As a food addict myself, I understand the knee-jerk reaction to reach for food when what you really need is to feed your soul. It’s when you use food to feed yourself in any way other than to satisfy a nutritional requirement that you go from “eating” food to “using” food. “Using” food can quickly become “abusing” food.
I had a conversation with a client that prompted me to focus this blog post on the importance of indulgence as you learn to control compulsive urges around food, and teach yourself to eat for nutrition rather than comfort.
One thing I know for sure is that we all want and need to indulge. After a long day of work or taking care of the needs of others, we feel like we deserve it. When stress levels are heightened or we face mounting problems, the desire to indulge is magnified.
Since what is happening in our external world is out of our control and stress and anxiety are going to be a part of our lives forever, my advice to my clients is the same advice I follow myself—indulge more to lose fat.
A big shift in my life occurred when I decided that I deserve to indulge, and rather than do so with self-destructive behaviors like binge-eating, I instead learned to indulge in ways that are good for my physical and mental health.
As someone who used to be an emotional eater, I’m always sensitive to my clients who struggle endlessly with this issue. It’s such a complicated matter that I could (and likely one day will) write an entire book about it. For this week, I wanted to at least make it the subject of my blog post, as it seems to be a recurring theme in my work with clients.
I recently hosted a guest on my radio show, TARA MARIE LIVE, named Jesse, age 64. He is suffering terribly and feels trapped in an endless cycle of binge eating and the self-loathing that goes with it. Consumed with despair, he feels like he’s fallen into a dark hole and can’t see the light.
For people who don’t struggle with this problem, it is impossible to explain how FOOD can CONTROL every thought, action, and desire in an otherwise normally-functioning person.
For people who do struggle, it is impossible to put into words how out-of-control they can feel around a gallon of ice cream, a package of cookies, or any other trigger food. I had a client once tell me that she would literally salivate if she walked by a vending machine.
I’m currently working with a private client whose whole life is about food—what he ate for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner; what he wanted to eat; what he should have eaten; what he will eat later, and what he misses eating (when he’s trying to be “good.”)
I remember those days well, but not fondly—when there was hardly room for fun in my life because all of my time was consumed with obsessing over food or being disgusted with myself for losing control around food. It was a horrible way to live and a terrible waste of time.
I always give my clients the same advice—it’s based on knowledge that I learned the hard way, as for years of my life I tried to solve my “food” problems by focusing on food.
I am often asked (especially by women and seniors) how to build strong bones naturally. For obvious reasons, having strong bones is a must. Regardless of your age, extreme diets or diets high in processed junk and low in nutrient-dense whole foods can ravage bones and age your body prematurely. Naturally increasing bone mineral density is function of what you eat, what your body absorbs, and how you move.
My top 3 Quick Tips to naturally build strong bones are as follows:
Eat foods rich in easily absorbed dietary calcium from sources like dark leafy greens and sesame seeds. I prefer these to milk products, which can be hard to digest. Collard greens, spinach, kale, turnip and mustard greens are great! Grind sesame seeds in a dedicated coffee grinder, used only for seeds. Sprinkle them on veggies, salads, cereal, etc. Tahini is also loaded with sesame seeds and therefore, calcium!
Build resistance training into your weekly routine. When you strengthen your muscles, your bones become stronger from the mechanical stress of exercise. You can use free weights, machines, bands, tubing, your body weight, soup cans, etc. You have to stress muscles and bones to make them grow! Aim for a minimum of 3 sessions a week for at least 30 minutes.
Stop drinking soda! The phosphoric acid in soda (both diet and regular soda) is believed by researchers to leach calcium from bones and/or interfere with calcium metabolism in other ways. Cut it out of your life. Soda does nothing good for your body!! I used to be a diet soda addict and feel (and look) so much better now that I’ve stopped. Enjoy iced herbal teas instead, and do something good for your body.
By making a few simple swaps and incorporating some healthy habits into your life, building strong bones and staving off osteoporosis is something anyone can do at any age!
Shine on! Tara Marie
We all have goals and we all have dreams. The difference between “achievers” and “dreamers” is that people who achieve are willing to apply themselves in ways that those who just dream of success are not.
Successful people have certain things in common. In my last blog, Conquering Fear, I talked about one of those things: the ability to distinguish between actual FEAR and SELF-DOUBT.
This week I want to share another critical element of success, and that is the importance of determining your MOTIVE.
One of the most common questions I get from people, only second to “how do I get rid of my big belly,” is, “how do I stay motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle?” Motivation is one of the hardest things that we deal with, but I think it’s because we are looking at the situation incorrectly.
When people ask me about motivation, what they’re referring to is an intense feeling of commitment and an emotional attachment to carrying through on any given set of behaviors. The problem with feelings is that they are always fleeting.
Think about it: feelings come and go. When we feel badly, we are able to get through it because we know that ultimately the bad feelings will pass. When we feel sheer elation, part of the joy of the intense feeling is the inherent understanding that we will eventually come back down to earth.
Every married woman I’ve ever talked to would tell you that she can look at her husband one minute and feel her heart bursting with love for him—and on the same day, something will occur and she’ll fantasize about killing him in his sleep and putting his cold, dead body in a wood chipper to hide the evidence. Feelings come and feelings go, just as motivation will come and go. Such is the nature of life.
What is permanent and a solid basis for change and achievement is determining a motive.
A motive is the “why” of why we do what we do. A motive is a REASON.
