Happy No Matter What


Thanksgiving “aha’s”

A few setbacks but the turkey didn’t get the best of me.

I’m back from a week with my husband’s family to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Somehow I managed to skate by 2 pounds lighter than I started. I’m now weighing in at 145! I started off the trip strong – stayed more or less between -2 and +2 on the Hunger Scale and kept the fog eating to a minimum. I noticed that, once Thanksgiving rolled around, my good habits started to weaken… Don’t get me wrong, Thanksgiving dinner was a solid joy eat. But the next day and the day after and the day after that…? I noticed myself eating past +2 ( cranberries and stuffing left over) and doing more fog eating.

One major thing I noticed… I eat when I’m bored. There was a lot of down time during our week long stay. A lot of football. I’m not a football fan. So I noticed myself wanting to eat or drink during football out of pure and plain boredom. This time, instead of moping around and feeling sorry for myself (and stuffing myself with chips and dip)  I made a conscious decision to improve my mood by doing something I wanted to do. I treated myself to a pedicure and went to a yoga class. Normally I wouldn’t have even thought to try this while staying out of town and with three kids to worry about but I just made it happen. The result? I felt a lot happier and I didn’t feel like eating!

BTW, I was invited to write about weight loss in Love Your Life Magazine. Check out my article, here!

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This Little Light of Mine

Throughout this series I’ve learned a lot about self-care but if were to boil it down to two words I would have to say: self love.

I posted this quote by Brooke Castillo to Facebook the other day:

“The sensation of hunger is satisfied with fuel; the emotion of hunger is satisfied with self love.”

One of my friends commented: “Self love is a hard one, Amy.”

But why is self love so difficult?

Debbie Ford, author of The Dark Side of the Light Chasers shares this story:

When I was in a drug detox center a woman came in to give a lecture to a group of us. She began by telling us that she’d graduated from college at the top of her class. She had been married for thirteen years and had a fabulous relationship with her husband. She was a great mother and an excellent communicator. As she continued to tell us about all the things she did well, I thought, “What a conceited bitch. Who does she think she is? ”

Have you ever been afraid to let yourself shine? Do you “play small” so that others will feel better about themselves? Maybe you’re afraid other people will think you’re conceited. Or maybe you just believe that downplaying your greatness will make you a better person.

In her story, Debbie Ford goes on to say…

Then she stopped, looked each of us in the eye, and said, “I came here to talk to you about self-love. About the importance of acknowledging all your good qualities and being able to share them with the people in your life.” She explained that in order to love ourselves, we had to be willing to let our own light shine brightly. We had to acknowledge ourselves every day for all the good we’ve done. We had to take an inventory of our lives and applaud our accomplishments. And when we let our light shine, we’d demonstrate to others that it was okay for them to shine too.

Self love is the foundation of self care. After all, we take care of the things we love, right? And self love is being willing to stand up and, without shame or apology, celebrate your greatness or even your mediocre-ness or even (gasp) your flaws. Not in a boastful – I’m-just-saying-this-so-that-you-will-think-I’m-wonderful sort of way. It’s the willingness to forgive your mistakes, even laugh at them. It’s the ability to love yourself because of your imperfections not in spite of them.

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I urge you to stand up and, without apology, express gratitude – to yourself.

Because you are here to shine and, as the saying goes, “your playing small does not serve the world.”

I invited my colleagues, fellow life coaches, to get the ball rolling. Here’s what they said:

“I love and appreciate that I am good at making to-do lists. They help me (and others) stay on top of things. I also love that I genuinely love seeing people truly be themselves. It just makes me so happy. Finally, I love that I can be perfectly happy lounging with my pups while reading the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly.”

Elise Touchette, www.ShineALightCoaching.com

“What I love most is my curiosity. It’s taken me through deep and challenging waters, and it’s led me to splashing around in some fast-moving creeks. The biggest reward of curiosity is a wide open mind that’s truly peaceful and fun to hang around in.”

Susan Grace Beekman, www.oasislifedesign.com

“I love the way I am moving deep within my mind and heart by doing The Work and in taking Compassionate Communication classes. I am a kinder person to myself and that’s where self love begins – at home.”

Sherold Barr, www.sheroldbarr.com

“I love my ability to overeat, to underdress, to burn dinner, to be late, to get it wrong, to make the same mistake again, to forget everything I ever learned, even the stuff I learned the hard way, and get up, dust myself off, apologize, and forgive, accept and love myself.”

Terry DeMeo, www.TerryDemeo.com

“I love that I have the ability to think in great detail and make something really complicated and time consuming if I want – but that I often choose to look at something, say “screw it” and simplify it to bare bones without a second thought. I love that I can laugh out loud anywhere – alone or in a crowd – and raise my energy level by about 5 bazillion watts in a matter of seconds.”

- Sheila Whittington, www.sheilawittington.com

“I love my love for kick-ass FBI/CIA chick characters, my Irish fiddle-playing side, my obsessively creative mind, my smiling soul, my inability to remember anything involving numbers, and all the ways I am authentically me.”

Abigail Steidley, www.thehealthylifecoach.com

“The thing that i love most about me is my knowing that I deserve the best life that I can manifest. I no longer make apologies about my choices. I love being 57 and leading the life I want.”

Indrani Nathu Goradia, www.indranislight.com

“I love that I can BE silly and NOT FEEL silly when I do! I don’t stop singing in the car when I’m at a red light. And I’ve been known to sing GOTTA DANCE and do a little time-step in the aisle at Target (just ask my daughter!) all because I glimpsed the cover of the “Singin’ In The Rain” dvd. Frivolum Est Bonus (silly is good).”

Kelly Pratt, www.kellypratt.com

“I love that I can learn. I love that I can love with an open heart. I love that my compassion for myself and others is ever expanding. I love that there is a master seamstress in my heart making a beautiful quilt of my many mistakes…to offer comfort, warmth, and love…for myself and others.”

-Terri DeMontrond, www.terridemontrond.com

“I love my own hunger. I love the fact that my longings are so big and so grand that people still laugh at me when I tell them my true dreams and goals. I spent years lamenting that I was too much, too intense, too grandiose, too greedy– but now I know that the flip side of all this yearning is my immense capacity for joy, revelry, magic, and delight. It’s one of my greatest gifts.”

- Anna Kunnecke, www.annakunnecke.com

“I love how my eyes sparkle when I laugh. I love how I see people inside. Where you live, what you wear, who you know, falls away so I can see and hear your heart without distraction. I love how I feel my energy touching someone else’s energy; that zip and tingle of recognition, In Lak’ech ‘I am another yourself.’”

- Darliss O’Donnell, www.darlissodonnell.com

“I love that I have completely revised my life to reflect the life I want to live. I found the willingness and the courage to take chances, deal with successes and failures, and recognize that every failure is actually a gift that propels me toward greater happiness. I love that I am an eternal work in progress!”

- Theresa Trosky Robbins,www.theresarobbins.netwww.selfhelpvirgin.com

Here’s mine:

I love that I’m not afraid to express myself even when it comes off as too direct. I love my curiosity and my energy. I love how much I’m willing to be vulnerable. I love how much I love. I love that I am a great dancer. I love that I’m a genuine, sweet and funny person.

Now YOU go! Go ahead, play to your edge. Post a comment for the whole world to see (okay maybe just the people who read this blog) and declare your love for yourself!

Want More?

To see more from Amy’s Self-Care series, click here. To sign-up for her free e-course titled I Don’t Need Your Approval! How to Overcome Your Inner Approval Addict, click here!

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Brooke Castillo calls them “little white lies disguised as reality.”

These days, “I’m too busy” is an excuse I catch myself using a lot.

“I’m too busy to plan healthy meals.”

“I’m too busy to fix dinner.”

“I’m too busy to go out for a walk.”

The truth is we have enough time to do whatever it is that is a priority for us. So I’m too busy is just another way of saying “It’s not a priority.” When I say “I’m too busy to plan healthy meals,” what I’m really saying is “Planning healthy meals is not a priority to me.”

True? No! See? Little white lies…

P.S. Down 5 pounds!

