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Posts tagged ‘age’

How to live a strong, healthy, kick-ass life at any age, even into your Vast Oldness.

See your doctor for a check-up. Know your numbers—your cholesterol, your pulse, your blood pressure, etc. If there are problems, catch them early and address them. It’s stupid to do the “what I don’t know won’t hurt me” attitude. Yeah, what you don’t know could hurt you, or kill you. Especially see your doc before any of the below (except the breakfast thang, y’all!).

Eat breakfast. Stop it—stop your whining about how you aren’t hungry. Your body has gone without food for many hours and needs fuel. If you do not eat breakfast, you will over-eat later on, and usually in the form of processed/sugary carbohydrates and fat. Start small and work up to it, but eat a little protein and carb in the morning—for example, I have a piece of whole grain toast with all-natural peanut butter (no added sugar), and raisins on top; one of my doctors eats this same breakfast. Here is more on that subject: The Many Benefits of Breakfast (WebMD)

Ha! *personal trainer evil eye!*

Strengthen your muscles. As we age, our muscles can begin to atrophy (personal trainer speak for shrink). Guess what takes its place? Flabbiness, yes, but as well, we will become unable to do the things we want, and need, to do. Our muscles aren’t there just to make us look good (and oh but they do make us look good!), but are there to keep us strong enough to do for ourselves, even the simplest of things like lifting your own groceries and taking them into the house; holding your children/grandchildren; pulling yourself up a mountain; taking yourself places you want to go and doing things you want to do on a strong muscular/skeletal body, and protecting you from injury and infirmity. And especially women: strengthening muscle means strengthening bone; who wants brittle bones if they can help not to have that? There are many ways to strengthen your muscles, for example: weight training with weights, using your body weight, rubber tubing, kettle balls, etc. More on the subject: The Importance of Strength Training (Reader’s Digest)

Cardio is our friend. I never thought I’d say that, for I was a die-hard strength training personal trainer. I detested cardio—until I began doing more and more of it in my fifties and found that “High” that comes from cardiovascular training/endurance.  Not only has my heart function improved, but so has my lung function, and as a side benefit, I lost fat on my body and gained muscle-tone. I’m much leaner, have more energy. Another added benefit is stress-reduction–I don’t think about deadlines or book sales when I’m kicking ass on the treadmill: put on your earbuds with fave music while running, jumping, skipping, hopping, aerobic dancing—whatever high-energy cardio you like—and let the world go away for a while. (Note: If you exercise outdoors, listening to music is tricky and I don’t really recommend it as you can’t hear what’s around you—including traffic.) I hop on the treadmill 3 times a week and do an intense “interval training” session of running, hopping, skipping, jumping, and other aerobic “dance” –it’s not for everyone (my other days are less intense but I still MOVE). More on Cardio: A List of the Benefits of Cardiovascular Endurance (Livestrong)

Here is an example of something I do on the treadmill (except I don’t go backwards on it, lawd no):

Stretching and Balance is as important as the above! Before every intense treadmill workout, I warm up for around ten minutes, and then I do a quick series of gentle but active stretches before I do my cardio. After cardio, I stretch more deeply, and then go over to my matt work where I do a series of strength, balance, and stretching exercises—it’s a fusion of the three that, coupled with my cardio, has greatly improved my balance, flexibility, and strength. I fuse yoga, pilates, and strength training—using my body weight, balance ball or some other device, dumbbells, or rubber tubing—to keep my body looking and feeling optimal. Stretching and balance will further benefit us as we age—I don’t want to be one of those feeble “old ladies” who falls and breaks a hip because I have lost my strength, flexibility, and balance. For more on this, see: Slideshow, A Guide to 10 Basic Stretches (Mayo Clinic),  and Yoga Moves for Beginners (Fitness Magazine)   and Resistance Training for beginnings (Better Health Channel) and a vid for beginner’s pilates (there are also “professional” ones I do recommend – like Suzanne Deason and Yodney Yee, but you have to purchase those–worth it though!).

All of the above will not only make you feel better, have more energy, be leaner, but I can guarantee you that your sex life will be better (stronger more intense orgasms, better control, more confidence–Wheehaw and Hot Dang!), and you can go into your “Golden Years” feeling Kick Ass, sexy, alive, energetic, strong, independent, ready to take on the world! If you are called a milf, that’s cool, but if someone calls you a gmilf, well . . . . teeheehee.

As an aside, for you women out there in Menopause land, I have a couple of items that have helped me tremendously. They aren’t for everyone and you must see your doctor, but hot damn, I like them. I was completely against any hormone or anything “not natural” but sometimes we do need a little help:

Testosterone 2% compound. Menopause can sap our energy, make us foggy headed, and our libido can take a train ride to “whatever, I’m not interested much lately” land. Testosterone really has helped me with those things. I “tested” it by taking myself off of it—and those “symptoms” returned, only to alleviate when I began the testosterone therapy again. I’ve been on it several years without side-effects—I’m me, but  more me. More on that, Testosterone therapy, really? Yes, really. Menopause don’t gots to suck, y’allses (my blog post).

And finally, Estrogen thereapy. Now, hold on for those who want to go natural. So did I. I never thought I’d do this, but recently a new doctor I went to for recurrent UTI’s (I had an operation on my bladder neck as a child, so have dealt with these all my life—recently, they were increasing) suggested I try Estrogen therapy and she gave me a prescription for Premarin cream. It’s a mild dose and I use a little three times a week. Well, y’allses, I’m moistier! Yup, it has helped my vaginal health and sexiness in a way that I didn’t expect, along with so far so good on the No UTI symptoms—wheehaw! It may do more, I have yet to see, but, just that one full-moist thang and the help with my cranky bladder has me all tee-heeing and crooking my finger to GMR. Yeah. There’s all kinds of information out there, here’s one from Mayo Clinic to start with.

Both of the above are by prescription. Talk to your doctor. See what works for you.

I also take a Pro-Biotic every day, a fish oil supplement, and a multi-vitamin for “over 50” women. I “upped” my protein intake (because of my kick-ass workouts), and eat mostly good healthy carbs (meaning, rarely do I eat “white carbs” such as white rice, white bread, white crackers, and instead go for whole grains.)

Another word on the Pro-Biotic: if you have had to be on an antibiotic, especially for a long period of time as I was for those recurrent UTI’s, then consider a probiotic. I was having problems eating, and my stomach Was Not Happy so that my weight was dropping to where I did not want it to (too much weight loss and you lose much-needed muscle! We need fuel!). Well, only thing  I could think of that changed was all the nasty Cipro I’d been on. Antibiotics not only kill the bad guy bacteria, but the good guy bacteria, too, and your gut will not be happy. Ask your doctor. Do some research, as in here: Fact Sheet: Probiotics (Dr. Oz)

There is no reason to feel bad, to go about life uninspired and unhealthy and weak. Yes, there are things that happen to us out of our control, but when we can control it, why not do so? Take control of your health, your body, your food, your muscles, your heart/lungs/skeleton. Be strong and kick ass. Start small and work up. One choice at a time, my friends. You can do this.

