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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

A Sad Truth, and Hope

I read an article last week about the obesity rate in the United States. According to the report covering 2015 and 2016: 40 percent of adults and 18.5 percent of children are obese. The numbers have not gone down since prior reports and actually, have increased ever so slightly.

The rate for children and teens had hovered around 17 percent for a decade. The 2 to 5 age group had the biggest increase in the latest study.

This news is very sad. These numbers indicate issues that are about so much more than weight and food. 

When people struggle with weight, they are typically struggling with a variety of health issues, low self-esteem, depression, insecurity, a higher risk for injuries and more. They often find themselves on medications to help combat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, anxiety, depression, poor sleep, and pain. If they are young, they may be dodging the prescription counter—for now.

So is there a simple solution? I wish I could wave a magic wand and improve the situation. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy. My magic wand is missing. The good news is that I am clearing out the unnecessary items I keep finding in my home, so maybe it will show up. In the meantime, I have some suggestions that offer hope for those who are struggling with current habits that are not serving them.

The first secret to making adjustments in your life (when it comes to your health, or anything) is to accept that you are not going to do it perfectly. Ever. Let that go and move on. I know, this is easier said than done, and it has been a struggle for me over the years. Practice new habits that improve your quality of life. Observe what happens.

The next thing you can do that will make a difference is change your mindset. The goal is to continually improve your habits so that you are eating, moving, living a little bit better than before. Do not completely turn your world upside down or follow some fad diet or cleanse or intense training that will cause you to hate your life. This behavior might make you feel better in the short term. It will come back to bite you down the road. Living in a miserable way that deprives you of life’s goodness is not sustainable. It will feel too hard and you will cave.

Be patient and celebrate every success, no matter how small it may seem. You tried a new vegetable and even liked it—awesome! You are drinking water throughout the day and not getting that headache or tired feeling in the afternoon—splendid! You now include some lean protein 3 or 4 times a day and your energy is up—how cool is that? You’ve increased the amount of sleep you typically get, so instead of 6 hours you now get 7—nice! You walked the dog an extra block—YES! Celebrate these victories and your life daily.

Whatever your challenge may be today, there are lots of people who make it their life’s work to help; people who create a vision larger than you believe is even possible, for you to gradually step into. Life coaches, financial coaches, writing coaches, personal trainers, spiritual directors, career counselors, to name a few. If you are stuck in some area of your life, begin NOW by setting a different course on your internal GPS.

If your challenge is with food (it’s always about more than the food!), health, weight and trying to balance it in a way that makes sense for you, I may be the person to help. Together, we can turn your vision into a reality that lasts a lifetime.

“It’s amazing, how far you can go; just because someone believed in you.”

If Your Get Up and Go, Got Up and Went

For many of us who live in the Midwest, this time of year can be challenging. The colors are becoming vibrant and the nights are often cooler—which is why some of us feel a bit less energetic. How so?

In a nutshell, when daytime temperatures run in the 70’s or 80’s and dip suddenly to the 40’s or 50’s at night, it creates stress on the body. Days of needing to run the air conditioner intermingled with those when we feel the need to flip on the heat may contribute to restless sleep, lack of energy, allergy/cold symptoms, and even feeling a bit “down” with no specific reason. It’s a rollercoaster ride that goes on for weeks.

We often associate stress with those situations that involve people, work, life, loss–yet may not associate it with weather conditions. The shifts we go through in spring and fall take a physical toll on us, and show up in various ways.

When I worked in the pharmacy, the number of prescriptions for ulcer and anti-anxiety medications increased in spring and fall. Interesting.

If you are dealing with some other tough issues, this weather shift may be enough to push you over the edge. It also tends to be more difficult on women, probably due to the never-ending hormonal balancing act, possible low thyroid function, and the idea that we need to save the world. (Of course, if these troubles persist, check in with your physician.)

What to do?

  • Keep in mind that this too shall pass, when things stabilize a bit. When we consistently have cooler days and nights and less widespread temperature shifts, we will feel better. Allergies usually improve after the first frost. Not that I’m advocating the arrival of winter, I’m simply playing messenger here.
  • If you can put less pressure on yourself in another area of your life, do so. For example, I really don’t recall accomplishing much last Tuesday. I sort of drifted through the day and was okay with that—which is not typical. It’s the weather. Really. I’m not making this up.
  • Include some cold water fish in your diet. This increases your Omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation in the body, and in turn boosts your immune system. Canned tuna, sardines, cod, salmon, halibut, and whitefish are some that qualify. Always choose wild caught fish. These also provide another source of iodine, which is beneficial to your thyroid health!
  • Make a plan to allow for extra sleep.
  • Move around. My dog has gotten used to our daily walks to the park. She is spoiled. If your typical exercise routine feels like more than you can handle, do something less taxing until you get over the hump.
  • Do something nice for yourself and someone else. It will perk up your mood and improve your frame of mind. I think I had a bowl of ice cream AND gave one to my husband. Yep, that worked for me!

Now, before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, relax. I’ve been making lots of vegetables and sharing them too, which also helps everything. Try it!

RECIPE IDEA: Roast a variety of vegetables by cutting them in similar size pieces, tossing with olive oil and your favorite seasonings, (I like salt and pepper), and roasting in a 350 degree oven until they are done to your liking. EASY AND DELICIOUS!

“The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.” –Unknown

Have Some Fun

Do you love your plan to get yourself moving, get in your steps, burn some calories, bump up your energy level, what have you? Or is it pure torture and drudgery? Are you in the category of folks who claim, “I don’t have time,” when asked if you get any exercise?

Here’s the deal: if you aren’t having fun -–at least to some degree— you won’t make it part of your life. Motivation and inspiration only last so long. Excuses and very convincing stories are easy to come by.

Whatever you do, it has to be convenient and enjoyable. I can feel some of you rolling your eyes; you are the ones doing killer workouts several times a week and wondering if you will survive the next one. Honesty time—you enjoy these on some level or you would not keep going back for more. There is something addictive and magical about it, whether you go out and run miles in the cold and rain or do CrossFit.

If you recall one of my recent blogs, my friend Carol has changed many of her habits so that she can keep dancing. Zumba, belly dancing, and ballet fit keep her moving and she enjoys them. If anyone suggested she start running or join a gym, she’d never get off the couch. Well, except to walk her dog.

Movement is beneficial for our overall health and well-being. You may or may not be a gym person. It doesn’t matter, as long as you figure out what works for you. Here’s a bit of news that may surprise you, however. According to various studies, exercise ALONE does not affect fat or weight loss. Exercise IN COMBINATION with nutritional adjustments is the secret formula.

Strength/resistance training is critical to prevent muscle loss as we age. It improves bone density, increases metabolism, improves self-esteem, helps balance, reduces risk of injury, and more. (Try a few push-ups today.)

If you feel stuck with your current fitness routine, the weight or fat percentage needle isn’t moving, or you’re bored, then it’s time to seek out something new. Challenge yourself to expand your horizons and see what fitness adventures await, combining movement and food that work for YOU. 

As for me, I look forward to my various group workouts. Here’s a surprise: I love the social aspect of group activities. I do a Total Body Conditioning class once a week that pushes me to the place of “I hope I survive this.” The energy in the room is through the roof and we would all be disappointed and feel cheated with anything less than extreme. Thank you, Estelle! We keep coming back.

Perhaps you have your meals down when it comes to the nutritional component of the fitness puzzle, yet you struggle with snacks. Who doesn’t love snacks that taste great, provide good energy and don’t mess up your fitness goals? Oh, and did I mention EASY? If snacking is a challenge for you, join me for my upcoming Kitchen Coaching session: Let’s Do Snacks. We’ll have some fun!

7 Tips to Simplify Mealtime

One of the biggest issues families face today is mealtime—together. Lots of schedules, directions, agendas, and taste preferences. The idea of gathering for a home-cooked meal may even seem hopeless, which then leads to more eating out.

Eating in is typically healthier, more economical and often tastier than the alternative. Here are some ideas to make meals at home a bit simpler. Even if you aren’t all together at the same time, most of these are fine as a late plate.

  • When you have the opportunity to make meatloaf, casserole, soup, stew, anything, make extra for another meal. The leftovers can be frozen for another crazy day or eaten the next day or so for lunches and snacks. By doing this, you save time, energy, and aggravation—AND, you won’t dirty as many dishes to reheat the leftovers.
  • Check out the specials in the meat department. I recently picked up some pork chops that were seasoned with panko breadcrumbs, sundried tomatoes and other seasonings. They were reduced to unload them that day. I cooked rice and tossed a salad together with greens, tomatoes and other veggies, whiled the chops were on the grill. We had a tasty meal for very little money and effort in about half an hour. Sweet!
  • Remember those tasty rotisserie chickens that just about every grocery store carries these days. I found myself in a quandary about dinner this past week and needed to stop at the store to pick up chocolate milk for hubby. (It’s his special treat.) We hadn’t eaten dinner, it was getting late, I didn’t care to eat out and we were hungry—on the verge of hangry. (Combo of hungry and angry which can also be referred to as fussy.) I snatched up one of those chickens and it was perfect. You could add it to a salad, make a wrap, or add some vegetables for a complete meal.
  • Any type of burger—veggie burger, hamburger, pork burger, chicken burger, turkey burger—cooks very fast and makes a great lunch the next day.
  • Eggs cooked to your liking, along with sautéed vegetables are good anytime of day. When you are shopping, pick up the vegetables that are on special that week and be sure to get a variety of colors. Chop them up in similar size pieces and sauté in olive oil. This is quicker than roasting and more flavorful than steamed. I like a combo of potatoes (sweet and golden Yukon), mulit- colored sweet peppers, onions, Brussels sprouts, carrots.
  • If your family eats fish, this cooks quicker than just about anything. It is one of those foods that I don’t make extra of, since it’s not that great leftover. The exception is salmon, which is good cold or a bit warmed on greens.
  • Pasta is quick, easy, and most people like it. For those of you who avoid gluten, you might try quinoa pasta or brown rice pasta. (There are bean pastas, and those are not my favorite.) Add a sauce you enjoy and browned ground meat or poultry. Or, add the sautéed vegetables and skip the sauce. Pictured is last night’s meal. I used chicken sausage that I added along with the veggies. Again, this took less than 30 minutes and was delicious!

Keep in mind that the meal doesn’t have to be perfect to provide good nutrition and bring your family together. Celebrate any success you have in getting your family around the table, even if it’s for hot dogsorganic, of course!

“Research shows that the most important thing a child can do to assure long-term well being is eat meals with his or her family. The more meals together, the better!” –Dr. Bill Doherty, Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program, University of Minnesota