Friday, November 30, 2012

Thought for the Weekend: Creating Stepped Goals - The T-Tapp Bootcamp

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. - Martin Luther King Jr.

I love this quote. I wanted to use it today since I'm talking about creating stepped goals.

The first time I created a stepped goal it was with a T-Tapp boot camp. I was a trainer for a very long time before I ever attempted a 14 day boot camp. To be honest I was afraid I'd fail. So I just never attempted it - no attempt = no failure. It also = no 14 day bootcamp!

That fear was what was blocking my goal so I made a plan to over come it.

Instead of making a goal to achieve a full 14 day bootcamp I made a series of goals that would either lead me to the full bootcamp or allow me to bow out, guilt free, at whatever level best suited me. It looked like this:

1. I will do a 4 day T-Tapp bootcamp. Once I hit day four I'll celebrate and re-evaluated my committment to continuing onward to the next step of my goal and a 7 day bootcamp. If I am not ready to move on I'll celebrate my achievement and begin practicing T-Tapp every other day.

2. I will do a 7 day T-Tapp bootcamp. Once I hit day four I'll celebrate and re-evaluated my committment to continuing onward to the next step of my goal and a 10 day bootcamp. If I am not ready to move on I'll celebrate my achievement and begin practicing T-Tapp every other day.

3. I will do a 10 day T-Tapp bootcamp. Once I hit day four I'll celebrate and re-evaluated my committment to continuing onward to the next step of my goal and a 14 day bootcamp. If I am not ready to move on I'll celebrate my achievement and begin practicing T-Tapp every other day.

4. I will do a 14 day T-Tapp bootcamp. Once I hit day 14 I'll celebrate my achievement and begin practicing T-Tapp every other day.

This style of goal making has been serving me well for years! I never feel badly if I don't make it through the entire goal. Interestingly enough I never skip out just because I can. If I stop the goal at an intermediate step it is always for a very good reason. (An example would be when I stopped the Ballet Body Periodization Schedule after 3 months.)

I'm also happy to say that yesterday I reached my goal of a 10 day T-Tapp bootcamp and recommitted to doing the full 14 days! I'll review the dvd I'm using soon. It was new to me and I really love the compresehensive workout it packs into a very brief time.

You can reach your goals and stepping the goals can make it a pretty much pain free experience. Well other than the muscle awareness that's a sure thing if you're doing T-Tapp! ;)

Your challenge today is to consider what personal goal you might be able turn into a stepped goal. If you've been following the SMART goal series and working up a specific goal consider stepping that one. Have a great day!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reaching Goals: Perfection is Overrated

It's natural to want to "do it just right." I personally believe that you increase your chances of reaching your goals when you allow yourself to be perfectly imperfect, or imperfectly perfect - your choice. :) By that I mean that you give yourself the space to be less than perfectly perfect.

It has been my observation that people who cling to being perfectly perfect and find that they can't reach a goal in exactly the way that they had planned will often totally scrap the idea the first second they stray off plan.

There is another course you can take. Straying off course was imperfectly perfect. It was imperfect because it wasn't part of the plan BUT it was perfect because it's telling you that the PLAN - NOT YOU is imperfect. It's not - as my grandmother used to say - time to throw the baby out with the bath water. It's time to take a few minutes to retool the plan.

You can set this up right from the start using what I term a "Stepped Goal" approach. This can be a great way to set up a goal where you are very confident you can reach a certain level of the goal but would like to shoot for a higher achievement level.

I'll explain more about what I mean tomorrow.

Your challenge for today is to go through the day noticing and embracing all that is perfectly imperfect or imperfectly perfect - you choice. ;)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reaching Goals: Action Plan

A goal without a plan is a wish! If you want to seal the deal and reach your goals you have to have an action plan. It doesn't have to be complicated or terribly detailed unless that feels right for you.

Think of it this way; If you were going to drive cross country you'd probably at least take a map. An action plan is like a map in that it keeps you on course and helps you avoid taking detours that would slow or derail your progress toward your goal.

I personally don't like to set action steps that last longer than a week and in some days (I'll talk about his tomorrow) only 3 or 4 days at a time. When I do this it feels like I'm setting a series of mini-goals.
I get to celebrate meeting each step of the journey to the goal I've set.

