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Archive for January, 2009

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Tao of Good Health & Weight Loss

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 15, 2009

A few weeks ago I was flipping through the million channels on my TV trying to find just one thing worth watching (which isn’t an easy task).  Luckily I found Dr. Wayne Dyer on PBS.

I read my first book by Dr. Wayne Dyer (Real Magic) about twelve years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  So when I watched his seminar on PBS that was based on his latest book, of course I had to run out the next day and buy it.  This one is called Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life, and it’s his interpretation of the 81 verses of the Tao.

tao[The Tao Te Ching was written five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, and offers advice and guidance for living a balanced life.]

As I read, I came across aspects of this wisdom that are helpful in my quest for better health and weight loss.  So, even though I’m no philosopher (obviously), I thought I would share some verses that stood out for me.  They offer guidance for healthy living and even weight loss.  Here are three.

[Keep in mind that I am only pulling the parts of these verses that I find most relevant to good health, this is by no means a complete look at any of these verses.]

Verse 9Living HumilityTo keep on filling is not as good as stopping.

This verse is interesting in how it relates to healthy eating and weight loss.  It’s telling us to eat, but to stop when we’re full.  Eat until your hunger is satisfied, and no more.  That’s pretty good advice, I wonder how many of us actually follow it?

It also tells us that we should seek joy and pleasure in the activities we are doing.  In order to do this, we need to slow down and enjoy our lives (and our meals).

Here is a way you can begin to practice this idea during your next meal.  Enjoy each bite of your meal.  After a couple of bites take a moment to reflect on how you are feeling and determine if you are full.  Once your hunger is satisfied, stop eating.

Verse 63Living Without Difficulties Take on difficulties while they are still easy.

This verse can relate to how most of us see weight loss as being difficult or a struggle.  It encourages us to see the simplicity in the things we perceive to be hard.  You can do this by taking one day at a time, or one meal at a time, or one moment at a time.  Break down your biggest challenges into smaller, more manageable ones.

It also reminds us to tackle problems in our life before they become big problems.  In my case, it would have been better to begin eating healthy when I was only 10-20 pounds overweight.  Rather than waiting until I was 40+ pounds overweight and my blood pressure was so high that I required medication.

You can practice this idea by taking time to recognize whether your weight or eating habits are suffering because you fear the problem is too difficult to address.  If this is the case, believe in your ability to tackle the problem one day (or one meal) at a time…It need not be difficult.

Verse 71Living Without SicknessOnly when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick.

As someone who suffers with chronic illness, the notion of healing ourselves implies that we make a choice to be sick or to be well.  And I just don’t believe that.  But this verse isn’t about blame.  It’s about being aware.  Basically, our symptoms are our body’s way of talking to us, and we need to take the time to listen.

Could fatigue be a message to slow down and get more rest?  Could high blood pressure be a message to make healthier food choices and lose some weight?  Could a headache be a message that we are allowing stress and worry to steal moments of our life that we can never get back?

Possibly.

Each symptom may mean something different to each person.  The goal is simply awareness.

I think with chronic illness, it’s also about how we “perceive” it.  We may need to accept our illness, while still listening to our symptoms and striving to be the healthiest version of ourselves that we can be.  Remember that we are not our body, so we can stop seeing ourselves as our illness.

Practice this idea by taking some time to listen to what your symptoms may be trying to tell you.

So…What do you think?  Could the Tao help you find your way to better health?  Can changing your thoughts change your life? Let me know in comments.

Also See:

From The Goddess’s Daily Groove: Gratitude List

From My Life Coach Tara: The Tao of Inner Peace

Power of Focused Attention

Posted in awareness, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic illness, dieting, empowerment, faith, food, happiness, Health, inspirational, life, lifestyle, my life, nutrition, self-help, spiritual, success, thoughts, weight loss, Women, women's health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nutrtion Tips – You Are What You Eat

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 12, 2009

Nutrition Tips:  You Are What You Eat

What does good nutrition mean to you?  Do you still consider sugar one of the four food groups?  Is eating healthy one of your goals for 2009?

Here are some easy nutrition tips to keep in mind for good health…

1.  Eat more vegetables – the recommended amount of vegetables is 2 1/2 cups each day.

2.  Read nutrition labels before you buy.

3. Reduce or eliminate processed sugar (like soda).  Try to limit your total sugar intake to less than 48 grams each day.

