I am thrilled to introduce you to my guest blogger and colleague Diana Pagnucco. She is a holistic nutrition health coach and the owner of GreenStartHealth. Today she is going to tell us how to GET OVER SUGAR! Read this carefully my friends because Diana has got the skinny on why sugar is bad news and exactly what to do about it!
Sugar has been in the headlines a lot recently.
And the news isn’t good.
Refined sugar is a major trigger because we’re hard-wired to binge on it. We are wired to keep eating and eating it once we start.
It causes weight gain, of course, and also contributes to a long list of diseases we’ve gotten too used to dealing with: heart disease, immune disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis. It’s not just empty calories - it’s addictive and toxic to your body. Getting over sugar addiction is a challenge worth taking.
I’ll bet you know THIS feeling....You vow that you’re done with sugar! You swear off!
But then… the day [or days] go by and that little voice starts in. You resist - it’s hard, but you do it. Then... the voice gets clever. It says, "C'mon...it’s just a bite. You’ve been so good. You deserve it."
Then it’s like the invasion of the body snatchers. You’re going back for more. You’re totally ignoring the part of you that doesn’t want it - "Oh please, it’s just so good, just enjoy," you tell yourself.
When you’re done, you feel it again. You can’t believe it - and was that really a choice in the first place? It’s like there are two Yous inside you, battling it out. It’s exhausting to keep fighting. Then giving up and giving into temptation. Then fighting again.
Why does this cycle have such a strong hold over us?
Let’s take a trip back in time before we even had processed foods. Sugar was found naturally in fresh fruit, which was precious and fleeting. And these fruits were loaded with nutrients and fiber. So when it was available, we binged. Now that we’ve taken the sugar out of the whole food, when we eat it, our body craves what’s missing. So we want more. And more. It lights up the pleasure centers in our brain, yes, but without any of the good stuff it’s supposed to bring.
The best way to get over sugar? It’s NOT to replace it with artificial sweeteners. That opens a whole new set of problems.
No - the best way to get over sugar is to give it up, cold turkey. Really. There will be a day when you’re in control and can treat yourself occasionally if you even want to, but while cravings are strong? Getting over sugar addiction requires walking away entirely.
But that’s only part of the solution.
Taking something away leaves an empty space, unless we add something back. Something more satisfying, more delicious, more honest.
Consider, when you crave sweets that maybe you’re really looking for is...
- ENERGY: Put down the electronics an hour before bed, and give yourself plenty of sleep at night. During the day, don’t skip meals - keep your body nourished.
- NUTRIENTS: Eat lots of naturally sweet foods like carrots, onions, fruit, sweet potatoes, rice, beets, cinnamon, ginger, cloves. The fiber and nutrients are what will satisfy you.
- ENDORPHINS: Get up and get outside for a minute for a quick walk. Stretch and take several big deep breaths. Do a few jumping jacks or take a lap up and down the stairs.
- BALANCE: If you reduce salty, meaty foods, your need to offset that extreme with sugar will be relieved.
- SWEETNESS: Look for the non-food type, like a laugh or a hug from a friend. Practice compassion with yourself, too. What are you proud of yourself for?
This is such a common concern, I wrote a free guide with all my best tips. “Six Ways to Outsmart a Snack Attack” also comes with a subscription to my newsletter. The link is on my website home page. I’d be glad to see you there!
Diana Pagnucco, holistic nutrition health coach and Founder and Owner of GreenStartHealth helps people who have watched their health slip as they take care of everyone but themselves. She helps people who are scared that the extra weight, low energy, or chronic condition will never go away. Diana motivates her clients to eat, move and take care of themselves in simple, consistent ways so they look and feel great, permanently. Please visit Diana and sign up for her free guide and newsletter at www.greenstarthealth.com
When you simply don't have time to sit down and eat a LARGE bowl of spinach and other veggies, drinking 16 ounces of green juice is a great alternative.
95% of the phytonutrients - vitamins and enzymes our bodies need for optimal health are in the juice of raw fruits and vegetables.
We still need the fiber in those plants, so I strongly recommend you also drink green smoothies and of course eating the whole foods themselves regularly.
But juicing greens is a great way to get a high dose of health benefits in addition to your smoothies and whole food meals.
When you drink fresh green juice, you are getting a highly concentrated dose of important vitamins, minerals and enzymes that hit your bloodstream immediately allowing your body to absorb all of these nutrients while giving your digestive system a much needed rest.
To get the optimal nutritional value you will want to drink your green juice right after the greens have been juiced. If you store the fresh juice in a tightly sealed glass container in the fridge and drink it within 8 hours, you’re good to go. The reason for this is as soon as the juice hits the air, oxidation happens. This process takes away the nutrients in your juice bit by bit.
Be careful about buying those green drinks that are bottled at the store. Unless they come fresh out of the juicing machine that day, they are likely pasteurized which kills all the good nutrients.
I recommend juicing first thing in the morning and drinking your green juice on an empty stomach and then again two hours after and before meals later in the day. This helps your body to absorb all those nutrients.
Tips on how to make juicing greens a part of YOUR healthy regimen:
- Get a good quality juicer. (I recommend Breville – easy to clean and efficient to use).
- Keep the juicer out on the kitchen counter in easy reach and plain view.
- Create a routine of stopping in the grocery every couple of days to pick up fresh, organic produce to juice.
- Add lemon to your juicing – it offsets the bitter of some of the greens.
- Buy a set of pantry jars. Sterilize and keep on hand for storing your extra juice for an afternoon pick-me-up.
- Allow the cleaning of your juicer to be a mindfulness practice rather than a drudgery.
See my video on juicing vs. blending here!
Recipes to get you started:
Always use organic produce whenever possible. If not possible, be sure to clean your produce in a solution of apple cider vinegar, water and baking soda. Remove rind, core and peel before juicing.
Green Ginger Juice
- 1 cucumber
- 1 small green apple
- 1 small pear
- 8 leaves of kale
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 inch of fresh ginger
- 1 cucumber
- 4 cups of spinach
- 1 lemon
- 1 small red apple
- 1 pear
- 1 lemon wedge
Green Mean Machine
- 1/2 lemon
- 4 cups spinach
- 1 cucumber
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 large green apple
Once you get accustomed to the taste of drinking greens, I recommend cutting back on the fruit and moving toward 80% vegetables and 20% fruit.
Are you slogging through your daily grind, slurping down the coffee you’ve become dependent on just to stay awake?
Do you ever think to yourself, “Is this it? Is this all there is?”
As you watch your kids grow up and move out, and you notice more lines in your face when you look in the mirror… are you feeling heavy-hearted? Like your life suddenly has little meaning?
Wondering who you are once the kids don’t need you anymore?
Your work in the world has become a series of motions you move through robotically?
One woman's story...
One of my clients came to me for life-redesign coaching after finding herself smack dab in “mid-life" wondering what is her life purpose now, realizing her job as full-time mom and part-time book-keeper for a small company is no longer it.
As she was releasing her children into the realm of young adulthood, she described a feeling of an empty spot insider herself.
With my guidance, she’s been visiting that empty spot inside. She began a practice of going inward and sitting in that empty spot without rushing to fill it. Sitting in the emptiness has been transformational for her.
When women encounter this feeling of emptiness once the children leave the nest and they see their body aging, many rush to escape it, afraid of it. I encourage women to be with the emptiness and see what it has to show you.
Once my client was able to surrender into that empty spot, she allowed space for inner guidance to emerge.
She realized her 20 years working as a book-keeper while raising children has served a purpose and has made a profound contribution. But none of it was her true life calling.
From sitting in the emptiness, she has encountered some waves of heavier emotion at first. Some grief. Some sadness. Some resentment. But then, after a while... lighter emotions of hope, joy, curiosity and expanded awareness.
She began to hear her life calling.
She remembered when she was a young girl and all the way through high school and college she just knew in her heart she was destined to be a stage performer. She took lessons, she starred in school productions. She even received a singing scholarship to college. She knew one day she would perform before thousands, bringing joy and laughter and great entertainment to audiences.
This was her calling. But her plans and vision were shut down when her father told her with dismissive criticism he would not continue to support her and all this silly theatrical nonsense. He informed her that he would no longer fund her education and student life unless she changed her major and trained for something more practical – like business and accounting.
She shared with me that at age 19, she felt so ashamed by her father's admonishment that she packed away her life’s calling and opted for a business administration major and the track to take the CPA exam.
She met her husband in a college class. They married right after graduation and she became pregnant with their first of 3 children soon after. She never took the CPA exam but secured a job working as a bookkeeper.
Now, she comes and sits with me at age 48, as her youngest is about to graduate high school preparing to revive her life’s calling.
In her times of sitting in the emptiness, she began to experience pulls to return to singing and acting. At first her father’s dismissive and critical voice spoke to and through her. As I helped her to set that aside and continue to explore these emerging pulls to sing and act again she changed before my eyes.
Over the weeks we worked together I noticed her brow lifted, her eyes began to sparkle. She laughed. She breathed. I noticed week after week, over time, her body - once significantly overweight - began to appear trimmer as she was nourishing herself for mindfully.
Together we created a road map for her to find her life calling and bring it back to life. She began walking several miles each morning while she envisioned the new life she longed to create for herself.
She pulled out her old song sheets at home and when alone in the house she started singing on her own again.
Then, one night each week after she got off work, instead of heading home as she had the past 20 years, she started going to meet with a vocal coach.
She auditioned for a part in the local theatre’s production of My Fair Lady. She landed the lead role.
When she arrived at my office for her 12th weekly coaching session with me, she appeared to float in the door bubbling over with joy and aliveness. She told me of her plan to quit her 20 year book-keeping job and start working at the theatre by day as their office manager while she rehearsed and performed by night.
So... what about you?
Are you moving through your life like a slave driven only to survive? Or are you actively creating and rolling out a life that serves your own calling?
Are you living your life's calling?
If you need help wading through this process, check out my personalized coaching program called Redesign Your Life. After all, I am living MY life’s calling helping others live their's.
Stress is the number 1 factor in a host of health problems and excess weight gain for women over 40.
As I have been conducting research on the effects of stress and how to help women in mid-life, I encountered a highly respected Dr. Angela Griffiths, who specializes in helping women regain control of their health and vitality through the use of functional medicine principles, addressing the root causes of problems, not just the symptoms, which are often grounded in lifestyle choices, environmental exposures, and genetic influences.
This is part of my interview with Dr. Griffiths called Stress for Women Over 40 and What to Do
Q. Dr. Griffiths, can you please talk to us about how stress for women over 40 and how it affects us?
A. Stress is different for each of us. It may have happened "to us" a long time ago through no fault of our own or it may have become a state of being that our brain has adapted to (even yoyo-dieting is a form of repeated and chronic stress). Our Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal-Thyroid-Gonadal Axis may be stuck in an unhealthy loop due to PTSD or other grief or trauma that we have suffered.
The effects of stress heighten in mid-life. As we enter perimenopause, our body is starting to make hormonal shifts, with the eventual end of the ovaries producing estrogen and progesterone. The natural transition at this time is for the adrenals to step up and begin to signal the creation of the sex hormones from that time on.
We still have estrogen until the day we die, it is just not at reproductive levels. BUT, if the adrenals have been “fatigued” and are otherwise not at an optimum level, perimenopause can cause them to be strained even further.
Q. So, we hear a lot about how stress is bad for us but what exactly does it do to our bodies, especially as we get into mid-life?
A. Chronic stress causes a domino effect of damage to the body over time.
Basically, when we experience a stress trigger, adrenaline goes up, causing the body to go into fight-or-flight mode. When feeling chased by a bear, we cannot "rest" our mind or body OR "digest" our food. High adrenaline levels cause a cortisol release. Over time, the adrenal glands can get "tired" of constantly being called on and fail to respond.
Chronically high adrenaline can leave testosterone, estrogen and/or progesterone way out of balance.
Reduced secretory IgA can compromise gastro-intestinal immune response.
Glucose is released which then causes blood sugar instability often resulting in diabetes.
Then, we see fat storage increased, especially at the waist and belly area.
Essential minerals and vitamins (especially B Vitamins) are burned up, which can cause problems with methylation and gene expression, leading to problems with serotonin, dopamine, melatonin and more of the “feel good and rest well” hormones.
If we are stuck in a constant state of fight-or-flight, we can't breakdown food, digest nutrients from our food or sometimes we can't even SWALLOW our food. Eventually our methylation does not work...and we feel SICK.
Q. What is methylation? That sounds important!
A. Yes, it is very important! Methylation is the vital metabolic process that happens in every cell and every organ of our body. We aren’t alive without this process. We can’t think, process food appropriately, have a healthy immune system or normal heart beat or detoxify our body without proper methylation.
Q. So what are some of the things that we may be doing, eating, drinking that are contributing to this domino effect?
A. When women find themselves in this state I’ve described, they often turn to certain foods and substances to cope such as coffee, sugar, chocolate, cigarettes and other addictive substances. All of these may bring short term relief but they are actually making us even sicker.
Q. Okay so what can we do about this domino effect of stress on the body Dr.?
I will tell you that popping a few nutrient pills (prescription or vitamin) is not going to fix this. Healing the adrenals and the whole system requires a host of actions and I recommend the following:
1) determining and removing source of the stress
2) retraining your brain to recognize stress triggers and tension and take action to find way to relax
3) assessing stage of adrenal dysfunction (Adrenal Stress Test)
4) eating high quality nutrients, maintaining steady blood sugar
5) removing stimulants (caffeine, sugar, nicotine, etc.)
6) supplementing specific to stage of adrenal dysfunction which is determined by your doctor’s assessment
7) THEN and only then can you attempt to "heal" your gut lining and reverse any symptoms caused by affected gene expression
Dr. Griffiths is an author, international speaker, licensed chiropractor and functional medicine practitioner, certified health counselor and fitness coach (personal, rehabilitative, triathlon and TRX-team). She specializes in helping women regain control of their health and vitality through the use of functional medicine principles, addressing the root causes of problems, not just the symptoms, which are often grounded in lifestyle choices, environmental exposures, and genetic influences. Her approach is that of a team, doctor and patient working together to review and address a patient’s health. She presently conducts virtual coaching, one-on-one patient management, group coaching, public speaking, retreats and e-teaching modules. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Griffiths or just read more about her work at http://angelagriffithsdc.com/.
One of the 3 keys I talk about with my clients that is necessary for losing weight and keeping it off over 40 is having a foundation of love, respect and honor for yourself.
Your WHOLE self.
Body, mind and spirit.
And we are not talking about narcissistic self-absorbed self-love. We are talking about deep, abiding respect and genuine caring for the whole being that you are.
If I ask you if you love or loathe yourself, chances are you will deny that you loathe yourself. Loathing is such a strong word, right?
But how many times have you looked in the mirror and groaned and cursed your excess fat?
How many times have you examined the lines in your face, emerging age-spots or graying hair and deep down felt disgust?
Pivoting from self-loathing to self-love is absolutely key if you want to feel free and light in your body, mind and spirit.
I help women over 40 lose weight, yes. But not through the traditional way of dieting.
I help women release the heavy thoughts and beliefs that are weighing them down. Self hatred packs on the pounds mentally, emotionally and physically.
Every moment you spend questioning your worth and criticizing yourself is not only a waste of your precious time in this life, but it's working against your desire to release excess weight and keep it off.
Today is the day to start loving yourself.
Here are seven ways to love yourself body, mind and spirit:
1. Accept that you are good enough just the way you are here and now.
Look in the mirror every day before you get in the shower. Take a pause and stand naked. Choose to accept your flaws realizing that you are where you are because of all you've been through. Weight loss over 40 begins with acceptance of your body and your life as it is in this present moment. You came to be where you are now because you've been through difficulties. Accept that in this moment you are absolutely more than good enough just the way you are.This inner culture of self acceptance is the spring-board for change.
2. Teach others how to treat you.
You are already teaching other people how to treat you when you allow someone to talk down to you or insult you. When you choose to love, respect and honor yourself, you are choosing to no longer tolerate abuse from others. Women who truly love and honor themselves expect to be treated with respect and honor from others. They set healthy boundaries and, if these boundaries are crossed they speak up clearly and directly. When boundaries are repeatedly violated they know when it's time to walk away.
3. Believe you CAN overcome your challenges and learn from them.
Women who truly love themselves know that big challenges are how we grow, learn and derive meaning from life. Learn to find humor in your mistakes and look at the curve-balls life throws at you as learning opportunities. The discomfort you feel when difficult situations arise provide rich soil for new growth. Believe that you do have the where-with-all to learn and go beyond the challenges you are facing.
4. Take full responsibility for your part of conflict or trouble without beating yourself up.
When there is a conflict, a disagreement, a blow up or some other trouble, it's important to scan the situation for your contribution and take responsibility. Own it. But don't grind your teeth and whip yourself with critical words. Women who truly love themselves are able to quickly recognize where they have erred, admit it openly, apologize sincerely and then let it go - even if the other person is still angry.
5. See your life as school.
Your body, your pain, your joys, your thoughts, your experiences, your relationships... they are all classes in this advanced graduate course called life. To love and honor yourself is to embrace everything about your body and your experiences as rich opportunity to learn. Instead of gnashing your teeth because the numbers on the scale are too high, get CURIOUS. Ask yourself, "What can I learn from this?" Remember that you are a soul, a spirit having a human experience. You are here to learn. Women who love themselves realize this and therefore are gentle with themselves when things go awry.
6. Follow your bliss.
Women who love themselves know that they must find and follow their deepest inner-longings. Spend time listening for the whispers of your heart. You might start by thinking back to what that thing was you most wanted to do and experience when you were young... and find way to DO THAT. When you love yourself, you will know that the inner-longings are important and you will choose to dig in and find way to honor and nurture those desires.
Much of the time the hunger we feel is not physical hunger. Instead of reaching for potato chips or brownies, reach deep within to what it is your spirit hungers for. Feed that and losing weight over the age of 40 becomes much simpler.
7. Live your life in the present moment.
This moment is the only moment that exists. Eckhart Tolle says, "The past is merely a memory trace. The future is only a vision. All there is is this present moment. Accept the present moment as if you have chosen it."
