Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Looking Back One Year

Hi Everyone.  Happy Almost Easter.  Think back to last Easter.  How were you doing as far as taking care of your health?  Are you doing better this year?  The same?  Worse?  It's good to stop and check ourselves once in awhile, and perhaps kick ourselves in the butt, if necessary. Or, pat ourselves on the back.  Our health should be our top priority.

Anyway, I want to share something interesting that I read about the other day.  There was a study of 660 people in Texas, Kentucky and Maryland.  The upshot of the study was that if you are over 60, and doing OK mentally at that point, you can enhance your "episodic memory" by having 1-2 cocktails.  That's news to me!  Episodic memory is the ability to bring events to mind, whether they are recent happenings, or events from long ago.  The thought is that moderate alcohol consumption might promote generation of new nerve cells in the hippocampus- the brain area considered critical for episodic memory.  The link between the moderate alcohol consumption and the episodic memory improvement was revealed through reviewing the participants' alcohol consumption, demographics, neuropsychological evaluations, MRIs of their brains, and whether or not they were genetically at risk for Alzheimer's.  Researchers warned, however, that having five or more drinks an any one occasion would do the brain more harm than good.  (Well, now, duh).--From Dr. Andrew Weill's Daily Health Tips, (an excellent blog to follow).

It really bothers me when people make such a big deal about aging, inferring that it means you're going downhill. You could actually improve your health as your age.  As a matter of fact, your "golden years" could be just that--golden, because you are finally taking care of you!  By just losing 10% of your body weight, (which, obviously, for a 200 pound person is only 20 pounds), you can reap the following benefits:

*Better blood pressure and heart health.
*Lower cholesterol.
*Less risk for diabetes.
*Better sleep, (if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea).
*Less joint and back pain.
*Improved breathing.
*Less risk for colon cancer.
*Less risk for breast cancer.
*A healthier and happier gallbladder.
*More energy.
*Improved self-esteem.

So, instead of setting an overwhelming weight loss goal, why not just shoot for 10% ?

I hope this finds you well and happy. If you ever want someone to help support you through a wellness goal, I encourage you to reach out to someone.  My sister and I have texted each other daily, for 7 months now, reporting on how we're doing regarding food intake and exercise.  It has really helped us.  Happy Easter!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

This and That

Hi Everyone,

How is the year going so far?  Don't blink, you might miss the end of February!  Sheesh, where does the time go?

Speaking of time, if you're having a hard time motivating yourself to tackle a nutrition or exercise goal, or both, remember that it will indeed take time to see results.  After all, having good health habits shouldn't be a temporary thing, but instead, a lifelong journey you take.  And, if you are trying hard to improve in those areas, remind yourself that it took time to put on the extra weight, or to get into poor shape, and therefore it will take time to reverse it all as well.  And yet, if indeed you follow through, you'll look back on that journey as something that really wasn't that hard, (once you made up your mind to go for it), and that it didn't really take as much time as you thought it would.  I know, sounds kind of contradicting, but bear with me, please.  Remember when you thought you'd be in school forever?  And now, look back at your high school years. Doesn't it seem like a really short time in your life?

Anyway, as usual, I digress.  Here is what I would like to share, from going through my little notebook where I paste healthful magazine clippings and write notes from Weight Watcher meetings.  Tidbits of information that caught my eye:

*"Life is far too rich, interesting, and short to waste on hating your body."-Author Unknown

*"Change will only happen when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain to change."-Author Unknown

*Don't say, "I can't".  You'll feel deprived.  Say, "I choose...".

*Try having "reverse leftovers".  If you eat a larger meal in the middle of the day, take the leftovers (maybe adding a soup or salad), and have them for dinner.

*However, some people think if they eat later in the day, they'll gain weight.  This is not true, if you have not yet had the quota of calories that your body requires per day, you can eat those calories whenever you want.

*But, if you want to even out your blood sugar and crank up your metabolism, dole your meals out into 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day--it will keep your body from thinking it's starving.  Having your body think that you're starving is NOT the way to lose weight.  It will throw everything off.

*Do you ever put in an exercise DVD at home?  Try wearing your swimsuit next time--that might keep you motivated!

*As has been in the news lately, we need to limit how much we sit.  Limit "sit time" to about two hours a day, if you can.  One study checked the blood sugar (glucose) of thousands of women and found that for every hour spent watching TV, the blood sugar levels rose.  What happens to excess glucose?  It ends up as stored fat. 

*But what if your job requires a lot of sit time?  I hope you show my post to your boss and beg for 5 minutes off per hour, to walk around the work area.  You'll probably be happier, and more productive.  Also, consider asking for a stand-up station, or some pedals to put below the desk.  Yes, I'm serious. I guess a person could always just pedal her feet without having any pedals, if need be.

*Do you need something to shoot for?  Sign up for a 5K walk in your area, one that helps raise money for a good cause.  Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

*You've heard this before--drink more water. Well, 75% of each muscle is water!  Divide your body weight by 2 to get an approximate of the # of ounces of water you need daily.  And, if you've ever consciously tried drinking more water, you've probably noticed that you start craving it!

*Prolong satisfaction, plus help lower your levels of bad cholesterol (LDL's) by adding good fats to your salads.  Excellent examples are:  avocado, olives and sunflower seeds. 

*Some people worry that if they start lifting weights, they'll gain more muscle.  No, that number is set for life, but you can increase the size of the muscle fibers, which in turn determines how tight and strong you look.

*And finally, the next time you reach for more food or alcohol, remember that your body has to put the excess somewhere.

I don't pretend to follow all of my suggestions, but researching and sharing them always helps me, selfishly, to improve my own efforts towards increased wellness.  I hope one or more of these suggestions has helped you as well.

Take good care,

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Good Book for Women

Hi Everyone,

I'm trying to stick to my goal of writing a post once a month.  Nothing like cutting it close on this one, since it's January 31st!  At least I was able to take a 10 day cruise in the eastern Caribbean this month.   It was so nice to be in the warm weather and water.  But now, back to reality!  At least we've had some great bike-riding weather this week.  I hope you had a chance to get out and enjoy the nice weather.

So, I got a chance to do a lot of reading while on the cruise, and I'd like to review one of the books I read, hoping you might either want to read it, or at least be able to grab a helpful piece of information from what I'm sharing.

The book is titled, Younger Next Year (for Women), Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy--Until You're 80 and Beyond.  It was written by Chris Crowley, (a seventy-something, retired lawyer from Wall Street), and Henry S. Lodge, MD.  Chris was a patient of Dr. Lodge's and learned from him about how to change his life/health for the better. Each author takes a turn writing alternate chapters throughout the book-Chris giving you the 'This is what it did for me' feedback, plus a lot of good pep talks;  and Dr. Lodge scientifically explaining, right down to the cellular level, why his advice works.

Males writing a book specifically for women?  Well, they wrote one for everybody, but decided to write another book, specifically for women who are in the last third+ of their lives, especially since some scientific information can be geared towards the post-menopausal woman.  You should see all of the yellow highlighting I did in my book!  And, I'd love to go over so much of it here, but I know brevity is needed, so I'll try to keep it short.

Here are Harry's (Dr. Lodge's) Rules: 

1.  Exercise 6 days a week for the rest of your life.

2.  Within those 6 days, four of them should be serious aerobic exercise for the rest of your life.

3.  Also within those 6 days, you should do serious strength training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.

4.  Spend less than you make.

5.  Quit eating crap!

6.  Care.

7.  Connect and commit.

Here are some quotes from the book:
*"Bad things do happen to some older women in America.  Bone loss is a terrible problem.  Heart attacks and strokes are the great killers of women.  Lots more women than men do die broke.  But the terrible things are probably not going to happen to you.  Because the worst things turn out to be voluntary. You do not have to go there.  So don't."

*"70% of aging is voluntary...you do not have to do it.  And you can also skip 50% of all the sickness and serious accidents you'd expect to have from the time you turn fifty to the day you die."

*"70% of premature death is lifestyle-related."

*"Most American women today will live into their mid-eighties or early nineties, whether they're in great shape or shuffling around on walkers."

*"There is an immutable biology of aging, and you can't do anything about it: hair gets gray, gravity takes its toll and movies go to half price.  Your maximum heart rate declines steadily over time, regardless of how active you are. That's big.  Your skin degenerates, too, regardless of lifestyle.  So you will look old, no matter what.  But you do not have to act old or feel old.  That's what counts."

OK.  Enough.  I could say so much more.  This is a well-written and motivating book.  I hope you gained at least one tidbit of knowledge or one inkling of motivation from what I have reported in this post.

Take good care,


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.

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