4.  Avoid fatty foods (like chips and ice cream).  Try to limit your fat intake to less than 50 grams each day.

5.  Limit sodium intake to less than 2400 milligrams each day.

6.  Try to get at least 45 grams of protein each day.

7.  Drink plenty of water.  Here is a hydration calculator that will tell you the amount that is recommended for you.

8.  Increase your intake of superfoods (like walnuts, flaxseed, salmon, pomegranate and green tea)

Have you made a new year’s resolution to make more healthy food choices?  Join us for the 2009 Good Health-A-Thon.

Also See:

From 61 Days To Better Health:

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
at Catherine-Morgan, Capessa Health, Women4Hope

Posted in cooking, dieting, food, Health, life, news, nutrition, self-help, weight loss, Women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

I Lost 29 Pounds, 15 More To Go…My Personal Diet and Exercise Plans For The New Year.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 8, 2009

Last year around this time I came to the realization that I was at my highest weight ever.  I knew I was overweight, but when I checked my BMI I was shocked to realize that I had actually tipped into the “obese” category.  My BMI was 30.8 and anything over 30 is considered obese. It was at that moment that I decided I needed to make a drastic lifestyle change.  But hardcore dieting really isn’t my thing, so I started a “pre-diet” to ease myself into weight loss.

By the end of the year, my healthy eating had paid off, and I had lost 29 pounds [insert happy dance here].  Anyway, it took almost a year, but my BMI is down to 25.7 (overweight is considered to be between 25 and 29.9).  So I’m still a few pounds away from being considered “normal weight”, but I’m more determined than ever to get there.

If I lose 15-20 more pounds, that will put me smack in the middle of what’s considered to be a normal and healthy weight (a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9).  So that’s my goal for the new year, and it’s time for me to start a real diet.  But what diet?  There are so many.

I decided to try using a Health Tracker that I found online.  Each day I can record my weight along with the food (calories) I eat, and keep track of every aspect of my diet.  I also decided that I would take advantage of the sales on pre-packaged diet meals that we always see right after the holidays.  I ended up getting Lean Cuisines for 50% off, and paid between $1.45 and $1.85 per meal.  This is working great for me because it’s easy to keep track of calories, quick to prepare when I’m hungry, and I have a lot of choices so I don’t feel deprived.  I’m also still using Isagenix supplements and shakes for added nutrition.

Since January 1st I’ve lost 3.5 pounds, and I’m now less than one pound away from not being overweight – woohoo.

I also found a great deal on a Bally Total Fitness – Core Sculpting System that was on a clearance table a few days after Christmas…Now I just have to watch the DVD and figure out how to use it.

So that’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it. Do you have a plan for healthy living in 2009?  Let me know in comments, or at the 2009 Good Health-A-Thon.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
at Catherine-Morgan, Capessa Health, Women4Hope

Posted in body image, dieting, empowerment, food, happiness, Health, inspirational, life, my life, nutrition, personal, self-help, weight loss, Women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

New Year’s Resolutions and Goal Setting Success

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 7, 2009

This is the time of year that many of us are setting goals in hopes of achieving success with our New Year Resolutions. And setting realistic goals can be what makes or breaks a good resolution.

Have you set your goals yet?

There are many theories about how to set realistic and achievable goals. But it’s not always as cut and dry as all that.  As with everything in life, something that works for one of us may not work for all of us.

Here are some ideas that may help you find success.

Monica Olivas from Run, Eat, Repeat writes about a popular method for setting goals called SMART…

Specific – Check that your 2009 resolutions/goals are clear and understandable to someone else in 1 or 2 sentences.

Measurable – Have a way to verify your success. This will make achieving the goal much more satisfying if you can measure how far you’ve come to hitting it.

Attainable – Make sure that it is a goal you can really accomplish based on your current ability/situation/time/resources.

Realistic – Don’t just pick the biggest mountain to climb just to see how far you can get. You are trying to improve some aspect of your life and you deserve a self pat on the back for it. Make sure your goal is challenging, but not impossible. This has 2 benefits – 1. Achieving your goal and 2. Feeling good about your accomplishment.

Time Sensitive – Give yourself a specific time frame in which to check on this goal and another date when you want it complete.

These are all important and tangible ideas for goal setting, but I think there is one thing missing.

The intangible.

We need to be able to envision ourselves already succeeding in our goals.  This is less about being realistic, and more about visualization and manifestation.  It’s about believing in ourselves, and believing that anything is possible.

