Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No-Fail Tip #40: Stay Positive

No-Fail Tip #40: Stay Positive

“Go into the New Year with faith in your ability to change. The belief that you can succeed is a powerful force. Behavioral scientists call this self-efficacy. You have a much better chance at sticking to your new routine and reaching your goal if you have confidence in yourself.”

-- Janet Helm, MS, RD, Chicago-based registered dietitian, author of Nutrition Unplugged

* Filed Under:
o diet tips,
o fitness tips,
o New Year's resolution

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Focus on What You Should Eat

No-Fail Tip #22: Focus on What You Should Eat

“Focus on eating what we call ‘fat fighting phytochemicals’-- so eat berries, blood oranges, red grapes, Spanish olives, purple corn and açaí berries. Research shows that an antioxidant found in these fruits (and a few other vegetables) could fight fat in two ways. These contain an anti-obesity compound (the phytochemical C3G) that was found to increase production of both adiponectin and leptin. Adiponectin is a protein that enhances fat burning. Leptin is a hormone that suppresses appetite and converts calories to body heat.”

-- Lyssie Lakatos, RD, CDN, CFT

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Stop the Self-Sabotage

3 Steps to Stop the Self-Sabotage
February 27, 2012
By Patrick Llewellyn
Stop it Before it Begins

My running shoes are sitting by my front door. My sweats are folded on a chair in my bedroom and a Rolling Stones concert t-shirt with pit stains is draped over it. I’m all set to wake up at six am, suit up, and go for a run before work.

But the Tonight Show is on, and since I’m up late I get hungry again and I’m snacking. It’s after one before I fall asleep and when the alarm hits at six it hits hard. A few rounds of snooze later and I don’t even have time for breakfast as I rush out the door, passing my running shoes—which have been untouched for a month! Tomorrow, I promise myself. Tomorrow I’ll run. Though I didn’t consciously do so, this near-daily routine is a form of self-sabotage that’s kept me from meeting my goals and accomplishing what I want out of my life.

But if I want to run, why didn’t I run? It’s not just that it’s difficult or painful—we all do difficult and painful things every day. For many of us, a part of our inner psyche is afraid that if we rise we also risk falling—and it’s a malfunctioning safety mechanism that attempts to protect us from venturing into unknown territory. A mechanism that needs to be fixed if you want to live a successful and satisfying life.

Identifying and circumventing self-sabotage can be tricky—after all, this isn’t some arch-enemy spiking your drink at the Christmas party or deleting your work file—this is some part of you that wants to make sure you crash and burn before you get going.

While there are a lot of reasons that you may have developed these self-defeating habits, there are three easy things you can do that can really cut the self-enemy’s power to knock you down before you start.

Procrastination is the most insidious form of self-sabotage—you may have an important project due tomorrow but you’ll find yourself cleaning your bathtub before you actually get to work on it, leaving you with little time to succeed or do your best. Put first things first. Make an un-ordered list of what you want to accomplish, then order it and tackle it in order. Writing things down keeps the self-sabotager inside of you from moving that idea to reorganize your closet by color and season to the forefront, and you get immense satisfaction when you cross your items off your list. You’ll be amazed at just how much more you can do in your day when you practice this.
“The most powerful moment of your life is now.” – Psychic Kelli ext. 5130


If you walked out the door to a gloomy black-clouded sky, you’d be silly to not grab a raincoat and umbrella on the good chance of rain—but every day millions of people don’t prepare for the inevitability of being hungry, and when we’re hungry we (A.) don’t concentrate well and have mood swings, (B.) have to adjust our schedules to make time to find food, and (C.) make poor choices to stave off the increasing hunger. If you were driving cross-country, you wouldn’t head out without a full gas tank and a map, so don’t do it to yourself. Plan out meals, and have snacks on you so you run on optimum fuel all the way through your day.


Like the old Seinfeld routine—don’t let night guy screw up day guy. Day guy’s problem is also night guy’s problem. There’s only one you, so support yourself by making sure you’re well rested, and get over your self-declaration that you’re a night owl—this too is a form of sabotage. Give yourself enough time to sleep and be where you need to be, on time, well rested, and ready to seize the day. You’ll adjust and the successes you get behind you will fuel you to newer and greater heights.

Now those are three easy ways to offset self-sabotage before it begins—but what about the habits that are fully flourishing? Stopping those isn’t easy; in fact you may even require help. It’s scary to be this vulnerable, but your friends and loved ones know your faults and habits. Ask them and listen. You’ll naturally want to put up a wall and argue but listen and let it wash over you. You’ll be glad you did.

A coach or a psychic can also help overcome these habits. Ever wonder why it’s called a psychic reading? It’s because the psychics read you as if you’re a book. Ask for a reading without reference to other people or events—ask the psychic to reveal these self-sabotaging aspects. It’s going to be hard to hear, but once you see the face of your enemy, it has a much harder time hiding within you and you’ll see immediate improvements in all aspects of your life.
“Know without a doubt that nothing is impossible if we believe we deserve it.” – Psychic Claire ext. 5242

The definition of success is knowing you will be able to do what needs to be done when you need to do it. Start with these and you’ll be amazed how some basic footing will keep you from kicking your own chair out from underneath you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Change Back to That Person You Were

I Love You Just the Way You Were
You've lost weight. Or you're marrying the man of your dreams. Or you're studying Chinese and planning a trip to Beijing. Why is everybody in your life acting so weird? Martha Beck tells how to deal with the people who just can't let go of the old you.
By Martha Beck
O, The Oprah Magazine | From the May 2005 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

Begin Your Systematic Defense

Step 1: Pay respectful attention.
When someone launches a change-back attack against you, refrain from resisting or submitting; just pay attention. Remember that whether you realize it or not, your actions may be forcing this friend to either make personal alterations or give up on "fitting" with you. Noticing their fear may calm you, and this may go a long way toward calming them.

If someone comes at you with a direct, obstreperous argument, try these unexpected, attentive responses: "Tell me." "I'm listening." "I hear you." "Say a little bit more on that." Attentiveness is a mobile, fluid stance that allows you to observe and respond without sustaining much damage. As Mark Twain said about doing right, it will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Step 2: Take time to find your truth.
So you've paid attention. You know that the bag of bacon cheeseburgers on the table is just evidence that your loving husband is afraid he'll lose you. You've listened calmly as your angry teenager or judgmental parent lambasted you for your new achievements. Find a private moment for yourself. Now breathe and relax. Recall the chain of events that motivated your metamorphosis in the first place: the fat, the loneliness, the illumination. Honestly consider the feedback you've just received. Maybe it feels absolutely right; if so, reverse course. Maybe it's partly right. Fine, alter your direction. Or maybe the complaint is just plain wrong. In that case, you must keep going, trusting that the best gift you can offer others is the resolute embrace of your own truth.

Step 3: State your position for the record.
If your change-back attacker is sober and in a reasonably receptive frame of mind, you may want to respond to her argument. Even when you're dealing with a nasty, non-communicative person, stating your position may be a powerful step in your own development. It may not make the slightest impression on your unrelenting foes, but hearing the truth spoken in your own voice can clear your head and buoy your heart, at which point you'll have won the battle.

Vanquish Your Change-Back Attackers

Step 4: Unconditional Love
There's a secret weapon in the change wars, one that can fill the gaps and soften the edges of our constantly morphing identities—and I don't mean leaving your whole social system or forcing others to conform to you at every moment in time. The answer is unconditional love, and I encourage you to use it with ruthless abandon.

You'll know you've vanquished your change-back attackers when you can love them completely without agreeing with them at all. You can't force this feeling—it will happen naturally when you're ready—but when it strikes, express it, without acquiescing to others' verbal jabs. Doing this cheerfully and unabashedly will confound your average saboteurs by giving them nothing to oppose.

