The Transformative Lifestyle Blog

3 Things You Can Do To Be Healthier Today

Small steps are the key to success. How many times have told yourself “Today’s the day! Today I’m doing it all different!”? Then, with the best of intentions you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone and right over the cliff into misery and pain, physically and mentally. I know, I’ve been there, and the road to recovery meant crying into a large pizza and hating any and all forms of exercise. 

Ok maybe that was a bit dramatic but if you’ve ever started over, you know what I’m talking about. We are our own worst enemies. Not to worry! By following these 3 easy, safe and effective tips to total health and wellness, this will be your last do over. 

Step one: Look in the mirror and say “Hi, nice to see you. I love you already. Now, what do you need?” This may sound corny but it sets the foundation for accepting you as you! Having some sense of self awareness and self acceptance is a huge piece to knowing how to move forward, in a way that’s unique to you. Nobody knows you better than you do, after all, so take that step in empowering yourself. Hearing the answers out loud can bring a tremendous shift in thinking. It doesn’t matter if you say 10 things or just 1 thing. Be open and honest with yourself about where you are on your journey and where you’d like to be. Now, go grab a pen and notebook and write down what your answers are to yourself. 

Step two: Speaking of notebooks, did you know that studies show that by keeping a health journal you are more likely to engage and stick with healthy lifestyle patterns? Journaling helps you prioritize your needs and concerns and opens the door for positive reinforcement. Writing things down on paper gives you something tangible to use as a comparative analysis. I really enjoy going through my old health journals from 5 years ago, even last year. It makes me smile to see how I’ve worked through my own challenges and how I’ve been able to form new and long lasting healthy lifestyle habits.  

Step 3: Surround yourself with like minded people. It’s easier than you think and you don’t necessarily have to be in physical proximity to them. Scroll thorough your Facebook friends list and note which ones are always doing things that relate to what you like. Google “healthy eating websites” or “yoga blogs” or “how to change from a couch potato into a runner”. Have fun with this! Once you find a few websites or blogs that you like, subscribe to their newsletters and follow their blogs. Don’t be shy and comment on their blog posts, you’ll most likely find that there’s a lot of people out there, just like you, with the same kinds of challenges and questions. 

Want some practice? Start by leaving a comment below and see where the conversation leads you. Increase your support system by connecting with The Mind Body Wellness Center today! 

Why Meditation is an Effective Coping Mechanism for Stress and PTSD

When I was in my Recreation Therapy undergrad work at Naval Medical Center San Diego I was deep into my meditation practice. Everything I wrote and researched had to do with meditation and it’s effectiveness for being part of a stress management system, especially for the soldiers. The patients at the hospital were participating in my relaxation groups and gave me some great feedback about how they were able to sleep better and felt a lot more relaxed throughout the day. So I figure, if it’s good enough for the military, it’s good enough for me. 

But why is meditation such a powerful tool? Breath is the key to opening to door to the mind body connection. Breath is calming, centering. How many times have you told yourself “just take a deep breath and relax”? It’s all about the physiology of your body. In case you don’t know, physiology is how your body works the way it does. It’s about all the internal processes and actions from digestion to heartbeat to healing from a cut. In this example, it’s about how your brain controls everything in your body. When you experience stress or anxiety, one part of your brain tells your body you’re in “fight or flight” mode. It tells your body to secrete lots of powerful hormones and neurotransmitters that make all the blood flow out into your arms and legs so you can pummel and run. 

The complete opposite occurs during meditation. As you come into your breath, a different area of the brain is stimulated and another bunch of hormones and neurotransmitters are secreted into your bloodstream, telling your body “it’s ok to relax and let go, we got this.”. Blood flows back into the midsection of your body, heart rate and breathing slow down and a part of your nervous system begins to heal muscle tissues that pummeled and ran. You gain more control over your thought processes, you begin to think and “see” more clearly and can manage your emotions better. Not just military service members, but anyone who lives in a high stress environment, or is prone to chronic anxiety attacks, can benefit from trying meditation and relaxation techniques. Just a sidebar here: universities, medical and allied health professionals around the world have compiled a mountain of research showing the effectiveness that meditation has on PTSD and stress.  

If you’re interested in learning new tools to help you manage your stress a little better, connect with us today to hear about the programs we offer in achieving Mind Body Wellness. 

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Losing Weight or Gaining Health, Which Do You Choose?

Weight loss is such a daunting task. It sucks, really. But our obsession with weight loss, endless commercials, products and weight loss systems make it seem like we’re actually addicted to our fatness. For some reason, we like to set ourselves up to fail by trying the next new fad, only to lose 6, gain back 10. Honestly people, enough already! 

For me, the permanent shift came when I was able to shift my thinking about my own weight loss. Having gained 30 pounds in 3 months, I became a slave to my scale and fearful of every stupid little thing, every time I’d put food up to my mouth. But unfortunately, that battle with myself wasn’t just for a few years…it was more like 15. That’s right. 15 years! Ugh. So how did I stop that cycle? Somewhere in all the work, the self-help books, the divorce recovery methods, the endless bottles of wine and late night calls to my girlfriends, I realized that it wasn’t about losing weight, but gaining health. 

It was like a switch flipped somewhere in my brain. Or maybe the words of Caroline Myss and Louise Hay finally made it into the deep recesses of my brain. Either way, I was able to finally understand that there would never be a quick fix or a fast (guaranteed) way to lose weight and keep it off.  The reason I’m sharing this with you is that I want to save you all the time (and money) that I wasted on trying every single thing that was out on the market. See what I mean about daunting? 

Looking back on those years, I remember that it wasn’t just about muffin tops and back fat, but it was about how I felt, physically and emotionally. Being on the chubby side not only bruised my ego, but my body ached everyday. Bending down to tie my shoes hurt my low back, my knuckles and hands ached to the point that I thought I had arthritis. The lethargy I experienced caused me to sleep like a champ. Seriously, if sleeping was an olympic sport, I’d win the gold, silver and bronze. When I’d wake up, my body would take at least 10 minutes to warm up before I could really get moving. 

Once I adopted a more Ayurvedic lifestyle I started feeling immediately better. The pain all but disappeared within a week of my first cleanse and it was then, for the first time in so long, that I felt like a healthy human being! As it turns out, I’ve dropped around 20 pounds. I really have no idea what the exact number is because I only get on the scale every few months, so it could be more, it could be less. Honestly, I don’t care because I’m no longer in pain, my digestive issues and my sleeping patterns have normalized, and everyday I feel energized. For me, that’s where it’s at. I’m no longer in a battle with weight loss and that ever important shift has made all the difference for me. So ask yourself, how are you feeling today? Do you want to feel the same way a month from now? 3 months? 6 months? If you answered “lousy”, then “NO!” connect with me today and let’s get you set on your path to total wellness.

 

Alternative Therapies Are Not Like Alternative Facts

Health coaching, Ayurveda, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, yoga, and naturopathic medicine fall into the category of what’s largely known as “alternative therapies”.  Alternative is defined as “available as another possibility.” If that’s the case then, how come we never really consider them? It’s easy to call your doctor, complain of a symptom, have a prescription written, take a pill, and hope the side effects of said pill don’t require yet another prescription. In a few days or weeks, your symptoms subside, but a few months later, when the symptoms return, you’re off for another prescription. When you choose to work with a practitioner in the healing arts field, you work with someone who’s interested in the root cause of your chronic issues, or in the case of health coaching, someone who’s interested in the chronic behavioral patterns that led you to make unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Alternative therapies look at you, the person, as a whole, and then, your symptom(s). Traditional medicine tends to look at only your symptom, then prescribes a course of treatment, usually medication, to eliminate the symptom in you, the person. The challenge with this line of thinking is that, when it comes to medicine, the one size fits all approach won’t always work.  By looking at the person first, your wellness professional can begin to understand why the imbalance existed in the first place. Usually, this goes a lot deeper than any one pill will go and to fully heal from chronic issues will mean a lifestyle change, or at least a new awareness of lifestyle changes that are necessary for the healing process to begin and maintain. 

I can just hear some of you now: But the “great thing” about pills and meds is that it’s a quick fix, right?!! Ummm…no. By masking the symptoms with medication you don’t benefit from the long term effects of healing. The main goal when using alternative therapies is getting you as healthy as possible, so you don’t have to continue pumping your body full of prescriptions and unnecessary medications (don’t forget the cost to your insurance company). Imagine living your life, free of pain, being able to move without hindrance and getting a full nights sleep, not to mention having normal blood pressure or not having to take medicine to regulate your cholesterol and blood sugar levels! 

Taking those first few steps can be scary, but in the end it’s worth it.  When you work with a professional who practices “alternative therapies” you’ll experience a long term change in your views about health and wellness. So don’t #covfefe yourself! Break the habit of medication and learn how you can change your life for the better, healthier, long term by contacting the Mind Body Wellness Center today. 

