My Wishes for You

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Today I want to say, “Thank You!”

Thank you for reading, commenting, and allowing me to be your partner in creating the body you want. Thank you for your friendship, support, and love. Thank you for sharing who you are, and allowing me to share who I am.

I honor and appreciate each of you more than you can possibly imagine. You are at the top of my list of appreciation!

No matter what holiday you celebrate or beliefs you hold, I want to wish you and yours a day filled with hope, contentment, excitement, happiness, appreciation, joy, and most importantly, love.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Much love and appreciation,

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Hanna Goss

Simple Tips to Do Now to Make Your New Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight a Reality

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Many of you may be hitting the road over the next few days to celebrate Christmas or New Year’s with family or friends.

Travel can be one of the hardest times for people to maintain their health and wellness. Throw in holiday stress, and many give up all together.

Instead, you may fall into the pies, cookies, and other holiday treats, resolving to lose weight come January 2.

But how’s that worked out for you in the past?

Chances are you started out strong enough. You may have joined a gym or begun an exercise program. Maybe you beat the odds and kept it going for a month or two—or even met your weight-loss goal.

But then the weight crept back on and here you are at the holidays resolving to lose weight—again.

What if you could make some simple changes now that would improve your chances of successfully losing the weight—and keeping it off—in the New Year?

What if:

  • It’s easier than you currently believe?
  • You can still eat everything you really want?
  • The confidence you generate now will help fuel your success come January 2?

Many people are so focused on the time that they don’t have that they miss all the small opportunities they do have to work physical and emotional wellness into their day.

Here are some practical tips that will help you maintain your wellness while traveling—or while dealing with holiday stress—and give you a head-start on getting the body you want come January.

Eat Only What You Love

Let’s face it. Not everything is calorie worthy.

If it’s not curl your toes and satisfy your soul delicious—don’t eat it.

Be discerning about what you are going to indulge in.

You may feel like its “polite” to eat some of everything, but all that’s doing is keeping you from truly enjoying the foods that you love—and potentially packing on pounds. Most people aren’t paying that much attention to what you are putting on your plate, so pick the one or two items that you truly love and would feel deprived if you weren’t eating.

Then really savor them. You’ll discover that it’s the first few bites that are packed with the most flavor. When you truly focus on and enjoy those first bites you are more satisfied and can keep your portions small.

And if Aunt Matilda complains that you aren’t eating her casserole, tell her you really want to savor it and pack up a serving to eat later–or not!

This is your body! You are empowered to choose what you put into it.

Scope Out Restaurants

More and more families are heading out for holiday meals. Whether you lean towards big chains, or like to sample the local cuisine, the Internet is a great resource.

If you can, check out the on-line menu before you head to dinner so you have planned what you’re going to order. This way, you’ll be less swayed by passing entrees, delicious smells, the bread basket, and a growling tummy to order something less healthy when the waiter finally arrives.

And don’t be afraid to ask for dishes to be prepared in a way that meets your needs. You are paying for the meal, and this is your body. Ask for what you need.

Also, decide how much you are going to eat beforehand. Then ask for a box at the start of the meal to put away the extras, so you can then focus on enjoying the meal and company without eating more than you intended.

Prepare for a Snack Attack

Chances are you will not make a great choice if you reach for a snack at one of the gas stations your stopped at on your trip. And one of the worst things you can do is not eat all day in preparation for a big meal. You are guaranteed that you will overeat and physically pay the price later.

Instead, plan ahead and bring some snacks from home.

These could include:

  • A baggie of various nuts and dried fruit for a quick and easy trail mix.
  • A stash of protein bars or home-made healthy treats.
  • If you have access to a refrigerator, bring along some pre-sliced fruit and vegetables, fat-free Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese, and anything else that you might want that needs refrigeration. Often hotels can put a mini-fridge into your room. Remember to ask for what you need.

Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day will keep your energy level high and hunger at bay without ruining your appetite for the main event.

Drink Lots of Water

You need a lot of extra water while traveling. Bringing a refillable bottle is an easy solution. If you don’t like the taste of the tap water, buy bottled water.

If you forget your reusable bottle, just buy a bottle of water and refill it.

And skip–or if that will make you feel deprived–go easy on the alcohol, which just dehydrates you further and will result in a wicked hangover the next day.

Pack Your Walking Shoes 

Tennis ShoesYou don’t have to get in a full-blown workout to get the benefits of moving your body. Even 10 minutes can boost energy, and make it easier to tolerate Uncle Oliver telling that same story for the billionth time.

