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Wednesday, 08 January 2014 00:00

4 Healthy Alternatives to Soda

Many of you know that my soda of choice is Diet Coke. I've had an on-again, off-again relationship with it, as I talked about in my blog, "If Diet Coke Were Broccoli." I've even made giving it up part of my 2-0-1-3 Plan and 2-0-1-4 Plan. I have significantly reduced my intake of it, but I still did have it on occasion last year. I know it's not healthy for me, but I love the taste of it. I'm trying again this year to give it up for good. Eight days in and I'm holding strong!

Soda is not good for our health. We know that. Studies show that diet sodas contribute to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes. Some say that regular soda is preferable despite the increase in calories because it doesn't contain the artificial sweeteners. There are many health warnings about aspartame, the sweetener in Diet Coke and many other diet sodas. It is believed to cause side effects like headaches, dizziness, mood changes, loss of memory, and skin reactions. In addition, soda consumption has been linked to lower bone density, since it can block your bones' absorption of calcium.

We may kick the soda habit for health reasons, but it doesn't mean we don't miss the caffeinated, fizzy, sweet pop every now and then. I reached out to the online 4QL community and got some great ideas from all of you! Here are four of my top choices.

1. Unsweetened iced tea. Two good choices are Tejava and Trader Joe's Green & White Tea with Mint. Both are unsweetened with no artificial flavors, and are great plain or with a squeeze of lemon. For those that like the caffeinated jolt of soda, iced tea fits the bill since it contains caffeine.

2. Sparkling water with lemon, lime, or orange slices. For those that like the fizz of soda, the sparkling water gives the drink a little extra something.

3. Sparkling water with a touch of pure fruit juice, like cranberry juice. For those that like the sweetness of soda, the addition of fruit flavors does the trick.

4. Fruit and vegetable flavored water. Add fresh cucumbers, strawberries, mangoes, or lemons, and let them naturally flavor the water.

Being healthy doesn't have to mean depriving yourself of the tastes you like. It just means being creative and finding healthier alternatives. When the urge for a soda strikes, try one of the ideas above and see if it fits the bill.

Do you have a soda that you are trying to break up with? If so, which one and what works for you?

Please share your comments and questions below.

 

 

Kick the soda habit for good!

 

 

 

________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Body Blog
Wednesday, 01 January 2014 18:20

Undo the Holiday Indulgence

I don't know about you, but I'm happy it's the New Year. It's time to get back into a routine and away from so many indulgences. The holidays were fun and fantastic, but my body is on overload from the temptations that couldn't be resisted—sweets, heavy meals, drinks, and so on.

I'm ready to give my body (and mind) a fresh, clean, healthy start to 2014! It's time to detox. Whether you are local or not, you can join me. For those local, I am leading a group detox starting Tuesday, January 21 (time TBD based on participants). For those of you who are not local or who want to do it on your own, I also offer that as an option by phone and email. See here for details about group and private detox coaching.

To learn more about the 4-week detox, you can read a detailed blog I wrote over a year ago when I first did the detox, Cleansing and Detoxing: Fad or For Real?. I was skeptical at first because there had been so much hype about cleanses and detoxes. I take it very seriously what I choose for myself and my clients, and I fully support the Detox 360 which is the program I use.

It is not about fasting or deprivation. It is about eating real food. The focus is on cutting out the allergenic and inflammatory foods from your diet. You have to be committed as it does take some work, but you will be supported in a group or by me and you will see results. All of my clients who have done the program have had positive results. The program comes with quality supplements to help the detox process and a detailed binder to guide you along the way.

Clients have reported the following benefits:

  • "Have more energy"
  • "Notice clearer skin"
  • "Lost weight"
  • "Experience fewer digestive issues"
  • "Discovered food allergies"
  • "Have less inflammation and joint pain"

Here's to undoing our holiday and 2013 indulgences and giving our bodies a fresh, clean, healthy start to 2014! Who's joining me?

________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Body Blog
Sunday, 29 December 2013 16:52

The 2-0-1-4 Plan

The end of year is a great time to reflect on the year behind and look forward to the year ahead. A great way to do this is with The 2-0-1-4 Plan. Last year, I created The 2-0-1-3 Plan and it resonated with so many of you! It was fun to share our plans for the New Year, so it's time to do it again. Be sure to comment below with your plan. For those of you who did it last year, you can see your plans here at the bottom of the blog. 

