Another Year Older, Again ?!

So it’s arrived. It showed up without a lot of fanfare or big announcements.¬† My alarm glared me into¬†foggy reality, a¬†new day to open my eyes, and a calendar that tells me I’m now , officially, another year older.

Go me!

I don’t have any weird hang ups about getting older. The cool thing is… I don’t feel older…

I will admit sometimes, having to stop and think about my exact age. I just don’t give it much thought anymore.

live your life

I’ve¬† not dreaded another year as if that’s going to change something in me. For the love of chocolate, I’ve been allowed to LIVE another year, who cares what number is attached to it?

I’m loving where I am in life and most of all¬† love what I’ve been able to accomplish to this point.

I’ve found age to be irrelevant¬†in regards to¬†taking on new adventures and challenges.¬† On an athletic level and what I’ve accomplished, age has nothing to do with levels of fitness. I can out run and out do people half my age. My kids freely admit they wouldn’t even want to go up against me ūüėõ

I had to laugh at my doctor recently as he suggested that I¬† “have fun but take it easy as I’m older” I told him I’ve done more physically in the last 3 years than I’ve ever done and I really don’t have any intention of slowing down. Not to mention I’m in the best physical condition I’ve ever been in to take on new adventures.

 

new goal

Ok.. hear me.. I’m not implying acting foolishly. I listen to my body and I know the difference between training hard and if there’s something I need to let heal and get better. That’s a most important aspect of getting older… having a little wisdom ūüėõ

It should be noted about the good doctor here… he… was the one who encouraged me to get back to some exercise 8 years ago.¬† How could he have imagined the wild adventures his counsel would lead me to ??

So yes, I’ve embraced new challenges. I know that there’s nothing I can’t do if I set my mind to it. Age is not a factor in being a good athlete.

But there’s more too. More to this getting another year older thing.

It’s being comfortable in and with who I am. Finding my voice and using it. Daring to be different.

I realized one morning, flying down the road on my bike at a crazy speed, I will not be sitting back quietly, getting older, watching life go by. I will not be a woman society will box up and set aside…. as if…. my age somehow will dictate my worthiness or abilities in some way.

Nah… I don’t see that happening. I won’t be quiet. I won’t sit back and follow some random rules that¬† society says I have to play along with. I will think for myself, make my own rules.

Well, oops, I already have.

I will be the older,¬†talkative, energetic and out going free spirit wife, mom, sister, aunt, friend in the tank top and short shorts at the family picnics ūüėõ

I will continue to¬†find humor in random things and laugh freely because laughter is always good for the soul. I will have fun taking crazy selfies at the spur of the moment just for the pure sport and fun of it and chronicle my adventures because it pleases… me.

I for sure, won’t be boring.

Age has taught me a few, I believe, important things….

To appreciate more and grumble less.

To value all I have, it’s not something I’m “entitled” to.

To appreciate all kinds of people and not make split decisions based on the outer appearance.

To truly be comfortable in my own skin.

I’ve learned there are times in life when silence can be as powerful as a spoken word.

But then I’ve also learned to speak up and speak out if I believe in something , see something as wrong, or if it’s something I’m passionate about.

I’ve learned to challenge myself more and not doubt my abilities to do something ( I will admit this one has been hard as I hate the idea of failing at something)

I’ve learned to accept from others the wisdom they can offer me.

I freely and openly engage with new people, believing and understanding, I can always learn something new from others who have different experiences and knowledge.

To love every moment of a “normal” day because when life throws things at you, you long for “normal” days.

Friendships come on all age levels. I love my mature friends who have walked roads before me and can offer sage advice and wisdom, but I also draw so much energy from my young friends who have this passionate nature for life. We encourage each other.

Diversity makes life way more interesting than surrounding yourself with only people “like you.”

I’ve learned to¬†be less concerned over a perceived need for approval.¬† Mainly because I don’t live my life with a focus on how someone else might do things, or if they approve how I do them.

I don’t take myself to seriously but I’ve also learned how to think deeply.

Being older isn’t¬†a hindrance to pursuing new adventures and¬†challenges.

Ah…. there are so many other things… I could go on….

Let’s just say, as I am waking up to a another year being older, I don’t dread it.

I am a woman who is grateful to have been given life. Who views the years she has lived¬†as opportunities to have¬†gained¬†wisdom, maturity, confidence and an awareness of exactly who she is, what she wants, and where she’s going.

