A Change in Location: A Change in Mind

I have lived in Georgia for a little over a year now and have visited more parks than I did in my entire life in the Garden State for over 50 years.  How does that happen? A friend said it best,

“A Change in location can equal a change in mind.” -NCH

Never did I believe that breathing the fresh outdoor warm summer air while walking miles and observing the beauty in a wooded park would spark so many delightful thoughts.

This post is inspired by a trail in Tribble Park. When your mind is quiet, static, and at peace to wander, you will view the world around you differently.

Walking through the park, my intentions were to get a few miles in while taking in the natural beauty of the parkland. What took place surprised me. As I strolled along the trail, objects like the shapes of the trees, the colors of the leaves, and the brokenness of tree branches, triggered random but inspiring thoughts.

New Paths and Journey’s

Reflections: We set personal and professional goals. In spite of well thought out plans (or so we think), we truly don’t know where the path will lead us. Some paths are more familiar than others. The roads are narrow, wide, straight, covered with debris, and even lead to dead ends. We think we know precisely where we are going. But amiss, we end up in a new place.

At times, the surprising destination is wonderful. On the other hand, the landing-place is unanticipated. At that moment, we have a choice to give up and to end the journey or chose receive and accept God’s lesson and beget further growth.

What is important is that, on our journey, we pay attention to all of the elements. On this walk, I observed many beautiful components of nature, such as this magnificent and variegated leaf.

The vivid spotted decaying leaf was the brightest leaf in a pile. If I were daydreaming and not focusing on the details along the path, I would have missed it. Squatting and eyeballing the leaf,  four ladies walked up. “What did you find? A snake?” Now that’s funny and boy did I laugh. I told them I don’t photograph snakes, I run from them. I pointed out the leaf to the women. They stopped to look and were also stunned by its beauty. Think about it. I walked over four miles in an extraordinarily wooded park and was able to find this beauty.

Here’s a closer look!

img_2503

The leaf is beautiful right? The image is also a reminder of the beauty in so-called defects and of the charm in aging.

Obstacles

Underneath this oversized tree with split roots is a pathway for water to flow through. The day I took this picture, the area was dry; however, once it rains, water freely flows through the park along to this tree and under its thick and twisted roots.

Reflections: In life, we must learn when to plow forward, under or around, and when to break off in a different direction. The canal is natural. Created by nature… and by God. The tree made a bridge for which the water runs under. Allowing ourselves quiet moments to reflect on any given situation, will help us to make the best choices.

Trash

Reflections: Get rid of the baggage! Learn and unlearn. Not all learned behavior is good; even if you learned the behavior as a child and from an adult. It’s like money. Not all money is good money. Recognize what helps you. Recognize what harms your mental health and well-being. Then do something about it. Oprah says, “When you know better, you do better.”

Don’t be afraid to remove trappings, and people from your life and do so without all the fanfare. If someone in your life doesn’t support your goals, or perhaps they bring negative energy to your life, eliminate them from your life.  There’s no need to call a soon-to-be former friend to make a formal declaration, just stop calling and responding. Eventually, they may call to ask why you stop calling. Be honest but not mean and tell them why but don’t negotiate.

The same goes for bad habits. Smoking, alcohol or substance abuse and, if needed, seek professional help. National Helpline Hotline (free, confidential, 24/7, 365-days-a-year treatment referral and information service, in English & Spanish, for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance abuse disorders).

Failure

Reflection: The dried pieces of tree trunks look like they have been precisely cut. Probably to protect park guests from falling dead trees. The stump remains. The stump can represent a distinct period in our life that may resonate feelings of failure, pain, anger, or joy and happiness. The stub within us is there for us to do what we choose. We can live with resentment, regret, remorse, hate, compassion, love, happiness, peace, faith, or with forgiveness in our hearts; we determine the method of reconciliation. 

