Thursday, June 7, 2018

Our favorite journals are handmade by Erica Birk and available at

Why journal? There really are some rewards!

Food journaling is a pain. No one likes to write down everything that goes between their lips. Add weighing and measuring, and calorie, fat and carb counting to the mix, and we call that a recipe for disaster.

Consider this:
  • Most people think they eat less than they do;
  • have no idea how many extra calories they consume mindlessly throughout the day;
  • slowly gain weight over the years – as much as three pounds annually – which at year one or two does not show. But after a decade or two….

Enter food journaling, but with a twist. It really is not too hard to accomplish, and our clients tell us it becomes a habit after a few days.

1.    Buy yourself a journal that you like, one that you can take with you wherever you go.

2.    Buy a writing tool that is easy to use, and if color is your thing, go for it. Many of our clients use their journals not only to track their foods but to doodle and draw, making some of them little works of art.

3.    Write down everything you eat. Everything. Even that stick of gum or tic tac you popped into your mouth for sweet breath.

4.    Once you master the food part, start including how that food made you feel. For example, if you had an egg for breakfast and still was not hungry at 1 p.m., that’s interesting news. So is eating a bagel or donut at 7 a.m. and then being ravenous three hours later.

This journal is all about awareness, the first step in creating a new you. Once you begin to make the connection between the food you eat and how it affects your health and energy, you begin to experiment and naturally make better choices.

Need more convincing? A large study that tracked food loggers over three years found that those who journaled lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Whose body is this?

I hate to have my picture taken and avoid it whenever possible. But since I really believed that this time I was going to lose the weight FOREVER, I decided I wanted a BEFORE picture, so I could chronical my journey. I should also add that I never looked at the BEFORE picture until Tuesday.

The why I looked at it is actually funny. The picture at the right is me, which I took by mistake Tuesday night in a restaurant bathroom. I was taking a picture of the mirror (I want to replicate it in my house), was in a hurry, and didn't stop to think that I would be in the photo.
When I looked at the photo I was amazed, first that I was in the picture, but more importantly, that it was finally obvious to me that I am losing weight. Under that wrap was a jacket and a shell -- and my silhouette is just so much slimmer than my BEFORE picture, below, that I finally dug out.

The point in all this?

For those of us who avoid the camera, we lose sight of our body image. Most of us avoid mirrors too, and when we look in one, it is close-up, to put on make-up, shave or comb our hair. We have no concept about how heavy we really are.
My advice to anyone who is really sincere about shedding pounds: Take a full-length picture. At every 10 pounds loss, snap another one. You'll know when it is time to take a look at your progress. And when you get there, be prepared to be amazed. 

Honest truth

I am still suffering from a negative body image, even though I know that 42 pounds is an awesome amount of weight to lose. And I am not alone:
  • About 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting.
  • Only 5% of women possess the body type portrayed by women in the media.
  • 33% of men are unhappy with their bodies.
Negative body image is an unrealistic view of how someone sees their body. These thoughts are usually formed in childhood, but body image continues to form as you age and receive feedback from your friends and family. And if you live in an affluent community like Fairfield County, skinny and blonde is the preferred pedigree. Since I am neither, self-doubts and critical inner thoughts have been shouting loud and clear in my mind.

Until now!

So what changed? Mindful eating. I teach insight mindfulness meditation, which has really helped me change many of my age-old patterns of behavior. Over the past four years, my business partner and I have been trained in six mindful eating programs -- some great, some really ridiculous.
But we learned so much. And we combined some of what we learned with the techniques we teach in mindfulness, and developed our own mindful eating program that I can honestly say is much different than any other program out there.
It has permanently changed my relationship with food. I am at peace with what I eat. And I am finally at peace with my body. The pictures helped. But honestly, the change is within.
I finally understand that losing weight is not a race. It will probably take me another year to reach my goal weight. That’s OK. Because of one truth:
Every pound I lose now is a pound gone, never to return. I’m losing pounds that I have no intention of ever finding again.

Give Diet? Not Again! a try!

Make DNA part of your DNA.

What have you got to lose?

Call 203-612-7160

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Losing weight and no one is noticing

I started losing weight about a year ago, deciding that this time there would be no fast diets. I want to do this for good this time. So far I have lost 42 of the 80 pounds I need to shed, and guess what: no one has noticed my weight loss. I’m tall, 5’ 10”, so I hide some weight. But....

Yesterday I was really thinking about this and came to some conclusions:
1.  I am still fat. I need to lose 38 pounds. That’s 4 10-pound bags of potatoes. 
2.  People don’t really look that carefully at others. And if they do notice, maybe they are afraid or embarrassed to ask. 
3.  Most significantly: They still see me as fat. 

That last one hurts but it is the reality I need. 

For the past few months this has really bothered me. I want people to notice, to tell me good job, and encourage me on as bystanders do for runners at a race.

Not anymore. What I identified above was not easy to do but it was an important exercise because it made me think of my ultimate why. Why am I on this journey?

And bottom line: I am not losing weight for other people. I am doing it for me. And I know how much I am losing. And most importantly, I know why and that will keep me going.

And one of these days I know someone will look at me and ask: "Are you losing weight?" And I'll burst out laughing.

Give Diet? Not Again! a try!

Make DNA part of your DNA.

What have you got to lose?

Call 203-612-7160

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The big picture

One of the first mindful tasks I did on my journey to shed pounds was to find out why I wanted to lose weight.

For me it was key, because my M.O. was to lose weight for an event – a wedding, a vacation, a reunion. The week before the event luscious, sugary food treats would begin to invade my mind.

When the big day came, instead of congratulating myself on a job well done, I awoke thinking about all the foods I could eat that day. If anyone could read my mind they would see ice cream, cookies, cake, Twizzlers – all the foods I had deprived myself of for way-too-many months.

And eat I did, because I told myself the next morning I would wake up and go right back to my diet. And you know what happened next: The next morning came and went. And the pounds started to creep back on, until one day I said enough, would get on the scale, and discover – if I was lucky – that I was back to where I started. In most cases, I had packed on extra weight.

What was different this time?

I looked at the big picture. I was not losing weight for an event. Here’s what I asked myself:

Why do you want to lose weight?

Because I want to look good.


Because I am tired of my fat clothes and want a new wardrobe.


Because I feel better and more confident when I am wearing something new and honestly, I am so tired and my knees hurt that my confidence is at an all-time low.


Because I am eating foods that make me tired and keep me fat and because I want to be healthy.


Because I want to lead a healthy, long life. And if I keep going, I will not do that.


No answer. So I found my big picture. I wrote it down and keep it posted all over my house.

So here’s what to do.

Get out a piece of paper and do this exercise, trying to find your big-picture why.

Please make sure your why is not event drive. Why? Because that just sets you up for failure.

Give Diet? Not again! a try!

What have you got to lose?

Call 203-612-7160

Friday, March 23, 2018

Finding my WHY

1,215 days ago I stopped posting, because honestly, I decided my blogging days were over.

However, over the past three years I have discovered some important things about the way I eat -- all in my quest to answer this elusive question:

How could I possibly fix my eating habits if I couldn't explain WHY I do what I do?

For example:

·         Why do I eat healthy foods one day, and then decided the next day that ice cream and cookies are what I really need?

·         Why do I exercise one day, and then choose to be a couch potato the next?

·         Why do I cook a really great dinner one night, and the next day decide take-out pizza is so much better for me?

The WHY is not easy to figure out.

Have I figured everything out? Of course not. But I have figured out the important whys, and that is what I will begin sharing in this space.

I will also share how I went about changing.

The first key for me was embracing mindfulness.