I want to continue to live in a fierce, bold way.

So here’s to life and another year of living out loud.¬† Cheers to 50ish!

 

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Body powered by black coffee and exercise ūüėČ

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Step Parent

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Christmas 1998 with my dad

 

 

Heads up. This is a “life” post. Don’t worry… we’ll return to healthy eating, fitness, my current cycling adventures, food, and other interesting topics soon….

This past Sunday we¬† celebrated Fathers Day in the U.S. It’s¬†a day celebrated each year on the third Sunday in June to honor the men in our lives.

I’m blessed to be surrounded by some pretty awesome men in my life, from my inner circle, to those I interact with¬†out in the¬†world.

The man in the picture is my dad. It’s obviously, not, a current photo of me. My mom dated it ’98 on the back. I found it digging through some old photos that she had. Honestly, I have no memory of that picture being taken.

I was a young mom and according to the year my boys would’ve been between 4-10 years old.

No laughing at my mom jeans and bangs.

Christmas has always been a fun, celebratory event in our family. My parents delighted in it and loved giving way more than anything they’d receive. Not only did they always bless us with a fun Christmas, they’d also find a needy family or two to help out. My mom always wanted those families to experience Christmas like she gave to her family.

My dad was the handwriting for “Santa” for way longer than my kids probably bought into it. He loved doing that, it was his job he knew he was expected to do each year. He’d get the name tags ( ask again how to spell everyone’s name haha) and get to work on his project.

Maybe I should pause here to mention… he’s technically… my “step” dad.

I never use that term unless, for some reason I have to clarify something in my life and using the “step” part helps to do that.

My feelings…on referring to anyone as “step” something? I don’t like it.

To me it says… keep your distance, I don’t want you to close, you aren’t worthy enough to not have the “step” attached to it, you aren’t as good as the original etc etc

Now don’t crucify me if you don’t agree. I know all situations are different for people but for the sake of (me) in my family, I have always tried to just include everyone as a part without making them feel separated out.

So, he’s technically my “step” dad. He came into my life when I was 19, almost 20, and about to be married.

I had passed the point of needing a dad. I had two men in my life who had that job and both had walked out on me and my family.

My birth dad left my family when I was 8 for another woman.

My mom later remarried and this man “adopted” us. When I was 17 he walked out.

When this new guy ( step dad #2 ) came around, I was a bit jaded to male figures in my life at that point as “dad”.

Hear me out on this… I’ve made my peace a long time ago with it all. I’ve not allowed it to define me or make me bitter or angry. I’ve not carried it along with me as baggage. I’ve not held onto hurts that I can take out and pet when I’m feeling sorry for myself. Like all things in life, I believe it has strengthened and defined me as a woman. It is what it is, I can be bitter or I can deal with it and move on and that’s what I’ve done.

Oh of course, years ago, I did ask all the questions. I did ponder the “whys” of it. I did wonder why two men didn’t wanna stick around in my life.

I asked all the hard questions. I got answers for some things, some I didn’t.

And I let it go. Nothing would change what was.

My “step” dad.

He married my mom the year after I was married.

He never tried to set himself up as my dad. As an adult, I called him by his first name from day one.

His personality was a bit gruff, rough and stoic. He didn’t often reveal a lot about himself. He had his own quirky things that we all came to jokingly love and tease about.

Rough and not sometimes “polished”, he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He would help you if you had any need.

As the years went by and he was still around, he just did those things dads would do.

If I had car problems, I called and he’d come rescue me. If I needed help with anything, he was willing to do what he could.

When my husband was in school and things were tight I can remember him and my mom dragging bags of groceries in telling us “they had been at the store and just thought we might need a couple things”

When we started having babies, he always wanted us to have what we needed. He loved picking things out for them.

He bragged on me to anyone who would listen. Even now,¬†with his memory slipping away, one of his caretakers told me one day when I stopped…. “Oh, you’re the runner. I’ve heard all about you”

Life just settled into routine and the years went by…

He was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimers a few years before my mom passed away.

They celebrated 30 years of marriage shortly before¬† her death ( 2 years ago) then the ¬†mantle of “Caretaker” fell on my shoulders.

It has not been easy watching this disease take a horrible toll on him. It is heartbreaking when he asks if it’s ok to use things in his house… or if it’s REALLY his house.

