Saturday, December 27, 2014

Healthy Practices

Hi Everyone,

How was your Christmas?  Are you looking forward to a new year?  I know that most people aren't big on New Year's Resolutions, so I will try to steer clear of that topic, although if you would like my personal support with a goal of yours, let me know.  I'm there for you!

I want to approach the topic of healthy practices in general- suggestions for some self-imposed rules I either practice, or want to begin practicing, in my overall approach to wellness.  Maybe you have some of your own that you can share with me.  If so, please send them on!

Here are some healthy practices to consider:
*Try going to bed at approximately the same time every night, and rising at approximately the same time every morning. You don't have to look very far to find the research about how much sleep can affect your well-being. 

*Eat more plants.  My doctor recently gave me this advice regarding lowering cholesterol.  Studies have shown marked improvement when people went from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet.  Bring on the beans!  (And the Beano?)

*Try some form of meditation or deep breathing exercises, to clear out some of the clutter in your mind.  I'm going to try this for about five minutes in the morning, while I wait for the coffee to brew.

*Take on a new hobby or experience.  Hiking?  Book club?  Bowling league?  Cooking class?  Yoga?  Computer class? New experiences keep our spirits up and our minds engaged. I want to start hiking when the weather improves.  For now, I should research about hiking trails in Oregon.

*Plan your next vacation, so you're sure to fit one in.

*Look for an opportunity to volunteer.  Find your niche--is it working with kids?  Pets?  The older generation?  In groups?  One on one?  Inside?  Outside? 

*Put an affirmation or two on a sticky note and place it onto your mirror, computer, or cupboard.  What do you need to start repeating to yourself?  Here are some suggestions:  I am not perfect.  I am lovable even when I have a problem or make a mistake.  I can tolerate the people and things that I don't like. Tune in to any negative self-talk, and then create the affirmation that can reverse it.

*Have a gym bag packed and ready to go, in your car, or by your door.  Or, better yet, consider asking a friend to make an exercise commitment with you, so you can encourage each other.

*Place healthy non-perishable snacks in your car, your desk drawer at work, or your purse or gym bag, to help you make a healthy decision when you discover that your famished.  Suggestions:  Raw nuts, protein or granola bars, baked chips.

*Close the kitchen after dinner. I'm thinking of making an actual "Kitchen Closed" sign for myself, or maybe I should find some of that yellow hazard zone  tape!

*Tune-in to your appestat more--start eating when you're a little bit hungry, and stop when you're feeling slightly full.

*Write a letter to someone, just because.

*Clean and organize some closets and drawers.  It will feel so good, and you never know what you'll find!

*Read more, for pleasure.  Carry a book or electronic reading device with you wherever you go.  You might just find that you're never bored.

*Consider starting an "Optimistic Journal"-- for listing the Simple Pleasures you notice along the way; people and experiences your are grateful for; compliments people have given you; and goals you have achieved. 

*Never allow yourself to go food shopping when you're hungry.  Have a healthy snack first, and shop mostly the perimeter of the store.  When you get home, clean and prepare any fresh vegetables, and store them in see-through containers, placing them at eye level on the shelf inside the refrigerator.

Well, that's enough of a list for now.  Until next month....I hope you enjoy the rest of 2014, and have a great start to the new year.

Wishing You Wellness,


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bring on the Brown Fat!

Hello Everyone,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  And, how was your Black Friday?  Did you partake?  I went to Toys R Us, and survived quite well, thank you very much.  That was enough.

So, my title.............................Bring on the Brown Fat!  I suppose it's not very nice of me to discuss a topic regarding fat during the holidays, but I what I've learned about brown fat is so interesting that, well, I must share.  The result might just be that you will start turning your thermostat way down at night, and for good reason.

Fat is a very interesting organ.  It safely stores the excess calories we take in, and those fat stores are mobilized when we are hungry.  Fat is also needed to release hormones that control our metabolism. 

Brown fat, (my new best friend), is something that children have more of than adults.  It keeps them warm. Here's an interesting fact:  People in Boston have more active brown fat in their colder months, which lends itself to the idea that if we sleep in a colder room, it will help increase our metabolism. The faster your metabolism, the more efficiently it will burn fat. I'm for that!  For the most part, leaner adults have more brown fat than overweight or obese adults.  Because of that, there is research being done to try to create a drug that increases brown fat.  This drug could potentially help people achieve greater weight loss while working on improving their eating and exercising habits.  That's pretty cool, don't you think?

You probably already know that the type of fat that we have the most of in our bodies is white fat.  There is a lot of information out there about how the location of larger stores of white fat can affect our health, especially if we store excess fat in our mid-sections. Specifically, this visceral fat can increase our risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even dementia. Thank goodness that, although we tend to lose fat evenly all over, when we exercise regularly while eating a healthier diet, we tend to lose slightly more fat from our bellies.  Women need to be aware that after menopause they tend to deposit more fat in the abdomen, so there's another reason for women to be proactive about eating right and participating in 3-5 cardiovascular activities a week.  By that I mean those activities that use total body movement, especially utilizing the large muscles of the legs, non-stop, for 30-60 minutes at a time.

Click here if you wish to read more about brown and white fat.

Have a healthy and happy holiday season, and please consider turning down your thermostat at night, unless it's already one of your healthy habits!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Which Area of Your Wellness Do You Need to Boost?

Most of us are weak in one or more areas of wellness, especially since wellness is a continuum, one that we need to always try to keep balanced and positive.  I've divided today's post into some of the different areas of wellness.  Choose whichever area or areas you need help with:

*When perusing a menu, look for these wonderful words:  baked, broiled, steamed, poached, roasted, grilled or broiled.
*WATCH OUT FOR THESE WORDS on a menu:  scalloped, au gratin, battered/breaded, crispy, dipped, sautéed, fried, sizzling, tempura, “Just Like Mom’s."

*If you’re trying hard to lose weight, and only lose a half of a pound, don’t be discouraged.  Think of it as two cubes of butter that have melted off of your body!  Besides, you lost, didn’t you?

*Remember:  No amount of exercise can replace poor nutrition. 

*Watch out for diet soda!  A study showed that people who downed at least two diet sodas a day, (as compared with people who had other drinks, including regular soda!) increased their waistlines up to 6 times more!  Maybe the problem is that when people think "diet" soda, they give themselves permission to eat more.


*The only bad workout is one that didn’t happen.

*Think of exercise as meditation in motion.

*A vigorous workout, compared to a moderate one, will help you zap 37% more calories.

*If you don't know how much weight to lift, and you want to make sure you are working on strength and speeding up your metabolism, find a load that you can lift only 8 consecutive times, with good form.  Be sure to rest at least minute before trying another set.-From Self Magazine, September 2011, a study from University of Central Arkansas.


*What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.  –Ralph Marston

*Do you need to give yourself the same advice you would give a good friend?

*A goal without a plan is just a wish.–Antoine de Saint Exupery

*Things don’t change; we change.  -Henry David Thoreau

*If you kinda do it, it kinda works.  When you really do it, it really works.- Author Unknown

*Fill in the blank, (this is called reframing):  Instead of ____________when I feel stressed, I could _____________ or _______________instead.

*There is research out there that has associated gum disease with heart disease, diabetes and stroke.  Good reason to get your teeth cleaned every six months.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sharing the Wisdom of Others

Hi Everyone,
Yikes, September is almost over!  Time to squeeze in my monthly post.  I decided to share the wisdom of others today.  As many of you know, I'm a lifetime Weight Watcher.  So, I went back over some of the copious notes I've taken at meetings over the years, and selected some of the best ones for you.  The last wisdomette is from my mother, however.  Her insight on so many things amazes me.  I want to be more like her.

Weight Watcher notes:
*The most important eating utensil is a chair.

*Try to have the goal of always having a glass of water at your meals, whether is it instead of or alongside another drink.

*If you look to comfort food when thinking of a loved one who is gone, reach instead for something that person enjoyed doing, or taught you to do.  Examples:  crocheting or reading.

*During those times when you have been in control of your eating, do you remember the feeling you had?  Was is that you felt.....powerful?

*Never put food into your mouth when there's already some there.

*When eating a meal, try to stop eating before becoming overfull.  Use this visual trigger to help remind you to stop:  Put your napkin on your plate.

*If you buy food that is healthy for you, rather than the food that is on sale, remember that you are investing in yourself.

*You never know who you are sitting next to.  For example, there was a gal who sat next to someone she felt had no business being at a WW meeting.  Later, she found out that the woman had just lost over 80 pounds!

*If you are trying to lose weight, and you go off of your plan, don't wait until the next day to get back on track- start again at the next meal.

*Remember, when you are trying to live a healthy life, you can still eat all the foods you like, just in smaller portions.  This needs to be a lifelong habit, so just accept it as a fact, not a temporary behavior while trying to lose weight.

And finally, from my mother:
*The first bite of something is the best tasting bite.  No reason to overdo, you've already had the best part.

As much as I love to work out, I need to remember that exercise is really only a part of the equation when trying to attain a state of wellness. Healthy eating is at least twice as important as exercise. This is what I have deduced from all of my research on those two extremely important topics.

I hope this helps you.  I also hope you have a chance to get out and enjoy the crisp fall weather.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Keep Your Eye on the Finish Line

My good friend Debbie suggested that I write a post about my recently published book. Thanks for the suggestion, Deb.  I try to motivate people in my blog, so I will try to encourage you to get in touch with any long term goals that perhaps have been mulling around in your brain (and your heart) over the years, or at least lately.  Or, another way to look at it is to think about your Bucket List, if you have one.  If you don’t, why is that? What is something you would like to experience or accomplish before you leave this world?

I am proud to say that this month I completed a long-term goal of mine.  It took seven years, but I finally published the book that I’ve always wanted to publish—a holistic self-esteem workbook for tweens and early teens, titled I Am Awesome!  A Healthy Workbook for Kids.  I guess it’s been a goal of mine even longer than that, because forty years ago, when I started my teaching career at Thurston Junior High, I made a little booklet for all the girls in my PE classes, titled Feeling Good.  Some of you can probably guess how I did that—I used the ditto machine!  (If you're old enough to remember the ditto machine, did you love the smell of the ink on the paper as much as I did?)  We’ve come a long way since the days of the ditto machine! 

You know how they say (Who is they anyway?) that it doesn't matter what you do, someone will always find fault with it? Well, I’ve had my share of negative critiques, like the time a workshop teacher told me that I’d have to redo my entire book, in a program that I’d never heard of before. Crybaby Mary had a little setback after that. But the gal (who never thought to mention anything positive along with her critique- #$%^&;!#/) was right,  my book really needed to be redone, and I was eventually open to finding the right person to help me tackle the challenge.  I think that’s the key, being open, and focused on the end result, the finish line. Don’t let the Negative Nancys get you down!

So, I hope my drive is a little contagious to some of you out there who have a long term goal percolating inside of you.  I know many of you have certainly helped motivate me, and given me the confidence to go after my dreams.  If you’d like me to check-in on you from time to time, about any progress you are making on a goal you’d like to share with me, I’m all about it, OK?  Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader! (I wouldn’t want to be a for real cheerleader these days. Yikes! Those stunts they do!  Ay-yi-yi!)

If you are interested, my book is listed on Amazon in two versions- color (my favorite), and black and white.  The nice thing about Amazon is that you can take a peek inside the book, and see sample pages.  Plus, you can read reviews. Another option is to purchase an autographed copy, with a personal message, through my website:   Or, come see me at the Oregon Authors Table at the state fair, August 22-September 1.

I’ve learned from many of my marketing workshops that an author should only talk about their book 20% of the time, and use the remaining 80% of the time to inform. Let's call this post my 20% . J

Take care, dream big, and please consider letting me be amongst those in your life who help motivate you towards your goals.


P.S.   I must take a moment to brag about my sweetheart, Larry.  Talk about reaching a long term goal!  After ten years, of only working on building his log home during time off from his full-time business, and starting totally from scratch (no kits for him!), it is now livable.  We slept in it for the first time in July. (I wanted flush toilets before I was willing to spend the night.)  I wish I had a current photo to post! I'll be sure to add one to my next post. The cabin is just outside of Prineville, overlooking the Ochoco Reservoir.  It is absolutely a work of art.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Rippling Effect

Hi Everyone, 

Are you enjoying these hot summer days we've been having?  How have you been doing wellness-wise?  I wanted to share something I learned one time at a Weight Watcher's meeting, called The Rippling Effect.  It's all about how making one little change can set off  a series of positive motions/emotions.  Below is a scenario, and then I've made a chart to show you how it might look visually.

*You find yourself sitting alone in front of the TV set at night, and start to think about getting up and making a snack.  Somehow you find the strength to not have that snack, and to just stay put.

*After getting through that challenge, you feel a sense of pride in yourself, and for the first time in a long time, (because late night snacking is a huge weakness of yours), you feel no guilt.  As an added bonus, you get a better night's sleep!

*When you wake up, you are still so proud of the decision you made the night before, that you decide to eat a healthy breakfast.  Then, why not keep this progress going!  You decide to exercise.

