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

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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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.


*BONUS* DAY 31- Peace Coaches

pay it forward

So, here you are.  You’ve completed the 30-Day Peace with Food Challenge. You have a buddy to take the journey with and maybe even a posse, but still you have your doubts.  Will it stick?  Can you do it?  Will Peace with Food even work for you?

If that describes you, relax.  There is one more very important source of support we need to tell you about and it is us, your Peace Coaches.

That’s right.  We are your Peace Coaches and we are here for you.

We’ll help you navigate the choppy waters that you’ll no doubt encounter (we all do) and help you find your customized lifestyle that will give you peace.  But it will require patience.

And we know how hard that can be.

When we gave up the artificial props of weight loss (aka a diet) it was scary.  There were times we wanted to turn back for the quick fix, but we had made a promise and we were committed to see it through.

You will make it through too.  If you don’t quit.  And do you want to know the really exciting part?  This is actually the best part of all – as you begin to climb up the peace scale you will become a Peace Coach yourself.

Now don’t panic.  Being a Peace Coach isn’t difficult.  It simply means you help others in whatever way feels most comfortable to you.  Maybe for you that will be getting a posse together or it may be something simple like just encouraging someone to keep going.  This is how you Pay it Forward.

So as you see your #PEACE climb, CeLeBraTe, but then begin looking for someone you can help coach to live with greater levels of peace.  You can make a difference in someone’s life.  Welcome to the team, Peace Coach.

Could you do us a HUGE favor? And give us your feedback on the 30-Day challenge? Please take the quick survey by clicking here.

Your Peace Coaches,

lara-robynn1 (1)

 Take-Home Message:

As soon as you move up the peace scale you become a Peace Coach.  That is how you Pay it Forward.

DAY 30- Recap The 30-Day PWF Challenge

Tomorrow is Bonus Day so make sure you check in as we will be giving you one more very important item in Peace with Food!

Congratulations!  You have almost completed the 30-Day Challenge!  We are so proud of you and hope that you will continue pursuing peace, not just with food, but in every other area of your life.  30-Day Challenge

Here is a summary of the posts from the 30-Day PWF Challenge:

-Days 1-4 – Introduction.
-Days 5-11 – Week of Food.
-Days 12-18 – Week of Body Image & the Scale.
-Days 19-25 – Week of Exercise.
-Days 26-29 – Week of Dealing with the Funk.

Could you do us a HUGE favor and give us your feedback on the 30-Day challenge? Please take the quick survey by clicking here.

Throughout this challenge we had you rate your peace in these areas and once again we will have you rate your #peace for one last time.

Posse Discussion:
In regards to food, what is your level #peace?

In regards to body image & the scale, what is your level #peace?

In regards to exercise, what is your level #peace?

In regards to dealing with the funk, what is your level #peace?

Compare your #peace in each area with the numbers you recorded in your notebook (Days #1, 12, 19,& 26).  Discuss with your posse the changes in your #peace numbers over the past 30 days. Did they go up? Go down?

Peace Chart2

Although our 30-Day PWF is finished, there is one more very important piece to the puzzle that we will be sharing tomorrow, so stay tuned!  You won’t want to miss it!!

The Peace Coaches


DAY 29- Peace Dare: Funk Survival Kit

One of the things that we have on hand during a funk day is our survival kit.  We each have our own selected items that help us make it through these uncomfortable and unpleasant times.  Take a look and then begin creating your own!

Survival Kit

-Cell phone to call Robynn
-Stopwatch for a “timed task” (timing myself to complete a dreaded task in a small amount of time)
-Scentsy melts to burn
-Inspiring and motivating books on tape
-Graph paper to write a checklist to complete in a certain amount of time

-Cell phone to call Lara
-Inspiring Bible verses
-Graph paper to write a checklist to complete in a certain amount of time
-A list of errands to help make the time pass

Here are some things that do not help us on funk days:
-Surfing Facebook
-Running to the pantry
-Wearing sweatpants

Now it is your turn. Take the Peace Dare for today…


Posse Discussion: Do the Peace Dare above and share with your group.


lara-robynn1 (1)

Day 28 – How to Reverse Cruddy Feelings in 90-Seconds

I don’t know about you, but some days I just feel cruddy. And what do I do when I feel cruddy? I eat cruddy.

It is easy to underestimate the power of how our body and surroundings make us feel. For example, some days I start my day by wearing workout gear and sneakers. The body is always firmer after a long night of rest and a new pair of clothes feels refreshing. Life is good, right?

After a morning of dropping kids off at school, then hurrying home to frantically do housework, make phone calls, fill orders, and tend to my toddler, I am back in town to pick up my son. After lunch, reading time, and tucking the kids in bed, it’s 1:00. As I debate how to spend the kids’ nap time, I walk in circles through the house realizing I am accompanied with a film of greasiness on my face. The house is warmer now since the sun is in full swing, and because I forgot to turn on the fans and adjust the temperature, there is no air movement in the room. The stillness gives me hot flashes which only contribute to making me feel “off”.  Once I realize I’m feeling sluggish, I notice the workout clothes, which once jumpstarted my day, suddenly serve a different purpose: great stretchy clothes to encourage gorging on food followed by an afternoon nap in bed.

How I spent the rest of these cruddy days is so vivid in my mind because that was my life when I became a stay-at-home mom over 7 years ago. I would wake up from that nap, feeling even worse because I wasted my kid-free time by eating and sleeping. I would feel lethargic from then on, resulting in a throw-in-the-towel mindset by eating poorly and being unproductive and moody until I rolled into bed later that night.Reverse Cruddy

So how did I fix this vicious cycle? These days, I listen to my body and no longer let my surroundings control me. If I can tell I am getting warm or feeling sluggish, I reverse these feelings by taking a 90-second shower. That’s right, I stop what I am doing, jump in the shower to cool off and wash my face (I don’t necessarily wash my hair) and I put on a fresh pair of clothes. Giving my body a quick rinse makes me feel better instantly. I am amazed how much it changes my mindset, productivity, and eating for the rest of the day.

I realize if you are not home during the day, this would be impossible to do. I encourage you to look more closely at your surroundings and see what triggers you to feel cruddy. Maybe you need to light a refreshing candle in the afternoon at work or bring a small fan for your desk if you struggle with the stillness in the air (like I do!). Whatever it is, many times it is an action that only takes a few seconds. I would consider that time well invested if it keeps me feeling better the rest of the day, wouldn’t you?

Posse Discussion

Part 1: What triggers your cruddy feelings, resulting in cruddy eating? (Does it happen the same time every day? Where are you usually at when it happens? Is it after talking/seeing someone specific? Does it happen after the same activity, such as surfing the Internet or during the kids’ nap time?)

Part 2: After you pinpoint what triggers your cruddy feelings, what is one small step you can make today that would either help avoid or reverse those feelings when they occur next time?

Your Lara