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Wednesday, 30 December 2015 09:42

The 2-0-1-6 Plan

The beginning of a new 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 2-0-1-6 Plan. Three years ago, I created The 2-0-1-3 Plan and it resonated with so many of you, so we've done it every year since. Be sure to comment below with your plan.

The 2-0-1-6 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.

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! In 2013, my "0" was to join Toastmasters which I have wanted to do for TWENTY YEARS! I finally did it that year 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 2016. 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. In 2013, my word was "confidence", in 2014 it was "openness", and in 2015 it was "surrender". Below, I say what my new word is.

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

6  Take SIX minutes every day to ground yourself in the day. Whether you want to take the six 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 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life.

2-0-1-6  Take some time this week and think about your 2-0-1-6 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 2-0-1-6 plan in the comments below. If you want to share some of your plan, but not all of it, that's perfectly fine. Share what you feel comfortable with and keep private what you want.

I look forward to hearing from you. Let's make 2016 a year filled with health, happiness, and ... (insert your word here!).

And, of course, if you need help with making any part of your 2-0-1-6 plan happen, 4QL can help you!


Be sure to share your 2-0-1-6 Plan in the comments section below!

________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an award-winning 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
Friday, 02 January 2015 11:00

The 2-0-1-5 Plan

The beginning of a new 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 2-0-1-5 Plan. Two years ago, I created The 2-0-1-3 Plan and it resonated with so many of you! We had the 2-0-1-4 Plan last year and now it's time for your new plan. Be sure to comment below with your plan.

It has been on my mind the past couple of weeks to send out this blog and today I received an email from a client I haven't seen in over a year proactively telling me about her 2-0-1-5 Plan. The 2-0-1-4 Plan had been so motivating for her, so without prompting she had already done her 2-0-1-5 Plan! I have to admit, these plans have been life changing for me too.  

The 2-0-1-5 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.

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! In 2013, my "0" was to join Toastmasters which I have wanted to do for TWENTY YEARS! I finally did it that year 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 2015. 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. In 2013, my word was "confidence" and last year it was "openness". Below, I say what my new word is.

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

5  Take FIVE minutes every day to ground yourself in the day. Whether you want to take the five 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 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life.

2-0-1-5  Take some time this week and think about your 2-0-1-5 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 2-0-1-5 plan in the comments below. If you want to share some of your plan, but not all of it, that's perfectly fine. Share what you feel comfortable with and keep private what you want.

I look forward to hearing from you. Let's make 2015 a year filled with health, happiness, and ... (insert your word here!).

And, of course, if you need help with making any part of your 2-0-1-5 plan happen, 4QL can help you!


Be sure to share your 2-0-1-5 Plan in the comments section below!

________

Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an award-winning 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 Relationships 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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    After the my mom's death, I withdrew from life. Dina helped me move past the self-destructive tendencies I had used to cope with my grief. She is a compassionate listener, offers gentle suggestions, and provides nonthreatening accountability. Through our sessions she helped me balance my life. I don't know where I'd be without her.
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    Working with Dina has helped me to manage and control my prediabetes. I have lost 10 pounds with her guidance by being more aware of the food I am eating. I like working with Dina because I feel that she really tries to find ways for me to be healthy in my life—the things I like to do and eat—rather than providing a cookie cutter solution.
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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)