Small Business Saturday – November 24, 2012

 

Now that I have gone completely off the rails nutritionally with my FAVORITE holiday of the year, I’m going to go off the rails financially for Small Business Saturday.

For those purchasing coaching packages for themselves, take a 25% discount off of any package.  If you want to give nutrition coaching as a gift, take a 50% discount off of any package.

This is meant to be a small ‘taste’ of coaching so I am perfectly willing to have potential clients commit to only one month.  Typically, I ask that clients commit to three months in order to reap sustained benefits, but I also want people who are hesitant to give it a try!  If you are wanting a more long-term coaching relationship, I am capping the discount at a three-month commitment.

Coaching Packages

For more information and arranging purchase, contact me at visioninaction.mdf@gmail.com or 541-729-9687.

Tell your friends!

The Ever Elusive Goal of Weight Loss

Borrowed from Lifestyle – News and Spirit

Weight loss.  It doesn’t matter where a person is, they are likely to hear some sort of message about weight loss.  Most of those messages are seriously unhealthy (i.e. weight loss “aids” and fad diets), but, in the U.S. at least, most of us do need to shed a few pounds for the sake of our overall health.  It’s not a matter of looking smokin’ hot, it’s a matter of reducing our risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and a number of other lifestyle diseases.  I, for one, see my own personal need to lose weight as a matter of doing what is best not only for myself, but for my family.  The struggle is: how does a person go about effectively setting and reaching this goal of weight loss?

At this point, I want to clarify that I am discussing weight loss for those that do not meet the medical definition for obesity (BMI of 30 or above/30+ pounds over “ideal weight”).  Those that are 30 pounds or more overweight should likely be working with medical professionals as there may be other health risks that need to managed while following a weight loss plan.

Now that we have cleared up the disclaimer, let’s talk goal setting.  The very first step is saying out loud or writing down your goal: I need to lose weight.  Once you have this, you’ll need to decide how much.  Without an actual number, your goal will likely feel impossible and never ending.  This leads to giving up.  In my case, I want to lose 20 pounds.  I don’t necessarily support putting a time line on losing weight so I won’t be saying that I need to have lost these 20 pounds by Valentine’s Day or anything like that.  This would set me up for failure, especially with my number two favorite holiday just around the corner: Turkey Day.  Instead, I know that losing 1-2 pounds a week is a healthy and sustainable weight loss goal.  I won’t do this each week because some weeks I’ll fall off the wagon for one reason or another, and water weight can fluctuate up to five pounds a day.  Remembering these things helps keep me from feeling bad about not seeing rapid, immediate progress.  In the case of weight loss, slow and steady really does win this race.

Now that I know how much weight I want to lose, I need to figure out how I’m going to do it.  This is going to be different for most people because everyone has a different relationship with food, different family food culture, and simply different lifestyles.  In my case, I already eat VERY healthy.  Not perfectly healthy, but to a degree that nutritionists would have little to suggest as far as diet change.  My problems are three-fold: portion control, no exercise outside my daily activities, and too much beer.  Now I have smaller goals to work on to get me toward my ultimate goal.  I will now be setting goals a week at a time that address my three problem areas.  So far, I have added some body weight exercises into my daily routine, cut snacking after dinner out (which leads to drastically reduced beer consumption), and I am exploring the philosophy of “mindful eating” (more on this concept at a later date.

Now, the ultimate marker of success with this goal is going to be my weight.  However, it is best to weigh one’s self only once a week and this change might not be immediate.  I know this because one pound of weight is equal to 3500 calories, meaning that I need to increase my exercise and decrease my caloric intake by a total of 500 calories per day if I am to lose one pound in a week.  This is likely to not be very easy at the beginning because I am working to change some pretty deeply ingrained habits.  How am I going to mark my success without fully relying on my weight?  Well, I am going to focus on the little things that I am doing and reward myself for doing those rather than just losing weight.  This is really about making a lifelong change and taking care of overall health, so only focusing on the number on the scale would be somewhat counter-productive.

There are many ways that a person can keep track of their goals and mark progress.  I am a pretty visual person when it comes to goal setting (I’m really big on keeping lists and marking tasks off as I go).  I was recently introduced to a FREE website, SlimKicker.  This site is really pretty fun because it turns your weight loss goals into a game format.  You can record various tasks and participate in challenges to earn points.  You set up what your reward will be as you reach new levels.  There are a few things that I don’t care for: there is no place to keep track of what my goals are and the nutrition tracking is cumbersome, but it still is an enjoyable way to work towards my overall goal.  If you are interested in trying it out and having some support, I can be found as MDFeats on the website.

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There are SO many ways to set goals and keep track of progress.  Care to share your method?

