Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Hi Everyone,

Are you going to be staying up until the ball drops tonight?  I'm hoping to, since we'll be going out with good friends.  But, I bet we head for the cab ride home at about 12:01 AM! 

As many of you know, I'm a lifetime Weight Watcher.  I love that organization, because it's just so practical to not deny yourself any foods, and to use the combination of a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and the support of others.  At a meeting this week, we were asked to look back on 2011, and write down three things we accomplished during the year to improve our state of wellness.  I liked that exercise, and the holistic approach.  We didn't have to limit ourselves to writing down things that had to do with food and/or exercise.  I also liked, of course, that it was an exercise in optimism!  :-)  One thing I wrote down was that I started this blog!  Another item I listed was that I started playing ping pong with a good friend, almost daily, and therefore developed a new (healthy) passion.  The third thing, sorry, is private.  But, be assured, it was a very positive accomplishment.

So, after that, it was time to look to next year, and write down three healthy goals.  Are you a resolution person?  I know that people are clearly either way.  Either, someone is like myself, and really enjoys taking a look at what they can improve on, or try; while others, and I respect this, feel there is no need to make resolutions on January 1, but prefer working on self-improvement on an ongoing basis.  I guess I just like to do both!  Some studies have shown that if you share your goals too much, you are less likely to stick to them, so that's something to keep in mind.  What seems to work for me is to go ahead and talk about my goals to a few key people, and then to hold myself accountable by keeping a chart of some kind, at least until I've reached the three week habit-forming mark.

That being said, I won't share too much, so I don't jinx myself.  But, one goal that I'd love for people to hold me accountable for is to schedule an appointment with myself, at least one day a week, perhaps at the library, where I spend several hours working on my book.  As many of you know, I'm working on a workbook for middle-schoolers, where they get to work on their self images, while at the same time learn about wellness in general.  Feel free to bug me about this one, OK?  It's something I always want to do, but often find myself doing so many other things I like to do instead, most of all that require moving around, rather than sitting and focusing on something for long periods of time.  Hmmmmmm,  does this sound like adult ADHD?  If so, I love it all, so I'm not too concerned.  I am clearly committed to finishing that book someday, but the sooner the better.

That's all for this year, folks!  I wish you a very happy and HEALTHY new year!  If you'd like to share any of your reflections for 2011, or resolutions for 2012, I'd love to hear about them. 

I wish you wellness.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

McDonalds Has Nothing On Me!

Hi Everyone,

Are you surviving the holidays?  I hope you are able to find the time for exercise, if that's what you wish to do.  It will help with the stress that goes along with the season, and help even out any extra calories you might consume.  Have you considered asking for a fitness related present?

I chose today's title because I have come up with a killer breakfast sandwich, similar to what McDonald's offers, but sooooooooo much healthier, and better tasting too!  Well, at least my son and I think so.  Check this out:

The main ingredients are:  turkey ham, egg and whole wheat English muffin.  It can be made in less than five minutes. We grill the turkey ham quickly, poach the egg in the microwave, and toast the English muffin.  Of course, it's nice to put something on the muffin.  My choice is Dijon mustard, but avocado works well too, or you could try some nonfat Greek yogurt.  Then, the sky is the limit as far as what else you might want to add:  tomato; sprouts; low fat cheese; cucumber.  Or, maybe you'd prefer a round veggie or turkey sausage instead of the turkey ham. 

Poaching an egg in the microwave is so quick and easy.  Spray a ramekin with cooking spray.  Crack an egg into the ramekin and pierce the yolk with a fork several times.  Be sure to cover the ramekin with a paper towel, so the egg doesn't explode in the micro.  And, since all microwaves are different, I suggest you start with 20 seconds, check, add seconds, etc.  My microwave takes 30 seconds to cook a poached egg with the yolk cooked medium.

If you're a Weight Watcher, this sandwich can follow the "Simply Filling" plan, if you choose the correct brands of muffin and turkey ham.  Check their website for a list of their power foods.  If you need to calculate points, it comes to 7 points plus.  Most importantly, it's quick, healthy, and very filling.

There's just one more fun substitute on a popular sandwich that I'd like to share, and that's the Reuben.  I substitute turkey for the pastrami, and mustard for the Thousand Island. It's still very delicious.

I'd love to hear about your healthy substitutions on some of the more popular menu items.  Meanwhile, I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.

Mary R.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fun Sites and Things

Hi Everyone.  I've been finding some interesting things online, and thought I'd share a few of them with you.

Here's an amazing speech given by the 12 year old girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes.  She was addressing a UN meeting on the issue of the environment.  I think I want her to be our next president.

Have you ever heard of the website called, "Pinterest"?  It's really cool.  You can "pin" ideas that interest you, onto your (virtual) board, and keep it for future reference, or share it with others.  Check it out, there are so many creative ideas, fun recipes, cool sayings, and photographs. My daughter Mindy showed me this website.  Watch out, you might get hooked!

One might argue that those two sites have nothing to do with wellness, but I personally feel that pretty much everything can be related to one of the six areas of a healthy and happy individual:  personal, mental, physical, social, intellectual and ethical wellness.  It's all about the holistic approach to self-improvement.

That being said, here are a few more tidbits to share:

Some people think that the time of day at which they eat has something to do with how much weight they'll gain or lose.  Weight gain and loss has to do with the basic calories in/calories out balance.  So, if you haven't had your day's worth of calories before a certain time, it doesn't really matter if you eat those calories later in the day.  Trying to get to sleep on a full stomach, however, might be a problem...

For good health, eat more cinnamon!  Research has shown that cinnamon can help reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides in people with Type 2 Diabetes.  So, it must be good for everyone, right?  Try adding approximately 1 teaspoon of cinnamon daily to your food choices, especially oatmeal, yogurt, peanut butter, smoothies, pancakes, French toast, and even coffee.  Or, try adding cinnamon to the top of sweet potatoes, carrots, chicken, beef or pork.

That's all folks!  Do you have any fun sites or health tips to share?  I'd love to hear them. 

Wishing you wellness,

Mary R.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This and That

Hi Everyone,

I've been on hiatus from the blog for awhile, just because life is so full.  That's a good thing, but I have missed writing.  So, finally, here are a few tidbits to share:

*When choosing chicken for your protein, white meat wins out over dark meat because it has less fat, less calories, and more protein per ounce.  That's not to say that dark meat is bad, it certainly has less saturated fat than beef.  White meat is just the better choice.

*You can cut a lot of sugar or fat just by rinsing food with water.  For example, cut sugar by rinsing fruit canned in heavy syrup.  Cut fat by rinsing the ground beef or ground turkey after you brown it.  Then, just return it to the pan, and continue with the recipe.

*Lifting weights is so good for you.  If you're not lifting, but you're losing weight, there is a risk of losing muscle tissue, instead of fat.  Not good.  Plus, it takes two times more calories to maintain muscle tissue.  For every pound of muscle added to your frame, your metabolism will burn up to 50 more calories per day, just at rest!  Yippee!

*The average-sized adult needs to take in at least 1200 calories a day, because of all the nutrients your body requires.  If you don't take in enough calories (from nutritious foods), then your metabolism will slow down and go into emergency mode, making it harder to lose weight.  You might even gain weight.

That's all for now.  I hope the transition from warm weather to colder weather has been smooth, (and maybe even enjoyable?) for you.  One thing that has put an extra bounce in my step lately is that I've been planning a cruise to Hawaii during the upcoming winter.  Now that's something to look forward to, and prepare for!

Wishing you wellness,

Mary R.

Monday, October 10, 2011

An Acronym to Remember--HALTS

Hi Everyone,

How are you handling the change of season?  Are you finding a new craft or hobby to try?  There's always the new list of community education classes to consider each term, from your local community college, or community center.  Have you changed your exercise routine from outside to inside?  Tried a new class at the gym?  Looked for some new exercise DVDs to try at home?   I'd love to hear what positive changes you've made, to help you get through the blahs from 'sun withdrawals'.

The title for today has to do with an acronym that can come in very handy, whenever you stop and try to figure out why you made a decision that you question yourself about, after the fact.  The acronym is HALTS, and it stands for:   Hunger, Anger, Lonliness, Tired, and Sick.   Usually one of those conditions is in place, when we make a decision that isn't quite up to par.  Let's look at each one:

Hunger--Maybe you were hungry and even hypoglycemic (suffering from low blood sugar), when you decided  to buy that bag of candy, instead of the bag of carrots you would have otherwise purchased, or when you snapped at someone.

Anger--Did you do or say something you weren't proud of, because you were angry?  I find it interesting when a person actually punishes herself, perhaps by binge eating or drinking, when in fact she was frustrated with someone else.

Lonliness--I know I've had more than my share of chocolate chip cookie dough at times when I was feeling lonely, thinking I was making cookies for others, when I was really just feeding my emotions.

Tired--Were you out shopping and grabbed something quickly, not really considering the consequences, just because you were tired and wanted to get home and put on your pajamas?  Did you not think out what you wanted to say to someone, and instead just blurted out the unfiltered thoughts what were on your mind, because you were too tired to think logically?

Sick--If you don't feel well, and you don't stop to take the time to rest and take care of yourself, you will not be at your best, and poor decisions might be made.

The lesson I take from all this, personally, is to stop and listen to that little voice that is telling me to go against what I would otherwise want to do, and question myself as to whether this is happening because I'm experiencing one of those 5 conditions.  Then, if I can catch it in time, I can try deep breathing, reading, calling a friend, walking away, playing the piano, writing out my thoughts--any one of those or other similar healthy choices to help get me through the difficult moment, and be much prouder of myself for the healthier outcome.  Also, if I  journal about my day, I can look back at some of the decisions I made, and check to see if any of those 5 conditions were dictating how my day played out.

Even you already knew about HALTS, I hope this will help you keep yourself in check.  I know it's helping me just to go over it again.  

Wishing you wellness,


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Making the Most of Turning 60

Hi Everyone,

It's been awhile since I've written a post, and it feels good to get back to it.  As you can see by the title, I've reached a turning point in my life--a new decade, my sixties.  That happened almost two weeks ago, and thank goodness there was a fun party to help me get through it.

Actually, I shouldn't say, "Get through it," because I'm taking The Fit Optimist approach, trying to embrace the future.  So, today I'm sharing my insight on the topic.  Hopefully it will help some of you when it's your turn to become a sexagenarian.  Oh, I like that word!

*This is the final 1/3rd of my life, (give or take probably a handful of years), so it's time to make the most of whatever I do.  To me that means, travel more, spend more time with loved ones, try new things, and volunteer when I can.

*I hope to continue to exercise often and with intensity.  Remember the title of my first post?  Exercise is Your Top Age Eraser.  I really believe in that quote, mostly because of the amount of energy I have in comparison to people who exercise moderately, or not at all.  Sometimes people won't exercise because of past injuries or surgeries.  There's always going to be a type of activity and/or a modification that can work for a person.  With my hip replacements and back fusions, I can still swim, cycle, lift weights, do Pilates, hike and play ping pong.  Yes, I wish I could run, but that's just something I have to realize I can no longer enjoy.  Rather than feeling sad about it, I need to be the optimist that looks for new and enjoyable activities to explore.  And, there's also the fact that when you have variety in workouts, you are using a variety of different muscle groups, therefore improving tone and calorie burning potential.

*I want to take a more holistic approach to wellness, concentrating all all six areas of maturity: personal, emotional, physical, social, intellectual and ethical.  For example, I do many things to improve my personal, social and physical wellness, but could certainly boost my efforts in other areas.  Boosting intellectual wellness would be a good place to start.  I hope to read more, and delve into some topics, like history, that I could stand to learn more about.  Emotionally, why not try meditation?  Journal nightly about my feelings?  Ethically, I bet there's the perfect volunteer opportunity out there with my name on it. 

*Fashionwise,  I'm gonna wear whatever I want to wear, and not worry about whether or not it's too young or too old for me.  If I like it, that's all that matters.  And, while I'm on the topic, why don't the magazines, even the ones I love, have more articles geared for people over fifty?  Just a pet peeve of mine.  I guess the editors figure we'll just read our AARP magazines and be happy we have a magazine written just for us.

Those are my thoughts.  I didn't have to write much to cover the huge gamut of what I hope to embrace in the future. I'd love to hear your thoughts on aging.  If you have trouble posting a comment, you can always send an email to:

Wishing you wellness!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Few Ideas to Share

Hi Everyone,

Well, did you ask anyone about their passion?  I did.  I asked my doctor the other day during an office visit!  It took her by surprise, but I think she enjoyed talking about herself for a change.  It only took a little time away from the business at hand.  And just think, maybe she'll ask someone about her passion, and then
that person will ask someone else about his, and so on and so forth.  Spreading wellness.  I love it.

I just have a few ideas to share about what has helped me in my strive for improved wellness:

*When you make muffins, use the mini-muffin tin that makes 24 muffins!  I eat two or three of these, instead of 2 of the normal-sized muffins.  Notice the oatmeal that I thew on top of the muffins before baking them. It makes them look so much healthier!  I found the tin at Kohl's, in their "Food Network" display.

*When it's time to bump up the cardio, I'm sure there are many textbook formulas of how to go about it, but I just come up with little mind games to play. For example, I breathe every four stroke while swimming freestyle, so I make myself do three fast strokes, and then a slower stroke for the breath.  Or, I'll have two fast strokes, and then two at normal speed.  Another way I've mixed it up is to sprint every third lap.  When on any cardio piece of equipment, I'll make myelf work at a higher pace throughout the entire commercal segment.  Or, I'll make myself work harder every other minute.  If I'm listening to music, I'll make myself keep pace with  the faster songs. 

*Mixing strength training with cardio can be a unique workout to try as well.  At my gym, there's a spinning
room right next to the weights.  I'll spin at a fast pace for two minutes, then go through a set on the weights, rotating that practice for a total of 30 minutes of cycling, and obviously several sets of lifting. It keeps the heart rate up for sure!

*I just had to take a picture of this fun breakfast treat I made myself the other day.  It's angel food cake with
raspberries, strawberries,blackberries, and fat-free whipped topping.  It certainly wasn't  my usual breakfast that always includes a fair amount of protein, but it was fun to feel like I was splurging a little.

Do you have any ideas to share?  I'd love to hear about them. Hope these are helpful to you.  Wishing you wellness!

Mary R.

PS  It's weird how the text is spaced on the posts.  I don't type with those spaces, they just show up. If you're a techie, I'd love to learn about how to avoid this problem.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What is Your Passion?

Hi Everyone,

I hope my last two posts about Wellness at the Workplace were motivating to some of you.  I realize that some of you work at home, or are retired, but you could always share some of those ideas with people in your life who do have a workplace outside of the home.  Please help spread the word, and the wellness!

So, what's your passion?  I like asking the people I meet, including students I work with at the middle school level, about their passions.  Isn't the one thing that strongly interests you, the same thing that puts a smile on your face, and an extra bounce in your step?  Of course, sometimes I cringe when the answer I get from a student is, "Video games!"    But, hey, at least the kid is passionate about something, and the fact that he can talk about it in a small group will probably help him the next time he has to give a speech.

My passion is wellness and trying to motivate others towards improving their own state of wellness.  Surprised?  If I had to choose between reading a really good novel, or reading a nonfiction book related to health in any way, I'd choose the latter.  The first thing I want to do every morning, after breakfast, is exercise.  How did I develop this passion?  I guess it's been with me my whole life.  In 1974, when I started my first teaching job in Springfield, Oregon, I made a little booklet for each of my students, (using the ditto machine!), titled, "Feeling Good."   So, a sub-topic of wellness that I especially like to concentrate on is helping people improve their self-esteem.  That's why I'm working on a self-esteem workbook for kids.

Enough about me, I'd love to hear about your passions.  It's what makes the world so enjoyable, meeting people who have such a variety of interests. And, wouldn't you agree that one of the biggest components of having good mental health is having a strong interest in something?  If I were asked about the passions of some of my friends and family members, I'd say:  rowing; science; crafts; reading; antiquing; sewing; working with wood; computer gaming; ping pong (another one of my passions!); swimming; cycling;  agility competitions (with the dog); crossword puzzles; volunteering; choreography; cooking; playing the guitar and singing; and much more.  Many of us have more than one passion, of course, but I'm asking about the one thing (hobby, would be another way to look at it) that gives you the most joy.

So, the  next time you meet someone, if you are having a long enough conversation, and it's not too awkward, why not ask the person what he or she is passionate about?  I bet they'd love to share, and it can not only feed their self-esteem, but also improve your interest or knowledge about the topic.  If you have kids or grandkids, I hope you can help them develop whatever interests them, making a strong and very positive impact on their self-esteem. 

Well, what's your passion?  I'd love to hear about it.

Wishing you wellness.

Mary R.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wellness at the Workplace-Part II

Hi Everyone,

If you caught my last post, then you know that I had so much to say about Wellness at the Workplace, that I decided to save the rest of my ideas for a second post on the topic.  So, here goes!

Here are some more tips for the boss, or the Wellness Director, should you be lucky to have one at your place of business:

1.  Need a reason to have a celebration?  Years ago, at a place where I worked,  we started an annual tradition of celebrating Festivus, ("For the rest of us!").  If you're not aware of what Festivus is, it's from the TV sitcom, Seinfeld. George's father, Frank, came up with it.   You'd have to look it up and watch the episodes that refer to it, to understand the reasoning behind it, and the activities involved.  Trust me, it's worth checking into.  People love it. 

2.  I keep getting back to the idea of a board for people to post pictures, recipes, etc.  So, let's call it a Wellness Board, shall we?  I've mentioned healthy recipes, and pictures of family and pets, but you could also encourage people to post: carpooling requests;  requests for exercise buddies; classified ads; coupons; sign-ups for a group trip to a sporting event; sign-ups for a community volleyball team, or a biking excursion.  The ideas are endless.

3.  Is there a walking path around your place of business?  If not, could one easily be made?  Not only could people use the path for walking or jogging during their breaks, or before and after work, but maybe even 'walking meetings' are feasible, given a smaller staff. 

4. It doesn't hurt to ask local businesses if they'd like to sponsor your wellness activities.  Sometimes the local gym will offer corporate memberships at a reduced cost.

5.  Make the staff room a place where people want to spend their breaks. Can you afford to purchase subscriptions to some of the more popular health magazines?   There could be a library set up, where employees bring in their used books and magazines. Is there a water cooler?  Some of the staff members might be willing to put money together for filtered water to be delivered.  Is there adequate light?  Plants?  Motivating quotes?  Nice hand soap?  How about the paint color?  Could that be improved?

