Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Many people find themselves contemplating goals that seem outrageous or unattainable. In the mind’s eye, these individuals stand at the edge of a precipice and look out over the abyss at the fruit of their ambition.

Some resist the urge to jump, paralyzed by the gap between their current circumstances and the life of their dreams.

Others make a leap of faith into the unknown, unsure of what they will encounter but certain that they will gain more in their attempts than they would bowing to self-protective instincts.

This leap can be exceedingly difficult for individuals with control issues because the act of embracing uncertainty requires them to trust that surrender will net them the rewards they seek. Yet when you make a leap of faith, believing without a doubt that you will land safely on the other side, you can accomplish almost anything you set out to do.

You may encounter instances in which your objectives require you to step outside of the boundaries of your established comfort zone so that you may freely and actively jettison yourself into a new phase of your life. While you may fear what seems to be the inevitable fall, consider that in all likelihood you will find yourself flying.

A successful leap of faith requires your attention, as it is the quiet and often indistinct voice of your inner self, fuel by God, that will point you toward your ultimate destination. Understand that the leap across the chasm of ambiguity may challenge you in unforeseen ways but you will make it across if you trust yourself.

The more you know about the leap you are poised to take, the smaller the gap between "here" and "there" will appear to be. Your courageous leap of faith can lead you into uncharted territory, enabling you to build a new, more adventurous life. Though you may anticipate that fear will be your guide on your journey across the abyss, you will likely discover that exhilaration is your constant companion.

Be safe

Friday, September 18, 2009


A friend once told us this amusing fact: his huge Rottweiler is afraid of cats. His story goes that when the dog was a young pup, it tried the usual dog-hates-cats snarling and snapping technique on an older cat. Unfazed, the cat coolly let the pup have his merry way. The cat probably got irritated after a while and without warning, a feline claw lashed the dog's sensitive nose. The poor dog probably felt that it was the worst pain he'll ever feel that he associated cats with it. From then on, he gave cats a wide berth. Even when he grew the size of a small horse and could probably swallow a whole cat without effort, they still lorded over him. This huge beast, which can reduce grown men to quaking, is afraid of little cute cats.

We can laugh about the absurdity of this pair but come to think of it, don't we all have our "little cute cats"? Don't we all have those little fears that shaped us into what we are now? Wasn't there a particularly painful experience that taught us to react to things in a particular way?

As little kids, we were constantly barraged with lessons on what to do and what not to do. It could be as instructional as 'don't play with matches'; 'don't talk to strangers'; 'eat vegetables' and so on. These got ingrained in your system that doing it became automatic. That's great but what if you were constantly told 'you're not good enough'; 'your grades are lower than so-and-so'; 'you're not pretty'; 'you're fat' etc.? Unfortunately, yes, this negative outlook got into your psyche too.

Like a dormant computer virus, it got embedded into your programming. Let's say you were always told that you're ugly. You grew up thinking that and each time you try to improve your looks, this 'virus' creeps up and tells you 'don't bother, you're ugly'. As it has been in your subconscious for so long, you believe it and will just go on as you are. Substitute the word 'ugly' with 'fat' or 'stupid' or any of those degrading terms and you get the drift.

Would you like to go on like that all the time? Well, pretty much like a computer, you can also give your subconscious an anti-virus to counteract the negatives. The simplest way is to constantly affirm a positive mantra to drown out the negatives. You are, in fact, reprogramming yourself when you do this. Say 'I am smart and I can_____ (replace with whatever you want to do)' or whatever variation you can think of. It might take a lot of willpower, practice and time to get accustomed to this new program though. Say it repeatedly, whenever you have a free moment, until it becomes real to you. Remember that all the negatives came about because you heard it all your life. Hearing positives will work the same way.

Unlike my friend's Rottweiler, we can be smart enough to realize that we are bigger than our 'cute cats' and they better stay off our paths when we tell them to go away.

~thanks Moni Arora

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Father's Role

The role of the father has change dramatically since even a generation ago. My father was still relegated to waiting room while my mother labored and gave birth. My dad even had to be woken up by the nurses after one of my sibling’s births.

Today, the father is often an integral role in the entire birthing process. Many fathers will enroll in child birthing classes, being the mother’s coach, as well as childcare classes wherein the father learns (perhaps for the very first time) how to change a diaper, bathe a baby and the like.

Becoming a father can be one of the most significant events in a life of a man. For many fathers, the birth of a child can be a significant emotional experience filled with mixed feelings such as excitement, fear, maybe terror is a better word, and of course, joy, satisfaction, anticipation. These responses often depend on whether the pregnancy is planned or unplanned, the quality of the relationship with the mother, previous experiences with childbearing and childrearing, and other cultural and ethnic norms.

The fathers often brings to the childbirth experience his presence, knowledge, and understanding of the laboring woman; love for the mother and his child; and a sense of advocacy coupled with a desire for the woman to have a positive birth experience.

However, many men feel ambivalence about being there. Since the father is more of a spectator than a participant in the process, he is more likely to witness the actual birth process, for example, the “water” breaking, vaginal delivery, the blood and placenta, cutting the umbilical cord etc. While most fathers are excited about the process and can view only what they desire, some may not be so excited. This may be a good talk to have with you significant other and discuss the possibility of NOT having the father in the room.

Fathers sometimes find their sons' infancy challenging. They love the baby and delight in his noises and new activities, but infant care seems to be more Mom's area. In fact some mothers sometimes unwittingly prevent Dad from taking a more active role by insisting that the baby be held, fed, and rocked in a particular way (usually hers). Dads may then fall back on working and providing for their new family instead of taking an active role.

Yet studies have shown that infants whose fathers were closely involved with their care were found to be more cognitively developed at one year of age than infants with less involved fathers.
In addition, fathers’ positive attitudes toward their infants were related to their children’s problem solving competence later in their children’s lives.

Don’t shoot the messenger but studies have even shown that while the mother's role was important, by far the most influential factor in a child's emotional health was how involved the father was in a child's early life.

When fathers spend more time with their babies, they get to know exactly what each of their baby's signals mean. This familiarity allows fathers to respond sensitively, meaning that they know when their baby is hungry rather than when he just wants a change of scenery.

Fathers tend to provide more verbal and physical stimulation, by patting their babies gently and communicating to them with sharp bursts of sound. As babies grow older, many come to prefer playing with their fathers who provide unpredictable, stimulating, and exciting interaction. This stimulation is important because it fosters healthy development of the baby's brain and can have lasting effects on children's social, emotional, and intellectual development.

Interestingly, as a child grows, an involved father will typically spend more time playing with the child. Often this play is the rough-and-tumble kind which most kids thoroughly enjoy. Yet, even if a father is NOT as involved, the father becomes extremely important to the child through playing.

When fathers play with their toddlers, they are not just entertaining them. They are providing challenges for toddlers to learn how to interact with the world and with others, in a safe, structured way. Through rough-and-tumble play, fathers create obstacles for their children and teach them about limits and boundaries.

At the same time, they encourage them to explore their own strength, their ability to do new things, and their impact on the world around them. Toddlers who must work out for themselves how to achieve goals…such as finding a ball the father has hidden behind his back or wrestling their father to the ground…are practicing important problem-solving skills. In fact, when fathers are good at playing with their young children, these children score higher on tests of thinking and problem-solving skills.

This play flows over into the emotional realm as well. Such play can teach kids frustration tolerance, dealing with loss or defeat, being good sports, and the like, but mostly helps the child explore and experience their emotions and express them in appropriate ways.
When children have fathers who are emotionally involved-that is, they acknowledge their children's emotions and help them deal with bad emotions-they score higher on tests of 'emotional intelligence'. Moreover, they tend to have better relationships with other children and behave less aggressively.

Fathers' involvement in their young children's care can even last well into adulthood. Again, don’t shoot the messenger, but mothers seem to have much less impact in this area of emotional regulation and peer relationships than fathers. It really is fathers who can have a major influence on helping their children build strong social relationships during childhood and later in life.
As far as gender differences, a boy learns from his father, without even realizing he's doing it, what a man is and does. He learns about masculinity, about what men like and don't like. He also learns from the father how to interact with women, based upon the interactions he sees between his father and his mother. Your leadership in the family (even in divorced or non-married situations) is essential to your son. Many adult men report that they either wanted to be "just like my dad"—or wanted to be his exact opposite.

Girls also learn how to let men treat them based upon their parent’s relationship. Studies have shown that women who grow up with parents who are abusive toward each other will often find themselves in abusive relationships. The role of the father in this area is critical. What girls want most from their father’s is TIME. You don’t have to do special outings or make every moment ideal, just doing chores with her, being around her. Ask her to help you rake the leaves, wash the car. If she wants to go to the mall with her friends, either go with her and make it an outing (seriously, she may roll her eyes at the suggestion, but later in life she will appreciate your time) or insist she stay home and help you around the house.

Of course, you are still at the beginning of your journey with you child. The bottom line is that the father is VITAL, ESSENTIAL and CRITICAL to the child. Fathers are as involved as you can and be aware that little eyes are watching you to see how you behave. They desire your TIME and presence. Realize that just being there, hanging out with them is the greatest gift you can ever give them. Mothers, unless the father is abusive to the child involve the father as much as possible in every aspect.

DO NOT underestimate the power a father has in a child’s life.


Gottman, J.M., Katz, L.F. & Hooven, C., Meta-Emotion: How Families Communicate Emotionally, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1996.

Koestner, R.S., Franz, C.E. & Weinberger, J., 'The family origins of empathic concern: A 26-year longitudinal study', Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 1990, pp. 586-595.

Lamb, M.E., 'The development of father-infant relationships', in Lamb (ed.), The Role of the Father in Child Development, 3rd edition, 1997, pp. 104-120.

Parke, R.D. & Brott, A.A., Throwaway Dads: The Myths and Barriers That Keep Men from Being the Fathers They Want to Be, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999, pp 6-7.

Power, T. G., 'Mother- and father-infant play: A developmental analysis', Child Development, 56, 1985, pp. 1514-1524.

Teti, D.M., Bond, L.A. & Gibbs, E.D., 'Mothers, fathers, and siblings: A comparison of play styles and their influence upon infant cognitive level', International Journal of Behavioral Development, 11, 1988, pp. 415-432.

Yogman, M., 'Games fathers and mothers play with their infants', Infant Mental Health Journal, 2, 1981, pp. 241-248.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Monitor Your Journey

A diary can play many roles. It can be a confidant, a vehicle of self expression, a tool that facilitates clarity of thought, or a repository of dreams.

A diary can also be a powerful source of comfort during challenging or traumatic periods. When you record those insights and incidents that clearly demonstrate you are on the right track, you can return to your words days, weeks, or months later and find uniquely soothing reassurance.

A diary with a specific purpose can be a good tool for keeping track of experiences before the passage of time can skew your perception of events. It reflects the immediacy of your life and thus provides you with a landmark to return to when you begin to doubt yourself. If doubt does arise, simply open your diary to reaffirm your experiences. The confidence, surety, passion, and bravery you felt in a single moment is preserved, giving you a means to recapture those feelings in any place, at any time.

Your diary serves as a repository of personalized encouragement. Your recollections will create a positive feedback loop that helps you cope with doubt and challenges in a constructive way. Reading back through your diary when life seems uncertain can show you that your misgivings are unfounded. As you draw consolation from your uplifting words, you will know without a doubt that you are indeed living your life, your way.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


So why the change from Swine Flu to H1N1....were the swine offended? Oh, well. I'm not sure there will be as big a pandemic as they are thinking. Seems overblown to me, but what do I know?

For all the latest government information on the upcoming flu season, go here: http://www.flu.gov/

Of course, if there isn't a big outbreak they will say that it was due to all the hard work they did and that the vaccines work. If there is a pandemic, they will say not enough people took it seriously or that not enough got vaccinated or that the unvaccinated spread it around. That's typically what we've seen. However, there is a lot of information that the vaccines are not all what they say.

For more information on vaccines, go here: http://www.nvic.org/

Best of health!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Doormat is Too Nice

Nice guys finish last. ~ Leo Durocher

Some of us are habitually victims, doormats, "poor things." No matter what, we never say no. The more we practice being nice guys the less able we are to cope creatively. we place the blame, along with the responsibility, elsewhere.

James is a good example of this: He is well past fifty and has been divorce for 2o years. Yet he is still seeking sympathy for what his wife - and God - did to him all those years ago. He had inherited a sizable amount of money from his parents' estate and little by little his alcoholic, food-addicted wife managed to spend it all. It wasn't that he gave her the money or failed to manage the money himself. What happened was, he explained, she "just spent it all up! How could she do that?" The obvious, healthier question never occured to him: How could HE allow a sick person to eat up a small fortune?

The moral of the story is that being "too nice" isn't the real problem. What measures of irresponsibility have you been filing under other names?


Monday, August 31, 2009


Wisdom rises upon the ruins of folly. ~ Thomas Fuller

We gain knowledge from other people, but wisdom comes from within. We have to live our own lives, profit from our blunders, and learn from our experience. Nobody can do these things for us.

Part of living is making mistakes. Some of us have to keep on making the same mistakes until we suddenly make a breakthrough and achieve a new perspective on ourselves and our actions. It often seems we are never going to be ready for the next step...and then suddenly we take it and we come through. We think we're not going to make it; then we make a leap forward.

Nothing needs to be lost or wasted in our lives. Even the folly of our problem can teach us hard lessons if we are attentive and brave. Our craziness may help us to see more clearly and gain insight into ourselves and others.


Friday, August 28, 2009


Shame is the motor behind compulsive behavior ~Anonymous

Shame. Even the word is stark. When we feel shame, we feel utterly worthless, not because of what we've done but because of who we think we are. We think we're unlovable, incapable of giving love. The more our compulsions worsened, the more out of control and powerless we felt. That's when we found shame waiting in the chaos. We wanted to be invisible, to disappear.

But, really, there was something we wanted more: a way out. We found it by hanging onto the knowledge that we have dignity because we have life. It was given to us by our Creator who loves us unconditionally. We no longer need to use things (food, drink) or let ourselves be used. Instead, we live in grace and with dignity and in peace.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Losing Your Marbles

This is a story that's been around for awhile, but I think it helps give some perspective on setting priorities...seeing what's really real in our lives.

An older man was giving some advice to a younger man.

"It's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much," he said. "Let me tell you something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities. You see, one day I sat down and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about 75 years. Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in his lifetime.

