31 May 2009

A choice of pain

Pain comes in different types and offers different results.

Choose one ---

1. Pain brought on by lack of movement --- which causes sadness, obesity, body pains, major illnesses, weakened cardiovascular system.......

2. Pain brought on by an hour or so of challenging exercise that strengthens the body, mind and soul. This is really not pain but more of a breaking down and building up of muscles, will and mind. You get past any lingering discomfort if it is done effectively and regularly. Once you break it down, and rebuild, you are now stronger and better than before. You learn so much about your body and you can prevent the pain from returning. You are now in control!

Often people who avoid exercise (and proper nutrition) resort to reasons like, "I can't exercise because I have joint pain," or "running (or much of any type of cardio) gives me knee pain." Some say they are too tired to workout, or that working out makes them tired. People who don't exercise surely do NOT feel more energetic and do not function better than people who do exercise.

Avoiding exercise certainly is not the answer if you do indeed have issues with joint pain, back pain, etc. Food offers much nutrition for inflammation of the body, so it is key to find out what foods would benefit you so that you can find a solution for your discomfort.

Why choose to live with the discomfort? Why choose to get up daily and complain about the same ailments day in and day out?

You have to get past the idea of feeling UNCOMFORTABLE "thoughts." Much of the time, it's the mind that is preventing you from drifting out of the "false" sense of a comfort zone that you have created. The real discomfort is not in the activity of exercise but rather in the thought of doing it. Why fear what is truly beneficial? It makes no sense.

Physical activity is a MUST for the human body. It fine tunes all its part which creates an environment for GOOD things to happen. A body that is stagnant is a body that becomes stiff, sluggish, slow to move, slow to react, slowing down....... Much of the time the joint discomfort that one feels is really joint STIFFNESS. It's a pain brought on by INACTIVITY.

Yoga and stretching are ideal exercises for people who have extra issues with joint stiffness and muscle fatigue, tightness, irregularities, stress, etc. You have to continually give your body the MOVEMENT that it needs to get past the false pain that you think you feel.

You will indeed shift from the feeling of discomfort of a body UNDER-used, to a new COMFORTABLE feeling of a body PROPERLY-used, when you embark upon a regular program of SENSIBLE exercise. Your good feelings will quickly shift from your body and it's functioning, to your mind... creating a state of ... "WOW !!!"

Physical fitness involves the performance of the heart, lungs, and muscles. Since what we do with our bodies also affects what we can do with our minds, fitness influences to some degree qualities, such as mental alertness and emotional stability.

Plain and simply put, physical fitness is a TOTAL BODY --- GOOD experience that enhances YOU .... ALL OVER....

Do it regularly and accept the comfort of challenging effort that you put forth!

27 May 2009

Do you feel stuck?

How many years has it been?

How much longer will it be? When will it really be the right time?

How hard have you tried?

Do you feel like you will never get it right?

Do you feel like all your attempts have been fruitless?

Do you have SOMEONE truly SUPPORTING you? Encouraging you to go the distance? Encouraging you daily that you CAN succeed?

Do you believe in yourself?

Are the inner voices trying to keep you disconnected from what YOU NEED to do for yourself?

Do you hold onto the past? Do you find it hard to shake off what has happened and hindered you BEFORE and realize that it's a brand new day for you to try again??

Do you have your priorities in the right order so that you get what YOU deserve?

Do you know the value of having at least ONE person supporting you to be the best you??

Do you know that NOW is the time for you to do what you need to do for YOU?


Let go of the past.

Don't turn away from the present. The RIGHT time is NOW.

Someone else can not give you happiness, you have to create your own by fulfilling your dreams and desires.

You have to take care of your body, and your mind!

If you need help, find someone who you believe in your heart .... believes in YOU!

Find your inner voice that only knows POSITIVE words -- you can ..... you can... you can!!!!


24 May 2009

Old fashioned ideas can be....

Great when we consider that there was a lot of long lasting quality in most of the things produced years ago. Products were "built to last," and many of us may even have some of these prized possessions boxed up in a closet somewhere in our house. Somewhere along the line though, we evolved to a place where we replaced the ideal of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it, " with, "out with the old and in with the new." Modern techology is fascinating and fast paced, and we choose to move ahead with it and we strive to keep up with it.

Well modern technology is merely an example of how human beings can truly challenge their creative capacities by constantly surpassing new levels of innovation. So if we can do this with the production of objects, we should surely do it with our production of thoughts about our personal well being. Striving to keep up and move ahead with our well-being should go hand-in-hand with our move with technology!

SOME old-fashioned ideas need to be put into a box, sealed up, and never be allowed to see the light of day ever again! Such as:

1. "It runs in my family" -- time to start a new trend.
2. "All the women in our family grow big hips when they enter their 40s.." -- that happens in my family, but I work against those odds.
3. "That's the way my great-grandmother used to cook that dish." -- Which is why "it runs in the family and hips grow" -- time to modify the family recipe to something more nutritionally suitable for all concerned.
4. "Fifty is middle aged," -- yes, but consider middle and 50 would mean you should anticipate another 50 years of good living!
5. "My father, and his father, and his father's father, all passed away in their 70s, so I imagine that's about when I may ..." -- NO NO NO. There are too many great "life enhancing" tools, ie. nutrition and fitness education, mind enhancing tools, that can surely change that pattern.
6. "I am just like my ...." -- we can all respectfully relate to someone in our family.... and then we can build upon that to be unique and even better, so that we create our own legacy...
7. "My grandmother always ate meat, potatoes, and.... and lived to 92. I don't understand why we suddenly have to change the way we eat." -- Well, the way food is produced, animals are grown, etc... has changed considerably since the days of our grandparents. The population has tripled, and so the level of consumption is astronomical. Our grandparents did not have to educate themselves on "what is in the food and it's benefits" then like we have to do now.

Do you still have any of the following... or do you miss any of the following?
Cassette players
Manual lawn mowers
A TV with an antenna
Car windows that you have to roll up and down manually
Old fashioned rotary dial telephone .....

The world has advanced tremendously in the past three to four decades. Our new-fashioned ideas about technology and lifestyle are amazing. Thus we should have amazing ideas about WELLNESS that we keep practicing and revising along the way with all the other advancements that happen!

With this vast amount of information, inspiration and resources, we SURELY have CONTROL of the choices we can make to be very healthy, very happy, and truly enjoying life to the fullest!

22 May 2009

I used to...

I am doing P90X now because I believe in the program and so far 4 weeks down, I can already feel the amazing improvements. It's not just about looking physically good... but also feeling good mentally and physically!

I speak to people everyday and I hear everyone's "story." Many people go through life in stages, or as if they are in a play or a movie, and there are those that resist the changes that happen, and those that embrace the changes. Change does indeed happen, and we have to adjust with these changes in the most positive way. You are to write your own movie, your own life.... you have the control over how it plays out.

When I was approaching my 40s, I would hear other soon-to-be 40 something year olds say the strangest things. They would say things like, "now that I am approaching 40, I am going to have a different attitude about my life. I don't need to dress a certain way. My joints hurt, so I am going to stop running or even exercising. I don't need to lift weights anymore because I am not as young as I used to be." The more I heard those types of statements, is the more I decided for myself, "I will just keep doing what I do."

I have been told that I am crazy. I have come to learn that being crazy is indeed a good thing. Crazy means, being diligent and getting up and going every day. Crazy means that you resist the negative. Crazy means you are willing to get up and at the very minimum, "TRY." Crazy means that you love to feel good, laugh, jump out of bed feeling happy. Crazy means that you may be the only 44 year old parent running with your young children, or the only 44 year old parent who can hula hoop with your 7 year old daughter and 3 of her other 7 year old friends... and they think you are cool! I will take being "CRAZY" any day of the week!

Many conversations also encompass the notorious statements like:

"I used to go to the gym."
"I used to be a size 4."
"I used to be so healthy and watch what I ate."
"I used to workout but my job has me so busy now."
"I used to run everyday."
"I used to ....."

