Being overweight or underweight puts you at risk for chronic diseases, health conditions, and potential falls and fractures. Doctors determine weight based on your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is a calculation of your body fat based on your height and weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), your weight status is determined by your BMI. The levels of weight status are:
BMI Weight Status
Researchers have determined that a BMI of 25 or more is a risk for chronic disease and poor health. To maintain a healthy weight, the CDC recommends that your diet contains:
Lean protein sources include fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and soy products. Low-fat foods should be low in saturated and trans-fat and cholesterol. Talk with your doctor about how many calories you need every day and plan your diet within that allowance.
To determine your BMI status check the chart below and if you would like a PDF version let me know in the comments below and I will send one to you.
In a previous article I provided 11 unhealthy eating patterns and made suggestions for eating in a more wholesome way. Now the problem may not be with what you are eating, but with how much you’re eating - or not eating.
Most of us really do not know how many servings of fruits and vegetables we’re supposed to eat on a daily basis. And if you do know, then you may not know how much of each type is in a serving. Here are a few examples:
While it may sound tricky, it is actually isn’t once you get the hang of the science behind it.
And here are four tips to help you out.
Washing, draining, and cutting your food in advance is a great time-saver. Plus, it’ll stop any excuse you have from grabbing that comfort food, like a cookie, dead in its tracks. Once you got that done it’ll be easier to add some chopped broccoli to your omelets, or a handful of berries to your yogurt or pancake batter.
This also makes it easier to roast vegetables, giving them a quick stir in some oil, a bit of seasoning and heat pumps up their flavor and, in some cases, even enhances their nutritional values. You can roast almost all vegetables either in the oven or on your stove top. And you can even mix and match, and create your own, unique healthy recipes.
One of our favorite dishes is to stir fry vegies with chicken or left over roast pieces. Add a small portion of rice on the side or pour the mixture over the rice and you have a quick and easy yummy meal.
Another wonderful way to plan ahead is keep frozen fruits and vegetables on hand. They still retain both their nutritional value and their delicious flavor. The added advantages of having frozen food stuffs available are that they are already prepared, ready to go, and available whenever you need them.
Enjoy a Salad
Compliment your lunch or dinner meal with a salad. Salads may be the most versatile meals ever developed. You can do classic salads or add protein like chicken or tuna; you can add beans, chickpeas, corn - whatever your taste buds desire.
You can also add nuts, fruits, and vegies to your salad. There is nothing like a plate salad with leavy greens, toped with strawberries, blueberries, mixed nuts, and sliced left-over chicken. A really healthy meal in itself. However, watch what you use for dressing as some of them are too creamy and filled with salt. Use a simple dressing such as Italian or my favourite - a splashing of Amoretto liqueur.
Salads are also a great lunch alternative as they are lower in calories while still filling you up while at the same time reducing the risk of late afternoon tiredness. This is so because salads contain ingredients that are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals that keep your metabolism going longer while boosting concentration and energy levels.
And Then There Is Dessert
The trick here is to have that sumptuous dessert without blowing your diet to heck. It seems we all crave something sweet after each meal (and in-between them) because our blood sugar levels drop at certain times during the day. Rather than going for that candy bar or bucket of ice-cream, grab a bit of fruit or raw vegies which will fill you with fiber, vitamins, minerals.
This will bring your craving to a halt plus it will improve your focus and sharpness during the afternoon, as opposed to that drowsy feeling that comes over us when we’re drained and feel out of sorts. You can cut up several types of fruit to make a fruit salad or put them in a blender to make a smoothie. You can have a different type of desert for every day of the week that will satisfy your sweet tooth without piling on the calories.
Does that mean you can’t have a piece of pie after a meal. Absolutely not. However, watch how big of slice you have – a quarter of a pie is too much, cut the quarter in half or thirds and you are looking at better portion. And, if you are having apple pie reduce the ice cream scope to half.
The best thing you can do for your health is to find the right amounts that suit your needs. Your gender, age, whether you lead an active or a more sedentary lifestyle are all factors that determine how much you should eat.
Here Comes The Meat
Meat adds protein to your diet and most people enjoy it with there meals. Vegetarians need protein as well, but they get it from other sources – a topic for another article. Remember too much red meat is hard on the heart. We don’t need a whole steak or four thick slices of roast beef for example. The best way to calculate meat portions is to measure them against the palm of your hand. Make the meat portion as big as the palm of your hand. This way you wont eat the whole steak and maybe you will have enough for two people or save some for another day with your salad.
