Tag Archives: lifestyle

How I used the stages of change to overhaul my pantry

Photo credit: Ross Findon on Unsplash

Perhaps there are people out there who can relate to this statement. There are some projects that we know we should do, but we keep putting off. This could go on for years…..

Intuitively, we know we’ll be better if we finally get to them. But the thought of going through the process of change just seem overwhelming and even painful. Eventually, we place these projects on the backburner for what may look like forever. In coaching, we refer to this attitude as tolerations.

And then finally something shifts inside of you and suddenly you’re ready to get into action.

Well, that happened to me a couple of weeks ago with my pantry. My pantry is a super-small room right off my kitchen. Over the years I’ve gotten into the bad habit of just stacking stuff one on top of the other in what later became an “orderly mess”.

My pantry had become a “painful toleration”.

I finally decided the toleration of accepting a cluttered and nonfunctional pantry was far worse than the liberation of creating some order in it.

I like the famous quote by Anais Nin:
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

But something had to change within me in order to change my relationship to my pantry.

Whether you need to overhaul your pantry because it’s cluttered like mine, or you want to make healthier lifestyle choices, I came up with six steps to overhaul your pantry in under an hour.

Step 1

The first step is your mindset. Be resolute. You are committed to doing this. You are ready to get into action. Put your game face on and “Just Do It” attitude.

Step 2
Go through your pantry and throw out every food item that has expired.

Step 3
Next, if there are any packages or cans that you may have purchased some time back, you know you’re not going ever to use them. They are not expired. Place these items lovingly in a paper bag to donate to a nearby food pantry.

Step 4

Next, take everything else remaining off the shelves. You can stack them on the kitchen table. Take the opportunity to clean the shelves. Seems pretty basic but I found that de-cluttering the shelves had such a therapeutic feel to it. You may see that there are some more items that you are willing to let go off. Place them in the bag to donate to a food pantry.

Step 5

If you have only shelving in your pantry, then you may want to buy some clear storage bins for this part. I did. Next, organize food items in common groupings. For instance, all the grains in one container or two, broths and soups in another, cans in another bin. If at all possible create a flow to your pantry, where the items that you commonly use, are more accessible than items you don’t use all the time.

Step 6

Finish off by stacking items like bottles and storage containers or other sundry items in a separate space, say in the under shelves.

There you have it, a de-cluttered pantry in under an hour!

I can’t begin to tell you what a rewarding feeling it is to have this new relationship with my pantry.

Here are some of the benefits of having an organized pantry:
• I know where everything is a vast time-savings
• I’ve challenged myself to cook with the supplies I already have in my pantry before I go out and buy new groceries. That simple step saves on my grocery bill.
• Also, this process allowed me to get rid of some of the foods I had long taken out of my diet such as pasta and white rice.

I humorously used the example of my pantry project to highlight our relationship to change. Whether it’s a new diet or exercise program, we tend to want to jump straight into action without first finding out what stage we are in.

There are several stages to change. Let me illustrate the stages of change using my pantry project:

• Pre-contemplation– clearing out the pantry? Not even on my mind!
Contemplation– Maybe someday in the distant future (when I retire) I may declutter that pantry.
Preparation– Hhmmm… This pantry is becoming a nuisance. Good idea to gather information about how much time it’s going to take me to clean it out.
Action– I’m done with the status quo. I’m ready to make some changes. I’m prepared to clean out the pantry! Let’s do this!
Maintenance– Now the challenge is maintaining the new habit of keeping everything in its place.
Relapse– This is the stage old habits that die hard may creep up on us like a Ninja warrior! Be prepared. I know there may be some days that I’m exhausted after a long day and I may come home and just throw things on the shelf resolving to ‘tidy up later.’ I know this, and so I have my systems in place if that should happen. Simply resolve to go back to place the stuff in the grouping system I have already created.
Termination– This is the final stage of change. I’m a pro at handling my well-organized pantry!

Here are some action steps I invite you to take

  • Spend the next week or so writing out a list of your tolerations. This could be projects you haven’t gotten to. It could be you’re living with a chronic illness but you’ve put your health on the back burner.
  • Next, review the stages of change and identify exactly where you are with each toleration.
  • Then, see if you can move one or two items on your toleration list from say the ‘pre-contemplation’ or ‘contemplation’ phase to the preparation stage and even action.

I would love to hear your feedback.

To your health and wellbeing

Which is Better- Exercise or Movement?

Photo Credit Luis Quintero on Unsplash

Spring is finally upon us. For those of us in the northern hemisphere I must say we had quite a challenging winter 2018. What with the polar vortex and all. Even my dogs didn’t look forward to going on their daily walks on those cold days.

