May 12th, 2016 Update
Be sure to read this very sane, well researched article/opinion piece that was published in the New York Times as a follow up to all the crazy attention that Biggest Loser article received, “Why You Can’t Lose Weight on a Diet; The problem isn’t willpower. It’s neuroscience. You can’t — and shouldn’t — fight back”. (See info about original article below.)
Have you read the New York Times article, “After ‘The Biggest Loser’, Their Bodies Fought to Regain the Weight“?
Biggest Losers regain the weight they lost (lost quickly). Surprising? No! We have known for decades that rapid weight loss signals to the body that there’s a famine afoot; causing one’s metabolism to slow down and signaling the body’s hunger hormones to surge.
Disheartening? Sure. But it certainly explains why maintaining weight loss is so hard….for all of us…not just for Biggest Losers.
If you choose to read the whole New York Times article, I’d like to point out some things that were written that should be questioned. Such as,
“Researchers are figuring out why being fat makes so many people develop diabetes and other medical conditions…”
Cause and effect???? There are many new questions being raised about whether being fat causes diabetes or whether the medical condition diabetes causes the weight gain that gets the blame. Check out this video and article I wrote about in my blog.
“They are starting to unravel the reasons bariatric surgery allows most people to lose significant amounts of weight when dieting so often fails.”
Bariatric surgery may help people lose significant amounts of weight, quickly…but do they keep it off? Why don’t health reporters address that half of the equasion when they write that weight loss surgery helps “people lose significant amounts of weight”? (That’s a pet peeve of mine!) In truth, it is almost impossible to get real stats on the weight regain rate after Bariatric Surgery. Why? Because the people who start regaining weight (researchers I have spoken with say that’s often within a year to 18 months after surgery), drop out of the studies and because many bariatric doctors/centers are not interested in collecting longterm data, as it would not look good for them.
As we know that much of what is done in the name of weight loss backfires, studies like this one (small as it was) bolster the argument for a focus on health and well-being vs weight and weight loss…
I’m Ellen Shuman, a pioneer in the field of binge eating disorder treatment; a Coach who specializes in helping people overcome binge eating, binge eating disorder, emotional eating, compulsive eating, and food addiction. I am also the founder of A Weigh Out Life Coaching & Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present), as well as a Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org, 513-321-4242.
I have cried countless times since the passing of Prince on 4/21/16. When I learned of his death I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I immediately called my husband at work in tears practically freaking him out until I explained why I was hysterical. I had to pull it together because I was teaching a group Pilates class in 30 minutes. Fortunately, they were most supportive with shared tears through the warm up.
Considering the major impact this event has had on me, I felt compelled to make sense of this phenomenon. I’ve decided to write a blog entry so I can stop this spin in my brain and alleviate this deep sadness. It would also be nice to sleep again.
The fact that Prince’s passing has impacted my whole world has been astonishing and enlightening on many levels. Astonishing because:
· I never attended a Prince concert
· I have only owned 2 Prince Albums: Purple Rain purchased in the 80’s and Prince/The B-sides downloaded 2 times on 2 different devices.
· I was not following his more recent music or appearances
Based on these facts you’d think that Prince’s death was just another tragic early loss of a superstar that I’d read in my weekly US magazine, sigh….move on. However, I am flooded with extreme remorse and feelings of guilt for not vigilantly, actively supporting an artist that made such an impact on my life. As I take time now to process the many facets of Prince’s impact, past and current, I am committed to growing from this experience.
I ask clients which music they prefer when they arrive for Pilates. Only three weeks before Prince’s passing my lovely client, Machiko requested I play his music. My response “YES, PRINCE! I LOVE HIM!!! I typed his name in Pandora and after a while I asked Machiko, “Have you heard ONE Prince song in the past 30 minutes?” Well, DUH! That completely made sense. So I immediately downloaded the B-side album and have completely enjoyed him again and again and again ever since.
Before the recent download I hadn’t listened to this amazing playlist since the first purchase died with an old Mp3 player at least 10 years ago. Each song brings back a wide range of seminal memories from the 80s -90s. It was like a Prince chip had been implanted in my brain when I was 10. Or like in the brilliant Pixar film, Inside Out, at least 100 yellow “joy” core marbles included memories with Prince’s influence. I always depended on his music to distract me from the stress and expectations of all things life. From his MTV visually stimulating videos to the emotionally and erotically charged Purple Rain I just cannot look back at the 80s without thinking of him. Nor can I deny that Prince was the catalyst to my obsession with the color Purple. During the 90’s Price’s hit, “You’ve Got the Look” and his Sign of the Time’s album rocked my world. Completely. I LOVED every song. Through these years I danced and obsessively cardio’d to his music.
