Optimal Zone

optimal zone

On our Peace with Food journey we have had many “Aha” moments, to be sure, and this is definitely one of them.  We call it our Optimal Zone epiphany.  This revelation has totally changed the way we approach goal setting, along with the expectations we place on people, circumstances, and ourselves.

Before PWF we were really all-or-nothing type of gals.  We saw only one way of doing things and there was only ONE right answer.  Never two, and for sure not three or four.  But on our PWF journey we slowly began to learn that this mindset only stole our peace.  We were setting our goals high.  Really, really high and rarely ever achieving those goals.  The result:  Frustration with a capital “F”.

What did we need?  Not a new goal, just a new perspective.

Enter the Optimal Zone.

The Optimal Zone is basically a zone that includes your acceptable level of satisfaction, in any area of life, all the way up to your ideal level of satisfaction in that area.  If you applied the Optimal Zone to your weight, instead of just choosing one number that is ideal, you would include a range, say 125-132.  Sure, 125 lbs. may be your dream weight, but surely there is a zone where you feel good, even if it isn’t your ideal.  Having an Optimal Zone allows you to experience victory, even if you don’t hit the mark perfectly each time.

Determining our Optimal Zone has helped ground us even when things don’t go perfectly.  It takes off the pressure and let’s us focus on living, not trying to live up to a certain standard that just so happens to be impossible to reach on a consistent basis.

A bonus of the Optimal Zone is that it is relevant to every area of our lives.  We all have expectations, many of those are unrealistic.  Whether it be in relationships, our job, our finances, you name it.  When you determine your Optimal Zone in each area you can then give yourself and others a break and enjoy the ride instead of being stressed by it.

Go ahead and set your goals high, but then have an acceptable range.  Maybe reading to your child for 30 minutes every day isn’t always possible, but reading a story to them and tucking them in to bed might be more attainable day in and day out.

Assess your expectations, especially the ones where you feel disappointed or discouraged and determine what the Optimal Zone might be for each of them.  We think that when you begin to live in these zones, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that the pressure level goes down and the enjoyment and peace level goes up.

The Peace Coaches





Take-Home Message:  Create Optimal Zones in your life by defining the acceptable level in each area all the way up to the ideal level.

One of my areas of weakness…

I attended our local MOPS a while back and the message of the night was about being intentional with our actions. I walked away with a lot from that meeting. It really hit home making me realize I spend a lot of my time doing things that aren’t very intentional.Coffee

Here are some examples:
-The time I spend with my kids is not always intentional. I am usually trying to multi-task or am distracted by my phone.
-The calories I consume is not always intentional. We call this Wasting Your Calories here at Peace with Food.
-The moments I spend on the computer are not always intentional. I often get distracted wrapped up in social media or mindlessly scroll through facebook.
-The money I spend is not always intentional. If I don’t make a list when I go shopping, I usually always get something that would have never made my list.
-The hours I spend cleaning every week are not always intentional. By not setting a time limit on specific tasks I slowly do things around the house and don’t get much done. If I were to be more efficient, I could spend that time doing something else…intentional 😉

You get the point. What things in your life are you not being intentional about? Whether it be in your relationships, time at work, or focusing on your health, we have to remember we only get out of it what we put into it. So today, take one small step and begin making those moments worth your while.

Your Lara

Peace with Myself

peace with myself

Much of my life I spent not liking myself.  I wouldn’t say that I hated myself, but there was always some aspect of myself I was trying to change. Have you ever had a remodeling project that just went on and on?  I did. My remodeling project was me!

I tried to change everything from those things that I could change to those things that I couldn’t.  (I always wished I was more funny and more articulate like some of my friends.  Those are two qualities I really admire!)  When it came to my overall peace level it was in the gutter. However, once Peace with Food came into the picture and I began living at peace, I soon realized that I could use those same principles to help me find peace with myself.

How about you?  What is your peace level with yourself?  If you were to rate yourself on a scale from 0-5 (5 being high and 0 being no peace at all) where would you fall?  Do you like yourself?  Do you accept yourself?  Do you give yourself grace, knowing that you are a work in progress?

