Monday, May 30, 2016

Need a Snack? Try Paleovalley

A lot of my patients come to me asking about good snack ideas. They are working hard to change their diet as per my recommendations after giving them a very personalized, specific diet and as they read ingredients they realize how food they once thought was healthy really isn't very healthy especially when it comes to 'health bars'. If you like beef jerky and you can do fruits in your diet Epic bars are a great option that you can pick up at Whole Foods and other health food stores. But what about Kind bars, Cliff bars, Lara bars? Cliff bars have soy in them and are not necessarily organic so I would stay away from them. Lara bars are fruit based and so that can be hard for some of my patients. Kind bars have nuts and fruit in them, sweetened with honey. Not all of them have fruit in them so that can be a good option but some of my patients cannot do nuts so what is left?

Organic, pure, whole food is the best snack. Meaning, anything your great, great grandmother could have eaten, you should eat as a snack too. A boiled egg, a piece of chicken, carrot sticks, etc. the less processed the better but I know we are a society on the go so what is a healthy 'on-the-go' snack? Try Paleovalley Superfood Bars. They are full of antioxidant rich foods such as spirulina and chlorella, but are cashew butter based. Cashew is seen as a nut but is truly a bean so cashews may be something you can do even though you are staying away from nuts. These health bars do however have fruit in them. They have blueberries, acai berries and cherries for antioxidant properties and it does use dates and honey for sweetness for a total of 11 grams of sugar. So if you are avoiding fruit these would not be the bars for you. Instead try their beef snack sticks, given you aren't a vegetarian. Their beef is grass-fed just like in the Epic bar but unlike the Epic bar, they do not contain fruit. There are not chemical preservatives and they use the tiniest bit of sweetener from tapioca. You can also make your own health bar with the recipe in this newsletter! If you make your own it will definitely save on the grocery bill and you can make it exactly the way you want.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Life is a Story

We each have a story, actually many stories.  Our lives are full of the stories that we tell ourselves.  We each have a story about family, our work, our home, etc. And I want you to know that if there is a story about your life that you don’t like, you can change it.  You can tell yourself a different story, for we are the author and each of us is writing a book of life.

We can literally tell ourselves a different story.  We can believe in a different story.  What we believe in, what we think and tell ourselves, matters for our thoughts give way to feelings. Feelings give way to actions. Actions give way to character. Character is our identity and what we use to create and write our book of life.  If we think a certain thought long enough it becomes a belief that we then act on. Take an inventory of your beliefs.  Do you believe life is fun or a struggle?  Do you believe in love at first sight or love is something to be earned?  Do you believe money should come easily or do you need to work hard for it? There is a danger in believing in a thought that does not serve you and then it comes out in actions of self-sabatoge.  There is also a danger in believing that what other people think matters. Your thoughts and feelings are fleeting and so are theirs. What do you want to believe in? Choose that. Yes, thoughts are a choice. They are not truth. What is truth? Truth is defined as 'in accordance with fact or reality'. But if our thoughts or feelings are fleeting then is it a fact? Is it truth? No. Truth is not your fleeting feelings or thoughts. But your feelings and thoughts do give rise to a 'truth for now'. Meaning as we grow and learn and have new feelings and thoughts we are creating a new truth for now, we are creating a new story. We are not the same person we were a year ago because we are not thinking or feeling the same things. We may be thinking happier thoughts or we may be thinking more depressed thoughts but they are not the same and the choice is ours.

If you don't like an aspect of your life, then change the way you think about it. Tell yourself a different story.  If you have different thoughts about it then you will feel and act differently and your life will change.  If you tell yourself a better, happier story your life will change for the better.  If something upsetting happens to you, or even traumatic, something that should never happen to anyone, it is okay, you can rewrite your story with courage.  Courage allows you not to get stuck in that sad story.  For if you do get stuck in a sad story your character starts changing and becoming sad.  That is depression. But even with a sad story we can find some silver lining about it, something, even if it’s small, to be grateful for.  And when we find that something to be grateful for that is what we can choose to think about.  We can do a paradigm shift.  We can tell ourselves a different story and think different thoughts and create a different life instead of being stuck in a story that doesn't help serve us. Maybe the story, at some point, did help us. Such as the story of love gone wrong and we aren't going to make that choice again. But do we really want to close ourselves off from all chances of finding love or do we just want to be smarter about it next time. We can learn from our stories and make better, healthier choices. That is the point. Learn and move on. The point is not to get stuck in them and replay them again and again in our minds and feel miserable about our book of life. 

When life blindsides you and you are working through a story that you don't have any control over or you wake up one day and you realize you don't like your story, you can learn to move through it with courage, the best way you know how. Feel your feelings. Get mad, get sad, cry, etc. whatever you feel, feel it. Do not numb yourself with distractions. Do not eat a gallon of ice cream, drink a bottle of wine or numb out on television. 

Feel your feelings because they are telling you something, but don't identify with them. We should not define who we are by our thoughts or our feelings. There is no truth in fleeting feelings. 'I am sad,' is not true. 'I feel sad' is true. Give your feelings space to be the energy that they are and let them come up.  Allow your feelings to communicate what they need to. Listen to them. Act accordingly for the highest good and then let them go. No need to hold onto them. No need to identify with them. In fact, unless they are feelings that make you feel good they need to be felt in order to be let go and nothing more.  If you don’t feel them then you can't let them go.  If you don't let them go they hold you down, emotionally and physically.  Feelings are energy and you keep that energy and store it in your body.  That is what stress headaches are. Stomach knots, shoulder pain, low back pain can all be areas too where you put your stress.  Stress occurs in the body when you are thinking thoughts or tell yourself a story that doesn’t make you happy.  It is at those times your body is telling you to tell a different story. The goal is to try to change your thoughts and change your story before it starts to change your character and affect your body.  You need to change your story when you don’t feel good about it. You know you are telling yourself the right story when you do feel good about it. 

When anger comes up as a feeling we tend to be confused by it.  It is an easy feeling to ignore for we have the stigma that nice people aren't supposed to get angry.  I want you to know that anger is nothing to be scared of.  It is a feeling that comes up to make us pay attention to what is going on for it is an indicator that something is not right.  If this feeling is ignored we act out in different ways.  We become passive aggressive or we take it out on others. Or maybe we are in denial and don't let ourselves feel it until one day it is too much pressure and we explode.  So next time you feel anger, first practice gratitude for it, because it is telling you to pay attention to something.  Then just be aware of your anger and really confront what is going on and use courage to change what needs to be changed in the situation so you feel safe again.  I will tell you most of the time what needs to be changed is not the other person involved in the situation but something within yourself needs to change that you are not seeing and your anger allows you to see it and do something about it.   If there is truly nothing you can change about the situation then acceptance is a choice.  It is a choice that will get you out of anger, vibrating higher and feeling better.

In your book of life if you don’t like your story about work or relationships but you like your story about taking sailing lessons then keep your thoughts on sailing.  Keep whatever thoughts make you happy.  Thoughts are vibration.  Vibration is energy.  Higher vibrating thoughts are happy thoughts.  The higher vibrating thoughts will give you more energy, put you in a higher vibrating place to have the energy to shift and move the lower vibrating thoughts and energy about the stories you don’t like and want to change.  Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” So go to a different level.  Go to a higher level with happier thoughts.

An easy example is when we break up with someone and we are devastated by it.  Our heart is broken, our lives are in pieces and we don’t know how to get out of the sadness and despair.  We slowly pick up the pieces and life does go on without them.  But how it goes on is up to us.  Do we stay in our sad story or do we practice gratitude for what we did learn from the relationship and trust that it’s over for a reason and move on with a story of trust and gratitude.  How we move on is especially important now in order to attract the next person into our lives.  If we are telling ourselves a sad story and vibrating low we are more likely to attract someone also vibrating low with their own sad story, for like attracts like.

Another example, a personal example, is when life blindsided me when my father died. I did the best I could to cope and go through the emotions of losing a loved one. Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression and acceptance and hope.  Nine months after he died I was stuck on anger. I was angry. Every thought justified my anger.  I was so, so, so angry that it was affecting every aspect of my life and I was miserable. So how do you go from anger to hope? You tell yourself a different story. For me, when I finally admitted to myself I was angry, I picked up the Bible, being raised Christian, that's all I knew at the time and I said to myself, 'you better figure out who you are mad at'. It took about six weeks of reading the Bible and other spiritual writings daily before my anger turned soft and started slowly transforming into acceptance. Now, 7 years later, after studying the Bible, Bhagavad Gita, teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh while meditating daily I can say, my dad's death served as the spark I needed to find my beautiful, loving relationship with God. Before his death I thought maybe I believed in something but I wasn't even sure what that something was. My father gave me the best gift he could have ever given me, he lit my path towards enlightenment, but only by his death did this happen and that is the paradigm shift I needed to go from anger to hope. 

So that is my new story. The story of my father and I. It is no longer a story of anger and loss but of love renewed between God and I. A story of all the loving things my father did for me and when I miss him and start thinking about the loss I watch my feelings and then choose thoughts that make me happy.  I choose to think of my father and the memories I hold so dear in my heart that bring a smile to my face.  These thoughts fill me with love and gratitude. Whereas, if I stayed thinking of the loss I would probably still be stuck in anger and filled with bitterness.

In her book “On Death and Dying”, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross described the 7 steps one takes to emotionally cope with death. But these steps are really taken to cope with any loss or sad story we are trying to emotionally process. Again, the steps are shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression and finally  acceptance and hope. The steps are not written in stone. You may not go through them in order and you may be able to process in a way where you do not have to go through all the steps. You may also get stuck in a step. You may get stuck in a story. Know that your goal for happiness is to find a story of hope and acceptance. You have to hope to cope! To move through the steps think thoughts that give you hope. Have the discipline to hold onto these thoughts and the feelings that come about due to these thoughts. And with those thoughts and feelings you will build an energetic momentum to get you out of the unhappy step you are in and closer to hope and happiness.  This energetic momentum means it will be easier and easier for you to go to the higher vibrating thoughts.  You won’t have to consciously choose the higher vibrating thought but you will start thinking it automatically and soon have higher vibrating thoughts on different aspects of your life as well.  And it is in this way that you create your life and have the freedom to write a happy book of life.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cancer Fighting, Cancer Preventing  Apricot Seeds

Research is being done that shows apricot seeds are a source for a natural substance that kills cancer cells without destroying the cancer victim's health and wealth. The essential ingredient has been called laetrile or vitamin B17.

What is B17, or Laetrile?

In 1952, a biochemist named Dr. Ernst Krebb, Jr. in San Francisco decided that cancer was a metabolic reaction to a poor diet, and a missing nutrient from modern man's diet could be the key to overcoming cancer. His research led to a compound found in over 1200 edible plants throughout nature. That compound is amagdylin,

Amagdylin is found with the highest concentration and necessary enzymes in apricot seed kernels. A primitive tribe, the Hunzas, were known to consume large amounts of apricot seed kernels. The hard pit had to be broken to get into the soft kernels. There was no incidence of cancer with them at all, ever. And they had long, healthy life spans. Laetrile was created by simply extracting amagdylin from the soft apricot kernels, purifying it and putting it into a concentrated form.

The seeds are more available to consumers now than laetrile because in 1971 the FDA banned laetrile. Reasons are unknown but I assume it's because it would hurt Big Pharma's 200 billion cancer drug industry.  Laetrile is difficult, but not impossible, to purchase. The seeds are actually the soft almond shaped, bitter tasting kernels from inside the pits. 

So How Does It Work?

Amagdylin contains two specific things: one is benzaldyhide, and one is cyanide. Yes, cyanide and benzaldyhide are poisons if they are released or freed as pure molecules and not bound within other molecular formations. Many foods containing cyanide are safe because the cyanide remains bound and locked as part of another molecule and therefore cannot cause harm.

There is even an enzyme in normal cells to catch any free cyanide molecules and to render them harmless by combining them with sulfur. That enzyme is rhodanese, which catalyzes the reaction and binds any free cyanide to sulfur. By binding the cyanide to sulfur, it is converted to a cyanate which is a neutral substance. Then it is easily passed through the urine with no harm to the normal cells.

But cancer cells are not normal. They contain an enzyme that other cells do not share, beta-glucosidase. This enzyme, virtually exclusive to cancer cells, is considered the "unlocking enzyme" for amagdylin molecules. It releases both the benzaldyhide and the cyanide, creating a toxic synergy beyond their uncombined sum. This is what the cancer cell's beta-glucosidase enzyme does to self destruct cancer cells.

Amagdylin or laetrile in conjunction with the protective enzymes in healthy cells and the unlocking enzymes in cancer cells is thus able to destroy cancer cells without jeopardizing healthy cells. Chemotherapy, on the other hand, kills a lot of other cells and diminishes one's immune system while killing an undetermined amount of cancer cells.

Laetrile Treatment

There are many success stories from people using just laetrile or apricot pit kernels. The usual recommendation for prevention is around 5 to 7 over the course of a day. For actual cancer cases use 2 to 3 times that. Some say one kernel for every 10 lbs of body weight. For maintenance after a cure, go back to 5 to 7 per day.

Some laetrile therapists have patients use vitamin B15 tablets and digestive enzymes such as papaya's papain and pineapple's bromalene. Too many apricot pit kernels can create nausea or dizziness. 

For example, Gerson's cancer cure therapy's juicing protocol with the right type of juicer and using coffee enemas to detox the liver could be added with laetrile use. It's hard to go wrong with that healthy combination!

Do your own research by starting with the source links below this article.

Excellent interview of G. Edward Griffin on laetrile and the cancer industry

A vast, indexed and categorized free source of cancer cure options with details you can use - It's the free online bible of cancer cure options

Vitamin B17 - contains information on supplements to include with B17 and a list of foods with B17, also a few caveats on using B17

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Magic of Bees: The Health Benefits of Honey and Bee Pollen

Honey is one of the oldest known sweeteners.  In Russia, the extremely potent honey from Siberian bees was give out as a prescription for almost all ailments.  In ancient Egypt honey was used to heal wounds. However, not all honey on the store shelves is the same.  Honey is extremely heat sensitive due to the sheer number of beneficial enzymes, vitamins and minerals.  Honey that has been processed in any way losses most of its benefits.  Also, honey that was not properly harvested and made by bees that have been fed sugar instead of naturally collecting pollen from flowers and improper storage can contribute to a loss in nutrients.  Honey that is mass produced is just as bad as sugar.

Raw honey is the best honey.  It is an alkalining food that doesn't ferment in the stomach.  It can be used to counteract acid indigestion.  When mixed with ginger and lemon juices it also relieves nausea and supplies energy.  Raw honey has been reported to be good for respiratory infections, liver problems. stomach ulcers, digestive problems, constipation, strengthen the immune system and promote general vitality.

Manuka honey is most nutritious of honeys.  I have never been able to find it raw but it is worth the hype and the price.  It is only made in New Zealand and Australia from European honey bees foraging on the manuka tree. To be labelled New Zealand mānuka honey at least 70% of its pollen content should come from the manuka tree. In 2004 Britain's National Health Service (NHS) licensed the use of medical grade manuka honey as a wound dressing, And in recent tests conducted at Sydney University's School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, manuka honey killed every type of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant "superbugs". For some reason this antibacterial property is stable and doesn't lose its potency when exposed to dilution, heat or light as in other processed honeys.  So I always have a jar of it in my house that I take out when I feel I am starting to come down with something.  But when I just want something sweet I use raw honey.

Also made from bees is bee pollen and it is so full of nutrition it is labeled as a super food! It is about 40% protein and since about half of that is in the form of free amino acids it is ready to be used directly by the body and can contribute significantly to one's protein needs.
It interestingly cannot be synthesized in a laboratory.  When researchers feed bees manmade pollen the bee dies even though all the known nutrients are present in the lab-produced synthesized food.  It is important to recognize that one teaspoon does of pollen takes on bee working eight hours a day for one month to gather.

Pollen is known to improve endurance and vitality, aid in recovery from chronic illness, reduce cravings and addictions, regulate intestines, build new blood and boost the immune system.  It is thought to protect against radiation and to have anti-cancer qualities.  Pollen is rich in proteins, free amino acids, and vitamins including B-complex and folic acid. It is a complete food. and according to researchers at the Institute of Apiculture, Taranov, Russia, "Pollen is the richest source of vitamins found in nature in a single food." Research still continues in how many nutrients are in bee pollen but so far over 5,000 enzymes and co-enzymes have been found, far more than is naturally present in any other food!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

How Eating Sugar Effects the Thyroid

Susan keeps busy all the time. She is a mother of two, career woman and loves to volunteer at church on Sundays. However, each day is a struggle. She has a hard time waking up in the morning even when she gets 8 hours of good sleep. Her energy crashes at about 2-3pm when she reaches for a sugary snack as a pick-me-up or that cup of coffee with 3 packets of sugar. She knows if she does the coffee then chances are she will wake up at 3 am with worry and anxiety over something small but sometimes it's the only thing that works to get her through the day.

If this sounds like you know that you are not alone for there are many who are addicted to sugar, caffeine and/or carbohydrates riding high and low on blood sugar swings. Whether someone eats something sugary or carb-loaded, which will turn into sugar once digested, that sugar goes into the blood stream forcing the body to produce insulin, a specific hormone to manage it. The body produces a lot of insulin to take care of the high amount of sugar to get it out of the blood stream and into the cells for energy. It then produces it in excess and the blood sugar drops too low, sending signals to the brain to eat again. So it truly is a swing of sugar-spike and then sugar-crash and when that crash comes we then reach for the next sugary thing to make us temporary feel better and start the cycle again.

Dysglycemia, the condition of the body not being able to keep the blood sugar stable, effects the adrenal glands and their production of cortisol and if the cortisol levels are swinging for a long period of time then it will end in hypothyroidism or a low functioning thyroid. Dysglycemia weakens and inflames the digestive system and weakens the lungs and brain. It drives the adrenal glands to exhaustion, causing adrenal fatigue syndrome. It also sets the stage for other hormonal imbalances including PMS, polycystic ovary syndrome or a miserable transition into menopause. If the dysglycemia doesn't get managed, attempts at helping the thyroid are futile.

When the blood sugar goes to low, either in response after eating something sugary, reactive hypoglycemia or if their blood sugar is just chronically low, hypoglycemia symptoms include

cravings for sweets
irritability if meals are missed
dependency on coffee for energy
becoming lightheaded if meals are missed
eating to relive fatigue
feeling shaky, jittery
feeling agitated
become upset easily
poor memory, forgetfulness
blurred vision

Now when the blood sugar is too high for extended periods of time you have insulin resistance that turns into diabetes. Symptoms include

fatigue after meals
general fatigue
constant hunger
craving for sweets that is not relieved by eating them
must have sweets after meals
frequent urination
difficulty losing weight
aches and pains that move
Whether hypoglycemic or insulin resistant, you must make changes to your diet. When insulin resistant you can no longer eat what you please when you please; with hypoglycemia,m you cannot continue missing meals or snacking on something sugary or starchy. The worst thing a person can do for their blood sugar is overeat carbs and if you feel sleepy or crave sugar after a meal, you just ate too many carbs. Sticking to a diet to change your blood sugar is not easy due to the addictive nature of sugar and simple carbs. Know that the first three days is the hardest and if you can make it through that you'll make following a new healthy way of easting easier and more rewarding.

Here are some tips:
1. Eat a high quality protein breakfast. Which I know is not easy if you have dysglycemia for you may either be nauseous or not hungry at all. That is a side effect of your adrenal glands and the cup of coffee you are about to have is not going to help things.

2. Eat a small amount of protein or fat every 2-3 hours. This will keep the blood sugar from dipping down and prevent exacerbating your thyroid. Nuts, seeds, a boiled egg, meat or a low-carb protein shake are some examples.

3. Find your carbohydrate tolerance and stick to it. You can use an app to count carbohydrates for the day (try to be under 100 grams/day) but if you carb overload in one meal that will through the blood sugar off. Again, I will reiterate, if you feel sleepy or crave sugar after you eat, you just ate too many carbs.

