Everyone is choosing a "Word for the Year" -- everyone except me.
So much can change in your life in one month, one week or even one day, much more over the course of one whole year.
Some words I've seen chosen are: joy, trust, slow, rest, yes, brave, etc. You get the idea. The trend is to choose a word that represents the type of year you want, and then make decisions based off the word.
One major change in your life will sabotage everything, if it all rests on one word.
I plan my year for vacations, school schedules and big projects for my business, but for all the other things? Monthly. My approach is more realistic, and healthier. Therefore, instead of adding stress when life goes crazy, I am able to adjust. Flexibility facilitates your wellness journey.
So often we view the month of January as setting the tone for the year. If we are successful with our health in January then we can assume we'll be successful for the rest of the year. I'm sorry but this is faulty thinking. First of all what if January is an incredibly challenging month for you financially, emotionally, or physically? What if you feel "unsuccessful" this month? Does that mean the rest of your year is shot? I sure hope not!
On the flip side of this, what if January is a highly successful month for you? You hit your fitness and nutrition goals you're on your way to your summer body and then reality hits and you find yourself back where you started. Does this mean you need to wait until next year to start over? Of course not! It would be silly to even think that. This is exactly why I enjoy the new year but I don't place too much pressure on myself to make the month of January "perfect."
A key element that is overlooked when it comes to New Year's goals is how to implement new habits to accomplish those goals. Goals are set with good intentions but, without a clear plan, it is likely you will fall short. This can leave you feeling like you failed. The remedy is to develop some new habits.
The greatest success I've seen with creating new habits is planning out and implementing one or two at a time. Focus on those few items and really perform them well for six weeks, at least. Then it will become an organic part of your day. After that, add another new, healthy habit.
For example, let's say this year you want to implement a new exercise routine, cut out all processed foods, get 8 hours of sleep each night and implement a quiet time into your day for reflection. Wow I'm tired just writing all that! That's A LOT of pressure, and too much to handle all at any once.
The key is to choose one or two of these new habits, decide how you're going to implement it and then get to a point where it's second nature. Let's say you choose to focus on getting adequate sleep each night, but you're also eager to start working out. Determine what time you need to go to bed by to get the sleep you need. Then decide what you'll do to ensure that your head hits the pillow at the time and do those things.
To begin your new exercise routine start slowly. Plan to commit to 20 minutes a day to start. Work your way up from there. If you currently don't exercise at all, but set a goal to workout for one hour, 6 days a week, you'll probably revert back to your old ways. It's just too much pressure on the body. Will this take longer than implementing all the goals at once? No it will not, because it will work.
Whatever you do to inspire yourself for the new year I encourage you to remember this, one critical truth:
Taking care of your body is lifelong commitment.
Don't rely on a quick fix, trendy diet or fad exercise program as your be all to end all. These things are never a miracle cure.
I encourage you to view good health as a way of life. Adopt that way now and stick with it forever.
Have you ever considered the connection between stress and acne?
If you're using quality skin care and your nutrition is on point but your acne still lingers, stress could be the culprit. In my own personal situation, my adult acne flared up because of a stressful event in my life.
Chronic, unresolved stress leaves us with excess inflammation in the body which then leads to a weakened immune system along with an increased likelihood that the body will attack itself, as in autoimmune diseases. All of this will do nothing to help improve your acne and could be a contributing factor as to why your acne lingers.
As for myself, I notice a direct correlation between stress in my life and the appearance of my skin.
How should you deal with this? Obviously, it's not possible to be 100% free of stress 100% of the time. Life presents challenges and unexpected circumstances do arise.
Let me share with you a few key things I recommend you consider.
What gets your thoughts gets you. What do you spend most of your time thinking about? Answer honestly. It may help to sit in a quiet area and journal for 15 minutes to really figure this out. Let your thoughts come out on paper and see what's in front of you.
Do you find yourself constantly being negative in every situation? Then it may be time for an adjustment. We have different personalities and some people are naturally more upbeat and positive, while others tend to see the glass as half empty. It may not be in your nature to put a positive spin on things in life. That's okay. I do believe you can train yourself to change your thoughts and the way you speak and think.
I read somewhere that it's easy for people to be negative. It's easy to see the bad things in life and dwell on those. It's easy to complain and sometimes it even makes us feel good to stew over a situation that upsets us. Here is where you have to consciously decide to stop negative thoughts in their tracks. Like any new habit it will take time to develop but it's one that is worth the effort.
Look at who you surround yourself with. Speaking of your thoughts, what are the thoughts of your friends and co-workers? Are you surrounded by positive people, or habitual grumblers and complainers?
First recognize you can't change the way those around you speak and react to situations. The only person you can control is yourself. However, when you speak positively and keep your cool in stressful situations, it has the potential to spill over onto those around you. Negativity breeds negativity just as happiness breeds happiness.
If you have a friend who is particularly negative all the time consider approaching the person about it. They may not realize what they are doing. If you're not comfortable having the conversation you may want to consider limiting the time you spend with that person.
Remember, you are in control of yourself and your time. It's your choice who you surround yourself with. Choose wisely.
Grieve it, be angry and move on. Things happen in life that upset us. Things don't always go our way.
Someone at the bank may cut in front of you in line. Another driver may cut you off. Someone may make a comment about your clothes that hurts your feelings.
There is no way to stop these inconveniences and hurts from happening. Again, the only part you can control is yourself and your response. How much energy do you put towards the guy who cut you off in traffic? If you need a few minutes to stew, take it. Set a timer for 10 minutes be angry, call a friend and complain and then when the timer ends let it go.
I'll admit this is a tough one for me. When something upsets me I want to be mad for awhile. I realize this does nothing to help me or better my health, and it only gives more power to the person who wronged me. Learn to let the little things go!
Don't worry about that over which you have no control. I confess, this isn't my strong suit. I tend to dwell on things even when all my worrying won't change the outcome.
The truth is many situations in life are this way. No amount of worrying will change anything. What will be, will be.
When a situation arises that has got you stressed, ask yourself, "How much control do I have over this circumstance?". If there is something you can do to better the situation then create a plan and put it into action. If the answer is that you have no control over it, then it's best to put it out of your mind. I find the only way I am ever successful at this is to leave it in God's hands through prayer.
What are your thoughts? How do you manage stress? Please comment and share your ideas you may be an inspiration to someone else!
It's said that the average person gains 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
That's a significant amount of weight!
How accurate these numbers are, and whether this actually starts around Thanksgiving (I personally believe it to start in October with Halloween), the fact is the holidays can present a struggle.
As soon as the weather begins to turn cold our bodies begin to crave more nourishment. Unfortunately, our first thought is not of dark, leafy greens tossed in a vinaigrette. Warm, cozy, comfort foods are a more tempting choice and, during the holidays, they abound. That is not necessarily, however, a bad thing. There are plenty of delicious foods that are great options to eat over the winter.
The problem I've seen in my private coaching sessions are the number of events that surround the holidays: office parties, family gatherings, cookie exchanges . . . you get the idea.
The trouble all begins with the onslaught of your kid's Halloween candy that bag can be SO tempting!
As the holiday season comes to a close with Christmas and New Year's I'd like to share a few thoughts with you on how to manage the holidays.
When it comes to healing acne with nutrition, there is a lot of talk about what you can no longer eat.
The first things to leave your diet are gluten, dairy, processed foods and refined sugar. To a lot of women that is a bit overwhelming. However, it is true that these foods are inflammatory in the body, especially when eaten in excess, which we tend to do.
While it's important to reduce our intake of inflammatory foods, it is equally as important to increase our intake of foods that reduce inflammation and are full of antioxidants.
When I first began changing the way I ate to heal my skin, I almost fell into a state of depression around food. I knew the foods I shouldn't be consuming, but I didn't yet have a strong taste for the foods I needed to be eating. I longed for the comfort foods I grew up with. Because of this I oftentimes felt hungry, but didn't feel like eating.
This struggle left my body lacking a great deal of nutrition. In fact, my body was so nutrient deficient that my hair started falling out. Hair may be our crowning glory, but our bodies don't recognize it as being necessary for survival. Therefore, it's a go to place for the body to stop sending nutrients when necessary. It wasn't until I visited a naturopath (although not before I ended up with a bald spot on the side of my head) who informed me that I simply wasn't nourishing my body well.
The amazing thing about your body is you can teach it what foods you want it to crave!
The concept is simple. Feed your body the foods it should be having and thanks to metabolic reprogramming you'll be craving those foods in about 30 to 90 days. So cool, right? The old adage, 'you are what you eat' is correct. Your cells are literally made up of what you feed them!
Now that you know, the next step involves making a decision: Keep doing what you're doing while getting the same results or change the way you eat and possibly get better results.
If you're ready to start making some changes I encourage you to take small steps. Don't go buy a ton of produce you've never cooked with before. Start with the fruits and vegetables you know and are comfortable with. Find a few recipes that suit your tastes and build from there. I often eat the same few dishes for several weeks before I tire of it and find something different to add in the mix. I recommend you do the same.
When I first wanted to heal my acne through nutrition, Google became my best friend. I honestly didn't know much about nutrition, and I definitely didn't understand how food affects our body and our skin. One of the first concepts I encountered while researching adult female acne was a vegan diet.
While the cystic acne on my face was at it's height in severity, I went vegan for many months. In the beginning I did notice some improvement in the appearance of my skin. However, in the end being vegan didn't win out for me.
While my diet is still largely plant based, I don't eliminate all animal products. I want to share with you my thoughts on the vegan diet, specifically as it relates to acne.
The benefits of a vegan diet can be the large number of plants consumed. When you're not consuming animal protein, you need more fruits and vegetables to fill you up. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which help fight inflammation in the body.
Acne can be an indication of excess inflammation in the body so, logically, it makes sense to consume more fruits and vegetables. The problem that often arises here, and the reason I put can be in italics, it's easy to be vegan and lose sight of nutrition.
It's easy to become so focused on whether a not a food is vegan that you forget to evaluate nutritional value. Technically, Oreo's® are vegan. Although I don't think anyone would argue that eating these cookies will help clear your skin. I've seen many times, including in myself, where consuming a vegan diet quickly turns to lots of vegan baked goods, pastas and baked potatoes. These things are fine in moderation but they aren't the super-foods needed to boost our immune system so you can give acne a kiss good-bye.
The downside to a vegan diet is its neglect of healthy fats. When researching a vegan diet I was quite alarmed at how many proponents of this diet still had the low fat mentality that plagued the 90's. The concept of following a low fat/no fat diet is outdated information that was never actually correct. In fact, during the 90's when the low fat craze really took off, heart disease increased as people's waist lines grew. Why did this happen? Most likely it was due to high insulin levels. Instead of eating healthy fats, which keep you fuller, longer, people were eating low- fat crackers, highly refined pastas and low- fat yogurts. All these things spike our insulin levels which leads to excess belly fat, AND many people felt constantly hungry because the very thing that helps keep us full fat was removed from food. What I'm discussing here pertains to weight gain and heart health but, please make no mistake, it's also connected to the appearance of your skin. Warning signs of internal excess inflammation in the body, such as acne, should help us connect the dots: a low-fat/no fat diet won't give us the skin, or the overall health we want.
Vegan diets also eliminate the intake of wild-caught, sockeye salmon. I really can't overstate its benefits to our skin health. First, wild-caught salmon provides a hefty dose of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids simply means our bodies don't make these fats, therefore, we must get them from food. Omega-6's are also essential fatty acids. However, because of deficiencies in our food supply these days (such as eating grain-fed instead of grass-fed beef, or consuming processed foods containing unhealthy, shelf-stable oils) we are ingesting too much omega-6's and not enough omega-3's. The ratio of these oils should be 1:2 omega 3 omega 6. Unfortunately, our modern diets tend to have a ratio of 1:10 of omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) to omega-6 (inflammatory). [William Sears, MD, The Inflammation Solution,©2015]
Vegan diets also lack astaxanthin. Here we go again with salmon the prize winning fish! Astaxanthin is another reason to love this fish. Astaxanthin gives salmon its beautiful pink color. It's a nutrient that has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Astaxanthin paired with beneficial omega-3's in wild-caught salmon make this fish vital to our diets. Notice I keep emphasizing wild-caught. It is important that you avoid purchasing farm-raised salmon. It doesn't contain the same amounts of the powerful antioxidants. In fact, farm-raised salmon may have pink color added, so it appears more like wild-caught. I also take a fish oil supplement and have noticed a difference in my skin, hair and nails.
Tip: On the days you enjoy salmon for dinner it's okay to skip your fish oil supplement. This will help you stretch your budget a bit farther as well!
Lastly, I encourage you not to place yourself in a "diet camp." What I mean specifically is avoid anything that promises weight loss as its single goal. It can lead to an all or nothing mentality, in which you feel guilty if you are ever in a situation that makes it impossible to eat and still stay within the diet's strict guidelines. What I do encourage, instead, is focus on real, whole-food nutrition. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store. Opt for organic produce and meats when possible. If unavoidable, be very selective in the purchase of processed foods. If you're curious what to look for when purchasing processed foods, you can read more here.
Have you ever tried, or are you currently following a vegan diet? Have you noticed an improvement in your skin, hair, and nails? How are you currently eating, and how does it make you feel? Please comment!
For optimum health it is better to avoid processed foods. But it can be difficult these days to do that.
Life seems to be busier than ever and it seems we have less time to dedicate in the kitchen than in years past. It's no wonder women resort to picking up boxed packaged items, and foods in the freezer section.
I'm a firm believer in balance. Nutrition shouldn't be viewed as all or nothing. It's all about giving yourself grace.
Do what you can with the knowledge, information, budget and time you have.
While I do cook mostly from scratch there are a few things I purchase prepackaged. However, there are KEY things I look for before buying a processed food; and there are certain factors I won't compromise on.
In order to manage acne it is best done from the inside out. Focus on nutrition to bring your skin to an improved state of health. Examine all facets of your diet.
Let me share with you some key things to look for in any packaged food you buy.
I just saw an article discussing the relationship between indoor air quality and acne. Contrary to what you may think, indoor air can be five times more polluted than outdoor air. Common culprits can be dust, candles, cleaning supplies and also the particles that travel inside with you on your clothing.
"These are commonly known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs."
Frequently, these tiny, invisible particles lurk in things like paint, cleaning products,
candles, and air fresheners--and they can have all sorts of repercussions for your skin.
It's easy to think of acne as only an external skin issue. Having a proper skin care routine is extremely important to clearing your skin and maintaining that clear skin. However, it stands to reason that other factors play a role in the look & appearance of our skin as well.
Acne can be a deep rooted issue and it's important to get to the real source. Digestion, quality of nutrition, stress levels and quality of sleep all affect the appearance of our skin.
What about air quality? It's probably safe to say that many of us aren't focused on this part as much. However, there does seem to be a natural progression between improving nutrition and improving the quality of household cleaners, soaps, shampoos and makeup. Once we start changing the foods we put in our body, it's natural to begin examining the things our skin comes in contact with as well as those things we breath in.
I have made the switch from toxic cleaning products to safer alternatives. Before that I remember shooing my children away while cleaning the bathroom. On the days when I had to go in and scrub the tub, I'd come up coughing and eyes watering. Pretty sure that's a good indication that what I was breathing in wasn't great. Not only that, but the chemicals we use come into contact with our skin and may end up in our bloodstream.
Where to start?
Start small. Ditch plug in air fresheners and perfumed room sprays. My favorite alternative to this is diffusing essential oils.
Consider having a few house plants. There's a lot of evidence to suggest that indoor plants help improve the air quality. Plus, they are attractive and can be a natural part of your home decor.
Check out a quality air purifier. One thing to look for is how much square footage the unit covers. If you live in a small space one air purifier may do it. If you have a large home take that into consideration. If you cannot manage to cover the entire house, focus on the rooms in which you spend most of your time, including the bedrooms.
Awareness is the first step. It's easy to go through the "day-to-day" and not think about what comes in contact with your skin. If you have persistent acne it's certainly worth looking into.
What is it about Sundays and feeling blue?
I don't think I'm alone in this as I've seen other bloggers write about this very topic. Not to mention a good friend of mine and I call it depressing Sunday. In fact we call or text often on Sundays and say the words, "Happy Depressing Sunday!!" This little joke between us has actually brightened my day more than once.
I don't know about you, but I'm the type of person who thrives on routine. I like the mundane, ordinary tasks of the week and while I may get tired of it sometimes, there's also a great deal of comfort in it.
I'm a Christian and grew up in a Christian home so Sunday was always a day of worship and rest in our house. My parents even had a rule that any weekend homework had to be completed by Saturday night because come Sunday there would be no working on it. I much appreciated this rule because I was never frantically trying to get school work done before Monday morning rolled around.
While Sundays have always had a calmer feel to them, there's something that feels almost sad to this day.
Whether or not you are a believer, and whether or not you attend a church, I don't think many would argue that Sunday does represent a somewhat slower pace that any other day of the week. It's a time to sit back, be with family and rest for the week ahead.
It's the sitting back and resting part that can be a bit uncomfortable for me. Weekly schedules and routine keep my body busy and my mind busy. Do you find this to be true for yourself?
Routines and structure means there isn't much time for reflection and this also means there aren't many pockets of quiet. While this does get tiresome, it also offers a certain level of protection. I can't stop and think and reflect because I need to move on to the next task. Sundays provide a large window of time where I really don't know what to do with myself and I'm forced to deal with the quiet.
Do you find this true for yourself?
Your state of mind is essential to your overall well being.
Everything is connected: mind, body, and spirit. It's important these things are in tune with one another.
Now I'm not saying don't ever feel sad or blue. Quite the contrary, when these feelings do arise don't ignore them but rather decipher where they are coming from and what's behind them. My mother passed away three years ago and, since then, Sundays have become an even greater challenge -- missing her most in the quiet moments. The reality of her absence cannot be denied during those times.
Here are a few things I've found that help me deal with the Sunday blues and may help you as well:
I've openly shared my life long struggle with acne. Battling cystic acne has been a part of my life since I was a teenager. What I haven't shared as openly is how utterly powerless I felt to stop it.
Here are a few of the things I have been told about acne:
Are any of these excuses your excuses?