Must-Share Monday

Lots of reading material and not a lot of explanation/rationalization on my part this week, because I’ve been swamped with a course I’m taking (more on that later). These are great articles though and I highly recommend you check them all out (…which is the point of Must-Share Monday!)

How the Brain Uses Glucose to Fuel Self Control

The New Nutrition Secret – Adam Bornstein

Flexible Dieting: Just How Flexible Should You Be? – Anthony Dexmier

Why 6-Pack Victoria’s Secret Model Abs Actually Aren’t All That Healthy – Amy Rushlow (I don’t like the title of this one, as I do think that level of musculature is healthy for some women…but the article is good just the same).

Don’t Be A Lobster In The Pot – Susan Hyatt

 

Must-Share Monday (Christmas gift idea, blog posts, etc.)

These blog posts:

My life is unbalanced…and I like it that way – Susan Hyatt. I’ve come to realize that the pursuit of ‘balance’ causes more stress than embracing the crazyness and doing as much as I can to ensure that the things that are juggling are things I want to be doing, at least.

Stop Antfucking. Start Living – Krista Scott-Dixon.

It’s not about “giving up” control – Isabelle Foxen Duke – This ties nicely with the first post by Susan Hyatt. So often our stress is caused by the chasm between our lives/behaviours/thoughts and how we think our lives/behaviours/thoughts should be. Sometimes the key to change isn’t to actually change but to first drop the thoughts on how things are ‘supposed’ to be.

This Website:

Examine This website is so simple – and yet brilliant – that it blows my mind. It’s essentially a wikipedia for supplements; you can type in any supplement and, if the team there has gotten around to reviewing it yet, you’ll end up on a page that summarizes alllll of the studies done on that particular supplement, as well as a general write-up on its purpose, effectiveness, dosage, etc.

This device/app:

Inner Balance by HeartMath – This amazing app and accompanying ear clip help you retrain your body’s response to stress through biofeedback. Want!

 

 

Forgetting Food (!!!)

Until recently, I’d never forgotten to eat. Quite the opposite, actually – for as long as I can remember, I’ve been infatuated with my next meal, taste, or snack.

Growing up in an environment were my favourite foods were forbidden, I developed a bit of a scarcity complex and some accompanying obsession with being able to access the foods I wanted in whatever quantities I wanted. What this meant was that as a child, I would spend all day obsessing, wondering when my parents would leave so that I could eat as much of anything ‘bad’ for me as I could physically handle (and beyond). After several years of this, a habit was formed: to always worry about my next meal without really even taking the time to enjoy the one I was eating.

To this day, I’m fascinated when people tell me they bought ice cream, threw it in the freezer and then, months later – where’d that ice cream come from? “Who in their right mind FORGETS about a container of ice cream!?!” says my brain.

Last winter, during the time that I committed to eating my TDEE and cutting back on the cardio, I developed a real love for tortilla chips and salsa as a snack. For a dieter, tortilla chips and salsa represents oh, 40% of their total caloric “allowance” for the day, so it’s a bit of a no-no and something that’s quite common as a binge food, I hear. So when I tossed my diet mentality, I decided tortilla chips were “allowed” in my house and always had a bag on hand.

6 months later, I found a half-eaten bag of tortilla chips at the back of my cabinet. This pretty much sums up my reaction:

 

But I kind of shrugged it off.

Fast forward to September, when I reached into my purse to find a pen and pulled out a Bulk Barn bag of sour patch kids. This time, it was like a movie scene – I looked around with saucer-eyes as if to say “DO YOU SEE THESE?!?!” – but alas, no one appreciated my forgotten sour candy.

Since then, I’ve also found a sour key (loose…don’t ask) in the change pocket in my purse, a toffee in the pouch of my hoodie, and a turtle chocolate (again, loose?!?!) in my coat pocket yesterday.

To someone who has had a peaceful relationship with food and their body for most of their lives, forgetting food is commonplace and not worth regaling.

To someone who used to get heart palpitations at the thought of candy being in my presence and not eating it (ALL of it), this is Huge. Epic. Monumental. Life-Changing. Pivotal. Other impactful words.

