What would it take to make this choice…?

What arises within you when I say happiness is a choice?

It took me a long time to really connect with this truth. To know it in my soul.

It took  constant redirection of my thoughts and pushing myself into the behaviors I knew would provide the rewards worth working for.

It feels like two sides of my brain competing for power. Do you ever feel that way?

This struggle for control shows up a lot when creating new, healthy habits. For example, one side says let’s make a change. The other side says let’s stay the same.  Or, when deciding where to direct our thoughts; for instance, to focus on a piece of feedback as criticism, rather than as a gift for growth.

I have personally undergone a tremendous amount of interpersonal, emotional healing work. Participated in alternative and complementary therapies to build self awareness. Studied the mechanisms of the mind-body function that we undergo as humans. And it is only now, working both with a coach and as a coach, that I finally see the choice is clearly mine.

I choose to be happy. Healthy. Whole.

What would it take for you to make this choice?

 

 

Why I am doing whole 30

It’s January so talk of cleanses and detoxes is everywhere. We all have personal reasons for embarking on a health tune up, and today I will share my reasons for doing the evermore popular, Whole 30 Program.

For me, Whole 30 means the elimination of sugar, honey and maple syrup, dairy, grains, legumes, and alcohol. It also means no going out to eat! It’s 30 days of whole, organic foods, made in my kitchen only. It is the second time I have done this particular program, but I’m not new to elimination diets. I embarked on a food sensitivity journey about 5 years ago during which time I discovered I am gluten intolerant. That was challenging at first, but is now a forever lifestyle.

Exploring purpose behind action is important to reinforce values and rewards…Here are my top 3 reasons for doing Whole 30 this January.

1) To connect with my husband (He is on Whole 30 with me! YAY)
My husband is the hardest working person I know. His work is his priority to the detriment of intentional food planning. Because he doesn’t suffer any obvious food related issues, he can (and does) eat whatever he wants. While he is young and healthy, this seems fine. If, however, for the next 20 years we continue to eat out, grabbing pizza and pad Thai whenever we want, I am not sure we are giving ourselves the best chance at preventing the chronic diseases so common in our sit all day, then grab a quick bite, type of society.

My hope in asking him to join me this month was in part to reconnect over food in a new way. Sharing a meal with someone releases oxytocin (the love hormone) so missing meals with my love is missing a chance to share chemistry. Since the Whole 30 began we have also connected over meal planning, shopping, preparation, and clean up. We have an extra 3 shared experiences a day to build conversation around, as well as sharing the ups and downs of the experience itself.

2) To explore my emotional relationship with food
How much does food affect my attitude? I wanted to give myself the experience of being more present in the face of cravings. What exactly is a sugar, carb or alcohol craving? Was it in my mind, in my body, or both? Is there a feeling of physical, emotional or social deprivation involved? How much power does temptation hold over me? What would my coping strategies be if I felt stressed by wanting something I had decided not to have for a certain period of time? To what extent was food serving as an immediate reward verses nourishing my health?

Here is what I found: If I have a craving, it is most likely because I am hungry or thirsty. Preparation is critical for success. Before, it would not have been uncommon to find the fridge bare of food due to poor planning or laziness. Going out to eat was always an option when I was too tired to cook. I would open a bottle of wine out of boredom. I would grab chocolate out of habit. Packaged foods never really made me feel great, but the ease of their preparation was reinforcing. I have found that social drinking is a time killer and the more I network, socialize and weekend without booze, the more confidant I feel. Now I know that if I wake up with a headache it’s not becasue of the wine I had the night before. I am more present and more intentional with everything in life since exploring my emotional relationship with food.

3) To jump start my creative energy
I am easily distracted. I loose my focus. It is especially fun to become distracted by the holidays. The decorations, the cookies, the parties, the presents and the extra time friends and family set aside to spend together can be magical. After the holidays I usually fall into a depression, not knowing how to refocus myself on work as everyone else returns to the office. The sugar hangover and diversion from a self care routine can last throughout the month of January. This year, I wanted to get back on track ASAP, and the Whole 30 seemed like a good way to regain focus.

The more I experiment with food, the more I feel the impacts of it on my mood, energy level, focus, and perspective. When my diet is balanced and nourishing it is easier to maintain a positive outlook and rebound from stress. I have more clarity on what is important and I am experiencing new, non-food rewards.

Whether you choose to refocus your health behaviors on food, exercise, relationships, work, recreation, or something else, I encourage you to embark on a 30 day challenge that fits your vision and values. The impacts will trickle through every aspect of your life, multiplying the rewards and perpetuating personal growth.

How I reverse negative thinking

In case you missed it, today I am sharing a presentation I gave last month on my concept Thought Swapping. Thought swapping enables you to become open to new possibilities and replace bad habits with better choices. This process maximizes opportunities for personal and professional growth by allowing you to see how your behaviors are driven by rewards.

The 5 Steps of Thought Swapping are:

  1. Visualize the possibilities
  2. Connect to purpose
  3. Identify barriers
  4. Replace barriers with rewards
  5. Engage in a new behavior

Click the link below to watch my presentation and learn how I reversed my negative thinking about dogs to become a bonafide dog person!

https://www.facebook.com/tekMountain/videos/vb.245666232252999/733444480141836/?type=2&theater

 

 

Road map to success

I cannot believe we are already in the last month of 2016. This has been my fastest year ever. While I love reflecting on the major events of the past year, I also like to consider what the new year holds. Tis the season for holiday decadence, so let’s all promise to enjoy, without judgment, our favorite indulgences for the next few weeks while also planning for a health-tune up in the new year.

Let’s assume with the anticipation of new year health goals we are in the contemplation stage of change.  This is the time we consider what the future may hold for us. Spending time in contemplation is a good place to be, as opposed to the “jump in without a life preserver” type of decision making that often comes when we set a new goal. What happens when we set a goal is that our brain is flooded with happy chemicals. It feels so good just to declare our intention that the work of actually making it happen goes by the way side. If you really want to succeed you need a road map to navigate your way through the change process.

Road Map to Success

  1. Select your focus for change- be specific. Sure, loosing weight, saving money or staying in better touch with friends are great goals, but they are not specific enough. Be creative with your focus statements and brainstorm several until you land on the one you want to begin with.
  2. Connect with your reasons why this change matters. If you cannot tell me how your life will change if you are successful with this goal, you are much less likely to stay committed. What do you care about and how does this goal reflect those values? Bring as many positive outcomes to light when considering the impacts of your change.
  3. Clarify the barriers to success, or more specifically- where and how are you most likely to fail? Idyllic thinking is a beautiful practice for daydreaming, visualizing, and creativity, but not planning for failure is like going into the woods without a compass, first aid kit, headlamp, and water. You are probably going to get lost and struggle when the going gets tough.
  4. Plan for the failures in ways that are realistic to you and your current lifestyle. This, again, needs to be specific. You have to be honest with yourself and learn from the process. What do you know about yourself from past experiences? Change requires trial and error so you can adjust your sails and rework the plan along the way.
  5. The final step is to account for yourself throughout the journey. What worked? What didn’t? Does the goal still feel important enough or does it need to be modified or changed completely?

One of my greatest passions is supporting people through the change process, so if you find yourself curious about this road map and would like a partner on your journey into the new year, I am here for you! Just click the GET STARTED tab on the home page of the website.