Posted in Encouragement, Goals, Inspiration, Quarantine

Wellness Wednesday—

I was trying to craft some words for this post to go along with this picture, but I concluded that the words say it all.

I have three of these notes taped around my cubicle at work. Whichever direction I look in, these words are in my line of vision. They remind me to use my down time, specifically at work, wisely. Instead of chatting it up with coworkers or watching a series on Netflix when work is low, I should be preparing what I’m going to write in the evening on my manuscript or planning my social media marketing plan to promote my blog and my books, working on my online graduate course, reading a book, or updating my resume.

If you’re laid off due to CVOID-19, or at home with nothing to do because everything is closed, I encourage you to take heed to this words.

When you see these words, what comes to mind that should you be doing with your time? Tell me in the comments below.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Encouragement, Lifestyle

4 Things I Left Behind in 2019

It might be too late in January to say Happy New Year but it’s early enough in the year for me to share with you some things in my life that I left behind in 2019. Check them out…

My response to the question”Do you drink?” The answer to this question will always be yes. I will no longer fumble my words for an answer that says, “I drink, but not that often”, as though I need to explain that.

Trying to fit into old clothes that I’ve outgrown. I have a grown woman body that I damn proud of. I’m done with the obsessing over the number on the scale or my dress or pants size. I will continue to be fitness focused, limiting my sweet treats, and engaging in exercise that I enjoy as often as possible. Whatever clothing doesn’t fit my current size will be replaced with new clothes. That’s the whole purpose of all the inventory at retail stores!

Telling Men that I’m not interested in a relationship. It was eight months after my husband passed before the reality of being single really hit me. He was my friend, my lover, my husband for 10 years. I’ve been out of the single game for quite a while. So when started having conversations with men I was trying to be clear that, at this stage of my life, being widowed after 10 yrs, having a teenage son to raise, I wasn’t trying to jump into a relationship. What I didn’t know was those words were communicating to them that I just wanted to have sex with them. 😩 Noooooo. I’m interested in engaging in interesting conversation, taking in a movie, going to breakfast or dinner with a nice guy. IF our chemistry leads to sex, then it does. BUT, that’s not my first intentions. Interestingly, a male friend brought this distinction to my attention. Now I say, “I’m interested in dating that could lead to a long term, serious relationship.”

Spending time with men that I don’t thoroughly enjoy. Ever heard of rebound sex or relationships. Well I’m my life, I’ve had both! Married the man and had two children, who are the joy of my world. However, I learned my lesson. And, now, I’m this time of singleness and being a real grown woman of 44 years old, I’m not hanging out with any man that I don’t thoroughly enjoy. Enough said!

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Fitness, Health, Inspiration, Lifestyle, People

Wellness Wednesday: Marathon Anyone???

Who in the world would want to run a 26 mile race? Quite a few people, judging from all the participants on my FB timeline with #freepmarathon in their posts. This past weekend, my birthday weekend, was the annual Detroit Free Press Marathon event.

detroit marathon

The first time I saw this event with my own eyes was on my birthday about 5 or 6 years ago. My husband had gotten me room at the Holiday Inn to enjoy a quiet night of writing. On check out day is when I saw the crowd of people and learned what was going on.

It wasn’t that day that I considered participating. That day came when I came across women in my personal circle, people at or near my fitness level making the decision to do it and training for the big day. A few of them accomplished their goal this year!

My father participated in a marathon once.  He trained hard for it. As a little girl watching him jump rope in our backyard and complete his Saturday morning with an impressive backward jog down our street, I didn’t know that’s what he was preparing for. Matter of fact, I don’t even know when he actually did it. He wasn’t the kind of dad that shared stuff like that with his kids. What I do remember him telling me years later was that one time was all he needed. Just to say he did it.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to train that hard to do something only one time. Then again, I could never fathom running 26 miles. Interestingly,  I have since learned that the event consists of more than 26 mile race. There are events for everyone at all fitness levels: full marathon, marathon relay (a team of 2-4 complete designated sections of the race), 1/2 marathon, 5K, and a Family Fun Run. There’s even a race for people with disabilities.

Now that’s something I can put on my bucket-list. What about you? Do you want to run a marathon (or some other race event)? What’s your plan to make it happen?

You know…you must have a plan, right?

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Encouragement, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Women

My First Day of School

back to schoolAm I really doing this? I thought on the 5 minute drive from my job to the campus of Wayne State University. While I know students of all ages attend the multi- cultural institution located in the heart of Detroit, all I could see were the people who looked young enough to be my children.

Here I am, weeks away from my 42nd birthday, attending my first upper level undergraduate English course. But it’s been a long time in the making. Approximately 10 years.

For the last several years I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Wayne State University and Oakland University’s graduate English programs. And, if I’m honest, their Journalism and Communication programs, too. Indecisiveness played a big part as to why it’s taken me so long to make this move. But fear was the biggest obstacle.

Why do I want to do this? What benefit will I gain? Will my life improve? What am I going to do with it? Do I have time for this?

These questions and more had me like a mouse stuck on the spinning wheel. Like that piece of cheese the mouse is chasing, this desire has remained dangling in front of my eyes, within arms reach. It was just a matter of reaching for it and grabbing it.

At this stage of the game I’m not sure if I’m going to pursue another graduate degree. I already have one of those…an MBA. According to my aunt, Dr. Wilson, “In education, you keep moving forward.” I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a simmering desire to earn such a distinguished level of education.

Before I can seriously entertain a doctorate in English, I need to get some upper level English courses on my record and recommendations from recent academic sources, hence, my Intro to Rhetoric & Writing class this fall semester.

I can’t tell you how excited I am. An item crossed off my 2017 goals. We’re only on the second week of class and I’ve already plotted out classes for 2018.

When I was introduced to the character of Jalessa, the oldest student–a recently divorced, mother ( I think)–on campus from A Different World, it never crossed my mind that that could be me. In retrospect, that was clearly a major  purpose of her character, to show that although life circumstances can knock us of course, we can always make our way back.

Not a do over, I like to say, but a do now. There’s no time like today to pursue a dream.

What dream are you chasing? Share in the comments below. If you can read this post, there’s no time like now to take that first step.

Til Next Time,

L.A.

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Posted in Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday–Habits of Successfully Fit People

While compiling interesting articles for a monthly health and wellness newsletter I manage at work, I came across these 10 habits of successfully fit people. I immediately nodded my head in agreement upon reading number one because I knew this to be true. Year ago a friend from work was married to a fitness buff and I remember her rehashing his boring weekday meals–baked chicken, brown rice, and green beans. He splurged on the weekends but was faithful to his weekday meal. Ironically, another friend dating a similarly fit guy spoke of the same thing. Led me to quickly wonder why do I make this thing so hard.

Anyway, I’m glad to say that out of this list of 10, I’m good for more than 1/2! Read through it and let me know where you stand in the comments.

check list

 

1. They Tend to Stick to the Same “Daily Menu”

The majority of fit people say they eat virtually the same meals every day, mostly the same breakfast, same lunch, same dinner, and when it comes to snacks and beverages . . . well, you guessed it, very predictable food. To clarify, they did not suggest that they eat exactly the same entree for every meal, but they often chose from three, maybe four things that they like for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

There are three possible reasons behind this shared habit among fitness professionals, individuals who have succeeded at taking off 100-plus pounds and keeping it off for years, and those who have been trim all their lives.

First, it allows “careful” eaters to predict their daily calorie allotment without much effort. Second, perhaps the most fit among us are entrenched in habit, including the habit of taste. Third, effortlessly fit folks are in tune with the energy and calorie needs of their bodies. When they find foods that deliver what they need and that they enjoy, why look further? Keep in mind, there’s a fine line between careful eating and disordered eating. The careful eater’s diet is a habit and not a matter of control or obsession.

2. They Eat Breakfast (My favorite meal of the day)

This one common characteristic is nearly universal in statistical studies of people who have achieved and maintained a large weight loss. Eighty percent of those who have been able to maintain a weight loss of at least 30 pounds for at least a year report that they always eat breakfast. Research has consistently shown that the people who successfully lose weight are the ones that wake up and eat! Furthermore, people who eat breakfast regularly have better vitamin and mineral status and eat fewer calories from fat. Experts agree that the majority of people who struggle with overeating are those who undereat during the first part of the day, specifically those who skip breakfast. So it seems that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!

Why does eating breakfast help people lose and ultimately maintain a healthier weight? One theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast reduces hunger throughout the rest of the day, therefore decreasing the likelihood of overeating and making poor food choices at lunch.