The 2-0-1-4 Plan is about starting off the New Year with intention, motivation, and accountability for health and happiness. It's okay if some of your items from last year are still on the list this year. I didn't quite master one of my "2" items from last year as you can see in the comments below, so I'm putting it on my Plan again this year.

Forward this on to your friends and family and let's see how many people we can get on board to join in. Here's how it works.

2  Come up with TWO actionable and doable healthy living ideas. Be specific. Make them very customized for you. Think about your weakness areas. How do you do in the areas of stress management, having fun, sleeping well, eating healthy, exercising, having nurturing relationships, and living in a nontoxic environment (this can be related to your emotional or physical environment)? Are you pretty good about working out, but don't take any time for stress management? If so, don't put exercise on your list, but rather, put something that will reduce your stress. Commit to work on the areas that receive less of your focus. You will see in the examples below that the ideas are both manageable and quantifiable. Try to be as specific as you can, and don't over-commit. You can always over-deliver.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Meditate for five minutes three days a week first thing in the morning to start the day grounded.
  • Spend less time with those people in your life who make you feel worse about yourself (you can be specific with names, if you want).
  • Do not drink alcohol during the week, only on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Get 7,500 to 10,000 steps at least four days a week (wear a pedometer to track it).
  • Go to bed by 11pm every night so that you get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Make one fun plan a week that makes you happy.

Commit to doing the ZERO "do it now" item. What is the one thing that has been on your list to do for years that you know would benefit you in some way—career, health, relationships, personal—but you just have never done it? Commit to it to do it this year.

This one is really important! So many of you reported in that you did your "0" from last year. Way to go! Mine was to join Toastmasters which I have wanted to do for TWENTY YEARS! I finally did it this past August and it has been one of the best things I've done. Setting the intention of doing it at the beginning of the year and stating it publicly helped to finally make it happen! Trust yourself. You know your "0". Let's make it happen this year.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Get out of a toxic relationship that has been bringing you down.
  • Make a change in your job if you feel miserable every day. (Sometimes this may not be possible due to financial constraints, but oftentimes even if we believe this to be the case, we do have choices that we have not allowed ourselves to believe in. Now's the time to believe in them and explore them.)
  • Go on the trip you've been talking about taking for years. If your spouse doesn't want to join you, go with a friend, by yourself, or an organized group.
  • Hire a health coach and lose the weight for good.
  • Find a workout regime you like so that you look forward to exercise rather than see it as a chore. For some ideas, read Movement by Gypsy.
  • Join a support group (e.g. AA, Al-Anon, loss, cancer). If you need help, there are groups out there for you. Sharing your pain with others does help.
  • Write your memoir.
  • Volunteer.
  • Take classes.

1  Choose ONE word for the year. Come up with one word that you want to represent you in 2014. Give it some thought because you want it to really encompass what you want for the year. When you have decided on your word, write it out in big letters and put it somewhere you will see it everyday. Put it on your bathroom mirror, by your computer, on your vision board, at work, in your wallet. Last year my word was "confidence". I still have my word staring at me on my vision board right next to my computer that I have seen for the past 365 days. (It was also pretty cool that my friend, Tracy, gave me a necklace for my birthday with my word on it, so I had it as an empowering reminder that I wore daily!). Now I've replaced last year's word with this year's word, "Openness".

Here are a few ideas: faith, love, forgiveness, dream, health, peace, strength, hope, play, truth, trust, imagine, and share.

4  Take FOUR minutes every day to ground yourself in the day. This one is a little different from last year. Last year it was to write 3 things you are grateful for every day. This year, I'm changing it because I've heard from so many of my clients about the importance of starting or ending your day with purpose. One of my clients said they feel that every day runs into the next, so we talked about creating a closing day ritual. Another one of my client starts every morning lighting a candle and setting an intention for the day. Whether you want to take the four minutes in the morning, afternoon, or evening, be sure to take them. Ground yourself in the day. You can do this by taking a few deep breaths allowing your mind to free itself from the mental chatter. Set an intention for the day (such as being mindful, grateful, open, strong, playful). Do a ritual if you choose (light a candle, share with your spouse one highlight from the day, write in your journal). I talk more about this in chapter 9, "Losing My Mind(fulness)," of my new book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life.

