Walking Women: Karen Bacon

Today’s Walking Women Interview is with Karen Bacon of Queensland, Australia.

Q. Karen, what inspired you to start walking?

A. I am not sure that I had a bolt of inspiration to start walking, but I do know it started as time out on my own, when my kids were young. It was a mental reprieve from being Mum, a wife and an employee. Time to just be me.

Literally, I would sneak away to the beach to collect my thoughts, gain back mental clarity and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, which I have always found so very soothing to my soul! In those early days I had to wait until my husband was home to watch the kids, to have the chance to be alone!

Q. How long have you been walking?

A. I have been walking regularly on that same stretch of beach now for 30+ years and I have such a love for it! I feel it’s my sacred place, comforting when needed and inspiring most of the time. It’s the place I also go to sit quietly to reflect and be in my own thoughts. I also love to walk in any of our beautiful National Parks here on the Gold Coast in Australia, and I’m happy to say I live nearby quite a few.

Laguna Park, Karen’s fave to walk around.

Laguna Park, Karen’s fave to walk around.

Q. What changes have resulted from your walking?

A. I think anything you love to do has the capacity to change you, not only physically but in mind and spirit equally. There is nothing I love to do more than walk away my problems, it is a great equalizer for me. I have in my younger years, suffered from mild depression, and walking, along with exercise in general has been a lifesaver. Physically it helps keep the weight down, particularly getting older, so I can have the extra piece of chocolate if I desire! Yes please!

Q. What happens if you don’t walk?

A. I feel very sluggish when I miss a day of walking. My attitude is off and I don’t have the same clarity at the start of my day. I feel lazy, and don’t have the same focus in my work. One day I will allow myself falling off the bandwagon (I’m human after all) and obviously when not well, but most of the time the benefits of my walk far outweigh the occasional day of apathy.

Q. What does walking mean to you?

A. Getting into nature and being surrounded by supreme beauty helps me understand that we are so small in the scheme of things. It gives me a perspective I can’t find doing anything else. It is empowering to understand the world and everything in it does not revolve around you. As a physical exercise there is no better; you need nothing special and it requires of you simply to place one foot in front of the other. It’s availability to all is simple and pure!

Q. What advice would you give to women who know they should be walking but aren’t--yet?

A. Definitely the mental health benefits are worth talking about. If more women walked, the reduction in stress, anxiety and depression levels would be noticeable. To any woman who suffers from any of the above, I would love to say please walk every day for one week and see and feel the changes within yourself. It is enough to keep you going back for more.

Make walking easy for yourself. Go somewhere close by, local parks, the beach, your neighborhood, anywhere you can get to quickly and easily, so you can incorporate walking into your everyday routine. If something is easy for you to do, you will choose to do it more readily, and then it becomes habit!

Being in nature involves all of your senses, it allows you to feel grateful in every moment, and alive! It has a way of wrapping you in its arms and carrying you forward with joy! It sets you up for the day and is possible for everyone. Fight your excuses and reap the benefits of walking. You’ll be so glad you did!

Karen’s neighborhood in Palm Beach, a suburb of Queensland. What great walking!

Karen’s neighborhood in Palm Beach, a suburb of Queensland. What great walking!

Karen, thank you so much for sharing your walking story with us, you’re an absolute inspiration!

Karen Bacon is a Certified Life Coach, Spiritual Rutbuster, Writer, Speaker, and member of One Million Women Walking. She lives in Palm Beach, a suburb of beautiful Queensland, Australia.

Prior to becoming a life coach, Karen was a partner in a six figure, all-female trade service business in the construction industry. She was also a wife and mum, with a family she loved very much! Despite her successful career and beloved family, she always knew she was meant to be doing something else, something that fulfilled her and gave her meaning and purpose. Karen found it by looking within! Now she helps other women find their life calling, “Finding their Mojo”, so they too can live and work feeling fulfilled, happy and successful. As Karen says, “Life Coaching from the inside out”! Learn more about Karen and her work at Karen Bacon, Rutbuster Coach.




