Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Blog Posts Are Now on Our Website

Hi, There! 

Barb's blog is now embedded right in The Mind-full Motivator's website. Just go to www.mindfullmotivator.com and click on "blog" and you'll be able to read all the latest posts.

Be Healthy,

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Point Reyes Lighthouse
Our day trip from San Francisco yesterday took us to Point Reyes National Seashore. To get there, we had to travel narrow, winding roads that wove in and around miles and miles of hills. We saw elk, deer and their newborn fawn, dairy farms labeled by the alphabet, and lots and lots of cattle. I loved having to wait as a herd of Holsteins were directed across the road to get to the pastures on the other side. Nothing like getting out of the city!

The trip was not for the unfit. When we arrived,
EMT's were attending a woman evidently having chest pains while climbing up the stairs. Umm. Fair warning. The half mile walk to the stairs wasn't bad. And, really, descending hundreds of stairs as we came closer to the old lighthouse the beautiful pacific waves wasn't too bad. My legs just felt a bit shaky and wobbly like jelly. 
Barb's half way up!

But going back up was a different story. Oh, yeah. Climbing those 380 stairs was definitely a high intensity work out. We all felt each of our quad muscles screaming out at the end out the climb, and were very thankful we'd made it! Phew. Really, keeping up your fitness level allows you to see and experience so much more in life.

Afterward, we spent a little time strolling on the sandy beach and getting our feet covered in that wonderfully cool Pacific ocean water. A perfect day in my book...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mike's Journey Losing One Hundred Pounds

Mike: before, after
Hi all, I’m Mike.  I have struggled with my weight pretty much since elementary school.  Now in my mid-thirties I decided to make some changes for good to have a more active, enjoyable life! 

Superhero Mike's running a 10K
Over the past year I have been on a journey to create a healthier, more mindful, version of myself.  Using the lessons that I have learned over the past several years from Barb, I have lost over 100 pounds, completed a 10k race, and I am training for a 10-mile race and a half marathon!

While I’ve been on this journey, several people have asked me “What’s the trick?” or “What’s your secret?”  To me the “secret” is no secret at all; it’s doing several small things that add up to making a difference in your overall health. 

For me the four key pieces of advice that I would pass on to anyone who wanted to make a change are:
  1. YOU have to want it.   Over the years I have tried fad diets.  You know “drink this everyday and magically the weight will fall off” or “do this workout for three months and you’re cured…” which for a temporary fix they were successful, but didn’t change any of the bad habits that I had.  And why did I try these crazy schemes?  Because this person, or that person told me that I should, not because I wanted to.  It took me wanting to make the change for it to truly stick and be effective!
  2.   Take control!  Be the one who controls your food choices.  Obviously, the best way to do this is to prepare your own meals.  However, it’s pretty unrealistic to do this for every meal!  How I have combated this issue to plan, plan, and plan some more for these situations.  If I know I am going to be eating a meal at a restaurant, I will go online and decide what I’m going to order ahead of time so I’m not tempted to make a less optimal choice on the fly when I get there.  I’ve also learned to ask for exactly what I want and make substitutions all the time.  Don’t be scared to do this!  Not once, has a server told me that they couldn’t do what I had asked.  If I am going to a friend or relatives for lunch or dinner I will ask what’s on the menu so I can plan the rest of my day around that and also suggest a dish that I could bring that I know fits into my plan for the day.
  3.  MOVE!  Get out there and exercise.  When I started all this last year I wasn’t running six miles right away, I started small.  Walking a mile a day, then gradually increasing the distance and intensity as my fitness level increased.
  4.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  You will make mistakes, or make choices that you may regret.  It’s okay!!!  Learn from the situation, let it go, and get back on track immediately (not tomorrow, or next Monday).

Monday, May 26, 2014

Thoughts on Memorial Day

Memorial Day used to be one day. May 30th. And it was meant for remembering those who gave their lives for our country. Schools, stores...most everything was closed that day. And almost everyone I knew marched in the town parade as part of the band, scouts, 4-H...or something. 

But, 1971 changed that.  The Uniform Monday Holiday act, gave Memorial Day, along with other holidays, a yearly Monday spot to assure a 3-day holiday weekend for all. Hey, we love our 3 day weekends. No work for 3 days! Kids home for 3 days... More time to go somewhere and do something!

Whether the 3 day weekend was good for the actual observance of Memorial day, I'm not going to judge. But, I do want to connect the dots on 3-day holiday weekends and an increase in overindulging in less healthy foods.

Every event that comes along that changes our daily routine can play havoc on weight loss or management efforts. Weekends are more difficult for most people, because the routine demanded in the week is simply not there. Holidays are even more challenging because they add a celebration element to the lack of routine. And when a 3 or 4 day holiday weekend comes along, it can really screw things up. Out of routine and celebration mode.

Just be aware that you need to be much more vigilant during long holiday weekends. Keep your head on. Take fresh fruits and veggies with you to all those gatherings. Focus on eating slowly, enjoying friends and family, and being active. 

Having fun doesn't mean giving up on your weight loss/wellness plan and diving head first into the bag of potato chips or pie and telling yourself that the holiday weekend doesn't really count. It means mindfully choosing to act like the healthy, svelte, active person you really want to be. 

As they say..."Fake it 'til you make it!"

Monday, May 19, 2014

Movin' With the Yard Work

My neighbor is in constant motion. She stands just over 5 feet, but that small frame delivers purpose and determination...in addition to speed. When it comes lawn and garden work, no one can keep up with her. Trimming. Weeding. Planting. Harvesting. Mowing. She even mows for another neighbor. She rarely stops moving. And she's got 10 years on me. 

She's the epitome of "YES, you can count yard work as exercise!" It depends on what you're doing, but aerobic conditioning, strength training, and flexibility, can all be done outside. But, take care.

Don't go crazy as the weather turns nicer. If you've been more sloth-like all winter long, don't expect to zip right out there and mow lawn, weed the gardens and plant all in one day. That's a recipe for bit time pain and suffering. Be sure to warm up by walking and going through some general full body motions to get prepped for your yard time.

And, be mindful. When your body gets tired, listen and respect what it's saying. Fatigue means it's time to stop for the day, stretch out, and do the rest tomorrow. It doesn't mean to man-up and bust your body trying to get it all done. Respect yourself.

It's a beautiful time of year. Time to enjoy your body in motion and learn to use mindfulness to understand it's limits. You'll get along much better inside that body of yours if you do...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Gluten Free Pasta Trial #1

Gluten is a hot button topic these days. But. Is it really bad for everyone like some popular authors are trying to convince us?  Or is it really okay for those of us bread loving fools?

If you have celiac disease, an auto-immune disease, you're already aware of the terrible pain and damage that gluten causes. That's why it's a given that celiacs must avoid gluten completely. 

But there are some people without celiac disease, who do have gluten sensitivity. Their symptoms vary. But, if gluten is the cause, the symptoms will be dramatically reduced when eliminating gluten.

One thing for sure: avoiding gluten is not going to make you lose weight or magically make you healthier. It's just not.

That being said, I decided to do a little experimentation in the gluten-free world for those of you who do need to eat gluten-free.

My massage therapist, Rebecca, gave me 3 different gluten-free pastas to try. The first one I tested was a corn, quinoa, rice, and fiber blend by Garofalo. I was making a homemade marinara sauce, so I wanted the pasta to be hold up well under the sauce. 

Yummy! This blend got a 5 star rating (out of 5 stars) by our family for taste and texture. In fact, it may taste even better than our usual whole wheat pasta! It held up perfectly under my sauce. Even the leftovers the next day reheated perfectly. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Make Your Motivator a Positive One

In tears, a woman shared her memory of getting stuck in a dress while trying it on. (She'd even grabbed a bigger size than she usually wore; she knew she'd gained a bit of weight.) The zipper broke: it wouldn't budge at all. She swallowed her pride, and had to walk out in the dress to find a saleswomen. She had to be cut out of the dress!

Another woman's neighbor asked when her baby was due. She wasn't pregnant. She'd just gained 25 pounds.

You've been avoiding mirrors and cameras. Unfortunately, you just saw a recent photo of yourself and hardly recognized yourself. How is it that photos add 15 pounds to you but not to anyone else in the photo?

Whatever your "Oh, Yuck!" experience was, these events can make great motivators to start dropping body fat and getting healthier. The trouble is, these negative motivators don't last. 

Once you've been on your weight loss plan awhile, and pounds and sizes drop, you feel better about yourself. The negative motivator dissipates. It's important to create a positive motivator before this happens. 

Identify the positive things you're aiming for with your weight loss. One gal told me she wanted to be a "Hot Momma" and be able to walk on the beach in a bathing suit without worrying about what she looked like. Another told me she wanted to be strong and active enough to get down on the floor with her grand kids to play, and get back up with no trouble. And, I'd like to be able to play golf when I'm 107.

Now, instead of running away from your "Oh, Yuck!" experience, it's time to pull yourself toward what you really want. Envision yourself as that Athletic, Happy person, that Strong, Svelte person, or that Active 100 year old! Now, practice doing the things that support you becoming that person. Practice doesn't mean perfect. Practice simply means you're working to form the habits you'll need to become the person you want to be. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Playing the Role of Helpless Victim?

You want to lose weight. You keep trying to lose weight. But, you can't. It's out of your control. Seriously. Your husband made your favorite lasagna for dinner. You'd planned to eat only tuna on salad. You couldn't help it; you had to eat too much. And, there's that co-worker who purposely brings homemade brownies and cookies in to work every time she bakes just to sabotage you. And, if only you didn't have to go home every day, cook dinner, deal with kids, and all the chores that need to be done. Then, maybe you'd have enough time to exercise and lose weight. Everything that interferes with your weight is really beyond your control. Not your fault.

Stop. Let that self-talk go. It's easier to make excuses and play the helpless victim. It's harder to find time to do what needs to be done to take care of yourself and lose weight. Healthy cooking and exercise take time and commitment. But, that's the real path to successful, healthy, weight loss that stays off.

Want to be a success with weight loss? Time to give those big girl/boy panties a big tug upward!! 

  • Remember that with each situation that arises, you have a choice as to how you will react.
  • Prioritize your wellness needs. If you don't, it's easier & easier to be the helpless victim, eating unhealthy foods and becoming a sedentary couch potato. 
  • The more frequently you see your own actions as being controlled by other people or situations, the more you relinquish your own power of decision making. 
  • You always have a choice. Yes, you can eat 2 pieces of pie because Aunt Bess made it just for you, feel stuffed, and feel guilty. Or you could have a small slice and tell her how wonderful it is, and how full you are. Choices.
  • Allow no food, person, or situation to have the power to make you eat.
  • No one determines your values or priorities except you.
  • Make the best choice you can at the moment. Breathe. Relax. Move on to the next choice... 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Next Time: Mindful Holiday Eating!

 Easter happens once a year. If we went overboard and overindulged with candy and other holiday foods once a year, we'd be OK. If it stopped there. The trouble is, between all the holidays and birthdays Americans celebrate during a year, there aren't many non-holiday days for mindful, healthy focused eating.

You know, we really need to practice mindful eating all the time. Calling a day off from listening to your body doesn't play out very well. Yesterday, too many people undoubtedly decided to let the day go, and ended up head first in the chocolate eggs, jelly beans, extra servings of cheesy potatoes, ham, and desserts. Without a thought as to what their body was trying to tell them. I heard phrases like "sugar coma." Moans from overeating. And, heard that people were unbuttoning pants or changing into stretching waist pants. Hmm...

Maybe next time, mindful eating can be part of the celebration. The cool thing about it is that you can choose to eat anything you want, enjoy it, and you'll never end up with pain from overeating.

