5 Tools to Transform Your Life Through Goal Setting

How do you achieve the life of your dreams? The first step is to create a vision that will guide you on your path to what you desire. Without a clear vision we can lose our focus and allow circumstances to distract us from our course. It is very important to create goals and design action plans to achieve those goals. If goals are done properly and specifically they can transform your life. It is important to lay out goals for every area of your life: personal, emotional, spiritual, physical/health, financial.
If your goal is to lose 40 pounds, for example, you would include action plans such as going to the gym three days per week. What is the vision that will inspire you to continue the action steps necessary to achieve this goal? Perhaps it is seeing yourself feeling vibrant in a body you love and being proud of your accomplishments. You now see yourself feeling emotionally powerful, having better relationships, filled with more energy and exuding confidence.
Setting goals is a fundamental key to all lifelong success plans. Use these five tools to help you reach your goals.

Design Your Goal
Determine a crystal-clear goal and focus on the result that you really want. Without goals our energy is scattered, and we will be less effective. You must write down your goals. Just the action of writing something down sets the wheels in motion. It makes ideas more concrete and will hold you accountable for working toward your goals. Use positive language and make sure your goals align with your vision. We often get caught up in what we think we should be doing instead of going after what we are truly passionate about. It is helpful to set goals that are SMART. Specific: Set a desired outcome as explicitly as possible. Measurable: identify the ways in which you will track your progress. Action-oriented: outline the specific steps that will enable you to complete the goal. Realistic: Create a goal that you are willing and able to accomplish. Timely: Set a deadline or time for achieving your goal to help keep you motivated.

Create Goals from a Place of Gratitude
Our state of mind is very important in setting and achieving goals. When we come from a place of scarcity, lack or disappointment we will hinder our progress toward our desired goal. We need to line up with the feelings of abundance and gratitude to be in alignment with those things we truly desire. Take a few deep breaths and spend at least ten minutes writing down or thoughtfully pondering those things for which you are most grateful. Focus on those things that bring you joy until you fill up with that feeling of appreciation and gratitude. This is the energy that will break through any resistance to the creation and achievement of our goals.

Focus on What You Desire
Whatever we focus on consistently we will experience in our life. Your brain is a supercomputer and your self-talk runs the program. If you tell yourself that you can never lose weight, you may be self-sabotaging your weight loss efforts without even realizing it. Don’t limit your future based on past experiences. Focus instead on how you love being active, energetic and fit, and your brain will supply the means to get you there. Think of the kind of person you want to be in the future. For example, if you are trying to quit smoking, don’t just focus on the will power required to resist cigarettes. Focus on becoming a non-smoker and the freedom that comes with that. How your immune system will be stronger, your skin will look healthier, and your breathing and exercising will become easier. Think in terms of end results with a clear vision of what you desire. Maintain a laser focus on your goals. Wake up and go to sleep focusing on your goals. Get in that state of certainty – how will you feel when you achieve your goal?

Celebrate Small Wins
Big goals are great, and they inspire us to keep going and keep growing. But our big goals are not going to happen overnight. A goal may be too big to swallow in one bite and will need to be broken down into yearly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals and daily goals to get us there. We need to focus on the small and significant steps we take along the path to the big goal. By celebrating the small wins, we will stay motivated and have the strength to stay on our path. New Year’s Resolutions often fail because we are trying to accomplish everything all at once. Whether we have an intention to quit something such as smoking or drinking or to start something such as an exercise plan, we need to pick a date of completion and slowly build to the outcome we desire.

Visualize Your Goals as Achieved
Visualization is a powerful tool to help you reach your goals. It is the process of creating what you want through crystal clear pictures in your mind. Start to imagine what you will feel like, what your world will look like once you’ve achieved your goal. Creating a vision board can be a powerful, fun activity. Make a collage filled with pictures of your future goals. By surrounding yourself with images of the goal that you want to achieve, you make sure that you’re always keeping your goal in mind. This means that your brain will be working on how to achieve your goal on a subconscious level around the clock, and you will be inspired with ideas on how to move toward your goal.
The ultimate reward of goal setting is not necessarily the attainment of the desired outcome but who we become on our path toward our desired achievements.

 

Diane Duvall, CLC, CHHC, CPT
Diane Duvall is a Life Coach and Certified Health Coach for the Lifestyle Medicine Practice of Dr. Geni Abraham, Board Certified, American Board of Internal Medicine. Our Internal Medicine Practice is an integrated medical practice with a focus on Lifestyle Medicine to prevent chronic disease and promote health and wellness.
Dr. Geni Abraham, Medical Specialists of the Palm Beaches, Inc., 205 JFK Drive, Suite A, Atlantis FL 33462. Phone: (561) 432-8935 Visit DrGeniAbraham.com and Follow us on Facebook

Five Daily Habits for a Healthy Heart

Take care of your heart.  Your heart affects every part of your body.  Your heart does the most physical work of any muscle during your lifetime.  It beats about 100,000 times a day, and with this faithful steady beat you have the gift of life. You control your heart health through your diet, lifestyle, and managing your stress.  Your emotional and physical well-being are both important for maintaining a healthy heart.

Start today to develop some daily heart-healthy habits to protect this vital organ.  Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you take each day. What we repeatedly do and focus on forms the person that we are.  The sum of your daily habits ultimately forms the current status of your emotional and physical health.

Find 30 minutes a day to exercise. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days per week.  For people who would benefit from lowering their blood pressure or cholesterol, they recommend 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity three to four times a week.

You can break this out into 15 minute intervals twice per day. On days you can’t make the 30-minute time goal start with at least ten or fifteen minutes. Don’t let the “all or nothing” goal stop you from making health gains today. Just start walking. Every step you take you are on your way to better health. You can build up to a 30-minute brisk power walk. Find a sport, fitness class or activity that you enjoy. Consider activities such as swimming, bicycling, tennis or dancing. When you get your body moving and your blood pumping your heart will benefit. And don’t forget to include strength training twice per week. Lifting weights and using whole body movements will raise your heart rate, strengthen your muscles and help manage stress.

Enjoy colorful, wholesome foods. Choose nutrient-rich foods every day that will benefit your heart and your health. Eat a variety of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables at each meal and snack.   Choose fiber-rich whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Include lean protein and healthy oils such as olive oil and flaxseed oil. Don’t forget to include fish at least once a week and fresh herbs and spices daily.  Focus on what you should eat. Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, focus on all the healthy choices and you will be too full to eat junk food.

Make sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep.  The better night’s sleep you get the healthier your heart will be. Several recent studies show links between shortened sleep duration, defined as less than six hours of sleep, and increased risk of heart disease.  The key to making sure you have time for quality sleep is to schedule it. Keep a consistent schedule for the time that you sleep and awake each day. Make this a habit and it will become part of your daily routine. Support this schedule by creating a bedtime routine that helps you relax with hot baths, journaling, soothing music or good books.

Practice deep breathing at least 15 minutes.  Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. Increased heart rate, fast breathing and high blood pressure, which all happen when you are stressed; all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.  Your brain receives the message to calm down and relax and sends this message to your body.  Breathe long, slow and deep in a mindful-state as often as possible.  As a powerful daily practice, deep breathing will advance your health and well-being.

Cultivate gratitude and acknowledge the good things in life. Some research suggests that by cultivating gratitude we cultivate well-being.  The simple act of writing down what you are grateful for can increase well-being and gratitude.  Taking time to meditate with appreciation and praying more often has been found to help people be more grateful.  Simply ask yourself each day, “What am I grateful for?”  This question will open up a wider outlook on life and can bring awareness and appreciation to the positive aspects within you and around you. A grateful heart is a healthier heart.

If you desire better or lasting health, it all starts with better habits. When you learn to transform your habits you can transform your life.

Why is Magnesium so Important?

Magnesium is important in your daily diet because your body requires it for so many different functions. We can quickly become deficient in this important mineral if we are not consuming enough high magnesium foods. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body, including the metabolism of food. Magnesium is also required in fat synthesis, protein synthesis, and the transmission of nerve impulses. Magnesium is necessary for muscle relaxation and energy production.  In the adult body, bones contain approximately 60% of all magnesium, and most of the remainder is contained in muscles and soft tissues.

At least half of the US population is not getting enough magnesium in their daily diet and inadequate magnesium intake is associated with increased diabetes risk.  The typical American diet is low in vegetables and whole grains, resulting in reduced magnesium intake.  The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 310-320 mg/day for adult women and 400-420 mg/day for adult men.  Recent research (The Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), NHS2 and Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study), reveals that higher magnesium intake is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, particularly in diets with poor carbohydrate quality.

A deficiency of magnesium may be involved in many conditions, including:

Asthma

Cardiovascular disease

Type 2 Diabetes

Fatigue

Fibromyalgia

High blood pressure

Hypoglycemia

Insulin Resistance

Migraines

Osteoporosis

Premenstrual syndrome

Stroke

Magnesium can help you with:

Relieving constipation

Calming nerves and anxiety

Relaxing muscles

Easing insomnia

Improving insulin sensitivity

Bone health

Increasing energy

Relieving migraine headaches

Where will you find Magnesium? Green leafy vegetables, unrefined whole grains, and nuts and seeds are richest in magnesium.  Meats, yogurt and milk also contain a moderate amount. Refined foods, like carbohydrates, are poor sources of magnesium.  There are various websites including The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s, which list the nutrient content of many foods and provide comprehensive lists of foods containing magnesium arranged by nutrient content and by food name.

Should you supplement with Magnesium?  Magnesium supplements are available, but it is best to obtain any vitamin or mineral through food, because nutrients work better when synergistically combined with other nutrients. Check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

 

4 Simple Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Brain

A healthy brain is critical to an amazing life.  Brain health is central to our happiness and success in every area of our life.  To fully enjoy our days, filled with energy, vitality, focus and joy, we must nurture our mind and body.

Eat Well

Our brain requires a lot of energy to stay healthy and function properly.  When eating a nutritious diet, you will find that your focus, memory and mood will improve. To boost your brain, it is important to consume a nutrient-rich diet filled with high-fiber whole foods and colorful fruits and vegetables.  Healthy fats and lean protein are important for your brain health.  Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and walnuts.  Be sure to avoid trans fats at all costs. High levels of trans fats adversely affect brain health, and have a negative impact on mood and memory.  Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, shortening, margarine and many processed and packaged foods contain trans fats.

Water is essential for your brain as well, since about 80 percent of our brain is water.  To make sure that you are drinking enough pure water, aim for half your body weight in ounces every day.  It is important to eliminate refined sugar from your diet.  Many studies have shown that excess sugar is detrimental to brain health.  It is also important to eliminate toxins and additives (often found in processed foods) for your brain to function optimally.

Keep Moving

Research is showing that exercise is just as good for the brain as it is for the body.  Brain benefits of exercise include improving brain structure, cognition, and mood.  Regular exercise keeps blood vessels open, delivers oxygen to the brain and increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – which helps repair and protect brain cells from degeneration and induces the growth of new brain cells and neurons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, or five 30-minute workouts every week. Incorporate strength training, aerobics, and burst training (this workout includes several surges of intense activity lasting 30 to 60 seconds, each followed by a few minutes of lower-intensity exertion for recovery).  We all have 24 hours in every day.  By committing to at least one-half hour of daily exercise, you will be improving your quality of life and increasing your healthy life span.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress increases the stress hormone cortisol and affects many brain functions. Some brain-related stress symptoms that you experience may include brain fog, memory loss, anxiety, worry, and intensified emotions.  Start some daily habits to improve your mood and break the worry cycle.  How do you view life? This life is as beautiful or as stressful as you make it.  Make time to do something you love that brings you joy.  And don’t complain – it trains your brain to see the negative far too often.  Start every day with a positive intention.  Let your brain find ways to make this a great day. Make sure to focus on the positive aspects of life. Your brain can’t find solutions when it is entwined in the negative spiral of the problem.  Breathe deeply and slowly, and imagine reliving one of your happiest experiences so that you connect with that joyful emotion.  Take several long, slow, deep breaths in a mindful-state as often as possible.  As a powerful daily practice, deep breathing will enhance your health and well-being.

Make sleep a priority

Get plenty of sleep.  The brain works to consolidate memories, and repair and regenerate itself while you sleep.  Without healthy sleep, toxins and waste products build up in your brain and it doesn’t have time to cleanse itself.  This can result in brain fog, memory problems and lack of vitality and focus.  Researchers suggest that we achieve seven to eight hours of sleep a night.  Getting less than seven hours of sleep per night is associated with a greater risk of chronic diseases and depression.  Make sleep a priority, and don’t feel like you are giving up precious time by committing to seven or eight hours of shut-eye.  Your increased focus and productivity during your wake-hours will make up for this time commitment. Develop the habit of going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning.

Incorporate these healthy lifestyle habits to protect the health of your brain. Your brain health impacts everything you do, and every thought, word, action, behavior and feeling. Take care of your brain and it will take care of you.

__________________________________________________________________

-Diane Duvall, CLC, CHHC, CPT

Are you ready to start your wellness journey but are unsure of where to begin? As your health coach, I can help you create a personalized roadmap to your goals. Reach out today to see if our Lifestyle Coaching Program can help you create the foundation needed to achieve lasting health and happiness.

Diane Duvall is a Life Coach and Certified Health Coach for the Lifestyle Medicine Practice of Dr. Geni Abraham, M.D., Board Certified, American Board of Internal Medicine.  Our Internal Medicine Practice is an integrated medical practice with a focus on Lifestyle Medicine to prevent chronic disease and promote health and wellness.

Dr. Geni Abraham, M.D., Medical Specialists of the Palm Beaches, Inc., 205 JFK Drive, Suite A, Atlantis FL 33462.  Phone:  (561) 432-8935

Visit DrGeniAbraham.com and Follow us on Facebook @DrGeniAbraham

What is Integrated Medicine?

What is Integrated Medicine?  There are many definitions and concepts that surround the word Integrated Medicine. Before I looked for a definition my personal vision was an incorporation or integration of different treatment modalities to enhance the practice of allopathic “western medicine” that is science based. This is basically in line with the NIH definition as given below

As defined by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, integrative medicine “combines mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.”

This practice has evolved to incorporate lifestyle medicine, and functional medicine that has scientific basis to the practice of traditional western medicine. The focus is on the whole human being rather than piecemeal parts. There are other modalities that I might suggest such as acupuncture, chiropractic care that we do not offer here. None of these modalities replace the core foundation of practice of medicine. They do however help us to practice our medicine better. To have our patients feel better and to live healthier lives is our goal. We want to use whatever modalities that will help us achieve that.

Dr. Andrew Weil one of the pioneers of this concept has the following on his website and I don’t have anything else to add because it is complete and when I read this I realized that I have been striving to incorporate this philosophy into my practice without calling it integrative medicine

Integrative medicine is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative. The principles of integrative medicine:
 

  • A partnership between patient and practitioner in the healing process
  • Appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
  • Consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness and disease, including mind, spirit and community as well as body
  • A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically
  • Recognition that good medicine should be based in good science, be inquiry driven, and be open to new paradigms
  • Use of natural, effective, less-invasive interventions whenever possible
  • Use of the broader concepts of promotion of health and the prevention of illness as well as the treatment of disease
  • Training of practitioners to be models of health and healing, committed to the process of self-exploration and self-development.

www.dr.weil.com/health-wellness

Let us see how we would manage Diabetes through this paradigm.

From Internal Medicine perspective, we would be looking at markers to see the level of control, and tell you that you should eat right, exercise, and recommend medications as needed and required by national guidelines

Lifestyle medicine would help you incorporate nutrition exercise and promote a healthy lifestyle that enhances medication management through a coaching approach

Functional medicine would help us take a deeper dive to see what else can be done to target diabetes. For example do you have significant inflammation, is your stress so out of control the increased cortisol is promoting insulin resistance and so many other details.

At the end of the day we try to provide a personalized approach to your medical care by using all modalities that are available that can be supported by scientific evidence.

Sleep. There is a time for everything…

Hopefully, you are finding yourself feeling better on this journey towards wellness by changing the way you eat and adding exercise to your life.  I want to add another element to the mix, specifically, our rest and sleep patterns. Sleep is vital to good health.

How many of us get enough sleep?  Do we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face a new day?  Do we consider the quality of our sleep important? When do we rest our brain?  We are the only nation that does not consider sleep and rest important.

The truth is sleep is a very important activity in our daily lives.  Our bodies heal and restore itself when we sleep.  Many normal physiological activities happen when we sleep that are beneficial to us.  It is when we sleep that our minds process and find solutions to various challenges and obstacles.  Lack of sleep has many adverse effects also.  Our metabolisms become sluggish, our brains become foggy, our moods become unpredictable, and we are more prone to disease.

Why do we have so much trouble with sleep?  Our lifestyles with its busy frenzied tension-filled pace makes it difficult for us to relax enough to sleep.  We are so busy connecting to our devices we don’t give our brains a chance to slow down.  So here is a thought.  Let us all work to make good quality sleep and rest a priority in our lives.  Take a weekend and just rest.  Our minds will be better able to tackle our daily demands much better. There are so much benefits to improving our sleep.  Our bodies and our brains will work better we can be more productive and happier in our lives.

If simple measures do not help, please contact your doctor and talk to them about your restlessness.

By: Dr. Abraham

Nutrition and Your Health

For many people “diet” is a 4 letter word. It has such a negative connotation and makes us think of all the wonderful foods we are depriving ourselves of.  Dieting, makes us feel as though we are punishing ourselves and that food is not meant to be enjoyed. Our thoughts and feelings need to shift from losing weight to getting healthy. We need to change our thinking and make the whole idea about good nutrition and feeling good.

What is the purpose of food?  It is fuel for our bodies. Good nutrition, gives us energy and focus to do our daily activities without a struggle. When we provide ourselves the ingredients and nourishment it needs, our bodies and minds thrive and become less sluggish and perform at peak efficiency. Imagine a day with the perfect amount of energy and clarity. We can achieve that without “dieting”. We can eat smart, and be mindful of our health.

There are many different nutrition plans out there. The big question is what should be considered a good plan for ourselves and our families. Some are just fads that don’t have long lasting benefits and some have a lot of merit. After much research, the Mediterranean diet is evident to be the most effective in maintenance of good health. And it is apparent that while this plan is not the quickest way to lose weight, it is the one that helps us to keep it off long term the best. It is shown to reduce the incidence of diabetes, heart disease, strokes and even cancers.  It is not a quick fix, rather a long-term benefit to our good health and overall well-being.

What is a Mediterranean diet? It is not a flavor profile, it is what you eat.  Meaning the kinds of foods you are eating. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, dairy, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats, like olive oil and avocados. You can take these foods and eat American one day, Indian another and Italian another.

We have enclosed a handout that shows you how to “eat the rainbow”. We should be eating something from each category.  Each food category represents sources for nutrients broadly divided into proteins, good fats and carbohydrates. When you eat a variety of colors you get micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will promote proper functioning of our body systems.  Think of it in terms of gas in your car is macronutrients and the oil is micronutrients.  You need both for optimum working of your car. You are a human machine and unlike a car, you are irreplaceable.

The benefits of a good diet and proper hydration are shown to: increase metabolism, fill you up, aid in weight loss, flush out toxins, healthier skin, help digestion, & relieve fatigue. It is also important to refrain or limit yourself from sodas. They have no benefit to our bodies and can cause a great deal of harm. You should drink half our ideal weight in ounces of water.

In the near future, I will be providing more detailed information and facts.  For now, let us keep it simple and “eat the rainbow”. Let us all work together to eat as much as we can from these food categories. Concentrate on eating the right foods and you will be full and healthy. Create healthy habits, not restrictions.

In Health,

Dr. Geni Abraham

Please check with your doctor before starting any new weight loss and or health plan.

Exercise!

How is everyone doing on this journey we have started?  We are on a collective journey and the end result is improved health and well-being.  We started off with food and nutrition. I hope that the information has been helpful and also encouraged you to start this journey. I have been thinking about the next step and decided that exercise is the best topic to follow up the nutrition information.

For many people, like myself who did not grow up with exercise as a natural part of my lifestyle it is very hard to introduce it now and incorporate it into our daily lives.

There is always a good reason not to exercise; Life always gets in the way and scheduling it into our life is challenging.  Getting motivated is also a huge part of the battle. In our younger days, we didn’t have to make plans to be physically active, we were just busy, running around, playing. Now as adults in our increasingly automated sedentary world things have changed. Now, we MUST make the time.

Why should we exercise? 

There are many benefits to exercise. 

  • Energy, strength, stamina, balance and mental well-being, are all positively affected by exercise.  There are chemical changes that occur in our body as a result of exercise that influence our bodies in a positive way. Our bones and muscles maintain their strength and integrity.  We age gracefully and maintain our physical function much better.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.

  • Lack of exercise promotes illness, fatigue, mental cloudiness, depression and we become increasingly frail.  It becomes increasingly hard to just do the activities of daily living.  We see this in our patient population all the time.

So what is appropriate amount of exercise? 

It depends on your goals. 

If you want to just exercise and get healthy the recommendation is 150 minutes weekly.  This can take on any form; you can go walking, biking, running, play tennis, or dance or any variation of these.  You can go to the park and play with your kids.  ALL of it counts towards your physical and mental well-being. If your goal is also to lose weight and get some of your health issues in order then more exercise is helpful.  I am attaching to this letter some options and suggestions for exercise.

Finding time is the biggest challenge in this super-fast society. Instead of waiting for the ideal conditions of 30-60 minutes of uninterrupted time to go to the gym. Start now, using whatever time you have and make the most of it.  If you are taking your kids to a sports activity don’t just sit there and watch, use this time to exercise while they are on the field.  Perhaps add some strength exercises for 5 minutes as soon as you wake up. Try to take your dog for a longer walk or when the dog stops to smell the roses, you can stop and add some squats and lunges. Join a dance class or go swimming. If you are stuck at a desk all day, every day, get up and move every hour.  Stand up, stretch and take a deep breath.  You will perform better at life. Exercise is one of the BEST ways to improve the stress in our daily lives.  As we become increasingly automated in our daily lives, let us work together to maintain our strength, mobility and stability.  As always please consult your doctor prior to initiating any exercise or diet plan. We do not want you to injure yourselves! Start slow and work towards a goal. There are many APPS for our smartphones out there that can help us in our quest for healthy exercise.

 LET’S GET MOVING!  WE WILL PROPEL FORWARD TOGETHER TOWARDS OUR GOAL OF GOOD HEALTH AND WELLNESS!