Friday, June 26, 2015

Helpful Fitness and Dieting Insight



Hello Again,

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


All for now!  Wishing you wellness.


Mary

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Suggestions for How to Stick to Health and Fitness Goals







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


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


REASONS WHY AMERICANS CAN'T KEEP HEALTH AND FITNESS RESOLUTIONS:
*52% said there wasn't enough time to exercise.
*36% said exercise was too boring.
*19% said they were too overwhelmed with choices & options.
*17% said they weren't seeing results.




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


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


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


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


Mary

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Something to Consider



Hi Everyone.  I recently accompanied my dear friend while she received two units of blood.  It dawned on me that I have NEVER given blood.  I’ve received transfusions, after surgery, and entertained the idea of donating blood, but have never followed up on that thought.


So, I asked the nurse if there was a shortage of blood at the blood bank.  She remarked that there are peaks and valleys.  She said that she’s always aware of the valleys, because her husband gets a phone call urging him to donate.  His blood type is O-, the type that can be a universal donor.  



How many of us even know our blood type? I think blood type should be listed on a person’s driver’s license.  I’m proud to say my children have donated blood on numerous occasions.  I need to get with it!

Here is some information about blood types:
*There are 4 main blood types:  A, B, AB, and O. 
  

*Each of the blood types are either Rh-positive (+) or Rh-negative (-).
 
*Only about 15% of the population is Rh-, which means that those people lack a certain protein on their red blood cells.

*If you are Rh+, you can receive blood that is either Rh+ or Rh-.

*If you are Rh-, you can only receive blood that is Rh-.
*The majority of the population is either O+ (38%),  or A+ (34%).  The other types are:  O- (7%),  A-  (6%),  B+  (9%);  B-  (2%),  AB+  (3%),  and AB- (1%).
*Someone who is AB+ is a universal recipient.  He/she can receive any type of blood.
There are a few circumstances where you cannot give blood:
*If you are anemic.
*If you had a tattoo or skin piercing in the last four months.
*If you aren't feeling well.
*If you've had an infection in the last few weeks.
*If you've had antibiotics in the last 7 days.
*If you have or had a heart condition.
*If you travelled outside the country within the past 6 months. 
I'm sure there are other extenuating circumstances, but those were the general ones.
I hope that in next month's post I'll be reporting to you that I finally donated blood.  :-)   Would any of you like to share this goal with me?
Wishing you happiness and good health,
Mary

 

 

 

 


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!


Mary





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,
Mary

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,


Mary



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,


Mary







There was an error in this gadget