Posts Tagged ‘Weight’

Health vs. wellness

March 26, 2010

I see the difference between health and wellness as being one of ownership. We tend to think of the health care system as being in charge of our health, whereas I believe that we are each personally in charge of our wellness.

Health can be divided into: physical health, mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health. Health can also be divided by disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. There are many health care professionals who are trained and ready to help take care of our health; mostly they are specialized in their field and take care of one aspect of our health.

Wellness on the other hand includes every aspect of our health and well being such as fitness, disease, nutrition, physical activity, weight, sleep, relaxation, stress, and life satisfaction. Who can take care of all these aspects of ourselves? We can! We are our own best expert when it comes to knowing exactly what we need to feel good and to be healthy.

It’s an awareness thing. The secret is to be awake when we decide what to eat, and how to exercise, and to be aware when we have a nagging pain. The key is to take action and seek health care when we need it.

Wellness is about the big picture, and about taking good care of our mind, body and spirit. We are each in charge of our wellness but we don’t have to do it alone. A wellness coach is a partner who will help us reach our best possible state of wellness.

I know because my husband coached me to recover from 3 types of cancer in 1987 and I’ve been cancer free since then. I’m now a wellness coach who knows the value of having a support system to help me be well and stay well.

If you are in your best possible state of wellness, I congratulate you!
If you would like to be well and want some help, reach out and engage a coach who can be a friend, family member or a professional wellness coach like me.

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Exercise because you want to, not because you should do!

June 29, 2009

There is abundant information telling us that exercise promotes good health. Even with a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, or a heart condition, it’s important to have some form of physical activity every day. If we’re unable to move around, it can create a downward spiral of feeling tired and bored which only gets worse as time goes by. To feel better, we need to be able to stop the downward motion, and get going in an upward spiral.

One tool we can use is to stick to baby steps. If we make a huge effort to get much needed exercise and then overdo it, we can cause injury and pain which result in disappointment. This may form a block and we don’t attempt to exercise again until we’ve forgotten about the effects of the last unfortunate effort. Baby steps are an answer to developing a successful exercise program because they allow us to achieve what we set out to do and feel good about what we’ve done. We move forward at a steady pace and soon we can look back at how far we’ve progressed. It’s like climbing a staircase – one small step at a time.

Another tool to help us is to choose an activity we enjoy, so it creates a positive mental attitude which pulls us towards success. It doesn’t matter what activity we begin with, what matters is that we start moving, and have fun doing some physical activity so we’re motivated to do it again.

A friend told me that her doctor suggested she lose some weight through diet and exercise. She’s planning to change her eating habits, but really doesn’t like exercising. I can relate to that; I don’t like exercise either, but I’ve found activities which fit in to my lifestyle.

When my friend and I talked about exercise, we discovered that she used to dance and can take dance lessons again. Since she laughed about the fun she had with dancing, she’s more likely to achieve positive results from this form of exercise because she can focus on having fun. If we create an activity program we enjoy it has an added bonus of producing positive emotions. These emotions generate positive hormones which create the kind of chemicals in our bodies to promote well-being. Physical activity becomes an experience which makes us feel good.

Exercising the body is also a mental game, so if we want to increase our activity level, it’s wise to spend some time thinking about it first. We can ask ourselves if we’re ready to commit to an exercise program. If the answer is yes that’s great, but if the answer is no then it may be best to wait before we begin. Hopefully our thoughts will change and move us forward to some form of activity; so if we’re mentally prepared, our chance of success will be high.

Regular physical activity helps us to reach our best possible state of wellness. The key is to find an activity that makes us happy so we’re able to build it slowly and maintain it over time.

Unresolved issues

May 12, 2009

Reading an article about Farrah Fawcett in the Globe and Mail today made me think about a friend who died of breast cancer many years ago. Farrah Fawcett is dying and has a son in prison on drug related charges. My friend had a son in prison and was unable to come to grips with the fact that he was charged as a criminal. It was sad to watch my friend die with such a huge issue that was unresolved.

There are many versions of the theory: “Live in the moment”, but it’s hard to do when we drag so much of the past around. Letting go of past issues makes it easier to live in the present and to feel healthy and happy when we focus on what’s going on right now.

After my diagnosis of cancer, I broke down emotionally and knew I had to do some work if I wanted to be healthy again. I saw a psychologist who helped me to uncover the unresolved issues in my life; she helped me to face all my unfinished business through discussion and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy so I could let it go.

The act of letting go of pain and grief of the past was such a relief; I shed a huge weight that I’d been carrying around for years. All that unnecessary “stuff” had drained my energy to the point where I was physically, mentally and emotionally sick.

It was a choice, and one that seemed so hard to make became easy when I sought help to deal with it. What a difference it made to me and everyone around me; I found simple pleasures to be so rewarding. We had roses outside the front door and I made a habit of stopping to smell them every day.

I truly believe that letting go of unresolved issues moved me a long way on the road to obtaining the peace of mind which many people believe to be the ultimate goal in life.

It’s too late for my friend, but I hope that Farrah Fawcett will die in peace.

The simplest path to weight control is in your head.

March 26, 2009

It was a learning curve for me, but now I think that weight control can be a simple matter(not easy, but simple): I decide what weight I want to be, and I make a commitment to follow through with that decision. If I can do this, so can you – that’s if you want to, but you have to really want to do it or it doesn’t work.

Having cancer 22 years ago taught me to start taking better care of my eating habits. Before cancer I had a high fat – low fiber diet; this made me feel crappy for the most part, pun intended.

Since cancer had a way of making me wake up enough to want to change my lifestyle, I decided to make good health my number one priority in life. I learned to filter all my eating decisions through the question “Is this good for my health?” I have to be very honest with myself and if the answer is yes, then I can go ahead and eat whatever I want to eat. If the answer is no, then I have to ask myself if I’m cheating. Once I realize that I am only cheating myself, it’s very easy to back up and filter everything through the question again.

I just read a great article by Judith Beck in the January 2009 issue of Reader’s Digest, a Canadian magazine. The article is called “Think Like a Thin Person” and it’s adapted from Dr. Beck’s book called “The Complete Beck Diet for Life”.

The philosophy in the article is the same as mine, and my summary of Dr. Beck’s 7 key principles is:

1. Change your thinking – be aware of the thoughts you have before you eat and flex the resistance muscle more than you flex the “giving in” muscle

2. Eliminate emotional eating – face the emotions that make you eat when you’re not hungry, and distract yourself so you’re not tempted to eat

3. Dare to be hungry – recognize when you’re truly hungry and talk yourself out of eating when all you have is a desire to eat

4. Get real about your intake – pay attention to what you’re eating and instead of thinking it doesn’t count, remember that it does

5. Forget fairness – if you envy someone who is thin, remember thin people consciously choose to eat less so they control their weight

6. Eat sitting down – this is key, as it helps you to see everything you’re eating so you’re more satisfied visually and psychologically

7. Believe you can do it – keep up your motivation and confidence in yourself -rather than beating yourself up if you fall off the rails, talk to yourself in a positive way so you can quickly get back on track.

If you want to make a change, remember to do something every day to be kind to yourself; something small will do, but it helps you to feel nurtured so you won’t crave the comfort food and you’ll feel great.