Ho! Ho! Ho! Got shopping fever?
Malls sparkle with holiday cheer and colorful lights... retail spots are packed with smiling personnel who magically appear to help you fill bags... lists are getting checked off, secrets are growing, and tantalizing cosmetics -- packaged in appealing ways -- abound. But before you start collecting all those colorful, sweet-smelling, youth-enhancing products, know the facts -- and the myths!
Did you know...
Boo! With an open mind and some creativity, there is always a way to honor celebrations with a modern, healthy twist (and wholesome, seasonal choices).
I like to focus more on the adventure of Halloween. This year, we are blessed with one of the most colorful autumns ever. Every car ride feels like new territory as another tree explodes with vibrant color and life. Even the leaf storms those moments when the wind shakes the season along, sending fluttering storms of swirling leaves are incredibly beautiful. Lawns are covered in patchwork colors: reds, golds, oranges. If you stop and take it all in, it is breathtaking.
And so is Halloween... Snickers, Mounds, and Kit Kats aside (no disrespect intended!). It is a day of creativity and expression, of giving and gratitude. As our children (and in many cases, us!) finally change into costumes, faces reflect nothing short of magic. All the decisions, planning and anticipation merge into present moment joy. Whether we don a store bought...
Remember the old cartoons how they'd portray conflicting thought patterns with an angel and a devil? Those characters would suddenly appear on the shoulders of our protagonist, each pulling him in the opposite direction.
"No, stay strong!"
"You know you want to..."
"Do what's right."
"Once won't hurt you..."
Yeah, we have all been there. Take food cravings. They are not only our worst enemy, they can seriously disrupt concentration, positive outlooks, and goals. Occasional treats are no big deal, but cravings are obnoxious distractions that actually pull us out of the present moment.
Flinders University (Australia) scientists Eva Kemps and Marika Tiggemann published their craving related research in Current Directions in Psychological Science (a journal of the Association for Psychological Science) several years ago (sciencedaily.com). They consider the difference between actual hunger (when any food will do) and very specific cravings when you need...
Women. No two are the same. We're the inspiration for poetry − and the subject of many coaching books for men. My fitness passion and extensive work with Pilates at Flow Pilates Centre − along with a host of inspirational and effective workout genres − gives me the opportunity to teach, work with, and know many women in all their diversity. And always, our common denominator is exercise. Movement creates shifts... something we all feel, something from which there's no turning back.
The benefits are just too great. I honor Pilates... and again and again I see how movement provides:
You'd think by now we'd take it in stride. Most of us have experienced many, many seasons. And yet, winter is always a hot (well, not exactly "hot"...) topic. Cold front arriving? The media is all over it. Snow headed your way? Call in the press. Granted, this is an exceptionally wintery winter (even in places that usually get a free pass!) but we are no strangers to cold, blustery, snowy days.
And yet, I find myself checking the latest weather apps, watching large flakes fall, and grimacing in the grips of icy wind. The flip side, of course... There is undeniable beauty the way the sun plays off snow crystals, a cardinal posing on a barren branch, children wrapped in scarves and mittens sculpting white magic.
Yet, for many, it is deeply challenging. A season that messes with sleep patterns, food cravings, energy levels, and overall happiness. We hear more and more about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); and...
"We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another." ~Lucretius
February 14th − love, hearts, flowers, chocolate (yes, I went there!)... a day when crushes are revealed, love is celebrated, and romance winds through the air like a promise. And it's powerful stuff − intoxicating − a force that draws us in with each flap of Cupid's wings.
As if that's not reason enough to spread the love, it's good for you too!
I don't think there is anyone who can't relate to the good intention gets lost at the wayside phenomenon. Life is busy. And it's usually not even a conscious decision to ignore our healthy new plans; time passes, we forget; and ultimately old habits prevail. But why?
Here is an interesting concept. Suppose you had 4 intentions for Monday:
Odds are you will make it to the dentist appointment, show up for work, get Sparky outside (unless you have a large oak tree growing in the den), and... wait, that's it. The sit-ups will probably be forgotten.
It's simple psychology. We tend to honor our commitments (aka intentions) to others but not to ourselves. Dentist appointment? They are waiting for you (well, that, and you'll probably get charged either way). Work? You are expected there... The dog? He depends on you. The sit-ups? What sit-ups? Exactly. Tomorrow is another day.
intention (noun): a determination to act in a specific way; a resolve
The closing of a year is bittersweet. It may be just another day, but it is one that refocuses vision; a day that reminds us of the passage of time and guides us to contemplation. What made this year beautiful? Disappointing? What are you proud of? What surprises did it hold? And what have you learned that you can carry to the next year?
A New Year = a new opportunity. And there is undeniable promise in that.
Every possibility starts with a thought, an intention. And it's exciting to start that process... setting forth the right intentions that can carry us from day to day, week to week, month to month. Yet so many of us, despite our passionate January resolutions, don't even remember those thoughts a few months later. And that is not a reflection of insincerity.
Whether intentions are to eat better, work out more, deal with stress in a healthier way, be more assertive at work, spend more time...
Happy post-Thanksgiving! I hope your celebrations were truly blessed − family, friends, laughter, and gratitude. And no doubt, breaking bread... or turkey... or perhaps tofurkey... were part of a rich and filling tradition. Yet for women, especially, food-oriented customs are often tinged with anxiety about overeating and weight gain.
We are a health conscious society − Amen! − and many have altered old recipes so that they are lower in calories and simmering with nutrition. But... Great Aunt Lottie was beaming when she placed her homemade mashed potatoes on the table (aka the butter through) and even though you were determined to take just one polite spoon, well...
Let it go!
Easy solution... Get back on track. Eat healthy food, WORK OUT, and don't dwell on food choices you can't reverse. Thanksgiving is only one day; and it takes about 3500 calories to gain just one pound. It's empowering to realize that most people don't experience unwanted body changes...
We all want to eat healthy − and do all the right things to be our best selves. But what does that even mean? Many great intentions get placed on the back burner, because just figuring out what "right" is... becomes too overwhelming.
When it comes to bone health, it has always been about calcium. Just increase calcium. Simple? LOL. Not so much. Increasing calcium is extremely important − but it's not the only thing. It has to go hand in hand with reducing sodium, moderating protein, increasing vitamin K − as well as potassium − working out (!!) and even getting some sun (Vitamin D).
I know... here we go again with info overload. But, it's actually pretty simple; and, following the basic rules will make your bones stronger regardless of age... you can add bone mass even when you are 80!
BODY BASICS Your body requires a certain level of calcium in its blood. What a lot of people don't realize is that we lose some of the calcium we eat through urine,...