3 Powerful Mindsets That Bring Food-Sanity To Holidays

When it comes to food, what’s happening between our ears is much more important than what’s happening on our plates, because what we believe determines our behaviors.

This is never truer than around the holidays.

Let’s take a look at 3 powerful perspectives that’ll help us navigate this time of year well:

I. Choose a connoisseur mindset. It’s OK to be picky. Food is everywhere so it makes sense to be choosy. Thinking like a connoisseur helps you identify what will satisfy you most. Don’t love canned green beans? Don’t eat ‘em. Being intentionally discerning cuts down on eating a lot of food automatically and unnecessarily.

BIG PAY-OFF: As you choose the foods that really jazz you (rather than choosing what you should eat or just eating everything because it’s there) you will naturally enjoy it more and eat less.

And here’s something really cool: Liberated eaters say that as their mindfulness grows so does their  appreciation and awareness of all the other good stuff too – holiday feelings, sounds, smells, sights, and the people they’re with.

That’s a win-win!

II. Choose a journey mindset. Becoming a more mindful, intuitive person (which is what liberated eating is about) is not like flipping on and off a light switch or falling on and off a wagon. It’s a true pilgrimage – a life-changing journey of self-discovery.

BIG PAY-OFF: Having this mindset keeps us focused on our discoveries and progress rather than getting hung up on inevitable mistakes and then harshly condemning ourselves for them. This relieves us of the pressure to eat perfectly, which isn’t possible or even necessary.

It also keeps us from doing that crazy thing I used to do: Trying really hard to “be good.” Eventually “blowing it.” Starting to plan the next Big New Year’s Diet, which led to over-eating my way all the way through November and December.

Sound familiar?

III. Choose to be gracious with yourself. Overeating sweet potato casserole doesn’t make you a bad person; it just makes you feel bad. If it happens, let go of berating yourself.  It. Will. Not. Help.

If self-criticism worked, we would’ve all been thin a long time ago.

BIG PAY-OFF: People who step off the food-shame train and give themselves grace to be human open up fresh, new space to learn and change, permanently. They begin to see what’s happening with a clear head and can begin to build the lifestyle they really want.

Grace also allows us to have a sense of humor – and that makes everything better.

So there you have it.  Savor. Discover. Forgive.

Imagine what these holidays might be like if you decide to walk through them as a gracious connoisseur on a holiday journey…

Notice Anything Strange Lately?

Something strange is happening…

Last week I watched as a young woman stumbled up a flight of stairs because she couldn’t take her eyes off her phone. I sat next to a man in church whose pocket vibrated repeatedly the entire hour. And my wellness clients’ ability to get through an entire coaching session without looking at a screen of some kind is much more a struggle than it was ten years ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting in judgement here. I understand the pull. I can scroll through FaceBook “for a few minutes” only to wake up thirty minutes later feeling weirdly anxious. My body and brain give me red flags but I don’t always listen.

Research is discovering more and more about why these tiny devices are so addictive. If we hope to live rich, full lives we’ve got to make some important choices.

I’m certainly not planning on ditching my phone, mind you. Just this week I FaceTimed with sweet MayMay in Seattle, watched our son’s soccer team win a game out west, and got photos in real-time from Bob in the Dominican Republic. I love how connected we can be even though we’re scattered.

But here’s the thing…I really don’t want to wake up a few years from now and realize I’ve wasted precious time staring at my dang phone, and I know I could if I don’t make some careful choices now.

I’ve been working on some safeguards and a personal key question that can help me make a decision easily when I’m clearly headed into cellphone-zombie-land.

I’ve got it boiled down to this so far:

Is this phone activity making me more awake to the life and love I want, or less?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

As a wellness coach I see firsthand that often all it takes is one small change to jump start a whole cascade of other big changes in our lives. With this in mind let’s consider a one week experiment – something that can open up some fresh spaces for us without too much work.

Look over the choices below and pick one – or design your own. One new thing for one week. That’s all.

Take your pick:

  • Take a week’s vacation from Facebook.
  • Turn off all phone notifications – no rings, dings or pings.
  • Declare mealtime and/or bedtime phone free.
  • Don’t check or answer work messages after work. Inform co-workers so they don’t think you’re dead.
  • Add something fun to your week that requires no technology. Leave the phone at home for this activity. Walk, swing, read a real book in a hammock, ride your bike. Do this fun thing 3 times this week for 10 minutes.

Then reflect on your week and identify a few valuable take-aways and any next-steps you might want to take as a result of your observations.

I’m going to join you – and I would dearly love to hear what you discover…

PS – Don’t miss this 9 minute TED talk: Why Our Screens Make Us Less Happy


Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

My Neglected Banana

In our kitchen we have a red fruit bowl.    My Neglected Banana

It’s usually full of fresh fruit from a little market not far from our home. Right now there’s a bunch of “just right” bananas sitting there waiting to nourish and delight us when we get hungry. Sweet gifts from the good earth.

Today I did what I know not to do. I grabbed one of those delectable yellow treasures as I was rushing out of the house to run an errand (not sure why I thought I had to rush…). I vaguely remember peeling it as I was walking out the door. I had it, my purse, my mail and my cell phone in my arms as I juggled the keys to get in the car.

After driving a few blocks I looked around for my banana. It was nowhere to be found.

It didn’t take long to realize that I had consumed it! It had gone down the hatch and completely bypassed my memory, my taste buds, my satisfaction, and my enjoyment. The deliciousness of this little tropical treasure was completely missed on me.

Now I am sad. I am no longer in need of mid-afternoon fuel – but my mind is longing for a snack…one i might actually taste and enjoy. Out of respect for that poor unappreciated banana, and my own health, I’m going to wait for dinner.

Where Our Brain Path Leads…


Where Our Brain Path LeadsEvery time I hear this statement I deeply empathize with the helpless frustration on the other end of the phone. This was my life – me and two-thirds of the western world. So why is it that once we’ve pulled onto the dieting/compulsive/emotional eating superhighway it’s so darn hard to stop and just get off?

There are many reasons – psychological and physiological. Here let’s take a quick look at something that happens in our brain:

The Brain Path – Think of your brain as a forest where trails are worn down by hiking along the same path over and over again – day after day, month after month, year after year. Running through the drive-thru when you feel bored or stressed creates pathways that become wider and deeper as they are repeatedly traveled. With each emotional or mindless eating experience it becomes more and more natural to head in that direction. That well-traveled path eventually becomes a road, and then a highway through your brain. The strong pull to eat becomes our automatic default. It just feels natural to turn onto the Gotta-Eat-Something-Now superhighway.

The good news is that we can build new interstates in our brain! And as we do, the old compulsive eating freeway will grow over with vines and briars and eventually mighty oaks. In time we will almost forget it was even there.

With a clear motivation, some caring support and the right tools – you can have yourself a brand new path started in no time. That brain path will become a road, and eventually a new superhighway taking you exactly where you want to go…

To feeling great!
   To having energy!
      To pants that fit just right…
                                                                        and to priceless peace of mind.