Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A New Year - A New YOU!!

As 2010 is coming to a close, even though many of us are still in holiday mode with vacations, trips, house guests and food galore, it is time to look ahead to the new year and think about what we will do with 2011.

Instead of the generic “Lose Weight” or “Get Healthy” resolutions, here are 5 more specific suggestions on how to make the biggest impact on improving your health and body in 2011. These things are not hard to do but very challenging to maintain without some mental focus, commitment, time and energy.
But the payback can be life-changing!

1) Schedule Your Workouts – Find times that you can reasonably commit to exercise consistently each    
   week and treat those times as appointments that are too important to miss. But also have backup plans 
   when necessary.  To protect your health, cardio is needed 3x per week and strength training 2x.
   For weight loss, exercise 6 days a week.

2) Take Supplements – This is by far, the best thing you can do for your health that requires the least
     amount of energy and effort. Get a pill organizer to save time and make it easier to remember. Taking
     vitamins will not only protect your body from disease and illness but give you more energy, youthfulness
     and aids weight loss. Here are the basics:

               High quality Multi-Vitamin
               Vitamin D
              Omega 3 (fish oil)
              Calcium (for menopausal women)
              Whey Protein

Also recommended:
             Pro-biotic (acidophilus is the supplement that promotes healthy bacteria in the digestive tract)
             Resveratrol (super antioxidant)
             Extra Vitamin C (to boost immune system, esp with high stress)

3) Prepare Your Own Food – Cutting back on restaurant and processed foods will cut back on calories, fat, sodium and unhealthy artificial additives.  Get up a little earlier to eat a good breakfast before leaving the house and bring your lunch to work. Take time each week to grocery shop and plan meals and snacks.

4) Get enough sleep – If you don’t sleep at least 7 hours a night, your body will suffer. Besides chronic fatigue, your immune system, metabolism, weight control and susceptibility to disease is compromised.

5) See a Professional – If you have been dealing with physical or mental issue that have affected your
    quality of life and kept you from being the best you can be – then get help! If not sleeping or suffering  
    from hot flashes - get your hormones checked! If having chronic joint pain – see a chiropractor! If  
    emotional/relationship stress is overwhelming – see a counselor! If you need to lose weight or manage  
   diabetes and need help – see a nutritionist (or ME)!

Starting a new year means a fresh start and new beginnings. Make 2011 the year that you improve your life in some way! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Take the Holiday Test

      Thanksgiving until New Year's is without fail, the slowest time of year in the fitness industry.  This is certainly understandable, with more demands on time for shopping, socializing, cooking, and attending and/or participating in holiday programs.  People who are still working out as much as usual during these
months are truly commited to their fitness and will not easily have it interrupted.  It is my observation that
there are several different levels of commitment to fitness, that becomes very clear from Nov - March.

           Level #1    Fully Committed All Year

                The worst thing that could  happen to these women would be an injury that would prevent       them from maintaining their regular workouts.  They have certain workouts that they prefer or enjoy more but are open to alternatives if necessary, to make sure they keep up their exercise - which is at least 3x a week but often up to 6x a week, with a balance of strength training, cardio and core training/flexibility.
                 If they are out of town or vacationing, they enjoy physical activities like walking, hiking, riding bikes, swimming, skiing, golf, tennis, etc.  Or make use of a hotel or local gym.         
                 When their life gets busier than usual with work or holidays, they may miss a few workouts but try to make adjustments to make sure they work out several times a week.   They may go to classes or gym at different times than normal or do a quick workout at home.  When they don't exercise as much, they see the difference in their energy and don't feel as good.  Their body misses the exercise and that is what motivates them to stick with it.  And if they have over-eaten, they burn off the extra calories with additional exercise to avoid weight gain.
     Level #2   Partially Committed to Exercise

                            Women in this category know how important exercise is for weight control and health,
and want to exercise several times a week.  However, there are often many weeks during the year that their schedule is thrown off by work, family or activities that interfere with their usual workout time and they only manage to exercise once or twice a week or even skip a full week( or two or three). 
                           Instead of making adjustments to interruptions in their usual fitness schedule by going to the gym at different times, attending a different class, or doing something on their own, they just  skip it.  Others may  be a little too "picky" about what type of exercise they will do and aren't very flexible or willing to be involved with all aspects of fitness.  Some women love the soothing yoga or pilates but tend to avoid any cardio.  And some cardio queens can't be convinced about the benefits of strength training.  Sometimes
exercise just has to "be" in order to get the job done...which is protecting your heart, bones and wellness. 

   Level #3    Forced to Exercise

                         When women are 35 and under, I think that the majority are mainly motivated to exercise
 to lose or maintain weight and work on their physique.  And when you exercise on a regular basis long
enough, after awhile it will become a part of your being that you do not want to do without.  Older women who never exercised or stopped exercising for years, may begin to experience some health problems like obesity, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis or high cholesterol and blood pressure.  At this point, their doctor or family may  encourage or pressure them to start exercising for healing or to prolong their life.
                        They aren't really that crazy about exercise, as it feels difficult, tiring and awkward.  But  they attempt it, often overdoing it with too much too soon instead of working up intensity and duration slowly and progressively.   Unfortunately, it seems that only a small percentage of this group really sticks with it
long enough to eventually become Level #2 or #1 at this age.  So many give up on exercise all together or make new attempts a few times a year (especially in January).  They may feel guilty not exercising but will use any excuse to why they aren't.  Staying overly busy in their lives with work, family, other activites or holidays makes it seem ok to not have time for exercise.

      We have all levels of fitness here at Trim Up and we try to offer a variety of classes and programs that
will keep the #1's challenged and interested, the #2's encouraged and connected  and give the #3's support and training.   I was first motivated to exercise to lose weight after my first child but it took several years before I can say that I was "hooked" and wanted to exercise.  I slipped away from fitness for awhile when going through menopause's fatigue and emotional turmoil and understand how women can struggle with exercise.  Hopefully by providing a facility that will encourage women to protect their health with fitness and nutrition, I'll be able to convert some of those #2's and #3's into being #1!!                           

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Inspiration - Tosca Reno

One of the best fitness magazines I subscribe to is called "Oxygen", a Canadian publication that is packed with nutritional and fitness information along with personal stories of women
who have changed their bodies and lives through weight training and "eating clean".

The articles and columnists are very down to earth and encouraging,, especially for those new to strength training and the concept of clean eating, which is basically eliminating processed foods, sugar, white flour and replacing with whole foods high in protein and nutrients that will support the demands of exercise on the body.

