The Secret To Quitting Your Favorite Foods While Dieting

One of the most frequently asked questions am asked is, if I tell people to quit eating meat or dairy or some other food. The fact is, I don’t take any long term decisions for my clients. However, I do invite them to try quitting certain foods for a brief period just for the feel of it. I’ve a lot of dairy and meat loving clients that come to me. Most have complaints about stubborn body weight problems, irregular periods, acne, irregular bowel movement and so on. We have our customary on-boarding chat that goes something like this –

Them: “Girija, it’s just soo baffling to me how this weight thing is one problem that I can’t seem to handle ya. It feels like such a basic thing .. it’s food and exercise after all, but I don’t know what it is … it’s just – !”

Me: “I totally get it! You handle such big projects for your clients and accomplish such amazing stuff at your work, and all you do for the community, plus run the house .. but we all have one such thing where we feel perplexed .. just puzzled how nothing seems to work”

Them: “You really feel this weight thing can be dealt with?”

Me: ” I do feel like you have a fair chance .. are you open to taking guidance as part of working with me?

Them: “Of course .. but give me an example”

 Me: “Like, if I said please give up so and so food for a period of say – 10 days, would you be offended?”

Them: “LOL, I wouldn’t be offended .. but I love curd .. I mean I REALLY LOVE curd! And wait, I LOVE sea food, grilled chicken .. I REALLY REALLY LOVE meat”

Me: “LOL, It’s absolutely fine to love it all .. no need to stop loving it. But what if you just had to not eat it for a brief period of time?”

Them: “Ah, if I assume it’s pooja time, it’ll be possible. No problem!”

And they come aboard. When, time comes to actually quitting dairy for a period of time, there will be a slight feeling of anxiety and sadness but still they do it in keeping with the spirit of the program. In just few short days, I receive emails and messages that read like this –

This was exactly a month ago. In just four short weeks Mayura has lost over 10 pounds of weight and has completely turned around her way of eating. And above all else, she is HAVING FUN doing it. Yesterday, she sent me pictures of how she and a friend went out for pizza – she just asked for a pizza minus the cheese and had it made with hummus instead PLUS plenty of colorful veggies. And for dessert she had mango compote with chocolate.

She saw it first hand how, quitting dairy and meat not only did not feel as tough but it has greatly added to her sense of self-esteem. She now has a reference for both scenarios – how the body feels with and without dairy and meat. She is better equipped than ever before, to decide which way she wants to go.  The secret was in having the openness to giving up some food she liked, just for the experience of it. Developing that mindset is really the first step.

Truly empowering, isn’t it! It is a series of tiny actions of responsibility like the ones Mayura has taken, that make a person feel good when they look in the mirror.

Another big takeaway for you as a reader is this – when you are learning something new, you can accelerate the process significantly and get dramatic results when you have a tight feedback loop. Over a short period of one month, these tiny actions translate into tiny increments of weight loss, finally adds up to what is actually a massive weight loss sooner than you’d realize. This is what gives us a feeling of accomplishment.  We discuss a great deal about the dynamics of self-esteem and how it is built and our role in it.

I am immensely proud of you Mayu! She is a CEO and her multiple-award winning organization is doing some phenomenally good work in the area of craft – preservation and  creating livelihoods.

 

As always, a reminder to say – this post is a very generous share to inspire anyone that may identify with this story. These are not typical results and no big promises are being made via this post. Mayura is a real person, as am I  and she has worked very very hard for what she has got and continues to do so.

 I’d love for you to please congratulate her and ask me if you’ve any questions.

The Lure Of Food Versus Joy Of Health

 

When we first met, Nimisha was struggling with problems of skin, hair and low energy. She had scoured all the resources on internet and it had left her feeling miserable, angry and hurt. Above all else, confused! 

 
When the information shared has an agenda to fill the biz coffers primarily, it is hard to take a stand. There’s no option but to sway to the tunes of your next sponsors and their hype. This is the reality of the world we live in! And everyone of us is responsible for how things are today.
 