Our family enjoyed making dinner together: lamb, scalloped sweet & white potatoes, grilled asparagus, fresh strawberries & pineapple, with a light lemon cheesecake topped with mixed fresh berries on top. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Less Wise and More Mindful

Most people end with 4 wisdom teeth. Teeth that are a big expense for parents of teens to remove before they erupt so they don't mess up thousands of dollars of orthodontia work.
Then there are those few that don't have any. Like my husband. Don't ask me why, but he just never ended up with any. I always kidded him that's why he needed to get his PhD---not enough natural wisdom. Ahem.
Then, there's me. Unique. I had 4 wisdom teeth that taken out at one time in the dentist chair when I was 21.  I wasn't even sent home with prescription pain killers!  I remember my husband convinced me that scotch would work just as well. It must have helped. I don't remember.
After my 5th wisdom tooth was removed, I must have been labeled an oddity. Then, my dentist started those full scan mouth X-rays. Yep. I had a 6th one fully developed and directly above the last molar on one side. Odder still. Then, some funky things started to develop...
...and Friday, I had oral surgery to remove that silly 6th supposedly wise tooth (Why are they called "wisdom?" teeth) Of course, instead of the usual 2 roots, it had 3. I can't do anything by the books. The oral surgeon warned my husband of bruising, and the need to explain a possible black eye as a result. (Yes, I'm looking colorful today!)
And, eating's been a pain. The nurse suggested ice cream, yogurt, jello and sent home a sample of Ensure. I've tried soup, cream of wheat and polenta. But, I have a hard time opening my mouth very wide, let alone chewing (Yes, me!) So, when I tried eating salmon and lettuce tonight, I just got too tired of eating. Seriously.
I guess the bright side of all this is that is forces mindful eating: extremely small bites, chewing very carefully, & resting between bites. But, I really don't recommend polishing mindful eating skills this drastically!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nutrition Labels Go BOLD

We've had nutrition labels for quite some time. So. What's the big deal about the FDA's newly proposed labels? It's all about change.
Our current nutrition labels leave the typical consumer confused. Manufacturers have been messing with us. They've twisted serving sizes to fit their own needs. Small bottles of soda list 2 ½ servings per container. One packaged muffin, 3 servings. Huh? Who shares? With smaller serving sizes, the manufacturer is able to declare lower calories, grams of trans fat, sodium....or whatever is deemed "evil." Lower in "bad things" should mean better sales. Only dedicated label readers with good eyesight can see what's really going on.
The new FDA system requires that the calories per serving be clearly displayed in bold font, thus discouraging caloric denial. Not that any one of us could be guilty of that. And, serving sizes will be updated to be closer to what people actually eat instead of what they should consume. One muffin instead of ⅓ of it.
A package that could be eaten in one sitting will be asked  to list nutritional info per serving and per package. But... Emotional overeaters and binge eaters may need the nutritional info on all size bags. I mean, really. Who's to say what size package could be eaten in one sitting?
And finally, added sugars and naturally occurring sugars will be clearly distinguished on labels. Definitely a positive change to help us lower our intake of processed foods with added sugars. I'm all for this one.
But the big question: will the new labels work? The big, bold calories will definitely be noticed and heeded by many, much as the calories on restaurant menus have. As for the rest of the changes, it's all about education. We are what we eat, so we'd better start examining those nutrition labels to see what indeed we are really made of!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Filling Easter Baskets or Your Tummy?

