Monday, December 31, 2012

Meet Fionna and Fionn

I'm sorry that I have fallen off my normal post a day schedule. It's been for good reason. First off all I've been on vacation and enjoyed actually being truly "off" of everything for a few days.

Secondly and most importantly we finished our Connemara Terrier family with the addition of two puppies, Fionna and Fionn.

I've been trying to take some pictures but have mostly just enjoyed getting to know them and watching Hutch and Reilly get to know them.

Fionna is much tinier than these pictures would have you believe. She will be smooth coated and bigger boned like Hutch.

She's already showing signs of being like him in her love of running and being chased. They were just having a bout of you chase me and then I'll chase you a few minutes ago.

Sheila said she was the smartest pup of the litter and we are believing it! When her first attempt at winning Hutch over didn't work she totally changed her approach and darn if she didn't figure him out and win him over.  She's still working on Reilly, who is a tougher sell. It's been fun watching her change how she approaches him. When one approach doesn't work she moves onto the next. She's got him to the point where he rarely barks or growls at her and is happy to follow her around watching her antics.

And here you have Fionn (pronounced Finn). He often ends up being called Fionn MacCool - simply because it fits. Fionn is from a different litter than Fionna and is about 8 days younger than her.

When you first watch Fionn interact with his environment he appears to be totally laid back but it's a bit of an illusion.

Fionn is crazy like a fox. He'll take the path of least resistance if it will get him what he wants.

He's been working on his relationship with Hutch and Reilly too but is willing to let Fionna forge a path if it's going to be an easier means to an end.

Fionn will be rough coated like Reilly. We didn't plan on having two pups with two complimentary coats. It just worked out that way. At first glance this entire 4 dog thing may look as though it wasn't well thought out. Rest assured it was.

Oh and Starsky? He's very present and has been watching the interaction between grown dogs and pups. He's had a few interactions with the pups - all friendly and tolerant. The fun will begin when he decides to insert himself into the games - and he will but on his own schedule.

For now I have to go. Hutch has just instigated a game of chase and both pups and Reilly have joined in and this is just too darn good to miss!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Free Kindle Goal Setting Book

I get a daily list of  Kindle books available free of charge. Some remain free for a few days while with others it's truly a one day deal. Today I found THIS book on goal setting.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Nothing like a Christmas morning walk through the fresh snow. Hutch and Reilly were totally in their element. We're all excited because we will be adding to and finishing our little Connemara Terrier family. I'll post pictures once I'm able to.

In the meantime I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and leave you with a cute animal pic. This is Starsky and Reilly napping together - though Starsky woke up when I shot the pic.

I think that Starsky believes that Reilly is part cat. Starsky has taught Reilly to clean his feet. It's quite comical to watch a dog lick his feet clean and groom the fur like a cat does. I will say that Reilly's feet have never looked so good as they have since he learned this trick.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Body Sense Magazine - Winter 2012

Body Sense Magazine -Winter 2012 is available to read online. Articles include, How Massage Therapy Works, Tips for the new year, pathway to healthy skin and more. Click on this link to open it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Reilly Singing for his supper

Reilly is our younger Jack Russell Connemara Terrier. He is the most vocal dog I've ever seen and has been since he was just a small pup.

This is a clip of Reilly telling us that he feels that it's time for his evening meal even though it was a good 15 minutes before the regular time that we feed he and Hutch.

He starts out giving us quite a lecture. Then he is told to quiet down and is given the hand signal to sit and he does but then his big brother Hutch decides to take matters into his own paws and quiet Reilly in a more hands 'er I guess that's snout on manner. No worries about Hutch's rather unorthodox way of quieting Reilly. Reilly is used to it Sorry for the quiet sound. I was using the movie function on my camera and it's not all that great.

Here's another picture of the imp himself. He looks all sweet and innocent you'd never know he was such a bossy little thing.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

You've probably already seen this article.

I wanted to make note of the fact that being kind to others is the gift that gives back to us in amazing ways. It can be as simple as being courteous in a holiday shopping sale packed store or pulling a cart out and giving it to the person behind you before you take your own cart. Or making small talk with the person in front or behind you in a long holiday line. Or sincerely thanking the check out clerk and wishing them a happy holiday. This also acts as a simple but beneficial stress reliever for both you and the person you interact with.

