All posts by Linda

Take Yourself on a Date

Take Yourself on a Date
Take Yourself on a Date

Do you remember your first date?  Remember how excited you were?  

When that day came, you had butterflies in your stomach, and you excitedly thought about what you would wear.  Perhaps you even went shopping to pick out the perfect outfit.  Then you had to decide which shoes, jewelry, and accessories would match your clothes, or bring out the tone of your eye color?  It was all part of the experience, right?  You wanted to look nice for that special person.  Even more so, you wanted to feel beautiful!    You wanted to present yourself in a way that the special person you would be spending the evening with could get a good first impression of the person you are on the inside, as well as the outside.

The simple reality of this is when you are happy with yourself, with your look, and with the first impression you are giving, you carry yourself a little differently.  You carry yourself with more confidence. Your posture is more positive and outward, rather than pulling yourself and your posture inward.  People are attracted to self confidence, and self confidence comes when you feel great about who “you” are.  When you feel great about who “you” are, you are not afraid to put yourself out there; whether it be for a date, or for a job interview, or a speaking engagement.

Have you ever considered the fact that when you get up in the morning and get yourself ready for the day, you are actually getting ready for a “date” with yourself?  You are going to be spending the day with “you”.  How do you feel about that?  When you look in the mirror, do you think, “I look forward to spending my day with her/him”!  Why or why not?  

When you are getting dressed, doing your hair, picking out your accessories, why not pick out an outfit that makes you feel good that day, or pick out a scarf that makes your eye color pop!  Because after all, you are spending the day with that person in the mirror!  Pamper her by making her feel like a princess!  Perhaps you wake up feeling a little sassy?   Go with that!  Be a tiny bit sassy with your choice of outfit for the day!  You see, your process of getting ready in the morning can be a creative process, in which you get to pick how you want to present yourself for the day.  Do you want to go with comfy, or perhaps sassy, or maybe a little edgy?  It’s all good, but go with it!  This is part of your daily self care!  You are worth the time and the effort, and if you want to splurge once in awhile and buy yourself a nice outfit for your next date with “you”….you are totally worth it!  

Sometimes, you are required to present yourself in a certain way.  You may have to wear a uniform to work, for example.  If this is the case, you can still pamper yourself by enhancing your required look/attire with accessories that will still make you feel unique, and tell the world a little bit about yourself, without having to say a word!  You can fit in…..and stand out at the same time!

For many years, I did not like who I saw in the mirror and I did not relish the idea of spending my day with her.  I would throw on the first thing I came to in my closet (sometimes the same thing as the day before).  Preferably, that thing would be something pajama like, and would not show even a tiny bit of the body underneath, that I hated.  

It took years for me to change my opinion of myself.  I was ill with a chronic autoimmune issue, spent my days at home alone, and felt like a nobody.  But I began to realize that I was the only one who could change that.   I began a long journey of self discovery, self acceptance, and finally self love.  Something that helped me tremendously was to tell myself that no matter how I felt when I woke up, I was going to get up, get dressed, as if I were going on a “date” with myself.  I was going to pamper that person in the mirror and I was going to make her feel special and beautiful.  Because, darn it, I was determined to not look as tired as I felt.  Sometimes vanity is a good thing!

Keeping these things in mind has made a huge difference in my life.  I realize that it should not totally be about what I look like on the outside.  But if I am going to be real with myself….and we all need to be real and honest and accepting of our true selves….it’s important to me to feel pretty.  When I feel good about the outfit I chose for the day, or when I have a really good hair day, or if I have chosen a look that reflects my mood that day….it makes me feel great.  When I feel great on the outside, I also feel great on the inside.   It’s ok to pamper yourself.  It’s not self – ish.  It’s self – care.

Here are some facts to keep in mind as you get ready for your next date with you!


1) Self Pampering improves mental and physical health.

“People who are able to comfort themselves have a better immune response to stress, so they don’t get as anxious, especially in social situations,” says Kristin Neff, Ph.D., associate professor of human development and culture at the University of Texas at Austin, who’s conducted extensive research on the trait. “They also have less body-wide inflammation, better immunity—they get fewer colds and headaches, for example.” (1)


2) Researchers at Bishop’s University in Quebec found that when you learn to be kind to yourself, you will also eat healthier, exercise more, and sleep better!


3)You can change your look without having to change your body.

Free Lance Writer Sally McGraw writes, “Making changes to your wardrobe and style can affect how you view your body, even if your body itself hasn't changed. Throwing on a skirt that works with your curves instead of against them allows you to embrace those curves. Slipping on a fantastic pair of boots can illustrate that those legs are damned fine just as they are. Finding styles, colors and textures that enhance your natural assets can help you see how gorgeous you are right now -- and have been all along. Just by changing the clothing, shoes and accessories that adorn your body, you can change your relationship with that body for the better. Minus the oppressive workout plan, restrictive diet and nip/tuck.” (2)

4) You Get to Choose! 

Free lance writer Sally McGraw also writes, “You get to choose what to express and what to hide, what to display and what to mask. It's a lot of power, don't you think? Since you've got to get dressed anyway, why not take the opportunity to broadcast a few key pieces of information about yourself to the observing world? Doing so can build pride and confidence, establish your uniqueness and help you decide which aspects of your inner life you'd like to highlight and share. (3)


5) The Look Good – Feel Good Connection 

Free lance writer Sally McGraw goes on to say , “Caring about how you present your physical self to the world makes you more present in your body. Presence in your body feeds itself, creating more care. The cycle of self-care feeding self-love, creating more self-care allows you to broadcast a profile of self-respect and power. It reminds you that you can control how you feel about yourself. And that's powerful good stuff.” (4)

MY CALL TO ACTION TO YOU is for you to think of tomorrow as “a date with yourself!”  

Before you go to bed tonight, think about your activities for the day.  Try to think of one thing you can do to treat or pamper yourself.  Perhaps you might leave 15 minutes earlier for work, and stop to treat yourself to your favorite coffee drink.  Whatever you choose… put some thought into it, just as you would if you were planning a date with your significant other.  Plan your outfit and lay out your clothes.  Choose a fun accessory and shoes.  Go ahead and make a statement.  Wear it proudly!

You are worth every minute, every thought, every dime that you spend on yourself.  When you love you, and show the world that you love you…..your world will change….I promise!

I’d love to hear your comments about this and I’d love to hear about your next date with “You”!

(1) Quote taken from SHAPE Magazine,” 5 Reasons to Pamper Yourself”, by Mirel Ketchiff

(2)  (3) ( 4)    Quotes taken from Huffpost Online, Issue 12/7/2017, by Free Lancer Write Sally McGraw

Exercise Vs. Movement

Exercise vs Movement

What’s the first word or picture that comes to your mind when you hear the word “exercise”?  Does it have a positive connotation, or a negative connotation for you?  Does that very word motivate you or does it make you want to sit back down with a bag of chips and get serious about it tomorrow?  Is there another way to think about exercise?  Is there a different word we could use that would make the whole idea a little more appealing?

When I first decided to make some lifestyle changes in order to get healthier, I knew that “exercise” had to be a part of it.  I had goals.  I was going to change my eating habits.  I was going to lose some weight.  I was going to join a gym.  I was a very out of shape and unhealthy 50 something woman.  However, I was motivated and I did it.  I joined the gym.  I changed my eating habits.  I lost 50 pounds.  I achieved my goals.

I also knew that if I was going to sustain that weight loss, and keep the momentum going with my improving health, I had to turn those lifestyle changes into “lifelong habits”.   I began to really love eating the foods that were good for my body, and I actually began to crave things that were good for me.  

