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Showing posts from 2016

7 things the world's happiest people do

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Want to be happier each and every day?   Follow the lead of the world's happiest people and do these seven things every day: Wake up and say ARG!   That stands for anticipation , recollection and gratitude .  Spend a few minutes anticipating something positive, then think about a really wonderful memory, and finally take a few moments to list what you are grateful for.  This will jumpstart your day and get you on the happy track for the rest of the day. Savor something every day .  It could be your morning coffee, the warmth of your child's hug, or the beauty of the sunrise. Sweat and release endorphins .  Exercise produces feel-good chemicals and boosts your happiness. Do a good deed for someone .  People who are willing and eager to help others feel happier.  Just doing a 5-minute good deed each day will boost your happiness significantly.  It could be opening the door for an elderly person, writing a good review of a product you love, or telling the manager of

Say Yes to Peace By Saying NO

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I am not very good at saying NO.  As a recovering people pleaser, it's in my nature to say yes to everything.  Then, I get super stressed, grumpy and resentful.  Saying NO is something I want to do more of so I can have a more peaceful life.  Since I am not an expert on this by any means, I did some research on how to say no so you can say yes to the life you want. Yes or No?  Tips to help you decide: 1.  Before accepting invitations, ask yourself if going will make you happy and if you really have time .  A week before Christmas I got a last-minute invitation to a party.  I decided to say no so I could finish shopping and mailing out Christmas cards.  It felt good to say no politely.  If I went I would have been frazzled and worried about everything I still had to do. 2.  Don't worry about hurting someone's feelings .  Choose what is most important to you.  I recently cancelled my son's behavior therapy appointment because there is going to be a big processi

Motivational Quote of the Day

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Motivational Quote of the Day

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Motivational Quote of the Day

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Why loving myself might be the best gift I can give my daughter

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We were standing in the bathroom, preparing to brush her teeth when my four-year-old. Mary, dazzled me with her wisdom.  She was talking about the koala baby she adores and who has been her constant companion since she opened her on Christmas morning. (Thanks Aunt Kim and Uncle Akash).   "Know why I take good care of my baby?" she asked.  "Because I love her SO much!"  Simple, to the point, and said with such conviction.  (She then went on to ask how she could give her a bath.  I am still mulling over that as there is a battery compartment that is permanently attached to koala baby.) I stood there for a few minutes thinking about my daughter's love lesson.  It didn't take long to see that it applies to all kinds of love   In fact, the theory was proven correct as I wrote this blog post.  My 7-year-old son, William, came running up to me saying his neck hurt.  I dropped everything to get him some children's Advil and a heating pad.  We take care of t

What my soul is really hungry for

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    My feelings get all tangled up in my food.  When I feel joy, I want to eat.  When I feel sad, I want the comfort of food.  When I get embarrassed and feel ashamed, food is what I turn to.  When I have made it through a long, stressful day and want a reward, food is there. But it doesn't satisfy because what I really was hungry for was peace and quiet and maybe a romantic comedy. I have made progress in my quest to make peace with food.   But there are moments and nights (especially nights) when I fall off the wagon and I eat and eat and eat.  And then I don't feel good about myself and my stomach doesn't feel good either.  And I wonder where did I lose my passion to eat healthy and to nurture myself?  How did I lose the connection of who I am and what I believe?   There are ways that I do keep the connection.  Let me count them. Wear a bracelet I got from Amazon.  It has the word NURTURE on it and I hunted for an hour online just to find it.  When I wear

Super Foods for Strong Bones

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You might say I have calcium on the brain right now.  I talked with my 70-year-old aunt the other day and found out she has osteoporosis.  This is a surprise to me because she has done yoga for 40 years, many of those as an instructor.  I thought for sure the yoga would protect her from osteoporosis.  She also has eaten really healthy for most of her life.  She describes herself as an almost vegetarian, and says she eats fish sometimes. My aunt told me that calcium supplements don't work because they end up being deposited in your arteries as plaque and lead to heart disease.  I hadn't heard about this and I looked it up.  It turns out that a Harvard cardiologist, Dr.Richard Lee, who is the co-editor of The Harvard Health Letter, says it is best to try to get most of your calcium from foods, if possible, because he says that it hasn't been proven that calcium supplements are safe. The Harvard Health Letter says that some of the concern comes because of a "Ge

Positive thinking boosts health

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Dr. Oz recently coauthored an article about the power of positive thinking to improve health.  A study published in 2013 demonstrated that heart disease patients in a Danish hospital who had positive mental outlooks were 58 percent more likely to live five years than those who had negative outlooks.  An interesting fact was that the patients with positive outlooks also exercised.  It is unclear whether they were happier because they exercised (as exercise increases serotonin) or if their optimism made them more likely to exercise.  What is clear is that exercise and positive thinking are vital for a healthy life. Ways to cultivate positive thinking Write down five things you are grateful for every day Look for the good in every situation.  Ask yourself what you can learn from difficulties or big challenges and think about how strong you are becoming by going through tough times. Write thank you notes.  Set aside 30 minutes to do this every week.  Studies show that over time

Easy Whole Chicken in Slow Cooker

This easy, breezy recipe is so simple, and it resulted in juicy, moist chicken and had great flavor!  I am going to try to make this once a week.  It really makes life easier to use the slow cooker.  I got the recipe from LaaLoosh, a cooking website.  Make sure your slow cooker is big enough.  I used a 5 and a half pound chicken and it fit nicely in my 7 quart oval-shaped slow cooker.  I have read that oval-shaped slow cookers are best for cooking whole chickens. Ingredients 1 whole roasting chicken (about 6 pounds), cleaned and giblets removed 2 lemons, sliced 1 large onion, cut into wedges 3 sprigs fresh rosemary 2 tsp ground sage 1 tsp garlic powder 2 tbsp light butter Salt and pepper to taste Instructions Preheat oven broiler. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken cavity with salt and pepper. Then place half of the lemons slices, half of the onion wedges and 2 sprigs of the rosemary inside. Place chicken inside a small roasting pan. Spread butter evenly all over ch

What's on my playlist?

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When life gets crazy and hectic, it's easy to let the stress and the chaos cloud your vision.  When you're in the fight or flight response, you can't think or see clearly, and your health goals can get lost.  I am learning that having a good playlist of motivational songs helps keep me focused on my health goals, especially during the crazy, stressful times. On really bad days I hit play again and again, and my stress levels go down, I feel encouraged and I get instantly connected to what I really want--to lead a healthy, balanced life,  to nourish my body and mind, and to boost my energy. And when I can see what I really want, I am more likely to make choices that support those goals, such as eating healthy and making time to exercise.  And I am less likely to skip my workout or eat the whole bag of chips. Here are my favorite songs that are keeping me motivated on my journey.  Feel free to add any of these to your playlist if they fit you, or come up with others th

Avocado and Yogurt Dip

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This has become my new favorite snack, and is a great dip for carrots, celery and cucumbers.  It is very easy to make and would be a healthy appetizer to bring to a Super Bowl party.  I got the recipe from Eating Well magazine.  Here's the recipe: Ingredients 1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt 1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves 1 tablespoon lime juice 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper Directions Place avocado, yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season with hot sauce, if desired.  It will last two days in the refrigerator if covered. Makes 8 servings.  Serving size = 2 tablespoons Nutrition information Per serving: 51 calories; 4 g fat ( 1 g sat, 2 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 1 g total sugars; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 87 mg sodium; 171 mg potassium.

Health Win: Strength Training

In the middle of my strength training workout, my 4-year-old daughter ran in and said "Mom, do you win?"  I was working out at home in front of my computer through this amazing online fitness place called bootcamphub.com . The coach on the screen was saying that we were almost at the finish line.  And to my daughter that meant winning a medal or something.  I thought about it and with strength training I really do win.  You can too.  Benefits include: Maintaining or building muscle mass.  Most women start losing muscle mass at around age 40. Improved posture Improved bone mineral density and help prevent osteoporosis More balanced hormone levels Another added benefit of the strength training I do is that cardio intervals are mixed in, which helps improve metabolism and boost the number of calories you burn during the workout and even at rest. The good news is that you can try a strength training workout for free by signing up for a 7-day trial at www.bootcamphub.c

What's in my shopping cart?

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Each time I go to the grocery store I make a conscious effort to put in some items that will help me have more energy and better health.  These are great finds for women in perimenopause. Here's what I bought today:  soothing foot lotion At the end of a long day, I am going to sit in my easy chair and reward myself with some of this wonderful foot lotion, while I watch a chick flick. This will be a great non-food reward and should help curb my emotional eating.  I have found that I eat for stress relief and to reward myself for making it through a tough day. Peppermint oil has been shown to calm the body and promote relaxation and stress relief, so I am confident it will work for me.   Sweet potatoes   Sweet potatoes have more beta-carotene than any other produce, including carrots.  This pigment gives vegetables their orange or yellow color, and when absorbed by the body, is converted to Vitamin A--a powerful antioxidant.  That's good

Lucky me, I get to do this ...

