weight loss

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.

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With love,

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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

Whining for wine

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I love wine.  I love to go wine tasting.  I love wine with any meal.  I love wine in between meals.  I love both red and white wine, and I cannot really say which I prefer most.  I do not like real sweet wine, but I love champagne and sparkling wines too.  I love just everything to do with wine, except for the extra weight I have put on as a result of this “love” and the lack of self-control to stop at only one glass.

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My husband and I have been members of many wine clubs over the years including Laetitia, Summerland and Firestone, as well as a few smaller, organic wineries.

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There is such an absolute carefree pleasure you receive in visiting a winery-we usually make it a picnic day-and then delight in receiving a subsequent wine shipment in the mail.  Our favorite wines on our porch step kindle the great memories of each winery we have visited.  We actually canceled all of our wine memberships some time back because of the growing cost.  We also finished our bottles too quickly.  More like me.  I take the blame.  My love for wine, specialty wine shipments and the fact that I work from home made it far too easy to “sip” throughout my day.  This was the beginning of my weight problem.  (Honestly, my mouth is watering as I write this, thinking back!)   Wikipedia describes a “wino” perfectly: Wino is a slang term for a person who drinks excessive amounts of wine.  I am ashamed to say this describes me.

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We also have thousands of wine corks we have collected over the years for various crafts (wine cork boards are so awesome!).  It amazes me that we literally drank every bottle matching the endless supply of corks we have!  Actually, it’s kind of scary.

Over the years I have fallen hard in love with everything to do with wine (in addition to drinking) from wine movies, history about wine, books about wine, wine Christmas decorations, wine place mats for our dining room table, a variety of wine glasses, wine towels, wine picnic sets, electric wine openers and even a wine aerator, which perfectly aerates red wine and brings out the very best taste.

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I also love to cook and can easily pair the perfect foods with the perfect wine.  Of course, cheese, crackers and chocolate go very well, another source of additional weight gain.

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I can find a million excuses not to give up wine.  I especially love to blame my French heritage.  But the fact is, I know this has become a problem for me and an obstacle preventing me from reaching my healthy goals.  In all honesty, I have grieved letting wine go.  It feels like I have let a part of me go, it has felt a bit like mourning a best friend.  But, this best friend has really been a foe.  An occasional glass is just fine, but a few glasses to a bottle?  Every day?  Sometimes more?  Not a healthy habit.  And a habit it became.

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The greatest benefit I have gained in curbing my intake of wine is my sleep quality.  One would think wine would be the perfect sleeping aid.  Not so for me.  I find I sleep deeper and wake refreshed without wine.  I am losing weight and keeping it off.  I am exercising daily and eating a balanced diet.  I hydrate more with water and green tea, not wine.  I used to reduce what I ate during the day to allow for wine calories.  This type of diet DOES NOT WORK!  I obviously do not do this anymore.

Some of my most important reasons I have reduced wine from my life, besides my desire to get my body and my life back, are:

People drinking wine or any type of alcoholic beverage in moderation tend not to be aware that alcohol creates a chemical dependency.  Our body’s chemistry gets accustomed to the effects of the drug.  Naturally occurring neurotransmitters in the brain are released in response to the ingestion of alcohol.

A common effect of regular alcohol use is a buildup of fat and scar tissue in the liver that ends up seriously compromising its function.

Alcohol depresses the central nervous system. In small concentrations, alcohol reduces inhibition, prompting a mild euphoria, sociability or self-confidence but at the same time, it rapidly impairs attention, judgment and control.

Over time a person who consumes alcohol regularly develops metabolic tolerance: alcohol will be metabolized faster and a higher amount is needed in order to experience the same effects. This leads to alcohol dependence.

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I have chosen to go weeks without wine.  I started with the goal of no wine Monday-Thursday, allowing for the weekends.  Presently, I am just not having any.   I feel better, although I still love wine and have such fond memories associated with it.  I am choosing to govern my life, not allow a glass of wine to dictate.  When and if I do have a glass, it will be just that: one glass, preferably with a meal.  Having a glass of wine each day is actually good for our health, but no more than that.

