Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Spend all your cash. Max out your credit cards: Rule 16 to Control Your Appetite.

To eat less is not a strategy to lose weight for many among us. It is survival. It is saving the food you would eat so your children can eat. And, in addition to the reality that this type of weight loss leads to weight gain, it is also a tragedy that hunger is all too present among us.

A few years ago I was in Chicago on a blustery Spring day to meet top executives of America's Second Harvest. Now called Feeding America it is a premiere resource to feed the hungry in America. According to the latest data, in the majority of states one in six kids is "food insecure" – parents don't know where their child's next meal is coming from.

Feeding America, and Ramona
Feeding America is the largest network of food banks in the nation. Receiving donated food from major food manufacturers and grocery store chains, as well as supporting scores of food drives, it feeds those who would otherwise go hungry. For many on food stamps, it supplements an otherwise meager cupboard.

I got a chance to talk to Ramona when I was in Feeding America’s conference room. She was a bright and cheery woman in her mid-forty's. She now worked at Feeding America, but she used to be one of it's recipients. Her story touched me deeply.

Back then Ramona was a single mother with three children, two of them pre-school age. She worked two jobs in South Chicago to support her family. Despite her mother's advanced diabetes, she would take the bus over to watch the kids while Ramona worked. On days when mom was too sick to come over, Ramona either had to skip work at her minimum wage jobs, or her oldest daughter had to stay home from second grade to watch the other two.

She spoke of a day when mom had a doctors appointment and couldn’t come over until noon. Her oldest was already in school, but Ramona needed cash so badly that she couldn’t afford to take any time off work. So her neighbor across the hall said she would "look in on the little ones". With no credit and no cash, to feed her kids Ramona felt she had no other choice. After all these years that wrenching decision still haunted her.

Ramona also took night classes working on her college degree in social work. It took her almost 12 years to get it done.

Starving to feed her kids
During this time, when the kids were still quite young, Ramona started getting extra food from the America's Second Harvest (now Feeding America) food bank in her area. Many days, especially at the end of the month, before her next paycheck and after the food stamps were all gone, her supermarket “shopping” consisted of whatever was available at the food bank. Once a month it was the only food they had. When the food wouldn’t stretch, she didn’t eat.

All during this conversation with me Ramona was very mater-of-fact. Her dark eyes would peer into mine as she wanted me to understand the great pride she had that her kids were now doing so well at school.

Shopping for food at a food bank
Then she said something surprising. Knowing my background, and why I was there, she said,"You know, starving so your kids can eat is the surest way I know to gain weight."

She explained how frequently her food stamps would run out about three weeks into the month, so she would go to the food bank. Sometimes the only food on the shelves were starchy boxed foods, or sugary cereals, or foods with high fat content. Healthy eating wasn't an option. Eating what was available was a necessity.

Then, when finally the food stamps came, feeling deprived and hungry, they sometimes ate more then they should. Fresh produce, she said, was their treat.

Ramona gained about 80 extra pounds in those lean years. Her kids had become overweight too. Now only a couple of years off food stamps, she had lost some of her extra weight, and was intent on losing the rest. One thing she knew for sure, "Not eating is the best way I know to gain weight," she repeated.

With her college degree, she went to work for Feeding America (then America's Second Harvest), with a passion for helping others eat. Her story and countless others like hers finally got the food producers and grocery stores to find ways to bring more fresh produce to the shelves of America's food banks. There is never enough, but at least there is a bit more to go around.

Eating less and healthy weight loss
Hopefully, as you read this, with frequent articles on this blog advocating you eat less to lower your weight, you don’t need to eat less just to feed your children.

But, there is a lot of truth to what Ramona said. Your body undergoes a lot of changes when you don't eat enough consistently. The “eating less” talked about here is not the same thing as starving yourself. (See previous post: Don’t Not Eat: Rule 5 to Control Your Appetite).

Your body needs a rich assortment of nutrients from a wide variety of sources. And the fresher that food is, the less processed it is, the better it is for your body.

When I talk about eating less here, it is about lowering the number of calories you consume, but not drastically. If you are overweight and cut 200-300 calories out of your daily diet, you will lose weight. Going from 2200 calories a day to 1900 is not about starving yourself.

When you consistently over eat by just a little, you gain a little, steadily. When you eat less regularly, you lose weight, steadily.

Eating less means making wise food choices. It is about being aware of not only what you put in your mouth, but how much.

