Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

My word for 2017 is ….

January 3rd, 2017 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have done a lot of soul searching this holiday season. As per my usual routine, I drafted a few New Year’s type blog posts. None have seen the light of day as they didn’t quite hit the mark for how I’ve been feeling lately. I have been inspired by what some people have chosen as “their key word” for 2017 though. That got me thinking more deeply, hmmmm.

Although I have written a lot this past year, I have not posted much. Various family members have been experiencing their share of challenges, so my usual musings about food and nutrition didn’t quite feel right to post about in the grand scheme of things.

I did host a pre-Christmas get together with one of my sisters. I connected up with my many aunts to meet our new great nephew – Russel. I reflected on this get-together with awe about how lucky I am to have so many amazing women who are fabulous role models in my life in addition to my own Mom and Mom-in-law. Each has soldiered through their fair share of life’s challenges without the helicopter-type safety nets many young folks possess today. Yet each show up with smiles, love and enthusiasm, like always.

I am out at my hide-away as I write this and have been taking in the brisk winter outdoors with deeper reflection. On New Year’s Day I took the trek up snowy Knox Mountain. It’s is a love-hate thing – love it when I’m done and hate it while I’m trudging up…. a perfect way to contemplate life….

As I plodded along, it came to me: ROBUST!

  • This word sums up what my Moms and aunties have shown in their rich lives as they take on the world.
  • This explains the gumption you need to face an extreme challenge with courage, grit and a smile.
  • It goes deeper than merely “shaking a leg” in life, but losing one and making the best of it.
  • It’s what you need to break out of your routine and follow your dream.
  • It’s not spinning the yarn of mundane pettiness of the status quo, yet implies vitality & vigor, toughness & sturdiness, health & enthusiasm, to make a difference. Yes robust is my word this 2017.

May this word have meaning for you as you grab 2017 by the horns: Go forth and be ROBUST!

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Control, Alt, Delete

January 20th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

How many times do you hit these keys on your computer – control, alt, delete? Now that 2016 is in full swing, let’s consider how to apply this to our everyday lives. Listen up!

Control – Do you experience eating struggles? How much energy do you waste with preoccupations about food and eating? Break away from your current vortex and try something new by becoming more aware. As I often say “awareness is bliss”. When you understand what’s sending you into a tailspin you’ll be better prepared to reframe your way of thinking and change what you’re doing. Consider the following new steps to break out:
1) Start a Journalling Journey to create a love affair with food & activity. For the coming weeks scribble down details about food, eating and more as described in my ebook. Your journal will hold the keys to unlock your own personal eating mysteries, your own diet finger print.

2) Breaking Bad Habits – do the 3 x 3 – Instead of embarking on an overwhelming plan that twists your life into a pretzel to adhere to choose a few habits to work on at a time. What’s the rush? Why put any undue stress on yourself and take a slow and steady approach to make lasting change.

3) Thoughts on full – Instead of making food-related goals at first, change it up and choose behaviour goals instead with no food being deemed off limits.

Alt – Take a fresh, alternative approach to making new goals by being good to yourself. Work in as many positive ways to keep you stoked. You’ll love this new approach and wonder why you’ve been so hard on yourself depriving yourself, cleansing while not building yourself UP. Consider these new strategies:

1) Rewards to Stoke Motivation - From this day forward establish a reward system to treat yourself for good behaviour. Forget the punishment mentality once and for all!

2) Motivation 6 Ways – Work on an array of ways to stay motivated during the dead of winter. These will keep your motivation sizzling and NOT fizzling!

3) How are your goals taking shape? At various intervals take stock of your progress.

4) Reactivate your activity – If you’ve traditionally shut yourself in during winter, let yourself out! Renew a few ways to reactivate you moves. These will boost your endorphins and keep you pumped.

Delete – Put behind you old ways of thinking by finding new perspective:
1) One Plan to Rule them All - There are more than a 1,000 ways to do the same thing right. Figure out what’s right for you and custom create your own approach that fits your diet finger print that you will unveil while journalling.

2) Test, test do the Thanksgiving dinner test – If you do want to start a new eating regimen put it to my test, the Thanksgiving dinner test!

3) Eating Satisfaction Test - While you’re at it, this is a perfect time of year to put your favourite food to the test. Check this out as some of your faves might fall off your list. All of a sudden that Happy Meal is no longer making you smile…

There you have it folks, control, alt, delete yourself into the New Year. For more healthy and stealthy tips check out my ebook Skinny on Slim, The little black dress of diet books.

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Check, check….Time for a reality check

December 30th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

As the year comes to a close it’s only natural to ponder what was, what is and what could be for 2016. It helps to clear your head of all of the ‘would have’, ‘could have’, ‘should have’s’. We’re ready for a clean slate as the New Year rolls in, right? Instead of setting an array of unrealistic expectations and goals work on one thing – keeping it real.

A perfect place to start is readying yourself for the usual barrage of unsubstantiated health and nutrition information that bombards us. Like Tim Caulfield suggests, steer clear of bunk!

As I write this I reside in the ultra-contrived city of Las Vegas, adults’ very own Disney Land. My first impression is, “I’m not in Kansas anymore, Auntie M!” like Dorothy proclaimed in the Wizard of Oz. One of the many billboards I passed during my time here read “Make Better Choices.” I thought, hmmmm, I don’t think their definition of “better choices” is the same as mine….

“Keeping it real” is far from this place’s motto, from fake eyelashes, to volcano eruptions at the Mirage, to silicone implants and more. Every hour is happy hour it would seem. People here put photographs on their business cards. All of them seem to be missing one important element… that would be business attire….They even have a “Menage a Trois” wine. I expect the flavour floods your senses with hints of exotic spices with a strong oaky finish…. twice…. Ahhh I digress.

Yes, I have written many times that “awareness is bliss” and keeping it real is the name of the game. When you know better, you do better. Keep this in mind for the dawning of 2016 as you do your own reality check:

  • May the advice you find and follow be steeped in scientific evidence
  • If something seems too good to be true, realize it probably is, then forget about it, and
  • Work Mother Nature into your life regularly – on your plate, with your outdoor activities and with your de-stress strategies

Peace out.

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Activity level’s up a notch, thanks Apple Watch!

December 16th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thought I’d give an update on the Apple Watch I’ve been sporting since May. I have been wearing it religiously, despite it not always matching my outfits. My relationship with it has been growing stronger. Truth be told, I thought the novelty would have worn off by now. I’m happy to report that it hasn’t.

I wrote about it back in June: A Wee Nudge to Help Me Budge. I particularly liked the Activity App with friendly reminders to help get and keep me moving. My schedule over the past 6 months have put a proverbial monkey wrench in my routine with travels galore. This could wreak havoc on anyone’s routine, but the friendly reminders on my watch kept me moving even for short bursts wherever I have been.

When I browse my calendar I realize that one thing my routine lacks is well…..a routine. This is where the Activity Apps on the Apple Watch keep me mindful of making the most of each day to get me moving whatever I’m doing. The prompts shift with your varied routine.

Activity App to Nudge You – The Activity feature touts “Live a better day by achieving 3 daily fitness goals.” These include goals to move (in calories), to exercise (in time) and to stand for one minute (number of times/day).

The first day I wore it I received a gentle nudge on my wrist with a message “Time to stand up!” When I did it, I received a congratulatory message “You did it!” There are varied prompts that focus on one of the 3 goals depending on your day. When I was captive on a train ride from Vancouver to Toronto that chugged from Friday night to Tuesday morning the prompts focused on my standing goal. These nudged me to try to move, even a little, which I did when the train stopped along the way.

Achievement Awards To Stoke Motivation – I have received a wide array of achievement awards from the App which totally caught me off guard. These are motivating to propel you to earn more. For example, one called “New Move Goal” saying “You’ve earned this award 5 times for reaching a new daily move goal.” Another called “Longest Move Streak” says “you earned this award for your longest daily move streak, 12 days.” I have received others for a “perfect move week” another for a “perfect exercise week” and recently one for “100 Move Goals” since dawning this device. My competitive spirit has me gunning to earn more!

Review, Reflect & Reframe – I regularly review my activity history on the app on my phone. I also review the dashboard of the Health App on my phone to review monthly charts showing daily steps taken, daily distance and active calories. These metrics have improved vastly from wearing this day 1. I am more mindful with the regular reminders to vamoose my caboose. Before all of this I’d take a 3 mile walk and do my 16-minute investment into my hourglass routine feeling as if I’ve earned a hero sandwich. Now I get up to move regularly even if it is to stand while talking on the phone. Each Monday I receive a “week in review” to help me review, reflect and reframe my goals, something I wrote about in my e-book Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

So me and my Apple Watch have been through a half a year together and our relationship has grown stronger. We’ve been through sedentary times together on the train and active times together on bike rides on Myra Canyon, mountain treks up Knox Mountain, long meandering walks up to the escarpment of the old town of Lyon, near the Giants Causeway in Ireland, the hills and dales of San Francisco and a trail near Mount Cook with routine neighbourhood walks in-between. Despite the season changes, my activity goals are mounting, thanks to the messages keeping me mindful, motivated and moving!

It’s upward and onward from here, thanks to my Apple Watch! If you’re not sure what to ask Santa for, he might have one for you in his sack!

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Mother Nature 3 Ways

November 19th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’m back. Back from Middle Earth, a driving tour that led me around New Zealand’s south island, ahhhh. I love getting away and being able to ponder life’s wonders.

During that time my soul was doused with a triple dose of Mother Nature. Being able to witness the splendour of Mount Cook with a back splash of cirrus clouds, to crystal blue glacier lakes, fjords of Milford Sound on a mysteriously rainy day, an end-to-end rainbow with 2 pots of gold, the glory of spring flowers, to Fangorn’s Forest all connected by rolling hills and flatlands of farmland with flocks of sheep dotting the countryside from coast to coast to coast. Nothing could be finer, truly. Middle Earth? It felt like living a fairy tale. There and back again with Bilbo Baggins of sorts…

As I reflect about what was most captivating aside from “nature in your face” was the (almost) absence of big corporate anything, met with warm and genuine hospitality of unpretentious New Zealanders. Rarely a logo, a billboard, a golden arch, a fancy handbag was sported with a casual, comfort and acceptance of being as you were whether at a gas station filling up or a dining room of a remote lodge. How refreshing.

I relished listening to the silent whispers of nature whether a waterfall, sweet bird songs, the bark of a seal or wind rustled leaves. I collected souvenirs of rocks from the blue pools, some feathers of a red hawk and twigs of a grand Cypress tree found on the grounds of Larnarch’s Castle. How odd for me being a self proclaimed Material Girl, nothing seemed finer than those treasures I stashed in my suitcase….

There aren’t words to fully express the magnificence of it all as I mull over the jarring sumptuousness of my experience.

Speaking of jarring. The reentry to reality after an overnight flight being coddled to a final dose of New Zealand congeniality to San Francisco had life’s BS meter off the charts experiencing a double whammy of Friday the 13th day of November, literally. Paris splattered the headlines, to the Ho Ho Ho of Christmas harriedness, to my twitter feed spewing with breaking news. What gives?

It has been a few days since arriving home, still feeling a sense of calm from Mother Nature’s sweet caress despite our world going postal yet again in spades, sadly. As I took my daily walk I pondered my feelings more deeply, hmmmm. A lightbulb went off, AHA!

What we all need in our lives is more of Mother Nature – that’s the answer! I hiked to the grocery store yesterday to pick up some of her bounty that landed on my dinner plate. I walked with her feeling the brisker breeze blowing through my hair and sauntering by the bare trees reaching up to the sky. I felt her sense of calm to douse the stress of our world’s madness helping to make sense of it all somehow.

As I pondered what I’d write about in the months ahead aiming to synthesize life down to its skivvies, it came to me: let’s get more of Mother Nature in our life through our food, with fun activity and with her sage counsel to manage stress for our soul.

Hmmm, Mother Nature 3-Ways, more on this to come, Through Thick & Thin…

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Hold the trick on treats this Halloween!

October 28th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

The tweet fest has been mounting about whether to give kids healthy treats or toys at Halloween, hmmmm. Is that an oxymoron – “healthy treats”? I call that a “trick” in the “trick or treat” declaration, wouldn’t you?

Look folks, Halloween comes but once a year. It’s fun to celebrate a spirited day, dress up funny and shell out. Why suck the fun out of it? Truth be told, it’s a perfect time of year to put your relationship with food to the test…

Food means so much more than simply the vitamins and minerals it contains, but has a place within our social and psychological fabric. Kids are sharp as tacks being intuitive, sometimes more than we adults ever realize. When we the “gate keepers” take the “treat” out of “trick or treat” kids get the message that you’re telling them that something is bad about that. When you head down that road, it’s a slippery slope in a negative direction. Kids who live in “cleansed” environments without any goodies could go into “food seeking” mode and will gorge on treats when they eventually get them. Some studies have shown this. The unintended consequence could result in psychological eating issues which could shackle them in a vortex of disordered eating for decades. Lighten up!

Ideally we all want kids to establish a positive relationship with food or as I like to say “a love affair” described in my e-book. This involves eating and enjoying food, some treats in moderation, guilt free. This is not a black or white issue, but grey. When we deem foods by our actions as “bad” the unintended consequences could be staggering. That’s not the goal is it: to create a negative situation by being so virtuous?

I usually wait until the day before the big day to pick up my treats. You name it, I get it – potato chips, Cheetos, chocolate bars, candy, the full court press of offerings. It’s Halloween folks, kids don’t want “healthy treats” and neither do I as I sit at the door when the tykes drop by. Save the bridge games for the old folks home! What kind of trick is that? A very bad one! This is one of those occasions to take part in and have fun – nibble, nosh and be merry. When the sugar rush wears off, it’ll be time for school and work so enjoy!
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As the saying goes, “The whole is greater than the sum…”

October 23rd, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

We have all heard the saying “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This saying came to mind recently when the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s press release exclaimed “Cut the crap!” They revisited their nutritional recommendations for a healthy heart and slightly shifted their position suggesting we eat more whole foods and less highly processed, low nutrient junk food, AKA “crap”! How wise is that? Very!

Well, well, well, what a breath of fresh air these well thought out, new recommendations are for everyone! Over the past decades the masses have complicated matters of the heart and the diet, transforming the innocent act of eating into such a complicated affair. We got to focusing too much on micronutrients, while losing the essence and joy of food and eating somehow. It’s time to put “the bread” back into “breaking bread together”!

I am not proclaiming that nutrients in the food don’t matter. Our masterful machines – our bodacious bodies need all nutrients to function optimally. Changing our focus to one overarching goal – to consume mostly whole foods in a balanced fashion, is sage advise. Aiming to cook these whole foods at home more often can be life changing and for some life saving.

Instead of needing to remember a wide array of complicated food and nutrition rules – “…more of this, less of that, this percentage of the other… ” you simply have to ask yourself, “Is this a whole food or not?” When you look in your fridge, freezer, pantry and grocery list you can easily see if you are on the right track. Make small changes to move in the direction of eating whole foods more often in balanced proportions.

A few weeks back I made a vat of tomato eggplant sauce and froze it in smaller containers. Last week I made a lasagne with ground beef & mushrooms, spinach & ricotta and noodles using that trusty tomato sauce. This week I assembled this cinchy dinner of smoked salmon & brie, whole grain bread with a side salad. Next week I plan to create some calzones and dip them into my tomato sauce. Trust me, I am no Julia Childs and approach this to make food prep as easy and enjoyable as possible.

It’s helpful to take stock of your whole food enjoyment right now. If you have been falling short during this harvest season get a move on to your grocery store or market and load up.

Because it’s true, the whole IS greater than the sum of its parts. Eating more home-prepared, whole foods is better for you than consuming your nutrients from a bottle or elixir and following a plethora of illogical food rules, don’t you think?

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Limerick for Ellie

October 15th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

There is a new baby named Ellie
Coming into the world she did dilly dally
Arrived Saturday by 10
Let the party begin!
To welcome our new baby Ellie

An armful of perfection she is
Took to breastfeeding just like a whiz
Awake and asleep
Oh so new
Love runs deep
That armful of perfection she is

Ellie’s parents are such a great team
A 2-some any new baby would dream
The love and the care
No one could
Quite compare
That Ellie’s parents are truly a dream team

Family love awashes Ellie all round
She doesn’t even need to make a sound
By her side we will stand
There to give
Her a hand
Family love awashes Ellie all round

Let’s rise up to make our world a better place
For all the Ellie’s of every single race
That’s what life’s all about
Go on
Don’t ever doubt
We can all work to improve this place

… welcome to the grand fam Ellie Francis, I will always have your back!

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Who can you trust in this mad mad mad world of misinformation?

September 30th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , ,

I have written in my book that it can be a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World when it comes to the smelly heap of food and nutrition misinformation these days. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to believe. Sadly, many innocent consumers don’t only waste their hard earned money on crack-pot, unnecessary products but also harm themselves physically by trying some of these schemes.

I recently recounted a story I heard in my blog post “Clean Up on Aisle 3“. I heard about a woman who tried a cleanse, limiting her to only drink a high-priced, special elixir to help her find her fountain of youth. After a month on this bevy blaster her hair started falling out. That wasn’t exactly the special side effect she was seeking, good grief. That’s what happens when you don’t deliver all the nutrients your body needs consistently – it eventually breaks down.

Unfortunately the wisdom of eating a balanced diet and regular food can seem so unsexy and highly underrated when indeed this nugget is truly the Holy Grail… The moral of that story – don’t mess with the machine – your bodacious body, as I have written many times and explain in my ebook, Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

Dietitians of Canada has some pointers to help Canadians sort through the noise to find the best available nutrition information.

Here are five tips to spot misinformation:

  • Is the person or product promising a quick fix like fast weight-loss or a miracle cure? If it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is! Making changes to your health means a commitment to eating well and exercising regularly. Check out the ‘Your Health’ section at dietitians.ca
  • Are they trying to sell you products such as special foods or supplements instead of teaching you how to make better food choices at home, at play, at work or while eating out?
  • Do they provide information based on personal stories rather than on facts? Although it’s nice to hear about a success story from a celebrity, it’s not proof that something works or is true. Nutrition advice should be based on the best available scientific research. Dietitians are university trained, regulated health professionals who use tools such as PEN® to make sure they are basing their advice on the best available information.
  • Is their claim based on a single study or a few research studies? Were the studies with animals or humans? Are you similar to the humans that were studied (age, gender etc.)? The stronger the study design, and the more studies available that draw the same conclusions, the stronger the evidence that something it true.
  • What are the person’s qualifications? Think about it: You wouldn’t ask a celebrity how to build a safe bridge, you’d ask a professional engineer. You also wouldn’t ask a celebrity to fill your cavity, you’d ask a dentist. The same thinking should apply for nutrition advice. Dig a little deeper and ask for credentials. The title dietitian is protected by law, just like a nurse, dentist or pharmacist. Look for the initials “RD or PDt” to identify a registered dietitian.

Awash yourself with wisdom people. Trust an RD!

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Fall Forward 6 Ways

September 23rd, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

We all know the saying “Spring Forward, Fall Back”. I am a contrarian on that. Once fall hits, I get that motivational New Year’s feeling, don’t you? I yearn to dial it up a notch to move forward with fresh thinking, goals and plans as the new season arrives. Care to join me?

Last week I blogged about part of a conversation I had with a book reader of mine. Paige and I conversed a few times and she mentioned something about what she experienced so far in her quest to get healthier that I wanted to share with you.

During the goal making process, as my readers take the step to make changes in their diet, attitude and life I suggest they not even consider “food related” goals at first and focus on behaviour instead. Take the pressure off! I based this recommendation on my own experience. When I embarked on my very last journey from Fat City to Slim Town that shift in thinking helped tremendously. For me, it was so freeing to allow all food to fit and focus on improving aspects of my eating behaviour. In time I lost the guilt, the food and eating preoccupations along with weight. Those changes alone are worth working on and will help you find some peace from all of those struggles.

Until I did that I never quite realized how much energy I wasted on obsessing over food and eating. To say it was exorbitant is an understatement. So in my exchange with Paige, she exclaimed, “What a revelation!” about how not making food-related goals was for her. Does this strike a cord in you?

So with fall upon us, plan to fall forward, not backward into hibernation mode, into couch potato-dom, into draw-stringed waistbands and slump wear. Make plans to fall forward to progress your lifestyle goals to help you dial it up a notch. Start by shifting your focus. Take the pressure off and make goals that aren’t food or weight related. How novel is that? Very! Here are 6 ways to fall forward:

One – Here’s a fresh idea: Kick food-guilt to the curb once and for all and find practical tips galore in my book to get er done! Create a love affair with food and eating by allowing all food to fit.

Two - Keep the lovin’ alive by creating another love affair with activity and exercise by making moves you enjoy. Your routine shouldn’t be your punishment. Have fun already!

Three – Identify the food and eating knots that bind you by keeping a journal. Practice the 3 R’s – review, reflect, reframe each week to eventually free yourself from these negative, energy sucking relationships forever.

Four – Get real this fall and take your lifestyle by the horns by making systematic small goals doing the 3 x 3 and rewarding yourself throughout. Try a new approach.

Five – Work on staying stoked with myriad motivations to keep you in the game from when you start throughout the process, whatever your goals might be.

Six – Get reading Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books to help you find perspective, provide a slew of tips and be your support with you’re own RD and friend in your back pocket.

Unshackle yourself from mainstream “diet” thinking and focus your energy on living better! Experience your own revelation! Isn’t that what you really want – peace, not war? Let the changing leaves be a sign that it’s time to make positive shifts today. Join me in a fresh journey and fall forward!

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