Why you’re still stuck in the diet-binge cycle

ice cream sundaeDo you ever feel like you’re “SO good” with food one day, and the next, you totally suck?

And when you feel like you “totally suck,” you probably think to yourself, “F*#k it, might as well eat.”

So you eat all the goodies you never allow yourself to have with the promise to yourself that you’ll get “back on wagon” tomorrow.

And so the cycle begins…

Sound familiar?

The only time a person “falls off the wagon” is when there’s a wagon to fall off of;

a set of beliefs, rules and ideals around food that we use to dictate how we feel about ourselves.

You know what I mean, you feel good when you eat according to the “rules,” but as soon as you slip up or you veer slightly off track, it’s off to the races and before you know it, you’re elbow-deep in a bag of potato chips.

(cue in the guilt, shame, and frustration)

I get it. I know what it’s like to be there. It’s so not fun and totally avoidable.

If you want to make peace with food and put a stop to the painful cycle of “on-again-off-again” dieting,

Ask yourself,

What wagons am I trying not to fall off of?

Where am I judging myself for my performance with food?

Where did I draw an imaginary line of “not okay?”

And get rid of it.

Because as long as there’s a wagon to fall off of, you WILL fall off of it, eventually.

Here are 3 steps you can take to break free from your food rules:

1. Think about the foods that are on your “bad” list, which of those foods would you like to try?

2. Each day, allow your body to steer your choices. If every day feels like too much, start with 1-2 days per week. How does it feel to give your body what it wants? Is it pleasurable? Satisfying?

3. How does this compare to the feeling of when you don’t eat what you want and you deprive yourself?

Remember, falling off isn’t your problem, the wagon is your problem.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear which foods you try and what the experience was like for you!

xo
Stephanie

P.S. Want health and wellness tips, motivation and inspiration on the daily? Join me on Facebook and Instagram. See you there!

Could you be afraid of losing weight?

I’ve got an important question for you today.

Do you ever feel ready to make changes in your life (your diet, exercise, self-care, etc.) and yet sometimes find yourself behavior in ways that directly conflict with what you say you want?

Maybe you dream of having the energy and confidence that comes from taking better care of your body but when it comes to pulling the trigger, you find yourself frozen in action.

Or maybe you dream of a lifestyle that is more relaxed and flexible and yet you still over-commit and never make time for yourself to slow down.

If you suspect a limiting belief may be holding you back, pay close attention.

It doesn’t matter how much you say you want to lose weight, if you believe somewhere deep inside that weight loss equals some kind of pain (loss of freedom, loss of time with friends and family, heightened expectations, jealousy, deprivation, isolation) you will NOT let yourself do what it takes to succeed.

I’m telling you all of this for a reason.

I don’t want you to have to go through the same painful ups and downs that I did.

Let me paint the picture for you…

When I finally came to terms with the fact that diets didn’t work, I started taking a different approach – I let go of my obsession with weight (no more counting calories or stepping on the scale on a daily basis), started eating real foods and listening to my body’s needs, and for the first time in a long time, I started enjoying what I was eating. I felt energized, inspired and motivated by these changes. Needless to say, I was feeling PFA (pretty freakin’ awesome).

BUT, then I would slip…

It was as if as soon as I felt my pants get looser, my energy soar and my true self step forward, I got scared.

Our deepest fear is not that we are

For many, myself included, successfully losing weight brings up a lot of fear about the future.

What will my life be like at a lower weight?

Will people look at me differently after I lose weight? Will they pass judgment? Will they be worried? Jealous?

Can I maintain this weight loss for the long term without sacrificing my health, my relationships, or my social life?

On the surface, weight loss seems pretty straightforward. Stop eating crap food, move your body and make time to take care of yourself, and before long, you’ll start to see success. But what we don’t realize is that there are many emotions that push their way to the forefront whenever we invite change to our lives.

Fear plays a role in all of these questions. Fear about the future, fear about the unknown, fear about your relationships. Fear of failure and even fear of success.

Perhaps you’ve experienced some of these fears too.

