The Path to Healing: A 6-week series to help guide you on your path to health

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The path to healing is very personal. We each have our own journey in this life and it isn’t without pain or trauma. And at some point in our lives (or at multiple points), we get to the place where we can’t go on any longer in the state we are in. Whether it is physical, emotional or spiritual pain, we must face something within ourselves that needs attention. And our bodies are equipped to tell us we must pay attention or else the consequences can be devastating.

The body is a messenger. The state of our physical, emotional and spiritual health are sending us messages constantly. Sometimes they come in whispers and sometimes they come in shouts. At first we may hear a quiet message. It may come in the form of an emotion. Maybe we are feeling angry or sad or anxious. Or maybe the message presents itself in our physical body. We may have a headache or stomach ache. Sometimes these symptoms just come and they go. They aren’t significant or long lasting. They could be situational or circumstantial and not long lasting. But if something persists…if the “down” feeling persists and steals our joy for weeks or months. Or if the occasional headache turns into daily headaches or migraines, then we must pay attention. And thus begins our search and our path to healing.

I always believe that whenever we actively seek answers that we will find them. It may take longer than we had hoped for, but if we keep pressing on with our eyes, ears, minds and hearts open…eventually we will find the answers. Sometimes the answers bring immediate relief. Sometimes, we don’t like the answers and we fight them in our grief of letting go of something we have been holding onto. Even if it has been something that has been hurting us. And sometimes after we get our answers we feel overwhelmed by the steps ahead. This is the beginning of the healing process. And it may take time, but our bodies will tell us we are on the right path. That things are getting better. That we feel better. That it isn’t the easy path, but it is the only path to freedom. Stay on it and you will be rewarded. Go off course, and you will begin to feel that old familiar pain. This is designed to keep us on course. We must stay awake. We have to continue to pay attention to the messages our bodies are sending us.

I have come across many who are seeking answers in need of healing, in my practice and in my personal life. As I listen to the stories of physical or emotional pain or unrest, I always see how they are connected to our spirit. Something is amiss or unbalanced. It may be a job situation or a relationship or what we are eating or how we are taking care of ourselves. Something in our lives needs attention. We need to start working on making changes. And it is does require work. The first step is realizing and accepting this. Sometimes that is the most difficult step. And then the next step is beginning on our journey of healing. We are navigating into the unknown. But the answers will come as we are ready and do the work. This is the time to pay attention along the way, to keep our eyes, ears, minds and hearts open. You will get to the other side. Pain is often the catalyst to healing. To heal not only our physical and emotional pain, but also our spiritual pain. Then, when we are restored back to health, we will have the energy to live our life fully. To be able to do what we were meant to do in this life. My hope is that anyone who reads this, wherever you are in your journey, that you are reminded of this today. We were created to do great things in this life. We were created to live life abundantly. And I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, but I guarantee that it will definitely be worth it. Annnnd go!

The Hopeless, Worthless, Shameful, "I Don't Give a Sh*t Cycle"

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I always come back to this prevalent theme amongst the human race. And unfortunately, I see it in my office all too often. Mostly in my weight loss patients. The years and years of dieting, losing weight only to gain it all back and then some. It is the hopeless, worthless, shameful, I don't give a sh*t cycle. But because these patients schedule the appointment and even more importantly, because they show up...there it is... a glimmer of hope, a moment of feeling worth it, a nudging thought of actually giving a sh*t. It is their time to break the cycle. And I'm there to help them. But the honest truth is this: it is going to take some work on their part. But the honest truth is also this: that it is absolutely going to be worth it. 

Five steps to break the hopeless, worthless, shameful, I don't give a sh*t cycle:

 

  1. Start eating food to nourish and heal your body.

    Forget about eating or not eating to lose weight. Forget about calories and fat grams and intermittent fasting and "evil" carbs. Forget about your friend or sister that lost 30 pounds in 3 days by eating food out of tiny plastic containers. This is your path and yours alone. And until you realize that food can be part of your healing and that food was intended for our survival and nourishment, then you will stay in the cycle. If you want to break this cycle, work on changing your thinking about food. A great example of this type of healthy thinking is in the words of Hippocrates, known as the "Father of Medicine" from almost 3,000 years ago: "Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food". Perfectly said.

  2. Change your thinking patterns, and rewire your brain.

    The cycle goes like this: Dieting/Restricting > Overeat > Shame/Guilt > Binge/Overeat > Shame/Guilt/What's the point thinking > Weight Gain > Dieting/Restricting.  I will also refer to this cycle as the "destructive cycle" or "unhealthy cycle" throughout this article. The first step to changing the pattern here is to STOP dieting and restricting. This in turn, will naturally result in less of a physiological desire/impulsivity to overeat. However, because this has been a powerful piece of the unhealthy cycle, it will happen again. But this time, when it does happen, you will have to try something different. And this takes practice. You will have to practice letting go of any shame and/or guilt that you may experience after overeating. Carl Jung's quote says it how it is: "Shame is a soul-eating emotion". So instead, after overeating or eating something "not so healthy", stop for a moment and practice saying to yourself, "Okay, so I ate more than I needed" or "I ate something that probably wasn't the healthiest thing for my mind and body". Then pay attention to how you feel. You may feel great after just eating something, or you may feel tired, bloated and/or sick. Then practice saying, "I am not going to beat myself up. Instead I will use it for a lesson. And I will reset at the next meal or snack with something healthy and nourishing for my mind and body". The more you practice stopping yourself and redirecting your thought patterns, you will also start to rewire your brain. Keep practicing. Practice doesn't make perfect, but it creates change and pushes you further away from the destructive cycle. And anyways, you weren't meant to be perfect. You were meant to be human. 

  3. Practice Mindfulness.

    Practicing mindfulness is a big part of this process. If you aren't ready to sit with some uncomfortable emotions and/or don't have the energy to push through the negative thinking and practice a different type of thinking, that's okay. It doesn't mean that you can't break the cycle, but it may take longer and you may not fully get to the root of why you are in the cycle to begin with. But that doesn't mean you can't move forward in breaking the cycle. You most certainly can. But I will pretty much guarantee you that at some point you will have to start practicing some mindfulness if you don't want to continually fight the pull of the destructive cycle. Once you have started nourishing your body, and practiced letting go of the shame and guilt if you go off course, then you may have to face some uncomfortable emotions. Often, we use food to soothe our emotions. It can become a coping mechanism to handle stress in our lives, to deal with anxiety, depression, trauma, etc. It can be how we connect with our family members or friends, but maybe on an unhealthy level. It can be the shame and secrecy we feel with binge eating at night when everyone is asleep while presenting a different well-controlled persona on the outside. There are many different emotions that are underlying our patterns of eating. And when we are breaking an unhealthy cycle, these emotions will emerge and they will come full force and will have to be acknowledged and dealt with in order to break the cycle. Often, a therapist is needed to help process these emotions in a healthy way. 

  4. Bring in the troops.

    Not all things were meant to be done alone. And breaking this destructive cycle is definitely one that I would recommend having support lined up for. This may mean friends, spouses/partners, family members, coworkers, doctors, etc. who are supportive of your well being. Maybe not the friend who says, "Aww cmon, lets go get ice cream and you will feel better!" (and you know who I am talking about). You may need a dietitian, therapist, life coach, personal trainer. Whatever and whomever you need to bring into your circle during this time of great change and transformation...bring them in and line them up. Let them in on your goals and how they can help you reach your goals. Don't be afraid to ask for help. You may have never asked for help in your entire life. But now you may need to practice that as well. Asking for help. And receiving it without guilt. Remember that there is a gift in giving and receiving. Everyone benefits.

  5. Document.

    Sometimes in our lives, it is important not to forget. The good and the bad. The little things. For example, the little changes along the way you have made. They may feel insignificant, but even if you practiced changing your thought patterns one time and practiced letting go of any guilt or shame and reset at the next meal...that is something!! Even if you asked one friend to support you in reaching your goals...that is also something! Write down what you have done so that you don't forget. It's also important not to forget how good or bad you feel. The human mind is created to have short-term memory when it comes to pain (ok maybe not long ago emotional pain from childhood), but the pain of feeling sick after overeating or a horrible hangover after drinking, even childbirth! Otherwise, we wouldn't continually repeat painful experiences (okay childbirth may be in a slightly different category). So write it down when you feel good or notice good things: ie. "I ate a piece of fruit with a handful of almonds today for a snack and had a lot more energy this afternoon. I wasn't starving when I sat down for dinner and I was able to control my portions". Also, consider writing down when you felt bad but using the healthier thought patterns: ie. "I was starving on my way home from work and went through the drive thru and ordered the #6 and now my stomach hurts and I feel sluggish. I was going to go workout but now I am dragging. So I am going to drink lots of water and have a healthy snack in a few hours and put on my tennis shoes and go for a walk anyways. Lesson learned". This way you are processing both the good and the bad so that you don't forget, and you are also practicing changing thought patterns. Which ultimately leads to breaking this destructive cycle.


    So now you have the 5 steps to breaking the hopeless, worthless, shameful, I don't give a sh*t cycle. Start putting them into practice. It will take time. It will take practice. It will likely be uncomfortable, possibly painful and definitely annoying at times. And I will guarantee you, it won't be perfect. But that's one of the best things about breaking this unhealthy cycle...you are learning that it is okay to not be perfect. I like to call that being imperfectly perfect:) Annnd go!

My Story: The Path to Becoming a Dietitian

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I was born into a family that always prioritized healthy eating and exercise. Both of my parents came from families that struggled with obesity and heart disease and they were set on keeping both at bay for themselves and their children. My dad was in the Air Force and started running as a young dad as a way to manage his stress and his weight. He would drag my older brother and I along with him on short, then longer runs. I ran my first 5k race at 9 years old and came in 3rd for women (granted it was a small race in the middle of Georgia before races were popular, but still). I remember always kicking it into high gear at the end of a race passing exhausted runners and feeling my leg hairs standing on end as the adrenaline rushed through my body (remember I was 9, no shaved legs yet). I loved running and I was on top of the world when I ran. My head was clear, my body alive, and my spirit soared. In the 1980's, my dad also discovered Adele Davis's book. A nutrition guru way before her time, Adele Davis preached about whole foods, no sugar, and vitamins and supplements. All of a sudden everything we ate was sprinkled with wheat germ, sugar cereals and white breads were banned from our house, and we had 6 or 7 huge vitamins lined up on our plates every morning. 

My mom also exercised regularly. She called it "brisk walking" and I thought it was what every mom did until I began to get baffled looks at the work "brisk".  Now that I am a mother, I look back and know that it was also her time to get out of the house and have some peace away from the family responsibilities. I remember when I was in elementary school, before Adele Davis, my mom and I would split Happy Meals. She was all about portion control. Maybe even to the point of anorexia. I know my mother feared obesity, which her own mother and sister had battled, along with many of her aunts. 

