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Month November 2013

Comfort Eating – Self Sabotage

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Eating for comfort

We learn it from a young age. How good it can feel to eat. And as a nutritional medicine practitioner I’m often asked, “Is it humanly possible to eat healthy nutritionally dense food when wanting to eat for pain relief?

The short answer to this is, of course it is.

When snacking because you are feeling low, bored, stressed or sad, you have the choice to turn to foods that will nurture you rather than cause added stress. It’s just knowing what to choose. Avocado dip and vegetables, or hummus and gluten free crackers, or fruit, or nuts and nut butters, or another green smoothie.  Easy.   Nutritionally these foods will feed your brain and feed your emotions. But most of you will sit there and say, sure Kath, as if those foods will make me feel good.  Where’s the chocolate, the potato chips, ice-cream, cakes and donuts.

The truth about these ‘comfort foods’ is they make you feel better for a short time by giving your brain a quick sugar fix, but ultimately they will lead to you feeling worse and craving more.  And, if you do succumb, you have the added stress of weight gain and feeling even worse and so the viscous cycle goes on.

So let’s look at the emotions of it.

As Curly often points out it’s called self-sabotage.  And it works like this.  When we begin to feel good along comes a rise in a hormone called dopamine and this rise drives us to risky behaviour.  It is a normal human response.

Risky behaviour, most of us think that is driving a car too fast, or skiing down a slope we are not prepared for, or buying something we can’t afford.  Think about what your risky behaviour is now, and make a note.  Very few people think that

risky behaviour can be associated with food choices but I would like to suggest that it is.    Most of us know what is good for us and what is not.  What we should and should not be eating.  The refined carbohydrates of chocolate, potato chips, ice-cream, cakes and donuts live amongst risky behaviour.  They will ultimately lead to disease, illness, inflammation, degradation of joints and the list can go on and on.  Yes your risky food choices will not serve you or your body well.  It’s an interesting concept.

The old adage, a moment on the lips leads to a lifetime on your hips, is exactly true. But really it should be a moment of oral entertainment, can lead to a lifetime of disease and destruction.  Wow, how dramatic is that little statement. But this is what I see every day in practice.  People over indulging because they are happy and people over indulging because they are sad.  We are what we eat, and this is only too apparent when it comes to disease processes.  Most diseases can be linked these days to lifestyle excess.

So what then should we do? How do we prevent the risky behaviour?

Well as a really good friend of mine told me one day you need to keep your eye on the PRIZE and to do that you need to employ the following steps:

(1)       Choose your PRIZE.

(2)       State why this prize is important to you.

(3)       State how this prize will make you feel when it is achieved.

Basically we all know this a form of goals setting.    So let’s do it now, set your health goals.  Set your Prize and make a list of all the challenges you are going to find along the way.

I had a little experience of this last Sunday, when we I had a family dinner to attend.  My Prize has been to do a detox before Christmas, no alcohol, except for my staff Christmas dinner and my 30th wedding anniversary.  Eat well no junk, refined carbohydrates or sugar. In the past my experience of family dinners has not always been wonderful so to help the night go better and to cope with any back-handed digs, I have always had a drink or two.  Now what to do?  As I drive closer to the event my mind flipped and flopped between having one or two drinks or drinking water.

If I had longer, I would tell you all about how my mind made up all sorts of excuses, argued the pros and cons with me, admonished me for even contemplating taking my eye off the prize and so it went.  Anyway to cut this long story short, I decided that it really was not worth the self-sabotage to have a drink.  I would ultimately regret doing it, and the detox would have been disappointing.  So I held strong to what I am doing and the feeling of empowerment and belief was wonderful.  I did not do this because I am a nutritional medicine practitioner with heaps of knowledge, I did this because I wanted to be better than I thought I could be and I wanted to keep my eye on the prize.  The risky behaviour just was not worth it.

So I ask you, what are you prepared to do so you can keep your eye on the prize and be better than you ever thought you could be.  Nutrition and good eating is not rocket science, you know what to do and what to eat, so will you do it???

One last thing, the really good news is, that the stronger you are maintaining your health goals the more your body will reward you with wonderful results, and the easier the journey gets because that is all your body will desire, healthy choices.

Eat it, Live it, Love it.

Kathy Ashton

Creative Genius

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They do their best to stamp it out of us. Those creative dreams. And with the emphasis on reading, writing and ‘rithmetic it’s no wonder we have so many left brain zombies walking around. Not able to tap in to the creative genius living within.

I was watching a TEDxTalks this morning. And this young dude Logan LaPlante spoke better than many adults ever would. All of 13 years of age. And he talked about hacking. Not hacking in the sense of causing computer chaos. But hacking in the sense of mindset. Because hacking to Logan is simply thinking outside the square. Challenging a mindset that is the status quo with an alternate way of seeing things. Any mindset.

Sensing the creative genius within, Logan’s mum helped him hack his education. Removing him from the constraints of traditional school to allow the creative genius within him to grow. Making the decision to nurture her son’s mind rather than allow it to be held captive by the do’s and don’ts of the normal classroom. Despite the pressure against her. It takes a strong mind to go against the flow, doesn’t it. And most people don’t realize the education we give our kids is predominantly left brain. An emphasis on marks and IQ rather than EQ and creative intelligence. Worship of analysis, literacy and logic at the expense of right brain creativity. It’s a bit like valuing your left hand over your right. Doesn’t make sense, does it. Because we need both. But in a world where we are taught from a young age not to question, we so often sacrifice our right brain for our left. At what cost?

Because it’s creative genius that drives the world. It’s what brought us the age of computers. And space travel. And the humble ‘post it’ note. It’s what brings us cutting edge medicine, and solar energy. And while some people think it’s science that drives discovery, it’s actually creativity. Because behind every scientific development is the creative question… what if?

And when we’re creating, happiness follows. Just watch any child at play.

There’s no doubt creativity enhances our lives.

So how can you unleash your creative genius?

And how can you help your kids to nurture theirs?


Reaching the Far Side

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I love the Far Side. And one of my favourite Gary Larson cartoons is ‘School for the Gifted’. Depicting a studious young man pushing with all his might against a door. Only problem is the sign on the door reads ‘pull’.

Pushing when you need to pull is just so counterproductive, isn’t it.

No amount of effort is going to get him what he wants.

Because no matter what we’re doing in life, our efforts need to be directed the right way, don’t they. Take business for instance. We can put so much effort into marketing but if we’re marketing to the wrong people it ain’t gonna work. And then there’s relationships. We can be putting lots of effort into loving our significant others, but if we’re speaking a different love language it’s not going to get noticed.

And the result is we feel frustrated in our efforts.

But frustration is just a sign that you haven’t tweaked it quite right yet. Remember Edison? He tweaked it thousands of times to give us an efficient electric light bulb. That’s staying power.

Unfortunately Edison is a rarity. Because many people give it all up too soon. Frustrated by missing the mark despite all the energy spent in trying to make it happen. Not realizing that a small shift in mindset, a small shift in understanding, a small shift in the way we see things may be all that is required to make our dreams the reality we long for.

Same effort. Sometimes less. Better focus

The possibilities are limitless.

What have you got to do to open that door?

Life is Sweet

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I’m always inspired by a story. And just like a picture, a good story speaks volumes. The resurrection of Darrell Lea is one such story.

But rather than bore you with the details, suffice it to say that a lack of passion, a lack of interest, a lack of good decision making rang the death knell for this great Aussie icon. And it took a Scot, with a fire in his belly to save it from certain perish. Because he could make the hard decisions the Lea family couldn’t. After all these years, staring down the barrel of a gun, they were still operating from a position of nostalgia. Stuck in the past. Ready to fold an icon rather than let go of an outdated business model. Not willing to adapt and survive.

Enter the new players.

