Sunday, September 25, 2011

Positive Affirmations

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to my husband speak about goal setting. He mentioned the power of positive affirmations. Affirmations are positive thoughts or statements. In his talk he touched briefly on dieting and he mentioned that a poor positive affirmation would be to say “I will lose 15 pounds” because it allows for a lifetime of losing 15 pounds then regaining 20 pounds then losing 15, then regaining etc. etc. He recommended instead something like “I enjoy making healthy choices and constantly maintain my healthy weight of ______ pounds.” Wow! I love that!

There really is great power in positive self talk. About 10 years ago I trained for and completed a marathon with my oldest daughter . One of the tools I used in the weeks of demanding training runs was positive affirmations. I would notice myself start to think “Oh I’m so tired. I haven’t run yet today. I need to do ____ miles. Oh I am dreading it. Oh it is going to be so hard. Oh maybe I can skip tonight.” I would stop that thought in its tracks and replace it with some made up thoughts that honestly weren’t in my heart. “Oh I haven’t run today. I can’t wait until I get to run. It’s going to be so rejuvenating. I am going to love it!”

I know that sounds a little whacky but after continually halting the negative thought and replacing it with a pretend positive thought I actually began to bend my own thinking. I really did start to look forward to and think positively about my training runs.

You too can use positive daily affirmations to direct what your focus will be. You can conquer your past and present fears, and enjoy your present or create the future by affirmation. Affirmations redirect your values, help formulate goals, or prepare you for situations, whenever or wherever they may occur.

In general you can say your positive daily affirmations silently or aloud to yourself. For our weekly challenge however we are going to be saying them out loud with enthusiasm. I would like you to write your affirmations on a card ─ and carry it in your pocket, tape it to a mirror, or place it somewhere where it is always visible to you. Repeat your positive affirmations at intervals throughout your day, to reinforce the positive belief and to maintain a positive state of mind.

You should state your positive daily affirmations in the present tense, that is, use "I am..." rather than "I will be..." Saying things in the present tense will program your subconscious mind to believe that what you affirm is already fact. When the subconscious believes that, it will start arranging for bringing what you affirm to you. In other words, the subconscious will drive you to perform the actions needed to live out what you affirm; and, acting thus, you will create the circumstances that make them actually happen for you.

Another important guideline in formulating your affirmations is to write them in the positive state. Many people have the tendency to write affirmations in the negative state (ie: I am not going to pig out on candy anymore!) ─ which immediately defeats the purpose and the effectiveness of the affirmation. Affirmations written from the negative perspective will never work.

To earn your daily 5 bonus points this coming week you must write at least 3 positive affirmations, place them somewhere that you will see them often and repeat them out loud and with enthusiasm several times each day throughout the day (Do not forget all day and then blurt them out 10 times before jumping in bed!)

A few ideas for positive affirmations :

1. I love to exercise! Moving my body relieves my stress, calms my mind and is just plain fun.

2. I love fruits and vegetables. I notice when I eat them I feel full of energy and life. They are my favorite treat.

3. I am in control of my health and wellness.

4. I have abundant energy, vitality and well-being.

5. I am always able to maintain my ideal weight of _______.

6. I radiate good health.

7. I sleep soundly and peacefully.

8. I have abundant energy, vitality and well-being.

9. The more I honor my health and body the better I feel.

10. I love clear clean water. It is my favorite drink and I love sipping it all day long.

11. I am a sweet treat gourmet. I love waiting and planning all week for one special dessert.

12. I am a record keeper. I enjoy writing down my exercise and meals. It reminds me I control the destiny of my health.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wholesome breakfast

Whatever happened to that age-old advice to “start the day with a hearty breakfast?” These days, many of us either don’t eat at all or we grab ‘n’ go: a bagel, donut or a muffin or at best a highly processed protein bar or shake. If we have the time, we may swing by the local fast food joint for a breakfast “whatever.” Is this what our bodies really need to get us going in the morning?

Egg Muffin Sandwich

Breakfast is really just that: breaking – the – fast. When you wake up, you’ve been without food for 8-10 hours so you need to power up your body to meet the day. Tempted to skip breakfast? Don’t! You’ll miss out on important nutrients that your body needs to keep you healthy and maintain steady energy and blood sugar.

Additionally a heart breakfast first thing in the morning cranks up your metabolism and starts you fully burning calories earlier.Want one more good reason? Studies have shown that if you skip breakfast, you may be more likely to make up those missed calories by over-eating later in the day. Not very desirable, right?

Okay, so assuming that I’ve convinced you that breakfast is important, why not grab a pastry , pancakes or protein bar? Several reasons:

  • Eating sweets and refined carbohydrates in the morning can quickly raise and subsequently drop your blood sugar, making you crave more sweets later in the day.
  • When you eat sugary foods, you’re not getting the proteins, fiber and nutrients you need to fuel your body efficiently.
  • Since our bodies are particularly sensitive to sugars, they should be minimized at breakfast unless buffered by sufficient amounts of protein, fiber and fat.
  • Whole real food is preferable to highly refined commercial items with unpronounceable ingredients.
About now you may be wondering what you should be eating for breakfast. Healthy meals in general need to be balanced with proteins, good carbs and healthy fats – and breakfast is no exception. Here are some ideas for delicious breakfasts, from out-the-door quick to weekend fare, that deliver all the good stuff you need to get going in the morning.

    Breakfast Blast

  • Blend up a fresh fruit smoothie with yogurt or kefir, you may want to throw in some fresh kale or spinach. Great with a side of whole grain toast and natural peanut butter.
  • Cook up some whole grain oatmeal or other whole grain hot cereal and serve with nuts (I love walnuts) and fruit (try fresh berries, raisins or sliced banana).
  • Spread natural nut butters on a variety of whole grain breads, crackers or bagels.
  • Toast some whole grain waffles and top with nut butter and fresh fruit. Turkey or tempeh bacon is a great side.
  • Breakfast Pita

  • Try eggs and veggies in thisBetter Breakfast Pita Pocket.
  • Dress up your favorite yogurt or cottage cheese with almonds and chopped apple, blueberries or dried apricots. Add a whole grain English muffin with cream cheese, if you like.
  • Scramble up some tofu or eggs with breakfast-style veggies, fresh fruit and whole grain crackers.
  • Prepare a homemade version of the famous egg and Canadian bacon sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin.
  • Make a vegan wrap of tempeh “bacon,” tofu scrambled “eggs” and sliced avocado rolled in a whole wheat flour tortilla.
  • Make “cheese toast” by melting cheddar on sprouted wheat bread and serve with an apple or a pear.

* By the way one of my favorite breakfasts was at the home of my diet partner Leslie's home. Warm walnuts with agave nectar! MMMMMMMM!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

And We Begin!

And so we begin! Hoorah! You are going to be amazed at how much better you feel in just a short time. I know it can seem like a mountain of paperwork tracking all of these various items but I promise it will become like second nature as you learn to make your health and well being a priority!

Our challenge for this first week is this:
1. Friend each of the participants in this round of competition (you can glean their e-mail addresses from the header on my e-mails)
2. Send a message of encouragement to a different member every day!
3. If you complete both of these challenges you can claim 5 points per day for our weekly challenge