Healthy Concepts

When using the scale as your directional indicator, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you’re getting a true and accurate reading. Remember, a person’s weight can fluctuate five or more pounds throughout the day, so by following these three very important but simple rules, you will have a clear-cut and accurate picture of how your true weight loss is going:

  1. Weigh yourself only one time per week.
  2. Weigh yourself on the same day every week.
  3. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

Keep in mind that weight loss comes in unpredictable spurts, so don’t get frustrated. If you have a week or two with no weight loss, it’s just your body making re-adjustments that are necessary in order for your progress to continue and be permanent.

Measuring progress without the scale

The scale can be your best friend or your worst enemy depending on what stage you’re in: either the weight is falling off and things are looking great or you’re sitting in a mini plateau where it seems like all your progress has reached its end. These are the times when alternative measures of progress will keep you focused and moving forward toward success.

Try some of these benchmarks when the scale isn’t moving:

  • Body measurements (smaller or tighter) - waist, hips, arms, butt, legs, even the way your clothes fit you.
  • Performance - more endurance during exercise, walking longer and further, exercising at a higher level for longer periods of time.
  • Health - a good check-up from your doctor, lower blood pressure, better cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar levels, etc…
  • Inner change - Analyze the way you’ve been feeling lately, a higher energy level, a better attitude and outlook, more confidence, how others respond to you, how you look at yourself and the compliments you receive.

These are all great indicators even when the scale has been letting you down!

Exercise

Coupling a healthy, flexible, and well-rounded nutrition plan with an active lifestyle is the single best way to stay lean, healthy, and fit for life. This can mean anything from spending an hour a day for four to five days a week in a gym to just grabbing the opportunity for physical activity whenever and wherever possible.

Try using the stairs more, taking a brisk walk at lunch time, using a treadmill or exercise bike while watching TV or reading a book, working in the yard, parking further away from the office, or taking the dog for a walk each night, whatever works for you. Try it! Even housework will help!

All of these seemingly small bursts of activity, if done on a regular basis, can accumulate into real results and help you reach your goal more quickly.

Spot reduction

Unfortunately, contrary to what you may have heard...it is impossible to reduce fat in a specifically targeted area of your body. Body fat is reduced in layers. So, for example, doing crunches will strengthen your mid-section but will not take the fat off your stomach. Similarly, an activity like walking or running will burn fat all over your body, not just in your legs or butt area. However, you can incorporate a sensible exercise program, along with your new healthy eating habits, to speed up your weight loss while toning your body.

Burn baby burn!

Research has proven that a pound of muscle burns 30 times more calories than a pound of fat. That’s why it is absolutely essential that we preserve our muscle mass while ridding our bodies of those undesirable fat pounds. One way to do this is to be conscious of your heart rate while exercising. The optimal heart rate for burning fat is 80% of your heart’s maximum capacity.

There is an easy way to figure out how to get the most out of your cardiovascular workout:

Here is the formula to find the perfect zone to maximize your fat burning potential:

220 - (Your Age) = (X) * .8 = Your perfect zone

Example: 220 - 35 = 185 * .8 = 148 beats per minute

Tip - If you also do some type of weight training, ALWAYS do your cardio workout afterward.

Reason - During your weight training session you burn up muscle glycogen, this leaves your body searching for an alternate source of fuel when it comes time to do your cardio. The alternate source of fuel will come directly from your fat storage, thus burning more fat at a quicker rate.

Do you have a question you’d like to see answered here in my column? Write or email me your topic and I’ll do my best to answer it in a future article.


Tony Bednarowski is co-owner/publisher of Nature’s Pathways and founder, developer and nutrition counselor for Getyourleanon.com — Good Food, Better Health! He is an International Sports Science Association (ISSA) board certified Nutrition Specialist & Sports Performance Nutrition Specialist with more than 30 years experience in the health and fitness industry as a trainer, nutrition specialist and competitive bodybuilder. For more information, visit http://www.GetYourLeanOn.com or call (920) 850-9983.

In the lazy days of summer it is fun to play outside in the sun and sleep with the windows wide open at night… unless you are suffering from bothersome hot flashes and night sweats! Don’t sweat (please excuse the pun!) – you’re in good company. It is estimated that 75 percent of menopausal women experience hot flashes. This is a common problem for many midlife women made worse by the summer heat and humidity.

A hot flash is a recurrent, transient feeling of flushing and feeling of warmth or intense heat on the upper body and face lasting on average one to five minutes, sometimes followed by chills. The cause is still a matter of speculation, according to the North American Menopause Society. Hot flash frequency usually increases during the perimenopausal years, reaches the highest occurrence during the first two years postmenopausal, and then declines over time. Most women experience hot flashes for 6 months to five years, although some have them for 10 years or longer. A small number of women experience hot flashes almost hourly and drenching sweating that disrupts their daily lives and results in sleep disturbance and subsequent depression.

So what can you do to manage these symptoms besides crank up the air conditioning? First, recognize that what you are experiencing may be due to a female hormone imbalance. If your hormone levels are out of balance or your estrogen is too low you may develop many uncomfortable symptoms. A lesser known fact is that hot flashes may happen when your estrogen level is too high as well, especially in relationship to your progesterone level. This is common during perimenopause. Feeling hot and flushed several times a day and waking up hot, sweaty or clammy are the second most frequently reported perimenopause symptoms after irregular periods. This may also happen if you have reached menopause, had your ovaries removed, recently had a baby, stopped use of birth control pills or are simply very stressed and not ovulating regularly. It is a great idea to initiate a discussion with your health care provider to talk your symptoms and the impact that they are having on your daily activities including your sleep and energy level. Note that not all hot flashes are related to changes in estrogen levels. Hyperthyroidism, excessive alcohol intake, infections such as tuberculosis and out of control diabetes can cause them too.

It is a great idea to have your hormone levels checked (visit the www.wisewomanwellnessllc.com or www.womenshealth.com web sites to learn more) to see if your hormones are out of balance. Consider use of customized, low dose, bioidentical hormones for your moderate to severe symptoms. Estrogen therapy is considered the gold standard treatment and your therapy should be individualized. Natural progesterone has been helpful to many women too as it is a precursor hormone and also because it down-regulates estrogen receptors. Become an educated consumer and learn about the many treatment options available today including hormones that are made especially for you (compounded by special pharmacies called compounding pharmacies) according to your hormone levels and severity of symptoms.

What else can make your hot flashes go away? A common first-line of defense is to take a high quality, pharmacy grade, multi-vitamin and mineral supplement daily, the type that requires more than once a day dosing. Eat three healthy, well balanced, nutrient dense meals and three snacks each day.  Vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol  - 400 I.U. – 800 I.U. daily) and Omega 3 fats such as those found in  fish oil ( 2,000 – 3,000 mg daily) are also very  beneficial.  Make healthy life choices such as exercise daily, quit smoking, limit coffee to one serving or less (sorry!) and decrease sugar and flour intake. Avoid triggers such as stress, spicy foods, hot fluids and all forms of alcohol. Yoga, meditation, slow deep breathing and other relaxation practices can help too. Dressing in layers during the day and use of a small desk fan at work to supply moving air can be surprisingly helpful. Keeping a ceiling fan turned on low in the bedroom at night works well too.

A wide variety of herbs are available today and can be quite effective for some women with mild symptoms. One to try is black cohosh (20 mg - 40 mg once or twice a day). My favorite choice is sold under the brand name Remifemin and is one of the most studied on the market. Please note that botanicals and other natural treatments take longer to work than estrogen – sometimes up to 8 weeks.  Please be careful to watch for any interactions between any prescription medications that you may be taking and any herbal preparation.  There are also several non-hormonal prescription medications that work well for some women.  Remember, hot flashes do not signal the end but a beginning to a new phase of life. You can still be a hot mama, now in more ways than one!

If you are not feeling your best please seek appropriate answers and proper guidance for management of your hormone related symptoms and individual needs.  Choose a knowledgeable provider who specializes in midlife care for women and is certified through the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) if possible. You may find a provider in your area listed online at http://www.menopause.org/referralservice.aspx or contact NAMS at 440-442-7550.


Randi Mann, WHNP-BC, CNMP, is the owner of Wise Woman Wellness LLC, an innovative wellness and menopause center recently opened at 1480 Swan Road, De Pere. Mann is a board certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and certified NAMS Menopause Practitioner, one of 14 in Wisconsin and 540 worldwide to achieve this distinction. She combines the best of conventional and integrative/complimentary medicine to help women live healthier, more abundant, joy filled lives using a blend of compassion, cutting edge science, practical guidance and humor. Please contact her at (920) 339-5252 or via the internet at http://www.wisewomanwellnessllc com.

Transitions are change processes from one state to another. Regardless of our intentions, change happens. Transformation, which may coincide with a transition, is a complete shift that happens from within resulting into something useful.

Why do your friends hire a coach for assistance? Some say, “I’m OK. I don’t need a coach.” Employing a coach doesn’t make you defective — it empowers your journey.  Transitions involve stages of events and emotions. A professionally trained coach has tools and gifts to effectively support you in your journey. Behavioral changes don’t happen overnight. Everyone progresses through change at a unique rate. Coaches assist you in identifying the completion of one phase and the beginning of the next phase.  Ultimately, the decision is yours on how to proceed, with each step having its own challenges and rewards.

Per Paul “Bear” Bryant, University of Alabama football coach: “When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: (1) admit it, (2) learn from it and (3) don’t repeat it.”  Change isn’t always the result of a mistake or a bad behavior. Recognizing your need to grow in another direction is very exciting and powerful, especially when you take action.

Mind and Body Stages of Change – based on the Stages of Change Model (SCM)

1. Pre-contemplation: Limited awareness

You haven’t acknowledged the need to change. You may get defensive when someone brings the problem to your attention, since you don’t see anything wrong. Alcoholics Anonymous calls this the “denial” phase.

2. Contemplation: Recognizing a problem exists – “what if”

Your attention is placed on identifying the problem. You evaluate the pros and cons.  You are receptive to information and reflect on the feelings and thoughts around the situation.  This is an ideal time to interview professional coaches for a free trial session.  You voice your situation out loud with an independent person allowing you to hear your own thoughts and ideas while establishing a rapport with someone who may assist you in your journey.

3. Preparedness/Determination: Readiness

You announce “something has to change.” This is when you commit to researching your options. People avoid the fear associated with making a decision. We get upset when someone makes the decision for us, yet we don’t want the responsibility associated with making the decision. Ideally, the coach is now hired to support your review. A qualified coach won’t tell you what action to take, but will motivate and assist you to think through your choices. The coach works for you – it’s your agenda.

4. Action/Willpower: Time to act and change the behavior

Now you believe in yourself and your ability to make the leap to change. This stage is typically the shortest time frame but requires the most willpower. Your coach is valuable to you as you’ll doubt yourself and want to fall back on old habits. Your coach will motivate you to take the course of action of your choice. If you stumble, your coach is trained to help pick you back up and remind you that trying something new and different is exciting and involves risks.  Ideally you continue into the next phase.

5. Maintenance: Continuing the behavior

The goal here is to maintain your objective without falling back on bad habits – don’t throw in the towel. Your coach will remind you of what you’re striving for and where your passion lies, especially when the road gets bumpy. It’s normal to regress. Regularly evaluating your behaviors with your coach against this change model is very comforting.  It takes a lot to let go of the behaviors of the past, especially if they’ve existed since childhood (ex: money patterns.)

6. Relapse: Returning to old behaviors

Discouragement happens here as you’ll have a relapse which shakes your confidence.  Don’t view yourself as a failure, work with your coach. You slipped up, oh well. You have the opportunity to decide how to take your life forward. This is one of the most critical roles for your coach. Shake it off and get back on track. If relapses are frequent, then work with your coach to determine if you have the proper goal/plan. Often what we originally envisioned and the end state are different, but for all the right reasons.  We get smarter as we grow through our journeys.

7. Transcendence: Your new life

You’ve now truly become the new you with new behaviors. Your previous behaviors no longer sustain you. To return back to your previous state would feel peculiar. You did it!  Go celebrate with your coach.

“The only constant is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” (Isaac Asimov)


Jennifer Culver is a professionally-trained holistic coach and reiki master with over 15 years experience in professional leadership, corporate and personal wellness development, mentorship, and business consulting. She is a member of the International Association of Reiki Professionals, the International Coach Federation, the International Coach Academy, Clayton College of Natural Health and Holistic Moms Network. She founded Jentle Wellness, LLC, which emphasizes finding and following one’s Path to Wellth, as defined by the individual. For more information, contact Jennifer by visiting www.jentlewellness.com, email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 920.570.1704.

