Archive for Self Improvement – Page 2

Are You Always Eating on the Run?

This week’s article was “inspired” by something I saw on the freeway a few weeks back. I was following a car that was going a little too slow so I passed it and what did I see?  Lo and behold a woman eating her lunch, or maybe even  breakfast although it was 1 p.m. out of a bowl with a spoon driving 70 miles an hour. You know I’m big on eating regular meals, but this is ridiculous – don’t you think?  Not only is this practice obviously dangerous, but also it’s not the best way to eat a meal.

I’m not perfect and recently I found myself munching on a small piece of sliced chicken breast while I headed out to a meeting. As I drove down my street I witnessed a neighbor – a woman – doing the same thing (well maybe not chicken breast) but she was munching on something and looking very hurried. This is another great example that we women, in particular, put way too much on our plates.

5 Tips to help prevent eating things you really don’t want to:

Tip # 1  Carry quick foods with you.  Munching on an apple or some almonds while driving is completely acceptable and easy to manage.  That is if you’re not on a curvy road requiring both hands on the wheel.

Plan for periods of possible low blood sugar by automatically taking an apple or pear with you or having a bag of almonds in your car or purse. This type of easy planning should help you out tremendously.  And this is such a great time of year for apples and pears and a bonus – they aren’t messy and are very easy to munch on.

Tip # 2   Make sure to schedule time.  Of course, there will always be some days when you can’t avoid running late for whatever reason. However, 80 % of the time you need to plan and schedule regular meals so you don’t find yourself eating on the run or worse yet – not eating anything. The latter is harder on your body than eating a little too much.  But if both become a habit, it’s time to re-organize your life and your lifestyle.

Tip #3   Fast Food – an error in decision making.  Fast food is seldom a good choice when you need to find a meal quickly. You can stop by your local grocery or Whole Foods Market and pick up something quickly and even sit down and eat it. I did just that the other day. I had only a window of 20-30 minutes for lunch. I normally bring a fresh, scrumptious salad to my office, but this particular day I didn’t plan as well as I normally do. So off I went to Whole Foods to select my “healthy fast food”. I chose a couple of pieces of Tandoori (I love spicy) chicken and a kale, brussels sprout and celery salad – yum!  Now that’s a well balanced and nutritious lunch.  Get the idea?

Tip # 4    Don’t rely on the crackers.  You may find that grabbing a piece of cheese with a handful of crackers is somewhat better than a greasy cheeseburger when on the run, but hold on.  Over the years I’ve heard many a story from clients explaining their lack of control with these common starchy morsels. Why not try a small piece of cheese (ie. string cheese) with a fresh carrot or two instead of the starchy temptation. Forego the processed crackers for real food instead.

Tip # 5   Give up something.  I had a client laugh when I asked her what she could let go of in her busy schedule. I’ve had many various responses to this question over the years. But a response so honest and refreshing as her laugh got me thinking just how far removed we are from having a normal and nourishing pace in our lives. Sure my client, perhaps like you, loves her work, her family, her community and participating in life, but if you’re overbooked and constantly living your life on the run, something is amiss. Always being on the run stresses your body, impacts your hormonal function and drains you mentally. So laugh if you like (always good medicine) but consider for a moment – what can you take out of your life to simplify it?

Enjoy walking, sauntering and meandering …and not running this week.

Are You Sure You Want to Eat That?

When your dinner host asks you would you like more?  What do you say? Yes or no? Sounds like a simple thing doesn’t it – but of course we know it’s not. Do you feel that you’d offend your host if you say No? Ask yourself – would you rather leave your dinner feeling overstuffed and guilty instead? Even though the holidays aren’t quite here yet, learning to say no graciously now will help you during the more challenging times ahead.

But what about discipline? What about contentment? In order to have contentment you must have discipline. I just heard a really great distinction made between the two. Discipline is doing the right thing even when you desire the wrong thing. Contentment is when you no longer want the wrong thing. So when you’re making healthy changes in your life think of what you really want long-term rather than in this very minute. Choosing correctly now will give you want you want most – a healthy life.

Our culture dictates that you’re supposed to be on a diet. As I’ve said many times in past articles, diets don’t work but a well rounded system and expert support does. You may be saying half-heartedly to yourself, your friend or to me “yeah I need to lose weight” and then choose not to do that for some reason or another. My client Lisa wanted health first and did what she needed to – with discipline and commitment to her true goal. She just happened to lose weight, too – a bonus.

Here are few ways to help you decide if you really do want to eat that – ask yourself the following questions.

5 Tips to help prevent eating things you really don’t want to:

Tip # 1  Have you eaten regular meals throughout the day?  If not there’s a high likelihood you’ll say yes to that extra helping at dinner or to the mouth-watering dessert when offered it. If you have eaten well all day long you will not be as tempted or have a need to overdo it. You’ll find that you have more self-control and feel proud and comfortable in your clothes when it’s time to go home.

Tip # 2   Are you hanging around the snack table?  Step away from any area in your environment that’s loaded with chips, pretzels, brownies etc. Appetizers are really unnecessary. If you’re having dinner soon why bother adding more empty calories? And yes, they are usually empty. This pre-meal habit is pervasive in our culture. Again, unnecessary so stay away.

Tip #3  Are you holding out for dessert?  When we have visitors over to our  house they know not to expect any dessert (maybe that’s why we don’t have as many visitors as we’d like – just kidding). Well, there may be crunchy grapes or sliced watermelon served but that’s about it.  Even while celebrating a birthday – is cake necessary? I went looking for a birthday card the other day and noticed 95% of the cards had a picture of cake on them. Tradition is hard to change. But why not try something different like berries topped with frozen coconut yogurt and don’t forget the candles.

Tip # 4   Have you turned into an Evening Muncher?  If you feel tired and feel like you need something to keep you going, pay attention to what your body is telling you. It’s probably telling you it’s time to go to bed and get some rest rather than propping yourself up with evening snacks. If you’re bored find something more nurturing to do than raid the cupboards. Look at your evening meal – was it balanced with proteins and good non-starchy carbohydrates? If yes, this munching your about to embark on may be more emotional than actually hunger. Ask yourself – what am I really hungry for right now?

Tip # 5  Is your Resistance Down?  When invited to have more food while your resistance is down due to fatigue, hunger or cravings you’re setting yourself up for making poor choices.  Becoming aware of how vulnerable you are at certain times of the day or in certain situations is really essential to gaining control of your eating habits. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do it on all on your own. If you haven’t been successful yet you may need some help getting a handle on your deeply ingrained, unhealthy patterns.

And remember just say NO when you need to.

Back to School – Back on Track

Ahhhh … for some of us now’s the time to go back to school – and for most of us it’s time to get back on track.  Have you felt a little off track since the summer started?  Now is certainly the time to re-focus on feeling better – actually feeling the best you’ve felt in years – why not?  This is truly possible.  It just takes making a decision and getting started.  Nothing ever happens if you don’t take action.  Visualization has its place but you do eventually need to get moving.  Thinking about eating well or exercising or getting to bed early remains only a thought if you don’t take practical concrete steps to make it happen.

Here are 5 ACTION STEPS you can start doing today:

Action Step #1: Keep a List of 5-10 Daily Commitments

These are commitments you make to yourself – things you want to do, improve or let go of.  For example – “I did not eat ice-cream today” would be an example of something you let go of and is part of your daily commitment of eating healthier.  Go ahead check that off – that is an accomplishment – something you committed to and achieved by the end of the day.  Don’t be too obsessive with this exercise – as long as the intention is there and you plan to take your commitments seriously you will make progress.

Action Step #2: Focus on Year End Goals

A more long range focus is to look at the goals you plan to accomplish by December 31st.  You started off the year will grand ideas of what 2013 would look like right?  Now looking ahead you may want to review and revise some of those goals.  Perhaps you’ve already accomplished what you set out to do, or maybe the things you thought were worth your attention turned out to be not that important.  It’s OK you can let them go.  Turn your thoughts to more updated and relevant goals.  Perhaps your life has changed dramatically and you are in the throes of a major transition like moving, changing jobs or suddenly having to care for an elderly parent.  Certainly in those cases your priorities have shifted.  But what if it’s a little more subtle than that like your energy isn’t what you’d like it to be – you know by making some shifts in your evening routine and getting to bed earlier would help you.  Or maybe a close relationship has been strained and it has suddenly occurred to you that your communication with this person needs to change, hopefully for the better.  These shifts in goals and priorities give you an opportunity to course correct and create something new and fresh in your life.

Action Step #3: Do Something You’ve Never Done Before 

Speaking of something new and fresh why not explore something out of the box for you. Go ahead I’m sure you can think of a few things.  And no it doesn’t need to be as dramatic as jumping out of an airplane.  Maybe it’s leaving work early on weekday and taking a walk on the beach.  Or how about … you fill in the blanks.       I recommend you do something you haven’t done before at least once a week.  And again, don’t just think about it actually do it.  By taking this action step you will move out of your normal routine and thinking and become more spontaneous. And often you will find that you have a fresher perspective and able to see creative solutions to any problems you may be facing.

Action Step #4:  Give to a Charity

Don’t just think about it.  If you can’t think of any you’d like to contribute to might I suggest my favorite charity which is called Nourish the Children.  For $22 a month (or more) I am able to feed a hungry child for an entire month.  I feel so honored that I can help bless a child with a month’s worth of a nourishing whole grain, high protein food product called VitaMeal.  Most of the donations go to Malawi Africa– which is considered to be the 5th poorest country in the world. With the Nourish the Children Initiative we have been able to proudly say that no child died of starvation in Malawi Africa in 2009.  It fills my heart that I was a part of this project to end world hunger.  Meals are also contributed to other areas of the world that need attention including here at home in America as well.  It is very important to give back – don’t hesitate.

Action Step #5 – Keep it simple

We are a nation filled with overcomplicating everything.  We often find ourselves overwhelmed not knowing what to do first and having too much on our plates and never really feeling fulfilled.  We have lost the art of being happy with the small things – a baby’s smile, the sound of the bird’s song in the distance, a quiet Sunday morning when there is not sound in the neighborhood.  Often our nervous systems have become so raw and vulnerable that we can’t hear or sense these simple things.  However, we must learn to open our hearts to the simple things in life for better health.  If something becomes too much of a struggle perhaps it’s a clear message that we may need to either leave it completely or attempt it again tomorrow.  Stop, give yourself a kind and deserving break today and then begin again.

Enter the Cellulite-Free Zone

Have you ever wondered how to get rid of it – who hasn’t?  You know even though summer’s pretty much over most us are still burdened with that dimply, ripply unpleasant effect on our skin.  We still what to show off our arms and legs when we can – right? Having it is a good indicator that something is out of balance in your body and most likely your diet.

Even though for some it is genetic and determined by how thin your skin is.  For many of us, however it’s due to an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, estrogen levels, high body fat composition and/or insufficient hydration.  The good news is there are simple things you can do about it.

Here are 6 Dietary Secrets to putting an End to Cellulite:

1)    Stop drinking carbonated fizzy drinks– they only increase water retention that causes puckering beneath the skin’s surface

2)    Drink more water – this will actually prevent water retention and create a healthy fluid balance in your body

3)    Eat more non-starchy carbohydrates – they are the high water content vegetables such as leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower.  The starchy carbohydrates are root vegetables such as yams, beets, potatoes, squash, beans and grains.

4)    Food sensitivity may cause some of that unsightly puckering and a tendency to retain water.  Try eliminating some of the main culprits such as dairy and eggs for a couple of weeks and see what happens.

5)    Super Diuretic Vegetables are asparagus, cucumber, cabbage water cress, red onions.  Use these in your daily diet.

6)    Increase Protein slightly and lower your starchier Carbohydrates like grains, root vegetables and beans as we’ve already discussed.

Keeping a healthy water balance will boost metabolism, burn more fat, and lower your insulin.  Higher insulin levels will often cause inflammation in your body which can be a big contributor to the cellulite problem causing fat to get caught deep below the surface making your skin have the unwanted and unsightly cottage cheese look.

Take some of these steps today and you’ll be able to say bye to cellulite and hello to smooth, beautiful skin soon enough.

A Calorie Is Not a Calorie?

I know you’ve heard “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie” or even “calories in calories out” when referring to one’s ability to gain or lose weight.  Culturally we either view calories as the enemy or an expected (maybe even welcome) guest.  Needless to say this topic can be quite confusing.  With some not caring at all while others care way too much.

You’ve heard the common sense advice of: “lower your calories if you want to lose weight” or “burn more calories so you can eat more later and not gain an inch”.  Or how about “I can’t have that there are too many calories in it”.  And then there are those who blindly indulge in the latest super-sized whole lot a latte filled with a whopping amount of with hidden empty calories.

The contrast of obsession with laxness makes it all so confusing. So where do you go for sound advice? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are 5 Tips on how to get the most from the calories you consume:

Tip # 1   What’s a calorie anyway? It’s a measure of heat. To be more precise, it’s the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.  So it’s neither an enemy or a friend it’s just a calculation used to determine the energy produced by the food you consume. You need a minimum amount of food energy in order to maintain your metabolism and drive your muscles. There are foods or substances that are considered thermogenic or have fat burning effects; things like grapefruit, tomatoes, chile, and green tea for example.

Tip # 2  Why should I care?  It’s important to have an idea of the general caloric content of what you’re consuming.  I even get shocked when I randomly get to read the “Eat this, Don’t eat that” newsletter online. Usually restaurant foods are the worst culprits.  From cronuts (combination croissant and doughnut) to “the healthy salad” loaded with excess sugary and fatty dressing, bacon, cheese (lots of it) and everything but the kitchen sink. Bringing in a whopping count of nearly 1000 calories, oftentimes more than half of your daily caloric need. Yes, this is why you need to care.  Just because it says, “natural”, “healthy” or “leaner” doesn’t it mean it is.

Tip #3  It matters where your calories come from: So two foods may have the exact number of calories – however one nourishes you with the right kind of nutrients and the other robs you of nourishment – even though it may taste soooo good!  A piece of salmon may have the same amount of calories as a piece of chocolate cake but with the high sugar and unhealthy fats of the cake it robs you of your health instead of giving you health.  Yes, of course you may occasionally like to have a bite here and there. But just know for most people this saying is true: “one bite is too many and a thousand bites are not enough”.  Best to eat the good stuff and then you probably won’t want any nutrient-robbing calories in your diet. The quality of the calorie matters a great deal.

Tip # 4  Forget the Calorie Counting.  I believe that most of your food should come from items that are not labeled whatsoever.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and quality protein come without labels. However there are certain food items that do come packaged and you are sure to include in your daily diet.  Food items like: almond butter (should only be almonds), quinoa, cheese for example. Make sure these foods are pure and don’t have a lot of additional ingredients in them – which can not only add calories, but is also unnecessary. Nutrition labeling is very important when you have a health condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, to make sure that the sugars aren’t too high or the sodium is in a healthy range.

Tip # 5    Dispelling the Calorie Myth:   Again a calorie is simply a form of measurement.  Don’t be obsessed with them, rather appreciate a healthy, wholesome diet devoid of junk and high calorie/low nutrient types of foods.  If you’re spending a lot of your time looking at labels there’s something wrong.  Remember garden fresh is the rule of the day. Enjoy the best calories mother earth can provide.

