Spring is Here, Summer is Coming Soon! Are You Ready?
Is This You?
• You want to lose weight and start an exercise program, you know what you should do, you just have a hard time doing it.
• You finally lost weight, and felt great, but the pounds slowly started to creep back on and you are back where you started.
• You used to be thin, you were athletic in high school or college, and have gotten away from being in shape over the years.
• You’ve attempted to lose weight, and exercise, you start out with enthusiasm, but find yourself sidetracked by challenges, or lose your motivation.
• You are frustrated and discouraged by your repeated failures to get in shape, and now you are starting to doubt your ability to make lasting changes.
Don’t give up! There are strategies and supports that can help you! If you are tired of thinking “When I have the time (money, energy) I am going to lose this ten pounds (start an exercise plan, look and feel better?)”, my 6 Week Discover Your Strengths to Achieve Your Fitness Goals Private Coaching program can get you started on the road to lasting success.
In this program, you will receive individualized and confidential support, with proven tools to move you ahead much faster than would be possible on your own. We will assess where you are now, and where you want to go. You set the agenda! We will explore the strengths and values you already possess that can help you achieve your goals. Next, we will create a step-by-step plan to help you move powerfully and confidently forward, with support from the practical tools I have acquired through training, knowledge and experience. We will strategize ways to deal with the inevitable challenges and setbacks that will occur along the way, to keep you on the path to lasting success.
Wouldn’t you like to feel great, look better, and have more energy and confidence now? What would it be like to have someone who is only concerned with you and your best interests work directly with you, to encourage you, challenge you, and hold you accountable to the goals you have set for yourself?
If you are ready to get results and create lasting change, I am offering my Discover Your Strengths to Achieve Your Fitness Goals program now for the special low investment of $297.00 to the first 3 people who enroll. This program includes an initial intake and assessment, as well as 6 private coaching sessions (30 minutes each) with email support. Coaching sessions are offered via telephone, or Skype. Once these 3 spots are filled, the investment will increase to $397.00, so don’t miss out.
There is no time like now to get started to being your best! What are you waiting for? Summer will be here before you know it!
Most of us that have flown on an airplane have heard the familiar safety presentation given at the beginning of flights. It goes something like this: “In the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop down from the overhead compartment. Put on your own oxygen mask first, and then help those around you.” It’s natural, especially in an emergency, to think of assisting the person next to you first, especially if that person is a loved one. The reality, though, is you will be of no good to anyone else if you run out of oxygen and can’t breathe!
It’s a great metaphor for life. Many of us, especially women, are programmed to think we should be able to “do it all.” That includes taking care of a partner, perhaps children, managing household duties, finances, and increasingly, extended family, such as aging parents. Taking care of ourselves often doesn’t even make it on to the daily “to-do” list. Yet, nothing is more important, not just for ourselves, but for those around us. If we are over-extended, sleep-deprived, struggling with eating well, and finding little or no time to exercise, we are likely to end up feeling run down, chronically sick, or burned out. At that point, we are no good to anyone, not even ourselves!
What’s the answer? I believe part of it lies in our lifestyle choices. I also believe a shift in thinking may be in order. Often, we feel that if we are taking care of ourselves, we are being selfish, or self-indulgent. Actually, the opposite is true. When we make our health and well-being a priority we are, in the long run, benefitting everyone around us. Our personal wellness means we are better able to serve our families, our workplaces, and our communities. The bottom line is this: Being healthy, strong and fit means we are better able to contribute to everyone and everything around us. As health care costs continue to rise in the U.S., even health care companies have started to catch on and are creating wellness programs to encourage subscribers to implement personal wellness programs. Some companies are employing health and wellness coaches as part of their team. The coaches are available to assist individuals in creating a personal wellness plan. Paying attention to wellness and disease prevention is gaining momentum as these companies realize the benefit to their bottom lines.
Taking care of yourself, far from being selfish, may be the most important thing you do. It’s fundamental. A bonus is that when we role-model healthy behavior for those around us, especially our children, we make a positive impact on them as well. We are encouraging and supporting them to do the same. Next time you are tempted to skip your morning walk, or go for the fast food because it’s well, fast, remember this: Taking good care of you is your gift to those you love, for years to come.
From time to time, I come across a website that I end up going back to again and again because it is so inspiring and has such great information. Being entertaining is a plus. One such site is http://www.youngernextyear.com/, which happens to be the companion site to one of my favorite books, Younger Next Year, by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge, M.D. I have to admit I like the book’s very cool sub-title – How to Live Fit, Strong and Sexy Until You’re 80 and Beyond (80? Really?) The book promotes the idea, backed by evidence-based research, that we can turn back our biological clocks no matter what our age – by following a set of simple rules that include exercise, healthy eating, and staying engaged with the world around us. (There’s more but you have to go the site to find out.) There’s a book for men and one for women, and the website expands on all of it with inspiration, community forums, a blog, live events, and more. Plus, Chris Crowley is an entertaining writer. (Did I mention I like entertaining?) Check it out.
Fruits are a delicious basic when it comes to healthy eating – with nutrients vital for health, energy, disease prevention and longevity. Here in Colorado, fall is when peaches are at their peak. Apples, too, are at their best this time of year, and there is a wide variety to choose from. (Over 7,500 varieties worldwide!) The most common in North America are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, Granny Smith, MacIntosh, and tmany more. Try a variety of fruits, but be sure to include some in your grocery shopping list. They are a great addition to kids’ lunches, or yours, and a perfect snack anytime for everyone in your family.
I believe in always having fresh fruit on hand. It’s a staple at our house. Do you eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day? This is the most recent nutritional recommendation from the U.S. Government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recent research indicates that people who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables have lower rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke. Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals, and may also help you manage your weight. Here are a few ways for you to enjoy whatever fruit is in season for you.
- Fruit Salad – Choose your favorite fruits, and pick the best available. Some ideas: cut cantaloupe and honeydew, sliced strawberries, blueberries, pineapple chunks, seedless green or red grapes, sliced peaches. I sometimes will use sliced bananas and apples, but add these close to serving time to maintain freshness. You can also add in some raisins and chopped walnuts or pecans for extra texture and flavor. This fruit salad is delicious any time, and makes a great lunch topped with vanilla yogurt.
- Smoothies – This is the breakfast of choice most weekdays at our house. Toss in any kind of frozen fruit – you can slice and freeze bananas, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, whatever you like. You can also buy freezer bags of fresh frozen fruit, if you prefer. To that, add a scoop of vanilla protein powder, vanilla soy milk or almond milk, and/or fruit juice, and whirl together in a blender. This is a delicious and nutrition-packed way to start the day and keep you going until lunch time.
- Snacks – Snacking on fruit is a healthy choice when it comes to high nutritional content without adding empty calories. Fruits provide us with natural sugars, which can give us a boost if we are feeling low on energy. Berries – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries – are filled with antioxidants and vitamins. Citrus fruits are another great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Apples and pears are also excellent snacks, providing healthy fiber, with low sugar content. Browse your local produce stand or farmer’s market for your favorites.
The practice of yoga delivers significant physical benefits, but that is really only the beginning. Yoga is about much more than the physical poses, or asanas. Asana, done properly, is definitely a mind-body experience. Keeping the body healthy supports both the mind and the spirit, and yoga involves integration of all three.
I started taking yoga classes with Athena Flegas when I came to Colorado in 1994. Athena has been a student of yoga since the early 1970s’s, and received her teacher’s certification in 1985. She is a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance and also teaches Heart Centered Meditation. Her style of teaching yoga has been mostly influenced by the Iyengar and Anusara schools of yoga, as well as her Heart Centered Meditation Practice. Over the years, she has developed her own balanced approach to teaching Hatha Yoga. She focuses on breath, awareness, and alignment to gently guide students safely into yoga poses. She works closely with individual students, allowing them time and space to develop a more therapeutic approach to yoga than is found in typical yoga studios. She encourages students to tap into their true essence and feel a total integration of body, mind, and spirit both on and off the yoga mat.
I asked Athena what is the best way for someone new to yoga to get started and her immediate response was, “Safely.” If you are starting in a class, make sure the instructor knows of any injuries or health concerns you may have. (A trained and competent instructor will always ask.) Also, look to your body and its responses, notice how you feel after certain poses, and never push into pain in a pose.
There are lots of different yoga styles out there. If you are new to yoga, Athena recommends Hatha Yoga, which incorporates slow and gentle movements, and is probably the most common style. She also advises a beginner to look for a class that is smaller in size, so that the instructor is able to give students individual attention. You will work on basic poses at first, focusing on correct breathing and proper alignment, and a trained instructor can be of great benefit here.
Athena is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the subject of yoga! Some of the highlights of what she shared with me follow.
- Yoga is a holistic system – consisting of the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. It seeks to integrate body, mind and spirit, which is what separates it from other systems. The gift of yoga is that it addresses all aspects of the self. If you want to come to yoga just for the physical benefits, that is up to you. Incorporate what works for you. Doing your yoga, incorporating what works for you and what you need, is key.
- Yoga is open to everyone, regardless of age. Young, old, fit, injured – a yoga practice can be adapted to suit your particular needs. There is no “one size fits all” in yoga.
- For those over 40, yoga has health and wellness benefits that can reduce or alleviate typical health problems associated with aging. Physically, yoga helps the body to retain its limberness and strength, including bone strength, can help to alleviate chronic pain, improve balance and coordination, and help the body to bounce back more quickly from illness or surgery.
- Mentally and emotionally, yoga can help the individual to deal with life more effectively. The ability to handle stress improves, as does mental acuity and concentration. Yogic breathing practices help to calm the mind and body, providing a sense of overall wellbeing. These mental and physical benefits positively impact our ability to stay active, vital and independent as we age.
Yoga has far-reaching benefits that nourish the person as a whole. Yoga can have the biggest impact, says Athena, by doing your yoga – tailoring your practice to what suits you best. The scope of yoga is broad – start where you are, with what works for your body, and build from there. And do “your yoga.”
I live in the Rocky Mountains just outside of Denver, Colorado, high up at 8,500 feet – a beautiful spot surrounded by tall trees and the mountains. Today is one of those winter days – and it’s not even winter yet. Mother Nature doesn’t seem to care about the date on the calendar where I live, so you can just about expect anything this time of year. On days like this, I often find myself thinking of a nice, hot bowl of soup for lunch or dinnner. A hearty soup, maybe a salad, and warm, whole-grain bread is an easy, healthy – and tasty – meal. Plus, it’s relatively easy to put together and something my family enjoys, too, and I always like that.
I love making soup this time of year. A hot bowl of soup can be not only delicious and comforting, but also provide a nutritious boost, depending on what you throw into the pot. I like that the combination of ingredients provides endless possibilities. The addition of protein from lean turkey, chicken, or beans makes a satisfying meal. Homemade soups can include whatever vegetables you and your family love. Make sure the ingredients are fresh, low-fat and the soup is prepared with a minimum of salt. Here is one of my favorites:
Tofu Vegetable Soup
- 2 quarts water
- 2 vegetable broth cubes
- 4 stalks of celery, sliced
- 4 large carrots, sliced or diced
- 1-2 leeks, rinsed and sliced (remove the dark green part)
- 1/2 bunch of chopped, fresh parsley
- 1/2 bunch fresh dill
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 1-1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1-1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 8 ounces uncooked whole grain pasta (such as linquini)
- 1 pound tofu, diced
In a large soup pot, bring the water and broth cubes to a boil. Add celery and carrots and boil for 10 minutes. Add the leek, parsley, dill, salt, pepper, garlic, and pasta, and simmer until pasta is al dente. Add the tofu, heat through, and adjust seasonings if needed.
I love this soup. It doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare and provides a healthy serving of both protein (from the tofu, an excellent alternative to meat) and vegetables. It’s low in fat yet delicious and filling. Try it and let me know what you think!