Well, I did it. I totally screwed myself. After a week or so of not following my usual healthy habits, my brain crashed. I mean crashed hard. I started to write this post, but just couldn't do it. I would have rubbed a couple of brain cells together, but there were none to be found. But it wasn't a surprise to me. I mean I knew it was coming. I knew if I did the things I did, I would feel terrible. I knew I would end up completely dysfunctional and stressed out.
Have you felt this way too? Feeling like you're foggy headed and can't focus? Like you just want to lie down and sleep...RIGHT NOW? And if anyone asks you for one more thing, your head will fly off? That was me and I had only myself to blame. I set it up that way.
First, I've been eating much more sugar than usual. I had cut way back on my sugar intake during and after my pregnancy. This was no easy task as everyone knows I'm the Queen of Chocolate. But I did it. I was able to nearly eliminate excess sugar from my diet. I even stopped putting jam on my toast in the morning.
But sugar wiggled back into my diet. We purchased a farm share for the summer so we could have healthy, fresh vegetables. To our delight, we received rhubarb in our share. Growing up, my mother and grandmother had made delicious rhubarb desserts. So I was excited to be able to make these for my family as well. Plus the thought of rhubarb bars brought back good childhood memories. (See how the rationalization snuck in there?) Did I mention I ate a lot of these bars? All this sugar has a negative effect on the body and mind. When you come off of the sugar, you feel fatigued, restless and anxious. These feelings then can lead to eating more sugar in an attempt to regain energy. Not a good cycle to begin.
The next mistake I made was not getting my usual exercise for 3 days. I allowed work and other responsibilities to creep in. Without my daily walk or yoga, I have no outlet for the stress hormones that can build up in the body. So not only did I feel tired and foggy headed, but I felt cranky and fat. Without my daily exercise, I also end up with the next problem...poor sleep.
Not only did lack of exercise keep me up at night, but so did a change in my routine. My stepdaughter is visiting for the summer and is going to summer school. Thus I need to get up earlier than usual to get her off to school. No big problem, except I didn't get my butt to bed earlier to compensate for the time. So after a few days of shortened sleep, the fatigue hit me hard.
Here is the lesson I hope you steal from this experience. We all get side tracked from our good behaviors. The trick is to realize you are detouring off your route and adjust your course as soon as possible. It is so easy to allow life circumstances to take control of us and then blame those circumstances for our failures. But the truth is, we control our circumstances. It took me only 5 days or so to feel totally burned out. But it is only going to take me TODAY to get back on track. And I know I'll stay on track for a long time because I will keep in my memory the day I crashed and was not able to keep up with my family and my work.
How about you? Do you often crash because your unhealthy habits have caught up to you? What do you usually do to get back on track? I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments below. Us mommas, we're all in this together!
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How did we get here? How did we create an epidemic of women who absolutely hate their bodies? Throughout my years as a health professional, I think I can count on one hand the number of women I've taught, coached or trained that actually liked their bodies. I remember weighing women for weight loss contests who would not only remove their shoes and sweaters for their weigh-ins, but also their watches, earrings and glasses! In that moment we would both laugh at the attempt to get rid of every single ounce, but it broke my heart. From each woman, I could feel that sense of both hope and fear. "Do I get to feel good about myself today?" was the question written on their face. And, for me, my question was "Am I helping or hurting this woman by conducting this weight loss program?"
I knew ultimately I was hurting them. I was reinforcing the idea that they should define their self-worth from the outside. Women define our value through scales, calories and pants size. We define ourselves as we compare to others. And we always lose that contest.
The wellness movement has long sung the song of balancing Mind, Body and Spirit for total health and well-being. There are thousands of programs supporting wellness of the Mind (stress management and emotional well-being) and of the Body (weight loss, nutrition and exercise), but in all honesty, we fall short at the spiritual part. For the most part, it's because we're afraid. We're afraid that we're going to offend someone. And in the case of wellness in the workplace, we're afraid of getting sued. But we MUST go there.
The concept of Spirit is not religion, although your religious practice is a chosen reflection of your Spirit. Your Spirit is your life force, your energy, your Truth. Your Spirit is always Love. It carries you through life for your greater good...your life purpose. Until you ignore it. Until you let your worldly experience hide it's light. Until you are completely unaware of it's presence.
It is your separation from your Spirit that keeps you so unhappy with your physical body. By reconnecting with your Spirit and living your life AS Spirit, the external factors that keep you so miserable will fade away. By making choices throughout your day based on what your Spirit wants rather than what your external circumstances want, your body will transform into the size and shape that was meant to be. And you will be happy. So incredibly happy.
I invite you to dive deep into your Spirit by following the "Wow My Spirit" section of this website. And if you found this post to be inspiring, please share with a friend and share your inspiration in the comments below.
About a year ago, I was introduced to a unique way of staying connected to spirit throughout the day. Our church's Sunday Bulletin had an article on how to stay connected to God while at work. I thought, "This should be good. If there is a place where spirit is lacking, It's usually at the workplace."
The one tip I found interesting was this:
Make your computer password an acronym stating something you want to remember about spirit. Your password would be the first letter of each word in the sentence. For instance, perhaps your statement would be something like this: I Allow Spirit To Guide Me As I Do My Work. Your password would then be IASTGMAIDMW. Another example is: I Am Thankful For All That God Has GivenMe. Your password would then be IATFATGHGM.
Because these passwords are complex, you have to recite the saying in your head each time you type your password. As you can see, it would be hard to remain separated from spirit if you spend a lot of time on your computer.
I have done this over the past year and the impact it has had on my life is incredible. On days I'm feeling stuck, it helps me to move on. On days I'm feeling blue, it reminds me that I'm not on my own. On days I'm happy, it deepens my gratitude. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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As I begin my mission to unite mommas everywhere in their quest for Wow, I feel that I must first apologize for some of the things I've said in the past. You see, in my past life, I was a health educator working in fitness centers, hospitals and health departments. I taught people what they needed to do in order to lose weight, eat right and exercise. I taught the same thing that almost every health educator taught. We taught what was taught to us by government agencies, universities and public health. These were known as "best practices." Well here's the thing. I have been doing this with my colleagues for over 20 years now and our country as a whole has gotten heavier and sicker. Several years ago, when I started coaching people one-on-one and helping them to lose weight, it was more obvious than ever that those best practices were not working.
Here is a list of the "best practices" that I no longer recommend for my clients:
You can eat anything you want in moderation.
This became an often sung song over the years to help people not feel deprived as they cut calories to lose weight. But there’s one problem. The word “moderation” means something different to everyone. More often than not, I have seen people eat “moderately” all day long. They will have a couple strips of bacon for breakfast (because a couple are OK); then have a side of potato chips with their sandwich for lunch (because it's a small bag); then have a dessert after dinner (because they only have dessert after one meal each day). Get the picture? Throughout the day, you have added a lot of extra calories with little nutrition.
There are no bad foods.
You know who made this one up? The food industry! To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at the ingredients of a couple popular foods. Can you guess what these are? (You can find the answers at the end of this article.)
Mystery Food #1: Corn syrup, sugar, dextrose, modified food starch, water, gelatin, natural and artificial flavor, tetrasodium pyrophosphate.
Mystery Food #2: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sugar, phosphoric acid, caffeine, citric acid, natural flavor.
They don’t look much like food do they? The truth is your body is miraculous. You can eat a strawberry or avocado and your body knows exactly how to use everything within that strawberry or avocado for specific functions in your body. You are what you eat! When you eat a nacho chip or a doughnut or a cookie, your body looks back at you and says “You want me to do what with this?” As a result of eating highly processed foods with added chemicals, you develop sickness and disease. I have had countless coachees who said they were following their calorie recommendation to a tee, but had not lost much weight and still felt tired and achy all day. In order to lose weight and feel better, you must eat real food.
You must exercise 60 minutes a day in order to receive any benefit.
While taking an hour out of your day for activity is a good thing, (I highly recommend it for many reasons), it’s simply not practical for many people. We are a culture of long work days, night shifts, children’s sports, activities and homework. Not to mention we need to eat and sleep. Most people feel that if they can’t dedicate an hour or even a half hour of their time, it’s not worth it. But inactivity is not an option if we want to be healthy and have more energy. So what should you do if you can’t carve out an hour to improve your health? Everything and anything you can to get yourself moving more. Be creative! The old strategies hold true. Take the stairs and park your car the farthest from the store. Walk around the soccer field while your child is practicing. Buy hand weights or exercise bands to keep in your office; every hour or so, take a break and do one or two exercises. Do strengthening and stretching exercises while watching your favorite TV show. The list can go on and on, but I think you get the idea. Any bit of extra movement during your day is better than none at all.
You don’t fail a diet; a diet fails you.
Ok, I know I’m probably going to upset a few people with this one, but here it goes. If a diet didn’t work for you, it is your fault. There I said it. But hear me out. I always get asked, “What is the best diet for me to lose weight?” And I always respond, “Any of them.” Every diet works. That is for the short term. One of the first questions I ask a coachee that wants to lose weight is “What has worked for you in the past?” They usually respond by saying they were on Weight Loss Program ABC 10 years ago and it worked great. Then they say that they would like to try that program again because it worked before. Herein lies the moment of truth. If you do not succeed at long term weight loss, it’s because you could not control your behavior within the diet program for the rest of your life. But here is the good news. YOU are the one in control. Every decision you make about food, exercise, stress, sleep is up to you. The answer to successful weight loss does not lie outside you, it is inside you. In my coaching conversations with someone who has gotten off track, the bottom line is this…what were you thinking right before you ate the whole gallon of ice cream? Until you understand your thought patterns, behaviors, habits and compulsions, you will continue to fail diets. The keys to weight loss and good health really are common sense. But our values, beliefs and history cloud that common sense. Once you create an awareness of those things, you can then change your thoughts and behaviors and create lifelong habits.
