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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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December 6, 2018

Slow Down to Speed Up

This mantra seems counterintuitive, especially since there are only 19 days until Christmas. Yet, it hit me during a recent time of stillness. It also

November 29, 2018

Always Do Something

It’s time to embrace imperfection. Yes, you read that correctly. Today, we are going to consider doing some things imperfectly, rather than not

November 14, 2018

We Fry a Turkey

Yes, you read that correctly. The Slager family fries a turkey (or two) each year to celebrate Thanksgiving. I know. Fried food is not a healthy optio

November 1, 2018

A Fun Day of Celebrations

I find it quite curious that the day after many folks around the world celebrate Halloween, we find ourselves with more than we bargained for on Novem

October 25, 2018

Healthy Diet = Brighter Brain

The age-old question I hear is this, “What is the best diet for me?” Although some people have food sensitivities or allergies, there is a way of

October 18, 2018

Warm Up with a Frittata

It’s that time of year when it actually feels good to turn on the oven. The warmth in the kitchen helps take the bite out of the chilly morning air.

October 18, 2018

Fall Frittata

8 ounces organic uncured turkey bacon, diced (I like Applegate brand)      2 green onions, including much of the green, diced 1 bunch asparagus, ch

October 11, 2018

Embracing the Uncomfortable

Today’s topic hit me like a brick when I was doing just that–embracing the uncomfortable. Why would anyone do such a crazy thing? It hardly ma

October 4, 2018

Farewell, Flag Pants

“You’re getting a little wide in the beam, aren’t you kid?” Those words literally kicked me into the basement of reality and sadness, all

September 27, 2018

Share the Love

Today, give some positive encouragement to another human being. This person may be a workout buddy, neighbor, co-worker, friend, family member, strang

Celebrating the Birth Month

This is my favorite blog post of the year. Celebrating the Birth Month. I write it in February because…yes, you guessed it. February, which happens to be the shortest month, is my Birth Month.

Celebrating my Birth Month has been my mantra for over a decade. I will be 59 years young, and one day of celebrating is simply not enough. Let’s face it– friends lose track of dates and then feel bad because their birthday greeting is belated. Please, do everyone a favor and join me in the Birth Month celebration.

When I turned 50 and my husband threw me a surprise party (and yes, I was moved-to-tears surprised), the question came up as to how the Birth Month time frame was calculated. Is it 30 days before, after, or the month in which the actual day falls? Well, since February got a bad deal, even on a Leap Year, I chose wisely. Short answer, “Yes.”

Some folks thought that was cheating. I think not. Besides, I made up the game; I figure I can make up the rules.

I know there are people who deny birthdays and their age. However, I think it is fun to enjoy coconut cake with a fellow Birth Month friend, celebrate lunch with others, blow out candles, wish good things, and get more Facebook messages than I can keep up with. Last year my wonderful, non-compliant husband baked me a birthday cake FROM SCRATCH! It was amazing, and yes, I ate it.

How does one manage eating through so many Birth Month festivities? Once again, it goes back to balance and making choices that keep me feeling not as old as 59 sounds: keep my workout dates at the gym, where I see lots of my friends and we are not eating; drink plenty of water; remember to eat more vegetables and fruits than coconut cake; eat slowly, savor every bite, and enjoy the company; save half of whatever I order to take home so I have another fun lunch the next day. I love to eat spinach salads with chicken, so it’s not that tough. Oh, and when you celebrate over about 60 days, you can space out those lunch dates so you aren’t feeling like a stuffed turkey at Thanksgiving.

The other cool thing about enjoying the Birth Month is that there is plenty of time to reflect. Am I spending my time on what truly matters to me today? If I am, perfect. If not, then I have this moment to make adjustments. With each Birth Month celebration comes a calm sense of urgency. Having a finite number of these forces me to Live Large now.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a fabulous February and consider joining me in the Birth Month mantra when it’s your time. Try it, you’ll like it. By the time 60 rolls around, I’ll probably be all about the Birth Year. In fact, I think I’ll begin today.

“Life is short; I wanna live it well.” —Switchfoot

 

Good vs. Bad Thinking

I hear it time and time and time again. “Carol, I was bad. I ate pizza,” or whatever the food is that makes you feel “bad.” (Since I hear about pizza more than any other food, I’m going with it.)

You are not bad. Pizza is not necessarily bad. What is sometimes bad is the effect it has on the body (if it is greasy, there is a food sensitivity, or we over do it) and the mental state we take on when we are supposed to be eating healthy.

To be clear, I enjoy pizza. I enjoy ice cream. I enjoy many foods that could be classified as “bad.” The foods we choose to eat either lead us toward our health and fitness goals, or away from our health and fitness goals. There is not really neutral territory here.

I recommend you stop thinking that you are bad when you eat the pizza and good when you eat the salad. The way we think is our reality, and eating a certain food does not make us bad or good. This thinking only gives you a complex that is based on crazy evidence.

Here’s a healthier way to think about this whole thing. For the most part, if we eat in a way that leads us toward our health goals most of the time, say 80%, we will probably meet them. Allowing 20% for the occasions when we choose the pizza or ice cream or whatever, will not break us. Of course, if you discover you feel much better when you choose the 80% way, you may be inclined to increase that number. Do I hear 85%?

Another thought: stop eating said food before you are stuffed. Stop eating when you are 80% full. Eat slowly and savor whatever it is that you’re eating, whether it’s the salad or the coconut cake. Stop before you need to loosen your belt a notch or unbutton that top button on your pants. Allow your stomach to tell your brain that you need to stop or you will feel bad—not so much because of what you ate, but because you overate!

