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Mind

Picking Apart Addiction

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“It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour.”
Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

For decades I have been looking at my eating problem the wrong way. I was looking to control the behavior. To curb the action. But, that has never worked. As the above quote from Dr. Mate explains, it is more than just action.

With that in mind, I have had to be really honest with myself about what food was soothing (and still is?) after all these decades. What did I need relief from? Fear, anxiety, pain, trauma? All of the above.

So, how do I move forward acknowledging that my problem with food is really a problem with misdirected soothing?

“The greatest damage done by neglect, trauma or emotional loss is not the immediate pain they inflict but the long-term distortions they induce in the way a developing child will continue to interpret the world and her situation in it. All too often these ill-conditioned implicit beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies in our lives. We create meanings from our unconscious interpretation of early events, and then we forge our present experiences from the meaning we’ve created. Unwittingly, we write the story of our future from narratives based on the past…Mindful awareness can bring into consciousness those hidden, past-based perspectives so that they no longer frame our worldview.’Choice begins the moment you disidentify from the mind and its conditioned patterns, the moment you become present…Until you reach that point, you are unconscious.’ …In present awareness we are liberated from the past.”
Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction

Acknowledge the past. Live in the present. Believe in the future.

Down and Dirty Gardening

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I’ve been busy gardening. We moved in last October and a month ago all the critical upgrades were done so I’ve been having fun getting into some down and dirty gardening.

I’ve planted beans, radishes, 4 types of lettuce, kale, rosemary, thyme, tomatoes and some squash. Everything has been growing like crazy with the hot weather.

I want to share a photo of my Scarlet Runner beans. They are trellised to make a privacy surround. I love these beans! The red blooms are amazing, they yield like crazy and they are super easy to grow. And the size of the beans are humongous!

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Everyone Is A World From Which To Learn

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Today we have the capability of connection at our fingertips. Technology has made connecting with the world a fundamental part of our day. We busy ourselves with Gmail, Hulu, YouTube, WordPress, The New York Times etc. to gain knowledge and understanding of the world around us. But, I want to steer the focus of education inward for a moment.

I hold the ideal we are all worlds of knowledge. We all have the capability to teach and impact those we connect with through our choices, opinions and deeds. As humans, we build our world by emulating, discounting and defending against the opinions and actions we encounter. Our lives are defined by our choices, opinions, and deeds.

And, if we are honest, we must admit the world we build around us is displayed for all who are willing to observe. We all possess the capability to be a beacon of light and love just as easily as darkness and hate.

We, however, can choose to cultivate compassion when we learn of atrocity in someone else’s far away world, we can fight indifference by buying a poor man a meal in exchange for his wisdom, instead of ignoring him while rushing to our morning latte, we can also defend ourselves against the elitist mentality which refuses to accept atrocity and living in destitution as a possibility in our own worlds.

Every thought we think, every word we speak, and every gesture we make, be it of love, indifference or hate is impacting someone’s world and has the potential to spread.

I beg you today, choose light, love, and compassion to build a world worth emulating.

Who is wise? The one who learns from every person…   Ben Zoma (Talmud – Avot 4:1)

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When I was earning my B.A., I would make sandwiches in exchange for a homeless person’s life story. In my University days, I was fascinated with education level not equating to success in life.

I can tell you without a doubt, sitting down with what most people would consider losers in the game life, gave me more insight into succeeding in my own life than any course I paid for. All I had to do is be open to the value of their life lessons.

A lot of these people got hit by crippling circumstances at the job level, home life and health. But one characteristic was apparent in all homeless I was honored to share a meal with: They were immensely grateful for the small things: a bike, a blanket, an extra sandwich, words of encouragement, and acknowledgement of their worth as a human.

In exchange for opening my mind, pantry and schedule, I received huge tools to succeed in my own life in regards to personal finance, politics, survival strategies and how to stay positive in the face of adversity.

I beg you to eagerly learn from everyone. Everyone has a story and lessons to be learned. Open your mind, heart and schedule to learn from everyone.

Who is wise? The one who learns from every person…   Ben Zoma (Talmud – Avot 4:1

Stop Following Someone Else’s Recipe for Happiness and Success

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Growing up, I believed emulating someone who “made it” would give me a happy and successful life. I cannot express enough how much following someone else’s roadmap made me feel like a failure. My true self, my skills and values disappeared. I was not being authentic.

Here are some things I learned about myself after getting back to basics, becoming authentic and walking my own path:

I like variety a lot. If I get bored, I’m no longer interested. If I learn everything there is to know about a subject, I shelve it until a new facet piques my interest. I can’t be happy focusing on one subject or skill. I’m a high energy multitasker. Book work does not suit me unless it translates into action. Self help and how to dominate my bookshelves.

I’m not impulsive when it comes to spending my time and money. I’m hardwired to be cautious, contemplative and I do a lot of sound research before making time and money decisions.

My morals and ethics do not work on a sliding scale. In my world, right and wrong are black and white. No gray here.

I’m not a flashy person. I don’t buy things to impress others nor base my worth on things. All things fall out of fashion.

I like manual labor a lot. I like to toss and stack wood, garden, landscape, and do home improvement projects. I like the feeling of accomplishment after completing a project. I like feeling useful.

