To set yourself free, let yourself be!

mouse blog

Have you ever been in the situation where you’ve got food in the house and you just can’t let it be : it whispers to you , prods at you, worms its way into your every thought  until you just have to have it? Maybe you even have to keep going until it’s completely gone.

I’m sure we’ve all been there and know what it’s like not to be able to let food be! And here’s my take on this : if you just can’t let food be, chances are you’re just not letting yourself be! Chances are, you’re actually using food to prevent yourself from BEING.

Well, here’s a revolutionary thought for you to try on (especially if you consider yourself to be an emotional eater) : what if you could just let yourself be?

What if you were able to let yourself be fully present to your inner experiences : allowing (even welcoming!) emotions, thoughts and feelings to come and go , whatever they were ? What if you were able to be fully present to your outer experiences, whether these experiences matched up to your idea of how life SHOULD be or not? This is what I mean by just letting yourself be.

My prediction is this : let yourself be, I mean really be – and you’ll always have a CHOICE about whether you let food be or not.

To set yourself free , just let yourself be!

(And if you’re not quite sure how to let yourself be in this way, I’ll be posting more about this soon 🙂 )

© Jane Talbot 2013

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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

Observe, Learn And Let Go!

When the shadow is respected, full beauty emerges.

When the shadow is respected, full beauty emerges.

Welcome to the 6th 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 reviewing what you’ve learned so far (and it’s a really good idea to review your learning on a regular basis : you may be pleasantly surprised at how much progress you are making 🙂 )

Today is all about exploring the contents of your 3-day food diary in a little more detail. You may have guessed by this stage that the most useful aspect of this exercise isn’t necessarily the recording of the food you eat .Some of the most useful aspects of keeping such a diary are:

1. It helps you to become consciously aware of some automatic patterns you may be running (which may no longer be serving you).

2. It encourages you to spend time in your body so that you can get connected to physiological signals.

3. It helps you to re-learn the difference between an emotional signal and a physiological hunger signal.

Today, we’re going to focus on emotional signals . We’re going to learn how to recognise an emotion by observing it . We’re going to learn how to learn from the emotion (emotions are very powerful forms of communication : are you getting the message?). And finally, we are going to learn a simple technique to help you to process the emotion and let it go.

The theme of the 12 Days of Christmas project is all about your learning to “stay on track” naturally. One way of staying on track is to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full: sounds so simple, doesn’t it? So why isn’t it that simple for all of us?

Well, it comes right back to being in your body. To be in touch with the signals, you really have to be close enough to the signal to hear it – that means getting back into your body and spending enough time there to know what each signal means. And when you know what each signal means, it’ about responding appropriately. Eat to respect a hunger signal : that seems obvious enough 🙂 But how do you respect an emotional signal?

Well, that’s what today’s activity is all about.

The Set-Up Take a look at your food diary and notice which emotions are present at the point at which you experience “hunger”. Which are your not-so-positive “regular visitors” 🙂 ? Sometimes, we are not sufficiently present in our body (or so out of touch with our emotions) that we are not able to name the emotion. If this sounds like you, check through your food diary for physiological feelings that didn’t feel good. Is there a pattern of physiological feelings that occurs at the point of “hunger”?

When I first got back into my body, I had absolutely no idea what anything meant at all! I experienced a lot of physical agitation and tenseness at the time of feeling “hunger”. I later decoded this message as “anxiety” (but it took me a while!)

A Little Note For Those Of You Who May Not Be Feeling Totally Comfortable Right Now. You are about to spend time with an emotion – and it’s been a while. It’s a bit like going on a date for the first time in a very long time and not even being sure whether you even like your date! You may be feeling nervous , even a little afraid  And you might want to respect those feelings by going gently with this process. You don’t have to dive in : just dip your toe in to start with. You might just want to start with Steps 1. and 2. After doing this several times (and noticing your increasing comfort), you can move further through the process. GO AT YOUR OWN PACE 🙂 And, if don’t feel ready to engage with your emotions on your own (and you have a genuine desire to get re-connected to them),I would suggest a 1-1 session with a professional. *

Step 1 : The next time you experience “hunger” or a desire to eat, check in with your body and see if one of your regular not-so-positive emotional visitors is present. (Or one of your regular physiological feelings that you don’t really enjoy). How do you know it’s there? What are you experiencing that lets you know that there is an “additional guest” at the table?

Step 2 : Once you know it’s present, welcome your guest in a way that is right for you (I know, it’s all very like Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost but it’s important to acknowledge its presence. You may not have acknowledged its presence for some while!)  If you can name the emotion at this stage, do so now. (I do this out loud.). Now invite your guest to leave your body and sit next to you : give the emotion its own place.

Tip : If your guest needs a little help leaving your body, give it a hand! Locate the feeling in your body and imagine pulling it out gently (it’s always good to be kind but sometimes they may need a bit of a tug!) and then place it beside you.

Observe!

Observe!

Step 3 : Observe your guest. Sit at a comfortable distance from the emotion or physiological feeling. How do you know that this feeling isn’t physiological hunger? (That’s important to ask if you were unable to name emotions in your food diary. If you realise that this is actually physiological hunger sitting next to you, thank it for its presence and take action :)). How do you know that this feeling is an emotion? What are you noticing about it? What are you noticing about your own internal responses? What does your guest remind you of? How is it relating to you? How are you relating to it? What are its distinctive qualities? (Answering this question can be really helpful in identifying this as an emotional signal rather than a hunger signal in the future). As time passes, what do you notice about your comfort level? Are you able to move your chair a little closer? What happens if you move it closer? What happens if you move it further away? What is the name of this emotion? Name it now if you were not able to name it at Step 1.

