Saturday, June 17, 2017

Father's Day Gift

In my inbox this morning was an advertisement from Bosu.  It read something like "Dad called and he wants a Bosu for Father's Day". Unless Dad is part of a small minority that works out at home, Dad does not want a Bosu for Father's Day and Mom certainly does not want it cluttering up her house.  I have Dads and Moms tell me everyday that they "have all this stuff and could exercise at home".  I nod my head in agreement not worried that they will disappear and I will never see them again. There is something motivating about going to a fitness center for exercise or a trainer for help. Others are trying to accomplish the same thing. People your size are there and that is emotional support. Along the way you learn a few names, make a few friends and you have even more reason to go. I think the #1 reason I see the same people walking in my neighborhood day after day are the friends they walk with.  However, the biggest advantage to finding a gym or a trainer is the help. You don't have that at home alone.  And if having "all that stuff at home" worked, garage sale profits would be way down.  I'm just saying that if Dad really wants a  Bosu for Father's Day buy him one, but a better idea would be to get him a Bosu with someone to teach him how to use it properly. Along the way he may learn to like it and that could be life changing. Additionally he may do it without breaking a leg. Really!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Hand Full of Food

One of my class participants made a comment last week  about his extra pounds and at the same time said he was not into counting calories.  I did not even bother to suggest journaling. Talking about portion control in the traditional sense is going down the wrong path as well.  Some are not into getting out the measuring cups.  So I think the best thing for him might be portion control with the hand in mind. You might find it helpful as well.  If you draw an imaginary line around the palm on the picture to the left a protein serving is one circle. This is one palm not only in circumference but in depth as well. Make a fist and that is a serving size for veggies. A cupped hand indicates the right amount for carbs such as grains and fruits.  Men get more servings than women.  There is more that you might want to check out, but this is a start.  One of the big challenges with weight loss is how much we eat. Look at the hand. It might lead you in the right direction.

Resource: The Secret To Serving Size Is In Your Hand,  It also provides a colorful picture print out for easy reference.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Nutrient Dense

Did you read "Time Special Edition 100 Healthiest Foods To Satisfy Your Hunger"? I am the person who gave up $13.95 for this.  If you were to read it in its entirety you would find the big issue in this issue to be the importance of eating a variety of foods.  David and I shop once a week and it's very easy to shop on autopilot buying the same thing week after week. We have to make an effort to eat outside the box.  In the last 6 months we have added papaya, mango, kiwi to the basket. Imagine living all these years without papaya.  A little messy, but well worth it.  Tofu has become a regular item here and David has tried Polenta.  Getting bored with what we eat has made us shop around.
It has been said that a calorie is a calorie but when you have to watch calories as I do, you learn to find foods that are nutrient dense; foods that have a lot of nutrients but few calories. For me 100 calories of soda and 100 calories of avocado are not equal. Foods that help squelch hunger, foods that are high in fiber and protein and not so high in calories are the answer.  There are other things to consider as well.  Almonds, for instance, are a great low calorie snack being a source of calcium, fiber and protein.  Almonds also have a decent amount of magnesium.  Magnesium has several roles but I think first about the role it plays in keeping the bones strong.  It's like a little traffic cop directing the calcium to the bones. Almond milk is full of calcium with 45% of the RDA in one cup. Brussels sprouts have about a day's worth of vitamin C as does an orange or a kiwi. Cottage Cheese is high in protein, really high, and again the calcium is high. Pomegranate seeds are a treat during the holidays, but who would have thought it to be an excellent source of calcium.  Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds come with their own nutritional advantages but careful not to cover a salad with any of these since they are not cheap when it comes to calories. Sprinkle them sparingly! I read sometime ago that with a goal of eating 35 different foods in a week we are in place to get the nutrients needed.  It's food for thought!

Saturday, May 13, 2017


Since I grew up in South Georgia in the 50s and 60s I am quite familiar with the word prejudice.  Still whenever I hear it I automatically think of racial prejudice.  After all it was in my high school that the principal walked the corridor closing all class room doors before the first black student was ushered down the hall into class.  Prejudice comes in the forms of sex, race, religion, weight, economic status, education, nationality, and age to name a few.  Since prejudice is "preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or fact", the list can get quite long. 
The one I write about today is ageism.  It refers to preconceived ideas about older adults.  You see it with older adults being the joke. You see it in greeting cards.  You see it on TV, commercials and programs. You see it in the work place and I read recently that it starts as early as age 40.  I once heard on a TV show, " Don't try to compete with youth because youth always wins".   Today 13% of the population is over 65 but in 2020 24% will be over 65.  The National Institute on Aging reports the fastest growing segment of our population is the group 85 and older.  The 80+  year old older adults that I work with are cautious being concerned about falling, but most take the time to look out for others they see as needing help. They are fairly good at articulating their thoughts and we carry on meaningful conversations.  Often I hear that they feel dismissed by the medical community with comments such as "that is part of getting older". While computers and cell phones were not a part of their earlier years, they have a wealth of information with stories that are unbelievable.  In the years to come the world will have more people living into their 80s and 90s and even 100s.  Maybe we will be some of them and if so it is wise to remember now "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".  Or as my Mother always says, "Be nice to the old folks".

