Archive for September, 2010

It’s more than a Jack-O’-Lantern

Fall is a glorious time of year to jump in the car, drive off to a farm, and go pumpkin picking.  We search for the perfect pumpkin, great shape, smooth edges and decent color.  Then we go home and come up with a great design for carving.  Well, there is more to a pumpkin than just a carving contest.

photo credit: Jen Goodwin

Pumpkin Nutrition Facts
(1 cup cooked, boiled, drained, without salt)

The following are links to some great recipes for pumpkin:

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/toasted_pumpkin_seeds/

Gluten Free Cupcakes: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/gluten-free_pumpkin_cupcakes/

Spicy Pumpkin Soup: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/spicy_pumpkin_soup/

So as the season is beginning to turn fall, the leaves are changing color, explore some new adventures with pumpkin and enjoy its delight.

be well-

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Sharing is Caring

Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness. – Harold Kushner

As children we learn the importance of sharing.  Most common it is sharing our toys with others.  Looking forward a few years, we learn to share thoughts, emotions, ideas.  But what does sharing really mean?  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one definition is: to partake of, use, experience, occupy, or enjoy with others.

Now that we are the great era of technology, it seems that sharing is easier than ever.  Take for example, Facebook.  We can immediately upload photos from our phone in just a few seconds for the whole world to see.

I wonder how much personal touch we have lost with all this technology.  I am just as guilty as the next person to be so involved.  At the same time, I am enjoy sharing my experiences, thoughts, books, hugs, home and more with those I cherish.  Sharing a smile with a stranger on the street can brighter their day.

Looking at my book shelf, there is an eclectic library of books that line the shelves.  There is a collection of  both fiction and non-fiction, some poetry, memoirs of those affected by substance abuse, a few autobiographies, references for yoga and fitness, empowerment, “self-help”, and books from my childhood.  One of my greatest joys is sharing books that I found to be enlightening.  Maybe by sharing what I’ve learned with my friends, it will help them along their journey.

about 1/3 of the books in the house are on this book case

Others will feel the love and gratitude of your energy when sharing occurs.  How will you spread the wealth of love and gratitude?

be well-

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Put Yourself First

As I sit here writing this post, the season premier of The Biggest Loser is on the television. They are in their ninth season, taking a group of individuals and sending them away to change their lives. And that’s exactly what it is, a lifestyle change. There is no easy quick fix that will last long-term.  Even though the show may portray this, that is not reality.

Two-thirds of our society is obese. Not overweight, obese. The difference between being overweight and obese is determined by your Body Mass Index. An adult with a BMI between 25-29.9 is overweight, a BMI 30 or greater is obese. The BMI is determined by a height/weight calculation. Take a look at the following links to see your BMI.

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl.htm

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl2.htm

I must caution, BMI is not the end all, be all test to determine one’s health.  For example, an athlete or fit adult may track a higher BMI because of their muscle mass.  Likewise, it may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle.

Often times we end up putting our family, work, social obligations and friends well ahead of ourself.  It may start with a skipped workout here, a meeting for the big charity event there.  After time, all these missed opportunities to take care of ourself leads to a path of dis-ease.  Weight creeps on, blood pressure increases, clothes don’t fit well, breathing becomes labored, junk food replaces healthy snacks.  I must say one of my favorite commercials on tv is for Nutri-Grain bars.  The premise, one good decision leads to another.

Put yourself first.  Be the change you want to see in the world.

be well-

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Putting it all togetHER

Some of the most vivid memories I have from childhood are when I was with the Girl Scouts.  We would spend hours togetHER learning about leadership, life skills and strategizing on how to sell those cookies.  Our moms would take turns providing lessons on cooking, sewing, first aid and much more so we could earn badges for our sashes.  I don’t ever recall a badge being geared toward health and wellness.  Looking twenty years into the future, I am excited to share this news…

My friend Tracy and I have created a Fun and Fitness badge for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts.  Tracy and I work at The Sports Club LA/Boston, which has teamed up with the GS.  After the last several months we are finally ready to unveil the Fun and Fitness badge.  Next week we will teach troop leaders from the Greater Boston area what it all entails so they can go back to their community and share what has been learned.

This badge is much more than learning how to do well on the Presidential Fitness Test.  Yes, there are aspects of fitness such as stretching and strength.  But, we also wanted to incorporate a mind/body component, nutrition, learning about activities and play from other cultures, taking a look at role models and building self-esteem.  There is no one area of health and wellness that stands out from another.

My hope in creating this badge, it will begin to show young girls it’s not always about how you look on the cover of a magazine.  Rather, it is building self-confidence about who you are and bring it all togetHER from the inside out.

be well-

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GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL

Goals.  How often do you set them?  Is December 31st the only day you think about goals?  I want to lose weight, go the gym more, show up to work on time, fit into that dress I bought last summer.  These are not very SMART goals.  They need to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-based
  • Realistic
  • Time-lined

As I was watching Hard Knocks this season, QB Mark Sanchez was asked what his goals were.  “Leadership,” was one of his answers.  The coach said, “Be more specific.”  From leadership came, “This is my team.  I will carry them on my shoulders.”

Rather than saying, “I want to lose weight,” put a number to it.  And then ask yourself, why that number.  Is it because you move and feel better.  Or that dress fits like a glove.  Could it be you have more energy and don’t ache as much.  Without having a measurable goal, how do we know if we are making any progress?

Figure out what obstacles could keep you from achieving your goal and then find a way around those obstacles.  Set up an action plan.  Create a schedule.  Put it in your planner and treat it like any other appointment you would not cancel.  Log your actions.  Consult with a trainer or nutritionist.

Be realistic.  If you are currently sedentary and wish to run a marathon in 3 months, that may be a little unrealistic.  Know your boundaries, limits, time constraints.  These could be work, family and social obligations.  Figure out what your priorities are and build your goals around them.

Set a deadline.  This may already be set depending on what your goal is.  That high school class reunion is creeping up.  Or the race is only a few weeks away.  Create both short and long-term goals.  The short-term goals will help keep you on track to reaching your long-term goal.

An example of a training log I use with my clients looks like this:

I now invite to you spend some time thinking about your goals.  Is there a race you would like to sign up for, a little black dress you’re waiting to wear again….Remember to be SMART when setting your goals.  As always, if you have questions, please ask!

be well-

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Out of the Darkness, there is Hope

WARNING!!! This is a very sensitive subject, suicide prevention is today’s topic.  I understand if you wish to discontinue reading today’s post.  It is a very personal and emotional subject, but one that I feel is extremely important to share.

I grew up in a small town, rural community where “Everyone knows your name.”  And by small town, I mean my high school was combined of two villages, with less than 400 students at the time.  Unfortunately by living in such a community, you personally know each individual that is involved in a farming accident, motor vehicle accident, sprained ankle on the football field and suicide attempt.  As a senior in a high school, one of my classmates took his own life.  This had a profound impact on my own life, and still does today.  As a result, I try to share the importance of mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

Friday September 10, 2010 promotes Suicide Prevention Day according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP).  These two groups promote worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides.

According to the WHO:

  • Every year, almost one million people die from suicide; a “global” mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds.
  • In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years in some countries, and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group; these figures do not include suicide attempts which are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide.
  • Suicide worldwide is estimated to represent 1.8% of the total global burden of disease in 1998, and 2.4% in countries with market and former socialist economies in 2020.
  • Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries.
  • Mental disorders (particularly depression and alcohol use disorders) are a major risk factor for suicide in Europe and North America; however, in Asian countries impulsiveness plays an important role. Suicide is complex with psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors involved.

I am sure it would be no surprise that each of us has been effected by suicide one way or another.  It may be your own family member or friend, a classmate, a co-worker.  In years past, it has been taboo to discuss such a topic.  It seems there are more adolescent teens suffering from depression caused by bullying at school or substance abuse.  With more adults out of work and with the fall of our economy, the rates are slowly on the rise.  If you suspect someone is in trouble, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek immediate help from his or her doctor.  Eliminate access to firearms or other potential tools for suicide, including unsupervised access to medications.

For more information on suicide prevention, check out the following:

www.nimh.nih.gov

www.who.int

www.iasp.info

Out of the darkness, there is Hope

be well

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One size does NOT fit all

It’s that time of year.  Kids are back to school and with that, a brand new BACKPACK.  As the kids get older, the more books, homework, lunch pals and more will be crammed into the bag.  Here are a few safety tips to consider when purchasing a new pack:

  • The bottom of the backpack should align with the curve of the lower back, and should not be more than 4 inches below the waistline. A backpack’s shoulder-strap anchor points should rest 1 to 2 inches below the top of the shoulders.
  • Features to look for include wide, padded, contoured shoulder straps that distribute the pack’s load over a large area of the shoulder; an abdominal strap, which can help distribute the pack’s weight evenly on the back, waist and hips.
  • The American Occupational Therapy Association recommends carrying no more than 15 percent of your body weight.
  • Load the heaviest items closest to the student’s back to help distribute weight evenly.

Following these simple safety tips can help prevent back pain in children at such a young age.

be well

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