Bringing Wellness Full Circle

Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

Burn Out?

Dreading the Monday morning’s feelings of exhaustion, depression, and boredom?  Work feels heavy and joy and inspiration are getting replaced by apathy and resignation? Been there, done that–maybe your physical and emotional strength are at their lowest and you have lost all your motivation… this blogpost is for you!

Screaming womanHow do we go from being excited and growing and feeling alive to this heavy, soul-stifling dreariness? When does the shift from one of cheerfully giving selflessly to the feeling of being taken advantage of take place? “Burn out” happens in many ways, but most often, it happens because we give/do/listen/are around too much of something: too much overtime; setting aside too much of your own issues to help others;  hanging out too much with negative people; handling too many emergencies; allowing too many people to take advantage of you; seeking too much acceptance from others; working out too much; over analyzing too much; and you can add whatever your “too much” is to this never-ending list…

And when you feel burned out, the last thing you really want to do is expand more energy to fix the problem. You just don’t have it. And actually, it feels like the more you try to overcome burn out, the more burned out you become. I bet you know exactly what I mean…

Solution? It’s called REPERCEPTION.  Which means, learn to look at the situation differently, using “fresh eyes” to see what has been bothering us so much. Sounds too simple? I know. But things actually do change as they are seen differently, not necessarily because circumstances have changed, but mainly because as we shift our perspective, we ourselves are being changed. How?

(1) In order to change perspective, we must first take a step back from a situation and simply acknowledge what is so, without judgment of self of others. When we remain emotionally tied up with the circumstances, we usually just react. We do not  create an appropriate response, and we use up more energy than we think we have. Stepping back from a burned out situation, setting aside our emotions and trying to reperceive what is really going on helps us think things through from the inside out… and might just be what we need to take appropriate steps to recover from burn out.

(2) A great way to prevent burn out is to simply keep in mind the bigger picture–what is our ultimate purpose, or life work? Reconnecting with why we are doing what we are “our values and desires” can be a powerful way to maintain our priorities straight and not take on “too much.”

(3) Do your best. No matter what you have on your plate, do your best, raise your personal bar of excellence and you will find what you do becoming valuable,worth doing, challenging–even if it is scrubbing the floor. When we are intentional about what we are doing, we actually find peace in our work because we do not allow ourselves to be affected by outward circumstance or negativity.

Burnout happens when we give too much and neglect our own wellbeing, chaining ourselves to unrealistic expectations. It drains us in every possible wa: from the body to the spirit.  We wind up allowing our emotions to rule us. So if it’s you today, step back, assess where you are at, repercieve the situation and make clear and healthy choices to move you out of burnout into wellness. I know, I know, it’s easier said than done, but it is feasible. And in the process, you will maintain your sanity and grow. What do you say?



So you Gained a few Pounds…

It happens to the best of us.  Life happens and … well yes, you know. So here are some tips to help you get on track once you are ready to do so:

1. Clean your house of all leftovers – if they’re not there, you won’t eat them.  It’s not the one dessert or pasta dish that “hurts” you — it’s the finishing the cake.days and weeks in between that do.

2.Eliminate liquid calories – have you been drinking too many calories the last few week? They might destroy your goals.. Drink water and unsweetened tea –like hot green or black tea.


3.Keep a detailed log —If you can handle it, this alone will help you shed most weight gain.  Write down the foods and drinks you eat and track your workouts.  It’s the best way to track your success!

4.Hit the weights – Get back to it today — get on it and kick those workouts into high gear.

5.Eat REAL foods. What does that mean?  It means eliminating packaged junk and eating REAL foods with loads of nutrients and void of adding sugars and other crappy ingredients

6.Get more sleep.  Head to bed early and aim for 7-8 hours per night.  Sufficient sleep can cure disease and help you lose weight; yep!

7.Move more, more often.  The gym is great, but getting outside and moving in general.  Walk, hike, sprint … whatever you like.  Just get outside and get fresh air.   The more you can move, the better you’ll be. And it will put a smile on your face.


8.Do something new If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. It’s really that simple sometime.

9.Focus.  Most people try to do too much.  Do a few things great rather than a million thing poorly and then complaining that there’s no time.


Kindness?  What does kindness have to do with wellness? Lots more than we know!

It’s often been said that it’s better to give than to receive, but did you know that this Bible truth is actually backed by research? While many of us feel too stressed and busy to worry about helping others tell ourselves that we’ll be more involved with “good deeds” when we have more spar’ time, energy and money, altruism is its own reward, and can actually help you relieve stress. Altruistic acts  improve your quality of life in several ways, and are absolutely worth the effort.


