Archive for the 'Wellness Wednesday' Category

Wellness Wednesday-The Vacation Binge

I have been away from home since Saturday and I am still away from home.  We have been treating our bodies like dumpsters!  Fast food, no water, little exercise, and no accountability are just a few things happening on this super fun family vacation.  I know its ok to take a break and indulge a bit, but this isn’t indulging its shoveling food in our mouths without thinking.

What I am learning from this is that I am finally on the right path.  I feel guilty.  I miss my gym.  I miss my controlled area called home.  I know its ok to take a break, but I feel like I don’t want too.  I have been feeling phenomenal.  But I will take the way I feel right now and use that to catapult myself into a refreshed beginning or continuous journey of healthiness. 

So my Wellness Wednesday tip is that if you lose focus, you better find it right quick.  If you don’t find that focus, you can find yourself taking numerous steps in the wrong direction.  Its ok to indulge like they say, but now use a shovel to do so.  So no more Dots, white Cheddar popcorn or EMPANADAS for me!

Wellness Wednesday- We Must, We Must—–Improve Our Posture

Side note, I have to say I think that “Are you There God Its Me Margaret” is one of the most memorable pre-teen books I ever read. If you haven’t read it, you won’t get my clearly clever blog title today. Back to business, posture. So now that I have been doing Pilates for a continuous four months at least once a week I realize that my posture is atrocious!

I could do several blog posts on this topic, because it affects so much with our bodies. You can read about the basics here. The following is clearly my own observations and are my own suggestions. I am the worst slouchy, hunched shoulders person I have ever met. My pilates instructor did a posture test. So stand up from the computer and do the following:

-Stand up

-Put your arms straight out

-Point your thumbs up to the ceiling/sky/heavens

-Than in one motion turn your whole arm and point your thumbs to the floor/ground/hell (whatever floats your boat).

-Lower your arms to your side

This is the proper(ish) position for your shoulders. It is amazing how we walk around with our shoulders hoisted towards our ears. Than if you take that position and add it to your walk and your seated position, you have such better alignment. Try incorporating that simple exercise a few times a day and it will truly make a difference in tension, posture, and possibly even headaches. Remember these are my own personal findings, I am no doctor. These are just the things that make me feel good.

Wellness Wednesday- You Spin Me Right Round Baby, Right Round!

On my new path to a healthier lifestyle I have discovered many things about myself.  One of those things being that when it comes down to it, I can do anything I put my mind too.  Spinning just happens to be one of those things.

Personally, I have always thought that Spin classes were/are very intimidating.  I mean seriously, the padded butt pants, special shoes, everyone has 1% body fat and does triathlons.   Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with those people, as a matter of fact I kind of aspire to be somewhat like that eventually-but I am not quite there just yet (I hope you can hear the severe sarcasm).  When I joined the MAC I just stuck to classes I knew from previous bouts of physical activity.  Than I noticed something on the Group Fitness schedule, a Cycle Lite class.  Now that looked appealing.  What it is is a 30 minute Spin Class.  A great place for someone that has never done a Spin class or is not in the most tip top of shape just yet.

I went.  Guess what?  I LOVED IT!  Oh my goodness, it was exhilarating.  I sweat like I never have before.  I felt good mentally (which was surprising).  I love it so much I do that class twice a week in hopes to jump up to the 45 minute class very soon.

You get in a zone.  Its just you, your spin bike, great music, and a challenge ahead of you.  All I can say is if you belong to a gym, the YMCA, have Parks & Recreation programs, or any other fitness outlet, please give it a try.  Its not for everyone, but it really did surprise me.  If you want to learn more about basic Spinning go here.  Trust me you don’t need the fancy pants, shoes, or muscle head to do this ( I have none of the above).  I will warn you that after the first time my bottom (rear end, butt, booty, whatever) was very very sore.  But never fear it goes away if you keep doing it.  As a matter of fact, after the first five minutes of the first class I went to, I stood up on my bike the rest of the time.  The instructor told me that doing it that way is more advanced.  I replied that my legs were a lot stronger than the inside muscles of my ass.  She obviously laughed and than I did proceed to walk like I rode a horse from California to Michigan for a couple days.  But, YES I went back.  YES I love it.  Step outside of your comfort zone and try a Spin class!

Wellness Wednesday- Vegetable Soup for the……..Butt?

Its no secret I am on a mission to a healthy lifestyle, mentality, and physique.   I have been eating pretty good, with the occasional splurge ( I have a severe weakness for fried food).  But here is one of my deepest darkest secrets- I HATE ALL VEGETABLES!  Yes I said it.  What kind of a mom and woman am I?  I do not like any of them.  Do I eat them?  Absolutely!  But I have found a recipe for Garden Vegetable Soup that is phenomenal.  You get tons and tons of veggies and if you are doing Weight Watchers it is zero points and on the Core Plan.  The recipe is as follows:

2/3 c sliced carrot

1/2 c diced onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 c fat free broth (beef, chicken, or veggie-I use veggie)

1 1/2 c diced green cabbage

1/2 c green beans

1 TBSP tomato paste

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c diced zucchini

Spray a large saucepan with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil and heat.  Saute’ the carrot, onion, and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add broth, cabbage, beans, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and salt; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until beans are tender.  Stir in zucchini and heat for 3-4 minutes.  Serve hot.

So easy!  It tastes super great and I don’t know why, but it does.  Why question a good thing?  You can eat plain, over brown rice, or over whole wheat pasta.  I eat it most days for lunch and its super filling.  I get a little boost of energy when I am done and not the sleepies after lunch.  You can only imagine the health benefits from this meal versus a burger and fries.  Read here and here for more information on benefits of veggies.  I just dare you to have an entire lunch of veggie :).

Wellness Wednesday-Massage

For today’s tip you can not be one of those people that does not like other’s in your personal space.  Massage is all about personal space.  But the benefits are ridiculous.  If you have never had a professional massage, you are really missing out.

This past Saturday, for the first time, I had a 90 minute massage ( I usually partake in a 60 minute massage)!  Can I say, “HOLY COW!”?  To put it lightly.  Sixty minutes will no longer be good enough.  There are mental benefits and physical benefits that come from massage.

Some people go to a massage and fall asleep, not me.  I want to enjoy every second of it and try to remember it, and hang on to that feeling.  Its a weird place I find myself in, kind of a zen-like feeling.  Maybe its spiritual, maybe its dreamy, I have no idea, but if I could achieve that feeling and bottle it up-I would be a millionaire.  Sometimes its hard not to fall asleep, but I just never do.  Mentally, its an hour to relax and have somebody pamper you like a queen or king.  Who doesn’t want that?  That is worth the money spent all by itself.

Physically there are so many benefits to massage.  Personally, for the last few years I have been seeking out a more natural medical lifestyle to follow.  Don’t get me wrong, when I have a super bad headache I am not against poppin’ in an 800.  But I do look up alternative ways in medicating myself and my family.  Massage is proven to be great for circulation, taking care of our skin (our biggest organ), fixing tense muscles, and so much more.  You can read more about the benefits here.

With my much improved exercise schedule, I am making it a priority to try and get a massage once a month.  If I could, I would have one once a week.  But with the great pleasures of massage, comes a price.  A good massage is a little pricey.  But if you take the money you might spend on fast food, or a new item of clothing, or a movie-you can get a massage.  Numerous places run specials all the time.  If you are a great bargain hunter, you can find some really great deals.  Two of my favorite places to have massages in Grand Rapids are Panopoulis on Burton & Breton and Vasio Life Spa.  Each place is a very different experience, but both have the same results-a euphoric goodness.  So find it in your schedule and budget to treat yourself-life is short live in the now!

Wellness Wednesday-Pilates

On my quest to becoming a healthier person overall, I have discovered Pilates.  I never thought I would like something like this or that it would have the effects on my body that it does.  Every Wednesday I go to an hour long Pilates class.  After I am done I feel refreshed, relaxed, extremely worked out, and just wonderful.

I take a Pilates Mat class at the MAC.  This a Pilates class that is predominately done either laying down or sitting on a mat.  At first I just thought that I would get great ab work by doing such a class.  But the overall benefits are amazing.  You are working your entire core, but by doing so your inner and outer thighs, gluts, and arms all get a great work out as well.

This is the type of class that you are constantly challenging yourself mentally.  I am constantly telling myself its only holding a pose for thirty seconds of my life.  I can do it!  My instructor is fantastic!  She is very aware of people’s different levels of fitness.  So for every pose or exercise we are doing she gives a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level position.  She also makes it a point to get to know new people coming to class.  She take a moment to see if there are any ailments, injuries, or concerns she can watch out for and make modifications to.

You can learn more about Pilates in general here and here (odd place for me to reference, but has great information).  If you do not belong to a gym or the YMCA, most Parks and Recreation departments have fitness classes.  I know here in Grand Rapids, they have an awesome Pilates class and the price is very reasonable.  Also, at the MAC you can buy a punchcard to attend group fitness classes versus joining.  Another great resource that many people forget about is On Demand.  If you have digital cable, chances are you have On Demand.  There is an entire fitness section in there with, not only Pilates sessions, but tons of other fitness programs.   I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new when it comes to your exercise program.  Whether its just getting moving period or bumping up your level of activity.  Let’s face it we all have 30 minutes a day to extend our lives in the end.

Wellness Wednesday- A Proposed Question for Mental Well-Being?

I am on vacation and enjoying every single bit of it.  Quality time with the family.  My husband, children, and father.    We have a cottage and some of the greatest conversations are around a bonfire/campfire.  But that is another whole post.

To this evening I am proposing a wellness question to any readers that may pop by this mini blog.  I am in the middle of two seperate sets of family “drama”.  Now every family has drama and that is well and fine and healthy.  But my drama includes seperates issues unrelated with my mother and father.  Their individual issues include death and family and on the other hand communication with a spouse.  So my proposed question is, when do you not say anything?  What is too much?  How much advice do you give?  What is a healthy amount of involvement when you love and care for two people so very much?

For those of you that might know me, I am a straight shooter.  I live by telling it like it is, sometimes that gets in the way; but its me.  They are asking and I am giving, but how much is too much?  Because its weighing on my mind heavily.  Thank you in advance, I like to learn from others.