Tag Archives: food

This is Why…..

15 Feb

I am very passionate about motivating, inspiring and encouraging people that life and health is directly related to choices that we make….it’s not just something that happens to us.  However, I do not “preach” something that I do no practice.  Our bodies are amazing creations and daily choices can help those creations or hurt those creations.  I cannot put harmful foods, drinks, and substances into my body and expect my body to keep running at optimal performance.  I cannot sit all day and all evening and expect my body to continue being strong, flexible, and healthy.  I cannot think negative thoughts and expect my emotions, my outlook on life, and my interactions with people to be positive.

Yesterday, while sitting in the lobby at the UT Cancer Institute, I was reminding of why it’s so important for me to do what I can to help my body run at its best.  Last year, my doctor was concerned about some tests and wanted a second opinion and biopsy done by one of the best doctors for women’s health in our area – thankfully, there was no cancer; but I am on a follow-up program for a while.  Needless to say, the importance of making healthy choices became even more of a passion for me.

This small journey began in November of 2011; and at one of my very first appointments, the doctor went over with me the choices I needed to be making to help out my immune system.  Exercise, Rest, food choices, Positive thinking, no smoking, being careful of alcohol consumption, stress, and toxic relationships were all topics that entered that conversation.  I already was ahead of most people when it came to exercise, food choices, no smoking, and alcohol consumption; however, I needed to work on stress, rest and toxic relationships. I realized more than ever that I had to make good choices for me and my wellbeing. I could not continue to allow undue stress or relationships that were not healthy for me to be part of my daily life in any way, shape, or form. I also chose not to tell the whole world what was going on…just my family and a few trusted friends. I’m of the belief that the more you talk about something the bigger it can become and did not want to add more worry, fear, or stress.

I moved forward from that day – left certain things, situations, and people behind me – the past was the past and I just wanted to focus on the present moment and things I could do “today” to help make a better future for my mind, my emotions and my health. Was it always easy? No. Did I have moments where fear and worry would try to overwhelm me? Yes, I did. What I chose to do in those moments was very critical….I could allow the emotion to overwhelm me or I could acknowledge it and then remind myself that everything was going to work out and all would be well. I would quote Bible Scriptures or positive quotes….would spend time in prayer and meditation…or would lace up the running shoes and hit the road. I knew my choices would matter and make a difference. Now I’m not saying that my choices caused me NOT to have cancer – I am saying that I did what I needed to do to help my body out. Putting the wrong things into my body and my mind was not going to help my immune system get stronger – it would only weaken it. I did what I needed to do and that’s all that mattered. I controlled what I could and then let go of what I could not control. Choices…we are faced with them every moment and we have been given the power and the freedom to choose. I don’t take that lightly or for granted. This is why I do what I do, say what I say, live what I live – it’s my choice

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Let’s make a memory….

27 Jun

As I thought about what to put in my intro to my newsletter for the month of July, I decided to google “July Holidays.”  I had NO idea all the things that I need to celebrate in the month of July.  Did you know that July is National Blueberry Month, National Anti-Boredom Month, National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, National Hot Dog Month, and National Ice Cream Month???? I had no idea. And, then we get into the days of the month…it appears that the 16th of July is the only date on the calendar that has no celebration. Here in the US, we are all familiar with Independence Day that we celebrate on July 4th – and those of us that have friends in Canada know that July 1st is Canada Day. But, there are sooooo many more celebrations to have!