We're social beings and are meant to interact socially but it seems that our society is increasingly set up to avoid that rather than promote it. That doesn't mean however that we can't buck the trend and interact with our fellow Earthlings. :)

Your challenge today is to do a RAOK and interact with another Earthling. You might start with the members of your own household.  It will elevate the entire feel of the household and flush your space with the most pure feel good vibes you've ever experienced.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice Is Here

In a couple short hours the winter solstice will arrive. If your response to that statement is "So what" you  most likely do not live in the cold, northern part of our country - or your country - or the world.
For me personally, the solstice marks the arrival of colder - usually much colder - weather, a blanket of deep snow covering the ground and later in January and February some of the most beautiful clear blue skys of the entire year. Yes, the sun is returning and we've made it through the darkest part of the cold long winter. If that's not something to celebrate I don't know what is.

You can find some winter solistice myths HERE.

Today's challenge is to find a few minutes to simply watch the play of natural light on the surfaces around you. Doing so can be a form of meditation and a wonderful stress reliever.

Thought For The Weekend

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." - William James

At first read this quote reads like it refers to making a difference in life or at work but a second look and it seems more personal.

If you don't think that taking care of your mind, body and spirit is going to make a difference - well then it won't. In the past year I've discovered  that we do truly have the power to reshape our destiny - for the good or the not so good. We have only to recognise the power within us and begin to believe in ourselves. Once we do that, the rest will follow.

Your challenge for today is to think about any goals you may have even if you didn't go through all the goal setting steps I outlined in past posts. Do your actions speak to your belief that you can reach your goals? Do you speak and act like the person you intend to be? If not, how might you realign your actions and deeds to make them mirror your goals?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Caffeine and Junk Food??

As if energy drinks aren't bad enough, now food manufacturers are adding caffeine to snack foods.
This CPSI article speaks to this practice. If junk food is bad junk food on speed can only be worse.

Joel Fuhrman has some interesting things to say about caffeine and cravings. He goes into a bit more detail in his book Eat To Live but I don't have time to quote extensively this morning. What he says makes sense in light of the concept of withdrawal. How sad is it that the food that most of us eat is such that we end up in withdrawal after eating it?


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ending Food Cravings

Yesterday I put up links concerning processed foods and how they are designed to make us want to eat more and more of them. Well what if you still have food cravings or just cravings to eat and you aren't eating any processed foods?

First off I have to say that I've experienced both food cravings AND that "I want to eat but don't know what I'm hungry for but I really want to eat right now." feeling in the past. When the first hit it would usually be a craving for something sweet. In the case of the second, I would not be hungry but would still feel like I needed to eat. Often both were tied to poor sleep habits. When I improved my sleep habits the cravings fell away.

If you follow THIS LINK you'll be able to read a brief blog post by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He believes that with nutritional excellence we can not only irradicate cravings but also most if not all disease. Sound a little far fetched? Well, I can only tell you that he has people who follow his eating prescription who have made amazing health changes. I'll be reviewing at least one if not more of his books soon. I've had personal experience with his way of eating and while it wasn't the be all, end all for me, it did substantially lower my inflammation levels. To this day I continue using the concepts that work for me.

Follow THIS LINK and you'll find a brief article surrounding the idea of hormone inbalance fueling food cravings.

It's all food for thought but in the end, using my own personal experience I'd tell you to look at your sleep - or lack of sleep - patterns and also your hydration status before you start looking at hormones or supplements. Sometimes the cause of our misery is hiding in plain sight.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Addicted to Food?

Yesterday I talked about how frightening it can be to change the way we eat. Today I want to touch on the subject of why it may be do darn difficult to decide to make dietary changes and then stick with them.

It may seem natural to blame the person who doesn't desire dietary change or who isn't able to make the changes or possibly makes them but can't make them stick. Many consider them weak willed. I have to ask myself if it's possibly that upwards toward 70% of Americans have no will power. Sorry, I just can't buy that.

Personally, I think that it's really a multidimensional problem. The social aspect of food in our society has been pointed to in the past yet many European countries are steeped with food centered traditions and they aren't as heavy as we are. We've been told that we don't move enough and yes, that's part of the problem but remember the three legged stool I spoke of in my last post?

Turns out that we might just be addicted to processed foods. Yes, I said addicted. Dr. Mark Hyman describes this eloquently on his website. 

This article on the Daily Beast speaks about some of the studies and the groups who are studying this theory.

Finally this article talks about how processed food manufacturers go about making their foods more addictive as covered in a 60 minutes segment. It also provides video footage of the segment. If you do nothing more with all today's links check out this 14 minutes of video footage.

It's important to note that food manufacturers aren't trying to kill us - how much sense would that make? They are however aiming to keep us coming back for more and more of their food.

It's also important to realize that the bottom line of food manufacturers is THEIR bottom line and if making your bottom bigger is what it takes to make a profit - well, you can figure out where that one goes.

Lastly it's important to realize that the labels put on processed food are NOT designed to guide you toward healthier life. They are designed solely to entice you to buy and consume. "Junk Health Food" is just junk food dressed up for Halloween.

My challenge for you is to think about what you eat. What foods are sitting in your pantry and fridge? How many could actually pass for totally unprocessed foods? On a daily basis how many foods do you eat that do not require a food label? Observe your response to what you eat today and see how satisfied your food leaves you. How many hours pass before you want to eat again?

Tons of food for thought today but no worries - it's calorie free - honest - no label required.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Metabolic Syndrome: Are you afraid to change what you eat?

First off, I have to say that I hate the word "diet." It conjures up a life of deprivation and lack, hunger and big hollow eyes staring through the window of the pastry shop. We need to drop the word diet from our vocabulary.

For most people the need to change how they eat is one of the most frightening prospects they can face. Some won't even read this blog post because it frightens them so much.

Talk to many people about dietary changes or the need to change their diet and they will immediately give you a list of reasons why they can't change what they eat.

  • Oh, I wouldn't couldn't possibly make two dinners and my family would never eat healthy food.  - OK so you should die so that your family can eat their junk and slowly commit suicide by processed food too? Seriously, this doesn't have to be all or nothing. It's possibly to make slow but steady changes that will move both you and your family happily to healthier eating. A dietitian can be just the person to help you do this.
  • I just want to be normal. I want to be able to eat the foods I love. First you have to realize that the picture of normal is a person with multiple health issues, on multiple medications, who is overweight, under exercised and chronically inflamed. Wait! Weren't those the very things you wanted to change?
  • Eating healthy food is too expensive. HMMM So a bypass or needles, test strips and insulin are cheaper? Have you seen your insurance deductible lately?
  • I already eat healthy. This may well be true but something is driving your inflammation and finding out if it is what you eat will move you in the right direction to fixing it. If you are afraid to assess how healthy your diet is, you are probably eating some things that are fueling your inflammatory response.
  • I'm just going to exercise and lose the weight. I don't want to discourage you from exercising but I'll also share one of my favorite sayings. "You can't outrun what you can eat." In otherwords, long lasting weight loss and health benefits are unlikely with exercise alone. (see the three legged stool below)
  • Wow! I can't believe the weather this month.... That was the subject being changed by someone not even willing to go there.
For every one of the above statements there are a bunch more I could share but I'm not going to because those are all limiting ideas and if you want to use what you eat as an ally in the battle against Metabolic Syndrome you need to stay positive and think expansives. This is a journey very much like your journey to wellness was a journey. You have contol of what you change and how quickly you change.

You also want to remember that foods that are driving your Metabolic Syndrome but that you also love are not leaving the planet this minute. They will be there waiting so it's ok to put them on hold indefinitely. It might surprise you how little pull they have once you are nutritionally saited and in a well rested state.

Wait stop! What was that about a well rested state? Yes, you need to be getting enough sleep. In all honesty, if you are not waking without an alarm clock, or at least waking easily with one,  you probably aren't ready to any huge diet changes. Your fatigue will drive you to overeat and make you less than successful. What if you can't sleep?  More on that later.

Rest, healthy eating, and sane exercise are like a three legged stool. Take away one and it's going to be tougher to overcome your metabolic syndrome.

My challenge to you today is to think about how rested you feel. Do you either wake easily to your alarm clock without any fatigue or wake before it goes off? Do you tend to "need" a cup of tea or coffee to get through the afternoon or worse yet run on a stream of the stuff? Do you feel the need to graze all day or eat sweet gooie treats or bread, potatoes or other simple carbs several times a day? Do you become a snack monster in the evening, with cravings you can't satisfy. Do you have cravings in which you want to eat but really don't know what you want to eat - something is just missing?

Any of the above could point to poor rest habits. Go to the search function of the blog. Plug in the word sleep and read any of the previous blog posts and the articles they link to for more information.

Oh - and me? At my most inflamed I did suffer from sleeplessness after waking. Now? I woke up this morning at 3:54 am feeling rested - no alarm clock. It's made a huge difference in wanting to eat between meals, cravings and all the things I wrote about above. 


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Can You Get Off the Floor Without Using Your Hands?

If so you may lived longer than someone who can't. A study found that people who can't are more likely to die than those who can. THIS ARTICLE outlines the study. (Thanks to the person who posted this on VF.)

Getting down was no problem. I was also able to get up quickly without hands and knees - PHEW! But I did use my core to create momentum which then helped me to rock up. Not sure if that's cheating, especially since I used my brain to figure out how I'd have to move to do it before I actually tried it using my body.

Your challenge for the day is to check it out and see where you are with this one.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thought For The Weekend

"The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment; it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone." - Orison Sweet Marden

A favorite selenite heart,
worry stone and bloodstone marble
This quote brings me back to my never ending quest for the answer to the question; "What do you want your life to look like?"

The answer is inside. We have only to stay quiet enough for long enough to allow it to be heard.

The challenge for the day is to ask yourself the question and then make an effort to be still enough to hear the answer. This sounds simple but it's actually a very tough challenge.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Metabolic Syndrome, Menopause, and the Metabolic Bump

I have a family history of Metabolic Syndrome. At one point in my life my cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar were all higher than they should have been. Not scary life threateningly high but high enough to damage my body if left in that range.

I've been able to control those numbers with diet and exercise for about 20 years - until I hit a certain age. At that point it felt like the hill got steeper, the fight because tougher, what was simple became more complicated. Sound familiar anyone?

I tried to find a really good article to link to and there isn't really much out there. This brief article sums it up. For years, we women have known that the playing field seems to change as our hormones change. There are finally some studies being done to find out exactly why this is. If you like lengthy and technical THIS PDF is packed with info.

Metabolic Syndrome can successfully be treated with lifestyle change. I'm living proof. I believe that post menopausal Metabolic Syndrome can be treated as successfully as it is when we're younger. I just think we have to be smarter, and more committed as we age. That's because there seems to be - and I speak only from experience here - a kind of inertia - a metabolic bump if you will - that we need to overcome before we see the changes that herald improved metabolic function.

That bump seems to be there for those who are overweight and have Metabolic Syndrome. It seems to be a bigger bump for post menopausal women - or maybe it only feels that way. :) HMMM maybe we're trading baby bumps for metabolic bumps.

Up next: Some ideas on what we can do to make the bump easier to climb up and over.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

NAFLD: A Not so Benign Complication of Metabolic Syndrome

What in the world does NAFLD stand for? It stands for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and you can read more about it HERE. When I sent yesterday's blog post out I stated that Metabolic Syndrome is more than just a belly that won't go away.

As the article states, most people know that drug and alcohol abuse can damage the liver. What most of us don't know is that what I view as "Lifestyle Abuse" AKA poor food choices, too many calories and lack of activity can also damage the liver. I sadly, have heard of people who have not yet reached their middle years being diagnosed with fatty liver.

The bottom line is that our Standard American Diet and lack of daily activity are slowly but surely killing us and this is another form of proof. The article doesn't say a lot about activity but getting more active is one of the "prescriptions" for reversing insulin resistance, which is a hallmark of Metabolic Syndrome. This is why I mention it.

Do note that the article mentions that an early symptom of NAFLD is weight loss. Early symptoms, as with other inflammatory driven health issues, are rare.

You might be wondering why I'm connecting this problem to Metabolic Syndrome when the article doesn't. Truthfully they may be more like parallel playmates than big and little sisters. The bottom line  however is that they are both firmly rooted in lifestyle choices - choices we can control.

There's more info about Metabolic Syndrome in THIS blog post.

Your challenge for today is to think about your choices. Are you aware of them or do you sort of roll with the "same old same old." If so, why do you think that is?


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome Connection

This article contains a quick succinct description of Metabolic Syndrome while discussing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. You can scroll down to read it. If you want more info on Metabolic Syndrome you can reference the link in THIS previous blog post on the subject.

You'll note both Metabolic Syndrome and PCOS are titled as "syndromes."  A Syndrome is considered a condition which is consistently seen with an associated group of symptoms.

Metabolic Syndrome can be easily overlooked because many of the "symptoms" can be treated with medication and brought down to normal levels. This includes high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It's important to bring these numbers to norm or near norm for risk reduction BUT I do wonder if doing so does anything to quiet the inflammation that is driving the Metabolic Syndrome to begin with. After all, these drugs don't work primarily through the lowering of inflammation. Also they don't reverse the increase to abdominal size that is the most visible sign of the syndrome.

My thoughts, as always center around the natural treatment for Metabolic Syndrome. Healthy Eating for an anti-inflammatory effect, exercise that won't further drive inflammation and stress reduction. Please note I'm talking about stress reduction known to have a physical effect on the body rather than throwing a stress ball at the problem. More about that later.

My challenge to you today is to check out the article and the previous one as well if you're so inclined and note whether or not you fit the pattern.

Next up a very serious complication of Metabolic Syndrome (as if PCOS isn't serious enough) that I believe shows just how damaging this syndrome is to our health and our bodies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Restless Leg Syndrome and Sleep: This can really help!

Or I guess that would be lack of sleep. If you suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome you don't need an explanation of what the syndrome feels like. If you sleep in the same bed as someone with RLS you probably understand how it impacts their sleep cycle because its most likely impacting yours too!

THIS article talks about how massage therapy can impact Restless Leg Syndrome as well as other sleep disorders. But that's not what I most want to tell you. My clients with RLS have been greatly benefitting from the toe tap exercises I blogged about in 5/11. You can find those exercises HERE.

I'm sorry that my description isn't more clear. I do hope to get a short video or pictures up at some point. Even done inperfectly these exercises do help improve circulation in the lower legs. I had a patient who had  improved vascular studies to prove it. I also have had multiple patients and clients who reported that their restless leg syndrome improves after doing these exercises consistently.

They sound and look simple but really do work.  They can also benefit anyone who runs, hikes, plays basketball or performs any other activity where lower leg endurance is beneficial. The best part is that they can be performed any time you find yourself seated.

My challenge to you is to give them a try for 3-5 minutes and see how they feel.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Empty Liquid Calories

This article talks about the fact that calories from our favorite alcoholic beverages are just as empty as sweetened drinks and sodas.

At this point we've heard that a glass of red wine each day can be good for us but during the holidays we often drink other types of alcohol and potentially in greater quantity. An easy way to slow down is to first of all arrive to the dinner or party hydrated. Drink a couple of glasses of water before. Enjoy water either with or instead of your appetizer at dinner. Then have a glass of water (fresh or bubbly) to sip on between drinks - if you're having more than one drink.

You can also use the hoe down trick I mentioned in another post concerning holiday treats. Hoe downs will help burn off carbs and thus calories. You can find that post here.

The problem with excess carbs and calories can come in if you're extremely insulin resistant. Insulin resistance and the inertia it can create when we're trying to lose weight is something I'll talk about in future posts.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sleep Hygiene: It's more than a shower and clean PJs

I've mentioned before how important I'm finding adequate sleep since being in recovery mode. For most women getting to sleep and staying asleep becomes more of an issue as we age. There is now the belief that sleep deprivation can drive weight gain and the inflammatory process. Sleep hygiene, which includes a bedroom that feels like an oasis of rest can help tremendously.

Yesterday I put on our "winter bedding." This includes an animal friendly "sheepskin" mattress pad, soft, lofty fleece sheets and pillow cases and a warm cuddly fleece comforter. All are in shades of cream and taupe and so are as restful to the eyes as they are to the body. As I drifted off to sleep last night I was thinking that "this must be what it feels like to sleep in a cloud."

High quality bedding that is appropriate for the season is an investment but it's an investment that pays off big time.

I can't tell you what a difference good sleep hygiene can make in your life. You can access a PDF on the concept of sleep hygiene HERE.  You can find a printable sleep diary HERE.

Your challenge today is to take a good look at your sleep environment. What could you do to create more of an oasis of rest? Sweet Dreams!


Saturday, December 8, 2012

T-Tapp With Other Exercise Rotation

This blog gets quite a few hits from people searching for how to mix T-Tapp with other types of exercse. For that reason I decided to post an older rotation I had created that mixes the T-Tapp Tempo Parts dvds with Fluidity barre, yoga AND optional cardio.
This is a very full schedule and I wouldn't recommend it for long term. That's not simply because of total length of the workout but also because you're sending you mind and body in a lot of different directions. Short term that can be exilarating - long term it can be exhausting.
T-Tapp, Fluidity, Yoga, Rotation

with Cardio Option

Day 1: A.M.: T-Tapp to Tempo Arms, your choice of 30 minutes of cardio
P.M: Restore your mind and body with your choice of Yoga 20-30 minutes

Day 3: A.M.: Fluidity Barre – your choice
P.M.: Restore your mind and body with your choice of Yoga 20-30 minutes
Day 4: A.M.: T-Tapp to Tempo Torso, your choice of 30 minutes of cardio
P.M.: Restore your mind and body with your choice of Yoga 20-30 minutes
Day 5: A.M.: Fluidity Barre – your choice
P.M.: Restore your mind and body with your choice of Yoga 20-30 minutes
Day 6: A.M.: T-Tapp to Tempo Lower body, NO Cardio today
P.M.: Restore your mind and body with your choice of Yoga 20-30 minutes
Day 6: A.M.: Fluidity Barre, your choice of 30 minutes of cardio
P.M.: Restore your mind and body with your choice of Yoga 20-30 minutes
Day 7: Primary back stretch and optional 20-30 minutes of restorative yoga
Additional notes/options:

1. Cardio: walking, running, Step away the inches or other walking tapes, cardio coach, short step tapes, machine cardio – you name it and you can use it but try to remember your linear alignment - ribs up too. You may also opt to simply throw on some music while you're cleaning and dance as you clean.

2. Fluidity: Work at the level you’re most comfortable at. You may also sub in other barre workouts such as Lotte Berk, Calanetics, iBallet, etc. Note: when you are told to put your weight into the center during fluidity DO NOT allow your instep to collapse and your knee to roll inward.

3. Yoga: Restorative in nature. A set or two from an Ana and Ravi Kundalini DVD works really well. A set or two from Cyndi Lee’s audio practices work well. A short Yin practice is also great. One of the shorter sets from Barbara Benagh’s Stress reduction DVD is another great choice. A shorter practice from JJ Gormley’s Yoga for Every Body DVD is yet another option. Trust me when I say that this isn’t the time for power yoga. You want to calm the body, decrease the stress response, encourage restful sleep and encourage the body to rebuild stronger and leaner.

Above all have fun!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thought for the Weekend: Once there was a little old ant

"Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it." - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
This can be a hard one to read and believe if you're struggling to make changes in your life, or work or even if you just have so much going on that you find it hard to keep it all straight let alone moving in a forward direction.

Two things usually pull me out of a mental spin. First, I stop and determine whether or not I'm being true to myself and my path and if not I get myself right. Second I stop to remember that I'm not the biggest fish in the sea and take time to reconnect with the power greater than myself.

Reaching out and making that connection on a daily basis keeps me grounded and sane when things are so crazy that I'd swear the Earth had tilted totally sideways on its axis and had stopped spinning around the sun.  

How, you might wonder do I get myself right when I determine I'm off course? This is a two parter as well.

In reconnecting with the divine I ask for guidance and then stay open enough to see it when it shows up in my life. That means unraveling stress and allowing myself to trust that the answer will show up and when it does it will be the right answer.

Then, and you're going to laugh at this one, I usually go back to goal setting and planning. Sorry that's so mundane. But it can be grounding when you're feeling life spin out of control.

Wow!  I just gave you a sneak peek into an area of my life I usually keep ultra private. I'm tempted to delete but since it made its way onto the page I'll leave it.

Your challenge today is to think about how you respond when you find life spinning out of conrol and whether your reaction serves your life path and/or your goals.

Hint: If You never ever feel stressed or like life is spinning out of control you have it all together and should probably consider teaching a course.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Guilt-Free Holiday Indulgence Tips

1. Choose wisely and savor what you choose.

2. Drink plenty of water - I'll drink as much as 4 ounces for each treat. Water helps your body flush out the excess salt that most treats contain. It also helps you feel full so you aren't tempted to eat even more.

3. For every day you indulge do at least one or two sets of Hoe Downs preferably at least a set after you indulge. We used to call them the fat busting move but now we know that they actually bust carbs. It works so take advantage of it. (Video below)

4.) Try not to go to a treat fest starving. Getting three healthy meals is more important than ever during the holiday season.

5.) When faced with a buffet table or table of sweets make wise choices. I always mentally tell myself that none of this food is leaving the Earth tomorrow. If I don't eat it ALL today it will still be there tomorrow - Maybe not so readily available, but still available. :) Then I scope it out, make my decision and chose a couple of treats.


I'm writing this post for myself as much as everyone else. Yesterday I was faced with a delicious assortment of sweets. I judiciously chose three small treats but then went back to work and got busy and didn't drink water or do Hoe Downs. Since I very rarely eat sugar I ended up with a headache and not feeling great later in the day. Had I taken the time to drink a glass of water and do a set of Hoe Downs I don't believe the effects would have been so apparent. That's a mistake I won't make again!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Look up, look out, and then look in for more workout satisfaction

I wrote the little article I copied below many years ago. It's about T-Tapp form but it can be applied to any indoor type of exercise you enjoy. Consider yourself warned that this is a long piece. Despite that I feel that the info contained in the piece stands the test of time - at least it has for me.
Look up: When we exercise we process information in many ways using many of our senses. We look up and watch Teresa (on our TV, computer monitor or if we’re lucky at a clinic) and try to make our form match hers. We hear her form tips at the same time we’re watching her and try to connect her words with the movements we are seeing, doing and feeling.

Look out: A simple door mirror temporarily set up so as not to interfere with seeing the TV screen can be a great tool to use in deepening your form as long as you don’t become overly dependent upon it. Place it where you have to glance over or out to see yourself rather than dead on ahead. That way you can glance to see if your flat back is really flat or if your knees are still bent and your butt tucked but then go right back to paying attention to Teresa. This is also visual feedback but it’s feedback on how your body is translating what Teresa is doing.

Look In:  I used to look at form from the outside only. Feet straight ahead, knees bent and KLT, tuck butt, shoulders over hips (or ribs up), ears over shoulders. etc etc etc.

But magical things started to happen when I began to concentrate on how the form tips felt versus just how I was supposed to look when my form was proper and it opened up an entire mind/body connection that I hadn't even imagined was there.

I think of it as T-Tapp Zen but it’s really the proprioceptive, neurokinetic side of T-Tapp. Knowing where your body is in space and where each joint is in relation to the other joints.

That's when my workouts stopped being just workouts for the sake of strength, or cardio or flexibility and became a total mind/body experience with an amazing ability to bust stress like nothing else.

Now my workouts are workouts but they're so much more. Private time, time away from my busy mind (yes I need to escape from myself from time to time :lol) Time for my body to repair by being pulled back into alignment. Time to clear my mind at the same time I’m clearing lactic acid from my muscles. Time to wash away the cares of the day. Don’t you love a clean slate?

AND when I make a workout an event by adding a brushing session and a "treatment" bath or shower complete with alternating warm and cool water and if time allows even a facial an hour can turn into a trip to my very own exclusive spa.

If you’re new to T-Tapp whether you’re an experienced exerciser or a beginner you may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about. Actually everyone reading this may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about!

This looking inward thing doesn’t come quickly and for me it followed the external form stuff and was a bit like a crack in a wall. At first the internal connection kind of seeped into my workouts but over time the mind/body neurokinetic flow has gotten stronger and stronger until at this point I can do a workout and retreat inward to the point where I am almost unaware of the external world. It’s just me and my body kicking booty!

I find that by concentrating on the sensations and feed back my body gives me I can also work on the form areas I need to deepen. For instance, I’m a combo bordering on long torso/ short leg but I have a history of distance running along with a family history of lower back problems. Concentrating on opening my hips while balancing my lower front and lower back body isn’t just a good idea, it’s mandatory if I want to maximize my back and hip health! It’s also the only way I was able to get the visual connection between shoulders and hips let alone feel that connection.

I’m not suggesting that every session you do be so inwardly focused that you ignore Teresa or your mirror. It’s important to be aware of your external form and listen to the form tips Teresa gives. But oh my how delicious it can be to be able to escape from the cares of your day or week when you most need to! When you begin to use all of your senses while you T-Tapp I guarantee you’ll see better results and find your workouts more fulfilling than ever before.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Winter Bath

Make it an anti-inflammatory experience. Seriously! This time of year can be so stressful. One holiday piggybacks on top of the one before it. We're inundated with ads. We're usually making a stab at creating the perfect holiday for our families. A great way to create space in your day is to plan and then actually take the time to enjoy a winter bath.

You can find a great article on this very subject by clicking this link.

I also value a warm soak in my old fashioned cast iron tub for the antiinflammatory properties it can provide. It can be as simple as a handful of epsom salts and a few drops of essential oil. If I'm feeling stressed or just need a great nights sleep I particularly like Swiss Just AntiStress activator essential oil blend. Teaming up breathwork with a winter bath takes it up a whole level. {sigh}

There are so many different bath combos you can create with items you already have in the house. On a cautionary note I was told that one should never add more than 10 drops of essential oil maximum to a bath. I've followed this rule for years and it's always served me well.

My challenge to you is to plan a winter bath and then gift yourself the time to relax while you soak.


Monday, December 3, 2012

The Science of Massage Therapy, Healthy Eating and Exercise as Medicine

This link will take you to an interview with Dr. Andrew Weil. In the interview Weil talks about the science of massage therapy and also about other CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine).

I was happy to see that he at least mentioned the concept of an antiiflammatory diet and not particularly surprised that he didn't mention the connection between exercise and inflammation.

