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Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.” - Thich Nhat Hanh
The holiday season can often cause us to feel stressed and overwhelmed. According to some recent statistics:
Feeling stressed or overwhelmed can sometimes lead us to make unhealthy decisions around our food and neglect our self-care practices. While I know all too well how easy those habits are, my goal for you this month is to reduce your stress and focus on the excitement of holiday time, so that you are able to take better care of yourself.
When we are in a high stress mode our body shuts down the digestive process, not too mention the disruption it causes to our emotional and spiritual state. Slowing down is the key to healthy eating and reducing our stress. It helps our body digest better and burn more fat! Some ways to help yourself get slow are practicing yoga, being out in nature or simply focusing on your breathing.
Eating mindfully means we are paying attention to what we are eating. We are aware of all our sensations and what is happening in our body. It also includes eating without distractions and enjoying our food! Begin by taking a breath before you eat, say a word of thanks, smell your food and really experience the textures and sensations in your mouth.
Being prepared helps to reduce our stress and anxiety. When we are prepared we worry less about running out of time and are able to focus on staying present. Some ways to help prepare for the holidays are to do your shopping early, never go to a party on an empty stomach, bring a healthy dish with you and don’t over extended yourself and be afraid to say no.
As you know from last months blog, “Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, higher long-term satisfaction with life, less anxiety and depression, and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.” The holidays are a great time to begin a daily gratitude practice. It will not only improve your health, but enhance your life. Begin with a gratitude journal and write 3-5 things you are grateful for everyday!
We all know that exercise is a key ingredient to any health and wellness plan. It can help you lose weight, reduce your stress, enhance your immune system and make you feel better about yourself. I encourage you to find a movement that you enjoy such as; dance, yoga, walking, running, spin class, boxing, martial arts etc. If you don’t have an exercise routine start one NOW!
All you need is LOVE. In order to lose weight and reduce your stress the answer is always love. You need to making loving yourself your #1 priority. For many of us self-care is considered taboo. We think we are being selfish when we spend time spoiling ourselves. Well I am here to tell you that nourishment is the best holiday gift you can give yourself.
OK, so there they are, some simple ways to help you have a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season. Remember that stress and anxiety often cause us to over think and stay “stuck in our minds”. In order to help us feel more peaceful and at ease we must slow down, practice gratitude and try to nourish ourselves everyday.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”-Eckhart Tolle
I can’t believe it is already November. Why is it that as soon as Halloween is over it’s time for the holiday season to begin? Christmas decorations are out, holiday shopping catalogs are delivered, and sales are everywhere. I don’t know about you, but just thinking about the holidays gives me stress. Last month I wrote about how to reduce our anxiety during this time of year by slowing down. This month I’d like to focus on cultivating an attitude of gratitude.
I know I have mentioned gratitude before and how important it is for any healthy eating plan, but I thought in honor of Thanksgiving this month, it couldn’t hurt to focus on how we can add more gratitude into our lives. We live in such a busy, hustle and bustle society these days. Most of us get so wrapped up in our normal day-to-day activities, that we start to take for granted all that we have and all that we are. It is important to practice gratitude everyday and use it as an opportunity to reflect on all the abundance that we already have in our everyday lives.
According the New York Times: “Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, higher long-term satisfaction with life, less anxiety and depression, and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.” Sounds good to me!
Start a daily gratitude journal. All you need is a notebook or a journal. Write down 3-5 things in the journal everyday that you are grateful for. I like to do this at the end of the day so that I can reflect on all my positive accomplishments, rather then focusing on what I didn’t do that day or what went “wrong”.
Daily practices of gratitude are a proven method to achieving more happiness. Accessing our mind and consciousness is a powerful tool in cultivating happiness. When we can change our negative thoughts and belief patterns into positive intentions they begin to disappear. Focusing on the positive makes more room for abundance and equals more happiness.
This can be a fun and really simple way to express gratitude. Send secret blessings to strangers or even people you know. All you have to do is say a quiet blessing of whatever you choose for someone else, inside your own head. This can be quite powerful for people who may even be angry and lash out towards others. When we send secret gratitude blessings to others we automatically start to feel better.
When we are kind to others without their being something in it for us, then we automatically get rewarded. When we are generous with others the reward comes back to us in the form of love. I like to buy food for homeless people, or perhaps help a blind person cross the street. It can even be as simple as holding the door open for someone. I challenge you to try a random act of kindness and see what happens.
When you give of your time and energy you are expressing your gratitude and saying thank you! Chose a charity or volunteer organization that you like or want to learn more about and volunteer your time. Many organizations count on the generosity and donations of others. You can have a huge impact on the world for doing something so small. The reward you get will be so powerful that you will want to volunteer again and again and again.
Practicing gratitude can have an extreme impact on our path to living a mindful life, free of negative self-talk and impossibilities. It can help us feel more positive and therefore be more happy. It can help relieve our stress and improve our self-esteem. It can help improve our life and the relationships that we have. These are all key components in achieving optimum health and wellness. What are you grateful for? Where can you practice more gratitude?