A great example would be Vision Boards – Contributing Editor Debra Roby wrote about them the other day…

Vision boards, on the other hand, seem like an adaptable method of planning the future.

Anne-Marie Faiola, blogging as the Soap Queen describes how her mastermind group has been using vision boards to plan their years:

1. Write your goals down
2. Look for visual representations of your goals in magazines or online
3. Make a collage with the visual representations
4. Put this in a frequently viewed area
5. Extra: put your written goals in the middle, so that the visuals are flowing outward from the actual original ideas.

This is also known as Creative Visualization

Shakti Gawain, author of “Creative Visualization”, suggests the following:

A treasure map is an actual, physical picture of your desired reality. It is valuable because it forms an especially clear, sharp image which can then attract and focus energy into your goal. It works along the same lines as a blueprint for a building.
You can make a treasure map by drawing or painting it, or by making a collage using pictures and words cut from magazines, books or cards, photographs, drawings, and so on. Don’t worry if you’re not artistically accomplished. Simple, childlike treasure maps are just as effective as great works of art!
Basically the treasure map should show you in your ideal scene, with your goal fully realized.

I have said before that creative visualization appeals to me…that by imaging a possible future we create the psychic room inside us for it to arrive. So I am going to think of mine as not just a treasure map, but a prayer. I want to claim what I want, and ask God to help me get whatever is on there into my life (I’ll add a disclaimer at the bottom….”Either this or something better, for the greatest good of all concerned”.)

When it comes to creating goals, I think it’s best to be some combination of realistic and visionary.  Most importantly, it’s about finding what works best for you.

cross-posted at BlogHer’s Good Health-A-Thon

Posted in BlogHer, body image, coaching, dieting, empowerment, food, Health, inspirational, life, lifestyle, nutrition, self-help, success, thoughts, weight loss, Women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Do You Have A Weight Loss Resolution? Buy Frozen Diet Entrees Now While They Are On Sale.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 2, 2009

shrimp-entree

Have you made a weight loss resolution for the new year?  If so, now is a great time to stock up on those frozen diet entrees from your grocery store.

Whether you live alone or with your family, it’s difficult to adjust your eating habits when you want to lose some weight.  But, it’s a lot easier if you can plan your meals ahead of time.  A great way to get started is with portion and calorie controlled frozen meals.  This way, if you still need to cook dinner for the family, you don’t have to spend a lot more time making something healthy for yourself.  And even though that would probably be your best option, it might not be realistic to think it’s something you’ll be able to do during the hardest and most critical time of your diet (the beginning).

In order to be successful on a new diet, you need to do two things right off the bat…

1.  Get rid of ALL the food temptations in your home.

That doesn’t mean your whole family has to “suffer” through your diet with you.  Get rid of all the foods that are tempting to you, and leave unhealthy foods that aren’t tempting to you.

Does your family love ice-cream, but it’s a huge weakness for you?  Get them together and decide on a flavor (or flavors) that you don’t really care for.  This way, your kids are happy that they have their ice-cream, and you don’t feel tempted to indulge.  Do the same with cookies, cereal, candy, and any of the other “junk” foods that you normally keep in your pantry.

2.  Stock up on the healthy foods you CAN have on your diet.

The worst thing you can do to sabotage a good diet, is to not have enough healthy foods in your house.  When you get those hunger pangs between meals, you absolutely need to have plenty of healthy (and quick) choices available.

This is where those frozen diet entrees come in handy, and this is the time of year when they all go on sale.  Not just 25% off either.  Most grocery stores are having buy one get one free and 50% off during these next few weeks after the holidays.  These manufacturers understand that losing weight is a huge new year’s resolution, and they want you to buy their products.  So if you can, save money by stocking up on them now.  Yesterday, I was able to get a bunch of Lean Cuisine frozen dinners for less than $2.00 each. For that price, I can have a healthy lunch and dinner for less than $4.00 a day.  That’s less than the cost of one meal at a fast food place.

Personally, I find these portion controlled meals a little small, and not very filling.  But a great way to compensate that drawback is by adding fresh (try cleaned/pre-cut) or frozen vegetable.  They only add a few more calories, and you can mix them right in with your frozen dinner to give them a bit more flavor.

So, get rid of the funk food and stock up on the healthy food.

Good luck, and let me know how you make out in comments.

Here are more posts on dieting and weight loss that you might find helpful…

Posted in body image, dieting, empowerment, family, food, Health, life, nutrition, parenting, self-help, weight loss, Women, women's health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »