It should go without saying, but it’s more important than ever to look for ways to help each other out in our own neighborhoods and globally. Look for ways to lift each other up when possible -even if its simply a kind word and approach things with the best intentions. And, sometimes we need to remind ourselves that most people in our lives try to act with the best intentions even if they annoy us. And above all — BE KIND. Kindness Matters always.
Health Benefits of Kindness
Did you know there is scientific research that proves being kind and generous is actually good for your health? When you do something that makes you feel good, your body makes Oxytocin, which then releases nitric oxide which dilates your blood vessels and reduces your blood pressure!
Research has also shown a link between being kind and your body releasing dopamine, which helps with your mood and aids in giving you a sense of euphoria and eases anxiety.
Here’s some good info on Why Being Kind is Good for your Health to drive the point home even more…
On a related note, I do not share much related to religion here, however, this was a story and a lesson about kindness and support that should resonate with us all, especially now as we are seeing an increase in hate crimes and mean spirited politics…
“Let me tell you the secret of Judaism. When you warm other people’s hearts, you remain warm yourself. When you seek to support, encourage and inspire others; then you discover support, encouragement and inspiration in your own life as well. That, my friends, is “Judaism 101”.”
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Where have I been? What’s been going on? I wish I could share some exciting details or news, but the truth is I have been lacking inspiration and motivation the past few weeks. Maybe it’s the election results, or the change of seasons- whatever it is, it’s been affecting me big time.
Now that the holiday season is here, most of us will be out socializing a lot more than usual. I get invited to a ton of Holiday Parties and Happy Hours in December and if I’m not careful, I start to slip back into old eating habits. I’m sure I’m not alone. Last week, during one of my Body By Wayne training sessions, I was bitching about how hard the workout was (something I do regularly). I asked Wayne why it’s so hard to stay lean and healthy. How come there isn’t a pill I can take to keep this way? I workout all the damn time –hard workouts, that challenge me in many different ways, but yet each time I go, it’s a mental and physical challenge once again. It’s not freakin’ fair, but the truth is — Fitness is rented. You have to pay that rent each and every day. And if it’s important to you, then you will do it.
What keeps me motivated to stay fit?
Here’s some insight into how I think…
- I have seen far too many older people become immobile and unable to take care of their most basic needs without help. For some, it wasn’t something under their control, but for the vast majority – if they moved their bodies and paid a bit more attention to their overall health when they were younger, they wouldn’t be that way. When I start to lament about having to workout, I remember this.
- When Scotty was sick with colon cancer, we spent every other Tues at Georgetown Hospital getting his chemo. I saw and met a lot of very sick people. Exercising is one of the best ways to prevent many cancers — and it’s an hour of of my day. One friggin hour! And if you can’t do a full workout – then just go for a walk. MOVE YOUR BODY. I remember our time getting Scotty well and the people I met.
- I live in the suburbs and I am seeing more and more, people my age ignoring their health. We are at the cusp of “no, we aren’t old” and “no, we aren’t young” and so many of take little time to take care of ourselves. We know how important it is – but tend to get wrapped up in everything else. I remind myself how important it is to take time for myself to take care of myself. Not only for my own well-being, but as a good role model for my kids.
After thinking about those three important things, how can I really not go and workout? Those aren’t trivial reasons and I have no real excuse to skip. Not to mention that I love the feeling I have after a good workout and the great people I have met through my fitness journey. Hopefully, the insight I shared will help motivate you to stop waiting and begin…
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I’ve been meaning to share a find I recently made: the spice Sumac. My friend Mastaneh had us over for dinner a few months back and we had seriously, the most delicious grilled chicken kabobs. They were flavored with Sumac. I had never heard of it — but apparently it’s a commonly used spice in the Middle East.
From my research, The sumac bush, native to the Middle East, produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into coarse powder. The spice was long used in Europe to add tartness to many dishes until the Romans introduced lemons to the area. While it’s less common, the berries may also be sold whole. Ground sumac is a versatile spice with a tangy lemony flavor, although more balanced and less tart than lemon juice. A small sprinkle also adds a beautiful pop of color to any dish.
It also has antioxidant health benefits and is an anti-inflammatory. I was able to find it at Whole Foods, but like almost anything – it can be found online via Amazon too!
I sauteed chicken thighs, onions and garlic and add Sumac to the chicken as they are cooking. It’s so so good even my kids like it. And the leftovers even keep their flavor which is a bonus. Here are some ideas for using Sumac when you are cooking!
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I went to two get-togethers last weekend — I had so much fun. I was told quite a few times how in shape I looked. It was a much needed affirmation that the hard work I’ve put in has been working. I’ve found, at least for women- we need visual proof before we really believe that we lost weight or toned up. Well – the pic on the right gave me the visual proof that I needed to see my results. (and that’s my friend Tank with me!) And, make no mistake — it’s been tough. Varied training 5-6 times a week and watching what I eat. Could I be even more careful with what I am eating? Yes – but I need balance, so it will have to do for now. I’m not training for the Olympics or anything. It’s important to keep your perspective in check.
