Posted in Lifestyle change, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Wellness Coaching

The MyFitnessPal Trilogy Episode 3: Free to Eat

I took last week off from blogging to enjoy several days of Valentines Day and birthday-related fun, and spent some much-needed time with loved ones. But I’m back from my little mini-vacation to present the thrilling conclusion to the MyFitnessPal Trilogy. (Poking a bit of fun at myself here; I strive to not take myself quite that seriously!)

To recap: in Episode 1, I described what life was like before MyFitnessPal. In Episode 2, I finally began using the app to track my food every day, and learned the hard truth about what I was really eating. This final installment in our little saga is about what life is like today…

As of the publication of this post, I have logged into MyFitnessPal for 679 days in a row. It’s a way of life that works for me; it has become my new normal. Far from being a burdensome chore, it has freed me from how I used to live. Tracking my food every day has brought many gifts to my life, but the greatest one of all is not what you might expect. It’s not higher protein intake, or reduced sugar, or even weight loss.

It’s mindfulness.

For most of my life, I have eaten compulsively. Food was my drug, my first choice for comfort, entertainment, and pleasure. So much of my behavior was mindless and automatic, driven by craving and habit rather than intention. That used to be my way of life; that was my normal. Continue reading “The MyFitnessPal Trilogy Episode 3: Free to Eat”

Posted in Lifestyle change, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Wellness Coaching

The MyFitnessPal Trilogy Episode 2: Eyes Wide Open

A brief recap of where we left off in Episode 1 of our Trilogy… Spring 2015: I was coming off a month-long emotional eating bender, exhausted by my own behavior, unwilling to undo the gains I had made at the gym with a lousy diet, and determined to face the truth about what I was really eating every day.

Enter MyFitnessPal.

My journey at Ludus Magnus up to that point had already shown me the importance of small, gradual changes. So, when I loaded MyFitnessPal back onto my phone and began tracking my food, I purposefully did NOT make immediate changes to my diet. The first two weeks or so were purely a fact-finding mission. I ate what I “normally” ate, the only difference being I logged it in the app. Every bite.

The facts were powerful. And undeniable. Continue reading “The MyFitnessPal Trilogy Episode 2: Eyes Wide Open”

Posted in Lifestyle change, Nutrition, Wellness Coaching

What’s for Lunch?

Human beings are animals. Eating is one of our most basic survival instincts. The urge to find and consume food is hard-wired into the most ancient part of our brains. Without food, we die.

So why can’t anyone decide what to eat?

I see it everyday when I go to work at Trader Joe’s. People come through the door, sometimes armed with books and web printouts, totally confused. They’ve heard that gluten is bad, but they don’t know what it is (I’ve been asked for gluten free cheese more than once). Dr. Oz says olive oil popcorn is a healthy snack, so they fill their carts with it and eat a bag in a sitting. Because it’s “good for them.” A friend told them cherry juice helps arthritis, so they buy it by the case and drink tall glasses daily, pumping massive quantities of sugar into their bodies. Bags of frozen spinach are labeled “fat-free” because we have been told for years that fat is evil. Doesn’t matter that it’s spinach, which of course has no fat. Put the buzzword on the bag to get people to buy. Continue reading “What’s for Lunch?”

Posted in goals, Health, Weight Loss

Horizons of Possibility

I’ve been thinking about goals quite a bit lately.

Our society loves to talk about goals: setting goals, working towards goals, reaching goals. Short-term versus long-term goals. Define benchmark goals on the way to the larger goal. Plan the steps necessary to help reach the goal. Organize your life in a way that gets you closer to the goal. Once you reach the goal, set up the next goal.

(Did you notice how strange the word “goal” starts to sound when you say it that many times in that short a space? Or is it just me? Anyway…)

Weight loss and “getting in shape” are huge goals for millions of people, with a multi-billion dollar industry devoted to helping people reach that goal in a myriad of ways, from the reasonable to the ridiculous. Continue reading “Horizons of Possibility”

Posted in Lifestyle change, Wellness Coaching

Redeeming Substitutes

Substitutes get a bad name. When I was a kid, there was a substitute teacher at my elementary school that all the kids hated. Her name was Mrs. Smith, but everyone called her Mrs. Fishlips. Because, well, she was quite unattractive and had a mouth that closely resembled a fish. Sometimes the material presents itself.

I was terrified of Mrs. Fishlips. She was mean, and she yelled. Whenever I walked into my classroom and saw her, I was instantly sick with anxiety. Physically ill, and on the verge of tears until the clock mercifully struck 3:30.

I didn’t want Mrs. Fishlips. I wanted my teacher. She was a poor substitute for the real thing.

I have a similar relationship with food. Continue reading “Redeeming Substitutes”

Posted in Lifestyle change, New Year's Resolutions, Wellness Coaching

Resolving Resolutions

I work at Trader Joe’s. This May will be 10 years. For the uninitiated, Trader Joe’s is a unique grocery store. Most of our products are our own Trader Joe’s brand, and any item with a Trader Joe’s label is free of artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, and GMOs. We also carry a wide variety of organic items.  And unlike Whole Foods and the “natural” aisle of chains like Kroger and Giant Eagle, our prices are fantastic. We tend to attract health-conscious consumers, or at least people who are trying to  “get healthy” (even if they sometimes don’t exactly know what that means).

Every January 2nd at Trader Joe’s is the same.

People assume we aren’t that busy because the holidays are finally over.

Those people are wrong. We are busy. Crazy busy. Absolutely swamped.

Why?

Two words: Resolution Season. Continue reading “Resolving Resolutions”