I have learned that having peace with myself is really important because when I wasn’t at peace with myself, I wasn’t at peace with others or the world around me.

It was a process that is continuing to this day and it looked something like this:

First, I had to understand that I am a masterpiece, uniquely created, a one-of a kind.  I am Designed to be a “10”.

Secondly, I began to the process of knowing myself.  This involved taking the time to find out about my personality, strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and tendencies.

Third, once I began accepting myself as is, it was then time to begin working on my expectations of myself.  Too often my expectations were jaded and unrealistic.  At times I had an all-or-nothing mindset and other times I didn’t expect enough of myself.

I overcame these unrealistic expectations by creating Optimal Zones in my life – boundary lines that not only include giving myself grace, but also boundary lines that include realistic expectations.  This zone consists of an acceptable range – the minimum requirement – all the way up to the ideal standard.  As long as I hit the acceptable range I know I am in the ballpark.  It may not be my ideal and I may strive to do better the next time around, but I know that I at least hit the Optimal Zone.

And finally, I began to follow peace and the best way for me to follow peace was to rate my peace on a regular basis and then choose the options that gave me the greatest #peace.

Here’s the condensed version:

  1. Understand and believe that I am a masterpiece.
  2. Know myself.
  3. Begin creating realistic expectations by determining my Optimal Zones.
  4. Follow peace.

This is the path I followed to having peace with myself.  I hope it helps you in your journey to peace with yourself.

Your Robynn



Take-Home Message:  We can have peace with our self.


How much do you LOVE your clothes?

Last week, I talked about love-it and like-it foods and why it is important to differentiate between the two. This week, I challenge you to do the same with your clothes. As I was standing in my closet this morning, deciding what to wear, I realized half of the items hanging up never get worn. I either don’t like how they fit, look, or feel, but I continue to keep them because of the guilt I experience due to the money I spent on them.

Not only that, but seeing some of these clothes on a daily basis (even though I don’t plan to wear them) make me feel yucky. For some reason, just seeing certain outfits take me back to the time I last wore them and how unflattering they made me feel.DSC_0045

With all that said, it’s time to clear out those closets. Find what you truly LOVE and consider boxing up or giving away the outfits that don’t make you feel good. I understand that you may go to your closet and find only a few items that truly make you feel good–this would be a great incentive for you to plan a shopping trip in the near future. Personally, I know if I don’t have clothes in my closet it forces me to go shop. I’m not one to make clothes shopping a priority, so this is good accountability for me.

Now, I’m not saying you have to replenishment your entire closet, especially if you are in the process of losing weight and don’t anticipate being your current size very long. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the power of wearing clothes that you don’t like. I know if I wear something that is too tight or a shirt that I have to constantly pull down because it is too short, I just feel “off” all day. This not only effects how I think about myself but results in poor eating habits. So even if you are not at your goal weight, you may want to consider having a handful of outfits you really love. Doing so will not only make you feel better about yourself but will likely speed up your weight loss progress as well!

Take-Home Message: When you feel good in what you wear you will have a better mindset toward yourself, resulting in better eating habits as well.

Your Lara

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Making it Through Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and although Valentine’s may not pose the same kind of weight-maintenance hazards that the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays do, they still can be tempting, especially if you love chocolate or if you like to celebrate this special day in some way that includes food.


So, for this reason, I thought I would share with you my Valentine’s Day policy.  Although I wouldn’t consider V-Day a big temptation, there are a few things that could trip me up if I wasn’t careful.  For starters, Dove Chocolates wrapped up in that enticing pink and silver wrapping.  Yum! Even though I am not a big chocolate lover, these were the only sweets that sounded good during my pregnancy with my oldest daughter.  I now eat them every February for memories sake.

Another temptation for me is candy from my kid’s Valentine’s Day party.  Yes, I am one of those parents who likes to help myself to their candy windfall.  I love candy!

And lastly, my daughter’s birthday party complete with the meal of her choice and her double layer chocolate birthday cake.  But out of all those, I think the thing most challenging about this holiday is the lingering candy that can stick around for days if I let it.

Hence, the reason I created my own Valentine’s Policy:

I call it my 24-hour policy.

Here it is:  Candy can only be in my house for 24 hours.  Then it has to take a hike.  Whether that be to give it away, or throw it away, it has to go.  (By the way, this policy also works great for Halloween!)

So, yes, I enjoy the day with all the special events that accompany it, but once that 24-hour period passes, it is time to get back to normal eating.

Once you know your boundaries, you can also create your own Valentine’s Day policy.  Or Thanksgiving Day policy.  Or 4th of July Party policy . . .  Or any other event that proves to be an eating challenge.

So don’t let these special days and events steal your peace or your enjoyment.  Create your own policies based on your boundaries!  And have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!

Your Robynn




Take Home Message:  Create your own policies based on your boundaries!  



The Difference Between Love It and Like It Foods

Close your eyes. Picture a special occasion where you are gathering with your closest friends and family. You are gathering for a feast. You knock on the front door, walk through the foyer, and spot the table. It is beautifully set with mouthwatering dishes of your favorite foods. As you step closer to get a better look, your eyes skim the array of your most desired indulgences. So what are they exactly? Could you list all of your favorite foods that were on that table?DSC_0030

Figuring out what foods you really love versus only like will be helpful so you don’t end up wasting your calories on foods that won’t get the appreciation they deserve. Peace with Food allows you to eat what you want, as long as it gives you peace, and you’ll find the foods that give you the most peace are either your absolute favorites or are healthy and nutritious for your body. Foods that give you peace usually aren’t just mediocre to the taste buds and/or to your overall health (at least they aren’t for us!).

If we laid twenty candy bars out in front of you, and asked you to record your favorite, it might be too hard to choose just one. Why? Because they all look so good! As a result, you may be tempted to write down (and eat) several of them! So how do you figure out if you really like it or love it? Finding this love-it list can be hard for some people because we think we love them all. But at the heart of our desires we really only love certain dishes.  And when we take the time to discover these love-it dishes we can train our mind to block out the cravings for all the other like-it items on our list.

Another thing to consider is the temperature of the food you are eating or the environment in which you are eating. For example, I love pizza when it is hot, but if it is room temperature I only like it. When it is Christmastime I love hot chocolate but any other time of year I only like it. I have learned that I don’t even bother eating pizza unless it is warmed up to the temperature I prefer and I only keep hot chocolate on hand during the month of December. Don’t limit yourself to only the foods themselves. Consider all angles before you decide how you truly feel about it.

And instead of walking to your pantry or fridge to try and figure out what sounds good, really think about past experiences and foods that you really enjoyed and loved. We usually get different results when we are presented with too many options, so if certain favorite foods don’t come to mind initially, you may want to think twice about eating them. If you are anything like us, you are probably just eating some foods because it is “there” and easily available, not because you actually love them 😉

Your Lara

Take-Home Message: Make your calories count by finding foods you either LOVE or provide nutrition for your body.

*We try to stay in touch with our readers on a more personal level through facebook. Come visit us by clicking here!
Here is an example of what I posted yesterday…Capture

Boundaries Versus Rules

rules and boundaries

We’ve said that we don’t like rules when it comes to weight loss.  Rules regarding what to eat, how to exercise, and the scale.    But just because we don’t like rules doesn’t mean we don’t have boundaries.  We do.

Maybe you’re wondering what the difference is between a rule and a boundary.  Here’s our definition of the two:

Rules are dictated by others (or ourselves) due to preference or the way one thinks something should be done.

Boundaries, on the other hand are predetermined, based on your strengths, weaknesses and circumstances.  

Your boundaries regarding how you eat, exercise, and approach the scale and your body are pre-set, just like a piece of property you purchase.  You don’t get to determine where the boundary lines are.  Instead, you just find out where the boundaries are so that you can stay within them.  The same holds true for you regarding Peace with Food.

Your boundary lines are predetermined by your strengths, your weaknesses, your vulnerabilities, and your tendencies.  Once you know yourself in these categories and use wisdom, you will see your boundary lines very clearly, drawn up for you right before your very eyes.

For example, I know that having bag fulls of chips and packages of cookies and pastries in my pantry would lead to temptation, so I just choose not to have them in my house.  If there is ever an occasion for chips such as a BBQ, I am not against having them, but once that BBQ is over, I don’t want them hanging around.