Nimisha is an industrious and intelligent lawyer turned educationist. She has other important roles play as a young mother, wife and daughter. She needs the energy to be be on the run for long stretches at time. And leading her to treat carbohydrates like her enemy caused her woes. To add to that, pushing more meat, more eggs, more dairy brought more new problems.
 
This post is for everyone that asks me – “Girija, do you ask people to give up meat?” Well, in principle I do not believe in taking decisions for others. Not even for my clients. And talking about meat, the world’s longest living people in the Blue Zone communities do eat meat. The question then would be how much and how often. Humans as a species are omnivores – there’s no denying this fact.  
 
All this said, in my program Mind Your Gap Master Your Plate does involve abstinence. My clients get amazing results and feel empowered to take their own long term decisions whether they want to go back to eating meat or not. 
 
I am curious to learn from my clients as much as they do from me. And I asked Nimisha how she was doing, with no meat. In her own words – “I am off dairy and any kind of meats and I am surprisingly doing good. In fact, I am eating normally without worrying about a thousand things before putting the food in my mouth”  
 
You may wonder how do people sustain giving up things like dairy and meat? The joy of vibrant skin and lovely hair is sustainable. Boundless energy to do the work that you are passionate about is very sustainable. The lure of addictive foods that do not serve our nutritional needs doesn’t hold up in comparison to the joy of health. I invite you to try it for yourself!
 
Nimisha is affectionately called Nims. Nims, I am very very proud of you. May you be well, may you be healthy – now and always!
 
Please note – neither Nims nor I, we have no obligation to share this – her personal story with the world. It is out of genuine intention to inspire other women who may be in a similar situation, that we have let you in on some highlights of our journey together. Questions are welcome but please be kind. Compliments are even more welcome! 🙂  
 

What Nobody Tells You About Emotional Eating

Are you someone or do you know someone who has a rather stressed relationship with food? Are you someone or do you know someone that uses food to deal with stressful situations? And not even realize it??

This could have happened to most of us as a one off thing – as children, during growing up years do we recollect a time when we were given food to comfort us? Or as young adults we would have resorted to some kinda ‘comfort food’ to comfort ourselves at some point to tide over a stressful situation. But what if it becomes a regular thing with us?

Given the amount of confusion there is around food nowadays, there are many many women who are perpetually stressed over what to eat.

Oh, this fruit? Now?? It causes me cold.

Oh, that vegetable causes me gas.

No, I can’t be eating this rice – of all things – and ruin my sleep with guilt.

And they go back to square #1 – just WHAT do I eat?

As if this were not enough, there are twice as many more that eat – because they are stressed.

Oh, diet be damned, I am feeling LOW today. One small samosa cannot hurt.

Oh it’s my hard-earned bonus day, my dear! What’s a celebration without some chocolate!

After few minutes of feeling great about the treat, they feel guilty aka ‘stressed’ and reach for that chocolate all over again.

Aparna is a phenomenally brilliant finance professional. She is a marathon runner and long distance cyclist. A thriver in every sense of the word. The kind of diligence it all takes to balance grueling workouts with her high-power position at work and run a home, is not for the ordinary. She wanted to examine her behavior around matters of food and intuitively joined the program.

There have been many many success stories that came from the simple act of keeping a Food Journal. Probably hers is the most remarkable of them all. Every step was a revelation of sorts for her.

The results in this case were more qualitative by nature. She had completely gotten a handle over her emotional eating, even by the second week of the program. No more asking google about ‘how to eat healthy’ or checking for ‘what happens if I ate blah blah and blah’. She’s able to take sound decisions around food suit her sporty lifestyle. Often stops by to say how empowered she feels about herself. And how she’s respectful of the food and her body.

Aparna speaks for me when she says, Mind Your Gap is a fantastic program for someone who is mature and ready to put in the work. That’s true, this is not for people who desire overnight results MINUS any self-reflection or size zero body stats!

What’s your  takeaway from this story?

May your #1 lesson be this: Emotional eating in today’s world is not so much about your emotional brokenness and/or emotional highs and lows – it’s about the environment.

We all live in a world where our food environment has been rigged. Unfortunately for us, while it serves some vested interests, it works entirely against us. And within this environment, it doesn’t take a lot of stress to make emotional eaters out of the best of us!  Let me illustrate what I mean by this. When a food vendor grates an extra block of cheese onto your sandwich (or even a dosa these days!) it helps him and his shop gain popularity – with your up votes – for his tasty food. How is it serving you or your health beyond those few minutes of pleasure while eating that? Hmm .. highly questionable. On the other hand, are you drawn to his shop and sandwich with that generous cheese topping again and again? Very likely! What if every vendor and food maker in the world uses food as a bait to get your business? Do you see the point? Will power doesn’t take you anywhere given vice-like grip this food wields over you.

When you finally internalize this fact, you’ll take notice of what you put in your mouth. Until then, you are loyally serving somebody’s else’s interest and not even realizing how dearly it is costing you.

Fact: Neither of us has a compulsion to sharing this story with the world. That said, Aparna and I both realize the power of stories like these, upon which the takeaways stand. It’s her utter purity of intention to reach someone that may be in a similar situation which inspires me to let you in on some highlights of this journey.

 

Request: Please remember, people mentioned in this story are real people in flesh and blood. With a beating heart and feelings. Be gentle with us. Questions and comments are fine so long as they are respectful.

 

Disclaimer: This is no promise of results. Outcomes depend on any number of factors and each person and situation is unique.

Mind Your Gap Master Your Plate is coming up. Want in?

The Giant Confusion Around Food And Eating PLUS How To Solve It

 

 

Mrinalini wanted to be a good example to her little children. She wanted to be able to take informed decisions around food without having to go back to school to study Nutrition. She had tried to exercise away her extra pounds gained over the years and she had started to wonder about the missing piece of the puzzle as she had not gotten anywhere with that approach.

Low Carb is the way to go. Absolutely!

Noooo .. ABSOLUTELY NOT!!

Low Fat High Protein makes more “sense”. It is the safest that there is.

Is there something like a Carb-tree? Or a Protein plant ?? When the hell did people switch to eating carbs and protein as opposed to food! Rice and beans, bread and jam you get that! But who has ever bought a pack of protein or a kilo of carbs?

Okay! Let’s say you play some version of a eenie meenie miny mo and arrive at one strategy to follow. But then what next? How and what to cook? What do you do at each meal? And what to eat the next day?

There are many many women out there who are sailing in the same boat as Mrinalini once did. Intelligent women that are committed to the reasoning and process as much as they are to the outcome. Gym “trainer” that is clueless about scientific evidence puts them on a schedule of some mishmash of exercise movements and promises weight loss, muscle gain etc etc. Same with diet vendors – who make ludicrous claims, give impractical advice and charge enormous fees. No reasoning is ever given or when it comes by, it rarely even appeals to the common sense.

Such women lose their spark and end up feeling angry and hurt when the system not only fails them but requires them to dumb down – just to fit in.

Over the last quarter of 2017 Mrinalini committed to learning the basics of Nutrition. What use is any learning if it doesn’t translate to action, right? She was sporty enough to do her homework in all earnestness – even when she did not believe in the usefulness of certain activities. She was delighted when she found herself back at her dance classes! There was no more eating like a maniac – vice-like grip had loosened so much that she now felt zen like in her attitude. Yet, she was brimming with energy. Each time she checked her weight, it felt like a gift. Towards the beginning of this year, she had recorded a nearly 17, yes SEVENTEEN pounds of weight loss. Now, did she feel stretched? Was it difficult?? Heck yes! But she saw it as a meaningful pursuit for herself, and therefore she did it.

What is your takeaway in all this?

May your #1 lesson be this:

Commit yourself to understand the basics. Nutrition is a science and its practice is evidence-based. Like Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts” – you need to deeply understand the distinction between facts and opinions.  I agree with you, there’s a lot of noise out there in matters of food and it’s difficult to tell the difference between right and wrong even for a professional. That said, internet has made it all accessible – you get to read both the ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments for any topic. Develop a healthy curiosity and let go of stubborn clinging to something just because it’s “safe” and /or that’s all you’ve known.

