The Lighter Side of Transformation

with Lisa Wessan, LICSW

My Ongoing Battle of the Bulge Continues…I reached my 50 lb. milestone!

For those of us who have more than a few pounds to shed, it is usually requires a multimodal and multidimensional effort…To that end, below please find a brief summary of my Fabulous Foursome for Successful Weight Loss and Good Health.  Learn more here as we hasten slowly towards our best health and lifestyle ever! 

09/19/19 |

So it turns out that after taking at least 10,000 roads to wellness over the past 50 years, my sacred formula for success is a multimodal treatment plan combining Weight Watchers (WW),  Yoga,  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Forest Bathing.

I’m grateful to share that I feel light as a feather…even though I have a long way to go.

For those of you still struggling with the 3Fs (Food, Fat, Fear), I’d like to invite you to pick at least one of these paths to wellness and begin to unpack the multidimensional conflicts that keep you in the Plus Sizes.

I’ll briefly describe each one, and may you find your solution soon!

1. WW (Wellness WINS! aka Weight Watchers)

First, let’s deal with the food. Good food, good mood, right?  Who is ever happy living in deprivation, with an “all or nothing” restrictive food plan?  For years, I used to manage my weight by eating no sugar, flour, booze, fried food and more restrictions.   I would be slim for a while, sometimes as long as seven years, but then as soon as I picked up one of the Forbidden Foods, e.g. chocolate, or wine, chips or whatever, I would blow it, fall off the wagon and spiral into a relapse of some sort. I believed the mythology that I could not eat one of anything, that for cookies, “One is not enough, but a thousand are too many.”    I was caught up in a kind of cult-like belief that I was a food and sugar addict and had to live my life in a Black and White, All or Nothing paradigm or else I would binge my brains out and be morbidly obese.

I even found doctors and research that supported this idea!  Fun fact:  this is NOT true.

I needed some serious cognitive restructuring, which I finally received. I had to let go of my former Belief System (B.S.) and move into a new realm where I knew nothing about food. Oh yes, I reached the critical point of being sick and tired of being sick and tired,  the best place to “achieve” the sweet surrender of the Beginner Mind.  I finally let go of my B.S., and opened my mind to a new way of looking at food, fat, carbs and more. It happened to be unexpectedly delivered by WW.

WW is an international organization, so you can join anywhere in the world you have internet service.  To sweeten this experiment, if you click on the link below, you can get a free month to try it out, and see how it goes.  That’s what I did.

[GET YOUR FREE WW MONTH TODAY!]

Fast forward to 2019… now it’s easier than ever to eat what you love and lose weight. Click HERE for one month free to explore… You can refund your misery after 30 days if this does not work for you!

The best part of WW is the Mindfulness training…there’s a lot of brilliant cognitive restructuring built into the weekly lessons and discussions in the Workshops, and in the online Connect community. Plus the WW App is totally genius for tracking your food (comes with the membership). I’ve used MyFitnessPal and other weight loss/fitness apps – this one beats them out hands down.

Good health is wealth, GO FOR IT!   [Note: don’t bother getting the WW cookbooks, because all of the recipes are online and the App.]

2. YOGA AND WEIGHT LOSS

I originally went to yoga just to STRETCH, to avoid getting injuries.  In the past, I would get Plantar Fasciitis,  shin splits,  and other sports related injuries because even at my top weight, I did a lot of walking, hiking and working out but not enough stretching. Yikes. It was a bitter and painful lesson to me, that not enough stretching causes incapacitation!

Imagine my surprise, when I started attending yoga classes, and discovered how much unexpressed grief, rage, sadness and other negative emotions I could release on the mat.  It was powerful for me, and continues to be a very helpful emotional release.  I need it.  It is definitely part of my weight loss success here.  See if you can find a yoga studio near your home or office.  Gentle suggestion: If you are new to yoga, or have any kind of physical challenge/injury/Plus Size body, start with the Restorative Yoga, which is deeply healing and relaxing.  That’s what I did.  I went from Restorative Yoga to more active Vinyasa Yoga (a bit more cardio).  I do both now.

3. DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY (DBT), SOLUTION-FOCUSED THERAPY AT ITS BEST

These skills of Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance, Interpersonal Effectiveness and Mindfulness  are necessary for the cognitive restructuring you need to move away from that toxic All or Nothing mindset, designed for Recovering Perfectionists like me.

Big Bonus:  DBT relieves depression, anxiety, mood swings, OCD spectrum and other behavioral issues that can be barriers to weight loss, and other long term goal driven projects. 

