Friday, May 31, 2013

Going for the Green

One of the biggest challenges of our kitchen remodel has been living with a dorm sized refrigerator because it limits the amount of raw, fresh, greens I can store. I normally enjoy a green smoothie and/or soup with blenderized greens on a daily basis. I normally stock up on kale, spinach, romaine and/or chard when I do my weekly shopping on Friday or Saturday and as long as I choose the freshest I can find I'm good for the week.

I prep soup on the weekend and put it in serving sized containers for lunches or so we can grab some goodness whenever we're hungry. If I know I'm going to be particularly busy I'll prep a couple of green smoothies in advance and store them in mason jars, again for easy access. With the smaller fridge this just hasn't been possible and I'm quite frankly missing my steady stream of greens!

I've previously mentioned that I'm moving back to a T-Tapp lifestyle and one of the things I had gotten away from was Teresa's premium blended alfalfa.

I can tell you first hand that this product is a great assist during the years when a woman's hormones are in a flux. It was a lifesaver for me during that time of life. After that all settled down I kind of slowly but surely fell away from using it but when my steady stream of greens slowed to a relative trickle I decided to revisit this product and ordered a bottle.

You will find this product in the "Skin Care and Cellulite Control" area of the T-Tapp Store.
The whole notion of cellulite let alone having control of it is off putting to some people.

Let's be honest, cellulite happens but that's another post for another time. For now, being tight on time I'll tell you that Alfalfa is considered food versus being a supplement. It's anti-inflammatory - and you know I can use that! It can actually be used to ease muscle soreness. It's quite powerful when teamed up with Step away the inches or Healthy Hormones.

Teresa's alfalfa is organic and pesticide free and processed to keep it intact. Most importantly it's safe for those with autoimmune issues. I could go on but I'm basically drawing this info from the write up on the T-Tapp store so I'll encourage you to go there and read about this product.

You know I'm not about chasing the "youth train" and that is what makes Teresa's approach to skin health valuable to me. Teresa's skin care solutions and healthy movement center around tuning up your body's own assimilation, detoxification and elimination systems. They simply help the body take better care of itself. How amazing is that?

I won't be swearing off my steady stream of dietary greens any time soon but I will be continuing to take alfalfa and I'll share any changes I notice while doing so.

 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thought for the Week and Beyond

I've subscribed to Morning Mantra for years. It's a free subscription and every morning a new quote pops into your Inbox.  I'm frequently surprised at how many of the quotes seem to directly relate to what is going on in my life despite the random nature of having an arbitrary quote arrive via email on a daily basis.

The following quote arrived yesterday and I've been wanting to share it ever since.

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." - Henry David Thoreau


We continue to downsize our belongings and find a  daily need to decide between items we're sure we can't live without, things we'd like to keep but know we need to let go of and things that cause us to roll our eyes and wonder what we were thinking when we stored them away.

It's so easy to become swept up in the riptide of  "American Life" as we know it. Simply blink and  weeks, months, even years have flown by and hindsight, you're left wondering if you really "lived" that time or did you actually sleep walk your way through it?

It's also amazing how, by simply beginning the downsizing process, you change the entire energy of your environment. One simple change brings about another and soon you've unlocked the stagnation and have things - physical, emotional and mental - flowing again.

The challenge for today is to think about the different elements of this day and what price each element extracts. This kind of thinking can span as many aspects of living as we can conceive. It's another way to unblock any stagnation we might be experiencing. After all, you can't "go with the flow" if nothing is moving.


 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Remodeling - with help

Remodeling is always a challenge - even if you're simply replacing worn appliances and cabinets as we are. Luckily for us we have a full crew of Connemara Terriers at the ready to assist with the finer points of the project.


 First a picture of three of the four on a regulation break from construction.


Fionn seems to be the dog that takes to home remodeling most. Here he is doing a consultation on a difficult aspect of a cabinet installation.



 His attention to detail is amazing. He double checks everything!



His approach is often non-traditional. This is how he checks for a level cabinet. Apparently if he doesn't slide out - it's level enough.



And finally a shot of Reilly - who loves to lavish praise for a job well done - whispering, "Good job Dad!"




Where is Starsky the cat, you might ask? He was actually sitting on a stack of cabinet doors watching the proceedings from a very safe distance. He likes the job of foreman.






 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

More Proof of the Power of T-Tapp and 15-30 minute miracle workouts

Right now I have 1,003.5 pounds of kitchen cabinets, sink and accessories sitting in my great room. It's not a pretty sight.

What does that have to do with T-Tapp you ask? Well DH and I moved that 1,000 pounds of boxes from the truck into the house just over 45 minutes. This included us teaming up to carry in the 125+ pound porcelain double bowled farm style sink - up 7 steps I might add.   <flexing my biceps and grinning>

I carried my share and am not one bit sore today even though my strength workouts of late have consisted of my 15-30 minute miracle T-Tapp workouts and not every day either! This is verification that less IS more and T-Tapp does keep me strong in a very functional way and on a very tight time table. LOVE IT!

Today we'll start assembling and probably hang some of the wall cabinets.

So far the whole plan has gone without a hitch. All of the cabinets and accessories were in stock. The replacement appliances arrived earlier than originally planned and they took away the old stuff. The new stuff is sleek and beautiful and fits perfectly. I can't believe how much bigger the smaller, counter depth, space saver, Euro appliances make the kitchen area look! The fit across one wall could be tight but I have a simple contingency plan should that prove to be true.

I'm currently trying to decide on countertops and the decision hasn't been easy. Marble would look delicious but I'm pretty sure I'm not up for the maintenance required. Granite that looks similar to marble would be great but I'm not sure that getting it won't be a logistical nightmare. If I relax and let it happen I'm sure we'll find the perfect solution.

My thought for this holiday weekend is quite apropos to us creating the kitchen of our dreams in a space others shrugged off as too narrow, too small and a few other negative adjectives.

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen. - Michael Jordan

 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Proof of the Power of a 15-30 Minute Miracle Workout!

When I need a little inspiration I visit the T-Tapp site. There are plenty of inspiring success stories. I can tell you that I've met some of the featured people and the stories are real and true and honestly presented.

With everything going on in my life at the moment I was in need of a little motivation yesterday. Imagine my surprise when I came upon the perfect success story to motivate me to continue using my 15-30 minute miracle workouts despite being crazy busy.

The story highlights a mother and daughter who successfully used the 15 minute Basic Workout Plus over the course of a year. Kristal (pictured here) began the year at 222 pounds and ended the year at 136 pounds! You can read the story HERE. I've talked about this workout before. You can find it on the T-Tapp site HERE.  If you missed Deep Discount Tuesday yesterday please note that there is a May special on the page I linked to that represents an awesome value.

It can be hard to wrap your head around two things when attempting to embrace the T-Tapp system - and I speak from experience as a reformed extreme exerciser.

First, less is truly more and doing more just might yield you less results. Beating the body into submission with too much exercise only appears to work for a period of time. That period might last months or it might last years but when it comes to end there is payback out the wazoo.

Second, if you get few early results or get great results and then those results taper or dry up you need to hang on. I truly believe that T-Tapp builds and rebuilds the body from the inside out. I'm experiencing this right now! T-Tapp achieves this more quickly than anything I've experienced. In the end however it all depends upon how much rebuilding your body needs and every body is different.

Kristal's amazing changes happened over the course of a year. If she had tossed up her hands and stopped after 2 weeks or even two months how do you think her after shot would have looked?

Finally, you may need to look at your overall lifestyle and be open to making some changes. Lifestyle modification is my specialty and I can tell you that little adjustments can bring about huge changes in how you look, how you feel and your future risk for disease. Lifestyle change is THE most powerful "medicine" we have to date. Seriously! I'll try to highlight some of the amazing studies that come across my desk as an RN coordinator in future posts.

So your challenge for today is to think about what you want to change about your health, your body shape, your weight, how you feel. Then ask yourself how much change you are willing to make to achieve those changes.

Feel free to post your answers here or email me with them. I plan to offer some one on one lifestyle change counseling sessions locally. You can do this. All you need is a commitment to reach your goals and a plan to get there.

 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

T-Tapp Deep Discount Tuesday!




This discount is just too good not to share. Here's the link. 50% off

T-Tapp More Level 2 - A review

 I consider this to be another value DVD because of the number and range of workouts it contains. The DVD is nicely chaptered allowing you to choose exactly which workout you want to use. The T-Tapp More series was created for people who have more health considerations, candles on their birthday cake or more weight to lose. I believe that this series can be used in a multitude of ways by anyone of any level.

As with most T-Tapp DVDs Instruction is first. You can choose the entire 46 minute instructional or choose from a menu of individual instructional movements. This, in my opinion, makes the instructional section infinitely usable. I love having the option of working on my form for just one or a few movements depending upon my needs or the time I have available. The idea of choosing 2-3 of the movements that challenge you most and working through the instructional version of those movements would be a great alternative for a day when you aren't up to a full workout but still would like to accomplish something.

Next up is the first workout. It's a 15-30 minute miracle workout coming in at just under 27 minutes! I did this workout yesterday and loved it's slow smooth attention to detail. It afforded me the chance to really work on my form on some of the T-Tapp moves that aren't in Healthy Hormones, like lunges and balance. I got a great full body workout with a lower body emphasis and realignment that I am still gently aware of this morning.

I think that the secret to sucking up the most goodness out of this or any T-Tapp DVD is to work at your level but put as much into it as you are able. The shorter workout time for this DVD, along with the water breaks between movements makes this possible. I had decided before beginning the workout that I was going to make an effort to really work deeply into the lower body isometrics and doing so really packed a punch. The difference between a T-Tapp punch and a traditional workout that is demanding enough to half kill me is that I am always in control of the intensity of my T-Tapp workouts and that makes a huge difference - in enjoyment but also in safety. Once again this workout is available as individual movements which you can pick and choose from. I can see myself using this option in a variety of ways but that's another post.

Next up is a fusion of T-Tapp More 2 and the new Senior Fit Form. This workout is an hour and a minute long and wait until you see Berei! Teresa tells us that there is 8 years between the shorter workout and this one and Berei doesn't look one second older! I have found another mentor for healthy aging ladies and it's Berei. I've met her and she's as beautiful inside as out so maybe that's part of the secret though I know she'd tell you that T-Tapp is also a huge part of her ability to keep having birthdays without aging.

I previewed this workout but didn't have time to try it yet so the review will wait for another post. Again the workout is chaptered and this gives me a few MORE ideas of how to use this DVD - pun intended.

The last section is another 15-30 minute gem. The total section runs just over 21 minutes and consists of T-Tapp chair, broom and step away the inches. It's chaptered so you can do each short segment separately or combine two or all of them for a very nice variety of movement. This would be great for a day when you aren't up for a regular T-Tapp movement but want to get moving. You can also take the seated movements and use them as "stretch break" movements when you're at work or seated at a computer for a period of time.

You can purchase this DVD HERE.







Monday, May 20, 2013

Arm Tips: Reach Away for Multiple Benefits

I've written about this topic before but it was in relation to connecting with T-Tapp when you come from a weight training background.

We've pretty much finished our kitchen demolition and I can tell you that we are really good at this demolition business. We'll see how good we are at replacing all the old stuff we removed with the new replacement stuff. And what does that have to do with using your arms to reach away, you may ask? Plenty.

There are many activities that can cause wrist, elbow, and/or shoulder pain. Pulling, lifting, carrying as we've been doing will certainly exhaust your arms but then so will sitting at a desk with slightly rounded shoulders while you type the day away. Any activity that has you repetitively sitting or standing OVER something or someone or repetitively reaching will bind up your upper body.

This weekend I popped out of bed on Saturday and did Healthy Hormones and then on Sunday did Step Away the Inches. I chose those workouts due to their inflammation calming abilities in a very short workout window. Clobbering my body after spending hours beating it up with the unfamiliar activities of demolition didn't seem like the kind or gentle thing to do.

I took each workout a step farther and maximized the healing potential by consciously reaching away from the midline of my torso during the arm movements.

Try it: Put your arms out to the sides of your body and just hold them there. Now begin to pull away from the midline of your body as if you're trying to split your sternum. You'll initially feel a whole lot more muscle kick in and contract but then you'll feel this sensation of decompression through the joints of your arms. Decompression is a very healing activity.

Our synovial joints don't have a pump to pump synovial fluid around. Movement is the only pump that moves this balm around the joint bathing the joint surfaces with the fluid that actually feeds the joint. Turns out that decompression alternated with relaxation will also create a kind of suction that will encourage the joint to produce fluid which helps to maintain a healthy joint.

As if to prove my point my body feels rested and balanced this morning despite three days of non-stop physical activity and a 4:14 am wake up call.. My initial  link in this post will actually take you through a couple of additional reach away movements so feel free to access it.

I can honestly tell you that we can lift weights until we're blue in the face and not regain the mobility that we almost all lose as we age. I can also tell you that T-Tapp linear alignment will reopen the joints and ranges of motion that tend to close with aging. Add that reach away and you've got a combination that can't be beat and a younger feeling and acting body!

You can use the above reach away activity in your work place as a simple stretch break. Just be certain to stretch your arms directly to the side and line up the joints in a straight line. What have you got to lose?

