Sunday, January 30, 2011

Coffee, Hold the Sugar

I’m always hearing that my clients can’t eat right because they don’t like veggies or fruits, can’t give up their biscuits (hey, I live in the south) or can’t live without salt.

I remember backpacking when I was 15 and waking up to find that we had coffee (yeah, I was drinking coffee at 15) but NO SUGAR OR MILK. OMG. I had to have the coffee and found that it was the best coffee I’d ever had. When you’re backpacking with freeze dried food, you can see how this might be the case. I took my coffee black after that trip. On subsequent occasions, tasting it with sugar or milk, I found it to be terribly sweet and weak.

There is a subset of people who are genetically picky eaters. They are truly revolted by certain food, tastes or textures. But given my own experience, I was not surprised to learn that, without too much difficulty, most of us can be retrained to eat more veggies, less sugar and less salt. You might try some of these strategies.

* Increase vegetables by mixing your veggie with another flavor (spices, garlic, onion) or food that makes it more palatable.

* Take your coffee and breakfast cereal with less and less sugar over time.

* Gradually reduce salt and add other flavoring if you need it.

* To increase fruit try adding it to cereal where it will also serve as a natural sweetener, or make fruit smoothies.

* Try to make gradual changes if you’re trying to lose weight. Pass up the bread at restaurants. Then the dessert. And of course, be mindful.

Given that children may accept a new food after as many as 15 trials, why not adults? I think you will find that the more you try something, the more natural it becomes. After all, we give up alcohol, cigarettes, people, and various other things we thought we had to have. Once you start feeling healthier it becomes easier. So go from your Starbucks latte to a latte skinny, then a cappuccino skinny, and one day you may graduate to black. Decaf, of course.

And to get in the mood...Black Coffee, Sarah Vaughan

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nobody Cares if You’re Not a Good Dancer

Nobody cares if you're not a good dancer. Just get up and dance. The same holds true for racing. Whether first or last, we all cross that same finish line. Just get out there and run. Dean Karnazes, Ultrarunner & Writer

Think about that for a moment. How many things do you decide not to do because you think you won’t do them well enough? I’m not advocating mediocrity, but sometimes you just have to get out there and dance. Or write. Or go back to school. Or do karaoke. Or try on-line dating. Or talk to the cute guy/girl at Whole Foods. Or…you fill in the blank.

I’m just saying you have to try not to limit yourself by expectations of perfection, or worry about how you’ll look or sound, or whatever else your inner critic tells you.

After all, if you don’t like dancing, you don’t have to keep doing it. But how will you know if you never try?

For inspiration:  Just Dance.  Lady Gaga

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Have a Technology Cleanse. Play a Boardgame

I just read an article about a tech detox, which I thought was a great idea. Have you ever thought, or should I say how often have you thought, that you and/or your loved ones are spending too much time with their electronic buddies? I had a glimmer of this after I’d had some minor surgery. As the sedation wore off, I was finally comfortably ensconced in my own bed and my friend asked if I needed anything. My reply…my phone. I justified this by pointing out that no longer having a home phone, my cell is my only connection with potential disasters that may have occurred during my sedation. You didn’t know I was that neurotic?

But seriously, what about a tech vacation, or cleanse, as I prefer to think of it? No tv, computer, cell phone, iWhatever, eBook, eEverything. What would it be like? One of my pet peeves is seeing people walking on beautiful paths, talking on cell phones with one arm up and one shoulder up, making their posture and gait totally unnatural. If that’s not bad enough, they’re often agitated and I find myself wondering about the benefit of the walk. Can’t the call be put off for 30 minutes? Really?

Admittedly, I used to use my iPod when running until I discovered I could run and meditate. Alas, still multitasking. But after reading the article I suggested that my son and I play scrabble, the board game. I have a set that probably dates back much further than I care to remember. No pictures, no fancy colors, no cutsie theme, just the pink, blue and grey squares, remember? We had to keep score with a paper and pencil!!! Great fun.

A little techno music for fun: Manian, Ravers Fantasy

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Whatever Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger

Does it help to know that the adversity you’re experiencing today is going to make you tougher and better able to handle the adversity you’ll experience at some unknown point in the future? I think it might. It’s like working out and developing muscles you never knew you could have.

Consider the possibilities. You’ve just lost your job, learned you have a potentially serious medical condition, broke up with your boyfriend…or all three at once. Just kidding on that last. Something bad happens and you have to deal with it. And you do. You either use a tried and true coping strategy, or you develop a new one to cope.

A recent study showed that having some amount of adversity, not too much but not too little either, does help us cope in future situations and makes us psychologically healthier. It’s like developing physical toughness by lifting weights, but this is mental toughness, or resilience.

Adopting the mindset that the trial of today is going to lead to more strength in the future is a positive attitude that can only serve you well. We learn how to cope with problems by doing so. We learn that we can cope with problems by seeing ourselves do it.

Next time you have one of those situations, ask yourself, how has this helped me grow and be stronger? What coping muscles have I strengthened or developed? And know that whatever does not kill you will, in fact, make you stronger.

Music to be strong by: County Strong, Gwyneth Paltrow

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions: Celebrate Success

Coaching is big on celebrating achievements. Got the big job? Celebrate. Finished the awesome project? Celebrate. Book published? Celebrate. I’ve clinked virtual glasses filled with virtual champagne in phone calls with clients to celebrate the results of all our hard work.

How about celebrating the small achievements, i.e., those baby steps toward fulfilling your new year’s resolutions. It can be just as big to get to the gym for the first time in 5 years, or to tell the waitress, no bread thank you, for the first time in your life, as it is to get the big project finished.

I think the magic of celebration is in the combination of positive reinforcement (rewarding our good behavior), savoring (a combination noticing and appreciating something we enjoy ) and the element of self-congratulation. We are celebrating our accomplishment internally with a “well done” and an internal high five to really highlight our success. We can do it with a coach or a friend, but we must also learn to do it alone in order to really integrate our excellent outcome with a strong feeling of accomplishment.

I think celebration is an important way to keep those new year’s resolutions going. You have to find a personal way of celebrating that pizza passed up, that run taken in the cold of the morning or that extra time you’ve been spending with your child noticing their efforts or good behavior.

Baby, celebrate good times, come onCelebration, Kool & The Gang