10,000 Steps Too Many

How many steps do you need to take each day to be healthy?

If you answered 10,000, you’re in good company. And you’re wrong. Welcome to the club.

Turns out the 10,000 step per day standard isn’t based on science, it’s based on marketing. Excellent marketing if you measure by sheer impact given the vast majority of people “know” 10,000 steps is the magic number to reach.

The 10,000 step standard began in Japan in the 1960’s with what is believed to be the first wearable step counter. The counter was named manpo-ke, which translates to “10,000 step meter”. The company that launched manpo-ke felt that 10,000 steps was a good number--indicative of an active, healthy lifestyle. That simple assumption brought us, some 50+ years later, to 10,000 steps per day being the ultimate goal. Today’s science, however, begs to differ.

Recent research, like this report published by JAMA , measured whether an increased number of steps per day were associated with lower mortality rates among older women. Their findings showed that 7,500 steps per day would do the trick. Additionally the report revealed that sedentary women averaged only 2,700 steps per day but those who averaged 4,400 daily steps had a 41% reduction in mortality. Mortality rates continued to improve with an increased number of steps per day and then leveled off at 7,500 steps per day.

Like all studies this one has its limitations but I invite you to look at the big takeaway: 10,000 steps per day isn’t based in science.

So what’s a person to do with their newfound knowledge? Well I am a big fan of going back to basics--an overarching approach to creating health that’s doable, easy, and that you can start today.

First, move more throughout the day. For those of us who work at a desk, sitting disease is real and deadly. Break the destructive cycle of sitting by taking movement breaks throughout your day. This is mission critical to living a happy, healthy, long life.

Second, get your walk on but measure time, not steps. The exercise recommendations from the U.S. Surgeon General are 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. That’s a daily walk of just over 20 minutes per day. Grab a 20 minute walk on your lunch break and you’ll be meeting those requirements.

Creating health doesn’t have to be grueling or punishing or restrictive or shaming. It needs to be doable actions incorporated into our daily lives that become the healthy habits we live and thrive by. And if you feel reluctant to give up your 10,000 steps, then don’t! But know that however many steps you fit into moving more and taking a 20 minute walk will be just fine. Measure that and see how it feels!

If you’d like to Move More and Get Your Walk On in a community of Walking Women from around the world, join the 1MWW movement today. We can’t wait to walk with you.

This Day

Today, the day you have, is a good day to think of as this day. As in THIS DAY.

For instance, THIS DAY I will do one thing I’ve been putting off until SOME DAY.

By now most of us know that mythical SOME DAY will never come.

Unless we claim THIS DAY to be that SOME DAY.

And if one of the things you’ve been putting off is to go for a walk, today is the perfect day.

THIS DAY. The perfect day, not some day.

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The Five Ws of Women Walking, Part III

In Parts I and II of this blog series, The Five Ws of Women Walking, I shared the WHY, WHEN, WHERE and WHO of women walking. In today’s post I’m excited to share WHAT walking really is and HOW to transform your health and life with walking.

WALKING IS THE ULTIMATE WAY TO CARE FOR YOURSELF EVERY DAY.

That’s what walking really is--the ultimate way to care for yourSelf every day. Walking creates health for your whole Self , (that capital S means body, mind, and spirit), which means that all of you benefits from walking in ways too numerous to count.

Just walking? Yes. Walking.

The Surgeon General recommends adults do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity like walking to meet the guidelines for optimal health.

And did you know walking is the #1 doctor prescribed exercise? Doctors don’t prescribe exercise that isn’t “real exercise” or exercise that “isn’t enough”. Doctors prescribe highly effective, scientifically proven, doable exercise that works. If you are one of the 80% of women in this country who are not getting the recommended amount of exercise for optimal health, walking is the best place to start because you can start right now--right where you are!

Unlike grueling gym workouts or classes you have to squeeze into your overwhelmingly busy schedule, walking fits in wherever and whenever it best suits you--like right now!

YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE TRUE HEALTH FOR YOURSELF ON YOUR TERMS, STARTING TODAY.

Walking is that power--your power to take care of your Self in a deeply meaningful, scientifically proven, incredibly effective way. That’s WHAT walking is for women.

Next, HOW to walk--the bonus I promised!

Before I get to specific How-to’s I want to share one of my favorite things about walking:

WALKING ADAPTS TO TIME AND PLACE, MOOD AND NEED!

If you find walking boring, become walking partners with a friend or group of friends and walk together. You’ll be amazed at how the time flies when you’re walking and chatting with pals.

If you’re working your way through some troubling problems, take a walk by yourself to let your inner wisdom bubble up. I recommend a walk in nature--in a park or by a river or stream to destress, relax, and listen to yourself.

And if you’ve decided that you hate walking, try walking with your 5 senses engaged vs focusing on your resentment. Again, get out into nature and drop into what you’re hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling and tasting. Really focus on your experience to have a different experience. You won’t know if you like it until you try it.

HOW to get started:

Members of the One Million Women Walking movement follow a simple, proven 3-Step Practice to create whole-Self health by walking. Follow these Steps or, better yet, simply join us for $1/month.

The 1MWW 3-Step Practice:

  • Step One: Move More Throughout Your Day

  • Step Two: A Brisk Daily Walk

  • Step Three: Your Superpower

Moving more throughout your day offsets the damage done by sitting. This is mission critical for 9-5 desk workers.

A brisk daily walk creates whole Self health for you and your life. Walking. Simply walking.

Your superpower is your caring. Women care about other women. Have you ever stopped your entire life to go help your BFF when she needed you? Dropped everything to help your sister through a crisis? Organized the meals for a woman and her kids who found themselves in deep need of assistance? YES YOU HAVE. That’s your superpower.

THE CONNECTIVITY AND CARING OF WOMEN IS AN UNTAPPED POWER--A VEIN OF UNSTOPPABLE ENERGY THAT RUNS THROUGH WOMEN LIKE NOTHING I’VE EVER SEEN OR EXPERIENCED. I BELIEVE IT’S OUR SUPERPOWER. WHEN WE CONNECT AND CARE IN COMMUNITY, WE CHANGE THE WORLD.

Community is what makes Steps One and Two of the 1MWW 3-Step Practice sustainable. When we focus our caring deliberately, first on ourSelves and then in a community of like-minded, like-hearted women who share the same journey and same goals, our superpower expands exponentially. For 1MWW members that exponential expansion goes beyond our walking community, a percentage of 1MWW’s annual post-tax profits goes to women whose walk of life needs our support. Members vote on where these funds go. In this way our steps count not only for ourSelves and the 1MWW community, but for a bigger vision that needs our superpower. In this way . . .

WE KEEP THE GOOD GOING AND GROWING

Please join us at 1MWW and walk your way to the happy, healthy, long life you deserve. I can’t wait to walk with you.


The Five Ws of Women Walking, Part II

In Part I of this blog series, The Five Ws of Women Walking, I shared WHY women have to walk. (WHY tidily encompasses WHEN and WHERE, illustrating the multi-tasking magic inherent in walking.) In today’s post I’m going to share WHO walking is for. To cut to the chase: EVERY WOMAN!

Walking is for every woman!

Having said that, here’s some questions for you:

  • Have you ever said, “I want to workout but I don’t have the time”?

  • Have you ever confessed that you actually hate they gym?

  • Have you ever despaired that you’ll never find a workout that works for you?

  • Have you tried yoga, Pilates, hot boxing, etc all to no avail?

  • Do you feel guilty and ashamed that you aren’t getting the workout you want and need?

  • Do you sit at work all day?

  • Do you feel lethargic, depressed, brain-fogged?

  • Does your body ache?

  • Has your doctor prescribed walking?

  • Is every day of your life packed full to the point of bursting?

  • Do you yearn for a break from it all?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then walking is for you.

Walking solves all these problems, obstacles, challenges and more!

I can hear you now saying, “Oh I know I should walk but . . .

