Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Love Yourself Like You Mean It

Oscar Wilde once said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

Love yourself like you’re in it for keeps.

Lifelong romance kind of love – that’s the good stuff. Work toward that.Photo courtesy of Pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Make it nurturing, forgiving, patient, respectful, humble, and kind.

Be nurturing. Take care of yourself – body, mind, and spirit.

Be forgiving. We all make mistakes and being able to forgive means forgetting pride and getting past the mistake, error, or wrong. Even the big ones.

Be kind. We can be our own worst and most unkind critic. Turn it around and work to be your own best and kindest supporter.

Be patient. We’re all a work in progress. And wherever you are in the process of being the best you possible, understand that you may not “get it” right away. Keep at it. Don’t give up.Weight loss photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Be respectful. Actions speak louder than words, but words speak pretty loudly. You’re worthy of respect from yourself as well as from others .

Accept yourself as you are. Accept where you are and believe your’e worthy of love from others. Instead of looking at what you can’t do or what you don’t have, take stock in what you do have. Stop tripping over what’s behind you. Accept where you are and move forward.

Be humble. Build others up. Let your actions and work speak for themselves.

Love posted on strong-woman.com

Oscar Wilde is on to something.

Because no matter what, in the end, there you are.

Better to love yourself than not.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

What is Balance Training and Should I Be Doing It?

Today, we continue the series on the benefits of exercise (you can click here to read that post in case you missed it) and specific types of exercises. (Read about Cardio Workouts here and Strength Training here.)

The importance of exercisePhoto courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

According to Harvard Health Publications, guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend a well-rounded plan of “aerobic activity, strength training, and balance exercises.”

What’s balance training?

It focuses on improving and/or maintaining stability (not falling over). Stable movement improve overall mobility.

Some types of training that emphasize balance are:

Yoga

Pilates

Various core and agility exercises

Some martial arts practices, such as Tai-chi

BenefitsPicture downloaded from Pixabay for strong-woman.com

  • Strengthens core muscles
  • Improves stability and mobility
  • Requires little to no equipment
  • Multiple variations of simple movements
  • Helpful to people at all fitness levels

In-house fitness expert, Mark Montalvo, says this:

“As we age, balance usually decreases resulting in falling or injury…this is why balance training is so important. It develops proprioception, which simply means how we move our bodies through space and time.

He says effective balance training should be performed in multiple directions of movement, in an unstable environment. It can be as simple as walking on a straight line or standing on one leg.Weight loss photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Complicate that by standing on one leg while throwing or catching a ball.

Drawbacks/Risks

  • Must practice good form to reduce risk of injury
  • Progress is hard to measure

So, everyone can benefit from balance training, no matter the level of fitness. Being able to stay upright and stable will go a long way to keeping you healthy and well.

Remember to check with your health care professional before starting an exercise program. This is especially important if you’re under doctor’s care for a health condition.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Time Flies – Make the Most of It

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.    Michael Altshuler

There are 24 hours in each day. That’s 1440 minutes. They go by fast.Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

And the older you get, the faster time seems to go.

That’s not really news. It’s more like one of those realities you live with every day without giving it much thought, like gravity.

You can’t slow down time. The best you can do is manage it, navigate like a pilot.

What does it take?

Life is short. When’s the right time to do what you want most out of life?

I got a late start. I flew on auto-pilot for a long time, not even understanding this concept of piloting my own life. Instead, I floated along like a cloud moved by the wind.

But then I realized I was taking a lot for granted.

I was on auto-pilot waiting for the right time to do what I really wanted to do with my life. I acted as if I had a guarantee that there’d still be time when I was ready. Whenever that might be.

Take the controls

My auto-pilot mentality kept me in “someday” mode. I waited for “someday” to do what I’ve always wanted to do, what I feel like I’m supposed to be doing with my life.

Being the pilot isn’t easy. It’s not all clear skies and sunny days. Of course not. You can count on storm clouds, unplanned landings, rough take offs, turbulence.Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

The beauty is, you got this.

Be assured: you’re a good enough pilot. You’re qualified. It won’t always be easy, but you can figure it out.

Stay focused on the goal because time isn’t the enemy. The sun rises and sets and that’s a day.

Stay focused on your goal, keep your eyes on the controls, stay steadfast in your commitment to be the pilot.

Do what you can each day, even if it seems like so little that you’ll never reach your destination.

So many distractions

Binge watching shows, video games, streaming movies, social media, viral videos, and celebrity drama to name a few.

Decide where you want to go and what you want to do.

Then stay focused and protective of your time because it goes by fast.

Mineral water photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Exercise and Good Nutrition: Why You Need Both

The first time I trained for a half-marathon, I thought, “Okay, this is good.  I’ll be burning a ton of calories running all these miles and I’ll probably drop a few pounds. Awesome!”

And, yeah, I burned lots of calories, but I didn’t lose weight. Not at all.

The saying goes: You can’t outrun (or out-lift, out-train) a bad diet.

Salad phot courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

That means, exercise alone isn’t enough.

If you really want results, you need both: regular exercise and good nutrition.

How can it possible that even when you’re burning a lot more calories you don’t lose weight?

One possibility is a phenomenon called “The Halo Effect”

The Halo Effect

In a nutshell, it’s when you think something or some one is so good it’s hard for you to be objective.photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

When it comes to fitness, the halo effect is:
I work out so I can eat whatever I want.

Sure, I can have dessert and a jumbo margarita! I just ran 10 miles.

 

I’m running a 5k tomorrow. I can have an extra serving.

The Halo Effect results in a person losing objectivity and allowing herself more high calorie indulgences or “rewards” because she worked out.

Thus the saying: You can’t outrun, out-lift, or out-train a bad diet.

In my experience, nutrition is way more critical in losing and maintaining a healthy weight than exercise, but it’s also the more challenging component.

And, it seems that the nutrition piece becomes even more important with age. You may be thinking, “I used to be able to eat whatever I want and never gain a pound.” [I’ve never said that, personally.]

So how do you do it? What’s the easiest way to get the best results from all your hours at the gym?

Here are a few tips on how to incorporate exercise and nutrition for the best results

Eat clean

Photo of apple courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Simply put, eating clean means eating whole foods in their most natural form as possible. For example, if you have a choice between an apple, apple sauce, and an apple flavored, gluten-free fruit chew, the apple’s the best choice. Choose minimally processed food with no added sugar whenever possible.

Eat more vegetables

At every meal, have at least one serving of vegetables, and shoot for 2 – 3 servings each meal. Starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes don’t count. 

Drink water to stay hydrated

The standard recommendation is to drink half your body weight in ounces every day and even more than that if you’ve been sweating. Adequate hydration improves all bodily functions. Not drinking enough water can cause dehydration which can result in problems such as headaches, constipation, muscle cramps, and more.

Be aware of added sugar in beverages and choose accordingly

Sugar photo courtesy of Pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Sports drinks, soda, fruit juice, adult beverages, and sweetened coffee drinks often have a ton of added sugar and a ton of extra calories.

Many restaurants now have calories per serving listed right on the menu and others have nutrition information on their website. It’s worth taking a look.

Read labels for ingredients and serving size

When you look for calories on the label, don’t forget to check the serving size.

For more information, read How to Read a Food Label

The most important thing is to find what works for you and then stick with it. For more recommendations and nutrition tips at How to Start Eating Healthy and Stick to It

Over the past few years of working out and finding what works best for me, I discovered that exercise has many benefits but losing weight isn’t one of them. Maybe that’s because of the Halo Effect. I don’t know for sure.

What I know for sure is that making good nutrition choices improves my overall feeling of health, wellness, and fitness. I make my share of bad choices and I’m not anywhere near perfect, but when I do these things most of the time:

  • Eat clean
  • Eat my veggies
  • Drink water
  • Avoid added sugar
  • Pay attention to food labels

I get better results. It’s most likely, you will too.

How about you? Do you agree with the statement: “You can’t outrun a bad diet”? What works best for you?

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Embrace the Beginners’ Mindset

 

No one starts off as an expert at anything. Everyone starts as a beginner.

Like a toddler learning to walk

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com
Have a beginner’s mindset.

Embrace the beginners’ mindset and accept that awkward, clumsy stage when you’re just getting started, when you realize how much there is to learn.

You might say, “I’ll look like stupid! I’ll sound like a goofball!” It’s tempting to say, “Forget about it!” and not even try.

That’s understandable. No one wants to look silly.

Being a beginner makes you vulnerable.

Will people laugh, criticize, make comments?

Maybe.

When you have a beginners’ mindset, you start anyway. You understand the principle of walking before you can run, of starting a journey with the first step.

It’s not too late

Do you want to play the guitar? Run a marathon? Write a novel? Start a business?

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com
You’ve got to start somewhere.

Will you achieve fame and fortune in your new venture? Maybe not.

But what if you find that you love it anyway?

What if you discover a new passion, a creative outlet that leads to more people, places, and things?

Embrace the beginners’ mindset and start from where you are. Don’t let pride and fear keep you from learning something new.

The old saying goes: If you’re not learning, you’re not growing.

Be a beginner every day and see what you can learn.

Picture downloaded from Pixabay for strong-woman.com

News Flash: Exercise is good for you!

Oh, have you already heard that? Not news? Well, “exercise” can be many things to many people, from jumping jacks to kayaking to running ultra-marathons and everything in between.

Seeing a super-fit athlete doing a high intensity workout may be a little intimidating. You may think, “I could never do that.” And maybe you’re right.

But even if you can’t do that, you can do something.

And something is better than nothing. The key is to find what works for you and start small if you need to.

photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com
Showing up is the hardest part.

I’ve blogged about exercise in different contexts like Group Exercise: Why it’s better than going solo, Exercise: The First Step is the Hardest, and The Hardest Part of a Workout is Showing Up, and more.

But I think I jumped ahead a little, so today, I’m going to list some of

The benefits of exercise

These are well-documented, research-based benefits … and I can attest to these myself.

Exercise:

Improves mood

Exercise increases endorphins – the “feel good” hormones.

photo published on strong-woman.com
Looking at the workout board.

 

Reduces stress

Again, balances hormones and lowers cortisol levels – the “stress” hormones.

Improves brain clarity

In the book Life Reimagined, Barbara Bradly Hagerty spoke with Kirk Erickson, researcher at the University of Pittsburgh who found “nothing will keep you as mentally acute as raising your heart rate a few times a week. Nothing.”  Exercise is good for the body and mind.

Physical strength and muscle tone

Movement calls for muscles to flex. Focused movement beyond daily activities stresses muscles and keeps them strong. It’s like most things, use it or lose it.

Helps strengthen bones

Exercise strengthens bones by stressing them. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation “Exercise plays an important role in building and maintaining bone strength.”

Improved balance and stability

As we age, we’re more at risk for falling. Regular exercise helps strengthen muscles and bones and improves our ability to balance and recover from near-falls.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

 

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be going through different types of exercise and refer to my on-staff Subject Matter Expert (SME) about the benefits of several types of exercise – what they are and their benefits.

Have you experienced some of these benefits? I’d love to hear what you find to be the greatest benefit. Please share in the comments below.

Weight loss photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

(Video) Improve your health and happiness

 

A few years ago I learned something that shifted my attitude about the connection between good health and food.

The Health-Nutrition Connection

It started when I caught Dr. Mark Hyman on television talking about his book, The Blood Sugar Solution. At the time, I wasn’t feeling well. I had digestive issues, pre-diabetes symptoms, menopausal symptoms, rosacea, low energy, and more.

In his discussion that Sunday afternoon, Dr. Hyman said (in a nutshell) that improving nutrition improves health and that people (like me) are unknowingly eating food that’s causing inflammation and making them (me) sick.

Weight loss photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

 

I was skeptical, but wanted to learn more, so I bought The Blood Sugar Solution. And soon after incorporating a few of Dr. Hyman’s recommendations, I felt better. My symptoms improved almost immediately.

To read more about my experience and what I learned, read “Nutrition and Inflammation – How Are They Related and Why Should I Care?

An Interview with Dr. Mark Hyman

Today, I’m sharing a video of one of my favorite people online, Marie Forleo,  interviewing Dr. Hyman.

If you’re not familiar with Marie, I highly recommend you check out her work. She is “An entrepreneur, writer, philanthropist, and unshakable optimist dedicated to helping you become the person you most want to be.” From Marie’s “About” page at marieforleo.com 

I hope you take the time to watch or listen to the interview if you’re interested in learning a few simple ways to improve your health.

You may be doubtful, about Dr. Hyman’s message, about the idea that food you eat every day can be making you sick. I was certainly skeptical about his message.

I thought, “Certainly food companies aren’t allowed to sell products that make people sick.”  I thought I was protected.

But now I know that’s just not true.

Click here to read more about the interview and watch/listen to the segment on MarieTV.

Or watch/listen to the 30-minute video here:

 

Especially as we age, eating good food becomes critical to feeling well and strong. I encourage you to watch/listen with an open mind and an open heart. Dr. Hyman inspired me take control of my health and it could do the same for you or some one you love.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts about what you’ve heard. Feel free to share in the comments.

Downloaded from Web published on strong-woman.com

Love More, Judge Less

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Mother Teresa

At a busy intersection near my house, a young man held a sign asking for money. I didn’t have cash, but even if I had, I wouldn’t have given him any.

My judgement:

He looked young and healthy enough to get a job and earn money rather than begging for it.

Take care of yourself with a quiet commute published on strong-woman.com

I hate to admit that because as much as I try not to judge people, I find myself doing it every day.

I try not to judge for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t want other people to judge me and second,  I’m not perfect, so who am I to judge?

From past experience I’ve learned that you can’t tell by looking at some one what he or she is about – their struggles, challenges, or difficulties. Assumptions often prove to be false.

On the other hand, I may be right about that young man on the corner, but so what?

Downloaded from Web published on strong-woman.com

I’m no Mother Teresa, that’s for sure, but I agree with her: You can’t love people when you’re judging them.

You get what you give.

Want more love? Give more love. Mix it with compassion, understanding, and patience.

Give less judgment, intolerance, anger, and hate.

Phew!

I’m going to have to practice this. How about you?

photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Travel Lightly by Checking Your Baggage

Lighten your burden by traveling lightly. Check emotional baggage; it’ll weigh you down.

What’s emotional baggage? It’s sadness, anger, or hurt we continue to feel about an event or person that happened some time in the past.

Photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com
Emotional baggage can weigh you down.

Why do we hold on to it? Do we really want to continue experiencing those negative feelings about something that happened a long time ago?

Carrying that pain around is a heavy burden and it’s exhausting. Sometimes the anger and hurt go so deep that it feels like you won’t ever get past it.

But you can.

Release your grip on your baggage. Choose to check it even if you’ve gotten so used to holding on to it.

How do you let go?

When you live in the present, it’s easier for forget the wrongs of the past.
Forgive. Swallow your pride, release your grip, and then let go.

Stretching in Autumn photo courtesy of Pixabay published on strong-woman.com

Leave the hurt, disappointment, and pain from the past in the past.

That’s the only way to make room for grace, love, and happiness to take its place.

Stairway photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

4 Ways In Person Shopping is Good for Your Health

Recently, my daughter and I needed something to wear to two separate family occasions, so we went shopping the old fashioned way – at a store, in person. We went through the racks of dresses, thinking about both occasions and venues and what would be appropriate for each. We picked out armfuls of dresses and then tried each one on and decided Yay or Nay. Even though neither of us like to shop, it was fun.

Drink choices are as important as food choices published on strong-woman.com

The excursion got me thinking about the shopping experience and how it’s changed so much over the years. We’ve seen huge retail stores shut their doors and there’s always discussion about how brick and mortar retailers can compete with online shopping.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

There are definitely benefits for shopping online, but when it comes to your health, there are real benefits of shopping in person – the old-fashioned way. Here are a few

Health benefits of shopping in person:

1. Gets you moving

The American Heart Association recommends 10,000 steps a day as an activity goal for heart health. In person shopping will get you way more steps than online shopping. If you struggle to find time to work out or get moving throughout the day, think of your trip to the store as an opportunity to get moving.

Stairway photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com
2. Gets you out of the house

Getting out of the house can be good for your mental health. A change in routine helps stimulate the brain even if it takes more energy. Instead of relying on things being delivered to your door because you just don’t want to get out, when you need something, do it the old-fashioned way.

3. Interaction with people

This might not always seem like a benefit because people are not perfect. I know. People don’t know how to drive, how to scan their credit card, walk too slow, are always in your way, etc especially when you’re in a hurry. If you’ve had a rough day at the office and you’ve had plenty of human interaction, a shopping trip to anywhere for anything is just not what you want. In that case, leave it for another day if you can. Otherwise, go be with people.

4. Tactile stimulation

Shopping the old-fashioned way gets your senses going and stimulates the brain. Why do you decide to buy a particular product? Is it mostly what you see? When I was trying on dresses, I wanted the dress to look nice on me, but I also wanted to feel good wearing it. That experience is impossible to duplicate online. For now, at least.

Consumers have lots of shopping options. When it comes to your physical and mental health, there are some benefits to doing it the old-fashioned way.