Tammy Fuller
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managing urges

Managing Urges to Overeat

managing urges

Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

What are urges anyway?

Urges can be defined as desires that have been habituated. Managing urges can take different forms but one is more effective than others.

Sometimes I feel like my brain is like a toddler laying on the floor of the grocery store screaming for candy. This toddler brain got that way because every time I went to the store I got candy. My brain learned that shopping meant sweets. Once I started trying to lose weight my toddler brain still screamed for sweets every time I went shopping.

Urges tend come up during certain times, certain events, certain places and even when you are feeling particular emotions (sad, stressed, happy, etc.). Sometimes the urge is for a specific food or type of food – sweet, salty, both.

Once you have an urge there are 4 actions you can take: react, resist, distract or observe. Only one of these actions hold the key to overcoming overeating.

React

Reacting to an urge means you just give in. It fuels the habit and reinforces the habit cycle. The habit becomes even more ingrained over time.

Resist

Resisting an urge is using willpower to tell yourself no. This is like white-knuckling, gritting your teeth and fighting against it. It takes a great deal of energy and eventually it wears you down. You can’t recognize the habit cycle or learn anything from it when you are resisting.

Distract

Distracting yourself from an urge is when you busy yourself with something different. You may do other tasks like clean the house or you may decide to avoid certain situations all together. Many people distract themselves with other rewards. So they still give into the urge (and reinforce the urge) but they use something other than what they had the urge for. This is the reason that people gain weight when they are trying to quit smoking. They replace the urge to smoke with food.

Observe

Observing your urges means to be curious. Take a good look at the urge and allow it to be there without answering it.

This action can change everything for you. 

When you have an urge your toddler brain screams to let you know that it feels terrible. It tells you that resisting pizza (or whatever you are having an urge for) is unbearable. But if you take the time to tune into how your body is actually feeling you realize that you feel restless, or antsy. You realize that your brain is creating a whole lot more drama than you are actually physically feeling.

The urge itself is not an emergency but your thoughts about it make it feel like one. The discomfort is created by your mind screaming,

It’s not fair.

I need this.

It’s not that bad.

I’m starving.

Everybody else gets to.

I’ve been good all day.

I deserve this.

Use this as an opportunity to learn from the experience. To figure out the things that trigger your urges. To learn to sit with the urge and be curious but not give in. Do a thought download. You may be surprised by what you learn.

What does your toddler brain say during an urge?

3 Simple Things You Can Stop Doing to Lose Weight

Today I want to share with you 3 simple tips I learned from my coach Corinne Crabtree of Phit-n-Phat. Implementing these simple tips can help you break the habit of taking in extra unneeded calories throughout the day.

Sometimes we think weight loss is hard and takes drastic measures. There are so many small tweaks you can do that help you make changes you can keep for life. That way you can stop the cycle of dieting, failing and gaining the weight back.

1. Stop Taking Bites, Licks, and Tastes

Corinne calls these BLTs. If you start tracking it you will see just how often you lick the spoon while cooking, take bites while seasoning food, or finish off the last couple bites of your child’s plate. These are just extra calories that add up without you even realizing it.

2. Stop Eating Standing Up

Sit down when you eat. No eating while standing at the pantry, the counter, or the stove. No standing up and eating while working. Take the time and sit down. It gives you a mental break to evaluate if you are truly hungry or if you are just fog (mindless) eating.

3. Leave Bites Behind

Commit that you will leave 2 or 3 bites behind at every meal. This gets you comfortable with not automatically finishing everything on your plate. Many times you have reached satisfaction but you finish the meal because it’s there. Leaving bites behind can help you eat with more intention – you have to pay attention to how much you’re eating in order to leave the bites.

I was taught to clean my plate and not waste food. However the food is still wasted if I eat it and it ends up on my hips.  Either way, eating food that my body doesn’t need or throwing out the food it is wasted.

Action Step

Implementing these 3 simple tips can save hundreds of calories a day. This allows your body to access the body fat you have stored so that you can fuel your body and lose the weight.

Will you implement any of these tips this week?

Developing a Habit to Change Negative Thinking

changing negative thinking

Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

To Change Negative Thinking You Have to Catch the Thoughts

In a previous post I talked about establishing a habit of doing a thought download each day. Once you start doing this you will begin to notice thoughts that are not helping you. Thoughts that you might wish you could change. Awareness of your thinking is the first step to change negative thinking.

