Why October is the best month to….

I could fill this in with so many things but lets stick with our Fun with Food thing!  Not to be confused with Sheldon’s “Fun with Flags.”fun with flagsOops it looks like he is having fun with food as well!

So why is October one of the best times to focus on food and really get a handle on what we put on our plates and what goes into our mouths?  Because we know what is coming! ( Imagine scary music right HERE)

The ultimate in food fests is heading our way and as much as we try to deny it we cannot.  It is coming right at us like a missile and we won’t know what hit us until we step on the scale on January 1st and instead of that pesky 10 lbs we intended to lose its now 18lbs.  Yikes!

The average weight gain over the holidays is 8lbs.  Yup 8 lbs.  Think of the last thing you saw that was 8lbs.  It could be a baby, a sack of potatoes, a ham.  Puts it in perspective right?

That 18 lbs I mentioned earlier might be the size of your Thanksgiving turkey.

Wow…anybody else besides me think I just sucked the fun right out of “Fun with Food” ?

We do equate being social and having fun with eating.  Can you think of one event that does not have a food component?  That’s a tough one.

So while it may not be fun in the truest sense it will make you breathe a little easier come January if you start to have an awareness around the holidays, the food, the parties, the drinking and figure out how you want to be with it.

You get to choose.  YES it IS a choice and YES you can still enjoy the food and have fun and not cry and beat yourself up on January 1st if you dare to get on the scale.

Think about all the reasons excuses you use to have a free for all from Nov 1st – Dec. 31st.

Maybe yours include the following:

  • I have to have this, Aunt Tilly only makes this ONCE a year so its a treat.
  • Mom will be hurt if I don’t eat alot, its her way of saying she loves me!
  • It’s the holidays, time to let loose!
  • I dance better when I’ve had lots of wine
  • I need insulation for the upcoming winter months.

Any of these look familiar.  I think I have said every one of those except for the last one.

So in a rather long run on sentence ( my English teacher is doing spins in her grave) here is why those excuses don’t hold up.  Aunt Tilly only makes her special 1000 calorie a bite dish once a year because it is an evil antibiotics plot to keep you all coming to her house over the holidays since she won’t share the recipe and Mom is an undercover food pusher who could guilt even the toughest guy into eating more than he could ever imagine (she is actually an undercover agent for the government that specializes in making the enemy talk or in her case guilting them into talking) and if letting loose means your pants then go for it but if you really think you dance better after half a bottle of wine then go check out the videos your cousin posted on you tube and if the last one is true then get rid of your sweaters and your coats because you will be plenty insulated.

Phew… Hope you are laughing or at least smiling.

So have some fun with making up stories about how you are to navigate the holiday buffet, avoiding the things you can’t stop eating much like a ship avoids icebergs.

 Picture your Mom holding a piece of cake in front of you except you are not in your home you are in one of those interrogation rooms with a single light bulb ( remember she is undercover for the government)!

Figure out how you will get Aunt Tilly’s famous recipe and maybe even make it a little healthier.

The point here is that NOW is the time to figure out how you want to be with the “food thing” over the holidays.  If instead we have fun with our families and less with the food we will probably be happier when January rolls around.

I’m not saying it’s easy.  I’m just saying you can have a good time, celebrate, enjoy the food but not act like its your last meal. I can say this because I have been there and  when I did plow into the food like there was not tomorrow January 1st was not fun and I wished I had made different choices.

An upside down moment for sure.

If you are having trouble figuring out what what will work for you then how about trying out a complimentary coaching session?  Go here to get that on your calendar and get a head start on your plan for the holidays.

Lastly, if you do have relatives that make a family favorite please make sure someone has the recipe or knows how to duplicate it ( even if it is 1000 calories a bite)  I would love to have some of my grandmothers famous dishes, especially her buckwheat pancakes but sadly no one has the recipe. 🙁

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And my grandma really did know how to have fun!’

If this finds you hanging upside down then don’t forget to enjoy the view!

Lessons about freedom from a dog leash..who knew?