Ideas include:

  • Strap on your trainers and walk or run around the block. Feel awkward? Volunteer to walk the dog. (This is a particularly good idea when you start to feel the stress of family dynamics.)
  • Pack your iPod and dance for 10 to 20 minutes in your room.
  • Bringing your computer? Pack a workout DVD that can work out to in the privacy of your room.
  • Do weight bearing exercises, such as push-ups and burpees to get your body moving and the blood circulating.

Bonus! Most of these workouts can be done in your pajamas if your workout clothes didn’t make it in the bag.

Getting in some kind of physical activity is particularly important if you are going to be spending a lot of time sitting in planes, trains, or automobiles.

Catch Your Zs

One of the keys for making sure you rapidly rebound after your trip is to get adequate rest, which can be a challenge in a strange bed hearing noises that you’re not used to, or if you have bright lights peaking through your curtains.

Prepare for these problems by packing an eye pillow or mask, ear plugs, and downloading an app on your cell phone that plays ambient noise, like a fan or rainfall.

You know what adequate rest means for you, so do your best to go to bed at a time that will enable you to get the sleep you need.

And if you do find that you ate more than you planned, heeded the call of a holiday treat, or needed the sleep more than moving your body, don’t beat yourself up.

To make your New Year’s resolution a reality this year, you only need to be consistent, not perfect.

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!

How To Enjoy Holiday Treats Without Regretting it January 2nd

Holiday Treats

Temptation.

It’s everywhere during the holidays.

Enticing sweets and treats are brought into the office, shipped to your home, spread before you at parties, and are even ringing the produce aisle in the grocery store. Maybe you’re baking them to give away, or to create that “magic” time of year for your kids.

It’s just once a year. What could be the harm in giving in?

The problem is, it’s not just once a year.

The majority of people begin overindulging around Halloween. Two full months of extra sugar, processed carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats takes its toll on your immune system, energy level, and waist line.

And most adults don’t lose the weight they gain over the holidays.

Even if you gain just 2 pounds a year, over time you will become significantly overweight.

It happens so slowly, you don’t even realize what’s happening. It feels like you wake up one day and you’re overweight.

“But,” you may wail, “I don’t want to give up my holiday treats and feel deprived!”

Who said you had to?

It’s not all or nothing people! There is an in-between.

You are able to make good decisions about what, when, and how much you are eating.

Be discerning!

Not every sweet or treat is calorie worthy. Truly, some of the most beautiful desserts taste like cardboard.

But you may eat the whole beautiful piece of cake because you really want the taste you think it should have!

Be deliberate in deciding where it is worth indulging, and where you’re better off to stick with the fruit and vegetable tray.

Here are some strategies for enjoying the season without feeling deprived:

  • Plan ahead. If you have a party this weekend that you want to enjoy, skip the treats that got brought to the office, and freeze the cookies from Aunt Mary to eat later. Choose ahead of time the once or twice a week where you are going to really savor a small indulgence. (Bonus! Does food taste better when you’re a little hungry or sated? When you save up for a treat, the taste and satisfaction dramatically increase.)
  • Be choosy. Once you’re at the party you’ve been saving up for, be selective about what you put on your plate. Is it really worth it? If not, skip it! Why spend your calorie dollars on pigs in a blanket if it’s the cheese cake that you adore? Just stick with the cake and really enjoy it.
  • Focus on portion size. Cindy Crawford gave the best advice on this I ever heard. She said, “You can eat whatever you want, just not in the amount you may want.” So you have decided the cheese cake is where your heart is. Now really taste and focus on the experience of eating a few bites. Most people mindlessly eat and never really enjoy the flavor they were after. So they keep going back. Your tongue actually goes a little numb after the first few bites, and you can’t get the flavor you are after anyway. So really focus on those first few bites to get the full flavor satisfaction, and then stop.

The caveat here is that if you know that sugar will trigger cravings that have sent your eating spiraling out of control in the past, then you will need to do some serious thinking about whether to indulge in a sweet, or not. For now, it may be best to “Just Say No” to sugar. But, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to eat those sweets ever again. Just not right now.

Instead, pick something else that you love and really enjoy that.

And if you do overindulge, the best thing to do is forgive yourself and figure out what you need to do to get back on track. It may be that you need to reach out for support from a friend, coach, or accountability group. Just remember all the reasons you do want to feel great on January 2nd.

You are able to make good decisions about what, when, and how much you are eating. Now, decide to follow through with those decisions.

Together we can do it!

Nine Tips To Break the Holiday Stress Tradition

Many of you may be traveling over the next week or have visitors coming to you to celebrate the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

While the focus is on the feast, it may be your emotional wellness that is more strained than your waistband.

The holidays—the time that’s supposed to be so magical and wonderful—are often the hardest time of year.

Part of this is because of the temptation of all the extra food around.

This leads to inner conflict. You may want to celebrate with food, but then you feel guilty about it. Or maybe you’re successful at resisting all that temptation, but then feel deprived and resentful. Or you may rebel at restraining your eating and binge on everything in sight.

