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Out of Darkness, Into the Light!

 Trust. Have Hope!

      Gradually, imperceptivity, step-by-step, sluggishly transformative…things change!

Life’s metaphors may speak about our journey towards increasing health and friskiness, from imbalance to greater personal balance and health. Many examples in life abound:

  • In gardening: weeding, preparing the soil, adding compost, planting seeds, watering, and waiting for the harvest of delightfully colorful, nutritiously splendid, sumptuously growing, and tasty produce.
  • In waiting for fruit to ripen: oh the beautiful blossoms, then small green leaves and tiny fruit, the seasons of warmth, cold, and rain…all connected, to bring about a crunchy and delicious apple or other fruit (I LOVE plums, peaches, pineapple, grapes, oranges, and more!).
  • In going from winter’s early darkness: from just 1.2 minutes a day increasing the light and warmth that is available, until we arrive at the splendor of summer’s long and warm days!

  • In arriving at a destination: when you drive your vehicle from place to place, you have an awareness of your starting place as well as an awareness of where you are going. You accept that you cannot get there instantaneously; you accept that you will travel the distance, and in time, you will arrive at your destination. You do not get so discouraged at the midway mark that you just turn around and go back to your starting place. You accept the distance between your starting place and where you desire to be–and you continue to move in the direction of your destination. You understand what is required, and you do it. We want to understand that the journey between where you are now and where you want to be–on all subjects–can be just as easily understood. You keep taking the required steps and don’t stop until you arrive at your destination. Just as it is possible to contemplate a trip from Portland, Oregon to Seattle Washington, contemplate a trip from financial insecurity to financial security, from confusion to clarity.
  • To really understand this evolutionary process I encourage you to get up one morning before dawn (in summer maybe around 5 am, and in winter around 6:30 am) and sit in a chair with the lights out where you can look out the window. At first the sky will be completely dark (except for stars or the moon), and very gradually you will notice the outlines of trees, buildings. The images of household objects will come into focus, until you can see everything clearly.
  • So consider the journey from wanting to ride a bicycle to riding one…or of desiring to drive a car to driving one…or from inner distress to peace…or from illness to well-being…and lastly see how this gradual learning process applies to your journey of arriving at and maintaining a healthier weight and life.

Come into your true self…a gradual awakening…just like the arrival of the dawn.

 

Step-by-step: Visions of health into realities, you make the difference!

Moment-by-moment, choice-by-choice, you plant seeds of well-being and nurture them and…

You reap the harvest of health and friskiness!

Taken from my diary in 1992 during a emotionally discouraging time:

             Oh, Bobbie sweetheart, remember where you were…

Contemplate how do you keep and nurture hope during difficult times?

May the seeds of self-honoring and respect, self-empowerment and awareness, sprout, grow, and… blossom into a wondrous, abundant new life for you!

Investigate the Epilogue-The Tree Story

Along your journey of change, be gentle with yourself!

Be respectful towards yourself:

“Don’t shout at the apple and demand that it ripen!

It won’t ripen any faster and all you’ll get is a sore throat!!!”

—Advice given to me by my counselor

Don’t Give up!

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Cultivate Health as You Celebrate Well-Being!

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Cultivate health! Celebrate well-being!

Vitality/aliveness/well-being is more than a number on a scale!

Ask yourself: What’s NOT wrong?

What are the blessings in my life that sometimes I might take for granted?

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Come to the banquet table of life.

Learn to nourish yourself in ways that provide lasting nourishment to the soul (heart).

Practice the recipes for nourishing the heart.

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Learn the art of cultivating joy.

Ask yourself, what nourishes joy in me? What nourishes joy in others?

Do I nourish joy in myself and others enough? Do I enjoy the precious jewels that I have?       

        Daily Check-in:

  Notice if there’s suffering (obstacles/patterns that don’t work well).

See a cause.

See a way out, and a path that shows the way out.

Practice the path.

     Ideas for Self-Nurturing Activities         By Bob Wilson, BS, DTR

(* = FREE) This list is euphoric and non-caloric!!!

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Paint Your Life with Creativity! The Painting Experience

Self-Nurturing Restorative Box

Sprinkle Dollops of Delight and Self-Care Towards Yourself

Ways to Learn to Love Your Body

Listen to my favorite music

Enjoy a long, warm bubble bath

* Go for a walk

* Share a hug with a loved one

* Relax outside

* Practice feeling contented

* Physical activity (of my choice)

* Spiritual prayer

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*Attend a caring support group

* Practice diaphragmatic breathing

* Do stretching exercises

* Reflect on my positive qualities: “ I am…”

* Watch the sunrise/sunset

* Laugh

* Concentrate on a relaxing scene

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Create a collage representing “the real me”

Receive a massage…ah…

Massage

* Reflect on: “I appreciate….”

Write my thoughts and feelings in a personal journal

Attend a favorite athletic event

Do something adventurous!

Read a special book or magazine

* Sing, hum, dance or whistle a  happy tune!

Play a musical instrument

* Spiritual meditation

MEDITATING DOG

Work with plants (gardening)

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Learn a new skill

See a special play, movie or concert

Work out with weights

Ride a bike or motorcycle

Make myself a nutritious meal

HPIM0285.JPG

Draw/paint a picture

MY FIRST PAINTINGI SAY YES TO MY LIFE

* Swim, float, wade, relax in a  pool, or on the beach

Do aerobics/dance

Visit a special place I enjoy

* Smile & say : “I love myself.”

* Take time to smell the roses  (and other flowers I enjoy!)

uncondition love ROSEP1040518

* Imagine myself achieving my goals and dreams

Go horseback riding

* Reflect on “my most enjoyable memories”

* Enjoy a relaxing nap

Visit a museum/art gallery

* Practice yoga

Relax in a whirlpool /sauna

Enjoy a cool, refreshing glass of  water or juice

* Enjoy the beauty of nature

HPIM0569.JPGP1000633

* Count my blessings: “I am thankful for…”

* Play as I did as a child

* Star gaze- stay up late, get up early!

* Window shop

* Daydream

* Tell myself the loving words I want to hear from others

Attend a special workshop

Go sailing/paddle boating

Reward myself with a special  gift I can afford

Take myself on a vacation

Create with clay/pottery

GIZO FRONTVOW PLAQUE

* Practice positive affirmations

* Pet an animal

* Watch my favorite TV show

* Reflect on my successes: “I CAN….”

Make a bouquet of flowers

LOVE OF FLOWER ARRANTEMENTS

* Relax: watch the clouds

Make myself something nice

* Visit a park/woods/forest

Read positive, motivational literature

* Reflect on: “What I value most in life…”

Phone a special friend

Go on a picnic in a beautiful setting

Enjoy a gourmet cup of herbal tea or coffee

Participate in a favorite sport, game, recreation

* Practice a relaxation exercise

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* Practice the art of forgiveness

Treat myself to a nutritious meal at a favorite restaurant

Participate in a hobby

* Practice feeling awe for life

woman meditating on rock

* Discover a new place

* Hug a tree!

* “Meow” with a cat; “ bark “with a dog, “chirp” with a bird !

* Create my own list of self-nurturing activities

LIVE LIFE

ABC's of Zestful Living-COLOR

Understand Food Cravings, Brain Chemistry, and Body Weight

You BECOME what you think, what you eat, and what you do!

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Consider about how your lifestyle patterns, food choices, self-nurturing, and physical activity choices deeply influence your brain chemistry, your moods, addictive urges, your sense of well being, and ultimately your body weight.

 

Many brain neurotransmitters and nutrients in foods affect appetite and moods:

Aside from providing great pleasure and enjoyment, the nutrients and energy your body needs to function; food also has an influence on appetite and moods. Research shows that certain foods and lifestyle patterns affect powerful mood-modifying brain chemicals called neurotransmitters:

  • Serotonin — this is a chemical released after eating carbohydrates (sugars and starches). It enhances calmness, improves mood, and lessens depression. Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan. High levels of serotonin help control appetite, satisfy cravings, and provide a feeling of well-being and inner calm.
  • Dopamine and norepinephrine — these are chemicals released after eating protein (meats, poultry, dairy, legumes). They enhance mental concentration and alertness. These neurotransmitters come from the amino acid tyrosine.
  • Ghrelin — a neurotransmitter that sets up an irresistible urge to eat when elevated
  • NPY, neuropeptide Y — increases carbohydrate cravings when elevated
  • Galanin — increases the desire for fatty foods when elevated
  • Cortisol — the emergency gland of the body, the adrenals releases cortisol as the primary coordinator for the reactions of stress. Cortisol decreases the production of serotonin. If you normally eat to relieve stress, the hormone cortisol places the extra calories (fat) in the abdomen or stomach area of your body.
  • Endorphins — the body’s natural “high'” which gives pain relief and pleasure when elevated

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  How Do Your Lifestyle & Food Choices Affect Your Brain Chemistry?

  •   As you lower calories to lose weight, you starve your brain first and that depletes serotonin (a neurotransmitter which helps you feel calm, peaceful, and contented, and has a pivotal role in regulating appetite). This leads to increasing cravings for different foods, depression, anxiety, lethargy, feelings of hopelessness or rage all increase. Typical dieting means an immediate cutback on the production of chemicals that support health of your mind, your psyche, and your spirit.
  •  If you skip meals, this will lead to your blood sugar levels going abnormally low and intense cravings start. This also this causes an increase in ghrelin (a neurotransmitter that sets up an irresistible urge to eat) and also lowers neuropeptide Y, which increases carbohydrate cravings. This will lead to an unstoppable desire to eat lots of food and increases your eating frequency, which leads to binging on extra foods. Oops, not what you wanted to happen!
  •  As you lower calories to lose weight, this will lower insulin and thyroid hormone, which lowers your metabolism and also lowers the release of fat from your body (you can’t lose weight as easily and may end up on a plateau).
  •  As you eat more dietary fat, this will increase endorphins (the body’s natural “high”, which gives pain relief and pleasure). Research has also shown that the neurotransmitter galanin increases the desire for fatty foods. The more fat in a person’s diet, the more galanin is produced and the more galanin that’s produced, the more one prefers or craves fattier foods.  Research has also shown that eating less fat for several weeks reduces galanin levels and the desire to eat fatty foods. So the less fat (and refined carbohydrates you eat), the less you want.
  • Eating extra dietary carbohydrate (starches and sugars) will raise serotonin, which makes you feel calm and relaxed. So you can see how the usual combination of sugar and fat (many desserts) set you up to feel calm and contented, and can easily set up cravings for additional desserts because you want that inner state of calm and contentment.
  •  Stress is also a common reason given for overeating or emotional eating. Two out of three people eat more under stress. Plus, we don’t usually overeat vegetables when we’re stressed (Did you notice that “stressed” is “desserts” spelled backwards?) You can make small changes over time to improve your eating habits. Do your best to choose foods rich in nutrients when you are under stress–vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, fat-free dairy, and healthy fats in moderation. Limit sugar, unhealthy fat, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • When loneliness or stress increase, this leads to an increase in cortisol, which leads to deposits of abdominal fat and makes it more difficult to lost weight or keep it off.
  •  Do you sleep enough? 7 – 9 hours of sleep is vital to your health. There is a strong link between the amount of sleep people get and their risk of becoming overweight. Sleep deprivation leptin, a blood protein that suppresses appetite, and ↑ grehlin, a substance that makes people want to eat. After a night of sleep deprivation, people typically consume 10% more calories! Check out sleep disorder information online in NHLBI’s Diseases and Conditions Index (DCI) at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/  Also Read the Comprehensive Booklet Your Guide to Healthy Sleep here a PDF file: Healthy Sleep.pdf
  • If you feel inferior, have the “blues,” think you need to find something or want a reward, this leads to the increase of dopamine, which will lead to an increase in desire for food and an increase in attention to searching out enjoyable eating experiences or rewarding actions.
  • Calming and positive thoughts lead to an increase in serotonin, which lowers your desire for food, and increases your satisfaction, all of which helps control your temper, improve your sleep, while balancing sexual urges, and enhancing your memory.
  •  When you eat favorite food this will increase endorphins which may also lead to an increase your eating speed, which causes you to eat more eating more.
  •  A rise in norepinephrine causes an increase in negative feelings, feelings of distrust, and increasing the desire to fight or flee from unpleasant situations
  •  Endorphins (the body’s natural opiates which give a “high”) when they are low, this leads to an increase of the urge to get relief or pleasure, desire for junk foods, excess exercise, or alcohol.
  •  Exercise naturally raises endorphins and control NPY (neuropeptide Y) which lowers anxiety and carbohydrate cravings and increases feelings of contentment.
  • After a person exercises, abnormal cortisol levels lower, dopamine lowers (arousal hormone), and norepinephrine lower, which leads to appetite suppression and mood stability…ah…you feel better.

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Nutrient, Food & Mood Links:

  Think about this nutrient depletion……………..Might cause some common symptoms   

Sodium Confusion and poor memory
Potassium Apathy and confusion
Chromium Depression
Iron Confusion, lethargy, and difficulty learning
Magnesium Depression, confusion, and change in personality
Maganese Seizures
Selenium Anxiety and depression
Zinc Mood changes
Vitamin B1 Mental confusion, personality change, poor appetite, memory loss, mood swings, short attention span, irritability, depression, and fatigue
Vitamin B2 Depression
Niacin, Vitamin B6 Mood swings, depression, sleeplessness, restlessness, disorientation, and irritability
Vitamin B12 Memory loss, confusion, and senility
Folic acid Irritability and depression
Choline Memory loss
Vitamin E Lethargy and depression
Essential fatty acids Lethargy, irritability, and depression
Amino Acids (protein) Mood changes

“Stop Gaining Weight” (Second Edition) by Dr. Laura Pawlak Taken from page 228
Reviewed by Gudrun Zomerland, MFT     http://www.chinnstreetcounseling.com/zomerland/zomerland_10.shtml

For additional exploration about how vitamins and minerals affect our emotions and health see resources below The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals.

Review below some excellent resources that can assist you in meeting your essential nutrient needs that contribute to emotional well-being:

How can you balance brain chemicals, achieve natural well being, as well as, reduce food cravings?

CAR TUNE UP

Are you feeling a bit stressed out or overwhelmed? Agitated or grumpy? Exhausted? Burned out? Do you feel like running away from all of your daily responsibilities? The first essential skill to explore is to restore balance to your lifestyle choices. Consider taking some time to simplify your life. Relax a bit and consider an emotional-spiritual tune-up. Ah… Now, frolic around and explore the following suggestions:
 

  1. The first step to achieving a healthier weight is practicing healthy thoughts. Nothing has a greater ability to change your brain chemistry and your desire to eat, more than the way you think! Think of your brain as a computer that is impacted by everything inside and outside your skin. Since our moods (and brain chemistry) are dramatically affected by our thoughts, practice thinking positive, uplifting, celebratory, and thankful thoughts! Ah…doesn’t that feel better?  Stress-related thoughts lower serotonin, which increases cravings.
  2. Don’t forget to eat! Don’t allow yourself to get overly hungry.  Most people find that if they wait too long between meals that they eat very fast and end up overeating. Running many errands on an empty stomach or leaving home without a snack sets you up to make a bad choice. Take fruits and veggies, whole grain low-fat crackers along with you. Perhaps bring along a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
  3. Eat healthy meals, with fewer amounts of junk foods. Buy plenty of fruits and vegetables for snacking and meal preparation. If you’re short on time, consider ready-cut or frozen items for convenience (and bring along a food bag). Make sure you tune-up your brain by eating enough healthy fats. Explore Healthy Fats and Risky Fats
  4. Keep problem foods out of the house. Avoid buying foods that are high in calories and bringing them into your home: i.e. potato chips, chocolate, cookies, brownies, cakes and pies, candy, etc. You can’t eat what’s not there! That doesn’t mean that wouldn’t ever have any of these foods. You just might purchase single-serving sizes and eat them when you’re out of your home.
  5. If you’re feeling low, practice self-nurturing techniques, and go for a walk or talk yourself into a stable mood before eating. When we remind ourselves of the benefits for changing, it can help us get back on track and keep us motivated.
  6. Note the benefits for physical activity. Physical activity can lessen stress, control blood pressure, decrease resting heart rate, etc. But it also helps to deal with stressful situations be increasing your mental sharpness, concentration, problem solving skills, and creativity. Shifting our attitudes will also help us overcome our resistance to doing exercise.
  7. Get support from other people, find a clan.  You don’t have to do it alone! Remember, HUGS are euphoric and non caloric! Frolic around: Various Hug Coupons!

To explore Douglas Bloch’s Your Personal “Brain Maintenance” Program

from Healing From Depression

 

Make an investment in you!

For a PDF version of Make An Investment In You–Learn Core Skills.pdf

21 Steps to Aging Successfully!

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Don’t Worry About It!

 Worry

In 1988 (and again in 2013 and 2015 many similar challenges are coming up) I was going through a time of great transition  (I’m retiring at the end of the year) and was worried about everything: finding a new job (or letting go of a former job), my grandmother’s (or mother-in-law’s) care, many friends’ well-being, a love relationship for myself, money for bills, the world’s chaos, and cleaning my messy house! I was an emotional wreck.

I went out on a walk with my mind completely a jumble of distressing thoughts. I was praying and asking God for a sign—please help me understand. Shortly after I looked over towards a truck that was parked on the street and on the rear wooden bumper were engraved the words: DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT! I was astonished! All my thoughts stopped and I smiled. Ah…I could let go of all my concerns. Just trust that things would work out—for me and everyone else. Believe it or not, on that same walk I found a medallion with an inscription on it that said:

 It only takes one person to

change your life….YOU!

 path to happiness

As a postscript—about 20 years later—many things did work out for the best. I didn’t starve, the house did get cleaned, and I did find a wonderful job and a loving companion, and my crazy thinking improved!

