After years as a licensed professional counselor and yoga/meditation instructor, my work in the world has expanded and morphed. My own life experience enriches my understanding of what others are going through. This past year I launched Wonders Wellness to support women over 40. I help women in mid-life with the process of life-redesign.
Life-redesign is a process of consciously and mindfully renovating the structure, systems, beliefs and perspectives of your life!
I've always been a fan of HGTV shows where people take these outdated, run-down houses and completely redesign, refurbish and remodel, creating a beautiful new home from the old.
It is so inspiring and uplifting to watch people have a vision, work hard to bring that vision to life and then with the reveal of the finished product they are able to stand back with happy tears as they contemplate the transformation of their home.
This is very much like the work I do with women over 40.
When women get to mid-life, it is here they often realize a profound discontent with life as it is. Mid-life is when a woman's body begins to age more rapidly. We experience menopause. Our children are leaving the nest.
Mid-life is often the time for a life-redesign.
And the process is not too different than what they go through on those television shows.
I’ve created a map that I use with my coaching clients to help them with life-redesign. There are basically 8 steps to the process. You can use these 8 steps to create your own life-redesign!
- Do an initial inventory - Gather data! It is important to observe and assess where your life is right now. Take note of your physical health, the state of your physical body. Look at where you live, what you do day to day, habits you have, people you surround yourself with. Take an inventory and write it all down. Describe it as it is. Note how you feel as you are describing it. Use lots of adjectives.
- Make a wish-list: Circle all the things and feelings you’ve written down that you DON’T want anymore. Turn those things around into the things you DO want and the ways you DO want to feel and write the wants down on a separate piece of paper.
- Design your dream life: Take all those things you DO want and weave them into a vision of how your life will be when they are all plugged in. You can create a vision board with images and words or a map or just a description of what life will be like when you’re done with your redesign. Post it somewhere you can look at it everyday.
- Create a master to-do list: Now, what specific things do you need to do to make this happen? Join a gym? Hire a life-coach? See a doctor? Sell your house? Get your resume together? Re-prioritize your obligations? Start a blog?
- Circle the wagons: It's time to create a dream team of support people. This team might be people you hire to delegate certain tasks to support you on your mission or it might be friends and colleagues who are willing to pitch in and contribute to the project. It might mean you go to therapy, hire a mentor or seek other consultation with experts. This team might include your health care practitioner, coaching support, a massage therapist, a handy-man or a virtual assistant.
- Dig in: Get to work! Dedicate yourself mentally to the tasks at hand every day. Remind yourself this redesign is going to take time, persistence and hard work every day. This is most often where people fall off track. Hang in there and keep moving forward.
- Be gentle with yourself: Be sure you are balancing all that hard work with meaningful breaks to attend to the care of your body, mind and spirit along the way. Don’t mistake dedication for being hard on yourself! Be proud of your progress. Nurture yourself.
- Celebrate!: Once you have realized your dream and your life is looking and feeling so much better, take time to celebrate yourself. Stand back, admire your work and breathe in to this place of realizing that YOU DID IT! Take time to sink into the new life you have created for yourself and frequently take pause to reflect on how far you have come.
If you should decide you'd like some support along the way, contact me directly to set up a free Connection Session so we can talk about where you are now and where you'd like to be!
I have come up with some amazingly delicious healthy morning smoothie recipes I am eager to share with you to start you off on the right foot in 2015!
These are quick and easy (literally takes seconds!)
Though I still LOVE juicing green drinks, smoothies are the quicker go-to and they provide your fiber AND your phytonutrients and protein to get you going for the day.
Here are my top three new morning smoothie recipes - just pick your recipe, combine all ingredients in your Vitamix, blend until smooth and enjoy right away for maximum benefit...
Power Berry Smoothie
1/4 cup organic frozen blueberries, 1/4 cup organic frozen strawberries, 1 inch rhubarb, 1 sprig of fresh mint, 1 scoop of Real Meal protein powder (derived from grass-fed cows), 1 cup of organic baby spinach, 2 cups of ice water
Lean Green Morning Machine
1 cup organic romaine lettuce, 2 organic kale leaves, 1/4 cup fresh organic parsley, 1 lemon wedge with rind, 1 small organic apple, 1 scoop of Real Meal protein powder, 2 cups of ice water
Orange You Ready for the Day Smoothie
1 medium size orange peeled and seeded, 1 whole organic carrot, 1/2 inch fresh ginger peeled, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 small organic apple, 1 scoop of Real Meal protein powder, 2 cups of ice water
If you don't have a Vitamix, by now you know this is my blender of choice and I urge you to go order one now. I have tried the other brands - they collect dust in a cabinet because they don't measure up to my Vitamix.
My Vitamix sits on my kitchen counter and is used daily. Same machine for 14 years! Vitamix has amazing machines and they will last and last and last... best investment ever.
The BEST blender on the market
Let's face it. Most of us grew up in the culture of dieting. We grew up seeing and hearing a message in the media and from others around us that we needed to lose weight to be better, look better, to fit in.
Many of us have seen our weight go up and down with a long string of yo-yo dieting.
We have been programmed by society, media, and women who came before us to panic when the scale climbs and our clothes are too tight. So, we start looking around and asking, "What is the fastest way to lose weight? I need to find ways to lose weight FAST!"
And we will spend lots of money over time on various pills, products and programs that give short-term results that thrill us.... and then we fall away and fall back into old habits and regain the weight...
I found an amazing program that helped me to lose weight fast not too long ago. It worked like a miracle!
Trouble was... that weight lost was regained because I didn't have all the pieces to the puzzle in place.
Since then, I have working intently to crack the code, focusing on what is happening for we women in mid-life and what do we need to do to release excess weight and keep it off without starving and struggling.
I've gone to great lengths to hunt down all the pieces to this puzzle so I that I can help myself and other women over 40 who struggle with maintaining a healthy weight while also enjoying life.
You've probably heard the popular new message in the media, "Diets don't work."
That's actually not true. The truth is, diets can and do work to help you lose weight fast.
BUT... there is a big problem there.
And the weight loss industry knows it.
This is the diet and weight loss industry's big secret to continuing to make money.
You see, they may say they will help you keep it off but they KNOW they are not providing you with all the puzzle pieces. They know you will buy their programs and products, you will lose weight, but then you will fall off their rickety wagon and you'll be back next year to go another round.
They know they are not helping you keep the weight off...
I know this because I've done it. I've been the buyer and the believer.
So much the believer I was selling one of those programs with great faith at one point in time.
Now, I am committed to never promoting another pill, product or program without all of the puzzle pieces in place for my customers and clients.
You see, what I have discovered through lots of personal experience, observation and intensive research is that if you don't have all the pieces of the puzzle in place you might be able to LOSE weight but you will NOT be able to maintain your new weight. Take it from me. Learn from my experience. I'm here to help.
Despite a lot of what is written and reported by medical experts, releasing and maintaining weight is NOT all about calories consumed vs. calories burned. A calorie is not just a calorie. There is a complex science to the way our bodies operate when it comes to what we eat, when we eat, how we eat, how we move, when we move, where we move, etc. There is much more to it...
The diet and weight loss industry has you snookered.
If they can hook you with fast weight loss knowing you will gain it back, they'll have you as a customer again the next year wanting to lose that weight all over again.
I have been a customer of every weight loss plan out there. And I learned a lot from each one. I have lost and regained the same 10-30 pounds over and over. I've been hooked into buying those magazines at the grocery check-out that advertise fast weight loss again and again.
This past year I have dedicated myself to collecting the TRUTH. The science. The chemistry. The psychology. The spiritual components. And I've got the sc
In order to complete the puzzle of releasing excess weight over the age of 40 - and keeping it off - here are some of those pieces that must be in place:
- Stress and sources of stress must either be eliminated or managed. There is so much science to this I can't go into it all right now (stay tuned for a series of articles on this point alone) but this is at the top of my list of key puzzle pieces. Chronic stress unchecked wears out the body and causes us to hold on to excess fat (especially around the belly) and wreaks havoc on our hormones. This is why guided relaxations and gentle yoga are KEY components in my weight release programs such as 45 Days to Fabulous and 12 Weeks to Total Transformation.
- From "have to" to "want to." In order to lose weight, you must know the DEEP WHY you want to lose the weight. And although wanting to fit in your favorite jeans again can be a very good motivation, the deeper why has to be identified by understanding how you got to where you are, what's happening in your body now and how you want to FEEL differently in your life. It is essential to get OFF of the "Should-Train." Go from SHOULD to COULD. Instead of feeling like you SHOULD lose weight, face the fact that you COULD if you WANT it. Realize it is your choice and take time to develop some insight into the WHY of your WANT. Spending time in personal counseling, journaling, introspection can help you develop insight. With insight your lasting motivation will be in place
- Habits have to change. There is no way around this. When you WANT to see change happen in your body and your life, the way you move through your day has to change. It's just not enough to find ways to lose weight fast. If you don't groove new habits that you can live with for the rest of your life fast weight loss is only going to boomerang back to fast weight gain again. New habits have to be grooved in..and in order to be grooved in they have to be embraced and repeated over and over. They also need to be do-able and enjoyable. I make it a point in all my programs to assist women over 40 to create new habits they not only can live with but new habits they love.
