Fitness

Friday’s Guest: “Tips For Controlling Your Weight As You Age”

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I am SO GLAD today is Friday!  How about you?

A few months back (quite a few, actually!) I was pleasured to connect with Cole Mill’s writing expertise. Although I went MIA for a bit, his blog certainly did not.

So, please take a moment and enjoy his work, “Tips For Controlling Your Weight As You Age.”  It is full of great reminders and tips…especially for the elderly people my age!

Thanks Cole.  I did not forget you!

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Thanking your Jedi Master, From Apprentice

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Over the past couple weeks I have had “writers block.”  Part of the reason for this is because I do so much writing and editing for work and also school.  Currently my class is British literature, the era long before our 21st century hype regarding nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles, and lately my writing has been geared towards middle English rather than modern English.

Anyway, recently I have been thinking about my coach.

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This is not her, but truly she is my Jedi Master, I am her apprentice.

I want to dedicate this blog especially to her this morning.  Laura, thank you!  You have inspired me to do what I never could have done alone, and was literally failing to accomplish traveling solo.

I do not believe my path crossed accidentally with Laura’s.  I was at a place in my life where I felt one last glimmer of hope and one last strength to reach out.  I honestly cannot even remember how I found Laura, but I am thankful every day for that moment.  I knew I needed some type of additional support and accountability to change my lifestyle, and she was that link.

Do you have a fitness/nutrition/life coach?  Just that extra hand to hold or shadow to follow can make all the difference, trust me.

The most important thing I believe I have learned from Laura is that I am not alone in my struggles or my desires to leave an unhealthy lifestyle.  I have also had to let go of some of my stubbornness  and independence.  She has shown me the importance of “rinse and repeat.”  Consistency is the pot of gold.

Have you been involved in an accountability/challenge group?  The strength of others, similar mindsets and inspiration found in such a group has changed my life.  We are all so very human and there truly is strength in numbers.  Out of these groups I have learned correct ways to eat and count calories (not approximate!), how to make exercise and fitness part of my everyday life (not a chore!), the importance of water, I have been introduced to Shakeology (the healthiest meal of my day and responsible for the disappearance of most ALL of my RA/fibromyalgia pain), and I have lost almost 20 pounds the healthy way!

So, I want to say thank you again, Laura.  You have been such a blessing in my life.  You are the product of the product, and because of your realness, gentleness and also firm reminders, you have so inspired me and been one of the most important reasons for my success today.  I love you, dear Jedi Master!

Will you consider being an apprentice?  Think about “rinse and repeat.”  Also, choose to make a healthy step today if you have been full of doubt or hopelessness.  Join a Challenge Group.  Give Shakeology a try.  I stand behind the Beach Body fitness programs because my life has been changed as a result of being the product of the product.  Now I am here in hopes of inspiring and serving you, just like Laura has done for me.

May the Force be with you.

Star Wars Light Saber Lamp

With love,

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Open Your Hand

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This morning I have been thinking about how it is impossible to receive something with a clenched fist. The image that keeps coming to mind is that from “The Monkey and The Juggler.” The monkey was unable to receive one or retrieve all the peanuts he held after reaching his hand into a jar because he refused to unclench his fist. He wouldn’t open his hand to let go of one peanut, therefore his hand remained stuck. Ever feel like that? May be you aren’t even aware this is where you are at. I’m reminded this morning to share with you: open your hand. Whatever has been holding you back from the healthy lifestyle and goals you are not meeting, unclench your fist. In order to receive something new we must open our hands and let something go.

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For example, a few years ago I decided I wanted to complete my schooling to obtain my degree. In order to do this, I had to give some things up to allow for more time for homework and studying. Yes, it was a stretch. Sometimes a painful one. However, I had to choose to unclench my fist, open my hand to let some things go in order to receive more time.

Do you struggle with eating the right foods? Is temptation too great? Unclench your fist and pick differently. There is such a variety to choose from, beautiful and delicious healthy, clean foods. Does eating clean get boring? Try some new recipes. There are hundreds of creative recipes free for the choosing on the Internet, free cookbooks can be downloaded for your Kindle or Nook, and recipe books are a dime to a dozen at thrift stores or garage sales. Load up half your dinner plate with vegetables and fruits. The more healthy foods you give your body, the more your body will crave those foods. Consider trying Shakeology®, which eliminates unhealthy cravings and increases your cravings for healthy foods.