When we are young we are free to express ourselves with abandon. We twirl, and kick up our heels, sing nonsense songs and rhymes; we skip and hop for no reason, draw purple dinosaurs and green cars with wings, all kinds of things. We do these things alone, with friends, with our parents, and sometimes even in public! Our performance gets praised and even encouraged. But something happens; when did it change, when was it not OK to skip down the side walk swinging clasped hands with our best friend?

Yikes. Now if you saw an adult doing those things you would think they were “on” something. We shut down the creative spirit in us either gradually or suddenly. This is a part of what makes us who we are and without it there can be an indescribable feeling that something is missing. We need creativity to increase spiritual connections to our original or authentic self. So how do we go about doing this and how can it transform us?

The transformation begins by investigating the process, so you are on your way. Here are some tips you can use to guide you along.

  • Think of things you enjoyed doing as a child. What form did your creativity take when you were young?  Do a meditation and ask to speak to the child in you. Place yourself into the role of fun, visualize the feeling, then what are you doing? Are you alone or with others? While staying in this place and feeling young and carefree, jot down at least 5 activities (do not judge them) that you enjoyed.
  • Let go of false beliefs. Everyone has been criticized about their creativity whatever form it took. Sometimes this happens so early we are not able to recall the freedom of creativity with criticism. This is a difficult one. It can be so deeply rooted that we are not consciously aware of what was said or done to form these false beliefs. For others it is right on the surface down to the exact time and place. Whichever it is, the result is the same.  Jot down some of what pops into your awareness regarding these false beliefs.
  • Be open to change. Replace false beliefs with what is true.  The conversion process is not an easy one, for some it takes years of group and individual work. To begin, though, think of the most loving person or entity and put a voice to what they would say to you. Counter the false beliefs with what this loving spirit would truly say. Read these back to yourself. This is the reality, not the false belief.
  • Let go of the outcome. It is the process of doing that gives us the joy we are seeking. It is the ego that wishes to control the outcome of what we do. So when we were young and carefree we just loved to dance and draw for the feeling it gave us. Much of the time it was not meant to be a permanent record of achievement. Engage in some temporary forms of creativity, draw in the sand, sing to a CD in your car, do a jig while you’re cooking dinner….
  • Start small and uncomplicated. As with the last point I want to begin with the expectation of process. Begin with no destination in mind. You do not have to buy $300 paint supplies or take expensive dance lessons unless this is truly where your heart leads you. There are many forms of free art in our backyard, so to speak.
  • Decide how much time you want to dedicate to the practice of creativity. Be practical for what will work for you. Avoid being too lofty with this goal, this is a trap some fall into. In stead carve out a few short sessions, maybe just 3-5 min. and build from there. Be spontaneous. Even the most revered artists need short spontaneous breaks of fun creative energy to retain their artistic talents.
  • Structured or unstructured, you need to decide what works best for you. Take a few minutes a day or several minutes, it doesn’t matter. I find a combination of these works well for me. One thing that assists me is to have a clear intention to be creative during my day.
  • Decide what moves you the most. Music, writing, dancing, drawing… Select the form you feel touches your spirit the most but mix it up occasionally, alone and with others.
  • Avoid obstacles that could get in the way of implementing the practice. Get support. Support like a playmate when we were young, will give us that added energy to move through creativity. Joining a workshop or group session with like-minded people can be very exhilarating.
  • Give yourself positive affirmations before and after you perform your creative practice, and believe in yourself. Be gentle and kind with your creative spirit. Even though it is always there you are maybe just reintroducing yourself to it. Foster it with kindness to see it grow.


Teresa Van Lanen is a Transformational Healer who conducts presentations and Workshops that help people reconnect with their creative spirit and move into more joy in their life.  For a free quiz to gauge where your creative energy lies and for more information on her workshop at the Center for Insight and Inspiration, Washington Island Bayou on Aug. 15 from 9 am to 2 pm, visit her website makingartoflife.com.

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