They're everywhere. Cadbury Eggs. Hershey chocolate eggs wrapped in foil. Malted milk eggs. Jelly beans. And, the big, solid chocolate bunnies that hop into your grocery cart, all by themselves, when you're not even looking...(I know they do that.)
Instead of making your Easter Baskets overflow with candy, perhaps it's time to think of a few alternatives. Recently, JAMA reported a major study telling us that obesity in 2-5 year olds has declined 40 percent over 8 years in most states---fantastic news! Let's keep going with this positive trend;  it isn't a good reason to deliver a mother-lode of candy. Especially, if you're the one who ends up eating most of the candy and re-buying it a number of times before Easter.
I'm not suggesting a candy-free basket. Can we just go for less? Start by filling each basket with fun, age-appropriate, non-edible toys that may even promote a bit of movement: balls (tennis, golf, basketball, stress ball, colorful play ball,) Frisbees, yo-yo's, kites, bubble stuff,  iTunes gift cards, books, magazines, stuffed animals, or games.  At this point, you can add your well chosen candy, nuts, dried fruits, granola bars, popcorn, coffee, tea, or gum.
Great idea from Denise F. who plans to fill mini-cellophane bags with dried fruits and nuts for her husband's and mom in law''s baskets. They still get the one designer chocolate egg, but the rest of the baskets are going healthier this year. Gotta love it!
Peter Rabbit needs to be upping the carrots and watching his chocolate intake too, or he just may turn into a chocolate rabbit himself!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Why Smoothies?

Pat G working the fruits on
smoothie making day!
If you have a blender, you can make a smoothie. They're quick. They're easy. But why go through all the bother? Why not just eat all the ingredients before they get pureed into liquid?
Home-Made Healthy Smoothies are a great way to
  • Increase fruit and veggie intake with very little effort.
  • Fill you up and keep you satisfied by offering plenty of volume.
  • Easy to take with you when there's little time for breakfast.
  • Keep added sugar intake low when you're craving something cold, creamy, and sweet.
  • Have fun!
Meggie's Green Smoothie:
  • Hand-full or two of fresh washed spinach
  • 6 oz container of pineapple Greek yogurt
  • 6 oz orange juice
  • ½ cup frozen mango
Blend until smooth & enjoy!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Shoe Lace Trick

As I was walking in my new sneaks, the usual thing happened. My right, wider foot started to feel weird, prickle, and go to sleep. Even though I buy wide shoes, my right foot has to go through this breaking in period while it stretches every shoe I buy to an acceptable width.
But, last year, someone showed me this great trick for lacing sneakers when you have wider feet, so I tried it. Unlace your sneaks, and check this out. It really works!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Nicely Done, Mom!

The screaming toddler was getting louder and louder. I had no idea what I was doing in the grocery store at 6 on a Saturday evening. But, there I was 3 deep in a self-checkout line that wasn't moving at all. And, the high voltage toddler was closing in.
As they walked by, the mom calmly talked to the 3 or 4-year-old boy dressed as Spiderman. She didn't yell, she didn't give in. They settled in line right next to me. I smiled at her and let her know I raised 3 kids and remembered the tantrum stage well. Then I turned to chat with Spidey himself for while, finding out that he also spends time as Batman and Superman.
Even in the midst of this crazed grocery store, his mom remained calm with excellent parenting. She didn't have a big cartload of food, but I did notice it was all healthy. Spiderman tried to coerce a candy bar, but it was nixed. I asked if I could give him a clementine, which was readily approved.
As this wonderful mom checked out, I looked at the healthy food and calm but tired little boy, and it made me happy. I wanted to give them both a hug...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Choose Your Pasta Sauce

You say pasta sauce. I say Marinara sauce. No doubt we could create a healthier version from scratch with canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and fresh herbs. Great to do when you have the time.  Yet, sometimes, there's nothing like the ease of grabbing a jar of the Italian red sauce to make a quick, easy meal.
Be sure to take extra care to read before you grab your next jar! Some can be loaded with as many as 90-100 calories in a ½ cup serving, to say nothing of all the added sodium and sugars.
My goal is to find sauces that are under 50 calories per half cup, with no added sugars, and under 400 mg of sodium. If you've ever spent time examining all those pasta sauce labels, you know how overwhelming it can be. I found  Classico Tomato & Basil awhile ago, and it's a great tasting pasta sauce that fits the bill, with only 45 calories! Woo-hoo!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Welcome to Our New Website!

You know the feeling. Sometimes, it's time for a fresh, new look. New hair style. New outfit. Rearranging furniture.

When it was time to update the Mind-full Motivator's website www.mindfullmotivator.com, we decided to go with a greener, healthier image to match the healthier you!

So, grab a cup of tea, put your feet up, and spend a little time pursuing our updated site. Check out the new colors. Zip around the new features. Have some fun as you think about what your next step will be on your quest toward wellness!

Friday, January 17, 2014

2014 Season of New Year, New Diet

Have you been watching the 2014 season of New Year, New Diet? 
It's an annual thing. People make resolutions to lose weight. They jump on board a diet. It may last a day or 2, a few weeks... maybe more. It's kind of like watching reality TV without the TV. 
Which diet will be chosen? Which gym classes will they take? 
Advertisements and commercials blast the newest diet programs.  Celebrities sway their figures to get our attention. (Is anyone else getting tired of the seeing the so called "hot" Maria on the Nutri-System commercial?) Magazines and newspapers rank and compare, books have the latest and greatest diets... 
But, do these diets work for real people living real lives? Do they keep you healthy while losing weight? Does it keep the weight off forevermore? (Probably not. If they did, the annual seasons of New Year, New Diet would be over.)
The trouble is, many of the "latest, greatest, quick" diets are radical and restrictive. Too much change and deprivation is extremely hard to stick with, and most go quickly back to the old eating habits they know and love. But they sure do sell.
Hmmm. We could just ditch any attempt to drop excess body fat and ignore our unhealthy spread. Or maybe we should just wait and keep watching everyone else during the Season of New Year, New Diet to see if they find the miracle cure diet? 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Obsession with Numbers

When I was a kid, I watched all the Miss America pageants. I was totally enthralled by the weights and heights that scrolled underneath each woman...110 pounds and 5'10"? Yea, right. Nothing like numbers to tell a kid she had no prayer even then.

In 7th grade, I was in Weight Watchers, where the leader actually called out at every meeting how much everyone gained or lost each week. You can bet your bottom pound I quit the day I knew the scales would go up. Numbers going up, not good.

We're a nation obsessed with numbers. Especially those that grade or rate our bodies: weight, BMI, % body fat, body measurements. Even our insurance company plays the body number game and gives a lower rate if you have an acceptable BMI. 

Numbers alone should not be allowed to tell us how good or bad we are. They are not who we are.If you're working on reducing body fat, be sure to look at more than just the scales: improved energy, strength, stamina, attitude, clothes fitting better, drop in blood pressure, or improved blood tests. Look for all positive changes. 

Lisa shared with me this week that she found a great new scale by Weight Guru's. This scale has a cool Weightless feature that allows you to set it to see your weight by number or simply by how much your weight has changed. AWESOME! I got so excited about this one possibly helping so many of you, that I ordered it right away on Amazon. Should be here tomorrow. I'll let you know!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Plastering With Cookies

OK. It's true. I'm not perfect. I thought I'd better share that, just in case you had any thoughts otherwise.

I mean, really. Twenty years ago, I used to weigh 50 pounds more than I do now. I used to be a huge emotional eater with occasional binges thrown in. I now know that these issues have no cure. They can be controlled, but never eliminated. Kind of like alcoholism or diabetes, I suppose.

I had a great time with the kids home the last couple of weeks. Even with ICE STORM 2013, no power for 4 days and 2 weeks of no internet, TV or phone. But, as they left, I found myself mindlessly wandering into the kitchen, looking for something to sweet to nibble on. That tray of raw veggies wasn't doing doing the trick. I even baked a pan of brownies, just 'cause.

It took a few hours to get a grip. I was reacting emotionally to kids leaving, and I was tired. (Tired never helps me deal with my emotions well.) In a mindless nanosecond (or a tad longer) I'd reverted back to my old habits: looking to sooth my raw emotions with sugary treats. 

The good side of all this, I got a handle on it. I sat with my emotions for awhile. I let myself feel a little sad. I hoped it wouldn't be another 5 years until the kids all got together again. But, I was also so happy everyone had a great time. It had been a good time.

It's amazing how well it works to dig deep and locate the emotion, and allow yourself to feel it, instead of plastering it with cookies. It's one big key to getting excess weight off and keeping it off for emotional eaters!