01 December 2010

Rules to live by: Love and Laugh

My darling son looking so serious in this picture. He was just trying to "model,"
so no worries there. These pictures were taken on Thanksgiving evening and we
really had a lot of fun being silly! He is getting to that age (almost 12) where
he thinks he is too cool for certain things, but every so often, he reminds me
that he is still my baby (sshhh, don't tell him I told you). Like this morning, I went
to wake him up and instead of just yelling "WAKE UP!!!, I decided to lay down
next to him and just hold his head against my chest and gently tell him, "I love you. I know
you are tired and it's ok." I just let him be for about 5 minutes... it was lovely...

Nia just jumping on my back! They love to jump on my back because they think
I am very strong and can take it. Sometimes yes, sometimes... no!!
I adore my children and we have so much fun .. having fun
together. I especially love when I am angry with them and they laugh at my facial expressions!
I fully understand that they won't stay young forever and so I embrace
the opportunity to act young and silly with them! I encourage anyone who has
young children to get on the floor and have fun with them as much as possible!

More serious modeling moments! Ha ha !
Ok, in all seriousness, we have our share of challenges -- we certainly do.

Last night out of the clear blue sky, Nia and I started playing a game of "try to catch me."
She was trying to catch me. Silly right?
Not at all! I can't remember when I last laughed so hard... so hard that it
started to hurt and I had to just stop and let her catch me. At that point, I
just sat and hugged her and said, "Thank you God for giving me such a beautiful, healthy, loving daughter,
Thank you for blessing me with the wonderful opportunity to be a mother."

It's a blessing to be a mother.
It's a blessing to be able to Love and Laugh endlessly!

Wow.. I look forward to the next opportunity to laugh so hard until it hurts! That's quality laughter !
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27 August 2010

Summer Cooking has been good looking!

This summer has been wonderful, not only because of all the normal wonderful things that occur during summertime, but also because I was able to really try a bunch of new things.  One amazing thing that happened for me is that I did the Insanity 63 Day Challenge and I am currently doing Turbo Fire, 2 new workout programs for me that have unleashed a new level of creativity in my life.  I have a renewed sense of belief in myself and my abilities.  Would you ever expect a workout to produce this result?  A good workout program can and should produce such a results, and that is why I continue to encourage people to get on a great health journey because you can't even begin to imagine the benefits... it's beyond just being physically fit.

I learned how to cook years back when I was 9 years old, but I can't say that I remained faithful to the skill.  I am a self-taught culinary artist.  I am perfecting my skill on a daily basis and I enjoy it.  At one point it surely felt like a frustrating chore.  For quite a few years while I was still working on Wall Street, I grew to love dining out mostly in New York City, and in other wonderful restaurants while traveling all over the world, and so I embraced that wonderful period of my life when I could be spoiled by some of the world's best chefs!  Though I may not have wanted to cook, I certainly wanted to taste all sorts of great cuisine.  

Now that I am a blessed mother of 2 children, it's very important to me to educate them in many ways as it pertains to nutrition and health.  First, I teach them about healthy cuisine and the fact that they have choices.  Second, I hope to pass on this wonderful gift of being able to cook.  I come from a very confident cooking family!  My darling children already beg me to let them help in the kitchen, so I believe we are on the right track.  The third thing that has recently become apparent to me, that I would like to teach them, is that food has a purpose.   It nourishes the mind, body and soul.   Not only is it important to eat foods that are healthy for the body, but it is also important (to me) that the food offer a well balanced purpose.When you sit down to eat, you should enjoy the moment, truly reflect on how the dish looks, and savor the goodness of what you are putting in your body. 

This has been my mission all summer:  To prepare healthy foods, in a short amount of time, that looks and tastes amazing.  My mission will continue because I have enjoyed it thus far.  For the past 2 1/2 months, I have made some of the most amazing dishes... dishes that I have never made before, and this is only the beginning.....the best is yet to come!

Above, in order, Guacamole Wrap, Salmon Zucchini Fritters, Pink Grapefruit and Avocado Salad, Tilapia Piccata with Oven Roasted Vegetables, Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Stir Fry

23 August 2010

Helping yourself does help others

I really thought we were hearing about big increases in the percentage of people who are making their health a priority, but so many statistics say otherwise, and as a matter of fact, I think I get a good reality of this by the people I interact with daily.  There seems to be a lot of people who really want to, but have not committed to prioritizing their health concerns. 

One of the biggest barriers is guilt.  Mothers feel guilty about taking an extra hour or so a day for themselves.  Fathers feel like their jobs or yard work is their priority.  Some people think it's expensive, and this is not true.  Some think they should spend their money on other things.  In the long run, if you don't take care of your health, you will be faced with huge expenses.  The problem with guilt, however,  is it has no truthful role in our lives when it pertains to health.  Guilt actually makes you unhealthy.  A person forms irrational thoughts and opinions about something and then they lead themselves to feel a negative way about .. the thing.

At first I used to believe that one person had the ability to make someone else feel guilty.  This is not true either.. another false belief.  We are in control over how we choose to feel, and that is the truth.  It's important to look at the facts of a situation and then ask some very important questions:

Would taking care of myself benefit me? Yes.  Better than that.... Would taking care of myself benefit others in my life?  Most definitely.  Beyond all the obvious physical health benefits, there are emotional, psychological, spiritual benefits that can be put on a very long list. 

Today I was listening to a great talk about relationships and how it's important to establish them in life, in business, in every aspect of your daily existence.   People need people.   Though success is measured in many different ways,  you can't be successful without other people.  It's important to get to a place in life where you maintain good relationships.   I heard during this talk, that despite all the dismal news we hear daily, people actually like to be helpful to one another.   Honestly, if we could hear more "feel good" or humanitarian types stories everyday, most of us would feel more positive and healthy.
This is what it comes down to, the practice of healthy habits.   Being healthy is not just about exercising, it's also about how you live, how you treat others, and how you process life. 

Very quickly, the whole thing came together for me.  People, relationships, help must be combined with good health.   When it comes to health and making an effort to improve it, first the guilt needs to be sent packing.  People need to stop feeling guilty, and/or stop making others feel guilty.  We need to HELP one another to make the effort to work on being healthy on a daily basis.

I look at the faces of all the people who are on a journey to take care of their well-being, and I always see smiles.  I hear people shouting from the moutain tops about how they lost weight, lowered their cholesterol, ran a marathon, got really fit or flexible.  People love to share all this great news.   It's nice to hear it and it truly seems to draw people nearer, closer.

Whether you are a mother, a teacher, a scientist, or a dog walker, you are entitled to a huge slice of healthy living.  Most likely once you start on (or stay on) some type of program that is working, the people around you will want to know what you are doing and will want to do it too.  If they don't, perhaps they need some help??

Helping yourself  to be healthy does help others!

01 July 2010

Trials for Victory

As some already know, it was my dear friend on Facebook, Rochelle, who asked me to do Beachbody's Insanity 60-Day Challenge with her as she had just successfully completed P90X for the first time by the end of May.  We are currently on Day 25 of Insanity and it is an amazing experience, though very challenging!

After P90X, Rochelle immediately enjoyed a huge sense of accomplishment and a desire to dig deep in a different direction to see what new possibilities were out there for her health journey. She is also an avid cyclist and does long bike rides once or twice a week. She has done about 3 or 4 lengthy bike rides (20-50 miles) over the past few weekends and attributes her improved riding to her Insanity training and she will be put to the test of all tests, next weekend, when she WILL do her first ever, 100 mile bike ride. She is trusting in the "training" and realizing that she is more than capable when she goes out to ride. I see victory and ease for her on the day of her 100 miler! She is not overtraining (truly sticking to the Insanity program and only riding once or so a week) and she is eating very healthy in the process. This Insanity Trial is really working for her.

We chat daily about our little accomplishments, likes, dislikes, and of course, our challenges. There will always be challenges despite the fact that some people are good about "acting" like it is so easy. It is not so easy, for various reasons, and we have to remember that we are mere human beings. Human beings with desires, temptations, a will that changes like the weather at times, and just simple needs.

All of this came to mind this morning as I set out to prepare breakfast for my children (ages 8 and 11). I did Cardio Recovery (from Insanity) while they slept and then I thought to make them pancakes for breakfast, pancakes filled with some fruit of some kind. This is my normal morning routine, I look in all the cupboards and the refrigerators to see what I have. What needs to be used up, and what would be healthy at the same time. I then quickly create a meal in my mind. The fruit was not overly ripe and so I would rather save it for them to eat whole, as is. So I change my mind about the pancakes.

I honestly do this constant changing daily with different meals for the day. What to cook? What to prepare? What to eat? What should we eat? Actually what should I eat... and what should they eat? Most of the time, my meal is slightly or drastically altered from theirs. Even with the best of intentions, however, planning, scheduling, writing it out, your desires will truly grip your mind and point you in another direction and sometimes it is truly NOT the direction you want to go in.

You look at the clock and you start to feel pressured. Make up your mind! What are you going to prepare to eat? Hurry up! It's getting late.

I envisioned all sorts of things, not for the children, but for me. I started to dream up desires for all sorts of different things for breakfast. I even considered having lunch for breakfast ... a salad? A steak? Why not the usual shake? I don't know. I figured I can have a shake later in the morning, or for lunch. Why do I have to stick to the "routine?" I also considered that I have a lot of veggies that need to be used up. I considered the leftover carcass of a roasted organic chicken. Stretch it meals!

Ok. I had to take my mind off of me for a bit and get back to the children because now I was hearing cries from the background, "Mommmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyy, I'm hungry!!!" Ooops. Right. I forgot, I have to feed them. They are children and they can eat all the yummy, fattening breakfasty foods right??

No, that is not true. Just because they are children, does NOT mean they should eat "nutrition-LESS" meals, especially to start the day. So I gathered up some stuff and placed it on the counter. The leftover chicken (breast meat only), some lightly steamed kale from the day before, fresh broccoli, some red onions, and organic eggs. I yelled to the children, "How does a chicken veggie omelette sounds for breakfast?" Nia replied, "Sounds yummy and can I have a little cheese on mine?" Sure why not!

It appealed to me, it appealed to them, and so it was to be made. It encompassed all those tempting thoughts I had about eating dinner for breakfast, some hot, something tasty, something complex.... but something healthy. I made just enough for the two of them, with a tiny bit to taste myself. I tasted it, and I was satisfied. I had just enough to please my palate and most of all, to please me that the children were having something healthy, exciting and tasty for breakfast.

Now back to my shake for me. I need my shake. I feel fulfilled.

Many times the temptations we have for certain things can be addressed in clever ways. Sometimes you just want a taste. Consider that all of that nonsense with my mind playing tricks and a lot of indecision only lasted about 15-20 minutes. Lesson learned, don't be quick to give into temptations that may lead you off the path of the journey you have intentions to see through.

Sometimes it is our lifestyles, families, careers, that have us making quick, unhealthy decisions about what to eat, and we keep it as our "go-to" excuse like it's a pass. Getting a "pass" because of the circumstances will leave you constantly struggling and battling to get it right. It's important to learn (a) what to shop for so that you make the right decisions MOST of the time, (b) how to get clever and win your mind over about what you WILL feed your body.

I always feel fulfilled with my shake and I sometimes forget that when I get caught up in "thoughts" and "desires" about food. And I also get caught up with wanting to bask in the delight of "dining" with my children. Me tasting the foods and conveying that to the children was enough for them. They were truly delighted that they had a lovely breakfast made by Mommy!

Just gotta keep trying to resist the (distorted) temptations!

Back to Rochelle....and her upcoming 100 mile bike ride, and our life's daily challenges to make healthy choices. It will be a victory as long as you continue to believe in yourself, believe in your efforts!

Coach Jacquie

TIP: If you have a buddy you work with, or someone you live with and you share similar likes when it comes to food, consider a great way to cut back on the amount you eat.


Instead of ordering 2 separate omelettes, order one, and cut it in half and then get some fruit.

At home, instead of preparing double quantities, prepare one quantity, split it and saute some quick veggies for the side.

18 June 2010

You say po-ta-toe....

Fingerling Potatoes

This was my first time buying and preparing this odd-shaped potato.  Normally I only put potatoes in soup, in the chillier months, and the children just seem to eat them as they are lost in the mix.  They don't even like mashed potatoes, which is fine by me since really good mashed potatoes need lots of butter!  Every potato is not the same, and I have to say, these fingerlings are a tasty bunch of finger looking taters!

I did not bother to research it as I would do when I have no clue, and I decided, on the fly, to create a quick chicken stir-fry dish. It truly was quick and delish!  I ended up calling the dish, "Hearty Mandarin Chicken Stir-fry," as it was made up with onions, garlic, green peppers, sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes (peeled), celery, chicken breast and a mandarin seasoning.  The fingerlings cooked quick and to a lovely texture in the stir-fry. 

The picky-eater, aka "my daughter," thoroughly enjoyed the "weird" potatoes and I can't put my finger on why....har har har!  Oh well! We will continue to have a finger-lickin-ling (say it fast 3 times!) great relationship with them in the future!

 Hearty Mandarin Chicken Stir-Fry

26 April 2010

Spring Cleaning the Children

Many of us are in the midst of or just about finished with the spring cleaning of our homes, businesses, bodies, and more.  It suddenly dawned on me that just as adults take this time of year to renew their health programs in an effort to be "summer" ready, as a parent, I should take specific measures to tweak and improve the health of my children so that they can be summer ready too!

Seems that allergy season is upon us early and hard when you consider that Spring jumped on us earlier than normal with the unseasonably warm weather we had at the end of March.

I also remembered that this was the first year in about 6 years that both of my children were not participating in a sport for the Spring season.   Both decided that they wanted to take a pass on softball and baseball and I was very ok with it particularly since I don't want to force my children to do too many things.  I do force them to do certain things and I feel it is good to allow them the right to pass on a few things.

I noticed that my son's face was looking a bit puffy and realized that the lack of extra sports activity (and even the stress of keeping up with the schedule) was probably beginning to show on him.  He intends to play summer basketball and so I realized that it is my job as a parent to keep my child active, fit and ready to take up the new activity by the end of June.  My son needs spring cleaning! 

Last night I briefly discussed with my ex-husband that we should concentrate on Miles' diet and make sure he is eating foods that will benefit his body, keep the allergies at bay and energize him!  This morning my son and daughter were happy to hear that I decided to start a new exercise program with them today after school.  They see that I work with and help other people and they feel very special that I will now work with them as if they are a client! We will incorporate bits and pieces from my many Beachbody workouts (might as well use my great knowledge as a Beachbody Coach) especially P90X.   Many parents who coach various sports have incorporated workouts like Plyometrics and YogaX from P90X into their children's practices and many have reported that it has enhanced the player's abilities.

Recently my soon to be 8 year old daughter discovered my Aero Jump speed rope and she practices almost every single day.  Jumping rope is a great exercise for kids and an all over fantastic aerobic conditioning exercise.   I remember jumping rope as a child and I still enjoy doing it today.  

This afternoon my children will undergo the 1st session of what I hope to be a 10 week program of "Mommy Conditioning" spring cleaning for the body!  Not only will I have daily exercise sessions with them (probably about 30 minutes or so in duration), but we will also have short 5-10 min discussions daily about the foods they eat and how they help their bodies and mind to be strong and healthy.   This I believe is important as it will get them to understand and later make wise choices about what to do to stay as healthy as possible as they become more mature and independent. 

In 10 weeks, the temperatures will be soaring and I hope to have 2 very fit, healthy children all cleaned up and ready to endure whatever the summer has in store for them!

Here's to healthy, happy fit children!

Coach Mommy! 

22 April 2010

The Eating Game and our quest to win at it!

Perhaps 1 in 100 people are truly successful on any given diet.  It's big business, and quite frankly "they" want you to keep coming back to try something else,  so understand that most people will fail beyond their control.  People are not losing weight, but actually failing to lose.  The object of the game is to keep you in "their" game.  Don't play it.   You have to make your own game and realize that you can win it. 

We all have that one friend, the one naturally slim friend who does not stress about weight, does not exercise, eats big ham and cheese heros with extra mayonnaise and extra cheese for lunch and chases it with a regular Coke.   They can even run 10 mile races with such nutrition.  You love to hate him or her!  It's not their fault.  Your mind juggles all these thoughts, "What's wrong with me why I can't eat like normal people?"  or "Life is so unfair that I can't just live and eat what I like and not worry!"

The fact of the matter is we all have different bodies, different lives, different stressors, different metabolisms and so we all experience different results based on all that we do during our daily lives.  Some people can omit one or two "bad" foods from their diets, and instantly lose weight.   Others simply think about a certain food, like yours truly, and we feel our clothing suddenly get tighter.   We have to be realistic and accept the fact that healthy, nutritious food is better for us, and it is important to eat wisely as much as possible. 

All of these thoughts ran through my mind last night as I had to banish my 11 year old son from the kitchen at 8:30 pm.   Not only was it too late for him to be eating (anything), but I remembered exactly what he ate for the entire day.  I am one of those parents who does indeed monitor what my children eat so that they can learn why making wise food choices does matter. 

At this stage of his life, I try to dish out mini-lessons daily as we encounter certain things.  In 4th grade, he learned about the food pyramid and the basic 4 food groups, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fiber.   I certainly don't expect him to understand, nor to even focus on whether or not he has had too many carbs for the day, but I do expect him to start to realize what food consumption is doing to his mind and body.

What does food consumption have to do with the mind?  A lot.  This is where I can admit that I am still learning the Eating Game myself (not how to play, but how to win) and I recommend that all who want to win should start with a journal.  Record what you eat each day as well as how you behaved during that day.  What were your thoughts like?  Better yet, can you write down what you were thinking BEFORE you decided to eat a certain food?

Back to last night.  When I saw my son scurrying around in the kitchen at 8:30pm, I quickly reflected back to the earlier part of the day, the part when I picked him up from school.   He seemed a bit anxious, a bit consumed with something.  I asked him if he was ok and he said he was, but any parent can acknowledge that preteens are very susceptible to worrying about this and that.  I am certainly not downplaying the "this" or "that," just simply leaving it wide open so you can fill in the blank.  Often times we know that we may not get a straight, truthful answer when we ask them if everything is ok, but we do our job and hope for the best!

He had been running around a lot, getting great exercise, and so it was expected that he would be thirsty and or hungry.  His first request was for an ice pop, which I did not have.  I decided to stop by the organic market which is literally 3 minutes from my house.  On the way there, I started to think about what he had for breakfast and lunch and what he would be having for dinner.   At that point, I decided to get him to understand that an ice pop would not benefit him and so he decided to have a big 20 ounce bottle of water instead and take some extra time to reconsider a different type of snack.

About 5 minutes later, he requested "Almonds!"  Yes! My son is learning how to play the Eating Game!  I love it!  He chose a high-protein, heart friendly snack!  We actually had some together and it made me smile.  When he saw my smile, it made him smile and he felt very proud of himself.  Happy child, happy parent, happy evening!

By the time we got home, before he could even start his homework, he said something to me that made me a little crazy for a split second.  He said, "I am still hungry."  Oh great.  Well, this is what we all do.  We eat and then we want to eat more.  We still feel empty.  I sensed that he was trying to put off doing his homework a little longer, wanting to continue to relax after having been in school for 6 1/2 hours and then running around for 1 hour.   The emptiness could be a true physical depletion, or it could be something more psychological in nature. 

Did those almonds and that big bottle of water not kick in yet?  What was taking so long?  I was preparing dinner and hoped that he would just wait for dinner.  I decided to try to somewhat avoid the situation and I said, "Come on, get started on that homework so you can be finished in time for dinner."  I left the kitchen for a minute and came back to find him sitting in the dining room munching on an apple!

He made me smile... again.   It may be that you can't stop thinking about food and want to eat often, but part of the battle will be to choose foods that will not sabotage your program.   You have to teach your mind that grabbing a bag of potato chips or a soda, will not benefit you at all.  It won't lend any goodness to your body, and it will end up destroying your mind.  The guilts will set in and you will be disappointed that you are still making poor choices on what to eat.  Many times this results in a spiraling down.  It creates a wave of bad choices, back to back.

It is my belief that my son's choice to have almonds and water, led to his great choice to have an apple before dinner.  He did indeed eat all of his dinner which was a lovely creation of roasted chicken, organic seasoned basmati rice, and kale with tomatoes.  Yes.. prepared by Mom!  Why then was my lovely son scurrying around in the kitchen at 8:30 looking for a snack?  Because he was not so happy that I made him sit and watch "Idol gives back" on American Idol.  Well, at first he was not so happy, but he sat and decided to give it a try and after a while, he ended up enjoying the show and forgetting about the snack.

My take on winning this Eating Game is to do the following:

1.  Truly learn which foods are good for you.  Don't worry about what others are eating.  Learn about food and how it affects you.  You have to know if you can consume dairy, meat, processed foods and maintain good health.  If you know you can't, it's time to give up those things that are a menace to your program!

2.  Keep a journal about your daily routine, feelings, thoughts and see how it affects your food choices.  You will probably find that your emotions are guiding your food choices.   You should let your health needs guide your choices instead.

3.  Really think about what you are going to eat before you eat it.  Why that particular food? How will it benefit you?  If you are not making a good choice, think about the results you will have.

4.  Exercise!  Exercise boosts your mood and makes you feel happier, more energetic and empowered!  These feelings usually help you to make better food choices!   

5.  Don't believe the nonsense in the advertisements you read in magazines or the stuff being advertised on tv.  It's all a gimmick to sell food, make money, and keep you hooked on it. 

6.  Teach your children about the Eating Game and play it together!

30 March 2010

Popeye made my children angry!

The spinach bingeing character? Oh no, not him!  The other one that claims it's food is wholesome and flavorful!   Parents of this great nation, we must unite and fight for the health of our children!  I appreciate Michelle Obama's initiative to address the issue of child obesity, but as Jamie Oliver of Food Revolution says, it truly will start with the parents!   We have to say, "No!  My child will not eat that!"

As a divorced mother, it is a bit challenging to convince my children that certain foods they eat are not ideal for their health because their father is not as passionate about the subject as I am.  A person has to want to take the extra steps and time to learn about food and it's purpose in our lives, and to continually seek information about what has happened to our food supply and suppliers in recent years.  WE have to get proactive and perhaps it is a long and difficult road to make major and necessary changes, but we can start by enlightening our children about the choices they have, and encouraging them to make the wiser choice for their own good.

A few days ago, the children were with their father and he decided to take them to Popeye's, a fast food joint, for lunch as they happened to pass one on the way back from the movies.  As a parent, it's important to realize that even when you plan out a day of activities, you should also plan out the meals for your children so that you are not subjected to last minute, unhealthy choices. If you practice certain habits/routines, your children won't demand or expect you to "end up" at those types of eateries, at least, not on a regular basis. 

They took a few minutes to review the menu while standing on line, and while trying to solidify their selections, they heard a patron ahead of them request a bottle of water with their order only to hear a response from the restaurant clerk, "we do not have any water."   My children told me that they quickly became surprised and whispered to their father, "how can they not have water?  What are we going to drink?"   I love these children of mine.  They don't drink soda, and they also know that two wrongs don't make a right, meaning that, it's bad enough they have to eat fried food but they don't want to chase it with a sugary, chemically ladened beverage!  Balance...if you can!  

My son said he begged his father to leave at that instance but he was not able to get his wish granted.  Popeye the Sailor, come rescue my children!  Later that day, they returned home to me in time for a very healthy home cooked dinner, and as they entered the front door they could not wait to tell me of this "lack of water situation" that happened earlier in their day.

I truly appreciated how they viewed the situation as abominable and how they were ready to leave.  This is the problem that people seem to face daily, they just "put up" with whatever is there.  Don't make any waves.  Just settle. It's not such a big deal?  My son also told me that the clerk did not seem to care that they had no water and did not offer any apologies for the situation.   Let me just state, water is on their menu and they claimed they ran out.   My mind got the best of me and I quickly became Sherlock Holmes as I tend to do when I try to size up a situation.  I thought to myself, "perhaps they don't normally sell a lot of water and so they don't normally keep a large enough supply of water, but this one particular day/weekend, more water was purchased than normal and they DID run out!"

Well, if that's the case, hopefully it will be a brand new day at that establishment.  Hopefully whoever is in charge of inventory will now make certain to stock the back room with EXTRA water for their patrons.

As for me and my lovely babies, I am so thankful that I have bothered to enlighten them about food, and particularly the foods that are being served/sold to them outside of my house, making them aware that "it's truly all a mystery"  and they have to be very careful and selective about the choices that they make.  This type of lesson teaches them how to respect themselves, their bodies, and empowers their minds about the fact that it is their personal right! 

Eat your organic spinach!  Be strong and make healthy choices!

28 March 2010

Forty something and truly blessed!

"One of the best ways to realize that age is an illusion is to have your body get older and realize that you are who you always have been." ~ Alan Cohen 

I found this quote after I decided to write this blog today and I thought it was rather fitting and could be interpreted in different ways.  I remember a few years ago having a conversation with another woman/mother who was also approaching 40 as myself at the time, and the words out of her mouth astonished me.  We were talking about much the same things that women often talk about, our bodies, clothes, food, and I will never forget when she said, "Now that I am almost 40, I realize that I will be getting older, more conservative and unable to do certain things...." I sat there a bit confused about why she was planning her own demise with such language. 

I just could not relate to such thoughts because at that time (and still) I could not begin to comprehend how you can combine a number, in this case 40, with rules about how you may inevitably feel given that number and thus how you should live based on this predicted downward spiral that your life will take.  What?!!!

Back to my quote, I realized that I had one way of interpreting "it" and "life" and other people/women perhaps their way as well which is why I believe many of us either flow easily through and others of us struggle.   Let's first consider the woman who thinks approaching 40 is the crossroads to middle age and old age with restrictions thereafter, a quote like this could mean that her body will age but she will still be who she was all along into her senior years.   A limited way of thinking, which seems to explain what I suspect. 

When I read this quote just a few minutes ago for the first time, I quickly had a totally different interpretation to the point that I felt exhilarated that it landed right in my lap as it was amazingly suitable for my pre-planned blog today!  Age is an illusion to me because there are many days that I forget how old I am but thanks to my darling children, they often remind me and/or tell other people.  That in itself is often very cute because it could be at a time when someone is saying something like, "you young mothers..." and my son quickly chimes in, "my mom is not young, she is 45 years old!"   Oh I love him so! 

Remember that woman who was ready to retire her high heels?  She does not believe that age is an illusion and perhaps it is because of the media, or the nonsense she was taught growing up.  Today we are being told that 40 is the new 20 or something like that, but many still don't believe that and I would venture to guess it is because they are not doing something great for themselves to make it so. 

I wrote a blog over a year ago about how many of us walk around mumbling those three special little words, "I used to..." referring to the fun-filled, energetic, exciting things they used to do but don't do anymore because they are of a certain age.  For many it is because their minds and bodies are not capable, and that is because they allowed themselves to deteriorate, physically, emotionally, mentally and perhaps spiritually too.

The latter part of this quote says, "to have your body get older and realize that you are who you always have been" to me speaks about how your mindset was all along.  If you always had a mindset that your life was going to be a time-line resembling that of a mountain, one you climb and then get to the top and just turn around and go back down, then you always planned to limit yourself and play into the hands of an old-fashioned idea of living a normal and full life. 

There are believers and then there are "true" believers.  I am a true believer.  I believe that God gave me a healthy body and mind and expects me to work with it to the fullest.  I don't believe there are any cut-off points, any boundaries, age restrictions, time limits, etc. but, that there are endless possibilities.  First and foremost, it's important to not get wrapped up in primitive ideas about age and what "society" expects of you, and realize you should have expectations of yourself and strive to achieve them. 

I sometimes run into old friends, school mates, former co-workers and we get into conversations about what we are doing, and I always get asked, "are you still working out or running?"  My answer is always, "of course!"  It seems strange to me, am I supposed to stop ?  Because of my age?  If so, why?? 

This morning after my amazing 90 minutes on the treadmill wearing 10 lbs in my X-vest, followed by a very intense, funky 50 minutes doing Punch Kick Jam (Turbo Jam), I was giggling to myself saying, "wow, who would not love to be doing this at age 45, age 55, age 65?"  Only someone who is crazy enough to believe that being 45 or older is a reason to stop loving life, feeling energetic, happy, empowered and truly thankful for great health!  

Thank you God!  Thank you for allowing me to be who I am, who I have always been, which is a person who does not feel that I should do anything but embrace living with the same intensity from one decade to the next! 

I will happily encourage anyone out there who dreads approaching 40 to reprogram your beliefs.  Turning 40 is not the end of the road, it is actually a new beginning!  Time to realize that you are smarter than you ever were and now is the time to truly START living your life.   Time to do all the things you thought you could not do and understand that your mind AND body are more powerful than you could ever imagine.  You can exercise and eat healthy everyday, you can dance, you can laugh, you can dress younger than you are, you can do whatever you used to do -- as long as you respect yourself and others.... sky's the limit!

22 March 2010

Gremlins? Want vs. Need...

I remember having a conversation a few years ago with another mother about a philosophy that her and her husband had instilled in their children whenever they had those moments when they would request something.  She said they would go through this exercise each and every time asking them, "well, have you thought this through, is this something you really need or something you just want, and why?" 

I thought about how profound such an exercise was to practice with the children especially in these times when it seems essential for them to learn this to cope now and in the future in all aspects of their lives.  Such a philosophy is highly impactful when you are making decisions on what to eat, how to spend leisure time, who to spend your time with, what to buy, where to live and more. 

I recently caught an episode of Dr. Oz where he shared information about this interesting hormone, "Ghrelin" which in simple terms, is secreted in our stomachs.  Experts say that it is the hormone that triggers your hunger, it makes you hungry, slows your metabolism and decreases your body's ability to burn fat effectively.  You may have heard about it and it is compared to that of the similar sounding, "Gremlin," because it wreaks havoc in our bodies. 

Dr. Oz went on to show a demonstration on how this little gremlin, I mean "ghrelin" may function.  Many folks get up in the morning and opt not to eat breakfast, telling themselves that they are not hungry.  Stop right here.  If you slept during the night, a few hours, or perhaps many hours, and did not eat, you should be hungry when you get up.  Opting not to eat in the morning sends the signal to the gremlin, I mean the ghrelin, to start it's menacing work! 

The demonstration continued as Dr. Oz showed, if you just gave the body some sensible food right away, perhaps some fruit and/or some lean protein, just a moderate amount, you would balance out your body's (and mind's) needs and this little gremlin, I mean ghrelin, would stay quiet and not bother you.   However, if you let those hours go by and not feed yourself, the substance is being secreted in a larger quantity. 

The longer you don't eat, more the hunger is building.  You may not even notice or feel what is happening according to Dr. Oz but what happens is, when you wait too long to eat (instead of eating small meals every so often) this ghrelin is mounting and finally you look for all the wrong foods to satisfy this hunger and more often than not, you eat way too much of it!

It actually takes a few FRESH, healthy foods to banish that ghrelin compared to the large amounts of unhealthy, fattening, processed foods.   The ghrelin does not easily respond to unhealthy foods so you just keep eating.  The little wretch enjoys feasting on bad foods! 

All of this brings me back to the philosophy of wants vs. needs.  When you rise in the morning, your body NEEDS food, and a certain type of food.  You have to try to put aside the idea of wanting or not wanting to eat, and realize you NEED to eat -- and to eat certain foods to enable your body to function properly and to keep the GREMLIN... I need Ghrelin away! 

A great exercise, besides physical exercise, is to get up every morning and have that conversation with yourself, "I need to eat.  I need to eat the right foods to address my body's needs."  During that conversation, make an effective decision on what to give your body.   As with any new habit, you will have to practice this exercise for a few weeks to get it to stick.   Eventually you will find yourself not giving into those impulsive undesirable "wants." 

08 March 2010

Sticks and Stones

Words will never harm me!  What a beautiful weekend it was and I was surprised with extra opportunities to spend time with friends, talking and laughing about all sorts of stuff that go on in our lives.  One person, in particular, confessed to me that he did not get a lot of sleep and that he was very concerned about his health.  His list of issues were quite troubling and I tried to understand why he did not prioritize his health. 

He started asking me bunches of questions about myself and what I do,  and when I told him about how I exercise almost everyday no matter what, and how I tried to managed a mostly healthy nutritional lifestyle, he immediately blurted out, "oh, you are obsessed!"  From there he also added that people like me look at people like him and criticize what they are doing/eating.  

I can admit that unless I am summoned for my opinion, I do not pass judgment on other people's indulgences, or lack thereof!  Let's remember, with this fellow, he voluntarily shared his issues with me, I did not insist on this information.  With that, I somewhat took it as a cry for help or he was desperate for a little attention.   

In the past, I probably would have been offended by such an assault, but I realized a few things, (a) it was not his fault that he misused the English language because many folks do on a daily basis, and (b) he was admitted he was living an unhealthy lifestyle and was seemingly clueless about how to change.  Throughout the discussion, though he was a nice person, he oozed of great discomfort. 

I did not preach to him, nor did I tell him what he should be doing, however, I did impress upon him that no matter what is going on in his life (which was challenging to say the least) he should realize that his needs should be met first.    The only reason why I jumped to that conclusion is because of what he said to me.  He initially bragged that he did not get much sleep, and then added that he is constantly afflicted with thoughts about what is going on in his life, stuff that has happened over the years and the fact that major health issues run in his family.  He is scared.

Worry will get you no where but into a very unhealthy state of being, physically and mentally.   Addressing your health does indeed empower you to, at the very least, have some sort of control over the way you feel which in turn affects how you think.  If you have one less thing to worry about (something as major as your health), you are better able to function in other aspects of your life.  I felt very sad for him, and I gently suggested to him that he take some small steps to make some changes and see how he feels.  I hope he will and over time I can just imagine that he will enjoy the good feeling!

Obsessed?  Gosh, what a compliment!!!  Exercising daily to show great love to the body that God has blessed me with, and then eating foods that God has blessed this earth with -- seems like a balanced, sensible obsession to me! 

For anyone out there who crumbles under the attack of "name calling" when you are invested in a well-balanced health program, I beg you to brush off those sticks and stones and press ahead with taking care of you! 

22 February 2010

Which obsession do you choose?

The word obsession is sometimes used obsessively, particularly when it pertains to something a person does on a regular basis.  If you do something healthy on a regular basis, it is probably better to refer to that behavior as a "good habit," as opposed to the true definition of obsession, which means to be irrationally compulsive. 

Over the years, I remember hearing people referring to people who regularly eat healthy and work out daily as being, "obsessed" with themselves.   I can even remember hearing such a term from people close to me, and especially at times when I would remain dedicated to my program, or train for something very challenging like a marathon.   These "people" would even go a step further and tell these dedicated individuals, "hey when all your obsessive training is over and done with, let me know so that we can hang out."  Misery loves company eh?? 

And just what were these non-obsessive people doing with their time?  Many of them were living what they believed to be a "normal" life, eating and indulging in everything regular, normal, common, something that "obsessive" health fanatics work against.   So I started to think about these labels we put on various groups of people, and I realized that being inaccurately labeled was not a nice thing at all, and perhaps it contributes to the reasons why the non-obsessive people resist the idea of getting on a health program.   Perhaps it's just an excuse, "I don't want to be like those obsessive people."

My thoughts are, for the sake of this blog, that I will look at 2 groups of people:

1.  The group of people that realize that health is a priority, and requires that you eat as healthy as possible, exercise, and try to maintain balance in life.  These people explore ways to effectively manage stress, combat illnesses, avoid medications, rise daily with gratitude in their heart because they are able to go through their day dedicated to whomever and whatever they do in life feeling great!  They may not live perfect lives, but they have pretty good to very good health which enables them to better deal with life's challenges. 

2.  The group of people who don't prioritize health, and require medications, extra time off, days to recuperate from illness, time-outs for depression, sadness, doctor's appointments, complaints, problems, setbacks.   These people find themselves on a merry-go-round, constantly dealing with the same issues.  They tend to talk a lot about their health issues, health issues in their family, and they don't quickly realize that NOW is the time to reform and become a member of Group #1.

Well perhaps both groups are obsessed.  Some people call on the need for an in-between group, a group that "somewhat" addresses their health, but still lives life to the fullest.   This is interesting.  Live life to the fullest?  Again, another strange concept designed to make people feel more comfortable about possibly abusing their health??? 

We all need to rethink HOW we think when it comes to critiquing people who DO address their health.  We must stop labeling people and start to simplify what is necessary to live a healthy, happy life.  It starts with SELF.   Look in the mirror and acknowledge what changes need to be made.  If you ache, have ailments, take medications, have serious health issues in your family, there is no middle ground.  If you have issues, you must deal with them seriously.  Once you have done that, it is time to figure out how to go about making necessary changes.   Find someone, who is truly knowledgeable, who will SERIOUSLY help you to make your changes.  Stay away from the people who may not have your true HEALTH concerns in mind.   Stay away from the people who will have new names for your new choice about your life. 

Once you embark on a program that will be ideal for your health needs, you will start to learn what is important and necessary for you.  You may come to realize that you must totally change your ways.  You may come to realize you need to workout 5 or 7 days a week.  You may come to realize that you need to meditate.  You may come to realize that you need something that you don't have now.  It's not about what people think, what people say, what people label you as, but more so about you coming to realize that choosing to be healthy is the ONLY CHOICE! 

05 February 2010

For the sake of the children, please!

On a daily basis, I speak with people who seem to have given up on the state of their health, and even the state of their entire family's health,  and it's so sad to hear these stories but I try to share as much as I can in an effort to change a few people's mind.  So many believe that just because they are in their 40s or 50s that there is no hope for their health to improve or that they don't have the ability to raise healthy children. 

There is always hope for anyone who decides that they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.  A woman my age, with children my age, told me that osteoporosis runs in her family and she admitted that she does not do anything for herself to combat this fact.  Why?  Well, could it be that her life is so hectic and she barely finds time to exercise and learn about nutrition?   Could it be that she has children with a demanding schedule, and she has decided to put them first?  Could it be that she also is married and is the dutiful wife?

Where will her choices for today lead her and her family tomorrow?  The bones of the body are alive, and that is why children MUST start out life eating healthy foods and getting proper nutrition in the process.  The bones grow and need to be strengthened.   Bone density is greatest when we are in our 20s, and then as we age, if we are not doing things to keep our bones strong, they start to thin out.  As we approach our senior years, we are more susceptible to fractures, breaks, etc. 

Beyond eating right and exercising, we also need to understand what ELSE causes our bones to lose density.  It can be certain foods, medications, illnesses, and more, and this is why it's important to especially be proactive with learning about prevention and health maintenance when you have certain conditions in your family.  No offense to doctors, but people need to manage their health beyond what they learn in the examining room. 

Why sit and wait for something to happen?  Why not prevent it from happening in the first place?  As I stated earlier, the bones are alive.  If something is alive, you have the ability to keep it strong and healthy...if you try.  During the same conversation with this mom, I also asked her about her children's nutrition and whether or not they were getting certain things in their diet, and she again answered, "well, no, they just don't like to eat certain things, you know how kids are."

As a mother of two, I certainly do know how kids can be, but I also know that it is my responsibility as an adult, a parent, an educated person, to make sure that my children get what they need nutritionally to lay the foundation for at least a healthy start in life.   Just like how adults can be afflicted with certain illnesses if they neglect their health, so too can children.  Children can develop high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, etc., just like adults can if they lack proper nutrition.    

The wonderful thing about the human body is that it is repairable and renewable.  Never give up on yourself and think that there is no hope for better health.  Prevention is the best thing to alter those possible genetic conditions that run in your family.  

At the very least, as parents, we MUST give our children a fighting chance.   I used to hear my parents say these words, "when I was a child, we really did not have much of a choice..."  In a way, their choices were pretty darn good as they both grew up with fresh farm animals and fresh produce in their backyards, and so there were no harmful toxins, no additives, no processing.  I also reflect back to when I was a child, and I think about some of the things we ate that we don't eat now.  Again, however, times have changed, and the production of the foods we eat today has changed drastically (not for the better) in the past 30-40 years. 

Why is my grandmother of 92 years old still alive, walking around, cooking, going to church, doing most everything for herself with no issues?  I would like to think it was the healthy start in life she had, and the fact that she lived the first 50 years or so of her life eating very healthy foods straight from her backyard, and because she is just a really good, sweet, loving person too!   

WE can't use that excuse anymore about not having a choice, because today we most certainly DO have a choice.  You can not hide behind money as an excuse, or even lack of time.   You know what, it behooves you to have a healthy diet if money is an issue because you can't afford to get sick!  If you don't have the time to stop and get educated about WHY it's important to address your health now, will you have to time to invest tomorrow when you end up sick?  

For the sake of the children, find the time!

19 January 2010

Love without burden

Many of us grew up with parents who sacrificed every essence of their being to in an effort to prove their love to their significant others.  Our mothers would work like crazy, keeping a beautiful home, tending to us around the clock if we were sick, and our fathers would leave for work before the sun came up and not reach back home before the sun went down.   Both would work so hard, they would be tired, possibly ailing with headaches, stomach aches, high blood pressure, weight issues, stress, you name it. 

I remember watching my mother laying on the floor for days and weeks at a time, agonizing with back pains because she... well, at that time, we all just thought she was unfairly afflicted with back pains, perhaps brought on by her pregnancy when she carried full sized twin babies, or perhaps brought on by her profession as a nurse, having to handle very sickly patients.   Today, we have learned how to combat back pains with diet and exercise, but regardless if it were her fault or not, I remember that the entire family pretty much stalled when my mother would be "out for the count."

Luckily today, we have so much fantastic, helpful information at our fingertips, enabling us to take great care of our bodies so that we can avoid many of these types of debilitating, time wasting ailments.  The problem with many folks, particularly mothers/wives, is that they don't feel that their well-being should be treated as priority NUMBER ONE.   Many still possess that old-fashioned attitude of, "take care of everyone else first, and then if there is some time left, do a little something for yourself too."  We see it a lot with women who settle down and become wives and mothers, they have hectic lifestyles that consume them and rob them of their ability to pamper themselves effectively.

Women and all people in general need to feel and understand that they have a legitmate and necessary right to take care of themselves.  There is no need to punish one's self because he or she has a false belief that they are to take care of others first.   It is necessary to find time to pamper and nurture yourself in significant ways. 

Guess what?  The best way to love someone, anyone, a spouse, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, your own children is to NOT be a burden to them!  The best way to show your deepest, truest love is to take care of YOURSELF first, so no one else has to!!   This care includes the care of your mind, body and soul. 

When you are truly well and together, you are better able to LOVE to the fullest! 

16 January 2010

Keep track of the good things!

It's easy to get consumed with negative thoughts or occurrences and miss out on what really matters in life.  Life should not be about focusing on what goes wrong, but just trying to quickly fix (if possible) what is wrong and move ahead.  If it is truly not fixable, then put whatever it is aside, and go on to something new and interesting.

Each day we should stop and acknowledge all those special moments, big and small, and realize that they are all blessings.  Anything that makes you smile and brings joy to you should be noted.  If you are a forgetful person, perhaps it would be a good idea to write them down.  Often times, people will go through a busy day or week, feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, under-appreciated and think there was nothing positive in between it all which can hardly be the truth.  

Perhaps there is so much negative going on around you that you believe there is no positive good anywhere for you, but that is not the truth.  You have it in your control to seek some positive so go and get it!  Claim it and keep track of it!  Let that "good" consume you for a change.

The more positive experiences you have in life, the more hopeful and happier you will be.  The more you can remember these experiences, is the more energetic you will be and the more you will seek to have these opportunities and appreciate them for all that they are worth.  They can occur anywhere, at work, at home, a new hobby, a new wellness program, time spent with the children... anything! 

Take the focus off of worry and sadness and go grab some happiness from anywhere!


11 January 2010

If it's yours, take good care of it!

We want to be loved, and we want someone who will take good care of us, but what about how we care for ourselves?  How can we expect someone else to love and treat us right, if we don't love and treat ourselves right? 

We try to teach our children to care for their belongings, put things where they belong, clean up after themselves, good hygiene, but it seems some of us forget these lessons for ourselves.  Why? 

God gave each of us a body to house the wonderful mind and soul that lives within it, and for this reason, I wholeheartedly believe he/she intended for us to take good care of it!  Over the weekend I was telling my children that when Adam and Eve were the first humans on this great earth, the only foods that they had to consume were ALL natural.  There was no processed anything!  No chemicals, no additives!   There were no cars, only human feet to get them around, so they stayed active. 

I also shared that great quote with them, "You are what you eat," which made them giggle so hard as they chomped on some lovely fresh pears that I bought, and my daughter chimed in, "last night I was a banana, and now I am a pear!"  My son added, "I don't want to be a fatty hot dog!"  I wish I could believe that they would remember this humorous exchange when they are on their own and faced with nutritional decisions, but as a normal human being myself, I know that will be a serious challenge that many of us fail at on a daily basis throughout our lives. 

No, we don't have to be a fanatic, as my father would say, about health, but I do believe we should be disciplined and eer on the side of "good health."  There is truth in being good to your body because you will feel better if you take care of it.  If you take good care of your body, it will take good care of you.  

No one should let the care of their body and mind get so neglected that they end up disliking themselves, and this is what happens.  So many people who are not well, perhaps overweight, stressed out, unhappy, struggling with "issues" tend to NOT like themselves because of how they feel.   When the body is not healthy, and the mind is not relaxed, that is when "DIS - EASE" sets in which ends up causing DISEASE! 

There is much to learn about good health, and it can be overwhelming, but making the effort to learn something is better than nothing.  It does not have to be all or nothing, just build on the effort on a daily basis!  The prevalence of illness (mind, body and soul)  in our society is NOT a reason to think you should just accept it -- it's a reason to work against it! 

