Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Carpe Diem!

Ok, you're ready for a change. You're tired of feeling tired. You're sick of coping with your own funky moods or your appearance. Maybe you've just come from the doctor and your cholesterol, weight, and blood pressure are on the rise.

You're full of hope and anticipation about your new lifestyle changes.You clean out the pantry, stock up on all the right foods, download a killer workout for your Ipod and wham! You get sick, the boss calls a weeklong meeting, you're asked to be the driver for soccer practice every day for a month and health club goes up in flames.

The thing about life, as John Lennon observed, is that it happens when we're making other plans. And in order for your changes to work, you have to adopt the "Rule of Reverse Expectations." In other words, assume there will be obstacles in your path and seize the opportunity (carpe diem!) to use them as ways to sharpen your skills at keeping your self care on track. Don't get frustrated, get moving! Confucius said, "Consider the uses of adversity." When you embrace obstacles you stop dreading the challenge of self care. You stop talking about eating right and you just do it. Your expectations are realistic, and you know you'll have good days and bad ones.

A few years ago I worked with a personal trainer who had a strict no-whining policy. When I moaned about the fact that I couldn't find time to train because of my killer work schedule and the fact that I was a solo business owner and time was literally money to me because of all my responsibilities - on and on.

He just looked at me and said, "Robin, if you tell me you have just 5 minutes a day, I'll find a way for you to get the absolute maximum out of those 5 minutes. But one thing I can't do for you is get you the 5 minutes. You have to do that yourself."

You will do battle against yourself from time to time as old habits and self-destructive ways try to pull you back from your goals. But every time you "seize the day" you win. And that puts you much closer to that joyful, confident, energetic woman you know you are.

Friday, July 10, 2009

New 30 Day Audio Wellness Course for Women!

In my career as a professional organizer, life coach and fitness trainer, I’ve had the opportunity to help busy professional women take stock of what’s weighing them down and release the clutter in their spaces, schedules, minds, and bodies. By making small changes, one step at a time they become clearer and more confident.

My wellness vision grew from a desire to help you experience radiant good health and energy and bring balance back to your busy overcrowded life in a simple and positive way. Too many of us lie buried beneath mental and physical piles that sap our strength and drain our motivation to live life as God intended – joyfully and with purpose.

I wanted to make "getting the wellness edge" something that flowed naturally and easily. It seemed to me the solution for overwhelm shouldn’t be so complex that it adds another layer of stress to your already full plate.

After my divorce, my first years as a single parent and business owner seemed to pass by in a big blur. Most of the time I didn't know who I was, let alone what I liked. Then one day I decided to do something just for me. I thought of my high school days and things I’d enjoyed doing. I remembered how much I loved to write stories and journal. So I found an evening course in creative writing at the local community college. What a difference that simple class made to my life! It was a little thing – a baby step – but it radically changed my attitude and opened up space for other changes.

My new product is a a 30 lesson audio course with companion workbook - a series of baby steps to start you creating your vision of life balance. They are based on my personal philosophy – in a nutshell. . .

•Your body is a miracle – act accordingly!
•Your body, mind, and space are powerfully connected and must support each other if you want to be really healthy.
•You have a divine purpose and mission on this planet and keeping yourself healthy is your absolute responsibility so you can deliver it.
•YOU are the focal point of your life - priority number 1.
•Healthy living should be simple and flow into your life – not add more stress.
•You transform your life one small step at a time.

You’ve only got one body and one life - so live well! Do your part, however small. You may be sick or overwhelmed right now or depressed or overweight. But if you do what you can do, you’ll receive what you need to do what you can’t do.

To quote Goethe, “At the moment of commitment, the entire universe conspires to assure your success.”

Gluco What???

If you're trying to get more natural fiber into your diet, consider glucomannan - a water soluble fiber obtained from the konjac root.

Glucomannan has been used in Asia for centuries as traditional foods,such as noodles, tofu and heat stable gelled food products.

Konjac foods made by nature soluble fiber - glucomannan and water, are very low carb and very low glycemic foods which means they are good for keeping blood sugar stable.

What is soluble fiber?

Soluble fiber comes from the storage materials of the plant used to store water.
Soluble fiber dissolves and thickens in water, and can form a gel and include gums, pectins and mucilages.

A diet rich in soluble fiber has numerous health benefits such as its effectiveness in controlling obesity, stroke, diabetes, cancer and gastrointestinal disorders.

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the following claims that food manufacturers can place on their labels:

•Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol and rich in fruits, vegetables and grain products that contain fiber, particularly SOLUBLE fiber, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
•Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 3g of soluble fiber from whole oats per day may reduce the risk of heart disease.
•A low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grain containing fiber (particularly SOLUBLE fiber) may lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce risk of heart diseases. This type of diet may also reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
•Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include a daily intake of soluble fiber from whole oats or psyllium seed may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Glucomannan comes in gel and capsules and is available at health food stores and wherever quality supplements are sold. Nature's Way makes a capsule form that sells for $9.89 for a 30 day supply.