Grateful and shameless plug: If you follow my blog, you already know that I am a passionate DBT Skills trainer, and believe that these courses should be taught in third grade to all humans.

That said, if you are north of Boston, or near Westford, MA, you could check out my DBT Skills Groups. If not, search for your nearest DBT group in your area.   (As it happens, our next round of DBT groups for teens and adults on Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation are starting in January, so if you are interested, fill out this contact form and I’ll send you the new flyer and registration info.)

4. FOREST BATHING: DEEP HEALING FROM HIKING OR WALKING IN THE WOODS

If you’re still reading this, you are clearly motivated to make a change.  So are you truly sick and tired of being sick and tired?  Is this it?  Are you DONE suffering with the 3Fs?  If so, put on your walking shoes, sneakers or hiking boots and spend a little time on the trails.

It has been my experience that there is a healing force field that is very strong in the woods.  You need to drag your tired self over there and walk, even for ten minutes, to get into that healing field. Even better,  hug a few trees.  See what happens.

Selby 1
Selby Gardens, Sarasota, FL (December, 2019)

Notice if you suddenly feel as if your head has cleared, and you feel a bit more peaceful, or, dare I say it, even joyful?  I am 100% confident that the time I spend in the woods has contributed to my weight loss, and not just because I am burning fat on the trails.  No, it is the good energy shift I feel.  It helps me make more loving choices with my food, and my thoughts are transformed into better thoughts.   If you are curious, you can learn more here…

You might also enjoy this article I wrote, that was published in the SOCIAL WORK VOICE journal,  about the clinical benefits of walking in the woods,  Wessan, L. (2018). Walk and Talk Therapy: Moving Towards Wholeness. The Social Work Voice. Sept/Oct; 16-17.

In sum, I hope at least one of these four options — WW, Yoga, DBT or Forest Bathing —  help you in your journey towards wholeness, lightness and feeling good in your body.   May you find that peace with your food soon, however you get there!

Onward and Upward,

To your best life ever,

Lisa Wessan

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2019. All rights reserved.

 

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Some Mindfulness and Emotion Regulation Resources for a More Peaceful Holiday Season

Hi,

I hope this message finds you well.

During the holidays, especially Thanksgiving-Christmas/Hanukah/Kawanzza-New Year’s-Valentines Day, aka The Red Zone, there are many more opportunities to feeling the pain of Compare and Despair, neglect, arguments,  loss, grief and a boatload of intense feelings.

You may also be forced to spend time with a relative you despise, or be tempted to eat food or drinks that make you feel sick. Being triggered all over the place your impulse issues may be whispering in your ear, “Drink me, eat me, buy me, smoke me, shop me, gamble me, escape into video games/Netflix” on and on.

Everyone goes through this, but some of us feel it a lot more deeply.

To that end,  I want to offer you a few resources from my MirthMaven archives to help you get through The Red Zone.  May you find some wonderful skills and tools here to get through those midnight blues, or whenever the intense feelings feel like too much:

  1. Extra Tools for Letting Go  (Wessan, November 2018, 25 min). You may enjoy this useful and entertaining video of ways to quickly let go of harsh feelings.
  2. The Red Zone – Chock full of tips and techniques for help with this holiday season.
  3. Compare and Despair – added insight for social media distress, feeling left out, unloved, unwanted.

As always, let’s remember that “Feelings are not Facts,” and to practice being a good observer as the storm passes through you. “This too shall pass” and “Never Give Up” have helped to carry me through some tough times in the past.  

At the very least, remember to use the “Take 5” breathwork method: breathe in to the count of five, hold for five seconds, and release to the count of five.   Repeat for at least six rounds of Take 5 breaths, to get re-centered and regain some inner calm. 

May you have  a more  peaceful holiday season,

thanksgiving2

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2019. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Butternut Bonanza, side dish or dessert

You asked, so here is my most recent discovery in the kitchen…

Butternut Bonanza (side dish or dessert)

Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Team WW = 4 points (Serves 1)

Ingredients:

2 c. cooked butternut squash (or canned pumpkin)

Liquid Stevia to taste (usually four or five drops are enough, approximately half a squirt)
Cinnamon to taste
Salt to taste

½ c. Unsweetened apple sauce

¼ c. granola (my favorites are Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Fruit and Nut, or KIND Maple Quinoa Clusters)

My husband doesn’t like butternut, so I prepare this just for myself. I usually roast one whole butternut in four sections, good for four meals. But I add ingredients to only one section at a time.