 

 

 

The Mind Body Connection and Your Power Over Your Own Health

“You are what you eat.”

“If you build it they will come.”

“What goes around comes around.”

The one thing these little cliches have in common is that they show you that you absolutely have the power to control your outcomes. So day after day, when you live in world that’s chaotic and hectic, and you don’t learn to manage your stress, your body is going to feel the averse affects. 

The mind body connection is just that: the interconnectedness between the power of your mind and how it can affect what’s going on in your body. If you have ever experienced an anxiety attack then you know what I’m talking about. Your mind starts spinning, your thoughts move faster and faster, and the next thing you notice, your heart begins to race, you become short of breath and it feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest. Things are getting out of control. Are you having a heart attack? “Oh gosh…what do I do? Now I’m scared, I can’t seem to focus, I can’t breathe, my heart’s beating faster and that elephant feels like 2! AHHHH!” 

OK, STOP!

In reality, what just happened is the perfect example of the power your mind has over your physical circumstances. Nothing physical was happening in your body until your mind started taking over. Why do we let this happen? Our dependence on pills and surgery have separated ourselves from, well, ourselves. It’s like we’re almost desensitized to our inner most needs. Understanding the mind body connection will put you in back in the driver’s seat. 

That’s not to say that medication and surgery aren’t necessary. Obviously, if you’re bleeding from a car crash or you’ve broken a bone, chanting OM will not help you. I’m speaking more about our chronic over medication and our dependence to unnecessary pills to heal your symptoms, while experiencing their very powerful side effects. So much relies on your relationship with your stressors.

That said, how do you overcome moments of stress? Take a minute to close your eyes and think about  when you’ve been in a high stress situation. How did your body feel then and how does your body feel as you look back on it? Your fists might be clenched, your shoulders might be hunched to your ears and you might be gritting your teeth. Again, take note that nothing really happened, you just allowed your mind to go to a stressful place (is this experiment fun yet?). 

Now, take a nice deep breath, feel yourself relaxing into your chair and notice how your body feels as you let those thoughts drift away. Keep breathing and fall into the sensation of your body, starting with the feet, then moving up slowly, until you reach the top of your head. How different does that feel now? You might even be a bit sleepy. 

This is just a taste of what the mind body connection is and how you have the ability to control the outcome of your monkey mind. We all have stressful moments in our lives, and learning how to manage yours will take a little time and effort. Watch this short video to learn a little more about the power of the mind body connection; the science behind it is fascinating. Then, contact me today to learn how to begin the process of mastering your own Mind Body Wellness. 

5 Things You Can Learn From A Sunset

  1. Go into the dark with beauty and grace. Duality is in nature, as well as ourselves. Without the dark times it would be difficult to appreciate the good. 
  2. Be colorful! Feeling low? Try adding some fun and bright colors to your wardrobe! 
  3. Look up and look all around you. The colors from a sunset seems to be everywhere at once and fill the sky. Be sure to look up and away from yourself every once in awhile, you never know what you might see. 
  4. Be adaptable in change. Change isn’t always easy, so like the shifting colors of a sunset, give yourself the opportunity to make the necessary shifts in life. 
  5. Nothing is permanent! Keep that in mind. Today’s sunset will only last for a short time and tomorrow’s may be just as beautiful. One thing is certain, tomorrow will come and it will bring a whole new set of circumstances. 

Intention or Resolution? Which one is it?

One of my favorite topics, only because most of us don’t realize how much power we give to our words. We’re all gung-ho to lose weight, start working out like maniacs, saving money for everything we could possibly want, etc, etc, etc. “This year I’m going to (insert new habit)”. But how often do we really succeed in reaching our goals? Maybe instead of setting a resolution, we lighten the mental load and think toward intention

Oxford dictionary defines resolution as “a firm decision to do or not to do something”. A.firm.decision. Yikes, sounds pretty concrete, unmovable and, stubborn, really. On the other hand, intention is “an aim or plan. Conceptions formed by directing the mind toward an object.” A little easier to deal with, don’t you think? 

How many of you set your new year’s resolutions only to give up within the first month? How easy was it to hold onto that “firm decision” as the weeks in January rolled by, and in the end, did it make you feel empowered or overwhelmed? If you managed to fall out of your good intentions (see where I’m going here?!), don’t fret, February is here and it’s time to reassess!

One of the first things I do as a Certified Health Coach  is help my clients decide what their goals are, and if they’re realistic and attainable. Then we set a plan in motion based on what they intend as their outcome. Many times when we become resolute in something, we only see the end result. We tend to forget about the amount of time and effort it’s going to take to reach said goal, and when the unexpected occurs we fall right off that wagon, repeat old habits, and proceed to beat ourselves up. Ugh. 

Try this instead: close your eyes and ask yourself “what do I intend to do, what do I really want to accomplish?”. Then give yourself permission to accept whatever challenges life (or your mind) may throw at you and know that in the end, your intention will be there to gently nudge you back your path. 

Ready to set some goals? Contact me today and let me help you set your new, New Year’s intentions. 

How a 2 Week Ayurvedic Cleanse Changed My Life

I’ve always considered myself pretty healthy. I run, do boot camps, hike and believed in the 80/20 theory for my diet. Still, there was always a struggle with my weight and I was constantly exhausted. For years I blamed it on my career as a massage therapist. I’ve been doing this job for 20 years and the constant joint and back pain made it so I was sick of doing it, I really wanted to quit. I slowed my practice down significantly and as summer came to a close I began to notice that I still wasn’t feeling any better, and despite my active lifestyle, my weight didn’t budge. Finally, after some coercion from my best friend, I decided to have some blood work done. I thought that that would be a good place to start, that my “numbers” would tell me where I needed to do some work, if any.
Needless to say, I was shocked when I received the results! Then I became concerned. A diagnosis of pre-diabetes, with high cholesterol and even higher LDL, actually frightened me. I thought, “ how could this be??”. I’m healthy, I cook most of my meals at home, and I workout at least 4 days a week! My blood, however, told a different story. It forced me to take a good hard look at, not my present lifestyle, but my past.
What have I done to get myself here?
Another hard look made me realize that my extensive years spent as the party girl did some irreparable damage to my organs and I was now unable to process fats and sugars the way I should be. On top of that, my liver and gallbladder had crapped out to the point that my lymphatic system was holding on to fluids that my body couldn’t metabolize. This is why the “layer of puff” never seemed to go away. I realized it was time to make some serious changes.
I’ve always believed in Ayurveda– an ancient form of healing that’s history is rooted deep in Vedic philosophy.
Ayurveda looks at the whole person, not just the symptoms. It takes into account everything- how you sleep, how you eat and digest, what’s up with your poo, how you handle stress- everything. You are not separate from your organs in Ayurveda, you are one being and so you will heal as one being.
I decided to try the Colorado Cleanse, from Lifespa. It’s a 3 phased, 2 weeks reset where you eat certain foods at certain times, with herbs that are meant to detox and cleanse your organ system. I’ve done many cleanses and I can honestly say this is by far, the most effective and eliminating cleanse that I’ve ever done. By day 5 my body had rid itself of so much inflammation and by day 14 my layer of puff was gone! The pain in my joints and back completely disappeared and I no longer experienced that afternoon slug time. I experienced deep sleep for 8 hours every night and woke up before my alarm, every day, feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. My digestive system had the opportunity to begin healing.
And this is only the beginning. Nothing will motivate you more than feeling your best, and when you feel your best, you look your best. I’ll take that any day over wine and cheesecake. At least for now…

How to Reach Your Health Goals by Consulting a Health Coach

Health and wellness aren’t just buzz words anymore (thankfully, since I’m trying to build a successful business around it). It seems that slowly but surely, people are starting to realize that diet, exercise and stress management really are the keys to living a happy and healthy life. 

When I talk about diet and exercise I mean that it’s important to have an awareness about what works for you. I don’t mean you have to go out and run every day, train for a marathon, stop eating bread, dairy, sugar, lift weights 6 times a week and sit in meditation all day or say “namaste” to everyone you meet on the street. I’m talking about an awareness that you know your body better than anyone else; that you begin to “feel how you feel” every day. Once you start on the path of paying attention to your daily habits, you get the idea that what you’re doing might not be working for you. Consequently, you might not necessary need that medication for high blood pressure, that statin for cholesterol, or that anti-anxiety med for your stress levels. As I talk to more and more people I have reached the conclusion that so many people have given up their power to the medical community. How many times have you been to the doctor and felt like a nuisance because you’re asking too many questions, or on the opposite  end, felt like a fool because you couldn’t follow what the doc was trying to tell you? It’s time to change the paradigm from “do as I say” to “how can we help you get better?” 