  It is safe to let go and relax.

It is safe to let go of the illusion of control.

There is nothing to fear!

FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real

Be happy for this moment--it is your life!

Pay a visit to: Do you experience overwhelming circumstances and can’t achieve a healthier weight?

Getting to Know Your Stress and How to Management It

What Are We Powerless Over?

Gander at:

Reasons We Eat: Healthful and Harmful

When trying to lose weight, one may feel shame, avoidance, or obsession about eating. As an alternative, it might be helpful to consider a new way of looking at food and eating.

Healthful Reasons to Eat

Let’s explore the REASONS WE EAT:

  1. PHYSICAL HUNGER is an obvious and essential reason to eat. When you are hungry, it is inappropriate to deny yourself food. There is no reason for guilt or shame. The WAY to lose excess weight is to cultivate a healthful style of eating. Eating when you are hungry is like breathing AIR to stay alive. It is necessary for life.

    • When you are physically hungry, every cell in your body sends out signals requesting nutrients. Your cells do not have cravings for specific foods. They want water, vitamins, minerals, amino acids (proteins), fatty acids, and glucose, which can be provided from a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, meats, and calcium-rich foods.

    • Physical hunger builds patiently and gradually over a 2-4 hour period following your last meal. Physical hunger signals a preference that you eat soon, but it does not command you to eat the instant you begin to feel it. Look into: Listen to Your Body. It Will Talk to You: Hunger Scale and How to Fuel-Up Your Body Throughout the Day  to learn about your Body’s Fuel Gauge. Eating regular, small meals is made easier by taking along a variety of food choices WITH you. Go to taste: Bob’s Lunch Bag.

    • It is based in your stomach with a gnawing or rumbling which becomes more painful over time. You may begin to feel lightheaded or a lack of energy if over hungry.

    • When you eat when you are physically hungry, you are aware of the food on your fork, in your mouth, and in the stomach. You choose how much you need to eat to fuel and nourish your body and STOP eating when that is accomplished. A helpful practice to help get in touch with your TRUE hunger signals is to follow Eating Awareness Training. Come to learn about yourself as you explore Factors That Influence How Much We Eat.

State of the Plate-crop

    1. NUTRITION refers to choosing foods containing the specific nutrients you know your body needs. It also means LIMITING FOODS  with too much fat, salt, or sugar. Appreciate: Essential Skills section #5 for ideas about Cultivating a Sustainable, Healthful Plan of Eating–one step at a time.
    2. CONVENIENCE is working around your busy schedule to meet your body’s need to eat in a flexible way. For example, if you are not fully hungry before a meeting, you may bring along a food bag so that you can eat on break, or eat after the meeting. Or perhaps eat a small salad or veggies before you go. Investigate: Essential Skills #6 for ideas about Planning and Preparing Delicious Recipes. Also go to see: Nutritious and Yummy Snacks, and What Does Bob Typically Eat In Any Given Day? for ideas on scrumptious foods for home or on the go.
    3. PLEASURE means that is is important to ENJOY foods (and other lifestyle choices that you make) and eat foods we like. It is important to have MOUTH FUN! Celebrate the pleasures of food. Use all of your senses. You can learn to celebrate a healthful lifestyle! In fact, making FUN your focus will insure that your new patterns naturally become your new way you create your life. Frolic in: CELEBRATE Healthful Eating! Yum! Make It FUN. Make It Colorful!, CELEBRATING The Simple Joys Of Life!, The Power of Fun: Celebrate Enjoyable Ways To Be Active!, An Alphabetical Guide to Zestful Living, and Sprinkle Dollops of Delight and Self-Care Towards Yourself for ideas of how to begin.

     

Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole M.S. , R.D. and Elyse Resch M.S., R.D. is an excellent resource on honoring your hunger, enjoying the pleasures of food and feeling your fullness. To explore her 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating and her website.

Harmful Reasons to Eat

Crisis

Most of the SELF-DESTRUCTIVE reasons to eat have to do with using food to alter your emotions. When you eat to numb feelings, the result may be frustration in out-of-control eating and in the knowledge that your body is receiving extra calories that will be stored as more fat.

