Hate the thought of exercising, of sweating? What if you could “sneak” it in or, find that you “oops, I exercised” without knowing it? Accidental exercise is for you!
Exercise, it’s good for the heart, the bones, stress reduction and so on and so on… We know all this, but why do we try to avoid it? If you would have asked me 6 years ago about working out, I would have placed exercising right behind getting my teeth cleaned (no offense to those in the dental health profession). Part of the reason is at that time when I convinced myself to workout, I would trudge to the gym. I would torture myself for an hour on the treadmill and weight machines because to me that was what I “had to do”. It was a very uncomfortable experience to say the least because of all the hard bodies there, making it all look so effortless AND looking good while doing it! Curse them! Can you relate??
Let me tell you the first rule of establishing a more active lifestyle… ENJOY IT! I know that may seem like an impossible feat, but it’s NOT! We have to get rid of our preconceived “rules” that we have conjured up. We need to just do it like the wise folks at Nike tells us. We do this by looking at opportunities to be active. How do we do this?
Park in Outer Mongolia – I know, revolutionary idea right? What do when we park the car at the grocery store, church, and our favorite restaurant? We circle the parking lot like a shark circling its prey. Not only is it wasting time, it is a missed opportunity to be active! The added bonus here is that you will probably cut down on the number of door dings because there will be fewer cars parked there!
Pack on the trips – Is it just me, or when we are unloading groceries or taking laundry downstairs to the washer we try to become Arnold Schwarzenegger? Not only is it crazy, but it’s potentially DANGEROUS! Seriously, how many times have you cheated an ER visit and broken bones? Think about it! What if we took more trips? We add more steps (and potentially decrease the chances of a trip to the ER) to our day!
Pump up the volume – Very few of us like to clean but it is a necessary evil (hey, so is exercise – right?). Why not turn on some of your favorite music and REALLY clean? So many benefits here. One, your house will get clean. Two, it MAY actually be fun. Three, it may entice helpers who will want to join in the fun (on the other hand also works well to embarrass teens/tweens) – BONUS!
Potential with pauses – How often do we find ourselves waiting? We wait on the phone, wait on our kids, and wait on the water to boil, or wait for our favorite TV show to continue after a stream of commercials. All are opportunities to be active! What if we used that time to do some squats, some stretches, or even march in place? Some very wise soul even came up with a TV commercial workout, the workout outlines different moves based on the type of commercials that airs. For example, a car commercial = jog in place; or food/restaurant = 30 jumping jacks. BRILLIANT!! Here’s the link to check it out: http://pinterest.com/source/fit-to-row.tumblr.com/
Play like a kid– Hopefully you have been inspired to look for ways to be active. You are hereby given permission to get in touch with that inner child (don’t get Freudian on me) and PLAY!
Alright, to all of you hard-bodied, protein-shake-drinking, fitness-faithful followers… NO I am not trying to go against medical science. I know that the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular workouts at least three times a week. That should be the goal, I agree. Sometimes that is not possible, sometimes we just need to get started and JUST DO IT!
Almost half of all Americans (45%) make a New Year’s resolution, according to the website Statistic Brain ( http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/). How many keep those resolutions? Only eight percent! What is the secret to keeping your 2013 New Year’s resolutions? We’re going to head back to school and improve our G.P.A. We will look at goals, at plans and our attitude. Our G.P. A. is the secret to success keeping and reaching a New Year’s resolution.
Goals – The number 1 most common resolution Americans make is to lose weight. Great idea but the problem lies in the lack of specifics. That’s one common are that keeps folks from keeping resolutions. Goals have to be S.M.A.R.T.
Specific – Details are needed about what the goal is. Why? To say, “I want to lose weight” does not work. How do you know where you are headed, or better yet, when you reach your goal. Answering the who? what? where? when? why? and how? questions work well here.
Measurable – There needs to be an accounting of the progress. When criteria is established, we are better to monitor when we are (and off) track.
