It’s been quite a ride the past week or so for me… With the Jonas blizzard and a bunch of other crap going on, I am finding it hard to breathe. I am feeling anxious and restless. I know it’s due to stress, but man it’s hard to deal with. My to do list is getting longer and I am starting to feel like I can’t keep up. And I have asked for help, but sometimes getting help means more work for me.
I am trying to remain calm and remember to take each day as it comes — but man, I would like a break from ‘adulting’ please. When I start to feel this way, I also remember it’s February. Right around this time every year I find myself in a funk. Lack of sunshine, Seasonal Affective Disorder, stinks! I have to start using my Light Therapy Lamp again so I can ensure I get enough Vitamin D.
Speaking of Vitamin D, a friend of mine recently asked me if I knew anything about Vitamin D. I didn’t really know, so I did some research. Here’s what I found…
According to this blog: DO YOU NEED TO TAKE VITAMIN D?
Skin type affects how much sun you need. Generally speaking, paler skin types tend to produce more Vitamin D and darker skin types tend to produce less. A fair skinned person might only need 10 minutes of exposure around noon while someone that is darker could need up to 2 hours of exposure .”
The climate you live in will likely determine whether or not you can get enough Vitamin D through sun exposure alone
Just taking a Vitamin D supplement won’t always fix the problem. Vitamin D and calcium exist in balance. More Vitamin D is produced when calcium is low to increase absorption, and through a negative feedback loop, the body suppresses Vitamin D production when calcium levels are high.
So, you need to get your Vitamin D levels checked to see if you really need to supplement, however I tell everyone to go get a sun lamp if you live in an area where the amount of sunlight varies depending on the season. I feel better after using it consistently and it’s not just in my head.
It’s January, which means we are all being bombarded with lots of articles about how to get healthier, more fit, which diet works best etc… Keep in mind that new research suggests that there is no one diet approach that fits all. A few months ago, Science Daily published ‘Healthy’ foods differ by individual that highlighted that we all metabolize food differently and a personalized approach is what will work best long term for anyone looking to improve their overall health and wellness. I’m sure that most people don’t need research to prove that -we have seen it personally.
“Ever wonder why that diet didn’t work? A new study tracking the blood sugar levels of 800 people over a week suggests that even if we all ate the same meal, how it’s metabolized would differ from one person to another. The findings demonstrate the power of personalized nutrition in helping people identify which foods can help or hinder their health goals.”
I see it each and every day – I have a ton of friends who eat like crap but don’t gain a pound and it seems that I can’t eat a cookie without putting on a pound. It is what it is -and in order for me to maintain a certain level of health and wellness, I need to be very mindful of what I eat. It sucks but it is what it is. You can’t change genetics.
Related articles about the same study:
- This diet study upends everything we thought we knew about ‘healthy’ food
- Foods May Affect Each Person’s Blood Sugar Differently, Study Suggests
Now, let’s be clear though, this study doesn’t mean you can eat all the crap you want if your body metabolizes it quickly and be uber healthy. Eating processed, high in sugar foods are not good for anyone no matter who you are, so a solid foundation of whole, natural foods is still key for long term health and wellness. You can’t be at your best if you eat crap food. You may be one of those ‘lucky ones’ who doesn’t gain weight when you eat crap, but you won’t healthy and at peak performance where it counts.
- Science Compared Every Diet, and the Winner Is Real Food: Researchers asked if one diet could be crowned best in terms of health outcomes. If diet is a set of rigid principles, the answer is a decisive no. In terms of broader guidelines, it’s a decisive yes.
I still have David Bowie on my mind – It was clear that he was born to be an artist and it showed in everything he did. What an amazing talent the world has lost…
We decided to adopt a puppy. We have been thinking about it for a while – and the kids are at an age where they can help at least a little with him. So, without further ado – Meet StormTrooper aka Trooper. He’s a 5 month old White German Shepherd and full of energy. He calms down nicely though and seems to be scared of everything around him which is a bit of a bummer. I am hoping it’s the new surroundings and he needs time to warm up. Almost everyone that has seen him, has shared that German Shepherds were their favorite dog growing up, and they make good family dogs. I’m going to enroll him in training in January which should help. He’s super smart and already sits and fetches – and we are training him to sit and wait at feeding time. We figured with the kids out of school for a few weeks, it would be a good time to get used to him being a part of the family. It will be interesting to see how he’s going to be next week when we all go back to our regularly scheduled routine and he will be alone for a block of time during the day.
Post Holiday Reset
Let’s talk about the holidays shall we? I have been out of control eating. I consciously know that I shouldn’t be shoving 80 bazillion cookies in my body, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The past few days I have been getting back on track though – becoming more mindful of what I am choosing and my plan is to start eating according to the Whole 30 approach in January.
The Whole30 program is a good option for those looking for a way to do a healthy reset or discover what food sensitivities you may have. For those interested in learning more about it, here are some great Whole30-related resources, compliments of Melissa Joulwan, author of the Well Fed book series, including 4 weeks of food plans, no recipe required meal ideas, motivational tips, and more.
One of the great things about doing the 30 day program is you can break your sugar habit if you follow the program religiously. It’s not easy, but craving sugar is one of the biggest issues for most people. Once you break that, which makes the first 10 or so days of this program the most challenging, you will begin to feel completely amazing. Your skin, your hair will look healthier. You will sleep better, wake up feeling better. Food will taste better. The list of benefits goes on and on.
In the coming year, I am going to spend more time working on my flexibility and mobility. I can feel the tightness in my shoulders and neck and have been having issues with my lower back. Nothing serious but I am smart enough to know it’s only takes an off balance move or a quick jerk and I could be feeling more than tightness. I started rolling out my shoulders and back with a Lacrosse ball after my boxing sessions. I have been introducing some friends to the painful joy of myofascial release after my sessions to. It’s amazing to me how many people don’t realize how important and effective it can be. I know many people use a foam roller, but I have found that using a Lacrosse Ball gives you a deeper roll out which is what my tired, tight muscles need.
- The Best Tool for a Deeper Self-Massage
- Hurts So Good: A Beginner’s Guide Self-Myofascial/Trigger Point Release
I really didn’t want to get up and workout this morning. I had such a hard time falling asleep last night and when I did, it was after 1AM and I was restless. I am normally a solid sleeper so not sure why it was so tough. When the alarm blared at 5:00AM I hit snooze – thankfully my internal dialogue started fighting the battle against the ‘sleep monster’ who wanted me to stay in bed. It sounds corny but I name that pull to stay in bed ‘the sleep monster’. The pull seems to have such a strong personality and the ability to talk people out of working out it deserves a name.
When I first started working out and needed to get used to a super early wake up time, I found that having everything ready to go the night before was key in making it easier. I also purposely refused to talk to myself when the alarm went off. That’s when the internal dialogue starts to convince you to go back to sleep. So – I found that being almost like a robot –alarm goes off, get up without even thinking and go get ready. No questions, no excuses, no chance to find a reason. And like a skill, it takes work but the more you practice – the easier it gets. I am proof of that – I got my butt up this AM, even though I didn’t want to and it would have been easy to hit snooze. I know I was going to feel better physically and mentally when my workout was done and guess what? I did!
The point is if you want to reach your health and wellness goals, you have to work at it – each and every day-even if you are in shape. There is no way around it – with the type of lives most of us live, the less than stellar choices available tend to be much more convenient which makes focus key.
- Doctor’s Orders: Prescribe Exercise To Patients, Make Physical Activity A Vital Sign
- Talks to help you manage stress: Sometimes life can feel like a bit of a mess, but these talks are here to help you de-stress.
I’ve been struggling with my food choices the past few weeks and it has reminded me that when you eat like shit, you feel like shit. I’ve been so locked up in my head – not feeling my best – and it has translated to purposely not acknowledging what I am putting in my mouth. I am dealing with cystic acne on my face. I am a lot more fatigued and lose stamina during my workouts and not to mention the slow bloat (weight gain) I am seeing.
We have also gotten in the habit of ordering take out many times a week. Eating out all the time makes it hard to really know what you are eating and how it is made. With both Scott and I working, and with the kids’ schedule – we have been opting for convenience rather than health.
Last week, I started getting back on track. I started paying attention again to what I am eating which is half the battle, and making conscious decisions. I also made plans to make dinner at least four times this week at home. I think it can only help the entire family in the end. Planning and preparation is really key to making it work. It’s not a new concept – there is no magic bullet and it seems to get harder as you get older.
