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.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

Hi Everyone,

How are you holding up during the holidays?  I'm staying down more than usual because of a recent foot surgery.  It has given me time to ponder, which is related to today's post topic. 

I recently saw a graphic about how a person needs to get out of his/her comfort zone in order to grow as a person.  It motivated me to dig a little deeper into the topic.  So many people talk about things they'd like to do, but don't go ahead and try new things because they would be leaving a place where they have mental security.  But, as one person said:  "If you want something you've never had, then you've got to do something you've never done."

Here's another quote:  "Our habits are the fence lining our comfort zone."  Are we afraid of change? It is a well-known fact that when change happens, things usually get worse before they get better.  Most of us don't want to go through that discomfort.  People should be more optimistic and think about the exciting results that might just happen if they allow themselves to try something new.  Perhaps baby steps are in order. Before you try something like bungee jumping, why not try volunteering?  Traveling alone?  Taking a class on something you've always wanted to learn about? If we practice stepping out of our comfort zone, then each time it will feel better---kind of like building up resiliency to change.

Here are a few graphics I found in my search:

That's all for now, folks.  Just remember the old saying:  "If you always do what you always did, then you'll always get what you always got."  I shall now go forth and try to follow my own advice.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season,

Mary R.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Being Motivated By Others

Hi Everyone,

Are you gearing up for the holidays?  Where does time go? Since it flies by so fast, I want to make the most of every day and every thing, don't you?

I recently made the most of an idea I saw on someone else's blog.  Katie, a very energetic and positive Canadian gal  at  always writes about working out to Leslie Sansone's exercise tapes.  Tapes, schmapes.  (I made up that last word.)  I never was one to get excited over exercise tapes.  But, then recently she mentioned that she came home one day to see her husband working out to one of the tapes! Now, that piqued my interest, and I ordered one of Leslie's tapes.  It's called, Belly Blasting Walk.  Today I tried the tape, and was really pleased with it.  For one thing, it's mostly walking, and Leslie makes sure the beats per minute in the music are fast enough that you are at a 15 minute mile pace, which is 4.0 miles per hour on the treadmill.  It's better than a treadmill walk, however, because you're using your arms much more, lifting your knees, and even doing some squats, (good, but ugh!).  After the two mile walk there are two more segments, one that works on the core muscles, and one that works on the arms and gluts, (aka the butt muscles).  I was so tickled, that I put the tape back on and did the first mile again!  You know those rainy days when you just want to stay inside?  Well, here's my answer--a Leslie Sansone walking tape!

Have you been motivated by someone else's example?  I bet you have, and I bet each one of us has motivated several people, in a variety of ways. Anyway, here are a few more things to ponder:

*First up is a tip from Weight Watchers International.  If many of your meals are in restaurants, try to keep a mental hold on ordering too much food, or the wrong food choices with this strategy: Make conscience good food choices if you are eating out just because you need to have the meal. (You know, dressing on the side; substitute steamed vegetables; lean protein;  yada, yada, yada.) Save any splurges for those special dining occasions- birthdays, holidays, etc.  This strategy can really save you from adding extra pounds because you are thinking ahead about how you approach each meal.

*Consider making this healthy rule for yourself:  Never step out without sun protection. Keep it next to your toothbrush. 

*It's important to at least go for walks or take a class that has you bouncing a bit.  Why?  Once you hit 30, your bones stop accumulating calcium.  Weight-bearing exercise is required to keep bones strong.  Putting weight on a bone makes it recruit calcium in order to build itself back up. So, just swimming and biking isn't enough for me, as far as what I do for cardio workouts, even with the bad hips.
*Other vitamins and minerals are important in building healthy bones:  Vitamin D to help absorb calcium, (think salmon, shrimp, D-fortified milk and orange juice); Vitamin K to enable certain bone-forming proteins do what needs to be done, (think kale, broccoli, Swiss chard and spinach); and potassium, which scientists think might help neutralize acids that suck the calcium out of your body, (think sweet potato, white potato, nonfat yogurt and bananas). 

That's all folks!  Be well!  Enjoy the holiday season.

Mary R.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Talking to Strangers.

The other day I was at the gym, and had just finished a wonderful workout in the warm pool, basically treading water for thirty minutes.  I had decided to take that route as opposed to putting on goggles and swimming a mile in the colder pool.  Not only does it take more motivation to jump into a cold pool, but I  didn't want what I call "raccoon eyes" from the goggles.

In the locker room, this gal who had just finished swimming laps said, "Isn't swimming just the best way to start your day?"
I told her I was proud of her for swimming the laps and explained to her why I chose not to wear the goggles and do the same.  She said, "I know what you mean, but I don't have to look at myself, and I know how good it makes me feel inside.  Besides, who cares what others might think?  At least I got in a workout before I started my day, and besides, if the ship goes down, I'm the one surviving!"

That was great.   I'm glad I had that interaction with her, and will use her rationale the next time I try talking myself out of swimming laps.  Plus, her enthusiasm was contagious. 

Now, onto some healthful information:
*This is on the wall at my gym:  "No amount of exercise can replace poor nutrition."   From everything I've read, that is so true.  Diet trumps exercise.  But, a good diet, and the right amount of exercise is the perfect combo, of course.

*I knew drinking green tea was healthful, but this seems pretty amazing:  Women can lower their risk of breast cancer by 28% when they drink two or more cups of green tea a day. --The Journal of Nutrition

*Think of exercise as a love affair with your future.  As in any love affair, you need to find the time that it requires to make it work.

*Have you ever wondered how long it takes to start losing muscle after you stop working out perhaps because of an injury or illness?  "Muscle strength starts to decrease after about two weeks, and you'll feel and see a difference within 6 weeks.  Change in tone is noticeable first in smaller muscles, like your arms and abs.  The good news: Even if you take a few weeks off from working out, you can regain the benefits of strength training at least twice as fast as if you would have never exercised." -Carol Espel, MS, fitness expert

I hope this finds you all feeling well and happy.  Have you ever had a fun and motivating conversation with a complete stranger?

Mary R.

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