Friday, October 2, 2015

What Do You Want To Lose?

Does this sound familiar?

"I need to lose ten/twenty/fifty/one hundred pounds"
"These thighs have GOT to go!"
"I can't wait to get rid of this flab."

Imagine you lose that weight.  Then what?

Many people believe that when they lose weight, their lives will improve, they will be more confident, outgoing, and relaxed.  When they lose weight, things in their lives will finally fall into place!

If you can relate to this, you may unconsciously believe that by controlling the number on the scale, you can manage many aspects of your life.  You may believe that you can resolve conflicts in your life by changing your body.

Not gonna happen (sorry).  

You can't resolve a psychological problem, fear or anxiety by changing your weight.
When weight symbolically represents the qualities you want to get rid of – such as shyness, insecurity, anxiety, etc. – losing weight becomes equivalent to losing those unacceptable “parts” of yourself. 

It can be easier to focus on losing weight than think about shedding disappointments, fears, concerns, worries, and anxieties.

Food for thought:
  • What are the “bad” parts of yourself that you want to get rid of?
  • What do you imagine will be different if you are at a different weight?
  • How will losing weight change you as a person?
For example:  “I think the worst part about me is that I’m insecure.  I imagine that I’ll be more confident when I lose weight.  I’ll be more social and have more friends.”

Losing weight might cause you to feel more confident temporarily, but the insecurity usually shifts to something else – such as whether you're smart enough, successful enough, and so forth.  

I've treated many people who lost weight and still felt bad about themselves.  Whereas they once worried about the size of their stomachs, they became concerned with the size of their intellect, the level of their success, the quality of their social lives. 

Address the underlying beliefs that undermine your self-esteem .

What qualities about yourself (not physical characteristics) do you think you need to get rid of?   Why?  
How did you come to believe those qualities are unacceptable?

When you challenge the idea that you need to change to be acceptable, you'll stop focusing on losing weight to gain a sense of self-acceptance.  


FREE:  Crack The Code of Emotional Eating!

Give me 30 days to transform your relationship to food 
(without actually talking about food).


Friday, September 25, 2015

Are you OVER food fads and diet dogma?

I know you are SO over food fads and diet dogma!  That's why you want to make peace with food!

I'm excited to let you know that I'm part of an amazing FREE online event on just this subject.  Enrollment is about to end, so if you are ready to jump in and get access NOW, go ahead and click here >>>>>SIGN UP NOW.

We both know the media and the internet are FULL of quick fix schemes, empty promises and contradictory health and diet information that just doesn't deliver the goods!  Let’s put an end to the confusion right now.

You will walk away from this FREE online event with more tools and takeaways than you could ever imagine so that you can:

•          Stop the “deprivation-binge eating-guilt” cycle.
•          Create a simple food and fitness plan that will help you create the healthy body you deserve!      
•          Eat with joy, “consciousness” and intention. The way nature intended it to be.
•          Make your MIND your greatest asset to creating optimal health and design a strategy 
            that is unique to YOU.
•          Feel amazing and energized in your body so you can find your path and live your PURPOSE!

My friend and colleague, Dr. Kellee Rutley has created a single resource for you, where you can receive all of the tools YOU need to break free from diet prison and take back your body and your life. 

Dr. Kellee and I can relate to what you are going through. Many of the experts on this summit have TRUE, REAL LIFE stories to share with you about how they overcame the same obstacles you are facing right now.

Dr. Kellee has brought together, 21 POWERHOUSE experts, including me! She interviewed, as she puts it, "highly credible and well respected Doctors, Naturopaths, Zen Masters, Holistic Psychologists, Holistic Chefs, well known Published Authors and True Fitness Experts with decades of experience, all sharing this “virtual podium” to give YOU the answers you have been looking for."

If you want to become empowered with your own health and happiness; shed extra pounds, truly feel well and have real vitality, go ahead and click the link below.


You will walk away from this FREE online event with over 21 hours of inspiration, education and more tools and takeaways than you could ever imagine.

Decide you are WORTH it, and follow the few steps to get on the right path.

Dr. Kellee invited me to speak on this FREE online event, and I am so appreciative and extremely excited to share the virtual stage with all my fellow experts.

This event starts October 5th so click here to get access now!

Friday, September 11, 2015

How To Trust Your Food Choices

You know how when you get a new car, suddenly you see that same car everywhere?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of trust, lately (for an upcoming book chapter), and suddenly it seems that everyone is talking about trust.

