Monday, November 24, 2008

Make Today Count

I am an early riser – one of those people who stand outside the gym doors at 5 AM waiting for them to open. There are several of us and I do doubt our collective sanity from time to time. I also live in an extremely frigid climate at this time of year and 5 AM at single digit temps is a challenge. My bed feels warm at cozy at 4:30 and the temptation is strong every morning to take a day off. Occasionally I do but most mornings I don’t even entertain the possibility of missing my time at the gym.

Some wake-ups are easier than others and today I numbly dressed, grabbed the car keys and headed for the gym in the pitch dark. I have been having persistent pain in my right heel lately and this has provided me with a legitimate excuse to stay snugly in my little cocoon . Upon awakening today, however, I had no foot pain – no excuse -- but by the time I got to the gym my pain had returned. I made a snap decision not to let this little pain bother me since I was already up and out and so close to the elliptical. I reasoned that a short while wouldn’t hurt so much and it would make my trek to the gym worthwhile.

I was wrong and the result of my foolhardy decision was a definite set back in my healing process. I regretted my decision but it was too late to take it back. No “do-overs” for me. So I started to sulk and feel sorry for myself. The day ahead looked bleak and I had no desire to jump into my daily routine. I was wrapped in self-pity and began to feel exhausted. I only wanted to climb back into my bed and hide away for the day.

I had to leave the gym after a pitiful few minutes and decided to stop at our early morning grocery for a few supplies before I returned home. My foot ached with every step down the aisle and by the time I had gathered my few choices and arrived at the cash register I was emotionally spent. Everything looked bleak and I only wanted to escape this day – I considered stopping for muffins or donuts on my ride home to anesthetize myself (very old self-destructive, emotional eating behavior that still occurs to me occasionally).

As I paid for my groceries the cashier wished me a good day and I wished her one as well. She thanked me and smiled and said she intended this day to be an excellent one. I was surprised by her cheerful voice and her firm intention to have such a fabulous day. I thought perhaps today was a special day for her – her birthday or anniversary or something. I asked why she felt today would be so wonderful and she replied simply, “Well, I’ll never have this day again and so I don’t want to waste it. I want to make the most of it.”

I left the store realizing that I do sometimes waste days and I was clearly on the way to wasting this one. At times I unconsciously wish for time to pass miss the magic of each moment. So this lovely cashier gave me a reminder, a gift. She prompted me to recall all the good in my life and all that I have to be grateful for. So today, instead of crawling back into bed, I am counting my blessings and enjoying the moment, and my foot isn’t hurting at all! I pass this beautiful woman’s wisdom on to you as a gentle reminder that today is what you make it and you will never have a chance to live this day again! Make the most of it!

Dr. Denise

Monday, November 10, 2008

Economy Down, Weight Up

What does overeating have to do with the economic crisis? Answer: a lot!As we watch our country suffer economic decline we react by becoming more and more stressed. Our bodies flood with the hormone cortisol and our appetites rage. Powerful emotions surface and we may experience many difficult feelings. We are likely to worry and have trouble sleeping and then two more hormones come into play. We excrete excess ghrelin (which increases hunger) and our production of leptin (the hormone that signals satiation) decreases. So the extra stress we are experiencing is likely to increase our appetite and consequently our numbers on the scale.

As human beings we cannot help but react to what is going on . We are all being touched by this crisis in some fashion and we are likely to seek food for comfort. This is a natural reaction, so please don’t beat yourself up if you have indulged in a few extra snacks lately. We learn at a tender age that sugars and carbohydrates will take away our pain. These substances mask themselves as our friends. They urge us to take care of our uncomfortable feelings by stuffing our bellies with creamy pastas, pastries and chocolate. The hard part is that they deliver what they promise. These foods help us in the short term to stuff our feelings deep inside where we don’t have to deal with them. When the effects of these “anesthetics” wear off, however, our physical bodies scream for MORE and our emotional selves join the chorus and demand “treats” to continue keeping feelings at bay -- this is how we perpetuate emotional eating patterns..

If you have been soothing yourself with food, please don’t beat yourself up. That NEVER helps! None of us can walk our paths perfectly at all times. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Move beyond the urge to punish yourself. Recall that there are no mistakes, only lessons and be as gentle as possible with yourself.

Do all you can to take the very best care of yourself -- eat the healthiest foods possible, drink plenty of water, build some exercise into your routine, rest, relax and have some fun. A powerful aid for my clients is the Bach Flower Emotional Eating Support Kit. This contains three powerful flower remedies that my clients have used successfully to manage their eating behavior -- Cherry Plum helps you remain in control, Crabapple improves body image and self-appreciation and Chestnut Bud helps you to stop repeating the same mistakes and sabotaging yourself again and again as your stress level continues to rise while you watch your waistline expand.

Have a great day! Dr. Denise

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We're all a Part of Something Bigger

We’re all a Part of Something Bigger

Today is an important day in the United States of America. It is Election Day and the turnout at the polls is record breaking. I have not witnessed such fervor ever before. People in line, at least in my New Hampshire town, were not teasing of laughing about the election. People did not have a casual attitude about this at all. The majority were fervent in their commitment to a particular candidate and reluctant to voice their choice.

The election is an example of a country united. We may be divided along party lines but that we are all in this together is the underlying feeling. We all care about domestic and foreign issues and we care about our country and its’ future. Tonight millions of us will be staying up late to watch the election results as they roll in. It will be history making and exciting. For some of us it will be an evening of celebrations. For others, grave disappointment. Tomorrow our country will be setting sail on a new course.

So think about how you can bring this down to a personal level and chart a new course for yourself. We are all a pert of something – a family, an institution, a country. How can we be the very best possible part of our connected world? What can each of us do to help our world move towards unity, peace and mutual respect? What is your part? I am thinking hard about what mine is.