Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wow, Is Communication Really So Difficult?

I just spent 3 days trying to coach and counsel a friend because she was going through a rough patch in her life. She has been hoping to find a great relationship and it hasn't happened. Since I know her history, I was trying to give her some very pointed advice and actions she could take.
She took it all wrong. Somehow, she misread my messages and interpreted them to say I was "fed-up" with her, and "sick & tired" of her whining. There is nothing like that in the messages so how did she come up with this?
I guess the moral of the story is: Do not coach friends or family. The people we coach should be people that are not a part of our everyday lives.

Monday, March 19, 2012

6 Reasons to Smile Right Now

6 Reasons to Smile Right Now
What goes from ear to ear isn't as simple as it seems.
by Jennifer Margulis
From the August 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

So much more than than a pair of upturned lips, the smile is the most scientifically studied human facial expression. In her new book, Lip Service, Yale psychology professor Marianne LaFrance, PhD, draws on the latest research—in fields from biology to anthropology to computer science—in an effort to shed some light on the happy face. Here, six facts that may make you, well, you know.

People with big grins live longer. In a study published last year, researchers pored over an old issue of the Baseball Register, analyzing photos of 230 players. They found that on average, the guys with bright, bigmouthed beams lived 4.9 years longer than the players with partial smiles, and 7 years longer than the players who showed no grin at all. We can't credit wide smiles for long life spans, of course, but smiles reveal positive feelings, and positive feelings are linked to well-being.

Smiles exert subliminal powers. When study subjects are shown an image of a smiling face for just four milliseconds—a flash so quick, the viewers don't consciously register the image—they experience a mini emotional high. Compared with control groups, the smile-viewers perceive the world in a better light: To them, boring material is more interesting, neutral images look more positive, even bland drinks seem tastier.

There are three degrees of happiness... An article in the British Medical Journal reported that it is indeed possible to spread the love: Within social networks, when one person is happy, the feeling migrates to two people beyond her. So if you smile, a friend of a friend is more likely to smile, too.

...and two types of smiles. Genuine smiles and fake smiles are governed by two separate neural pathways. We know this is true because people with damage to a certain part of the brain can still break into a spontaneous grin even though they're unable to smile at will. Scientists speculate that our ancestors evolved the neural circuitry to force smiles because it was evolutionarily advantageous to mask their fear and fury.

To spot a faker, check the eyes. When someone smiles out of genuine delight, a facial muscle called the orbicularis oculi involuntarily contracts, crinkling the skin around the eyes. Most of us are incapable of deliberately moving this muscle, which means that when a person fakes a smile, her orbicularis oculi likely won't budge.

Smiles have accents. When reading facial expressions, different cultures home in on different parts of the face. In the United States, we focus on mouths; the Japanese, by contrast, search for feeling in the eyes. These emoticons say it all:

Happy Sad
U.S. :) :(
JAPAN (^_^) (;_;)

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10 Life Lessons You Should Unlearn

10 Life Lessons You Should Unlearn
By Martha Beck
From the May 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

In the past 10 years, I've realized that our culture is rife with ideas that actually inhibit joy. Here are some of the things I'm most grateful to have unlearned:

1. Problems are bad. You spent your school years solving arbitrary problems imposed by boring authority figures. You learned that problems—comment se dit?—suck. But people without real problems go mad and invent things like base jumping and wedding planning. Real problems are wonderful, each carrying the seeds of its own solution. Job burnout? It's steering you toward your perfect career. An awful relationship? It's teaching you what love means. Confusing tax forms? They're suggesting you hire an accountant, so you can focus on more interesting tasks, such as flossing. Finding the solution to each problem is what gives life its gusto.

2. It's important to stay happy. Solving a knotty problem can help us be happy, but we don't have to be happy to feel good. If that sounds crazy, try this: Focus on something that makes you miserable. Then think, "I must stay happy!" Stressful, isn't it? Now say, "It's okay to be as sad as I need to be." This kind of permission to feel as we feel—not continuous happiness—is the foundation of well-being.

