Monday Musings

Wow.  Is it Monday again? Time for another edition of Monday Musings and what not in my life.

Time.

Ever notice how funny that is? It’s a commodity we all have and are all given the same amount of each day. Sometimes it seems to crawl by, like when you’re stuck in some god awful boring meeting. A few months ago I was in such a one and I felt myself settling into that “to comfortable zone” as in, if I didn’t start moving around or do some active deep breathing I was going to take an unscheduled nap.  I glanced at my watch and scrolled to my heart rate.

49.

My heart was getting just as comfy and relaxed as the rest of my body haha

But then there are occasions when time seems to fly like when you’re with people you really like or are doing something fun. Time then moves all to swiftly.

Deadlines make time seem to move faster.

Being stuck behind a driver who doesn’t know where the gas pedal is makes time crawl by.  😛

I think, as we get older we are much more mindful of it than when we lived careless days as children.

Speaking of time, it makes me think of seasons. This in turn makes me hopeful that spring is in the near distant future. It’s been a whole lotta grey, misty, dreary, foggy and overall gross days here in the happy land of south Texas this winter season.

I’ve tried not to think that last February I was running in shorts a lot and by March was rocking a decent enough tan that people thought I was using a tanning booth.

That. Will never happen.

I assured a lady my golden skin was a by product of spending time outdoors on bike or foot, not a tanning bed.

All that to say the other day I actually got to hit the road in shorts and I forgot the pure freedom of running with less stuff hanging off me. It was glorious and reminded me that sun and daily sweat sessions will be here before I know it.

IMG_20180216_120520_692
Hello sunshine! What a wonderful treat

I’m not whining. Oh no, I’d never be a whiner, but it will be nice to really start logging some miles again and not have to worry about safety issues ’cause of fog and sloppy roads.

If I complain when the humidity cranks up again and its nothing but sun and I’m sweating out the weight of a small child on a run, you may nicely remind me I asked for it.

In the context of time management

When I hit the floor in the morning my mind is already spinning for what I’m doing in the day ahead. I sometimes worry if I have ADD as I can be wanting to do ALL of my projects, errands, and necessary house requirements at the same time.

What I have started doing is writing down all the things I want to do and picking one or two in my day alongside everything else to get it done. I try and get the necessary, not usually my most fun things done, ( like cleaning) out of the way then I can work on my fun projects.

Like my furniture shenanigans.

Last week took me into the big city to this seedy little dive in pursuit of a 1930’s china cabinet I had spotted online.

20180213_182725
Yep, that’s my big game in the back 😉

 

 

20180213_135002
Here it is in all it’s glorious disarray…waiting to be transformed.

Oh, so when I’m at this little hole in the wall shop which, really, was a time warp of treasures from decades, and decades gone by ( I am planning a field trip back  there) the only person working was this short little older lady wheezing and huffing telling me she should probably be in the hospital ’cause she might have pneumonia.

WHAT?!

Of course I’m thinking, “she’s the only one here who is supposed to help me get this out and loaded??” She mentions having a dolly, I ask her to get it, thanking God at times like this I’m strong and capable and I wheel it out making jokes I should get more of a discount since I’ve gotta load it too. I did get them to drop it 35.00 😉

Anyway, she was able at least to help lift the other side with me into my vehicle.

Yesterday I spent more time prepping it for it’s transformation. Sanding, cleaning, dusting, digging (leaves??) out from under the drawer, doing a little repair work ( the decorative wood in door needs replaced. Once upon a time it had glass but I’m not putting glass back in it) removing the hardware etc. it’s so close to starting the fun part.

But before we leave this topic… I also got the cutest little cupboard… I tried to leave it behind I just couldn’t. I managed to get it for half of what it was marked 😉

It looked like this…..seriously though… how CUTE is it??

20180213_134905 (1)
How sad IS it? The obvious before pic.

 

It didn’t take long for me to catch a vision for it. I finished it today. I am totally, completely in love with it.

What do you think about it’s make over?

20180218_154859
The ugly duckling transformed

 

I will share some more adventures on this topic in upcoming weeks 😉 I have a couple pieces in the works.

 

In some final musings…

Have  you ever wondered why foods you thought were so good when you were a  kid, don’t really taste good at all when you grow up?

My youngest son had brought home a half gallon of premade chocolate milk one day.  I never drink chocolate milk unless I’ve come off a long hard workout then it’s a delicious instant recovery drink. But I always make it, you know with milk and chocolate syrup… yeah I’m bad.

Anyway, I opened the fridge and there it sat… and I thought …heck yeah.. I’m just gonna have some.

The first chug it was like…. ACK! It tasted like and reminded me of, the way the school cafeteria had smelled.

Which was not good, I might add.

Weird, I know. That chug was all I got in.

Then there’s things like fish sticks. boxed macaroni and cheese, most cheap sugary cereals, and bad thin crust boxed pizza.

Ok true and well, I’ve grown up, but I think I really enjoyed that as a kid. Thank goodness my tastes have changed.

My kids are adults… they complain since I “got healthy” I don’t buy fun foods anymore. This translates to ” crappy, walk in pantry or go to freezer and grab pre made foods and snacks with zero nutritional value”.

They can go buy their own minced, diced, chopped, prebaked fish sticks and what not..

Is it just me? What about you? Have you left foods behind that aren’t seemingly as tasty as they once were?

In the way of food… this week coming up we will be looking at healthy cheap meals, and of course a few spotlights on various fruits and veggies (’cause ya’ll seem to dig those posts), fitness, and as always a little sassy, cheeky attitude to go along with it.

You’ll just need to check back in here and see what’s up 😉

Now tell me…

What are some favorite foods that hang on from childhood? Do you have any new healthy foods you’ve tried this week?

Advertisements

Booty Building 101

So today finds me holed up at my favorite coffee cave enjoying the place being relatively quiet and attempting to get a post written for you guys. I left the house ’cause I was to distracted by my new obsession…er… “hobby” …. of my various furniture projects I’m working on.

If you missed out on what I’m up to on that topic, find it here in my Monday Musings post. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/02/12/monday-musings-3/

It’s hard not to be excited at the vision I have for some of these things and per my “go get ’em and take charge nature” I could just spend all afternoon looking like a bum in ratty clothes covered in dust from sanding and a paint brush in the other hand.

Ah… but then there’s the other things I must do… like write… and deliver other productivity.

Ok, on with the show!

Today boys and girls we’re gonna talk about the back of you, your glutes, your butt, the “what keeps your jeans looking good” part of your anatomy. In todays lingo, your booty.

Yeah.  Booty day.

My readership has just expanded.

Have you ever seen the movie Shrek? Donkey, one of the characters breaks into this song… “I like big butts and I cannot lie”….

shrek

 

ok the song itself is a little…you know.. not what I’d recommend to my mom to listen to, but the song became a catchy tune with that movie. As you can imagine donkey was expressing his er…appreciation… of a round, strong backside.

donkey butt

 

It’s no secret the booty has come into the spotlight.

Recently, I’ve had convos with young women asking what they needed to do to build/enhance/grow that part of their physique.

Fitness and health magazines, online articles etc all offer a plethora of tips to build that body part. And it’s not just limited to the female gender, guys don’t want to be left out either.

First, let’s understand something

Your butt isn’t just one muscle that you need to shape up. It’s actually made of three different muscles and they all need to be worked for that ultimate round shape and lift.

shaping_glutes_scr6

 

Yeah I’m gettin’ all science(y) on you here. If you wanna build your butt, know what you’re dealing with.

What I see and hear the most from people is the “oh, I just need to start doing squats!” and with that assumption they think that will magically deliver new found curves and tighter jeans.

Oh if it were only so easy.

Squats ARE great, and you should do all kinds of varieties of them but you need to know squats are also very quad dominant too, so without balance and a variety of exercises you’ll work on your butt but can potentially really build your quads too ( those muscles in the front of your thighs) and give you some developed legs.

Many exercises for the butt also tend to bulk up the thighs. Now I don’t really mind having strong powerful legs like that but if you are wanting to accomplish a goal of building your butt, you will want a variety of exercises to reach that goal.

It’s gonna take work

I hate to break this to you but it’s gonna take work. Dedicated work. And eating enough good quality food to build muscles. And doing specific exercises to get it done.

Doing 25 squats two or three days a week, sorry, that just won’t cut it.

And it will take time.  Rome wasn’t built in a day 😉

Well come on, tell me what to do!

First, decide if you’re gonna commit and be disciplined to focus on it. Then decide that you are willing to work for it.

There are a few activities you can engage in that might help you with your goals.

