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Cultivate Twelve Essential Skills

Check Out the Table of Contents Below

Achieve a Healthier Life and Vibrant Friskiness Step-by-Step!

Skill Power, Not Will Power, Is the Key to Success!

Discover Below Guidance-At-A-Glance!

Have you ever wondered how you got SO off track with your lifestyle choices? To learn about what happened--the mystery--requires you becoming a detective. As a detective, you will need some tools to figure out clues to your mystery.

The twelve essential skills below will provide answers for you. You use the skills and different tools to discover how you do what you do, right now.  Then you figure out strategies to practice making healthful substitutions--to substitute new choices that will, over time, help you achieve a healthier relationship with your food and life. You choose which areas you are ready to look at now.

Success at achieving a healthier relationship with food and yourself, transforming addictions, and finding increased well-being, for a lifetime, requires learning a series of new lifestyle skills. These skills allow us to create our lives in a NEW way. Before I started my journey, I didn't know any of these skills. Learning these skills opened for me the prison door to my isolation cell of depression and low self esteem and various addictions. I was no longer a victim of my out-of-control, unhealthy habits. It was so ENJOYABLE to discover the freedom of new options for living.

This Web site is a blueprint for self-change. It's a toolkit--tools don't do anything. YOU do as you use the tools to discover how you do what you do. This is self-directed learning. With self-directed learning you can discover the issues or problems that are most relevant to you at the moment. They are based on your own experience. You set your own agenda and your own pace. Have FUN with your exploration!

How To Use This Site: Where To Begin & What To Do

Why Would Someone Try My Approach?

As you explore below, ask yourself, "What are YOUR root causes?" Your patterns?

I encourage you to explore  the Resource Sections 1 and 2 for an extensive list of resources in each topic area.  There you will find an invaluable collection of weight-loss and addiction-free life wisdom. I Have learned most of what I know from other people. Many of the resources that I and many other people have found to be invaluable are listed there.

Time and time again, I have seen people's lives blossom after they made the decision to invest the time in themselves to study and practice the twelve skills listed below.  I encourage you to just pick and choose those themes that you would like to explore. Remember, your health is your greatest wealth! Answer the questions, "Oh my, how did I get to where I'm at now? and How can I begin to make enjoyable and lasting changes?"

  1. Taking the First Steps In Your Journey of Change

  2. Cultivating Balance in Your Life

  3. Write Away Lifestyle Imbalances: Keeping a Food and Lifestyle-Choice Journal

  4. Discover the Power of FUN: Celebrate Enjoyable Ways to be Active for Life!

  5. Cultivating a Sustainable, Healthful Plan of Eating

  6. Planning and Preparing Delicious Recipes, Meals, and Snacks in a Hectic World

  7. Eating With Awareness and Pleasure

  8. Transforming Emotional Eating and Addictions

  9. Self-Nurturing, Self-Esteem, Heal From Depression, and Transform Emotional Wounding From The Past

  10. Seeking Support, Counseling, and Outside Resources

  11. Maintenance: Learn How to Cultivate Life-Long Well-Being.  

  12. Cultivate Daily Quiet and Personal Introspection Time       

1. Taking the First Steps in Your Journey of Change--Evaluate Your Patterns (Habits) & Inner Attitudes: Choosing to take the time is absolutely essential. If you don't make the time to LOOK INTO your life and evaluate your patterns, select skills to try out and practice them, you will find yourself stuck with the same old habits (patterns) that keep you overweight and unhealthy. Darn. Don't you hate it when that happens! Explore below to see where how to begin and what skills to investigate.

To cultivate healthy states of mind that nurture lasting lifestyle changes, consider:

What are all of the factors that influence you? Why is it SO challenging to achieve a healthier life & healthier weight?

Explore your present lifestyle and your daily habits: What areas are you ready make to changes in?

To explore environments or situations where it is difficult to stand up for yourself, scrutinize:

2. Cultivating Balance in Your Life: Consider your lifestyle imbalance and weight management challenge as an opportunity to grow emotionally and spiritually as you achieve a healthier weight. For me, and many of the clients that I work with, the pattern of "over commitment to others and under commitment to ourselves" sets us up to make unhealthy and unskillful choices in our lives. This pattern can be a key obstacle in becoming healthier.

Do your brain and heart dream up commitments that your body can't keep?! Ask:  Do I really need a new kitchen, bathroom, etc. with mortgage payments OR the possibility of an extra day off from work? Extra time to slow down?  Theoretically, you OWN your home (and many other things), but really IT OWNS YOU and lets you off --occasionally! Can you really take part in every worthwhile project or activity that you'd like to be involved in?  What are the results of trying to be “SUPER person”, able to do all things in a single bound?
Explore below how to restore balance to your life.