Here are some ways that helping others helps you:

Altruism and Psychological Wellbeing: Studies show that altruism is good for your emotional well-being, and can measurably enhance your peace of mind. For example, one study found that dialysis patients, transplant patients and family members who became support volunteers for other patients experienced increased personal growth and emotional well-being. Another study on patients with multiple sclerosis showed that those who offered other MS patients peer support actually experienced greater benefits than their supported peers, including more pronounced improvement on confidence, self-awareness, self-esteem, depression and daily functioning. Those who offered support generally found that their lives were dramatically changed for the better.

Altruism and Increased Social Support: What goes around generally does come around. More specifically, when people make altruistic personal sacrifices, they end up reaping what they sow in the form of favors from others. These individuals earn the reputation as altruistic people and end up receiving favors from others who they may not have even directly helped. The favors and social support you ‘earn’ through altruism, combined with the good feelings you get from helping others (see above), more than make up for sacrifices made in the name of altruism.


Keeping Things In Perspective: Your expectations of life and the people you compare yourself to can make a real difference in your level of life satisfaction. For example, your home may seem shabby to you if you’re comparing it to the living rooms you see in the pages of decorating magazines, or it may seem palatial and opulent compared to the huts built in impoverished countries. Helping others in need, especially those who are less fortunate than you, can provide you with a sense of perspective on how fortunate you are to have what you do in life — be it health, money, or a safe place to sleep, and help you focus less on the things you feel you lack. Helping others with their problems can also help you gain a more positive perspective on the things in life that cause you stress.

Building a Better Community: The positive effects of what we do go beyond just you and the person you are doing it for; it often influences your whole community. Remember the movie  Pay It Forward? Amazing how far one boy’s good deeds affected so many! When you do nice things for others, you often enable them to do nice things for others, and the phenomenon grows.

 Altruism and Stress Relief: When you feel stressed and overwhelmed, you may feel like you’re least able to give. However, acts of altruism can be a great form of stress relief. Studies have shown that the act of giving activates the area of the brain associated with positive feelings, lifting your spirits, and making you feel better the more you give. And given that altruism can lead to lasting emotional well-being, a more positive perspective, a positive effect on others, and better social standing, altruism certainly does the job as a healthy means for relieving stress and increasing life satisfaction.

So yes, being kind makes you a healthier person! It might not make you drop pounds or build muscle or cardiovascular endurance,

but your sense of accomplishment and the stress relief you will experience go a long way towards a healthier person.

Just sayin’

One Size Fit All?

I have a hard time with the “one size fit all” mentality. In all of life’s realms. The only two things that work for everyone in my book is breathing and the Word of God. Besides that, it’s all a case by case thing. Because we are all so different, and our differences are determined by many factors: heredity, sociological environment, physical activity, intellectual stimulation and another two thousand or so factors.  Eskimos thrive on blubber, and Africans on beans and rice. Try to switch that and you have a lot of upset stomachs. The bottom line is this: even though we are all humans with the same basic biology, chemistry and emotions, there are as many differences between people as there are people. Fingerprints and DNA scream that fact to us.

I do realize that there have been enough clinical studies to suggest a “norm” for the treatment of this or that, and that it is a very good thing. However, I do believe that we ALL vary from the norm, and that each case should be looked at with a fresh set of eyes. Easier said than done, I know…



Learning the art/science/wonder of Essential Oils taught me the power of individual chemistry, and how we should be serious about respecting it. What totally works for me may not work for you, or may need to be tweaked a bit.  Or a lot. An oil blend created to deal with inflammation works wonders for most people who suffer knee pain; it did nothing for me. My gut told me to use Frankincense–my knees, which had been bugging me for years, stopped hurting within two weeks.

All of this to just say this: don’t let “them” tell you what is normal, what you should expect, what you should do. Think outside the box when it comes to your health, your stress level, your well-being. Trust your gut. It knows you more than the doctors…

Healthy Foods that Make You Fat

How about that? These supposedly healthy habits and foods make you fat? That stinks, doesn’t it? Yep!

Here are my ten worst habits/foods that make you fat:

1. Skip a meal because a big event is coming ”banking your calories”–that always works against you, causing you to overeat like crazy before! You are better off spoiling your appetite with a hard boiled egg or something like that before the big event.

2. Skip a meal because you overate the day before—you are just setting yourself up with binging later on that day when your blood sugars plummet!

3.Diet sodas and foods! They may mask your hunger for a while and make you feel full, but remember: they are nutrient dead and actually harm you in more ways than one: artificial sweeteners, acid-producing, they create more insulin in your body and inhibit leptin which regulate your metabolism and appetite, and they make you skip on water…

4. Pretzels by themselves!  When these are made with enriched white flour, the fat will go straight to your belly!  Also, they are high on the glycemic index, pouring insulin into your body.  If you must have them, make them whole grain and eat a bit of cottage cheese or peanut butter with them.

5.Fruit juices: most of hr are filled with sugar and have a high glycemic index.  Many so-called fruit juices aren’t actually fruit juices and some of them contain only 5 % of natural juice!  If you eat your fruit, you will feel fuller, add the chewing element and the very much needed fiber to your diet!

6.Complete salad kits—seems pretty harmless, right?  Wrong!  They contain lots of additives and preservatives, and the dressings are full of junk.  Enjoy this dressing on your greens instead :

Cucumber and Yogurt Dressing 1 large cucumber 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon dill Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, then serve. This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days.

7.Reduced Fat Peanut Butter; the fat removed is replaced with fillers and there is no calorie reduction!  Plus, that was actually a good fat!  Just eat normal, natural peanut butter and enjoy it in moderation.

8.Hot dogs, even poultry ones…

9.Cereal bars; you can find some healthy ones, but you have to look hard!  Please don’t stop reading labels…

10.Protein Shakes: way too many protein for most of us. Remember, too much protein will make you tired (too much work on your body to process) and not enough carbohydrates will make your body use up the protein for energy, which isn’t the best fuel.

11.Rice cakes: low in fat and supposedly a great filler, but they cause your blood sugar to spike and you end up having your body store unwanted fat by slowing down your ability to burn it!  Also, the flavored ones are loaded with sodium… Again, if you have to have them, make sure you put some peanut butter on them so lower the glycemic load.

12. Frozen Yogurt: most of these have extra sugar in them…

13. Granola: lots of fat and calories… maybe a tablespoon or two in your yogurt is acceptable!

Don’t forget to think when you eat!  And don’t believe everything you read!



When I have a  life coaching session with a client, I structure each session with this in mind:

What is the GOAL?  Here, we try to figure out what it is the client really wants. Often, it looks very different than what we thought it would be.

What is the REALITY? Well, basically, this is where we determine where we really are in view of where we want to go. How far is the space between the two? More like a puddle or the Grand Canyon? What will it take to get from here to there?

What are the OBSTACLES and OPTIONS? Stuff is already there. And stuff happens. That’s just the way life is. So if we are going to be successful in this goal setting endeavor, we better have our eyes wide open, and plan for days where there is a brick wall right in front of our faces. Otherwise, being tripped up is a certainly…

What is the WAY forwardIn life coaching, the way forward translates into actions. Small and big. Yep. Just do it.

And that, my friend, is my basic,  simple Life Coaching model. It works very, very well, whether you are seeking to make your marriage work, looking for your dream job or planning to look your best next summer.  Now to do it…

I am here for you if you want to go on a life coaching adventure with me!

“Natural” Sugars

Sugar? No sugar? I guess you have to decide for yourself. It seems that a diet  with as little sugar as possible is best, but sometimes, we all just want something sweet and gooey and baked, right? So here is a run down of natural sugars that are “safer” to use–and I’ll let you decide!


Sugarcane Sweeteners : Sugarcane is a tropical grass that has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years. The final result depends very much on the processing steps: light and dark brown, powdered, and granulated white sugars are all highly refined, while the ones listed below are made with fewer processing steps, which benefit the environment and also means that more of the vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in sugarcane remain in the end product.

Blackstrap molasses, unlike other sugarcane sweeteners, contains lots of vitamins and minerals. “First” molasses is left over when sugarcane juice is boiled, cooled, and removed of its crystals. If this product is boiled again, the result is called second molasses. Blackstrap molasses is made from the third boiling of the sugar syrup and is the most nutritious molasses, containing substantial amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. When buying, consider choosing organic blackstrap molasses, as pesticides are more likely to be concentrated due to the production of molasses. Blackstrap molasses has a very strong flavor, so it is best to just replace a small portion of sugar with molasses.

Rapadura is probably the least refined of all sugarcane products and made simply by cooking juice that has been pressed from sugarcane until it is very concentrated, and then drying and granulating it or pouring it into a mold to dry in brick form, which is then shaved. Because the only thing that has been removed from the original sugarcane juice is the water, rapadura contains all of the vitamins and minerals that are normally found in sugarcane juice, namely iron. Rapadura replaces sugar 1:1 and adds a molasses flavor and dark color.

Sucanat is very similar to rapadura. Made by mechanically extracting sugarcane juice, which is then heated and cooled until tiny brown crystals form, itt contains less sucrose than table sugar (88 percent and 99 percent, respectively). but for cooking purposes, it replaces sugar 1:1 and is also an accepted substitute for traditional brown sugar.

