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Eat Mindfully, Move Joyfully, Live Vibrantly


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Turn Your Vision into Reality – Building a Foundation

pyramid3The Wellcoaches’ behavior change pyramid is a powerful visual depicting the importance of building a strong foundation when making health behavior change.  If you skip any of the blocks you risk creating goals on  shaky ground.

The bottom of the pyramid your wellness vision. What would it look like if you were at your best state of health and wellness? Paint a picture of how you would look and feel. What activities would you be engaged in? What do you want more of in your life? Joy, love, hope, confidence?

What are your values? If your values include achievement, efficiency and integrity, do you make health decisions based on your values? How about your strengths? Are you compassionate, kind or curious? How can you incorporate your strengths into your health goals?

If you are having a hard time pin pointing your personal values and strengths think about what is make you a good employee or a good parent. Make a list of  the attributes that make you successful at work or at home.

What obstacles have you experienced in the past? Moving past obstacles can involve taking a new path, looking at your challenges through the lens of your strengths, shedding self-limiting beliefs and developing a more flexible mind-set.

In order to make change we need to be mindful of our habits. If you begin to feel guilt or shame over your habits or past attempts to reach your goals take a deep breath and sit with your feelings. Are you being fair to yourself? Do you hold yourself to unrealistic standards? We tend to talk to ourselves in a way that we would never talk to a friend. What would you say to a friend in the same situation? Does it match up to what you are telling yourself?

What resources and supports do you have to help you move forward? Do you have a friend or a family member you can share your goals with? Have you thought of hiring a coach or a trainer to hold you accountable and guide you through any bumps in the road?

Whatever your goals, build a strong foundation consisting of your values, motivators, support, challenges and strategies for success. Your foundation will support your vision and goals at the same time serve as a positive place to come back to if you are struggling.

Elizabeth Schenk is a health coach and fitness expert specializing in helping individuals with chronic disease or chronic pain take charge of their health and build a positive vision for the future.  


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Living Well with Chronic Pain

acceptance-art-dirty-faith-Favim.com-610774 Are you one of the 100 million Americans affected by chronic pain? Living with chronic pain is not “sexy”. Chronic pain sufferers don’t have foundations to bring world wide attention to our suffering or walks for our cause or celebrity spokespeople.  We don’t get the attention that say MS patients or cancer patients get. And I understand, chronic pain is usually not a life threatening problem and I am certainly not trying to understate the seriousness of these other conditions. Chronic pain it is just something you might have to deal with the rest of your life day in and day out. Something that affects every single aspect of your life from work to your relationships, being a parent being a partner or spouse not to mention the emotional roller coaster, self-doubt, self-blame and self-pity.

We often get stigmatized as drug seekers, hypochondriacs, lazy or weak minded. This often leads…

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For Long Term Success, The Joy of Living Trumps the Fear of Disease

A diagnosis or threat of disease motivates many to start a wellness program, but is often not enough to keep people going.  For example, tobacco users are well aware of the long term consequences of tobacco use such as lung cancer and emphysema but it is not enough to motivate certain individuals to quit. So what does work? Connecting people with their values, strong motivators and purpose has a much more powerful impact.

A former client of mine who was a smoker lost a grandmother to lung cancer yet this was not a motivator for her to quit. Protecting her own health was not a motivator either. As we continued to explore reasons to quit smoking she said having a child of her own would motivate her to quit.

Another former client who was obese with various health risks tried diet after diet with no lasting success. When she connected her health to her faith and helping others in her community it was life changing. She now supports members of her church who want to lose weight by holding a weekly support group. By helping others she has been able to help herself.

The initial shock of a diagnosis of any disease is enough to shake us up into behavior change but what is going to keep you going? This will take a little digging, thinking and soul searching but it is worth it. Finding your purpose to be well is extremely powerful.

To start you can ask yourself what are your motivators? Why do you want to do this? No superficial answers like I want to look good and feel better. Don’t we all? What does it mean to be healthy? What will you be able to do if you are fit and full of energy? How will staying healthy help your family? What will you be able to do if you are in good health? Go on that trip to Thailand you have been thinking about? Plant a garden?  Play with your grand-kids?  Often you will find the fear of the disease is not as motivating as the joy of possibilities!

 


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The Connection between Sleep and Your Waistline

More and more informationsleep 1n is being discovered about the importance of getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. In terms of weight loss, a lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight by interfering with the hormonal processes that take place while you sleep.

The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin.  Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, your body makes less leptin. Ghrelin is the  hormone that tells you when to eat. When you are sleep-deprived, your body makes more ghrelin. The result? Your body is telling you to eat more and your body is not telling you when to stop. In other words more ghrelin + less leptin = weight gain.

Keep a sleep log to see if you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If you are not, make a list of the barriers that prevent you from getting 7-8 hours of sleep.  Are your barriers to quality sleep things that you have the ability to change? If so, what can you do differently to get your ZZZ’s?


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The Food-Mood, Mood-Food Connection

We have many choices each day when it comes to our well-being. What we choose to eat being a big one. Have you ever thought about how food affects your mood? Have you ever though about how your mood affects your food choice?  I am not here to get preachy and tell you what to eat and what not to eat, I am just asking you to be a mindful observer of how your food choices make you feel and how your mood affects what you choose.

A great way to observe how your food choices make you feel or what you are feeling when you make your food choice is to create an awareness journal. In your notes include things like:.

  • How hungry were you when you ate or were you even hungry at all?
  • What kind of day were you having? What was going on?
  • A summary of what you ate (don’t worry about counting calories,  fat grams, etc..)
  • How you felt when you were done eating.

Did you notice any connection with your hunger level and food choices? Are there any patterns with regards to your mood and your food choices  or how much you ate? How about your energy level? Were you tired, bored or stressed?

If you ate too much, make a note of how you felt both physically and emotionally. If you ate and you were not even hungry, what was going on at that moment? Remember, this is about mindful self-awareness, not about feeling guilty or shameful with regard to your choices.  All we are looking to do is recognize  patterns and build new habits that will lead to instinctive eating.

You might be surprised what you discover!

For more tips on mindful eating as well as up and coming Am I Hungry?®  Mindful Eating, Vibrant Living workshops, follow me on Facebook!
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