Hey Mama Boss.
In this post I am going to talk to you about your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.
How do I know you’ve made that New Year’s Resolution?
Because you always make that New Year’s Resolution.
Am I wrong?
Didn’t think so.
Even those years that you make it in secret and don’t tell anybody, instead saying “I hate New Year’s Resolutions… I’m not making any this year...They’re stupid.”
You don’t tell anybody because you don’t want them to see you fail.
If you just don’t make the goal, then you can’t fail, right?
Well I got news for you, sister.
2019 is going to be different.
2019 is going to be your year.
2019 is the year you can, and will, lose the weight-- if you choose it.
In this post I am going to tell you how to make and reach your weight loss goals in 2019.
In years past, and maybe already even this year, you’ve set your weight loss goals for the coming year and then followed these steps:
Time passes… maybe a day, maybe a week, maybe a month… and then you come home to find your spouse has brought home your favorite pizza and you decide to “cheat”.
And then you fall completely off the wagon, eating all kinds of foods that are forbidden on your new diet.
And your brain starts to criticize your diet.
It tells you all the reasons it wasn’t working.
You tell yourself you’ll get back on the wagon tomorrow…
or that you will try something else, something better (Keto if you were on Paleo, or vice versa… maybe Weight Watchers???).
These thoughts swamp your brain along with your dear old dieting companion: self-loathing.
It is almost guaranteed.
This has been me, my life, for 30 years.
I started dieting at the age of 9 and never stopped.
I would have successes, only to be followed close behind by failures.
Until I learned to stop eating my feelings.
Once I learned how my thinking was fueling my desire for food, I was able to do something about it.
And the best part about that is that I know, for sure, that I will never be fat again.
Because I don’t use willpower to maintain my natural weight now.
I don’t diet.
I’ve changed my thinking to change my eating, and lost nearly 30 pounds in the process.
And I will live this way for the rest of my life.
It is completely sustainable.
And you can do it, too.
step 1: stop eating all sugar and flour
I've written a few posts on this so check them out starting with Quickstart Your Weight Loss.
step 2: stop eating your emotions
Learn the difference between physical and emotional hunger and only eat when you are physically hungry.
We have a fear of hunger in our culture.
We believe that any little twinge of hunger will make us fall apart, stop functioning, and even faint.
So we carry around snacks in our purses “just in case”.
Stop doing that.
Learn what real hunger feels like so you can respond to it.
And then eat only to the point of feeling sated.
My coach, Brooke Castillo, calls this eating “2:2”.
Imagine a scale that goes from -10 to +10, with -10 being famished, starving and +10 being so stuffed you want to explode.
Eat as soon as you feel that whisper of hunger at -2, and then stop when you get to just sated at +2.
Do this for a few weeks, or for as long as it serves you, to get to know your hunger signals.
This is how I started my weight loss journey and I found it critical for ending overeating.
step 3: sleep
Get 7 hours of sleep each night.
When you are rested you are better able to tell the difference between physical and emotional hunger.
And when you have trouble sleeping for this reason or that, don’t freak out.
This is a part of being human-- interrupted sleep.
Don’t let it throw you off your game.
Just go to sleep at your usual time then next night.
Step 4: Hydrate
Drink half your weight in water, ounces that is.
So if you weigh 200 pounds be sure to drink 100 ounces of water every day.
Again, when you are hydrated you are less likely to confuse hunger for something else.
So those are the four steps.
Now, some of you have read this far and are maybe noticing that familiar anxiety that is nagging at you.
The one that is saying “You’ve done this a hundred times… it never works… what makes you think this time will be different??”
Here’s what’s different: you’ve likely never committed to manage your thinking before.
And managing your thinking is simple.
But not easy.
And I’m here to support you along the way.
This work goes far, far deeper than what is on this page, but this is only the beginning.
There is no rush.
You get to be at your natural weight for the rest of your life.
So start here, one step at a time, and then once you’ve got those down, come back for more.
This is the entry level.
The starter kit.
I’ve got lots more for you as you go.
After all, we are all in this together.
Hey Mama Boss.
In this post I am going to tell you exactly how to have the best holiday of your life.
Why will it be the best?
Because it will be your first holiday season without your old friend, Food Anxiety.
You know her well, don’t you?
The friend who always shows up and hangs out for waaaaay too long.
In fact, I’d bet she’s moved right in (to your head, that is).
So while everyone is cheerfully saying things like...
“Are you ready for Christmas?” and
“Oh how lovely to spend time with family!” and
“I am really looking forward to it!”
Inside we are freaking out.
We are freaking out with thoughts like…
Am I going to gain weight?
How much weight will I gain?
Will my pants still fit in January?
How will I work this all off?
I need to join a gym.
I’ve already eaten so many cookies this season, I won’t eat any on Christmas.