Food identification answers: 1. Marshmallows 2. Cola
Have there been any "best practices" that just don't work for you? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below.
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We've all been there. That moment when your stress has finally built up and you're about to blow and take it out on everyone else. When you're a busy mom, you might have several of these moments every day. Your life is feeling like it's out of your control and you can't take it anymore. So you blow up. That energy has to go somewhere, right? If you don't let it out, you'll crack, right? Well, yes and no. You might feel better because that anger is no longer inside you, but is your broken situation healed? Probably not. More often than not the situation that got you so stressed will probably happen again.
So are you just supposed to hold everything in? This is not a great option either. Women who hold in their thoughts and feelings tend to have higher rates of illness and other discomforts such as stomach aches and headaches. So what's a stressed out mom to do? Here is a surefire way to decrease your stress in 60 seconds.
1. Pause what you are doing
3. Change your mind
That's it? Yep, that's it. The true key to lowering your stress is actually very simple. In order to defuse a situation, you must first pause the situation. We've all had those times where things would not have been that bad if only we didn't do or say something to make it worse. You are also not in a rational state of mind once the stress gets too great. So take a step back and pause. Just by doing this, you will change the energy in the room. You will change your energy.
Next, take the next 30-60 seconds to focus on your breathing. When we are stressed, every ounce of our being is stressed. Our body (including our brain) is not being fed oxygen. As a result, we do not think clearly and our body does not function well. Take in deep breaths, the kind that fills your belly. Continue to do this until your breathing slows and you feel calmer. If you need to leave your current space, do so.
Now here's the tricky part. But don't skip it because it's the most important. While you are focusing on your breathing, DO NOT think about what you are going to say or do next to prove your point or show that you are right. Instead redirect your thinking to what you really want. You probably think that what you want, for example, is for your kids to keep their things out of the living room or for your spouse to do a load of laundry before you get home from work. But you've probably voiced this before, right? Will voicing it again work this time? Probably not.
You must reconnect what you really want to your thoughts and actions. Instead of thinking about the things you want done, think about the feelings you want to have. If getting your family to pitch in around the house is the thing, then maybe the feeling is relaxation. And, if you think about it, every member of your family wants relaxation. So instead of coming undone (and no one is going to hear you at this point anyway because they are probably coming undone), calmly let your family know that you need time for relaxation just like they do and that you want to negotiate how everyone can get their needs met. This will work beautifully because everyone will feel that their needs are being heard and there is room for themselves in the issue.
Reducing your stress in this way takes some practice. You might not see positive changes right away. After all, up until now, you have been hardwired to react to stress in a less than healthy way. Keep at it and it will become natural to you in no time. Your mind and body (and everyone around you) will thank you!
So how about you? How do you normally handle the stress in your life? Leave your comments below describing how you positively or negatively let go of stress. And don't forget to breathe!
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It is that certain “thing” that gives you life. It is not of the body or of the mind, yet you cannot separate it from your body and mind. It just is. Names that it has been called are soul, God, life force, inner light. It is your spirit. No matter what walk of life you originate from, you have a spirit. It is that essence that continues on once your body is no more.
The Law of Conservation of Energy states that “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form.” Therefore, when our bodies die, our energy must go somewhere. It cannot be destroyed. This energy is what I mean when I say spirit. For many people this spirit energy was given to them by a God, a deity or other higher power.
Just like the mind-body connection, your spirit is connected to both your mind and body without knowing where one begins and the other ends. What you do to your body affects the spirit. What you do to the spirit affects the mind. And so forth. Perhaps over time you have not been aware of your spirit or neglected your spirit. And in doing so, the effects have shown up in physical symptoms or emotional ups and downs.
How do you then know if you have been disconnected from your spirit? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it would be worthwhile for you to reconnect with your spirit. These issues cannot be corrected by changing the body or the mind alone. These solutions must be driven by the internal divine power within you. Ignoring these types of issues is what has kept you stuck in the repetitious cycle of unwanted habits and feelings.
In summary, spirit is like a lighthouse:
Your spirit is the light inside you that guides you as you try to sail the waters of life. It shines light on the rocks up ahead so you can navigate them more easily. In the darkness of an extinguished light, you are still able to sail throughout the water, but will meet with much trouble. By turning on the light, you are able to make enlightened decisions about the best route to take. When you turn on the light, you can see your life!
Do you have trouble connecting with your spiritual side? I would love to hear your experience in the comments below.
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