Five Things I Learned From Diets

We headed out early this morning to go hiking with friends, so I thought I would share this blog from the fabulous life, career, and relationship coach, Nicky Roberts.

Over the years I have read at least a dozen books on dieting and nutrition. I have also—both in my life coaching practice and in my personal life—observed friends and family try one diet or another. My father-in-law, bless his heart, tried even the most extreme diets in an effort to reduce the extra 100 pounds or so that he carried with him.

Here are five life lessons I’ve learned from diets:

  1. You have to stick with it. Except for those diets where you only eat one food for days on end, most diets offer you the realistic opportunity of losing weight. But like with most things in life, you have to stick with it. You can’t give it a mediocre effort and expect outstanding results.
  2. Use your common sense. Yes, the cookie diet may help you lose 10 pounds in 2 days but really, should you?
  3. Be discerning about what you commit to. Following on from point No. 2, it’s also a good idea to really think about things like timing, how this choice might affect your health in the short- and the long-term, and how this will impact your life in the broader sense. For example, will you be able to eat out, or at other people’s houses? How will you make it easy for other’s to accommodate your food choices? Don’t just make commitments willy nilly. When you make a commitment and then break it because you really didn’t think it through, you set yourself up for disappointment and a belief that “you can’t stick to it”.
  4. Delayed Gratification. I often notice when I’m in the checkout line that magazines are still printing articles along the lines of, “Lose 10 pounds in 2 Weeks.” Yes, it is possible, but we all know that the diet will be extreme and not sustainable. Losing weight in a healthy sustainable way requires all of the above and a commitment to delayed gratification. Putting down the chocolate cake and enjoying the rewards maybe several days later of looking and feeling good.
  5. We overestimate what we can achieve in a day and underestimate what we can achieve in a year. Small, consistent baby steps in the right direction are the secret to success in most everything—including dieting.

Nicky Roberts is a life, career, and relationship coach who is originally from South Africa. Without ever having seen American soil, she moved to the U.S. in 2003 with her husband and three small children–with all their worldly possessions fitting in 10 suitcases.

Through her coaching practice, Nicky helps women find their core purpose in life and live in alignment with their values, which naturally leads to them feeling confidant and happy.

You can learn more about Nicky at and read her blog at

Creating the Path to the Body You Want

There’s a scene in the 1984 film Romancing the Stone where the main characters are hacking through a jungle with a machete to flee pursuers.

This is the image that came to me as I was thinking about how to expound on yesterday’s blog on having to be happy first, and the psychological research that backs that premise up.

The reason this is so important goes beyond psychology. It actually gets to the core of how life works.

I’m going to get a little deep here so hang with me. But I promise it relates to your weight—and will give you an advantage for getting the body you want.

As Einstein said, everything is energy. This includes our thoughts and feelings.

Now imagine that you are a pioneer and have come to the unexplored edge of time and space. Each moment will require that you create a path forward, much like hacking through a jungle.

Wielding a machete—using action to create the path forward—is hard work. It’s slow and exhausting. Over time, it wears you down.

This is what the majority of people are doing. They are only focused on the action of dieting and exercise, and it’s hard.

What if you could make it easier? What if there was another, more effective way to clear the path forward?

What if thinking about Why you want to be slimmer and how that will feel is energetically clearing the path before you? It’s like sending scouts with machetes out in front of you.

Wouldn’t the path forward be easier? Wouldn’t you have more energy and stamina to wield that machete, because there is less you have to physically cut through to move forward?

This is the power of being happy first. This is the power of visualization that Olympic athletes have harnessed.

And you can tap into the power by thinking about Why you want to be slimmer and how it will feel before you decide what food to eat or begin your workout.

It’s fairly easy to use the energy of your thoughts and feelings to clear the path for dieting and exercise, but it does take some practice.

To get started, think about and write down Why you want to be slim and how having the body you want will feel. Then read it every day and do your best to feel that way as you read.

The more you practice this, the easier it gets.

