What Are You Thankful For?

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Be Thankful - Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! There is always something to be thankful for even when things may not be going in the most ideal way. Whether it be an opportunity to learn, to grow, or to appreciate.  It’s way too easy to get wrapped up in our lives and forget how blessed and lucky so many of us are. That doesn’t mean we aren’t entitled to feel low but you have to keep things in perspective.  Take today to really answer this: What Are You Thankful For? 

 

What Are you Thankful for?

12 rounds boxingI got up and did a 12 round boxing session to get my day started with some awesome, fun people.  Im thankful for my health and fitness for sure. Some days it’s hard to get up and get it done, but at the end of the day it is so worth it.

Fake It To Make It So

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I have always said I wouldn’t sugar coat my wellness journey – there are ups and downs. I seem to be in a valley right now…

I’m having a rough time as of late. I feel beaten up.  I have just a sense of blah around most things in my life right now. I’ve been trying to sit back and reflect on it though. Could it be the mid-life crisis that people talk about?

I’m in my early 40’s, although closer to mid 40’s than I sometimes realize – I’ve been in the VA area since 1996. I’ve had ups and downs career wise. I’ve gotten married, had kids, and helped my husband battle a serious health issue. I live in a nice suburban area, own my home – my kids are fed, receiving a great education, have family that loves them. Same can be said about me – I have a great husband who is my biggest champion, my kids are amazing – so, why do I feel lonely and unfulfilled lately?

fake-it-till-you-make-it

I feel unconnected and bored – not really feeling close to many people around me. I‘m having issues staying on point with my nutrition as well. I feel like a big blob and have been making excuses for eating crap.

I believe that in the idea “fake it until you make it“, surround yourself with positive people and words. Being down and being around a bunch of Debby Downer people and thoughts doesn’t do anything to help pull you out.

Positive Life

What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

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what would you tell your younger self

I saw this posted question the other day and it made me pause. It’s an interesting question to ponder.

Now that my daughter is entering her teen years and has started to experience all that goes with it, it has put me in a reflective mood. She has already begun dealing with friend drama, body image worries, and embarrassing parents.  I want to let her experience things without being a helicopter parent, but also benefit from the knowledge that I have. I didn’t have a picture perfect childhood and want to do whatever I can to prevent her from experiencing some of it.  I see traits in her personality that mirror mine and it worries me sometimes.  I know there is only so much I can do as her mom – sigh…

As for me answering that question – I would tell myself to not let fear control my decisions. I was always so scared of being uncomfortable, craved stability and that made me so rigid. I saw things one way and that was it – wasn’t open to trying anything new and was so scared to just take a chance.  How about you?

Oh and I would definitely tell myself to start exercising as an outlet for stress – I often wish I was in shape from the onset!

11 Things I Wish I Could Say To My Younger Self

Be Proud

 

Weightlifting Girls Say The Darndest Things…

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For those weightlifting ladies…A video from Catalyst Athletics highlighting all the awesome things weightlifting girls say…

My personal favorite line “you probably would have made that if you had a pink shirt on…

Shit Weightlifting Girls Say…

Have you ever eaten Pomegranate Seeds? 

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pomPomegranate seeds are antioxidant rich, and have shown to aid in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. One pomegranate contains approximately 50 percent of your daily vitamin C, as well as pantothenic acid (B5), which may help with muscle cramping and prevent insulin resistance.

I find them to be very refreshing but not in the same way a grape is. They are less sweet than a grape, akin to a cranberry but not as tart in my opinion.

Looking for a new twist on a Thanksgiving side meal?  Try making a Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce

How to Deseed a Pomegranate

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Obesity: What Can You Do

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I’ve shared a few interesting links the past few days about health and nutrition in case you missed them…

A few posts ago, I shared how the fact that people are getting fatter and sicker became crystal clear after my recent trip to Disney. Seeing the reality of how fat people are outside of my microcosm is still on my mind.

“People are fatter and sicker than ever before.

Obesity rates have tripled since 1980 and have increased particularly fast in children.

The reason why this has happened is still debated among scientists, but it must be due to changes in the environment because our genes don’t change this quickly.” 

I ask myself regularly “what can be done?” There is no one solution that will fix the issue, there are things we can all do on the regular to take control of our own health and wellness.

Fatter-People-Slimmer-Gadgets

Take a Sensible Approach to What You Eat

I personally have experienced how eating a “Paleo” diet does work but I do not believe that it’s a one size fits all solution.  It doesn’t work for everyone – although there is sound research behind the idea that if you eat real, natural, fresh food, the less processed or handled the better, you will see clear health benefits.

Does that mean you should never, ever, ever eat say Pizza? No. Life should be about having fun and enjoying a great meal or treat. Does that mean you should eat it all the time or huge portions? No.  Use common sense. I am not a hard fast follower of the Paleo diet –and in the past few years, even less so. I do know that I feel better when I stop eating crap. My digestive system, my sleep, my skin, my mood and more– improve when I focus on the quality of food and not the quantity.

But I do enjoy ice cream, pizza and caramel and think that a weekly indulgence is important too. Be sensible and aware of what you eat and how it makes you feel.

Exercise

Its Never Too Late To Start Over Find something you like to do and do it – regularly. If that means walking, then walk. You like Zumba? Dance your ass off. Just MOVE YOUR BODY. 2015 is around the corner, but why wait to make a change in your life.  Do 100 squats, 100 push ups, and 100 sit ups every day. Whatever – I am not a fitness snob. The key is to find something you like to do and do it. Don’t pick an exercise you hate. Guess what will happen? You will stop doing it before too long. If you like working out in a group setting, find one. Don’t set yourself up to fail and start slow. You don’t feel like you can keep up in a class? Then don’t. Go at your pace.

The other day in my boxing class, I noticed one new lady was struggling to figure out the combos and getting frustrated. At the end, I just went over as a fellow boxer and reminded her that the point is to keep moving, so if she couldn’t keep up with the combos, just punch. She will get it eventually. You don’t have to be better than anyone else next to you – do the best you can. And be open to trying new things. Who knows you may find you like it.

Think and Focus on Moving Forward

No one is perfect. We have off days and slip and slide all over the place. The important point to remember is it’s NEVER too late to get back on track. And don’t let fear hold you back.

 

Education: Doing Right By Our Kids

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I’m going to stray from my usual theme, so be forewarned…

Education - Live Fit and SoreEarlier this week, I read a short article by Walter E. Williams, a professor of economics at George Mason University, regarding educational fraud.  As many of you know, I spent seven years at K12, an online education company that offers an alternative to students who, for many different reasons, are not able to thrive in a traditional school setting.

While there are issues with the way online educational companies are being run, the issues they are trying to address are very real. And the long term effects of not addressing the needs of today’s students has serious ramifications to their future. 

Professor Williams’s thoughts, which I agree with, really hit a nerve. We are not doing right by our kids.

“Focusing solely on the academic problems of blacks at the college level misses the point. It is virtually impossible to repair 12 years of rotten primary and secondary education in the space of four or five years of college … That’s evidence that primary and secondary education deficiencies have not been repaired during undergraduate years.

The academic achievement level for white students is nothing to write home about. Only 25 percent of white high-school graduates taking the 2011 ACT met its benchmarks for college readiness in all subjects for which it tests.  

The high academic failure rate among blacks means one of two things. Either black students cannot learn or primary and secondary schools, parental choices, black student attitudes, and cultural values regarding education are not conducive to what young blacks need for academic excellence. Colleges admitting underperforming black students conceal, foster and perpetuate the educational damages done to these youngsters in their earlier education.

Speaking of primary and secondary education, my county is now being forced to consider having parents pay for busing their kids to their local schools because of the drastic budget cuts being proposed. The belts are too tight as it is. Trying to squeeze blood from a turnip is going to do nothing to begin to rectify to the educational damage we have already caused our kids.

Take Care Of Your Teeth: It’s Important

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Dental HygieneI spent the good part of this morning in a dentist chair getting drilled, polished and thoroughly entertained. Entertained you ask? Yes – I found a new dentist who is quite friendly and funny and also has the coolest most updated dental technology I have ever seen.

I have been lax in getting my butt to the dentist the past year and as I am reflecting upon how fast the year has gone by, I knew it was time to start addressing my long to do list of medical appointments that I have put off.

A friend recently said that he likens visiting the dentist to bringing your car in for service. You know once they lift the hood or in my case, once I open my mouth, it’s going to be expensive!

I have a few silver fillings which are starting to deteriorate, so those needed to be replaced.  And I have a cracked tooth which needed a crown on it pronto.  So that was what I was dealing with this morning – good times.

Did you know that poor oral hygiene is a contributor to many systematic diseases?

“There is strong connection between oral diseases and NCDs, namely, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Studies have linked periodontal disease, which is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums, with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Patients with diabetes who have periodontal disease have two chronic conditions, each of which may affect the other. The treatment of periodontal disease contributes positively to blood glucose control. Oral cancer is among the world’s most common cancers and tobacco use and excessive alcohol intake are the two major risk factors associated with the life threatening disease.”

Do dirty teeth cause Alzheimers and other disease?

“A study carried out at the University of Central Lancashire suggests that dirty teeth could be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.  A study of brain samples from deceased patients with dementia showed an unusually high level of porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacteria commonly associated with gum disease.”

So, while we are all so busy whitening our teeth and making sure they enhance our beauty, there are more important reasons to ensure you take care of your teeth!

Obesity at Disney: A Snapshot of Our World

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It was changeconfront6 years ago, during my last trip to Disney,  I started to get my ass in gear and began taking care of myself. Having just gotten back a few days ago from my family’s latest trip there, it became clear to me how many people in the world need to do the same.

Before I go off on a rant about my observations, I want to preface it with the following: Everyone, no matter who they are, what size they are, where they come from, how much money they make, deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.

It seemed to me that something like 80% of the visitors to Disney were overweight. Every park, every hotel; There was an exorbitant amount of seriously obese people everywhere I went. And 9 out of 10 people who were using scooters, were obese.

I guess I live somewhat of a sheltered life in that my social circles – it’s not the norm. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of people who could stand to lose some weight and/or get moving but that’s not what I am talking about. The shock was how many out of control obese people were there.  Before someone points out that it’s an economic thing – these were people visiting Disney! It’s not exactly the definition of affordable.

There are a few things that upset me about seeing this microcosm of our world:

  1. For a majority of the morbidly obese, something in their lives is out of control. It’s not about the food, it’s about what’s going on in their head. To see how many people are so out of control in their lives was shocking.
  2. I understand that everyone has a story and you can’t tell what’s going on in someone else’s world by looking, but it appeared that many of them seem resigned to accept their circumstances. They are obese, it is what it is and they ‘live’ with it. They eat the processed, crap, junk food as if that’s how you should eat.
  3. To add on to my second point above, renting scooters instead of walking isn’t going to help anyone’s situation. I pointed out to my daughter that the average human skeleton isn’t designed to carry a ton of extra weight. It’s hard on the knees, feet – joints in general so I understand the reasons for renting a scooter but there were so many of them in the parks during my visit. So many of the obese people I saw were also in scooters.
  4. They are passing bad habits on to their children. Obviously, being at Disney, there are a ton of parents. It was clear that children are growing up learning their parents’ bad habits. Many of the obese adults I saw had children who were also dealing with their own obesity issues.
  5. While everyone is free to live the way they want, it’s a fact that obesity costs everyone. “The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are a staggering $190.2 billion or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States. Childhood obesity alone is responsible for $14 billion in direct medical costs.”  PhitAmerica compiled 10 Flabbergasting Costs of America’s Obesity Epidemic that really highlights how obesity isn’t just a personal issue.

While I am totally for splurging while on vacation and Disney is a great place to do that – it is possible to eat healthy there…

The resort we stayed at Port Orleans: French Quarter had a fridge that had containers of fresh fruit and veggies available during all hours in their restaurant. I also noticed that each ‘quick snack’ store also had some options available. Also, if you have any special dietary needs, you simply ask for the Chef. The Chef will come out to discuss your needs and try his/her best to accommodate what you need. We tested it each and every morning with my son’s gluten allergy. I also brought some single serve Justin’s Almond Butter with me so I could dip fresh apples or celery in it for a quick, healthy breakfast or snack during the trip.

So, what’s my point? It was shock to me to see how many people are so out of control in their lives that they let themselves go to that extent. It was shocking, sad and made me angry too. We all have to take personal responsibility for who we are in this world.

Is the obesity epidemic caused by lack of education? is it because of economics?  Is it generational? Yes, yes and yes but does that make it right? No.

We need to participate in the discussion and come up with innovative, strong ways to address it – together.

Disney Vacation: The Great Experiences

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Live Fit and Sore - Family Disney Vacation 2014I’m back from my vacation spent at the Happiest Place on Earth. I wonder if anyone really thinks that’s true?

For my first post back, here are some great things about the six days I spent there:

  1. Family Time: Life at home is so busy that it’s hard to find dedicated time to spend as a family.
  2. One on One Time With The Kids: Was able to spend alone time with both of my kids. I get to see different aspects of their personalities when they don’t have to hang out with one another. I get to really know them as individuals.
  3. Witnessing My Kids Mature: My son has always been hesitant to try roller coasters. After a few false starts (Space Mountain), he finally mustered enough courage to try one (Big Thunder Mountain) during the trip and discovered it was fun. I was thankful that I was able to witness seeing him gain the confidence to give it a try and then realize it wasn’t as bad as he thought.

My daughter became smitten with a young boy on one of our bus rides back to our hotel. During the ride, she started to get mad at her dad when he was telling her something because she felt that it was embarrassing her in front of him. He didn’t have a clue until I looked at the boy and then looked at her – the light bulb finally went off and he got it.

  1. The Magic of Family: Time and time again, I was able to catch moments of love between families. Brothers laughing and hugging on our bus ride back to the hotel, parents kissing their little baby, a Mom putting her arm around her teen son as they waited for a bus to arrive, a Grandma guiding her toddler grandson to the restroom. Family reunions, friends, newlyweds – they were all represented during our trip.
  2. The Adrenaline Rush: Riding rollercoasters and other attractions definitely kicks up your adrenaline stores which is a good thing.
  3. The Weather: For most of the trip, it was sunny with a nice breeze. One day it was chilly but nothing some gloves and a hat couldn’t fix.
  4. The Magic of Disney: Witnessing young kids discovering the joy and wonderment of the Disney experience never gets old. They believe in what they are seeing and it shows on their faces –whether it’s excitement or a little bit of fear; they believe.
  5. Witnessing Exceptional Customer Service: Disney has the art of treating people like they matter down to a science. It definitely makes a difference.

10369104_10152473889038741_4518229548575490169_n Live Fit and Sore - Family Disney Vacation 2014

Live Fit and Sore - Family Disney Vacation 2014

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