Personal Days–No Better Time To Use Them!
Whatever the cause, the thought, “I need a break” sprang into my consciousness on Wednesday evening.Read More...
An author sharing her life in the only way she knows how…
Whatever the cause, the thought, “I need a break” sprang into my consciousness on Wednesday evening.Read More...
Sooooo…as soon as a I get a good consistent workout routine going, Coronavirus protection goes into full effect: closing schools, bars & restaurants, libraries, movie theaters, and the GYM! Of course I understand the serious nature of what we’re dealing with as a nation. I also understand the importance of maintaining some semblance of normalcy when nothing normal is going on around us.
When I learned on Monday, March 16th that I could not go to my Zumba class as planned, I immediately jumped onto YouTube in Search of Zumba video while still at work. I settled on an African Dance inspired video by an Black fitness instructor, Kearia Leshae, I subscribed on there. She has a wide range of videos to fit whatever your fitness needs are at any given time–traditional aerobics, hip-hop dance aerobics, targeted strength training, all anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
After I queued that video in my exercise playlist, I figured I might as well get my yoga video ready for my Tuesday night class. Watching Kearia’s video, I decided stay in that space, narrowing my search for Black yoga teachers. It’s more out there than you know on YouTube and beyond. Heck, if I keep this up I might be one too. I’ve really fallen in love with how I feel doing Yoga over the past 2 months. I’m not letting Corona stop my flow–literally. Here’s the video I chose.
These videos cover my Monday and Tuesdays routines. The other days of the week I’ll be varying my workouts between hula hoop workouts, jumping ropes, and a variety of strength training workouts. God-willing we will make it through this Coronavirus pandemic with our health, our family’s and friend’s health, and our spiritual and mental state of minds stronger.
Believe it or not, I suffered a real stroke on 8/27/19. I’ve only mentioned it a few times between my FB page and this site but my physical state and mental state make it hard to believe. Not just for you, but me too. Ever since the doctors confirmed that what I thought was just crazy confusion that morning was stroke— not a mile stroke—it’s still hard for me to believe it too. Aside from having the fear that I would wake up any day in an incapacitated state, not being able to care for myself, or even worse—dead, I feel eerily as if the events of that day never happened.
But they did. I take daily medications hat reminds me each day. The implanted heart monitor which downloads my heart rhythm into an app on phone, that gets transmitted monthly to my cardiologist is a constant reminder as well. On yeah, I have a cardiologist, neurologist, and a hematologists. Didn’t have any of those on my medical roster before that day. So, yes, the stroke is a real part of my life whether I want to believe it or not.
The doctors released me after a week to resume my normal activities. But they didn’t even know what those were. So I was scared to do anything that I thought could bring about another stroke. And for me, that could have been anything because I still didn’t know what caused it. The test the ran on me in hospital confirmed that I don’t have a hole in my heart, no clots in my legs or neck. All I knew was that morning I washed my hair, boiled some eggs, and then, out of nowhere, couldn’t figure out why I suddenly was confused about the order in which to put my clothes on. How did I know that wasn’t going to happen again?
A trip to the stroke clinic confirmed the importance of exercise for my recovery and prevention of future strokes. That irritated me because I’ve been exercise. Maybe not as consistently as I should but definitely I’m more active than most, and if I don’t get to the gym, I’m walking. So what gives?
I found myself pretty angry. All the Zumba classes, walks over lunch at work, exercise videos at home, stints of Yoga and Pilates classes was the point of exercising and trying to eat right didn’t prevent me from having a stroke in the first place.
I was ready to throw in the towel. Stop stressing myself trying to fit exercise into my life. But then reality hit me. Maybe my history of exercising are the exact reason that I didn’t experience any physical ramifications from the stroke I had. Maybe that why when I was in the hospital I had free reign to walk the hospital halls without supervision because I wasn’t a fall risk. Maybe that’s why I could go home and didn’t have to attend occupational or physical therapy.
I consider myself blessed that I don’t look or feel like I suffered that stroke. But because I know I did, exercise will continue to be apart of my life!
Meal planning or prepping is all the rave these days. My daughter became a champ during her last year in college. Now she’s home helping me out. This past week she prepped two meals per day for the five day work week and we did our own breakfast meals. I bagged up 5 one serving of grits and scrambled one egg for my breakfast and a 4oz bags of mixed fruit. If you ask me I did great for someone who’s never tried to follow a meal prep plan. I only veered away from my meal twice–for pizza and salad at our family grief support meeting and Friday night dinner with friends. Considering those two events were planned, that’s actually not too bad. However, the graham crackers I ate 3 or 4 days of the week after 5 p.m. (okay, 8 p.m.) and the one piece of birthday cake offered to me at work for a coworkers birthday definitely were bad.
At least according to my daughter and her trainer.
Mr. J.C. Jones, the trainer, says no eating any processed foods, no salt, no dairy, no artificial sweeteners, etc. Blah, blah, blah.
First of all, I get it. Sure, processed foods are terrible for us BUT they’re pretty darn convenient. Isn’t it much easier to throw some pre-cut French fries from a bag in the oven after work as opposed to coming home, peeling the potatoes, and then cutting them up, and then cooking them??? Of course, it is!
Second, if a person has developed all of these bad eating habits over 20+ years, I think it’s a disservice for someone to expect that person to make drastic changes overnight. So the fact that that particular week, I didn’t stop at any fast food restaurants–not even for coffee– I consider that a success. Even with eating the crackers–I could have eaten crackers every single day but I only slipped up 3 times. And that was partially because I didn’t have enough meals (or healthy snacks) prepped for the week. Shoot! I was hungry!
Now because my daughter stuck to her meal prep 100% and I did more like 85%, she lost more weight than I did. But I was still proud of myself. You see, as I stated above, this was not her first ride on the meal prep/planning rodeo show. She’s had time to practice doing this. And like I have to always remind her, “You didn’t start out a pro with this stuff.”
It takes time to get things right. Until I get it “right”, which for me is disciplined eating and consistent exercise, I’m going to congratulate myself on the small victories and encourage myself to keep going when I mess up. My girl Josie of YumYucky.com is more my speed. Check out this video.
What’s your method for changing certain habits? Do you celebrate the little victories or beat yourself up when you experience a hiccup? Share in the comments below.
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.
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?
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.
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.
This past Saturday was the Detroit Heart Walk sponsored by the American Heart Association. As the chair of a Health Awareness committee through an Employee Resource Group of the company I work for, I created a team for the event. I must say, it was a struggle getting to the event as I partied hard with my sorority sisters the night before ( no drinking involved but lots of dancing), but I was so glad I did. Fond memories of yearly participation in such walks as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Sister Strut ( breast cancer), March of Dimes (for premature babies) came flooding back. Why did I stop participating, I can’t really say. Between my job and sorority, there’s always a team I can join. Even if there isn’t a team, I can always go solo. I’m sure to run into someone I know right when I’m ready to play some music through my earbuds.
Health walks are great way to support worthy causes and get in a lot of steps. The heart walk yielded me approximately 5k steps at 3 miles. By the end of the day I hit my daily goal of 12k steps. If I didn’t have to pick my son up from camp on Sunday, I would have gone to the Kidney Foundation walk at the Detroit Zoo. I keep missing walking opportunities there. I must take advantage while I live so close (3 miles away).
These events are a lot of fun too. Sponsors provide bouncy houses for kids, face-painting, and other activities. At this walk I was super excited to get my jump rope on with my team.
Had I arrived at my intended time, an hour before the walk was to begin, I could have participated in Bowkwa and/or Yoga, too. Activity coordinators do a great job making the event fun-filled for the whole family.
This was my first time leading a team and I did not do as well as I could have 😞. I met my individual goal of $100 and was $15 short of my team goal of $200. Considering I didn’t really solicit donations until the final hour, I won’t beat myself up too bad. But imagine how much I could have raised if I’d been diligent from the start six months ago. I won’t make that mistake again.
I plan to soak up some summer sun with more walks for health causes but I’m saving my next fundraiser endeavor for a cause newly dear to my heart, lung disease. The Lung Association sponsors a walk called Lung Force. It’ll take place in my hometown of Detroit in October 2017. Hmm, that’s actually not that far away from a fundraising perspective. I better get busy, huh?
What health walks do you support and why? I’d love to hear.
There’s a fine line between working to change your body and loving the skin you’re currently in. I’ve often wondered if these two ideas can coexist. I want to workout the most when I feel dissatisfied with the physical shape of my body. And the days when I engage in some good self-love talk…”Girl, you look hot in these jeans!” or “Girl, your legs are as toned as when you were 25!” I don’t press myself about going to the gym. In a world that perpetuates the myth that a woman body is supposed to not only carry and birth children into this world and go through the aging process without looking like it, more often than not is has been less of the latter.
However, thanks to my 41 years of living, I’m finally learning to merge the two together into a marriage that works for me. First, I know that the body is not meant to be sedentary. We are supposed to move every day. And not for the 30-60 minutes that fitness experts say because in actuality that is nothing in a 24 hr day! You know it’s true, too. There are times in my work day that I am comfortably planted in my chair doing my work or chatting through our IM system with a coworker when I should be standing up and moving my body while I work. After all, that is why I fought tooth and nail to get this standing workstation so I could do just that. But when everything you need is at your fingertips it takes great strength and resolve to get off of my butt and walk over to talk with a coworker in person or walk around for the sake of walking.
Second, I know that the shape of my body has more to do with what I put in my mouth and genetics than it does exercise. If I had better eating habits (less pastries, no late night eating of buttery popcorn while watching Scandal, and drinking 8-10 glasses of water), I’d easily be down 20lbs. Can I get a “Amen!” You know I’m right.
This is not a spiritually speaking post, but no where in the word of God does He describe beauty by the size of a woman’s waist and the numbers displaying on a scale. Our beauty is defined the purity of our hearts, being kind to others, loving and honoring our husbands, taking care of our children, using the gifts that He gave us. All that 36-24-36 standard of beauty is from fallen man and we keep falling for it.
Excuse me, I digressed.
I’m not that different from most women. I get green with envy when I see women in my age with slamming bodies. But I remind myself that they are likely blessed with great genetics which neither of us can do anything about. And they probably don’t exercise any more than I do. Well…some do. Some also have surgery to create those fabulous bodies and keep that to themselves. Believe that!
When I’m finished with that I remind myself of how beautiful I am. I look down at my belly, and instead of frowning, I smile. This is the same belly that housed two beautiful children for 9 months, both born by C-section surgeries. And guess what, I survived those, surgeries. We take for granted that some women don’t so how dare I be mad about a scar or some loose skin??? Sure,my breast aren’t as firm or perky as they once were but they’re cancer free (hallelujah!) and look awesome in the right bra.
I don’t waste time browsing through clothes that won’t compliment my current figure. Talk about depressing. Instead I look for clothes that are flattering to my extra pounds, accentuating my toned legs and small frame. You can’t help but feel good in clothes that are cute and fit you right.
In the meantime, I will still exercise. Always will. Regular exercise is good for overall health. It doesn’t have to happen in the gym either. Some of my favorite places to exercise include the staircase in my office building, in a Zumba or with a hula hoop in my living room. For you it might be in a pool, a ballroom or hustle class, or in a park. Whatever you choose, make sure you enjoy it. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Welcome back the Wellness Wednesday. I’m so excited to be here at the start of this new year 2017. Not only because it’s good to be in the land of the living, as the senior pastor of my church used to say, but because I’ve got a plan to shed these unwanted pounds.
A realistic plan. Not like that frivolous plan too lose weight at the start of the holiday season knowing good and well I was going to be baking….and enjoying those delicious deserts.
Yes, that’s why you didn’t see an update on that journey. I didn’t want to leave you on a gloomy note for 2016.
But on to better things. The new plan is to implement my strategy of getting fit at work. Even more exciting than that is that the journey will double as material for a 2018 book project. Lord help me!
The jury is still out on whether or bot I’ll be posting weekly entries about my progress. However, I will give periodic updates about that endeavor while talking about a variety of health and wellness topics.
I’m not going to rag on 2016 for being an ineffective weight loss year for. Instead, I’m pushing hard not to let 2017 be a repeat!
What are your health and wellness goal for 2017. Share in the comments below.
Dum dum da dum…
It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving and I have…news to report. Can’t quite call it good or bad news. More like smack dab in the middle news.
The week before the holiday I sent out an SOS of sorts to my neighbor friend to buddy up with me on exercising. She jumped at the offer. Within minutes of my text, she responded with, “Sure, do you want to start tomorrow?”
No, I thought to myself, but I texted back. “Sure!”
We’ve been on it ever since. That first day we did 20 mins of Tae Bo with Billy Blanks. Whew! Hadn’t done that in about 15 yrs. But I had to make it through. Couldn’t let my neighbor, who is at least 10 years my senior show me up.
For the rest of that week we walked a lap around our apartment complex and increased it to two laps the next week.
According to my analog scale, I dropped 1-2 lbs. That’s the good news!
Then came the holiday: dressing, crescent rolls, and the cake. Really, it was the cake that did me in.
The Saturday after the holiday I decided to check out the damage. If not for the walking that I did with my neighbor over that weekend, I would have surely gained more than the few pounds that I’d lost the previous week.
That’s the bad news. I’m right back to where I started two weeks ago.
Could be worse, though. Right?
What’s awesome is that today is Monday–me and my neighbor’s regular walking day. I’m looking forward to walking those 2 laps (maybe 3) around the complex.
What’s even BETTER??? There’s no more cake!
First shot at pineapple layered cake
My perfect cream cheese pound cake.
P.S. I need some healthy desert alternatives. Please post ideas in the comments below.
Til Next time…