In my Bible study I learn that God wants me to “transform by the renewing of my mind” (Romans 12:1-2), to “take my thoughts captive”  (2 Corinthians 10:5), and to not “be double-minded” (James 1:8, 4:8). But my old, practiced thoughts keep coming up over and over. My brain has built circuitry to have these negative thoughts come up over and over. It takes awareness and practicing new thoughts in order to change your thinking.

Coach Brooke Castillo has developed a practice which I have felt very helpful in evaluating my thinking and taking steps to practice more intentional thinking. She calls it “the model” and it is a simple but powerful tool. It is based on the realization that any problem in life is actually a thought problem and you can always change how you are thinking about a situation.

The Model

The model is broken down into 5 components: Circumstance, Thought, Feeling, Action and Results (CTFAR).

Circumstance

The circumstance is the facts. Facts that anyone can agree on.

“My boyfriend is a jerk” is not a circumstance. It’s a thought. The circumstance would be, “I have a boyfriend.”

Thought

What is your thought about the circumstance? Choose just one thought.

Feeling

When you have this thought, what feeling does it generate? Your feelings are created by your thoughts.

Action

When you are feeling this way, what do you do?

Result

What are the results of your actions?

How to Put the Model to Use

The way to use this model is to do it twice. The first time you do it is called your unintentional model. It’s how you are already thinking about the circumstance and how it’s impacting your life. For example:

Circumstance –  I weigh 250 pounds

Thought –  I am stuck and can’t lose weight

Feeling –  Hopeless

Action – Overeat because it doesn’t matter anyway

Result – I don’t lose weight

The Intentional Model

The intentional model is where you re-write the circumstance and then tweak it to move you towards a better thought. Using the example above it might be too difficult to change my thinking to something like, “I can lose weight easily.” But I might be able to believe that it’s something I can figure out. Here’s how it changes my model:

Circumstance –  I weigh 250 pounds.

The circumstance doesn’t change. It’s the same as the unintentional model. We don’t change how we feel by changing our circumstances. We change our feelings by changing our thinking.

Thought –  I am figuring this out.

What do I need to think to feel a better feeling. In this example I want to feel more hopeful. So my thought becomes, “I am figuring this out.”

Feeling –  Hopeful.
Thinking that I am figuring this out opens up the possibility in my brain that this can be figured out and brings me hope.

Action – I track my food, plan my meals and evaluate if I can “level up” my eating.

If I feel hopeful I am more likely to take some steps towards figuring it out.

Result – I figure out how to start losing weight.
When I take steps I make progress.

Change

When I keep thinking the way I’ve always thought I stay the same. If I truly want to change and grow I have to change my thinking. The model has given me a practical way to do just that.

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more in this series click here for the main page with all the links.

6 High Performance Habits That Can Make You Extraordinary

high performance habits

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way

High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard has been one of my favorite books of my 2018 Reading Goal Challenge. This is definitely a book that can help you be your best self. Burchard studied high performers for more than ten years to discover why certain people are successful, why some of those successful people are happier than others, and what deliberate habits do the happy, successful people practice.

You may be someone who is actively working on building good habits. But which habits can have the most impact? Burchard boils all that he learned into 6 habits: clarity, energy, necessity, productivity, influence and courage. I’ll write a bit about each habit but I encourage you to get the book and read it for yourself. There are great stories to illustrate each point and every section has actionable steps to build better habits in your own life.

Clarity

High performers consciously seek clarity. They ask themselves questions more often. Who do I want to be? How do I want to interact in this relationship or at this meeting? What is meaningful? What is my focus in this moment? What feeling do I want to have and what do I need to think in order to generate that feeling? What’s working and what isn’t?

I have practiced seeking clarity over the last couple of years but this book has helped me dig a little deeper on that front. Burchard states that high performers envision their future self and create a picture of who they are growing into. This allows them to actively enrage in the activities that will help them become that person. Ask yourself, “What is my contribution to the future?”

Energy

High performers generate energy. They have more mental focus and stamina, greater positive range of emotions and greater physical vitality and health. The author describes the type of energy he’s talking about as, “positive and enduring mental, physical, and emotional vibrancy.”

He talks about 3 practices to generate energy:

  1. Release tension and set intention
  2. Bring the Joy
  3. Optimize Health

Necessity

To perform at a higher level you must raise necessity. The driving forces of motivation are both internal and external. Internal forces include your own personal standards of excellence and obsession with your goal. External forces include your social duty or obligation and the urgency of obtaining the goal.

'The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.' - Vince LombardiClick To Tweet

Productivity

One of the ways of increasing productivity is to take a break. It seems counter-intuitive but giving yourself a mental break to focus on a few moments of deep breathing and remembering your focus. Unfortunately I have a bad habit of taking a break and checking social media or email. This causes a sharp decline in my productivity because it’s so easy to get distracted from my goal.