I detached from Prince and his music by the late 90’s. During this time I had so many competing distractions trying to figure out who I should be, that for a long time I lost the connection with who I authentically was. Speaking of pursuing accolades to be more “marketable,” as musical taste was concerned, I mindlessly fell in with the pack transitioning into the corporate produced world of boy bands and manufactured female “brands.”
I truly didn’t understand nor appreciate Prince’s passion for maintaining complete control of his art. Now I do. He stuck to his principles. Autonomy and creative control over his life’s work were paramount. He wrote, played instruments, and produced his own music. Most important, he knew his purpose and committed to it. He never forgot who he was. When the suits claimed ownership to his name he pushed back… HARD and won! He was committed and didn’t give an “eff” despite those who harshly judged him. How many people in the world do we know like him? Me, not many. I have challenged myself to seek additional living, human examples and, should I find one, hook my wagon.
What I am choosing to take from this heart wrenching experience are:
· Discover your purpose and gifts and express them with the world
· Get clear on your personal values and align your day accordingly
· Stand by your principles (my husband’s favorite quote by Thomas Jefferson: “In matters of style, swim with the current, in matters of principle, stand like a rock”)
· Do not take those things/people for granted that bring meaning and joy to your life including artists. Express appreciation through your actions and nurture - lather rinse and repeat
I understand pain. I understand addiction. While it is still being determined the cause of Prince’s death, the spin out there is pointing towards an overdose. What may have started as a relief of physical pain turned into a habitual way to cope physiological and emotionally with the “noise.” I cannot blame anyone in this loud, crazy world for seeking ways to slow the runaway train brain and alleviate the pain. My heart goes out to Prince’s inner circle of friends, family, and die hard, steadfast fans during this painful and challenging time. I hope and pray that Prince’s legacy will continue to honor his principles and commitment to valuing the artist above all monetary enticements.
Thank you for allowing me to work this out. Praying for sleep as I symbolically and respectfully siphon off these seemingly endless blue marbles. I plan to create new, happy experiences as I make up for lost time appreciating Prince’s recent work. Thank you, Prince, for all of the happy memories. Most important, Rest In Peace.
Yours Truly In Purple Appreciation,
My Favorite “How To” Books for Intuitive Eating
Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, two registered dietitians, wrote the 1995 classic, Intuitive Eating, that gave a useful name to the “non-diet” approach. The approach uses physical and emotional feelings (and knowledge) to guide intake and rebuild pleasure in eating. The mindset can be learned, especially with the help of a skillful teacher, and so to understand the ins-and-outs of intuitive eating, I always ask my yo-yo dieters to read at least one of these excellent books:
Beyond Chocolate by Sophie Boss
Breaking Free from Emotional Eating by Geneen Roth
The Diet Survivors Handbook by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel
Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat by Michelle May
The Food and Feelings Workbook by Karen R. Koenig
Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
Naturally Slim : Without Dieting by Cherie Martin
Overcoming Binge Eating by Christopher G. Fairburn
Overcoming Overeating by Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter
The Rules of Normal Eating, Karen Koenig
Why Weight? A Guide to Ending Compulsive Eating, Geneen Roth
When I asked the LinkedIn Group of Intuitive Eating Professionals to recommend their favorite books, they also suggested books that address self-acceptance, self-care and spirituality, essential issues of breaking free. Here are some of the books for emotional eaters that they recommend:
Binge No More by Joyce D. Nash
Emotional Eating: What You Need to Know Before Starting Your Next Diet by Edward Abramson
Losing It In France by Sally Asher
The Self-Compassion Diet by Jean Fain
There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate by Cheri Huber
And everything by Geneen Roth (www.geneenroth.com)
Online Resources and communities for support:
50 Top Emotional Eating Blogs and Coaching Support for Emotional Eating
The one thing the completely saddens me is when an individual sits across from me during a coaching session shame her/himself:
· “I am so lazy”
· “I am fat”
· “My body is disgusting!”
· “I can’t stand the rolls in my belly”
· “My ass is HUGE!”
· “I’m so weak”
· “I was so bad this weekend”
And the shaming beat goes on…..
What if you walked by an adult saying any one of the above statements to a young child? I’m thinking you would get pretty fired up and perhaps want to protect that child.
