This year has been a hard-working year for me.
It's been a year of really evaluating which efforts are yielding juice and which ones I can toss into the wind, lightening my load.
I'm a huge juicing enthusiast as you probably know. I have a video demonstrating and comparing juicing vs. blending and I provide juicing info and recipes as part of many of my wellness programs. I have an entire page devoted to juicing.
But I have a confession....
There have been many times during this busy year, though, when I've realized going to the juice bar at Whole Foods and paying $6 for a Green Machine juice is better for me than all the effort required to shop, wash, prep, juice, and clean up for 8 ounces worth of green juice at home.
The evolution of my career has take a similar turn.
In 2012 I sold my counseling center and closed my yoga studio. I needed to shift directions and focus on the work that energizes me and let go of what was draining me. With a staff of up to 16 under me at one time, I was spending too much time and energy managing and there just wasn't enough juice to show for all that work.
I've had two years of solo practice which has allowed me time to reflect further on where I want to squeeze and where I want to let go.
This year I decided to go for a dream and launch an online holistic wellness business and open a brick-n-mortar wellness center. I am feeling juicer in my life than ever serving the needs of women over 40!
But I must say...using mindfulness while going for a dream is key to determining along the way when the juice is worth the squeeze.
This is what I've learned this year I would like to share with you:
- Don't be distracted by every new shiny online program. Just like a packaged item at the grocery store, I learned to not assume the fancy box and label means there is quality on the inside. It's a good idea to do your research, talk to people who have done the program. Find out if the program will deliver what it appears to promise before you plunk down a hunk of money. (In case you're wondering, my 12 week program is PACKED with valuable content! Check it out!)
- Self care comes first. Yes, I'd like to save the world. But I have to ensure I am taking care of myself before I can take care of others.
- I must be my own client. Along with the concept of self-care I have learned to schedule time for me and my needs on my calendar and attend to those needs with the same energy I give to my clients.
- Don't believe everything you hear/read. Sadly, there are those out there who are just waiting for the vulnerable, uninformed suckers to fall hook, line and sinker for fear-based propaganda.
- Trust your gut. Intuition is something we all have. We need to practice listening for that whispering intuitive voice inside and trus it. It will never mislead.
- Extend love in everything you do and say. Even when someone is doing you wrong and you have to set boundaries and address issues, you can silently send that person love and wish for the highest good to come for all involved. It's the right thing to do.
- Step away from the screens. Online work can be like a black hole. A time suck. Set a timer and promise yourself you'll stop working and go for a walk or do some yoga or call a friend and actually have a voice-to-voice conversation.
- Save yourself from drowning in the sea of emails. I love email. It's the greatest thing to come along in terms of communication in business. But the other side to that coin is that email can be overwhelming, distracting and addictive. Unsubscribe from all those newsletters you never read and only check email 2 times each day. One brilliant business strategy coach I worked with recently (Michelle Y. Grewal) advised me to draft my outgoing emails in Word and then paste into email so that I wouldn't be distracted by all the influx in my inbox.
- Learn to meditate and dedicate time to practice daily. In the hustle and bustle of developing my new online business and opening my new center, I drifted away from my meditation practice of 21 years. And boy, have I missed it. I have learned how incredibly important coming to the cushion and observing this practice is every day.
- Take time to cherish family and friends. The rush and push to meet deadlines, crank out content and connect with clients can all too easily interfere with ability to have a personal life. I've learned to be sure I am scheduling time with my kids, husband and other loved ones and when I'm with them, in person or on the phone, I am sure to be fully present and attentive.
- Savor the juice. It's all too easy to get caught up in the rush to get on to the next project that we can lose sight of the delicious juice we've produced so far. Take time to slow down, sip on the juice of all your labor and enjoy.
If you have been on and off of different diets, losing and regaining weight over and over you have experienced something called "weight cycling", (also known as "yo-yo dieting"). Conflicting research and opinions aside, the nature of crash diets and that set you up for eventual failure can't possibly be healthy for you physically, mentally or emotionally.
When there is a sudden rise on the scale of more than 3 pounds, the worst thing a girl can do is panic and stop eating altogether or go back to a crash diet. Instead, I have a technique tried and true for myself and several of my wellness coaching clients I call LEVELING. I believe it is a much healthier option.
Here is how LEVELING works:
1. Take inventory: Evaluate exactly what you ate and drank for the past 5 days. Take a good, honest look. Write it all down and go ahead and count up the calories consumed, whether you had healthy or unhealthy fats, how many sugar grams you consumed ... you get the picture?
(Side note: It's best if you keep an honest diary of everything you eat and drink every day anyway so you will have ready-to-grab data to analyze for a host of reasons later on).
2. Do not suddenly restrict: Even though it might SEEM like the rational thing to do, it's not going to help your situation in the long run. Going from a 5 day binge to eating nothing but carrots and celery is only going throw you back on the yo-yo ride.
3. Ease back: If you look at your inventory and see you consumed 10,000 calories every day over the last 5 days, for example and you determine much of it was unhealthy fat and a lot of alcohol, let's say, then for the next 48 hours you are going to eat some of those same foods in much smaller portions. If you ate pizza, burgers and beer, you will eat a small portion of the same foods in the next 2 days.
(Side note: "much smaller portion" generally means 4-5 medium size bites of a restaurant portion and if you had 4 beers, you would have just 1)
4. Sneak in the greens. For this first 48 hours you are going to add 2 cups of raw dark leafy greens (you can steam if you like and season with pink salt, a little cayenne for kick and a dash of liquid aminos and apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) to all three of your meals. So, you'll eat a few bites of that pizza or burger AND the greens.
5. Slip in the H2O. Before and after every meal you will drink an 8 ounce glass of room temperature or warm water.
6. Sidestep the Fried and White stuff. On day 3 and 4 you're going to move away from all processed, fried and white foods. White foods include anything with white/wheat flour, white rice, white potatoes and sugar. You can still have a beer or a glass of wine on these two days if that's your thing. Continue with 2 cups of green leafies at every meal and your water intake. Most importantly, though, you are going to ensure that you consume 1/3 of that total daily calorie average you came up with in number 1 with a minimum of 2000 calories along with your water. (this means legumes, whole grains, steamed or grilled meats, healthy fats)
7. Throttle back. Now, on day 5-7 you are going to cut out all grains (you can have 1 cup of cooked quinoa) and all forms of sugar and all alcohol. You will eat only healthy fats, steamed or grilled meats, legumes, raw/soaked nuts and lots of green vegetables including broccoli (super food!), peppers, cabbage, spinach, kale, celery and more.
8. Pause and navigate direction. Now, you can either stick with this way of eating and allow yourself a splurge one day/week or you can do a full-blown cleanse for 7 days if you want to.
9. Level out with 80/20 plan. Here is where everything changes and you truly level out. Observe an 80/20 plan for life where you eat clean, lean and green 80% of the time and allow yourself to consciously go off plan 20% of the time and enjoy treats but try not to do it two days in a row and never let it turn into a binge. You will want to ensure you are getting some clean, whole grains every few days (brown rice, spelt, millet, quinoa) and some healthy fats - just have small portions. It doesn't take much to get what you need.
**Please consult with a Registered Dietician or a Certified Nutritional Consultant or your health care practitioner to ensure this technique is a good fit for YOUR health!
Give LEVELING a try and let me know how it goes!
Since I was an infant my body has suffered from an auto-immune skin disorder called eczema.
And I'm not talking about a dry patch here and there.
It came in waves and phases of histamine firing, skin bubbling, itching, cracking, bleeding, peeling agony. Back of my knees, inside my elbows, neck, face, and hands...
Throughout my childhood my parents, obeying doctors' orders, slathered me with prescription-strength topical steroid creams and commercial lotions. I suffered terribly through high school and college and into adulthood.
I began my pursuit of natural healing in 1997. I had it kicked for a long while having observed a diet and supplement regimen to rid my body of over-growth of yeast (candida albicans), detoxifying drinks and coffee enemas (yes, I was desperate - vying for the extreme options cancer patients were getting results from it -it did seem to help but I can't endorse this practice as there isn't science to back it up).
But 7 years later the eczema came back. With a vengeance. All over my body.
I was desperate. I couldn't live like this.
I went to see the best dermatologist in Atlanta. When he saw me he brought in his associates and interns telling them this was the worst case of eczema he had ever seen. Then, he proceeded to shoot me up with the most high-powered steroid treatments available - three different injections.
I got immediate relief. My skin cleared up and healed. For 2 weeks I felt like a normal person.
Then the side effects of the steroids started kicking in. And the eczema came back.
The next 6 years my health declined rapidly and I believe many of my issues were a result of those high powered steroid shots on top of years and years of cycles of steroid creams, pills and antibiotics taken as a result of infections due to supressed immune system.
Since 2009 I have been hunkering down into the clean and green lifestyle step by step, bit by bit.
Though I still get an occasional flare up on my fingers and on my neck, I can tell you that I believe I have solved the eczema problem.