As the temperatures get warmer and the days get longer there is a tendency for us to want to spend more time outdoors.  Some of us may have packed on a couple of “winter pounds” for a myriad of reasons- less activity, more comfort food, being in “hibernation mode” (I know I have :).

And there belies the question- which is better for you- Exercise? Or movement?

Caution: Before starting an exercise program, please consult your healthcare provider to ensure that you are safe to start a moderate intensity exercise program.

There is a myriad of benefits to exercise. For some of its benefits, check out a post I wrote here.

There are four types of exercise.

  • Aerobic (cardiovascular exercise)
  • Resistance (strength training) exercise
  • Flexibility
  • Balance

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that a well-balanced exercise program consists of all four types.

The US Surgeon general, recommends in order to improve our health and wellbeing that we need to exercise at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity, or 75 minutes of intense activity every week.

As I type these numbers, it doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of time.  And yet it almost seems hard for us to squeeze in that 75-150 minutes a week.  I mean I know that I come up with reasons sometimes that I’m not able to set aside time to exercise 30 minutes 5 times a week.  According to the CDC only 23.5% of adult Americans perform aerobic and strength training weekly.

Research shows that being sedentary

A sedentary lifestyle is if you are not participating in at least 30 minutes of moderate activity at least 3 days a week for at least 3 months.

Having said all that, do you know that between 6-8 hours is spent in sedentary behavior.  I happen to wear a fitness device called an oura ring, and it sends me an alert every hour advising me to get up and stretch.

You may be someone that goes to the gym, does a daily run, etc., but how much activity you spend doing the rest of your day is also important. 

I find it very intriguing that even though I may have gotten in a workout on my peloton bike, at the end of the day the activity score shown on my oura ring is pretty low if I do not keep moving throughout the day.

So now you can see that even if you are someone who exercises regularly, that you could still fit into the “sedentary behavior” basket.

You may have heard the saying “sitting is the new smoking”? Well, that is because sitting time increases our all-cause mortality.

Now let me be honest, if you are that person who is the true definition of sedentary for whatever reason, I do not expect to get you to jump off the couch and go follow the surgeon general’s recommendations. I know this because, throughout my clinical career, I have actually had patients that

So there comes the concept of movement. Movement is merely the act of moving our bodies.  

There is a concept called nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). It is the energy we expend performing activities that are not sleeping, sitting or related to exercise. When we increase NEAT we can improve our overall exercise expenditure.

So how can we improve NEAT? By increasing everyday movement.

So here are some suggestions to increase movement throughout your day:

  • Set a reminder to take a 2-3 minute walk every hour.
  • Get a dog and walk it every day. 🙂
  • If you work in an office, work toward spending at least half of your office time standing, moving or doing light intense activities such as stretching, chair dips, lunges, etc.
  • Ditch the remote control and get up to manually change the TV/cable channel.
  • Purchase a fitness tracker and work up to and beyond 10,000 steps a day
  • If you are sedentary for whatever reason, perform exercises such as leg lifts, arm circles, biceps curls.
  • If you have to drive, park further and walk.
  • Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator.
  • In between commercials on TV stretch, do some jumping jacks, chair dips, lunges, wall pushups, etc.
  • If you take your child to their after-school activity, take that time to do some movement yourself rather than sitting around watching your child. 😉

In summary, both increasing physical activity, as well as movement which improves NEAT, are equally important. None should be done to the exclusion of the other.

Until next time,

To your Health & Wellbeing,

What do you think?

When you hear the word “exercise” what does that bring up in you? What are some ways that you can think of to increase your physical activity?

I would love to hear your comments. Send me an email at info@doctoreno.com

My Journey Into Functional Medicine

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Doctor of the Future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease~ Thomas Edison

 

Earlier on in my career as an internal medicine physician, I began to feel dissatisfied with the status quo. I sensed there was something wrong in the delivery of medical care. The 15 minute double booked office appointments only added to my angst and dissatisfaction. Questions plagued me such as:

  • How come my patients kept coming back time after time with the same complaints?
  • How come I was only resorting to pills to help them feel better?
  • How come I didn’t have enough time to educate them about lifestyle modifications?
  • How come those patients diagnosed with a chronic illness like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease suddenly had these ailments become the forefront of their existence spending time going from one doctor to another, filling one prescription after the other?
  • How come as time went on I saw the light in the eyes of a lot of my patients dim; there was almost a sense of resignation. Their lives had become, one doctor visit after the other, after the other.

In 2005, I left the sizeable multispecialty group I was working for in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago and went into private practice with two other business partners. Perhaps I could create a better model of healthcare delivery.

I saw my mission as not only treating acute illness but teaching my patients living with chronic diseases about taking simple small steps toward healthier living.

 

In my time in private practice, I decided to pursue training as a professional coach. I found there was power in guiding people toward possibility, so they see the answers for themselves while holding them accountable for the results they produce. Writing about the power of coaching still lights me up and gives me goosebumps.

I wanted to promote lifestyle interventions, but could not find a model I could incorporate that entirely resonated with the kind of care I was looking to deliver to my patients. Unfortunately, the practice was not going well. There was high overhead while insurance reimbursements were low.

Finally in 2010, after paying back the business loan we had taken out to start the practice, I made a decision to leave. I have been working in hospital medicine since then. Over the last eight years, I have continued to provide health information on my blog and have published and uodated a book for patients on  how to live with type 2 diabetes. But those questions have continued to plague me.

I’ve contemplated going back into private practice, but I wanted to make sure that I created a structure that would support not only my patients but also me.

As a cancer survivor, it is my responsibility to create a space that promotes my healing; where I can thrive and continue to serve my patients.

Well, I am happy to share that I have found that structure in functional medicine. So this is the beginning of my journey into functional medicine, and I am excited to share this  with you.

  • In this video blog, I share what I understand functional medicine to be

 

 

As always I welcome your comments as well as suggestions for topics you may be interested in learning more about.
To your health and wellbeing,

The ABCs of living with any chronic illness

 

 

 

 

A chronic illness is a prolonged illness that is not communicable and which is not expected to resolve.

Some examples of chronic illnesses are type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and arthritis.

According to the CDC, there are currently about 117 million adult American living a chronic illness.

In addition to this number, about 1 in 2 adult Americans live with one chronic illness and 1 in 4 live with at least two conditions.

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness is a life-altering experience. I know this first hand. I still remember the shock and disbelief reading my results stating the words ‘invasive cancer’.

A lot of people may have a hard time coping with the diagnosis, and they may begin to experience feelings of overwhelm, despair and even depression.

Some people may even feel they are no longer healthy.

But as with everything else in life, you choose differently by your mindset.

That is why I chose to address the mindset in the first three chapters of my recently published Amazon bestseller book ”Dr. Eno’s Guide to Thriving with Type 2 Diabetes”

Your mindset is made up of three essential aspects. I call them the ‘ABCs of living with any chronic illness.’

I not only write about these, but I used these concepts to help me thrive through my diagnosis of cancer.

So what are the ABCs?

A stands for Acceptance
B stands for Belief
C stands for commit to change

To learn more about the ABCs, download my free ebook which highlights the first three chapters of my Amazon bestseller book.

To obtain a copy of the book from Amazon, click here.

 

To your health and wellbeing,

 

 

 

 

Here are some other articles from our archives you may also like:

Five simple strategies to cope with diabetes distress

Five symptoms women should never ignore

Today’s health awareness topic: The relationship between your emotions and diabetes symptoms

 

How This Simple Strategy is Helping Me Tiptoe Past Overwhelm

personal developmentRecently I’ve had a lot on my plate. Between going to several work locations as a travel physician, building my online wellness platform; working on marketing and publicity; preparing for the release of my upcoming book, plus training for a fall marathon, it’s little wonder I’m beginning to experience some overwhelm.

In an earlier article I wrote about a strategy to get past overwhelm and get back into action.

But when we try to get back into action, we tend to set big goals and we get overwhelmed again.

Let’s say your goal at the beginning of  the year was to be a svelte size 6 by the start of the summer season. But somewhere around February, you stopped exercising, stopped watching your diet. Now you are 10 lbs heavier than you were at the beginning of the year!

You’re wondering if it’s worth even trying to lose all that weight. Perhaps you’re feeling so defeated that you’ve decided you’ll wait until 2018 to set another new year resolution.

In my upcoming book, I write about ‘the stages of change’. Too often we go straight into action without too much preparation. And when we do get into action we tend to go all out. You know the slogan ‘Go BIG or go home!’  Then we find we’re having a hard time keeping up the momentum. Next we become overwhelmed!

What if there was a way to tiptoe past overwhelm so that we stay in action and on the road to producing the results we desire?

Well, there is a way, I’ve learned about. It is called the Kaizen method. It teaches how to take simple small steps. When starting out with the kaizen method, the steps are so ridiculously small, that it may seem impossible they could create longlasting change. That’s the beauty of the kaizen method. The steps seem so small initially that we may not even feel we are making any change. The key is to success in the kaizen method is to consistently build on these small steps.

You see when we set BIG goals, we trigger an alarm in an area of our brain called the amygdala.
The amygdala is part of our primitive brain and was developed in pre-historic times to protect us from harm. So if the primitive man ventured into unfamiliar surroundings, it was the amygdala that fired off alarm signals warning him to retreat back to familiar surroundings.

The amygdala fires off the same way when we venture into the unfamiliar territory of making changes. Even when we know those changes could make us healthier and happier.

No wonder we never quite seem able to sustain a weight loss goal, exercise regimen, better diabetes numbers etc. because to our brains these all represent change. And our amygdala thinks change could be bad.

By learning to take simple small steps, consistently, we can make the needed change and not alarm our amygdala!

So what could this look like?

Let’s go back to the weight loss goal example and see how we can apply the kaizen method.

Rather than focus on the short-term goal of weight loss, focus on the long-term benefits losing weight will give you.

If you are living with type 2 diabetes or borderline diabetes, perhaps you may focus on the fact that in the long-term, losing weight has been proven to help with better blood sugar control and in the case of borderline diabetes can possibly reverse it.

Think of something really small that you can start with. This is the time to get really creative. Then commit to taking a simple small step.

For instance if you want to start a walking program, don’t rush to the fitness store and spend hundreds of dollars getting geared up in the ‘latest and the greatest gadgetry’. Rather, start with something as small as walking in place at home or at work for 1 minute a day. Or maybe you want to cut down on your food intake. Rather than look for ways to immediately cut out 500 calories per day, as most nutritionists may recommend, start with simply leaving a spoonful of food on your plate.

As these simple actions become easy, add on to with more small steps. For instance walk in place for 2 minutes a day. Leave two spoonfuls on your plate.

Be consistent. Make it a habit. Celebrate your wins.

Using the kaizen method can create a snowball effect. You will notice yourself wanting to take on more as your newfound habit becomes fun.

Can you think of other aspects of your life that could benefit from using the kaizen method?

Too often we tend to focus on what needs to be fixed. This is a very narrow way of looking at our lives. Every aspect of our lives are interconnected. You spiritual health affects your emotional health as well as your physical health. How you eat, sense and feel, relate to others as well as your perception of the world affects your whole person, and ultimately your health.

Whether you are living with a chronic illness or just looking to be healthier, it is always best to take a whole person approach to wellness.  The kaizen method is just one way that allows us to focus on the small things that ultimately affect the whole.

In my upcoming coaching programs, I’ll be sharing several strategies that help to focus on the whole person when it comes to improving our overall health and wellbeing.

I’m also excited that the second edition of my book “Dr. Eno’s Guide to Living Powerfully with Type 2 Diabetes’ will soon be released.  If you would like to download a free copy of the ebook that highlights the first three chapters of my upcoming book, click here.

To your health and wellbeing,

Today’s Health Awareness Topic: The relationship between your emotions and diabetes symptoms

 

 

 

 

People living with diabetes  may experience a wide range of emotions on a day-to-day basis. These emotions may range from initial anger, resentment, disbelief, and even denial. At times these emotions can be very intense. Sometimes these negative emotions are inappropriately directed at the healthcare provider who gave the bad news of the diagnosis.

Being diagnosed and living with type 2 diabetes does not have to be a stressful experience. Consider that contrary to popular opinion, being ‘stressed out’ does not have to be part of living with any chronic illness including type 2 diabetes.

It is predictable that over time, your emotions will wax and wane. Some days you may feel more upbeat than other days. Rest assured that you are OK. One of the first things that I do with my patients and clients is to work on getting those emotions out in the open so that we can deal with them at the outset.

You have the power to choose how your emotions impact your overall health and well being.

This is especially important if these emotions are not empowering. We all have the power to choose how our emotions impact us. I know this may sound so cliché. But really and truly this is one of the times that you get to choose and that choice directly impacts your blood sugar control. Living with diabetes is a prime example where having the power of choice impacts your overall health and blood sugar levels.

If you are constantly stressed out and angry then it’s predictable that it may be more challenging to get your blood sugars within normal range.

Stress causes the release of hormones in the body. The stress hormones are called adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help to prepare the body for ‘fight or flight’. One way that they prepare us for ‘fight or flight’ is by increasing the production of glucose from the liver stores. This is a normal stress response.

However, when you have diabetes, the last thing that you need is more sugar in your blood stream. Your body is already not able to handle the glucose that it has already!

Research has been performed on the effects of a positive mood on our overall health and well-being. On a chemical level, being happy helps to reduce stress hormones. It enhances the release of endorphins and natural serotonin both of which enhances our emotional state and enhances our well-being. If you have a positive and optimistic mindset, then you will feel more empowered in finding ways to better control your blood sugars.

The first step to living an empowered life with diabetes is to get those emotions out in the open. The next step is to deal with these emotions.

It can be challenging for healthcare providers to be able to address all the emotional concerns of our patients  living with a chronic illness. There is no  doubt the 15-minute ‘double-booked’ appointment slot may not help us to connect with our patients and understand how they are actually experiencing their disease but this discussion is important. Be certain to speak to your healthcare provider if you are feeling stressed out or overwhelmed.

Over time some people living with diabetes may begin to experience what is known as diabetes distress.  Diabetes distress is not true depression. Some patients may need the support of talk therapy. It may be helpful to work with a health coach or a psychologist.

As a professional life coach and a physician my stand is for patients and clients living with type 2 diabetes or any chronic illness to experience a vibrant wholesome life.

It is what motivated me create this platform as a way to empower women living with diabetes.

By empowering women, we empower our communities and eventually the planet.

One of the most important things to do is to deal with your mindset and your perception of living with diabetes.

In the first three chapters of the soon to be released updated version of my  book, ‘Dr. Eno’s A-Z  Guide to Living Powerfully with Diabetes’ I write about what I can best describe as the ‘ABCs of a positive mindset’.

They are:

  • A-Acceptance
  • B-Belief
  • C- Commitment to change

Yes you have the power to choose whichever way it goes. Remain committed to how your health and well-being even on days that you may not feel your best.

To take a FREE peek of the first three chapters my upcoming book, click here.

To your Health & Well-being,

How fiber can help reach healthy blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes

type 2 diabetesA friend of mine was recently sharing me how frustrated her husband was with his blood sugar levels. They seemed to fluctuate widely from high blood sugar levels to low blood sugar levels. He did not know how to react to this and had decided that he was not going to take his medications any longer. Naturally she was at her wits end when she reached out to me. How could she convince her husband that stopping his medications was not the way to deal with fluctuating blood sugars?

Fluctuating blood sugars are not unusual in type 2 diabetes. Whether you are a woman living with diabetes or you know someone living with diabetes, this can be very frustrating .

Let me start by normalizing this for you. You are not alone. There are many reasons why the blood sugars fluctuate. I will cover this topic in more detail in an upcoming article.  In addition to scheduling an appointment to see your healthcare provider, you may also need to make sensible lifestyle changes- to your diet and exercise regimen.

One of the ways things to tweak in diet to increase the amount of fiber. Fiber is a form of carbohydrate. Contrary to popular belief, not all carbohydrates are bad for you!

There are two kinds of fiber-soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber does not get absorbed from the intestinal tract. This kind of fiber helps to reduce constipation. Soluble fiber has many proven benefits. Soluble fiber gets absorbed into the bloodstream and so can help regulate blood sugars. It also helps to control cholesterol levels.

Soluble fiber can help to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease by up to 50%. This is especially important for someone living with type 2 diabetes, where the risk of stroke and heart attacks is increased.

Another benefit of soluble fiber is that it help reduce hunger by maintaining a sense of fullness. This can be useful in weight management. When you feel full you tend to eat less. 

Research has proven that simply losing 10% of your body weight helps to prevent borderline diabetes from becoming full blown type 2 diabetes. Some examples of soluble fiber include psyllium, pectin and wheat dextrin and oat products.

So exactly how much fiber is enough?

 Women should eat about 25 g of fiber and men up to 38 g of fiber a day. With the ‘standard American diet’ we consume an average of 17 g fiber per day.   A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that by increasing daily fiber up to 50 g, a person living with diabetes was able to achieve healthier blood sugar and cholesterol control.

Some ways that you can start to increase your fiber intake? 

 I usually recommend gradually increasing fiber in your diet. Remember this is a long-term change you are making to your lifestyle.  If you rapidly increase fiber, it may cause gas and abdominal bloating. Too much fiber could also cause constipation if you do not drink enough water.

 So here are some suggestions on ways to increase your fiber intake: 

  1. Create a list of fiber rich foods.  You can do research this online. Click on this link to research a variety of food sources that have high fiber content.
  2. Try experimenting with some new sources of fiber every day.
  3. Gradually increase your fiber intake by 5 g per day until you reach the goal.
  4. As you increase fiber intake also make sure to increase your water intake to reduce bloating and constipation.

Remember to be kind and patient with yourself. There is no quick fix to diabetes. Your goal is to achieve healthy blood sugars so that you reduce the complications associated with diabetes. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can be one of your most powerful tools in achieving healthy blood sugars. So start today to take simple small steps each and every day and don’t give up.

To your health and wellbeing,

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