My rebuttal is, “But what?”

  • But walking isn’t real exercise?

  • But walking isn’t enough?

  • But, you’re thinking, “I hate walking”?

  • But walking is boring?

I hear you still but no worries! In next week’s post, where I wrap up this series, I’ll address your “buts” by sharing WHAT walking really is. (And I’m throwing in a bonus HOW.)

In the meantime, sign up for the 1MWW newsletter, This Beautiful Walk, to stay updated on walking tips (for instance, a recent study showed walking backward improved short-term memory; I cannot make this stuff up), my own walking thoughts (walking increases creativity by 60%—it'‘s my moving muse), and news from the One Million Women Walking movement (how your $1/month membership is powerful beyond measure!)

The Five Ws of Women Walking, Part I

The Five Ws (who, what, when, where, why) are frequently used as a formula for information gathering, problem solving, or getting the complete story on a topic. In this 3-part blog series, I’ll be sharing the five Ws of women walking, but I’m beginning at the end: WHY. I’m starting with WHY because, as you’ll see, it’s the logical place to start and because WHY very neatly encompasses WHEN and WHERE when it comes to women walking.

So, WHY walk? A great question with a wonderfully layered answer.

First, because walking quite elegantly solves the problem that most of us women have with getting a daily workout: we want to workout but we don’t have the time.

(DYK 80% of women aren’t getting enough exercise for optimal health?)

Instead of trying to squeeze a yoga class or gym visit into your already overwhelmingly busy schedule, you can walk WHEN and WHERE you already are: over your lunch break at work, when you’re waiting for your kids at their piano lesson or football practice, or take mini-walking breaks throughout the day.

(9-5 desk workers: DYK that taking walking breaks every 30 minutes has been scientifically proven to be more effective than a hard daily workout?)

Walking fits your life vs you fitting a workout into your life.

Second, because walking solves the problems women have with the health and wellness industry:

  • Despite all the workouts in the world, our health and wellness needs are not being met.

  • We feel underrepresented and underserved in the health and wellness industry.

  • Much of the messaging in the health and wellness industry is inherently shaming and blaming for us and makes us feel self-conscious and ashamed.

  • We want accountability and support without competition.

Walking is all-inclusive, non-competitive, no-gym-membership required.

(DYK 80% of people who have gym memberships never use them?)

Third, because walking creates whole Self health for women. That capital S is no mistake. It stands for your whole Self--your body, mind, and spirit. What we do to create health must nurture our whole Self to be sustainable, otherwise it will just become yet another item on our endless TO DO list--something we must do vs love to do. Here’s what walking does to create the love:

For your BODY: Walking treats or prevents over 100 diseases including heart disease the #1 killer of women and walking is the #1 doctor prescribed exercise. This alone is WHY--walking is an “entry level” activity that can’t be matched for effectiveness, efficiency, ease, doability, cost or time commitment. It’s what you need to get the exercise you want on a daily basis so you can live the happy, healthy life you deserve.

For your MIND: Walking boosts self-esteem, is a natural anti-depressant, and increases creativity by 60%. Women battle low self-esteem, depression and anxiety for a variety of reasons. Walking effectively combats these issues and creates a time and space for a mental break. Caring for your mental health in a meaningful way is as important as caring for your body. Walking does it all--it’s your multi-tasking miracle--part workout, part timeout, part moving mediation (see below).

For your SPIRIT: Walking is spiritual renewal. We ignore our spiritual health at our own peril. As women we possess unique knowings and intuitions that get snuffed out in our overwhelmingly busy lives. The simple act of walking opens those inner doors and helps you to feel connected and whole--tapping into your innate wisdom that this world desperately needs. Historically speaking, walking is a spiritual practice. From the pilgrimages to walking the labyrinth to taking a break from work, walking is a moving meditation, a much needed method of renewing your spirit so you are living from a place of true wholeness.

Summary: Why Walk?

  • Walking fits your life vs you fitting a workout into your life.

  • Walking solves your problems with the health and wellness industry.

  • Walking creates whole Self health. Your body, mind, and spirit benefit from walking in amazing, transformational ways.

Walking works wonders for women.

It’s been said, “You can handle any HOW with a big enough WHY.” (That’s WHY I started this series with WHY). Next week I’ll cover WHO walking is for. In the meantime, sign up for the 1MWW newsletter, This Beautiful Walk, to stay updated on walking news, tips for walking women, and the scoop on the One Million Women Walking movement.

Wondering Where I've Been? Well . . .

It’s like this: I’ve been gone for the past months due to mold poisoning.

The good news is that I am detoxing successfully and recovering. I cannot fully express how profoundly grateful I am to share that good news.

These months have been terrifying, confusing, frustrating beyond words and extremely humbling. I found myself disabled by a silent, invisible enemy that had the audacity to maliciously invade my body and brain and wreak havoc. The worst of it has been the impairment of cognitive function. That’s a fancy way of saying I couldn’t think or remember or strategize to save my soul--thus the terror.

Blessedly for me I have a phenomenally supportive family who circled around me with some really good group decision making, much needed resources, and endless amounts of patience. Thanks to them I got to my sister’s home in Florida where I have been detoxing and recovering.

Recovery has been slow, with a few setbacks. The setbacks are almost always brought about by my impatience with the process and my frustrations at not being able to do what I used to do. It won’t surprise you to know that when I hit a setback, I go for a walk. I walk a lot. In fact walking is once again saving my life--literally.

I’m also following a detox protocol with doses of activated coconut charcoal, which bind with the mold mycotoxins and remove them. I’m taking very high quality supplements to support the process. I walk, I eat live foods, I drink at least a gallon of water a day, I meditate, I swim, I sleep as much as I can. And I’m healing.

Recovery time from mold poisoning can be anywhere from 6 months to a year or more. (I’ll keep you posted.) For now what I want you to take away from this post is this: if you suspect there is mold where you live or work, do something about it. If you suspect you have mold poisoning, get help now.

I am not an expert on the subject matter, just a woman deep in detox and recovery. That being said, here’s two excellent resources where you can learn more. I highly recommend that you do:

Dr Ann Shippy, MD. Check out her “Could It Be Mold?” Fact sheet and her book, Mold Toxicity Workbook.

Dr Mark Hyman, MD’s Broken Brain Podcast with Dr. Shippy: Is Toxic Mold Causing Your Symptoms?

I’m on my way back now, I’m working a bit again, the 1MWW movement is growing, and I’m grateful. That’s where I am now. Next week I’ll be back to talking my walk! In the meantime, please take a moment to sign up for our newsletter.

This Beautiful Walk, the 1MWW newsletter will arrive in your inbox twice a month filled with walking news, walking inspiration, and most likely some of my truly awful puns. I’ll see you there!

Your Opinion Please!

One of the most entertaining activities on the 1MWW public Facebook page is voting for the cover for the upcoming month. I create at least two potential Facebook page covers and ask fans to vote for their favorite.

The photos I use are ones I’ve taken in years past, but they all correspond with the month they represent. I decided to broaden the monthly decision making by posting the choices here as well. Once you’ve chosen your favorite, jump on over to 1MWW on Facebook and vote. And while you’re there, LIKE our page!

Here’s the two contenders for March, 2019. The first is a photo I took in March, 2014 of a late snow, which stunned just about everyone, including this redbud tree. The second photo was taken in March, 2013 on a Sunday drive through the country south of Nashville. In a beautiful twist of fate, this same drive with this view is one I take frequently as my horse is boarded at a barn just down the road.

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There’s the back story on these two photos—the rest is up to you! Thanks for voting.

A Blog About Blog Posts

One of my great pleasures as the founder of One Million Women Walking is interviewing walking women. By sharing our stories we connect and inspire other women; it’s the, “Wow, if she can do it, I can do it,” response. I love that!

Sharing these stories is one of the foundational pieces of the 1MWW movement. We become a community when we share our stories and know one another’s challenges and transformations. And we build a walking consciousness around that community. That’s important because . . .

