Age well – gracefully and beautifully

Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

Getting older is inevitable. Time rushes past and suddenly it’s your birthday again and you’re another year older.

Being one year older sounds like such a negative thing, but how can you make it a positive? How can you be a person who doesn’t mind getting older and, instead, embraces every day? How can you make sure that age doesn’t matter?

Here are a few ways I’ve found to make sure your age doesn’t matter to you.

Take good care of your body. Reject the notion that getting older means being unhealthy – being overweight, worn-out, and having symptoms of chronic illness. It doesn’t have to be that way. Eat nutritious food, get 6 – 8 hours of sleep a night, make exercise part of your healthy lifestyle, drink in moderation, etc. Challenge yourself to be stronger and healthier with each passing year. There’s another quote that says, “Those who don’t make time for exercise will eventually have to make time for illness.” Edward Stanley

Keep your mind engaged. Learn how to knit, sew, paint, speak a new language, playHelloLanguages an instrument, write a book, or whatever. What were you interested in doing a long time ago and still have a desire to do? Do it. Read books, do puzzles, take a class, research a topic you are curious about, go to a museum, join a book club…so many possibilities.

Be thankful. Some people, mostly women, don’t want to talk about their age or get a little blue on their birthday, especially milestone birthdays. If you consider the alternative, you’ll find that every birthday is cause for celebration. Celebrate and be grateful for all that you have, all that you are, and the opportunity to share your gifts with the world.

Check your attitude. We all have our cranky moments, but make sure those moments don’t turn into hours and days of crankiness. It’s not fun for anyone. Be a person who can be counted on to be encouraging and positive, not critical and complaining.

Let go of the past. Be like Frank Sinatra, “Regrets. I’ve made a few, but then again too few to LetIt Gomention.” Letting go has more to do with forgiving than forgetting. We all make mistakes in life, so forgive all that never was, all you never did, all who broke their promises, and move on. Looking back and regretting events from the past are not even worth mentioning. Instead, look forward to what you can still be and what you can still accomplish.

 

So age well – gracefully and beautifully. Share your gifts with others and be the best that you can be every day because every day is an opportunity to live more and love more.

commit to healthy lifestyle posted on strong-woman.com

Exercise – The First Step is the Hardest


I’ve always heard that exercise is good for your health (emotional, mental, and physical) and I know that when I skip several workouts I can really tell the difference.

If you’ve been thinking about starting a workout program or exercising but can’t seem to make it happen, follow my five simple tips for getting starting now.

The way I see it, you have to keep it simple. If you’re truly interested in getting/staying healthy and strong for years and well into your “old age”, you can do it. If you want to be able to run around with your kids and grandkids instead of being “too old for that” then listen up.

1. Make exercise a priority. If regular exercise is not currently part check-list-hiof your routine, plan ahead and change it up. Make your exercise time an appointment, like you would a work appointment, an important meeting or a date. I know it can be very challenging. You’re busy. You’ve got a lot of stuff going on. Make one of those things a brisk walk or jumping rope or dancing or even calisthenics, like jumping jacks.

2. Move more throughout the day. Increase your level of activity however you can. For examplTakeStairse, walk more during your regular daily tasks by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Park further away and walk a few more steps. If you work at a desk, take a break and walk for a few minutes.

3. Be a problem solver. We all find reasons (excuses) why we can’t do something that we may not really want to do or are afraid to do. Some examples: I don’t have a safe place to walk, I don’t have walking shoes, I have to cook dinner, I have to take my kids to ProblemSolvesoccer/football/piano/gymnastics/etc. and so many more. Each of those commitments requires thoughtful problem solving so they don’t become your reason for missing your exercise commitment. In all possible scenarios, be a problem solver. For example, go for a walk while the kids are practicing. Maybe another mom would like to join you. When you get your mind set on doing something, you’ll do it.

4. Get clear on your why. This whole exercise venture can sometimes be a real mental Why?exercise as well. Change can be difficult. If you’re not exercising now and you want to change that and be a person who exercises regularly, you have to get your head and heart involved. A good place to start is to think about your health goals. Then you have to go a little deeper and think about why you want whatever it is you say you want. Keep asking “why?” until you get to the point where you know at your very core why you want what you say you want. This is your why. Know it. Remember it. Live it.

5. Go do it. Yoda said it best when he said, “Do. Or do not. There is
Yodano try.”  Forget all the “reasons” you can’t do something and re-program your brain to know and believe that you can do whatever you commit to doing. Making exercise a part of your healthy lifestyle may be challenging and may require some sacrifice, but if you really want it, commit to it. And then do it.

 

 

The word “exercise” may conjure up images of weights, running, sweating, gasping for air, training, treadmills, fitness equipment, or other stuff. That’s how some people do it. But if you’re just getting started, keep it simple and think of exercise as exerting energy to move your body. That’s it.

published on strong-woman.com

Sugar season is near. Are you ready to stay on track?

Summer is long gone and October is here. For many of us, that means the season for regularly having easy access to lots of sugary snacks. If you have a sweet tooth, it can be really challenging to stay on track and resist the sweets because once you start it can be really hard to stop.

Here are some tips to avoid the sugary snacks.

Be prepared. Have healthy snacks handy like sliced vegetables and fruit. Try a healthy alternative, like apples slices with no-sugar-added peanut/almond butter and honey or grapes with almonds.

Eat every 2 – 3 hours. Make sure you’re eating low-glycemic meals with healthy snacks in between so that you’re eating every 2 – 3 hours to allow your blood sugar levels to stay steady. If your blood sugar drops too low, sometimes called being “hangry”, your body will need quick energy and that’s when good food choices go out the window.

Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to help you feel satisfied and give your body what it needs, so you don’t crave stuff you don’t.

Use your mental muscle.

Out of sight, out of mind. If you think you might be tempted to dig in, store the sweet stuff away in a bin or other area out of sight and then get busy doing something else. Occupy yourself  with something that’ll help you forget about your craving: play your favorite high-energy playlist, listen to an engrossing podcast, call your best friend…you get the idea.

Visualize success. Picture yourself absolutely, perfectly fine with your healthy snacks and strong posture. Or picture yourself eating a small amount of whatever it is you crave, enjoying it, eating it mindfully, and being done.

Exercise. Stay active during this time of year. Studies show that even a 15-minute walk can help curb sugar cravings, so get moving. Find an activity you enjoy. Some suggestions: dance (alone or with a partner; with or without music), walk, run, swim, fence, practice yoga, calisthenics, etc.

De-stress. Stress can trigger all kinds of negative stuff. Sugar cravings are one of them. Recognize the stress trigger and take a few deep breaths, stretch, take a walk – something besides a sugar fix to calm you down and get you out of that high stress state.

Stay strong and well through the season and enjoy all the great things it brings without letting sugar get the best of you.

 

food label published on strong-woman.com

How to Read a Food Label

You’ve probably heard that it’s best to stay in the perimeter of the grocery store when you shop because that’s where the “real food” is: fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, etc., but even “real food” can be processed and packaged.  Making good nutrition a part of your healthy lifestyle is all about choices.

When you’re making good food choices and find yourself looking at processed and packaged food, it makes sense to read the food label. So much great information on that label, but what in the world does it all mean?

Food labels can be so confusing!

Even “healthy” food can be surprisingly unhealthy. We’d like to think that food labels are pretty straightforward, but that’s not the case at all.

Here are my 3 basic guidelines for reading and interpreting food labels.

1. Look at the ingredients.

  • Ingredients are listed in descending order according to how much is in the product, from most to least. That means if sugar is the first ingredient listed, then that product has more sugar than any other ingredient.
Read Ingredients on Food Label
Some ingredients to watch out for as you read the label:
  • Sugar – Look for sugar in all forms, like corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, syrup, dextrose, sucrose, or fruit juice concentrate. Keep it to a minimum.

    Sugar photo courtesy of Pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com
    Look for added sugar on food label.
  • Salt –Look for the words salt, sodium, or soda.
  • Partially Hydrogenated Oil – Oil that’s been processed for a longer shelf life; not a healthy form of fat. Partially hydrogenated oil is commonly found in baked goods and fried foods. Avoid it when you can.
  • Food Additives and Preservatives – Used for lots of reasons, including extending shelf-life, adding color or flavor, and maintaining texture. Many different additives and preservatives, like food coloring, are known to have a negative effect on some people, especially children. As much as possible, choose products with ingredients you can identify and pronounce. If you wonder what it is, look it up.
  • Artificial Sweeteners – Do artificial sweeteners make people fat? The debate continues. Whether they make people fat or not, you may find that reducing artificial sweeteners increases your sensitivity to chemical additives in your food (taste) and reduce cravings for sweet food.
  • Grain Info– Look for whole grain products and keep in mind that the labeling of grains can be confusing.

According to the wholegrainscouncil.org,

“…we advise manufacturers to use the words “whole grain” in the name of a product only if the product contains more whole grain than refined grain (i.e., 51% or more of the grain is whole grain). Whole grain means that 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.”

Refined grains are stripped of the fiber-rich part of the grain, so it’s important to look at fiber content. The more fiber, the better.

Photo of white flour courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com
Enriched Grain vs. Whole Grain

2. Serving size

  • Keep portion sizes in mind. Sometimes food manufacturers list very small serving sizes in an effort to keep the calorie count down. Pay attention to serving size when you’re planning your meals and snacks.

3. Check fiber, sugar, and calories.

  • More Fiber – Fiber’s good for digestive health and to help you feel full longer. Studies show that people who eat a high fiber diet tend to be leaner with a lower incidence of certain types of cancer, like colon cancer.
  • Less Sugar – If you’ve already read the label for sugar, you have an idea what you’re dealing with. The less, the better.
  • Calories – Not all calories are created equal. Nuts, for example, are high in calories but are a good source of healthy fat and will help keep you satisfied.

Follow these basic guidelines to help you make informed choices for you and your family.

What do you look for on food labels? Have they helped you make better food choices? Post your comments on below.