An Apple A Day~

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“An Apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a famous old saying but rings true! Keeping proper nutrition is essential to having a healthy life. It’s not about non-fat this or low-carb that~ it’s simply about giving your body all of the nutrients it needs and eating in mindful moderation. It’s so valuable to incorporate dark leafy greens, vegetables, fiber and protein into your daily diet! Eliminating processed foods and drinking lots of water, fresh juices, and teas  ( yes, coffee is acceptable!!) will be incredible beneficial in your goal of being healthy and vital.

There are some simple tricks to use in helping to make good health choices.  Total deprivation from yummy deserts or snacks simply isn’t a sustainable way of life.  Moderation, however, is sustainable.  Instead of a whole brownie…slowly enjoy a fourth of one.  Some say a little dark chocolate can be good for us! 🙂 Roasting over frying foods is a great “better” choice.

A challenge many of us experience is not preparing at the start of our week for success.  Taking a bit of the weekend to shop well, cut vegetables, grill chicken, and create a quality menu for yourself and your family, will make all the difference in your healthy success.  We’ve heard it so many times: “If fail to plan, you plan to fail!”

Spring is upon us and outdoor activities will abound in the months ahead; give yourself the gift of healthy eating.

Simplify:   don’t be overly concerned with calorie counting, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness.  Incorporate a few new items monthly and experiment with new recipes.

Start slow and allow for changes over time:  Trying to change your entire diet overnight isn’t realistic. You don’t want to think of a healthy lifestyle in terms of “being on a diet”.  Simply begin to make changes that make sense:  good salad vs. a bag of potato chips, use Olive oil over butter, have fruit for dessert rather than a bowl of Ice cream.  Once you incorporate this simple changes to your food routine you will find that it will become a healthy lifestyle.

Remember,  Every change you make to improve your diet matters: You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods your enjoy to have a healthy diet.  The long-term goal is to feel good, have more energy, and reduce the risk of illness and disease.  Don’t let one misstep derail you~~every healthy food choice you make is a win!!

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I Don’t Feel Like It!

Very few people wake up in the morning and feel like taking big risks or feel like digging deep for something that has eluded them. People don’t usually feel like pushing themselves harder than they’ve pushed before or having conversations that might be uncomfortable.   Seth Godin

It’ that time again, the time where we access our past year to see what we’ve accomplished and then we begin to RE-commit to goals unmet or we set new goals.  The first of a new year tends to serve as a kind of “reset button” for us all.

We may take the time to list our fresh commitments, share them with a trusted friend or coach, or we might simply keep them private but “top of mind”.  We may commit to getting healthier, eating better, being more diligent in our spiritual life, focusing on a better marriage or relationships.  We may establish new fresh practices for our professional lives as well. All these commitments will require diligence.

I love attending my local gym in January where I am surrounded by zealous people committed to getting healthy THIS year! Every day the classes and exercise equipment are full! Day after day people make an effort to focus on their health…….for about 30 days.  By the tail end of February many of those recommitted to their health have already backed away from their goal.

Why? They didn’t FEEL like it.

Before the sun is even up I grab my bathrobe and a cup of coffee. I head downstairs to my favorite chair where I will journal, pray, and read on a daily basis; a discipline that needed to be shored up last year! Every morning I find my way to my chair until I begin to give myself permission to sleep just a little longer….and a little longer….until, once again, my diligence weakens and I lose out on this meaningful time.

Why? I didn’t FEEL like it.

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Making key changes in our way of doing life requires diligence that is not based on how we feel. I have often joked with friends saying that “I am always so happy after I work out but I have never started my day FEELING Yippee! I get to go exercise!!”  I simply do it because it has become part of my lifestyle; there were many years when this was not the case.

Aristotle says “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore not an act but a habit.”  You’ve never heard an interview with an athlete where when they are asked how much they practice they answer “when I feel like it!”  Achieving our fresh goals requires commitment even when we don’t FEEL like it!

We are rounding the corner to the end of 2013. Are there goals you set last year that you’d like to recommit to?  Are there new goals you can see that you need to establish?  Are there dreams you’d like to diligently step into this year that you know will require effort on your part?

If so, then take some time to address the challenge you know you will face as you pursue fresh behavior. Will you stay the course even if you don’t FEEL like it? and when those times come how will you prepare to be proactive so that you don’t sabotage these fresh goals that matter to you?

If we don’t give ourselves permission to make decisions based on our feelings we will find a greater sense of resolve and satisfaction; it will be well worth it!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.”  Galatians 6:9

Lessons From Misery Ridge~

As a Coach I meet so many wonderful people. Janelle is one of them. Janelle lives in  Canada and after a year of coaching she came to Bend to visit with me. I wanted our time to be full of fun, good conversation, and activity; yet also inspirational.

After pedicures, shopping, good food and laughter, it was time to venture out!

Misery Ridge!!

It was early as we loaded up with water bottles and headed to Smith Rock. I told Janelle the hike would be challenging yet the view from the top would be well worth the climb. I think she believed me until she actually saw Misery Ridge and recognized just how difficult it would be.

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When we stood at the base of the mountain I told Janelle that we would break this hike into thirds and that we would think about different life challenges we were facing as we headed toward our goal to reach the top; imagining ourselves successful in facing those challenges as we conquered each phase of our hike!

We started out at a fairly fast pace; excited about moving forward! It wasn’t long before the altitude began to labor our breath. I asked Janelle if she wanted to turn back; we had made some good progress but were still far from the top. Should we go on or turn back?

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We discussed the value of the ultimate goal of reaching the top yet we realized it was going to be a greater challenge as the path got steeper; the footing more unsure.  This second part of the hike would require us to pace ourselves, to take longer breaks to catch our breath, and to be intentional with where we placed our feet. Off we went! Partway through this phase of our hike a big snake slithers out onto the path catching us off guard! Do we turn back?

Finally we reached place where we would begin the third part of the climb; the steepest part! Janelle was amazed at how far we had come yet still feeling caution about where we needed to go. Do we continue? Do we turn back?  Was this view really worth this effort?  After some good discussion we committed to the goal of reaching the top and pressed on.

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During this last phase of our “journey” the altitude was making it hard to breath and the shale on the path caused us to feel our feet slipping. We realized that this last push would require extra sure footing, that we would need to hold each others arms to prevent us from falling and getting hurt. Slowly and intentionally we made our way up the switchbacks towards our goal. Closer and closer, steeper and steeper! With a final push we rounded the corner and gazed at the glorious view from the top! Amazing!!  The success was thrilling! We were seeing a view from the top that many people will never see! We did it!!

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Our lives are a lot like a hike up Misery Ridge.  You start out full of excitement, goals, dreams~ ready to take on the world!  You can imagine your goals, you can visualize  conquering your challenges. Yet life starts to get hard, to required more stamina, or make you feel uncomfortable and there is a desire to abandon the very goals that mean so much to you.

As challenges come it’s important to pace yourself; catch your breath. Often times we expect so much of ourselves not recognizing the impact of “climbing higher”. We forget to nourish and replenish ourselves so that we can press on….one foot in front of the other. Often times, just like our surprise snake, obstacles make come out of nowhere~~Do we abandon our goals because of them?

I wonder how many people get to the last third of the Misery Ridge hike and turn back because they are too tired or afraid to climb higher? Right before they have the joy of that unprecedented view!!  How many of us get so close to reaching our personal goals, facing life long challenges, creating healthy relationships, or stepping into fresh dreams, and abandon them because it just feels impossible, right before we see success?

As Janelle and I learned; as it gets closer to the top, as the challenges get harder; you need the support of your fellow “climbers” to keep you from losing your footing, to encourage you to keep climbing; to press on! I would never climb Misery Ridge alone for that very reason!

I have to say that the BEST part of the climb is the celebration at the top! The joy of reaching the goal and the satisfaction that we didn’t quit!  Every person I have led to the top of Misery Ridge has been so glad that they didn’t turn back before seeing the view from the top!

Do you have dreams, goals you want to attain, challenges you must face? Are you halfway there? Turning the last difficult corner? Or have you just begun? Remember these few lessons from the mountain:

Pace yourself, stay hydrated, place your feet carefully, catch your breath, stay committed to looking forward; not back, and surround yourself with fellow climbers (healthy support systems) who can hold your arm if you slip and celebrate your WIN at the top!

You’ll never know what you’ll miss if you are afraid to “climb”.

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