1-219-765-8600

carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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August 18, 2022

Mr. Non-Compliant vs. Mr. Corn

It’s that time of year when my dear cousin, Roger, aka Mr. Corn, and his wife Barb, come to Indiana for a visit. They now live in Florida, where swe

August 11, 2022

An Herb that Helps Reduce Anxiety, Induce Sleep, and More

I find it fascinating when one single food, or in this case, an herb, can contribute so much to our health. Cilantro is one such herb. While it’s no

August 4, 2022

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day may inspire some baking… While preparations have begun for those going back to school, there’s still lots of su

July 28, 2022

A Summer Meal with a Kick

While many of us would like to add more vegetables to our diet, it can be challenging to come up with new ideas. Discovering main dishes that are vege

July 27, 2022

Spicy Mushroom Tacos

These vegan tacos have a kick, so if you’re not a fan of spicy foods, cut back on the cayenne or omit.  Serves 4 Ingredients 1 lb. mixed mushrooms

July 21, 2022

Are They Eggs or Just Eggs?

In an effort to help those who are allergic or choose not to eat chicken eggs, this blog’s for you. And if you love chicken eggs, biscuits and gravy

July 13, 2022

Lipstick on a Pig

For any of my new blog followers, cauliflower is one of the few vegetables that I’m not fond of.  I’ve tried it all sorts of ways. Readers have s

July 13, 2022

Super Simple Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

After rinsing the head of cauliflower, cut it into florets, remove the thick stem portions, and slice it very thin. Arrange in a single layer on a sto

July 7, 2022

Vidalia Onions, Salsa, and Qigong

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s still possible to find Vidalia onions in local stores. I’m not sure how long they will last, so now is the tim

June 30, 2022

Navigating the Holiday Weekend Deliciously

Happy almost 4th of July weekend! The celebrations are about to begin. Parades, barbecues, picnics, watermelon, fireworks, adult beverages, and probab

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

4 Tips to Help You Spring Ahead

Yes, it’s that time again, when we must spring ahead an hour to help the farmers or the chickens or someone.

We observe Daylight Saving Time, or “Summer Time,” in order to make better use of the long sunlight hours of the summer.

By “springing” clocks forward an hour in March, we move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.

 I think this could benefit the farmers. The chickens, maybe not so much. 

Daylight Saving Time (DST) was originally instituted in the United States during World War I and World War II to take advantage of longer daylight hours and save energy for the war production.

After WWII, states and communities were able to decide for themselves if they went along with DST or not, and it was very confusing. Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, which standardized the length of DST for the country.

Whether this helps the farmers or not, that hour messes with me every time.

4 Tips to Help You Adjust to Daylight Saving Time

  1. A few days before springing forward, go to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime. This gives your body extra time to make up for the lost hour.
  2. Be consistent with your other routines, such as meals, exercise, and socializing. Exposing yourself to the bright light in the morning will also help you adjust.
  3. Avoid taking long naps to get you through the transition, as this could disrupt your bedtime sleep. If you must nap, keep it to 20 minutes or less and take it early in the day.
  4. Cut the caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime and avoid alcohol late in the day. Having more than 1-2 drinks in the evening can interfere with deep sleep.

Good Sleep Hygiene Habits 

  • Slow down a few hours before bedtime.
  • Put away electronics and phones.
  • Practice going to bed and waking at about the same time each day. Sleeping in on weekends can disrupt your sleep cycle.
  • Limit fluids late in the day so that you don’t wake up for bathroom breaks.
  • Avoid large, heavy meals late in the evening. Ideally, allow 3 hours for food to digest before going to bed.

 Fun fact: Every hour of sleep before 12am is worth 2 hours after.   

Remember to spring one hour forward before you put your head on your pillow Saturday night. Technically, DST begins Sunday, March 13 at 2:00am.

The good news: Spring is almost here.

Sweet dreams,
Health Coach Carol

“Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.”– Jim Carrey