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Many of us believe that weight loss has to be hard. It’s about self-discipline, deprivation, endless hours on the treadmill… I disagree. Weight loss can be fun! It can be a gift you give to yourself. It doesn’t have to be hard but it does require a shift in mindset. Listen to my interview with fellow weight loss coach Cookie Rosenblum to see what I mean. Cookie was kind enough to create a worksheet to help you get started thinking about (and planning) some of your own self-care activities. Click here to download the worksheet.

About Cookie:

Cookie Rosenblum, M.A., is a Martha Beck Certified Life Coach with over 20 years of experience helping clients lose weight. She has a Masters Degree in clinical psychology. Cookie teaches her clients how to think the way a naturally thin person thinks, so they can not only lose their extra weight, but they can lose the whole problem.

More About Cookie

Favorite self care book: The Comfort Book by Jennifer Louden, an old favorite.
Favorite self care practice: Writing in my journal, having a phone date with a close friend, blocking out some alone time.
Favorite self care food: I make a giant stir fry with tons of veggies and chicken, and some brown rice. I love it and I make enough to last for a few days. Also, in the winter I made a big pot of minestrone. Warm, good for me, and comforting.
Favorite self care role model: My husband. He always makes time to work out, take a nap, and treat himself to a pedicure, WITH NO GUILT!
Favorite self care song: No one special song, but love to blast loud music in the house when no one is home and actually dance (my kids would be mortified if they saw me).
Favorite self care treat: if I don’t need a nap, I will ‘treat’ myself to an On Demand version of one of my favorite HBO or Showtime series. It’s a great 30 minute escape.

To learn more about Cookie, click here.

Want More?

To see more from Amy’s Self-Care series, click here. To sign-up for her free e-course titled I Don’t Need Your Approval! How to Overcome Your Inner Approval Addict, click here!

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Feeling States

Everything we want, we want because we’re hoping for a feeling state. It’s not the actual thing – it’s what that thing can bring us emotionally. Whether it’s weight loss, a new car, a boyfriend, etc. We want it because we believe it will make us feel positive emotion – belonging, security, happiness, whatever.

When I boil it all down, I want to feel proud. This desire motivates me. It’s why I want what I want.

I feel proud whenever I use food to nurture my body rather than abuse it.

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Getting Too Hungry

For some, eating past +2 on The Hunger Scale is the problem. For me, and I suspect a lot of busy moms, the problem is getting too low on the scale. The problem is I get too busy – washing clothes, feeding kids, picking up kids from school, bathing kids, nursing baby, etc.) to eat. Then, when I finally get a second, I scarf down whatever’s in front of me.

Yesterday it was a bowl of pasta in heavy cream sauce that was in front of me.

Not good.

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Walking Meditation

I like to try to incorporate 15 minutes of silence into each day. This is another one of those not so easy things with a newborn. So I’ve started a different form of silence – walking meditation.It’s a form of meditation that involves walking instead of sitting. You are still practicing mindfulness mainly by concentrating on your breathing and noticing your thoughts. I try to just observe – how my body is feeling, what it is like to be outside, what my breath is doing, the environment around me. If I start to obsess about something I’m supposed to do or something I should have done, I just try to bring my thoughts back to the present moment.

The benefits?

  • I don’t have to carve out a time to sit silently for 15 minutes.
  • It’s much easier to carry the baby in my sling and go outside for a 15 minute walk.
  • It’s not only a form of meditation, it’s a form of movement so I manage to get some exercise as well.
  • It satisfies my wish to be outside (I sit in front of a computer much of the time.)

I notice I’m much more aware of how my body is feeling when I practice the walking rather than sitting form of meditation. It’s a great way to stay connected to myself. Which is what this weight loss philosophy is all about.

Here’s how to do tt.

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Fuel, Fog, Joy and Storm

Weighing in today at 149.9 pounds.

I managed to make it through Halloween weekend relatively unscathed.

I did a bit of fog eating though. Mostly Halloween candy.

