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Carol Ebert

Carol Ebert

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  1. Carol Ebert

    20 Re-Boots for the New Year

    Re-view your situation Awareness is an important first step in the change process. Do a quick personal assessment of your situation, be honest with yourself and be open to what you discover. Ask yourself: What are you willing to change about yourself? Re-spond to body signals Sometimes we need a wake-up call before we are willing to change. It often manifests itself as pain resulting from stress. Headaches, neck and shoulder pain, back aches, indigestion, insomnia, etc. What signs are you experiencing that might indicate stress overload and imbalance? Re-spect your inner voice Our internal voice – the voice of our truth - may be giving us messages and needs to be heard. Access this important information by taking time to slow down, quiet your mind, get comfortable with stillness, and find a way to meditate that is right for you. Turn off the world’s input for awhile and just "be". How can you practice quieting your mind? Re-solve to move forward Being in your comfort zone is just that - comfortable. But it may not be the best place for you. If your goal is to have a more joyful existence, then take some risks. Get uncomfortable for a while. Practicing new behaviors feels awkward at first, but through repetition it gets easier to do. What action step will you take to move forward? Re-kindle your passion Operating from your true passion means getting lost in the energy it provides. You find yourself enjoying what you are doing so much that time doesn’t matter and you feel alive, productive and energized. It’s no longer work - it’s fun. Are you willing to challenge the status quo to begin living your passion? Re-move obstacles What is standing in the way of realizing your dreams? Think about whether it’s a true obstacle or a false belief about yourself. Break it down into small components so you can chip away, a bit at a time. You can’t move a large boulder, but you can chisel off small rocks, until you have the strength to push it aside. Write down one roadblock standing in the way of your progress. Re-place old behaviors Hanging on to old behaviors that once were useful but now are not may prevent you from moving forward. Example - not speaking up when you have the opportunity because you think what you have to say is not important, not eloquent, not good enough. A wise woman said to me "If not now, when are you finally going to express who you really are? What are you waiting for?" What are you willing to do to change an old or outdated behavior? Re-frain from negativity At any given time you have two choices – to be negative or to be positive. Think about it this way. Do you choose to laugh, have fun, see the bright side of everything - or not. A positive “can do” attitude is a frame of mind that will serve you well as you journey through the reinventing process. Describe a negative situation and reframe it using a positive approach. Re-spond differently Change can be difficult, because it is often about the unknown. Without change, nothing new, interesting, better and more fulfilling occurs. Are you willing to let go of a predictable future and see where it leads you? Re-frame your thinking If you want a picture to look different, change the frame. Ever notice when you change the color of a frame, different parts of the picture stand out more vibrantly than before? Suddenly, the picture looks different and has new life. Are you willing to reframe your vision to find out what new looks and directions emerge? Re-state your assets How often do you focus on your talents, skills, abilities, deeds, successes? Or do you tell yourself "I did this wrong - I made a mistake - I forgot to do this - I should have known better." Getting caught up in this self-talk reduces positive energy and your ability to move forward. Make a list of all the good things about you. Re-late your true vision Living your true vision will bring you joy and fulfillment. Even if you are not living it fully at present, speak about it. Put the message out into the universe and you will have made a commitment to realize that dream. What are you telling others about your dream? Re-assess your career Compare how many hours you work with how many hours you spend with family and friends. If work is unfulfilling, how does it affect your attitude? A bad attitude is hard to turn off and can spill over into other important areas of your life. Ask yourself: How does my work tie to my vision for a joyful life? Re-store your energy Most people are exhausted most of the time - a perfect excuse for not being active. The less active you are the more tired you get. Moving forward on a new path takes energy. Adding exercise to your day will give you that energy boost by reducing stress, providing a feeling of well-being, helping you sleep better and even help burn off excess calories and fat. How can you start the process of being active every day? Re-fuel your body It takes stamina to do the work you need to do to reach your goals. Keeping your body nourished provides even more energy as you grow in other healthy ways. Good food, in the right amounts at the right times, and drinking lots of water for brain power and to lubricate your body system are some refueling tips. Keep a food diary for one week and make adjustments as needed. Re-new your spirit Just like your physical body, your spirit needs tending as well. Re-train your brain to focus on what brings you joy rather than what is not fulfilling your needs. Search for ways to bring fun and laughter into your day. Re-claim relationships Reinventing yourself is a lot less scary when you gather support and listen to the wisdom of others who have done this work before you. Reconnect with others. Ask for help. Pick their brains. The hardest part is doing the asking. Contact people you know who have reinvented themselves and listen to their story. Re-ward yourself Instead of relying on others to reward you, consider what you can do for yourself to celebrate progress. You are responsible for your own joy. What are ways you can reward yourself that are healthy pleasures for you. Re-group regularly The present moment is all we have and where we can focus our energy to do the most good. Practice “present moment thinking” on a regular basis. It will lighten your load and reduce your stress making the daily footwork toward your goals easier. What is one thing you can do to bring your mind back to the present moment? Re-tain your true self You are at your best when you are being yourself. You are unique and no one is like you. You are a wonderful gift to this world. When you are being real and honest with yourself, everything will be clear and you will know what you are supposed to do with your life. How would life be if you were being your true self? Enjoy the process of re-booting for the New Year. Please share your insights or what strategies you have been using that work!
  2. My favorite "tried and true" resource is Jean Coppock Staeheli and Jo Robinson's book Unplug the Christmas Machine - and that title says it all! Let's set the stage with some "Grinchy" holiday blues issues outlined from WebMD Fatigue: As if you weren't already too busy, now you have to fit in all the holiday prep and there is only a certain number of hours in the day. How is that affecting your ability to get the rest you need? Financial Stress: The "average" amount of money being spent this year on Christmas presents is $794 - or more. Are you prepared for that? Unrealistic Expectations: Are you trying to create a "perfect" holiday celebration like the advertisers portray it and you are coming up short? What is real for you? Over-Commercialism: Are you caught up in the shopping frenzy and just buying whatever is on sale just so you have gifts to give? How meaningful are those gifts for the person receiving them? Inability to Be with Your Family or Friends: For whatever reason, are you not able to be with those you care about? How is that affecting your ability to enjoy the holidays? Stress: Too much to cope with and not being able to really enjoy the true meaning of Christmas? What does Christmas really mean for you? Now let's begin with a simple assessment of who is doing what during the holidays. Look over the list below and cross out any preparations that are not likely to be part of your holiday celebration this year. Add any that have been overlooked. Buying gift wrapping supplies Making or buying decorations Wrapping gifts Cleaning up after the holiday Mailing gifts Writing thank-yous Planning holiday menus Getting kids to write thank-yous Cooking for family reunions Putting away decorations Special grocery shopping Disposing of the tree Holiday baking Taking down outside decorations Planning family reunions Getting ready for relatives Other _______________ Write the person's name next to each task who is responsible for accomplishing it Put an X next to each activity that has little value to you, or that you do not have time to fully enjoy. What are your conclusions? Was that an eye opener? Did you find yourself being the mainstay for most of those tasks? How does that make you feel? I have noticed from doing many of these programs that women do most of the tasks and men generally say "Why are you doing all that stuff? It's not necessary." Just something to think about. What if you could have a do-over for your typical holiday festivities. What would it look like? Take a few minutes to ponder that and then create YOUR PERFECT HOLIDAY FANTASY. On a separate piece of paper, write down YOUR VISION of a deeply satisfying holiday celebration. Remember - this is about YOU and no one else. The only requirement is that your fantasy fill you with peace and joy. You can either write it out or draw a picture that captures it. So how did that work out for you? How does it compare with your current holiday celebration? If it is different, are there any things you can still change to makeyour holiday even more meaningful? Or are you lucky enough to already have the perfect holiday that is perfect for you. Whatever it is, remember what this holiday is all about and make it as joyful and peaceful as possible. Here is the closing HOLIDAY PLEDGE from the book Unplug the Christmas Machine Believing in the beauty and simplicity of the holiday season, I commit myself to the following To remember those people who truly need my gifts. To express my love for family and friends in more direct ways than presents. To rededicate myself to the spiritual growth of my family. To examine my holiday activities in light of the true spirit of the holidays. To initiate one act of peacemaking within my circle of family members. I wish you a very happy, healthy and meaningful holiday season! Please share any tips with us that have worked for you.
  3. Carol Ebert

    Tame the Tiger with Tension Time-Outs

    Is stress a big deal for you? Of course it is! I'd be surprised if it isn't in this crazy busy world we live in. Need to apply the Brakes and take a Break? Here's a tool from my good friend and health education specialist Richard A. Detert Ph.D. author of Break Time: A Personal Guide to Reduce Your Daily Stress who granted permission to share. BreakTime Awareness Questions Directions: Respond as honestly as you can to each of the following items. Are you consciously aware of tension levels in your physical body? Are you able to reduce unwanted and unproductive tension in your body mind? Are you consciously aware of irritations, negative thoughts, or little physical symptoms from daily hassles? Are you effective using little strategies at any time or in any situation during your day to manage the stress and pressure you feel? Are you usually effective in responding to hassles or pressures in a calm, effective manner? Are you usually able to clear the cobwebs from your mind when getting bogged down in a project or many aspects of your life or work? Are you able to become energized or uplifted periodically in your day? Do you take time during the day to establish any meaning and purpose to what you're frantically trying to accomplish? Do you begin your day "sharp" but finish mentally "dull" or physically fatigued? Do you feel the need to reduce hassles or stress in your daily life? What peaked your interest once you completed this tool? Any breakthroughs? Looking for ways to apply the brakes? There are lots of strategies to support your efforts in managing the crazy busy lifestyle you are experiencing. But not all work for all people. I remember teaching nurses a stress management technique that focused on deep breathing, and even though most felt the benefit of relaxation, there were a few that hated it. They couldn't remain in a calm state and got restless. They might be more of a candidate for running off their stress than mellowing out. It is important to do some experimenting with stress management techniques to find the ones that get the results you desire. For instance, I use Jazzercise as a stress management tool, even though it is classified as a physical workout. But for me, it reduces my stress level by allowing me to burn off pent-up energy. But I can also benefit from calming activities as well. Here are some Tension-Time-Outs, and of course there are many more to help you reduce stress. Several of these ideas are actually over-looked when it comes to reducing stress. Especially the new information on tapping into your unique strengths. Yes, when you identify the brilliance of you, those characteristics can help you out once you give them credit due. So when you read them, appreciate the power they would have to help you tame that stress tiger within you. Check the ones you would like to explore and commit to making that happen by adding to your daily to-do list. Reframe a stressful situation in a positive or neutral way. Improve planning using daily checklists or a weekly planner. Practice relaxation strategies such as progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, guided imagery, clinical hypnosis, or biofeedback. Affirm your personal values before a stressful event to ground yourself. Use one of your unique strengths in a new way. Here are some examples of strengths Wisdom and knowledge Creativity Curiosity Judgment Love of learning Perspective Check out this link for more on strengths.1 New Strategies for Stress Management | Psychology Today Keep all your strengths in balance Practice forgiveness Practice mindfulness Practice gratitude Use positive self-affirmations or write about something you enjoy So what do you think? Are you ready to put one or two strategies in place? Please share the Tension-Time-Outs you use and the benefits you receive.
  4. Carol Ebert

    Food and Your Mood

    Today that theory has been debunked, and if you want proof that it was a bad idea, check out how many overweight people there are today with health consequences of diabetes and blood sugar control problems, heart disease, etc. Currently 75% of men and 60% of women are overweight. So giving permission to the masses to eat all those carbs in large quantities took its toll. There is still conflicting and sometimes false information about the best way to feed yourself, but I do know now that the early food pyramid was the worst diet you could be on. The good news is the pyramid has been stood up on it's head. Current thinking says those carbs should be eaten only sparingly or not at all. That is a huge turnround. So are all carbs bad? No - just those "fast carbs" that are processed, packaged and sugar-ladened that quickly digest and lead to sugar spikes and drops. We still do need good carbs, but the "slow" kind which are the ones that require more chewing, digest slower, and keep your blood sugar from spiking. Like fresh vegetables and fruits that are not only loaded with nutrition that your body craves, but are a beautiful array of bright colors. This backstory sets the stage for another big benefit from eating healthier - your mood can improve! You don't have to be a negative grump if you just change the way you eat. (Disclaimer: food alone may not solve all your mood problems, but it is an important factor not to ignore.) I have noticed the food-mood connection intuitively after eating ice cream and then not being able to sleep and the following day being exhausted and crabby. Or overeating a carb and sugar ladened celebration meal and feeling uncomfortable and cranky and only wanting to "sleep it off". Or having pancakes with syrup for breakfast and within 2 hours I'm HANGRY (hungry and angry). Yes, your food choices affect how your day goes, and you don't want to be the one that people avoid because you are in a bad mood. So let's start by doing a personal inventory Which foods energize you? Which foods slow you down? Which foods cloud your brain? What revelations do you have from your answers? Now let's explore some solutions that might help you improve your mood using food. These are just some first steps, and there is always more to learn as you get going. Eat foods that balance your blood sugar When you eat alot of "high glycemic" foods all day your blood sugar spikes and drops and leads to hormone rushes that affect your mood. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, binge eating, weight gain, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, hormonal irregularities and insomnia are all possibilities, depending on the individual. One big set of chemicals that control mood are the neurotransmitters in the brain led by the pleasure "drug" serotonin. These substances determine whether you feel good and energetic or tired, irritable, and spacey. They run on sugar, preferably the form that comes from low glycemic carbohydrates which maintain a stable blood sugar level through the day, slowly feeding these substances into the brain. So eat whole real foods, avoid junk food, focus on "slow carbs" that take longer to digest and eat frequent small meals to keep your blood sugar level. Here is a resource for low-glycemic foods. How likely are you to adopt this type of eating? If likely, what would be your first step? Follow a Mediterranean diet The key to the Mediterranean eating plan is to eat real food like fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, whole grains, olive oil and lean protein, while reducing ultra-processed, fried and sugary foods. This feeds the brain the right combination of nutrients, which helps boost serotonin, the neurotransmitter that's responsible for happiness and well-being. How likely are you to adopt this type of eating? If likely, here is a resource for you to get started. Choose mood boosting foods for snacks Grapes Grapes are packed with antioxidants, especially flavonoids, which have been found to affect mood. Raw nuts Nuts are full of serotonin, a feel-good chemical that's in short supply when you're depressed. Strawberries Strawberries are rich in an array of vitamins and nutrients like vitamins A and C and manganese to serve as a strong line of defense against brain degeneration, while also boosting the happy chemicals your brain produces. How likely are you to adopt this type of snack? If likely, here is a resource for you to get started. Hopefully this information will get you started on the path toward making mood-boosting food selections so your days will be filled with good feelings and your body with thank you for it. Any stories you want to share?
  5. Carol Ebert

    How Resilient Are You?

    Resiliency is also how well you bounce back from the pressures of everyday life and how well you juggle priorities - work, family, friends, interests - as well as the hectic pace of our often over busy and often overwhelming lifestyles. These days business keeps moving faster, so it is no wonder that there is a high value placed on people who have developed resilience skills to cope and manage. So how do you measure up? Here are 10 strategies that will help you build resilience, as outlined by the American Psychological Association. The road to resilience Reflect on how many of these strategies you have already embraced and consider improving those where you could do better. Create supportive connections Social support is a great comfort when you need it from family, friends, groups, church. These are the go-to people always there for you when you need to vent and get a self-esteem boost. They are there to lean on and bolster you but you can also benefit by providing that same support to them in their time of need. You are more resilient when you don't have to go it alone. List the support systems you have. What other support systems would you like to create to fill in any gaps. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems Have you ever had the experience where you made a crisis worse than it needed to be? The old expression is making a mountain out of a molehill. Resilient people keep a cool head in a crisis and move forward systematically to resolve the issue. Write down an example of a crisis situation where you blew it out of proportion? In hindsight, how could you have managed your response better? Accept that change is a part of living Change is everywhere and the pace keeps increasing. You know this to be true when you finally purchase the latest greatest cell phone and then 6 months later the company releases an even greater version than yours. Those who are able to adapt to change faster are more resilient. If you love routines and resist change, remember how many changes you have already lived thru and survived, and lean on those strategies whenever you face more changes. Do you embrace change or resist change? What strategies could you put in place that will help you cope with rapid change? Move toward your goals Having goals means you have a reason to live. Whether big or small, they keep you moving forward and improving yourself. Keep your goals realistic and manageable so they don't drain your energy and lead to constant worry about not being complete. Resilient people know that having goals is "business as usual" and adapt and keep moving forward. What is one goal you are working on? How are you managing the progress toward that goal so it doesn't stress you out? Take decisive actions When adversity occurs - and it will - follow a step-by-step process to achieve the best possible outcome. You may want to "role-play" a situation that could occur to get some practice so if it were to happen you would have a strategy to follow. Just like you learn CPR just in case you need it! Resilient people remain calm in tough situations and respond accordingly. Create a realistic scenario that would require your immediate action. List all the steps you need to go thru to resolve the situation and practice them. Look for opportunities for self-discovery Reflecting on "tough" experiences and the impact it had on you is a great way to learn how you respond, what you could have done differently and how resilient you are. What did you learn about yourself from an adverse situation your experienced? How did this information about yourself affect your future behavior? Nurture a positive view of yourself Consider how you view yourself - positively or negatively? One way to know what kind of energy surrounds you is to look at the people around you. Are they generally positive or negative? If positive, then you are probably exuding positive energy, which can lead to more confidence in your ability to solve problems. It's that can-do attitude that makes you more resilient. How do you view yourself? Positively or negatively? What strategies do you use to cultivate a positive state of mind? Keep things in perspective When faced with adversity, try to look at the big picture and not blow it out of proportion. Just because your car got overheated and needed to be repaired which prevented you from getting to a class on time that you were teaching and 35 people were waiting for you, doesn't mean it is the end of the world. That happened to me and after a phone call to the hotel where they were waiting I told them to take a meal break until I could get there, it all worked out. And I kept my cool (resilience). When have you lost your perspective in a difficult situation? What would have been a different way to handle it? Maintain a hopeful outlook Stay focused on all the good in your life and appreciate what you have. When you start worrying about things bring yourself back to the present moment and focus on the fact that you are alive, you have a roof over your head, you have food, your basic needs are being met right now. Expect that only good things will happen in life for you. Make a list of 20 things you are grateful for and add to it daily. Post the list where you can see it every day and notice how your attitude improves when you read it. Take care of yourself Taking care of your basic needs is a critical part of being resilient. You know the drill - regular exercise doing what you enjoy, eating the healthiest colorful mostly plant-based foods, building relaxation strategies into your daily routine, laughing more, playing often doing joyful work, getting plenty of rest and sleep, strengthening your spirituality. What strategies do you use for self-care to improve your health? Which ones help you become more resilient? Hopefully, this resiliency inventory is useful for you. Please share your insights.
  6. So this time I decided to sort it all out by making a list of everything that made an impression on me. And here are the benefits I discovered - in random fashion. Being immersed with like-minded wellness advocates like me who are my "peeps" Learning new wellness strategies Getting new ideas for wellness programs I can develop Seeing all the latest tech tools that have been developed to support wellness programs Meeting new people and developing the beginnings of lasting relationships and business connections Reconnecting with old friends and my wellness business team mates Providing an historic perspective to the "newbies" about the Wellness Conference as I have been going for 35 years Having healthy hors d'oeuvres for a change! ( It is the wellness conference, after all!) Being honored to co-exhibit with Sanoviv Medical Institute, the first accredited Functional Medicine Hospital in the world Sharing the joy of Sanoviv and registering excited nurses for the next Wellness Retreat in January Having time to have deep conversations about Sanoviv and how it can help restore their health Visiting other exhibitors promoting successful wellness initiatives and starting business relationships Eating great food - and mostly healthy except for the "dessert bar" Laughing and having fun rolling around in the "ball box" (just like at Chuckie Cheese, only for adults) Enjoying the annual talent show of very talented and some goofy wellness people Walking back and forth to the hotel using the St. Paul skywalk system connecting downtown buildings (a great idea for staying out of bad weather and still getting to your destination) Enjoying Historic Hotel 340, the unique former St. Paul Athletic Club - not just a "cookie cutter" hotel and well kept secret at $89 per night (quite a bargain for being downtown) Having free hotel breakfasts and noting how many food choices contain way too much sugar! Walking a labyrinth for afternoon meditation Supporting my wellness business associate while she presented "How to Grow Your Wellness Business" Receiving a free professional energy healing session with no physical touching that miraculously loosened my neck and shoulders Experiencing the usual conference "big chill" from excess air conditioning and realizing that I once more didn't bring a jacket to wear to warm up Noticing the focus of the conference has shifted from its original heart centered approach to data-driven corporate initiatives and realizing the soul of the original conference was missing Being with the actual "founder" of the wellness conference who started the whole thing in 1975 Noticing how many candy dishes are on the "Wellness Exhibitors" tables to attract customers vs the one table with a bowl of oranges (guess they still don't get that if you are a wellness company you shouldn't be promoting sugar) Attending the annual "rocking" wellness dance Encouraging new attendees who were presenting for the first time to show them support Rejuvenating for 5 minutes in the Buddha Booth to escape from sound and busyness and enjoy peace, quiet, gentle music, fragrant essential oils (a perfect time-out tool for employees) Scheduling time with busy CEOs who were exhibiting their businesses to gather input about their lifestyles and how they cope so I am better prepared to target that audience for my wellness coaching practice Enjoying fruit snacks provided between sessions Being inspired by the closing keynote from a woman born with no arms who uses her legs and feet as arms and hands, who has successfully become a licensed pilot, scuba diver and motivational speaker. And yes, her feet actually function as hands because her brain rewired itself to make that happen. Everytime I think I can't do something because it is too hard, I will think of her! Driving along the beautiful Mississippi River Road to get to the conference and back Reminding me of how fortunate I am to have found wellness early in my career which broadened my horizon about the power of wellness as the best path for achieving optimal health. So these are my random thoughts about the "real" benefits from attending a professional conference. My challenge to you is to create a list for yourself the next time you go to not only appreciate the rich rewards of going, but to build a case about why it's not just about content gained, but relationships developed and personal growth experiences enhanced. What would your list look like?
  7. Carol Ebert

    Can Stress Make You Fat?

    Let's begin with the basics to get a handle on this. As you know there are two kinds of stress. Short term like long lines and bad traffic. This is where your fight or flight response kicks in and hormones are released. Adrenal glands secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine Heart rate and blood pressure increase Fat and carbohydrates in your system are broken down faster Your metabolism changes to fuel this heightened state to be ready to fight or run away. Once the threat is eliminated your body settles down and you relax (hopefully). The other kind of stress is long term when the big or even little things in life keep piling up over and over and your body stays in that heightened state without settling down. You are in an ongoing battle against stressors that are repetitive, continuous and feel insurmountable - like debt or facing a job you hate every day. At this point, your stressors may not only be real, but you may just perceive them as a risk when they aren't after all - like worrying about something that could happen even tho it hasn't happened and may not even happen. With long-term stress there is also a hormone release. Adrenal glands secrete CORTISOL, your primary stress hormone Elevated levels remain for prolonged periods of time Your body adjusts to these levels and establishes a baseline of tolerance while the secretions of cortisol continue to increase. Seems like the signs of dependence and addiction, doesn't it? When stress becomes so normal to you that you don't even know you're stressed, you think you are doing OK. (This happened to me at one point and until I learned stress management techniques, I had no idea my body was in a stressed state!) And now the stage is set for the long-term effects of high levels of cortisol on your weight. Here are some considerations. Carb and Sugar Cravings If high levels remain, cortisol secretions continue to increase which in turn: Stimulates appetite Stimulates a rise in insulin Causes blood sugar to drop Creates cravings for high sugar foods Comfort Foods If you have stress without relief - you may reach for "comfort foods" They provide lots of energy in the form of refined sugar They are rich in fat They calm the brain Your body's response positively reinforces frequent consumption of comfort foods when you are under stress and are hungry Stress and Middle Fat CORTISOL activates LPL (lipoprotein lipase) LPL is an enzyme that deposits and stores fat Study results Women's study: High cortisol levels from long-term stress can lead to greater central fat accumulation Mouse study: Mice not on a high-fat diet under prolonged stress had gut microbiome changes that resembled mice eating a high-fat diet Sleep Deprivation When you are sleep deprived your body is stressed and releases even more hormones that affect your weight. Being awake in the night increases the odds that you will engage in late night snacking and have cravings for high sugar and carb snacks. Because you aren't "thinking straight" you might have decreased portion control so you eat bigger portions. Cortisol increases -fat storage hormone to prepare you for possible emergency (ex: famine) Gherlin increases -hormone that stimulates appetite Leptin decreases -hormone that suppresses appetite Insulin increases -hormone that stores fat when it can't transport all the excess sugar to the cells for energy So how do we tamp down this physiological response? Do you just cope and scrape by during each episode of stress? Or do you manage the situation by planning ahead and building systems of support before stressors become overwhelming? I have tried both and the coping part only lasts so long until you can't manage the pain any longer. So here are some strategies to help you move forward with your weight loss goals. Create a Support System Identify friends or family you can count on and write down their contact info so you can reach out in a hurry. Let's just start with one key person in your life. Name_____________________________________Phone__________________ Block out alone time on your calendar One hour block or a few shorter ones where you will be free from distractions and visitors. List one activity you can use to recharge your batteries Activity___________________________Day________________Time_________ Prioritize your tasks Make a to-do list and do harder or more challenging ones first. Use the "easier" tasks which take less time as a reward for completing the big stuff first. Check off each when done to create a feeling of accomplishment which helps your body relax. Task__________________________________________________Challenging_____Easy____ Make time for Self-Care This is not a luxury, it is crucial for health! Eat balanced, low-glycemic meals and snacks to keep your blood sugar in balance so it doesn't set off the cortisol response - bring healthy food to work from home so you can control what you eat Get 7-8 hours of restful sleep to prevent sleep deprivation which sets off that cascade of hormones - wind down in the evening, turn off electronics, ease into a sleep mode, don't eat or exercise right before bed Exercise daily - to lower cortisol levels and boost endorphins. Choose an activity you enjoy, put it on your calendar, rejoice that exercise is a 2-for-1 deal: helps with weight management AND stress management. Engage in relaxation techniques - select those you like: meditation, visualization, Tai Chi, Chi Machine, EFT Tapping, progressive relaxation; the choices out there are endless it seems. So what do you think? Does getting a handle on stress become THE missing link for weight loss? What are your thoughts? Resources Bridgewater LC, et al. Gender-based differences in host behavior and gut microbiota composition in response to high-fat diet and stress in a mouse model. Nature Scientific Reports. 2017; 7(1):10776. Epel ES, et al. Stress and body shape: Stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2000;(62):623-32. Maglione-Garves, CA et al. Cortisol Connection: Tips on Managing Stress and Weight. ACSM'S Health & Fitness Journal. 2005; 9(5):20-23. Montes M and Kravitz L. Unraveling the Stress-Eating-Obesity Knot: Exercise can significantly mitigate the effects of stress and weight gain. IDEA Fitness Journal. 2011; 8(2):44-50. Exercise for Stress and Anxiety | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx Stress might be just as unhealthy as junk food to digestive system: Study with mice shows stress causes digestive microorganisms to behave similar to how they act with high-fat diet -- ScienceDaily
  8. Carol Ebert

    The Stress of YES

    Saying NO gets easier and leads to less guilt with practice.
  9. Carol Ebert

    The Stress of YES

    Excellent!
  10. Carol Ebert

    The Stress of YES

    May I be so bold as to ask if you are a YES person? You know what I mean - saying YES to every request that comes your way and now you find yourself over your head with more than you can handle? If this is you, then what is the reason you say YES to everything? Check those that apply or add your own reasons Want to please everyone Don't want to disappoint Don't know how to say no Always think of others first and me last Want to be where the action is Don't want to miss out on anything Feel guilty if I don't help Can't pass up a good cause Need to show support Your reasons _________________________________________ Now that you've assessed some reasons that may be leading you down the path of saying YES too much, this is a good time for me to share my favorite stress management tool. Ready for this? It's the word NO. Bet you saw that coming. I can hear you saying right now "But I just can't say NO to all these requests." I get that. But what if we reframe the word NO from being negative to being positive. Yes - you can absolutely reframe and shift gears. Here's how to do it. Start thinking of NO as an act of kindness for you and others around you. By saying NO you are being kind to yourself and protecting your personal time for you and your family. And by saying NO, the person who gave you the request can ask someone else who might even be a better candidate for the job than you would have been. So it is a WIN-WIN! Now let's get started. I am very inspired by the work of business leader and entrepreneur Marie Forleo for the following information. Here are a few scenarios you might face and how to respond with a NO. Of course you can create your own responses in your own way that best reflect your personality. Simple ways to say NO with KINDNESS If you are too busy: Thanks for thinking of me, but I'm not able to accept given my other commitments If you want to modify the offer: Thanks for thinking of me. While I'm not able to commit to this fully, I would be able to __________ . If you're not interested: Thanks for thinking of me but I'm going to pass on this. or Thanks for your kind offer. While it's not something I choose to pursue, please know how honored I am to be asked. (This response is from Bob Burg, co-author of The Go-Giver) If they try to negotiate: I'd just rather not but thank you so much for thinking of me. If you need a universal NO to be used for any request: Thanks for reaching out but I'm not taking any new projects at this time. Does reading these suggested responses make you feel better and more confident with handling requests that you don't want to accept? The bottom line is that "NO is an act of KINDNESS" for you - because you get back precious time for self care. And it is also a gift for others because they really want help from people who have the time, energy and passion for their cause, not someone who will be burned out and exhausted because they said yes. Your job now - if you choose to do it - is to practice these scripts in front of a mirror so you get comfortable with your delivery. Then when you get the next request you don't want to accept, deliver it in person with confidence and commitment, or write it in an email if that feels better. I would love to hear your thoughts, especially after you try it out for the first time. Remember, progress not perfection.
  11. Carol Ebert

    Are You A Multi-tasker?

    Multi-tasking has been over-rated even tho I still believe I can do it. But truth be told, I know every time I am immersed in a project and get interrupted, I have to regroup, rethink where I left off, try to remember the creative thoughts and energy I had been cultivating, and find myself frustrated and wasting time. So here is what the literature says about the drawbacks of multi-tasking. Decreased Productivity Doing more than one task at a time, especially more than one complex task, takes a toll on productivity. Psychologists who study what happens to cognition (mental processes) when people try to perform more than one task at a time have found that the mind and brain were not designed for heavy-duty multitasking. There's a lag time while your brain shifts attention from one task to another. And while it feels like this shift is seamless, it actually takes as much as 40 percent more time than focusing on one task at a time -- more for complex tasks. Attention Deficit Managers are facing a reality where we are perpetually under pressure, overloaded with information, and distracted. Researchers have found that our attention has decreased significantly over the past decade. We are involuntarily not paying attention to what we are doing 47 per cent of our waking hours. Higher stress, diminished mental functioning, brain overload When multitasking there is little real progress and this leads to a feeling of inadequacy, concentration decreases, which causes stress which hinders thinking and memory. Social media is really nothing but multitasking, with several parallel plots and issues and increases brain overload. Neural mechanisms for integrating consecutive and interleaved natural events. Human Brain Mapping, 2017. Tips So if all of this is true, and I now believe it is based on my own personal experience, what can we do to manage more effectively and efficiently and still get everything done? Here are some tips - and I'm confident you will be able to add to this list. Accept the truth - Multi-tasking is not effective and commit to managing it for yourself. Shift to single-tasking - Stay focused on a project long enough for completion and then move on to the next project. You will become more productive and save time too. Resist the temptation to respond to your phone immediately - Exception - it is your primary job. Schedule uninterrupted time twice a day for emails and phone messages. Practice Mindfulness - Be mindful of what you are doing in the present moment. Remind yourself to take a breath and collect your thoughts so you can stay focused. If you are reading a message on your phone while talking to someone, you are not listening and you are not retaining what you are reading. Avoid interruptions - If you need to work on a project, determine how much time you need to complete, lock yourself away, and stay focused until it is done. Put a message on your phone saying you will get back to them within a specified time frame. Schedule office hours for drop-in visitors and don't schedule extra tasks within that time frame. Or if you do, be ready to set that aside you so you can give undivided attention to your guest. Survey your usual day- Note how your day usually goes and try to avoid opportunities for multi-tasking. If you know they are unavoidable, make good choices about what your priorities are and focus on them, not those of others. Don't fill up empty time slots with more tasks - If you sit down for a meeting and while waiting start checking emails, you will be caught reading them and won't be alert to conversations that are going on that might involve your input. Remember, multi-tasking doesn't work for optimal use of your time. This could be a challenge to change your behavior, but with any behavior change, start with baby steps and see what happens. Be your own research project. If you have more ideas, please share. I can always use more!
  12. Carol Ebert

    The Pleasure Trap of Food: Or Why Saying No Doesn't Work

    There is nothing like having a great incentive - like a cruise - to help you stay on track! Hang up a picture of the cruise ship so you see it every day as another way to remind yourself of your goal. Congrats on your progress so far.
  13. Yes, this might just be your usual day, but it can totally affect your ability to make a decision because it all blurs together and you can't think straight. And here is the bad news when operating this way daily. If you find yourself constantly sweating the small stuff, chronic stress may have already taken a toll on your health. Proven over and over to be lethal, the ill effects of stress range from negatively impacting sleep to causing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even death. Is Stress As Deadly As We Believe? Back to making decisions - with all this overload we just have too many decisions to make! Scientists have proven that we go into overload if offered more than 7 things to choose from. By some estimates, the average American adult makes 35,000 decisions a day. No wonder you're tired. Soul-weary. Sucked dry. The kind of tired 10 hours of sleep can't fix. The Cure for Decision Fatigue - WSJ Don't believe those numbers? Keep track for yourself for one day and see what you come up with. So let's start CLEARING UP THE CLUTTER from overload and create a process that will lead to better decision making which in turn will lead to better outcomes. Here are 6 steps to help you. Get Clear What is your real priority for your work and ground yourself in that focus. What outcomes do you want to achieve that will be considered a success? Get Committed Get into action. Schedule a "time-out" spot on your calendar - at least an hour with no interruptions - a half day is best Isolate yourself the best you can so you can get down to the task at hand Get Organized Analyze and adjust each task: Group phone calls, emails, texts, tweets, social media into one time block twice a day Clear the clutter from your desk by filing non-urgent papers, creating one urgent pile on your desk Schedule projects for larger blocks of time instead of doing a little here and there Bring healthy food from home so you don't have to run to get food Stock your desk drawer with healthy snacks so you don't get hungry Schedule breaks to clear your mind with a quick walk, short meditation, stretching exercises Decide what tasks can be delegated Determine which meetings are really necessary and shorten them when possible Make peace with saying NO whenever possible Hang up a sign that says - I SAY NO - MY LIFE DEPENDS ON IT Set your work hours so you shut down and leave at a reasonable hour - schedule an exercise class at 5:30pm that you can't miss so you are forced to leave work on time What else do you want to tackle? Get Connected With Your Feelings Review how you feel after re-working these tasks. I feel ________. Does this ease the feeling of overload, stop the paralysis and help you make better decisions? Get Real If you can't make a decision - DON'T! Instead, use do some free writing. If you are struggling with a decision, let your subconscious do the talking for a while. Using a blank piece of paper, state your problem out loud and write it on the top of the page. Example: Should I quit my job or stay where I am? Then let your pen do the rest. Write non-stop, it doesn't matter if what comes out on the paper is nonsense, just keep letting your pen do all the work. When you feel yourself slowing, leave your notes and come back to them later. You may be surprised what your words reveal, and you can make a better decision. (This is a great exercise to do whenever you get stuck on something) Get Happy Use the Law of Attraction that says the best decisions happen when you are feeling good. Listen to your favorite song, meditate, go for a walk. Do whatever makes you smile and forget about the decision for a few minutes. Once you feel a happy vibration, make your decision based on what feels best rather than what seems rational. Feeling good about your decision is what will make it work. Then act on your decision. Do a least one thing to lock it in. If it doesn't feel good, you can usually change it and you can always make a new decision based on the outcome of your action. People are more likely to regret not taking action than not doing anything. Now over to you ... When have you been so overwhelmed that you couldn't make a decision? What did you do to break thru that paralysis? Please share so we can all learn. Its-About-Time-for-Making-Good-Decisions.pdf
  14. Carol Ebert

    Is A Vampire Draining Your Energy?

    I agree better late than never. A freeing feeling knowing you are taking care of yourself and have the awareness when you aren't so you can recalibrate. I love that quote.
  15. Carol Ebert

    Is A Vampire Draining Your Energy?

    If you are like me, you have an overabundance of "helping, giving, nurturing, caring" - sometimes called co-dependency. The bad news is if you don't recognize it as an asset that can be managed, it could do you in. This state of being could also set you up for being too empathetic and consequently become what is called an EMPATH. You take on whatever energy is around you and you use it as your own. You often don't know where you end and another person begins. And so the Energy Vampire, who is overly narcissistic enters the picture who eagerly feeds off the energy of others. And if you are an EMPATH it could be you! This can set you up for mega-stress of having to deal with constant disappointment, negativity, criticism, and trying to fix their behavior. And this over-abundance of stress hormones in your body can lead to dysregulation of your immune system, inflammation, susceptibility to infectious diseases, I could go on and on. Energy Vampires can make you sick! Thus we need to recognize the traits of the EMPATH to see if we fit the profile, and then determine strategies to keep our lives in balance. Here are some traits of EMPATHS. Do any of these resonate with you? 10 Traits of an EMPATH from the book Emotional Freedom by Judith Orloff MD Empaths are highly sensitive - World-class nurturers. Empaths absorb other people's emotions - Feel everything, sometimes to an extreme. Many empaths are introverted - Prefer one to one contact or small groups. Empaths are highly intuitive - Experience the world through their intuition. Empaths need alone time - To recharge their batteries Empaths can become overwhelmed in intimate relationships - Afraid of being engulfed and losing their identity. Empaths are targets for energy vampires - Fear or rage from another can sap their energy and peace of mind. Empaths become replenished in nature - The natural world nourishes and restores them. Empaths have highly tuned senses - Nerves can get frayed by noise, smells, or excessive talking. Empaths have huge hearts but sometimes give too much - Try to relieve the pain of others. So how did you do with this list? Got any of the traits, or a trait or two of being an EMPATH? If so, it might be helpful to address the situation and start taking action. Dr. Christiane Northrup OB-GYN, women's health pioneer, international speaker and best selling author of women's health books offers up some solutions taken from her latest online course, Dodging Energy Vampires Online Course. 7 Strategies For Protecting Yourself Against Energy Vampires Realize they exist. Empaths believe that everyone is good and often will stay in a toxic relationship too long while making excuses for an energy vampire. Keep a gut instincts journal. Keep track of how situations play out for your energy vampire in any of the situations you encounter Find a reality-check friend. Have a clearheaded and trustworthy person whom you can reach out to when you are feeling uncertain Put yourself first. When you encounter an energy vampire, take a step back (or out of the room or building) and remember that you were meant to live a joyful life and you don't have to put up with their behavior. Pat yourself on the back regularly. Congratulate yourself regularly for who you are and for what you do well. Say "no." Minimize your interactions with a vampire. Get support. Connect with a psychotherapist or group who specializes in narcissistic abuse recovery The core of an EMPATH is always grounded in love, compassion and service, not self-sacrifice and martyrdom. When you love yourself first, you can shield yourself from energy vampires. Life is meant to be joyful and not surrounded by people who drain you emotionally. Keep your Energy Vampire radar operating whenever you encounter people so you can do a personal "gut check" and either engage or move on. It could save your health and your life! Have you ever been in a relationship with an energy vampire? How have you protected yourself?
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