We are super excited to offer a 4 part workshop on bringing mindfulness into your daily life and turning those skills into better work that you do with people.
Gillian has combined the concepts of:
Each session includes:
One of GROW's key values is to keep things SIMPLE and make them MEANINGFUL to your life. If things we teach aren't practical on a day to day basis, they won't be helpful. So we purposefully design our workshops to be down-to-earth and realistic.
This is a method of taking care of yourself and by doing that, you literally grow yourself as a leader.
Plus: 10% off any high vibration healthy snack from Vibrant Lifestyle during the workshop
10% off any future workshop or training with GROW in 2017
We have a small, intimate location so spaces are limited. Registration closes May 25, 2017.
There's something about the holiday season - no matter what your belief system - that makes us feel magnetically drawn to things. Drawn to get-togethers with colleagues that we are normally too busy for all year long. Drawn to comfort food that is tied to memories of eating that food many years ago. Drawn to movies and music that we return to every year because it makes us laugh and feel good. Drawn to family that we haven't called back in one week too long. What all of these things have in common, is they give us a feeling of connection.
The importance of connection is something we do not talk about enough because the feeling one has of connectedness is largely tied to our sense of happiness, wellness and general satisfaction in life. I often meet with clients who tell me about all the things they are hoping for. They wish to be a marathon runner. They wish to have something they were passionate about. They wish to have a relationship. The list goes on. With all of these wishes is a sense of connection that would come with achieving them. The person wishing to be a marathon runner, would now BE a marathon runner and therefore feel a sense of identity and belonging with all of the people who share that same desire. A sense of commonality and shared purpose. The person who wishes for a relationship would be a girlfriend, a husband, a person who is relied upon and needed by someone else. Again, a sense of purpose, connection and belonging.
Without feeling connected with our "tribe", our group, our family or our place where we feel that we belong, we go on the search for it. Humans are biologically driven - wired - to belong. From our earliest playground days, the fear of getting chosen last for the team or getting left out from the table at lunch follows us into adulthood. What we are searching for has changed, but the drive remains the same.
When I work with these people, our focus turns to areas where belonging already exists. Areas where we ARE connected. Because ultimately, we are all connected somewhere, it is our recognition of our connection that often needs some fine tuning. Once people realize all the places in their life where they DO belong, where they have a role and are valued, many times the searching stops. When the searching stops, the peace begins. Of course I am not saying that we shouldn't have dreams or goals in life, because we should. But the reason for wanting them is often the key between sadness and fulfillment.
So, this holiday season when you are feeling pulled toward family, or Christmas movies, or hot chocolate, consider your important place in the world around you. The people who set a spot at the table for you. The coffee barista who will notice when you didn't come in because you took the week off. The people who follow you on Facebook who haven't seen a post from you in the last few days. The transit driver who is working on Christmas Day but you won't be there. This season, pause to notice what you normally don't notice.
You are valuable. You are missed when you are gone. You are important. You have a place. You belong. You are connected.
After a short hiatus to re-focus and re-centre (we all need this from time to time!) I am happy to announce some new availability for holistic mental health clients on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings & afternoons.
What do I mean by Holistic Mental Health, you ask? HMH is for those of you who may be struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, sadness and difficult emotions but do not want to simply take a pill. We do traditional psychotherapy but mix in holistic nutrition and plant medicine, Mindfulness and other ancient traditional methods of healing the body and mind as a whole...because you are not just a bunch of separate parts.
Currently, I see clients in the beautiful office space at Vibrant Lifestyle in Liberty Village, where you may also pick up any healthful foods or vitamins we talk about. To book an appointment or get more info, simply click below.
Psst. Your benefits may cover this!
It is so important to take time to care for our minds. To quiet the noise that we become immune to. (How interesting that our immunity to disease is weakening, while our immunity to distraction is strengthening). One of the many lessons I took from my visit to Peru, was that when we stop asking so many questions, our desperate search for answers ends. And suddenly, just with a shift of perception, things become peaceful and still. In the stillness, away from the noise, is where we find insight.
The use of imagery is a powerful way to trigger peaceful feelings that have been imprinted into our biology from previous experience. It takes us back to places and times when we felt most connected and most at ease.
