Saturday, November 21, 2015

Healthy Holidays!

Hello to everyone, and to the holiday season!  Oh yeah, hello to the wind and rain, too. Ish. 

On a brighter note, here are some thoughts to help with the season.

If you'll be dining out more than usual:
*Red Robin has a petite burger that you can ask for. Maybe other places have that choice too, or the choice of an “unwich”, a burger with a lettuce leaf bun.

*Ask your server to bring just ½ the amount of fries.

*Order first, so you won't be tempted by what others order.

*Ask if you can order from the kids’ menu.

*If you’re hoping to have some dessert, ask someone to split a sandwich with you.

*Order a side of steamed vegetables with your meal, for added fiber, health, and fullness.

*If you do have a larger than usual meal, try to get back on track at the very next meal.

Other ideas for coping with some of the stresses of the season:

*Have fun with exercise by setting up a rule during a favorite TV  show.  For example, every time a certain actor sits, you have to do 20 sit-ups.  Or, every time a certain athlete makes (or misses?) a basket, you have to do 10 pushups. I met one gal whose family plays empty kleenex box football on the commercials.

*Find a motivating quote or photo and use it as a screen saver.

*If you’re hosting, and  you don’t wish to keep certain leftovers around the house, purchase containers at the $1 store, so you're ready to send items home with people.

*Instead of purchasing fund raising treats, offer to give a donation instead.

*Maybe now is the time to request that stand-up computer station at work, or at home.  Here's a link to one I found on Amazon for a little over $57: You'll need a mat to stand on, too.  Here's one for a little under $14: .

*Consider purchasing gifts that help get people moving, or socializing more.

*Rather than treating yourself or someone else with food, consider something else that will bring a smile – flowers? A magazine? A massage?

Here are some thought-provoking quotes for those of us who struggle with self-control, perhaps especially during the holidays:

"I am my problem, but also my solution."

"You'll never get what you truly deserve if you remain attached to what you're supposed to let go of."

And, for those of us who need to forgive:

"Grace happens when somebody hurts you and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back."

Have a wonderful and positive holiday season. "Life is about giving.  When you take your eyes off yourself, life is a lot better." - Kelly Boyd




Thursday, October 22, 2015

Are You Proactive About Your Health and Wellness?

Hello Everyone.  Have you been enjoying the delights of autumn?  I hope so.  My topic this month might sound preachy, but my posts are as much for me as they are for others.  I could stand to be more proactive at times. Wellness is a continuum, and something to constantly work on.

Let me list the various areas of wellness, and what I think proactive behavior would look like in each area.  I’ll make it a survey, so we can score points and see how we're doing.

Here is the point system for answers:

I never do that – 0 points
I do that sometimes – 1 point
I do that all of the time – 2 points

If interested, get out a piece of paper, and number it from 1-25.  Here we go!

Personal Maturity:
*_____1. If I find myself talking negatively to myself, I stop and rephrase, making the statement more positive.

*_____2. When I want to improve in some area of my personality, (such as trying to gossip less, or trying to not stretch the truth), I make a conscious effort to keep myself in check.

*_____3. I am optimistic about myself and life in general.

*_____4. I try to develop good habits and get rid of bad habits.

*_____5. I accept compliments that I am given, and also take the opportunity to give others sincere compliments.

Emotional Maturity:

*_____6. I make sure to discuss things that concern me, either with a friend, a professional, or by writing in a journal.

*_____7. I try not to worry or perseverate about things, telling myself it doesn't do much good anyway- tomorrow is a new day.

*_____8. I have a hobby or activity in my life that I am passionate about.

*_____9. I keep my temper under control.

Physical Maturity:

*_____10. If I have a prescription, I make sure I never let it run out, before ordering a refill.

*_____11. If I say I want to work out more, then I make sure it happens.

*_____12. I exercise moderation in my eating habits, making sure I have a healthy diet 90% of the time.

*_____13. I follow seat belt, helmet, and life jacket, and driving rules. 

*_____14. I am proactive about trying to get enough sleep every night.

*_____15. I use alcohol in moderation.

*_____16. I seek medical treatment as soon as I notice that something isn't quite right.

*_____17. I wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, on exposed areas, daily.

*_____18. I keep up with all of the 'tests' that are suggested for someone my age. (Examples:  colonoscopy, pap smear, prostate check, blood tests, skin checks, etc.)

Social and Ethical Maturity:

*_____19. I keep in touch with those I love on a regular basis.

*_____20. If I have a problem with a family member or friend, I try to resolve that problem.

*_____21. I do not judge people by their looks, or their status in life.

*_____22. I look for opportunities to help those less fortunate than myself.

*_____23. I look people in the eye and smile frequently.

Intellectual Maturity:

*_____24. I try to read regularly, or work on other activities that stimulate my brain.

*_____25. I look for opportunities to use my creativity.

Here's what your score might mean:

Total of 45-50 points = "Ms. or Mr. Proactive!!!"
Total of 40-44 points = You might need to pay a little more attention to your health.
Total of 35-39 points = Maybe you need a push in the right direction.
Less than 35 points = Put 911 on speed dial.  You might need it.

Have you ever noticed that the word HEAL is in the word HEALTH?  Enough said.  I hope you found the survey worth your time.

Take good care,


Thursday, September 24, 2015

More of This and That

Hi Everyone,

Happy Fall! I wonder if you are enjoying the simple pleasures that come with fall - the freshness in the air; and the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that you haven't experienced for awhile.  Does it put an extra bounce in your step?  It sure give me a lift, and puts a smile on my face.  I especially love taking bike rides this time of year.

Here are some random quotes and/or pieces of information that I would like to share with you this month:

*A pretty sobering thought about drinking, (or taking drugs): It's the only thing that you don't get better at the more you do it.

*Never use money to measure wealth.

*Don't fear moving slowly forward.  Fear standing still.

*Treat your body like it belongs to someone you love.

*When most adults eat out compared to eating at home, they consume about 200 more calories.  Just think, if you did that three times a week, that's 600 extra calories. After 52 weeks, (one year), that's 31,200 extra calories, which translates to a gain of almost nine pounds. One way to keep calories more in check is to only go 'off' your regular diet (whether at home, or at a restaurant) when it's your birthday, anniversary, or some other special occasion.

*Next time you reach for that fancy espresso drink, or some other sweet drink, like a soda, remember this:  It only takes two sugar-sweetened beverages per week to raise your risk of suffering a stroke by 19%, as opposed to drinking almost none.

*Next time you're boiling pasta, consider tossing some fresh vegetables into the very same pot.  Not only does that make your dinner healthier, you have one less dish to wash!

* Remember this number - 135.  As a suggestion by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, that's the minimum number of minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise recommended to reap the anti-depressant effects of physical activity. That's only a little less that 34 minutes of activity four times a week.  Sounds doable!

All for now.  Have a fun October.  Will you dress up for Halloween?  Time for me to consider this year's costume!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Things I'm Loving Lately

Hello Again!

I wanted to post something a little earlier in the month this time, because (happily) I'll be in Texas during the last week of August, visiting my daughter and granddaughters.

There is a blogger listed on this blog page, Carrots 'N' Cake, who writes a post pretty much every Friday about things she has been loving lately.  So, I thought I'd share some of the things that have put an extra bounce in my step lately.  I'd love to hear some of the things you are loving lately as well.

First, my absolute favorite kind of protein bars:  Pure Protein. I like: that they have a LOT of protein, and therefore fill me up; the variety of tasty flavors; that they do NOT taste like cardboard; and, the fact that Costco sells them.  Calories?  180-200.

I have also discovered this fat free milk, made by Lucerne, that has added protein, half as much sugar,and has a longer shelf life than it's non-protein-added counterpart.
Here's a hair care product that I discovered recently.  "It's a 10 " has become so popular that I know that my Safeway doesn't have it out on the shelves.  You have pick up a piece of paper that describes it, and then take it to the cashier, who then gets it from behind the customer service counter.  I spray it on after towel drying my hair. It is an excellent (and somewhat expensive) leave-in conditioner.  I swear it works!
Simple pleasures.  Don't you just love it when you walk by something and just have to take a picture of it because it brings a smile to your face:  Here are a few things that caught my eye recently.  These flowers were growing right next to the parking lot at my gym.
And, speaking of the gym, I could marry the outdoor pool if it was a person.  Here it is, ready for someone to just walk into it and have it all to herself.  Talk about a Simple Pleasure.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but I love my ice water.  I decided awhile ago that I'd start making sure I always had a container of ice water close at hand.  It really makes a difference, as I have noticed, when you practice drinking water more frequently, and then find you have forgotten to grab your container.  Hydrating can be addicting, I think, and is such a healthy practice, especially if you're eating a lot of salty foods, if the weather has been exceptionally warm, and if you're working out.  I don't take the time to do this, but I know some people experiment with adding fruit slices, or cucumber slices, for a little variety.
I haven't invested in one of these yet, but I'm loving that it's now available:  a waterproof iPod.  Well, actually I saw on Amazon that you can just buy a waterproof pouch for your iPod, but I don't trust myself to keep it sealed completely.  Anyway, how cool is that - to swim while listening to tunes!
And, finally, one thing I'm loving is looking forward to a trip somewhere.  Sometimes I think the anticipation of something is often more enjoyable than that actual event, whatever it might be. That's not to say that the activity is a let down, but rather that it's always fun to have something to look forward to, and to prepare for.  I hope there's something on the horizon that you too are looking forward to, or at least a simple pleasure or two that comes to mind or crosses your path each day.

Take care,


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Do You Appreciate Your Body?

Hello Everyone,

This month I wanted to address body appreciation.  We are taught to be humble, so we certainly don't go around bragging about our toned abs, strong legs, thick shiny hair, high cheek bones, etc. On the contrary, sometimes we discuss things about ourselves that we aren't happy with:  beer belly; big ears or nose; bird legs; thunder thighs; flabby arms; varicose veins; pontoon feet - you get the drill.  It doesn't help when family joins in and gives us nicknames related to our shortcomings.  Again, it's perhaps an effort to keep a person humble.

But, shouldn't we change the way we think?  Shouldn't we be thankful for what we have, and what our body does for us?  I have a friend who has been in a wheelchair ever since a debilitating accident 15 years ago.  I don't hear him complain about not having the use of his legs. As a matter of fact, he's simply grateful to be alive, and makes the most of every day.

When you find yourself starting to say something negative about yourself, try to stop, check yourself, and turn it into something positive.  Example:  "I hate my legs!"   Instead, say:  "I'm so grateful to my legs for holding me up, and taking me so many places all these years." 

Consider practicing 'body gratitude' this month, and see if it doesn't just help make your outlook more optimistic. Practice replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts.

Take care,


Friday, June 26, 2015

Helpful Fitness and Dieting Insight

Hello Again,

I thought I'd write my June post while sitting in my air-conditioned house.  What a heat wave. All the more reason to get an outdoor workout done first thing in the morning!

I'd like to share some things I've been reading about that have been helpful to me:

*If you are taking a daily vitamin, drop one in a cup of water. If it doesn't dissolve completely within one hour, maybe it contains cheap fillers that don't break down in the body, which means you might be missing out on some important nutrients, and need to replace it with a different one.

*Weight training helps improve body satisfaction.  Start thinking of the weight room as the weight-loss room!  Also, remember that using free weights over using the machines means that you will engage more muscle fibers.  In one study of two groups of dieters, over a ten week period, the group that lifted weights lost nine extra pounds of fat over the group that did not weight train.-European Journal of Applied Physiology

*Do you want to know what is the #1 slim down move you can make?  Declare the kitchen off-limits after dinner.  (Well, maybe trips to the Dairy Queen after dinner should also be off limits.)  Besides the fact that it will lead to weight gain if you snack after dinner, eating late can cause you to toss and turn, which can lead to sleep loss. Sleep loss can elevate your level of ghrelin-an appetite stimulation hormone.  Hungry after dinner?  Try a cup of tea.  Sill hungry after 30 minutes?  Go ahead and have a 100-200 calorie snack, one with protein and carbohydrates.  How about a cup of milk?

*When negative thoughts come to mind, try picturing whatever it is going past you on a conveyor belt. 

*Some women wear their sports bras under their work clothes, as a reminder to go straight to the gym after work.  Sorry men, I guess this tip is gender specific! 

All for now!  Wishing you wellness.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Suggestions for How to Stick to Health and Fitness Goals

Hello Everyone,
I was hoping to report that I've given blood since I last posted, but when I went to donate, my hemocrit was too low, so I'm taking iron, and hope to try again in a few weeks.  On to this month's post...

I would like to discuss some information that I recently came across:

*52% said there wasn't enough time to exercise.
*36% said exercise was too boring.
*19% said they were too overwhelmed with choices & options.
*17% said they weren't seeing results.

#1 Reason:  Not enough time.  I'm sorry, but I have to call BS on that one.  OK, I know I'm a fitness fanatic, but really, if a person truly wants to accomplish a goal, he or she will find a way to do just that.  If there's time to watch TV, there's time to work out.  Here are my suggestions:
*No time or money or desire to join a gym?  Get a recumbent bike and read the paper, or watch TV while riding it.  Or, work out using calisthenics and hand weights during the commercials.  Have a few exercise DVDs on hand. There are probably some at the local library.
*A workout should be at least 30 minutes, non-stop, but if that isn't possible, try two 15 minute or three 10 minute sessions.  Even if a lunch break is only 30 minutes long, someone can take 20 minutes for lunch and then walk for 10 minutes.  It's all about having a pro-active mindset.
*Just working out for 4 of the 7 days of the week is an excellent start.  Most working people have two days off.  Use some unscheduled time from those two days to plan something active.
*Put a bag with workout gear in the car, so there's no excuse for not going to the gym or for a quick walk, if a window of opportunity, even 15 minutes, presents itself.

Reason #2: Exercise is too boring.
*Give it time.  It probably takes an out-of-shape person about 3 weeks on a new fitness program to feel really good physically, but the mental lift should happen immediately.  (Remember, people don't regret a workout). So, maybe a new form of exercise is in order.  Try taking a look at all of the opportunities out there, from classes at the gym; to classes through community education; to hiking trails to discover; to walking, running or cycling groups to join.  I truly believe there's an activity out there for everybody.
*Also, choosing a variety of activities is important.  There's less chance for boredom; it will help build overall muscular endurance; and, because you're strengthening more of the tendons and ligaments that support the joints, there is less chance of injury.
*Try finding just the right beat and type of music to match your movements. There are even water-proof iPods out there!
*Use exercise equipment at home to catch up on your taped shows.

Reasons #3 and #4: People say they are overwhelmed with choices and options, and feel like they aren't seeing results.
 *Maybe the overwhelmed feelings come with trying to eat more healthfully.  And, yes, that can be very overwhelming.  Try eating clean.  Cut out processed foods. The internet is such a wonderful tool for researching options, support groups, and recipes.  Some people might feel the need for one-on-one supervision with a dietician, or a support group that meets in person, like Weight Watchers.
*Not seeing results? Key in to how much better you feel, and how proud you are after making it through a day on your  new plan.  Make charts. Keep a journal. Take your measurements every few weeks. Text back and forth with a friend/loved one about your day.  I'm going to use a blood test to see if I've lowered my bad cholesterol number.  It doesn't always have to be about a number on the scale.
*Make sure goals are very specific.  Instead of just wanting to lose weight, or get into shape, this would be more focused:  I am going to work out for at least 30 minutes, non-stop, at least 4 days a week. Try getting a workout in as early in the day as possible, too. 
*When working on fitness, try not to miss more than one or two days in a row.  I visualize my metabolism being warm and revved up for 24 hours after a workout.  So, I try to be consistent in order to keep my engine running efficiently. This visual cue really helps me. 
*We have become a society that hungers for instant gratification.  Maybe it's time we sat back and just enjoyed the moment(s) a little more.

Well, as usual, the time I have spent writing/researching my post has helped me in my own wellness journey.  I hope it has also helped you, or at least given you ideas for how to help others.
I wish you and yours a positive and healthful life.