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Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Paradox of #WeighThis

A friend of mine posted a link on my fb timeline today, asking if I had seen it and called it amazing.  Below is the link, so you know what I'm talking about:

Go ahead and watch it.  I'll wait.

If you chose not to watch it, SPOILER ALERT...

It shows women coming near a scale and an unseen narrator telling them that she wants them to approach the scale, asking them if they would like to weigh themselves.  Then, the narrator says that she is not going to weigh them and asks instead, "What is your greatest accomplishment?"  This is followed by a 50 something woman who went back to school, another person who is celebrating 24 years of marriage, another woman celebrating her divorce, and a tearful woman who is a single mom that made the dean's list.  There are a few more heartwarming stories that are designed to tug at your heartstrings.  The video then shows these same women putting their "accomplishments" on the scale.  When asked what it weighed, one woman replied, "It's just not measurable" while another one said, "I'm more proud of what I'm doing than what my weight is". The description on the youtube clip reads:  If you’re going to weigh something, weigh what matters. Share how you want to be weighed with the hashtag #WeighThis.

Aw.  It's touching, right?  Did it make you tear up?  Give you goosebumps?  Get you all emotional?

Welcome to the amazingly powerful world of advertising which, defined, is a form of marketing communication used to promote or sell something, usually a business's product or service.  I have to give it up to Lean Cuisine for using the scale tactic to hit you right in the feels.  After all, they certainly do know their target market (women) and manipulated their emotional nature to elicit a response.  I can imagine women everywhere watching this and applauding, exclaiming loudly, "oh!  They get me!"

Not so fast.  I may sound like a cynical, jaded killjoy, but this has to be said.

Did you know that the dietary guidelines set forth from estimates total calorie needs for adult women to be between 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day?  Sedentary women aged 19-30 need between 1,800-2000.  SEDENTARY WOMEN.  Quite a far cry from what Lean Cuisine offers.  Their Creamy Basil Chicken with Tortellini offers 230 calories.  How about the Cheese & Tomato Snack Pizza?  This one comes in at a paltry 160 calories.  The Lasagna with Meat Sauce looks hearty in comparison weighing in at 320 calories.  So, if we were to average these three meals, we are talking about 235-240 calories per serving.  Multiply that by three and you get a grand total of 720 calories.  Hell, I'll be generous.  Multiply that by six (if we adhere to the three small meals/three daily snacks "diet" staple) and you get a whopping 1,440.  For.The.Entire.Day.

 May I remind you what Lean Cuisine does?  They sell low calorie, prepackaged diet food which is specifically marketed to women.  They are the Diet Industry.  They ARE.  They want to you get by on as little nourishment as possible so you can shrink yourself down.  They claim to be an ally for Women's Wellness, but how can that be when they are clearly representing diet culture?  They also say that they are here to make food that helps women thrive, but do you realize HOW MUCH of their food you would have to eat in order to "THRIVE" and be satisfied, particularly if you are active?  

Ladies, please don't be fooled by the touchy feely, warm and fuzzy approach used in this youtube clip.  They may be deemphasizing the scale, but they are certainly aligning themselves with every other facet of diet culture, particularly low calorie, portion controlled "meals".  How can you take their message seriously in light of who they are and what they promote?  

You don't need "lean" cuisine.  You don't need pre-portioned, pre-packaged meals that leave you hungry ten minutes later.  You need to take your power back.  You need to trust yourself.  You need to think critically about these sneaky, subliminal messages that the diet industry is feeding us. 

So, that's my opinion.  Feel free to #WeighThis.  

Friday, October 2, 2015


We've heard the above expression countless times, haven't we? And it's true: Comparison IS the thief of joy. So often, we measure ourselves against photoshopped images, fitness bloggers, people on instagram, and supermodels. We feel like failures because we haven't reached their level of "beauty and perfection."

That's been talked about quite a bit, as it should. We do compare our behind the scenes to other people's highlight reel and it's not serving us. But, there is another aspect of comparison that is equally troubling.

A few weeks ago, I was working with a client. She and I have been together off and on for two years. We had sessions to help her heal her relationship with food and body image as well as personal training time. As I took her through her workout, she told me that she was starting to become more accepting of her body and wasn't being as critical, which is GREAT. But then, she said, "I mean, I look at other women and I say to myself, 'hey, I'm not half bad'.

Seems pretty harmless. I'm sure we have ALL done this. I know that I have. And I was WRONG.

Do you see why that is problematic? If she is comparing herself to other women and coming to the conclusion that she isn't "half bad", what does that say about the other women? That they ARE bad? In other words, she is still judging other people's appearance and bodies. It may seem like I'm nitpicking here, but think about it this way: how would you feel if YOU were the criteria someone was using in order to feel BETTER about themselves???

Make sense?

So, what's the answer? What is the solution? Well, it starts with us "being the change". We need to STOP placing so much emphasis on APPEARANCE. It gets WAY too much of our attention and there are so many other things that are more deserving of it. We are visual creatures and, of course, you are going to formulate an opinion based on what you see. You may not be able to control the thoughts that come in to your head, but you can certainly control what you do with them.

What if we just stopped comparing ourselves to others for ANY REASON, period? Because, let's face it, we are all different and it makes no sense to do it at all. And maybe, just maybe, if we really took some time to be still and question whether or not we are still in judgement of our bodies, we wouldn't feel the need to compare at all.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Problem With "No Excuses"

The phrase "no excuses" gets a lot of airtime these days. Particularly in sentences like:

"That's it, I've had it. From now on, I'm going to do meal prep for the week on Sundays. No excuses!"


"I have to get my lazy ass out of bed so I can hit the gym before work. No excuses!"

Here's a question: does that strategy ever really work for anyone, forever? Like beyond the first week or two at the most?

The thing is, we are hardest on ourselves than anyone else. You know it's true. If our loved ones talked to us the way we speak to ourselves, we'd have no loved ones left. So, to add insult to injury, we add the "no excuses" caveat after beating ourselves up for not being Superwoman (or Superman for the males who are reading this). 

Here is another question:  How's that working for you??? I don't know about you, but it's never done squat for me.

Maybe you're overworked, overstressed, overcommitted and overwhelmed. Those sound like pretty valid excuses, if you ask me. You don't need a mantra of "no excuses". You need a heaping dose of TLC and you need it STAT. You need to take a deep breath and relax more into your life. You need to be kinder. 

"No excuses!" or "I'm doing the best I can with where I am right now."

Which one FEELS better???

Letting go of the compulsion to shame and guilt yourself into change is the first step to seeing those "excuses" through a much softer lens.

Monday, September 28, 2015


Consider taking some time today to FORGIVE.

Forgive yourself first and foremost.

Forgive yourself from withholding affection, approval and unconditional love for who you are. Fill your cup up and allow those feelings to wash over you. Bask and bathe in that powerful sensation of relief.

Now, take a mental inventory of the people in your life who didn't accept or love you unconditionally.

Maybe it was your mother. Your father. Your siblings. Your teachers. Your boyfriend. Your girlfriend.

Think back to the condemnation, criticism, and disapproval. And, forgive yet again, while telling yourself that people hate, judge, and make fun from a place of fear. It's THEIR fear. See them as scared, little children who are just trying to survive in society.

And send them blessings and love with your whole being.

Revel in the knowledge that you now have awareness. You know you can be in control of your life and your happiness.

You don't need their approval. You only need your own.

Release everyone from the responsibility of fulfilling you.

Set yourself free.

Friday, September 25, 2015


Did you know that your words are very powerful? How you talk about food and the ways you use to describe your eating habits can dramatically affect how you feel about it.

For example:

if you say you should "eat clean", then you will always feel "unclean" if you eat foods that aren't considered "clean". Being "unclean" doesn't feel good.

If you say you want to have a "cheat meal", then you will associate certain foods with "cheating", which implies that you are being dishonest when you eat certain things. Being "dishonest" doesn't feel good.

If you refer to food as a "reward", then the underlying implication is that you need to earn the right to HAVE IT. Feeling like you have to prove yourself or earn your food doesn't feel good either.

Do you see what I mean?

No matter what you eat, it CANNOT make you dirty or "unclean".

No matter what you eat, it CANNOT make you "dishonest" or a "cheat."

No matter what you do, or do not do, you have the RIGHT to eat food if you want to. There is nothing you need to do in order to obtain that right. You were BORN WITH IT.

Today, pay extra special attention to how you talk about food. See how your words affect how you feel about food and yourself. I think you'll be surprised by what you learn.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Breaking Free From Rules

Lots of us have gone on and off diets. We are sucked in by the flashy infomercials, the sculpted people pushing the products, and the promise that we too can FINALLY lose the weight and have the bodies that we have always wanted, because, HAPPINESS.

We try diet #1 and last for a while. Then, life happens, and we fall off. This is followed by intense amounts of guilt and shame for being so out of control. The solution? Diet #2, which is followed by #3, #4, #5...
You get the picture?

The very thing it is that we THINK we need is what causes us to rebel. We are told by the gurus that we can't be trusted. So, we buy a structure, a system, that tells us, "if you do what we say to the letter, you will lose weight." We WANT someone to tell us what to do. We desperately WANT it to work. But, it never does. The diet model comes from a "ONE SIZE FITS ALL" type of mentality.

We are not ONE SIZE FITS ALL people. We are delightfully specific and unique individuals that require a specific, unique course of action.

Enter the "NON-DIET APPROACH": No calorie counting, no macro restrictions, no measuring, and no specific meal or snack designations. Just focus on eating when hungry and stopping when full. Brilliant! Right?
Well, sort of.

We are fed up with dieting and want to break free of the rigidity of rules. So, we embrace the free form nature of eating intuitively. But, sometimes, this can fail us too. Why?


"Eat ONLY when hungry. Stop ONLY when satisfied, but not stuffed." This is good advice, don't get me wrong. Food does taste better when you are hungry and eating past fullness doesn't feel so good. But, we don't give ourselves any flexibility when trying to figure this all out. God forbid we don't get it right. We really let ourselves have it, don't we? By doing this, we have essentially traded one set of rules for another.

Take sleep for example. The Sleep Foundation Organization recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults 26-64 years of age. Well, what if you get 6.5 one night and 9.5 the next? Do you obsess about it? Do you think you are "sleeping wrong"?? Does that mean you failed??? Of course not! It just means that you probably don't feel as well rested when you get less, so your body compensates by getting a little more the next day.

Think about eating intuitively the same way. Life happens. Some days, you'll be in tune and other days, not so much. Maybe you'll be offered some birthday cake at a party when you're not hungry. Maybe you'll get caught up in work and skip lunch when you are. Be aware of how your body feels when in these situations, take the feedback it gives you and then, let it go and move on. What if you just extended yourself some compassion instead of judgement? What if you just realized that you are human and you acknowledge that you are doing the best you can with what you currently know?

Just do your best. It's enough.
Enjoy your life. You only get one.
Be in the moment. It's all we have.

Friday, August 28, 2015


If you have ever been caught up in the world of dieting, then you might have experience with taking someone else's advice over your own body's wisdom. "They" may have told you what to eat, what to avoid, when to eat and how much of it you should have. And, you probably went along with it...for a while, because it was easier than trusting yourself. It was better, for a while, to let someone else drive, because then you wouldn't have to be responsible. 

But, it didn't last forever. It couldn't. Because it wasn't sustainable. It wasn't YOU.

That is because you are a unique individual with your own unique preferences. Did you know that? You have your own internal blueprint telling you what is appropriate for you in taste, timing and quantities. Who could POSSIBLY know you better than you??? Certainly not the diet guru "expert of the week". I have been employed in the fitness industry for several years. I used to put clients on meal plans. And yeah, they did what I said...for a while. But, it got old. And, eventually, they rebelled. Can't say I blame 'em. Had I spent my time and energy empowering them to make the right choices specific to their own body chemistry, things would have turned out differently.

Are you afraid? Are you afraid to let go and trust yourself because you don't think you'll make the "right" choices? Maybe you won' the beginning. Who cares! We all have to start somewhere. Think about the first time you wrote your name. The letters were probably misshapen and sloped "downhill". But, you kept doing it. You kept practicing. Now, you can write your name effortlessly without even thinking much about it.
Learning to trust your hunger, preferences and satiety signals are no different. It's a process, just like learning to walk, writing your name or driving a car. Lots of things can be unlearned, and learned.

Give yourself a chance. You're worth the effort!