Friday, September 17, 2010

Have you reached your Key Potential?

That's right folks - the new name of my business is Key Potential Coaching!

For the next few weeks, you are going to see lots of transitions happening. I have a new URL for my website, but we need to move the "furniture" in to the new house. I will let you know when we are officially open for a "house warming!"

I thought I was going to dread this process more, but it's like getting a new wardrobe - seeing myself in new things is fun!

I want to thank all the participants in the "Name my Coaching Business Contest!" We had LOTS of creative and wonderful ideas! I wish I could have used them all! And it was super cool reading the comments of why you would name my business the way you suggested. Some comments were so flattering, and my heart is full of gratitude for all the love, support and inspiration I receive on a daily basis from my friends, family, colleagues, blog readers and clients.

So, strap yourself in for a ride! Stay tuned and visit often - exciting things are happening here at KEY POTENTIAL!

Chat soon!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Name for my Coaching Business

Hi folks!

Yes, it's true - I will be soon changing my name of my coaching business to ..... well... something else. It's rather bittersweet, but it's a part of growing up and becoming who I trully want to be - I want to be able to grow my company to better serve my clients, and because "Open Door" is Federally Trademarked by someone else, I won't be able to grow with this name.

You know, this isn't the first time this has happened to me. No... I've never had to change my business name before (I wish I had more experience than what I have now) ... but I have had to change MY name - twice. Once when I got married, and once when I got divorced.

I have to admit, I didn't want to change my name when I got married. I rather like my last name - Hansen. It's strong, it's proud, and it boasts of my Danish heritage. My father used to always say that your name was something valuable, something to protect. A good name is what got you recognized for your talents - or ousted for your "reputation".... I always was proud of my GOOD name.

My Dad named me, as a matter of fact. You see, my sister's name is Becky, and my brother's name is Brian. According to my mother - I was supposed to be another B-name... like Bethany, or Bertha. When I was born, back on a hot summer day at the end of August... 37 years ago.. my mother was recovering (you see, this was back when they doped mothers up and they had their babies ummm... "blissfully") and my father came in from the hayfields late in the day to see me. The nurses saw my father and said "Well, Mr. Hansen, while your wife is sleeping, you can fill out the birth certificate... " and my father dutifully obliged.

A little while later, they wheeled my bassinet in beside my mother... my mother looked up and said "Priscilla Ann?" Who the heck is that?!

I love the story of how I got my name, only because my father wells with pride when he tells the story... and yes, it gets more convoluted and exaggerated every time he tells it... but it has the same message... he is so proud of my name. "I gave you a beautiful name - Priscilla" and I agree, I get told that again and again when introducing myself to people.

So names mean alot to me, and I am carefully choosing a name that will represent my business well, and one that I will be proud to share to the world. In the meantime, my door is still open. I am still here to answer your questions, and get you through any challenges you may be having, so be sure to call on me - Priscilla Ann Hansen - that's my name.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Strong Backs Stronger

Being the daughter of a family who owned and operated their own family business (a Rutabaga Farm), I learned many lessons about being an entrepreneur at a young age. I learned that time off was a luxury. Only kids with parents who had "real jobs" participated in after-school activities or went to summer camp. I learned that brand-name designer clothes were expensive, and I had to work twice as many hours in the hot hay fields to afford them. I learned that dressing myself at K-Mart meant I had money left over for more important things like cassette tapes for my Walkman of Van Halen and Guns-N-Roses, which I learned provided mind-numbing relief from the monotony of weeding hundreds of thousands of rows of rutabagas on my hands and knees in the hot blistering sun.

My father would be working with us side-by-side, and when we would waiver or complain, he would shout out "keep yer backs down... this work makes strong backs stronger, and weak backs weaker" I never really understood what the heck that meant, but I would bend down and keep working, wondering what satisfaction he could possibly get from all this back breaking labor. I did not gain insight to the answer of that question until many years later.

My parents livelihood depends on the weather. If they had a year of too much rain, or not enough rain, their cash flow likely suffers. I can't say as children we ever noticed a "bad-year" as far as the quality of life went. We always had food. Some years it consisted of just canned goods my mother preserved from the garden over the summer, and the venison my father stocked in the freezer. I remember a few years of drinking powdered milk (yuck!), but most of the time, if my parents were going through financial hardship, our dinner table did not feel the effects.

Now, 30 some-odd years later, I am the entrepreneur. I run and operate my own business. And while it is not a 115 acre rutabaga farm, I am starting to understand what my father meant by "strong backs stronger."

I marvel now at the risk that was involved in running such a large operation year to year. My father managed a 115 acre farm, with just his children and wife as his managerial team. I often think about the pain staking decisions that were involved, and the choices he had to make to keep the business operating for the last 46 years. Were they always the best decisions? Maybe not... but they were the best decisions he could conclude to at the time... and hey, he must have been doing something right, because they are still in operation to this day.

I have a strong back. I have been instilled with all the knowledge I need to run my own business. I'm smart, I'm creative, and darn it... people like me! If I apply all my strengths, I will just grow stronger.

Strong backs stronger.

On the flip side, hey... I have weaknesses too. I am not as technologically savvy as I would like to be. I am still learning how to grow my business... I got a long row to hoe. If I focused on my weaknesses, I would buckle at my knees. If I focused on the weaknesses that slow me down every day, I would lose energy and be ineffective.

Weak backs weaker.

It's your choice. Focus on your strengths, your abilities and your talents, and you will be building muscles that you didn't even know you had. They are God given, and in all of us. Focus on what you can do, and you can endure even the most difficult tasks. Strong backs stronger.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Life's A Niche.....

A lot of talk has been buzzing lately in my Mastermind calls about making sure we as small business owners (specifically service providers) have successfully honed in on a niche market.

To many new service providers, this concept can be really scary. "Won't I be excluding myself from gaining customers if I only focus on one group of people?" Or, what I commonly hear from my clients is "but I want ANYONE to be my customer".... but more often than not, when we say we want ANYONE as a customer, we get NO ONE.

I was thinking of this the other day after my boyfriend went to get his dog Derby a new collar. He left the house, and an hour later, returned frazzled, frustrated, and empty handed. When I asked him why he didn't get a collar for the dog, he flopped down on the couch "I'm exhausted! I went to "Big-Super-Box-Store" and walked around aimlessly looking for the pet department! After 40 minutes of circling around, and not finding any one to help me, I left! Then I couldn't find where I had parked in the gigantic parking lot!"

Needless to say, he had gone to "Big-Super-Box-Store" because he thought he would get a better price, and he thought they would have what he was looking for, but ended up getting overwhelmed at the hundred thousand offerings in the thousands of square feet of products they offered. He wasted a trip, his time, and his energy, and he ended up not spending his money there.

So we went to a local pet store called Fetch. We parked right in front of the door, and when we entered a friendly clerk asked us what we needed. When we indicated dog collars, he led us straight to the wall that had a wide variety to choose from, and helped us make our selection quickly because he was knowledgeable about the dogs size, breed, and was able to anticipate our needs. We got exactly what we wanted hassle or frustration, in fact, it was a very pleasurable experience. Yes, we probably paid more for the collar at Fetch, but it was worth it for the time we saved.

Now think about your customers for a moment. Think about the amount of information they receive every hour and minute of their days. Are they over whelmed? Do they need a simple in-and-out solution? That's where you can come in as the hero, and yes, you can charge more for your services as a result because you make life easier for your customers by guiding them right to the aisle with the dog collars. Easy in. Easy out. No fuss. No muss.

So by honing in on a niche and claiming your corner of a smaller market, you are able to take your customers by the hand and lead them to exactly what they are looking for, the answer to their problems. And they will be grateful to you as a result, and yes that will probably equal a little extra cha-ching for you. Good Dog!

Friday, May 28, 2010


Remember the feeling you got as a kid when you opened a brand new box of Crayola Crayons?

I remember thinking I had the power of the universe in a box of 64 colors with a sharpener on the back. I'd sit down cross-legged (criss-cross-applesauce!) on my mom's linoleum floor with a big sheet of blank mill paper, and marvel at the possibilities. The sky was the limit. Actually, no it wasn't... because I could draw Saturn, Mars, and Venus, the Sun, the Moon and the Stars... and using my carefully sharpened Screamin' Green Crayola, I could create an army of martians that would wreak havoc on the one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eaters.

