Be The Terminator!

Are you ready to celebrate how far you've already come?

Are you ready to celebrate how far you’ve already come?

Today’s post is all about exploring the process of change and celebrating how far you’ve already come :).

You may not have found it easy to change your eating or exercise habits  in the past. You may not have found it easy to love and appreciate your body.You may have been on or off diets several times in your life. You may even have bought all the kit to exercise, gone to one class and then not continued. You may not even believe it’s  possible for you to change completely and have the body you want with a healthy lifestyle to go with it. If any of this rings true for you, here’s the good news : in terms of your moving towards a healthy relationship with food and your body, you may be much further along the road of change than you think!

Where Are You In The Process Of Change? Prochaska and Di Clemente (1983) describe a model of change comprising 7 key phases :

  1. Pre-Contemplation.
  2. Contemplation.
  3. Preparation.
  4. Action.
  5. Maintenance.
  6. Relapse.
  7. Termination

Pre-Contemplation In this phase, people are not seriously considering the possibility of change. An example of a person in this stage could be someone who is overweight but does not have any real desire to lose weight, eat healthily, get fit, process their emotions in a healthy way or tackle their inner “Cookie Monster” (actually mine was a Pringles Monster but that’s another story!). You might hear someone in this phase say “So, I’m overweight. That’s just the way I am and I’m kinda used to it. There’s more to life than exercise and mung beans.”

Contemplation During this phase, people become aware , or acknowledge the existence, of a problem. They are seriously considering the possibility of change but need to weigh up whether to take any action or not. In terms of weight loss, many people remain in this stage of contemplation for years! (Sound familiar?!) You might hear someone in this phase saying something like “I know I need to do something but I just don’t know where to start. I’m not sure whether I have the time or whether I’ve left it too late. I’m not sure about paying for a gym membership but I do know that if I don’t do something now, it could have consequences for my life in the future. Can I really change what I eat? Do I really want to eat differently? Is this change really important for me? Is it important enough? Why do I really need to change my relationship with food and my body? Can I go on like this for much longer? What will happen if I don’t change?”

Are you preparing for a change?

Are you preparing for a change?

Preparation As soon as you get to the Preparation phase, things start to look good! Procheska and Di Clemente suggest that if you find yourself at this stage, it’s very likely that you will make a change within the next 3 months. During this key phase, you might find yourself collecting information about what is required to start the change process. You might be Googling about the best way to lose weight, you might be finding out about the cost of membership at a local gym, you might be on Amazon checking out all the diet books, you may be asking about local therapists and weight loss coaches. If you’ve asked for more information about my live Thigh High Boot Camp events or my coaching packages, then you are already at this stage in the change process! (Even reading this blog means that it’s likely that you’re at this stage :))

Action This is the stage when people actually start to make changes. If you have signed up to my upcoming weight loss boot camps or to my coaching programme, then you are at this advanced stage already! If you’ve joined a gym and booked your induction, you’ve arrived at this stage. If you’ve started to read about an approach to weight loss which may work for you – and you’re implementing the recommendations –Woo-Hoo! Go you, Action Adventurer! If you’ve started attending a local weight loss support group, full-on Action Alerts all around!

So you can congratulate yourself already for getting this far – did you realise how far you had already come? As you engage fully with the process of taking action -and start to make sustainable psychological, emotional, spiritual, dietary, exercise and life-style changes- you will move further into this stage.

Maintenance This Maintenance phase is all about your sustaining the progress made during the action phase. For you, this stage might represent the period directly after completing one of my weight loss events or coaching programmes. It could be the stage when the novelty of going to an exercise class or a weight loss support group has worn off and it’s beginning to feel like a regular part of life. It might be the phase where the eating approach you have selected is definitely getting you results and all you need to do is just keep following the approach.

Some people will stay at this stage for a matter of weeks – others for a considerable period of time. During this stage you may not be totally confident about your ability to avoid relapsing into old habits. After the initial “success highs” have worn off, you may become increasingly aware of old unhelpful patterns which may require resolution. This is all good news : it means you are gaining more insight into who you are and how you work. It’s all part of the process of learning to “stay on track naturally” in a way which works for you

Relapse This is the stage when people are not able to keep and maintain new psychological, behavioural and emotional patterns or don’t stick to their plan of action. This can happen for any number of reasons – but if relapses occur, there is still hope! Just because you don’t “stay on the wagon” (and it really is worth challenging what this phrase actually means!) doesn’t mean you can’t get back on! Actually, it might hearten you to know that it is recognised that relapses are vital to any successful change process. Although it is helpful to avoid relapsing into old behaviours, it should be emphasised that you can learn a great deal about how to change your behaviour (on a permanent basis) from your relapses. (It was only when I relapsed that I learned that the emotion driving my eating behaviour was anxiety. That was a really useful insight for me and helped me to shift my focus to resolving my own anxiety so that my hunger was driven by genuine physiological appetite rather than an emotion).

If you become aware of your “triggers” for relapse, you have a much better chance of resolving the trigger-response relationship once and for all!

Be the Terminator!

Be the Terminator!

Termination (doesn’t sound great but it’s the best bit!) At this stage the old psychological, emotional or behavioural response is gone for good – it is the stage we all dream of! When you reach this stage,  your new psychological, emotional ad behavioural responses will happen automatically, unconsciously and naturally. (Termination sounds pretty cool, right?)

Something For You To Chew Over! Even though you might be busy “being good” right now and avoiding popping to the local “Take-Away” restaurant, here’s a healthy “Take Away” for you. Wherever you’re at in this process, you’re in it! Whether you know it consciously or not, you’re on the road to change 🙂  Congratulations!

Useful Resources If you’ve enjoyed this post and would like to learn more about my take on “staying on track” and “relapse”(I call this phase “wiggling”), please check out my 12 Days of Christmas series of posts. These 2 posts will be of particular interest :

https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/

https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2013/01/02/act-in-a-response-able-way/

You can also find out more about my live weight loss boot camps (in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England) and my 1-1 and group coaching programmes here http://www.thighhighbootcamp.com

I’ll be back – and, until then, gotta run 🙂 !

JT

© Jane Talbot 2013

Ready For The Next Epiphany?

You're getting even more enlightened!

You’re getting even more enlightened!

Welcome to the 10th day of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here : https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/  and I really recommend that you start the project at Day 1 to get the full benefit!)

Yesterday’s post was all about learning how to be a pilot 🙂 so that you can be confident that you are heading in the right direction – and be aware when you’re wiggling 🙂  (That word makes me giggle!)

And today? Well, it’s already Day 10 and that means that the 12 Days of Christmas project is nearing its end. I thought that today might be a lovely opportunity to check in with what you’re learning as we did on the 5th day. As you continue to check in, I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the progress you’re making, the changes that are occurring and the insights you are gaining. How much more have you learned since the last “Epiphany” on Day 5?

What are you learning that's of value to you?

What are you learning that’s of value to you?

Activity 1 : Your Second Epiphany! As you look back over the whole project , what are the 3 most significant gifts (in terms of learning, insight and awareness) that engaging with this process has brought to you ?  What is changing as a result of your learning? What have you learned in the last 5 days that’s different to what you learned in the first 5?

Activity 2 : Complete The Following Statements

1.Right now food means __________ to me.

2. I would describe my relationship with my body as ______________

3. I know I’m present in my body when ________________________

4. When I look in the mirror I say to myself _____________________

5. Considering the future, in terms of my relationship with food and with my body, I feel ___________________________________________

6. The thought of processing my emotions without the help of food is ____

7. I could support myself on my weight loss journey by ______________

8. My body is ___________________________________________

9. I am becoming more _____________________________________

10. It’s now time for me to stop __________ and to start _____________

The best way to do this exercise is to be as honest as you can! Let whatever comes up, come out 🙂 And as you consider how you’ve completed each of the statements, what are you noticing? What’s changed? What’s new? What would you like to resolve? Are you heading in the right direction for you? (You may sense more statements coming up naturally : let ’em out and learn!)

If anything comes up that you’re not comfortable with, ask yourself this question: “So, this is how/what I’m feeling/thinking/talking/experiencing right now. How do I want to be different?” (Just a wee nudge – remember to answer this positively. Not how you don’t want to be BUT how you DO want to be!)

Remember to fuel the flames!

Remember to fuel the flames!

As you ask this question, you might want to revisit my post on goal-setting and how to get in the mood for action!  Here’s the link : https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2013/01/01/energising-action/

As soon as you feel the powerful, positive state emerging, just ask yourself what’s the next smallest step I could take to help me to keep heading in the right direction? (Then take it 🙂 and use your pilot’s licence :)).