Much of the time, the reason why people "don't do" what they "used to do" anymore is because their lives have suffered various changes, some good and some bad. In times of change, good and bad, one should never decide to cut back on their diligence to their personal well-being. In challenging times, it's the best opportunity to make YOU a better YOU.

Certainly we can agree that today we have the best resources to learn what types of foods are most beneficial for the body, and we can easily learn easy ways to prepare them so that they are tasty while being ideally nutritional. The same goes for fitness options. It may be that after 10 or 15 years of running and pounding the pavement, you have incurred major abuse on your joints. But that does not mean that you should suddenly halt your dedication to cardiac conditioning, it just means that you need to seek a better choice of exercise so that you can keep your fitness goals going strong.

I had my share of stress inducing obstacles throughout my life and perhaps there are more to come. Two divorces, a stillbirth (of a full term pregnancy), a few miscarriages, brutal allergy issues that kept me sleepless for almost a year after my daughter was born, being on medications that caused fatigue and major gastrointestinal stress, major stress work environment working on Wall Street for 22 years, then being laid off from that job after 22 years, full time working mother, many years of sleepless nights with young children, family issues, weight problems, and that is not the entire list.

All of these debilitating experiences started over 20 years ago, and my wellness journey started back then too. My first marriage lasted less than 2 years, and halfway through those 2 years, I realized that things were not good at all. At that time, I decided that I had to strengthen my mind and my body in order to survive, and I did. It was a magnificent feeling, and when I realize how much better I felt on so many levels, I made a promise to myself that I would always seek to empower myself first, no matter what was going on in my life.

That has been my mindset ever since. No, it has not been easy, but every time I think about stopping my program, or even times when I had missed a couple days.... I did not like what would start to happen. If something bad was happening, it never made sense to me to compound it by bringing myself down even further. I hear people mistakenly decide to "feel sorry for themselves," "give up," "stop working out for weeks and months," when something goes wrong in their life. I watch them go from sad to miserable. I watch them get sick. I watch them spiral into a dark place. I watch them gain weight. I watch people put their jobs first, only to be so miserable day in and day out, continually refusing to address their health. The more they let themselves go down, is the more they get unhappy, unwell and unwilling. And when they take such a path, it's so much harder to get back on the right road. It becomes the biggest struggle of their lives.

If they could just realize that when things go wrong..... that is the PERFECT time to step up their game and power up their program. It's the perfect time to immerse yourself in YOU in the most positive way. It does not take a lot of time when you consider there are 24 hours in a day, and you should be willing to devote one or two of those hours to yourself without guilt or excuses.

When you take the time to "fix" you up, you come back stronger and more confident. You come back feeling a sense of accomplishment. You realize that YOU possess the power to control how you digest life. No one outside of you should have the power over you.

You used to???? And you still CAN. All you ever have to do in the midst of change and obstacles is seek a more improved way to keep your life going in a positive way.

You still CAN..... it's your choice.

21 May 2009

Sorrows and guilt

It's amazing how our upbringing can have such a profound effect on how we live our lives, what we think, and how we repeat the same upbringing by passing on certain so-called "wisdom" to our children. They may just repeat this same pattern with any future relationships they have as well.

I have so many conversations with so many different types of people who have different beliefs, but often we share a common bond. A bond that makes us believe that we should always express our sorrow when appropriate and we teach our children that etiquette because we want them to be "good" people.

Some time ago, however, I learned that we tend to say, "I'm sorry," at times when we really are not obligated to do so. Such as, when you have been truly busy with your life, your responsibilities, your family and you have not gotten around to returning some phone calls. The first thing you feel compelled to say to some people is, "I am so sorry, I have been busy." With such an apology, one often possesses feelings of GUILT. Why do we put this pressure on ourselves, and then we bestow it upon others, others that we say we care about. No one should feel sorrow about tending to their life and not having the ability to keep up with everyone and everything.

This pressure we put on ourselves is unwarranted. It weighs us down. It causes health problems. It causes unnecessary emotional problems. It takes up time and wastes it away. When we bottle up guilt, it impacts our bodies and minds and becomes toxic.

A better practice when we fall short of "keeping up" would be to attempt to keep all positive, and stick to thoughts that serve you better than trying to bring a negative thought into the picture. Your intentions all along were to do good. To suddenly turn it into a negative is surely unnecessary. The better conversation is, "Hello, I know it's been awhile since we spoke, so let's try to catch up since we obviously are both so busy. " The focus goes to the delight of sharing and not on placing blame anywhere.

Children should not be taught the prison of "guilt"
A few days ago at the playground, I suddenly heard piercing cries from my daughter. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, and all the children had dashed out of school over to the playground to unleash their energies that comprised of joy that the sun was shining, and relief that school was done for the day. So how did such a "perfect" setting suddenly turn bleak? Well, as usual, an "ACCIDENT" happened. A mere accident.

The children were playing rather uninhibitedly, just running, climbing, jumping, laughing, and as expected, collisions would happen, as well as falls, unintentional slaps, punches, trips, pushes..... all the wonderful things that can always occur when even just one child is present!

Here we have my daughter, just crying, while holding her head, and following behind her were 3 other children, running to tell me, 3 different stories about what happened. Well, at that point I realized that it did not matter why it happened, just that it happened, and I just needed to make sure that she was OK. Sure, she was clobbered, and it hurt, but she was indeed OK. Good.

Thereafter, I looked directly at her and asked her what happened. She told me that one of her friends, who happens to be a boy, hit her. At the same time, the mother of this boy, realized that her son was implicated in the matter, and she proceeded to scold him and put him in "time-out." She was extremely upset with her son's alleged behavior. He yelled repeatedly, "I did not hit her, it was an accident!" And he was not letting up. I quickly started to think, "hey, perhaps he is speaking the truth." Accidents happen.

There was his mother, insisting that he be quiet, insisting that he stay in time-out, and then she commanded him to come over to my daughter and apologize. He refused. We had a huge dilemma here and I could understand his position. The dilemma, for me, was not his refusal to apologize, but more so the fact that his mother was insisting, plainly, that he apologize. I wanted to believe that he did not intend to hit Nia. It seemed very believable to me because Nia IS his friend. I also understood that in his rational mind, he did not think he should apologize because he did not hit her. In his mind, an accident happened.

It's so important that we teach our children what being "sorry," means, or actually what "feeling sorry" should mean. The little boy's mother never took the time to explain to her son that he probably should just apologize for the fact that the accident "happened" and that it was his arm that caused pain to hurt his friend Nia. She should have explained that his apology would simply make her feel better. It was not an expression of admitting GUILT for a crime. I say crime, because his reaction to his mother's command was as if he was being accused of committing a "crime."

I did tell his mother that it was OK and probably just an accident. But this is where something worse happened after that. The GUILT she imparted on her son was unnecessary. We have all done this. I have done this. We get upset with our children when they don't apologize, for everything, intentional or not. It's not a good message. Then our children (as we did), grow up feeling compelled to apologize for everything... and carrying GUILT for so many things... unnecessarily.

We need to teach (and learn ourselves) that sorrow should be imparted PROPERLY. And then forgiveness must proceed. We surely know when it is appropriate to give an apology, and we know when to accept it, and move on.

MORE and MORE accidents

A couple days ago, again, this message rang clear. My children were slightly at odds with one another as we left a restaurant. My son jumped into the front seat of the car, and my daughter (who was adamant about chasing him and stopping him), ran after him, and grabbed the door to stop him from closing it. She very unwisely, held the door not realizing that (a) he was a lot stronger than her, and (b) she should not leave her fingers inside the door. He pulled the door quickly and in a second before anything could change the outcome, he had slammed the door on her tiny 7 yr old finger. She screamed, and I quickly saw what happened, opened the door, to free her smashed and ripped black and blue finger. I held her tightly and let her have her moment to scream, cry, shake and feel all the pain that goes with such a traumatic event. I then wrapped up her little finger.

