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Archive for the ‘Health & Wellness’ Category

Anxiety and What to do Instead

Anxiety and What to do Instead

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

It can also describe a psychiatric condition, which is a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks. Medication is available to address this form of anxiety. This article does not address the psychiatric condition but instead addresses that worry and unease that we all feel at times.

There are several categories of anxiety.

1. About the past or the future.
This type of anxiety is about mentally leaving the present and dwelling on the past or the future. We can dwell on the past of what we could have done differently or how we could have avoided certain mistakes. Or how we could have done a better job of getting things done instead of procrastinating.

How often do you worry about the future whether it is next week or next year? Will we be able to take a vacation? Will the kids get good grades and be able to go to the college of their choice? Will there be enough money? Will we like the new neighbors that just moved in next door? Will we get along with the new employee? All these and many more anxiety provoking thoughts will resolve themselves in time. Worrying about them does nothing but rob us of peace of mind and joy in the present moment.

2. Confrontations and conversations.
I remember my mother thinking endlessly about what was said and how she might have said the wrong thing or something dumb. She would worry endlessly about her lack of communication skills. Most of the time this was a complete non-issue. Nobody paid much attention to how she expressed herself. It was all in her head.

Similarly we can fret endlessly about a difficult upcoming conversation. May be we want to ask our boss for a raise, or we have a performance review coming up. May be we are planning a confrontation with a friend who has hurt our feelings and we want to clear the air and let her know how it made us feel. We can fuss endlessly over what to say and how to say it, and chances are, in the end, it isn’t a big deal at all.

3. Duties and obligations of the day.
We can worry about all that needs to get done instead of focusing on the task at hand. Or we start one thing only to think of another task that needs to be done, start that one and after a day of starts and stops have nothing complete and a mess on our hands.

Enjoy the journey

So what shall we do instead? All through life we have goals and expectations. As we achieve certain goals, others come into view. It is easy to keep our eyes on the goal to the detriment of enjoying the present. Make time daily to appreciate the little things and have joy in your heart. Life is about the journey and we miss out on so much if we don’t play and put joy into every day. Create memories every day. Once the day is gone, the opportunity to appreciate and love the day is over. If a day is particularly stressful, just remember – this too shall pass.

And don’t despise the day where small things are happening. Everything starts small. Before we can walk or run we need to learn to crawl. When going to school, we start in first grade, not in high school. When learning to speak to groups we start with small groups and short speeches, before we are ever ready to talk for hours in front of hundreds of people. So enjoy the small first tentative steps in any new endeavor, not only the big successes that come later.

How and Why to Forgive

How and Why to Forgive

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi

Forgiveness is something you can do whether the person you forgive is alive or not. Forgiveness is more about healing your heart than it is about the other person. And why should you forgive those who have harmed you? As Ann Landers often said, “hate is like an acid. It damages the vessel in which it is stored.” Below is a powerful story of forgiveness.

There are many stories of World War II Holocaust survivors who have been able to forgive their captors and tormentors. Here is one of those stories. It is the story of Corrie Ten Boom. Her family hid their Jewish neighbors in their home, were caught and sent to a concentration camp. She was the only survivor. After the war she traveled throughout Germany, giving talks on forgiveness. On one of those talks she came face-to-face with one of her cruel prison guards.

“I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt. I was face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.

“ ‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there.’ No, he did not remember me.

“ ‘But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’

“And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

“For I had to do it—I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. ‘If you do not forgive men their trespasses,’ Jesus says, ‘neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.’

“I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience. Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.

“And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’

“And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.“

‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

“For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then”.

 

Steps to Forgiveness

  1. Realize that the hatred you feel harms you and not your enemy. Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for it to kill your enemy.
  2. Stop being the victim. The best revenge is to live a successful and happy life. Surviving the harm caused by another person has made you stronger.
  3. Make a list of the strengths you have gained from the negative experience.
  4. Think about the kind and selfless people who have helped you in your time of need and what example they set for you.
  5. Give yourself time to heal. Nurture yourself.
  6. Writing down your negative experience may help – get it out of your head and onto paper.
  7. Stop telling your negative story. Negativity is depressing.
  8. Wish your enemy well. This creates cognitive dissonance and eventually it can neutralize your feelings about the other person.

 

Additional Resource

For additional information on the forgiveness process and the benefits to the forgiver check out the book “Forgiveness is a Choice – A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope” by Robert Enright.

 

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Rest and Renew: the Power of Restorative Yoga

By Guest Blogger, Wendy Cullitan, In the Write Zone

Much has been written about the power of the mind/body connection. As a yoga practitioner for 20 years and yoga teacher for eight, I know there’s truth to the benefit of moving the body and breathing in specific ways to help calm what yogis call Chitta Vritti or mind chatter. This chatter is constant, even though we are often unaware of it.

Practicing yoga is one way to clear the mind and create more space within for creativity and productivity. As the saying goes, what “we pay attention to grows.” By participating in mindfulness activities, you can train your mind to shift from negative thoughts to positive ones, from fear to calm, from non-stop chatter to clarity.

Starting a yoga practice is easier said than done. That’s why I am sharing with you a simple, restorative yoga sequence to gently release tension in postures that allow the body to rest and revitalize.

You don’t need any special props, but if you have a yoga mat, use it; otherwise, dress comfortably and have two firm pillows and a timer nearby. Set up near a wall with

 

1. Begin in Child’s Pose.

Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips. If you can’t sit on your heels, place a pillow (or two) between your heels and your bottom.

Hold that position for 2 minutes. Take deep inhalations (listen for the sound of your breath, feel your belly expand like a Buddha belly) followed by slightly longer exhalations to release toxins in your body. Notice where you are holding on to tension (lower back is common) and visualize your exhalations traveling there. Notice what happens. Continue this type of breathing awareness for the next two poses as well.

 

2. Next up is Reclining Butterfly/Supta Baddha Konasana

This classic restorative posture stretches the inner groin, thighs and knees. It also helps reduce stress, mild depression and cramps. Click Supta Baddha Konasana to view details on how to set up and plan to rest for 5 minutes.

 

3. Now move into Legs Up the Wall Pose/Viparita Karani.

In order to more easily get into this pose, start off sitting sideways next to the wall with your feet on the floor. Place one hand at your low back, lean back and pivot your legs up the wall. Once your legs are against the wall, press your forearms into the ground to help move your bottom as close to the wall as possible. Lay on your back with your legs resting up the wall. The benefits to this pose include reduced backache and headache and is a wonderful antidote to insomnia.

Legs up the wall pose can be combined with the other poses if you have more time or done on it’s own if you are short on time. 2014JUN05 legsuptheWallPose

At first, aim to hold Viparita Karani for 2-5 minutes and build up to 10 minutes or longer. As soon as the weight of your legs becomes too much, roll to your side in the fetal position and rest for 8 deep inhalations and exhalations before doing the next pose.

 

4. Finally, sweet Savasana!

Every yoga class ends with this quintessential posture that allows the body and mind time to integrate what has shifted internally. Lie on your back. Close your eyes. Turn your palms face up. Take one deep inhalation through your nose and a long exhalation with your mouth open and sigh. Repeat three times. Then, let go of the pattern of your breath. Let your thoughts pass by like clouds in the sky. This is your time to completely relax in a state of deep relaxation. Stay for 5-10 minutes.

This sequence can be followed whenever you need to unwind! Let me know what you think.

 

About the Author: Wendy L. Cullitan, principal of Wordsmith Communications, is an award-winning writer, editor and marketing consultant. She graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University. Wendy finds balance in her life through an avid yoga practice that began in 1995. Her personal self-discovery prompted her to become a yoga teacher in order to share this meaningful, life-affirming practice with others. Wendy loves spending time upside down — which is why you will find her in a headstand or handstand every day. You can reach her via email at wordsmithcomm@gmail.com, via her blog In the Write Zone or visit her website at www.wordsmith-communications.net.

How to be ‘In the Zone’

How to be ‘In the Zone’

Being ‘in the zone’ is characterized by complete absorption in what one is doing. Other words for that state of complete absorption are ‘in the flow’, ‘being in the present’, ‘in the moment’, ‘on a roll’, ‘in the groove’, ‘on fire’, ‘in tune’, and ‘centered’.

I used to get in the zone when photographing events. One time I was photographing a kids’ soccer game and two boys collided in mid-air while going after the ball. A parent standing near me asked if I got that shot. I explained that often my finger works independent of my consciousness, so I might have gotten the shot. Sure enough when I reviewed the pictures that night, I got the shot perfectly as the two boys vied for the ball in mid-air. So I know how to be in the flow. But how do you get in the flow on purpose.

You hear about an athlete being in the zone. You also hear about a writer who talks about the words just pouring out of him and onto the page. So it can happen in athletics as well as in intellectual pursuits.

First of all, there is no flow in new activities. Flow happens when you’re not even trying, when you’re just doing it without consciously trying. That doesn’t happen until you’ve put in hundreds if not thousands of hours of practice. Flow kicks in when the subconscious takes over from the conscious mind. Other ways to get in the flow may be through meditation or through visualization.

I recently attended an educational session by two World champions of public speaking. They described the journey of public speaking as follows: in the beginning of your speaking career you are self-conscious and worried about your performance. Once you have some speaking engagements under your belt, you are no longer self-conscious and you worry about your message coming across. Lastly, when you have done quite a bit of public speaking you will enter a phase where you are in tune with your audience. You will have totally internalized your speech and it comes out with every idea in the right sequence and not memorized. Mark Twain called it “rehearsed spontaneity”. He would say, ‘It usually takes me three weeks to prepare a good spontaneous performance.’

So – how do you find this elusive flow? There are several things you can do.

  1. Find the right environment. May be if you are writing, you have a desk with flowers on it, or you have a favorite spot out in nature. If you are an athlete, you may do best on the ‘home court’ advantage. Your special space helps you get into the zone.
  2. Time of day. I once had a coaching client who could best give her complete focus to our sessions at 6 am. While that wasn’t my favorite time to work, it made such a big difference in her receptivity and ultimately her success that it was worth getting out of bed for.
  3. Music. There are many types of music that can help you get into the flow, music that tunes out distractions or helps while pursuing intellectual pursuits or while meditating. Experiment and see what works for you.
  4. Focus with intensity. In order to get into flow you have to be doing something you do well and love doing. You focus intensely and your subconscious takes over.
  5. Emotions. You can’t get into the flow when you’re anxious or afraid. On the other hand when you are passionate about something you have a greater chance of slipping into the zone.
  6. Mindfulness. It is a state of paying attention to the present. When you are mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance without judgment. Mindfulness means living in the moment.

Training your mind to intensely focus on a task is a key skill for excelling at anything. Being in the flow makes peak performance possible.

 

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How to Eat Healthy

How to eat healthy

The USDA periodically updates what healthy Americans should eat. USDA stands for United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA administers programs that provide services to farmers. So it is not some health and wellness or medical organization that tells us what we should eat, but instead an organization that supports farmers. In addition there is heavy involvement of lobbyists who support the various branches of agriculture and the food industry. So who won the lobbying wars?

