Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We should never allow this to happen again!

Warning: very graphical images at this page:

Shame to Humanity....!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Speed Reading Techniques

I have been, lately, very interested in improving my reading efficiency (not just speed, but also comprehension). Here is a nice clip that summarizes many accepted speed-reading techniques:

Enjoy!

Clear Out the Clutter

The following is from Denise Austin's newsletter:

Keeping your home clean and free of clutter is a key component to healthy living. Clutter builds up quickly; most people don't even realize that they're pack rats until they start going through closets and realize they have shoes they haven't worn in a decade or piles of newspapers dating back to 2000!

If this is you, it's time to declutter your home. Remember the old adage "Cluttered home, cluttered mind"? Rejuvenate your peace and well-being by vowing to clear up the clutter. To decide whether something is worth keeping or not:

  • Go room by room, tidying each room completely before moving on.
  • Establish zones or boxes for trash, recycling, charity, sentimental or monetary value, and undecided items.
  • If an item is going into the sentimental box, ask yourself what you plan to do with it. Will you give it to your children or a friend? Is it really worth keeping? For example, do you think your child will want your fifth-grade report card?
  • If you think an item has monetary value, consider having it appraised. You may learn it has none, or you might decide to sell it for some extra green!
  • For items in the undecided box, give yourself a deadline. If you do nothing with the items by your next decluttering session (say, in three to six months), consider tossing or donating them to charity.

Remember, coming home to a clean and clutter-free space will leave you feeling calm and relaxed. Embrace the concept — you'll be glad you did.


This will be our project for this weekend: clear lots of clutter from our house!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

World Record Worth Striving For

One of the nicest, craziest persons I have met online is Andy Dooley. Actually, he is quite an inspirational person. He recently went after the world record for giving hugs. Watch his video:


Free hugs -- what an awesome idea!

Solid suggestions to help kids stay healthy

Here is a great, short, article on what we all can do to help prevent childhood obesity:

The Growing Problem of Childhood Obesity - Weight Center - Everyday Health

I know it is a difficult thing to do. Society bombards us (especially kids) with all types of junk-food temptation. I battle this with my kids and, most of the time, I steer them in the direction of healthier choices.

But diet is not the only problem -- lack of exercise is a huge factor in childhood obesity.

Enjoy the article!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Going Green

We have all heard the "going green" campaigns to save our planet. Here is a "going green" idea to save your body:



I have used "green smoothies" on and off for the last several months. Unfortunately, it has been more off than on. I will start a daily routine of them. They are so yummy that even the kids love them!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Natural Awakenings - Worth Reading

For some time now I have been hooked on reading the "Natural Awakenings" magazines. I began by picking up the issues at my chiropractor and other places around town, but then I have been getting the electronic version and I want to share the latest issue with you:

Natural Awakenings: Columbia Edition Cola1209

It has some excellent articles that are not specific to Columbia. Actually, most of them are very global in nature and are as applicable in South Carolina as they are in any other part of the world.

Their main website (which includes many previous issues) is at http://www.healthylivingcolumbia.com/.

Enjoy!

A great guide to Ubuntu 9.10

As some of you may have read, I have finally moved all of our home computers to Linux. I chose Ubuntu 9.10 as the distro for our home.

Here is an excellent guide to Ubuntu 9.10:

Eva's Useful Guide to Ubuntu 9.10

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The many benefits of Yoga

Relax Your Mind and Body with Yoga
Yoga is a great addition to a well-rounded fitness program. Yoga can help increase flexibility, reduce stress, and build endurance.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Let's Say Thanks -- Thanks to Xerox

Let's Say Thanks

If you go to http://www.LetsSayThanks.com you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq.

You cannot pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one! It is FREE and it only takes a second.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them.

This takes just 10 seconds and it's a wonderful way to say thank you. Please take the time and please take the time to pass it on for others to do. We can never say enough thank you's.

Thanks for taking to time to support our military!

Let's Say Thanks

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Windows 7 & GNU/Linux -- Part 2

Wouldn't you know it? The adventures in Windows 7 and Linux continued today. The system I thought would be a cinch to upgrade turned out to be just as interesting as the two older machines. But it really was not all that bad. Windows 7 installed flawlessly except it would not allow me to set the partition size to the desired amount from the installer. No big deal, as I just did it later on through Drive Manager. However, I could never get it to go to the 60 Gb that i had originally planned. I may be able to force the issue later. However, I do not have the same document sharing issues that my kids have. First, I intend to work mostly out of my Linux partition. Windows 7 will be used for work-related activities. Second, I have access to two large external drives that I use for storage and backups.

Linux installed OK except for a temporary problem with the video driver. By default Ubuntu does not use the Nvidia proprietary drivers needed to drive the GeForce 6150 LE that came built-in with this machine. I also ran into a bad wireless dongle that was making things difficult. Fortunately I had a spare and that seems to be working fine. Once I ran all the updates I was able to (rather easily) install the correct drivers for my video card. I have been working in Linux for several hours now. All is good. So far it appears that Ubuntu is considerably faster than Windows in most things I have done, but that is a subjective assessment. I am definitely glad not to have to worry about viruses and miscellaneous malware that affects Windows users. And you cannot beat the price for Linux and all the fantastic software out there. And speaking of such, I love the fact that I can use WINE to run some of the Windows applications that I love and depend on (and for which I have not found a Linux alternative). It is the best of both worlds.

Journey into WIndows 7 & GNU/Linux Dual-Boot

During the last three days I have spent a few hours upgrading the kids computers, something I had promised them a long time ago. Poor MacK has been SO very patient! She has been struggling with an older PIII-1 GHz machine that was truly on its last leg. For months, almost weekly, she would come to me and ask: "When are you going to do my computer?" Finally, Thursday it was her day. She did not get a "new" computer; she inherited my 5-year-old 2 GHz AMD sytem with 2 Gb of RAM. I installed a 250Gb hard drive to replace the two smaller drives that were in the machine originally. As luck would have it, this older machine would not boot from a DVD — it is a limitation of the BIOS. So I tried to update the BIOS but could not find the correct updater for it. Fortunately I did not damage the BIOS in the process. I searched the Net for a solution and, of course, many people had faced a similar scenario. But, in order to boot the machine, I had to have a 4Gb or larger USB pen drive. We had to wait until Friday morning to get one from Wal-Mart (for the great price of $8). The SanDisk Cruiser device came with the annoying U3 software pre-installed, and I was unable to remove it for several days (more on that later).

Here is the page that guided me to the preparation of the USB pen to install Windows 7 on MacK's machine:
http://computersight.com/software/install-windows-seven-without-iso-dvd/

I did a manual installation of Windows 7 allowing it to use half of the drive. The other half, of course, would be for GNU/Linux (Ubuntu 9.10). Everything went well and Windows recognized all the built-in hardware. It did not recognize an add-on NIC and modem, which I then removed from the machine since they were not needed anyway. After installing Office 2007, ClamWin, Firefox, and all the needed patches and service packs, I began the installation of Ubuntu. As expected, all went well. I allowed it to use the remainder of the drive.

I was very lucky because one of the big question marks I had was the wireless card. The existing wireless card (USB based from Linksys) is not supported under Windows 7 or Linux. About two years ago I had purchased five RALink (RT73) USB dongles from one of my favorite vendors (3BTech) specifically because they were compatible with Windows and Linux. They had been sitting around in a bag unused and (mostly) untested. I had used one on my PC and one on an old laptop, and they had worked well. The dongle worked flawlessly under Windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10. They were automatically recognized by both systems. Setting up the network connection was fairly easy and straight forward. Notably, the card works better under Linux than under Windows: better signal strength for extended periods of time.

The final step was to create a "Data" partition that would hold MacK's files so that they could be accessed from both Windows and Linux. I went into Windows 7 and shrank the C: drive to half its original size. I formatted it with the exFAT format, but that was not recognized by Linux, so I reformatted in Linux with straight FAT32. I then restored all her files and that was it. Friday ended with MacK's machine being done.

Saturday was the day for Noah's machine. I thought that, since it was identical to MacK's PC, I would get through it in no time. But that was not the case. For about an hour I could not get the machine to boot using the USB pen. I even re-did the installation steps on the pen thinking maybe something had gotten corrupted. Nothing. Regardless of which port I used the machine would not boot up. I re-checked all cables inside (thinking maybe something had gotten unplugged when I removed the old drives and installed the new 250 Gb disk). Everything was OK. After fighting with it (and using a few choice words) I went to the BIOS set-up one more time and reviewed every choice possible. And there it was! Somehow, "USB Legacy Support" had been set to Disabled. Once I enabled that setting, I was able to boot to the USB pen and repeated the process I had followed with MacK's PC. Saturday ended with Noah's machine being done. He had already backed-up his data, and he had unplugged his machine and then re-plugged it. That was great help!

About the U3 pre-installed software. On this Compaq Presario machine, I had to "eject" all the card reader and other USB drives before the U3 un-installation process would work. Once that was done, the complete process of having just a plain USB pen drive took almost no time. See these pages if you need more information on the U3 uninstallation process:

http://www.u3.com/support/default.aspx#CQ3

http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2550/kw/U3%20Removal%20Tool/r_id/101834

Today I will begin the process of converting my new machine (which was Tracey's new machine three years ago). My setup will be similar to the kids' (three partitions, etc.) with Windows 7 and GNU/Linux (Ubuntu 9.10). I intend to run mostly out of the Linux partition. So far, MacK is more into Windows (although she loves Linux) and Noah more into Linux. That does not surprise me. At least they will both be exposed to the two different operating systems and not be "boxed in" into one or the other.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Abundance Challenge - Lesson 2

If you are tired of cruising along this journey called life, then you owe it to yourself to take control and set things in motion for a better experience. Here is lesson #2:

Abundance Transformation in 15 Days | Lesson 2 - Create instant shift by clearing limiting "Money Beliefs"

If you wish to experience greater flow of abundance & prosperity, you would be wise to first examine your beliefs about money and see if any of them might be hindering your objective. Beliefs don’t usually work alone, but rather determine the ACTIONS you take, which affects the result you receive.


This lesson has a great video clip from Tony Robbins as well as a powerful exercise to discover those beliefs that may be limiting you in your quest for abundance.

I wish you an enjoyable journey!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Abundance Challenge -- Lesson 1

I mentioned the challenge of gathering one million people to bring increased abundance to everyone on Earth. Here is lesson 1:

Abundance Transformation in 15 Days | Lesson 1 - Realizing Your True Nature of Limitless Abundance!

Abundance is a state that includes wealth but means more than that. True abundance is the state of being connected to the primary source of everything that is, of manifesting a steady flow of positive energy to nourish and expand life, love, and creativity. Abundance is unlimited and effortless; it is experiencing joy. Abundance is not something that exists outside yourself; rather, it is a state of being that is experienced in your mind. You have the innate ability of attracting abundance.

Enjoy!

A Worthwhile Website

As you know, cancer touched our family in big ways. Here is a way to give that is free: a simple click of the mouse everyday can generate revenue to help raise funds for breast-cancer research and prevention:

Click to Give @ The Breast Cancer Site

In addition to benefiting breast cancer, this site also has areas for fighting hunger, promoting child health, literacy, the environment and animal rescue.

What a great website!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Abundance Challenge

Every January most of us make resolutions to improve one or more aspects of our lives. For some, it is weight loss, or better fitness, or getting organized. I recently received a challenge: to join the Abundance effort:

The Abundance Challenge — Manifest New Level of Abundance, Prosperity & Success

The challenge is, in essence, to join at least one million people world-wide for a moment of meditation so that we can bring abundance to everyone in the world. That is a cause I can definitely join!

A few disclaimers and notes:
  1. I have already joined. :-)
  2. I have no commercial interest in whether you join or not. The challenge is free to join. There are some links to commercial products, but you are not obligated to buy in order to join or be a part of the challenge.
  3. The community website is much like LinkedIn or Facebook: a nice, social networking site that could prove to be very interesting as long as the purpose remains to bring abundance to everyone on Earth.
  4. It appears to be a spin-off of "The Secret," including use of such visualization techniques as that shown below:

I look forward to starting the new year knowing maybe I have contributed to everyone's abundance.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Eating fresh healthy food on a budget

On Sunday we took a drive to the local Farmer's Market in the downtown area. We walked around the (very few) vendors and we came to one that had great prices AND with people that had a fantastic attitude. The couple tending the stand just happened to be Latin American. It was a pleasure dealing with them. We also got a ton of fresh tomatoes for a great price.

Here is a nice article on Eating fresh healthy food on a budget

Enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A unique perspective about the mind

There are only a few times when you get to receive a truly unique perception on the human mind; this is one of them. It is an 18-minute presentation that changed my understanding and impacted me greatly. I think you will find it just as inspiring:

Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight | Video on TED.com


Es raro recibir una percepción verdaderamente única acerca de la mente humana, esta es tal. Es una presentación de 18 minutos que cambió mi comprensión y me impactó mucho. Creo que lo encontrará como fuente de inspiración. La página tiene subtítulos en Español.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

7.5 Hours on the Edisto River

The kids and I, along with a few families from our Trailblazers group, went to the North Fork of the Edisto River yesterday for some canoing. What was meant to be a nice, easy excursion of three hours down the river, turned out to be a significant obstacle course that lasted seven hours and 30 minutes. We put in the water around 12 Noon and just barely made it out of the river before nightfall.

Here are some pictures of the trip taken by our good friend Scott Broam: Picasa Web Albums - Scott - Trailblazers On The North Fork of the Edisto

The river is peppered with large logs across the width of the waterway. Some of them we could navigate around, some under, but most of them we have to go over. At least twice we had to take the canoes out of the water in order to continue.

The whole day was a great experience. The kids and I grew together as we conquered most of the challenges. We learned to accept help from more experienced canoers and we had many other lessons that we will remember for the rest of our lives.

One of the many things I came to realize during the trip is that my Yoga and fitness training was invaluable during this adventure. I could not have attempted to climb in and out of a boat that many times if I had been out of shape and weighed 255 pounds. The flexibility and endurance I have built over the last nine months have definitely changed me. Even today I do not feel all that tired or sore (except for my sitting bones, aka "the butt") despite the hard work we went through yesterday.

I am grateful that the kids and I had the chance to navigate the Edisto River with our Trailblazers group. I look forward to many more adventures with them.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The problem with medical studies

Here is a clear example of why we need to be skeptical about medical studies:

Daily aspirin may do more harm than good: study on Yahoo! Health

At the very bottom of the article it states:
While there was no difference in the number of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events suffered, major bleeding occurred in two percent of the aspirin group compared to just 1.2 percent of the placebo group.

The problem, of course, is that we do not really know if the 0.8 percent difference in "major bleeding" could be caused by other factors not related to the use of aspirin.

I am sticking with my daily 81 mg dose of Aspirin unless I see a change in my body that tells me I should do otherwise.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

We The People

I may not agree with everything in this video, but I am pretty close to his views in many areas:


Video: We The People Stimulus Package

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mourning Sen. Kennedy's Passing

It is sad to know that one of this country's true leaders has passed. Cancer has taken yet another precious life. It is unfortunate that Mr. Kennedy will not see his efforts toward Health Care Reform come to fruition — but the rest of us can do what we need to do to make sure this country gets Health Care Reform so that we can honor his work in this area.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Get the facts on Health Care Reform

There is so much falsehood circulating about the proposed Health Care Reform that I am surprised this country can function at all sometimes. Please, get the facts!

FACT CHECK: Health overhaul myths taking root - Yahoo! Finance
The judgment is harsh in a new poll that finds Americans worried about the government taking over health insurance, cutting off treatment to the elderly and giving coverage to illegal immigrants. Harsh, but not based on facts.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Four Lies That Can Cost You Your Job

Interesting article that shows why we should always be honest:
Every day individuals fib, lie and embellish their way through the work day, not realizing that there are repercussions. The consequences may not always be as severe as termination, but it can be a reduction in bonus, a permanent mark on your record or a poor score on your yearly review, not to mention the damage done to your reputation among fellow colleagues. MORE

Every thought you think …

Every thought you think sends waves into motion.
Every word you speak reaches millions of ears.
And every act you perform literally rearranges the stars.
Now … what was it you wanted me to do for you?
The Universe



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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Friends - a nice story

A holy man was having a conversation with God one day and said, 'God , I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.'

God led the holy man to two doors.  He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in.

In the middle of the room was a large round table.  In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man's mouth water.  The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles, that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a20spoonful.  But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.

God said, 'You have seen Hell.'

They went to the next room and opened the door.  It was exactly the same as the first one.  There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man's mouth water.  The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. The holy man said, 'I don't understand.'

It is simple,' said God . 'It requires but one skill.  You see they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves.'

Remember that I will always share my spoon with you!

Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves.




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45 Lessons of Life and Friends

A dear friend of mine sent me this a few weeks ago:
Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.  It is the most-requested column I've ever written.  My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

  1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
  2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick.  Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
  5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
  6. You don't have to win every argument.  Agree to disagree.
  7. Cry with someone.  It's more healing than crying alone.
  8. It's OK to get angry with God.  He can take it.
  9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
  10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
  11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
  12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
  13. Don't compare your life to others.  You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
  15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.  But don't worry; God never blinks.
  16. Take a deep breath.  It calms the mind.
  17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
  18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
  19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood.  But the second one is up to you and no one else.
  20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
  21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.  Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
  22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
  23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
  24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
  25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
  26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
  27. Always choose life.
  28. Forgive everyone everything.
  29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  30. Time heals almost everything.  Give time time.
  31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  32. Don't take yourself so seriously.  No one else does.
  33. Believe in miracles.
  34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
  35. Don't audit life.  Show up and make the most of it now.
  36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
  37. Your children get only one childhood.
  38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
  39. Get outside every day.  Miracles are waiting everywhere.
  40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
  41. Envy is a waste of time.  You already have all you need.
  42. The best is yet to come.
  43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  44. Yield.
  45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."
And that is solid advise if I ever read any.



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An inspirational story

Here is another inspirational story of weight loss and healthy living:

MeE and MY shadow....
I weighed myself yesterday. The scales said 141.6...I realized that I had now lost 70 pounds! I then put on my gift to myself a pair of size 8 Kymaro jeans I was saving for this moment. Never in my life have I wore a size 8. They look good, yes, I can honestly tell you that.


I have been where this lady is. I just recently hit my 70-pound mark. Yup, I have lost 70 pounds since January 1 of this year (2009). My pant size went from a 42 to a 32. My t-shirt size from an XL to a medium.

If I can do it, anyone can do it.



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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The right attitude, the right strategy, the right life

One of my SparkPeople friends wrote a great blog about her latest vacation trip and how she managed to incorporate healthy habits into even the most difficult of environments so that she can stay fit and healthy. I invite you to read Ingrid's blog — I bet you will laugh and also learn a lot:

Back from Vacation and Exercised in Small Spaces

Ingrid shows us what it takes to be healthy and fit regardless of the circumstances we may come across. If she can do this in the unusual conditions she describes, what is our excuse when we are at home and have everything at hand?


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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Turning TV Off

We recently begun cutting TV time down to as little as possible. It had gotten to the point where the TV was an automatic appliance as soon as the kids came in the house. Many times it was on without anyone watching it. Worse yet, kids were zoned out if they were in front of the tube. So now we are limiting the TV use, and they are playing more games, reading more, and doing other things that are better for them.

Turn off those TVs!
Startling TV Facts

If you find it hard to escape the sights and sounds of the tube, or if watching your favorite show turns into more wasted hours than you planned, you're not alone. Americans watch TV for an average of 4 hours every day; even when we're not watching, the television is on--for almost 8 hours a day in the average home. Have you ever realized how much TV has become a part of our lives? Here are some more startling facts, from the non-profit organization, TV-Turnoff Network:

40% of Americans always or often watch TV while eating dinner. Eating dinner or snacking in front of the TV is linked to overeating and dissatisfaction. When you're distracted, you're not mindful of the meal you are eating, causing you to eat more without realizing it or really enjoying your food. Turn off the TV (and other distractions like the computer or the phone), and you'll savor that portion-controlled meal.

50% of U.S. households have 3 or more TVs. When you have more TVs, chances are, more of your family members are watching--instead of spending quality time together, doing homework, and being active.

Think it would impossible to turn off your TV for an entire week? Imagine how much more free time you would have if you didn't spend time watching TV! There are lots of fun (and healthy) things you could do with your newfound time. Here are some examples:
  • Get active! Think you don't have time to exercise? Here's your opportunity!
  • Make it a family event! Take the kids out for a walk, ride bikes, learn a new sport, go canoeing, etc.
  • Read a book or magazine
  • Go to bed earlier and get your recommended 7-8 hours of sleep
  • Start that new hobby you've been wanting to try
  • Cook dinner for your family and enjoy it together at the table
  • Volunteer at your local church or community center

Source: http://www.SparkPeople.com



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Top 8 'Mediterranean Diet' Foods You Should be Eating

Top 8 'Mediterranean Diet' Foods You Should be Eating
A European Mediterranean eating style is considered a healthy way to eat by many health professionals. One primary reason is because of its plant based focus as well as that it is low in refined sugar and preservatives. These are very different eating patterns compared to the typical American diet.




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Monday, July 06, 2009

Cut Calories Without Dieting

Cut Calories Without Dieting
Here are a few tips to help you decrease your caloric intake without "dieting" or feeling deprived.


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A sad day: remembering David Martin

A good friend of mine and co-worker, David Martin, passed away last night. He was very young, close to 40 years old and, despite having had problems with his heart several months ago, he appeared to be in good health.

David was the kind of person that enjoyed life. He was an avid photographer, and he was darn good at it too.

One of David's many qualities was his uncanny sense of honesty. He was very expressive with his opinions, and you always knew where he stood on issues.

David leaves behind a wonderful wife, Christie, and two beautiful daughters.

I will miss David.



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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Your smallest actions add up to something big

Everything you do makes a difference. Even if you're not on the front lines leading the effort, you have a contribution to make. Without your contribution, no matter how small, so many other things would never happen. The world needs what you have to offer. You have no idea how the simplest of your everyday actions can effect your child, and even people you've never met. Chances are, you'll never know. But if you're looking for a purpose to work toward, all you need is the desire and the right perspective. Define yourself as your task, and that's all you'll ever be. Define yourself as your contribution to your family, and suddenly you're a very important part of a bigger picture. The biggest pictures are the ones where there's room for everyone to be seen.

Source: http://www.SparkPeople.com

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. For want of the shoe, the horse was lost. For want of the horse, the rider was lost. For want of the rider, the battle was lost. For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail!

- Old English rhyme

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Make July a Stress-Reduction Month

Got stress? Here is some help:

31 Days to Less Stress
SparkPeople's calendar feature will help you focus on one healthy habit each month. For July, that means decreasing and managing the stress in your life to better enjoy the lazy days of summer.




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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Running Shoes In Your Future?

I have had it in the back of my mind that I needed to have a back-up pair of running shoes. Fortunately, I was fitted for running shoes at my local FleetFeet store and I knew pretty much what I needed to get. So, off to the web I went. My online vendor of choice is Running Warehouse. After a few minutes of searching and comparing, I chose a great pair of Nike shoes (for $59 with free shipping and no state tax) that were equivalent to the Brooks pair ($100 + tax) that I bought last February.

True to their promise, the shoes arrived in two days. I tried them and they were extremely comfortable. I have not felt any difference between the two pairs, although I have been using the new shoes mostly on a treadmill.

So, if you are looking for a new pair of running shoes and you know exactly what you are looking for, then I recommend the Running Warehouse. They even have free return shipping if the shoes are not what you needed. Customer service just does not get any better than this!

By the way, I still suggest that you get fitted for shoes at a running shop (like FleetFeet), especially if you are new to running or if you feel your needs have changed. After that, you cannot beat the savings and convenience of the Running Warehouse.



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Monday, June 29, 2009

Paving the way to a great day

DailyOM - Sending Love Ahead to Your Day
Upon waking, many people consider the coming day with trepidation. Because of the natural human tendency to focus on what we fear or dislike, it is easy to unwittingly send a message of unease into the future that negatively impacts the quality of your day. However, while our lives are busy and frequently replete with challenges, they are also rich with joy and experiences worth savoring. We can attract this natural bliss into our lives by starting each day with a message of love. When you send love ahead to your day, that love will manifest itself in your interpersonal interactions, your professional endeavors, and your domestic duties. Tasks and circumstances once made trying by your own anxiety are transformed by your love, and you will find yourself approaching life’s subtle nuances with great affection.

There is more in the full article.



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The real measure of your contributions

What is accomplishment? Is it measured by the number of zeroes in your salary? By status or your level of fame? Or could success possibly come from the number of lives you touch? In today's world, where people are famous just for being famous, it's easy to get caught up in the quest for being noticed and appreciated. People and ideas can be trampled along the way if nobody looks out for them. If leaving a legacy is important to you, it should not come at the expense of your values. If you let it, you'll end up leaving a legacy you didn't want, and that kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it? The greatest and most noble acts are the ones that are done when we think no one is looking. When you stop expecting thanks or anything in return, your contribution is more welcome than ever. The irony is that the nicer you are, the more important you become.


Source: http://www.SparkPeople.com

This reminds me of the concept of Ethical Wills. Creating an ethical will is a great step to defining the values that will govern your actions. How will you be remembered when you are gone?



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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Avoid dieting and fitness mistakes

This is an excellent article about what to avoid when you are thinking about going on a diet or exercise program: Expert Solutions: Metabolism Mistakes



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Good advise for getting healthier

This SparkPeople article gives you all the details you need to begin a healthy fitness plan: Dos and Don'ts of a Successful Fitness Plan



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Stop & Chew

I must confess -- I am bad about eating quickly, hardly chewing my food. And that is not a good thing to do. I remember being a slow-eater as a child, but sometime in my teenage years I began to eat quickly and the habit has been difficult to break.

I encourage you to read this great article and learn about the benefits of chewing properly:

Stop & Chew Your Dinner

I sometimes find myself rushing my kids to eat quickly, and then I stop and remind myself that eating quickly is not the best thing for any of us!

Enjoy your meal -- be mindful of your eating!



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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You got to love a story like this one!

A Mantra For All People

Today, I acknowledge the inner light within me
and I honor that inner light,
for it is the true source of my beauty.
I share that inner light with everyone I encounter.
I remember that my beauty has nothing to do
with my body size or weight.
My beauty has everything to do with who I am
and I honor that person, always!

I read this on one of the notes from my previous post. I found one source at this website:

Affirmations for a Healthy Body Image—Wings for the Heart



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A Beautiful Movement

As it sometimes happens, someone has started a movement to help people feel beautiful. And feeling good about yourself is as important as anything else on the journey to be healthy:

Healthy Tipping Point: OPERATION BEAUTIFUL: Today's Notes

Do you know anyone that could use a boost? Leave them a note to let them know!

Do you want to do a random act of kindness? Leave one of these notes and boost someone's self-image. It is free ... it is kind ... and it is true. We all have extreme inner beauty that we need to tap into so that we can become all that we are capable of being.

You are a beautiful person ... share that beauty.



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Monday, June 22, 2009

First 5K Race -- what a rush!

Saturday evening I participated in my first 5 K race. It was a great experience!

The event was the Candlelight Run in Greenville, SC. The kids, my friend Dwala, and I ran in the 1-mile Family Fun Run/Walk at 8 PM. It was very hot (upper 90s). I finished this event with a 9:20 (unofficial) time. Not too bad!

The 5K started at 9 PM. It was still fairly warm (mid-90s), but it had cooled down enough that it was tolerable. I lined up towards the rear 1/3 of the group because this was my first race and I know my time is not the greatest. Beginning the race was lots of fun -- and very hot with all these folks altogether! Once we made our first turn, we began to spread out and the heat dissipated some. Traffic (slower runners and walkers) became an issue a few times, but for the most part it was a great run. I kept a very steady pace throughout the run, slowing only once to get some water.

The end was funny (in a twisted sort of way). The Finish Line was on a downhill stretch. As I had learned from my friend Dimitra, as soon as I saw the Finish Line I pushed through as fast as I could. Surprisingly, I had plenty of steam left. But … I over-did it! I was going so fast that, on the last sensor at the line, I tripped, landed hard on my left shoulder, and skidded down the asphalt a few feet. I bet not too many runners slide into the finish line that way! :-) It was a baseball classic move!

My official time for the race was 35:48 (Gun Time) or 34:16 (Chip Time). I ranked 653 out of 819 male contestants. Considering the fairly long uphill terrain and the high temperature, I think that is a respectable time. Definitely something to work on to improve for future races.

I have to say that there is an incredible rush that comes from running a race. For the hour after finishing the event I definitely felt an adrenaline high that I had never experienced!

Now, looking to the future:

a) This week I need to recover from the fall and heal my shoulder; I will workout as much as I can with the aim of getting back to normal as quickly as possible.
b) I am going to increase my training to bring my 5K time down to 30 minutes.
c) I will probably enter a race in August (yes, I know, another hot temperature race!) and another one on Labor Day.
d) I want to run at least 3-5 5K events before training for an 8K race. I will then do 3-5 8K events before moving to a 10K race, etc.

What a rush being fit is!



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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sleep more, weigh less

Insomnia Can Hinder Your Weight Loss
Recent medical studies show that sleep loss can increase hunger and affect your body’s metabolism in a way that makes weight loss more difficult. So if you’re making a good effort in your nutrition and fitness plans, you still might be able to improve your success with better sleep.


I can attest to this. For years I slept an average of 4 hours per day — and my weight increased substantially. Of course, it was a combination of factors that included less-than-ideal nutrition and lack of exercise, but the lack of sleep contributed tremendously to weight gain.



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Friday, June 12, 2009

Mindful Eating

My friend Juliet Hewitt, who also happens to be a co-worker and my Yoga Teacher, wrote this article and I wanted to share it with you:
Summer is almost here. As you cruise the supermarket checkout line, magazine headlines promoting new weight loss strategies all vie for your attention. Each one promising a new secret method to help you lose weight and get into your bathing suit: “Ten Steps to Slim Thighs in Ten Days!” “Celebrity Workouts – Learn the Exercise Secrets of the Top Stars”.

If you are like me, you have fallen victim to their siren song and purchased one of these magazines. After reading the articles, you are disappointed. There is no magic diet, pill, or exercise program. Eating good food and exercising is what really works, but that doesn’t sell magazines. I am not going to give you tips on exercise or diet today. There are plenty of places to find this information if you need it. What I am going to tell is a tip that maybe you haven’t considered before: practice conscious eating. Become an astute watcher of your eating habits. In doing so, learn to slow down and contemplate what you are eating before and while you are eating it.

What you eat and when you eat should be a thoughtful decision. Learn to make eating a “conscious” rather than “unconscious” choice. As you observe your hunger rhythms, remember that when you experience a hunger pang you don’t have to eat immediately. If you are tied to a family mealtime and you are hungry before dinner, teach yourself to wait until dinner is served to eat. When you do choose to eat, enjoy it. Taste your food and don’t feel guilty about eating a treat. You made a conscious decision to eat it! There is no joy in eating a dessert if you are going to feel guilty about it. If you know you will feel guilty about it, make a conscious decision not to eat it. Lastly, if you do eat something without mindfulness, forgive yourself immediately. Mindfulness takes practice. Like any other skill, it takes effort to cultivate.

Practicing mindfullness teaches you to work with your body, rather than against it. Eat what you truly enjoy and truly enjoy what you eat!


Thanks, Juliet, for such a great article!



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Finding fault with everything you see

We all know people who just like to complain. It seems that no matter how good they have it, they're always spreading negative energy. Even the best, most painstaking listener can have trouble with someone who finds fault with everything around them. You can shine even in the worst situations if your character is strong. If you're starting to see the "dark side" too often and find yourself blaming your circumstances on other people, take another look. If you think a change of scenery will solve all your problems, think again. Change can be good. Moving on to new things can be an exciting chance to stretch yourself and break a rut. But it's important to start with yourself when you're finding things to improve. No matter where you live, work or play, the only constant is you. You can't escape yourself. Change on the outside will have no effect on your happiness or fulfillment unless you change on the inside, too.

Source: http://www.SparkPeople.com

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Could You Give It All Up to Follow Your Dream?

Having a dream and determination are basic ingredients to accomplish anything you want in life:

Could You Give It All Up to Follow Your Dream?




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Thursday, June 11, 2009

There is only now

I encourage you to read this:
My motivation has always come in waves. One month I'm completely dedicated to my health and the health of people around me. I live the way I've always wanted to live: wake up early, take the dogs for a walk, come home and make a healthy breakfast, do some chores around the house, make a nutritious lunch, play with my dogs, etc. It's those times when I'm at my best.

Then the wave ends and I'm suddenly dragging out of bed late in the morning, I drag myself to the kitchen and make the quickest, least nutritious, biggest breakfast I can come up with. I take my plate to the couch and eat everything (plus seconds) while watching TV. In a fried egg coma, I remain on the couch for most of the day and most of the night, sometimes not even getting up to shower! At the back of my mind I ask myself, is this how I want to spend the rest of my life? Unfortunately, when I'm deep in my fried egg coma, the answer is always a cop-out: I just have to deal with my guilt until the "healthy" wave picks me up again so I can ride it for as long as it will carry me. Of course, the healthy wave usually lasts about a month, tops, while my unhealthy wave lasts 3 months to a year!

This past weekend I got to thinking about my "healthy wave" and I suddenly realized that everything I did when I was soaring on my healthy wave was due to an obsession with the future. I would spend so much time thinking and planning for the future that I became overwhelmed by my own thoughts and eventually I would get to a point where I'd just tell myself ENOUGH! And I'd quit.

So I woke up Monday morning and decided that I would stop living in the future and start living TODAY! Yesterday was the first time I told myself this mantra. Yesterday was the first time I actually understood it, believed it and practiced it. TODAY I will make the best decisions I can make with what I eat and how I workout. Tomorrow's motivation is irrelevant. Tomorrow's motivation doesn't exist. It's all about TODAY.

Source: Tomorrow no longer exists for me (Page 18)

As humans, we continue to worry about yesterday and tomorrow, and we do not realize that "now" is made up of all our yesterdays and now is what tomorrow will be. If we focus on changing "now", on doing the best we can with "now", then tomorrow will be the best it can possibly be!

Coach Lou Holtz said that to WIN means to focus on "What's Important Now" — focus on "now" to win at anything!



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Monday, June 08, 2009

Invest in healthy changes

This article discusses what to do to make sure your kitchen will help you live a healthier lifestyle.:

Where is Danger Lurking in Your Kitchen?


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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Self-Worth and Self-Esteem

The following article describes, beautifully, the significant difference between self-esteem and self-worth: DailyOM - Worth

I encourage you to read it and really take in the critical difference between these concepts. You are definitely worth it!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Changing the World: one smile at a time

Have you ever walked by someone in the street and have them smile at you? Do you smile at people when you greet them? Please read this article and I think you will see how we can change the world, one smile at a time: DailyOM - Common Courtesy

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The voice of experience: working long hours can be unhealthy

Years ago I had to work more than one job and had very little time to rest. I gained weight despite being relatively active; here is why:

Too Much Work Can Pack On the Pounds


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Monday, May 18, 2009

A video worth watching

This video goes to prove that some things are timeless:



Sound of Music | Central Station Antwerp (Belgium)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Seated Stretching Routine: 7 Stretches that Reduce Stiffness and Tension

Seated Stretching Routine
When you spend a lot of time sitting, especially at a desk or computer, it's important to take stretch breaks. A couple of breaks each day will help you stay alert and keep stiffness at bay. This set of stretches is perfect for people who are already sitting or those who prefer to stay seated for balance reasons.

These stretches really work!


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The "big" 32

I hit the "big" 32. The 32 does not refer to age, for I hit 32 almost 17 years ago. It refers to pant size.

At the beginning of January, I was wearing pant size 40 … and quickly heading towards 42. This past Saturday I bought a pair of pants at Goodwill that was a size 33 -- and they fit comfortably! Today I bought a pair of size 32 jeans.

I have not been a size 32 since high school nearly 30 years ago. I almost feel like crying.

Just a little over four months and that much change. It has not been easy, but it has not been all that hard. It has been challenging, and it has been fun!

Considering I have not lost all the weight I intend to lose, I wonder what my final pant size will be! I have another 9 pounds to lose before reaching my goal for this year. I started at 255 and I aimed to be at 195 by December 31. I am almost there. My next goal will be 175. I don't know if I will try to achieve that this year or next. I had originally thought it would be next year, but at this rate I may just go for it. Either way I intend to have fun along the way.

One thing is certain: I am SO grateful to SparkPeople, the staff and my friends and family for their support and encouragement. You all have been essential in my success. THANK YOU!


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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A great, free, opportunity to get in shape

Do you feel you in in swimsuit shape? If not, here is a great opportunity to get that nice figure:

SparkPeople's Sweatsuit to Swimsuit Bootcamp

It does not get any easier than this and it is the least expensive workout program you will ever find: free.

Enjoy!

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Making memories

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom at the mall. She must have been 6 years old,this beautiful red haired,freckle-faced image of innocence.  It was pouring outside — the kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the mall.
 
We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world.

Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.
 
The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in. "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said.

"What?" Mom asked.
 
"Let's run through the rain!" She repeated.
 
"No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.
 
This young child waited about another minute and repeated, "Mom, let's run through the rain."
 
"We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said.
 
"No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her mom's arm.
 
"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?"
 
"Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!'"
 
The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.
 
Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life, a time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.
 
"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said.
 
Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling, and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles.  They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked.  But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.
 
And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing too.
 
Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories...So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories every day.
 
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.
 
I hope you still take the time to run through the rain.
 
They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them. Share this with the people you'll never forget.  It's a short message to let them know that you'll never forget them.
 
Take the time to live!
 
Keep in touch with your friends. You never know when you'll need each other -- and don't forget to run in the rain!



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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't Ever Judge a Book

We go through life judging things and people. We look at someone and make our mind up as to their capabilities, without given them the chance to prove themselves. Every now and then we have the opportunity to be set straight. Watch this video and you will know what I mean.



Britain's Got Talent 2009 Susan Boyle 47 Year Old Singer

I heard about this on the radio this morning, and then received an email about it. I just checked it out and I am humbled by this lady.


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Monday, April 13, 2009

How to Deal with Setbacks

Here is a nice article:

How to Deal with Setbacks

I am currently dealing with a setback. I am in the middle of training for my first 5K race and, to no fault of my own, I have sustained a back injury. But that is not going to stop me from continuing on my path to a thinner, healthier, stronger me. On the contrary, I will take this opportunity to renew my determination to achieve those goals. I will do as much as I can in terms of fitness and I will focus on great nutrition to ensure that I do not gain weight while I recuperate from this back injury.

From this setback I will come out with an increased fire to push forward and achieve at all levels.

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The Week in Review: Week of 4/6/09

Last week was an interesting one. It was probably one of the most stressful periods I have had in years. And yet it had some great rewards.

Personally, I had the unfortunate experience of having to evict a family from the house they rented from me. It was very sad and stressful. This was the last thing I ever had imagined would occur; what was supposed to be a win-win arrangement resulted in a lose-lose situation for all involved, including myself.

But that event (on Thursday) was followed by a great day with the kids. We went to the beach and had a fantastic time together! The only tarnish on Friday was that we were rear-ended on the way back. The kids were scared and, unfortunately, I have developed back pain for which I am getting medical treatment. But that still does not diminishes the beauty of spending great quality time with my kids.

Last week I managed to lose two more pounds. I am now starting to fit in medium-size sweaters. Large shirts feel too big for me, so the next batch of shirts may be medium. I really need to buy new pants, because I am beginning to swim in the ones I have (38 and 36).

I had a couple of days when nutrition suffered a bit, and I really need to be more careful when going out. For example, Friday morning we had breakfast at Waffle House -- the waffle did me in nutritionally. I had one other day when I exceeded my target calorie intake. However, all things considered, it was still a good week and I learned some lessons and do not regret what I did.

In the fitness arena, I did great with my C25K program, but did not do well with my strength training (ST) goals. I need to re-focus and work on that. It is essential to balance cardio and ST to maximize fitness results. With the back injury, I suspect this week will be a challenge for both areas. I will try to do as much as it is safe without causing damage to my back. I am going to research stretches for back muscles to help me recuperate as much and as quickly as possible.

I was told this morning by my Chiropractor that running is out for at least two weeks. I was disappointed. I am already planning on re-starting my C25K program at week 3 as soon as I can. These things happen and we have to adjust to them.

I hope you had a great Easter and that this is a great week for you. I am going to make it the best week I can and push forward!

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Fitness progress

I continue to make good progress towards a healthier and more fit me. Rather than copying stuff from my SparkPeople blog, I invite you to read all about it there:

VGASCON's Blog

I have managed to lose a total of 45 pounds since January 1. I am training for my first 5K race. I feel in so much better shape that it is unreal! :-)


Everyone Can Heal

For a very long time I have known that we all have the power to heal ourselves and others. It is, in part, a matter of faith. Here is an excellent article on how it can be done:

DailyOM - Everyone Can Heal

Interestingly, there are those of us that believe that healing touch can be done remotely, simply by using the power of imagination and visualization. The mind is a powerful tool, indeed.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?

This is a nice article on the subject:

Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?

I always thought that unmanaged stress contributes to weight gain. Exercise really helps with this.

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Small Bits of Fitness Add Up

This really works! I do this often. It helps me get refreshed during the day or get recharged in the evening when I find my energy dwindling.

Small Bits of Fitness Add Up
Forget the "all or nothing" mentality when it comes to exercise. Fitness does not live or die by 60-minute workouts; there is middle ground. Short spurts of exercise, when they accumulate, have been shown to share similar benefits of longer workouts.


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Making the most of your day

Dr. Stephen Covey made this same point repeatedly in the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." The critical thing is to determine what are the big rocks in your life and put those in your jar first, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every year. In the end it will be a successful life.

Do you often tell others (and yourself) that you just don't have enough time? If you are like most people, this is probably something you think about at least once a day. It seems like our lives continue getting busier but time never grows in proportion. This quote reminds us that great things can (and have been) done with the time that we all have. What will you do with your time today?

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

- H. Jackson Brown

Source: http://www.SparkPeople.com

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Taking care of what matters most

Your body is one of the most fragile things you need to care for. All too often we allow sickness, stress, and even other people run our lives. It's tough to consistently pursue your goals when you're laid up or constantly fighting illness. Take a preventive approach to your health. By eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and dealing with your emotions, you can build and maintain a healthy body that can help you improve other areas of your life!

A healthy body is a guest-chamber for the soul; a sick body is a prison.

- Francis Bacon

Source: http://www.SparkPeople.com

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Don't Super-Size (even with healthy foods)

It is true: too much of a good thing is still too much!

Portion Control
Question: Is it possible to eat meals consisting entirely of healthy foods, such as carrots, fish, apples and whole wheat bread, and continue to gain weight?
Answer: Yes, because you can still eat too much, even if everything is good for you.


The food industry has made it possible for us to buy more food for less money, so they have conditioned us to think more is better. This is their way of selling more food -- that is why they are in business. But that is not a healthy thing to do. So it is wise to learn what a good portion is and weigh or measure what we eat.

It is critical that we teach our kids what a healthy portion is. They are subjected to the "super-size" mentality from many sources so it is up to us to show them how to eat properly, not only in the types of foods to chose, but also in the correct amounts to use.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Never giving up

Do you ever get frustrated because things are moving too slowly in your life? Many people don't realize that building a foundation for success does not happen overnight. It is a slow process in which you are constantly working and learning. After all, that foundation must remain strong, even in times of failure or crisis. This takes time! You may have to remind yourself that "failing" is only failure if you quit; otherwise it's a learning opportunity. So don't worry if your life seems to be moving in slow motion. Concentrate on building a solid foundation and learning from your back steps.

Source: http://www.SparkPeople.com

Friday, March 27, 2009

Over And Over Again

DailyOM - Having The Same Experiences
There may be times in our lives when it seems like we keep having the same kinds of experiences. The situation or the people involved may be different each time, yet one experience may feel exactly like the last one and the one before that one.

This is such an interesting concept. I honestly believe that our thoughts and preconceptions do influence what happens to us.
We bring ourselves and our beliefs to every situation. If we can figure out which of our beliefs are no longer serving us, we can consciously change those beliefs, make new choices, and start having new kinds of experiences that are in line with what we want in life.

I think we owe it to ourselves (and to others) to constantly examine our belief system. When we find we are uncomfortable or too comfortable, it is perhaps because of how we feel about and perceive ourselves.


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Are you making a difference?

Have you ever said "I want to help do this" or "I'd like to be involved in that"? Many people have grand intentions but forget about the importance of following through. It is far better to take the time to complete small deeds than to spend your time talking about what you want to do someday. Sometimes you may feel that a small deed will not make a difference. Just remember that every bit--even a small bit--helps. Every good deed makes a difference to someone.

Source: http://www.SparkPeople.com

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Exercises for Knee Pain

These exercises have been of great help to me:

11 Exercises that Help Decrease Knee Pain
BONUS TIP: If you have increased soreness after doing these exercises, it may help to ice your knee or knees for 10 - 20 minutes. Place a bag of ice (or frozen vegetables) over the joint, with a towel between to protect the skin. Elevate your leg on a chair if ice alone is inadequate.

The ice treatment was also suggested by my Health Coach at work and it really helped me.

It's all about choices

In life, as adults we have choices and we make them every day on every aspect of life. We can choose to eat a greasy cheeseburger or a healthy salad.

As consumers, we also have choices that affect our health. One of the choices we can make is where to eat when we eat out. Here is a great article about some of the available choices:

America’s Unhealthiest Restaurants on Yahoo! Health

We should only support establishments that are willing to be forthcoming with nutritional information on the food they sell. And we owe it to ourselves to find out the nutritional information of everything that goes in our mouth. It is the best way of insuring that we are making responsible nutritional choices.

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A Great Teacher: Water

DailyOM - Living Like Water
Water is a great teacher that shows us how to move through the world with grace, ease, determination, and humility.


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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Passive Aggressive Behavior

I think I have experienced passive-aggressive behavior all my life. As a learned habit, I sometimes find myself doing it to others (thankfully, it is more rarely now than it has been in the past).

Here is a very nice, short, article on this type of behavior and what to do about it:

DailyOM - Claiming Our Feelings
If you’ve ever found yourself repressing your anger and behaving in other ways to get your point across, you may be someone who is adept at engaging in passive-aggressive behavior.
Procrastination, inefficiency, stubbornness, and sullenness are some of the many ways that anger can be expressed indirectly.


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Monday, March 23, 2009

Trigger Foods: What are Yours?

Trigger Foods: What are Yours?
So what exactly are trigger foods? Well, for me, they are the foods that once I start eating them it is very hard to stop. It’s as if I can’t seem to get enough; foods such as chips, candy, cookies, ice cream, brownies, etc. While I would love to say I have developed the discipline to eat these in normal sized portions, I still struggle with these foods if I bring them home. But that’s OK because I have devised my own plan on how I deal with this situation.


One of my trigger foods is pizza. I always have to watch myself around that.

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Sorry, Virginia, there is no such pill

The only way to lose weight and be fit is to exercise and eat a nutritious diet:

12 Ways to Spot a Fad Diet
The next time you watch an infomercial, read an advertisement, or spot a new supplement reporting miraculous weight loss results, we wouldn’t blame you for cocking a wary eyebrow.


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Are you a computer tech or geek?

Here is a nice list of ten things you may consider for additional income during these difficult times:

10 ways techs can make extra cash (TechRepublic.com)
If you’re searching for opportunities to supplement your income — or you’re in between jobs and need some work to tide you over — the tech field offers a number of possibilities. Erik Eckel runs down some of your options.


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Health Warning: Check Expiration Dates!

A friend sent me this warning recently:

snopes.com: Pancake Mix and Allergic Reaction
I recently made a batch of pancakes for my healthy 14-year-old son, using a mix that was in our pantry. He said that they tasted "funny," but ate them anyway. About 10 minutes later, he began having difficulty breathing and his lips began turning purple. I gave him his allergy pill, had him sit on the sofa and told him to relax. He was wheezing while inhaling and exhaling. …

… Apparently, the mold that forms in old pancake mix can be toxic!


Here is the content of the email that was sent to me:

A student had pancakes and it almost became fatal. His Mom (registered nurse) made him pancakes, dropped him off at school and headed to play tennis. She never takes her cell phone on the court but did this time and her son called to say he was having trouble breathing. She told him to go to the nurse immediately and proceeded to call school and alert the nurse. The nurse called the paramedics and they were there in 3 minutes and worked on the boy all the way to the hospital. He came so close to dying. Evidently this is more common then I ever knew. Check the expiration dates on packages like pancakes and cake mixes that have yeast which over time develop spores. Apparently, the mold that forms in old mixes can be toxic! Throw away ALL OUTDATED pancake mix, Bisquick, brownie mixes etc you have in your home.


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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mid-week Status and C25K Report

I finished Day 2 of Week 2 of C25K. It is a beautiful day and I most definitely enjoyed the run! I definitely struggled with the last 90 second jogging period, but that is probably because it was uphill and I had already done two uphill stretches during the run. But struggling is a good thing -- it just makes me want to try even harder! :-)

Nutrition wise I am doing well. My calorie intake has been under control, although my appetite has increased some. Weight seems to be under control and I am hoping to lose another two pounds this week.

My greatest area of concern is stamina. Because of my 5K training, I stopped doing my staircase routine. I do not want to overdo things, but I feel my stamina is down a bit. Maybe it is the staircase routine, maybe something else (there are a number of stressors in my life right now).

I have also noticed that I am not drinking as much water as I should. My ST (strength training) has been pretty lax lately. Ah ... areas for improvement all around! :-)


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Taking care of yourself

DailyOM - Staying On Track
In a world where we have routines for nearly everything—our route to work, our physical fitness regimen, and our weekday schedule—it’s amazing how many people forget to create a routine for meeting their spiritual needs.


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Energy Boosts at Work

I think we all experience the occasional lack of energy during the day. Here are some great suggestions for perking yourself up as needed -- and there are no chemicals involved!

Energy Boosts at Work

This is all healthy and great for you!

Did you realize bad posture alone can give your brain up to 30% less blood and oxygen? Along with good posture, the most effective way to fight energy lulls is with heavy doses of good stretching and good breathing. Shoot for five minutes of mental or physical activity per hour, every hour at the computer.


Enjoy!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It shows

I am not used to this at all. For the last few days, almost on an hourly basis, people stop me and tell me how they notice my weight loss and how I look great. One co-worker said: "If you keep losing weight you are going to disappear!" Another co-worker stopped me and praised me. He ended with "I am proud of you!".

WOW! I am just floored! With this much positive feedback it is easy to keep going!


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Couch-5K Week 2, Day 1

Day 1 of this second week on the Couch-to-5K program went incredibly well. I even added one 90 second period at the end of the 20-minute lap because I was far enough from my origin point to just walk back. Why not add some more training? :-)

The new shoes felt great -- I definitely need to adjust to them, but I think they made a difference. My right knee did not feel as "guarded" as with other shoes. I think it was a very good investment.

I can't wait for Thursday's run!


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Monday, March 16, 2009

Aromatherapy for the Whole Family

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants and aromatic plant compounds to affect someone's mood or health. In France, where it was discovered, it has been incorporated into conventional medicine to treat infections and disease. In the US, it is widely used for its ability to affect a person's emotional state. Here are some ways you can use aromatherapy to create a healthier home.

  • In the bath: Try this bath before bed to help you or your kids (or all of you!) sleep more soundly. Dilute 5 drops of lavender oil in 1 tablespoon of carrier oil, such as almond or coconut oil. Add to the bathwater, using caution to avoid slipping. Lavender helps promote relaxation and sleep.
  • Inhalation: Into a basin of steaming water, add a few drops of an essential oil, like marjoram. Lean your head over the bowl and cover with a towel, and inhale the steam for 10 minutes. Marjoram can help to clear congestion.
  • In the car: Sprinkle a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball, and stash it under the driver's seat. Peppermint helps increase alertness.
  • Around the house: Help to disinfect the air in your home by adding a few drops of tea tree oil to an aromatherapy diffuser.
  • For your pets: Calm rambunctious or nervous pets by sprinkling a drop or two of lavender oil on their bedding.
Although aromatherapy can complement traditional medicine, it should never be used as a substitute. Always check with your doctor or pediatrician before using any home remedies on yourself or your child.

For more information you can read this article: Aromatherapy Smells Great!


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All things pass eventually

Have you ever heard the concept of "seasons" in life? It refers to an idea that nothing in life lasts forever, and with time, all things change. Do you feel like your life is in an unhappy state? Are you stuck in a rut? It will pass! Sadly, this also applies to the good times as well. The elation of a promotion, the excitement of a new relationship--all will fade with time. Think creatively about how to maximize the sweet times and minimize the sour ones.

Sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, all must be tasted.
- Chinese proverb


Source: http://www.SparkPeople.com

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another first

Yesterday, I began training for my first ever 5K race. I never imagined I would attempt something like this. Certainly, as of late last year I could barely finish the evening without collapsing on the couch and falling asleep. Now, I am exercising daily, watching what I eat, and feeling great!

I started the Couch-to-5K (C25K) program. Yesterday's session was unorthodox because I did not want to look at a stop watch to see when I needed to switch from brisk walk to jog, so I counted blocks. Looking back I realize that it was not necessarily the best way to do it, but I got through it and that was important.

On my Couch-To-5K SparkPeople group I read about free podcasts that will help you time the intervals. The first one I found was from DJ Steve at djsteveboy. These are awesome mixes! I walked to Day 1 today just to get used to the system. I love it! The site also has other running programs that bring you to 8K and 10K.

I also found another set of free podcasts at Podcasts for Running. I am listening to Day 1 while writing this blog. This is a good set. I like Robert's approach because he talks you through the changes rather than the "beep" used by Steve. But both of them are awesome and free -- what more can we ask for?

Thank you to Steve and Robert for providing these free MP3s for all of us that are training to be healthier and fit. I am grateful for their hard work and willingness to give these great music files to all of us.


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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Finding victory in the small stuff

Do your dreams seem far away? Does the distance between you and the finish line deflate your motivation? Often we forget that goals and dreams are not achieved overnight, but rather in a series of small steps. Progress towards your goals should also be counted as victorious! Stop looking at the end result to bring you the greatest joy. Instead, celebrate the ways in which your life is gravitating towards that desired result. Nothing is guaranteed in life, so make the most of each day and persevere. Remember that the small things in life build up to the bigger ones.

Source: http://www.SparkPeople.com

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