Fall is my favorite season. There is something about the air that I love to breathe. I love being outside this time of year. The weather is perfect (at least so far…in NY). I love that I don’t need a jacket and the sun makes me feel warm without making me sweat. Of course, with every season comes change. A change in nature, a change in our bodies, a change in our eating habits and usually a change in our routines.
Fall is a great time of year for you to take a look at your intentions for the year. Yes you read that right. Use this time of year to decide how you want 2014 to go. Now don’t go into a panic New Year’s is still a few months away, but how great would you feel if you established your game plan now?
Are you feeling stuck? Perhaps you indulged a little more then you wanted to this summer season and are feeling guilty. Maybe you can’t seem to take off those stubborn 10 lbs or its possible you find yourself feeling frustrated because you can’t seem to stick with a weight loss plan that has lasting results.
Get clear on what you want to achieve. Think about how you want to feel and be specific. Declaring that you want to lose weight is not specific enough. Perhaps you want to feel better about your body or fit into a pair of jeans better. The more specific you are, the better. Once your intention is clear write it down and post it somewhere you will see it everyday. For example: “By the end of December I want to feel more physically fit and be able to fit into my size 8 jeans”
What are you going to do to achieve your goal? Now you’ll want to create a positive action step in achieving this goal. If you want to feel more physically fit, then it would make sense to take action in the form of movement. For example: “Starting on Sept. 9th I will perform cardio activity 4 times per week for at least 30 minutes and practice yoga 2 times per week” (Obviously you’ll want to pick a form of movement you enjoy!)
We all have excuses. The most common ones being, I don’t have time, it’s never going to work so why bother. I am too fat anyway. It’s really hard for me to lose weight. The list goes on and on. I encourage you to think of all your most common excuses. Write them down and make a list. Then call yourself out on them. Excuses are just our own way of self-sabotage and they hold us back. If we keep using excuses to hold us back we will continue to stay stuck.
Share your intentions with friends and family. Hold each other accountable for achieving your goals. If you want to go to the gym more or take up yoga, have a friend call you two or three times a week to check on you or invite them to join you. If you don’t have anyone who you feel comfortable in this role then reach out to me to set up a FREE Break Through Session. I am a great accountability tool.
Set up a reward system for yourself (and your accountability partner). Once you have achieved your goal for the week, schedule a massage or go out for a healthy & delicious meal that someone else has prepared. Once you hit a big milestone, like fitting in to those jeans; perhaps your reward is even bigger. What makes you feel good?
So there you have it. 5 Simple Steps to creating a healthy weight loss plan that works…I promise. These are some the tools I teach my clients. If you are interested in learning more about how I can help you transition out of summer and into fall then contact me here.
I just spent an entire week at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY participating in the most inspiring and life altering event. I had never been to Omega, and wasn’t sure what to expect, but boy did it surpass all my expectations.
I attended as a wellness coach for Camp Reboot, which if you have never heard of Reboot With Joe, I encourage you to check it out HERE and watch the movie Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. The week was filled with inspiration, motivation, education & most of all connection.
There were almost 200 participants. Each one came with the intention of learning more about juicing from Joe Cross and his team of experts, as well as; how to transform their lives and lose weight.
There is no such thing as perfect! I used to think that if I didn’t “stick with my diet” then I was “being bad” or “cheating”. I used to think that in order to lose weight and be healthy I had to “always be on a diet” and had to be perfect all of the time; otherwise why bother. I used to go from restrictive eating to over indulgence; unable to find the right balance. What I learned this week was that this kind of perfectionist thinking only leaves me feeling like a failure when I have “not stuck with my diet”. In order to let go of the idea of being perfect, we need to let go of the diet mentality and embrace that we are not going to be perfect; and that is OK.
If we are all different, then there is no way that there is one diet out there that is perfect. If we are all different then only we can know what is best for us. If we are all different then we can’t compare or judge our progress or success based on what other people are doing. We need to figure out what foods are right for us, what movement we enjoy and what plan works best for us.
This is the most important message that I learned last week at Camp Reboot. As a recovering food addict I am always amazed at how my addiction has nothing to do with food (or at least very little). My desire for food and to eat is only a coping mechanism for another deeper desire. Being at Camp Reboot helped me to understand that my connection with others and my connection with myself is perhaps the single most important tool that I must use in order to achieve optimum health.
It is important to remember that when we are on a healing journey, no matter what our process, we will have struggles. When we feel like giving up or losing hope, we must look back at our motivation for healing. Why do we want to get well? Who are we doing this for? In all stories of success I see a common element; each person has a big motivation and uses that as inspiration to keep them going. If you want to lose weight and change your lifestyle you must ask yourself; what is my motivation?
After a week at Omega and Camp Reboot I am feeling more confident, motivated & inspired. I look back at my time spent there and I am eternally grateful for each connection and person I met.
