weight management

I have been remiss in keeping up with my blog and with Twitter and many other forms of social media recently. I apologize to my many friends whom I know through these venues. Perhaps you will forgive me when you see what it is I have been working on.

Several months ago, Cesar Lara, M.D. and I met to begin discussing a way that we could give back to the community. We are both feeling very fortunate in our respective practices and we have mutual clients. These conversations led to the birthing of our new project. We are giving the gift of health to a selected group of individuals in the community as part of a new program called Weight Away Tampa Bay.

While the economy, job losses and depression dominate the headlines in our community, we’ve decided to donate our time and expertise to bring positive, healthy changes to individuals as part of a scholarship-based weight loss program. (That’s right, scholarship based, as in FREE!) This program’s mission to not just change the person’s physical appearance but also their outlook on life. We believe that we can help change our community by starting with just one individual. However, we are actually looking for 10 candidates!

Through a combination of a proven medical weight loss program and weight management hypnosis, the selected participants will have the tools needed to find solutions in their lives, including the self awareness and self esteem it takes to overcome obstacles.

Tampa Bay residents can apply for this once in a lifetime opportunity or nominate a loved one, simply by gong to www.weightawaytampabay.com and filling out the form on the application page. There is a catch, the deadline for application is Friday, June 5, 2009.

So time is of the essence.

While walking this morning, I noticed birds above flying in a way that just appeared to be so free. Perhaps they were scouting for food, but by all appearances, they were just enjoying the winds and floating in circles. That made me smile. I had an amazing weekend, which followed the most wonderful experience on Friday. You see, on Friday, I was invited to shadow Dr. Cesar Lara.
Dr. Lara is a local family practitioner who specializes in weight management. We have begun working together and he felt I could better understand what it is he does, by observing him in action. Every hypnotist ought to have the same opportunity! Meeting with his patients, hearing their concerns and observing the gentle yet clear manner he communicates with them was inspiring. Furthermore, I always enjoy learning more about the science of medicine. Dr. Lara respectfully asked for my input. In just a few short moments, I could observe big changes occurring in the thoughts behind behaviors of these individuals.

Something I did notice is how the current “scarcity” mentality is affecting people’s weight. People are stressed, which in turn affects their sleep. Not enough sleep has been identified as a factor in weight gain. Furthermore, midnight snacking often occurs when sleep is interrupted.

Another reaction to stress is the release of cortisol by the adrenal glands. One of the functions of cortisol is to trigger a production of blood sugar from proteins. Excess glucose is then used for fat production. This increases fat storage in the body.

An additional outcome of scarcity thinking is that we tend to hoard. Why, there was even a report today on my local news station (10Connects) that there has been a reduction of trash recently due to the economy! Hoarding occurs on our bodies as well. We hold on to extra weight at a subconscious level because we fear not having enough food later. We over eat because we fear lack.

Nature is amazing in it’s abundance. When I look at my orange tree, it never produces just “the one” orange. It produces so many oranges that we have to give them to everyone we can. My son has recently laughingly reminded me that nature is
abundant with the generous amounts of pollen we have had to sweep from our drive daily. Sunsets are never ending. The number of seagulls every time I visit the beach, more than enough, thank you very much!

I realized that sometimes I do the same thing. I eat beyond the point of satisfaction, because at some level I believe I may never get to enjoy the wonderful dish before me again. Yet, in reality, there is always another dish set before me of equal enjoyment the very next meal. It is time for me to be very aware of mindful practice in eating. I will eat just a little less, trusting that I will always have another perfect meal.

Last night I went to St Petersburg College right before exams were scheduled to begin. It was an opportunity to help out test stressed students. Prior to this, the students were sent an email with study hints and asked to visit my website video that explains what hypnosis is and is not. After a very brief explanation of hypnosis, I was able to take the students into a relaxed state of trance and review with them how they had all the information stored in their fabulous subconscious minds.

We reviewed the previous semester, revisiting the time line of classes and the information that they had learned. Next, they were given a physical anchor (simply pressing the thumb and index finger together and taking a deep breath) at each part of the time line they visited. They were told that repeating this during the test would enable them to recall the information as needed. The students were reminded that this was an opportunity to show off their knowledge and so they took those butterflies in their stomach and used them as feelings of excited anticipation.

Finally, we moved into the future, picturing and imagining the test paper results. They felt the pride and joy at having achieved such great grades. They realized that this was the beginning of many opportunities life would present them. They returned feeling strong, empowered and ready to succeed.

I have already received feedback from a professor who is thrilled with the results. Better grades than she had expected from her class. Is life great, or what?!

Tonight I am working with a local weight management doctor. He is a fabulous man, very dedicated to the success of his patients. The holidays present special challenges for people who are shedding those excess pounds. So, we are going to discuss holiday stresses and events. I will guide the group through a buffet filled with food, creating a desire to enjoy small quantities of healthy foods, a simple taste of one special treat and the amazing awareness of being in control!

If you are local, I would love to meet you there. So, for more information, please check out Dr. Cesar Lara’s website at: Dr. Cesar A. Lara M.D.

With the holidays and all the added pressure and responsibilities, as well as the added social obligations descending upon us, do you find it almost impossible to remain aware of your weight, eating and exercise routines? Do all those extra goodies seem to call your name? The good news is, according to a government study, on average, Americans actually only gain about one pound of fat over the holidays.

If you prefer to avoid even that one pound gain, then here are a few quick ideas to help make your holidays healthier and happier.

Remain Aware

Stop believing the fantasy of how “someday” you will have it together enough to really make a difference. That someday is now! It starts in little increments and builds. You want to create a healthy mindset for daily living.

  • In order to practice awareness relating to your intake of food, remember, no goody tastes as good as being healthy and fit feels!
  • Allow for the occasional treat, so you don’t feel deprived. You will find that you enjoy the food and the holidays if you don’t focus on deprivation.
  • Take a moment each morning to look yourself in the eyes (in the mirror) and remind yourself that you deserve to look and feel great.
  • Before a holiday party or meal, be sure to drink a full glass of cold water. This will help to fill you up sooner and elevate your metabolism so that you burn what you eat more efficiently. Dehydration slows your metabolism by 3 percent. That can be up to 80 calories a day burned just by drinking water.
  • Chew sugarless gum! While fixing a meal or when you want to snack, grab a piece of sugarless gum and you won’t be as tempted to put other foods into your mouth.
  • Eat from the veggie platter when you first start, fill up on the healthy foods.
  • At social gatherings, don’t fill the silence with another mouthful of food. If you don’t know what to say, remain quiet for a moment and just listen. People love a good listener!

Keep It Moving

It is imperative that you keep moving through out the holidays. This will help with both the foods you consume and the stressful situations. Building muscle helps to burn fat, even when resting. If you exercise regularly, you will have more energy, feel better emotionally and sleep better as well as fight off diseases better. Any increase in physical activity has a positive affect on your health and your perfect body size.

  • Park further out in the lot at the shopping malls. Walk briskly to your destination, whistle or hum an upbeat tune to keep you moving!
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Remember that cleaning and decorating both include plenty of twisting, lifting and movement, do it with enthusiasm to get the maximum benefits!
  • While you may believe that you don’t have enough time for exercise, it is true that only eight minutes a day of exercise will make an impact on your weight and your stress reduction.
  • Keep a set of hand weights by your sink. Every time you wash your hands, do a quick set of 10 reps with the weights. You’ll be amazed how much extra exercise you sneak into your day.
  • Taking a walk while trying to resolve an issue is a great way to burn calories, reduce fat from your body and release clutter from your mind! As you get the oxygen pumping through your blood, your head will clear and often answers seem to appear!
  • Studies have shown that those who stand through out the day burn more calories as do those who fidget. Just by fidgeting you can burn up to 700 calories a day! Stand while conducting phone conversations.

Take some time for yourself in quiet contemplation. Close your eyes and imagine yourself having the perfect time with loved ones. See yourself laughing, hear the happy sounds of gatherings and feel the warmth and joy you allow. The holidays are about so much more than the foods we consume. So put your focus on your family, your friends and your spiritual beliefs and enjoy this season with zest!

I was asked to appear on Tampabay’s 10 news at 4:00 yesterday, to discuss the blog I posted on emotional eating. Afterwords, I went into an internet chat room provided by the station to continue the discussion. It was a great experience for me. If you want to view the video of the interview, click here: Marty Matthews and Debbie Lane Chat.

I have had the great fortune of working with a local doctor who specializes in weight management. This is his description of what he does: The journey of change starts with an acknowledgment and appreciation of where one is, and a vision of what one desires. My program will provide you with the guidance, support and tools necessary to help you succeed in your life’s journey to a healthier and thinner you….and in the end, help you achieve a new perspective in thought where food is enjoyed and balanced with a healthy lifestyle. ~ Cesar A. Lara, MD

Next, I have created another little video to help me keep my focus on being healthy and in shape. I hope you enjoy it!

Do you grab a bowl of ice cream after a difficult day? Do you crave pizza after hearing great news? Do you find yourself mindlessly munching while doing a rote task? Then you might be an emotional eater.

To some extent, emotional eating is normal. We are taught to eat for emotional reasons rather than physiological reasons at a young age. Fall down and get a boo boo and mommy will give you an ice pop to dry your tears. Celebrate good news with a festive meal. Friends and neighbors bring casseroles and cakes during times of grief and sadness. It becomes a problem when eating becomes our primary coping strategy and our physical or emotional health is affected.