*With the added exercise you feel more energetic, plus your mood improves.  And, you now continue to have the desire to make healthy choices. So, you choose to eat healthy meals and snacks for the rest of the day.

*After a day like that you begin to feel like you have more self- control.  Plus, your improved mood and choices are perhaps affecting those around you.  And, if luck has its way, you are left with the desire to repeat the good choice you made the night before.

I hope this description and the visual below are helpful to you.  Mind over matter, right?  I know it will help me, if  when I choose to give it a try.  Take care!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Healthy Things I'm Loving Lately

Hi Everyone,

How have you been? I've been trying to squeeze in one post a month, and this month is almost over already! There are a few fitness/nutrition blogs I read on a regular basis, and sometimes bloggers will post things they've been loving lately. So, I thought I'd do the same. And, I truly think each thing I mention can help enhance one's health personally, emotionally, physically, socially, intellectually, or ethically.  In no particular order, I'm loving:

*These swim gloves.  They provide resistance while I'm treading water and using my arms a lot.  When I take them off, and try to swim without them, my arms feel like noodles.  So, I know they work!  They can be purchased at any sporting goods store.
*These Vera Wang leggings.  They. Are. So. Comfortable.  Vera has several styles of leggings for sale at Kohl's. This style, called shaper leggings, has a large tummy band. It can be more flattering than the regular style that stops at the waist. (Sorry men, parts of this post are more for the women.)
*I bought this zipper bag cooler and the three freezer packs the other day at Fred Meyer. Why? Well, I'm good about always having a healthy snack in the car, (usually almonds), but I want to be able to grab this little cooler and put bottled water, cut up vegetables, cheese sticks, or maybe some sandwiches into it at the spur of the moment before heading out for a long day of errands, or a trip to the beach or zoo. Plus, it will be a healthy habit to show the grandkids. (Sorry McDonald's. You lose.)
*I'm loving making 24 small All-Bran muffins instead of 12 large ones, plus tweaking the recipe to suit my fancy. Just take the basic recipe and add things like: berries, walnuts, craisins, grated carrots or zucchini, cinnamon, orange juice, whatever! When you add much more to the recipe, you have to have an extra muffin tin handy. It's fun to put oatmeal on top of the muffins before putting them into the oven, too.

*You can buy socks like the ones purchased below at most sporting good stores. They are a little spendy, (about $15), but worth it to me for these reasons: They are marked with an "L" for the left foot, and an "R" for the right foot, so that the reinforced arch area coincides with the arch of your foot. They are made with a type of material that helps the foot breathe more. Plus, they come up over the heel for less chance of slipping down. This pair is called Feetures.
*Lastly, I'm loving that I have a surprise coming in the mail in mid-July. It's a package from an online personal shopper called Stitch-Fix: My shopper will pick out five items (clothing and jewelry) according to my size, (age?), and tastes. I can keep any, none, or all of the items.  Of course they'll charge me for anything I don't return.  Doesn't it just add a little excitement to your life when you know you have a fun little surprise coming your way?

Well, I hope this post helped motivate you to continue to try to put fitness and wellness even more into the forefront of your own personal journey.  I'd love to hear what you're loving, too!


Friday, May 9, 2014

Finding Just the Right Quote That Clicks With You

Hi Everyone,

Happy May, and Happy Mother's Day this weekend to all the mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers and aunts out there.
I thought I'd list some of the motivational quotes that I put into my workbook for kids.  I think they can work for adults, too, and maybe you'll see one that clicks with you and helps you with your  journey.  Authors of the quotes are listed when known. 

*Never let anyone make you feel less than you are.
*It's never too late to be what you want to be.
*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
*No choice is also a choice. --Yiddish proverb
*Nobody can make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them. --Eleanor Roosevelt
*Don't spend time worrying about things you can't do anything about.
*Asking for support is the first sign of courage.
*Everyone has different problems, but everyone has some kind of problem. --Justine Rendal
*Do not reward yourself with food.  You are not a dog.
*It's not will power, it's want power.
*The difference between try and triumph is a little umph!--Marvin Phillips
*The greatest art of conversation is silence.
*Friends are like family you choose.
*One doesn't know another's sorrow. --Yiddish proverb
*Make decisions in the morning.  That's when your brain is the sharpest.
*IQ will never be as strong as I CAN or I DO.
*To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. --Joseph Chilton Pearse
*It is better to have a fair intellect that is well-used than a powerful one that is idle. --Bryant H. McGill
*Before you complain about your neighbor, clean up your own act.
*You shouldn't give advice you don't follow. --Patricia C. Wrede
*You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. --Harper Lee
*Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. --Plato

Throughout life we are constantly working on maturing in six areas:  personally, emotionally, physically, socially, intellectually and ethically.  I tried to find at least one quote that spoke to each of those areas.  Do you have a motivational quote that you already refer to from time to time?  I'd love to hear what it is. Take good care!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Link to a Motivating Blog

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are doing well.  I've been saving this one for you:  A link to a really cool blog.  Many of you know that I went on a Writer's Cruise recently.  Well, there were over 2000 people on that cruise, but within that cruise, I attended a writer's workshop that included 20 participants and 4 instructors.  I gained so much knowledge from that experience, and met some great people.  One of the participants, Frankie, impressed me quite a bit, with her dedication to fitness/nutrition and her desire to motivate others. Frankie is in her 60's, but you'd never know it by how toned she is, and how much she glows from taking such good care of herself. She's working on a book titled, Shut Up and Work Out.  Basically, she doesn't want to hear anybody's excuses, and will give you several reasons why it's a gift to yourself to work out regularly, and to make good food choices.  Here is a link to her blog:   
Do yourself a favor--copy the link and paste it to your browser. Check it out. I met Frankie's trainer, Nina, on the cruise as well.  Together, they are a wonderful and informative force to be reckoned with. I can't wait to buy the book when it comes out.  It will be one to go back to from time to time, to help keep myself centered, knowledgeable, and motivated.  Check out the rest of Frankie's website--there is a plethora of information, including videos on how to lift weights correctly. I guarantee you'll learn something and gain some motivation towards taking better care of yourself.

I hope all you peeps have a nice Easter.  Thanks for reading my blog.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Replace It and Erase It

Hello Everyone,

How have you been?  As most of you know, I've been vacationing.  Our recent Princess cruise took us to:  San Diego, Cabo San Lucas, LaPaz, Loreto, and Puerto Vallarta.  The highlight was our zip-lining excursion.  That was intense!  Here's a snapshot for you:
Back to reality, and the reason for the title of this post:  Replace It and Erase It.  When I was talking to students the other day, while waiting for the final bell, I overheard a colleague of mine talking to a student who was complaining about a teacher that she didn't like.  My friend (Rae) told her to, "Erase it and replace it."  Erase those negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts.  She wanted the student to think about a teacher that she really liked, instead of thinking about the one she didn't like.

I've been thinking about Rae's excellent advice ever since then, and trying to incorporate it into my life.  Yes, I'm an optimist, but not always. When something or someone bothers me, I need to replace that thought with something positive. Anyway, before I close, I shall leave you with these tidbits:

*Do you have trouble with raised shoulder bumps on your shirts, sweaters, and dresses when you take them off the hanger?  Fear no more, just hang those clothes inside out!

*Would you like to know how you can tell if the eggs in your fridge are still fresh enough to use?  Drop an egg (still in the shell) into a bowl of water.  If it floats, it's a no go.

* I may have already shared this before, but it bears repeating: Think of exercise as a love affair with your future.  As in any love affair, you find the time that it requires.---Anonymous

*How to determine how much protein you need in a day:  Divide your body weight (or the weight that you think is ideal for you)  in pounds by two.  That's how many grams of protein to aim for each day.  Plus, if you try to have protein at each meal it will help stabilize your blood sugar levels, and you will feel full longer.

*Be careful of the term natural on a food label.  It means that:  there is no added color; and there are no synthetic substances or flavors.  Given that definition, lard is natural!

All for now!  I hope you are enjoying the spring blossoms and those periodic nice days!


Saturday, February 8, 2014

40 Things to Do When Stuck at Home

Hi Everyone,

Well, many of you are stuck at home because of the snow, freezing rain, etc.  Cabin fever is probably starting to settle in, so I thought I'd send out a list of 40 Things to Do When Stuck at Home.

If you have any more suggestions for my list, please send them to me by email at:  My sister Ginny put on her cross-country skis and went around the neighborhood.  How cool is that?

I hope you are able to make the most of this situation, and maybe even strengthen your relationships with housemates or with people you might call or write.

OK.  Here's the list:

1.     Give yourself and/or someone else a manicure/pedicure.
2.     Do your taxes. (I know. No Fun.)
3.     Clean/organize your closet or junk drawer.
4.     Bake something fun.
5.     Plan your next vacation.
6.     Write letters to people.
7.     Make greeting cards.  How about homemade Valentines?
8.     Practice an instrument.
9.     Download and watch a movie or TV series.
10.   Do an exercise DVD.  Or, make up your own routine.
11.   Walk to the neighbors and visit.
12.   Play board games or cards.
13.   Read a good book or magazine.
14.   Defrost the freezer or clean the refrigerator. (No fun.)
     15.   Draw or paint something.
16.   Make a "To Do" list for when the weather clears.
17.   Make homemade play dough.
18.   Make a video and post it on U Tube.
19.   Make something out of duct tape.
20.   Start a jigsaw puzzle.
21.   Write a poem or song.
22.   Make a fort with the kids.
23.   Put out food for the birds and squirrels.
24.   Play Nerf basketball, or create your own basket and ball.
25.   Research a topic that interests you.
26.   Take a bubble bath.
27.   Look up DIY (Do It Yourself) projects.
28.   Make a photo album.
29.   Call someone you haven’t talked to for a long time.
30.   Start a journal.  Decorate the cover with a collage about
         your interests/goals.
31.   Find a world map and study it.
32.   Organize a study or crafting area in your home.
33.   Go through your high school yearbooks.
34.   Practice juggling oranges, tennis balls or scarves.
35.   Make paper airplanes.
36.   Practice origami.
37.   Make your own wrapping paper with finger paints.
38.   Play hacky sack.
39.   Give someone (or yourself) a makeover.
40.   Find something to put on Craig’s List.
Stay warm and positive!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New You!

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to get your attention with the title Happy New You!, instead of the traditional Happy New Year!  Many people, including myself, do look forward to self-improvement in the new year, so the title works for me.

I know that many people don't like New Year's Resolutions, and I understand why.  It's too broad of a topic, and why must we wait until January to come up with goals for self-improvement?  The latter should be an ongoing event.  Perhaps we should start to reflect on the week behind us, and try to improve the week ahead of us. 

Here's the deal, what works best is when goals are stated in specific and measurable amounts.  Instead of, "I'm going to work out more," it should be something like:  "I will schedule at least three one hour workouts a week."  Instead of, "I'm going to start eating better,"  it should be something like:  "Every Sunday I will make a weekly menu; a grocery list; go shopping for those foods; and do some early preparation of some of the items."  Or, "I'll try one vegetarian recipe a week." 

One obvious goal for me is:  No surgeries in 2014.  I had three surgeries in 2013.  That's enough for awhile!  I will share another goal with you, because studies have shown that people stick to their goals better if they share them with a friend or loved one.  No popcorn for me, after dinner, for 5 of the 7 days of the week, between now and February 27, (the day we leave for a nice long vacation).  Believe it or not, this is going to be quite a challenge for me.  I think I could marry popcorn, if it were a person. 

Here are some healthy tips to share:
*Many of you know that cardio workouts work better at chipping away the belly fat than target area exercises (like crunches).  That's because you need to burn away the fat that is lying on top of the muscle.  Well, the best type of workout for chipping away the 'ol muffin top is intervals.  In a study reported by the International Journal of Obesity, the women who alternated cycling as fast as possible for 8 seconds with 12 second rest periods, during 20 minute workouts, lost 9.5% fat off of their mid-sections. Yowzer!  I just wish the article I read had reported how many days (or workouts) the study covered.  Anyway, interval training can be included in any type of cardio exercise you choose.  And, it makes sense that this type of workout would burn more fat.  The other obvious way to lose the fat is by eating less calories, of course.

*If you've ever wondered which is better- lifting free weights, or using the weight machines at the gym, free weights is the winner.  Lifting a free weight requires input from more muscle fibers, in order to keep you steady, which in turn recruits more muscles.  There's a good argument for having a few hand weights around your house to use during TV commercials!

*Do you drink more than one serving of diet soda per day?  If you do, you might develop kidney problems. The Harvard Medical School scientists studied more than 3,200 women. Those women who drank two or more servings of diet soda per day had a 30% decrease in kidney function.  This decline was not seen in the women who drank regular soda, so the scientists believe that  artificial sweetener was the culprit.  That's enough evidence for me!

All for now.  I hope 2014 is starting out well for you.  I wish you the best in any of your efforts to improve your health.

Mary R.