Archive for daily living

Fit Fab 40s Fitness Challenge ~2013 Recap~

Posted in A Lil About Me, Daily Living, Fitness, Fun & Games, Goals, Health & Wellness, Motivations, Randomosity, Self Improvement, Weight Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2014 by Angela
Waistline not wastebasket...

Waistline not wastebasket…

I know traditionally that most of the “year in review” talk occurs either the last couple weeks of December and/or on the cusp of the new year… Well, I guess this post qualifies since 1) I thoughtfully pondered what I left behind as well as what lies ahead of me, 2) I confirmed & verbalize it and 3) I made a mental note, followed up with a quick draft post that is now coming to fruition.

By far the biggest news is that I succeeded in ending the year in considerably better shape than I was when it began.

As I prepared to make the transition from my 30s, I launched my FIT FAB 40s LIFESTYLE CHANGES and have been traversing the course diligently.

At that time I thought I was in decent shape due to some dietary changes that are still in place. It can basically be summed up as I adopted a flexitarian/semi-vegetarian diet which means I eat more vegetarian fare (not to mention organic, non-GMO & gluten-free) than I choose to eat meat, though I’ve chosen to avoid pork for health reasons since my 20s.

Personally I’ve found it more difficult to make myself eat meat and will have to consciously plan to eat it. Well, aside from ordering it when I’m dining out because I’ve got a handful of real meat options that I rotate throughout my diet for protein & omega-3s.

Somewhere along the line an unexpected, newfound love of spinning gradually but rapidly developed and I found myself inducted into the collective known as the triple spin club.

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The combination of diet and fitness helped me to shed an eye-popping, jaw-dropping 30 lbs. over the span of several months. Once the right mix of these clicked, I amazed myself by even skipping a size as I made my descent. I have had to purged my closet… twice! But as the saying goes “the third time’s a charm….” I am gearing up for the mother of all purging. Yes, that’s right, hopefully this year’s spring cleaning will see me muster the strength and part ways with the last of my double-digit sized “fat clothes”.

While I’ve never been one to wear stretchy-fabric, elastic-waist or potato sack-baggy clothes, it’s a huge leap to take away the safety net of having pieces in your wardrobe which are a size larger than what you’re currently wearing. As I continue enjoying the freedom of buying smaller sizes (without having to try-on, no less…..) to replenish my closet, I plan to settle in and enjoy the thrill of the ride wherever it takes me….

~Peace & Blessings~

…and thus November cometh….

Posted in A Lil About Me, Affirmations, Blessings, Life Lessons, Self Improvement with tags , , , , on November 1, 2012 by Angela

It certainly seems to me that 2012 has flown by at warp speed. It has been a year of incredible growth, changes and numerous blessings. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any more intense, it has…. I’m currently preparing myself to start the new year with an awesome mission trip abroad to South Africa!

As is my custom during the fall months, I spend several weeks reflecting upon the past year’s successes, challenges and lessons learned all in an attempted to revise, renew or set goals & disciplines to aim for in the upcoming year.

Going to South Africa is starting off the year in a really big way!

I’m excited to see the direction God is leading me while at the same time a tad bit pensive. Above all else I am determined to respond obediently to the call he is placing upon my heart with increasing faith and openness.

Spiritually I’ve endeavored to grow for nearly 18 years and its been amazingly. rewarding….that journey continues along with a host of health & wellness that have given way to major lifestyle changes.

Determined to finish 2012 stronger than I began….and happy to report that I’m “winning”!!

~peace & blessings~

Let’s Hear it for Happy Fat!!!

Posted in Daily Living, Fitness, Health & Wellness, Self Improvement, Weight Management with tags , , , , , , , on August 26, 2011 by Angela


 

Buoy up that mood of yours by ditching the butter and spreading some of this on your breakfast bagel instead: peanut butter.

In a large 11-year study, cutting back on unhealthy fats — like those in high-fat dairy — and instead opting for healthier ones — like the unsaturated fats found in nut butters, olive oil, and avocados — reduced people’s risk for clinical depression.

Feel-Bad Fats
The fat that most significantly bumped up depression risk? Trans fats (TFAs) — ironically found in many of the comfort foods we eat to try to cheer ourselves up, like cookies, crackers, pastries, and frozen pizza. Folks who ate the most TFAs suffered an almost 50 percent jump in their risk for depression. And saturated fats, found in abundance in not only full-fat dairy but also red meats, didn’t do people’s risk for mood disorders any favors either. (Related: Check out this ultimate guide to good and bad fats.)

Happy Fats
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) and monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) did the most to curb people’s depression risk. Seems these fats somehow help quell inflammatory markers that would otherwise mess with the production of certain feel-happy neurotransmitters, including a special mood protector called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Besides protecting neurons from death, BDNF fosters the growth of synaptic connections between neurons and keeps those connections flexible and firing away in areas of the brain that modulate mood. (Related: Here are five other foods that can help turbocharge the brain.)

Could the foods you eat make you distracted? Find out which foods might contribute to ADHD symptoms.

RealAge Benefit

Taking care of your emotional health and well-being can make your RealAge up to 16 years younger. Take the RealAge Test!

References

Dietary fat intake and the risk of depression: the SUN Project. Sanchez-Villegas, A. et al., PLoS One 2011 Jan 26;6(1):e16268.

Article source: YAHOO HEALTH, The Fat That Switches You from Sad to Happy

Easy Exercises to Keep Your Brain in Shape

Posted in Daily Living, Fitness, Health & Wellness with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2011 by Angela

Living to an old age isn’t much fun if you can’t remember anything. No matter what your age, you can protect your memory and keep your mind sharp with one habit: practice a mental exercise every day. Practice consistently, and by the end of the month, you will have a new brain-boosting habit that will pave the way for a long and memorable life!

This comes from habits found in the 2011 Longevity Program, a yearlong plan of monthly activities that come from the habits of centenarians from around the world. The idea of this program is that by choosing a simple activity and doing it every day, you will gradually develop 12 new healthy habits by the end of the year. Would you like to do the whole year program? Look at my previous Yahoo! Blog “The Longevity Resolution: Live to 100”.

If you are interested in a more formal longevity program, check out my newest book Secrets of Longevity 8-Week Program, a journal that will transform your health and lengthen your years.

This Month’s Habit: Practice a brain-boosting exercise each day

Here’s why: While you may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, you can certainly teach your brain some new tricks. Scientists have found that the human brain has an amazing ability to adapt and change–an ability called neuroplasticity. With the right stimulation, your brain can form new neural pathways, helping increase your cognitive capabilities, improve your ability to learn new information, and give your memory a boost.

By the time you are an adult, your brain has developed millions of neural pathways that help you solve problems you have come across before and process information at a rapid pace. But sticking to these well-worn pathways does not give your brain the stimulation it needs to keep developing. Mental brain puzzles performed on a daily basis help strengthen your brain by activating new neural pathways. One thing to keep in mind: the activity you choose should be a little out of your comfort zone. If you choose something you are already good at, even if it’s intellectually demanding, it isn’t an optimal choice for exercising your brain. Also, try to practice around the same time every day, because consistent cycles aid in the development of new neural pathways.

Brain-Boosting Exercises

These brain exercises help improve brain capacity in younger people and restore mental faculties that are declining in older people.

1. Use it or lose it with a cognitive workout: Memorize a poem, play chess, enjoy a challenging crossword puzzle, learn phone numbers by heart, add numbers without a calculator, learn the words to a new song, or memorize a shopping list–as long as it’s something new to you. Keep challenging yourself with new tasks.

2. Use your non-dominant hand: If you’re right-handed, use your left hand to eat, comb your hair, brush your teeth, write your name, or try putting your mouse pad on the other side of the keyboard. This practice of non-dominant hand use stimulates communication between the two hemispheres of the brain, helping to improve mental capacity as well as physical balance. Another idea: tai chi and yoga are physical activities that coach people to use the right and left side of the body equally.

Reward yourself

If you stick to the plan nearly every day, think of a way to reward yourself. You will be more likely to follow through with your goal when there is a bonus at the finish line.

Stay on track

To stay on course, ask yourself these questions each day. Keeping a written record of daily answers will help you stick to the plan and may offer insights to keep you inspired.

