downloadIt’s been 31 days since the 90-Day Challenge began.

A few things worth mentioning…

  • I can’t believe how quickly a month has passed – makes me look forward with anticipation because I know how quickly the 90th day will arrive!
  • So many encouraging words from you all – so many of you joining in.  Hooray!
  • Realized that I’m stronger than I thought I was.
  • Realized that slow and steady wins the race.
  • Realized the importance of how much good nutrition affects every aspect of my life.
  • Realized how important it is to have at least one cheerleader in my life.
  • Realized what a gift new friends are. (While still treasuring the old friends.)
  • Was amazed at how many opportunities were available to me that I was missing.
  • Realized that this is just the beginning!

It’s not too late to join me.  If there’s something in your life that you’ve been trying to change or stop or start – NOW IS THE TIME!  There are 2 months left in my particular challenge – but, as I said, it’s only the beginning…the first step of many.

Make a decision today.  Do it.  Time passes whether you start now or not – your choice!

What are you waiting for!!


Water please

imagesA few years ago Tim and I were working out on a Saturday morning.  We went our separate ways in the gym as we usually do.  I was rowing along on the rowing machine when a friend approached with a dire look on her face.  “Hi,” I said, “What’s up?”  Well nothing was up, something – er, someone was down – my husband had passed out…twice.

Tim was suffering from a severe case of dehydration which entailed an ambulance ride to the hospital and a few hours receiving fluids intravenously.  Due to recent airline travel and a lack of fluids on top of a hard workout, his body just gave in. And he was one of the lucky ones.

It’s not uncommon for people to pass out at the club if they aren’t properly hydrated – we know of several within our circle of friends.  They were all just fine in the end – others are not so lucky.

With another friend experiencing this over the last few days, I thought it would be a good time to get the word out.

Here is a list, from Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.com), of the possible side-effects of dehydration:

Dehydration can lead to serious complications, including:

  • Heat injury. If you don’t drink enough fluids when you’re exercising vigorously and perspiring heavily, you may end up with a heat injury, ranging in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion to potentially life-threatening heat stroke.
  • Swelling of the brain (cerebral edema). Sometimes, when you’re getting fluids again after being dehydrated, the body tries to pull too much water back into your cells. This can cause some cells to swell and rupture. The consequences are especially grave when brain cells are affected.
  • Seizures. Electrolytes — such as potassium and sodium — help carry electrical signals from cell to cell. If your electrolytes are out of balance, the normal electrical messages can become mixed up, which can lead to involuntary muscle contractions and sometimes to a loss of consciousness.
  • Low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock). This is one of the most serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body.
  • Kidney failure. This potentially life-threatening problem occurs when your kidneys are no longer able to remove excess fluids and waste from your blood.
  • Coma and death. When not treated promptly and appropriately, severe dehydration can be fatal.

Those of you who’ve been through the recent heat wave in Minnesota and are planning a visit to the State Fair or other outdoor activities this weekend – TAKE WATER!  LOTS OF IT!  It’s an easy way to avoid a scary situation.  Spread the word – Please! You just may save the life of someone you love.

Drink up!

P.S.  I was told to drink 1/2 my weight in ounces of water per day.  More if you’re doing an extreme workout or it’s really hot.

One is silver and the other’s gold…

keep-calm-and-make-new-friendsSo if you were ever a girl scout, you may know those words.

It’s a camp song about making new friends.  It starts off like this…

“Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
and the other’s gold.”

As we moved to a new town, a bit removed from all that was familiar for so many years, I felt very lonely.  It felt a bit like living on an island…the shore was in sight but it was too far to swim.

As this 90-Day-Challenge began, one of my goals was to step out of my comfort zone and make new friends.

I know I mentioned this previously, but I have to say that the surprise gift of my new friend, Jeani, is indeed precious.  We spent the morning sipping lattes and walking around a lake – although it is one of the steamiest days in recent history here.  We compared notes about life and what we like and don’t like and how our children are and what they do and how we both love to travel. We’ve spent the last few weeks working out together and chatting as we have time.  She’s even helping our son with the purchase of his first home as she is a realtor.

