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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

Unlock The Door to Your Happiness

I’m working my way through a book entitled Resisting Happiness, by Matthew Kelly. This is a book you cannot simply read. Well, you could, but it would have minimal impact on your life. Therefore, I am working on the principles Matthew discusses. 

You may be wondering what this has to do with living a healthier lifestyle. My friend, it has EVERYTHING to do with it. Yes, I know I owe you an article on the negative effects of artificial sweeteners. Today, this is what I am supposed to give you.

Are you happy? Do you know what makes you happy? If you answered, “YES” to those questions, then this one is not for you. However, what I have discovered is that there are times we are not even sure WHAT makes us happy. And when we know, we may not understand what is getting in the way of our happiness.

As I am learning from Resisting Happiness, we are resistant to doing those things that ultimately lead to our happiness. It’s crazy, and it’s true.

I know that I am happiest when I get plenty of sleep, work out with my friends, eat nutrient dense foods, and feel as though I am fulfilling my life purpose. When my relationships are solid, when I take time for prayer, when I am of service, I am happy.

In the course of each day, there are hundreds of times I must overcome resistance to reach the happiness side of things. Here’s what I face as I practice happiness:

  • When I stay up too late, I don’t want to get up when my alarm goes off in the morning. When I ignore the alarm, the plan for my day is delayed and I feel defeated before I even get out of the gate. So much for my morning prayer and quiet time. Resistance.
  • It’s the lunch hour and I eat my green salad with chicken or tuna and then I think about ice cream. REALLY? Yes, really. I love ice cream. Resistance. I could have a cup of tea and an orange instead. How will I feel later, depending on my choice?
  • In order to be my best, I need to continue learning on a daily basis, which means lots of reading. Some days I think I don’t have enough time, or I’m too tired. (Those are excuses and are not acceptable. Resistance.) Could I have spent a little less time looking at Facebook or emails so I could read at least ten pages of a good book? Resistance.
  • Good relationships don’t just happen; they are built on solid foundations of communication and love. Have I reached out to my family and friends, or am I too busy doing other stuff? Resistance.

The next time you are deciding what to eat or if you should go to the gym or plan a night out with your spouse, you will face resistance. What will you do about it? Will you allow it to get in the way of your happiness?

The Action Step in the book is to write down all the times you encounter resistance for a week. Awareness is the first step in fixing the problem. Give it a try and see what you discover—especially if you don’t want to! Resistance.

“The hardest war to win is one you don’t even realize you are fighting, and the hardest enemy to defeat is the one you don’t even know exists. Every day you are at war with resistance.” –Matthew Kelly in Resisting Happiness

The Beauty of Community

Recently I attended a business retreat in San Francisco with over one hundred entrepreneurs from around the globe. We all have different passions, backgrounds, interests and personal beliefs. What we all have in common is our desire to have a positive impact in the world. Our mentor and his team have the same dream.

I bring this up because what was so significant was the spirit of community. The energy of knowing that there are so many others with a similar dream inspires and catapults us to another realm. We are cheerleaders for one another and the geographical miles matter not. We connect through our Facebook community and group phone sessions.

As you practice healthier habits—from fitness to food to taking care of YOU—it helps to know there are others “out there” doing the same. It helps to know that you are not in this challenge alone.

Another aspect of this is the concept of social networks and how they affect us physically, emotionally, and impact who we become. If you would like to become a more positive person, it is best to surround yourself with positive people. Weight gain, as well as weight loss, is contagious. And this is the case not only with our friends, but also with our friends’ friends’ friends!

In this TED talk by Nicholas Christakis, he addresses the influence of our social networks, not only when it comes to health, but our happiness, and more. Check it out and be prepared to be enlightened! You will learn how far-reaching and powerful the social network effect really is.

He concludes, “It is the ties between people that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.” And, “I think we form social networks because the benefits of a connected life outweigh the costs.” Oh, yes, I certainly agree.

If you are struggling with any aspect of your life, find those people who are looking to achieve the same goals and have a similar attitude, to support you. This is the reason I must leave my home and go to a fitness center to workout with a group. The mindset of those I spend my time with support who I am trying to become. I would not do as well by myself!

There are a variety of groups that support a healthy lifestyle, so find those that work for you. You may also choose to “Like” my Inkwell Healthy Lifestyles Facebook page. It is a public group and those who follow it are looking for ways to make small changes that add up over time. We are community, we support one another and we are better because we are not alone.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”  –Mother Teresa

For the Love of Sugar

Sugar tastes good and most of us enjoy it. My Mr. Non-Compliant and I are included in this category, especially when it comes to ice cream. Oh, he likes donuts too. As I contemplated what you might like to know, here is in an extremely simplified version of lots of detail I read through to write this!

I checked a variety of sources and got similar numbers. We eat too much sugar! The average American consumes approximately 22 teaspoons of sugar per day, or roughly 130 pounds per year. The American Heart Association states that the maximum amount of ADDED sugar in your day be:

Men: 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons
Women: 25 grams or 6 teaspoons

Again, these numbers indicate added sugars. What does that mean? Food that comes packaged and you see sugar on the nutrition facts label with the number of grams per serving. You will see these labels on cereals, ice cream, candy, soft drinks, spaghetti sauce, yogurt, nutrition bars, protein supplements, etc. Sugar is added to many foods so that you become addicted to them, since sugar has the same addictive properties as cocaine! Now, that is a bit scary.

Beware of beverages like fruit juice! These sometimes contain more sugar than soda. Some alcoholic drinks contain sugar as well. Those sugar grams add up over the course of a day.

As an experiment, go about your typical day and track how many sugar grams you are consuming that you may not have been aware of. Do this for several days and get YOUR average. If you are struggling with your weight, type II diabetes or pre-diabetes, even high blood triglycerides or cardiovascular disease, could a high sugar intake be contributing to the problem? Sugar also suppresses the immune system, causes tooth decay, may contribute to deficiencies in essential nutrients, increases stress, and more. Yikes!

Some of the most troublesome foods include:

  • baked goods
  • soft drinks
  • fruit juices
  • candy and other treats
  • dried fruits
  • canned fruits in syrup
  • low-fat or diet foods

What about fresh fruit and other real foods? Eat them. Yes, there are natural sugars in fruits and even some vegetables. These are better options than eating foods with added sugars. Some fruits and vegetables are higher in sugar content than others; however, I doubt that this is THE reason you are overweight, if you are. Play detective and scrutinize your other food choices before you start blaming the fruits and vegetables!

What are some choices you can make instead?

  • Water with lemon or lime or fruit infused is sugar free, naturally
  • Fresh fruit instead of juices, dried or canned in syrup
  • Add fresh fruit to oatmeal, yogurt or other foods that benefit with some added sweetness
  • Try cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg and other natural ways to add flavor
  • Eat REAL food–it is not processed and does not have added sugar or chemicals
  • Choose ONE thing you can do in the course of your day to decrease the amount of sugar you are consuming.

Do not switch to artificial sweeteners to replace your sugar habit! This is my material for another upcoming BLOG POST. Please just trust me on this for now. Sometimes I add a bit of sweetener to a recipe and I use pure maple syrup, organic sugar or honey. They are all added sugar, of no health benefit, and I keep them to a minimum. (The topic of the differences in all types of sweeteners can get pretty scientific and I wouldn’t want any of you to start snoring while you are reading my BLOG.)

By doing just a LITTLE BIT better daily, weekly, monthly, you will notice improvements in your health, and your life!

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” ~ Julia Child

Food Survival Strategies When Your Spouse is Non-Compliant

My husband loves hot dogs. He also loves pasta, chocolate peanut butter cups, and ice cream—with chocolate syrup and bananas.

Now for years I knew about the peanut butter cups and ice cream, but the hot dog thing really caught me off guard.

A typical Saturday for him would include a trip to the local hardware store. I found it interesting, once I noticed the pattern, that this little trip would often occur around lunchtime. My suspicious radar went up. Hmmmm.

I stared him right in the face one day upon his return and said, “You can’t possibly need more tools or gadgets, since you have a fully equipped toolkit. Our house isn’t that broken. Are you eating those hot dogs they sell on the way out?”

BUSTED.

He had been sneaking out to eat hot dogs right under my nose. Imagine! Actually, I bet some of you reading this probably can, because you too, have a NON-COMPLIANT spouse!

Can this marriage be saved? Relax, it can.

Here are some tips to help those of you who have walked, and are still staying on the same path, in these shoes.

  • Don’t lie. I tried it and it isn’t ever good. When he asked me if I could pick up some hot dogs at the grocery store so he wouldn’t have to sneak out of the house anymore, I told him that they don’t carry them. Not true. Even Whole Foods has “healthier” hot dogs. I have seen them in other grocery stores too. I buy organic hot dogs, thinking that if he is going to eat them anyway, I may as well provide something that is a bit better. I dress them up Chicago style, with the onions, tomatoes, pickles, relish, mustard and celery salt. I figure it’s a serving of vegetables.
  • Slow and steady a healthy lifestyle makes. As you switch out organic hot dogs for regular (and don’t worry, they are delicious), chocolate syrup that is free of high fructose corn syrup, increase the vegetables, eat extra salads, choose brown rice or whole grain pasta over regular, do not do them all at once. Small changes over time will give you good health benefits that really do add up!
  • Have your own space. If your spouse likes snacks and cold foods that you are trying to stay away from, designate a shelf in the cupboard and refrigerator that is your own. If you notice one day that your quinoa salad has disappeared and you weren’t the one who ate it, are you really going to get mad? Both events– that he or she ate the quinoa AND that you didn’t get mad is what I refer to as Divine Intervention and is indeed, a victory.
  • When questioned about why you are going to such great lengths to eat healthier, be honest. This kind of goes back to tip #1, but it’s important that you and your loved ones understand why this matters. Let your spouse know your BIG WHY. By the way, if you are struggling with the answer, please reach out to me and we will figure it out together.
  • Keep moving. Make dates to walk together if possible. If you have a dog (a canine), you have a supportive buddy who will love your enthusiasm for better health and more walks or runs. Remember that house cleaning and yard work, parking further from the store, and taking the stairs all count.
  • Reach out to those who support your healthy lifestyle endeavors, which may or may not include family. Community is important in life. We become who we surround ourselves with and what we read. My family teased me for years about organic, reading labels, lots of vegetables, etc. For the most part, they have come around. There is hope. 
  • Have a plan. When you plan your grocery shopping, food prep, workouts, date night, and feel a little less like you are flying out of control, you will experience more balance and peace in your day. (By the way, when you let your spouse know that date night is part of your healthy lifestyle plan, you may get less resistance.)
  • Share the health. The reality is that if your spouse isn’t concerned about eating whole foods and avoiding excess sugar and chemicals, there could be health issues at some point in the future. We may choose to invest in our health now, or pay for our sickness later. Once health deteriorates, it is not always possible to reclaim it.

I hope some of these tips help you with your Non-Compliant spouse. If you’re the Non-Compliant one reading this, know that your health is important to your partner. If you weren’t so loved, it wouldn’t matter, now would it?

P.S. Sometimes I eat the hot dog too, and we laugh over our serving of vegetables.

“Let us remember to always rediscover one another because we are forever changing.”  –Kamand Kojouri