For example, July 3rd is Compliment Your Mirror Day. July 7th is Chocolate Day and National Strawberry Sundae Day.  On July 10th, it is Teddy Bear Picnic Day. And on the 13th, we are supposed to embrace our geekness!  I will choose NOT to celebrate National Nude Day on the 14th and don’t want to know if you do 😉  Even the Ratcatchers get a Holiday on the 22nd.You can Take Your Pants for a Walk on the 27th and we would be remiss to miss Father-in-law Day on the 30th!!!  These are just a sampling of the Unique and Bizaare Holidays that one can celebrate in the month of July.  (My source was:  http://holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/july.htm)

Crazy? Fun? Interesting? Sure!!!! That’s what life is about.  Finding the small things and celebrating them.  Taking ordinary moments and turning them into a joyous occasion and a reason to make memories with friends and family members.  It’s not the big vacations that fill our lives with so much joy…..Yes, they are fun to take and we do create many memories while we are on those vacations.  But, we cannot live at Disney World all year long.  We have to learn to savor the unexpected, fun moments that come our way when we are least expecting it…..and to take a crazy Holiday like, Sidewalk Egg Frying Day, and actually celebrate it.

Too many times we wait for the BIG occasions to make memories and enjoy life….life is too short to just wait for once-a-year vacations.  Every day there is something to celebrate…try it….see how creative you can get…..LIVE in the moment and embrace it!

On the road…in the air

12 Jun

Summer is here and many of us will embark on a few journeys during the next three months.  Weekend getaways to the beach or to the mountains. Long weekends to the cabin. Holiday travel over the 4th of July and over the Labor Day weekend.  Road trips and airports can wreak havoc on our wellbeing if we don’t plan in advance and make wise choices.  All it takes is a little preparation and planning to keep us from the potholes of bad foods.

If you’re traveling by car, packing a picnic basket and cooler is a great way to ensure that you have healthy choices at your fingertips.  Some great memories can be made as you look for fun picnic stops along your way.  Stock the car with fruits, trail mix, water, juice, etc.  The food items that are in your pantry at home can be transferred to your car.  Not only will this decision help your waistline….it will also help save you money!  If you have children, eating a picnic lunch at a park or roadside rest area can provide them an opportunity to play, run, and be loud….something they cannot do (or should not do) in a restaurant.

If you’re traveling by airplane, it is definitely a good choice to bring snacks….most airports snacks are not healthy and are very expensive.  Also, bring your water bottle along…. No, you cannot have water in it when you go through security, but you can take an empty water bottle through security and then all you have to do is find a water fountain.  Some airports have water filtering systems that provide good water for you.  I’ve been in two airports in the last few months that had this kind of system (Portland, Maine, and Chicago, Illinois).

Many hotel rooms now provide a small refrigerator and microwave.  Find a local co-op, farmer’s market, roadside stands, and grocery stores that provides healthy options once you arrive at your destination and stock your room with healthy foods.  If you are staying in a cabin or camper, you can really make great choices because you have the ability to cook, as well.

If you decide to eat out, do the local economy a favor….seek out restaurants that are local and provide farm-fresh foods and regional, ethic cuisine instead of going to national chain restaurants.  If possible, I always seek out local restaurants when I’m traveling just like I do when I’m at home.

On my recent trip to Michigan, I stocked my car with fresh fruit, veggies, hummus, black beans, salsa, blue corn tortilla chips and only had to purchase my soy latte.  It was easy, fast and cost efficient.  On my way back to Tennessee, I did the same and then made a stop at Whole Foods in Indianapolis to purchase my supper and, of course, a vegan chocolate chip cookie for my dessert!

Don’t be at the mercies of gas station convenient marts and fast food!!!  Be proactive and make GOOD choices.  Here are some resources that can help you do this:

www.healthyhighways.com/travelinfo.shtml (Lists 2,800 US healthy eateries, natural food markets and co-ops.)

www.eatwellguide.org (Locate real food via zip code or city and state)

www.localharvest.org (Find a farmers’ market by product or location)

www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php (Vegetarian Journal’s guide to Natural Foods Restaurants in the US and Canada)

Apps for your phone – Bon’ App, Locavore App, Happy Cow App, and iVegetarian App

Happy, healthy traveling!

 

 

 

 

Ban on Soda?