At best, this approach will cause your adversaries to stop, ponder, and perhaps feel less scared of making their own improvements. At worst, it will render you flexible, able to fit in with many people and social systems without getting stuck in any one position. The more you claim your own destiny, the easier it will be to love unconditionally. The more you love, the more comfortably you'll fit in with all sorts of people. Ultimately, situations that once brought on horrendous change-back attacks, that once appeared to you as utterly unworkable puzzles, may end up barely fazing you at all.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

6 Ways to Stop Dwelling On It by Naomi Barr

6 Ways to Stop Dwelling On It
By Naomi Barr
O, The Oprah Magazine

Stop dwelling on it
It's 5 p.m., the deadline for an important work project is at 6, and all you can think about is the fight you had with the next-door neighbor this morning. You're dwelling, says Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, PhD, a professor of psychology at Yale and author of Women Who Think Too Much. "It's natural to look inward," she says, "but while most people pull out when they've done it enough, an overthinker will stay in the loop."

Ruminating regularly often leads to depression. So if you're prone to obsessing (and you know who you are), try these tactics to head off the next full-tilt mental spin cycle...

Distract Yourself
Put on music and dance, scrub the bathtub spotless, whatever engrosses you—for at least 10 minutes. "That's about the minimum time needed to break a cycle of thoughts," says Nolen-Hoeksema, who's been studying rumination for more than 20 years. Or choose something to focus on. "A friend told me that she once started counting the number of times the speaker at her conference said 'like,'" Nolen-Hoeksema recalls. "By the time he finished, she'd stopped ruminating."

Make a Date to Dwell
Tell yourself you can obsess all you want from 6 to 7 p.m., but until then, you're banned. "By 6 p.m., you'll probably be able to think things through more clearly," says Nolen-Hoeksema.

3 Minutes of Mindfulness
For one minute, eyes closed, acknowledge all the thoughts going through your mind. For the next minute, just focus on your breathing. Spend the last minute expanding your awareness from your breath to your entire body. "Paying attention in this way gives you the room to see the questions you're asking yourself with less urgency and to reconsider them from a different perspective," says Zindel Segal, PhD, co-author of The Mindful Way Through Depression.

The Best and Worst Scenarios
Ask yourself...

"What's the worst that could happen?" and "How would I cope?" Visualizing yourself handling the most extreme outcome should alleviate some anxiety, says Judith Beck, PhD, director of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Then consider the likelihood that the worst will actually occur.

Next, imagine the best possible outcome; by this point, you'll be in a more positive frame of mind and better able to assess the situation more realistically.

Call a Friend
Ask a friend or relative to be your point person when your thoughts start to speed out of control.

How to Move On
Say, "Oh well."

Accept that you're human and make mistakes—and then move on, says Dr. Beck. Be compassionate. It's harder than it sounds, so keep practicing.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Finding Real Happiness by Martha Beck

The Plains of Peace: Real Happiness

True joy lacks the wild ups and downs of an excitement-based life. It's a peaceful landscape, filled with peaceful thoughts and peaceful emotions. Indeed, it's so peaceful that, to our adrenaline-soaked culture, it looks rather plain. In fact, I like to think of it as the plains of peace.

You can probably look back on times that didn't seem very memorable when they were happening but that stand out in retrospect for their sweetness: floating in the ocean on a summer day; seeing the sun set as you drove home from work; picking berries in the country with friends. Relive those moments—the sound of the surf, the breeze on your face, the taste of salt on your lips, the gentle rocking of the water—and you'll see that they're rich, layered, and powerfully sustaining to the soul. Beagles, who wag their tails over every small joy, seem to recognize these moments continuously. Humans, not so much.

If you worry that your life is lacking in events so exciting they'll make your head spin like an industrial food processor, I have good news: You can relax. The best way to increase genuine joy is to stop searching for manic highs and instead explore the plains of peace. Happily, you're in the perfect place to begin: this very moment.

How to Be Here Now

People started telling me to "be here now" when I was about 20. "Great!" I responded. "How?" Be still, they said. Breathe. Well, fine. I started dutifully practicing meditation, by which I mean I tried to be still while compulsively planning my next billion-watt wow. But one day, while reading up on the latest research in positive psychology, I discovered a two-word instruction that reliably ushered me onto the plains of peace when I couldn't force my brain to just "be still." Here it is: Make something.