Warning: If this or any movement produces joint pain, stop using the movement and consult your doctor or movement professional.



 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tone your Triceps Without Weights!

My post on the clap away series sent me off to see if Teresa had posted an explanation or video of the movement anywhere on the web. She has not so I am going to respect that and not give the movement away. I did find something else that will give you a feeling for how powerful T-Tapp upper body work can be. And that is her Triceps work.



If you are totally new to T-Tapp you can alternately try the arm movement above while sitting in a chair with your knees slightly apart (hip width) and feet straight ahead. Then lift your ribs high until you feel your lats (sides of your mid-back) kick in. Then perform the triceps curls.

This movement, along with the shoulder rolls below really help strengthen the back line of the upper body. This area is a muscle area that tends to "go to sleep" as we get older. It isn't age that causes this. It's plain old disuse. Using these T-Tapp techniques reawakens the area - reactivates the muscles and over time trims and tones the body, improving posture and leaving you feeling - looking - and moving as if the clock had been turned back.

Hard to believe I know. That's why I post the videos so you can give it a try yourself. Sounds too good to be true but I lost 3" off my upper back area after my first 7 day boot camp with the Healthy Hormones DVD. This dvd uses these types of movements quite extensively.

 
 

 

Try using these simple movements a few times a day and experience the T-Tapp Upper Body difference.
 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

T-Tapp Clap Away Series to the Rescue!

We're in the last stages of our kitchen demolition. Between the activities of my day job, my massage practice and helping with carrying out kitchen cabinets and countertops my shoulders and upper back areas were feeling really put upon.

I decided to do add some extra clap aways into my day and Voila! Realigned back and shoulder area!

This is why I'm having a total love affair with Healthy Hormones for Menopause Management Workout DVD right now. It comes in under 30 minutes. It helps decrease inflammation. It's helping me weather the stress of adding a kitchen remodel to my already busy life. I'm able to easily take pieces of the workout into my daily life and use them as "stress breaks."

I also love that I do not need to do the entire workout  daily in order to feel a benefit. Less is truly more with T-Tapp!

I reviewed this DVD HERE.

 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Skin Saver Mask

Ease A Troubled Face

Skin Saver Face

"He/She just doesn't look well - it's that haggard look." Every hear or say something like that when taking note of a friend, family member or colleague who is just not looking well?

 The article The Visible Effects of Stress reviews how and why stress so often shows up in our face. It also gives some suggestions for lessening  the stress and that haggard look that accompanies it. The side bar "7 Tips to Ease Anxiety" is short and sweet but the no nonsense tips it provides really work. I can attest to that because I have and still do use them!

They mention using oils with essential fatty acids to aid stressed skin. One of the things I have on my T-Tapp "to order and review" list is skin saver for the face. You can see the Skin Saver Series here. I used to use and love Skin Saver Face and loved it but it's been a while and I want to actually give it the old college try before I review and plan to do so soon.

The article also mentions magnesium and T-Tapp sells Magnesium Oil. Magnesium oil in the bath is a great way to distress and for me, ease tight muscles.

I'll talk more about both of these products and add reviews to the blog in the future but for now I'm over time and need to get moving along.

 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Totally Swamped!

I meant to get into the blog and post a Happy Mother's Day post yesterday but it never happened. So belated Happy Mother's Day to any mother who reads today.

I also have a stack of DVDs I've been meaning to review and haven't gotten to and a list of T-Tapp DVDs that I don't own that I want to order and review but I haven't so much as found the time to stop long enough to call the office and place the order!

For now, getting our herb and vegetable gardens in and our kitchen demolition has been taking all our time. The dogs are also enjoying the warmer weather and we're enjoying watching the dogs enjoy the warmer weather and those things all conspire to keep me away from the computer unless I absolutely have to be on it.

Getting the herbs going was crucial to the kitchen plans because I have plans to set up a year round indoor herb garden using the two windows in the kitchen and full spectrum lights I plan to install over the windows behind a wooden or other valance the plans for which are still to be determined. I think I found the perfect lighting fixtures from a very unlikely source but have to do a little more research to see if they will indeed work for our purpose.

There is also the fact that I seem to have fallen back in love with the T-Tapp DVD Healthy Hormones for Menopause Management and don't want to do anything else.

I had planned to follow and share another simple rotation but I don't seem to want to switch DVDs so here I stay.

I'm going to try to get daily posts up but forgive me if I miss a few. If nothing else I'll try to post the healthy recipes we'll be using now that our kitchen will be non-functional for a few weeks.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Thought for the Weekend: Slow, Deep Breathing

This afternoon I was talking to a friend about breathing. I've mentioned breathing on the blog previously. There are many techniques for breath work and I like to spend at least 10 minutes daily in a breath work practice. This previous blog post has a printable PDF that gives information and instructions for deep belly breathing and progressive relaxation.

The following is probably the longest quote I've every used for a Thought for the Weekend but I love what it has to tell us.


“It is a common belief that we breathe with our lungs alone, but in point of fact, the work of breathing is done by the whole body. The lungs play a passive role in the respiratory process. Their expansion is produced by an enlargement, mostly downward, of the thoracic cavity and they collapse when that cavity is reduced. Proper breathing involves the muscles of the head, neck, thorax, and abdomen. It can be shown that chronic tension in any part of the body's musculature interferes with the natural respiratory movements.

Breathing is a rhythmic activity. Normally a person at rest makes approximately 16 to 17 respiratory incursions a minute. The rate is higher in infants and in states of excitation. It is lower in sleep and in depressed persons. The depth of the respiratory wave is another factor which varies with emotional states. Breathing becomes shallow when we are frightened or anxious. It deepens with relaxation, pleasure and sleep. But above all, it is the quality of the respiratory movements that determines whether breathing is pleasurable or not.
 
With each breath a wave can be seen to ascend and descend through the body. The inspiratory wave begins deep in the abdomen with a backward movement of the pelvis. This allows the belly to expand outward. The wave then moves upward as the rest of the body expands. The head moves very slightly forward to suck in the air while the nostrils dilate or the mouth opens. The expiratory wave begins in the upper part of the body and moves downward: the head drops back, the chest and abdomen collapse, and the pelvis rocks forward.

Breathing easily and fully is one of the basic pleasures of being alive. The pleasure is clearly experienced at the end of expiration when the descending wave fills the pelvis with a delicious sensation. In adults this sensation has a sexual quality, though it does not induce any genital feeling. The slight backward and forward movements of the pelvis, similar to the sexual movements, add to the pleasure. Though the rhythm of breathing is pronounced in the pelvic area, it is at the same time experienced by the total body as a feeling of fluidity, softness, lightness and excitement.

The importance of breathing need hardly be stressed. It provides the oxygen for the metabolic processes; literally it supports the fires of life. But breath as "pneuma" is also the spirit or soul. We live in an ocean of air like fish in a body of water. By our breathing we are attuned to our atmosphere. If we inhibit our breathing we isolate ourselves from the medium in which we exist. In all Oriental and mystic philosophies, the breath holds the secret to the highest bliss. That is why breathing is the dominant factor in the practice of Yoga.”      
 
You can find an NPR piece on breathing HERE.
 
Finally, if you desire to branch out into more active breathing you can find two videos on the breathing technique called "Breath Of Fire" in THIS previous blog post. I love to do breath of fire first as an energizing practice and then use long, deep breathing to calm and center myself.
 
Hoping that you will benefit from breath work as much as I have!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Emergency Plan for Times when you have NO time to exercise or just don't feel like it.

I like to have an emergency "workout" to pull out on a day when I have a day where there is simply no time to exercise OR I don't feel like doing one session.

It's simple: I commit to doing 3 sets of hoedowns during the day. One in morning, one in afternoon and one in the early evening. This is great for my long 12-14 hour days because it recharges me at three different points of day.

In addition to my hoedowns I attempt to pull away from the action and walk briskly 2-3 times that day - or do a little step away. I love the step lift sequence for this. A flight or two of stairs also works well. (5 or so minutes each time)

If you have the time doing primary back stretch prior to the first set of hoedowns in the morning is a wonderful thing. It unkinks the spine and gets you ready to rumble.

I place this in the 15 - 30 minute miracle classification because that's about the amount of time you will end up spending on exercise if you pull out this plan.

Of note is the fact that I DO NOT recommend that you make a daily habit of using this emergency workout. Do that and before you know it you'll be dreading those hoedowns. It's much more fun to keep it fresh and pull it out only on occasion. There are other emergency - spread out through the day workouts you can use in a pinch. I'll try to remember to post them as I end up pulling them out for my own use.

On a busy day you may be tempted to think you simply can't pull away but believe me when I say you will feel better and be more productive for having taken those little 5 minute breaks.
 

Thought for the Weekend

"Look ahead; envision the beautiful blessings waiting on your distant shores. If you follow your personal stepping-stones with joy, love, faith and gratitude, the swiftest currents will not impede your journey." - Steve Brunkhorst

 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Portion Control Ponderings

Wow! This is working better than I could ever imagine! Today I hit a number on my scale that I thought I'd never see again after hitting age 50. It's also my lowest number since I started pulling myself out of the exhaustive state I got myself into. Actually it's the lowest number since I plunged into exhaustion. This weight represents a goal I set way back when I began eating to build my body back up and to decrease inflammation.

It wouldn't have happened without portion control. Yet, I can honestly say that portion control or at least the steady weight loss to make it truly worthwhile - eluded me in the past. So why is that? Why is it possible for us to successfully limit portions at one point in our lives, when we were unable to do so at another point in our lives?

I think the answer for me and quite possibly for some others as well lies in Dr. Joel Fuhrman's concepts of nutritional density and hunger. I wrote about his book Eat to Live and The End Of Diabetes previously. The links will take you to those posts.

I've also written about Dr. Ann's website and books and to be honest the way I eat is a combination of the two that works for me - at times closer to Dr. Ann's and at other times closer to Dr. Fuhrman's vegan plan. It all depends on what I feel like preparing for a week, what is seasonal, what is on sale at our local co-op, etc.

To me Nutritional Density is choosing my foods to really totally tank my body up on wonderful, whole foods with a heavy emphasis on fruits and vegetables. I put serious portion control on the back burner for one year in order to work on doing this "tanking up" process in an effort to rebuild my body from the inside out. I seem to be bothered by cravings for sweets, fats and more simple carbs unless my body is totally nutritionally stocked up.

I'll tell you that I've been making good choices for years so those cravings were satisfied with homemade raw desserts, raw nuts and seeds and whole grain pasta or brown rice. Yet despite those excellent choices my weight was stalled, bouncing up and down in a 6 pound range (3 up, 3 down) until I eliminated the cravings and the additional calories, though I will say that the weight loss seems in excess of the calories I'm eating.

Toxic hunger, as I experience it was - I believe - part of the cravings cycle. Dr. Fuhrman talks about detoxing from processed foods in his books. I wasn't eating processed foods and haven't for years but I was still experiencing toxic hunger. I believe this was because my portions were too large and so I was never detoxing.

So it was a nasty circle: Eat more than I need and shut off the detox cycle leading to toxic hunger which caused me to eat more than I needed. It was only after truly saturating myself with nutrients for a year that the toxic hunger left and the ability to truly and consistently limit my portions and also see slow and steady weight loss appeared. Will it last? Good question. I'll be honest and share if it doesn't.

I'm going to be hit with a challenge where eating is concerned. We're remodeling our kitchen - YEA! It's already ripped up - we're doing some of the work ourselves. I have a plan to hold onto our healthy eating and I'll share the recipes and/or sources for those recipes that will be part of that plan. Hopefully I can hold onto the healthy weight loss I've achieved - I'll let you know.

I believe that one other change was part of this whole weight loss deal. That's sane, T-Tapp workouts rather than half killing myself trying to beat my body into submission with chronic cardio or heavy duty weight training. Teresa Tapp tells us that T-Tapp rebuilds the body from the inside out. I've always believed this but it's been proven to me once again.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"PRE"Hab is preferable to Rehab

I wrote a little about injury yesterday. But what if you could rebalance your body before you end up injured? How wonderful would that be? That's the concept of "Pre"Hab!

Do you wake up stiff and sore even when you haven't done much. Do you have one or more joints or a back that either nag(s) constantly or that you can count on to become problematic one or more times a year? Do your pain and problems seem like while troublesome they aren't truly serious enough for full blown medical intervention. OR have you gone through medical intervention and pretty much maxed out the system - without getting any relief or ending up feeling worse for the effort?

If any of the above describe your situation your body is begging for "pre"hab. You could start by trying the chair form checks I wrote up previously. You can find the first one HERE.  and the second  HERE and the third  HERE  and the fourth HERE and the fifth HERE (I think I got those links right.)

If you give those a try and either: want a more comprehensive program or feel that you need a DVD to follow I'd highly recommend Senior Fit. You can read my review and/or order it by following that link. This dvd moves slowly enough that you can feel your way through the movements. This is really important if you have areas that are painful or just plain "tricky."

You could spend your first entire week simply doing the "Warm-up workout" contained on the DVD. Doing so would allow you to get in touch with your body and begin to unravel the pain.

