5 reasons why Willpower is NOT okay

Today started out like any other day.  I dropped the kids off to school, and inhaled the nice, cool air (okay, that’s not typical for Phoenix but it just rained last night) and proceeded to drive home, where a nice cup of black coffee was waiting for me.

As I drove home, Starbucks was calling my name (okay, not literally).  I have to admit- I’m a Starbucks snob.  Even though we are not rich by any means, I will gladly spend the money on coffee beans from Starbucks (I’ll try coffee from other stores too- I’m not THAT bad).  I used to put out a boatload of money on lattes every week (before black coffee started to grow on me). Now,  I don’t spend nearly as much on the popular coffee chain, as I used to, but every once in awhile it’s a nice treat.

So I waited in the drive through and lo and behold–there was a sign that said Pumpkin Spice Latte- here early!  I felt like I had gone to heaven.  This happens to be my favorite drink, so I just had to buy it and I am enjoying it now , as I type.

Photo on 8-29-13 at 10.34 AM

What is the point of this story? Well, because I happen to be a Health Coach… I went to nutrition school…. in fact, I just had a big talk on the dangers of too much sugar and even used a Frappuccino as an example.

I could use these points to shame myself; to feel guilty and like a failure.  I could ask myself, “who do you think you are, telling people to be healthy when you are enjoying this delicious latte?”

In fact, today on my personal Facebook page, I used the word “weakness” out of habit.   I stated that my “weakness” is pumpkin spice lattes.  So now you can guess what led me to write this blog post.  I started thinking about the word “weakness”.  What does it imply?  That I have no self-control, right? I realize now how shaming that word is.

 Actually, I DID have control.  I made a CHOICE to pull up, and wait in a 10 minute line for a drink that contains sugar.

Many clients in this situation will tell me that they didn’t have enough “will power”, which is essentially implying that they were “weak” in that moment.

I want to totally debunk that notion.  No, we are not “weak” for craving sugary foods and we do not have a will power problem.  What we  have is a guilt and shame epidemic.

I recently came across THIS article and love what it says about will power.

“The problem with willpower is that it doesn’t give you a guide for change,” says Albert Bandura, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Stanford University. “You need to develop your own self-management skills.”

What happens when we try our hardest to say “no” to a certain food?  We restrict and our life becomes a theme of constant lack.  Sure, it may be fulfilling in other ways, and we don’t “need” sweet foods to enjoy our life.  However, I think that restriction has a ripple effect.  If we feel restricted in one area, we will either make up for it by becoming obsessed with something else, or we will go the opposite direction and try to control everything else in our life as well.

After awhile, we can no longer use will power and we may end up binging or over eating on the very food that we had craved.  Even when I had anorexia, I could no longer sustain that and quickly turned to bulimia after I took a bite of a brownie.

If we occasionally give ourselves permission to enjoy that pumpkin spice latte…. or that cookie… whatever it may be…. we will actually be telling our brain that we are not in starvation mode which ultimately leads to greater digestion and assimilation of nutrients.

Here are 5 reasons why it’s NOT okay to have will power.

1.  If we continually say no, eventually we will say yes and that may lead to a binge. Relying on will power alone doesn’t last.

2.  It teaches us that we should always be restricting food, which leads to a punishment mentality.

3.  You may inadvertently be depriving yourself of certain nutrients that you need.

4. It takes the enjoyment out of the eating experience!

5. If you  become too obsessed with will power, it may actually lead to a condition called “orthoexia” which is an extreme obsession with nutrients and healthy eating.

Now, this does NOT mean that I am giving you permission to continually eat junk food all day, every day.  Moderation is key, and of course we need to strive to eat natural, whole foods.  But when we take the focus off of will power, and onto the power of CHOICE, we end up enjoying our food a whole heck of a lot more, which is nothing to be ashamed of AT ALL.

Now, back to my delicious latte. 🙂

To enjoying our food,

Kellie McGarry

Certified Holistic Health Coach



FAT is not a "four-letter word"

I have a confession.  I have not had a green smoothie in, well, about a week.  Shock! Gasp!

I hope you were sitting down. After all, I might as well be related to the “Green Smoothie Girl” (Robyn Openshaw)
 I am constantly touting the benefits of green leafy veggies, such as spinach and kale.  I make the conclusion that it is easiest and makes the most sense to just blend it all up because that way you get the highest concentration of nutrients (well, juicing is the highest).

The truth is, I have not been craving one.  I still crave healthy foods. Just not cold smoothies.  I”m already cold- yes, even here in Phoenix I can’t even feel my toes!  I *could* make my smoothies not so cold. I could just not use frozen fruit and I could add warming spices such as ginger.

So what is going on?  I am listening to my body’s intuition.  I really think that I do best when I eat according to the seasons.   Raw, green leafy veggies indicate a time of renewal and cleansing– they are most beneficial in the spring and summer.  That is not the same as saying that these vegetables are only healthy at certain times of the year.  Any fruit and vegetable can increase health and wellness no matter what time of year.

However, winter is more the time for storing up fat.  PAUSE. When you read the word “fat” did you immediatly  have a small panic attack?  I can relate.  I used to be scared of the word fat.  Even though it’s three letters, I used to think of it as a 4-letter word.

When you think of it, we really are like animals at times.  Look at the squirrels. They store up fatty nuts to eat during the winter.  Fat protects our bones and keeps us warm.  It is the build up towards the spring where we need to consume more of a detoxing diet.   I remember when I had anorexia, how FREEZING cold I was all the time.  There is truth to the saying “put some meat on your bones.” (of course, you can also naturally get cold easily!) But  it is very important and natural to consume fatty foods.

Winter is the time where we crave foods that naturally build up our heat.  Raw vegetables are cooling to the body.  Fatty foods are warming.  Now, I”m not talking about ice cream or candy bars, obviously.

Go ahead and sautee your spinach in butter, olive oil or coconut oil.  Eat foods with monounsaturated fat, which is a good fat.
Examples of foods with this type of fat would be: almonds, avocados and olive oil. The benefit of this type of fat?  It helps to lower bad cholesterol.

Fats to avoid? Too much saturated fat, such as in red meat (although a little bit of saturated fat won’t harm you) and Trans Fat (partially hydrogenated vegetable oil- read the label for that one- it’s mostly in packaged foods).

Some people can still handle green smoothies every day in the winter (such as my husband). The important thing is that every body is different. Trust your intuition.
*note* I hope you all are enjoying your December!  After the shooting in Newton, it made me think more about life and how I take things for granted.  This season is a time for family.  Please take a deep breath, focus on what you are grateful for, let go of the need to be too busy, and hug your family extra tight!
I know I have had a hard time even concentrating too much on food this week.  Sure, I still eat healthy, but I am reminded on how eating healthy isn’t going to make a person happy.  Being grateful,  having joy no matter what the circumstances, and truly letting go  and focusing on your Creator, is what really brings peace.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!



Preventing Weight Gain This Holiday…. with a slice of pie?

Are you ready for the Holidays? 
I’m sure you are experiencing mixed emotions.  Excitement. Dread. Child-like wonder. STRESS! Worried about gaining weight!

Is this you? Studies show that it’s not uncommon to gain an average of 7 pounds during the  holidays.

If you dread gaining those holiday pounds, then read on.

First, realize that being healthy and losing weight (or maintaining your weight) is not about deprivation.  We don’t need to go on some silly fad diet or even drink a special shake.  We can enjoy REAL food… and even desserts on occasion.

The key is being mindful of the food on our plate, how much we are eating and how we are feeling at the moment.  Check in with your hunger levels.  Do you really want that second helping of pie or are you just mindlessly reaching for it?

If you do decide to enjoy a slice of pie or some other kind of dessert, then really savor it and do not feel guilty!  It’s normal to enjoy dessert!

If you do feel guilty– do NOT fast the next day– that is a recipe for disaster as you could end up binging out of hunger.  Just eat lighter meals, but make sure you are eating enough.

Now, this advice is not a free pass to just eat whatever you want whenever you want. Respect yourself and your body enough to listen to your cravings, to understand WHY you are craving something, and then really own your choice.  Will you decide to eat a small bite of dessert, or will you choose to replace your craving with something else?

These are just a few tips from my recent Webinar: “Happy HEALTHY Holidays: Indulge this season without guilt, stress or shame!” If this intrigues you, then read on for the link to my recorded Webinar.

I wanted to open up the recording to anyone who is interested.  However, please note that the free recipes that I mention, as well as the private FB group are ONLY  available for those who already registered for the Webinar.

Here is the URL: http://www.anymeeting.com/healthcoachkell/EC54D988824F

Please let me know what you think!

Have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! 

With Gratitude,