3. I'm irreparably damaged by my past. Painful events leave scars, true, but it turns out they're largely erasable. Jill Bolte Taylor, the neuroanatomist who had a stroke that obliterated her memory, described the event as losing "37 years of emotional baggage." Taylor rebuilt her own brain, minus the drama. Now it appears we can all effect a similar shift, without having to endure a brain hemorrhage. The very thing you're doing at this moment—questioning habitual thoughts—is enough to begin off-loading old patterns. For example, take an issue that's been worrying you ("I've got to work harder!") and think of three reasons that belief may be wrong. Your brain will begin to let it go. Taylor found this thought-loss euphoric. You will, too.

4. Working hard leads to success. Baby mammals, including humans, learn by playing, which is why "the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton." Boys who'd spent years strategizing for fun gained instinctive skills to handle real-world situations. So play as you did in childhood, with all-out absorption. Watch for ways your childhood playing skills can solve a problem (see #1). Play, not work, is the key to success. While we're on the subject...

5. Success is the opposite of failure. Fact: From quitting smoking to skiing, we succeed to the degree we try, fail, and learn. Studies show that people who worry about mistakes shut down, but those who are relaxed about doing badly soon learn to do well. Success is built on failure.

6. It matters what people think of me. "But if I fail," you may protest, "people will think badly of me!" This dreaded fate causes despair, suicide, homicide. I realized this when I read blatant lies about myself on the Internet. When I bewailed this to a friend, she said, "Wow, you have some painful fantasies about other people's fantasies about you." Yup, my anguish came from my hypothesis that other people's hypothetical hypotheses about me mattered. Ridiculous! Right now, imagine what you'd do if it absolutely didn't matter what people thought of you. Got it? Good. Never go back.

7. We should think rationally about our decisions. Your rational capacities are far newer and more error-prone than your deeper, "animal" brain. Often complex problems are best solved by thinking like an animal. Consider a choice you have to make—anything from which movie to see to which house to buy. Instead of weighing pros and cons intellectually, notice your physical response to each option. Pay attention to when your body tenses or relaxes. And speaking of bodies...

8. The pretty girls get all the good stuff. Oh, God. So not true. I unlearned this after years of coaching beautiful clients. Yes, these lovelies get preferential treatment in most life scenarios, but there's a catch: While everyone's looking at them, virtually no one sees them. Almost every gorgeous client had a husband who'd married her breasts and jawline without ever noticing her soul.

9. If all my wishes came true right now, life would be perfect. Check it out: People who have what you want are all over rehab clinics, divorce courts, and jails. That's because good fortune has side effects, just like medications advertised on TV. Basically, any external thing we depend on to make us feel good has the power to make us feel bad. Weirdly, when you've stopped depending on tangible rewards, they often materialize. To attract something you want, become as joyful as you think that thing would make you. The joy, not the thing, is the point.

10. Loss is terrible. Ten years ago I still feared loss enough to abandon myself in order to keep things stable. I'd smile when I was sad, pretend to like people who appalled me. What I now know is that losses aren't cataclysmic if they teach the heart and soul their natural cycle of breaking and healing. A real tragedy? That's the loss of the heart and soul themselves. If you've abandoned yourself in the effort to keep anyone or anything else, unlearn that pattern. Live your truth, losses be damned. Just like that, your heart and soul will return home.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Easy Tricks to Lose Weight

3 Rules to Reboot Your Metabolism

3 Rules to Reboot Your Metabolism
This 3-step plan is a surefire way to get your metabolism back in gear.
By Dr. Mehmet Oz

Stalled weight loss can be frustrating. There are a few reasons why you might have a hard time losing weight, and a big one is a metabolism that’s off-balance. Take this quiz to find out if you might be at risk for an off-kilter metabolism. If you are, Chris Powell, a member of Dr. Oz's expert team, has three foolproof rules that will reset your metabolism to make it optimal for weight loss.

