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September 16, 2008

An Exercise in Crime and Punishment

I was thinking about what to post today, while squeezing in a bit of exercise during lunch - then it came to me. I realized that sometimes (like today) exercise just plain seems like work. On a bad day, some might even suggest punishment. Most days I'm happy to say I don't look at exercise as punishment, but I will admit there are times that exercising just seems like some sort of evil payback for being overweight.

In recent years I've shifted my thinking about exercise. I look at it as a practice which brings me immediate relief from stress, an overwhelming sense of calm and accomplishment as well as a mechanism to build my strength and stamina. Which I need these days, more than ever.

I just try to remember while I'm exercising that the activity I'm engaged in with ultimately bring me joy and that if in the short term I forget that and give in to my immediate discomfort or boredom, that would be a crime.

One last thing, look for exercise that's fun and provides you with a sense of accomplishment and joy. Don't be a gym rat. Go out and see the world around you. Take up a sport...have some fun. before you know it you'll be fit and the only person you'll be punishing is your opponent!

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Posted by Cindy on September 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 02, 2008

A Simple Step towards Positive Thinking

We've talked plenty about positive thinking over the years we've had this blog. Most often it's focused on helping ourselves overcome negative self talk that really cuts into our ability to take care of ourselves, to do the things that we need to do to make ourselves feel well and achieve our goals whether they be about weight loss or living happily.

My Daily OM horoscope yesterday suggested a very simple strategy that I've already employed a couple of times since I read it. Just repeat to yourself periodically (or come up with something similar that 'speaks' to you):

Things are wonderful.


My life is joyous.

The horoscope then goes on to say,

Inner satisfaction comes from a realization that we already possess everything we require.

Say these things to yourself a couple of times today, or whenever you think of it. Where do your thoughts go? For me, it's all positive.

Posted by Marsha on September 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 19, 2008

Healthy Living: The Most Important Thing Is To Take Part

29torres600Have you been watching the Olympics? I know it's a bit late into the early morning hours to be watching must see TV, but there have been some really brilliant moments. It will be quite some time until we see the likes of Michael Phelps again.

And Dara Torres…wow! You go, girl! I hope we see more women over the age of 16 swimming brilliantly like our very own Dara Torres. What a phenomenal role model for women young and old alike. Something to aspire to whether you’re a club swimmer, or just hitting the pool a few afternoons a week taking laps because you love the water. Dana Torres is a marvel.

For those of you asleep at the Olympic wheel, here is a quick bio on Dara and then some footage of her sterling silver swims. If you haven’t tuned it…do. It’s a feel good experience and very motivating.

Remember the Olympic motto: Faster, Higher, Stronger!

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Posted by Cindy on August 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 13, 2008

Women's Healthy Living: Taking It Outside

241Here in Vermont, August has looked a bit more like September with cooler weather and much more rain than I remember in the last 20+ years I've lived here. Good thing I don't let a little weather get in my way of getting outdoors. 'Cuz without getting outdoors, I might go stir-crazy living up here. I'm a Texas farm girl born and raised, but left the state late in my teenage years and except for a few brief stops along the way, haven't really called Texas my home since. Still, my days living in the country seem to have instilled in me a need for the outdoors. I imagine that most people, even if they didn't grow up on farms or in the country, have a similar need, even if they don't realize it.

There's something about the outdoors that revitalizes. Even when the outdoors is city streets. I spent some of my years since my Texas childhood in New York City and Boston, and remember fondly the walks along city streets with forays into parks that I could find. Still refreshed me, even though the air might not have been as fresh as in Vermont.

LynnAnn Covell, our senior exercise physiologist on staff at Green Mountain at Fox Run, just penned a FitBriefing (our monthly articles looking at issues of interest for women who look to lose weight -- that they gained through unhealthy lifestyles -- in a healthy way by normalizing their eating and finding the joy in physical activity) that addresses finding the fun in outdoor activities. Here's what she has to say about how getting outdoors can revitalize us and help motivate us to move in her article "Healthy Living: Taking It Outside!"

When we spend time outdoors, we can reconnect with the joy and relaxation of physical activity. It also helps us reconnect to the intrinsic motivation for physical activity that we experienced as a child. We were moving, because we could and wanted to, not because we “had” to.

