Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Self reflection is a powerful tool to creating a healthy, happy life. Some personalities find this exercise easier than others, but all will get something from it. Steve Gutzler, a leadership and performance coach that I met on Twitter, encouraged me to take a self-inventory while I was on vacation and had some time to reflect. He called it a Code of Honor. It should be 10-12 promises you make and keep for yourself. Ones that describe personal promises, values or important feelings on family, and health. Here is my list:
Paulaís Code of Honor:
1. Respect yourself and others
2. Treat your body like an expensive car; give consistent maintenance and use quality ingredients and products
3. Maintain a zeal for learning
4. Have laughter in your life
5. Find, cultivate and empower your passions in life
6. Maintain relationships that raise your spirits
7. Learn from past mistakes. Forgive, but never forget
8. Help others when you are able either through donations or your time
9. Parenting is a gift
10. Give back to your community
11. Cultivate your creativity
12. Cooking & eating should be an Ďexperienceí worthy of a feeling of being special
13. Exercise and stay active for all of your life
The key to the success of this inventory is the time spent, your belief in your answers as to their honest reflection of who you are, and whether you can keep them in your mind, heart and soul. I highly recommend this exercise as a reflection but it also energizes your direction and path taken.
What are the 10-12 you can make and keep for yourself that can create more meaning and purpose in your life?
Also read: Getting Healthy Is Easier With A Little Help From Your Friends
Sunday, April 07, 2013
Are you too old for fitness? NO! There are measurable health benefits that come from a consistent exercise program at any age.
The first step in beginning a program at any age is to evaluate your goals and abilities. Make sure these goals are realistic and have possible attainability. I can sit here and say I want to be an Olympic downhill skier as my goal but 1. I donít ski and 2. my hips and knees would not tolerate the torquing and stress of downhill snow skiing. I believe that this unrealistic goal setting forces is why so many people fail in their quests for New Yearís Resolutions Donít create goals you can achieve in 3 weeks but keep them possible with hard work.
Now that youíve set your reasonable fitness goals, the next step is to confirm that you are in safe-health before you begin. If you are taking medications for heart issues, cancer or other health issues that has you in regular contact with your doctor, get their approval before beginning. If you have their blessing then you can begin.
Many people feel support from group classes or walking with friends helps to keep them accountable. At this stage of our discussion, your age is irrelevant. Activity is the goal. What that activity includes will depend on your age, ability, health and goals. Whatís most important is that you are making a choice. You are choosing to make the effort to enhance your mood, flexibility, strength, balance, muscle tone, bone density and best healthy opportunities by making a commitment.
What keeps you from starting right now? Get paper. Make a plan. You will welcome the increase in energy and spirit that accompanies your choice.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Garlic is synonymous with certain styles of cooking, but to me, itís also part of the welcoming of spring. An Easter Brunch with deviled eggs, roast beef, and garlic asparagus spears are a sign that the flowers will bloom. I can shed the sweaters and coats and breathe the warm spring air.
Garlic with its assertive, sweet flavor is loaded with cholesterol lowering components. It can prevent blood clots and is beneficial for fighting high blood pressure by breaking down compounds that trigger blood vessels to release hydrogen sulfide. Studies have shown that in regions where garlic is eaten most providently, prostate cancer incidences are lower. It may be the sulfur compounds that help reduce tumor growth and prevent cancer cells from spreading. ďFresh cutting garlic cloves breaks its cell and releases stored enzymes that react with oxygen. That triggers healthy sulfide compounds, such as allicin, to form, ďaccording to EatingWell.com. When you allow the fresh-cut garlic to stand for 10-15 minutes before cooking, it allows those compounds to fully develop before the heating process from cooking inactivates the enzymes.
Garlic is so versatile that all the ideas of how to cook with it are too numerous to list here. If serving to guest, be aware that some people have digestive reactions to garlic, so check with your guests in advance if itís a concern.
(photo: @2008 Clay Irving, Flickr)
Friday, March 22, 2013
Carbohydrates have been labeled by certain diet gurus as fat boosting little demons. Reality needs to be separated from the hype. The reality is carbohydrates provide an energy source because they are filled with fiber, minerals and vitamins. But they need to be a certain kind of carb; complex carbs, not simple like white bread, white rice and white flour
When choosing from a bowl of pretzels or a bowl of quinoa, the healthy carb is easy to distinguish. Barbara Rolls, Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, describes a good carbohydrate as the one with a lower calorie density. Translated that means fewer calories per bite. Dr. Rolls explains that carbohydrates make up 50%-65% of the average personís diet. The optimum percentage would be 45% to 65% as long as that percentage includes fruits and vegetables which many people donít understand can be carbohydrates. Some examples would be mangos, grapes, dried fruits, corn and potatoes.
Diets that limit or eliminate carbohydrates give the dieter an opportunity to drop weight faster due to the general nature of carbs being higher in calories. The difficulty lies for many in being able to stick with such a limiting plan. The other concern is when you try to go back to a mainstream eating lifestyle, if you donít learn about healthy eating Ďlifestyleí changes, youíll hit some roadblocks. This means educating yourself of the trade-offs between calories vs. nutrients, healthy cooking processes and proper portion sizes.
Carbs keep the brain and red blood cells and immune system functioning well. If you can include three ounces of brown rice or farro to roasted vegetables and 3 ounces of lean protein, this is a wise use of calories to include nutrients in your diet.
(photo credit: photo @2012 epSos.de, Flickr)
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Walking can reduce your risk of heart disease, improves blood sugar and blood pressure, strengthens bones, helps with weight loss, keeps your brain sharp and helps relieve stress. The key to success in all of those areas is to keep the work effort strong, focused and steady. You can do this by:
1.Use a pedometer. Consumer Reports on Health states that a study in the Annals of Family Medicine showed that older adults who wore a step-counting device as part of a recommended exercise program ended up walking 50 minutes a week over a year compared to 28 minutes in a group that didnít use a pedometer.
2.Utilize a phone app that helps gauge your distance. Make it into a contest with yourself.
3.Use music as a motivator. Keeping up to pace with a song, takes your mind off the effort being made, and boosts your mood.
4.Use hand-weights, or a weighted vest to boost your calorie burn. This should only be used after you have built up your endurance, and if you have health issues, your doctor should approve their use.
5.Try to create a walking group in your neighborhood or office community. Studies have found that working out with others can boost your attendance and work effort.
6.Try to walk outside in the fresh air. If the weather in your area cooperates, fresh air can encourage deeper breathing with is always healthier for your body and your work effort.
7.Try to integrate hills. Hills provide a higher calorie burn, but should be added when you have a strong base strength. Hills can provide strong calf and hamstring growth as well (you may be sore when you start).
8.Add sprints. After you have a strong base endurance, work in sprints to kick up your cardio-burn. Studies have shown that short sprints, with short breaks between lead to a longer metabolic burn after the exercise is done. You reduce the total time of exercise when doing sprints. Donít do them day after day or weeks in a row. Sprinkle them in your program to stoke your effort.
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