1. Boost metabolism every three hours with a "Power 3" plate.
One of the best ways to keep your metabolism working is to eat a small meal every three hours. The plate should have three small portions: one protein, one carbohydrate or fat, and unlimited vegetables. Small, frequent meals keep things moving; the simple act of eating stimulates your metabolism by triggering digestion. Every time your body digests food, it ramps up your total metabolic rate.

2. Turn up your metabolic thermostat.
Your thyroid acts as a metabolic thermostat. It releases hormones that play a major role in controlling your body’s temperature and the rate that your body burns calories. When your thyroid is working at its max, your metabolism will be sky-high. If your thyroid’s function is impaired, the metabolic rate slows down and leads to weight gain. The key to keeping your thyroid working hard is in eating good carbs, like whole grains, root vegetables and beans. Believe it or not, studies have shown that cutting out carbs from your diet completely can reduce thyroid function by 50 percent. So, make sure to keep complex carbs in your diet.

3. Build your metabolic muscle.
The number-one consumer of calories in your body is muscle. The more muscle mass you have, the more your body works toward burning calories—even when you’re asleep. It’s extremely important to maintain muscle during any weight-loss endeavor. A great way to build muscle is by doing cardio with light weights. This will keep your heart rate up while sculpting your body to be more lean and muscular. Read Dr. Oz's beginner's guide to building healthy muscles—and lengthening your life.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Signs Of Empty-Time Deficiency Syndrome by Martha Beck

Signs Of Empty-Time Deficiency Syndrome

Vile though the image is, I truly believe that constipation is the most accurate metaphor for perpetual overscheduling. When part of me starts lamenting about how stressed I am by my overflowing agenda, another part of me knows that I’m full of…

So anyway, the more we fill our time with tasks that aren’t real requirements of our best lives, the more blocked and uncomfortable we feel. If you have three or more of the following symptoms, you probably need to, um, flush:

1. Irritability, feeling “frayed”
2. Boredom (oddly enough)
3. Feeling disconnected even when in the company of others
4. Being unable to unwind at night or on vacation
5. A sense of not being, having, or doing enough

Clients who have these symptoms always tell me they “need to do something about it.” The truth is, they need to do nothing about it. To heal, they need to empty some time, then feel whatever arises. As these feelings are consciously experienced (a process that allows them to teach us necessary lessons), they go away.

One caveat: Some emotions can’t be off-loaded without being told to at least one compassionate witness. Counseling of any sort is really just hiring someone to hold a stretch of empty time for a client, during which she can experience the pain she’s carrying and feel understood. If you can’t handle empty time, find someone—a friend, relative, professional—who can hear about your pain. Then feel it, express it, and watch it disappear. It will. No matter how frightening your demons may seem, their goal is never to hurt you. They only, always, want to leave.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Can't Seem to Lose the Weight No Matter What You do?

Can't Seem to Lose the Weight No Matter What You do?
Do you also have low energy, trouble sleeping and anxiety.
Tests may be in order. I was taking Amino Acid supplements so for the longest times, my thyroid test kept coming out normal. It turns out it wasn't so I am now on thyroid medicine.
Some other things to find out are your adrenal function and cortisol levels, as well as pineal gland function.
I will be doing this myself this week.
Please post here if you can think of any other reasons for these issues.
Coach Sherrie

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bring Yourself Back from Burnout

5 Ways to Bring Yourself Back from Burnout

It may seem admirable to work yourself sick, but the longer you burn the candle at both ends, the faster you'll burn out. If you're already approaching medium well, Martha Beck is here to help.
By Martha Beck

From the November 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

You wake up almost as tired as when you fell asleep, four hours ago. After hitting the snooze button twice, you stumble to the kitchen and chug a quart of coffee. It doesn't help. Your face in the mirror looks like the child you might have had with Voldemort. You can barely squeeze into your last-resort "fat pants." Getting your kids off to school feels like climbing Everest; driving to the job you once loved, an uphill slog to the salt mines. You dread interacting with your coworkers. It's not that you aren't a caring, compassionate person; it's just that you hate everyone.

