Heal Yourself

Open your mind to the possibilities

Think about your last visit to the doctor. Did you leave feeling full of energy and vitality, or did you leave with a new diagnosis and prescription? These days, with the obesity rates rising in our nation, it’s likely you were told to lose a few pounds, maybe got a prescription for a statin to help lower your cholesterol, or told you need to eat less and move more.

Our healthcare system is failing us. They’re treating the disease, not the person. Treating the symptoms, but not searching for the root cause. And not really providing any guidance. I mean, come on — how helpful is “eat less and move more”?

The good news is that things are changing. Insurance companies are starting to work on wellness and prevention, rather than just health care as disease care.

Our bodies have an amazing capacity to heal, given the chance. But we focus so much on disease, that it puts us at dis-ease.

Healing so many conditions begins with nutrition and mindset. And so many conditions begin with nutrition and mindset. Stress, negativity, and a poor diet can exacerbate any medical condition, and can greatly impede progress toward achieving your optimal health. Stress and anxiety create chemical reactions in the body and result in hormonal imbalance, which can lead to a variety of conditions.

Improving your nutrition and nourishing your body with the nutrients it craves is just the beginning. A diet rich in nutrients fuels your body for healing. Sugar and processed foods can cause inflammation in the body, so crowding out processed foods and adding in fresh fruits and vegetables will make you feel better, and heal better too. You also need to nourish your mind and spirit as well. Reduce stress, increase movement, and find small ways to work joy into your day. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Giving thanks for all that you have and the things that make you happy is a transformative process. You’ll find everything changes with just that small mental shift. Visualize yourself as a picture of health. Celebrate what you see.

I fully believe in western medicine, but I have learned throughout my journey to wellness, that medicine will only get you so far. It’s how you live your life that really makes in impact on how you feel and your overall health.

The food and mood connection

If you are reading this, chances are that you are actively focused on being healthy, getting healthy, or some other wellness related goals. A new year is a great time to start changing your habits, but don’t fall into the New Year’s resolution pitfalls of making your goals too lofty and unsustainable.

When incorporating new healthy routines, whether it’s fitness or nutrition or journaling or whatever, it’s important to connect to the “why” behind it. And to get to the bottom of the “why.” In some coaching guidance I received about goal setting, there’s this theory about the 5 whys. If your goal, for example, is “I want to lose 10 pounds,” ask yourself why, 5 times. It goes something like this:

  • I want to lose 10 pounds
  • Why?
  • So I can fit into my jeans
  • Why?
  • So I can feel better about myself
  • Why?
  • Because I want to build my self-esteem and confidence.
  • Why?
  • So I can take control of more things in my life.
  • Why?
  • So I can feel empowered to change the things I know I need to change.

So…and this is just an example, everyone has their own reasoning — is this really about the 10 pounds? Does the number on the scale really control you that much? I think diving into the rationale behind your goals really helps to structure a clear goal with a visible path forward.

I had this discussion with a client, and it led to a discussion about making some different decisions around meal planning and overall nutrition. When making a change like crowding out animal products or adding in healthy greens, one of the things that can make it feel like less of a sacrifice or deprivation is to track how that change makes you feel. How do you feel when you prepare it, when you eat it, when you get up the next day, or when you’ve done it for the first week? Do you notice improvements in energy, in your sleep, or your focus? Do you feel better that you are doing something for yourself? Seriously, think of all the feelings that food evokes. The notion of comfort food comes into play. If your comfort food in the past has been all the junky foods you’re trying to crowd out, ask yourself whether that food actually provided comfort, or was it a go-to in a mindless, irrational, emotional way?

When you start to pay attention to how you feel after crowding out something, or adding in something new, you start to get to the root of intuitive and mindful eating. This is not something instantaneous – it takes time. But aren’t you worth it?

This week, pick one of your new habits and journal about why you are doing it, and how it makes you feel. Just owning those feelings can be very empowering! And that’s how you nourish yourself, both on and off the plate.

Winding down 2017 — as a prepper!

Chopping Vegetables with caption: Meal Prep Mania

It’s not what you think. I am not preparing for the end of the world by stocking up my underground bunker in the middle of nowhere. I find myself at the end of the new year venturing into new territory!

For the last two weeks, I have been testing out a service: meal prep. I’m not just creating Pinterest boards full of bento box perfection (although I did create a Food Prep board). I’ve started preparing meals for a client at her insistence.This wasn’t what I had in mind when I started on this health coaching track, but hey — if I can help someone take control of their health and well-being, why not! She wants to eat healthy, but doesn’t want to take the time to do all of the prep.

I get it.  There’s sometimes when it’s easy to grab some pre-boiled eggs and some string cheese and call it a day. But to really eat healthy, to get in your greens and fiber, and all the goodness of whole food nutrition, it takes work and planning.

And meal prep for someone else keeps me on track too. I’m definitely getting more efficient the more I do this.

I thought I would share a few tips for you to try if you’re embarking on a food prep adventure in the new year.

  1. Planning starts with the menu. Pick a few recipes that you plan to make and that you can make in bulk.  I usually will make a few different entrees, a few vegetable side dishes, and sometimes a grain. Then I find a few breakfast recipes like steel cut oats, protein muffins, egg fritatta muffins, and green smoothies. Once I have the menu down, I make a grocery list. Many times I already have a lot of staples at home, but I’ll just need a few extra thing.  I also plan things like extra greens for smoothies and salads, fruit and veggies for snacks, and some basic protein options like eggs, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt that can be used at any time for a snack or meal.
  2. Shopping – I try to do all my shopping at one place, and since I know the layout of our local store well, I try to put my lists in the order that food is laid out at the store.  Believe it or not this saves time. For produce, I tend to buy organic, or at least follow the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen guidelines. I also go with frozen organic fruit for smoothies.  I consume such a small amount of food, it usually goes bad before I can eat it unless it’s frozen.
  3. Unpack and prep. Once home, I put away anything I’m not going to immediately use, but I will wash and chop all the veggies needed for recipes so they are good to go.
  4. Plan your order. If you are roasting vegetables, I try to get those washed, chopped, and prepped to throw in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or so, and I can switch out sheet pans as I go. I try to find all recipes that cook at roughly the same temperature to save some time too.
  5. Clean as you go. I am one of those people who tends to use every bowl, pot and pan in the house when I do food prep.  I like to clean up between each recipe to keep things organized and to save some time at the end when the last thing in the world I want to do is wash another dish.
  6. Package for mix and match. As I prep my food, I portion everything out for my portion sizes that are roughly the same caloric value or macro nutrients. That way, I can just grab a few things to mix and match during the day that can also be interchangeably breakfast or lunch or dinner. I tend to make “buddha bowl” type things where I can add  various proteins to greens, grains, roasted vegetables, and maybe add an interesting dressing or sauce, or just top with hummus or some other pureed bean recipe. I like to make it an adventure.
  7. Save what works! When you find a recipe that’s easy and tasty, make sure you pin it to a Pinterest board or add it to your folder of favorite recipes.  You’ll want to add that to the rotation.
  8. Have fun! Put on some good tunes and your Fitbit and dance around the kitchen.  Time on your feet is time you aren’t on the couch, and cooking really can be a lot of fun.

Now that I have a few weeks under my belt of actually doing this for someone else, I can see some benefits for myself. I’m challenging myself to try some new things — like baking.  It was never really my thing, but now I have made a number of different sugar free and low sugar treats, and really awesome protein muffins made from black beans!

Whether your goals for 2018 are to eat healthier or move more, there’s a way to build some simple steps into your life to get you on that track. I’d love to discuss your goals and intentions for the year. Are you ready for the big things ahead?  I know I sure am! Contact me for a free consultation if your are interested in learning more about health coaching and about how you can incorporate more home cooking into your diet and lifestyle.

Are you ready to change?

I was at a party over the weekend and was talking about my health coach business, and the question came up about whether I could help someone eat better. It was a trick question.

The truth is that someone needs to be willing and open to making changes, no matter how big or small. Thinking about some simple things like adding in more water and greens and crowding out fast food and processed food. Those simple suggestions were met with resistance.

That tells me the person doesn’t really want help, or is not willing to commit to the changes he needs to make. Yet.

How do you know you are ready? Every journey needs to start with a single step. Maybe “lifestyle transformation” is too overwhelming. With the help of a health coach, small changes can happen over time that will eventually add up to bigger transitions. Still, you have to be willing to let go of all preconceived notions and be willing to trust the process.

Not everyone is there. And that’s okay. I will continue to model the behaviors in my own journey and hope he comes around. My nature, I’m a fixer. But I am learning not everyone wants to be helped or is ready to do the hard work.

Are you ready? Contact me to learn more about my coaching approach.