- Love, respect and honor yourself, body+mind+spirit. Without this puzzle piece nothing good and healthy will stick. When everything you choose to do (what you eat, when you eat, how you move your body, what thoughts you think about yourself when you pass a mirror) runs through a filter of love, respect and honor for yourself then everything else changes for the better. This is the key of all the keys.
These are just a few of the puzzle pieces we need in place to release excess weight and be in optimal health. There are many more.
And I address ALL of them in my programs. I don't want you to buy products off of my website without all the puzzle pieces in place. I want you to have the WHOLE picture.
So, before you starting looking for ways to lose weight fast, slow down and let's work to get all the pieces gathered first. If you'd like to connect with me to discuss where you need to begin on your journey, drop me a line and let's set you up with a free Connection Session. I'd be happy to help you...
I love Winter Solstice. It's December 21 in case you aren't aware. It's my birthday!
But that's not the reason I love it.
Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year in terms of day light in the Northern Hemisphere of this planet Earth.
It's a turning point in terms of the season. It's the darkest before the dawn of a new year. Yes, I know, technically Dec. 31 is "new year's eve" but for me - the 21st is the beginning.
Winter Solstice is a great time for slowing down and reflecting as you prepare to move forward into a new year with intention and conscious creation of how you choose for your life to be...
Unfortunately Winter Solstice is also smack-dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of preparations for Christmas and this year 6th day of Hanukkah. Kind of tough to slow down and reflect in the midst of holiday parties, gift-shopping and wrapping and all that jazz.
SO... I have a challenge for you my fellow women over 40....
Here is the Stress-less Winter Solstice Challenge:
- Rethink the drink. Seriously, consider setting aside the cocktails tonight and tomorrow in honor of Winter Solstice. Instead of spiked nog or cabernet sauvignon, sip on a cup of chamomile or kava tea and soothe your mind and body. We really need to consider at this stage in life how alcohol is working against our deepest desire to feel bright, light and youthful.
- Early to bed early to rise makes a woman healthy, wealthy and wise. Since you won't be imbibing on the eve of Winter's Solstice, after sipping your soothing tea, hit the hay early. Sleep deeply and wake early. Make the most of the shortest day of the year this way. Enjoy the silence in your house while others sleep in this Sunday Winter Solstice morning.
- Sit with yourself in silence. In the early morning of Winter Solstice, sit up, bring your hands together at your chest in the prayer position (in yoga we call this anjali mudra) take a breath into the center of yourself, close your eyes and then relax the backs of your hands down to rest on your lap with palms open in a gesture of receptivity. Sit. Be. Breathe. If your thoughts start jumping around trying to hook you into jumping up and doing stuff, notice those thoughts as jumping monkeys and bring your mind's focus back to the softness of your automatic breath... Stay here for at least ten minutes.
- Write with the flow. Sit down with a notebook and a pen after your time sitting in silence. Write these three phrases on three separate pages: 1) As I look back on this past year I feel...... 2) As I look forward into the year ahead I want.... 3) As I sit here in this present moment, time and space I notice.... Allow yourself to fill each page without editing what you are writing.... Just let it flow....
- Make soup. On Winter Solstice it's a great day to make a homemade root vegetable soup. Combine 3 cups of vegetable stock, 2 tsp of Himalayan pink salt, 1 tblsp of fresh chopped thyme, 2 tsp of chopped fresh rosemary, 2 cups of chopped root veggies (carrots, parsnips, potato, onion) and simmer until veggies are good and tender.
- Do some Yin Yoga. This need not be complicated. Yin yoga is simply observing a series of simple stretching postures that you hold for much longer than you normally hold in order to get a deeper stretch but also to observe a time of inner reflection within each posture.
- Consider Craniosacral Therapy. I am having craniosacral therapy on this Winter Solstice. It's deeply relaxing, rejuvenating and seems to reset my nervous system. You can look for a practitioner in your area if you are not in metro Atlanta.
- Go Slow. Throughout your day, slow everything down. Catch yourself when you start gearing up habitually. Choose to slow your breathing. Walk slowly. Eat slowly. Slow down your thoughts by consciously breathing deeply and returning to present time, present space.
With these 7 practices, you will find that your Winter Solstice resets your body, mind and spirit. Choose to have December 21 be a day of less stress, contemplation, rest and reflection this year.... I, for one, will be enjoying my birthday this way this year...Namaste...
While conventional medicine tends to minimize the experience of anxiety for women in mid-life, I have a broader view I am eager to share with you. Menopause and anxiety go hand in hand for many women.
Anxiety can feel like a snowball rolling downhill. It is both mental and physical. Physical symptoms can provoke worry thoughts which can then trigger more physical symptoms and then bigger worry thoughts.
