Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
4:10 pm

We are killing ourselves!

sweating

Thirty years ago the leading cause of death was sudden occurrences brought on by heart attacks or germs and infectious diseases.  Diet, hygiene, antibiotics, stress and auto-immune disease, and technology have changed things.

Today the American Medical Association states that the leading cause of death is LIFESTYLE.  That means we are killing ourselves.  Disease and illness brought on by stress, diet, drinking and in-activity are the main causes.  We are all going one way or the other.  But why does it have to be at your own hand?

Here is a test, answer True or False:

· Stress comes from Overwork
· If I love work, and can do as much as I want
· If I exercise vigorously, I will be less stressed and unlikely to have a heart attack
· As you move up in your company, pay scale, etc. you will have less stress
· Certain jobs are more stressful than others.

All FALSE!  Stress can be reduced no matter what the circumstances when your express and then act on your desire for independence and control of your destiny and you are willing to change your habits and beliefs.  Take back your control.

Maybe you can’t change your job, how much money your make, or who you work with, but you can change your food habits, make small lifestyle changes, or just empower yourself.  Your life is in YOUR hands. 

"Better put a strong fence found the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley"
Joseph Malins



Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
1:30 pm

Let your journal change your life!

journal

I moved, again.  As often happens everything get thrown into boxes and when opened it sometimes feels like a gift.  Today I happened to be looking through my “important papers” and there it was.  I journaled one of the worst years of my life.  2011.  I sat down and read many pages.  Though the content would make most people’s hair curl, I felt gratitude.  That journal often at the end of the day, saved me. 

I often talk to clients about journaling or writing things down.  You may not think so, but it is a release onto paper your thoughts and feelings you may not be able to say out loud.  It’s not hard.  You just have to start.  This works for a problem or a dilemena in your life or it works for food and weight loss.  FYI usually weight gain comes with an unhappy soul!  Hence a great reason to write.

Just sit down for 10 minutes, Start writing about anything. Do not feel like you have to write complete sentences or spell things correctly or even stay on topic.  Just write and keep on writing for a set period of time. Allow yourself to vent, complain, explain, reflect....

Top reasons to journal:
  • Improve mental clarity/help solve problems/improve overall focus  by writing things down you are getting rid of mental and emotional clutter.  You can become more focused
  • Have a better connection with your values, emotions, and goals  you become more in touch with your feelings and can form healthy goals.  Your are transferring your problem onto paper.  This is helping to solve your problem vs. store the problem.
  • Improve insight and understanding sometimes it helps to see and understand your life, your situation, your pain/happiness when it can be read back.  You are reflecting.  You are having a conversation with your inner self.  I hope you’re listening!  If you are truly writing down your thoughts or feelings you are seeing your truth.
  • Track your overall development as you progress through days and months you can track your progression.  It allows you to look back and see from where you have come!!
  • Facilitate personal growth it is a step forward.  When things can be seen in black and white it becomes clearer and you hopefully will take steps towards growth.  You won’t thing “oh well, that was stupid” and move on.  Maybe you wrote “I won’t do that again” See the difference?
  • For me, I’m going to pick up my journal and start again.  Everything above has happened.  I am in a completely different place now, I see where I was and where I am going.  It will be interesting to read next year what I write today!

If you want help, you know where to reach me.

 


Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
10:23 am

Why Manage Stress

 

Posted on April 5, 2013

 

So in continuation of Why Stress Awareness we should talk about Chronic Stress.  There are negative consequences on our bodies when we have chronic stress.  

If stress is chronic, and our cortisol level remains elevated, it can cause a lot of negative health impacts.

Here are some health implications of stress and elevated cortisol level:

  • Nutrient deficiencies due to decrease in nutrient absorption and increase in excretion of certain minerals
  • Increased chances of cardiovascular disease by increasing LDL, triglycerides, high blood pressure and aggregation of blood platelet
  • Reduced good gut flora, which can lower immunity and cause digestive issues
  • Reduced metabolism and increased fat storage, leading to weight gain
  • Decreased healing ability
  • Increased oxidative stress which increases premature aging

You may be suffering from chronic stress if you notice the following:

  • Digestive complaints such as sudden onset of cramps, diarrhea and nausea
  • The feeling of suffocation and shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Physical weakness
  • Behavior changes and challenges
  • Unexplained anxiety, tears, inappropriate nervous laughter
  • Inability to communicate and focus
  • You may also use these measures to cover the feeling of burn out: use of stimulants such as coffee to "wake up", use of alcohol or sleeping pills to wind down, midnight snacking, overworking, oversleeping, or signs of depression.  
  • Many of these we don't recognize or associate with stress because they become chronic and not acute.   

Who is masking their symptoms of chronic stress by being a frequent customer of Starbucks?  I know that a go to for me is definetely coffee.  I have to catch myself and remember to breathe.  Sometimes you just really want to have that cup, but most of the time you are reaching for a "fix." 

Try a quick breathing exercise, count to 10, have a big drink of water and then evaluate the need for the coffee.  This is the same for chocolate, sweets, or any pick me up you go for.

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Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
10:22 am

Why keeping your liver clean is so important

 

Posted on June 7, 2013

 

 Why is it important to keep you liver clean? 

Your liver is the largest organ in the body and it is responsible for cleansing you body of toxins and wastes.  Your liver produces bile and breaks down fat and helps you to digest your food.   Everything we eat must go through liver in order to eventually be eliminated.  This is why it is so important to eat clean, unprocessed foods as much as possible.  It becomes taxing on the body to constantly have to try to digest fatty, very calorie dense foods.   I often say that the liver is a filter like your pool filter. It will work better and less sluggish when what is being filtered through is relatively clean and taken care of rather than full of sludge.

You may hear constantly about detoxes, cleanses, juicing etc.  This is good once in a while if you are comfortable with that but you can just start by eating clean food.  Your body will take care of the rest.

Best foods to eat:

1. Garlic

Just a small amount of this pungent white bulb has the ability to activate liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins. Garlic also holds high amounts of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing.

2. Grapefruit

High in both vitamin C and antioxidants, grapefruit increases the natural cleansing processes of the liver. A small glass of freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice will help boost production of the liver detoxification enzymes that help flush out carcinogens and other toxins.

3. Beets and Carrots

Both are extremely high in plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene; eating beets and carrots can help stimulate and improve overall liver function.

4. Green Tea

This liver-loving beverage is full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, a compound known to assist liver function. Green tea is not only delicious, it’s also a great way to improve your overall diet. Learn more about the benefits of green tea.

5. Leafy Green Vegetables

One of our most powerful allies in cleansing the liver, leafy greens can be eaten raw, cooked, or juiced. Extremely high in plant chlorophylls, greens suck up environmental toxins from the blood stream. With their distinct ability to neutralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides, these cleansing foods offer a powerful protective mechanism for the liver.

Try incorporating leafy greens such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens, and chicoryinto your diet. This will help increase the creation and flow of bile, the substance that removes waste from the organs and blood.

6. Avocados

This nutrient-dense super-food helps the body produce glutathione, a compound that is necessary for the liver to cleanse harmful toxins.

7. Apples

High in pectin, apples hold the chemical constituents necessary for the body to cleanse and release toxins from the digestive tract. This, in turn, makes it easier for the liver to handle the toxic load during the cleansing process.

8. Olive Oil

Cold-pressed organic oils such as olive, hemp and flax-seed are great for the liver, when used in moderation. They help the body by providing a lipid base that can suck up harmful toxins in the body. In this way, it takes some of the burden off the liver in terms of the toxic overload many of us suffer from.

9. Whole Grain

Grains, such as brown rice, are rich in B-complex vitamins which are nutrients known to improve overall fat metabolization, liver function and liver decongestion. If possible, do not eat foods with white flour, instead try eating whole wheat alternatives.

10. Cruciferous Vegetables

Eating broccoli and cauliflower will increase the amount of glucosinolate in your system, adding to enzyme production in the liver. These natural enzymes help flush out carcinogens, and other toxins, out of our body which may significantly lower risks associated with cancer.

11. Lemons & Limes

These citrus fruits contain very high amounts of vitamin C, which aids the body in synthesizing toxic materials into substances that can be absorbed by water. Drinking freshly-squeezed lemon or lime juice in the morning helps stimulate the liver.

12. Walnuts

Holding high amounts of the amino acid arginine, walnuts aid the liver in detoxifying ammonia. Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which support normal liver cleansing actions. Make sure you chew the nuts well (until they are liquefied) before swallowing.

13. Cabbage

Much like broccoli and cauliflower, eating cabbage helps stimulate the activation of two crucial liver detoxifying enzymes that help flush out toxins. Try eating more kimchi, coleslaw, cabbage soup and sauerkraut.

14. Turmeric

The liver’s favorite spice. Try adding some of this detoxifying goodness into your next lentil stew or veggie dish for an instant liver pick-me-up. Turmeric helps boost liver detox, by assisting enzymes that actively flush out dietary carcinogens.

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Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
10:21 am

Fix the hole in your bucket!

 

Posted on May 30, 2013

Believe it or not, today is National “My bucket has a hole in it” Day!  Remember the song?

Liza:  (singing) Henry! Fetch me some water!

Henry: (singing) There’s a hole in my bucket dear Liza, dear Liza
There’s a hole in my bucket dear Liza, a hole.

Liza: Well, fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Well, fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it.

I write this because it seems like a metaphor for life.  If it’s broken fix it instead of just wishing it so. We don’t always know where to start.  So start with one step at a time.  It’s not as hard as it may seem.  It may mean starting with a few food changes or a simple 15 minute walk once or twice a week.  Anything worth doing and worth changing is worth doing right.  This makes it sustainable.  Here are the first steps:

  1. Stop making excuses.  You want it or you don’t
  2. Change the way you think
  3. Don’t let FEAR get in the way
  4. Get support
  5. Think about who you want to be
  6. Get HEALTHY!

Life does not happen by accident.  It is hard work and it is worth it.  YOU are worth it!  I would love to support you. Come for a Free Hour Discovery Session!  Discover who you are and where you are going! 

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Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
10:18 am

Running's Out?

 

Posted on August 29, 2013

High-impact activity has its place in the world of working out. However, if you’re looking to increase your fitness level and pounding pavement doesn’t appeal, here are a handful of low-impact options that deliver results—without putting extra stress on your joints.

Walking – You walk every day, but how do you turn this into an exercise worthy of breaking a sweat? Try increasing your speed, swinging your arms, holding weights, and/or adding intervals (short bursts of speed or a hill climb) to your regular walk to up the intensity. Walking up stairs is also a great way to raise your heart rate and blast more calories during your walking workout.

Hiking – Changing terrain requires a lot of work from your lower body and walking up a mountain involves your largest muscles—the glutes, hips, and thighs; just what you want from an intense cardio workout. You can burn even more calories by adding a backpack!

Swimming – Here’s a low-impact exercise that delivers dramatic results. Swimming improves the condition of your cardiovascular system, but also increases muscle mass and flexibility without taxing your joints. In fact, swimming has even been shown to have beneficial effects on such conditions as arthritis. Most local YMCAs and many gyms have pools, so add laps to your routine to increase your stamina and shed pounds.  

Rebounding – This lesser-known exercise provides a potent low-impact workout while making you feel like a kid again. Bouncing for up to 40 minutes a day, five days a week on a mini-trampoline has shown to increase heart health and provide amazing benefits to the immune system due to the vertical movement’s specific effect on de-stagnating lymph fluid. Be sure to invest in a high-quality rebounder for optimal results.  (Also try jumping rope)

Biking – A great workout for the entire body, you should try biking if you want to develop great muscle tone on your legs, glutes, and hips while trimming your waist and increasing your cardio capacity. Biking regularly can significantly decrease your risk for heart disease and can also reduce stress—even short rides daily make a noticeable difference in a short period of time. Best of all, you don’t need to start out buying fancy equipment, you just need an all-purpose bike to get outside and start riding

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Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
10:14 am

Do you recognize your stress?

 

Posted on January 16, 2014

Stress is on the rise for a lot of Americans, and more than half of you who recognize this don’t feel like you are getting the support you need to handle it. You ask why?  Then, what can I do?

According to a Stress in America survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 1 out of 5 Americans reports feeling extreme levels of stress and more than a third say that their stress has gone up in the past year. Among the leading causes of stress are money, work, family and health issues.

Many people think of being stressed “as a normal state of being.”    I would argue it’s not. You don’t necessarily think about how you can do something differently and address this head-on.  Change it.

But it does need to be addressed. Stress can have a very real impact on a variety of body systems, from the cardiovascular system to muscles.  So what should you do? For starters, don’t wait for the stress to get to you. There’s positive things that you can do.  I know when you’re feeling stressed you may not always think of those things, so it’s helpful to have a plan.  To be prepared in advance

Studies have shown that any kind of exercise, from high-energy activities to yoga, can help. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are hormones that fight stress.  So for instance if you are a regular exerciser, you are already stronger and in prevention mode when acute stressful situations arise.  This is especially beneficial if you are experiencing a chronic situation as well.

Some other healthy tips for managing stress: Eat well-balanced meals, limit alcohol and caffeine intake, and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.  Sleep is often overlooked as not important.  But it is one of the most fundamentally important aspects of your day.  A good night’s sleep and sleep routine that includes over 7 hours.

Another tip, consider what the source of your stress is, and whether or not you feel it’s at a manageable level. It’s when our ability to cope with stressful events exceeds what we have to offer…or when it starts interfering with our functioning and our ability to work or be a student or be a parent, a good employee, have a good relationship….. Etc.  You get the picture. That’s when we really need to think…maybe I might need some additional support from a professional.

If you can’t identify what’s causing your stress or if it persists and starts interfering with your daily life, then call for a free consultation.  It may be the best conversation you’ll have. 

