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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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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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Goal Achieving Part 2 – Your Personal Mission Statement

When I start a coaching session with a new client, we start by creating a wellness vision. The process involves creating a clear picture of how you see yourself at your best state of well-being.  In order to know what we truly want in our lives, we need to get a clear picture of what that is. You wouldn’t start a business without a business plan would you? Well, you could but having a plan will certainly increase your chances for success. Think of the values and purpose part of your wellness vision as your personal mission statement.  In the business world, a mission statement is defined as a company’s “statement of purpose” or “why the company exists”. It is part of building the foundation of the business. When big decisions are made, the company’s mission (usually!) is kept in the forefront.

Now think about creating your own personal mission statement. Your personal mission statement should define your purpose, what you value, who you are, and how you want to live. You can have a blanket mission statement for your life or a mission statement for different areas of your well-being. The main areas of well-being are:

  • Career well-being
  • Financial well-being
  • Physical well-being
  • Community/social well-being
  • Family well-being

To help create your personal mission statement, a good place to start is by asking yourself some questions:

  • What have I done well in the past in this area of well-being?
  • If I was at my best with regards to this are of well-being, what would this look like?
  • What are my core values when it comes to this area of well-being?
  • What is most important to me?
  • If I were living this area of well-being with purpose, what would that look like?

Take your time and write down anything that comes to mind. There are no rules on how your personal mission statement needs to be written or how long it needs to be. After all, it is you mission statement.  It should come from you, not from another person’s idea of who you should be.

Keep in mind, your mission may change over time as your life evolves. It is helpful to review and revise your personal mission statement often. If you use your personal mission statement to guide your goals, you are more likely to set meaningful goals and your life will be a reflection of your purpose and core values.