Losing weight is a mindful choice. A choice you make one bite at a time.

Without credit or cash, eating less like Ramona could force you to control your appetite. If your situation is a bit better than that, controlling your appetite, eating less (in the right way), is a sure path to healthy weight loss.

PS: Ramona's story touched me. There are tens of thousands of others like her’s. And more every day. If you would like to help feed a family or two through their challenging times, donate to your local food bank, or contact Feeding America. Put fresh produce on someone’s table tonight.

How do you control your appetite?
Conclusion 16: Spend all your cash. Max out your credit cards.

Next article...
How do you control your appetite?
Rule 17: Have Surgery

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Don't be a fast learner. Ideas to Eat Less – To Live More.

Sometimes when faced squarely with a problem you want to solve, you jump right into researching it and learn all you can. You're like a sponge. After a few long sessions with Google, you're googled out.

A few days later you remember the key points you think you've gleaned. But like most people, you can only hold so much new information in your brain at a time. It's sort of like a small scratch pad with just a few pages.

Actually, most of what you learned, or could have learned is rapidly forgotten or glossed over.

The key to learning fast is to learn slow. Learn in short bursts of energy. Then wait a few days. Not only will you remember more, and understand more, something magical happens.

When you go to sleep, when you "sleep on it," all that "new" information mixes with all your "old" information. And that's the secret to really learning. When new mixes with old, new connections occur. New ideas spring up. Contradictions between old and new appear. Insights occur.

Then, the next time you jump into learning even more "new" stuff, you have a different point of view to discover and understand the newest "new" things. Your next bout of research will go in different directions.

Most importantly, you comprehend the new information and YOU CAN MAKE BETTER USE OF IT.

And that is the secret to making a new lifestyle change stick.

Do you want to make your new lifestyle stick? Be a slow learner.

In the long run, would learning slower really make your day lighter?

Ideas to eat less – to live life more.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Eating is an "Ethical Statement"? Ideas to Eat Less – To Live More.

An old friend dropped by the other day. She's changed a lot in the years. Led a very interesting life, with more than her share of challenges along the way.

She just got back from a trip to Asia and the Middle-East. Her last trip was to Africa.

As we gathered in the kitchen to prepare a light lunch together, and mixed up a bunch of our mutual old-time favorite snacks, she said,

"You know, the food we eat is an ethical statement. What we eat, or don't eat. How it is packaged. Where our food comes from. Who grows it. How it is grown and prepared. These are all ethical statements."

Now, days later, I've had some time to contemplate what she said. It really made me think:

"Food is an ethical statement."

Is it? What do you think?

In the long run, would "eating ethically" really make your day lighter?

Ideas to eat less – to live life more.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Get a new crutch. Ideas to Eat Less – To Live More.

You need a crutch. It doesn't matter if it's Weight Watchers, HCG, or the Everlasting Cleanse Diet. They all get down to two things: eating less, or getting it out faster. The rest is just window dressing – crutches.

When you know that, you can start choosing better crutches. More attractive crutches. Fashionable crutches.

After a while you realize you've been paying someone else a lot of money for a bunch of different crutches. At some point, shouldn't you realize you could be paying yourself for your own crutch?

Or make the decision you don't need a crutch at all.

In the long run, does getting a new crutch really make your day lighter?

Ideas to eat less – to live life more.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Take a bowling ball to work. Ideas to Eat Less – To Live More.

Take a bowling ball to work. For real. Go to a garage sale and pick up a bowling ball with a bag. At work, keep it on your desk. Take it into the stall when you go to the restroom. Haul it into the conference room. Put it in the shopping cart on your way home.

Lay it atop the counter while you're fixing dinner, and set it at your feet when kissing your kids goodnight.

You've worked hard today, soak it off with a nice bubble bath – but don't forget the bowling ball has been everywhere with you, so have it hop into the bubble bath with you.

And, as gently as you can, roll it into place between you and your bed partner.

When you get up in the morning, drop the ball into the toilet. That is where it belongs. Now you are free. Have a nice day without the bowling ball.

Losing 15-16 pounds is like that. You've been hauling around a lot of dead weight and it goes everywhere you go.

Just imagine what it would be like to lose 2 or 3 bowling balls.

In the long run, does taking a bowling ball to work really make your day lighter?