It's a rather complicated equation. I'd really like to boil it down to 6 keys, hoping this helps others.
6 Keys to Solving the Eczema Problem
1. Food Alert: In the beginning of healing your body you absolutely have to go on a very strict elimination diet and you may need to take some supplements to aid in healing the gut. I recommend you see a naturopath who can do some testing to see what your body is reacting to and help you with some appropriate supplements. Here are a list of foods you most likely are reacting to:
- wheat and anything with wheat in it
- gluten altogether - any grains with gluten
- canned foods (chemicals and some metals in the cans leach into the foods)
- artificial sweeteners (except stevia - stevia seems to be ok)
- hydrogenated fats, commercial oils
- fish with high metal/mercury content
- non organic meats
- shrimp and all shellfish
Yeah, yeah.... I know it sounds daunting. But if you want to heal your eczema you have to get serious.
This is what you CAN eat generally:
- some quinoa and brown rice
- fresh, organic dark leafy greens of all varieties
- fresh, organic berries, apples, melon, citrus
- fresh, organic root vegetables (barring potatoes if you're avoiding nightshades)
- raw, sprouted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
- apple cider vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- organic, virgin coconut oil and milk
- dried lentils, legumes soaked and cooked
- organic herbal teas and oolong tea
- organic free range chicken
- grass fed beef, buffalo/bison
- clean, wild caught salmon and other varieties of clean fish
2. Clean-n-Green Environs: It's important to do your best to eliminate the toxic chemicals from your home and work environment as much as possible. Here's a cheat sheet and some tips:
- Replace dish liquid with Castile soap. You can scent with a bit of pure-grade essential oils
- Make your own laundry detergent (just try to use the unscented bar of castile soap)
- Make your own glass cleaner with
- Clean your surfaces and tub/shower with
- 1 tsp borax
- 1/2 tsp washing soda
- 1 tsp liquid castile soap
- essential oils as preferred- I use Purify from doTerra 20 drops
- Fill your house and office with air cleaning plants such as Boston Fern, Pothos, Peace Lily, Dracaena, Bamboo Palm
- Essential oils for air freshening and cleaning with a diffuser
3. Clean-n-Green Skin, Hair, Personal Care: If it's poison to eat, don't put it on your skin. Throw out and stop buying commercial products. Here are some ideas:
- You need some ready-made products on hand. I have fallen in love with Gilly's Organics. I use the Good Clean Suds, Better for Body Butter everyday as well as her shampoos. She's a friend and colleague of mine who started creating home-made products that were clean and green in her kitchen and now she's selling them! And most importantly, these products have helped me heal my skin and keep it smooth and calm - no itching.
- You can replace hand soap, face soap and body soap with liquid castile soap.
- Use witch hazel as your toner for face cleansing
- Look for cosmetics made with all natural, organic plant ingredients
- Brush your teeth with baking soda and a bit of peppermint essential oil or order Earthpaste (I love Earthpaste)
- You can use coconut oil as moisturizer anywhere on your body
4. Hydrate from the inside out: Every day be sure you are drinking enough purified water.
5. Keep the bowels squeaky clean and work on healing the gut: This is essential. While there is debate on what is a healthy frequency, I refer to revered Dr. Joseph Mercola on this one. Read about how to know if you have healthy bowel activity and how to heal your gut.
- Eat lots of high fiber fruits and veggies every day at every meal
- Supplement with an insoluable fiber and plenty of water
- Take magnesium citrate to relax the muscles of the intestines
- Take a probiotic on an empty stomach in the morning 30 minutes before you eat
- Drink 16 ounces of warmed water with juice of 1/2 lemon through a straw upon rising in the morning
6. Learn to Relax... Get a Grip on your Stress: Last but not least, this key is key... You must train your mind and body to relax on a daily basis. It's something that does not come to you automatically. You have to practice.
- Download my free guided meditation to relax right here on this website and stay tuned for a whole series of downloadable guided relaxations coming soon here.
- Practice gentle, restorative or yin yoga. Look for a class in your area or check out the many downloadable yoga classes here
- Practice meditation.
- Choose to embrace a mindfulness practice.
Solving the eczema problem requires patience and dedication. You can't expect overnight relief but these 6 keys will be the foundation of your healing journey....
Your itch-free guide,
Leptin levels and weight loss go hand in hand for women over 40.
Leptin plays a significant role in many different systems of your body, especially important for the process of releasing excess weight and overall appetite regulation. Leptin’ s job is to communicate to your brain how much fat your body has and needs. Leptin also responds to exercise intensity and duration, as well as the amount of chronic inflammation in your body.
[right][/right]Typically, women have at least twice as much leptin as men and there is theory that suggests this causes women to develop “resistance” to leptin.
In other words, leptin may not be able to communicate accurately with the brain when the body is resisting. To make matters worse, when women embark on a typical diet, their leptin levels drop drastically causing miserable cravings and crashes in energy.
Here are some tips for helping leptin do it it’s job so you can release that excess fat without the miserable cravings and energy-crashes that come with extreme dieting.
1. Get more (and better) sleep. Inadequate or poor quality sleep can really mess up leptin levels according to research. A very simple but effective strategy for increasing leptin sensitivity is to ensure that you're getting enough quality sleep. A proper “sleep hygiene” routine is key. I do recommend, from personal experience, trying a combination of melatonin, magnesium citrate to help you sleep if you have trouble. Of course, consult with your health care practitioner first!
2. Move your body – GENTLY at first! Heavy lifting NOT required. Even low intensity regular exercise supports leptin levels and helps leptin tell your brain to go ahead and start releasing that excess fat. Do NOT do heavy duty cardio workouts in the beginning as this only creates more stress for your body. Think gentle, easy movement like brisk walks or swimming.
3. Step away from the snacks! Contrary to what we have heard on other programs, snacking in between meals is often found to mess with our leptin levels. In the beginning of releasing excess weight, we want to give the body a chance to heal. Eating throughout the day only taxes the body. Eat 3 meals, spaced out with at least 3 hours in between and make sure your meals are high protein and chockfull of nutrient-dense, high fiber, non-starchy veggies.
4.Focus on Omega 3. Eat or supplement with Omega-3s (clean fish, grassfed meats, chia seeds) and avoid sources of Omega-6 (vegetable oils, conventional meats, grains, etc) to get inflammation levels DOWN and help support healthy leptin levels.
5. Rethink the Drink! When we drink alcohol it's like injecting straight sugar right into our blood stream. Straight sugar in the bloodstream wreaks havoc on the balance of all our hormones including insulin and leptin.
If you want to read more please check out the book Mastering Leptin by Byron and Mary Richards.
Weight Loss for Women Over 40: Mind your MIND
A holistic approach to releasing excess weight from the body requires examination and addressing yourself as a WHOLE person.
Holistic weight loss for women over 40 requires taking a close look at the thoughts we are thinking, the beliefs we are operating from, the actions we are taking often without awareness in relationship to the physical body and the spirit of who you really are.
Let's take a peek at the power of your MIND...
Your thoughts are directing and attracting your life experiences so you might as well learn to harness the power of your thoughts consciously and healthfully, right?
Here are just 3 simple tools to train your brain...
Mind Your Mind...
1. Catch and Release. Begin observing the thoughts that pop into your head. Notice thoughts occurring just as you over-hear a conversation at the next table in a restaurant. Tune in. Pay attention and remember this: You do not need to BELIEVE everything you think.... Catch your thoughts and make a choice as to whether to keep the thought or throw it away, let it go, release it.
2. Flip the script. Ever heard of "stinkin' thinkin'?" This is when negative, discouraging strings of thoughts run through your mind. When you are able to catch "stinkin' thinkin'" and consciously STOP and turn it around to a statement of thanks. For example, if you notice yourself thinking, "Ugh, I hate my body! None of my clothes fit anymore and I look so fat!" you would catch that negative train of thought, and consciously and decidedly flip it to, "I am so grateful for this body. I am grateful my legs carry me around, my arms are able to hold my child, my eyes are able to see this beautiful sky..." A regular practice of flipping the script will begin to yield less stress in your mind and body and more peace.
3. Be gentle. Once you start really noticing the thoughts that happen unconsciously you might notice a pattern of thinking that is very harsh, critical - even cruel. Choose to be gentle. Here, not only do you flip the actual script of thoughts, you soften the tone of your thoughts. Being gentle with yourself means to allow yourself to feel compassion for the pain you have experienced in your life and for the trials you may currently be experiencing. You may notice you have a lot of harsh judgments of others as well. Choose to be gentle in your mind instead.
Mindfulness practice begins with deciding to really pay close attention to what you are thinking without beating yourself up for what you notice.
Holistic weight loss for women over 40 begins in the mind. We work on observing what thoughts are driving our experiences and we consciously shift and change what we are thinking and the way we are thinking.
Losing weight (and keeping it off!) happens when the mind shifts into a groove of observing, accepting what is in order to allow for change in actions to take place with ease and alignment.