Archive for the 'Exercise' Category

Aging Changes Everything!

I just read an interesting blog that puts the choice of exercise as we age into a good perspective.

All of us are getting older. Have you noticed that you need to do more just to maintain a credible level of health?

In our home of two (my husband Ed and me), we regularly evaluate what we’re eating, our level of activity, and other lifestyle choices that we know have contributed to our measure of good health.

We watched the food documentary Forks Over Knives this week.  I highly recommend it*. I have seen it, shared it with others, and knew that it was time for Ed to see it.  He embraced the message- which is great!  After being conscientious for the past three years, Ed’s comment was that he didn’t have to make many modifications to his diet. We have been pretty clean! We have actually been making good dietary choices for many years.

The point is that everyone needs to regularly evaluate his/her lifestyle practices.  My suggestions: keep reading, keep listening, and evaluate content as to whether or not it is simply reflecting a current fad, fodder for a new book– or is a legitimate consideration for good health.

The author’s comments provide a good overall philosophy for understanding the need for ‘upping the ante’ when it comes to exercise as we celebrate another birthday.  Check it out.  Feel free to leave your comments below.

*If you are in the Columbus area, I’ll be glad to loan my copy to you so that you can watch it yourself in the comfort of your own home!


To Plan or Not to Plan. Is That the Question? Part 2

I looked at my watch. I turned to my husband Ed and said, “It’s 4:30.  I think we are officially lost. What do you want to do?”

Ed’s response, “Whatever we do, we have to do quickly. There’s not much daylight left.”

We quickly took stock of our situation: we had followed the trail next to a wash, had crossed onto the rocks looking for the continuation of the trail, and ended up in the  corner  of a canyon, staring at two walls of sheer cliff about 300’ high.  There was no trail to continue forward; we figured we had 45 minutes to an hour left of daylight, and both of our cell phones were dead. Of course our cell phones had our GPS location, communication with the outside world, and a flashlight app.

How did we get here?


Well, loosely speaking…we did.

Ed and I had decided a few days previously that we would take a hike in the desert on Monday, our last full day in Phoenix.  We planned accordingly.  Ed had purchased a book of loop hikes in Arizona, hikes where you start and finish at the same point.  He picked hike #44, called Garden Valley.  The trail was in the foothills of the Superstition Mountains, about 30 minutes from Gilbert where the kids live.  The description of the trail gave every indication that we would enjoy our time: the trail was 8.6 miles long, taking about 5 hours to complete, and was rated moderate- which is one notch up from easy.  We had snacks, PB and J sandwiches for lunch, water and my sports nutrition drink, binoculars for bird watching, and the hiking book. Most of these items were in the backpack that I carried.  Yes, I did feel a bit like a packmule, but because I carried the pack, I made sure we stopped for snacks and water as that lightened my load.   So that was a good thing.

These photos give you an idea of what we were hiking through.

Ed leading on the Dutchman's Trail

Weaver's Needle, an important landmark

A wash along the trail

Ed standing by a Saguaro Cactus gives perspective about size

Although I did periodically simply stop and look around to enjoy the beautiful setting of the trail, and Ed would stop to identify an unknown bird call- we kept moving at a good pace.  At one point, Ed commented, ‘This is taking us too long.  We should have been back by now.” A short time later, we found ourselves cornered in the canyon.

We prayed for signs, and as we backtracked, we did indeed see trail signs that we had not seen before.  I interpreted three stacked rocks as ‘This is the path, no turn here,’ remembering trailblazing signs from Girl Scouts. This week I discovered that there are other meanings for that particular trailblazing sign, so I am extremely thankful that the Lord gave us good direction in spite of my faulty memory!

We finally arrived at our car in the trailhead parking lot at 5:45 pm, and drove out of the park with the sun sinking quickly behind the mountains, very mindful of the Lord’s graciousness in giving us the signs that we needed when we needed them.

Bottom line: our PLAN was a simple 5-hour hike, and that’s what we prepared for. Reality was a 7-hour hike, including about three hours of being lost in the desert, and that’s what we were unprepared for!

PLANNING gave us a very unexpected result, which required a heightened dependence on the Lord Jesus. This hiking adventure  was a clear reminder that ‘A person plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9).’

So did these two personal illustrations give any clarity to your own decision about planning for 2012?  To plan or not to plan?

Read Part 3 for my response.

Only 4 more days!