3. They Drink Water (All day at work, Needs improvement outside of that)

Not soda. Not iced tea. Just plain old water. This is the biggie. Drinking enough water is a vital part of any conditioning program because it keeps your body functioning in homeostasis and aids every aspect of bodily function. Highly successful fit people drink at least six to eight 12-ounce glasses of water a day, plus more as needed during exercise. Note: It’s possible to drink too much water, which dilutes the body’s electrolytes (potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium). Don’t drink more than a gallon a day unless you’re also replenishing your electrolytes.

4. They Eat Small—And Often (Sort of, definitely not an over-eater, though)

Most people know that small, frequent meals are absolutely the only way to go. Why? Because when we go longer than 3 hours without eating, our levels of the stress hormone cortisol rise. And high cortisol levels signal the body to store fat in the abdominal region. Keep in mind too that people who skip meals have the highest cortisol levels of all!Eating small meals more often reduces cortisol levels, research suggests. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, people who ate six small meals a day for 2 weeks, as opposed to three large meals containing the same total number of calories, reduced their cortisol levels by more than 17 percent! They lost belly fat, too.

When you eat small, frequent meals long term, the body becomes efficient at keeping cortisol levels low, which helps both men and women reduce belly fat.

Eating throughout the day also makes you less tempted by the monster-size buckets ofpopcorn and supersize fries and drink containers that include triple and quadruple servings. Guided by their nutritional needs and deeply rooted habit to eat small meals throughout the day, the superfit stand steadfast, even in the face of a delicious, jumbo chocolate-chip muffin.

5. They Eat Whole Foods First

Successful fit people tend to eat mainly whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, veggies, and whole grains (and products made from whole grains). Certainly they enjoy the occasional treat, but 80 percent of the time or more, their preference leads to whole foods.Whole, natural foods—apples, steel-cut oatmeal, broccoli, salads, brown rice—are what food researchers call low-density foods. That is, they take up a lot of room in your stomach because they contain lots of fiber, which satisfies hunger with few calories. High-density foods are the opposite; they are things like butter, oils, candy, or ice cream. Think about how much frosting you could pack into your stomach if you really tried. (Okay, don’t think about it—it’s too gross.) Eating mostly low-density foods is the easiest way to keep your weight in check without feeling hungry or like you’re depriving yourself.

6. They Know Their Foods (Maybe not exactly, but I am knowledgeable  of caloric content & serving size)

This characteristic is truly universal among fit people: They know, generally speaking, every food’s calories and approximate protein, carbohydrate, and fat content. It’s not a case of being idiot savants but rather of having an understanding, a knowledge of food that allows them to make an educated guess. Their assumptions are almost always spot-on. This gift affords them the skill of making better food choices on a moment’s notice.Just as important: They know what one serving of said food really looks like. You can show an effortlessly fit person a whole grain cracker, and even without looking at the label, he or she can accurately predict how many crackers count as one serving. It’s not a gift, actually. It’s a skill, and all habits are skills you can master.

This skill is easier to acquire than it sounds. A couple of weeks of label reading is all it takes. There are even apps for your phone and Web sites that provide this information quickly and for free.

7. They Eat Their Favorite Foods—Carefully (I eat my goodies infrequently)

Despite knowing everything about their foods and tending to stick to the same foods day in and day out, fit people rarely report eliminating foods. If it’s something they crave, they enjoy a little taste. They know that simply eliminating foods they absolutely love will only set them up to fail when the temptation is too great. Instead, successfully fit people know that it’s okay to indulge every once in a while. They savor those moments instead of sucking down the food as if they’re afraid it’s the only time they’ll ever see it again.

8. They Don’t Keep Red Zone Food in the House (The best change I made to my kitchen)

If you look in a successfully fit person’s fridge, pantry, or cupboards, you won’t typically find cookies, crackers, chips, chocolate, full-fat ice cream, or soda. Why? Because they don’t crave these things. They also know you can’t eat ’em if you don’t have ’em. Smart, right?

What’s interesting about these trim types is that they don’t have the same inner battle of healthy versus junkie foods that the average person who struggles with weight might have. They can walk past the aisle with chips and sodas and think nothing of it. Either they never developed the junk food habit or they kicked it.