I also like my action steps to have a "what if" clause. That what if is usually reserved for a day that doesn't go as planned.

If my goals was to walk for 30 minutes three times a week I would have a "what if" clause that would allow me to walk for 10 minutes three times or walk for 10 minutes twice and do two or three sets of hoedowns that day in place of the walk. Or replace the walk with step away the inches or if you aren't a T-Tapper another walking dvd. It's my back up plan and I use it without guilt.

If your goal were to eat healthy meals and you forget your lunch you might have a backup goal that will provide 2 or three healthy choices from a local deli or cafeteria. Stick to the choices and you stay on plan.

As you are formulating your action steps be mindful of barriers that might pop up in the back of your mind and make adjustments in the steps or your goal as needed.

It's also extremely helpful to time your action steps. If you're walking three times a week mark the days on the calendar. Make an appointment with yourself and then keep it!

If you're working to improve nutrition plan meal choices out ahead. Keep a list of quick, easy, healthy meals so you can know what you'll eat before your're starving and looking at a huge gooey danish. One Mantra that serves me well is as follows; "This food is not leaving the planet today."  "If I want some tomorrow or the next day it will be here waiting for me." Repeat it mentally 9 tmes while walking in the opposite directionn of the offending food or drink. :)

My challenge to you today is to put together some action steps toward your goal. If you still didn't make a goal then by all means go back and re-read this series again.

I'll end with yet another favorite quote/mantra of mine. "Yes, You can!" - Theresa Tapp

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Smart Goals Part 2: Identifying Barriers

The worksheet I linked to yesterday calls them Obstacles. I like to think of them as Barriers. Most people don't want to think of them at all. When we set off to make changes it's natural to want to stick with the positive, which is for most of us is the outcome we're looking for.

I encourage you to examine your life and consider the things that could get in the way of reaching that outcome. It's much easier to navigate a barrier when you've already thought it out. It's also much less likely to knock you off the path to reaching your goal.

It will pay off big time to sit down when you formulate your goal and consider the top three potential barriers and come up with potential solutions. Take care not to simply "throw" a solution at an obstacle. Really think it out when choosing solutions and consider your lifestyle and the amount of time you have available on a daily basis. You may have to get a little creative. Ask yourself how sure you are that this solution will help you navigate the potential obstacle. On a scale of 1 being almost no confidence in the solution to 10 being total confidence in the solution - where are you with this solution?

If your confidence level is 7 or above you've most likely come up with a solid plan. 4-6 means you may have to tweak the solution a bit.

But, what about 1-3? An honest confidence score this low points out that you've identified a serious barrier. You may want to go back to your goal and see if there is a way to modify it to at least partially overcome the barrier.

Let's look at an example. I'll use lack of Time because it's probably the most common barrier I hear stated.

Let's say your goal is to exercise each and every day for an hour a day. You identify time as your barrier. After careful consideration you realize that the only way you will be able to exercise for an hour would be to cut yourself short on sleep. Realistically that isn't going to work long term.

You could alter your goal to 30 minutes of exercise a day and potentially even break that 30 minutes into three 10 minute segments doing one first thing in the morning, one at lunch and one when you get home from work. Once you are successful with this you could re-evaluate and increase your time. Or you may come up with a totally different answer to the problem. The point is that this is your life, your goal, your barrier and the solution should be yours as well.

If your goal is to eat less processed food but you believe you don't have time to cook three meals a day. You might make an inital goal to simply learn about healthy eating and simple meal prep. You could make changes in one meal at a time. Again, your solution should be your solution!

The idea is to work with your goal until it fits your lifestyle well enough that you are confident in being able to reach it.

As my Grandmother used to say, "Slow and Steady wins the race."

Tomorrow: Action plan

Monday, November 26, 2012

Introduction to SMART goals

The concept of creating SMART goals is really quite simple. It gives you a template to use to create well thought out, attainable goals. You can find a great SMART Goal Worksheet PDF here.

Each letter of he word "SMART" stands for a goal setting concept.

"S" = Specific - When you set specific goals you really zero in on what it is that you want to achieve. Let's look at some examples.

1. I want to lose weight.  Great goal but it's very broad.

2. I need to exercise more. A common goal but again quite broad.

3. I need to get control of my stress level. You could get stressed out just trying to figure out how to achieve that goal.

The PDF I linked to has a great suggestion. To create a specific goal think about the "W" questions.
Who? What? Where? When? and Why?

"M" = Measurable - How will you measure your success toward this goal? For instance if your goal is exercise, how often will you exercise? How long will you spend during each session? What type of exercise will you do?

"A" = Attainable - You want to set goals that matter to you. How successful do you think you'll be if you set a goal to diet because you think that's the goal you "should" set but you really couldn't care less about weight loss? These are your goals. They should be important to you!

"R" = Realistic - Setting a realistic goal is not wimping out. It's actually stacking the deck in your favor. Wanting to lose 100 pounds in 2 months is the heart and soul of "Biggest Loser" but it's not realistic for most folks. It's a great long term goal but to reach it you'll need to set some short term "stepping stone" goals. You also might have to do some research to find otu exactly how much weight loss is realistic and healthy. It's ok to take the time to do your homework. Remember the "planning" stage I described when talking about Behavioral change theory?

"T" = Time Sensitive - You want to time your goals. A goal without a time limit is simply a wish. The time limit helps to get you excited about your goal and also helps you measure progress toward it. You'll want to be certain to make your time table realistic for the goal you've chosen.

One final note: It's can be exciting to make SMART goals and tempting to create more than one goal. I wouldn't suggest working on more than 3 goals at one time. I actually think that starting with one is best. Once you reach it you can make one SMART goal plan to maintain that goal and then begin a second SMART goal that apeals to you. Less is often More when it comes to goal setting and achieving.

Your challenge for today is to think back to what you decided you wanted to change. The work on the S,M,A,R,T of turning it into an achievable goal.

Tomrrow I'll talk about Barriers and why we need to consider them.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Setting and Reaching Goals: Change Theory 2

Yesterday I talked about Pre-contemplation, Contemplation and Preparation. Today we're ready to spring into action.

Action: Congratulations! You are doing it baby!! You're working the plan. This is one of the most exciting stages because the fruits of your labor are usually quite visible. This stage can also be a bit of a mine field so it pays to avoid becoming complacent. 

It's widely accepted that writing it down, whether "it" is a goal, your calorie or food counts, or your workout for today, is a great way to add insurance that you will stick with your plan.
I'll go a step further and suggest that you also have a plan to go back and review what you've written down on a regular basis. For me, quick weekly and a more in depth monthly review works really well. This allows you to see emerging patterns and make adjustments before you risk falling off your plan.

If you take the time to journal narative versus just using check boxes you might also catch yourself feeling less than happy or even frustrated with your plan. If you see this push aside guilt and consider changing your current plan.

Maintenance: Once you've reached your goal it's time to maintain it. This stage can be a bit
less exciting. It's for this reason that I suggest thinking on terms of considering an additional but related goal at this time. If you're eating well you might consider some kind of goal around trying new recipes or foods. If you're exercising regularly you might mix up your schedule or try a new activity for fun. The one thing you want to avoid at all costs is allowing things to become stale.

Relapse: Most people don't even want to think about this stage. I have to be honest with you and tell you that ignoring it most definitely won't make it go away. When I describe the process of creating smart goals you'll actually see that thinking ahead to things that might block your progress or even derail it can definitely  be a good thing. It's insurance.

Think successful people never relapse? I don't believe that for a minute. I relapse regularly. I consider my failure to finish the Ballet Body Periodization schedule a replapse of sorts. My relapses just don't last very long because I go into them with open eyes and immediately make a new plan for success. The key is to never blame yourself but realize that it is the plan that no longer works.

Tomorrow I'll introduce the concept of smart goals and explain why I think they help stack the deck in our favor where reaching our goals is concerned.

The challenge for today is to start thinking about the life area you identified as being ripe for change. Picture what it would mean to you if you were able to make positive changes in this area. What things around this change would challenge you? How might you overcome the challenges? Loads to think about but all for a good reason. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Setting and Reaching Goals: Behavior Change Theory 1

I really like the saying, "If you want something to change, then something has to change."
I don't know who said it. I just remember reading it and thinking how very true it is.

Prochaska's theory of change can help us understand how and why we might feel we want to change but then not be able to move forward with our plan - or - begin to move forward with our plan only to fall off the wagon and not be able to get back on track.

Pre-contemplation - You really aren't considering change. You either don't see a problem or maybe you simply don't have one.

