The Right Treats

comfortballoonsWe can all benefit by finding the right treat or combination of treats that serve as “comfort food” for our brains. It is important, however, not to fall into the trap of selecting pleasures that come at a cost. For example, an hour of retail therapy may lift our moods, but over-spending will strain our finances. Eating that ice-cream cone or extra piece of cheesecake may calm jittery nerves and add pounds.

Continue reading on Madelyn Hill’s blog.


Happy National Food Day!

The main objective of National Food Day is to help people “Eat Real” by “cutting back on sugar drinks, packaged foods, and factory-farmed meats in favor of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and sustainably raised protein.”

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Here are 10 quotes to inspire positive changes in eating habits…

To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. Buddha

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients. Julia Child

Fill your plate with the colors of the rainbow. What pleases the eye pleases the body as a whole. Deepak Chopra

Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have. Winston Churchill

The first wealth is health. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. Hippocrates

Ignore the food police. Be a laughing Buddha with happiness in your belly. And indulge your appetite for the pleasures of food shared with good company or eaten alone, in peaceful contemplation of the fruits of the earth. Christiane Northrup

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Michael Pollan

Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners. William Shakespeare

Get people back into the kitchen and combat the trend toward processed food and fast food. Dr. Andrew Weil


At the Transformational Wellness Fair

This past Saturday, I attended the Transformational Wellness Fair at Dublin Street United Church in Guelph, Ontario. Over thirty holistic practitioners and vendors set up booths featuring a diverse array of products and services.

I also listened to the following guest speakers:

Jill Hewlett is an internationally recognized speaker, trainer, author, wellness TV personality, and brain fitness expert. In the hour-long session, she shared simple and effective ways to improve cognition.

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Some of Jill’s insights and suggestions…

The brain is the most powerful, complex, and clever technology on the planet.

Make coffee something you enjoy, not a tool to sculpt your brain.

Do things differently and create your own results.

We first work on habits, and then our habits make us.

When you feed your body properly, you will fuel your brain.

Brain at its best: 80% water, 12% fatty lipids, 8% protein.

Be hydrated…If you’re thinking, you’re drinking.

As we move our bodies, we recreate our brains.

If you say “No” too often, you will remain in your comfort zone.

If you’re in your comfort zone, give yourself novelty. If you’re always on the go, give yourself more structure and rest.

Jill showed a trailer of The Croods. This prehistoric comedy adventure follows the world’s first family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always shielded them from danger is destroyed.


In the next hour, Energy Worker Tina Wright facilitated an interactive session, where we danced, opened and closed sacred spaces, and constructed our own sand paintings. This shamanic practice enables us to remove energy blocks that may be holding us back in our life journeys.Contact Tina at healingstates@gmail.com for more information.

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roxanaIn her session, Naturotherapist Roxana Roshon helped bridge the gap between Western medicine and complementary therapies. After personally experiencing the healing power of alternative medicine, she obtained a Ph.D. in Toxicology and trained in
holistic energy healing (BOS, TBM, Therapeutic Touch, Craniosacral Therapy), with a focus on indigenous healing techniques (Mexica /Toltec). In addition to sharing her own journey, Roxana described breathing techniques and other tips for providing relief. She also guided us through a relaxing meditation.


The afternoon ended with a session on “The Fulfillment Factor” by Russell Scott. A former addictions counselor, Russell now provides one-on-one work and retreats for independent seekers aka mystic misfits. His primary purpose: “Help people awaken and live their best lives.”

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Some of Russell’s insights and suggestions…

It’s not always about being happy–Our aim is to be authentic and real.

What fulfills us is the development of consciousness.

Learn from the insanity.

If you want to change your situation, you need to accept it as it is. Allow for the natural flow of life.

When you don’t accept the situation, resistance will block the natural flow.

If you are struggling with acceptance, start journaling. At the top of a journal page, write “The truth of this situation is…” After several days of journaling, reread your entries and circle anything that stands out.

The best book is the book of yourself.

Purpose of life: To be fully who you are.


My Mind, Body, Spirit Transformation

Today, we have Dr. Ellen Albertson sharing her inspiring journey to wellness.

Here’s Dr. Ellen!

drellenToday I love my body. I’ve stopped worrying about it and started enjoying it. My body is a marvelous temple, a vehicle that transports me through life and facilitates emotion and pleasure.

But it wasn’t always like this. At first, I believed the path to wellbeing was weight loss. I thought that obtaining the “perfect” body would solve all my problems. But focusing on weight WAS the problem—blocking joy, personal growth and connecting with my genius and passion.

I was a weight loss warrior/worrier focusing ridiculous amounts of time and energy on weight and helping my clients do the same thing. Counting calories, restricting food, following rigid meal plans, beating myself up for eating a cookie, exercising excessively and weighing and judging people, FOR WHAT?

