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July 2010
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Identifying the Triggers that Cause Overeating

By identifying what triggers our eating, we can substitute more appropriate techniques to manage our emotional problems and take food and weight gain out of the equation.

How Can I Identify Eating Triggers?

Situations and emotions that trigger us to eat fall into five main categories:

Social: Eating when around other people. For example, excessive eating can result from being encouraged by others to eat; eating to fit in; arguing; or feelings of inadequacy around other people.

Emotional:    Eating in response to boredom, stress, fatigue, tension, depression, anger, anxiety or loneliness as a way to “fill the void.”

Situational: Eating because the opportunity is there. For example, at a restaurant, seeing an advertisement for a particular food, passing by a bakery. Eating may also be associated with certain activities such as watching TV, going to the movies or a sporting event, etc.

Thoughts:   Eating as a result of negative self-worth or making excuses for eating. For example, scolding oneself for looks or a lack of will power.

Physiological: Eating in response to physical cues. For example, increased hunger due to skipping meals or eating to cure headaches or other pain.

To identify what triggers excessive eating in you, keep a food diary that records what and when you eat as well as what stressors, thoughts, or emotions you identify as you eat. You should begin to identify patterns to your excessive eating fairly quickly.

How Do I Break Myself of the Habit?

Identifying eating triggers is the first step; however, this alone is not sufficient to alter eating behavior. Usually, by the time you have identified a pattern, eating in response to emotions or certain situations has become a pattern. Now you have to break the habit.

Developing alternatives to eating is the second step. When you start to reach for food in response to a trigger, try one of the following activities instead:

  • Watch television
  • Read a good book or magazine or listen to music
  • Go for a walk or jog
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Do deep breathing exercises
  • Play cards or a board game
  • Talk to a friend
  • Do housework, laundry or yard work
  • Wash the car
  • Write a letter
  • Or do any other pleasurable or necessary activity until the urge to eat passes

What If Distracting Myself Isn’t Enough to Keep Me From Eating?

Sometimes simply distracting yourself from eating and developing alternative habits is not enough to manage the emotional distress that leads to excessive eating. To more effectively cope with emotional stress, try:

  • Relaxation exercises
  • Prayer/Meditation
  • Individual or group coaching or counseling

These techniques address the underlying emotional problems and help resolve the original problem as well as teach you to cope in more effective and healthier ways. For more information on these techniques, contact your doctor.

As you learn to incorporate more appropriate coping strategies and to curb excessive eating, remember to reward yourself for a job well done. We tend to repeat behaviors that have been reinforced, so reward yourself when you meet your nutrition management goals. Buy that outfit, take that vacation, or get that massage to reward yourself to increase the likelihood that you will maintain your new healthy habits.

10 Habits to Lose Weight and Never Find It Again

I don't like the word "diet" as I've learned that 85% of "dieters" gain the weight back within 2 yrs of losing it (and then some).  I've since tried to strike it from my vocabulary.  The only way we'll ever have long term success in achieving optimal health is if we change our perspective and lifestyle habits to reflect our health goals.  Here's my top 10 list of healthy habits that helps one lose weight and never find it again...

1. Eat a healthy breakfast every day.  Research demonstrates that those who eat breakfast daily are most successful at maintaining a healthy weight.

2. Exercise daily for a min. of 30 min. a day.  Exercise helps increase metabolism, strength,and flexibility. It also helps reduce stress and/or depression and provides mental clarity. Those that can create a daily habit of exercise are most successful with maintaining their weight. Every activity counts!

3. Have a Solid Support System. Stay connected to a personal coach/trainer/accountability partner and/or a support group for ongoing motivation and guidance.  Books, DVD's and CD's about health and wellness can also act as other forms of supports to keep you focused on improving your health

4. Low-fat meals 6 times a day/eat every 3 hours. By eating 6 small meals/healthy snacks every day you can control portions and total calories (especially those from fat). A meal can be a 1⁄2 of a sandwich, a low-fat yogurt, piece of fruit, vegetables with a little dressing or a portion controlled meal replacement in between your larger meal periods. 

5. Create an individual plan. Your odds for maintaining long-term weight loss results greatly increase by creating (and sticking to) a realistic, individualized plan.  Whether you count calories or simply use a 5 and 1, 4 and 2 or 3 and 3 plan (or some other version of healthy snacks to meals ratio), follow some form of plan to stay on track.

6. Monitor your health and weight regularly. Weigh yourself on a regular basis and strive to keep within your goal weight range. Those that monitor consistently are most successful at maintaining their

7. Avoid trigger foods. You know the foods you always reach for during stressful situations? Get rid of them! If you know that Strawberry ice cream is your downfall, don’t buy it. If you have the urge to splurge, do an alternate activity for 10 minutes. This usually suppresses the urge. If it still persists, eat a very small portion to satisfy the craving.

8. Eat slowly.  I know it's easier said than done but try to spend at least 10–15 minutes eating your meals. Remember to savor your foods by eating them mindfully. Notice the taste and texture of the food. Chew each bite of food at least 20 times before swallowing.

9. Keep fresh vegetables in your refrigerator. If you “pick” at anything in the fridge, make it vegetables! Wash them,cut them, and leave them in the fridge for the times you crave something to crunch on. Carrots and celery sticks are great for munching.

10. Take time to prepare foods. Tender-loving preparation of food will be well worth your time. Prepared meals are healthier, taste better, and are more satisfying to eat.

How Healthy Do You Want To Be?

I often ask my clients (or prospective clients) how healthy they want to be as their answer will dictate the path in which they will take and whether or not I can help them.  If you're Laird Hamilton, one of the world's best big wave surfers, your answer would be different than the person who's not challenging mother nature on a daily basis. (see video below)

Laird wants to be really healthy because his career (and life) depends upon it.  If your career and life doesn't depend on you being extraordinarily healthy it probably won't matter much to you how healthy you are. 

Have you allowed yourself to drift away from the dreams and goals you had for your life?  Has your health has been taken for granted because you feel no symptoms and you don't suffer from any diseases?

Maybe it's time to draft up a life plan full of goals you'd like to achieve and increase your dependence on getting extraordinarily healthy this year?

Are Your Friends and Family Making You Fat?

I have an important question for you that will give you insight to achieving your health goals.  

Here's the question...

Are your friends, family members and co-workers encouraging you to achieve your health goals or discouraging you by the way they act, talk and live out their own lives?

The people we spend the most time with can have a profound effect on our lives and our ability to make progress on the goals we've set before us.  Don't believe me?  Write down the names of your five closest friends, co-workers or family members. Now think about where and what they eat, what they do for fun, how they sleep, how much they weigh, and what their current health is like and put a plus sign (+) next to their name if they live a healthy lifestyle or a minus (-) sign if they don't practice healthy habits.

If you have more negatives than positive there's a strong chance you will always be like the crab that tried to leave a crowded bucket of crabs but never could because the other crabs always pulled him back into the bucket.  Why is this?  Because the people we’re close to and emulate are what we become, particularly if they’re the same sex as us.  

To live a healthier lifestyle and to make long term changes to your habits you must build a strong support system that could include the following:

- healthy friendships (if you don't have any healthy friends seek them out)
- accountability partners/personal health coach/trainer/etc.
- online resources (discussion boards/healthy chat rooms/blogs/social media)
- formal group support meetings

I love the quote by Jim Rohn that states "If you fail to create your own plan chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan and guess what they've got planned for you?  Not much!"

We don't get to choose our family members but we can choose where to invest our time.  If you're currently being challenged by your friends and family in regards to making healthy choices you simply need a better "Support Plan".  Go to work on improving your plan and add in some activities that will give you the support you need to stick to the healthy habits you're beginning to develop and seek out those individuals who are getting healthier themselves. 

Let's get better together shall we?

15 important questions we should ask ourselves regularly

Here are 15 important questions we should ask ourselves regularly. I urge you to not only ask, but to write down your answers. There is power and a call to action when you place your thoughts in writing! 


Remember the palest ink is better than the best memory.


1. What one decision would I make if I knew I would not fail?

2. What one thing should I eliminate from my life because it holds me back from reaching my full potential?

3. Am I on the path of something absolutely extraordinary, or something absolutely ordinary?

4. Am I running from something, or to something?

5. What can I do to make better use of my time?

6. Who do I need to forgive?

7. What impossible thing am I believing and planning for?

8. What is my most prevailing thought?

9. What good thing have I previously committed myself to do that I have quit doing?

10. Of the people I respect most, what is it about them that earns my respect?

11. What would a truly creative person do in my situation?

12. What outside influences are causing me to be better or worse?

13. In what areas do I need improvement in terms of personal development?

14. What gifts, talents, and strengths do I have?

15. What is one thing that I can do for someone else who has no opportunity to repay me?


Once you've completed this exercise, translate your answers into S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic and Time Sensitive) Goals and Action Steps to begin making positive changes in your life. 

25 Quick Tips to Burn More Calories

Choice-Fridge If you're dragging a bit after making some bad choices in regards to your pursuit of optimal health just review your list of reasons on why you want to get healthy and get your head back in the game. It's a slippery slope you're trying to climb when you decide to get healthy so don't get discouraged.

If you're sliding in the wrong direction let's first stop the sliding, challenge our perspective and then choose to climb the mountain with small steps.  Little disciplines repeated on a regular basis will get you back on track in no time. 

Here are some quick disciplines or action steps you can take to help you manage your calorie intake over the next week and ideas to help you burn more calories...

- Reach for water before you reach for a snack. It's the cheapest, safest appetite suppressant there is.

- Keep the cupboards bare. You'll save both money and temptation. By cutting back on the amount of food choices you have around, there will be less impulse snacking.

- Use spices liberally. Ginger, cayenne, jalapeno peppers and Tabasco sauce can boost your fat-burning ability by up to 25%, according to a researcher at Kyoto University in Japan.

- Sleep for weight loss. Getting enough sleep does more than keep you from eating for energy. The University of Chicago recently found that a woman's metabolism rises 40% when she gets enough sleep.

- Be a smart shopper. Have a list when you go to the supermarket to prevent impulse purchases. For extra exercise, leave your cart at the end of each aisle and carry what you need back to it.

- To get fit fast, cut out the ABCs -- alcohol, bread, and other high carbohydrate dense foods.

- Beat nighttime cravings. Researchers have found that dark rooms and the darkness of night make us more likely to overeat. Try scheduling your bedtime for an hour earlier. If you have a favorite program that you like to watch at night, tape it. Switch to brighter light bulbs for cheerier surroundings, you'll be happier and less likely to binge.

- Always eat breakfast. It fuels you for the day and you'll be less hungry at lunch.

- Snack right. A hard candy is only about 20 calories and can last up to twenty minutes. A 400-calorie ice cream cone never lasts more than ten minutes. Try these tasty treats that are less than 150 calories: two Oreo cookies, a McDonald's Ice Cream Cone, a half cup of Italian Ice, a Starbucks Frappuccino Ice Cream Bar, Jell-o with whipped cream, angel food cake with strawberries, a Fudgsicle.

- Listen to feel-good music when you have the urge to binge. Researchers have found that it activates the same feel-good center of the brain that eating your favorite foods does.

- Eat sitting down and don't eat unless you've made a place setting. Grabbing a handful of snack foods can lead to an extra 200 calories before you know it.

- Drink green tea. A study conducted by the University of Switzerland discovered that drinking green tea increases the number of calories your body burns. Try to drink three cups a day.

- Concentrate on what you're eating. Keep food out of sight while you're watching TV, reading, studying or answering email

- Get out. Try to spend twenty minutes a day sitting outside or taking a walk or, at the very least, sit by a sunny window. Sunlight helps to control food cravings.

- Eat healthy at the mall. Order a kid's meal or a salad without heavy dressing. Have a yogurt for a quick pick-me-up (if you're in the maintenance phase otherwise stay clear of yogurt).

- Get minty fresh. Brush your teeth and tongue with the best-tasting toothpaste you can find. Use mouthwash and breath mints to trick your taste buds.

- Watch your portions. Just because you're given a certain portion doesn't mean that amount is what your body needs. Eat only until you're comfortably full. A little left on your plate each day adds up to a long-term decrease in calories.

-Give up one bad eating habit. For example, if you eat in front of the TV or in bed, move your meal to the kitchen table.

- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

- Buy a jump rope. It's great exercise, and even more fun if you can remember all the rhymes you jumped to as a kid. You'll get your heart rate up and work the muscles in your upper and lower body, especially the stomach if you contract your abs while jumping.

- Get some free weights and begin a strength-training regimen.

- Take two steps at a time when you climb stairs. Skipping a step will force your leg and buttocks muscles to extend and work harder. Plus, this movement releases endorphins that will make you feel great!

- Do yard work. Pull weeks, dig holes and rake your lawn. Gardening just one hour can burn up to 500 calories.

- Rent or buy some exercise videos/dvd. It's like having a health club in the privacy of your own room.

- Burn calories while doing housework or working in the yard. Do several chores at one time. For instance, make the bed, put laundry in the dryer, run upstairs to fold clean clothes and put them away. When you're making the beds, keep your shoulders back and pretend you have a book on your head. While you're dusting, roll up on the balls of your feet to work your calves.

Achieving Your Dreams by Jim Rohn

While most people spend most of their lives struggling to earn a living, a much smaller number seem to have everything going their way. Instead of just earning a living, the smaller group is busily working at building and enjoying a fortune. Everything just seems to work out for them. And here sits the much larger group, wondering how life can be so unfair, so complicated and unjust. What’s the major difference between the little group with so much and the larger group with so little?

Despite all of the factors that affect our lives—like the kind of parents we have, the schools we attended, the part of the country we grew up in—none has as much potential power for affecting our futures as our ability to dream.

Dreams are a projection of the kind of life you want to lead. Dreams can drive you. Dreams can make you skip over obstacles. When you allow your dreams to pull you, they unleash a creative force that can overpower any obstacle in your path. To unleash this power, though, your dreams must be well defined. A fuzzy future has little pulling power. Well-defined dreams are not fuzzy. Wishes are fuzzy. To really achieve your dreams, to really have your future plans pull you forward, your dreams must be vivid.

If you’ve ever hiked a 14,000-foot peak in the Rocky  Mountains, one thought has surely come to mind: How did the settlers of this country do it? How did they get from the East Coast to the West Coast? Carrying one day’s supply of food and water is hard enough. Can you imagine hauling all of your worldly goods with you... mile after mile, day after day, month after month? These people had big dreams. They had ambition. They didn’t focus on the hardship of getting up the mountain.

In their minds, they were already on the other side—their bodies just hadn’t gotten them there yet! Despite all of their pains and struggles, all of the births and deaths along the way, those who made it to the other side had a single vision: to reach the land of continuous sunshine and extraordinary wealth—to start over where anything and everything was possible. Their dreams were stronger than the obstacles in their way.

You’ve got to be a dreamer. You’ve got to envision the future. You’ve got to see California while you’re climbing 14,000-foot peaks. You’ve got to see the finish line while you’re running the race. You’ve got to hear the cheers when you’re in the middle of a monster project. And you’ve got to be willing to put yourself through the paces of doing the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable, because that’s how you realize your dreams.

Creating Healthy Finances


Healthy Habit:
Excel financially with an entrepreneur mindset.


Healthy Habit:
Earn more by becoming more valuable to the marketplace.


Healthy Habit:
Eliminate debts and pursue financial independence.


Healthy Habit:
Explore the opportunities to grow your income, assets and significance.