“Anti-” aging, my ass . . .

Who is driving your “car” . . . ? You should be, with your strong capable hands and able mind . . .

an·ti/ˈanˌtī/  / Opposed to; against. A person opposed to a particular policy, activity, or idea.

Ad on Facebook sidebar: “Woman is 53 But Looks 27!”

So, “Madison Avenue” couldn’t come up with a better word than Anti-Aging? What the hell, y’all! I’m tired of the idea that age is something we have to cure. As if it’s a disease, something so horrible we must fight it within every inch of our wrinkles, fear it. Forget the Zombie Apocalypse, we have Night of the Living Old where everyone runs around screaming in terror.

Folkses, we all are going to age until and unless we die. That’s about it. You can practice every kind of “anti-aging” in your arsenal but you are still going to age your ass off. So how’s about we drive our own aging cars where we want them to go, and that’s to Kicking Ass Land.

Instead of being “Anti” aging, why not think of it in more positive terms? There’s nothing wrong with a desire to look good for our age—the mistake people make is when they want to remain forever in their twenties and thirties or whatever that magic number is where one thought one looked and felt ones best or one thought one was at the top of one’s game and now that one isn’t at that age the panic button is feverishly pounded and WAH WAH WAH SOB WAH. *Yawn* I’m bored.

Instead of the negative “anti,” consider instead the “pro” and how you can Kick Ass and be AWESOME where you are in your life Right Now.

Other than normal “wear and tear and aging” in my body, I’m in the best shape of my life. I still can strut me some skinny jeans if’n I want to. I can run and jump and skip and

our bodies are wonderlands . . .

do high-energy plyometrics on the treadmill for an hour and still have enough energy to hit the mat for another thirty or so, and then waltz out the gym ready to take on the day. I’m writing novels. I’m hiking mountains.

And I have sex (Mom, Brothers, Son—don’t read this part:) and it’s more fun and more intense than at any time in my life—that’s right, y’allses, the KABOOM is KABOOMIER. Who says menopause and aging is the end to good explosive sex?—yup, youngermiesters, some of your moms and dads and even your grandmothers and granddads are still YIPPIE YAI KAI YO KAI YAYING in the bedroom, ha! Yeah—picture that all day, wontcha? Haw! You’re welcome.

And what do I do to feel so great? I don’t sit on my ass and moan about how old I’m becoming. I don’t rely on Magic Pills or Magic Surgery or Magic Injections to alter my outward appearance while my inward appearance flails around in Panic Land that I’m growing older. And please, y’all, believe me I’m not being critical of those who decide to go the surgery/injection route, as long as they are realistic about it. Go google “plastic surgeries gone wrong” and there you go. There has to be some realistic acceptance of some aspects of aging, just say’n.

Tips to Pro-Aging:

Eat healthfully. Stuffing our faces with fast food, processed food, added sugar, and bad-for-our body fats, isn’t the way to go out and kick ass at any time of our life, but as we age, we must take stock of our health even more so. Live that way and your body and brain will be sluggish and shitty, and as you further age, the sluggish shitties will worsen—oh, and you may die sooner, and that would suck, wouldn’t it? Does this mean I never have candy or cake or ice-cream? Hell no! But when I do, I enjoy it more because it’s a treat, and it tastes so much better. I also splurge on The Good Stuff because I don’t eat it often.

Women: I wrote a post before about the benefits of testosterone compound cream. When we go through menopause we can lose testosterone, affecting our moods, our “brain clarity,” energy, and our libido. The compound has changed my life—but I feel like myself, not some super-duper-weird altered version of myself. Consult your doctor, always. It’s the only hormone I take into my body and it works for me without any side effects, but everyone is different.

Get your ass off the couch or out of the chair and move. The stronger you feel, the more powerful you are. Being fit and strong means you are able to care for

A walk costs nothing and is easy on the joints if you have tender areas. Walk, it’s a good start.

yourself. Work on strength, aerobic fitness, balance—all these mean that as we age, barring anything that is not in our control (and there is always something that can happen that we cannot control), we should be able to kick-ass and be strong well into our Very Old Agedom. Shame on you if you sit on your ass eating crappy food, smoking, drinking too much, not going for check-ups, ignoring your health, and then possibly “saddle” your spouse/partner/kids/grandkids with your care. Again, I emphasize how this does not apply to those who had something happen that is not under their control. Sometimes sucky things happen to us no matter how much we take care of ourselves. That’s just life. But when we have a CHOICE, how will we choose for ourselves and for our spouses/partner/children/grandchildren?

You know those pesky annoying negative soul-sucking people in your life? The ones who have been hanging on your back and hollering in your ear for years? Well, kick their ass to the curb. See ya! What? Sound mean? Well, if you are around someone(s) who sucks every ounce of joy or energy out of you, constantly whining and crying on your shoulder, constantly a big Pain in the Ass, then why allow that to continue into your Agedom? What’s in it for you? There must be something in it for you or else you’d finally kick them to the curb, right? Riiiigghht. If this PITA is someone you simply can’t walk away from, then find a way to short circuit the Negative Whiny Woe Is Me talk. Take your power back. Take control of the time you have left on this earth. You are an adult now, yeah, it’s true! And adults have choices. This next phase is time to sort through all the people who’ve come into your life and see who makes you happy and content and who tires the unholy hell out of you and needs a wake-up slap upside their pea-heads—you are in charge now. Believe that.

Do something you love.I know that not everyone has the luxury of quitting their jobs to do what they love full time, but, until that day comes, why not go for the here

I’m an author; I love photography; I love fitness – all things I’m passionate about and pursue with joy

and there moments to find your passion and pursue it. To say, “This is time for Me. Go Away.” Your friends and family will only respect the idea of you finding your passion and pursuing it if you respect it within yourself. If someone says, “You’re too old,” or “You can’t,” then sweetly and gently say, “Go fuck yourself.”

Excuses suck. “I’m too old” is an excuse. “I will look silly doing that because I’m old” is an excuse. “I am tired because I’m old” –excuse. If you have a Real Reason for why you aren’t doing what you love, or why you aren’t out there kicking ass, then don’t beat yourself up about it, for we must also respect the tender parts of ourselves, the parts that have served us well but something just went wrong. But if you know good and damned well you are opening that mouth and vomiting out excuse after excuse, then Stop It, goddammit!

Alternatively, we don’t have to live the commercials on TV. What I see on ads/commercials is that Boomers are out there Taking On The World—jumping out of planes, sitting in bathtubs with their significant other while watching the sunset after they’ve just had WHOOP! sex (though, huhn, read above *laugh*), they are faster than a speeding bullet and leaping over tall buildings at a single bound—Super Boomers! Well, part of being kick-ass is recognizing what you are doing because it’s good for you and you are passionate about it versus what you think you ought to be doing because “everyone else is doing it.” Huhn. Naw, we aren’t all doing it all. Who is, really, no matter their age?

I hate to use the old cliché, but it’s so true. When you are lying there dying your ass off, you may just think, “How’d it go so fast? And why didn’t I . . . .”  So, see what you want to fill in the blanks for that . . . and then start finding ways to enjoy or do or be that . . .

Maw Maw – I’m not my grandmothers kind of grandmother . . .

I go by the: Just cause I can wear it, doesn’t mean I should, and, the I’m not wearing Maw Maw clothes even if I am a Granny. You won’t see me in mini-skirts, or jeggings (lawd, those need to go away), or a bikini, or trying to wear clothes a twenty year old (or worse, teenager) would wear. However, if I can rawk out some skinny jeans and boots or stilettos and a form-fitting top, then I am. You also won’t see me in sweat pants or elastic-waist polyester pants suits, either, or sloppy-ass ill-fitting clothes that I am hiding in because I’ve given up—because I haven’t given up and you shouldn’t either.

Take care of your hair and skin. By eating well, and if you like, with “products.” Though I hate the term “anti-aging” what I am happy about is that finally there are products geared towards people over thirty. Some are better than others, but you can be the judge of what works for you, and how far you want to take the producting of your hair and skin—some people wash their face and are done with it, and nothing wrong with that if you Own It, and simply like things, well, simple. Personally, I enjoy pampering my skin and hair because it makes me feel good about myself and I like the results. Men aren’t pressured as much as women are to be “youthful,” but that’s fast a-changing, oh yes it is, if commercials and ads are any indication.

Finally, surround yourself with as much beauty and love and light and positives as you are able to. And as for the crappier stuff, well, learn how to put all of that into perspective—take back your power, do your best, work with what you have, make choices based on what is best for you and for your loved ones. You can be a loving, giving person without letting people walk over you. The two things—being a giving person and being taken from—are not equal.

Now, let’s  take the term “anti-aging” and stomp over it while on the way to kicking ass and feeling our best. Pro-Aging. Yeah. Goddammit, I like that.

Testosterone therapy, really? Yes, really. Menopause don’t gots to suck, y’allses

Pardon us, Men’fo’k whist we talk about menopause–although, maybe you will be interested in reading on for your own reasons, huh?

I was lucky to have had a fairly easy segue to menopause, even though I reached it earlier than I thought I would. And while part of my “easy” experience may be genes, it is also because I exercise and eat healthfully.

Still, reaching menopause sent me into a panic. I remember thinking: I can’t have any more children! Well, I wasn’t planning on it anyway *haw!,* but the idea that this life-giving part of me would be forever gone made me feel “Less than a Woman.” It made me think, “Oh My God! I’m old now! I’m officially OLD! Waaaaaaaah!” Well, guess what? Turns out I feel better and am in better shape than I have been in years. I’m writing and my books are being published. I’m speaking before groups. I hike; I took up photography; I kick my ass on the treadmill and mat work; I travel when I want to; I feel sexy and alive and determined; I am empowered!

Ka-Pow! And we have lift-off!

As with any stage in life, there are changes we cannot stop from happening, so we can either embrace our new lives and bodies and move on to the wonderful moments, find a remedy for what may require remedy, OR, we can mope and sob and whine. I quickly disgust and bore myself when I mope and sob and whine, so I embrace (or ignore -teehee) what I can’t or don’t want to change, and I find remedies where needed.

What I simply could not over-look no matter how much I exercised and ate healthfully were brain-fog and a general lack of energy. You know it when you are there, don’t you? As if your head is wrapped in 2ply toilet paper and your legs have weights attached to them—unnnnghhhh, y’all! And as well, I was just on the edge of disinterest in some aspects of my pre-menopause life, and that, my friends, is a place I did not and do not want to go—naw ma’am.

If you feel this way, have you considered you may be low in testosterone? Yes, women naturally have testosterone in our bodies, um hmmm. Yeah, I know, there’s that commercial for men. Well, I don’t want their medicine, for it’s not right for me; I want what is made for my needs as a woman!

What we shouldn’t do!

I didn’t use hormone replacement therapy when I went through menopause, for I like to do things as naturally as I can. But the foggy brain, lack of energy, and “Meh, whatever,” were finally enough to send me scurrying to my gynecologist. After mumbling and forgetting what I was saying and trailing off in the middle of my sentences, my doctor said, “Let’s try testosterone.”

finding balance

She gave me a prescription that I have mixed together at a local pharmacy—you won’t find this at your CVS  or Walgreens, etc, so do your research and find a pharmacy that does compounds—one you trust. I had to find a balance of how much worked for me—you should strive to feel your Best Self.  You want only to replace what has been lost and find that balance.

Of course, as I did, you absolutely must have a conversation with your doctor to find out if it is a viable option for you. What works for one may not work for another. We are wondrous biological machines that require care and respect.Out of curiosity, after taking testosterone replacement for almost two years, I stopped using it. At first I didn’t notice anything as I la tee dah’ed along. But then one day I noticed I felt “off.” The old foggy-head returned and I wasn’t “me.” I began using the compound again and Taaa Daaaa! All back to normal.

C.M. Harris

I’d planned on doing this blog post this week for quite some time now, so it was interesting to pick up my new copy of Oprah Magazine and read an article by author C.M. Harris titled “Not for Men Only,” where she relates how, due to breast cancer, she entered menopause a decade or so earlier than she expected. She writes, “Exhaustion. Excessive sleep. Aching bones. A 20-pound weight gain. Brain fog. Forgetting that sex can be fun.” And while not every woman will experience menopause in the same way, and while some of these “side effects of menopause” may be remedied by diet and exercise, sometimes we do need a little extra help. C.M. Harris did, and so did I.

finding strength

I was heartened to hear of someone else using testosterone and talking about it. I at first found it hard to admit, “I’m taking a male hormone! Wheeeee!” Even I at first wondered, “Will I grow a mustache, bulging muscles, and develop a deep voice?”—and since I already have a deep voice and can tend to be muscular when I work out hard, I was in Yikes mode when contemplating this therapy.

Of course these things have not happened to me. This compound is not like the testosterone you hear that athletes use, or anything near to that. Believe me, I wouldn’t take it if I were going to look and act like some weird altered version of me. Lawdy!

C.M. Harris wrote, “. . . I wonder, now that I’m back to wondering again: If a ‘male’ hormone can make a female feel like a woman, why are so few of us talking about it?”

BINGO! This was one of my favorite parts of the entire article. Testosterone made me feel more like a woman. More like the woman I was before menopause. It gave me back my best life. And, as she writes and I have often wondered, why aren’t we talking about it more?

I think it’s time to open dialogue about just what women are doing to feel better, even if it seems unconventional. And, as

Fierce women feeling strong!

well, to educate and to help each other to feel our best.

What about you? Ever heard of, or tried, testosterone therapy? What do you do to feel The Best You? Do you have anything to share? Tell us your experiences! And it doesn’t have to be only about menopause, y’all!

I am your personal trainer: Does this obsession make me look fat?

Does this obsession make me look fat?

I am going to write to you something that is quite uncomfortable for me. But, I want to open up discussion to it. I want to tell you that you are not alone.

The first thing that popped out of my mouth when I saw this photo my brother took last September 2011 was, “I look fat.” Not, “Boy were we having fun,” or “I look so happy!” (because I was very happy—this was before Daddy become ill. My brother and I had spent the day on the Smoky Mountain Railroad train and it was wonderful.). Not even an, “Hey, not so bad for a 54 year old!” Nope, “I look fat.” And thus it has been for as long as I can remember. Way back, back to my pre-teen years. The roller-coaster ride of acceptance and dissatisfaction with my body image.

A few days after this photo was taken, I went to the gym and stepped on the scales to note I’d indeed gained five or so pounds. Folks, that is not the end of the world. I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’m so very lucky in so many things, but those pounds and that photo sent me into obsessing thinking.

keep the train on the tracks – and fuel it well, right? riiighht!

Me to GMR that day: “Omg. I told you! I told you! If I relax I gain weight! See? See how come I’m so vigilant? See why I have to be on the edge of obsession? Because if I’m not, then I gain weight. Every time I relax, I gain weight. I can’t relax. I can’t. I have to be vigilant. I have to be careful. I have to watch what I eat!”

And even as I spouted out that tirade, I knew I sounded a bit over the edge, or more than a bit. I knew I was being self-indulgent, for after all, isn’t that what “obsessive thinking” is? Isn’t that what our “issues” are? Isn’t that how we are behaving when we focus on something about US us us us/ME me me me?

I was watching a segment on Super Size vs Super Skinny on OWN not long after that photo was taken, and became so frustrated with the anorexic women on that day’s episode. I called them whiners. I said they should get over themselves. But, really, inside that part of me I hide from the world, I understood them. My frustration with them mirrored my own body image and food “issues.” I didn’t like what I heard and saw in these women because it was a fun-house mirror image of what I would become if I were not also a woman who loves to be and feel strong—and I happen to like to eat—and you can’t be healthy and strong if you are starving yourself. I want to make it clear that if you are starving

yourself, then you need to find help–and you know who you are; yes you do, too. That’s not what this is about—I’ve been and remain in a healthy BMR (you can see that I am a healthy weight from my work-out photos  taken the other day in the post last Wednesday, and to right), even at my most “vigilant.” This is important to note. What I am talking about is the never-ending Worry. The Fear of Food.

That woman in that photo at the top of this post is not “Fat.” That woman in that photo is smiling and happy. That woman in that photo isn’t thinking about her obsessions. That woman in that photo is a 54 year old woman who is a bit curvy and healthy and happily grinning her way to her brother to talk about how relaxed she is, how much she loves trains, how this day is the best day she’s had in a long time. And I summed up that beautiful day with my wonderful brother by spitting out, “I look fat.”

That’s the lamest most self-indulgent thing I could ever have said. And it is also sad.

There comes a point when a woman who is hyper-vigilant about her body image or weight where the things people say have an affect. When we hear: “You’ve lost weight! Wow you look great!” This sets up the voices to talking, urging, poking: “If I gain the weight back, they’re all going to judge me.” Even strong women like me feel this way. Even women like me who are kick-ass women. Even women like me who know what to do to be healthy. Women like me is me.

But, we feel the pressure to stay where we are. We feel the pressure to please perhaps? Please ourselves, please others, please strangers? And, we are so very goal-oriented, aren’t we? We are beady-eyed on what we want and where we want

kick-ass strong women

to be and we work our asses off (literally) to get there. And when people note it, we note their noting it. We think, “So, before this, what did they think about me? If they like me so much now, what about before? Geez. Lawd.” And the weirdness jitters itself in a chaotic swirl of voices—those from now and those from the past and those from the very first time we were told we were lacking—or that we were chubby or fat or Not Good Enough.

It’s extremely difficult for me to come here and talk in such an open and honest way about this. I’m a private person. And too boot, I talk about health and fitness and how to remain strong and healthy here on my blog, and to friends. I was a personal trainer, and a good one, for five years. I want to encourage and inspire others to be fit and healthy. Maybe that’s what made me good at my job as a personal trainer–I understood/understand the Voices.

And in my visiting other blogs and talking to other women and reading women’s magazines, I know that I am not alone in what I know is fear of Losing Control, and because of this, food can become the enemy, and isn’t that just sad?

Babies should look this way-healthy and chubby cheeked

The question is: how far do we take it? My friends, if you are in that slippery slope of weight and food and voices and fear, it is not the kind of life to live, right? Rigghhht! If you are starving yourself (and I am not—again, I want to make that clear), please find help. If you can’t find that balance, then talk to someone. I will tell you from experience that I understand the feeling of not knowing what you truly “look like” or how difficult it is to correctly find that balance of food and activity to remain healthy and strong.

Dig deep and find what is driving you to some kind of Perfection, or Control, or “How You Think You Should Be.” Find that voice, or those voices, who tell you that you are not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, successful enough—whatever that voice tells you—and stomp the shit out of it. Pull that voice out and beat the ding-danged snot out of it. Kick its ever-hating ass to kingdom come and back again. Aren’t we worth that? You are worthy—say it with me: I am worthy. I am good. I am beautiful. I am worthy I am good I am beautiful; I am worthy; I am good; I am beautiful.

So, does this obsession make me look fat? I guess it did:

That day last September: 130 pounds in that photo.

126 after my father becomes ill and passes away

124 Yay! I’m back to my goal weight!

122 Oh, okay, well this is a good weight too!

120 What happened? Well, I kind of like it here but I won’t lose a pound more! No, not a pound more. La tee dah.

119 Huh? Well, guess I’ll eat more—don’t listen to people don’t listen to people telling me I “Look so good!” Don’t listen. Watch yourself. But, not a bad weight – no, not . . . or . . . ?

118 Well, that’s a surprise. A friend who hasn’t seen me in a while comments on the weight loss, “Are you okay?” Me: “Yes. . . (no).” Time to take stock, Kat!

117 I do not like where this is going—pay attention, Miz Kat! Add a smoothie at night!

Today at the gym: 116.5 Add more calories, Kat. Add more calories.

My BMI is around 21, which is still in the healthy range, but, I do not want to continue to lose weight. My goal: to gain back to around 120.

Repeat after me: I am worthy. I am good. I am beautiful.

You are worthy; you are good; you are beautiful. Come over here and let me hug you . . .

I am your Personal Trainer: Get on the Ball – exercise ball workout ideas with photos

Hello my lovelies. It’s ever so important to work on our strength and balance. It’s important to try out different things in our workouts. It’s important to move. To see where our bodies will take us and how much they can endure. For women in  menopause and over 50, it is very important to work on strengthening and balance and endurance (I am 55 and want to continue to feel healthy and strong). But, at any age, we must give our bodies what it requires and needs from us.

Below is a series of exercise ball workouts you may want to try, or some version/variation of them. The ball workouts help not only with strengthening (the core muscles are engaged and this is good) but also on our balance and flexibility.

As we age, we can lose strength and balance and flexibility. It’s never too late to start, my beauties. And it’s good to start early, as well!

Now, as I always tell you: see your doctor before beginning an exercise program. As well, modify any exercises if you have any issues with pain or injury, etc. (I often modify for my lower back.) Don’t try to do what someone else does if you aren’t ready for it. Don’t try to “show off” and injure yourself. Push yourself, but safely. Practice. Build on your accomplishments. The more you know about your body, the more you will be able to modify, and as well, to see how much your body can move, how strong it can become, how healthy.

Although I didn’t for these photos, as they were taken before we went to the gym, note also that I do an hour of high-energy “treadmill aerobic dance” before I begin my strengthening and then stretching.   It warms my body and readies it for the next phase. These photos aren’t the best (Sorry GMR, you tried! :-D ) but they will give you an idea of things you may want to try. On another post, I’ll have some other workouts/stretches, etc., for you.

Stretch – lift your body – open those spines – up on toes, abs tight – feel yourself lengthening

Abs/glutes tight, balance strong, your body a line

lower yourself – touch your nose to the mat if you can – keeping body strong, balance, abs/glutes strong! Push up, and repeat -do not lose form, quit when you feel yourself losing that good form

You can also be pushed back on the ball a bit farther back – see where your balance/strength is best.

if you can, curl in with abs pulled in tight, pulling knees in – balance! Strong! and then balance on the ball keeping core tight – be careful -don’t bust your ass!

Uncurl – body strong, balance strong, abs/glutes tight – and push back until you are a long lean line, stretch out

stretch your body, feel your spine (be careful! watch yourself! Don’t over do – don’t over stretch – listen to your own body’s signals!)

now, try some “squat” movements – either two legs, or one leg at a time – core strong, balance – concentrate on your glutes and thighs. I like to keep my knee in line with my lower leg/foot – be careful!

Push back and balance – body strong, leg lifted long and lean and stretching, other leg strong on mat – lift and lower leg if you can – balance!

this one is easier – lift and lower leg – core tight – balance strong – you can lift your body higher on the ball – I like to put my leg at a 90 degree angle and go from there, but sometimes I come up lower or higher

Balance, core tight, lift up with the ball while lifting your leg – hold hold and then release

pull in, curl in, strong, balance, concentrate – if you can, go back to the previous movement.

Balance the ball on your fingers and the tips of your toes, abs tight – hold hold hold

position the ball between your feet and hold hold hold!

lower your legs – abs strong – body strong, hold hold – if you have back issues, put your hands under your hips/low back – I do this when I go any further down, which I do, all the way to the floor and back up-be careful please! Don’t let the back arch!

Pull your knees & arms in, abs tight, then – - -

– - legs straighten, arms back with ball – abs tight – and then go back to the previous position – you can stretch out farther with legs and arms lower but make sure your back does not arch but in its natural curve! Be careful!

stretch again . . . and as well, stretch all of your body – I’ll show you some stretches on a later post.

Namaste

Wednesday F4A: Personal Trainer Kat says: Your Least ain’t good enough . . .

Yesterday while sitting my arse on the porch floor for at least an hour (this after I sat in the rocker still as my jittery self allows for me to be “still” –ungh– for at least that long), looking for that “perfect” camera shot of birds doing something other than eating seeds, I thought, “This is a metaphor/analogy for writing. Patience, practice, doing something you don’t always think is fun and sometimes is tedious—but if you do these things, then it’s worth it. You find that moment of AHA! YES!”

spread your wings and flyyyyyyyyyyyyyy - worth the wait on the porch

Today on the treadmill, I thought further about things that are Worth It. Things that require more work and sweat and sacrifice.

Y’allses, you will hear/read, “You don’t have to exercise much—five minutes a few times a day is a good way to be fit.” Well, maybe if you want the minimum results, the least you can do to obtain the least of all the leastestststs.

But if you want to transform your health and your body, then you must work harder. Yup, sorry but it is true. Doing More than expected—doing more than “the least.” You must sacrifice some time and energy and put yourself full into what you are doing to achieve better results in mind and body. There are things we cannot control in this life, and there are things we can.

This here, folkses, is true about so much of what we do in this life. We can do the Least half-ass way, or we can go full out for nothing and transform our health, bodies, life, work.

You going to fast food joints and eating greasy-ass hamburgers and fries, and you drinking soda/soft-drinks/coke/pop (whatever y’all call it in your region) like they are the elixir from the heavens, cramming down your throat candy and

Lift those wings - that's right - up, down, up down, Give me two more!

cookies and chips and other processed foods, and shunning fruits, veggies, whole grains, and other healthy alternatives—and sitting on your ass instead of moving—make for choices that will leave you tired in mind and body, will make your innards gooey and nasty instead of healthy and beautiful, and when you look into the mirror your results will be doughy and bulgy instead of taut and fit—does this mean you all should be “thin” and “skinny?” Now, did I say/write that? Nopses, I did not. “Fit” does not have to mean “skin and bones,” or “skinny” or whatever word you want to give what some people think of as “normal.” What’s normal is what makes you feel your BEST!  Fit means you are giving your body the movement and food it needs and craves. It means you stop doing the easy, the Least, and you begin making better choices that sometimes may not be always fun or comfortable or what you want to be doing because it’s haaaarrrrd. Right? Riiiiighhht.

Stop whining. I said stop it! *giving you the Personal Trainer Kat evil eye* The old cliché of anything worth doing is worth doing well—aren’t you worth it? Isn’t your body and mind and all the inner workings both mental and physical worth it?

Now, I want to direct you to a couple of places I’ve been visiting here lately. August McLaughlin’s blog where a recent blog post is “Factor or Fiction: 10 Diet Myths Debunked” – Read, y’allses! Couldn’t have written it better myself.

And, “Round to Ravishing” where she writes of things she has given up but doesn’t miss. I love this and I love her tenacity and spirit and dedication to Go For what she wants. “I don’t miss you” is the name of her recent blog post.

There is nothing wrong with being hedonistic sometimes. There’s nothing wrong with eating something rich and gooey. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat. But I guarantee you that once you begin a serious, not Least, healthier lifestyle—LIFESTYLE, and that doesn’t mean you go all obsessive and then tire of something rarely anyone could ever sustain—you will not feel the same way about the old ways, the former foods you gobbled down, your former body that dragged around tired and frumpy.

Bye! later, all y'allses!

One body. One life. And so many choices. What choices will you make Right Now?

Namaste . . .

Wednesday F4A: I am your Personal Trainer: A few things to try for a healthier life . . .

If I weren’t a novelist, I probably would still work as a Personal Trainer–I truly did enjoy this work. So, I put down my “metaphorical pen” and pick up my “metaphorical whip” . . . ha! And here we go . . .

All Y’allses want a healthier life, right? Riiigghht! Then why ain’tchoo doing something about it? *Personal Trainer Kat Evil Eye* You, yeah- you! Come here! You, you with the face! –Yeah. I’m talking to you. Uh huh; I know;  I know. I know you have been trying a little o-this and a little o-that. Good. I’m proud of you. Now it’s time to kick it up some more. Time to give yourself a little nudge to do more—or let PT Kat nudge you. You can do more to be healthy. You can do more to feel your best.

If you have already succeeded in doing these things below—Brava! Then you are good to go and I’ll see you next time. If you have not, then . . . whatchoo waiting for? Your body will loooooove you for it, right? Riiiighhht!

Quit Smoking. You don’t need a lecture, do you? of course not. I will only say this: my father smoked many years before he finally quit. But the damage to his lungs would come back to haunt us all—his damaged lungs are what killed him. Daddy was in fairly good shape for a man in his 70s and would have had more years, if not for those atrophied lungs. I truly believe it was his smoking years that began what would be his ending. That’s all I’m saying. Except, don’t have your family grieve over you with “If only . . .” thoughts.

Try an interval training program: The beauty of this is you have “rest periods” between high intensity periods—you can do that, can’t you? Whoopeeee! This is FUN! It is, too. Stop whining! Stop it, I say! Of course you can do this. Hup two tree fo.

I ran/jogged for a year before I tried intervals because I didn’t believe it would really make much of a difference in my exercise routine (my brother finally convinced me to try it—his trainer uses it). Now I understand why people/trainers love it so much. It’s changed my body—I’m stronger, faster, better *bionic woman music here,* my metabolism, my breathing/heart-rate—all changed/changing for good. I also lost weight doing this even though I wasn’t really trying to lose more—in fact, I’ve had to add calories to stop the weight loss (Kat don’t wanna be all skinnied-up like the Lollipop-Head Brigade of Hollyweird).

But as well and important for jittery chaotic oft-discombobulatingly whooopity whoopity whoopity me, it helped with the “boredom factor” I will find if I do not do something to stimulate my need for variety. (Writing is great for my jittery brain because even though I am stilled in body, my brain is creating all these Places and People and Events—boing boing boing boing boing!).

Doing intervals, I alternate between walking at a moderate pace with some pretty high intensity jumping around, skipping, running, sprinting fast as I can, etc. Now, I do this on the treadmill and I don’t recommend to all y’allses out there doing the crazy stuff I do on the treadmill, so find your own way of interval training that works for you. And as always: See Your Doctor before beginning a new exercise program, or if you are beginning exercise for the first time.

There is also HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. I suppose I do a version of this, though it is said if you are truly doing the real HIIT, you can barely do twenty minutes of this kind of cardio exercise, and I do an hour on the treadmill, then strength training and yoga. I. Feel. Great. I do not feel 55. My stomach is flat; my muscles are strong; my endurance is greater; brain is all zippity do dah, zippity aaaaayyy!

Carbs are not our enemy, y’all (and neither are “good” fats, but more on that another time)! It’s the “kinds of carbs” that matter. Our brains and bodies  need carbs, protein, and fat. Read “Why Carb is not a Cuss Word by August McLaughlin, for it is just what I would have written.

Drink water, and/or eat plenty of fruits/veggies for water-intake. Our bodies need water. Our bodies are made up of 60% – 70%  water. Good “natural” water will replenish our needs in a way that clears our mind, keeps us from feeling sluggish—and sometimes when we think we are hungry, we are often only thirsty.

If you are drinking lots of sugary soft-drinks and juices, can you at least replace one today with a tall glass of water? Or even some fresh fruit and veggies? One Coke/soft-drink/Pop—whatever you call it, or one glass of other sugary juice drink, for one glass of water or fresh fruit/veggie. It’s a start.

“Sugar-Free” and “Fat Free” are not necessarily our friends. I personally do not eat sugar-free foods/drinks nor do I eat fat-free foods or drinks—unless they come naturally that way. Ugh. Do not like them. Nasty. Icky. Plee-yuckity *spit-out noises*

There is much evidence of how sugar-free and fat-free are not healthy alternatives as people may think, and if your goal is to lose weight, well, they aren’t always the best choices for that, either. I mean it! No, really! Really! No, really. No, really. Really. I could keep going here—lawd. Annnnnnywaaaay . . .

Here’s a Dr. Oz  (GMR calls him Dr. Ooze *laughing*) article on sugar/fat-free foods. But there is more information out there—do some research; do your homework.

But folkses, I would rather occasionally treat myself to a nice sugar/fat dessert treat than to stuff myself with the other alternative that isn’t going to satisfy me—we tend to eat more of the fake stuff than the real stuff anyway, so, calorie-wise, we can actually eat more calories, or just as many, of the nasty-arse ickity blee-yucky crap than if we had a wonderful tasty decadent dessert that we’d eat less of because it is so rich and yummy and . . . *oh oh—kat want treat now.*

And finally, my last thoughts for the day:

Love yourself and take care of the beautiful body you were given to care for in this life. It is not about being Skinny (that’s one issue I’d love to take up with Dr. Oz – I love him, but he is always using that “skinny/fat” thing and it kind of drives me crazy), but about TRULY becoming healthier—you know what you are doing when no one is looking, dontchoo? Uh huh, so who are you fooling, truly? Who matters here? Who are you getting back at for not becoming healthier? To whom are you saying “SO THERE! HA!”—think about this.

Care for yourself so someone else doesn’t have to care for you (and yes, I do understand sometimes things unexpected happen even when we take care of ourselves). Be grateful for your body and all its wonders.

Be filled with Gratitude for your life and all those around you—family, friends, colleagues, nature.

Please take care of yourself.

Wednesday F4All, Personal Trainer Kat: Me, the Future You–take care of your innards!

Today I put aside my authorynessess and become Personal Trainer Kat–yup, I used to be a Personal Trainer and if I weren’t doing the novelist thang, I’d be PT’ing all over someone’s arse. Huhn.

The furthest thing from a young woman’s mind may be that time far off into her future when she will be Over Fifty. Well, dangity! Who has time to think about being An Old One when life is full and there is so much to do and see and be? Wheeee! When your entire future lies out before you in a seemingly endless stream of days, months, years! When the results of your actions aren’t yet cumulated into the bigger whole of what You will be—one day. And what you will be—one day—is Me, or a version of yourself that you can pretend is me for the poiposes of this blawg post.

What I wish a big sister (I grew up with four brothers—no seestors), a Future Me, had told me in my teens, twenties, and thirties is this (cause I prolly didn’t listen to my momma): how you treat yourself and how you ask to be treated by those around you will affect/effect the person you become. Who are you?—I don’t necessarily mean the Mommy You or the Wife You or the Career Woman You or the Just Trying to Figger Thangs Out You—I mean the Woman You, who you are as a complete person, inside and outside and everything in between. For one day in your future you will look into a real and metaphorical mirror and see the woman you have become from the experiences and thought-processes and behaviors you have now. As your big sis, I want to tell you, stress to you, to please care for yourself. And since I’m Personal Trainer Kat, I’ma gonna start with your lovely body and its magical innards.

So tell me, lil sis, what’s in your refrigerator and pantry? I hear the groans and I’m ignoring them—imagine me tapping my foot and giving you the Personal Trainer Kat Evil Eye. Right this moment, at the end of this sentence, go take a gandery gander at what is stocked there; I’ll wait (Jeopardy music here)—and if you aren’t home, then I know you’ll check when you are home, right? Right? Riiiiiiiggggght.

Okay, do you have fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit? Yogurt—and not the sweetened-to-death kind, but one low in sugar? Any raw almonds and walnuts, and other kinds of nuts/seeds? Whole wheat/grain bread? What about whole-grain cereals? Brown rice? Maybe even some flaxseed (okay, I hear that big-arse multitudinal ewwww out there!) If you are meat-a-sauras, is there fish and/or poultry or other lean meats—and not a bunch of processed “lunch meats” or canned meats? Or if you are a veggie-sauras, some other source of “lean” protein? And just cause I said “lean” doesn’t mean you need to eradicate fats from your diets! Lawd no! We need fats, protein, and carbs—we just need to be smarter about what kinds we shove into our hungry opened mouths (and sometimes our “not hungry” opened mouths, am I right? Uh huh. PT Kat knows!).

Did you have to push aside bags of chips and cartons of dips, processed foods that are nowhere near to what they originally were meant to be, and/or cookies and candy, to see if any of these healthful items were lurking in the dark recesses of your pantry/refrigerator, their good-for-you-labels looking sad and forlorn and forgotten?

I’m not here to put more pressure or guilt on an already over-worked, over-guilted sisterhood; however, what I am here to say is this: there are some foods that are easily added to your diet that will make you feel better now and in the future—it’s a start, and A Start is a beginning, and a beginning won’t hurt all that much, will it? The good news is, some of them take no time at all to prepare, or need little or no preparation at all. Shoot, throw a sweet tater in the oven or microwave – Ta da! Roast some ‘sparagas or other veggies with olive oil - or throw them on the grill-mmmmm! Make a fruit smoothie – without adding sugar *uh huh*

Walnuts and almonds are good fats—yes! There are Good Fats out there! Almonds are chock-full of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, as well as vitamin B2; they are fiber rich (and more fiber means you feel full longer, along with some fat for satiation), and have as much protein as an egg (which, by the way, I believe eggs have a bad rep they do not deserve). Walnuts contain a power-punch of antioxidants, and are a good source of omega-3. These nuts are good for your heart, regulation of cholesterol, and for your skin. When I was younger, nuts were considered off-limits because they were “fattening.” Huhn. Well, I eat me some good fats, including nuts, now, lawd be I do!

Even my dawgs know they have to eat they’s greens!

Another good food that takes no time to prepare other than maybe throwing some fruit in there, is yogurt. Good yogurt (I like Greek yogurt), with live bacteria, may work to strengthen your immune system, and may help digestion. It has calcium, which of course we know is good for our bones—something else you will be glad you strengthened while young (because you are also doing some kind of weight-bearing exercise, right? Right? Riiiiiggghhht)—but, as well, there is research that shows calcium consumption helps with weight loss. No groaning about how yogurt tastes bad; there are a multitude of varieties on the shelves, so surely there is a low-in-sugar one you can choke down, or throw into that no-added-sugar smoothie? A nurse friend of mine says, “Every woman should eat a container of yogurt every day. I wish I could write a prescription and hand it out to all my patients.”

There are multitudes of whole-grain foods out there—and check the labels for whole grains not enriched/processed to death foods. Dang y’all! There are many choices in life now; use your Power of the Choice!  Once you begin adding whole-grain foods to your diet, the “white bread/enriched flour” won’t taste as full and rich. Think about it, the manufacturers of certain foodstuffs commercially take out the good wholesome wheat and then put just enough back into the item to call it “enriched” so you will feel good buying this particular “healthy” product. Why not instead look for “whole wheat/whole grain” as a first ingredient on the label?

I want you to consider the benefits you will receive right away, yes, but I also want you to think about two years from now, five, ten, twenty, thirty—your body will become healthier and stronger so that you will have more energy for your busy life, and further, when you reach My Age, your body will have fared better with such a healthy base. And if you are already near or to My Age, it is not too late—trust me, your body will love you for the healthy changes you make—I FEEL THE POWER! Say it with me now: I FEEL THE POWER! There’s nothing sexier or cooler or Hot Damner than a strong, confident, POWERFUL woman. Right? Rigghhhtttt!

Imagine, just for a moment: there you are with your stronger healthier body, full into My Age, and the children are gone and/or you have retired and/or you are looking to start another career in your dotage (laugh), and you think, “Wow. What do I do now? What’s next?” And what you do is go out and have another life or rev up the one you already are living—because your body is well-prepared for the Next Stage, even if that next stage is to be as good a grandmother as you are/were a mother. Stop. Internalize. Imagine yourself healthier. You are worth it, gawd-dammit! You are Worthy—say it with me now: I am Worthy. Your future you will thank you.

Finally, when is the last time you patted yourself on the back for a life well-done? Have you been perfect? I bet not. Has every day been a gloriously sunshine-filled day of joy and happiness? Probably not. Have you lost your temper, been in a foul mood, screamed at someone, stomped around as if you were a two-year old? Maybe. But if you did not do these things on occasion, I’d wonder what you were trying to prove, huhn. I’ve done me some stomping, let me tell you what!

We need to give ourselves a little break now and then to consider just how hard it is to do all the things we do, be all the things we are—even when we are doing Good Thangs. Since you will one day be me, I give you permission to love yourself, one day, one meal, one choice at a time.

Now. How you gonna live the rest of your life?

(Note: For those of you who have word verification on your blogs, I am unable to comment–so I can visit and read, but you may never know I’ve been there–word verification is a beeotch!)

(photos by Kat magendie)

Free for all Wed: I am your Personal Trainer . . . get off your ass.

As always, before beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician. When’s the last time you had a good “check up” or “physical” . . . hmmm? When’s the last time you tuned in and listened to your body’s signals? Hmmm?

Now. While flailing about with my ‘treadmill aerobics,” I listen to music on my iPod Nano to help set the tempo and distract me from anything “outward” other than Me, My Body, Movement. After an hour on the treadmill, I do resistance training for my muscles, and then yoga to stretch—three times a week without fail unless the failing cannot be helped. On the “non-treadmill days,” GMR and I walk—not leisurely walks in a la tee dah, but at least a good strong 30 – 45 minute walk, or occasionally a longer more strenuous hike.

I do this because I have come to love it and my body has come to accept and embrace it. I do this because I’ll be 55 this month and though I don’t want to look 25 or even 35, I want to be strong and supple. I do not want anyone in my family to have to care for me in my “olden age” because I did not care for myself. Do you see/understand that? You out there who are smoking and eating shit-that-ain’t-good-for-nothing-but-nasty and sitting on your butt never moving, etc etc etc? *Personal Trainer Kat gives stern look* When our bodies fail us, someone has to pick up the slack, whether financially or physically/emotionally, or all of those things. I do not want this. Yes, I do understand how sometimes things do happen that are not under our control and we need help, but you know this is not what I am talking about, right? Right. I’m talking about Choices. Choices that we make every moment of our lives that we do control.

Folks, if you really do want to stay healthy. If you really do want to age well. If you really do want to have energy and stamina and strength, then you must work for it. WHAAAAA? You may say. But . . . but . . .  so and so said all I need to do is take a pill, or eat this bar, or drink this elixir, or put this contraption on my abdominals and sit on my ass, and all those things will do the work for me! Lawd y’all! All the research dollars wasted (to me it is a waste) on finding some magical pill or device so people can sit on their couches and eat crap and not be affected/effected by it. My personal trainer heart just squeezes at this. Ungh! Ungh!

I wrote some “work-out writer” posts and in one of them I asked, “How bad do you want this?” Well, it applies to life; it applies to love; it applies to work; it applies to our health—how bad do you want this? And if you do not want it, then why? Are you kidding yourself? We humans are expert at Justifications(/Excuses). Oh, yes, we are!

Sometimes we have to feel some “discomfort” to achieve our goals. Sometimes things are not easy. Sometimes life is just haaaaarrrrd *pouting whine.* Well, Personal Trainer Kat is here to tell you to Suck It UP, because nothing easy ever really lasts, or nothing easy is really appreciated to its fullest, or nothing easy makes us feel Accomplished and Proud.

Okay, maybe I never told my clients to suck it up (in those words . . . teeheehee). Because I have empathy, and because I understand how difficult making life-decisions are. How it really is hard to stop an old comfy habit and replace it with a sucky habit like working out and eating healthfully—unless you are as I am and love to work out, and if you are as I am and most times enjoy eating healthfully. When I eat crap, I feel like crap. When I don’t move, I feel like crap. When I sit on my arse and whine about how hard life is, I feel like crap. Who wants to feel like crap? Children move with such abandon: when did we lose this?

Off your ass—it’s the only way. Pay attention to what you put into your mouth and make healthier choices—it’s the only way. Or maybe I should write: It’s the only sure way to stay healthy and strong for the duration. Magical pills and quick fixes and most every “Diet” on the planet may help you in the short-term, but if it is not something you will do for Life, then you just may fail, or do things half-heartedly and only reach a tiny bit of your goals. Small changes make for later larger ones—

Do you drink soft drinks/soda/pop/Cokes? What if you replaced even one of those with a glass of water? Do you have a candy bar for your “afternoon slump” snack? What if you replaced that one snack with something healthier—a little fruit and a little low-fat cheese, or, oh, shoot, there’s so much information on healthy snacks out there that surely you can find something besides a candy bar? Save the candy bar for a “dessert treat,” or better yet, eat something really decadent that you will savor and enjoy for your “dessert treat” instead of quickly gobbling down whatever is in easy reach. Do you ever park farther out to walk to your building/shopping mall/grocery? When’s the last time you took the dog for a walk? Played outside with your kids? When’s the last time you felt really good?

How we think about ourselves and our bodies becomes our reality. I believe this. Of course, yes, as I wrote above, bad things happen to us that are not in our control—this too is life. But while we do have that control, why not use it to our advantage?

So, I’m on the treadmill, and there is a cardio song that starts off at a nice energetic tempo that I jog to, but near the end of the music, there is a deep but barely there voice that simply says: now—I can almost miss it if I’m not paying attention. Up until that point, my heart rate is pretty steady, but when I hear that deep but soft now I know the tempo/beat is about to rise, rise, rise, rise soar rise—asking me to give it all I have. I then speed up the treadmill to where I am running full out for nothing, near as fast as my legs will go; I am sprinting on that treadmill. I am near to flying on it. My heart rate soars. I am flying.

But what interests me is this: right as I know that now is coming, my heart rate picks up a little. Then when he says now and I know the music is going to ask me to Kick It Up, my heart rate picks up even more so—even though I have not yet increased my speed.

My brain asks my heart to prepare for what it knows is coming based on my expectation/anticipation. My brain hears that now and sends a “Hey! Here we go! Get ready!” to my heart, and it begins to pick up its beat even before I change my action. We control much by our thoughts. Our brains send signals based on how we anticipate what comes next. I think there must be a metaphor/analogy in there, don’t you?

How do you want to live the rest of your life?

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