Today was not a good day for my daughter. It is the day that she found out (finally) that Santa isn't real. In addition, she put two and two together and determined for herself that the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny are out as well. It wasn't my intention to do this, but in some way, I am finally glad to have this all out in the open.
See, my daughter is 11 and will be entering 6th grade which is Middle School here. I knew she believed in Santa and just haven't had the heart to tell her. Why would you want to spoil something like that? But I have been conflicted because ALL of her friends know the truth but she still believed. I even heard her having a heated debate with a friend once over the validity of the tooth fairy.
To be honest, doing the Santa thing gets much harder when your kids are older. And don't even get me started on the tooth fairy. Since its summer, she stays up later than me and it is darn near impossible to get that money under the pillow without setting an alarm to get up at 4 in the morning. That just seems a bit absurd. However, I have been playing along very well all these years.
Today I picked her up from her grandfather's house and she had a bag with her name on it. My husband said, "Where did you get that cute bag?" and I immediately said "Oh, I ordered it from Pottery Barn Kids a few years ago." And then I saw her face...OH EM GEE!!! She looked deflated and I couldn't figure out why. It's just a bag, what's the big deal? Then she told me that it was given to her by Santa and I immediately remembered this to be true.
See, its hard to keep in your mind what YOU gave the kid and what Santa left over the years. I have been doing this perfectly for eleven full years. In my mind, I think I did a pretty good job making it this long. I know many parents that were "outed" years ago.
After about an hour of processing all of this and not speaking to me, she seemed to come to terms with it in her own way. We had a family discussion about the importance of giving and receiving. We also talked about how Christmas is more about family and love than it is about getting presents. It was a good conversation and one I am glad we were able to have together.
I'm not going to lie, I am kind of excited that I don't have to struggle with hiding presents and sorting out the night before. But at the same time, I am realizing every day how fast she is growing up. Before I know it, she will be off to college and I will look back on these times fondly.
So to make up for my huge "mess-up" today, I told her to call a friend for a sleepover at our house tonight. In only the way children can do, she was immediately jumping up and down and I can promise you, that Santa was no longer on her mind.
This isn't the best picture as it looks like little blobs...but let me tell you they are yummy! If you are craving something sweet but still want to be in the healthy zone, try these out.
1/2 Cup Almond Butter
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2-4 Tbsp. Raw Honey
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Once combined, use your hands and roll into one inch balls, or blobs as I did in the picture here. Then put them in the refrigerator or the freezer.
I have been going to yoga and occasionally Zumba over the past year but my place just closed down. This left me wondering what to do now. If left up to me to do on my own, I will not work out. I just don't have the personal motivation to get out there and plan my own exercise routine. Plus, I live in Texas where the thought of going jogging outside makes me sweat before I even tie up my sneakers. So for now, I need a structured class to encourage me and to make sure I follow through.
I have been wondering if I should just join my local rec center again where there is a decent work-out room or check out one of the fancy 24 hour fitness clubs that are on every street corner these days. But I get very overwhelmed and intimidated at big gyms. I feel like I am not "beefy" enough to mix it up with the guys that grunt and sweat all over everything. In these settings I usually jump on the treadmill for a bit then meander around and end up leaving before I really do anything beneficial.
So this morning, very early, my husband and I tried our first CrossFit class. Wow, it was great and hard all at the same time. I actually didn't finish the WOD (that's Workout of the Day in CF lingo) but left feeling like it was something that would be a good fit for us. I am pretty sure we are going to make the leap and join the club! This is a place where you make friends and are held accountable as well as get really fit. I was so nervous going up there today thinking that I would embarrass myself by not being as in shape as the others. But it was quite the opposite. I was okay doing my own thing and taking longer to complete the workout than the more experienced members. I didn't feel like it was a competition to see who can beat each other. It was more a competition with myself to see how much I can do. And that felt great!
In my health coaching practice, I come across a wide variety of diets. From the die-hard vegans and vegetarians all the way to the strictly meat & potatoes type of client. It seems we all want to know what diet or eating style is the best. This is a tough question to answer as each way of eating has its pros and cons. We all have different tastes, lifestyles, blood types and ages which all play a factor in what is best for you. What works great for one person could be horrible for someone else. "One person's food is another person's poison."
During nutrition school, I actually experimented with all of these methods. One night my husband and I watched Forks Over Knives on Netflix and immediately the following day declared ourselves Vegan. Just like that, no planning or extra research involved. The problem with this was that I really didn't like any of the vegan foods. At the time, eating my veggies meant having a side of broccoli or asparagus with my meat. We went to our local health food store and spent over $200 on foods that I wasn't sure I would even want to eat. (Some of these are STILL in our pantry untouched). But we were determined. To say I was hungry is an understatement. During my month of being vegan, I was hungry more times than not. My problem was that I just jumped into this drastic change with no research or planning involved. Now I look back and think had we done it a little different, I probably would have been much more satisfied and actually enjoy it.
So then I decided that the vegan was too strict and I wasn't getting enough food so I changed to vegetarian. Well this was a problem as well. You can call yourself a vegetarian and still be extremely unhealthy. Lots of vegetarians assume if it doesn't have to do with an animal, then its totally fine to eat it. This is what I call the "Junk Food Vegetarian." If you think about it, almost all processed and junk food is technically considered vegetarian. So when you meet someone that is vegetarian but not quite healthy, this might be one of the problems. Vegetarian wasn't too bad, but I was consuming a large level of carbs in tons of bread and chips which wasn't doing much to help the muffin-top.
After a few weeks, I was starting to have dreams of hamburgers and chicken sandwiches. What was wrong with me? How can I be dreaming of red meat when I am completely vegetarian? Why do I want a hamburger while wearing my "Plant Strong" and my "Veggie Heaven" t-shirts? So upon further research on cravings, I realized that my body was trying to tell me something. That "something" was that I needed some animal protein in my diet.
So that led me to the completely opposite of extremes: Paleo. This is a dietary theory that includes animal proteins as well as fruits, vegetables, nuts and oils. It is based on eating similar to how the cavemen did many years ago. You know, like when they used to go out to hunt & gather their food. My problem with this is that for most people, hunting and gathering consists of everyone in your family deciding on an acceptable place for dinner and then driving through and taking it home. That kind of takes away the "hunt" part of it. I felt like I really needed to be doing some extreme cardio to support this way of eating. However, my idea of working out at that time was long walks, bike rides and yoga. I know that many people in the CrossFit world swear by this diet. I have checked out CrossFit and that is quite the workout that would actually seem to replicate the hunting aspect. So paleo seemed okay for me as I had enough energy, but I still didn't feel quite balanced.
There are so many different theories and books out there telling consumers that their way of eating is the ONLY way to eat. Its no wonder we are all confused. If you read about the Engine 2 Diet or anything by David Wolfe, you will immediately believe that you cannot eat another piece of meat for the rest of your years. For most people, this sounds down-right crazy and even scary. If you read anything by Dr. Cordain (the founder of Paleo) or Robb Wolf, you will be sold on eating like a caveman. And then there's hundreds of dietary theories that are mixes of all of these.
So what did I figure out after all this experimenting?
I found that I loved so many aspects of each of the theories but there was no one theory that I could live by the rest of my life. We all change as we age as well. A vegan diet might work great for me today, but in five years, it could actually turn unhealthy. We are constantly changing and need to be in tune with our bodies. This is how I counsel my clients. I don't recommend or swear by anything except the following:
EAT REAL, WHOLE FOOD
So whatever diet theory you want to experiment with, just make sure it includes real food and stay away from all the processed junk that is out there!
Here is the first part copied from Livestrong.com regarding soda consumption: "Drinking soda or other carbonated beverages each day may be a recipe for high blood pressure, reduced kidney function and kidney stones. This setup for kidney disease happens through a number of actions that take place when you consume just two carbonated beverages a day for a long period of time. You may think sugar-free diet soda may shield you from these adverse health effects, but you'd be wrong. Be it a cola, non-cola, diet soda or other sugar-sweetened carbonated beverage, carbonated beverages can increase your risk of serious health issues."
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/419057-the-effects-of-carbonated-beverages-on-kidneys/#ixzz2ZY8CReiC
While people think Diet Soda is better for them, it really isn't. Over time, the fake sweeteners in Diet Sodas like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharine might mess with our bodies' abilities to process the calories from sweet things, making it harder for us to metabolize the sugars we get from other sources like candy, cookies, or even fruit.
There are plenty of studies out there that are now showing that drinking Diet Sodas actually INCREASE the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes.
Also, I see this same scenario everywhere I go: People are eating a fatty and unhealthy meal and pairing it with a Diet Coke. The thinking for some is that I can have an extra serving of my food because my drink is diet. This can also cause people to put on excess weight.
If you are trying to cut back or quit drinking sodas all-together (which I highly recommend!) you should not stop suddenly. You will have a pretty decent headache from the caffeine withdrawals. When working with my clients, I have them drink a little bit less each day. If you are reaching for a soda, try squeezing fresh lemon or lime into a glass of water and drink that and take note of how you feel.
I used to drink Coke several times a week but once I learned what is in each can, I gave it up. It wasn't too hard for me and I don't miss it at all anymore. However, every now and then I will have a craving for a Coke Icee and I will treat myself to one. This is a treat for me and I make a big deal of enjoying every last bit without any guilt!
Cleansing/Detox: Are you a little tempted to try it?
Do you wonder about it?
Cleansing has become very popular lately which is great that it is getting the exposure it needs. We are all carrying around 5-7 pounds of toxins that are making us sick!
If you eat a lot and only eliminate once a day or worse (LESS!!!!) then you are not getting rid of all that is going in! If we are clogged up (even with a healthy diet) then we get sick. Our colon gets crusted over from eating meat, dairy, breads, processed foods, cakes, candy and bad fat. It is just gross, think of all the fried foods and weight you are still carrying around with you and what is building on it.
The intestine draws in needed nutrients for the body and if your intestines are not able to get the nutrients, your food is wasted. If food doesn’t move easily through the intestines, then it starts to build up and we become constipated, cramped, gain weight, become depressed and our immune system quits working and we ultimately become sick.
Are you depressed? Has your doctor ever prescribed colonic treatment as a cure? I doubt it! Our belly has serotonin receptors, the build up and sickness in our belly can cause depression.
If you are not convinced by now that you need to clear some of the goo away, there is more. Our stomach produces mucus to guard against acids, this is healthy. It is when we continually eat McDonalds and Burger King that we overproduce the stuff and it all gets clogged up…ick.
Along with eliminating daily waste, our body has the job to defend itself against toxins. The normal detoxification process is pretty amazing:
So, by now you should be convinced that our bodies need help.
There are different ways to detox and cleanse your body. Some are very natural, non controversial and extremely healthy. Some may seem extreme and others are simple. How you choose to cleanse is important.
Different cleansing aids:
This is the controversial part. The Mayo Clinic says “don’t do it”. However, colon cleansing is prescribed more and more by doctors looking for a more holistic approach to wellness.
If you are planning to do an enema or colon cleanse, go to a good and well-trained colon hydro therapist.
Colon cleansing could possibly have an effect on the nervous system. The reflexes in the bowel affect the nervous system. There is no debate that a lot of symptoms that are caused by being constipated can be relieved with colon therapy.
Colon cleansing can be achieved with processed powders and liquid potions. You take some supplements used for colon cleansing by mouth or through the rectum. These products help the colon to expel its contents. There is no evidence that they have any long term benefit of building immunity or repairing the body’s systems.
Colon cleansing with colon irrigation. The irrigation works like an enema. There is no odor or discomfort if you have a good hydro therapist. You lay down on a table and a low-pressure pump or a gravity-based reservoir flushes several gallons of water through a small tube inserted into your rectum. The therapist sits with you the entire time. After a while, the therapist might massage your belly to loosen things up a little. This process comfortably flushes the fluid and waste through. It usually takes about an hour. Most colon hydro therapists suggest regular visits. Maybe once a month for a while and then progressing to once every other month. You should always drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration after as well as taking probiotics to restore good bacteria and wheatgrass (and because I think you should have wheatgrass with everything!)
Many doctors say your digestive system and bowel naturally eliminate waste material and bacteria — your body doesn’t need colon cleansing to do this.
Those who like colon cleansing, think that toxins cause many health problems, like arthritis, allergies and asthma. They believe a colonic or a colonic irrigation —removes toxins and strengthens your immune system.
You are the only one who can decide whether this type of cleansing is right for you.
You should not use colonics if you have Crohn’s disease, IBS, acute diverticulitis, pregnancy, or diarrhea or if part of your colon has been removed.
If you are ready to safely and effectively release the toxins that are built up in your system while eating amazing foods, please sign up for my detox here:
Still not sure? Contact me for more information and be sure to read the testimonials of those that have gone through the program. It's only one week long to a glowing and healthy new YOU!
Taking time out and "FOMO"
I didn't realize how badly that I needed to get away from everything until I was in the mountains of Arizona last week with my husband's family. As soon as I started to breathe in the fresh air and feel the cool breeze, I knew I was in the right place.
I have been going non-stop for several months now and felt like I was managing stress and my time wisely. But there is something about getting out of the house and going somewhere new. I was able to just enjoy being with family without the daily distractions of working 2 jobs, cooking, laundry, bills, etc. I actually had my cell phone off for most of the trip which felt amazing.
My husband's step-mom told me about something she read called "FOMO." Of course I had to know what this meant. She said it is "Fear of Missing Out." Many people are constantly on Facebook or social media and ignore all that is going on around them. She explained that these types of people are constantly checking their Facebook for fear that they might miss something important. I found this to be quite true as I see it all the time. Everywhere I turn people are on their phones while doing other things. Our society has taken multi-tasking to a whole new level...which can sometimes be unhealthy.
So for me, getting away to enjoy beautiful scenery and be fully present with my family was the most amazing vacation ever and exactly what I needed.
I arrived home with loads of laundry and things to do but just felt an overall sense of peace and just tackled things one at a time.
I encourage you to put the phone down, step away for the computer and just enjoy the moment you are in, the present.
This article below, as seen on MindBodyGreen.com
This is a hard subject to speak about as some might judge or label me, but I want to share my story in hopes that it can help others avoid the nightmare I was in for three months.
I can trace back my first anxiety/panic attack to a week after my mom died in 2009. I decided I needed to get away after dropping everything in my life, including my job, to take care of her for a year while she battled her second round of breast cancer. It was my first trip alone and it was going well until I decided to take a taxi into Playa to do some shopping. Something told me it was too dangerous to do alone. As I waited for the taxi, I started to sweat and immediately felt so queasy like I was going to throw up. I assumed it was something I had eaten or maybe I had accidentally drank the wrong Mexican water.
I didn’t experience this again until I started traveling heavily for work in 2011 and 2012. Almost every time I ended up getting “sick” in my hotel or while navigating the ridiculous turnpikes in New Jersey. I had to fly home early from Florida once and decided I needed to figure out what was going on.
I had every test done through my gastroenterologist and all they could tell me was that I had a leaky gut and some inflammation in my stomach. They promptly gave me acid reflux medication and sent me on my way.
I tried every single holistic method to control my anxiety. I did deep breathing exercises, drank tea and tried meditation. I even went to a place that hooks your brain up to a computer for an hour trying to change your patterns. I took every supplement that I could find that was supposed to help with anxiety. I went to an acupuncturist, a naturopathic doctor, therapy and many other places to seek help. I changed my diet drastically as well.
From there, I was okay through Christmas and in January everything started to unravel. I was getting nervous and sick at my house, which was my safe haven. And it wouldn’t stop. I was in a constant state of panic and couldn’t sleep, eat or even function. I was literally a prisoner in my own home. I went to the ER more times than I care to admit thinking I was having a heart attack or dying. They really couldn’t help me and would give me an IV and some Ativan and send me home. I would feel better for about 4 hours and then right back to where I was before.
Over the next three months my weight got so low that I would have to go in for IV fluids since my anxiety was so high that I couldn’t eat…not a bite. I had to spend the night in the hospital once in order to get my nourishment back to somewhere near normal. From there, it got to the point where I couldn’t even leave the house to take my daughter to school which is actually in our neighborhood. I was terrified and didn’t want to admit that I had a problem that had nothing to do with anything physical. How do you admit to yourself that it’s your brain causing all these horrific physical ailments?
My mother –in–law showed up one Saturday at our house and freaked out when she saw me. My hip bones were sticking out and I just looked incredibly unhealthy and sick. My very supportive husband and I decided that we had to do something to get me well. I had been seeing a psychiatrist who was continually changing my medications which was making me even sicker. It was the worst thing I have ever been through.
That night I made the hardest decision and checked myself into a psychiatric hospital where I spent the next week focusing on myself. I was so against taking medication but finally admitted it was my only option at that point. At the hospital, I got the right medication and medical help to gain back my appetite and finally feel okay.
I was on a floor with patients dealing with anxiety and depression so as you can imagine, it was a very calm atmosphere! I was able to see that I wasn’t “broken” and that I wasn’t alone. I had an instant support group of people that were going through some of the exact same things that I was. We were able to learn from each other and help encourage each other.
After leaving the hospital, I completed five weeks of out-patient DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) where I learned to deal with my brain’s “false signals” of danger. I learned so much about myself and my triggers. I started seeing a new psychiatrist who is much more in line with my needs and beliefs. I also go to my Life Coach who has been amazing in helping me move forward and face my fears.
How did I end up here?
I am an only child and both my parents died at a young age of cancer. Being a single mom during this time, I never took the time to grieve or deal with my emotions around both these huge losses.
I worked full-time at a job that had me on the road several times a month going to strange cities and having to navigate them alone.
I was in school and had weekly lessons and lectures which took up most of my free time.
I was having custody battles with my ex-husband.
I was in the process of creating my own Health Coaching business from scratch.
I had a daughter that had volleyball practice three nights a week and all day tournaments every Saturday.
If I did something, it had to be perfect. There was no room for error in my head. I had such ridiculously high and unobtainable expectations for myself.
Just thinking back, it’s no wonder I hit rock bottom. I just couldn’t handle it all. Since then, I have learned to put myself first because when I don’t, I am no use to anyone around me.
How I put myself first:
I spoke to my boss and cut out the travel aspect of my job. I am now home with my family every night and that is really what is important in life.
I set small goals. I was 10 weeks behind in my school work so I set a goal to do 2 hours daily until I caught up. Sticking to my plan and goals allowed me to catch up with ease.
I get a pedicure or a massage at least once a month. These are treats for me that allow me to disconnect from everything, if only for an hour.
I use essential oils that are calming and relaxing, as well as some that help me focus better during my work day.
I started my Health Coaching business very slowly and am working up from there. I now understand that slowly growing my business is better than a rapid growth that I couldn’t manage.
I walk my dog more and ride bikes with my daughter.
I fall asleep every night listening to a guided meditation that I downloaded on my phone.
This entire experience has been a blessing in many ways. I have learned so much about myself and what is really important in life. I still have to be cautious daily to not go back down the anxiety road, but if it happens, I now have the skills and knowledge to keep myself healthy.
My mission as a Certified Health Coach is to make the world a happier, healthier place, one person, one meal at a time, with love and gratitude. I work to inspire others to live a life of prevention and overall wellness!