Resource: Exercise For Frail Elders by Elizabeth Best-Martini and Kim A. Botenhagen-DiGenova

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Make The Effort!

Whenever I flip through the pages of any of my fitness magazines the models always look strong, lean, and fit.  The cover photos of Shape or Men's Health standing by the checkout at HEB show models that are strong, lean, and fit and I might add, scantly clad.  Last week as I typed an announcement for my group of old older adults I searched clip art for models.  Again the pictures that popped up were ...models with grey hair and few wrinkles. I settled for cartoon figures.  However, when I go to my own gym I see a different picture.  There are a couple of men there making efforts to do serious body building and a woman or two as well. For the most part I see regular people.  One lady is coming back from having a baby.  Another is putting miles on the treadmill. Some of the older ones are keeping it simple and one or two are really having a hard time just making the effort. I admire them! Not very many model types where I work out.  Instead we have regular people, all different shapes and sizes, trying to accomplish the same goal and that is to be healthier. I often read quotes to "always be the best you can be".  "Give 100% everyday".  Recently I read, "be the best you can be on any given day".  Quite frankly, giving 100% everyday is exhausting.  I say walk in the door of the gym and just get start!  Make the effort!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


It seems that every time the television is on for any length of time we see Marie Osman for Nutrisystem, Oprah for Weight Watchers, or someone for Jenny Craig.  There are other weight loss programs advertised regularly as well.  Last month we got a flyer from a chiropractor in Boerne advertising his program.  I have known people through the years that participated in weight loss programs but I have never known of anyone that kept the weight off when ending the program. I do not personally know Marie Osman.   To be honest yo-yo dieting is very common.  Lose it this month, gain it back the next. It has been said that it is harder to keep the weight off than loss it in the first place.   I am not against healthy weight loss programs and I do remember my own post , "The Power Of The Group". Friends can offer a lot of encouragement. However, for those that can't see spending the money to have meals brought to your door or don't want to invest the time in group meetings think about creating your own  program through food journaling. Journaling food is similar to journaling in other areas of life.  Some journal their dreams, others journal their prayers, and some journal about  life goals. Keeping a gratitude journal is helpful to many. Journaling helps to reduce stress, know yourself a little better, resolve issues and the list goes on.  Those that journal food even 90% of the time have success with weight loss.  It is as close as your computer.  It's free and the  #1 benefit is that it really nails the problems with food.  Journaling food might help uncover weaknesses.  Use or find another and find out what is making you healthy or not. At the end of the day when you click view dairy, you will either pat yourself on the back or think "Oops". 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Less Than Healthy!

"A hallmark of intelligence and what separates us from other animals is our ability to think about consequences of our behavior before acting on impulse."
Use Your Brain To Change Your Age by Daniel G. Amen, M.D.
That said if you are motivated to make 2017 less than healthy there are a few things that you might consider.  Below are my top 5.
#1.   If you smoke, don't quit.  Smoking cessation can make a considerable difference toward good health in a relatively short period of time.  For instance, a couple of weeks after the last cigarette the risk for heart attack begins to drop and the lungs are happier.
#2.  Make friends with the couch.  Studies have shown sitting for long periods of time to have a strong negative effect of health.   Some say it is the new smoking with links to heart disease and some cancers.  Stand up meetings may not be for you.
#3.  Don't buckle up.   A huge percentage of  highway deaths each year are with those not wearing seatbelts.  It may be the law but many are getting away with not. Well, almost.
#4.  Forget about clean eating.  Generally speaking processed foods have added sugar, salt, and fat to improve the taste and make you want to eat even more of the same, all while adding more calories to your diet.  Packaged snacks are considered processed.  If you want 2017 to be less healthy choose the package. 

#5.  Finally if you are inclined to exercise go for the "stuff" you see advertised on TV.  After all if its good enough for TV it is most likely good for us!

It goes without saying that I would not choose the 5 for any of you.  Always choose to make the better choice.