I also was reminded that I need to make sure to spend more time with friends. I get so focused and busy with work, kids and ‘life’, that I tend to brush off plans friends try to make with me. I know it’s shocking but I think I am an extroverted introvert when it comes down to it. I really do love being around people but it drains me –so I also love spending time alone so I can recharge. And Napping – napping is my favorite. But I felt so happy and loved being around friends. So, I’ve made a commitment to step outside of my comfort zone and accept more invites to hang out with friends. It’s so easy to decline –so I’m not going to go the easy route. It’s a lot less fun.
And of course Halloween was yesterday! Here are my kids’ costumes. Each year, HB makes her own and this year was the best yet. She was a pineapple!! And I’m sure you can guess what Nate Dogg was…
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I am not super religious but take this day (Yom Kippur) to take stock of things and see where I can improve, and think about situations where I could have been kinder, could have helped more, could have been more understanding. Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement,” and it’s a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year. Some Jews fast and/or refrain from using technology. So, as a way to atone for my sins, I hit up an afternoon class at Solidcore. I struggle through each minute of the class and am generally uncomfortable, so I thought it wasn’t an inappropriate way to acknowledge Yom Kippur.
One of the moves we do during the class hammers the hamstrings. Not many people realize that tight hamstrings cause a lot of people’s lower back issues. And I have super tight hamstrings, so every time we do something that focuses on them – my back starts to feel uncomfortable. You know how to prevent that though? Specific stretching for the hamstrings!
Here are some great hamstring strengthening exercise resources:
- The 7 Best Mobility Exercises You Haven’t Tried Yet
- San Francisco CrossFit Hamstring stretch: Hold for 10 seconds, generate peak tension for 5 seconds, then move into a new range! Spend 5-10 minutes doing this stretch every day and you will see an improvement. I have seen it happen!
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This weekend I took a trip to NYC. A huge part of my mini-vacation was eating. Pizza, Pizza, Pizza, Cannolis, and Drinking. I swear I gained back a ton of weight just over the weekend. And then I got to thinking about how hard it is to maintain a healthy weight even though I workout hard regularly.
I, like so many of you, grew up thinking if you work out enough you can compensate for eating a ton of crap food. I have since found out that’s not necessarily completely true. It doesn’t tell even half the story of how it all works. If it was, I would be stick thin with how much I work out. And as I have shared here, I struggle each and every day to focus and make the right choices to fuel my body.
So, I decided to Google the topic and found this really good post by Authority Nutrition: Why “Calories in, Calories Out” Doesn’t Tell The Whole Story by Kris Gunnars. Gunnars really breaks it down in a way us layman peeps can understand. Here are a few of the standout points he makes:
- The food we choose to eat on the regular is just as important as how many calories we actual eat.
Depending on the food, the metabolic and hormonal impact varies depending on the person. So it’s a lot more complicated than just thinking a calorie is a calorie.
- Weight gain can change your physiology. That change can make you crave more, which in turn means increased caloric intake.
If your body has more weight to support, your body may crave more to keep the train running. So the idea that increasing caloric intake drives weight gain, but the gaining of fat actually is driving the need for increased calories.
This whole notion of calories in = calories out incorrectly simplifies a very complex topic and can set up so many of us to fail. We have these unrealistic and unattainable expectations. There are so many influences involved in maintaining a healthy body. Knowing about them can help us make the right choices to live our healthiest life!
I had no idea when I mentioned how my boxing place was closed for a death in their family, that would mean that they would close permanently but I got the notice a week or so ago that indeed they are closing their doors. I’m pretty bummed about it but can you imagine in the course of a few weeks the life shock that family has gone through? My heart breaks for them as they figure out how to adjust to their new life. With that said, I have to figure out another cardio/strength option now that there are no close by boxing places for me to move on to….
And change must be in the air because it looks like my long term contract that I had is probably coming to an end early December. It’s been a great experience, and my original boss was awesome. She taught me so much, was fun to work with and had perspective about the work we were doing. But, she left this past spring and as usual, with new management and changing of the guard – they want to bring in their own people. So, come end of the Fall, I will be looking for more consulting work. I’m not going to lean into the fear though. I have sent out some emails — and have some meetings already set up. And, I keep repeating to myself —what’s the worst that can happen? to help keep the fear at bay and get perspective.
Don’t Get Stuck in a Fear Loop
In this article about using fear to your advantage, they suggest reminding yourself that most of your fears are irrational, that you will get through the situation that is making you uncomfortable, and most times getting through it will make you stronger. A while ago, I shared some info about Tony Blauer’s fearloop, and how you need to be aware of how it works so you don’t get stuck in it and become paralyzed by fear.
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With each new season or yearly benchmark (back to school), I tend to take stock of things in my life. You know, breathe and see where I’m at.I’m in a really great place. Things are humming along quite nicely, but there is always room for change and growth…
Career wise – one thing I want to really focus on and work towards, is finding work that has real meaning and makes a difference. My new found relationship with St. Jude has confirmed to me that making a difference in people’s lives is the type of work I want to do. I want to know I am making a difference in the world, even if it’s in a small way.