Cycling, running, and hills sprints are not only cardio, but can do a heck of a lot for the lower portion of your body.

20170929_092933
Cycling, running, and hill sprints have built strong lower body muscles. Hills, no matter on foot or bike, deliver a lot of booty working benefits.

 

I almost feel like I’ve cheated sometimes since the muscle I’ve built is a by product of sorts from the activities I do. 😛

Some handy do it yourself at home ideas…

Squats ( all variations) lunges, jump squats, deadlifts, bridges, single leg bridges, donkey kicks, but I think my all time favorite that is really a lot of bang for my work out, is the single leg dead lift.

I love it because 1) it is great for your balance 2) it totally isolates one hip and you have to keep your core tight and engaged so all the work is being done on that one side.

If you want to up the game, hold a dumb bell while you do it. I use a 35lb kettle bell and do 4 sets of 10.

Start with no weight to get used to the movement and keep your form correct. You should really feel that whole hip tight and isolated as you go through the hinging motion.

Below are (what I believe) are lots of good moves to target all three muscle groups.

 

Ok

 

Alrighty, there you go. Some of my favorite moves you can do at home to build your muscles in those lower regions. Just remember, it will take time and consistency.

Well wait, consistency is important in anything to have success, isn’t it ?

Just remember to go slow, don’t over do to allow your body to get used to new movements, and gradually add on more reps. Make sure to always keep your tummy pulled in tight ( think sucking your belly button to your spine) if something hurts stop. Nothing should hurt in a painful way but if your form is off it, you will feel it.

Mix and match the exercises above to make a plan that you enjoy.

Do you do specific glute exercises? If so, what’s your favorite ?

Sweet Potato Spotlight

Let’s talk about food. Ya’ll seem to really like food posts and I love offering up spotlights on various fruits, veggies and healthy meals.  Today boys and girls, we’re gonna talk about sweet potatoes.

20180213_165907
Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite “go to” foods

 

Now if I mention that and you think “Hey, that’s Thanksgiving food!”

Well just hold on a minute. If your idea of eating them involves a lot of sugar and butter, well.. we need to talk….

Now don’t get your feathers ruffled up. I know it’s tasty and hopefully you eat them like that once a year but let’s be honest. With all the sugar, butter, marshmallows, etc. it might, just might, negate the goodness of the lowly, not really attractive looking potato.

Here’s the low down on them

Although they’re soft and creamy enough to be put in pies and called dessert, sweet potatoes are also a surprisingly nutritious vegetable.

For a one cup serving they come in at only 114 calories. They pack a whopping amount of Vitamin A in the form of beta- carotene  providing 377% of your daily needs.

They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.

If you’re wanting to lose weight the sweet potato is a healthy, low calorie, satisfying food to add in your daily nutrition. Just as long as you don’t load them down with sugar, butter and other stuff 😉

Why are sweet potatoes good for you?

Well besides all the good vitamins and minerals mentioned above, consider this,

For as sweet as they are, sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index (which means they release sugar slowly into the bloodstream). … Manganese helps the body metabolize carbohydrates and thus maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and it can even stabilize your appetite. It also helps the body utilize antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are also high in fiber helping the digestive system.

That all sounds like a win, right?

What about some health benefits?

Due to the color-pigmented vitamins, sweet potatoes are high in anti-inflammatory benefits.  One sweet potato contains about half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamins A and E also support a healthy immune system and are powerful disease fighting antioxidants. While orange sweet potatoes contain more vitamin A, purple sweet potatoes are packed with the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is responsible for red, blue and purple colors in fruits and vegetables.

The high level of Vitamin A also contributes to healthy glowing skin and hair and promotes collagen growth.

Ok well sign me up. But how do I cook them?

There are all kinds of healthy and tasty ways to eat sweet potatoes year round. Below is one of my favorite, quick and easy ways to eat them. You seriously can’t go wrong roasting any vegetable in my opinion.

Oh, brussel sprouts are also making an appearance with them, don’t go hatin’ on them ok? Roasted together with olive oil and cracked pepper and sea salt are amazing.

20180213_173350

 

Cold sweet potatoes are always tasty the next  morning tossed in with my other veggies and eggs.

If you don’t like those options, I’ll toss in a couple recipes here from my Pinterest board for you.

You’re welcome for the last one 😉

You can always turn a potato into a meal by adding healthy proteins like lean chicken or turkey. Black beans are pretty tasty with it too.

Wrapping it up….

Oh. Yeah you can wrap them in foil and just bake them too, nothing fancy required there. Sweet potatoes are a healthy. low calorie, food choice that offer again, lots of good nutritional value to your daily eating plan.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ways to eat them, but be mindful too that various add in’s can move up the calorie count.

Tell me, do you like sweet potatoes? Do you eat them all year, or just occasionally?

Monday Musings

Hello world! Time for another edition of Monday Musings, a general collection of my random thoughts, observations, and other life stuff that’s going down.

So what about that Super Bowl last weekend? Between hubby and three sons I’ve had to get on the football wagon in these past years or get left behind.

That being said, I weirdly miss it once the “big” game happens and then there’s nothing active or current going on with it. I actually got excited last fall when someone said it was almost football season.

What happened to me???

That being said… of course I was watching last weeks events unfold with the Patriots “we’re just here to scoop up another ring” and the Eagles “we’ve never won and have no rings but are ready to bring our A game”  to the big field.

Ok… so I’m always a sucker for the underdog. I can’t help it. Damn that compassionate spirit and what not. I wanted to see them have the win. The other guys, they’ve got enough bragging rights and rings, they can try next year.

And what a game it was. The Eagles came out and played like they wanted to take the win, the ring, and the Disneyland trip home with them. Not that Patriots didn’t try and deliver, they just didn’t deliver, enough.

eagles

So although I was only like, one of two, cheering for the Eagles win it didn’t matter. It was a cool experience watching men overcome with emotion to achieve that. As an athlete ( on a much smaller scale!) I understand emotions that come from the accomplishments of doing something you haven’t done before.

It’s worth the tears.

Speaking of athletic shenanigans

This last week I’ve spent a little more time doing indoor strength training. When I say that I don’t mean solely weights, although I do. But, like using your body and that alone, is the way to build some strength. No matter what you may or may not have, you have a body and can do exercises to build strength with it.

Squats of all varieties, lunges, jump squats, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, push ups, ( sweet heavens how I hate them) Russian twists, planks, side planks, V up’s the list goes on.

So I incorporate a lot of that, I use real weights too ’cause you know…girl muscles… and I kinda like out flexing most guys haha but seriously, I just like being strong for life, ya know?

20180209_092341
Girl muscles

 

 

Oh yeah, and some cardio ’cause you need to do that stuff. Your heart and lungs honestly will thank you. If you missed my post on heart health and why your heart wants you to do cardio find it here…  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/02/08/your-happy-healthy-heart-2/

It’s great to build muscles, but if you can’t walk a block or run a flight of stairs, um, you need to rethink cardio.

So before strength training I usually knock out either 10 minutes on the rowing machine which gives me around 1.3 miles or so, I sometimes do a 20 minute round of boxing or a quick run. Of course other days in my week are nothing but cardio….enter running and cycling 😉

Speaking of strength ….

the winter Olympics are upon us. Although I haven’t seen much yet, can I say all the snowboarding athletes. Holy cow Batman!

And Americans have been scooping up some gold goodies too.

The Olympics are the cream of the lot when it comes to athletes. I wanna be one when I grow up.

Complete, total machines.

I’m fascinated at all they have had to do, and continue to do to maintain the level the operate at.

Well. Wait. Do they have like… a senior Olympics? I might be able to do that! haha

Do you have a favorite Olympic sport or event you enjoy watching?

In fun projects I’ve been up to this week….

So I may have mentioned when I’m not preaching athletic stuff or learning about nutrition one of my other “hobbies” has become old, antique furniture. There’s a certain thrill of “the hunt” and if I’m successful I get “the prize”.  I want the odd, unique, different things I don’t see floating around. It’s so exciting when I get the prize AND for the price I want.

There’s something therapeutic about transforming a piece and giving it new life.

Like this ugly little night stand…. I’m so in love with how it turned out….

I wanted a project piece to experiment with pink. I love pink. I just wanted something to practice that look on. This night stand was headed to the dumpster when I snatched it from my son thinking I’d clean it up and donate it. One day while working out as I was pondering my desire to do something pink, I realized this was just sitting there, staring at me waiting to be transformed….

20180205_171839
the obvious before photo…. isn’t it ugly??
20180207_195712
Isn’t it beautiful now???

Since I really had nothing to lose it was fun to let go with it. The piece had been speaking to me and I had a vision for what to do with it. Now I really want to practice this on a bigger real piece of furniture. Like an old school vanity….

Anyway…..

I also got this super cool, unique, interesting piece this week, I’ve never seen anything like it….

 

chevron
My newest score this week on the antique furniture hunt

 

Thankfully, I came across a man who is very knowledgeable in this work of knowing furniture. I shamelessly pick his brain on various things regarding a couple pieces I got recently. So of course, when I could turn up nothing on this ( for the love of old things I don’t even know WHAT to call it to search it up) I shot him a pic asking if he had a clue.

Oh lucky me. He knows his stuff… and this is what I learned….

A dresser like this is called a cheval dresser. He went on to say based on the hardware ( which I’m in love with and can’t believe it’s all still on it… with a real key hole) he thinks it’s English made and made of quartersawn oak and get this… circa 1900! AH!

One interesting factoid you probably don’t know…. As I’ve acquired a few pieces recently I of course, want to know how old it is. Evidently at the turn of the century (20th) they stamped the mirror on the back before putting the wood cover over it. This would reveal the month and year it was made. You can understand how tempting it is for me to want to pull the back off of a vanity mirror to know it’s age.. but then there are all of the neat brass tacks holding it in place and that checks me from doing it.

For now….

Anyway, he went on to tell me if I can look behind mirror, if the back of mirror is red or gold it was made in England. If it’s silver, it’s American. Regardless, it’s still circa 1900 wherever it was crafted.

So ok, yeah I’m a wee bit excited at this online find. Oh, did I mention I paid only 80.00 for it?

Eighty bucks.

Obviously my remodel thoughts on it now are quite a bit different as I will be sanding it back to it’s original beautiful wood tone… it will be so worth it.

I love a good challenge.

The wood around mirror top has some broken pieces so that’s where I’m setting my hand to first. Then, on to the next thing.

My other acquisition this week was a 1920’s ladies writing desk….

sligh desk
1920 Sligh ladies writing desk

 

So it’s been a busy kinda week, but a fun, good kinda busy. I love doing so many creative things. Writing is definitely a wonderful outlet, exercise is always a creative time, but transforming things let’s more of my creativity come out. Stay tuned in upcoming weeks for updates on their transformation.

Tell me, what do you enjoy doing? What’s your passion or something you have a love for that makes your heart sing?

Your Happy Healthy Heart

So it’s a cold, grey day in my part of the world. After a busy morning getting a strong training session in and some always necessary house work, and then working on some of my other fun projects (  revamping old furniture) I decided I deserved some coffee and writing time.

My training though, it’s hard to take myself outside to the building I use on cold mornings ’cause like, it has no heat.

This can work in my favor in several ways. Usually, it means I get out there and get moving with some cardio to get my blood stirring so I warm up fast.

Today I decided some time spent  boxing should do the trick to get me warmed up.  It always works….

20180207_102737
Boxing. It not only gets your heart rate up, it warms you up fast too.

Toss some angry music in my ear, add my well worn pink gloves, 20 minutes later I’m in a full sweat, cold air and all.

Oh. Wait.

What cold?

So the boxing warmed me up for 45 minutes of strength training, i.e. muscle building time. I might mention though, all those solid metal weights, not much warms them up when you first grab hold of them!

Overall, a nice strong training session.

That boxing though, it’s a form of cardio that I love for a variety of reasons. Like, I can punch something as hard as I want and not get in trouble haha. It can be very, very good therapy.

But lets not forget its great upper body and core workout too, but it also has great benefits for getting the heart working hard. We can forget that those internal muscles of our heart and lungs need strong training as much as our arms and legs, well, actually they need it more.

That’s what I wanna talk about today… our heart and exercise and some other stuff too.

Here in the states, February is heart month.

However, I’m thinking if you’re reading this you’re alive, which means you have a beating heart, and it needs proper care so wherever you are in this world, you can read this too.

Let’s look at some facts….

Yeah, yeah, you know I’m gonna offer up some facts here, don’t you? Maybe you’ve seen “facts” in your own family if you have loved ones who’ve suffered or do suffer with heart disease.

But do you know, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. ?

And do you also know that it’s preventable ? Making heart healthy choices, knowing your family history, knowing risk factors you have, and having regular check ups are all a part of proactively caring for your heart.

Heart disease (which includes Heart Disease, Stroke and other Cardiovascular Diseases) is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics and Whites. For Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders and American Indians or Alaska Natives, heart disease is second only to cancer

Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined

Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing nearly 380,000 people annually

In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. Every 60 seconds, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event.

Direct and indirect costs of heart disease total more than $320.1 billion. That includes health expenditures and lost productivity.

Women and heart disease….

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.

Every minute, approximately one woman dies from heart disease.

Only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat

An estimated 6.6 million women alive today in the U.S. have coronary heart disease.

90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease or stroke. This stat is sobering for yours truly sitting here writing this. As a woman who feels she leads a healthy lifestyle, eats well, exercises often and has a low family history, the idea of being in the 10% of no risk is perhaps slim.

The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men and are often misunderstood.

Men and women are not the same when it comes to heart disease.

Well gosh, thanks for all this good news….

Remember earlier, I said this was a preventable disease? Unfortunately, our lifestyles can be one of the biggest problems for developing heart disease. A high fat, processed diet lacking good quality heart healthy foods and inactivity are often the culprits to heart problems.

Those things, we can make changes on in our lives. We can begin to exchange foods that aren’t so great for heart health for ones that are. We can put on shoes and start walking each day. Almost everyone has the ability to walk. Start there, but just start moving.  Do it at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

You get a gold star if you do more 😉

Clipart Illustration of a Healthy Red Heart Running Past
exercise does your heart good

Failure to exercise (walking or doing other moderate activities for at least 30 minutes five days a week or more vigorous workouts at least 20 minutes three times a week) can contribute to an increased risk of coronary heart disease as physical activity helps control weight, cholesterol levels, diabetes and, in some cases, can help lower blood pressure.

Find some posts I’ve done on exercise here if you need some more reading material…https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2016/08/03/so-you-hate-exercise/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/05/25/does-exercise-have-benefits/

Adopt a diet low in salt, saturated and transfats and high in unsaturated fats (fish, avocado, etc.)  I don’t talk about specific “diets” but I did a review comparing two, one I can endorse as practical, livable and good for you. Find it here….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/07/21/keto-and-dash-diet-review/

Maintain a normal body weight with caloric adjustment

Avoid smoking and recreational drug use

Have no more than ½ to 1 alcoholic beverage per day.

Know and review your risk factors with a trusted physician. Your physician may recommend medications to control cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.

Know and understand your family history. Next to your personal care of yourself, this will help you assess any potential problems that are out of your control.

People who are overweight are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, even if they have none of the other risk factors. Excess weight causes extra strain on the heart; influences blood pressure, cholesterol and levels of other blood fats – including triglycerides; and increases the risk of developing diabetes. 66% of Americans over age 20 are obese.

If you have diabetes be aware that the condition seriously increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, even if glucose levels are under control. More than 80% of diabetes sufferers die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease.

With all that being said

By maintaining a heart healthy diet, doing active vigorous exercise, knowing your family history and having regular checkups you can be sure to keep your heart in the best shape you can.

So when you’re out there exercising and your heart is beating strongly in your chest, appreciate all it does for you and continue to show it love back by doing things to keep it healthy and well.

What do you do to keep your heart strong and healthy?

Super Size Me

20180123_075157

 

Full disclosure here. I’ve been camped on this topic for a long time now. Sometimes ideas come to me and they are easy to write off the cuff. Others require a bit of time to brew in my head and yet some I’m just left pondering how to deliver the message. This is usually when a topic is a wee bit controversial or “not politically” correct or whatever term can be applied.

Since I’m one who is fairly comfortable speaking my mind, I won’t hold back.

When I saw the quote above it was one of those things that resonated with me immediately. Mainly because the truth of it in our culture and society today is so true.

Food has become the drug of choice for many and it’s taking a toll on their health and living a energetic lifestyle. This drug also has the ability to end lives with the diseases that obesity brings with it. Food is a socially acceptable way to often medicate things deep inside yet it doesn’t fix the problems a person deals with.

With obesity at an all time high in adults and more disturbingly in children, some are eating their way to the grave. Unfortunately, food is often mindlessly, mechanically consumed and in quantities beyond what is needed to satisfy our hunger.

