An Exercise in Patience

I am not, by nature, a patient person. Unless we’re talking about babies with colic or some other malady that has them crying incessantly (and is not mine), in which case I can sit with, rock, walk with and/or snuggle said babies for hours to give mom and/or dad a reprieve. Don’t believe me? Ask my mother, I did this often as a teenager. But I digress…
I was discussing different metrics measured via blood test this morning with a loved one and how the information obtained doesn’t always tell the whole story, that often those numbers are an indicator of symptomology, not root cause. For example, high LDL is actually a symptom of PCOS, which makes sense when looking at the root cause of PCOS, that being metabolic syndrome. My LDL has been high for my entire adulthood, regardless of diet, including my 18 months as a vegan. If diet had been the cause, surely a vegan diet would have corrected it, yes?
Nope. As a matter of fact, it got worse. Per the current dietary recommendations from our esteemed government organizations and various big pharma-backed “medical” associations, it should have though.
We’ve all heard it: Rome wasn’t built in a day. But it is still very hard to be patient when we just want to hurry up and be healed already. It is a serious exercise in patience to attack the root cause of an illness. We don’t get sick overnight. It often takes years for these things to develop to the point where we exhibit any kind of symptoms and then we’re lucky if we get an accurate diagnosis right away.
It’s unrealistic for me or anyone else to expect to be healed overnight. And yet…
Here’s the upside to things taking time: when we focus on the progress, not the outcome, we are creating habits that are transferable. Think of it in terms of employment: when you want to change career paths, you focus on transferable skills. When we focus on the daily behaviors necessary for us to create healing, we’ve inoculated ourselves against relapse because those habits will then, ideally, be with us for the rest of our lives.
This also teaches us a great deal about our respective innate resiliency. When I’m feeling like I’m failing (which, by the way, is NOT the end of the world), this resiliency is quick to remind me of where I started. It’s quick to show me where I’ve been successful in long term journeys (motherhood anyone?).
My greatest hope is that my patience will pay off in resilience dividends. What I’m trying to create is a resilient body and mind and life. Everything I do, for the most part, is a step in that direction. Progress may be slow, but as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I’ll get there eventually.
If you choose to walk a similar path, so will you.

Results May Vary

Sometimes great things come to me during my morning meditation. Here’s an excerpt of the email that is going out to my subscribers Friday morning, sparked by a meditation session:

You see that disclaimer with just about anything that is trying to sell a dream, weight loss programs especially and get rich schemes; anything that tries to circumnavigate actual effort; anything that wants us to ignore what we already know – that anything we want takes effort and work.

You know that saying we all heard as kids? Money doesn’t grow on trees (well, yes, actually it does, but I’m not trying to be a smartass here). Sometimes it was said in exasperation when we were careless with our things. Most often though, it occurred to me in this meaning: there are no handouts in life. You have to earn it.

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All About That App

This week I’m sharing apps that I use that have been beneficial in habit formation and my overall wellbeing. Most of them are free with upgrade potential and all are available via iTunes. I don’t know about Android compatibility, unfortunately.

  1. Momentum: this is a habit tracker. Well, you can track anything in it, but I use it for three specific habits: meditation, writing, and movement. It’s free for up to 3 habits, upgrading gives you an unlimited amount of items to track. What I particularly love about this app is the reminders. I have it set to remind me at 8 PM if I haven’t done my three habits. It actually saved me last night as I’d forgotten to get my movement quota in.
  2. Calm: this is my meditation app. I only use it as a timer which is free. The guided meditations are a paid upgrade. What I like about it is that you can set a theme which has background noise (I like rain). This is beneficial for those of us auditorially hyperactive as it masks life noises such as dryer buzzers, cars driving past with loud music, or the neighbor’s dog barking incessantly.
  3. MyFlo: a friend of mine just introduced me to this app, which is menstrual cycle tracker. This was $1.99 and it’s been totally worth the cost. It was designed by a fellow health coach and the insights have been really interesting, even for someone who studies hormone balance. One of the neat functions is that you can add your partner to it so that he is alerted to how you’re doing. If you have a super supportive partner, this could be really nice. Did you know that ALL women once they hit 35 are considered to be perimenopausal? I didn’t.
  4. Fitocracy: this one is a free fitness app with an accompanying website. I use both. It’s just a great way to track what, specifically, you are doing for exercise and it assigns points, kind of like a video game, which is nice if you’re a gold star collector. I’m still tickled when I level up and it’s neat that it notifies you when you’ve hit a PR. It’s also social so you can do challenges with your friends if you’re into that sort of thing.
  5. Spotify: Okay, this really isn’t habit related, but I REQUIRE music for many things. You can use it for free (with ads) but I highly recommend upgrading.
  6. Mint: Cleaning up my financial house has been something I’ve been working on diligently since last August and I could NOT do that without a budget and financial tracker. I check in every single morning which helps me stay in integrity with my spending and keeps me from burying my head in the sand when it gets tight.
  7. Thyme: this is a free timer, designed for cooking. It has 5 timers you can run simultaneously which is nice when batch cooking.
  8. Ibotta/Ebates: cash back on stuff you’re going to buy anyway? Yes, please.
  9. OurGroceries: I’ve been using this one for years, including when I had an Android phone so I know it’s available on that platform. It’s a grocery list that can be synced to the website AND it can be shared with family members, which is nice. Two things I’ve learned not to do is shop hungry or shop without a list.
  10. Evernote: I use this for many things including writing, to do lists, and saving articles/recipes. It’s a very useful tool. They’ve changed the pay structure for this recently so now you can use it on two devices for free. I’ve yet to max out the allowable storage per month – you’re allowed to store a certain amount each month new, not in total – which is better than some other cloud storage services.

