let go of your fork

Put your fork down between bites.  I don’t know how many times I’ve read that strategy for losing weight.  And I always gave that advice a nod and a ‘yeah, yeah’, but I never really tried it.  I always thought of it as a behavior or a habit that I couldn’t quite change.  But that changed when I read The Jean Nidetch Story by Jean Nidetch:

…people who are overweight still do the same thing.  They hold on to the fork all through a meal.  They never let go, because they’ve never learned how.

When I read those words, the light came on.  I realized that, for me, holding on to my fork was more of an emotional attachment.  It was a security blanket that I wouldn’t let go.   No wonder I’ve had such a hard time putting down my fork.  It wasn’t about changing a behavior, it was about changing my thoughts.  It was about overcoming that emotional attachment and seeing the fork as a tool for eating rather than as my Excalibur against life’s pain and frustration.  I will again be practicing letting go of my fork at least once each meal this week.

Can you let go of your fork this week?


Organizing Ideas for letting go of your fork

If you are eating with someone who eats slower than you, you could make a game or challenge yourself to:

  • put your fork down if you see their fork down.
  • sneak a peak at their plate when you’re half-way done and wait for them to catch up.

You could use your non-dominant hand to hold the fork.  I’m thinking that this would not be a good one to try in public initially.

make the most of your gym membership (or exercise equipment)

Single purple gift box with silver ribbon on white background.Did you get exercise equipment for Christmas?

Did you ask Santa for a yoga class (or Zumba)?

Did you find a gym membership in your stocking?


Do you have everything you need to successfully use it this year?  Here are some things you can do to increase the likelihood that it gets used.



  • Set it up permanently.  Even if the equipment is made to break down for easy storage, the time it takes to set up eventually will be a great excuse to skip your exercise.
  • bigstock home gym treadmill elliptical Make your exercise spot a destination.  Make your environment welcoming, supportive and motivating.  Don’t put your treadmill, exercise bike, or elliptical in the basement or out in the laundry room, unless the view draws you in each time.  Some paint, posters, and other decorations can make your area a destination to enjoy.
  • Define success through smaller goals.  Instead of promising to exercise for an hour every day, commit to starting out with 15 minutes three days a week or something similar.  As my life coach, Carole Billingham, told me years ago – under promise and over perform.



  • Choose something you love to do. Or try out different classes to see if both the activity and the instructor are a good fit for you.bigstock exercise class small
  • Schedule it first.  Enter your classes on your planner/schedule now.  Schedule it for the next three months.  As other appointments come up, schedule around your classes.  Be sure to keep some time before and after the class as a buffer so that you can transition from one appointment to the next.
  • Set your alarm.  Use your phone or an alarm clock to remind you to get ready and go to your class.  If you have a tendency to lose track of time, an alarm will be useful in refocusing for the next activity.



  • Grab a buddy.  Having an exercise buddy can definitely help get you to the gym, especially on those days when any excuse will do to keep you away.  Accountability to someone else, as well as, the support and encouragement that a buddy provides can make the difference.Portrait of a smiling female trainer with clipboard pointing tow
  • Take advantage of any complimentary training sessions offered.  Most gyms have staff who will show you around the machines and may offer a 30 minute personal training session.  Take it.
  • Make it a habit.  Find a spot in your day where going to the gym makes sense for you and stick to it.  Even if your original exercise plan can’t be followed because of an injury or not having enough time, modify your work out and keep going to the gym.  This will build the habit of walking through those gym doors.

I got a gym membership for Christmas and was excited to get back into a routine.  However, because of a chronic back problem I had to go for physical therapy (PT).  For now, I’m restricted to only the PT exercises.  I was worried that I’d lose my motivation if I wasn’t going to the gym regularly.  Then I realized, I can still go to the gym (building the habit) and do my PT exercises.  When I’m ready to get back on the elliptical, it won’t be much of a change — I’ll have the habit of walking through those doors.  Make the most of your gym membership!

May this year bring all that you need to be
healthy and happy!

Happy New Year 2015 colorful triangles

What change do you want to see?

Check It Out

10 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Gym Membership from ultimate geek girl

I’m trying out the iPhone app – Habit Builder.  Share your favorite health app with me (and I’ll add it to the list next week).  They also make an app for Android.


bigstock-Believe-24514889Courage to Create Your Life on Purpose

Email me to see if lifestyle coaching is right for you.

make your health a habit

I heard  a great quote on The Biggest Loser years ago, “willpower is overrated”.  This was a freeing concept for me, because it meant that better choices were easier to make if I didn’t actually have to be aware of making the choice — if the environment was clear of temptations or if the better choice was a habit.

Have you tried to build a habit lately?  Did you go in with the expectation of it taking 21 days to build?  Were you successful or disappointed?

Let me tell you — it does NOT take 21 days to build a habit. It takes more than 21 days to build a habit I’m not just speaking from personal experience, there is research* that shows, on average, a habit takes 66 days to build.  The actual number of days needed to build a specific habit will depend on you and the behavior.

The research found a range of 18 to 254 days (yes! yes! I so agree).  Some participants were unable to build a habit as the research ended before the habit was formed (in other words, it can take a really long time).  In general, healthy drinking habits (such as drinking water) were easier to build than exercising (running for 15 minutes or doing 50 sit-ups).  What I found most interesting was that the eating habits were harder to create then both drinking and exercise.  Hmmm, that might explain a few things.

Next time you decide to build a habit or make a change, give yourself more than 21 days. Make as long as it takes your mantra.  I feel that some new habits will take as long to make as you lived the old behaviors.

Keep building new and healthier habits.

* How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world (Lally, van Jaarsveld, Potts, & Wardle, 2010)

What healthy choice will you build into a habit this week,and for ‘as long as it takes’?


how I can help with Lifestyle Coaching

Ever wonder where the ’21 days to build a habit’ came from?  It has to do with plastic surgery and self-image.  HUH???
Check It Out

Busting the 21 days habit formation myth
‘Health Chatter’: The Health Behaviour Research Centre Blog

How Long Does It Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science) Huffington Post

These are the three most powerful books I’ve read on change and creating habits.

Share your journey.  How long did it take you to build your last habit? – leave a comment.



How many times have you changed the same habit, eliminated the same food, or added the same choice back in, but it doesn’t seem to stick?

Me, too! I’ve slacked off on several things, but this week I’m going to focus on one of them – eating half the volume of what I feel I want. Portions have always been my challenge. What is a reasonable portion to someone who isn’t challenged by their weight seems unreasonably small to me. My eyes say “more!” Yes, part of it is my inner 5 year old who’s afraid she’s not going to get her fair share. But part of it may just be how my brain works.try and fail 3

Studies are showing that there are significant differences in brain activity between healthy weight individuals and overweight & obese individuals. Parts of my brain could be lighting up like a Christmas tree at seeing high-calorie foods, while healthier choices trigger nothing. I can’t control what my brain does, but I can certainly use tools and strategies to give it a fighting chance at making a better decision.

I’m going to start with eating less of my pizza. For those of you who know about my Friday night pizza & a movie night, you know I’ve had a slice of pizza every week since I started Weight Watchers in 2005. It’s time for me to decrease the portion (it’s a huge slice); but every time I’ve tried to leave some on my plate, I end up finishing it anyway. So this week, I’m cutting back before it even gets on my plate. I’ll wait and rest, if I’m still hungry, then I’ll consider eating the rest. The intent is to give me time to feel full and satisfied so that I can say “no thanks, I’m full.”

What can you cut in half this week?

Check It Out  

My favorite pizza joint – Pizza Hawaii in Hilo