9. They Close the Kitchen after Dinner

Unlike most Americans, successfully fit people eat their final meal at a reasonable hour, as opposed to eating dinner followed by a lavish 10:00 p.m. snack and another dessert. Most often they go to sleep, not hungry, but on an empty stomach. This allows them to wake up feeling thin, rested, and hungry for breakfast. It may take a little effort, but going to bed earlier and going to sleep without food awaiting digestion in your stomach keeps your body’s metabolism in a fat-burning state. Instead of digesting, which causes restless sleep, your body can focus on other things—like repairing cells!

10. They’re Resourceful and Politely Picky at Restaurants (Been doing this more often)

Successfully fit people find healthful alternatives to selections on any menu, from a five-star restaurant’s to Wendy’s. They know that it’s the food choices, not necessarily the restaurant choices, that help them to stay slim and healthy.They generally steer clear of fried meat, poultry, and fish. Instead, they order their protein broiled, steamed, stir-fried, or poached. They also speak up in restaurants, politely making special requests like asking that their dish be prepared with little or no butter or sauces and with dressings on the side.

 

Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/healthy-eating-habits

 

Posted in Health, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday: Creating Meaningful Fitness Goals

My husband and I have a bad habit of falling asleep with our television on. He has a bad habit of putting it on a news channel. Why is this a problem? Mainly because I don’t want to be awakened to stories of carjackings, fatal car accidents, and senseless murders. The other morning this is exactly what roused me out of slumber sleep. I called out the name of Jesus for mercy on the world we live in, and then I immediately began questioning why I was stressing myself over the numbers on the scale. Blaming my previous day’s activity–eating an entire row of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies after lunch–for why I’ve been stuck on this roller coaster of gaining and losing 1.5 lbs.

roller coaster

When this life is over will those numbers matter in the least? Certainly not to those who love me. Heck!  Not even to those who don’t.

Still I longed to condone my over indulgence in sugar and carbs.

“It’s nothing wrong with eating a row of Girl Scout cookies in less than ten minutes. You only eat them at this time of the year.” I told myself the same thing I say every year around this time.

“Gaining weight is a fact of life. It’s not your fault that your metabolism is slowing down. How much you weigh has no bearing on the impact of your life in the world at large. Plus, you still have a cute shape that many women would love to have.” 

Sure, the above statements bear some truth. But the whole truth is that while I am living this life, I want to look and feel my best. And that really does go beyond the numbers on the scale. So while I do have a number that I’d like to see at the end of my weight watcher’s journey, I have some long-term goals that far outweigh that number.

I want to look 40 when I’m 60 and 60 when I’m 100.

I want to master hula hooping tricks because it’s fun and looks awesome. Guess I’ll have to keep going to hula hoop class and burn those 300+ calories an hour.

I want to get out of the bed every morning without achiness which means I have to work my body for strength, endurance, and flexibility.

I want to be able to choose from a larger selection of swimsuits.

I want to participate in “ride your bike to work” day every year. At the very least, I want to be riding my bike at 60 yrs old like my dad.

These are just a few non-weight related goals for me. What are yours? Share them in the comments below.

Til Next Time,

Naturally L.A.

 

Posted in Health, Uncategorized

Wellness Wednesday–Benefits of Tracking

Weight Watchers: Beyond the Scale–Week 2

scale with feet

The excitement from the first week rolled into nervous anxiety for this week’s weigh in. First, I feared the dip that I mentioned in my last post about slacking off during this week and picking up some of the weight I’d lost during the previous week. Well, I guess my mind wasn’t set firm enough on achieving this goal. I gained 1 lb. Granted, I could say that those 1 lb may have been the weight of the clothes I was wearing—a long cow neck sweater. Maybe. However, when I look back over the pages I’ve been jotting down my daily food intake since the beginning of the year, I know different. In the two days before this weigh in, I indulged in cake. A few days before that, I had a scoop of ice cream (NOT low fat or light) on a cone. And the weekend before I wasn’t as prepared with ideas for fun healthy weekend food and ended up with Chinese food. To my credit, though, I did abstain from the fried rice but my beef and broccoli, soaked in gravy, I’m sure didn’t help.

I say all of that to confirm the importance of tracking with any goal that you’re trying to accomplish. Most of you already know of all the different apps and online tools available for tracking but just in case you need some suggestions, here’s a list of the best ten. But for those who don’t always want to be regulated by your phone or computer a good ‘ole fashion notebook always does the trick too.  I do both. What I like about logging in my notebook is that I’m free to not bother with ounces, cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, etc. I simply want a reminder of what I ate. My memory isn’t so bad that I don’t remember how much of it I ate.

notebook

Lack of categorization is the biggest advantage for tracking in a notebook. Sometimes you just want to write it down. On one page I write down what A.M. exercise I had a chance to do before leaving for work. Lately I’ve been doing seated waist twists with my 8lb medicine ball. This morning I did a few minutes of hula hooping and 15 kettle (15lb) ball swings (whew! on the latter). Shortly after arriving at work I write my breakfast down, and then follow that with whatever exercise I do during the day. Next is lunch, snack, and then dinner. Near the bottom of the page, I jot down any money that I’ve spent during the day (yes, I’m tracking that too).

Keeping track of what I’m putting in my mouth is helping me become accountable for the numbers on the scale or judging from how my clothes are fitting. I definitely recommend some form of tracking to keep you on track on whatever you’re trying to improve in 2016.

Are you a tracker.? Share your preferred method.

 

Posted in Lifestyle, Women

Uhh…Happy New Year

Did I wish you all a happy new year? I don’t think so. Well, I’m sure I’m still within the New Years grace period to do so…Happy New Year!

I’m excited about so many things for 2015.

2015/01/img_5523.jpg

For starters, I’ll finally be publishing my second novel in the spring! Check out my literary site http://lajefferson.com for more info. That’s been so long in the making (2010) I could stop there–but I won’t. As a multifaceted woman, my to-do list doesn’t stop there.

This week I’m attending a Christian education class at my church. It’s actually my second one but the first one was cut short. I’ve been chasing after the Lord in a way that I never have in recent months. I love God’s word and I really want to know it intricately–for myself and others. Increased prayer and study time more and eventually fasting ( not for weight loss purposes). Continuing on the education segment, I’ll also be enrolling in an advanced English course at a university.

You see, I have this little saying, you can say it’s my personal theme: As long as I have breath in my body, I have time… Time to do whatever I set my heart to do. Although I’m gainfully employed at a technology company and have been for close to 20 years, it’s wise to have a backup plan. Since I love reading and writing and I desire more time for writing a career in education is the way to go. College English or creative writing is my preference. However, my educational background is business. So after 5 years of turning this idea over and over in my head I finally took a step in that direction. That’s on my schedule for the summer.

Lastly but far from least… I’m turning 40 this year!!! And I’m in the works of planning a 5 or 7 day cruise for family to celebrate with me.

There’s more but I won’t make this post all about me 😀. What do you have planned for your 2015?

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Posted in Natural Hair

A New Year, A Clearer Natural Hair Direction

Disclaimer: This post was composed before my natural hair meltdown in the previous post. After reviewing the goals in this post, I feel renewed.

I’ve got a lot going on this year: new book coming out (prayerfully I stay on track), daughter graduating high school (Wow..Time flies!), centennial celebration of the BEST sorority (DELTA SIGMA THETA SORORITY!)

If that’s not enough to be excited about, I’m also excited about my natural hair! This first six months of my natural hair journey has been interesting–to say the least–but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

With transitioning from locs to loose natural hair, the most important lesson that I’ve learned is to only “do” my hair when I have adequate time. Watch any natural hair “wash-n-go” video on YouTube and you’ll quickly see what I mean. Just about everything you do with natural hair takes some time, even when the YouTuber claims it’s something quick. BTW, that’s not a complaint–at least, not at this moment–it’s just a fact of life for my natural hair life.

My 2013 goals include:

1. Length retention–Naturally my aim is growth, but I have to, first, retain the length that I have.

2. Learn more–While I want to stay as far away from being a product junkie, I have to try different products to determine what produces the best results for my hair. For example, after months of suffering from flaky scalp, I realized that it was Herbal African’s Best Oil that was causing the flakes. It works great on skin BUT not my hair.

3. Straighten Less, Protect More: On my YouTube channel (http://youtube.com/mslabooks) you’ll see what brought me to this point. Breakage! Yikes! Before this you couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t taking care of my hair. Yet, something went awry. And I can’t have that!. I didn’t take ALL that time (2 or 3 wks, I can’t remember) combing my locs out to have my hair breaking from only God knows what! Therefore, this year, I plan to get back to more two strand twist styles. That worked wonders for my hair pre-locs so to them I shall return. I’m also going to put it out there now–I may even try a weave or braid extensions. Mainly because I want some color but don’t want to damage my hair. Scratch that, actually it’s because sometimes I don’t feel like doing my hair.