First, I give it a good scrub down, to be able to eat the skin because the skin is loaded with nutrients. Second, scoop out seeds and discard. Cut in half, and then into quarters.

Spray your pan with Canola or other spray oil. I like to use a large CorningWare pan for this.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes (or longer, if it’s a bigger squash). For average sized squash, 50 minutes will be enough.

Take one of the quarters and with a fork mash up the squash within the skin adding Stevia, cinnamon and some salt. Return to shell of skin. Then top with applesauce, and  granola (think of a stuffed baked potato). If you have time, you could put the one piece back in the oven for 10 minutes to warm up the applesauce and granola, or eat as is. I think the warmth from the squash warms up the applesauce enough.

For the remaining 3 portions, definitely reheat each piece as needed, then mash with Stevia, cinnamon and salt, add applesauce and granola. It seems to taste freshest this way.

I hope you enjoy this savory side dish or yummy dessert!

Onward and Upward,

Lisa Wessan

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One of my favorite dialectical quotes…

#DBT du jour:

“Love tells me I’m everything. Wisdom tells me I’m nothing. And between the two my life flows.”

– Sri Nisargadatta

What does dialectical mean?  Learn more HERE.

If you are challenged with depression, anxiety, social issues, relationship troubles, impulse issues or addiction, DBT skills will help you become healthier, stronger and more capable of coping with your emotions.  DBT is a Solution Focused therapy that gets effective results, and quickly!

Up Next:  Mindfulness and Interpersonal Effectiveness skills training in Westford, MA starts 11/06/19. Learn more HERE.

Fun fact: when you worry about the past too much, you become depressed; when you obsess about the future, you become anxious.  Learning to live in the present moment, aka practicing Mindfulness, can reduce 90% of your depression and anxiety.  Yes, you will still need to learn better ways to solve your life’s issues, but if you learn to stay in the  present  you will be so much more peaceful and useful.  Learning Mindfulness skills helps you get there.

If this speaks to you, please visit lisawessan.com and complete the CONTACT FORM.  I will contact you within 24 hours to discuss joining our next DBT group or working together individually, whatever you need.

Onward and Upward,
Lisa Wessan

Four leaf DBT

 

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My new beginning…first 10 lbs. off!

I feel grateful and liberated! | 14 FEB 2019 | Amazing! |

My years of trying to practice “Moderation Management” with my food have sadly failed.  But thanks to my sister’s polite perseverance, I signed up with the new Weight Watchers (WW) program on 26 JAN 2019 to try one more thing…and I am amazed at how well it is working!  I’m so excited that I’ve shed 10 lbs, and feel very motivated to keep this up, one day at a time, one pound at a time, until I am back in my healthiest body.

Years ago, when I was a young teenager, I went to WW to shed more than a few pounds.  It was a very negative experience for me at the time. I was fat-shamed, humiliated and often experienced physical and verbal abuse at home for gaining weight. In sum, when my sister told me how much she was enjoying it, I shuddered with PTSD and said, “Never.  I will never go back there!”

Being someone who steadfastly remains open minded and skeptical (truly dialectic), I was eventually persuaded to give WW another chance. So this is just a quick note to share my enthusiasm, hope and joy for this first 10 lbs.  It’s fun that WW has dozens of incentives built into their program.  These charms pictured above that are given for weight loss are sweet. But there are even more incentives with the WW new app.

The WW app makes it super easy to develop an advanced mindfulness of what we are eating. We can track all of our food intake,  scan the Universal Product Code (UPC) of nearly every packaged food out there, track exercise and make it meaningful with lots of rewards along the way.

Plus, scanning the UPC is a powerful education and exercise in mindfulness concerning food.  For example, knowing that one granola has 9 points for 1/3 cup, and another granola has 4 points, helps me make a more loving choice when I think of having some granola as part of my breakfast.

I also enjoy the live WW meetings. The topics are relevant, well thought out and are enriched with useful collateral graphics and discussions.  I usually attend two meetings a week, and get weighed once a week.  I look forward to attending. The WW meetings are inspiring, uplifting and often full of laughter and some tears.

I feel liberated –  I can eat any food in the world and still shed weight – as long as I stay within my daily points structure.  It’s subtle, it’s simple and it’s even fun to work this gig.

If you are interested in trying WW, use my invitation link below to sign up and we’ll both get a free month added to our plans. I can’t wait to be on the WW journey with you!

https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/checkout/iaf/?iaftoken=20A6A0ED00

To your best life ever,

Lisa Wessan

 

 

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2019. All rights reserved.
 www.LisaWessan.com

 

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