Maria Connolly, LPC Facebook Facebook Facebook

Category: Health and Wellness

Instead of dieting and depriving yourself, learn valuable tips on Health and Wellness as it includes every aspect of your lifestyle – your eating and drinking choices and habits, your physical activity and exercise, your mental health, and your emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Stuck in a Exercise Rut? Discover How to Use NLP to Ramp Up Your Fitness Motivation

feeling stuck in a rut so use neuro linguistic programming NLP for fitness motivation


“Achieving good fitness involves making yourself a priority.”  ~ Robert Dilts

Do you know anyone who has turned their indoor treadmill into a clothes hanger? It happens more often than not. People in the United States are spending billions of dollars on physical fitness equipment each year, too much of which sits and collects dust. Just the gyms and health & fitness clubs alone this year are estimated to be $30 billion industry!

We all want and are trying to buy what they’re selling…to live longer, have more energy, enjoy better health, maintain greater flexibility, and create lean bodies that look super. So what’s causing this huge gap between the desire to be fit and the reality of everyday life? If spending money isn’t the answer, what is?

There are no magic pills or quick fixes to obtaining your optimal fitness. For many people, fitness depends on overcoming long-held habits and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Complete fitness applies to the combined health of your body, mind and spirit, which are supported by proper nutrition, exercise and a healthy outlook on life. These are the things that fuel your motivation to make real change!

How can you step up your inner game for physical fitness and lasting motivation that gets you through the tough times?

While the outer game focuses on your physical skills, the inner game focuses on your mindset, your mental approach and wellbeing – such as your attitude, self-confidence, your ability to deal with setbacks, and your commitment level.

First do a reality check. If you keep doing what you’re doing …

  • What will you look like when you’re 70?
  • Will you have the flexibility to tie your own shoes?
  • Will you have the stamina to dance at your granddaughter’s wedding?
  • Will you greet each day with joy?


If you don’t like what you see, then NOW is the time to start making changes. You are the master of your own body. No one can live your life for you. Each decision is your alone – to eat healthfully, to exercise regularly, to think positively.

Right now, take a moment, close your eyes, and visualize how you want your life to unfold from this day forward.

Visualization is powerful and can be dramatically enhanced by NLP. What’s NLP and what does it have to do with fitness? It may surprise you to learn that using Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) for fitness motivation is highly effective. It’s a set of guiding principles, attitudes and techniques about real life behavior. NLP allows you to change, adopt or eliminate behaviors as you desire. It also gives you the ability to choose your mental, emotional, and physical states of wellbeing. It’s a powerful tool you can use to create real and lasting change in your mental and physical wellbeing.

You may think you need a physical trainer to get in shape and that might be true. But it is also true that our physical wellbeing is dependent on our mindset. Working with a life coach or psychotherapist can help you achieve excellence in every aspect of your life, including your physical fitness. For example, you can work with a life coach on…

  • Setting achievable goals for where you are right now.
  • Developing self-discipline to make these goals part of your new lifestyle.
  • Making being fit part of your new identity by breaking old habits and setting new ones that create the lifestyle you want to live.
  • Updating your self-image and self-esteem by appreciating the progress you’ve made.

Are you ready to learn how using NLP for fitness motivation can help you achieve the healthy lifestyle you desire? Let me support and challenge you each step of the way as you activate your inner abilities to achieve and maintain your motivation for total wellness and fitness. Contact me and let’s get started as soon as possible!

If you haven’t you received your free copy of The 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment yet, download it right now. It will help you get started on the path to a healthier you.

Four Ways to Make Meal Planning and Good Eating Habits Easier

Meal planning and healthy eating habits don’t have to be too difficult or time consuming if you apply these four ways to make weekly meal planning easier.Often people say they don’t have the time to eat healthy. Our busy work schedules and family demands can make it difficult. But it is not impossible – if you have a good reason for doing so.

Why wait until a health crisis, such as a heart attack or diabetes, forces you into making changes. The risk of permanent damage isn’t worth it. How much better it is to make proactive, mindful decisions that support you in building an excellent life now. The evidence indicates that proper nutrition plays an important role in the prevention of various physical and mental health problems. A balanced mood, sustainable levels of energy and feelings of wellbeing can be cultivated by ensuring that our diet provides adequate amounts of protein, complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water.

So, what is your WHY? Why do you want to improve your eating habits? To prevent disease or needless pain? To have more energy so you can participate more fully in life? To see your children and grandchildren grow up? To look more attractive? Whatever your reason is, hold onto it. That vision will keep you motivated.

Once you have your reasons for improving your eating habits firmly in mind, here are four easy steps to make meal planning simpler. (Preparation is the key to success!)

1. Commit! Just decide you’re going to do it. Involve those who eat with you by asking what they do and don’t like to eat. Even children as young as five or six can be included in this discussion. When you can factor their preferences into your plans, you can avoid discouraging, negative feedback.

2. Make a cheat sheet for your shopping trip. List plenty of veggies, fruits, and protein that you want to always keep on hand in the kitchen. This list will keep you from being distracted by the candy and chips aisles at the store. It will keep you on the outside aisles of the store where the healthy food is. And remember, don’t shop when you’re hungry. The money you save by not buying junk food will allow you to splurge on more varieties of healthy food. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

3. Prepare your meals for the week on Sunday. Plan two or three recipes for dinners and use the leftovers for lunch the next day. Cut up your veggies and fruits and put them in the fridge in see-through, separate containers. This simple step makes it so much easier to build your salad, have a quick snack or prepare an easy side dish.

4. Pre-make your breakfast. Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day! You can save a lot of time by preparing yours ahead of time. Did you know you can make a big batch of green smoothies and freeze them in mason jars? The night before simply move one to the fridge and it will be ready for the next morning. Give it a shake or a stir and you’re good to go. Or you can make little egg-veggie muffins for a quick bite when your meeting is at 7am!

New habits are formed one baby step at a time. As the book, The Power of Habit, points out, often it only takes one pivotal action to interrupt the habit cycle in our brain thereby allowing us to form new habits. (If you haven’t read this book, I recommend that you do because it’s very insightful. And it’s fun to read.)

If you haven’t you received your free copy of The 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment yet, download it right now. It will help you determine the pivotal action that you need in order to create real change in your life. 

Regain Control as You Discover How Food Affects Your Mood

how food affects your mood“You are what you eat.” Often that is said about our physical health, but is it also true of our emotional wellbeing? Can we change our mood by changing what we eat? Women especially seem to be emotional eaters. Many of us seek stress relief by indulging in comfort food like ice cream, chips or chocolate. There’s even been a new word added to online dictionaries to recognize the connection between being hungry and being angry…it’s HANGRY.

Actually research is showing there’s a huge connection between why we eat and our emotions. But you already knew that, right? When we’re depressed or lonely we eat. When we’re excited and happy we eat. When we’re celebrating a special event we splurge on eating something special.

Food is an important part of our culture. The problem is we consume too much of overly-processed, chemicals-added, sugary, salty, fatty “fake foods”. Our taste buds have forgotten how to savor the delicate flavors of wholesome food.

It’s only in recent years that the human race has had access to so many choices. In times past, we were limited by what was grown locally or what took weeks to transport in. And people used up those calories quickly, as they did hard physical work to survive.

Dr. Leigh Gibson, a psychology professor at the University of Roehampton in London, makes this observation, “For much of human history, energy-dense foods, or what we now consider comfort foods, were the ideal thing to eat…Healthy eating is a modern thing that we now need because we’re living so long. You could almost say the default is comfort eating.”

One important question is: What’s your immediate reaction when you eat? How does food affect your mood? Do you feel guilty? Do you feel sluggish? Do you feel invigorated? Do you feel nourished and happy?

Too often people define themselves by their relationship with food. Dieting has caused an unhealthy attitude toward food. If they eat something that’s not on their list, they call it “cheating.” One “slip” and they tell themselves horrible stories, “What’s the use. I’m such a failure. Why even try. I’m always going to be fat.” Food is not your enemy.

Another important question is: How does what you eat today affect your mood days later? In a study published in 2012, Penn State psychology professor Dr. Helen Hendy found that the link between foods and moods played out over a period of two days—what you eat on day one is linked to how you feel on day three. She noted, “Consumption of calories, saturated fat, and sodium was significantly associated with increased negative mood two days later.” Dr. Hendy has even changed her habits based on this. When she has a meeting scheduled, she watches her calories, sodium and fat intake to give herself a better chance of creating a good mood.

No matter what the studies say, you are in the best position to determine how you and your body react to your eating habits. If you intend to mindfully eat healthfully and you follow through, achieving that goal is guaranteed to contribute to better emotions. On the other hand, if you’ve developed an unhealthy relationship with food and want to regain control, give me a call and we’ll talk about how you can mindfully reconnect with your body, your spirit and your world so you make lasting changes

Best Diet to Lose Weight? Embrace Food as a Friend Not a Foe

The best diet to lose weight is a healthy mindset that food is a friend not an enemy “When I eat with my friends, it is a moment of real pleasure, when I really enjoy my life.” ~ Monica Bellucci

Food should be a friend, not a foe. But perhaps you know that you should lose some weight. You know it will improve your health, your energy and your self-esteem. What’s the best diet to help you lose weight?

The best diet is not dieting at all. Don’t even think about dieting! Rather than dieting, you’ll be so much happier if you replace unhealthy food choices and habits with a healthy lifestyle that you enjoy and can sustain. As every engine needs the best fuel to perform efficiently, so the human body needs healthy food to repair and reinvigorate itself.

According to the Boston Medical Center, “45 million Americans diet each year and spend $33 billion annually on weight loss products. Yet, nearly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.” It’s clear that traditional dieting isn’t working.

When someone says, “I’m going on a diet,” it implies that for a limited amount of time he or she is going to alter the way they eat. And if they go ON a diet, they will just as easily go OFF the diet and go back to their old eating habits that caused their health concerns to begin with. This on again off again approach is called Yo-Yo dieting. The weight goes on. The weight comes off (with ever increasing difficulty). And then the weight goes back on with more than before.

Instead, purposefully choose a healthy way of eating you can stick with!

According to The Journal of the American Medical Association you need to know this basic information about the food you eat. We spend so much time eating food we might as well understand what it’s doing to us. We need vitamins, minerals, good fats, and fiber to function well. And the best way to get them is by eating wholesome foods that supply this nourishment. By educating yourself on the basics of healthy eating choices, you empower yourself to create the life you desire.

Just as important as knowing what to eat is knowing how to eat. I’m not talking about how you hold your fork. What will enable you to make lasting change is to eat mindfully as you savor your food. Food is not the enemy. It’s something to be enjoyed.


A major problem is that we multitask as we eat. We’re working at the desk and stuff food in our faces so we can reach a deadline. We’re grabbing something quick because we’re too starved to take time to fix something from scratch. We’re sitting down in front of the TV mindlessly dipping our hand into the bag of chips until suddenly the bag is empty.

What are some ways you can introduce and embrace mindful eating into your life? It’s all about making conscious choices. Here are fifteen tips that you can incorporate right now…

  1. Remove unhealthy food from your house.
  2. Snack on vegetables and fruit. Baby carrots or celery sticks dipped in salsa is much healthier than chips.
  3. Put healthy snack choices on the counter or in clear containers in the refrigerator so they’re easy to see and grab.
  4. Eat slowly, chewing thoroughly as you savor each bite – paying attention to the color, texture, aroma, and flavorful seasonings.
  5. Unplug from technology – TV, phone, iPad – when you eat so you can think about how the food is nourishing your body and enriching your life.
  6. Sit at the table and reconnect with people you love as you enjoy good conversation over the meal.
  7. Use smaller plates and portion out food before you sit at the table to eat, which will keep you from eating too much.
  8. Don’t starve yourself, and make it a goal to eat several small meals throughout the day.
  9. Eat a moderate amount of carb-containing foods such as fruits, grains, pasta and bread as you increase the number of veggie servings you consume daily. This combination knocks down the level of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which will keep you from binging later.
  10. Sleep at least 7 hours each night or you’ll increase the amount of your hunger hormone ghrelin.
  11. Eat enough protein to stave off hunger pangs as well as keep your metabolism revved up.
  12. Keep a food diary for 3 to 5 days. Eat and drink what you normally consume and write it all down and see your weak areas so you can improve them.
  13. Compare your portion size to what’s on the nutrition label. One package may contain many servings.
  14. Learn nutritional information for what you eat. (You can get the total calories, grams of carbohydrate, protein, and fat from smartphone apps, computer programs, or the USDA database.)
  15. Identify your problem areas and make adjustments in your choices and daily routines.

Do you see several areas that you can improve on? One of the most important keys to making successful lifestyle changes is to focus on one thing at a time, taking baby steps until it become your newly ingrained habit.

Many people have found that having someone coach them and keep them accountable makes this so much easier. If you would like to work with me, in person or virtually, give me a call and we can schedule an appointment. We’ll create a plan that supports you as you achieve your desired goals. I’ve got time-tested tips that you’re going to love!

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I invite you to learn more about me and my coaching and counseling services. Please contact me to schedule an “It starts with you!” 30-minute complimentary consultation with me, in-person, by phone or via video consultation, so we can explore our partnership.


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