2016

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

Spring Into Healthy Eating

Spring is upon us! Asparagus is back, so are strawberries—it’s time to start thinking about how to welcome the change of the seasons with a fresh approach to cooking. Chili, soup, and stew are not as appealing when the trees are budding, as they are when the branches are bare.

Planning ahead is the key to success when it comes to eating well.  The warmer temperatures and longer days are marvelous reasons to incorporate the practice of taking 90 minutes a week to prepare food for the upcoming week. Dust off and clean up the BBQ for grilling veggies and fruit to be used later in casseroles, salads, sandwiches and salsas. (of course, you can use the broiler as well—it’s more convenient!). Think: peppers, asparagus, squash, pineapple, tomatoes, garlic, eggplant, onions, just about any of your favorite fruit or veggies… when you add one or three to a pot of quinoa or barley, throw in some white beans, fresh parsley, and sprinkle with feta cheese, you’ve got a light, healthful, and delicious spring or summer dinner.

Stay tuned for recipes and yummy eating ideas!

Healthful Behavior Change

Which statement appeals to you more: “I want to lose 30 pounds by July 31, 2010” or “I wish to feel energetic and to move comfortably in my body”?

There is a significant difference between the two statements, in addition to the obvious that one sounds tedious and the other sounds delightful. The weight loss statement is a commonly uttered “goal”, while the dreamy second statement reflects a “vision”; both statements warrant a bit of compassionate exploration.

Many of you have set a weight loss goal or another behavior change intention (“quit smoking”, “get fit”, “eat better”, “learn to relax”) that has been created with a long-term endpoint in mind. While I applaud the decision to pursue your optimal health, I also know that the challenge of an endpoint goal is that success is not achieved until the goal is met. Meaning, until the scale rewards you with the numbers you seek, your sense of accomplishment will be diminished. And how exactly would you measure “get fit” or “eat better”?

The opportunity lies is creating a health vision. As is done with the second statement, “I wish to feel energetic and to move comfortably in my body”. A health vision is a futuristic statement, captured with positive words, that will set the tone for the 3-month long-term goal(s), and the essential daily small-step goals you will write, monitor, and modify throughout the behavior change process—the very change process that will lead to the achievement of your health vision.

Working within the framework of this health vision used as an example, we will break it down into small components:

  • Feel energetic
  • Move comfortably in my body

The behavior change process begins by assessing your current choices, habits, and resources, and builds upon what is already occurring in your life. We will invite subtle, pleasant, and effective small-step daily changes that will support the attainment of your health vision.

Your vision may in fact peripherally include weight loss, but we are not going to measure weight loss! We are going to design a few new behaviors that you can add to the repertoire of choices you are familiar with. We are going to measure your success as you incorporate those new behaviors, one small choice at a time.

We know that in order to feel energetic and to enjoy moving comfortably, a routine physical activity program will be initiated and/or built upon.  For instance, what type of routine physical activity are you currently committed to? Two days a week in the gym? None? Walking the dog everyday? Moderate amounts of gardening? Golf? We will step off from your current routine, which for the sake of this example is walking the dog everyday. We’ll explore what type of physical activity interests you, what is your time allowance, whether this will be a solo activity or one that can be shared with a partner.

The 3-month long-term goals might be:

  1. Lose 10 pounds
  2. Eat 5 small meals per day, 3 days per week
  3. Walk 3 times per week for 30 minutes, without stopping

These long-terms goals are realistic and measurable—the two essential components of successful goal creation.

Now we will write daily small-step goals that will be lead to the achievement of the 3-month goals. These daily goals will be pleasant and subtle, as well as measurable and realistic. A tracking tool will be utilized to assess daily success; if a barrier presented itself and success was not achieved, we will explore that barrier, modify the goal if necessary, and continue to look to future successes.

The small step goals for the first week as a beginner—the dog walker—might look like this:

  1. Walk for ten (10) minutes, without stopping, twice this week.
  2. Engage in demonstrated upper and lower body stretching exercises, twice this week.
  3. Complete a food diary for three (3) full days, email it to my optimal life-management coach.

These three goals may not appear to be meaningful in terms of looking at a long-term goal of 10-pound weight loss. But for the person who is not engaged in routine physical activity, except for the slow dog walking, or for a person who is not eating with awareness, these subtle behavior changes are in fact the perfect small steps toward the future. These goals invite immediate success, and allow for confidence building, as opposed to “I am going to go to the gym 4 days this week”, or “I am going to cut out the junk food this week”—both of which are too big, too loosely defined, and too dramatic in terms of the shift in behaviors. Will this person eventually be at the gym 4 days per week? Sure, it is entirely possible. Will this person be eating far less junk food in the future? Very likely!

Our brain is a marvelous organ and it protects us – from perceived stressors. Big, undefined goals that limit pleasure or add unfamiliar behaviors—too much, too soon— are perceived by the brain as a stressor. This then evokes the fight or flight response and the brain literally will become resistant to that new behavior! When we write small-step daily goals that are pleasant and subtle, the brain welcomes the opportunity to engage in an activity that is perceived as pleasant, which will lead to ongoing engagement.

After one to three weeks of success and comfort with the initial small-step goals, you will be ready to up the ante just a bit, to look like this:

  1. Walk for ten (10) minutes, without stopping, three days this week; OR Walk for fifteen (15) minutes, without stopping, twice this week.
  2. Engage in demonstrated upper and lower body stretching exercises, three times this week.
  3. Eat 5 small meals per day one (1) day this week.
  4. Eat a 6-color salads twice this week.

These goals will become comfortable and familiar within a couple of weeks and can be ramped up another notch, then another, and another. Within the first eight (8) to ten (10) weeks, substantial progress will have been made in regards to engaging and enjoying subtle and pleasant behavior change. You are well on your way!


Robin Recommends…Grass Valley Grains

Grass Valley Grains

Services: Grass Valley Grains is a one-man farming and milling operation, founded by Reed Hamilton, a 25-year resident of Nevada County. Reed uses organic methods and materials to grow grain crops on a fifth-generation farm in Wheatland, California, where there is abundant flat land. He turns the grains into flour or meal using his own stone mill in Grass Valley.

Reed founded Grass Valley Grains as a way to provide a source of wholesome, locally grown grain and grain products to local consumers. Reed's choice to grow grains comes from having grown up on a grain farm and because he loves bread, which he believes is such an elemental food! Reed is committed to growing food in a way that builds the soil and produces nutritious crops without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. He wants to educate people about the properties of what they eat and the many grain crops that are available besides wheat, and wants his customers to be a community of friends who share an understanding of what it takes to produce this food.

Robin's Thoughts: Grass Valley Grains is an asset to our community and example of the commitment to quality, organic food that provides health benefits to our bodies as well as to the planet. The variety of grains that Reed grows, wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn, beans, teff, and amaranth, can be milled into flour or meal, or they can be used whole or cracked.

Reed sells grains, flour, and meal by phone for individual orders, and through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Soon, web sales will be available. Several local restaurants use the grains and flours from Grass Valley Grains as a staple ingredient of the healthful and delicious meals that are served.

Contact Info

Web: http://www.grassvalleygrains.com

Email: reedhamilton38@yahoo.com

Phone: 530-273-8818

3/26/16 MHA Law, Oakland

Last fall and early winter I had the pleasure of presenting a series of nutrition and life-management workshops to the staff and partners of McDonough Holland & Allen PC, Sacramento. It is a privilege to have been invited to meet the professional staff and partners at their Oakland office towards the end of March, when I will be presenting a workshop entitled Optimal Personal and Professional Health. I am looking forward to it!

Animated blog talk radio interview, 3/1/10

This was a very fun interview with Anastasia on blog talk radio. Take a listen when you have a minute.

A Cure for the Spins

My head was spinning. Ok, Ok, not in the way you are imagining...this was not the result drinking too much alcohol! My spins were in response to a long phone call with my web guy Lance Brown. And, by the way, the spins were not because of Lance, this was all about me. Sigh. My equilibrium shake-up comes from my inner voice reminding me to slow down, stay present, and to be kind to myself as I contemplate all the various options to grow my business, HeartMatters. I struggle with finding time for it all: blogging, writing articles, preparing for presentations, meeting with clients and following up on those meetings, building new relationships, and now tweetdeck...Not to mention, exercise, cooking, spending time with my husband, walking the dog, doing chores, blahblahblah.

So here is the cure: I hung up from Lance and marched right into the kitchen. I sliced apples and pears, then threw them into a baking dish, adding cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, and a pinch of sugar.  I mashed up coconut oil, flour, and another pinch of sugar, tossed that on top of the fruit, placed the dish in the oven, set the heat for 350, the timer for 45 minutes, and voila! In less than 15 minutes, I had simmered down. The focus of thinly slicing the fruit and making the topping allowed me to breathe and quiet my mind. Now the mouth-watering smell wafting from my kitchen is another reward for having given myself permission to take 1/4 of an hour out of an already busy day to nourish myself by immersing in an activity that I cherish.The smile on my hubby's face when he smells/see the unexpected dessert will be further reward!

In planning my day, I would not have seen time to make a fruit crisp, which makes that brief waltz away from "work" all the more of a gift. Next time, I might go out to the garden and weed for a few moments, or sit on the porch and listen to the birds singing from the treetops, or watch the clouds float by... you get the idea, right? Giving yourself permission to enjoy a few moments to relax in the middle of the spins will completely cure them!

What are you doing for your own variation of the spins?

“Robin brings dedication, focus, passion, and intellect to whatever endeavor she is pursuing. She does not just talk about good health, she practices it thoroughly every day of her life. When she talks to clients about healthy lifestyle choices, they are able to see the effects of healthy choices by observing the woman in front of them!”
Arthur S., Client

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