Successful Meal Planning

Meal Planning is definitely one of those essential, life basics that was left out of public school curriculum. People, in general, have no idea what they should be eating, what’s in what they are eating, and how to plan for their meals. The food we consume has become more of impulse decision-making, rather than careful planning and preparation. No wonder we are more likely to hit a drive-through.

Self-admittedly food consumes many of my thoughts. Am I hungry? What should I eat next? What have I already had today? What am I craving? When is the next meal? By taking a little bit of prep time to plan meals, I eliminate time, mental energy, money, and calories!

Here are a five easy steps to successful meal planning:

  1. Look at your calendar for the week and determine when you will have time to cook and when you will need something quick and easy. Plan dinner first and begin to plug in those meals. Dinner should consist of a lean protein, a cup of fresh or steamed veggies, and a starch, like a whole grain or sweet potato.
  2. Determine if you will have leftovers for lunch before planning lunch. If not, then plan lunches. Lunch should follow the same rule: a lean protein, a starch (whole grains), and fiber (fruit or veggie).
  3. Snacks: Snacks should be easy and readily available. fruit, edamame, nuts, raw veggies, protein bars, or yogurt are all great snacks.
  4. Breakfast: Keep it easy and balanced, like eggs and oatmeal, nutrition shakes, or a high protein cereal.
  5. Make your grocery list from your meal plan and shop.

Radical Acceptance: Can you do it?

No matter how healthy or wise or successful you become, you will never be immune to crappy things happening. You will get cut-off on the highway, have to deal with an inept co-worker, cope with illness, deal with grief, and have bad days. This is life. When you sign up for the good, you also have to deal with the less desirable. And in our lifetime, we will probably still see horror in the world. Maybe you have even experienced some of that horror personally.

Here is the deal: We have to accept this as is for right now. If you have experienced something in the past, there is no way possible that we can erase that. We also cannot solve the world problems over night. And there are times when dealing with a toxic relationship will feel as big as a world problem. It is when we are able to accept it as is, that we can actually move past it. We do not fall victim to it. We do not get wrapped up in the ‘why’ behind it. We say, “This is the problem at hand, and this is how we deal with it.”

I utilize the word radical because for many acceptance is such a struggle and with deep struggles we have to take drastic measures. We have to dive right in and get the work done with urgency. If we don’t then we can get so caught up in all of the negative emotions that drown us. But when we can put the emotions, thoughts, and worries aside, we can see that the situation is more manageable.

You might hate your job, wish to be in a relationship, wish to be out of a relationship, buried in debt, or faced with any of life’s struggles, However, you will not be able to change your position if you are unable to accept where you are, check in with yourself (remember the trust we talked about) and then make the best decision for you.