Contemplation - You're thinking about making a change. You've identified an area of potential improvement through change. You don't necessarily plan to make that change in the next month.

Preparation - You're preparing to make a change, probably within the next month. In my opinion, this is where both the greatest opportunity for success and the biggest potential pitfalls reside.

Pitfalls first: You can get stuck in this stage in what has been termed analysis paralysis. This is when you get so hung up on examining and weighing the benefits of various methods or aproaches to changing what you want to change that you never really get to the point of making the change. Sound familiar?

Another pitfall would be plunging in headlong without making SMART goals and a solid plan. This is what happens to many, many people who make New Years resolutions based upon a diet or fitness plan that they saw advertised on late night infomercial TV. It sounds good but they haven't actually stopped to think about how it's all going to work and fit into their life.

Now Opportunity for success: You think it through, you create 1-3 SMART goals that you know you can achieve. From the smart goals you create an action plan with a time table to re-evaluate your successes and fine tune the plan as needed. Sound too boring? Sound like it's all too much trouble?

Then you might just not be in the planning stage at all. It could be that you're a "Planning wanna be" who is actually in contemplation. If this is true spend some time contemplating (pun intended) the pros and cons of the change you want to make and considering your level of committment to the change and what it would mean to your life.

Tomorrow I'll talk about the Action, Maintenance and Relapse stages and why those people who have lost weight and kept it off forever and/or who have been exercising regularly for years and years and years may not be as perfect as you think. Also, why perfection or the lack there of really doesn't matter.

My challenge to you is the think about your life and what areas you might wish to change. If you identify more than one think about whether or not they are connected. Then think about what area you would most, and I do mean most, like to make changes. Then try to picture what those changes would look like.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thought For The Weekend: Goal Setting

"Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement." - Brian Tracy

I've been thinking about goals for two reasons. First because I changed mine and second because I achieved the goal of a 4 day T-Tapp boot camp this morning.

I'll be talking more about goals in the coming days, specifically about the concept of "SMART" goals and also about the Behavioral Change Theory.

My challenge to you is to think about the last goal you set. How did you go about setting it? Did you reach it? If yes, excellent! If no, what got in your way?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
- Melodie Beattie

My challenge to you is to find a few quiet moments to truly consider what you are grateful for. Then sit and enjoy the feeling that springs from true gratitude.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Now THAT was a workout!

First off all sorry that my blog seems a bit off with time. I usually write ahead and bumped a few posts forward and things are a little jumbled.

Last night I decided I wouldn't wait until the new T-Tapp dvds I ordered came in to do a full body T-Tapp workout. I've said it before and will say it again, T-Tapp to Tempo is my all time favorite workout! I'm  not even sure it's available for sale anymore. I have the original VHS version of it and a flea bitten dvd copy I made so that the tape would last longer.

I had THE best workout. It was challenging but I held my own. I exercise in bare feet on a firm yoga mat. The mat puts a bit of extra wobble in my bobble during balance sequence but that's just going help build strength so I don't care.

One of the things I value about T-Tapp is the fact that it has a great stress relieving benefit. I slept so well last night. Didn't wake up even once.

T-Tapp also improves assimilation. One workout and I could tell the difference.

Last night's workout was so soul satisfying that I decided to repeat it tonight after the dogs and I had our even run/walk session.

I'm glad I've been working on restructuring my posture. I could definitely feel lunges, airplanes and a few other movements differently and more deeply than in the past. All good stuff!

Coming in to edit to add that I always notice that T-Tapp muscle awareness AKA soreness is deeper and more integrated than other workout methods. With more traditional methods and even ballet type workouts I am sore in a targeted area. With T-Tapp the soreness is mild and more spread out and what I would characterize as functional soreness. It lets me know I accomplished something for the time I put in.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Changing the Plan

I was teaching the stages of behavioral change and talking about SMART goals to my patients today. We got to the part where we talk about what to do if you realize that your plan is no longer a good fit and I had a light bulb moment.

I've been so intent with finishing the Ballet Body Periodization Schedule that I've been ignoring the fact that it really isn't a good fit anymore. In fact, the fit is only going to get worse once it jumps to 4 workouts a week. So I've decided to afford myself the same self kindness I tell my patients and clients to afford themselves. I'm changing the plan.