There are other snacks I like a lot, such as vanilla ice-cream but that don’t tempt me.  Because I am not tempted to indulge in it, having it in the freezer is within my boundaries.

I also know that if don’t allow myself to indulge every now and again, I am setting myself up for disaster.  So my boundaries include opportunities to indulge and enjoy food on special occasions, or when I am feeling the need.  I am not talking about a total binge.  That never gives me peace and always leaves me feeling free.

Do you see how my temptations  and tendencies determined the boundaries for me?  And you can do the same.  It all comes back to knowing yourself.  Once you do you will find that your boundaries are very clear.  Stay within those boundaries and they will guide you to peace.

Your Robynn



Take home message:  Determine your boundaries and then make plans to stay within them.



All-or-Nothing: Can you relate to my story?

Some days I wonder what happened to me. You know, the girl who grew up believing when she was a Mom there would never be a pile of mail at the end of the dinner table. The girl who would always be able to see the bottom of the laundry basket because “it’s not that hard to quickly throw in a load of dirty laundry to stay caught up.” Yeah. Right.

I was the girl classified as the typical Type A personality: a far cry from a procrastinator, driven by a to-do list, punctual, organized, passionate. Yes, I was all of those things, and to some degree I still am. But to sum it up, more than anything, I was this:


That’s right. I had an idea in my mind of how things should go and if it didn’t happen a certain way then I might as well forget it. If I couldn’t stay caught up on my mail and laundry then I might as well clear my entire schedule, ignore the kids for an entire day, and put all my focus on getting caught up until I could officially mark it off my to-do list.  After about five years of living this way I learned this mindset was a never-ending battle. I was always beating myself up and missing out on precious moments of life because I was so fixated on the way things should go. I thought if I did everything by the book, then things should fall perfectly into place. Boy was I wrong.Mail

Fast forward a bit and I’m still the same girl, but I think I have found the new me. I still have type A tendencies, but God has sanded my rough edges and taught me to relax a little. To pitch the all-or-nothing mindset. I’m now the girl (and Mom) that realizes at 4:00 in the afternoon she hasn’t brushed her teeth yet. And instead of feeling guilty about having to admit her failures at her upcoming dentist appointment, she is happy that at least she remembered *wink*. I’m the girl that catches herself turning to food in a stressful moment and 600 calories later stops and realizes that food won’t make her stress go away so she hits “reset” and doesn’t beat herself up over what just happened. I’m the girl that will take what I can get even if it isn’t perfect. I’m able to let go on those early mornings I get up to work, but have a little kid pitter-patter down the hall starting my day 2 hours early because he can’t sleep. I adjust. I savor. I now live for those moments because I understand that PEACE happens when you stop trying to control everything.

Letting go of the all-or-nothing mindset will take your #Peace to a whole new level. It has for me anyway. Although I wonder what happened to the old me I am actually grateful I never found her…because the new me has more peace in her life than she ever thought possible.

Your Lara

Take Home Message:  Peace happens when you stop trying to control everything and pitch the all-or-nothing mindset.

Business As Usual

business as usual

Whew!!  You made it through the 30-Day Peace with Food Challenge.  Maybe you’re unsure what to do next.

This reminds me of all those times I set a goal, reached it, and then felt vague and ambiguous.  Somehow I had thought that just by reaching the goal all my problems would be solved – that it would be the end of the discussion and all of life’s mysteries (regarding my goal) solved.  But that’s not how it played out at all.  I found myself sitting at a crossroads trying to figure out which way to go.  And as I did, I realized that life went on and so too must I.

But how?

By taking the Business as Usual approach.  In other words, by just continuing to do what I had been doing, all along, to reach my goal in the first place.

In the case of the 30-Day Peace with Food Challenge that would mean continually following peace by rating my levels of peace in the areas of food, weight, body, and the funk.

That’s what Business As Usual is all about.  Just doing the same things that brought you the peace in the first place.  Nothing real exciting.  Nothing real profound.  Just . . .

Business as Usual.

Your Robynn



Take-Home Message:  Continue on by using the Business as Usual approach.