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Sugar Free for a Better Me

 There’s now more evidence linking sugar to weight gain, mood swings, fatigue and headaches as well as numerous diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. So why do we continue to consume huge amounts of it when it’s clearly not good for us? Well, first of all it’s hidden in so many foods under different names, and it tastes great, but most of all it’s highly addictive. Some people even liken it to a drug. When we eat foods high in sugar our blood sugar spikes and dopamine is released in our brain and this makes us feel happy, thus the sugar high. Then our body releases a massive amount of insulin to bring down our blood sugar and because there’s too much it gets stored as fat. After our blood sugar crashes, our body craves the sugar high again, so we seek out foods that will give us the fix and we repeat the process all over again. So, how do we break the cycle? I believe we begin by implementing things into our lifestyle that can help reduce or eliminate our cravings.    

Sugar cravings are sometimes simply a sign of dehydration. Start your day with a full 8 ounce glass of water and then at least every 2 hours drink another glass. Even better, keep a water bottle with you at all times, and sip often. Then anytime you have a sugar craving go for the water first and wait five minutes. Increasing your water intake will also improve your energy and the appearance of your skin. You may need to visit the bathroom more often so plan accordingly so you don’t hold back on your water intake. The recommended daily amount is 8 ounces of water for every 20 pounds of body weight and more if you are out in the heat, drink coffee or exercise.

    Sugar cravings can also be a sign of being too sedentary. Movement gets our blood flowing, increases our heart rate, strengthens our bones and muscles, keeps us fit and prevents disease. It also makes us feel better both mentally and physically giving us a sense of well-being, helps our mood and reduces anxiety, stress and depression. This can increase our motivation to follow through in other areas of our life like reducing the amount of sugar we eat. So, pick a away to move that’s safe, familiar and easy to do and get moving.

When you combine these two lifestyle habits with intentionally consuming less sugar you are sure to start on a joyful journey to a sugar free lifestyle, and sugar free is definitely a better me.

Information vs Transformation

A crab spends a long time growing it’s tough outer shell and wears it where ever it goes to protect it from danger. Then goes through a very difficult transformation as it sheds it’s old shell and grows a new one and is left very vulnerable during this process.
Similarly to a crab we develop habits over a lifetime that protect us and keep us safe and when we want to change it can be uncomfortable and often scary to expose our weakness or ask for help.
This is why we often seek out information instead of transformation. We want to believe if we know more it will somehow bring the change we want. 
After teaching health and wellness for 30 years, I’ve come to realize that information does not equal transformation. To transform our health and our lives we need to create new habits that eventually become behaviors that last. This means learning how to do new things that are different than we are used to and change our mindset. ​​​​​​​I know it can be scary because I’ve been in your shoes, but you deserve to have the life you truly desire.  So, what do you really want, more Information or Transformation?

Let Freedom Ring!

We are very blessed to live in a free country and have so much to be grateful for. So, why do so many of us live like we’re not free at all. We’re overwhelmed, over-scheduled and exhausted. We often feel like our life is not in our control at all, and have no other choice than to continue living the way we are.

As we approach the 4th of July, our Nations Day of Independence, I invite you to consider what it would feel like to live free from worry, stress and anxiety, and free from fatigue and illness. What do you truly desire to have?

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said ” No one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” So, really the best way to care for the ones we love is to care for ourselves first.

A few years ago I found myself exhausted, stressed and filled with anxiety. I had a great job and supportive family but was feeling anxious and miserable in my life. My body was healthy but my mind and spirit lacked attention. I was tired of feeling the way I did and was relieved to find the help I needed. Through some amazing coaching I learned how to make myself the priority. I developed new ways of thinking and living that brought me more energy, peace and joy and allowed me to focus my energy on my passion and purpose. 

So, if you’re tired of feeling the way you do, there is another way and you deserve to have it. All it takes is a desire for change and taking that first step. Then you’ll be on your way to letting freedom truly ring in your life too.

Slow Down and Smell the Roses

Have you ever felt like you were trying to be responsible and considerate and then had people around you act like you were doing the opposite?

Well two things happened to me this week that got me thinking about why we are in such a hurry and rushing around everywhere like our lives depend on getting more done or getting somewhere fast.

The first one happened while I was sitting at a red light. I was second in line and there was another car behind me. I was actually paying full attention, not looking at my phone for that all important message, looking in the mirror or playing with the radio. I was focused completely on the light, waiting for it to change. It changed from red to green and within that split second the car behind me honked his horn. I said out loud, to myself, “wow, it just turned green, why are you in such a hurry?”

The second one happened while checking out at the grocery store. I was third in line with the first person paying for their groceries. The man in front of me had his groceries on the belt, as did I and one divider was between us. The other was in front of his things. I sensed the woman behind me getting restless and was prepared to get the divider as soon as the cashier moved it. Then when she did, and still had her hand on it, the woman behind me said sharply, “could you give me the divider”? I paused, waiting for the cashier to release it from her hand,  picked it up and placed it on the belt behind my things, letting the woman know, “it wasn’t available yet,” then said to myself again, “wow, why are you in such a hurry?”