4. Never eat sugary foods without some fiber, protein or fat. IF and when you do eat something sugary or starchy eat it will some high quality fiber, protein or fat to slow down the rate at which the glucose is absorbed into the blood stream. This helps prevent 'insulin shock'.

5. Avoid all fruit and carrot juice. They are very sugary, even though it is fruit sugar and without the fiber, the sugar goes straight into the blood stream, causing insulin shock.

6. Avoid caffeine with the exception of green tea which can actually help people with insulin resistance.

For more info on the blood sugar, adrenal, thyroid triad read Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal by Datis Kharrazian

Monday, May 2, 2016

Happiness is Medicine

Yes, happiness is something that can be learned. You may have heard that happiness is a choice but the question is how do you learn to make that choice?  When everything is going the way you expected or maybe even better than you expected, it is easy to be happy. Feeling happy is our default when our expectations are met.  What needs to be learned, and it can be learned, is to be happy when our expectations are not being met.

Some people say not to have expectations is the easiest thing to do but I don’t think so.  For the definition of expectation is to have a strong belief that something will happen.  To not have an expectation is to stop believing, to not have hope and what kind of life would that be?  The goal would be to have hope, to have expectations AND trust that if your expectation is not being met that it is for your greater good.  The goal is to have expectations and be flexible for expectations are assumptions and you know what happens when one assumes sometimes.  When an expectation is not met, when you assumed wrong, when you were blindsided, there is something to be learned from the situation and it is usually not about the situation itself or the other people in it, but to learn something about yourself.  If you do learn the lesson you will grow from it.  In that growth your comfort zone increases, meaning you have more situations that no longer make you uncomfortable and you can handle more of life with ease.  Fewer things will stress you out.  In being able to handle more you can live a fuller life.  A fuller life means a happier life for it will be easier to choose happiness with a wider comfort zone.    

When your expectations are not being met you may not be able to see the greater good in that moment or even a year later but somewhere down the line of living your life you will look back on that moment and know that what happened made you stronger.  That’s why the saying, ‘If it doesn’t kill you, it will only make you stronger”, is so well known.

But what happens when your expectations are not being met and you’re in the middle of that growth process?  It can be really uncomfortable.  It can feel awful and look ugly.  You have two choices.  You can either resist the growth and make it feel even more uncomfortable or you can surrender to the process knowing that what you are going through and the way you are feeling is only temporary.

Signs of resistance include addiction, anxiety, insomnia, negative distractions like too much TV, eating too much chocolate and illness.  You can feel resistance in your body in the form of a tension headache, upset stomach or constipation.  When your body is upset stop and check in with your thoughts and find the pattern of thinking that is causing the dis-ease and choose a better way of thinking.  Reframe your thinking whether it is a more healthy thought, reasonable thought, truly happy thought or even humorous thought that puts a smile on your face. Keep a sincere smile on your face and I promise you will feel better!

What does surrendering look like?  The process of surrendering means you choose thoughts that bring you peace and happiness.  You have to have the discipline to 1) watch your thoughts and 2) when you have a thought that makes you unhappy stop yourself and start thinking about something that makes you happy even if it’s a different topic all together. I have personally found the quickest way to put a smile on my face is to think of my daughter.

Only think about the topic that is causing upset in order to problem solve.  Do not dwell on it.  Do not go back and forth in decision-making and if you catch yourself doing so have the discipline to stop.  When we first start watching and choosing our thoughts the easiest thing to do is to distract ourselves as a way of choosing another thought.  When your upset about the topic and you can’t problem solve it then take your mind off the topic all together but make sure you if you are going to distract yourself do it with a healthy outlet like exercise, productive work or an enjoyable book.

If you don’t choose happiness, by default you are choosing sadness or somewhere on the spectrum of sadness, including fear, anger, frustration, irritation, desperation, and on the extreme end, depression.  Yes, depression is a choice that if chosen enough times creates a biochemical reaction in the brain that gets hardwired and starts becoming second nature.  The good news is if you can choose depression you can also choose to get out of depression.

If the depression is due to circumstance, for example a breakup, loss of a job or death of a loved one, watch your thoughts carefully as you process and integrate the new circumstance.  Feel your feelings, think your thoughts but do not get stuck on thoughts that drag you down.