Please feel free to share your learning :sometimes what you’re learning can be a fabulous gift for others (and can really help pennies to drop!)

So that’s us for Day 10 (oh and if you are playing the Get The Message game, we are already on the 3rd and final word..Just 2 more letters to go – but I’m sure, even with a few letters missing,  you’ve got the complete message already!)

Gotta run :)!

JT

© Jane Talbot 2013

 

Nourishing Confidence!

Welcome to the 7th day of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (If you are just joining the project now, you can get the full low-down here: https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/  and I really recommend that you start the project at Day 1 to get the full benefit!)

Yesterday was all about your learning how to recognise an emotion by observing it ; how to learn from the emotion; andhow to process the emotion and let it go.

What am I serving up today?

What am I serving up today?

Today, I’m taking a slightly different tack and taking a look at food and the notion of “diets”. If you’ve been taking part in the 12 Days of Christmas project, you may be paying more attention to which foods support your eating pleasure ; you may have changed your mind about what pleasure means for you. You may be reconnecting with your body, with your appetite and with your emotions. You may even be developing confidence in your own ability to pay attention to your natural signals.

And there’s a powerful word : CONFIDENCE. As you’re developing confidence in your own body, as you begin to value and relate to your body in new ways, you might want to feed it in new ways too. How confident are you about making the right food choices for you?

How do you know what’s healthy for you and your body? Well, that’s a really good question. And there are a myriad of answers to be found in a multitude of dietary approaches. And whilst it can be helpful to keep connected to nutritional science’s latest conversation , it’s probably even more helpful to keep connected to your own inner nutritional guru. 

Here are my suggestions to help you find a way of eating that works for both you and your body :

1. It needs to be pleasurable (look good, smell good and feel good in your body).

2. Be fully respectful of the signals and feedback your body offers to you.

3. Experiment until you have designed a way of eating that is tailored to you.

4. Acknowledge that your body is changing all the time (this means that what you eat may need to change over time).

5. Develop a style of eating focused on health / energy / vitality rather than weight loss. (Ask yourself :  what do I want food to give me BEYOND weight loss?)

About Diets  There is a whole heap of information about diet, eating philosophies and nutrition available – in fact, there is so much information around that it’s not always easy to determine what’s going to work for you or be healthy for you. New ideas come and go and researchers are discovering new things all the time. Because nutritional science is in its infancy , this means we have to be courageous enough to make our own choices (we have to evaluate the science and do our homework too!) and we have to be confident enough to experiment and find out what works for our own body and our own mind.

Trust your inner nutritional guru!

Trust your inner nutritional guru!

I’m certainly not going to be prescribing any diets here! Rather, I’m suggesting that it’s all about your learning to make food choices that support your health. I’m suggesting it’s all about your having the confidence to develop a style of eating (your own nutritional philosophy) based on your own body wisdom and on your own assessment of anything new that nutritional science brings to the conversation. Being your own best nutritional guru is not only GREAT for your mind-body but it frees you from being driven exclusively by an external set of rules.

It Really Is Up To You! If I’d been writing this blog post 10 years ago, you would have seen a picture of the UK Healthy Eating Pyramid (with cereals and grains propping up the rest of the diet). That’s how I was trained when I studied nutrition : low fat and whole grain carbs as a basis for a healthy diet.

Since then, lots has changed . When I trained in over 10 years ago, they were just starting to talk about the notion of Glycaemic Indices (the rate at which foods release their sugar into the body and affect blood sugar levels).Now they talk about Glycaemic Load (GL) (ie. they are learning more and more all the time) and diets higher in protein and higher in fat are now being recommended (protein satisfies you and fat doesn’t always make you fat! That’s the latest conversation :))

How do you know if your way of eating is working for you?

How do you know if your way of eating is working for you?

Confused yet? Who wouldn’t be?! I’ve checked out every diet over the years (and tried out most when I was struggling with my weight). In the end, I decided to put my own stake in the ground : I developed an eating approach that works for me based on my own body wisdom and my own views on the science. Here are the guidelines that I developed for myself that help me to make choices about my style of eating / food . As you consider my guidelines, what would yours be? (Write them down, chew them over and them give it a whirl : experiment! You might be thrilled at your growing confidence in the area of nutrition :))

1.Do I believe the science? (With the internet, well-qualified friends and a basic understanding of what constitutes “good research”, you can begin to get a feel for whether an eating approach is worth trying!)

2. Do I feel satisfied eating in this way? (If I am hungry and constantly thinking about food ~ it’s not working for me!)

3. Do I feel energised and healthy?

4. Am I sleeping well?

5. Does my skin and hair look good?

6. Am I achieving / maintaining a healthy weight?

7. Do I enjoy eating this way?

8. Can I find the foods easily?

9. Does it support my lifestyle? (Can I run on this food? Can I compete on this food? Can I eat out with friends on this food?)

10. Is it sustainable in the longer term? (I couldn’t detox, juice-fast or Slimfast “shake it” for the rest of my life ~ and I bet you couldn’t either!)

11. IS THE FOOD “REAL”? (I avoid processed foods whenever possible : my body doesn’t like them!)

All In Good Time! Your body may take time to adapt to a new way of eating. Give your body and mind a chance to digest what you are offering to it.

Be an explorer of food!

Be an explorer of food!

Well, I think I’ve served up quite a healthy portion today, so I’ll leave you to get stuck in. And I’m going to leave you with a smile too 🙂 . This quote from Erma Bombeck always makes me giggle : “I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food”.  Puts me in mind of Indiana Jones and those Lara Croft boots again 🙂

If Indy (he’s my favourite after Barry Manilow, by the way) were sitting next to me , I’d expect he’d offer the following advice to us all right now :

Go exploring!

Have an adventure!

Have fun!

You may get into some scrapes but you’ll sure learn fast!

Respect the magic : it’s powerful!

You’re more resourceful than you think!

If you find a puzzle, the solution isn’t probably what you expect it to be!

Trap doors aren’t so bad : if you fall down one, enjoy the ride (but remember where the trap door is for the next time)!

There is always treasure : follow the signs and symbols, crack the code and it’s yours :)!

Your enemy often turns out to be a great ally!

Gotta run 🙂 ! Oh – And do have a wonderful slide into 2013 tonight 🙂

JT ( If you are interested in 1-1 coaching or in attending a live Thigh-High Bootcamp event, please feel free to visit my website http://www.thighhighbootcamp.com for more info 🙂 The next live events are taking place in Northern Ireland – Portrush and Belfast in January and February ; and in England – Warrington in February).

© Jane Talbot 2012

Pleasure Permits Issued For The 1st Day Of Christmas!

Permission to proceed!

Permission to proceed!

Welcome to the first post of the 12 Days of Christmas project! (Oh – and a very merry Christmas to you too!) So, here’s the deal. Over the next 12 days, I’ll be blogging about how to “stay on track” over the festive period (you can get the full low-down on what I mean by staying on track and how it’s going to work here:

https://thighhighbootcamp.com/2012/12/18/welcome-to-the-12-days-of-christmas-project/ )

“But it’s only the 24th December and it’s not the 1st Day of Christmas until tomorrow!” I hear you shouting. That’s right, it is – and sometimes it’s good to open presents early so that you can make sure that they are all ready for use on Christmas Day. (I’m just making sure you have the metaphorical batteries, plugs and adaptors in place to have the full festive fun tomorrow :))

Okay, brace yourself. Here comes Top Tip Number 1 for your staying on track over the Christmas period :

Your pleasure permit is valid!

Your pleasure permit is valid!

Give yourself full permission to enjoy the festive food you’d really like to be having. Take full pleasure in eating and in the ritual of sharing food.  Yes. You read that right. If you want to have turkey with all the trimmings, goose with all the glitter or pheasant with all the finery – go right ahead and have it.  The thing is, most of us who have struggled with diets in the past know that this can be a pretty grim time of year if we feel that we have to stick to a set of diet rules (no matter what) and yet every inch of us wants to eat what everyone else is enjoying. Feelings of deprivation hang like an angry black cloud over festive gatherings – and it’s not just about the food, it’s also about missing out on all the associations linked with the food (l know that, for me, all my childhood Christmases are contained in a spoonful of my grandmother’s bread sauce :). Bread sauce IS Christmas.)