I've been craving a T-Tapp full body workout in the worse way and that's what I'm going to do! I might even string a few together into a bootcamp of sorts. I'm going to give myself a day or so to ponder it and then move forward with my new and improved plan. I'm re-energized and excited about exercise again and can't wait to begin.

I don't plan to totally abandon the Ballet Body workouts and downloads. I'll consider mixing them into my schedule but NO hour and a half killer sessions and no more workouts that leave me cross and wanting to swear like a sailor. That kind of workout schedule will only tend to inflame my body with will lead to a stress response. I'm actually quite lucky that my body has been tolerating it up to this point. It's a sign that my body is more balanced and stronger and more stress resistance but I don't want to push my luck.

I've decided to follow my own advice.

So for now I want to concentrate on getting back to T-Tapp full workouts.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Ballet Body PS1 Weeks 13-15 WO 1

This is a full body workout that clocks in at an hour and 12 minutes. This workout is part of the second month of strength workouts. It felt different than the workouts from the first month of strength because it wasn't strictly linear. There were twisting type movements while you were performing weight bearing exercises. One movement in particular was downright circus-like. :0) That doesn't read right even as I type it but once you do the workout you'll know what I mean.

I'm actually shocked that it's week 13 and I'm still doing these workouts. I can't say that I look forward to them. I can't say that I enjoy them. I do know that they have strengthened my upper body weight bearing ability. They've also made it much easier to do passive range of motion on clients while doing massage therapy. That helps me prevent injury.

I'll write up a few more of my thoughts if I do this one again.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Power Pose Baby!

I know that I feel more positive when I stand in good alignment but I've never seen the connection between posture and who we are explained in such a dynamic way. Power Pose Baby! Giving credit where it's due. I originally saw this on my facebook feed. I believe that TT trainer Renee posted the link.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ballet Body: Reached the midpoint of the schedule

I'm a little surprised at how underwhelmed I feel at having hit the mid-point of the Ballet Body Periodization Schedule. That could be because I just realized that there are THREE more months of this lunacy ahead if I want to finish!

 It's kind of lonely to do a system like this after all the hoorarah of its release has come and gone. I remember in year 2011 it was plastered all over the videofitness site. Now you rarely hear of anyone even attempting it. So I went over to the video fitness site and did a search on this periodization schedule.

It made me feel better to read others saying and thinking the same things that I've been thinking and writing as far as the schedule is concerned. People started the schedule with excitement but soon the repetitive nature of the workouts and the sheer length of them started to be too much for people and they either modified or eventually dropped out of the check ins.

Also if you are drawn to the system because of the mental image that the name stirs up think again. The exercises and the fact that they hit the body from so many angles are designed to develop a long lean look. But think about Ballerinas. They are rail thin and maintain unhealthy BMIs. (I know, I used to be one.) If you finish the schedule and get your body fat to that low level you will no doubt have a Ballet Body to strut around in. If you have anything approaching a normal bodyfat level all that sleek leaness will be buried deep enough to be but a figment of your imagination.

All that said, I'm not a quitter. I've trained for marathons and followed other training programs that were as long as this one but I've never wanted to quit one so badly at the midpoint. You're probably sick of reading that and if you are JUST STOP READING! LOL To be honest, I'm sick of thinking it.

I guess I just keep thinking that any workout now I'll adapt to the torture and suddenly start enjoying repeating the same movement in slightly variations for endless reps. So far it hasn't happened.

Coming in to add to this. I should probably always give myself a cooling off period before I write up a BB workout. LOL! Reading my own reviews after the fact tends to be interesting and amusing. But then I guess I'm easily amused. To be fair, I did see a slimming effect from these exercises so my above statement was not sour grapes. I stand by it and challenge you to find a person who has finished these schedules who says that these exercises made them buff. Check out the success pics on the website. These workouts will give you lean strength but not buffness. Well at least not unless you are willing to diet down to less than 10% bodyfat. Do I have any takers? :)


Friday, November 16, 2012

Thought for the Weekend

"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
- Antonio Smith

Last few minutes of the sunset from our porch

After a busy day at work I rushed home (honoring all speed limits of course:) before it got too dark to take Hutch and Reilly for their walk. As usual they were waiting at the door. I said hello and raced upstairs to throw my hiking boots on. They were so excited about the walk that they lifted their short little legs to help me get them into their harnesses and off we went.

I'm usually hungry and tired when I get home after a long day but I never feel put out to walk "my" boys. It's a special time we share. Tonight it was all the more special. As we turned out of the driveway the sky was turning the most beautiful shades of pink.

I was able to watch the sky darken from pink to deep reds as we walked and as we turned back down the driveway to return home the sun was in the last minutes of setting. Of course I didn't have a camera or phone with me as we walked. I ended up grabbing the camera and snapping the above picture right before the sun set.

Then it was back inside to make dinner, eat and do the evening chores and study for a while before bed. The evening felt different though for having experienced that magical 30 minutes where we were able to take part in the light show put on by the Autumn sun.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Eating Well Videos

I've mentioned this website before and also mentioned Dr. Ann's books. Her website also has some wonderful videos on eating well. Eating well is one way to decrease your risks if you have metabolic syndrome or a family history of heart disease or diabetes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Metabolic Syndrome

Sounds rather ominous doesn't it? That's because it is! It raises health risks significantly. Luckily it can be treated with lifestyle change. You can find more information here.

Information from the American Heart Association

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Huge Thank You

To Veterans!

"We often take for granted the things that most deserve our gratitide." - Cynthia Ozick

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ballet Body PS1 Recovery Week 12

HMMMM! If I had to sum up how this workout made me feel in two words I'd say; Accomplished and relaxed.

There were repetitive parts that drove me a bit crazy but there were parts I actually enjoyed. The abs/core section was especially enjoyable even while being quite challenging. I can't believe I'm going to type this but the bridge section wasn't half bad. This is probably because I felt like I could work more deeply than previously but also because it was followed by "Stretching on the Water." I could almost forgive Leah anything as long as she tacks this segment onto the end of the workout.

I can't believe that I made it this far! When I finish this week I'll have finished half of this periodization schedule. Despite the huge jump in intensity that each month seems to take I'm very tempted to continue on to the last month of strength. I guess we'll see.

For the rest of the week the schedule calls for a repeat of the workout I did tonight once more and then a day of stretching. Actually the day of stretching is supposed to be sandwiched between repeats of tonight's workout. I believe I will use Ecoscue as my stretch workout because I want to see how it feels after all this time.

Editing this to add that this is a full body workout with 15 minutes of stretching that runs 1 hour 25 minutes.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Experience Home Crafted Deep Tissue Oil

Home Crafted Deep Tissue Oil
That's what you see inside this jar.

It contains a variety of herbs and natural botanicals to decrease inflammation, reduce pain, and bring warmth to the muscles. Once it finishes soaking (about a month more) I'll strain it and add some additional ingredients, including essential oils.

The recipe was given to me by a personal mentor to whom I owe so much. Thank you Helen!

Clients will be able to experience it starting late next month.  No worries- Reed and I will quality test it on each other when we trade massage before we use it on any clients.

I've actually done a few small batch tests already to be sure that it doesn't develop too much heat. So far it's perfect!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thought For The Weekend

"One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure." - William Feather
This saying makes me think about very small children and how they approach life. Everything is an adventure! If I think back and can even feel how that sense of adventure felt when I was a small child.

It's fairly easy to drum up a sense of adventure for the "happy" events in our lives. Feeling that same sense of adventure can be a bit more difficult for the less exciting events that life deals us. Practice does indeed make - if not perfect - makes for improvement.

I see many people approach healthy lifestyle change as something that sucks the pleasure out of life. This is usually a recipe for self defeat. By drumming up a sense of adventure you can make healthy changes much more comfortable, easier to maintain and yes, even exciting.

Don't just plod along day to day, week to week. Instead spend a little time thinking about what the next day or week will bring where healthy movement and eating is concerned. Will you be trying a new recipe or food? What kind of exercise will you do? Take time to take a mental snapshot of how healthy eating, exercise and stress reduction will change your life? Will you look different? Feel different? How will your life look?

Be your own cheerleader in the game we call life!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Inexpensive Facial
Please Note: Please take care when using this natural facial. Only you know how sensitive your skin is. I honestly believe that a less is more approach is usually best when trying anything new.

Another important thought just brought to my attention by Teresa Tapp. Use aluminum free baking soda! I didn't realize that arm and hammer contains aluminum. Apparently Red Mill brand doesn't. I will be checking for it and asking our co-op to carry it if they don't already. Thank you Teresa!

[sigh] Kind of wish I had never posted this facial but it has been a learning experience. :) This link states that there is no aluminum in baking soda - nice site too. I just had a chance to check the label and no where does it state that there is aluminum in my box of baking soda the way a can of aluminum containing baking powder does. However the description of how Arm and Hammer makes its baking soda from the site I linked to is enough to make me shy from using it on my face again. So Arm and Hammer for cleaning Red Mill for personal use! All that said, the facial listed below does leave your skin feeling wonderful.

1. Begin with clean skin

2. Exfoliate - I take about a tablespoon of baking soda - yes! baking soda. I moisten it with water and gently - very gently use it to exfoliate my skin. I don't "scrub" with it but rather with almost no pressure lightly swirl it around while avoiding my eye area.

3. Rinse well
4. Honey up - I use about a tablespoon or maybe a bit less of high quality honey. I spread it over my face again avoiding my eye area. I like to leave it on for 15 minutes if I have the time.

5. Rinse well, blot dry with a soft dry wash cloth

6. I like to finish this facial by applying a few drops of high quality oil to my face. Jojoba, Maracuja, or Watts Beauty ArganGoldTM are a few of my favorites.  I linked to the argan oil because it's a value for the $$ and I've used it so I feel I can recommend it.

Once again I'll reiterate that you should take care and do a patch test if you have allergies or sensitive skin.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Benefits of Lymphatic Massage

This article talks about the benefits of lymphatic massage. If you are not into massage with extremely light pressure I will tell you that Swedish massage also moves a tremendous amount of lymph.

That's one of the reasons I like to "sandwich" deep tissue and other specialty forms of massage between Swedish strokes. The Swedish strokes warm the muscles and begin to soften them before the specialty massage strokes. After the specialty massage strokes Swedish can help flush the area with healing blood and also refresh the lymph in the area.

It can be difficult to do this with Myofascial massage because you really don't want a lot of glide for these types of strokes so I usually reserve the oil and the Swedish strokes for after myofascial work.

This is also one of the reasons I insist upon genuine 100% Jojoba oil, to which I add my own essential oils. Depending upon how much jojoba I use I can create huge variety in the amount of glide I achieve.

It's also important to note that many of the benefits listed in the article can be obtained through lymph pumping exercise. The "tapping" exercises I outline under the "New or returning to exercise" label can depuff swollen ankles depending upon the reason for the puff. (If one or both of your ankles suddenly swell it is a definite reason for a call to your doctor.)

T-Tapp and walking are hands down the best exercises to pump lymph. I say this about T-Tapp because it is designed to sequentially pump lymph.

Skin brushing also helps move lymph.

When you use massage, lymph pumping exercise and skin brushing together you can't help but feel a difference in your energy level and how healthy you feel!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Where'd You Get That Cute Little Dog?

Hutch with Reilly when he was just a pup
Yep, that's the second most common question we hear about our two Connemara JRTs, Hutch and Reilly.

First some background. You just knew there would be background, right? I searched long and hard and followed more than a few websites when I began looking for the "perfect" JRT puppy.

I can in all honesty say that I feel blessed to have found Sheila's website.  Before finding her site I never knew about Connemara Terriers. I also didn't know how very much I didn't know about JRTs, breeders, and picking the perfect puppy. I literally spent almost a year reading every word upon the site and soaking up all the wonderful information the site contains. Even if you are not in the market for a JRT I can't recommend the site enough.

When I finally introduced myself to Sheila via email I told her that she could cease to worry about having a stalker because it was only me hanging out on her site for the last year!

When we chose Hutch, Sheila gave us clear instructions on how to introduce him to Starsky in order to have them adjust as well as possible. You have only to look at the picture I posted yesterday to see that they adjusted beautifully.

Sheila helped us to choose Reilly in order to, again, insure peace and campanionship among our crew versus competition. Once again the transition was totally smooth as we followed her instructions.

When our final little Connemara pup comes into our life - yes the plan has always been to have a threesome - she will be there once again helping us to bring home the perfect pup for us.

I have never seen such an amazing combination of science and heart felt love used to bring dogs into the world. There have been rumors that Sheila will write a book outlining her breeding/training methods. I will be the first to preorder having seen the results first hand.