I did not light into my son (because wisdom is flowing in my soul :). Instead, after about five minutes, I let go of my daughter, and I bent down to her and I said, "I know it hurts, but right now, right here, I want you to understand that this is a lesson for you to learn. You have to be careful so that you can try to avoid getting hurt. Today we learned that you should not play with doors ok." She said, "yes Mommy," as she continued to cry.

I looked at my son, and his face was just filled with sorrow, and his eyes were welled up with tears. His head was low. I certainly knew he was so sorry for what had happened. I saw the tense feeling that must have tightened up his entire body. I could see the fear all over him. I knew he was in pain just like she was in pain. I certainly did not appreciate what had happened, but I certainly knew that he never intended to slam his sister's finger in the door. His only intentions was to get in the car and not have her bother him. Ok.

I said to him, "I am not sure why you were running from your sister. I am also not sure why she was chasing you, but do you see how quickly an accident can happen. Your sister is small and she may not make great decisions sometimes when you play together, so try to be careful. I do not want you to sit around all day and feel bad about what happened. It was an accident. So please do not stay unhappy and sad. Just be thankful she will be ok."

I learned a great lesson. It was important for both children to have their pain soothed quickly. Nia groaned and moaned for a few hours. She wanted attention and a new bandaid every hour. I gave it to her. But I felt that letting Miles "off the hook," as quickly as possible was the most important thing. He did NOT need to feel guilty about an unintentional accident.

Our lives will undoubtedly give us many situations that will leave us feeling guilty. Guilt causes so much stress and anguish. When it's possible, it is good to get it in and out quickly, so that we can breathe, and return to happiness... which is so much healthier.


Cheating is an act of lying, deception, fraud, trickery, imposture, or imposition. That's about the full monty on the definition of "cheating."

Why would you want to do this to yourself? In no way, shape or form, can you ultimately benefit from cheating. We teach children this, don't we? In a given moment, it may seem that we can take shortcuts and come out just where we want to be, or even ahead but really and truly, we come out short changed, ignorant and deficient.

If we have a test to take, and we don't study properly, we surely do not know or understand the material. Back when I was in high school, we used to "cheat" with Cliff Notes. Who could bother to read that boring book that the teacher assigned? In hindsight, I can say I wish I read every single book from cover to cover. Why? Because I would have been more able to answer the questions and probably get them right. I also would have been more at ease leading up to, and during the actual exam or assignment. I could walk around, proudly and honestly, telling people "oh I read that book." Lastly, I would have more intelligence. Ok, so I did manage to get good grades, and I am ok today.... but that came when I stopped taking shortcuts.

When we cheat (on ourselves) we do ourselves a HUGE injustice. There are no rewards or benefits to be gained from cheating. We rob our souls of value. And in the end, you NEVER save time (what a false notion) because you are left with a whole lot LESS goodness, and whole lot more ... DECEPTION. "Just getting by," leads to a life of frayed ends and partial completion. The only person who is being fooled in the process is YOU.

This mindset is relative to all aspects of our being. The most important aspect is your health, and how you work on it. Do you work towards trying to be healthy in your mind, body and soul? Are you throwing on some makeup everyday, washing your hair, nice clothes, starvation dieting, 3 or more cups of coffee to keep it going, and a fancy car --- and then telling yourself and the world that you are "just fine.... and getting by"...??

You are cheating on yourself if this is the program you follow daily to "get by." Yes, you probably are a dear and sweet person, have a respectable job, beautiful home, maybe beautiful children. And, oh, yes, you drive the best car. BUT.......... HOW DO YOU FEEL? Physically? Mentally? Emotionally? How do you enjoy what you have if you don't feel very well?

Do you really have it together in all the areas that really do matter? Are you pretending?

Have you started working out recently but when no one is looking, you leave the gym 20 mins early because you need to get home to watch your favorite show???? Or, did you cut your workout short because you think that 20 minutes of stretching is not so important??? Do you still drink soda because..... you love soda and don't care how many studies prove that it is terrible for your body??? How many other questions like these, can you ask yourself?

This is largely NOT about being judgmental. It's more about how you can really and truly--HONESTLY, feel better on a daily basis, without the need to cheat, make excuses, fool yourself, fool others.

Let's put it in perspective:

1. Yes, some foods just taste good and gosh darn, you feel you have the right to eat whatever you want to eat especially if you work so hard. BUT.... if you are walking around complaining daily (quietly in your brain, or outwardly for you and others to hear), then you can't keep fooling yourself that it's ok to eat things that make you feel terrible.

2. Yes, there are some great shows on TV that just entertain you (and me) incredibly well. Those actors/actresses are amazing entertainers. You worked hard all day and you deserve to go home, unwind, relax and watch TV. You do. BUT...... if you are sitting at the TV, feeling uncomfortable, feeling like, "oh wow, thank god I got through this day. I wish I did not have to get up and do it again tomorrow," .... you are fooling yourself that tomorrow will be a better day.

3. You cut that workout short for what reason??? The 20 minutes that you cut off were very important minutes that benefit your body and your mind in amazing ways. Add up all the 20 minutes that you have cut off over the past one year? Two years? I am sure they add up to many HOURS. Hours that you can not get back. Hours that would have added HUGE benefit to your body. Hours that would have added longevity, strength and goodness to YOU on so many levels. And hours that you probably now spend taking days off from work because you are sick, or time spent going to the doctor. Hours that you worked, made the money, and now spend it on drugs/medications. Hours that have just passed and will never return. More hours now that you will have to use to make up for what you lost. Saving time.... can cost more in the end.

"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to DO IT OVER??" ~ John Wooden.

There you have only 3 different perspectives on how you short change yourself. I can come up with 100s more. I am certainly NO angel. I do it too, especially being a mother of two, you find yourself constantly having to cut things short. I came to realize that now, my children have a certain respect for me because they see my constant dedication to my health and theirs. It's not a 24 hour a day/7 day a week dedication, but it is daily.

I thought about it and I realized that I am the only one that gets burned in the process if I don't stay dedicated to certain "well-being" importances . You can't even reason that you CHEAT on yourself for someone else's benefit. That one does not work either. If you don't take the time out to work on you - to keep YOU well, healthy and happy -- how can you be of benefit to anyone else???

Stop cheating on yourself.

Find the ONE or TWO itty bitty hours out of your 24 HOUR day that you spend doing so many things (some important, and some truly not so important) -- and ENHANCE you .... fully and with PURPOSE... no shortcuts.... no masks....no detours...no excuses.... no explanations....no justifications.....

20 May 2009

Do you understand your numbers?

Everyone should learn what their "numbers" mean because it could save your life, or simply just save you from the aggravation of having to go to doctors frequently or take medications. If you knew what was too high or too low, you could make an attempt to fix it. Just like how you would take your car in for a diagnostic test, and fix the problem. It should matter to you that your body functions optimally, just like how you care about how your car functions because just like how a car can break down, so too can your body when you least expect it!

I pride myself on being proactive with my health because I see the results of my efforts, and I love to help and inspire others to do the same. You can have significant impact on your own health and it's something that can be easily learned and practiced. No one should feel intimidated by the tests and everyone should be diligent about discussing all results in detail with their doctors.

No one should ever wait for a doctor to give them the "wake up call" because things have gotten out of hand. As a young adult, the goal should be to maintain optimal health. As a person entering the 30s, 40s, and 50s, the goal should be to keep track of one's health each and every year. You should regularly understand what your blood tests results mean, and you should specifically note if there are any changes from one year to the next. Even if your doctor does not point out a change, say in your cholesterol from one year to the next, YOU should be aware of that change. Lots of doctors will make you believe you are ok, "in the range," and don't have a problem.