The magic inside that box was uncontainable. Once unleashed, anything was possible. There were no limits. There was never anyone telling me it couldn't be done. Once my amazing creations were complete, they were hung on the refrigerator for all to see. The world marveled at the magnificence of these art pieces. I would have a snack of milk and cookies, take a nap, and dream about my next masterpiece.

When did that magic fade? When did a box of crayons become the tools of trade for only children? When did I start hearing voices of doubt and when did I start believing the nay-sayers?

At times now I find my much older self sitting straight backed in an office chair, with the task of creating "masterpieces" for my business. I want to catch peoples attention, pique their interest, amaze them with my ability. I stare at a blank computer screen, and my mind goes as blank as the screen. Why is this so hard? And then I remember the blank mill paper and my beautiful 64 colors.... swirls of periwinkle, lemon yellow, thistle, and mulberry ..... if I close my eyes I can smell the wax, and I can feel the soft paper wrappers... And something deep inside me urns to go back there.

My first thought was to unplug my lap top and sit criss-cross applesauce on my office floor, but realizing my body now protests that position, I settle for my aerobic ball instead and bounce for a while. A few questions popped into my head that require reflection:

What could you accomplish if you approached the world with child-like wonder and inhibition? What creative solutions would emerge if you unbridled your imagination?

Maybe its time to go back to basics. Perhaps I've forgotten some important elements of curiosity, imagination and creativity that I learned in Kindergarten. At age 36, I think I need to go back and repeat a year. A blank screen is a canvas of untethered possibilities... and so I write, and create, and let my imagination take me to a world of unicorns, rainbows, and magical creatures with amazing powers. And I have to admit, it was fun. Now I need a cookie and a nap.


Coach Priscilla

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


All my friends have children now. Their biological clocks ticked them into a foreign world filled with bassinets and learning toys.

But those who know me best, and know my girl, know we share similar motherhood joys. Regardless of our breed of babe, we're both obsessed with the quality and quantity of our tyke's bodily wastes. And we delight in little miracles, innocent presents retrieved from beach and woods, random kisses, implicit trust, unquestioning adoration.

How can you feel sorry for a mom whose child will never fall in with the wrong crowd, do drugs, or drop out of school? Dog moms are doubly blessed. Our boys and girls grow old, but never grow up.

Taken from "Cooking With Dogs" by Karen Dowell

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Yesterday it was raining out, and I decided it would be a good day to curl up on the couch with a good book. I had recently purchased "The Walk" by Richard Paul Evans. I picked it up because I saw it featured on the Today show, and many things about the story plot appealed to me.

It's about a guy who loses it all. His career, his wife, his home. While clutching onto a bottle of pills and a bottle of Jack... he decides that instead of dying... he would walk away from it all. Literally. He packed a bag and just started walking - his destination from Seattle was to Key West, Florida. He also brings along a leather covered journal to document his adventures.

I can't tell you how many times in the past I thought about just leaving. When driving the 30 miles to my job as an Office Manager - I would fantasize about passing the exit to work, and just driving as far as my car would take me. I daydreamed about what it would be like on the open road... footloose and fancy-free. I imagined the people I would meet, the adventures I would have, and the stories I would tell. Then I was reminded of my empty bank account, and my near empty tank of gas. I also thought about what I was leaving behind... I had responsibilities after all - my husband, my home, my job, my family. It wouldn't be long before I snapped back into reality ... and subsequently would snap on my turn signal and exit to my destination of doldrums and drudgery. Sometimes I would actually have to wipe tears from my eyes before I walked into my office because I was mourning a life I had created in my mind.

I visited that life often, sometimes as I revved the engine on my motorcycle -- I would take the long way home, caught up in an imaginary world where I had no demands, no responsibilities, no dreadful month-end reports to process, no dinners to cook, no checkbooks to balance. No time cards to punch, no employees to hire or fire. I was free - I could FLY. Then I would pull my bike into the garage, and answer the battle cry of "Whats for Dinner!?! I'm Hungry!!" *sigh*

My yearning for an adventure of solitude had begun as a child. On our family vacations to camp, I would dream about biking across country, or running away and living a life of an outdoor pioneer in the thick of the woods, nothing but me and my fishing pole. Once I thought about it, I decided to add a dog to my escapism. It might get lonely out there, and scary too.

