I just had to share how much I enjoy Power Yoga classes. I love that it is a physically challenging workout and a terrific way to chillax.  If you haven’t tried a Power Yoga class, I highly recommend it. Power Yoga involves more challenging poses than a gentle or mixed-level yoga class and the sequencing of poses can be faster. Tonight, I was sweating and my heart rate was accelerated. But, what I love the most is that I get to spend an hour focusing on my breathing in a darkened room with my eyes closed all the while stretching and strengthening my body. I leave this class so refreshed and calm. I sleep so well after my yoga classes. So, even if you can only do a few poses and stay in Child’s pose half the time, one should still try a Power Yoga class.  It is a great core and balance strengthening workout. If you focus on your breathing and being in the moment, you will also enjoy a wonderfully peaceful calmness by the end of the class that remains with you for several hours.

Namaste!!!!

This morning I took my dog, Buster, out for a walk. I so needed to get out of my head and be outdoors. Walking with Buster is a great way for me to clear my mind when I feel overwhelmed. (and get my exercise on!)  Then, inspiration hit.  Buster teaches me so many lessons  just by being  his dynamite doggy self.                                                 He is proud and assertive.  No worries about if he looks fat or if his fur isn’t shiny today.

He walks with his head held high. And looks handsome doing so.

As he romps about, he always has a smile on his face — and people respond to that.

He makes sure to engage with other dogs along the way. No wallflower is he.  (Sometimes it doesn’t go over well, but he still tries.)

He is curious. Can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner — even though it’s our regular route.

He is excited to explore the new sights and smells coming his way. He is 100% in the PRESENT moment.

He checks in with his pack leader (me) on a regular basis — just a quick nod of his head to say “Hey, Mom, I’m with you!”  Connection fosters confidence and momentum.

He is phenomenally alert to new smells, noise and shifts in energy. One cannot receive an opportunity unless one is open to it.

What life lessons have you encountered via an unexpected place/person/experience?

My eighth Healthy Tip is to limit alcohol and sugar. Oh man! The fun stuff!  Yes, I know. It is only because I want you to keep your body functioning at optimal ability so that you can enjoy a healthful life. Notice I said LIMIT, not exclude. Absolute deprivation is not required….you will only rebel at some point if you really enjoy having a cocktail on occasion or savoring a delicious cookie.  I just want you to limit these things — consume in moderation.  How come?

Sugar, while it tastes oh-so good and triggers warm & fuzzy feelings, is the devil in disguise. If you consume too much on a regular basis. “High-sugar diets make the pancreas pump out more and more insulin, which may lead to diabetes.” (Walter C. Willett, M. D. “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy”) Sugar gives you an immediate energy rush,  but you will have a big crash after this insulin spike — which usually leads to feeding the craving again and eventually weight gain. Also, high levels of sugar in the blood result in the production of AGE compounds (Advanced Glycation End products) which damage cells in the body.

WHAT’S WORSE?

 “Eating simple sugar may increase levels of certain hormones in the body; the key is that having a lot of sugar in the diet causes the body to produce a lot of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF). Some of these hormones appear to fuel cancer cell growth.” – H. J. Lenz  www.revolutionheath.com/blogs

Finally,  sugar is the King of Empty Calories!  You ingest calories with no nutrients. What a waste of eating!

For 146 reasons why sugar is the devil in disguise, go to http://www.healingcancernaturally.com/sugar-health-effects-risks.html.

Read your food labels. Sugar is not always listed simply as sugar, but as high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, lactose, fructose, glucose, corn syrup or fruit juice concentrate.

Alcohol (in excess) contributes to liver disease, high blood pressure, weakening of the heart muscle, and different cancers. It is also very good at disrupting sleep and throwing judgment out the window. (College memories would back this up, if only I could remember them!)  Also, alcohol is additional, empty calories. Make it a froo-froo drink (anything with a funny name, an umbrella or blended) and you are back dancing with the devil (added sugar).

Moderate means one drink a day, no more than 3 days per week.  Recommend wine as your best option due to its health benefits (resveratrol from the grapes in wine has been shown to have anti-aging and disease-fighting properties.)

Remember: moderation not deprivation. Challenge: go sugar-and-alcohol-free for a week and tell me how much better you feel!

