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An Alternative to HOPE

 

I have been known to say, “I hate hope” but I don’t believe that is 100% correct. I don’t exactly HATE hope but I certainly don’t trust it. Hope has knocked me down, smashed my dreams, and otherwise messed up my perfectly planned life

Yes, I’m a life coach. So right about now you are probably thinking this blog is going to be full of BS about how you don’t HOPE for anything but you PREPARE and WORK hard which is certainly the life coachy thing to say. But it isn’t about that AT ALL.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not really writing this for any specific reason except to explain myself a little better. After all, if you are considering hiring a life coach, I think its important to learn a little about whom they are as a human.
 

First of all, I began to think about the word “hope” when I was trail running with a few friends last week. As we were falling into icy puddles of water, I heard myself say, “I hope it will be better running on Saturday.” I cringed a little inside because of my own personal war with this word. So, I decided to “think a little harder” about it, as I am inclined to say to my clients.

I decided that hope is acceptable for relatively superficial things that really don’t have much emotional impact for me. I hope for good weather, a good run, the energy to clean… that kind of stuff.

I feel that to HOPE for anything substantial is akin to setting myself up for disappointment.

And if there is one thing I dislike more than the word Hope… its disappointment.

 
I can totally see how HOPE can be viewed within a religious context. Although I am a very spiritual person, I don’t connect with any specific organized religion (the Catholic church kind of ruined that for me… for now anyway). I mean, we HOPE and PRAY for big important things like cures for diseases, safely for our families,.. you know, BIG STUFF like that.

THAT’S where I have the problem with “hope.” We can only WORK and PREPARE so much… and we can only PRAY so hard for something, before reality smacks us in the face and we are left to just DEAL with the crap that life sometimes gives us.

And, YES, life gives really really good people horrible situations.

As a former trauma therapist, I personally know many GOOD people who have prayed hard and worked diligently and still got their asses handed to them. You will also never hear me say, “God gives you what you can handle” because that is a slap in the face to anyone who has known someone who has committed suicide.

For these BIG TICKET situations, I will work hard and pray but I will not Hope.
 

So, this is what I decided to do…

I will COUNT on my strength and ability to learn the valuable life lesson that I am given and I will COMMIT to working diligently towards self-growth and understanding throughout my life.
 

Let’s think about that a little harder….
 

I am going to COUNT ON MYSELF to LEARN, GROW, and UNDERSTAND lifes lessons… which is an incredibly empowering thought! I CAN do this life-thing even when its difficult! My personal spiritual belief is that I will never be alone in this journey and yours may be similar (or not). I am capable of making the right choices for myself or learning from my mistakes.
 

Join me in our journey towards self-discovery and understanding! I am here to help you if you need some guidance. Come in for a free 30-minute consultation and I will make us some tea and we can talk about your goals.

….until then, let’s just hope for no more snow.
 

Most of my clients come from personal referrals or from reading my blogs. Would you mind sharing this article?

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Back on Track: The Anti-Diet Detox

Well, it happened…

I feel off track and gained weight and FEEL terrible. My clothes are tighter but, worse than that, my energy level has plummeted. Along with these rotten physical issues, my long-lost enemies GUILT and SHAME have been invading my thoughts reminiscent of my eating disorder days. I was SURE I killed off those jerks a long time ago!

You may be wondering why this is called the Anti-Diet Detox…

I am not a fan of most diet programs. Most of them tell you what NOT to eat or have you spend TONS of money on shakes, supplements, or special food. This can feel like deprivation, and while that may work for a short period of time (or for a few specific people), eventually we give up and feel like a failure because, lets face it, there’s no pleasure in deprivation.

As a matter of fact, Bishop (2001) conducted a study and determined that people who choose fad diets are more likely to gain weight back than those who followed a healthy lifestyle. The folks who followed a healthy living plan, lost weight slower but were able to keep the weight off without additional lifestyle changes.

Do you know what this means? It means weight loss is actually a SIDE EFFECT of a healthy lifestyle!

We don’t need specific DIETS. We just need to get back to the basics. My Back on Track planner can help you for the next 30-Days! (Click here for a sneak peak!)

Are you ready to get back to the basics with me?

Back on Track: The Anti-Diet Detox

FOOD IS FUEL

I need to switch up my mental game again and get back to looking at food as fuel. The trick is to tune into our internal signals that our bodies needs nourishment and to nourish our body with actual FOOD.

Healthy food tastes great and will give us an abundance of energy.

The difficult part is tuning in to determine which foods our bodies like as opposed which foods our taste buds prefer (the additives, preservatives, and laboratory created sugars make those suckers all confused).

  • CHOICE: This takes time because our tastebuds need to be sort-of reprogramed. So instead of focusing on what I don’t get to eat, focus on what I DO get to eat. 

  • FATS: Personally, I am adding in healthy fats (read my blog to learn more) and switching my bread-y carbs for vegetable carbs. However, if I want a cookie I am going to EAT a cooking because this is NOT a diet plan and, let’s face it, cookies make life more fun.
  • DOCUMENTATION: I am going to document my food because THAT holds me accountable to ONE cookie and not the entire box of Thin Mints (Buy my Back on Track journal here).
  • CHEMICALS: I am also going to reduce the chemicals in my body by choosing (some) organic fruits and veggies and making myself aware of chemicals in my environment. (read my blog to learn more).
  • LISTEN TO MY BODY: And finally, I am going to tune into my “hunger” signals. Sometimes they can get confused. Many times we confuse food cravings for other cravings, specifically cravings for pleasure, relaxation, adventure, and/or sweetness in your life. It starts with recognizing that you are worthy of good things!
    • You deserve to relax!
    • You deserve to have adventures!
    • You deserve sweetness in your life!
    • You deserve peace!

    When you begin to address these areas in your own life, you will notice that your cravings for specific foods will become more manageable and slowly disappear.

STRESS MANAGEMENT

Did you know that the autonomic nervous system is responsible for digestive activity?

There are two branches of the automatic nervous system:

  • Parasympathetic is also known as the rest and digest response
  • Sympathetic is responsible for the fight/flight response.

The Parasympathetic is the optimal state for digestion and when it’s activated, our metabolic power goes up!

I love it when that happens!

But that’s not all! You may have heard of a hormone called cortisol. This is the hormone that is released when we are stressed out! Studies show that increased cortisol in the system leads to fat accumulation primarily around the belly.

I hate it when THAT happens!

This is the reason that learning stress management techniques and creating a life with less stress is imperative to losing weight AND living a healthier and happier life!

I can’t review all of the ways we manage stress in my 90-Day Health and Happiness program, but I can tell you what I am going to do! I am going to add activities into my daily schedule that I know will help manage my stress. For me, these activities are exercise, mindfulness, and quality sleep!

OVERPOWER GUILT AND SHAME

Most, if not all, of my clients have used guilt and shame as their primary “motivation” for weight loss or other behavior change. This DOES NOT WORK as a long-term solution.

These examples may sound familiar to you:

  • “Why can’t I get to the gym? I’m so lazy!”
  • “Why did I eat that? I have NO self-control.”
  • “I am never going to lose all of this FAT!”

I plan on overpowering these horrible feelings with LOVE and ACCEPTANCE. Loving and accepting where you are NOW is THE important first step in any type of behavior change because these feelings are incompatible with guilt and shame! Just like oil and water… they don’t mix!

Loving and accepting yourself as you are doesn’t prevent you from losing weight (as many people believe) but overpowers the shame and guilt that keeps you stuck!

It may take a while to wrap your head about that… but it is 100% true!

MOVEMENT/EXERCISE

Exercise doesn’t need to be punishment, although it tends to feel that way for many people hoping to lose weight. Exercise is most effective when it’s a habit.

Habits are simply the actions we take on a daily basis that determine our quality of life, and pleasure is what drives these habit loops. Our habits are built on what feels most pleasurable to us.

But what does that have to do with exercise?

Exercise/movement needs to be linked to pleasure. You DON’T need to run 5 miles everyday for exercise. You can dance, skip, jump, swim, climb, hike, et cetera…. the possibilities are limitless.

Make it FUN and link it to the pleasure centers in your brain!

  • DOCUMENT: I am going to document space in my daily schedule (in INK) for daily activity.
  • FUN: I will also choose a few activities that are fun to do like snowshoeing and hiking!
  • OPTIONS: I will add in some “winter weather” options because the weather has been so bad. I am also going to plan to do at least 20 minutes of movement each day!

Who now feels 100% confident they can lose weight and improve their health and happiness once and for all?

Most people don’t feel confident. How many people KNOW what to do, but don’t always do it?
Knowing more is NOT what motivates us to action!

So, here are a few options for you….

Sooooooo, what are you waiting for? What do you want to do now?

Most of my clients come from personal referrals or from reading my blogs. If you liked it, would you mind sharing this article?

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Keep that Spark! Tips for Relationships

It appears that STRESS LEVELS are at an all-time high. Politics, job responsibilities, family obligations seem to be affecting my clients and FB friends a lot lately.

On of my main challenges as a life coach is to help my clients figure out a stress management plan that works for them. However, one factor appears to be universal: We can tolerate a lot of JUNK in our lives when our relationship at home is going well.

So, in the spirit of helping our most important relationships, let’s look at a few tips to keep that spark hot!

Keep that Spark! Tips for Relationships

  • Non-Sexual Touch
    Intimacy does not mean sex. Relationship intimacy is a combination of emotional and physical factors that create a “team” atmosphere within your relationship. Touch is one of these factors. If the only time you touch your partner is during foreplay or sex, you may need to work on learning a few of these and adding them to your repertoire of relationship behaviors! Here are a few:
    • Backrub
    • Hand holding
    • Cheek kiss
    • Hug

    It is important that you can perform these behaviors without resentment or expectation. Be mindful of your own thoughts and feelings surrounding touch.

  • Greetings and Goodbyes
    Remember back in the beginning of your relationship when you were sad to see your partner leave for the day and so super happy happy to see them return? We still may feel these emotions but we get too caught up in the “business” of life (kids, cooking, cleaning,.. etc) that we forget to SHOW them!

    In the morning, take time to say goodbye to your partner and give them a long hug. No more rushing out the door with your coffee or protein shake. Tell them sincerely to have a nice day!

    When you see each other after the end of your workday, drop what you are doing and greet them with a hug. Take a few minutes to ask a few questions about their day and really listen to the answers (even if you could care less about their work).

  • New Information
    In long-term relationships, it’s easy to think that you know everything about your partner. This couldn’t be further from the truth! All humans are learning, growing, and changing throughout their life and your partner is no different!
    • What are his/her current stressors at work?
    • What are their thoughts about significant current events?
    • Have their future/work goals changed?

    Relationship intimacy is increased by showing interest in your partner as a “significant other” (instead of as a parent, provider, cook, etc..) and demonstrates how you are genuinely interested in their life! Your challenge this week is to find out 3 new things about your partner! Have fun!

  • Plan a Date
    In the beginning of a relationship, people spend a lot of time planning the PERFECT date! As relationships wear on, “dates” become less special such as going out to eat simply because no one wants to cook!

    Regardless of whether you are the official “date planner” in the relationship (they all seem to have one), planning a date that your partner will love is a great way to show that you care about them and have been paying attention! Do you hate football but your partner is a huge fan? Plan to go to a game or a sports bar to watch it with them. I swear it won’t kill you (I am living proof)! The goal is to plan an actual date with them in mind!

If you would like to learn more about how to improve your health AND happiness, please set up a time to talk with me and we can figure it out together.

In my health coaching practice, I help my clients transform all of their bad habits into healthy behaviors that last!

Please click the following like for a FREE 30-Minute Consultation. Lets figure out what may be holding you back from becoming a healthier and happier version of yourself. I’ll pour the coffee….

Most of my clients come from personal referrals or from reading my blogs. Would you mind sharing this article?

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Health Benefits of Chocolate!

Eating chocolate is the equivalent to giving ourselves a warm hug from the inside. Aside from tasting like HEAVEN, chocolate contains properties that make it actually GOOD for us. I thought I would provide some solid research to back up the fact that we actually NEED chocolate in our lives.

(At this point, I would like to point out that this, in fact, is nothing close to solid research, but my anxiety is telling me that I may be breaking some kind of important blogging law by claiming it is. So, lets just say this blog is SOLID RATIONALIZATION that happens to be backed up by a few facts)

Now that we’ve gotten all the legal issues out of the way…..

Solid Rationalizations Confirming the Health Benefits of Chocolate

  • Chocolate Health Benefit #1: Polyphenols and Antioxidants

    Polyphenols are compounds found in natural plant food sources, including chocolate, that have antioxidant properties. In case you are not aware, antioxidants are free-radical kicking ROCKSTARS and dark chocolate is FULL of them. An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. And don’t even get me started about how bad oxidation is! Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals that may damage your cells.

    Can you see why we actually NEED (vs. want) chocolate in our lives??!!
    To get the most antioxidants out of your chocolate, choose the dark kind. Dark chocolate has a much higher concentration of polyphenols.

  • Chocolate Health Benefit #2: Magnesium and Working Out

    Dark chocolate also contains 95 mg magnesium, which is even more than a banana (although not as much as spinach or chard).

    Can somebody please tell me why they don’t hand out slabs of chocolate after a race?!?! Please? Because I would really prefer chocolate over a banana any day…

    I, personally, take a magnesium supplement; however, chocolate sounds like a much tastier alternative, and it sure beats a salad. I may need to re-think my magnesium plan….But I won’t give it up because I KNOW it helps me sleep better at night.

    Some additional health benefits of magnesium include: can contribute to improving bone health/strength and muscle building, can help with chronic pain, and eases sore muscles.

    ATHLETES: you may need to incorporate more chocolate into your diet!

  • Chocolate Health Benefit #3: Phenylethylamine the Love Drug

    Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, which has been called the “love drug.” It causes your pulse rate to quicken, very much like it does when someone falls in love.
    Relationships can be really confusing and difficult. Eating chocolate seems like a much simpler (and tastier) alternative (just kidding, of course)

  • Chocolate Health Benefit #4: Serotonin and Mood

    I am a BIG ‘OL fan of serotonin! Serotonin is a chemical that nerve cells produce. It’s a natural mood stabilizer and experts have even linked low levels of serotonin to depression! Normal levels of serotonin help us feel happier, calmer, more focused, and less ANXIOUS! Can you see why I’m such a fan?

    Not only does chocolate have Serotonin, it has the precursor to serotonin, L-tryptophan. Tryptophan is found only in our diet, but when we eat it, magically turns into serotonin in our bodies! And Chocolate has BOTH!!

  • Chocolate Health Benefit #5: Sex

    That got your attention! Dark chocolate is known to contain an amino acid called L-arginine that helps enhance your sex drive by increasing nitric oxide and stimulating blood flow to your sex organs. This has also been shown to increase sexual sensation and desire. NOW I understand why we give chocolates to our sweethearts for Valentine’s Day! Its not an altruistic as I once thought…

So there you go, as promised, a blog crammed full of reasons to eat chocolate. You’re welcome…

How do I identify the highest quality chocolate?

  • Look for dark chocolate with a 70% cacao content or higher
  • Make sure the very first ingredient is cacao or cacao butter and not sugar!

While I’m not prepared to say that chocolate is a HEALTH FOOD, I am also not NOT saying it.

In my health coaching practice, I help my clients transform their bad habits into healthy behaviors that last! If you would like to come in for a FREE 30-Minute Consultation, please send me an email!

Most of my clients come from personal referrals or from reading my blogs. Would you mind sharing this article?

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Quick Stress Management Tips!

I get it. You’re busy.

As of matter of fact, if I talk to you for any length of time, you’ll probably tell me HOW INCREDIBLY BUSY YOU are! For some insane reason, our culture glorifies “busy.”

Personally, I think that’s stupid!

We wear our busy-ness like a badge of honor, as if our fatigue is a testament to how much we love our families.

I am doing my part to change that.

In my life coaching business, I create a save place where we can honestly look at the “tasks” that keep us occupied. Hour by hour, minute by minute, I encourage my clients to put themselves FIRST in their life and create a life that is filled with self-care and peace. Most often, families barely notice the change…

The truth is, if we don’t take care of ourselves, no one will do it for us. And (this is a hard truth to swallow), we have no one to blame but ourselves.

TIPS TO MANAGE STRESS

  • BREATHE: This may seem ridiculous until you understand the biology behind the tip. Here is the quick and dirty version: The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is divided into two parts: The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system triggers the fight-or-flight while the parasympathetic nervous system promotes the “rest and digest” response (Harvard Health Publications, 2016). For chronic stress, we need to find a way to cue the body into believing that everything is fine. How do we do this? We breathe slow and deeply… our bodies think we are all relaxed! It doesn’t know we are tricking it!!!! When we take deep, slow breaths, we can convince our ANS that everything is A-Okay.
  • MEDITATION/MINDFULNESS: The most basic way to describe mindfulness meditation is bringing 100% of your attention to your breath. It means learning how to control your busy monkey mind and its crazy, stressful thoughts! Mindfulness doesn’t need to be difficult or stressful. After all, that would defeat the purpose! It DOES have to be practiced regularly to be successful. Mindfulness is a huge part of managing my own Anxiety and a solid part of my 90-Day Health Program.
  • EXERCISE: I exercise for my physical and emotional health! I don’t know what I would do without it. The research suggests that engaging in at least 20 minutes of exercise can help with anxiety/stress reduction (Petruzzello, Landers, Hatfield, Kubitz, & Salazar, 1991). I’ve always thought that exercise “completes” the stress response by tricking my body into thinking it has gotten away from the threat! As your body learns to adapt to one form of stress (phycial stress) it will improve its management of emotional stress as well.
  • NATURE: Spending time in nature can have some amazing health benefits. A study by Hansmann, R., Stella-Maria, H., & Seeland, K. (2007), showed that spending time in nature relieved headaches and stress significantly. The results were even better when the subject exercised in nature! Spending mindful moments surrounded by trees, digging in the dirt, or walking barefoot in the grass has a calming effect on your mind.
  • JOURNAL: I encourage journaling in my life coaching practice. I am particularly fond of gratitude journaling and process journaling before bed. The journalling method that would benefit you the greatest would depend on your unique personal needs and specific kinds of stress.
  • FOODS: Watch what you eat! Like it or not, certain foods can affect your mood. Learn to identify these foods so you can avoid them during the high stressed times in the season. Unfortunately, simple carbs (cookies and sweets… you know, the yummy kind) can increase the feeling of stress by spiking our blood sugar.

If you feel too stressed to relax and can’t figure out how to carve some self-care into your schedule, then set up a time to talk with me and we can figure it out together.

Click on this link to sign up for my NO COST 30-Minute Discovery Session and lets figure out what may be holding you back from becoming a healthier and happier version of yourself.

If you share this blog on any social media platform, I will add an additional 15 minutes to your session! (That’s a $94 value)

Sooooooo, what are you waiting for? Share this blog below.. and lets schedule a time to chat!
I’ll pour the coffee….

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A Healthy Way to Detox

Detoxification Diets (or Detox Diets) seem to be everywhere lately! These short-term diets claim to solve all your health problems from eliminating toxins to promoting weight loss. But, do we really know if they eliminate these so-called “toxins” in our bodies? Do they actually help with weight loss?

And what the heck are toxins doing in my body anyway??!

Let’s figure this out!

There appear to be two distinct types of people who gravitate towards this type of diet plan. Just so you know, I have been in both of these categories at certain points in my life. So I totally get it.

  • WEIGHT LOSS: The first groups are the people who need a quick weight loss fix. This group seems to be convinced that their bodies hold significant weight in “toxins” and by ridding their bodies of these toxins, they will be able to lose weight and/or get a jump start on their healthy living plan.
  • LIFE TRANSITION: The next group tends to be in an emotional time of transition in their lives. When life spins out of control, people tend to look for something they can control. Since many of the detox diets claim to eliminate toxins, they feel it is a “healthy” way to control something in their chaotic lives.

Unfortunately, both of these groups appear to have fallen for some unsubstantiated claims by the Detox Diet folks. After a thorough review of the literature, Klein & Kait (2014) concludes that there is no persuasive evidence to support detox diets for either weight loss or toxin elimination. If you’ve tried detox diets in the past, you probably disagree with this conclusion. Especially if you feel you’ve had results. This study also contradicts many books and Internet sites claiming otherwise.