Celebration = Gratitude

101 Healthy Tools for Coping with Stress

Stress, disappointment, and negative emotions are inevitable. Sometimes coping is easy; other times it is more difficult. However, it is our job to cope. Our energy effects others, and it is our responsibility to monitor that energy.
Here are 101 ways to Cope:
  1. Bake cookies
  2. Eat two and give the rest away
  3. Go to a bookstore, read travel books, and fantasize of a faraway vacation
  4. Take a walk
  5. Call a friend that you enjoy talking to but haven’t heard from in awhile
  6. Breathe deeply
  7. Flirt with someone that deserves your attention
  8. Plan something, real or imaginary: a new career, a room in your dream home, your future children’s names
  9. Clean a room or closet in your house
  10. Volunteer your time
  11. Watch the sun rise
  12. Take a moment to smell your coffee before brewing and sipping
  13. Read something entertaining in a comfortable space: outside, a comfy chair, in bed
  14. Watch your favorite comedy
  15. Listen to upbeat music, preferably disco
  16. Write a stream of consciousness
  17. Find something that you are good at and that you enjoy doing. Become better at it.
  18. Play with pets: yours, a friend’s, or a shelter
  19. Look at old pictures, letters, or memorabilia
  20. Exercise mindfully
  21. Go on a date
  22. Shop. Buy something that you feel great in, whether it’s earrings, a stunning dress, or a great pair of yoga pants
  23. Enjoy a good glass of wine
  24. Get a makeover
  25. Play a game with friends
  26. Kiss
  27. Open the windows during a rainstorm
  28. Go to your favorite concert
  29. Surround yourself in snuggly material: your favorite sweats, a down blanket, fuzzy socks
  30. Start a blog
  31. Get a massage. Do it yourself or splurge. Massage your scalp with eucalyptus shampoo, or your feet with lavender creme
  32. Create something artistic
  33. Hit balls at a batting cage
  34. Get dressed up
  35. Drink herbal tea
  36. Try progressive muscle relaxation
  37. Run as hard as you can, even if for only for 30 seconds
  38. Take a scorchingly hot shower
  39. Meditate or pray
  40. Work in a garden
  41. Attend a community event
  42. Drink hot chocolate
  43. Watch videos of laughing babies on Youtube
  44. Take an ice bath
  45. Run as long as you can, even if at a slow jog
  46. Learn something new: a recipe, foreign language, how to knit
  47. Ask yourself how you feel; respond with advice that you would give your best friend
  48. Eat ice cream
  49. Go to a driving range
  50. Make love
  51. Go to a play or performance show
  52. Eat something decadent, slowly. Enjoy each bite.
  53. Do something unexpectedly nice for someone else
  54. Change a room in your home: Paint the walls, rearrange the furniture, refurbish a piece of furniture
  55. Scream loudly in a secluded space
  56. Take a dance class
  57. Go swimming
  58. Find something that makes you feel sexy: music, high heels, lipstick, lingerie
  59. Tell yourself that in this very moment you have everything that you need
  60. Give yourself permission to do something indulgent
  61. Forgive someone
  62. Appreciate something with age and history
  63. Explore new territory
  64. Go to an amusement park
  65. Stretch your body
  66. Sit at an outdoor cafe
  67. Do something that you never thought that you would
  68. Attend a marathon race as a spectator
  69. Hold a baby
  70. Initiate a girls’ night
  71. Sit in the warmth of the sun
  72. Join a group: AA, a book club, a rec league
  73. Consult with a health professional
  74. Read something inspirational
  75. Work on a puzzle
  76. Play like a child
  77. Go for a drive
  78. Attend a cultural event
  79. Gaze at the stars
  80. Remind yourself that you have gotten through worse before
  81. Sit next to a natural body of water: a stream, the ocean, a waterfall; listen mindfully
  82. Work towards a health goal like weight loss, a faster run time, or doing the splits
  83. Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Create a space in your mind that is peaceful and safe. Go there.
  84. Make a list of long and short term goals
  85. Take the first step towards your goals
  86. Pay off debt
  87. Find a non-profit or charity organization with a cause that you are passionate about; get involved
  88. Give your full attention to someone else
  89. Take a quiet bubble bath
  90. Make peace with your stress by finding gratitude for it
  91. Go fishing
  92. Go to a museum
  93. Visit new sites on the internet
  94. Put clean sheets on your bed
  95. Enjoy the smell of fresh cut grass
  96. Yoga
  97. Go on vacation or plan a staycation
  98. Sing your heart out
  99. Buy fresh flowers or a new plant for your home
  100. Go out to dinner
  101. Allow yourself to let go

He’s Not Perfect. You Aren’t Either

More real wellness, like this, to be shared in this month’s Wellness Challenge.

 

To Sleep Well in the New Year

I just read a study which stated that sleeping more was the third biggest New Year’s resolution. It is no doubt that millions of Americans are having issues with sleep and energy. We are working and worrying more and more. And there is a growing trend in unhealthy energy products that will shoot you up, but will also have a dramatic impact on your sleep, only further enhancing the cycle. Both of these have a resounding impact on good sleep health.

Studies demonstrate that the benefits of 8-10 hours of sleep per night could benefit cardiovascular health, weight management, healthy skin, prevent cancers, decrease mental illness, and lead to a healthier well-being.

So what is getting in the way of our sleep? No doubt that there are some extraneous variable out there, like having babies or rowdy neighbors. However, the most common forms of insomnia and sleep deprivation are obesity and anxiety. The good news is that both of these are very treatable! However, we have to make it a priority. We have to commit to follow the sleep rules and to putting ourselves FIRST. We have to commit to health and a long and fulfilling life. 

Here are five essential steps to good sleep hygiene:

  1. Stop caffeine consumption five hours prior to bed.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. Eat a well-balanced diet. Do not starve yourself.
  4. Create a soothing bed-time routine.
  5. Incorporate sleep supplements, such as calcium, magnesium, and L-Arginine for optimal restoration.

You Can’t Achieve Your Goals if You Haven’t Made Any

The first step to every counseling or coaching relationship is to figure out your goals. I ask a series of questions that helps me identify what you want to accomplish. The question of your goals is always asked when I am done. I don’t want to miss anything. Sometimes you know what your goals are and sometimes you don’t. However, we will never get to your destination if we don’t clearly identify your goals.