Consider that 2008 has perhaps been one of the most stressful years for most Americans ever in the history of this country, and in the history of their very own personal lives. The fact is many, many people in 2009 are dealing with the effects of how they processed 2008. Stress, weight gain, high blood pressure, higher cholesterol, heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, ADD, ADHD, autism... are affecting a higher portion of the population.

Have you taken time out to re-check how your body has sustained the past year? Sure, some people are not directly being impacted with the negative fall-out of our struggling economy, but some of those same people are still at home ...worrying. Worry alone can wreak havoc on a visually healthy person.

Often times when someone is not in ideal physical condition, they are told that they should "start exercising and eating right." Much of the time, this advice is ignored. It would be ideal if a patient/person could immediately be placed into a program instead of "advised" to seek one whenever they get around to it. This just proves that MOST people need a support system to help them to figure out how to get started, what to do, keep them focused, and see them to the end of their journey. If you are just given advice and then dismissed, you can surely feel lost and helpless.

I like to observe and point out real life situations, and bring them to the attention of people I meet so they can (a) relate, (b) see the truth and realize the significance of the situation. The Today Show took 5 of it's backstage people and asked them to go on a diet, changing how they eat, and incorporating some exercise for 6 weeks to see what the outcome would be. These people were all overweight, at varying degrees, with some underlying health issues..of different magnitudes. They were people who took their health for granted (perhaps NOT on purpose) and truly needed to make a change. Some of these people were on the borderline of facing major health problems if they did not make a change for the better.

Overall, every one of the 5 people emerged with a more pleasant and positive attitude about themselves personally and their outlook about their health conditions. It was a beautiful transformation to watch. They learned about their state of health initially so that they could monitor how their efforts would certainly benefit their health in a huge way. All together, the 5 people lost approximately 120 lbs and about 113 inches.

My fascination was not with the amount of weight loss, though it was certainly impressive, but more with the huge health improvements that they all experienced in just 6 short weeks. 6 short weeks!

One of many factors can tell a huge story

What are Triglycerides? Do you know? You should. Just knowing your overall cholesterol number is NOT a good indication of your true state of health. Just for simplicity, there are 3 parts of your cholesterol that should be known to YOU. Your HDLs, LDLs, and your TRIGLYCERIDES. In layman's terms, you want to have HIGH HDLs, LOW LDLs, and LOW Triglycerides. I have had people tell me, "my doctor says my cholesterol is fine because it's 200." When I went further to ask what the breakdown of the number was, they did not know what I was talking about. At that point, I asked them to share their bloodwork results with me (if they were comfortable) so that I could explain a few things to them that they should understand. When they came to realize that the signficance of the HDLs, LDLs, and triglycerides told a more significant story, they were thankful for the knowledge. Now they were confident enough to go back to their doctors to discuss the matters, as well as, hugely interested in making some necessary lifestyle changes to enhance their well-being.

The signficance of the just the "Tri's"

Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists in food as well as in the body. They're also present in blood plasma and, in association with cholesterol, form the plasma lipids. Triglycerides in plasma are derived from fats eaten in foods or made in the body from other energy sources like carbohydrates. Calories ingested in a meal and not used immediately by tissues are converted to triglycerides and transported to fat cells to be stored.

So, basically you don't want this fat existing in your body because it causes heart disease and stroke (obviously high cholesterol). But many people are NOT aware of the fact that they should pay attention to ALL of these numbers. Anything under 150 (for tri's) is considered normal, 150-199 is borderline high, 200-499 is considered HIGH and dangerous, and anything over 499 is very high, very dangerous.

I have sat in my doctors office year after year, and I would always hear, "oh your numbers are fine." Let me state that they would NEVER discuss my numbers in detail unless I brought it up. Just because I would tell them that I worked out and ate rather healthy, they would quickly try to conclude the visit with statements like, "well you are healthy and you have nothing to worry about." Well, I learned that I needed to be sure of that for MYSELF, not just because the doctor uttered those words to me. I bother to check and compare my numbers each year to make sure my efforts are still working.

The backstage crew of the Today Show came out with some amazing results after 6 short weeks. The average weight loss of each person was about 20-25 lbs. 2 gentlemen actually lost over 30 lbs. One guy, visually did not look morbidly overweight, but he clearly needed to address it. He probably was the nicest guy, a gem to work with, and had a loving family. His triglycerides at the start of the diet/program was 320, which is HIGH and dangerous. Well, at the end of 6 short weeks, he got it down to 89. 89...he went from HIGH dangerous, to now, below normal and HEALTHY.

The general consensus was that they all felt better, felt healthier, felt stronger. Knee pains and back pains vanished. A few of them got off medications for cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. That's amazing!

If you have a health problem, don't choose to live with it. You can very well try to transform your life to become physically healthier, which will INDEED make you emotionally,mentally and psychologically healthier. Overall, you can increase your longevity and live a more fulfilling life.

19 May 2009

Short order Cook

I thought it would be good to share some chit-chat about my cooking escapades at home with my children. Being a single (divorced) mother of two, head of household, wellness guru, avid fitness person, gardener, bill payer, photography hobbyist, baseball/softball/track mom, friend to some, writer, project manager (for my children), housekeeper.... etc... I can say I have many careers/positions/purposes in life!

On a daily basis in my house, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I am a short-order cook TOO! A short order cook does not need any formal training or degree, but must be able to prepare various types of dishes in a quick amount of time, pleasing the individuals who partake of it, almost always! I learned this over the past 10 yrs.

At first, when I was still married, I had a few different nannies who did not know how to cook. While being a full-time working mother, I used to prepare ALL the meals for the week (yes, all, B, L and D) on Sundays and divide them up into containers to freeze or refrigerate. This went on for about 4 solid years. I would prepare cereals, eggs, soups, sauces, casseroles, dishes of all sorts... you name it! It was extremely important to me that my children had healthy, well-prepared meals despite the fact that my nannies could not cook. You may ask why I would hire such people who were supposed to make my life easier? Well, they did, because they excelled in other areas, such as teaching, nurturing, organization, etc., and so I had to give a little to get a little!

At one point, I had the most wonderful nanny who became like a grandmother to my children. They adored her, and she adored them. In the gentlest way, she was able to get them to behave and show love ... in a way that I tried to master too! It was just something about her aura. So much so that, she managed to get me to cook for HER even though she did know how to cook!! How did she manage this? Just by her graceful way of indulging in my prepared foods, she would say, "Oh Miss Jacquie, this meal is so delicious!" I just felt inclined to feed her too.

Ever since I was about 18 years old, after much guidance from my parents, particularly my father, I embraced the desire to become a good cook. Later in life, I realized I loved the reaction I would get from people when they tasted my food. I loved the wonderful challenge of pleasing people's palates which lead to me loving to entertain. Whenever I wanted to be pleased, I would love to go out to be wined and dined.

Now, many years later, my children dash to the kitchen when I am cooking, any meal of the day, asking, "what are you making" when their noses are filled with the aromas that permeate the air in the entire house (I try to remember to shut the doors but sometimes forget!). Sometimes I shoo them away saying, "it's a surprise," and other times I let them "peak in the pot," which either brightens their faces, or makes them say, "oh brrrother!!" I especially love when my son Miles (or vice versa) yells down the hall to his sister, "Nia... she's not making your favorite dish, she is making soup again!"

Either way, I can say that most times, once their forks or spoons carry the goodness of my creation to their tongues.... there is much satisfaction on their faces. Their frowns turn upside down! This has become my burden now because they get up almost every morning making requests, "Mommy, can you make that delicious oatmeal again so that it tastes just like it did yesterday?" or "Mommy, I would like an omelette, AND some apple-pear pancakes!" Forget trying to explain time limits or lack of ingredients....

What!!?? Oh no. We can't have breakfasts like that everyday. But I come close to fulfilling some of their requests when I can. I actually try to plan ahead which is something you have to do when you have small children. Most mornings I explain that balance is the name of the game. They always start out with water or tea, cut up fresh fruit and I even explain what goodness is in the fruit that they are eating so they have a real appreciation for why they are eating it. From there, I prepare the rest of breakfast.....