However, the daily grind of “exercise” began to wear on me.  The novelty wore off.  Going to the gym began to feel like a chore.  I began to let a day slip by here and there without going to the gym.  Then two days.  Then three days, etc.  Before I knew it, a month had gone by and I had not been to the gym.  Then the guilt set in.  Every day I began to hear myself say, “You should go to the gym.  You should get out for a walk.”  Some days I went so far as to put my workout clothes on, grab my bag and keys and head for the door.  Only to put the keys back, my bag down, and change back into my street clothes.  You see, I just didn’t enjoy the gym anymore.  I didn’t like the lighting, I didn’t like the machines, I didn’t like the sweaty, grunting men (just keeping it real).  

I thought about the fact that exercise was supposed to be a form of self care, but when I went to the gym, it felt like anything but that.  I went through the motions, and counted down the long minutes until I could get off that treadmill or elliptical.  It was a drag, and I hated every moment of it.  Isn’t self care supposed to make you feel good?

I decided to look for a different way.  Why should I pay money to do something I didn’t enjoy?  Is it possible I could find a new way to look at this word “exercise”?  Does “exercise” have to be a formal practice every day?  Does it have to happen at the gym?  Does it have to be a 30 minute or more chunk out of my day, five times a week?

I had to be honest with myself and realize that if I was going to sustain this habit called “exercise” for the rest of my life, I needed to first of all, call it something else.  Physical Activity?  That still sounds like a chore.  How about “movement”?  That I could do!  I also decided that I was not going to pressure myself to carve out a chunk of time every single day to do a formal practice of “movement”. 

I thought perhaps 15 minutes twice a day, or even 10 minutes 3 times a day.  That seems doable! 

So what does this word “movement” mean?  Can it possibly have the same positive impact on my body and my health as “exercise”?   I believe that it can.  I set out to find ways to fit movement into my life and incorporate it into things I already had to do. 

The first step was to identify my goals.

  • I am a 60 something woman.  It’s important that I maintain a good sense of balance to avoid falls as I get older.
  • I need to move enough to get my heart rate up, at least three times per week.
  • I need to keep muscle strength in my upper and lower body.

So I thought about my daily activities.  I realized that I felt much better during the day and it was easier to get going if I start out with some stretching, so beginning my day with 10 minutes of yoga.  There you go.  I am one third done for the day!  What other things do I do in an ordinary day?  I do laundry just about every day.  My washer and dryer are in my basement.  So when I go up and down the stairs to tend to my laundry, I do a couple extra sets of stairs.  If I pick up the pace while I am doing it, this also gets my heart rate up, so there’s my cardio.  What else do I do in a day?  How about tooth brushing?   I can do the tree pose for balance while I am brushing my teeth.  Oh and there is the many times per day I check my email, or sit at my computer reading articles, or listening to a podcast?  I can stand up while listening to the podcast and do some arm circles, or lift some handweights, or do a one minute plank, or any combination of the above.  It can be whatever strikes my fancy in the moment!  Or, while I am fluffing my pillows, or sweeping the floor, I can put a couple dance moves in here and there. 

You see, when I starting looking at exercise as “movement”, a whole new perspective opened up for me, and I realized I could incorporate movement into just about anything during the day.  I could move while  sitting, standing, walking, climbing, etc.  Anything!  I discovered it is easy to get that 30 minutes of movement incorporated into my day, as opposed to carving out 30 minutes or more of my day for a formal practice.

I believe you can do this too!

Five things to help you get started:

  • Identify your goals.  What do you want to accomplish.  Weight loss?  Strength?  Balance?
  • What do you love to do?  Do you like music?  That’s easy!  Listen standing up, and I promise you won’t be able to stand still.   Gardening?  That counts too!
  • Think about your daily schedule and write down activities you do every day.  For instance, do you park your car at work, and walk into your office?  Park at the other end of the lot and walk a little further.  Do you get a lunch break?  You can easily fit in a 10 minute walk around the building.  Afternoon break?  Stand up at your desk and stretch, or do some arm circles, ankle circles, etc.  Again 10 minutes.  After work, maybe you need to put laundry away, or straighten up the living room.  Do some walking lunges as you go back and forth. 
  • Think about any activities you can combine and incorporate movement.  I incorporated my mindfulness practice with a 10 or 15 minute walk.  It became one of my favorite things to do.  I developed such an appreciation of the outdoors when I went for a walk, and answered these simple questions. What do I feel, what do I see, what do I hear, what do I smell, etc. 
  • Is there any special activity you have to do today, which requires physical activity?  Clean your house?  Organize your closet?  That counts!  There’s your 30 minutes or more!
  • Finally, reward yourself each day with a soothing, pampering time of self care after your 30 minutes of intentional movement.  Perhaps a relaxing epsom salt bath with candles.  Or if you are pinched for time, take a 5 minute (non movement) break and snuggle with your favorite pet.  They will appreciate it, and it’s a great stress reliever for you!

You see, the key is to find a way to incorporate movement in a way that you are not thinking about it as exercise, and thus, it does not feel like a chore.  I found ways to make it truly feel like fun, and in so doing, it became an act of self care.

Some days you might still want to just break a sweat.  I still do that too, and it’s a great feeling.  The difference is that now I don’t feel guilt on the days I don’t have time for a 45 minute workout, or I just don’t have the energy.  No guilt, because I know I can still incorporate movement in my everyday tasks, and I can feel just as good about it. 

You can too!  I’d love to hear your ideas for creative ways to get movement incorporated into your day.  I’d like some new ideas myself!

Bio-Individuality

Bio-individuality
Blog Bio-Individuality

Did you know that 66% of the U.S. population is on a “diet”?  Did you know that there are well over 100 dietary theories out there to choose from?  Have you tried one or more of them?  How does a person know which one is best?  They all claim to be!!  Do you go gluten free?  Do you go paleo?  Do you go vegan?  Do you want to lose weight?  Gain weight?  Just feel better in general?  How does a person ever make sense of all the information out there?  Here’s another question….can you trust your doctor’s dietary recommendations?  Can you trust the FDA’s dietary recommendations?

Have you ever heard the term “bio-individuality”?  This is the theory that one person’s food is another person’s poison.  It’s based on age, gender, race, blood type, and level of activity.  Do you believe you can trust your body to tell you what foods are best for you?  I believe you can, if you give it half a chance.  I believe we have to respect the individual before we respect the dietary theory. I also believe there is so much more than the food on our plate to consider when trying to be healthy.  In fact, I believe that things such as our relationships, spirituality, career and physical activity all need to be considered FIRST, even before we consider the food on our plate.  Because if there is an imbalance in these other areas of our life, there will be an imbalance in our food choices, as well as how we metabolize the nutrition we take in.  These areas of our life can, and will, affect our relationship with food in general.  We have to look at the whole picture.  It is our ”circle of life”.

I have learned how to sift through all the information out there, and get to the bottom of what is best for me.  I believe you can too. Don’t let food be a burden.  Don’t let your “diet” be a chore.  I would like to eliminate that word entirely!  It has such a negative connotation.   How about “bio-individual bill of fare”?  Maybe too wordy, but you can call it whatever you choose.

I have an easy plan for identifying your bio-individual nutritional needs:

1. Start with an elimination diet.  

(There’s that word again!)  This will help you identify any food sensitivities or allergies.  It is really not as horrible as it sounds.  I did this recently and I am so glad I did!  I discovered things about the food I had been eating I would have never known otherwise.  You can do this in a couple ways.  The food groups you want to explore are gluten, dairy, corn, soy and nightshade vegetables.  The fastest way to do this is to eliminate them all for at least three weeks.  There are so many alternatives out there, so please don’t let this overwhelm you.  If I could do it, anyone can.  After the three weeks, re-introduce each food group one at a time, one week at a time.  Observe how your body responds, and record any uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloating, gas, skin problems, itching, foggy thinking, or pain.  If you experience a symptom with any of the food groups, you then know you need to eliminate that food group for a period of at least one year.  At that point, you can try re-introducing again.  During this time period, it is a good idea to also eliminate sugar.  It is not one of the common allergy food groups, but it is a huge trigger for inflammation, and a host of other problems.   The biggest thing I noticed when I did my elimination diet was that my thinking became so much clearer!  Also, please remember it is important to stay well hydrated during this process, so that your body can eliminate toxins.


2. Identify your likes and dislikes.  

Your healthy eating plan does NOT have to include foods you don’t like!  There are so many options and alternatives.  It is absolutely possible to find delicious foods that you can look forward to, without guilt!


3. Identify your health concerns or conditions that may be affected by your nutrition.  

Here’s a hint:  ALL of your health concerns or conditions are affected by your nutrition!


4. Identify your goals.  

Answer the question WHY do I want to improve my nutritional habits?  Perhaps answer this statement….I want to improve my nutritional habits in order to…..?  Answering this question will help you quickly zero in on your goals.  It will also help identify any other areas of your life which may be affected by your relationship with food.  Do you want to be able to feel better in your clothes? Do you want to be able to ride a bicycle with your grandchildren? Do you want to lower your cholesterol levels to avoid medications? Do you just want to feel better?  Go ahead and identify a few things you’d like to do!  Refer back to your list time and time again to keep yourself motivated.  It’s a fabulous feeling when you can check items off that list!

Now that you have identified the building blocks of your new nutritional needs, you can begin putting together your new, healthy, nutritional plan!

Try not to be overwhelmed, and don’t feel like you have to change everything at once!   A less overwhelming way to approach this is to find a new, healthy food that you enjoy, that you can add in, rather than take away, for your first change.  When you have accomplished that, add another!  Do this for one week, and then the following week, try reducing or removing one of the foods that you know you should eat less of.  For instance, replace regular French fries, with a baked sweet potato. Remember to do this according to your bio-individuality, and your likes and dislikes.  Another option to get started is to drink one less cup of coffee per day the first week.  One of the things I have changed is that I allow myself one TALL cup of coffee, but I make it a really good one, a delicious frothy latte.  I have found a way to make a really good, healthy latte.  So these are just a couple of examples of how to get started with this.  Just start slowly!  Change one thing at a time, and go at your own pace.  Be sure to stop and congratulate yourself with each accomplishment along the way!  Be proud because you are taking control of your health!  

Here are a couple of ideas to make this whole process a little easier, and a little more fun!

  • Find a buddy to join you.  Get together and exchange ideas and share your struggles, as well as your accomplishments!
  • Visit your local farmer’s market!  It is a fabulous way to get a little exercise and fresh air, while improving your nutrition, as well as supporting your local economy.
  • While at your farmer’s market, find an item you have never eaten before.  Buy it! When you get home, look up a fun, easy recipe to prepare it.  It may be a hit and become your new favorite!
  • Remember to NOT deprive yourself.  If you are hungry, eat!
  • Give yourself permission to indulge on occasion!  It’s really ok for you to have a piece of birthday cake at your grandchild’s birthday party!   But don’t be surprised if you really don’t crave it anymore.  I found that when my body adjusted to the good, healthy foods I was giving it, I no longer craved the bad stuff. In fact, I discovered that I actually could trust my body to crave the things it really needed!  That’s a wonderful feeling, and it will happen to you too!

I would love to hear your ideas about what has worked for you and what has not.  If you are confused and searching for your key to healthy living and better nutrition, I would love to help you find it!  I won’t tell you what food you have to put on your plate.  But I can promise I’ll help you find a way of eating that will nourish your body, as well as your soul.  Give me a holler, and let’s get started!


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