Finding Freedom Through the Body Connection

Freedom: Choice; Openness; Candor; Free expression; Abundance; Space; Being Fluid & Flexible; Acceptance; Surrender; Playful; Spontaneous; Pleasure; Lack of restriction.

Lack of Freedom: Restriction; Imprisonment; Constriction; Contraction; No Choice; Limitation; Habitual responses; Fear; Stuck; Unworthy; Trapped: No pleasure; No time.

Freedom is a word that comes up a lot. As an integrative Physical Therapist who specializes in total mind-body healing, especially emotional & trauma release from the body, I hear statements like this all the time: “I want to be free of this pain & restriction in my body”; “I want to be free of this issue in my life”; “I wish I could express myself freely”; “I want financial freedom;” “I just want to be free of this pattern in my relationships”. Whether it’s work, health, body image, emotions, you name it, the bottom line is that we want more freedom in our lives. Can you relate?

So what does this have to do with the body? How can the practice of radical body awareness help us gain the freedom we so dearly desire? Simple ….. and not so simple. The body is a map and as a blueprint it shows us where we are free or not free. The obvious ways that clearly indicate a lack of freedom on the physical level are the places in the body that reflect pain, tightness, disease etc. Less obvious is that there is always a corresponding lack of freedom on the emotional, mental & spiritual levels. Often, it is the lack of freedom on these ‘other’ levels that creates the physical restriction in the first place.

Here’s an example. Recently a woman came to my office with pain in her neck and radiating into her eyes that was not responding to “standard” treatment. As we connected with this pain through hands-on manipulation, breath, intention and awareness, it became obvious that she was holding a tremendous amount of fear in this area. On deeper exploration it became clear the fear was caused by repetitive negative & catastrophic thoughts (ie, fear of being in a car crash, fear of being alone, fear of illness). As a result, in her body, she described feeling tight, contracted, disconnected, stuck. She felt her completely shut down, with no feeling of her body, and only aware of her overactive mind. In other words… lack of freedom.

I know how she feels. I understand the body contraction that comes when I get angry or anxious. The body naturally contracts and restricts, when there is pain, disease, fear or judgment at the mental and emotional levels or we feel separated at a spiritual level. This is our sign to pay attention! When we can bring in awareness, compassion, forgiveness and healing at these levels, we open the doors to gain freedom in every part of our lives, including the physical body.

There are many techniques to journey into the body (and a whole subcategory of psychology called body psychotherapy, or somatic psychology), and I use many of them in my personal and professional practice. The results are well worth it! For me, I have found the freedom to be comfortable in my body, to listen and honor what my body is telling me, to be more authentic, to feel free to speak my truth, to feel the deliciousness of loving myself more deeply and a deeper accepting of who I am. Plus, I have learned that when something uncomfortable or “restricted” shows up in the body, it is actually good news. Why? Because by going into the body, we can find a roadmap to our true freedom as we release, reclaim and forgive parts of ourselves that we may have cast aside.

So, back to my client. What do you think happened when we moved into an expanded place of positive and loving thoughts? Try this …. think of something that upsets you and FEEL into your body. How does it respond? Now think of something positive, fun, something you love… what happens in your body? (Is it easier to breath; more relaxed; are your muscles softer?) When I asked my client to do this and speak what was present for her, the first word out of her mouth was FREEDOM!

Yes! When we connect to what is happening in our body we find the freedom we are longing for. By allowing ourselves to slow down, feel inside, embrace what is present, become aware of what is truly going on for us, we give ourselves the opportunity to feel our truth, which then flows into our life. Ah… doesn’t that feel good?!

This is not to say that we are going to feel fabulous during this process of awakening into our Freedom. It is about the process. I know I can be extremely connected and in my flow then something throws me off (someone says or does something, I don’t sleep well, I have pain in my body) and I get off balance. However, noticing the reaction in my body and being aware I have contracted, tightened, feel “off”, allows me to work with, embrace, feel and listen to it. By sensing and feeling my world through my body I am more easily able to assess what is happening to me and how I need to take care of myself.

I have deep respect for body knowledge. When I live my life including my body I feel the satisfaction of living. Most of all, I feel the deep connection to source (mine and Spirit’s) and that gives me tremendous Freedom. To me, true Freedom can only come when we inhabit our body and live a body-mind existence.

Three TIPS to Freedom:

1. Take a deep breath and feel into your body. What are you aware of? Awareness is the first step.

2. Shake your body – shake your body loose. When you stop, become aware of the possibility of more open space inside.

3. Find a somatic or integrative body therapist to work with you specifically with your body & health issues. Remember working with the body towards your desired Freedom is not a “quick fix” but a process over time. The body holds the truth, and sometimes it takes some extra support to get to the core of your healing. You are worth it!

Rejuvenate Your Entire System With a Full Body Detox

In the modern world where even the air is contaminated with pollutants, all of us should realize the importance of detoxification, mainly a full body detox. Most of us are under the impression that we are living healthy lifestyles but we still seem to suffer from tiredness and lethargy. If you have similar problems, maybe it is time that you should consider going for a detox program. Such detox programs are extremely popular and there are many different variations available.

Detoxification (i.e., detox) is important as it can help eliminate harmful substances from within the body. These harmful toxins if not removed, can lead to health issues like fatigue, nausea, and even serious diseases. There are numerous detox diets that can help you detoxify. The main trick behind a it is to adopt specific eating habits that exclude certain food items that contain harmful toxins; these special diets are rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. Certain food items like meat, certain grains, dairy products, caffeine, and white flour are temporarily removed from the diet.

These diets usually start with a short period of fasting that is followed by a strict diet of fruits, vegetables, plenty of water and fruit juices. The best diet plan would be to base your diet on fresh vegetables and fruits, lean sources of protein, whole grains, and unsaturated fats. You can combine such diet plans with regular exercise, massage therapy, and proper relaxation for the best detox program.

The full body detox provides physical and mental well-being; it also gives a sense of rejuvenation and healing. It effectively helps cleanse your body from the inside. Sometimes in certain programs, herbal laxatives are also used to flush out harmful toxins from the body. These programs last for about 7 to 10 days and after a full detox, people feel more refreshed and energized.

There are several other methods available for detox like a juice diet, detox body wrap, detox teas, and a number of other detoxification products as well. There are also many ways by which you can aid your internal detoxification system to better detoxify your body. Here below are some ways that you can incorporate for a full body detox:

A) Consume food items that are rich in selenium to help detoxify your body.
B) Adding zinc to you regular diet can be extremely helpful as zinc protects the body form the harmful effects of toxins.
C) Buying organic produce is a good option and it is wise to choose homeopathic medicine over over-the-counter commercial drugs.
D) Drink plenty of water to help flush out all the harmful toxins from your body.

If you are planning to go for a full body detox, ensure that you have good guidance. Following the right steps for a full body detox shall help you cleanse your body in a matter of days and you shall notice a boost in your energy. Detoxification can purify you both mentally and physically to help you get the best out of life. So get rid of the toxins that are weighing your down and start your full body detox program today!

John Khu is a health enthusiast and author of a new eBook titled “Body Detox Tips”. He is devoted to educate others on the benefit of body detoxification. He is also the owner of the website called [http://www.bodydetoxtips.com/] which provides complete and up-to-date information.

9 Exercises That Target Different Parts of a Man’s Body

Fitness plays a very important role in men’s health. It improves the quality of the lives they live by reducing the risks of degenerative diseases such as cancer, hypertension, diabetes or heart diseases. Staying fit requires a combination of a good diet and regular exercise. The down side is that doing the same kinds of exercises every two days can not only get exhausting, it can also be a bit boring. There is therefore the need to keep changing the exercises every so often to beat this and to be able to reap the benefits of working out at the end of the day. Below, we will discuss a number of exercises that target different parts of a man’s body.

1. Push ups for the chest and serratus anterior

Push ups are the best exercise for working out the chest, the arms and the shoulders. To do this exercise, lie face down with your palms at shoulder level with your fingers spreading out forward. Push your body up until the entire weight rests on the palms and the toes, keeping your body as straight as possible. Lower yourself until you almost touch the floor and repeat. You can vary the way you do this exercise by adjusting the width difference between your palms.

2. V-sit hold for the abdominal muscles

This exercise will improve your balance by working your abdominal muscles. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your arms pressed firmly to your side. Lift your upper body and your lower body into a V position while you support yourself with your butt. Hold this position for as long as possible before going back to the starting point. Repeat the process.

3. Single-Leg Side Plank

This exercise improves the endurance of the entire lower back. It also activates the glutes making it very good for prevention of lower-back problems. To do it, lie on your right side. Your knees should be straight at this point. Support your upper body with the right elbow and forearm placing the left hand on the left hip. Contract your abdominal muscles while raising your hips so that the body forms a straight line from the ankles to the shoulders. Raise your left leg as high as possible and hold for half a minute. Repeat this several times and then change to your left side and do the same.

4. Reverse Crunches

This exercise is good for working out the core and the lower back. To do it, lie straight on your back with your arms on your sides. Press your palms into the floor. Bending your knees at 90-degrees, bring them up till they are directly over the hips. Tighten the abdominal muscles while keeping the upper body pressed to the floor and curl your tailbone up off the floor, bringing your knees over to your chest. Curl back to the starting point and repeat. Do this 15-20 times.

5. Stomach vacuum for the abs

While sit-ups and press ups work on the outer stomach muscles, they do very little for the inner muscles. Stomach vacuum on the other hand works on the core of the stomach leaving one with a stronger, tighter and flatter stomach. This exercise employs breathing and if done properly, it can remove two inches from the waist in just three weeks. To do it, breathe in deeply filling the stomach like a balloon. Then breathe out slowly sucking in your stomach as far back towards the spine as you can and hold this position for as long as you can. When in position, you should continue breathing normally. Repeat ten times. The exercise is great and convenient as it can be done while standing, while on the back, while seated at your desk in the office or even on all fours.

