Adolescents, Nutrition, & Behavior

Adolescent Nutrition Presentation

Taken from a one of my presentations in Health Psychology…

With the exception of the first year of life, the majority of a person’s growth occurs during adolescence (Stang, Story, & U.M., 2008).  This creates an increase in need for energy and nutrients to supply the energy.  Nutrient needs are higher during adolescence than any other time of a person’s life.  Proper nutrition during this time is essential for healthy maturation into adulthood as well as to help prevent diet-related chronic disease that can occur during adulthood such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.

However, despite the great importance of healthy eating during this crucial growth time of adolescence, many young individuals are not eating a diet that meets national nutrition guidelines, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Stang, Story, & U.M., 2008).  To understand and resolve this problem, it is important to understand the eating behaviors of adolescents and what factors influence them.  Personal factors such as cognitive-affective factors and behaviors as well as the social environment can impact nutritional intake.  Adopting poor nutrition behaviors as well as developing eating disorders are concerns that effect nutrition intake in a negative way that would impact health.  Understanding not only the nutrition requirements but also these factors that influence nutrition behaviors in adolescents will help in the prevention of nutrition related health problems that may occur in youth and later in adulthood as diet-related chronic disease.

Reference

Stang, J., Story, M., & University of Minnesota. (2008). Guidelines for adolescent nutrition services. Duluth, Minn.: University of Minnesota.

Many parents of adolescents understand the frustration of trying to get their kids to eat right.  At this age, most kids are trying to develop their independence.  They want to make some choices of their own.  Here are 3 good tips I can share with you that have helped me see that my own kids got the nourishment they needed to develop strong immune systems, mental and physical health.

  • Lead by example.  You can’t expect your kids to eat healthy if you do not eat healthy yourself.
  • Provide only healthy choices in your household.  Choices are there, while any choice made is a good one.  My services include education in this area.
  • Utilize supplements.  Even in making healthy choices in food, we sometimes find ourselves lacking in nutrients which can create cravings that lead to loading up on unhealthy calories.
    • For over 20 years I have used Nature’s Sunshine’s supplements.  I expect I will continue for the next 20+ years to use them because I have always been pleased with the results and quality of them.  We caring some items in our office and have them online at herbalhour.mynsp.com

 

If you need help becoming a family who eats healthy, I also provide family sessions that focus on helping in nutrition and behaviors.

You can find me at dohi Center for Well-being (717) 473-4980 or email me at CharlotteTest@dohiwellbeing.com.

My sessions are held in our Waynesboro, PA office or can be scheduled at my mountain ranch in Fairfield, PA which also incorporates Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

Charlotte Test

 

 

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Get into your Flow

 The Concept of FlowIMG_Tokyo_20180508_101654_processed_1525789031530

The concept of the flow experience is used to understand the feelings people are actually experiencing while working toward their goals.  Flow is experienced as intense enjoyment while a person becomes so immersed in an activity that they are not aware of time passing by or physical discomforts.  Contemplation of the feelings experienced would actually interrupt flow.  The feelings are so enjoyable to some they may seem addictive.  While the flow experience is rare for many individuals, it may occur more frequently for individuals with certain personality traits.  In addition, intelligence of the individual is also a factor that can be associated with flow.  By understanding the concept of flow and how it can be utilized, it is possible help individuals to increase opportunity to experience flow and achieve goals.

Taken from a paper written by Charlotte M. Test (The Concept of Flow, 2012).

Do you have difficulties meeting your goals and getting into your Flow?  Part of the Coaching effort is in determining why this is and what needs to be done so that you can make the changes to improve your well-being.

Give me a call at dohi Center for Well-being (717) 473-4980 or email me at CharlotteTest@dohiwellbeing.com.

Do We Wait for Change?

Often people make the comment “A person first has to WANT to quit [change] their habits”, referring to smoking, drinking, drug use, gambling, eating unhealthy, etc.

What do you think? Do we wait for change? Do we wait for ourselves, our loved ones, or even our patients (depending on who in your life needs change), to announce they now WANT to change before seeking help to make those life changes?

My answer is this… No. Often people are brought to counseling for addictions by loved ones or even by the law. Are these people then thinking “oh now I WANT to change”? No. More than likely they are feeling resentment for even being asked to make a change.

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So now what? Well, that’s my job! A good therapist will work with the individual to help them with change regardless of what the change stage may be. The precontemplation stage of change is still a stage of change. There is no predetermined time frame for the progression of change; it is only the individual’s own experience with TIME.

Charlotte M. Test, N.D., M.A., CAADC

http://www.dohiWellbeing.com

“You are not a helpless victim of your own thoughts, but rather a master of your own mind.” – Louise Hay

Mindfulness in Therapy

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that was developed in the ancient Buddhist tradition and continues to be practiced today.  Itmeditation1 involves obtaining a calm and conscious awareness of one’s body functions and feelings.  Currently, many therapists are incorporating this practice of mindfulness meditation with cognitive behavioral therapy to form a treatment for a variety of mental and physical conditions including substance use disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and pain.  Some of the mindfulness-based therapy techniques currently in use include Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  Many books, DVDs, and Internet websites are available for any person interested in learning about this practice.  In addition there are many studies available for review that reveal the many uses and benefits of mindfulness meditation techniques, demonstrating this is evidence-based therapy we can incorporate with confidence for a variety of therapeutic needs.

Additional value in mindfulness meditation is that it is a non-drug treatment.  For those battling drug addictions, drug treatments may not be an option to treat co-occurring PTSD and pain.  Drug dependence theories posit that drug dependence is a disease state, in which physical dependency on the substance eventually leads to the compulsive and repetitive use of the substance despite the negative consequences to the user’s health, mental state, or social life (Shen, Orson, & Kosten, 2012).   This drug dependence is often a result of prescription drugs.  Research has revealed that individuals prescribed opioid drugs, used for the treatment of chronic pain, had a significantly higher rate of misuse than those with a history of drug abuse who were not prescribed opioids (Pohl & Smith, 2012).   This has become a serious problem in the United States with the overuse, abuse, and addiction to opioid medications.  Opioid dependence is considered to be a lifelong, chronic, and relapsing disorder for the individual (Shen, Orson, & Kosten, 2012).  Therefore, in patients who have a history of addiction or other risk factors for developing addiction, opioids should be prescribed with consideration of their tendency.  The need to explore alternatives is obvious.  Mindfulness techniques that address even complex co-occurring disorders such as substance use disorder with PTSD and pain are worthy of exploration.  At dohi Center for Well-being we utilize mindfulness techniques in counseling as well as teach Mindfulness Meditation to the clients we see, and we are very pleased with the results.

References:

Pohl, M., & Smith, L. (2012). Chronic pain and addiction: challenging co-occurring disorders. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs44(2), 119-124. doi:10.1080/02791072.2012.684621

Shen, X., Orson, F., & Kosten, T. (2012). Vaccines against drug abuse. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics91(1), 60-70. doi:10.1038/clpt.2011.281

Workplace Health Program

An effective workplace health program can help in promoting to workers healthy behaviors to avoid disease as well as help those already affected by disease to improve or delay disease progression.  While the evidence demonstrates good workplace health programs are beneficial, some employers choose not to invest in them or to cut funding for programs they have in place because they do not believe they can effectively reduce disease risks for their employees (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008).  To ensure the program is effective it should have five key elements, which include health education; related employee services links; a physical and social environment that accommodates health improvement; health promotion is part of the organization’s culture; and employee screenings that include adequate treatment and follow up (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008).  While the program is geared toward healthy individuals, everyone at the workplace is able to benefit.

Those that benefit from the workplace health programs mainly include individuals that are generally healthy (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008).  An effective program is geared toward providing opportunity to those individuals who are not maintaining good health and who are at risk for acquiring preventable diseases.  These individuals benefit from a health promotion program that includes encouragement of fitness and exercise, eating a healthy diet, managing weight, managing stress, controlling the use of alcohol, and practicing safe sexual behaviors (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008).

Individuals that are at high risk due to lifestyle behaviors will also find benefit in a workplace health promotion program.  These individuals may be smokers, are sedentary, have an unhealthy diet, have unsafe sexual behaviors, consume alcohol, or experience excessive stress (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008).  They may also have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, or excessive weight.  Individuals with these risk factors benefit from a workplace health promotion program that includes hypertension screening and management programs, support for smoking cessation, and classes for weight loss (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008).

Individuals already affected by ailments such as asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, musculoskeletal related disorders, and depression, can benefit from a program in their workplace (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008).  The goal for these individuals is to improve the condition or to delay the progression of disease, through promotion of better compliance with their treatments, and changes in behaviors that reduce the risk for their disease.

Overall a workplace health promotion program is beneficial to everyone at the workplace.  An effective program can help reduce risk factors for disease in healthy individuals, while helping those change lifestyle behaviors that need to improve their state of health or delay the progression of disease they may already have.  The health programs are offered to individuals at the location they spend much of their time at, the workplace, which helps to improve compliance.  For the employer that invests in them, an effective health program is able to yield acceptable financial returns as well.

 

References

Brannon, L. & Feist, J., (2010).  Health psychology. (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Goetzel, R. Z. & Ozminkowski, R. J. (2008). The health and cost benefits of work site health-promotion programs. The Annual Review of Public Health, 29, 303–323, doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.29.020907.090930.

 

Why Health Psychology?

Since 2002 I have been in practice as a Traditional Naturopathic Doctor.  I earned my degree from Trinity School of Natural Health who have been providing professional programs of study in Natural Health since 1991.  My education also included business management and dietetics.  Why did I continue my education in Health Psychology?  I have always  felt especially drawn to true mind-body medicine.  Naturopathy somewhat includes the psychological aspects of health but does not delve to the depths I wanted to go in learning the mental/emotional/behavioral, psychological, aspects in why people become physically ill and do not get better. Chronic illness.  Chronic pain.  Chronic blood sugar issues.  Chronic heart issues.  A chronic illness is something an individual is not overcoming.  They may be managing it somewhat but are not truly healing.

20180421_160327.jpgMy graduate studies in Health Psychology provided me insight and expertise which I utilize to guide my clients through life changing efforts in improving their health and well-being, and taking necessary steps for addressing chronic health concerns.  In Health Psychology we explore the interactions between the body and the mind.  We examine how stress and nutrition influence your physical and psychological health and well-being.  We work to help you work through issues such as eating disorders, substance use disorders, as well as problems you may have in meeting your health improvement goals.  In Health Psychology we also explore alternative medical approaches, which is a perfect compliment to my Naturopathic training, allowing me to help you create harmony and balance in your life.  Why Health Psychology?  The answer is obvious.  Your success is my success.  My extra schooling was worth it 🙂

Charlotte Test

Motivation, SMART Goals, and Vision

The following is an article I had written on “motivation, SMART goals, and vision”.

Motivation, SMART Goals, and Vision

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world!” – Joel Barker

            Many people face challenges each day dealing with the consequences of behaviors that are counterproductive to having a happy and healthy life.  Behaviors become habits that interfere with living the life they would like to live, in health, companionship, and prosperity may have become.  What stands between them and the life they would like to live?  Common barriers are the lack of having clear vision; the establishment of SMART goals; and motivation to move forward in the process of achieving goals.  Through effective coaching, these common barriers become the solution!

Vision

What is your vision?

            Good plans include a vision for what the desired result of the plan will be.  Whether the client is a corporation developing their mission and goals, or an individual seeking to make changes in lifestyle to benefit health and well-being, a vision is developed for how effort in achieving goals will pay off in the future.  One of first jobs of the coach is to help clients create a concise and compelling vision of what they desire of their future self (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).  Vision provides the foundation on which to build plans and fuels the energy needed to move forward in implementing plans.  Creating a compelling vision opens the door for clients to self-efficiency and self-esteem (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).

A vision clearly defines what the client wants.  The vision that the client develops provides a discrepancy between the ideal situation they truly want and the current situation, and so provides motivation for proactive action (Parker, Bindl, & Strauss, 2010).  It is essential to include key components that make up an effective vision.  Concise, clear visions that are also future-oriented, stable yet challenging, abstract, and inspiring are apt to result in better performance (Kantabutra & Avery, 2010).  Once a personalized description of the vision is established that excites the client, coaching can begin with discovering the essential components of the vision that are meaningful to the client (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).

Wellness Vision chart

            With an established vision, motivation is generated from its importance and meaning to the client.  This motivation, generated from within helps to propel the client into action.  The client’s motivation becomes a driving source of energy to fuel work that takes place, guided by a plan, in achieving goals.

“Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes.”  – Benjamin Franklin

What motivates you?

Motivation

            Motivation is important for taking the next step in setting goals.  Coaching helps clients to identify with reasons that will provide strong motivators to work toward goals (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).  Motivation should be personal in nature to help propel the client into action in achieving goals with a plan in place.  Research reveals that autonomous motivation influences the progress of goals with the implementation of planning (Koestner, Otis, Powers, Pelletier, & Gagnon, 2008).  In addition motivation only works with a plan that includes behavioral goals (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).

What is a goal?

            People understand what goals are in different ways, either as outcomes or behaviors.  Some people see goals as ultimate objects in terms of values or emotions, such as more peace and relaxation, or less stress and anxiety (Jinks & Dexter, 2012).  These types of goals are outcomes.  Other outcome goals include controlling cholesterol levels or losing weight.  Outcome goals are valuable in creating vision statements (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).  Behavior goals describe how the client will achieve an outcome, such as the goal of exercising to lose weight or eating healthy to control cholesterol.  Developing behavior goals are essential to helping clients change behaviors (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).

 “Goals are dreams we convert to plans and take action to fulfill.” – Zig Ziglar

 

But are your Goals SMART?

             Effective behavioral goals are SMART goals.  SMART goals fit the criteria of being specific, measurable, action-based, realistic, and time-lined (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).  The following chart describes each of these criteria.

SMART

            Coaching with SMART Goals

Specific:   The first step is helping the client make specific behavior goals.  This is practical and helps distinguishing effort from results.  Having specific goals to work with helps improve the effort and helps avoid wasting valuable time (MacLeod, 2012).

Measurable:  As the saying goes, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”  Goals should be quantified so that increments of accomplishment can be measured.  Measurement is a factor of accountability (MacLeod, 2012).

Action-based:  Behavioral goals are action-based goals.  They should have intrinsic value to the client.  They are part of an incremental process in goal achievement (Grant, 2012).

Realistic:  Goals need to be realistic and achievable.  Small wins build self-efficacy and self-esteem (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).  If goals are too difficult the client may lose interest and focus.  In addition people tend to focus on what that they find interesting and enjoyable (MacLeod, 2012).

Time-lined:  Accomplishing goals as soon as possible is not an acceptable timeframe (MacLeod, 2012).  Quick-wins keep motivation going for working on goals.  Goals should occur along a time-line such as weekly goals and 3-month goals (Moore & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).

Applying the SMART Goals theory in coaching helps clients set goals that they will feel motivated and able to accomplish.

Conclusion

            Coaching is an effective tool for those individuals seeking help with challenges in life.  Clients seek the help of a trained coach to make changes in the behaviors that interfere with the achievement of happiness, health, good relationships, wealth, and other goals.  What may be more difficult to accomplish on their own can be accomplished with assistance from a coach.  By helping clients in motivation, establishing their vision, and developing SMART goals, coaching effectively helps clients turn common barriers of lacking vision, goals, and motivation into a framework for the change they desire.

References

Grant, A. M. (2012). An integrated model of goal-focused coaching: An evidence-based framework for teaching and practice. International Coaching Psychology Review7(2), 146-165.

Jinks, D., & Dexter, J. (2012). What do you Really Want: an Examination of the Pursuit of Goal Setting in Coaching. International Journal Of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring10(2), 100-110.

Kantabutra, S., & Avery, G. C. (2010). The power of vision: statements that resonate. Journal of Business Strategy31(1), 37-45.

Koestner, R., Otis, N., Powers, T. A., Pelletier, L., & Gagnon, H. (2008). Autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and goal progress. Journal of Personality76(5), 1201-1230.

MacLeod, L. (2012). Making SMART Goals Smarter. Physician Executive38(2), 68-72.

Moore, M. & Tschannen-Moran, B. (2010).  Coaching psychology manual.  Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Parker, S. K., Bindl, U. K., & Strauss, K. (2010). Making things happen: A model of proactive motivation. Journal of Management36(4), 827-856.