Are there new concerns you have about your health or lifestyle? Do you have changes that you have always wanted to make, but lose momentum after a few months, weeks, or days? Developing new behaviors, changing behaviors and forming new habits are difficult; sometimes seemingly impossible. Otherwise, we would never get 'stuck in a rut' or continue on the roller coaster of life not fully enjoying the ride. We often gravitate towards the newest diet fad, pill or 'quick fix' for immediate gratification and results. The choices we make everyday, in every facet of our lives, contribute to who we are and ultimately impact our lifestyle and health. Inability to see lasting change and feel successful may occur due to lack of, or fluctuating motivation and support. Daily barriers seem to always interfere with our good intentions to "exercise more", "eat less", "communicate better", etc. Needless to say, working to improve our health and lifestyle is challenging to achieve on our own; thus, leading to a 'yo-yo' existence, stagnation and ultimately frustration and disappointment.
Integrative Health Coaches are professionals rapidly emerging in healthcare, fitness and corporate arenas. Integrative health coaching is distinct from health education, personal training, counseling, and general medical care. Health Coaches partner with you to help you work towards your health and lifestyle goals by formulating a plan, holding you accountable for progress and providing structure, encouragement and support. This structured partnership between the participant and a coach creates effective motivation and supports lasting health behavior change. The coach helps you develop and realize your optimal health vision through inquiry, personal discovery and accountability.
A coaching partnership provides an opportunity to collaborate with a partner experienced in behavior change to carve out the kind of optimal health you have always envisioned for yourself. The foundation of this partnership is strongly based on honesty, trust and confidentiality. This allows for a safe nonjudgmental environment for change to occur. The focus is determined by the client, not the coach. It is a client driven process. Any concern that gets in the way of taking care of your optimal health is the perfect subject with which to begin coaching.
Integrative Health Coaches utilize a person-centered, holistic approach, to facilitate healthy lifestyle habits and areas of change originating through personal values, objectives, work, balance, fulfillment, and life purpose. They listen to your concerns and ask powerful questions to help create forward movement and motivate you to make the changes you desire that are personally meaningful.
During coaching sessions, time is dedicated to exploring what is most important to you and to allow you to choose your course of action for whatever health concern you choose to address. Coaches guide you through the process to maximize your success, therefore enhancing your quality of life. Working in this structured partnership helps to identify barriers to change, and create strategies for moving forward toward your goals with a personalized health plan. Coaches support you in tracking your progress and hold you accountable for achieving your commitments. In addition, coaches provide additional tools and resources for making healthy behavior changes solid and sustainable.
This proactive comprehensive working relationship accelerates the client’s progress by providing greater focus and awareness of choice in making changes and improving health. Connecting to the healing potential that exists within helps create an environment where health and true wellness can be achieved in which the client can thrive.
Working with an Integrative Health Coach provides assistance in reducing the negative impact of chronic conditions (cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes to name a few), guidance in personal care and health maintenance activities, support in creating strategies for success in following recommended treatment plans.
Telephonic and virtual coaching opportunities are abundant, therefore eliminating a major barrier of getting to an appointment.
Ever since I can remember, I have loved New Year's Eve! I have always been captivated by the magic, the cheers, the joy, the hope of a new day, the promise of tomorrow. Throughout childhood, it was one of those days that a typically chaotic and clashing family was seemingly in a state of bliss, a state of renewing and much awaited annual fondue parties. Perhaps the same state that I viewed New Year's Eve through my crystal ball. Or perhaps it was simply from growing up watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve the majority of my childhood and even into my adult life.
Although held in a state of magical bliss and promise, I was often perplexed by the grown-ups around me talking of "New Year's Resolutions". When I was allowed to mingle some with these grown-ups, I took every chance I had to obtain their various views and ideas on what a New Year's Resolution was all about. Requesting the origin and the purpose and the reasons. I did not understand why this was even 'a thing'. Upon getting the often thwarted and vague cookie cutter responses, I was plagued by the still unanswered question in my mind, "why don't they just do that all year?".
Now, well in to adulthood and yes, the daunting term, middle age, I see the answers that I once was unsatisfied with, becoming slightly more clear. As I awoke this morning, my mind was in full gear about what the last day of 2015 meant to me. Through the years, I have gravitated more towards the value of the year ending, then what the new year may hold or what I desire to accomplish. While still in bed after reflecting on this briefly, and then, reading a powerful Facebook message posted, my blog adrenaline begin flowing. A surge of promise ran through me for what I desire for the new year, 2016!
Throughout my life, I have worked very hard to do everything the right way, to not screw up, to not make mistakes, to be the best at everything. Due to life experiences and disappointments, some little and some quite traumatic, this perfectionism, as one would call it, manifested itself in me three fold, especially, in the past 15 years. A lot of success and positivity resulted yet, was also was so intense it was more times than not, counterproductive and resulted in living with blinders on, a lot of self imposed stress, and anxiety.
So, in thinking about the value of 2015, I realize it's what drives the desire for change and resolutions in 2016. As the Facebook quote says, "I never lose, either I win or learn". This year in the silence and stillness of the morning, what flooded through me was to screw up, make mistakes, be okay with mediocrity. It won't be to the point of complete and utter failure (hopefully) but, it will be to the point of truly being okay with it!
One of many great audiobooks I listened to over the years planted the seed for this in me! Whether it is a little mistake or a big mistake, learning to be okay with it, content, learning to grow from it and have a take away from it, every single time!
That child of yesterday spoke to me this morning. My take away from all of those fondue parties mingling with the grown-ups, and the clarity that I am currently developing as one myself, is...that all of you making New Year's Resolutions...keep making them, aim high, yet be okay with with mistakes and failures no matter how big or small. Set a goal to change or simply adjust your angle on the mistake and failure. Mistakes and failures continuously lay the foundation for growth.
As long as there is a New Year, there is promise, there is bliss, there is growth, there is renewal, there is change. Maybe, it's just one day that you reflect on it; maybe it will be lasting. Yes, there are mistakes, failures, chaos and clashing too! My challenge, and yours, if it applies, as we march into 2016 is to accept them, manage them, develop and grow from them!
CHEERS my friends! Here is to delighting in happily screwing up!
- Coach Lou
Today, as I was running a preplanned and mapped out 6 mile run, I was contemplating topics for my 2 year overdue article for my coaching blog. I don’t really intentionally contemplate, thoughts just begin to flow through me after about 1-2 miles into the run. It’s those endorphins! It's also important to note that I prefer to run on trails and the beach, but sometimes you need to adapt, so these days I run on the road. I also do my best to plan accordingly to avoid conflict and confrontation; certainly not write about it!
With a brain infused endorphin rush and spiking dopamine levels, it became clear to me that my topic would be about the theme of “sharing the road”; the previously coined term which is typical of motorcycles and cars together on the road. The clarity didn’t exactly flow gradually. It was more like a jolt; one much like that which originates from the sympathetic nervous system, “fight or flight”, “run from the Saber Tooth Tiger” response. Except the ‘Saber Tooth Tiger’ was a little furry, seemingly harmless dog being walked on the side walk by a human being, it’s owner, I assume and another dog in tow. I, however, was running on the edge of the road, just at the brink where the asphalt meets the concrete road edge.
If you are a runner you may realize that running surface variations, although slight, make a big difference in overall running endurance and resulting aches and pains that may be associated with running. Additionally, running on the edge of the road verses the side walk, also assists a runner from the frequent need to dodge walkers, children and dogs. I get some light hearted flack and perhaps at times confrontation from a few of my friends about the questionable safety of running and cycling in the road - on the edge of the road, I stress!
It became crystal clear to me while I was running and recovering from my jolt. A jolt inflicted by a vicious snarling ‘cute little harmless dog’ lunging at me with direct aim towards my ankle. It’s not about where runners run, cyclists cycle, motorcycles bike, people or dogs walk. After all, I was in the road, the four legged furry dude was on the side walk. It’s about respect and kindness and having the strength and courage to put our big ego aside! Yes, EGO! Everyone has one whether you'd like to admit it or not. It’s the “ME ME ME” part of us that gets in the way of most of our good intentions and desires.
Fortunately, during this near ‘saber tooth tiger attack’, I was in motion and fully mindful and agile enough that I dodged the bullet this time! I am always running in preparation to dodge a car. Yes, I dodge them! I pay attention, see them coming and I move up on the grass or curb, never assuming the driver sees me and will provide the necessary space. I am not sure what caused the dog walker human to not retract the leash to pull in this saber tooth, as they looked right at me and even made eye contact. Perhaps lack of respect for mutual space, lack of mindfulness, a big ego…?
I believe that in all controversies and arguments of “sharing the road” that it is the issue of respect or lack thereof and the big EGO that we all carry within us. So, the next time you are a driver of a car, a rider on a motorcycle, a runner on the earth, a cyclist on a cycle, please think about what you can do to put that EGO aside and show respect and kindness for whatever or whomever it is that you are approaching and at whatever speed you are approaching.
Life is much too short to waste energy thinking and believing that we always have the right-of-way. Too short to let your saber tooth lunge at a runner. Too short to lay on the horn or yell, “idiot”, or other obscene words or gestures. Too short to not slow down or move over for the runner or cyclist, Too short to not hop up on the curb when you see a car coming. I suppose I could have run further into the street to dodge the dog…car vs dog. Hmmmm? Sometimes a snap decision is needed.
Abundant respect, kindness and putting away your EGO is what it means to “share the road” and this one precious vignette of time that we call life. Show pride, encouragement and praise for those that extend beyond our EGO, that are in any space, especially in nature and moving their bodies in any mode, or finding their flow on that scenic car ride, or motorcycle ride. See the respect, see the peace in these actions…if you don’t see it, LOOK for it. Share the road, my friends!…
:) Coach Lou
Driving my own two feet, two wheels, a battery powered golf cart, moving barely faster then a 9 year old pedaling rapidly. No multitasking. A sense of time established for mere orientation by location of the sun. Face to face communication and interaction devoid of cell phone, tv, email and social media. Cooling off with a plunge in the ocean at will. Scenic vistas outlined by a path where land meets ocean, ocean meets sky. Oak, cedar, palm trees and evergreens creating a landscaped canopy for the two feet, two wheel, and battery powered path of travel. The dot of light in the distance appearing through this natural tunnel. Strangers waving and saying hello, not really seeming like strangers. Smiling faces, moving bodies. Looks of contentment abound...Recovery.
Aches and pains from daily rigors of movement or lack thereof vanish.
A vision? Yes. A reality Yes. Quality interactions with loved ones jumping, riding the waves. Search for most unique seashells, houses of sea creatures...Recovery.
The biggest decision to be made is which mode of transportation to be used, which bathing suit to wear, barefoot or flip flops and when to reapply sunscreen. Smell of sun-drenched skin infused with coconut...Recovery.
Competition only prevalent during an impromptu tennis match and Uno. Commute to destination, not by land, but by sea. Delightful encounters on the departure tram, two-legged and four-legged...four bench seats, two bucket seats, four dogs, one of which is a Great Dane, five kids, three grandparents, three couples, plus one dedicated and friendly driver.
True bliss. Visions from a treasured island. " Arrgghhh" of the pirates in the distance, eerie images of shipwrecks, battles both lost and won. The pirates chatter in the distance and the sounds of cannon fire. Imagine.
Kayaks, paddle boards gliding through water like a sheet of glass. With each wave feeling anxiety roll off, as the tide rolls in enveloping you in warmth of the present moment...Recovery.
"I wanted to share a few words from my own journey for those considering a coaching partnership. My advice: go for it!
In September of 2012 I moved to a new company and began work as an Executive Officer, the second-in-charge of a company of 95 Soldiers. We knew that in six short months the company would deploy to southwest Afghanistan and conduct route clearance, driving all over to look for roadside bombs. There was much to do and precious little time to prepare.
Always eager, I threw myself into the new position and was quickly immersed in the logistics, maintenance, administration, and training readiness of a company on the road to war. Early morning and late nights were the norm as we trained, prepared, and planned. I slept less, didn't exercise as much, and doubled my coffee intake - lifestyle changes but nothing I couldn't handle. Slowly our deployment drew near.
In January of 2013, I began my partnership with an Integrative Health Coach. The goal: work together to manage stress and promote a balanced lifestyle during my deployment. We were skeptical of our new "life coaches." As a Soldier, the idea that I need help to manage my emotions is uncomfortable, to say the least. When faced with a stressful task, we tend to bear down, grit our teeth, and push through to the end and on to the next challenge. Where is there time for self-reflection?
Despite my skepticism, I hit it off with Coach Lou right away. Our conversations brought forth new thoughts and observations I had never bothered to express. She coached me towards my goal of reaching mindful awareness during stressful times, and how I to use my mental/emotional processes to manage stress in a healthier manner. For nine months, Coach Lou was an invaluable resource, a sounding board for my ideas and doubts, and a resource to help me develop as a person and leader.
Now a few months removed, I fully appreciate how our coaching partnership helped me along my way. Better understanding of self, stress management, keeping perspective in the moment - all things that I gained thanks to Coach Lou. I realize that I will always have a need for coaching, no matter how strong and well I am. There is something to be gained by all. Thanks Coach!"
CPT, US Army
Changing a behavior is difficult to say the least. Behaviors are habits. Habits are created by developing neurological patterns in your brain. Shaped and molded by a combination of genetics, development, environmental, social and familial experiences. The brain is capable of change and developing patterns and establishing new neural pathways. Coaching is a scientifically researched method to successfully achieving new behaviors, habits, neural patterns. Learning, rehearsing, persistence with new behaviors lead to the development of new neural pathways. Developing new healthy behavior patterns doesn't necessarily guarantee prevention of disease or disability from occurring. However, the healthier the habits and behaviors that are mapped in our brains, the stronger our capacity for resilience to stress, disease, sudden illness and disability, if and when it occurs. The result is a more authentic healthier you.
Living is about resilience. Standing strong in the face of adversity, when life throws you a curve ball or a maverick comes crashing into your shore of life. Resilience is having the courage to face the adversity, develop persistence and steadfastness to hold on and maintain focus on the silver lining or the light at the end of the tunnel.
The only constant in life is change. Life will always bring you waves; some waves will be smooth and some will be mavericks. When life rolls the big ones, the easy action would be to have someone throw you a ring buoy, pull you to safety and tell you what you did wrong and what you need to to right. This parallels the current paradigm in health care that is failing.
What then, you may say, will help me survive those tough currents? After spending 20 plus years treating patients acutely after sudden onset illness, I have witnessed what does not work. Dishing out education, information, what to do and what not to do...etc., is ineffective at best. After returning home, they (patients) begin "feeling better" in a few weeks, they return to the same lifestyle, the same unhealthy choices landing back in the emergency room with the same or more severe illness and consequences. A few receive their wake-up call during their hospital course and actually do seek empowerment and help to change course to a healthier lifestyle. Many do not.
The answer for better outcomes in our health care system and our individual ownership of health is learning to be a better swimmer through those big waves that pull us under. Learning to adapt, learning confidence, becoming stronger to life's many waves leads to being a better swimmer. Integrative Health Coaching is the missing link that will fill in this gap of our current failing health care system. A coach will inspire, uncover motivation, provide reinforcement, resources, tools, and accountability for lasting change...your partner in the ocean of life with the outcome of being a better swimmer!
-Coach Lou Winterling, July 3, 2014
One of the most common sources of foot pain is plantar fasciitis. I have put in a lot of miles of running over the past 7 years and a lot of standing for the past 20. Plantar fasciitis can affect people of all ages. It is now affecting me. Over the years, I have had patients and clients talk about it; hairdressers and teacher friends complain about the debilitating pain of the foot. The pain, for me, wasn't noticeable during the first hard run after a hiatus from a broken toe and a long winter. In fact, the run felt so good, towards the end I broke into a full sprint to cross the finish line and beat out an 11 year old competitor. The next morning, I could not weight bare on my foot upon getting out of bed. ("OUCH!"). I was pretty certain I had strained my foot from going up on my toes into that sprint that I mentioned. I figured it would just go away with further progressive training. It turns out that it does not go away as quickly as delayed onset muscle soreness.
Plantar Fasciitis is usually caused by chronic pulling on the plantar fascia, tight Achilles tendon, overpronation, or other factors that overload the fascia. The connective tissue (fascia) on the underside of the foot becomes irritated and painful resulting from overuse or misuse. Musculoskeletal issues, going up the kinetic chain, such as lack of dorsiflexion, tight calves and hip flexors may contribute. Rest, stretching and strengthening are key to recovery and treatment. Initial ice to alleviate acute pain is recommended. The idea of rest may seem rather daunting, especially if you are a runner. However, the pain can be excruciating at times and without proper rest from activity that exacerbates the pain, the condition will worsen and become less likely to completely go away. Maintaining strength training, core training, cycling and swimming as running alternatives will get you through the recovery period. Retraining the plantar fascia, calves, and hip flexors will help promote dorsiflexion and alleviate plantar fasciitis.
Stretching and strengthening the foot, posterior calf muscles, hip flexors and using Self Myofascial Release (SMR) techniques may help rejuvenate and regenerate tissues.
SMR#1: Golf Ball Roll- Roll underside of foot for 30-60 sec @ least 1x/day. Manual foot massage upon awakening, before planting your feet on the floor.
SMR#2: Calf Massage- Massage any sore spots on backs of each lower leg for 1-2 min @ least 1x/day.
SMR#3: Foam roller on hip flexors. Roll front of hips and top of each leg for 1-2 min @ least 1x/day.
Progress to appropriate stretching and then to progressive retraining when pain is gone. Simply bring your toes forward towards your body in a flexed position and a combination of flexion and extension. There are many yoga positions that assist to alleviate foot, ankle, calf and hip flexor tightness and misalignments. Upward dog/cobra, downward dog, warrior pose to name a few. Orthotic or arch support may be used to temporarily relieve pain as you heal. Long term use leads to weakening of the foot muscles. Use of splinting is controversial and surgery is an option only as a last resort, if true nonsurgical conservative treatment options have been exhausted over a period longer than a year.
Our mind and body are connected and your whole body works as an integrated system of parts. The application of effective corrective exercises will enable you to address the underlying causes. Proper nutrition with an anti-inflammatory diet and daily mindfulness to reduce stress is crucial. If you are experiencing acute foot pain, consult a licensed medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Physical Therapy is of great benefit especially during intial recovery. A Certified Personal Trainer can assist with providing stretching and strengthening exercises to address problematic muscle and soft tissue imbalances.
American College of Sports Medicine (2010) ACSM's Resources for the Personal Trainer, 3rd edition. Baltimore, Maryland. : ACSM
American Council on Exercise (2010). ACE Personal Trainer Manual, 4th edition. San Diego, Calif.: American Council on Exercise.
Price, J. (2014) Understanding and Alleviating Plantar Fasciitis. ACEfitness Prosource
Photo source: http://strengthrunning.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/plantar_fasciitis.jpg
Positive and Negative Ways to Cope with Stress:
Reflections by a 6th Grader
Are you wondering what stress is? Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you upset. Stress can be the body's way of protecting you. Whenever you are in danger, your stress will give you energy and allows you to get away from that danger. It can help you stay focused, alert, and energetic. Beyond a certain point, stress can stop being helpful and it can cause damage to your health, mood, quality life, and productivity. Changes of stress can be positive or negative.
There are lots of negative and harmful ways that you should not use to cope with stress. Do not ignore what your stressed about. It can only get worse when you do that. Also do not beat your self up on the inside. Negativity to yourself is bad for your health. Smoking, drugs and alcohol are common ways that people use to cope poorly with stress. Do not smoke or do drugs. That is very bad for your lungs and it can give you cancer. Also do not abuse drinking alcohol because that will also damage your health. Lastly, try hard not to overeat. Being overweight contributes to stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.
Effects of stress build over time. However, you can take simple positive steps to help your stress. You could eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are more prepared to cope with stress. You could also relax. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga activate the body's relaxation response. Get plenty of sleep because feeling tired increases your stress level. Exercise regularly if you do not already. Physical activity plays a big role in reducing your stress level. Lastly, remember to keep doing the things that you enjoy. When you do not, it can add to your stress level because you are not doing anything to give your brain a rest and to recover from the impact of stress.
There are two main situations that make me stressed. One of them, is before I take a test or quiz. What I usually do is take three deep breaths which helps me relax and then builds my confidence. The other situation is before a big sporting event. I always try to stretch and loosen up ten minutes before it starts. This helps me be ready, relax and focus my mind for the game.
I hope you enjoyed and learned a lot from this essay because I certainly did. Remember everything that you can do to positively cope with stress and to avoid the negative ways to cope with stress. You will feel better, be healthier and live freely.