You see, creative work causes us to secrete dopamine, a hormone that can make us feel absorbed and fulfilled without feeling manic. This is in sharp contrast to the fight-or-flight mechanism, which is associated with hysteria hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Research indicates that we're most creative when we're happy and relaxed, and conversely, that we can steer our brains into this state by undertaking a creative task.

To get a dopamine "hit," make something that pushes you to the furthest edge of your ability, where you're not only focused but learning and perfecting skills. Cooking an unfamiliar dish will do the trick, as will perfecting a new clogging routine. At first, depending on how addicted to mania you happen to be, the excitement-grubbing part of your brain won't want to stop obsessing about over-the-top experiences. It will cling to its fantasies about the next huge thrill, its fears of Suicide Tuesday. Keep creating.

As you persist, your brain will eventually yield to the state psychologists call mindfulness. Your emotions will calm, even if you're physically and mentally active. You won't notice happiness when it first appears, because in true presence, the mind's frantic searching stops. In its place arises a fascination with what's occurring here and now. Though this feeling is subtle, it's the opposite of dull. It's infinitely varied and exquisite.

The aftermath of a creative surge, especially one that involves a new skill, is a sense of accomplishment and increased self-efficacy—which psychologists recognize as an important counter to depression. Instead of a Suicide Tuesday crash, you're left with the happy fatigue of someone who is building strength.

Pay attention to this process, and you'll see that the motivation to be here now will gradually grow stronger than the cultural pressure to seek excitement. You'll find yourself increasingly able to tune in to the delights of the present even when you're not actively creating. When this happens, you'll be on your way to genuine happiness: abundant, sustainable delight in the beautiful moments of ordinary life.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Problem-Solving By Marcus Buckingham

Strong Life Plan:Problem-Solving
By Marcus Buckingham
October 26, 2009

Solving problems
When we look at many aspects of our lives, our instinctive reaction is to pay attention to the deficits of the situation, to focus on what's wrong. When you ask people, "What is the most effective way to solve a problem?" 83 percent say, "Find out what is wrong and fix it." This "Deficit Attention Disorder" merely serves to amplify problems rather than resolve them.

A more productive and positive approach looks like this:

1. Define the problem as objectively as possible. Leave out any judgments. Simply state the facts as if a video camera were replaying the issue to you.

2. Because attention amplifies everything, focusing on the source of the problem will inevitably make it worse. Detach yourself from the problem. You are not fixing it; the problem is simply showing you something.

3. Change follows the line of your questioning. Instead of asking, "What's wrong?" ask, "What does it look like when it's working?"

4. Define three steps that you can take to shift the situation toward the imagined future that your question helped you create. This is the best use of your energy. Ensure the steps allow you to use identified strengths or will help you create strong-moments.

5. Look for evidence that your steps are having the intended result. Keep asking "What's working?" and focus on further expanding the success of your intent. The problem will shrivel.

When problems do occur, don't analyze them, break them down and ruminate over their meaning. They don't mean anything. They just are. Shift your focus to what working looks and feels like and then dedicate your energy to manifesting that. Problems don't magically disappear, but they do transform when you focus attention on generating a positive vision.

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Don't Give Up On That Dream By Leigh Newman

Don't Give Up On That Dream
By Leigh Newman
February 09, 2012

tiny little thing you were meant to do
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
As life goes on, it may finally dawn on you: You're not going to win the Olympic gold in figure skating or discover a new species of toucan in the Brazilian rainforest. But there are other valid insane dreams, says columnist Leigh Newman, that you absolutely must pursue.