This critical review of the literature looked at numerous clinical studies and found no studies that have been conducted that don’t suffer from “significant methodological limitations” such as small sample size and sampling bias. Self-report is also a way some of these folks determine if a detox diet worked, which can be a very unreliable way to determine the effectiveness of any study. Have you noticed how most books and articles (and those gosh-darn addictive infomercial/videos) on detoxification are attempting to sell us something? Any “research” to support a specific diet should be critically reviewed to determine if the researchers had a partial interest in the outcome.

Since we are on the topic of detoxing, what exactly is a “toxin” anyway?

In the medical community, a toxin generally refers to drugs or alcohol that a person needs to be weaned off. Within the detox community, the term “toxin” is poorly defined. Many of the commercial detox programs don’t specifically identify what “toxin” they are eliminating, which makes researching their claims difficult.

Do you lose weight on these diets?

Probably. Many detox diets don’t provide a healthy number of calories, which places stress on the body. So, people end up losing weight and can feel sick. How do the Detox Diet makers explain this? Detox diet makers claim that the negative symptoms experienced are due to “bad stuff leaving the body” which sounds a little too convenient for me.

Sometimes in our desperation to make changes in our lives, we buy-in to these claims and give the detox diets a try.

Are there harmful substances in our lives that we need to avoid? YES. Do we need a periodic detox diet to do it? NO.

Unfortunately, what we need to do is much harder. We need to gradually begin to eliminate these toxins from our everyday lives. But hang in there with me and remember: Small changes made each day add up to big changes to your overall health!

So, lets look at a few small changes that work to detoxify a few areas of your life:

NUTRITION:
The article supports that there are certain nutritional components that have detoxification properties:

  • Malic acid (found in grapes and wine)
  • Citric acid (found in citrus fruits)
  • Sucinic acid (fond in apples and blueberries)
  • Citrus pectin (found in the peel and pulp of citrus fruits)
  • Chorella (a type of green algae)

Now, I wouldn’t run out to Costco and stock up on fruit and green algae (??!), because it is important to note that the research into the detoxification properties of those nutritional components was predominately conducted on animals (mostly mice).

You can also work to limit the amount of pesticide exposure in your diet. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) evaluates fruits and vegetables to determine their overall pesticide exposure. The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen categories help consumers prioritize which foods are most important to purchase organic when trying to limit pesticide exposure. This group came up with 12 foods (The Dirty Dozen) with the highest pesticide loads and are best purchased organic. They also included fifteen (The Clean 15) foods that have the lease pesticide load.

Here is your FREE DOWNLOAD of the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 foods.

SKIN PRODUCTS:
We have a tendency to focus on what we put IN our bodies instead of what we put ON our bodies. Unfortunately, the United States is behind the European Union (EU) when it comes to contaminants in our beauty products. The EU has effectively banned over 1000 harmful ingredients in their products while the USA has only banned 11.

This is more than a little terrifying to me.

I have taken it upon myself to do my own research regarding what products I use for myself and my family. I recently downloaded an app that can help me make better choices with my skin care (and food)! The app is called EWG’s Healthy Living App. If these guys sound familiar, its because they are the same organization that created the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 list! I suggest you download the app and begin looking at the safety score on the products you use.

Here is your FREE DOWNLOAD of the Healthy Living App

I have partnered with Beautycounter for all of my skincare products. They have clean products for your skin and I LOVE them. Beautycounter bans the use of over 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals in their products. This includes the over 1,400 chemicals banned (or restricted) by the EU, plus additional chemicals that Beautycounter has concerns about.

I don’t wear a lot (or any) make-up but I love a healthy skin care routine. Here are links to 3 of my favorite products.

Beautycounter prohibits chemical SPF filters due to their high potential for skin irritation. They prefer to use physical sunscreens, more commonly known as mineral sunscreen. Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, sit on the surface of the skin and physically bounce or reflect sun’s rays away from the skin. Mineral sunscreens are great for people with sensitive skin as well as babies and kids.

