Nourish and Nurture

Kaisen - The Practice of Gentle Improvements

September 29, 2022 Miriam Hatoum Season 1 Episode 18
Nourish and Nurture
Kaisen - The Practice of Gentle Improvements
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 18: Kaisen - The Practice of Gentle Improvements

The SMACKDOWN method of goal setting in Episode 5 is only a start. Here is a process of small and gentle changes, known as Kaisen, that will help you see how to be successful with measurable and achievable goals. You will also learn about the technique of Goal Laddering which will also help you be more successful. Your actionable COACHING ADVICE for this week is to learn another strategy, called MAPPING. Make sure to download this week's VFO on Working Through Urges so that you will be ready to tackle the upcoming topics of urges, cravings, triggers, habits and emotional eating.

1:10.        Listener of the Week
2:03.        Personal Story
6:18.        Kaisen Method
9:15.        Goal Laddering
10:27.     What mistakes are we making?
11:00.      Why are we making these mistakes?
12:10.      What is the cost of making these mistakes?
12:49.      Calling out a new way
13:42.      This week's ACTIONABLE COACHING ADVICE
17:46.       This week's VFO
19:01.       Episode 19, coming up.

Breaking Free From Diet Prison Book
Breaking Free From Diet Prison Course
THIS WEEK'S VFO:  Learn To Work Through Urges
Breaking Free From Diet Prison Facebook page
Roadmap To Diet Success Instagram
ACCESS Transcript Here

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

Episode #: 18.    Kaisen

 You’re Listening to the Roadmap to Diet Success, Episode #18, Kaisen.


 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 Breaking Free From Diet Prison, 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! 

 Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or services, 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!


1:10     Listener of the Week

It’s time to highlight another listen of the week.  This week’s review is from Elizabeth Smith, entitled, “Great information presented in a user-friendly format.”

Here is the review: “I have followed Miriam for many years - even back to when she had blogs on blog She has a gift of being able to relay interesting, well-researched information in a clear, concise manner. This podcast is chock-full of great suggestions to help guide one’s journey to better health with a focus on weight loss. These podcasts will take you from wherever you are and enhance your journey.”

Thank you Elizabeth and I am so glad you are enjoying the podcast!

 2:03.    Personal Story

As I mentioned in an earlier episode, 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.

 6:18.    Using the Kaisen management system to help achieve goals is the best way to see improvement.

 The SMACK DOWN method of goal setting that I taught you about in Episode 5 is great, but it’s still not enough. It is great to have the measurable and achievable goal of, let’s say, walking first thing in the morning. But how will you do this? Here is part of the process, although you might choose a different order if this was your goal: 

1.      Lay out clothes the night before.

2.     Check the weather report for the morning. It may change a few things.

3.     Maybe you will find that you need new walking shoes.

4.    Go to the store and get new sneakers.

5.     But to do this you need to find the time to go to the mall.

6.     But to do that you do not want to be distracted. Maybe ask your partner to watch the kids while you go shopping if need be.

7.     Don’t forget to bring the right socks to try on sneakers.

8.     ETC. 

·       You can see it’s all well and good to lay out your clothes but there is more to it than that. 

o   When you make your goals, make sure you look at all the steps you need to take to work on them. 

§  With this example, take the time to go to the mall, bring the right socks and find the time for yourself to go without the distraction of also watching your children if possible. 

§  This is your first 1% – just finding time for yourself to do what you need to do to take care of yourself. 

§  Before going to bed you check the weather report to see if you need to wear shorts or pants or carry a light jacket with you in the morning. 

§  You never did this before. 

§  That is your next 1%. 

§  You get up 15 minutes earlier while your partner is still home to be with the kids, and you go for a short walk – your next 1%. 

§  Then you can increase your time or distance walking each day by another small percent. 

·       You can stay within that 15 minutes and increase your distance by percentages, you can increase your time by percentages, or both. 

·       In a month you are almost where you want to be. You are 100% better than you imagined that first day when you didn’t even have sneakers or the right socks.

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.

 9:15.     Goal laddering

·       A goal ladder is a tool 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.

·       A third way of doing this is through a MAP – Massive Action Plan that I give you in your actionable coaching advice this week.

·       The point is not to just put your top goal and ignore all the steps and actions you need to get there. 

10:27.     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 steps necessary to reach it. Each time we complete a step in the process we are a percentage closer to reaching the goal.

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.

11:00.     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.

12:10.     What is the cost of making these mistakes?

·       (HAHA!) Dare I say yet again, that the cost is that we think less of ourselves rather than look at the situation from another angle. 

·       This starts a cascade of problems.

·       You either give up too easily or

·       You start beating yourself up that yet again, you can’t stick with what you intended to do. 

o   The issue isn’t that you didn’t stick with what you intended to do, it’s that you had the wrong intention. Maybe your intention needs to be to get new socks!

12:49.     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 or Tony Robbins’ MAP system, standing for Massive Action Plan that I give you as your actionable coaching item.

o   With this plan you look at the goal as already achieved, then look at your why for this, and THEN look at the steps necessary to achieve it.

o   I will have an example of this MAP in the show notes and transcript for this episode, but in this week’s coaching action item, I will guide you through it.


o   I want you to take a result that you see yourself as having already achieved.

o   Find one WHY for achieving this goal.

o   Write out all the steps that are necessary.

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

o   Again, this is all in the transcript for this episode, but listen to it here as it will get you started.

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, Breaking Free From Diet Prison, and is also featured in my course of the same name. The links for these are in the show notes and transcript.

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 Massive Action 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.

 17:46.     This week’s VFO – Valuable Free offer

  In the last episode I offered you my Brilliance of Chocolate Cake booklet. I want to give you another one this week to get you ready for next week’s episode which will be on urges and cravings. The booklet is Break Out of Diet Prison: Learn To Work Through Urges. It is available at and as always, the direct link is in the show notes and transcript.

 And, if you like what you hear, please like and subscribe, and remember to leave a review wherever you listen to your podcast. It helps other people find the show. Also, don’t be a stranger. Come on over to my Facebook page, Breaking Free From Diet Prison, and let me know if there is anything you would like to hear on the show. I always look forward to hearing from listeners. You can also email me directly …

 19:01.     Next week’s episode

 Next week’s episode is about urges, cravings and habit hunger. Wait till you hear my PEEPS story – a perfect illustration of the monkeys playing dodgeball in our heads. Make sure you download the Brilliance booklet I gave you last week and the Urges booklet I am giving you this week so you will be all set to hear what I have to say in this upcoming episode.

 So go share the show with your friends, let them know that’s coming up in the next episode, and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison with my Roadmap to Diet Success.

 Until then, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time.