Tag Archives: wellbeing

Lessons I’ve Learned While Watching The Olympics

5 Aug

I am one of the millions who has been staying up way too late to watch the world’s top athletes compete in the London 2012 Summer Olympics.  As I’ve watched, I have learned some valuable lessons that I hope to apply in my own life.

As I watched 16-year-old Gabby Douglas go through her gymnastics routines, I could not help but be drawn in by her engaging smile and her fun attitude.  She had me smiling as I watched her have fun while performing her floor work.  Yes, she knew she was at the Olympics; and, yes, she knew she was performing for the chance to win a medal.  However, for Gabby, it appears as if it was just another performance doing something she loves and enjoys doing.  Her smile lit up her face the entire time…she was having the time of her life.   I learned from her that if you do what you love and do it with passion while having fun, you will win the gold.

While watching the interview with Carmelita Jeter, it was mind-boggling to hear how people have slammed her, made negative remarks about her, posted things on the internet about her and questioned her authenticity in her performances.  What intrigued me and taught me a valuable lesson was the statement she made towards the end of her interview: You can let what people say consume you or fuel you.  Wow! If it consumes you, it drains you and is negative.  If it consumes you, it energizes you and fuels you to personal best records on the track.

And how can I fail to mention Oscar Pistorius, the first double amputee sprinter to compete in the 400 meter run in the Olympics????? Can we say “NO EXCUSES” to go for your dreams??? He has had to fight adversity and naysayers – people who said, “he has an unfair advantage because of his blades….they give him an edge…”  What???? Someone with legs and feet is at a disadvantage over someone who has had both legs amputated below the knees? I’m sure he is another person who doesn’t let what people say consume him.  I’ve learned from him that no matter how difficult it may seem to achieve your dream, you still have to believe in your dream, hope in it, and go for it.

The human body is an amazing design.  We all have an athlete that lives inside us that wants to be challenged.  It’s never too late to go for the gold in our lives….it’s never too late to train to live our dream.  No matter what anyone says…no matter what anyone thinks….. Do what you love and love what you do.  Live every moment with passion and no regrets.  Just do it!

Into the Deep

20 Jun

This morning I ventured into a part of the Y that I have evaded for years.  THE POOL!!!

What has kept me out of this area for so long?  Ummmmm…..fear of the water would pretty much sum it up.  However, I heard that in aqua fitness classes you get to wear these cool belts that keep you from sinking to the bottom when you go into the deep end. So equipped with that knowledge I decided it was time.

(Additionally, I want to have more of an understanding of how the resistance of the water can create a great workout yet be easier on the joints.)

I made sure to get to the class early so I could tell the instructor that I was a first timer and NOT a lover of water. I have to admit I was somewhat nervous about walking into a new environment all by myself and was a little worried that I might do something that would make me stand out as the newbie.  This was way out of my comfort zone.

Well, right away I stood out because I was the youngest person in the pool….and the smallest – but I sensed this smirk of satisfaction on their faces and I realized they were going to enjoy watching my first time in an aqua fitness class.

I was very relieved to find out that we started in the shallow end…I could handle that – or so I thought until we started running through the water forwards and backwards.  I felt I was pushing against concrete!!! After 20 minutes in the shallow end, the instructor had us put on the belts and grab our weights and jog to the deep end.

Now I don’t know if you have ever jogged from one end of the pool to the other but it is NOT the same as jogging on a treadmill!!! I felt as if I were stuck in the sand and just spinning my tires….feet & legs were moving but I was not moving forward. It was a very disconcerting moment as I realized that my feet were no longer able to touch bottom. I was grateful for my belt and the weights that were holding me up.

We began to incorporate movements that were targeting our core muscles….holding our arms straight out and swinging the legs forwards and backwards, then side to side….and we did it over and over.  I realized that my triceps were beginning to feel the burn and I figured out it was because I had a death grip on those weights and was resisting going any lower in that water than I had to!!! Needless to say, I was not relaxed and my muscles were in permanent isometric contraction!!!

When we finished the work in the deep end, we were to alternate pushing the weights down while jogging back to the shallow end.  All the people older than me had made it back and was waiting for me and I was still stuck by the wall…..the lifeguard and instructor were having a great time watching me work so hard to stay in one place!!! I’m sure my abs are sore because of all the laughing I was doing.

Back at the shallow end, we began to use the weights and work our upper body. Have you ever done a lateral raise followed by a front raise in the pool while using weights? It took every ounce of strength to keep those weights from popping out of the water while I was lifting them straight out in front of me.  I had this mental image of me being catapulted through the air as the weights shot me up out of the pool.

I made it through the hour (while wondering how in the world the other participants could talk so much….It took my total concentration to do the moves correctly!), got out of the pool, and tried to get my “noodle” legs to get me into the locker room.  I was completely exhausted; and as I write this some 15 hours later, I’m already feeling the muscle soreness. (I can only imagine what it would feel like tomorrow!!!)

To sum it up, I had a great time….loved the challenge of doing something new while getting out of my comfort zone….and I will continue to go back until I’m no longer the last one out of the deep end!!!

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!

 

 

 

 

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!!!!

 

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!