This is a feeling I wish for all restrictive dieters to experience in abundance.

 

 

Must-Share…Tuesday!?

I could have sworn I put this post up on Monday…but it appears I didn’t hit “Publish” when I scheduled it. Oops! Here you go, just the same – your must-reads of the week.

These blog posts:

You Might Eat Your Face Off On Thanksgiving – Isabel Foxen Duke. I know for my Canadian peeps, Thanksgiving is long gone and it’s memories buried under 3 feet of snow, but this is relevant to any event in which you will be exposed to large quantities of foods you enjoy.

Why You Shouldn’t Have (Fat Loss) Goals – Nia Shanks. Just yes, 1000x.

5 Tips For Surviving The Holidays – Dani Spies – I am a huge fan of Dani Spies. I love the quality of her videos, the recipes she creates, and her general demeanor. I can almost guarantee you’ll adore her too. Like Isabel’s blog post, this will be helpful going into the Christmas season.

 

I’m Worth More – And So Are You.

I don’t know if you know this, but Ikea has some really good food. Aside from the 50 cent hotdogs (not this 50 cent) and stale and frosting-skimpy cinnamon buns, they actually carry some cool products and some damn tasty sweets. If you ever find yourself face-to-face with these, run away.

http://www.ikea.com/ms/media/seorange/20141/20141_sweets_chocolates_snacks_PE381284.jpg

No –  run towards them.

No – away.

No – towards.

I wage this debate every time I’m in their presence. They’re bite size and smooth but a little crunchy. Envision tiiiiiiny chocolate bars (milk, of course) with teensy pieces of skor bar (heath bar for all you Americans) inside. Now wipe the drool and go to Ikea and eat some (Psssst they usually have free samples of these). I guarantee they are “OMG” worthy – as in “Oh my Godis Chokladkrokant, these are amazing.”

Most recently, though, Ikea was sampling these.

cookie

Now, I’ve had their lemony apple-y counterparts (honest to Godis Chokladkrokant I thought they were lemon until I just looked on the ikea website) and they are nothing short of delightful. As my rule of thumb is, if offered chocolate or fruit – eat the chocolate, I assumed that the chocolate version of the fruity cookie would be exponentially more delicious. So, I took 2 (let’s be honest, I would have taken 2 of the apple version, too).

Faster than you could say “Abba,” I had eaten one of the cookies. My initial reaction was a combination of “oooh shortbready” and “meh”. In the 2 seconds I would normally take between finishing cookie #1 and eating cookie #2, I thought:

The cookie wasn’t that good. The chocolate tasted cheap and the “shortbready” part wasn’t even that tasty. A Girl Scout cookie could do better.

So then why was I about to put the other cookie in my mouth? Habit, of course. But then the I had a startling realization:  I am worth more than a shitty cookie.

Which means that if I want a spectacular, amazing cookie, I am going to get a spectacular, amazing cookie and I am going to love the crap out of it. But I am not going to let my lizard brain override my good sense and force me to eat a cookie that I don’t even like that much. I’m not taking exclusive orders from a brain that was designed to help me survive famine. And  you don’t have to either!

For the next week, I encourage you to really take note of what’s driving you to eat food – the healthy, the nutritionally void, and the in-between. If you’re settling for something you don’t LOVE because you’ve told yourself it’s ‘safe’ or you’ve trained yourself to expect it (‘every night after dinner I have a bowl of vanilla ice cream…because every night after dinner I have a bowl of vanilla ice cream) then I encourage you to fill your belly with things that nourish you, whether that’s physically or emotionally (or both, ideally).

Make it count.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Must-Share Monday

I’ve got some great stuff to pass along to you this week. Enjoy!

Read These:

No, 95 Percent of People Don’t Fail Their Diets – Dr. Yoni Freedhoff.. You all know I’m a bit of a Dr. Freedhoff fangirl, but I really loved this post.  It’s time we, as a society, realize that if almost no one is successful in maintaining their weight loss long term, it’s more than a willpower issue.