“I don't trust if I'm really hungry for food or if it's emotional hunger. It’s hard to know the difference.”

“Intuitive eating?  What in the world is that?”

“I’m afraid if I give myself permission to eat whatever I want, I’ll start eating pizza and ice cream and I won’t stop.  Ever.  Seriously.  I’ll never stop.

The idea that you can trust yourself to know what your body needs, or that you can trust yourself to stop eating forbidden food once you’ve started may seem as likely as jet-packing to the moon an hour from now.

As someone recently put it, “That might be true for normal people.  But my body will tell me that I need pizza.”

So, how do you learn to trust yourself when it comes to food?

#1 Learn to discern the difference between physical and emotional hunger. 

Signs that you’re physically hungry
  • ·      Growling, gurgling stomach
  • ·      Feeling light-headed
  • ·      Getting a headache (especially if you haven’t eaten for some hours)

Signs that you're emotionally hungry
  • ·      A specific food "sounds good" or "looks good"
  • ·      You want to reward yourself
  • ·      You want to calm down or feel better

#2 Identify the underlying triggers

Are you upset, sad, angry?  
Express those feelings in words, not actions

Are you lonely? 
Call a friend or be a friend to yourself.  When you are alone with a critical part of you, it’s very lonely indeed, but when you cultivate a part of yourself that can be responsive and kind, you achieve solitude, not loneliness.

Are you anxious?
Calm your body by using muscle relaxation exercises or walking, working out, or anything physical.  A relaxed body is the first step to relaxing your mind.

Are you bored?
Do something!  And ask yourself if you’re bored or lonely.

Are you exhausted or sleepy?  
If you use food to perk yourself up when you’re tired, that’s not emotional hunger, but it is the wrong response to exhaustion.  When you’re tired, you need to rest.   Food won’t perk you up for long.  Your body needs rest, not food.

#3 Put off eating for three minutes and see what happens

If you’re physically hungry, you’ll probably get a little bit hungrier (but not so hungry that you will lose control).   If you’re emotionally hungry, the urgency may pass and you may feel more reflective and less reactive.

When you identify whether you are hungry for food or eating to resolve an internal conflict or state, it’s easier to make healthy food choices!   And that's how you make peace with food for good!

*     *     *     

FREE:  Crack The Code of Emotional Eating!

Give me 30 days to transform your relationship to food 
(without actually talking about food).


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Is sugar your personal crack?


“Sugar is my personal crack," Abby declared,.

She started treatment to address her "sugar addiction" and she also wanted to stop thinking about food, all day, every day.   She was “obsessed” with sugar and hated that she had no willpower (or so she thought).

Abby often baked cookies with her young daughter, and sent the child out of the kitchen on some pretext so she could eat cookie dough alone.  She hated herself for doing this but couldn't stop.

Abby was going through a painful divorce and also felt stuck in an unsatisfying job.  Food both comforted and distracted her from her problems. 

She didn’t have enough sweetness in her life, literally and figuratively.  Sugar was her primary source of relief.

Like Abby, people who lack pleasurable activities in their lives may be overly reliant on food for enjoyment.  Therefore, the more fun they have in their lives, the less they need food for that purpose.

Abby worked through the pain of her divorce, changed jobs and took up new hobbies.  Baking cookies became something fun to do with her daughter, not an exercise in willpower.

Eventually she could bake cookies without bingeing on cookie dough.  She could even eat it in moderation.

A recovered alcoholic cannot have just one drink.  A meth or heroin addict cannot stop at one hit.  

How was it possible for Abby to have just one bite of cookie dough?

People who feel powerless over sugar and white flour often consider themselves food addicts.  But is food addiction real?

Some studies (Gearhardt et al, 2009, Volkow 2013) make a case for the reward theory of food addiction, which correlates certain foods with increased dopamine levels.  Dopamine is the chemical that mediates pleasure and motivation in our brains.  The theory of food addiction is this: 

Sugar and other foods activate the release of dopamine.  People eat sugar, get a dopamine rush and feel better, then eat increasing amounts to get the same experience they previously felt with less.  Food addiction theory also points to changes in the brain as evidence of substance addiction. 

Sounds reasonable, right?  

But, wait.  There is more to the story.  

