Open Your Heart to Get the Body You Want

Love yourself leanHave you ever shut your heart to someone?

I know I have. Withholding love is a very common reaction when people are not living up to your expectations, or you truly believe what they are doing is wrong.

With what happened in Connecticut last week, you may believe that there are things that people have done that are plain unforgivable.

It can be easy to feel justified in judging the culprit as unworthy of your love.

I totally get that.

When I was a kid, I was emotionally and physically abused by my father. And I doubt that many people had any idea of the pain being inflicted on me, my mother, and brothers behind closed doors. It took him almost killing my mother one night for us to find the courage to leave him.

At the age of 15, I severed all connections with my father.

I think most people would say I was justified in withholding love from him. And I did for a long time.

While it was the absolute best decision I could have made to protect myself from any future physical and emotional harm, not forgiving him only hurt me.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

–Buddha

Shutting your heart down—even for the best of reasons—does not actually punish the other person. And it is far more detrimental to you.

The negative reaction is felt in your body, not theirs. And it is causing you physical harm.

This is why practicing forgiveness and unconditional love is so powerful.

By allowing yourself to give love—no matter what—you’re providing yourself with constructive, positive energy that actually boosts your immune system and helps heal and rebuild your body at the cellular level. And yes, helps you get the body you want.

Over the years, I let go of the anger, hurt, and pain that I experienced in the relationship with my father. Not only did I come to forgive him, but I began to see there was actually nothing to forgive.

You see, I learned so much about myself and what I wanted as a result of those experiences.

  • I learned that I had a powerful voice when twice he came to my bed—and I said “No.”
  • I got crystal clear on what I didn’t want out of a relationship, which I think was necessary to figure out what I did want. That clarity is absolutely the reason I chose the amazing man who has been my husband for 20 years.
  • I became who I am right now—and that is a strong, powerful, loving woman who has so much to offer the world.

From where I am now, I truly value those experiences—and my father.

On Saturday, I received news that my father had died.

What I felt was peace.

I could feel the last little bit of my with-holding love relax as I envisioned my father on the other side experiencing the pure positive love of All-That-Is.

From now on, all I will ever give to—or receive from—him is love.

The timing of my learning of my father’s death felt meaningful to me. Many of you may be experiencing significant grief and anger from the events that occurred on Friday. And certainly, women who struggle with their weight often carry the wounds of abuse.

So I’m sharing my story with you, not to make you feel like you need to find forgiveness, love, and peace today, but to let you know it’s worth striving for. It’s worth feeling the pain and moving through it. That you can let go of the hot coal, and that your life will be so much more wonderful than you ever imagined as a result.

Where people often get stuck is feeling like loving someone anyway is the same as condoning that awful behavior.

This is where it is helpful to remember that the Universe (God, Higher Power, All-That-Is–whatever works for you), is involved in that other person’s life, too, and that each of you is receiving guidance.Your job is to pay attention to your reactions and move towards the bigger part of you. Your guidance will always lead you to the best outcome for you.

Begin to notice when you are shutting your heart down. Pay attention to how uncomfortable that feels.Recognize that it’s up to you to change your reaction.

Where in your life are you withholding love? What can you do today to open that door in your heart just a little bit? Notice how much better that feels.

Together we can do it!

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My blog is moving to my new website LoveYourWaySlim.com. To keep following my posts after January 15, you will need to follow my new blog. I look forward to continuing the journey with you!

5 Easy Tips to Make Creating Healthy Habits Fun!

Calendar January 2 Transformation StartMost people are not going to start a new eating or exercise program before January 2.

But you can drastically increase the chances of fulfilling your New Year’s resolution to lose weight by creating new mental habits right now

And it can take as little as 5 minutes a day.

Think about how much you get done when you are excited, eager, and looking forward to something. Now think about how hard it is to make progress when you are dreading something, don’t want to do it, resent it, etc.

While you can move forward and get stuff done while you are feeling negative catabolic emotions, consciously shifting to positive anabolic thoughts before you begin a task is like putting on rocket boosters. 

Not only is your power to get things done greater, but it’s easier and more fun.

Most of what makes releasing weight “hard” are your current mental habits.

You have thoughts about how hard it is to lose weight that you have repeated for so long that you don’t even realize there’s another way to look at it. You have practiced dreading dieting. You have developed a mental rut on exercise that is not serving you.

These are just some catabolic habits of thought you have going on. Thoughts are made of energy, not marble. They can be changed! 

Why do you want to go to the trouble of creating positive, life-building anabolic mental habits, you might ask?

Because anabolic thoughts result in emotions that feel good.

Those emotions make your heart sing. When you are feeling anabolic emotions, you know that things are always working out for you. When there’s a problem, you see the solution. You laugh more. You relax more. You are happy to be alive. 

As a result, the actions you need to take feel easier.

  • Instead of hating to work out, you start to enjoy it.
  • You find you like the taste of fresh vegetables.
  • You easily make the decision to turn off the T.V. and go to bed so you will wake up rested and refreshed.
  • Water starts to taste good.

 It’s easy. It feels like the choice you want to make.

Progress not perfection

Start now to create these new mental habits and come January 2 you will be so ready to turn these thoughts into action that there will be no stopping you!

Here are 5 easy ways to begin creating new mental habits:

  • Make a list of how you want to feel come January 2.
  • Think about all the reasons Why you want to be fit, strong, and slim. (Go deeper than just looking good.)
  • Remember all the ways you enjoyed being active when you were a kid.
  • Slow down during meals and really appreciate your food and how it is building the body you want.
  • Appreciate the life giving aspects of the water you are drinking.

Doesn’t that feel good?

Now practice these thoughts every day.

Often people will use the excuse that they don’t have time to create new mental habits, particularly during the holidays.

Truly, you don’t have time not to!

By taking a few minutes now, you will more than make up with ease and efficiency when you do start your eating and exercise program.

A huge bonus is that the more you practice these new mental habits, the easier and more fun your life becomes.

What is one thing you can begin to do regularly to shift your mental habits? What difference does that make in creating the body—and life—you want come January 2nd?

Together we can do it!

The 3 Keys to My Personal Transformation

From August 1, 2008 to August 1, 2009, I went from wearing a size 8 and running and working out regularly to busting out of size 14 pants and not working out at all.

After years of consistent exercise, I couldn’t believe I was starting over from scratch–again.

I was really struggling with getting back on track.

“Before” photo taken October 2009

While I hated where I was, I just couldn’t seem to find the energy to pull myself out of bed in the morning and move.

Three things were key to my turning around that situation.

  1. Accountability. Support is vital. Having a friend, coach, or group to turn to is huge!
  2. Progress not perfection. Counting every single thing you do during the day that could even be remotely considered part of a healthy lifestyle builds positive momentum.
  3. Mindset training. Shifting your thoughts from hating where you are to focusing on why you want to be fit, strong, and slim is the true secret to long-term weight-loss success. 

Here’s how I did it.

My friend, Julia, was my first accountability partner and we checked in with each other every day to cheer each tiny success and reframe any “stumble.” (Thank you, Julia! I couldn’t have done it without you!)

I set small, attainable goals for how much time I would move my body. Starting with a goal of just 10 minutes a day, I counted walking the dogs, vigorous vacuuming, and even a long walk across a parking lot to my car. I literally counted anything and everything that involved moving. A few weeks of meeting that minimal goal and I bumped it up to 20 minutes, and so on.

And I wrote out all the reasons I wanted to be fit, strong, and slim on index cards—and I read them everyday to retrain my brain while I was retraining my body.

Changing my mindset, focusing on my success, and having a supportive person to report my successes to made all the difference in the world.

Today, I love my body and life more than I thought possible!

I regularly work out vigorously for 25 to 60 minutes, six mornings a week. I eat healthy foods most of the time, and I wear between a size 4 and 6. And I’ve kept the weight off now for more than two years!

“After: photo taken November 10, 2012. Photo by Lindsay A. Miller

I didn’t get here overnight. But by slowly and steadily making those small decisions towards a healthier me, I built momentum and achieved my goals.

And you can do it, too.

If you are already working out regularly, awesome! How can you push yourself just a little bit further?

If you are changing your energetic momentum towards a healthier you:

  • What is the minimum you can do today that will make you feel like you are making progress?
  • What are the reasons you want to be fit, strong, and slim?
  • Who can you turn to get the necessary support and accountability?

Just consistently making those small decisions to move in the direction of who you want to be will help you achieve the body—and life—you want.

Together we can do it!

Isn’t Life Delicious?

DELICIOUS adj \di-ˈli-shəs\

1: affording great pleasure : delightful

2: appealing to one of the bodily senses especially of taste or smell

Merriam-Webster

Why do you eat?

For very few people is it just to give their bodies the vital nutrients they need to sustain life.