My favorite columnist is Tosca Reno, who transformed her life in her early 40's by becoming fit and lean through weight training and healthy eating.  She has since written several books on the subject including her latest "Your Best Body Now" that I just finished.  We all love a success story and Tosca's is one that many women can relate to and think, "that could be me"!  Tosca dedicated herself to being a wife and mother for many years while losing sight of her own identity.  In her late 30's she was frumpy, overweight, depressed and trying to adjust to becoming a single mom to her 3 girls with her marriage ending.

She joined a gym and timidly began working out - just cardio at first, because she didn't know anything about exercise.  Once she started losing weight she began training with weights (her trainer later became her husband, who is editor of Oxygen magazine) and even entered  body building competitions.  As she transformed her body, she gained confidence in
her own abilities and talents which turned into a successful interior design business and later as a writer and speaker.

I firmly believe in the power of being physically fit to boost our self-confidence and energy in
every other aspect of our lives.  In reading her story, Tosca explains that it takes a commitment to give the time and effort necessary to obtain and maintain your healthiest body.  It is not easy to stay focused on eating clean and making exercise a priority but the
payoff is like a dream come true!  That feeling of confidence and pride in being fit, lean and
healthy overflows into relationships, career and quality of life in general.  Feelings of insecurity, fatigue and low motivation that  come from being overweight and/or not taking care of our health with proper exercise, nutrition and supplements can hold  us back from
happiness and getting the most out of life.

It is easier for me to incorporate exercise into my schedule since that is my job (yay!) but I struggle with eating clean and try to find ways to stay motivated.  Reading books like Tosca's and magazines like Oxygen each month help me stay positive and focused.

Being in your 50's and beyond does not have to mean a steady decline in health, vitality,
energy, sexiness and productivity.  There is so much to look forward to during this stage of life, along as we stay fit and healthy enough to enjoy it all!

Tosca "before" An out-of-shape Mom in her late 30's

Tosca - now in her 50's

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Take a Pill!

Last Sunday, while trying to navigate the maze of dead-end isles at the Super Walmart, looking for a Brita water filter (silly me, they were right next to the
paint - of course I should have known that!) I came across an item that I have been
meaning to get for awhile now. A weekday pill holder! Got one for Greg too! At the risk of sounding like a "senior", it is a must-have for organization lovers!It is perfect for our vitamin supplements. I like keeping mine in the car to take on the way to work with my first serving of water and Greg can easily pack his for business travel.
Taking daily supplements will make a huge difference in how you feel and will provide needed protection for our heart, bones, joints, immune system and more serious medical conditions and illness. As far as measures taken for preventative care, swallowing a few pills each day is such a SIMPLE task that can be life-changing.
I understand how challenging it is for women to juggle busy households, jobs,
activities, etc to make a commitment to regular exercise. And I know that it isn't
easy to cook and eat nutritious whole foods consistently. But supplementing your
diet with essential vitamins is so DO-Able and critical, especially for post-
menopausal women.
At a minimum, here are the 4 supplements women should be taking DAILY:

Multi-vitamin with high dosage of Vitamin C, E and B's
One-a-day brands will not provide enough protection; a high quality
multi for women will support our hormones with needed B vitamins
(I like TwinLab Women's Ultra Daily, it has capsules that fully digest
and an energy blend with herbs like gingko and ginseng plus 4000% of
B12 which is like getting a shot of it. If your multi has enough doses
of C, E and B, you won't need to take them separately)

Calcium (especially after menopause)
The amount in a multi is not enough protection for bone health,
an additional supplement is also needed

Vitamin D-3
There is more evidence that both men and women who are low on vitamin D
can suffer from a host of health problems and it is very easy to be
deficient, especially in the winter when we are exposed to less sunlight.
I double my D3 in the winter to 2000 IU each day. Vitamin D is also
necessary for calcium to be absorbed in our body and will help protect
us from getting colds, osteoporosis, depression, dementia, cancer, heart
disease and stroke.

Fish Oil
The Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have many health benefits but since
we aren't a big fish-eating society, a supplement is recommended. Fish oil
will protect against heart disease, joint and arthritis inflammation, depression
and aging cells. If you can't handle the "after-taste", try keeping your fish
oil in the freezor and take with food.

Another bonus for taking these four supplements is that they ALL will assist in
weight loss....and how easy is that? Ladies, make it a priority to stock up on
your vitamins and TAKE THEM. It's the least you can do for your health that will
have the greatest impact!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Better Late Than Never?

As an aerobics insructor and the owner of Trim Up #1 while in my 30's, I had a pretty easy time managing my weight and with the exception of skin cancers, had no
health concerns. Every year I got glowing reports from my physical with weight, cholesterol, blood pressure etc. and even through a turbulant divorce was always mentally and emotionally stable. I took great pride in "never" getting sick.

Fast forward to age 42...when all hell broke loose... aka MENOPAUSE! It seemed like in just over a few months, my whole body shape changed and I no longer
had a waistline. During that year I gained over 20 pounds! Part of the problem was that I was no longer teaching aerobics and had slacked off on the intensity and amount of exercise. I tried every kind of diet but the bulge didn't budge. I felt tired, old, miserable and grumpy in wearing too-tight clothes (but determined not to buy a bigger size, although I eventually gave in).

Emotionally, I was riding a roller coaster with regular bouts of anxiety, depression and weeping. Physically, my knees and hips ached, and my cholesterol and blood sugar tests were elevated at my 43 yr old physical, which was very embarrassing. This was not ME - Miss Fit!!

Fortunately, my ob/gyn specializes in female sexuality and put me on natural hormone replacement which gave almost instant relief from hot flashes and the erratic emotions. However, I still struggled with the extra belly fat.

Although I tried to workout 3-4 times a week by walking, the eliptical and an occasional aerobics class, it wasn't until the fall of 2007 that I started seeing positive changes in my physique.... when I decided to reopen Trim Up and began working out seriously with free weights and higher intensity cardio.

Once I started teaching classes again and working out at Trim Up almost every day,
my body slowly got stronger with less joint pain. I am still on HRT but feel even
better since gradually improving my diet over the past few years. My cholesterol is back down and no blood sugar issues.

I feel like I'm back to feeling as good as I did in my 30's but I imagine it would
be a different story if I had not (1) gotten on hormone replacement and (2)opened Trim Up.

There are so many health issues that arise in our later years that can be prevented with proper diet and regular exercise in our earlier years. Even 20 extra pounds on your body, over time, can cause back or knee problems that may prohibit normal activity years later. Lack of weight-bearing exercise, estrogen and a proper
diet can lead to osteoporosis. A poor diet, extra weight, especially around the belly, and no cardio exercise means high risk for heart disease, and damage that forever changes your health and life. Type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis are other
diseases that could be prevented with a fit lifestyle.

Many busy women juggling work and family don't make time for nutrition and fitness
until the kids are grown and/or they start seeing signs of poor health. It can be
uncomfortable and at times downright HARD, but it is never too late to start taking
better care of your body! Although some conditions can not be reversed, exercise and nutrition can make a huge difference in managing your health concerns.

So don't wait to exercise...sooner or later!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Temptations & Tests of Willpower

Following routines and being in a healthy environment can really help us stick
to "clean eating" and regular exercise but getting away from your "zone" can be a
true test of willpower and resolve!

Vacations, traveling and other summer activities can make it difficult and downright impossible at times to maintain our healthy lifestyles. If you are like me,
I try to eliminate unhealthy foods from my surroundings and just don't have any junkfood at home anymore. Even though I prefer eating whole foods now and eat well most of the time, it doesn't mean that I don't have moments of weakness and cravings for sugary, fatty "goodies". Those weak moments always occur in the evening when I am extremely tired and/or had a stressful day. And if there is a drop of ice cream in the frig or leftover Halloween candy still lurking in the pantry, I will find it!

So, when my daughter moved in with us for a few weeks while between houses, along with the contents of her refrigerator, I realized that I don't have as much willpower as I thought! With the chaos and stress of her move, her animals visiting as well and disruption to our normally peaceful abode, I could not stay away from her ice cream sandwiches every night!

I did have a little more resolve a few weeks later at the family beach vacation in a house of 5 families that had cabinets stocked with chips, munchies and sweets.
Instead of giving into a junkfood feast all week, I really tried to stay away for the most part....but it wasn't easy! Greg and I did exercise almost every morning, which helped keep me more mindful of how I was eating.

This weekend Greg and I are taking a road trip to Ohio and I will be prepared with some of my regular foods like nuts, protein bars & fruit so I'm not tempted to eat crazily when we stop for meals. Eating good carbs and protein every few hours helps to keep blood sugar levels stable, which is key to fight cravings, mindless eating and fatigue.

Because it is so easy to be faced with food temptations and situations where it is hard to eat properly, I believe that the first rule of healthy eating is to clean
up your kitchen and day to day meals. Starting with a good breakfast, packing a lunch and snacks for work, and planning/preparing lean dinners at home during the week should get to be habit if done long enough. Then you can enjoy richer food and
calories for the weekend, evenings out, social events or traveling without gaining
weight or jeopardizing your health.

Happy Summer!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Have A PLAN!!!

Here is some advice that can be life-changing:

Have a Plan

You can have a plan of active for many things in life....from daily plans to broader career or personal life plans. The key is to think about what you need to
do to be successful in meeting the end result and then have a mental plan of action
to execute.

For high school and college grads, having a plan for their future career or goals to live independently is needed to chart a course and stay focused. Or their future could be many years of living with the parents, wasting time drifting along, or making bad decisions that follow with alot of regret years later.

As far as achieving goals in weight loss, fitness and health, the first thing that
needs to happen is to establish of plan of action (and then of course follow it!).
Decide what is required in order to get the end result and then take the necessary steps to make it happen. Schedule workouts like appointments that can't be broken,
take the time to have the right foods available, and eliminate the temptations or obstacles that could undermine your progress.

Part of a successful Plan is having a "WHAT IF" sub-plan. Be ready for times that
interrupt your first plan of working late, social events or injury.
Your backup plan will carry you through during those trying times when the first impulse is to kick your plan to the curb and get off track.

Here is some more life-changing advice:

Learn to say NO!

It is nearly impossible to devote the time and attention needed to be healthy, eat right and exercise regularly when you are stressed out by a too-full schedule. Take you and your family's physical and mental health seriously by limiting activities and commitments that end up leading you on the "take-out track",no time for fitness and insufficient rest and sleep. Have a family meeting to map out a plan to make
nutrition and fitness a is the best thing you can do for your kids!

To quote Albert Einstein: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again
and expecting different results.

I think it is less "craziness" and more apathy combined with getting caught up with
our "go-go-go" society.
Trim Up's SummerSTRONG nutrition and fitness program has a definite Plan of Action
that IF FOLLOWED, will guarantee results!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Liver Alert!

I started taking 1 or 2 Tylenol PM each night about 15 years ago when my sleeping
troubles began and only switched to Simply Sleep (which is TyPM without the Tylenol, basically benedryl)a year ago. I vaguely recall hearing something about how taking
too much Tylenol was not good for you but never bothered to find out why or how much is too much.

After reading a story in Life Extension's Magazine, a non-profit organization that studies nutrition science and health-related topics, about acetaminophen (the pain & fever reliever drug commonly known as Tylenol)I decided it was time to learn more.

Here's the lowdown on acetaminophen:
~ it is the leading cause of acute liver damage, even in doses taken in the
recommended range
~ alcohol consumption will greatly increase the risk of liver damage due to
~ malnourishment or fasting (from anorexia, flu or other illness) decreases the
liver's ability to detoxify acetaminophen which can be life-threatening
~ combining Tylenol with other over-the-counter or prescription medications that
also contain acetaminophen can cause an accidental but lethal overdose
**Vicodin, Percocet, & some cough, cold & flu meds also contain it**

The FDA has known about the overdoses and deaths caused by acetaminophin for decades but of course has been slow and cautious to react. There is now a weak warning in the fine print of the products about using with alcohol and to only use the recommended doses but doesn't really convey the serious risks of overmedication. And there is no mention of the risk of taking while fasting while there are more and more cases of liver failure and death caused from this.

This is just another example of the FDA protecting the financial interests of pharmaceutical companies instead of the well-being and health interests of Americans.
With the information and resources available to us on the internet, at least now we
can obtain the facts from unbiased scientific studies and advocates.
No more Tylenol or Simply Sleep for me, as my liver has taken enough abuse!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Coconut Crazy!

I read the most interesting book last weekend, "The Coconut Oil Miracle", that I highly recommend. I have been substituting other cooking oils for coconut oil for several months now but had not tried using it on my skin. But now that I know how powerful the oil is for skin and hair, I am replacing my moisturizers (and Retinol)with it and hope to turn back into a 30 yr old very soon!

What I learned is this:
~ commercial creams are mostly water and will soften skin only until the water
evaporates or is carried away in the bloodstream
~ most lotions contain some type of processed vegetable oil that is stripped of
all of the natural, protective antioxidants that are so important to skin care
~ coconut oil has anti-aging properties by removing dead cells on the skin, giving
a smoother, healthy glow and by strengthening the connective tissues that
supports skin, to help with wrinkles & sagging
~ coconut oil will protect the skin from germs, infection and bacteria
~ the anti-bacterial properties of coconut oil aid in healing skin conditions
~ coconut oil protects the skin against UV light and free radicals
~ applying the oil to your scalp will control dandruff and makes the best
conditioner for soft, healthy hair

Next I am going to try coconut oil soap and coconut cream concentrate for baking. The book also had some great sounding recipes with coconut oil that I can't wait to try. If you are skeptical, do the research like I have and you will see that coconut oil is the best kept secret!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The "Real Thing" is Really Bad!

There are some things in our American culture that - through advertising - become a part of our lives and a symbol of happiness. Whenever I see the red Coca Cola can I think of puppies licking a cute little boy along with the tune "Have a Coke and a Smile". Cokes represent good times, bubbly refreshment, yummy taste and an energy kick. It seems like we are being unAmerican to question the integrity of the product or to turn against it (McDonald's is another example).

But as our country continues to get fatter and unhealthier, we really need to stop supporting all of the products that are bad for us, even though we grew up with them and get warm fuzzies seeing the familiar logos. These companies are well aware of the potential (and proven) health risks with their products. Yet they continue to try to fool us into thinking that there is no danger in their consumption. Diet Coke has even partnered with The Heart Truth "Healthy heart" campaign for women (which is why there are big red hearts on cans)when there is evidence that their
products can contribute to increased heart risk!

Let's go over the facts about Diet Coke:

> The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid, which will dissolve a nail in
4 days. Think about what it can do to your stomach lining! It also leaches
calcium from bones for osteoporosis risk increase.

> To carry Coca Cola concentrate, trucks must use Hazardous Material placecards
reserved for highly corrosive materials

> Distributors of Coke have been using it to clean their truck engines for 20 yrs.

> The articial sweetener Aspartame in diet coke is heat unstable and breaks down
into formaldehyde and other toxins when exposed to high heat (and aren't cokes
stored in hot warehouses and trucks before getting to the store?)

> Studies have shown that exposure to aspartame can cause symptoms of MS, seizures
vision problems and many other physical health problems.

> Even if you have not felt any of the poisoning effects of aspartame, the long-
term effects are unknown. And it is believed that slow, silent damage could be
seen after one year, five years or even 30 yrs, and possibly irreversible.

> Even the FDA denied approval of aspartame for 8 years, until a newly appointed
commissioner overruled the final scientific review panel, approved aspartame,
and then proceeded to work for the initial owner of aspartame's PR firm! And
how much can we really trust the FDA???

> Use of artificial sweetener products will confuse your body into thinking that
glucose is on its way (after tasting the sweetness) but then when it doesn't
receive the sugar, will send messages to the brain that you need more sugar!
So there are more sugar cravings that lead to weight gain.

I started drinking diet coke to wean myself off of my sweet tea habit,about 15 years ago. I drank one can every morning (since I don't drink coffee) plus one or two more in the afternoon/evening. I even had diet cokes in our frig here at Trim Up
for sale! But after taking the time and effort to really improve all aspects of my diet, I eventually ditched the daily coke habit and now drink more water and green tea,sweetened with Stevia (a natural sugar substitute). I still enjoy a diet coke
occasionally but feel so much better after getting it out of my system! Yay!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Power of Protein

"You are what you eat".....and here's why:

> every 3 months, your body produces a new skeleton
> every 6 weeks, all of the cells are replaced in your liver
> every 5 days, you have a new stomach lining
> 98% of atoms in your body are replaced within one year

In order for your body to constantly be replacing and generating new cells you need
enough protein. And if you are physically active, even more protein is needed. And if you are over age 50, you need even MORE protein!

As we get older, we have less total body protein due to a decrease in skeletal muscle and less efficient use of protein by our body. Less protein will cause impaired wound healing, loss of skin elasticity and inability to fight infection.
Sarcopenia is an age-related loss of muscle mass, strength and function that affects 30% of people over age 60. This condition can limit older adults' daily physical activities, increase risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and reduce their quality of life.

Resistance training can only increase muscle mass if there is enough protein readily available to repair and rebuild muscle fibers that are broken down with exercise. The best way to have a net gain in muscle mass is to consume WHEY PROTEIN
within 30 minutes after strength training and to consume 20% of your total daily calories in protein-rich foods. It is very possible and likely that women who exercise regularly but do not consume enough protein, will actually lose muscle.

Whey protein is the best source of protein that is complete in all amino acids. Whey is better at stimulating muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth during the recovery period because its amino acide profile is almost identical to that of our skeletal muscle. Whey protein has little to no fat or carbohydrates, is low in calories and easily digested. It also contains components that help stimulate the release of two appetite-suppressing hormones for a greater impact on satiety and weight control. Whey protein helps to maintain a healthy immune system by increasing the levels of glutathione, an anti-oxidant required for a healthy immune system. And exercise may reduce glutathione levels.

I am always reminding my members about the importance of protein, especially whey, but unfortunately I don't think too many bother to follow through. I guess women still consider protein supplements a "man thing". But I am persistant!

ps The Blender Bottle is the BEST way to shake up a quick protein drink. And
for blending a smoothie I love my magic bullet!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happiness is Hormones

Having experienced menopause in my early 40's, I am now happily on natural hormone replacement therapy (HRT)and never plan on stopping. I see so many women my age struggling with weight gain, loss of sleep, anxiety, fatigue and various health issues including osteopenia (the beginning of osteoporosis)and I always ask if they
have had their hormone levels tested. There is really a need for more accurate information on the effects of menopause on our bodies and safe treatment.

Hormones regulate virtually every bodily function and are critical to our body's health. The natural hormone cycle is designed to give men and women vitality for reproduction during childbearing/rearing years and then a decline with aging. The perimenopausal and menopausal years for women are really a withering away of muscle
and bone along with loss of mental sharpness as hormone production decreases. Many women try to bravely survive this period without seeking treatment and some will seek medical help only to be put on anti-depressants. Eventually the symptoms will lessen as their bodies adapt to functioning without proper hormonal levels but when hormones are depleted, they will not return without HRT.

The benefits of natural hormones are dramatic but unnecessary fear of HRT is still
common because of studies that showed that SYNTHETIC hormones (made of urine from
pregnant horses!)caused cancer. NATURAL hormones do not cause cancer, they prevent it. Other benefits include:
> heart & vascular disease is prevented
> aging of cells is significantly slowed
> osteoporosis is prevented or even reversed
> mental and/or emotional dysfunction is prevented or reversed
> anti-depressant drugs are unnecessary or dosage lowered

I have a few aches & pains from some over-use injuries in the past and don't sleep as well as I used to which is normal for my age, but I would be a different person than I am today without HRT....probably still 25 lbs overweight with achy knees, thinning hair, low sex drive, and too tired for exercise. I certainly would not have had the motivation to re-open Trim Up! Regular exercise, a good diet and vitamin regimen helps to give me energy and good health but my hormones help me to look, think and feel young and happy!

p.s. My doctor/GYN is Alyse Kelly-Jones at Mintview Gyn, 704 377-5675. She specializes in womens sexuality which includes hormones. I get my hormone levels tested each year at my annual check-up which makes it easy and affordable.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Exiting The Comfort Zone

Another Bootcamp session started this week here at Trim Up which I love leading. The participants come to class ready for anything I can dish out and really give it
their best effort. There are all levels of fitness and degrees of physical limitation due to bad knees, ankles, hips (after age 40 it seems everyone has
"something"!)but it is so rewarding to see the group's accomplishments in fitness.

The key to making positive changes in your body and wellness often involves just
getting out of your comfort zone. Your body will not change unless you make it do
something it is not used to. For example, Cardio Queens who think hours of aerobics is the best way lose fat will need to get into the weight room and learn about strength training. Waking up an hour earlier to exercise before work is sometimes the only way to fit in a workout on busy weekdays but its not easy dragging out of bed the first week or so.

Most people struggle the most with consistent clean eating. It does take a lot of effort, time and planning to have the right foods available each and every day. It is so much easier to pull out the lean cuisines at the end of a long day or eat out most meals. I tell Bootcampers if they can be very diligent with nutrition for one week, they will feel so much better that it will motivate them to want to continue good eating habits.

I heard Kelly Osborne talking about her weight loss on a talk show and I liked her response when someone asked her if she liked to exercise. She said that she hates the gym but she likes what the gym does for her body and makes her want to go. Getting out of our comfort zone isn't something that we want to do and it may feel more like the twilight zone at first but the payoff could be life-changing!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How much should we be exercising???

First its 3x a week, then we hear an hour a day, and now the latest is only 20 minutes a week! It gets confusing!

Any media attention on fitness is a good thing I guess, as it gets inactive people more aware of the need for exercise. But just hearing bits and pieces from
extensive studies on the news can be misunderstood in the translation.

This is my answer on the question of how much should we be exercising: It depends.
More specifically, it depends on your fitness goals, whether its for weight loss,
health maintenance or athletic training. And it depends on what your diet is like.
It will take more exercise to burn excess calories just to maintain weight.

For women who want to be healthy but don't need to worry about their weight, moderate aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week plus resistance training at least twice a week is adequate. Adding yoga or pilates will improve
flexibility and strengthen the core.

For women who also want to reduce body fat, more intense aerobic exercise is needed, at least 4 times a week (more if calories are not restricted). Interval training where you push yourself to the high end of your aerobic training zone for a minute or two, then rest for a minute is very effective and efficient. Strength training with heavy weights is the best way to rebuild lost muscle mass as we age, to boost metabolism and burn more calories.

One mistake I think alot of women make is that the only exercise they do on a regular basis is walking around the neighborhood. A fast-paced walk to elevate the heartrate is fine for cardiovascular health but it is at a very low to moderate aerobic intensity. For weight control, higher intensity exercise with more muscles
engaged plus strength training should also be included.

The key to exercise is that some is better than none but the proper amount can make a world of difference to your health and how you look and feel!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I was listening to a discussion on the radio about what people would do differently if they could go back to their youth, knowing what they know now. One woman was saying how "hair products" could have changed the course of her life. I had good hair but was constantly trying to force my fair skin to be something it wasn't.....tan! There were many, many sunburns that I suffered with during my teens (I always smelled like vinegar which I don't think really helped!). Yes I am sure that those years of irresponsible outdoor sunbathing ("I always burn first" mentality) contributed to my skin problems later in life.

In my mid 20's I did become more responsible with sunscreen, especially after having a redheaded baby, and only burned a few times a season, with limited sun exposure.

In my early 30's is where the real problems started....with an indoor tanning bed. We were all convinced that it was the "safe" way to tan and although you can gradually build up a tan without burning, we were clueless to how powerful and harmful those UV rays really are. The first Trim Up had its own tanning bed and I used it pretty much year round for about 7 years. It is very addicting...feeling the warmth as you doze off for a nice 20 minute cat nap....and the body actually releases endorphins during the tanning sessions that can get you hooked.

My first basal cell skin cancer was removed in my late 30's but I continued to tan
(I'm telling you, its addicting!) however I did begin using some of the self-tanning
creams that had just come out to supplement and only tanned in the spring/summer.

My 40's were spent in and out of the dermatologist's office with probably a dozen more skin cancer surgeries and several non-surgical treatments that were not very pleasant. The cancers have been expensive to treat and have left noticeable scarring. I was fortunate that my skin cancer was treatable but there are more and more cases of melanoma being reported and at younger ages. My sister-in-law died from melanoma a few years ago which was heartbreaking. Not everyone will develop cancer from tanning but one thing is certain - tanning is risky business and at the very least will cause premature aging of skin (thankfully I had enough sense to always cover my face while tanning).

My 50's have started with regular preventative light treatments that stop abnormal cancer cells from forming and that seems to be working. I always find shade when outdoors for more than an hour, wear sunscreen EVERY DAY but have the best tan I've ever had.....thanks to Mystic Spray Tanning!

We should all be aware of the dangers of indoor tanning (it has been proven that UV tanning can cause skin cancer)but it is amazing to me that children are allowed to tan and even more amazing that parents let their kids tan! I hope that one day soon this issue will receive as much recognition as cigarette smoking for being a health risk and that kids under 18 will be protected. Responsible parents would never buy their child cigarettes and let them smoke and I don't see how UV tanning is any different.

Sunbathing and indoor UV tanning is NOT WORTH IT.....pass it on!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fat to Chew On

It is an on-going learning process in my journey of healthy eating, as I am always
picking up information from publications, new studies and research on nutrition. What we know as consumers about good/bad foods and products in general usually comes from media and advertising, which can sometimes be misleading.

We have all heard that saturated fat is "bad" and unsaturated fat is "good" as far as raising cholesterol and risk of heart disease. For years I have read everywhere that Canola oil is the best mono/poly-unsaturated fat to use for cooking, with Olive oil a close second. And that coconut and palm oil were big No-Nos.

However, I have recently come across some articles promoting Coconut oil as the healthiest fat and did some research. It seems that ORGANIC, UNREFINED coconut oil actually PROMOTES heart health and helps LOWER cholesterol, helps with weight loss, helps prevent osteoporosis, fights disease, supports immune system,and raises metabolism by burning more fat and providing more energy!! WHAT???!!!!

It seems that the good coconut oil got caught up in the bad press on the refined,
hydrogenated coconut oil, which like all hydrogenated oils, raise cholesterol whether they are saturated or not. Organic, unrefined coconut oil, although high in saturated fat, is made up of fatty acids that are healthy and have not been altered by the oil refining process like trans fats. Coconut oil is the most concentrated natural source of those medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) that are easily absorbed, burned and used as energy for metabolism as they are sent straight to the liver and converted into energy, just like carbohydrates.

For cooking, coconut oil is highly heat resistant and more stable than all other
vegetable and olive oils. Since it is solid at room temperature and liquid at body temperature, it is shelf stable for months, even years. It is not available in grocery stores but can be found at Earth Fare and other health food stores.

Here is the run-down on healthiest fats & oils:
BEST: Organic unrefined coconut oil, Organic extra virgin olive oil
BETTER: Butter from grass-fed cows, Unrefined coconut oil, Extra virgin olive oil
GOOD: Organic butter, Refined coconut oil, Olive oil
AVOID: Canola oil, Margarine, Soybean oil, Vegetable oils (excluding coconut oil,
palm oil, cocoa butter, olive oil,flaxseed oil), Shortening

I found some Coconut oil at the Health Store on Independence Blvd at Idlewild (formerly Home Economist) and am starting to take the recommended daily dose of 3 tablespoons. It is so easy to add it to protein smoothies. Adding coconut oil to my diet is such a simple way to get leaner and healthier - yahoo!!

If only Almond Joys were so healthy!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eating Clean

It is a myth that a calorie is a calorie, no matter what you eat. While counting calories is important for weight control, what you eat will have a huge effect on
your metabolism, energy level, health, mood, fitness level - really everything is
related to nutrition.

Here at Trim Up, I often hear women say that they typically skip breakfast or always
eat a Lean Cuisine meal at lunch or drink wine every night or rarely cook from scratch or drink several sodas daily. They are here to get or stay fit and to lose or maintain weight. However, their diet is not supporting their fitness goals.

Basically, "Eating Clean" is the practice of eating whole, natural foods and avoiding
processed, packaged foods that contain preservatives, additives, chemicals and
hydrogenated, trans-fats.

A person that eats clean generally practices the following:

Eliminates refined sugar
Cooks healthy meals
Packs healthy meals
Makes healthy choices when dining out
Drinks a lot of water
Eats small snacks between(lighter)meals
Eliminates alcoholic beverages & sodas (or significantly limits)
Always eats breakfast

It does take discipline to change bad eating patterns, especially for people who actually become addicted to sugar, carbs and fast food. I usually suggest gradually eliminating unhealthy items and replacing with more nutritious options. Once you feel the benefits of a better diet it is easier to make it a way of life.

Combining effective exercise with the practice of eating clean will transform your
body into becoming lean and strong while feeling GREAT! Definitely worth the effort!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Variety = Results!

We are creatures of habit, even more so I've noticed, as we get older. We tend to create routines that have a guaranteed outcome with no surprises. That may be ok when dining out but can be counterproductive when working out.

Performing the same activity repeatedly at the same level makes the body more efficient, which eventually results in lower caloric expenditure during the exercise.
This is also known as "adaptation syndrome" and has been shown to decrease calories
burned as much as 25%.

A way to avoid these plateaus in fitness level and fat/weight loss is with CROSS TRAINING, which is a term that refers to a fitness routine that involves several different forms of exercise. By mixing up your routine with a new form of exercise, you are surprising your body, which responds by burning more calories in an effort to "adjust" to the new movement (this is also known as "muscle confusion"). Cross training will also help prevent muscle strength imbalances that can develop and reduce the risk of injury from repetitive strain or overuse.

For Valentines Day, I made a video for Greg with 3 different exercise intervals that combined cardio and strength. (Blaire had a good time laughing at me while behind the camera!) He works out at home but had gotten into a rut of the same workout so now I can tell him what to do even while I'm away! heehee

It is great to get out and walk the neighborhood for some cardiovascular exercise but if you are not changing the route, pace or intensity, you will not get the same results after 6-8 weeks.

If you get most of your workouts on a treadmill or eliptical, it is important to vary the settings each time. Walking on an incline will engage more leg muscles for a harder workout. Doing 30 second bursts of sprinting in intervals will really shock your mucles!

As a group fitness instructor, I am always looking for ways to vary the aerobic segments in class. If we do the same low impact moves every week without adding something different, our bodies will become too conditioned and limit progress. New methods of exercise are needed in order to boost metabolism and get better results.
Or just increase the intensity by pushing yourself a little more during class.
The same is true for strength training, by keeping a variety of resistance with machines, free weights, bands, pilates and yoga.

Greg and I got bicycles for Christmas and now that I have replaced the skinny painful seat with a comfy saddle seat, I can't wait to get outside this weekend and enjoy the -hopefully- spring-type weather. My leg muscles will really be confused!!

So try doing some form of cross training for more gains in fitness, weight loss and less boredom. Variety is the spice of life!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Crock, Continued

Just wanted to add a few more tips on this fascinating subject!

Cooking the crockpot dish overnight and then just reheating when ready to eat at
dinner time can solve the time-crunch problem with busy mornings and if not getting
home within 10 hours of cooking time.

After researching how safe slow cookers are to leave on while away from home, it seems that there is extremely low risk of fire, mainly because this is what these
appliances are made for. Just check for any frayed wires and if you don't have
granite countertops, place it on a pizza stone or thick baking sheet for extra


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's A Crock!

Remember the avocado green crockpots from the 70's that were trotted out for holiday parties, full of gourmet cocktail weenies or meatballs? It seemed like every household had one but through the years the crockpot turned into an embarrassment...
we became too cool for them! The stigma must have been that crockpot cooking was only done by those too lazy to prepare a real meal...that any self-respecting cook would never throw all ingredients into a pot and just walk away! But times they are a-changin' and these days, those who are able to produce any type of home-cooking versus restaurant, packaged or convenience meals, especially during the work week, are now viewed as Superhuman!

And so the trusty, dusty Crockpot a.k.a. Slow-Cooker has re-emerged as the smart,
efficient and successful method of meal preparation for active lifestyles. Hopefully a growing trend, there is starting to be more awareness of nutrition and why Americans keep getting fatter - primarily, inactivity and processed foods. The
key to weight control and good health is to eat whole, nutritious foods (and that means "home-cooking") along with regular exercise. Slow-cooking gives you more time and freedom to add workouts to a busy day. The solution has always been there.... way in the back of the kitchen cabinet, behind the fondue pot...waiting patiently to earn a spot on the counter, or at least move up to the front of the shelf.... the
"CP" (I think it needs a new, hip name since re-inventing itself)!

For the young, under fifty crowd, who may not have been familiar (or interested) in such things, here's a little background. Like the Q-tip, CrockPot is actually a brand name by Rival that was so catchy and popular that its name became the term for all similar products.
A slow cooker is basically just a big electric casserole dish that cooks food with
low, steady, moist heat. The great thing about this method is that during the 8-12
hour cooking time, the flavors in the pot combine and results in tasty, juicy goodness. There is nothing like coming home after a long day to the delicious smell of dinner, ready to eat!

Using a slow-cooker improves the odds that you'll eat healthier food, because your dinner will be ready when you are so there is less temptation to opt for fattening
take-out, pizza or snacking. Other ways the crockpot method is a healthy option:

* Cooking in broth or water doesn't add fat or calories
* Very lean meats come out tender and juicy
* It is easy to combine vegetables with the protein all in one pot
* You control the sodium, sugar, fat and calories
* Vitamins and other nutrients aren't lost in the cooking process because
the food is cooked at a low temperature and the cooking liquid becomes
part of the dish rather than discarded

All it takes is some pre-planning before weekly grocery shopping to have ingredients
ready to throw in the pot. You can find easy crockpot recipes doing a search on the internet and they even have crockpot cookbooks. Some of the best dishes I've made have been with beef...adding broth or onion soup and cream of mushroom or celery soup makes a delicious gravy for beef tips or pot roast. And its the best way to prepare less-expensive cuts of beef. Also, it doesn't need to be exact measurements with ingredients, just make sure there is enough liquid to cover the meat and place potatoes and veggies on the bottom to cook thoroughly. The slow-cooker is also
wonderful for making soups and stews.

There was actually an article in the Food section of the Observer today about slow cookers, with a Pot Roast recipe. This article talks about the new fancy cookers with duo and trio pots in one base with more features. But if you don't have one and I've managed to sell you on the idea, the standard model with a low & high temperature switch and ceramic pot that can be removed for cleaning is all you need.

So get crockin'!!! And please share any favorite recipes - thanks!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Change in Plans

Doug was 65 and planned to retire in July and move to Mexico with his wife of 45 years. They had sold their house at the lake along with all of their furnishings and possessions and were only taking their clothes (and Doug's beloved recliner) in a U-Haul to Mexico. It was what they had worked, saved and dreamed of for years.
What they did not plan on was Doug having a stroke last week and dying days later.

Doug's untimely death is so sad and such a loss for his family, co-workers and many
friends and acquaintances. I can only imagine what his wife must be feeling...he was her world ever since she was 15 yrs old and now to be without him must be so lonely and scary. Her retirement years will be nothing like she had anticipated and now everything has changed so suddenly.

I always look at the obituaries in the paper each morning and wonder how people died who were "young" (funny how my idea of young has changed over the years!). People lose their life every day unexpectedly but when it happens to someone you know and know their "story", it makes you stop and think...."what if". I did not know Doug very well but he was a close friend to some friends of mine so I have heard alot of the details about his death and family, etc and it has been on my mind alot.

It is sometimes hard to understand God's plan for us. All we can do is to try to be prepared as much as possible for the unexpected, live life to its fullest by doing our best to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy, appreciate all of the things in life that make us happy and accept the things we can not change.

My own life certainly has its challenges and is not perfect by any means but I am going to make more of an effort to keep my mind and heart full of love and gratitude for my many blessings. Because no matter what is happening with the economy, weather, jobs, bank accounts or other "problems".....LIFE is good!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

ANYONE can be Fit!

Maybe it's S.A.D.D. (Seasonal Depression due to lack of sunlight)that is making me more aware of those lucky people we all know who seem to be always jetting off to an exciting, warm paradise for some R&R. Or the ones who have vacation homes readily available for the last-minute weekend getaway. It is just human nature to be envious of other people who have things that we are lacking. For others it may be someone's job, height or designer wardrobe that you longingly admire.

But I got to thinking the other day that there is one aspect of life that everyone
has the ability to acquire, no matter what they look like, how much money they make or how they live. And this "thing" will improve the quality of life more than any vacation home or 401k.... it is called "good health by being physically fit".

It doesn't even matter if you can't afford a gym membership. Cardio exercise can be done by putting one foot in front of the other or jumping rope in the yard. Strength training can be done with just body weight (pushups, pullups, lunges, squats) or by lifting heavy objects (all cavemen had were rocks!) Actually this back to basics concept is now a fitness trend with high-priced bootcamps!

But really, isn't it amazing how we all have the potential to be athletic? We may not be Olympic material, but with a commitment to regular exercise can be in the Very Fit category. And even though we may not make the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, we do have the ability to change our body shape, be lean and toned. Of course proper nutrition plays a huge role in body composition as you can not out-train a poor diet!

I think fitness is a great boost for self-esteem, especially for those who don't feel particularly athletic or co-ordinated. There is always some type of physical activity that you can do successfully for gains in cardiovascular and muscular strength. Seeing and feeling healthy changes in your body can be empowering and have a positive effect in all other areas in your life.

Something to think about while sitting on the sofa watching the Olympics, huh?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

You Could Be Another's Inspiration!

Here at Trim Up, I would guess that 75% of our members are over age 40, and as young as 16 with the oldest in their 70's. I guess the main reason we don't have more younger women is lack of childcare....although our younger moms say they like having exercise as part of their "alone time".

Some of our members are relatively new to a fitness program but many of the 40+ women have been exercising for decades. Yes, we start to have "issues" with knees, backs or necks and need to be a little more conscious of certain movements that could be problematic. So modifications are the "norm" around here and always offered and encouraged. But otherwise there is not much difference in the abilities of our age groups (except for the menopausal obsession with room temperature!)

One day I was talking to a 20 yr old girl who recently joined our program. She is very thin but had not been exercising regularly for awhile. She made the comment that she liked taking classes here because when she feels like she can't keep going during aerobics, she will look at the 50-something next to her who is going strong and it pushes her to stay with it. I love it!

I bet there are other people in our lives who notice how we take care of ourselves with exercise. Making fitness a priority and part of our daily routine can make a huge impact on our families as actions speak louder than words. Stopping at the gym after work a few times a week may mean that dinner will be delayed (or in the crockpot if planning ahead)but important enough to make adjustments. So instead of feeling guilty for being away from home, think about how you are being a positive role model, good parent and/or a responsible person with high self-esteem!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Where Has All The Good Sleep Gone?

As I roll over in bed for the umpteenth time, I manage to bump into my reading
lamp, with a rattle that startles me from semi to fully awake. Hoping that I did not disturb either Greg or the dog (in her bed next to ours), I reach under my side of the bed and pull out the alarm clock to see that it is 3:00am. I vaguely recall dreaming about my sister-in-law in some crazy scenerio, most likely stemming from her Facebook status earlier that day. Once again I think about getting up in time for the 7:00am bootcamp class and thankfully go right back to sleep.