So this got me thinking, why are people in such a hurry? I believe one of the main reasons is we have too much clutter in our lives. We’re over scheduled,  and have too much we feel we have to do, so we rush everywhere and often treat people around us not very kindly.

So, how do we begin to clear space in our lives to make room for some kindness? I believe we begin by looking at our environment, our schedule and how we spend our time, and then deciding what must go. What do we have planned or scheduled that we can reduce or eliminate to make room for time to do what we love and spend time with the ones we care for? Because until we create space we won’t have room to allow peace, love and joy to come into our hearts and only then will we be able to slow down and smell the roses.

What clutter can you clear from your life this week?

Pura Vida

Pura Vida! 

I’ve just returned from an amazing trip to Costa Rica and slowly getting back into life in America. This was my third trip to this beautiful country and hopefully won’t be the last, but every time I visit it strikes me how a country with so little can be so rich. The slow easy pace of the Tico lifestyle is a great contrast to life in the United States. The people take their time to talk with you with their full attention. They live free from distractions and seem to have found the key to focusing on what’s most important in life, free from clutter, stress and busyness.

I think many Americans would like to simplify their lives. To slow down and relish each moment, and live with balance, but where do we begin when everything, and sometimes everyone, around us screams do more and have more?

By looking inside ourselves we can clarify what we value most. What do we really want our lives to look like? What areas of our lives have we left unattended? Then begin to implement new ways of doing things into our lives.

For me this begins with de-cluttering, not only stuff, but the amount of things I do that don’t bring great value to my life. It means looking at what and where to put energy and letting go of what no longer serves me very well. It’s a process that takes time, but like an onion, each layer that’s peeled back exposes another that needs attention. So, it’s time to begin the peeling.

I believe to create balance we need to give attention to our body, mind and spirit. Our body needs proper nutrition for energy and health as well as movement and rest to keep us strong and fit. Our mind needs to be nurtured to heal, grow and strengthen our character, and our spirit needs to trust God, to surrender control, to stay connected with Christ and fully receive His love. Anytime we don’t tend to one area of our life the others are affected.

So, where will you begin to bring Pura Vida into your life? If you have the desire it’s not too far away. This week find one thing you can do to nurture your body, mind and spirit. Give each area attention with something that will start to bring more balance into your life, and if you’d like some help let me know. I’m only an email away.

4 Steps to Create a New Habit

Last week I talked about creating a new habit and how it’s much like running a race. If we start out too fast we often don’t finish well or even complete it. This week I’d like to share how to successfully create a new habit with just 4 steps. These must be in place to create a habit if you want it to last. So, after you’ve set your goal and realistic time frame to complete it, take this step first.

Link the new habit to pleasure. That’s right, you heard me correctly, we always do what’s most pleasurable, so when we strategically place new behaviors into where we find enjoyment we are more apt to follow through. If you are a morning person and like to get up with the sun, this would be a great place to put a new behavior. Whether it’s more activity, journaling, meditation or prayer time you’ll look forward to doing the new behavior and have more success in following through.

The second step is to set up reminders so you remember to do the new behavior. If you are adding more activity into your morning you might set out your clothes where you’ll see them. This way you have a better chance in following through. 

The third step is to get support. This could be from a friend, a family member or a coach, but whomever it is they will be encouraging you to follow through and remind you of your goal.

The final step is to have accountability in place. This is so important because we don’t naturally do this for ourselves. Having someone that will keep us on track and kick us in the butt when we get off track can make all the difference in creating a new habit.

Creating a new habit can be exciting and fun when we set up the conditions for our success. These 4 steps are like the legs of a stool. Without one of them the stool has little or no chance of staying up, but with all 4 in place it’s sure to withstand almost anything, and in a few short weeks you’ll have created a new habit that will last.

 

Finish the Race Well

It dawned on me this morning during my morning run that creating a new habit is much like running a race. If we start out too fast we often don’t finish well or even complete it.

When we’re trying to implement something new into our lives and we set out at a pace we can only maintain for a short time it defeats the purpose of even starting. So, how can we set ourselves up for success in the long run?

I believe we have to start with setting up the conditions for success in following through. This way we give ourselves the best chance to finish the race well.

Recently, I started back to running after taking a lot of time off. So, I set a goal of running three days a week at the best time of day for me. I also set a goal of only running one mile and walking the rest of the time I’d set aside. Then when that became easier, I ran more and walked less, but still only 3 days and at the best time of day for me. It’s now been 9 weeks and I’m running 3 miles and walking 1 and I look forward to getting out and taking this time for myself.

When we translate this to setting a personal or professional goal, planning is key. Taking the right steps in the right order and making them manageable helps us stay on track and keeps us motivated to continue, so we have a better chance to create lasting change.

