The Best Way

 

laughing-baby Unique from the Beginning

From our first breath, we are unique. I see it every day in my job as a baby nurse. Some infants are quiet and content, some are feisty and “talkative”. Some babies want to be held all the time, other babies need a break from the cuddling. I continue to be in awe of the unique personality traits that are evident from the first moments of life. From feet to fingerprints, we are individuals and one-of-a-kind miracles from the moment we arrive on this earth until the moment we take our last breath.

In order to fully embrace our lives, we must understand, accept, and remind ourselves daily that we are unique…and that is how it supposed to be. You have been created with a unique set of gifts, talents, desires, and characteristics. When honed and mastered these skills will enrich your life and bless those who come in contact with you. So, open your heart and identify your strengths. Nurture them, refine them, use them, and relax in knowing you are exactly who you were meant to be and you are precious.

In our world buzzing with social media it is easy to get lost and believe that only other people are having fun, enjoying life, and making dreams come true. That is a bunch of b.o.l.o.g.n.a! Don’t waste time wishing you were someone else, spend your time and energy becoming your best you!

Healthy Lifestyle – My Way

A healthy lifestyle means different things to different people. That makes sense being that we are all different! Acceptance of others and their beliefs is an important component of any healthy lifestyle. For me personally, my approach to eating is one of balance and moderation. I enjoy every food group and choose to focus on portions, monitoring my macro-nutrients (Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats), and overall caloric intake (Thanks My Fitness Pal!). This approach has developed over years of frustration with fad diets and yo-yo weight loss/gain prompting research and commitment to success. It works for me. Does that mean it is the plan, morsel for morsel, that you should immediately apply to your life? Nope. You need to discover your own style, your own methods, and a lifestyle that works with your big picture of life! It is unfair and unrealistic to think that just because a certain plan or approach works for one person that it will work for everyone. Flexibility and adaptability are important components in all of life, including the development and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.

That said, I still am passionate about sharing what I have learned over the years! Managing diet and nutrition can take up an inordinate amount of space in life and become an obsession. I got so tired of thinking about food all the time while trying to not eat! So I share, hoping to lighten your load and encourage you. If you truly desire to lose weight and eat healthfully, you can do it. It takes commitment and acceptance that habits will not change overnight, but you can do it. It takes support and willingness to be uncomfortable, but you can do it. It requires learning new things and applying that knowledge, but you can do it. You have to want it more than you want the instant gratification of a yummy morsel, but you can do it!

So what is “Your Way”?

What works for you? If you don’t have success stories, then what you do have is valuable experience. You have learned what doesn’t work for you and that is very helpful! When you fail (and we all do), realistically evaluate what happened and adjust the plan. Don’t keep trying the same thing and expect different results. This behavior modification is the difference between falling with a crash and burn vs. falling but building strength and momentum! We all run off the rails sometimes. A healthy lifestyle must include a recovery plan and realistic expectations.

baby fat If you know that you love lattes, then don’t develop a plan that completely eliminates lattes or you are setting yourself up for failure! If you are used to eating 2500 calories per day, don’t restrict yourself to 1200 calories and expect that you won’t struggle with that…be realistic and work your way down. Don’t eliminate all bread if you love bread, just commit to lunch being a lettuce wrap instead of a sandwich…small changes grow into bigger ones! Modify and adapt changes in slowly and you are much more likely to enjoy success and create true and lasting change. An additional perk to a slow and steady approach is that you are not so irritable or frustrated! You will be able to sustain changes and even continue to tweak your choices. After a while you will look back and see the emptiness in trying to find satisfaction and contentment in cookie dough or a bucket of chicken.

healthy lifestyle pic                       Some Science

While we can tweak when we eat, what we eat, and how active we are, there are some things we need to accept and apply as fact to our healthy lifestyle plans. Here are a few things to log away as “givens”:

  • All calories count. Healthy food, junk food, vacation food, food no one sees you eat, every calorie in is faithfully either utilized or stored by your amazing body.
  • Math is involved. If your caloric intake is less than your caloric output then you will lose weight. If your caloric intake is more than your caloric output you will gain weight. Friend, it is math, I’m sorry, but it is. If you honestly and consistently create a calorie deficit, you will lose weight.
  • Balance is required. Our bodies function best from a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. If you want your body to perform for you, you must fuel it appropriately. This is about more than weight loss or gain, it is for your overall health and wellness. Our immune systems, emotions and coping mechanisms, mental processes, hormone cascades, and sleep cycles all depend on a balanced diet to function at optimum settings.
  • Patience is required. Weight management is an ongoing goal. Our bodies are complex and our habits are hard-core. Be patient with yourself and take one day at a time…one choice at a time.