It was a wonderful morning and I am so grateful that Jeani stepped into my path and I into hers.  We feel like old friends already.

The shore is in sight and it’s very near.

Who is that masked (wo)man?

lr_silv8If you’ve ever been to your fitness club and have seen someone on the treadmill wearing a goofy mask – you’ve probably witnessed a fitness assessment test.

Today I had the pleasure(?) of having that test done myself. It is done to help find your heart rate ‘zone’ which will help maximize results from your workouts.

At LifeTime Fitness it is called the CardioPoint assessment, which is one of the best ways to begin shaping your fitness program whether your goal is performance enhancement or fat loss.  The assessment itself is one of the best known methods of assessing your body’s response to a variety of workout intensities.

You begin by putting on the mask and walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes as the trainer elevates both speed and ramp elevation on the treadmill. This burns off any excess carbohydrates you may be storing – you will not eat prior to this test.  You do all while being connected, via tubes and heart monitor, to the computer. After a five minute break you will be tested as the intensity is greatly increased in increments.  As you move into the testing, you will continue to rate your comfort/discomfort on a scale of 1-10, 10 being call an ambulance.

I reached a peak of about 9 while running, well above my usual pace, and then continuing for about 2 minutes – it was tough but I learned a lot about my fitness levels.  I learned that my heart is pretty strong and in good shape.  Going from my peak heart rate of 177 bpm to about 100 bpm only took a short time.  All good.  Tomorrow we will go into the results in more detail and outline the best ways I should work out.

It’s worth the extra cost (around $100 for me since I had a trainer) and I get to keep the stylish mask to use in future tests (saves about $30 for the next test).

This tool will help me learn how to burn maximum calories efficiently, will save me time in my workouts and make them more productive, and will help to know more about how my body is performing.  All good things.

I was told that many people workout at maniacal paces thinking that they have to do so in order to burn maximum calories.  However, it’s actually quite the opposite.  Your body will not perform well and you will most likely be outside the fat burning parameters – not good.

So check into it at your workout facility of choice – I know the YMCA also offers it – and give it a go.  The more we know about how our bodies perform and what they need – the more we can care for them and improve them.

Hi-Yo Silver!  Away!


Don’t Eat This! I’ll tell you why.

6a00e553a80e108834014e8c3a18a2970d-500wiThink back to the last time you watched television.  How often did a commercial involving food come on?  Approximately 1/5 of all commercials are for food items – usually processed or fast-food items.  The incidence is much higher as the meal hours are approached.  Statistics show that 80% of those food commercials are for highly processed “foods” – the real, whole food producers simply don’t have the budget to advertise in such a way.

So how does this affect me?  Good question.  Let’s explore.

Those of you who are children of the 50’s and 60’s will most certainly remember the Marlboro Man.  He of rugged good looks and manly lifestyle of the modern day cowboy – was cool…and he smoked.  His name was Wayne McLaren and he died of lung cancer at the age of 51.  Google it.  It’s true.  And due to the passing of the law banning tobacco sales-related commercials in 1970, many people have found the prospect less attractive and either quit or never started to begin with.

So what does this have to do with food?  Nothing…and everything.  We can do the very same thing with highly processed and fast foods that we did with tobacco products.

We are living in a culture surrounded by fast, plentiful, inexpensive food.  We are also living in a culture struggling with obesity because we have forgotten how to eat real food.

Author Michael Pollan has an excellent book – it’s called ‘Food Rules’.  It’s a simple book and a quick read and I highly recommend it to everyone.  Here are a few of Michael’s rules…

  1. Eat food
  2. Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food (hello yogurt tubes)
  3. Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry (pass me the azodicarbonamide please)
  4. Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce (see above)
  5. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle (aka processed foods)

There are many more but the one I chose to focus on today is this:  “Don’t eat foods that are advertised on TV.”

“But,” you say, “Prunes are advertised on TV!”  True.  Go ahead and eat prunes but read the label first – see what’s been added to them.

Bottom line – eat whatever you’d like.  Make it yourself.  Use whole ingredients.

Take that Swanson.

Who are your 3?

stock-footage-three-carefree-girls-dancing-on-the-beach-at-sunset-in-silhouette-fpsI learned a long time ago that as I travel down this road of life it’s nice to have company.

When I first started walking the road of adulthood, those walking along with me were similar in most ways…age, marital status, parents, economic status.  It was nice but I didn’t feel like I was growing or learning – life was status quo.

It was then that I met an older woman – probably in her 50’s at the time while I was in my 20’s – and I realized what was missing.

We each need our “3”.  “Three what?” you ask.  Three special friends.

At any given time we should be walking and sharing our lives with one who is further along life’s road than we are, one who is similar and walking beside us, and one who is a little behind us in life whom we can help mentor.

I’ve found this to be especially helpful during this time of challenges and changes.

Just this morning I spent some time with a young woman who is probably close to 30 years younger than me – she is a wonderful example of discipline and fitness for me. She is in the National Guard and she works out almost every day – but her workouts are focused and intentional.  So from her, I learn those wonderful traits and they help and encourage me and I hope I can encourage her about non-fitness related things.

Then I have a few close friends, one in particular, who is my age.  She and I are able to share things that others cannot understand or relate to.  Usually when one needs lifted up, the other is there to do just that.  Her friendship is a treasure to me.

I also have a friend who is about 25 years ahead of me in life.  The lessons she has to offer me are priceless.  She helps me to let go of the worries and unnecessary struggling in my life when it’s not called for.  She calms me.  I am able to help her with some needs that her body can no longer handle – I adore her and am so thankful for her.

When you have these 3 in your life, you will be nurturing others with your friendship as they nurture you – body, mind and spirit.

Three are definitely NOT a crowd – they’re a blessing.

Where have all the sidewalks gone?

infrastructure-sidewalk-house-jupiter_ea03617b189a05fe44e2ce6872e65aee_3x2_jpg_300x200_q85I remember as a child spending hours and hours riding my bike around the neighborhood, walking to my friend’s house to play, going to the park…  The mode of transportation changed from day to day –  feet to bike to skateboard – and the path was always the sidewalk.

I watched a documentary today, it was put out by HBO and it’s entitled, ‘The Weight of the Nation: Confronting America’s Obesity Epidemic’.  I am begging you to watch it – you can see it on YouTube at no cost other than an hour of your time – well worth it!

It spoke to many issues but one that really struck me was that in many neighborhoods that exist now, there are no sidewalks…no parks…no play places for young children.  The result of this is that they stay indoors in front of the television or computer or gaming console in lieu of playing outside with their friends.

Where are the sidewalks?  They were taken away in favor of saving tax money in order to be spent on other things.  Those that disagree with me – so be it – but my guess is that a lot of the money went to increase salaries of those who make the rules in the cities.

A big focus of this documentary is that those who are in charge of the largest and most powerful commodities – be it local governments, government subsidized farms or the fast food industry – are most interested in profit over the welfare of its people.

Children of the current day don’t play outside as much because, in many cities, there is simply no safe place to play.  The lowest income areas are the areas which have the highest levels of childhood obesity and early onset chronic diseases such as diabetes  and high blood pressure.

The stores at which the poorest families shop do not offer fresh produce – they offer low cost, high calorie junk food – and that is what the children are being fed.

A fire has been lit in me today – it has dawned on me that changes to these problems will most certainly NOT be from the top down – they will come from grass roots efforts.

Again, please watch the documentary – it will give you a jolt and maybe you will join me in trying to make a difference somehow. For more information go to http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com/films.

One thing came out of this today – I think I have figured out what the purpose of my challenge truly is…to be bold and aggressive in becoming a part of the solution.

Let’s bring back the sidewalks and get those kids outside once more.  That would be a great first step.