I’m so bad.
So many of us are planning.
Planning for food anxiety.
Planning for bodies that grow and gain out of rebellion.
Planning to eat and eat and eat and then “pay for it” later.
Planning to feel out of control.
And we set it all up.
We control the plan.
We bake the 712 cookies.
We buy the candy and the chocolate.
We serve the gluttonous portions…. piling our plates high with guilt and anxiety.
We set ourselves up for guilt, shame, anxiety, and stress-- all in the name of “the holidays”...?
And yet we love the holidays, don’t we?
We look forward to the gift giving, the parties, the merriment.
So doesn’t it seem odd that we look forward to something so much, and we invest so much time and energy into it, and yet we have loads of anxiety leading up to and during it, and then guilt and regret when the deed is done??
So I ask you: why do you do it?
Why do you set yourself up for a whole host of deeply troubling feelings?
Is joy and pleasure shackled to guilt and shame?
Can we not have one without the other?
Let’s do a little activity together, just for fun.
Imagine that you had a temporary medical condition that prevented you from eating or drinking anything over the holidays.
AND, imagine that your life depended on you experiencing joy and delight over those same holidays.
What would you choose to do?
What would you choose to focus on?
Who would you choose to be around?
What would you choose to think about?
For me, I would relish in my relationships with my family.
I would be present with my little son, enjoying every extra moment with him.
I would create experiences with him where we are engaging in cool activities, like making gifts, drawing, playing games, doing new puzzles, traveling, or attending cool holiday events.
And I would be super present the whole time.
I would spend mental and emotional energy making my marriage the best it can be.
I would listen carefully when my husband spoke and give him my undivided attention.
I would practice happiness, which only multiplies the happiness of those around me.
I would take long walks alone and with loved ones (sans the little man… four year olds can really kill a good, long walk).
I would walk in the park with my aging yet spry parents.
I would talk to people.
I would see them.
I would read.
I would write.
I would go to a movie and engage with that movie 100%, the sounds, the images, the emotional responses-- because I wouldn’t be entertaining my mouth with popcorn.
I would do yoga.
I would spend time with friends, and really see and listen to them.
I would delight in the holiday lights.
In the laughter.
I would sleep really, really well.
I would watch the sunrise.
Isn’t it fascinating that once you eliminate food from the equation, you find that you’ve been missing out on so much?
Luckily, I don’t have a medical condition that prohibits me from eating or drinking.
But the food and drink still don’t matter much to me.
They are one detail of a much larger experience.
And, in fact, the relationships I cultivate over this magical time are what bring the most joy and delight.
And when I shift my focus from what I’m putting in my mouth to what I’m feeling in my heart, my holiday experience is utterly transformed.
I will decide, ahead of time, exactly what I will eat and drink.
And I will eat and drink just that.
And I will watch the drama in my mind around holiday food fall away.
I will engage with all that the holidays have to offer.
Far beyond food.
And I won’t gain any weight at all.
And I won’t feel deprived.
And I won’t use willpower.
Instead I will enjoy the holidays, precisely because I won’t be worrying about weight gain.
I will enjoy every minute.
Without gaining a pound.
And you can, too.
Decide, ahead of time, what you want to experience over the holiday.
Take time to really imagine and day dream.
You can do this in a formal way by sitting down, centering, maybe doing a meditation or some light yoga to get grounded, and then let your mind wander into the land of imagination.
Answer the question: What do I want to experience over the holiday?
I would guess that your answer will be something quite unexpected.
Maybe you want to experience deep connection or deep relaxation.
This leads us to the next step.
Decide if you want to commit to make that happen this holiday season.
If you said you wanted deep connection with your best friend, partner, or children, imagine what that would look like.
Is it planning an outing together?
Or just planning to be present with him or her during your holiday festivities?
Or is it a letter you want to write to them and present to them at dinner?
Or maybe you said you want to experience deep relaxation.
How could you experience that over this holiday season?
Maybe you realize that traveling to your in-laws’ house across the country is not as relaxing as you would like… so maybe you make alternative plans?
Or, if your flight and accommodations are locked and loaded, then maybe you brainstorm some ways you can experience some deep relaxation while traveling… a massage with your sister-in-law?
A local restorative yoga class?
Plans for a nap every day?
Maybe you take a turtle step towards your holiday experience this year, and then full blown commit and plan for it next year.
Or maybe this year you go for it, throwing caution to the wind.
Decide ahead of time, at least 24 hours in advance, what you are going to eat and drink.
Manage your mind to work through the drama that is sure to come with that.
Making your holiday experience what you want is up to you.
You are an adult.
You get to decide.
And it is OK to disappoint people.
They get to be adults and take responsibility for their own disappointment.
Enjoy yourself, mama.
You are more than worth it.
Hey Mama Boss.
You are high achieving.
You work hard.
You do it all.
Career, family, exercise, news, socialize… you do it all.
You are a badass on so many levels.
And yet, something is missing.
Something is off.
You are anxious.
You can’t relax.
So you go to yoga.
To feel better.
But even there you feel like you aren’t doing enough… that you aren’t advanced enough, strong enough, toned enough,young enough, thin enough…
There is always this feeling that you should be doing something else.
That you made the wrong choice.
That you are doing it wrong.
That you are doing life wrong.
Even though you are doing it all.
A good friend of mine recently had her one year anniversary of quitting her very sensible, reliable career as a pharmacist to follow her heart and become an entrepreneur.
She has two young children.
And she made the leap.
She said to me as we talked during my harried commute to work in Bay Area traffic “Remember, you are superwoman.”
What she was reminding me of was that we women who do it all, we are superwomen.
It is no small feat to be Girl Bosses, run businesses and side-hustles, be present for high-quality time with our bambini, have healthy and thriving marriages (on a good day ;), and maintain exquisite mental and physical health.
Most of us don’t want to work that hard.
At work this week a colleague asked me what my plans for the holiday were and I told her I had three days where my child would go to childcare and I could have time just to myself.
I told her I was super excited for that because I am planning two workshops for the new year at the studio-- one on goal setting for the New Year and one on Clean Eating.
She laughed at me and said “Of course you do! Don’t you want to just relax and watch Real Housewives on the couch?!?!” and while I love me some RHW (Orange County is my fav), I haven’t watched in years.
Not because I’m driven to work from a place of fear or anxiety-- but my work feels like entertainment.
It’s better than Real Housewives.
And when I’m done creating my workshops, I will feel a million times better than I would feel after watching some anti-feminist reality TV. (No hate, RHW fans.)
Superwoman is you and me.
She’s the high achieving working mama who does-it-all, perfectly imperfectly.
It is not the “all” of her neighbor, her colleague, her mother, or her family.
It is the “all” of her own creation. On her terms.
And she loves how doing-it-all feels.
It’s not resentful, frenetic, or pressured.
It’s determination, satisfaction, and purpose.
Because when the doing-it-all is of her own making and when she likes the reasons for choosing what she does-- not from a sense of obligation but from a sense of deep rooted satisfaction-- she feels amazing and gets the results she is after.
This post is dedicated to my good friend and coach genius, Jessica Miller. You can check her out at jessicamillerbny.com.
Weight loss is a feminist issue.
But not because women should or need to lose weight.
There isn’t a woman (or a man) in this world who needs to lose weight, in my opinion.
Losing weight is a completely personal matter.
It is a personal choice.
And it is optional, for all of us.
Losing weight is a feminist issue because many women (and men, of course) want to lose weight.
And the mental and emotional turmoil they feel around food and eating is impeding their ability to be fully present in their lives.
It impedes there ability to meet their full potential, and make the impact they could be making were they able to free up that energy from weight and food obsession.
Women want to lose weight for many reasons, many of them not-so-feminist.
Such as wanting to fit in to some superficial, media-perpetuated ideal of what a woman should look like.
And of course I don’t agree with that.
But many women want to lose weight for other reasons.
They want to lose weight because, like me, they want to end their mental and emotional battle with food.
They want to use their mental energy for thoughts, ideas, and creations outside of body image and weight loss.
They want to stop obsessing about food and weight.
They want to have a healthy relationship with food.
They want to have a positive relationship with their bodies.
They want stop hating their bodies.
They want to feel in control of their bodies and the scale.
They want to feel good, and not worry about it.
They want to end dieting.
And they want to do all of this so that they can focus on the work that really matters.
One of my favorite documentaries of all time is Miss Representation (if you haven’t seen it, run-- don’t walk). It is about how the media is essentially toxic to the mental health of girls and women. In it Katie Couric says, “If women spent a tenth of the time thinking about how to solve the world’s problems as they think about their weight…we could solve them in a matter of months.”
This is why I do my work in the world.
Because the battle with food obsession is real.
It impacts almost all of us.
And is a total waste of time.
It is a distraction from what matters most: advancing in our careers and getting paid what we are worth, leading in our communities and in the world, making an impact on the issues that matter to us such as paid family leave and preexisting conditions, and starting movements such as #metoo and #timesup.
Seriously, people, this is what matters.
Not how much we weigh.
And yet, what we weigh gets more airtime in our heads then the meaningful work.
So this is my work.
I want to help women and girls stop their internal battle so they can go to battle for what matters to them most.
And it starts with the mamas.
Because we have work to do, ladies.
Let’s get crackin’.
Lia Pinelli is a weight loss coach and educator who helps women put an end to emotional overeating and lose weight, permanently.