When we eat out of boredom, for instance, our thoughts turn to the food we anticipate and it consumes our attention, temporarily. I recently had a client who told me she ate time away. When angry, we may tear into a crunchy bag of chips, momentarily forgetting what we are angry about. However, when we are finished, we find ourselves feeling guilty and angry with ourselves.

Perhaps, it is easier to be angry at ourselves than at the other person? We know that if we face our anger, disappointment, sadness, etc. we may have to cope with upsets in our lives and relationships. So, we stuff. Then, feeling like a failure for having eaten so much, we once again turn to food to cope. The viscous cycle continues.

How do we stop the cycle of emotional eating? First, we want to recognize whether we are using food as a coping mechanism. Here are some basic signs:

  1. Sudden hunger as opposed to gradual feelings of hunger. True hunger begins with a slight rumbling in the stomach. An hour later you may recognize the feelings again, stronger and gradually those feelings grow.
  2. Cravings for specific food. Emotional hunger is above the neck. It starts in the mouth whether desiring a texture (crunch or soft) or a flavor. All thoughts are of food. Real hunger will be satisfied by a variety of foods. You may have certain foods your tastes prefer, but it is not just one item that will satisfy you.
  3. Eating beyond full. Once the physiological needs are met, signals are sent to the brain, letting us know we are full. Emotional hunger continues to need to fill a void.
  4. Sneaking food. Hiding and eating snacks, so that others won’t see you.
  5. Eating when angry, lonely, sad or other strong emotion. Your first reaction to an issue is to snack.
  6. Ends with guilt. Stuffing food in to comfort, then feeling guilty afterwords.

Once these signs are recognized and you have identified that you are an emotional eater, what do you do? How do you break the cycle? To begin with, you want to become a mood detective. That is, you want to become aware of the triggers you have that set you off on an eating tangent. Keeping a journal of what you eat and the emotions you feel at the time are a good beginning. What were the circumstances occurring that caused the over eating?

Next, you want to have alternative ways of coping with those emotions. Learn new emotional outlets, journal, sharing with a friend, change your thoughts to more positive, hopeful ones. In hypnosis sessions, we identify the triggers and create new behavioral responses to them. We can also begin to look for solutions rather than blame or shame.

Some quick tips for overcoming emotional eating are:

  1. Delay snacking by 15 minutes when sudden hunger hits. When the 15 minutes are up, determine if you are still hungry or if it is an emotional issue you are experiencing.
  2. Take a walk, play cards, change activities when craving foods. Keep only healthy snacks on hand.
  3. Limit your portions. Prepare snack bags or portions in advance of hunger. If you divide containers of snack foods into smaller containers or bags, you are less likely to eat them all at one sitting.
  4. Create a no eating zone. If you know that you have previously sneaked food in your car or bedroom, make that off limits for all food. Become conscious of that, perhaps even putting up signs in those areas to remind yourself.
  5. Call a friend or journal when feeling strong emotions. Imagine confronting the issue and how you might feel if you were to do so successfully. See yourself working through life’s challenges in a positive, productive manner.
  6. Consider hypnosis to learn more about what your personal saboteur is and how to install new reactions, new behaviors and new habits.

I have been remiss in posting anything new this week. I might try to convince you that the dog ate my blogwork or my kid brother tore it up. Maybe, I lost it on the way to the post. Whatever, it would all be excuses. Earlier this week I worked with a client who had concerns about her weight. Concerns enough to spend time and money to see me. Apparently not concerned enough to want to do anything real about it. She arrived very late, talked long and created obstacles that would prevent us from achieving the goal of a hypnotic journey. Her choice.

We all have choices to make in life. Everything we do is a result of “reasons” and choices. Our behaviors reward us in some way, at some level. The client choose to sabotage the meeting, for reasons of her own. In the course of our conversation, I could see she needed to hold onto certain “truths” as she saw them. She wasn’t really there to make changes, but rather to prove herself right, to validate her ego and strengthen it’s hold. Ego can separate us from our core selves. Prevent us from becoming our true beings, by keeping us immersed in the chaos of living.

So, all the excuses in the world (as to why I haven’t posted more) will only satisfy me, the creator of the excuses. They don’t help you, the reader. I apologize.

Now, it is Friday and I love silliness. With all of the Presidential campaign talk around the nation, I decided it is time to throw my hat into the ring. Here it is:

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And by the way, my book can be found here:

Our words have power. The way we phrase things can make a big difference in our outcomes. Einstein said, “the formulation of the question is far more important than the answer”. Recently, I have noticed on several occasions people using their words in ways that will sabotage their attempts at reaching a particular goal. For instance, with weight management. We refer to weight loss, so often. Ads read, “Lose weight now!” or we may say, “I need to lose 5 pounds.”

Think about loss in your life. Loss of a job, a loved one or even simply losing your glasses. When you lose something, you mourn that loss. Next, you look to replace it. It is human nature to want to regain. So, when we lose weight, at some level, we often mourn that loss. We eat to fill that void and the weight returns. In fact, often we double the weight, after all, just like losing glasses, we don’t want to go through that again, (I have several pairs of reading glasses kept in every possible location, to avoid being without.) Maybe this will explain the yo-yo dieting that so many people go through.

Perhaps what we want to do is to begin looking at our weight as part of our lifestyle. If we can move easier and feel better, how much better would that be? Take a moment and imagine yourself healthy, lean and strong. What would that look like for you? How would you feel? Can you imagine moving freely, with increased energy? Begin to shed excess and release the weight.

According to Jung, what we resist will persist. So, if we have not first embraced our excess weight, how can we release it? It is important to face our shadows in order to release them. If you take a moment and embrace your body and think about how it got into the condition it is in you may find it easier to shed extra pounds of fat. Think of the times you ate to console yourself, rather than examine the emotions you were feeling. Or did you fill your spare time with eating, rather than other life experiences?

Take a moment of quiet to examine where you are in this moment. Where do you want to be? What might have contributed to how you arrived where you are and what is a possible path to getting to where you desire to be? Embrace the lessons you have learned on this journey and begin to create positive thoughts about yourself that coordinate with those goals. Give your mind and your body the opportunity to work together towards living fully.

Imagine life the way you desire, embrace those lessons, release those old negative beliefs and become your authentic self today!

No Excuses

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I often tell my sons, excuses only please the one who is making them. When we don’t live up to our responsibilities, it is time to take inventory of ourselves and figure out why. Are the expectations more than we are capable of or are we choosing to let life’s circumstances control us? Is it time, perhaps to re-group, reorganize or rethink our priorities?

This has been the case with me. I can give you a list as long as you like as to why I allowed myself to fall off the wagon when it comes to managing my weight and my health. The truth is, I did not treat myself and my body with the love and respect I deserve. I choose to let life get in the way. So, I am done with excuses and reasons. Only a few days into my resolve, I am already feeling better.

I have been juicing again, oh how I love fresh carrot, celery and whatever veggies I have on hand in a juice. I really do like the taste! (My youngest son thinks I am a bit daft for that, but he is a teenager.) I am following through with lots of water, slow eating and stopping when I am full. My body is responding with a very clear thank you! I am feeling more energetic, sleeping more soundly and even my clothes are more forgiving!

I am using my own audios to enhance my resolve. I enjoy the power that hypnosis gives me. What an awesome gift it is. I am motivating myself with self hypnosis to get out and move. It is feeling so much better to respect myself. Seems others respect me more when I do this as well. Isn’t it funny how that happens?

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day here in Florida. Chamber of Commerce weather, even. So, my husband and I decided to take advantage of that and rode our bikes up to Innisbrook to lay by the pool. The ride was more difficult than I remembered. I wore a one piece swimsuit, poolside, black. I made sure our chairs were right next to the pregnant woman. All the signs were there, I was feeling uncomfortable.

Yes, I eat healthy foods. I eat slowly, placing the fork down between bites. I stop eating when my body signals it is full, not stuffed. I drink lots of water. Most of the time. Lately, not so much and now I was aware of that. It is time to get back to feeling as healthy and lean as possible. I feel better when I am following proper eating and exercise guidelines. I know that. Yet, I let it slide.

One recent morning I was out walking when a neighbor stopped me. He asked,”Why do you walk, aren’t you a hypnotist? I thought you would just imagine the weight away!” He was serious. If only it were that easy. Yes, hypnosis is a weight management tool in my arsenal, however, I follow the same guidelines I give my clients. Lately, I guess I thought I could get away without doing so and it has shown up on the hips!

So, I am listening to my audios again, reinforcing good habits. I am remembering to focus on health and being committed to myself, rather than on fat and loss. I forgive myself for past mistakes, moving forward, towards good health. I can’t change yesterday, I can only start from where I am right now.

Because of this awareness, I have decided to make it easier for anyone else who wants to make changes as the summer is approaching. I am offering my Lean, Healthy You audio at the discounted rate of $17.00. That is a savings of $6.77! This is available at my website for a limited time.

Join me, begin taking steps towards a healthier, happier you. When you begin your quest, drop me a note and let me know how you are progressing. We can share our victories and even our challenges. Let’s make this the summer of a Lean Healthy You!