A little explanation of the four types of eating…

  • Fuel – Eating what the body needs to do its work in the world. We want to be eating for fuel most of the time
  • Fog – Mindless eating. We don’t ever want to fog eat.
  • Joy – Eating what we love, no substitutes. We eat for joy ten percent of the time.
  • Storm – Basically a binge eat. We never want to storm eat.

The key – stay within -2 and +2 on The Hunger Scale and cut out all fog eating. Then, weight loss is practically guaranteed.

Seems pretty straight forward, but many of us like to keep eating past +2 or eat when we’re not hungry.

My problem? I get too low on The Hunger Scale and then I fog eat low quality food until I’m full.


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Moving More

The yoga ball. I lived on this thing for nine months when my twins were infants. Bouncing them was just about the only way i could get them to stop crying. Baby Joy is a much more mellow child but I still find myself bouncing her a lot. I’m bouncing right now, in fact. It’s one way to move more. Fellow weight loss coach Cookie Rosenblum said this today “there’s something to be said for adapting to what may not be perfect, but what is available.” This statement totally resonates. It’s not easy to get a workout in while also caring for a newborn. That said, I’m only five weeks postpartum. I had a c-section and I’m finally off the pain pills. But I’m starting to feel like my old self, pre-pregnancy! So I’m ready to move more! But my body definitely wants to take it SLOW.

Bouncing on the yoga ball is one form of moving more, but it’s pretty darn boring. I’m setting a minimum baseline of getting out of the house to walk at least three times a week – if only for a few blocks. I got out today. It was raining but only a little. And it felt great to be outside.

In this approach to weight loss it’s all about approaching exercise with a “give” attitude. It’s never tedious. It’s never boring. It’s always a gift you give to yourself. Makes it a lot easier to stick with doesn’t it?

With this “give” attitude in mind, I’m trying to think of some other ways I can move more while also caring for a newborn…

Here are some ideas:

  • There is a mamalates class in town. I could check that out (pilates for mamas).
  • I’m thinking about taking a yoga class for moms and babies.
  • Walking is always nice
  • Once the baby is big enough I can take her jogging with a jogging stroller

Any other ideas?

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The Weight Loss for Smart Moms Chronicles

Welcome! This is the first post of what I am calling (for now) The Weight Loss For Smart Moms Chronicles. I’m a weight loss coach who just had a baby and I have 20 pounds to lose!

Did I mention I have 20 pounds to lose? Here is a picture of my post preggo belly.

The good news? I have my very own extremely powerful weight loss system to follow. Even better, I have a whole mess of people who can follow me along my journey and help keep me accountable.

So what I plan to do is post my ups and downs on a daily basis. The posts will have to be short and sweet because I’m an overwhelmed mom of three, count them, three children under the age of three (and all in diapers but that’s another story.)

Here goes.

Over the weekend we got a new scale. I think this one is actually accurate.  It tells me I have 20 pounds to lose in order to weigh what I did before baby number three. So today I am 150 pounds and at some point I would like to be 130 pounds again. I’m five weeks post pregnancy…

The first thing I am going to do is follow The Hunger Scale. If you’re not familiar with this tool, you should be. It is by far my favorite weight loss tool in my bag of tricks. Basically it’s a way of checking in with the body to figure out your level of physical hunger (not emotional hunger). The scale goes from negative ten to positive ten. The goal is to always stay within negative two and positive two on the scale. The idea is that you’re fueling your body so that it can do it’s work in the world. You don’t give it any more or any less than it needs. When I’m at negative two, I’m not dizzy or light headed, my stomach is feeling empty and I’m experiencing a slight “knock on the door” so to speak. When I’m at postive two, I have eatan enough to feel fueled but I am not groggy or weighed down. I’m light and spunky. I could go out and take a walk without discomfort.

Checking in right now… Oops I’m at about a negative three. This means I better go get something quick otherwise I’ll get to negative four. And one thing I’ve come to learn is that I eat to the opposite extreme so if I let myself get to negative four, I’m going to eat until I’m at positive four.

Gotta go find some fuel.

Postscript: I had to run and pick-up the twins from pre-school so I ended up eating two tamari rice crackers and an orange in the car. It did the trick.

Thanks for reading (psst. Comments of encouragement are so greatly appreciated.)

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