6. Squats for the lower body

Squats are a great way of exercising the lower body without weights. Squats maximize the benefits of other exercises by creating an overall anabolic environment in one’s body. To do this exercise, keep your back straight. Your feet need to be shoulder length apart. You can either stretch your hands straight in front of you or you can use weights for a heavier squat. Stick your butt out while supporting yourself with the heel and lower your body towards the floor. The butt should go lower than the knees for a full squat. Push from the heels to rise and repeat.

7. Farmer’s walk on toes for the calves

This exercise increases the cardiovascular fitness while working out the calves. To do it, grab heavy dumbbells, hold them at arm’s length on the sides of your body and stand on the balls of your feet. Walk forward for a minute before stopping. You can use heavier dumbbells if you feel like you could have endured the pressure for much longer.

8. The Pelvic Tilt

The pelvic tilt is an exercise that strengthens the pelvis muscles and the lower back. To do it, lie on your back on a mat with your arms on the sides of your body. Bend your knees such that the heel rests straight on the floor. Tighten your lower abs pulling in your tummy towards your spine thus tilting your pelvis up into the air. Hold this position for 10 seconds before going back to the starting point. Repeat the process.

9. Kegels for the pelvis floor muscles

Kegels are exercises that are normally associated with women. They involve the exercising of the muscle that holds the flow of urine. Just like in women, the kegel exercises are very good for a man’s sexuality as they reduce premature ejaculation and generally intensify the sexual pleasure. It also prevents male urinary incontinence. To exercise the pelvic floor muscles, contract your kegel muscle like when trying to stop the flow of urine and hold for a count of four to ten. Repeat this exercise for as many times as you can throughout the day whether standing, sitting or walking.

The Best Approach For Body Building

No body building routine is finished until it is paired with a balanced and nutritious diet. This means that body building is exactly like every other form of exercise or sport. If you really want to be healthy you need to eat nutritious, balanced and healthy foods. This means that you should start choosing whole grains, veggies and fruits over junk food snacks. Chemical ingredients and high fructose corn syrup are your enemies. These work against your muscles. When you workout you are basically tearing down your muscles and then letting them build back up–healthy foods are key to making sure your muscles can do just that.

When you do body building you need to up your protein intake. It is very important that you have a good level of protein intake because your muscles will use that protein to repair and rebuild themselves after every workout. Lots of body builders will add protein powders to their food so that they can be sure they are taking in enough of it. As a new body builder this type of thing isn’t your concern just yet. Eating a well balanced diet should be enough when you first start out. If, however, you find yourself really enjoying body building and you want to intensify the duration and frequency of your workouts, upping your protein intake is a good idea (it will help compensate for the needs of your muscles). Your doctor will be able to tell you which of the protein powders will work best for you.

Stay positive. The Little Engine that Could is more than a little kid’s story. It is a real thinking pattern. It could be the key to your body building success.

You have to have faith in yourself. You have to keep a positive mindset or you’ll just get discouraged. Most importantly, you will have better body building results if you stay positive. It is easier to body build when you are happy with the actions you are taking. If you hate what you are doing it will be harder for you to do it. Body building is a perfectly legitimate way to work your muscles, build your strength and increase your health. Body building is often assigned “hobby” status by people who do not understand it. It is actually a wonderful way to strengthen and tone your muscles as you work to increase the healthfulness of your lifestyle. With the right approach, body building can be an incredibly rewarding way to strengthen your whole body.

Body Acne Treatments – Chin Acne Causes and the No Side Effect Solutions

There is no single thing that causes chin acne. There are a number of contributing factors, including genetics, hormonal activity and diet. The underlying causes of the problem, however, are primarily bacteria overgrowth and inflammation.

A pimple, cyst or boil is a bacterial infection. The infections actually respond to antibiotics taken orally or antibiotic ointments, which are applied topically.

But, since acne is a condition that usually continues for a number of years, oral antibiotics are not usually recommended. Taking antibiotics on a daily basis for years would wreak havoc on the digestive system and could open the body up to more serious infections, as the body builds up a kind of tolerance to the antibiotics. Stronger and stronger ones would be needed.

Antibacterial ointments can be used on a regular basis, but they can cause skin irritation and their use is generally reserved for the infected pimple. Natural antibacterial compounds can be used on a regular basis, without causing irritation.

If you are looking for a home remedy for acne, look for tea tree or Neem oil. Both are natural anti-bacterial compounds. They have anti-inflammatory activity, too. So, they address both of the underlying causes of pimples or spots.

Doctors commonly prescribe isotretinoin for acne. It is known to reduce or completely resolve the problem within 4-6 months, but it is accompanied by numerous side effects. Some of which can be very serious.

What many people do not realize is that isotretinoin is a synthetic form of vitamin A. Taking beta-carotene supplements or increasing your intake of foods like carrots could have the same benefit and can be used on a long-term basis, without doing any damage to your health.

The form of vitamin A found in animals and fish can be toxic at high doses, which is probably why isotretinoin has such a negative effect on the body and has been known to damage the liver. Beta-carotene is converted within the body to vitamin A on an as-needed basis. It is not possible to get too much beta-carotene in your diet.

Numerous studies have shown that people with acne have low blood levels of vitamin A and vitamin E. Taking a good daily multi-vitamin will correct that and could help prevent future breakouts.

Time may be all that it takes to cure chin acne. While close to 90% of all teenagers have them, most adults are pimple-free. So, try some of the remedies mentioned here and let nature take its course.

Maria’s passion is to share knowledge with others on the same body acne treatments [http://www.natural-acne-treatment-answers.com/chin-acne] that eliminated her acne. For more great discoveries visit natural-acne-treatment-answers.com [http://www.natural-acne-treatment-answers.com/]

Health Elements For Children

It is every parents wish to have healthy, happy and fun loving children. Most parents are vigilant that their children are exposed to the right elements that will facilitate good health and form good habits.

There are several things a parent can do to encourage life long healthy habits for children, setting an example is the foremost important action a parent can take.When a child sees their parent living a healthy lifestyle fill with exercise, eating healthy meals including healthy snacks for children, getting enough sleep, drinking adequate water and reducing the amount of sugar consumed, this lifestyle is embedded in them and become life long practices. There are five elements of a healthy lifestyle for children:

Food
Food is the number one cause of obesity amongst children today. Making the wrong food choices today can lead to detrimental effects tomorrow. Teaching children how to following the health pyramids and eat with it’s guideline will benefit them. Making sensible choices when it comes to healthy eating snacks for children, will teach them how to balance their snacks. Not because it is a snack means it has to be junk.

Breakfast is an issue that is quite noticeable at the breakfast program in schools. Children are not eating breakfast at home, there may not be enough time in the morning or there may be a cost factor but, whatever it is they are not getting it.

Water
Water is like the forbidden substance, children are not drinking enough the flush their system of toxins. Naturally children like sweets and that includes sugary drinks like sodas. Water will help flush some of that sugar and unhealthy substance out of their bodies. Water also hydrates the body and allows it to cool down naturally. Children would benefit greatly from healthy snacks for children with a glass of water.

Exercise
This area is of major concerns when it comes to children and their health. Because, our society has changed so much, children are not taking advantage of the outdoors. Where they get fresh air in their lungs and outdoors escapades doing different activities and gaining much needed physical exuberance. Children spend majority of their time at home indoors, they are hooked on video games and addicted to the computer. They spend hours and hours text messaging or talking on the phone. This has become second nature that the children actually have started hating being outdoors.

Parents are scared of the prevalent criminal activities on children and children have picked up on parents fear. If nothing is done and things continue in the same manner we are going to have a society filled with obese children.

Sleep
Children are not getting enough sleep. It is visible in the classrooms as children arrive at school still half asleep and tired. Sometimes they are loaded with homework and is up late completing it. Other times they are watching television or playing video games. Sleep nourishes the brain and allows it to be refreshed and ready to retain information, sleeps also enable you to be agile and alert.

Spiritual Awareness
A person does not have to be religious to be aware of a Spiritual presence. Children should learn to have respect for their environment and learn to take care of this earth for generations to come.

Being Happy
It is important that children enjoy their childhood, they deserve to be happy and care free. They should not be made to free guilt or burden down with the cares of life. Children need to laugh and play and have innocent fun. It is important that they go through the stages of growing up without any deviation on that set course of adulthood.

Holistic Health: Feeding the Whole Person

The dictionary definition of holistic is “… relating to the medical consideration of the complete person, physically and psychologically, in the treatment of disease”.

Joshua Rosenthal chose to look at elements of many dietary theories from all parts of the world and even from conflicting viewpoints to create the philosophy of bio-individuality. He teaches that integration of the whole person and focusing on one’s individual needs is key to a healthful lifestyle

Even though I love to talk to people about food, the designation of Holistic Health Coach means I have a responsibility to guide clients to look at themselves as a complete person as they strive to reach health and wellness goals.

Weight loss seems to be the number 1 goal for many people who seek out a health coach. There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be a healthy weight. Many of the most prevalent and life-threatening diseases of our time are directly related to obesity. However, weight is often a symptom of bigger and more complex issues.

Unfortunately, people struggling with weight issues have often been duped into believing myths about how to overcome the problem. Most of these myths and half-truths only address a small piece of the puzzle and do not look at the whole or complete person. Everyone wants a magic bullet, and frankly, there just isn’t one.

If weight loss were as simple as deciding to eat less and exercise more wouldn’t everyone just do it? Of course they would! But willpower alone isn’t the answer. Without addressing the whole person and their physical as well as psychological condition, sheer willpower falls short.

We want to be sated when we eat, and yet when part of our whole self is still hungry, we may continue to eat even though we’re full, to fill a void that food just can’t fill. Everyone can relate to this at one time or another at some point in their life.

When we eat, we feed much more than just our physical body. We feed our needs for comfort, activity, and connection among other things. There is nothing wrong with feeding those needs when we eat, but they should be fed from other Primary Food™ sources (career, relationships, spirituality and physical activity) as well.

Physical activity, for instance will feed our need for activity better than eating, and healthy relationships will feed our needs for comfort and connection.

Not all of our Primary Food gives us what we need at all times. For instance, in a time of relationship upheaval, our spirituality may feed our need for comfort and our career our need for connection. Everyone’s life situation changes over time, which is why we must be aware of what we are hungry for and how to feed that hunger.

One other need we often overlook is simply our need for rest. Personally I can attest to eating to keep going even though I’m not hungry. Staying up too late, getting just one more thing done and eating to stay awake is a habit I’ve worked to break. I find that when I’m rested I’m so much more effective in everything I do. That might seem simplistic and obvious, but it sure has been a fight to get myself to act on it!

If you are struggling to find balance in how you feed yourself in all areas of your life and would like to talk to a holistic health coach, please visit my website, healthfulreturns.com and fill out a health history form. When you submit it I’ll contact you for a free consultation. There is no obligation and I would consider it a privilege to visit with you about holistic health and the whole you!

Battling Our Bodies: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Body Images

How often do you look in the mirror and say “If I could just lose ten pounds, then I would be happy”? Unfortunately, the majority of American women and girls are dissatisfied with their bodies, and many take extreme measures in an attempt to change their bodies. For example, one study found that 63% of female participants identified weight as the key factor in determining how they felt about themselves – more important than family, school, or career. Other research suggests that 86% of all women are dissatisfied with their bodies and want to lose weight. Women and adolescent girls regard size, much like weight, as a definitive element of their identity. Some girls assume there is something wrong with their bodies when they cannot fit consistently into some “standard” size; others will reject a pair of jeans simply because they won’t wear a particular size. The majority of girls step on the scale to determine their self-worth; if they have lost weight, then it is a good day and they can briefly feel “okay” about themselves. If the number on the scale has increased ever so slightly, then the day is ruined and they feel worthless. Body image has now become intertwined with one’s weight, and therefore, if women are not happy with their weight, they can not possibly be satisfied with their bodies. Unfortunately, girls and women take this a step farther and rationalize that negative body image is directly equated to self-image. We are now living in a society where young girls believe the one way to definitely improve their self-image and to feel more confident is to lose weight and become thinner.

Women and young girls are now living in a society where their bodies define who they are. Girls are terrified to gain weight and are continually reminded by the media about various new diet products on the market, and the value in weight loss. They are also bombarded by countless television shows on plastic surgery and the number of cosmetic surgeries in this country are increasing every year. Women today face impossible images of beauty on a daily basis when they watch television, see a movie, or view a magazine. It is estimated that young girls are exposed to 400 to 600 media images per day. Young girls and women inescapably feel insecure about their bodies and physical appearance and often believe they must change their bodies to gain self-esteem. A recent survey found that only 2% of women in the world would describe themselves as “beautiful.” The vast majority of girls want to change various aspects of their appearance. In today’s society, self-esteem and body-esteem have become one and the same. Unfortunately this is having an emotional toll on young girls, and they are feeling inadequate and often turn to severe behaviors in an attempt to manipulate their bodies to “fit into” an unrealistic standard of beauty. Eating disorders have flourished in this beauty-driven society. Young girls and women are trapped in a negative cycle of body hatred. Women with eating disorders are particularly vulnerable to this negative body image cycle.

Although a large majority of women are displeased with their bodies, many women and girls experience extreme body image difficulties that can be part of more complicated problems. These extreme body image disturbances include body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders and severe depression.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder: This is a disorder of “imagined ugliness.” What individuals with this disorder see in the mirror is a grossly distorted view of what they actually look like. Often, these individuals will spend hours examining, attempting to conceal, or obsessing over their perceived flaws. Some people actually spend thousands of dollars on plastic surgery in an attempt to improve their bodies.

Anorexia Nervosa: This disorder is characterized by an extreme fear of gaining weight and these individuals actually perceive their bodies as larger or “fat” even though they are grossly underweight.

Bulimia Nervosa: Individuals with this disorder are also very dissatisfied with their bodies and have extreme concern with body weight and shape.

Depression: In many instances, individuals with depression often have a distorted view of themselves and believe they are less attractive than they really are.

Since negative body image is a prevalent problem for many women and girls and can also be a component of many serious disorders, it is critical that women learn to change their body image towards a healthy and positive view of self.

Seven Ways to Overcome Negative Body Image
1. Fight “Fatism”
Work on accepting people of all sizes and shapes. This will help you appreciate your own body. It may be useful to create a list of people you admire that do not have “perfect” bodies. Does their appearance affect how you feel about them? It is also important to remember that society’s standards have changed significantly over the last 50 years. The women that were considered the “ideal beauties” in the 1940’s and 1950’s, like Marilyn Monroe (size 14) and Mae West, were full-bodied and truly beautiful women, but they would be considered “overweight” by today’s standards.

2. Fight the Diet Downfall
Ninety percent of all women have dieted at some point in their life, and at any one point in time, 50% of women are dieting. A recent survey found that 14% of five-yearold girls report that they “go on diets” in an attempt to lose weight. By the time girls are ten years old, 80% report going on a diet. Women are two times more likely to diet than men. To dieters’ dismay, 98% of all dieters gain the weight back in five years. Studies also show that 20-25% of dieters progress to a partial or full-blown eating disorder. Research has found that when restrained eaters are exposed to commercials related to diet, weight loss, or fitness, they experience negative emotions and are more likely to then overeat. Women are foolish if they believe that dieting will make them feel better about themselves. Dieting only helps you lose your self-esteem and energy. Dieting also creates mood swings and feelings of hopelessness. To fight the diet downfall, an intuitive eating approach can be extremely helpful. This approach focuses on moderation of all types of foods and not counting calories or label reading. Food is “just food” and not labeled as “good” or “bad.” Clients learn to monitor their hunger/fullness and enjoy a healthy relationship with food. If you feel pressure to lose weight, talk to a friend or loved one, or seek professional help. There are many helpful books that focus on intuitive eating that may be a good resource.

3. Accept Genetics
It is critical to remember that many aspects of your body cannot be changed. Genetics play a role in your body and at least 25% to 70% of your body is determined by your genes. While there are many aspects of your body we cannot change, you can change or modify your beliefs and attitudes which influence the way you feel about yourself. Change starts with you – it is internal, and it starts with self-respect and a positive attitude. It is important to focus on health and not size. It is important to not compare your body with your friends, family members, or media images. We are all unique, and no two bodies are the same. We can’t be truly happy or healthy if we “diet into” a new body.

4. Understand that Emotions are Skin Deep
It is important to discover the emotions and feelings that underlie your negative body image. The statement “I feel fat” is never really about fat, even if you are overweight. Each time a women looks at herself in the mirror and says “Gross, I’m fat and disgusting,” she is really saying “There is something wrong with me or with what I’m feeling.” When we do not know how to deal with our feelings we turn to our bodies and blame our bodies for our feelings. Every time you say “I’m fat” you are betraying your body, and you are betraying and ignoring your underlying feelings. Remember that “fat” is never a feeling; it’s avoidance of feelings. Learn to discover your emotions and feelings, and realize that focusing on your body is only distracting you from what is “really” bothering you.

5. Question Messages Portrayed in the Media
The media sends powerful messages to girls and women about the acceptability (or unacceptability) of their bodies. Young girls are taught to compare themselves to women portrayed as successful in the media, assessing how closely they match up to the “ideal” body form. Unfortunately, the majority of girls and women (96%) do not match up to the models and actresses presented in the media. The average model is 5’10” and weighs 110 pounds, whereas the average women is 5’4″ and weighs 144 pounds. This is the largest discrepancy that has ever existed between women and the cultural ideal. This discrepancy leads many women and girls to feel inadequate and negative about their bodies. It is important to realize that only 4% of women genetically have the “ideal” body currently presented in the media. The other 96% of women feel they must go to extreme measures to attempt to reach this unobtainable image. Many of the images presented in the media have been computer enhanced and airbrushed. The models’ hips and waists have often been slimmed and their breasts enlarged through computer photo manipulation. Many of the women presented in the media suffer from an eating disorder or have adopted disordered eating behaviors to maintain such low body weights. It is important to start to question images in the media and question why women should feel compelled to “live up” to these unrealistic standards of beauty and thinness. One interesting side note: Glamour magazine tried to use more “average size” models in their magazine and found that sales went down. It is interesting that research demonstrates that women report feeling positive about their bodies after seeing normal images of women in the media, but this did not improve readership for Glamour magazine.

6. Recognize the Influence of Body Misperception
Women are prone to more negative feelings about their bodies than men. In general, women are more psychologically invested in their physical appearance. Your body image is central to how you feel about yourself. Research reveals that as much as 1/4 of your self-esteem is the result of how positive or negative your body image is. Unfortunately, many women with eating disorders have a larger percentage of their esteem invested in their bodies. Women with eating disorders often exhibit unequivocal body image misperception, in which they misperceive the size of part, or the entire body. Hence they are “blind” to their own figures. This distortion is real and it is not due to “fat,” but to the eating disorder illness. It is important to recognize this misperception and attribute it to the eating disorder. When you feel fat, remind yourself that you misperceive your shape. Judge your size according to the opinions of trusted others until you can trust your new and more accurate self-perceptions.

7. Befriend Your Body
It is important to combat negative body image because it can lead to depression, shyness, social anxiety and selfconsciousness in intimate relationships. Negative body image may also lead to an eating disorder. It is time that women stop judging their bodies harshly and learn to appreciate their inner being, soul, and spirit. A women’s body is a biological masterpiece; women can menstruate, ovulate and create life. Start to recognize you do not have to compare yourself to other women or women in the media. Begin to challenge images presented in the media, and realize that your worth does not depend on how closely you fit these unrealistic images.

In Margo Maine’s book “Body Wars,” she teaches women to reclaim their bodies and offers ways to help women love their bodies. Here are examples of 10 ways you can love your body:

1. Affirm that your body is perfect just the way it is.

2. Think of your body as a tool. Create an inventory of all the things you can do with it.

3. Walk with your head high with pride and confidence in yourself as a person, not a size.

4. Create a list of people you admire who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world. Was their appearance important to their success and accomplishments?

5. Don’t let your size keep you from doing things you enjoy.

6. Replace the time you spend criticizing your appearance with more positive, satisfying pursuits.

7. Let your inner beauty and individuality shine.

8. Think back to a time in your life when you liked and enjoyed your body. Get in touch with those feelings now.

9. Be your body’s ally and advocate, not its enemy.

10. Beauty is not just skin-deep. It is a reflection of your whole self. Love and enjoy the person inside.

In conclusion, negative body image is a serious problem and has damaging affects on women’s self-esteem. It can lead to depression, as well as an eating disorder. Changing our world starts with you. Self-love and respect, and the end of prejudice start with one person at a time. The external pursuit of changing your body can often damage spirituality by taking you away from the internal-self – the spirit, the soul, and the whole genuine self. If you or someone you care about suffers with negative body image, please seek professional help and stop the cycle of body hatred.

Tips for Professionals
Body image is particularly difficult to treat in women with eating disorders. There are several concepts that can assist professionals in their treatment of women with body image issues. It is helpful to first assess the degree of negative body image present. One example of how this can be done is by having women draw a front and side profile of their body and then identify the areas of love, like, dislike, and hate with different colors. Process each area with the client and have her describe why she feels that way about each particular area. Often negative body image issues have stemmed from past teasing experiences, and young girls and women focus on negative comments family and peers have said to them. For example, I had a 17 year-old client that was repeatedly teased from having “chubby cheeks.” When she was anorexic her cheeks were sunken in, and she believed her family would finally accept her and stop teasing her. Therapy had to focus on her childhood teasing before she could accept having her cheeks.
Another helpful step is to determine how much negative body image impacts their everyday lives. Many women avoid wearing a variety of clothing and also use clothing to conceal their bodies. For example, many clients will wear big baggy sweatshirts all year long to avoid showing their stomach. Women also avoid activities to protect themselves from negative body image. Many clients have not gone to a swimming pool for over a decade. Having clients begin to face their fears and “avoid avoiding” will slowly help them embrace their body. Encourage clients to try new things and find and express their real self.

It is also helpful to have women practice appropriate self care. This means that they need to get adequate sleep, food, and exercise. Often women with eating disorders feel so negative about their bodies they avoid caring for themselves, and this self neglect continues to create a negative downward spiral. Encourage clients to re-engage in activities that they have been neglecting due to their bodies.

References and Suggested Readings
What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?, Thomas F. Cash, Ph.D., Bantam Books, New York, 1995.
When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies, Jane R. Hirschmann & Carol H. Munter, Fawcett Columbine, New York, 1995.

Body Wars: Making Peace with Women’s Bodies, Margo Maine, Ph.D., Gurze Books, Calsbad, 2000

Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, Mary Pipher Ph.D., Random House, Ballantine Books, New York, 1994.

Intuitive Eating: A Recovery Book for the Chronic Dieter, Evelyn Tribole M.S., R.D. & Elyse Resch M.S., R.D., New York 1995

© Copyright Center for Change, Incorporated
November 2009

By: Nicole Hawkins, PhD

A Simple Guide to Guinea Pig Health

The information featured in this report is provided to help you understand more about your guinea pig’s health. When finding your guinea pig sick or injured, please seek the help of a trained Veterinarian. The facts, opinions and suggestions written here should not replace the recommendations made by your Vet. With proper care and attention guinea pigs can live a long healthy life (some up to 10 years). Prevention is far superior than medicine. Keep your pet on a proper diet, exercise them regularly and maintain a clean and tidy cage.

Groom them frequently and keep their cages clean and sanitary. Guinea Pigs (or Cavys as they are called) try to avoid getting wet (just like their feline friends cats) so unless your guinea pig has gotten involved in a dirty smelly mess, it’s better not to strain them with dipping them in water. Keeping the living space clean and free of urine, waste, and uneaten food will prolong the life of your little fur ball and keep him/her Strong and vibrant!

Cavy’s (another name for Guinea Pigs) are much more likely to contract disease and illness when compared to other common household pets. Some believe the size of the cage is responsible for this. If we envision the living space Rex and Fluffy are entitled to, and then look at where the little fur ball sleeps, it begins to make sense. Guinea pigs spend their lives in a much smaller space.

Sneezing and running nose. Allergies with the bedding material occasionally come about. Also Lengthy exposure to a new setting or contact with foreign objects or plants can generate allergies. Try Swapping the bedding material and stop from taking him to places you think may cause these symptoms. Constant discharge or chafing of the nose should be a sign to call the Vet.

Coughing This can be life-threatening. Any type of Heavy Respiration, wheezing or panting sounds could be a signal of a repertory disease. Call your vet ASAP. Delaying this engagement can be grave for your guinea pigs health.

Watery eyes. Bothersome particles like dust, dirt, pollen, and powder can occasionally induce this. Visit your Vet and ask for directions on how to safely flush the eyes of your pet. Agonizing sores from cysts can arise on pet’s eyes and should be removed by a qualified Vet.

Hair loss. When a Cavy is cut or bitten the fur near the injury will fall out. This is entirely natural.Extreme hair loss is much more severe. Parasites such as mites, ringworm and fleas may be to blame and should be treated by your vet right away.

Diarrhea. Upon discovery of this problem, immediate action is required on your part. This can be fatal if not quickly treated. Diarrhea’s main cause is an over abundance of fruits or vegetables(wet foods), and possibly the ingestion of something foreign or rotten to the regular diet. Add more dried foods and hay to the diet. Along with boosting the vitamin C in his pellets, an introduction of lactobacillus acidophiles for guinea pigs in capsule form should be administered.

Pink or red urine. Blood in the urinary tract is grave. Get him/her to the Vet immediately.

Skin irritations. Itching and scratching caused by parasites and fungal infections can lead to more serious conditions and should be dealt with quickly. Consult your Vet or pet store and get a medicated shampoo designed to kill and prevent further infestations. Many products exist to deal directly with specific vermin that attack your pet’s coat.

Seizures. When your Guinea Pig frequently tilts or shakes his head this may be the result of an ear infection. Infections caused by repeated bites from parasites can cause damage to a Cavys nervous system and have severe consequences to your Guinea Pig’s health. Body shaking, curling up, stiffness and erratic behavior are dangerous conditions that require immediate attention by a trained Veterinarian.

In Conclusion. The most significant aspect of bringing up a healthy Guinea Pig and the key to sustaining the life of your little fur ball is by keeping his/her cage clean. Change the litter material regularly and sanitize the cage frequently. Doing this will prevent some of the unfortunate symptoms discussed in this report and ensure good guinea pig health!

G.Anthony Evers provides more detailed information about Guinea Pig Health [http://www.healthyguineapig.com] and features the Healthy Guinea Pig care system at Healthy Guinea Pig.Com [http://www.healthyguineapig.com/tips_light_blue]

Creating Good News On The Internet Just Got Easier With Alternative Health and Lifestyle Events

If there’s one thing we’ve probably all realized, it’s that people want to be updated about “feel-good” news that matters. It’s time to stop having to scour the Internet to find good news from across the globe which is buried under all of the negative media and tabloids. We all deserve the right to know about all the good and great things that are happening right now. Even when we sleep, eat, work or play, we need to know. Just look how far away from you, your cell phone is right now.

And all this “feel good” news is creating a movement in the alternative arena, which can eventually connect us and bridge the gaps between who the world tells us we are and who we really are and who we can be. All people are created equal and all people share the same body forms when we are born. It’s the power we give society that pushes us to overestimate or underestimate our lifestyle options and accept less than “feel good’ as options. That’s the moment we begin to focus, only on what is expected of us and fail to realize what we become is always a choice. It also sets in motion a point of view that says our life is predetermined by the environment in which we live. That is where it stops feeling good, right? Can you feel it?

In order to break this kind of lifestyle orientation and learn how to find that spark that set us apart from anybody else, but is necessary and complementary to all, we need to ask ourselves a series of questions. “What will it take to be… ?”, then answer only by expression. That is, don’t answer it, stay in the question. Another question we need to ask is, “What’s right about what we are doing, experiencing, or being that maybe the world or even we have not realized?” Question like this lead us to an area of lifestyle that involves alternatives, specifically Alternative Health and Lifestyle.

And where can we find a better place for leading a fulfilling lifestyle, than from what come from the inside to express who we truly are and feels so, so good? Alternative lifestyles that keep us in the question give us a chance to learn what it’s like to experience the “feel-good” within us that will generate more abundance of what we want in our life. Abundance is not just by material possessions, it is authored by strong familial relationships, fitness, health, connectivity and most importantly freedom from within. Is this causing a huge tilt or what?

In the alternative arena where new and extraordinary experiences are the norm, at first, people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done. After it’s announced, it’s done, they may still resist some and then begin to hope it can be done. Finally they see it is done. And when it is done, all the world wonders why it was not done years, earlier.

This, sadly is the nature of expectation. What is expected is based on what was and not based on the question; what else is possible? So how can we really start shifting what we get into what we want – more feel good news? We can simply begin to participate in activities that regularly result in stories of good and great news for us all.

Here’s a start. http://orlandoalternativeguide.com It lists many of the Alternative Health and Lifestyle Events in the Central Florida, area. Now just think, what if others in different areas would just do the same. Plagiarism? Copy-Cat? This is perhaps the best way to create a movement that results in more “feel good news” regularly. Do you think we will wonder one day and ask “why it was not done years, earlier?.”

Tumaat Smith, Is the co-creator of http://OrlandoAlternativeGuide.com and is currently an Access Bars Facilitator and Awareness Consultant. She has been in the wellness and alternative field for over 30 years and attended CoachU, in the late 90’s, to become an Awareness Coach. Her vision is to create community and build bridges that allow for true connection with others.