Mindfulness in action

More than three years ago I co-founded Pathway to Mindfulness, and daily teach clients how to build a sustainable mindful meditation practice that changes patterns of behavior. I have watched thousands of people transform their lives, including me, but the one thing I REALLY wanted to change – my weight – seemed to be out of my reach.
But then, I began to approach losing weight as a mindful journey, without judgment.

I also embraced curiosity, which I believe is key to changing your life. I have learned a lot about my body, what can set me off on a binge, and how my moods are directly linked to the food I eat.

My new mantra: I am not losing weight. I am getting rid of it with no intention of ever finding it again. But I am doing this all with a mindful intent.

If I can conquer this, anyone can!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The insanity stopped....

....and I know the how but have no idea about the why.

I did Ann Louise Gittleman's Smoothie Shakedown for two weeks, with all intentions of going off it for a week (as Gittleman suggests), and then back on it for another two weeks.

I had the days all worked out, and my first day off that diet would have been Thanksgiving. And as I was plotting how I would face yet another holiday trying to diet and failing miserably, I took a three-hour class in mindfulness.

This topic is not new to me. In fact, I spent a week at Kripalu (a yoga retreat in the Berkshires of Massachusetts) practicing the concept three years ago. And although I came home and embraced it for a few weeks, I could never make it part of my life.

But now, it seems to have become part of my being.

For the first time in my life I am at peace with food. I am not dieting, instead simply making good food choices. The restaurant meals that once haunted me have become my friend. I scour the menus really reading each offering, deciding what to eat not based on the calorie count but how appealing the food sounds. I know that since I am eating so slowly, I will only eat half of the meal.

The result? In the past three weeks I have lost 10 pounds, not an earth-shattering amount of weight but I am more proud of these 10 pounds than any other 10 pounds I have ever lost.

Why now? I have numerous theories but the one I like the best is that I have forgiven myself, and my body is responding to the kindness I am now showing it. I know it sounds weird, but then my relationship with food has been anything but normal. Ever.

Until now. Consider the pantry full of snacks awaiting a Thanksgiving visit from my Seattle daughter and her family. Pretzels, nuts, cheese and crackers: All the stuff I never could keep in my house. Now it's there, but my desire to eat any of it is not. It is for my six grandchildren, my children, their spouses and my husband. But if I want a pretzel or cheese and cracker, I will eat it, and enjoy every last morsel.

Last night at book club I took a tiny serving of green tea ice cream because I always wanted to try it. That tiny bit of sweet was enough to salve my hunger. In the past, I would have refused the ice cream and once home, would start eating enough food until I satisfied the beast within. Last night I came home and went to sleep.

I like the new me. Now, instead of praying that I will not stray, I can honestly say that this time I think I have found the key that is unlocking the gate to weight loss. And the perpetual smile that is on my face is testament to this. I am present in my life and I could not be happier.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The insanity continues

Well, that last diet failed. It's not that I didn't like it. I did.

I just felt bloated and gassy all the time. Too many beans I guess.

Last week I returned to my old faithful, Ann Louise Gittleman's Fat Flush. But this time I decided to go all out and bought into her Smoothie Shakedown. Two smoothies a day and one meal.

I also decided I needed to start cooking -- and our dinners the past few nights have been excellent. Flavorful and filling.

I know her diet works. I also know that if you follow her advice you will lose weight -- actually pretty quickly -- sleep better and really look younger, something I really need to do right now. I am feeling fat, old and ugly -- because eating like Dr. Furhman suggested made my stomach expand to the point that I look nine months pregnant.

There are a lot of rules in Fat Flush, rules that for years I have resisted. But now I need a schedule. I need to journal. I need to take vitamins three times a day. I need to drink lots of water -- and when it comes to Fat Flush that water is mixed with no sugar added cranberry juice.

The structure is working right now.

I headlined this blog insanity -- because that is what I have done for years. The insanity of dieting, losing weight, gaining weight has been anything but a good formula to follow. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I know what works. And I am so tired of yo-yoing. But I've been here before. I pray this time it works. And with a little luck, it will continue to work until I finally can face looking at myself in the mirror.