A BIG part of my journey in recovery from compulsive behaviors is to silence these critical voices. Brene’ Brown, a leading researcher in shame states, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Do we really think that shaming ourselves both internally and in front of others will yield positive results? When I asked a woman the gym this question, whom I cut off mid-berating, she actually responded “YES!” She believes that by telling herself how fat she is that it will motivate her to lose weight. My heart hurt listening to her explanation to which I pulled a Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?” It doesn’t. You don’t get positive outcomes from negative input. Our thoughts are so powerful and we will manifest that on which we focus. For this reason the wellness coaching process begins with a vision of what you see when you envision your best possible self. You then articulate that vision as an affirmation, for example:
· “I am waking up after a restful night’s sleep”
· “I am in charge of my health”
· “I am strong and full of energy”
· “I am confident in my body”
· “I am nourishing my body and soul with healthy food and inspirational messages”
· “I am participating activities that bring me joy with people I love”
Wouldn’t you agree that any of the above quotes sound more empowering?
Habits are difficult to change and the process is far from perfect. Being self-critical and judging are negative habits that MUST be changed so you can practice positive behaviors which yield life lasting results. We tend to treat people that we love and respect much better than those that we don’t. When you like yourself as you are TODAY you will practice authentic self-care. Make sense?
Following are a few tools that have helped and continue to help me re-program my brain when I find myself in a place of self-shame. Each week I will expand on each tool:
· Write and/or read affirmations daily
· Don’t engage in “fat talk” with yourself or others EVER!
· Practice self-compassion daily
· Write your new story
· Collect a series of positive quotes
· Take one positive action
· Set boundaries around social media (eliminate the compare and despair syndrome)
· Be vigilant about what you watch, listen to and read (input)
Suggested Empowerment Tool # 1: Write and/or Read Affirmations Daily
What are affirmations?
These are positive statements that describe a desired situation, which are often repeated, until they get impressed on the subconscious mind.
This process pushes the subconscious mind to take action and to strive to make the positive statement come true.
When you know how to use affirmations, you get a great tool for achieving success and for improving your life.
Most people repeat in their minds negative words and statements concerning the situations and events in their lives, and consequently, create undesirable situations. Words work at both ways, to build or destroy. It is the way we use them that determines whether they are going to bring good or harmful results.
Your subconscious mind accepts as true what you keep saying. It attracts corresponding events and situations into your life. So why not choose only positive statements, in order to get positive results?
It would be a good idea to pay attention to the words you repeat in your mind, to discover whether you are using negative statements, such as:
· I cannot do this.
· I am too lazy.
· I lack inner strength.
· I am going to fail
If you discover that these, or similar words, run through your mind, you should do something to change them.
Your words and thoughts program the mind in the same way that commands and scripts program a computer.
Repeated positive statements help you focus your mind on your aim. They also create corresponding mental images in the conscious mind, which affect the subconscious mind accordingly. In this way, you program your subconscious in accordance with your will.
The conscious mind, the mind you think with, starts this process, and then the subconscious mind takes charge.
By using this process consciously and intently, you influence your subconscious mind, and in turn, it transforms your habits, behavior, attitude, and reactions, and even reshape your external life.
It is important to understand that repeating positive affirmations for a few minutes, and then thinking negatively the rest of the day, neutralizes the effects of the positive words. If you want to get positive results you have to refuse to think negative thoughts.
How to Repeat Affirmations
- Choose affirmations that are not too long.
- Repeat them every time your mind is not engaged in something important, such as while traveling in a bus or a train, waiting in line, walking, etc., but do not affirm while driving or crossing a street. You may also repeat them in special sessions of 5-10 minutes each, several times a day.
- Be as relaxed as you can.
- Pay full attention to the words you are repeating.
- Stronger faith in what you are saying, and more desire and feelings bring faster results.
- Preferably, choose positive words with no negative connotations. If you want to lose weight, don't use words such as “I am losing weight." These are negative statements, bringing into the mind mental images of what you do not want. Repeat instead, "I have reached my healthy weight". Such words build positive images in your mind.
- Affirm, using the present tense, not the future tense. Saying, "I will be more confident", means that you intend to be confident one day, in the indefinite future, but not now. It is more effective to say, and also feel, "I am fully confident in my body and mind", and the subconscious mind will work at overtime to make this happen now, in the present.
- By stating what you want to be true in your life, you mentally and emotionally see and feel it as true, irrespective of your current circumstances, and thereby attract it into your life.