Another productivity tip is to figure out what are the outputs that you produce that really matter. Which activities move the needle toward reaching your goal? Do more of those.

Burchard talks about breaking down each major goal into five major moves. What are the five moves you could make to rocket you towards your goal? 60% of your time should be devoted to working on those five moves.

Influence

High performers intentionally develop influence. They teach people how to think about things. They challenge others in the area of character, connections and contributions and encourage them to push farther and  to be better. Influencers tend to be role models for others.

Influence is the ability to understand other people and get them to act towards objectives. We can have positive influence on others all around us – not just in the workplace.

Courage

High performers demonstrate courage. Courage is a skill and it can be learned. Understand it and give yourself opportunities to practice it consistently . The more actions you take towards facing your fear the better you get at facing it. Courage, like fear, is contagious.

Get the Book

There’s so much good stuff in here I encourage you to read it for yourself or get the audio. If you’ve read the book I’d love for you to drop a comment down below and tell me what you thought of it.

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more in this series click here for the main page with all the links.

Clean Up Your Thinking with a Daily Thought Download

thought downloadDoing a thought download is a practice that has helped me in so many areas of my life. I started doing it as a practice to stop overeating. But I have learned that is is simply a good practice to help get the jumbled thoughts out of my head. This helps me start my day with some intentional thinking so I can increase the likelihood of meeting the day’s goals.

I find when I am thinking about a problem or a challenge my thoughts get all mixed up with my usual habitual thinking. It’s hard to recognize a problem thought that my brain has turned into an automatic thought pattern. Once I start peeling it all apart and writing it down I can begin to think better thoughts to change the outcomes.

The Rules

There are no rules.

You cannot mess it up.

There is no right or wrong.

Getting Started

I recommend you do this on paper rather than typing it out. Start writing whatever’s on your mind. Write for two to three minutes. More if you’re on a roll. Empty out your mind onto the paper.

You can start with some prompts to get you started if you feel stuck.

Today is going to be a ______ kind of day.
Fill in the blank and then begin to write about why you think the day is going to go that way. Is there anything you can do to have a better day?

If you are working on stopping overeating you can write down what you ate yesterday. Are you happy with your choices? Why or why not? Did you struggle with anything in particular? What is your eating plan for today. Are there any challenges you’ll face that you can work through before you get to them?

Truly, you can write about anything. Just free write and see what comes.

I hope you’ll give this a try and see how things can change if you start your day by clearing out your thoughts on paper.

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more in this series click here for the main page with all the links.

 

types of overeating

Learn From Overeating So You Can Stop

types of overeatingThere are 4 types of eating. I have previously covered the concepts of fuel foods and joy foods. The other 2 types of eating are types of overeating. My coach calls them storm eating and fog eating. Other terms for them can be binge eating and mindless eating.

Fog Eating

One of the two types of overeating is called fog eating.

Fog eating is just not paying attention to your eating.

It may happen when you are eating while you are distracted – watching TV, working, scrolling on the internet, etc.

It may happen when you are taking bites, licks and and little tastes here and there. Tasting little bites while cooking, finishing off your child’s food while cleaning up the kitchen, eating the crumbs from the edge of the cake in the break room.

One way I know I’ve been fog eating when feel cheated at the end of the meal. Like I got there so fast I didn’t get to enjoy it.

Fog eating is sneaky. It feels like it shouldn’t matter. But at the end of the week we are surprised by the result on the scale because it felt like we worked so hard. But we forget about all the extra bites we took in when we weren’t hungry

When you become aware of when you are fog eating  you stand a chance of making a better choice.

This is about choices. You don’t need more willpower. you just need to recognize it and make a choice. Either eat it and realize this choice may delay the result you are going for. Or don’t eat it and learn to sit with the discomfort. It won’t kill you.

Storm Eating

The other of the two types of overeating is called storm eating.

Storm eating is a conscious choice to eat past satiety. There is usually strong emotion tied to storm eating such as anger or justification. It is intentional.

“I just want it.”

“I’m tired of saying no to myself.”

“I deserve this.”

Do not give binges power. Do not make them more than they are.

You may feel out of control but in reality you are just making a choice to continue.

You can make a different choice.

How to Learn to Stop Overeating

The first step to stop overeating is awareness. If you don’t realize you are fog eating or storm eating you will always wonder why you’re not losing weight. Before you can tackle the problem you have to recognize that you are doing it.

Start journaling when you have an overeat. Whether it was an intentional storm eat or an unintentional fog eat you can learn from it. The more overeats you recognize the faster you can learn from them.

Track the time of day – my hardest times are right when I get home from work and right before bed.

Write down triggers – are you tired, bored anxious, stressed?

Place – does it happen more at work, at home, on the couch, at the computer?

Note anything that you notice surrounding the event.

Don’t be afraid of writing this stuff down. The journaling can cause you a little discomfort in putting all this down on paper. But it can be the tool that helps you figure this all out and get better results for yourself.

Action Step

Grab a journal or a piece of paper and track what you eat today. Pay attention to times you notice that you’re eating when you’re not actually hungry. Write a bit about what you were feeling in those moments. Use it as a time of discovery.

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more in this series click here for the main page with all the links.

 

Bringing the Joy Back to My Diet – Joy Food and 24-hour Planning

joy food

Photo by Herson Rodriguez on Unsplash

This past month or so I have implemented a new practice into my diet routine. I have been planning what my coach calls a Joy Meal. I have been very strict about what I eat for almost a full year now. In fact I wrote a post about why I don’t cheat on my diet. I still practice eating foods that I have learned are best for my body. I have lost 38 pounds and I have a long way to go. But I wanted to learn to practice planning for special foods. I wanted to learn the skill of eating a food that had previously been a problem for me and then getting right back on plan.

When I first heard about this practice it made me all sorts of nervous.

What if it made me gain weight?

What if I overate?

What if I totally blew my diet?

What if? What if? What if?

It made me aware that I still have some work to do related to my thoughts and beliefs about food.

How a Joy Meal Works

I plan my food 24 hours ahead of time. So joy food is not a last minute decision. I can’t just decide to eat pizza when the girls at the office decide to go out at the last minute. It has to be planned 24 hours ahead of time.

I only have one joy meal per week. I think long and hard about what I want for my joy food. It’s funny, I used to love sweets so much. But since I have stayed away from sugar for a year I crave savory foods for my joy food. My most recent joy meals have included nachos and pizza.

I have a joy meal every week. This gives me practice once a week with sticking to my plan, practicing constraint, and getting back on plan.

I still eat to a +2 on my hunger scale. This is not an excuse to overeat and stuff myself.

What I have learned from this practice

I don’t have to feel deprived. For example, one of my favorite desserts is cheesecake. Today at a meeting they served the most beautiful piece of cheesecake. I didn’t plan for it so I didn’t have any. But I don’t have to feel sorry for myself or feel like I can never have cheesecake like everyone else. I can plan for it on another day and enjoy the heck out of it without shame or guilt. The funny thing is, now that it’s not in front of me I don’t want it. I’d rather have nachos this week.

I am proud of myself for planning and following my plans. I’m proud of myself for making better choices to show up as my best self.

I can still lose weight while having a weekly joy eat.

I can eat delicious foods and stop before overeating.

I can be intentional about my food life. It doesn’t control me. I can always make choices.

It’s easier to stick to my daily plans when I have a joy meal to look forward to. It’s easier to say no to donuts in the break room at work when I know that I’m having something special later in the week.

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more in this series click here for the main page with all the links.

Eat More Fuel Foods to Help You Feel Your Best

 

What are fuel foods?

Fuel foods provide your body with nutrients.

They give your body energy.

They sustain you.

Fresh foods that are less processed are great choices.

When you are planning what you will include in your nutrition plan look for foods that are less processed, full of nutrients, and provide you with energy instead of making you feel sluggish. Pay attention if what you eat makes you sleepy within a few hours. Look for foods that you can’t resist overeating and evaluate if there is a better choice.

Start adding more of these nutritious foods into your plan. Plan realistically and stick to your plan. Don’t make it complicated. As you go along you can level up your eating plan. As you learn which foods don’t make you feel your best you can begin to make better choices.

If there are foods that tend to cause you to overeat you can look at swapping it out for a better choice.

As you progress in your weight loss journey you can continue to level up your foods to more nutritious choices. As you do this you will notice that your taste buds will change to enjoy the healthier foods. You will have more energy and you will feel more satisfied.

Action step:

Look at what you ate over the last week. Are there foods that you could swap out this next week to help you get to your weight loss goal?

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more in this series click here for the main page with all the links.

 

hunger scale

Using a Hunger Scale to Curb Mindless Eating

hunger scale

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Using a hunger scale to stop overeating

The hunger scale is a useful tool to help become more aware of the body’s signals for fuel. Once I started practicing using a hunger scale I realized how many times I was eating just because I felt like it was time to eat. I realized how often I had habits of putting bites in my mouth when I wasn’t hungry at all. A piece of cheese while waiting for dinner to be ready, a handful of nuts before bedtime, a morning snack when I was bored at work. Cleaning my plate even though I was full. It all adds up.

