Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Nutrition confusion! What's a person to do?

Nutrition is a very important piece of your Life Puzzle. Yet few of us really know and understand healthy nutrition that we can depend on for a lifetime. What we get is a never ending series of diets to try amid a regular stream of news stories telling us what's good, what isn't. Is it any wonder most of us have nutrition whiplash! One minute you're going forward, next minute going backward and the end point is a big pain in the neck!

With all the conflict in the media of what's good, what isn't, I hear over and over again from folks that they've given up! Just as soon as they try one thing the media undermines its value. Who or what can you trust?

I suggest the KISSSS diet...keep it simple, keep it small, keep it sane, keep it slow. Here's how to do it.
1. When choosing foods....keep it simple. The less processed, the more better :)
In a grocery story, stick to the outside aisles where the produce section, fish/poultry/meat departments are. Avoid the middle aisles as much as possible. Wonder if it's 'processed?' If it has white flour or white sugar in's processed. Keep this type of food to a minimum!
2. When eating....keep it small.
If you've ever seen the movie Supersize Me, you'll realize that in the last 40 years the 'normal' for portion size has quadrupled! We eat too much, period. So, keep it small. Make smaller meals at home, eat only half of any meal when you go out, take home the rest for a second meal--everytime!
3. When designing your lifestyle diet...keep it sane.
You don't 'go on a diet', you live it. Thus, design one that you can live with and enjoy. If you're employing #1 and#2, you're halfway home. A general guideline of fresh fruits and vegetables, a little fish, limited beef/pork, whole grains (instead of processed!), lots of water and a good multivitamin/mineral support can work for a lifetime!
4. When at the dining table...keep it slow.
Two things happen when you slow down. One, you get to enjoy the process of actually eating your food for a longer amount of time. Two, it gives your stomach time to tell your brain, we're full! Since this takes 20 minutes to happen, if you eat so fast (average meal time...6 minutes!), you can end up eating way more food than you need or want before your mind tells you to stop!

So, KISSSS...keep it simple, small, sane, slow and you'll live a diet lifestyle that will build a healthy, whole, dynamic Life Puzzle!

But you knew when you married me that I was like.....

Boy, if I had a nickel for everytime I've heard in a marriage counseling session "But you knew when you married me that I was like such and such", well, let's just say, I'd be reitred and sipping pina coladas on some island!

What is it about getting married that leads so many of us to act as if we've just signed up to be in prison forever with another person? And from that viewpoint, we begin to lock our SELF into a "but this is the way I am and you can't change me" game with our partners?

I was doing a recent session with a great couple, newly married when the but you knew when you married me line dropped like a bomb in the middle of the room. He was insisting that she couldn't change him, this was the way he was. Heels were digging in, both parties going to their corners!

However, in our before session small talk, he had shared with me how a major stressor at work that he'd been dealing with for 15 months had resulted in his changing dramatically the way he dealt with this group of people. In the initial phase he'd been a wreck, turning himself upside down and inside out. This was his typical pattern over the course of his life when confronted with big challenges. But because this issue had stretched on for so long, he'd had the opportunity to change the way he talked to himself about the issues (more proactive, calm) and also how he communicated with this group. At the end of 15 months, he was a very different business person in how he now approached work challenges--and he was much happier. They hadn't forced him to change--he had grown to the realization that if he continued to deal with stress and challenges in his traditional "this is the way I am", he would end up either killing himself or killing his business.

So I said to him, "If you can change your SELF in the work area of your Life Puzzle and see that it favorably impacts the life you're creating, then wouldn't it make sense that you could change you SELF in your relationship/partnership piece too and end up with a more favorable life?" He mulled this over a bit--heels trying to decide if they should relax or dig in harder. And then he started to laugh....

The real bottom line on all this is the reality that your SELF is ALWAYS changing! When you're 35 you don't see the world the way you did as a 10 year old. So why, when you marry, do you assume your SELF is a finished work and your partner either likes you the way you were when you got married or they can just get out (another nickel for every time I've heard it line)!

So, it's time to ask your SELF--is my marriage a changing work of art or a prison relationship of two non-changing people? I guarantee you, just as the man above discovered his business life was so much more enjoyable when he allowed himself to grow and change--you'll find your marriage a lot more fun if you accept growth and change as the normal flow too!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Katrina and passivity--it is time to get active!

As we all know the debacle of Hurricane Katrina and her aftermath has left New Orleans devastated and many of us sitting by wondering--how did our systems get so ineffectual?

Recent reports as to what went wrong at all levels--federal, state and local governments have been posted and what stood out to me was a headline that said "Katrina Failure: Too little Initiative and too much Passivity".

The word 'passivity' hit me like a bullet. The Choosing Continuum talks about the 0-5 and the 6-10 side of how people deal with problems. On the 0-5 side, people respond to problems with a reactive, passive, unconscious, victim pattern. On the 6-10 side people respond to problems with a proactive, self-responsible, conscious, empowered pattern. What the report on Katrina showed is that most of the people dealing with Katrina at one level or another were 0-5 reactive and passive!

For the 10 years I've been teaching Life Puzzle, I've been well aware and audiences have consistently confirmed that most people respond to life in a 0-5 pattern. And I've shared that most of us do this because we're raised in a culture of systems that are also 0-5. For example, our medical system is a wait til it's broke then fix it, as are our schools, businesses etc. Audiences shake their heads in concurrence and I then ask, "Do reactive system create reactive people or do reactive people create reactive systems?" As the audience mulls this over for a minute or two, it become obvious that they create each other. It is a chicken and egg question because reactive people create reactive systems and then reactive systems reward people for staying reactive--and passive which just maintains the system!

But until Katrina I don't think any of us realized how extreme (and deadly!) this had become in our United States. I sit here in shock as I write this and just want to stand on a soap box and scream "This has got to stop!". But really it isn't about stopping 0-5--what I want to say is it time for all of us to start moving towards the 6-10. There isn't any more time to waste! And you can't wait for 'systems' to start rewarding you for this--you just have to do it!

I know this is difficult in the first step. We are so used to "doing what everyone else is doing" but as we've seen with Katrina, this is a recipe for disaster--personal, family, and community! Having the courage to say "time to do something different" isn't that hard when put in that context. You need only start with your own life--look at a few of your Life Puzzle pieces--nutrition, exercise, financial responsibility, work and get active, self-responsible. Be different and lead others!