For women who struggle with their weight, eating is often their primary source of pleasure, comfort, satisfaction, and even experience of love.

This is why diets cause such feelings of deprivation.

Who wants to live a life void of pleasurable feelings? Certainly not me!

And you don’t have to!

All that’s happened is that over time—and for a variety of valid reasons—you have shut yourself off from sources of satisfaction, comfort, and love because they have also been sources of pain, dissatisfaction, and loneliness.

The lover who broke your heart, the friend who betrayed you, the parent or boss who tried to control you sent you to the one obvious and consistent source of comfort—food.

It was a totally normal reaction. Food is delicious. It’s pleasurable, satisfying, and comforting. And it’s easy.

But it’s also betrayed you.

It’s caused you to gain weight. It’s negatively impacted your health. It’s momentary comfort is completely outweighed by the overwhelming feelings of guilt and self-loathing that it now causes.

It’s no longer giving you what you were seeking in the first place—those pleasurable feelings.

It’s time to begin looking for these feelings in the only place they will be given consistently. From the only place you can truly count on them being there 100 percent of the time, no matter what you do, say, or be. Where you know you are absolutely loved and adored.

The Source of pleasure, satisfaction, comfort, nourishment, and love is All-That-Is (God, the Universe, Higher Coach—whatever works for you). And your thoughts are what help you tune into these feelings—or not.

No one else is “making” you feel anything. It was not your boyfriend who made you feel unworthy—it was because you believed him.

Thoughts of your unworthiness feel so bad because they are not true. In the eyes of All-That-Is, you are utterly and completely perfect.

But because you have taken the word of a lot of people with limited perspectives over the knowing of All-That-Is, you have pretty well convinced yourself that you are unworthy. You may even have a strong negative reaction to the very idea that you are perfect.

Remember the infant “You” that was in your mother’s arms? Would you judge the infant “You” as anything other than perfect? Would you ever have been “bad” if someone else who had been told they were “bad” hadn’t perpetuated the inaccurate assessment?

Most of what was judged “bad” by others was simply eagerness, exuberance, and joy that was seen as inappropriate by someone who you believed knew better than you.

When your thoughts about yourself are in agreement with what All-That-Is knows about you, your heart sings. You love life. You love other people. You want to give generously. You want to receive all the gifts that life is offering.

Life is delicious, not just food.

At first, changing your thinking feels like walking out on a lake that has frozen over in winter. You aren’t sure how stable and solid the ice is. You don’t trust if it will really support you.

You begin by tentatively sticking a toe out and testing the strength of the ice. If that holds, you then add the weight of your whole foot, and slowly, you venture out further and further until you know that the ice is so strong, you could drive a car out on to it. Once you know how solid and stable it is, you then frolic freely.

So start with thoughts that are the equivalent of tapping your toe to test the ice.

Gratitude is a great place to start. Begin being grateful for the small things in your life that are stable and solid, such as your pillow as you go to sleep, the comfort of a hot shower, the feel of a soft shirt on your skin.

As you practice those thoughts and get more comfortable, begin to look for and savor life experiences that give you pleasure, comfort, satisfaction, and love. Fill up on those experiences instead of food.

For me, having a client experience an “a-ha” moment is absolutely delicious. I feel satisfied when I wake up with a kitty snuggled and purring in the crook of my arm. I savor moments of laughter with my husband. I am nourished by the wind blowing through the leaves as I walk in nature. I feel comfort in quiet moments with friends and family.

Life is juicy and delicious. How can you begin to look for and feel for each and every luscious moment? How does your finding more satisfaction in life change your need to seek comfort from food?

Together we can do it!

How’s That Working Out for You?

“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

Albert Einstein

What if the entire Universe is conspiring on your behalf?

What if you have tribes of Universal cheerleaders supporting you in every conceivable way?

What if no matter what may be happening in your life right now, everything is playing in your favor?

If you fully accepted that this is a friendly Universe, would you give up a little control? If you knew everything was working out for you, would you relax and let go of fear? Would you allow yourself to have more fun? Would you be open to taking more risks?

If you believe that this is a hostile Universe, letting go of control can be one of the scariest things you can do. It’s like putting yourself at the mercy of the enemy.

I know because I used to believe the Universe was out to get me.

I couldn’t get a break. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was a victim to people and situations.

It wasn’t until I began giving up control, surrendering, and trusting my well-being that I began to fully experience it.

It’s one of those dichotomy’s of life:

  • You have to give up control to gain it.
  • You have to feel appreciated to be able to receive the appreciation of another.
  • You have to feel beautiful before you can hear and believe the compliments you are given.

Whatever you believe—the Universe will provide you evidence of that belief.

Open your mind and look for all the reasons everything is working out for you instead of all the reasons it isn’t.

Make lists of the things that are falling into place. Relax and play more. Practice accepting that this is just where you are in the journey. Expect a different outcome. Have a little faith.

As Abraham-Hicks says, “a belief is just a thought you keep thinking.” Little-by-little, step-by-step, practice believing that this is a friendly Universe.

And then enjoy the evidence of that belief.

Together we can do it!

Here’s a related blog by Terri Cole on the fear of joy. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terri-cole/fear-of-joy_b_1703103.html

The Best Reason to Be Happy

So often we feel like there has to be a reason to be happy. Often that reason is out ahead of us. We tell ourselves that we will be happy when we lose weight, get that job, have a certain amount of money, meet that deadline, recover from an illness, etc.

How would your life be different if you could let yourself just be happy anyway? How would it be different if you could be happy on your way to losing weight, getting that job, meeting that deadline, recovering from that illness?

Every moment that you deprive yourself of feeling good is like putting yourself in jail and refusing to set yourself free, even though you have the key in your pocket.

Wouldn’t it be better to be happy now?

And if you really need a reason to be happy, what reason can you use? Regardless of what else may be going on in your life, some reasons to be happy anyway might be:

The sun has risen.

• You are receiving these words.

• Someone somewhere loves you. (Probably a lot of someones.)

• You are alive this moment of this day.

• You have some form of nourishment available to you.

• You have clothes for your body.

• You have a body that is working well-enough for you to understand these words.

• There is an abundance of air to breathe.

• No matter what your state of wellness, your body is knocking itself out on your behalf.

• You have at least one thing that you’re really good at and enjoy doing.

• You have a lifetime of experiences that are unique to you.

• You see the world as no one else does, and your perspective is valuable.

• Even if it seems the same, this day is different from all the others that have come before.

• Streams and rivers are flowing, and ocean tides are rising and falling.

• Chances are you have an abundance of clean water to drink.

• The Earth is spinning and producing resources to support life.

• There is an abundance of beauty in the world if you will just look for it.

• The sun will set and will rise again tomorrow.

How can you add to this list? What is in your life right now that you can use as a reason to be happy? Are there people, places, or animals that you appreciate? What about your body is working for you? What do you find beautiful? Where are you abundant?

How happy are you willing to let yourself feel right now? How can you let go of whatever reason is holding you back?

Together we can do it!

Three Tips for Living Lean

When a woman makes the decision to lose weight, often she wants the change effective immediately.

It’s the mindset of, “I want to be a size 4 and I want it today.”

This impatience is really being focused on the fact that you don’t have what you want, which means you are fighting the forces of the Universe and will struggle to lose weight.

What does it really matter if it takes a little time to achieve your goal? It’s the pain factor, right?

It’s looking in the mirror everyday and suffering from body shame. It’s feeling deprived as you turn down that piece of chocolate cake while everybody else digs in. It’s dreading the dressing room and trying on 50 swimsuits to find one that you might be willing to wear in public. It’s the risk of having your partner see you as unsex-worthy because of your sagging stomach.

You want to just wave a magic wand and make it all go away.

These thoughts are all symptoms of what has caused you to gain weight in the first place. At their heart is the fear of judgment and a lack of self-love. This is why so many diets and exercise programs fail. For lasting results, you have to change your core thoughts and beliefs along with eating healthy foods and moving your body.

Here are three tips to let go of the thoughts that keep you from living lean.

  • Focus on a body part you can appreciate. How often do you look in the mirror and criticize your stomach, butt, or thighs? When you catch yourself doing this, shift your attention to something you can compliment. Maybe it’s your hair, your ankles, or your fingernails. Just find something you can consistently shift your focus to and praise.
  • Make peace with the process. You didn’t gain the weight overnight, and you won’t lose it overnight. Recognize that life is meant to be lived and this includes living the experience of losing weight. Choose an eating and exercise program that you actually enjoy and that gives you some flexibility.
  • Celebrate your daily progress. Did you eat on plan today? Woo hoo! Did you choose an apple over pie? Awesome! Did you walk five minutes longer than the day before? Fabulous! Focus on all the things you are doing right and ignore the rest.

What can you do today to begin shifting from wanting immediate results to thrilling in moving towards your dream?

Together we can do it!