One of the habits I try to follow is eating a tossed salad before or with the pizza. By doing this, I take the edge off my appetite. I enjoy the pizza, I am satisfied and I don’t eat so much pizza that I feel bad. This is a much better tactic than complete denial of a favorite food, then going off the deep end one day and eating uncontrollably.

Another trick is to drink plenty of water, no matter what. We need to hydrate daily, winter and summer, and this helps stop out-of-control eating.

There are options when it comes to choosing foods that seem rather indulgent. Homemade (from scratch) pizza will most likely be healthier than frozen. If you make your pizza using quality ingredients, vegetables, lean protein, and a thin whole grain crust, you take it to an entirely different level. There are frozen varieties that are organic or gluten free or have fewer preservatives.

Sometimes, we simply have to meet up with our friends, have fun and go with the flow. Then you know my rule: Only eat it if it’s AMAZING! Enjoy every bite and feel good.

“Consistency not novelty is the secret to uncommon results.”- Dr. John Berardi.

A Bank of Hope

I recently had the privilege of visiting and learning more about Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Prior to my visit, I knew that it offered degrees in the fields of engineering, medicine, law, dentistry, art and design, and that it was located in downtown Indianapolis. I also knew that I was able to take (and pass!) a physics class there that fulfilled my requirement to graduate from pharmacy school at Butler. That was about it. What I know now: there is an enormous amount of research that happens at the IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis. Did you know that there is a tissue bank where researchers are working tirelessly to end breast cancer, right in our own backyard? Well, so to speak, if you live in Indiana.

There is a repository of healthy breast tissue at the IU Simon Cancer Center. It is the only one of its kind in the WORLD. So, what does all this mean? The mission is to look at a healthy breast cell and discover what causes it to become cancerous. At the tissue bank, they collect, store and disperse healthy tissue samples with the intent to end this terrible disease.

Since 2007, more than 5,000 women have donated non-cancerous breast tissue and more than 10,000 women have donated blood samples to help this cause. The samples are stored and frozen. The data collected, along with the samples, are accessible to researchers around the globe, so the same trials and tests aren’t repeated unnecessarily. The healthy tissue serves as a control to compare with cancerous tissue in various experiments.

Think about it! It’s tough to figure out what goes wrong with a healthy cell if all you ever have to compare it with are other diseased cells. The research team conducts follow-up studies with all donors on a yearly basis. This is critical, since there are numerous factors that play a role in developing, as well as preventing, cancer.

I found this fascinating, since there is so much to be learned from tissue, blood and DNA samples. For example, Natascia Marino, PhD, identified a marker in the blood of women who have donated healthy tissue and gone on to develop breast cancer, signaling there may be a way to predict breast cancer before a tumor develops. That is huge.

How beautiful that there are so many women who are willing to pay it forward to help others. If you would like to learn more about this program and/or what is involved in becoming a donor, go to https://komentissuebank.iu.edu/

And the next time someone asks you what is so great about Indiana, you have this to brag about. Women helping women live better and longer lives.

“I don’t know a name. I don’t know a face, but I know the love and joy of helping another life by giving of oneself through research and sacrifice. I hope donating tissue and time will save someone, someday.” –Dawn and Pearl

Avoiding the All or None Trap

Sometimes I get sidelined due to the “all or none” syndrome. I’ll think about organizing a room or my desk, consider the time involved to do the work, and talk myself out of it. The project FEELS monumental; I know I won’t be able to get it done perfectly in the allotted amount of time, so why bother at all? I’ll wait until another day when I can do it right. Nothing happens. The perfection monster wins again.

In reality, I am certainly capable of spending a small chunk of time, say 15 or 30 minutes a day, to work on the project. Over the course of a week, whatever it is that I’m working on will be greatly improved.

The same scenario often happens with fitness programs and healthy eating. We make a plan to work out three times a week and cut out processed foods. For a couple weeks, all goes well and we are feeling good. Then, one of the kids gets sick, we’re up late and miss our date at the gym, or a friend has a birthday celebration and we join the pizza party. We not only miss a workout, we eat the pizza. The “all or none” syndrome and perfection monster strike again, and we feel bad.

I have my workouts scheduled on my calendar and I consciously consider food choices that are most beneficial for my health goals. Sometimes things happen and my plans get derailed with both. Sometimes I choose to eat the donut because it’s amazing. I don’t think about making up my missed workouts on the weekend (which for me is not realistic), or starving for a day. My solution is to pick up where I left off. It’s not perfect. It still works.

With anything, consistency is the key to accomplishing a goal. It’s also known as “The Slight Edge” principle, which I learned about in the book by the same name. Jeff Olson is the author and it’s one of my favorite books. For example, taking a 20 minute walk everyday is easy to do and easy to not do. Consider the difference in your health if you do it almost everyday for a year, or if you don’t do it at all. Taking that walk even 80% of the time will bring about positive results.

The same idea, if I implement it, will help me organize my desk. A little time spent working on this project each day will bring me less chaos.

This coming week, I’ll work on my desk and get to the gym. Is there some goal that you can commit to doing that will improve your health or your life? It’s okay if we don’t get it perfect. In the world of “all or none” thinking, “none” usually wins. Today, I’m going for good enough.

“Have no fear of perfection–you’ll never reach it.”–Salvador Dali