Attainable – Ever hear the saying, “you can eat an elephant one bite at a time?” Breaking those BIG goals into smaller goals with easier to manage steps is a great way to make those BIG (and often scary) goals feel much more manageable.
Realistic – Is this a goal that I am willing to do the work necessary to accomplish it? If not, no sense in setting this particular goal. If I want to lose 10 pounds but I am not willing to give up junk food – how successful will I be?
Timely – We all want what we want NOW. But goals take time. Not allowing enough time to achieve your goal is setting yourself up for disappointment. When you are disappointed, you are likely to give up.
Plan – Having a game plan is critical to keeping a New Year’s resolution. We need to have a plan of action. Step-by-step instructions on how to get the job done. The plan is what keeps us going when the going gets tough. As Winston Churchill once said, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Often one plan is not enough. That is when a plan “B” is required. When trying to lose weight, for example, we may make a plan on what to have for dinner. What if we go to make that meal and are missing an ingredient? Is there another option? Or, does it become pizza night and we resolve to do better tomorrow? A plan “B” prevents this scenario. The plan is our ticket to change. We cannot expect to do the same actions and get different results. In fact, it is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Just one small change can be what’s needed to get the ball rolling. Several small steps and we have our plan. Our plan helps us keep our New Year’s resolution.
Attitude – We have to believe that we can do it. The late Mary Kay Ash, founder of the popular cosmetics company had a favorite quote, “if you believe it, you can achieve it.” No truer words have been spoken. How many times do we tell ourselves “I can’t do that”? What is the result? We prove ourselves right most of the time don’t we? At times we may need to fake it till we make it and give ourselves a mantra like “you can do it”, or the like, until we start seeing the desired results and begin to fully believe. A lot can be said for positive thinking and a positive mental attitude when it comes to keeping New Year’s resolutions and making positive life changes.
All the best for a happy and healthy 2013!
How to survive Thanksgiving, that glorious holiday that all dieters dread? It’s the holiday that has it’s roots in food, the sharing of turkey and all the trimmings. So what to do? Dive in and hope for the best? Watch out! According to the Caloric Control Council, the average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving with 229 grams of fat! That does not even touch leftovers. How is a dieter to survive? Here are 5 tips to survive Thanksgiving!
1) Make a Game Plan.
Benjamin Franklin once said “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” No truer words have been spoken. The game plan starts with a decision as to the desired outcome. Sounds strange when engaged in a weight loss program but you need to decide what result would be satisfactory. A loss? Maintain? OR a small gain? Whichever the decision, you have a game plan to construct. The game plan is the most important of the 5 tips to survive Thanksgiving.
From there, further decisions abound such as:
- What will I eat the rest of the day? (before and after)
- Can I squeeze in extra exercise?(a great website will calculate the amount of walking required to walk off your feast – http://walking.about.com/library/cal/blthanksgivingcalories.htm)
- What will I wear? (no stretch pants!)
2) Do Your Homework.
This means constructing that Thanksgiving plate. What are you going to put on it? One thing that helps this process is that Thanksgiving is rich in tradition. That means that the meal is often predictable. Whether you count calories, carbs or POINTS this is a crucial step. In order to survive Thanksgiving, you need BALANCE (I want stuffing soI’m not going to have candied yams”- for example) is a key to success. You CAN have SOME of your favorites but not ALL of them! Here is a link to show the calories and fat grams in the traditional dishes that grace our holiday table.
3) Have a Back Up Plan.
You know even the best laid plans often encounters glitches. Those glitches can range from condensed gym hours for the holidays to Aunt Ruth who brings an unplanned (and must – have) dessert. Keeping Ben Franklin’s wise words in mind, we need to keep planning. Are you seeing a trend here?If there is no plan B, the plan gets cast to the side at the first sign of trouble, you are not going to survive Thanksgiving. Then we are left with regret and frustration. “I’ll start my diet Monday” or “I might as well give up until after the holidays, it’s just too hard”. A plan C, D, and E is not a bad idea. Better safe than sorry. It’s about control.
4)Visualize Your Success.
Mary Kay Ash always said “if you can believe it, you can achieve it.”How can you succeed if you do not believe you can? Visualization is a powerful tool. Picture in your mind walking in the door on Thanksgiving day, staying in control, making good food choices, AND pushing yourself away from the table when you are comfortable satisfied (NOTwhen you are stuffed like the turkey!). The more details that are included, the better. Consider it a dress rehearsal of sorts. A dress rehearsal to survive AND succeed!
This may sound like an odd step but it is an important one! Often so much planning and preparation are followed by fretting andPANIC! Hopefully following steps 1-4 will put you at ease. Nothing feels as good as feeling fully prepared and in control! Once steps 1-4 have been executed, you do execute your plan and enjoy the day!We want to survive Thanksgiving but we also want to relish it, make new memories. When we make the holiday less about how we are going to stuff our faces, we are better able to enjoy the company!
If you are still feeling unsure whether you will survive Thanksgiving, remember…
A moment on the lips, forever on the hips!
If you gobble, you will wobble!
Fall is a great time of year to get recommitted to a healthier lifestyle. Here are the top tips to a healthier fall:
Did you know that most of us suffer from an ongoing mild dehydration? That the 8 – 8 ounces which is the standard recommended amount is just the “jumping off” mark? According to the Mayo Clinic, states that adequate intake for men is 3 liters or 13 cups (total beverages consumed) and 2.1 liters or 9 cups for women. There are other elements that can further influence your hydration needs. They are:
400 to 600 ml (about 1.5 to 2.5 cups) are usually sufficient for short bouts of moderate activity. However more intense workouts lasting over an hour require more hydration and usually electrolyte replacement is also encouraged (make sure before you reach for your favorite sports drink that you watch out for that sugar).
Fall often means that furnaces are turned on which dries out the air and our skin. Increased hydration is then required.
Fall is also the unofficial beginning of cold and flu season. Fever, vomiting and diarrhea will often be accompanied by recommendations for increased hydration by your physician.
One way to monitor hydration is to watch urinary output. The average person generates about 1.5 liters of colorless or light yellow colored urine.
Take advantage of the cooler temperatures and beautiful fall foliage! Remember to start of slow and if you have any health issues, make sure you get your doctors approval. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (e.g. brisk walking or jogging) 3 to 5 days a week. This is the minimum recommendations for health maintenance and reducing risk of chronic disease such as diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis. To lose weight or maintain a weight loss, the recommendation jumps to 60 to 90 minutes 5 times a week. The important thing to remember is that if you are short on time you can break up workout time to 10 minute increments if needed. The important thing is to get moving!
There is a lot of debate that could happen here. Instead, think of the picture of the plate at www.myplate.gov. One half of the plate fruits and vegetables and the other half grains and protein. To break it down further:
Fruits – recommended daily intake = 2 cups/ day
1 cup fruit or 100% fruit juice or ½ cup dried fruit. Caution with juice and dried fruit as there are hidden sugars and it is very easy to overindulge.
Vegetables – recommended intake = 2 ½ cups women or 3 cups men
In general 1 cup of vegetables = 1 cup of any raw or cooked vegetable or vegetable juice. Or 2 cups of raw leafy vegetables is considered 1 cup.
Grains – 3-4 ounce equivalents is the recommended daily intake
Choose whole grains as much as possible. Read those labels carefully. Avoid enriched flour whenever you can.
Protein – daily recommended amounts = 5 ½ ounces for women, 6 ½ ounces for men
Protein ounce equivalents derive from meat, poultry, seafood, beans, eggs, soy products, nuts & seeds. Generally, 1 ounce of protein equals 1 ounce equivalent. Exceptions are; ¼ cup beans, 1 egg, 1 tbsp peanut butter, ½ ounce nuts or seeds.
Dairy – 3 cups daily is recommended
1 cup milk, yogurt or soy milk. For cheeses, 1 ½ ounce natural cheese or 2 ounces processed cheese equals a cup. Caution about fat in this category. Switch to lowfat products as able.
Oils – women under 30 – 6 teaspoons, over 30 – 5 tsp.
Men under 30 – 7 tsp, over 30 – 6 tsp.
Make sure to read labels here. Essential fatty acids are important in maintaining good health. Make sure that you choose poly- and mono- unsaturated fats.
Focus on eating the fall harvest. Apples are high in fiber (eat that peel) which helps to maintain blood sugar levels. Pumpkins are rich in the anti-oxidant beta-carotene. Pumpkin seeds should not be overlooked, they are a powerhouse of protein and essential minerals (just be careful 1 cup is a whopping 285 calories). Gourds are another fall favorite that are very healthy and nutritious. Gourds are high in vitamin C and potassium. Sweet potatoes are abundant in the carotenoids (anti-oxidant), vitamins and bonus – they are low in glycemic index which means they are much easier on blood sugar levels.
Sleep is often overlooked, often with tragic endings. According to The National Sleep foundation, (www.sleepfoundation.org), health issues with sleep deprivation range from an increased body mass index and incidence of diabetes and heart disease to mental health issues. While it is quickly pointed out that there is no quick answer, a recommended range of 7-9 hours is given for adults.
Attention to just these four areas of health can reap a harvest of good health and empower you to take charge of your health!
The question, “What is wellness coaching?” is one that is heard a lot. That, and “what does a wellness coach do?” The answer to these questions is not as straightforward and easy as one might think. Finding the best answer was more difficult than anticipated. An online search ensued. Searching for “wellness coaching” did not produce the answer, so the decision was made to dissect and define each word separately. According to the dictionary website, (www.dictionary.com), “wellness” is defined as:
- the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.
- an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.
For the next word, Wikipedia was consulted. “Coaching” is defined as:
A training process whereby an individual is supported while learning to achieve a specific personal or professional goal
So putting these words together, a wellness coach is a professional who supports an individual in achieving a healthy balance of mind, body, and spirit. Well that explains it, right?
Consultant versus Coach – What’s the difference REALLY?
Is there a difference between consulting and coaching? You bet there is! There is a great book out there by Monroe Mann, “Start Your Own Coaching Business,” (2008, Entrepreneur Press). In this book, Mann paints a very clear picture. He says a consultant is primarily focused on information. The consultant is the expert in telling you how to get it done. The consultant is hired for educational purposes. Does that mean if you are in need of information that a coach is not the answer? Not at all. The coach takes the consultant role to the next level. The coach not only educates the client, but also walks alongside the client to the end. The coach is the expert in getting results.
Ok, so hire a counselor?
Why not just hire a counselor or other mental health provider? A Google search of counselor resulted in:
A person trained to give guidance on personal, social, or psychological problems. A person who gives advice on a specific subject.
A counselor is the expert on the mind. On the road to wellness, it is imperative to address the mind. However, by definition, we are looking at achieving balance of the mind AND body AND spirit.
Nothing against consultants or counselors, these professionals are needed and are, indeed valuable. If you are looking to make a change and achieve ultimate wellness, you will want a wellness coach on your side. What you will receive is a consultant, a counselor, and RESULTS! A wellness coach is your own personal cheerleader. Someone who is in your corner to give you a pat on the back (or a kick on the backside) when needed. You get the information you need PLUS the guidance along the way. You get the additional benefit of someone to hold your feet to the fire. The focus is YOUR SUCCESSS. You are in the driver’s seat.
Why Empower Wellness?
The philosophy of Empower Wellness is to empower you to take charge of your health. Traditional models in healthcare revolves around education only. The physician (who often did not practice what they preached) would give you the ten to fifteen minute health lecture. Often this “discussion” was one-sided and spoken in what seemed to be a foreign language. At the next visit, the physician would incredulously wonder what happened, would then shake their heads and reach the seemingly obvious conclusion that the patient was non-compliant. The problem? First of all, many times patients did not understand the directions. How can you be expected to accomplish something that you do not understand? Secondly, you are less likely to make a change when you do not feel part of the process.
That was then, this is now. At Empower Wellness YOU are an integral part of the process. You will be an active participant in carrying out your personalized plan of care, AND you will be an active participant in creating it. Options will be explored, (there is more than one way to skin a cat after all – pardon the expression)you will receive any information or tools you need, then the ultimate decision will be yours. You will be given options and together we will develop a personalized game plan to better ensure your success. This client-centered approach fosters ownership in the process. Ownership translates into a higher success rate. We will be there to cheer you on to the finish line which equates to better health!
There are seven hidden factors to obesity. Seven reasons that go beyond the traditional mindset that we are a country that is “overfed and under-exercised” (although paying closer attention to those is not entirely wrong). Ever wonder why as a nation we are becoming more obese even though we know more now than ever? According to certified nutrition specialist and best-selling author Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD,(http://www.annlouise.com/) the answer lies in these seven factors:
Environmental toxins. Environmental toxins are getting a lot more attention these days. These toxins are also referred to as “obesogens”. Research in the area of environmental toxins dates back to the work of Rachel Carson in the 1960s. What we now know is that there is a definite link between the number of chemicals used and the rate of obesity. Amazingly, the rise in the number of chemicals we used rose in direct proportion to the rise in obesity. Obesogens include pesticides, preservatives, drugs and other chemicals that are commonly found. These contaminates are thought to interfere with how food is processed by the body.
The Fear of Fat. The second factor is the fear of fat. For many years consumers were told that “fat makes you fat.” Hence, the development of low fat and fat free products that have taken over our grocery shelves. What we now know is that it is not the amount but the type of fat that is important. Essential fatty acids including omega 3, EPA, DHA, ALA, GLA and CLA all have necessary functions. These essential fatty acids are critical to good health. They play an important role in heart health and brain health. There is also been shown to have a link to weight loss and weight maintenance. So it seems that “fat free” actually makes you fatter.
A Tired and Toxic Liver. The third factor is the liver and the fact that most livers are tired and toxic. The amazing liver is responsible for over 400 various functions including manufacturing protein, blood clotting factors and detoxification. The liver becomes damaged with all the exposure to various drugs and chemicals. Unfortunately, often we don’t know there is a problem with the liver until 75% of the cells are damaged. The liver is related to obesity in that bile which is produced by the liver is produced by the liver. Bile production can be inhibited when there is a lack of bile nutrients, or when there is congestion or clogging of the bile ducts. When there is not enough bile produced, fat cannot be broken down.
Waterlogged Tissues. Fourth on the list is waterlogged tissues. This is caused by food allergies. Food allergies causes inflammation in your tissues from leaking of fluid from the expansion and contraction of the blood vessels. Waterlogged tissues can also be caused by medications such as antidepressants, anti-diabetes drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, etc… Tissues can become waterlogged from hormone imbalances (such as estrogen which causes fat to be gained) and lack of protein. Lack of protein causes fluid to leak into the extracellular spaces where it becomes trapped.
Excess Insulin and Inflammation. The fifth element is excess insulin and excess inflammation. When there is excess insulin in the body, the body struggles to store it all but what doesn’t get stored as fat circulates (inflammation) and wreaks havoc on other vital organs (heart, kidneys, etc…). This also becomes compounded when faced with an overworked liver (see #3 and #4).
Stress.The sixth factor is stress. Stress with the release of cortisol is responsible for tummy fat. Cortisol is responsible for the storage of excess fat. Stress has a compounding effect as the use of cigarettes, alcohol caffeine and other drugs are used to help fight the stress response but in fact actually elevates cortisol levels. This is a topic in of itself (and will be).
Lack of Support. Lastly is lack of support. In our society many times these factors are compounded by the fact that many people feel that they have to do it alone. There is a perception that many feel that they are the only one struggling. Obviously with 1 in 3 Americans considered to be overweight, this is simply NOT true! So instead of “sucking it up” and “pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps”, we need to seek others with similar struggles to support us in making these positive lifestyle changes. We need each other!
While this list may not equip us with the exact game plan we may be seeking for losing weight, I believe that it gives us all a good jumping off point. A point that we can then build on.
The Picture of Health is a seemingly ever-elusive measure of perfection that we all aspire to. Why? We are told that if as long as we “have our health”, we have everything we need. But what does it mean to be healthy? Dictionary.com defines health as:
the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor.
soundness of body or mind; freedom from disease or ailment.
a polite or complimentary wish for a person’s health, happiness, etc., especially as a toast.
Medicine in the United States largely uses the definition of “the absence of disease” for health. So if someone has a normal heart rate, pulse and blood pressure are they healthy? Does that give us an accurate picture of health? We all know someone who is the picture of Un-health in their actions and lifestyle. These individuals eat nothing but junk food and do not exercise. Many are “absent of disease” (at least outwardly). Does that mean they are healthy?
What does “the picture of health” look like? For most of us the answer would be an outward measure. Is it six-pack abs? Is it size 2 skinny jeans (no muffin tops please). We all have that idea of what good health looks like. Some will go to great measures to attain that “picture”, sweating and starving to the absolute brink. Millions of dollars are spent in this acquisition with promises of a hard – bodied, healthier you (in 30 days no less). But is that truly the “picture of health”?
So what IS the answer? The short answer is that there is not a short answer. What I’ve learned is that the “picture of health” lies in a balance of five different aspects of our lives. According to The National Institute of Whole Health (NIWH) www.wholehealtheducation.com whole health is obtained through a balance of these five areas: physical, emotional, nutritional, environmental and spiritual.
To achieve the total picture of health, there needs to be balance between these 5 areas:
Physical – Our bodies are machines that need to be taken care of. That means we need to take care of all of the intricate parts to make sure they are working properly. Exercise strengthens our heart so that it functions effectively. When our heart functions effectively, our blood is better delivered to the rest of our body. Without an effectively working heart our bodies become tired and cannot do the “work” it needs to do. Exercise also serves our body in other ways. It strengthens our muscles, this helps support our bones, making movement easier. Exercise also keeps our bones strong.
Emotional – We need to feel safe, secure and cared for. Those of you who went to college more than likely studied the works of Abraham Maslow and his “hierarchy of needs”. The base of the pyramid was safety and security. His premise was that until those needs are met, a person cannot move onto the next level on his/her way to self-actualization. Think about it, if you do not feel safe and secure, can you think of anything else but how to become more safe and secure?
Nutritional – We need to think of food as fuel for our bodies (our machine). Don’t our cars run better on premium fuel than it does on the watered down, lower grade version? Unfortunately just like our cars, cost come into the picture (especially with gas prices these days). However like a motor oil commercial proclaimed, “you can pay me now or you can pay me later.” We can pay the higher prices for the better food (fuel) choices now or pay later in medical expenses (medications, MD visits, etc…).
Environmental – “That child is a product of his/her environment”. No truer words have been spoken. This refers not just to parenting but the actual surroundings of the individual. Today we are surrounded with chemicals, from the air we breathe, the food we eat, to the ground we walk on (both inside and outside our homes). All of these chemicals affect our health. This is a hot topic for many and one that needs further attention at a later time.
Spiritual – Last but certainly NOT least is the spiritual aspect. This is not referring to bible-beating, fire and brimstone stuff. This refers to a sense of connectedness to the world around you. This looks different to many different people. The point is not feeling that you are in this world all alone without anyone to lean on. Many folks their connectedness lies in organized religion, for others it may be hiking in nature. The important thing is to CONNECT!
It is through the balancing of all five of these aspects of our lives that we are complete and in fact have the total “picture of health”. There are no quick fixes and no short cuts. I think this is a never ending journey, that we will always be working towards. There will always be “bumps” along the road that throw things off balance. This principle of “whole health” is not meant to replace traditional medical practices but only to augment and support it. No voodoo or witchcraft used in this model – just common sense with “the total picture of health” awaiting at the finish line. See you there!