You can't trade your body in for another like a car or a house --- it's your one and only dwelling, so get in there and do some effective REMODELING, IMPROVEMENTS, MAINTENANCE!  Whatever it takes!

Here's to good health! 

08 January 2010

The driver's seat

You are behind the wheel in this game called life, and you should steer your car where you want it to go and this all depends on your attitude.  How you start your day, everyday, does indeed matter and it can be the deciding factor in how your day will play out and eventually end.

Many people get up daily, unhappy, frustrated about not getting enough sleep in the first place, and then having to go to work, to a job they hate.  Some statistics came out recently that said that the percentage of Americans that don't like their jobs/careers has increased, and that figure is currently about 54% of the population.  Understandably so, most of us work to survive and end up doing whatever is necessary to have a home, a family and possibly some "extras."  It would be great if we could all live out our dreams, not have to worry about money and achieve that ultimate state of happiness, but it's not so easily done.   Even the so-called "lucky" folks who live the luxurious life have their share of woes and discontent. 

In the interim, it's important to amass a healthier survival technique so that you can indeed feel like you are living in this life, and not just surviving.  It all starts with your attitude, and as corny as it sounds, you have to try your best to have a positive one.   You have to make a conscious effort every day to choose POSITIVE over negative.

Yesterday I came across a great quote that said, "Five minutes of negative thinking can discourage your body for at least 24 hours or more," and this is so true.  Consider when you get out of bed, if you are angry or upset about your existence before your day has even started, what type of day will you have?  Not a good one for sure.  Take note of your thoughts, actions, reactions, when you focus on something negative, or someone negative.  It consumes you completely, to the point that your existence is solely one of tension.

It's important to embrace the reality of your existence, it is what it is, but perhaps you can make some small changes to improve the situation, first in your mind, and then in your actions.  If you can get up and first be thankful that you did wake up, take a moment to smile, and reflect on why you are living, and who matters to you.   That first 5 minutes alone should enable you to be positive and optimistic.   From there, you have to make a choice to keep those positive thoughts in mind throughout the day. 

There may be someone that you "wait" to interact with, expecting them to either "lift your spirits," or "darken your mood," because that is how it always is, right?  These expectations, for better or worse, can tend to have an adverse affect on our thoughts.  Some of us have a friend, or a lover, that we expect to make us happy, and when they fall short, we hold them accountable, and then we blame them for our unhappiness.  This is not fair.  You can expect someone else to be responsible for your happiness.  Some of us also have people in our lives that just anger us to the point that we wish them harm and we focus on what "they do to us."  We think about it constantly.  We wait for that confrontation, arming ourselves for combat, all the while allowing the quality of our valuable lives to be diminshed by another person.  Again, this is not fair. 

You have a life that you are entitled to live with joy, peace and love, and you have a choice on whether you will put up with people who want to disrupt that right.

It's important to pamper and nuture yourself, and know that YOU are first responsible for you, your mind, body and soul.  Who is in your life?  Is it a relationship based on love and respect?   Stay away from toxic relationships that drain you and rob you of your happiness.   Make a choice to do healthy things for yourself, nutrition, exercise, reading, or anything that bring you moments of happiness.  

If life is offering you negative challenges, you must find ways in which to deal with them.  Constant arguments, frowns, repeated tensions, should be avoided.  If you are on a rollercoaster ride of endless drama, it's time to get off. 

Whether or not, your life is filled with joy, or filled with constant tension and unhappiness, you should find some outlets to breathe, and renew your spirit.  It may not be so easy to avoid some of these issues (job, home life, children), but how you deal with them can make all the difference in the world.  Some things you definitely can not change, however, you can change your attitude about life. 

Your life is your God given right to live it well! 

04 January 2010

All Aboard!

Happy New Year!  It's great to be back after enjoying a wonderful holiday season with my family and friends.  I am truly thankful for all that I have!  As we embark upon this New Year, many have already boarded a train to a healthier and happier 2010, however, who has company on this trip?

Some of us admit that we need company when we start a health program and others of us, like yours truly, enjoy "journeying" on our own.  Either way, you still need to consider that those closest and dearest to you need to have an understanding and ultimately lend support to what you are doing if you are to be truly successful for the long run!

The healthiest of relationships benefit from moral support and teamwork.   Many times goals are not reached if people have opposing ideas and more time is wasted when there is disagreement.   Distractions set in if we are not sharing the wisdom we believe in.  

In any given family, there may be only one person who needs to make a drastic change in their health routine, but it would benefit the entire family if everyone got on board with similar goals:  TO BE HEALTHY as a WHOLE. 

I cringed some during this past holiday season as I watched my children indulge in many "not-so-healthy" foods and I decided that we would ALL board the "Healthy Habits" Train at the start of the New Year.   My children are 7 and 10 years old, very active and in no way have any weight issues and I am certainly not trying to put them on a diet, however, I realized that I had to put some discipline back into their daily routine.  

Discipline is the key for everyone, children included!  Many parents think that children don't need too much discipline when it comes to nutrition, but that is truly not the case.  If we can educate our children from now about nutrition and it's purpose, we just may save them from a lot of unnecessary emotional problems surrounding their health as they get older.   Teach them about balance, moderation and control so that they can establish good habits from now.  

How can one get through these cold winter months without commiting the same old "not-so-healthy" habits and include the family? 

Sit down together and discuss why it's important to make a plan and a pledge to follow a healthy routine, and decide as a family to jump on board that train TOGETHER!

Here are some tips:

1.  Do not have separate meals for the children that are comprised of fast foods or food that lacks a good balance of nutrition.  Try to eat at least one or two meals together as a family, everyday, around a table, and NOT in front of the TV.  Also consider meal planning as a group.... let the children make some decisions. 

2.  Set examples by exercising daily and making good food choices everyday.  Mix up the workouts so that boredom does not set in (P90X, Rev ABs, Insanity -- great workouts that don't allow for boredom).

3.  Organize from the day before -- activities and meals. Set out the exercise attire and talk about what workout will be done for the next day.   Run your workout program like a family business!

4.  Explain nutrition.  Talk about WHY you (and the family) should eat certain things.  Talk about what health issues need to be addressed and why certain foods are being selected.

5.  Build a strong immune system during these cold months so that colds/flus have very little chance of setting you back.   The healthier and stronger you feel -- is the healthier and stronger you will be!

6.  Keep a family health routine journal!  In time, all of you will surely support one another!

Certainly it's cold outside, but try not to focus on whining about it.   If you are able to enjoy outdoor cold weather activities, go for it, but if not, there are MANY things you can still do indoors to stay fit, healthy, energetic and happy! 

Make being healthy a FAMILY experience! 

Here's to a successful, healthy 2010!