|The modern world is stressful. Western culture generally compounds the things that cause stress exponentially. It’s all too fast. Too much. Too expensive and too toxic. Stress has been found to play a large part in the overwhelming health problems most Americans are faced with. And yes diabetes and weight gain are conditions that are affected to a large degree by stress. According to www.diabetes.org, “Excessive stress is a major barrier to effective glucose control and a danger to one’s general health. – See more at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/everyday-life/managing-stress-and-diabetes.html#sthash.jSzF3sLT.dpuf
That article goes on to say that excessive stress impairs sound thinking and contributes to poor decision making which can lead to eating poorly and compulsively. Coincidentally poor judgment can also lead to eating the very things that cause weight gain as well. Stress also releases hormones that cause us to prepare to fight or run and also to make us hungry even when didn’t actually have to expend the additional calories fighting and/or running. Those extra calories cause weight gain and of course we know that uncontrolled weight gain is a recipe for disaster if you’re diabetic.
Deciding to lose weight is admirable but the constant cycle of trying-failing, losing-gaining can ultimately be frustrating and stressful itself. This is where effective goal setting comes into play. The key here being effective. I have found that for me this was problematic. I have Ooooo-its-new-and-shiny-syndrome! Because I am a Health Professional I am often bombarded with emails on every new program for every kind of wellness activity and I find that many of them have real merit. I really want to know it all so that I can help myself and my clients so for a while I signed up for every class and every seminar often times missing sleep and cramming more & more into my already crazy schedule. It was all so new and shiny, so very interesting. Lack of sleep, the stress of so many deadlines and appointments and the constant stress nibbling shot my blood glucose into the stratosphere. Shiny and new? Yes. Good for my overall goal of weight and diabetes management? Uh No! Not even!
It was time for me to get myself under better control. I took a moment to take something I had seen in time management books and modified it so that it better suited me. It became my 4 Quadrant Approach to Time Management. I’d like to share it with you. It works for almost every aspect of my life.
Here’s how it works: First you divide the area of your life (ie your weight loss) into “4 Goals” that are absolute priorities that will move your weight loss forward. Next divide each of those Goals into “4 Projects” that will move you toward reaching your Goals. Do this one Goal at a time so that Projects 1-4 are all listed under the appropriate Goal. Next under each Project list the Task or Tasks that lead to completion of that specific Project. Once you have filled in all 4 Goal quadrants you have created your overall road map. Anything that comes up that doesn’t fit into a Task for a specific Project under a predetermined Goal is a distraction. Pure and simple. Obviously I’m not saying that if your hubby comes home with tickets to see that R&B group you’ve adored forever that you can’t race him to the car giggling like a school girl. I’m saying don’t allow every offer of a movie you hadn’t really even thought about, every happy hour invite or social media posting frenzy keep you from doing what you’ve committed t yourself to accomplish. Activities that don’t fit comfortably into one of the quadrants are distractions…pure and simple…and they don’t move you toward your ultimate goals. Don’t allocate any time toward distractions. Don’t try and squeeze them in! If you have tackled tasks in every project under every goal and you still have some time left over go back and look at the Goals you set for yourself in other areas of your life and work on them. If you still have time left over…your goals weren’t big enough…your dream wasn’t large enough! It’s time to get Ready2Roar!
When those of us from African descent arrived in this country we were usually given diets that were high in what was inexpensive to feed us. In general that included foods that were very high in carbohydrates and the animal parts nobody else wanted, the bones, the gristle and the fat. Those diets were full of calories but the work we were assigned burned all of that. The constant physical activity kept our muscles in peak shape and burning on all cylinders. There was very little excess and “insulin resistance” wasn’t an issue at that time. The diet of “soul food”, heavily loaded with fat back (that’s salted pork for those of you who don’t know) in our greens and corn bread to sop it up with was joined by macaroni and cheese and fried chicken to signal our “arrival” to the “promised land” once we were freed and continued because it’s what we were used to and had long enjoyed.