I have to remind him to eat, tell him he needs to take off his shirt before he puts on another one otherwise he will have “layers”, and try and convince him it’s not winter, but summer and he doesn’t need to wear heavy coats.

Looking at photos this passed weekend, he saw some of my mom, and when asked who she was he said… “your mother”…. yet… was unable to come up with her name.

He has days when he’s almost like himself and those are nice. I’ve just gone through “hell week” as this past week was awful with him being angry, temperamental and very uncooperative.

Those days are draining. They make me feel helpless. Tired. Overwhelmed.

I sometimes don’t know which way to go and what to do. I feel a heavy level of responsibility to make sure his needs are met in the best way possible.

He doesn’t always know it, but I’m what he’s got. I’m his advocate.. standing in the gap and fighting for him….Some days I feel so inadequate.

That’s often what you feel like as a parent isn’t it?

Somehow, our roles have been reversed. I try and give him the freedom and dignity as the grown man he is, while remembering mentally, I’m dealing with someone more childlike and have to guide and protect for his best interests.

So, we celebrated Fathers Day yesterday.

He may or may not have totally gotten what the entire day was about.

He may or may not have read and understood the cards or the writing on them.  He may not be able to retrieve the memories in the photos that were shared with him or the names of people. They could be lurking in his mind like ghosts of yesterday or play out like stories from another life in his mind.

32 years have gone by since he entered my life. Those years have contained all the things that make up our lives…. from the normal mundane, to the fun and exciting, the sorrows, and joys, laughter and tears… he’s been there.

So yeah, I dropped the “step” thing a very long time ago. At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, it’s simply about being family, isn’t it?

And family is anyone, I believe, who we bring into our lives to embrace and accept as such.

That Whole Age Thing Again

live your life

If you’ve followed me awhile you know I’m big on wanting people to be empowered. I also believe when you start challenging yourself and pushing into new things it empowers and strengthens you, builds a new confidence in you.

I also don’t find age to be an excuse to not tackle new things, to try new adventures, or to improve and strengthen ¬†your body.

I will admit… I have a hard time controlling my face when I hear things that make me twitch.

For instance… when people start talking about how getting old means things fall apart and you have aches and pains and health issues….ok.. but this…dang it… that PRINT does seem to be getting smaller haha…

Anyway, I really try not to let my face get… that look…. on it. The “Oh, pleassssseee” look.

In a world that is more and more sedentary and people view purposeful movement as some kind of fresh hell and don’t want to be made uncomfortable, we are seeing a bigger more wide spread issue of obesity and health issues, you can add those aging aches and pains to that too.

Exercise, done right, can be uncomfortable. It’s easy to come up with excuses or reasons not to… we don’t want to get out of our comfort zone.

Listen up… I’ve preached on this before…our bodies need movement for health and wellness.

Even if you don’t care if you ever see a defined muscle on your body or you want¬†to look like you came off a fitness magazine… your body needs exercise for good health.

People as they age get aches, pains and can’t do things because their bodies haven’t had to do a lot of intentional physical activity…..basically … you use it or lose it. If you don’t do things to build and strengthen muscles, how will you be able to do harder tasks as you age ? Not even the hard ones, but those that should be easy be feel hard.

Yeah, I get it. When you start off you DO feel old and tired haha. Seriously, though, what really happens is you realize you’re out of shape and it’s frustrating. You don’t like the winded, feeling tired, achy, feeling that goes along with it. You wonder if it’s worth it.

But if you’re smart… you keep at it… small little steps at a time…day by day… until those activities don’t leave you feeling like the old lady on the life alert commercials who needs assistance getting up.

Is it really easier? or has your body beautifully adapted to the demands being put on it and….gasp… gotten a little stronger ?

Empowered with your growing strength and abilities, you push on for a little more.

Purposefully working and strengthening your body is, and should be, a life long process.

I’ll share with you¬†a story I saw on the news today. Stories on running, fitness etc (obviously) always catch my attention.

So when the story was announced about a weight lifting grandma, well yeah I wanted to see it. I honestly thought it was going to be about a woman that I follow who is 73 and in better physical shape than woman half or less of her age. She looks incredible. She credits her looks to… surprise…good nutrition, a positive attitude, and staying physically active(she is a body builder)

However, today wasn’t about her. It was about a 78 year old woman who, well, honestly did look like the picture perfect “grandmother”.

Silver hair, glasses, average build, she was in basic knit capris and a t shirt…. deadlifting 225 lbs.! I don’t even deadlift that much yet! Yet there she was slinging it up and down like nothing. The cool thing? Her husband said it was just something “she picked up and started doing recently, and it really surprised him” haha I bet it did!

That means, no matter where you are in life, you can get out there and get started and begin to improve and help yourself right where you are.

Listen I know and understand lots of people have  (health issues or problems) to deal with.  Learn to modify activities to meet your needs and work within that area. My husband had major back surgery years ago and deals with pain that can come and go. My dad had knee replacement and has aches that come with that. Just learn to work where you are and do what you can do.

Don’t let “age” be a crutch to keep you from having and building a stronger body. A strong body lets you be active and energetic for living your life fully =)

new goal

Beautifully Flawed

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I spotted them immediately. Actually, I know where their stalking spot is, but I still have to walk by it.

It makes me feel like a character in Three Billy Goats Gruff where the goats have to get over the bridge or get eaten by a troll.

These… are the modern day trolls.

Who, you might be wondering, do I speak of?

The “skin care” people staked out¬†in kiosks at the mall eager to push on you all of their products. They can be unrelenting in pursuing “customers”.

To get to my favorite stores, I have to be able to successfully navigate through them, much like the goats crossing the bridge in Three Billy Goats Gruff….

It was a lovely day and I was out shopping with my daughter. We had successfully made it through but it was on the way back I got caught by the um… troll ?¬† All I can say is, I wasn’t fully on my game that day, perhaps I was distracted talking with my daughter but regardless….

He quickly handed a sample off to me and turned around telling me to wait.. and in my head¬† I’m yelling… “they always, and only, give you one sample… run!”

Yet, somehow, before I knew it, I was planted in his chair listening to him talk to me in some exotic accent as he applied some cream all under my eye proclaiming how it would “help me”

He then produced a picture of a woman, that I kid you not, was in her 80’s with deeply lined wrinkled skin and huge puffy bags under her eyes.. he waves it in my face…

“Do you see this? ” he proclaims…

I choke out.. “are you saying I look that BAD???”

He tells me “no”¬†he’s only trying to show me a “results” picture for his product.

Like, why wouldn’t he show me something I could relate to better ?

Anyway, he keeps babbling on and on about his amazing product and how I’m going to love it…then he says… “Now, I’m going to let you look in the mirror. Please don’t scream.”

I ask him… ” Why? Am I going to look as bad as that woman you just showed me ?”

He tells me no, I will look much better… geez… I left the house that day thinking I looked pretty good….all the sudden I was wondering if there might be a bag I could drop over my head… like I was out in public looking like some gargoyle.

He shows me the mirror and honestly, I can’t tell a huge difference.

I didn’t scream. I did feel like I had someone constantly pulling at the edge of my eye, which was annoying.

He then says proudly, “AND you can use this and not have to use Botox!”

I¬†looked at him and said… “never, in my life, have I considered doing that”

He looked stunned. He looked …well… shocked… he sputtered out… “Really? But don’t you want to look better?”

I told him I wanted to be me, and really, all I honestly wanted was to age gracefully.

No Botox. No surgeries to change my face. No weirdo stuff.

I listened for a bit¬†as he went on¬†… his whole speech really designed to make me ( or anyone ) in his chair feel bad about how they looked… and that using his product would fix me and make me “better” ( his words… “oh, you are a very lovely woman, but I can make you look so much better!”)

He asked me what product I wanted to buy… the one for my face or the one for my hands he had used.

I stood up and told him neither… I hadn’t gone out that day needing any of his products to make me “better”…. and I left.

So let’s get to this … this whole belief right now that seems to permeate so much of the world….all kinds of things from small to extreme in a quest to “stay” young or look it… the attitude that says age and maturity are not “good”, and that you aren’t good enough or you’re somehow “flawed” if you have signs of living life, or the things that make “you” who you are mean you’re “flawed” or¬†you need surgeries ¬†to fix all of the things that are somehow wrong with you…… seriously.

First, I will straight up say,¬†I do what I can to maintain my body and my health. Of course I want to look as good as I can “for my age”. Who shouldn’t or doesn’t want to ?

I have a young, energetic attitude and personality and don’t intend to give that up any time soon…

I’m also smack in the zone of “middle aged womanhood”.

I don’t need to look 20ish… I’m not. I’ve had lines on my forehead for my entire life that are genetic ( mom, grandmother, and I’m sure my great grandmother) probably had too. I don’t need a cream to make them go away… it’s a part of who I am….

Those small laugh and smile lines? Why would I want to hide the years in my life of laughing,  smiling, joy and happiness ?

Why was¬†I listening to a total stranger try and convince me I’m not good enough as I am??

Why do we listen to society or¬†let current beliefs¬†try and convince us we aren’t good enough ? Worse yet, why are we left feeling like we need to apologize???

This is so prevalent in the world today.¬†¬†You don’t have to look but as far as the nearest magazine or internet story to see all the ways you can get fixed or be made “better”.

I’m not talking about things like… if you need to lose weight to be healthy or do things to keep you well… those are health issues… not superficial issues….

Do the things you like that make you feel good about yourself, there is nothing at all wrong with that.

There’s a big difference in doing things for yourself that make you feel good, or doing things because someone has pointed out you have “flaws” that need fixed.

Take care of your body, maintain your health, physical, spiritual, and emotional. We get one body to use in this world so we need to care for all aspects of it.

Aging is a part of life. How we embrace it and approach it largely depends on each of us.

Yeah, I’m 50ish, yeah I’m perfectly good with it. I’ve lived life and I’m grateful for such a gift.

Whether or not some stranger thinks I have something that needs to be made “better” is totally¬†irrelevant to me.

There’s a lot more to who I am … and besides…. I can still rock the heck out of¬†a little pair of shorts and a tank top so I’m good with that ūüėČ

The whole “you aren’t good enough the way you are” is nonsense.¬†We aren’t flawed or lacking or inadequate.

Stop listening to lies.  Live empowered.

 

 

 

The Agony Of Alzheimers

” So, what day is tomorrow?” It was the third time in 5 minutes the question had been posed to me. I responded appropriately and received the same answer for the third time.

It was nothing I wasn’t used to at this point… repetitive questions… the answer probably forgotten as soon as I breathed it out of my mouth.

This is a day in my life.

My dad has dementia, and not just random every day lose your mind in a painful way dementia,¬†but it’s technically referred to as Lewy Body Alzheimers, a very progressive partner of Alzheimers.

A cruel, vicious disease robbing the person of memory, the ability to do daily basic tasks, and to think past a few minutes along with a host of other issues.  The ability to think and reason becomes marred and tasks like writing and reading become almost impossible.

And besides watching someone you love deal with it, you are along for the painful ride, a pathetic co-pilot unable to control the course they are on.

It is… the most helpless feeling….ever.

There is no miraculous medical treatment… he¬†has the current medications¬†on the market but there is no cure, no fix, for a disease that destroys your brain.

So I do what I can do to make him comfortable, keep him safe, fight for him and defend him where necessary.

A healthcare person told me he has the cognitive reasoning and thinking of about an 8 year old. He’s 72.¬† It’s hard listening to him talk, seeking words and trying to put thoughts together… often I have to read between the lines to “hear” what he’s saying.

It’s hard watching him try and use things and struggle with them.

His writing has declined and even though he can read, I don’t know if he could explain to you what he read.

He has the tv on, but I honestly don’t think he can follow along with what’s going on anymore.

I asked him one day if he wanted me to get anything special at the store for him and he said… “whatever you think looks good”… as if he can’t remember what “something good” might be.

I have to make sure he eats his food or I’ll find it tucked in the ‘fridge still covered or abandoned on the counter.

I’ve been taking care of him since my Mom died, almost 2 years next month. In that time he has had a steady decline. I think my Mom did a lot to keep him “balanced” as we refer to it. Although, learning that he didn’t have “just” Alzheimers, but Alzheimers with Lewy Body, it could explain the more rapid¬†progression.

It’s been a double whammy to me. Losing my Mom and in a way, almost losing him too.

How can I express¬†what my¬†heart feels when a grown man is asking¬†me if you’re “sure he lives at his house?” and “how long has he lived there?” and he’s standing there with tears in his eyes as he inquires of you… it’s all I can do to not sob on him.

But I don’t. There just isn’t time for that.

Instead I reassure him, direct him home ( he lives just down the road from me) and tell him he can use whatever he wants in the house… that it’s ok.

He asks about my Mom and how long she’s been gone. Time is an empty circle for him… time merges into a nothingness… I tell him… he expresses shock.

In day for you and I where time seems to fly by….for him it goes on forever…endless.

I’ve become his safe person and his security in a world he struggles to navigate in.

So often I’m left wondering if I’m making the best choices for him…doing the right thing…really there is no instruction manual for something like this. I shoulder it all as best I can and pray to make the best choices.

As this disease progresses I’m in a place of examining options and trying to determine for now and the future what will be best for him.

Of course there are things along the way that make me giggle…I mean really…sometimes you have to laugh.. or go crazy….

When he comes out carting along odd things that seem right to him…. like little ketchup packs… and some of them are already used…

Or he’s wearing three shirts….

Or when he has one on inside out and perfectly buttoned up to the neck..

Or when he calls me describing the place he’s at and I’m like… “Oh, ok, you are at home”

Then there’s his stubborn streak of not wanting to do what he’s told…like shave… or put on a fresh shirt…

I’ve decided caring for someone with this disease requires a healthy dose of compassion and the boldness of a drill sergeant.

It also requires the patience of a saint, remembering he’s not doing things to be difficult, but that he really is powerless to a lot of it.

And some days I’m left feeling so inadequate…..

If you’ve read this far you’ve probably figured out this isn’t my usual health/fitness post. I wrote a blog a while back that sometimes, I’m just gonna write on life, the stuff in life that’s good, and maybe, not so good.¬†Besides all of my health and fitness stuff, I still have a whole lot of life going on.

Maybe you dear reader, are in the same place right now, caring for a loved one with this awful, hideous disease. I know some days are harder than others… more gut wrenching… more painful… and perhaps more painful to us than them… maybe that is good… that we have the pain because they have enough to deal with.

Then we’re given glimmers or times where we can really see “them” again. Because who they are has become more and more overshadowed by “the disease”.

I want to encourage you, what you do, matters. It is hard. There are times no ones knows or understands what you’re dealing with….

Stay strong… remember to take time for yourself. You need time to decompress…especially if it’s been unusually stressful. Have a couple people you can unload your struggles and concerns on. Don’t be afraid to find someone to help you out in the care required….you both need the help.

And no matter what…just take one day at a time…you’ll¬† make it.

 

alzhiemers

 

Fit, Fluffy, And Frail

The alarm brought me to life and I did what I do every morning. I began to slowly stretch out my muscles from the nights sleep… it’s a nice way to wake up… stretching things out while I’m still laying down ūüėõ

I’m kinda used to waking up with some kind of tight muscle somewhere on my body.

No, I don’t mean that comment I hear from people about having¬†random and various aches and pains, the “it’s what happens when you get old” aches and pains complaint ( I have my thoughts on that too).

I wiggled my shoulders feeling the tightness in my chest and across my back.

Ahhhh, yes. Yesterday I had finally gotten back to do some boxing. I had taken weeks away from it while my new tattoo healed ( more on that later;) I launched into it with gusto and spent some time as well lifting heavy things.

Hello deadlift, weighted shoulder squats and chest presses.

legs on fire

My body was reminding me that’s what we did yesterday.

Some mornings… it’s the legs… or the glutes.. or…. yeah… you get it….

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Fun you’re thinking.

No, seriously, I don’t mind.

You see when you exercise your body adapts to the demands put on it. In the beginning you do feel that tightness or ache or whatever (that, unfortunately, is when many people give up and quit) but as you keep at it your body wonderfully adapts to those demands.

After awhile you might not really “feel” that activity anymore. It seemingly becomes easier but the reality is, you, are getting stronger =)

Therefore, I like pushing myself a bit more to where I “feel” it. I don’t want to become complacent in doing the same old thing over and over.

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I want to challenge myself, to do a little more, to continue to build my strength and endurance.

I shared with hubby recently that I had been thinking of some things ( he gets a troubled look on his face when I say that haha;)

But I was thinking how there are things in life we cannot control. Things we have no control over…. no matter how we try….

And then…. there are some things we have a level of control over…. for instance….

I can control whether or not I’m fluffy or frail…. neither of which I have any desire to be… and I do have control over that.

I want to move ahead in my life being strong, fit, and healthy.

I can control what I eat, how I eat, and maintain a lean, strong fighting weight.

I can engage in activities that make me stronger for daily living and the tasks I take on. That time spent working out is the “pre-game” for real life that goes down way beyond my scheduled workout time.

I was chatting with a doctor the other day and we were discussing the benefits of being active and staying fit.¬† As we age we don’t have to become weak, many do because they don’t actively use their bodies. I love reading stories about people who are definitely in their “senior” years…. 70,80’s….. and they are strong and fit.

Why? They have stayed active. They run, power walk, cycle, do yoga, weight lift etc. they do things that they enjoy and have stuck with it. They know the benefits of eating well combined with purposeful exercise.

The results? they are strong… not frail or weak. They are at a healthy body weight.

Lifting heavy things keeps our muscles strong… that old saying … use it or lose it.. is pretty true.

Cardio work keeps our insides strong and healthy.

We become weak when we don’t work our bodies. But… that is something we have control over.

I don’t care how young you are… or how old… you have the power to make changes in yourself that are positive and that can impact your life in great ways.

We are always capable of making changes in ourselves.

How do you do that ?

Make a commitment to yourself that you really are worth it. This isn’t the time to be a martyr and say other things need you more, you don’t have the time to do it, you can’t take the time away etc.

Start small.

Add or increase your activities slowly to avoid injury.

Know some discomfort comes with the process!

Be realistic with your goals. Expect progress, not perfection.

Finally, don’t quit or give up! Even with a bad day, pressing on will get you¬†steadily¬†to your goals.

Is Good Nutrition The Fountain Of Youth?

vitamins and minerals

You don’t have to look far and wide today to know there is a big push on looking younger and all kinds of ways people are trying to accomplish that.

Botox and plastic surgery, magic creams and treatments the list is long…..

Aging is just a fact of natural life. I get that. At classic “middle aged” status I do get it.¬†¬†Wear and tear on your body is pretty normal and to be expected. All I want to do is age gracefully and take the best care of myself that I can.

I do not want to do things that make me start to not look like myself, or plastic and stretched or whatever you want to call it.

I will say this though. I¬†don’t know why people overlook what I think is, the most important thing to looking healthy and keeping a younger appearance.

Are you ready?

Food. You know that old adage “you are what you eat”? holds a lot of truth.

A diet that is high in sugars, processed, refined or fast foods and alcohol will take a toll on you leaving you not only puffy and sluggish but it can overall affect your appearance.

A diet that is high in fruits, veggies, and lean protein¬†will not only keep you lean but change your outer appearance too. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and tons of good nutrients our bodies need these foods. It¬†makes logical and natural sense to eat them…. they were created for us to eat!

I guess the most relevant illustration I can share with you is a couple months ago I was in a department store at the make up counter talking to a young girl about doing my makeup for my sons wedding.¬† When I shared my age with her she said ” I don’t believe you” I laughed and told her I wasn’t lying.

Her next words? ” Can I please ask what you use on your skin?”

My response? I eat lots of healthy foods and drink a lot of water.

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Some of my fav snacks….

She went on to tell me she didn’t eat that great and maybe she needed to try that… I encouraged her to give it a try. It’s certainly not an overnight treatment program, but more like a lifelong treatment program that with consistency and time, you will get results.

Not only that with improved healthy eating it will change your body¬†composition ( lose fat), give you energy, and internally you’ll get¬†better lab results.

Gosh this sounds like an ad for one of those “health” products ūüėČ

Ok so here’s my pick for top 5 foods for looking fresh….

Blueberries…. antioxidants banish free radicals keeping skin cells¬†healthier

Salmon…. a 4 oz filet has a few days worth of omega-3’s. They’re found only in the oily part of the fish but actually help clear pores

Avocados … my fav….. are a good source of Vitamin E so they help block UV rays and prevent dry skin. Halve an avocado and it mash on toast or fill with fresh salsa. I’ll pretty much eat it any way possible ūüėČ

Carrots… your mom was on to something. Say yes to them for smoother skin. This veggies Vitamin A helps fight off wrinkles.

Spinach…. another daily fav on mine…. it’s packed with Vitamin C which helps produce skin firming collagen. Not only that you can eat vast amounts of this super food for virtually no calories =) It is now what I use for “lettuce” in salads and it’s a regular in my morning saut√©ed veggie mix =)

of course, there many more great foods to enhance your health…. strawberries, black berries, ¬†sweet potatoes, broccoli, all dark leafy greens, squash…the list goes on… and again… you can eat lots of these things for minimal calories…. win/win ūüėČ

Try incorporating more of these great foods into your daily diet… you’ve got nothing to lose.

What about you ? Have you seen a visible health improvement in how you eat ?

veggies