If this sounds familiar, you may think you're depressed. But you might be dealing with a subtly different problem: burnout. Scientists differentiate the two, and it's a crucial distinction. If you confuse burnout with depression and address it only with antidepressants or therapy, you'll overlook the behavioral changes you must make to restore your depleted physical and hormonal reserves. Left unchecked, burnout can be lethal. So if you're anywhere between lightly toasted and totally charred, it's time to chill.

The Biology of Burnout

There's no specific medical disorder called burnout, but every doctor knows that prolonged stress has negative consequences. One of these is adrenal fatigue, which comes from overstimulating the hormones that fuel high-energy behavior. Initially, it feels fabulous—you can work like Hercules, compensating for exhaustion with adrenaline, caffeine, or straight-up willpower. But eventually your high-activity hormones run low. You slow down while trying to speed up. Illness, memory loss, and accidents replace achievement.
Jesse Lynn Hanley, MD, coauthor of Tired of Being Tired, has identified five levels of burnout. See if one fits you.

You're working flat-out, in a nonstop blur of accomplishment. You feel you can go on like this forever! You can't!

You're sucking up sugar and caffeine to fight fatigue, maybe popping over- the-counter sleep aids to help you "sleep faster," and feeling unpleasantly chubby.

Losing It
You're definitely tired, visibly plump (or alarmingly preskeletal), and perpetually grumpy. You lie awake nights, thoughts racing, longing for sleep. At work and at home, you've developed a charming habit of biting people's heads off.

Hitting the Wall
You're racked by aches and pains, gaining (or losing) weight, prone to temper tantrums or crying jags, hard-pressed to remember things like computer passwords or your children's names.

Burned Out
By now you may have a serious illness (heart disease, an autoimmune disorder) or have been in a car accident. To stay marginally functional, you depend on drugs you obtain either from a shrink who innocently believes you're just depressed or from a man you know only as "Viper." Nobody likes you. The silver lining? As Hanley writes, "If you do not die during this stage, there is no place to go but up."

Read more:

How to Chill Out

Research burnout on the Internet, and you'll find a trove of helpful hints like "Learn to manage stress!" and "Live life in balance!" This is like hearing a financial manager tell you, "Have several million dollars!" In contrast, authors like Hanley offer wonderfully detailed instructions. Of course, when you're burned out it's hard to read a shampoo bottle, let alone a book. The following abridged advice may help cool the burn.

Chill Principle 1: Become a grazer.

Since burnout often includes weight gain, many people try to eat less as stress levels climb. Yet going hungry can itself be very stressful. And feeding a body infrequently creates the alarm state that encourages fat storage. The solution: Eat more. I don't mean doughnuts and lattes, though. I mean low-calorie green food that you eat throughout the entire day. Adding food with lots of antioxidants, water, fiber, and other nutrients can calm you and help your body relax. (I favor smoothies made from fruit and leafy veggies—tastier than they sound.) In addition, take daily omega-3 supplements such as fish oil. These healthy substances reduce inflammation, the physiological part of the "flame" that's burning you out.

Chill Principle 2: Sleep as if your life depends on it.

Some people feel superior when they work around the clock. This is like proudly pouring Tabasco sauce in your eyes. Sleep makes you smarter, better-looking, more creative. It can add years to your life. It does more to improve the long-term quality of that life than money, fancy vacations, or hot sex. Not giving high priority to sleep is, frankly, insane.

Because our culture doesn't teach this, many people feel they don't have time to sleep. There are certainly days, even weeks, when this is true. But when sleep deprivation drags into months or years, we're making choices that sustain it. Because I've been all the way to burnout, I've become vigilant about getting enough sleep—and I started when I was unemployed and in debt. Exert every ounce of your will and ingenuity to do the same. Hire someone to help with the kids, even if it means living in a smaller house. Refuse to work for bosses who expect frequent all-nighters. Don't take on tasks that disallow sleep, any more than you'd say yes to a job that deprives you of oxygen.