© 1999, adapted with permission, The Don’t Diet, Live-It Workbook by Andrea LoBue and Marsea Marcus, by GÜRZE BOOKS: Eating disorder resource catalogue. www.bulimia.com   Articles on recovery, basic facts about eating disorders, newsletters, self-help books, professional texts, educational videos, internet resources, national organizations, treatment facilities.

ASK: Am I eating to fix painful emotions or situations?

From The Food Fix By Sandra Stoltz.

By choosing NOT TO EAT when you are emotionally hungry, you are creating healthy limits, which can allow you to release and heal your feelings. FOOD will never provide real support when your are anxious, bored, or lonely. Take some time to sort through: The Ovals–Developing and Maintaining a “Personal Plan of Eating”  Discover what are you REALLY hungry for as you learn How to Develop a Loving, Self-Nurturing, Inner Voice For You!

So HOW do you change the HABIT of eating to numb out uncomfortable and distressing emotions and situations?

Learn to be your own fitness coach—use your brain and ask the right questions!

FITNESS COACH_

I can see what I do and I can see how to change it.

Choose to become aware:

  • Acknowledge, accept, and understand, your pain and your pattern

  • Get in touch with what you FEEL

ASK: Will this choice increase my aliveness or decrease it? Free me, or imprison me?

Try several experiments to learn about FEELINGS:

  • Touch your thumb and forefinger together. What do you feel? Pressure? Heat or cold? Now touch a table top with your finger. What do you notice then? Is it colder? Harder?

  • Now pinch yourself on your upper arm, with your forefinger and fingernail– pinching harder and harder. Now what do you feel? Pain? Discomfort? Now let go. What do you notice? Do you notice that the pain subsides? Ah.

  • Remember the feelings that you have had as your BODY lets you know that you have to relieve “liquid or solid wastes” from your body. Have you ever noticed those SIGNALS, but ignored them because you were really busy? What feelings did you notice after awhile? Did it get SO PAINFUL that you HAD to stop what you were doing and attend to your body’s needs? We’ve all had this happen to us.

Use this same AWARENESS AND PROCESS to provide clues to you about your emotional eating PATTERNS.

THE KEY SKILL IS TO DEVELOP A PAUSE BUTTON–TO STOP!

Just like a tape recorder has a PAUSE button.

Don’t immediately go to FOOD to make things momentarily better.

  • So FIRST, Notice your habits. Become your own “gentle observer.” Take time to go inside yourself. Explore your feelings that arise in you. Do You Experience a RAIN of Feelings?

  • What are you hungry for? Rest? Affection? Quite time? What do you really need? Take the time to Shine the light of self-care towards YOU!

  • PRACTICE THE SKILL OF RESPECTFUL SELF-TALK: Nourishing Affirmations and How to Develop a Loving, Self-Nurturing, Inner Voice For You!

  • Investigate: The Horse Of Habit (patterns) story, How to work with food cravings, and  Meditation—Why and How—Cleanse and Train The Mind.

  • It is helpful to notice how your mind works. In Eckhart Tolle’s book, Stillness Speaks, he shares some helpful insights:

    • The mind exists in a state of “not enough” and so is always greedy for more. When you are identified with mind, you get bored and restless very easily. Boredom means the mind is hungry for more stimulus, more food for thought; and its hunger is not being satisfied.

    • When you feel bored, you can satisfy the mind’s hunger by picking up a magazine, making a phone call, switching on the TV, surfing the web, going shopping, or–and this is not uncommon–transferring the mental sense of lack and its need for more to the body and satisfy it briefly by ingesting more food.

    • Or you can stay bored and restless and observe what it feels like to be bored and restless. As you bring awareness to the feeling, there is suddenly some space and stillness around it, as it were. A little at first, but as the sense of inner space grows, the feeling of boredom will begin to diminish in intensity and significance… pages 18 – 19.

    • Stillness Speaks, (2003), by Eckhart Tolle, Namaste Publishing and New World Library. From the Introduction: “The only function of a spiritual teacher is to help you remove that which separates you from the truth of who you already are and what you already know in the depth of your being.” Enjoy discovering your inner being! See also Practicing The Power of Now, (1999), by Eckhart Tolle.
      • Namaste Publishing promotes Eckhart’s books and other materials. Their mission is: “To make available publications that acknowledge, celebrate, and encourage others to express their true essence and thereby come to remember Who They Really Are.” Find them at:  www.namastepublishing.com/  
      • Namasté means, “I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace, when you are in that place in you and I’m in that place in me, we are one.”
  • Check out: the Emotional Eating section to notice which emotions are TRIGGERS for you. Keep track in your diary. Notice the PAIN or DISCOMFORT that comes to visit you. Just notice. Try not to use food to mask your uncomfortable feelings.

  • Scrutinize: Which Puzzle Pieces Contribute to Your Overweight? to figure out your lifestyle DANGER ZONES–WHAT people, places and things influence your choices.

  • Explore: Bingeing: Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight to develop the SKILL of self-awareness and becoming a self-manager. A note: many people abandon record keeping when they have problems. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO WRITE DOWN WHATEVER HAPPENS. When you do this, you will begin to see your patterns and begin to FIND YOUR SOLUTIONS to transform and manage your DANGER ZONES. Practice regularly: the Daily Check-In section.

  • Turn your attention to:  Getting to Know Your Stress and How to Management It and On The Spot Stress Managers to learn new ways to cope.

  • For some FUN, if all else fails, you might try out If All Else Fails: A Refrigerator Air Bag! and Additional Support!

  • You may find that you can’t sort through things on your own and would benefit from the advice, insights, or support of a trained listener. Consider: Do you experience overwhelming circumstances and can’t lose weight? , Thoughts on Healing and Helping, and Therapeutic Help for the Journey for ideas.

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Getting to Know Your Stress and How to Management It

stress

Stress can harm your health by impairing your immune system and promoting disease. A stressor becomes harmful when an individual lacks an effective way of controlling it. Stress is also a common reason given for overeating or emotional eating. Some individuals tend to avoid physical activity when they are stressed out, too. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the signs of stress and find ways to manage stress to promote fitness.

  1. What is stress? Any mental or physical stimulus that disrupts the body’s equilibrium—it can be positive or negative. Any change that you must adjust to. It can be:
  2. Environmental (noise, weather, traffic, time pressures, job performance standards)
  3. Physiological (illness, lack of sleep, poor diet, aging)
  4. Thoughts (worry, negative self-talk, fear)

Stress and How It Affects Your Mind and Body:

5. Stress is revealed through physical and emotional symptoms:

Physical                                                                      Emotional

 

Fatigue Irritability
Tension headaches Frustration
Upset stomach Feeling helpless
Difficulty sleeping Loss of self-esteem
Tense muscles Loss of concentration
Shortness of breath Withdrawal
Change in appetite Anxiety

What are the signs you use to recognize stress? Use mindfulness (practice being aware of stress symptoms since they often become unconscious)

Some Methods for Reducing Stress.  You Are Your Wisest Counselor!

Body Scan

Predict it with awareness Nutrition
Assertiveness Rest or Sleep
Look at self-talk Physical activity
Emotional expression/Sharing Relax/Deep breathing
Look at past experiences Find support
Diversion/Recreation Humor
Preparation/Organization Writing
Allow enough time Counseling
Mindfulness Prioritize
Anger management Hobbies
Set realistic goals Music
Set healthy limits Massage
Correct thinking distortions Nurturing
Enjoy the beauty of nature Pet an animal
Manage triggers: alter, avoid, accept Balance time alone, with others, work, rest, and fun

© 2004, adapted with permission, Kaiser Permanente Northwest Health Education Services, Cultivating Health ™ Weight Management Kit

 Self Hug-CAROL

Lavish nourishing restorative techniques on yourself as you explore On-the-spot stress management techniques.

When we remind ourselves of the benefits for changing, it can help us get back on track. Note the benefits for physical activity. Physical activity can lessen stress, control blood pressure, decrease resting heart rate, etc. But it also helps to deal with stressful situations be increasing your mental sharpness, concentration, problem solving skills, and creativity. Shifting our attitudes will also help us overcome our resistance to doing exercise.

 WORLD DAY OF METTA

Stress is also a common reason given for overeating or emotional eating. Two out of three people eat more under stress. Plus, we don’t usually overeat vegetables when we’re stressed (Did you notice that “stressed” is “desserts” spelled backwards?) You can make small changes over time to improve your eating habits. Do your best tochoose foods rich in nutrients when you are under stress–vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, fat-free dairy, and healthy fats in moderation. Limit sugar, unhealthy fat, caffeine, and alcohol.

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 Exercise is like “mental floss”. It cleans out the stress that is stuck in your brain!

What do you find helps manage stress for you?

Resources:The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, by Martha Davis and Mathew McKay, © 2002, New Harbinger Publication, Inc. Check out New Harbinger Publishers

  •  www.teachhealth.com gives the medical basis of stress, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and drug use—explained in a fun, easy-to-read format. It’s really excellent!
  • http://www.mindtools.com/smpage.html Learn 48 essential leadership skills at mindtools.com. Also visit links at:  http://www.mindtools.com/links/Links.html
  • www.stress.about.com articles and tips for reducing stress
  • www.mindfulplace.com MBSR: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction by Denice Gour. Find recorded meditations here: www.mindfulplace.com/id13.htm

  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness (Paperback) by Jon Kabat-Zinn
    This book is also a terrific introduction for anyone who has considered meditating but was afraid it would be too difficult or would include religious practices they found foreign. Kabat-Zinn focuses on “mindfulness,” a concept that involves living in the moment, paying attention, and simply “being” rather than “doing.” While you can practice anything “mindfully,” from taking a walk to cleaning your house, Kabat-Zinn presents several meditation techniques that focus the attention most clearly, whether it’s on a simple phrase, your breathing, or various parts of your body. The book goes into detail about how hospital patients have either improved their health or simply come to feel better despite their illness by using these techniques, but these meditations can help anyone deal with stress and gain a calmer outlook on life.

Freedom-FLOATING IN STARS CALMNESS

Explore also: 

If you find that you are experiencing CHRONIC STRESS PATTERNS, that is a sign that your life is out of balance. Perhaps consider: Do you experience overwhelming circumstances and can’t achieve a healthier weight?

Go Within FOR ANSWERS

Cultivate Twelve Essential Skills: Achieve a Healthier Life, Weight, and Vibrant Friskiness… Step-by-Step!

Skill Power, Not Will Power, Is the Key to Success!

Discover Below Guidance-At-A-Glance!

Have you ever wondered how all of that excess stored energy (fat) ended up stored on your body anyway? Were you just walking down the street and it jumped out and stuck to you? To learn about what happened–the mystery–requires you becoming a detective. As a detective, you will need some tools to figure out clues to your mystery.

The Twelve Essential Skills below will provide answers for you. You use the skills and different tools to discover how you do what you do, right now.  Then you figure out strategies to practice making healthful substitutions–to substitute new choices that will, over time, help you achieve a healthier weight, a healthier relationship with your food and life. You choose which areas you are ready to look at now.

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Success at achieving a healthier weight, transforming addictions, and finding increased well-being, for a lifetime, requires learning a series of new lifestyle skills. These skills allow us to create our lives in a NEW way. Before I started my weight loss journey, I didn’t know any of these skills. Learning these skills opened for me the prison door to my isolation cell of overweight and various addictions. I was no longer a victim of my out-of-control, unhealthy habits. It was so ENJOYABLE to discover the freedom of new options for living.

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My Web site (Balanced Weight Management) is a blueprint for self-change. It’s a toolkit–tools don’t do anything. YOU do as you use the tools to discover how you do what you do. This is self-directed learning. With self-directed learning you can discover the issues or problems that are most relevant to you at the moment. They are based on your own experience. You set your own agenda and your own pace. Have FUN with your exploration!

Why Would Someone Try My Approach?

How To Use This Site: Where To Begin & What To Do

As you explore below, ask yourself, “What are YOUR root causes?” Your patterns?

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I encourage you to explore  the Resource Sections 1 and 2 for an extensive list of resources in each topic area.  There you will find an invaluable collection of weight-loss and addiction-free life wisdom. I Have learned most of what I know from other people. Many of the resources that I and many other people have found to be invaluable are listed there.

Time and time again, I have seen people’s lives blossom after they made the decision to invest the time in themselves to study and practice the twelve skills listed below.  I encourage you to just pick and choose those themes that you would like to explore. Remember, your health is your greatest wealth! Answer the questions, “Oh my, how did I get to where I’m at now? and How can I begin to make enjoyable and lasting changes?”

  1. Taking the First Steps In Your Journey of Change

  2. Cultivating Balance in Your Life

  3. Write Away Weight: Keeping a Food and Lifestyle-Choice Journal

  4. Discover the Power of FUN: Celebrate Enjoyable Ways to be Active for Life!

  5. Cultivating a Sustainable, Healthful Plan of Eating

  6. Planning and Preparing Delicious Recipes, Meals, and Snacks in a Hectic World

  7. Eating With Awareness and Pleasure

  8. Transforming Emotional Eating and Addictions

  9. Self-Nurturing, Self-Esteem, Heal From Depression, and Transform Emotional Wounding From The Past

  10. Seeking Support, Counseling, and Outside Resources

  11. Maintenance: Learn How to Cultivate Life-Long Well-Being.  

  12. Cultivate Daily Quiet and Personal Introspection Time