If the depression was a slow process and somehow you find that you went from child-like happiness to adult depression it can be a slow process to get out of depression once you choose to do such.  For once the goal is set, every choice after that either takes you towards your goal or away from your goal. So maybe 10,000 good choices have to be made to get you out of your depression and that will be a lot of work, a lot of self-love, but it can be done.  The progress may be slow at times but you have to have the expectation, the belief in yourself, that you can do it. That mindset will make all the difference.  Know that it is a journey with ups and downs but if you check in with yourself once every 3-4 weeks and you see progress in how you are feeling then stay on the path, keep doing the work, making good choices on what you think, eat, work and how spend your free time. Let go of the bad choices and keep the good choices firm. If you check in with yourself and you do not see progress then figure out what things need to change and start making changes.  One change at a time, to not feel overwhelmed, and start with the change that will be easiest for you to make.

Another key to learning happiness is to have the discipline not to give in to instant gratification, those things that make you happy in the moment but that you later regret.  Happiness is something to be created for the long haul so you have to have enough discipline to see the big picture and choose not to give in to your every whim.

One has to have the wisdom to choose for the greater good, to choose what is best for the long haul.  You have to have a goal in sight and know what choice is going to get you there.  If you think losing 30 pounds will make you happier because you will be able to walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath, take less blood pressure medication and fit back into your favorite jeans then you have to have the knowledge that eating that donut that your coworker brought into work is not actually going to make you happy.  You are living an illusion if your goal is to lose weight and you choose to eat that donut.  Yet how many of us sabotage ourselves? How often do we set a goal and end up making choices that don’t get us anywhere other than 5 steps forward just to later make choices to take 5 steps back and end up in the same place. During these times of self-sabotage take time to be introspective and look at your thoughts and debug your brain to find which thoughts are not serving your goal.  It could be a thought of, “I’m working really hard and deserve that donut, “ or “I ate poorly this morning so today is ruined so I might as well enjoy eating the donut”.  No matter how we justify it, it will not make us truly happy. In fact we will feel guilt, remorse, maybe even an upset stomach or a headache from too much unhealthy fat and sugar.

There are subconscious reasons for self-sabotage and they are due to a lack of self-love in forms of lack of self-worth and feeling disloyal to our friends and family if we are happier. In order to reach any goal one has to feel worthy of it.  So watch your thoughts for negative self-talk and ask yourself where that thought came from.  Is the thought something you truly believe or is it the voice of a parent, teacher, or friend?  We are programed with thoughts all the time so take the time to deprogram your thinking when the thought does not serve you by choosing a thought to replace it.  Maybe the thought used to serve a purpose but if it is now holding you back from happiness then it is of no use. For example, you have a goal of making more money but you have a thought that creeps up every now and then that rich people are selfish.  But is it really true?  No. Could you replace the thought with another thought? Absolutely.

Another way we self-sabotage is by thinking if we reach our goal we are being disloyal to our friends and family.  Let’s say you do start making more money and your fear is that your friends or family will be jealous and so that type of thinking actually keeps you from making the money.  If they really do become jealous that is not your fault and shows that there is growth from them to do which is something you are not responsible for. You need to first and foremost be loyal to yourself.

Loyalty to self, self-worth, self-love are all attributes that need to be cultivated for they will bring happiness.  In other words you do have a relationship with yourself and that relationship, just like any other, needs to be worked on with love and compassion.  A daily spiritual practice of meditation, journaling or reading can help you spend time with yourself.  During this time be introspective to figure out what thoughts are holding you back.  It is best to spend this time alone in the morning so you have more inner strength to make good choices throughout the day, bringing you closer to what you really want, bringing you closer to happiness.

Babies are naturally happy and we should be too but something happens down the line of life where happiness feels more like a luxury than a natural state of being. I challenge you now to work towards moving back towards your natural state.  I challenge you to choose happiness. Choosing happiness leads us to feelings of joy, love, bliss, peace, patience, and satisfaction. If you feel that any one of these feelings is lacking in your life take the advice in this article to heart and learn to choose happiness.