The bottom line is that you can keep your BMI in check by eating balanced meals and proper foods. One method of keeping that balance and mix of foods is using the Mediterranean Diet Plan (See my Review here)
The Mediterranean Diet is a way to consume healthy foods in the traditional style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The diet traditionally consists of the region’s fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seafood, olive oil and dairy. Ah, and “la pièce de résistance” of any meal is a pleasant glass of wine or two. However, the Mediterranean Diet is more than just delicious and wholesome food. For it to have an impact on your mood and your mental and physical health you will need to keep up with your regular physical activity and socialization especially by sharing your favorite meals with family and friends.
If you want to create your own Customized Mediterranean Diet Plan Go Here.
Thank you for reading and as always,
Stay Safe. Be Well. And become the person you were meant to be.
Sources for this article
BMI Tables : https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmi_tbl2.htm
Food is intended for the human body as sustenance and nutrition. That is its only intent. It is meant to give essential nutrients that work to support internal bodily process and feed major organs. It provides us with energy and is essential for the proper physical development of children and keeps adults fit.
Somewhere along the way, we have seriously lost touch with this fact. Of course, the endless rows of goodies at the supermarket, and unlimited choices of junk food have not helped us in any way. Healthy eating still eludes many of us, as America struggles with obesity and lifestyle choices are the leading cause of premature death from diseases like that of the heart that result from them.
You may be continuing unhealthy eating patterns without even knowing it. You may need another wake-up call around ways you can eat healthier to avoid the complications that come from poor nutrition and poor eating habits.
Here 11 signs that indicate you are not engaging in healthy eating habits
1. You Finish Your Meal Before Anyone Else.
If you are the first one done eating at the dinner table, you are probably eating mindlessly and are not enjoying your meal in a healthy way. Chomping down your meal within a few minutes can lead to indigestion in seconds, and this in turn can lead to your becoming overweight.
Instead, eat more slowly and take part in whatever conversation is going on around the table. Your hormonal signal to turn off eating takes about 20 minutes so if you finish much sooner than that, you will feel hungry even when you have taken in enough calories, which typically results in eating more food than you really need.
2. You Eat Food That Has Been Manufactured In A Food Processing Factory.
Instead of cooking with fresh ingredients, you might be choosing to eat pre-processed foods, which are high in preservatives and are often high in salt and/or calories. Take the time to cook a meal with fresh ingredients, which are healthier foods. Find a nice selection of home-prepared meals you can put into your own personal cookbook. When you cook for yourself, you know exactly what has gone into making any meal and you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing what you put into your body.
3l You Shop In The Center Part Of The Grocery Store.
If you find yourself going up and down the center aisles of the grocery store, where canned and processed foods reside and less or no time in the periphery of the store that holds fresh produce, meat, and dairy you are eating foods that are high in preservatives, salt and sugar and NOT real whole food. Remember, food that does not need refrigeration is usually processed (except whole grains of course) Spend more time in the produce section of the grocery store because this leads to eating healthier fruits and vegetables instead of eating unhealthy, processed foods.
4. You Eat Right Out Of The Box Or Carton.
If you find yourself eating potato chips right out of the bag or ice cream out of the carton, you are probably not eating the right portions of food and will have a tendency to eat more food than you had originally intended to eat. This is a sure fire way to obesity. Instead, portion out your foods onto a plate or bowl so that you stop when that portion is gone and save the rest for another meal.
5. You Eat From The Drive Thru Regularly.
Unless you are ordering a salad every time, which most of us don’t, eating from a drive thru regularly is not conducive to good nutrition. Most drive thru restaurants offer fast food, which is greasy, fat filled and lacks any real nutrients. Consider whole food, which is food typically made up one ingredient and unprocessed. Fresh fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are whole foods, and they are not offered at the drive thru.
6. You Eat In Front Of The TV.
When you find yourself drawn toward eating in front of the television, it means you are probably eating mindlessly and not directing your attention to how much you are eating or to the signals your body gives off when you are full. This leads to overeating and obesity. Sit down to your meals and listen to soothing music or to nothing at all. That way you can focus on your meal and not on something else. It seems as one gets older and their children have left home eating in front of the TV is more habit forming.
7. You Eat A Narrow Variety Of Food.
If you just eat the same limited amount of food each day, you stand a good chance of missing some key nutrients in your diet. Fill your menu with different foods so that you can be sure to get the nutrients you need. Colorful plates are healthy, filled with many colors of vegetables and fruit for dessert to get key nutrients from plant foods. Look at the USDA’s Food Groups Chart and make sure to choose foods from each group daily, this is the easiest way to ensure you are eating a well-balanced diet.
