Take Phone Breaks- admittedly most of us are addicted to our phones. And it is hard to doing anything these days without a phone in our hands or, at least, close by. Addressing this addiction and building in phone breaks can be a valuable way to connect with the present moment (and the people that may be in it) and build overall mindfulness skills. Try limited phone notifications, have a phone cut-off time in the evenings and possible a phone-free day on the weekends!
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Candice Seti.
Dr. Seti is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified weight management specialist, certified personal trainer, certified nutritionist and certified life coach. She works with individuals to help them improve their health and wellbeing, including managing their weight long-term, through lifestyle, behavioral, ad cognitive changes. Her book, Shatter The Yoyo, was an international best seller.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
I got involved through my own experience with weight loss. In the process of understanding my priority of FEELING good as opposed to looking good, I realized that I wanted to help others achieve that same goal. In our society, there is so much emphasis on weight loss to achieve some physical standard, but the reality is that how we feel in our bodies has to the most significant impact on our overall wellbeing. So I want to help everyone I work with find a way to truly feel wonderful in their bodies.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
I have always been a little behind the times with technology. I was the person that held on to my cassette tapes, when everyone else just has CDs and held on to my flip phone when everyone else had smart phones. Given that, when I first started my practice, I foolishly thought I could grow it without using social media. Every told me I should be using social media but, of course, I told them that they were wrong and I knew what I was doing! Haha! Well, I learned that mistake pretty quickly and finally felt the need to jump on board the social media wagon! Using these platforms I could quickly reach a broad spectrum of individuals, share information with them, and assist them in their self-growth. In doing so, my business has thrived and I’ve been able to embrace all the beneficial aspects of the different social media platforms.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
I try to provide a very unique perspective to the fitness and wellness field. I am a personal trainer and nutrition coach — but first and foremost I am a clinical psychologist. So my primary focus is always helping individuals improve their mental health. This focus is what drives me to help people emphasize their overall wellness is every way, physically, behaviorally, emotionally, and spiritually.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I had a lot of wonderful professors in graduate school that really helped challenge me to grow and see outside of the box. My thesis chair, Dr. Jose Lichtszajn, was one of those people. And he continued to support and encourage me well after grad school.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
- Self-Sabotage is definitely number one. I see it in some form in every single individual I work with. It is so prevalent that I’ve made it the topic of my next book! Self-sabotage is ingrained in us. Without really focusing on it and making a concerted effort to stop it, it is one of the most effective ways to stop us from doing the things that will truly benefit us.
- Effective stress management is critical to our wellbeing and, without it, stress can interfere with just about everything. When stress levels are unmanaged, it is hard for us to see clearly, and even harder to put effort into our own self-care. Without a solid stress-management plan, it is difficult to prioritize your own wellness.
- Many of us are stuck in a low self-esteem mode. Whether it be from early childhood messages we’ve integrated into ourselves or simply not focusing on our value and worth, it is way too common to see individuals suffering from poor self-esteem. When this happens, it is likely the individual believes they are not worthy of the time or effort to take care of themselves and treat themselves well.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
- Sleep- Poor sleep sets us up for a host of miserable and negative outcomes. Low energy, high irritability, difficulty concentration, issues with appetite regulation, and cognitive impairments are must a small sampling of these outcomes. And we can change all of that by simply putting focus on getting a good night’s sleep! I talk with people all the time about steps they can take to do just that. If nothing else, commit to a regular sleep schedule and sleep in a comfortable and pitch-black space. (An eye mask will help you easily achieve this goal!)
- Credit- An effective way to start building self-esteem is to focus on self-reinforcement; in other words, pat yourself on the back every now and then! This is something that sometimes gets a bad rap. But most of us don’t do nearly enough of it, even though it has so much value! In fact, most of us do the opposite: we beat ourselves up for what we didn’t do or what we did wrong. Usually this depletes our motivation and gets us stuck in a cycle of negative thinking. What would really benefit us is focusing on the positive and really making ourselves feel good and accomplished for the things we’ve done well! So take time out every day to acknowledge and give yourself credit for the thing you’ve done well. It will leave you feeling more confident and motivated.
- Mindful Eating- Most of us completely lack mindfulness when it comes to eating. Eating is something we do on autopilot or something we do while we are also doing something else more important. Have you ever looked back on your day and had a hard time remembering what you ate? That’s because you weren’t mindful when eating. The problem with not being mindful is that it prevents you from connecting with your food, from truly appreciating and enjoying all the smells and flavors associated with it. It basically takes all the enjoyment out of eating. And it’s important to bring that enjoyment back! I have worked with so many people who claim to love food, but they eat so quickly that they barely have an opportunity to taste it! Loving food means savoring it and appreciating it with all your senses. Mindfulness is all about getting you back to this place.
- Find Some Green Space- I can go on and on about the value of exposing yourself to greenery. Research has found a whole slew of benefits including improved memory, stress reduction, reduced inflammation, less depression and anxiety, lowered blood pressure, improved creativity, stronger immune function, and reduced mental fatigue. And you can get all of that simply by spending some time in nature. Just 20 minutes a day (or 120 minutes a week) of ‘nature’s prescription’ can give you these benefits. So find some grass, some trees, some woods, some fresh air…anything, and plant yourself there regularly!
- Take Phone Breaks- admittedly most of us are addicted to our phones. And it is hard to doing anything these days without a phone in our hands or, at least, close by. Addressing this addiction and building in phone breaks can be a valuable way to connect with the present moment (and the people that may be in it) and build overall mindfulness skills. Try limited phone notifications, have a phone cut-off time in the evenings and possible a phone-free day on the weekends!
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
- Mental Health- Exercise is one of the most effective mental health tools out there! It releases pent up energy, allows us to access all of our happy hormones and allows us to feel good about ourselves, our bodies, and our capabilities.
- Energy- We all feel low on energy from time to time. And when this happens, the last thing we want to do is exercise. But that is also the time when exercise has the most value! It is an easy way to restore energy and leave us feeling refreshed and driven for the rest of the day.
- Productivity- I often encourage people to exercise in the middle of the day as it provides an opportunity to take a work break and clear your head. That break time, combined with all of the fresh oxygen and blood flow from your workout, leave you in a space to be more focused and productive when you go back to work.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
The exercise I would most recommend is the exercise that you actually like doing! That is going to be different for everyone, but that’s going to make it more likely that you continue to do it. If you hate running, then running shouldn’t be your thing. But maybe you really like yoga or you really like lifting weights. The thing that you enjoy is going to be the thing you look forward to doing. And that’s what makes it so likely to continue long-term.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
Warm up and listen to your body! So frequently, injuries and soreness happen when we stop listening to our bodies and we push ourselves too hard or too far. Warm ups and cool downs before and after workouts are something that people often skip, either to save time or because they feel it’s unnecessary. But they serve a major purpose: to help get our bodies and our muscles ready for activity, and to help take care of our bodies and our muscles after activity. Don’t neglect these important parts of your workout!
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
I don’t believe in structured diets or anything that is restrictive or temporary. These diets ultimately leave people feeling dependent, insecure, and frustrated. Instead, I advocate for more intuitive eating without restriction but with an emphasis on health from a more 80/20 mindset: where you focused on hitting your goals 80% of the time to allow for some life flexibility. So, I don’t recommend any particular diet to my clients. I recommend that they find their happy place where they can eat well, find foods that make them feel good, and have a long-term, healthy relationship with food.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
I’ve always been very inspired by Michael Pollan’s books. Both The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food were very eye-opening and shifted my perspective immensely on both how we eat and how food gets to our plate. I love that he approaches the topics as a researcher and is very science-based in his writing. In my practice, I focus a lot on mindful eating, and a big part of that is appreciating your food and where it came from. Michael Pollan’s writing inspired this.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
There is so much going on in the world right now and we need change in so many national and global issues, like climate change, the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ+ rights, etc. But on a personal level, I feel people would benefit most from a movement towards self-care; moving away from the idea that doing for yourself is ‘selfish’ and understanding how truly beneficial it is, both for yourself and everyone around you. We live in such a busy time right now and people often put themselves last on their own priority lists. As a result, they are higher stressed, less healthy, less productive, and less fulfilled.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
Self-Care is Not Selfish! When it comes to self-care, many people shy away feeling that it is somehow “wrong” to spend time or energy taking care of themselves or that it makes them selfish. Well, I always respond by saying “Why Does Selfish Have To Be a Bad Word????” I want people to turn it into a good word by honing in on all of the value that comes from making yourself important.
The fact is that most of us put others’ needs ahead of our own. This can mean the needs of our spouse, children, parents, boss, friends, siblings, etc. And while that is a kind and generous way to live, it leaves you depleted and with very little left to give. You replenish your energy stores when you start making yourself important and practice self-care. You reconnect with your body and your needs and are able to meet them and truly make yourself feel good and feel LOVED! As a result, you have so much more to give those around you!
So, in a roundabout sort of way, taking time out to focus on yourself and prioritize your self-care is the ultimately way of giving more to others. Because you are ensuring that you are well enough to give. You are clearing your head, revitalizing your energy stores, and treating your body, brain, mind, and heart to wellness. Isn’t it likely that you will be a better spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend, employee, etc. as a result of that?
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!