Step 3 : Learn from the emotion. Emotions are a very powerful means of non-verbal communication. After years of experiencing them, we develop skill at decoding the message. Once we get the message, our task then is to take congruent action : that is, respect the message in a way that is supportive of both our mind and our body (and beyond). As we begin to respect the message in this way, our emotions quieten : their job is done.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, yes, if you’ve been in your body for some time and lived amongst your feelings and emotions (the good and the not so good) – in that case, it is easy. However, for those of us, who have only recently arrived back in our body, it may take a little time to get the message and it may take you a while to get used to the “noise” of emotions 🙂

As you sit next to the emotion, ask the following questions:

1 What message, of value to me, is this emotion communicating?

2.What is the positive intention of this emotion? (How is it trying to help me?)

3.What is there for me to learn from this emotion (of a positive nature), the learning of which would allow this feeling to go?

3.What is something I could do to respect the message, something that I feel aligned and okay with? (Avoid life-changing decisions and big commitments at this stage! Take a small step in the right direction 🙂 Learning to listen to your emotions counts as a step :))

4.Thank the emotion for its communication and for trying to help you. (If the help it is offering is no longer relevant for your life today , still thank it and explain how things have changed. This is a version of congruent action.).

Tip 1: If you get the message but you don’t take congruent action, your emotion is unlikely to quieten 🙂

Tip 2: It may take a short while for the insights to arrive. Be patient 🙂 If no answers come up immediately, just sit next to the emotion and wait. If after a while, nothing has come up, complete the process (the answers may arrive at a later time!)

Let it go!

Let it go!

Step 4 : Let it go. Once you have thanked the emotion, you can invite your guest to leave. I do this by imagining the emotion turning into the wind and blowing through my body. As the wind blows through my body, I feel the feeling and bid it good-bye, by name. You may enjoy a very gentle breeze, you may prefer the wind to blow around your body ,or away from your body, instead of through it (although having the emotion go through your body lets you get used to feeling feelings again – and that can be very helpful :)) or you may even prefer to design your own process for letting go!  

I have to tell you that the first time I tried this, I had a real epiphany moment at this stage. I realised that when it was time to let go of the feeling, I didn’t want to! The emotion I was working through at the time was sadness. As I looked at the sadness and acknowledged everything it had done for me, everything it was trying to tell me, I became incredibly sad myself (I am actually crying as I am typing this). I realised that I had enjoyed spending time with my emotion : it felt sacred and I wanted to keep the connection.I was actually feeling the feeling for the first time in a long time. I wasn’t frightened of it at all. In fact, I was suddenly in awe of the gentleness and dignity with which this emotion had handled itself in its attempt to help. It was an utterly tender experience. It was at this very moment that I decided to start respecting my body. It was at this very moment that I decided to start respecting my emotions : all of them.

In a nutshell 🙂 By learning to recognise an emotion and its purpose, we can begin to respect our body and our emotions in new ways. Just pay attention to what’s happening the next time you experience hunger : are you getting the message in a different way? If you begin to listen to your emotions rather than feeding them, what happens?

I look forward to hearing how this works for you!

Gotta run  🙂 ! JT

Group experiences can be nourishing and nurturing!

Group experiences can be nourishing and nurturing!

*If you would like to discuss the possibility of 1-1 coaching sessions (face-to-face or via Skype) with me, do feel free to call or email. If you think that you might enjoy exploring/ resolving your emotional relationship with food in a group setting (it can be fun, transformational and extremely nurturing to work with a group of peolple who really get where you’re coming from), do consider coming along to a live event! The next live events are in Northern Ireland (in Portrush and in Belfast in January and February) and in the England (Warrington in February). Check out this page to find out more https://thighhighbootcamp.com/dates-venues-price/

© Jane Talbot 2012

Welcome To The 12 Days Of Christmas Project!

With only 7 sleeps to go before the big “Ho Ho Ho!!”, it’s time to launch my 12 Days of Christmas project! If you are already on a weightloss journey and would enjoy support over the festive period, or if you are considering making 2013 the year that you make peace with food and with your body, then I’d be thrilled to welcome you to join me (it’s FREE!)

Everything you need to know about how the project will work is included in the short 10-minute video (below).  A snack-sized text version of the project information is also available (it’s underneath the video!)

If you’re feeling anxious about “staying on track” over the festive season, this blog-supported 12-day project is for you! Over the course of 12 days, I’ll be sharing tips and activities that will not only help you to “stay on track” but will also offer you the opportunity to ditch the “carrot sticks ‘n’ low-fat dips” menu. (It sounds like all your Christmases have come at once, doesn’t it? Well, if you can get in touch with your own natural body wisdom – and respect it – not only will Christmas never be the same again, your relationship with both food and your body will be totally transformed :))

Watch the video to discover the link between skis and this project!

Watch the video to discover the link between skis and this project!

If you are ready to give yourself a Christmas gift that will help you to break free from the dieting paradigm, all you have to do is click on the “Sign Me Up!” button on the right-hand navigation bar and just wait for your first “gift” to arrive in your email in-box on Christmas Eve (it’s okay to open this gift early!)

Oh – and there’s an added bonus! Each of the 12 “gift blogs” will have a title. If you take the first letter from each title ( in sequence), it will spell out a festive message just for you 🙂 (I wonder how quickly you’ll get the message……)

Gotta run (I’ve got gifts to wrap for you!)

JT