8. You Eat To Appease Emotions.
Emotional eating or overeating is always unhealthy. Mainly this takes place when people are bored, lonely, tired, upset, stressed, or angry. It always occurs when one is not truly hungry but is trying to use food to cover up emotions and the food or foods of choice is always junk food. As cocaine, or other illicit drugs junk food stimulates pleasure centers in the brain because it is loaded with sugar, fat or factory created flavoring that holds no nutritional value.
Emotional overeating can be a serious problem that can lead to obesity, depression, guilt, and anxiety over the eating itself. This is one of the most serious unhealthy eating habits and plenty of help is available to address the problem. Unfortunately too many people binge eat or are caught in the trap of gorging themselves and then vomit. If you find you are one of these people please seek help.
9. You Eat Two Or Less Giant Meals Daily.
It is much healthier to eat 5 to 7 small meals each day than to eat two or worse yet one large one. When you eat small meals several times per day you keep the metabolism revved and never let your blood sugars drop. When you starve yourself the whole day and then down a big meal, you put yourself at risk for obesity and you will not maintain optimal energy levels you’re your daily activities. This is called grazing and if you watch animals they have this down pat.
10. You Eat More Calories Daily Than You Burn
The simple formula for weight management and weight loss is to eat less calories than you burn so to create a deficit. This is true for men and women and becomes even more detrimental as we age, and out metabolism slows naturally. Online calorie calculators can determine how many calories you need to either lose or maintain weight based on your age, weight, and activity level.
11. You Eat In Secret.
If you are hiding food, or eating meals in secret so that your spouse, friends or family do not see you, something is wrong. It could be that you have a negative association with your eating habits that you want to keep secret, or you have some guilt or shame attached to eating. In this case, it is important to identify and deal with the issue, a therapist can help.
Eating healthy is not difficult if you follow the tips noted above. Healthy eating means eating mindfully and choosing foods that are best for your body.
The takeaway is simple: Eat To Live… Don’t Live To Eat!
It’s really all about choices, and it’s all in our hands. Take the time to evaluate your diet and eating habits. Make the necessary changes before it is too late, as prevention is worth a thousand cures.
Make small changes every week, instead of drastic shifts where you will feel the biggest impact. Make a list of all the foods you need to cut down on in your diet and keep cutting one out each week.
Certainly, these efforts are worth your while, as life is too short not to enjoy it.
Oh, and before you go check your BMI to see if you are overweight.
Being overweight or underweight puts you at risk for chronic diseases, health conditions, and potentials falls and fractures. Doctors determine weight based on your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is a calculation of your body fat based on your height in inches (centimeters) and weight in pounds (kilos). According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), your weight status is determined by your BMI. The levels of weight status are:
You can check your FREE BMI calculation HERE
Thank you for reading and remember your personal growth and development matters and as always,
Keep safe and Be Well.
Every day we experience positive and negative stress. The positive stressors are good but the negative ones - not so good. Some of those negative ones are within our reach to control and change. Two stressors that you can do something about are those that cause you to feel overwhelmed and living a frenetic life.
In this article we peel back the stress onion on these two stressors and find out how they activate your levels of stress and what you can do about them.
What happens when you are feeling overwhelmed and frenzied?
Living a frenzied life actually causes you to be overwhelmed, and if you are living a frenzied life consistently you are constantly peeling that layer of the stress onion leaving you in a relentless state of stress. This is called distress and it is not good for your body, mind or soul.
When you are on the go all the time your body suffers. What you need to do is take a break, giving some space for you to calm your mind and slow down the body, giving you time to refuel your tank with fresh energy.
So, if your life is on this hectic pace, it’s time to do something to reduce your stress and feel less overwhelmed.
What can you do about it?
While there are some things outside of your control there are a number of things you can do to help calm yourself and reduce your stress.
Start with your priorities.
Write out a list of everything you need to do. Don’t worry at this time whether they are important or not. Just get them down. Once you are satisfied that you dumped everything that is on your mind onto the paper, go through your list and prioritize in descending order. You may find some are unimportant and shouldn’t be there, others you can delegate to someone else (even home things if you have children or other helpers) and others you can defer to another day. If you are deferring things to a later date then decide when you will do them and put them into your calendar for another day.
Next, get organized.
Being organized can greatly reduce your stress. Take your calendar, color code it for certain tasks, work in 60 or 90-minute stretches. If you are a morning person put the difficult tasks in the morning and leave the easier ones for the afternoon. If you are an afternoon person reverse the order. Make sure you allot sufficient time to get things done.
Prioritizing and calendaring will help you feel less frenzied and overwhelmed.
One other thing. Ask for help. You can do this at home or at the office. It is amazing how people will respond when they see you overwhelmed.
Delegate whenever you can.
