Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Gratitude is the surest pathway to health, happiness, and success.  It shifts our attitude towards what we have rather than what we don't have."

Habits. We all have them and I think we are quick to recognize the bad ones.  Leon Festinger in writing about habits refers to cognitive dissonance, the conflicting thoughts between behavior and attitudes.  We want one thing but we do the very thing that keeps up from getting there.  For example, if weight loss is an issue but you continue to drive through for pick up meals...well that is conflicting and nothing good happens.  

However, not all of our habits are bad.  Considering the fact that about 40% of daily activity is formed around habits, the majority probably cross the line to good.  Habits help us stay on target toward the things that are really important to us and achieve goals. They also say a lot about priorities.  I recently read  "25 Best Habits To Have In Life" and, yes, exercise was #5.
It is one of the very best habits to have.  It does an incredible amount of good.  Not always the sweat dripping I need help getting to my car kind of exercise, but moderate exercise that gets your heart pumping and makes it a little hard to talk.

There were other habits on the list that do an incredible amount of good as well.  The habit of "Gratitude" is second on the list.  Gratitude helps change our focus from our problems and what we don't have to what we do have; from what's wrong with our lives to what's right with our lives.  In fact, Anne Voskamp wrote a wonderful book, "1000 Gifts" teaching that "it's only in this life expression of gratitude that we discover the life we have always wanted".  Gratitude.  It's one of the best.

Resources: http://www.entrepreneur.com
Anne Voskamp  "One Thousand Gifts" 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tips For Better Posture

David and I have coffee at Starbucks quite often.  Wednesday was a slow day for them; only 6 customers and us.  As I looked around I noticed three young women between the ages of 18 and 20 all with cell phones in hand, an older gentleman sitting at our table reading and a woman at the end tablet in hand.  Everyone had one thing in common outside of coffee.  Everybody was slouching. The young women were slouching with forward head. I resisted the urge to fix them.  I have done this in the past and it did not prove to be advantageous.  I am conscious of my own habits and those of my clients and while I do try to fix myself and them, that's as far as I go. Slouching or poor posture has many negative affects in the long run.  Years of slouching can lead to digestive and breathing issues. Just get a mental picture of the body all rounded forward and the lungs trying to work properly.  The lower back is in for a lot of discomfort as are the neck and shoulders.  Additionally, I recently read that slouching can also affect how we feel about ourselves.  Good posture doesn't take the place of antidepressants or counseling, if needed, but it can be uplifting.  Think about it like this.  Looking down so much can't be the picture of your happy place.  So stand up straight, pull your shoulders down and back, sit up as straight as possible, put your thumbs on the bottom of your rib cage and lift your rib cage.  Pick one of those tips as a reminder for better posture and look out or up but not down.

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,  colormehealthy.com.  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!