When I entered high school, I started running on the cross country team. I used running just like my dad did...to manage stress and control my weight. Running in high school with my team and by myself were some of my greatest memories. I always felt like I was on top of the world when I ran. And after I was finished, I felt so calm and relaxed. It almost felt like a drug to me. And maybe in some ways it was. I had always struggled with chronic anxiety and sometimes fell into deeper depressions. Running always kept both at bay. If I was feeling stressed or upset about something, I just went for a run. By the time I came back, all was well (disclaimer: sometimes this isn't the best approach). During high school, I studied sports nutrition and learned how to feed my body so that I could perform my best. As I fine tuned my diet, my times improved drastically. This was the beginning of my interest in nutrition and dietetics. As I entered college as a freshman, the dining hall called my name and I was drawn to the bins of Frosted Flakes, white rolls, pasta, frozen yogurt and fresh baked cookies. Everything that had been forbidden at home was now available 24/7 and I could have as much as I wanted. Late night pizza orders in the dorms were a way of bonding with my girlfriends and there was A LOT of bonding going on. My weight went up 35 pounds in that first year at college. I looked in the mirror and was not happy with what I saw. But as a dietetics student, I knew what I had to do. It was just a matter of doing it. So back to the gym I went. Back to the running and portion controlling. I started going to Mrs. Greens, the campus salad bar, and started avoiding the dining hall. I refused to eat pizza at 3 in the morning. And the weight started to slowly come off. In many ways, being a dietitian has held me accountable to always eating healthy and exercising. I know that I have to represent health, and the pressure is pretty high. But I am far from perfect. I will never tell anyone that I eat perfectly. And I never expect perfection from my patients. I went through 4 pregnancies and I had my fair share of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food ice cream and pizza. I stopped running during my pregnancies which was hard to do. But I "brisk walked" (thanks Mom) before and during each one. And after I recovered from my pregnancies, I always went back to running. 

Two years ago, I went through a very difficult separation and divorce and I found myself on the other side: losing weight, unable to run and feeling undernourished. I had to use what I had learned as a dietitian to sometimes force feed myself, to give myself nourishment in order to have the strength to get through very hard days for myself and my children. And sometimes that meant making protein shakes and adding fruits and vegetables when I didn't feel like eating. And I had to continue to cook healthy meals for my children and myself when I didn't have the time or the energy. But I always knew that this is one of the things that would pull me through. If I could keep my body healthy, I would make it through. 

One amazing thing that came out of the dark days over the last two years, was my private practice. I wasn't even thinking about starting my own business. I had given up on that dream years ago as I started having children. But one day, I was out with my friends looking at office spaces for them. And before I knew it, I was signing on the dotted line for my own office. I had no idea how to move forward in building a practice. But step by step, I figured it out. As I continue to do every day as my business grows. I'm looking forward now to my second year of business. My business plan this year is different than last. Now that I have a year's worth of experiences behind me, I am learning what I need to do to move forward. I am looking forward to another year of helping others become the healthiest versions of themselves while I do the same. I push them as I push myself. I have compassion for them and their path as I do the same for myself. But for right now, I am right where I need to be. Being a mother, a dietitian, a business owner, and having amazing friends and family by my side every day. Those are the things that matter to me. My path, although it has been far from easy, has been perfect for me. And I'm looking forward to where it brings me to next. Annnd here I go.

Change

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Every time I meet a new patient in my practice, there is a great mystery in each of them I begin to try to understand...what their greatest motivators are and what their greatest barriers are...to change. 

Change isn't easy for anyone. But for some, the motivators may be a new health diagnosis that scares them to make changes. Or it may be realizing that they have no energy or that their quality of life is affected by their weight. It may be that they have come from generations of obesity and now that they have children, it's time to break the cycle. 

But it's the barriers to change that are even more challenging and take more time to uncover. Sometimes it's slowly sifting through the sand until they are discovered one by one. They can be something as simple as a bad habit. But they can also be tied to something deep inside of us. It could be that we were taught that food represents love and the more food the better. It could be that we are used to being overweight and thinking of ourselves that way. It could be a fear of failing again, or even more difficult to discover is that we are afraid to succeed. Sometimes we don't want to give up some of these things that have created us even if they are unhealthy. 

Even though I am a dietitian, much of what I do is also helping others discover and process something inside of themselves that will help them reach their wellness goals. It's a quicker journey for some and a longer one for others. But as they learn some new things about themselves, these discoveries will begin to encompass every aspect of their life. Other areas inside of them that have been closed off, will be touched and transformed.

What motivates you? What prevents you from getting to where you want to be? Sift through the sand and discover some new things about yourself. It's not always easy, but it's always worth it.

The Undernourished

Boost

I need to talk about the all too common patient I see. The undernourished. From the outside you won't see the signs. Talking to them over coffee or a drink, you could never tell. They are at the gym on a regular basis. Putting everything they have into their workout. You wouldn't ever label them as undernourished. But they are. Their calorie intake is sometimes half of what their body needs just to function. They are starving themselves of essential energy usually from carbohydrates. They are burning off calories at the gym that their body needs to circulate blood, breathe, digest, think. They skip meals, say no thank you I can't eat that. Serve food to their family but not to themselves. 

But they are starving. 

Their metabolism has slowed for survival. For the body to be able to survive, metabolic function slows. The heart beats, the lungs breathe but other functions slow to preserve life. Calories go into storage as fat. Cognitive function is not as sharp as before. Energy levels drop. Immunity is depressed. 

"You have to eat more to lose weight". Every time I say this the response is the same. "Really? Ugh". 

It's hard to nourish ourselves sometimes. To consume more. We are used to depriving ourselves to reach our goals. When in fact we must do the opposite. We must nourish ourselves. We must fill our bodies with healthy, wholesome foods. And then our bodies will in turn work the way they were meant to work. To fuel our mind, our body and our spirit so that we perform at our best. If you are undernourished, slowly starting to add more healthy foods will increase metabolism and the weight will begin to come off. Sometimes it's hard to grasp this concept of eating more to lose weight. We are used to restricting ourselves. But you have to the trust the process. You will be amazed at how you feel when you nourish yourself. Annnd go 💪🏼💜

The Forgotten

Liberation

Sixty percent of my clients are women. Many of them are mothers, caregivers, full-time working women. Successful in countless ways. But they come into my office. Defeated. Their health has suffered. Their bodies have suffered. The years, maybe even decades, of taking care of children, friends, partners, spouses, parents have taken their toll. They've forgotten one thing. Themselves. 

I have had a few younger women in their twenties and early thirties come in who are set on getting in shape. Their goals are to feel better and to do something healthy for themselves. I like to tell them how great I think it is that they are doing this for themselves now. Establishing healthy habits now that they can carry with them throughout their careers, potential motherhood, etc. Every time I say this I see them as they process the idea. Is it too much? Is it selfish of me? Maybe I should be doing more for others? But then I remind them, if you take care of yourself you are setting an example. Being healthy is contagious. You will be able to help others with more energy and for more years to come. So go on. Drop the guilt. Focus on being healthy. It's okay to care for yourself as much as you care for others. 💜💪🏼

Our Transformation

Blacksmithing

Have you heard the story about the blacksmith? He sits down to decide  what he wants to create. Whatever he makes, it is always one-of-a kind. Then he has to prepare the fire. He adds the coal, and uses the blower to breathe oxygen into the fire to bring it to the temperature he needs. Next he puts the metal into the depth of the fire. He also watches the color of the metal to tell when it is ready to be worked. Once the metal reaches the temperature he wants, he takes it out of the fire and puts it on the anvil, he lifts the hammer and starts to pound the metal to give way to the shape it’s intended to be. But a blacksmith doesn’t just bang away at the metal. It is often a very gentle and intentional strike of the hammer to create the desired effect. This process is repeated many times before the desired shape occurs. Depending on the use of the formed metal, a wax coating may be added after it is allowed to cool and then rubbed in to bring out the color of the steel and bring a soft luster to the finish. It’s a long process and it’s not easy, it takes work, but in the end the product is perfect. Just as the blacksmith had imagined his creation. 

And just like the metal that goes through the fire and is transformed into a beautiful piece of art, so are we transformed when we go through the fires in our lives. The pain, gently and sometimes not so gently, shapes us. We must learn to surrender to the difficulties that we face. To look at pain as necessary to create the change within us. 

