Keto and Low Carb Success

Finding Balance with Kaisan

August 24, 2023 Miriam Hatoum Season 3 Episode 64
Keto and Low Carb Success
Finding Balance with Kaisan
Show Notes Transcript

Episode #: 64.    Finding Your Balance with Kaizen

You’re Listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success, Episode #64, Finding Your Balance with Kaizen. 

When I was a professional dance teacher I learned about about making small changes for huge results. This has carried over well to the teaching and coaching that I do now. 

Use Kaisen to help achieve manageable goals 

Learn about Goal laddering

We making the mistake of thinking a goal is the endpoint and don't see it as a step in the overal process. We also make the mistake of not having patience.

The cost of making these mistakes is that we think less of ourselves rather than look at the situation from another angle and we give up too easily.

Calling out a new way of doing things 

 1.      If you are afraid of giving up something, don’t! 
     Focus on the one habit, not on the big picture.
     Don’t see yourself on diet. See yourself adjusting your nutrition.

Your Actionable Coaching Advice this week is to see how you can ladder your steps in a way that actually makes your goals get you to a final destination. SEE TRANSCRIPT.

Coming up next week I will be exploring mindset. 

Get all my free guides
Take a look at this great course
Join me on Facebook
Follow me on Instagram
Check out Pinterest
And don't forget my book!

Episode #: 64.    Finding Your Balance with Kaizen

You’re Listening to the Keto and Low Carb Success, Episode #64, Finding Your Balance with Kaizen. 

Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or weigh, measure and track your food? What if you could learn to have success by following an easy roadmap that takes you on adventures from learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, to learning about what foods work best in your body and why? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author of Conquer Cravings with Keto, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl! 

 Be sure to go to to get all the free guides to help you along the way. I am in your shoes, my friends, and I wrote these guides for both of us. The link is in the show notes and transcripts.

Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast and the course is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or service, and I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams!

Now on to today’s episode:

Personal Story

As some of you may already know, I was a professional belly dancer and teacher for over 30 years. I draw a lot on those years for coaching and teaching now, and so I want to share with you one of the most successful practices that helped my belly dance students and that will help you!  

When I taught dance, I had something called Drills and Zills (zills are finger cymbals). I had a routine that very rarely varied. It was the warm-up exercise for all my students – from beginners as they were learning the steps to the dancers who were already professional performers and teachers themselves.

My lessons were in cycles, much like the semesters of a college because my most busy classes were at two universities in Boston, and I wanted to match their vacations. 

I remember one August wringing my hands with worry that I was going to do the same drills in September like I had done 10 Septembers before that one, and maybe the dancers were getting tired of them. I sat and talked with my son, who was a football player at the time, and he gave me some wisdom and insight. He was nose guard for his team. He said, “Mom, what do you think we do in football? We practice the same drills over and over and over again. There is rarely anything new. Our mission is to get better at what we are doing, not learn 100 new things. Maybe a new play once in a while, but the practice for that one play is supported by the drills we do.”

When classes began in September, I shared this conversation with my students, and they were in total agreement. The point of Drills with Zills was to perfect the techniques addressed in the drills, not add even more steps to the drills so that they would be mediocre at best.  

 At that point I was introduced to the practice of Kaisen by the many seminars I took with Tony Robbins. Kaizen K-A-I-S-E-N is a Japanese term meaning "change for the better" or "continuous improvement." It is a Japanese business philosophy regarding the processes that continuously improve operations and involve all employees. (The reason I spelled that out is because there is also a word spelled K-A-I-S-A-N which is a Japanese term used in reference to the founder of a school of Buddhism or the founding abbot of a Zen monastery, literally meaning "mountain founder" or "to open a mountain.")

What this meant for me and my students was that we did the same Drills with Zills every class thereafter, but we incorporated Kaisen.  This meant that the dancers kept small notebooks in their dance bags and at the end of every drill they took a few minutes to jot down what they did better than the week before, and what they would aim for the following week.