I send them off to school every single morning knowing that I managed to address their nutritional needs with purposeful balance. I truly love that I have come to a point where I can feed my children loads of healthy foods/creations, and manage to delight them in the process.

In an effort to lighten my load with food worries, my son's school lunches are pre-ordered selections of hot food which are delivered straight to the school. I can not say that I am enamored with all of the selections of the lunches, and he is not either, but we acknowledge it and we make an effort to make sure he has healthy breakfasts and healthy dinners to balance it out.

My daughter on the other hand, refuses to eat any of those lunches, and so I have to prepare lunch for her EVERYDAY. Every morning I prepare something nutritious and delicious for her to take to school (or I drop it to the school). Her lunches always include some sort of healthy green or colorful vegetable, grain, protein, etc.

I actually enjoy my morning short-order cook position -- it goes fast, with fulfilling purpose, and my pay is the reward of my well nourished children!

Face your health, don't fear it

Do you get overwhelmed at the idea of starting on a health and fitness program? Do you immediately feel that you will fail before you even get started? Have you tried many times before to become more healthy and failed?

First we need to consider what issues caused problems for you in the past and realize that the old issues can be put away forever, and you can embark on your program with a new sense of positivity!

If your life continues to be filled with obstacles that prevent you from addressing your health, you should seriously consider getting someone to help you overcome these roadblocks. Much of the time when we are having difficulties with sticking with a goal, it is not because there are menacing occurrences in our lives, but more so because WE CHOOSE to allow these intrusions to affect us and debilitate us. You can make a choice to do otherwise.

Before you can have physical and nutritional fitness, you must have mental fitness. Those wonderful commercials/infomercials and diet products sold on every street corner can lure you in so easily when you see the images of the "before and after" pictures of the individuals who supposedly transformed their bodies in 30, 60 or 90 days. Most of those pictures and videos leave out the real truth behind these success stories, the truth about how those individuals (the true success stories) managed to achieve MENTAL wellness during and after their journey into a new healthy lifestyle.

You can not just get up harboring the same negative thoughts, worries and defeatist mindset and make positive strides with your wellness program. In the midst of a 'sun salutation', your mind can not be thinking about how much anger you still have from the "meeting gone wrong" the night before or the dysfunctional relationship you have with a loved one. Your body works in sync with your thoughts. Yes, there are many fitness folks who will say that exercise is their outlet to release tension and anxiety, and yes, this is true.

Exercise can be the most powerful way to work off stress, but your mind has to believe that and your focus is still be in tuned with your body and what you are trying to achieve. The outcome will not be that you actually banished the "thing" that had you stressed, but actually you will have banished the thoughts about that stress that had a terrible grip on your mind. Then it carries over to your day, when you now have to face whatever the tribulation was, and you suddenly feel more empowered, more centered and more rational about how you will deal with that particular issue. Your exercise is your tool to stabilize how you digest your life.

Mental and physical fitness is truly about understanding that it is a BELIEF system. When you take time out to exercise, you have a belief that your workout has a GRAND PURPOSE. It is not a mere exercise of "just doing," but rather a process that will lead you to a better place on many levels.

Some people exercise regularly but even after months, even years, they still find it to be the most "grueling" thing they do during their day. They still benefit because as much as they want to complain that they "hate to exercise," something has them compelled to still do it. The choice they make is a good one despite their attitude. Little do they consider that, their mind has actually embraced the benefits of the exercise program .... the mind AND body demands it!

For anyone out there who is still putting off or dismissing the idea of a wellness program, I urge you to consider that your thoughts, perhaps FEARS are the cause for your RESISTANCE. Think about what you actually fear.... feeling better? Feeling better??? Functioning better? And there's lot's more goodies that you wrongly fear!

You can face these fears with someone who can help you to overcome them and help you to cross over to CURIOSITY. It's time for you to get curious about what it would be like to help your health in ways you never imagined. Little ways that would go a LONG way and put you on a path of a much HAPPIER, HEALTHIER and FULFILLING lifestyle!

No matter what age, or what you do for a living, your health and wellbeing matter for YOUR life!

14 May 2009

My son has Uveitis

Yesterday after school, I took my son for his 6th or so visit with his pediatric rheumatologist. As we drove there, Miles tried to figure out which doctor we were going to since over the past 11 months, we have perhaps seen 6 different doctors, probably 50 or more times. I honestly feel like it's just a trip to visit with her and just repeat the same chit chat over and over. A 30 minute drive across town, for a two-hour visit, that just reinforces what we already know.

Last year, towards the end of May, my son awoke one morning in a lot of pain, crying that he could not open his eyes. I thought maybe he was just very tired and trying to avoid going to school, but it did not take more than a few minutes for me to realize that he was truly in agony. When I tried to get him to open his eyes, it was as if the lids of his eyes were being gripped and ripped. I managed to see severe red, watery eyes. The right was worse than the left. I took him to his pedicatrician who diagnosed him with allergies since he was coughing too. He gave him an antibiotic and 2 different eye drops, instructing me to 1st try one, and if nothing changed after 2 days, switch to the other. This truly bothered me, but I hoped the doctor knew what he was talking about. After 5 days, Miles was still in agony, unable to open his eyes (wearing sunglasses), eyes still red. Obviously the pediatrician was wrong.

Now it was Tuesday of the following week, and I had to keep him out of school and decided to take him to my Ophthalmologist. Lucky for us, this doctor treated children, and quickly recognized that Miles had Uveitis. Never heard of it before!

It is: Anterior uveitis affects the front of the eye. It is inflammation in the uvea of the eye. It is often called iritis because it mainly affects the area around the eye’s iris. Anterior uveitis is the most common kind of uveitis in children and adults making up 40-70% of all uveitis. It is usually acute (i.e. comes on suddenly and lasts for less than six weeks) and is associated with pain, light sensitivity and redness. Although it can be caused by a number of diseases which affect the body, such as Ankylosing Spondylitis or Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, most of the cases are of unknown origin.

Uveitis is not common in children, so it's important to find a doctor(s) who really knows how to treat children. You can NOT take your child to any old eye doctor because they will not be familiar with the condition. By the grace of God, it turned out that my eye doctor did have other children (though few) with the condition. Also, we have to take him across town to this particular pediatric rheumatologist because she is one of perhaps only 2 or 3 who treat children with uveitis in our county.

Though I was fully annoyed about the misdiagnosis by the pediatrician, I was happy that we finally figured out what the problem was. We learned that he would have to treat the problem with steroid eye drops until the inflammation went away. Well, at first we started with 4-5 drops a day, which did not help and in fact the inflammation got worse. With that we had to increase the dosing to 12 times a day. The aggressive use of the steroids in his eyes seem to bring on lots of headaches too. My once rather healthy child, who I could get to eat tons of healthy fruits, vegetables, fish, etc., was now afflicted with a condition .... a condition that we did not know WHY it was happening. He underwent every possible test to try to find something, and we found nothing.

At that point, I made a commitment to really streamline his diet, go as organic as possible, include some extra supplements, teach him about breathing techniques (because now he was stressing with all the drops and headaches), and strive to get him better.

We had to go the eye doctor practically every week. We went to a neurologist, and pain doctor as well. Many bloodtests in between. By August, his condition cleared up and we had tapered him off the drops. I felt happy. He also was seen by a very renowned pediatric ophthalmologist who was amazed at his recovery.

Well, sad to say, 3 weeks after school started back in September, a repeat of that dreaded May morning occurred. Again, Miles cried out from his bedroom to tell me his eyes were hurting badly and he could not open them. I gasped and thought, "hopefully this is just conjunctivitis this time !" Back to the eye doctor we went to learn that NO, it was not pink eye, but a relapse of the uveitis. He was back on the steroid eye drops, 12 times a day, and more.

I started to notice that his attention span was becoming affected, only to learn that the aggressive steroid use could be causing this problem and the headaches. This was the last thing we needed in the midst of the start of 4th grade. It was our reality, and I also realize that along with a commitment to addressing his health, I also had to commit to being more attentive to his academics.

Knowing that he was struggling to stay focused and comfortable, I had to sit with him every morning to go over what he did the night before, and I would sit with him for sometimes hours, making sure he was getting all his work done. I have even read complete books that he had to read to make sure he got the full gist of the stories. This has helped tremendously and he has been getting either A's(+ and -) and B+'s! This was so good for him, and his level of confidence. Each time he would get a 100 on a test, he would come home very happy.

But it's been tough to keep up with day in and day out. The inflammation did not go away as easily this time. It's been very expensive to keep up with all the extra every "things."

Due to the fact that the inflammation has been so stubborn, and the steroid eye drops use has been prolonged, the rheumatologist advised us in February that we needed to get him off the drops before the drops would cause damage to this eyes. Isn't that great? Using a medication to fix one thing, but risking that it can cause another problem! That is when we had to switch him for the pill form of methotrexate (that he was taking from September) to weekly injections of a higher dose. The methotrexate seems to make him more fatigued. It is a immune suppressant medication which suppresses the inflammation from happening in his body which is good, but...

Bad because if he catches something (a germ, a cold), it takes a longer time for him to fight it off despite my efforts to feed him very healthy foods and supplements. Consider, the medication has now built up in his system for almost 9 months, so his immune system is very suppressed. We actually experienced this back in December when so many kids were sick at school. Even teachers were sick! Though, I worked hard to keep him as well as possible, he had weeks and weeks of sleepless nights due to chronic coughing. We learned .. again.. that the methotrexate may be causing the lingering cough. Causing it! It was an insane experience, back and forth to the pedicatrician switching medications about 4 times trying to find something to get him better. Under normal circumstances, this coughing would have only lasted a few days. Since then, I have been diligent about his diet, supplements, washing hands, and shielding him when I can from catching something again. Obviously this is practically impossible!

It's been 3 months of injections now, and we will go back to the eye doctor next week in hopes of finding out that all the inflammation in his eyes have cleared up. If that happens, we will start to taper the steroid eye drops slowly. That taper may take another 2 to 3 months before it's done. Consider at that point, he will have had a 10+month stretch (not including the first 12 week use last year) of steroid eye drops. Half way through this journey, we found out that aggressive steroid eye drop use is considered to be anything over 3 or 4 months.

So last night, the rheumatologist shared much of the same information with us. IF and WHEN, he gets off the eye drops, our journey still continues with injections for at least another 9 months. IF his eyes stay well and clear for 9 months, then and only then will we taper off injections.

Along the way we learned that Miles could have this condition (coming and going) for years to come, OR it could just go away suddenly and never return. I decided to ask the doctor about other patients she treats. Apparently, there are children who are in much WORSE condition than Miles --- some due to the fact that the parents don't keep up with the proper care of their children. That may be due to ignorance, OR finances, or just plain lack of WILL and DETERMINATION. Some children are just afflicted with a very bad case of Uveitis .. period.

I can say, this has been TRYING for ME. There are days, I forget the eye drops for a few hours because I am so busy with other things. I believe Miles embraces those misses so he can get a break from being interrupted and dabbed over and over with the milky substance that dries in the corners of his eyes day in and day out. There are days Miles just protests so much that he does not want any more drops. I respect his protests but I still have to be diligent. There are days, I dread giving him the injections. I don't like giving him the injections. And he just does not like getting them. He tenses up and he questions each and every time, "why can't we just stop doing this?" There are days I just think, "I don't want to do this to him anymore." There are days I just stare at him and want to cry because I feel like this is disrupting his life in so many ways. These drugs are surely disrupting the health of his body.

Then.... there are days I KNOW in my HEART that things could be a lot worse.

The doctor told me about the children who don't follow treatment properly -- they really and truly LOSE their eye sight. When this happens, it is irreversible (unless it's caused by cataracts and surgery could help). There are children who do have an underlying reason why it is happening, and so they have more than one condition to treat.

So I will NOT neglect my child's health. I will still feed him healthy foods and supplements, and have conversations with him about how much I care about him. We will still seek to find out why this is happening.

I will just love him and care for him to the best of my ability!

11 May 2009

Sharing my fitness

In November 2004, I ran the New York City Marathon for the second time for various reasons. The first reason was to celebrate my 40th birthday, and the second reason was because I wanted to run a better marathon than I did previously in 1993. 11 years later from my first marathon, I can proudly say I did indeed improve my fitness and I ran a very comfortable marathon. I had no aches, no pains, and I even returned to the gym to do my regular 2 hr workouts for 10 days straight after November 7, 2004. That showed how efficiently I had trained!

My mindset
Some people get the wrong idea about the mindset of a person like me. They think I am obsessed or they think that I have a predisposition to being a dedicated fitness person. I will say, I am a dedicated fitness person who understands that staying committed to my program benefits me completely. It's the foundation for balance in all aspects of living. Not just for me, but for anyone.

I would say that I got serious about maintaining my fitness life about 25 years ago. I did not understand the need to balance nutrition with fitness until later on. I am pleased with the journey I have been on because it enabled me to truly understand how the two compliment one another, and how important it is to balance physical fitness with nutrition.

25 years ago
25 years ago, and still today people say to me, "oh what kind of exercise do you do?" They ask because they can tell I work out. They see my very muscular legs (particularly calves), or they overhear me say, "I work out almost every day." People always are curious. Some are curious because they are still trying to figure out what to do themselves. Some do exercise, and just want to compare their program to mine. Some are also trying to figure out if the exercise I do --- shows on my body. This I find very interesting.

Misleading infomercials
There are so many infomercials and exercises that claim to do this and that. People run out and buy certain things, or sign up with certain gym and trainers, because they want to look like the pictures they see. This is so misleading. First consider, magazines and tv ads are often airbrushed. We all have different body types and metabolisms, and so certain exercises may not duplicate results the same on everybody who does them. It's so important to realize that you should truly understand exactly what type of body you have, how your diet affects your body, and how different exercises will help your body. It's also good to realize that unless you will do drastic things, you do indeed have a specific body type, and you should embrace it.

I can say that I have tried so many different things, and at this stage of my life, I believe it was all meant to be because I am able to share my experiences and my knowledge with others to the extent that it helps them to know what works, and what does not work.

The health and nutrition industry is a multi-billion dollar business and it can be truly intimidating to most people. Every day there is a new trend, or a new supplement, or new findings about foods and the human body. Somethings that were true 25 years ago have been revised and abolished. There are new claims constantly surfacing. Consider that some of the stuff we believe to be true today, may be thrown out in the next 5 or 10 years.

First we were told that 20 minutes of aerobics would benefit you considerably, now we are told a minimum of 30 mins, and even 1 hour. 10,000 steps of walking is sufficient. No wait...strength training is the only thing that truly burns calories and reshapes the body. People transform their physiques by doing 30 sessions of pilates. Yoga is the ultimate exercise. Runners have the best bodies! Boxing is the best high intensity exercise. Gosh, so which one is best? What to do? What can you believe in?? Believe in yourself and your efforts, but understand it's a daily requirement!

I have tried dozens and dozens of workouts and machines, and mostly because I love exercise, and I love to experiment. Two years ago, I was watching TV, and I saw an infomercial for Beachbody/P90X, and they showed all these "regular" people who did the program as suggested for 90 days. These "regular" people transitioned from being ordinary people, some already fit, some totally unfit, to becoming amazingly extremely fit people. So I jumped on the computer and I ordered "my" P90X. From the very beginning I thought, "this is fantastic stuff!" I love it. I love the concept of "muscle confusion" and I loved Tony Horton's wonderful way of being the most essential personal trainer on a DVD. Somehow they were able to anticipate every question you would have while doing the routine, and also all the tips and encouragement necessary to enable you to complete each of the different 12 routines.

