Living and Learning and Moving and Grooving

Learning feels good most of the time, right?

I love to learn (I ought to, I have spent half my life learning).

It feels good to know, to be intrigued, to be curious. It also makes us feel like we’re doing something.

Which, we are, unless we’re learning and reading and consuming information about something (like weight loss or changing a habit) that eventually requires us to take action. C’mon, if you’ve been reading, you knew where I was going.

We need to take what we have learned, interpret it for ourselves and then apply it to our lives. Wah, wah, wah…

This is a big place where I see people get stuck (don’t worry, it takes one to know one, I’ve spent plenty of time in stuck-city myself).

It’s so easy to get stuck in the consuming phase.

The reading, learning, gathering information phase.

All under the guise of “learning”.

But at some point, we have to take that first step to applying all of it. And I can tell ya, no amount of learning is going to outweigh the learning of real life experience.

I was thinking about this while running earlier today.

I spent years consuming and learning information, about self-help, about weight loss, about life.

But it was so cozy there, and it felt so productive to keep reading and learning. Like wrapping myself up in a blanket of knowledge.

Then I had that “awww crap” moment (most likely from one of those learning tools). I actually had to do something. Nothing would change if I didn’t take any action.

And it scared the crap out of me. The unknown? To actually take action? Oh geez. Yeah, those warm and fuzzy “this is easy” books left that part out. Dang it. 

So I started to take action. Again and again.

And some lessons I had to learn the hard way (by doing), multiple times.

There is a saying that you will continue to be presented with situations, challenges, etc in your life until you learn the lesson that you need to continue to move forward.

Well let me tell you – this was very true on my food journey. I was a champion of overeating. And stuffing myself until my stomach hurt. Of feeding an upset stomach (with carbs and sugary baked goods or ice cream or whatever sounded palatable at that time) and wondering why it got more upset, or why I couldn’t lose the weight that week. Or why I couldn’t eat the same way and lose my weight.

Anyone out there relating to this?

I beat myself up over it. I joked about it (duh, this is why I can’t lose weight… must be genetics… believe me, I had every excuse in the book).

I minimized it. Until one day, something shifted. I started seeing what I was doing for what it was – making excuses.

Because of what I was telling myself. It was all up to me! Those freaking books had been right all along. All that corny, woo-woo, blah blah blah, the power is “within you”… It was true. And my refusal to accept it was holding me back.

Well. That took a while to wrap my head around. But then I started to embrace it. And change my actions to be more in line with all of that learning. And things started shifting! The weight started coming off. And, since then, I have lost all of the weight. I reached my goal (30 lb total). I can maintain it easily now. I don’t worry about it.

Of course I challenge myself to continue to grow and evolve (I like a challenge, what can I say).

Now I teach other people how to find where they are stuck and help them move through it to the body and the life they love.

I know it can take time and I truly believe that everyone has their own path of growth. You may not be ready now. You may still be in your gathering and learning phase.

What I have learned is how to take that knowledge you are gathering and apply it to get to your goal.

To use it to be confident, to feel comfortable in who you are and sexy and awesome in your body. It just takes being open to changing.

You don’t have to fully believe it can happen when you start – you only have to believe it is possible.

I encourage you to ask yourself and check in. Are you learning and consuming or are you taking action toward your goal? It is easy to go down the learning path and feel like we’re changing when we’re really just consuming. It’s okay to learn and apply along the way. Just don’t forget to keep learning by doing. That is where the greatest progress is made. 

You’ve got this, my friend. Go out there and believe in your possibility. Believe in yourself. I believe you can do it. If I can, everyone can too.

Xoxo,

Liz

Change your mind darn it!

Changing our thoughts will change our life. Super simple, super easy. It all starts with a thought. No problemo!

As we discussed last week, recognizing that our thoughts are the culprits of our emotions can be a game changer. 

We previously talked about watching your thoughts, starting to become more aware of them and choosing to look at them and change them, especially in situations where you may be upset, anxious, or scared.

We did not discuss how to change them though.

Our brains want to be tricky, they want to hide and not change.

Even thoughts about changing ANYTHING can lead to resistance. Bummer, right?

Because change is something unknown.

Our brain wants to panic, it wants to protect us, it wants us to run the other way. Avoid pain, seek pleasure, good old trusty primitive brain.

But instead, we’re asking our adult brains to lean in. To assist, to guide us.

You can see where this creates some distance between our primitive brain and our evolved, adult brain. Like parents and children, the battle wages on, but inside our heads. With every chance to change. I know, I’m exhausted just writing about it.

For my lively explanation of the 2 contrasting parts of our brain, click here.

Our brains also like to be efficient. Thinking the same type of things, doing the same thing daily. Less brain power, so to speak.

This does not serve us while we’re changing but can be very powerful after we have adjusted to a new thought or thought process. 

The first step of changing our thoughts (as with everything else) is awareness. You need to know what’s not working for you or serving you.

Next, you need to decide how you want to feel. What you want to do. Where and who you want to be. 

Once this is established you can get to work.

We all have the thoughts we’re thinking now that are creating our current reality and then we have to find the thoughts that will create where we want to be, what we want to do, how we want to feel.

You still with me?

Next we can create bridging or ladder thoughts to get from here to there. This is where a coach like myself will be a huge benefit as we guide you from A to B faster and more easily that you can guide yourself (remember, your brain will want you to maintain status quo). You can also endeavor this on your own, but like with a ladder you climb to paint the house… having extra support is never a bad idea. 

Finally, we practice our new thoughts to reinforce them, then we choose consciously to continue to practice them until we achieve the new result and then reinforce them until we accept these new thoughts and they become automatic.

Easy peasy, right?

Go get ‘em tiger. I just gave you all the steps to change your thoughts and to change your life into what you want it to be. You’re welcome.

If you are confused, feeling stuck, or otherwise don’t think you can go it alone – email me at info@thrivearena.com and set up a time to chat about how this WILL change your life.

Xoxo,

Liz

Step ONE for weight loss

Where do you struggle with planning?

I wrote out a plan for years. I followed macros for years.

I know that gaining understanding of what foods work best for our bodies (especially if we have health issues that are affected by our diet intake) is super important.

But – I know I resisted planning for years and my ultimate achievement was being able to eat WITHOUT a written plan.

I feel like this is a master ninja skill.

I formulate a basic plan for the week, do my shopping, and then eat.

We do have a written menu in our kitchen for dinners during the week (so it’s easier when myself or hubby ask “what’s for dinner”… we just look and then whoever is home first makes dinner).

I also pretty much eat the same thing for lunch during my work week – which I usually prepare ahead of time on Saturday or Sunday so I can grab and go (and I usually add a piece of fruit).

I always have a backup plan in mind for every situation (which has taken years of trial and error but I know what works best for me).

So – what’s your plan?

And what is your resistance to planning (trust me, some weeks, my brain throws EVERY excuse at me)?

Starting here can help you overcome your own objections (about why you’re a special snowflake, why planning ahead shouldn’t be so hard or isn’t possible or doesn’t work, etc) and see what’s truly holding you back from achieving your goals for your healthy lifestyle.

If you want daily content that gives you food for thought, join my Facebook Group.

Xoxo,

Liz

Losing that last 7 lb

Ever feel like your life is upside down?

I used to eat emotionally all the time. Why? Because it was how I coped with life. Happy? Eat. Upset? Eat. Lonely? Eat. I went along my merry way but also lamented that I felt tired, ugly, fat, and wanted to change things but felt helpless to start or succeed. I wanted someone to show me what to do, to tell me what to do. To help me “fix” my problems.

I didn’t realize that nothing was wrong with me. I didn’t realize that I just hadn’t yet found the greatest tool of all: life coaching. Not even related to nutrition or food intake! What? 

I tried multiple diets. I restricted, I counted calories, macros, did food timing, intermittent fasting, giving up whole food groups. Some of it worked temporarily. Some of it helped me keep some weight off. Sure, my habits improved, I gained nutritional knowledge, but I still felt like something was missing. I knew that there was more.

I stumbled on life coaching when I was looking for a permanent solution to my weight loss problem. I started working with a coach and she opened me up to what was missing and holding me back in my life. I dug in and have never looked back. 

I lost my last 7 lb, which previously had hung like an albatross around my neck. They fell away like they were nothing. It was the mental weight I was losing. 

Recently, I realized I was slipping back into some emotional eating. It snuck up on me like an old friend.

This time though, I had the skills and awareness to recognize it for what it was, acknowledge it and move past it.