Left unchecked this snow ball rolling downhill can create an avalanche of anxiety disrupting a woman over 40's ability to function.
Women in mid-life are particularly prone to experiencing anxiety because:
- Hormones are fluctuating, shifting often wreaking havoc on your sense of mental and emotional balance. Consider how the drastic hormone shifts after delivering a baby affect a woman's emotions. In mid-life as approach and go through menopause, a similar experience can happen.
- Signs of aging are often rapidly showing. This alone is enough to send many women into a tailspin as it can feel like a runaway train. Between the numbers on the scale increasing, the changes to our skin many women experience emotional imbalance as they face the fact they've landed in mid-life.
- Our roles are changing. The kids are leaving the nest. We may feel a need to make a career change - or enter the work-force for the first time. Many women in mid-life experience changes in relationship. Divorce. Deaths. All of these big life changes create anxiety.
- Our adrenal glands are tired. Many women have been going and going non-stop for years and years, running on adrenaline. By the time we hit our 40's the adrenal glands don't work like they use to. Adrenal fatigue is a serious issue for many women over 40 resulting in exhaustion and inability to function. There can be a terrible cycle of stress, anxiety and resulting fatigue of the adrenals.
So, what to do? Here are key tips for dealing with anxiety during menopause:
- Change the way you breathe. I teach women how to breathe in my job as a therapist and coach. It's may sound crazy but most people do not know how to utilize their own breath the help themselves feel better. So take note: You need to learn to relax your belly and chest so that you can take in a FULL breath using the full capacity of your lungs first.
- *Get the deep, full breathing down first. Breathe in deeply and fully, filling your lungs with air to the slow count of 5. Hold it in for 2... THEN, exhale to a slow count of 5 and hold out for 2. Repeat 5 times.
- *Try the drinking straw breath technique: Take a deep full breath in and then exhale through a drinking straw which forces you to make the exhale TWICE as long as the inhale bringing automatic soothing to the nervous system when repeated 3 times.
- *Alternate nostril breathing helps balance out the emotions and the overactive worry brain. Using your thumb and your ring finger, close off one nostril with your thumb and inhale deeply through the other nostril. Close off that nostril with the ring finger and exhale through the first nostril. Then, inhale into the first nostril and close it off and exhale through the second nostril. Repeat 5 cycles.
- Drink your greens. Juicing and blending organic dark leafy greens daily will support healthy adrenals and are reported to assist in balancing your body. The phytonutrients in live greens literally bring life into your body and have a calming affect on the mind and emotions as a result.
- Consider kava kava. This is an herb long used on the islands of the Pacific for soothing anxiety. Research indicates the effects of this herb are similar to the benefits of anti anxiety medications. I recommend taking kava in tincture or capsule form from a reputable company I partner with that uses only organic ingredients for all their products. Otherwise, you don't know what you're getting buying off the shelf.
- Sleep tight. It is crucial to your health and to aiding in the combat against anxiety and menopause to get a good night's sleep. Easier said than done, I know. That's why I've written a free guidebook on how to create quality sleep specifically for women over 40. Grab your free copy here.
- Practice a little yoga every day. After teaching traditional yoga classes at gyms, studios, office conference rooms, outdoor parks for many years, I know the benefit of yoga. But I also know that women over 40 may not have the time or inclination to go to a full-blown 90 minute yoga class. So, I've created a virtual yoga studio for you. In my little online yoga studio you will find videos and audio guided mini classes specifically for women over 40. Some are as short as 4 minutes! Most are 20 or under. That's because I want you to have an easy way to experience the myriad benefits of yoga in the comfort of your home with simple, gentle postures and meditations on a regular basis. Research shows regular yoga and meditation practice help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.
- Be Mindful. It's a practice and a path that will lead you to profound peace in your mind, body and your life. Coming into present moment fully and with acceptance and surrender allows you to meet life as it is and let go of the fear-based clutching and grasping habits that keep you tied in knots. Adopting a seated meditation practice can help build this mindfulness muscle. Read more about mindfulness practice here.
While menopause and anxiety go hand in hand, there is no reason to suffer. Creating a plan for the way you live your life day to day can bring profound relief. If you feel like you're in over your head and need more personal coaching support to help you create a new life design, contact me and let's connect personally.
Join me for a LIVE CALL during which I will be revealing the Top 3 Secrets to releasing weight and managing healthy weight over the age of 40! Let's face it, losing weight over 40 is tough. There are reasons for that and I've got solutions.
Sign up below to register for the call and receive your very own copy of my new Guidebook * FREE* called Top 3 Secrets to Releasing Weight Over 40!