Feeling Restless?

By Cindy Clemens,
Contracted Life Coach

CindyClemensWhen we begin to feel restless in our lives and ready to explore new options, it is very tempting to look at what we can do differently. New jobs, locations, hobbies and partners often seem to be the answer. While these changes may ultimately happen, they are not the place to start. Rather, we need to turn inward and reconnect with what is on the inside - priorities, passions and gifts and talents. This is the only way we can build a new life that really fits us and feels right. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wisely observed, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

A great way to connect with your wise, inner voice is to spend some quality time each day working on your life. I offer two suggestions for creating this self-discovery time.

First, make an actual date with yourself and keep it. Try blocking out an hour each day. It is amazing how much we honor our commitments to other people, yet find countless ways to blow off the time we have set aside for self-care. We seem to value other people more than we do ourselves. To counter this, I strongly recommend making a solid date with yourself and viewing it as important as the other meetings and appointments you have during the week.

Second, find a special place where you can go by yourself and spend some quiet time. Try to block out as many distractions as you can. Select a place where you won't be interrupted. Turn your cell phone off, find a comfortable spot to sit, and provide your senses with as much positive input as possible. Beautiful music, lovely scenery, and tantalizing aromas can greatly enhance your self-discovery time. Bring along your journal and develop your life compass - what is important to you, what you love to do, and what you feel you are meant to do with your life. Use these findings to guide your decisions about what to change on the outside.

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Top Five Exercises to Burn Fat

By Dr. Brad Crump,
Health Services Manager

BradCrumpWhen we want to lose weight, the first things we think to do are eat less and burn more calories. We then embark on a rigorous and intense exercise program in addition to a highly restrictive dietary plan which most often results in little to no change on weight or more importantly, body fat percentage.

In order to develop a more successful and efficient fat loss program, it is important to understand some of the basics of metabolism.

Metabolism Basics
The metabolisms work of turning food into energy and then using that energy to operate the body and to bounce back from everyday wear and tear is a very specialized process. Through our choices of food and physical activities, we can make the process more efficient.

First we need to understand the process of basic metabolism. After we have eaten, the body uses oxygen to convert our food into energy. This conversion allows us to do work and to run all systems of our body. If the calories we consume our not burned for fuel, they will be stored in our body fat as a reserve. Here is how our bodies use the nutrients we consume as energy. What fuel you burn I s directly tied into your ability to deliver oxygen.

Carbohydrates are generally the body’s main source of energy. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars and stored in our muscles as glycogen. The body stores only a certain amount of carbohydrates. They have four calories per gram.

Proteins are used to build and maintain body tissues and are rarely if ever used as a source of energy. Like carbohydrates, only so much protein can be stored. They also have four calories per gram.

Fat is the most energy dense of these nutrients. Each gram of fat contains nine calories per gram making it the most efficient fuel source for the body. It acts as a long term fuel reserve that helps keep us from falling into a starvation mode. Given that fat is so efficient and valuable, why has it been given such a bad reputation? Given that fat has twice the amount of stored energy, it would stand to reason that it would be a valuable fuel to burn during exercise.

So how do we actually tap into fat when we exercise? Does burning as many calories as possible result in greater fat burning? To answer that, we need to remember that oxygen is required to breakdown these nutrients to use them as fuel.

When we exercise, we breathe in and deliver oxygen out o our working muscles. The oxygen is then used to convert mainly carbohydrates or fat or a mix of both into energy. The difference between burning fat versus burning carbohydrates is a function of much and how efficiently you delivered oxygen. Fat burning requires more oxygen that carbohydrates.

So, to make a long story short, in order to burn fat at higher levels, a person much be able to stay as aerobic (oxygen efficient) as possible for a sustained period of time regardless of what the activity is. It is suggested to find the activities you find most enjoyment in so that it can become a consistent activity. In order to truly find where you are most efficient, you will want to be tested using a metabolic cart system (see www.newleaffitness.com).

Here are the top five activities that can be used to track heart rate and can be maintained over the required timeframe:

  • Active yoga: This type of yoga provides consistent movement to maintain appropriate heart rate and also acts as a great toning and core workout.
  • Hiking: This allows you to choose the terrain or area that you are hiking in and to regulate your heart rate. You will also see some great sites and get a lot of fresh air.
  • Circuit training: This type of weight training is sustained movement that is maintaining proper heart rate and is also providing strength training. This will allow for greater caloric burn while at rest.
  • Kick boxing: This is one that will get your heart rate up so you will want to control your pace to stay within your fat burning zone. Great strength training activity.
  • Swimming: This is a great all around exercise that will use many muscle groups you normally do not use which will result in great fat burning at the right heart rate.

Whether an activity is fat burning is tied into proper testing. Consider doing a metabolic test to determine you most efficient fat burning heart rate zones.

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Weight Loss Tip: Fiber

Eat 2 cups of non-starchy vegetables at lunch and dinner every day (total 4 cups daily). Vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber and are very low calorie. The nutrition fuels your metabolism. The fiber helps you feel full.

Note: This tip not recommended for those who have had gastric bypass, or have digestive problems such as: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, etc.

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The Lie of "No Time"

By Andrew Mellen, organizing expert & guest speaker May 9–14

andrewmellenWe all fall prey to it at some point.

And while there may be legitimate periods of time that are completely full and inflexible, our lives as a whole are not.

A young mother, in reviewing by book "Unstuff Your Life!" at Amazon, stated that she would NEVER be able to transform her kitchen in the way that I suggest in the book. She simply doesn't have the time -- and listed her two children, including "a one-year old who likes to get into everything" and a full-time job as her explanation.

"I don't have time, EVER, to take out everything from my kitchen. I need a process that I can work on a little each day after the kids go to bed, and this was not it for me. I don't know how I would ever implement the system as he designed it."

I do.

How about a day or two of daycare over a weekend? If money would prevent that from being an option, how about a local relative who could watch the kids? How about a relative who isn't local that would take the kids for a weekend sleepover? Or how about a friend? Perhaps even someone who ALSO wants to makeover her kitchen and could trade either babysitting or help with the makeover and then our 'no time' gal could help her friend do the same at HER home.

I'm willing to bet that she COULD have the time.

I'm also willing to accept that she may very well be overwhelmed, exhausted, challenged with time management and other things. She may FEEL she doesn't have the time or THINK she doesn't have the time or both.

But that doesn't mean she actually DOESN'T have any time.

After all, she wrote a review on Amazon (that didn't move her any closer to getting organized) so she clearly has SOME unstructured time :)

When we dig in our heels and state with some intensity that we have absolutely no time, what are we really doing?

We're trying to regain some control.

Perhaps we're experiencing such a strong loss of control that the cure for our discomfort becomes a strident declaration of "no time."

We draw a line in the sand -- a boundary for ourselves, and by extension, others, who we may see as part of the problem of "no time."

We're restating our claim to our time -- albeit in a slightly blustery and desperate way.

Hopefully the declaration will get some folks' attention and provide at least temporary relief for our perceived problem.

But the solution is actually simpler and more difficult.

It requires a different approach to time. And if we're already feeling stretched and threatened, it's that much harder to remain open enough to take a risk on anything.

Even an alternative that MIGHT work better than what we're currently doing that isn't working so well.

It's a curious thing -- when we most need to make a change, we're often the least open TO change.

So perhaps the strongest antidote to "no time" is an attitude adjustment and rather than digging in our heels, a softening of our grasp and a request for help.

Not more control, but less control of the type we're used to.

And then perhaps a NEW kind of control, or actually a new way of running our lives, will have room to appear.

Click to read more of Andrew's blog.

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One Wonderful Food

There is food that will help you lose weight, increase your odds at longevity, help keep your digestion regular and generally make you feel great! The combined effect of the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber and water in this food can't be matched by even the most expensive supplement. This food is economical – and it comes in many flavors to meet all tastes.

What is this amazing health food? Vegetables; but more specifically: non-starchy vegetables.

Certainly, potatoes, yams, winter squash, peas and legumes have many positive nutritional attributes. However, since potatoes, in the form of French fries, are the most consumed "vegetable" in the United States and unhealthy excess weight is a concern for the majority of Americans. The reason for making this distinction should be obvious.

Starchy foods can be a concentrated source of calories and are frequently accompanied with lots of unhealthy fat. Therefore, for the purposes of a weight management program, starchy vegetables, winter squashes, peas and legumes should be counted as part of the "starch/carbohydrate" foods and consumed without lots of added fats. If weight loss is your goal – then, non-starchy vegetables are your "secret weapon."

The benefits of consuming a diet replete with a variety of vegetables are remarkable! Still, the typical American diet is sorely lacking this marvelous food group. A 2005 article published by The Center for Disease Control (CDC) affirmed "A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with decreased risk for chronic disease." The CDC concludes that the research results "underscore the need for continued interventions that encourage greater fruit and vegetable consumption among U.S. adults."1

Also in 2005, the USDA released the updated Food Guide Pyramid. One of the most dramatic changes in dietary recommendations was made in the area of fruit and vegetable consumption. The total recommended servings jumped from 3-5, to 5-9 total servings of fruits and vegetables daily.2 That's a lot of food!

You will know that you're eating enough non-starchy vegetables when your lunch mates say, " Are you going to eat all that?"

