The advice to eat whole real foods for health is ubiquitous and seems like it should be straightforward. Like many things in life, it’s both simple and complicated at the same time. On the one hand, it can be simple to give the advice to shop for ingredients and to cook every meal from scratch, and on the other hand people might feel like that is an impossible standard to meet with the pace of modern life, and give up before they even begin. Sometimes tips and recipes for healthy meals fail to include a wide variety of ethnic and cultural recipes. Sometimes financial constraints or distance from grocery stores with healthy options present challenges to people who want to make a change. Within everyone’s life is space for compromise, personal choice, financial considerations, and food traditions, alongside healthy, whole food options.
Quantity AND Quality
Both quantity and quality are important when it comes to nutrition. Having the right amount of calories to fuel...
The time to make a change can present itself in many ways. Perhaps there’s been a health scare. Perhaps the numbers for blood pressure, glucose levels, or cholesterol are too high. Perhaps there is a big change such as a marriage, a divorce, a move, a job, or a baby that acts as a catalyst. Perhaps there have just been too many days of feeling blah and tired. Whatever the reasons, deciding to make a change is the first step. Sometimes when this decision is made, the obstacles present themselves right away.
Resistance to change is a common human response. It can be helpful to address this tendency head-on, and to acknowledge ambivalent feelings, the likelihood of procrastination, and the inclination to avoid something hard. Taking some time to journal all the reasons why it is time to focus on health, and then taking time to think of all the deterrents, can help put those things into persecutive and prevent turning molehills into mountains.
Here are five common...
A scaffold is a structure that elevates and supports workers and materials to repair a building or machine. The term has been borrowed by educators to refer to breaking learning material into manageable chunks and creating a tool or structure to support learning each piece.
When thinking about lifestyle changes and goals, this can be a helpful concept to borrow. Business leaders often refer to SMART goals. The acronym, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely, was developed in 1981 by George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham to help managers and employees plan and manage projects within the business world. It has proven to be an effective tool when it comes to thinking about goals. If a goal is vague, it can be difficult to find the motivation necessary to achieve it. For example, “I want to lose weight,” is a vague goal. “I want to lose five pounds this month,” however, is a far more specific goal. It has a...
Hack your Habits for your Health
Everyone loves a shortcut. Unfortunately, when it comes to health, there’s no such thing. Habits are the building blocks of life: the things you do every day become who you are, and who you are determines what you do every day. Here are four ways to hack into that loop to harness your habits to improve and maintain your health. Whether these are sleep habits, eating and drinking habits, exercise habits, or habits to help you manage stress in your life, these hacks can help you be conscious of the patterns that already exist and can help you see how to change the patterns that don’t serve you.
Habits are powerful because they become mostly non-conscious. Once you’ve made a decision and instituted a habit, you’ve taken the work of decision making and thinking out of the equation, and you can use that energy elsewhere. To build some awareness around the habits that may be flying under the radar in your...
How to Protect Your Energy
These days, you can take your pick of things to be anxious about. Between personal stressors, and the news about national and world events that is accessible twenty-four hours a day, there is a good chance that you’ll come across something negative. When that happens, how do you maintain your peace? When your energy starts to dissipate into worry, how do you recover it to use it to advance your goals? How do you continue to take action when your motivation sags?
Forcing yourself to only focus on the bright side in the face of negative news can be toxic. False positivity causes you to stuff your emotions rather than to feel them, and that is unhealthy behavior. A better choice is to allow yourself to feel what you feel, and to express that, perhaps through crying or journaling, or a conversation with a trusted confidant. But you don’t have to stop there. Here are four tips to help you process your negative emotions in a healthy...
How to Heal Your Gut to Improve Immune System Function
What do your mood, your immune system, and your heart health all have in common? They all depend on the health of your gut bacteria in order to function. In fact, 80% of your immune response begins in your gut. Because of the dynamic feedback system between your gut and your brain, the health of the bacteria in your gut influences how your brain interprets information from your senses. This means that gut health is connected to your mood and your emotions, as well as your immune system. The precursors for the joy hormone, serotonin, are manufactured in your gut, so in order to experience the effects of serotonin in your brain your gut has to be healthy enough to make it. Your gut is also intricately connected to your heart, and influences blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and can directly affect the plaques of atherosclerosis.
The interactions between the trillions of bacteria in your gut and the rest of your...
Affirmations: The Quickest Way to Retrain Your Brain
Everyone is always looking for a silver bullet, a shortcut, a quick and easy answer. As you well know, there aren’t any! In order to make real changes, you will have to commit to the discipline of making a start, working hard, and continuing to stay your course. However, affirmations may be the closest thing to a quick and easy answer that you’re going to find.
Affirmations are statements of belief. By stating things out loud, you use the power of your words to train your brain to recognize your worth and to emphasize positive emotions. Affirmations can help you overcome the negativity and the limiting beliefs that are sapping the energy you could be using to work toward your goals. The words are not magic words and just saying them will not solve the problems you encounter. However, they will focus your energy on the positive, and give you the will to make the changes and do the work you need to...
Creating Structure for Freedom
Are you looking for freedom in some area of your life? Whether you’re looking for better health, more money, deeper relationships, or a more focused career path, structure is the key to moving your goals forward and experiencing freedom.
Structure is a game-changer because it allows you to lay down the habits that form the foundation of your life. Healthy habits will allow health and freedom in every area of your life, whether you “feel” like it or not. If you only brush your teeth when you feel like it, your oral hygiene will suffer the consequences but if you make toothbrushing a habit, you’ll gain a healthy mouth with minimal thought or work. It takes about a month to form a habit, so stick it out and know it gets easier with time.
Connect with your vision
First of all, set your intention. If you have a vision for your life, and you know where you are going, you can do the work to plan and create...
Principles to Apply to both Weight Loss and Debt Loss: Financial Health for Life
There are burdens that add stress to your life. Carrying extra weight and carrying extra debt are both situations that can make an impact on your health. There are habits around both that can establish a healthy foundation and let you get on with your purpose.
It takes discipline to make a plan and stick to it. By thinking about your goals and creating a structure that supports working toward those goals, you can shift your energy from decision making to habit formation, and the longer you walk down that road the easier it will be. In both weight loss and debt reduction, there aren’t actually any shortcuts. Fad diets and get-rich quick schemes will always fail in the end, but consistent good habits will set you up for health for life.
Evaluate your stories
Whether you are trying to reduce your weight or your debt, an important first step is to examine what stories you...
The Tool to Bring Dreams into Reality: Planning
The key to transformation in any area of your life, whether it’s health, weight loss, finances, relationships, career goals, or personal development, is planning. Planning lays the groundwork for transformation. While it takes discipline to put plans in place and to follow through with them, the good news is that planning is a learned skill. Anyone can learn to plan and to put those plans into action.
Long Term Goals
One of the keys to planning is to learn how to lay out your goals. Some people are afraid to set long-term goals, because they are afraid they may fail or may change their minds about what they want. Don’t let this stop you! You can change, refine, or refocus your long-term goals as you learn and grow. You can choose to view failure as a teaching tool, learn from your mistakes, and move on.
Spend some time thinking about what you value most. What are the things you want out of...