With confidence. With grace and kindness. With love. 

I coach busy professionals who want to stop overeating emotionally and instead enjoy their meals and love their lives.

I help you get from where you are to where you want to be in your thoughts about food, dieting, health and balance. You want to love their body. You want to confidently navigate ANY situation. I know how to help you find your true self and lose your mental weight in the process.

Schedule a call with me today to learn how to be free.

Love your body and your life. Start today.

Xoxo,

Liz

info@thrivearena.com

p.s. Join my private FB group to learn more about how you can lose your mental weight by using the same skills and habits. You have nothing to lose, except your weight.

Snooping around on yourself

When your mind is watching your thoughts, it cannot be in your thoughts.

You are either actively thinking your thoughts or you are watching them. 

This is one way to temporarily pause a strong emotion or feeling if you are overwhelmed.

Your thoughts create your emotions, so retraining your brain to become aware of your thoughts when you find your mind racing is a great way to become more aware of what is causing that emotion.

Being curious about your thoughts is a great way to watch them neutrally and bring yourself back to center.

This technique can help you if you have a tendency to be anxious, to catastrophize or snowball when something negative or difficult occurs. 

I am still discovering thoughts that I never knew existed until they occur and elicit a strong emotion in my body.

We tend to notice our emotions more quickly than our thoughts. Our feelings command our attention. Ever felt scared, startled, or frustrated? I usually react to these emotions before I am consciously aware of what thought has caused them.

So how can we harness this skill to help us with our journey in life and eating healthy?

Whenever you find yourself in the pantry, driving through the drive-thru, standing at the freezer eating ice cream or otherwise pining for a sweet or savory treat, check in with your brain. What thoughts are you having? Where is your mind going? What are you thinking about that is causing you to eat RIGHT NOW.

I have trained myself to watch for (aka notice) a feeling of resistance inside me when discussing a topic or navigating a circumstance that is uncomfortable or different for me.

This resistance usually means there’s an underlying thought or belief that is butting up against the current thought or situation.

For example, when I feel uncomfortable, sugary food is my savior, my distraction, my hero. It comforts me and transports me away from the sensation in my body (aka my feeling I’m trying to avoid).

Also, I have noticed that my brain is pretty sneaky, it likes to avoid me and run away when I am looking around and cleaning out old/outdated thoughts and ideas.

For example, one of my defensive mechanisms is to be logical and analytical to avoid feeling (man I could probably write a book on this one). This coupled with eating delicious treats were my two solid ways of coping for years. It didn’t make me healthier, but it sure as heck allowed me to avoid feeling those icky feelings.

When I made the choice to be healthier in both mind and body, I sought ways to work through my mind drama and face my difficult feelings in a more healthy, productive way.

I have had to learn to notice a feeling and then shift to looking for the thought behind it. This one technique has helped me immensely.

If you are not well versed in noticing your thoughts or stopping your thought spiral as your emotions build, put it into practice, see what happens. I promise you that it will change your life if you practice it and master it.

At first it may be challenging, or you might identify situations in hindsight where it could have worked but you forgot to try it.

No worries, better late than never. This one simple skill can transform your life.

The more you practice, the easier it gets to do in the moment (like riding a bike, right?). 

Start this week – when you notice a strong emotion – practice asking “what thoughts am I thinking right now” and see what comes up. 

Have a fantastic week my friends!

Xoxo,

Liz

Stop Overeating Today

Today I’m going to get real with you. If you are overweight, you have the key to changing your situation.

Every reason why we overeat is a thought in our heads.

And most of those thoughts aren’t even true.

How ridiculous is that? And yet we continue.

We ignore the circumstances. The facts. We think mean, horrible thoughts. And we eat. Then we guilt ourselves.

We shame, we blame, then we rinse and repeat.

We restrict ourselves, we torture ourselves.

We get on track and then we fall off the wagon. With food. With good habits, with our lives.

This is all b.s. It is a story we are telling ourselves.

We deserve better. We are better. We just do not choose to focus on it. And we all have our reasons why our health is not our priority.

How do you want to feel about eating?

How do you want to feel about your life?

What do you want to do differently?

What is stopping you?

Why are you not making a food plan and sticking with it?

The answer lies between your ears

Want to learn how to change your eating and change your relationship with food? It really is as easy as changing your thoughts. Contact me to get started and change your life.