6.  Is a 'Family Fun Night' a possibility?  Someone might be willing to head up such an activity, with crafts, games, etc.  It doesn't hurt to ask.  Remember, happy employees = happy work environment = more productivity.

7.  If you're remodeling, or just starting to build an office space, why not invest in a shower for employees to use if they ride their bikes to work, or if they workout during their lunch breaks?  By the way, do you have a place where people could safely lock their bicycles?

8.  I mentioned Wellness Wednesdays in my last post.  Here are some more suggestions for special events that could be held on a Wednesday:  flu shots; guest speakers; a yoga class; neck massages;  a volunteer activity such as serving at a homeless shelter or cleaning up a road; or, sharing your talents and passions.  Also, if you want to just concentrate on one month of wellness activities each year, May is Health and Fitness Month.

9.  One of my employers actually furnished a basket of umbrellas right by the door.  It's the little things...

10. If the staff is small enough, a different employee could be randomly chosen each month, and  featured on the Wellness Board.  Someone could interview the staff member, and post interesting information about him or her.  The employee should be encouraged to bring in photos and other items to display.

11.  Consider making space for a few pieces of exercise equipment.  It's so easy to find inexpensive used exercise machines and hand weights.  The space could have a CD player, magazines, plants, etc.  Place the equipment near a window, if possible.

Whew.  I guess that's it.  I could go on and on, talking about Zen gardens, stress relief balls, exercise balls to sit on while at the computer....    But, I think as long as you have an open mind to improving the environment for your employees, you'll come up with and receive all kinds of ideas.  Have fun!  Think WELLNESS! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wellness at the Workplace--Part 1

Hi Everyone,

Wellness at the Workplace has always been such an important topic to me, especially since life can be full of so many stressors that we have to deal with, both in our personal and our professional lives. So, I've decided to throw out a few suggestions as to what an employer, or manager could do to help improve the climate at the workplace.  Of course, any of the workers could also get something started.  I just feel that if more bosses tried to help their workers with their mental and physical health, the rewards that would come back to them and to the workplace would be well worth any effort made.  It would be time and effort well spent, a win-win situation.

Here are my suggestions for the boss:
1.  Learn everyone's name, first and last, (and the correct spelling), as soon as possible.  While you're at it, find out what everyone is passionate about.  Don't forget to share your passion as well.

2.  Put everyone's birthdates on your calendar, and acknowledge each one of those birthdays.  Is there a way that person could be treated special?  Leave work 15 minutes early? Have a latte delivered? Receive a card signed by everyone?  What about celebrating 'half birthdays'?  That could be a lot of fun.  There could be just 1/2 of a cake, and then the serving sizes would be more realistic too!  I know, I'm a bit overboard at times on the moderation/wellness thing.

3.  Some insurance companies cover a weight loss program, such as Weight Watchers.  If enough people get on board, Weight Watchers might even hold meetings at the workplace.  Some businesses are starting 'Biggest Losser' competitions, and pass around a trophy each week to the person who lost the largest percentage of weight. 

4.  Along those same lines, it's fun to share healthy recipes.  There could be a board located in a central area, where people could post recipes.  Or, how about a healthy lunch potluck.  Bring a dish, bring the recipe.

5.  It's easy to have a salad bar or a potato bar lunch, where everyone signs up to bring one of the ingredients.  As an added bonus, activities like this can help build camaraderie.

6.  During the dreary months, when moods are especially low, it's fun to offer a 'Secret Pals' activity.  Have a form for people to fill out, if they're interested, listing favorite snack, beverage, magazine, candy bar, fruit, hobby, etc.  This activity works best if the person organizing the activity does NOT have a secret pal, and administers the activity, keeping track of who picked whose name, and perhaps even delivering the gifts for them.

7.  Is there somewhere in the budget where the boss can make sure there's a basket of fresh fruit always in plain view, and offered gratis to the employees?  Or, could there be one day a month when a fresh piece of fruit is delivered to every employee's mailbox or desk?  Again, the costs can often outweigh the benefit of having a happier staff. 

8.  How about having a little fun at the beginning of a staff meeting?  You could share a joke;  people could be encouraged to share what's going on in their lives;  there could be a drawing;  use your imagination.

9.  Set a precidence with (voluntary) blood pressure checks, perhaps on a 'Wellness Wednesday'.  The local hospital might know of someone who would be willing to stop by and do that for you free of charge, once a month.

10. Furnish a board in the lunchroom where staff can feature pictures of their loved ones, and pets.

This is getting long, but there is so much more to say.  Look for part two, coming soon.  Meanwhile, I hope things are going well for you as you continue to work on your own personal wellness goals. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Return of Ten Tip Tuesay!

Hello Everyone,

Where did July go?  Man, summer sure likes to breeze by us, don't you think?  Have you been working on any goals?  I'd love to hear from you about any "goals in progress" you might have.  I've been good with my "21 Days to Success" chart, where I've worked on my book everyday, for at least an hour. If I have too many time constraints one day, and can't fit in the one hour, I make sure the next day I put in two hours.  So, it seems to be working for me. Of course, it's something I love to do, so that helps.

OK.  Time for some more tips!
1.  Here's one from my mother:  Brush and floss your teeth after dinner, so you won't be tempted to eat anything else before bed.
2.  Drink more water!  Lack of water is the #1 cause of daytime fatigue.
3.  You never know when you and your friends might need to call a cab.  Take the time now to look up the phone numbers of your local cab companies and plug them into your cell phone contact list.  You'll be glad you did. 
4.  Ever wonder how scientists determine the number of calories in a food item?  In a lab, they separate the macro nutrients, (protein, fat and carbohydrates), from the components that contain zero calories, such as water and minerals.  Then, they take the weight of each of the macro nutrients, in grams, and multiply the grams of fat by 9, and the grams of protein and carbohydrates by 4.  See why we should eat less fat?  It has over twice the calories per gram as the other two macro nutrients.
5.  Alcohol, which is NOT a macro nutrient, has 7 calories per gram.  Moderation is important for many reasons, "empty" calories being one of them.
6.  I like this quote by Henry David Thoreau--"None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm."  Hang on to your fun (but safe) impulses.  And remember, that when you eat right, sleep enough, and exercise regularly, you develop a new found, even contagious, enthusiasm.
7.  Stretching daily is so important.  It's best to exercise when your body is warm, so do some walking first.  That way the blood flow is making the muscles warm and more elastic, so there will be less chance of injury.
8.  Headaches can be such a bummer.  Next time you have a headache, visualize that artery that is throbbing in your head and tell it to relax, so the blood will flow more easily.
9.  When you strength train, exhale during the exertion phase, and inhale when you are returning to the starting position.
10.  Some easy ways to cut 100 calories:  ice cream in a dish, instead of a cone;  nonfat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream;  pancakes without butter on top;  and, corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas.

That's all for now!  I hope you have some fun activities and goals planned for August, before it is behind us.

Wishing you wellness,

Mary R.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Preparing for a Big Event

Hi Everyone,

Did you read my last post and try to start a 21 day chart to develop a new healthy habit, or to help you try to get rid of a bad habit?  I did.  Although there are many things I could attempt, I chose this goal:  To work on my book, I Am Awesome!, (a workbook on improving self esteem, geared towards middle school kids), at least one hour a day.  So far so good!  You'd think an hour a day would be a cinch, but not with my hyperactive hectic life.  However, my ultimate goal is to have this book finished by my (milestone) birthday, which is in mid-September, so I have a lot of pressure motivation right now.

Anyway, on to the topic of today's post, "Preparing for a Big Event."  I'm going to a wedding tonight, so that's a small scale big event, but nevertheless I've been preparing for it:  manicure, check!; pedicure, check!; just the right dress, check!  You get the drill.

I love having a big event looming out there on the horizon.  We all enjoy having something to look forward to, don't you think?  Now that I'm writing about it, I think it's time to schedule another cruise!  I've discovered something about preparing for big events:  sometimes it's more enjoyable preparing for an event than the level of gratification you get from the actual event!  Well, obviously there can be somewhat of a letdown after the excitement of getting ready for something.  So, enjoy the preparation!  The journey!

What are some things you do to prepare for a big event?  Besides what I have already mentioned, I like to: make sure I'm happy with hair style and color; figure out what jewelry goes with each outfit; use teeth-whitening strips; try to lose some weight; work out more often and at a higher intensity; make a countdown chart as time gets closer;  research places to travel/things to do, (if it's a trip); make a "To Do" list and prioritize daily. Heck, my list might even include that new luggage I've been wanting needing for a long time.

Well, I have another big event, besides today's wedding--a four day family reunion which starts tomorrow!  So, I shall close for now.  Don't you know?  I need to make a list!

Wishing you tons of energy and a positive outlook when working on your wellness goals, and in your day to day life!  And, hey, I hope you are now feeling motivated to plan a little trip, or a party, or something similar that you can look forward to and work towards. Enjoy!

Mary R.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stopping a Bad Habit or Developing a New Good Habit

Hi Everyone,

Doesn't the summer weather just put an extra bounce in your step and make you feel a little more optimistic?  What a good time to try to start on that wellness goal that's been mulling around in your mind for a long time.  Maybe there's bad habit getting in your way, or maybe you've been wanting to start a new, good habit. 

Many of you know that I've been working on writing a self-esteem workbook for middle schoolers.  Several of the pages are good for people of all ages.  Today I thought I'd include one of those pages.  It's titled, "21 Days to Success!"  Research shows that it takes three weeks, or 21 consecutive days, of putting in a positive effort,  to stop a bad habit, or start a new one.  So, I've developed a chart for keeping track of your efforts.  You might want to come up with a reward that you can earn at the end of the three weeks, although the inner satisfaction, and the resulting better state of health is usually enough.  I will post the chart below.  Unfortunately, I couldn't attach the actual document for you to copy.  I had to take a picture of it!  Guess I have a lot to learn about creating posts.  At any rate, if you'd like a copy of the actual document, to make in its original 8 1/2  X 11" size, you could let me know by email, if you know my email address, or in the comment section, and I will be sure to help you out with that.

A good friend of mine suggested that some people might be too overwhelmed by such a task, that it might be better to make just a one week chart and try to conquer that first.  Makes sense.  Whatever works for you, and at whatever pace works for you, that's what it's all about.  (And I bet you thought the Hokey Pokey was what it was all about!) Just remember that research has shown that you must practice the new behavior for three weeks in a row for the brain to get the message that a new pattern has been made.

Good luck on achieving your goal of improved wellness.  I shall close for now.  I need to make a copy of the chart and put it on my kitchen cupboard, so I can get started on improving my own state of wellness!

Please spread the word to any of your friends and relatives who might be interested in my blog.  Thanks for taking the time to visit this post. Here's wishing you optimism as you work on self-improvement.

Mary R.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Healthy Choices

Hi Everyone,

Happy 4th of July!  I hope you are enjoying the summer weather as much as I am.  Did you have a chance to read my last blog about my favorite fitness/nutrition author, Bob Greene?  The other day I was reading a book written by a popular blogger, and she  mentioned how she and other bloggers had a chance to have a conference call with Bob.  I sure hope I am able to figure out this blogging world and maybe have some opportunities like that.  I've also learned that there are conferences for people who blog about healthful topics.  I hope to spot one ahead of time, and get a chance to put it on my calendar.  Sounds wonderful.  This is all so new to me.  Any tips from some of you seasoned bloggers would be greatly appreciated.

So, I never know what my topic is going to be until I sit down and just start writing.  It's kind of fun.  I love learning from other bloggers about some of the healthy choices they make.  I'd like to share a few of the healthy decisions I can now easily make, in regard to nutrition:

*If you take the time to make "baked" fries, (and they really don't take all that much time), they are probably even better tasting than "fried" fries, especially with the variety of tastes you can come up with, using different herbs, and different types of potatoes.  Here is a recipe for Curry Sweet Potato Fries from Joy Bauer's book, Your Inner Skinny.  It is surprisingly good. 
This recipe makes two servings.  The curry adds a wonderful flavor.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.Cut one medium sweet potato into wedges approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Spread out the fries on the baking sheet and spray them liberally with nonstick cooking spray.  Sprinkle with curry powder, salt, and pepper.  Toss the fries with hands to coat evenly with the seasonings, then arrange the fries in a single layer.  Bake for 20 minutes,flipping the fries halfway through.  You can finish by broiling them for 5 or more minutes, depending on how crispy and brown you like your fries.

*As much as I love Ranch dressing, especially Light Ranch dressing, I've now made myself switch to oil and vinegar dressing.  Since I genetically have high cholesterol, this is a very wise choice, since the olive oil is the "healthy" fat, and Ranch dressing has saturated fat.  You know, the switch wasn't has hard as I thought it would be!

*It saves a lot of calories, and takes away the saturated fat, if you simply substitute mustard for mayonaisse on sandwiches. Plus there are some wonderful flavored mustards out there.   Thank you, mustard, for being low in fat and tasty at the same time.

*If you enjoy air-popped popcorn, that's the healthiest choice for how to eat this high fiber snack.  I'm still working on that one, so I make the air-popped popcorn, and then add a package of  light microwave popcorn.  At least it's a step in the right direction.  It makes a huge difference if you put the popcorn in a warm oven for about 20 minutes, in a stainless steel bowl. 

*Mozzarella cheese sticks, made with skim milk, are a wise choice for a healthy snack.  Add some fruit and/or whole grain crackers, and you're ready for a workout, or that project you need to get back to.  I feel the same way about fat free cottage cheese.  Yum.  Almonds are another quick high-protein grab.

*We all know that peanut butter is good for you, but look for the natural peanut butter, with the oil at the top.  If it's "non-stir" then you know it has some saturated fat that has been added, to keep it solid at room temperature.  You wouldn't want your arteries to have a solid mass of cholesterol in them, would you?  I've chosen to take the time to stir.

*That's all for now.  There's more to share, but I'll wait for now, and save it for future posts.  What are some of the healthy food choices that you can easily make?  I'd love to hear about them, and learn from you.

I hope this finds you well and happy.

Mary R.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Favorite Fitness/Nutrition Author

Hi Everyone.  Sorry, I've neglected my blog for quite awhile, and put a few things ahead of it, like a big party for my son's college graduation.  Now that it's behind me, it's time to get back to my passion...talking about wellness.

By the way, some of you have asked how you can become a "follower" of my blog.  Thank you for your interest.  Scroll down to the very bottom of the page, where it says, in white letters, "Follow by Email."  There's a long thin white strip below that, and it is in that strip that you type in your email address.  Then click on the "Submit" button next to the strip.  It should work, and my posts should automatically come to your inbox each time I write. 

There are a lot of self-help books out there, but I just have to share this author with you:  Bob Greene.  Maybe you remember him from his days as Oprah's diet and fitness guru. I have two of his books.  The Life You Want is written so well.  He wrote the book with a psychologist and a nutritionist, so they really cover all the bases.  You can tell they have done their research, and the approach is so matter of fact, yet the empathy piece is there as well.  Here is just one passage from this wonderful book:

"Everyone's brain is programmed to seek pleasure, a mechanism that encourages us to consume more high-calorie foods.  Given the body's drive to store body fat in anticipation of leaner times, every time you munch on a bag of chips or scarf down a doughnut, pathways in your brain trigger the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins and serotonin, chemical messengers associated with positive emotions.  That's why it feels so good.  And if you use foods to self-medicate when you feel lonely or sad or stressed, you reinforce the system.  The next time you're in the same emotional low, you brain will remember what gave you relief the last time and urge you to eat those chips or doughnuts, all over again."

I would add the words "and alcohol" when he talks about using foods to self-medicate.  I think the same effect can happen with alcohol (or other drug) use. 

I recently purchased another book of Bob's, titled 20 Years Younger.  I didn't even like the title, but I figured it was worth checking out something else he's written, so I purchased it used, which is how I purchase most of my books.  It's great!  He has done so much research on the aging process.  And, although there are some things that are just going to happen on the molecular level, that you don't have any control over, he certainly points out some things that can make you a little more proactive and motivated to try to slow down the aging process.  Here's one of my favorite passages:

"Countless studies have shown that if you strength train you can regain and/or maintain muscle volume, endurance, and power-even if you're ninety years old."  Yippee!!! 

All for now.  I have to go to the gym and lift some weights! I hope this finds you enjoying working on your wellness.  Who are some of your favorite self-help book authors?  I'd love to hear about your recommendations.

Mary R.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Motivational Quotes and Thoughts

Hi Everyone,

Did you read my last post about having a "Bucket List"?  And, have you now begun one of your own?  I hope so.  It's fun to find out what other people have on their lists.  The other day I found out that a colleague of mine wants to take a trip across the country on a tandem bike, with his wife.  Cool.

As you can tell by the title of today's post, I'd like to share some of the quotes and thoughts I've found along the way, as I research tips for improving one's health, or level of wellness.  Below are some of my favorites.  I hope you find at least one of them inspiring.  If you do, why not write it on a sticky note, and place it on your mirror, kitchen cupboard, or some other place where you will notice it often?  The author is listed when known.

Treat yourself like company.
Amen to that one.  We go all out for our company, but why don't we go that extra mile for ourselves?

There's no such thing as a failure--it's feedback.
That's an optimist talking.  Try to find a message, a lesson learned, the next time you have a negative experience.

The longer the excuse, the less likely it's the truth. -Robert Half
Have you found yourself giving too many excuses for something?  And, were you really just not facing the truth?  Sometimes I need to quit making excuses to that little voice in my head.  Is it the same for you?

Do you need to give yourself the same advice you'd give to others?
Well, do you?  Don't we all at times?  Next time you give someone advice, ask yourself if you should be doing the same thing you're suggesting.  I know I'll be checking myself more on that one.

Don't exchange what you want the most for what you want at the moment.
When temptation strikes, pause for a moment and think about what you really want.

Self-control is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it is.
Take a moment to pat yourself on the back at those times when you know you've exercised a lot of self- control.  Maybe you could keep a journal to write down those moments when you are most proud of yourself.  I bet we could all pat ourselves on the back for at least one thing everyday. 

There's more to share, but that's enough to digest for now.  Do you have any favorite thoughts or quotes you'd like to share?  I'd love to hear (and learn) from you.

Until next time, I wish you wellness, and positive motivation towards whatever your goals might be.

Mary R.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Do You Have a Bucket List?

Hi Everyone,

I hope this post finds you happy, and working on improving your state of wellness.  It's a continuum, so we can always improve, at least in some areas; and, if we don't watch out, we can let it slide.  Somehow our bodies and minds let us know whether we're improving or not, if we just pay attention to the mental and physical cues.

So, the title of this week's post is, "Do You Have a Bucket List?"  Well, do you?  I'll attach a visual for you, so you can get either get started, or at least put the one you have onto a piece of paper and put it somewhere where you'll return to it from time to time, adding and changing it to suit your needs. 

I assume people know what a "Bucket List" is, but perhaps there's someone out there who hasn't heard the term.  It's when you make a list of things you'd like to do before you leave this world, or "Kick the Bucket."   Weird term, I know.  But, let's be positive and make out those lists, and live life to the fullest!

Here's a few on my list:  Learn how to speak Spanish more fluently and correctly;  take a helicopter ride;  teach every grandchild how to swim;  publish at least one book;  travel to some of our National Parks; and,  master the art of moderation.  There are and will be more on my list, but those are just some to share.  I'd love to hear some of the items on your Bucket List. 

Wishing You Happiness, and a Fun-Filled Bucket List!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Swimming- Gotta Love It

Hello again.  My goal is to write one post a week, and I think it has now been nine days.  Oops.  I've certainly thought about it. One thing I'm trying to do is locate other blogs that interest me, and put links to those on my home page.  So far I've found three, but that's only because of time constraints.  I'm anxious to take a full day and do nothing but search blogs.  Well, that's other than taking time for the usual dog walk, and workout, of course.

Today's post is about swimming.  Do you love it as much as I do? It's such a great activity for all ages, plus it's good for you, and easy on the joints!  I think swimming instruction should be mandatory for all elementary school kids, don't you?  It's such a life skill.  I so very much enjoy trying to teach my two grandchildren (one is three, and one is 19 months) how to swim.

Anyway, I have just a few things I wanted to share with you about swimming:

*We already know that it helps to wear a swim cap, to protect the hair from the chemicals, but it's also good idea to wet the hair first, and then to put on some conditioner.  A leave-in conditioner works well for this. 

*Most of us know that it takes 72 lengths (36 laps) of a regulation pool to add up to one mile. Well, that's hard to keep track of, don't you think?  My sister has a film canister with pennies, and uses the pennies to help her keep track of laps, placing them back into the canister, one lap at a time.  I've also seen people use beads, on a knotted cord, moving them across the cord after each lap. What works for me is to count the laps in my head, but I break it up into four sections, nine laps each.

*If you'd like to improve your stroke, ask a lifeguard or coach to watch you swim, and give you a critique.  Or, you could have someone take a video of you swimming a lap or two, and analyze it yourself.

*Here's a wonderful article, titled "Ten Elements of a Perfect Freestyle Stroke," written by Alex Kostich, at  He is a three-time Pan-American Games gold medalist and does a great job breaking down the parts of the stroke, discussing head position, arm movement, body rotation, breathing, the kick, etc.  I've always wondered why so many people are now using bilateral breathing, and tip #9 gives excellent reasoning for giving it a try.  I hope you find the article helpful:

I hope you find this information helpful and motivating, and that you are enjoying working on improving your health, with whatever activites you choose.

Mary R.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ten Tip Tuesday, Volume 2

Hello again. I hope you had a healthy week.  Was it a little more stressful than usual?  I'll admit, it was for me, because I chose to have 16 family members get together at my house for an Easter brunch, and an egg hunt.  Notice I said "chose".  Sometimes I have to remind myself to not take on too much.  Does that happen to you?  The only problem for me was that I neglected to walk the dog, or workout, for more than two days in a row, and that's a big no-no for me, and of course for the dog.  (Sorry, Lucy.)  If you read my first blog, then you know that I have a self imposed rule: I cannot go more than two days in a row without a workout.  But, sometimes I break that rule, maybe once or twice a year, and it reminds me why I need to slow down and take breaks.  Did my company really notice that I had scrubbed the floors and washed the windows?  Is it really that important?  Well, I guess if we didn't have these get-togethers once in awhile, some of the deep cleaning would never get done, and some of the little repairs would never happen.  So, it's all good.  It's all about balance, don't you think?  Wellness.  Well, enough on that, on to the ten tips for this week:

1.  Splurge on the right tools, such as a pedometer that can handle all the times you might drop it accidently; a good pair of workout shoes; an ipod that will help you enjoy your workouts more; a salad spinner;  tools that can help get you to your goals with more ease and enjoyment.

2.  When you look at the ingredients on a container, remember that they are listed in order of weight within the recipe.  Largest quantities are listed first, so look for healthy ingredients listed right away, such as whole grains.

3.  There is a good reason why you should take a day off between weightlifting sessions:  If indeed you are working a muscle group "to fatigue," the 24 hours of rest will allow the micro-tears that have occured while lifting to repair themselves and therefore be strengthened.  The muscles need this time to heal and grow.  Some people alternate their lifting days by working arms one day, and lower body the next day.

4.  Self esteem quote:  "Just as it's impossible for people to agree on 'the best movie or book of all time'; a single definition of beauty doesn't exist." -Shari Graydon.  Please keep that in mind when you start picking on yourself.  Learn to love yourself as the unique person you are.

5.  Eating protein after a workout will help your recover faster.  That's because protein and amino acids will help the muscles begin the healing process, and make new cells.  Source:  Women's Health, 10/08.  A study in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabollism. 
Consider having a hard boiled egg, a cheese stick or some almonds after your workout.  You get the drill.

6.  This fact from the National Institutes of Health is alarming to me:  If your waist-to-hip ratio is .88 or more, your risk of dying from cardio-vascular disease increases nearly 3.5 times!  It's never too late to start a new eating/exercise plan.  Make a list of all of the benefits a new program would help you gain.

7. Which do you remember more quickly--the most recent criticism you received?  Or, the most recent compliment you received?  That's what I thought.  Why not start a "Compliment Book"?  You could take a blank notebook and write down compliments you've received.  Plus, that would be a good place to put those thank you notes and warm fuzzy cards you (hopefully) get once in awhile.  Lastly, compliment yourself too!  When that little voice inside congratulates you on a job well done, write it down!  Visit your "Compliment Book" from time to time, when you find yourself having a pity party.  Make a fun cover for your book, with photos and phrases you cut out of magazines.

8.  I like this one, it gives you permission to have some dark chocolate daily:  German researchers gave a group of 22 men and women with high blood pressure a quarter ounce piece of dark chocolate each day for 18 weeks.  At the end of this study, the blood pressure levels dropped so much that risk of stroke was lowered by 8%!  Plus, four of the participants wound up having normal blood pressure levels at study's end. Important point to remember:  that was 1/4 ounce, not one ounce.  Bummer.

9.  Take yourself on a Wellness Field Trip.  Go visit the local health food store;  check out the athletic supply store;  go to the bookstore specifically to look at self-help books; go to the library and check out exercise DVDs;  visit a bike store;  check out the shoe store that caters to athletes.  You get the drill.  While you're at it, walk to the destinations you choose.

10.  Do you have a basket of fresh fruit on your counter, or on your desk at work?  It might be just the boost you (and others around you) might need to grab a healthy snack when you want something NOW.

That's all folks! 

Sending you motivation and encouragement,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's Ten Tip Tuesday!

Hi Everyone.  Here's a list of Ten Wellness Tips that I hope you can benefit from.  I would love to hear some of your wellness tips too, if you are willing to share.  I also hope to post other "Ten Tip Tuesday" blogs in the future.  Read on, and most of all, here's hoping this finds you happily working on your own state of wellness.

1.  Aim for a Five Star Day, and see how good it feels.  Give yourself one star for each of the following you have done in one 24 hour period:  completed a workout; written down everything you ate and drank; slept for at least 7 hours; stretched for 10 minutes; and given yourself a sincere positive comment.  You could even create a Five Star A Day Chart to use everyday for a week, for a Five Star Week!

2.  Try adding cinnamon to your diet.  (No, that doesn't mean you give yourself permission to bulk up on cinnamon rolls).  Research has linked cinnamon with reduced levels of blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes.  Cinnamon also has polyphenols--antioxidants that can improve the health of your arteries.  The recommended daily amount to add to your diet is 1/2- 1 1/2 tsp.  Try adding cinnamon to oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, lattes, peanut butter, sweet potatoes and chicken or pork recipes.

3.  Practice the "plank pose" to build those core muscles that support your back and stomach.  See if you can work up to being able to hold the pose for 30 seconds at a time.  Unsure of what the plank is?  It looks like the "up" part of a pushup.  The more advanced plank has your forearms on the floor.
4.  Next time you have an urge to overeat, set a timer for ten minutes and drink a glass of water.  If you're still hungry after ten minutes, try a healthy snack.  Meanwhile, make yourself a list of things you can do during those ten minutes.  Take a bath?  Call a friend?  Organize the junk drawer?  Go through some photos?  Put your list where you can easily find it.

5.  Mary the Optimist says, "Concentrate on your strengths, not your weaknesses!"  Not sure of what those strengths are?  Shame on you.  Well, how about if you think back to some of the compliments you've received lately.

6.  Try to switch what you wish you were doing with what you are doing.  For example:  If you wish you were spending more time with your family than spending extra time on work, make it happen!

7.  If you have trouble with heartburn, try sleeping on your left side.  Your esophagus curves a little bit at the entrance to the stomach , so sleeping on the left side makes the angle sharper, and this can prevent acids from going up the esophagas.

8.  If you just make this one change--having either an open face sandwich or 1/2 sandwich for lunch, instead of having a whole sandwich, you can save about 80 calories a day.  Over time that means that you'll lose at least one pound every seven weeks.  That's over 7 pounds a year.  Not bad!  Fill the rest of your plate with vegetables and fruits.  You might not even notice a difference in the fullness and enjoyment factors.

9.  The maxiumun # of hours to wait between workouts is 48.  That's because a study found that if you are inactive longer than two days, then the calories that you normally burn during your workout will start to be stored as fat.

10.  If a food is labeled as "light" it means that is contains 33% less calories, or 50% less fat or 50% less sodium than the regular version of that food. 

That's all folks.  I hope you found this information useful.  Until next time.............Be Well!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Exercise is Your Top Age Eraser

So, here goes!  Blog #1.  I hope I can help motivate at least one person each time I write a post.  And, I'm looking forward to being motivated by many of you, from your blogs, and your feedback.

I subscribe to three wonderful health magazines.  Each time I go through a magazine, I tear out articles, sayings, recipes and ideas that I want to refer back to, and glue them into a blank composition book that I have decorated wtih magazine pictures and phrases.  I was just looking at the cover of one of these "Good Stuff to Know" composition books of mine, and saw that I'd glued down this saying- "Exercise is Your Top Age Eraser".

Amen to that, don't you think?  Think about the people you know who work out.  Aren't they just vibrant and happy?  Don't they just have a healthy glow about them?  A positive outlook?  Good posture?  I don't have any statistics to share, but I don't know very many people who exercise frequently that use many of their sick days.  I do think people who exercise frequently tend to appear more youthful.

Now, I'm sure many of you would agree with me that it takes awhile to be in the zone with exercise, and that it's tough to get motivated when you are just starting an exercise program.  It takes probably about six weeks of working out at least 3-4 times a week, for at least thirty minutes at a time, for you to get that extra bounce in your step, and not feel like it's pure drudgery to get up and get moving.  When I say "thiry minutes at a time", I mean non-stop movement, using the large leg muscles--biking, swimming, walking, your choice.  Find what works for you.  Do you prefer to be inside?  Outside?  Alone at home with an exercise DVD?  Out walking with a buddy?  Are you someone who prefers to be at the gym very late at night, so that you are not around the large crowds?  Or, do you enjoy being in a large class with others?  Do you have a dog that needs a daily walk?

One thing that has worked for me is a little rule I've made for myself:  I may not go more than two days in a row without exercise.  If life gets too hectic, I have to at least put in a few fifteen minute exercise sessions on that third day, even if that means just a short dog walk and lifting a few weights at home.  Seems to work for me.  It's good to make healthy rules for yourself, as long as they are reasonable.

I will close for now, hoping that you might consider starting an exercise program, if you have not yet done so.   If you are someone who exercises, good on ya!  Think about trying something new and please let me know how that goes for you.  I tried a spinning class at the gym the other day.  Yeow-sah!  Guess I haven't been sweating much in my other workouts, compared to what I went through with that workout.  It was a reminder to push myself to 60-80% of my maximum heart rate.  That is the level one must work at in order to improve the strength of the heart muscle, and to burn fat.

Happy Exercising!

The Fit Optimist