Embracing New Beginnings

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“It only takes one idea, one second in time, one friend, one dream, one leap of faith, to change everything, forever.”            -Anonymous

In the movie Stranger than Fiction, the main character Harold Crick, does the same thing, at the same time, every day. His daily routine revolves around the tick of his wristwatch, thus making his life extremely dull and predictable. But one day his watch stops and his life is forever changed. Being thrown into a world of uncertainty, Harold finds difficulty in adapting to the world around him until he consciously chooses to start embracing his new life.

Do you ever feel like Harold Crick? Are you fearful of stepping outside your comfort zone? Do you struggle with change? Often, the scariest part of beginning again is the transition zone that occurs between ending one thing and starting another. We make excuses and do whatever we can to avoid the pain of this fearful place. However, the state of transition allows us to evolve from within while making peace with the past and allowing the uncertainty of the future. It is truly the place where the most personal growth and transformation occur. Transition zones can be terrifying, but they can also be the most passionate and enlightening moments of our lives.

Starting again doesn’t have to be scary; beginnings can be exhilarating and freeing. With change come opportunities and the chance to see things from a different perspective. Beginnings give insight to our lives so we can see what is truly fulfilling us and what is not. The great perfection in beginning again, is that whatever happens next, you’ll be stronger, wiser, and richer for it. Remember, every day is a chance for a new beginning. You are an eternal being and whatever you have once dreamed… the universe still dreams for you.

May 2015 be your best year yet!

Health Coach Autumn

*no cost health and lifestyle consultations available with me at http://www.pacificnorthwesthealth.com

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5 Signs Your Hormones Are Out of Whack!

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Hello Happy Healthy Followers! This is a great article by Dr. Sara Gottfried, so I am reposting it in hopes it will give you some insight to the answers you may be looking for:

5 Signs Your Hormones Are Out Of Whack + How To Balance Them

By Dr. Sara Gottfried

Something’s just not right. You’re eating more, sleeping less, feeling frazzled, and stress has become your default mode — even when life is A-OK. You just don’t feel at home in your body the way you used to.

Sound familiar?

Most of the women in my practice have similar complaints, and while the symptoms may vary, a common denominator exists: hormone imbalance.

Hormonal imbalance tends to show up as women age, but factors relating to our modern world — environmental pollution, chemicals in our food, synthetic estrogens in our beauty products — leave women of all ages vulnerable to hormonal chaos.

The tricky thing about hormonal imbalance is that it often sneaks around in the background, wreaking havoc on your health, before you even know it’s there. Worse yet, doctors may dismiss your symptoms or attribute them to something else entirely.

So how do you know if you have a hormonal imbalance? Without a few basic tests, you can’t be sure. But the following signs may be a fairly good indication that something isn’t right, and your hormones could use some help:

  1. You’re wired — and tired.

Does it feel like you vacillate between periods of being high strung and completely exhausted?

I call this being “wired and tired,” and we have the stress hormone cortisol to blame for that. Chronic stress results in high cortisol levels, which then cause what I call the three F’s: fat, frazzled and frumpy. Fluctuating cortisol levels tax your adrenals and put you on a roller coaster ride of feeling wound up but exhausted at the same time. And when your adrenals have had enough? They quit. You feel lethargic, heavy, foggy and maybe even a little depressed.

  1. Your libido has gone missing.

Did you know that about 70 percent of low libido is hormonal? So let’s stop the blaming and shaming here — for women, not wanting to get frisky is very often more than just a psychological problem.

In most cases, estrogen dominance or low estrogen can be blamed, but your thyroid health and cortisol levels can also play a role. Add to that high stress, burning the candle at both ends and poor sleep, and sex is probably the last thing on your mind.

  1. You have crazy cravings.

Women may be hard-wired to need chocolate, but if you find yourself ravenous on a consistent basis, your hormones could be to blame. High cortisol or insulin, for instance, can cause those intense urges for sugar or wine, while adrenal dysregulation can lead to electrolyte imbalances that make you reach for salty snacks.

  1. You can’t lose the weight.

Your hormones run the show when it comes to your metabolism. Stubborn excess weight that just won’t go away — no matter how many spin classes you’re doing — is often rooted in hormonal imbalance that causes fat storage, especially around the midsection. Many women I treat are stunned when they realize they don’t have to kill themselves exercising; it’s simply a matter of finding hormonal harmony and adopting the right lifestyle and dietary habits.

  1. Your moods are like a roller coaster ride.

We’re taught from a young age that mood swings are just part of our monthly cycle. And while this is partially true, women with balanced hormones don’t experience the extreme highs and lows of PMS. And yes — you can even navigate the menopause years without going crazy! If your mood issues haven’t improved with drugs or therapy, it might be time to look at how your hormones are crashing the party.

3 Tips to Reverse the Damage (Naturally)

While I recommend partnering with a doctor and ordering some basic tests, you can also start balancing your hormones naturally right now. Here are three tips:

  1. Snooze better.

There’s probably nothing that will help your hormones more than making quality sleep a priority. Bedtime should be a sacred ritual that calms and soothes you: Take a relaxing bath, turn off electronics at least two hours before you go to sleep and make sure your thermostat is set to about 65 degrees or cooler.

  1. Go gluten-free.

Gluten intolerance is a very real problem that doesn’t just affect people with celiac disease. It’s been linked to estrogen imbalances, menstrual disorders and diminished ovarian reserve. I tell all of my patients to cut out or minimize gluten and opt for whole grains like brown rice or quinoa instead.

  1. Stress less.

Stress is like pouring gasoline on an already roaring hormonal fire. It raises cortisol levels, taxes the adrenals and zaps you of energy, joy and a healthy libido. No more excuses — adopt a consistent practice of stress-busting activities: yoga, meditation, massage, walking in nature or whatever other activities mellow your mood.

Source: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14627/5-signs-your-hormones-are-out-of-whack-how-to-balance-them.html

Be happy, Be healthy!

Health Coach Autumn

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Your Happiness

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by Autumn Pappas, CHHC, AADP

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”       

Perhaps no statement in American history is better known or has been more powerful and iconic than this one issued by Congress in the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. Not only does this proclamation entitle us, as Americans to powers that cannot be given away nor should be questioned; equality, life, freedom, but it also allows us the right to pursue our happiness. As Americans, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” has become our birthright; our motto; our creed.

What does it truly mean to pursue happiness? In modern society, many of us have come to believe that the “pursuit” of happiness is the journey we take in order to achieve our desires. If we follow the pursuit, eventually we will get a bigger house, our ideal career, become more popular, choose the right mate, have the perfect family—and then we will be happy. But happiness is fleeting. Satisfaction never lasts long, and soon we are hungry for more. How can we stop this endless cycle?

First, learn to be present in the moment. Unhappiness often comes from dwelling on the past and feeling anxiety about the future. All we truly have is now. Meditation, mindfulness and breathing exercises are great tools to help you stay present in the moment. Next, be of service. Giving selflessly not only builds self-esteem, and brings meaning and connectedness to one’s life, but also enriches the lives of others. Lastly, be grateful, and share your gratitude with others. Gratitude takes merely seconds, can lift our spirits and make our hearts soar.

Happiness is a choice. It lives inside of us always; we just must learn how to tap into it. This fourth, while you sit under firework-filled skies, surrounded by your communities, families and friends; I hope you feel inspired to breathe in the moment, to extend your hand to be of service to another and lastly, that you have things in your heart to be grateful for.

Happy 4th of July!

Health Coach Autumn

 

My Journey from Depression and Anxiety to Happiness and Health

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Five years ago, at the height of my health problems, I moved from my busy city life in Florida all the way across the country to a little town on the edge of the Olympic National Forest in Washington State. (Population year round 1500)  Into the woods I went…. away from my job, my friends, my boyfriend, my hobbies… my livelihood.

I had become very ill and could not work any longer. I moved in the hopes that with the help of alternative medicine and my family in Washington State; I could cure my body and become healthy again.

Two weeks into my move I awoke one day to see a family of deer hanging out in my new backyard, eating away at the plants and bushes like there wasn’t a threat in sight.  I listened and couldn’t hear a single sound at all, inside or outside.  The sky looked dark and grey.  This was Washington State after all.  As I lay in bed, I could feel how terrible my sick, exhausted and toxic body felt.  It was in that moment I realized the weight of my decision.

