Joyful Motivation with MaryAnn Jones

Green color box with the following text: "It's about meeting you where you are. You don't have to see the whole staircase to take the next step." ~MaryAnn Jones lecture quote graphic

Most people consider fear to be a powerful motivating force, but according to Certified Functional Health Coach MaryAnn Jones, there’s a better way to promote change.

“I recently read some clinical research that said that the emotion of joy is actually more motivating than the emotion of fear,” she explained.

Jones is a habit change health coach who joined us for the November installment of NYBRA’s Be Informed Lecture Series. She believes that we have an unlimited ability to change habits. She sees every opportunity to learn as a chance to take steps toward your personal vision and goals. Put simply, “when we know better, we do better.”

Attendees mined Jones’s wellness wisdom in an interactive question and answer based workshop. Read on for highlights from the conversation.

What are the most healing foods post surgery?
“After you’ve had some type of trauma to your body, you want to be really gentle with your body. Digestion takes a lot of effort.” Jones recommended soups and broths to reduce the strain of digestion as you recover. “Soups are wonderful, because you’re cooking all of the foods for a long time, which helps them to become more easily digested.” she explained.

Jones recommended caution when it comes to meal temperature and ingredients. “Having things that are cold in cold weather is going to make you cold. If you are doing smoothies, you want to balance out fruit with anti-inflammatory greens. An easy way to start is one cup of liquid, one cup of fruit, one cup of greens,” she said.

She advised against any protein powers or products containing soy protein isolate, a concentrated estrogenic product that may be of concern to those who have experienced or are at risk of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.

Do animal products have to be grass fed, or is organic good enough?
“You eat what the animal eats, so you want to make sure that animal has been fed in a way that also nourishes your wellbeing. Grass fed can still mean that there were pesticides involved; organic omits pesticides and the most offensive things to our bodies.”

What supplements and amounts do you recommend for the best COVID protection in addition to food?
Jones explained that she cannot recommend, prescribe, or diagnose as a health coach and encouraged participants to continue to work with their doctors and other medical advisors. She also recapped some of the latest research on vitamin therapies.

“You can easily find trusted research on how having an optimal level of Vitamin D is important to prevent COVID and breast cancer recurrence.” She noted that a vitamin level can be within a medically acceptable range but not optimal. She also touched on the benefits of Zinc, which has been used for cold and flu prevention for years.

Jones stressed the importance of talking to your healthcare provider about any potential supplement use. “If you want to take something that’s concentrated like [Vitamin D supplements], you want to make sure that you’re working with someone who can track it [through blood work].”

What are your thoughts on the safest sweeteners?
“Our brain knows that sweet things mean energy. It is our fuel, and it is perfectly natural for us to crave things that are sweet.”

Jones recommended getting sweetness from whole food sources, like roasted vegetables.

“Sweet vegetables would be at the top of how we get our sweetness, and then the second tier would be fruit. Then there are grains, which are not typically sweet per se, but they are high in carbohydrates, so they can help us stay away from sugars.”

For those a little earlier in their sugar-kicking process, she said that liquid stevia was the best alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners and that fruit was always a great option for natural sweetness.

In all elements of wellness, Jones stressed the importance of setting reasonable expectations for yourself and using joy to motivate action.

“It’s about meeting you where you are. You don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the next step. We become incapacitated by fear. Feat shuts us down. But if we approach it with joy, you can be happy and healthy. It doesn’t have to be an ‘or’.”

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