Well if this isn’t the perfect post for Your Upside Down Life because it’s perfectly upside down. I had no idea when I picked freedom for our theme for July that I would learn about freedom from a dog leash.  I don’t think anyone would put freedom and dog leash together especially when it really has nothing to do with putting a dog at the end of the leash.

Our trusty dog leash had a mind of its’ own.  It was constantly disappearing and reappearing and causing me immense amounts of stress especially when I was in a hurry and needed to get the dog out before I left the house.  Our dog, Max, has a mind of his own as well and will take off in a flash when not on a leash, return about 30-45 minutes later, happily covered in mud.  Just what I don’t need when leaving the house.  So the leash is NOT optional.

I had tried setting hard and fast rules about where to keep the leash but SOMEONE in this house would constantly NOT put the leash back in its designated home.  And that someone would be me.

Things needed to change.  I could no longer leave the house stressed out, in a bad mood and mad at everyone especially myself.

I had no idea one dog leash could cause me so much distress.

Finding a good permanent home for the leash was the easy part.  Putting it there after every walk with Max made my head hurt.  In case you haven’t guessed I was not “born organized”.  I had to think about it EVERY time for a long time.  I know they say ( whoever “they” are) that it takes 21 days to change a habit.  Well they never met me or my many NOT born organized friends.  I didn’t keep track but it took months and a conscious effort on my part to put that dog leash back in the drawer each and every time.

Even though I slip up now and again, it feels weight loss amazing to reach in that drawer and the leash is there EVERY time. Simple I know but it frees me from last minute stress and that one simple habit is helping me alleviate stress in other areas of my life.

There is an old saying that “being organized means you are just too lazy to look for stuff.”  I love that saying because it makes me laugh  but the truth is I was tired of looking for stuff like my glasses, my phone, the cordless home phone, my favorite pen.  You get the picture.

The dog leash craziness taught me a couple of things:

  • patience with myself   ( it took months to train my brain with this habit)
  • acceptance ( lots of my creativity comes from being “random” ( thats a fancy way of saying disorganized) and its not a “bad” thing just part of who I am
  • slowing down   I had to slow down and consciously put the leash away

All of the above “freed” me from negative self talk, wanting to be something that I was not ( naturally organized) and gave me permission to just slow things down which I learned was a major part of the problem.

What I have noticed that by changing this habit of constantly losing the dog leash I am suddenly aware when I randomly put my glasses, phone, or keys somewhere they do not belong..this little voice says to me … “Oh no you don’t!  You will be looking for those in about 2 minutes…put them where they belong”

That little voice suspiciously sounds like my mother but I’ll take it!

And now when I see the leash I smile. I love my creative side. It is part of my essence but I also love that I can learn to be more organized and less stressed.

The leash  came with Max ( the endless shedding dog) when we adopted him. I love the irony of the design on it. Who knew it would teach me peace and freedom?

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I answered the phone and someone stole my food!

It happened to me.  I got distracted and someone stole my food.  I hate when this happens.

I was starving and treated myself to a homemade meal.  I was trying to imitate this dish we had in Italy:

 

???????????????????It was pretty close and I couldn’t wait to eat it.

Then the phone rang and I answered it.  It was a lovely conversation that I really enjoyed it until I hung up.  It was  then I noticed that the plate in front of me was empty.  Someone stole my food!  What?  I was so looking forward to eating that delicious meal.  I wanted to taste every last bite.

But it was GONE!

I wanted more but strangely I wasn’t hungry but I was mad that the food was gone!

I only had to look in the mirror to find the thief.  I had eaten it while talking on the phone and deprived myself of the pleasure of the meal.

Ugh!  No one to blame, no missing food report to file with the food police, and no food to savor even though my belly was full.

So much for multi tasking which I know I am not good at anyways.  How sleeping aids many times have I over eaten because I didn’t remember eating or enjoying my food with the first serving  and I just wanted to taste it and remember? Wow ..too many times to count.  How about you?

My grandfather used to say “The slower you eat, the longer you live”  and he lived until he was 92.  On top of that I never saw him eat and do anything else at the same time.  He really enjoyed meal time and the food.  AND  he was always slender.

Not crazy about learning lessons the hard way but it seems those are the ones I remember.

I’m the food thief. Guilty as charged.  I know I will probably morph into the food thief again but I am still remembering the delicious meal I did not really taste and keeping that in mind will be enough to keep the food thief away from my plate (and keep me from answering the phone or any other electronic gadget that buzzes or beeps)

Well all the above plus I’m locking the door at mealtime 🙂

Quit Eating and do this instead!

We are obsessed with food and we can’t live without it.  This time of year pumpkin recipes, ideas for football game snacks and holiday parties are plentiful.  Our state fair is in progress and its all about the fried food.  Everything  from fried oreos to fried sweet rolls wrapped in bacon and covered with sugar.

We eat.  We eat a lot.  I’m guilty of it for sure.  I love food.  Who doesn’t?

I just got back from a dream trip to Italy ( fair warning you will hearing a lot about it )  and a couple of things about Italy:

  • It’s hard to find a bad meal in Italy..it is all divine even at the smallest dive
  • They LOVE their food.
  •  I’ts more than food to them it’s a way of life.
  • Fresh food is delightfully abundant.  In NYC you might find a Starbucks on every corner.  In Rome you will find a fresh market.

And yet Italians rarely eat.

No they do not.

They dine.

You might argue that it’s a matter of semantic or words but I promise you there is a big difference.

This is what we saw everywhere and because we stayed in some very small local towns so I can guarantee it is not just for tourists.

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We laughed that every spare space, be it in an alley or just on corner, the italians would find a way to put a table there. They love to dine outside and watch the world go by.

Coffee is everywhere but not once was I served in a “to go” cup.  People premier-pharmacy.com took their time and sat down to drink it ( even in busy Rome).

There are no drive thru’s and not once did I see anyone eat in their cars .  Of course the way they drive that would be a disaster anyways.

We even drove past a picnic one day complete with a table, red checkered table cloth and real wine glasses.

What would happen if we actually sat down and dined rather than just eat?  What if we made it an experience, took our time, used real plates,and  real cups?  And what if we did this even if  we were dining alone?

I know what would happen because I experienced it.  Food would be enjoyed,  eaten slowly and with purpose.  It would be an experience to savor.

Maybe the problem with weight in this country is not so much what we eat but how we eat.  I know some of you are thinking you have no time.  I get it, and yet you only need to start with one meal.  Try it.  See if it makes a difference.

If you need a baby step then start by asking for a real cup at Starbucks ( they have them, I promise)  Sit down, sip and  breathe.

So don’t eat today. Instead dine with purpose and pleasure.  It will make a difference.

 

 

Weather Wimp or Weather Warrior?

Since January we have seen a winter that threatens to never end.  And just as we get a taste of spring, Mother Nature sends snow, a cold front and now torential rains and tornados.

Mother Nature is a big old tease.

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Even the plants are confused.

Trying to get out in this to run, walk, or cycle has been a challenge and a convenient excuse for us weather wimps.

I mean who can blame us?  Who would go out in this stuff ..

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Weather warriors that’s who, like my friend Ron. Except for extreme conditions like blizzards and ice storms I uusually see or hear about those weather warriors that are out there getting their workout in and enjoying every aspect of nature….

AND

making this weather wimp ( and others) feel guilty as we trudge off to the comforts of the gym.

I could make the argument that us weather wimps are a little higher on the sanity scale but in reality I am in awe of the weather warriors

I do entertain thoughts of  “Are they crazy, am I lazy or am I just being smart” ?

Even as the weather has gotten better I find myself procrastinating ..waiting for the perfect day of no humidity, 65 degrees and sunny with just a whisper of clouds.

If I only want to run or bike pain relief outside about 5 days a year then I am good.

But  I want more.

So what is the secret to getting out there when its not ideal conditions?

There is the old standby of having a running, cycling, walking buddy .  I know that works because for over 10 yrs I walked with my friend Fancy at  5am every week-day morning and the the only time we cancelled was for ice or torential rain.