As a young adult, I lived out my fantasy by scheduling annual retreats. Just me, my dog Destiny, a leather bound journal, and a freighted truck full of camping equipment. My friends thought I was crazy for not bringing my husband along... but I needed time of reflection. I needed to get out in the woods and figure out what was making me want to flee. Why was I so discontent with my life, that I fantasized about running away from it? After all - I had a great life! I should be happy! Shouldn't I?

When I shared my secret dreams of flight with a therapist, she deemed me as depressed and wanted to put me on medications. She felt that trying to escape from a life that seemed "Ideal" must have meant there was something wrong with me. After all - I was "happily" married. I had a successful career. I had family, friends, and a beautiful home. I had lots of material possessions. A "normal" person would be quite content with all of this, therefore, you must need drugs Priscilla.

And so I suppressed the urge to fly. I resolved to make the best of my situation, and be grateful for all I had. I worked on myself, I worked on my marriage, and I resolved I would be a better person for it. Grounded and stable. Yet the mountains beckoned to me... and about May, I would start getting irritable and edgy with my surroundings and everyone around me. And by June I was swishing a fly line into the shimmering waters of the Kennebago again... with my only invited guest, Destiny, by my side.

Eventually, the Universe granted me my wish. In ways I least expected. With a divorce decree and a pink slip in my hand, I set out on my own, and truth be known - I was terrified.

When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us. ~ Alexander Graham Bell

What struck me most, is as many times as I fantasized about living a life of adventure, I had no idea how unprepared I was. I was taken WAY out of my comfort zone. Suddenly, being independent, foot-loose and fancy free was a scary and lonely place. There were moments of panic mixed in with need for survival. There were times I experienced great despair and mourned the life I had grown so bored and complacent with. I found myself shedding tears for a life I once had, instead of rejoicing for the life I had daydreamed about all those times driving to work. I had finally been released.... but I was afraid to fly.... not that I had a choice you see, I had been kicked out of the nest.

Mother Universe saw fit that this little bird was ready to fly on her own, and with a swift kick and an "ally-oop" I was flittering about. I crashed softly into a new nest, and I soon had opportunities and experiences awaiting for me. First, I had to accept my new wings, and that took time. I had read once that when reintroducing caged or captive birds back into the wild, it was important to bring the bird to its new surroundings and let him get acclimated for a few weeks. It was important for the bird to give the bird the native food so it would recognize its new offerings, and to let him exercise his wings and develop his muscles before release.

So true was it for me, I spent some time getting acclimated by making my new nest cozy and comfy. I spent some time stretching my wings by meeting new people, and recognizing the offerings my new surroundings offered me. I built my muscles by developing a network of people who are there to support me and guide me. It took some time, but once I convinced myself I was strong enough - I took a leap of faith, I am ready to SOAR!

~Live Well, Be Well~
Coach Priscilla

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Perfectionism - Vice or Virtue?

How many times have you heard someone boast "I'm a perfectionist!"

I used to be one of them. I prided myself on my perfectionism. I kept my house neat, organized and dust free. I ate right and exercised. I had a clean office, a clean car, and a perfectly balanced checkbook. I was the perfect wife, the perfect daughter, the perfect manager, and the perfect friend. I did everything perfectly.

And when I couldn't do everything perfectly - I did nothing at all.

As a result, I had a messy house, I bounced checks, my car was a rolling dumpster, and I was overweight and unhealthy.

Huh? How can you claim you are a perfectionist when you are a complete and total mess?

Because as a Pefectionist, I had an all or nothing attitude. Everything was black or white, all or nothing, good or bad. If I couldn't do something "perfectly", I wouldn't do it at all. There was no gray in my life... and as a result I was stressed out!

Perfectionism is not the virtue we have been raised to believe. If I didn't have time in my day to get my house spic-n-span top to bottom, I did nothing at all. It didn't dawn on me that I could break down tasks into 10 minute time chunks.... like say, dust for 10 minutes before leaving for work. Its ok I didn't clean the whole house, but at least I did something.

So many of my clients are plagued with Perfectionism. They come to me frustrated because there simply is not enough time in the day to get anything done, when the truth is there isn't enough time to get everything done.

"You can have it all, you just can't have it all at once...." Oprah Winfrey

I access if they are true Perfectionists by asking.... "If I dumped out a 1000 piece puzzle on this table, and told you that you had to complete it, what would be your strategy?"

If they are a perfectionist, more often times than not they answer "I would sit here until it's done."

It doesn't dawn on them that I didn't give them a time frame to get the puzzle done - THEY enforced the rule they had to get it done in one sitting.... not me. They are the ones who are implementing ridiculous time schedules and deadlines into their lives. It doesn't dawn on them they could break down the puzzle into steps and work on it in their leisure.

Part of overcoming Perfectionism is to allow yourself to set realistic deadlines. Rome wasn't built in a day.... and your small business, household, relationships, and self care aren't either.

Need help working on the puzzle of your life? Give me a call, I'd love to chat!

Live Well, Be Well~
Coach Priscilla

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Time Management Parable

This past week, I have shared this parable with three different clients. It must be something that many people need to hear right now, because time management has been a common topic in our coaching sessions. For that reason, I want to share this with you ..


One day, an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget.

As he stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said,

"Okay, time for a quiz" and he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouth mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. He also produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?" Everyone in the class yelled, "Yes."

The time management expert replied, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. He then asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?"

By this time the class was on to him. "Probably not," one of them answered.

"Good!" he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?" "No!" the class shouted.

Once again he said, "Good." Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"

One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it!"

"No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all."

What are the 'big rocks' in your life, time with your loved ones, your faith, your education, your dreams, a worthy cause, teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these big rocks in first or you'll never get them in at all. So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the 'big rocks' in my life? Then, put those in your jar first.


Are there rocks in your life that you are having a hard time fitting in the bucket? Would you like to find ways to insure that your life is full and balanced? You can start by identifying your "rocks", then prioritizing them by putting them on your daily schedule FIRST. Don't forget rocks like "personal time", "health and fitness", and "FUN".

Need help? I am just a phone call away....

~Live Well, Be Well ~
Coach Priscilla

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Procrastination - Friend or Foe?

We've all been there... we have alot to do - projects to work on, priorities to get done, clients to contact, presentations to prepare, (blogs to write).... lots of things we WANT to do... but instead we find ourselves fat and happy on the couch eating chips and watching TV. What is up with that?

How many times have you frittered away hours on the computer - reaping a bountiful harvest on a virtual farm when your grass outside the window beckons to be mowed? How many times have you "awoken" to the fact that hours have gone by and nothing on your to-do list has been accomplished? WHY oh WHY does this happen to us!?!!?!

Merrium Webster defines procrastination as transitive verb : to put off intentionally and habitually intransitive verb : to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.

Do you see that word? That beautiful word!?! INTENTIONALLY. This means yes people, we CHOOSE to procrastinate. It's not a reflex, it's not sub-conscious... its a choice! So if we find ourselves procrastinating ... what is our intention of doing so?

I am reminded of a coaching client, Jane*. Jane came to me because she was literally hours away from completion of sending in her coursework to become a certified life coach. I thought it was a clear cut case - help Jane stay focused, hold her accountable to complete the course work and hand it in. Simple - right?

Well, not so much. If handing in her coursework was that simple, she would have done it already. She really, really wanted to have her certification. So why did she keep procrastinating on completing her assignments?

Through coaching, we discovered that Jane had alot of clearing to do. Her environment was not suitable for her - she was in an apartment that did not suit her needs, or the needs of her son.

She had finances to settle, gremlins to tame, and confidence to build. The moral of the story was, she wasn't yet ready to be a certified coach. Success was still waiting for her. Once she cleared a path for herself - moved to a more suitable home, cleared her finances, and focused on herself, she finally was ready to move on and pursue her personal dream of being a motivational speaker and coach.

Procrastination is usually a symptom of another need in your life. You may need rest. You may need a break. You may need more facts. You may need more time You may need confidence, self assurance, or practice.

So the next time you find yourself on Facebook frittering the hours away instead of tackling housework, your to-do list, or contacting clients... ask yourself... "What is my intention by choosing to put off this task?"

If your answer is "I need a break from the task at hand"... then schedule the break - set a timer, and go ahead and pass virtual drinks, throw water balloons and milk your virtual cow ... when the timer goes off, honor your choice to take the break, and set an intention to tackle the task at hand.

If your answer is more complex, or if you have a hard time answering the question - consider giving your Coach a call. Some clarity on your intentions can help you change procrastination from a foe, to a friend.

~ Coach Priscilla

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The situation is bigger than me....


Its all I really have to say... unless you don't have TV, radio, newspapers or Internet, I may have to elaborate more... but assuming you do (since you are reading an internet blog) Haiti is all I really have to say.

The first few days I was glued to the news reports. It reminded me of the devastation we witnessed during hurricane Katrina... times 100. I choked back tears each time the camera panned to the children of the devastation - either wailing for their mothers in the street, or laying lifeless at the make-shift triage's set up in the fields.

I turned off the TV, and sat down to write out a check to the American Red Cross. My "meager" donation was a speck of dust compared to the mountain that is needed. I felt helpless. The situation is too big. I am too small.

I started perusing Facebook, and many of the comments left by my friends were the same as my feelings - "its awful"... "please text more money"... "what can I do?" ... "I feel so horrible for the children of Haiti"

Then I remembered reading a story back when I was studying to become a life coach... a story about a butterfly ... a small (seemingly insignificant butterfly) who fluttered her wings on one side of the Earth, and the wind caused a tornado on the other side or the Earth. (if memory serves me, it was the study of chaos)

The lesson to the Coaches was to teach that we do effect the world in very big, immeasurable ways, one small act at a time. Its all reciprocal. It causes a domino effect in the energy of the Universe, and the small actions travel like the large rings in a pond cast from the toss of a small stone. One kind smile can travel to the eyes of someone who needed it most. You trust the Universe to deliver your message for you like a note in a bottle on the waves of the ocean... If the message is sent with determination, will, and purpose, it will be received by the person who is meant to find it.

So, for self-preservation, I have decided to turn away from the news programs. I know the devastation is there, and I pray for the survivors to be eased of pain and hunger, and the deceased to rest in peace. I have sent in my small donation, but the real difference I can make is right here in front of me. I am going to send a message in a bottle to the people of Haiti. Not physically of course - but with small things - random acts of kindness to one person at a time. I trust the Universe will deliver my message to the people who need it most.

We are all effected by a recession right now, and it may not be easy or possible to reach in our pockets to help. That's OK. God gives everyone gifts (or as I like to say "tools") to use to make this world a better place. I like the story of the village making a soup from a stone. Everyone adds a little here, a little there, and presto! We all feast.

What ingredient do you have to share?

In this life we cannot do great things.
We can only do small things with great love.

mother teresa

Live Well, Be Well ~
Coach Priscilla

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Balanced Eating on a Balanced Budget

So, here I am, a week into the New Year, and a week into my goals for eating consciously and balanced living.

What I noticed after a trip to the grocery store, is the cost of food these days. I am just like everyone else - this down turn in the economy is beating up my budget, and I have to watch my food bill. I realized that this may be a challenge to eat healthy and stick to a budget... so I've done some research that will hopefully make things easier on your budget and your waistline.

TIPS and TRICKS to Eating Balanced on a Balanced Budget:

* Plan out a weekly menu and write down the ingredients needed to make the recipes, and inventory what you already have on hand. Plan on all meals and snacks - not just dinners. Eating breakfast and lunch out each day can add $5-$10 a day to your food bill, and the choices at fast food restaurants are not as balanced as what you can "brown bag".

* Buy in bulk - Often, grocery stores can provide lower prices on bulk packages of nuts, cereals, meats, grains, pastas, etc. Once you get home from the store, immediately take your bulk purchases and divide them out into serving size portions by using a Food Saver or storage bags. My personal favorite is snack size bags for items like almonds, raisins, and dried fruit. Making my own snack mixes gives me the opportunity to choose unsalted and no-sugar added items, and save money by buying the items in bulk.

* Plan your grocery shopping trip - go ahead, take out your planner and pick a day and time each week you will go grocery shopping. Each week before your planned trip, write out your shopping list, eat a balanced snack before going (never shop hungry), pack your reusable bags in the car, and review the weekly ad for sales. By pre-planning your trips, you are less likely to purchase impulse items, and you will save gas, time and energy by avoiding "gotta stop at the store and get something for dinner tonight" trips.

* Shop the perimeter of the store first - Generally, all your nutrition-filled foods are located on the outside perimeter of the grocery store. There, you’ll find vegetables, fruit, seafood, lean meats, chicken, milk, eggs and bread.