"It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail," he continued, "and by that time I had lived thru over 2,800 Saturdays. I got to thinking if I lived to be 75, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. "

He went on to explain that he bought 1000 marbles and put them in a clear plastic container in his favorite work area at home. "Every Saturday since then," he said, " I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life. There's nothing like watching your time here on earth run out to help you get your priorities straight."

Then the older gentleman finished, "Now before I take my lovely wife out for breakfast, let me tell you one last thing. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday, then I have been given a little extra time."

We don't know how much time we will have, whether we'll get extra time or there will be marbles left in our container. We can't choose that, but we can choose what we do with the time from here until then.

Peace and blessings.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Defusing Anger, Finding Forgiveness

Only that action is just which does not harm either party to a dispute. ~Gandhi

We may find ourselves engaged in a dispute and determined at all costs to impose our solution, even though we know it may harm our opponent. We don't really want a solution at all; we want revenge.

The desire to harm others may derive from feelings that we have been hurt, as children perhaps. We may have been neglected and misunderstood or even abused and assaulted. So the world owes us something and we intend to collect. We may even hold grudges against successful people, not because they have done us wrong, but merely because they are successful.

We need to let our shame and sorrow out into the clear light of day. By opening ourselves up to others, we will surely find that we can defuse our anger and our desire to hurt others. We can stand on an equal footing with others and have no more need for resentment and revenge. We can begin to forgive.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Change is Hard

Change means movement, movement means friction, friction means heat, heat means controversy. ~ Saul Alinsky

We talk about wanting to change, to face up to our issues, and our desire is real and geniune. But we must realize change can continue to involve real pain for ourselves and others.

We have been so comfortable for so long with our issues! They have become a pacifier and a crutch. We wonder why we should bother to move forward and away from our world of ritutal and fantasy and comfort.

But were we really at home there? What about our anger? Our remorse? Our feelings of hopelessness and despair? Our shame that caused us to shun others and isolate ourselves? Were we truly comfortable? Has change been so harsh in comparison to the misery of our issues?

Even knowing there would be struggles and disagreements along the way, one day we decided, "ENOUGH!" We were ready then to face our struggles for a new, honest, way of living.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Failure Is An Inside Job

In our culture, too many people bleive that contentment come from attaining material possessions or positions of power. But they aren't the keys to contentment either. If yo are tempted to believe that they are, remember the words of John D. Rockefeller. When a journalist asked him how much wealth was enough, the millionaire, who was at the time one of the richest and most powerful men in the world, answered, "Just a little more".

Contentment comes from having a positive attitiude. It means:
  • Expecting the best in everything - not the worst
  • Remaining upbeat - even when you get beat up
  • Seeing solutions in every problem - not problems in every solution
  • Believing in yourself - even when others believe you have failed
  • Holding on to hope - even when others say it's hopeless.
No matter what happens to you, a positive attitude comes from within. Your circumstances and your contentment are unrelated.

~John C. Maxwell, in Falling Forward


Friday, August 21, 2009

Have You Bent Your Kids Today?

That seems like a strange thing to say. But the idea is actually millennia old. It comes from Proverbs 22:6 (see: NASB; God's Word; King James; American King James; ASV; Basic English Bible; Douay-Rheims; Darby; ERV; World Bible; YLT; Other traslations/interpretations).

“Train your child up in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (King James Version). Probably most people have heard of this wise saying. I’m not a Hebrew scholar by any means, but I’ve heard that the translation truest to the original text is “Train your child up in the way he is BENT” (capitalization mine). Children are bent? Well, in a way, yes.

The idea from this comes from the vineyard. Of course, vineyards are essential to life, even more so in olden days. If you’ve seen a vineyard you will notice that vines grow every which way. They don’t grow straight up, they’re curvy and gnarled and as much as it looks orderly, the vines are all over. When the vines are young, they do grow curvy. If you try to force the young vine to grow straight, one of two things can happen: 1) the vine breaks, gets destroyed, dies; or 2) the vine does not produce as much as vines allowed to grow naturally. What growers do, then, is guide the vine as straight as it can grow, working with the natural bending and curving to get the desired effect.

What does this have to do with children? The exact same thing applies, thus, this is what the Proverb is telling us. Allow children to grow naturally, using their natural, God-given character, to teach them. Then, they will not rebel when they are old, the teaching will be ingrained in them.

When we try to make our children do what is unnatural to them we can break them or cause them to be damaged in some way. We often do this by forcing them to behave perfectly. Kids are not perfect behavers. They are wild, have tons of energy, and they make LOTS of mistakes. That is the way all kids are bent. Some are bent more than others, though…we’ve all seen mild-mannered kids and we’ve seen extremely wild kids. A wise parent takes Proverbs’ advice and USES those personality traits to guide the child to proper behavior, not PERFECT behavior, but proper behavior.

If you need advice on how to bend your kids without breaking them, seek the advice of a wise counselor who understands this verse.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Facing Challenges

Our lives are an exercise in facing challenges. We dream the grandest of dreams as youngsters only to discover that we must have loads of inner strength and determination in order to meet our goals. Our hard work does not always yield the results we expect. And it is when we find ourselves frustrated by the trials we face or unable to meet our own expectations that we are most apt to take notice of those individuals who appear to accomplish great feats effortlessly. Some people’s lives seem to magically fall into place. We can see the blessings they have received, the ease with which they have attained their desires, their unwavering confidence, and their wealth. But, because we can never see the story of their lives as a whole, it is important that we refrain from passing judgment or becoming envious.

Throughout our lives, we glimpse only the outer hull of others’ life experiences, so it’s tempting to presuppose that the abundance they enjoy is the result of luck rather than diligent effort. In a small number of cases, our assumptions may mirror reality. But very few people “have it easy.” Everyone must overcome difficulties and everyone has been granted a distinctive set of talents with which to do so. An individual who is highly gifted may nonetheless have to practice hours upon hours and correct themselves repeatedly in order to hone their talents. Their accomplishments are more likely than not the result of ongoing hard work and sacrifice. You, no doubt, have natural abilities that you have nurtured and your gifts may be the very reason you strive as tirelessly as you do. Yet others see only the outcome of your efforts and not the efforts themselves.

Our intellects, our hearts, and our souls are constantly being tested. Life will create new challenges for you to face each time you prove yourself capable of overcoming the challenges of the past. What you deem difficult will always differ from that which others deem difficult. The tests you will be given will be as unique as you are. If you focus on doing the best you can and making use of the blessings you have been given, the outcome of your efforts will be a joyous reflection of your dedication.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What Difference Do We Make Anyway?

A while back, Dr. James Dobson, in Focus on the Family magazine, answered a question from a lady who asked why God answered a prayer to heal her son, but didn’t heal her husband. He responded that this is a sign of God’s sovereignty, but that He is always with us in these situations. He went on to tell about some friends of his, one who has lived with hemophilia from age 1 and this man’s wife who was cured of Hodgkin’s disease after intense prayer. The point of Dr. Dobson’s reply is that we do not always know why God says “yes” to certain prayers and “no” to other. It is God’s will that is in charge and not our own. Some are left to suffer and other healed, but that it all works out to fulfill God’s Plan.

What struck me as I was reading this article was that suffering and healing of Dr. Dobson's friends very much had a purpose. In this case, one purpose was to help him answer the lady’s question. It helped him explain to this lady that she is not alone in her questioning and that we have to trust that God is always with us regardless of the outcome. Our prayers matter but we may never see the results of those prayers.

Several years ago I had a conversation with a colleague of mine who was questioning what difference we really make in the world. During this particular time in her life, she was really struggling in her faith. Personally and professionally, she felt insignificant. We worked together and did similar tasks, but she did not see results in her work and was very frustrated. Spiritually, she had all but given up hope that God answered prayers. She then asked how I handled the frustration of trying so hard to make a difference in the lives of the people where we worked yet not seeming to have an impact. I told her it was due to faith.

Our job was to help manage the behavior of people who have mental retardation. In and of itself, it is a difficult job, but the bureaucracy of state government was even more difficult to manage. After a few years, I realized that my job really did not make a difference in the lives of these people. There had been dozens of therapist before me who did the same things I was doing; yet the same behaviors continued. Thus, the actual duties I performed did not have an impact. What did make a difference was me. I began to place less emphasis on my job duties and more emphasis on ministering to the needs of the individuals. I ministered by showing that I cared and by allowing God’s love to show through me. Still, results were scarce, but I had planted seeds and I had faith those seeds would grow.

I told my colleague that she could make a difference every day of her life if she approaches all she does with the faith that God is in control. Even seemingly minor, everyday activities can make a huge impact in the life of someone. Consider driving to work. The little courtesies you display, such as letting someone cut in front of you or allowing someone to turn before you can impact those other drivers lives. Perhaps they were having a hectic start to the day and your act of kindness was the one bright spot that started the day running smoothly. The catch is you will probably never know what impact you have had.

The same applies to work. If we approach work with the mindset that we are there to do God’s will in all we do, then picking up a dropped piece of paper or holding a door open can be the spark that starts a chain reaction of goodwill. Not to long ago, there was a movement to do “Random acts of kindness”. This was touted on the Oprah Winfrey Show, promoted by books such as Chicken Soup for the Soul, and other such venues. This was exactly what I was trying to describe to my colleague. By doing random acts of kindness, you give others a glimpse of God’s love for them. They may not realize that is what you are doing, but that tiny glimpse may be all they need to seek further the kingdom of God. Yet we may never see the results, but that is not really what matters, is it?


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dealing with Boredom

The human mind thrives on novelty. What was once a source of pleasure can become tedious after a time. Though our lives are full, boredom lurks around every corner because we innately long for new experiences. Yet boredom by its very nature is passive. In this idle state of mind, we may feel frustrated at our inability to be productive or engage in tasks. We may even attempt to lose ourselves in purposeless or self-destructive pursuits like addictions or overeating.

While this can be a sign of depression, it can also be an invitation to challenge yourself. Boredom can become the motivation that drives you to learn, explore the exotic, experiment, and develop your true potential.

In some religious traditions, boredom is perceived as a pathway to self-awareness. Boredom itself is not detrimental to the soul—it is the manner in which we respond to it that determines whether it becomes a positive or a negative influence in our lives. When you respond by actively filling the emptiness you feel lurking in yourself, you cultivate creativity and innovation. If, when in the grip of boredom, you have difficulty acknowledging the merits of any activities you might otherwise enjoy, generate your own inspiration.

Before you find yourself beset by boredom, sit down now and create a list of tasks you can consult when it feels like there is simply nothing to do. Referring to a list of topics you want to learn more about, projects you’ve yet to begin, or even pending chores can spark your creativity and reawaken your zest for life.

When we are troubled by boredom, it is not that there is nothing to do but rather that we are not stimulated by the options before us. A bored mind can be the canvas upon which innovation is painted and the womb in which novelty is nourished. When you identify boredom as a signal that you need to test your boundaries, it can be the force that presses you to strive for opportunities you thought were beyond your reach and to indulge your desire for adventure.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Simple Encouraging thought for a Friday

When I looked at the top of the mountain, I realized that all the people at the top of the mountain, didn't just fall there.

Meditate on that for today. Journal what it means for you in your life, your struggles, your journey.

Let me know your thoughts.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Encouraging Hope

What is hope? It is not just positive thinking, a good mindset, or optimism.

Webster's Online dictionary defines hope as "to desire with expectation of obtainment" and "to expect with confidence". It is the feeling that what is desired can be obtained. We can get what we want and that events will turn out for the best.

Other examples or descriptions of hope:

  • An adventure, a going forward, a confident search

  • A multidimensional dynamic force, characterized by a confident yet uncertain expectation of achieving a future goal. Which, to the hoping person, is realistically possible and personally significant.

  • The elevating feeling we experience when we see, in our thoughts and dreams, a path to a better life, a brighter future...with the understanding that significant barriers may exist along the way.

  • A non-linear path with many twists and turn of doubt and fear that can negatively affect the view of it

  • The feeling of knowing how to get what you want out of life and the desire to make it happen.

  • A faith in the unseen

  • A spiritual certainty

Without hope there is despair. Studies show that when there is no hope then there often people contemplating death and suicide. When people choose to stop living in their current realm of pain, fear and negative circumstances and seek help (counseling, a friend, a pastor) they are seeking a more hopeful life. We have two paths when dealing with people in despair. We can focus on their mistakes (those twists and turns along the non-linear path), what is wrong with them or we can focus on strengths, their potential for right, so that they may regain hope. Research shows that depressive symptoms decrease as hope is increased.

It is important that we all maintain an attitude of hope. Our attitude and behavior is what helps elicit hope and positive behavior in others. It is important that we express our faith in others and their ability to succeed. We must encourage and empower those we come in contact with to see beyond the discouraging circumstances. We must give them another picture to view, one of possibilities and potential. Hope is contagious, forward-thinking and goal oriented.

Still more essential is that we help others restore their faith in themselves. Once they believe in their own ability to change, then they can see that the circumstances are only temporary and they can get back on the road to hope.

When we encourage exploration of alternatives to the discouraging situation, we are instilling hope. We can do this by validating their feelings of despair, but not giving credence to the lie of despair. We can give them power over the situation by exploring options and alternatives and providing a sounding board for problem-solving. When they learn to develop hope from the inside out, even in one small aspect of their life, they can take that seed of hope and water it into a whole garden of hope. They can take that sliver and generalize it to a whole host of other life situations. They will begin to see possibilities that were once invisible to them.

When people restore hope they can explore where they were and derive meaning from it. They can learn from the past and move forward. They have the ability to set and achieve realistic goals. When the feeling of hope is restored people often feel more capable; they can do what is needed, see beyond today, and visualize their future.

Additional resources:









Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Another Thought on Conquering Our Fears

Everyone has fears—it is a natural part of being human. Fear can protect us from harm by sending a rush of adrenaline to help us physically deal with potential danger. If we did not have fear, we would boldly walk off the edge of cliffs or play in rush-hour traffice. But there are times when fear may keep us from participating fully in life. It can paralize us by what we percieve to be "danger" in social situations, people, objects, or life in general. These are the phobias we explored earlier. A children's book my kids enjoy talks about "Fear can be your friend, or fear can be your foe....that's something everyone needs to know". So true.

Once we realize that fear is a state of mind, we can choose to face our fears, change our minds, and live the life we want to live.

Our minds are powerful tools. Like computers, storing and using data, our minds make certain connections between thought and response. We have the ability to observe these and choose differently. No matter where the fear came from, we can create new connections by choosing new thoughts. We can create a new experience of reality. This journey requires many small steps, as well as patience and courage through the process.