Walking is not an “it” athletic activity. Walking hasn’t been commercially sexualized like yoga and Pilates and hot boxing. Walking is frequently dismissed as “not real exercise” because it’s free, doable, not grueling and it doesn’t require special equipment. So walking is the underdog of the workout world yet it deserves its place in the sun and its benefits need to be sung loud, proud, and often. Hence the Walking Women interviews here on Solvitur Ambulando.

This quick post is to invite you to read my last three interviews.

For Valentine’s Day I interviewed my friend and 1MWW member, Rachel Aldrich Rader, who just published the book you’ve all been looking for:

Read the interview  then  buy the book  and in the book, read Rachel’s interview with me!

Read the interview then buy the book and in the book, read Rachel’s interview with me!

Earlier this month I interviewed Walking Woman and 1MWW Member Peggy Hubbard, who was losing her sense of Self prior to taking up walking. Her story will move you, inspire you, and make you reflect on what you’re really doing for Self-care.

This is Peggy being hugged by a hollow tree shaped like a heart. February is heart health month. The synchronicity of this makes me smile. Happy Heart Health Month Peggy!

This is Peggy being hugged by a hollow tree shaped like a heart. February is heart health month. The synchronicity of this makes me smile. Happy Heart Health Month Peggy!

Just before February, aka Heart Health Month, I wrapped up January with an interview of my friend, 1MWW Member and brilliant artist Karla Deal. Karla was unable to walk for years due to chronic pain. Read her story and you’ll never take walking for granted again.

Here’s Karla in her studio! Visit her at  Copper is My Canvas  to have your mind blown by the beauty this lady creates!

Here’s Karla in her studio! Visit her at Copper is My Canvas to have your mind blown by the beauty this lady creates!

These three ladies—an artist and passionate dog owner, an insurance agent with a new hip, an author and mom with three boys—all have stories that inspire, that we can relate to, that we discover a bit of ourselves in when we read them. In that recognition a connection is born, an inspiration flares up, a sense of possibility comes to the surface.

Follow those feelings with action. Join 1MWW and start transforming your life today.

Author Rachel Aldrich Rader!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

In honor of this special day, allow me to introduce Rachel Aldrich Rader, author of the just released, Stop Making Yourself Miserable, How to Climb off the Diet and Exercise Hamster Wheel and Step Into Authentic Wellness. I’m especially thrilled to be bringing this interview to you on Valentine’s Day because Rachel is all about Self-love and Self-care and how these are the absolute starting point to authentic wellness. Welcome Rachel and her timely message!



Q. Rachel, I love the title of your book. Where did it come from?

A. I am glad that you love it because coming up with the title was the hardest part of writing the book for me!

I spent 7 years working as a personal trainer in gyms, studios and people’s homes. Most of my clients were women. They were different in many ways but the one thing that everyone had in common was that they were unhappy with their body in some way and hoped that a good fitness routine would be the thing that finally clicked for them.

It made me realize the subtle messages that women receive from our culture. We have this vague notion that our bodies aren’t quite right and we need to fix them. We do that with some combination of diet and exercise and when we don’t see the results that we think we want, we change that combination a bit and try again. Over and over and over again. The result is that we’re stuck in this cycle of thinking “I just have to get it right, this time it will work!” In the meantime, we remain unhappy in our bodies convinced that the problem is us trying to force ourselves through diets and fitness plans that are not authentic.

I wanted to wave my arms, jump up and down and yell “Stop!” There is so much noise out there in the fitness and wellness world. Women spend a tremendous amount of energy on trying to change their bodies. And most of the time, it doesn’t make them happy! My message is all about noticing the patterns that we are stuck in and intentionally opting out.

Q. There truly is so much noise out there—I completely agree. To that point, you let us know right off the bat that we’ve been lied to and worse, that we’ve bought into the lies. What are the lies that are really aggravating you these days?