You got to know when to “hold them, fold them or let them go.” Hold them when you have prioritized them. Fold them when you have detailed when you will carry them out? Let them go when you know you need to. It’s this last one that often is the most difficult. You have to “let go” when stress affects your health.
Letting go often means delegating to others so that the frenzied part of your life is minimized, and you are feeling less overwhelmed.
In a nutshell the art of delegating to others simply means you allow others to do some of the work for you so you can concentrate on the important tasks and areas of your life. Think of it as teamwork.
Delegating to others can occur in the home such as: delegating chores to others, carpooling your kids to sports, dance, or other activities, and sharing doing the dishes. There are many tasks that you can delegate around the home.
If you are operating a home office – think of delegating some activities to others through outsourcing or handing off some responsibilities to your young or teenage children such as shredding paper, emptying waste baskets, answering telephones, or delivering products.
Delegating when you work outside the home is another matter. We will review that at another time.
Live in the Moment
When things are swirling around you and you seem to be off balance take a few moments to be in the moment. Close your eyes, take a few deep breathes and relax your body - let your shoulders slump, relax your head and neck, drop your hands or fold them comfortably in your lap, and relax your legs. For the next few minutes just "be" and not "do". You can make this a spiritual moment for you and say a simple prayer, like "Father, help me change the things that are in my control, and let go of the rest," or whatever prayer comes to mind in this moment of quietude.
What’s this all about Anyway?
Think of it this way. Stress kills. Stress can cause heart attacks, strokes, and gastric issues. There are studies that show that it also kills brain cells.
Minimizing stress will help you to focus, think straight, sleep better and in general live healthier. It can lessen your anxiety, live with greater balance, and improve your relationships. So, why not try lessening your stress with the few suggestions outlined in this article. It may simply mean you will live longer and healthier. Not a bad outcome.
The bottom line is that we all deal with stress each and every day of our lives, but if we let it build up it could cause serious problems. Experiencing constant feelings of being overwhelmed and living a fast-paced frenzied lifestyle are two of the biggest stressors in our lives. The good news is that they can be controlled and managed, but it takes commitment and practice.
I hope this short article helps you reduce your stress by prioritizing, organizing, delegating, and living in the moment.
Please stay safe and healthy and remember your personal growth and development matters.
Oh by the way, you may want to take my Masterclass on Stress Management found under the Storefront Tab, or join FORTIS MEMBERSHIP which has numerous videos, e-Books and other resources for your personal growth and development.
Thank you for reading,
Richard P. Fontanie
Over the years I have coached managers, business owners and employees about facing their fears. Here are three typical examples: Jane operated a business which "failed," and then wanted to start another, but was "fearful" of "failing again;" a group of employees said "they feared their boss”; and Joe lost his job and "feared" for his future.
Today many people are experiencing more fear than they had in the past. For the first time they are confronted with so much ambiguity that they seem frozen in time and space. Fear does that. It freezes us but the good news is that we can thaw out.
When I asked my partner about her thoughts on fear she said, "fear is the big elephant's mouse in the room." So let's take a look at this little rascal that makes the mighty elephant fearful.
First, let’s talk about some of the positive things about fear. Fear keeps us from making silly mistakes, spending money foolishly, and taking unnecessary risks. When an impending danger faces us we rightly react instinctively with a "freeze, flight or fight" response.
However, when fear stops us from moving forward when we should be moving forward, or running away from something when we shouldn't, or being overly anxious about something that keeps us from taking steps towards something better, then it's time to take a hard look at how fear is holding us hostage.
Remember “fear” is in the mind of the beholder so we need to go within ourselves and uncover what it is that is holding us back. Consider these eight key questions to explore:
Now that you understand the nature of your fear, answer these four questions to begin moving forward.
No one can predict the future with any certainty but one thing I do know is that there is "life" after leaving a place of employment. Opportunities await you.
Today is a good time to review your previous employment with an objective eye and review the results you achieved, understand your own work style and skill sets, and if you want to seek further employment build a resume that outlines those qualities and achievements. You now have the opportunity to seek the type of employment you always wanted and find a better "employment fit" for your profile and skill sets.
Today is a good time to sharpen your skills. Consider taking a course online. There are many available and there are excellent ones with really affordable rates.
Today is a good time to take advantage of another opportunity, self-employment. Think about becoming self-employed, developing an online business, becoming an affiliate marketer, opening an online store based on your skill sets, writing blogs for money, or making presentations and product reviews on YouTube. If you have never done this before I advise you seek a coach to guide you. If you are so inclined, listen to my YouTube introduction to one of the best online coaches I have had the pleasure of knowing and take his 100% free workshop.
Rather than fear the future, embrace it with a positive attitude and recognize it is filled with opportunity. Set your goals and then act.
Consider all the courageous people who overcame their fear and accomplished great things for themselves and human kind. Yes, they were afraid, but they broke through their fear barrier - often with the help of others and a Higher Power. Confront the mouse in your room and you may find it's just a tiny thing anyway.
Thank you for reading,
Note: This article is updated and revised from 2018
Meditation has many health benefits and is a highly effective way to release stress and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Over time it builds self-discipline, promotes healthier coping mechanisms, improves self-image and awareness, helps people make better choices in life, compartmentalize and focus; and overall has a transformative effective on one’s experience relating to stress.
Meditation is quite simple in nature yet transcends thought when one controls the monkeys. Buddha refers to distraction as monkeys vying for our attention, hence the phrase “the monkey mind”. When people are in a deep meditative state, they exist in the moment, and in that moment, time is suspended. They go beyond consciousness and are gifted with the whisper of the divine where compassion, respectfulness and forgiveness are strengthened,
We now know that people from all the corners of the world, in whatever position they hold meditate to relieve stress. It is a practice that has both spiritual connections and has many expressions.
It has been scientifically shown to lower blood pressure, aid with sleep, improve memory and help manage pain.
People meditate as a:
The basic principles of meditative practice has four elements
There is no doubt we will be distracted during meditation. We need to recognize these as being part of our lives. By recognizing the distractions we give ourselves permission to remove them and get back to focus.
Thank you for Reading,
(This is an excerpt from Stressology 200: The Remedies: Meditation. “Stressology: Stress Care for Today” is an eight-hour Masterclass and can be found in the Storefront, or you may consider becoming a Member of FORTIS where “Stressology: Stress Care for Today” is included in your membership fee.)
Recently I received a response on Facebook from a dear friend and author, Anne Campbell, who reminded us to love “your God-given self, as you’d love others.” It has been awhile since I wrote about this topic and I thought, ‘Wow, this is a good subject to lead into 2021."
Now you may be good at taking care of others but how good are you at caring for yourself? We are compassionate towards others but what about self-compassion? Self-care is a critical element of our physical and mental wellness that we often suppress and do not discuss enough.
On one level we need to be quite focused on how we go about taking care of ourselves; and, on another level we can feel selfish and almost overwhelmed when we do.
When was the last time you took a day or even a week off to decompress and explore the meaning of life? We often save our days and guard them like gold, preserving them for times of illness or family vacation days. Perhaps we need to challenge ourselves and think differently. A better approach may be to find a healthy balance that allows for self-preservation without sacrificing all those things we hold as being equally important such as family, career, and community.
Practicing compassionate self-care allows us to be fully and compassionately present to ourselves to others.
This may be a good time to reflect on our self-care practice. Many of us are cloistered, so to speak, because of COVID-19 and wonder what tomorrow may bring. Let's not be anxious about tomorrow but concentrate on what today brings and how we can become better self-care givers.. Think about it.
How Do We Know If We Are Neglecting Our Self-Care?
Here are a few tell-tale signs that we might be neglecting our self-care: feelings of being stressed, feeling burned out, finding that you are short tempered or responding angerly at others when normally you don’t, or not sleeping well. Failing physical health is another sign. Illnesses can tax our body so much so that we need to take time away from work, and after an illness we find that it takes considerable time to regain our energy.
Another indication of neglecting ourselves is that we rarely allow others to do something for us. For many of us this becomes a learning curve – that is to enable others to take over a situation while we take a necessary break or focus on other activities that require our attention. For some of us this means being open to a new skill set called delegation.
Critical Ways To Strengthen Self-Care
Proper self-care can create a pathway to a way for you to better manage your stress and ultimately live your best life according to Psychology Today. It can protect the energy you need to survive.
Here are five key ways to strengthening your self-care.
#1 Know When To Say ‘No’
Practicing self-care requires you to establish clear boundaries on behalf of yourself with others who may or may not have your best interests at heart.
You can’t please all the people all the time, so, give yourself permission to say ‘no’.
Don’t fret about whether people won’t like you for saying no. People will probably like and respect you more if you are honest with them instead of over-committing yourself and having to cancel things at the last minute.
Our personal boundaries and how any given situation affects them. Then develop a strategy to deal with that.
When saying no, do so politely in a way that makes your boundaries clear. And avoid guilt after saying no. You always have a right to turn down an invitation or refuse a favor. It’s okay to make yourself and your mental health a priority.
#2 Plan For Self-Care Activities
For many of us self-care just doesn’t happen without some conscious effort. A part of that effort is to remind ourselves that we need to take breaks from our busy schedule. And speaking of scheduling book into your calendar some ‘me’ time. Read a book, take a walk, find a quiet spot and just sit in the moment. The point is our body, mind and emotions need a break and in order to do this we need to re-focus some of our energy towards looking after ourselves.