Eat well and forget about counting!

Ready for Skinny School?

Now’s the time to get serious again – isn’t it?  After all you’ve just spent the last 2 months having a good time and throwing anything that remotely resembled restriction or discipline out the window.  You realize this can’t go on – you must make some changes and get back to healthy again.  Well here are 5 clues about how to do just that.

Here are 5 Tips of Getting Back to Skinny School:

Tip # 1   Don’t hold your breath.  By that I mean don’t take too long to decide to turn things around. It’s easier to make changes now before your doctor tells you have no other choice. Initiate small doable steps now.

 

Tip # 2  Don’t forget your crayons.  Journaling is always a great way to help you track your food, exercise, self care and sleep habits.  If you don’t measure you can’t really make changes last.  Pick an attractive book and start writing (or even drawing) beginning with where you are now and where you want to go.

Tip #3  Get your school supplies.  Those supplies consist of a fridge full or healthy proteins, lots of fresh vegetables and refreshing fruit in your fruit bowl. Add some unsalted nuts and seeds to that and you’re good to go. Throw out, donate or give your neighbors all the snack foods still hidden in your pantry immediately. Let go of all and any temptation.

Tip # 4  Buy some New Clothes.  That’s right – buy a few new items, it’ll make you feel good and that’s an ideal place to start.  Don’t spend too much especially if you’re planning to lose a few lbs.  This exercise is designed to increase your self worth from the start.  Treat yourself first and then take care of yourself next.

Tip # 5    Rest Up.  Make sure you make getting enough sleep a priority – always. It’s a must if you want to be productive and effective with your weight management and healthy living goals. Get at least 8 hours.

Have Fun at School!

What’s in Your Pie Chart?

So school is about to start – and you might be thinking of getting things in order.  September is always the time of year we get to evaluate where we’ve been so far this year and how we want to end our year. After the summer of letting some areas of your life get off track you may want to start paying attention again.  You might want to start measuring things again.  How about how you spend your time, energy and focus?

I have had several of my clients reviewing just that.  What are your priorities?  Is it work, meetings or volunteering more than you’d really like to?  Don’t get me wrong making contributions to community or organizations you belong to is a wonderful thing to do.  But you need to ask yourself – is the time you are spending in these areas eroding or enhancing the balance in what you want to have in your life?  Do you go to meetings rather than taking time for fitness, making healthy meals or closing your eyes for 10-20 minutes when you come home from work?  If you aren’t doing any of these latter things than you must learn to take things off your plate.  Stop saying yes to everything and start saying yes to you 1st.

I have seen so many struggle with their health and weight simply because they are doing way too much.   So that’s why I am recommending a way to look at important categories in your life by creating a Pie Chart – a visible representation of where you spend most of your time and effort on a daily basis.  Many are surprised, even shocked to discover that they may only eke out 2-5% for themselves.  Could that be your story, too?

Here are 3 Simple Tips on Creating Your Pie Chart To Reflect What You Truly Want:

Tip #1 Get out of vagueness – Being vague about important things in your life can be a killer.  There’s no clarity or sense of direction living this way. If you do, you most likely don’t have much of an idea as to where you are at all.  This strategy (or lack of) can be compared to not writing down what you eat when you want to lose weight or keep your weight in check.  You are not conscious of what is really happening.  In order to become more aware and make necessary changes you must have some form of measurement.  Remember  you can’t change what you don’t measure.  What do you spend your time, focus and energy on during your day?

Tip #2 Making choices – After you’ve identified what’s in your Pie Chart – it’s time to determine where you’d like to spend more time and focus and where you’d like to spend less.  Perhaps you don’t want to be in work mode 24/7.  Or how about reducing some of your PTA activities.

Again, only if these activities are cutting into some of your own self caring personal time do you want to make different choices – modify a little.  If you are not sleeping well, eating on the run (most of the time) or  becoming more irritable with loved ones it’s time to make some changes re-vamp your Pie Chart. 

Tip #3 Have Fun –  Yes, even determining what is important can be a fun, and certainly revealing assignment.  You can have fun creating a new Pie Chart for Your Life.  Suspend reality for a moment and think what could be possible in your future.  Could you carve some time for date night with your spouse more often, have a massage 2x/mo or go to the theater to see a play every 3 months or so.

Plan for a trip to a place you’ve always wanted to go to.  Whatever you choose know that it will take some time to integrate less of the “have-to’s” and more of the “want to’s” into your life.  Have fun with this process.

Are You on the Heavier Side of Light?

Every week I have clients come into my office who inspire me.  Often in our sessions amazing ideas come to me for article topics.  Last week one of my clients was claiming that her summer clothes were tighter this year.  Even though she had maintained most of her  initial weight loss from when we first started working together – she had gained 4 lbs in the last 4 months.  It may not seem like a lot, but because she’s tiny to begin with – it was enough to put her into another size – up.

So I ask – are you also on the Heavier Side of Light right now?  Almost sounds like a movie title – doesn’t it?  Like the Unbearable Lightness of Being, for example?  But what I’m asking here is have you lost weight and now some of it has crept back on?  You aren’t feeling that far behind the eight ball, but just enough to have your new smaller sized clothes feeling a little snug.

You must admit you are lighter than you were before – maybe by a lot or maybe just a little.  But you’d like to get back to the smaller size, but maybe you’ve lost the motivation to do just that.  Maybe you don’t want to feel like you have to deprive yourself of sandwiches or desert or that glass of wine at dinner.  Maybe you just don’t want to live that way and the extra 2-12 lbs (or whatever the number is for you) is not worth being upset about.

If you are at that cross roads in maintaining your healthy lifestyle – you may want to ask yourself the following questions to determine if you are willing to do what it takes or simply accept where you are right now. 

Here are your Questions:

Question #1  Do you Like your Body Today?  Perhaps you’ve reached a point where you actually approve and love your body just as it right now.  You realize you will never be perfect or look like a movie star and finally you’re actually OK about that.  You still like what you see in the mirror.  Most of your clothes fit you just fine.  It’s not like it was.  You did dispense with all your “big clothes” long ago or you had your favorites taken in – that’s always a good thing.  So stay proud of how far you have come and the progress you’ve made.  Think of all the things you continue to learn and admire about yourself today.

Question #2  Do you plan to yoyo?  If you feel like you just may end going up and down & up and down for the rest of your life, ask yourself if you’d like to live with these planned fluctuations?  I don’t really advise planning to yoyo – it’s hard on your body, mind and spirit.  Normal fluctuations are common due to water retention, menstrual cycles, or exercise levels.  Eating larger portions than you’re used to or having foods you don’t normally eat are all  part of the “fluctuation dance”.  Watch for  incrementally continuous rises in weight – stopping this pattern as soon as it starts is essential for helping stay in your healthy weight range.

Question #3  Does your new weight require less effort to maintain?  If your new “heavier side of light” weight requires less effort you may want to consider that this is your new normal and stick with it.  You may want to enjoy more of this or that and find that the cost benefit is worth it to you.  Just make sure you stick with your healthy food choices 80-85% of the time.  

Question #4  Are you trying to maintain some fantasy? If you’re trying to maintain an unrealistic weight – a weight you may have been when you were 16, but not at 40 or 50.  This unrealistic weight may become impossible to maintain and will only set you up for further frustration.  Your hormonal balance is so much different now than when you were a teenager.  You most likely got away with a lot when you were younger; but now these indiscretions count – both on the scale and in how you actually feel.  Whether you are getting into your Skinny Jeans or not, you must make sure your weight goal is attainable – long term.

Questions #5   Do you just want to have fun?  You want to forget about constant control – you just want to be free from the scale, calorie counting and “weighing in” – is that right? You just want to let loose and enjoy your life – don’t you – after all isn’t that what life is all about?

This can be a beneficial strategy for some, however for most people too much letting go and having fun may set you off in the wrong direction completely. You may end up several weeks or months later, after having caused more damage and feeling worse, having to start over from scratch.  Now who wants to do that?  You don’t want all weight that you’ve worked so hard to lose. Consider all the time, energy, and money you’ve spent to accomplish a healthier and leaner life and now it’s all gone. So go ahead and have a little fun and know that discipline is not such a bad thing when it comes to your overall sense of wellbeing, pride and respect for yourself.

Do You Wish Your Body Was Younger?

Clients often like to tell me how fit or lean they were when they were younger and are secretly longing to have their body be 16 or 21 again. Then there are those who are in better shape now then they were in their younger years and are quite proud of themselves.

Embracing who you are today is actually the best remedy to improve self esteem and acceptance. I believe self acceptance is the first step towards making healthy changes. Sounds paradoxical but being happy where you are right now is a perfect place to begin anew. You see, if you do not like your present physical state, you will end up unconsciously sabotaging your efforts – possibly berating yourself at every turn. That’s not very helpful or supportive. So learn to be OK about not being a lean teen (unless of course you are at this moment). Today you have more wisdom and probably more drive to remain healthy, strong and lean long term.

Here are 5 Tips on How to Be Happy with Your Body Today:

Tip #1   Treat Yourself: If you haven’t had a pedicure or massage recently, treat yourself to one. This kind of pampering can actually connect you physically to your body. You, like most, are often living most of life in your head somewhat disconnected from you body.  Getting in touch with your physicality will also help you feel more in tune with yourself. Exercise or dancing will have the same effect.  Even taking a sculpting class is also richly tactile experience and physical as well.  Explore…

Tip # 2  Best to Let Go:  If the jeans you wore when you were a lot younger are those “someday jeans” – you know the ones you want to fit into again – I would recommend you re-think this idea. Your body shape  changes as you move into your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  Even after you lose the weight you want to.  You may end being the same weight on the scale as you were when you were younger, but your body may look a whole lot different.

Due to hormonal changes, women’s waist size and upper body size tends to increase. I know, I know you probably didn’t want to hear that, but it’s true.  Loss of estrogen, progesterone and often decreasing testosterone are signals to your body that you no longer need to prepare for childbirth and changes are inevitable as you move into perimenopause and menopause.  The weight shifts and so will your dress size, so throw the jeans out if they’re 15+ years old. You might not be fitting into your old clothes again, so find some new flattering ones for right now. 

Tip #3   Don’t Be Afraid: Don’t be afraid to go to the beach or sit by the swimming pool.  Even if you feel self conscious, as most do, just go ahead and enjoy yourself! Don’t forfeit having a good time, getting some great exercise and feeling like a kid again just because your body isn’t perfect.  Don’t wait to do anything because your body is less than ideal. You will miss out on so much if you do.  There is no such thing as perfection and letting go of that myth sooner than later will increase your happiness a hundred fold.

Tip # 4   Create Something:  Creativity is a powerful tool to improve self esteem. There is nothing like the pride of having made something out of nothing. The creative process gets you away from focusing on any problems (your weight or lack of health) and puts you right into present time where worry seldom exists.  You immerse yourself for a time and feel good as you move into a rhythmic flow.  You discover new things about your creative project and most important about yourself.  There is a sense of accomplishment and meaning when you create. No you don’t need to be a Mozart, Picasso or J.K. Rowling.  Just paint,  draw,  play or code – just for the fun of it.

Tip # 5    Be alive: By expressing yourself fully an extraordinary feeling of being alive will come over you.

As Marianne Williamson once wrote Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you notto be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Feel alive, be yourself and truly appreciate all of who you are today, now.

Are You Afraid to Eat That?

You may have gotten to the point where you just don’t know what the best thing for you to eat really is.  There are so many food philosophies; yes I call them philosophies, out there that you’re just not sure where to turn for the best advice.

