Archive for June, 2011

June 8, 2011

The Comfort Cocoon

by Zen Gray

woman wrapped up in blanketAt some point, every woman I know has wrapped herself up in a blanket to escape from the world. The “blanket” can include Godiva chocolates, Nutella, pizza, Jane Austen (or in my case Harry Potter), romantic comedies, work, sex, drugs or a multitude of hedonistic distractions.

When clients first contact me, often they are just emerging from their comfort cocoon of choice. As I have dabbled in some of the above indulgences, I can recognize (and appreciate) the phase for what it was: hiding from some kind of pain. I think some people are so good at hiding from their pain, though, that they accept the behavior as “normal” and lose themselves. Fear and discomfort (from too much of a good thing) are typically the catalyst for finally reaching out and asking for help. Perhaps it was a heart attack, a Type II Diabetes diagnoses, a divorce, or a cruel remark about their body fat that finally pushes them into action. Whatever it is, typically the POSSIBILITY of NOT CHANGING gets too painful so they finally make the call.

I don’t know if I have ever been clinically depressed, but I’ve had my moments when the world felt like it was crashing down on me and all I could see was a bleak future. Instead of facing my problems, I retreat for a while. I take time to regroup because I can’t face the breakup or the failure or the bills, etc. I’m not going to beat myself up for doing it either. It’s just what I do. But I’ve gotten a lot better at being aware of when I’m doing it so I can get out of the pain faster. Often it’s a matter of calling upon my friends and family and if that’s not working, I’ll find a new support system. I’ll also write in my journal every day and take time to be grateful for wonderful things in my life. That’s the strategy that helps me.

So I have the utmost compassion for another person who is fumbling around in a painful place. If that’s you… you’re not alone. I’ve been there, too. And mostly, you’ll see a huge smile on my face even if I’m in pain. (I bet you have no idea what that’s like, huh?)

Here’s how I look at it: most people are NOT brave enough to look closely at their lives and see what they really want… what they’d really like to change. They numb themselves with fleeting comfort (sometimes for years, sometimes until they die). But if you’re brave enough to examine what you really want out of life, there are people out there… like me… that will help you try to get it.

One thing I realized, though, is that life is NOT about being comfortable. It’s about doing things that excite you. In fact, I can’t think of a single triumph I’ve ever had that didn’t go hand-in-hand with quite a bit of discomfort: doing stand-up comedy for the first time, walking across fourteen feet of hot coals, chucking my six figure advertising career for one in fitness, or dating for twenty years before finally meeting my fiancĂ©.

I think Timothy Ferriss, one of my favorite authors, said it best: “A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”

And some of those conversations are with yourself.

Sending you love,



June 2, 2011


by Zen Gray

Self Sabotage, Stivers Cartoons

Once again, a client came to me in tears saying that her spouse kept feeding her bread, rice, pasta and dessert when she was deliberately trying to cut back on refined carbohydrates. I had to share this very surprising and very real fact:

People closest to you are most likely to sabotage your weight-loss efforts!

Here’s the kicker, though…. it’s because they love you so much that you’re scaring them. They’re worried that you will get all new habits that don’t include them… or that you’re making them wrong for their lifestyle choices. They’re scared that you’re going to change and YOU WON’T LOVE THEM ANYMORE.

So, if you’re having trouble with your spouse or partner, your mom, your sister, your best friend, etc. and they don’t seem to be on board your new healthy program — take a moment to tell them that you love and appreciate them and that you NEED their help to succeed. ASK them for their help. SHARE with them what your new future will look like — with the healthier version of you AND THEM in it.

If you happen to be dealing with a saboteur yourself, please try out this strategy and let me know what happens.

To your health!