Tune In

Using the hunger scale can help you tune back into your body’s needs. It’s a way to eat when you get a little hungry and stop when your satisfied but not full. If you have fat to lose you have stored calories on your body. Allowing yourself to get a little hungry before you eat allows your body to tap into those fat stores and use them for energy. When you eat every two or three hours you don’t allow your body to use up those energy resources.

There  are many different versions of hunger scales you can find on the internet. This one is how I think of my own hunger scale.

Put it in Practice

Start listening to your own body’s signals. What does a -2 feel like for you? How does your body feel when you are satisfied at a +2 but not full. Journaling this at each meal can be helpful. The more you practice the sooner you will find the sweet spot. Your goal is to stop at satisfied. Satisfied is where your body is telling you it has had enough. I spent years thinking I needed to get to full each meal. This one tweak – stopping at satisfied – helped me break a months long plateau and has continued to help me make good choices.

When this is dialed in you will have more and more opportunities where you do not overeat. Be prepared to leave food behind. It’s OK to not eat the last few bites if you are satisfied. Even if it’s broccoli. Using this tool can help you learn to stop when having a treat. It can help you learn not to overeat when out to dinner. Some of the physical signs of “satisfied” I noticed were subtle. I tend to sigh when I am approaching satisfied. If I pay attention and stop a few bites later I find that it is perfect. If I am moving past “satisfied” I start picking out the good parts of my food. That’s a good signal from my body that I am no longer eating for fuel but for entertainment.

It takes a while to get it dialed in. Feel free to comment below with any questions you might have about the hunger scale.

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more topics like this click here for the main page with all the links.

24 hour planning

Ending Overeating with 24 Hour Planning

24 hour planning24 hour planning is one of the best tools I’ve learned in my weight loss journey. Using this tool consistently has taught me to plan ahead, decrease the number of decisions I need to make in a day, and best of all it has taught me to have my own back and stop self-sabotage. Having my own back means that I make a commitment to myself and then I follow through and stick to it.

Prior to using 24 hour planning I made a lot of last minute decisions. I chose what I would eat based on how I was feeling. I didn’t always make the best choices when I was tired, stressed out or bored. I was also subject to last minute decisions when there were goodies on the break room table or when friends wanted to go to lunch. 24 hour planning has simplified the weight loss process for me.

Benefits of 24 Hour Planning

  • 24 hour planning helps me make decisions when I’m not overly hungry or tired. I make better decisions that way.
  • It helps me make decisions that align with my weight loss goals.
  • It gives me a chance to follow through and create wins in my life.
  • 24 hour planning also gives me a chance to learn from failures and strengthen my resolve in meeting my goals.

Why is it Easy?

You can put any foods you want on your plan. It’s important to make it a doable plan so that you can fully commit to it. So don’t stress about the foods you think “should” be on your plan. Put what you will actually eat. The practice is in following through the next day.

What Will You Learn?

You will learn how to practice committing to yourself and sticking to your commitment.

You will learn to focus on today and not get overwhelmed by the overall goal.

You will have opportunities to learn as you practice sticking to your plan. It won’t always be perfect and those moments are your chance to evaluate and grow.

Ready to Get Started?

Grab a sheet of paper or your journal  and plan tonight for what will you eat tomorrow. Think about what obstacles you might face tomorrow. Plan for them. You don’t have to write exact amounts on the plan if you don’t want to. This is not about trying to be perfect. Meet yourself where you are right now. This is about making a commitment to yourself and learning.

At the end of the day answer the questions below. Write it out. This is where the learning happens. This is where discovery and skill building happens.

What did I actually eat?

Did I start eating only when hungry?

Did I stop eating when I was satisfied?

What did I do well today?

Did I stick to my plan today? Why or why not?

Now with all that in mind fill out a new plan for tomorrow. Repeat each day.

Example of my 24 hour plan

Here’s a sample of one of my 24 hour plans. This one is from yesterday which was Easter. I splurged a bit with potato salad. I planned ahead for it. I didn’t plan for eating any Easter candy and I didn’t eat any. I am getting better at sticking to my commitments to myself.

a.m.- Keto coffee, eggs, bacon

noon – big salad with cheese and salami

dinner – tri tip, potato salad, deviled eggs

Still Have Questions?

Comment below if you have questions. I’d love to help.

 

This post is a part of a 30 day series for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. For more topics like this click here for the main page with all the links.

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