Is exercise nearly impossible because you smoke? Do you want to quit smoking, and continually fail? Don’t stop trying, try again! Unclench your fist and replace your cigarettes with patches, the electronic cigarette or even medication. Talk to your doctor. Join a support group. Start walking. Drink a lot of water. Rebuild your lungs one day at a time. You can do this! How do I know? Because I HAVE DONE IT! I smoked for years and never thought I could live my life without cigarettes being part of it. I unclenched my fist and let cigarettes go and replaced them with health. I am free, and free to exercise with the full capacity of my lungs. Nothing is impossible with faith and persistent efforts.

Don’t have time for exercise? This can be coined with our kids saying they don’t have time to get their homework done. No more excuses! Set your alarm 30 minutes early, break up your exercise in increments, do whatever it takes and manipulate your schedule to allow for this “me” time for your overall health and well-being. As much as exercise may feel or seem like a chore, IT IS NOT! Exercise and movement are as important as eating, sleeping and praying.

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Most of us know exactly what we are holding in our clenched fist, and it is usually more than one thing. Take some time to quietly reflect on what you are holding on to that is preventing you from opening your hand to receive something else, something better, which is blessed good health.

I thought I would share the story with you also. Think about these things, will you?

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The Monkey and The Juggler

In a mango orchard outside a village there lived a mischievous monkey. The whole day, he would jump from one tree to another. Thus the monkey kept on eating the ripe mangoes. The orchard-keeper tried to trap the monkey. But every time the monkey escaped the trap.

One day, the monkey wandered out to the nearby town. “The town people are so busy. There is so much crowd here,” the monkey thought. Soon the monkey was sneaking into houses and running away with eatables. By evening, he had made life difficult for the town people. “The town is more fun than the orchard. I will live here,” he thought.

Days went by and the monkey was looked upon by the town people with terror. “Here he comes again,” they screamed when they saw the monkey.

One day, a juggler came to the town. The people of the town approached him. “We want you to help us get rid of that mischievous monkey,” they said to the juggler. The juggler said in return, “Do not worry. Get me some jars with narrow necks,”

When the jars of the size were brought to him, he put peanuts into the jars and placed them out on a field.

The monkey became curious when he saw the jars. When he went and peeped inside the jars, he saw peanuts. “Yummy! Let me quickly grab the peanuts and run,” he thought. He put his hand inside the jar and grabbed a big handful.

But he could not pull out his clenched fist, as the neck of the jar was so narrow. If the monkey dropped some peanuts back into the jar, he could have pulled his hand out. But he was greedy. So he did not drop some peanuts into the jar.

The town people trapped the monkey with his hand inside the jar. They got hold of the rope and tied him in a post. Then the monkey was sold to a zoo. That was the end of the greedy monkey.

Remember to EAT!

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Eat Three or More

The minimum amount of healthy meals you should eat throughout the day is three. Reason being, the body functions 24 hours a day. Eating all your servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and fats for the entire day in one sitting would wreak havoc on your body and organs. The body needs time to digest nutrients and distribute them to the appropriate body part or organ.

It is also appropriate to eat more than three meals; however, these meals are considered “mini meals” or snacks. A mini meal is a smaller portioned meal consisting of the same food groups you would eat in a regular meal. Eating five or six mini meals would be equivalent to three regular meals.

Overall Importance

Eating throughout the day allows nutrients to digest gradually, providing you more energy for longer periods of time. Consuming large amounts of food in one or two sittings takes more time and energy to digest, and can lead to many health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, or excessive weight gain.

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Breakfast

A healthy breakfast is necessary for refueling the body. Your body has just gone 6 or more hours without food and has digested any food taken in the day before. It’s not good to start your car with the gas tank empty, so treat your body the same. You can function on an empty stomach; however, you will not function at 100 percent.  Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day.

Lunch

Lunch is necessary to maintain energy. You use the majority of your energy between breakfast and dinner, making it necessary to consume some sort of lunch. This meal should contain carbohydrates, as well as fiber or protein. The carbohydrates supply the body with energy, while fiber or protein keeps you full until your next meal.

Unhealthy foods such as fast foods are not only packed with fat and grease, but they also wreak havoc on your body. Large meals high in salt, sugar or fat can cause high blood pressure or high cholesterol almost immediately and lead to excessive weight gain.