1. The Dream of the (Tiny Little) Thing You Were Meant to Do

Look, we all know what I was meant to do: sing jazz in a Paris club (except that I can't sing) or write a novel (except I tried that—it didn't work) or become a large-animal country vet (except I'm too old to go to vet school, and also word on the street has it that it's harder to get into vet school than medical school). At times, the big yucky struggle of our life direction and purpose (which, by the way, is the most important struggle in our lives) is just too big and yucky to contemplate. Take a day off. Figure out the tiny little thing you were meant do. My friend Rachel was meant to dance in nightclubs. At age 42, she goes out once a week and shakes it until 3 a.m. in Minneapolis. My friend Marie was meant to look at paintings and just walk around admiring them on her Saturdays off. My mother was meant to take hot baths with scented candles. (Not just everybody can do this either; I find hot baths scalding, confining and panic-inducing.) Find your one tiny little thing and make it a big part of your existence.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Find the Blessings in Every Challenge

Find the Blessings in Every Challenge
February 2, 2012
By Taryn Galewind
The Wisdom of Carlos Castaneda

Cliches are cliches because they continue to be true — and in every dark cloud there truly is a silver lining. To find the silver, or the blessing in your challenges, shift your perspective. Carlos Casteneda wrote that we might need to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being alive.

Old Carlos was a Peruvian-born American author, an icon of the hippie generation. His first published writing, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, was his anthropological Master’s thesis at the University of California, 1968. He wrote about his experiences learning from a Yaqui Indian sorcerer, and reading his work is kind of like going on a vision quest. Critics later called his writing fiction, but controversy aside, he understood the bonds between adversity and blessings.

Carlos thought we should shift our thinking to meet challenges with pleasure and joy, even if they try to knock us on our derrieres. For example, my friend’s home went into foreclosure last year. Having struggled with a heavy mortgage for several years, her husband’s health deteriorated and then she lost her job. First reactions? Fear. Panic.

She soon found anxiety didn’t help, so she set it aside to focus on one piece of her puzzle at a time. Long story shortened, she and her spouse purchased a distressed property, used their small resources and huge energies to rehab the house, and are about to move into a comfortable, pretty home with no mortgage.

We can all conjure up feelings of terror, anxiety and defeat when life seems to slap us upside the head. It’s a natural reaction; you knock a knee with a mallet and the knee wants to jerk. But suppose you think about the hit. You might control the direction your foot kicks or even prevent a reaction. When a challenge comes your way, planning and creative thinking can uncover the blessings, or teaching moments, behind the adversity.

How can you move from panic to an understanding of the silver lining?

Calm down. Breathe slowly, deeply for a moment. Quiet your brain. Take no action at first. The blessing may be better health.

Gather all information. Find out the who, what, where, when, and why of what you’re facing. Study until you understand the problem. The blessing could be a bit of enlightenment.

Figure out what your choices are. Use "if this then that" logic like scientists do. Identify your choices, define the outcomes, select a good choice and test it. The blessing here? Maturity and wisdom.

Ask for help. Put aside your fear of criticism and seek help where it’s needed. Blessing? You might build ties and bonds with good people.

Be patient and let things you can’t control unfold naturally. You’ll be blessed with spiritual growth when you don’t try to wrestle fate to the ground.

If you cannot fix the situation, accept it with dignity and open your spirit to what comes next. You can be blessed with all sorts of new experiences, choices, and lessons.

Shift your thinking and your point of view. If you don’t recognize a blessing because you’re stuck on making things turn out the way you want them to go, you may lose significant opportunities.

Recognizing blessings behind adversity means acknowledging that life is full of risks, but payoffs can be delightful. Little kids learn, as they explore their small world, that bumps and bruises will come. They keep exploring because the joy of finding new skills or new mischief readies them for the next challenge.

We all know a cliche that speaks of blessings in disguise. Our job may be to roll up our sleeves and rip off those disguises. Harriet Beecher Stowe said, “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, never give up then, for that is just the time when the tide will turn.”

Welcome to Weight Loss Coach Sherrie's Blog!

I am currently trying a new way of eating (forget about that nasty "D" word!). I am following the "Schwarzbein Principle" and learning ways to focus on creativity and taking care of ME. I am currently in Body Blissmas, a program started by Jill Badonsky. As I learn to focus on healthy eating and being happy and creative, I would like to help you do the same.

Are you currently trying to lose weight?