I am wondering if anyone else struggles or loves wine as much as me?  It is all about choices isn’t it, and staying consistent.

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Mmmmm…Fishy Friday!

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I love fish, especially white fish and salmon.  Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty layers of cold-water fish and shellfish, plant and nut oils, English walnuts, flaxseed, algae oils, and fortified foods. Hundreds of studies suggest that Omega-3 fatty acids may provide some benefits to a wide range of diseases: cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

A delicious healthy recipe you will want to try this evening is Flounder Piccata and is pretty simple to prepare.  You can also substitute tilapia for flounder, add a side of quinoa and fresh, steamed spinach or asparagus.  When I make this recipe I also serve it with a small side of salad.  Healthy, filling and scrumptious!

Note: I hate fish that tastes fishy.  Always garnish your fish during and after cooking with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest to eliminate any residue of fishiness to your fish.

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Lightly pan fried breaded filet of flounder served in a lemon, wine, butter sauce with capers and parsley. A wonderful way to enjoy flounder, tilapia or any white fish.

(Make this with chicken for those of you who don’t like fish)

Flounder Piccata
Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1 piece •
Calories: 268.7 • Fat: 7.9 g • Protein: 34.5 g • Carb: 13.6 g • Fiber: 2.9 g • Sugar: 0.1 g
Sodium: 366.5 (without salt)

Ingredients:

  • 4 flounder filets  (17 oz total)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • olive oil spray (about 1 tbsp worth)
  • 1 tbsp light butter
  • juice of 1 lemon, lemon halves reserved
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • sliced lemon, for serving
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, for serving

Directions:

Season fish with salt and pepper.  Heat oven to 200°.
 
In a shallow bowl, beat the egg whites. Place the bread crumbs in another dish. Dip each fish filet in the egg whites, then bread crumbs.

Heat a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Spray a generous amount of olive oil spray on one side of the fish, and lay it in the pan, oil side down. Spray the other side of the fish generously to coat and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until fish is opaque and cooked through. Set aside on a platter in a warm oven until you make the sauce.

Over medium heat in the same pan, melt butter, add the lemon juice, wine, chicken broth and the reserved lemon halves, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Boil over high heat until the liquid is reduced to half, about 3 – 4 minutes. Discard the lemon halves, add the capers and spoon the sauce over the fish; place a slice of lemon on each filet and top with fresh parsley.

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Enjoy!  Wishing you a long, relaxing and lovely three day weekend!  (President’s Day on Monday, remember?)  🙂

Wendy

My Happy Thought

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I received an e-mail about an hour ago that just made my day. I just had to share.  It was from my mother.

Her joy just radiates.

“Thanks for the great tip. Went to Curves and had a ball. I got there about 11:00 AM and there were about 6 older women about my age and a couple of them around 80 years old, which made me feel in the right group. They were so friendly and told me they were a bunch of huggers and loved to hug and gave great hugs and then they all came and hugged me and introduced themselves. They are hoping I come when they are there and said they have a lot of fun and goof off a lot but always get there workout done. They dance around like I did on the little squares and looked so cute doing it. They were such a friendly group and said sometimes they go to lunch afterwards but not too often, maybe once a month. As they left they each came and hugged me again and they all hugged each other. The trainer was terrific and I just really had a great time and had a good workout. Wow, it really is quite a good workout and uses all your muscles. Am looking forward to continuing and to the new friendships. What a great bunch of ladies and I know God was directing the whole thing since they fit my age level and silliness. I just loved it all. Thanks for introducing me to Curves.” –Ginger B.

The resistance used in the Curves program is especially excellent for combating osteoporosis. I love that my workouts do not hurt my neck or hurt me! I have herniated discs and other spine problems involving my neck from an automobile accident years and years ago, so I have to be very careful, and I stay away from weight use with my upper body. Rather, I use my own muscles for strengthening and resistance during their fantastic 30-minute cardio workout.