Vegetables are high volume and measured in cups. One cup of raw vegetables or one half cup of cooked vegetables equals "one serving". Depending on your body size, activity level and calorie level of your food plan, you may be consuming 2-5 servings of fruit daily. The remainder of your recommended daily intake will then range between 3 and 7 servings of vegetables. To get more specific, go to MyPyramid.gov to find out what your recommended calorie intake is, estimate your fruit intake, then, determine how many servings of vegetables you should consume. If you choose non-starchy vegetables for weight loss, you will quickly see that you can lose weight, feel great and never go hungry!

For the skeptic or compulsive calorie counter – relax! On average, one half cup of non-starchy vegetables contains about 25 calories. Still, these wonder foods pack a huge nutritional punch. Just a few of the most prevalent nutrients found in vegetables are: potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A and Vitamin C. Dietary fiber helps lower cholesterol, keeps your bowels functioning well and makes you feel fuller. Folate helps the body build new red blood cells. Vitamin A protects your skin and eyes and helps protect against infection. Vitamin C keeps gums and teeth healthy, is important for wound healing and aids in the absorption of iron.2

At Red Mountain guests arrive from all over the world for an adventurous mix of outdoor activities, spa pampering and weight loss or other health programs. They are often shocked when they learn that the breakfast and lunch meals are served buffet-style. A closer look at the items on the buffet reveal a plethora of – yes, non-starchy vegetables!

Red Mountain Spa's favorite non-starchy veggies:
Alfalfa sprouts
Bell peppers (all colors)
Bok Choy
Broccoli, broccoli rabe, broccolini, broccoflower
Brussel sprouts
Collard greens (without the traditional added fats)
Green beans
Mustard greens
Summer squash

1Fruit and vegetable consumption among adults--United States, 2005. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2007 Mar 16;56(10):213-7.

2 http://www.mypyramid.gov

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He said, she said...or he said, he said...or she said, she said...

By Andrew Mellen, organizing expert & guest speaker May 9–14

andrewmellen"Love is a many splendored thing." - Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster (as sung by Frank Sinatra)

"Love is a battlefield." - Holly Knight and Mike Chapman (as sung by Pat Benatar)

"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds." - William Shakespeare

Hat's off to Mr. Shakespeare. Long before Frank or Pat extolled the virtues and dangers of love, Will laid it out for us in plain (olde) English. Call it what you will, but it sure isn't love if you need to change it.

At every workshop, there's at least one delightfully charming and discordant couple tossing slightly snarky digs at one another, all in the name of fun. And with the hope that I'll take sides and finally force the less-organized of the two to comply with ... something.

Not going to happen. Even if one partner is clearly the primary mess-maker, my response is always to find the way out from messiness into a functional co-existence for EVERYONE'S benefit.

Anyone who struggles with disorder and disorganization knows that something isn't working. And no amount of judging or shaming is going to provoke a positive change. Teasing or attacking your less-than-neat partner is only going to paralyze them. So let's try a different approach.

I first suggest to these couples, much to everyone else's amusement, that "today is probably not the first time you've discovered that your partner doesn't do things quite the same way you do."

Then I remind them that acceptance and a clear commitment to finding workable solutions, rather than winning or blaming, will reveal the strongest, most sustainable choice. That way, everyone gives up something and no one gives up everything. I sometimes have to repeat that sentence two or three times.

And the payoff is priceless: the neat one's face is as disappointed as the less-than-neat one's face is relieved.

As history has demonstrated for centuries, when no one wins, everyone wins!

Click to read more of Andrew's blog.

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Weight Loss & Nutrition: Beyond Calories in Versus Calories Out

By Brad Crump,
Health Services Manager

BradCrumpMost of us have found ourselves in a position of wanting to lose a few pounds. For some, it is a life long quest often resulting in a mixed bag of results. For a majority, hundreds of pounds have been lost and subsequently gained back leading to feelings of failure, disappointment and a loss of hope for future success. In addition to the stresses of fluctuating results comes the confusion of weeding through all the opinions shared by experts (and self appointed experts) and deciding who is right.

One of the major mistakes people make in establishing a healthy and effective weight loss strategy centered on food and nutrition is assuming that all individuals are created equal. Each of us brings to the “dining room table” differences in genetics, metabolism and specific lifestyle factors that must be considered. There is no “one size fits all” model. Once we begin considering these differences, a more specific and individualized nutrition plan can be established.

Another major failure in developing nutritional guidelines is depending solely on the law of thermodynamics, which teaches us that if we consume less calories than we burn, weight loss should follow. There is no argument that if a person consumes 4,000 calories and only burns 2,500 that that person will not gain weight. Caloric balance is essential and must be determined by proper and specific testing like indirect calorimetry. However, there are many who have greatly reduced their calorie intake and increased their exercise and have experienced weight gain. There is an easily explainable answer and one that is very rarely discussed or considered.

The answer is that all calories are simply not created equal. To clarify, a calorie, in fact, does equal a calorie but only in terms of quantity. If I consume five grams of fat, regardless of its source, I have consumed forty-five calories. It does not matter if it is from a healthy source of omega three fats such as salmon or whether it is from a saturated variety of fat from a processed food; the calorie value is the same. What is not the same is the physiological affect each of those fats will have on my body. How does each of these fats affect my metabolism, immune system, hormone regulation and inflammation in my body?

We need to begin looking at food as an information source for the body and not just an energy or calorie source. As it relates to weight loss, we can consider the role that inflammation/allergic reactions play in our quest for weight loss as it relates to food.

In his book “The Fat Resistance Diet,” Dr. Leo Galland, M.D. provides a beautiful description of the role that inflammation from food plays in fat resistant weight loss. In it, he provides a description of a vicious cycle related to the hormone leptin and its role in supporting metabolism and regulation of appetite. Due to sensitivities or allergic reactions to specific foods, inflammation results in a change in our ability to respond to leptin. This results in changes in the rate at which we burn calories and causes us to constantly feel hungry. As this vicious cycle continues, we gain more body fat, which is in itself inflammatory, and we continue to gain weight. This causes us to assume that we are still taking in more calories than we should and we continue to decrease our caloric intake resulting in a perceived famine and resultant fat storage. This inflammatory response is sending inappropriate information to the body.

The inflammatory response we experience from food is simply one example of how we can consume the right number of calories and still gain weight. As we begin to look more specifically at what it is we are eating versus simply how much we are eating, we will begin seeing more long term and healthy weight loss.

Here is a few couple of suggestions that can assist you in your weight loss objectives:

  • Identify your Resting Metabolic Rate. This is an easily administered yet scientifically based test that determines the number of calories you burn under complete resting conditions. Knowing this number will keep you from falling into the trap of over or under consumption. Remember that under consumption of calories can cause as much weight gain as over consuming.
  • Determine if you’re a sensitive to or allergic to specific foods. You can best do this by following an anti-inflammatory diet which focuses on the removal of the most commonly found allergenic foods for one month. You will then go through a process of reintroducing these foods back into the diet one at a time. During the month of elimination, most people lose weight while consuming more than they were typically consuming.

Enjoy the process! As your understanding of food changes, so will your relationship with food and long term, healthy weight loss will follow.

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Eat Your Colors

Spicy-FruitCurrent emphasis on consuming foods of varying colors stems from the understanding that beneficial secondary metabolites, phenolic compounds are responsible for the bright colors.

Phenolic and polyphenolic compounds include flavonoids, phenolic acids and lignins. These abundant chemical compounds are considered secondary metabolites because they are not directly involved in growth and development, but seem to be very beneficial in many other ways. In research and consumer news, much attention has been paid to the antioxidant benefits of particular compounds. Of course, this has spurred a large number of commercially produced supplements of isolated compounds. It should be noted that there is limited evidence of the benefit of these supplements and no recommended daily intake has been determined for phytonutrients.

There is one great lesson in the research regarding phytonutrients – it is best to get nutrition by eating the whole food (rather than rely on supplements). Consider that, until fairly recently, the general assumption was that consuming adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals identified in the DRI’s would be enough to ensure proper nutrition. Since estimates place the number of beneficial phytochemicals found in foods to be in the hundreds of thousands, how could we keep track of all those?

Of the flavonoids, anthocyanins are the most abundant. Anthocyanins are responsible for the deep blue pigments in berries, plums, red grapes, pomegranates, etc. The carotenes are found in foods of dark orange color such as: carrots, pumpkins, mangos, apricots, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes. Lycopene is found in red foods like tomatoes and tomato products, but also in watermelon and pink grapefruit.

While dietitians may appreciate the science of beneficial secondary metabolites, nature has provided us with a color coded teaching tool for emphasizing good nutrition. Eating fruits and vegetables of varied color will ensure the consumption of beneficial nutrients.

N. Hounsome, B. Hounsome, D. Tomos, G. Edwards-Jones. Plant metabolites and nutritional quality of vegetables. Journal of Food Science; May 2008; Volume 73, Issue 4 (pages R48-R65)

Wang, L. and Stoner, G. Anthocyanins and their role in cancer prevention; Cancer Letters; Received 14 March 2008; received in revised form 14 March 2008; accepted 8 May 2008. published online 24 June 2008.

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