There may also be the stress caused by your perception of family expectations that you don’t feel like you can live up to.

Or worse, your own expectations that everything has to be perfect.

This may mean you pack too much into your to-do list.

The result is you’re challenged when your priorities aren’t shared by others, which results in family tension. Again, you might turn to food to try to comfort yourself and deal with the stressful feelings.

You put your own self-care at the bottom of the list so you aren’t taking care of you.

It may also mean you spend too much time on details that don’t really matter and miss out on the things that do. This could look like staying up late trying to get every dish looking perfect, but then you are so tired that you scream at your kids the next morning. What’s really more important to you? Having a perfect dish, or getting enough rest to be a great Mom?

All of this can lead to a physical and emotional hangover.

There’s a lot about this time of year that can impact your wellness—whether it’s gaining weight, or having your emotional wellness impacted by depression, overwhelment, and stress, as well as challenging relationships.

Here are 9 things that you can do to break the holiday stress tradition:

  1. Take time for you. Make this your number 1 priority. Schedule your calendar around taking even 5 to 15 minutes every day to meditate or exercise, or just lounge in a bubble bath. And make sure you get enough rest so that you can maintain the best possible version of you.
  2. Love the ones your with. It’s easy to criticize when your expectations aren’t being met, so spend at least a few minutes every day focused on the best qualities of everyone you love and forgive them for not being perfect. And most importantly forgive yourself for not being perfect.
  3. You are only responsible for you. Release yourself from the responsibility for anyone else’s happiness. Their reaction is their reaction. You are in control of how you react.
  4. Align your actions with your priorities. Prioritize your to-do list so that what you’re doing aligns with what you truly want out of the holidays. Beautiful dish or great Mom? What do you really want? What will your kids really remember?
  5. Release the need to do everything yourself and either ask for help or let things go. This may mean paying a few dollars to have the store wrap your packages, or being OK with the wrapping job your partner does.
  6. Focus on all the things you appreciate in your life. There is so much that you already have that is amazing. Pay more attention to what you do have rather than resenting what you don’t.
  7. Focus on all the reasons you want to start the New Year feeling great. Do you really enjoy the emotional and physical hangover you have on January 2? What would change if you started the New Year, energized, happy, and satisfied?
  8. Celebrate each tiny thing that you do that creates your balanced and fulfilled holiday experience. So you don’t get a workout in every day. Did you do it 3 days this week? Did you park at the far end of the lot and walk? Did you go for a walk around the block when Uncle Ralph started in on that story you’ve heard 1,000 times before? Count and celebrate even the smallest thing!
  9. Reach out for support to help you get through the challenges you’re facing. This is not the time to go it alone. If you need support, ask a friend, hire a coach, or log-in to a free on-line support community, like transformation.com.

Ultimately, getting through the holidays feeling healthy and happy is about letting go of the need to be perfect. It’s reaching for the hope and belief that life can get better and better. It’s prioritizing your time to match up with what you really want.

Together we can do it!

 

 

Love Your Way Through the Holidays—Part 1

While I’m in New York City over the next few days, I’m sharing a four-part series on going from Halloween to New Year’s with balance, grace, and fulfillment. 

When I was a kid, the time between Halloween and New Year’s was magical.

What could be more fun than everyone playing dress-up and strangers giving you a bucket-load of candy that you ate for weeks?

Or having days off from school filled with delicious treats?

Or sharing a feast with family and friends?

Whether it was Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, overeating was the primary theme.

While I still love the holidays, somewhere along the way they also became fraught with stress, unmet expectations, challenging family dynamics, loneliness, and bingeing that resulted in self-loathing.

I would often start the New Year with a physical and emotional hangover that might last till spring.

This changed when I realized that I had control—not over other people, but over how I responded, what I put in my mouth, and what I did—and didn’t do. My reacting as a victim or with conflict truly was a choice. 

Making different choices and having a different experience over the holidays takes awareness, planning, and celebrating the smallest victories.

And the rewards are so worth it! 

Over the next four days, I’ll be sharing a series of simple steps that you can take that will help you get through the holidays with balance and grace. Do each step, and you will be starting the New Year with the body—and life—you want!

Step One: Awareness.

Today, look at your past experiences. What are the things that have sent you down a difficult road during previous holidays?

  • Maybe it’s the extra temptation of all the treats that are around from Halloween to New Year’s?
  • Maybe it’s the pressure and expectations of family that you can’t live up to?
  • Maybe it’s your expectations that everything has to be magical and perfect—for yourself or for others?
  • Maybe it’s a difficult relationship?
  • Maybe it’s feeling alone, even when you are in a crowd?
  • Maybe it’s the overwhelming to-do list that you don’t feel supported in getting done?

Whatever those things are that knock you for a loop, write them down.

Then ask yourself these questions, and write down the answers.

  • What do the holidays mean to you?
  • What are the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that come up for you when you think about the holidays?
  • What values are you trying to honor?
  • How do you want to feel?
  • How do I want to be on January 2nd, using the present tense?

Right here and now, make the commitment to make the necessary changes to love your way through the holidays. 

Tomorrow we’ll look at how to plan for the holidays you want!

Together we can do it!

 

Accountability

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Accountability for December 23, 2011

After falling into the cookies, on December 20, I committed to being accountable through the New Year to you Fabulous Readers about my diet and exercise as I recover from surgery.

Day 4 of healthy eating! Did great yesterday, particularly considering that treats from my sister-in-law arrived and it was all I could do not to fall right into them. Instead, I had three Gin-Gin ginger hard candies to satisfy my sweet tooth. Everything else was on plan. Win!

Also got in all four-doctor-prescribed walks, so I’m continuing to do well on the exercise.

And I feel great! I am definitely hoping the doctor gives me the all clear next Wednesday as I feel ready to resume my normal activities.

I won’t report in for Christmas Eve or Christmas day. Since I wasn’t sure if I would be feeling up to cooking a big holiday dinner, we made plans to go out to dinner tonight, so today will be my Free Day. (I just had some of the banana bread my sister-in-law sent. Yum!) Christmas will be pretty moderate, but I plan to have a cookie or two and perhaps a slice of the apple pie my husband is planning to make.

My intention is to be back on track Monday, and I’ll be back with accountability next week.

Happy Holidays!

Have a goal on which you would like to be held accountable? Feel free to use the comment space on each of my accountability blogs, and I will cheer you on. Just let me know what your goal is, what you will be doing to meet it, and how often you will be reporting in.

Tame the Inner Cookie Monster

My inner toddler seems to have taken control of my eating since my surgery last Wednesday and has turned into a bit of a Cookie Monster.

This came about because my tummy wasn’t very accommodating for the first few days, so it seemed OK to enjoy saltines, ginger ale, and a few cookies. But as my body has gotten better in balance, my indulgence in cookies has only increased.

Granted these are “healthier” cookies than normal. Before the surgery, my wonderful husband, David, made my recipe for peanut-butter oatmeal cookies, which have no additional fat from the peanut butter and just a little dark brown sugar and honey. When he mentioned making some chocolate chip cookies, out of self-preservation I went on-line and found a lightened up recipe that substitutes oatmeal for much of the flour and cuts the fat significantly. (And wow are they good!) While these are better choices that are fine for an occasional indulgence, they are still more calories than nutrition.

After I set my intention yesterday to eat clean, but wound up having cookies for two of my meals (what works for me is to eat five to six smaller meals a day) and was sneaking in one or two more, I realized it was time to tame this beast and get back on track with my healthy eating. I really do want to be able to wear my jeans at the end of the week!

What I would ask a client is, “What are the feelings that are leading to eating the cookies?”

For me there is some boredom (which makes total sense because my activities are curtailed for the time being and David has had to go back to work, so I’m having to entertain myself) and a sense of entitlement from my inner toddler that feels like I “deserve” cookies because I went through surgery (and behaved really well!), it’s the holidays, and I just plain want them because they are easy and delicious.

(I can almost hear the whining and feel the temper-tantrum coming on!)

Since my commitment to eating healthy is pretty darn high and I’m putting this out there to you fabulous readers to help me stay accountable, what can I do to tame this inner Cookie Monster and meet my goals?

  • I can put the cookies in the freezer, which will require that they thaw before I eat them, making sure I have a good 20 minutes to decide if I really want them or not. (Done!)
  • Every day, I can read my affirmations and my list of reasons why I want to start the New Year feeling great. (I just went and read them.)
  • When I want cookies, I can offer myself a choice of an apple or orange instead.
  • I can plan out my meals in advance. (Done)
  • I can plan to eat some cookies on Christmas day.
  • If my inner toddler throws a tantrum, I can mentally walk away and just let her throw a fit. But the answer will still be “No.”
  • I will post how I am doing with food and exercise for the next two weeks so that you can keep me accountable.

I suspect that I’m not the only one who has found themselves eating foods that generate guilt rather than a feeling of ease and alignment with their goals.

If you are in the same boat, ask yourself what you are feeling as you reach for that treat? Look at your commitment to eating healthy—if it’s fairly low, what can you do to raise it? What are some strategies you can engage to make the changes you want? How can you hold yourself accountable?

You are the only one responsible for the things you eat and put in your body. What can you do to eat foods that feel good, rather than create guilt?

Together we can do it!