 

Fact: Neither of us has a compulsion to sharing this story with the world. That said, Mrinalini and I both realize the power of stories like these, upon which the takeaways stand. It’s her utter purity of intention to reach someone that may be in a similar situation which inspires me to let you in on some highlights of this journey.

 

Request: Please remember, people mentioned in this story are real people in flesh and blood. With a beating heart and feelings. Be gentle with us. Questions and comments are fine so long as they are respectful.

 

Disclaimer: This is no promise of results. Outcomes depend on any number of factors and each person and situation is unique.

Mind Your Gap Master Your Plate is coming up. Want in?

Number #1 Mistake Of A Weight-loss Journey And What To Do Instead

Fact: Neither of us has a compulsion to sharing this story with the world. That said, Nisha and I both realize the power of stories like these, upon which the takeaways stand. It’s her utter purity of intention to reach someone that may be in a similar situation, which inspires me to let you in on some highlights of this journey.

 

Request: Please remember, people mentioned in this story are real people in flesh and blood. With a beating heart and feelings. Be gentle with us. Questions and comments are fine so long as they are respectful.

 

Disclaimer: This is no promise of results. Outcomes depend on any number of factors and each person and situation is unique.

 

Imagine this: An overweight lady in the Indian context. What will follow in your head is probably images of similar overweight characters in movies and television, the jokes and songs based on them, people talking behind their back, offering unasked for advice and so on. If you have been an overweight person yourself, it will probably bring you a rush of painful jab of images and words you’ve had to endure.

 

After repeatedly braving through such barbs and quite possibly putting oneself through many secret weight loss endeavors – to not much success, understandably, the person develops a shield of sorts. These shields are masks and come in many types. Most common ones are I-don’t-care-for-how-I-look mask, This-is-my-body-type mask, It’s-about-you-not-me mask and I’ve-made-peace-with-how-I-look mask and so on.  At other times, the person uses a very spiritual lingo to turn away from what is a very painful situation – “I love my God-given body” or “Acceptance is key to happiness” and so on.

 

Somehow, it “feels” legit when we say to ourselves or when we comfort a loved one with words like – “if they remarked thus  about your weight, it speaks volumes about who _they_ are” or “don’t take _their_ comments personally” or we muffle our own inner voice with “count your infinite blessings and accept your body just the way it is”.

Psychologist Robert Masters calls it a “spiritualized strategy for not only avoiding the pain but legitimizing the avoidance”.

 

This is not to blame or point fingers. This is also not a holier than thou kinda observation, for we all do it. And it is certainly not body shaming. With growing up comes responsibility. Responsibility to identify BOTH the problem and the solution for the problem.   But the keyword here is awareness. If only we become alert to our resistance to work through what is obviously difficult and painful, results can be astounding.

 

Am reminded of the Reinhold Niebuhr quote –    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

 

Nisha seemed like one courageous lady who had internalized this kinda wisdom described in the quote. She had the pluck to admit to herself that her ways with food and eating habits needed looking into. It is not short of gallantry to open yourself to scrutiny at this level. If you want to understand what I’m saying, just record all you eat – every single morsel you put in your mouth – for a short period of three days and send it for a critique! Okay, don’t even bother sending it, just write it honestly and look at it yourself.

 

Over the last four months, she has worked enormously diligently and just before the end of 2017, the weighing scale read a full 20 – yes, TWENTY, pounds lesser than where she had started.

 

What is your takeaway in all this?

Have you considered walking, jogging, gym joining in an effort to lose weight? Many many women do just that. When you are looking to lose a few pounds and look trimmer, the first thing that comes to mind is to exercise away the excess.

May your #1 lesson be this:

Research is emphatically evident about exercise NOT being an effective weight loss tool.

While exercise has and plays a very important role in your well being, it’s what you put in your mouth, meal after meal and in between meals, day after day which needs looking into, if you are trying to lose weight.

Mind Your Gap Master Your Plate is coming up. Want in?