That’s all for now. Have a great week, everyone!

On Deciding

I Am Decisive

Last week I posted about appreciation and I intend, going forward, to do a weekly appreciation post. But for this week, I want to talk about my Achille’s Heel: deciding.

I’ve talked about the fact that I’m a Questioner with Rebel tendencies in various places over the past year or so. (If you want to find out where you fall in the 4 Tendencies, something I highly recommend as knowing this is extremely helpful when it comes to habits, change, and just knowing how you handle internal and external expectations, go here. It’s a free quiz and very insightful.) How that appears is like this: I have a VERY hard time deciding on things that matter (trivial things like what to wear I don’t struggle with) and I do NOT like being told what or how to do things unless I ask for that guidance. There is, however, no guarantee that I’ll take your advice, though, because I’m a Questioner and I have to weigh that against all of the other info.

In other words, it is often a mess and I struggle. HARD. I’m told it’s very tedious to watch as well. Fortunately, the people closest to me have already figured out that me struggling is part of the process and that the best thing they can do is just be present for me. And I LOVE them for it.

This past fall I started using the mantra “I am decisive” while meditating. I am one of those people who find it easiest to focus my brain on specific words while meditating because otherwise I’m just quietly daydreaming. I struggled with meditation for a few years before I realized that mantras work best for the way my mind works so I embraced it. As soon as I started using this particular mantra, something clicked. For a short time, I stopped dragging my feet and ruminating and just started making decisions, understanding that just because I decided something didn’t mean I couldn’t change my mind.

Wait, I can change my mind?! I’m allowed to do that?!

This past week I got sick of the struggle. On Wednesday, I decided to start deciding again. I started with deciding that meditation is in my best interest. So Thursday morning, I meditated while the coffee was brewing. Thursday I decided that writing daily is in my best interest. So Friday morning, I meditated while my coffee was brewing, then made my first cup of coffee and did a single page AKA Morning Pages in my journal. Friday night I decided that daily movement (in some form) is in my best interest, so I got up early to meditate, write, and get a workout in before my day started yesterday.

What I’ve come to realize and accept is that for me, deciding is a muscle. For best results, I have to exercise it daily. And for a Questioner, deciding is THE biggest hurdle to clear when it comes to success. Because once we’ve decided something is in our best interest, there isn’t much that can stop us. While consistency gets all the attention, and it is VERY important, deciding daily is what KEEPS me consistent.

Have you taken Gretchen Rubin’s 4 Tendencies Quiz? If you’re struggling with consistency, I invite you to do so and post in the comments where you fall and what you’re struggling with. I’ll respond with my best suggestions.

Happy Sunday!

How MLM Fits (Or Doesn’t) Into My Practice

Pampered Chef
Tupperware
Mary Kay
Avon
Beauty Counter
Lularoe
Life’s Abundance
Young Living
Beachbody
doTerra

MLM businesses are extremely popular these days and for, I’m sure, good reason. It’s actually been suggested to me that in order to succeed in building a thriving health coaching practice, I need to sign on with an MLM company due to supposed passive income possibilities and the marketing training and support.

Perhaps this is true. For some, it likely is. Some (but not all) of the above mentioned companies are excellent to work with. I’ve been approached by women on the Beachbody, Life’s Abundance, and Beauty Counter teams and each of them thoroughly love the support, the products, and the extra income. I can’t argue with that, at all. And I’m not going to. This isn’t a rant against MLM at all.

I’ve thought about this long and hard. For me, I see it as a conflict of interest.

If I’m going to preach bioindividuality, I cannot, in good conscious, try to sell anyone on specific supplements or essential oils or skin care, etc. If I know anything it’s that just because it works for me does not, at all, mean that it’ll work for you.

I also have zero interest in what I see as growing elitism in the Paleo community. I may subscribe to many of the tenants of the Paleo lifestyle, but I sure as hell am not going to push products that cost the same as a week’s worth of groceries just because they are better for you.

Here’s the thing: there are no quick fixes. You cannot undo years of unhealthy habits in a 20 day challenge. You cannot undo years of unhealthy habits by taking specific supplements. You cannot undo years of unhealthy habits with an expensive serum.

I’ve had many women with PCOS ask me about supplementation and what I use. I always hesitate. I hesitate because my type of PCOS may not be the same as yours, making what I take a waste of money for you. I hesitate because I’m still doing a bit experimentation there myself and I don’t have all the answers. I hesitate because there are laws that I have to consider that vary by state – if you live in certain states, I cannot legally even suggest supplements. All I can do is point you towards the research and let you decide for yourself.

It is for these reasons that I see, for my practice, MLM as a conflict of interest. While I know better than to say “never,” I don’t see MLM as having a place within my practice at this time. I would far rather focus on the behaviors that created the issues you want to correct than pushing products promising the world.

Remember, consistency is the secret sauce on the success burger. If you decide to try something, give it 90 days or more before you decide it doesn’t work. The idea that it takes only 30 days to create/replace a habit is a fallacy that’s been repeated ad nauseum by the publishing industry because a) we all want a quick fix and b) because it sells books/programs. I’ll point you to James Clear on this point because he’s done the research, I’m just repeating it. 30 days is just long enough for you to begin to see results (depending on the habit), so keep going.

Thoughts? Questions? Comment below or send me an email: barbara@whathealthcoacheseat.com – I’d love to hear from you.