Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Three Down, One to Go!

This has probably been the most challenging week ever for me, when it comes to weight management. Three work-related social events (with lots of rich food!) and a lunch outing at a restaurant with a coworker—this is a sure-fire plan for weight-loss sabotage—or at least it could be, if I were to succumb to all the temptations. And I have to admit, in times past, I would have just blown it and given up completely. “Resisting all this good food is impossible! I might as well just give up! I’ll just wait until after New Year’s to start controlling my weight,” I can just hear myself saying.

But although the week’s not over yet, I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to get through it, even losing a pound in the process. And I haven’t deprived myself, either! You know what the secret is? I’ve come up with a little three-step formula that works for me, and I think it could work for you too: Plan, measure, and track.

One good thing about the holidays is that, usually, social events are planned well in advance. In other words, your employer doesn’t wait until the day before to tell you that an office social will be happening tomorrow. The advantage here is that you can plan, that is, if you know that you’ll be eating out for dinner on Sunday night, you can make your earlier meals a little bit —or a lot—lighter. The other day, I found that by eating a huge salad for lunch and filling up on vegetables and other high-fiber, low-calorie foods, that I was satisfied, and not starving, when I arrived at the party that night. Then, when it was time to eat, I took generous helpings of salad and veggies, and went easy on the starches, such as sweet potatoes and dressing. I had a taste of everything, even the gravy, except that I chose to skip dessert altogether. But before you jump to the conclusion that I never indulge in sweet delights, rest assured that I do, on occasion. At our dinner outing the next night, I enjoyed a decadent slice of pecan pie, and savored every bite! But again, earlier in the day, I was very careful to watch what and how much I ate.

The key here is planning. I realize I can’t eat a rich dessert at every meal, or I will definitely blow it, but an occasional splurge, balancing it with lighter eating at other meals in the day, and with good planning in advance, is OK. Once again, it’s all about choice, intelligent choice, rather than mindless indulgence without regard to food values or portion sizes. And that brings me to my next point. Know what you’re eating. Study the fat, calorie, and fiber content of foods and choose wisely when food is placed in front of you. Learn to eyeball measurements (e.g., a cup of rice is about the size of a tennis ball) and be conscious of how much you’re consuming. Then, write it down. Did you know that scientific studies have shown that people who consistently track what they eat lose more weight than those who don’t?

There’s a lot more I could share, but before I go, here is one more quick tip: Eat slowly and savor your food. This one weight-management technique has helped me probably more than any. It takes time for your brain to get the message that you’re actually full, and if you eat more slowly, you won’t pack in more food than your body really needs. Instead of focusing on food, enjoy the company of friends and the conversation during this holiday season. Here’s to you: Healthy Holidays!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lean Toward the Bright Side

If you’re like me, you probably don’t like the idea of taking medicine. And as an ardent believer in natural health, my choice would definitely be natural remedies over drugs, if it’s at all possible to avoid them. But here’s a medicine I can recommend wholeheartedly and without reservation. You don’t need a prescription for it and, best of all, it’s free! What am talking about? A merry heart. In Proverbs 17:22 we find this bit of ancient wisdom: “A merry heart does good, like medicine. But a broken spirit dries the bones.” In the same way that happiness can lead to better health, a negative attitude can literally make us sick.

Dr. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin has discovered through research that people with a positive attitude “have more electrical and metabolic activity on the left side of the brain’s prefrontal lobe” (Creation Health Discovery, p. 92). This is the side of the brain that has more of the killer cells that help to fight viruses. In other words, a positive attitude can help us to resist disease. Now, that’s powerful medicine.

On the other hand, Neil Nedley, M.D., who is well-known for his work with depressed patients and author of the book Depression, The Way Out, cites a number of studies indicating higher risk factors for certain diseases in people who are depressed. These conditions include cancer, pneumonia, elevated stress hormone levels, osteoporosis, hypertension, elevated blood sugar, asthma, seizures, and infertility, among others. In his book, which I highly recommend, he suggests a number of lifestyle measures you can take to help deal with and/or prevent depression.

The reality is that there is an intricate mind-body connection (we are fearfully and wonderfully made!), and I firmly believe that in order to achieve optimal health, we must take care of our physical bodies (exercise, follow a good diet, get proper rest, etc.) as well as our minds, by cultivating a sense of optimism and a positive attitude. (Keep in mind that if you are dealing with clinical depression, it’s important that you seek the care of a competent physician who recognizes the role of lifestyle in the healing process.)

I could share with you many tips to help you cultivate a positive outlook on life, but you can read them for yourself in Dr. Nedley’s book, and I hope you will (even if you don’t suffer with depression). Let me just leave you with this thought: God’s Word, the Bible, is filled with promises that give us hope and joy. If you want to have a brighter outlook on life, then read the Bible, follow its principles, and grasp hold of the promises you discover there. Here’s one of my favorite promises that I hope you’ll take to heart: I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).


The Wellness Lady

Friday, November 13, 2009

Interpersonal Relationships

Over the past few weeks, we've been taking a look at the steps to health found in the acronym C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. Health. Do you remember what they are? Let's review: C is for choice, R is for rest, E is for environment, T is for Trust in God. We're down now to the I in Creation, which stands for Interpersonal Relationships. As with all the other factors, relationships also have a profound impact on our health.

According to Dr. Shelton Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University, the more friends you have, the less likely you are to get a cold. Also, if you have lots of social contacts, the duration and severity of a cold will be lessened, according to the authors of C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. Health Discovery. The authors also cite other studies that show the relationship of social contact to health and longevity. A researcher at Stanford University, Dr. David Spiegel, "found that women with breast cancer who participate in psychosocial support groups live longer than breast cancer patients who do not." Another researcher, Dr. James House, who reviewed an extensive body of literature, concluded that social isolation increases your risk of dying from all causes.

When we're faced with illness or crisis, having a good system of social support can help us through the bleakest of situations. Whether it's with friends, family, neighbors or members of our community or church, seeking healthy relationships can be healing, for us, and for those around us. Here are some simple ideas to get started: Why not offer to run an errand for a house-bound neighbor? Or surprise a sick friend with a basket of herbal tea and a mug. Get involved with community services at your church or donate time and/or goods to a local food bank. The opportunities for reaching out to others are limited only by your imagination. Make a decided effort today to strengthen your relationship with those around you and to be a blessing in others' lives. You (and those whose lives you touch) will be glad you did!

The Wellness Lady

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Trust in God

Did you know that people who have faith in God are happier than those who don't? It's true. The authors of Creation Health Discovery cite a study conducted in 560 households, which found that people who pray to God are "happier, more satisfied, and enjoy a deeper sense of well-being about the direction their lives are headed."

Here are some other findings they report:

• "A study of high school seniors revealed that students who go to church are less likely to become delinquents, drink alcohol, or use marijuana than other teens."

And from a May 2001 Readers Digest article cited by the same authors, here are a few findings by researchers at Duke University and Dartmouth Medical School:

• " Those who enjoyed religious services more than once a week enjoyed a seven-years-longer life expectancy than those who never attended."

• "Older adults who considered themselves religious functioned better and had fewer problems than those without faith."

• "Adults who attend a house of worship have lower rates of depression and anxiety."

The list could go on and on. By now, I'm sure you get the idea. Faith, belief in God, prayer, and spirituality are important factors, not only for longevity, but also for the quality of life and health that we experience every day.

There's a wonderful little book on prayer that I've had on my shelf for quite some time. Every now and then when I want to be uplifted, I pull it down and read it again. A classic, it's called The Incredible Power of Prayer by Roger Morneau, a man of amazing faith. Whether or not you're a person of faith, this book will amaze, energize, and inspire you. It's available on, or if all else fails, e-mail me at, and I'll mail you a copy.

One last thing. Faith and prayer are good things in and of themselves, but remember, their power is limited unless they are based on a foundation--the foundation of God's Word. Prayer works, not because there is some kind of magic in the words we say, but because of the power of the One who answers prayer. And we can discover that power by studying the Word of God. If you haven't already, I hope you'll begin to dig into the treasures of the Bible to find the power that can heal you, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually, as well. And if you are already a student of the Bible, I hope you'll be inspired to dig even deeper!

Before I go, I want to share a Bible text that expresses my wish for you: "I pray that you may enjoy good health, and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well" (3 John 2).

The Wellness Lady

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Move It!

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that we (in America) tend to rust out rather than wear out. How true! Seems we’ve become a nation of couch potatoes, and we’re paying a big price for our inactive lifestyles. Obesity is a major problem in the U.S., not just among adults. It’s a growing problem among kids, as well. And obesity is just one of the consequences of a lack of exercise.

But rather than harping on all the hazards of inactivity, I want to share with you some of the benefits of exercise. If you’re like me (and most other Americans) exercise probably isn’t at the top of your list of favorite things to do. But thinking about all the good things it does for my body is a real motivator for me. I hope it will be for you too.

Here’s a quick list of some of the things exercise can do for you (and there are lots more!):

• Helps with weight loss and/or weight management

• Boosts energy

• Helps prevent disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer

• Improves mood and prevents depression

• Strengthens bones and muscles

• Reduces the risk of premature death

• Lowers cholesterol

• Improves cardiovascular health

• Promotes restful sleep

• Improves cognition and memory

OK. Maybe you’re convinced you need to get more active, but some of the following excuses have kept you from getting on the move. Things like: “I don’t have time,” or “the weather’s not conducive,” or “there’s no place to exercise around here,” or “I need expensive equipment and can’t afford it,” or “I’m just too tired!” or “In order to exercise I have to join a gym and that’s not convenient.” Believe me, I know all the excuses, and I’ve used them!

The truth of the matter is, unless you have a physical or health challenge that prevents you from exercising, there really is no excuse. (Be sure to check with your doctor to get the go-ahead before starting an exercise program.) No time? A 10- or 15-minute walk is better than none at all, and done a couple or more times a day, it can boost your health tremendously.

Is it raining or too cold? The problem isn’t the weather, it’s your clothing. Get some rain gear if it’s raining, and bundle up in warm layers if the weather is too cold. On hot summer days, wait till evening or get out early in the morning before the sun comes up to take your walk.

No place to go for exercise ? Nearly every community has a park or track where walkers can get their daily exercise. Or how about grabbing your tennis shoes and walking around the local mall? If all else fails, buy a walking DVD, and pop it into your DVD player or your computer at home. You don’t need a lot of space for that. (Weight Watchers Walking Kit is a great option! Order it on Prevention Magazine also offers some great exercise DVDs.)

About that expensive equipment you think you need, it’s great if you can afford it and if you’ll actually use it, but it’s not necessary. A few weights, some exercise DVDs, and a good pair of athletic shoes are just great for starters. Joining a gym is nice, but a good walking program along with a good plan for stretching and toning along with strength training can keep you fit. Another great resource for exercise at home is Try out their exercise videos and other handy tools for weight loss, and the best part is, it’s all free!

Last but not least, if you think you’re just too tired to exercise, do it anyway. Did you know that exercise actually gives you energy? Don’t believe me? Just try it. Not only will you feel better, you’ll sleep better too.

Well, that’s it for now. It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon and I’m off to the local park to—you guessed it—take a walk. Talk to you later!


The Wellness Lady

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Location, Location, Location!

If you’ve ever been in the market for a new home, you’ve probably heard these words before. They’re marketing buzz words used by real estate agents to lure you to the most attractive places to live. This concept hits on an important point: environment does make a difference. But today I want to talk to you about, not where you live, but how you can make the place where you are right now a healthier place to be.

Did you know that your environment can affect your health, either positively or negatively? I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to that notion until I learned about the C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. Health model. Sure, I knew intuitively that our surroundings make a difference in how we feel, but I never realized just how important our surroundings are and how much we can do to manipulate our environment in order to achieve optimum health.

In the book C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. Health Discovery, Des Cummings, Jr., Ph.D., and Monica Reed, M.D., suggest some creative ways that we can use the avenues of our senses to make our environment more healthy. Here are a few of the tidbits they share:


Beginning at home, look around you and determine whether your personal space is creating a sense of peace and contentment or making you feel stressed. Is your environment cluttered or clutter-free? Does your home give you a feeling of warmth and comfort? Try adding a creative arrangement of family pictures that evoke warm memories. Open the blinds or curtains and let the sunshine in. (Sunlight in moderation is good for you. More on that later.) Here’s one I really like: Move toward simplicity. Less really is better. (I’ve been telling myself that for years! It’s doing something about it that has been the challenge for me.)


How about adding plants to your home? Plants have many benefits, including the ability to purify the air, as well as adding pleasant fragrance. Scented candles are another way to bring good scents and peace of mind to your home. And don’t forget about the kitchen. The smell of baking bread or simmering soup can also arouse good feelings and give you and sense of well-being. Even using bubble bath and scented body lotions can help you feel good and, by stimulating your sense of smell in a positive way, can lead to better health.


One of the best ways to find soothing sounds is to get out into nature, away from the noise and bustle of city life. But even if you can’t get away, there are ways to simulate these sounds through nature CDs and sound generators. If you have an iPod, check out these aps: iRelax Melodies and iSoothe Light. Recently, on a long flight across the Atlantic ocean, these aps helped to calm my nerves, energize me, and pass the time. You can probably find more with a quick search.


Cummings and Reed suggest learning to enjoy food in its natural state, just the way God made it. I think the food industry, through massive additives and adulteration, has helped to pervert our appetites and created a craving for unhealthy sugar-laden, fat-saturated, empty foods. Why not get back to nature and learn to enjoy foods as grown. With a little bit of creativity and natural herbs and seasonings, we can create some good-tasting food. Speaking of that, a friend of mine shared with me a raw lasagna dish she had created and I couldn’t believe it. I was a little hesitant at first, but it was awesome! Check out


Lots of studies have been done on the importance of touch to our physical well-being. The authors cite a study showing that “husbands who hug their wives regularly tend to live longer and have fewer health problems.” And we’ve all heard the studies showing how important touch can be on developing infants. Lack of touching can even lead to death! In addition to human touch, another way of stimulating our sense of touch is through texture. Surround yourself with feel-good objects, such as soft feathery pillows, or a cozy chair that you can plop into after a long day at the office.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Today I want to pick up where I left off in the C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. Health model that I started telling you about a couple weeks ago. We began with C, which stands for choice. I hope you’ve been conscientiously making good, healthy choices, whenever possible!

The next letter in the acronym is R, which stands for rest. Intuitively, we all know that rest is important, not only for our health, but for the way we feel and even act. You know how it is. On those days when we’re short on sleep, we often tend to be short on patience, and in extreme cases, we can even be short-tempered. But some of the most surprising bits of evidence about the importance of sleep turned up as I was doing some research a few years ago for a cover story entitled “The Rest of the Story,” that I wrote for Vibrant Life magazine.

Did you know that sleep deprivation elevates the risk of heart disease in women? Reader’s Digest published an article in 2005 citing a Harvard study of 75,000 women in which heart disease and high blood pressure were linked to a lack of sleep. Other studies indicate that a lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of stress hormones, elevated blood sugar levels, weight gain, diabetes, insulin resistance, depression, impaired sexual functioning, and proneness to injuries. And these are just a few of the hazards of sleep loss. Does that make you think twice about burning the midnight oil? It does for me!

Actually, while we’re on the subject of rest, I want to make an important distinction. There’s actually a difference between sleep and rest—although both are important for the body. Here’s how Webster defines rest: “To cease from action or motion: refrain from labor or exertion. To be free from anxiety or disturbance.” In other words, rest provides our body with the opportunity to slow down, to change our pace and take a break from the hustle and bustle of life—a chance to renew. It’s an ancient concept, as old as Creation itself. The Bible tells us that during Creation week “on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:2).

Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest (available at refers to a group of people, Seventh-day Adventists, who live in Loma Linda, California, one of the world’s four Blue Zones (the world’s healthiest places), who actually follow this principle and benefit from it. “They take a Sabbath Saturday they call the ‘sanctuary in time,’ Buettner says. “No matter how busy, no matter how stressed out they are, they'll take that 24 hours and focus on their God" (“Can 'Blue Zones' Help Turn Back the Biological Clock?” NPR story, June 8, 2008). According to Buettner, taking a weekly rest is one of the secrets of longevity.

Are you tired? Are you weary? Are you stressed out? Jesus says, “Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Now that’s an offer that’s just too good to refuse!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A "Novel" Idea

I thought I'd take a brief diversion from talking about the Creation Health model to share with you a thought-provoking statement I heard the other day on 3ABN Today Live, a Christian talk show that airs on Three Angels Broadcasting Network. Neil Nedley, M.D., author of several books on preventive health, including Proof Positive and Depression: The Way Out, as well as president of the Weimar Center for Health and Education, was one of the guests interviewed on the show. The topic was the health care crisis in America, and Dr. Nedley gave a simple, but profound solution to the problem. He talked about the great efforts of President Obama to pass the health care bill and the administration's amazing collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry and the American Medical Association to get the legislation passed. In an effort to pass the new legislation they've brought out a number of issues and suggested numerous remedies to the problem, but there's one aspect they've entirely overlooked, and that is personal responsibility. Now, there's a novel idea! In spite of all this talk about the need for better health care and the need for every American to be insured, and how medical costs are spiraling out of control, nobody's saying anything about the need for taking personal responsibility for our own health! Dr. Nedley pointed out that despite the millions of dollars being spent every year on treating heart disease, that 90 percent of all heart attacks could be prevented if we would simply follow a few simple and easy to incorporate lifestyle principles. Amazing! Or is it, really?

If you didn't see the program on 3ABN, you can get a DVD copy of it by contacting Three Angels Broadcasting Network at 618-627-4651 or by visiting their Web site at You can also find an archive of healthy recipes on their site under Resources, and I highly recommend it. Also, if you're experiencing health challenges and want to get a jumpstart on implementing those lifestyle principles I've been referring to, check out Weimar's Newstart Lifestyle Program. You can find them on the Web at or by calling 800-525-9192.

That's it for now. Look for updates weekly. And be sure to post comments from time to time. I love to get feedback and to know that somebody's actually reading this blog! Thanks, and have a healthy and prosperous week. 3John 2

"The Wellness Lady"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Did you know that you have a lot of power? Well, maybe not in terms of wealth or influence or political power, but you do have power. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the power of choice. And that power goes a long way toward giving you the ability to lead a healthy life.

There’s a good reason why choice is the first principle in the Creation Health model, because the choices we make day by day and moment by moment determine how we live and how healthy we are. And the first step in becoming healthy is simply to decide to do it.

A story in the book Creation Health Discovery tells about a young doctor who was overweight and beginning to experience health problems. Aware that heart problems ran in his family, one day he looked at his newborn daughter and thought, “I’d really like to see her grow up.” But he also realized that unless he made some lifestyle changes, he might not be around to see that happen. So right then and there, he made a choice. He decided to begin an exercise program. He stuck with it and lost 40 pounds. He had chosen to take charge of his health.

For that young doctor, living long enough to interact with his children and even grandchildren as they grow up was the motivating factor. I don’t know what or who is important to you, but I challenge you today to think about why you want to be healthy and then choose to work toward that goal. You can do it. Remember, it’s all about choice.


The Wellness Lady

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Golden Key

Imagine that you have found a golden key that unlocks a certain door. When you unlock the door and step through the threshold, you immediately begin to feel your aches and pains melt away as a refreshing feeling sweeps over your body. Sinus problems and headaches become a thing of the past and sleepless nights turn into sound, revitalizing sleep. You wake up bounding with energy that lasts throughout the day. Your blood pressure normalizes, your mind becomes clear and you are more alert, and those extra pounds begin to fall off. You’ve never felt better in your life. You wonder what took you so long to find the key that allowed you to walk through that door.

If you could purchase or obtain that golden key, how much would it be worth to you? And what wouldn’t you do to somehow get possession of it? Would you like to have that key? I have good news! You can have it. And the only cost is a change of thinking and some adjustments in your daily routine, along with a little bit of consistent effort and determination. You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m talking about making some lifestyle changes. And I have the perfect plan for you.

Remember the C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. Health acronym that I mentioned yesterday? For the next week or so, I want to take you through what I think is an ingenious plan for restoring or maintaining good health. It’s based on the concept that each of us “has the ability to create good health and healing in our lives and the lives of those around us” (Des Cummings, Creation Health Discovery, p. 7).

So what does C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. stand for? Here it is:





T—Trust in Divine Power

I—Interpersonal Relationships



There you have it. A formula for a better life, the golden key—the key to optimal health. Stay tuned. There’s more to come.


The Wellness Lady

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Knowing Isn’t Enough

At a women’s ministries convention this past weekend I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Monica Reed, CEO of Celebration Health at Florida Hospital in Orlando and author of the book The Creation Health Breakthrough. (Available at Over the next 8-10 days I want share with you some highlights from her presentation, along with a few thoughts of my own, in which she outlined a very simple but effective framework for health, based on the acronym C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. I’ll tell you more about that later.

Because of my passion for health, along with the fact that Dr. Reed is a delightful presenter, I naturally lapped up everything she had to say. But it was her opening words in her afternoon seminar that really struck a chord with me. “I’m not going to tell you anything you don’t already know,” she said. In other words, the reality is, most of us know what we should be doing to be more healthy. But the question is, Are we doing it?

