Good health starts in the gut. Yes, your gut is the CEO of your entire body. Your gut gets pissed off when you don't feed it the proper nutrients; eat foods that you are allergic to or can't tolerate well; and unknowingly or knowingly feed it foods that are laced with pesticides, nitrites, sulfides, preservatives, hormones, and dyes. It reacts by bloating, weight gain, constipation, nausea, fatigue, diseases, and much more. Your gut will inevitably make your life miserable. So prior to meal planning, you've got to know the correct foods to nourish and feed your body specifically. Check the labels. Eliminate foods laced with preservatives, GMOs, and other harmful chemicals. Be aware of how your body reacts to certain foods. You can definitely have allergy tests to see about food sensitivity, but in my experience, your gut will often tell you. If you don't feel great after eating, figure it out. The physical challenges I went through regarding my digestive system are supported by the research of many researchers, including Dr Amy Lee, a certified internal medicine, nutrition, and obesity medicine specialist who understands the dietary hurdles we all have to overcome. Dr Lee believes we are eating a harmful cocktail of preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and other unnatural substances. The difficulty is that it is almost impossible to know what we are putting in our bodies, so you need to be as vigilant as possible. One strategy she suggests is keeping eating out at a minimum. Shopping for and preparing your own meals gives you way more control. Also it helps to step back and look at what's going on. Am I feeling pressured because I have taken on things to do that aren't actually necessary? Are all the five things on my list really essential? Can I cross one of them off without actually doing it?

Will it make any difference five years from now whether I've done it or not? Or a hundred years from now? Have I picked up something that is a side track or a dead end, not a good use of my time? I do that often, get some idea for some project that sounds interesting, or fun, or even necessary, but actually isn't, and may be a big time waster. It may even be something I'm using to avoid dealing with something else that I really do need to do, something that may be harder, or more unpleasant, or something that I'm not sure I can do or can do well. Self-esteem and confidence come from two sources. They come from what you believe about yourself and how you value yourself. They also come from what other people appear to believe about you and how they value you. Throughout your life you come across all kinds of people; different in many ways. But when it comes to how they impact on your self-esteem and confidence, other people can fall into one of two camps; they're either radiators' ordrains'. People who are radiators spread warmth and positivity, while drains can leave you feeling irritated and upset, disappointed or angry, guilty or resentful. They drain your energy. Their misery, criticism and complaining overwhelm you with their negativity. By using curiosity as a frame for his inquiry, a teacher elicits verbal descriptions, reflections, and key insights from participants that ultimately make the teaching richer. This is demonstrated by maintaining an open-ended and present-moment focus on the what, where, when, and how of experience. The why is generally not addressed, as this invariably takes us out of description of experience and into analysis. The teacher works to enhance the participants' ability to stay with what is happening in the practice. This reduces the tendency for them to move quickly into the past or future or to look for reasons why something has occurred, or to come to conclusions about experience that are often erroneous and reinforce a fixed view of self. Questions, while open-ended, are generally short and simple. The teacher tries to avoid the use of double-barreled questions, questions that ask about two issues but permit one answer--as in: "Were you restless or agitated?"--and closed or leading questions, meaning those that begin with "is," "was," "were" or "do," does," or "did": for example, "Did it change?" "Is this something you normally notice?" "Do you notice your posture is different?" These tend to take the participant out of the experience, shutting down the dialogue.

Who you spend most of your time with can make a big difference to the way you think, feel and behave. You need radiators in your life! Positive people are likely to respond to you in positive ways and so make you think positively about yourself and the world around you. If you have low self-esteem, there might be people close to you who, deliberately or not, encourage the negative beliefs and opinions that you hold about yourself. It's important to identify these people and take action to stop them from doing this. I don't like to have things hanging over my head. It makes me feel pressured, it makes me feel rushed, and it distracts me. I'm thinking about the things that I need to do instead of focusing on what I'm trying to do right now. And rushed is not a good feeling. I don't function as well when I'm feeling rushed. I rush off and forget to take my cell phone with me, or forget to take the papers that I'm going to need when I get there, or I forget my rule of looking behind me and I back into another car. I try to not let myself get into a situation where I feel rushed. Similar strategies apply to needing to get something done by a deadline. I had set a deadline for myself to get this book to the publisher by the end of April. I began feeling pressured and rushed. Two wise women independently pointed out that this was a self-imposed deadline; there's no reason that I have to get it in by April; it doesn`t matter. Pressured is not a good feeling either. I've learned (although it's hard to sell the idea to anyone else) that pressured is a state of mind, not a reality. If I can keep my list of things to do down to five, and if I can focus on the thing I'm working on right now, then there is no pressure. When I finish this one thing, I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off, and then I can move on to the next thing.

And that's all I need to do. That's really all I can do. There is no pressure. It is hard to change your thought patterns. You might have had these patterns of thinking your whole life. Be patient with yourself! While coping thoughts might feel strange at first, they become more familiar over time. As you work with thoughts, please be kind to yourself. Working at noticing and changing thought patterns takes time and practice. As best you can, cultivate a gentle, non-judgmental attitude towards your thoughts. It also helps to take it slow; it takes time to notice thoughts and encourage new patterns, so set small goals and expectations for working with thoughts. You might imagine approaching thoughts like a "type A turtle": expect slow progress and keep persisting! Thoughts are how the brain generates meaning from the world. The brain interprets events as either being positive, negative or neutral. How the brain interprets events is influenced by factors such as: past experiences, culture, gender, age, mood, pain, sleep quality and the context of the situation. Thoughts influence emotions and behaviours. Thoughts that tend to be the most helpful are ones that are accurate and help you to move closer to the things that matter. How you think can have an effect on the pain experience. There are many strategies to work with thoughts. One good first step is to notice thoughts and consider whether they are helpful and accurate.

Holding all of this can be overwhelming to say the least, particularly when we are first learning inquiry--when it is being approached from a conceptual perspective or doing mode, when one is attempting to master its form. As in tai chi or other martial arts, there is an outer form, necessary to learn to engage in the practice, and then there are what are called internals that arise once one has a foundation in the external structure. So, with the contemplative dialogue that is inquiry, a form is helpful. The internals--a sense of curiosity; the ability to listen actively; the ability to recognize and be with the impersonal, imperfect, and impermanent; and implicitly guiding participants to do the same--come from the embodiment of mindfulness and its articulation. Too many food preservatives can also cause what is called bad gut bacteria, which results in gas, bloating, heartburn/acid reflux, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and other bowel diseases, including Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. have also been linked to overeating and a slower metabolism. Researchers have found that preservatives interfere with our hormones, disrupting the process that tells us when we're full. Additionally, processed food requires less energy from your body to digest because it is high in refined ingredients. Curiosity is the greatest ally for a teacher facilitating inquiry and for his participants learning about mindfulness practices. It is the antidote to making assumptions or quick judgments and the need for assurance. When we are curious about our or another's experience, we become interested in exploring and reflecting on whatever is happening. This is a good example of contemplation in action. One of the things this asks of a teacher is that he operate from a place of not knowing, embodying beginner's mind and at the same time holding an agenda and the need for a specific outcome lightly. With her focus on education about the hidden problems with food, she is intent on helping people lose weight and get healthy. One thing she focuses on is looking closer at what we think of as healthy food. For example, here are three harmful processed food examples she spotlights; they have high amounts of the fructose corn syrup that she recommends eliminating from your diet: Many supermarket yogurts have twice as much sugar as some cereals. Any yogurt of six ounces should have only thirteen grams of naturally occurring sugar. While wheat bread can be better for you than white bread, store-bought whole wheat breads often contain sizable amounts of high fructose corn syrup. Many supermarket cereal bars and cereals are branded as healthy food options. In truth they are not healthy, because they contain sizable amounts of high fructose corn syrup.