So. What if you didn’t have to feel deprived? What if you could go right on ahead and lap up the full pleasure of Christmas and “stay on track” by respecting your body’s natural signals?  Do you want to know how to do that? Are you willing to experiment ? Are you in? Brilliant! Here’s what to do tomorrow (and relax. If you opened this “present” early, feel free to play and have fun with it straight away!)

1. Give yourself full permission to take pleasure in enjoying the food you would like to be eating. You might want to say it out loud while looking in a mirror, or write it down. Notice what feelings or thoughts come up, if any. Handle negative thoughts or feelings (such as guilt or “that’s me off the wagon”) by explaining to yourself :

1)     Why it’s important for you to be able to enjoy eating festive food and to be able to feel that you are taking part an important ritual.

2)     That you’ll be respecting your body’s signals in a way that has benefits for both your physical and emotional health.

2. Be present while you’re eating. Every time you eat, do the following : 

0)     Remind yourself that you have given yourself a full Pleasure Permit!

1)     Ask yourself “Does this look good?” .What is it about the food that looks appealing?

2)     Ask yourself “Does this smell good?” What is it about the aroma of the food that I find so appealing?

3)     As you put the food into your mouth, ask yourself “Does this taste good?”  Which flavours stand out?  What does this food feel like in your mouth?  What do you enjoy about the texture of this food?

4)     As the food travels from your mouth and into your stomach, ask yourself “How am I experiencing this? Does this feel good?”

5)     Chew slowly, savour every sensory aspect of the experience and rest between each mouthful, asking yourself “How satisfied am I already? Have I had enough?”

3. Eat only when you are experiencing FULL pleasure (you can eat whatever you want, as long as you are really enjoying it). If the food looks good, smells good, tastes good and feels good – that’s full pleasure and you can go ahead and eat until you are satisfied. If it’s not giving you full-on pleasure, put your knife and fork down and leave it.

4. Stop when you are SATISFIED rather than FULL. The feeling of being satisfied is usually a pleasurable one, easier to pay attention to when you are operating at SLOW speed! This is not about stopping at the point at which the seams are about to burst (which, for most of us, is not pleasurable at all), this is about continually tuning it to what your body is telling you. If it’s been a while since you’ve paid attention to your body’s signals, this step could be a little hit and miss to start with. However, the invitation is for you to pay exquisite attention to your body’s communications and see if you can work out the point at which you should put the knife and fork down (no matter what is left on your plate). Here’s a tip – feeling satisfied often comes well before the feeling of fullness :). I recommend you making a mental note of your evidence for feeling satisfied as the 12 Days of Christmas project progresses (you might want to ask yourself the questions “How do I know when I am satisfied?” “What’s going on in my body that lets me know I’m fully satisfied?”)

Savour it all!

Savour it all!

5. Be present to the fullness of the ritual – savour it all! Whether you are on your own or with friends and family, as you are eating, pay full attention to the other pleasurable aspects of the experience. Who/what is bringing fun to the table? Who/what is bringing peace? What is familiar about the festive ritual you are enjoying? What is new that is bringing you pleasure? What are the positive connections between you and others at the table? If you are on your own, what is pleasurable about connecting with yourself at this very moment? What pleasurable emotions are you feeling as you nourish yourself with the experience? Where do you feel them the most in your body? Ask yourself, what does the ritual of sharing food with myself and/or with others mean to me right now?

So that’s you – all set for the first day of Christmas! You’ll be learning a heap of stuff about your appetite and your body over the next 12 days : many people like to keep a journal of their experiences when undertaking a project like this and I’d really recommend this approach. (You might want to consider some of the following questions : What happened when you gave yourself full permission to eat what you wanted? Did any food you expected to be totally pleasurable actually turn out to be not so pleasurable at all? Did some foods taste good but not feel good? Do you know the difference between feeling satisfied and feeling full? What is the difference for you? Did some foods not actually taste how you “remembered” them tasting? What did you learn about your relationship with food, your body and the ritual of eating today?)

Please feel free to share your 1st Day of Christmas experiences by posting a comment. If you have any questions, leave them as a comment too and I’ll post an answer as soon as I can.

Your next “present” will arrive for unwrapping on the 26th December 🙂 In the meantime, focus on your own present and savour every pleasurable moment!

Right, that’s me – I’ve a turkey to roast and that bread sauce to make!

Gotta run 🙂

JT

© Jane Talbot 2012