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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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April 11, 2024

Angelos Update and Green Thumb Time

If you’ve been following my blog for a few years, you may recall my weekly posts that were written comparing the size of my friend’s baby in utero

April 4, 2024

Tips to Get Past the Springtime Slump

Lately, I have this great desire to take a nap every afternoon around…well, anytime between 2 and 5. What is the deal with THAT? Can you relate? One

March 28, 2024

The Miracle of Breath and Easter

Today while I was busy breathing, doing my best to focus on my breath and not what I would blog about this week, I was flooded with a thought that sho

March 21, 2024

Celebrating the Spring Equinox

This year the spring equinox occurred on March 19 at 11:06 P.M. EDT. That was the astronomical beginning of the spring season in the Northern Hemisph

March 14, 2024

10 Muscle Building Tips for Women

Most women I talk with would like to build more muscle and lose more fat. While strength or resistance training is a key component to building muscle,

March 7, 2024

A Taste of Spring

In case you’ve been missing out on some of the most delectable oranges, this is your friendly reminder that we are in the midst of SUMO season. This

February 29, 2024

10 Healthy Snacks for Busy People

My family loves snacks. I love snacks. Who doesn’t love a good snack? I believe snacking can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle. When you c

February 21, 2024

Saving Dough and a Surprise Cake from Mr. Non-Compliant

Some say it’s expensive to eat healthy. I believe it’s even more expensive, especially in the long run, to eat unhealthy. Today I present some tip

February 14, 2024

My Best Workout Tip for Top Results

Ever wonder how to get the most out of your run or walk or strength training workouts? It’s the same way you can feel the most productive about your

February 8, 2024

Celebrating the Birth Month Without FOGO

This year’s birth month is a rare one because I get to celebrate for 29 days. Those of you who get 30, or if you’re REALLY lucky, 31 days, may not

Produce Baby is One, and a Way to Improve Your Sleep

For those of you who have been following my blog for the last year and a half, you may recall my weekly posts about the size of my friend’s baby in utero compared to various fruits and vegetables.

Baby Angelos celebrated his first birthday, and I thought it would be fun to share his latest stats. 

Yes, it has been a year already.

At 30 pounds, he’s especially fond of his dad’s chicken noodle soup, grilled and rotisserie chicken, steamed veggies, strawberries, mango, and apple sauce. His favorite fruit is the Sumo orange, and he can knock down over half of one for a snack.

I must say, he’s off to a great start with his eating habits.

His vocabulary consists of mama, dada, duh (that’s Angelos for dog), banana.

He keeps his parents busy and highly entertained.

My dad once grew a pumpkin about the size of Angelos. He’s come a long way since I first wrote about him at week #17 when he was as big as a turnip. 

Happy Birthday, and birth month, to Angelos!

The Sleep Secret of Major League Baseball Players

I read an article recently about a top sleep doctor, Dr. Chris Winter, who is also an adviser to the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Minnesota Twins.

He’d recommended wearing a sleep mask to a friend who works for the Twins. A couple players tried it, loved it, and now everyone wants to wear one.

“Most people who really get into a sleep mask, or who can really black out their room, will tell you their sleep’s a lot better,” says Dr. Winter.

By eliminating ALL light, even light from those tiny bathroom night lights or a red light on a smoke detector, your brain ramps up its production of melatonin.

This is a hormone that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Light signals your brain to stop making melatonin, so that you wake up and feel alert.

 For best results when using a sleep mask, turn off all electronic devices and bright lights about 30 minutes before bedtime, so that you can ease into your sleep mask darkness.

They aren’t for everyone since they can feel cumbersome on your face. I’ve tried it a couple nights, and I’m still getting used to it.

Since I have a senior citizen dog who often wakes up during the night, I’m not sure if it helps me sleep better, since I still hear the dog. I do know that with the mask, it is very dark. Maybe I need ear plugs too…

Sleep is critical for good health and maintaining proper weight, so you may like to give the sleep mask a try. Let me know how it works for you.

Sweet dreams,   
Health Coach Carol

“Sparkle and shine, it’s first birthday party time.” 

Increase Productivity and Minimize Stress Eating

In last week’s blog post, I addressed ways to combat stress eating.

One idea I had mentioned, is to be prepared with other things you can do instead of turning to food for comfort. I suggested making a list of activities that take anywhere from 1 to 15 minutes.

I received a text message from a dear friend, with photos, of her action plan. I love it!

She took colored sticks and wrote an activity on each one. They all live in a jar that is highly visible. 

When she thinks she hears a snack calling, and it’s not mealtime or she’s not hungry, she dips her hand into the activity jar and pulls out a wooden stick.

This sets her in motion that takes her thoughts away from diving into the refrigerator, at least for a while.

Many times, that’s all we need. We get involved in something else and get our mind off the food.

I took her idea and decided to use it to help improve my productivity level as well as curb any procrastination snacking.

There are days when I can get caught up being busy, yet don’t accomplish as much as I’d hoped.

I took index cards and cut them into strips. Each strip has a task/activity written on it. I put them in a brass mortar—as in a mortar and pestle.

Her colored sticks are more fun. I had an excess of index cards.

At any rate, we’ll see how it goes. It’s a creative way to implement a new habit.

Got a tip that I can share? Send me an email and let me know what works for you. 

 

What’s Growing in Your Blender?

This is a friendly reminder to take your BlendJet or Nutribullet (or whatever blender you use) apart and clean it thoroughly.

Quick daily cleanings by running it filled with sudsy water are usually sufficient. However, it’s a good idea to periodically take the gaskets off and clean underneath, since food can get stuck and turn ugly.

Maybe that can be one of the activities for your idea jar. 

Wishing you a delightful week!

Much love,
Health Coach Carol

“We overeat, not because we enjoy food too much – it is because we don’t enjoy it enough.” –Charles Eisenstein

Living Abundantly and Tips for Stress Eating

“What you stay focused on will grow.”—Roy T. Bennett

 Today, I’m living with an intention of abundance.

Considering that what I stay focused on will grow, focusing on abundance, will bring about more…

…of everything!

This feeling leads to gratitude, which leads to generosity. This in turn leads me down the path of HOPE.

Know anybody who could use some hope?   

As I write this, I think that this could work in reverse, or even in one big cycle that keeps repeating. Hope…generosity…gratitude…abundance.

At any rate, having an intention for your day that is positive will bring about good things for you and all those around you.

Abundant living.

How many times have you cleaned out a drawer of clothes, only to discover a favorite item that got stashed beneath other clothes?

Or as you look in your freezer for something to make for dinner, you discover something else that is a fun surprise, like a box of your favorite cookies? (That is, if they made it to the freezer.)

Where in your life today would you like to feel abundance?

Focusing on all that we have helps us see that we have much to be grateful for.

Stress Eating

While the numbers vary, stress eating is a problem for lots of people. Some do it on a regular basis, and others have an occasional bout with it.

Whatever the case may be, here is a link to an article I wrote recently on ways to manage stress eating.

Tips to Help Manage Stress Eating

In addition to the article, here are some tips to try before you attack that package of gingerbread men or bag of chips.

 

(The following section first appeared in the January 19, 2022 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.)

Preparing for the next thing

Before you stress eat, pause, and try one or two other activities first. Each activity can take anywhere from about 1 to 15 minutes. Choose things that you enjoy and believe that you’ll actually do. What works to keep you away from your pantry or fridge one day may not work on another, depending on the stressor, your mood, the day. Be open to experimentation and be flexible. Here are a few ideas to get you started so that you can come up with your own list. Once you create your list, keep it handy for those stress emergencies. 

  • Read a few pages of an engaging book
  • Phone a friend
  • Close your eyes, sit quietly, and breathe
  • Play with your pet
  • Go outside for some fresh air
  • Do some stretches or push-ups
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Write a brief note to someone who would love to hear from you
  • Journal about what’s driving you to eat or about your happy place
  • Sort through mail
  • Vacuum a room or toss in a load of laundry
  • Drink a glass of water

Wishing you an abundance of love,
Health Coach Carol

“Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature.”– Steve Maraboli  

Tips to Help Manage Stress Eating

(The following article first appeared in the January 19, 2022 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times.)

Stress. Everyone has it to some degree. When it takes over your life, eating habits may be turned upside down. Some people lose their appetite and go for long periods of time without noticing hunger. Others eat to distract themselves. Neither is ideal. If you happen to be the type that turns to food for comfort, these tips will hopefully help you the next time you find yourself eating to soothe, rather than because you’re physically hungry. 

Stress causes the body to produce the hormone cortisol. We need cortisol to help regulate metabolism, the inflammatory response, immune function, memory, and more. In the days when we had to seek food in the wild and fight off danger, cortisol was beneficial in helping the body store up necessary fuel in times of scarcity. Too much or too little causes problems. When cortisol levels are elevated, as can occur with chronic stress, metabolism slows, sleep may be disrupted, and blood sugar levels are not well managed. All of these can lead to unwanted weight gain.

In stressful or emotional times, eating is a feel-good activity that provides temporary relief to a problem. Unfortunately, the food never solves the problem and often produces feelings of guilt and helplessness. This leads to more eating, and so goes the vicious cycle.

Tip #1: Give yourself permission to overeat

While I refer to these as “tips,” they are actually experiments for you to try so that you can discover what works best for you. When you allow yourself to eat the entire bag of chips and not feel bad about it, you may find that you don’t need more than a handful. Here’s the catch: take note of how you were feeling and what happened prior to you having a strong desire to go to your chosen comfort food. Noticing what triggers you is the first step to learning about your behavior. It may take some time for you to determine what the underlying cause is, and there may be several. However, sometimes simply naming the problem can lead to stopping the cycle. Once you determine the trigger, figure out what you can do about it.

Tip #2: Be prepared for the next thing

If you have a history of stress eating, odds are good that it will happen again. The trigger may be different, or not, and you’ll find comfort in the depths of a cookie jar. That may still happen; however, the idea is to have a list with some things you can choose to do before you head for the cookies. These things can take anywhere from one to fifteen minutes and help fill a void that you use food to fill. When you discover what else helps bring you comfort in times of stress, you may find that you eat fewer cookies.

 Tip #3: Keep more nutritional stress foods handy

Even though cortisol tends to increase cravings for fat, sugar and salt, you could try some other food options first. The key is having them ready in case of a stress eating attack. If you’re a fan of crunchy and fatty snacks, try celery stalks with peanut (or your favorite nut) butter; instead of ice cream, try Greek yogurt with granola or nuts; chocolate fans could eat dark chocolate with a higher cocoa content and less sugar. By trying other options, even if you end up heading for the chips, ice cream, or M&M’s, you may be full enough that you’ll eat less. It’s about better, not perfect. 

Tip #4: Eat nourishing foods throughout the day

When you feed your body the nutrients it needs during the day, you’re more likely to keep your blood sugar and emotions in check, and you’re less likely to hit bottom. Exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep are also helpful for handling stress.

Tip #5: Offer yourself the same compassion that you would a friend

In other words, stop beating yourself up with negative self-talk. I once heard someone say that if we talked to our friends the way we talk to ourselves, we wouldn’t have any. Stress and negativity cause the brain to release dopamine which is involved in habit creation and the addiction pathway. As a result, this feeds the continuous cycle of more stress eating and feeling bad. Self-compassion offers a way to break that cycle.

The practice of self-compassion is not a way to let yourself off the hook and ignore what’s happening. It is a way to be honest with yourself about what’s driving you to eat and being kind to yourself in spite of it. You are aware of what you’re doing without judgement; you understand that this is a common feeling with most of humanity; you are kind to yourself, the way you would be kind to your friend. By letting go of the guilt, you can minimize stress eating.

 

Preparing for the next thing

Before you stress eat, pause, and try one or two other activities first. Each activity can take anywhere from about 1 to 15 minutes. Choose things that you enjoy and believe that you’ll actually do. What works to keep you away from your pantry or fridge one day may not work on another, depending on the stressor, your mood, the day. Be open to experimentation and be flexible. Here are a few ideas to get you started so that you can come up with your own list. Once you create your list, keep it handy for those stress emergencies.

  • Read a few pages of an engaging book
  • Phone a friend
  • Close your eyes, sit quietly, and breathe
  • Play with your pet
  • Go outside for some fresh air
  • Do some stretches or push-ups
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Write a brief note to someone who would love to hear from you
  • Journal about what’s driving you to eat or about your happy place
  • Sort through mail
  • Vacuum a room or toss in a load of laundry
  • Drink a glass of water