It's a gorgeous day here in Vermont, and I'm not going to sit around too much longer indoors. I plan to spend my day gardening and taking Jack, our golden retriever, on his daily walk (ok, not daily but I try), me with my Nordic walking poles and him with his nose exploring every scent he can pick up along the way. I've got a great day in store. Hope you do, too!

Posted by Marsha on August 13, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 06, 2008

Healthy Lifestyle Program: Nordic Walking

On a recent trip to Minneapolis, my girlfriend introduced me to Nordic walking. And I've been hooked ever since. One promotional site says you work 90% of your muscles with this relatively effortless technique. I've found it improves my posture, works my triceps and back muscles (lats) and leaves me feeling refreshed but not worn out.

The benefits for healthy living and healthy weight loss are obvious. But consider this: I've walked for the last 10 days in a row -- I look forward to it! And I'm not walking my usual 30-40 minutes. I'm going an hour each time. I need to take a day off today because my foot is hurting and it needs rest.

Not much more I can say about this except to encourage you to give it a try. Check out this youtube video that shows details of Nordic walking. And then try it yourself for serious weight loss or fitness help.

Posted by Marsha on August 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 30, 2008

Healthy Living: Becoming a Master of Joy II

I've had an old, dear friend visiting with her husband this week, and it has been a delight, enhanced by the gorgeous weather we've had in Vermont. I've known Patti since I was 18 -- we became best friends early on, and even though separated by a continent, we stay in touch so that when we get together, it's like we saw each other yesterday. Although more stories to catch up on. :-)

Anyway, in searching for a quick post to put up this morning (we're off on another day of sightseeing soon and I haven't even showered yet -- although I did do my morning Nordic walk -- more on that next week!), I thought I'd just search for an oldie but goodie that I did in the past. I chanced upon the title of this one and thought it surely expresses the tone I'd love to communicate today. I am having a joyous week, and if I could help you do the same, well, all the better.

So I'm repeating this old post on feeling good about ourselves (which will help us with all kinds of emotional eating, binge eating, disordered eating, exercise resistance, boredom...and endless list) and wish you a happy, no, joyous rest of the week, month, year, life. Just click on feeling good about ourselves and go, girl (and boy, too)! This is truly what healthy living is all about.

P.S. The picture on this post isn't what Vermont looks like right now -- it's just a promise of things to come!

Posted by Marsha on July 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 22, 2008

Healthy Living: See Jane Run!

I just wanted to give a shout out to one of my favorite women's athletic apparel stores, "See Jane Run". Argh! I wish I would have thought of it first!

This wonderful company has always had the best kind of 'tude'...here's a sample from the homepage on their website:

"Here's to you.

The broad-shouldered, the knock-kneed, the pigeon-toed, the small breasted, the wide-hipped.the long-waisted, the short-legged, the stocky, and the skinny. And yes even the perectly proportioned.

May you live long, enjoy dessert and never stop laughing.

Blisters heal. Muscles recover. Friendships last a lifetime. High heels have their place in the very back of the closet. If you can run a mile, you can run a marathon. There comes a time when you really need to replace your sports bra. No, really.

Consider this. Only one person wins. Everyone else should have a rockin' good time. Yes, you can talk and run at the same time. Chewing gum is the hard part. A little chocolate goes a long way.

Be yourself.

There's a little bit of Jane in all of us."

What else it there to say, except - all Jane's rocks?! Oh, and they have great athletic clothes in all sizes!

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Posted by Cindy on July 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 15, 2008

Healthy Living - Exercise...The Best Medicine

07I was working out the other day and feeling quite proud of myself for getting on the horse (again) when I really didn't want to. For the umpteenth time it re-emphasized the fact that I always feel better when I move my body - regardless of how I feel going in. Even if I'm tired, sore, or the idea of working out seems about as appealing as a spoonful of cod liver oil, I will feel better.

And isn't moving your body just like taking medication for the body and soul? If we have an illness or we're in pain, don't we take the appropriate medication to feel better? Even if the prescription may be something unpleasant, we do it, because we know the outcome will bring relief.

I think it's the same with physical activity. Just like taking medication, once it takes effect, you'll feel better, maybe even wonderful! Our bodies like to move - they want to move. It's important to get that blood and oxygen circulating - allowing your body to do its thing! There's no better way to give it what it wants than giving it the appropriate dose of movement every day.

This is one of the first steps to realizing the intrinsic joy of exercise. Your body tells your brain that there will be a pay off off when you exercise, and before you know it, you'll want to work out.

So, next time you don't feel like working out - do what I do, think of it as a spoonful of cure. Its good for what ails ya! 

Posted by Cindy on July 15, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 08, 2008

Healthy Living - Get Inspired by Sport!

Those who know me, know I couldn’t let the Wimbledon Championship Men's Final match pass by in infamy without commenting on my favorite sport and player, Rafa Nadal

I’ve been a tennis fan for over 30 years and I’ve watched and loved many players along the way. Rod Laver, Stephen Edberg, Boris Becker, Martina Navratilova, Andre Agassi, Pat Rafter, Monica Seles, Gustav Kurten and now Rafa. All have two things in common: never say die and lots of class.

I’m not sure what happened when I was a teenager that attracted me to the game. No one in my family or any of my friends played tennis. It wasn’t a sport offered at my school and the courts in my rural Oregon hometown were grown over with weeds and used primarily as a soccer field for truants.

I just remember one afternoon watching Rod Laver play Ken Rosewall and I became mesmerized by the athleticism, strength, strategy and intelligence it took to get that ball back and forth so quickly and still set up an unbelievable shot.

Little did I know that this particular meeting between Rod Laver (The Rocket) and Ken Rosewall (referred to as Muscles), would be an epic encounter – just like the one we witnessed this past Sunday. It was 1972 and part of the world championship tennis tour. I had happily stumbled upon the final which would later be deemed one of the most influential matches in tennis history. It was magic and I’ve been watching (and even sometimes playing) ever since. I love this game!

What does all this tennis talk have to do with anything? It has to do with what's really important. It has to do with moving your body for the pure joy of it. It has to do with allowing yourself to be the best you can be and getting the most out of your life. And it doesn't have to be as a professional tennis player.

At times in my life I've been hopelessly lethargic, unfit and unmotivated. And it was tennis that came to my rescue. Every summer there is was - the great motivator. Austrailia, France, England and the United States. It inspired me to get up off my duff. It wasn’t about losing weight or getting a flat stomach, or ridding me of my flabby upper arms. It was about getting out on the court and playing a game I love. It was about being even the slightest bit like my idols – after all, look at the dedication and work they put into their sport. I could at least get fit enough to hit a few balls!

So whether it's tennis, the summer Olympics or your son or daughter's community soccer game. Let sport get you inspired. It can be the best reason you ever had to get in shape and start feeling good about yourself again. Let's play ball!

And what about Rafa? Well, just like the greats before him, he never says die and he's a class act all the way. Way to go, mama and papa Nadal for raising such a great kid.

Posted by Cindy on July 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 11, 2008

Healthy Living: Staying Cool this Summer

Jakes_bar_mitzvah_sept_2005_037_5The heat wave in the East broke last night to an awful lightning storm, but compared to the weather troubles in the mid-section of this country, we have no complaints. It's a beautiful breezy morning here in Vermont -- the type that we're renowned for. Will be a beautiful day and I intend to get out in it.

Still, I'm under no illusions that I won't be facing a few more hot, muggy days this summer. We do get a couple of weeks a summer of them here in Vermont...again, nothing compared to the rest of the country. And I'm off to Florida for a family wedding tomorrow, and I'm thanking the heavens there is such a thing as air conditioning.

For those who aren't as lucky as us folks at our women's healthy weight loss center Green Mountain at Fox Run with our Vermont summers, here are a few tips for keeping your healthy living routine in hot, inclement weather . They're taken from a former fitness specialist at Green Mountain -- Sarah of Outside In Fitness in the Washington, DC area. Sarah recommends:

- Wear light-colored loose-fitting clothes made of high-tech breathable fabrics.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Stay out of the sun between noon and 4 pm.
- Stay on shady paths when walking, running, biking or whatever.
- Stay hydrated -- that means plenty of fluid.
- Watch for signs of heat-related illness -- dizziness, nausea, headache, muscle cramps, and get help immediately.

Stay active this summer but stay cool! Here are some other tips for summertime fitness from Green Mountain.

Posted by Marsha on June 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack