Why I Can NEVER Eat at IHOP Again

I haven't been inside an IHOP (International House of Pancakes) restaurant in over 10 years. Just the thought of going inside makes my stomach turn because it was my favorite place to go when I want to eat my feelings or suppress my stress back in pharmacy school. During each visit, day or night, here's what I had: 4 pigs in blankets, a side of 4 sausage links (if you're counting, yes, that's 8 pieces of sausage), a side of hash browns, and I washed it all down with a big ol' glass of chocolate milk.  My weekly trips to IHOP marked the birth of what I like to call "my second stomach", an imaginary organ that allowed me to justify continued eating long after my real stomach was overflowing.

The memories of gorging on a day's worth of calories in one sitting is why I can't even walk inside of an IHOP restaurant.

Like most Americans, hunger wasn't the only reason I chose to shove food (and lots of it) down my throat back in the day. Boredom, stress, anxiety, sadness, happiness, loneliness were all reasons for me to chow down even if my body was telling me it didn't need any food. Actual hunger was rarely a reason for me to eat. Crazy, right?

One of the reasons I ate when I wasn't hungry was because food is so damn convenient…it is EVERYWHERE. You have to work really hard to avoid food in America. Combine that with the fact that many people (especially women) eat their feelings instead of dealing with them directly. 

The result: we override our natural, human instincts around hunger and fullness.

Years of unsuccessful weight loss attempts made me feel like my body had betrayed me over and over again, so of course I didn't trust it to tell me when I was hungry or full.

You know what? When you don't trust your God-given, built-in portion control system, you find yourself handcuffed to the dieting struggle...and you can't find the key. How did I ignore what my body was telling me? Keep reading:

1. Oral distractions: Thankfully, I NEVER bought any of those over-the-counter drugs  or "supplements" to control my appetite, but I did brush my teeth, chew gum, or drinks lots of water when any little sign of hunger showed up in hopes that my appetite for food would just go away so I could be SKINNY! So silly. Here's a question for you: Would you do anything to suppress your libido? If your answer is no, then you shouldn't suppress your appetite either.

2. Eating inside your head:  I was so fixated with rigidly obeying a list of "can and can't have" foods that I couldn't hear what my body really wanted. Closely regulating and monitoring my food sent me into obsessive behavior...I felt like I was imprisoned by something that should have been pleasurable. Misery. 

3. Food for feelings: Sadness, anxiety, and boredom was always code for "I need to eat something"...at least that's what I thought. My unwillingness or inability to deal with emotions in a productive way led me to the cookie jar on several hundred occasions. It turns out that I WAS hungry for something...it just wasn't food. 

Stay tuned next week for the steps I took to start listening to my body and finally ending the weight loss/weight gain drama that followed me for decades.  

I told my story, now it's your turn. How have YOU ignored your hunger and fullness? Let's hear it in the comments section below. 

How to Get the MINDSET You Need for the BODY You Want

I'm about 6 weeks away from my next competition, so my meal plan changes slightly each week so that I can SLOWLY lose body fat and be super lean for the stage. Even though I'm training and eating to attain a completely unsustainable physique that is incompatible with REAL LIFE, I have a mindset that gets me through it without feeling miserable or deprived.  Do you want to know the Top 5 mindsets that are keeping you in a constant battle to lose weight? Well, check out my video and learn how you can start to SHIFT them.

It's taken me a couple of years of practice and paying attention to my thoughts to finally make a permanent shift so that I could have FREEDOM and PEACE around food and my body. But that's after being BRAINWASHED for decades to believe that losing weight had to be an endless struggle and that I wouldn't be truly happy until I dropped 20 pounds. 

If you can relate to what's in the video, I'd love to hear from you. Come on over to my blog and tell me:

What mindset do YOU need to shift to get the results you want?

Oh, I almost forgot. Stay tuned next week for a 2-part (or maybe 3) series I'm doing on how to be more "human" with your eating. Don't worry if that doesn't make sense right now...you'll understand what I'm talking about when you read it!


How to prevent grumpy moods and cookie binges

The best thing about being an entrepreneur is that it's not a 9 to 5 job…it's also the worst thing. With NO set hours, it's easy to work 12-16 hour days (including weekends).  When you work from home, you can never clock out.  Time for yourself?? Remind me what that is again.  Well, it turns out, taking time for yourself (aka self-care) is ESSENTIAL to a successful business, a healthy body, and a kick-ass life.

Lately, I've been slacking in the self-care department and burning the candle at both ends,  constantly adding more and more STUFF to my life. I'm coaching clients, networking like crazy to build my business,  prepping for a competition in May (which I'm learning a dance routine for), attending a 6-week Intro to Culinary Arts class, and doing Bikram yoga twice a week…all of this on top of my responsibilities at home. 

Even though I preach "take care of yourself' to my friends, family, and clients, I have not been doing a good job of it myself. 

Like most women, I feel like I can take on anything I'm asked to do. I just kept filling up my schedule without taking time for self-care, and now I'm paying the price.  Yesterday, I didn't feel like doing anything…my work and my workout suffered. I felt terrible and I wanted to scratch everyone's eyes out. Not to mention, I wanted to jump head-first into a bag of chocolate chip cookies.

Self-care is NOT a luxury..it is a NECESSITY.  Everything and everyone around you suffers when you try to do it all without taking break for yourself.

You don't need to schedule a weekly 2-hour hot stone massage on the beach (unless you're a baller)…just 30 to 60 minutes once a week to do anything that recharges and reinvigorates you is all you need. You can make time for that, right???

Oh, the other thing is that I have an amazing accountability partner, Kirstin, who reminded me that I needed to do this for myself and I committed to letting her know what I planned to do for my self-care this week. Also, my coach, Karen, is always telling me to put time on my calendar for myself and I need to start listening. I'm feeling much better today and the cookie crisis was averted.

We think we can do it alone, but it turns out that we can't.  

If you need a reminder or feel like someone has to give you permission to take time out for you, then here it is.  Do it…TODAY!

Ok, back to relaxing!

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Is it time to for a kick in the ASS?

We ALL need a little (or big) kick in the ass from time to time, don't we?  If you're like most people, you make commitments to yourself to lose weight or get healthy, but you never fully honor them or hold yourself accountable.  That's why you NEED other people to do this for you. 

Do you have these people in your life?
You might have them, but for some reason, you're afraid to ask for help…you think you can do it all by yourself.  Right, Superwoman?  
Newsflash: You can't do it all ALONE. Trying to wing it by yourself usually causes the same crappy non-results over and over again. The good news is that this doesn't have to be a solo journey.
In my video today, I break down how VITAL it is for you to build a supportive network of people around you if you plan to get results that last. 
I know you secretly want to make some changes in 2014, now is the time to MAKE IT HAPPEN.  What are you waiting for…2015??
Is it time for a kick in the ass