each of us must and can do: the work of recovering the intuitive, peaceful connection with our body we were born to enjoy.

Give yourself the gift of freedom in 2017…

You and your body and your food really can be friends again – and the payoff will last a lifetime.


2 Strategies for Handling Constant Christmas Goodies

Don't Complicate Things This ChristmasHoliday food is everywhere!!!   It’s inescapable…chocolate bark, bacon wraps, cheesy dip and chips, sugar cookies – in the office, from the neighbors, in the grocery store – and it’s just getting started…

So how are we gonna get through this next month without constant food-preoccupation, goodie-anxiety and fear of gaining weight?

Is it even possible?

Yes. It is. And – it will take changing how you relate to food everyday, not just this time of year.

Here are 2 STRATEGIES to consider:

  1. There is no food I have to overeat in order to enjoy it fully.

This means stepping into permission and away from your old diet-shame. It’s never worked – in fact, it’s made us act crazy. Making certain foods “forbidden” causes anxiety and leads to all-or-nothing thinking. This leads us to eating none of it (and wanting it badly) or a TON of it (and feeling guilty and fat). This is a lose/lose mindset.

So let’s make this paradigm shift: There are no illegal foods – and – I am capable of enjoying a reasonable amount.

  • BEST BITES: You can decide to eat 3 best-bites. After 3 or 4 bites the taste diminishes anyway.
  • ONE “PERFECT” SERVING A YEAR: You can decide to eat one reasonable helping of your favorites this year. One delicious slice of coconut cake with boiled custard – savored fully. Once you’ve had it you don’t have to eat again until next year. This is one way to “have your cake and eat it too”.

2. There is no food I have to eat at all.

You are free. If you feel you cannot eat a reasonable amount of a certain food without overdoing it (right now), then you can step into your own power to choose not to interact with that food this year. You can always reevaluate things for next year.

  • FIND NEW FAVES: When you take something out, be sure to find a satisfying alternative to put in its place. Don’t leave a vacuum. Leaving a void invites feelings of deprivation and intense cravings. If you just can’t handle sugar cookies peacefully this year, be sure to find a spicy fruit compote or tea recipe to enjoy instead. Find new ways to treat yourself.

These 2 STRATEGIES can help you take the sting out of holiday eating anxiety. And, if you’d like to change how you relate to food permanently, let’s talk. There’s no need to spend another year feeling crazy around food!

Don’t Let Halloween Candy Scare You!

halloween-candy-1014629_960_720October 31st kicks off the 2016 holiday season. From now till New Year’s 2017 it’ll be non-stop fun … and food.
For those of us who’ve struggled with food and body, there can be a sense of mounting anxiety this time of year. We’re barraged by special goodies: Halloween candy, Christmas cookies, Thanksgiving desserts, traditional family favorites, etc. There’ll be round-the-clock commercials reminding us of all the things we just can’t miss. And then, of course, there are the after-holiday-sales where the “old” candy is half price.

So how can we meet this dilemma with poise and confidence? How can we enjoy the traditions and people we love best and not be hijacked by food anxiety? How can we set ourselves up for success?

Here are a few empowering thoughts for us liberated eaters:

Don’t let your anxiety scare you. It’s a holdover from our old dieting days – and it will dim in time as we continue to practice the core beliefs and behaviors of liberated eating.

Remember why you feel anxious; it’s a normal response for people who have experienced starvation. Dieting leads to excess and obsession. Food deprivation is deep and powerful and it influences us on a primal level. This is not about willpower, so give yourself a break. It’s about physiology and psychology. Our binges have not been about us being weak. They’ve been about us being human.

 Too little always leads to too much eventually, and makes us feel kinda crazy in the process.

Let’s put some strategies in place that’ll help set us up for reasonable eating over the holidays:

1. Pre-decide how you want things to go. Think ahead, before the food is in front of you. You can trust yourself with this. You are strong and capable. Think it through…

For example, when it comes to Halloween candy, here are a couple of options:

  • HAVE SOME: You might decide you want to enjoy your favorite candy in a controlled and safe way. Make a savoring date with one or two perfect pieces and enjoy them thoroughly.
  • HAVE NONE: You might not want to eat any at all this year. Perhaps you feel that one piece will lead to the whole bowl. Trust yourself to know what’s best for you right now. Take good care of yourself by eating other foods you enjoy, and let someone else handle the candy bowl for the Trick or Treaters this year.

2. Determine not to eat in secret. You don’t have to.

Eat what you’ve thoughtfully chosen, in full view of good company. Enjoy it with gratitude and grace because you are free.

3. Refuse to eat on auto-pilot. 
When you feel compulsive or hurried, just stop a minute. Take a breath. Give yourself the gift of being present for the bites you take. Mindfulness brings great satisfaction.

4. Choose a motto for your holiday season.
Mine is “There’s no food I have to overeat in order to enjoy it fully.”

5. Guard against all-or-nothing thinking – It’s a holdover from dieting back when we thought of ourselves and our food as “good” or “bad”. This led to the exhausting diet/binge roller coaster we hated so badly.

All-or-nothing thinking didn’t work then and it won’t work now. If you happen to eat more than you wish you had, just remind yourself that you wouldn’t go wreck your car just because you got a scratch on it.

