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Motivation

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.

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

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

Falling into Contemplation

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As Fall arrives and the leaves begin to turn and drop, I am transported back to my childhood adventures in the woods. Fall has always been my favorite season. There is something magical about watching the leaves fall and with every crunch of those leaves underfoot, it beckons me to be mindful of where I am headed.

Fall to me, is a time to contemplate my accomplishments and failures. I slow down, pull back on the reigns and just savor all the lessons that have come since last Fall. This time helps me prioritize my game plan and be conscious of my decisions.

My health and fitness choices in the last year have been varied. I have become more adept at feeling my emotions instead of eating them. And, have found better ways to traverse all those uncomfortable emotions; learning to use them as a spring board for physical and mental health. I was very surprised how super restrictive dieting does not work long term for me. And that portion control is really what my weight loss and maintenance success is based on. I learned a lot about prioritizing and scheduling training and what levels of dedication I could feasibly fit into my family lifestyle. And how to creatively utilize my environment for training.

The leaves falling are much like my health and fitness habits. By themselves, they seem small and insignificant. But over time, added together, they can be quite impressive. I still have some room for improvement, but I’m happy with the progress I have made. And, look forward to defining my next path on a long, leaf crunching walk.

My Turning Point

The majority of my life I have trudged along the overweight to obese spectrum. I had difficulties buying clothing, limited my activities because I was embarrassed and my self confidence dwindled with every pound gained. Everything I did was woven with despair of being overweight and it robbed me of self respect and confidence for decades.

Looking back, I let my self worth get so low I believed I did not deserve to be healthy. I let my unhealthy lifestyle become a billboard for how I felt inside: hopeless.

I slammed face first into reality last Summer. It was a beautiful day with my family at a local state park. We had a great time together wading in the water, watching the dragonflies dance and walking trails. My husband snapped some photos of our afternoon and when I got around to viewing and editing them, I was so mortified. I had become accustomed to the shame of my fat pictures over the years. This shame was different: I was ashamed of being a bad role model.

At the time, I would put my weight close to 200 pounds. My clothes no longer concealed my source of self loathing. And there I was staring at myself holding our daughter. It was then I realized I wanted a better life for her. I did not want her to carry the same shame and hopelessness. I wanted her to love and take good care of herself.

At that moment I became determined to heal myself and become a better role model. I slowly started improving my exercise and nutrition habits. As I lost weight, I gained confidence. I felt better, looked better and knew I was on my way to being a better role model for my daughter.

Fast forward more than a year later and I have implemented a lot of healthy habits. I am thankful for all the positive ways my body has changed. I’m in a normal weight range and full of energy for the first time in decades. But, what I am most grateful for, is my confidence and ability to teach my daughter self love, respect and empower her to be her best.

Getting Fit and Enjoying It

sunset mtbIn years past, I tried to follow all the popular training and diets. I became more disgusted failure after failure. I kept on switching one failed plan for another. I always thought it was me who was failing. Turns out those plans were failing me. I was never successful long term because I was not utilizing training and foods I enjoyed.

This time around, I started basing things on my likes and personality. I chose training options and foods I enjoy. The only struggle I have is scheduling because I’m eager to get my training in. Enjoying my fitness plan has been the #1 reason why I have stuck with it over a year and dropped 70+lbs while being happy.

If you’re not enjoying training, nutrition and how these changes are impacting your life, please sit down and reevaluate your fitness plan. There are a million ways to get fit and a plethora of healthy foods, which means there is a way to customize a fitness plan you enjoy.

Scheduling Struggles

Life is really hectic for all of us. And like me, you’re going to have trouble at some point scheduling your training. From kids, to social obligations, to those nagging home repairs that must be done, there is always something standing in the way of your training, if you let it.

Not too long ago I was frustrated, mad, and fed up with how little time I had to myself. I had scheduled everything and everyone in front of me. I didn’t make time for me. It was absolutely my own doing and I had no one but myself to blame for not making the time.

Looking back, I think my biggest fear was to be thought of as a neglectful mom and spouse. I was afraid people would think I thought more of myself than anyone else. But that was not reality. That was  fear talking.

One day I got frustrated enough; bailed on laundry duty and made a break in the day to train. That day totally changed my outlook. That meant I could find an opportunity almost every day.

Taking time to take train has made me a better mom, a better wife, and a better friend as well. My life transformed when I started training: I started to value my time and effort a lot more. I started making choices based on what was best for everyone (including me).

I can absolutely say with certainty that I feel more empowered now dedicating time to training than I ever did in my life. I’m careful about the people I’m around, the time I spend at places, and where my attention gets focused. I don’t mindlessly go through my day anymore. I look at everything I do as a benefit to me and the people around me. I started including myself inside my support group. Because, I’m the only person who can ultimately make my health a priority.

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