Reflect on this today: You are right where you need to be. You are going right where you need to go. You are becoming who you were meant to become. There are great things coming your way. Just hold on. You WILL find them. 

To Snack, or Not to Snack

Healthy Spread

When we go too long between meals and snacks, our blood glucose levels can drop causing us to feel hungry, shaky, nervous, irritated or even sick. If we don't have a snack or meal soon, we start on our hunt for something to eat. Our judgement is clouded as we impulsively grab something that will increase our blood glucose levels rapidly. This would typically be a calorie-dense food high in sugar or fat or both. And these days, those foods are readily available. Think about when you were too busy for lunch at work and on the way home you went through the drive through and ordered that Super-Sized meal at a fast food restaurant or ate a sleeve of oreo cookies when you got home (okay if you haven't done this before you are the exception to the rule, but most of you reading this probably have once or twice).

Try not to go longer than 4-5 waking hours between meals and snacks. Always make sure to include some sort of protein (preferably 8 grams of protein or higher) with your snack. Adding protein will increase satiety (make you feel fuller and for longer), will stabilize your blood glucose levels and help you maintain lean body mass as you are losing weight. A combination of a small amount of healthy carbohydrate with a healthy protein and even a little fat can make the perfect snack that will help you keep your appetite and blood glucose levels in check. 

Here are some suggestions for healthy and tasty high protein snacks:

  • 1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese with added pineapple, peaches or berries

  • homemade turkey or beef meatballs with tomato sauce, celery sticks for fiber and crunch

  • Steamed edamame (optional sea salt if you do not have a health problem that requires a low sodium diet)

  • Slim chicken tacos (small tortilla with grilled chicken, leafy greens and plain yogurt or salsa)

  • Healthy egg muffin cups with sautéed vegetables

  • Tuna salad stacker - make tuna salad with celery and top 5-6 whole grain crackers with tasty tuna salad

  • Strawberry protein shake - 2 scoops whey protein powder, 1/4 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup low fat milk or almond milk and ice...blend and drink

  • Caprese salad made with cherry tomatoes, mozz balls, fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top

  • Greek yogurt (Greek is better than regular yogurt because of the higher protein content). Try Chobani Greek Yogurt100 calorie Whips. Chobani uses stevia instead of sucralose which is a healthier alternative

  • Handful of unsalted or lightly salted almonds with 2 mozz cheese sticks

  • 1-2 Tablespoons of natural peanut butter with 1 small organic apple

'Tis the Season to be Jolly

Celebrate!

Enjoy your holiday cocktails without adding extra calories and sugar.

  1. Vodka Seltzer with a lemon or lime. Using seltzer as a mixer is a great way too cut calories. Squeeze in some extra flavor with fruit.

  2. Bloody Mary. Tomato juice is 20 calories per 4 ounces. Choose low sodium instead of a mix.

  3. Moscow Mule. Try mixing a splash of ginger beer with vodka, and muddled limes. Skip the simple syrup, and save on calories.

  4. Light Cosmopolitan. Mix raspberry infused vodka with soda water, lime, and a splash of cranberry juice.

  5. Red Wine. Win-win with red wine. Packed full of heart healthy antioxidants. In moderation of course.

  6. Prosecco Spritzer. Four ounces of champagne mixed with flavored seltzer. Only 90 calories.

Adapted from Evolution Nutrition Counseling’s Evolution’s Edibles

Being Gentle With Ourselves

 Moving forward in your life. Learning from the past. Be gentle with yourself.

Moving forward in your life. Learning from the past. Be gentle with yourself.

It's time to give yourself a break. Quit being so hard on yourself. Let go of perfection. Let go of the fact that you may have failed at something. Let go of mistakes. You are human. It is inevitable. Forgive yourself if you need to. Make a list of your mistakes and light it on fire. It is behind you. Start fresh today. Only this time try being gentle with yourself. Understand that your path won't be perfect. It will be filled with road blocks and mistakes and failures. The blessing is that this is your chance to practice getting up, wiping off the dirt and the tears, and looking at the challenge straight in the face, and telling yourself that it's okay. That you are learning. That you will get through this. That you will get to the other side. Because this is your path. It may not be pretty, but it is perfectly designed just for you. Who wants a pretty path anyways? You want it to be rocky. You want the terrain to be rough. Because when you make it out to the other side, you won't ever want to go back. Sometimes, you need to throw a match down behind you. Don't worry about burning bridges. Maybe the bridge behind you needs to be engulfed in flames. How else will you be forced to look forward and face what is ahead? There is no turning back now. You have the strength. You can do this. Don't look back. You have used your past to give you the strength to do this. Now get up. Wipe off the dirt. Wipe off those tears. Hold your head up high. Look forward. You've got this! Aaaaaannnnd GO! 

Inspiration

 Sometimes we need a little inspiration. Surround yourself with people and things who are positive.

Sometimes we need a little inspiration. Surround yourself with people and things who are positive.

I love inspirational quotes. Sometimes when I am feeling defeated, I like to pull up quotes that speak to me. Inspirational sayings that push me past that defeated feeling, to remember why I am working hard toward my goals. Whether it is trying to be the best mom I can be, or being the best friend I can be, or sometimes it is even doing laundry for 4 little kids...I often need a little encouragement. I even made sure that the artwork I put around my house and office are encouraging. I want to be reminded that it is important to keep my focus on the goal. Of being my best. I also want to remind my children. I want them to grow up knowing that we get one life. That it's important that we don't take it for granted. And that they understand that everything they do is important. Every action and every deed. How they treat others. How they treat themselves. I want to remind my patients of that too. That I will give them my best. If I can do that for everyone in my life, then my hope is that they can take that with them and pass it on. It's the ripple effect. How we treat others ripples out, like small waves on the water. And even if I haven't seen with my own eyes the effect of those small waves, I still know in my heart that those waves spread far and wide, and they will keep going even after I am long gone. 

Mind. Body. Soul.

 Mind. Body. Soul. We must ensure we are taking care of all three.

Mind. Body. Soul. We must ensure we are taking care of all three.

Mind, body and spirit. The three are connected. If one is out of sync, the others fall apart. How do we align the mind, body and spirit? We must ensure we are taking care of all three. 

Your mind. Begin by asking yourself these questions: How am I taking care of my mind? Am I putting positive or negative information into my mind? How am I managing stress in my life? How are my relationships with others? Am I challenging my mind with learning new skills or gaining new knowledge? Am I avoiding or at least limiting substances (such as alcohol) that might alter my mind? 

Your body. Try to answer these questions honestly: How am I taking care of my body? Am I getting enough physical activity? Am I putting healthy food into my  body? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I having any physical symptoms that I need to address with a doctor? Am I always tired, hungry, in pain, etc?

Your spirit.How you define your spirit is very personal. For some, it may be your spiritual life, such as being a part of something greater than yourself. You may define it as God or nature or the universe. It could be speaking your truth, or following your dreams. However you define your spirit, this is just as important as the mind and body. Begin by thinking about your definition of spirit, then you can ask yourself these questions: How am I taking care of my spirit? What else can I do to take care of my spirit? Do I feel a sense of peace or do I feel frazzled and stressed most of the time? What is my purpose here in this life? These may be difficult questions to answer.

Journaling or talking to a trusted friend or therapist can help you to process your questions and answers. This is the beginning of real change. Be patient with yourself. Be completely honest with yourself. Try not to be critical of your answers. They are not anyone else's answers except yours. They will help you to make the changes you need in your life. To be the person you are meant to be. When the mind, body and spirit are in alignment, you are at your best. Your mind, body and spirit are powerful. Take care of them. And they will take care of you.