You are free. You never have to eat all of anything ever again.

6. Give yourself Grace. Falling back into an old overeating pattern is a normal part of any authentic change process. Acknowledge it, treat yourself kindly and see what you can learn from the experience. What tool or thought would have given you a different outcome? Our relapses can be our very best school!

As we move toward this special time of year, decide to have a journey mindset: Be curious. Anticipate good things. Be open to discovery. Picture yourself getting stronger, wiser, more free, and more peaceful with food with each passing holiday.

Each one is a part of your story.

Each one is an opportunity to know yourself better than you ever have before.



Stop Telling Yourself to Stop Overeating

noResearch tells us that our deepest brain has a hard time hearing negative words like “no” or “not.” And those of us who struggle with food tend to use these words A LOT.

As in “I am not going to eat any birthday cake!”

Many of us who are leaving dieting behind and rebuilding our relationship with food as liberated eaters can unwittingly use negative words, as well. We may walk into a Mexican restaurant, saying something like this to ourselves:

“I am not going to stuff myself tonight. I am not! I am not going to walk out of here feeling miserable again like I did last time!”

When you use this negative tone, here’s what your brain is hearing:

“I am going to stuff myself tonight. I am! I am going to walk out of here feeling miserable again just like last time!”

And guess what? When we’re thinking in negatives we probably will.

Now, before you write this off, just think about this a minute. How many times have you seen a child running toward the backdoor as you yelled, “Don’t slam that door!” only to hear a slam? However, when you have the presence of mind to say “Close the door gently” there is often no slam. And which teacher did you naturally want to obey? The one who kept harping on what you better not do, or the one who guided you with positive directions.

When we back ourselves (or others for that matter) into a corner with negative demands we make it almost impossible not to mess up.

This is powerful stuff right here. Don’t miss it. You can use this to your advantage. Tell yourself what you are going to do—instead of what you are not going to do.

Try some of these phrases on for size next time you’re going out for dinner:

  • I’m going to have a great time tonight! I’m going to relax, be fully present, enjoy the best bites first and savor each one.
  • I’m going as a connoisseur – I’m going to look everything over, choose food that will be satisfying, and deeply enjoy my eating experience.
  • This is going to be a wonderful, peaceful evening. I am going to enjoy the conversation, the meal, and the moment.

This kind of positive mindset sets you up for success…

It invites you into life-giving behavior.
It encourages confidence (rather than demanding perfection).
It gives you something to look forward to (rather than something to dread).
It breeds hopeful and healthy expectations.

Nurturing this kind of positive self-talk takes practice and time – and it is more than worth the effort. If you’d like to find out more about positive eating psychology and how you can change the channel in your mind, let’s talk!

Lasting Change or Quick Fix – Which Will It Be?

beachI received this lovely email recently from a friend who went through my 12 lesson workshop six years ago. She beautifully expresses the joy of real and lasting change:

“Cindy, I thought of you on vacation this year. Our whole family went to the beach together. I ate seafood and swam and rode bikes with my nephews. Just enjoyed myself “whole-heartedly” as you would say. I didn’t feel guilty about eating ice cream or anxious about wearing my swimsuit. It hit me that finally, at 57, I am free. I can’t tell you how good it feels!”

This gives me chill bumps! I’ve had the joy of walking alongside hundreds of brave people as they step off the crazy-making diet/binge roller-coaster, and move into a peaceful, intuitive food-life. Coaching people along this path is a privilege I never take for granted.

Most people who join The Liberated Eater share my past – we’ve dieted for decades, fought with ourselves and our bodies for far too long, lost and gained the same weight too many times to count and can’t stand the thought of one more diet. We want a permanent solution – a sustainable, livable lifestyle that brings health, peace and freedom to mind and body.

So, what does it take to make a life-style change that sticks? It takes a new mindset and some new behaviors, lived out over time…until the new ways become our new normal.

Here are some of the important MINDSET pieces of true change:

  • KNOW YOUR MOTIVATION – Wanting it for yourself, not for someone else.
  • FIND YOUR PEEPS – Stay in touch with others who understand and are on the same path you’re on. Human beings don’t make lifestyle changes alone. When we try to, we usually end up like the poor caribou on National Geographic who gets separated from the herd…
  • UNDERSTAND HOW CHANGE WORKS – It isn’t quick and it isn’t neat, and it’s not supposed to be. It’s messy and meaningful – and worth every bit of effort you put into it.
  • DON’T DEMAND PERFECTION – No one does this perfectly and no one has to. Know up front that you will stumble sometimes and that’s OK. Just hang onto your sense of humor and your support base when you do. Our TLE Community is the perfect place to find understanding reinforcements we all need.
  • LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES – Instead of wasting time berating yourself, think through what happened, and talk it through with a fellow-traveler. There will be much to learn that will make you wiser and stronger next time. Stumbling is your best school.
  • GET GRITTY – Decide up front that you’re in this for the long haul – even when you want to quit. Time, support, practice and courage bring real change.

Of course there are other things too – like living with food and your body in a mindful way. But when we begin to change the way we THINK the other pieces fall into place much more easily.

You can do this. You can find and keep a lifestyle that fits you and your goals. You can go on vacation and feel good in your body and your mind at every age!