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Blog: Stop Stress without Overeating and More - Frazzled to Free Blog

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Insights to help busy women stop sacrificing their health and happiness to hectic schedules, and rediscover bigger, more fulfilling lives.

Announcing ...The Busy Women Stress Less Series ... Now Available in Print

2014 was very exciting… I published two books to help busy women discover relief from chronic stress – the kind that drains our energy day after day - using my insight-empowered approach for long-lasting solutions.

The first two volumes of this 4 volume set appeared as eBooks on Amazon:

Quotes from the Back Covers

 “Written by a woman who truly “walks the talk” … her guilt free, nonjudgmental approach is revolutionary and refreshing.” …. Dr. Andrea Black

 “What does a Peaceful Mind have to do with stress and overeating? Everything! Highly recommended! This is a must read!” ... Merrily C. Jones, MEd, MS, LPC

By Popular Demand …..

We listened to your feedback. Many of you prefer print books. Done!

As one of my clients put it, “I definitely like the “real” book over the digital version. There’s something so much more real about a book that you can hold in your hands. It’s ready to be underlined and dog-eared!”

Print Editions Available on Amazon [in multiple countries]

Small enough to fit into a handbag [purse] or find a place on a night table - they can serve as daily sources of inspiration and guidance. The books are full of illustrations to show how I applied insight building to manage stress roadblocks that so many of us face.

Coming Soon ….

The two remaining volumes – Breaking Free to a Vibrant Spirit and Breaking Free to Balanced Emotions – will be out in 2015. I will let you know when they are available through this blog.

Your Feedback is Welcome

If you enjoy the books, please consider leaving a review on Amazon to inspire other busy women to Stop Stress without Overeating.

Thank you for your continued support on the journey!


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#1 Question to ask before overeating or bingeing

dreamstime_171423882Driving back home after a very tough meeting that required firing an employee, I felt sad. Following an old pattern, I began to think about comforting foods.

I would stop at the supermarket to buy a croissant ham sandwich, a bag of something crisp and salty and some chocolate bars - all to eat in my car.

As I pulled into the parking lot I asked, “what if I didn’t buy any of those foods right now?” That slight pause allowed two insights to surface:

Insight no. 1: None of the foods I intended to buy were foods I would typically choose to eat.
Insight no. 2: What I most needed was to release the built up tension resulting from the lack of sleep and the intensity of the meeting I had just left.

Faced with a choice point, I pushed back the car seat and took a 20 minute nap. As a result, the stress dropped from about a 9 down to a 2 – without those extra calories.

Have you recently felt like buying, eating, or doing something you know is not in your best interest?

Perhaps you are tempted by a great outfit in a designer boutique, even though finances are tight.

Or, you may go by a French bakery and smell the aromas of freshly baked muffins. You want to buy one…. even though you know you can’t stop at eating one. 

What about when a co-worker repeatedly turns up her music in the next cube? You are at the end of your rope, and are ready to give her a piece of your mind.

When you have an urge to act compulsively, can you pause, even for a few seconds, take a breath, and ask: “What if I didn’t?”

•    What if I didn’t buy it, right now?
•    What if I didn’t eat it, right now?
•    What if I didn’t say it, right now?

A moment’s reflection might provide an opportunity to make healthier and more balanced choices.

But if you choose otherwise, please remember that there is no failure here, just the opportunity to gain more insight about yourself.
I’d love to hear how you have managed emotional responses to triggers.

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Stress in the kitchen: How Insights can help with clean-up

A big brown stain surrounded the faucet of a bathroom sink. I scrubbed and scrubbed with various cleaning products. I pulled out a toothbrush and rubbed harder... Nothing would make that unsightly ring budge!

While not the biggest priority in my life, I wanted it gone nonetheless.

A frontal approach was not working - time for creative problem-solving.I stopped working harder and let my mind wander.

I remembered that we have "hard" water that can leave a crust when it evaporates. I thought back to a school experiment when we dissolved limestone with vinegar. I decided to pour a little vinegar in the sink and let it sit there for a few hours and the stain lifted off and was completely gone.

Sometimes when I push to make things happen the way I want, I may not get the outcome I desire. Yet when I let go, allow and apply a bigger perspective, then things seem to go more smoothly.

If I hadn't allowed my creative side to be with the problem I might be still scrubbing that sink! I'd love to hear how you experienced an "out of the blue" insight to a vexing problem.

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Part 2: Tips for talking to doctors: 6 ways to help you reduce stress and feel better

Guidelines to help patients find stress relief

In Part 1, I described the problem of non-adherence: 50% of patients do not follow doctors’ advice.  I suggested stress, the daily energy drains that limit what patients can do, create a logjam.

The solution: Seek guidance to tap into own creativity, ingenuity and intuition to deal with stress before loading up on medical advice.



Let’s switch over to your visit to the doctor’s office.

Ask your doctor 6 questions to help you manage stress --- before accepting a prescription

1. Will you encourage me to identify energy drains? Doctor, the stress I’m under may be related to what you think is my health issue.

2. Will you encourage me to identify strategies I’ve used to deal with this stressor?

3. Will you encourage me to explore what’s really bugging me.

4. Will you encourage me to set realistic goals? [A healthcare provider can help the patient set a realistic goal that she feels comfortable in achieving.]

5. Understand that I may, or may not, act on the goal. Will you respect my choices? [A healthcare provider can encourage the patient to see each choice as an opportunity to learn, never a “failure.”]

6. Will you follow up this meeting? Healthcare providers can offer support, helping the patient recall every victory, and helping lifestyle changes stick.

How did you feel after talking with a physician or with a staff member about your health issue? Did you have time to get your needs met? How do you think doctor-patient interactions can become a healing partnership?

 “Insight-motivated Learning: A Model to Improve Stress Management and Adherence in Chronic Health Conditions.” Robert A. Ronzio and Patricia A. Ronzio, Austin, TX. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal 2012, volume 11, pages 22-28.

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Part 1: Manage Stress before talking to your doctor - How Insights help prepare you for an office visit

Why medical (and other expert) advice often fails

We face a huge problem: Only 50% of patients follow prescribed treatments for vitally important health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or chronic overweight. Another way of saying this: One out of every two people ignores medical advice when told what they “should” do.

Are you one of those statistics? If you have trouble following a doctor’s orders, maybe it’s not your fault!

Stress may prevent patients from following prescriptions and one-shoe-fits-all advice.
Stress short-circuits the best of intentions… whether at home or at the clinic.
If you are too stressed, too tired, or too preoccupied with daily energy drains – maybe you don’t have the bandwidth to add more information?


So what is the best way to manage stress and plug up energy drains?
Think about it… Who knows your particular circumstances better than you? No one else. Who knows your past victories and challenges. You do. Who carries untapped ideas in her brain? It’s you.

The best solutions live within you, the patient.
You are the genius to manage stress. Your creativity, ingenuity and intuition have always been part of you. Now is the time to help nurture that part of you, neglected far too long.

What does it take to tap into insights and creative problem solving? 3 ingredients to mix (at home or in a doctor’s office):
    1 Tsp of free time: Mentally unplug from a hectic schedule to give yourself a     little breathing room. -- Creative solutions need room to ferment and grow.
    1 Cup of supportive listener: Someone who validates your thoughts and     feelings, withholds judgment or personal commentary. -- Compassion and trust     are your compass points.
    ½ Tsp of humor. Flick on the humor switch. -- Most people can think more     clearly after lightening up.

Have you found it easier to deal with problems when you are more relaxed, or with someone who is? Does a solution come easier, when you have time to sleep on the problem?

With whom do you feel safest when trying out a new idea? I would love to hear your experience with this.

Watch for Part 2: Insight learning guidelines to prepare yourself for talking with your doctor.

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How doctors can help patients de-stress

Fotolia_37792241_XSHave you ever stopped taking a prescribed medication, or not followed a doctor's recommendation to lose weight or get more exercise? Could stress be getting in the way?

How would your doctor's visit be different if...

a) you had the opportunity to share what's actually stressing you out?

b) your doctor supported you in managing that chronic energy drain before tackling your health issue?

c) your health care provider and his/her staff listened to your concerns?

Bob and I have described "Insight-Motivated Learning", a process to help physicians encourage their patients to handle stress -- before prescribing treatments. This research paper recently appeared in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

We recommend that doctors encourage patients to use their own insight-problem solving abilities to manage chronic stress. And we suggest that when patients handle such energy drains, it will be easier for them to follow doctors' recommendations for treatment and for prevention.

Here is the citation: "Insight-motivated Learning: A Model to Improve Stress Management and Adherence in Chronic Health Conditions." Robert A. Ronzio and Patricia A. Ronzio, Austin, TX. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, 2012, volume 11, issue 2, pages 22-28.

How would your next visit to your health care provider be different if you had the opportunity to share what's actually stressing you out first?

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Five Ways to Solve Problems Better

What is your problem solving profile?
Which of the following statements is the best fit:

a.    Do you believe you are good at dealing with problems?    
b.    Is your ability to solve problems okay -- not great?    
c.    Or do you feel uncomfortable when faced with solving problems?      

Whether you consider yourself to be an effective problem solver, an average problem solver or a problem avoider, you can boost your problem solving skills. It’s easy and it’s quick.

Before looking at ways to accomplish that, let’s work on the phrase, “problem solving.”

“Problem solver” or “Creative problem solver?”
Problem solving sounds…like a problem. Yet we solve problems – large and small – every day, without turning them into “projects.” It happens naturally. So let’s add spice by adding an adjective. Creative problem solver has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Creativity adds excitement to a potentially boring task.  Creativity implies imagination, and imagination draws on curiosity. Curiosity reflects vitality--all are interrelated.

Sadly, most educational strategies omit, even penalize, the creative part of problem solving.
Remember when your biology teacher droned on about diploid, mitosis or blood groups? You knew those concepts would be on the test, so you jotted down notes, highlighted sentences in a textbook, and memorized complex diagrams.
Did this nurture imagination and creativity? Not even close.

But that’s not all that gets in the way. Beliefs can also inhibit these attributes:


4 Myths about Creativity

Myth #1 Only successful inventors, artists, writers… are creative.
Let’s go back to when you were a kid. Children naturally apply their creativity to understand what’s going on in a complicated adult world. And as an adult you can still apply your creativity to understand a complicated world.

Myth #2 Creativity: Either you have it or you don’t.
The ability to solve problems creatively is not a genetic trait, like hair color. The human brain is built for creative problem solving. Everyone has this ability.

It can be enhanced however. Like exercising to strengthen muscles, solving problem processes of the brain can be enhanced through frequent use.

Myth #3 Daydreaming is a waste of time.
Feel guilty about staring out the window when you should be “working?”
Research indicates that during the creative process, like a musical improvisation, the region of the brain responsible for keeping you on track --shuts down. This changeover allows new ideas to flow easily, to intermingle and develop into new combinations.

Myth #4 Creativity cannot be taught, learned or improved.
A competitive athlete whether a cyclist or golfer understands that a whole mix of ingredients goes into success.
Factors such as motivation and attitude, the physical environment, like the type and condition of the fairway, play a pivotal role. Knowledge - the extensive array of pertinent facts – goes hand-in-hand with skill.
The same variables, attitude, environment and knowledge are just as important to enhance creativity and imagination.


Five ways to unlock your creativity to solve problems like stress, better and easier and faster

1.    Change a negative attitude
The belief you can accomplish a task is referred to as self-efficacy or self-confidence. Successful problem solving of any type depends on this essential aspect of motivation. It is at the heart of a stressful problem.

2.    Improve your mood
Feeling blue can slow you down mentally as well as physically. Studies have confirmed common experience: It is harder for individuals to think creatively when they feel tired, sad, depressed or down.

3.    Unlock time constraints
Creative problem solving takes time and commitment. I am constantly surprised at how many clients say that they do not have enough time. Be honest with yourself. Isn’t it possible to adjust what you do and when you do it in order to create more “imagine” time?

4.    Take care of yourself.
Enough rest? Essential! Eat right? Absolutely! Relax? A cornerstone of self-care and stress relief.

5.    Emotional support
A key reason that brainstorming fails? Participants do not feel safe about expressing feelings and ideas. Ridicule, sarcasm, guilt trips – these stop creative thinking in its tracks.
Personal validation helps too. A social environment that supports individual ideas greatly enhances imagination. There is nothing wrong with a pep talk and encouragement when an idea doesn’t pan out.

In a nutshell:
Creative problem solving is a process everyone can do. Creativity, innovation, imagination – these attributes can be enhanced with a can-do belief, a positive attitude, finding time to be creative, and time for self-care, and being with someone who truly listens without judgment.

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Holistic Health Solutions Depend on Personal Insight and Creativity

Do health and healing depend on personal creative insights? I believe they do, in multiple ways.

  •     Your creative insights help you see a health issue in a new light.
    • Example-- "I never realized it before, but I tend to overeat only when I’m feeling lonely."
  •     Insights can help you pinpoint a trigger event:
    • "Now that I think about it, my sinuses act up when the dog is shedding."


Creative problem solving, including insight, yields other benefits:

  1.     Insights lead to new solutions
  2.     New solutions create personal victories
  3.     Personal victories build self-confidence to meet health challenges

Patient education should include insight learning

Traditionally, patient education focuses on disease. A lot on treatment, some on prevention. But very little goes into patient empowerment.

Insight learning nurtures both self-empowerment and patient self-management. When encouraged in clinics and doctors’ offices, it becomes a win/win for patients and healthcare providers.

Do you think you have what it takes to solve those nagging health and stress challenges?

Share with us your experience in using intuition, creativity and insight to deal with a health issue.

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