4 Jun

NYC makes the news once again as Mayor Bloomberg says he wants to set a cap on the size of sodas and other sugary drinks that are sold at city restaurants, movie theaters, and stadiums…..16 ounces and that’s it….nothing larger. This would include street cart vendors, delis, movie theaters, restaurants, ballpark concessions but not include grocery stores and convenient stores.  Vendors who are in violation of the ban would pay a $200 fine after a 3-month phase-in period.  This would not apply to drinks with fewer than 25 calories per 8-ounce serving, diet sodas, certain fruit juices, dairy-based drinks, and alcoholic beverages

As a fitness/wellness coach, do I agree with this?  Do I think it’s a good thing?

NO!!!!!

Wellness choices and healthy lifestyles have to be an individual’s decision.  I do not believe in government control of individual’s freedoms to make choices.

Also, diet sodas are just as bad as regular sodas and studies have been done to show that they can lead to obesity issues, as well.  Fruit juices and dairy-based drinks have calories and sugar.  And don’t even get me started on alcoholic beverages (calories, alcohol issues, drunk driving, etc).  A calorie is a calorie and soft drinks are NOT the cause of obesity…. Have soft drinks contributed to the rise in obesity?  Yes, but they are not the only reason obesity levels have risen.

How about we take the money that would be spent to enforce this law and put it into our school lunch programs to serve our children healthier foods?   Adults at a restaurant have the ability to choose whether or not they drink a soft drink and how much they drink.  Children being served a school lunch don’t have the ability to choose what is being served to them.  Let’s make sure they are served fresh, healthy food AND support local farmers.

I’m always concerned when government begins to step into our freedom….

Let’s Get It Started!

20 May

Mornings…….

Some people have a love/hate relationship with them.

Some people wish mornings didn’t start until noon.

Some people love the pre-dawn hours and get all of their work accomplished by noon.

Some people drag out of bed  – others bounce right out and start at full speed.

No matter which category you fall into….mornings WILL happen 🙂

The choices you make in the morning will affect the rest of your day, so it is very important to choose wisely.

It all starts with a good night’s sleep – it’s important to be rested when you are facing another day.  If you have to be up at 5, you might want to go to bed before midnight.  Study after study is showing that 7-8 hours of sleep is vital for our wellbeing, weight loss, metabolism, etc. It’s been shown that sleep-deprived people eat up to 550 calories more per day and aren’t as likely to burn those calories off. (http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/articles/53-diabetes-news/12409–less-sleep-means-more-eating )

It’s also good to give yourself enough time to get everything done that you need to do before walking out of the house….yes, walking out….not madly, frantically running here and there trying to get everything together and find keys, papers, etc. while making a mad dash out of the door.  If your day starts calm, you feel more like facing any challenge that may arise.  If your day starts frantic and in a frenzy, one stressful moment may push you over the edge!  So, no pushing the snooze button multiple times…..

Drink – start your day with a glass of water.  Your body needs water and your metabolism needs it, as well.  First thing I do after waking up is to go to the kitchen and get a glass of water and drink it all!

Get the body moving – I’m not suggesting that you have to do an intense workout first thing in the morning….especially for those of you who aren’t morning people 🙂  A walk outside in the yard, walking your dog, some stretching, some yoga poses, push ups, Pilates, etc. can help wake you up and energize you.

Eat!!!! – Breakfast is THE most important meal of the day – DON’T skip it!!!!  Food is fuel and your body needs fuel to get through the day.  I’ve had some clients tell me they don’t eat because they don’t like breakfast foods (oatmeal, cereal, etc) – I say, then don’t eat typical breakfast foods…..just make sure you include protein, complex carbs, good fats.  In order to rev up your metabolism, you must eat.

Make time for meditation, prayer, inspirational reading, writing in your journal, words of affirmation, etc.  Don’t forget your spirit – remember that you are here for a reason and that is to make a difference in the world, in someone’s life, in your day.

