About Me

My photo
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 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...."


Lisa said...

If your really want to get into equine nutrition, I recommend Dr. Kellon's courses. They are on-line, not outrageously expensive and will teach you how to balance your horse's diet.

I've had Cricket and Bleu balanced. Cricket gets no grain, just hay pellets and a serious of supplements meant to fill in the blanks of her diet. She gets a few herbal supplements for hormones and headshaking. She's never looked better (her coat is several shades darker than it used to be) and she's never been healthier. Bleu gets commercial feed because she's a harder keeper but I found a feed that is good for her and no over-loaded with NSC (in fact it's safe to feed to an acutely laminitic horse). Bleu has melanoma so she gets certain herbs, etc to help her immune system and provide anti-tumor properties.

It's work but it's worth it to see the shine on my horses.

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Thanks you for the resource, Lisa. I will definitely check it out. -M

Lisa said...

* I meant to say "series of supplements" rather than "serious" ...

But for Cricket I guess it is serious. I can tell when her calcium intake is out of balance because she starts headshaking. And spring time riding is a nightmare with her hormones.

I've loved delving into more natural equine nutrition and care. It shows in my healthy, happy ponies.

Dr. Kellon doesn't go into herbals but she will help you get the key elements of your nutrition right. From my balancing, Cricket and Bleu get added zinc, copper, biotin and methionine. At levels they need because I feed each individually rather than some mixed up, unbalanced combo-supplements.

Lauren Lee said...

Hi Michelle - Love reading your discoveries and watching you grow! I'd like to add #8 to your list; and I actually believe it's the most important one: EMOTIONAL FITNESS. I have seen almost no acknowledgment in weight loss programs, books, etc on the emotional reason and reasons that started the weight gain and why it continues. I personally believe uncovering the emotions & healing them are KEY to a permanent lifestyle change! My 25 cents worth... Warmly, Lauren

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Thanks Lauren. I agree 100%. Emotional fitneess is something I've had to get together wiht the negative self-talk stuff. :)