Women who truly love and honor themselves feel greater joy in accepting where they are and embracing the present moment. They do not wallow in aching for what used to be. They do not twist about in anxious agony about what MIGHT happen. They return to the present and work with what IS.
Hilary Rubin, spiritual life coach, taught me an exercise I myself have used and I now use with my clients called "the permission statement."
I'd like to share this with you now because as Hilary taught me, most people are still waiting for someone else to come along and give them permission to do things differently. But, the truth is YOU are the only one who can give yourself permission. Try this on for size today... Write this down on a slip of paper and repeat it out loud 7 times. Say it with feeling. Dig into it. Believe it.
Today, I give myself permission to love myself without condition. I give myself permission to accept myself - my body, my mind, my spirit - just the way I am, and I choose to live my life with gratitude for all the lessons presented to me.
Keep this article open and available to read again and again. Save this permission statement and repeat it daily. Take a look at the habits and patterns in your life that serve you and also those that are holding you back. By doing these things, you’ll create an inner culture of self-love. Through this filter of self-love you will begin to make healthier choices which will lead to natural weight loss.
Today I am featuring my colleague Jessica Sweet, LICSW and Life & Career Coach as my guest blogger. Jess provides coaching services, specializing in helping women over 40 make career changes.
Are you thinking about a career change at 40?
Whether you're 40, 45, 50 or even 55... a career change is still possible for you.
If you're like many women, your 40's and beyond are liberated years. Years when you're free from the worries of caring for very young children, freer from worries about what other people think. But all of a sudden you might face a new limitation.
You might hit that magic birthday and suddenly you're "too old" to make a career change, even if you know that what you're doing now in your career just isn't right for you.
Why should it be that just when you felt you'd finally paid all your dues, you're suddenly trapped into doing a job that you don't like - hate even, when your heart sings to do something else?
Actually, it doesn't have to be that way.
Being stuck is an illusion.
"Right!" You laugh. "Tell that to my mortgage payments."
Well, while it's true that you probably need an income, it's not true that you need to make your income the way you've been making it.
That's the part that's just a tweak of the mindset.
Career Change At 40
Your career change at 40 or beyond can happen. The limitations that you're worried about can be addressed, one at a time and slayed like the dragons they are. Here's how:
First off, write down what you're worried about.
(I'm going to tackle some of the most common worries in just a moment).
Second, get a handle on what you really want to be doing next in your career.
Third, make a plan to move forward - and don't forget to include lots of support!
The Most Common Worries About Career Change At 40 and Beyond
- No one will hire me over younger candidates. There are two reasons that this might be true. First, you're more expensive to hire because your salary costs more and so does your health insurance. Second, they think you won't be in the position very long either because you'll retire or because you're so overqualified you'll quit soon. All of these reasons come down to money for the employer. Once you understand this, you have an advantage. If it's a job you really want, you can do your homework and go the extra mile to convince the employer that you won't cost as much as they think and/or will be worth every penny due to your passion for the job. After all, you get what you pay for.
- I don't have the energy to start something new.If you're feeling that way, then it's not the right thing for you. What I want for you is that you find a career move that has you bouncing out of bed at 5 a.m. (ok 6!) excited - yes excited!! to work on it. If you have to muster the energy it's not right. If you're 44 and you're wondering if something huge, like medical school is the right move, the only way to decide is to dig deep and think about how it feels. Do you want it? Do you want it bad? Because that's what it's going to take. The right next move gives you a thrill. It's out there.
- I have no idea what I want to do next, I just know it's not this! This, my friends, is what I live for.I love helping people figure this out. It is possible to figure out what you want next in your career. Sure you can do all sorts of psychometric tests and mumbo-jumbo (not that I don't believe in those, I do). But I think that they reduce a person to less than the whole. And when you deal with the whole person and understand who they are and what they want and need in order to thrive, be excited, be fulfilled, and happy you really can make huge breakthroughs. You are meant to do something you love, and you can find it.
These are three really common worries, but of course there are more. What worries do you have?
Career change at 40 and older can feel hard, but you can do it! You can break through to a new career or even a dream business. The limitations that hold you back need to be broken down step-by-step so you can move past working at a job that's probably not challenging you and transitioning on to something that fulfills more of your potential.
Jessica Sweet, LICSW is a career and life coach who helps people over 40 make a career change to work they love. She also helps creative entrepreneurs take their solo businesses and business ideas from seed to bloom. Learn more about her services and working with her at Wishingwell Life Coaching, and get her free e-book The Ultimate Guide to Career Change at 40 and Beyond.