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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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August 21, 2019

Back to School, Back to Basics

When we break it down, practicing healthy habits is rather elementary. It can also seem rather complicated. Since school is back in session, I figured

August 15, 2019

The All or None Syndrome

Ever experience Pause Button Mentality? Perhaps during the holidays, your birthday, after vacation, when work gets crazy, or kids go back to school? H

August 8, 2019

Lessons from Nature, and Grounding

We must be moving into fall, as school supplies are in the sale ads. Didn’t summer vacation just get rolling? As I look around, I see many of my lil

August 1, 2019

Creative, Easy, Grilling Ideas

Summer is for taking it easy, and that includes mealtime. Lately, Mr. Non-Compliant and I have been playing with food. Our latest game: How much can w

July 18, 2019

Happy National Ice Cream Month

The year was 1984. President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day. This ye

July 11, 2019

How to Bok Choy

Summer is adventure time. With the abundance of various fruits and vegetables available at grocery stores and farmers markets, there is no reason to b

July 4, 2019

Relax and Enjoy

Welcome to the dog days of summer and simple eating. Unlike winter, when those crock pot soups and stews hit the spot, we are now in the season of lig

June 27, 2019

Atomic Habits

My current summer (now that it’s official!) read is “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. I’m working on improving a few of mine—slowly—one at a

June 13, 2019

Ten of My Best Tips

Q. What to blog about when I have too many ideas flying around my brain and I simply am not able to choose? A. Tips that cover a variety of topics, wi

June 6, 2019

The Joys of June…and Strawberries

Along with June come some fun celebrations. Besides the new season of life celebrated by many graduates (and parents, now free of tuition payments), a

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

New Year Tips

Happy New Year!

How are you feeling, now that the Christmas cookie siege has passed? My guess, if you’re reading this, is that you have some type of plan in place to improve your fitness. You’re in good company, since the majority of Americans do, including me.

I have already noticed an increase in the number of potential new friends hanging out at the gym. The classes have been full and that is awesome! My hope is that my potential new friends keep attending class long enough for me to get to know them. If you’ve noticed this same phenomenon where you exercise, be sure to encourage any newcomers and help them stay committed. Something as simple as, “Hey, see you next time,” may hit them two days later when it’s snowing or below zero and staying home seems like the best option. It’s almost like a promise– and it would not be good to let your new friend down.

Friends at the gym are a huge incentive to help keep you on track. Accountability.

As I mentioned in my last blog, my plan is to meditate on a regular basis, preferably daily—for at least 10 minutes. I think I’ve already messed up, and it’s only been 3 days, which brings me to my next point: accepting imperfection with your plan. Daily is pretty unrealistic, so let’s say I sit quietly and focus on my breathing most days of the week. That’s an improvement over last year. And that, my friends, is a win.

Remember in all your life goals, to set realistic expectations and delight in improvement. It’s similar to my healthy eating rule of 80/20. Most of us know what foods contribute to better energy, improved fitness and overall well-being. We sometimes go unconscious and eat all the chips or M&M’s or whatever. So, keep it in perspective and if you follow your plan 80% of the time, you’re probably going to be fine.

A couple more things that have come to mind: be sure to drink your water, whether you’re in a warm or freezing climate. Those of us in the freezing climate have dry air from the furnaces continuously running. If you don’t want to shrivel up like a prune, you had better drink your water. (Take your weight and divide by two. That is the approximate number of ounces you need each day. Non-caffeinated and non-carbonated beverages may count toward that total, along with fruits and vegetables.)

The other thing is to get your sleep. I continue to read and listen to seminars preaching that ideally we need 7-8 hours each night. The reasons are many—enough for another blog. Trust me on this and we’ll talk about it another time. Here’s the best reason for flu season: lack of proper rest takes a toll on your immune system which means it is tougher to fight off germs.

Sweet dreams,
Carol

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Cheers to You

Santa came and he ate the brownies, the cookies, and drank the milk. If you recall, I was planning to use the barely expired Ghirardelli brownie mix to make his treats. They were a hit, with Santa and the family.

We enjoyed our favorite Christmas foods per family tradition: Sauerkraut mushroom soup with dumplings, Shrimp de Jonghe and spinach salad on Christmas Eve. Homemade nutroll Christmas morning, and fresh beef brisket, mashed potatoes, green beans and asparagus later that day. What a treat!

Now, we get back in our usual routine. Time to decrease the sugar intake, downsize the carbohydrate servings and increase the vegetables. Holiday food tends to be a bit rich, even when it is homemade. As holiday festivities come to a close, we are more attentive. Are you with me here?

Moving into the New Year, are you excited? Do you feel as though you would like to make a fresh start? As you reflect on 2017, what went really well for you? Is there anything you’d like to do differently in the coming year?

As I think about those questions, “yes,” is the answer for all of the above. What went really well? That is a loaded question that takes me to a place of much gratitude. I recently heard a thought-provoking question that went something like this: As you consider all that you are grateful for, what if only the things you list are what you will see the next day? Wow! Talk about the need to be quite thorough!

One of the practices I have more recently incorporated into my day is meditation. This practice of grounding yourself into the present moment by focusing on your breath has a multitude of benefits. It does not need to take lots of time and you will feel calmer and more peaceful as it becomes a habit. You can’t mess it up and it’s free!

Thank you for reading my weekly blog posts and incorporating new habits and practices into your life. If you feel stuck in this area, let’s talk. I’d love to help you sort it out. I’m only an email or phone call away. Remember, by changing one thing at a time over time, you create a lifestyle that best suits you!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018,
Carol