That thought aligns very closely with something I heard in a seminar on health ministry coaching that I attended a couple years ago, when the presenter said something to this effect: “People have been bombarded with health information,” she told us. “But studies show that soon after going through a health education program, most of them return to their old bad habits. What they really need is someone to encourage them to make and maintain behavior changes and to point them to a power—God’s Word—that can help them to provide the context, basis, and motivation for change.”

And that’s where I come in. Perhaps you’re wondering why I started this blog and what motivates me to keep it going. My purpose isn’t just to share information with you—although I certainly plan to do a bit of that. More importantly, I recognize that we all need encouragement, someone who takes a personal interest in our health and wellbeing—a coach—someone who is willing to go the extra mile to cheer us on to success. I hope that’s what this blog will do for you. Probably the best way I can express my desire is in the following words from the Bible: “I pray that you may prosper and be in health” (3 John 2, NKJV). That’s my wish for you today!


The Wellness Lady

(By the way, if you find this blog help, please post a comment. Thanks!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Something's Wrong With This Picture

Today, as I was leaving the physical therapy center where I get my treatments, which is located in the same building as a fitness center, I passed by a young woman who was sitting outside the fitness center. She was dressed out in her exercise clothes and athletic shoes, and it appeared that she had just finished her workout. I almost did a double take, though, when I noticed that in one hand was a bottle of Vitamin Water, which she was guzzling down, and in the other hand, a cigarette that she was smoking. "There's something wrong with this picture," I said to myself.

Obviously, she was interested in her health, and probably more so than the average person, or she wouldn't have been there working out. But as I watched her puff away on that cigarette, I couldn't help but think that any good she was doing for her body by exercising, was simply cancelled out by the smoking. This is substantiated by research. For example, according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, cigarette smoking reduces a person's ability to uptake oxygen and deliver it to the muscle cells (which is one of the goals of exercise). Studies have shown that "Smokers have a reduced performance at all levels of physical training, smaller improvement with training, and less endurance than nonsmokers." Furthermore, smokers have higher resting heart rates and lower maximum heart rates than nonsmokers. Young men and women who smoke are significantly more likely to incur exercise-related injuries. And smokers heal more slowly from exercise-related injuries than non-smokers. (You can find these and more statistics on their Web site at I wonder if that young lady realized how counterproductive her smoking is to her desire to be healthy. Probably not.

Now I realize full well that the quest for health is a battle for all of us, and that we each have our own personal struggle with something, whether it's food or tobacco or some other temptation. And I have no idea where that young woman is in her struggle for victory over the addiction of cigarettes. She just might be making progress. But watching her contradictory behavior also reminded me that we are often guilty of the same kinds of senseless actions. Like ordering a salad and soup and then finishing off the meal with a rich, high-fat, calorie-laden dessert. Or being a person who is careful to eat right and get regular exercise, but at the same time is a workaholic, stressed out, and suffering from lack of sleep.

My point here is that good health comes not as a result of adding one or two good habits to our lifestyle while we continue to practice our bad habits; rather, healthy living involves a total, comprehensive, holistic approach to health--one that involves everything we do, and the lifestyle choices we make from morning to night, day in and day out. We'll talk more about that holistic lifestyle in upcoming posts.

Monday, September 7, 2009

How Healthy Do You Want to Be?

In his book entitled The Spectrum, Dean Ornish, M.D., outlines a proven lifestyle program that can help people to feel better and live longer. The program is based on solid evidence gained through scientific studies of people who were able to stop or reverse the progression of heart disease by making lifestyle changes. While most of us recognize that what we eat and how we live can affect our health, one finding of his really caught my attention. He said that: “We found a direct correlation between the amount of change in diet and lifestyle and the amount of change in these patients’ coronary disease after one year and also after five years. In other words, the more people changed, the better they got.

The whole premise of his book is based on that one principle, and when you think about it, it really makes sense. Many times when people are confronted with health challenges and lifestyle changes are recommended to them, they balk and complain about having to make those changes. They somehow view healthy living as restrictive, unpleasant, and even ascetic.

But that’s not Dr. Ornish’s approach at all. He views healthy living as a spectrum of choices. And depending on how healthy or unhealthy we are, and where we want to be, we need to make our choices accordingly. And the rewards we receive in terms of how we feel and how healthy we become are directly related to the good choices that we make. So, rather than viewing healthy living as something unpleasant that we have to do, it’s actually something that we choose to do and it's something that brings positive rewards.

So whenever the question comes to mind, “How many lifestyle changes do I really need to make?” remember to also ask this question, and your answer will be apparent: “How healthy do I want to be?”

Remember, it's all about choice. More on the subject tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It Takes Some Effort

Here's my thought for today: For the past couple of weeks I've been getting some physical therapy on my left arm, which I injured somehow. I remember the first time I ever went to physical therapy for back pain years ago. Before going for treatment, I had a totally different concept of what physical therapy actually is. I remember being assigned some exercises to do at home, and even the therapy sessions consisted of a number of exercises I had to do on my own. "You mean I have to work at this?" I asked my therapist. "Sure, if you want to get some results," she responded. Well, was that ever a shock for me! I somehow had the idea that that's what I was paying them for! Here's what I thought: I'll go in for these feel-good treatments three times a week and just lay there while they soothe my pain away. I had no idea that the largest factor in my healing would be my own consistent efforts long after the treatments were over.

When it comes to health, wellness, and weight control, I think a lot of us have similar ideas. You've seen the ads, I'm sure. They go something like this: "Lose 40 pounds while eating whatever you want--without exercising." Wouldn't that be nice? I suppose if it were that easy, none of us would have weight problems! But the reality is, nothing worth having is that easy to get. If you want results, as my therapist said, you've got to make an effort. Her statement was a reality check for me, and still serves as a reminder today that whenever I want to accomplish something, I have to make an effort to make it happen.

Wishing you a productive day!

The Wellness Lady

Monday, August 3, 2009

It Works!

Well, I'm here to tell you that stating a commitment publicly does work. Yesterday I was about to indulge in a few extra calories when I remembered that I had told everyone I was getting back on track with my commitment to live healthfully and shed some extra pounds. Even if no one had heard me say it or read my blog, just the fact that I said it encourages me to stick to my word.

I am embarrassed to say how many times in the past I've started out on the right track and then, even before the day was over, I had fallen by the wayside. But now that I'm accountable--you're holding me to it, right?--my likelihood of messing up is a lot lower. (Notice I didn't say that my chances of messing up are nil. Remember, it's a constant battle for all of us.)

I also talked a bit in yesterday's blog about having a support system. I'd like to share with you a free online community resource that I learned about a few months ago. You can access it at and it has a wealth of info for people who want to lose or maintain their weight. It's got a recipe database, a nutrition calculator, exercise videos, articles on health and fitness, and groups you can join, such as the 10,000 Steps a Day group and the Calling All Vegetarians (and Vegans) group, of which I am a member. There's a lot more, and the best part is, it's free! If you're looking for that extra boost that a support group can give, check out SparkPeople. It's great!

What are your health goals? I challenge you to start thinking about them and writing them down today. Then tell somebody else what you're planning to do. It works, believe me.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Today's the Day!

This is it! The weight is starting to creep up again and it's time to get back on track. Today I will join my local fitness center and return to faithfully living the Weight Watchers lifestyle. After all, I'm a lifetime member! There's just no excuse!

Experts say that accountability is an important factor in sticking to your weight loss goals (or any goals, for that matter). So there you have it. I've verbalized my commitment and you are going to hold me accountable for sticking with it. Right? I hope so.

Do you have a goal you want to reach? Have you somehow gotten off track or fallen off the wagon? It's not too late. If you're like me, at some point you've probably found yourself trying to lose weight or attempting to make a lifestyle change, and then you somehow got off track. Maybe you said something like, "Well, I've blown it now. Might as well just go ahead and splurge." Or perhaps you told yourself, "There's no point in even trying. I give up. It's just too hard."

If that's ever happened to you (and even if it hasn't), here are some tips for making a healthy lifestyle change and sticking with it:

1. Make a commitment and tell somebody else. Ask the person to hold you accountable.
2. Write down your goals and keep them in place where you will see them every day.
3. Establish a support system. Research shows that people who have a strong support system are more successful at reaching their goals. Joining a group such as Weight Watchers or TOPS is one way to do this.
4. Keep a log. Track your food and beverage intake and your exercise on a daily basis. It's been proven that people who do this lose more weight than those who don't.

Remember, today's the day. Don't worry about the past. Resolve to make a fresh start; set some goals and stick with them!

The Wellness Lady