Just because summer has arrived that doesn’t mean we need to abandon our health goals! Summer is one of my favorite seasons. Not only because my birthday is in summer, but because it is filled with fun, relaxation, and travel time. Some of us tend to go into vacation mode during summer, but that doesn’t mean we should use that time to forget about taking care of ourselves.
If you read last week’s blog you now know why I think diet’s don’t work. In 2007 alone, the American Diatetic Association found that Americans spent $58 billion on weight loss products. Considering that obesity has gone global, you can imagine how lucrative the weight loss industry must be. There is always someone coming out with the latest diet book, telling us what we should and shouldn’t do too look thinner, younger, radiant and full of life.
In our fast-paced world, we have lost sight of many aspects of life that truly nourish and balance our bodies, such as slowing down, eating a home-cooked meal and spending quality time with loving people.
Get rid of the negative self-talk. Are you a perfectionist, always saying “I am not good enough”? Having a negative opinion about ourselves can have a huge impact on who we are and what we do. Before we can attempt to change our negative habits we need to love and accept ourselves just as we are, flaws and all. How can you chose to love yourself today?
We all have “stuff” we want to let go of. The weight of these things can have a physical and emotional pull on our bodies. As we learn to let go of the things that no longer serve us, we open up to new possibilities and begin to receive what we need. I encourage you to think about what you need to let go of. Imagine what your life would be like if it is no longer with you.
Positive thoughts lead to positive actions. Ask yourself how do I WANT to feel? If you want to feel good then think good thoughts. When you put positive thoughts into the universe and follow through with positive actions you will see positive results. Begin each day with a loving positive thought about yourself and your life! “I accept myself and create peace in my mind and heart.”
Any lifestyle change you make to accomplish your goals will take time. In order to make positive changes that last a lifetime we must do it slowly. This requires patience. Everyone loses weight at different rates. If we give up or lose motivation we will never achieve our goals. It takes hard work and discipline, but it also takes time. Life is long, what’s the rush?
Do you often rationalize or justify your eating habits? Do you find yourself thinking: “go ahead, you have been so good lately” or “you deserve it, you’ve worked hard all day” or “you might as well, your fat anyway” Often times when we eat emotionally it is because our mind tells us to. Our bodies don’t want fatty, greasy, sugar coated snacks. Our bodies want nourishing and satisfying food. Learn how to tune in with your body. Ask it what it wants?
When we eat mindfully we are eating in the present moment. We are able to know when we are hungry and stop eating when we are full. Eating mindfully means we are conscious of where our food came from; who grew it and prepared it. We take a minute to smell the delicious food we eat. Finally, make sure you chew your food SLOWLY and savor every bite. Try eating mindfully without any distractions and see what happens.
Given half a chance, your body will balance out by itself, but this is only possible by getting out of the diet mentality and listening to what you truly need. Imagine taking all of the outward energy you expend on diets, fads and gimmicks and turning it inward, so that you can listen to your heart and inner wisdom.
With careful thought and loving reflection, you can feed yourself in a nourishing way. Working with your body rather than against it will bring you increased energy, stabilized weight and sustainable health. If you want to learn more about this and how I lost over 130 lbs. contact me for a free break through session.
Did you know that nearly all dieters (95%) can expect to regain two-thirds of their lost weight within a year of completing their diet plan? These dieters can also expect to regain all of their weight, and possibly more, within 5 years.
Diets are a billion-dollar industry; companies spend millions and millions luring you to try the latest diet (low carb, high protein, low fat, no fat, you name it) with promises that this will (finally!) be the solution—your shortcut to a thinner body. Advertising efforts also deeply affect our children, who develop distorted body images and are often on diets as early as nine or 10 years of age.
Our culture touts diet pills, celebrity workouts, convenience foods and trendy diets to help us achieve our desired weight, but these quick-fix solutions have backfired. America’s population has reached its highest weight in history. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly two-thirds of all American adults are overweight and 34% of Americans are clinically obese.
Diets don’t work because each person is unique, with different needs based on gender, age, ancestry and lifestyle; how could one diet be right for everyone?
Diets don’t work because they are extreme solutions. As in physics, if a pendulum swings to one extreme, it has to swing equally to the other. A diet might work for a short amount of time, but research shows that almost all diets result in a 10-pound gain once off the diet.
Diets don’t work because they are too restrictive. People who fail on diet plans are not flawed or weak. Diets by nature require discipline and restriction at levels that are unsustainable by a healthy human body.
Diets don’t work because they don’t consider the emotional or spiritual needs of the client. Most people are disconnected from why they gain weight and see diet as the only culprit. For example, ignoring or discounting emotions is often the first thing to cause weight imbalances and overeating.
If diets don’t work what are we to do? I know first hand the frustration and the deep agony of wanting to be a different size. I have struggled with “my weight issue” for all of my life (literally).
Stay Tuned for next week’s blog when I discuss how to lose weight without dieting.