Monthly Archives: January 2013

Take 5

Young Woman Sleeping on Lawn Chair

We spend so much of our time doing. We are busy from sun up until sun down. We are plugged in, connected, and constantly busy. Today, I would like to talk about something we sometimes fail to do, but it’s very important for our well-being; rest.

Rest is so important. We can think that running full steam ahead is a great idea, however our bodies will suffer if we don’t rest. Here’s some info on rest.

Rest helps keep our hormones in balance. The hormone grenalin which controls hunger is disrupted when we do not get adequate sleep. When we are sleep deprived, we are often hungrier. Grenalin  stimulates our desire for fatty food and high calorie density food. Lack of sleep also disrupts the hormone leptin. “Leptin signals the brain that the body has had enough to eat, producing a feeling of satiety. Moreover, this fullness hormone may make it easier for people to resist the temptation of foods high in calories.1″

Rest helps us to build muscle. Despite what we may believe, working out every day at high intensity is not the best. Here’s some information from Livestrong. “Overworking your muscles actually prevents muscle growth, because your muscles do not have time to adjust to the strain put on them. By doing tough muscle-building exercises with adequate rest, you will see gains in muscle strength and bulk in a few weeks,” Read more:

Even if you are not working out to build muscle, overworking our bodies is not beneficial for our health. Rest is important for a healthy body.


Rest improves mental and emotional health. If you have ever suffered from insomnia, which I have, you know that your mental health suffers when you are exhausted. You can’t think clearly. Everything seems to be especially hard and taxing. You may suffer from anxiety, a bad case of the grumpies, lack of concentration, etc…Sleep and rest (ceasing from continual activity) helps the mind to function the way it is supposed to.

Rest helps your body combat stress. Stress is not our friend. You can go back and read earlier posts about what stress does to the human body. Prolonged stress causes hormonal imbalances, weakens the immune system, can cause gastrointestinal problems, relational problems, hair loss, etc…We want to rest so our bodies can rebound from excess stress.

Rest helps us to remain at center, at peace. I am a person of faith. I believe peace is powerful. Rest helps us to remain at peace. When we are constantly moving, doing,etc…our spirits suffer. I often lack peace when I am ceasing to rest. You may not be a person of faith, so hang with me if you aren’t. My goal on this site isn’t to push my beliefs on you. I do believe in God and that rest is a spiritual discipline. A Sabbath is needed to benefit not only the body, mind, and emotions, but our spirits as well.

Well, my dear friends. I hope that you find time in the midst of busy lives and strenuous workout schedules to rest. Make rest a priority! Keep up the good work, I am cheering for you!

1. Baicy K, London ED, Monterosso J, Wong ML, Delibasi T, Sharma A, Licinio J (November 2007). “Leptin replacement alters brain response to food cues in genetically leptin-deficient adults”. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 104 (46): 18276–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.0706481104. PMC 2084333. PMID 17986612.

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Simply Supplements

Pills Pouring out of Bottle

There are so many pills on the market. They are marketed to us to fix all our health problems. Are supplements good or bad? I will say there are some that are bad for us. I am not a fan of most diet pills. Especially those loaded with stimulants. I believe the best way to help the body is through whole foods. Supplements are not a cure. They are not to be used to replace proper nutrition. Our food contains most of the nutrition we need. If you have not seen Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, it’s a great documentary on how whole foods help to heal the human body.

Before taking any supplements, talk to your doctor. Do not just run out and take whatever is on the shelf or on this list. Many supplements can cause adverse side effects and interfere with prescription medications. I am not a physician nor am I here to give medical advice.

Here are some you may have heard of:


Acai is a berry found naturally in South America. If you ever get the chance to go to Brazil, you will find acai in fruit smoothies, drinks, in many places. Eating the fruit and drinking the juice are the most beneficial. Acai berries may be a good source of antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats. People have claimed acai is a miracle superfood. Before you spend copious amounts of money on buying supplements, do some research. The best sources are natural sources.


Conjugated linoleic acids naturally occur in meats and dairy products. They are also found in safflower oil. CLA has received lots of good press for its ability to aid in the reduction of abdominal fat/body fat and increase in muscle tissue. CLA has been reported to reduce cancer risks, help with heart health, and much more. Should you run out and by some? I tried it and found it helpful with reducing body fat. However, once I stopped taking it, I gained fat back. My recommendation is to buy 100% safflower oil and use it in replacement of vegetable oil. It’s great for making salad dressing, to bake with, cook with, etc…I no longer take the supplement and use the oil. Safflower oil is high in fat, yet it’s a good fat.