Putting the wrong kind of gas in your car will damage your engine and lead to other issues. Think of food and your body the same way.

Dinner

A healthy dinner is extremely important as this is your last meal of the day. This meal is responsible for what goes on in your digestive tract, as well as how your body repairs itself. For this meal, load up on dark greens and vegetables so the enzymes contained in these foods can clean out excess waste in your intestines. Protein is equally important during this meal to repair muscles, tissues and organs that have been stressed out through the day.

Too much sugar and fat in your dinner could cause the body to store this fat overnight causing weight gain, blood pressure to rise or insulin resistance.

Not eating dinner at all can cause irritability and problems sleeping. A good nights rest is necessary for the body to fully recuperate for the next day.

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Protein

Muscle-Building

MUSCLE BUILDING TIPS:

Tip-1: Eat Enough Food To Build Muscle

Tip-2: Eat the Right Types of Food So You Increase Muscle…Not Turn Into a Fat Pig!!

Tip-3: Combine The Right Foods

Tip-4: Eat Consistently On a Schedule

Tip-5: Eat The Right Foods At The Right Times

Tip-6: Eat “Power Meals” For Added Energy and To Build Muscle

Tip-7: Eat Foods Your Body Requires For Optimal Growth Hormone Production and Health

Tip-8: Eat Enough Fiber

Tip-9: Eat Enough Protein Per Meal

Tip-10: Choose Your Supplements Wisely.

Eating to build muscle is not as simple as just eating enough calories. You need to eat the right calories!  What are the right calories? Foods that are high in nutritional value to promote building muscle and not fat gain! An example of this would be to eat a lean piece of chicken, fish or meat with green vegetables totaling 600 calories rather than deep fried chicken nuggets for 800 calories.  Another example would be to eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast instead of a bowl of Captain Crunch Cereal.

Once you are eating good food combinations at each food serving it is important to follow the next step:

Eating consistently on a schedule is crucial to provide quality nutrients for building muscle when your body needs them.  A good rule to follow is to eat every two to three hours and never space two meals more than five hours apart. If you are eating the right foods consistently like this then you should always keep your body in an positive muscle building state.

There are two times when we should modify our meals for maximum energy and to build muscle, breakfast time and post workout. At these two times of day, instead of eating our regular meals, you can increase muscle growth by eating what I refer to as a “mini power meal.”  This is basically a meal which comprises of a quick digesting source of protein and particular energy foods which also digest quickly and help to increase blood glycogen levels as fast as possible.

Guys– to naturally produce hormones your body requires for building muscle, specifically testosterone, you need to give it the building blocks it requires. Testosterone is made from cholesterol ( simplified). To build muscle you need testosterone. This is the main difference why males are more muscular than females. It is because men have higher testosterone levels than females. To give your body what it requires for optimal hormone production you require the right fats in your muscle building diet.

Examples of these fats would include:

coconut oil
animal fats
eggs
Essential oils
butter
cheese

***Stay away from trans fats and hydrogenated fats!!

It is crucial you get enough protein per day and spread it out throughout your day. Protein requirements have been exaggerated for many years in the interests to sell more protein.  At least one gram per pound of lean body mass is required to build muscle and up to 1.5 grams per pound of lean muscle mass is optimal for heavy intense weight training.

There are lots of supplements to choose from on the market and 99% of them are inferior to natural food for building muscle. Natural food is higher in many naturally occuring vitamins and minerals benficial for muscle growth.

Stay away from weight gain powders. These are just empty calories not much different than most junk foods on the market.

Note: Building muscle is no fluke! You need to follow the above eating tips to build muscle mass fast and combine your eating with an effective and proven training and recuperation program.

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I have made a basic list of some of the best protein foods to choose from:

Eggs

Turkey, chicken, fish

Nuts, seeds

Brown rice

Beans

Oats

Cottage cheese, low-fat milk

Whey protein

Tomatoes

Potatoes

Green peppers

Corn

Lettuces

Celery

Cucumbers

Carrots

Broccoli

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Remember, vegetables are complete proteins!  Eat lean, clean and green!

P.S.  If you love spicy, like me,  you will enjoy this high-protein meal below.

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Spicy, High Protein Avocado Breakfast Sandwich And Sauce

An amazing sandwich and sauce. You take butter out of the sandwich, adding in a protein base and avocado instead. This makes this sandwich buttery and awesome!
Spicy, High Protein Breakfast Sandwich And Sauce
Nutritional Info
  • Calories:
    326
  • Protein:
    26 g
  • Carbs:
    27.2 g
  • Fat:
    12.8 g

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • 5 TBSP Srirachi Hot Sauce
  • 1 Piece Ezekiel Bread, Toasted
  • 1/4 Thinly Sliced Avocado
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Egg Whites
  • Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb Flavor

Cooking Instructions

To make the sauce, combine the Greek yogurt and srirachi hot sauce. If you don’t like your sauce too zippy, then you can cut back on the amount or srirachi you use. The srirachi amount can also be changed if you’re watching your sodium intake.

Next, cook a whole egg, and 1/4 cup egg whites over a medium heat. I like to add Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb Flavor while cooking.

Place the egg on your toasted Ezekiel bread, top with sliced avocado and your srirachi and yogurt sauce, and enjoy!

I love this sandwich and this sauce because you’re taking out butter and using a protein base instead and are then able to add in a healthy fat, avocado which makes this sandwich buttery and awesome!

The Fiercist Breakfast Sandwich of All!

Breakfast is known to be the most skipped meal of the day.  We get up and go, and forget to take the time to fuel our bodies and minds with a healthy meal.  I say, TAKE THE TIME for yourself and I promise you you’ll feel more prone to make healthier choices the rest of the day because you started your day healthy.

News Flash!  Yes, eating breakfast is muy importante amigos!   Why you ask?  Well because your body just fasted for 8+ hours while sleeping and the last meal it had was dinner.

Even while you’re sleeping your body is using fuel for digestion, breathing and all that other stuff the engine inside us does.  It’s miraculous really, and you should be good to it by giving it fuel for the day ahead of it.

So now to SAUCE.  I’m a big sauce girl, I don’t like things dry, never have, never will.  So being healthy, I had to think of an alternative to butter on toast or mayonnaise on a sandwich.

The more you experiment with healthy ingredients, the more of a mad scientist you become, I promise you!  You just, out of the blue, begin concocting new ideas and putting one and one together to create something stellar!

I found it one day while looking in my fridge “concocting” in my head.  I saw the Plain Greek Yogurt and because I LOVE heat in my  food, I saw the Srirachi sauce (found in the Asian section of your grocery store, or substitute any other hot sauce…but Sri is my fave with this).

I mixed the two together and put it on my toast, added thin slices of avocado (another one of my favorite foods. I keep the slices thin because avocados are the “highest calorie fruit in existence.”  No wonder I love them so much) And topped with an egg, bam!   Still, there is so much healthy goodness in an avocado, just eat 1/8-1/4 in one meal and you’re A-ok.

So here’s how you prepare this delectably wonderful breakfast sandwich sauce:

Sriracha and Greek Yogurt

Mix these two together.

Sriracha and Greek yogurt

I put them in a container that I can use for entire week.

Sriracha and Greek Yogurt

What a great color!

Avocado Sandwich

Serving Suggestions

Makes 1 sandwich. (Using 1/3 cup sauce)

The Ascent: Climbing that Mountain!

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I am so happy right now!  Why?  My husband has told me for the past two days how pretty I look, repeatedly has asked me what did I do different, on and on.  This morning he commented that I am “getting skinny” and he sees the difference “in my face.”  Wow.  Looking back through photographs, I see (and cringe) that I had developed a “fat face.”  More like, “wino” cheeks.  If I offend anyone by using “fat” terms here, I somewhat apologize, but it is what it is: truth.  Over the past couple years I had gained a whopping 30-plus pounds!  Put that on a 5’3″ frame, trust me it is noticeable!

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My husband is the sweetest man.  He has NEVER told me I was heavy, I was gaining weight, that I looked fat, or that I was no longer appealing to him.  Did I mention that he is also a very smart man!  We know the truth when we look in the mirror, don’t we?  We see ourselves naked after stepping out the shower and it feels awful when we can no longer fit comfortably into our clothes, or at all.  It’s not so funny after awhile when we have to graduate into “big girl” jeans and joke about it to family or friends.  We know and we want to hide.  The worst thing possible would be hearing it from others.

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My husband spoke such encouragement to me this morning by choosing the right words to cheer me on: he complimented the changes rather than remarked about my past weight.  I am so very blessed.  I will FOREVER remember the words he chose to coach me forward with my goals.

The ascent is so worth the painful steps, and the most important step is making a decision for change.  Have you considered taking that first baby step yet?  I promise you, you will never regret it or turn back.  The long-term benefits to your health far outweigh immediate gratification.

I encourage you to consider these ten steps for changes you desire.  This is where I started:

1.  Step on the scale first thing in the morning and note your weight.  Wait two weeks or try to be patient and wait until 30 days have passed to weigh yourself again.

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2.  Take your measurements (chest, both arms, waist, hips and both thighs).

3.  Use a calendar and a journal- document your weight and measurements and pick a start day (why not today?) for a 30-day goal.  (Set 30-day increment goals and watch what happens!)  *Be consistent, this is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix plan.

4.  Track your calories!  Do not approximate!  Write down your meals and snacks in a journal, or rather, grab a free application for your smart phone or computer.  It really does not take much extra time and is such a very important tool.  From here you can determine calorie allowance based on your body and weight loss desires.

5.   Exercise!  Preferably, pick something you enjoy.  Try to get in 30 minutes every day.  Yes, every day.  But, listen to your body.  If you are really tired out or sore, give yourself a rest, but do try to work through muscle soreness.  If you cannot get to the gym or afford a gym membership, why not try some fitness DVD’s you can use at home?  Consider walking.  Grab a workout buddy.  Move and stretch each and every day and journal how you feel and also how you sleep.

6.  Drink your water.  Hydrate daily.

7.  Do not give up!  If you have a down day, dust off and begin again.  Never feel or be defeated.

8.  Remember the six meal rule: Breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-day snack, dinner, evening snack.  Eat more fruits and vegetables.

9. Watch your alcohol intake!  (See my story here: http://wp.me/p35YUS-wT)

10.  Allow a flex meal per week AND make time to relax!  Remember also how important sleep is to your weight loss program.

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Lastly, seriously consider joining a challenge group (http://wp.me/P35YUS-gz).  The accountability, intimacy, coaching and friendships built have been priceless tools for my success, as well as so many others I have met along my journey, and I have no doubt they would also benefit you with your goals.

In ending, I am celebrating.  Since I have been involved with a challenge group, changed my eating habits and wine consumption, added Shakeology to my diet and consistently make exercise a part of my life, I have lost over 16 pounds since the beginning of this year and I feel FABULOUS!  My RA pain levels have disappeared and I have so much energy.  I am the product of the product, thus I am sharing with you!

Climb that mountain, I dare you!

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Painful Truth?

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Today I am sharing a fantastic blog by Denise Shroka Sanger from “How to Stay Fit Over 50” that discusses times from yesterday (gotta love those years!) and excuses of today.

I really encourage you to be inspired, even though the truth may sting a bit.  Oh, and you should go check out this blog site.  Really you should.  I have listed the link below.

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If You Are Going To Make Excuses, Don’t Start An Exercise Program

by on APRIL 11, 2013

Okay – I will admit it.  I have a pet peeve about people who make excuses for ANYTHING but more so when it effects your health as in diet and an exercise program.  Being born at a time when mom still stayed at home and dad worked, we didn’t just get anything we wanted.  If we wanted something, we worked for it because bottom line, there wasn’t any extra money.  You figured it out and you made it happen.   We had a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and dad saved enough money to go on vacation one time a year and vacation for many families at the time was just not possible.  It is the same thing with exercise.  I myself can come up with A LIST OF EXCUSES but I don’t.  I make the time and just do it and when I’ve finished I feel wonderful.

Granted growing up when we did (those of us in our 50′s, near our 50′s or over our 50′s), we tend to view the world just a little bit different.  We walked to and from school, came home changed out of our “school” clothes into our “play clothes” and after homework was done, outside we went.  In for dinner then back outside but had to have our butts in the door or at least the yard by the time the street lights came on.   TV had 3 stations originally and we watched what our parents watched.  Personally, I remember playing outside until the last possible minute before coming in the house.  We didn’t have 500+ stations, computers, IPads, XBoxes, streaming video, video games, and everything else that keeps us sitting in the house on the couch these days.

I think because we do tend to view the world through the eyes we grew up with, we don’t take things for granted.  If you want something, you work your butt off to get it.  I started working when I was 12 cutting grass in the neighborhood.  Why? I wanted a new bike and yes I got that bike by saving my money.  Was it easy?  No it was not but boy was it worth it when I got to ride my new yellow 10 speed bike :)

It’s the same way with fitness. You must make the choice to select healthy foods when you are in the grocery store or at the restaurant.  You must make the time to workout. Yes, we are all busy with different aspects of our lives but if you truly want to be fit, get up and do something.  Tied up after work?  How about getting up just 30 minutes earlier in the morning?  Watching the kids or grandkids?  Take them to the park and play WITH them – don’t sit on the bench and watch them and worse yet? Don’t sit on the couch and watch TV for 3 hours with them – get up, get out and move.

Work is too busy?  Seriously?  Making money for someone else is more important than your health?  TAKE your lunch and go out for a walk.  Working through lunch is not a good thing for so many reasons with your health being at the top of the list. I know how that goes because I used to do it.  I used to put the company I worked for ahead of my family and my health and where did it get me? Working 60+ hours a week, working Saturday’s, eating lunch at my desk and overweight, grumpy and not spending enough time with my kids.   That 4% raise I got? So not worth the time I traded away from MY life, MY family and MY kids and now I’m self employed and will NEVER go back to the way it was and that was just a short 5 years ago. (Ask me how I did it – that’s a whole other topic but when you want it, you work for it until you get it.)

Bottom line is if YOU don’t make the time to put your health and fitness at the top of the list as a priority, no one will do it for you. How many more excuses do you have?

Stop Making Excuses Stop Making Excuses

Housework does count for more than just cleanliness!

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Sometimes you’re in no mood to exercise, despite what you know you should be doing: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity nearly every day.

But there’s good news: What you’re already doing counts!

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The CDC says “moderate” housework is an acceptable form of exercise. This includes inside activities such as scrubbing the floors, washing windows and moving light furniture and outside work such as washing your car, mowing the lawn and gardening.

So how does your regular housework routine measure up? These statistics from www.Caloriesperhour.com are for a 150-pound, 35-year-old woman doing 30 solid minutes of everyday chores around the house. Plus, to help you burn even more calories, we’ve suggested a few other activities to give you a really beneficial in-home workout.

Type of housework METs (metabolic equivalent total) Calories burned per half-hour Add light calesthenics (119 cal.) Add disco dancing (153 cal.) Add jogging in place (272 cal.)
Doing laundry 2 73 192 226 345
Making the bed 2 68 187 221 340
Cooking 2 85 204 238 357
Washing the dishes 2.3 78 197 231 350
Ironing 2.3 78 197 231 350
Dusting 2.5 85 204 238 357
Sweeping 3.3 112 231 265 384
Vacuuming 3.5 119 238 272 391
Scrubbing the floors 3.8 129 248 282 401
Rearranging furniture 6 204 323 357 476
Yard work 5 170 289 323 442
Washing windows 3 102 221 255 374
Washing the car 3 102 221 255 374
Gardening 4 136 255 289 408
Mowing the lawn 5.5 187 306 340 459
Raking 4.3 146 265 299 418
Shoveling snow 6 204 323 357 476
Carrying a small child (up to 15 lbs.) up and down stairs 7.5 289 408 442 561

 

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Let’s go!

Wendy

Medical Brain Disorders~The Benefits of Exercise

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Serotonin-and-Sleep-Thoughts

One very important and often highly neglected treatment of a variety of medical brain disorders is exercise.  Daily exercise.  I cannot stress how important this is, yet maintaining consistency with exercise when dealing with mental illness is extremely difficult.  Some days, many people cannot even get out of bed.  Other people are terrified of being in public places (which eliminates a gym or an outdoor walk).

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One way to get moving each day and to stay at it is to have an accountability buddy.  A family member, close friend or even a support group are some wonderful examples to get needed support for a daily exercise regime, especially if you are suffering from depression or anxiety disorders.  Try not to do this alone.  Make it fun and do not be afraid to ask for support.

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The importance of mood-tracking journals are tools in helping manage certain mood disorders, but so is keeping an exercise journal.  Note each day how you feel before and after exercise, your strength levels, energy improvements, how you sleep each night, and especially any changes to your moods and overall look upon life.   I believe you will find that keeping a journal will document amazing and positive results!
journal

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Movement is so good for the body, spirit and mind. Activity and exercise are very important for people living with mental illness.  Most of all, try to find an exercise activity you really enjoy!  Individuals living with mental illness often have a higher risk for heart disease, and exercise can play a key part in a wellness plan. Activity and exercise are great ways to combat factors that are part of heart disease risk, stress, high blood pressure, weight gain and diabetes-all problems commonly found among people living with mental illness. Did you know that exercise plays a key part in elevating your mood and regulating sleep patterns?

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The benefits of exercise does make a difference with depression, including severe clinical depression.  Whether you take medication or choose to manage without, an active lifestyle is important for everyone. This is particularly true for those living with schizophrenia and who are on second-generation atypical antipsychotic medication (SGAs) because they are more vulnerable to obesity.

“Exercise is central to my mental health. As a person living with schizophrenia, stress exacerbates my illness, worsening my symptoms such as hallucinations and paranoia. Exercise counteracts the stress, enabling me to see issues clearly, reality test, and judge things more accurately.

Fitness also takes me out of my isolated apartment and into the community. As I interact with people at the gym or along outdoor walks, my torturous inner-voices subside as my mind is distracted by the exercise and more at peace. I began exercising as a competitive runner long before I became ill – and two lessons I learned from those early days that have stayed with me throughout my decade-long struggle with schizophrenia are: “a winner never quits and a quitter never wins” and “there is no finish line.”  ~Lisa H.

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In addition to the countless physical benefits, exercise does have vast psychological benefits. Studies show that exercise can increase the amounts of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in your brain. The increased levels of neurotransmitters can help treat many disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, as well as help you to feel more energetic overall.

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Lastly, just having hope in something healthy, positive and inspirational, as well as setting new goals that will bring about feeling good about ourselves are lifelines to those dealing with medical brain disorders.  Today, would you step out in courage, take those baby steps to implement daily exercise into your life, and remember…you are not alone.  If you would like an accountability buddy, just say the word!  I am rooting for you!

Wendy

WANTED: More Hours In A Day

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“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”  – James Howell, Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish (1659)

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Over the past few weeks (or longer) I have slowly (and rapidly) been burning out.  Long work days (usually 10 hours and sometimes longer) and online classes with homework leave little time for pleasure or relaxation.  On average, I am in front of the computer approximately 14+ hours each and every single day.  Everything has become chore-like for me lately, even walking, which I love to do.  Same schedule, different day.  Same work out routine, different day.  My time off work is spent working!  I don’t know about you, but this equals severe burn out and feels like a mild depression-induced routine.  In all honesty:  I hate it.

Truly, we all have different crosses we bear.  What do we do when we have a routine like this?  Of course, we all know we must make changes, but what if you cannot make a dent of a change in a full schedule in your life?  I am still experimenting myself.  It is imperative that we MUST make changes eventually.   I know I cannot continue on this type of routine day in and day out without feeling awful mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  There is just not enough “me” to go around.  A vicious cycle isn’t it?  But, the fact of the matter is: life still happens.  We still have our responsibilities and obligations, our families need us, chores cry out to be finished, our pets are hungry and in need of attention, extra school work on top of an occupation if you are finishing your degree later in life, on and on and on…and there are only so many hours in each day.

Yesterday I had a half day off and I knew I had to do something different to nourish “me” and get back to feeling like my old self.  And I did it!  Spring is here, and the weather has been teasingly beautiful lately (today it is 77 degrees where I live).  I was thinking of naming this blog something like, “how to have “me” time for under $10″ or “can you have fun for less than $10” or even “is it possible to have a great day for little or no cost?”  But, that was not the point in how I spent my day yesterday or what I want to share with you all in this blog now.  Most importantly, I want to share how utterly important it is to have therapeutic time for yourself regardless of an insane daily and weekly schedule.  Is it possible?  I believe it is.  It will take planning and thought and action.  When we become desperate enough, we will look for ways to do this.

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I decided to change  my work out yesterday morning (because my goal was NOT to have a same thing, different day kind of day!).  I started Tony Horton’s 10-Minute Trainer, ABS.  It felt SO good to do something different and really it did kick my butt! I would so recommend this plan for ANYONE with limited time (like me) and the desire for just doing something different with their work outs.

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**Note: You can get the FREE DVD BONUS Workout—Tony’s Fountain of Youth yoga (a $19.95 value)—when you buy 10-Minute Trainer here: http://www.teambeachbody.com/shop/-/shopping/10MinTrainer?referringRepId=208213


(All of this for $79.90, but 10% off this price if you become a club member! Pretty good deal if you ask me!)

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I was now ready for a few hour adventure out of the house.  I am so blessed to live so close to the beach and the mountains.  I decided to take my little dog to a beautiful park at one of our local beaches for a long walk, Marina Beach Park, and have time for playing ball,  just letting the sun shine on my face and enjoy the sounds of the pelicans and scents of the ocean air.  Little did I know we would have a delightful surprise: lots of seals!  My dog has never before seen a seal and this was actually pretty comical.  Was it a dog?  A cat?  A monster?  (We call rats and rodents “monsters”).  Instead, it was a baby seal that was coming closer and closer to us, crying out to his/her mother, and my little dog, Buddy, quivered and growled and stayed put on my lap not sure what to do but protect me!

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Here is part of the pathway we walked:

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Children LOVE this ship:

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My favorite view of the bay side:

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Our next stop was for lunch!  Just me and my dog!  He truly is the PERFECT DATE!  (My husband was at work)

I splurged and had a glass of cold white wine and we shared grilled fish tacos outside on the patio at Duke’s Grill:

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Our delicious & healthy lunch:

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Here is Buddy, lounging on a cushion, runny eyes from the sand, lip sticking to his tooth looking much like a Chupakabra!

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To conclude, I feel so refreshed today because I took some “me” time to relax, play, enjoy, savor very special moments and I also found a pretty rock on the beach that will remind me of this day.  I also ate healthy and had a new work out.   My total bill for this delightful time was $7.08.  Yes, under $10!

Even though it was only a couple hours, it felt like a full day off.  I am a happy girl today and wish you a refreshing moment every day in YOUR life routine!

~The joy of living comes from a heart of thanksgiving.~

Wendy

Too tired to exercise? (Or too tired after exercise?)

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This morning I am sleepy.  I also feel tired out.  THEN I realize why: I have a heating blanket wrapped around me while I sit here typing away at my computer station!  Yawn!  But, I am cozy, warm and very comfortable on this very crisp day!

I did work out this morning and usually have so much energy throughout my day when I have done my work out or walked first thing in the morning.  So, I know it is this heated blanket only making me wish I was relaxing with my book or napping rather than transcribing reports for doctors all day long.

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Exercise should, technically, make you feel more energized, toned and fit — not tired or sore. And while a little bit of fatigue and aches are normal, if you feel awful after you workout it’s a surefire way to quickly give up your routine.

Here are some simple tips that you can use before, during and after your next workout to make sure you feel the way exercise is intended to make you feel: great!

  1. Make sure your body has fuel. Eating a small snack about an hour before your workout may help give you energy.
  2. Get enough sleep. If your body is truly tried, your workout will only exacerbate this feeling.
  3. When you start a new exercise routine, or increase intensity/duration, do so gradually.
  4. Take a few minutes to warm-up before your workout.
  5. After you workout, stretch your muscles.
  6. Don’t exhaust yourself. If you’re feeling completely out of breath or extremely fatigued, decrease the intensity of your workout.
  7. Give yourself time to recover. Avoid training the same muscle groups two days in a row.
  8. Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to fatigue.
  9. Eat something after your workout. Eating a mixture of protein and complex carbs within 90 minutes of working out will help repair your muscles and give you energy. Some great snack ideas include nuts and fruit, yogurt or cheese and whole-grain crackers or a tuna sandwich on whole-wheat bread.  I have my Shakeology shake usually within 40 minutes after I have worked out in the mornings.

If you’ve already worked out and now feel sore, here’s what you can do to soothe your achy muscles:

  1. Massage the area.
  2. Apply a cold pack to the area.
  3. Use BlueStop MAX Arthritis Pain Gel, a natural, proven topical gel that will relieve your pain in minutes.
  4. Give it time. Muscle soreness should go away on its own in a few days.
  5. Do some low-impact exercise. This increases blood flow to your muscles and can help to relieve soreness.

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I am happy to have accomplished my work out on this cold day and will suffer through the yawns because this heating blanket is far too pleasurable to give up now!  I am always thankful I have a job that allows me to work from home.

Stay warm & wishing you good health,

Wendy