               “The way I live either contributes to the darkness of our world or to the light

                                               and hope of our world.”  ~ Ann Smith

 

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Healthy Lifestyle vs. Diet Plan

Oh my goodness, my heart breaks when I hear friends that are discouraged and depressed when diets are embarked upon and then abandoned. The feelings of guilt and self-degradation are useless and yet overwhelming. The self talk becomes damaging and discouraging. Self-esteem plummets and self-loathing moves in. This does not need to happen, it is not helpful or productive. There is a better way and I plead with you to read these words and take them to heart. A healthy lifestyle includes room for desserts and vegetables, physical activity and rest and relaxation, fun and hard work, protein and carbohydrates! Diet plans restrict and offer merely a band-aid, but a healthy lifestyle frees and brings long-term success. There is no comparison…a healthy lifestyle is the only way to lose weight and keep it off, maintain a healthy weight, create balance, joy, health, and wellness for you and your family.

It seems a new and improved diet plan shows up every day. Headlines boast: Follow these 15 simple rules and you will reap the benefits of “easy” weight loss, non-stop fat-burning while you sleep, unlimited energy, and detoxed cells…and they’ll even throw in happiness, whiter teeth, and a group of slim, energetic friends. Seriously, anytime you see the word easy next to weight loss…stop reading! Weight loss and weight management take hard work, period. Weight management is not a temporary mission or a destination, it is a journey.

Women, seriously, please stop the beatings! We must change our focus to healthy living instead of striving for perfect bodies. This is such a passion of mine. I have lived for years in bondage to food and perfectionism, I was never thin enough, good enough, disciplined enough, smart enough…you get the picture I’m sure. I understand the trap and I also understand the depression, discouragement, and hopelessness that comes with yo-yo dieting and failing time and time again. It is ok if you don’t love broccoli. It is ok if you have chocolate every day. It is ok if you “just” take a walk after dinner for your exercise that day. It is ok! You are ok! Just keep taking steps forward and use your head. If something seems too good to be true it probably is bunk. If someone says you can lose weight without changing your diet, it is bunk! If your self-talk says you are a failure and you’ll never change, preach truth to yourself–you are unique and valuable and the only one that can offer the world you! Simple things like portion control, desserts in moderation instead of three times a day, and adding more veggies and more water to your day will help you in your journey to better health and weight loss. Please stop wasting time looking for the quick fix…there isn’t one, that is a path to discouragement.

Start today to live a healthy lifestyle. Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Take time to relax, rest, and sleep. Enjoy the relationships you have in your life and laugh, smile, and play. Eliminate extra clutter in your schedule and spend more time creating in your kitchen, taking walks and bike rides as a family, and noticing the sunset. Take care of yourself! Get to the doctor to have your physical, have lunch with a trusted friend, share life and be genuine. These are the keys to a healthy lifestyle and will result in a life that is full and breeds contentment. You can do it and you will thrive! Spend your energy and your money on creating a healthy lifestyle…the benefits are endless.

 

Healthy food…You can do it

healthy lifestyle pic Healthy food is a part of a healthy lifestyle for more reasons than just weight management. Just as a car runs best with the appropriate fuel combined with care and attention to maintenance, our bodies function best with a balanced diet, stress management, and regular exercise. As healthcare costs skyrocket and stress is in abundance, one of the easiest ways to promote wellness is to eat the foods that support health and prevent illness. Feeling better, having more energy, lower #’s on the scale, & radiant skin…just perks.

The phrase “Healthy food” can be a bit vague. Healthy food, as I see it, is food that contributes nutritionally to the body. It is easy in this day and age to get caught up in a type of healthy food (we are so blessed!) such as organic, free-range, or non-GMO and those things are good. However, for the purposes of this discussion, let’s just take it back to the basics and talk about the types of foods that will help you create your healthy lifestyle, however you choose to purchase them is up to you. I point that out because it can all be overwhelming. If walking into Whole Foods promotes panic due to the immense number of options, then just go buy an apple, wash it, and eat it…start there. Creating a healthy diet is a process and a journey. You get started and learn and as you learn more you change more and so forth. Give yourself some grace, start with small steps, and smile…you’re gonna be alright.