I think the real secret to transitioning from weather wimp to weather warrior is simply habit.  When it’s something you have ingrained in you like brushing your teeth you aren’t going to let most weather get in your way.  There will be those occasions when its just not safe to go out there .  When if it’s a habit and  the weather turns colder or hotter you are getting use to the changes gradually instead of heading out there cold turkey after a long absence.

I’m getting out there and will let you know if making it a habit can actually turn a weather wimp into a weather warrior.  Let’s do this!!

And as usual. even after careful proofreading, any leftover typos or grammatical errors are my gift to you and a reminder that we are all perfectly imperfect.

 

 

Sage advice from my 87 yr old Mom

How many times did I roll my eyes at advice my Mom gave?  Too many times to count and now I wished I had listened a little more carefully.  There is, however,  one piece of advice that she gave everyone everyday without even opening her mouth.

It came to mind recently when there was a news report that researchers have discovered that stress is contagious.  I laughed at that one.  That is old news to anyone working in a high stress job.  Those researchers could have saved a lot of time and  money if they had just talked to a few nurses.

I know from experience that when everything is hitting the fan it makes a HUGE difference if the nurse in charge stays calm.  The same situation looks and feels vastly different when the charge nurse  is losing her cool.  I’m sure that can be said for any stressful anti anxiety situation.

As Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD said in her book “My Stroke of Insight”:

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Here is another contagious stress inducer: Multi tasking.  I am sooo guilty of this.  As a matter of fact I was thinking about this blog post and my Mom’s advice as I was racing to get out the door and started to laugh.  In the midst of multi- tasking and rushing I dropped and broke 3 things, tripped and did everything poorly until I slowed down and gave myself an extra 5 minutes.  That is all it took, an extra 5 mintues

So what advice did my Mom give us everyday without opening her mouth?  Here it is and it still hangs in her kitchen.

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Sometimes it is the simplest solutions to the biggest problems that work best.

Thanks Mom and Happy Mother’s Day..a little early.

The healthiest thing you can do for you and your family!

When our son was a teenager we would frequently find him standing in front of the pantry or in front of the open refrigerator staring intently as if it were the most fascinating thing he had ever witnessed.

We started calling it:

“Man stands in front of pantry ” 

It became a running joke in the family because as soon as we said it he would  start to laugh and realized he needed to make a decision or shut the door. Like  a typical teenage boy he could have probably eaten everything in the pantry and not gained a pound.

Dear Fairy Godmother,

Could you just for one day give me the metabolism of a teenage boy?  Please!!!!!

Since she isn’t showing up anytime soon I did the next best thing.  I removed or hid all my temptations and guilty pleasures from my pantry and refrigerator. There is a TRUE love-hate relationship with this decision.

Love it when it keeps me from eating when I am bored, stressed or procrastinating.  Hate it when I stand there knowing I did this on purpose to keep me from eating when I am bored, stressed or procrastinating. Love it again when I realize how brilliant it was to do this.

Honestly I have found this to be one of the healthiest things I have done for myself and my family.  And about your family.  This is where its gets tricky but it is doable.  You may have to take this in small steps.  If you do it too drastically there might be a mutiny healthsavy.com even if you offer healthier substitutions.

I did mention hiding the temptations.  There is a trick to this as well.  What works for me is putting things in a really high cupboard that requires a stool for me to reach.  Usually I forget that it is there because it’s a cupboard I don’t use that often.

What if the biggest problem isn’t the kids but your spouse. Look at what my husband brought home when he did the grocery shopping one week.  He got everything on the list AND all of this:

 

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I think I gained 5 lbs from just looking at all of it.  So the non perishables went in the really high cupboard and I buried the frozen stuff in the freezer.  It helped that I didn’t like most of it anyways.  It happens.

Slip ups happen and all kinds of things start showing up in the frig and pantry  so they get cleaned out again.

I first heard of this in Judith Becks’ book The Beck Diet Solution and I was skeptical at first  but after doing it for several years now I realize what a difference this one change has made.

Try it out..it might feel a little upside down ( pun intended) and you may have that love hate thing going but you may end up loving it more and more.

If you come up with some of your hints and tips on how to make this work for you please share!

Now go out and make it a healthy one!