The overall benefits my mother is going to gain to her health by joining Curves are just immeasurable. This led me to think about relationships and how important it is to have some kind of belonging with others. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “belonging” as “a close or intimate relationship.” We as humans, need to belong. To one another, to our friends and families, to our culture and country, to our world. Isolation, loneliness and low social status can harm a person’s subjective sense of well-being, as well as his or her intellectual achievement, immune function and health.

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Since I made changes to my fitness, nutrition and added Shakeology as part of my daily meals, I can testify to the amazing benefits I have received. I no longer have bilateral hip or bilateral feet/ankle pain that I was having on a daily basis from my rheumatoid arthritis. I have lost weight at a healthy level, not rapidly (sure to come back) from some quick fix diet or over-the-counter protein shake. I have made healthy lifestyle changes, I am making precious progress and I feel so good. This is why I would love to help you on your journey for success. I would feel honored, actually.

Accountability and belonging to one another is a healthy choice we all should make and Keep Choosing Consistency day in and day out.

Have a lovely weekend,

Wendy

P.S. Please contact me at any time if you would like more personalized FREE coaching and take a look at Shakeology, which is something I cannot imagine ever going without in my life. I am putting the link to the ingredients here: http://cdn.trek2befit.com/downloads/Shakeology%20Ingredients.pdf

Go take a look!  🙂

What’s the hype about coconut oil?

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Recently I have been seeing many articles, comments and posts about the health benefits of using coconut oil, so I decided to do some research.  Not only does coconut oil taste great, but the health benefits are amazing!

Here is what I have discovered:

Benefits of Coconut Oil

Diabetes

Coconut oil is the one fat that diabetics can eat without fear. Not only does coconut oil NOT contribute to diabetes, but it helps regulate blood sugar, thus reducing the effects of the disease. Of special note, according to Charles Mattocks (2011), is that Island people have consumed large amounts of coconut oil for many generations without ever encountering diabetes, but when they abandoned it for other foods and oils, the results were not good.

Weight Loss

The connection between coconut oil and weight loss is very, very interesting. Farmers in America discovered this early last century when they tried to fatten their cattle by feeding them coconut oil. Instead of gaining weight, their cattle lost weight! So again, this is not news. Do a simple Internet search such as “benefits of coconut oil” and you will get plenty of details.

Bone and Dental Health

Coconut oil improves calcium and magnesium absorption in the body, which in turn is greatly beneficial to dental and bone health. The improved calcium absorption created by coconut oil use ceases tooth decay and aids in the development of strong teeth. The combined increased calcium and magnesium absorption are of great benefit to middle-aged men and women who may become afflicted with osteoporosis.  Coconut oil seems to be a fantastic preventative for a healthy diet.

Coconut Oil: A Good Saturated Fat?

This is important!  You may ask, isn’t coconut oil a saturated fat? And aren’t saturated fats harmful? Yes, coconut oil consists of 90% saturated fats. But whether or not saturated fats are harmful depends on who you ask. Among mainstream nutritionists, the idea that saturated fats cause heart disease is an “absolute truth” that is never questioned. Those who question this belief, however, point out that mankind has been consuming mainly saturated fats – in the form of butter, lard, coconut oil, etc – for thousands of years, yet heart disease was rare before the 1920’s. Pay attention here: if anything, the rise of heart disease in recent decades may correspond to the increasing use of polyunsaturated vegetable oils like corn, safflower and canola, as well as margarine.

Conclusion

Coconut oil has done wonders for the way some people feel.  I would point out, however, that if you suffer from diabetes or heart disease, even high blood pressure or high cholesterol, please consult you doctor before you try coconut oil.

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Me?  I normally use olive oil for my cooking, but I am going to mix things up a bit with coconut oil.   I love the flavor of coconut, do you?

I hope this post helped provide you with some valuable information about adding coconut oil to your diet.

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From complete, total skeptic to complete, total believer!

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From total skeptic to total believer BECAUSE I know the benefits PERSONALLY and 100% support this product! Excellent video that says it all!

FITNESS + NUTRITION + SUPPORT + REWARDS = SUCCESS!

Challenge group starting for Monday, Feb 22nd! Excited! Almost filled up! Anyone else interested in what this is all about 😉