Comments

 

Submitted by Alison Bremner (not verified) on

Good post! Stress can cause physical as well as mental symptoms, it is important to recognize what these symptoms may be.

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Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
10:13 am

Clear your space and make room for wonderful things to flow in

 

Posted on February 13, 2014

While clutter might seem somewhat inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, you’d be wise to consider the feng shui take on an untidy space. According to principles of this ancient Chinese art, clutter prevents chi (positive energy or life force) from flowing throughout your home. Clutter contributes to feelings of being stuck or of being unable to relax in your home. The mere act of clearing clutter can renew your life by releasing negative emotions, and allowing you to create space for the things you want to achieve.

Here are three simple steps to take to cut down on the “Stuff” that gets in your way (literally and figuratively!):

Step 1—Commit. Every day, take small steps towards reducing the material burden in your home. Don’t try to do it all at once or you are likely to succumb to extreme overwhelm! Instead take an afternoon to focus on one corner of one room and move on from there. In a few weeks, your home will be a lot neater and it won’t feel like it was a burden.

Step 2—Keep, Toss, Donate.  Create boxes for each of these to make it easier to categorize your things. By sticking to this method, you merely need to deal with the “Keep” box when you’re through.

Step 3—Stay Detached. (Or as detached as humanly possible!) Sentimentality or a sense that “I’ll need this someday…” are likely the reasons you’re walled in by clutter, so it’s important to stay focused on the task at hand. This only works if you can be ruthless about what you keep. If you haven’t worn it, used it, or looked at it in the past year, it should go. No exceptions!

When you have completed your task, you’ll want to look into some simple organizing systems—file cabinets, decorative boxes, bins, etc.—to contain the important things that made the cut.

As Leo Babauta so eloquently puts in his book, The Power of Less, “Simplifying isn’t meant to leave your life empty—it’s meant to leave space in your life for what you really want to do.” Out with the old, in with the new—and improved! By clearing space you’ll be making room for wonderful things to flow in.

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Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
10:12 am

You can "laugh it off!"

 

Posted on May 3, 2014

Laughter is a great stress reliever in that it relieves physical and psychological stress. 

Stress Management Benefits of Laughter:

  • Hormones: Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins. This means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress.
  • Physical Release: Have you experienced the cleansed feeling after a good laugh? Laughter provides a physical and emotional release.
  • Internal Workout: A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. It even provides a good workout for the heart.  
  • Distraction: Laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt, and stress.  
  • Perspective: Our response to stressful events can be altered by whether we view something as a challenge or as a threatening situation.  Finding the humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective thereby making them less threatening and more positive.
  • Social Benefits of Laughter: Laughter connects us with others. By elevating the mood of those around you, you can reduce their stress levels, and be the cause of their stress relief.  This will help to lower your stress level even more!

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Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
10:09 am

Nutrition....the first step in stress management

Posted on March 5, 2015

 

March in National Nutrition Month!!  In support of that I thought this was the perfect time to get back on the wagon and to help you too as well. 

Whether you are a caretaker, the taken care of, or just a person who has HAD IT, there are ways to start feeling better.  I promise you.  One of the most important lessons to learn is Self-care.  It’s not uncommon for someone helping a family member with health concerns to forget his or her personal health needs. When you do not give yourself a break, stress can creep in and affect you emotionally and physically.

Try to keep a healthy balance—so you can do your best for the person in your care.

Stress and your body

Have you ever had an upset stomach? Or headaches? Or back pain? If there is no physical explanation, these feelings may be the result of stress. And when stress does not let up, it can affect eating habits too. Some people may crave certain types of comfort food to boost their mood, while others eat very little. Often the over-eater is recognized because we all know about “comfort food.”  I always joked that I was “an emotional starver.”  Less recognized but no less damaging to your body or emotional wellness. 

Good nutrition can help reduce stress

Experts advise that eating healthy foods can help reduce stress for caregivers. Healthy food choices supply your body with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can keep you energized and strong. Regular meal breaks also can provide some personal time to enjoy good food with friends or family. And that can go a long way toward reducing stress.

Healthy choices you can make

  • Good nutrition does not have to mean making big changes to your diet all at once. You can take it in small steps. You might want to start by reading food labels when you’re shopping—to help you make healthier choices.  One example:  Cut out artificial sweeteners and choose unsweetened ice tea or cucumber water.
  • Build good habits. Whether you’re cooking at home or eating out, try to include foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Get enough fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fiber-rich foods. Go for lean meats, poultry, and fish— all in sensible portions. And cut back on salt.
  • Keep good nutrition a priority. Why not try an app?  It can help you with tasty, healthy ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s easy and fun.
  • You can help reduce stress with good nutrition. Your healthier eating habits also may set a good example for the person you’re caring for to follow.
  • Go for a walk.

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