I read from termite-control.com, that termites in trees can create real hazards. Since termites eat wood from the inside, they can make a tree so unstable that it cannot support itself. If that happens, the tree dies. We are no different.  Allowing emotions to internally harbor and fester is no different and can cause damage to our bodies, including our mental health. 

According to the World Health Organization, poor mental health is also associated with rapid social change, stressful work conditions, gender discrimination, social exclusion, unhealthy lifestyle, physical ill-health, and human rights violations.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

Perspective & Attitude

Reflections: Are you a pessimist or an optimist? Is your glass-half-empty or half-full?  Like most, I can focus on what wrong and what I don’t like. However, I have so much more to be grateful for and so do you.  I make a conscious decision to look up–not down, and to thank God every day for the tremendous volume of greatness in my life.

Whatever your situation, if you need to cry, pout, or complain, do that then come to grips with the fact that your situation could be worse. Someone else’s life is ALWAYS worse off than yours.  See the good in your present spot and assess how you can make it better.

Fear

Reflections: Them damn fears! Ugh! This bridge right here is about overcoming fears and transcending to the other side. I fear heights. Even with my feet being just a tiny bit off the ground sends my heart into a triple beat. This unexplainable and horrible feeling creeps up my calves and travels to hamstrings into my rear gluts. I feel sick and jittery.

You know where you need to get to. An obstacle (fear) confronts you. Maybe you plan to obtain your GED, start or complete college, audition for a part, read your work at a Spoken Word event, or something else. Do you give up or confront your fear?  I’ve confronted some of mine but I still have a few more to tackle. Since first sprinting across this bridge, I can now walk slower and alone. Each time I cross the bridge, it gets a little easier for me. Don’t give up!

Your Village

Reflections:  The base of this tree is one solid trunk. But as the tree grew, seven strong limbs sprouted. The cluster of limbs remind me of the ancient proverb that I heard often growing up, “It takes a village to raise a child.” As a child that means, everyone in the community, family, and non takes interest in the child.  The strength of the village reinforced the values taught in the home. When you were caught in the streets doing good, your neighbor reported it to your parents. When you were seen behaving inappropriately, whoever witnessed your transgression, corrected you and told your parents. Ultimately, you were disciplined at home too.

NJ Senator, Cory Book said,

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” 

Strength lies in numbers. While working on my Bachelors of Arts Degree in English, I worked a full-time job and had the responsibility of a young child, managing home life, including my relationship with my husband. I had my village of supporters and without their advice, wisdom, child-care services, love, and patience, I would have never had the opportunity to walk across the stage at Rowan University. Don’t go it alone; find your supportive network or your village and ask for help.

Downtime

Reflections: Tribble Mill Park is a 700-acre park that has two lakes and one large meadow. The park has nearly 3 1/2 miles of paved and unpaved trails. When I first set out on the trail, I was unfamiliar with the path and, at times, felt uncertain.  Since then, I have walked both the paved and un-paved surfaced trails. The non-paved was more challenging and it was easy to wander off the trail and to get lost. What I did notice on the trails were the benches.

The benches are a reminder to stop and to take a break. How often do you take breaks from your weekly routine of obligations? Unless you are literally running a marathon, you must set aside time to catch your breath and fully divert your attention away from your project. Find a quiet place that brings you solitude. Doing so will de-clutter your mind. You will think clearer and you will find solutions to some of your dilemmas.

Below are a few more of my favorite pictures from my walk.  Since this writing, my husband and I have returned to the park only to discover new paths and I love it!

My son deep in his thoughts.

..undisturbed and unbothered by people.

Other cool pics. 🙂

 

I love how this tree is bent and ends atop the paved trail.  But notice a few branches growing from the top of it.

Never grow too old to swing!

Pausing…. taking in the beauty.

The above video is unedited. The fantastic sparkles that you see are from the sun rays hitting the lake. The beauty of this video is also a reminder to sparkle to stay alive, to live intentionally, and to sparkle through as many days as possible.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Adjust Or Go A Bust

“Remain flexible and teachable so that you can make necessary
adjustments in life.”
Mz Liz

Adjust 

[uhjuhst]

  1. to change (something) so that it fits, corresponds, or conforms; adapt; accommodate
  2. to put in good working order; regulate; bring to a proper state or position

 

Today marks the end of my third week of grad school. Whew!!  Adding reading assignments, papers, and projects to my already busy schedule is a challenge– challenging but not impossible.

This weekend is about adjusting.  I am making the new addition to my routine fit.  I am adapting my weekly routine.  I am accommodating new tasks.  I am deleting some things from routine (less social networking time) and putting others (my son’s tutoring, basketball, etc..) in order.

Accomplishing anything good in life required adjustment.

If you can’t adjust, you will certainly a bust!    -tfc

Sunday is my meal prep but last week did not work too well, so I had to adjust my routine.

I moved the majority of my shopping day on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to Friday evening. The change frees me up for Sunday.

The second major adjustment is my cooking day. To free up more time to read and to write, I moved cooking from Sunday to Saturday afternoon… umm… I just looked at the clock.  The “afternoon?”  I started cooking at around 5:30 p.m…. the current time is 8:33 p.m., but it is done.  In between cleaning up the kitchen, letting the food cool down, and putting items away, I’m snapping pictures.  🙂

What’s cooking?  A hodgepodge of quick dishes for me and my peeps. The only menu items left to cook are veggies and I’m working on those.   I don’t have enough time to write recipes and all, but I wanted to give you an idea of what’s happening in my kitchen.

 

spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash… it is quick and easy to prepare.


mexican quinoa

Mexican Quinoa is a hit with hubby, is loaded with protein, so it works.


black rice

This black rice will pair nicely with the black-eyed peas.


black eyed peas

My first attempt ever at meatless black-eyed peas.  I add extra goodies like garlic, jalapenos, and substituted water with vegetable broth, so the peas should have a nice 


sweet potatoes

I can’t go wrong with sweet potatoes.


sausage dish

Mom will love this!  Sweet hot sausage and turkey kielbasa cooked in a fire roasted tomato sauce.  Whoever want to indulge can enjoy it over whatever style of pasta they choose, just don’t touch my black rice.  🙂


crock pot

I would be lost without my crockpots!  The third crockpot is full of steel cut oats in the fridge. 

 

The point of this post is to remind you that when trying something new, you have to be flexible.  What works for me may not work for you.  Also, what worked for me yesterday isn’t working for me today.  So no worries.  Take in a deep breath–slowly release the air and keep it moving.  I have a ton of work to do and must go. See Yah!

Happy day to you!! Smooches!

 

 

 

 


Sharing Is Caring

We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.
— Cesar Chavez

Sunday I hosted the first of a year long series of Sharing is Caring Wellness Workshops. The topic, Food Prep 101 is often linked with bodybuilding, but anyone can benefit from the model.

workshop Me speaking

Thirteen enthusiastic and eager family, friends, current and former colleagues attended. Today I am bursting with gratitude. The feedback is nourishment to my heart and to my soul. The responses confirm, what I already know:

People really do care about their health and well-being.    

Life often gets in the way and, like a drifting swimmer being pulled by a strong current, swimming back to the shore seems futile. Fatigue sets in and the determined and hard-wearing current wins.  

Careers, spouses, partners, children, aging parents, and extended family can constantly pull and tug at us. If we live void of mindfulness,  we slowly drift with the current into a world saturated with stress, sadness, depression, failed relationship, and life altering healthy issues. Daily life turns into simply trying to stay afloat. 

I understand the struggle–Have been there done that. But I have also learned from my experiences, which is why I willingly share my knowledge with others.

My entire life, I have had a passion for fitness; always eager to know more and to do more and always willing to indulge in something new.

When I reflect on my life, I find it remarkable of how plunging into each new activity has moved me and stretched me to new and unimaginable directions. I realize (now), but I did not in the past, that each adventure served a specific purpose and has widened my perspective.  

Somedays I feel like a tree branch. There’s lots of budding going on and I am growing. I am focused and think I know what direction I am going; however, each new endeavor surprises me with a curveball. I go with the flow of the energy and am often surprised at the path and the amazing results. 

Awe man. I’ve gotten off track a bit, but my point is don’t be afraid of trying something new. Just do it.  

When I was a high strung 20 something years old,  I NEVER imagined myself as Manager of Training & Development at a gaming hall.  I NEVER imagined myself working in a high school influencing teenagers to do better.

Even ten years ago, I NEVER saw myself walking on stage in stilettos and competing in body building competitions.  NEVER did I suspect I would host a series of wellness workshops!  Oh my.  The surprises are endless!! 

If I can come from a plastics factory worker father, who grew up in the islands, with no high school diploma or GED, and from a hot-tempered, quick to whoop some ass mother, with 12 siblings growing up dirt poor in a shack in the deep woods of Weymouth, with no electricity or running water, and the only expectation of me was to not have a baby, to get my high school diploma, get a job, and not ask for shit, and become who I am today, then any damn thing is possible!

For Gods sake, please venture outside of your comfort zone and try something new.

Anyways, back to my workshop. 🙂

It was delightful!

To comfortably accommodate everyone, my husband and daughter helped me to rearrange the basement. Thank you peeps!!

workshop set up

My daughter checking lighting.

I never want to force my lifestyle on anyone, so for the first session, I invited only people who have ever sought fitness related advice from me.  

My objective was simple: to give each of them at least one piece of information that would help them to make a positive change in their lifestyle.  

They arrived with bright smiles and eager to learn.  

The group had different lifestyles. Married with kids. Single with NO kids. Single with kids. Divorced. Working two jobs and going to school. They shared one common thread. A desire to live better. Beautiful! 

I covered the basics of food prep, answered questions, and welcomed suggestions for future sessions.

Workshop participants

My talented daughter videoed the session for me. Thanks Shaina!!

They indulged in light healthy snacks and a new wholesome and nutritious dish that I blogged about last month. [insert link].

Positive energy filled the cozy space and I could not have been happier.

A section of our basement is dedicated to hubby’s Man Cave.  All of the women were forbidden by hubby from entering the cave.  

What’s a woman to do?? 

Break the rules!!!! Fist pump!!

man cave

Although some people left already, there were enough women left to make our point.

Crash the cave with a group photo! Ohm gosh!! The perfect ending to a productive, educational, and rewarding afternoon. Nothing but laughter…..

What’s next?

Rest and figuring out a topic for March’s meeting.  

Last weekend was non-stop.  My son’s tutoring- an hour away, an informative two-hour meditation class, preparing for the workshop, my own food prep and organizing myself for my first graduate class in a M.A. in Wellness and Lifestyle Management program. Whew!  

We know that knowledge is power, but even more empowering and rewarding is caring enough to “include the aspirations and needs of others.” 

Happy Day to you!  🙂

 

 

 


“You need to start posting ingredients and recipes along with your pics.  I gotta start eating healthy.”

Yesterday I posted a picture on my Facebook page of my lunch and it prompted the above comment.

salad

I cannot take credit for making this salad; however, there is a story behind the salad.

Long story short– Thursday of last week, hubby and I took B’Dazzle (our 13-year-old son) to College Station, Texas to see a big football game Auburn VS Texas A & M.  The spirit of Aggieland is unimaginably amazing.  We had a blast!

We arrived home late Sunday; hence, no time for food prep and Monday I returned to work.

So, since I eat healthy and I eat clean, what’s the plan?

Develop a plan!  Hahahah!

In my neighborhood, I have a go to for healthy food on the go.  Nearly two years ago, my friend, who helps me meet my fitness goals, hipped me to Frankie’s Famous Pizzeria and their grilled chicken fajita salad; I’ve been hooked ever since.

Sunday night, I was tired from the flight.  It was late but I knew that I needed lunch for Monday. Since I did not have any leftover cooked food, on Sunday, I ordered the salad (with extra chicken) and kept in the fridge overnight.  Monday morning, I packed my other foods: oatmeal, eggs, apple, shake, avocado half, and grabbed my salad.  All done.

Okay so what’s for dinner?  I had a plan Plan B… Always have a Plan B. 🙂

On Wednesday, I knew that once we returned from Texas, I would need food for the week.  I scoped out the frozen and pre-cooked seafood at Sam’s Club and BJ’s.  Please know, I am not a fan of pre-cooked and frozen foods. However, with a little patience, if you read the labels carefully, you can find some decent options.

bourbon salmon box

After reading the label, I could not resist the anticipated flavor of Bourbon Salmon and it’s Wild caught, so that is an added bonus.

salmon box label

Okay so while the salmon is boxed, the sodium isn’t too bad. Most frozen meals are nearly 1000 mg of sodium, so 173 is doable.  Total fats are hidden, but saturated and trans fats are low.  The 24g of protein makes this a winner for me.  I was very surprised by the 0g of sugar!  I’m jumping in the air!!!  Whoooooop!! 🙂

pre-cooked salmonThe salmon is individually wrapped so you can cook only what you need.

The instructions are quick and easy.  Remove plastic, place frozen fillet on a greased baking dish skin side down, and place on the center rack of oven.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Other cooking instructions are on the box to grill (cool), pan sauté (cool) or microwave (Eeew).

I baked mine; it came out really pretty.  Hehe!

Cooked salmon

The next question is, What goes with the salmon?

Well, as I said before, have a plan.  I keep fresh organic baby spinach in the fridge.

boxed spinach

Of course, nothing beats freshly picked out-of-the garden spinach, but the reality is, my life is busy and I don’t have time for that.  My solution is to keep this spinach in the fridge.  I buy it from BJ’s and Sam’s.

You can use the spinach in a salad or quickly steam it down via stove top or microwave for no more than a minute and 30 seconds.

The label and nutritional value of spinach is why I eat it regularly.

spinach label

plate of spinach

Uncooked spinach

I grabbed two big handfuls of spinach (approximately two cups) and tossed them onto the prettiest plates I could find.

Steamed spinach in a microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Steamed spinach in a microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Then I added the baked salmon…

finished plate

…finished product..  a healthy, colorful, quick, and nutritious meal.  Anyone and I mean anyone can do this.  I cooked enough salmon for lunch for tomorrow.  It’s all packed up.

Finger lickin good lunch!

Finger lickin good and nutritious lunch!

Although I did not add carbs, you could add spaghetti squash (minimal calories), a baked sweet potato, yams, brown rice, black rice, or quinoa.   All of the carbs are healthy carbohydrate options.

Now, tell me that you can’t this!  I betcha you can… As a matter of fact, I know that you can!  Give it a try and tell me how you like it!

Bona-petite! 🙂


14 Principles To Less Stress

Two weeks ago was Stress Awareness Day.  I had good intentions of posting but daily life took over and until today, the post remained a draft.

Since mom says I sugar coat everything,  I am just going to say it, stress is a real mother****** !

Former heavyweight boxing champ, Mike Tyson was known for delivering speedy and powerful punches that resulted in his opponents on their back floored and confused wondering what the hell happened.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Well honey, stress will do the same thing, except slower. Been there done that; trust me, you don’t wanna go there.

Experiencing subtle chest pain, random heart palpitations, and/or loss of sleep are just a few indicators that you may be experiencing stress.

Just because you’re not experiencing more of the common systems, doesn’t mean that your body is not experiencing stress.

The American Institute of Stress (AIS) published a list of 50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress.Your body is speaking to you; listen to your body. Avoid the  mistake I made 22 years ago.

At 27 years old, throughout my work week, I experienced more than half of the symptoms. Too busy trying to be supermom, super wife, attending night classes, and managing a front office at a hotel, I ignored every damn symptom.  I thought my daily adrenaline rush was normal.

“Normal” it was not. Living short on patience and cursing folks out at the drop of a hat isn’t normal and neither is it okay.

I was young!  Chile please!  Who has heart attacks and strokes at 27?  Not me!! That mess wasn’t on my radar.  I was slim, managed to run and practiced Tang Soo Do!

I was oblivious and numb to what I felt. I did not understand why I felt the way I did.  As far as I was concerned, my daily adrenaline rush and fast paced day where, I cursed at least one person, by the days end was my norm.

If you don’t recognize the symptoms and figure out how to slow down, eventually your body will stop you dead in your tracks. it doesn’t matter how well you eat or how much you exercise, stress is stress and will slowly and methodically break the body down.


To reduce your stress, try these 14 tips:

  1. Use a calendar – If you don’t already record important dates on a calendar, start this immediately.  I like to use my smart phone, it works better than a date book. It has reminders. Add every event, doctor appointments, nail appointments, kids games, practice etc…  By doing this, you will have a clear picture of your real availability.
  2. Learn to say No! – You don’t have to attend every party or event you are invited to.  Look at your calendar and realistically decide if the event fits into your day. Ask yourself, How long is going to take me to get there? Do I need a baby sitter?  Do I have a class or work?  If it doesn’t fit, politely decline. If the person gets upset with you, perhaps it is time to evaluate your relationship with them, which brings me to my next point.
  3. Assess relationships – Evaluate the people in your life, including family. Think about how you feel when you are around them. Ask yourself, Are they positive influences?  Do they bring positive or negative energy your way? What are they doing with their life? Are they happy? When you are around them, do they make you feel good or bad?                                                                                                        
  4. Do the dirty work – With respect to rule #3, if you recognize that a person or people in your life are bringing you down, man up and do what has to be done. Phase them out of daily life. To end the relation, you don’t have to have a knock down-drag out fight. Just stop calling them, don’t invite them over and stop hanging out with them.  I’m serious!! Life is a journey of peaks and valleys.  No one is exempt from the highs and lows in life; however, people who are always negative–Debbie Downers and Negative Neds– Using an oversized lifelike straw, they suck the life and energy right out of you. Quick!!  Run!!!  Let them go!  They won’t understand.  Eventually they may ask.  If they do, tell them the truth, but be nice about it.  “I just couldn’t take your energy.”
  5. Effectively plan each week – Periodization is a concept used in strength training, that trainers use to help clients reach their fitness goals. Over simplified it is planning in phases for long-term performance. To accomplish your personal or professional goals, you can take the same approach.  Write a plan and strategically work towards it. Before your week begins, look closely at your schedule. Some days your schedule will be tighter than others; plan for these days. Example:  During football season, our schedule is regimented, so I plan our family meals. On Sunday, I cook larger family meals so there are a couple of days of leftovers. I buy the large size take out styrofoam plates from BJ’s or Sam’s Club, so when necessary, he can eat on the run. No plates, no dishes, no take out, no wasting money, and best of all, healthier meals!  Planning ahead like this, keeps you ahead of your game and avoids putting you in the stressful reaction mode.
  6. Mind YOUR business!  – Don’t make everybody’s problems your problems. We’ve all been there.  You know a family member or friend who just ain’t living right and they always have drama going on.  “She needs to do this!”  “She ought to be doing that!”  “If it were me….”   Stop it!!!  It ain’t none of your business, stay in YOUR lane. Nobody designated you as the official problem solver. Deal with and fix your own ish!
  7. Mind YOUR money! – An inability to manage your money can be a huge stress. It’s a basic concept.  Live within your means and avoid trying to impress others with your ish!  Grown and mature folks don’t give a damn about what kind of car you drive, designer handbags, expensive shoes, or where you live.  My car is 9 years old. The flaps on my running boards came off, she doesn’t have heated seats, but she has heat and air.   The ride is decent, but she’s PAID OFF!  So when a driver of a luxury car pulls up to me, I celebrate their pleasure and mine.  🙂  When the time is right, I’ll have my “dream” car, but for now, I’m minding my money.  As my friend says, “All that glitters ain’t gold!”                                                                                 
  8. Stop putting out other folks fires! – Recognize that their emergency is not YOUR emergency.  Lol! I used this philosophy all the time. The lack of planning on someone else’s part does not have to be your problem.  I am all for helping others, but for some people, their emergencies are more OFTEN than NOT. Sympathize, empathize and everything else, but it’s their problem to solve not yours. The time and energy you spend bailing them out will ultimately mess up your day and you may end up feeling stressed.
  9. Make time for you – Care for yourself first. What are your interests? Do you have a hobby or want to go back to school?  Whatever your interest, do it!  Even if it means your kid has to take one less activity, do it. Life is too short and too uncertain to put your life on hold until your child finishes school.  Tomorrow isn’t promised is a cliché but its meaning is bona fide. Your family will benefit from your happiness.
  10. Meditate – The mind, body and spirit improves with meditation.  You don’t need an hour or even 30 minutes…  Start by finding 15 minutes in your day.  Once it becomes routine for you, you’ll figure out the best time and where you can meditate for longer (if you chose).   The Rest & Relax Guided Meditation App is my favorite. At $1.99 it’s worth it.  You pick your music, desired length of time and the session is guided. It’s a great application that can help you get started.
  11. Eat well – You are going to feel exactly how you eat. Eat crap and you’re going to feel like crap-there is no getting around it. If you listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel, you will understand what I am saying.  Regardless of your fitness goals, try to eat a balanced diet. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, lean meats, healthy grains, and water daily into your diet. Minimize or avoid excessive sugary drinks and food, alcohol, packaged foods, fried food, and fast food.  Destroying your body with poor nutrition will eventually lead to illness such high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes.
  12. Exercise – You don’t have to be a fitness junkie like me, but incorporating exercise 3-4 days per week can have an positive impact on your quality of life.  Walking, weight training, yoga, running, CrossFit, aerobics, Zumba… just move.  To keep fitness interesting and fun, add a variety of workouts to your program. Find a gym or trainer that is right for you and an informed one that can help you meet your fitness goals and STICK WITH IT. Your heart is a muscle. When you exercise, your heart benefits and will function more efficiently.
  13. Sleep – The body  needs REST.  Going to bed late every night is counter productive to healthy living. Sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis, and can have a major impact on our overall quality of life.                                                   
  14. Get annual physicals  – No matter how well you feel or look, get your annual check ups.  For ladies, that means, OBGYN’s, Mammograms, a general practitioner, and an eye exam. That’s a lot right?  Men have it easier. Lol!  Prevention is key. You might feel well, but something still could be wrong. There are many diseases such as breast and uterine cancer, that are silent and don’t exhibit symptoms, so keeping up with annual doctor visits can save lives.

I’ve been told that I smile a lot and I do!  🙂   That’s because I live a simple life.  The less complicated, the better. My life isn’t perfect, but I live by the 14 principles, which sometimes requires tough decisions, but I do what I have to do, to maintain happiness and balance in my life.

Do you have other tips that you use to deal with stress?  I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and make it a fabulous day!  🙂


Yes, I Care About You

“I’ll have an order of hot wings, spicy please and a Coors Light.”

At 25 years old, this was my standard eat after aerobic class. With my workout partner sitting across the table from me, we laughed ridiculously about class, our uncoordinated moves and how fine the instructor was.

We were young, slim and trim, and as far as we were concerned, we were going to stay that way forever.  Lol! When you’re young, you think that way– at least I did.  🙂

Recently I saw a video of “The Stanky Leg Workout” and I laughed so hard. These people are having a blast dancing to a choreographed aerobic workout. The class is getting their cardio in, as well as,  getting their heart-rate up.  🙂

For some reason, the video reminded me of the early 90’s when me and my girl worked out then feasted on the hot wings and beer.

I wondered what the participants in the class ate after their Stanky Leg Workout. I wondered if it mattered to them or if they understood how relevant their post workout meal is to the hard work they put in during class.

After all, when I was 25, I didn’t give a hoot about post workout nutrition. It didn’t matter. I was lean; could not gain weight, did not have any fitness goals, so what I ate did not matter. We worked out because it was fun. Both of us were married and with kids. We enjoyed the hour of “me time” away from work and family.  If this is the case with you; that’s cool–enjoy every minute!  If you workout for additional reasons, this post is for you. 🙂

What are your fitness goals?

lexawrites.com

Fitness goals motivate your behavior.  Fitness goals dictate what you do before, during and after your workout.  Your goals move you to live a certain lifestyle.

lexawrites.com

I am not an expert, a certified nutritionist, a certified personal trainer, or any other fitness pro (yet); however, for over 20 years, I have lived a healthy lifestyle and continue to educate myself in the world of fitness and nutrition.  It just keeps getting better.

I care about myself and…

I care about you!  I don’t have to know you to care about you.

Everyday I see the results of unhealthy lifestyles. I see it in children, parents, and in my family. I have lost family members to cancer, diabetics, and morbid obesity. It’s not pretty.

When I see an obese child, it makes me sad; and I want to cry. I know they’re getting teased in school and, if nothing changes for them (or their parents), they will experience a lifetime of unhappiness– failing to reach their full potential in life– unless a positive change occurs.

By the way, I AM NOT saying that a person cannot be heavy or large and be in shape and live happily. I’m talking about lifestyles that lead to major healthy issues such as, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and more.

I want to take the obese child and the parent by the hand and tell them there is a better way. In reality tho, I’d get cussed out, so I stay in my lane.

I receive daily emails, texts, private FB messages, and phone calls from people asking me for help; this inquiries compelled me to write this post.  My advice to you is to sit and decide what your goals are and to write them down.

Don’t generalize: “I want to lose 20 pounds.”  Instead be specific:

To reduce my blood pressure to ______ and to reduce or get off my medication, I want to lose 20 pounds.

Start a food journal.  For three or four days, write down the following:

  1. What you ate/drank
  2. How much ate (estimate don’t measure)
  3. When you eat (time of day)
  4. Why you’re eating (breakfast, lunch, boredom, at a party, etc…)
  5. How you felt after you ate

This may seem time-consuming and cumbersome; however, to get the results, you MUST do the work… inside the gym and outside. There are no quick fixes.

If you don’t understand what you do or why you do it, you cannot make progress.

So what should you do after any workout?

Eat within the hour. If you are not going home immediately after your workout, pack your meal and take it with you to your workout. Eat it in the locker room, in the car, or on the bus, just eat.  After a workout, your body is in recovery and needs fuel to recover.

If you’re into bodybuilding, pre and post meal workouts are more complicated.  This post is more generalized for the average person.. if there’s such a thing.

Eat what?  This will vary greatly depending on your fitness goals.

Generally speaking, avoid:

  • fast food
  • fried foods
  • processed food (such as lunch meat)
  • sugary drinks/soda (including diet sodas)
  • packaged foods
  • frozen foods (unless you froze natural food yourself)
  • can foods

Try eating:

  • green/leafy food (spinach, broccoli, kale, collards, brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc..)
  • lean meat (skinless, boneless chicken, turkey, beef, etc…)
  • fish
  • beans (sometimes I use organic canned beans but I always rinse them well)
  • water
  • brown rice or pasta
  • yams/sweet potatoes
  • whole wheat vs. white
  • yogurt (plain with fresh fruit)

This lists above are general.  Again, depending on your health and fitness goals, your diet will vary.

Before starting any fitness regimen or nutrition plan, you should ALWAYS discuss it with your doctor.

Likewise, if you are being treated by your doctor for any condition, discuss and develop a plan with your doctor.  Safety and overall wellness should always be your first priority.

I hope this helps. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and have a fabulous day!