I was recently asked to be a guest on the radio show of one of my mentors and friends, world-renowned physician, Dr. Leonard Coldwell. He’s had a hard life and I respect him less so for what he has accomplished professionally and more so for what he has overcome personally. On the show, he asked me to share some of the success principles by which I live and teach my own clients. While many elements factor into achievement and success, I was compelled to highlight the idea that most of us fail by way of never trying in the first place. We let fear rule our lives.
I was able to conquer fear in my own life when I learned to differentiate between actual fear and self-doubt. While it would be simple to tell someone that the path to success is to feel fear but proceed anyway, this is not my message.
Fear is a gift and it is often fear that keeps us safe and in some cases, alive. Fear is NOT to be ignored and I would never advise that you do so. Listening to fear is how I’ve lived in New York City for over 20 years without incident. If you are walking in Central Park in the dark and sense that you’re being trailed by a gang of teenagers, I would not only advise that you heed your fear, but also that you run swiftly.
Dear Tara Marie,
How do you motivate a 70 year old obese, arthritic woman to change her way of life? Suffice it to say, she has a complicated medical history and I don’t believe she is in the right mindset to see this through. She has lost weight but does not keep it off. I am sure you have heard this story before. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions you have. I should add that I am speaking of my mother who is a grandmother to a gorgeous and intelligent 3 year old girl. I look forward to your response.
Thank you so much for writing and my heart goes out to you. My experience has shown me that when people don’t want help, it can be like talking to a brick wall. If I were taking this case, I would connect with her and figure out why she’s not in the right mindset to take the help she’s being offered. Is it because she’s given up? Is it because the poor woman is in severe pain from her arthritis? I would start here and address this issue first. When I have a client who is not willing or ready to change (although it’s clear that she’s not enjoying her life) I figure out why she doesn’t want to change and work on that before I launch into an elaborate program.
If your Mom has given up, she may need to see some semblance of progress before she believes in herself again. I would bargain with her to take a few small steps. There’s nothing like success to make you want more success. If the issue is that she’s in pain and fears that exercise will create more pain, I would show her some specific exercises that she can do without pain. 70 is not very old these days, and the truth is, if she were not obese her joints would not hurt as much as they do. Sometimes it’s getting past the first 4-6 weeks of adjusting to a new way of life and then we can coast!
Again, nail down why she’s resistant to helping herself and conquer this issue before you worry about anything else. Until she’s a willing participant, there is little that you can do unless you monitor her 24/7 and impose your will on her—which is next to impossible unless she’s put in a rehab situation where she loses personal control of her life.
I hope this helps, and good luck!
TARA MARIE’S TOP TEN WAYS TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS!
SIX: Adjust Your Attitude
It is human nature to complain. I say this because it is behavior that I observe in the tiniest of people, like my baby nephews. No one taught them to whine and complain when they don’t get their way, but it seems to be something that they mastered at an early age. We all do it—we complain when we are made to do something that we deem unappealing, or when we don’t get our way in a situation. We complain about things that range from the very important to those that would seem insignificant to others. If you are my three year old nephew, you complain if Auntie Tara gives you the red cup instead of the blue cup or orange juice instead of milk. We want what we want.
Most of us desire a beautiful, toned body, but we complain because we have to eat well and exercise to maintain it. We whine when we are served steamed veggies and fish while others at the table are enjoying chicken wings and Ranch dressing. We moan about having to work out because we believe that it shouldn’t require so much effort.
I used to complain about going to the gym. There always seemed to be a list of activities that I would rather be doing, or I was too busy, or too stressed, or the outfit I wanted to wear was dirty, or blah, blah, blah.
I saw an interview years ago on TV that really shifted my perspective. A middle aged man who had lost a significant amount of weight (and maintained the weight loss) was asked how he stayed motivated to exercise consistently. His reply was simple yet profound. He said that rather than tell himself that he had to go to the gym, he told himself that he got to go to the gym.
My 168 Hours Rule® states that it’s not the hours that you’re formally exercising that are the most significant in your life when it comes to staying lean and fit. The most significant hours are those waking hours when you’re not engaged in formal exercise. These hours far outweigh those that you are working out and will either support or destroy your efforts to stay in good shape.
People who are in the gym the most are not the most fit. This is a fact. There are people who work very hard in the gym or otherwise training, and they do it 4 or 5 times per week for an hour or more. However, these people are not necessarily the leanest and most conditioned.
We are all busy, but we also all have the same 168 hours in a week. My formula states that you have to subtract the average hours you sleep in one week and the average hours you exercise one week to determine your “golden number.”
This golden number represents the remaining waking hours of the week during which you can chose to move as much as possible and turn everyday into an athletic event, or sit around and create what science calls, lazy biology.
Most of the ASK TARA MARIE emails I receive are from people with whom I have never worked. I recently got an email from a client who I have trained off and on for several years. We stopped meeting in mid-December because he said that the end of the year is busy and we would pick up again in January. When I didn’t hear from him by mid-month I emailed, and he said he was awaiting lab results from his doctor and would be in touch…I never heard back. Three weeks later, I emailed him again and got a reply, which I posted below along with my advice. If it seems that my words are harsh, please understand that the situation had reached a critical point, and hand-holding is not what he needed. Someone had to tell him the truth without mincing words because at that point, his life was at stake. We often take our health for granted until the first stroke or heart attack, and this is foolish disrespect of the human body.
Here is Sam’s letter: