Bexley Acupuncture, LLC | 2700 E. Main St. Suite 110, Bexley, Ohio 43209 | Phone 614.558.2130

All posts in Mind-Body

Real Food Reset: Mindful Eating and more

The last 5-day Real Food Reset Challenge of the year begins tomorrow!

With each Reset, I offer tips and tools for us all to refocus on why, what and when we eat to nourish our body for optimum health.

Eating should be intuitive and simple, and yet it can be so frustrating. 

Food should be nutritious and delicious and uncomplicated, and yet so many of us have challenges around it.

My free 5-day Reset challenges attempt to help you take away the complicated, frustrating relationships with food and eating.

The answer to all of this is in Mindful Eating.

 


 

I am excited to cohost this one with the beautifully talented Kelly Schmidt.

Kelly is a Bexley resident, a mother of two, a registered dietitian who specializes in diabetes. She’s a wealth of knowledge and is going to help lead us through Intermittent Fasting (IF) during this Reset.

You can choose to do the regular Reset, or give IF a try. It’s totally up to you!

It is not too late to join us!

Come see what it’s like to eat mindfully, and treat your body the way it’s meant to be treated.

If you have been curious about intermittent fasting, and want to give it a try, this is your opportunity!

Join my RESET now and you will get the guidelines, recipes, and all the information you need for Intermittent Fasting today.

 

 

Strength: What Does It Cost?

It is not often that I look up from the dumbbells.

It’s even less often that I spend anytime noticing other people’s workout gear.

When working out, I’m usually in a meditative zone (trying to catch my own breath), minding my own business (keeping count and not dropping heavy things on my toes!).

But today, in between sets of sumo squats, I caught a glimpse of someone’s shirt.

In big letters, it said: “Fort est gratuit.”

Thanks to my high school and college French lessons, I was translated the phrase in my head.

“Strong is free.”

As I picked up the dumbbells to complete my last set of squats, I pondered the phrase.

“Strong is free.”

We require strength to be strong.

Is strength really free? 

I asked myself.

Then I remembered what my older brother once told me: “Nothing is free in this life, sis.”


I remember not liking that wisdom from him… at all.

I wanted to not believe him.

I remember wanting to argue with him, and tell him:

“Of course there are some free things in life: Air! Water! Trees! Love! 

But are they?

They may be “free” as in, you don’t have to exchange money, silver, or gold for them.

But for us to have them, are they truly free? 


Back to the gym, and the T-shirt, and strength.

Like I said, I was pondering whether strength is free while sumo squatting.

In the last sets of squats, as my thighs were burning, I decided right then and there that to be strength is not free.

Strong is not free.

I was feeling my muscles burning – a sensation we are expected to feel if we want to build muscles, and get stronger.

It’s common knowledge that if we want more physical STRENGTH, we can’t stay comfortable.

Then I thought about emotional strength and how much thought work needs to happen to manage our mind. It hurts my head sometimes to think about thinking, and feeling. It would be easier to not think, and just ignore and avoid any unpleasant thoughts.

It is not comfortable to do emotional work. 

Emotional strength definitely does not come for free.


 

Putting down the heavy dumbbells, I looked up at the lady’s shirt again.

It matters not what language, what country, or where we are in the world and in life… I decided that I am going to disagree with “Fort est gratuit.” 

Strong is not free. 

Strong requires strength which does not come for free.

The more strength we have, the stronger we are.

Strength requires patience, perseverance, and commitment. 

Strength requires time.

Strength requires that we show up for ourselves, no matter what. 

The price tag for strength?

All the above, which can be boiled down to one word: discomfort. 

Discomfort is the currency to strength. 

We must allow ourselves to feel discomfort in order to grow… physical and emotional strength. 

Is it worth the payment?

If you want more strength in some way shape or form, for sure it is worth every ounce of discomfort.

Maybe I will design a shirt that says: “Fort est gagné.” 

Strong is earned.

If I wear it to the gym, I wonder if she would notice?

 

Following Fall: Learning to Let Go

I have been reluctant to write about fall this year.

It felt like it was not going to arrive.

The wet and warm summer days lingered into the first weeks of this new season. Even though the days were getting shorter, the trees were hanging on to those green leaves and the temperatures were some days warmer than warm.

In some ways it felt good to have summer linger.

Even if innately it felt wrong and delayed.

Maybe we were all taking our time to transition this year?

Maybe nature was trying to tell us that  it was okay to start letting go a little later?


 

I still believe that nature has a way of teaching us everything we need to know. If we pause to watch, hear, and feel, we can learn so much from the rhythm of the days.

Now that fall has truly arrived with crispy air and fall foliage, shorter days and Halloween decorations, let’s tune in and learn from nature how to let go of what we don’t need anymore. By doing so, we will be better prepared for the darker and shorter days to come.

Like the leaves that are falling from the trees, and the days that are letting go of sunlight, we must let go of some things that are no longer serving our mind and body.

Here are 4 simple ways to let go of things so that you can improve your life.

The first two have to do with your food choices to best nourish your body.

1. Let go of foods that don’t serve our body.

You know what these foods are. They are foods that make you feel bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable. They are also foods that you can’t stop eating even if it does not make you feel good (candy? alcohol? chips?).

Your body knows best and will let you know what it wants to let go of. All you have to do is listen to it, and choose to nourish the body instead of satisfying your mind.

2. Let go of eating at night

Night time eating is largely emotional eating (boredom, fatigue, anxiety) or part of a habit (eating while watching TV or browsing the computer/phone).

Our digestion needs a break to digest, heal and rebalance. The best time to do that is between your last meal (dinner) to your first meal the next day (breakfast).

So, let go of night time eating to allow your body to rest and digest. Again, choose to nourish the body instead of satisfying your mind.


The second two are mind-related. Letting go of some unproductive thoughts or words will give you so much freedom.

3. Let go of negative stories 

What negative stories do you have running in your brain? Are they true or are they projections of your mind? Are they serving you in some positive ways or are they causing more anxiety and worry?

You have the power to change these stories. Let go of them if these stories aren’t giving you positive results.

4. Let go of the shoulds

How long is your to-do list? How many of the items are considered “should dos”?

Prioritize how you spend your time, and let go of the shoulds if they are just clogging up your to-dos.

Often, the shoulds create unnecessary stress (or guilt, shame, disappointment). If you can let them go, even if for the time being, you will be giving yourself a gift of time and mental space to prioritize things that you can actually implement and accomplish.

 

 

Mid-Life Project: the coffee update

It’s been two weeks since I changed my coffee habits, as in, I gave it up cold turkey.

Granted, I still make coffee for my husband daily (he’s a lucky dude). Its aroma that fills the house each morning triggers the pleasure center in my brain. I sense that same desire for coffee immediately. The want is still there and there is a definite longing. I know this because these thoughts would twirl around in my mind:

“Should I have a small amount?”

“A little bit won’t hurt.”

“Nobody will know!”

Then I follow with these conversations with myself:

“You don’t need it right now.” answer: yup you’re right. 

“It won’t serve you today.” answer: nope, it won’t. 

“What are you capable of doing?” answer: a lot! I don’t need coffee. 

“How will you feel if you did have it?” answer: like I can’t trust myself, and I don’t want to feel that. 

 


Each day that goes by, that desire for coffee lingers a little less.

What I am finding is this: my body adjusted to no caffeine in just a few days, no problem, but my mind has not caught up yet. It still wants to create drama around this situation.

Clearly, the body requires less time to adapt to changes.

But it’s the mind that is in control.

How has giving up coffee serve me these last two weeks? I am not sure it has done too much in terms of physiological changes (I may be sleeping better). More importantly, what these two weeks have taught me is that my body is more than capable of taking care of itself when I allow it to do so. 

In addition, I am learning that when I manage my mind (like babysitting a toddler), I can pretty much withstand any emotions that appear. Those conversations are to be expected. How I respond to them will lead me to my actions which are entirely my own decisions.

I just need to remember that:

Change takes practice.

Change takes pausing.

Change takes persistence.

What about you? Do you find that your body excepts change so much more readily than your mind?

 

 

 

 

A Mid-Life Project: My Personal Journey

It’s been knocking at my door, this mid-life thing.

I turned 43 recently, and in so many ways, I am ecstatic.

  • I can properly call myself an adult, even though most of the time I am still looking for the adult in the room.
  • I am a legitimate mother of two amazing teenagers.
  • I am in a safe and loving marriage.
  • I have healthy parents and brother who are living full, exciting lives.
  • I love what I chose to and capable of doing in my profession.

I have so much gratitude at mid-life.

Seriously, I have nothing to complain about!

Except that my body is changing and showing signs of a woman experiencing mid-life. Slowly, but surely, I am being challenged by these classic symptoms (not inclusive):

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Night Sweats
  • Water retention
  • Hair loss
  • Food cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Unpredictable periods

Even though I realize that these are normal and to be expected (and tolerated), I am not ready to settle.

I am curious to see if there are things I am doing that exacerbate the process and symptoms.

 


This morning, drenched in sweat when I awoke, I stumbled downstairs to have my only cup of coffee of the day (strong, black, delicious).

I have to tell you that this might be one of my favorite parts of the day: early morning, quiet, me-time with coffee.

I love the smell, the ritual, the way it tastes and feels in my mouth.

Within minutes of drinking coffee, my head started buzzing, and I began to experience that false energy that caffeine provides.

I felt “ready” for the day.

Still nursing my coffee, I scrolled down my Instagram account quickly before getting ready for my 5am exercise class.

While doing so, I took off my rings that were tight on my puffy finger (water retention); my joints felt stiff (inflammation?). All the while, my clothes are still wet from the night sweat from my slumber.

I stopped at an instagram quote that said:

“What you resist the most, you need the most.”

Whoa!

I looked at my cup of coffee that I had been reluctant to give up despite what I know about its impact on hormones.

“What you resist the most, you need the most.” 

I have resisted giving up my cup of coffee for a long time. I have come up with many excuses of why it’s still okay for me to drink that one cup. I have felt sad ahead of time thinking about not having that coffee.

“What you resist the most, you need the most.”

And in that moment, I made the decision: No more caffeine. 

It’s just a start, I know.

There will be other resistants that I will challenge. But for now, it’s caffeine: coffee, chocolate, caffeinated teas. No sodas for me already, so that’s not hard.

 


 

Let’s see where this will take me, my mid-life body, and my resistant mind.

I am sharing this journey and this project here because I know that I do best with outer accountability. I also know that there are some of you out there who are in the same place, resisting something that might benefit you the most. 

Here’s to exploring what might be super uncomfortable!

It’s a good thing I like herbal tea. 🙂

 

 

 

Overcoming Anxiety : A Mind-Body Strategy

Anxiety is a common, albeit an unpleasant feeling.

It usually has to do with a feeling of negative anticipation about something that has not yet happened. Or it can occur when we think about unpleasant past events.

It seldom has to do with the present moment.

Anxiety can be fleeting, but when severe, it can feel out of control and unmanageable.

Most of the time, anxiety resides in our mind. It’s an uncomfortable sensation when we feel anxious, but for the most part, we are able to tolerate the feeling.

When it’s chronic, or severe, however, physical symptoms can present themselves. These symptoms can include (but not limited to) shortness of breath, palpitations, sweating, shaking, chest tightness, insomnia, skin rashes, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances.

In short, anxiety is a condition that manifests both in the mind and in the body.

{When anxiety is severe, please seek professional help immediately.}

When chronic and / mild, there are several ways to manage anxiety without taking medications.

It is helpful to seek out mind-body strategies, or techniques that can help calm your nervous system to shift the body’s response from the automatic fight-flight mode.

Some helpful strategies include:

  1. Exercise: movement releases natural endorphins which helps calm the mind and body.
  2. Meditation: slowing down your breathing will naturally decrease anxiety and allow you to focus on the present moment.
  3. Dietary changes: eating healthy, real foods and avoiding processed foods will reset your microbiome which is directly linked with your brain chemistry.
  4. Sleep: a restful body will function optimally. Sleeplessness can trigger fight-flight system regardless of what you are dealing with in your normal life. When you are sleep deprived, your body thinks you are under constant stress and will be on guard to protect you from the perceived danger. Anxiety ensues.
  5. Connection: talking or simply being with and around people you love and who understand you will make you feel at home and taken care of. Being connected with others help you feel physically safe, and emotionally nurtured.
  6. Coaching: working with an experienced coach can help you process your thoughts so you can overcome the same negative patterns. Coaching also creates clarity and provides accountability for you to move forward with ease.
  7. Mind-Body therapies like massage, tapping, hypnosis, acupuncture, cranio-sacral therapy, or biofeedback will allow your body to heal physically and emotionally, naturally.

 

 

I am offering a Group Acupuncture & Hypnosis workshop to reduce anxiety this coming Sunday at Bexley Yoga Studio.

Acupuncture is a wonderful and safe modality that allows the body’s nervous system to relax and find balance.

Hypnosis works with the subconscious mind where feelings and emotions reside.

This simple guided meditation technique will let you shift and reframe your thoughts and beliefs. Together, acupuncture & hypnosis can help you end the vicious cycle of anxiety.

The mind is powerful. Why not use what we already have to make us feel the best we can feel!

To register for the workshop, you can to this link.

 

Self Trust: How to Overcome Self Doubt

“I can’t do it!” she yelled out loud.

That was my daughter during a recent cross country race, somewhere between mile 2 and 3.

She hadn’t done that before… the out loud yelling thing. It startled us, her parents, her biggest fans, her #1 and #2 spectators. Her coach might have been surprised as well.

The day was hot, and humid, and there were some VERY fast varsity girls running in front of her.

Not only did she yell out those words, she followed up with a grunt.

An innate, loud, frustration-announcing-grunt.

_______________

 

That kind of  “I CAN’T DO IT!” moment happens to all of us, no matter how old we are. It usually happens inside our head. And sometimes, it happens frequently especially when we are trying to do something that we find challenging.

It’s when our brain sends us a message of “you are in pain, and you should stop the pain because you might literally collapse from mental or emotional exhaustion.”

Most of the time – 99.9% of the time – this message is an error.

Because it’s not entirely true.

My daughter was in pain, no doubt, but it was not true that she COULDN’T do it.

Because she did.

Not only did she finish in the top 5 of that varsity race, she cut off her personal best time by one minute.

If you know anything about cross country running… you will know she didn’t just do it, SHE CRUSHED IT.

 

________________

 

That error message, “I CAN’T DO IT!”, is simply a way that our primitive brain is challenging our human brain.

It’s a bit of a war in our head.

It’s a challenge between the lower brain (animal) to the higher brain (human).

Can the human brain, the one that has evolved to solve challenging problems, rise to the occasion, and challenge that error message?

Can we respond to it by saying, “What if we can?”

Can we challenge it by saying, “Actually, I can!”

Can we blow its socks off by doing the opposite of what it expects?

 

________________

 

A few hours after the race, we were all home having dinner around our family table.

The tired runner, though happy with her new 5K personal record, was recounting her experience.

“Tell us how you did it despite what you were feeling,” inquired my husband.

“I don’t know… it was so hard. It was so hot. They were so fast. I didn’t know if I could finish,” she replied with that familiar teenager-tone in her voice.

“But you did so well. How did you do it?” I followed up.

Her reply was pretty magical. She said:

“I guess I stopped thinking about it, and just let my body do it.”

 

___________________

 

She stopped trying, and started doing.

She stopped listening to her primitive brain that was hoping to protect her, and allowed her body to do what it was capable of. 

Like a famous character once said : “There is no try. There is only DO.”

And that is how we rise above our self doubt, and discomfort. We allow our ability to DO and in doing so, we cultivate self trust in the most profound way.

 

 

Pausing Lesson: Root to Rise

My favorite meditation during Learning to Pause Retreat with Jillian Pransky was the Root to Rise meditation.

 

I loved it for its imagery: to be still like a tree, with roots growing further and deeper into the ground while the tree branches keep growing and rising toward the sky.

 

Rooting down is very grounding.

 

When we feel our feet on the ground, touching the earth or the floor, we connect with what is below.

 

When we feel our hands rising up toward the sky, away from the ground, as far as we can, we connect with what is above.

 

Rooting keeps us grounded. This is the Yin side of life. 

 

Rising helps us grow. This is the Yang side of life. 

 

The interdependence of Yin and Yang, ground and sky, roots and branches plays a huge key to the harmony within us.

 

To experience both at the same time is the experience of being a human in harmony with itself.

 

It is only when we are well rooted can we rise further.

 

It is only when we are grounded that can we grow beyond who we currently are, to realize our full potential.

 

…………….

 

If you want to feel this in your body and in your mind right now, simply stand with your feet on the ground. Make sure you really feel them on the ground.

 

Now raise your arms above your head, spreading all your 10 fingers wide, and high.

 

Breathe in deeply while you stretch your hands above, as high as you can. Feel the space and freedom above you. This is where you can grow toward… it’s expansive and infinite. 

 

Breathe out completely while you plant your feet firmer into the ground. Feel the earth beneath you anchoring you down. Feel supported and nurtured and rooted by digging deeper. You are solid and grounded. Nothing can sway you now. 

 

Repeat this at least 5 times, preferably with your eyes closed, and pay attention to inside your body.

 

Let thoughts come and go, only focus on your breath.

 

Root to rise.

 

Ground to grow.

 

When these two work in unison, you are in harmony with yourself, and with the earth. 

 

And that is a moment of magic.

 

A moment of peace.

 

A moment of all possibilities. 

 

……..

 

 

 

 

Pausing Lesson: Most Important Relationship

The one lesson that Jillian Pransky reminded us over and over during our Learning to Pause Retreat at Kripalu was recognizing the most relationship we have.

 

It’s not the relationship with our kids, or our spouse. It’s not the relationship with our mother, father, or sibling. It’s not with our house, or community.

 

It’s the relationship we have with our breath.

 

That is it: our breath.

 

Since the day we were born, this relationship began.

 

And it will continue to the very end of our time in this body.

 

It is, by far, the longest and most intimate relationship of our life time.

 

Cultivating this relationship allows us to connect and trust the very essence of our being: the most basic foundation of life.

 

All relationships begin and grow with trust. 

 

In order to do this, we must pause.

 

When we pause to connect with our breath, we are truly connecting with our original source of energy.

 

When we pause to connect with our breath, we are attaching our mind to our body.

 

When we pause to connect with our breath, we rekindle the relationship with our being.

 

We have to be still for this relationship.

 

We have no choice, but to pause, and breathe.

 

This very moment, the moment we make this connection, we are truly living.

 

It sounds simple. But it’s not easy.

 

How often do you pause to feel your breath?

 

It’s a practice that is ongoing. Without the practice, we are out of touch. Without the practice, we are not connected to our original and only true source of ourselves.

 

“We practice to remember,” said Jillian.

 

We practice to remember. 

 

Right now, wherever you are, and whatever you are doing,

 

 

P A U S E…,     B R E A T H E…,     and    C O N N E C T… 

 

The more we practice and connect with this most important relationship, the stronger it will be and the most alive and present we will show up in our own life.

 

The more we trust ourselves. 

 

And from there, anything is possible.

 

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.

In that space is our power to choose our response. 

In that response lies our growth and our freedom. 

The whole reason to pause.” ~ Victor Frankl

 

 

……

Pausing Lesson: We Are the Sky

I just finished a wonderful weekend workshop, Learning to Pause, at Kripalu. There’s so much that I took away from it, and so much that I want to share with you here.

 

To digest in small chunks – because too much all at once is overwhelming – I am going to first share the “We are the sky” meditation with you

 

This meditation is a simple way to pause and get grounded, especially on a busy day or when you feel overwhelmed.

 

Imagine your mind or your consciousness as the sky – a vast, empty canvas that is spacious and infinite – and all the emotions you have from living your life are things that cross the sky: puffy clouds, storms, wind or rain.

 

They come, and they go. Sometimes they can be quite uncomfortable (like anxiety), or even frightening (panic or fear), but they always pass.

 

The sky is a space to allow these things to come and go just like how our mind is that space for our emotions to come and go. They all pass. And they can’t hurt us because we are just there to hold space for them. 

 

Give this simple meditation a try and watch what happens to your mind and how you respond to your emotions.

 

“We are the sky” Meditation

  • Go outside to where you can see the sky.
  • Look up at the sky.
  • Feel your feet on the ground.
  • Take a deep breath. With each breath, ground yourself deeper by feeling our feet firmly on the ground.  Allow the rest of our mind and body to expand like the sky.
  • Counting down 3 – 2 – 1, breathe and root down to the earth.
  • Count up 1 – 2 – 3, breathe and expand your chest to open up to the sky.
  • Do this for 2 minutes without any distractions and preferably outside where you can connect with the sky.

 

If we can be anything, why not be the sky?