Here’s an example: You decide to overcome your fear of driving on the freeway. Your plan of action starts with examining your thoughts and finding a new way of seeing the situation. When you’re ready, you enlist a calm companion to support you as you take the first step of merging into the slow lane and using the first exit. Your heart may be racing, but your confidence will be boosted by the accomplishment. Repeat this until you are comfortable, with or without help, and then drive one exit further! When you are ready, you can try driving in the middle lane, for longer periods each time, until you find yourself going where you want to go. This gradual process is similar for conquering any fear, but if you find it overwhelming, you can always seek the help of a professional.

You may think that you are the only one with a particular fear, that nobody else could possibly be scared of ordinary things such as water, heights, public speaking, or flying. These types of fears are very common, and you can have great success overcoming them. Remember, it is not the absence of the fear but the courage to take action anyway that determines success. When we learn to face our fears, we learn to observe our thoughts and feelings but not be ruled by them. Instead we choose how to shape the lives we want.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Anxiety, Part 4

An anxiety disorder can greatly reduce your quality of life, but it is treatable and can be easily managed. Fully understanding this disorder is essential to your success. Research symptoms, medications, natural remedies etc.

Behavioral Therapies

Counseling, particularly a type of counseling called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), has been shown in research to be quite effective at reducing the symptoms of anxiety and helping people live normal lives. Many people get to the point where they have no symptoms at all! Traditional talk-therapy is also a helpful treatment for many. Try one and if it does not work, try another.

For individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a newer treatment called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) has been shown to be very effective in the treatment of trauma related issues. It does not work for everyone, but for some, just one session of EMDR has brought significant relief from symptoms. Check the EMDR website to find a trained and qualified therapist near you

Anxiety Medications

There are quite a number of medications used to treat anxiety disorder. The most popular of these being a class of medicines called Benzodiazepines. These include {{{Xanax, Valium, and AtivalValium, Atival and Xanax. While these medicines do bring some sort of relief, they are accompanied by side effects, some very serious. Side effects can occur because of the medicines ability to greatly affect activity of the brain.

Side effects usually include:

  • Headaches

  • Diarrhea

  • Insomnia

  • Irritability

  • Loss of appetite

  • Change in sex drive/performance

  • Mood changes

  • Allergic reactions

  • Muscle cramps

  • Tiredness

  • Depression

  • Confusion

  • Difficulty speaking

Medicine Usage

Make note that not all medications work the same for every individual. Each individual is different and has different levels of tolerance. We all carry around batches of chemicals in our bodies (hormones, neurotransmitters, water, minerals, vitamins, etc). Each of us has different levels of the chemicals, mine are different than yours. Medications are also chemicals. So putting the same amount of chemical in me versus you may cause your chemicals to react to the medications differently than mine.

Anti-anxiety drugs should only be used short term. Long term use can lead to physical or psychological addiction. Whenever you want to quit taking these drugs discuss with your physician and work out a plan to gradually reduce the quantity you take. This should greatly decrease any withdrawal reaction.

Natural Anxiety Remedies

Many people do not care for prescription drugs or the side effects and opt for more natural solutions.

These sometimes include hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, yoga, meditation, exercise and herbal remedies. Always check with your medical doctor before trying any herbal remedies as these may interact with any other medications you are taking.

Next we'll take a look at depression......

Monday, August 3, 2009

Anxiety, Part 3

Some Anxiety Symptoms

Individuals that suffer from anxiety disorder usually exhibit several different symptoms. Some of them are listed below.

  • Extreme Fear

  • Shortness of breath

  • Insomnia

  • Irritability

  • Feeling of lump in throat

  • Muscle spasm/twitching

  • Irregular heart beat

  • Heart palpitations

  • Fever/chills

Keep in mind, that there are more symptoms and different degrees of the symptoms. If you feel like you have some of these and are concerened, please see your medical physician or other health care provider or a licensed mental health professional in your area. Because some of these symptoms usually occur with other illnesses it is important to seek professional advice. A physician should be the one to diagnose if you have anxiety.

For an idea of where you are with your anxiety, you can take this online assessment (for educational purposes only). Share your results with your PCP or MH professional.

It is always best to rule out other medical conditions. Ruling these out sometimes bring some peace of mind and can go a long way in easing some of your anxiety related symptoms.

Finally, tomorrow we'll look at some treatment options


Friday, July 31, 2009

Anxiety, Part 2

Types of Anxiety Disorders

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder-Individuals that this affect are always anticipating something bad to happen. They have excessive worries about health, money and family etc.GAD occurs more often in women than in men.

2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder-This disorder is characterized by obsessive behavior and compulsions. Individuals perform rituals (such as hand washing) in hopes that obsessive thoughts would go away.

3. Panic Disorder- Individuals who are affected by this disorder experience feelings of terror that come on suddenly and often. They are often left in fear of certain situations and and are always in fear about the next panic attack.

4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder- This disorder usually develops after an individual experience some terrifying situation usually involving physical harm, death, or near death. The individual is left with bad memories about the ordeal that don't seem to go away.

5. Social Anxiety Disorder- With this disorder individuals experience extreme, severe or excessive self-awareness in public situations. This is the classic Stage Fright, but taken to an extreme degree and applied in almost all situations: grocery store, school, open areas. There is always a fear of being watched and scrutinized.

A lot of returning soldiers stationed in Iraqi and Afghanistan experience this as they were constantly on high alert over there. The open market was a dangerous area for them. They never knew who was an enemy coming up to shoot, stab, or blow them up. So now, back at home, the basketball gym, the mall, 4th of July parade can bring on this fear.

So now, you know a little of the types of disorders. Keep in mind that each of these disorders can range from having very mild levels to very extreme levels, and anywhere in-between.

Next week, we'll start looking at some symptoms.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

High Anxiety

We've looked at weight and nutrition and diet for the past couple months. Let's look a little at well-being.

We'll start with anxiety. Put in a very simple term, anxiety is all about fear. When you have anxiety, at the root is a fear of something. A good example is the "butterflies in the stomach" most of us have gotten before we had to give a talk, or say our line in the school play, etc. What's another term for those "butterflies"? Stage FRIGHT. Meaning we are afraid, or have fear, of getting in front of others.

Let's look at anxiety in more depth over the next few days.

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is a protection mechanism that the body uses to alert us to trouble. It puts our body in what's called a "fight or flight mode" and alerts us so we can react. It is also a normal reaction to stress. If you've ever come across a rabbit in the yard you may see them tense up and watch you, to see what you will do. They are in a "fight or flight" mode. They are waiting to see if they need to defend themselves or they need to run like hell. We are the same. When we percieve trouble (in any form) our body does the same thing. We have fear and our body waits to see what we should do about it.

We cannot get rid of anxiety because this is how the human body is made to operate. Anxiety is designed to protect us and help us face challenges. When our body is constantly or too often in this fight or flight mode and as a result we start to experience psychological, physical or emotional stress this is called anxiety disorder.

Too much stress can also lead to weight problems since when we are stressed our body naturally stores fat, or minimally, stops burning fat, just in case we need to "run like hell", we have the energy from the fat to burn. Fortunately most "stress" does not result in our need to run like hell, but our body does not necessarily know that. If we experience constant stress, then our body continues to burn less fat, store more.

This we can control and minimize to the point where it does not disrupt our daily lifestyle. However the first step in controlling anxiety is to understand how it affects us.

Tomorrow, we will look at the different types of anxiety problems.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Healthy Lifestyle Balance on Vacation

Final Thoughts on Vacationing and remaining Healthy:

Take time to think about the problems in advance. For example, you normally walk every morning before work, but you plan to sleep in on vacation.

Write out the problem and list some possible solutions. Could you walk every afternoon to a scenic area (such as along the beach)?

Decide on your best solution and write it out.

Agree with yourself in advance that if you are able to carry out the plan, you will somehow reward yourself afterwards.

Be specific about the goal and the reward.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Healthy Lifestyle Balance on Vacation

Prepare for old friends or relatives you haven’t seen in a while.
Decide how and when you will want to be assertive with them about eating and activity. Consider talking with them in advance.

Plan for pleasures after your vacation.
Coming back from a vacation is often a let-down. Try to get back to regular activities gradually and plan some extra pleasures to offset post-vacation blues. Consider allowing an easy day at home before getting back to work full-steam.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Healthy Lifestyle Balance on Vacation

Decide what you want to do about alcohol.

Alcohol may lower self-control. If you drink, are you aware of the calories involved?

Try to balance rest with activity.

Look for ways to be active that you enjoy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Healthy Lifestyle Balance on Vacation

If you tend to be tense on vacation, ask why and what you can do about it.

a. Avoid extended periods when you are doing what others want and not what you want. Be assertive about what you want to do.

b. Plan daily times to relax. Try not to get overtired (e.g., by doing too much sightseeing in a short period of time).

c. Plan regular breaks while driving. Carry low-calorie snacks and take breaks to get out of the car and walk.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Healthy Lifestyle Balance on Vacation

Have reasonable expectations for vacation.

a. Keep track of your eating and activity as much as possible.

b. Weigh yourself often, but remember that scales differ.

c. Plan to maintain your weight; don’t expect weight loss. Figure fat and calorie goals for maintenance.

d. Let go a little. For example, eat something special. Choose the best and leave the rest. That is, when you decide to eat a special high fat food, choose quality, not quantity. Choose the best thing available, take a small portion, eat slowly, and enjoy every mouthful.

e. Get extra activity. If you slip with eating a little, this will often compensate.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Healthy Lifestyle Balance on Vacation

Some of us vacation alone but most of have some arranging to do with family and friends. Have a family talk well before the vacation to discuss such issues as:

a. What did we like about our last vacation? What were the problems? Make a specific plan for what you will do on this vacation, including pleasures other than food and drink.

b. Discuss how you will handle food and eating out. How often will we eat out? What types of restaurants will we choose? Are there low-fat/calorie options for you? Can we split entrees or desserts? If eating in (e.g., if renting a beach house), will we have tempting high-fat/calorie foods like cookies, candy and cake in the house? If so, can they be stored out of sight and separate from other foods? Can family members agree to eat these foods only when eating out?

c. Can we find a fun way to all be physically active this vacation? Examples: bike riding, mountain climbing, hiking, walking on the beach, bird watching, golfing (walking the course), etc.

d. Get the family to agree not to nag you about what you eat or your activity plan.

e. Talk about positive ways your family can help (for example, praising you when you are sticking to your low fat food plan, going on walks with you, helping you out so that you don’t get too tired or stressed).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Healthy Lifestyle Balance on Vacation

Plan pleasures other than food and drink.

a. Plan the kind of vacation you want. One way to think about this is to ask yourself, What about your daily routine do you want to escape from? (For example, if your routine is a hectic, crammed schedule, it’s vital that you not repeat this pattern on your vacation. If you do a lot of driving on the job, you might not want to spend your vacation driving.) What kinds of pleasures and freedom do you want to escape to? (What do you like to do most? Go to a faraway, scenic spot? Or stay at home and enjoy some free time? Make lots of time for a favorite hobby or sport? Spend time with old friends?)

b. Think about what you like to do for physical activity. Can you find a way to make that part of your vacation?

c. Be prepared to be assertive with others about what you want to do on vacation if you are going on vacation with family or friends. Negotiate a compromise if necessary.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Healthy Eating on a Budget

  1. Don’t shop hungry. If you shop when you are hungry, you are more likely to buy more than you need and possibly buy less healthy items that appeal to you at that moment.

  2. Try to go grocery shopping without children. Stores put foods that many children like such as candy and sugary cereal where they can see and reach them. These foods are often advertised with characters that appeal to children. If you must bring children, grocery shopping can be a great way to teach them about food and nutrition (and colors, math, reading!)

  3. Check out heart healthy recipes from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help you plan your meals and shopping list at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/index.htm#recipes, or see my previous post on healthy recipies ( June 12, 2009).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Healthy Eating on a Budget

Other Related Websites on Healthy Eating on a Budget:

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Eating Healthy on a Budget: Shopping and Menu Ideas

Emergency $45 menu - feed 4 for a week! www.hillbillyhousewife.com/

USDA 2000 calorie menu plan www.mypyramid.gov/tips_resources/menus.html

Health Information: http://coach4health.blogspot.com/

Stretching Your Food Dollars

Nifty & Thrifty Spark Team ( Community Message Board for Saving Money and Buying Healthy Food) http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_individual.asp?gid=8011

Club Mom www.clubmom.com/display/232857

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Healthy Eating on a Budget

  1. Assemble snacks at home in small baggies using foods such as nuts and seeds, dried whole grain cereal, low fat cheese, dried fruit, fresh vegetables and fruits, rather than buying less healthy, more expensive prepackaged and processed snacks. Serve water, or low fat or fat free milk instead of calorically sweetened beverages. For more ideas on healthier snacks, try: http://www.nojunkfood.org/vendors/healthy_snack_list.html.
  2. Cook once, eat twice. Serve moderate portions of meals, avoid seconds, and freeze leftovers to enjoy later. This will help you save money and calories!
  3. Do "batch cooking" when the food budget and time allow. Cook large amounts of spaghetti sauce, divide it into family-size portions and freeze promptly for later in the month.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Healthy Eating on a Budget

  • Buy milk (low fat or fat free) in the largest containers you can handle before it spoils (gallon or ½ gallon). Milk sold at convenience stores usually costs more than at supermarkets. (Fat-free dry milk is an inexpensive back-up choice for using milk in recipes.)
  • Buy a whole chicken and cut it up into parts instead of buying pre-cut chicken (breast, wings, thighs, legs). Remove the skin before cooking or serving.
  • Stock up on sale items of healthier foods that you may be able to use in a timely manner. Buy canned, frozen, or packaged foods in bulk for quality and value, but serve appropriate portions within estimated calorie needs. Buy produce, lean meats, and low fat or fat free milk and milk products in bulk amounts that you can eat before they spoil (refer to http://www.checkyourhealth.org/nutrition/portiondistortion/pd_movies.htm for more information on appropriate portion sizes).
  • Use your food budget wisely. If you spend $7 on lunch 5 days a week for a year, you will spend a total of $1,820. You can save money and calories by bringing a healthier brown bag lunch from home.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Healthy Eating on a Budget

  • Sign up for your grocer’s bonus/discount card for additional savings.
  • Try store brands. The most costly brands are typically placed at eye level. Store brands that may be cheaper and are just as good are often placed higher or lower on the shelf.
  • Comparison shop for healthier brands. Read the Nutrition Facts Label. Learn how to find serving sizes and the per serving amounts of calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, sugars, protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. For more information on the Nutrition Facts Label go to: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/foodlab.html.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Healthy Eating on a Budget

  • Use the unit price and the Nutrition Facts Label to compare similar foods. The unit price tells you the cost per ounce, pound, or pint, so you’ll know which brand and size are best to buy. Look for it on the shelf sticker below the product. Then, read the Nutrition Facts Label to be sure that you are getting the healthiest option at the lowest cost. Click on these Food Label resources from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): http://www.csfan.fda.gov/~ear/hwm/labelman.html and http://www.csfan.fda.gov/~acrobat/nutractds.pdf.

  • No matter what the form – fresh, frozen, canned, dried, juice – all varieties of fruits and vegetables count toward your daily recommendation. Choose fruits without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces. Although 100% fruit or vegetable juice counts towards your daily recommendation, the majority of the total daily amount of fruit and vegetables should come from whole fruits and vegetables to help you get enough fiber. Click on http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/ for more information.
  • Buy in-season fruits and vegetables. Use local farmer’s markets when possible – the foods are fresher and usually cost the same, if not less, because you are buying direct from the farmer.

Healthy Eating on a Budget

With tough times, comes all sorts of information on saving money. Over the next few days, I'll give some tips on saving money, while at the same time eating healthy.

Let's start:
  1. Make a plan and stick to it. With a little planning, you can get most of your groceries for the week in one trip, which will save a lot of time. And, the fewer trips to the store, the less likely you will be to buy unnecessary items. There are a variety of website to help you plan meals, like: http://www.ndep.nih.gov/diabetes/MealPlanner/en_intro.htm.
  2. Review store ads and clip coupons for healthier items such as skinless chicken breasts, lean cuts of meat or ground beef, fruit (fresh, frozen, or canned in its own juice), vegetables (fresh, frozen without added fat, or canned without added sodium), whole grain breads and cereals, and low fat or fat free milk and milk products.
  3. Check your cupboards and refrigerator for items that you can use and then plan to use them, instead of making another shopping trip.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth: Certain foods, like grapefruit, celery, or cabbage soup, can burn fat and make you lose weight.

Fact: No foods can burn fat. Some foods with caffeine may speed up your metabolism (the way your body uses energy, or calories) for a short time, but they do not cause weight loss.

Tip: The best way to lose weight is to cut back on the number of calories you eat and be more physically active.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth : Starches are fattening and should be limited when trying to lose weight.

Fact: Many foods high in starch, like bread, rice, pasta, cereals, beans, fruits, and some vegetables (like potatoes and yams) are low in fat and calories. They become high in fat and calories when eaten in large portion sizes or when covered with high-fat toppings like butter, sour cream, or mayonnaise. Foods high in starch (also called complex carbohydrates) are an important source of energy for your body.

Tip: A healthy eating plan is one that:
Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
Is low in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

For more specific information about food groups and nutrition values, visit http://www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines.

Monday, July 6, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth: “Going vegetarian” means you are sure to lose weight and be healthier.

Fact: Research shows that people who follow a vegetarian eating plan, on average, eat fewer calories and less fat than nonvegetarians. They also tend to have lower body weights relative to their heights than nonvegetarians. Choosing a vegetarian eating plan with a low fat content may be helpful for weight loss. But vegetarians—like nonvegetarians—can make food choices that contribute to weight gain, like eating large amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods or foods with little or no nutritional value.

Vegetarian diets should be as carefully planned as nonvegetarian diets to make sure they are balanced. Nutrients that nonvegetarians normally get from animal products, but that are not always found in a vegetarian eating plan, are iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, zinc, and protein.

Tip: Choose a vegetarian eating plan that is low in fat and that provides all of the nutrients your body needs.

Food and beverage sources of nutrients that may be lacking in a vegetarian diet are listed below.
  • Iron: cashews, spinach, lentils, garbanzo beans, fortified bread or cereal.
  • Calcium: dairy products, fortified soy-based beverages, tofu made with calcium sulfate, collard greens, kale, broccoli
  • Vitamin D: fortified foods and beverages including milk, soy-based beverages, or cereal
  • Vitamin B12: eggs, dairy products, fortified cereal or soy-based beverages, tempeh, miso (tempeh and miso are foods made from soybeans)
  • Zinc: whole grains (especially the germ and bran of the grain), nuts, tofu, leafy vegetables (spinach, cabbage, lettuce)
  • Protein: eggs, dairy products, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, soy-based burgers

Friday, July 3, 2009

It's the 4th of July Holiday!

Celebrate our independence and thank GOD for our great country. Pray for it's protection from those who would harm us, internally or externally. God Bless America!

Back on Monday.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth: Dairy products are fattening and unhealthy.

Fact: Low-fat and fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese are just as nutritious as whole-milk dairy products, but they are lower in fat and calories. Dairy products have many nutrients your body needs. They offer protein to build muscles and help organs work properly, and calcium to strengthen bones. Most milk and some yogurt are fortified with vitamin D to help your body use calcium.

Tip: The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming 3 cups per day of fat-free/low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.

If you cannot digest lactose (the sugar found in dairy products), choose low-lactose or lactose-free dairy products, or other foods and beverages that offer calcium and vitamin D (listed below).

  • Calcium: soy-based beverage or tofu made with calcium sulfate; canned salmon; dark leafy greens like collards or kale
  • Vitamin D: soy-based beverage or cereal (getting some sunlight on your skin also gives you a small amount of vitamin D)
For more information on these guidelines, visit http://www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth: Eating red meat is bad for your health and makes it harder to lose weight.

Fact: Eating lean meat in small amounts can be part of a healthy weight-loss plan. Red meat, pork, chicken, and fish contain some cholesterol and saturated fat (the least healthy kind of fat). They also contain healthy nutrients like protein, iron, and zinc.

Tip: Choose cuts of meat that are lower in fat and trim all visible fat. Lower fat meats include pork tenderloin and beef round steak, tenderloin, sirloin tip, flank steak, and extra lean ground beef. Also, pay attention to portion size. Three ounces of meat or poultry is the size of a deck of cards.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth: Nuts are fattening and you should not eat them if you want to lose weight.

Fact: In small amounts, nuts can be part of a healthy weight-loss program. Nuts are high in calories and fat. However, most nuts contain healthy fats that do not clog arteries. Nuts are also good sources of protein, dietary fiber, and minerals including magnesium and copper.

Tip: Enjoy small portions of nuts. One-half ounce of mixed nuts has about 84 calories.

Monday, June 29, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth: Lifting weights is not good to do if you want to lose weight, because it will make you “bulk up.”

Fact: Lifting weights or doing strengthening activities like push-ups and crunches on a regular basis can actually help you maintain or lose weight. These activities can help you build muscle, and muscle burns more calories than body fat. So if you have more muscle, you burn more calories—even sitting still. Doing strengthening activities 2 or 3 days a week will not “bulk you up.” Only intense strength training, combined with a certain genetic background, can build very large muscles.

Tip: In addition to doing moderate-intensity physical activity (like walking 2 miles in 30 minutes) on most days of the week, try to do strengthening activities 2 to 3 days a week. You can lift weights, use large rubber bands (resistance bands), do push-ups or sit-ups, or do household or garden tasks that make you lift or dig. Strength training helps keep your bones strong while building muscle, which can help burn calories.

For more information about the benefits of physical activity and suggestions on how to be more active, read the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, available online at http://www.health.gov/PAguidelines.

Friday, June 26, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth : Eating after 8 p.m. causes weight gain.

Fact: It does not matter what time of day you eat. It is what and how much you eat and how much physical activity you do during the whole day that determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight. No matter when you eat, your body will store extra calories as fat.

Tip: If you want to have a snack before bedtime, think first about how many calories you have eaten that day. And try to avoid snacking in front of the TV at night—it may be easier to overeat when you are distracted by the television.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight.

Fact: Studies show that people who skip breakfast and eat fewer times during the day tend to be heavier than people who eat a healthy breakfast and eat four or five times a day. This may be because people who skip meals tend to feel hungrier later on, and eat more than they normally would. It may also be that eating many small meals throughout the day helps people control their appetites.

Tip: Eat small meals throughout the day that include a variety of healthy, low-fat, low-calorie foods.

For more information about healthy eating, read the Weight-control Information Network brochure Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Across Your Lifespan: Tips for Adults.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth: Fast foods are always an unhealthy choice and you should not eat them when dieting.

Fact: Fast foods can be part of a healthy weight-loss program with a little bit of know-how.

Tip: Avoid supersized combo meals, or split one with a friend. Sip on water or fat-free milk instead of soda. Choose salads and grilled foods, like a grilled chicken breast sandwich or small hamburger. Try a “fresco” taco (with salsa instead of cheese or sauce) at taco stands. Fried foods, like french fries and fried chicken, are high in fat and calories, so order them only once in a while, order a small portion, or split an order with a friend. Also, use only small amounts of high-fat, high-calorie toppings, like regular mayonnaise, salad dressings, bacon, and cheese.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth: “I can lose weight while eating whatever I want.”

Fact: To lose weight, you need to use more calories than you eat. It is possible to eat any kind of food you want and lose weight. You need to limit the number of calories you eat every day and/or increase your daily physical activity. Portion control is the key. Try eating smaller amounts of food and choosing foods that are low in calories.

Tip: When trying to lose weight, you can still eat your favorite foods—as long as you pay attention to the total number of calories that you eat.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Problems Sleeping? This may be of help

Coupon for free trial of Sleep medicine. Click here to get yours now.

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth: Low-fat or fat-free means no calories.

Fact: A low-fat or fat-free food is often lower in calories than the same size portion of the full-fat product. But many processed low-fat or fat-free foods have just as many calories as the full-fat versions of the same foods—or even more calories. They may contain added sugar, flour, or starch thickeners to improve flavor and texture after fat is removed. These ingredients add calories.

Tip: Read the Nutrition Facts on a food package to find out how many calories are in a serving. Check the serving size too—it may be less than you are used to eating.

For more information about reading food labels, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration online at www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/foodlab.html.

Friday, June 19, 2009

~ Myths on Dieting and Food ~

Myth: Natural or herbal weight-loss products are safe and effective.

Fact: A weight-loss product that claims to be “natural” or “herbal” is not necessarily safe. These products are not usually scientifically tested to prove that they are safe or that they work. For example, herbal products containing ephedra (now banned by the U.S. Government) have caused serious health problems and even death. Newer products that claim to be ephedra-free are not necessarily danger-free, because they may contain ingredients similar to ephedra.

Tip: Talk with your health care provider before using any weight-loss product. Some natural or herbal weight-loss products can be harmful.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Myth: High-protein/low-carbohydrate diets are a healthy way to lose weight.

Fact: The long-term health effects of a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet are unknown. But getting most of your daily calories from high-protein foods like meat, eggs, and cheese is not a balanced eating plan. You may be eating too much fat and cholesterol, which may raise heart disease risk. You may be eating too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which may lead to constipation due to lack of dietary fiber. Following a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet may also make you feel nauseous, tired, and weak.

Eating fewer than 130 grams of carbohydrate a day can lead to the buildup of ketones in your blood. Ketones are partially broken-down fats. A buildup of these in your blood (called ketosis) can cause your body to produce high levels of uric acid, which is a risk factor for gout (a painful swelling of the joints) and kidney stones. Ketosis may be especially risky for pregnant women and people with diabetes or kidney disease. Be sure to discuss any changes in your diet with a health care professional, especially if you have health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, or type 2 diabetes.

Tip: High-protein/low-carbohydrate diets are often low in calories because food choices are strictly limited, so they may cause short-term weight loss. But a reduced-calorie eating plan that includes recommended amounts of carbohydrate, protein, and fat will also allow you to lose weight. By following a balanced eating plan, you will not have to stop eating whole classes of foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables—and miss the key nutrients they contain. You may also find it easier to stick with a diet or eating plan that includes a greater variety of foods.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

~ Myths about Dieting and Food ~

Let's look at some Exercise, diet, fad diet, eating, and other food-related myths and the reality behind them.

Thanks to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for the following information.

Myth : Fad diets work for permanent weight loss.
Fact: Fad diets are not the best way to lose weight and keep it off. Fad diets often promise quick weight loss or tell you to cut certain foods out of your diet. You may lose weight at first on one of these diets. But diets that strictly limit calories or food choices are hard to follow. Most people quickly get tired of them and regain any lost weight.
Fad diets may be unhealthy because they may not provide all of the nutrients your body needs. Also, losing weight at a very rapid rate (more than 3 pounds a week after the first couple of weeks) may increase your risk for developing gallstones (clusters of solid material in the gallbladder that can be painful). Diets that provide less than 800 calories per day also could result in heart rhythm abnormalities, which can be fatal.

Tip: Research suggests that losing 1/2 to 2 pounds a week by making healthy food choices, eating moderate portions, and building physical activity into your daily life is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. By adopting healthy eating and physical activity habits, you may also lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

“Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!”
“Eat as much as you want and still lose weight!”
“Try the thigh buster and lose inches fast!”
And so on, and so on. With so many products and weight-loss theories out there, it is easy to get confused. This information may help clear up confusion about weight loss, nutrition, and physical activity. It may also help you make healthy changes in your eating and physical activity habits. If you have questions not answered here, or if you want to lose weight, talk to your health care provider. A registered dietitian or other qualified health professional can give you advice on how to follow a healthy eating plan, lose weight safely, and keep the weight off.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Even MORE Great Resources!


General Info on Cholesterol

Checklists for Lowering Your Cholesterol

Cholesterol: The best foods to lower your cholesterol and protect your heart

Lowering Your Cholesterol With TLC

How You Can Lower Your Cholesterol Levels

Free Diet and Weight Loss Journal


Calculating BMI (Body Mass Index)


Emotional Eating

Overeaters Anonymous

“Get a Handle on Emotional Eating” article

Binge Eating Disorder information

Good article on binge eating disorder and emotional eating

Fitness Center Locator


General information (articles, self-evaluation tools)


Fun sites


Freebies 4 U 2


Friday, June 12, 2009

Some Resources You Might Like

Activity Trackers
My Physical Activity Tracker

Food and Activity Tracker

Calorie Range For Weight Loss
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/NU00595 calorie range required for wt loss
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/SM00109 exercise required for wt loss

Diabetic Resources (Type II)

Reading Food Labels: People with Diabetes

Create your Healthy Eating Plan: Diabetes

New guidelines for healthy diabetic Diet

Diabetes: Exercise and Weight Loss

Tips on healthy eating, weight control, recipes and special diets.

Recipe and Meal Planner Guide

What I need to know about Eating and Diabetes

Your Guide To Eating Out with Diabetes

Diabetic Recipes
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