Trying to control my body was destroying my life. I was addicted to exercise. If I didn’t work out I freaked out! I ran away from problems and uncomfortable emotions and punished my body for not being “perfect”. No one knew because I looked “great.” Besides, as a personal fitness trainer I worked in the insane fitness industry where grueling workouts are glorified.

My daughter, Aly hit puberty. Distraught by her changing body, she started mirroring my dysfunctional, body hating behavior. Going clothing shopping was worse than root canal. She’d emerge from the dressing room in tears because nothing fit. Her behavior was a powerful wake-up call that roused me from my self-centered, self-loathing trance. To help her, I had to make peace with my body and food.

I started therapy and learned to safely connect with feelings and emotions. I confronted fears and questioned many long held beliefs, including my ridiculous fear of fat and view that everyone could and should strive to have a perfect, thin body. When thoughts like, “I feel fat” crossed my mind I crossed examined them. For example, I was out on a winter walk when I started feeling heavy. I realized I felt fat not because of body weight, but because I was wearing a bulky coat to stay warm.

Gradually my body stopped being a dumping ground for all that was wrong with my life. Movement and eating became joyful again. When I looked in the mirror instead of flaws and imperfections I saw beauty and glimpsed my soul. I realized my body was not my masterpiece, my life was.

That’s when I discovered Self-compassion, learning to treat yourself the way you would a good friend. I was working on my doctoral dissertation and wanted to provide women with something more than flat abs and a sexy bum. My dissertation chair suggested I offer meditation. Initially, I was uncomfortable with the idea because I didn’t meditate. Years ago I had meditated and been passionate about spirituality, but life and my quest for the perfect body had crowded out space to expand my soul.

The minute I said yes to meditation doors started opening. Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field of Mindful Self-compassion (MSC) agreed to be on my dissertation committee. I studied extensively with Kristin and eventually become a Mindful Self-compassion teacher. MSC changed my life. As I meditated and practiced self-compassion I started to fall in love with my Self. The drive for perfection was replaced by self-acceptance, and the nagging, critical voice that had haunted me disappeared.

When things were difficult in my life I used to automatically say, “I feel fat”, restrict my eating and go for a run. Now when things are difficult I give myself what I need to feel better. I’ve stopped struggling and started flowing. Each day is an opportunity to see what there is to see, feel what there is to feel and know what there is to know. And difficulties are just doorways to grow and glow.

Today, My life is filled with passion, purpose and meaning. Sometimes it’s a hot mess, but now I can accept and handle it. I love and care for myself deeply, and I’m able to use my gifts of healing, insight and intuition to help others heal and live happier, more fulfilling lives.

Here’s what I want to leave you with:

Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are. When life feels heavy, harmonize the dance of your life with the song in your heart and flow with grace, beauty and ease.

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Bio

Dr. Ellen is a Psychologist, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Wellcoach® and Reiki Master. The Glow & Grow Coach, Dr. Ellen teaches women how to harmonize the dance of their lives with the song in their hearts and flow with grace, beauty and ease. She’s passionate about helping others let go of who they think they’re supposed to be & embrace who they are.

The former online Nutrition Expert for Women’s Health, Men’s Health and The Abs Diet, Dr. Ellen has helped thousands of women overcome negative body image and weight issues and enlighten body, mind, heart & spirit. After working for two decades in the diet industry and struggling with food and weight issues, she broke free from the body perfection trap. She discovered self-compassion, and transformed her life and coaching practice.

An expert on women’s wellbeing, Dr. Ellen has appeared on Extra, The Maury Povitch Show, the Food Network and NBC World News and has been quoted in Psychology Today, Family Circle, Eating Well and USA Today. Dr. Ellen’s articles on health and nutrition have appeared in Self, Better Homes & Gardens and Good Housekeeping. She is the author of 4 books including: Hawking God, Food as Foreplay: Recipes for Romance, Love & Lust and the soon to be released The Dietitian & The Diabetic: How to Help Your Husband Defeat Diabetes without Losing Your Mind or Your Marriage.

Where to find Dr. Ellen…

Facebook | Twitter

giftboxClick to get your free gift from Dr. Ellen ~ The Catapult Your Confidence Kit. It contains a workbook, guide and MP3 designed to help people shift their mood and build self-love and self-worth.



Joanne here!

Dr. Ellen, thanks for an inspirational post! Best of luck with your upcoming release, The Dietitian and the Diabetic.


10 Ideas for Shaking Bad JuJu

I’m introducing a new series on my blog – The Power of 10. In numerology, the number 10 resonates with the vibrations of so many positive energies, among them creativity, originality, adaptability, and individuality.

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome author and social media consultant Joanne McAlpine.

Here’s Joanne!

joannemThis week, I met someone who lectured me for a half hour. The topic had nothing to do with me, rather her fears and that I should be fearful too. I don’t want to go into details but it left me with a depressed feeling that typically sticks with me for a few days, sometime weeks. As some of you know, I was participating in the free e-course given by a procrastination coach. There was great energy in that group so I brought my issue to them and asked for advice on how to shake this bad juju. I was amazed by the great advice and by the end of the day I was in good spirits again. I thought I’d share the advice here. Disclaimer: Keep in mind, this is just advice from your average joe schmo, I’m not a professional. I’m just passing on what has worked for me and others.

1. Run – It was the first advice given to me and that’s exactly what I did. It was a sunny day too which I think helps the mood.

2. When you are in work, find a private place to meditate a bit then go to the gym at night to work it off.

3. Change your body posture – and was given this great youtube video, I highly suggest because I find it works.

4. A walk in nature – when I went for my run, I was thinking this and went for a run in the park. I interval run so I run a bit and walk a bit. I find nature to be non-judgemental and un-demanding.

5. Get your brain to work on it – ask yourself, “What can I do right now to make myself feel better?” And the great and glorious brain that we have will go to work on it.

6. Call a friend.

7. Brain Gym – this was a new one for me. I’ve used it to help DD with her left and rights when she was little but never used it as a way to put myself in a better mood. I’ll say this, you get so focused on the exercises you forget what was bothering you.

8. Yoga – I agree. It has helped me in the past and I need to get back to it. I found a free monthly class through meetup.com. Check it out, you never know what you might find.

9. Gratitude List – list what makes you grateful.

10. Ask for Help.

Other ideas for fighting the blues: gardening, getting that sunshine, standing on your head (if you can’t do this try hanging off the side of your bed, being inverted for a couple of minutes has helped me hold back the blues), spending some time with pets, watching fish, healthy eating.

In the end, it was a beautiful day, with the sun shining brightly. I ran and walked in the park. I listened to music for a bit then turned it off and asked myself why I was upset. I didn’t want to suppress the feelings but rather understand why I had them without dwelling on them. When I realized this was about her fears and not mine, I was able to let it go. By the time, I got home, that nagging feeling was gone and my good jujus were back.

Joanne’s Video


Joanne’s Debut Novel

oceanus

At the dawn of colonizing planets, humanity supports a bold new experiment on Earth to create three self-sustaining habitats, one underground, one above, and one under the sea. With dreams of colonization, they test human capacity by isolating the inhabitants from the outside world for a year.

Telsa and Simon join the first inhabitants on Oceanus, the undersea habitat. Simon leaves his youngest, Rosie, with her grandmother. It would only be a year, what could go wrong?

Everything runs smoothly until Simon discovers a network of surveillance throughout Oceanus, then Telsa uncovers a rumor of a devastating virus on the Earth’s surface. Central Command insists on their isolation but a new security force infiltrates the habitats under the guise that they are there for everyone’s protection.

All the while, unbeknownst to any of them, a religious zealot sees the habitats as his destiny, a place where he and his fellow believers can embark on growing a new country.

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Where to find Joanne…

Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | YouTube

Better Than Before – A Book Review

betterthanbeforeA fan of self-help literature, I look forward to each year’s crop of inspirational and motivational books. Right now, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives is at the top of my Favorites List.

New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Rubin has expertly woven research, anecdotes, and personal insights in this excellent study of habit formation. She does not provide a one-size-fits-all approach or prescribe specific habits. Instead, she explores how to develop sustainable habits that will help us achieve our own versions of Everyday Life in Utopia (a chapter title suggested by her daughter Eleanor).

Rubin starts by outlining The Four Tendencies—Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, Rebel—and then suggests appropriate strategies in the Pillars of Habits section. While the concepts of Monitoring, Foundation, Scheduling, and Accountability are not new, they are presented using a lively, conversational style aimed at increasing self-knowledge.

I paid special attention to the following strategies:

Foundation Four – Begin with habits that help us sleep, move, eat and drink right, and unclutter. These habits will serve as the foundation for forming other good habits.

Power Hour – To deal with the small, one-time tasks (e.g. creating a photo album) that Rubin kept putting off, she decided once a week, for one hour, she would work on these chores.

Clean Slate – Fresh starts such as a new apartment, job or school and changes in personal relationships wipe the slate clean and can help us launch a new habit with less effort. But a clean slate can also disrupt good habits or break positive routines.

Lightning Bolt – While this is a very effective strategy, it cannot be invoked. A new idea triggered by an inspirational book, milestone birthday, pregnancy or another event can instantly transform habits.

Blast Start – When small steps are not working, a blast start can help us take the first step. This kind of shock treatment cannot be maintained, but it can give momentum to a new project.

Bright-Line Rule – A clearly defined rule or standard that eliminates any need for decision-making can help us achieve greater clarity. E.g. Answering every email within 24 hours.

Throughout the book, Gretchen Rubin shares her own successes and challenges along with those of family members, friends, and blog followers. Intrigued and inspired by the low-carb diet she adopted and the ripple effect it created within her circle, I picked up a copy of Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes.

And I couldn’t resist classifying myself: I am an Upholder, Abstainer, Marathoner, Finisher, and Owl.

Where to find Gretchen Rubin…

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Linked In | Amazon