Sugar does change our brains, as do certain drugs.  In fact, any activity involving pleasure does so, including sex, exercise and spending time with friends.   One study (Salimpoor 2011) proved that listening to music had the same impact on the brain as cocaine. 

Psychotherapy also changes the brain and can be more effective than medication (Mayo-Wilson, et al, 2015).   Relationships with other people also have a direct impact on our brains (Schore, 2010, Cozolino, 2006, 2014).

Binge behavior actually decreases show that bingeing behavior decreased when people were asked to eat their “forbidden” foods as part of their treatment (Kristeller 2011, Smitham 2008).  When given permission to eat these “addictive” foods, people ate less instead of more, the opposite of what food addiction theory would expect.

This highlights the importance of unconscious psychological motivations with regard to bingeing.  Although recent studies (Ziauddeen et al, 2012, 2013) refute food addiction, the science may not matter to someone who feels addicted, like Abby, for whom sugar was crack. 

The reason is this:

We have brains, the physical control structure of our bodies, but we also have minds.  

Our brains do not operate alone, nor do our minds function independently of our brains.   

Research that focuses exclusively on the brain as the primary source of the behavior ignores the powerful influences of the unconscious mind, as well as the familial, social, cultural and other influences that impact our brain.   

 People turn to food for a reason – for comfort, to alleviate anxiety, to distract from painful or upsetting thoughts, to sleep, symbolically fill a void, or calm down.

Eating is a way of managing difficult internal states.   It’s the mind’s way of protecting itself.

For Abby, cookie dough provided a rush of brain-based pleasure.  Focusing on food also distracted from her helplessness over the divorce and career problems, which had to do with her mind.

“But nothing is bothering me.”

People who overeat without any underlying emotional issue may not be consciously aware of what is upsetting them.  

This was the case with another patient, Jillian.  While watching TV after a good day, she suddenly started craving ice cream. 

“Nothing was bothering me,” she said.  “I’m obviously addicted to Chunky Monkey.”

As it turned out, Jillian was watching a TV show about a difficult relationship between sisters, which activated anxiety about her own problems with her sisters.  Before that anxiety reached conscious awareness, she turned to ice cream for relief.

Food addiction vs. eating addiction

Jillian ate to protect herself from painful affects.  Her “addiction” was to the behavior of eating, not the substance of ice cream – it could be considered an eating addiction, not a food addiction.  

When she learned to recognize her triggers and cultivated new ways of relating to herself, she stopped craving ice cream. 

Whether or not the term “addiction” is used, the first step to changing behavior is to identify what’s going on inside, then cultivating new ways of responding to difficult emotions and conflicts. 

If you automatically turn to food when you’re upset, you can learn new ways to support and soothe yourself.  When that happens, you stop using food to cope.

It takes time, but it is possible - if you put your mind to it.


Cozolino, L. (2006, 2014).  The neuroscience of human relationships: attachment and the developing brain.  New York, NY:  W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Gearhardt A.N. et al. (2009) Preliminary validation of the Yale Food Addiction Scale. Appetite (52):430-436.

Hebebrand, J. et al.  (2014) “Eating addiction”, rather than “food addiction” better captures addictive-like eating behavior.  Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Volume 47: 295-306.

Kristeller JL, & Wolever RQ (2011). Mindfulness-based eating awareness training for treating binge eating disorder: the conceptual foundation. Jan 2011; Eating disorders, 19 (1), 49-61.

Salimpoor VN.  (2011) Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music.  Nature NEUROSCIENCE: 14 (2): 257-262.

Schore AN. (2010).  Attachment and the regulation of the right brain. Attachment &
Human Development; 2: 23-47.

Smitham.L. (2008) Evaluating an Intuitive Eating Program for Binge Eating Disorder: A Benchmarking Study.University of Notre Dame, 26 November 2008.

Volkow ND, Wang GJ, Tomasi D, & Baler RD (2013). The Addictive Dimensionality of Obesity. Biological psychiatry PMID

Ziauddeen H., Farooqi I. S., Fletcher P. C. (2012). Obesity and the brain: how convincing is the addiction model?. Nat. Rev. Neuroscience 13: 279–286.

Ziauddeen, H., Fletcher, P.C., (2013).  Is food addiction a valid and useful concept? Obesity Reviews, Volume 14, Issue 1, 19-28.


FREE:  Crack The Code of Emotional Eating!

Give me 30 days to transform your relationship to food 
(without actually talking about food).