Cissy Brady-Rogers
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Archive for 'health coaching'

This coming Wednesday I’m getting a new hip! I know…you’re probably saying, “She’s way too young for hip replacement.” That’s how I feel too. But the x-rays, a limp in my stride and increasing discomfort and fatigue that keep me from living the life I want, tell a different story.

I still love to ride my bike!

I still love to ride my bike!

My hip is dis-eased! It isn’t a happy hip anymore. It complains when I get up from sitting down and when I walk more than a few hundred feet. Sometimes it even grumbles just walking from the car into the house. I have moments of freedom and ease when I think, “Maybe I really don’t need a new hip.” But then I find myself limping again.

The combination of a hip supportive yoga routine along with physical therapy have kept my hip relatively happy over the past 3 years since arthritis was first diagnosed. I worked with my hip to keep it mobile and strong. I applied the principles I teach others. I listened to my hip. I eliminated activities that exacerbated the discomfort and found softer, gentler ways of exercising. I exchanged my road bike and long distance cycling for a more recreational style of riding. Swimming became my go-to cardio. I devoted anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes a day just doing my yoga and PT exercises. But, disease can’t always be cured. Some disease can only be managed and delayed.

Like breast cancer at 30 and my shoulder reconstruction at 50, hip replacement is another teacher on my path of being alive and well. What’s different this time is I’m choosing surgery. I’m choosing to do it sooner than later. I didn’t have that choice with cancer or my dislocated shoulder.

Learning to live with disease is an essential life skill that we don’t learn except through experience. We don’t always get to choose the treatment, but we can make significant choices about many other aspects of how we respond.

What dis-ease are you dealing with today?

  • Mental dis-ease of worry or anxiety about finances, employment, relationships, or other life issues?
  • Chronic emotional struggles with depression, anxiety or other bio-chemically related dis-ease?
  • Spiritual lethargy or existential angst about meaning, purpose, vocation, love?
  • Physical dis-ease of body aches, allergies, headaches, gastro-intestinal disruptions?
  • Stress and tension accumulating in random mental and physical symptoms?

What do you do to manage and work with the dis-ease that doesn’t seem like it may ever be cured? That you may just have to find a way to live with as best as you can?

My life’s work is to help myself and others love and enjoy living in our bodies, just as we are and make life-giving choices as we adjust to the changes and dis-eases that are an expected part of life.

I didn’t want cancer. I didn’t want a dislocated shoulder. I don’t want osteoarthritis in my hip and low-back. But once they became part of my story I made choices to let them become my teachers. All of the wisdom, guidance and compassionate support I offer others grows out of my daily choice to move toward dis-ease of body, mind, heart and spirit with compassion, openness and curiosity.

Will you join us?

Will you join us?

If you’ve got some dis-ease you’re dealing with and want support for your journey, please consider joining me and my companions at Alive and Well Women for our upcoming program: Alive and Well – A Contemplative Path to Health and Well-being.

Some of you participated in previous versions of the Alive and Well program. I’d love to have you re-join me for this revised version. The journey begins with an “in-town” retreat on Friday, March 31 from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 1st from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. followed by weekly gatherings on Thursdays from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. during April (6, 13, 20, 27).

Alive and Well is also offering Awaken: Self-Care from the Inside Out on Saturday, March 18th. The day includes experiential teaching and practices designed to help you connect to and work with your body to discover your unique blueprint for self-care.

Both events take place in Pasadena area. I’d love to see you at one or both.

In the meantime, your prayers for a smooth and successful surgery on Wednesday, February 22nd and a solid recovery after would be much appreciated.

 

 

 

I’ve spent hundreds of hours sitting with women who’ve invested immense time, money and energy trying to find a way of eating that works for them.  I advocate intuitive eating, learning to listen to and trust your own body. In all my years I have never recommended self-help diet books to anyone. The way to optimal health doesn’t come from outside sources. It comes from listening to your life and becoming your own health expert. The “dieting mindset”‘ and behaviors must be replaced with mindful awareness.

So why now?

eat in alignment with your body

eat in alignment with your body

Unlike diets, The PlantPlus Diet Solution doesn’t tell you what to eat, but offers facts, guidelines and resources for listening to the wisdom of your own body and becoming your own expert as to what will best serve your overall health and well-being.

I’ve learned through twenty-five years of psychotherapy and health coaching with clients struggling with food and weight that, as Joan Borysenko demonstrates through research and examples from her own personalized nutrition experiments, “there is no one-size-fits-all diet.” The key to finding the “right” diet is through paying attention to the impact different foods have on our physical and mental health. Joan does an exquisite job providing tools and information that empower readers to become experts about what best serves our own unique biological blueprint for optimal energy efficiency.

In addition to providing extensive practical support, The PlantPlus Diet Solution explains why willpower alone fails to help people find a life-giving way to eat. Research on the impact of dietary composition and weight loss continues to reveal the importance of metabolic differences in finding the optimal combination of foods for any one person. When asked about the role adherence played in the effectiveness of any particular diet Christopher Gardner, Professor at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, stated: “We think some people have a harder time adhering to a diet because it’s the wrong one for them metabolically.”

Everybody is different!

I’ve been waiting for years for this material to become available at a popular level. Little did I know it would come from the amazing brain and big heart of my dear friend!

The PlantPlus Nutrition Webinar starts Tuesday, January 20th. For those who signup for the course and would like additional support, I’m offering coaching and weekly mindful awareness conference calls along with the Webinar.

And for those who just want to start with the book, the Kindle version is on sale for only $1.99 at Amazon.

 

 

This is old news that our instant gratification conditioned culture doesn’t want to hear. So here’s the reminder as we begin 2015:

DIETS DON’T WORK!

When I first saw this Daily Beast article, I was hesitant to re-post on Facebook. I prefer to encourage rather than discourage. The negative spin of the headline “Why Your New Year’s Diet Will Fail” activated my resistance to generalizations and absolutes. But, truth is truth. All the research indicates that most often, diets offer temporary weight loss at best and in many cases contribute to increased metabolic efficiency — they train your fat cells to hold on tighter to that stored energy you’re trying to get rid of!

DIET = SLOWER METABOLISM = WEIGHT GAIN

Sure, some people begin their road to better health with a specific diet and eventually transition into permanent lifestyle changes. But they are the exceptions, not the norm.

The diet industry is profiting heavily off our discontent. Recent estimates indicate that in the U.S. alone $20 billion of our hard earned money goes into diets that don’t work. As nutritionist Evelyn Tribole points out, the diet business model uses our culturally induced shame to create a fail proof business model: “It’s the only thing we buy that, when the product fails, we all blame ourselves and then go buy another version.”

So, before you go waste your money on another diet program, I suggest you take time to reflect on the core issues:

How’s your relationship with your body?

– Do you honor your need for 7-9 hours of sleep a night?

– Do you drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated?

– Do you minimize the use of caffeine, alcohol and over-the-counter medications to regulate your energy?

Begin with the basics of self-care so your body will trust that you have your own best interest in mind.

If you aren’t already getting adequate sleep, start with that. Insufficient sleep disrupts the hormone cycles and metabolic functioning that support your body’s optimal energy efficiency.

If you aren’t drinking enough water, start with a commitment to hydration. Most of us need 9-13 cups a day minimum. More in some cases.

And if you’re using “legal” drugs (yes coffee and alcohol are drugs) to compensate for disrupted sleep and energy cycles, begin with getting that part of your energy regulation normalized.

If you’d like support in making these foundational changes in your relationship with your body, I’d love to be of service. Contact me about how health coaching can help you create a more loving relationship with your body that will support positive behavioral changes.

I look forward to journeying with you in 2015 as we love and enjoy living in our good bodies, just as we are.

How to Hold it Together When Your World Feels Like it is Falling Apart – Thursday, October 23rd 4 p.m.

Join me at the Cancer Support Community of Pasadena next week to explore the powerful opportunities unleashed amidst the crisis state evoked by cancer.

My breast cancer diagnosis and treatment 22 years ago lead me on a journey I didn’t choose or want, but has shaped my personal and professional life ever since. What began to emerge in my recovery process was the new way of being in my body and life that I now pass on to others. Cancer is just one of the many challenges we will all face if we are blessed to live long enough to face a major life crisis.

We will look at how cancer diagnosis and treatment can send many areas of life spiraling out of control, including family, friendships, work & professional life, overall  health and well-being, lifestyle choices, physical intimacy, as well as religion and spirituality.  Discuss how challenges to core belief systems and values can rock your world during and after a cancer journey. Learn mindful awareness tools to help you recover your stability amidst the crisis of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

To register contact the Cancer Support Community of Pasadena: 626-796-1083.

What’s your vision? And what are you willing to invest to get there?

How about 37 years and over one million dollars of your own money?

That’s what Dillion Griffith has invested to build his 64-foot fishing boat in the backyard of his home in Sun Valley. “The Mystic Rose” was just a vision back in the 1970’s when he began to dream his boat into being. But, like many of us (myself included) he didn’t stop with a vision. He hired a ship designer to draw up plans, moved his family, traveled to Montreal to purchase materials, tore out and rebuilt parts of the ship, and navigated many obstacles to fulfill his dream. He had a vision, but he also created a plan and invested resources in getting there.

This August or September he plans to launch his 40 ton boat in Oxnard – at a cost of another $50,000 just to haul it to the sea!

Perseverance, faithfulness and determination are hallmarks of those who dream great dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true.

Seven years ago I began investing my resources toward building a world where women love and enjoy being in our bodies, just the way we are on any given day. That doesn’t mean we don’t have goals, seek to change what we can, or work toward being healthier, more vibrant and radiant. But it does mean we stop criticizing ourselves and change our relationship to our bodies. Or, as a reader commented on a recent blog, at least “stop saying mean things about myself.”

I thought I’d be further along by now. Some days I get discouraged and think about giving up. But when I read Dillion’s story I imagined that 7 years into his boat plan he probably felt like quitting too.

What’s your vision of a healthier, more vibrant, energized you? What’s your plan for getting there? What are you ready to invest?

Health coaching is a resource to support you in fulfilling your dreams–for health of body, mind and spirit. You may want to focus on specific health behaviors like eating or exercise or you may want to reduce stress by changing your job or increase your contentment by creating more beauty in your home. The Wheel of Health provides an overview of the potential topics you might work on to support your vision of a life you love.

Visioning, planning, supporting you with Duke Integrative Medicine's Wheel of Health

I’d love to help you identify your vision and create a plan for getting there. Contact me to set up a no-fee phone consultation about how health coaching can help you build your ship!

LA Times writer Michael Hiltzick’s article “Federal rules on diet supplements do users no favor” lends further support to the point of my last blog. Uninformed use of diet products, supplements, energy boosters can be hazardous to your health! He exposes a dietary supplement named OxyElite Pro that has been linked to multiple hospitalizations and one death.

According to Hiltzick, the 1994 Dietary Supplement Heath and Education Act “essentially requires the Food and Drug Administration to assume that dietary supplements are safe until proved otherwise.”

Not surprisingly, the authors of the bill, Senators Harkin and Hatch, both cashed in heavily on campaign contributions from supplement manufacturers and related professional associations.

While some of us may benefit from and need supplements, eating real food as close to nature as God created it is the best way to nourish our bodies.

If you decide to explore dietary supplements, be a wise consumer and do your research. Be wary of brand-new products and anything promising too-good-to-be-true results. And nothing can replace the support of well-trained, licensed professionals. Always consult with your doctor when introducing even seemingly benign supplements as everybody is different.

Additionally, there’s a growing number of integrative medical doctors, like my colleague Marina Khubesrian (offices in South Pasadena and Montrose), who are trained in both traditional medicine as well as complementary methods. They can help you get a clear picture of  your health profile to accurately assess and determine appropriate supplements as well as make recommendations on other non-traditional interventions.

A humorous personal opinion piece from the NY Times reminds me why everybody needs to take personal responsibility for finding our own unique blueprint for optimal health.

Apparently, kale and other cruciferous vegetables must be avoided by people with hypothyroidism. These “super foods” that health gurus juice, powder, and encourage us to eat in mass quantities may actually be making some people sick. Wrap your head around that!

And those fruit and veggie juices you drink because of all the nutrients they deliver? When it comes to your oral health, you may as well drink cola and eat chocolate because to your teeth, sugar is sugar!

I’m not going to stop eating my cruciferous veggies and I don’t juice. I like my food as close to nature as God made it. No point in throwing out all that good fiber and having a mess to clean up. I prefer to just eat my fruits and veggies whole. But, that’s me. Some of my best friends swear by their juicing routines.

The next time you see someone touting their latest wonder remedy for whatever ails you, remember that you must be your own health expert. Know yourself. Know your body. And listen to your gut.

There are many well intentioned so-called “professionals” offering services, products and plans that aren’t regulated by any governing authority. The detox programs,  vitamins, supplements, and other regimens they offer may have value, but can also be ill-advised for some people.

Be a wise consumer. Know your own health profile. Listen to your body and trust yourself first of all!

Last month Chloe Sun at Asian American Women on Leadership posed the question, “How do you let others know who you are without coming across as self-promoting?”  She noted that, as leaders of various ministries and organizations, we must promote our causes and invite others to join us. Publicizing and being a spokesperson for what we’ve given our lives to is part of the job.

My passion is helping Christian women love themselves as we love God and others. Thirty years of ministry and clinical work shows me that while many excel at loving others and God, we often neglect our own spiritual, mental and physical health. Where did we learn this?  Not from the culture around us, but with encouragement from an unexpected source.

Growing up in Christian community, I often heard authorities challenge the concept of self-love. I especially remember an acronym taught at camp: How do you get JOY? From putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.

Such thinking can arise when scripture verses like Philippians 2.3 – “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves” – are read outside of their fuller context, promoting a distorted view of self-care as secondary to caring for others.  When read at face value, such admonitions  seem to tell us that loving others means negating ourselves, thus encouraging our insecurity about being “too much”, taking up too much space and using too many resources.

Yet such insecurities are anything but loving. How is my playing it small and being afraid to step forward to share the good news of what God has taught me and is doing through me helping anyone?

An exposition of the biblical and theological meanings of love is beyond the scope of this post. My point is that when biblical texts or church teachings contribute to anxiety and self-neglect, we’ve clearly gotten the meaning wrong.

Love the Supreme Emotion

From a social sciences perspective, love is a sharing of positive emotional connection between people that elicits a desire to act in ways that support mutual well-being. When I “promote myself” in teaching a class or facilitating a retreat, I ooze with love. Few experiences give me as much positive emotion as supporting psychological, physical and spiritual well-being in others. Most often I feel that sense of positive connection among the entire group strengthen as we move through our time together. And we all leave with a stronger commitment to loving ourselves as we love others.

When our self-promotion comes from a place of love, then refusing to self-promote may be the most unloving thing of all. Letting others know who we are and inviting them to join our causes, participate in our programs or purchase our products and services is an act of love.

I’d love to support you in loving yourself as you love God and others. You can still sign up for “Self-Care through Mindful Awareness” this Saturday, March 22nd, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in South Pasadena. I’d love to support you in loving yourself as your love others either this Saturday or at a future workshop, yoga class or retreat. Sign-up for my newsletter (lower right sidebar) to get updates.

Thanks to my sisters at AAWOL who originally published this blog on their website. If you like what you read here, consider following their blog also.

When it comes to healthcare these days everyone seems to be pointing the finger at someone else. The insurance companies blame the hospitals and providers for the high fees consumers pay for coverage. The doctors blame the insurance companies for their limited time and access to resources for patient care. And everyone is blaming Obama!

But the number one factor in healthcare is self-care!

Food is Medicine

More than 75% of healthcare costs go to treating largely preventable chronic conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. And while access to care (10%), genetics (20%) and environment (20%) all factor into disease onset, most causes of disease are related to health behaviors and lifestyle (50%).

Psychologist Ellen Baker calls self-care an ethical imperative for mental health professionals. The demands of regular exposure to emotional distress and trauma can lead to depletion. When we don’t proactively attend to our basic needs and replenish our own storehouses of emotional and physical sustenance, we increase our risk for clinical impairment. Similar liabilities show up in studies of ministry professionals who are at far greater risk of depression and anxiety than people in other occupations.

I’ll be sharing some of my own experience with the occupational hazards of ministry and mental health at Self-Care for Helping Professionals at Azusa Pacific University in February.  While ministry and mental health professionals have an ethical responsibility to take care of ourselves lest our our impairment jeopardize our competency, I’m more and more convinced that all of us have a moral imperative for self-care.

What makes self-care a moral imperative for all of us? How about the 1.87 trillion dollars spent in the United States on largely preventable conditions?

My career transition from mental health to health coaching is largely motivated by my sense of moral conviction at the inequity that our over consumption of resources creates in a world where many lack basic resources. While we in the United States are busy gobbling up resources and making ourselves sick, children around the world are dying because they lack clean water, nutritious food and basic medical care.

Imagine how radically different the world would look if even a portion of that 1.87 trillion dollars went to meeting those needs. Many of my friends are doing just that by participating in Team World Vision’s Run for Water project. They are taking care of their own physical health by training for the LA Marathon while raising money to bring clean water, sanitation and hygiene to communities in Africa.

What about you?

What will you be doing in 2014 to attend to your own self-care?

How will you make a difference in reversing the healthcare crisis by making self-care a priority in your life?

If you’d like support with that, I’m available for no-fee phone consultations. Also, if you’d like updates on my workshops and health coaching programs for 2014, please sign up for my newsletter (lower corner of right sidebar).

***Statistics from Duke University Integrative Medicine Professional Health Coaching Training Program

Saturday, February 8th, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

The holidays are upon us! What will you do to maintain your health amidst the many added stresses of the season?

It’s a time for celebration but it’s also a very sad and difficult one for some of us–especially those whose lives aren’t filled with the love and joy they hope for. Some of us have lost loved ones this year or are continuing to feel the void of a beloved who died years ago. Depression, anxiety and other psychological symptoms often increase in December. Add to that the weight of financial pressures, navigation of family challenges and all that sugar that suddenly appears everywhere you turn, and you’ve got a recipe for all kinds of mental and physical health problems.

What does stress look like?

Take Time to Slow Down

Most often we hear “stress” used in a negative connotation: “I’m so stressed out getting ready for hosting Thanksgiving at my house. I don’t know if I can get it all done.” While ideally hosting a celebration is a joyful opportunity, here it’s been turned into a problem. It’s become a burden rather than the blessing we’d hope it to be.

Stress comes in many different packages. Even desired life events like marriage, a new job, entry or graduation from college or the birth of a baby, add significant stress to our lives.

How stress impacts our health depends on how we perceive it and how we respond to it.

How do you perceive holiday stress?

Martin Seligman, a pioneer in the field of positive psychology, says that our explanatory style is the critical factor as to whether stress takes us down or becomes an opportunity for personal and relational growth. His ideas are especially helpful when considering the “desired” stressors of the holidays.  Pessimists respond to stress from a stance of helplessness (“How am I ever going to get it all done?”). Optimists respond from a stance of power, choice and capability (“I am excited about hosting! I am going to work diligently and enjoy all the details of preparing a beautiful day to celebrate with family and friends.”)

Those who thrive under pressure maintain three views that minimize the impact of stress: a commitment to staying engaging (reducing isolation and passivity which lead to depression), taking appropriate control of whatever part of the situation can be altered and influenced (reducing helplessness) and seeing stress as a challenge - that even difficulties provide an opportunity for personal and relational growth.

How do you respond to stress?

Make Time to Pray

How we cope with stress factors heavily on its impacts upon health. The holiday season abounds with opportunities to fall into unhealthy coping patterns–especially overeating, drinking too much and neglecting stress reducing commitments to exercise and spiritual practices. Of course smoking or other compulsive substance use or activities are also likely to increase under stress.

Along with behavioral signs, increases in anger, crying, depression, negativity, physical tension, headaches, insomnia, digestive problems–all may indicate you need to increase your support for coping with holiday stress.

Positive Coping Ideas

Be proactive. Begin now to develop a plan for coping with potential holiday stress. Consider experimenting with a few new stress management techniques as part of your plan.  Possibilities include everything from taking a ten minute walk each day to setting boundaries about how many “treats” you’ll eat at a given event.

If you want support on developing your plan for either surviving anticipated grief or thriving through the celebrations, I’m offering a holiday health coaching special from now through December 20th – two individual sessions (phone or in person) plus email or text support between sessions for $225.00. I’d love to support your good health and help you enjoy the blessings as well as cope with your unique set of challenges.