Blame it on the Alcohol?

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Image source: pixabay.com

Jamie Foxx’s song “Blame it” encourages blaming alcohol for all ruined relationships, unsafe situations, and perceived enhancement of other’s attractiveness. Outside of the many issues and poor decisions can that can result from a night of boozing, including a high credit card bill, higher risk for accidents, and even a 2am Taco Bell run…there are more. During Covid-19, some are hitting the wine and beer harder.

Let’s review the basics: alcohol interferes with communication between nerve cells and all other cells in the body. Moderation (the amount considered to not contribute to any major health concerns) for the average woman is defined by the CDC as not more than one drink per day and for the average man as not having more than two.

A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics asserts, “there has been an increase in the proportion of US adults who drink on any given day and an increase in calories consumed from alcoholic beverages when drinking occurs.”

What effect is this having on us from a weight loss perspective? Or a liver-health one?

Now we appreciate the humor some of you bring to our appointments:

“I think I’m drinking enough water. There’s water in beer, right?”

“I’m not too concerned. It’s called a liver, not a die-er”

“Wine-o? Maybe; I prefer ‘wine-yes'”

With alcoholic beverages being among the top five contributors to total caloric intake among US adults, this is something we need to talk about. But beyond calories, here are more reasons to explore your relationship with alcohol:

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❄️ Are you Frozen too? ❄️

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One of the great joys of having young kids in the family is letting our own inner child come out to play. With the recent release of Frozen II in theaters, we thought this was the perfect time to relate this to being frozen in our own lives. Elsa the Snow Queen’s super-power is turning objects and people to ice. She can build icy bridges, stop an attack, and probably make ice cream whenever she wants (lucky). But her power has to be controlled. And while Elsa freezes things, we often freeze ourselves.

How we ‘Freeze’ ourselves

How do you relate with being frozen? In what area of life are you stuck? It could be around starting an exercise regimen, decluttering the basement or guest room, addressing the issues in your relationships, writing the book, updating the resume or asking for a raise. It could be in the area of health improvement, where we want to lose weight or become more plant-based, but we just can’t seem to begin or sustain our progress.

And because we are frozen, we just find ways to feel better about it. Sometimes we distract ourselves. Have you ever needed to study for a test and then looked at the messy state of your room and thought to yourself, “there’s no ways I can study in this environment”and then spent your study time detail-cleaning the room? We may distract ourselves with lounging in front of the TV, or spending hours on Facebook or Instagram. Numbing out with sugar, caffeine, smoking, or alcohol are also ways we try to make ourselves feel better about being frozen.

What makes this even worse is we put a layer of shame frosting on top. We start belittling ourselves and ‘wishing’ we were better. “Argh,” we think as we get up from the couch after 4 hours of watching Gypsy Sisters or Netflixing World War II documentaries, “I wish I had more motivation to have exercised today” or “I should have cleaned out the downstairs closet, it’s such a mess.”

Perhaps you can relate to unachieved goals, shame storms, and numbing out. Have you ever wondered what lies beneath?

What causes us to be Frozen

In a word: perfectionism. It sounds kind of beautiful, but it’s actually one of the worst words because of the meaning and effect it has in our lives.

It’s hard to say where our perfectionism comes from, but if you’ve ever grown up hearing someone say to you, “If you can’t do it right; don’t do it at all!,” that could be part of the origin. In essence, we are told that our actions, and even who we are, aren’t worthy unless perfect. What a toxic message to carry around with us in our lives.

Perfectionism tends to either paralyze us into inaction or cause us to go overboard and, consequently, burn out.

Why even start to clean the guest bedroom if we can’t do it ‘perfectly’ and we don’t have the five hours we believe it will take? Well, because you CAN make progress, even with 15 minutes of removing trash, clutter, and boxes. 

Perfectionism with our food usually looks like following a certain diet for a few days or weeks, then falling off the wagon and eating everything in sight. There’s an anti-dote to this that allows for sustainable weight loss; chat with us and find out more.

In short, perfectionism usually causes us to procrastinate, get overwhelmed, and shut-down or ‘freeze’.

What’s the cost of perfectionism? The cost is not getting things done at all, whereas we could have made progress. The cost is our inner peace; we don’t feel at peace when we feel stressed and frustrated by not having the time or ability to do something perfectly. Perfectionism can cost our relationships with other people. If you’ve ever yelled at a child or spouse because of a small mess or because they aren’t cleaning the ‘right’ way (your way) you can see the effect your perfectionism and words have on others. Also – and this is two-fold- if you value keeping your home environment museum-perfect over having your ‘messy’ grandchildren visit or if you feel like you can’t have visitors due to a messy, cluttered environment, your relationships with others will suffer.

Check yourself: next time you find yourself frustrated or overwhelmed by a challenge, look underneath that feeling to see if perfectionism is the undercurrent.

How to get Un-frozen

The power of un-freezing ourselves comes from realizing that progress > perfection. Initially, your belief in that statement will recoil. How could progress be better than that which is perfect? Well, considering the high costs and knowing something will never, ever truly be perfect….progress starts looking really good, right? Excellence, according to dictionary definition is, “the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.” If excellence means that we can take action, feel good about ourselves, and not get stuck, why would anyone choose perfectionism instead? 

A small step, taken consistently and continuously reaching toward our goal is better than no action at all. Perhaps you remember My 30-minute Morning Routine about how many people create obstacles for themselves to workout when 6 minutes of strength-training in your own home can still help you feel better and see results. But if you don’t learn to change your way of thinking, perfectionism will keep you hog-tied and frozen.

In Frozen II, Elsa’s sister, Anna, seems to display and embody more of the element – fire – in this movie. Here’s where we have an answer to thawing ourselves out and taking action. Fire motivates, it stirs passion, and, if uncontrolled, it will burn everything in its path. So the key here is to find your motivation and use it as the fire to propel you towards your goals, but without going overboard and burning out.

Motivation isn’t usually enough though, so consider other ‘hacks’ such as scheduling your workout. The 4 Tips to Fit in Fitness blog is a great place to start. When it comes to decluttering, check out our experience with the Konmari Method for inspiration and ideas to make it easier.

Want to write a book? Just start writing, imperfectly. A typo is not the end of the world; besides, there are opportunities to review and make edits (or have others do it!). Allowing perfectionism to rule in this area of your life means your story is never shared, in-print or online.

What’s one area of your life where you’re willing to become ‘unfrozen’ and warm up your ‘fire’ to take action?

Client Spotlights!

There are so many hugs and high-fives on the road to clients reaching their goals; as March starts wrapping up, here are just a couple of stories from those are in-progress or have graduated from our Foundations of Health Program:

1. A New Father’s Post-partum Success

It’s no secret that most men whose partners are going through pregnancy tend to develop Couvade syndrome, also known as sympathetic pregnancy, where some of the same symptoms and behavior of the mother are picked up – most often including minor weight gain.

“A year ago I was trying ‘go it alone’ to lose weight, mainly with working out and I saw some results but the workouts didn’t stick and neither did my results.

This year, everything is different and I’m thrilled with the results so far! I’m drinking more water and I’m looking for ways to exercise, even with my infant son, to make sure it happens. In fact, since the start of us working together in early February (it’s now mid-March), I’ve lost over 17lbs – basically the same weight that my son is! My jeans and clothes fit better, I’m back to exercising and have much better energy these days (without the 4 cups of coffee and energy drinks I used to have)!” – Kevin R., Columbus, OH
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2. Success in both Eating and Living better!

 “Frustrated with post-menopausal weight gain, a thickening waistline, and a lower energy level, I reached out to Adrienne.  After 5 months of working together, I lowered my body fat %, dropped a couple inches off my waist, and increased my energy level.  Achieving those goals was amazing, but the even better part was that there was MORE!  I worked with Adrienne for another 3 months, and she turned out to be more than just a nutrition coach – she’s a lifestyle coach!  We tackled issues like self-care, relationship improvement, stress reduction, alcohol cravings, and more. So now, not only do I EAT better, but I’m LIVING better, too!”    – Renee W., Columbus, OH

Minimalism as Maximalism

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In our city and throughout the nation, people are showing an increased interest in minimalism as way of downsizing from the McMansions while addressing debt, stress and overwhelm, and feeling of isolation.

The Minimalists movie, which came out about a week ago, is a documentary about minimalism as a way of focusing on the important aspects of life. Early in the film, we learn of two friends, Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn, and their discovery that climbing the corporate ladder, having a 6-figure income and lots of stuff wasn’t fulfilling them. Joshua had some heart-breaking transitions in his life (divorce and the death of his mother in the same month), but Ryan saw that he still seemed to have a greater sense of peace and calm in life. So Ryan took Joshua out to lunch and asked why. Minimalism. Through the conversation, Joshua explained the concept and Ryan became radically inspired. How do I do this and quickly, he asked. They came up with the idea of a packing party. Ryan drastically reduced his possessions and they both went on to create The Minimalists blog and to share the message of living a more meaningful life.

Minimalism is slightly counter-culture to the consumerist society we live in. It causes us to examine and challenge the beliefs we hold to be true – some inculcated early in life by marketing; and it is all based on fear. How could you possibly attract the love of your life with that breakout on your nose? Use our face wash or concealer. We’ve defined success and it’s driving in this car, the commercial will say. Who cares if you go into debt for any of your acquisitions? Everyone else has debt too, so take comfort that you are still part of the in-group. Besides, here is a bank with low-interest rates so you can ‘save’ enough money to take your family on a fabulous vacation. All of these messages sell us on the idea that we are not enough, but that we can spend our money on things that will makes us better, happier, successful people. And we’ve had a strong history of falling for it.

In our view, minimalism causes all of us to critically think about our lives – the choices, job, items, and relationships – and to remove the layers that stand between us and maximizing the freedom and joy in our lives. This could take the form of removing physical items from the environment – clearing out clothes, old shoes, picture frames, or miscellany – and it can also take the form of reducing the activities or social ties we have which don’t bring a sense of growth or joy. By doing this, we create SPACE. Space not for more stuff, but for the dreams bubbling beneath the surface of depression or malaise. Space for new people who inspire and share similar values to come into our lives. We provide space for ourselves to relax for an afternoon reading Truman Capote by the pool.

One does not need to pare down to 175 items or renounce all pleasures in life that require gear or tools. To start exploring minimalism as an idea that may benefit you, start with this inquiry:

“What is one item or activity you could minimize today that will help maximize growth or joy?”tweet this

What are Primary Foods?

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Primary foods is the idea that areas of life exist that ‘feed’ us and that food is secondary to those.

Most of us can remember a time when we were outside playing with friends or engaged in creative endeavors and a parent would inform us that dinner was ready. “But I’m not hungry yet” we would reply. Being in love is much the same – we live in a more colorful, animated, magical world and are sustained by the love and play with our partner. We were having so much fun, in the ‘zone’ on a art project, or blissed out in love….food was secondary because we were being fed on a higher level – the passion and energy in our lives.

How dramatically different life seems to be now. Most clients report a lack of excitement about their days and the work, stress, and family obligations that come with it. However, they do find enjoyment from Diet Coke, ice cream, or wine. They often report feeling ‘stuck’ with low energy and little passion.

At the same time, a meaningful conversation with a friend can have you inspired, floating on air. A beautiful piece of music can inspire a well-spring of emotion or ideas. We are hungry for nourishment in the form of play, achievement, connection, love, adventure, spirituality, romance, intimacy, art, and excitement.

Take a look at your life.

In the area of relationships, what’s happening for you?

Do you find meaning or satisfaction in your career?

Is your form of exercise fun?

Do you have a form of spiritual practice that provides connection and peace?

You can make huge improvements in health and vitality if you can address these questions, regardless of whether you are vegan or paleo.

All the kale in the world is not going to make you feel well if you work with a toxic boss or are lonely.tweet this

This is not to say that food is unimportant – it’s part of the process for lowering cholesterol or weight loss, for example. However, there’s a personal transformation that happens when one looks at their life in a much broader way and gets help in making the changes.

As our client Diane shared, “I wanted help with reducing my cholesterol level without medication. Over a few months, we did that and even surprised my doctor, who thought I was taking the statin he prescribed! What I didn’t expect was a wonderful bonus- my sleep is better, I lost weight, I have more energy and exercise more frequently, and my relationships with others have improved. Addressing my goal of [lowering] cholesterol was great – what’s even better is my whole life has transformed.”

Our thousands of experiences in life are energy that can fulfill us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

We at One Bite Wellness blend extensive education and experience in the science of nutrition along with the art form of coaching our clients through lifestyle changes. The result is an improvement in physical health and even more, a life transformation.