This is my special treat when I want to pamper myself. It is formulated with 15 botanically-derived acids, this leave-on AHA/BHA peel improves skin texture and minimizes the appearance of pores, fine lines, and dark spots without irritation or over-drying. Glycolic, lactic, and malic acids clear away dull surface skin cells, while hyaluronic acid and essential fatty acids soothe and nourish to reveal a brighter, more youthful-looking complexion.

This benefit-packed tinted moisturizer delivers lightweight hydration, a hint of sheer coverage, SPF 20 protection, and a luminous dewy glow. It also includes black currant, peony flower root extract, and vitamin C to enhance skin brightness and sodium hyaluronate to promote firmer, smoother-looking skin. The main reason I love this is because of the sunscreen and subtle tint!

TECHNOLOGY:

According to The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey, 86 percent say they constantly or often check their emails, texts and social media accounts. They determined that this constant checking has been found to be associated with higher stress levels. The most stressful part? When technology doesn’t work (which is kind of funny because my printer JUST decided to stop printing).

In addition to stressing us out, technology can mess with our sleep at night. If you have a tendency to use your computer, TV, or phone before bed, it can make it difficult to fall sleep. Technology emits a blue light, which has the same wavelength as the sun. This blue light tricks your brain into thinking its time to wake up (because the sun it out)! It ends up messing up the normal sleep-wake cycles that we typically keep.

  • Try to put your technology away for the hour before you go to bed. My clients and I call this The Power Down Hour. Take a bath and get ready for bed to music (or a podcast) instead. Or read an actual book. Perform activities that wind you down after a long day instead of revving you up.
  • Take time during your day to periodically disconnect from your electronics. Go for a walk during lunch instead of checking your social media and put the phone away when you get home from work. Small breaks can help break the habit of constant checking.

The GOOD NEWS is that there are small things we can do everyday that will lead to significant and LASTING changes to our overall health and wellness. The BAD NEWS is that there isn’t a quick way to reduce the exposure to chemical in our life.

If you need help putting yourself first in your life and improving your health, please let me know.

I offer a FREE 30-minute consultation to see if the 90-Day Health Intensive program is for you. You can even grab a few friends to reduce the cost and increase the FUN!

Most of my clients come from personal referrals or from reading my blogs. Would you mind sharing this article?

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Stress Management and Anxiety Help!


Summer is here… and the kids are on the loose!

I remember those days…… I began the summer with big plans filled with enriching ideas for my little ones. By the end of my summer, I was so stressed out that I would practically push them onto the school bus.

Now that they are adults, I look back on the summer time and really wish I had planned less and enjoyed more.

But How?

There is a very good reason we are given the instruction to put on our own oxygen mask in an airplane before we assist any one else. At 40,000 feet, you have between 15-20 seconds before we lose consciousness.

We need to take care of OUR needs before we focus on our families or our jobs.

Too often we put our jobs, families, and even our friends’ needs above our own. This may work for a short time; however, we often end up feeling unhappy, resentful, and completely stressed out.

Managing stress is a huge part of my 90-Day Intensive program and part of my personal practice to reduce my Anxiety. Lets look a little at what we learn about stress in that program so we can approach this summer with more reasonable goals.

Because I like to be super-helpful, I am going to divide this post into two parts.

  • The first part is for my fellow geeks that like to learn a little about the WHY our bodies respond to stress they way they do.
  • The second part is a fast-forward to WHAT we can do for those stressed-out souls who have limited time.

WHY (for my geek tribe)

Our bodies have responded to stress since the beginning of time. If it didn’t, we would be dead. Dangers in the prehistoric days were widely different than they are today. When a saber-toothed tiger would chase us, our bodies would prepare to either fight or run away. As you can imagine, these dangers were immediately life threatening.

Our brains continually monitor for signs of danger even while we sleep. In times of stress or trauma, our brains instantly activate our bodies to prepare to protect ourselves!

Our nervous system continues to respond to present day danger in the same way: By releasing hormones that prepare us to fight or run away. Nowadays the perceived “threats” tends to be long-term mental/emotional stress like financial stress or traffic.