2-0-1-4  Take some time this week and think about your 2-0-1-4 plan. Be sure to comment below and let us know. It is helpful to share it with others to make it more real and to help hold you accountable. I've shared my 2-0-1-4 plan in the comments below. If you want to share some of your plan, but not all of it, that's perfectly fine. This year, I chose not to share my "0". Share what you feel comfortable with and keep private what you want.

I look forward to hearing from you. Let's make 2014 a year filled with health, happiness, and ... (insert your word here!).

And, of course, if you need help with making any part of your 2-0-1-4 plan happen, 4QL can help you!

_________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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My "1" word for 2014!

Published in Relationships Blog

Here are some great easy-to-buy (forget shopping in the mall!) and healthy-to-receive (forget the food baskets!) gift ideas. These are great ideas for you or your loved ones. Give the gift of an experience—a week of fitness in the great outdoors, a relaxing massage or body scrub, a month of yoga or pilates classes, a session of health coaching, and more. The businesses highlighted below are partners of Four Quadrant Living and are offering special discounts to you.

FOR THOSE LOCAL TO THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA

1. Fitness. Give the gift of fitness to yourself or a loved one. Gumsaba Boot Camp was voted Best of the San Francisco East Bay by Diablo Magazine in 2012. Mention Four Quadrant Living and get $20 off the first month by typing in "2013FQL" into the promo field on the Gumsaba website. Gumsaba Boot Camp has classes for women, men, and co-ed. Classes are held in Danville, Walnut Creek, and Moraga and run Monday through Saturday.


2. Pampering. Jolie Salon & Spa in Danville, CA was voted Best Massage, Best Day Spa, and Best Salon for Men and Women by Danville Express Reader's Choice in 2012. Mention Four Quadrant Living and get 10% off of any service (or gift certificate). Jolie Salon & Spa is a full service salon. You or your loved one can use the certificate for a hair cut, massage, body scrub, facial, and more. 


3. Centering & Toning. Indigo Pilates & Yoga Studio in Pleasant Hill, CA offers a wide selection of classes, services, and community events. These offerings are centered around one common theme: healing inside and out. Mention Four Quadrant Living and get 10% off of the first purchase of any class or package. Indigo Studio offers a wide variety of yoga classes including hatha, kundalini, affirmation, and prenatal. They also offer pilates reformer and mat flow classes.

FOR THOSE LOCAL OR NOT LOCAL TO THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA



4. Health coaching. I offer health coaching and nutritional consultation gift certificates to give to your friends and family members (phone sessions available if not local). Special holiday offer comes with a free, signed copy of my Amazon top selling book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life. Click here to learn more about my services. Contact me for details.


5. Healthy living. Give a signed copy of my book with a personalized message. Special holiday offer: the book can be wrapped and shipped directly to the gift recipient or can be sent directly to you. $18 includes book, signing, tax, holiday wrapping, and shipping! This has been a popular offer and it has been fun to fill your requests. Order here by December 17.

 

If you are feeling stressed this holiday season, here are a few past blogs which give some ideas for keeping the holiday season simpler and less stressful.

7 Ideas for a Less Stressful Holiday Season

Not Overeating This Holiday Season

Stop the Holiday Madness


What are your ideas for lowering your stress during the holidays? What other easy-to-get, healthy-to-receive gift ideas do you have?

_________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Mind Blog
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 00:00

Food Swapping for Health

My favorite new food discovery is nutritional yeast. If you don't know about it yet, let me introduce you. I use it as a Parmesan cheese substitute. I put it on salads and soups, but you can also top your casseroles, pasta, and popcorn with it.

It is inactive so it does not have leavening ability. I buy it from the bulk bin at Whole Foods. Nutritional yeast is a good source of B vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein. Some describe it as having a cheesy, nutty flavor. I have been eliminating dairy from my diet, so I like having nutritional yeast as my "cheese."


When I posted this on the FQL Facebook page, one follower said, "After watching my daughter, who is allergic to dairy, look longingly at plates of mac and cheese, I found that I could use nutritional yeast to make the sauce. It looks the same as the stuff her friends have and she loves the taste! I felt like a star!"

I also recently posted about healthy alternatives for soda. I have given up Diet Coke for health reasons, but I miss the taste of it. I received some great ideas from everyone and decided to share them in an Examiner article I wrote today, "4 healthy alternatives to help kick the soda habit."

Another favorite healthy food swap of mine is cauliflower "mashed potatoes." Steam cauliflower and put it in a food processor. You can add a little butter (and nutritional yeast!). Blend and serve. It tastes just like mashed potatoes. Potatoes are fine nutritionally but cauliflower is even better.

What are your favorite healthy food swaps? Comment below and share your ideas! They could make for another great Examiner article.

Published in Body Blog
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 14:07

Are You Reunion Ready?

Last weekend, I met up with my business school friend, Kate, who I haven't seen in years. When I asked her if she would be going to our next reunion, she said only if she was in a good place in her life inside and out. When I asked her to elaborate, she said that she would go only if she was feeling good about how she looked and what she was doing with her life.

I asked her if the reunion were next month, would she go—meaning is she happy with where she is RIGHT NOW? She said she wasn't sure. She felt that everyone who would be there would have these impressive careers and she wasn't sure that she measured up. Was the measurement for success simply a prestigious sounding job? Her implied answer was "yes."

I get it. I used to feel this way. I remember "preparing" for a high school reunion I went to a few years back. Did I have cool looking business cards with a story behind all of the great things I was doing? I remember that feeling and it's not a good place to be.

Now I have my own measurement of a successful life. Success is balance, health, happiness. It is spending time with friends and family—and spending the time means having the time. It is running the trails near my house. It is playing in the yard with my husband and dog. It is having time for myself. It is exploring new places in this world. It is appreciating my life. It is helping others and having a purpose. I could go on.

When I met up with Kate, she was in town for a girls weekend with a few other friends from school. I went out with them Saturday night and then spent time with Kate the next day. When I saw her that next day, she said, "All of the girls said you were glowing. Why do you think you glow?" I thought for a moment and then replied, "Because I am living authentically!"

I feel at peace with where I am in life. I don't worry anymore what others think. When I go to my next business school reunion, I'm pretty confident I'll be the only one that is now a Healthy Living Coach. I'm okay with that. In fact, I own that. It's who I am. It's what I'm passionate about. It's how I help people. It's how I make a difference in this world. It's how I have actively chosen to create my life. In my opinion, anyone that is actively choosing their life is a success!

If your reunion was next month, would you go? If not, is it because you aren't happy with your life or because you believe others would think you had not amounted to much? If it's the former, make changes today. Live as if your reunion is next month. If it's the latter, how can you change your mindset to be proud of the life that you have chosen for yourself? How can you redefine your measurement for success to coincide with the life you are happily living?

Do you want to glow at your next reunion? If so, live authentically!

 

Be sure to get your free 47 page Getting Started Guide: Taking Your First Step on the 4QL Journey by signing up for our newsletter at the top right of this page. It is filled with a 4 quadrant health assessment as well as health tips for each quadrant including 5 Steps to Mindfulness, 12 Tips for Fad-Free Eating, 6 Ways to Closer Connections, and 9 Ideas to Detox Your Home.

 ________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Published in Relationships Blog
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 13:56

The *Real* Secret to Weight Loss!

I was hoping the title would get your attention. Every one is looking for the secret to weight loss. I have seen many clients who say they have tried every weight loss plan out there, but the weight just keeps coming back. This blog is about the secret to long-term weight loss. It is about creating a new way of living—for life. It's about resisting the temptation of the grand promises of the latest shake, supplement, pill, plan, or product to lose weight. Those may work in the short-term, but invariably the pounds find their way back. And, they aren't healthy!

Just a few weeks ago, I had a client ask me what I thought about Sensa. She said she had heard about it on TV. I didn't know of it, but when I looked it up, I found out that it is a substance that you sprinkle on your food. It supposedly works based on the process and trigger of eating and feeling full. When we eat, smell and taste receptors send messages that tell our body it's time to stop eating. Sensa claims to enhance smell, thus speeding up the process which triggers the "I feel full" signal so that you "eat less and feel more satisfied."

Recently, I have heard about Body by Vi as one of the latest ways to lose weight. They want you to replace two meals with their shakes. Check out the list of ingredients in the Body by Vi shakes. Do you recognize any of the ingredients as real food? This may help you take the weight off, but it certainly isn't giving you the tools to keep it off which brings you back to the yo-yo dieting. And, if you really want to be healthy, don't you want to be filling your body with real food!?

My favorite quote from a client this week was when she said, "I'm not a fake human, so why am I feeding myself fake food?" This was after I had showed her the list of ingredients in the Medifast bar she was eating. Now she eats a bar whose ingredients consist only of nuts and fruits.

So, now the moment you have been waiting for... What is the secret to weight loss?

The secret to weight loss is simple. Eat real food. Exercise more. Reduce stress.

I know, you've heard it before, right? But, given all of the posts I have seen recently on Facebook and clients I have been working with, somehow Sensa, Body by Vi, and Medifast are winning. Our bodies are losing with these methods, but it's not weight that we are losing, it's health.

The key to success is to commit to it. Take the guesswork out of it by just committing to this new way of life. Deciding whether or not to eat that cupcake is no longer a difficult decision because you have already made that choice in your head not to. Now you are just playing it out throughout the day. Another key to success is to engage others—whether that be a health coach, family member, or friend. Tell others what you are doing and let them keep you accountable. Sign up with My Fitness Pal and track your food for a week or two to see exactly what you are eating and how it measures up. It's not about counting calories, it's about tracking your food to help you stay accountable and see the choices you are making in a day.

It does work! I've seen it over time with my clients. Not only do they lose weight with this plan, but they are also happier and more energetic than they were before. They start to feel so good about themselves, that the temptations no longer have power because this new feeling of health now wins out.

Eat real food

For those with only a few pounds to lose:
If you are currently eating packaged, processed, and fast foods, making the switch to real food will lead to weight loss. Eat lean meats and eggs, load up on the veggies (for weight loss and health, you just can't get enough of this food group!), snack on a few nuts, enjoy fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth, and eat healthy fats (like avocados, coconut). Avoid sugar, alcohol, soy, caffeine, and dairy. Eat limited healthy grains like brown rice and quinoa.

For those who have more than a few pounds to lose:
You will benefit from removing all grains and legumes from your diet (commit to 30 days and go from there). Grains include wheat (breads, pasta), rye, oats, corn, rice, sprouted grains, and quinoa. Legumes include beans, lentils, and peanuts. Sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash are good substitutes for your typical "starch" in the meal because of their texture and substance. It's about eliminating the inflammatory, allergenic, unhealthy foods from your diet.

I do recommend shakes—shakes that have real food, not that just consist of a packaged powder and water.

Here is my daily shake:
2/3 coconut water
1/3 coconut milk
1/2 cup blueberries
generous handful of spinach or kale
healthy shake powder with vitamins, probiotics, and detoxifying nutrients
other additions: fish oil, chia seeds, flax seeds

Of course there are many variations on healthy shakes with numerous recipes available on the internet. Be creative with the fruits and vegetables you add to your shake, like celery or avocado.

For a good summary on eating well, check out Eat This Way.

Exercise

The more calories you burn (while eating well), the more weight you lose. Here are a few ideas. For more detail, read my blog Movement by Gypsy

  • Change your framework. A standard theme I have found with my clients is the guilt that comes with the “should” of exercising. Leave behind the “should” and find your “want.” Think of “exercise” as movement that brings you joy, not as an obligation that hangs over your head.
  • Think outside the box. Jumping rope is good cardio and reminds us of our childhood days. How about a game of hopscotch, Frisbee, or basketball with the kids? Or turning on the stereo and dancing around to your favorite tunes? The point is, be creative. If it gets you moving, it counts as exercise.
  • Think inside the box. Some people like the gym. If you are one of them, that’s great. You don’t need to be creative like the rest of us to get exercise into our lives. Keep it up! For those of us who need a little nudge to get to the gym, think about how to make it more enticing. Can you go at a certain time to watch a show you like? Download some new tunes that are reserved just for your gym workouts? Meet a friend? Try a new class?
  • Talk and walk. Instead of meeting your friends for coffee or lunch, meet them for a walk. You save money and you get some exercise. You’ll spend so much time gabbing, you’ll forget your legs are doing a lot of walking.
  • Do it with a group. It is easier to cancel out on yourself than someone else.
  • Count your steps. Wearing a pedometer can make walking fun and motivating. Set a goal of at least 7,000 steps a day..
  • Keep moving. Try to make movement part of your daily life rather than something you do at a certain time of day that counts as “exercise.” For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park in a far spot at the grocery store, or do your own gardening.

Reduce Stress

Many people may not realize this, but stress absolutely can play a role in weight gain for hormonal and psychological reasons. On the hormonal side, when we are stressed, we release hormones like cortisol which serve us well in periods of stress (it makes us alert and ready). Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy. This leads to an increase in appetite. An increase in appetite means we eat more and we weight more.

On the psychological side, eating is often tied to our emotions. When we feel stressed (or tired, angry, etc), we often turn to food for comfort. The more mindful we become about our eating (and the reasons we are reaching for the unhealthy food), the better chance for success we have in the long term.


You can do it!

If you want to really lose weight for good, don't buy into these expensive, do-it-quick schemes. Yes, it may take a little more work than adding water to a faux-food shake mix, but have fun with it. Get the family involved in meal planning. Ask friends to sign up for an upcoming 5K with you. Take a class on meditation. 

There is a lot of content on the Four Quadrant Living website about living a healthy life, so take some time to explore it and vow to make a change today. It may take time to change your body, but it takes a split second to change your mind. If you have been wanting to eat healthier or exercise more, change your mind about it today. The results in your body will follow.

I'd love to hear from you, so chime in below. What is your favorite healthy shake or meal? What is the form of exercise that brings you joy? What are your best ways for reducing stress? How do you involve your friends and family in your healthy living? 

 

Be sure to get your free 47 page Getting Started Guide: Taking Your First Step on the 4QL Journey by signing up for our newsletter at the top right of this page. It is filled with a 4 quadrant health assessment as well as health tips for each quadrant including 5 Steps to Mindfulness, 12 Tips for Fad-Free Eating, 6 Ways to Closer Connections, and 9 Ideas to Detox Your Home.

 ________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Published in Body Blog
Monday, 11 February 2013 12:20

Are You Orthorexic?

There is a lot of information out there about the connection between food and health. Perhaps you have read that sugar can lead to cancer, trans fats can cause a heart attack, and gluten can be the cause of autoimmune disease. You are warned about the pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and toxins in your food. It can get to the point where you are afraid to put anything in your mouth.

I'm not here to dispute or support the accuracy of these claims or to promote any one way of eating. I am here to say that all of this can create a madness that is not healthy. Orthorexic is a term used to describe the unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. I'm all in favor of eating healthy (!), but when it gets to where it is causing you stress or coming from a place of fear, it's time to take a moment and get yourself back in control.

In my first year of school to get my Masters in Holistic Health Education, I veered on the side of being orthorexic. The more I learned about nutrition, the crazier I got. Nuts should be raw and soaked. Produce should be organic. Beef needs to be grass-fed. Chicken can't have hormones or antibiotics. Eggs need to be pastured. I should stay away from soda, trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, coffee, refined foods, canned goods, packaged food, and the list goes on.

I wholeheartedly think that all of the dietary guidelines mentioned above are healthy ways of eating. This is how I eat for the most part (except that I don't soak my nuts). However, there are times when it's out of my control and I just don't worry about it anymore. For example, I don't stress about eating beef that is not grass-fed when I am invited to a friend's house for dinner. Instead, I am grateful for the invitation and for the effort that goes into cooking a meal for me. I don't worry if the greens at the restaurant are not organic. Instead, I enjoy the culinary delights that the chef has created. I don't boycott the "regular" eggs my family buys when I go visit them. Instead, I am thankful for the time we spend together.

There is a lot of information about what is right and what is wrong when it comes to healthy eating, some of which contradicts itself. There is also an element of eating according to the latest fad. In my blog, The Trendy Diet, I talk about how certain food groups have gone in and out of fashion. Carbs were good, then they were bad. Same with fats, soy, and gluten. It is best to go to the source and find out how much is reputable (repeatable) research and how much is marketing hype.

We all have to decide what is right for us. I have friends and clients who strongly support and swear by their vegan diet and yet others who do all things Paleo. There are others who are gluten-free, sugar-free, or dairy-free. We all have our own biochemical individuality which means there is no one right answer for everyone. It's important to remember this so that we don't try to proselytize our way as the right way. Live and let live without judgement. It's about being in tune with your own body and doing what is right for you. A good way to find this out is to do an elimination diet and find out which foods cause problems for your own body.

For me, I do eat meat, but I eat it in small portions and I am particular about eating quality meats (e.g. grass-fed beef, hormone and antibiotic-free chicken). I eat organic for the high pesticide produce (e.g. blueberries, kale) and don't stress as much about buying organic for the low pesticide (e.g. avocado, onions) fruits and veggies. I do buy pastured eggs. I eat gluten because I don't have a sensitivity to it, but I don't eat a lot of it and when I do, I make it good quality like whole grain breads. I eat sugar in the form of fruit and honey, but I try to stay away from foods with high fructose corn syrup and refined sugars. I choose not to eat soy. This is just what works for me. 

Being orthorexic isn't necessarily about what you eat, it's about the stress and importance that you put on it. If it's simply a way of life for you, that's great. However, when it gets in the way of your relationships and your mental happiness, it might be time to consider the toll it's taking on your overall health. A part of health is pleasure. Pleasure can come from enjoying your favorite dessert or sharing a home-cooked special meal with your loved ones. And if it's causing you stress or anxiety, we all know that is not good for your health. If you get it right 80 to 90% of the time, that's excellent. When you are in the 10 to 20% of not eating as healthy as you could, just do so mindfully and without guilt.

The bottom line is this. Yes, read the information that is out there and educate yourself about eating well. I fully believe in the power of food for our health. I've seen amazing changes happen with dozens of clients who have changed their eating habits. It's absolutely important to have a healthy obsession with healthy eating. The problem comes when that obsession turns from healthy to unhealthy. At that point, it's time to gain control back and truly be healthy—in all four quadrants of your life.

Do you have an obsession with healthy eating? If so, is it healthy or unhealthy?

 

Be sure to get your free 47 page Getting Started Guide: Taking Your First Step on the 4QL Journey by signing up for our newsletter at the top right of this page. It is filled with a 4 quadrant health assessment as well as health tips for each quadrant including 5 Steps to Mindfulness, 12 Tips for Fad-Free Eating, 6 Ways to Closer Connections, and 9 Ideas to Detox Your Home.


Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Body Blog
Sunday, 16 December 2012 18:53

Not Overeating this Holiday Season

There is no doubt that the stress of the holidays and the availability of unhealthy food can be a challenge to our healthy eating plan. Cookies, cakes, and candy are everywhere we go. Dinner tables are filled with dishes high in sugar, fat, and carbs. By all means, enjoy! Just do so in moderation so that your waist line doesn't expand too much as you enter the New Year.

 Here are seven ideas for not overeating during the holidays.

1. Eat before you go. Headed to a holiday party? Eat a healthy meal before you go so hunger will not drive the temptation to overeat when you are at the party. Be sure to have a meal with protein (lean meats, eggs, beans) and long-acting carbs (brown rice, sweet potato, oatmeal) to fill you up. If you don't have time for a full meal, even just eating a handful of nuts before you can help you eat less while you are there.

2. Go small. Use smaller serving plates to keep portions under control. We consume an average of 92% of what we put on our plate, so it is worth paying attention to what we feed ourselves. A two inch difference in plate diameter—from 12" to 10" plates—results in 22% fewer calories being served. Assuming a typical dinner has 800 calories, a smaller plate would lead to weight loss of approximately 18 pounds per year for an average size adult. If it is a buffet and you have the choice, opt for a smaller plate to put your food on.

3. Switch it up. Eat with your non-dominant hand to slow down your eating. If you are too uncoordinated to do this successfully at the dinner table with others, just pay attention to the rate at which you are consuming food and slow it down. (Or perhaps it could be something that you get the entire table to do so you all dine slowly, with a few laughs to boot).

4. Leave it. Decide that it is okay to leave food on your plate if you are full. Believe me, I am one of those people that cleans my plate regardless of my fullness meter, but this is an important one for not overeating.

5. Wait before you get seconds. If you are still hungry after finishing your first plate of food, allow a few minutes before reaching for seconds. It takes 20 minutes for the fullness in our stomach to reach our brains which is why we can reach the point of being stuffed. Waiting before you go in for seconds may give you enough time to realize that you are not hungry anymore.