Next you could continue with the warm-up workout but add an instructional movement afterwards. I'd suggest that you add them in the order they are presented, working on each one for a few days after performing the warm-up.

After you're comfortable with the instructional movements  you could attempt the workout doing only as much as you are both comfortable and have enough energy to attempt. Over time work up to the full workout.

As I've mentioned a ton of times in multiple posts  Menopause Management for Healthy Hormones would be another appropriate "pre"hab DVD. I tend to like Senior Fit better because of the warm-up it contains but MMHH could also fit the bill.

If you have questions about this please feel free to post them here or contact me through our contact link at www.qb.massagetherapy.com

It's also important to remember that when attempting to "Pre"hab you want to go slow and steady. Being sore in various muscles is fine as long as that soreness fades in 24-48 hours.

Soreness experienced in a joint itself however isn't a good thing. That requires follow-up. If you are using T-Tapp and experience this you need to contact, me, another trainer in your area OR the T-Tapp office for advice on how to proceed.

Excessive fatigue the day of, the next day or even two days later - bone deep exhaustion - is also something to be respected. It's a signal that you're pushing too hard or more probably too long and often. Again, don't hesitate to ask for advice in adjusting your schedule.

The above approach can also be a great way to go if you are already serious or competitive exerciser who is overtrained and/or exhausted and need a recovery break. Depending on where you are with fitness and your schedule you could adjust these recommendations or  use other T-Tapp DVDs with Senior Fit.

Long story short? Consider "pre"hab before you end up needing Rehab. T-Tapp is my go to "Pre"hab gem.

Adding to this post: Basic Workout Plus is another great starter T-Tapp workout for "Pre"hab. I wrote more about it HERE

 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Injured! Now What?

The article "Understanding the Healing Process" by Christy Cael was written as a guide to massage therapists. I think that it's also a great article for anyone who has been or conceivably could be injured. That takes in pretty much all of us.

We tend to be a society that rather than recognizing the innate wisdom of our body's responses wants the body to "Just get on with it and get better already."

Often our response to injury is to pop enough over the counter pain relievers to be able to ignore our injury. It's important to remember that over the counter medications for pain and inflammation don't take away the injury or heal it. They basically mask the symptoms.

That is not to say that limiting pain and swelling is a bad thing unless of course you're doing so in order to get out there and pound the pavement (run) or pump iron (lift weights) or any number of other exercise preoccupations. When you exercise an injured body you not only fail to honor it you often do far more damage and stand to lose more fitness ground in the long run than you would have by simply resting or if comfortably possible performing mild range of motion and/or walking.

Where massage therapy is concerned it's also important to understand that your massage therapist doesn't "heal" pain. In fact the massage he or she gives you doesn't heal pain. Massage therapy simply facilitates healing. It puts the body in a better place so that it can heal itself.

On a related note I don't believe that T-Tapp, the exercise technique "heals" your body. Like massage therapy it works with your body and rebalances it in order to allow your body in all its wisdom to heal itself to whatever degree possible. But that is truly another post for another time.

So your challenge today is to think about your response to an injury - or even a potential injury. Do you rush off for the ibuprofen and down a triple dose? Do you use homeopathics or ice or maybe Reiki? Now comes the tough but potentially self revealing part. Why do you think you respond to injury in the way you do?
 

Monday, May 6, 2013

When Exercise Can Hurt Instead of Helping

I've been seeing a fairly steady stream of clients who have been attempting to use exercise to strengthen an area that's been problematic and instead end up deepening the problem.

It usually begins with a joint or movement that feels painful. The client wants the pain to go away and because they've lost some of their range of motion - their ability to move freely in that area - they decide to attempt to strengthen the area. Because it's the most talked about and prevalent method of strengthening weight training is often the method of choice.

They may choose a weight training program from the internet, a local store or an infomercial. It could be a print based program or a DVD. It really doesn't matter because the end result is that instead of getting stronger the area becomes more painful, clamps down and tightens further and their range of motion lessens even more.

They figure that this is probably part of the strengthening process. Progress should be painful, right? So they tough it out and continue the program but now their form has altered and additional muscles or even areas begin to become burdened and at best they are in severe pain and at worst they are now really, truly good and injured.

The approach I prefer to take to this kind of pain is to make every effort possible to identify what started the pain to begin with. This often takes a little detective work. Your massage therapist can be your ally here because he/she may be able to suggest problematic movements based upon the tightness pattern he/she feels and/or sees in your muscles.

It sounds like it would be near difficult to figure out what caused the problem but it's usually not that hard. It's normally a fairly new activity or repetitive movement that uses the area of concern either directly or to brace the body.

If the pain has gone on longer than 6 months and become chronic it could also be an area that's actually removed from the painful joint. How is this possible you ask? It's because the painful joint or area could be taking over for another weaker joint or area.

The area can be loosened and contributing areas can be searched for during the course of an individualized massage. It's often during the massage that the client suddenly remembers a contributing movement or activity prompted by the body's signals.

If the massage therapist is also movement specialist they will be able to suggest activities that will allow the area to heal itself while strengthening the body appropriately.

If the massage therapist is not a movement specialist they may be able to refer you to a movement specialist.

So the next time you have a joint or body area that is stiff and sore don't jump right to trying to strengthen it. Instead, start by thinking about what movements and/or movement patterns are new in your life and possibly contributing to the problem. Then make an effort to make changes in those patterns in order to relieve the strain on the area.

If that alone doesn't bring you relief, consider scheduling a massage.

One final caveat: This massage won't typically be a totally out of body, floating off the table experience. It will be a working massage with the goal of rebalancing the body to hopefully relieve the muscle strain. That said, I can't think of anything more relaxing than having a nagging pain subside. Can you?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Compression of Morbidity: A compelling Reason for Lifestyle Change

This link will take you to an study abstract on lifestyle habits and compression of morbidity. What the heck is that you might ask. Compression of morbidity is the idea that you live a long life but it's also a long healthy life. Medicine has the ability to keep us alive no matter how badly we abuse our body with our lifestyle choices. By making healthy lifestyle choices you can live a long but also healthy life.

Have you or someone you know expressed the idea that if I'm going to live I'm going to enjoy life and do as I please? When people say that they are usually referring to a lifestyle element - diet, healthy movement, stress reduction, smoking, drinking to excess, etc. - that they do not wish to address. What people don't consider however is that those choices may not result in a terribly shortened life but they will almost certainly result in a life that is uncomfortable and filled with pills, possibly insulin injections, surgeries, chemo, doctor's appointments and high health costs. HMMM doesn't sound like living the high life to me...

The above study looked at lifestyle risk factors and disability. The result reads like a poster for lifestyle change.

"RESULTS:
The risk-factor-free group showed average disability scores near zero 10-12 years before death, rising slowly over time, without evidence of accelerated functional decline. In contrast, those with two or more factors maintained a greater level of disability throughout follow-up and experienced an increase in the rate of decline 1.5 years prior to death. For those at moderate risk, the rate of decline increased significantly only in the last 3 months of life. Other differences between groups provided no alternative explanations for the findings."

I've always loved the following quote and living a healthy lifestyle will help me live it.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson

There is a huge difference between a body that has been thoroughly "used up" and one riddled with disability and struggling under the influence of poly-pharmacy and medication side effects. You get to choose, which body do you want to live in?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another Morning Time Saver

http://www.123rf.com/photo_11724108_left-blue-eye-of
-child-with-long-eyelashes-close-up.html
When I was in my 20s I used to dye my eyelashes during the summer to avoid needing mascara and the raccoon eyes it gives you when you swim. Back then the process often ended up stinging and at the time I thought the end result was worth the pain of application. Hindsight, I'm probably lucky that I'm not blind.

Fast forward and I decided to check out whether or not the process has evolved. It has and I decided to give it a try.
 
I've now used this kit twice. I didn't use it exactly per the directions but I think the way I used it makes it much easier - no more difficult than applying a few layers of mascara in fact.
 
I also purchased these. I use the disposable mascara wands to apply the gel just like mascara. Since I'm pretty good at applying mascara I didn't have to apply any Vaseline to the skin around my lashes. Then I wait one minute and apply the second solution and when everything is set I rinse my lashes with my eyes closed tightly. Voila! Black lashes!

This will only color your lashes, it won't make them thicker. It also won't hold the curl from a curling wand. If you decide to apply mascara you only need one quick swoop to thicken and hold the curl - if you curl your lashes.

On another note: I am finding my eyelashes have gotten longer since I began using  Nerium as a night cream. Yes, I do apply it very carefully around my eyes. So far I haven't gone blind from the Nerium or the eyelash dye but if you decide to try either of these activities  please know you're doing them at your own risk. :)

Are dyed eyelashes pro-aging? The more I think about it the more I come to the conclusion that anything that simplifies my life, allows me to feel more comfortable in my own skin and isn't something that tries to change who I am fits the bill.