Here are some of the most beautiful and captivating pieces of auditory imagery (picture and sound) that help quiet my mind, and bring me back to that feeling of connectedness. I hope they may help you do the same.
Ps. I will keep adding to this. Please comment below with any suggestions! G.
May is mental health awareness month. About 10-20% of the population experience mental health conditions each year, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress.
According to a review of nutrition and mental health, the most common nutritional deficiencies seen in patients with mental disorders are of omega–3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are precursors to neurotransmitters.
(First paragraph in the review)
“Few people are aware of the connection between nutrition and depression while they easily understand the connection between nutritional deficiencies and physical illness. Depression is more typically thought of as strictly biochemical-based or emotionally-rooted. On the contrary, nutrition can play a key role in the onset as well as severity and duration of depression. Many of the easily noticeable food patterns that precede depression are the same as those that occur during depression. These may include poor appetite, skipping meals, and a dominant desire for sweet foods. Nutritional neuroscience is an emerging discipline shedding light on the fact that nutritional factors are intertwined with human cognition, behavior, and emotions.”
The review summarizes the connection between mental health and many nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, omega-3 fats, B-complex, vitamin B12, folate, calcium, chromium, iron, selenium, iodine, zinc. and mental health.
Keep in mind that this is not meant to imply that a particular nutrient or nutrients can cure mental illness, simply that nutrition plays a significant role in overall brain health. Poor nutritional status may negatively influence brain health, mood, depression, etc. Discontinuing appropriate medications or therapies is not recommended, but making sure that you get all the nutrients you need to support mental health is highly recommended.
So, I'm thrilled to finally be able to offer an online program that covers all the elements of a healthy lifestyle.....hence the name!
Lifestyle Elements combines the knowledge in my head about all things holistic nutrition, behaviour change, motivation and mental health with all of the amazing skill of Melissa Ross who is an accomplished athlete, published fitness model, pro bikini competitor, competitive road cyclist and online fitness coach. I hired Melissa as my own personal fitness and diet coach when I wanted someone to just tell me what to do. I needed new focus and new goals. We quickly realized that if we put both of our skills together, we would be able to offer more than the usual cookie-cutter online fitness programs that everyone could really benefit from.
We designed Lifestyle Elements to incorporate what we see as the core principles of healthy living:
We believe that all of the core elements are needed to really have meaningful, long-lasting change and if anyone has ever worked with me before, they will know -- I'm all about sustainability. We are not here to create rapid change, but rather to create new habits and behaviours that last.
When you sign up for Lifestyle Elements, you will receive:
We are offering this truly life-enhancing program at a basic price of $120 (+HST & shipping). Everything is included in that price. We also offer it at an optimal price of $175 (+HST & shipping) with more valuable additions if you want to take the impact of the month to the next level. There really is something for everyone.
This is our introductory offer as we trial this awesome program so we also ask that at the end, you provide some feedback so we can make sure our program is the best it can be. Also, we may not always be including the nutritional supplements so this truly is a great opportunity to get going on your health goals before summer for a super great price. There are only 10 spots available to start, so fill out the form below to claim your spot!
We all have decided at one point or another that we needed to change something about the way we live. Maybe we made a New Year’s resolution once or twice but never bothered again because they didn’t work out. Or, maybe we have tried dieting in the past with varying degrees of success. There are many reasons why people want to make changes but find actually sticking with the changes….well, a challenge.When it comes to the science of change, there are many theories that are used to understand reasons why people make change and how change works.
The “Stages of Change Theory”, as the name suggests, says that there are several stages that a person goes through before experiencing long-term, sustainable change called “Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation for action, Action and Maintenance”. This is basically your fail-to- plan, plan- to- fail theory.
Then there is the “Social Learning Theory” which says that behaviour change comes from observing and fitting in with what is in our environment. An example of social learning is if a person is generally surrounded by healthy eaters, they will naturally start to gravitate toward healthier eating themselves. In this case, the change is more organic and rather naturally occurs. Wouldn’t be nice if it were always that easy?
There are a number of other theories and factors that also influence how easy or hard a person comes by change including their own level of self-empowerment, how strongly they believe in themselves, and their external circumstances, what else is going on in a person’s life to help or hinder change. Even a person’s “Learning History”, meaning what they have learned about themselves in similar situations will impact how they go forward and make change in the future.
All of these things play some sort of role in how easy or difficult it is for someone to change habits in their life. Most times, it is a combination of many of these factors, some stronger than others. So, if we want to change behaviours that have been part of our life for a long time, we have to consider at how we think about ourselves, what we have learned about our own ability to change, and how we actually go about making change.
Too often we skip these first steps and jump right into the action part. Making a goal and getting motivated to make changes can be the easy part but laying the foundation with knowledge and a plan is the key for long-term, sustainable change. If that part sounds hard, or possibly even emotionally painful, there are people who can help you with this. Don’t feel like you have to tackle change on your own. Some of the most successful change plans are the ones that were designed with the help and support of others. Our thoughts about ourselves are very strong so it is important to take the time to care for our mind first so we can care for our body and achieve the changes we have always wanted.
Taken from my original post on the blog of Vibrant Lifestyle (click here for the original article).
The New Year is upon us, and with that, a new set of resolutions. Personally, I prefer to work toward things I want all year long, but it never hurts to choose a starting point. People often refer to me as that "fit and healthy type". I'm the person who "just likes vegetables and health food" and "finds exercise fun". But let me tell you: I wasn't always this way. Most people have a story before they got to where they found themselves that looks quite different than the present...but it helped propel them to a better place. That is me.
I woke up one day tired, not liking the look of myself in the mirror or the way my clothes fit and finding my own habits of drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes (yes) and brunch every day on the weekend gross. I watched people jog beside my window rain or shine and wondered why that was them and not me.
So little by little I started trying different things. At first, it was watching my calories and going to Curves for Women (lol). But you know what? That was a start. I was becoming aware and was moving my body. Quickly I needed more of a challenge with exercise so I joined GoodLife and got a personal trainer where I learned how to exercise properly. I was not born the fitness type, where I am now is nothing but years of practice. My watching of calories turned into wonder and curiosity of what this food was actually doing in my body, and how it could help me do better in fitness and energy. So I went to school to study nutrition. And again, I practiced and practiced.
Until one day I woke up and people were asking MY advice. I was that person who was healthy and fit. I also ate food that people could never like because I "just like different food". No, I just acquired new tastes, like everything else, over time and with repetition. Nothing comes without time and consistency. Nothing has to be 100% either. I still openly enjoy wine and sushi, and did not hold back over the holidays. The difference is I have had the experience of knowing how good I feel when I'm eating, exercising and basically living the lifestyle that is now who I am. So I easily return to it.
If 2016 is the year you are going to make things happen, don't be intimidated by the "healthy and fit" types because they were all you before, if not worse. Take small steps, expect some bumps and just keep going. Mistakes will not undo what you do to move forward. Eventually you will wake up somewhere you don't recognize. In a body that is bright, and energetic and radiant. And that will be you. You are that type. So just start now.
The Holidays. A time when every person who has ever struggled with food or their body feels a sense of dread. What will I do for the multiple parties I have to go to? How will I fit in my cardio? Will I lose all of my progress and feel terrible by the end of December, resulting in the inevitable Detox-January?
So many of us ask ourselves these questions, and proceed to fight with our willpower and our emotions for the rest of the month, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Today, I am sharing with you some therapeutic techniques that are proven to help with a sense of calmness, reduce stress and anxiety and increase a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction when it comes to eating. You can try one, a few, or all of the methods this month to feel better come January. Using any one of them will be more effective than changing nothing and hoping for the best, so what have you got to lose?
1. Practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a broad term for bringing yourself more into the moment. This means not thinking ahead about what you will do later, how many calories are in this cookie, or how you will make up for this meal. It means focusing solely on what you are doing at the time you are doing it, and paying attention to what is happening at that moment. When we eat, it is helpful to be mindful. Consider what you are about to eat and select it based on how you will feel while you eat and after. Will this food make me feel energized or sluggish? Will it taste delicious and will I enjoy every minute? Will this food nourish my emotions or make me feel guilty? No matter what food you select, pause to notice how it smells and tastes. Chew slowly and savour your meal. When we slow down and pay more attention to our eating, we tend to crave less, and are more satisfied after, regardless of what we actually chose.
2. Adjust Your Thoughts. How we think about food and our expectations for ourselves drives whether we feel positive or negative about what we have chosen. For example, if you are someone who eats healthy 99% of the time, you might feel like you have failed or have poor self-control if you only ate healthy 80% of the time in December. Alternatively, if you are someone that is striving to improve your diet then eating healthy 80% of the time may be a great accomplishment. Our personal perception can set ourselves up for feeling bad or good so consider adjusting your thoughts on what will make December a successful month for eating. There are many times when circumstances change and in those times, it may not be reasonable for everything to stay the same. Therefore, it may make sense to adjust your perception of what would make December a positive experience. You can adjust again in January.
3. Change Your Language. How we refer to food makes a difference. For example, some people may consider eating sushi a “healthy” meal whereas others may consider this a “cheat” meal. What even makes something healthy or a cheat? Rather than making some food sound good to eat and other food sound bad, consider referring to “healthy” food as “Food I normally eat”. “Cheat” food could be referred to as “Food I sometimes eat” or “Food I eat now and then” or “Food I eat on special occasions”. Changing food from an absolute good or bad into a more balanced definition helps us feel better about our choices. It is much better for our mind to eat “food I eat on special occasions” than a bunch of cheat meals.
4. Be Flexible In Advance. Since we know that December is going to involve more opportunities to engage in eating behaviours that we normally do not partake in, it can be helpful to be flexible with what we would normally do. If we normally do not consume gluten or sugar, consider modifying your rules to allow for some small amounts of sugary treats on a few occasions. If you normally stick to a specific meal plan all week long, consider sticking to the meal plan Monday-Friday and allowing for some flexibility on the weekend. This is the time to take your normal guidelines and alter them slightly to create an enjoyable time during the holidays. Making a new plan for yourself allows you to feel better when you do step out of your norm and not feel guilt about doing it, because you planned to. This also allows you to maintain control and not go into a downward spiral of unlimited junk food which is beneficial for no one.
5. Practice Self-Compassion. With all of your best intentions, you will likely go off track in some way. When this happens and all of the above techniques have fallen through, it is most important to be kind to yourself. Using phrases like “It’s okay that I ate that because tomorrow is a new day”, and “I really enjoyed the experience of eating that food”, or even “I am a valuable, loving person and perfect the way I am” will remind yourself that you are not defined by your food choices. Not now during the holidays, or ever.
These 5 techniques can be helpful not just during the holidays but at other times when unpredictable events change our routine. Life is not a straight line. There are twists and turns at every corner and for those of us who are inclined to get into a cycle of eating and feeling bad about ourselves, it is important to expect these times and with the right techniques, learn to ride the waves.
Gillian Reid, MSW, RSW, RHN is a clinical social worker and holistic nutritionist in the Toronto area who practices integrative therapy from a mind-body perspective. She focuses on emotional eating and changing behaviours for better health by getting to the root of the problem and making plans to move forward.
Photo credit: glucocardyouchoose.com
September is fast approaching and with that comes a great transitional time. Transitions are awesome for making changes because it is easier to form a new habit when life aligns with that habit. There are legitimate reasons why it's best not to start a healthy eating plan at the beginning of beer & bbq season! Set yourself up for success by picking the right time and the right approach for YOU.
In the past, I've found it immensely frustrating to try to understand what I might get from a professional. I have an idea of what I want but find myself asking hundreds of questions to see if they will be able to help me in the way that I WANT to be helped. To that end, I will be posting some examples of work that I do with clients as a holistic nutritionist AND a therapist because that approach will consider everything that is going on in your life, and how you can best go about making change for yourself.
Here are some snippets of a healthy eating plan I made for a client. This person is a busy working professional who loves cooking but has a tendency of doing everything or nothing. She will choose and create lavish, restaurant-worthy kitchen concoctions which are better than anything I could make. But these amazing meals aren't practical on a day to day basis, so she finds herself without time to make them and subsequently without food for the week.
So we took a step back and looked at her schedule and made a plan based on how much time she was realistically able to give to food planning and preparation.
Step 1 was to decide what the best plan was based on the time she had. We made some goals for her that were small and achievable and agreed on building on these goals once this first part was habit. This step can be hard because a lot of people want everything at once but I promise you....slow and steady wins the journey. This is not a race.