 Trusting The Process: 9 Ways Wise People Approach Life – Jlll Coleman. Especially numbers 2 and 3.

The Cost Of Getting Lean – Ryan Andrews & Brian St. Pierre (Precision Nutrition)

Hear This:

Outside – Calvis Harris ft. Ellie Goulding  I dare you not to fist pump.

 

Collecting Evidence

Over the last year, I’ve committed myself to transformation in just about every realm of my life:  physical, mental, emotional, and professional. I’m sure a lot of you reading this are not newbies to self-improvement, but man – trying to better yourself in just about every way at once is exhausting.

So the thing is, if you’re going to make changes over a long period of time – let’s say…forever – you’ll need feedback to support you on your journey when things feel impossible. As nice as it would be if were to decide to stop overeating and then just…well, stopped, it rarely happens that way. The trajectory looks a little more like:

 

http://daneecehernandez.internetlifestylenetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/1996/2014/06/success-image.jpg

 

And that’s no joke. When I went to see Dr. Yoni Freedhoff’s talk about the mythology of modern day diets, he showed a graph depicting the weight of a woman who had been seeing him clinically for 5+ years. This woman was no doubt successful – she had lost 80lbs over her time with Dr. Freedhoff. But her weight loss wasn’t the point; the chart was speckled with flat lines and increases, as well as drops. In fact, Dr. Freedhoff pointed out an entire year where this woman lost no weight at all.

And yet, she persevered.

As with any change to our condition, it’s easy to keep going when success feels easy and really, really difficult to do so when we feel like we’re flailing. What we often fail to realize is that our current conditions are the sum of all the choices we’ve made leading up to that moment. For example, if you are struggling to lose weight and you ate a chocolate bar for breakfast, it’s pretty safe to say that the single chocolate bar did not derail your efforts (even if you think it did). But, if you are struggling to lose weight and you ate a chocolate bar for breakfast every day for the last month and, realizing this doesn’t fill you up,  you end up overeating for the rest of the day…then that repeated choice is definitely derailing you.

What I’ve realized is that while our choices obviously influence our level of success, it’s the way we frame our choices that matters the most. If you make positive choices about food and exercise 50% of the time and 50% of the time you ‘fail’, I’m willing to bet that the thoughts you have about your failures come through much louder than the ones about your success. For whatever reason, even if we’re making a massive change in our lifestyle, we seem to think of success as the baseline and ‘failure’ as the accent. Which is to say that we rarely reward our successes but are quick to self-flagellate when we ‘fail’, ie. deviate from our success.

Here’s the thing: every success we have in implementing a change reflects positive choices we’ve made one way or another. So while you might beat yourself up for choosing to eat ice cream every night after dinner this week, you have an awful lot of data to support that you CAN stop and in fact, that this is not your norm. Even if it IS your norm – let’s say you ate ice cream every evening for 30 years – I guarantee you have instances where you have chosen not to do so and that is evidence that you are capable and can make a different choice.

It’s easy to feel powerless and out of control in the moment when we’re deciding whether or not to indulge in something that we want SO badly but know we “shouldn’t” have. In those moments – heart pounding, face-flushed, stomach in knots – we feel like the outcome is inevitable. At those moments, it’s important to take a breath and think: do I have evidence to support that this outcome is not fixed? when have I chosen differently? When have I turned down something I want badly? When in my life have I chosen in favour of a long-term goal despite short-term temptations?

 

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/1c/5e/02/1c5e02bb2007eb020a179819d30ecccf.jpg

By practicing this, you are retraining your brain to scan your memory for evidence supporting a positive choice – to not eat ice cream because you feel stuffed from dinner, let’s say. It could just as easily scan for evidence to support a different choice (for example, the choice to eat ice cream) and probably would prefer to do so because it’s been habitually trained to validate your repeated behaviour (ice cream every night). Essentially, you are setting your brain up to support you in your journey and to offer you proof of your ability to succeed.

This is such a powerful tool – I hope you’ll give it a try the next time you feel like you’re spiraling ‘out of control’. The truth is, there are few things in life we can truly control; your mind is one of them, so take advantage.