Ah, the New Year! A clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning—365 days of possibilities. Are you one of those folks who sets a slew of New Year’s Resolutions, including losing weight, only to find yourself unable to live up to those very high expectations?
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 29, 2022 body positive, body positivity, fad diets, health coach, healthy eating, healthy food, Intermittent fasting, keto diet, ketogenic diet, new years resolution, new years resolutions, resolutions, weight loss, weight management0 comments
Back when I taught fitness classes at various gyms, my classes would be PACKED in January with those dewy-eyed resolutioners who were determined to make a plethora of changes in a very short time. By the end of February, my classes would be back to regular sizes with my tried and true students who were glad things were getting back to normal.
As a Health Coach, I am not a fan of the grandiose expectations attached to the start of a new year. And here is why—we are programmed to revert to our existing habits when life starts to get busy, complicated, or difficult. Instead, I would encourage you as I encourage my clients, to take small, actionable steps that will eventually lead you to create new and healthier habits.
Take a marathon runner for example, they don’t wake up and decide to run 26 miles the first day. Instead, they slowly build up their body’s ability to handle both the physical and the mental aspect of running for an extended period of time. This is the beauty of challenging yourself to take baby steps toward your health and life goals. Just like a house needs a solid foundation to build upon, so does your health.
Let’s be honest, most people can lose weight fairly easily. Fad diets are popular because they are relatively successful in the weight loss aspect! But when you take a deeper look at some of the most popular ones at the moment such as Keto, Paleo, or Intermittent Fasting, you’ll find the issues lie within the principles of the plan.
Take Keto, where at the beginning of the plan you may experience flu-like symptoms as your body starts to adjust to the extreme changes to your diet. Or intermittent fasting where there are basically no parameters to what you eat, only when you can eat.
When attempting these diets, ask yourself these two questions, 1. Can I sustain this for the rest of my life? and 2. What am I learning? This isn’t to say that folks don’t have success on these plans, but it is something to consider when thinking through what you are willing to sacrifice on your journey to lifelong health. If I am being honest with myself, I could never commit to a plan where I will never eat Christmas cookies or birthday cake again. And Keto fat bomb versions of these are not something I am willing to substitute.
This is the beauty of working with a health coach, I am the voice of reason in the swirling vortex that is the health and wellness industry. And I will hold you accountable for the choices you are making while encouraging you along your path to whole health.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 21, 2022 compassion, conflict resolution, conversations for couples, couples communication, couples counseling, couples therapy, gratitude, making up after fights, marriage, marriage counseling, new years resolutions, relationship, relationship conflict, relationship resolutions, resolutions0 comments
Setting Couples New Year’s Resolutions is a great way to create a stronger connection, reinforce your bond, and set expectations for the future. Having shared goals can help you both stick to your promises—the more effort you two put in, the stronger the relationship. If you’re looking for some goals to work toward with your partner, this list of 6 Relationship Resolutions for 2023 is the perfect place to start.
1. Make a conflict management plan: this will allow you both to have your unique emotional constitutions respected, as well as forming a plan for how to manage healthy conflict in your relationship. A plan for conflict implies that disagreements are not inherently a problem but aims at tackling issues in the relationship that can cause small issues to become much bigger. It also brings awareness about how emotions play into your disagreements and what to do so that there is a smaller likelihood that trigger topics spiral out of control.
2. Make a vision board for your relationship and what you want in the next month, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and 5 years! Once you’re done, put your vision board in a place you’ll see often because when you see something that inspires you on a daily basis, you stay on track. You can even take a picture of it and use it as your phone wallpaper.
3. Create an environment of appreciation between yourself and your partner. Catch your partner doing three things a week that you are grateful for. Share this with each other at the end of each week.
4. It is commonplace to be consumed by work, children, and finances that we literally forget how important it is to carve out quality time with our partners. Schedule date nights every other month. Pick the day (time and place can come later). Having a planned date is a great way to maintain a sense of adventure and fun in your relationship—it ensures time to build emotional intimacy and check in with each other.
5. Make rituals that honor your birthday, anniversary, holidays, and other landmark events through time. Celebrating the passage of time is a key component of how relationship masters keep their relationship well.
6. Choose compassion over being right. So many relationships suffer because our egos become gridlocked in the pattern of trying to be correct instead of being understanding and loving towards our partners and loved ones! Keep this in mind and always remember it is our kindness and care which nurtures those that surround us!
Written by Marriage Counselor and Founder of the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh, Stephanie Wijkstrom.
Interested in Couples Counseling?
Fill out the form below or contact us at 412-322-2129.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 27, 2021 goals, healthy eating, healthy food, new years resolution, personal growth, registered dietitian, registered licensed dietitian, resolutions, self care0 comments
The New Year is here! While we have all been on a whirlwind trip these past 2 years with a global pandemic, it is time to focus on the new normal, including setting sustainable New Year Goals. In doing so, we need to make sure the goals we set for ourselves in this new year can be sustainable for years to come. Here are some resolutions to help you not only improve your health, but ones that you can actually keep.
- Eat more whole foods. Adding more whole foods to your diet is an easy and sustainable way to improve your overall health. Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins such as chicken and fish are packed with beneficial nutrients that can help you reach your goals. Whether your goal is to lose weight, or decrease the amount of processed foods you consume, this is a great way to start. They are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals to keep you full and satisfied.
- Ditch the diet mentality. Make a plan that works for you. Instead of jumping on the next fad diet this New Year, make a resolution to create a sustainable, nourishing eating pattern that works for you. Most individuals who aspire to lose weight, and choose a restrictive diet, regain up to two-thirds of weight lost within 1 year. Prioritize long-term health benefits over short-term satisfaction. This can include a healthy diet rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods that is adaptable to your life, and one you can follow no matter the circumstance.
- Sit less and move more. It is not only important to consider adapting a more personalized diet that is fit to your lifestyle, but also an exercise or activity that you enjoy doing. Activity can look different for everyone. Whether you enjoy walking or running, swimming or bike riding, small amounts of activity can greatly improve your overall health, and you’re more likely to stick with it. Once you choose an activity, set an attainable goal, such as planning to take your dog for a 30-minute walk everyday.
- Practice self-care. These past 2 years have been very stressful and likely inconsistent for most people with the ever-changing external environment. It is important now more than ever to take time for yourself. It does not have to be time-consuming or elaborate. It can be something as simple as taking a bath once a week, journaling, reading a book, taking on a new hobby, or preparing a healthy meal for yourself. Consider picking a day that suits you best, one that can help you reset, and get ready for the week ahead.
- Limit screen time. Over the past 2 years, we have relied on technology as our main way to communicate and work. The increase in social media usage has been linked to depression, anxiety, and loneliness in many people so consider reducing the amount of time you spend on your phone, particularly social media. Setting a goal to cut back on your usage can benefit your overall health, may boost your mood, and enhance productivity.
During these past 2 years a lot has happened, especially regarding the way we look at our health. It is important now more than ever before to ensure we are living our healthiest life.
by Stephanie McCrackenDecember 31, 2014 counseling, mindfulness, new year 2015, personal growth, psychotherapy, resolutions, Uncategorized, wisdom0 comments
A New Year and A Blank Canvas
The infamous ball is approaching its apex, soon the confetti shall spill to the ground, the party music will envelops the night air, albeit briefly as the quiet is coming. Soon, our little nor’easter earth will become silent and still as the snow falls steadfastly ensuring the depths of our winter’s hibernation. Beneath all of this obligatory stillness our mind churns even if just dimly, yes, the mind does indeed churn, the powerhouse creating the thoughts convections which form and sustain our deliberate and unconscious motions in life. One of the greatest quests upon which we can embark is to live more deliberately, with greater awareness, to make conscious all of our human and unacknowledged motivations. How then can we honor our assumed attempts towards personal growth, these questions which are beckoned by the transition into yet another year? In exaltation of the grand pillar of knowingness which indicates another hallmark, we welcome you mindfully 2015.
Alas it is a 2015 and another succession of 365 tomorrows slumped forward and splayed out before us like a pristine canvas, acrylics atop the easel, how will we render our reality? Choose mindfully my friend, as you shift through the boxes of so many colors, which do you want to set the tone of your work? Our life is indeed the greatest act of deliberate creation which we can make and despite some utterances of powerlessness; we all preserve the power to choose how it is that we will respond to life’s grievances and successes, this is my solemn promise to you. So allow us to attune to the process of creation and examine the “how” it is that we paint our picture? This may be referred to as our personal style. What is the feeling which courses through your limbs as you reach for the brush and walk nearer the canvas? Is your heart beating in rapid succession, is your breathing sharp? Is there a sense of nervousness that you will make a blunder? If so that’s ok, there is still a choice in that, how do you respond to anxiety, do you allow fear to limit action? Perhaps you isolate from terror or embarrassment of your own emotional state, you sulk away or head back to the couch and put the blanket over your head, oh my friend, come on, come on back! While we have only one canvas, one year, time is our merciless provocateur, lest not we waste it all in perpetual forced solitude. Perhaps with some semblance of bravery you persevere, you fretfully and shakily reach for the paint, place a dollop upon the tray and allow your vision to take hold? Perhaps you grip the brush stiffly, pressing so forcefully into the canvas that miserly scrapings of paint are all that remains from your terrified attempt, yet when looking back you see that simply by loosening up just a bit, you could have rendered a fairly realistic still life of a sole granny smith apple, waxen gleam, atop your chosen ensemble of a purposefully barren cornucopia. Perhaps that is not like you at all, maybe you are characteristically bold, often finding yourself leaping first and thinking later. Perhaps you reach for the brush and feel brazen in your novice maneuvers, you haplessly secure the broad stroke brush and feverishly create only realizing when looking back that the form is sloppy and the colors have all bled together? Perhaps you are best maneuvering for more of an impressionistic feat, you can still make out the form of all of the people passing down the street that you relentlessly studied, in critiquing your work you imagine that you would like to render them with greater depth. Oh, our dear canvases abounded with stylistic features, the plentitude of variability towards the characteristics which allow us to create our world. What is your style, upon what could you hope to improve? What are your greatest regrets through the year? Perhaps you are like some of us and you wield your abundant energy to paint gloriously, for you it is an act of love and you would like all of the world to be an act of esteemed and exalted love,
fervor will thrust one far yet it is also easy to be burst into a perilous direction when making rapid and frenetic motions with ones paint brush. Yet this is the way you have always created your life’s work, still change can come when we concentrate our efforts and maybe this year something different is in order. When recalling the masterpieces and artistic disasters which your brush has bequeathed, on some days a dribble here and imperfection there, in which frame do you store your most treasured accolades. Perhaps it is the era of sketching out a design and landscape before putting brush to canvas, or perhaps for you it is moving beyond the sketch and working through the fears of actually committing to wielding motion to propel the brush. Some small motion towards growth, always it is intention and mindfulness that hold the key to most every great work, these are the skills which compel talent and desire. Happy New Year! Cheers to creating in the dazzling array of hues, in natural and free flowing form while still making space for artistic imperfections.
Happy New Year!
Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh