Posts Tagged ‘get a life’

R&R Time

July 24th, 2018

Got time for holidays?  Then take a vacation!

Time to get away – and reflect

Don’t skip your summer vacation, if at all possible!

Although our family is taking less vacation than our normal 3-4 week time away from home in July and August, we will still have some holidays.  How about you?

The temptation is to keep on working

Many of us, including myself, are tempted to skip summer holidays, or, at least check out work emails daily while at the beach or in the hotel.  After all, nobody wants 1,000 emails to go back to work to.  But psychologist have found it vital for our health and well-being if we can completely shut down for a while, even if it’s a 48-hour break from emails, and a change of pace and scenery.  August is coming up and then September.  Have you planned your vacation?  Taken it already? Decided to skip it this summer?

Here’s an idea:  Promise yourself and your partner: once a day email checks, 30 minutes maximum- with a goal of 15 minutes.

Your physical and mental health depend on R&R- that means JOB performance, baby!

Studies have shown that we need to take time away from the daily schedule of work faor our health, whatever that place activity and might be.  It is the “other” that causes restoration and growth.  For example, new places make new mental neuron synapses grow and rest the overused “pathways” of much used tracks of thinking in our brains.

Not only that, but stress levels are reduced and therefore, productivity increases with a break in work.  Employers should be sending their team members away more often just for better productivity—and for better creativity.  The employees return to work relaxed and healthier, ready for more challenges to be overcome.  Your job performance gets better after holidays.

Have some fun on your vacation

Your need to relax or you might find it difficult to relax later on

It has been shown that, depending on your actual stress level at any point in time, it will take more or less time to unwind and really relax.  If you go for too long, it becomes increasingly difficult to wind down. Eventually, you might be unable to “remember how to relax”, and may be in danger of burnout.  Therefore, even long weekends with no emails are recommended to keep you “in practice”.

Your family matters, and spending time with family builds the relationship. Relationships are key.

Finally, it is important to remember that the reason you are working is less important than your relationship with your loved ones. Take some time off to build your relationships with them, doing things you all feel are enjoyable and relaxing. Create positive  memories. For my family the place and activity is usually rock hunting in the Ticino; for another family or couple it would be another place and pastime.  But it is the time spent together in the end that matters, because those are our key relationships.

Just do it.

So, take that time off; limit the amount of time on work-related activities such as emails; do things with those people you love; and mostly, have fun this summer!  There is only one Summer of 2018, after all.  Enjoy!

Note:  I am taking a few weeks off my blog, as most people are on holiday and I will be, too. See you mid-August! You can still reach me via email at patricia@jehle-coaching.com, but I will only be checking my mail 2-3 times per week.  Enjoy your summer holidays!

Patricia Jehle

patricia@jehle-coaching.com           www.jehle-coaching.com

 

Going to a conference – and self-care

June 12th, 2018

Doing Something for Myself—Enjoying a conference, etc. – and remembering to take off my shoes at the end of the day

what is your idea of self-care?

Sometimes we have to do something for ourselves, like going to the spa, eating chocolate ice cream, or sitting in the sun.  Self-care is rather individual, unique to each person. This past weekend I got to help out some coaches become certified AND I learned a lot in the process and this week I get to attend meetings and moderate a colloquium for a coaching conference because of my work, passions and interests; it is a “me time”, of sorts. I was tired this evening when I returned, but the time and energy were well- spent!

I have been able to focus on my passions:  business coaching, and leadership, meeting people and learning new ideas and concepts.

Here are some of the pearls- up to last night:

The most important time is now

The most significant person is the one in front of me now

The most necessary work is always love

– Meister Eckhart

Presence is the best present

We are all human

Take care of yourself first

 

You must be willing to change to change

 

Get rid of distractions before concentrating

 

Shape your environment to your need

What are you reading and learning?

A positive learning environment is

  • relaxed and alert
  • energized and purposeful
  • free to be honest with myself and others
  • full of respect for myself and others
  • (has) a willingness to contribute and listen to others’ contributions

 

Expectations (and these are key to learning)

I will feel this was worthwhile if I…

(Notes from Saturday and page one of twenty from yesterday’s workshop)

Training is a key to success

What was in it for me:

I got that time to absorb new ideas, meet people of similar passions and interests, and have time to reflect on the whole weekend.  The me-time energized me and now I am not really “back to the grind”, but looking at new horizons.

Absorb new ideas:

Some of the ideas were ones I had heard before, but, as is often the case, I heard a few concepts put differently, or I even learned totally new ideas – then I have to absorb these and try to remember them.  I love learning and so hearing new ideas energizes me.

People who are like-minded:

Meeting people with similar passions, like coaching, business and teaching truly energizes me.  We encourage one another; we feel the energy around us from so much enthusiasm.  I feel at home and I feel empowered by these kinds of meetings.

Taking of my shoes and reflecting on each day:

“Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God,

But only he who sees takes off his shoes;

The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

from Aurora Leigh

It’s not that I have finished reflecting on the time; in fact, I have much more thinking to do.  But those evenings alone began that process and now it must continue for the rest of this and probably next week.

So, what about you?  What are you doing for yourself, to grow, to be encouraged, and when are you going to reflect on those experiences?

Patricia Jehle

www.jehle-coaching.com

patricia@jehle-coaching.com

 

 

News! – What’s new for you?

June 7th, 2018

What’s new?  It’s a NEW season, and soon it will be time for holidays!  Time for a check-in!

Colloquium ahead

What’s new for you?  I am doing quite a few new things

Helping to certify new coaches

This weekend I will be part of a team of examiners certifiying more EASC coaches- what a joy, and honor

Moderating a Research Colloquium for Coaches

Next week I have been asked to moderate a colloquium of Coaches and Academics who will present their new research. I will write on that soon, I am sure- as I will be learning a lot!

Attending a conference (with the colloquium), including a workshop day

Coaching Meets Research: http://www.coaching-meets-research.ch/Programme_Coaching_Conference_2018_E_V2.pdf

I’ve recently been to quite a few interesting events

I attended the Geneva Writers’ Conferencein March.  Each time I return with ideas and new writing projects – and new friends, and this time was no different.

The weekend after that I attended the Forum Christliche Führungskräftein Fribourg.

Then, a friend of mine, Hoger Hendrichs is heading up a new effort for Christian startupsin Switzerland, and I attended a startup weekend led by him and my new friend Amadeus Müller-Daubermann:

christianstartupnetwork.ch

Summer holidays begin soon!

There will be ten days at TeenStreet and other plans are in motion, but not concrete- what are your plans???

Supervision is just over the horizon

I will continue my journey of extending my qualifications this fall, and I am very thrilled about it.

But some things remain the same

I still lovedoing coaching

I had hoped for one or two more clients and that has happened, and I continue to enjoy each session and every new issue and client.  As it is summer (no teaching responsibilities), I can even have a few more new clients.

I still love learning and writing

My love of learning has been re-confirmed again and again this spring in the courses I have recently taken. I stillwish one could be paid to learn; I’d earn a million. Writing is such a passion of mine, I love to blog, I am in the midst of writing books, and now I am working on case studies.  Even the few podcasts I have done have been a joy to write.

I still do Spiritual Direction

As a certified spiritual director, I enjoy having a few directees – and being directed, etc.

Well, that’s my news.  What’s new with you?

Patricia Jehle patricia@jehle-coaching.com  www.jehle-coaching.com

What are you reading? What’s on your list?

May 29th, 2018

Summer reading

I have bought a few books lately, and then Brené Brown came out with an amazing nightstand/library post (here: www.brenebrown.com/library/)- so I have work to do over the long summer! I need to read!

