Take Care of Yourself This Holiday Season

The holidays are such a joyful time of year.  The season is filled with festive parties, decorated malls and coffee shops brimming with the scent of pumpkin spice.  Make a plan now to prioritize self-care and stay focused on all you have to be grateful for during this season. By planning ahead and staying focused you can avoid the overwhelm that many of us feel during this busy time of the year.

Don’t wait until the last minute.  Plan ahead for the expenses of the season.  Writing down your financial goals for the season will help you avoid overspending.  Keep track of your spending regarding things such as decorations, gifts, travel and meals.

Eat well to feel good.  Stay focused on eating whole, natural foods.  Enjoy the holiday festivities but always fill your plate with vegetables first and enjoy your favorite foods – just in smaller portions.

Make a list. The holiday season is a wonderful time to enjoy gatherings with family and friends.  Have a planner or appointment book to organize all of your to-do’s and events to keep you on track and on time.  As your appointment book fills up you will have to choose what events and tasks are most important to you.  Sometimes having to say ‘no’ is an important part of self-care.

Holiday Self-Care Checklist:

  • Take a walk in nature
  • Incorporate relaxing essential oils
  • Get quality sleep
  • Have a home spa day
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Declutter an area in your home
  • Be grateful & practice positive thinking
  • Plan something fun for yourself
  • Get connected with friends & family
  • Lighten your spirit with laughter
  • Watch your favorite movie
  • Do yoga or stretch at night
  • Enjoy a relaxing cup of tea
  • Listen to music
  • Stick with your exercise plan
  • Indulge in moderation
  • Practice Deep Breathing

 

-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

5 Keys to Boost Your Weight Loss Efforts

Would you like to see your health and weight loss goals realized? The secret to creating your ideal future starts with your daily routine.  Today you can start making little changes in your life which will lead to bigger improvements over time as you remain consistent.  Start on your path to wellness today, become a person of discipline and see your dreams come true.

Create Habits for Success  

Determine a crystal-clear goal and focus on the result that you really want.   Consistently practice behaviors that will help you achieve your goal. Always choose discipline over mood.  Do not let your feelings decide. We may never ‘feel’ like being a person of discipline. It is hard to push forward when we rely only on willpower.  Consistent habits will take the load off willpower. Start today to change the bad habits that have resulted in an unhealthy life. Be excited and believe that you can turn your dreams into reality with your new healthy habits.

Give Yourself a Pep-Talk

The words that you speak are proclaiming your future. Consistently make positive declarations about yourself and your future. If you continually say things such as, “I hate exercise”, or “I just have a slow metabolism”, you will have a sluggish body and lack the motivation to seek positive change. Start saying positive affirmations about yourself and your goals. What you repeatedly hear you will eventually believe. Start to declare such things as: “I am a highly disciplined goal setter,” “I love exercise, burning calories feels great,” and “I choose health and vitality, discipline rewards me”.

Become Health Conscious

Become mindful in your daily choices. Focus on the nutrient density of your food. Choose nutrient-rich whole, natural foods and include healthy fat, protein and fiber at each meal and snack.  You should start your day with a balanced breakfast but if the choice is to have a doughnut or nothing, wait until you can include a more nutritious option.  Exercise does have its rewards. If you become stronger you will add lean muscle tissue.  The more muscle you have the more calories you will burn per day. Your body will also be more energized, firmed and toned.

Change Your Pattern of Eating

Intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity as a way of losing weight and feeling healthier.  There are different versions of intermittent fasting, but one approach is time-restricted eating. In one version you limit eating to an 8-hour window. An example of an 8-hour eating window would be between         10 a.m. and 6 p.m.  During that time, you can eat what you want with no calorie restrictions; however, you may want to eat in moderation.  Intermittent fasting can boost your metabolic rate and reduce the amount of calories you consume in a day. During the 16-hour fasting window you can have plenty of water. You can also have coffee or tea (no calories or artificial sweeteners during the fasting window.) Be sure to consult with your own healthcare practitioner before embarking on any change to your diet plan.

Identify Obstacles to Your Goal

Write down all the triggers that will take you from your health and weight loss goals.  Come up with a plan to overcome those blocks or temptations with an “IF-THEN” list. Here are some examples: IF I don’t have time to exercise after work, THEN I will get up 20 minutes early three times per week. IF I eat when I feel stress, THEN I will call a friend or take a walk. To avoid emotional eating, ask yourself if you are really hungry.  If you are actually bored, thirsty, sad or emotional you may need something else besides food.  To avoid food cravings, we need to assure we are consuming adequate nutrients and eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day.

Good habits are formed over time and will become a natural part of who we are. Today’s habits determine tomorrow’s version of us. You have to make a decision to start.  Choose one habit that will help you the most. An example would be to start a weekly walking/workout routine.  Track your progress and continue with this new habit until it becomes automatic. The habits you form from this day forward will ultimately determine how your future unfolds. As John Maxwell has said, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

-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 @DrGeniAbraham

How to Increase the Healing Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude refers to the quality or feeling of thankfulness and appreciation.  Being thankful can transform your life. A quote from Willie Nelson expresses this well, “When I started counting my blessings my whole life turned around.”  Many studies have shown that gratitude improves physical and psychological health, reduces stress, strengthens the immune system and improves sleep quality.  Practicing gratitude thoughts increases feelings of joy, happiness, forgiveness and compassion.

There are many ways to foster gratitude in our lives. The simple act of saying “Thank you” is very powerful. When you thank someone make sure that you experience the sense of appreciation as you speak the words. Another powerful practice and a great way to start your day is to focus on gratitude thoughts. Think of three things that you are grateful for and ponder each thought for 30 seconds. Feel the appreciation and joy of those things. You can be grateful for things you currently have or by thinking of happy memories from your past.  Even being grateful for small or simple things such as a beautiful sunrise counts. We can reap the benefits of gratitude through prayer, meditation and speaking positive, thoughtful words.

The Institute for Functional Medicine offers some tips for practicing and exploring gratitude using a gratitude journal:

  • Spend at least 15 minutes writing about the things for which you are grateful. You may find it easier to write at night so you can include events or observations from the day.
  • Set an alarm on your watch, calendar, or smart phone to help remind you to write in your journal once or twice per week. Try to integrate journaling into your routine, but also write down joyful experiences as they happen so that you don’t forget them.
  • Begin your journey by writing about the basic material things about which you are grateful—such as having a home, a warm bed, food, etc. Then, try to shift the focus to the people, places, experiences, and situations that bring you joy and happiness.
  • Avoid repeating the same entries. This will make journaling a challenge as time passes, but challenging yourself in this way will allow your awareness and sense of gratitude to flourish.
  • Instead of tallying up all of the good people and things in your life, reflect deeply on how these people and things bring you joy, and what your life would be like without them.
  • Try to find something to appreciate in the people and things you don’t like. Focusing only on the goodness will help shift your perceptions and bring you more happiness.
  • Don’t forget to be grateful for yourself and your abilities. Appreciate all that your body and mind can do— whether it’s walking, talking, reading, dancing, swimming, or scaling a mountain.
  • Get creative! Gratitude journals don’t have to be full of lists and words. Fill yours up with keepsakes of your favorite moments—concert ticket stubs, restaurant menus, photos, etc.—or other things like drawings and collages that allow you to express your joy.

“Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” —Hausa Proverb

-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

Easy Exercises to Help Improve Your Memory

A healthy lifestyle can support your brain health. You don’t have to succumb to memory lapses, brain fog or lack of focus.  Our brain’s hippocampus, the memory center, regenerates throughout our lifetime provided we give it the right tools.  The foods we eat (and the foods we avoid) play an important role in our memory.  Some of the healthy foods to include are colorful vegetables and healthy fats, along with avoiding sugar and processed carbohydrates.  Proper sleep allows our brain to process our memories and regular exercise improves hormone production and blood flow to our brain.  Practicing mindfulness (the opposite of multitasking) reduces stress and allows our brain to focus. If you find yourself trying to complete several tasks at once, mindfully bring your attention back to the task at hand.

Giving your brain new experiences will keep it healthier. As physical exercise is important to the muscles in our body, mental exercise is important to keep our brain strong. We must continually challenge our brain with new, surprising information.   One way to challenge your brain is with brain games using online websites or apps. One example is a program called Brain HQ which has many different exercises designed to improve brain function.

In his book, Stones of Remembrance, Daniel Amen, MD, (a psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist), shares a list of easy exercises to help prevent memory loss and sharpen your mind:

  • Play language games like Scrabble, Boggle, and Scattergories, or work crossword puzzles and word-search puzzles.
  • Play strategy games like chess, backgammon, dominoes, bridge, or mahjong.
  • Play math games like Sudoku or KenKen.
  • Memorize poetry, Scripture passages, and famous historical dates.
  • Set aside fifteen minutes in your day to learn something new.
  • Take a class (a foreign language, cooking, or an art course, for example.) Challenge your brain to learn new things.
  • Limit your screen time. Unless you are watching something educational, TV is usually a “no-brain” activity. In fact, studies show that adults who watch two or more hours of TV a day have a significantly higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those who don’t.
  • Try using your non-dominant hand to write, eat or brush your teeth.
  • Expose your brain to new experiences, scents, sights, and people by traveling somewhere you’ve never been before.
  • Hang around with smart, interesting people who challenge your ideas and way of thinking.
  • Listen to classical music, which research suggests can actually lower your blood pressure and improve your memory and cognitive function.