#3 Put Sleep on Your Priority List
Ensure you get sufficient sleep. Put it on your priority list.
Inconsistent sleep can have some serious consequences. Not only does it affect our physical health, but lack of sleep can also contribute to overall anxiety and stress. And sometimes it turns into a vicious cycle since anxiety often leads to disruptions in sleep and disruptions in sleep often contribute to anxiety and even depression.
Schedule a full seven to nine hours of snooze time and then monitor your levels of anxiety throughout the day. You don’t have to be like our cat that gets 19 hours a sleep a day but get what you need to refuel your energy.
Adequate sleep fuels your mind, keeps you in balance, sustains your mood and improves your interactions with others.
#4 Maintain A Healthy Support System
Now this seems a bit of contradiction. This is not about ‘caring’ for others in a way that takes away from caring for yourself but finding support in true and positive friendships. When we get busy, we often skimp on our relationships with others. We become overwhelmed with busyness to the detriment of our family and friends. Socializing in a positive way gives opportunity to grow physically and emotionally. The importance of healthy relationships is such that sometimes we need to plan time for them. Build them into your calendar.
#5 Connect With Your Spirit
Finding our inner spirit through meditation has lasting effects on improving our well-being.
Spending quiet time by putting your mind to rest using the techniques of meditation gives you the space for healing in the moment.
Here is a simple technique to get you started. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting -- out loud or silently -- a positive mantra such as “I feel at peace” or “Maranatha”. Breathe deeply and place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds. Then, just rest in the moment.
Take some time today to focus on whether or not you are practicing self-care. If you find you need to improve some areas, you don’t have to make drastic changes all at once. Take one step at a time by targeting a single area and then make small adjustments. You will be surprise by the overall improvement that begins to take hold of your life. Remember that compassionate self-care allows you to compassionately care for others or to fully understand the meaning of “love others as you love yourself.”
Take Care and Stay Healthy
The Enemy Is Not The Enemy
By Phil Symchych
Last week, I attended the November 11th Remembrance Day services at Regina Victoria Park to honor the memory of my father, Private John Symchych, a veteran of World War II. Yes, I wore a mask, and yes, I socially distanced from everyone.
My Dad was severely injured in WWII and suffered physical injuries as well as undiagnosed and untreated post-traumatic stress disorder throughout his life. He could not sit in front of an open window for fear of something bad happening. In our house, the drapes and blinds were usually closed.
When I was growing up, Dad told my brother and me stories of World War II. We saw his battle scars on his leg, abdomen, chest, and shoulder. He told us how he was chased by, and outran, a German tank. He was blinded by tank artillery that struck a brick school house where he was hiding, and he didn’t know if he’d see again. Once his sight returned several days later, he was sent back to battle where he suffered machine gun fire and was hit in his leg, abdomen, chest, and shoulder. He was 20 years old.
As he lay bleeding on the battlefield, two German officers came across him. My Dad, bleeding and in shock, thought that was the end of his life.
However, one German officer covered my Dad with his officer’s coat and the other gave him his flask of brandy. The German officers probably saved my Dad’s life. Canadian soldiers found and rescued my Dad a few hours later.
Sometimes the enemy is not the enemy.
(Phil went on to further describe his experience at the service and ended with this:
As a society, we can and must do a much better job of supporting our military who protect us in times of war and our first-responders who protect us in times of peace. Post-traumatic stress disorder is real even though the scars aren’t visible. The enemy is a lack of public awareness and support for people suffering mental illnesses. The enemy, therefore, is us.
The title of this article closely resembles one of those pesky pop-up ads on your favorite Internet site, claiming some remarkable fitness solution “in just 30 days!”.
When it comes to weight management, most would assume that in order to lose (or maintain) a certain body weight, eating more food is entirely counterproductive.
There is some truth to this assumption; any time you consume more calories than your body burns, the excess must be stored somewhere (remember those laws of conservation of energy from high school?).
However, there are actually a few gimmick-free ways that technically allow you to consume “more” food without experiencing any weight gain.
Throughout the remainder of this discussion, we will describe 5 tricks that allow you to consume more food without gaining fat in the process. Quite literally, having your cake and eating it too!
Same Portion Size Does Not Mean Equal Calories
When it comes to different food options, the same serving size of two different items in no way means they contain the same amount of calories. As you are (hopefully) aware, a fist-sized portion of lean chicken has nowhere close to the caloric content of an equal amount of chocolate cake.
What does this mean for you desire to eat more food without suffering the consequences? Well, to do the trick, it is important to pick out foods that are relatively low in calories in relation to serving size. This allows you to technically eat more food while simultaneously keeping your calorie count to a minimum.
Experiment With Different Eating Windows
While this trick may seem like a technicality, eating all of your daily calories within a relatively short window is another way to feel like you are stuffing your face guilt-free. Though this is often cited as intermittent fasting, you are not required to follow any specific protocol.
This approach may be rather difficulty at first. Over time, however, your body will most likely make a smooth adjustment. If you can maintain the willpower and self-control to avoid eating outside of whatever “window” you set for yourself, you can all but go crazy during feeding time, while still not maxing out your caloric budget.
Don’t Spend Your Calories On Liquids
One of the quickest and easiest ways to go overboard on calories is through sugary drinks such as soda and frozen beverages. Without even realizing it, you can easily consume half a days worth of recommended calories in only a few of these items! In your noble quest to eat more food without gaining weight, this obviously leaves you much less room to work with.
Instead of spending your daily calories on sugary drinks, try consuming water or another low-calorie alternative. By doing so, you are able to eat more food without going overboard on calories.
Whole Foods Versus Their Processed Alternatives
There are many reasons why whole foods are vastly superior to the processed excuses for nutrition readily available all around us. The fact that they almost always contain fewer calories is one of them.
When food is consumed in its natural form, it is spared the refinement process, which usually involves the addition of high calorie sweeteners and preservatives.
Simply put, as far as calories go, you get much more bang for your buck by eating whole foods. While stuffing your face with fresh produce may not be quite as enticing as a pint of ice cream, at least you eat more of it!
Lastly, You Guessed It, Exercise
This one is pretty simple and probably the first thing that comes to mind when posing the question of how to eat more food without gaining weight. Exercise causes the body to need more calories to burn as fuel.
This approach is quite the opposite of the other choices we have discussed in that instead of being mindful of your total caloric intake, you can actually decrease your bottom line.
To be fair, the amount of exercise required to burn a significant number of calories is pretty high. Eating till you are stuffed and trying to undo the situation on a treadmill is not very efficient. However, getting enough exercise on a consistent basis will allow you to eat more while reducing the amount of calories your body stores.
If we want is to live a happy, healthy life and achieve our goals, then we will need to pay attention to our mental health. Let’s not wait until we find ourselves seriously struggling mentally or facing a diagnosed illness. Ignoring our mental health can play havoc on our everyday lives. It can drain our energy, motivation, focus and our concentration, and increase our stress. If left unchecked, it can lead to more deeper issues like anxiety and depression. Here are five ways that will help us keep mentally fit.
1. Stress Management
You know sometimes we don’t even realize how much stress affects our daily lives. Continuous stress builds up over time and slowly we find we are not sleeping well, skimping on our diet, or living in a state of fog. Living under stress can lead us to fatigue, hair loss, muscle pain, weight changes, infertility and a negative approach to life.
Certainly we can’t cut out every stressful situation in our lives. However, we can learn to let go of what we can’t control and mitigate those things that do cause us stress. For example, we can’t control how busy our office gets at certain times or how other people act. These situations may agitate us. When we feel that way, we can take a time out and focus on something else, preferably a happy though, a positive affirmation, or just smile at the situation.
2. Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is not only good for our bodies it is also good for our minds. A simple thing like scheduling a short workout to start our day will pay dividends in lifting our mood and spirit. A 20-minute cardio routine is a perfect way to kick off the day. Studies show that brisk ten-minute walk three times a day is as healthy as a 30 to 45 minutes workout.
3. Go Unplugged
These days it is so easy to be constantly connected. Our phones are practically tethered to our hands. Often, we turn to it and unconsciously open a social media app. Before we know it, we’ve wasted 15-minutes scrolling aimlessly. Not only that, we are jarred into reviewing the latest breaking news which in turn triggers an avalanche of emotions that seems to be outpouring from all corners of the world. Suddenly, we are caught in that avalanche and we feel our emotions escalating to a higher pitch. That’s just for starters. That doesn’t even take into account how we interrupt ourselves to look at a notification or attempt to multi-task. Always being connected encourages plenty of bad habits.
Let’s do ourselves a major favor and unplug for a few hours or maybe for a whole day. Can we take the plunge and just put our phones on the “do not disturb’ mode, and spend our day untethered? Hey, we may find that we are re-engaging with people face to face, communicating with others, and enjoying nature. Isn’t that novel?
4. Walk Away
It doesn’t matter what we’re dealing with it’s important to understand when to walk away (or take a break) from a situation. It’s easy to stick at it and give in to frustration, but a short break can make all the difference.
5. Make Healthy Choices
What do you do when you feel hunger pains in the mid-afternoon? Do you wander over to the vending machine and grab a candy bar or a bag of chips? Perhaps, you brought a snack with you, but it’s not much better for you than what you found in the vending machine.
By making a simple healthy choice in times like this, we can positively influence our mental health. The best thing to do is to choose a snack that’s low on the Glycemic index, offers plenty of fiber and moderate protein. This helps us regulate our appetite. For example, take a small handful of raw nuts or a piece of cheese and top it off with a piece of fruit is more healthy for us.
What we are attempting to do here is to train our brain to get the same pleasure from healthy choices as it does to the junk it’s become accustomed to. Achieve this one dietary behavior at a time. Oh, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
It may not be easy to follow the tips above, especially if you are struggling with a mental health episode. However, once you start taking steps to apply some of the changes suggested you will see the difference in how you feel. Others will notice, too. We all experience mental health struggles from time to time, but these five tips can help us stay on track in improving our mental health.
Thank you for Reading
Your thoughts determine how you live your life. They become your mindset and outlook, which impacts your actions, which changes the outcomes of your life. Your thoughts inform your beliefs about you and your relationships with others. Whatever you believe about yourself and others, then, can become your perceived reality.
Do you have dreams about where you would like to be in life? If you want to manifest those dreams and desires into life, you first have to believe that you can succeed. Once you think that you can achieve what you set out to do, your mind begins looking for solutions to problems rather than obstacles and challenges. The opposite is also true. If you believe you won’t succeed, you have set yourself up for finding blocks to your success. So, what happens when you believe negative thoughts about yourself?
How Negative Thinking Manifests Itself
If you think you can’t and if you focus on your faults and live in fear of possible outcomes in what you want to do, it impairs your ability to achieve your intended goals. When you think negatively about yourself and say such things as, “I don’t deserve to succeed”, you set yourself up to become less motivated to succeed.
Every time you come across something that is an obstacle to your success, you will think that is what you deserve and will likely give up trying. When you do this you are lowering your self-esteem and you can end up settling for less because you don’t believe you deserve to actually achieve your dreams. In short, you’ll keep getting in your own way until you fulfill your prophecy about your ability to achieve your goal.
How to Turn Negative Thinking into Positive Beliefs
Set the Tone
The first step to changing negative beliefs into positive manifestations is to quiet your mind and connect with yourself. Starting your day with a positive frame of mind is crucial and it will set the tone for your entire day.
Before getting into the tasks of your day, engage in quiet meditation. Meditation will help you focus your thoughts, calm your anxieties and fears, and create room in your mind and heart for positive thoughts.
Through meditation you touch silence, your inner self and the Spirit that makes you whole. It teaches you the 'interconnectedness' of all that exists as a sense of oneness. Some refer to this phenomenon as the coming together of the universe, others understand it as the dynamic grace of a loving God within all that exists.
Clarify Your Vision
Knowing what you want is vital to positively manifesting your goals. Focus on your bigger picture and what it is you are trying to accomplish. If you want to live a purposeful life, picture in your mind’s eye that purpose and visualize yourself actually having accomplished it. It is your vision that will drive you to a successful end.
Now, every time you need to make a decision, ask yourself, does this get me closer to realizing my vision or goal? Is this helping me to manifest my vision? If not, it’s not worth your time, so move on. Negative thoughts don’t have a place in this process, and they certainly don’t contribute to your ability to fulfill your goals.
Learning to be thankful for what you have in life is crucial for manifesting your dreams. When you are grateful for your abilities and achievements, you begin to love yourself more and strengthen your confidence in your ability to achieve your goals. Shift your energy toward gratitude, and you will notice that you will feel better about yourself and will have an improved focus for attaining your goals. (See my post on gratitude here)
Feed Yourself With Positivity
Staying positive is the key to manifesting what you want in life. Your negative thoughts about yourself will get in the way every time as your brain finds ways to make your fears and negative beliefs come true. If you believe you will fail, you will fail. If you think you don’t deserve happiness, you don’t deserve happiness. Focusing on positivity and working towards your goals means changing the way you feel about yourself so that you can make your dreams a reality.
The bottom line in all of this is how your mind works. In order to eliminate negative thinking you will need to reprogram our mind. The good news is that you already have the power within you to do it. All you need to do is open the door to a better way. Manifest what you want in life by changing how you think. Release all that power within you. Go here to find a way to reprogram your thinking.
How you think about yourself powerfully impacts your everyday decisions, which will influence your dream and the goals you set out to achieve them. Instead of believing the worst in yourself, chose to think only the best. It just may be your elixir for a better and more prosperous life.
Thank you for reading,
Richard P Fontanie