Each day is a gift….life is precious….each moment counts. The way you start your day determines the way you handle your day and the things that happen during the day.  Your start can set you up for success…..or set you up for failure.  Which will you choose?

Man, I feel like a woman :)

14 May

I’m glad I feel like a woman and I’m glad that I AM a woman!!!  🙂 Here In the United States, the focus is on women for a few days.  We celebrated Mother’s Day yesterday, and today we begin National Women’s Health Week.

Women are usually so busy giving care and nurturing others that we can neglect our health and even ignore symptoms.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services want women to make their health a priority so they initiated this weeklong campaign to empower and educate women to do this.

One way to be a healthy woman is to make good eating choices and put physical activity into your day. What you put into your mouth can determine your health.  Fruits, Vegetables, Whole grains, lean protein, and water are all great choices to make for your health.  Becoming active can help prolong your live, increase your wellbeing, and help prevent diseases.  We should move more than we sit.  Including activity in our daily lives is one of the best things we can do…even for our mental health.  Working out can help you feel better, look better, BE better!!  You can join the 2012 Woman Challenge by going to this link:

http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/woman-challenge/

To find an event in you area: http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/events/

Today is National Women’s Checkup Day….when is the last time you were at your family doctor? What about your ObGyn? This is soooo important!! mammograms and Pap Smears can save lives – it can find diseases and cancer early.  Don’t put it off! If you have not been, call right now and make an appointment.  If you don’t have health care, check with your local health department, sometimes there are health care providers in your community that will offer them at a lower rate.  These screenings are vital to your wellbeing. Go to this link for a wealth of information: http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/check-up-day/

Cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer in women and, most of the time, in its early stages has no symptoms; however, it can be detected in a Pap Smear.  For more information on cervical cancer, its treatment, its prevention, etc.:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001895/

If you are a woman, celebrate being a woman by taking part in this women’s health week – involve mothers, daughters, friends!!!

If you are a man, make sure the women in your life are taking care of themselves and make them aware of the emphasis on women’s health this week.

Let’s make good choices to be WELL!!

The future of girls

31 Mar

As I sit and drink my morning coffee, I’m reflecting on a fitstudio chat on twitter, an article Jillian Michaels tweeted, a news blurb I listened to on NPR, a traumatic day at school for my youngest niece, and my role in all of this.

Yes, this blog will focus on the female gender not because I’m biased but because I am one and I’m a role model for two nieces that are my world.

Empowering Kids with Healthy Choices was the topic of Wednesday’s fitstudio chat on twitter.  As always, it was a great chat with lots of great tips and advice.  Towards the end of the chat, we started discussing role models for girls and how we could be positive role models for the girls in our lives.

One way I do that is to never say, “I hate my_______” or “I don’t like the way my ______ looks”.  I feel that we as women need to embrace our bodies and our unique, incredible bodies that the genetics in our families have helped to create.  I have my paternal grandfather’s nose – he has been gone for quite a few years….but every time I look in the mirror, I’m reminded of him and the role he played in my life.  I have feet like my maternal grandmother…..and just like my Mom and grandmother, if I gain any amount of weight, it will go to my stomach.  All of these unique things make me part of my family.  If I say I don’t like myself or a certain part of my body, how are my nieces going to think positive about themselves?

Jillian Michaels tweeted about an article that had been written by Dara Lynn Weiss about the difficulty of dealing with obesity and her 7-year old daughter.  You cannot find the article online but you can find lots of articles that have been written in response to her article.  I’ve included a few links at the end of this post.

Because of our society’s focus on weight, there’s another BIG issue that comes up.  The NPR news piece that I listened to was discussing the statistics of eating disorders.  Now obesity is an issue that we need to address, BUT I’m very concerned with the unhealthy thinking that can occur in people’s minds and what some are willing to do in order to be “thin”….Notice, I said “thin” and not “healthy”.  Eating disorders cause all kinds of unhealthy emotional and psychological issues and unhealthy relationships with food that people will struggle with the rest of their lives. Many eating disorders happen as a result of a teasing remark or negative role models…..what is disturbing to me is the amount of girls in elementary school that are on diets.  Our little girls should NOT be dieting….the word “DIET” should not even be in their vocabulary.

This hits home for me because over a week ago my youngest niece was in tears after some negative, hateful remarks were said to her on the playground.  She is 11 years old and is not obese or overweight.  No, she is not stick thin…she is just a typical pre-adolescent girl.  She was in tears when she was picked up from school and it affected her for the rest of the evening.  Her mom and dad did their best to un-do the negative, mean remarks but I know that as a child you don’t easily forget those statements made to you by your peers.  Thankfully, my niece is surround by great role models and very positive adults in her life; and, hopefully, we can be a louder voice of influence than the boys on the playground at her elementary school.

I can speak from experience because I was a chubby pre-teen and always struggled with my weight.  I did get some teasing remarks from people but my family never withheld food from me or told me I should diet.  I think a lot of my “problem” was that I was not active…I would rather sit and read a book than go outside and play.  Should my parents have made me?  I don’t think so.  Now we did things as a family – and my Mom always cooked very healthy (we were eating wheat bread before it was popular to eat wheat bread) and always had fruits and vegetables.  As I entered my mid-teens, I took it upon myself to be more aware of what I ate and starting becoming more active.  As a result, I discovered my passion for fitness and nutrition and that is why I’m so passionate about educating and empowering women to be their best.

I think as role models for our girls we need to lead by example…..get outside and be active with the children in our lives.  Teach them that we don’t go on diets but we make lifestyle choices.  Refrain from taking them to fast food restaurants.  Take them to our local farmer’s markets – plant a garden together.  Show them how fun it is to move our bodies….biking, skating, rollerblading, sports, swimming, kayaking, etc. The choices are endless!

Another thing I’m very adamant about is keeping certain magazines out of the hands of our girls….and maybe out of our houses totally.  We need to remember that most pictures are digitally modified and that most females DO NOT look like that naturally.

I want the girls in my life to realize that the world is a big place full of opportunities for them and that food is meant to be used as fuel to help them be their best mentally, physically, and emotionally – that is why we make certain food choices.  I want them to dream big and use their creative, intelligent minds to do amazing things in the world.  I want them to know they were created for a reason and that they are able to make a difference in someone’s life, in the community they live in, and in the world.  I want them to know there is no one else in the world like them….that they are unique and need to embrace that.  I want them to know that their self-worth is NOT based on a the size of any article of clothing that they wear nor is it based on what society says is beautiful.

Two girls that are my world are my nieces – Eleighna is 17 and will be graduating this year.  She is thoughtful, kind, compassionate, talented, beautiful, has a tender heart – she sings like an angel and is learning to play the piano.  She goes with her youth group to a nursing home and sits and plays games with the residents.  She is a faithful, loyal friend. Morgan is 11 and is vivacious, energetic, social butterfly, talented, beautiful, athletic, speaks her mind and has strong emotions and a great sense of humor 🙂  She has fun, beautiful hair that can get crazy wild – and I hope she always appreciates that fun, spunky, crazy hair.  Two amazing girls – two very unique girls – and I want the best for their futures without any of the negative self-image junk that can happen as a result of unhealthy mindsets of food and fitness.

I will always be an advocate for the healthy future of girls.

Here’s a few other women that I feel are vital and important for the future of girls:

www.lisajohnsonfitness.com

www.tobyamidornutrition.com

www.freakingfitness.com

I hope you will check out their websites and follow them on Twitter.  Let’s be healthy role models for the girls in our lives!!!

Two articles that discuss the Dara Lynn Weiss article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hayley-krischer/vogue-mom-writer-child-diet_b_1384845.html

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/03/28/dara_lynn_weiss_s_obese_child_vogue_essay_can_parents_ever_talk_about_their_kid_s_weight_.html