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Fill in the blank.  It doesn't really matter what word you fill in.  Today, my word was exercise.  I used to think of it as something I HAD to do, and then I didn't feel excited to do it.  But changing one word has made a powerful difference in my attitude.  I GET to exercise.  It is a gift to be healthy enough to do so.  I am not in a wheel chair.  I don't have a sprained ankle.  I don't have pneumonia.  I am not lying in a hospital bed.  It is a gift to be able to walk and move and sweat. This mental exercise would work just as well for non-exercise things.  When you are dreading writing that report for your boss, try saying I GET to do this report.  My mind is sharp and I have the intellect and the expertise to do so.  These are gifts.  Or, when you are doing non-preferred activities like laundry or dishes, you could remind yourself that it is a blessing to have children or a spouse or a family who gets the dishes or the clothes dirty in the first place.  This

I WILL Lose 30 pounds in 20 weeks

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Slimming down before you hit menopause is one of the best things you can do for your future self.  By getting to a healthy weight and staying there, you will cut your risk for breast cancer and heart disease.  And you will reduce hot flashes and have an easier, smoother menopause.  Not to mention, increasing your mood, energy and happiness.  Here is my goal: By Memorial Day, May 29, 2016 (20 weeks from now), I will lose 30 pounds and take off 20 inches.  Current weight is 171.6 pounds. I will check in with you all every four weeks and post another picture and my weight loss and inches lost stats.  Here's to a healthy 2016 for all of us!  This is our year!

Tribute to my wonderful family friend

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Yesterday the world lost a beautiful soul, my family friend Toni Boccardy.  She was a loving wife for 60 years, a devoted mother and grandmother, and a caring friend to many, many people.  I thank God that I was one of the people who she touched with her kindness and love.  As a child, I was blessed to live two doors down from Toni's mother Julia.  And being the devoted daughter that she was, Toni visited her often.  My family and I were invited over many times and enjoyed warm conversation, laughter and delicious Italian cooking.  After spending time with Toni, I always walked away feeling good inside.  She just had this incredible gift for making you feel like one of the family. When my sister and I went to the University of Florida for college, Toni welcomed us into her own home often.  She and her husband came to our wedding.  And when I became a mother and brought the kids home to see Grandma, we'd often stop in to see Toni at her Mom's old home.  She trea

Irritability and Perimenopause

The years before menopause can make you feel like you have PMS all the time, and you may find yourself snapping at your partner or your kids more and more.  That's because of the fluctuating hormone levels in your body.  However, there are things you can do to help balance your emotions and find some serenity and calm.  It's important during this transition to: Nurture your friendships and family relationships.  Having someone to talk to and vent can make a big difference in your emotional health.  Also, talking to a friend or family member who has gone through menopause can be a big source of comfort. Eat a healthy diet made up of real food (not packaged or processed) with lean proteins and lots of fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly, which is a great stress reducer and increases endorphins, which will improve your mood Find a relaxing activity to practice regularly, such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing or coloring Stay away from alcohol and tranquilizers Find

No Matter How Bad a Day, There is Always a Reset Button

I had big hopes for this day--the first day back to real life after the holidays.  I was going to sprint into the New Year fast and be healthy and inspiring and full of willpower.  The grocery store went fairly well, and I managed to put lots of healthy things in my cart--like avocados and hummus and Greek yogurt and even fresh beets.  My husband had put lots of items on the list too--since he is starting a diet today--his first serious attempt at healthy eating in years. It took longer than I liked to find all these items for both of us (especially since my four-year-old daughter kept throwing her shoes and Koala bear out of the cart) and begging for samples.  By the time I left the store I was feeling ravenous and stressed and frazzled. All I wanted to do when I got home was to curl up with a book and a blanket and a cup of soup.  Instead, I had to put all the food away and bring some of it to my husband's office (on our property), so he can have healthy food on hand while he i

Crank Up Your Energy in 2016

The years before menopause can zap your energy. In my last post, I listed perimenopause symptoms and "crashing fatigue" is one of the most common and debilitating of the entire list.  I used to walk around in a dazed state between 3 in the afternoon and 8pm every day and literally feel like I was sleep walking. In the past six months I have been on a quest for answers.  I did lots of Internet research, visited an acupuncture doctor who specializes in nutrition, and met with my OB-Gyn.  Here is what I found to be effective for increasing energy in perimenopausal women: Eat every three hours and include protein with each snack and meal.   This keeps your blood sugar up.  I was eating an apple alone every day in the car as I drove to pick up my kids from school and couldn't figure out why I was almost falling asleep as I drove back and forth.  My blood sugar was dipping too low because I ate sugar without protein. Exercise for 30 minutes five or six days a week.