3. Write Away Lifestyle Imbalances: Keeping a Food and Lifestyle-Choice Journal: You can't change what you don't observe. Keeping a food and lifestyle-choice diary is like looking in a mirror. You can see the type and amounts of food you eat each day, and how your emotions, people, places, and events, influence your choices. You can notice your problem eating and lifestyle patterns. You can also see the benefits of trying out new foods or different lifestyle choices. Keeping a journal allows you to "write away" unhealthy habits. Using this tool really works! There are many different kinds that you can keep.

A food diary or journal is like a treasure map; a tool to help you learn:

1.      It helps end denial, “Oh, it’s not that bad!” and fosters honesty with yourself.

2.      It helps you see automatic, unconscious patterns of alcohol use, drug use, foods, and observe how people, places, and events influence you and your choices.

3.      It helps you develop compassion toward yourself, and gratitude towards others who have helped you along the way.

4.      It helps you see how baby steps, over time, have make a HUGE difference. Just like the evolution of the sun from winter solstice’s short days to the splendor of summertime’s long days: it's barely noticeable (a shift of 1.2 minutes a day) but  adds up over time to a big difference.

4. Discover the Power of FUN: Celebrate Enjoyable Ways to be Active for Life. Get Vertical! Rise up and shine!

The reward for consistent physical activity is vibrancy! To keep motivated, a goal is to make the “E” word not only “exercise” but also “enjoyment.” It is essential to focus on your FUN, favorite things—things you really like doing. For me, I like things like gardening, going for walks in my neighborhood with friends, and hiking in nature. That was the key for me: doing     those things I already liked to do. Now It's your turn to explore what's right for you. What  do you enjoy? What fits your abilities, finances,  and schedule? How can you adapt to life's changes in ways that enable you to remain consistently active?

Be flexible and jump into a variety of physical activities. Dance, garden, bike, swim, walk or lift weights--anything you enjoy that fits your lifestyle.
Feel the power. Celebrate the inner strength and sense of well being that come from allowing your body to experience the joy of movement. Living an active lifestyle is a miracle tonic!
Make fitness a priority. Plan family and personal vacations around fitness, or invite a colleague to “do business” over a walk rather than lunch, coffee or drinks. Walk to the bank to use the teller machine. It’s like winning the lottery. You put your card in and money comes out!


       Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging. This guide can help you take charge of an important part of your health. You may want to read through the entire book first to learn about the benefits of exercise and physical activity, and to find out how to get started, reduce your risks, and reward your progress. Then, keep it handy so you can refer to the sample exercises and use some of the charts at the back of the book to record your activities. From time to time, you may need to check the tips for getting back on track if there’s a break in your routine or the tips for healthy eating. Throughout the guide, you’ll find personal stories that we hope will inspire you to be more active every day. https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/exercise-guide

 image of DVDGo4Life DVD – Everyday Exercises from the National Institute on Aging.

 This is a really EXCELLENT FREE GUIDE!



5. Cultivating a Sustainable, Healthful Plan of Eating: Many of us just follow the "see-food diet." We see food and we eat it! Our cupboards are filled with high-sugar, high-fat foods and snacks. Our bodies and taste buds have been trained to like those kinds of foods. Mine certainly were! To change seems impossible. A food "portion" is the WHOLE plate, bowl, or glass. For Americans this has become more of a problem since we love HUGE portions! We like to get our money's worth! The problem is that jumbo PORTIONS lead to jumbo BODIES! So what is a reference amount? How much food do we really need to stay healthy? What kinds of foods will help keep our blood pressure low, or lower our cholesterol, or keep our blood sugars in a normal range? Keep our brains healthy to prevent addictions? See the FOUNDATION FOOD PLAN for answers.

Many overweight people eat only 1 - 2 meals per day and find when they DO finally eat, they are so HUNGRY that they overeat. This style of food intake promotes out-of-control eating that affects our bodies, emotions, and mental abilities.

How can you, then, create a truly sustainable plan of eating that's NOT a diet? The process that I have found to work best is to use the tool of the food diary (skill #3 above) and learn about your food choices and what influences them (skill #1 above). Then try out new choices, meal-by-meal and snack-by-snack (skill #6 below).

It is also valuable to understand how people, places, and emotions affect what and how much you eat. Once you notice your patterns, then you can use the skill of Evaluating Your Patterns (Skill #1 above) and the Overcoming Your Obstacles to Healthful Eating link below to figure out how to make more skillful and effective choices next time.

Following this process, you come to know yourself and learn how to become your own lifestyle coach. You will come to know your strengths and your limitations. You learn what works for you and what doesn't.

6. Planning and Preparing Delicious Recipes, Meals, and Snacks. Discover how to make healthy meals in a hectic world! A new, healthful eating style is found one new recipe and new food idea at a time. Mouth fun, enjoying what you eat, is essential if you are to make your new choices a permanent part of your lifestyle and not just a "diet."  I eat 16 - 18 servings of veggies and fruits a day (instead of eating that many sugar-laden desserts as I did before.)! It's NOT as difficult as it sounds. Just look at the recipes and snack ideas. Celebrate feeding your wondrous body!

How do you make it happen? Plan ahead. An ounce of preplanning is worth a pound of fat! Take time to plan meals and snacks for yourself (and your family). Make great tasting, healthy eating a priority--even in the midst of a hectic lifestyle. To help you, discover menu planning that celebrates vegetables and fruits! Use food to fuel your busy lifestyle and to provide energy for all the activities you enjoy.

From State of the Plate at www.5aday.com and FruitsandVeggiesMatter.gov

7. Eating With Awareness and Pleasure: Learn how to eat less but enjoy it more as you remember that it's NOT your last meal. You will be able to eat again! Slow down and savor the flavor of food. Treat every bite as a gourmet feast! The more time and attention you give to food the more satisfying it is.

8. Transforming Emotional Eating and Addictions: It is called "emotional eating" when you use food to numb uncomfortable feelings. However, no amount of food will ever satisfy emotional hungers. Transforming the deep conditionings that have led to you using food to fix life's problems is a gradual learning process. You figure out your patterns and explore your deep needs and hungers. Then you figure out new ways to cope.

Explore the readings below to find solutions to your emotional eating OR addictive patterns. Also look into Bob's Story in the Emotional area for ideas about how I transformed my emotional eating, depression, and self hatred. Another excellent life-long support group which costs no money but is priceless, is Overeaters Anonymous. Investigate: The Use of the 12-Step Programs, Recovery Groups, and Recovery Resources section to learn how it works. Peruse: Addiction and Recovery Resources, Eating Disorders, and 12-Step Programs and Transforming Emotional Eating Resources for additional wisdom.

9. Self-Nurturing, Self-Esteem, Heal From Depression, and Transform Emotional Wounding From The Past: Learn to celebrate your self! Become a compassionate and loving friend--for you. Most of us extend little kindnesses to others. Do you extend the same honoring and respect to yourself once in a while? In short, how loving are you to YOU? Ask yourself, "How friendly have I been to me today?" Make a commitment to give yourself more pleasure and enjoyment in the future. You DESERVE the best! Be kind to the being who lives inside of your own skin.

Learn the skills for emotional nurturing. They're euphoric and non-caloric! Learning and practicing these skills will help to transform emotional eating and all addictions.

Self-esteem comes into being by what we or other people say to us (our unconscious inner messages):

Self-esteem is also developed by what we DO for ourselves, by our commitment to meeting our daily needs:

10. Seeking Support, Counseling, and Outside Resources: Life presents all of us with situations that we have not encountered before. We may find ourselves overwhelmed and confused and using food to "make it all better." We're in relapse. A relapse can last 5 minutes or 5 years! This is an opportunity to practice problem solving and find out what happened. Can you figure out a solution by yourself? Do you need additional support? Consider reaching out for support or advice from friends, counselors, spiritual teachers, books, or support groups.

In Thin For Life, by Anne M. Fletcher, M.S., R.D., (2003), Houghton Mifflin Company, Anne shares the 10th Key to Success (pp.283 - 304) which is finding support. She answers some important questions: What can a support system do for you? What are the warning signs that you need support? How do you find the support that is right for you? What should you look for in a support person? What do you not want in a support person? How do you deal with non support? On page 257 she answers the question "Is professional counseling a good idea?"  Check out Therapeutic Help For The Journey below.

For me, counseling and support groups have been invaluable. I tried to fix the "unfixable family and friends!" This proved to be quite frustrating, unproductive and self-destructive. I didn't have any role models about how to live a healthy life and to find out about wholesome relationships, problem solving, and conflict management. Through reading books, individual counseling, and various support groups, I was able to dismantle unproductive conditioning and responses to life events. Ah. I'm so GLAD this help was available. It saved my life. Investigate:

11. Maintenance: Learn How to Cultivate Life-Long Well-Being: Learning and practicing all these skills can bring friskiness and life-long well-being throughout all of the seasons of our lives.

Weight is managed, not cured. It's an ongoing investment in yourself. It is similar to good dental hygiene. There is brushing, flossing and use of a periodontal tool, and regular visits to the dentist and hygienist. Making the investment in yourself pays rich dividends: you can chew foods of any texture without problems, you don't experience the pain of gum disease or cavities, you save lots of money, and you feel self-empowered and capable because of your self discipline.

12. Cultivate Daily Quiet and Personal Introspection Time: Consume regularly this essential nutrient for lasting well-being. We become that which we contemplate...it becomes our reality.

Out of stillness comes awareness, and with awareness and right planning comes a life that is well lived! Other areas of the Web site have shared practical tools and tips to make changes in food and exercise choices. This section provides the same practical, step-by-step suggestions to transform our mental and emotional lives—while providing a spiritual framework to embrace life-long healthy weight management. For me, transforming my food, alcohol, and drug addictions has provided me many opportunities to grow spiritually and emotionally. Each of our spiritual journeys is unique and our ways of finding a deep connection with ourselves, others, and the earth itself reflect this diversity.

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