Here are just some of my own summer reading suggestions I have for you, if you don’t have your own list ready:

Leadership

  • Integrity by Henry Cloud
  • Boundaries for Leaders by Henry Cloud
  • Strengthening the Soul of yourLeadership by Ruth Haley Barton
  • Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferr (an easy read, BTW)

Coaching

  • International Coaching in a Complex World by Starkey, Boyer, and Wilkenfeld
  • The Routledge Companion to International Business Coaching
  • Systemic Coaching and Constellations by John Whittington

Personal Growth

  • The Relationship Cure by John Gottman
  • Presence by Amy Cuddy
  • Stitches by Anne Lamott
  • Getting to Yes with Yourself by William Ury
  • The Gifts of Imperfection
  • I thought it was just Me
  • Daring Greatly
  • Rising Strong
  • Braving the Wildernessall five by Brené Brown

Business (and start-ups)

  • Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
  • The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
  • Sway by Ori and Ram Brafman

Literature and summer fun reading

  • The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
  • The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner
  • The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Dragon Bones by Lisa See
  • Snow Flower by Lisa See
  • Ilsa by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez
  • The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy
  • No One Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubell

 

And here is on my nightstand of to read at present: 

  • Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke
  • The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley
  • More than Miracles by de Shazer
  • Miracle, Solution and System by Sparrer
  • We were Eight Years in Power by Coates

What are you reading?

Have a lovely week,

Patricia Jehle               www.jehle-coaching.com     patricia@jehle-coaching.com

 

 

 

Spring means VACATION!

April 17th, 2018

Time to get away

Have you got time for a spring break?

Or, are you skipping the possible vacation opportunity?  Are you working through your vacation time?

Although our family is taking less vacation together, my husband and I will be taking a week off together.  How about you?

The temptation is to keep on working and go on holiday “later”…

Many of us are tempted to skip our holidays, or, at least check our work emails often while at the beach or in the hotel.  After all, nobody wants 1,000 emails to go back to work to.

But psychologist have found it vital for our health and well-being if we can completely shut down for a while, even if it’s a 48-hour break from emails, and a change of pace and scenery.  Have you planned your vacation for this year?  Decided to skip it the summer holidays and work while “nobody is in the office”?  A quote below shows the importance, or lack thereof, of vacations in different countries:

“The online travel agency Expedia conducted a survey about vacation time in 2010, and according to their data the average American earned 18 vacation days—but only used 14 of them. Every European country included in the survey reported both more vacation days earned and used. France topped the list, with the average worker earning 37 vacation days and using all but two of them. And according to Expedia’s data, only 38 percent of Americans said they used all of their vacation time, compared to 63 percent of French respondents.” http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2011/08/17/the-benefits-of-taking-time-off

Your physical and mental health depend on R&R

Studies have shown that we need to take time away from the daily schedule of work for our health, whatever that place and activity might be.  It is the “other” that causes restoration and growth.  For example, new places make new mental neuron synapses grow and rest the overused “pathways” of much used tracks of thinking in our brains. This, of course, also promotes creativity.

Not only that, but when we go on holiday, stress levels are reduced and therefore, productivity increases with a break in our work.  Employers should be sending their team members away more often just for better productivity—and for better creativity.  The employees return to work relaxed, healthier, and ready for more challenges to be overcome, more new ideas to be generated.

Your need to relax — or you might find it difficult to do so later on

It has been shown that, depending on your actual stress level at any point in time, it will take more or less time to unwind and really relax.  If you go for too long without a break working at t high stress level, it becomes increasingly more difficult to wind down.  Eventually if this goes on for too long, you will be unable to “remember how to relax,” and may be in danger of burnout.  Therefore, even long weekends with no emails are recommended to keep you “in practice”.

Take the long weekend off, at least!

In Europe, we have movable feasts coming up:  Ascension, Pentecost and Corpus Christi.  May people take these three and four-day weekends off and do something special.  Nobody expects any emails to be answered, most people even TURN OFF their cell phones!  This was also done from Thursday night to at least Monday night of the Easter weekend holiday.  If you live in Europe, these weekends can also help you wind down a bit.  We will be taking advantage of these holidays, too.

Your family relationships matter, and spending time with family builds the relationships

Finally, it is important to remember that the reason you are working is less important than your relationship with your loved ones (or something is very wrong).  Take the time off to build your relationships with your significant family/friends, doing things you all feel are enjoyable and relaxing.  It is the time spent together in the end that matters, because those are our key relationships.

SO: Just do it.  Take your Spring Break!

I work only for about thirty minutes each day, clearing emails and doing triage so my return to my business and to teaching at the university is not so stressful.  Of course, I do not check mails from Friday-Monday morning on holiday, ever.  I have a friend who gives herself x number of coupons during a vacation to look at emails.  Try these or something else that works for you.

However, you deal with your responsibilities, take your vacation time off; limit the amount of time on work-related activities such as emails while you are away; and do things with those people you love; and finally, have fun this spring!  There is only one Spring of 2018, after all.  Enjoy!

Patricia Jehle      patricia@jehle-coaching.com    www.jehle-coaching.com

 

Some News

February 13th, 2018

It’s cold, although Lent is beginning

What’s new?  It’s a new month, and soon it will be the season of Lent and that hails the coming of spring.  Time for a check-in!

What’s new for you?

I am doing quite a few new things:

Starting a new semester teaching Negotiations

This semester is one of the semesters where I will be trying new practice negotiations, one of which I will write myself.  Teaching negotiations is one of my favorite courses to teach.

Speaking three times with three different topics at the American Women’s Club in Zürich

I have volunteered to speak on sustainable eating (March 12th), on bouncing back after a set-back (March 13th) and I will give a Reformation Tour (March 14th).  What a wonderful opportunity to share some of my passions!

I’ve recently been to quite a few interesting events

January 17th I went to the 13th Wirtschaftssymposium Aargau– an excellent afternoon of speakers and networking.  For me the highlight was André Blattmann’s talk on security.

January 18th Was the SVC Prize Award Ceremony for best SME in Zürich- with the Schibli Group winning a much-deserved first prize.

Then I took a helpful Case Study Writing course for professors at the FHNW.

On February 1st I was able to be part of the audience in TEDx Selnau and one of the talks I enjoyed most was that of Dr. Lijin Aryananda’s discourse on simplicity in development (of robotics, mostly, but it can be extrapolated to most problem-solving issues)

TEDx Selnau was a highlight this month

I will go to a few more exciting events in the near future, all before Easter!

In two weeks, I will once again attend the Geneva Writers’ Conference.  Each time I return with ideas and new writing projects.

The weekend after that I will attend the Forum Christliche Führungskräfte in Fribourg.

A friend of mine, Hoger Hendrichs will be heading up a new effort for Christian startups in Switzerland, and I am very much looking forward to it:

christianstartupnetwork.ch

Supervision is on the horizon

I will continue my journey of extending my qualifications this fall, and I am very thrilled about it.

But some things remain the same

I still love (and do) coaching

I had hoped for one or two more clients and that has happened, and I continue to enjoy each session and every new issue and client.

I still love learning and writing

My love of learning has been re-confirmed again in the case study writing course and the other courses I have recently taken.  I still wish one could be paid to learn; I’d earn a million.  Writing is such a passion of mine, I blog, I am in the midst of writing books, and now I am working on case studies.  Even the few podcasts I have done have been a joy to write.

I am and will be a Hygge fan

I now ask myself the kind of mindful question that a Dane may ask.  Hygge is all about coziness, but it is a very mindful way of life.  As the weather takes a colder turn again, I am happy that tonight is “Pancacke Tuesday” (Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, literally “fat Tuesday”).  As a family we eat way too much: scrambled eggs, pancakes with maple syrup, and fried bacon.  After all, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent.  I read in a book that Lent means spring (or spring is on its way).  So, time to finish fattening ourselves up for winter.

Well, that’s my news, what’s new with you?

Patricia Jehle patricia@jehle-coaching.com  www.jehle-coaching.com

Healthy Work

February 5th, 2018

A heathy work environment can make you a very productive person

Are you working “healthy”?

January is a month where we turn away from eating and turn to healthy living.  We often take on new exercise regimes, maybe we change our eating patterns, we often do not drink much (or any) alcohol, and so on.  But what about at work?  Are we working “healthy”?  There are at least four aspects of work that can be heathy – or not, and here are some things you can do about each aspect:

A Healthy work environment?

How is the light in your workspace?  Can you add a daylight desk lamp to give you more energy?   Can you take a break and walk outside in the daylight for ten to fifteen minutes each day?