 

USDA My Plate

USDA My Plate

Take a look at the “My Plate”. I’d say the dairy industry won this round’s top lobbying award. Dairy is protein, but instead of sharing nearly a quarter of the plate with fish, red meat, poultry, and legumes, Dairy gets its own section. And this is in spite of the many people who are lactose intolerant for whom dairy is not a healthy choice at all.

A similar controversy surrounded the previous food pyramid. For instance, the pyramid recommended two to three servings from the protein-rich group, but this was intended to be a maximum. The pyramid recommended two to four fruit servings, but this was intended to be the minimum. The previous food pyramid and the “My Plate” also say nothing about drinking water, which is important for good health.

 

Let’s look at food pyramids/eating guidelines from other cultures.

mediterranean food pyramidThe Mediterranean Diet Pyramid was created in conjunction with the World Health Organization. It, for example, relegates red meat into the ‘eat monthly’ category. It also shows the importance of drinking water and daily physical exercise. Note also that potatoes are grouped in with the grains/starches category, not under vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

2014MAY15 JapanesePyramid

The Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top also shows the importance of water and exercise. It shows grains as the most consumed food, and fruits and dairy the least consumed with 2 servings each.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014MAY15 EssensPyramideThe German Food Pyramid starts with lots of liquids; next are 5 portions of fruits and vegetables; then 5 portions of grains and potatoes; Milk and milk products daily; meat, sausage and eggs in moderation; fish regularly; high quality oils and fats; and avoid foods and drinks high in sugar and fats.

 

 

Clearly there are commonalities between the food guidelines, but there are also important differences. The Mediterranean and German food Pyramids are the only ones that point out to avoid sweets and other sugar-laden foods and drinks, whereas “My Plate” does not distinguish sugar-laden donuts and muffins from whole grain breads.

There are many other food pyramids and eating guidelines from other countries. There are also eating guidelines for specific dietary needs such as vegetarians, vegans and diabetics.

Among others I also found some humorous food pyramids. One German Food Pyramid consisted of Bratwurst, Pretzel, Beer, and eat all other foods sparingly!

Compare the eating guidelines to notice common themes and do your best to eat a healthy diet. Eat a variety of foods to get lots of nutrients and keep the portion sizes small, so as not to overeat.

 

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From Surviving to Thriving

From Surviving to Thriving

The first year of a transition is hardly a time for thriving. The first year after a divorce, the first year after the loss of a loved one, the first year after getting married or having a first child, the first year after a move or losing a job or retiring – these are all times of adjusting to a new reality. When we are hit with a major transition, we come into a time of instability. We may resort to surviving and making it from day-to-day until we get our bearings and relate to our new situations.

Let’s look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

2014APR17 Maslow_hierarchy_of_needs

When we are faced with a new reality we want to make sure the basic needs are met. Let’s take the reality of a divorce. The first year after divorce there are lots of changes for the woman: the family home may have to be sold; if she was not working she may need to reenter the workforce; childcare changes become necessary, moving to a new neighborhood may affect friends and school for the kids; the reduction of living on one income effects what the family can afford. It is easy to see how a divorce is a difficult transition. How about the opposite side of the coin – getting married. Here a myriad of decisions that were previously made alone that are now needing to be shared. Many marriages don’t make it through the first year: especially decisions about money provide much struggle: how much to save, what expenses are necessary and what can be done without. Many people come from different financial backgrounds and have different ideas about money management. All of these expectations have to be resolved or they will slowly fester.

I once worked for a company that said in their new employee orientation: Don’t quit in the first 6 months of your new job. It will get easier after that. So, regardless of the transition, there is a time of readjustment. Realize it and trust that it will get easier. But for it to get easier, we have to work at it. If it is a new job, we have to learn what is expected of us. If it is a new marriage we have to learn to work out our differences and disagreements. If it is a divorce, we have to adjust to the new reality.

Once the basic needs are attended to – the Physiological and Security needs on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – we can then address our higher level of needs and begin to thrive. We can begin to build new relationships and nurture existing relationships, which may have taken a back seat while we were building our new base. Self-esteem may come from a job or from volunteer work, contributing to the greater good. Lastly we become aware of our personal growth and we seek out opportunities to grow. This is when we make changes in our lives and we truly soar.

Jack Canfield (author of “The Success Principles” and “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books) has this to say about thriving: “Greater self-esteem produces greater success, and greater success produces more high self-esteem, so it keeps on spiraling up.”

 

Next Steps:

In order to produce greater self-esteem you need to produce success. One way to do that is to hire a coach who can help you with goal setting and achieving those goals. That success will feel great and you can build on that success with higher self-esteem.

 

Contact me:

Schedule a complimentary coaching consultation. See what changes for the better I can help you with. Call now: 847-913-3900.

 

Embrace Change

Embrace Change

It is that time of year: the drabness of winter gives way to spring; our nesting instinct kicks into high gear and we start our annual ritual of spring cleaning; The housing market churns and people start looking for new homes; senioritis, like an epidemic, hits students ready to graduate from high school, college seniors and their parents worry about the job market and if students will be able to find that first real job. May be there are changes in your job as well; a new supervisor; a job transfer or layoff; new rules in the office.

Change is everywhere we look. How do we deal with it – and how do we do it effectively? Let’s first look at what doesn’t help. We can dig our heals in and pretend we can stop the changes. We can yearn for what was and keep a blind eye to what is or will be.

What other options do we have? How do we embrace change?

Change is really only there for us to grow. When everything stays the same, many people get comfortable with the status quo. Change allows us to embrace something new, something we might have otherwise not even considered. Change brings opportunity to try new things.

Let’s take inspiration from the following quotes:

  • If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. (unknown)
  • To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. (Winston Churchill)
  • Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. (James Baldwin)
  • It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. (Alan Cohen)

Step by step:

Psychologist Kurt Lewin came up with this model of change that can be adapted to the individual.

Start with a period of “unfreezing”. This is a time to look at the status quo as well as the changes that are upon you. What does the change involve? How is it different from what you do or have today? What do you like and dislike about the change? What do you like and dislike about what you have now? What opportunities does the change present? What can you learn from the change? Can you be a pioneer or change agent and be perceived as a leader instead of an obstructionist?

Step two in Kurt Lewin’s model of change is the “transition” period. This is where the change is implemented and the bugs are worked out. This can take some time. For example, if you are moving to a new house you have to get the current house ready for sale; you have to pack; you have to find a new home; you have to unpack and settle into the new home. There are many other little details that have to be attended to, before you can get comfortable in your new home. Similarly other transitions require many transition steps before you can settle into a new routine.

Step three is “refreeze”. Once you get the changes under control, it is time to establish new routines and new ways of doing things. It is time to settle into the new life.

Next Steps:

Rather than waiting for change to force itself on you, take a critical look at your life and determine where a change is in order. If your relationship with your spouse could be better, schedule a frank talk or suggest counseling; if you hate your commute, consider moving closer; if you hate your job, may be it is time to consider a change. Be proactive. Embrace change!

Contact me:

Schedule a complimentary coaching consultation. See what changes for the better I can help you with. Call now: 847-913-3900.

Align yourself with self-love

Align yourself with self-love

We are busy. We do all the things that need to get done: for work, around the house, maintaining the cars, do, do, do. Then we are asked to volunteer: at church, at the kids’ school, … When is it our turn: meditate, take a walk, curl up with a good book? The answer is never. Others look to us to see how we treat ourselves. If we are apologetic about taking time out for ourselves, others will be more than happy to pile on the requests and expectations. It is said if you want to get something done, give it to a busy person. And so it is. A busy person is more often willing to say yes to yet another task and is less likely to think of themselves and the downtime they so desperately need. They go, go, go until the body steps in and says enough. Then they come down with a cold or some other ailment to slow them down. Even then, there is little rest for the weary. Got to power through it and get everything done on that do to list.

Is this the life you lead? Is this the life you want to lead? What would it take to slow down and build in a commitment to yourself to give yourself some downtime? Downtime comes in many shades. It might mean an extra hour of sleep, or a mid-afternoon nap on a weekend. It could be curling up with a good book in front of the fireplace for a couple of hours. It might mean taking 15 minutes a day to start your day with prayer or meditation. It might mean at the end of the day writing in a gratitude journal. Or it might mean making time each week for a hobby or something artistic or creative.

For something more luxurious take a nice warm bubble bath, light some scented candles and have a glass of wine and may be a book. Or go get a massage.

The important thing is to schedule time for self-love. It may be challenging at first, but with practice it can become a way of life. First you train yourself, then you teach others how you want to be treated. Make your self-love time sacred, keeping your commitment to love yourself above all.

Next Step:

Decide what self-loving act you would like to do first. Then schedule it into your calendar as a firm commitment this week. Let others know that you will be unavailable during that time. Start small so you can feel successful when you have given yourself this act of self-love.

If you want more ideas on acts of self-love, here is a website with more ideas: http://www.abundancetapestry.com/70-ways-for-self-care/

 

Contact me: 

To determine if coaching with Edith can help you achieve a better life balance, schedule a complimentary coaching consultation. Call her now at 847-913-3900.

How do You Get More Resilience?

How do You Get More Resilience?

Resilience is the capacity to easily recover from or adjust to misfortune or change.

Since we are living in a fast changing world, it is to our advantage to build our resilience. So – how do you get more resilience?

There are several ways to increase resilience.

1. Good Relationships With Family  

Good relationships with family members provide you with a safety net. More and more households are living with two adult generations under one roof. This is often a stressful situation but it also provides several benefits. House-sharing with elderly parents can provide built in child care. For the elderly parents it provides safety when a medical emergency occurs. When adult children move back home with their parents, it can be a significant saving to recover from financial hardship. The proximity can be a challenge but it isn’t even an option when there is a rift between family members.

2. Close Friends

A small circle of close friends provide mutual support. They can be a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on or help out in a pinch.

3. A Community

Being part of one or more communities can be a life saver. A couple of examples follow: A young woman had no close relatives but she was active in her church. When she unexpectedly lost her job, her church community pulled together for her. To save money the young woman gave up her apartment. Several church members stored her furniture and belongings in their basements. Then people with an extra bedroom in their home offered to let her stay with free room and board in their home for a month each. This community support helped save her from going bankrupt and helped her get back on her feet.

Another example: A retired schoolteacher became an avid photographer. She joined a local photography club and became active in the amateur photography community and its leadership. She learned and then taught others about photography. When she ended up in a car accident that left her wheelchair bound for many months, many jumped in to help. Some gave her rides to appointments, others ran errands like grocery shopping and the like, others brought companionship to this homebound photographer. All this made the long months of recovery much more bearable.

4. Ask for Help

In order for the young woman and the photographer to get help, they had to let people know about their difficulty and ask for help. They also had to be gracious about the generosity extended to them. I was particularly amazed at the asking skills of the photographer. Though many offered to help her, she was wise enough to find out what each individual enjoyed doing already. Then she asked for help that most fit in with the lives of those who offered. I was lucky enough to have a vehicle that could easily accommodate her and her wheelchair and I was able to bring her to photography club meetings. I really enjoyed the conversations and what I learned from her during those car trips. With my help she was able to get out of her condo at least once per month.

5. Set Goals

While the photographer was wheelchair bound she could not pursue her photography hobby. So she focused on another part of her photography. She organized the many photos she had taken, selected prints to be displayed, created slideshows she could present at future meetings, and found opportunities to sell her beautiful photographs. And she did it in the company of fellow photographers who provided companionship.

When adversity strikes it is important to have goals and to regularly take actions to achieve them.

6. Understanding That Setbacks Are Part of Life

Many of us have gone through setbacks, be it losing a job, health issues, natural disasters, loss of a family member or divorce. Those who are resilient are more likely to work through the difficult times, and move on from there. Believe that whatever difficulties you encounter, you have the strength to move on and rebuild your life.

7. Problem Solving Skills

When problems present themselves, learn to break the problems down into small and manageable steps. Then take the steps, one at a time.

8. Understand That All Things Are Temporary

Each day brings new challenges. Some are good and some are painful. Savor and be grateful for the good things that come your way. It makes the difficult times more bearable knowing that they will become less painful over time. Resilience doesn’t make challenges go away. It simply helps us rebound more quickly and with less pain.

Next Steps

If you are facing a challenge, don’t do it alone. Reach out. Support is out there. But also realize what strength you have, what challenges you have already overcome, and that you can overcome the current challenge as well.

If life has got you down and you are feeling excessive anxiety or depression, seek professional help.

If life is good to you, reach out to others and strengthen your communities. Reach out to others who need help and volunteer your time.

Contact me:

To determine if coaching can help you achieve your goals, schedule a free coaching consultation. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

Two Yummy Vegetable Side Dishes

Two Yummy Vegetable Side Dishes

Today I’ll share with you two yummy and easy to make side dishes.

Roasted Cauliflower

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash the cauliflower and cut it into little florets. Spread them out on a cookie tray.
  3. Generously drizzle on olive oil,
  4. then sprinkle salt and
  5. garlic powder on the florets.
  6. Put in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Watch the video at http://youtu.be/-11gmhGWits

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Thoroughly scrub 2 potatoes (no need to peel).
  3. Cut the potatoes into wedges and spread them out on a cookie sheet.
  4. Drizzle on olive oil,
  5. Then sprinkle on salt,
  6. Paprika and
  7. Rosemary
  8. Put in the oven for about 30 minutes.

I’ll often put one tray of each in the oven at the same time. If combining both recipes, set the oven to 350 degrees and put the potatoes in the oven first for about 10 minutes, and then add the cauliflower and leave both in for 30 more minutes.

These side dishes are easy to make, and add a nice touch to any hearty meal or diet.

 

Contact me:

To determine if coaching can help you achieve your goals, schedule a free coaching consultation. Call Edith at 847.913.3900. Isn’t it about time you invested in you and your goals?

Sleep Your Excess Weight Away and Other Tricks

Sleep Your Excess Weight Away and Other Tricks

Wouldn’t it be nice to go to sleep and wake up the next morning at our ideal weight? While those kinds of results are best left to fairy tales, getting enough healthy sleep can help with weight loss. And there are other weight loss tricks as well that are often ignored.

Sleeping:

The researchers wrote in the commentary, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (September 17, 2012), “An accumulating body of evidence suggests that sleeping habits should not be overlooked when prescribing a weight-reduction program to a patient with obesity.”

In two of the studies cited in the commentary, study participants decreased the amount of calories they consumed and either slept 8.5 hours or 5.5 hours. The group that slept less, lost less weight.

Thermogenics (Heat Production):

We have two kinds of fat: white fat (WAT) and brown fat (BAT). The WAT is what we usually store as fat. The BAT on the other hand burns fat when stimulated. Exposing the body to cold temperatures, stimulates the BAT to burn glucose to keep the body warm. And once the fat burning machine is set in motion, it may keep burning fat for a while, even though the cold stimulus is gone. Cold exposure also increases your BAT fat. Ray Cronise from NASA has done research on how to increase the body’s thermal load to lose weight. http://hypothermics.com/home/ . Here are some ways to stimulate the body to burn excess fat through cold exposure.

  • Cold showers:

Start with a comfortably warm shower, and then slowly turn the water to cold. Stay under the cold shower for 2 – 3 minutes. For more benefits of cold showers see http://philanthropy2012.hubpages.com/hub/10-benefits-of-cold-showers

  • Ice packs:

Place an ice pack on the back of your neck for 20 – 30 minutes, preferably in the evening.

 

  • Drink Ice Water:

Drink a liter of ice water first thing in the morning.

  • Eat, Swim, Sleep:

According to Michael Phelps, he eats over 12,000 calories per day when in training. Besides that, he swims and sleeps. Period. So if you work out with incredibly high intensity, in your average 82-degree pool, eat mounds of food and sleep, you’ll have to worry about not getting enough to eat to keep up your energy:) Check out what Phelps eats for breakfast: http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/08/13/the-michael-phelps-diet-dont-try-it-at-home/

Why this matters:

Many find that the last few pounds are the hardest to lose. Caloric restriction and exercise just aren’t enough. Ray Cronise found that when you add thermal loading, that is, exposing the body to cold, it is easier to lose those last pesky pounds.

Contact me: 

Many people struggle to take the steps they know they need to take. As a coach I can help you clarify what’s most important and offer support and accountability so you make important changes in your life. Think about the life you could have. To schedule a free coaching consultation, call Edith at 847.913.3900. Isn’t it about time you invested in you and your goals?

Which Diet is Right For You?

Which diet is right for you?

There are many types of diets: diets to lose weight, diets to gain weight or strength, diets for heart health or to control blood pressure, diets for diabetics or to control cholesterol. U. S. News & World Report Magazine ranks the most effective diets that have been studied. Their ranking is based on those diets, where studies are available. Many diets are not on the list. The slow-carb diet that I have followed for the last month is not on their list. That doesn’t make it bad, just that any studies on its effectiveness were not included. In the end, the diet that you can stick to and that achieves the desired result is the one you should follow.

Here are some of the winners among diets:

Best overall diets were the DASH diet and the TLC diet.

Best weight loss diets were Weight Watchers and Biggest Loser.

Best diabetes diets were Biggest Loser and the Dash diet.

Best heart health diets were the Ornish diet and the TLC diet.

For more information go to http://health.usnews.com/best-diet

One of the keys to sticking with a diet is whether you have a support system. Weight Watchers has weekly meetings and weigh ins. It provides support and sharing with others who have the same goals.

Why even a little weight loss matters:

The article “Battling Belly Fat” (AARP Bulletin July-August 2012) states that there are 2 types of fat: subcutaneous fat (under the skin) and visceral or belly fat (surrounding your organs). The bad stuff is the fat surrounding your organs. It is also the easiest to lose and the first to go. “Numerous studies show a correlation between a large waist and a higher risk of death – even among people who are not overweight.” “Visceral fat actually secretes hormones and lipids – such as triglycerides – that are harmful to the body, says David Cummings, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Washington Medical School.” “A John Hopkins University study of people with large bellies (over 35 inches for women and over 40 inches for men) found the group that ate a healthy low-carb diet lost both more pounds and more belly fat than the group on a low-fat diet.”

Taking it Further:

If you have visceral fat, check out some of the diets mentioned at this link: http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-weight-loss-diets. Watch what you eat and start substituting healthier low-carb foods into your day.

Consider keeping an “eating journal”. It’ll help you understand when you eat, especially between meals. What are your eating/snacking triggers? What were you doing just before you felt that sudden hunger even though you ate recently? What emotions were you feeling when you had that snack attack? Did you fill your plate too full and finished every last bite anyways? Just becoming aware can start you on your way to finding healthier behaviors for some of those eating (or drinking) attacks.

 

Contact me:

Many people struggle to take the steps they know they need to take. As a coach I can help you clarify what’s most important and offer support and accountability so you make important changes in your life. Think about the life you could have. To schedule a free coaching consultation, call Edith at 847.913.3900. Isn’t it about time you invested in you and your goals?

Selective Eating for your Health: It’s a Journey – Part III – Addicted to Sugar?

Selective Eating for your Health: It’s a Journey – Part III – Addicted to Sugar?

During week one of my selective eating journey I ran into several challenges and doubts about my ability to stick to a diet. One is worth special mention: withdrawal from sugar addiction.

The diet I have chosen to follow is the slow-carb diet described in the book, “The 4-hour Body” by Timothy Ferriss. I am working on eliminating foods from my diet that are quickly converted to energy in my body, such as cereal, breads, pasta, and of course sugary items such as candies, soda and the like. I didn’t feel well and someone suggested that I might be suffering withdrawal symptoms from sugar addiction. So I researched it. Here is what I found.

Sugar Addiction Symptoms

From the website http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/addiction-to-sugar-555.html

  • If ever you manage to go a day without having sweet nothings, you start obsessing about the same.
  • Whenever you feel sad, you start eating foods with high sugar content.
  • You become defensive when somebody suggests that you are having too much of sugar.
  • You cannot go even a single day without having something sweet to eat.
  • You cannot sit for too long without munching on ‘sweetables’.
  • You eat high-sugar foods like candy, chocolates and cakes every day or even too many times a day.
  • You often feel lethargic, moody or depressed.
  • You start feeling uncomfortable around the same time every day and your answer to this is grabbing a high-sugar snack.

From the website http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-sugar-addiction

Sugar fuels every cell in the brain and influences brain chemicals, too.  And overloading on sugary foods may alter the brain receptors that regulate how much we eat. In laboratory studies, rats that binged on sugar had brain changes that mimicked those of drug withdrawal. In humans, just seeing pictures of milkshakes triggered brain activity similar to what’s seen in drug addicts.

Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms

From the website http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Through-Sugar-Withdrawal

Sugar cravings are the simplest of the many different sugar withdrawal symptoms, which can include headaches, lethargy, emotional distress, anger and even nausea.

From the website http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/addiction-to-sugar-555.html

One of the clearest signs of sugar addiction is that you feel incredibly uncomfortable when you try to cut back your sugar intake. You may experience uncomfortable sensations like nausea, fatigue, headaches, irritability, anxiety, and moodiness – these are all withdrawal symptoms, which simply means that your body is craving a substance it is used to having.

Do’s and Don’ts

The advice on what to do to curb sugar addiction is quite varied, but it is clear that some withdrawal symptoms will need to be endured. But stabilizing blood sugar levels has many health benefits, including reducing risks of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Don’ts Do’s Reason
Don’t skip breakfast Eat a protein laden breakfast within an hour of waking Protein stabilizes blood sugar.

By eating soon after waking, the body doesn’t go into starvation mode.

Don’t drink diet sodas Drink plenty of water Diet sodas cause the liver to spend time on eliminating bad stuff instead of burning fat.
Don’t go cold turkey Eliminate sugar and highly processed foods gradually Rapid withdrawal is likely to cause cravings that willpower can’t overcome.
Don’t eat snacks between meals Eat a meal about every 4 hours Eating regular meals is healthier than the many tempting snack foods that are laden with sugar or fats

Call to Action:

Some say we take better care of our cars than our bodies. Yet we can buy a new car, but we only have one body. Don’t you want to feel healthy and fit for as long as possible? A little investment in healthy eating habits can make a big difference in how you feel.

Taking it Farther

The website http://www.beyonddiet.com/Landing?rdrtrk=3288843

has an introductory video with lots of good advice, including the 5 foods to avoid eating: orange juice, sugar substitutes, breads (breads, muffins, cookies, cereal, and even pasta), hydrogenated butter substitutes, and processed soy products. Go to the website and hear what Isabel has to say about these “bad for you” foods and what to eat instead. If this advice appeals to you, her diet plan and her many easy recipes may be worth investing in.

Contact me:

If you have trouble following a diet and sticking with it, call Edith at 847.913.3900 for a free life coaching consultation.

Selective Eating for Your Health: It’s a Journey – Part II

Growing Emotionally Healthier While Eating Selectively

This is an exploration of how memories and beliefs we formed earlier in life can negatively impact how successful we are in achieving our current goals. Examples in this article are from my journey of following the advice in the book “The 4-Hour Body” by Timothy Ferriss. But this isn’t about me. These examples are here to help you see how your own past can derail you and what you can do about it. By identifying current blocks and their link to a past memory or belief, their hold on us can simply dissipate. I hope these examples help you on your journey toward your goals.

One of the suggestions in Mr. Ferriss’ book is to start slowly. For a week, follow his “slow-carb” diet only at breakfast. Well, on that first day I felt like gagging all day. When exploring this with my “coach”, it traced back to a childhood event where I was told to eat something most unpleasant. Working through that scenario, I released the emotional hold it still had over me. So I almost derailed at breakfast on day one.

Somewhere around day two I developed an intense craving for soda, which I normally drink very rarely and which is not allowed. Working with my “coach” I was able to unearth a memory of another childhood event where my mother drank soda on occasion but I wasn’t allowed to have any. After releasing this memory, the craving lessened substantially.

On day three I became quite sad and despondent wondering if I could stick with this diet for a week, let alone for a whole month as I had planned. Again working with my “coach” I discovered that there was a childhood memory associated linking receiving food I liked with love from a parent. So, depriving myself of some of the foods I liked felt like being unloved. Wow, I was beginning to see that I have a lot of emotional baggage associated with food. I recommitted to resolving my food related issues and sticking with this diet for at least a month. Following the diet was harder than I had expected, but I approached each meal as if it was the only meal on the diet. Each meal I started over doing my best to follow Mr. Ferriss’ recommendations as closely as I felt able.

By day 4 I felt bored with the foods I had been eating and felt that I couldn’t possibly stick with eating the same few foods much longer.  Working through this issue with my “coach” I remembered that I had been a good cook when I was younger, but after repeated ridicule had taken on the belief that I couldn’t cook. I also discovered that somehow I had come to believe that I didn’t deserve to spend time on cooking meals for myself. Once I realized this, I took some time to search for “slow-carb” recipes online and expanded my choices with tasty and easy to make dishes. More importantly, I was more than halfway through the week and was working through my issues as they arose. Each issue I clear up will be one less issue holding me back from a healthy weight – for the rest of my life.

I hope that these examples from my own experience will help you become aware of your own struggles and how, by recognizing the origins, you can let go of the emotion associated with old memories and beliefs.

Call to Action:

If you have an unhealthy weight, I encourage you to work through any emotional issues you have around food. Once you resolve them, they will no longer have a grip on you, and you will naturally and effortlessly adhere to a healthier weight. Willpower can only take you so far, but in the end your unconscious emotions and beliefs are likely to take over and ruin even your best efforts. If you have unsuccessfully dieted before, get off the yo-yo and take control of all that is holding you back. You are worth it.

Taking it Farther:

Check out the Internet or the public library for a diet that works for you. I am currently following the diet from the book www.fourhourbody.com.

Contact me:

Do you have trouble following a diet and sticking with it? Are the goals reasonable and you still can’t do it? Have you checked with a doctor to see if there are medical reasons for an unhealthy weight? May be life coaching can help you let go of self-sabotaging behaviors or unconscious beliefs around food, and help you achieve your goals. For a free consultation call Edith at 847.913.3900

Selective Eating for your Health: It’s a Journey – Part I

Do you want to lose weight and NOT count calories?

Over the Holidays I connected with someone who had recently lost some weight. Feeling the need myself to curb my consistent upward trend on the scale over the last few years, I need to try to stop and reverse my own weight gain. I asked some questions and later did some research on Google. When I was done I settled on learning to follow the advice from the book “The 4-hour Body” by Timothy Ferriss.

Fortunately you don’t have to read the entire tome (well over 500 pages).  Mr. Ferriss describes several pathways through the book, about a 100 pages each, depending on your goal, whether it be weight loss, or muscle or strength gain. I chose the path for weight loss and it does not include counting calories.

What I find intriguing about Mr. Ferriss’ book are all the little tips sprinkled throughout. He not only has researched the topics extremely well, he also experiments on himself extensively. With the information from MANY experts, his own experiments, and a cadre of volunteers testing his conclusions, I choose to experiment to see if his advice will work for me as well.

Here are some examples of his tidbits I found interesting:

  • 80 seconds of exercise before eating and 1 ½ hours after eating is all that is needed to gain muscle instead of fat from a meal. Mr. Ferriss has researched the Minimum Effective Dose (MED) for doing anything helping with weight loss.
  • Fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchee provide healthy bacteria as well as increased libido. Mr. Ferriss eats 5 forkfuls daily before breakfast.
  • Cinnamon decreases blood glucose levels as well as LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It slows down the rate at which food empties from the stomach and can therefore make you feel full faster. But be careful, cinnamon is also a blood thinner and intake should be limited to 1 ½ teaspoons or less per day.
  • Fat is not just under your skin, it also forms around your organs.

Call to Action:

Whether you weigh more than what is a healthy weight for you, or you want to build a body that is a pleasure to look at, Mr. Ferriss has a roadmap to getting there. I highly recommend his book. But even if you decide to follow another method to reach a healthy weight, find something you can do. As Mr. Ferriss states, “a mediocre method you stick with is better than a great method you give up on”. Give yourself a reasonable goal and stick to it. I intend to give this method a try for a month and then review my progress and my ability to stick with it.

Taking it Farther:

More information is available at www.fourhourbody.com.

Contact me:

Do you have trouble following a diet and sticking with it? Are the goals reasonable and you still can’t do it? Have you checked with a doctor to see if there are medical reasons for an unhealthy weight? May be life coaching can help you let go of self-sabotaging behaviors and help you achieve your goals. Call Edith at 847.913.3900

Does Just Looking at Food Make You Gain Weight? About Bloating and Anxiety

Does Just Looking at Food Make You Gain Weight?

When you look at foods or smell them, do you feel like that’s enough to cause you to gain weight? You may be right! You may have an anxiety response, which causes bloating in you.

First of all – bloating is associated with a variety of causes, some of which require medical care. Please seek appropriate medical care for your condition as needed. http://www.beatbloating.com/ might be one of many sites that can help you get a better understanding of some of the causes of bloating.

What I am offering here is a different point of view than what you might have considered. I hope it helps.

Creating Awareness and Why This Matters:

When do you feel bloated?
Keep a record of the moment when you become aware of the feeling of bloating. What was happening in your life just before that? What were you thinking about? Where were you? What did you see, hear or smell? What and how much did you eat, or drink, or inhale? If you over-ate, what were you thinking? Did you go unconscious and just munch away until the bag, box, or plate was empty? Do you have “clean your plate” syndrome? In order to cure anxiety related bloating, you first have to pinpoint what is causing the anxiety. Heal the source of the anxiety and the symptom goes away.

Story: Bloating as an Anxiety Response

My mother has severe anxiety when she has to write something or receives mail that she has to respond to. Needless to say, her grandchildren haven’t received a birthday or Christmas greeting card in many years. It may have something to do with her unresolved past. She told me this story: When she was young she remembers a terrifying writing incident. Her mother (my Oma) wanted her to do well in school. One time my mother had a really hard time with a writing assignment. Oma got so frustrated at her daughter’s lack of getting the writing assignment done, that she stood behind her with a carpet beater, threatening to beat her severely if she wasn’t writing. Writing under that kind of threat of physical harm did not help my mother think or create a well-written composition.

When my mother was an adult and had a young child (me) she went through a bitter divorce. Years later she told me that at one point my Dad, who was a sharp shooter and had a rifle collection, threatened to kill both of them and make me an orphan, unless she agreed to everything he wanted in the divorce. Responding to attorney correspondence during that divorce must have felt like writing with a gun to her head. Do you suppose I picked up any unconscious association between writing and severe anxiety, or for that matter, between divorce and life threatening danger?

Writing was something that I have felt uncomfortable and awkward and even terrified about most of my life. The first time I contributed to a book a few years ago, it was an arduous experience. The various parts of the process: writing, editing, approving the final version, promoting the book, seeing it in print and in book stores, all caused various symptoms, some as severe as debilitating back pain, shortness of breath, and chest pain caused by a diaphragm spasm which lasted several days.

I have come a long ways since my last book project. In the last six months I have been writing an article each week. A couple of weeks ago I started seriously thinking about organizing these articles into chapters for a future book project. Almost the moment I thought of going through another book project my stomach became distended. I watched my stomach swell up as it become bloated right before my eyes. The pants that fit comfortably a minute earlier were uncomfortably cutting into my waist. — At first I didn’t put it together: the thought about creating another book and the bloating. With a little introspection and the many tools I use to help my coaching clients, I became aware of the connection. When I was getting ready to write my next article a week later, nothing came together. I started the article but seemed to have irresolvable writer’s block. Using more tools, I am now, 2 weeks later, able to write again — and write with minimal bloating. In two weeks of daily discomfort and working through my writing related issues, I was able to nearly resolve the next layer of writing related anxiety, dissolving another piece of a lifetime of writing anxiety.

Taking it Further:

If you experience bloating that seems to come “out of nowhere”, consider if it may be an anxiety response to something that’s going on in your life or your mind. If you swell up just thinking about food, there may be underlying anxieties that can be healed. If you need help solving the mystery and dissolving the discomfort, consider getting the support of a coach who has the detective skills and the tools, so you can be free from the discomfort.

Contact me:

If you would like to improve the quality of your life, figure out what you truly want in life, and help you let go of some stress and anxiety, call me. For many people coaching can make the difference between what you have now and the life you could have. Live the life you choose. Achieve your goals. Be happy. Lead a balanced life. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

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