Tools Blog Planning for Success

We all have New Year’s Resolutions. Some of us want to find a better job, or stop smoking, or lose weight. We start the New Year with the best of intentions and then life interrupts and the resolutions fall away. We settle back into that less-than-perfect job, thoughtlessly reach for a cigarette, or give in to that relentless chocolate craving. Soon we’re back where we started, resolutions forgotten and living our old habits.

It doesn’t have to be that way. As a Genovive member, you have already made the very important decision to eat in a more healthy way. You have resolved to live a different life. So rather than making new resolutions, it would be far better to renew the one you are currently living: to stick to your eating plan and continue the success you are finding with the Genovive system. Whether you started to develop your new healthy eating habits last week or six months ago, you still have an investment in your new life. Why not continue to enjoy the benefits?

If you plan on joining us in the journey toward better eating because of a resolution that you are contemplating for the coming new year then you are encouraged to write out exactly what you are hoping to gain from the our revolutionary diet approach, your personalized fitness plan, and an expanded kit of social and emotional coping tools. When you are clear about what your goals are you will be better able to monitor your progress or the lack thereof rather give up your resolution when you experience set backs.

For some of us the coming New Year celebrations will include challenges to indulge in ways that we might later regret. If you have concerns about your ability to remain on plan during the chorus of Auld Lang Syne, then consider a quick inventory of what you have gained from your efforts that far and complete an honest appraisal of what you might lose if you break your momentum.

Future articles in our Planning for Success blog category will explore the tools above in greater detail.

We would love to hear about coming your New Year’s resolutions as well as those from the past that you have been able to learn from. Remember we can learn as much from the "failures" as we can the "successes." Let us know about your experience at the Genovive Forum.

So often we regard our past failures with a measure of regret, choosing either to forget our errors entirely or dwell on the mistakes we have made. Neither of these is the right decision. We can learn from our failures if we examine them closely to see where we went off the path, and apply these lessons to current and future attempts to succeed where we have not been able to before. Here are some suggestions to help you learn from your failures:

Plan your success. Too often, we take a “ready, fire, aim” stance. Predictably we don’t hit our target, because we have not prepared ourselves properly. Remember the axiom, “If we fail to plan, we plan to fail,” which may account for why we have not been successful in the past. Make sure your planning steps are in the right order and don’t get ahead of yourself; it will only result in more failure.

Accept yourself. We’re all human. That being said, it’s all too human to make mistakes.  Stop beating yourself up over past disappointments and failures. Instead, examine them closely to reveal the turning point of when you went from success to failure. Use that knowledge to reinforce your current effort so that you can avoid the mistakes you made before. Then forgive yourself and keep going toward your goal.

Get Some Perspective.  Rather than imagining yourself as the “perfect 10,” be realistic about how much change you expect from yourself. When we set unrealistic goals for ourselves, we are bound to fall short. Having experienced that disappointment, it’s all too easy to slide back to old habits. Once you finally give up the self-expectation of becoming something that it is physically impossible to achieve, you will have a whole new perspective – a realistic one – of your true potential.

Find the Silver Lining.  The scale didn’t move this week. So what? It’s not the end of the world. If you were dependent on reading those numbers in the past, you know how disillusioned you can become when you don’t see instant success. Rather than let that defeat you, use it as motivation to do a little something extra to get that scale to move. Maybe an additional walk after dinner, or an extra play period with your dog. Find a reason to remain positive so that you do not allow the scale to rule your thinking.


Keep Going.  Week two, and the scale still isn’t moving. The solution? Don’t step on the scale for at least another week. Instead, think about how you feel, how your clothes fit, how much your energy level is improving. Weight isn’t everything. Don’t give it more power than it deserves.

Let it Go. OK, you slipped. You ate half a pint of ice cream. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s certainly not an excuse to give up on yourself and go back to your old habits. Let it go.

Reward Achievements, Not Just Activity. You stepped up your exercise, and now you’re at 45 minutes of cardio or strength training per day. Wonderful! But it’s not time to celebrate with a box of cookies. Wait until you drop a pant size, and then reward yourself with a smaller size of new pants, not a food binge.

Make Your Own Decisions. Your mother tells you this, your best friend tells you that, and the people at the office tell you something completely different and all about the same issue. You can listen all you want, but your decisions should be your own. Do what’s best for you, not what other people tell you is best for you.

Plan for the Worst, But Work toward the Best.  If you take the attitude that you’re going to do things perfectly this time, you’ll be disappointed. As was stated before, you’re only human. You’ll make mistakes. So be realistic about the possibility that you may not achieve perfection, but don’t stop trying to get there.

          Remember, just because you failed doesn’t make you a failure. It’s not how many times you fall down that count. It’s how many times you get back up.


If you have some tips for learning from failure, please visit us at the GenoVive Forum. We’d love to hear from you!


Some of us experience a peculiar sadness around the holidays. This may be due to painful memories associated with past holidays or fearful expectations of what this season may bring. There are those of us who have endured these unwanted mood swings without a clear understanding of what is causing them.  Regardless of the triggers for feeling blue around the holiday season, these feelings can ignite a desire to return to unhealthy eating habits.

When I first met Terry, a single mom, she was overwhelmed with the thought of facing another holiday season. “The same thing happens every year,” she explained. “I start thinking about my childhood and these images keep popping into my head of my mother drinking and my father leaving. I know that I am not my parents, but it’s all I can think about. I’m torn between dread and hope, and then I vow that things will be different this year. I resolve that I’ll get through the season with a smile, and I go out and buy all sorts of holiday foods and decorations. But the decorations never make it out of their boxes and as I get more and more entrenched in memories, I end up eating all the food myself. I go through the motions of the holidays for my children, but my heart isn’t in it.”

What Terry needed was a plan to help her intervene on those memories of powerless times and focus her attention squarely on the present where she could have power. A good way to spook the ghosts of the past to withdraw from your focus, even for a short time, is to live in the moment. I encouraged Terry to make a calendar for the holiday season – one that included the things her children wanted to do as well as the things that she had never gotten to do as a child. She soon filled the calendar with fun dates – caroling, a visit to Santa, shopping, and a tree-trimming party. Terry invited several friends over, pulled out all those unused decorations, and turned her home into a happy, festive place.

As for her eating plan, Terry worked out her meals with the help of her holiday calendar to bring the foods she liked the most from her plan into those special memory making moments. More importantly, Terry learned that the love and companionship of good friends tastes far better than any holiday goodie ever could.

If you have a story for beating the holiday blues or you have a challenge you would like us to address during the coming weeks, please share it with us in the GenoVive Forum.

Planning for SuccessWe all have had experiences in life that have left us feeling unfulfilled and wishing things were different or that the events had turned out differently. Most of us would have little difficulty generating a list several pages long of the events in our life in which we were left craving for more. More love, more attention, more recognition, more acceptance, and more food, to name just a few.

While there is no harm in wanting more from life, the people in your life, or even more to eat, it is not always possible to get what we want when we want it. When things do not turn out the way that we had hoped they would or we find ourselves thinking that "life does not treat us right" or "its not fair" it can be easy to lose sight of what value or success we have enjoyed in life.

The holidays can be a time for celebrating the gifts that we have in life and the accomplishments we have enjoyed. For some of us the holiday season will involve social and emotional demands that create a stress that casts a shadow over the social experiences that we had intended to enjoy. There will be times when the shadows are generated by the lack of fulfillment of some expectation you had planned on. For others, the holidays can trigger a flood of uncomfortable emotions that remind us of disappointments or injuries in the past that leave us feeling like the Grinch wanting to CANCEL the holidays.

The whirlwind of emotions, both uncomfortable and pleasing, coupled with the temptations to eat that some of us have when faced with stress can contribute to the challenges that you may experience with staying on your diet and making other positive and healthy changes.

You can try and cancel Christmas or Thanksgiving or some other emotionally charged event or situation that we all must learn to cope with without overeating, or you can develop more tools for making the most out of life and celebrate the blessings that you have enjoyed and the ones that will be available if you can see through the disguise the blessing or reason for thanksgiving is wearing.

In the next three articles you will be introduced to a formula for identifying and cultivating a spirit of gratitude.

Please let us know about what you are grateful for as well as the challenges that you experience during the holidays in the Genovive Forum.

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Denise is a woman in her mid-thirties. She is well-educated, has a good job, a wonderful husband and child, and an underdeveloped view of love. Denise equates love with food, because that is how she was raised. She has always been a "big girl," and comes from a family of people who cook or eat to show their love. When she was a child, she was told, "Eat this and I’ll know you love me." Her father would say to her mother, "Show me some love – make those brownies for dessert." What may have been playful or well-meaning talk actually imprinted on Denise’s young mind as an undeniable truth. It’s easy to see why Denise came to think of food as love. It was used as reward, as punishment (negative reinforcement), and as affirmation.

Now that Denise has a family of her own, she is beginning to see that food is, after all, fuel for the body, not a display of love or affection. Food doesn’t love you back. It just is. It may give us pleasure and help us to connect to others. It might nourish us and the craft of cooking may provide us with a way to express ourselves. But it should never be a substitute for the direct and honest expression of emotions that might need to be relayed, whether they are love, hate, happiness, sadness, or anger. Love what you eat – do not eat to feel or show love. Food is just food.

