The ONE Guidance I Look Up To When Am Not Feeling Good With Myself

Would it surprise you if I said, that most one on one consultations with me as a dietitian start off with ‘oh Girija, I’m not feeling good about myself in a while now’?

And they go on, ‘I don’t know why but I just don’t even feel like looking at myself anymore.’

At this point, I will considerately encourage them with ‘tell me more.’ And we both begin to see how there is an inevitable dip in the way they’re valuing themselves.

Given how it is the day before Valentine’s day that you and I are having this conversation, it’s good to remind ourselves that the first love relationship that needs to consummate is the one we each have with our selves.

In all this, the first thing to remember is that love is a verb.

How we value ourselves is indeed a powerful thing that keeps changing, reflecting our actions of what we are doing to value ourselves. We can tell tall stories about wanting this and desiring that, but unless we do something about it, it doesn’t count to anything.

And my friend, we all fall into the knowing-doing gap from time to time. Meaning, we don’t do the things that we know to be good for us! This includes me too 🙋‍♀️

When this happens long enough with a particular area of our life, we lose our sense of pride. We don’t like ourselves for how we are behaving. This shows up as ‘I don’t feel good about myself.’

For all such times, I have these precious words of guidance from one of the best psychologists I’ve read in all my life. And I’d like to share it with you. Think of this as my Valentine’s Day gift to you, dear reader.

Here we go –

“Any time you admit a difficult truth, any time you face that which you have been afraid to face, any time you acknowledge, to yourself or to others, facts you have been evading, any time you are willing to tolerate temporary fear or anxiety on the path to better contact with reality – your self-esteem increases. When you persist in your evasions and contradictions, you undermine your self-esteem, because, at a deeper level, you know what you are doing.” Dr. Nathaniel Branden

These words speak to my very soul, dear reader. And it always gets me back on track. I hope you reflect along these lines and see what comes up for you.

Wishing you the best always,

g

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Start With Upma Recipe And End Up Baking A Cake Instead?

I have a question for you.

What if, just what if, you get started with making say, upma in the kitchen and halfway through losing track with that! You get side-tracked so badly that you fail to see the vegetables you chopped for upma, the curry leaves and green chilies you kept aside, you even forget that you took out the salt and hing from the cupboard!

You get so carried away with the rava cake recipe that somebody is making on the youtube that you are watching on your iPad while cooking in the kitchen. And you ignore all the prep you had made for upma, and you end up baking the rava cake instead.

Has this ever happened with you? What if it does happen with you??

I asked this exact question to one of my clients recently. And she quickly said, ‘oh, that would never happen to me, Giri!’ So, I asked how come?

“Because, right from when I get started with making upma, my mind is set on it. I will see myself eating a plate full of upma while looking through my Facebook feed – in my head – long before it ever gets done!” she said.

This was the same person who was calling in to tell me how she forgot about her eating healthy plans and weight goals just two weeks into the new year. She was stunned that what she was doing was just that – starting with upma intention and ending up with a cake instead!

Here’s what I discussed with her and am going to share with you too, my friend – listen carefully. I told her that she must write down her healthy eating and weight goals 20 times a day spread over morning, noon, evening, and night.

And she has reported how that goal sentence keeps buzzing in her head at all times of the day!

Oh, you know what? I do this myself with my own goals. And I cannot tell you just how useful it is in programming your whole system towards your goals. It just doesn’t let you waver at all! It certainly makes it very, very hard to err. Try for yourself and tell me how it goes for you.

Until next time,
g

A Topic So Important That I Want To Write About It All Year!

Hi, lovely reader!

Welcome to July! Half the year is already behind us, huh?!

Another way to look at it is – half the year is still ahead of us, for all that we’ve planned to accomplish before 2019 ends.

So, how do you do it?

I don’t know if you’ve ever used this magic habit – tracking.

A common habit of successful folks

I’ve taken courses and studied a variety of topics under some uber-cool people like Ramit Sethi, Todd Herman, Marie Forleo, Amy Porterfield, and so many more. Tracking IS NOT OPTIONAL when you work/learn with these folks.