Creatine is a compound synthesized (made) in the body and transported to muscle tissues where it fuels short bouts of intense energy production. To meet the demands of a high-intensity exercise, such as sprinting or power sports, muscles generate energy from chemical reactions involving adenosine triphosphate (ATP), phosphocreatine (PCr), adenosine diphosphate (ADP), and creatine. Stored PCr can fuel the first 4-5 seconds of a high intensity effort, but after that, another source of energy is needed. Source


Garlic promotes the well-being of the heart and immune systems with antioxidant properties and helps maintain healthy blood circulation. One of garlic’s most potent health benefits includes the ability to enhance the body’s immune cell activity.

The active component in garlic is the sulfur compound called allicin. Allicin is the chemical produced when garlic is chopped, chewed, or bruised. Allicin is quite powerful as an antibiotic and a potent agent that helps the body to inhibit the ability of germs to grow and reproduce. Source


Biotin is a coenzyme and a B vitamin, also known as vitamin H. As a supplement, biotin is sometimes used for diabetes, brittle nails, and other conditions (WebMD). It’s been used to deal with brittle nails, skin problems, hair growth, and much more. Biotin naturally occurs in food. here is some information from WebMD.

Biotin occurs naturally in many foods. Wheat germ, whole-grain cereals, whole wheat bread, eggs, dairy products, nuts, Swiss chard, salmon, and chicken are all sources of biotin. The biotin in food is usually attached to protein and has relatively poor absorption. Source


Many body builders take glutamine.

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (building block of protein) in the body. The body can make enough glutamine for its regular needs, but extreme stress (the kind you would experience after very heavy exercise or an injury), your body may need more glutamine than it can make. Most glutamine is stored in muscles followed by the lungs, where much of the glutamine is made.

Glutamine is important for removing excess ammonia (a common waste product in the body). It also helps your immune system function and appears to be needed for normal brain function and digestion. Source:


Some people pop pills instead of eating healthy. I am not against vitamins. I take multivitamins. However, many of the over the counter vitamins are not fully absorbed to provide maximum benefits. There are so many on the market and it’s best to do some research and find vitamins that dissolve easily within the body.


There are several forms of protein supplements; whey protein, soy protein, pea protein, and other vegetable proteins. Some people cannot tolerate whey protein and therefore choose vegetable protein. Protein is important for building lean muscle. Protein also keeps us full longer. Protein helps us to ward off cravings. We need to use caution when adhering to a high protein diet. High protein diets can lead to dehydration, and kidney problems. You can read more online if you search for high protein diets online. Also read the labels on your protein. Some contain additives, and preservatives that are not good for you.

Lastly, I will say it’s best to get nutrients from whole foods. If you choose to use supplements, talk to your doctor. Make sure if you are taking any prescriptions some supplements will cause adverse side effects. Supplements are not a quick fix nor a replacement for a healthy diet.


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Reboot! Keeping those Resolutions

Hello fitness friends,

It seems every year people make New Year’s Resolutions. For some they are connected to wellness. Some vow to work out more, eat healthy, and take better care of themselves. However, the more we move away from January 1rst, the more we move away from those resolutions. Here are some easy ways to stay on track.

1. Put those goals in writing! Post them where you can see them. There is something that happens when we put our goals in writing and in a place where we can see them. It’s a reminder.

2. Tell someone else your goals so they can hold you accountable. I have a subscription to an online fitness community. Seven (7) ladies connect to hold each other accountable.

3. Recall why you started! Most people make resolutions because there’s something in their life they need or want to change.

4. Imagine yourself succeeding. Where the mind goes, the body follows. Imagine yourself reaching your goals, being a champion.

5. Find a buddy. It’s easier to workout with someone or in a class. It’s more motivating.

6. Don’t buy junk food and keep healthy snacks in your office. If it’s not at home, you can’t eat it. If you have an alternative, you have a back up plan. I eat apples and peanut butter instead of cookies my office supplies.

7. Celebrate success. Once you reach a milestone, celebrate it. I have a system where if I stick to workouts (4-6 a week)for say 6 weeks, at the end I can purchase something I want. Or you can put a dollar in a jar for every workout. At the end treat yourself!

8. Make it fun! No one likes to be forced to do something. Find ways to make healthy living fun. Starting this blog was fun for me. To share what I’ve learned and am learning.

9. Remember it’s easier to keep going than to stop, and then start over. Any progress is better than no progress.

10. Lastly, motivate yourself! Other people can only do so much. It’s your life, your health, and your future you’re working to make better.

I believe in you! You can do it!!! There’s a champion in you. So, don’t settle for a less than an amazing life.

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It’s a Journey


Hello dear fitness friends. I hope you are staying on the course to a healthier life. As I look back at when I began this journey there were some things that I thought might be helpful for you. At least I hope so.

I have always struggled with my weight. I have never been obese, but as a mesomorph when I gain weight I am heavier on the scale than most. I might wear 3 or 4 sizes less than someone else and pull a big number on the scale. I tried everything I knew to lose weight.

Pills beware….

I tried the popular diet pills. I don’t recommend going that route. Here’s why. When you take pills to speed up your metabolism or trap fat, etc… you are cheating the system. Your body has a perfectly fine metabolism (unless you have a metabolic disorder), it needs the proper amounts of water, sleep, nutrients, and  stress management to run properly. Your metabolism is simply the action of hormones within your body. Once you stop taking the supplements to speed up your metabolism, you will gain weight. If you are not building muscle and eating properly, the pills are just hurting you in the long run. I have a relative who sabotaged her body with yo-yo dieting and supplements. She had to work extra without the pills to get the weight off. So my mantra is, “Eat Clean. Work Hard.”  There are some supplements that are good for you I can write about later. I am specifically speaking to the, “Take this pill and be thin by Monday.” Many of them are overloaded with stimulants and cause water weight loss.

I’ve found the secret to my weight loss as follows:

1. Drink more water. People who drink 8 or more glasses of water have a faster metabolism than those who drink 4 or less. Flush those toxins out.

2. Eat healthy. There’s no bypassing this one. Eat garbage, feel like garbage. Eat unhealthy, gain loads of weight. Load up on fruits, vegetables, and whole foods. Ditch the processed food, fast food, and added sugar. Eat 5-6 small meals and don’t skip meals.

3. Exercise and challenge your body. Resistance train.

People want a quick fix. It’s a journey not a destination. We don’t arrive at a certain point and stop. We have to keep going and pursuing wellness as a lifestyle.

Work it OUT!

If you’re a busy person, 1 hour of exercise is 4% of your day. I can ditch watching TV or even blogging to workout. You can get a good workout in 20-30 minutes.

Make yourself a priority.

My family taught us to put others first, to share, give more than you take. Great teaching, especially when it’s coupled with balance. A drowning person can’t save another drowning person. We cannot give everything away and expect to survive. We have to take care of ourselves. The goal of life isn’t selfishness, it’s also not self-neglect. You matter. Make taking care of yourself a priority. I had to. I was stressed, unhealthy, unmotivated, and miserable. I woke up one day and said, “This isn’t living, this is existing.” So give, but also take care of you. You can’t be all things to all people.

Keep up the good work friends! I believe in YOU! You can do it.


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Measuring Progress


Hello fitness friends! I hope you are having a great start to the new year. I wanted to post a quick note about measuring progress. There are so many people who are defeated because the scale is not budging. I don’t know about the men out there but the women I know are very concerned about their wieght. I must weigh _______ in order to meet my goal.

The scale is a tool, but not the best indicator of overall health and fitness. Here’s why.

The scale tells you how much you weigh. It does not tell you how much of your weight is body fat, your heart health, endurance, flexibility….You can also lose muscle and water during dieting which is not good. We want to keep muscle and lose fat.

I know people who are skinny fat. They are light on the scale and have absolutely no muscle tone. They couldn’t run a mile if you paid them. They have poor eating habits and high cholesterol. I also know some lightweights who carry most of their weight in their abdomen which is very unhealthy.

We want to lose fat, have healthy cholesterol levels, have physical endurance and strength, and flexibility. These factors will increase our likelihood of living a long and healthy life.

Measuring Your Progress in practical ways.

1. Measure your waistline. Abdominal fat (visceral fat) is a good indicator of our health. A waistline over 40 for a man and 35 for a woman is considered unhealthy and dangerous., ~WebMD. It puts a person at risk for heart disease, type II diabetes, reproductive issues, and many other health issues.

