fit for shorts and tanks Archives

How NOT To Get Old…

It's funny how sayings take on different meanings as we age, isn't it? Several years ago, when someone would tell me "Don't get old," I'd laugh and say that the alternative isn't too good. Recently, I've been thinking about that phrase and realized that I pretty much cringe when people say this. So, why has that particular phrase changed for me now? Well, here's the thing, I used to believe that we could prevent old age by exercising, eating right, meditating, etc. But now that I have experienced some "aging" myself, I know differently. What I know now is that our bodies age. They wear out. And, while this is not what I had pictured, nor is it what advertising wants us to believe, I am grateful for my career as a health coach. I’m grateful because I know that this doesn't mean that we have to become decrepit, or that we can no longer do the things we love to do, like kayaking, hiking, and Pilates. What is DOES mean, is that we might have to take a new vitamin, or make a change to our exercise program, or maybe eat a bit more fiber. Here’s the catalyst that pushed me to a better understanding.

Back in October, I got what I thought was a stomach bug. BUT, it didn’t go away. In fact, I got worse. I would have a few good days and think that I was getting better, and then BAM! Sick as a dog again. I thought maybe I wasn’t eating enough greens, so I made an effort to eat tons more and that didn’t help. I tried everything that I could think of, but I spent my Thanksgiving lying on pillows on my bathroom floor sick as a dog, I got dressed long enough to drive down to the local country store and pick up an over the counter laxative, which made me sicker. That’s when I decided enough was enough and made an appointment with my doctor. My doc knows that I have a great mind body connection. I’m also fortunate to have a doc who will spend more than 15 minutes with you when it’s necessary. She ordered some tests, and even ordered a test for heavy metals because I asked for it. She did question why I was asking, but when I explained that I have been drinking well water for most of my life, which can be high in heavy metals; and that for 8 years, I lived in an area where there was a high amount of arsenic in the water, she had the test done. She gave me a referral to a gastroenterologist and recommended a plant supplement called psyllium. Psyllium is high in fiber, and after not getting the results I wanted from adding prune juice, tons of kale, etc., I hesitated on the psyllium.

The next week, when I meet with my gastroenterologist, I brought all the results of those tests with me to discuss with him. He was pleasantly surprised that my primary care doc had ordered all the same tests that he would have ordered. (He told me she was a good doctor!) Basically, he said all the tests were normal, and since I had had a colonoscopy two years prior that was spotless, he didn’t think it necessary to repeat that yet. He gave me a brief, but very good, explanation of how our digested food works its way through the body and what can happen as we age.

Did you know that there are little nerve endings in the small and large intestines that trigger Peristalsis (muscle contractions) which work the food through the digestive system? YUP. Little nerve endings make those contractions move the food through and out. And as we age, those nerve ending can become lazy. Imagine these little buggers getting tired after 66 years! :0 He also recommended psyllium. Psyllium is not only extra fiber, which gives the food something to grab onto, so it can move through easier, but, according to Ayurvedic medicine, it also has the capacity to nourish those little nerve endings. Cool. Psyllium worked well for me: regular pooping and no more pain. 😊

Some of my clients have asked, “Isn’t Metamucil the same as psyllium?” The answer is no. Citrical and Metamucil both contain other ingredients like sugar, color, etc. which your body doesn’t need. Pick up plain old ground psyllium husks with nothing added at your local whole foods or similar store.

As they say, (whoever “they” are), experience is the best teacher. In the last several years I’ve learned that we can do specific exercises to help restore the bone loss that occurs as we age, and that we can take magnesium to help those leg cramps and our heart health, and that Kirtan Kriya meditation can keep our grey matter from wilting away, and the list goes on. And now I’ve learned that psyllium helps us poop better. Too much information? Maybe, but now you know, too! I wonder what my next lesson will be?!

Best of Health,


Fun Exercise To Relax Your Lower Back

Let's spend a few minutes looking for Dory on the bottom of the sea! Yes, you heard that right.

This exercise is called "Sea Weed Legs" and it's a fun way to remove the tension in your lower back. You can even do it with the grandkids for a fun activity to share; they'll love it!

Start out lying on the floor, on your back, with your feet flat and knees bent.

Lengthen your spine and relax your shoulders.

Breathe deeply as you gently raise both legs straight up into the air, feet toward the sky.

Pretend you are lying on your back, on the floor of the ocean.

Let the current gently move your legs around. They can go back and forth, side to side, or move around in any way you feel the current is going, as long as it’s slight, and gentle.

This feels really good and it’s fun to imagine all the fish swimming by – Nemo, Dory, Sponge Bob…

Continue breathing deeply and moving your legs gently for one to two minutes.

Then roll over into a fetal position on your side so that you can easily push yourself back up into a seated position with your hands and arm.

We are all so very busy and rarely take the time to just relax our back like this, but It’s so good for us!

We should take the time to relax our backs at least a couple of times a week.

Try this one once week and then try Legs Up The Wall next time.

Here’s a video of Legs Up The Wall. Do it with me now and see for yourself how lovely it feels!

Best of Health,


Fitness For Your Brain

One of the most interesting bits of information that I have come across when researching for my program on Neuroplasticity is the finding that the combination of aerobic exercise (not Yoga, Tai Chi, or even strength training) and a strong social network gives us a MUCH better chance of retaining good health AND keeping dementia at bay as we age.

The advancements in computer technology in our lifetime are great, and have enabled us to watch instructive videos and repair our own cars or appliances, write emails which arrive instantly, and have live chats with family and friends all over the world!

While the socialization part of this is good for us, the sitting part is not.

In 1969, René Dubos published his Pulitzer Prize winning book, So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped by Our Surroundings. After studying indigenous populations in remote locations, Dubos concluded that the secret to longevity was directly linked to social connectivity and physical activity. A handful of more recent studies have concluded the same.

Where do you fall in this category? Are you an avid walker, but work at home alone all day and have a limited social network? Or, maybe you have an active social circle who gathers for concerts, dinners, and/or travelling, but are mostly a couch potato?

Here are some examples of how we can integrate this new information into daily life:

Join, or start, a group exercise program. Walking clubs are nice. I am starting one in Otis soon. A group of women who walk together at least once a week, chatting, laughing together, solving all the problems of the world… You can bike or hike or swim together as well. Do what gives you joy, but do it with others as much as possible.

If you only need to add aerobic exercise, once again, it’s important to use what you have available and what fits into your schedule. If you try to make time to get to a gym, for instance, when you already have a busy schedule, then you might find it too difficult to continue going after a week or two. Perhaps a 30 minute walk at lunchtime would fit into your schedule better, or 20 minutes on your mini trampoline a few times a week, or walking to that selectman meeting, or library board meeting. Sometimes, I incorporate HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) training into my program by listening to an interesting program on my iPod while switching off between walking around the yard and running up the stairs to my studio; the time goes by quickly as I’m concentrating on what I’m learning while getting the exercise in. I have a brother-in-law who reads the paper while riding his stationary bike every day. Use that creative brain of yours to fit something in that doesn’t feel like another task you have to complete. And make it fun!

Whatever you chose to do – schedule it into your calendar! You Are Important! Your own health and well being is the most important job you have in life. If you are not healthy, you cannot care for others, nor participate in life as you wish. Make this appointment with yourself a regular habit by scheduling it in just as you would a dental appointment. You will be glad later in life if you start to take better care of yourself now. It’s never too late to start working out, especially working out with others, which is more fun and even healthier!

Best of Health,


Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet!

With the start of each new year, many of us take an inventory of what we've accomplished in the past year, contemplate where we'd like to go this year, and then set some goals for ourselves. It's a tradition that has been around for at least as long as I've been alive...

The problem is that, often, we start the year out really great, but by March we've gotten off track, and from then on we don't even look at our goals again until December. But, is there a better way? Yes, I believe there is.

This year, set your goals, but make at least some of them into what Jack Canfield has labeled "Daily Disciplines." Daily disciplines sounds serious, it's a way to make new habits that will help us to stay on track. For instance, if one of your goals is to work out more, and maybe another goal is to keep the dishes from piling up in the sink, then make a new daily habit of getting up ten minutes earlier. Ten minutes is not that much - you can do that! Then, every day, you will have that ten treasured minutes to either wash the dishes in the sink, or choose a ten minute yoga routine, or do some push-ups, or... Just think of the possibilities! Ten minutes doesn't seem like much, but it can make a big difference! I can tell you from personal experience that you'll feel better when you see the dishes done or when you know that you've done at least ten minutes of exercise. Every new habit must start with small steps and these ten minutes are a great start.

Another good daily discipline is to save 3-5 minutes at the end of the day, right before bed, to check in with how your day went. Keep a notebook and pen by your bed stand and just before you go to bed write down something you did that was a genuine act of kindness, another accomplishment that you are proud of, something good that you did which helps you meet the goals you set for yourself, and two more items (5 total) that you are proud of, or that make you feel good about yourself. This will also put you in the right state of mind to get a better night's sleep!

I also find that setting up a reward for yourself for having done your daily disciplines helps to keep the momentum going through the year. Some rewards that I have used include taking a long epsom salts bath at the end of a week where I kept my daily disciplines every day. Another is getting a massage or reflexology treatment, or something else I consider special, if I've kept my daily disciplines going for 60 days. Use your imagination and choose some rewards for yourself that will be enticing enough to keep you going!

In the meantime, here is a five minute series of exercises that gets the heart pumping and works muscles you didn't know you had! Repeat twice for a ten minute routine!

Best of Health,


Add These Experts To YOUR Medicine Cabinet!

fat16_banner_order_600x600Dr. Mark Hyman’s Fat Summit 2 begins on November 7th, and tens of thousands will listen to experts as they dispelled the biggest MYTHS about eating fat, and revealed the latest research about how to eat, move and supplement your diet for improved health (and to possibly prevent/reverse chronic diseases!).

Will you be there?

Dr. Hyman’s first Fat Summit was a major hit–The Fat Summit 2 has 30+ brand NEW interviews during which you’ll discover even more about…

  • Biohacking your biology and weight loss with healthy fats
  • Truths about saturated fat, cholesterol, butter, sugar, carbs and more
  • Review and discussion of the latest articles on fat and weight loss
  • Digestion of fats through supplementation
  • Effects of dietary fat on fertility
  • Importance of community for making/sustaining healthy lifestyle choices
  • How eating more fat complements/combats other dietary approaches
  • Best practices for maintaining your weight and healthy eating habits

Register HERE now to make sure you’ll see the free talks:

OR, purchase all of the expert talks (price GOES UP when the event STARTS on MONDAY) Click HERE to order your copy!

Once you own the expert talks, you can listen to the audios on your computer or mobile device, read the complete transcripts and share this important information with family and friends. Owning the talks also gives you access to eCourses, guides, eBooks and other advice from the expert speakers, at no additional charge!

If you learn even one fact from one expert that changes your life, it will be worth it!

The online access package for all of the expert talks is $79 now through Monday, Nov 14 at 10 A.M. U.S. eastern.

After that, it increases to $99.

See you at the summit!


Does Menopause NEVER End?!

After menopause some symptoms hang on or come back to visit. I’ve recently received some questions about why this happens and what can be done to alleviate these symptoms. Here are some useful practices that can bring balance back to your life.

Extra adipose (fat) tissue can act as an endocrine organ, producing more estrogen in the body, keeping it in circulation even when ovarian production stops at menopause. So, regular exercise and eating mindfully help to reduce that extra fat around your mid section, and then your body is not encouraged to overproduce those hormones. This is especially important for women because studies show that weight gain is a risk factor for breast cancer after menopause. An American Cancer Society study found that women who gained 20–30 pounds after age twenty were 40% more likely to develop breast cancer after menopause than women who gained no more than 5 pounds. Keep that fat away!

Include phytoestrogens in your diet. Phytoestrogens are plant-based and they help balance hormones naturally. These are found in soy foods, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, bean sprouts, and legumes such as garbanzo beans and peas. Now I know the press has been full of controversy about soy products, but as I posted last year, I have not found any scientific studies showing that eating food containing soy is harmful. I believe that a small amount of soy is beneficial. However, I do not recommend soy supplements as there has not been enough research as to the effects of taking these compounds in such high doses. Traditional soy foods such as tofu, edamame, tempeh, and miso are a part of my own diet.  

Eat your broccoli. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kohlrabi contain a substance called indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which is metabolized in the body to produce diindolylmethane (DIM). Both of these substances help to regulate estrogen and, BONUS, they’ve been shown to have some anti-cancer effects, particularly for breast cancer.

The Ayurvedic herb shatavari has been used for centuries to reduce menopausal hot flashes, irritability and mood swings. Part of the asparagus family, the herb can have a cooling effect for those of us who are “too hot” for our own comfort! As with any herb, though, if you have allergies, please go slowly at first to make sure that you don’t have an allergic reaction.

As little as fifteen minutes of deep breathing twice daily has been shown, in several clinical trials, to decrease hot flashes and night sweats as well as improve your sense of well-being. Additionally, meditation helps decrease stress hormones and allows the body to return to homeostasis as well as calm the mind. As far back as the 1970’s Dr. Richard Benson proved the “relaxation response” reduced hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. My own research has shown that his relaxation response is exactly the Yoga Nidra, or deep relaxation, that is done at the end of most Yoga classes. This guided meditation has been shown through many scientific studies to benefit over-all health and well being in addition to reducing hot flashes.

If you are interested in a fabulous program of menopause symptom relief, personally designed for you, click this link for my coaching program.

Best of Health,


Mid Year Goal Recap

Well, it's mid June - that means 2016 is more than half over. How are you doing on your goals for this year? Have you completed some of them?

What I have noticed lately is that it's just about impossible to meet new goals when life is buzzing along with more responsibilities than one can handle. I have my garden, which takes up a lot of time in spring and summer. The lawn (what little is left) needs mowing often. I have my work, graduations, summer parties, and I live on a lake so it's nice to get down there for a swim or to watch the sunset over the water...

Here's an idea I started about six weeks ago, and so far it's working for me. You may want to give this a try.

I have a checklist of five habits that I want to make a part of my daily routine. Things that I find myself letting slip sometimes, like taking my morning AND evening vitamins, getting more aerobic exercise, filling the tea kettle at night before bed, etc. I started with five items and each day checked them off when they were done. I also have an accountability partner that checks in with me to help keep me on track. After about five weeks, three of my habits had become ingrained and I now do them regularly - even when travelling!

Now, you may not think that filling the tea kettle before bed, so that I only need to turn it on in the morning on my way to the bathroom, is a big deal. But I knew that it would make me feel better to be more prepared for my day and I also knew that a couple of the items had to be simple so I could get them down pat in a month. It worked. Now I've added three more items to replace the three that are routine and I'll keep going with these five for several weeks until they also become routine.

Science shows that it takes about 30 days to form a new habit, so be sure to give yourself enough time.

Best of Health,


Want Younger Looking Skin? Of Course You Do!

It's been a while since I wrote Beautiful Sexy Skin For Women Over 40, and since then I've found another natural product that I really love, which I'd like to share with you today.

A couple of months ago I began to use BADGER Damascus Rose Face Oil, and I fell in LOVE right away, with the smell and the way it made my face feel!  At first, I didn't notice much difference in skin tone though, but I loved how it made me feel. In the last couple of weeks, however, I've been told three times, that I look younger. I started paying attention to my face, and, sure enough, the skin tone is more even, wrinkles are less evident, and there are no dry patches at all!  WOW!  Hard to find a better recommendation than that. Badger is the name of the company and Damascus Rose Face Oil is the name of this fabulous product. I have found it at Vitacost, Thrive Market, and, of course, on the Badger web site.

As we know, what works for me doesn't necessarily work for you. Every BODY is different, but this one is priced right, so give it a try!

If you haven't seen this video on moisturizers, take a look at what you may be putting on your face...

While you are looking at Badger, check out their Bug Balm. That is what I originally purchased from the company, as it smells good, is chemical free, and works!  Best mosquito and other bug repellent I have found. Believe me, Otis has mosquitoes that can pick you up and carry you away! If it works here, it will work anywhere! Let me know how you like it!

Best of Health,


Ready For Shorts and Tanks?

Yayayyyyyyyy! Sunshine and blue skies!

Just went for a walk between my classes and I am soooooo enjoying this sunshine. Summer will be here in the blink of an eye (I hope). Are you ready for shorts and tanks season?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 36 percent of Americans are considered obese and an additional 34 percent are considered overweight. This is an alarming statistic because that's 70% of the population...!? I did my own local survey, during a break from my classes at the senior center; I walked around and counted the number of people here that appeared to be overweight. Of the 61 people here, at least 37 appeared overweight or obese. That's 60%, YIKES! Double Yikes!

The National Cancer Institute estimates that obesity contributes to 34,000 new cases of cancer in men and 50,000 in women each year. But if every adult reduced their BMI by 1 percent - a loss of roughly 2.2 pounds - about 100,000 new cases of cancer could be avoided, according to the agency's website. Cancer is scary and it has touched many of our lives. My friend Ned has lost several family members and friends to cancer and now he rides his bike 100 miles every year in Bicycles Battling Cancer. As human beings, we feel better when we can take some action to help others. This is Ned's way to help fight the big "C."

What about helping ourselves? Are you as healthy as you'd like to be? Are you overweight? Would you like to do something about it?

I see many people in my classes, or coaching that are attempting to lose weight. Most want to lose 10-15 lbs. Only a few want to lose more than that. Based on how many gyms, bike clubs, hiking trails, Yoga, Pilates, and other health centers there are in the Berkshires, I think our population is most likely on the lower end of the CDC statistics.

What does your community look like? Are there plenty of opportunities to walk, ride a bike, or work out? Do people access them? Do you?

If you have a desire to lose weight, build more muscle, take care of your health and your family's health, then make the commitment! This is important. Find something that works for you - even if it's only once a week. That first baby step is crucial. Once you begin to feel more energy, you'll want to experience that more often and you'll make time during your busy day for a few more bits of exercise. As little as three, 10 minute exercise breaks during your day can bring huge benefits. Here are my top recommendations for the best way to spend 10 minutes when you want to lose weight:

  • Brushing Teeth - an excellent time to march in place, bringing those knees up as high as you can, then lunge walk around the house as you select your clothes for the day, put breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, etc.
  • Morning coffee break - instead of that muffin and coffee, walk around the block, then grab a cup of coffee (sans muffin) to take back to your desk.
  • Lunch break - eat a kitchen sink salad with lots of dark greens, tomatoes, avocado, apple or pear, and a few nuts. This gives you plenty of energy, and takes about 15 minutes to eat, giving you another ten minute break to walk.
  • After dinner - While sitting on the couch watching your favorite show, do five minutes of leg lifts and circles on each side. Here is a video to demonstrate this one.

Best of Health,


Take Care Of YOU!

With all the excitement this month of Irish festivities, preparing for Easter and spring hiking/biking starting earlier this year, please remember to take care of you. The more I teach, and the more clients I see, the more important I realize self-care is. So many people - especially women, forget how important their own health and well being is. For many of us, self care feels more like a fringe benefit than an essential daily practice. This was driven home to me, once again last week, when a friend who took care of everyone in town at one time or another, and who was a truly generous soul with all but herself, had a sudden heart attack and died. She leaves a big hole in her family's and extended family's lives. Please take care of yourself so that you'll be around for a long time for your family and friends!

Exercise, eat healthy foods (not too much...), and do some type of meditation.

And so to start you off, here is a link to one of the breathing practices that I teach every week. It focuses on healing the spine. Just about everything in the body is connected to the spine, so a healthier spine means a healthier body. Relax and BREATHE!

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