 

– Diane Duvall is a Life Coach and Certified Health Coach for the Lifestyle Medicine Practice of Dr. Geni Abraham, Board Certified Internal Medicine, Board Certified Lifestyle Medicine, Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner.  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 on Facebook

Three Simple Ways to Jump Start Your “New You” Resolution Today

“I’ll start tomorrow” is a popular phrase for so many of us when we know we need to make a positive change.  It seems easier to let procrastination have its way rather than face that dreaded discipline that is required for change.  But does tomorrow ever come?  It is always easier to delay change until… after the holidays, after this project at work is finished, or after the kids go back to school.  There are many reasons that we put off making the changes we know would benefit our lives.

A fear of failure: Although there is no chance of failure if we never try anything new, our greatest lessons and wisdom comes from overcoming our mistakes. We all fall. When we “fall off the wagon” or “miss the mark” we must dust off our knees and climb back on board.   

Perfectionism: This causes us to put off making a change until we believe we can do it perfectly. So often it is easier to do nothing than to think we won’t be able to do as well as we would like.  It is not important to achieve perfection.  The more steps we take that are positive, the more our health is improved.

But we can overcome the procrastination trap.  Start today, with the three steps listed below, to find your inner focus and motivation to jump start your “new you” resolution.

One Step at a Time

Break your goals down into simple steps you can start to implement today.  Even implementing small changes can transform your life.  If you start small, you will be more likely to take immediate action.  Each small “win” will move you forward with confidence.   If your overall goal is to lose weight, have more energy and improve your health, for instance, it can be daunting to think of incorporating all of the lifestyle changes required to meet your goal. So pick one simple change that you can do right away.  Make the change measurable, specific, and attainable. Perhaps you could pick up a new cook book and practice some new healthy recipes. Or you could make a plan to pick one day a week to cut up a variety of colorful vegetables.  Have them in your refrigerator, ready to go, promising yourself to eat them by the end of the week. Think of colorful stir-fries, smoothies and beautiful salads.  And with the added motivation you will have from incorporating this one new habit, you will be ready to focus on your next step.

Focus on an Inspirational Vision

Without a clear vision or focus we will drift through our days, living in default-mode, expending all of our energy in the here and now. If you are going to change an area of your life you need to get a clear and compelling vision for what you want to accomplish. A vision is like a goal but more vivid because you can clearly see it.  A vision is a picture in the mind that you focus on. Your energy will go toward where your focus is.  So don’t focus on what you want to get rid of or you will always have it. Focus on what you desire.  Create your vision, concentrate on that target, and you will automatically gravitate to what you desire.  If your goal is to lose weight and be healthy, envision yourself in the best physical shape of your life.  Let your thoughts settle and simply dream about looking and feeling your absolute best.  Hold that image of yourself… see the skin tone, the shape and every facet of your body.  See yourself in that outfit or suit that makes you feel like a million bucks.  See yourself doing what you love, and feeling fit and fabulous.  See your vision clearly and never let it fade.  Be in tune with this vision of yourself and your life… how happy you are, how active you are, how energized you are, how fantastic you look and feel.  Your mind is your GPS system and with this vision your mind and body will work in sync to make your vision a reality.

Keep Yourself Motivated

The best motivator is to have a genuine reason to change.  Tap into the higher wisdom within yourself by always remembering why… know why you want to change and move forward, so the daily distractions and short-term desires will not overshadow your long-term goals.  Is your quality of life diminished by lack of energy, excess weight, stress, depression, or declining health? When your “why” is strong enough you can change that voice in your head that says, “Oh, forget it, it’s not going to happen.” That voice that says, “Don’t start now, you’re getting ready to go on that cruise.”  Or, “Don’t get out of your warm, cozy bed one-half hour early to exercise!”  When your vision is a healthy mind and body filled with energy and vitality – making good choices is not a sacrifice but an inspiration.  Get clear about what’s most important to you today.  Knowing your why is the best place to start to train a new powerful voice within yourself that will inspire you on to your “new you” resolution.

Think of someone that can be there for you to cheer you on and hold you accountable to follow through with your goals.  It can be a family member, friend, co-worker, or a health coach.  It’s much easier to succeed when you have someone believing in you even when you feel tempted to falter from your path.

Start today to unlock your highest potential and live the life you dream of living.

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-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