About Me

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North Lawrence, New York, United States
I can be described as lover of life, an animal lover, and lover of education. I am constantly striving for knowledge and learning opportunities. I've been around horses my entire life. I enjoy working with horses and their human partners through natural horsemanship philosophies, natural balance bare foot hoof care, reiki, red-light therapy, essential oils, aromatherapy, crystal healing, chromotherapy, flower essences, and more. I am a Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master Teacher who offers treatments for people, horses, dogs, cats, and other creatures great and small. I also teach Reiki classes for those interested in learning how to treat themselves, their loved ones, and even their animals! Natural Horse Lover Farm is located in Northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and Adirondack Mountains. Heaven on Earth. naturalhorseloverfarm.com

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: Time to Study

If you don't know what to do, have little time, or just feeling stuck, try the weekly task as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more!) This week's task is simple, create a study plan (write it down) and start studying your Parelli materials in anticipation of play time because spring is here! Review your videos, read your print materials, get yourself in the horse frame of mind, ready to play and make progress this year!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: Reading Assignment - Spring Founder

If you don't know what to do, have little time, or just feeling stuck, try the weekly task as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more!)

This week's task is to start thinking about and reading about spring grass founder. Are you prepared, is your horse ready? Hopefully the weather will warm up and the grass will grow. And, if it does, you'll have to be prepared to wean your horse back onto the beautiful grass. Below are some resources for you to check out, please add more in the comments section!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Active Listening...It is so important.

When you listen, do you always hear what is being communicated? You can but only if you learn the art of active listening. When it comes to horses, I actively listen to their body language, I look for cues, I try to communicate, and above all, give them everything I can to make them happy and healthy. I treat horses (and all of my other animals, friends, and family) with the utmost respect, with all the care I can muster, and always seek never-ending improvement in all the things I do for or with them. My horses are doing great, happy that spring is on the way, and tomorrow, should be really happy to get their feet trimmed, bodies groomed, and eat some yummy carrots (oh, and of course hang out with me)! Riding will have to wait a bit, the ground is saturated and in many places, looks like a pond...yuck.

So, tell me why, when I am on the right road to better health (and overall doing great-never giving up), knowing that I need to actively listen to my body and not my mind (when it is going in the wrong direction), do I go down the wrong path with it? My mother used to always say that everything in life for me would come and I'd be successful but, I'd more likely than not, take the most difficult road to get there - thus far, she's been right! (Thanks, mom.)

Yesterday afternoon, I posted the following on Cambiati's Facebook page:

"Tomorrow is Day 18 for me. I have a plan (all written down), my pantry and fridge are stocked and everything is prepped, I've written myself little love notes to keep myself motivated and strategically placed them throughout my journal. So, wish me luck! I've never have blended only meal days in my life, and definitely not four in a row! LOL :) I had a mini "in my head" moment this evening about it but, I am okay now, I am ready, and I am excited!"

What I was referring to was the fact that days 18-21 (of the 28-day program) in the detox/cleanse were a challenge and I was meeting the challenge straight on. the reason they are a challenge is that it is 4 days of only blended foods. This portion of the program is to not only allow the body to shed toxins, but to allow the breaking of emotional attachments to food, to teach the mind that food does not have a hold on our bodies, and take habit out of the picture replacing it with conscious thought. When I got home, I reviewed my plan being sure to have everything written down, and even wrote little love notes and notes of accomplishment in my journal that I'd "run into" during the next four days as ways to encourage myself. I shared my strategy with Rick and we talked a lot about all of this (he remarking about how proud he was of me and that he was impressed with all of the time and energy I was putting into working on myself). It felt great to hear that.

All of this said, I need to share (at the prompting of my best-horse friend, Clare), that I had a complete meltdown last night and the consequences were horrific. In sharing this, I hope that I can help one of you remember to be honest with yourself, be open-minded, understand that you are human, realize that being willing to think and do things outside your comfort zone in any aspect of your life is important, and if you make a mistake, own it and move on.

Last night, I was on my way home from work, the plan was to have a healthy version of a St. Patrick's Day meal while Rick indulged on corned beef. I made braised cabbage and carrots (that was lovely), roasted sweet potato, salad, and instead of cooking a piece of chicken (or other learn protein), I purchased a rotisserie chicken, despite the fact that often times, in the past, they made me ill (unless it was prepared from scratch, at home, on my grill by master chicken chef, Rick). I am now convinced that there was stuff on it and perhaps in it (wheat, sugar, salt, and who knows what--you know toxins, allergens, things I need to stay away from and know it). When I was eating it and afterwards, I was not feeling satisfied with my meal and felt hungry despite eating more than my share. I was just not feeling centered at all, anxious, hungry, and upset inside (emotionally and physically). My body was reacting and my mind had ruled the events leading up to these feelings via the choice I made while shopping. (Life is all about choices, sometimes I don't make the best ones even though I know better--why is that anyway? hmmm.)

Then, fast forward to 9:30pm or so, I had detox tea because I was feeling anxious (which helped) but by 10pm I knew that I needed to go to bed "or else". I had been totally on track for the past 17 days. However, I got all caught up in watching CNN, reading job postings, checking out other news online, and talking to Rick. Rick was still making his dinner (corned beef, fries in the oven, salad, etc). I tasted a bite of corned beef when it was done (this was about 11:00pm now, maybe 11:30pm). You know, the "just one bite" taste that won't hurt anything? (yeah right) This "just a taste" flung me into an eating frenzy of way too much corned beef and then lots of fries. I didn't feel sick or anything but knew that the next day was the so-called, "day 18" for me and although I knew I was ready, my hopes were that I didn't undo the last 17 days or work! I contacted my Cambiati coach (and Arbonne consultant) and asked her opinion. I was so utterly upset with myself thinking that I was so stupid, and knew that now I was craving sugar--I had not craved sugar since I started the cleanse. :( (This is what happens when I eat non-Cambiati friendly foods I described and all the feelings that come along with not taking care of myself.)

So anyhow, that brings me to this morning. 6am I get up, let the dogs out, I relieve my bladder, and then sat in my rocker. My intention was to work out before heading out but after going to the bathroom, I had this horrible feeling in my lower abdomen. It was not cramps per se but something was seriously wrong and I knew it, this was not a normal tummy ache. My body was again trying to talk to me and it got my attention this time. It is hard to describe really but just a strange pain that was almost akin to a tension and unease of sorts, something was amiss and going very wrong. It reminded me of the feeling I had when I had gall bladder attacks which were horrible and life-threatening (If you recall, I had a 3.3 cm stone and the doctors removed it and the gall bladder stating that had I another attack, I could have expired). Those attacks were horrific, I had cold sweats, could not breath, felt like I was having a heart attack, would almost pass out, vomiting, diarrhea, crying, uncontrollable shaking, feelings of freezing and being over heated all at the same time, serious amounts of pain and suffering that would last hours and hours and were accompanied by anxiety attacks because I was terrified and thought I was dying. During those attacks, I'd want to call 911 (but never did--you know, didn't want to bother anyone).

Well this morning, I had most of those symptoms except for the heart attack stuff and I could breathe if I'd just stop hyperventilating, I felt like calling 911 but instead tried to call my husband (who was sleeping up on the loft) using my cell phone, that I fortunately grabbed on my way into the bathroom (not sure why, I never do this), and I couldn't even dial the right number. The blood had left my head and I was starting to pass out, kept calling myself, could not think how to dial the home phone or what the number was (and yes, it was in the speed dial), and fortunately, my Great Dane Morgan was there and I managed to call out loud enough for Rick to hear me. It is interesting because he typically is a very sound sleeper but since the gall bladder days, if I am in trouble, he hears me (he does not hear me when he is snoring like a freight train though, lol). Rick rushed downstairs asked what was wrong, and got me a cold washcloth. He stayed up until I was ready to stand again and walk upstairs. I laid down for about an hour (on his prompting) rather than workout, before getting up again to get ready for work. (There is no way I could have worked out.)

The feelings that I had this morning, not only physical but emotional and mental were a true reminder of how important it is for me to live a Cambiati-clean lifestyle (a toxin-free existence--remember toxins can be food, chemicals, medications, environmental, etc). That indulgences on anything that I know don't work for me are simply not worth it 9for so many reasons). As I type this I feel like crying, perhaps out of guilt, fear, and happiness, and many other emotions. I am so much more aware of my body and its needs and I just have to listen to it, all of the time, without hesitation. I finally realized that I had literally poisoned myself and my body was taking care of the toxins but wow, that was just terrifying and enlightening!

Since today is day 18, and I had a plan (all written down), I decided to continue with one alteration in my plan (flexibility is important in our lives, in all aspects). I opted to let my body settle down and not eat until lunch, drinking some detox tea instead (and taking some detox support supplements). It was a wise choice and made me feel more centered and much better physically. I sit here writing to you all, this evening, totally on track and feeling very good again.

I suppose my point is that even though we are great caretakers of other people, our animals, and any other being that crosses our paths, people, and in my viewpoint, particularly women, have tendency to ignore their own needs. If I don't take care of myself, I cannot take care of my horses, my dogs, my kitty, my husband, my friends or other family members, etc. because I won't be here to do so. If I am not here, lost is my horsemanship journey and all of my dreams. Isn't this just another example of principles before goals? I cannot reach my goals if I don't keep my principles in check, period, that is how it works! Therefore, I vow to try my best to continue to take better care of myself and enjoy the journey to physical, mental, and emotional fitness...a horse's dream, to have a human partner with all of those aspects in perfect harmony.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge:Spring Cleaning - Manure!

If you don't know what to do, have little time, or just feeling stuck, try the weekly task as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more!)

If your place is anything like mine, winter is ending and the snow is thawing which can only mean one thing...mud season! Well, in addition to mud, I've got a lot of manure to remove. I know how I'm going to do it, how about you? I am not only going to remove the manure (by hand and with a borrowed skid steer, but we will be composting it for our garden. We grow most of our vegetables for the year and our horses help! So, this week's task is all about manure. Write down a plan not only of how you will commence with the spring manure cleanup but, make another list of how you might use this valuable natural resource! Remember, reduce, reuse, recycle! :)

Being thankful amidst great tragedy

Image from the NY Daily News.

*To view footage of flooding (not the same flood that is in the photo above) as the Tsunami came in, click on this link (you'll need to be logged into Facebook). Please note, the imagery and sounds are not only breath-taking but, you'll find yourself upset inside and speechless.

It certainly should not take a tragedy like the 8.9 upgraded to 9.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked northern Japan on March 11, 2011, the devastating 33-foot tsunami that followed, explosions and radiation leaks at the nuclear power plant (causing more than 180,000 people to flee), nor the seemingly unrelated but frightening volcanic eruption to the south to make us thankful but sometimes, it is precisely a historic and incredible event like this that shakes a person up, leaving them thinking about life and the true meaning of being thankful. (To date, the death toll is still rising, and is said to most likely be in the tens of thousands.) Did you know that the Island of Japan has moved eight feet from this event? Can you even imagine that?

I don't know that I need to go in depth about all of this, I mean being thankful, it is a no-brainer, right? And, I am certain that if you are reading a natural horsemanship blog, you are a great deal like me. But, I wanted to share here, some of the things I am thankful for. It is not a complete list but a few thoughts that immediately passed through my mind when the horrid natural disaster news came across my television. I hope that you consider, if not here in the comments, somewhere in your life, write down a few of your things to be thankful for, it is a great reminder of just how lucky we are.

I am thankful for...
  • Thankful for my husband and his kind nature, his love, support, and for always being there.
  • Thankful for my beautiful animals, the horses, dogs, and kitty that share my life (and all those you did).
  • Thankful for my family and friends, near and far.
  • Thankful for what I have in life, those material things that make life a bit easier.
  • Thankful to have a wonderful career.
  • Thankful for my health and my life, my mind, and the opportunity to make a difference, even if just in a small way.
  • Thankful for having an abundunce of food and water, and the ability to grow it.
  • And, there is so much more...I am a very fortunate person and need to remember that.
Never again (I hope) will I complain about not having the perfect house, the perfect horse facilities, enough time, enough money, needing a vacation, etc. The people in Japan, at this very moment, are left with nothing but their lives (if they were lucky). They are starving and having difficulty finding the basics (food and water), people are dead all around, everything is gone, in a blink of an eye. My heart is very heavy my friends....Words cannot properly describe any of this or make sense of it, not really. Please, be thankful, show that you care, to your family, your friends, your animals, even to strangers. Be kind, be thoughtful, make connections with those around you, life is too short not to.