2. Have body fat measured. If you belong to a gym, they most likely have this service. Reduction in body fat is so beneficial. There are some tools online but they will as accurate.


3. Have your cholesterol & blood pressure checked by your doctor. Have a physical. It’s important that we ulitilize physicians when working towards a healthy lifestyle.

4. Endurance and Flexibility. Do you feel easily winded when walking or running and you don’t have upper respiratory problems like asthma? Do you have trouble stretching, bending, etc…These are things to check with your doctor or trainer about.

Lastly, what we see in the mirror can be deceiving. We could look good on the outside and be unhealthy on the inside. I hope this year we measure our progress not only by what see, but by our factors as well. Keep up the good work. You can do this!


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Happy New Year!


Hello friends. Happy New Year! Since it’s the first day of 2013 (well at least for my part of the world), I wanted to recap some of the highlights from the year. Hopefully, they will motivate you to keep up the good work throughout the year.

Nutrition Tips:

Diet is crucial. Garbage in=garbage out. If you don’t eat quality food, your body won’t perform well. Most people fail in the diet area and expect good results on the scale. Not going to happen. I read somewhere it’s 70% diet, 30% exercise. I used to eat a rather unhealthy diet and work out like machine. My results were minimal.

Whole Foods. Eat whole foods. What are whole foods? Fruits, vegetables, unprocessed foods. Check back to early posts on healing foods. I recommend checking labels. Some foods say whole food and they contain tons of preservatives, additives, sugar, and salt.

Sugar and excess salt are not your friend. The melting of my belly fat came from giving up added sugar. I tried many other things and giving up sugar was the only thing that was effective. See post on fat loss.

Fitness Tips:

Drink Water! A dehydrated body is like a car running without gasoline. It’s imperative to stay hydrated if you want to be healthy and lose weight. Water helps flush the toxins from your body.

Hit the Weights/Resistance Train. Cardio alone,unless you are working your entire body, is not enough to change the shape of your body. Muscle also burns more calories than fat. I used to avoid the weights thinking I would look bulky. The opposite occurred. Resistance training is good for our bones and to change the shape of our bodies.

Train hard-get better results. I used to think walking or the elliptical was enough. I am not against those activities if you cannot do other exercises. However, I have seen the best results from challenging my body (no abusing it).

Be consistent (work out regularly) and change it up. Our bodies are smart. They adapt to what we are doing. Sporadic workouts mean minimal results. Doing the same things over and over leads to diminished results. Every 6 weeks switch it up. Once your body adapts to a routine it becomes more efficient at using less energy or burning fewer calories doing the same things.

Emotional/Mental/Spiritual Health:

Stress hurts your health. I found out some of my bodies resistance to losing weight was due to excessive amounts of stress. Find your stress triggers and figure out ways to adapt.

My Tips for Reducing Stress

1. Start the day positive. I start the day with prayer. If you’re not a person of faith, try to find a positive way to start the day.

2. Workout instead of eating when you’ve had a stressful day.

3. Try to plan ahead. One of my greatest stressors was misplacing things. Now I make time to plan, put things away, etc…

4. Limit time with people who stress you out, if you can.

5. Find positive people and spend time with them. Everyone needs cheerleaders. The world has given us enough critics. If you surround yourself with people who don’t love, respect, or treat you with dignity, you will be stressed out!

6. Give up trying to change things you can’t or expecting people to be someone they are not. I’ve found rude people are everywhere. I can let them stress me out, or I can say, “You’re unhappy and I refuse to let you make me unhappy.”

7. Be your own cheerleader, celebrate successes.

8. Ditch perfectionism. You’re human which means you will not be perfect. Embrace being human. Accept yourself with flaws and all. The goal is to become a better person, not a perfect person.

9. Take time to relax. I’m a pretty busy person. I work full-time, write for three blogs, and I am working on my second book. I have to take time to do nothing.

10. Limit what you allow in your mind. Just like with food. Garbage in=garbage out. I limit time with people who gossip, never have anything positive to say, or are critical or negative. Where the mind goes, the body follows.

11. Give and help others. There’s something great that happens when our lives aren’t just about us. What we do for ourselves, dies with us. What we do for others and the world, remains after we are gone.

Well, that’s all for today! I hope this motivates you to keep going. You can do it. I believe in you! I am excited for another year to Carpe Diem. Hope you are too.


Categories: Emotional Health, Fitness, Mental Health, Nutrition, Spiritual Health | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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