I have a sweet tooth (SUGAR ADDICTION) and I crave it — when I eat some, I want more and more. I am starting to consider doing a sugar detox – it’s a big commitment and I want to go all in if I decide to do it. Maybe something for me to jump into in January…
- THE TRUTH ABOUT CARBOHYDRATE ADDICTION (AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT)
- How Sugar Hijacks Your Brain And Makes You Addicted
- Fallen off the Weight Loss Wagon? 9 Tips to Get You Back on Track
- Diet, CrossFit & Running: What Really Changed My Body + Win a VISA Gift Card
Let’s all start the week with a laugh compliments of Saturday Night Live and Will Ferrell. This is a brilliant sketch full of wonderfully, subtle shots at the 2016 Republican candidates. Some of the things they are talking about downright frightening….
Here we are in December, weeks away from the New Year and the beginning of winter. Colder weather, darker days, a lot of stress for some trying to survive the holiday season.
For me, it can be the perfect recipe for losing motivation and momentum – if you let it. I used to think that this time of year and into early January, when all the gyms are full and people start creating New Year’s resolutions, was the time for renewed inspiration. I find myself starting to feel the pull of the warm bed in the early morning and find myself staring at the clock during some of my workouts wondering how much longer I have until it’s done.
It’s a good thing to recognize because as someone who loves working out – the feeling of a good sweat and the feeling of strength that comes with a great workout. There’s nothing like it, I can’t imagine drifting away from this lifestyle – but it becomes more chore-like if I don’t continue to challenge myself by trying new things or switching things up.
So – for those who are active on the regular and reliably focused on leading a healthy lifestyle – I challenge you to switch things up in the upcoming year. If you find something you love already – great – keep it up but also try a few new things to spice things up. Try a new class – ZUMBA anyone?? Try weight lifting, try Barre. Get outside of your comfort zone — your body and mind will actually benefit from it!
- How Often You Should Switch Up Your Workout to Keep Losing Weight
- When, Why, How & How Often Should You Change Your Workout Routine
Star Wars Kraft Macaroni & Cheese “Can’t Play”
My entire family went and saw the new James Bond pic, Spectre over the weekend. I will be the first one to admit that the entire Bond genre does not embrace the idea of positive female role models. It doesn’t scream feminism by any stretch of the word. However, like anything, it is fantasy fiction and for me, I am able to get lost in the mindless action without being offended. I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the Bond Girls was actually a Bond Woman who was sexy, hot and desirable. Monica Belucci, who at age 51, became the oldest Bond Girl in the history of the series with her role in Spectre. She’s a gorgeous woman regardless of her age, but the fact that Bond romanced her was a different twist we had not seen before.
Daniel Craig who plays Bond is in his late 40s and no one bats an eye when his character romances 20/30 year olds. It became very clear to me over the weekend that it’s a pervasive cultural feeling, even in the younger generation. During the Monica and Daniel love scene, my 11 year old son leans over to me and says “she’s old, Mom.” That comment stopped. me. in. my. tracks. Here’s my son, whose mother has a career, is independent, strong, and liberal, felt the need to not only notice, but remark about the age of the female during the scene. It didn’t even occur to him that Daniel and Monica are pretty close in age and their romantic exchange is a more likely occurrence in real life.
We talked about it the next day – I mentioned that I was surprised by his remark and wondered why he didn’t mention how old Daniel Craig looked. He shrugged and said, well everyone knows he was old. He added that he thought she was beautiful but she was old.
My son didn’t make the remark with bad intentions. I think he was remarking about something that struck him as different because he rarely sees an older sexy woman being romanced in the media.
And maybe, if it becomes more and more common it won’t need to be something to comment on…
I found out a former co-worker of mine took his life two weeks ago. I can’t get him out of mind. While I didn’t know him all that well, he appeared to be a happy, successful man and showed no signs of what was to come. I have come to find out that he was having marital and family problems that must have weighed heavily on his mind. Still, nothing is bad enough to end it all. I can’t even imagine getting to that point where you no longer want to exist. I have been sad, and down – who hasn’t, but never have I considered ending my life to solve it.
I can only imagine the pain he must have been in and the despair he was feeling. I hope he has found peace now and my thoughts are with his wife, kids and family as they try to understand what happened and learn to live a new normal..
This month is National Suicide Prevention Month and to remember my former co-worker, Amrik, here is some information and resources:
When it comes to suicide prevention, EveryDay Matters. In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day and Suicide Prevention Month, we thank those that work in a community and take action every day.
- The Trevor Project: 1.866.488.7386
a 24-hour free and confidential crisis and suicide prevention helpline specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or questioning youth.
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
I think this whole appropriate attire issue is getting out of control. My daughter is now constantly questioning what she can and can’t wear as she gets ready for school- instead of worrying about learning. Pencil skirts are NOT ok because it outlines the butt, and skirts have to be a certain length, leggings can’t be worn without a long shirt…. the list goes on and on. It’s getting out of control – It’s now a distraction to her and me. Are we really at a point where young men can’t control their thoughts and actions if a classmate is wearing yoga pants? If that’s the case – it’s bigger issue than just the clothing being ‘suggestive’.
And it doesn’t stop there — rules that ban innocuous super heroes because they are categorized as violent super heroes… School Reportedly Bans Girl’s ‘Wonder Woman’ Lunchbox
We are creating an environment with too much padding and expecting it to stop what ails the world. It’s not yoga pants and Wonder Woman lunch boxes that’s the problem. It’s this pervasive culture of putting the responsibility on the female to keep it all in check as opposed to teaching both boys and girls how to treat one another with mutual respect.
And it’s happening in schools all over the country — bare shoulders are against the rules in some schools. How the heck is a shoulder distracting to someone??
Even this summer, HB attended an amazing camp but the rules stated the girls had to wear one piece suits or wear a shirt over their bikini –but the boys were able to wear just their swim trunks. When I went to pick up my daughter, it was one of the first things she told me about — and asked how come the boys didn’t have these sorts of rules?
It’s a good question –
I have had a series of recent light bulb experiences that have thrown me for a loop and served me a helping of reality…
Ack! My Parents Are Getting Old
I have 4 brothers and sisters and we have a half sister that is quite a bit younger. My Dad has been married to her mother since I was 6 – so a very long time. Since the early 90’s, my dad and step mother have lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Their health is failing and they have had serious financial setbacks for a myriad of reasons that I won’t go into. The bottom line is they can’t afford to stay in the Phoenix area and none of the family lives nearby. So, they decided to move to Ohio to be closer to their daughter, my half sister and they arrived there last week.
Seeing pictures of them during their drive out to Ohio shocked me. You know how you have this vision of your parents? Well, my vision didn’t match what I saw and it was a jolting reminder that time marches on and my parents are aging. Scott and I are very lucky to have both sets of parents still around – but health problems are starting to creep up and the unstoppable hands of time are spinning.
Seeing them look so frail, was a great reminder to me why taking care of my health and wellness while I am young is important. Exercise, eating healthy and maintaining a positive attitude towards any situation will go far as you age. Trust me on that one! Seeing the differences in how my parents are aging based on their life outlook and how they have taken care of themselves has been very educational for me. It’s night and day.
Oh No! I’m Feeling My Age
Britt’s wedding this past weekend was beyond lovely. Not sure if I have mentioned, but Britt is a bit younger than me – and hence, the wedding crowd was young. It was one of those experiences where I felt old. Not old enough to be a granny or anything, but old in the sense that I really didn’t want to ‘hang’ out. It’s not a bad thing — the wedding guests were nice but I don’t enjoy drinking and getting shit faced and it takes me forever to recover!
On top of feeling old at the wedding, yesterday, my tween daughter sent me pics her friend took of her (included below). Talk about feeling my age – she looks so grown up. How the heck did my little baby become a young woman? And to boot, she is about an inch or less away from being taller than me. She just seems so grown up.
It’s inevitable-we age, grow up, become adults, get old and eventually we will pass. The reminders this past week have left me feeling somewhat blah and melancholy about things around me. I will get out of my funk but it was an abrupt wake up call…
Life is short.
Act with good intentions.
Say what you need to say to those you care most about.
Cherish the moments.
Laugh a lot.
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