How is the eating situation?  Do you have access to healthy fresh lunches and snacks?  Do you need to make a plan to bring food from home?  Are you drinking enough water or healthy drinks, and avoiding sodas?

Are you able to get fresh air into your office space?  Can you “air” the room a couple of times a day to regenerate the oxygen levels?  If not, go take that walk!

Are you moving enough?  Research says you are more productive if you work in shorter bursts and then move a bit in between.  So, do you work for 45-50 minutes and then go get a drink at the water cooler, or go up and down a couple of flights of stairs?  Can you walk to where you eat lunch, if you eat out?  What else can you do?

Unhealthy work relationships?

How are your work relationships?  I have a friend who when one part-time colleague shows up, her environment changes so much that she feels very uncomfortable.  She has decided to avoid working when that colleague is there, if at all possible. I have another friend who was being used against her will for “office politics”.  She finally left that company, because she could not easily change the situation.  So, are you in a relatively good relational environment at work?  Yes?  Good!  If not:

  • Can you change the situation- either work at home more, work in another office space, or something else?
  • Can you talk to somebody about it who can help you change the situation?
  • Can you live with it?

If not, maybe you should start looking for a new situation, especially if the situation is making you feel unsafe, making you have sleepless nights, or making you ill.  My friend chose this route, maybe you should, too.

Are you working too much?

Some people may have to put in a long week every month or two, but if you are doing this consistently, you may be heading towards burnout.  Think about what you consider normal working hours.  Think about this, and then google the normal work-week for your country.  Are you within 10-15% of that “normal” amount most of the time?  Then I would not worry too much.  But when you are working 50+ hours a week consistently, most months of the year, consider what you can change, and do it fast!  Maybe you need a coach to help you find ways of optimizing your way of working, maybe you need to delegate more.

No vacations?

There are many people who really do not take their vacations.  Maybe it’s from fear of not getting everything done in time, or fear of getting too far behind while gone, or fear missing out on an opportunity.  When people make decisions based on fear, there is usually something negative (and possibly unhealthy) going on.  Watch out!  This can be a red flag!  Maybe you need to talk about those fears and find ways of getting around those issues.

We all need time away.  I have a friend who is (finally) taking 16 days to go away with her husband and leaving their business to be run by the team.  This is a first and she is hopeful it will become a more routine (at least once a year) activity. My friend really needs a break, as most business owners do.

When was your last vacation?  Did you take all your vacation days last year?  If not, why not?  Vacations are healthy ways of getting back not only energy, but also your creativity, which is needed for your work.  We usually come back from with fresh perspectives after a good holiday.

So, how are you doing at work, health-wise?  What do you need to change?  How are you going to do it?

Have a healthy work week!

Patricia Jehle   www.jehle-coaching.com patricia@jehle-coaching.com

 

2018 Word for the Year

January 16th, 2018

Good team and other relationships are key for success

What’s your word for 2018?

I usually choose a word like hope or presence for the year to remind me what’s important and to keep me on track. Do you do that?

My word for 2018 is RELATIONSHIP

This is a word I can apply to all my life: work, family, church, friends, and “free-time,” and when it comes to decision-making, it will be a filter I use to make my choices.

When it comes to family and friends, I will attempt to choose for relationship and not activity. What helps our relationship? What helps others and their relationships? Activity for activitiy’s sake is going be a red flag for me this year. I hope it will be for you, too. The “Why?” question will be asked by me a lot. Why am I doing this? What benefit does it offer others and our relationships?

When it comes to work, I will continue to teach in as relational manner as the system allows. I will continue to work on building good rapport will colleagues and team members. I will be a team member in the best sense. These are my work goals.

In some ways, relational coaching is just a given. But I will continue to make the coaching relationship a must for my business. I will ask myself how I am doing with my client relationships and what can I do better. I will do what I encourage my clients to do: reflect.

As I continue in my further education as a coach and lecturer, I will make relationship as much a goal as possible. This weekend I will be trained to write and teach case studies, and the weekend is a team learning effort so I look forward to learning together with a talented and diverse group. As I look to becoming a supervisor, I also am thrilled to be working with a group of diverse coaches who are moving forward.

Even the books I read and the fun things I do with friends and family I hope to use to enhance relationships this year. I have just bought another Henry Cloud book; this one is Boundaries for Leaders. I am looking forward to this read very much!

Again, what is your word for 2018?

Relationally yours,

Patricia Jehle            www.jehle-coaching.com     patricia@jehle-coaching.com

working together gives us better solutions

Healthy, sustainable Eating

January 13th, 2018

A double pyramid to help you eat healthily and sustainably

An Eco-Friendly Diet that’s healthy? What’s that?

After this week’s earlier blog on good decisions and the placebo effect, especially regarding healthy food choices (http://www.jehle-coachingexpat.com/2018/01/11/placebo-effect-and-decisions/ ) I started thinking about meat (and other protein) eating and I started researching on the ecological sustainability of high-protein diets and the recommendations of the UN and medical associations.

While doing my little research, I came across the “double pyramid”, which shows the effects of what we eat (diet) on the environment and comparing it to the updated suggested dietary pyramid used by the UN and medical authorities.

I assume we all want to be healthy and for the world to be a better place, and one of the ways we can help these goals is to care about what we buy in general, and specifically, what we eat. I personally think we need to eat a more sustainable, but yet a healthy diet, and it’s a viable choice, both environmentally and financially.

So, here’s what our eating footprints look like, depending on our general diet: Vegans (though I could never claim to be one) have the lowest carbon and water footprints. Just saying. This is followed by vegetarians and then omnivores. I am an omnivore, but I readily will give up eating meat or other animal/fish proteins for days on end. This excludes our own home-grown eggs from our (free range, very happy) chickens, and Swiss milk products. I do live in Switzerland and come from Minnesota, after all.

Having said that meat eaters have the highest carbon and water footprints, it can also be said that most dietary recommendation pyramids now say we should not eat so much meat, especially red meat, anyway. And if you cut your meat eating down to twice a week, you already halve your footprint levels. That’s not too bad, considering it is healthier, anyway.

I did note that coffee and chocolate are not listed on the pyramids, and find that not so helpful for my personal lifestyle.

Coffee and Chocolate

After a quick google, I found that black (UGH!) coffee has 21g carbon footprint per cup and the latte (MMMmmm!) 340g- gasp and sigh. The water footprint is high, one article said 20 049 m3 per ton of harvested coffee just for the growth, and that does not include roasting containers and any other preparation. But maybe we should be buying at least a FairTrade version.

Deforestation aids to adding to chocolate’s carbon footprint, so we should really only buy sustainable fair trade brands. In Switzerland, the UTZ seal is important (for both chocolate and coffee). Regarding chocolate, one article says “Cadbury estimates that 169g (6 ounces) of carbon dioxide equivalent are emitted into the atmosphere for each 49g (1.7 ounce) Dairy Milk chocolate bar. This calculation includes emissions from the production of raw ingredients such as cocoa, cocoa butter, milk and sugar, and from packaging and distribution, but not from land-use change.” http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/08/how-much-rainforest-chocolate-bar

Maybe a diet after Christmas would be in order for me, but first we have to eat all the chocolate in our house, and there is quite a bit left. Anybody want to come help?

A sustainable Diet

Now, let’s go back to the suggestions. Here’s the low-down on my interpretation of the double pyramids:

What to eat a lot of:

Local and seasonal fruit (and dried version) and vegetables, bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, legumes, olive oil (- which for me is local), nuts, and milk products and eggs. For those who don’t have good olive oil, try something else that’s local and healthy.

What to eat a little bit of:

Fish and seafood (see the wwf list for what is healthy and not over-fished), local chicken and other poultry. They put cookies here, interestingly enough, too. I like cookies.

What to eat once or twice a week, maximum (SORRY!)- and the list is rather the same, surprisingly:

Sweets, “bad” fats, and red meat

That’s it! Al we have to do is the good old rice, vegetables and beans thing, which I have known and done since college days. I bet we all know this. Luckily I bought a new (to me) Moosewood cookbook recently to jazz up my vegetarian cooking.

Tonight we will be eating chili and rice. What about you? So, let’s eat healthily and sustainably for a better world and a better life!

I raise my carrot to you and to our better health!