The Process

My husband and I began to really change our diet about 12-13 years ago. Over the years we have adjusted and then made more changes, adjusted and changed, and then we adjusted and changed. It is a process, a journey. Each time we felt like we were really making a big change, but as we got used to it, we realized we could do more. Gone were the days of living on macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches (what??…we like cheese!) and in came the days of seeing the stove as more than a shiny object to look at. This was the beginning of my new obsession…modifying my favorite recipes to make them healthier and trying new things. I can laugh now at the whole wheat pancake batter that could have been used to patch a hole in the wall and the spinach frittatas that the dog even spit out…remember, it is a process, laugh often!

So, start somewhere. We got started by changing from white flour to whole wheat and looking for whole grain alternatives. I stopped buying unhealthy snacks that were quick grabs (read chips, cookies, crackers) under the guise of “it’s for the kids”. (Ummm…so the kids need trans fats and a bunch of sugar?) I switched from ground beef as the go-to protein to using chicken, pork, or beans. Nothing too crazy, right? Then I started adding in vegetables anywhere I could. I made zucchini muffins that we ate for breakfast. I added beans into the taco meat and peppers and carrots into spaghetti sauce. We also bought a high-speed blender for protein shakes and smoothies so we could incorporate spinach and other greens more easily into our diet. Here are some things that have helped us continue on this journey:

Start with small, manageable steps and be realistic. If you are short on time, then don’t buy 5 types of vegetables that all need to be prepped and think that you are going to eat them. We are fortunate to live in a time where you can walk into the store and buy a relish tray already prepared. Look at that, veggies that are ready to eat! Buy fruit that can be eaten as is or with minimal prep, like cuties, apples, grapes, blueberries. All of these fruits are awesome alone or on top of yogurt for snacks.

Decide what your goals are. If you don’t know what your goals are how will you get there? If you want to lose weight, then log what you eat. I guarantee you will be surprised at the number of calories you ingest if you honestly document everything you eat for a week. My Fitness Pal is an app I use most days. At first it is cumbersome, but it gets easier as you get used to it and build your own meals, etc. I’m more than happy to help you if you’d like! If you want to just generally eat a healthier diet, then pick a target and set goals to hit it. Less sugar? More vegetables? More home-cooking? All great goals and you can start working on them today.

80/20. This is my survival and longevity plan. I try to make the healthiest choice 80% of the time. The other 20% is for holidays, weekend dates, birthday parties, and just that time when I need an ice cream cone. This is being realistic, having a no-deprivation plan, and committing for the long haul. Healthy eating has so many benefits but you don’t usually see the impact after just one meal. It takes time for our bodies to repair the damage we have done.

So, love yourself and your family by upping the ante…healthy lifestyles rock!

 

As you shop:

Look for fresh fruits and vegetables, however frozen has been shown to be just as nutritional usually and offers wider variety not limited by the season. If canned veggies are used, it helps to drain and rinse them. You eliminate a lot of the added salt with that simple maneuver. Bumping up your fruit and veggie intake increases your nutrients and fiber helping you to feel full and easing portion control struggles.

Look for protein sources that are lower in fat, you’ll save dramatically on calories by just switching from beef tacos to chicken tacos. Still yummy! And pile on the veggies and your tacos become a serving of vegetables too. When you make scrambled eggs, use a combination of whole eggs and egg whites, the majority of the fat and calories is in the yolk. And again, add those veggies…peppers, onions, spinach, mushrooms…all easily added in and delish! Beans and rice together make a complete protein as well…get creative and enjoy, just watch your portion control.

No added sugar. Yep, the enemy is sugar. Too much sugar ramps us up and then dumps us on the curb feeling blah. It also sky-rockets our risk for diabetes and a host of health concerns. Limiting sugar is difficult at first because most of us seriously are addicted to the stuff. Give yourself time and start small, but do it, start to limit it and your body and  mind will thank you.

Variety and Balance are the most-valuable players in this game. Feeling deprived will lead to unhealthy choices and limited success; so give yourself grace and remember that perfection is not the goal. 80/20 my friends, 80/20!

 

 

Carb Cycling in a Nutshell

Tuesdays on ABC there is an inspirational show on that I just love called Extreme Weight Loss.  It is the journey of one obese person as they transform their life over the span of a year with the help of trainers Chris and Heidi Powell.  Yes, it is about weight loss, but it also shows the real life challenges we face to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I’m sure there is drama added in, but overall I like the “realness” of the show.  Life is difficult, bad stuff happens,  but there is a road back to wholeness and healthy living.  Yep, right up my alley! I enjoy the show also because Chris and his wife Heidi are examples of busy people with jobs and a family that are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  They model and share their expertise even to the extent of letting participants come live with them!  Through the team of counselors and physicians and who knows who else, they are able to really help these people change their lives and it is amazing and wonderful!

Book I recently read a book by Chris called Choose More, Lose More for Life.  He outlines the weight loss/fitness program he uses on the show and in his own life.  The nutrition component is called carb cycling.  As I researched carb cycling I found there are a variety of ideas about it out there, it has been around in the professional athlete realm for a long time. It seems there are many different ways to carb cycle.  I feel comfortable with Chris’s book because I’ve watched the proof. He is healthy and performs the challenging feats with his participants (triathlon, half-Ironman’s, marathons…) and consistently helps people transform. You have to be healthy and fueled well for all that stuff, he’s doing something right!

So, I am on my 12th day of carb cycling and I am amazed at the results!  The idea is that by alternating low carb days with high carb days, your metabolism is fired up and you burn more fat. In the book he goes into the science of it all (which really makes sense to me) but I won’t go into all that here.  The evidence is looking pretty good in my own trial run because my clothes fit differently already and I can tell that I am losing fat.  12 days!  So, I thought I’d post carb cycling in a nutshell and maybe at least peak your interest to check it out.  This plan is really flexible and realistic and will produce results.  I can see doing this long-term without a problem and that is critical because it is a lifestyle of health that will help you lose weight and keep it off long-term.

Here is the basic idea for what Chris calls the “Classic” cycle:

Day 1:  Low carb day (eat lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats). Women eat around 1200 calories, men eat around 1500 calories.

Day 2: High carb day (eat lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and complex carbohydrates)  Women eat around 1500 calories, Men eat around 2000 calories.

Day 3: Low carb day      Day 4: High carb day     Day 5: Low carb day     Day 6: High carb day

Day 7: Reward day (free to eat whatever you want and up to 1000 calories above your high carb day intake)

There are some rules to make sure you get the results you want:

  • Drink a gallon of water a day
  • Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of getting up
  • Eat every 3 hours; total of 5 times a day

He also has a well-defined workout routine that goes along with the eating plan that is very simple and clear.  Since I already work out regularly, I have just have been doing the nutritional changes and kept my normal exercise routine.  But the exercises he suggests are illustrated in the book and do not require equipment or a gym! I get excited when I see a plan that is realistic and encourages eating regular food that you love…that means you can stick with it!  So give it a try!  Pick up Chris Powell’s book for all the details, or go to his website, but this is pretty simple and the results are pretty quick…two things we all like!

P. S. On a side note, my husband is a weight lifter who has been trying to figure out how to avoid abdominal fat but still take in enough calories to power his lifts and so he is trying carb cycling too.  He is doing the “Fit” cycle which is just two low carb days out of seven with one reward day and guess what?  He too is seeing the results he wanted, less fat and maintained strength!

Standardized Eating…what?

Eat Without Feeling Deprived…Standardized Eating

 Eating for Success

Standardized eating has been a huge part of me getting my nutrition/calories/snacking in order.  When I say “standardize eating” what I am referring to is choosing a couple balanced meals and snacks that become a regular part of your daily eating routine.  This approach saves time and mental energy and makes healthy eating easier to fit in to hectic schedules.  Having your go to meals and snacks available eliminates some of your food choices helping you make healthy choices with less effort.  Instead of figuring out what sounds good, you just prepare your meal and get on with your life.  This puts food in its proper place in your day…needed but not the focus.

Here are some examples of meals and snacks that are a part of my daily life to give you some ideas.  The important thing to understand as you formulate your standardized choices is to include foods that you enjoy in a balanced way so you don’t feel deprived which usually leads to overeating and impulsive decisions.  I like lots of different textures, so adding crunchy topping to my morning yogurt satisfies that craving for me.  It is too easy to add a cup of crunchy goodness when I don’t need all those calories, so I have a 1/4 cup measuring scoop in the cereal so a correct portion is easy-peasy.

 Some ideas to get you thinking:

1st right out of the gate:  big glass of water!  Just chug it and make your first choice of the day a healthy one!

My Standard Breakfast:  1 Carbmasters (Kroger brand that is higher in protein and lower in sugar than a Yoplait type yogurt) yogurt with ½ cup fresh berries or half a banana & ¼ cup of Ancient Grains cereal.  1 Whole grain sandwich thin toasted with 1 TBSP peanut butter.

Option 2 for breakfast:  Hot 5 minute Oatmeal with raisins, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 TBSP. brown sugar and cinnamon, Apple slices with 1 TBSP. peanut butter.

Usual Lunch:    Spinach salad with whatever veggies I have on hand (shredded carrots, cucumbers, peppers, etc.) and ½ cup lean protein of some sort (chicken, pinto beans, hard-boiled egg whites).  ¼ cup low fat cheese and I use salsa for dressing.  I like one serving of Triscuits or other whole grain cracker with my salad.

Option 2 Lunch:  Sometimes it is too cold for salad, so I opt for a burrito.  1 whole wheat tortilla, ¼ cup pinto or black beans, ¼ cup low fat cheese.  Toast in the toaster oven and then add salsa and spinach.  1 serving Tortilla chips with salsa and Carrot sticks

Quickie Lunch:  Protein shake:  ¾ cup almond milk, ½ scoop whey protein, 1 cutie, ½ banana, 2 Strawberries and ice; blend and off I go!

My go to snacks: (eat every 3-4 hours while awake to maintain steady blood sugar and burn fat instead of store it)

  • Small handful of almonds (6-8) with fun-size pack of peanut M&M’s (my fav!)
  • Sugar-free fudgsicle (another fav)
  • Luna Bar
  • Nature Valley Peanut butter and Dark Chocolate Protein bar (fav)
  • 1 cup popcorn
  • Celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins (fav)
  • Apple slices
  • Baby carrots

For dinner, often we eat vegetarian. I focus on veggies and lean protein and finish with a wine spritzer and a fudgsicle!  There you have it, no feeling deprived and lots of yum!  Be creative and plan for success by creating standard meals and snacks.

Shift your focus to living instead of eating.

Eat for Success

Happy New Year!  I’ve started a monthly newsletter for the gals I work with and I’ve decided to post it here too!  2014 is upon us and so it is time to get a plan and meet goals and make this the year you want it to be!  A health lifestyle includes so much more than just weight management, but I know weight management is the hot topic right now, so that is the topic for today.  I’ll be putting out more posts that go into more specifics related to the ideas presented in this newsletter, but I wanted to get some tips our there for you to start playing with.

   

AuntJodiEat Without Feeling Deprived…Get Lasting Results

Nutrition 101

A healthy diet consists of balance and a combination of different types of nutrients.  Advertised programs that eliminate a category of nutrients should be avoided; our bodies were created to function best with a variety of foods.

Carbohydrates:  Primary fuel and energy source for the body.  4 calories/gram

Complex Carbs are carbohydrates that include starches or fiber.  These types of foods are processed more slowly through your body facilitating nutrient absorption and steady blood sugar levels.

Simple Carbs or carbohydrates that are comprised of natural and artificial sugars; they are an immediate source of energy broken down rapidly by our bodies.

Protein:  Important for moving and balancing fluid, nutrients, waste, and electrolytes throughout the body; important for immune system health, and a component of bones, muscles, and tendons.  4 calories/gram

Healthy Fats:  Secondary energy source, component in many hormones, aids in vitamin absorption, and supports brains and nervous system development. 9 calories/gram

Eating for Success

This is one of my favorite topics because I believe there is so much misperception related to food choices and what healthy eating really means!  I hear it regularly in my circle of friends; they are sure I won’t eat a cookie because “I’m healthy” or they believe that I never indulge in fattening foods or sweets because I’m committed to a healthy lifestyle.  Well, let me dispel the myth right now!  I love sweets and I eat chocolate just about every day!  And yes, it is part of my healthy lifestyle.  So, now that I have your attention, let’s talk about how to incorporate the foods you love into a healthy lifestyle.  Here are some places to start:

  • Strive to eat healthfully 80% of the time.  This allows for special occasions and indulgences without feeling guilty or “bad”.
  • Modify your favorite recipes using healthier ingredients to increase nutrition and decrease fat.  Here are a few tips:

*Wheat flour instead of white flour

*Skim milk instead of 2% milk

*Egg whites instead of whole eggs

  • Portion Control!  Watch labels and know the serving size prior to indulging in a snack.  Buy portion-sized packages on “high-risk” foods.  You know what your high-risk foods are!  I buy the “fun size” packs of peanut M&M’s to get my chocolate fix rather than having a bowl sit on the counter…that would not be helpful!