A family man with a passion for business. And a fresh set of eyes. A penchant for fun. And the ability to make the tough decisions. Not always popular. But necessary. And testimony to his success are The profits that are now rolling in. A new business model that cuts overheads and turns losses to profit. Successfully leveraging the reach of other retailers. Working smarter not harder. While still paying homage to Harry Lea, the man who founded the empire.

The resurrection of Darrell Lea is a story worth googling. Because life is sweet if you’re willing to do what needs to be done. And above all, have fun doing it.

What decisions do you need to make to reap the profits you desire?

Where can you introduce more fun?

Eleven Proven Stress Reducing Activities

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Birds of a Feather

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Every week we get together in the office and brainstorm. Because collectively we come up with the most brilliant ideas to make what we do even better. Better customer service, better delivery, and more fun doing it. What more could we ask for? And it helps that we’re all aligned with the same values. That’s paramount isn’t it. That you’re in business with people who hold the same values you do. No point in trying to run a business when you’re all pulling in different directions. Can you imagine a rowing team doing that? You’d just go round in circles.

And the reason the team meetings work so well is because we get to bounce ideas off each other. So not only do we have an awesome team, we are aligned and pulling the same way. And the creative energy is magnified.

And it’s for this very same reason that Mary and I prioritise a significant amount of time each year with friends who also run successful businesses. Millionaires in their own right with a wealth of knowledge to share. And the time we spend together is so incredibly valuable. Because not only do we have fun together, we bounce off each other and brilliant ideas flow. Brilliant ideas that generate and support all of our businesses. And we’ve come to realize that while it looks like a holiday, it’s actually one of our most productive times. Working on the business, not in the business. Because in making the time to relax together with like-minded people, the creative spark continues to burn bright and great ideas take form.

Over the years I’ve discovered that one of the biggest mistakes people can make in business is to think they have to go it alone. Because even if you’re a sole trader, you can still choose to spend time with others in business who inspire you. With others who understand the importance of mindset. With others who know how to think laterally and creatively. With others who can see new ways to do things bigger and better. With others who have set their sights on big ideas and are taking action to make them happen.

It’s a choice isn’t it.

Birds of a feather flock together.

Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Who could you invite into your inner circle?

The Missing Link In Goal Setting . . .

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Ever wondered why the goal setting process you are using isn’t working for you? Could it be that you’ve missed one of these two crucial steps . . .

If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction; it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding.

Many of my clients, past and present, have done everything they’ve been instructed to do:-

• They set motivating goals and they know WHY it’s valuable and important for them to achieve it.
• They use the SMART format (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/Realistic and Time framed)
• They commit them to paper and write them into their goal book – they add visually stimulating images to each and maybe even vision board them.

BUT the one thing they often neglect to do is –

Make an Action Plan

An Action Plan is a list of tasks that you need to do to complete a simple project or objective.

To draw up an Action Plan, simply list the tasks that you need to complete to deliver your project or objective, in the order that you need to complete them.

To do this, first brainstorm every step you’ll need to take to follow your task to completion.

This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you’ll realise that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. This is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term.

Action Plans are useful, because they give you a framework for thinking about how you’ll complete a project efficiently. They help you finish activities in a sensible order, and they help you ensure that you don’t miss any key steps. Also, because you can see each task laid out, you can quickly decide which tasks you’ll delegate or outsource, and which tasks you may be able to ignore.

Once you’ve completed your Action Plan, keep it by you as you carry out the work, and update it with additional activities if required.

Learning from Your Action Plan

If you think you’ll be trying to achieve a similar goal again, revise your Action Plan after the work is complete, by making a note of anything that you could have done better.

For instance, perhaps you could have avoided a last-minute panic if you’d alerted a supplier in advance about the size of order you’d be placing. Or maybe you didn’t allow enough time to do certain tasks.

This way, you’ll be creating your own systemised way of achieving your desired outcome every time!

Happy goal setting!
Deb Osterio