Xoxo,

Liz

Let’s stay in touch.

How to stop that runaway train in your mind

The world has been a little crazy lately, right?

It has been difficult for me to focus my attention. I want to help everyone, all at the same time.

I know though, that when my mind is spinning, it is a sign that I need to come back to myself and refocus my energy and thoughts. 

I find that I tend to spin out in worry thoughts and think about the worst case scenarios of the future: Will my loved ones be safe? Will they stay healthy? What can I do to support them? What will the economy do? Will my patients be safe and stay healthy? Will I have to do inpatient medicine (a skill that I haven’t done in years)? 

I’m sure you have your own thoughts swirling around too. 

So how can we get back to focusing and be productive?

 First, I allow myself grace. For real. I stop and just breathe and re-center.

Then, I shift my focus on being aware and curious about my thoughts. I treat myself like I do others – I give myself love, caring and support.

I also practice suspending judgement, I don’t criticize or blame as my thoughts are snowballing on themselves. I step back and watch. And continue to be curious.

Last, if nothing else is working (cuz, some days, none of the above is helpful for me), I look at the thoughts as they tumble by (it helps me to think about thoughts like clouds moving across the sky or like water moving down a river) and pick out the ones that are bothering me most. 

If you’re thinking that this sounds too hard or to weird – it’s totally okay. It took me time to learn how to do this. It takes practice. It is not a difficult skill but it does take some practice and the ability to try. All we’re doing is refocusing our brain and its swirling thoughts. If nothing else is working for you, it’s worth a try.

Next I write those thoughts down and then look at them with my “adult” brain. You have one too – it comes pre-installed with your primitive brain portion, which is the part that is freaking out on you right now. I promise, the adult brain is up there somewhere too. May have cobwebs, but it is there.  

Writing down the thoughts is key. It is super easy to say “nah, I’ve got this, I can look at my thoughts and see them, I don’t need to write them down”. I promise, you do need to write them down. It changes the way your brain processes them. 

Next I make a conscious choice – is this though helpful? Is it serving me in a productive way? If so, I can choose to keep it. 

If not, I can choose to adjust it so it benefits me or choose to throw it out and not believe it at all. Just like that. Decide which thoughts are useful and which ones are causing you suffering and choose to stop thinking them.

Start here. It is this simple to start getting back to you. 

If you’re interested in working on this further, join my Stop Being Stuck program now. This program gives you that extra support, community, and insight that you are looking for.

Especially if stress has you overeating, drinking too much, or otherwise not coping in a healthy way.

Let’s stay in touch.

Are you taking care of you?

How are you taking care of yourself? Do you feel that you are worth taking care of?

What actions are you proud of this week? Who do you want to be in the future? Who you are now or do you want to be someone different?

What can you do NOW to start moving in a direction? Take your control back.

Hiking is self-care in our household

Here are some suggestions:

  • Allow your emotions to pass through, manage your brain.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Clean, organize, be creative.
  • Spend time learning what it is you truly want in your life.

If we all step up and become who we want to be, this world will be a better place. This world deserves the best of you.

Go out there and create it.

Xoxo,

Liz

Let’s stay in touch.

Worthy of your Attention

I have been guilty of not feeling worthy of taking up space.

I know intellectually that this is not true. But when I am not doing or being or proving my worth, this is how I feel.


It is not a great feeling.

I’m learning to be ok with existing. Just existing. I am worthy because I exist.

Did you know that you are worthy? Simply because you exist. A lie about your worthiness may be influencing how you live. How you show up. How you respect yourself. How you treat yourself and others.

Do you believe that you are worthy? That other people are worthy? We all are.


Also,
Don’t mistake worth for responsibility. We are all 100% responsible for our actions, or feelings, our thoughts.
We are also all 100% worthy of taking up space.

Are you ready to accept your worthiness and grow? Start today. See what happens.

I want to hear from you – like and comment below. When do you feel you are most worthy?

Xoxo,

Liz

Let’s stay in touch.

Why our stress monster wants us to EAT

You may think you’re the only one out there overeating due to this unprecedented time of stress. You may find yourself face down in a pizza or a vat of ice cream. I hear you, I have been you. 

You may not remember how you got there, or maybe you very intentionally chose to cope with your anxiety, your stress, your brain absolutely freaking out about the state of the world by diving head first into a bag of Doritos or an entire box of girl scout cookies.

Okay, take a deep breath. Now let it out. 

It is okay. What has happened, is done. It is now in the past. 

Using food to cope with stress is a very common reaction. It is something almost all of us have done at one time or another.

 Eating is one of the most convenient ways to self-soothe that exists. 

Does that make it healthy? No. Does it make you hopeless? Definitely not. 

It does increase your risk of health problems later on, even if all that COVID-19 gives you is a cough and some immunity as it passes through your area. As an aside, this doesn’t mean it is okay to go out and frolic around… social distancing and staying home are being recommended to protect EVERYONE – we’re all in this together, please do your part. 

Obesity and eating unhealthy foods regularly is associated with a multitude of chronic diseases including diabetes, osteoarthritis, and heart disease.

Then why the heck do we turn to food in times of stress? 

Eating does a few things in the moment of stress:

  1. It gives you a hit of dopamine (that feel-good chemical that makes your brain chill out, even if only for a few minutes)
  2. It distracts you from whatever uncomfortable emotion you’re facing (in this case stress, worry, fear, etc) and soothes you temporarily 
  3. It makes you feel like you have control over SOMETHING… as that something goes in your mouth. We can always choose to eat or not eat
  4. It gives your body something to do to avoid your mind and those swirling thoughts creating your stress

Okay, so now that we’ve identified a few points about using food to cope, let’s touch on some science.

Remember our primitive brain, that part of the brain that’s ready for fight or flight at any given moment? Its big signal to turn ON and be ready is cortisol, otherwise known as “the stress hormone”. This is secreted by your adrenal glands. It is up-regulated (more is pumped out into your system) during times of stress… to get your body ready to RUN AWAY and AVOID DEATH.

This is useful if you are in imminent danger.

But not so much if you are constantly on high alert and producing increased levels of cortisol on a regular basis. This causes your body to run down, which decreases your immune system defenses. Which, as you may have guessed, can lead to you feeling poopy and tired, and getting sick more frequently.

Cortisol also slightly increases your metabolism and sends signals to other parts of your body to increase your appetite. So in a direct way, acute stress first decreases (cuz you aren’t going to want to digest when running from that tiger, cave girl), then it will increase your hunger signals. And of course it doesn’t focus your brain on all the healthy stuff – heck no. It wants you to get the most bang for your caloric buck so-to-speak.

So it leads you toward the cookies and away from the carrots. Pretty crazy right? Our bodies are pretty amazing when you step back and think about it.

The thing to remember is that while all of this is going on internally – your brain will be pushing you toward the easy fix. 


So are you doomed then to eat with any type of stress? No. 

This may be an easy, unconscious way to self-soothe and relax in the moment, but you always have a choice of what you are nourishing your body with. Especially when it comes to food. 

Our brains like to give us all kinds of excuses in the moment of why that gas station hot dog and soda are the best things for us, but most of us can agree that our rational brain knows better, even as it indulges in the feast of donuts, candy, and a frappuccino.

So, what’s a girl to do when COVID-19 is knocking on the door? 
Put down the ice cream and back away. 

Now is a great time to start practicing better habits. You don’t have to be perfect 100% of the time. 

Make a game plan for next time you know you’re going to feel some stress… and have a plan in place. When you find yourself halfway through a bag of chips, enact that plan (or better still, catch yourself before you autopilot into the pantry or the fridge. Stop, reconnect with your brain and body at that moment).

Breathe. Journal. Go for a walk. Reconnect and allow yourself to feel the stress, to describe how the stress feels in your body. Make a list of all the things you can choose to do instead of eating in that moment of stress.

 And move forward and eat what you planned for your next meal. Eat earlier if you find that you are physically hungry. Then continue to focus forward. The only time to look to your past is to learn from it.

Be kind if you don’t catch yourself early or if you only stop eating your stress-food at the end of the moment.

Each time you practice a new habit, it becomes easier.

You are worth treating yourself well and your body with respect. I hope that by understanding a little bit more about why we eat when stressed, you can decide to move forward in healthier ways during this challenging time in our world. 

I encourage you to try these techniques and then let me know how they are working for you. You can do this. Choose to thrive.

Have a great week,

Liz

Let’s stay in touch.

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