But we don’t work from “can to can’t” any longer and our bodies no longer need diets that are loaded in calories. Even in our grandparents’ day many of our people worked very physical, manual labor jobs and those calories were a necessity. That is no longer the case for most of us now. In fact because we are far more sedentary than we once were that diet no longer serves us. So we need to consider choosing whether we will increase our activity level, lower our caloric intake and replace some of those “favorites” with healthier options or some combination of the two. I have no desire to pick 40lbs of cotton and I know I don’t need to eat like it.
Eat Well! Move Well! Be Well!
Ensuring the Health and Wellness of Your Pride!
On guard, defend yourself, we shall overcome Where did you get that funk from? They’re spoiling the fun Shoot them with the bop gun
Lyrics borrowed from Bop Gun (Endangered Species) by Parliament
I haven’t been able to run for a while. An injury, issues with my blood sugar and an out of commission treadmill converged on me all at once. Not running isn’t good for me. Running, or in my case run/walking is my first line of defense against all sorts of things. Diabetes. Depression. A sleep disorder called periodic limb movement syndrome (Think restless leg that affects my whole body) and the crazed hormone-induced feelings that come from celibacy. I NEED to run! I can live without it but I am far less pleasant to be around when I can’t or don’t. I haven’t wanted to be around me for about 6 weeks now so I can only apologize to my friends, family and co-workers for what I imagine has been taxing to say the least. I’m sorry y’all. Truly.
I recognized the trend when my doctor ran the numbers. Damn! How did I let myself get that far off track? Even as a Health Coach I sometimes fall victim to the Cs. I got CAUGHT up in my day-to-day stresses. I got a little Complacent and COMFORTABLE and just COASTED through my days. The problem is that my days turned into weeks and weeks into months and the next thing I knew. BOOM! Blood sugar was too high. Mood was too low and everything was off balance. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t think straight and the thought of having to make the necessary changes to get back what I had lost was daunting.
A Local gym ran a sign up special and my daughter A’Liya and her childhood friend Aiesha encouraged me to join with them. Having someone to go with me who was counting on me to get up and get it in was all I needed! And I am back in the saddle again. Just 6 weeks late my blood sugar is now back within normal ranges most days but the trend is moving down and that normal range will be my new normal again.
A good friend, Angela Crawford of CherieNia Health & Wellness (http://cherieniahw.com/), who is a personal trainer in addition to being a Health Coach insisted I had to put more focus on strength training much to my chagrin. Like many women I’m not a big fan of weight training. Many women don’t like it because they fear it may bulk them up and make them look less feminine. They don’t want muscles. That’s not really my issue. I don’t mind being strong and muscle trumps fat in my opinion so bring on the muscle. No. My problem is different. I just plain don’t enjoy weight training. I LIKE to run. I LIKE Zumba and aerobics classes. Heck I like almost anything I can do to music. And I will do most things I genuinely LIKE to do. And I will do them consistently. I don’t like weights. It’s boring. It’s…well…it’s…for me it puts the WORK in WORK OUT.
But I’ll tell you what I do like. I mean really, really like. I LIKE not having to take diabetes meds. Coach Angi told me to get over myself and get some weights if I really wanted to see improvements faster. Yes. I knew this but I have spent many years controlling mine predominant with cardio and endurance activities. I didn’t want to change my routine. I think I may have thrown a virtual temper tantrum over Google Hangout (Sorry Coach) but she just persisted. I guess she knew the tantrum wouldn’t last long and as if the universe were conspiring with her my mailbox kept filling up with articles like this one written by Dennis Thompson Jr and medically reviewed by Pat F Bass III, MD, MPH and published by EveryDay Health:
A Weight Training Routine for Diabetes
Diabetes and Exercise: The Benefits of Strength Training
Studies have found that strength training can help people with diabetes by improving the body’s ability to use insulin and process glucose. This occurs because:
- You experience an increase in lean muscle mass, which boosts your base metabolic rate and causes you to burn calories at a faster rate. Burning those calories helps keep your blood glucose levels in check.