What personal or professional goal do you have for yourself?  What steps could you take this week to help you reach your goal, and how can you set  up the conditions for success in following through? What support do you need and who will hold you accountable?

Set your goal with a realistic time frame and only one or two actions steps and plan when you’ll do them. If you’re not a morning person setting a goal of getting up early every morning and going for a walk to increase your activity is not going to set you up for success. Remember you want to make the new action steps as easy to manage as possible so you’ll be able to continue them in the long run.

Then get support and accountability from a friend, a family member or a coach and look forward to finishing the race you start well.

Anyone Need a Pomodoro?

Working with busy professional women I find many are challenged with staying focused or managing their time. I know I sure am. I’ve spent most of my life making a to-do list for the day and then find myself frantically crossing off things as if my life depends on it.

Recently I was introduced to the Pomodoro Technique, and it’s transformed my life, so I want to share it with you.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It uses a timer to break your work into intervals of 25 minutes and separates them with short breaks.

The first step is to plan for your week with a list of your 5 most important tasks followed by a list of secondary tasks and finally a list of any additional tasks you would love to have off your plate.

Then for the first day write down 3 tasks you’d like to complete that day with the most important first and give each one the number of pomodoro’s you’ll  need to complete it. Remember each pomodoro is only 25 minutes, and you don’t go onto the second task on your list until the first is completed.

Next set your environment to be conducive to working on your first task. Whether you like music playing or need quiet. Keep water beside you and set your timer for 25 minutes. Make sure your phone is on Do Not Disturb, Facebook is closed out and any other distractions are put away.

When you’re ready, start your timer and begin your first task. If something does interrupt you, reset your timer and start over, so you’ll complete a full Pomodoro before your take a short break.

When your timer goes off, take a break for at least 5 minutes, get a snack, use the bathroom, step outside, stretch or, simply close your eyes and meditate, but always get up from your work area and don’t check email or go on social media. Your break is meant to re-energize you and prepare you for your next pomodoro.

Continue this process for each task on your list and evaluate how it went at the end of the day and prepare your list for the following day.

I’ve found this technique allows me to go through my day feeling accomplished but not wiped out and I have more enjoyment for what I’m working on instead of dread it.  There’s also a planner that follows this technique you can find at amazon. https://amzn.to/2HFV8i4. Enjoy!

What if No Really Meant Yes?

I believe busyness is a challenge for us all and many of us run around all day trying to complete everything on our to-do list so we can feel accomplished at the end of the day. Just writing this was on my to-do list for today. Many of us spend a lot of our time trying to please others and over-schedule our lives to the point of exhaustion. We often say things like I have no choice, and I have to, when we really do have a choice and don’t have to.

What if saying No was the best way to say Yes? What do you really want to do do today? What do you feel you have to do today? What have you committed to this week that you scheduled because you felt you had to? What if we were to learn to set better boundaries for ourselves and start saying no more, delegating, or asking for help for some of our to-do list, so we could give ourselves more time for what we really want to do?

Here’s are few things that have helped me in my attempt to conquer busyness, say No more to other and Yes more to myself. First, make a not-do-to list. These are all the things and people in your life that diminish your energy. Everything that doesn’t deserve your attention but fills up your schedule and is really not a priority. Then write down the things you do on a daily basis that are unimportant repetitive tasks that are not leading you toward your dreams, helping you grow as a person or add to your lifestyle. Reduce, remove and eliminate things from your lists and notice how much time you’ve created to do what you really want to do. Re-evaluate your list each week and see if you can pare them down more, but mostly only begin to fill up your time with things that bring you meaning and joy.

How to Look at Failure as Feedback

We’ve all failed or made mistakes at least once in our lives, and sometimes I get on a roll and have several days in a row. So, how do we learn from our mistakes and look at them as feedback instead of failure?

Ask ourselves what’s the positive intention of this failure? Sometimes this takes a little unpacking.  What if anything contributed to making the mistake in the first place. If it’s something really big like marrying the wrong person and getting divorced we can look at how we got to the decision to marry this person.

This one I can relate to. When I went off to college at 18, I was not a confident person. I had a lot of baggage from from childhood that I hadn’t resolved and wasn’t feeling strong in my self-worth. So, when I met someone who gave me the attention I craved it’s not surprising that I looked at the relationship through blurry eyes.

I did marry this person and it ended in divorce after only a few years. So, when I look back on this time of my life it helps to look at how I got to the point of making the mistake instead of focusing on the failure. It allows me to move forward with feedback instead of beating myself up for it. The positive intention comes from the good that comes out of the mistake. Sometimes it’s the lesson we learn, sometimes it’s more. I have a beautiful daughter from this mistake.

Looking at the positive intention of our failure allows us to look at our mistakes and get feedback, so we don’t become paralyzed with fear of failing again, because we will.