Clearly defining your goals is the #1 way to achieving them. Many clients will tell me that they want to be happy or healthy. What the heck does that mean? I can assure you that happy to you might be different to someone else. So you and I need to carefully iron out what happy is. Does it mean satisfaction in your relationship? Being less tired? Having a fulfilling career? What will it take you to achieve happiness? If we can’t identify it, we won’t know when we get there.

Setting clear, measurable goals both short-term and long-term helps to bring awareness to what we want and need. It enables you to create a path to get there. We might need to redefine them along the way. We might need to break them down into microscopic steps, but it is crucial for a successful outcome.

I mentioned earlier, that I have often heard clients tell me that 2012 will be their year. What does that mean? How will we make this new year yours? What will you have to achieve to feel that this endeavor was successful? And how will you get there?

Week 1 of the Wellness Challenge is all about setting clearly defined, measurable goals. Then we follow steps that keep them at the forefront of your mind, make them attainable, and combat the obstacles that will surely show up. Is this your year? Let’s take on the Wellness Challenge together!

A Look at What’s to Come

The end of a year is always a bit nostalgic for people. We usually reflect on the past and see what we didn’t like and look toward the future vowing to make it better. I have had a number of clients tell me recently that 2012 is my year. I would like to encourage a great mindful reflection that I heard in a recent yoga class. The instructor said, “Ask yourself what is good about this moment, and then ask yourself, ‘How can I make it better.'”

Using that principle, I think that one of the best things about 2011, (this year, this moment) was the Wellness Challenge. It was my favorite opportunity to host a complete holistic program on well-being and watch the participants flourish. When I ask how I can make 2012 better, I am thrilled to bring more workshops and programs to you!

2012 starts with not one, but two different Wellness Challenges. There will be a Monday Evening Program, as well as a Wednesday morning option. The Wellness Challenge is filled with goals on achieving and maintaining a total well being, including sleep, diet, exercise, meal planning, mindfulness, healthy communication, and much more. Each week we discuss a new topic, send you away with new goals, and help you with balanced living.  There is great camaraderie, inspiration, and motivation. We face the struggles that will come and move forward! And what would a challenge be without a prize!

The second workshop is Mindfulness in Daily Living. Words cannot express how excited I am for this program. People are always asking me more about mindfulness and I am thrilled to demonstrate how to be more present in your everyday life. This is a six week program on Thursday evenings discussing Mindfulness in diet and exercise, with your work, in your relationships and much more.

Third, we have the Weight loss Challenge (I love a good challenge). For those that need more information on diet and nutrition, or struggle on how to filter all of the info out there, this one is for you! We are going to go into great detail about protein, fiber, carbs, fats, eating out, staying hydrated, planning balanced meals and much, much more. The Weight Loss Challenge is strategically offered on your Friday lunch break, right when we are about to give into to weekend indulgences. We’ll do weight and measurement check-ins each week and the biggest percentage of weight loss, wins a cash pot!

And, last, I am very excited to be partnering with someone who is not only extremely educated on this topic, but who has become a great friend, Brian Foreman. Brian and I will be hosting a one-day professional leadership workshop, aLeader in early February. aLeader is all about becoming an authentic, affirming, accountable, accepting leader in your personal and professional life. Brian and I are very excited to share a number of blog posts with you over the next eight weeks about leadership. We can’t wait to have you check it out.

You can find more information on all of the programs here.

Testimonials of a Wellness Coach

I am so grateful to be able to do what I do. It has taken me several years to get to be at this place in my career and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I always knew that the essential tools and lessons that I was learning through education, experience, and introspection were missing somewhere in life lessons 101.

Here are a few amazing testimonials and feedback that I have received from individual and group wellness coaching in the last couple of weeks.

“I have lost 11 lbs in 5 weeks. This is unreal. Thank you so much.” ~L.S, 32

“I am going to bed every night before 10:30. It was hard at first but now I am sleeping and rested. I haven’t felt this way in years.” ~ J.L, 39

“I stopped my psychotropic meds. I just don’t need them now and I feel great.” ~G*

“This is why everyone needs a coach. Women need to hear that it is ok to stop beating themselves up!” ~H.T, 35

“It is hard to balance your weight loss goals with your goals to go out and meet people, but I am doing it!” ~L.S, 32

“I have started eating breakfast or having a smoothie and am seeing changes in my mood, energy level, and weight.” ~A.B, 28

“Powered through a 4 mile run. It was a challenge but I finished.” ~E.H, 26

*Not recommended without consulting a physician

Remember This? A Walk Down Blissful Lane

One year ago today, I started a campaign to win money and actualize my dream. Now with the clearest vision and a much smaller budget, I am nearly there. WE are nearly there. Thanks for your enduring support. Blissful Mind Wellness is coming soon.