Get the Healthy Edge: 7 Natural Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

There’s something working nonstop inside your body to help you burn calories and fat. It’s your metabolism! Every time you eat enzymes in your body's cells break down the food and turn it into energy that keeps your heart beating, your mind thinking, and your body moving! The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn. The more you burn, the easier it is to release weight. And get this—you can make your metabolism work harder 24 hours a day.

To some degree, metabolism is determined by gender and genetics, but there's still plenty of room to improve. These tips from nutrition experts are simple but very effective for kicking your metabolism into overdrive, and have done the trick for many of my clients!

1. Eat (a good) breakfast. If you don't, your body goes into starvation mode, so your metabolism slows to a crawl to conserve energy. And the heartier your first meal is the better. In one study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, volunteers who got 22 to 55 percent of their total calories at breakfast gained only 1.7 pounds on average over four years. Those who ate zero to 11 percent of their calories in the morning gained nearly three pounds. In another study published in the same journal, volunteers who reported regularly skipping breakfast had 4.5 times the risk of obesity as those who took the time to eat.

Eat food that is slow to digest and leaves you feeling fuller longer. Try a mix of lean protein with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. For instance: an omelet made from one egg and two egg whites and a half cup of mixed peppers and onions, plus a half cup of cooked steel-cut oats mixed with a quarter cup of frozen berries and a teaspoon of omega-3-loaded fish oil.

2. An apple a day is still good advice. Apples are full of fiber and antioxidants which help keep digestion humming along and make you stronger. The type of fiber – pectin – found in apples actually helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol in your liver and the flavonoids (a cousin to antioxidants) can prevent inflammation and overproduction of fat in your liver cells.

3. Pick protein for lunch. Consuming protein at every meal helps build and maintain lean muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat does, even at rest. Aim for about 30 grams of protein—the equivalent of about one cup of low-fat cottage cheese or a four-ounce boneless chicken breast—at each meal.

4. Drink green tea. "It's the closest thing to a metabolism potion," says Tammy Lakatos Shames, R.D., author of Fire Up Your Metabolism: 9 Proven Principles for Burning Fat and Losing Weight Forever. The tea contains a plant compound called ECGC, which promotes fat burning. In one study, people who consumed the equivalent of three to five cups a day for 12 weeks decreased their body weight by 4.6 percent. For maximum effect, let your tea steep for three minutes and drink it while it's still hot.

5. Get more iron. Women lose iron during their period every month. That can throw a wrench into your metabolic machine, because iron helps carry oxygen to your muscles. If your levels run low, muscles don't get enough O2, your energy tanks, and your metabolism slows. Stock up on iron-¬fortified cereals, beans, and dark leafy greens like spinach, bok choy, and broccoli.

6. Go fish. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines are loaded with appetite satiating omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats help trigger the rapid transfer of "I'm full" signals to your brain, according to the National Institute of Health. Bonus: A 3.5-ounce serving of salmon nets you 90 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin D, which will help preserve your precious metabolism-stoking muscle tissue.

7. Hit the rack early. When you sleep less than you should, you throw off the amounts of leptin and ghrelin—hormones that help regulate energy use and appetite—that your body produces. Researchers at Stanford University found that people who slept fewer than 7.5 hours per night experienced an increase in their body mass index. So make sure you get at least eight hours of rest.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Staying in Shape is Easier. . .

Some of you may know who Jack LaLanne is. The godfather of American fitness - he is world reknowned as a bodybuilder, motivational speaker, nutrition and fitness expert. At 94 years of age he continues to work out every morning for two hours, spending 1 ½ hours in the weight room and ½ hour swimming or walking.
LaLanne says that as a child he was addicted to sugar and junk food. At age 15, he heard Paul Bragg give a talk on health and nutrition. Bragg's message was very simple but had a powerful influence on LaLanne, who subsequently decided to focus on his diet and exercise habits. His message has always been - stay in shape and you won't have to worry about getting back into shape.
Many of the emails I get from prospects and clients talk about their struggle - climbing on the fitness horse, falling off and getting back on again. Weight gain and loss yo-yoing back and forth - with the result that the amount of fat cells increase in the body over time and increased chances of diabetes and other health problems. And the yo-yo effect not only takes more time to get weight off, but to keep it off permanently or drop the last 10 to 20 pounds.

If you're not currently fit - don't lose hope or heart. Get back on the horse and make a commitment to STAY on. Don't cheat yourself out of the radiant good health and confidence that you deserve. And if you are currently fit - listen up - STAY THAT WAY! Take a leaf from Jack's book! Don't allow yourself to get out of shape and you won't ever have to worry about getting back in.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Age is Just a Number with Wrinkles on it

Last night I had the distinct privilege of watching the Puget Sound Senior Baseball League team, the Silver Foxes (my friend on the team is a mere kid at 52). The average player age in the league is 62, but I saw players in their 70's and a couple in their early 80's playing hardball like a bunch of 20 somethings.

These guys are in amazing shape - and they play serious baseball. They've had hip or knee replacements, back surgery, torn rotator cuffs - physical limitations that might make most of us a little more cautious about our bodies, but they bounced around that field like a bunch of crazy kids.

I did a double take when one of the batters (whose surgeon advised him to run no further than first base after a hit) called for a sub to run for him. The batter was 72, the sub was 76! And he stole second and third base to boot!

As I navigate my own mid-life and look for examples to remind me that age is indeed just a number (with wrinkles) I found tremendous inspiration watching these men who radiate health, energy, and joie de vivre - not for glory or ego but for sheer love of their game - baseball.

My dear friend and team member, Kevin, sums it up very well.

"Yes they are an inspiration! After being out of the game for the better part of 10 years I remember now how physical baseball really is. At 52 and my current triathlon fitness I thought I would be in perfect shape and starting up again would be fun, playing baseball would be a piece of cake and easy transition....au contraire.

The average age on the Silver Foxes is 62...are you kidding me? A few are approaching 70 years old and a couple are over with the oldest at 74 a pitcher who played with the Baltimore Orioles organization back in the day. I mentioned to Dick that I once met Stan "the man" Musial who played with the St Louis Cardinals and he came right back remembering the way he used to stand and hold his bat in the batters box. When you talk to Dick he is always willing to share his stories about the game. They're passionate about it.

How do these guys do it? They do it mostly with a love for the game. Every week they can't wait for game day, to put on their pro-uniforms wearing their name and number proudly. They constantly talk about baseball during the game but joke around quite a bit too. They are always positive whether you do well or not on the field. It feels good to be around some of these guys and makes me think about a time before I was born when baseball was everything all Americans cherished.

To those who inspire us to live well!

4 Obstacles Preventing You From Reaching Your LifeFit Goals

What's preventing you from getting real results?

I've been getting a lot of emails lately from people who feel like they're going around and around the same mountain with their life organization and wellness challenges.

Underneath the frustration at either not achieving their goal at all or sliding after they'd reached a certain baseline (no judgement here, we've all been there!) what I see they almost always have in common is one or more of these 4 obstacles. They keep turning up like ducks in a shooting range so let's blast em one by one. Let's face it, all change starts with being aware right?

1. Inability to push yourself. Guilty as charged! It's easy to convince yourself that you don't need to crank out those last few reps with the weights, or you can stop your cardio session 10 minutes early today (you'll make it up tomorrow, yes?) or you can leave the kitchen counter buried with mail and get takeout (again). Rationalization is easy when you're all alone - it gets harder when you've got someone else to answer to. The solution? Get some accountability - with a trainer, coach, friend, mentor, group - whatever it takes. When someone else is pushing us to do just 1 more lap around the track, we dig deep and do it! And I stand accused - yesterday without my swim trainer I ended my lap swim early (a little boredom crept in, I confess!) fully intending to make it up at my next session. Shame on me, but there it is - thank goodness I'm human!

2. Not having a plan. If you were planning a trip to California from Rhode Island you wouldn't just gas up the car and start driving. You'd probably eventually get there but it would take a lot more time, energy and money than if you had a roadmap and itinerary. This is especially true for fitness goals. Do you know what you need to do to get the results you want? How often/how long and what kind of workout is best for you? What to eat and when? What's your goal? Weight loss, muscle gain, cardio endurance or just getting off the couch on a regular basis? There are very specific (and simple) ways to get there. The same is true for eating healthy or organizing your home. With a plan your actions become very clear and focused. You save time, energy, and money because you know what to do and how to do it!

3. Lack of time. This is one of the most oft repeated excuses I hear, and I know it's a real one. We're more time crunched now than at any other time in history. That said, we can't use it as an excuse because we're not going to get any more than 24 hours in a day anytime soon. The good news is - small steps yield big results and things like getting organized and committing to a fitness program don't need to take longer than 30 minutes a day. In fact, as far as workouts are concerned an inverse relationship exists: the longer you work out the lower the intensity has to be to enable you to keep going. The higher the intensity, the shorter the work out - but you get great benefits because you burn more!

4. Lack of consistency. Of the 4, I think this is the biggest frustrator and dream dissolver. And again, I plead guilty here! Let me give you an example. You decide (right now) that you want to get in shape for the summer. Or you want to clear out the dead weight of winter clutter still lurking in the garage or basement. Great idea. You make your plan and begin with a bang. You work consistently for 2 weeks or a month and achieve a level of success. You feel pretty good about that so then you take a little break. Soon you've fallen off your commitment wagon a few more times and then you start to lose momentum. Maybe the weight starts to creep back, the clutter piles you didn't quite finish begin to spread. . .Or maybe you've set a 3 month goal for yourself and by the end of that time you don't see the results you had hoped for and you get discouraged and give up.

Remember - if you're not consistent, you're non-existent. Lack of consistency will steal your joy. You don't deserve that!