Some of these things have occurred to Denise as she has recently begun to address her need for healthy eating and weight loss. She is exploring ways of changing her relationship with food and wonders how her changing attitude toward food will be received by her family and friends. She is experimenting with new ways of expressing her emotional needs for love and support or the expression of the same to others. She has been encouraged to introduce her change in thinking to the most trustworthy family members first without telling them what she thinks they might be doing wrong. She was encouraged to begin with a brief list of the unhealthy ways that she has used food and follow up with a brief introduction of how she would like to relate with food.

Once Denise has shared her new perspective with her family, she will find that it is possible to change lifelong habits. What she will come to understand is that she is advocating for her own life and health, and that the decisions that she makes concerning food will come from within, not from acquired habits. Denise loves her family, but she can love them just as well without serving up or eating the massive amounts of food that have kept her from being the person she has always wanted to be.

We all, at one time or another, use food as comfort, love, camouflage, and it is featured in a host of other roles. Through these blogs and a series of future articles, we will help to clarify the reasons we eat as well as methods to equip ourselves for facing these challenges without overeating. If you have a particular question or challenge you would like help with, please leave a comment below or post it on the Genovive Forum and we will respond the forum or you may see your issue or question used as a focal point for one of my blog articles.

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Mankind has been journaling since the Ice Age to communicate the stories of life or so some scientists believe. While you and I might never know what motivated them to relate their experiences on cave walls, we can be sure that they went to great pains to do so.

The stories of life now fill the libraries of the world with countless tales about what the authors found important or meaningful to communicate. Like the drawing of the cave people, most of us will never know what inspired the words that were selected for publication.

The words that you choose to share in your daily journal entries may be inspired by emotional distress, a longing for change, or a celebration of what is good about life. Regardless of the content or the motivation for your notes to yourself the potential for reward is endless. You will experience catharsis, gain insight into what makes you tick, identify the patterns of self-defeating behaviors so you can change them, and begin to develop a more positive mind set, as I have, whether you were looking for one or not.

Some 40 years ago I journaled to rid myself of pent up emotion that might have caused great harm to my relationships if I spoke it before I wrote it. My thinking would repeatedly become as gray as my surroundings or as negative as my outlook on life. I enjoyed many benefits from journal writing and had far fewer apologies to make because of my learned habit of writing what I was thinking about before I talked about it or acted on it. I returned to daily journaling a few years ago when some family health problems were threatening my emotional security.

My return to journaling was like rediscovering an old friend that I had learned to use instead of my quick wit and, at times, biting cynicism, which I brandished like a sword. The practice of journaling was familiar to me so I took to it like a duck to water but it quickly lost its value. After several weeks I was about to abandon the time of reflection because it lacked the power to promote insight and relief that it did in days gone by.

Fortunately I was reminded that my journaling, in the past, was usually shared with those I cared for or trusted and I had been limiting the benefit by failing to share it with others. When I included that missing piece by sharing my journal reflections with my spouse the benefits began to flow.

The second ten minutes introduced at the conclusion of the September 21, 2001 post entitled Making Time To Journal is intended to help you optimize the benefit that you derive from the writing process. Your selection of the person to entrust with your journal thoughts is important but not nearly as important as the format for that disclosure. Make it clear from the outset that you are not necessarily looking for input from the other person in the form of advice or direction. If your trusted recipient chooses to share personal experience, strength, or hope, that is a plus but not required. Make an effort to keep the dialogue at 20 minutes tops.

Alright you caught me. I told you it was going to be ten minutes of writing and ten minutes of sharing your reflections with another but that would deprive the other person of opportunity to benefit as well from the process.

So what you are looking at is 30 minutes of every day to examine your life, a day at a time, that could return on your investment many times over. It will certainly be less time consuming than what we spend when we are lamenting over an extra piece of cake or weight increase.

Future articles will introduce alternate journaling strategies. If you have any questions or would like to reflect on your experience with journaling please post your thought on the Genovive Forum or leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you.

PS. The time you spend posting your thoughts on the Forum does not count toward your thirty minutes of self-care. Smile

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There are probably as many ways to journal as there are diets to promote weight loss and healthy eating. The revolutionary Genovive approach to weight loss matches your body’s needs to the food you eat. The model you use for monitoring your emotional well being through journaling should also be tailored to your life experiences and the demands on your time.