Give this powerful tool a try! I’d love to hear how it’s working for you.
Yours Truly In Health and Happiness,
Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love. – Brene Brown
As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. – Proverbs 23:7
You become what you think about most of the time – Brian Tracy
Refuse to criticize, condemn, or complain. Instead, think and talk only about the
things you really want. Jim Rohn
Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true. Brian Tracy
You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be – David Viscott
Believing there is a solution paves the way to a solution – Dr. David Schwartz
You’ve got to win in your mind before you win in your life – John Addison
You can do it if you believe you can – Napoleon Hill
The obsession will end when you love yourself enough to stop hurting yourself. Who doesn’t want to take care of what they love? – Geneen Roth
August 10, 2015
Re-Introducing Personal Revolutions Wellness!
I cannot believe it has been 11 years since I hired a coach (the amazing Marta Kegan) to help me figure out what I wanted to do with my life after blowing a gasket working in Human Resources for a Fortune 500 tech company. An action originally motivated by a desire to manage stress turned into a full life and career change that has been enriching and rewarding both intrinsically and extrinsically.
While working with Marta back in 2004 I discovered that I truly had a passion for helping others gain strength and confidence by practicing self-care. Coming from a history of severe food restriction, disordered eating and compulsive exercising to attain a body size, I didn’t want my business focus to be on weight loss. How in the heck could I attract a clientele with a goal of becoming stronger – physically, mentally and emotionally WITHOUT a focus on weight loss? Marta encouraged me to be my authentic self regardless of what the other “Biggest Loser” type trainers were marketing the masses. Hence my business under the original name “Personal Revolutions” was born.
As I grew my business while I continued to work in the field of HR I continued to vacillate and lose confidence in my original messaging. I felt in order to shed the “golden handcuffs” and jump both feet into my own business full-time I had to market to the general population. Along with that decision I regrettably fell back into the more aesthetic focus of training by being drawn into the obsessive world of bodybuilding. I signed up for my first natural figure competition in May 2006 and thus began another chapter of food and exercise compulsion. As I found myself becoming more fixated on building just the right amount of muscle through hours of strength training, cardio my behavior was in total conflict with the original messaging of Personal Revolutions. Therefore, I changed the name of my business to Quality of Life Fitness to reflect more of the physical fitness aspect of my offerings. Fast-forward 2 additional years of competing I found myself completely depleted physically, emotionally and mentally. Although physically I had attained a body that was that “ideal” size and I was receiving all the accolades from the disciplined effort, my life had become small once again- flashback 1980-2000 eating disorder years. This behavior also conflicted with the “Quality of Life” messaging. There was absolutely no Quality to the way I was practicing self-care. Thankfully I pulled away from the world of competing right after my final competition debacle in 2008 (long story). Let’s just say that the message was loud and clear. It was time to close this chapter of my life and reach out for help to get my life back on track and in balance. In retrospect I believe that it is because I was not living authentically that I fell back into these unhealthy behaviors. I knew in my heart I was conflicted and not living in line with my principles.
Fully believing in the power of coaching as result of my experience with Marta, I reached out to another amazing coach. Ellen Schuman specializes in the area of emotional eating and compulsive behaviors. I fully understood why I chose unhealthy behaviors around food, exercise and body obsession - as ways to self-sooth and escape. I desperately needed tools and support to effectively “do” my life. I worked with Ellen for 2 years and I cannot thank her enough for all that she has helped me through. Her tools, website: www.aweighout.com and direct approach with me (most often very uncomfortable) helped me take charge of my health, tolerate intense emotions, and create the life I want for myself – with integrity and authenticity.
Today I am steadfast in my anti-diet, conscious eating and body acceptance messaging. My Pilates/Fitness sessions are focused on gaining strength, balance, flexibility and confidence. I am fortunate that I can create the most comfortable private environment for my sessions. This messaging also includes creating the life you want regardless of the number of the scale. I recently made the decision to pursue professional training in the area of intuitive eating; a non-diet, weight-focused way to approach nutrition wellbeing. Combined with intensive training and continued experience as a Health and Wellness coach with MemorialCare Healthsystems I am excited to have additional tools to help you fully participate in your life with a self-care program that works specifically for YOU!
As I’ve embraced my personal story I believed I needed to share it with you. Through this journey I have made the decision to reunite with my first business name, Personal Revolutions Wellness. I feel excited about this reunion stronger than ever in body, mind and spirit. I am even more thrilled to share it with you.
Yours Truly In Health and Happiness,
Shitstorms + Sunshine: 4 Questions To Rescue You From A Negative Holding Pattern
This blog is timely considering a month of constant heart breaking losses and set backs:
We all face tough days or times. It’s a part of life.
But how you react, think and act during these tough times makes a big difference. With a helpful set of habits the outlook on life can change in a huge and remarkable way. I know from experience, I was a big, die-hard pessimist years ago.
So this week I’d like to simply share five of my favorite timeless tips on optimism. Fundamentals that the wise people that came before us have lived by for hundreds and thousands of years.
1. Remember: It is not too late to change your life.
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
It may feel like you have been on the same path and stuck in the same habits for so long that you are stuck permanently on your current route.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. I didn’t make many positive changes to my own life before I was 25 (i’m 34 now). And over the past 7+ years I have received thousands of emails from readers of all ages – between 14 and 72 – that have told me about how they have recently changed their life in a positive way.
You may not be able to change your life in any way you want right now. But work with what you have where you are right now.
Make just a small change if that is what is possible. That small change and success will give you confidence and optimism and you can build upon that to make more and perhaps even bigger changes over the year.
2. Don’t make mountains out of molehills.
“If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.”
It is easy to let thoughts spin out of control. To let them grow from just one thought or one situation into a big thing in your mind.
So what can you do about it?
One thought combination that has helped me with this habit is to:
- Step 1: Say stop right away. If you have read anything I have written about self-esteem then you may have seen that I often mention using a stop-word or phrase. This also works well for optimism.
In this case it simply means that as soon as you become aware of that you are starting to make a mountain out of a molehill you say or shout STOP! or something similar in your mind. I tend to use the phrase: No, no, no, we are not going down that road again.
- Step 2: Broaden the perspective. After I have used my stop-phrase I ask myself this about the perceived problem: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 weeks? The answer is almost always no. And my mind is once again more chill, calm and level-headed.
3. Find a more helpful way to view your troubles.
“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”
“If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be.”
Not all troubles in life are molehills (or simply made out of air).
And these more substantial challenges can easily to get drag you down.
But if you view them in a helpful and optimistic way then, yes, they may still hurt. But they tend to often hurt a lot less and can even be a source of optimistic excitement.
For example, I did not to like making mistakes or failing at all. I often chose to stand still and to not do anything to not risk anything.
But nowadays I have learned that these things tend to truly be a blessing in disguise.
What has changed?
I view them differently and act upon them differently than I used to. I ask myself:
- What is one opportunity in this situation?
- How will this experience help me in the long run?
These questions help me to make good use of a situation that may seem negative at first.
And after having gone through this process over and over again I am a lot less afraid of making mistakes or failing. Because by now I know from experience that by handling challenges in this way I have gained many benefits and grown as a person over the past years.
4. Focus on the small steps you can take.
“Having a positive mental attitude is asking how something can be done rather than saying it can’t be done.”
Focus on what you can do about your situation and take action on. Not on asking yourself over and over why something happened to you or why you failed. That will only lead to pessimism and feeling powerless.
Instead, ask yourself: what is one small step I can take today to get the ball rolling and improve this situation?
Just take that one small step today. Then another tomorrow. The small steps tend to add up quickly and, as I mentioned above, will breed confidence and optimism that allow you to take more and bigger steps.
5. Learn to reduce and handle worries.
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
Worries can be very destructive.
But most of the things you fear will happen never happen. They are just nightmares or monsters in your own mind. And if they happen then they will most often not be as painful or bad as you expected. Worrying is most often just a waste of the time you have here.
I know, this is easy to say. But what can you do about it?
What has worked for me is a similar combination to the one that I mentioned above.
- Say stop. I first use my stop phrase: No, no, no, we are not going down that road again.
- Look back into the past. Then I ask myself a question based on Churchill’s quote: how many of my worries and things I feared came into my reality in the past? The answer is always the same for me: very few.
These two steps help me to calm down and to think more clearly about things once again
Life Is a Battle!
Exhaustion Is Not a Status Symbol
How Does the Militarization of Fitness Affect Your Workout?
- No pain, no gain. You have to suffer to get in shape.
- More is always more. Duh.
- Working out is not fun, but it's an obligation.
- If I don’t almost throw up, I’m holding back too much.
- You’re only as good as your last workout.
- I feel like a loser when I miss a workout.