Use your words. Be powerful.

So much of creating a healthy environment for nourishment revolves around our own feelings of self-worth and positivity. How you describe yourself carries into how you live your life and present yourself to others.

This week, a fellow health coach shared an inspiring grounding exercise in a group coaching call. The demonstration of the power of words, language, and descriptors was perfect for a session when each of us was given the opportunity to tell our story. It’s really about creating a powerful affirmation mantra. Most useful for moments of self-doubt.

  1. First, write down 2 powerful words that describe your strengths. These are qualities you have, like compassionate, brave, influential, inspirational…pick your own.
  2. Next, pick 3 qualities you aspire to have. Something you may be working towards. Same kind of words.
  3. Now, in front of each word, write “I am grateful that I am…”
  4. Use these phrases as your mantra or daily affirmation.

I thought this was a simple yet beautiful exercise in visualization. The power of manifestation is real. Living your life as you envision turns aspirations into reality.

Many thanks to Tiffany from It’s Me, Lady G for the inspiration.

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 power of your story

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A flutter of negativity can ruin your day. That’s when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

Honor your past to inspire your future. Loaded words.

This was one of themes in my training this week. And oddly enough before I completed the assignment, I was feeling very reflective. Monday night, I spoke to a room full of potential bariatric surgery candidates and shared my story. It was a very moving experience, and gave me a bit of a mind shift. You can read more from my personal Instagram account which documents my journey post-bariatric surgery.

Connecting the dots: I have to step back and look at where I started and where I am now, and use that to inspire me to push towards my future goals. As I build my coaching practice I have been thinking of what really differentiates me from other graduates of my program.

Everyone’s journey is different, and destination too. But what I have learned along the way is what inspires me to help others, whether they are considering bariatric surgery or another medical intervention for obesity. I have learned through mistakes, I have gathered a significant amount of information about the disease called obesity and the negative stigma associated with it. I understand weight bias. I understand the frustration of feeling hopeless and like a failure.

But I also know what it feels like to emerge from the darkness and capture the true power of my own story.  I am ready to share what I have learned, and what I am learning.

Monday night I had the honor and privilege of being the guest speaker at my bariatric surgeon’s New Patient Seminar. Before I was called up, she played a video with the song “everybody wants to rule the world” over dozens of transformation photos (which of course made me a little teary-eyed). At the end of the song, it paused on these three “before” pictures. And then I walked up. Hard to imagine standing in front of this crowd of people knowing I was in the audience not so long ago. My journey is different than most, but still inspiring to people who are just starting on their path. It made me feel completely relevant. And the person on the left is so much happier — and healthier. It made the difficulties of this year fade away and gave me renewed inspiration and a sense of accomplishment. I have maintained my weight loss for a year. I never expected I could do it. But I did. Time to reflect and give myself some credit for a year of hard work, mental toughness, and asskicking victories. #obesitysurvivor #wlsjourney #longstrangetrip #2017inreview #whatayear #enjoytheride #livelife #seizetheday #carpediem #healthcoach #iinsession

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Reboot your thinking

Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break.

Period.

We can be so hard on ourselves, and this time of year when the calendar gets full and work gets intense trying to meet deadlines while working around holiday schedules, it’s important for me to remember: self-care is not selfish.

Over the past few weeks, I have found myself overcommitted, full of anxiety, and with a to-do list a mile long. The most important thing I did was to recognize those feelings, own them, then come up with a plan to mitigate what felt like an impending implosion. Okay, truth time: I had a bit of a mini-meltdown.

I know I am not the only one who has experienced these emotions.

So what are some strategies for rebooting? Here’s a few I have been employing.