I like buying used clothes a lot. They are cheaper, preshrunk and if I get lucky, I can buy a new Season’s wardrobe for under $30. Who can haggle with jeans for $3? No one I know.

I thrive with a small group of great friends rather than lots of acquaintances. And my friends have to be honest, genuine, and engaged in order for the friendships to thrive.

I love hanging out with kids. I love teaching them new skills and I always learn something new in a gaggle of kids. Kids rock!

I’m good at finances. I like good quality at a reasonable price and I’m not afraid to negotiate. I’m also more apt to ask repair techs to teach me how to perform maintenance than rehire them for the same issue.

I’m a really great judge of character. I’ve gotten way better at sniffing out deception over the years. And, I don’t tolerate it.

I am not competitive. I don’t compete with anyone but me. I set my goals, timelines and acceptable performance guidelines.

I’m much happier, feel fulfilled and my self worth and confidence are at an all time high. I love life when I am me. And there is no one else I would rather be.

Have you been through a similar experience? Let me know how being your true self has enriched your life!

Increase Productivity and Wealthy with IFTTT

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Lack of follow through halts the greatest of plans. Thankfully, technology has consistently provided a buffer for less than stellar human performance. The IFTTT app is a great way to automate daily tasks, streamline productivity, and save time and money.

Take for example, our Honeywell wifi thermostat. Checking and changing the temperature level from our cell phones or lap top was a nifty feature. We hoped to save money by turning it down when away. But, remembering to turn the thermostat down was an elusive goal. I needed automated technology to maximize results.

Automation is where IFTTT excels. I created what the app calls a “recipe,” and IFTTT drops the thermostat to 65° when my cell phone disconnects from our wifi network and resumes normal schedule when reconnected: execution, efficiency, and savings on autopilot.

Their are hundreds of IFTTT recipe possibilities. Here are some more recipe examples:

– Upload photos to cloud storage.

– Log calls, texts, completed tasks, etc. on Google Calendar.

– Text contact an “I’m busy” message after missing a call.

– Turn lights on, start radio, open garage, etc. when arriving home.

– Time of day and location dictated volume settings.

– Notifications based on temperature, weather condition and uv parameters.

– Text contact before battery is drained.

And lots more!

You see, IFTTT can help us all by taking care of mundane details automatically; increasing efficiency, free time and money.

If You Have Kids, Nephews, Nieces or Work with Children, I Beg You to Watch This!

Teach Every Child About Food – Jamie Oliver

Visceral Fat: How It Effects Us and How To Prevent It

I want to make an example of myself for this post. This is me in 2014. I’m guessing I’m  a little over 200lbs in the picture below. My height is under 5′. Wearing a tight size 18 womens. Clinically between obese and morbidly obese.

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It was not until this year that I thoroughly comprehended how much my obesity was making me sick and leading me down a road of misery back then. Science is now able to explain why my obese body was malfunctioning: visceral fat.

Visceral fat can be found deep within the abdominal area and has been linked to a miriad of health disorders: autoimmune disorders, type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance), high LDL (bad) cholesterol, low HDL (good) cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

Much like an endocrine gland, visceral fat generates excess hormones which affect our bodies’ healthy hormonal balance and function; causing hormonal imbalances and illness. An excess amount of visceral fat also produces cytokines (tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6) which impairs the cardiovascular system.

How do we lower our visceral fat level and reverse the side effects on our cardiovascular and hormonal levels?

– Eat a whole foods diet loaded with complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables (think whole potatoes, apples, bananas, kale, tomatoes, whole oats, etc.)

– Keep highly processed foods like box cereals, chips, pasta, white bread, take out, drive through meals, etc. to a minimum. Try to get as close to the natural food source as possible: an apple should look like an apple (not Apple Jacks).

– Opt for leaner meats.

– Limit oils.

– Watch portion sizes as well. Oftentimes, calories in vs. calories out can be our biggest key to winning the battle.

– Engaging in 30-60 minutes of moderate activity a day is optimal as visceral fat responds to exercise quicker than it’s outside counterpart, subcutaneous fat.

The picture below was taken December 2015. Around 119 pounds. Wearing a size 4 womens.

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After implementing a whole food diet with regular exercise the weight dropped really quickly. My health returned just as quick and my energy level sky rocketed and is on par with my late teens (I’m in my mid thirties). In short, If I take care of my body, it takes care of me.

If the thought of implementing a whole food diet seems impossible, feel free to ask me any questions. Or if you are curious to see what a primarily whole food diet looks like day in and day out, you can find my food diary on My Fitness Pal. Feel free to send me a friend request if you like:
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/lizanne_3

I’m here to help any way I can!

For more info on this topic, please visit:
Harvard Health Publications

Me Time Memorandum

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Early mornings when everyone else is asleep and I can focus on me time in silence is amazing! Whether that time is spent networking with like minded people, writing articles and postcards, gardening, reading books or just simply enjoying a piping hot cup of coffee or tea along with cinnamon loaded candle diffusers, it always reminds me how powerful me time is and how it energizes my mind and spirit.

Do yourself a favor: put yourself on your to-do list, show yourself love, and invest time in yourself.

Drop the to-do and focus on you.

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