Ideas to eat less – to live life more.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Weight loss programs make you hungry. Ideas to Eat Less – To Live More.

The problem with weight loss programs is they all concentrate, one way or another, on cutting your calories to the bone. In the process they all make you hungrier.

And none of them teach you how to keep the weight off. They tell you to count points. Or jump through magic hoops. Or have you buy their special weight loss meals – that is their preferred option, because that is how they stay in business. Their "special" meals = $360/month.

If you can afford that, and can put up with the inevitable monotony, then go ahead. But, in the end, you will still be just as hungry.

In fact, given the enzymes and hormones their form of weight loss evokes, count on you always having the munchies. And no amount of will power is going to overcome it.

Sooner or later, you will begin to eat based on your old style eating habits. And soon the extra pounds reappear, plus some new ones come along for the ride.

In the long run, do weight loss programs really make your day lighter?

Ideas to eat less – to live life more.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Get A Volvo: Rule 15 to Control Your Appetite

There is a smell, a definite odor inside a Volvo that makes you skinny.

Maybe it’s the leather.

Or it could be that boxy exterior shape that changes the interior dynamics.

Maybe there is a secret post-hypnotic suggestion CD running subliminally in the background on the in-car stereo.

Maybe it’s because the recent president of Volvo was a woman.

Definitely – it is something that makes you skinny that comes from the inside of a Volvo. How else to explain that every person that steps out of a new Volvo is skinny (and don't tell me they give away free lipo with every purchase).

New Volvo Owners are Skinny
The proof is easy to see. Just look at new Volvo owners. Skinny. Damn. And I just bought a new Honda Pilot.

It's sort of like the inverse law of diamond rings. If you're under forty, and you have a huge 5 carat diamond on your hand, you are for sure skinny. Big diamonds seem to make you skinny too (but only if you're under 40 – after that it seems to stop working its magic).

So, if you have a big diamond, and you're under 40, PLUS own a new Volvo – well that's just the ticket to skinny-dom. Double thin-makers there.

As I think about it, maybe the smell of a new Volvo leather interior, plus the weight of a huge ring, combine to make you less hungry. That's it, I am sure of it. Volvo. Big rock. No hunger.

Eau-de-Mom In Law
It's sort of like a visit from my mother-in-law and sex. Who can make love when your mother-in-law is in the next room? In fact, I once contemplated selling an aerosol can called "Eau-de-Mom In Law". When sprayed on a bed ten minutes before bedtime, there was no way you could have sex. I thought it was the perfect birth control device. No harmful hormones, and no after-effect. It was the quintessential anti-aphrodisiac. My lawyer husband shot it down. He didn't think I could get a patent on it, as it was an "obvious invention by practitioners of the art". Anyway, he convinced me to wait until Mom was long gone.

So, the point of that last story is that some things just make you think something that, at the time makes a lot of sense, but, upon reflection is non-sensical. New Volvo's and skinny is one of those things. Do they really go together?

Why? I keep asking myself. How could that be? Saab and Cadillac, and Chevrolet and Ford, and BMW's don't come with a skinny guaranty. Volvo sure does.

So, let's dig down into the facts. There is an important weight loss story here somewhere.

And sure enough, there is.

For a moment did you buy the Volvo scenario – even for a smidgen of a second did it start to make the tinniest little bit of sense that skinny people own new Volvos? What about the diamond ring and being skinny concept – even the barest hint of thought that there was a potential correlation (for whatever reason your imagination conjured up)?

And that aerosol spray, Eau-de-Mom in Law, any sliver of truth to that?

Apricot Pits

I once gave a two-day seminar in Honolulu to a large group of health-seekers. I secretly handed out some short scripts to trusted confederates. At odd intervals, the scripts would have a person make a claim about apricot pits. The first undercover agent said (for no apparent reason) "I once ate about 10 apricot pits and it cured my hay fever."

Then another person would say about a half hour later, that it cured their lombaigo. About an hour later a different person spoke up, and talked about how they quit their heart medicine due to the miraculous gifts of copious quantities of apricot seeds.

After about 7-8 of these apparently unsolicited testimonials over two days, each apparently more wondrous than the last, I finally asked the group if any one else had heard similar miraculous stories. Within minutes I had six or seven non-confederates who freely offered their stories of cures from apricot seeds. Most were better stories than the planted ones.