For "driven" patients, Hanley suggests six to eight hours of sleep each night, with naps as needed. For "dragging" patients: eight hours a night, with one period of relaxation during the day (sitting somewhere quiet, even in a restroom stall, for ten to 15 minutes). If you're "losing it," you need eight hours of sleep plus two ten- to 15-minute relaxation breaks. "Hitting the wall" means eight to nine hours each night, plus two breaks. And once you're "burned out," you need eight to ten hours of sleep, plus three 15- to 30-minute naps or retreats. Ignore these minimums, and your body will eventually end up lying still anyway—in your bed, a hospital, or the morgue. You choose.

Chill Principle 3: Exercise for fun.

Almost no one ever tells you to exercise less, but if you're burned out, you should. I fried myself into chronic pain by forcing workouts when my whole body wanted to rest. Ironically, when I began exercising less, I got leaner and fitter. Some exercise helps prevent burnout, but too much, at the wrong time, only turns up the heat.

If you're "driven," aim for an hour of vigorous exercise three to five times per week. "Dragging" folks should limit hard exercise to one hour three times a week, or one to three sessions of moderate activity like light yoga. If you're "losing it," do three gentle hours a week. "Hitting the wall" calls for 30 gentle minutes one to three times a week. If you're totally "burned out," roll over in bed occasionally until you're stronger.

The key to gauging how much you should exercise is a mysterious thing called fun, which you may remember from childhood. While exercising, ask yourself, Is this fun? If running isn't fun, walk. If walking isn't fun, sit. If even that feels wearisome, take a nap. Your body-mind fun barometer is sophisticated and accurate. Use it.

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Chill Principle 4: Unplug heaters, plug in coolers.

Make a list of all the people with whom you regularly interact. Next, list environments you inhabit—your office, your car, rooms in your home. Finally, list your usual activities, from relaxation (ha-ha! just kidding!) to laundry to office meetings. Now imagine each item separately while noticing how your body reacts. Tension, jaw-clenching, or churning are signs you're plugged into a heater. Muscle relaxation, spontaneous smiles, sighs of relief show you're chilling.

You may not be able to eliminate the "heaters" from your life, but you can—and must—unplug from them every few hours and plug into "coolers" instead. Detach from your sick child, even for a few minutes, to call a healthy friend. Stop doing paperwork and read a novel for 20 minutes. Leave all technology and reconnect with nature—petting puppies, walking in the park—whenever possible.

Chill Principle 5: Practice peace.

I love watching TV cooking contests where grown adults go into full-scale hysterics over things like overboiled pasta. Since I'm not a foodie, I find it hilarious when people sacrifice their peace of mind to the Cuisine Gods. On the other hand, when my computer recently contracted a virus, sending early drafts of work instead of the final draft, my head nearly exploded like a popcorn kernel.

The fact is, all of us can eat soft pasta, correct computer errors, even fight an illness—in panic or in peace. But choosing peace doesn't just happen; it's a skill that takes regular practice to master. Choose and use such a practice, whether it's prayer or simply clearing your mind. Though you may never reach Yoda-level equanimity, devoting even five minutes a day to telling yourself I am all right in this moment builds increasingly effective air-conditioning into your body and mind.

I've been to the bleary-eyed burnout stage, and I'm here to attest that these simple suggestions work. They aren't difficult. Today, start grazing. Lie down for ten minutes and just breathe. Unplug from the chaos of life long enough to connect with whatever calms you. Tonight, choose to sleep; finishing that project or supervising that homework isn't worth your health, and you'll do it faster when you're rested, anyway. In fact, everything works better when you stop playing Joan of Arc. Refuse to burn. Claim the time it takes to be happy. Everything you value will benefit as you learn to keep your cool.

Martha Beck is the author of seven books. Visit her online at

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11 Ways to Lift Your Mood (or Someone Else's) By Christine Fellingham O, The Oprah Magazine Read more:

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?