Showing posts with label Marissa Winters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marissa Winters. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Your Body is a Garden

By Marissa Winters, MA, RDN
Integrative Nutritionist

Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade” ~ Rudyard Kipling

The body is often described as a machine. We say the heart is a pump; the kidneys and liver are filters. If a part wears out, for example, a knee or a hips, we replace it. The mechanistic point of view sees each of us as made of individual units. Many of us take an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, waiting until a health challenge arises before we consider adjusting our diet or activity.
 
This perspective does us a disservice. We are not machines. We are more like gardens.  Gardens are composed of different parts, all with their function, but all contributing to the health of the whole.  If a part of the garden is out of synch, the whole garden is affected. If the soil is missing nutrients, the plants are unable to reach their full beauty. Gardeners know that keeping the components of the garden in balance supports the whole system. Sometimes things must be added; sometimes things must be pruned away. But always, the whole garden is considered.

Gardens also operate within the cycles of nature. There are times to prepare the ground, and times to trim back the bushes. No garden could thrive if it tried to do every part of the cycle at the same time. Being aware of what part of the cycle you are in can help focus your attention and actions to have the best result with the least effort.

The benefits of working with an integrative health practitioner is the broader focus on all critical aspects of your life – mind, body, and spirit. Integrative practitioners help you see what is supporting and what is undermining you, and the team works with you to drill down to the root cause, not just manage symptoms.


Now is the time to start working on the garden that is your life.  How will you nurture yourself? What will you do to care for your garden? Be realistic; be honest with what you are able to implement within the boundaries of your other responsibilities. What things do you want to encourage to take root? What things need to be curtailed? This is your garden, you get to decide what you want to grow. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Managing Resistance to Change

By Marissa Winters, MA, RDN
Integrative Nutritionist

“What you resist, persists” -Ancient Wisdom Tradition proverb

Change can be hard, really hard. Even when you are very motivated, it can be difficult to stop doing those things you do that keep you stuck. Here are some strategies which can help when your inner saboteur comes out:

1. Remember change is a process. It is learning and practicing new responses to the same old conditions and circumstances.

2.  Shift your focus. Instead of telling your “story”, become an observer. What is really going on here? For example, if you decide you want a brownie even though you have committed to avoiding sugar in your goal of living a healthier life, say so. What is going on is,I want a brownie. It’s not that I have no willpower, and this always happens, and I was so motivated and now there’s this brownie! Instead, stop, take a breath, observe what is happening, and then, proceed. Put some distance between yourself and your trigger. This may require stepping away from the situation for a brief time.

3. Remind yourself of the value or feeling you are bringing into your life. “I want to have more energy,” or “I want to feel confident in my clothes”. Now you have a benchmark against which to measure if the action you are considering will bring you closer to your desires.

4. Ride the urge. When faced with a craving, it is easy to forget that like all things, cravings end. When you’re in the ocean, and a big wave comes at you, what do you do? If you stand your ground, you’re likely to get knocked around.

Instead, you go under the wave and let the rough surf pass over. When faced with a craving, simply notice the sensations you are feeling. You may feel uncomfortable, but you don’t need to do anything. It will pass. Cravings crest, just like waves, and then subside, just like waves.

This is more effective than trying to use your willpower to fight the urge. Some research indicates we have the equivalent of about 15 minutes worth of willpower, and the more it’s challenged, the faster it wears down. Resistance is not an effective strategy. Instead, take a pause, honestly state what you are feeling, and remind yourself of your goals. These steps allow you to take action, rather than react to challenging situations.

Our team in the Integrative Health & Medicine practice can support you with tools and techniques to keep you heading in the direction you really want to go. Call 732-994-7855 to make an appointment with me directly!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Successful Change


By Marissa Winters, MA, RDN
Integrative Nutritionist

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”-Socrates.

Did you know that less than 10% of people successfully achieve their New Year’s resolutions? According to one study, about 80% of resolutions fail by the second week in February. So…. how are you doing with your resolutions? Or did you not even make any this year, because, why bother?

Change is challenging because it is uncomfortable. It forces us to practice new behaviors, and a part of us resists this because we don’t like feeling the discomfort that comes with a different approach. The brain prefers the known to the new. Successful change depends on being very clear about what the change will bring to your life. What is the underlying value you anticipate? So often, we don’t take the time to address this. For example, you may want to lose weight because you know you “should”. But the pivotal issue is, how will making this change affect your life? Losing weight because you “should” is not as powerful a motivator as is losing weight so you can feel more confident in your clothes, or be more energetic so you can play with your kids or grandkids, or experience more ease when you move. Being clear on the values supported by your intentioned change gives the framework to measure your behaviors. The feeling you are after becomes your guidepost. Does each action you are choosing bring you closer to the things you value and want to have in your life?

Focusing on the values brings clarity about how you want to feel in your new life. How does You 2.0 feel when you wake up? What does You 2.0 feel when you eat lunch? When you run your end of the day errands? When you get home? When you get in bed? How do you want to feel?

Once you get clear on the feelings you are working towards, put it in writing. No, really - it needs to be expressed, not just kept in your head. Make a vision board (on your phone, on Pinterest, or on paper) or write a description of your perfect day. Look at this tool often to keep yourself focused on where you are heading. People who write things down have a 50% greater success rate than those who carry it in their head. (This includes diet journals.)

By focusing on the feelings you want to generate, you get better at recognizing when your actions are out of alignment with your goals. It is akin to turning a large cruise ship. It takes persistence and a consistent tugging on the wheel to move through the prevailing current. When you notice yourself slipping, keep turning the wheel. Take one minute to step back and remind yourself of your desired goal and the feelings it brings. In a few weeks, you’ll realize that the “old” way of doing things becomes uncomfortable. When that happens, you’re on your way. Congratulations!

Learn more about nutritional counseling at Hackensack Meridian Integrative Health & Medicine and call 732-994-7855 to make an appointment!