6. Stay sober. By all means, have a drink and be merry, if you choose. Just recognize that the more you drink, the more you lose your resolve to eat well. The drinks add up the calories too.

7. Eat mindfully and enjoy. Part of health is pleasure. If we deprive ourselves of our favorite foods or feel we cannot (or should not) join in with special meal sharing with our friends and family, it affects our health in other ways. Stressing about eating is counterproductive to our health. Give yourself permission to enjoy the holiday meals. Just enjoy them fully and mindfully.

The holidays do not need to mean the choice between weight gain or deprivation. Find the middle ground and enjoy your favorite foods this holiday season.

What are your tips and tricks for healthy eating during the holiday season?
 ________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Body Blog
Monday, 10 December 2012 14:36

Creating Your New Health Destiny

What would you do if you were told you had an 87% chance of getting cancer?

a. fear it
b. ignore it
c. beat the odds!

When I was told this by doctors 14 years ago, I did "a" and then "b" until I decided it was time to do "c". I chose to replace the fear and denial with empowerment. I left my sexy and lucrative high-tech job and went back to school to study health. I wondered whether how I lived my life could impact how my genes expressed themselves. In learning about the science of epigenetics, I discovered that yes, how we live our life (diet, stress, relationships, environment, etc) does impact our health. Inspired by what I learned, I founded Four Quadrant Living. My mission is to inspire and inform others that we do have control over our health.

Do you worry about getting cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disease, Alzheimer's disease, or heart disease because it "runs in the family"? Do you think you have high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol because it's "in the genes"? If so, it's time to get empowered and create your new health destiny.

Yes, family history is important and it is a factor in our health—but it is by no means the only factor. It is estimated that over 30 percent of cancers and 80 percent of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes can be prevented. This means that you have the power to create health in your life! Every day you make choices that impact your health—the foods you eat, the products you use, the exercise you get, the stress you allow, the people you surround yourself with, and the environment you live in.

Scientists used to believe that it was our genotype (DNA) that determined our health. Our DNA is certainly a part of the equation, but it is not the entire equation as once believed. Now scientists believe it is our phenotype that determines our health, which is our genotype plus our environment (where environment is diet, lifestyle, emotions, stress, and so on).

This new science of epigenetics tells us that our genes are not our destiny. The word epigenetics literally means “control above genetics.” The genes by themselves do not cause disease; it is how we live our life that affects how our genes express. And this gene expression is what ultimately results in health or disease. Genes can be turned on by injuries, diet, stresses, hormones, emotions, and infections. The bottom line is that health is in our hands; it is not simply in our genes.

Knowing our genetic code is certainly important because it allows us to change our environment accordingly. We may be susceptible to a hereditary disease, but we can do something about it. For example, if you feel you are at high risk for breast cancer because of family history, there are certain foods you can eat (e.g. the brassica family of vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower contain the phytochemical sulforaphane shown to have anti-cancer properties), supplements you can take, and lifestyle changes you can make.

Similarly, if you have the celiac gene, knowing your genetic predisposition to the disease arms you with the information to remove gluten from your diet for your best chance at health. And so on. Our genotype (DNA) is important because it is a part of the equation—having knowledge about our DNA helps us take action for health. But, it is not the full equation. Our environment is also a part of the equation.

There are no guarantees in life, but by living a Four Quadrant Life you are proactively doing your best to beat the odds. For me, it's 14 years later and I'm still beating the odds.

If you have a particular health issue you are concerned about, contact Four Quadrant Living to discuss what things can be done specifically to reduce your risk. And, if you have not yet signed up for our newsletter, be sure to subscribe to get your free 47 page Getting Started Guide: Taking Your First Step on the 4QL Journey.

If you are living in fear about a certain health issue, it's time to choose empowerment instead!

 ________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Dina has a private practice helping clients live healthier and happier lives. Her book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Published in Body Blog
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Published Articles

Green Exercise: Good for the Sole and Soul
Natural Awakenings, March 2011

Sustainable Danville Area: Find Your People
Danville Today News, February 2012 (Page 6)

Are Genetically Modified Foods Making Your Child Sick?
Active Kids, June 2012 (Page 23)