- The ability of your muscles to store glucose increases with your strength, making your body better able to regulate its blood sugar levels.
- Your body fat-to-muscle ratio decreases, reducing the amount of insulin you need in your body to help store energy in fat cells.
Even better results have been observed when people with type 2 diabetes combine a weight training routine with regular aerobic exercise. The two forms of exercise work together to create better health benefits than either does on its own.
or this one from Diabetes In Control and written by Kristina Sandstedt, MS, CDE, CPT, ACSM ES which states:
Increased muscle mass developed through weight training aids in the management of diabetes. Muscle is a major clearance site for circulating blood glucose. In type 2 diabetes, the body loses sensitivity to the blood glucose regulating hormone insulin. Blood glucoses build up within in the blood and as a result the stage is set for the development of complications. As lean body mass (e.g. muscle) increases, greater amounts of blood glucose are cleared from the blood. The greater the muscle mass the more calories burned at rest, equating to greater amounts of weight loss. It is important to note that the abdominal fat mass lost during weight training is the key behind the improvements in insulin sensitivity.
So I have embraced the dumb bells, bar bells, the resistance bands, the kettle balls and the machines in spite of my original chilly feelings about them because cardio and weights are the perfect one-two punch to battle my chronic health issues. Diabetes is no joke. The ish is real. It maims, debilitates and kills people. I really, really like not having to take diabetes meds. I’m tired of being an endangered species. So I got to get over the hump. Especially the ones I create for myself.
Watch me get over the hump, ha,
hey babe I got to get over the hump,
I got to get over the hump I got to get over the hump,
I got to get over the hump I got to get over the hump,
I got to get over the hump I got to get over the hump,
I got to get over the hump I got to get over the hump,
I got to get over the hump
We got to get on by the hump
Eat Well! Move Well! Be Well!
Ensuring the Health and Wellness of Your Pride!
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for vendors to send goodie boxes and goodie baskets of treats that I can’t eat. In addition to my Health Coaching practice, I work in the employee benefits field. Employee benefits, while necessary and beneficial for millions of Americans, is a lot of things but I promise you exciting is not one of those things. As a matter of fact as a rule after 4pm I try my level best to pretend I don’t have to go back to my office. EVER. I specialize in denial. This denial allows me to enjoy my evenings without the cloud that sits over my head 8-4 Monday through Friday.
It is also the time of the year when my company throws a gathering they call a party (everyone knows that it is in fact NOT a party since there is NO music and NO dancing).
There will be alcohol and there will be cake. Neither of which can I indulge in. And before you ask… it’s mandatory and I will be forced to stand around pretending I am socializing all the while fighting the desire to eat ALL the cake and drink ALL the liquor so I can have something to do. I don’t want to talk shop. I will not discuss politics. I could care less about golf. Never mind that the event is being held at a country club in the middle of a golf course. I will do my best to find a corner to sit in so as to be as inconspicuous as possible. Perhaps if all goes well no one will attempt to talk to me at all and I can count down the minutes until I am free to resume my life.
But if that doesn’t work, I do have some more productive strategies I will be employing as well.
- I will get as much rest tonight as possible. Being tired makes me irritable and it would be awful to start my day that way and almost guarantees a less than pleasant rest of my day…and evening.
- I will meditate on gratitude that I have employment while my coaching practice is building. That will help me feel less infringed upon by my employer for forcing me to do this year after year. This will be especially challenging. I admit it.
- I will focus on how I can treat myself with the overtime pay that comes along with this event.
- I will have a healthy snack or two before the event so that if there is nothing served that is suitable for my nutrition plan eating off plan will be a choice based on my desire and not on the need to fill my tummy.
- I will pay close attention to my hydration, drinking extra water so that if I do indulge in an adult beverage the effects will be minimized.
- I will smile as much as possible in hopes the endorphins released from the act of smiling will make the occasion less stressful.
- Lastly, I will get over it quickly and encourage denial to kick in as soon as I walk out of the venue. No sense thinking about it after that. At least not until next year.
Where My Girls At?
Where my girls at,
From the front to back,
Well is you feelin’ that,
Put one hand up,
Can you repeat that,
(Performed by 702…Writer(s): R. Stewart, E. Seats, M. Elliott, Rapture D. Stewart, Eric L. Seats, Melissa A. Elliott Copyright: Mass Confusion, E Beats Music, Rap Tracks Publishing, Mass Confusion Prod., WB Music Corp.)
As I began the process of writing this blog I had lots of words for what I have been feeling lately but none of them were quite right. The poet in me (such as it is) kept taking over. Finally I decided to let her have her way. She wanted to send out words of special meaning to the women of her PRIDE. Her daughters, her nieces, her cousins, her Aunties, her close friends and the sisters of her heart. Those that have travelled this journey before her, after her and alongside her. Each of you know who you are and what you are to me but just in case there is any question in your mind…”Where my girls at?”
The best times of my life were spent on “Beaches”
When I was so “Clue-less”.
We were “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”
Even when you wore a dress.
Yeah Sister we were living “A League of Our Own”
I was Doris, you were Mae.
But even after years have passed
You still won’t see it that way.
We’ve been our own “First Wives Club” while “Waiting to Exhale”
The bond between us spans time and space
But it doesn’t fail.
My daughters are my sisters too
The future of my PRIDE.
Magnolias made of steel
For them I’d die or ride.
Now we’re about to “Set It Off” like “Thelma and Louise”
And I got my girls with me
Living “The Secret Lives of Bees.”
[Spoken] Don’t look at me
Every day is so wonderful Then suddenly it’s hard to breathe. Now and then I get insecure From all the pain, I’m so ashamed. I am beautiful no matter what they say. Words can’t bring me down. I am beautiful in every single way. Yes, words can’t bring me down… Oh no. So don’t you bring me down today.
As sung By Christina Aguilera
If you….like me…have undervalued yourself for far too long and have allowed other people’s opinions of you to mean more than your own opinion of yourself. THAT is a hard truth you must come to grips with. You must recognize that you are truly the only real constant in your life. Everyone else can come and will come and go. Whether they are dear friends, beloved family members or your chosen mate, they can be gone from your life between one breath and the next. We are the blood we cannot walk away from. We should be our own support systems. We ourselves are the friends we must not ignore. And yet we are our own worst critics when we should become our own best cheer leaders. Not just in word but in deed.
A while back I saw a trailer for a movie called “The Incredible Mr. Ripley” with my best friend. It was about a young man that completely made himself over in order to assume a lifestyle to which he has grown accustomed. As we watched it we became fascinate with the idea of making ourselves over. Not in order to usurp someone else’s life but to improve upon our own. After the movie, over dinner we designed our new lives. Our “look”, or lifestyle, how we would walk, talk, shop, dress, everything about ourselves. We were going to work on that. Set time tables, toasted our future selves but like many other plans we’d made, life got in the way.
I submit to you that we were not going to impersonate anyone else. Many of us HAVE been impersonating someone else all this time. WE have been impersonating the women our parents groomed us to be, circumstances bullied us into being, or that life coerced us into being. Ding! They won round one. Round two belongs to us!
Our commitments must be to ourselves. We must be answerable to our own highest purposes, our own deepest desires and our own best interests. Only THE MOST HIGH’s purposes, desires and interests should supersede them. If fear is holding you back then recall that much quoted poem:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”
Wear these words as a breast plate and shield and prepare to do battle with your own demons, in spite of the obstacles whether real or imagined. I understand those obstacles in you because I recognize them in me. But I am making a concerted effort to see “Nia” as my client, my first priority from a coaching standpoint. I say to myself…would you accept this kind of “run for cover” from a client? Wouldn’t you expect and therefore push a client to be her best, brightest, highest version of herself? Well the answer to that is yes. So I force myself to look in the mirror. And I force myself to see the reflection looking back at me. I can’t always do it for long but I do it. The demons of uncertainty and doubt blink back at me. Confused because they no longer have the power over me they once did. I’m making peace with the “me” that I am in order to embrace the “me” I am choosing to become.
And everywhere we go (and everywhere we go)
The sun will always shine (the sun will always, always shine)
And tomorrow we might wake on the other side
We are beautiful no matter what they say
Yes, words won’t bring us down, no, no
We are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring us down, oh, no
So don’t you bring me down today
Oh, yeah, don’t you bring me down today, yeah, ooh
Don’t you bring me down ooh… today
“Come on let’s sweat, baby Let the music take control Let the rhythm move you Sweat, sweat Let the music take control Let the rhythm move you
Everybody dance now …”
*Chorus from Everybody Dance Now by C+C Music factory*
Everywhere you turn these days people are offering better health and touting the benefits of a detox or a cleanse, including Be Well Lioness! We offer a number of detox options for our clients and for several good reasons. Some are meant to prep for weight loss programs or other lifestyle changes. Others are meant to eliminate foods or behaviors that are problematic for the client. Detox has become an all encompassing catch phrase that sells any number of “health-related” programs, products or packages. By definition a detox is a metabolic process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances in order to allow toxins to become less toxic or more easily eliminated from the body.
From a nutritional standpoint detoxes may include herbal supplements to help with digestion and (ahem) elimination of the offending substances from the body. Ideally, they also include ingestion of a very clean diet made up primarily of dark leafy greens and other organic (not chemically treated fresh produce) eaten or liquefied into smoothies or juices. Breaking down the toxins in your body is one part of the process. Elimination is another. If you don’t pass them through they would simply be re-absorbed. Numerous trips to the bathroom may be annoying but they are necessary.
Some coaches, and other health care professionals suggest sauna or steam bath to get you to sweat. If you’re going to be on a cleanse or detox your goal is to eliminate toxins. Your skin is the largest organ in your body & the largest outlet for toxins. It makes sense to sweat it out.
Light to moderate exercise will do that as well in addition to burning calories (If you’re interested in that sort of thing.) and according to the CDC 35% of adults could stand to lose a few extra pounds with another 33% defined as obese. But not to digress. Exercise will help you sweat.
And after a good work out or sauna or whatever it is you do to work up that sweat you probably drool at the thought of a good bath or shower, which is a great way to shower away all those purged toxins. But what good does it do to eliminate all those toxic substances from your system if you’re just going to put more in by means of chemically laden, synthetic hormone filled personal hygiene products?
Several companies have come up with less toxic and therefore less offending options. I urge you to check out the EWG’s (Environmental Working Group’s) website at www.ewg.org and do a bit of research on their Cosmetics database. They call it skin deep and it is well worth bookmarking it!
Another option is making your own personal hygiene products using essential oils and other natural ingredients that will care for, nourish and moisturize your skin without adding to your toxic load. It’s simple and surprisingly inexpensive.
Here… let me get you started:
Mane2Tale Moisturizing Body Wash
- ⅔ cup liquid castile soap
- 2 teaspoons oil – avocado, jojoba, sweet almond
- 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
- 50 drops essential oils (I use a combo of lavender, rose, geranium and frankincense.)*
- 10 drops of optional essential oils (I’m using a combo of grapefruit, lemon and wild orange)*
The product will last longer if no water is added but I tend to make mine in smaller batches and add some water because the thicker it is the more water it takes to wash it all off and I prefer a lighter lather. Squirt top bottles work best. Shake gently before each use.
Checkout this site to purchase your essential oils http://www.mydoterra.com/bwl/