Happy February; and when we think of February, it seems almost impossible not to think of Valentine’s Day.
I decided this would be an appropriate time to share an excerpt from my book Realize Your Full Potential: An A-Z Guide to Renewing and Reclaiming Your Life. I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful.
I don’t like Valentine’s Day, never have.
I’m not sure why exactly, maybe its all the hype that surrounds Valentine’s Day forcing us to think that if we don’t receive that special present, those flowers or jewelry that maybe our significant other doesn’t really love us enough or maybe we just aren’t special enough. When in reality we all know that it is primarily the jewelers, candy makers and florists who benefit from this particular “event”.
I was reminded recently, though that Valentine’s Day is a symbolic celebration of love and that each and every one of us is here, living this life to experience love, all kinds of love. We experience love in a variety of ways including heartache, healing, romance, sex, trust, compassion and faith. Valentine’s Day should be and is for every person whether you are single, dating, partnered, married or alone. The message really is that you need to be in love with you; understand that you are uniquely perfect just as you are. Show yourself and others a bit of compassion.
I have found several definitions for the word Compassion, some which I like and others not so much.
First, com·pas·sion. A noun. Definition: sympathy: sympathy for the suffering of others, often including a desire to help...
then, Compassion (Com-pas’sion), v. t. Definition: To pity. [Obs.] Shak. [I don’t care much for this one]...
and the last one, which I like the best, the definition of compassion is: “Wanting others to be free from suffering.”
When we talk about compassion, each of us must generate a genuine sense of self-acceptance and self-love first, and then compassion for all the messiness and the baggage that each of us carries around with us wherever we go. Each of us really is truly uniquely perfect exactly as we are.
I know, I can see you all now rolling your eyes, but yes, even with those extra pounds or those unfinished chores, or all the commitments that you may have been avoiding, you are perfect. That doesn’t mean you can’t still grow and change, you can and you should and you will if you allow yourself to.
Another thing that is so important to remember, something I refer back to again and again throughout this book, you can and you should refuse to listen to that broken-record monologue that runs in your head (we each have one you know), the one that analyzes all your mistakes and failures and puts them onto a list of things that you must do before you can believe that you are O.K.
Instead of listening to that old record, that negative voice in your head, why not switch the channel to the 24-hour positive affirmative reinforcement channel, where a loop of “everything’s just as it should be” repeats over and over again until it is ingrained in your subconscious.
If you are willing to love your imperfect body or your absent-mindedness, your still-in-development relationships to work or money or love and your tendency to be self-centered, lazy or self-indulgent; then this love and compassion for yourself will shine through and with that shining, then someone else, someone around you, someone you touch may be more willing to love themselves, in spite of similarly messed-up exquisiteness.
If each of us can live our life knowing and demonstrating that we can love ourselves in spite of all our faults, then maybe, just maybe those people whose lives we touch, those we live with, work with or just come into contact with, can start to love themselves as well, with all their faults.
Give yourself a break, treat yourself with compassion and that compassion will flow outward to everyone and everything in your world. That’s a motivating cause worth fighting for, one that you can get behind; and, in the process, heal others and yourself, as well.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
Past Life Regressionist, Certified Hypnotherapist and Life Coach
I am very excited to tell you all about a series of tele-classes/workshops I will be doing utilizing Timeline Therapy techniques.
This series of Timeline Therapy workshops assist you in focusing on what you need to learn for yourself so that you can let go of the past and move forward into a compelling future. If you desire to improve your career, finances, health or relationships, these workshops will teach you how to unlock the power to design and create your life in the way that you've always dreamed possible. Utilizing powerful timeline therapy, you will actively participate in your own transformation.
You will be guided as we:
- Remove emotional blocks from the past that may be holding you back;
- Let go of attachments that no longer serve you;
- Let go of decisions that have created limiting beliefs in your life;
- Free your energy for your purpose;
- Release anger, sadness, fear and guilt, and
- Create the future you choose and you want.
These workshops should be starting next month, although I do not have specific dates as yet. They will also be available as a series of recordings.
As soon as I get specific information as to dates and how you can sign up for these workshops, I will let you all know.
5 Habits That Stop Strokes
To slash your stroke risk by 80 percent, there are just five simple health habits to keep in mind:
- Walk every day,
- Maintain a healthy weight,
- Avoid cigarette smoke,
- Enjoy alcohol only in moderation, and
- Eat as nutritiously as you can.
Some of these you probably already do. But tack on the missing items and your stroke risk drops dramatically.
In a large study of men and women in their fifties, those who most adhered to these five basic health habits were 80 percent less likely to have an ischemic stroke -- the most common type of stroke. Specifically, these study participants exercised about 30 minutes a day and had BMIs below 25, and their diet mainstays were fruit, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein. Also, the women had no more than one alcoholic drink a day; the men, no more than two.
These five health habits reduce your risk of a whole host of diseases and conditions, including diseases that up your odds of a stroke -- like high blood pressure and diabetes. And cigarette smoke, heavy alcohol consumption, and obesity are known stroke risk factors. So who says you can't do it all? We've got some advice on how to make these "sounds good" suggestions into real-life habits:
Excuse buster #1: It's too cold to walk outside.
There are so many programs on television or DVD’s available that let you work out in your own home including Yoga, Aerobics, Dance, Pilates, Stretching, Strength Training, and almost anything else you can think of to keep in shape so in reality there really is no excuse.
- Excuse buster #2: Eating healthfully is too expensive.
Not true, here’s why: When you're on a tight budget, shopping for food can be a daunting experience. It's a common misconception that cutting back on food expenses means sacrificing good nutrition. However, you can be healthier and wealthier by getting wiser about planning meals and shopping.
Here are some guidelines that can help:
Let the Pyramid Be Your Guide.
Many people plan their meals around meat, and leave grains, vegetables, and fruit for side dishes. However, according to the http://www.mypyramid.gov/, the bulk of your diet should be made up of whole grains (whole wheat breads and pasta and brown rice), and lots of vegetables and fruit.
Meats and dairy products should be treated as side dishes and eaten less frequently. This is not only more economical but more healthful. Here are a few examples of meals made mostly with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables:
Chili: Beans, vegetables, meat, served with a salad.
Stir-fry: Vegetables with a small amount of meat served over rice or pasta and a salad.
Stews or soup: Beans, vegetables, pasta, rice, meat or chicken, served with salad.
Taco: Beans or meat with lots of lettuce, tomato, onions, and a corn tortilla.
Many of the prepackaged, boxed, canned, and frozen foods you buy from the store are high in fat, calories, sodium, sugar, and cost, compared with foods prepared at home. They may also be comparatively lower in vitamins and minerals. You pay for the fancy packaging and convenience of these items, but you get much less for your money.
For example, you can make many more bags of popcorn from a bag of un-popped corn compared to buying a bag of already-popped popcorn. The pre-made popcorn is much more expensive and has more fat and sodium than what you can make at home. Of course, making food from scratch may take a little more time, but it can be well worth it in terms of cost and nutrition.
Have a game plan for shopping that includes what you're going to buy and where you're going to buy it. "You need to make choices that provide you with the most nutrition for your dollar," says Angela Forbes, RD, County Extension Agent with Clemson University Cooperative Extension in Lancaster, South Carolina. She adds, "without a plan, you risk making impulsive or less nutritious choices and spending too much money."
Here are some tips on developing a shopping plan:
Plan meals and snacks several days in advance. Then write out a shopping list—and stick to it!
Compare prices among grocery stores. Shop at national chains and discount food outlets. Don't shop at convenience stores.
Go to stores that sell generic foods, store brand foods, and foods in bulk.
Use coupons with caution. They are often for foods that are more expensive. Don't buy junk food, or something you normally wouldn't buy, just because you have a coupon.
Never shop on an empty stomach.
Look for sales on items that are on your list.
"Make sure the food you buy is fresh," says Forbes. "Sometimes food on sale is starting to get old. Always check the dates on perishable items such as meat, because you want it to be safe. If you can't use food before it spoils, you'll just end up wasting it. If you have food in your home that's starting to get old, either find a way to use it right away—put it in another dish, for example—or freeze it."
The unit price calculates the cost of a product per unit. For example, a unit could be by the ounce, pound, or number of items in a package. Unit prices are usually marked on the shelf below the product. For example, let's say you're looking for canned beets and there are three different brands to choose from. If you look at the unit price below each one, you can find the brand that is cheapest, especially if you buy the largest can. However, it only makes sense to buy the largest can if you're sure you'll use it all.
It's easier to make the most nutritious choice when you know how to read the nutritional labels. These labels contain the nutritional information and are found on most packaged foods. Use the nutrition facts label to focus on the facts that are most important to you such as the fat, sugar, or sodium content. Nutritional labels make it easier for you to compare similar products.
Save time and money by buying in bulk. You can buy in bulk through supermarkets, buying clubs, food cooperatives, farmer's markets, and warehouses. When you buy in bulk, you can purchase a product in multiple or large units that can be stored, or from an open container in the store, such as a bin of rice where you can scoop out as much as you want. Before buying in bulk, keep the following tips in mind:
- Buy only products that your family will like and use often enough so that they will be used before spoiling or becoming outdated. Otherwise, you'll waste food and money.
Not all bulk items are bargains. Make sure the item is really a good buy and saves you money. Check the unit price; don't just look at the size of the package.
When you buy in bulk, you buy more than you can use before your next shopping trip. Be sure you have enough money to do this.
You should know what type of storage is needed for the product and have enough space to store it.
Beware that buying in bulk can lead families to overeat or eat too quickly. If this happens, you could run out of food or money before the end of the month. Make sure you can store food so that it won't get eaten too quickly.
- Know proper storage times for different foods. For example:
¡ Ground meats: 3–4 months in the freezer.
¡ Hot dogs: 1–2 months in the freezer.
¡ Eggs: 3–5 weeks in the refrigerator.
¡ Dry onions: 2 months in the refrigerator.
¡ Opened lunch meats: 3–5 days in the refrigerator.
¡ Flour: lasts longest in the freezer.
¡ Dried peas and beans: up to 1 year.
"You can also prepare food in bulk and freeze the leftovers," says Ms. Forbes. "For example, you can make a big pot of soup or lasagna. Leftovers can be separated into small proportions that are dated and frozen. Don't freeze and then thaw a large portion of food (more than you'll eat in a serving) because you'll end up wasting most of it."
Eating out can be expensive and the food is often high in fat, salt, and sugar. A spaghetti dinner at a restaurant could cost $10 or more, but only a few dollars if you prepared it at home. At a restaurant, your extra costs go toward profits and tips. Consider having a potluck. When you entertain guests at home, ask them to bring a dish.
If you're going to be out running errands or shopping with your family, bring some healthy snacks and drinks with you. That way, if hunger hits, you won't be tempted to stop at a fast food restaurant or buy snacks from a vending machine—something that can hurt your wallet and your waistline. Whether you make snacks at home or buy them from the grocery store, it's less expensive than buying them in the mall.
- Excuse buster #3: I just can't lose weight, no matter what I do.
Time for the tried-and-true YOU Docs plan for losing weight. [AS I READ THESE, VIRTUALLY EVERY SUGGESTION IS GIVEN MORE POWER AND YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO SUCCEED BY INCORPORATING HYPNOSIS INTO YOUR PLAN.]
Step 1: Follow the New Rules
The path to your new life and your new shape really is simple. Adopt these strategies and watch your body change effortlessly. Over a 14-day period, train yourself to make good-for-YOU food choices (Step 2 makes this easy). You’ll reprogram your appetite, so YOU will be in charge of what you’re eating.
- Eat three main meals, plus snacks, so you’re never hungry.
- Eat the same things for breakfast and lunch almost every day. Yes, every day. People who minimize food choices lose more weight.
- Fill up on whole-grain carbohydrates (that includes vegetables); fiber; nuts; and lean, healthy protein such as fish, poultry, and (sparingly) lean meats.
- In a hunger emergency, chew on your favorites from this list: apples, almonds, walnuts, edamame (soybeans), sugar-free gum, chopped veggies, nonfat yogurt or cottage cheese. And water, of course.
Because of its proximity to vital organs, belly fat is the most dangerous fat you can carry. It is one of the strongest predictors of health risks (heart disease, diabetes, and more bad stuff) associated with obesity.
- Ditch the scale in favor of the tape measure.
- Measure your waist and aim small: Ideal is 32 1/2 inches or less for women and 35 inches or less for men.
To lose weight, you need to eat.
- Eat often -- five or six times throughout the day -- so you’re always satisfied. Slipping into starvation mode makes your body want to store fat.
- Eat plenty of fiber and some protein in the morning: Fiber in the morning helps control afternoon cravings; protein decreases appetite.
Enlist a friend, family member, or new online buddy as your partner. Everyone needs encouragement -- and an occasional prod.
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes. As long as you quickly get back on the right road, you won’t travel too far down the wrong one. Just make a YOU-turn to change course.
A Few Final Tips
Check food labels. Don’t buy anything with more than 4 grams of saturated fat or 4 grams of any sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup) per serving. Sat fat is an ager that’s bad for your whole body, and simple sugars make you crave high-calorie foods.
Get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Fatigue also makes you crave sugary foods. Why? They release the brain chemicals that a lack of sleep leaves you short on.
Eat a little healthy fat -- like a handful of walnuts -- about 20 minutes before a meal. It will take the edge off, so you won’t be tempted to overeat.
Choose elegance over force. Weight-loss battles are won when you diet smart, not hard. From YOU: On a Diet, by RealAge experts Michael F. Roizen, MD, and Mehmet C. Oz, MD.
- Excuse buster #4: Quitting smoking is impossible.
The YOU Docs have a quit-smoking plan that makes the impossible truly possible. Successful quitting is almost always a step-by-step process, not a cold-turkey event!
There are four steps:
- Understanding your habit.
- Prepping to kick it.
- Breaking the habit.
- Enjoying life as an ex-smoker.
We all know that smoking is probably the most difficult addiction to break, even harder than most illegal drugs. However, if you add Hypnosis to your arsenal, you have a 50% higher chance of success.
- Excuse buster #5: One drink, two drinks -- what's the diff?
Get the scoop on healthy alcohol consumption with this article. "Here's to your health!" You may hear this toast often, but many of alcohol's effects on the body may actually be harmful to your health. It all depends on how you approach it.
The health hazards associated with heavy alcohol consumption are well documented and range from liver damage to heart disease. Just one night of heavy drinking can cause short-term maladies including headache, body aches, fatigue, nausea, and dehydration. And when heavy drinking becomes a pattern, it puts immense strain on vital organs, jeopardizing a person's health and making his or her RealAge much older.
But alcohol, in moderation, can be good for your health. A growing body of research shows moderate drinkers enjoy lower risks of heart attack and stroke and may live longer than nondrinkers or heavy drinkers. After years of demonizing the drink, some health experts now recommend a moderate serving of red wine, a nip of scotch, or a bit of beer each day. This is generally considered good news, but it has also caused some confusion.
Health experts disagree about alcohol's role in a healthy lifestyle. Although some doctors advocate a daily drink, other doctors question the value of alcohol consumption of any kind. Also, people are sometimes unsure of the definition of "moderate" -- a critical distinction.
"Moderate" can mean different things to different people. For some people it means having a glass or two of wine every night with dinner. For others it means drinking only on the weekends. Still others believe that partaking only at special events and celebrations is the definition of a moderate drinker. This makes it hard for people to know whether their particular drinking habits fit the "healthful" mold or whether they are putting their health on the rocks.
So what about your habits? Are you drinking too much? Just enough? Are you hurting your health if you don't drink at all? And how does your age and gender affect the equation? For people who choose to drink, striking a moderate balance can take careful research as well as practice and experience.
The maximum amount recommended by RealAge for Age Reduction benefits, is no more than one drink of wine, beer, or liquor per day for most women, and two drinks per day for most men. This also is the general recommendation given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Although these guidelines may seem straightforward, studies and surveys reveal a strong possibility this recommendation could be misinterpreted. Many people tend to wing it when it comes to estimating the size of their drink or its alcohol content, and this can lead to unintentional over-imbibing.
For example, you may think you're having only one drink when, because of the amount of alcohol in your drink, you're really having two; a small serving of the stronger beers, lagers, and spirits may contain many times the recommended daily amount of alcohol. Or the size of your glass may trick your eyes and lead to larger serving sizes than would be appropriate for maximum RealAge benefits.
The amount of alcohol a drink contains depends on many factors. Usually, the alcohol content is determined by fermentation, but different brewing styles and fermentation durations also mean there is little uniformity.
RealAge considers a standard drink to be about half an ounce of alcohol. This corresponds roughly to:
- 12 fluid ounces of regular beer.
- 5 fluid ounces of wine.
- 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof liquor/distilled spirits (standard
- 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.
However, some drinks contain more than the typical amount of alcohol. The alcohol content can range from about 4% to as high as 18% or more for some beers and wines. Standard shot measurements of alcohol used by bartenders make it easier to gauge how much booze is in your mixed drink, but different glass sizes and heavy pours could result in too big of a drink. Even when mixing a drink yourself, you could make it too strong if you just eyeball it.
An occasional heavy pour or stiff drink is generally not cause for too much alarm, although if you consume alcohol regularly, your best bet is to stick to modest serving containers -- standard size glasses, tumblers, or shot glasses -- and to consult the label for information on alcohol by volume (ABV) or proof. You want your single serving of alcohol to contain about half a fluid ounce of alcohol, or about 12 grams.
Another area of confusion regarding the definition of moderate drinkinglies in the distribution of drinks throughout the week. Having several drinks on Saturday night is not equivalent to having one drink each evening, as some might believe. These two patterns have very different health implications.
A recent study comparing two groups of drinkers -- one that drank one serving of alcohol every day and another that had several drinks one day per week -- revealed that once-a-week drinkers had more abdominal fat than daily drinkers. Known as binge drinking, this type of drinking behavior makes your RealAge older because excess abdominal fat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.Binge drinking may also contribute to atrial fibrillation, a heart-rhythm disturbance that causes the upper chambers of the heart to quiver. This decreases the heart's ability to pump blood and increases a person's risk of developing blood clots and having a stroke.
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