The more you practice this, you’ll begin to notice that your workouts are starting to be fun, and you look forward to them. You’ll surprise yourself because you naturally want an apple instead of a cookie. You thrill at the evidence of how hard your body is working on your behalf.

The more you practice creating the path forward with your thoughts and emotions first, the easier the action of dieting and exercise will be.

Together we can do it!

Be Happy First

This may tick you off.

You have to feel happy first.

That’s right, to achieve your weight loss goals—you have to feel happy first.

And while this is the premise behind the Law of Attraction, this isn’t just some woo woo notion. Science backs this up.

Shawn Achor, a Harvard psychology researcher and author of The Happiness Advantage, says that pinning our happiness on achieving a goal actually hinders our progress. Instead, it’s being happy that help us achieve our goals.

“Wait a minute,” you might say. “Isn’t happiness what you feel because something good happened? Isn’t “being happy” outside my control?”

Every feeling is related to your underlying thoughts. And thoughts are made of energy, not marble. You have the power to change them.

This means that how you feel is ultimately within your control. And you can choose to be happy—or not. Regardless of what is happening around you.

One of the most amazing examples of this is Viktor Frankl who chronicled his experience in a concentration camp in the book, Man’s Search for Meaning. Even in the most dire circumstances, Frankl choose to look for meaning, and yes, even joy.

If Frankl can do it while imprisoned and facing death, you can do it in the midst of your life.

So why would you want to choose to be happy first, before you achieve your weight-loss goals?

Primarily because you would feel happy right now. And isn’t that what you are truly seeking anyway?

Imagine having the body of your dreams. How would having that body make you feel?

“Oh,” you might say, “it would feel good. It would feel like accomplishment. It would feel like wellness and well-being. It would feel like satisfaction, contentment, and joy. It would feel like happiness.”

Archor explains in an Inc. online article that the reason being happy first helps you achieve your goals is because every time you have a success, your brain changes what success means so that happiness is always on the opposite side—meaning you never get there.

But if you increase your levels of happiness in the midst of a challenge, he says “all of your success rates rise dramatically.”

And while you may feel that your emotions are out of your control, Archor says that “it is a myth that we cannot change our happiness.” While happiness may come easier to some people, it’s a possibility that everyone can achieve–if they change their behavior and mindset.

And Archor’s research confirms that changing your mindset may not be as hard as people often think. “What we found was something as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days in a row significantly increases your level of optimism and it holds for the next six months.”

He adds, “The research is amazing. It proves we actually can change.”

To begin, simple decide to shift your thinking from, “I will be happy when I achieve my weight-loss goals” to “Being happy helps me achieve my goals.”

And then look for reasons to be happy right now.

Together we can do it!

Check out Shawn Achor’s funny and engaging TEDX talk:

The Missing Piece for Lasting Weight Loss


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

-Albert Einstein


If you are like most women who have lost and regained the same 30 pounds over and over again, you know how to diet. You may even have the exercise piece down.

But even if you are able to consistently eat healthy foods and move your body, you still continue to struggle to maintain your weight.

Clearly, diet and exercise alone are not getting you the results you want.

What is the missing piece?

What is it that you need to do differently to get different results?

The answer almost seems too simple.

You may want to ignore it or even discount it. But it is truly what is holding you back from having the body—and life—you want.

What has to change is what is going on inside. What has to change are your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs about yourself, what you are capable of, what you deserve.

Ultimately what it boils down to is that you have to work through your fear.

Every feeling is either a derivative of love or fear. What has happened over time is that you have emotionally caged yourself in with fear.

Fear of being judged by others, letting people down, not being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, making mistakes, not being loved or lovable—the list goes on and on.

It may have gotten bad enough that when something really good does happen in your life, you can feel a part of you holding back from fully enjoying the experience. You may have thoughts like, “Something bad might happen,” “It won’t last,” or “They’re going to find out I’m a fraud.”

What’s actually happening here is that you are so afraid of experiencing pain that you are in reality holding yourself in it—and refusing to let yourself fully experience joy.