Fear of losing your identify.

Fear of feeling vulnerable.

Fear of heightened expectations.

Fear of deprivation or isolation.

Sometimes those fears are part of the reason why you falter or why you eventually stop trying to improve your health. I know because I experienced this several times when I was struggling with my weight.

If you find yourself in this position, like I did, it’s time for a reality check.

The way I see it, there were only two choices: 1) stay paralyzed in my fear and stuck in my weight and life; or 2) recognize my fears and take action to move past them.

I chose the latter.

In working through my fear, I made a promise to myself. That above everything else, I would do my very best to always take care of my body, my mind and my spirit for they are the very things that make me who I am. I promised I would never sacrifice my health for thinness. I promised I would never compromise my relationships to be a smaller size.

The last time I went through this cycle of “lose-weight-binge-gain-repeat,” I still felt nervous. But there was something different about this time. This time, I recognized the fear and even anticipated it. I reminded myself of the promises I made.

Some of my fears did come true. Friends did notice a slimmer body. BUT, they noticed a happier, more confident ME. I realized that even though some of my fears did come true as I dropped the weight, nothing really bad happened. My fears of success were unfounded. And probably – so are yours.

“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always reflect their inner beliefs.” – James Allen

In the comments below, I want to know –

Have you ever had a fear of success? How do you overcome it and keep going?

As always, thank you for reading. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say on this topic as it’s a really important one!

Love,
Stephanie

Are your goals aligned with your values?

How many times have you completely lost track of time while reading health blogs on the web, bookmarking new recipes, and browsing fitspiration (fit + inspiration = fitspiration) pictures on Facebook and Instagram?

And despite hours lost, you feel motivated, inspired to change, and ready to take on the world…

So you gather your info and you put it to work. You try that new diet plan, the trendy workout that promises to blast fat and reveal toned muscles and commit to a new way of living.

But after just a few days, your motivation falls flat.

Those feelings of frustration coming rushing back in. You think to yourself, “Why isn’t this working for ME??”

I promise you, you’re not alone.

Here’s the deal: if you want to make some serious changes in your life, setting goals is simply not enough. 

In today’s blog, we’ll get into the reasons why goal-setting only takes you so far and I’ll introduce you to my 3-step process for getting crystal clear on what you want and making sh*t happen.

Click here to get the ball rollin’.

In the comments, I’d love to hear just one specific example of what your goal is and what about it makes you happy? Bonus points if you snap a picture of you putting your goal into action on Facebook or Instagram @stephferisin.

Remember, support and accountability are key components to your success.

As always, thank you for reading and I’ll catch you over on the blog now!

xoxo
Stephanie

Does your environment support you?

does your envt support you

Nothing is more frustrating than when you’re trying to make positive changes in your life – improve the way you eat, exercise and take care of yourself – and no matter how hard you try to make a new habit stick, something seems to get in your way and you end up sliding off track. Right?

It’s easy to assume that it’s you; that you have this “problem” that can’t be fixed or that you must not be able to do it, that you’re hopeless or whatever story you tell yourself.

But that’s not true. And deep down, you know it.

After all, you’re a go-getter. You’re used to putting in the work and getting what you want.

So why isn’t this working??

“Inner chaos creates outer chaos” – Marie Forleo

When you’re trying to make room for a new future, it’s crucial that you first clear out the past, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Think about it this way, if our outer environment is a reflection of our inner world, then how is your environment supporting you? Or is it holding you back?

This week, I want to challenge you to start clearing out the clutter; to make room for the new. Because let’s face it, when you’re surrounded by chaos or you have a million and one things taking up space in your mind and your heart, it becomes really difficult to slow down, get clear and actually start doing the things that are important to you.

I’m going to walk you through the 3 different types of clutter that exist in our lives and then I’ll share powerful actions steps that you can start taking to create clarity and relief and get you out of that feeling of “stuck-ness” right now.

1. Physical clutter.
This is any clutter in our physical space. Like mail that’s piling up on the kitchen table, too many clothes, disorganized files, a messy purse, unable to find anything you’re looking for.

2. Mental clutter.
Mental clutter and physical clutter are directly related. Mental clutter makes us feel anxious, overwhelmed, and scatterbrained/disorganized. You know you have too much mental clutter when you find yourself constantly running late, forgetting why you just walked into a room, misplacing your belongings, multi-tasking, or feeling like your mind is always somewhere else (thinking of the next thing you have to do).

3. Emotional clutter.
This one is a bit more complex and is what I help my private clients with, in addition to the other aspects. Emotional clutter is heaviness in our lives associated with keeping everything in, not giving ourselves the opportunity to get our feelings up and out. Emotional clutter can weigh down on our spirits and our livelihood. And for many people, it’s often what leads them to use food for emotional reasons.

It’s not enough to just know about these things, you’ve gotta know what to do. So let’s get into it.

Clear the physical clutter.
It’s time to get rid of all that extra stuff that you’ve been hanging onto for too long now; the junk that keeps you feeling weighed down, stuck, exhausted. We often avoid thinking about it, but the truth is, it’s there and it’s weighing on our psyches and keeping us from feeling ease and clarity. Choose one area of your home (I suggest starting with your closet, but you can start wherever you’d like!) and start asking yourself questions like, “Is this supporting my life’s desires? My health goals? Does this, in its condition, make me feel good?” If the answer is no, get rid of it! Remember, clothes can always be donated.

** Side note: If you’re trying to lose weight and you just can’t bear the thought of parting with your too-small favorite pair of jeans, no problem. Keep them for now. BUT, go buy yourself a pair of jeans that is just as fabulous, makes you feel amazing/sexy/beautiful, and fits your body as it is right now. Because there’s nothing worse than your jeans pinching your sides to remind you that you’re not where you want to be. Trust me, this approach will only make you eat more, not less. **

Create mental white space.
This next exercise is a total game-changer, so definitely give yourself time to go through it and feel free to repeat it as many times as you’d like.

Give yourself between 10-20 minutes to write down EVERYTHING that you have to do, want to do or accomplish, including any daily tasks. Write it all – write the things that keep you up at night, that make you worry, the things that you want to do, the things that you feel like you’re supposed to do. Just get it all out there. The idea behind this exercise is to get all of those things that are occupying your brain space up and out so you can start doing more of the things you want to do, and spending less time feeling overwhelmed and stuck.

Next, organize your to-do’s in order of priority: what needs to get done today, this week, this month or this year. Once you have an idea of where your priorities lie, take a look at your list, what are the things you want to do? What are the things you don’t really want to do, but feel like you should do? (Hint: use your common sense here. None of us really want to pay back our taxes, but let’s face it, that’s something we have to do if you want to avoid trouble down the line). A better example of this would be something you agreed to do because you didn’t know how to say ‘no’ with class or you’ve said ‘yes’ to too many commitments, then it’s time to renegotiate your commitments and get them off your list. The point here is to challenge your assumptions of what you have to do and get crystal clear (and honest) about what you truly want to devote your life and time to.

Finally, choose just ONE thing that you want to get done from this list and commit! Make it happen.

This is a great place to start and I’ll be honest, this is some seriously powerful stuff right here. Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below! I’d love to hear which exercise you did and what you were able to accomplish!

To new beginnings!
Stephanie

P.S. If you feel like clearing the physical and mental clutter was a good place to start, but you’re looking for more, I’m happy to speak with you during a 50-minute Freedom Breakthrough session. This is your time to gain clarity and talk with someone (yours truly) who’s been where you are and has the experience to guide you through this. Let’s find a time that works for you.

Try Something New Tuesday: Cauliflower Shrimp Fried “Rice”

cauliflower fried rice

Let me start by saying that I love rice. And hot sauce. I love hot sauce. I could put almost anything on a bed rice, top it off with a drizzle pour of hot sauce and be perfectly content.

Unfortunately, however, grains don’t always jive so well with my body. I’ve suffered leaky gut in the past and am careful about having too many carbs in my diet as a result. This doesn’t mean that I restrict carbs at all, it just means I’m conscientious about loading up more on protein, fats and veggies because they’re the foods that make me feel most energized inside and out.

That said, I was over-the-moon excited when I first learned about cauliflower “rice” a few years ago when I was studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. This stuff is no joke. It’s so delicious, so easy to prepare (literally chop it up in a food processor or blender) and is packed with nutrients.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my post on this a few weeks ago. Recently, I’ve been craving lots of veggies and fresh produce. I think part of it has to do with prepping for springtime and my body’s natural inclination for lighter foods.

Anyway, I made this incredible shrimp fried “rice” and it was a huge hit! So, here it is for you to try. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Shrimp Fried “Rice”
Serves 4 to 6

1 head cauliflower
2 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ to 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
½ pound shrimp, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced (or ¼ tsp. ground ginger)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced (I omitted these because not everyone likes them)
½ cup corn, fresh or frozen
½ cup peas, fresh or frozen
½ yellow onion, diced (you can substitute green onions for a more authentic dish)
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce

Instructions:

1. Cut the cauliflower into florets, discarding the inner core. Working in batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food process until it breaks down into rice-sized pieces. This should make approximately 5 to 6 cups of cauliflower “rice.”

2. Heat a wok or large pan over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook 3-4 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute.

3. Add remaining vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, whatever you want). Cook for 3-4 minutes and then stir in the cauliflower rice. Clear a circle in the center of the pan and pour in the beaten eggs. Stir to scramble the eggs and then combine with the other ingredients. Add spices and soy sauce. Top with sriracha and serve!

When you can’t stop thinking about food, try this

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All too often we forget…

It’s not about the food.

Most of my clients come to me because they are preoccupied with food and weight. They can’t stop thinking about their next meal or what “bad” thing they did with food an hour ago.

They spend an inordinate amount of time during the day thinking about food. In fact, they probably spend more time thinking about food than thinking about much else. Food consumes them. It’s an energy drain – one that keeps up from being able to be productive and present in other areas of our lives (like when we spend time with loved ones or when we’re trying to get sh*t done at work). Not to mention, it’s one that leaves us feeling utterly exhausted.

This kind of compulsive thinking/obsession around food and weight is the real issue at hand. It’s the source of compulsive eating and restricting and even excess weight.

Several years ago, when I was in grad school and in the midst of my struggle with food and weight, the only way that I was able to find my way out of it was to stop worrying so much about what I was eating and start asking myself why I was eating.

I wanted to change. SO badly.

So I committed myself to asking questions rather than assuming I had all the answers. What I mean is, instead of assuming that the reason I couldn’t get over this “eating thing” was because I “sucked” or I wasn’t “good enough” or “worthy” or whatever lies I told myself, I started asking myself questions like,

“If you’re not hungry, then why are you thinking about food?”

And without a doubt, there was always a reason:

“I’m bored.”
“I have no one to hang out with.”
“I don’t want to do this assignment.”
“I feel fat.”
“I hate going to work.”
“I’m in a weird mood.”
“I’m nervous.”
“I’m excited.”
“I don’t feel like going out tonight.”
“I think I want to move.”
“I don’t feel like working out.”
“I’m frustrated.”
“I’m angry with my friends.”

And the list goes on…

After taking this step, I gained clarity. I learned so much about myself. And most of all, I felt powerful. Like I actually could do something about this “problem” and not feel so out of control around food. For the first time, I could understand what was really going on.

The next step, after “identifying what’s going on,” is of course doing something about it.

BUT, before you get there, step number one is crucial. I cannot emphasize this enough. You may be like me – you may think you know all the answers and you just want to skip this step and move forward, but seriously, this step is huge and will help you in so many ways. Don’t underestimate its importance.

When you understand the true reason behind your compulsion around food, you take the power away from food and place it back where it belongs: in your real life.

Using food for emotional reasons is just a distraction from what’s really going on [Tweet it!]

Or from what could be going on. So imagine for a moment, what would you be doing if you weren’t spending so much time thinking about food? Would you learn a new language? Pick up painting? Put yourself out there more? What would you do?

What is one thing you would do if you weren’t thinking about food all day?

The #1 reason why willpower isn’t leading you to a slimmer body

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Has your willpower disappeared?

You know what I mean.

You’ve lost weight dieting in the past but eventually gained it all back, and now no matter how hard you try to stick to your diet or exercise program, you just can’t seem to do it.

I know how that goes.

I dieted in the past and it worked. But years later, when I had regained the weight (plus more), I found myself struggling to stick to those rules and guidelines that had worked for me once before. I couldn’t understand why this was happening. After all, I’m a go-getter – the type of girl who sets her mind on something and works to get what she wants.

So you can imagine how frustrating it was to feel like no matter how many times I promised myself that THIS time I’d do it “for real” – I’d stick to the plan, work out five times a week and eat clean (no carbs, no sugar, no booze, etc.) – somewhere down the line, I’d slip up and before I knew it, I’d be elbow-deep in a bag of potato chips and would feel like I had completely blown it… Again.

Sound familiar?

There’s a common belief that willpower is the most important ingredient for life change; that without it, you won’t be able to stay the course during any big transition.

But here’s the big flaw in that idea: willpower is like a muscle. And like a muscle, it can be fatigued.

Think about it this way, willpower requires you to exert energy over controlling your impulses. So if you’re declining dessert, pushing yourself to stay at work later or making yourself go to the gym, the amount of energy you have left to then control other impulses going forward or to take good care of yourself, is diminished. You literally don’t have the energy nor the strength to do it.

Do you see how that works?

Even just thinking about it, I remember how tired, scratch that, exhausted, unmotivated and depleted I felt when I was fighting so hard to lose weight. It was an incredibly strenuous effort that I now realize only worked when my energy didn’t have to be spread out over other things like friends, family, a job, a relationship, responsibilities at home, the list goes on. But let’s face it, the reality is that those things are important and without them thinness means nothing; life feels incomplete.

After struggling with this issue for so many years, I had an epiphany: I realized that if I wanted to lose weight forever, I had to find a way of eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that did not rely solely on willpower.

It had to feel good, pleasurable.

So I made a mental shift. Instead of expending so much energy on forcing deprivation and restraint (“willpower”), I started thinking about the choices that I had.

Just like I spoke about last week when I shared my Top 5 Portion Control Strategies to Natural Weight Loss, shifting my focus from what I was “allowed” to eat to how I eat took the issue of deprivation and self-control right off the table. I made a decision that I wanted to be able to eat what I wanted but I also wanted to feel good. When I made that decision on changing how I ate and how I treated my body, I never lost. There was no fight to be had. And although it took time to find a balance of what worked for me, I knew that by having a choice, I was gaining my power back over food. And as I gained my power back, food no longer held the reins on my life and I was able to lose the weight and finally keep it off.

You see, when we rely solely on the depletable resource of willpower, we set ourselves up to fail. But by moving into a mindset where we have a choice, we set ourselves up to succeed.

It all boils down to this:

Here’s the falsehood: Willpower (the ability to control oneself) will lead to change, in this case weight loss.

The outcome: Fighting to control your impulses makes you feel both a) out of control; and b) like a failure. The more you try to resist your natural impulses, the more you send a message to your body that she is unworthy of listening to… The more you push, resist, deprive and get “up in your head” about food and weight and exercise… the more you monitor yourself… and the harder it becomes for your body to slim down.

Here’s the solution: If willpower (our ability to control our impulses) only makes you feel depleted, what is the opposite? Letting go of control and listening to your body.

It may sound crazy, but when you stop trying so hard to keep your willpower in check, you actually become more connected to your body, you feel more relaxed and comfortable and you’re able to shift your mindset to one that believes that you have a choice; that you have the power to choose to feel good in your skin, eat foods that are as delicious as they are nourishing. I realize that making this shift may seem like a distant goal. But it’s closer than you think and it would be my honor to show you the way.

With love,
Stephanie