The physical responses are the same:

  • Accelerated heart and lung action
  • Flushing or paling of the skin
  • Inhibiting digestion (you don’t need to digest your sandwich when you’re running for your life)
  • Releasing fat and glucose to power your muscles
  • Dilation of blood vessels for muscles
  • Relaxation of bladder
  • Tunnel vision
  • And more…

Can you see how these responses would be helpful in a tiger attack?

Chronic stress has replaced tiger attacks, which I’m pretty sure is a good thing. We just need to learn how to manage it. Anxiety related health problems exist today because our brains perceive a threat, create the same physiological reactions, but the threat either never goes away (ex: work stress) or we are unable to physically deal with it (ex: because punching stupid people is still a crime).

According to webmd.com, the 10 Health problems related to stress are:

  • Heart Disease
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Accelerated aging
  • Premature Death (seriously?!?)

Slowly, but surely, stress will kill us.

WHAT TO DO (for my time-crunched, stressed-out tribe)

  • BREATHE: This may seem ridiculous until you understand the biology behind the tip. Here is the quick and dirty version: The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is divided into two parts: The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system triggers the fight-or-flight response and the parasympathetic nervous system promotes the “rest and digest” response (Harvard Health Publications, 2016). For chronic stress, we need to find a way to cue the body into believing that everything is fine. How do we do this? We breathe slow and deeply… and trick our bodies into believing that everything is A-Okay.
  • MEDITATION/MINDFULNESS: The most basic way to describe mindfulness meditation is guiding 100% of your attention to the present moment without judgment. It means learning how to control your busy mind and its crazy, stressful thoughts! Mindfulness doesn’t need to be difficult or stressful (that would defeat the purpose). It DOES have to be practiced regularly to be successful. Mindfulness is a huge part of managing my own Anxiety and a solid part of my 90-Day Health Program.
  • EXERCISE: I exercise for my physical, spiritual, and emotional health! I don’t know what I would do without it. The research suggests that engaging in at least 20 minutes of exercise can help with anxiety/stress reduction (Petruzzello, Landers, Hatfield, Kubitz, & Salazar, 1991). I’ve always thought that exercise “completes” the stress response by tricking my body into thinking it has gotten away from the threat! I’m not sure if this thought is true but I know I feel better after I exercise. As your body learns to adapt to one form of stress (physical stress) it will improve its management of emotional stress as well.
    If you would like an easy and inexpensive exercise log, check out my Life Coaching/Exercise journal!
  • NATURE: Spending time in nature can have some amazing health benefits. A study by Hansmann, R., Stella-Maria, H., & Seeland, K. (2007), showed that spending time in nature relieved headaches and stress significantly. The results were even better when the subject exercised in nature! Spending mindful moments surrounded by trees, digging in the dirt, or walking barefoot in the grass has a calming effect on your mind.
  • JOURNAL: I encourage journaling in my life coaching practice. I am particularly fond of gratitude journaling and process journaling before bed. The journaling method that would benefit you the greatest would depend on your unique personal needs and specific kinds of stress
  • FOODS: Watch what you eat! Like it or not, certain foods can affect your mood. The blood sugar roller coaster you experience with high sugar foods can make you feel crazy! Learn to identify these foods so you can avoid them during the high stressed times in your life. Unfortunately, simple carbs (cookies and sweets… you know, the yummy kind) can increase the feeling of stress by spiking our blood sugar.

If you feel too stressed to relax, and you KNOW it’s affecting your health, your weight and your energy levels, then schedule a time to talk with me about how to reduce or cope better with the stress in your life.

Here is a link to my Exercise Log and Life Coaching journal. It is easy, inexpensive and can help you as your learn to manage the stress in your life.

If you’d like more personalized help, sign up for a NO COST 30-minute consultation to see if life coaching can help you!

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Five Life Lessons Learned from Running

I love running plain and simple. I not only run for my physical health but for my mental (and spiritual) health as well. So, if you’re interested in the many physical benefits of running, a quick Google search will overwhelm you with information. Personally, I have found these to be only a fraction of the benefits I have experienced.

Running clears my mind and helps me focus unlike anything else I have tired. After years of running I’ve realized the lessons it has taught me that I have applied to my non-running life
(Although it may surprise some people, I actually DO have a non-running life!).

Five Life Lessons Learned from Running

  • Running has helped me manage the bad days.
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