If you are considering a JRT you owe it to yourself to check out the Connemara Terrier. These little guys are clearly a cut above the rest and in a category all their own.

Not sure if you'll see this Sheila but if you do, thanks again from the bottom of our hearts.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What Kind of Dogs Are Those?

It's a question we hear often when we're out and about. It's usually followed by; "Where'd you get them?"

I tend to post pictures of our dogs simply because they are a huge part of our lives. Never ever a day a day passes where they fail to inject humor, love, affection and radiance.

We are no stranger to Jack Russell Terriers. We enjoyed being owned by two female American JR Terriers for close 16 and 17 years. Despite the joy there was also sadness because neither of our girls was really all that healthy. Morgan had eye and liver issues. Molly had eye and joint issues. The eye issues began at age 2 for both of them and required multiple surgeries. Morgan also had some temperament issues. She was fine with family but not with outsiders and forget introducing her to another dog!

Starsky the Alpha Pet
After they had both passed we wanted another JRT but wanted to try to find a breeder who put health and temperament above all else. At that point we had our beloved cat Starsky and having a JRT similar to Morgan and Molly would not have been possible given their temperaments. We would have simply not gotten another dog if it meant having Starsky stressed. He is - after all - the alpha pet.

We found the perfect solution first in Hutch and now in Reilly.
They are our two Connemara Jack Russell Terriers. Hutch is now headed toward 2.5 years old and Reilly is headed toward 1.5 years old and our experience with them could not be more different than that with our first JRTs. That second picture is Reilly. Hutch has a smooth AKA short coat. Reilly has a Rough AKA long coat.

These little guys are amazingly adaptable, well adjusted, easy to train and a joy to be around. Even Starsky loves them! I'm not kidding. They all can often be found together just hanging out, playing and/or chilling.

Yikes I've run on but it's hard not to when you are talking about a part of your life that you find so revitalizing. I encourage you to find something you feel every bit as passionate about. Your passion might not be pets and it might not be wellness or massage therapy. That said, I do encourage you to find and live your passion because life is just so much sweeter.

Tomorrow I'll share the answer to the second most common question we hear about our dogs.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Quite Possibly the Perfect Cardio Exercise

What am I talking about? Walking of course! It's all natural and the only requirement is a pair of shoes - unless of course you're walking barefoot and then you can skip even those.

Hutch while out walking
Walking also gives you the best ever excuse for getting a dog or two or three! We know that having a walking partner, human or canine makes you more likely to actually get out there and walk. I personally think it's harder to come up for excuses as to why you can't walk when two sets of big brown eyes great you at the front door.

Who can resist puppy eyes
begging for a walk?
A dog or two will keep you moving in pretty much all but the worse weather. For days when even the dogs don't want to be out you'll need a back-up plan. If you're lucky enough to have a treadmill you have no excuse. A rebounder can also be a great back-up plan. It's different than walking but still gets your heart rate going.

Finally, there are walking DVDs available. Leslie Sansone is probably best known for walking workouts. I'd tell you that they are quite good but you want to be careful of your alignment. On some of her DVDs the form shown isn't the very best. Walking with poor form can actually be counter productive. Don't take that as a reason not to walk! Just straighten up and walk right when you walk! The postural exercises listed under the "new to exercise" link can help you get a feel for that.

Teresa Tapp also has a walking DVD that can help reverse postural distortion while walking in your living room. Walking with better posture will give your lungs more room to function and over time make you a more efficient walker. You can purchase this dvd HERE.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thought For The Weekend

"Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver." - Barbara De Angelis

This quote reminds me of how, we as a nation tend to pull together to help one another out when times are tough. Funds spring up and cash flows - hopefully to those who need it.

What if that spirit of helping one another was always present? What if it didn't take a disaster to pull that spirit together? What a different world it would be.

It further reminds me that kindness we show ourselves is not wasted. It's a self blessing. My challenge for this weekend? Do something kind for someone else. Perform an act of self kindness. Could become addicting!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Skin Brushing Revisited

When I wrote about Skin Brushing AKA Dry Brushing before I didn't realize that this video existed. Now that I've found it I decided to post it.

Teresa Tapp Talks about skin Brushing

Can't begin to tell you how soft and velvety this will make your skin. Give it a try!