 

  • Standardized Eating.  Find a couple combinations that you enjoy for breakfast and lunch and just rotate through them.  This reduces some of your decisions and makes it easier to keep pushing towards your goals.  If you plan ahead of time what is for breakfast, you are more likely to eat a healthy breakfast instead of skip it or make a choice you’ll regret.

 

  • Plan for success.  Plan for your eating throughout the day.  If you will be running errands all day then pack a couple healthy snacks in your purse so you won’t be tempted to make an impulse decision involving a drive thru that adds too many calories to your day.  If you are working all day (night) plan for your eating to facilitate healthy choices even when you are tired or busy.

Remember that all Calories Count     You can eat all healthy food and still be overweight!  The science behind weight management can’t be overlooked or re-written.  The fact is that if your calories in are more than your calories burned each day you will gain weight, even if the excess calories are healthy choices.

Just like driving a car.

cartoon carI think most people would say that they want to be healthy if you asked them. Not too many people would voluntarily choose illness or disease, right? What would you say? Do you want to be healthy?

When I think about a healthy lifestyle I know it is composed of lots of small changes over a long period of time. Nothing is going to “just click” and you won’t find a switch to flip. Trust me, I looked! It takes time to break habits and create new ones. It takes time to learn new ways of doing things and let go of old ways. It takes lots of time to change thinking patterns and flush out destructive behaviors.

I was thinking about when I learned how to drive. I was scared. It felt overwhelming to me, all the rules, all the other cars out there, cops, flat tires, engine trouble, fluids leaking…I was a bit freaked out. But, I never considered not learning to drive. I wanted my freedom! So, I studied my book, put in my practice hours, took my driving class, and got my license. I wasn’t a great driver right out of the gate, but have certainly gained confidence as the years have ticked by. What I wanted trumped my fear and lack of confidence and I accomplished my goal.

I think often times people fail at living a healthy lifestyle, losing weight, or maintaining an exercise routine because they don’t know what they really want. Our minds are so complex and we are influenced by so many variables, if we don’t take time to do some self-analysis, we may not ever figure out why we say we want to lose weight, but continue to eat too much and buy our favorite cookies.

Back to learning to drive – I knew the facts. I couldn’t go where I wanted to go and become independent until I had a driver’s license. I couldn’t get a license until I crossed off all the items on the required checklist. I couldn’t cross off the items until I began studying and taking steps towards completing my driving classes. So, I pushed my fear to the back of the line and dealt with the facts.

It is often hard to just deal in facts when it comes to our health. What we eat, when, why, how active we are, if we are depressed or have physical restrictions, if we are workaholics or lazy, are all influenced by our backgrounds, genetics, and events that have occurred in our lives. Sometimes these events are because of our own choices, sometimes they are because of someone else’s choices. What we eat is often dictated by what our family ate when we were growing up or by our culture, as is our mindset about food. And so many emotions are linked to food! For instance, what you feel when I say “pizza”, or “funnel cake”, or “corn dog”, or how about “pot roast and mashed potatoes” is probably different than if I say “asparagus”, or “squash”, or “kale”. All of these factors make it difficult to deal in reality when it comes to our eating and health. We think we want to feel our way through our meal instead of calculate calories or servings of vegetables; and we think we want comfort and low-effort instead of sweat and sore muscles.

I want to challenge you to look at the facts and look at what you really want. What are you choosing? If you are overweight and/or not physically fit you are at much higher risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, joint pain, and the list goes on and on. You are also more prone to depression and sleep problems. Plus, the emotional toll of not liking what you see in the mirror is huge and often minimized in our minds. It affects our relationships and even our job performance.

Creating a healthy lifestyle is not easy, but has enormous benefits! Right away as you begin to change your habits you get to experience the joy of accomplishment and begin to trust yourself to try new things. There are many obstacles, but as you conquer them you acquire new skills as well as develop an identity that you create that is not dictated by your past. Who do you want to be? What is on the requirement checklist to get there? Get started!

Follow this blog for tips on all aspects of healthy living. I certainly don’t have it all figured out and I continue to fail and struggle my way along, but I am so excited about all the changes in my life over the past 10 years and a passion has emerged. It is easier to do this with friends…so friends…come along!

Night Songs

Surviving life with grace and hope

u.b.healthy

Create the life you want