• Are you practicing one brain-boosting exercise every day? What has the experience been like?

• How do you feel today compared to the previous day? How about to one week ago? You may notice that you are processing new information more quickly and you may feel more alert.

• What obstacles are keeping you from practicing your mental exercise every day? What can you do to remove the obstacle?

Make it happen! An answer for every excuse

Miss a day? Sometimes, when things get busy, you might miss a day or two. But, you are not a failure! Let it go and consider the reasons for missing a few days. What will you do differently for more successful results? Simply recommit, make adjustments, and continue where you left off. Don’t ever give up!

Too boring. Keep your mental activity fun. If none of the above examples work for you, try any appealing activity that requires some mental effort and expands your knowledge. Some examples are learning a new language, instrument, or technological device. Try a sport or other physical activity you have never tried before, like qi gong or a zumba dance class.

Forget to practice. Start simply. If you can’t remember to do a brain exercise every day, try building off of the daily habits you already have. Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. On your commute, memorize the signs around you and then recall them to memory. In an empty moment, try to remember each birthday of the people you know.

At the end of the month: If you have been practicing one mental exercise a day, it is likely that you have created a new brain-boosting habit. Keep up the good work and stay tuned for next month, where you will learn how staying hydrated helps you cleanse and improve cellular health! Look for my monthly articles to guide you through a healthy and happy 2011.

You can find more ways to live a long and healthy life in Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, which is now available on Kindle. In addition, The Natural Health Dictionary makes a great companion to your quest for longevity. It is a comprehensive guide that answers all your questions about natural remedies, healing herbs, longevity foods, vitamins, and supplements.

I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

—Dr. Mao

This blog is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented

Memorial Weekend Recap

Posted in A Lil About Me, Daily Living, Entertainment, Memories, Randomosity, Weekend Recap, Wine Tasting with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2011 by Angela

This past weekend ushered in the unofficial start of summer: barbeques, amusement parks, swimming pools, parades and the streets and sidewalks coming alive after a cold winter and plentiful spring showers.

The weather here was incredible! It was unseasonably hot and humid but that’s what Midwest living gets you….wouldn’t change it for anything. Hopefully it was a safe and enjoyable one with decent weather where you were.

My sole mission was to have a fun-filled 3 day weekend and can happily report that I enjoyed every minute of it.

FRIDAY

My typical Friday night routine is pretty much set in stone regardless of the season. After the gym, I went to a wine tasting.

 

French wines are usually made to accompany food.

Image via Wikipedia

 

I actually got into attending wine tasting events a few years back when I was going to Europe and wanted to become better acquainted with French burgundy, bordeaux, cabernet and syrah. I am by no means an expert but I am intrigued on the pairings and with learning and growing/expanding my comfort zone. I enjoying imagining all the things I will one day prepare and what will go best with each dish, course or meal.

What I like about all the events that I’ve attended is that they are really well-prepared and they all have themes by region, holiday, ethnicity, main course, etc. The theme for the partical event I attended was appropriately enough “Grillin’ Out” and featured some really good wines and dishes to cook/serve outdoors.

I hope to post more in a separate post about the wine tasting over on the food related pages (which I have also been neglecting but have oodles & oddles to share). I haven’t given up on that and have a flurry of notes of things I’d plan to share sooner than later.

After leaving the wine tasting, I scooted over to one of my favorite Starbucks, had some java and linked up to the Starbucks Digital Network.

It is via SDN that I became acquainted with the documentaries on Snag Films. Yea, I know…fun times on a Friday night: sipping coffee while watching thought-provoking documentaries. I’ve said it before and staunchly REPEAT we can’t all be grown & sexy party animals…some of us have to mind the store and post bail for the rest.

SATURDAY

I met up with my knitting circle and spent a great portion of my morning and early afternoon knitting, UNknitting and then correctly REknitting. I am apparently a natural and took right to knitting so it’s a fun new pasttime I enjoy. Especially since I sew and overall am an art & crafts type, I have the patience and the mind’s eye that let’s me see beyond the needles and the yarn into an actual project.

I had intended to try to go to a gourmet cooking demonstration but my doggedness in getting my piecework just so before setting it aside didn’t afford me that opportunity. Therefore, I just copped the recipe (because all I really wanted to do was taste the dish so that I’d have a point of reference other than my own taste buds) and I juggled my schedule of events.

I attended Saturday afternoon church service and heard a really good message about extending grace and forgiveness to others. I could echo a lot of the sentiments and find it very interesting because I had just been “counseling” someone on the beauty of forgiveness and how it brings so much peace to your life.

As a matter of fact, I seem to be a broken record about that very topic and have had to rewind that record several times over the course of the year and in the very recent past. I had no idea how many people harbor hidden resentments and it is really astounding to hear how long some people have carried malice in their hearts.

I feel extremely blessed to have gotten to the point of forgiveness and allowing it to be a force in my life.

After leaving church I headed downtown to continue my “Foodie Weekend” at The Taste of Cincinnati and allowed (planned) to indulge myself with caloric intake being a non-issue. As always it was very crowded but I knew before going that there weren’t going to be as many vendors as in years past which was slightly disappointing and virtually no vegetarian or vegan options to try but I had a good time nonetheless and planned to hit it up once more before the weekend was over.

SUNDAY

I started my Sunday off with another routine–fitness class at the gym. Decided against going back to The Taste and instead spent the day running errands and taking advantage of the less crowded stores. I cheated on my Foodie Weekend plans and had soup and salad for dinner. I can only consume so much junk before my body threatens to revolt. Had a nice restful night’s sleep in preparation for the last day of events.

MONDAY

I am not a big movie goer and believe it was actually last summer since I darkened the threshold of a theater. So as it seems to happen on holidays, I thought to myself: Today would be a good day to see a movie, low crowds and no talking and I just woke up so I won’t be ready for a nap anytime soon. So with those thoughts in mind, off I went with no thought as to what to see or what even was showing.

I took to my favorite social media outlets asking for recommendations and wound up going to see Bridesmaids. I found it very entertaining and even caught some previews of movies that I will try to attempt to go see. I am usually so bad because I forget something is coming out because it’s not my thing to even check the movie reviews. But there are a few non-sequel movies that I wouldn’t mind seeing.

Since I decided to go to the movies, I bypassed lunch and swung back through The Taste to grab a couple items that I didn’t get on Saturday. Honestly, I usually have a limit on what I can consume comfortably which is why I have to plan accordingly or attend more than one day.

Early afternoon found myself in the gym test driving a kickboxing class and I loved it! I used to go at a previous gym and it’s an amazing core workout. Although it’s offered a little late for my liking, I definitely think I will get in the Monday evening class once my other Monday night commitment ends. Then I will have to see about taking a nap to hit a 7:00 p.m. class on Thursdays as well. I thought taking classes after 5:30 pm was crazy because that’s usually when I’m ready to head out the door FROM working out. But it’s worth making the adjustments to the schedule for sure so I will try to see what I can configure in my day to make it a reality.

Spent the early evening get things ready for the upcoming shortened workweek and still managed not to get to bed any sooner than normal. Once again…typical night before returning to work!

I am really looking forward to doing a lot more now that the summer concert series are starting up and all the outdoor events are taking place. Or just simply to do what I did last weekend and have picnics both Saturday and Sunday. There’s nothing like have some time in the sun!

~Peace & Blessings~

April’s Full: Day Four

Posted in A Lil About Me, Daily Living, Goals, Motivations, Randomosity with tags , , , , , on April 4, 2011 by Angela

 


Very light writing this evening…so hard to do without being up all night during the week….I mainly did a little light outlining into the body of work before I forget what it is I was thinking about all day during work when I wish I could have been writing….actual dialogue and particulars to come as I flesh it out.

~Peace & Blessings~

April’s Full: Day Three

Posted in A Lil About Me, Daily Living, Goals, Motivations, Randomosity with tags , , , , , on April 3, 2011 by Angela

graphic courtesy of: COGNITIVE DISTORTION


Short and sweet update….


Made the daily page goal of writing but still not where I need to be to date due to daydreaming, formatting, people-watching and other non-sense such as that…

One poem written this weekend…

Feeling even more confident I will meet these challenges….

~Peace & Blessings~