Category Archives: Empowerment

3 Reasons to Start Eating Clean

Who doesn’t love pizza, cake, cookies, chips, and ice cream? Giving up your favorite junk food is not easy, which can make clean eating a challenge. As a rule, everyone who thinks about eating clean needs a little extra motivation to finally make the switch.

There are three very good reasons to start eating clean.

1. You Feel Better

Image by iphoto
Image by iphoto

This is a no-brainer. The basic premise of clean eating is to eat only close-to-nature, un-processed foods that are good for you, which means NOT EATING empty-calorie, additive-filled, high-fat and sugary foods (fast foods and junk food).

It is definitely not easy, especially if you have been eating badly for a long time. BUT- I guarantee you will see results almost immediately if you are truly committed to the process.

In a short time you will start to feel better and have a lot more energy all day long. Plus, there is a good chance you will start sleeping better and waking up rested. It won’t be long until you no longer have  to rely on those three cups of coffee to get you going each morning.

The reason is simple – you will be giving your body the nutrients it needs to run efficiently and effectively as it was meant to do. Instead of creating a sugar and/or caffeine high and being forced to deal with the subsequent crash, you will be getting what you need to feel great and have as much energy as that Energizer Bunny all day long.

2. You Look Better

Image by Dmitriy Shironosov
Image by Dmitriy Shironosov

Real, fresh food without additives provides the vitamins, minerals and other micro nutrients than are required for good health and great physical appearance. You may be surprised to see thicker, shinier hair and clearer, firmer skin in just a few months.

Processed foods are designed to trigger eating habits that far exceed what our bodies need (so people overeat). Plus, many of the nutrients have been stripped and your body remains undernourished – and feeling hungry.  It is no wonder that many people in the United States and other First-World countries are overweight.

Returning to our roots and establishing a more natural way of eating will help you lose the extra pounds you have been carrying around. You will look better, feel better and become much healthier all at the same time. The last point being the most important.

3. You Set an Example for Others

When you eat well and feel well, everyone around you benefits – especially those you love.

When you eat well and keep good, healthy foods in your pantry and fridge, it is much easier for your spouse and children to do the same. They are much more likely to grab a healthy snack when you lead by example.

Think about the amazing impact you can have on your family. You will not only benefit yourself and ensure that you stay healthy and with them for a long time to come, you will also be influencing them to make healthy choices now and over the long-haul.

That should be a powerful motivator for you to begin your clean-eating diet now – and continue it for the rest of  your life.

Start today and enjoy the benefits for yourself and your loved ones. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is and how great real food tastes.


Health Risks from Being Overweight

Obese teen walkingThere are many health issues that can result from being overweight. In fact, you do not have to be obese to suffer from a weight-related illness.  We have already talked about BMI as an indicator of general health. Please, be aware that when your BMI reaches 25, you are at risk.

Another fact to keep in mind is that heart problems and diabetes often go hand-in-hand. If you have one of these as a result of obesity, you will probably have the other.

Below is a list of health conditions that are often related to being overweight:

  • Cancer – Breast, other female cancers, and colon cancer are more prevalent in overweight and obese people.
  • Diabetes — Type 2 diabetes is almost always related to weight issues.
  • Gallbladder Disease – Individuals who have their gallbladders removed are often overweight.
  • Gynecological Issues – Overweight women have a higher incidence of fertility problems, menstrual problems, and cancer than women of normal weight.
  • Heart Disease is the #1  killer in the U.S. Even though it can strike anyone at any age, it is usually found in overweight and obese people. With a BMI of 25+ individuals increase the probability of contracting an obesity-related heart disease by 50%.
  • High Blood Pressure – The ever-increasing problem of  obesity is being recognized as one of the most important risk factors for the development of high blood pressure. It is twice as prevalent in obese people than in people of normal weight and is a major risk factor for developing heart disease, the primary cause of death among Americans older than 25. Losing weight will lower the blood pressure and lessen the risk of heart disease.
  • High Triglycerides – If your BMI is 30+, there is a greater probability that you will have elevated levels of triglycerides, which transport fat through your body. High triglycerides increase the risk for heart disease.
  • Liver Disease – This is far too common in the Western world – even among children; but more frequent in obese people.  There are few symptoms until it is too late. It is irreversible and deadly.
  • Osteoarthritis – Even being slightly overweight can create stress on the joints and result in this disease, which is degeneration of the cartilage in the joints of the body.  There is no cure, so prevention is critical and can only be done by maintaining a normal weight.
  • Respiratory Problems – Being overweight or obese can result in sleep apnea – a condition which causes the person to stop breathing multiple times throughout the night. It causes snoring, painful joints, fatigue, generally feeling bad, and increases the risk of heart attack. It can often be corrected through weight loss.
  • Stroke – Excess weight puts stress on the entire circulatory system and can increase the risk for stroke – a blood clot that blocks an artery and interrupts blood flow to the brain, which can be deadly.  Eighty percent of strokes can be prevented with weight loss, exercise, and a healthy diet.

The key is to watch your weight. If you find it creeping up, check you BMI regularly.  If it reaches 25, your health risks begin to increase.  By keeping your BMI below 25, you are significantly reducing your chances of developing any of the diseases listed above.  For some problems, such as Type 2 Diabetes, you may be able to reverse the illness.

A healthy diet of more fresh fruits and vegetables, elimination of sugar and fatty foods, plus  regular exercise will produce remarkable results. Start protecting and improving your health today.

Photo Credit: Morbidly Obese Teen via photopin (license)

Yoga to Heal the Mind and Body

Yoga and Meditation
Image by Diego Cervo

Use yoga to heal the mind and body. I know, you may be groaning as you visualize – someone sitting cross-legged on a mat with the finger and thumb forming a circle, and silently mouthing “OM.” You may be surprised to know that yoga is so much more than challenging postures and a type of meditation. It is a method of healing the mind and body as you gain flexibility and a sense of well-being.

The term yoga refers to several different forms of meditation – each having their own unique exercises and breath control practices. Certain movements within yoga focus on stress release, while others focus specifically on healing from illness, injuries, and disease.

Yoga has a holistic basis that addresses all the pathways of healing – the mental/emotional, the spiritual and the physical body. The postures are the physical aspect of yoga.

The meditation techniques used in yoga, like the meditation taught by Tom Cronin of The Stillness Project, may be exactly the mental therapy you need to achieve solace and peace of mind.

For a very long time, the healthcare field believed that since emotions were not tangible they had no connection to the body’s healing process. However, current scientific research has discovered a powerful link between the mind and body when it comes to healing.

Yoga works with the mind/body connection. It starts with finding points of stress within the body and uses movement and breathing to help the body relax and let go of the stress.

As the body relaxes, stressful emotional entanglements are released, and the body relaxes even more. As the stress dissipates, the production of stress hormones diminishes and healing can begin.

Cortisol, the hormone that is released by the fight or flight response to stress, creates anxiety that causes a rise in blood pressure, a rapid heart beat and other reactions that are damaging to your body when stress becomes chronic.

The state of relaxation that comes with the practice of yoga boosts the body’s immune system, reduces inflammation of the joints and muscles, calms migraine headaches, and insomnia. It is also known to lower cholesterol levels and helps with depression.

Check out Tom Cronin’s The Stillness Project as a possible guide for you on this journey. Once you learn to meditate, you can pair it with yoga and get the best of both mental and physical therapies.

Overcoming Obstacles when Learning to Meditate

Overcoming obstacles is one of the biggest challenges when learning to meditate. There is always a learning curve when you start something new, and learning how to meditate is no different. There are some common obstacles that will have to be overcome in order to be successful.

Trouble Focusing

The biggest obstacle is often your own mind. The mind is always working. One thought passes and another immediately takes it place. There are thousands of pieces of data churning in your brain, making it difficult to focus.

There are four main things that distract you, cause your mind to race, and make focusing difficult.

  1. Your list of things to do is ever present in your mind. Most people have two active lists – personal (family) and business. There is internal pressure to get everything done. (Your mind is telling you that you don’t have time to meditate.)
  2. You are heavily stressed or have recently experienced some kind of personal trauma.
  3. You are worried, anxious or fearful about one or many things.
  4. There are too many distractions around you – children, TV, road noise, electric lawn mowers, barking dogs, etc.

Good news! There are ways to deal with each one:

  1. Things to do – Remind yourself  that meditation doesn’t take long, and as soon as you are finished, you will take care of things.
  2. Dealing with stress and trauma  –  Use the following exercise before  you begin to meditate:In your mind’s eye, see yourself opening a large empty box. With your hands – gently lift the trauma or stress from your mind and place it in the box and close the lid. Then, set the box aside. I know this may sound strange, but it does work. I have used it many times.
  3. Dealing with anxiety or problems that are worrying you – Use mindful deep breathing before you begin to meditate.  As you breathe let the concerns go and tell yourself that you will look at the issue(s) again when you are finished meditating.  (Mindful deep-breathing exercises help you calm the mind and release emotional stress from your body before you begin to meditate.)
  4. Distractions –  The ideal, of course, is to find a quiet place that does not have distractions, or that muffles the noise to the point that you can tune it out. For example: It is easier to tune out a neighbor who is mowing his lawn than it is to tune out a dog barking in the same room.) Enlist the support of your family – ask them to help you with 15 minutes of quiet time, or meditate when everyone is still asleep (early morning, late evening).

Finding the Time

Until you are convinced of the benefits you will enjoy as a result of meditating, you may struggle with the feeling that you “do not have time to meditate.” As I have said before, you always have time to do the things you want to do. But, if this is an obstacle for you, look for “down times” that you can fill with meditation.  For example, use the time while you are waiting for your appointment in the doctor’s office – or waiting for the kids after school.

In those “unoccupied moments” you can practice simple breathing exercises that help you relax and move into the quiet, still place inside. You can also do this when you are doing chores like vacuuming – or exercise like running, walking, or using a treadmill – none of which requires a lot of focus

Lack of Self-Discipline

A common obstacle is a lack of self-discipline. Without the ability to stay with it until you realize the benefits, you will not develop the habit of meditating. A new habit takes twenty-one days to solidify.

When you decide to start meditating – do so with a 21-day full commitment to the process. Give yourself permission to stick with it for twenty-one days. If you can do that and practice everyday (with full intent), at the end of three weeks, meditating will not only be a habit, you will look forward to doing it.

One thing that can help you stay with it is to find help.  It could be very beneficial for you to work with guided meditation at first.  You may want to consider working with Tom Cronin, The Stillness Project,  personally through one of his workshops.


Change Your Life – Mediate 15 Minutes a Day

Man meditating in officeIt is possible to change your life by meditating only 15 minutes each day. If you are longing for relief from the intense pressures and stress brought on by endless responsibilities, meditation is a tool you should seriously consider. Thousands of people practice it regularly – some daily, some weekly – and benefit immensely.

There is scientific evidence that meditation helps people enjoy happier and more peaceful lives. Harvard professors are getting close to proving …..that yoga and meditation can ward off stress and disease.

In a brain wave study performed by a Ph.D at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, people who engaged in meditation over the study period had scans showing a difference in the stress areas of the brain.

You may be among those who have heard about meditation for years. Maybe you have even thought about looking into it, but have never taken the first step to make anything happen. You may be one of the many who hesitate because of the time required.

With incredibly busy schedules, the thought of adding one more thing is too much. People often think that in order to learn how to meditate, they would have to spend hours learning the technique; and, then spend additional hours sitting and chanting. Unfortunately, that is a common misconception about all forms of meditation.

If you have been intrigued with meditation or have even the slightest desire or curiosity about how it works, you should sign up for Tom Cronin’s Stillness Project. He provides guided meditation through a calm, unintrusive program.

Meditation does not involve hours and hours of practice that will push your sanity over the edge. In fact, a meditation session can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. But . . . the benefits will last for hours or days. It is absolutely worth the investment of time in yourself.

You may be thinking, “Even 15 minutes is too much. I simply do not have the time!” But, we both know that there is always time for things that we really want to do. So, why not put mental and physical health first this time and give it a shot?

If you can commit to the 15 minutes each day and fully engage in the process for each session, you will be less stressed, have more energy, and sleep better than you have in a long time.

The first step is to learn some simple breathing techniques that are used in meditation. You can find instructions for these exercises online and teach yourself, or you can get the help of an experienced guide like Tom Cronin. The Stillness Project.

If you have never tried to meditate before, it is good to be aware that at first your mind will not cooperate. Dozen of other things will pop into your head  that you could be doing instead of meditating. Unfortunately, your logic will tell you that this is a waste of time and you should just keep on keeping on with all you have to do. Don’t let that defeat you.

For your session find a quiet, comfortable place that is as free from outside noise and distractions as possible. When you are ready to begin, set your phone alarm for 15 minutes. Knowing that you will only be using 15 minutes will help quiet the mental resistance mentioned above. Then, relax into the process.

You will discover that once you reach a consciousness state, your mind and body are fully united as you revel in the peace of those moments.

In a very short time, you will no longer feel that you are “giving up” 15 minutes of your day. You will begin to feel as if you have more time because your mind is clear and your ability to focus is amazing, which increases your productivity as you peacefully go about the rest of your day.  


Live on Tuesday, June 17,  at 6 pm PST