One way to get the ball rolling is to consult a Certified Health Coach. Health coaches aren’t doctors, but they can help you determine what your next step might be. They listen to your concerns and ask questions to help you figure out how to feel confident about being in charge of your own health. There’s a plethora of information out there from acupuncturists, naturopathic docs, personal trainers and nutritionists that range from meal plans to mind body exercises to learning how to manage your stress. Fortunately, your health coach has the resources and tools to teach you how to adapt that information into your current lifestyle. Your health coach can teach you not to be afraid to ask questions and get comfortable with not knowing how to move forward, but knowing that you WANT to move forward. They’ll help guide you to determine what part of change is most important to you and how to set goals that are realistic and attainable.  That’s how we achieve success, one step at a time, and it’s important that you’re successful! 

One of the first things I recommend to my clients is that they start using a health journal. This is helpful for when something comes up that they’re not too sure of. They jot it down and start to keep a running list of questions or concerns. Too much information at once can be overwhelming and confusing and let’s face it, we’ve all had times when we’ve walked out of the doctor’s office and forgot what he said or when we got home, realized we forgot to ask him something. The practice of keeping a health journal helps you to be as informed as possible when it comes to your own health care. 

Your health coach will help you face your health regimen with confidence and give you peace of mind that you’re on the right track. Who knows what the health care system will be like in the future. There’s no time like now to get yourself in the driver’s seat and show your body and mind who’s boss! Ready to get started?  Contact us today to find out how! 

“Being entirely honest with oneself is good exercise”– Sigmund Freud

 

 

Take Back Your Power!

A basic guide for normal everyday people who drink, smoke, are couch potatoes and don’t have the first clue how to get off their butt & become healthy. 

Health and wellness aren’t just buzz words anymore (thankfully, since I’m trying to build a successful business around it).  It seems that slowly but surely, people are starting to realize that diet, exercise and stress management really are the keys to living a happy and healthy life. 

When I talk about diet and exercise I mean that it’s important to have an awareness about what works for you.  I don’t mean you have to go out and run every day, train for a marathon, stop eating bread, dairy, sugar, lift weights 6 times a week and sit in meditation all day or say “namaste” to everyone you meet on the street.  I’m talking about a self awareness that you know your body better than anyone else; that you begin to “feel how you feel” every day.  Once you start on the path of paying attention to your daily habits, you get the idea that what you’re doing might not be working for you. Consequently, you might not necessary need that medication for high blood pressure, that statin for cholesterol, or that anti-anxiety med for your stress levels.  Why have so many people given up their power to the medical community?  How many times have you been to the doctor and felt like a nuisance because you’re asking too many questions, or on the opposite  end, felt like a fool because you couldn’t follow what the doc was trying to tell you.  It’s time to change the paradigm from “do as I say” to “how can we help you get better?” 

One way to get the ball rolling is to consult a Certified Health Coach.  Health coaches aren’t doctors, but they can help you determine what your next step might be.  They listen to your concerns and ask questions to help you figure out how to feel confident about being in charge of your own health.  There’s a plethora of information out there from acupuncturists, naturopathic docs, personal trainers and nutritionists that range from meal plans to mind body exercises to help you manage stress and your health coach has the resources and tools to teach you how to adopt that information into your current lifestyle.  Your health coach can teach you not to be afraid to ask questions and get comfortable with not knowing how to move forward, but knowing that you WANT to move forward.  They’ll help guide you to determine what part of change is most important to you and how to set goals that are realistic and attainable.  That’s how we achieve success, one step at a time, and it’s important that you’re successful! 

One of the first things you can do to begin taking control of your health is to keep a note pad handy.  When something comes up that you’re not too sure of, jot it down and begin to keep a running list of questions you have.  Too much information at once can be overwhelming and confusing and let’s face it, we’ve all had times when we’ve walked out of the doctor’s office and forgot what he said or when we got home, realized we forgot to ask him something.  Now you no longer have to feel intimidated, frightened or confused when it comes to communicating with your primary care physician.  The practice of keeping a health journal helps you to be as informed as possible when it comes to your own health care. 

Your health coach will help you face your health regimen with confidence and give you peace of mind that you’re on the right track.  Who knows what the health care system will be like in 6 months.  There’s no time like now to get yourself in the driver’s seat and show your body who’s boss! 

“Being entirely honest with oneself is good exercise”– Sigmund Freud

A healthier you