Update...Go hug your pets people...life is too short and uncertain. This little dog in Japan (video) won't leave his injured canine companion...*tears*

Update...World Vets Japan Disaster Relief International Aid for Animals

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Update...Brief news from my region of the world, we experienced a 3.7 upgraded to 4.7 magnitude earthquake on March 16th, 2011. I didn't feel this one but, did feel the 5.5 magnitude quake back in June 23, 2010.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rediscovering the WHY...

I've been pondering the why is several aspects of my life lately. Why did I become a librarian? Why Parelli Natural Horsemanship? Why start the journey to better health? Why did I choose Weight Watchers? Why Cambiati 28-Day Program? Why live in New York? Why was I so lucky to have my soul mate, Rick come into my life? And, so much more. The question why often naturally leads to the other question, why not? I am not sure what has sparked these questions, perhaps my age, perhaps a feeling of mortality, in some cases a feeling of satisfaction and in some, a feeling of needing to make a change. When I think about my time on Earth, it just is not long enough and I sometimes feel like there will never be enough time to do it all.

My path to becoming a librarian was not a straight course, it was not on my radar, but it happened. I believe that it was a great choice, I am well suited for the profession and thrive in what I do. It allows me to enjoy the other aspects of my life. I do believe that moving into an administrative position was important for my career development and to satisfy my need to move up and onward, to always be faced with challenges, and to lead people, programs,and make never-ending progress. I thought I'd be a veterinarian or attorney but, librarian is what happened. The why doesn't matter as much as the why not which is how I got to grad school and now, at the top of my profession.

Why Parelli? If you started reading my blog when it first started, I talked about that. The blog post was called, "The beginning of my journey." It chronicled, in brief, the fact that I'd been involved with horses for most of my life, was severely injured, left the horse world but just could not stay away, saw Pat on TV, and that was that, I was hooked. I don't regret my decision as I believe this does not mean I am perfect or that I get nearly enough time to spend with my horses, I have so much to learn and who knows if I ever will. However, no matter the level of my proficiency, I am a better horse person for it and my horses enjoy a better life having a partner and leader.

I chose the road to better health because frankly it was do or die. It was either lose weight eat right, get fit, be active or become incapable of doing anything horse related and likely get sick, become immobile, and die. You've all read my stops and starts but, I've never given up on myself. I can say that had I been smarter, I'd have never had to go down this road but, I believe I was meant to. For some reason, I needed to learn the lessons of taking care of oneself and so here I am, working really hard at it. Weight Watchers was something introduced to me years ago and I like the structure. Cambiati of course is very new and I feel like it is perfect for me. It is structured, logical, it gives me what WW does not, the knowledge and tools to truly understand what my body needs and know how to listen to it, not just what the mind is secretly telling me to do. WW is good but, they say you can eat anything, that is simply not true, not if you want to be truly healthy and take a holistic approach to your health and well-being. They are endorsing eating healthier choices but are also guilty of providing the public with processed junk food. In any event, I am doing what is best for me, a combination of programs that makes it all work for me.

New York? Well, I was born here, left, and came back - but to a different region. I look at job opportunities not only for the positions but, for the beauty of the area and that is the how/why I've moved around. Virginia was gorgeous and we were there for the time we were meant to be. Where I live now is beautiful (mountains to the east and the river to the west with all kinds of places in between). I don't know if I will stay forever, there are many factors in that, but I do know, for now, I am happy (despite not having "perfect" horse facilities. I am really hooked on the idea of Nova Scotia--never been there, want to vacation there for sure, live there? Who knows, life is too short to say no and, I've checked, there are Parelli people there, a few anyway! I also have a colleague from NS who has family interested in meeting up.

As far as Rick, well we met over twenty years ago, married for love and last year, he asked me to marry him again (and I did). We didn't have a fancy wedding either time and have no regrets. The why is becuase we knew we were meant to be and mark my words, we will be the couple that is married for 80 years (yeah, I was 18, he was 21 when we married--true love birds).

I am not sure where I am going with all of this except to say that asking why is important, especially if you are struggling with an aspect in your life. The WHY is the motivator and if you don't have a good answer, if you lack motivation, you may be on the wrong path. Remembering the why helps people regain focus, make difficult decisions, and allows for moving forward.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Weekly Task Challenge: What is your motivation?

If you don't know what to do, have little time, or just feeling stuck, try the weekly task as a way to at least do something with your horse! (It just may motivate you to do more!)

So what is your motivation to have horses? They are expensive, take a great deal of work, and yet, we all just love them! This week's challenge is to explore your motivation for being involved with horses. Why do you hsve them, why do you want to play with them, whasat goals are you working on? If your motivation is waning, especially because many of us have been and continue to be experiencing a long winter, I have listed a few resources to help you understand and explore your motivation...maybe even kick it back in gear!

Motivation 123

Motivation via Wikipedia

Increase Motivation from Pick the Brain

Motivation from Psychology Today

Motivate Us

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Hallelujah - Embrace Change

Well, I am really happy about today's weigh-in. I lost 12.4 lbs, which means I am at 25% body weight lost yielding a total of 65.4lbs lost. I am also back in Onderland (197.2lbs) and two pounds from my highest loss (that was back in Dec). My short term goal was to get back to 25% off by St. Patrick's Day and I am early! So, I am doing really well, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I don't expect such a big loss again but, I believe that ridding my body and not filling it with toxic foods made a difference and allowed it to release some of the water it was retaining in an attempt to protect my cells. Listening to my body and not just my mind has made a huge difference in so many ways. Cambiati (kam-bee-ah-ti) is an Italian word that means changed (some translate it as to change). As I continue on my journey on the program, today is day 5 (although I did some "pre-detoxing/cleansing" for 3 days prior), I am changed, for the better, and look forward to more change in the future, a change for the better, a change to my lifetime goal of being healthy (and thin) again.

So, is this the same as listening to our horse's body language and signals, understanding his needs rather than just trying to force the horse to do what we want? I think so! This change in horsemanship style or philosophy is needed if we are going to make the world a better place for horses. Being open minded, willing, and honest about what our horses want/need and what we want/need is the first step to facilitate change.

I embrace change in all aspects in my life. Where some fear it, I believe change is a positive step in exploration and the only way to make progress. I guess I am am explorer of sorts, exploring all aspects of my life, seeking never-ending improvement, knowledge, and happiness. I figure I get one chance at a good life and that it is not something I am owed but something I earn. (Now to find a way to go on an exploration of Nova Scotia (see photo above)--a place I truly desire to visit--yes, I still need a vacation). LOL

Have a lovely weekend everyone, go kiss your horse, hug your significant other, and embrace yourself.

Friday, March 04, 2011

A few insights based on coaching sessions...for some, like a fish out of water.

Sometimes you may feel like a fish of water when learning something new, but this position is actually a great place to be in because it leads to development, growth, and new opportunities.

Do you remember the first time you picked up a carrot stick or the first time you read Pat Parelli's Natural Horse-Man-Ship book? What about the first time you tried to use the 45' line, you know, that waxy, stiff rope? I remember when I got my first Parelli Partnership Level 1 kit. This is the one with the audio cassette and VHS tape with pocket guides. This partnership pack is often referred to as the "old level 1." In it Pat recommends using the carrot stick and savvy string on a fence to practice learning the movements and better understand the feel of the string and stick before using it with our horse. I did it and my neighbor watched me with her face pressed against the window, curtains drawn wide, I was a spectacle. It wasn't that I was not good at it, I found the task to be simple and it went well. However, not only was she not a horse person and had no clue what I was doing, we were living in the south in rural Southwest Virginia, in the mountains, and we were "Yankees." We may as well have been aliens from another planet and this didn't make things any easier! Here I was, this strange horse woman who was also the main provider in my household, who was a career womanmoving for my job (not Rick's), bought my house before my husband saw it (although I had to have him sign off before we could put a contract on it because the man selling the place refused to sell to me without my husband's approval--Rick and I shrugged and laughed about it because to us, that was ridiculous), oh yeah, and we had a washer and dryer in the house (dishwasher too)--yes, this was a hugely big deal to this woman and to some others in our area. Despite the materials being foreign to a person who was not exposed to natural horsemanship before (me), despite my neighbor constantly staring at me (and this went on for the entire time I lived there, my arena (the one we built) was across the road from her house (everyone wanted to buy it to put a mobile home on and could not understand why I'd waste it for horses), I did it, I persevered and here I am, a PNH Level 3 student. :)

The awkward moments I talk about seem uncomfortable, embarrassing perhaps, or even difficult but, the time you took (or I took) to pursue and persist, to learn, to grow has certainly paid off and because of it, we all are better horse people for it.

As I continue on my journey to better health, and on my 28-day detox/cleanse, I am continually learning more and more about myself. I believe this is all knowledge that transcends the healthy journey to a weight goal and certainly will touch me for the rest of my life. My mind reels with new information and as I type this, I feel complete and utter joy, tears well in my eyes, not because I am saddened but because I am extremely happy, and I feel great! I cannot stop smiling this morning...I am laughing at myself. I have been feeling excellent all week, better than ever actually. Amazingly clear, focused, and totally in my zen place. (And, this is my "female time--not to over share but it is important because I am shocked that I am not feeling like an out of control lunatic, like I have been for a few years during this time, but now, I am totally at peace.) I believe the work/study I am doing on detox/cleanse and understanding how my body and food relate is probably the most important thing I've done for myself in a very long time. It is not easy, actually quite complicated but, a mission I need to accomplish. If it makes a difference for me,it certainly impacts all who share my life and on many levels, horses and humans alike.

Here are a few words of wisdom from yesterday's coaching sessions...

--Your relationship with food should be a metaphor for other things in your life.

--The 80/20 rule (remember 80% on internal checking on one self) is like Yoga of everyday life. Tell your body, "I'm here for and with you, I feel you." Check inside yourself asking, "How do you feel? How do you feel about the food? How are you doing with this bite? Did you have enough?"

-- Have a conversation with your fat...think about what it is doing for you (and that is not always negative). Find the positives and have a conversation with your fat. For example, recognize that it is there to protect you (could be you used it as a place to hide from the world, it protects your organs, it comforted you when you were feeling down, etc.). Tell it thank you for protecting you but that you don't need it anymore, that you need to move forward in your life and journey leaving it behind. Don't hate your fat, realize it served a purpose that is simply no longer needed and move forward.

I also have to share that I have been feeling completely satisfied. I don't feel like I am being deprived and actually, feel like I am caring for myself and giving my body what it truly needs and desires. Wow, this is a powerful and amazing change in mindset for me. All thoughts of negativity are gone...yes, the "Queen of negative self-talk" is dead. A new me has been born! :)

I hope you are all doing well and feeling wonderful. The weather will break soon and we will all have lots of horse time very soon. Take care of yourselves, then you can take care of your horses, your family, and friends. HUGS.

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Today's ramblings...food for thought

As horse people, we are faced with a dilemma, other horse people! Yes, that is right, in our field, if you are not the perfect "10" you are likely to be harshly judged by fellow horse lovers and others too as a matter of fact. People (not just horse people) tend to judge others by physical appearance first and everything else later. It is a cruel reality and unfortunately what happens is that wonderful people get overlooked. I can only imagine what people say about me, overweight and doing PNH...OMG...two strikes in some people's eyes. LOL I am not saying that we all should not strive to be fit, but just noting that there is a prejudice. I am very happy with who I am, happily getting my health and fitness back, and proud to be a Parelli student. (Pat Parelli lost 40 pounds by the way...he looked great on RTTH didn't he? What if we dismissed him when he was 40 lbs heavier just because of his looks....wow, we'd miss so much knowledge, miss a caring individual making a difference for horses!)

In any event, the weight and health of horse and rider are equally important. Horses have specific dietary needs that we as humans provide. It is my hope that everyone considers their horse(s) dietary needs and ensures that they are getting the nutrients they need through the best means. (And watching sugar is a big key.) Horses need forage, not processed grains, something that took me years to understand and accept. This winter, with the excellent hay (grown by my friend) and some alfalfa cubes, my horses have done better than ever (and I used to buy all of the supplements and most expensive grain products). I have a long way to go to better understand horse nutrition but, knowing what I know now, and learning more and more about my own health is helping me to start thinking more deeply about their needs. (Yep, another research project.)

A friend said today that overweight people are that way because they simply like unhealthy foods and it got me thinking because I just don't believe it is that simple. I think that people who have become overweight perhaps like unhealthier choices but, I wonder if they really enjoy them, truly. I believe that people are overweight because of several factors that we need to understand. Here are some of my ponderings and are certainly not all of the reasons…

1. Genetics - People are all made up with different body compositions that do not necessarily conform to society’s so-called norm. We are also faced, in my opinion, with predispositions (like allergies) to certain foods which may not put you into anaphylactic shock but, your body may believe it is a toxin and therefore go into protection mode (like people retaining water from wheat consumption to protect the cells). Often, people don’t realize this or understand the implications and continue to consume these foods (and unfortunately, the list of foods in the category have a tendency to be in everything these days—almost everything anyway).

2. Environment - If you live in an environment where unhealthy choices and habits are what you learn, what is done, some people don’t realize that there are issues, some have no say in what happens, and changing behaviors is a difficult process (not always met with support) even when only trying to change what you do for you.

3. Food Supply – Much of what Americans eat today is pumped with hormones, processed and over processed, genetically modified, or otherwise altered out of its natural state (this simply cannot be a good thing).

4. Expense - Unhealthy foods tend to be inexpensive whereas healthier choices carry a higher price tag. But do they really? If you eat healthy foods, you tend to eat much less thank you do of unhealthy foods and the healthy foods you find yourself more satisfied with afterwards. So perhaps, since you’d eat less and be better for it, perhaps the expense factor may be not as disparate as we tend to believe.

5. Availability - Unhealthy foods are easy to find at a moment’s notice whereas finding healthy alternatives takes a lot of fortitude and planning (usually unless you are in a big city), but, it can be done.

6. Addiction - I am a strong believer that sugar, fat, salt, wheat, and processed foods are addictive (and this is not a complete list), just like narcotics, and thus exacerbate the issue. Eat it and you are only satisfied in the moment, you crave more and more and keep eating to find satiation which never comes. This addiction to junk is typically a huge downfall for many.

7. Vicious Cycle - I see a vicious cycle that has happened to me (and others) time and time again. I is something I have to be aware of constantly. If I eat unhealthy choices, they are addictive and thus I crave more, overeat, feel guilt, feel yucky, stop exercising, get fatter, eat more, feel bad, more guilt, etc. It is never-ending unless I disrupt the cycle. This disruption is what everyone needs to do to be successful and get to lifetime goal (and maintain it). Call them trigger foods, call them allergens, call them anything you want but what they are is the one thing that stands in our way to success, set them aside and you are golden. The cravings will vanish, the negativity will vanish, the feelings of despair, gone. What you will be left with is a healthy body and soul.

Video: Common weight loss myths debunked, Ti Caudron, Cambiati Wellness
Article: 10 Common Myths about Weight Loss and Nutrition
By Cambiati" Wellness Programs

I learned something today during the Cambiati coaching session. Ti Caudron said that she recommends people use the 80/20 rule when faced with dining out, parties, and the like. What his means is to focus 80% of your attention on yourself and the other 20% on others (and they will never know it). She said that you need to connect with yourself (with your body), particularly when at an event like this. For instance, when eating, put your fork down between bites. Now, I've heard this before but, not a good reason why particularly or perhaps just not a good explanation. She also said to touch your feet to the floor. So what is this all about? Each task helps you connect with yourself and your body. It causes a pause, a time to take a breath and think before continuing, a time out (that no one will know you are doing), a time to get a good sense of you level of hunger or fullness. She also talked about what to do if you are feeling out of control or need a moment to regroup when at a party or other gathering. She said to take a moment and go look in the mirror, say hello to yourself, reconnect with yourself, ask yourself if you are OK and ask what is going on. This is a moment to be kind to yourself, take care of yourself, and control of the situation. I can see ramifications for this in horsemanship as well. When I am with a horse and need to regroup, we stop, breathe refocus, and move on. It could be a quick break or a few minutes, it really depends on the situation and on-lookers may not even realize that my horse and I are pausing to reconnect (yeah,the beauty of Parelli Natural Horsemanship---that is it OK and desired to reconnect if there is an issue, we take care of one another, partner.)

Anyhow, there was more to the call but these two points really resonated with me. I am sure at some time, WW may have said similar things but, I cannot remember for certain. :) This call today just stuck with me. If you are ever interested, I highly recommend the Cambiati program. I am totally immersed in studying, attending virtual class, and coaching sessions. And, this is the end of day 2 (of 28) for me on their 28-Day Program, total success, totally satisfied, very happy, and feeling awesome!

Article: Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges
Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?
"That simple question is the basis for a burgeoning new area of psychological research called self-compassion — how kindly people view themselves. People who find it easy to be supportive and understanding to others, it turns out, often score surprisingly low on self-compassion tests, berating themselves for perceived failures like being overweight or not exercising...."