Not that improvement could be clearly marked in percentages, but they made sure to do a little better one week than they did the week before. In addition to the Drills with Zills they came in each week with something they wanted to improve upon in their practice. Maybe this would be to learn a new piece of music or make their hip movements sharper – or even learn a new hip movement. It could even be to find a new makeup technique that would be good for the stage. My dancers at the end of a semester in no way resembled the dancers that started the semester – even though I never made a change in our Drills with Zills.

Use Kaisen to help achieve manageable goals 

The past three episodes were specifically on shopping and cooking for low carb, and I am going to continue along that route. Even if you are on a different eating plan, from Weight Watchers to Paleo, the advice that follows will be helpful for you as you move forward in your chosen eating plan. 

o   Think of using the philosophy of Kaisen as moving yourself along with gentle changes. No absolutes, no all-or-nothing, no failures, no floundering. Just gentle, small steps.

o   What does this mean for meal planning? 

o   If you are just starting out, don’t look to limit or eliminate everything you are familiar with. Instead set up an if-then system.

§  If I want a muffin at breakfast, then I am not also going to have a sandwich at lunch.

§  If I am dying for the loaded baked potato that this restaurant serves, then I will have only half but ALSO not have bread at lunch or cereal for breakfast.

§  If I want the potato salad served at lunch today then I will eat the sandwich fillings without bread and I will not have carbs at dinner.

§  If I want to have ice cream when we go out with the kids, then I will order a kiddie cup and ask them to fill it just to the top and not round it out with a scoop on the top.

§  If I want pizza for dinner, then I will make salad my main meal and have only one or two slices of pizza on the side.

§  If I want lasagna for dinner, then I will take one small portion and not have carbs at breakfast or lunch.

§  If I want hotdogs with the rolls at the BBQ, then I will not also have a hamburger on the roll and I certainly won’t have chips or dessert. 

o   You can see that just setting up “if-then” contingencies will limit your usual eating pattern without eliminating everything you would love to have.

o   Then as you get comfortable in your new eating style you can make further changes, such as having carbohydrates at only one meal per day or dessert only once or twice a week – and making it small portions at that. 

 Goal laddering

·       A goal ladder is a tool much like Kaisen that helps you set smaller goals that lead up to one bigger goal. Each rung on the ladder is a smaller goal that brings you a step closer to your larger goal. This helps break your larger goal in to smaller and more manageable steps. 

·       You can think of this process as rungs of a ladder or steps on a staircase. Either the ladder or the staircase is a useful visual tool for people who do best with visual prompts and not just lists. 

·       For each rung or each step include the action you need to take to reach the sub-goal. Keep climbing up the ladder or staircase until you reach the top goal.

Here are some examples of goal ladders :

·       This week I will get on the elliptical 5 minutes per day. Each week I will add one minute per day. In a month I will be using it 10 minutes daily and adding time from there. (By the way, I just got an elliptical and I am good for three minutes every other day… so my ladder is a small one!)

·       This week I will add a salad or other fresh vegetable to my dinner each night. Next week, I will make sure I have veggies at lunch too. The week after that I will venture beyond salad and cook a vegetable that I don’t usually think of having. 

·       I will ask for dressing on the side next time I go to lunch. The next time I will do that but also ask for no croutons. The time after that, I will stick to the new way I have salad and also I will tell the no fries and could I have a cooked vegetable – no butter – instead. 

·       I can’t give up my popcorn. But I will look into making it myself in a hot-air popper or even in a brown lunch bag in the microwave, which I hear is a popular way to make it. I will look into the zero-calorie sprinkle on flavorings and try those out with a little salt instead of my usual butter.

See the ladders here?

What mistakes we making?

o   We are making the mistake of thinking that it’s enough to set a goal without always looking at all the small steps necessary to reach it. Each time we complete a step in the process we are a percentage closer to reaching the goal. Our journey doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be making progress.

o   When we don’t reach a goal, we think that either the goal is not achievable or that we are not the type of person who will ever reach that goal. The mistake is believing this and not just breaking the goal into smaller steps. 

Why are we making these mistakes?

o   We make these mistakes for two reasons:

·       First of all, we think a goal is the endpoint and don’t see it as a hierarchy of processes.

·       Taking my dancers for example, if the goal was to master one step in particular they could have killed themselves to do it, but never would, unless they realized that maybe they needed to tighten the elastic on their finger cymbals or maybe they had to try out a different pair of shoes so that their posture would be in better alignment, or maybe the difficulty wasn’t in the step itself but in the way they held their arms, which would help in overall balance and posture. It was a hierarchy of processes, not just trying harder.

·       The second reason we make this mistake is that we don’t have patience. We don’t realize that some goals take time, and some take more work than we had anticipated. We give up too soon.

 What is the cost of making these mistakes?

·       The cost is that we think less of ourselves rather than look at the situation from another angle. 

·       This starts a cascade of problems.

·       We give up too easily or

·       We start beating ourselves up that yet again, we can’t stick with what we intended to do. 

o   The issue isn’t that we don’t stick with what we intend to do, it’s that we have the wrong intention. Maybe the intention has to be “hold the croutons” but go ahead and have a ½ of potato!

 I want to call out a new way of doing things 

o   The new way of doing things is to realize that each goal you set for yourself may have up to a dozen steps.

o   The new way of doing things is to recognize the power of Kaisen and use laddering.

o   Look for ways that you can balance your effort with what is actually possible for you at the moment.

o   Realize that you are learning and progressing, and that small steps are necessary so that you don’t topple over doing too much or going too fast.

There are other things you can do to help yourself with balance using Kaisen:

 1.      If you are afraid of giving up something, don’t! 

·       If giving up bread forever is scary, slowly cut back from having it with every meal, to one or two meals a day, to maybe 2 or 3 times a week.

·       If giving up chips sounds like a life not worth living, buy your chips – or other treats – in portion-sized bags. You can even take a bag and portion it out yourself in baggies but, believe me, there is something very psychologically different doing it this way from buying the packages with 4 or 6 portioned bags in it.

·       If never having fries again with your hamburger sounds like it isn’t worth even eating out, then ask the server for half a portion and then eat only half of that, until you aren’t even missing them anymore.

I know this all sounds too dramatic, but I swear, when we are starting a new diet, that’s what everything feels like. Take those small steps and meet those small goals. Eventually you will work your way up the ladder.

2.     Focus on the one habit, not on the big picture. 

·       This might sound counterintuitive because you are, after all, striving for the big picture.

·       However, is it easier to cut down from bread three times a day, to two, to one, to none, than stating from the start, “I am never eating bread again!”

·       I will tell you a story about me and the stationary bike. When I signed up for the gym to use it, I told them that my only goal was showing up. The first few mornings I established the habit of getting up at a set time, putting on my shoes, and getting dressed for the gym. Honestly, that first week I did that and only made breakfast, straightened the house and went on with my day. THEN I started showing up at the gym. I did the bike maybe 10 minutes a day. The next week I did 15, then 20, etc. But it started with the habit of getting dressed in the morning and just having in the back of my mind that all I needed to do was show up.

3.     Don’t see yourself on diet. See yourself adjusting your nutrition.

·       Going back to the bread. Let’s say that you are eating low carb and bread is not something you need to eliminate, but because of the amount of carbohydrates in it you want to limit having it to make room for other foods you would like.

·       Don’t say, “Oh I am on a diet. I can’t have bread.” Instead adjust that and say, “I am not having bread today because I am having lasagna tonight.” See? Adjustment, not punishment for being on a diet.

·       Or, don’t say, “Oh I am on a diet. I can’t have bread.” Instead adjust the nutrition itself, and have whole, healthy carbohydrate choices like sweet potatoes or a whole grain pilaf. See? You haven’t given up carbs at all. You have just adjusted how you add them to your food plan. 

These are all small steps in the process of reaching the goals you have for yourself. A sailboat gets nowhere without wind in its sails. Kaisen will not only put the wind in your sails, but finding balance with each step will keep you sailing smoothly. The term balance in the sailing world means the ability of the boat to stay the course. These small, incremental and balanced steps will help you stay the course.


o   Take a result that you see yourself as having already achieved.

o   Then write out your WHY for wanting this result.

o   Write out all the steps that are necessary for this.

o   Some steps are “stand-alone” but some steps build upon one another.

o   I am going to read through this process but it is also in the transcript so please take a look at it if you need more clarity.

o   The first step in this process references Granny Keto Transitions Program. That is my program to bring you comfortably all the way to Keto or have you comfortably remain at Low Carb. It is explained in my book, Conquer Cravings with Keto, and I also did a full podcast episode on this April 27, 2023, Episode #47. 

Imagine a three-column table with the headings:

 | RESULT |                           | WHY |                               | STEPS |

Your RESULT is:

The sugar monkey is off my back. I am free.

Your WHY is:
I am sick of overeating sugar and baked goods and feeling I can’t live without them.

Your STEPS are:

  1. Thoroughly read Granny Keto Transitions Program, Step 1, which is eliminating sugar and baked goods.
  2. Go through my pantry and fridge take stock of all the foods with sugar and flour. 
  3. Get rid of what my family won’t miss.
  4. If room allows, put sugar desserts, breads, chips, etc. in a separate spot, preferably in a cabinet or basket where I won’t see them all the time.
  5. Sit down with my family, even the little kids, and explain that I am going to cut out sugar and other treats so that I will be healthy. Ask them to please honor and respect what I am doing because we all love one another, and that from now on their treats will be in a special spot just for them. Further explain that I am not asking them to cut anything out. Right now, it is just for me.
  6. Go to the meal planning worksheets and see how I can make dinners that will eliminate things like pasta and bread for me but can be served on the side for the family.
  7. Go to the packing lunches worksheet to see what I can take for my lunches. 
  8. Go to the Grocery Shopping worksheet and make a list. 
  9. Each evening write out a Protocol meal plan (or something specific if that is what I want to do) as a road map for the next day so I can make sure I know what I am eating. Doing a couple in advance is even better so I make sure I have the food I need.
  10. Try my best to do a mindfulness practice at least once a day.
  11. No need to write a full journal. Just write down on my meal plan page what my accomplishment was for the day.

·       If you write out your own plan like this, not only will your goals be put into manageable chunks, but it will help you see that you must give yourself some grace to get from the beginning to the end. It’s not one goal with one action that you can do in a week.

Now, let me remind you, if you’ve ever got a question you’d like to ask me or share a topic idea that you would like me to cover on a future episode, don’t be a stranger! I always look forward to hearing from listeners like you. You are welcome to email me directly… And don’t forget to leave a review wherever you listen to this podcast. I would SO appreciate it. Leaving a review makes it easier for other people who are looking to listen and learn about Keto and Low Carb.

Coming up in the next Episode

Next week I will explore mindset. It is not your relationship with food that determines if you can stick to a diet program, lose weight or accomplish any of your non-food goals. It is your relationship with yourself that determines any and all success that you have. Even if you don’t see it or don’t believe it now, you are capable of success. 

 Please share this show with your friends and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison with my Keto and Low Carb Success podcast. Especially share this podcast with anyone you know who is struggling with their weight or eating plan. This podcast, my book and all the free resource guides I I make available to you can be game changers if you take the information and coaching advice that are in them, they really are. It will help so many people transform their lives – not just with food but with how they feel about themselves, how they approach the food they eat, and how they make decisions about any area of their lives.

Until the next episode, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time.
Get all my free guides
Take a look at this great course
Join me on Facebook
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Check out Pinterest
And don't forget my book!