Finally, one of the most respected persons in the room, a great gray-haired Hawaiian gentleman, told the story of how his grandmother, taking her last breaths, asked for some apricot seed purée. She lived another two years. The room fell silent with awe and respect.

You see, we all are looking for an easy answer. A miracle. Something that can take the responsibility off our shoulders and give us an easier path to controlling our hunger, to weighing less permanently. Who doesn't?

That universal reaction to new ideas, unfounded claims, is fertile ground for unscrupulous marketers. More importantly, it says something about you, and me. It says we don't trust what we already know. It says we have failed to eat less, despite all the conventional wisdom we have swallowed.

We've Stopped Believing in Our Own Sense of Truth
Somehow you and I, and the whole lot of us, have gotten off the path. We have stopped believing in our own sense of truth – stopped, somehow, believing in ourselves, at least when it comes to weight loss.

So, we grasp at apricot pits, and diamond rings, and Volvos (Weight Watchers, and Fresca and bacon, and scarce African bushes, and secret Chinese teas, and ....) just long enough to have them fail quickly before our eyes. And we end up believing even less in our sense of truth when it comes to this subject.

If you want to control your appetite, if you really want to eat less – to weigh less, you have to start over.

You have to start believing in yourself. Again.

There is a way, in this world of uncertainty, to weigh less. Perhaps the women with big diamonds are on to something. Maybe the skinny people chose the Volvo, and not the other way around. Maybe the essence of Mother-in-Law spray can really prevent unwanted pregnancies. Maybe.

Believe in What Your Body is Telling You
But you never know until you start trusting your inner sense of right and b-s. Because you will never have enough years to try out all the new things, the ancient remedies, and scientifically proven. You have to come to trust your inner instincts. And believe in what your body is telling you.

Your body is the ultimate truth teller. It cannot lie (although it may seem to fib, at times). Your weight is a truth detector. Your hunger is a powerful indicator. Listen to them. If you want to control your appetite, listen to what you recently ate. If you are hungry too soon, you ate the wrong thing. It's going to make you fatter.

That is not the full story of how you can control your appetite. But it begins there. It is a very good beginning. And it, for certain, is a lot better than relying on apricot seeds and new Volvos.

Find your sense of truth. Begin there. Step-by-step you will get to where you want to be.

How do you control your appetite?
Conclusion 15: Get a Volvo!

Next article...
How do you control your appetite?
Rule 16: Spend all your cash. Max out your credit cards.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Remember the Alamo! Rule 14: How do you control your appetite?

Defeat is an ugly word. No one wears it very well. When it happens to you, you put the best face you can on it, and move forward.

I remember having a lengthy conversation with a soon-to-be-retired Chairman of one of the oldest “meal-plan, weekly weigh-in” type of weight loss companies. I asked him what he was most proud of from his many years of financial success at the helm of this household name company.

He quickly replied, “Over 85% of our customers are repeat customers.” With that he pursed his lips together and savored his achievement, half-closing his eyes.

Repeat Customers of a Weight Loss Company

Contemplate that for a moment. Repeat customers – weight loss company. Hmmm.

Now, to the cynic in me “repeat customers in a weight loss company” is a symbol of failure, not a boastful success.

The more I thought about that remark – even now a long time later – makes me fume. What he was saying was that his company made a lot of money from the failure of whole lot of women to keep their weight off, for a whole bunch of years. And he was retiring in luxury from the paid-for misery of people that trusted his company.

What he was saying was that his weight loss company sold false hope.

What was between his lines was that his company could get you to successfully lose weight. But they knew you would gain it all back, plus some. So, since they were nice people, and you actually did lose some weight, since you are now even more overweight than you were last year, you pay these people more money to help you lose it again.

Now, the ire in me is really aroused. Perhaps they planned it all that way. I really want to believe that Weight Watchers, and Jenny Craig, and NutriSystem, and other companies of that ilk started out wanting to help people. But somewhere along the road, surely some executive saw the numbers and realized:
“Wow, we keep getting the same overweight people back. We even get a lot of our customers from the other weight loss companies. If we were really doing our jobs, if our programs really worked, wouldn’t we be seeing mostly NEW people, not repeats, retreads, and do-overs?”

Or did the executives say…?
“You know what, these people keep coming back because they don’t keep buying our expensive, special diet foods year round. If they just stayed on our meal plans, and unthawed them 2-3 times a day, they would not have to come back”.

Maybe it is simpler than that. Maybe the weight loss executives said:
“We need more repeat customers. It’s cheaper to get old ones to come back, than advertise for new ones. How can we tweak our program for short term weight loss and long term weight re-gain?”

Clenching defeat from the powerful jaws of victory

I’ve been to these programs. I’ve seen the happiness, the real sense of satisfaction and progress these women have when they are seeing success in their weekly weigh-ins.

I’ve also had countless conversations with women who, many months and lots of new pounds later, said they felt they were failures. They didn’t jump right up and proclaim that, but they felt defeated by the system they were trying – unable – to follow.

The worst part? They all blamed themselves. They all confessed that there was something wrong with their will, their strength of character, their metabolism, their financial ability to stay “on the program.”
Their _______. So they failed. They felt defeated.

And the next time they decided they really needed to lose weight, guess what? They went back to these same old companies. Or employed the same failed system. Same result. Same short term win. Same long term defeat.

Old joke my grandpa told me:
Lady walks into a doctor’s office. She is hitting herself in the head with a hammer. She says, “Doctor, it hurts when I hit myself in the head with a hammer. What should I do?” The doctor says, “Quit hitting yourself in the head with a hammer.”

We’ve all heard the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result.

First Truth:
There is nothing wrong with you. You are not a failure. You do not lack will power. Your character is just fine. Quit blaming yourself.

Second Truth:
It’s time to quit hitting yourself in the head with a hammer. It hurts.
Corollary: It’s not about calories, or weighing food. It’s not about exchanges or carbs. It’s not about fat grams or sugars or magic potions. The weight loss companies are wrong. Dead wrong. Get rid of that insanity.

Think about it. Is the only way to lose weight permanently to eat expensive packaged foods for the rest of your life? How bland, boring, and expensive is that? And what have you learned from them about how to eat to keep it off for life? Lots of repeat customers says, “not much.”

Is it possible that what you have learned from these companies is wrong? Even though it is churned over and re-cycled like some endlessly re-warmed left-over meat loaf by the popular media, does that make it correct?

Consider that if all they have been telling you is right, why does everyone, sooner or later fail at it?

“Repeat customers” is an admission of abject failure. Financial success for them. Weight failure for everyone else.

Third Truth:
If you are 30-50 pounds or more overweight, if you keep doing what the weight loss companies are telling you to do, it will kill you – slowly – but kill you nonetheless. It is not just the excess weight that causes health problems. It is the constant recycling of up, then down, then up weight re-gain that challenges your heart. As well as injuring your sense of will and self-respect. Both, in time, will kill you.

How can that be? If it’s not about fat grams and food exchanges and all that complicated stuff, what is it about?

What can it be? What is it that you don’t know? Is there some hidden secret to success, kept for thousands of years, buried under Ed McMahon’s mother’s front porch in a mayonnaise jar in the Oakridge mountains? No.

Fourth Truth:
It’s about you.

Fifth Truth:
You resist believing the fourth truth. As with all truths, the answer starts in your center and works its way out.

So, if you feel you have an injured center from years of hitting yourself in the head with a hammer. If you believe there is something wrong with you that prevents you from losing weight permanently. If you feel you need a helping hand to lead you where you can’t seem to get by yourself…

If you can’t grab hold of and focus on the beautiful light that illuminated your future… you have to start there.

It’s about unleashing the inner beauty of soul that was buried by kids, family, job, relationships, money problems, lack of sleep… so many things that got in the way of you being you for years on end.

It is not about you becoming anything… you already are

Everything you need you have already. You have the will, the strength of character. You don’t need a strong helping hand. Like the cowardly lion in Oz, all you need is the courage. To believe in yourself. And when you get that far, you can go the rest of the way to your success. You don’t need a wizard to do that for you.

Remember the Alamo

A long time ago, in what was then the distance reaches of the American frontier, a small band of men, some with wives and children, holed up in an old church mission, made the soft adobe walls as strong as they could, and waited for the army of Santa Ana to attack. Surrounded, outnumbered 10 to one, out-gunned, running out of water and food and ammunition, they held out. Then on the fateful day, after endless cannonade, they were attacked. The attackers were repulsed. Attacked again. Again repulsed. On the third wave, they were overwhelmed. Hand-to-hand, bayonet-to-knife, empty musket-to-shots-fired-at-close-range, they all perished.

The rag-tag Texas army, valiantly led but under-manned, arriving late to the rescue, retreated. Then the cry went forth. Remember the Alamo. Quietly spoken at first, it rose across the Texas plains. Remember the Alamo. Their numbers swelled. The Army grew. Remember the Alamo. The Army became an Army, as men flowed in from every point of the compass. They trained. More came. They drilled. They became strong. Confident. Remember the Alamo. They marched quickly to catch their enemy. Then they attacked. Their voices rose in unison as they passionately charged into battle – Remember the Alamo! Throats rising with the victorious assault, capturing Santa Ana himself, they cried, REMEMBER THE ALAMO!!!

Deep inside you, the Alamo plays out in silent drama. You may not know it, or sense it, but it is there. You have been holding out, surrounded by overwhelming forces that have smothered who you are, who you were once on the path to becoming. Remember the Alamo.

Assaulted by the realities and challenges and the multitude of sacrifices in life, you can be defeated. It is difficult to go on. More difficult to know what to change. Seemingly impossible to see how things can be any different. Remember the Alamo.

It can hurt sometimes. The sacrifices and difficulties can run deep. Leave scars. Surrounded by reasons for joy, it can be painful to smile… when you are alone with your thoughts and recollections, when the future can be dim and dark and foreboding. Remember the Alamo.

Defeat feels ugly on you

No one, including you, wears defeat well. When it happens to you, not only move forward, use it as a rallying cry that raises your courage to victory. Turn ugly into beauty. Remember the Alamo.

Quit hitting yourself in the head with a hammer. Quit believing all the failed-truths you’ve been told by the weight loss industry and the press. Everyone who follows it fails. Just look around you to see the truth of that. You have not failed, they have failed you – in a sense they failed to send you the resources, the truths, the reinforcements you need to succeed. Remember the Alamo.

Where is the wizard when you need him? Where are YOUR reinforcements. Where is YOUR rallying cry? Remember the Alamo.

Start there. Find a place in you that remains strong inside you. Fortify your soft adobe walls. Gather food and water and ammunition. Then find a place of peace inside your soul, and let it grow. You are strong enough to handle the inevitable attacks on your needs and independence . Despite the despair that can overcome you at times, all that you need, you have all ready, planted in you since birth. Remember the Alamo.

Is there a word, a phrase, a place of strong resonance that tells you who you are? Remember that. And hold it upfront in your daily conscious thought. Put it on your mirror. Place it on your wall. Carry it on the top of that picture in your wallet. Remember the Alamo.

Victory comes after your defeat

Victory comes from the heroic effort to gather all your resources in one place. To focus on your worthy goal. To overcome the opposition, no matter the cost – there is always a way – life finds a way. And you are life. Remember the Alamo.

Rally all the disconnected pieces of yourself. Concentrate your energies. Focus your resources. Attack the center of your enemy. And say to yourself, “Who I am matters. I deserve being happy. I have raised my expectations of myself and I will succeed. My butterfly wings will unfold. And I will soar. I will, from this day forth find, express, and be – me.”

When you have gotten that far, you will not have much further to go.

How do you control your appetite?
Conclusion 13: Remember the Alamo!

Next article...
How do you control your appetite?
Rule 14: Get a Volvo

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sleep ‘Til Noon: Rule 13 To Control Your Appetite

You are an adult. You can do anything you want. Right? So, why can’t you sleep until noon?

Kids? Job? Too much to do? Too bright outside? Too noisy in the street? Whew. Excuses, excuses.

I thought you were tired. Missing out on sleep. Never enough hours in the day. So sleep. Sleep until it’s noon. Maybe even a little after. Catch up.

But, don’t just catch up. Get ahead of it. Sleep ‘til noon every day.

Aaaahhh. Doesn’t that feel better? And lighter?

Lighter? Yup.

Sleep deprivation makes you hungry.
As it turns out lack of sleep screws up a lot of things in your body. Most of it not only impacts your weight, it makes you hungry.

Lack of sleep creates havoc with your blood sugar control – a known factor for increasing your weight. It also causes bodily and mental stress, which makes you release stress hormones – which also makes you hungry. Which makes you gain weight.

That stunning combination of lack of blood sugar control and stress adds up to hunger at inopportune times (is there a good time?).

When you start your day with too little sleep, your body is still tired. So you reach for something to perk you up – coffee, diet coke? ‘Course that just creates more caffeine-induced stress hormones and a quick rise and quicker crash of your blood sugar.

All of which makes you drag your bones, so you double down with an expresso, Red Bull, or whatever is your standard pick-me-up. (Ever reach for a sugar-coated donut, or a Snickers?) And the up-then-down energy swings start all over again.

Plus you have the munchies all day long. Then you go to bed tired, stuffing yourself between the sheets where you had gotten up before the morning was new. And, despite your tiredness you don’t sleep all that well. Then you get up before you are rested… Repeat performance the next day. The next. And the next.

Sleep more, weigh less. Sleep less, weigh more.
What you sow, with lack of sleep, you reap in a harvest of extra pounds.

So, isn’t it just better to sleep ‘til noon?
More sleep = Less weight. Perfect tradeoff.

If you want to control your hunger, you’re going to have to sleep more. Maybe not until noon. But at least until you get 7 ½ to 8, to 8 ½ hours. If you don’t find a way to do that, you are going to continually struggle with your weight. Isn’t that what has been going on for far too long anyway?

So why don’t you do that – why don’t you invent a way to get more sleep?

Is it because sleeping an entire night seems like cheating? Isn’t that what you’ve always been told? Like you’re not doing enough “real stuff” by sleeping “too long.”

Sleep is a weapon. Practice it. Wield it.
In the very old book (6th Century B.C.), The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, the classic treatise on winning a war, he was careful to point out that, in war, sleep is a weapon.

In life, in weight control, in the war on the munchies, sleep is also a weapon. A powerful one. Sleep is a weapon of war… it decidedly is not cheating. Sleep is the “real stuff” that makes all else in your life possible.

Take a careful review of your daily routine, and ask yourself how you can get more sleep regularly. Negotiate with your companion a way to daily get more shut-eye.

Sleep seems like such an innocuous thing. But your body needs it to regenerate. Then to move muscle energy (glycogen) to your muscles, so you can wake up every morning refreshed, and without the challenges of needing to load up on caffeine.

Nah. You’re Not Going to Do That.
Now, this is where it gets tricky. You aren’t going to do any of that, are you?

You are not going to change your sleep routine. You are deeply invested in it. So are the others in your home. They depend on you not sleeping. It’s not so easy to change.

In fact, I bet you were just getting ready to think: “I’ll just have to cut some calories out of my diet to lose weight. My sleep schedule is an immovable object.”

Which leads to the second major point...
Why do you keep saying you’re trying to lose weight, when everything you learn, that would be of measurable value toward that goal, you reject. Even if you believe it would help, you reject it as something you will be doing anytime soon.

Or you do it for a few days and taper it off, and quit.

If you want to eat less, and ultimately, permanently control your weight, you cannot leave more sleep out of the equation. But you do.

Nor can you leave 30-60 minutes of daily, vigorous exercise out of the plan. But you do.

You know a zillion other things you could do to get the weight off, and keep it off. But you don’t. Not most of them. And not for very long when you do try something that works.

Do you just want an anti-obesity pill you can take and forget? Who doesn’t?

Is it because you don’t want to deal with your own inner contradictions? None of us do.

What should be coming in loud and clear is that you sabotage your own efforts. Unknowingly, certainly unwillingly, you consistently find reasons, excuses, to not do the key things that could change your hunger within days, and adjust your weight downward also.

Repeatedly, your emotions, and hidden motives roughly intervene. Old “caught” things keep over-ruling newer “taught” things you’ve spent so much time learning.

There is a clash of values between what you have been doing for so many years, and the new things you have learned. And the old things win out every time.

How do you control your appetite?
Conclusion 13: Sleep ‘Til Noon

Next article...
How do you control your appetite?
Rule 14: Remember the Alamo!

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lower Your Expectations? – Rule 12 to Control Your Appetite

You have to find a reason, a reason beyond food, to eat less, to lower your appetite. To weigh less. You need a counterweight to your hunger.

That is where, if you are like so many of us, you get stuck. And keep getting stuck.

Have you ever wondered why you can successfully lose weight, then gain it all back later?

When you treat weight loss as a problem with a bundle of calories, you’re going to get stuck. Because the calories you eat are tied to the human person holding the fork. It is the motivations of the human person that drives every successful weight loss effort. Plus, every failure.

Your motivations are complex. They may be not all be clear to you. Trouble is, many of your motivations may run so deep, so close to the core of who you are you don’t even notice they are in conflict with other, strong motivations.

You may want to lose weight, and are actively doing something about it. But other, hidden, internal “scripts” can get in your way. It is unintentional, self-defeating behavior.

Think about when you were growing up.

Was there a time when you were young that you had a sense of adventure, when you knew you would do great things when you got older? Did you have a dream, specific or general, that moved in your core – that was a beacon of light shining on your future?

Did you feel that sense growing in you as you got a bit older? Then high school and post-high school years, college, jobs, relationships, marriage became your focus. And before you knew it, you lost your path. You lost your way. Have you gotten lost on becoming who you knew you would be?

So you tried to re-direct your life, to get back to where you knew you were destined to go. But could never get back to that same sense of adventure and bright future you had imagined years before.

So, silently, you changed. Over the years, in spite of successes, and finding people you dearly love and respect, and need in your life, you felt something missing. And realized you were never going to get where you thought you were headed? So you lowered your expectations of life?

Growing up is often the process of lowering your expectations.

In your middle years it is hard to know how you can get back to seeing that bright light that had been focused on your future when you were much younger.

Sometimes you just give up. Not everything. Just enough that, as you invest in the lives of others that are so central to who you have become, you sacrifice pieces of your dream. Pieces of you. You sacrifice because that is what is needed to keep it all going. You do it willingly. Joyfully. Because this new reality is important to you, too. As it should be.

Then you get faced with a problem like excess weight. In the vast scheme of things, it seems so small. There are other problems, important ones to deal with. Money. Job. Spouse. Kids. Parents. In-laws. Your weight control problem seems so minor.

The realities of having a lot to worry about, so much else that needs to be done and prioritized, your struggles with weight are just not that important. Right? So, you slowly gain more weight. Add a few extra pounds. And, over the years, it accumulates.

Then, one day, you decide you must “really” do something about it. You diet. Start an exercise routine. But somehow, after weeks and months, the success of these efforts dissipate. The weight begins to reappear. Discouraged, you fall back into old patterns.

This is an old cycle that most people go through. The average person tries 7-9 times to lose weight before they finally succeed (usually gaining 5-10 pounds each time they fail). What makes them succeed in the end? It wasn’t a change in food or exercise. Those were the result, not the reason they lost weight permanently.

When successful weight loss becomes a lifestyle.

Successful weight loss becomes a lifestyle because something changes inside you. You quit lowering your expectations for yourself. All your life you faced other serious challenges and difficulties, priorities and time constraints. Each time you came last – your needs were less important than the needs of others that you loved.

To lose weight permanently your body needs to come first. You need to feed it, and exercise it in a way that supports you becoming lighter. And stronger. “You” needs to be the priority to do that.

You need to focus a bright light on your own future and say, “How am I going to keep being there for them in the future if I can’t be there for me now?”

At some future point you know that, with accumulating weight, even if holding steady at 30-40-50 + pounds overweight – your health will be at risk. Perhaps it already is. You need to take care of yourself. No one else can it for you.

This is not a repudiation of your love for them. It is a re-focusing on you and the unique spirit and body, hope and affirmation you were created with. It is a realization that the beauty of life that stirs at your core can be revitalized. With that, you can do wonders for them. And great good for yourself.

To lose weight successfully, and keep it off permanently, you have to get unstuck.

You need a counterweight to your hunger.

You have to find a reason, a reason beyond food, to eat less, to lower your appetite. To weigh less. You need a counterweight to your hunger.

When you treat weight loss as a problem with a bundle of calories, you’re going to get stuck. Because the calories you eat are tied to the human person holding your fork. It is your strong motivation that will drive your successful weight loss effort.

Reverse course. Raise your expectations for yourself. Regain the power of the bright future that lit your youth. It doesn’t have to be the same dream. It just has to be who you are now. Who you want to be 10 years from now.

You are important. Let your beauty shine again. Become out here, where we can all see it, what you have hidden inside while sacrificing to make the lives of others better.

When you do that, really do it, you have your counterweight to food. You control your appetite because it is the natural result of living out loud what had hid silently for so long.

Are you ready to do that?

How do you control your appetite?
Conclusion 12: Lower Your Expectations?

Next article...
How do you control your appetite:
Rule 13: Sleep ‘Til Noon

CelebrateLifeNutrition.com – Satisfy Your Hunger
©2009 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.