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!