Well, if you aren’t working with a professional right at the moment, figuring it out on your own could be a challenge.  You wonder “how much protein is actually healthy for me?”  You ask: “Doesn’t high protein and especially saturated fat cause heart disease?”  “Wouldn’t a vegetarian or even a vegan diet a la “Forks over Knives” method work the best for me?” you inquire. “How about all the genetically modified stuff out there – how do I know if my family’s safe?” you ask. And if you’re gluten free you want to know “What can I have instead of gluten?” So many questions and so paths to entertain.

Everyone is unique.  My husband has Kidney Disease and can’t eat greens, nuts, cheese, most fruits, potatoes and several other seemingly healthy foods, but for him those foods aren’t healthy ones.  They elevate his potassium and phosphorous which can have extreme consequences for him.  But if you’re relatively healthy, these kinds of foods are excellent to help maintain good health.

But let’s face it – it’s all very confusing.  Being too rigid is not a solution. There is a condition called Orthorexia, like anorexia it is a serious eating disorder. Orthorexics are so rigid with their healthy eating regimen that they become overly obsessed to an extreme. Unlike anorexia, those with orthorexia do eat but are so fanatically focused on only eating healthy that no food considered unhealthy passes their lips. Even though this is a serious illness, recovery is possible.

So how can you be OK with what’s available and what you put on your plate?

Here are 5 Tips to Help You Be Unafraid of Your Food Choices: 

Tip #1  Relax:  No need to get upset if you happen to eat something that is less than healthy every once in awhile.  Everyone faces this dilemma and we’re often tempted more that we’d like to admit. If you can make healthy food choices 70-80% of the time you’ll be in good shape.  Remember this is never about being perfect but about being healthy.

Tip #2  There is no BAD Food:  Labeling food good or bad can pose a problem.  As I mentioned my husband can’t have greens yet greens are something I recommend all the time to my clients and readers. It’s not good for him but for nearly everyone else greens are good.  Using the word BAD to describe a food can make it emotionally charged and a huge negative punch to your psyche. This association leaves you feeling guilty, miserable and more susceptible to reaching for those types of commonly considered “bad” foods over and over again, especially when things go wrong in your life. A better categorization for food might be: those that nourish and give energy and those that make you not feel good, create symptoms and deplete you of vitality.

Tip #3  Check the Labels:  Even though I encourage you to primarily choose real, whole, fresh foods without labels, sometimes you can’t avoid it.  Make sure the packaged foods you are choosing are GMO free and don’t contain highly modified corn or soy ingredients.  Stay away from unhealthy syrups and sweeteners as well, they are first off  artificial or secondly toxic and you wouldn’t want either in your tummy.

Tip #4  Ask your waiter/waitress or grocer:  If you have any doubt about what’s in the dish you’re ordering tonight for dinner – ask. No need to feel embarrassed or feel like you’re  causing a scene. You don’t need to have a food allergy in order to gain permission for a query. Most restaurants nowadays have become quite used to the more educated consumer wanting to know more about what they are putting into their mouths.

Restaurants have become quite adept at answering most questions the diner has.  Even your grocer is there to help. If you’re uncertain about something, do ask. Also, if your local grocery store doesn’t carry some of your favorite healthy foods, ask them to either stock it or special order it for you.  They’ll be happy to do so and keep you as their loyal customer.

Tip #5 Drop the Jitters: No need to go overboard about the food you eat.  Every food you consume does not have to be gluten, dairy or whatever “free”. Remain calm and do your best to enjoy your meals, savor every morsel and if you don’t like it don’t eat it. Unless you, of course, are more accustomed to eating only junk food, greasy burgers and fries – your palate then needs to be trained for healthier fare. Food should taste good all on its own without the need for sauces, dressings or extra salt.  Whole, fresh food has so much inherent flavor and goodness in it.  Give yourself time to experience the true JOY OF EATING!