However, due to my constant need to try new things, I only did the program for about 10 weeks, and I can honestly admit, I was mixing it up "my way" and not necessary doing the workouts as they were scheduled. I truly loved some of the routines more than others (for example, KenpoX) so I would do those workouts a few times a week. The Beachbody entourage consists of regular people who transformed their level of fitness to new heights and that is truly inspirational and real.

Running was my ultimate form of exercise, but over the years, and due to children, I was not always able to get outside and run, and yes, it can be quite a challenge to run 6 or 7 miles indoors on a treadmill. I also came to realize that running on it's own, is not the way to be in ideal shape or even be an efficient runner. I trained for the NYC marathon in 2004 with a fantastic and intelligent athlete and through him I learned that my running strength and ability would be hugely enhanced by including strength training, pilates, yoga, and bikram yoga into my routine.

At one point, while I was training for the 2004 marathon and even after, I had belonged to 3 gyms. One was a small gym where I trained with some other people who were running the marathon. Another was a gym close to my house, and they had cool classes: speed rope, kickboxing, boot camp, circuit training, spinning. I loved them all! The third gym was wonderful for strength training because they had just about every single piece of weight training machinery possible. Depending on the day, the time, I would just choose where I wanted to go. I loved the flexibility of knowing I could pick and choose what I wanted and needed to do.

During that period of my life, I was in amazing shape. No, I was not in competitive shape, but I can say the medley of routines made me happy. And, I kept up with this lifestyle with 2 small children and a fulltime job, working from 7 a.m. to 4:30 with a 1 hour commute back and forth. It can be done by anyone with any lifestyle.

Reinvention and creativity
I am not suggesting that everyone should want to do everything, and belong to various gyms because about 3 years ago, I had to give that all up. When I was going through my divorce, I had to make drastic changes with my daily lifestyle, but I had NO intentions of giving up my health needs. I cancelled all my gym memberships, and I resorted to building up my gym at home. I had already owned a treadmill, an elliptical machine, free weights, DVDs and a few others items. From there, I started to assess what I was spending on gym memberships, and I realized that my yearly expenses were over $1,200. I did some research and decided to invest in another treadmill (Nordic Track Incline treadmill -- has a 50% incline) and a strength training machine. Both of these items I got on sale, and together they cost me less than $2,000. That is still a lot of money, but 3 1/2 years later, I have now saved at least $1600.00 and I have the convenience of easily working out in my home.

Again, I am not trying to say that everyone should have a gym in their house, but I am saying that "where there is a will, there is a way." It's important to always figure out a solution that will enable you to continue with your Wellness program no matter how your life is making changes.

Lifetime commitment
People need to realize that being on a fitness and nutrition program is not to be embarked upon as a short term initiative. I hear people say, "oh, I just signed up with a personal trainer for the next 3 months"... because of some temporary allowance that has taken place in their lives. What's the plan thereafter?? It has to be a lifestyle PERMANENT change with balance. It may involve trial and error. It may involve creativity and a mix of ideas. It surely will involve dedication and consistency. It's all about prioritizing YOU.

The newest question I am being asked it, "hey how is that P90X working for you?" Well, so far it's working very well. I am not jumping on the scale because my motivation is not to just lose weight (which I want to do since I did put on some extra "winter" pounds like a normal person). My motivation, however, is to minimally maintain my level of being fit, AND ultimately become more fit, physically and visually. So far, at day 3 of week 3, I can already see improvements and I feel more fit. I am doing the "Doubles" variation of P90X because it includes extra cardio which is supposed to increase performance and weightloss. I plan to run about 3 days a week while doing the program. Why? Because (1) I love to run, (2) it's spring! (3) Running outside improves my mood in so many ways!

Change your belief
I often hear people say, "oh I could never run 5 miles, " or, "I am not flexible, I can't even touch my toes," or "I would never be able to do something like that." Well, I can say that anyone who says that perhaps did not even step up to the challenge. Your first mountain to climb is "changing your belief" system. The mind is the barrier to the success you could have and would have. It's not about looking at that seasoned runner who runs 5 miles a day with ease and thinking, "oh no," but more so about saying, "ok, I am going to start with ME and make small goals for myself." Perhaps you start out walking, and then slowly adding in a short jog for a minute or two here and there. At the end of each session, you say to yourself, "good job self! let's see what we can do tomorrow." Smile and believe in yourself.

Along with any program or exercise that you embark on, you have to train properly and eat more effectively. Ideal fitness is not about just killing yourself with a 30 or 60 minute session of working out, but it's more about being in tuned to your body and knowing how to proceed day to day in order to make improvements and see results. You can exercise effectively, without hurting yourself, and you can eat well, without thinking it's torturous. It's all about educating yourself and learning... HOW.

Mindset will determine success
Before you jump to buy the next product you see on an infomercial, consider that your MINDSET has to be right in order to have success. Almost any program could work for most people if you know what you are doing. It's not about seeing the people in the commercial who are telling you, "I lost 20 lbs in 3 weeks," just because I bought this product and did it. It surely could work for any person. The successful person bought it because they were adamant about being successful, so they went on a strict diet, worked out hard, and they stuck with a belief that they were going to get results.

But where are those people today? Did they maintain it? Were they eating a sensible amount of calories everyday? Did they maintain a healthy nutritional balance on a daily basis? Is their mind in the right place after the 3 or 6 weeks? Could they survive and maintain their new wellness if their lives were suddenly altered in drastic ways????

Don't look for the quick fix because you will be disappointed in the end. Look for the "MIND FIX," and realize that you have to want to balance your wellness life ... FOR LIFE!

Today, I certainly could not run another marathon, but I know that when and if I decide to run another marathon, I will train properly. For now, my mission is to see P90X to completion (I have about 9 1/2 weeks to go) and I know the results will be amazing. My mind is so positive and I am mostly just excited that I can do these things for ME. I start my day feeling empowered both physically and mentally.

I am very grateful for the fact that I have this "trial and error" personality because it has enabled me with the ability to share with others and help them determine what they should consider doing for their own wellbeing. I am able to understand "why" people do what they do, why they succeed, and why they fail when it comes to maintain a Wellness program. My knowing comes from DOING!

07 May 2009

Contemplating a need for wellness?

A good portion of the population contemplates most of their life's decisions. Many easily say on a day to day basis:

I want to get in shape.
I want to be stress free.
I want to eat better.
I want to stop smoking.
I want to manage a chronic health issue that I have.
I want to be healthier than the rest of my family.
And many also interchange the word "want" with "plan."

Contemplation is to meditate, to intend. So it's a healthy start. But it needs to be implemented to have significance. Don't stay on the outskirts of the horizon..... Get into the action.

Many people think that because they can eventually get out of the bed every morning, and get to work, to make their paycheck, get home to feed the children, clean up the house, and pay the bills... they are doing ok. No need for any improvements???

Some people believe that when you reach 40, you should start to slow down. Wow. 40 is not even half of your life and why would you want to go down hill at that point?? Have you lived a fulfilling life already by age 40? Perhaps you think so because you just don't feel good and you just "feel" like you are slowing down anyway.

Some people believe 50 is entering middle age, and time to start to think about nursing homes and funeral costs. At age 50, many of us have teenagers, and if you are ready to start throwing in the towel so soon, how will you enjoy the next 25 years of your children's lives, milestones, achievements (since you easily want to forget about your own)?

Time to ditch those old-fashioned primitive mindsets, and realize we are in the year 2009, and the new ideal is WELLNESS. Life starts over at 50. There is fun to be had by everyone. If you have teenagers, you can be right by their side running, swimming, laughing, feeling very healthy and happy!! We have an immense amount of knowledge and know-how to enable us to feel fantastic and live very WELL, into our 50s, 60s, 70s, and even 80s! And even past that!

Here are some key questions that one should answer:

1. Do you smoke?
2. Do you find it hard to exercise at least 3 times a week, a minimum of 1 hour a day? Or everyday for at least 30 minutes a day?
3. Do you climb stairs and feel winded?
4. Do you eat a lot of processed, fried, fast and not so nutritious foods?
5. Do you have anyone in your family that was diagnosed with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, metabolic syndrome, macular degeneration, or any other serious health issue?
6. Do you catch frequent colds?
7. Do you have aches, pains, swollen joints?

If you have answered yes to even one of these, then it's time to realize that you need to make some very necessary changes in your wellness program, or perhaps you need to finally implement one. These are a few of many questions that truly matter. If you answer yes to any of these questions, and also decide to leave things as they are, then you are choosing to gamble with your health.

If you can make efforts to keep your house organized and your car well maintained, you should definitely put YOUR well-being at the top of your priority list, otherwise what's the point in having a nice house and a nice car?

06 May 2009

Do you know your exercise prescription?

One thing we all know for sure, is that we should exercise. But just how much is necessary? Did you ever think you would actually have an exercise prescription?? For the folks that are doing their share everyday, and feeling very good, and maintaining stable and great health, they already know their prescription.

For the rest of people who don't exercise regularly or at all, you need to find out. It is especially important if you have a condition and you want to improve your state of health. A simple suggestion, of "just go out and walk," is not enough. There are a lot of people going out and walking, quite casually, and it is doing minimum benefit for their health and state of well-being. Walking is a fantastic activity for cardio, but it has to be done with purpose and effort. Everyone has to start from somewhere and to work up to more challenging efforts in order to reap benefits over time and consistently.

We know that we should get cardio, strength training and flexibility training. Those 3 areas should be incorporated in everyone's exercise program for ideal fitness, but again, in what ways should they be added to your routine?

The human body needs balance and needs specific exercises to enhance it's state of functioning well, and looking well. Yoga and Pilates have jumped to the forefront of the fitness world in the past decade. For quite a while, the emphasis was only on cardio and strength training, and now we know that we actually strengthen our body effectively with Yoga and Pilates. In fact, these two types of exercise enhance our abilities to have better results with our cardio and strength training routines.

Along with the 3 basics areas of exercise, today in 2009, there are so many different forms of exercise and it's wonderful knowing that you can pick and choose what you like and leave the rest.

But, if you are striving for a certain level of fitness, or a significant improvement in your health (depending on what your issues are), then it behooves you to truly investigate what exercise would SIGNIFICANTLY enhance your lifestyle.

There are people who jump and join a gym and 3 or 6 months later, they are not satisfied with the results. There are people who join an exercise group just because their friends are doing it, and again, they decide to quit because they don't feel it is helping them. There are people who hire a personal trainer, only to be put through that trainer's program --- which only brings resentment and pain, and after the 6 or 8 weeks are up (and $1,000 later), they are left still not quite knowing where to go from there, or how to keep it going.

If you have made the first step towards acknowledging that you need a fitness program in your life, that is the most important step.

Now the next important step is to find out "your" specific exercise prescription.

1. What do you need to achieve?
2. What do you need to improve?
3. Do you understand fully the effects of the workout you are doing? Do you know what is truly being improved?
4. What do you have to do continuously?
5. What are the benefits of one type of exercise over another?
6. How much cardio do YOU really need?
7. What is the recommendation for strength training for YOU?
8. Do you know about these other types of exercise and how they can benefit YOU?
9. Have you learned some basics so that if worse comes to worse, you can know what to do so you can keep a program going on your own??
10. How does your diet interact with your exercise program?

These are just a few questions that need to be answered and understood completely.

You should know about your exercise program, just as if it were a medicine being prescribed to you by a doctor. Hopefully, you would never just swallow a pill simply because a doctor said, "here take this and you will be fine."

Take time to know that the time you invest in your fitness well-being is time that is truly spent well!

04 May 2009

Your children will thank you

Do you recall the excitement you felt when you knew you were bringing a child into the world? Nothing felt so surreal, so fulfilling and so anticipatory in life, right?

Knowing that a life was growing and would come out into the world to be nurtured, cared for and loved to the fullest! -- BY YOU... THE Parent!

When a baby is born, we quickly learn what is very important. Love your baby, be gentle and most importantly, feed your child --- carefully and properly.

There is a method that every mother and father is taught, that first due to our baby's new digestive system, we must start out with milk -- breast milk, or some sort of formula. And eventually over a few months, as their systems mature, they strive, they will want for something with more nutrients.

What is in those jars? Fruits and vegetables!! That is what! Apples, apricots, cantaloupe, cherries, green beans, peaches, pears, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, and winter squash. We take our time, introducing our precious creations to the world of foods and interestingly enough, we start with nature's best. Some mothers choose to make their own fresh fruits and vegetables and that is a beautiful thing. Today we are very lucky to have organic baby food and other naturally made choices because we have learned that ideal nutrition is very necessary.

Knowing that we are taught that babies must start their food journey with the most natural and healthiest foods on earth, why do so many of us quickly take our children on another food journey far away from this healthy start? Toddlers, no more than 1 1/2-2 yrs old, are suddenly dictating to their mothers that they will ONLY eat chicken fingers and french fries. How did that happen?

Yes, life can be quite challenging especially if parents are working and have more than one child. But it's still important to remember that whatever choices you make today as a parent for your child will matter considerably as they grow up. If you give into their requests for junk food everyday, you are laying a foundation for them to believe it's not important to take health seriously. Which leads to children growing up becoming teens and young adults who struggle with their health and now devote time and energy to "trying to find out how to change" all the wrong they have been doing. And this time and energy sometimes spans their lives for decades.

Sure children should be able to enjoy the comforts of being children, but not at the expense of causing health problems, obesity and image issues later on as they become teens. And these problems become emotional and psychological issues very quickly. Who do you think our children will blame in the end when they are struggling with issues about their bodies? Why set yourself up for suddenly dealing with a crisis about your child's well-being? You had the upper hand in the first place when you brought them into the world! Run with it!

We are a very educated society and food companies are trying to produce healthier cuisines. Statistics show that the obesity rate in children is an ever-growing number. Some parents say that they can't afford the costs of healthy foods for their children, and so that is why they indulge in a lot of not-so healthy foods. But price will be paid in the future. There is no savings!!!

It's all about balance, understanding the benefits of food and what a child's diet really and truly NEEDS. It's very easy to sit down and have a conversation with your children about their health, their bodies, how they function and the fact that food HAS a PURPOSE. If you can send your child to school to learn from a teacher all they have to know academically, then you should be WILLING to do your job as a parent and teach them why they have to care for their bodies.

It IS very easy to lead by example and embrace healthy food. It IS easy to learn how to prepare healthy dishes. And it IS very easy to convey to your children that healthy foods ARE delicious!

Food for thought: A child that feels healthy, can run and jump, feel confident, perform well... is a child that has a mind free from worry about how they look and feel---- and can focus on doing their best and being happy.

01 May 2009

Why would you want to do that?

A question many of us ask others many times in our lives.

Why would you do such a risky thing like that?

Why would you eat that?

Why would you go to that place?

Why would you do that?

Well, the answer should be easy if you look at the faces and the lives of the people doing such things. They are healthy. They are happy. They have no fear. They enjoyed it. They love their bodies. They love their minds. They have healthy souls.

Over there in that place....there is joy, sunshine and bunches of other interesting stuff!

Another great response: I heard it was very good so I decided to try it!

The best yet:

I was sick and tired of feeling bad.
I want to be happy.
I want to feel healthy.
I want to live.
I want to know why those other people said it's so wonderful.
I deserve all that is good for me!!!

Life has a lot of goodness! Partake in it!

P.S. I will pass on the sky diving!