A. One big misconception is that fitness or wellness has to look a certain way. That it has to look like a fitness routine and a diet. Generally when a woman feels unhappy with her body, she’ll start thinking about one or the other. Or if she already has those things as part of her life, she’ll try to tweak one or the other to make it just right. Again, getting stuck in the cycle of looking for “The Answer” in one of these places. What happens is that she adds to her stress and takes away from her wellbeing. The truth is that wellness is individual. “The Answer” looks different for everyone.

This leads to another misconception. That is that if something works for one person, it will work for someone else. We are so connected with each other through social media. It is an easy trap to see what someone else is up to and think, “Oh, she looks great, I should do what she’s doing,” without considering that her lifestyle, her body, her goal is completely different. Any habit that you set out to create has to be in line with who you are, not based on someone else’s life.

Another major myth is that diet and exercise are the big pillars of a healthy lifestyle. And if you find yourself believing this one, you’re not alone and it’s not your fault! Weight loss is a 60 billion dollar industry. Just think about that. This is an industry based on convincing you that your body is wrong and you need to fix it - and they have just the product or plan to help you out! It’s easy to see how we have come to believe that if our body looks a certain way and we’d like it look different, we just need a new diet or workout. The truth is that of course nutrition and movement matter, but they are only two pieces of a big puzzle that, again, looks different for everyone. Stress plays a huge role on how the body’s systems work. Sleep makes a difference. How you monitor your thoughts and manage your emotions matters. It’s worth taking the time to look into all of the things that affect your health. You are a whole person, you’re not just your calorie count or your workout schedule.

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Q. Rachel, you’re so clear about addressing the whole person, the whole self on a very personal journey to health and wellness. What are your specific steps for us to stop making ourselves miserable?

A. The first is to take a realistic look at where you are now. What types of messages are you internalizing from outside sources and from your own thoughts? Is your inner monologue empowering or discouraging?

Next is to sift through those thoughts and weed out which are the messages that you’re receiving from this weight-obsessed culture and which are your own voice. This sounds easier than it really is! When you’ve been internalizing these message for years, or decades, it takes a bit of introspection to decide what you really, truly want for yourself.

With that internal guidance, it’s then possible to create an authentic goal or vision for your life and your health and decide what you’re going to do to get there.

Setting the strategy involves looking back on what you’ve done in the past and pinpointing which elements have worked well and which haven’t. It all requires being very, very honest with yourself and recognizing that you really are the boss. It’s not your trainer or your friend or even your doctor. You are the one with the power to unapologetically live this lifestyle that you want, and it really has to be what YOU want. Oftentimes, women are stuck in “shoulds”. It takes a little bit of time to be really real.

Don’t rush and don’t give up on whatever it is that you truly desire for your life.

Know that things will not work out perfectly, they never do, and that’s ok. There will be times when you’ll have to regroup or even completely change your plans and neither of those things equal failure.

Q. Rachel, your message and your method are so inspiring and so hopeful! What’s your hope for your readers?

A. My hope is that my readers will feel empowered. A lot of women go through life with this vague notion that whatever they are doing in terms of fitness and wellness is wrong. They are pretty sure that they know what they’re supposed to do, what they’re expected to do, but they just can’t quite get it together enough to get it done and reach this magical place where all is well and they are at peace with their body. The message of my book is to take notice of that thought pattern, to stop it from continuing and to build the lifestyle that brings them joy.

Q. Rachel your book needs to be in the heads, hearts, and hands of every woman in this country--where can we get a copy?

A. The book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rachel, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your wisdom and caring with us on this Valentine’s Day. Your book is a loving gift to give ourselves and I’m so grateful you wrote it! Thank you!

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Rachel Aldrich Rader is a Wellness Coach, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and a former perfectionist. She is a lover of Mexican food, red wine and crime novels, and is grateful for a career where yoga pants and sneakers are considered professional. Rachel lives in New England with her husband, three boys and one judgemental cat.

Follow Rachel on Instagram or Facebook, or join her fabulous Facebook group, Wellness Over Weight Loss!