  • Sleep. I have worked on my sleep habit over the past few years. I aim for 7-8 hours which is a huge improvement over 4-5 that I thought was enough. After my mini-meltdown, I set an 8:30 bedtime for myself and even chose sleep over exercise to just get my energy back on track.
  • Protect your time. I have had to pass on some lunch and coffee invitations because as an introvert, they are a huge effort for me. I love my friends, but I needed to recharge before I can engage, at least for now.
  • Take some mental health time. I have so much banked vacation time, so I have been using it as a way to rest and refocus my energy, especially while building up my coaching business.
  • Eat well. Nutrition for your body contributes to the nourishment of your soul. What you eat affects how you feel.
  • Practice gratitude. Daily reminders of the good things in life help reframe your mental energy when in a rut.
  • Hug your dogs. (Well, that’s what I do.) If you don’t have a critter to hug, maybe it’s time to open your heart and adopt one!
  • Hydrate. Dehydration can add to your funk. With the weather getting cooler, herbal teas have worked their way into my hydration agenda.
  • Laugh. Read or listen to a funny book, or indulge in some Netflix time for a mental break.
  • Breathe. Practice focused breathing or meditation to help bring some mindfulness to the situation.

What are some of the ways you choose to reboot? Share them here or tweet with me @OffthePlateMC.

Namaste. 🙏

Life is not binary

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There’s this concept in my coaching program called “the magic of mirroring.” When listening to clients, there’s often this inner dialogue going on where you completely relate to what they are saying, and as you go on in dialogue providing guidance, you hear yourself answering your own struggles. Speaking with one of my “practice” clients, we got into a conversation about being good or being bad.  Why is it that we take this all or nothing approach to so many things? We say, “I eat really well, except when I am bad.” We let this notion of being “good” allow us to indulge in “bad” things as a reward, or we punish ourselves for being “bad,” by spiraling into more “bad” behaviors.

Life isn’t that clear cut. And for people who have struggled with weight loss, it’s time for a new way of thinking. We’ve been shamed into thinking that we are being bad if we make a poor food choice or if we chose to sleep in over going to the gym. It’s time to listen to that voice in your head and tell it to STFU.

This a-ha moment I had made me very conscious of my inner monologue and how often I think of things in terms of good or bad. I have rephrased my self-talk. I only choose food that will nourish me because that’s just how I eat now. I choose to eat this way because I am proud of my success and I don’t want to go back to my old way of life.

Is it all butterflies, unicorns, and roses?  Hell no, but the awareness of that negative self-talk is the best answer to defeat it when things are tough. Weight loss after gastric bypass surgery isn’t just automatic. Well, part of it is — in the beginning, but there’s a lot of work that goes into making smart food choices, getting proper nutrition and supplementation, showing up for exercise, and creating consistently healthy patterns with sleep and stress management. I hear myself telling fellow patients that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and I stop and listen to myself. Health coaching is the thing that will keep my inner evil voice quiet and will keep me focused on my own health and wellness.  And that, my friends, is good.

Staying positive in a world full of negativity 

Making lasting lifestyle changes takes work. A lot of work. And when social sites are part of the equation for your support system and connecting with helpful resources, it’s important to check in with yourself about the value of your social network and its content. 

I’m not even talking about the news and political climate. That’s a whole other ball of wax that I just can’t get into. I’m talking about your friends. We all have a friend or two who use Facebook as a way to vent, complain, namedrop, finger point, and basically bitch. 

Sometimes you just have to keep scrolling. Scroll, scroll, scroll. It’s so easy to let the negativity sink in, but if the positive support from your social network outweighs the negative, just scroll on by. Or hide them. Or de-friend. Your comfort zone gets tested every day, so do what’s best for you. 

But sometimes, life calls for a digital detox. Find sources of positivity outside of your social network. Like with nature and real people. Or give your dog or cat a hug. And if you don’t have a cat or dog, adopt one! Pets are great medicine. 

Fill your journal with positive affirmations and revisit them when you need a boost. Pinterest is always a great source of inspiration if you can’t completely break free of your phone. 

This post is brought to you by Dionne Warwicks’s “Walk on By.”