women-exercising200Let’s face it.  Exercise can become just another boring task in our lives…that is IF we even find the time for it.   Some people are lacking motivation and passion, thus never really starting a fitness program. Others may be utterly frustrated because they try hard at times but always seem to lose momentum, running out of steam and never really sticking with anything very long.  Yet others still have all the best intentions, do their homework, plan it out but allow life to prevent them from starting.  If you relate with any of these, I have good news for you!

Our bodies are a gift, and without good health, we won’t be able to fulfill purpose.  So no matter where you fall, keeping your exercise fresh and exciting will help you stick with it!  So, the first step is to realize that you aren’t like anyone else. If you have been trying to follow someone else’s exercise program, STOP!  We are each uniquely created and approach life (and exercise) differently.  Therefore, we can develop a fitness routine that works with us, not against us.  Did you hear me?  We are going to look at how YOU need to workout.  When it is right for you, you’ll enjoy it.  And when you enjoy something, you’ll do it more often. Guess what happens then?  You will get results.

Ask yourself these simply questions to start: Do you consider yourself to be more outgoing or reserved?  We can be both, but which do you feel most comfortable?  Do you typically prefer to do something versus be with people?  If you had to pick a task or a person, which would you select?

Now read below to find the fitness program that works for you!

For those of us who answered outgoing/task, we are FAST individuals.  We work out because we decide to. We are decision makers with goals.  If we chose being fit as a goal, then most likely, we will develop an intense, fast-paced program and stick to it.  A caution here is to make sure we include safety.  Don’t overdo it and don’t forget to stretch. We can be in too much of a hurry and so focused on the outcome that we forget basic common sense principles.  Options to set yourself up for success are competitive sports, races and goal-oriented fitness regimes.

If you said you are more outgoing but enjoy people, then you are a FUN person.  You want to have fun while you work out.  Being in groups will be critical to your success.  Sign up for group fitness classes and get to know the people in the class.  When others you know will be there, you will want to be there as well.  You don’t want to miss out!  If you don’t know anyone, then you may be easily distracted by other things and not make it to the gym at all.  Don’t try to do it all at once. You may tend to be over zealous with your routine and then burn yourself out quickly.  Try to start off slow with small goals that you can achieve and make sure to celebrate your victories!  And, don’t buy a home-gym system.  It will probably just collect dust. Get out there!

For those of you who responded to reserved/people, you are FRIENDLY.  Working out isn’t the issue for you…it’s about people.  You can care more about other people and being friendly with them than you do your own health.  You’ll probably enjoy one-on-one sessions at the gym, so a workout partner is paramount to your success.  You can be with them and work on your health at the same time.  Allow plenty of time to talk and catch up.  Don’t rush it.  Select activities you enjoy that include people like walking, biking, playing volleyball or hiking.  You’ll find it much easier to avoid the gym and be with friends, but don’t fall into the trap.  You can have both by scheduling time with friends at the health club.  A perfect option for you is Curves® and don’t forget to include the entire family.  When you do that, everyone wins!

If you are the reserved type who prefers tasks, then you are more FACTUAL.  You simply need to schedule the time in on your calendar.  Knowing the fact that being healthy and fit is important, you will treat your fitness schedule like any other meeting or event.  You won’t miss it or be late.  One challenge you may have is scheduling the same old routine.  Make sure you change it up once in a while to give your body a break and concentrate on different areas.  And, don’t get paralyzed by researching the ultimate, perfect plan.  With the Internet, you could get lost in information gathering and never start anything.  Set a deadline for yourself, select what will work for you and then do it!

We are all uniquely created with different personality styles, and it definitely impacts all aspects of our lives, including working out.  I encourage you to begin developing your fitness program based upon your style so that it fits you and sets you up for success!  Remember, when you enjoy what you are doing, you are more likely to stick to it.  Here’s to FINALLY being fit and staying that way!

About the Author: Lorraine Bossé-Smith is a certified professional behavior analyst (CPBA) who has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs across the country. She is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, business consultant, executive coach, behavioral-wellness expert, and author of eight published books who helps companies rewire their business for success and inspires people toward a healthier, more balanced life. She can be reached at www.lorrainebosse-smith.com

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menopause_symptomsOne of the most common complaints I hear from clients is that they can’t lose weight no matter how much they diet and exercise. This is incredibly frustrating!

Unfortunately, it may have nothing to do with what YOU’RE doing.

It may be your hormones.

Hormone imbalances lead to difficulty losing weight and an increased risk of obesity and they can’t be solved by dieting alone. If you’ve been unsuccessful at losing weight chances are one or more the following hormonal imbalances could be the problem:

1. Inflammation

Digestive disorders, allergies, autoimmune disease, arthritis, asthma, eczema, acne, abdominal fat, headaches, depression or sinus disorders are ALL associated with chronic inflammation, which has become recognized as the root cause of obesity and most diseases associated with aging.

Inflammation causes production of cortisol which is associated with that muffin top you just can’t lose.

2. Too much insulin

Insulin’s main function is to process carbohydrates in the bloodstream and carry them into cells to be used as fuel or stored as fat. The main culprits in this imbalance are: stress, consuming too many nutrient-poor carbohydrates (the type found in processed foods, sugary drinks and sodas, packaged low-fat foods and artificial sweeteners), insufficient protein intake, inadequate fat intake and low fiber consumption.

Heart palpitations, sweating, poor concentration, weakness, anxiety, fogginess, fatigue, irritability or impaired thinking are common short-term side effects of high insulin. Your body typically responds to these unpleasant feelings by making you think you’re hungry, which causes you to reach for high-sugar foods and drinks. It’s a vicious cycle which only furthers weight gain and ups your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

3. Depression or anxiety

Serotonin exerts a powerful influence over our mood, emotions, memory, cravings (especially for carbohydrates), self-esteem, pain tolerance, sleep habits, appetite, digestion and body temperature regulation. When we’re depressed or down, we naturally crave more sugars and starches to stimulate the production of serotonin. And then we become more depressed because we’re gaining weight. The stress of this creates more cortisol which creates more cravings!

4. Chronic stress

Under situations of chronic stress — whether the stress is physical, emotional, mental or environmental, real or imagined — our bodies release high amounts of the hormone cortisol. If you have a mood disorder like anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder or exhaustion, or if you have a digestive issue such as irritable bowel syndrome, you can bet your body is cranking up your cortisol….even if you don’t FEEL stressed.

Prolonged stress results in a raging appetite, metabolic decline, belly fat and a loss of hard-won, metabolically active muscle tissue. In other words, stress makes us soft, flabby and much older than we truly are! And it wears out our poor little adrenal glands, resulting in adrenal fatigue.

5. High levels of estrogen

Researchers have identified excess estrogen (in both sexes) to be as great a risk factor for obesity as poor eating habits and lack of exercise.

There are two ways to accumulate excess estrogen in the body: you either produce too much of it on your own or acquire it from your environment or diet. We’re constantly exposed to estrogen-like compounds in foods that contain toxic pesticides, herbicides and growth hormones. A premenopausal woman with estrogen dominance will likely have PMS, too much body fat around the hips and difficulty losing weight. Menopausal women and men with too much estrogen may experience low libido, memory loss, poor motivation, depression, loss of muscle mass and increased belly fat.

To compound all of this, fat cells MAKE estrogen…so the more fat you have, the higher your estrogen is likely to be.

6. Low testosterone

Testosterone enhances libido, bone density, muscle mass, strength, motivation, memory, fat burning and skin tone in both men and women. When testosterone is low, an increase of body fat and loss of muscle may still happen – even with dieting and exercise.

Testosterone levels tend to taper off with age, increased obesity and stress, but today men are experiencing testosterone decline much earlier in life — an alarming finding, considering low testosterone has been linked to depression, obesity, osteoporosis, heart disease and even death.

7. Hypothyroidism

Without enough thyroid hormone, every system in the body slows down. People who suffer from hypothyroidism feel tired and often have constipation and weight gain. Other common symptoms include extremely dry skin, hair loss, feeling cold, brittle hair, splitting nails, and decreased libido.

If you think you may have a thyroid condition, make sure your doctor assesses you and your full range of symptoms, not just your blood work. Even levels of TSH (an indicator of thyroid function) within the normal range have been proven to accelerate weight gain and to interfere with a healthy metabolic rate in both men and women.

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About the Author: Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause and hormone expert, a pharmacist and the “Chief Mojo Officer” at her practice. Her mission is to help women who are struggling with the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. If you’d like to know more about the complexities of weight gain in midlife, please join me TONIGHT for Cracking the Midlife Weight Loss Code: Your 3-Step Plan to Stop the Yo-Yo FOREVER! You can find all the details at www.DrAnnaGarrett.com.

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plant-based-diet200Most of my blogs speak to a large audience because I hate ever excluding anyone from anything!  But every once in a while, I draw back towards my heart-center, and feel the desire to speak to my dearest inner circle, the female spiritual warriors around me whose lives so much mirror mine. Like me, they love what they do, but they do it with such an intense passion that at times they find themselves burned out and stressed out. How can we walk the walk and talk the talk if we are literally FRAZZLED and FRIED?

It’s so important that we keep on this journey, because the world needs us now more than ever before. It is no easy task ahead of us, but we can do it as long as we nourish our selves as well. So here then are my 5 best stress-busting secrets that allow me to find my center and keep my calm through every storm:

1) Create a Sacred Morning Ritual – If you were to have the best morning experience possible, every day, what would that look like? For me, it starts with a morning meditation, then making coffee while I feed the birds, sitting outside savoring that first cup of coffee while the sun rises. Then it’s off to the gym for working my body with weights, or my mind with yoga, or my heart with dance, or my soul with a nice long walk on the beach. The way you begin your day sets the stage for the rest of the day, and when you begin your day with self-care, you are setting the stage for a stress-free day. If you were to create your ideal morning ritual, what would it look like? Take a minute and write it down.

2) Create a Sacred Office Space – Create a sacred office environment that is conducive to relaxation.  Start by de-cluttering your space, think Zen Office. We live in an amazing age where we don’t necessarily need to have hard copies of everything everywhere anymore!  Think about all five senses. What do you want to see, hear, smell, taste, touch every day while you work in that calm space? Think about the four classical elements. Bring in some living plants for your earth element, some candles for your fire element, a fountain for your water element, and small wind chimes to hang in the open window for your air element. So, what needs to be done in your office space to make it a more sacred space? Set aside some time this weekend to make it happen.

3) Create a Sacred Mid-Day Ritual – We must honor ourselves enough to give ourselves a sacred mid-day ritual that involves slowly and mindfully eating a nourishing, healthy meal, sitting outside in the sunshine, cell phone off and away, for one hour. A tech break for the mind while you absorb some vitamin D sunshine (not enough Vitamin D will often show up as depression and anxiety). If you are with friends, keep the conversation positive and nurturing. If you are alone, take some time to  close your eyes and meditate.

4) Create a Sacred Evening Ritual – Our minds create stress and anxiety when we are lacking in sleep. 7-9 hours of sleep each night is crucial to keeping your mind calm and alert throughout the day.  Research has shown that while we sleep, our physical brains are actively being literally cleaned out with intercranial fluid, so a good nights sleep is not only the best thing you can do for your physical health, but also for your mental health.  And the best way to get a good night’s sleep is with a sacred evening ritual. Turning off all electronics – TV, computer, cell phone – one hour before sleep. Take a bath in Epsom salts to soak up the calming magnesium, and lavender oil for relaxation.  Read or journal in bed.  Pamper yourself with the extra comfy PJ’s and the extra comfy bedding.  Write your list of things-to-do tomorrow, and let it go. It’s written down, so now you can rest and nourish your mind with sleep.

5) Create a Sacred You – You have heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.”  But it’s true.  Every cell in our body regenerates every 2 years, and we build those cells with what we eat.  Our minds can only be as healthy as our bodies, so the best way to have a healthy mind is to nourish a healthy body. There are lots of nutritionists out there with a thousand different ideas on how to best feed our physical bodies. But as soul-based entrepreneurs, we need more than that. We must strive for a sacred body, so that we can do our sacred work.  The ONLY way to do this is to feed ourselves a 100% plant-based diet.  Numerous studies shown that vegetarians, on average, are 30 pounds lighter, are at much lower risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, and live 6-10 years longer.  But also, we know that food contains energy. Plants contain a vibrant, living, healing energy; meat contains a dark, violent, fearful energy.  The stress hormones released by the terrorized steer moments before his slaughter, or the mama cow screaming as yet another newborn calf is taken away… all this terror and anguish goes into meat and dairy, creating toxic energy, which we then consume. Do you want to continue feeding your mind with fear, your heart with anguish, and your soul with sadness? Or will you take a deep breath now and contemplate giving up meat and dairy for a day, a week, maybe a month, and see how you feel? The only way to create a sacred temple for your soul is to nourish all aspects of your self, not just your body. The only way to allow your soul to vibrate on a higher plane with an elevated intensity is to clear your karma of all violence, and the only way to do that is to eat peace.

The divine in me bows to the divine in you.

Namaste

~  Laura

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About the Author: Laura Robinson Oatman is an author, speaker, wellness guru, and Warrior for Peace.  She educates, supports, and empowers individuals and groups toward a sustainable, holistically healthy life rooted in a vegan diet. She offers one-to-one coaching and motivational speaking, leads workshops and group programs, and takes clients on amazing wellness journeys worldwide.  She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York, a Certified Ayurvedic Educator from the California College of Ayurveda, and a Certified Plant-Based Nutritionist from eCornell. Her company, Whole Earth Wellness, is an Educational Alliance Partner with the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC.  Her newly released book, Whole Earth Diet: Healthy Body. Happy Life. Peaceful World. is the foundation for her holistic Whole Earth Wellness philosophy, and lays the groundwork for many more books to come.

 

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pregnant250I think most would agree that maintaining a healthy body is an important goal in life.  But, when getting ready and trying to conceive, a healthy body is of the utmost importance.

A zinc deficiency by itself will not make your infertile, but it is an important mineral that nourishes parts of the reproductive system and it is often overlooked.  Zinc works with more than 300 different enzymes in the body to keep things working properly.  When zinc is in short supply, your cells cannot divide correctly and your balance of estrogen to progesterone can become imbalanced.

In women, zinc plays a vital role in key reproductive areas:

  • Egg production:  zinc is needed to produce mature eggs that are ripe & ready for fertilization
  • Follicles:  zinc helps maintain the fluid in the follicles so that the egg can travel through the Fallopian tubes and into the uterus for implantation.
  • Hormones:  zinc helps regulate estrogen, progesterone & testosterone levels throughout the menstrual cycle.
  • Miscarriages:  low levels of zinc have been linked directly to miscarriages in the early stages of pregnancy.
  • Uterine Fibroids:  zinc can also help to reduce the size of fibroids.  High levels of Estrogen often cause fibroids, so taking zinc helps to balance the hormones and help bring Estrogen back to normal levels.

In men, zinc is vital in helping get the woman pregnant.  It has been shown to improve sperm numbers, sperm shape and mobility.  Wow, now you see WHY this mineral is a powerhouse for male fertility.  When zinc is low in men the following can occur:

  • Immature sperm:  the tail and the outer membrane of the sperm are zinc dependent.  Without zinc, the sperm wouldn’t have a tail that is needed to swim to meet the egg for fertilization.  This is a long journey, so without zinc, fertilization would be impossible.
  • Chromosomal problems:  low zinc can cause chromosomal errors that lead to miscarriages even if fertilization and implantation have occurred.

Today’s diet is low in zinc due to poor soil.  Stress in everyday living also uses up zinc quicker in the body.  Smoking and alcohol consumption deplete this valuable nutrient.  Cooking can also destroy this mineral so eating zinc rich foods raw can increase this mineral in your body.  Some zinc rich foods are:  oysters (raw), crab, beef (grass fed), Chicken (pastured), pork (pastured), baked beans, raw pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds (look for tahini).

Too much zinc in your diet can also be harmful.  Taking a good vitamin/mineral complex and eating zinc rich foods should be enough.

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About the Author: Donna McIntosh has been in the field of health and nutrition for over 30 years. She has her Master’s in Holistic Nutrition, is a Certified Healing Foods Specialist, and holds certifications in Functional Blood Chemistry, Functional Endocrinology and Brain Neurotransmitters.  Donna’s real specialty is fertility and she is known as “The Goddess of Fertility.” She loves teaching people about the myths of nutrition that may be blocking their ability to conceive and revealing what she calls the Sacred Foods of Fertility. She has helped many couples improve their health, conceive naturally and have healthy, happy babies! For more information on zinc and other fertility issues, contact Donna at www.theGoddessofFertility.com  

Posted in adult health, conception, eat right, pregnancy | Leave a comment

food-desert250Picture a dry, barren, parched Saraha desert, no water for sights only sand surrounding you for miles around. You picture an oasis but instead it’s a mirage. This is the image we typically get when we hear the word ‘desert’. In the 21st century there is a new concept I’d like to introduce to you-food deserts. Food desert is defined as urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options. The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

In the town of Petersburg, Virginia, many residents live in food desert areas. Not only do these areas lack grocery stores, but there are also transportation barriers to access these stores. The high concentration of poverty is largely to blame for these issues at hand. Current research shows that the people of Petersburg shop at convenience stores and mini marts where there are currently not a lot of fresh produce and meat options available. Instead, children and adults may purchase the least healthy items possible such as candy or processed foods.

As an active member of Virginia Organizing, our goal is to provide these local corner stores with fresh food items grown locally in our newly opened, indoor farm facility established by Virginia State University’s agriculture department and funded by USDA. With this project, we hope to drastically influence the choices of not just the adults but also the children make when it comes to eating healthy.

Flash forward thousands of miles away, in the Caribbean island of Haiti, similar issues of poverty and lack of food persist. Instead of corner stores, inhabitants must struggle to plant, harvest, and prepare their own meals. The ability to access local food is dramatically thwarted because of nearly non-existent transportation and extremely hazardous road conditions. Thanks to the efforts of Lighthouse Lands non-profit organization, women are provided the opportunity to learn sustainable farming techniques to provide meals for themselves and their families for generations to come.

Although in two separate locations, these are real issues in the world, and could even occur in your own backyard. Both these issues tug at the hearts of the more fortunate and remind us not to take our daily provisions for granted. We are blessed to have the resources and necessities at hand for a bright and healthy future.

About the Author: Camil Davis 28 year old graduate from the College of William and Mary, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a focus on developmental psychology. She has a passion for children’s health education which she promotes while engaging in projects with United Way Young Leader’s Society. Here she serves as the Community Connections chair.  She has also worked in Haiti on a sustainable farming program. She currently serves as the Chapter leader for the Virginia Organizing campaign on food deserts. Outside of health education, she also endeavors in real estate investing, and encourages reading with her local book club, and teaches in the children’s ministry at her place of worship. Email: davis.camil@gmail.com

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