Patricia Jehle www.jehle-coaching.com    patricia@jehle-coaching.com

 

 

 

Placebo effect and decisions

January 11th, 2018

Mind over Matter

Get out of Your Own Way and make sure you are making good decisions

I recently read an article that said that January is the month where you and I would most likely spend (waste) money on bogus health products, so watch out! This is the season of getting our lives in order, of losing those extra Christmas and New Year holiday pounds, of starting new self-improvement programs, and the like.

When I put cynicism aside over our overzealous resolutions to improve, is there some truth to these efforts and ideas that we can indeed change, or is it really the placebo effect at work.

 

Is there a Placebo at Work?

My medical-student daughter says that the placebo effect is real and very helpful in a lot of cases. This means if you decide to spend a lot of money on a bogus home remedy of sorts and you believe it’s going to work, it probably will. This means of you follow x diet for so many weeks, it is likely to work if you believe in it.

So, what do you believe in? What’s your go-to remedy for x, y, or z?

My nephew is a convinced user of mega-vitamin supplements with zinc, etc. to enhance his immune system. I have got to admit that I use something similar when I travel or feel a cold coming on.

The real question is what is at work, the vitamins and mineral, or a placebo? The other question is if it matters or not.

And does the placebo effect continue to diets and such?

My next thoughts lead to eating habits and diets, as this is the season of shedding our extra pounds, or at least attempting to do this. I have to admit I really don’t believe in diets, as I have seen friends and family do the diet yoyo – and I, myself, have been rather stable in weight for the past several years, even during chemotherapy. As and aside, I had hoped to shed a few pounds during therapy, but alas, it was not to be, sigh.

So, at least for a time, does the placebo effect work for diets? And what is healthy, anyway? Are carbs all that bad, and is sugar a “drug”? Now, here is my layperson, non-expert opinion:

Diets don’t work, instead we should eat, move and live healthily.

According to Mayo Clinic this is hwat you should be eating for a normal 2,000 calorie eating plan:

  • A variety of vegetables — dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt and cheese, and fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds and soy products
  • Oils, including those from plants, and those that occur naturally in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives and avocados

Including:

Vegetables 2 1/2 cups a day
Dark green 1 1/2 cups a week
Red and orange 5 1/2 cups a week
Legumes (beans and peas) 1 1/2 cups a week
Starchy 5 cups a week
Other 4 cups a week
Fruits 2 cups a day
Grains 6 ounces a day
Whole grains ≥ 3 ounces a day
Refined grains ≤ 3 ounces a day
Dairy 3 cups a day
Protein foods 5 1/2 ounces a day
Seafood 8 ounces a week
Meats, poultry, eggs 26 ounces a week
Nuts, seeds, soy products 4 ounces a week
Oils 27 grams a day
Limit on calories from added sugars, solid fats, added refined starches 270 calories a day (14% of total calories)

Thus, I would have you note that grains and starch foods are BIG on this list, and I find it interesting that so many people I know are scared of those foods. It’s not those foods, but the processed versions that are really bad. Another aside, for those who know what they are, Twinkies still exist. I saw some last week in a Target store in Seattle. I know that many of you are off all sugar, but unless you are diabetic, this could be a bit extreme. A little sugar is not going to hurt you, unless you are addicted to it, as I am to coffee and salty foods. BUT, so you know, the Mayo Clinic only allows a normal snickers bar worth of sugar a day. That’s all. Luckily, I don’t like many sweets and can forego this, but many friends have sweet-tooths.

One other thought on bias

Our biases are rampant and the goal is to become aware of them (and our assumptions) and take them into consideration when we make decisions. When we make un-considered biased decisions or decisions based from fears we are most likely to make poor decisions and mistakes. So, we need to ask ourselves, or better get the help of others to ask, what are our biases, our assumptions, our fears. We must move beyond t these to find the solution and make the best decisions.

Which decisions and why?

Whether it’s diet, activity, health, or future, let us make good sustainable decisions based on truth and not a placebo effect. 

Have a healthy rest of the week and weekend!

Patricia Jehle

www.jehle-coaching.com     patricia@jehle-coaching.com