* Shop smart on the inside - When you’re done cruising the outside, healthier items, you’ll find that the middle aisles do have a few choice items that you'll want to add to the cart such as oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, olive oil and even low-calorie snacks. Check the nutritional value on the back before you place it in the cart. For instance, check out the amount of sugar in your favorite cereals. Look for excessive amounts of sodium in canned soup.

* Buy real food - Instead of buying TV dinners or "diet entrees" that are full of preservatives, chemicals and fillers, when cooking dinners, make one extra serving and freeze it. After a month of Sundays, you will have plenty of quick meals to choose from. Another great option is to visit a food assembly kitchen and pre-make convenience dinners to freeze such as Make Thyme for Dinner in South Portland, Maine.

* Buy LOCAL - when possible and in season, buy local produce, eggs, milk, meats and goods. Visit farmers markets and stands. Talk the farmers and providers and ask them if they sell their produce in bulk, or if they would offer day old produce to you at discount. Learn how to freeze, can and dry produce to enjoy during the winter. Some farmers are members of food co-ops that give members choice produce for pennies a day. Buying local also saves on fuel for shipping produce all over the country, which is good for the global economy as well.

* Repeat a Mantra - to avoid poor health choices (and items that are not on your list), that might effect your budget and your waistline - repeat a mantra to yourself ... "I choose healthy options for my body to fuel my life"... create your own - write it on the top of your shopping list to remind yourself of your commitment to your health and well-being.

In reviewing what I learned, the most important part of balanced eating on a budget is PLANNING. Planning ahead and cutting down on impulse shopping lends itself to living more consciously. Its going to take some work, but as with anything - practice makes progress!

~Live Well, Be Well!~
Coach Priscilla

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dr. Lou's Weight Loss Challenge

Well, after much careful consideration, I have decided to join Dr. Lou's Weight Loss Challenge.

One of my 2010 goals is to eat mindfully, add activity to my life, and feel healthy and fit. I have some fitness goals in mind, and I have a size goal I would like to attain that I feel would better fit my lifestyle than where I am currently.

I was very hesitant about this challenge for a few reasons, so on Wednesday I scheduled some time to talk to Dr. Lou about my questions, and he graciously provided me answers.

Question #1 - Do I have to follow a specific diet or eating plan?

I have been on every diet in the book, and I know that diets don't work. Diets (for me) cause anxiety, stress, and most times lead to binge eating and destructive behaviors. If I had to follow a diet plan - I was out.

Dr Lou - No, there is no set diet plan. (although, if he had to recommend a diet, he recommends South Beach) Challengers can choose any diet (food plan) they want to follow. The challenge is designed to support the challengers, get them some help and education so they can follow through on their goals, and they can have fun and maybe win some money.

Question #2 - Do I have to know what MY weight is when I get on the scale?

I have not weighed myself in 7 years as part of my recovery as a compulsive binger. I have vowed not to step on a scale for weight loss purposes again. Only my doctor knows my weight - I stand backwards on the scale at the doctors office so even I do not know my weight.

Dr Lou - If you choose not to know your weight, we will not tell you - just tell the attendant when you come in. The weighing room is private, no one else but you and the attendee will be in there.

Question #3 - What kind of support can I expect from you and the other challengers?

As a Life Coach, I know that accountability, and the feeling of not being alone is HUGE in attaining goals.

Dr Lou - I am always available to answer any questions that challengers may have. I have a website set up to help people with information, and we have six educational classes being provided (that are not mandatory) to help. The other challengers are people you may know in your community, and I have a Facebook page that is offering even more support.

I want to thank Dr. Lou for the time he took to answer my questions the other day, and as a result - I will be joining the challenge!! I feel its a good incentive (money is always a good incentive), and it will add a fun element to my drudgery of attaining my fitness goals.

My goal for this weight loss challenge is simple - I want to utilize the Intuitive Eating approach, I want to be physically active in my daily routines, and I want my body to be healthy and fit so I can utilize it to live my ideal life.

If you are a challenger who would like help, support, accountability or to simply talk - give me a call, I am here to help! If you are not participating in Dr. Lou's challenge, but would like to utilize Conscious Eating / Conscious Living in your life, please be sure to contact me too!