Food Is For Enjoying

Hello again everyone.  I have been silent here in the blogging world for a little while because I decided to prioritize my canning over blogging.  While I was canning and not blogging, I was also doing some thinking about the direction of my life coaching endeavors.  My business, Vision In Action, has only been open for 5 months so we are still in a growing and learning period.  I began this business because I have an incredibly strong skill set for helping others improve their lives.  I have always had a natural talent for this, but I improved upon it in college and truly honed my skills working in the social service world.  As I set out with life coaching, I thought that I would just hang my shingle out to offer my services to anyone who had any goal of any sort.  That’s a little general, don’t ya think?  I shortly received some advice from a much more experienced life coach that I should target my audience (a marketing friend of mine put it: “By trying to please everyone, you please no one.”)  It was at this point that I thought to myself, “I have worked with families with at-risk youth for 7 years, that is my niche.”  Turns out, I don’t want to do that either.  I am still very passionate about helping young people, but youth work is very intense work and I am beginning to feel that my journey in that field has concluded.  I did some amazing work, but I have skills to lend to other areas of service…and in order to offer the top-level of service, I need to be truly energized by what I am doing.

Then, one day recently, it hit me: FOOD!  I love food.  I spend the majority of my time dealing with food: growing it, tending it, preserving it, and cooking meals from scratch.  When I have conversations with friends and family, it so often turns to food and the ways that it can help us be healthier.  I am over-the-top passionate about food.  Food is what brings family and friends together to celebrate and discuss and share.  And often there is no greater kindness than giving food to someone who has none.  Food can bring people together, and tear people apart.  It can nourish your body and soul or it can irreparably damage your most vital organs.  Food is powerful.

I have also been on an incredible journey with food.  I am now at a place in my life where food is something that I use to show others that I care for them and a way I keep myself healthy.  I do have some food demons that I have struggled with and will likely struggle with my whole life.  I have suffered from anorexia and bulimia, and I have had many times where I could find nothing positive about my physical body.  This issue is so complex and my journey has been a wild one.  I do not have plans to share my entire journey with everyone, but do feel that sharing this small amount with you all can help to illustrate where my passion for food comes from.

Some might say that sharing my indecisiveness over my niche shows lack of vision or stability, but I believe it shows that I understand how goals may look black and white at the beginning, but end up neon green.  My goal has always been to use my unique skill set to help people do great things with their lives, it has just taken a bit to figure out in what way.  I want to help people stop seeing food as the enemy and to see themselves as beautiful people.  I am not setting out to help people stick to a specific diet.  I am not a weight loss guru, and will never pretend to be.  I want to inspire people to love food and be inspired by food, not to count every calorie and forget about the nutritional value that all foods have.  This is about long-term, lifestyle change, not about losing 10 pounds for your high school reunion.

I have been around a lot of food-related issues over my life and have seen people use food to improve their lives and to cope with negativity.  I know the healing power of food and have watched loved ones with cancer and multiple sclerosis use food for all of its positive benefits.  I hope that my passion about food, educational and professional background, as well as my personal journey can help you find your way to loving food and yourself.

I am interested to hear some feedback as I start re-branding my business.  I have no way of knowing if anyone is interested in this sort of service, but I have to follow my passion!  Stay-tuned for more food-related changes 🙂

The Power of Intention

How often do you think about intention?  I’m guessing not very often.  Intention is very powerful and something that we should not neglect when working to make things happen in our lives.  First, the definition of intention as provided by the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary:

intention, n. 1. an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result. 2. the end or object intended; purpose.

There are two very important words in this definition: ‘determining’ and ‘purpose.’  If a person is to reach a goal, they must focus their intention by determining their purpose.  Certainly, I can have a goal of writing a book and becoming published, but why?  What is my purpose in working toward this goal?  Without the why I will have no motivation and no drive.  This will be evident to any who encounter my writing and will not provide positive results.

There are many who believe in the power of intention itself.  The idea is that one can influence results in their lives simply by putting their intentions out into the universe.  For some this is prayer, for others magick, and can even be as simple as writing the intention on a postcard on the fridge.  One cannot take a backseat to their goals; intention is everything.

I want to say only a small amount about this concept because I know that it is best understood when experienced rather than read.  I would like all that read this post to try using intention to manifest something in their lives.  There are many ways to do this, some of which rely heavily on spiritual belief systems, but others can be completely secular.  Those that come to mind immediately: prayer, candle lighting, meditation, posting “intention reminders” throughout the house, telling another person your intention and asking them to hold you accountable to it, and journaling.  Sometimes, just saying something out loud can make it that much more real.  By verbalizing our thoughts and feelings we give them life.

Try something listed here or develop your own way of focusing your intention.  There is no limit to this exercise.  Let us know what happens!

Upcoming Series…Don’t Miss Out!

Hello everyone!  I am going to be writing a series of posts that deal with the Stages of Change (SOC) model in regard to making decisions about health and wellness.  I know, that sounds terribly boring and potentially painful.  Well, fear not my faithful followers!  I plan to write about this idea from the perspective a person needing to make a change and in the style of journal entries.  It should be much more entertaining than an academic examination of the SOC.

I want to do this series because making change is difficult, and it is important for those needing to make change to understand that it is a process that involves learning how to make the change, not just deciding what needs to be changed.  I am hoping that this series will help my readers understand where on the path they fall and what it is going to take to get them to move from one stage to the next.  Please leave comments, ask questions, and make suggestions throughout this series.  My character has a lot of work to do and will need support, motivation, and accountability to make it through!

I look forward to seeing how this exercise unfolds and hearing what everyone thinks.

Here’s to making healthful changes!

Anxiety and Fluffy Bunnies

I cannot think of any person that has ever reached a goal without some form of partnership along the way.  Partnership is an essential piece of everyday life and nothing would happen without it.  I grew up in a small, rural community on a cattle ranch and learned the value and necessity of partnership at a very young age.  My community would never have survived if it were not for the way that people would pitch in to make sure that their neighbors had what the needed.

Partnership is reciprocal and symbiotic.  It is not simply one person helping another, but each member of the partnership providing something beneficial to the other.

Now that we are through the fluffy bunny portion of my post, let’s get down to brass tacks.

Partnership is TOUGH.  Even the sweetest, most easy-going person in the world has odd little quirks and eccentricities that can get under a person’s skin.  The trick to a good partnership is being able to accept these quirks and eccentricities, while understanding that we have them too and working to improve on those that are detrimental to the process of partnership.

The main partnership in my life is that with my husband who is also the father of our child.  There is A LOT of give-and-take that happens in our partnership on a day-to-day basis, and we both realize this.  However, we both have aspects of our personality that clash, and they can clash hard.

My husband can be an anxious person.  I try to be sensitive to this, but sometimes my “pull-yourself-up-by-your-boostraps” self comes screaming to the surface and I am not as helpful or caring as I should be.  When he is having anxiety and having a hard time getting things done because of that, it can be very easy to fall into a space of, “I need you to be X,Y, or Z for me right now” rather than thinking of ways to alleviate his stress.  This is the point where any partnership will begin to suffer: it’s the “I-don’t-care-how-you-are-feeling-focus-on-me” point.

Everyone can benefit from learning to cultivate the skill that allows us to recognize when the other person needs more from us than we do from them.  Sure, my husband being anxious about something I feel is no big deal can be frustrating, but his emotional state is very real and can have long-term effects on his well-being.  Instead of viewing my husband’s anxiety as slowing down a plan I have made, I can consciously choose to view it as an opportunity for our partnership to grow.  Instead of becoming frustrated, I can ask, “what do you need from me?”

When faced with a problem in a partnership, the only person we can control is ourselves.  I cannot make my husband stop being anxious.  That is a skill he will have to learn and master for himself.  However, I can control my response to his behaviors.  If I am not the support he needs when he needs it most (and vice versa), we no longer having a functioning partnership.

Goals and dreams will remain unfulfilled if we do not have the support of others, but we also have to remember that our supports need us as well.

Do you have a frustration in a partnership that you are unsure how to handle?

Your Bootstraps

I have been described as a “pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps” sort of person, and I can certainly come across that way.  I have very little patience for people who whine, make excuses, and blame others for their problems or hardships.  Now, that being said, I am slightly addicted to Dance Moms on Lifetime.  I’m always saying that Abby Lee’s yelling stresses me out, but I keep coming back for more.  I think I like it because it harkens back to my dance days….though our dance teacher actually wanted us to enjoy ourselves and our moms seemed to only have moments of crazy rather than every day crazy.

Dance Moms is a prime example of whining, excuse making, and blaming others.  I am not even going to address Abby Lee as a problem.  She seems to be aware of her personality and makes no excuses for it.  I may not like her, but she doesn’t care and won’t try to change that.  She is who she is and is fine with it.  My issue is with the mothers.  In almost every episode, one or several of them goes on one rant or another about how horrible Abby is, how unfair things are for their children, how mean Abby is to their children, and how their lives are negatively impacted by all the dance related tasks they must do on a daily basis.

These women act so surprised every time Abby does something that is perfectly in line with her character.  I fully realize that without all this drama no one would watch, but I can not figure out why they just don’t take their children to another studio.  Abby is not going to change her approach, behavior, or personality.  By remaining at her studio, they are giving her permission to treat their children in an incredibly reprehensible manner.

Now, sometimes we have competing desires and have to choose one over the other (i.e. I want to be healthy, but I also want to drink a bottle of wine to myself).  This is where things get tricky with Dance Moms: they want their children to have the best possible dance education, but they also want their children to experience positive development.  Their actions tell me that they care much more about their children dancing at one particular studio than about their children feeling good about themselves.  These mothers obviously love their children, but they keep failing to seize the opportunity to walk away and find something healthier.

This is where my “pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps” self comes out: quit whining about how terrible Abby is and go to another studio.  Abby is not going to change.  Either be OK with her berating your children or move on.  Quit complaining because you are allowing the things you say you hate to happen.

Real life, however, is much more complicated.  I may want to scream at the women on Dance Moms, but I also remember that most contradicting desires are not so simply sorted out.  There are many factors at play when faced with two competing desires.  It is SUPER counterproductive to tell someone to “Just Do It,” but it is helpful to hold individuals accountable to their stated desires by pointing out whining, excuse making, and blaming of others.  When we are aware of our behavior, it is easier to own it, change it, and reach our goals.

Maybe I should be the coach for the Dance Moms?  Yeah, I don’t think they’ll go for that….