Turbinado sugar is often confused with sucanat, but the two are different. After the sugarcane is pressed to extract the juice, the juice is then boiled, cooled, and allowed to crystallize into granules (like sucanat, above). Next, these granules are refined to a light tan color by washing them in a centrifuge to remove impurities and surface molasses. Turbinado is lighter in color and contains less molasses than both rapadura and sucanat. A popular brand-name of turbinado sugar is Sugar in the Raw, which can be found in most natural food stores, and even in single-serve packets at coffee shops. it also replaces sugar 1:1 and is a great substitute for brown sugar, too.

Evaporated cane juice is  a finer, lighter-colored version of turbinado sugar. Still less refined than table sugar, it also contains some trace nutrients (that regular sugar does not), including vitamin B2. It replaces sugar 1:1.

Non-Sugarcane Sweeteners Natural sweeteners are flooding the market these days. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common ones that are not made from sugarcane.


  • Agave nectar is produced from the juice of the core of the agave, a succulent plant native to Mexico. Far from a whole food, agave juice is extracted, filtered, heated and hydrolyzed into agave syrup. Vegans often use agave as a honey substitute, although it’s even sweeter and a little thinner than honey. It contains trace amounts of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Just be aware that the fructose content of agave syrup is much higher than that of the evil high fructose corn syrup. But it does have a low glycemic index becauf its low glucose content.
  • Brown rice syrup is made when cooked rice is cultured with enzymes, which break down the starch in the rice. The resulting liquid is cooked down to a thick syrup, which is about half as sweet as white sugar and has a mild butterscotch flavor. It is composed of about 50% complex carbohydrates, which break down more slowly in the bloodstream than simple carbohydrates, resulting in a less dramatic spike in blood glucose levels. The name “brown rice syrup” describes the color of the syrup, not the rice it’s made from, which is white. To replace one cup of sugar, use 1-1/3 cups brown rice syrup, and for each cup of rice syrup added, reduce liquid by 1/4 cup and add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Brown rice syrup has the tendency to make food harder and crispier, so it’s great in crisps, granolas, and cookies. You may want to combine it with another sweetener for cakes and sweet breads.
  • Honey, made by bees from the nectar of flowers, is a ready-made sweetener that contains traces of nutrients. Cooking notes: To replace 1 cup sugar in baked goods, use about 3/4 cup of honey and lower the oven temperature 25 degrees Fahrenheit and reduce liquids by about 2 Tablespoons for each cup of honey.
  • Maple syrup comes from the sap of maple trees, which is collected, filtered, and boiled down to an extremely sweet syrup with a distinctive flavor. It contains fewer calories and a higher concentration of minerals (like manganese and zinc) than honey. To replace 1 cup sugar in baking, use about 3/4 cup of maple syrup and lower the oven temperature 25 degrees Fahrenheit. For each cup of maple syrup, reduce liquids by about 2 tablespoons.

The bottom line is that sugar is sugar. And added sugar—whether it’s marketed as “natural” or not—harms your health, and adds pounds to you.  Even natural sweeteners don’r really add a significant source of vitamins or minerals to your diet. So again, use moderation when it comes to sugar.

And, just because it’s good to be reminded, let me talk about high fructose corn syrup for a minute, because it carries crazy risks:

  • While the consumption of table sugar triggers the secretion of insulin and leptin, which signal your body that you are full, HFCS does not.
  • Consumption of HFCS can elevate triglyceride levels, which can increase the risk of heart disease.
  • HFCS can upset the magnesium, copper, chromium, and zinc levels in the body, which could lead to deficiency diseases like bone loss.

There you have it!

Here’s a chart of how these sweeteners compare with one another and with regular table sugar:


Serving size



Other nutrients of note

White (table) sugar

2 tsp


8 g


Blackstrap molasses

2 tsp


8 g

Manganese (18% DV), copper (14% DV), iron (13% DV), calcium (12% DV), potassium (10% DV), magnesium (7%DV), vitamin B6 (5% DV), selenium (4% DV)


2 tsp


8 g



2 tsp


8 g


Turbinado sugar

2 tsp


8 g


Evaporated cane juice

2 tsp


8 g

Riboflavin (3% DV), potassium (1% DV), manganese (1% DV), copper (1% DV), iron (1% DV)

Agave nectar syrup

2 tsp


8 g


Brown rice syrup

2 tsp


10 g



2 tsp


11 g


Maple syrup

2 tsp


9 g

Manganese (22% DV), zinc (4%

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