The model proposed herein will not impose a "one size fits all" template for you to use even if there really was a best approach. There is no "right" approach. The right approach will be the one that you can remain committed to and that will generate emotional relief and awareness. Journaling will be an effective tool for emotional release and self-awareness if it follows the course of your life.

The first step in developing a personalized journal  is to examine your daily routine and identify the best time of day for you to spend 10 minutes examining the emotional or situational events of your life, and another 10 minutes per day either reflecting on what you have written or sharing your discoveries with a trusted friend or confidant.

Once you have selected the two 10 minute blocks of time that you will set aside for your self care, we will start with a simple prompt: What situation or event has had the greatest emotional impact on you during the past 24 hours? You do not have to write about every incident in your day and you do not need to provide every detail regarding the situation that occurred or the people involved.

Spend 10 minutes every 24 hours to describe the event that has emotionally impacted you the most. It does not need to be particularly dramatic or traumatic. You will know which event or circumstance to write about when you ask yourself the question. What event or set of circumstances impacted me emotionally in a comfortable or uncomfortable way during the past 24 hours? Do not think hard about what you want to say and there are no points off for spelling or grammar!

Once you have written for 10 minutes you are finished. You are free to share it with someone if you like but it is not required yet. It might actually be better if you spend the first week just writing for 10 minutes every day so you learn how to get comfortable with the free writing and the discipline of taking a little quite time for yourself every day.

I know that you thinking, "I know what he is up to, it starts with 10 minutes and he will want more and more before we are done." You’re right; I will be looking for more, another 10 minutes a day to reflect on or share your discoveries. Do not worry about the time investment though, because in a matter of weeks you will begin to have much more time available to you. Your journaling will help you to avoid problems that might ordinarily have cost you hours of regret and disappointment. For sure it will be 20 minutes a day where you will not be eating or doing things you might want to overeat about later.

Subsequent articles will provide additional elements for designing a personal model for effective journaling. If you have questions or reactions, please post them on the Genovive Forum.


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If find yourself eating when the clock suggests that you should not be hungry yet, perhaps you are eating to change the way you feel.  While we may not be aware of what emotional issue or challenge gave rise to the hunger thought, we should not dismiss the idea that we could be eating to change the way that we feel and not because we are hungry.

We will be exploring the challenges associated with the habit of eating to alter moods in future articles in our blog category entitled, What’s Eating You? For now it is important to begin introducing tools for replacing “comfort foods” with success strategies that “create comfort” because we feel successful.  The first step in developing the ability to interrupt and change unhealthy habits is to understand what is triggering or motivating them in the first place.

Many of us live in such a fast-paced life style that unfortunately, we do not find the time to question what we are feeling until we step from the scale feeling miserable.  The first tool that we will be introducing into your success kit is journaling.

Journaling can be a great form of emotional release that can clear our thinking and reveal strategies for change that had not been obvious to us.   Some of us make it a practice to journal on a daily basis to keep track of the way that we respond to the emotional challenges that life brings.

When we monitor the way that we cope with distress through journaling, we begin to see patterns in the behaviors of others that we need to address or avoid, as well as coping strategies we are using that have become ineffective.

When we do the same things over and over again, expecting that the results are going to be different, we generally find that something inside of us needs to change.   If we wait for others to change or for situations to resolve themselves in order for us to feel better, it can be a long and painful journey that results in many painful moments on the bathroom scale.

Subsequent articles will follow that will model the components for effective journaling.  If you have questions or reactions post them on the GenoVive Forum.

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Many of us have known the frustration of not having the right tool for the job or the feeling of insanity that comes from realizing that we have once again used the wrong tool for the job and made matters worse. And still other times we might find ourselves using a wrench to hammer in a nail or a microwave to heat up our coffee in a styrofoam cup, knowing that it is probably not such a good idea. We try to comfort ourselves during these moments with the notion that "it was the only tool available to me."

Your author has known these frustrations and many others that are not fit for print. My friends chipped in to have a T shirt inscribed with the phrase – friends don’t let friends use power tools because I kept having problems with tools I was never taught how to use. The tools we use to manage the social and emotional challenges that we face or the resistance we may have to healthy eating may be archaic, unfamiliar to us or simply not a good match for the job but we use them anyway, sometimes because we don’t know any better and sometimes because we think "how bad could it be?" That particular rationalization has cost me nearly as much as "what could just one bite hurt?"

The articles featured in this blog category will provide you with practical and enduring tools for maintaining motivation, overcoming challenges to your goal of healthy eating, and developing the ability to have your outsides match your insides.

You are invited to pose questions to us by leaving a comment below and future articles will introduce the tools that my professional practice wisdom accumulated during the past 38 years has allowed me to share with others after I learned how to apply them myself.


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