I've just finished a bootcamp the second half of which used T-Tapp Healthy Hormones for Menopause Management. There is a lot going on in this workout but one of the things I value and which will bring me back to it over and over is the fact that it's antiinflammitory in nature. I'm still figuring that one out. I most definitely felt the workout and I could tell it was strengthening my body in specific ways, I even had muscle awareness building from day to day but no inflammation to note. I believe that the kickouts and other what I think of as "resetting" movements like mitten hand/jazz hand swings help sooth the muscles that are being worked. The lymphatic pump it provides also helps. As always with T-Tapp, it's a synergistic sum total that isn't easy to pull apart since one thing builds upon the others. I couldn't resist mentioning it because I consider healthy eating, sane rehabilitative exercise, and stress reduction techniques to be some of the strongest "medicine" we have in our arsenal.

My challenge to you today is to look at your lifestyle. Does it support and act like a framework for your goals? If not, what might you change to make that happen?


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stringing Goals Together Creates Consistency

In the past I've often said that the only magic exercise bullet is being consistent. By that I mean that without consistency you can have the best exercise program in the world and you won't see any results, health or aesthetic.

One way to become consistent is never let a goal lapse. In a little while I'll do my daily workout, which will be T-Tapp Healthy Hormones. I will at the same time finish a 14 day bootcamp. Finishing a bootcamp or any exercise plan puts you at risk for falling off the wagon UNLESS you already have a goal and a plan for where you're headed next.

Teresa Tapp has helped with that by suggesting that we switch to an every other day T-Tapp schedule post bootcamp and I plan follow her advice. The variable in this is what workout I'll use and what I'll give myself the option to do on the days when I'm not T-Tapping.

I'm a home exercise geek so the very thought of putting together that kind of plan gets me excited. Excited to make up the plan and excited to begin what I plan to do. So before I actually do that last bootcamp workout I'm going to spend a few enjoyable minutes fine tuning my next goal and the action plan that goes with it.

My challenge to you is to think back to a time when you were doing well with exercise and maybe fell off the wagon. What was going on in your life around that time? Did you finish one goal without having another goal to begin working on? If not try to figure out what happened.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

T-Tapp: Healthy Hormones Menopause Management

I experienced this DVD for the first time early last week and immediately decided to use it to extend my bootcamp to 14 days. As usual Teresa delivers more than she promises. The workout is sequenced to "help your body increase energy, decrease inflammation improve metabolic and lymphatic function, as well as thyroid and adrenal health." (directly from the T-Tapp brochure)

You might wonder how much "exercise" a DVD can deliver in 27 minutes. You will be shocked and amazed once you give T-Tapp a try. You can find pictures of this workout in the book The Menopause Thyroid Solution by Mary Shoman.

I consider the DVD a real bargain because it contains an Instructional workout (41 minutes), a straight through workout (27 minutes) and form tips. You can also access the individual movements of either the instructional or straight through workout. Instructional workouts are usually just that - instructional and therefore not to be used once you have the movements down pat. I consider this instructional to be different. I can see myself using this one any time I want to perform this workout but really get more deeply into the movements. I also value the fact that throughout the instructional and form pointers Teresa is explaining why she has you doing certain movements that otherwise might seem less important than they really are.

This workout is designed to increase muscle activation and it delivers what it promises. There are no fluff moves in this or actually in any T-Tapp workouts. There is an innovative towel sequence for the upper body but of course it doesn't just work the upper body but tweaks other aspects of the workout increasing overall muscle activation.

The concept of Jazz toes increases muscle activation from the bottom up. I'm a huge proponent of keeping our feet supple and strong as we age. Our feet are - after all - the base of our posture and balance - our foundation if you will. I can feel that my feet are responding to this workout and I appreciate that since I have pretty darn strong feet!

This workout also has you assume T-Tapp stance in a slightly different way by using the concept of "ribs up" and "Mitten hands." Again, both increase muscle activation and you will feel it! Increased muscle activation will translate into increase glucose utilization, increased calorie burn and most importantly to those with challenged metabolism increased insulin sensitivity. (I'll write more about that at some point in the future.)

Today will be the 6th day in a row that I've performed this workout and I can feel my body responding to the movements and muscle work. BUT, my body doesn't feel drained or taxed. This tells me that despite working my body deeply and thoroughly this workout isn't adding to my inflammation level. The lymphatic pump it supplies is, in part, responsible for that.

I could go on and on about the intricacies of this workout. There is so much more than meets the eye or the muscles for that matter. This review however is already longer than is probably sensible so I'll leave it as is for now.

This DVD can be purchased HERE.