Personally – I want to record my life less and live my life more. The past few weeks I’ve been around people who seem to be connected at the hip to their devices. The past few weeks, I’ve been focused on experiencing what’s going on around me instead of focusing on recording it. The art of creating real relationships is dying. Talking to people without a device at dinner or during a meeting seems to be rare and quite frankly, I find it rude.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a social media and marketing consultant after all. A big part of my job is being online, engaging and sharing information so I’m not going on a fast or anything. I am just going to be more conscious of using my device and not just automatically go for it.
Health and Fitness – My boxing instructor, Alex, took some pics of me boxing this past weekend. I have been feeling like I haven’t seen any actual physical differences since I lost some weight and added in more focused weight training. These pics tell a different story for sure. I’m so glad he took them! I see a big difference which means the varied training I have been doing combined with being more conscious of what I am eating is working. It’s sad there is no special pill we can take to get in shape — but there isn’t so we all need to focus and put in the work.
My advice to those in the same boat – force your friend/spouse/kids to take your picture even if you don’t want them to. Seeing is believing when it comes to weight loss. Remember, we don’t always see things the way they are!
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Summers are hard on working parents. Now that my kids are older, it’s hard to find camps to occupy their days and it’s even harder to figure out how to get them to the camps that are available. So many of them are only half day – and I am left wondering how am I supposed to work and get my kids to and from camp during the day? I am lucky at least right now in that I have quite a bit of flexibility with my current work situation and can handle what needs to be done but there are days when I feel less than adequate. Like today:
HB is trying out for volleyball and I forget to get her forms handled completely. I made an assumption that she could use a different form and it would be ok –and last night in a mad scramble we realized it was not going to work, so I had to rush to the Medi-Clinic at Target to get her a sports physical. Thank goodness it worked out but it was another reminder that this parenting deal is hard. Then Nate had a dr appointment that we had to rush to — and then I had to get HB to the actual try outs. I’m not sure how this would all workout if I was not an independent consultant and able to work odd hours of the day. It wears me out physically and mentally and I actually have it pretty darn good overall. I can’t imagine being a single parent trying to keep up with all of the parenting demands. It’s been a very trying week or so…
Fitness/Health Progress Update
I’m down another pound – so total loss is 13#s and even more body fat, although I’m not sure how much. I’ve been told by quite a few people that there is a noticeable difference in my arms and shoulders. They look leaner and strong! It’s been hard to keep focusing on eating right all the time, but I have been doing pretty good. Before I would say I was 90% true to eating clean. Now, I would say 75-80% true to it. It all comes down to planning and focus. I’ve been feeling stressed out and crunched for time – two saboteurs of progress. But -I will get there.
Beauty and Wellness
I don’t spend a ton of time on the blog talking about beauty products, but I do think looking your best is a huge part of living well. For the ladies, as we age – we should make sure we keep up with the latest skin care products, treatments and techniques. I’m lucky that HB, who is 14, is heavily interested in fashion and makeup because she helps me stay current. There are a ton of really great beauty products out there that do amazing things that weren’t available when I was in my 20’s or even 30’s. I’m not talking about contouring and thick costume-y make up either. I’m sure on some people those styles work, but for most of us – Just NO! Can you imagine walking into work with blue lips and a fully contoured face? I can’t and unless you work in a business that is all about that –you shouldn’t either. So, I was recently sent some Kat Von D Lock It products via a program called Influenster Vox. I had never used her products before — and they aren’t cheap but I have to tell you, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the concealer. It is lightweight, covers what it’s supposed to, and lasts. That along with the Lock it setting powder — I am sold. If you are looking for a high quality concealer – head over to your local Sephora and try it.
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I have some exciting news to share. Yesterday evening I invited to be a special guest for a St. Jude Blogger Tour – an exciting and educational three-day experience in Memphis, Tennessee this coming August where I will visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, tour the facilities and witness first-hand the holistic care doctors, researchers and staff provide to their patients.
I am beyond honored and speechless to be offered an opportunity like this which includes learning more about how St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. They are also generously covering my expenses for the trip! I have confirmed my availability and am waiting for additional information about this three day event.
I have been blogging regularly for over 8 years now, focusing on health, wellness and family inspired by my husband’s experience with colon cancer. I started blogging to keep people in our lives up to date on Scotty’s progress and treatment and during that time I found a passion for living healthy and fit. Live Fit and Sore was born out of that original blog and I haven’t looked back. I share the info and experiences to help others find support and motivation to make changes in their own lives, but more importantly, to keep myself focused on health and wellness. It’s a passion of mine and it has introduced me to the most amazing people and has brought me opportunities that I could not have even imagined.
I have no idea what to expect but I have always respected the St Jude’s Organization and am so beyond touched to be invited. I will share the details of my trip when they are confirmed.
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