Anticipation is escalating as Thanksgiving Day is almost here!

Anticipation may be the wrong word to describe your emotions depending on what side of the table you will be sitting…are you hosting, are you simply showing up (we are :), do you like your family (we do!) or not …

Just came across a great post on in which Dr. Stephen Boyd shares some healthy wisdom about Thanksgiving. Conversation about family members may include health tidbits that can be instructive for personal decisions: for example, realizing the number of relatives affected by cancer could propel you to make common-sense decisions about food and activity habits… starting now!

Dr. Boyd also shares a great reminder to include activity as part of your family time: get everyone moving!

A  post on HealthyScience by Nina Fuller, referenced in my previous post “4500 Calories on Thanksgiving Day?” gave great suggestions for healthy substitutions of traditional menu favorites.  If you are the one providing the majority of the food (or just bringing one dish), consider sharing a healthy alternative.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how good healthy can taste- and the raves you will get from everyone about how good it was.

I’m looking forward to excellent food and family time this week.  There is a special element of ‘tasting good’ when food is prepared in a healthy way to look and taste tremendous. However, our entire family is committed to enjoy our time together—and for us, that means moderation, self-control, healthy choices, a good walk outside, and maybe even a board game .

A coaching comment I heard early on in my business is a good one for closing:
Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Traveling challenges

Fluffy, bright yellow scrambled eggs; whole wheat raisin toast; a delightful glass of orange juice; a beautifully crafted glass bowl of fresh fruit – blueberries, raspberries, red seedless grapes, rainier cherries.  MMMMM!

Wow- what a super breakfast! Not in one of the restaurants along the road, but served to me with love and care by my Cincinnati friend Gina where I visited this past week.  Thank you Gina for a fantastic taste treat!

As I look over the first seven months of 2011, I realize that as we were on the road, it was rare indeed to have a meal so aligned with our home eating habits.  More typically, we had to make choices between good and OK, and seldom had a ‘best’ choice.

For example, we had a memorable dinner at a local diner in Benton, AZ last month. We got cleaned up in our motel room after a 5-mile late afternoon hike in the desert, hoping we could get a light meal someplace close instead of eating 1) nothing 2) microwave popcorn 3) my last food bar.  The hotel clerk called ahead to confirm we would be served- and we drove the short mile to the diner.

Little did we know…

The hostess/waitress gave us a friendly greeting and seated us as a second waitress kept on cleaning up.  Was the second waitress glaring at us?  Had there been an intense discussion about taking two more customers as they were closing up shop? We don’t know for sure.

We both ordered salad: Ed had a Greek salad, I ordered a spinach salad.  We thought preparation of a salad would be relatively easy, and quick.

Little did we know…

Ed amused himself by swinging at the flies that buzzed around us.

Bottom line-the atmosphere was awful…the wait was about 20 minutes…the flies killed numbered one. The waitress quipped, “It must have been dying already!”  Although Ed’s Greek salad was fine, my spinach was a good idea about two days ago!  The bright spot of the evening was our sincerely friendly waitress, although she disappeared for a while because she was probably the one making our salads.

We made it through the meal as quickly as we could: personally, I was thankful I had not ordered anything else.  We returned to our hotel and thanked the hotel clerk for his service to us.  We discovered that the diner was indeed our only option in town at 8 pm.

Traveling and eating.  To make certain that you don’t sabotage your new lifestyle choices for healthy eating, be prepared for the challenges that will inevitably face you.

  • Pack appropriate mid-morning, mid-afternoon snacks- protein/fiber food bars; almonds; apples; Mannatech PhytoBursts; water.
  • Know the principles of low-glycemic eating so that you can choose your best option at a restaurant.
  • Drink water with extra lemon at the restaurant: a great cleanser, refreshing,and  economically priced.
  • Remember portions in some restaurants are fit for two people. You might consider sharing an entre.
  • Do something active each day for 30-45 minutes: take a walk; work out in the hotel fitness room or swim.
  • Keep up your normal supplement regimen.
Your digestive system will thank you for staying the course.
How do you stay on target with your eating plan when you are traveling?

What’s Your Favorite Diet?

Since the early 70’s when I taught health as a Physical Education teacher, I have kept an eye on the noise about diets. As a Personal Wellness Coach for the last twelve years, my observation is that people are looking for a magic bullet. Unfortunately, upstart companies and entrepreneurs abound to provide what looks like a magic bullet.

Here’s an interesting post by Heather Hawkins, CPT, that might give you some new thoughts about a variety of current diets:

Fitness Trends Review

My personal experience  echoes many of Heather’s thoughts about calories, activity and portion size.

I would go even further and note that in order to get to your ideal size, there are two pre-steps necessary before you cut a single calorie or do one workout:

Know what your goal size is. Start with the end in mind: move incrementally…stay laser-focused on your ultimate goal.

An aside: Why do I say goal size rather than goal weight? Losing pounds does not guarantee that you will lose the fat- and fat is definitely what you need to lose. On typical weight-loss plans, a participant will lose 50% fat, 50% muscle. Losing muscle is NOT a goal!! If you choose to use  a supplement to help you in this process, don’t get sucked in by glitzy testimonials. Rather make sure the product is backed by scientific studies, which give evidence that you will lose more fat than muscle. Mannatech’s OsoLean ™ is such a product (and there is a great two for one promotional price going on right now through Dec. 24. For more information, go to To order, go to

Know why you want to get there. Quite frankly, it usually can’t be for someone else: you need to come up with a reason why you need to get this done NOW, so that when the going gets tough (and it will, as you well know!), you will push through the challenge!!!

Bottom line: Diets don’t work! Read my previous post,

If you can name your favorite diet, the implication is that you have chosen one from a number that you have tried. If a plan only works short-term, it’s simply not a good plan.

Are you ready for a lifestyle change? Let’s talk!

I’d love to read your comments.

Legacy, conclusion

In addition to the suggestions previously posted, here are some additional specifics:

1. Promote a diet high in fiber (check the labels of purchased food!)

2. Promote a diet balanced with protein, carbs, and fats. Carbs include fruits and vegetables which should definitely trump the appearance of refined carbs (cookies, pastries, bread, etc.).

3. Encourage moderate to vigorous physical activity- at least 60 minutes a day! It would be great if physical education class was a regular part of school, but whether it is or isn’t, there is a definite need for children to be playing, running, riding bikes, etc. Take family walks or bike rides: do activities together!

4. Sleep is an extremely important factor in children’s health, both the quality and quantity of sleep. “Well-rested kids are more creative, more interested, more responsive and do better in sports. It also will help them eat better.” 1

Suggestions from these three articles are actually lifestyle choices that we as adults make everyday. If you are a parent (or grandparent who has regular input!), remember you are modeling lifestyle choices: good choices that promote wellness, poor choices that promote sickness.

Sometimes, of course, the results of our choices are not immediately visible. However, as is the case with a legacy, the results are inevitably something that will be handed down to the next generation.

Somethings to think about, and hopefully, take action on. I’d like to read your comments below.


1. Kate Cronan, MD, associate professor pediatrics, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia; medical editor at

American Academy of Pediatrics

Barlow, SE & Expert Committee on the Assessment Prevention and Treatment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity (2007), Pediatrics, 140 (4), S164-S192

Bowdoin, J.J. (2008) A response to the expert committee’s recommendations on the Assessment Prevention and Treatment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity, Pediatrics, 121(4), 833-834

Need Some Help?

Although it is possible, it can be difficult to make lifestyle changes on your own: gutzing it out, acting on sheer personal determination, bringing your will under complete control have to become the dominating descriptions of your new behavior. Would you agree?

You may have read articles that document the benefit of working with a coach, or even a buddy, to achieve the best results when making lifestyle changes (including the much-dreaded exercise factor).

From a recent Health Tip of the Day that I received this week: A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who had a brief monthly chat with a coach maintained more weight loss than people who didn’t have a coach. (Copyright Hilton Johnson Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. To subscribe to this complimentary Health Tip, go to:

In another article posting a study that evaluated the most effective kind of diet, the researchers found that

“As long as your diet is balanced and healthy overall, you can lose weight    and keep a good amount of it off if you watch the calories. The researchers thought it significant that those who attended at least 2/3 of the counseling sessions lost an average of 22 pounds, compared to the participants who didn’t get counseling and lost an average of 9 pounds overall.”

The study lasted two years. Counseling included both individual and group sessions throughout the study. Read the details here:

If you are open to a brief monthly call with a qualified coach, contact me (614.888.6508) or by email (

Have a safe July 4th week-end. Thank a veteran or someone serving on active duty for their role in preserving our independence. As is written at the Ground Zero memorial, May We Never Forget!