Love Your Body

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n o y l n o e h t (It’s


Article by Christina Kunkle


Summer 2012

You deserve your attention For “mission-driven women” like us, who tend to burn the candle at both ends, the No. 1 factor in creating and sustaining balanced success is taking full responsibility for the care and maintenance of our irreplaceable bodies. While a healthy mind, strong body and loving spirit are essential to success, it is only through nourishing our bodies inside and out that we are able to claim the vitality necessary to reach our full potential. I believe — more than mind-set, knowledge or skills or any other resource (even money) — that it is exceptional self-care, or the lack of, that will determine whether or not we are happy, healthy and fulfilled. Ironically enough, self-care is the area that I, and many of my clients, have struggled with the most: The culprit? Jampacked schedules, and the habit of putting others’ needs before our own. Not to mention the lack of self-worth that results from years of telling ourselves we’re not “good enough.” If we wait for the perfect time, when things finally slow down, when everyone has what they need, when we’ve lost that extra 10 pounds or can invest in a wardrobe that reflects the hottest trends, we’ll be wasting precious time that we’ll never get back. Life is short and we don’t have the luxury of knowing, with any degree of certainty, that we’ll be here tomorrow. Truth is, even though there are areas we’re still focused on improving, we must learn to love and accept our imperfect selves.

t’s been a time of deep sadness and quiet reflection since receiving word that cancer had taken my once vibrant, upbeat and always smiling friend from this world. My heart goes out to her husband and children for how painful it must be to go on without her. I find myself thinking, “It could have been me” as I mark two years since the day I nearly lost my own life after complications following a routine hysterectomy. The difficulty led to renal failure and pulmonary edema, resulting in cardiac arrest and an emergency surgery. After the initial procedure, and throughout the night, I complained of unrelenting discomfort. By dawn, I was restless and confused. Chilled to the bone, and shaking uncontrollably, each inhale brought excruciating chest pain; the doctor urged me to breathe deeply, but I couldn’t. This must have been when I stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest because, suddenly, the most brilliantyellow sun I had ever seen appeared before me. As it neared, I opened my arms to soak in its unbelievably loving warmth. Feeling as if I were wrapped tightly in a blanket straight from the dryer I was finally able to take a deep breath without pain. No more had I uttered a grateful “Ahh” than I noticed the sun getting closer and realized I was speeding towards its center and away from life as I knew it. I can still feel my head shaking “No!” and hear my voice, in a terrifying moment of recognition, saying “Oh, hell no! I still have stuff to do!” As Mother Teresa said, “Life is life. Fight for it.” And fight I did.

Needless to say, I haven’t been the same since. As I made my way back, there were promises made that I am still busy living up to. In addition to showing as much love as I can to family and friends, and empowering women to thrive in work and life, I’m more deeply committed than ever to becoming C.E.O. of my own health and encouraging others to do the same.

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My favorite necklace says “the journey is the reward.” It reminds me to appreciate myself and my body right here and now. If you want to shower your body with the loving attention it deserves, but don’t know how, here are two ways to get pointed in a healthy direction.


Let’s pay positive attention to what we have and what is working well, instead of what we don’t or what isn’t. There are so many things about our amazing body to be grateful for! For starters, you are able to breathe life-giving oxygen every second of every day as your lungs rid your body of gaseous wastes. Your heart is beating as you read this, busy pumping blood to your brain and vital organs, all without you giving it a second thought. Your liver is producing substances to break down fats and filter toxins. Your kidneys are clearing your blood of waste and extra water, so both can be excreted. Your immune system is defending against viruses, bacteria and other invaders as blood carries necessary oxygen and nutrients to your organs. The bottom line is: You are alive. Life is a gift. Mornings are gifts. Every morning, wake up, stretch out your arms and say “Thank you for a brand new day! Thank you that I can see the love in my children’s eyes and my own face in the mirror; that I can hear the waves of the ocean and the words ‘I love you,’ that I can taste mouthwatering seafood and the sweetness of ice cream; that I can smell the fragrance of an open rosebud and enjoy the heartfelt touch of a loved one.”

TAKE ACTION Express sincere gratitude for this oneand-only body in which you are lucky enough to live. Pause for just 5 minutes to be grateful for what each cell, nerve, tissue and organ is doing for you 24 hours a day (with no breaks), all without a reminder from you. Like Oprah Winfrey says: “I finally realized that being grateful to my body was key to giving more love to myself.” What are three things about your body that you can be grateful for right now?

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While most of us will take great care outside ourselves this summer, (fertilizing flowerbeds, planting vegetable gardens, washing patios, purging winter clothes and making our homes sparkle and shine), too few of us will take the time to restore radiance within ourselves. Why is this so important? Because “those who do not find time to be healthy will have to find time for illness.” [Edward SmithStanley] Let’s start increasing our vitality and quality of life now, instead of waiting until we’re sick. We’re bombarded with so much poison everyday, in everything from our hair products to chemicals in the environment, alcohol, coffee and sugar, processed foods and medications. Over time, we begin to stall out so gradually that running on fumes becomes the norm. But it’s anything but normal to feel tired all the time! TAKE ACTION Be honest. Have you lost your mojo? Do you have low energy, a few extra pounds, bags or dark circles under your eyes, food cravings, headaches, fatigue, blood sugar or mood swings, poor mental focus during the day or trouble sleeping at night? Do you rely on coffee to get going in the morning, then soda to make it through the afternoon?

If so, you’re not alone. Many of us desire to look, feel and perform better, yet we feel strapped for time and energy, stuck in a cycle of using stress hormones, sugar and caffeine to get by. If you’re stressed, exhausted and drowning in all you have to juggle, then chances are good you’ve lost your mojo! It’s essential to allow our bodies to release all the “sludge” that’s weighing us down so it can get back to being vibrant and strong, with plenty of energy to do the things we love. May you resolve to embrace and love your body more, starting today. It truly is the most amazing thing you’ll ever own. Of the 10 tips listed below, choose three that will make the biggest difference in your health right now.

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Christina Kunkle, R.N. and CTA Certified Life and Wellness Coach, is founder of “Synergy Life and Wellness Coaching, LLC” and creator of the “Synergy Success Circle.” She helps busy women prevent burn out by promoting bounce-back resilience to stay Focused, Positive, and Excited about the challenges of work and life. For more information, visit or call (540)-746-5206.

10 Summer Self-Care Tips

1 Get Moving. Step into the sunshine and fresh air to enjoy short, frequent bursts of your favorite physical activity. (Jump rope, anyone?) 2 Eat From The Rainbow. Try incorporating some of these high-energy foods into your diet: blueberries, organic eggs, sea vegetables, sweet potatoes, wild salmon, kale, cranberry juice, garlic, oatmeal and cinnamon. 3 Can’t Say It = Don’t Eat It. If a food label has more than 10 ingredients, and you can’t pronounce half of them, put it back on the shelf. 4 Thirst For Life. Replace coffee, sodas and sweet tea with fresh, clean water. (Drink at least half your body weight in ounces, every day.) Add a fresh twist with lemon, lime, orange, or cucumber slices. 5 Tuck Yourself In. Get eight hours of restorative sleep and limit alcohol and simple carbohydrates before bed. 6 Nutrition Marathon. Consider doing a full-body cleanse with high-quality nutrition. 7 Chuck The Junk. Consume less sugar, white-flour products and processed junk foods, which stress your body and deplete energy. 8 “Om …” When stressed, your body produces excess Cortisol, which stores fat and affects hormonal balance. 9 Let Go, Bounce Back. Build resiliency so you can respond, not react, when facing challenges. 10 Love And Laughter. Surround yourself with positive people. (Enough said.)

Summer 2012


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