With restaurants and food establishments offering larger and larger portions or the “super sizing” we are super sizing ourselves into obesity and the joy of carting around extra fat on our bodies. This taxes our heart and lungs, puts excessive work on our joints, causes our organs to work hard to compensate for the excess which then causes our body to develop ( very preventable diseases)

Super-Size-Me

According to the CDC (Centers for disease control) Nearly 4 in 10 adults have a body mass index classifying them as obese. Young Americans as well have been piling on the pounds and obesity rates among the country’s youth ( 2-19) stands at 18.5 percent.  This trend is most worrying as young people are far more likely to stay obese while childhood obesity is linked to a higher chance of early death in adulthood. More troubling yet, 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese making people with normal weight a minority.

But wait… it’s not just an American problem….

Globally there are more people ( children and adults) who are obese than underweight – this occurs in every region except parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight.

Some key facts

  • Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Obesity is preventable

 

So why are people getting so fat?

Being over weight, simplified, is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.

Worldwide there has been an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat; ( think fast foods, overly processed, high calorie, refined sugars etc. ) and an increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization. And sadly let’s not forget an overall laziness or desire to just not physically exert ourselves.

So basically, we’re shoveling in more food, and not the good kinds, and moving our bodies less and less.

It’s the perfect storm for disaster.

Are there common health consequences for obesity and being overweight?

Yes. Our bodies are not designed to handle excessive fat and often develop diseases because of this.

  • cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke), which were the leading cause of death in 2012;
  • diabetes;
  • musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints);
  • some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon).
  • high blood pressure

And what about our kids?

Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood. But in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological effects.

My brother was overweight as a young adult. Children are awful in how they treat others. The psychological effects can be huge for kids.

How do we fix the problem?

First and foremost, someone has to have the desire to change patterns, habits, and behaviors that have led to obesity or being overweight. Without a personal desire nothing will change.

Overweight and obesity, as well as their related diseases, are largely preventable.

Preventable meaning we have control of them. Meaning we can change things if we don’t let it get to far. There are things you might not have control over, but maintaining a healthy weight is something for the most part, we can all have a measure of control over.

Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in shaping people’s choices, by making the choice of healthier foods and regular physical activity the easiest choice (the choice that is the most accessible, available and affordable), and therefore preventing overweight and obesity.

As adults we are in control of the choices we make, good or bad. If we have children then we are responsible for the foods we buy and provide for them. If high fat, sugary foods are the mainstay of what’s available, they will be consumed. Children cannot go buy their own food so we must be mindful of providing them with the most nutritionally sound foods that we can. Treats aren’t bad, but they should be limited. If certain foods aren’t available in the home they can’t be consumed.

The same goes for us. If we limit/control the amount of non-nutritional foods we bring home, we won’t eat them.

I told hubby when we were shopping recently that I know and  fully understand if I bring home a bag of salt and pepper kettle potato chips, it’s the equivalent to bringing home crack to a druggie.

I just can’t be trusted with them. The best thing then is that I don’t buy them, and if I do, I fully accept the consequences.

Steps to take in losing weight

On an individual level we can:

  • limit energy intake from total fats and sugars;
  • increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and
  • engage in regular physical activity. Find something you enjoy and do it. Do it most days of the week. Children need to be moving and should be encouraged to participate in sports and other activities to keep them healthy and work off excess energy 😉
  • limit the amount of fast foods or overly processed foods eaten.
  • Try to eat more natural foods without things added to them.
  • Develop a balanced and sensible nutrition plan.
  • Plan a 1-2 lb loss a week.

Keep a healthy perspective

Keeping your goals small and realistic will lead to success. Understand building new habits and behaviors will take time but they will be worth having to help you live a permanent lifestyle of health and wellness.

Accept good and bad days on your journey but don’t quit. Keep moving forward every day celebrating all your body can do for you.

Make small consistent changes. Don’t go for the “all or nothing” or drastically cut all things you love from your daily nutrition.

Get friends or family on board to have a support system to help you. Often it is hard to do something like this on our own, having others who can hold you accountable, ask you how you are doing and celebrate your successes with you can help tremendously.

If you and your family need to lose weight, brainstorm on how you can work together as a team to reach goals individually and as a group.

Finally, be patient with yourself and learn to celebrate each step along your journey and before you know it, you will have reached your goals your  set for yourself.

What healthy practices do you use? Do you think the super sizing of foods has contributed to obesity problems? Do you think food is often used to medicate feelings or emotions?

Benefits Of Elderberries

elderberries-fb

 

One of the things I enjoy about writing is the freedom to write not only on health and fitness, but also on a wide variety of topics as well. I talk a lot about healthy foods and what they can do for your body but today I wanna talk about a supplement.

I know, I know. A supplement. It’s not my usual style for sure but this one I think bears examining a little.

Here in the states, the flu right now is extremely serious. You can’t see the news without more awful stories coming out about  people dying, many are children.

This supplement kept coming to me in a variety of ways so I figured I needed to investigate it further. I will always encourage real, whole food sources over supplements, but I believe this supplement is most likely easier for people to get their hands on, thus receiving the benefits.

I’ve been reading about  elderberries, and how they can actually help slow the virus or cut the duration shorter.

What are elderberries?

Elderberries are the fruit of the flowering plant known as Sambucus, more commonly referred to as elder or elderflower.

You will mainly find elderberries in the Northern hemisphere, particularly in Europe and North America, although some southern species are grown in Australia. The berries are black or very dark blue and have a sharp, sweet flavor that makes them highly preferred for desserts, syrups, jams, jellies, spreads, and as the base for various cocktails and drinks.

Since most of the berries in the genus Sambucus are toxic, caution is suggested and cooking the elderberries before consuming is always a wise choice. The branches, leaves, and twigs of all species contain trace elements of cyanide, which can build up in your body and eventually kill you, so be careful! ( how’s that for a fun and random fact??) if you decide to buy elderberries make sure you get them in a licensed reputable store. Don’t pick and eat wild berries as not all are safe to eat.

However, despite the implicit risks of elderberries, they are packed with beneficial nutrients, so they have been a part of  traditional medicine for hundreds of years and some health benefits have become more commonly acknowledged. We’ll look at some of those below.

  Elderberry actually has a very long history of medicinal use. Most historians typically trace it’s healing power back to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known as the father of medicine  and who described the plant as his “medicine chest” due to the wide array of health concerns it seemed to cure.

Used for its antioxidant activity to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.

Do I have your attention now? It certainly grabbed mine when I started reading about it.

Health benefits of the elder plant

It naturally improves colds, the flu, sinus issues, nerve pain, inflammation, allergies, chronic fatigue, and constipation.

Get this… studies have shown when used within the first 48 hours of onset of symptoms, the extract has actually been found to reduce the duration of the flu with symptoms being relieved on average 4 days sooner.

During the ’95 flu epidemic the government actually employed the use of elderberry to fight the flu.

Elderberry has been the subject of numerous studies that shows it can actually decrease the duration and symptoms of the influenza virus. The high levels of antioxidants present in the extract are able to interfere with the activity of the virus itself.

Wait.. there’s more….

when it comes to antioxidants power, elderberry is higher in flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and blackberries!

Elderberries are an excellent general immune system booster. Elderberry extract has been shown to be a safe, efficient and cost effective treatment for colds and flu.

With elderberries anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it naturally helps clear and heal sinus issues.

Other ways it has been used and has benefits include:

It can help lower blood sugar, it’s a natural diuretic and laxative, and with it’s antioxidants and flavonoids as well as its high Vitamin A content, it makes it excellent for skin health.

The high levels of essential minerals help promote bone strength and development of new bone tissue.

Where do I get this super power food/supplement ?

As mentioned above, if you buy the berries, make sure they are from a reliable source. They offer many health benefits, including a high dose of daily fiber.

However, you can buy supplements that come in the forms of syrups, lozenges, and capsules. Dosing varies for each so it’s important you follow the directions on the package. These products can be found at local health and wellness stores or purchased online. These supplements as mentioned when taken accordingly can help with colds and flu.

Of course, if you feel like doing it, you can always make your own syrups from the berries.

Are there any side effects?

As with any herbal remedy it’s important to be aware of anything unusual you may experience. Signs of reactions could be a rash or difficulty breathing. Both should have immediate medical care. As mentioned it’s a diuretic so if you have kidney problems you may need to stay away from it.

In summary

This post is not meant as medical treatment or to suggest not using all available healthcare to keep you and your family well. It was intended to inform and educate to help alongside your health care choices. There is enough research to support elderberry helping with colds and flu that I thought it was relevant enough in this time to share with you.

Share with me. Have you tried this? If so, what has been your experience?