And the biggest fear of all?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

The good news is you can begin right now to let go of fear and embrace love–to embrace the magnificent you that is afraid to let her light shine.

Here is a simple exercise to practice love. I would suggest doing this just before going to sleep, but it can be done any place you can sit quietly, relax, and focus.

To begin, bring to mind something that you totally and completely love. This may be your spouse or partner, pets, children, etc. Sit a moment and envision them totally enveloped in love. Get creative here. See them in a warm golden light, a big hug, or whatever feels like being embraced by the biggest expression of love you can imagine.

Then bring someone or something else that you love into the picture. As you stay in that feeling of love, start to include more and more people and things—and even places—that you love. Eventually you want to work up to having the entire planet embraced in your vision of love.

Here’s an example:

I envision my husband being surrounded by a warm, golden light that is pure love. That light expands to include our pets, our families, and our friends. It spreads to include our home and everything in it. It expands to include my job and all the people I work with. It grows and encircles our town, and all the places where I have ever lived. It expands to cover the states where I have lived, and spreads to the whole country. It then moves around the world embracing everyone and everything. It encompasses the planet itself and everyone and everything is enriched and enhanced by this feeling of love.

You can make the exercise last a long time, or just a few minutes. Practice this daily and watch for examples of more love coming into your life.

The more love you allow yourself to feel, the more healthy actions you are inspired to take, and the more your body begins to respond down to the cellular level.

You begin to naturally want an apple more than you want cookies. You begin to find the fun in your workout. Eating healthy foods, moving your body—and maintaining your weight—becomes a way of life.

What can you do today to transform a thought of fear to a feeling of love?

Together we can do it!



What Do You Think About the Body You Want?

“Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.”

Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, (1826)

Translation: Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.

The idea that to be fit and healthy you need to eat good food has been around a while. But an even older concept is the idea that we are what we think.

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.”

Buddha (c. 563 BCE to 483 BCE)

What if both are true?

What if the thoughts you think are just as important to your getting the body you want as the food you eat?

For most people that feels like a stretch, but science is backing this up.

Stress is being found to be the root cause of a number of illnesses.

And while you think stress is something that happens to you because of the people, situations or events going on in your life, stress is really a result of what you think.

“Stress isn’t something that happens to someone. It’s something someone feels about what’s happening. Your capacity to deal with any outer situation is based on your inner perspective. . . How we see ourselves determines everything.”

Bruce D. Schneider

Your negative thoughts—about yourself, your abilities, what you deserve, about everything—generates catabolic energy that releases the stress hormone cortisol, adrenaline, and other chemicals that literally cannibalize your body.

This chain reaction is breaking down your immune system, straining your heart, and impacting your muscles. Over time, this catabolic energy can cause everything from painful trigger points in your shoulders, to inflammation, to heart attacks.

And it significantly impacts your metabolism and other weight-related systems making it easier to gain and harder to release weight.

For many people there’s a vicious cycle with thoughts and food. You have a stressful day or feel badly about yourself and you reach for the chocolate chip cookies to find some comfort. But then you feel guilty about eating the cookies, which adds to your stress and self-criticism, and the negative pattern repeats.

There are a number of things you can do to break that unpleasant and unhealthy spiral.

You have to figure out how you can comfort yourself—or fulfill your emotional needs—in more healthy ways. You might ask for support from friends or loved ones, take a nap or bath, or drink a cup of tea.

You have to decide Who it is that you truly want to be and the actions you want to take to move you towards becoming that person. This may mean really looking at why you want to be slim, how that will make you feel, and making a commitment to follow through with action.

And you have to break out of the victim mode and become empowered to handle any situation in your life. The first step is being willing to examine the negative thoughts you have about yourself and challenge them as untrue.

Really, it boils down to deciding to think about yourself—and your life—differently, and then aligning your actions with your new thoughts to move towards creating the body you want.

What new thought can you think—about your food, yourself, your experiences? How does choosing to feel good and focusing on what you want support your wellness goals?

Together we can do it!