My seventh Healthy Tip is to sleep for 7-8 hours each night. We’ve all heard the saying “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” to explain why some people are too busy to sleep more than a few hours a night (excepting those that suffer from insomnia.) But, you won’t be sleeping when you’re dead. You will be dead. Not the same.

If you made sure to sleep 7-8 hours a night now, you will do so much to extend your life and postpone that dead part. Regular, concentrated, deep sleep is essential for optimal health and wellness. Why? Our bodies need rest in order to recharge the mind. Get inadequate sleep and you will not be functioning well. Even one night of interrupted or poor sleep can wreak havoc on your productivity, energy levels and mood. Your immune system (what protects you from infections and illness) needs rest in order to work properly. Lack of sleep will screw up our hormone and neurochemical reactions that are used to “repair our DNA, build tissues and muscle, and regulate weight and mood chemicals.” [Mark Hyman, M.D.] For more info, check out this article http://www.acefitness.org/article/3036/?utm_source=Health%2BeTips&utm_medium=email&utm_term=April%2B2010&utm_campaign=Consumer%2BOutreach&CMP=EMC-HET_0410

Ways to ensure good sleep:
1. Keep bedroom totally dark.
2. Eliminate noise in your sleeping room.
3. Go to bed at same time every night.
4. If having trouble getting to sleep, try a natural sleep aid like Melatonin (hormone in our body that regulates the wake/sleep cycle) or Magnesium (relaxation mineral).
5. Avoid eating, caffeine and alcohol for 3 hours before bed.

P. S. Napping is not just for kids. Naps are shown to increase productivity. Get your sleep on!

I hope everyone is watching the new show “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” on ABC (Friday nights). His mission is to change the eating and lifestyle habits of the unhealthiest city in America (Huntington, West Virgina). His main challenge is to overhaul the menus and food choices offered at  local schools.  It is quite a daunting challenge for Jamie to overcome the negativity and defensiveness of the cooks plus the ridiculous guidelines he must follow as dictated by the USDA.  I love that Jamie is so passionate about eating natural and fresh foods. I love that he is talking about the connection between poor food choices and poor health. 

The rising number of people who are overweight and obese in this country is no accident. The epidemic of diabetes in this country is no fluke.  It all stems back to how we eat and how physically inactive we are.  I hope Jamie is successful in Huntington. I hope his show inspires and motivates millions. I hope his Food Revolution becomes  a true uprising. Demand fresh foods be prepared in the kitchens of our nation’s schools.  Refuse to sit still for complacency.  Stop buying packaged/processed foods.  Cook at home with your family. Teach the kids in your life about vegetables and cooking.  Improved health and longevity will be your reward.

“Sign Jamie’s petition to save cooking skills and improve school food.

I support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. America’s kids need better food at school and better health prospects. We need to keep cooking skills alive.

Jamie would like to take his petition to the White House after the TV series airs, to show The President and First Lady how many people across the country really care about this and ask for their support.”

http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/jamies-food-revolution/petition

I signed Jamie’s Petition. Have you?

My sixth Healthy Tip is to make stretching a regular part of your weekly routine (in addition to your post-workout cool down stretches).  At a minimum, I recommend that you spend 5-10 minutes  stretching all the major muscle groups, 3 times a week.  Stretching becomes more important as we age since we all lose flexibility as we grow older.  Flexibility does a body good for these main reasons:

1. Decreases muscle stiffness and soreness– releases tension as the muscle is elongated by the stretch.

2. Reduces risk of injury – if your range of motion is good, injury during exercise or real-life activities like lifting boxes is less likely.

3. Improves  posture and muscle balance – realigns soft tissue and posture that gets out of whack from poor habits.

4. Increases physical and mental relaxation – spending quiet time focused on your breathing as you stretch can be meditative.

For examples of various different stretches, click here http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/exercise_demos.asp?exercise_type=stretch.  

Ease into each stretch slowly.  Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.

Wellness encompasses your mindset and spirit  just as much as your physical well-being. Today I experienced the wonderful revitalizing force of being open to the world and what it has to offer. No one ever got anywhere keeping the door closed.  In this spirit, I wanted to share part of a great poem that I just love. It captures what I’m feeling today as well as some other inspiring thoughts.

“To live content with small means;

to seek elegance rather than luxury,

and refinement rather than fashion;

to be worthy, not respectable;

and wealthy, not rich;

to study hard, think quietly,

talk gently, act frankly….to listen to stars and buds,

to babes and sages, with open heart;

await occasions, hurry never…this is my symphony.” – – William Henry Channing

So, here’s to being worthy, acting frankly and listening to the world with an open heart. Peace to you.

Just got back from a fantastic cardio session. I went to Maidu Park in Roseville and did the perimeter loop of 2.25 miles. I did running intervals. It’s a great location and has lots of hills to challenge me. Today is so beautiful. Lots of sunshine and almost warm temperatures. LOVE IT! My workout was tough (my feet were hurting a lot!), but that is what counts. I haven’t run in a long time. So, I was pushing myself past a comfort zone. Not the easiest thing to do, but so valuable. Half-way through my loop, the endorphins kicked in. LOVE IT! I also got a great dose of Vitamin D from being out in the sunshine. Vitamin D helps to boost my mood and energy levels. LOVE IT!  Plus, I got to see several super cute dogs at Maidu. (My favorite part of going to that park. Lots of people out with their dogs.) And I got to smile at people as I jogged past them. LOVE IT! I was so inspired when I saw the older gentleman, mid-60s and very overweight, walking toward me. He was out doing something to improve his health even though it looked like it was a huge challenge. LOVE IT!

What is your favorite thing to do for cardio? How can you challenge yourself?

I watched a recorded Oprah show featuring Dr. Oz last night. The topic was diabetes as a silent killer. It made me cry. It alarmed me and I already knew everything that was dicussed in the show.  I thought “What about people who don’t really know anything about it?” Or “What about those that do but live in Diabetes-Denial-Ville?” (Not a big deal. Can’t do anything about it. Gotta do what I want.)

The incidence of diabetes in this country has reached epidemic proportions. Facts: “It is the fastest growing disease in the U. S. We spend $174 billion dollars a year in healthcare of this disease. That is more than what is spent treating AIDS and all cancers. 80 million people in the U. S. have diabetes or pre-diabetes. 6 million do not know it.”  Let’s make some noise!

Many people go about their lives oblivious or in denial about the devastating consequences of this wide-spread disease. Unfortunately, I am very familiar with diabetes. My maternal grandmother had both legs amputated to the knee because of  the ravages of diabetes that were left uncontrolled. My mother and sister are diabetic. Friends and other relatives have diabetes. And I have an auto-immune disease which increases my risk of developing diabetes by 60%. Serious business.

Of the two types of diabetes, Type 2 or adult-onset is the one on the rise. Our country consumes too much sugar [150lbs per year!] We eat tons of food with no real nutrients. We are obsessed with simple carbohydrates and soda.  Type-2 Diabetes is preventable, treatable and reversible (in 90% of cases). Type 2 is mainly a lifestyle driven disease. [Note: I said mainly. I am aware there are other contributing factors for some people.] 

We hear about diabetes a lot. But, do we really HEAR it. If not before, please hear it now.

Risk factors: belly fat, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, family history.

Warning signs: constant thirst, frequent urination, tingling toes, non-healing infections, blurred vision.

Diabetes is a silent, slow killer. It can take years before the effects manifest in organ failure, heart attack and death. But, the effects are still damaging your body whether you can feel it or not. Diabetics are said to be aged an extra 10 years. Loss of vitality is sometimes the main “symptom” experienced by a diabetic.

Walking for 30 minutes a day reduces the risk of developing diabetes by 60%. If already diabetic, exercise is vital to reversing the disease or reducing the damage.

Strength training is  important to prevent or reverse diabetes. Exercising with weights makes the muscles in your body more sensitive to insulin. Exercise raises metabolism and lowers blood sugar levels.

Main cause of death for diabetics is heart attacks. Why? As Dr. Oz explained, excess sugar in the body acts like “chards of glass” barrelling through your body, knicking tissue as it goes. The cuts then heal up as scar tissue. The scar tissue builds up as blockage or hardening of the arteries. Boom! Heart attack. Diabetes also causes damage to all the organs in the body.

Belly Fat: Excess sugar that is not able to be used effectively by the body for energy is stored as belly fat. That is why waist size (and body weight) are so important. Your waist size should be no more than half of your height. More than that and you have too much belly fat. Too much belly fat gives you a ticket on the train to diabetes. Per Dr. Oz, “lose belly fat and the body stops sending out chemical messages to the muscles to ignore insulin.”

Eating Tips: Cut out white foods (white flour, white bread, white pasta, white rice), soda and fried foods. White foods are bad because they are turned into glucose (sugar) so fast during digestion.   Become aware of hidden sugar in foods. Two tablespoons of ketchup have 2 teaspoons of sugar. Most salad dressings have 3 teaspoons in a serving. A 12 oz. can of soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Get your blood sugar level checked. Above 100 is a problem. Don’t wait until you have a health crisis. Get moving every day. Eat whole foods, mainly fresh fruits and vegetables.  Check out www.diabetes.org for more information. Make some noise! Talk about diabetes with loved ones and friends. And the stranger next to you.

I must make a confession. Even though I am a Certified Fitness Trainer with loads of nutrition/fitness/optimal wellness knowledge, I do not always do what I need to do to live a life of optimal health. I do not always practice “clean” eating. I eat foods that are not good for me. Gasp! I do not always exercise as much as I need to in order to wear the size of clothing I want to, look the way I like to, and to have the best health I can.  How can this be? I am a fitness trainer! I am a nutrition coach! I am knowledgeable. Well, I am also human.

For me, 2009 was a very challenging year. There were moments of amazing beauty and experiences of life-affirming coolness. But, there was also an incredible amount of stress and difficulty. The three horsemen of the apocalypse in terms of stress/tough times/life-plan derailing challenges visited me last year: the end of a long-term relationship, continuing health issues of the chronic-autoimmune variety, and financial woes. So, 2009 was a dark period as a dear friend likes to say.

As a result, last year I did not practice always as I preach. The shame. I allowed stress and fatigue to dictate poor choices. The horror. I did not always follow my own good advice. The hypocrisy.

And the result of these “failings” is that I regained a fair amount of the weight I had  lost triumphantly a couple years ago which inspired a second career (fitness/nutrition coach) and the launch of a new business (TRAIN-U-FIT).  Much self-flagellation, guilt and self-flogging ensued. This setback only served to weaken my resolve to live the new life I had begun on November 11, 2007 (my first day of the bootcamp training that introduced me to a different world and triggered the above-mentioned life-altering decisions).  How sad.

So, I felt that the only proper thing to do was to confess these things here in my blog. To be truthful and transparent. To stand in my truth no matter how uncomfortable it is. I am human. This thing I pursue (optimal wellness and physical fitness) is not an all or nothing proposition. It is a journey. It is something I must dedicate myself to every day. It is a process. And I cannot expect perfection of  myself, only progress. In order to release myself from my frustration, guilt and the prison of self-criticism, I am posting this confession. Maybe someone else who has been struggling with their weight or desire to be physically fit will chance upon my words and breath a little sigh of relief. I’m not alone

Even if no one reads this, the mere act of writing these words has released me a little bit. Reminded me that it is progress, not perfection that matters.  Here at the beginning of 2010, I am resolving (but not making a resolution – to be blogged about later) to get back on track. Get with the program. Be who I want to be. Remember that I just have to be me, not perfect.

Do you have a confession to make? Has there been a detour on your journey? Leave a comment and share your story.

About me

I am passionate about sharing great info about fitness, nutrition and whole life wellness. My blog is designed to inform, inspire and motivate others to pursue a life of optimum health.

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Resources I Love:

Experience Life Magazine - excellent content on whole life wellness and all things healthy www.experiencelifemag.com

"Ultraprevention: The 6 Week Plan That Will Make You Healthy for Life" by Dr. Mark Hyman & Dr. Mark Liponis - Terrific book about how to use proper nutrition, exercise and stress management to improve your health naturally and to prevent illness. So many physical ailments can be cured and/or improved with proper nutrition and natural supplements.

Success magazine - All about inspiring and motivating you to pursue optimum personal and business development. The website has lots of additional material to help you reach your potential. www.successmagazine.com

www.itswhereirun.blogspot.com - Great blog to inspire the runner in you.

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