Tag Archives: wellbeing

Reflections

5 Jun

Today, I get to celebrate another year of life and this year I’m able to be with the people who matter most in my life….my parents, my sister, and my nieces….I couldn’t ask for a better gift.

As I sit with a cup of coffee, listening to classical music, watching 2 five-week old puppies nap after wrestling/playing, I reflect on where I am today and the life lessons I have learned in the past year.

I’ve learned that betrayal hurts just as bad as an adult as it does when one is a child or teenager.

I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how old you are it still hurts when a “friend” is one of the reasons why a breakup occurs in a dating relationship.

I’ve learned that it still feels horrible to be the one “left out”.

I’ve learned that even as an adult sometimes we feel like we have to be someone we are not in order for some people to like us and accept us.

BUT……I’ve learned some fabulous things as a result.

I’ve learned that the friends who have been in your life the longest are the ones you can still count on and it doesn’t how many miles separate you.  When you need them, they  are only a phone call away.

I’ve learned you still have to keep trusting and that you have to take a chance again…yes, it’s scary and it may not work out but you have to do it.

I’ve learned that a closed door means there is a better door that will open up.

I’ve learned that I get to choose my reaction and that other people’s opinions &  thoughts are not what define me.

I’ve learned like that I really like who I am and I refuse to let someone else’s insecurity/jealousy try to make me someone I’m not.

I’ve learned that there are valuable lessons to be learned from sorrow, hurt and rejection….even when we think we’ve already learned those lessons!!!

I’ve learned to focus on what really matters and to live in the moment.

Yes, these are alllllll lessons I thought I had already learned; I guess I made the discovery that the lessons continues and sometimes the tests get harder 🙂

As I sit and reflect, I love where I am at today and am very excited about this next year of life.  I’m ready to choose health, wellbeing, challenges, discovery, learning, adventure, travel, going outside my comfort zone, blessings, and LIFE!!!!

 

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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?

Let’s Ride

18 May

Do you remember the thrill of learning to ride your bicycle without training wheels?  There was nothing like the feeling of pedaling down the road with the wind blowing through your hair and leaving your Dad behind as he proudly cheered you on.

I remember my first “big girl” bike…my parents took me to Sears and I picked out a purple bike with a white banana seat.  I was not the flashy girl so I didn’t have all the streamers and decorations – I also liked to play it safe so I didn’t perform all kinds of crazy tricks…i think my fanciest trick was to take one hand off the handlebars 🙂

May is National Bike Month and it’s a great excuse to get the bike out, put on your helmet and hit the road, the sidewalk, or the bicycle trail.  This is a great activity that the whole family can do…it’s a great way to get fresh air, move the body, and make memories.

The Bike League has a great website with tips, rules of the road, bike month activities, the history of bicycles, how to find local resources, and more.

http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bikemonth/

Sears is still a great place for bicycles and accessories – http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bikemonth/

Or support your local businesses and find a locally owned bicycle shop in your area that can recommend the right bike for you and fit you properly to your bike, teach you how to do repairs on your bike, provide all kinds of cool clothes and shoes, and accessorize you!

Today is Bike to Work day – it would be nice if all of us lived in areas that were conducive to biking to work.  Unfortunately for me, the distances that I have to drive in Knox County, the narrow roads AND the drivers in my area can make biking a hazard to my health/life.  If you do not have safe paths to bike, maybe it’s something you can research and help your community with.

So, let’s celebrate – help the environment – help our health – and let’s RIDE!

When Mom is Here….

16 May

When Mom is here

you put off blogging

you put the reading aside

you aren’t as concerned with social media

When Mom is here

you spend time sitting on the porch

you spend the afternoons going in and out of shops

you spend extra money to make her feel spoiled

When Mom is here

you drink lattes at Starbucks at Old City Java

you eat vegan scones from Earth Fare

you eat at new restaurants on Market Square

When Mom is here

You enjoy every moment

You know that just being together is what you treasure most

You are grateful for her wisdom and advice

When Mom is here

It makes everything better

Life is good

Care for grandma is relinquished to her

When Mom is here

She reminds you why the guy who hurt you is not good for you

She reminds you that true friends stick by your side & don’t continue to be friends and hang out with the guy who brought sorrow and hurt and emotional/verbal abuse into your life

She reminds you that the best is yet to come

She reminds you that your prince will come

When Mom is here

Gratitude and thankfulness feels your heart cuz you know you’ve been blessed with the Mom God gave you

When Mom is here

You don’t look forward to the day when she has to say a temporary goodbye and leave you behind

When Mom is here

You feel like a little girl again and feel safe

When Mom is here

You realize the big shoes you have to fill in order to be like her

When Mom is here

All is right with the world

 

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!!

Broken Sunglasses

21 Apr

Broken….frame twisted…lens popped out.

I was at the park with some personal training clients and it was time for stretching.  I laid down on my mat and put my sunglasses beside me – and forgot the glasses were there as I wrapped up the session.  I stood up and felt something give under my foot – yep, it was the sunglasses.

So, what’s the big deal….just broken sunglasses.  All I need to do is buy another pair, right?  We’ve all had mishaps with sunglasses (which is why I never spend a lot of money on sunglasses!) so no need to write about it.

However, the broken, twisted sunglasses represented a relationship that became broken and twisted, as well.  They were purchased for me last May as an early birthday present by a new friend whom seemed like she was going to become a close, dear friend that would be part of my life from then til death.

Instead, the “friend” made choices to betray trust, friendship and to get in the middle of another very important relationship. Consequently, I made the choice to end the “friendship” (I use quotes because I don’t really think the word, friendship, applies to the relationship….a friend would not do what this person did) because it was not good for my wellbeing.

But, I still had the sunglasses and continued to wear them….

As I look at my broken sunglasses, I am sad because I did like them and they were part of my life and they did serve a purpose…but I think I’m saddened even more because it’s concrete evidence in my hand of all the “could have been” and “what ifs” that this person broke and the relationships that became twisted as choices were made….

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

Blowing the whistle on my own life

24 Feb

I’m very passionate about educating, equipping, and empowering women to make healthy choices for their wellbeing….this covers mind, body, soul and spirit.  However, after watching a movie today, I’m having to stop and reflect about what I do, who I am, and what I believe.

I don’t take a lot of time to watch movies but a free Redbox rental prompted me to stop at a Redbox location to pick a movie.  I decided on, Whistleblower.  Whistleblower is a movie based on the real-life experience of Kathryn Bolkovac.  She was a police officer in Nebraska who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia.  She uncovered a human trafficking scandal and outed the UN for covering it up. If you have not watched it, I highly recommend it.

I wept as I watched it…and the reality of human trafficking disturbed me to my very core.  The very idea that children/teens are sold into slavery in 2012 is incomprehensible.  AND, it doesn’t just happen in other countries….it happens here in the United States. We’re supposed to be civilized….slavery ended years ago, right?

I have two beautiful nieces…Eleighna is 17 and Morgan is 11; and all I could think about while watching the movie is that those girls were daughters, nieces, granddaughters, sisters….. Even now as I type, tears are coming to my eyes because I’ve been made more aware that beautiful, innocent girls are being hurt, beat, and raped right now all around the world.  (I do realized that boys are sold, too – but girls are more at risk and are a higher percentage of the statistics.)  This is NOT something we can pretend doesn’t exist just because we are comfortable and our loved ones are safe.  We cannot choose apathy or complacency.

I choose apathy if I do not do something with the information I learned today.  I went on Twitter to see if Kathryn was on Twitter…did not find her there.  I googled her name and found her official webiste.  I then contacted her and informed her that I watched the movie and would purchase the book and then asked her what I could do on a daily basis to help with this human rights issue.

As a woman, I cannot be at rest or at peace if other women are being sold as property.  These children/teens do not have a choice in what is happening to them.  Many of them are kidnapped/stolen and then sold into a life of sex slavery.  They do not have the freedom/privilege to choose health and wellbeing – someone else is choosing for them.  Their health and wellbeing is being stolen from them.

I cannot just ignore this.  Social injustice…inequality….slavery… My ancestors were fighting against these same issues years ago…..They fought for my freedom…that I would have the same rights as a man….  Now it is my turn to do the same for others.  I’m not really sure what that means for me… Maybe I use social media to spread the word…. Maybe I give of my finances ….. Maybe I give of my time…..  I will have to explore and discover what are my options.

All I know is if I’m as passionate as I say I am about my purpose, my mission, and my beliefs, then I will act accordingly….and that is a choice I must make for my own wellbeing.

http://www.bolkovac.com/

http://istoptraffic.com/

Follow Alex Sum  and  TIA Task Force on Twitter

Zumbathon for YMCA Change a Life

19 Feb

The Knoxville Zumbathon was from 2 – 4 today at the downtown Hilton.  However, doors opened at 1 and demos of Zumbatomic, Zumba Gold, and Zumba Toning began at 1:15.  There was no swimming pool in the room so there was video of Aqua Zumba playing so participants could see what an Aqua Zumba class is all about.  Over 300 participants were in the ballroom…and that doesn’t include the 80+ volunteers and sponsors that were helping out.  This Zumbathon raised $10,000 for the YMCA Change a Life Campaign for the East Tennessee YMCA!!!! One of the things that I LOVE about Zumba…..you can fill a room with people, get 20 instructors to get on stage and “instruct” 2 songs, and everyone can follow along and have a great time for TWO hours while burning lots of calories and getting healthy. Now I teach other formats and enjoy teaching them – but what other class can bring all ages, fitness levels, shapes, sizes and ethnicities into one room…even if they have never participated in that class before…and keep them moving for two hours — AND keep them smiling and having a great time???? From the moment the music kicked in for the demos until the end of the last song, the energy was high – the excitement level was intense – and the room was rocking 🙂 The instructors were just as diverse and unique but each one rocked the stage and brought his/her individuality and were truly “superstars”.  Endorphins were high…..heart rates were up…..the workouts were ditched….and the party was joined!!!!  What a way to raise some money!