I can CONFIDENTLY say this one thing I learned, my friend – NOT tracking your progress is a serious mistake – whether it is with food, weight loss, money, dating – whatever it may be, that you are trying to get better at, you.must.track!

Struggle #1 that everyone deals with

For all this month of July, let’s take the example of one of my beautiful clients who goes by the fictitious name of Leela, and I’ll guide you to learn some critical lessons in tracking.

If you remember her story from last week, life put her in a situation where she had to make a 180-degree turn concerning food. And we had budget constraints for whatever we were going to do, mainly because of the hefty medical expenses she was taking care of.

So, I asked her to please give me a list of A-L-L the edible items currently in her kitchen. Oh my goodness – the struggle #1 showed up like crazy: DENIAL. After much back and forth and immense resistance, she sent me this ‘sterile’ list – now looking back, even she laughs about it!

This is what denial looks like

Next week when I share with you all that she DID NOT include in the list, you will see what denial was all about 🙂 

But for now, see the list she sent – she even sent the prices of things (I had never asked for it!). This is how we all distract ourselves 🙂

rice –  120 x 15

idli rice – 115 x 4

t dhal – 180 x 6

u dhal – 180 x 6

g gram – 185 x 1

c dhal – 145 x 1

g nut – 140 / 0.5 kg

kabuli c 140/0.5

To be continued.

Wise Counsel I Got Today

“You must be far more concerned about your current approach than about your current result.”

I have a mentor, someone who gives me precious feedback on biz and personal things. And this is what they had to say to me today.

The context was to say how everyday efforts come off as almost meaningless and too trivial. And because of that, I’ve been under the wrong impression that it won’t matter so much. ‘Which hell will break loose if I skip my salad just for a day?’ kinda thinking. Like you may also have, many times. Right?

That is until they gave me this feedback. The way they said it, the situation .. I don’t know what it was. But it got me today!

We all tend to worry way more about results than about our approach to things generally. That’s why I shared that wisdom with you, my lovely reader.

I’ll keep this email v v short – have a fun recipe for you here and here.

I have a recipe for a sweet variation for you, my lovely reader of this blog post. Here’s what I did – I took a 1/2 cup of boiled chickpeas, four soaked dates, one tablespoon of cocoa powder – processed it in the food processor. It made for a delightful chocolate hummus, which I used as a sweet filling in the roll.

I hope you’ll try making this!

Love,

What A Peeing Dog And Its Wise Owner Taught Me About Self-Love

Do you feel you’re selfish sometimes? Have you been thought of as selfish anytime?

I was moping around all day, all of the previous evening, because someone very close to me at work had pointed out that I was selfish. It was someone’s birthday, and they had offered me a piece (it was more like a slab) of cake with two inch-high pink and yellow icing.

First of all, I cannot stand even a millimeter of icing, let alone a pink and yellow mile-high icing! And secondly, when somebody brings a HUGE serving of something to eat, it throws me in a panic. Because I am a slow eater and usually find it very hard to throw away food! It’s comparatively easier for me not ever accept it. And I had just eaten a good lunch – my kind and did not have room for anything. So, I wished her well and passed the cake.

And with that, three of my “friends” ganged up to say how that was very selfish on my part to refuse the cake, causing the birthday girl to feel “upset.” Whoa!! That was a big blow to me, given how in my head, I thought of myself as more compassionate, giving, and generous. Even more than Mother Teresa!

So, all evening I sat and sulked around until when my neighbor, lady J, walked in with her little dog Snoop. The dog was a new addition to her family, and I had taken a liking to the pup. J was already a great friend. So, I decided to check with J if I was selfish to say no to the birthday cake. “Yes …!,” she said, looking me straight in the eye. Whaaat?? Just then, Snoop started scratching at the door. A wet doormat was the last thing I wanted, and so I hurriedly got up to let Snoop go out to relieve himself. And J continued ” … so is peeing!!” The way she said it, we both LAUGHED. In a straightforward sentence, everything was put into perspective.

So ladies, always remember – many life-sustaining processes are selfish. Breathing, peeing, putting the O2 mask on yourself first, going to bed when your loved one wants to watch telly, choosing to eat healthily, saying no to your colleague’s birthday cake, or even mom’s greasy plate of pakoras – many more! And that’s no reason NOT to do them.

So if you asked me today, if I’m selfish or if someone has thought of me as selfish – it’s yes and yes in my case. It keeps me alive and sane. When I speak of being selfish, I do not mean it in a petty way that I trample over other people’s rights. I mean it in a way that I honor my needs and my own judgment. I mean it in a way that I find it worthwhile to use my time and life to pursue what matters to me.

If you’re someone who’s looking to eat healthily, get enough sleep daily and exercise regularly, this is how it begins with this: you must d-e-e-p-l-y believe that learning and behaving in our interest is desirable. Even if this is sometimes in conflict with what somebody else wants for you, you must understand that you have no obligation to live up to their expectations. Not only is self-interest desirable, but it’s also the only way to be.

If your friend says you’re selfish about refusing to have a beer with her, remember to say to yourself – “Yes! So is peeing.” I’ll promise it’ll put everything in perspective.

Did you enjoy reading this post? Then, you’ll likely enjoy the monthly summary post I put together exclusively for my newsletter readers. Consider signing up! You’ll get book recommendations, strategies to conquer your cravings, tips, and tricks on how to stay on your healthy eating plan, and so much more.

kahi pe nigahein kahi pe nishaana

D is one of the most animated people I’ve spoken with! She’s fun, witty, and was an antyakshari winner at her club. And besides 100 s of things she does, she likes to make wish lists in her head. Hundreds of them! She can’t remember or keep track.

D: Hi G, can you write me a diet chart? I have a long wish list and have a terrible memory. Bad combo!

G: Really?! Tell me more about your list.

D: Matlab, the list is in my head. I don’t have a list – list. I want to learn to cook nicely. I want to wear beautiful clothes – matlab, western and ghagra cholis and all that – my cousin is getting married, it is a huge event, okay! It’s like a double dhamaka – valentine’s day destination wedding, and we’re all excited. Then, I’ll be taking cooking classes when we go to Kolkata. My s-i-l went to the same classes, and she’s a fantastic cook now.

G: So, how does the diet chart help you with any of this, D?

D: See, I need to lose weight to look good in western. And then the ghagra choli also, I can’t wear. I am embarrassed! And if you write some simple things I can eat, I’ll be able to manage okay. By the end of March, I’ll be trained to make at least 15-20 varieties of delightful dishes, Indian and western desserts, both I’ll be learning. With all this, I’m in charge of all the songs and dances for the wedding, too!

G: My dear D, you reminded me of that Kajol and Shah Rukh movie ka sangeet scene. Kahi pe nigahen kahi pe nishana! It’s like going to the airport to catch your Duronto Express.

Pause.

We often have enough wishes for the next three years. And that too, all in our head! Nothing on paper. And because it is all so nebulous, nothing ever gets seen and because there’s nowhere to see how it is overflowing – more are continuously piled into the “list.” And often randomly! How would you accommodate a goal for eating healthy and a goal for becoming a master halwai, without one canceling the effect of the other?

Is your “list” in the head in screaming conflict with the activities you choose to do? Like these – all examples of kahi pe nigahen kahi pe nishana?

No unnecessary spending, and you would have gone visiting the Grand Shopping Festival. 

Not eating sweets for three months, and you watch Desserts Show on Netflix every evening.

Must wear my own wedding sarees to functions. You pick up a designer ghagra at a “deal price.”

Let me make it easy for you!

Please write down what goals you have for yourself. At the time of taking action, get in the habit of checking if all your efforts are in alignment with your goals.

If your goal is to eat vegetables for breakfastdon’t stock up on breakfast cereal.

If you want to eat no sugar, stop trying out the dessert recipe videos, your friend puts on her youtube channel.

If you intend to order a soup and salad only, don’t read through that damn menu card at the restaurant.

Some of my clients are quick to intervene and say, no G I only saw the cake video. That’s all!

Arre yaar, every unwanted saree purchase also started with seeing the pictures and asking a harmless “pp” only, no!

Stay on the alert to see if you’re sticking out temptation traps for your self and undoing your efforts mindlessly.

And for those of you wanting to take it to the next level, here’s a little homework for you: grab a notebook and pencil, set the timer for 30 minutes, and turn off every distraction. Now answer the question – how do you identify yourself. What are your top 5 values? If you need any guidance to go deeper, I have a pdf here that you may download.  Many of us start the answer with our roles – I am a mother, a daughter, sister, CEO, and so on. These I just mentioned, they sit well with each other overall, though there may be transient periods of conflict.

But, if you identify yourself like so,

baker of cakes

maker of sweets

drinker of drinks

eater of desserts

try-er of every new restaurant in town

an everyday cook of exotic recipes out of a vast library of cookbooks and cooking courses

then, without a doubt working on your identity is the best starting point of getting past the kahi pe nigahen kahi pe nishana muddle. So, get curious.

What tags do you have for how you identify yourself?

What are your values?

If you need any guidance to go any deeper, I have a pdf here that you may download.

 

“All was well .. until I went to that function and saw others eating sweets!”

“Hey G, I was eating so nicely according to plan until that function happened! It could not be missed, and I went. People were eating such delicious sweets anywhere I saw. I lost it and how! Since then, it’s all been downhill. Now tell me how not to eat sweets?!”

This was R’s question a couple of months ago. I know this is a very, very common one too! I coached R, and since then, she hasn’t touched anything sugar – it’s about eight weeks and counting! Read on if you also want to kick your sugar habit for good.

Some background info: R is a big B fan, and she loves cooking and baking. Sugary things were her only weakness.

And here’s the highlight of our coaching session.

G: I know just the mantra for you – ‘zafrani pulao mein cheeni nahi dalte!’

Each time you reach out to eat anything sugary, you must say this mantra aloud. And you will stop eating sweet things after this 

R: Whaaat???

G: Have you watched cheeni kam? Remember big B firing that chef in the kitchen – that fellow who had his wife’s pic stuck over his utensil rack, and he’d dip into identical jars of sugar and salt for the cooking. Had he sugared Tabu’s order of zafrani pulao – storyline yaad hai?

R: Connection kya hai. Am still puzzled 

G: When you’re baking or cooking something sweet – let’s say while you’re baking a cake – and you’ll see some luscious kashmiri mirch you picked up. Would you toss it in your recipe? It’s luscious! Soooo colorful too – why not??

Of course, you will not! You will maintain the integrity of your ingredients to the recipe until the dish is created. You do that even after it is created! You wouldn’t serve that damn cake with some avakkai on the side. Hai ki nahi!

R: smilingly agreeing 

G: Now imagine you are making a dish – savory dish – and it’s called Slimmer-me. There is NO sugar-related ingredient in this dish – EVER!! Anytime you lose track of what you’re making and start putting sugary things into Slimmer-me, you ARE ruining your dish!

All those other people you saw at the wedding, they’re busy making some other dish. It’s a dish called EatNowCryLater! Did you want that for yourself? Then it would be best if you started doing what they’re doing! If not, your only focus must be on making Slimmer-me! Don’t wreck the process carelessly.

R: Oh, my God!! Okay, hereafter am going to say to myself ‘zafrani pulao mein cheeni nahi dalte’ each time I feel like planting my face in a sweet.

Some 10 -15 days ago R messaged – “damn it G! I am unable to eat a sweet after I say that mantra. I was at Ry’s parents’ house (Ry is her American husband), and when I reached for something sweet, Ry hissed at me – you don’t sugar your pilaf, do you! Bhaag gayi sab udhar hi chod ke!!”

You’ll feel angry sometimes and sad at other times as to how unfailingly this damn mantra works! The bottom line is, it works. 

Try pushing yourself past it. Your sweet will not feel so pleasurable anymore!