Now it is 4:30am and I listen to the sounds behind our bathroom door where Greg is getting ready for work. He usually gets up later than me except for weekly business trips to Raleigh, and I can typically sleep through his early routine or quickly go back to sleep. But this morning I am thinking about that early bootcamp so just lie there in a semi-conscious state but hearing sounds of the coffee grinder, doors opening, dog scratching,etc. I don't want to leave my warm comfy cocoon but the need to pee finally motivates movement. I think, maybe a quick nap later this afternoon....but no I remember a Mammogram appointment. Ugh!!

I really cannot recall the last time I had a sound night's sleep without assistance from a pill.....think it was probably 1993. My sleep problems probably began with divorce and peri-menopause in my 30's. But here I am happily remarried and on hormone replacement therapy, and still missing the wonderful deep sleep that I enjoyed (and took for granted)for so many years. Even during marital stress, caring for 3 kids and 2 businesses, I could always sleep. Those babies could have been crying for half an hour before I realized the sounds were coming from the monitor next to my head. Unless they were kicking me (hard!) I wouldn't know that a young'un had crawled in our bed during the night. No matter how many times my sleep was interrupted with sick children or late-night teens, I could easily fall back asleep. I even slept through Hugo!!

It does not seem fair that after hours of lost sleep during child-rearing years, I now can not sleep through the night in my empty nest! I do everything right ....totally dark room (hence the clock under the bed), no tv watching in bed, no disturbing reading material or tv shows before bedtime, no heavy food at night, etc. Although I can fall asleep easily enough, if I don't take a "Simply Sleep" (tylenol pm without the tylenol) I will be waking up constantly all night long.

I know that I am not alone....lack of sleep is so common in women as we age. The night sweats are the worst but thankfully HRT does cure that condition, which improves chances for slumber. Sleep deprivation is a real health risk factor for weight gain, hypertension, diabetes and can actually double the risk of heart disease. So I will continue to take the little blue pill each night as faithfully as my estrogen, calcium, D3 and fish oil....and keep dreaming of sweet, deep sleep!

Monday, January 18, 2010

What You See Is What You Get!

Have you ever heard of "Vision Boards"? They are simply a collage of pictures, words or sayings that you can put together to represent goals that you have in your life. They can be short-term - like pictures of a vacation you want to take this summer - that reminds you of what you have to look forward to during those endless work weeks. Or they can be long-term, with images of what you hope for in the future. For help with weight-loss, photos of a slimmer self or the MOB dress you want to wear at an upcoming wedding can be a daily reminder of why you shouldn't skip aerobics class when you just want to curl up in your snuggie and watch Oprah! Vision Boards can help you keep your goals in sight and make them reality!
The Vision Board that I started shows some both short and long term goals. There are some projects around our house that I'd love to see completed in the next few years like our media room and landscaping. This will take some sacrifice in our current spending habits, so hopefully a daily visual will help curb unnecessary purchases as we keep the big goals in sight. I also like to visualize what our life will be like at retirement age, when we will have more free time for the things we enjoy... like bike riding, tennis and travel. This active lifestyle will require that Greg and I stay fit and healthy along the we remind ourselves that the bowls of oatmeal are really paying off! By the way, the woman sitting on the piano
is 86 yrs old! And it may take me that long to regain my long-lost piano playing skills!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's Complicated?

If you are in the mood for a great "chick-flick", especially if you are over 40, and even more so if you have been divorced - "It's Complicated" is a very entertaining romantic comedy. My husband actually liked it take your man!
It was refreshing to see an older woman (Meryl Streep is 60ish)depicted as happy,
attractive, accomplished and with some sex appeal. Even though her character Jane had her share of insecurities about aging, she seemed comfortable in her own skin and had created a full and happy life for herself since divorcing. There were several funny scenes in the movie that women can relate to (like how our bodies look much better when we're lying down!)and hopefully can feel better about when we realize that it's a normal part of getting older that happens to the best of us. And, I must add, there is nothing better than being fortunate enough to "age"!!
Movies are an escape with often unrealistic, "perfect" scenerios. Although most of us will never live in a beautiful estate overlooking the Pacific, have an affair with our ex-husband (how many even want to talk to their ex?!), be a gourmet chef or
have problem-free kids, we can all learn from and be inspired by Jane. It was obvious that she took steps and action to make her life more fulfilling. She went to a counselor to deal with her personal issues, she had a network of girlfriends to talk to and share with, she used her cooking talent to open a business and enjoyed
hobbies(that vegetable garden was pure fantasy - not one weed!). Jane exercised and watched what she ate (which would really be a challenge with that bakery!). She had close relationships with her children. She laughed alot.
We may not live on the grand scale of a Hollywood movie, but the basic elements of doing the work necessary in order to live our best life are the same, no matter what the circumstances. Midlife can be a time of reinventing ourselves by using the wisdom, confidence and experience that comes naturally with age. Actually, it doesn't need to be THAT complicated!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Life after Near Death

The drive home last night after closing up Trim Up at 8:00 was like any other -
not much traffic on 485 heading out towards Mint Hill and Cooper Lawrence on the radio. Normally I call my husband when I leave and chat with him on most of the
drive but I had talked with him earlier so I was not on my cell phone.
But all of a sudden I saw headlights coming towards me in my lane (I was going about 75 mph in the left lane)! I barely had time to glance over to my right to see
if I could get over to the right lane, which luckily only had one car further behind mine. And then the speeding car flew by me, continuing in the left lane without even slowing down. (I found out later that it was a drunk driver, over twice the limit, who was arrested and fortunately did not hit anyone)
With the speeds that we were both traveling, and in my little VW bug, I know that I would have never survived that head-on collision that I narrowly escaped. It seems so surreal that it even happened, as I happily tend to live a day to day predictable routine without too much out of the ordinary. But this incident has really made me reflect on what I would leave behind....what will people remember about me the most? Now that I feel "spared" and can continue living, I am wondering what I can do to give my life more meaning and have a lasting influence on those close to me.
When I re-opened Trim Up two years ago, I felt very fortunate to be able to work at a business that was so enjoyable to me. And although it has not been easy during these economic times, I know now, more than ever, that this is the avenue for me to use my experience, talents and passion to live a more purposeful life. In these past few years, I have seen how much women my age struggle with so many issues, including health and fitness. There is such a need for a support system for women to help them keep up their own wellness - both physical and mental - with all of the life changes we experience as we age.
As far as healthcare and aging, there seems to be alot more awareness, programs and support towards senior citizens but women in their 40's,50's & 60's who are still working and/or caring for elderly parents or children are really struggling with stress, busy schedules, menopause, fatigue, relationships and health issues. My mission is to provide a supportive, inspiring atmosphere where women can be encouraged to take care of themselves and improve the quality of their lives.