I had picked up my whole life and moved to the middle of nowhere, USA.  Furthermore, I was 27 and living in a community where the average age was 65.  Suddenly, there I was, without a job, without any friends, and with a whole load of health issues that I had no clue where to begin to fix.

What was I to do?  What was my purpose now? Why was I so sick?  Through the years I hadn’t treated my body nearly as bad as most of the people my age.  Why me?

I became depressed.  I became fearful, angry and stressed. I felt like a failure. My health problems got worse.  I felt misunderstood.  Alienated.  Anxious. In fact I was so anxious it took me days to get the courage to do simple tasks, like go to the grocery store.  Every hour of the day became a struggle.  I had moved into a home with a very uncomfortable situation going on.  I became more anxious at home than ever.  To add to everything, my Aunt, Uncle and Grandmother unexpectedly passed away.  My life felt like a pit and I was at the bottom of it.

I decided to take some time and do some soul-searching.  I watched, read, and listened to everything I could to lift my spirits.  I looked for signs from the universe–signs that told me I was on the right path.  I took every medical test, tried every treatment and diet, and saw every doctor I could.  I went outside to exercise, get fresh air and be around nature whenever possible.  I called my friends whom I felt closest too, as hard as it was. I sent cards to those I could not bear to call.  I joined classes for families and friends of addicts.  I joined a meditation class, and started to work on two local committees as a volunteer.  I tried my best to attempt things that scared the living —- out of me.

I would be lying if I said my life changed overnight.  It didn’t.  Although, with time things did start to change.  Step by step I became less afraid, less depressed, less fearful of my life.  My anxiety and shame began to lift.  I brought gratuity and spirituality into my life.  I looked for the “blue skies” in everything.  Slowly but surely I became a happier and happier person. My health even began to prosper!

I stumbled across the Institute for Integrative Nutrition online and decided to sign up.  I than became more excited and hopeful about my future than ever.  On the first day of class, my gut told me my life was going to change forever.

Today, I am a new person.  I am the healthier and happier version of myself.  I continually try to align with my purpose–to inspire, to motivate, to heal, to lead–and to become the best version of myself I can, in every single area of my life.

During my journey I found that one of the tragic ironies of modern-day life is that so many of us feel isolated from each other, by the very same feelings that we all have in common:  Failure. Procrastination. Stress. Anger. Hurt. Anxiety. Depression. Guilt. Shame. Unworthiness. Helplessness. Fear.

We must learn to become larger than our anxiety, fear and shame. We must learn to share with those we trust about how we are feeling. They surely have felt the way we do at sometime in their life.  WE must want to show up– to speak, to act, to learn, to dance, to discover, to dare, to invent, to express, to create, to live!!

We must also continually search for our purpose. You know, that thing in your heart of hearts that you know that you were put on this earth to do.  I  know you know what it is in your gut, your heart and your head.  Stop denying your soul what it truly is here to do.

With that I must say, “Feel the fear, and Do it Anyway!” and also, what is that thing in your heart of hearts that you know you were put here to accomplish?  

Be happy, Be healthy. be well!

Health Coach Autumn

Healthy foods for your body and love life!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!  Given that romance is on everyone’s minds today, I decided to share my favorite foods that are not only healthy, but also contain romance enhancing side effects!  I hope everyone, attached and single, has a beautiful day filled with love from friends and family!!

Here’s my list of mood stimulating foods:

Hot chili’s:  Increase circulation and stimulates nerve endings

Avocados and Asparagus: Filled with Vitamin E to balance your hormones

Dark Chocolate: Contains antioxidants and stimulates feelings of well-being and excitement

Walnuts, Pumpkin seeds, Flaxseeds and Salmon: Contain Omega ‘s which keep sex hormones at their peak

Bananas: Contain potassium for strong muscles

Be healthy, be happy, be well!

Health Coach Autumn (www.pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

Is this love?

Marley tea      sleeping gnome

I made a trip to the grocery store yesterday and I came back in love…with Bob Marley.  I stumbled upon some beverages called “Marley’s Mellow Mood” and decided to give them a try.  It’s a blended decaf green tea drink–with all the good things that create relaxation–chamomile, valerian root, lemon balm and passionflower. Let me just tell you–I slept like a hibernating gnome last night (photo included).

It made me want to wake up and sing a little Bob Marley this morning, “Is this love, is this love, is this love, is the love that I’m feeling?”