Friday, May 29, 2009

Liam & Bear

Just a quick, cute lil video from this morning with my boy and our new puppy. Enjoy! LOL

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Living Lightly

By Mary_RD on May 26, 2009 12:00 PM in Dieting & You

Do you know the best kept secret to improve your weight loss success?

Throw something away!

Yes – that’s right. Reducing the clutter from your life helps you to reduce the weight from your body. It may seem like an unrelated and insignificant step but releasing unnecessary stuff emotionally frees you to release unnecessary weight.

As a life coach and psychotherapist, I have observed that clients who live in cluttered and disorganized homes often struggle with weight issues as well. The heaviness of their homes mirrors the heaviness of their bodies and the heaviness of their spirit. Their stuff is like a protective security blanket in the same way that excess weight provides protection.

Years ago I discovered the magic of space clearing expert, Karen Kingston. Her bestselling book, “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui”, transformed my life and I routinely recommend it to my clients. Karen’s spiritual approach teaches us about our relationship with our stuff and how the trapped energy of our clutter prevents us from living a more fulfilling life.

Peter Walsh is an organizational expert and regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show. His book, “Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” explains how the clutter in your home has a direct relationship to the clutter on your body. Too much stuff and too much weight evoke the same feelings of being overwhelmed and out of control. He offers a practical approach to organizing the stuff in your life to help you take command of your eating habits and weight loss goals.

Reading his book reminded me of several clients whose homes were so cluttered that they couldn’t comfortably eat at their kitchen or dining room tables. The lack of space and disorganization made mealtime chaotic. They resisted inviting guests for dinner. The condition of their homes, like the condition of their bodies, was another source of shame and isolation.

The objects around you either uplift your energy or drain you of power. As you become mindful of the objects you keep in your home, you become mindful of the food you put in your body.

My challenge to you:

  • Go through your clothes and remove items that you don’t like, you don’t wear or that don’t fit.
  • Donate these so others can enjoy them.
  • Only keep clothes that you feel fabulous wearing and that reflect your current weight.

Saving smaller or larger sized clothes “just in case” keeps you living in the past or in the future preventing you from living mindfully today. Wearing clothes you absolutely love offers appreciation and acceptance to your body as it is. This acceptance, of loving yourself no matter what, paradoxically helps you to reach your weight loss goals.

If clearing out your entire closet feels overwhelming, take small steps. Find one item that no longer works and put it in your car. Drop it off at the nearest clothing recycling bin and begin to experience the miracle of decluttering.

The results will amaze you.

Your thoughts....

How does clutter hinder your weight loss success?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Best and The Worst Cocktails

By Steve Edwards

If you want a drink, you want a drink, and all the bad press you read isn't likely to quench your thirst. So the Nutrition 911 on alcohol will be to skip the boring science and discuss what to do when you're going to drink. Besides, studies keep telling us that a bit of alcohol in your diet enhances your health and lengthens your life span. All you may know now is that the last time you hit the bar, you woke up feeling like someone was using a rototiller on your brain, leaving you to wonder, "How can this have been good for me?"

Wine Glasses

The truth is it isn't. A hangover means you've done damage that needs to be reversed. Unfortunately, a common remedy is a greasy meal, which further damages your system and hinders your weight loss plans. But there's no doubt that a drink every now and then can help lift your spirits and diminish stress. But all cocktails are not created equal. Just like making smart choices with the foods you eat, imbibing with a plan can be the difference between extending your life and maintaining your P90X®, Slim in 6®, or ChaLEAN Extreme® results, and getting to know your Domino's delivery guy on a first-name basis. Let's get started, class, with this week's Nutrition 911: The Best and Worst Cocktails.

The Best

  1. Red WineRed wine. Much has been written about wine's high antioxidant content, the chemical resveratrol, and how wine drinkers are the healthiest sect of those who imbibe regularly. A handful of large-scale, long-term studies on wine have shown that those who drink heavily outlive teetotalers, and those who drink in moderation outlive everyone. This has led to a huge increase in wine production in the U.S.

    Keep in mind that while you hear a lot about the difference between red and white wines, in virtually every study, both have been shown to improve health. Red wine and its high antioxidant content gain most of the attention, but two recent studies gave white wine a higher rating for both free radical reduction and cardiovascular health. It seems that you can't go wrong either way.

    Downside . . . . The sulfates in red wine negatively affect many people, often leading to an inability to sleep. And if you can't sleep, you're offsetting all of the positive effects. Consider checking the alcohol content listed on the bottle—the recent trend has been toward high-alcohol-content wines. By drinking high-alcohol wines, it might seem like you're getting more bang for the buck. While that may be true, do you really want the bang, or just a nice accoutrement to dinner?

  2. Microbrews. On a percentage basis, only microbrewed beer production has increased more than wine production in the U.S. The reason for this trend is generally credited to mass-produced American beer, which beer snobs think tastes worse than stagnant water. But another reason is that microbrewed beer is healthier—much healthier, in fact.
    Most mass-produced beers in the U.S. are cheaply made, relying on ingredients like corn, rice, additives, colorings, and flavorings (oddly enough, the same things that make up most of the junk you can buy at 7-Eleven®). Microbrews adhere to the European codes for beer production, which dictate that it's made from barley, hops, wheat, and water. A good microbrew contains protein (more than double, in fact), more electrolytes (quadruple), and many times more vitamins and assorted phytonutrients (like flavonoids) than cheap beer. In fact, microbrewed beer is better for you than most sports drinks, sometimes even for sports.

    Downside . . . . It can be part of the recovery process, but don't try making it do all the work. Beer still contains alcohol, and if you down beer as though it were Gatorade®, you'll wind up with a hangover that will impede your sports performance.

  3. Guinness StoutGuinness stout. In Ireland, the saying goes that Guinness is food. And sure enough, it tastes like it. Thick, rich, and syrupy, one Guinness can feel as satisfying as a case of Bud Light®. It's also low in calories and high in iron, making it one of the best choices if you're going for a mass-produced beer.

    Downside . . . . It can be addicting. When one doesn't do the trick anymore, you can quickly pile on calories. And remember that most calories in beer come from alcohol.

  4. Top-shelf alcohol of any kind. Straight, on the rocks, or with water. The means of producing hard alcohol ensure that you're getting what you pay for. Cheap stuff isn't made with a high-quality distillation process, leaving it with all sorts of impurities and a taste that renders it to be mainly used as a mixer with nonalcoholic, and usually highly caloric, substances. Top-shelf stuff, whether it's bourbon, vodka, or even rum, is made to be consumed alone, or with water. Slowly savoring your drink is a great way to make sure that you don't overdo it. Cost is another. It's much better to slowly relish a glass of Blanton's than to power down a fifth of Old Grand-Dad and Coke®.

    Downside . . . . The cost of providing for your top-shelf-only habit could lead to enough extra stress down at the office to offset the stress you're relieving with your drink.

  5. Vodka soda. Vodka is the purest of the hard alcohols, and soda is mainly water. Add a couple of limes, and you've got a clean and refreshing cocktail with very few calories.

    Downside . . . . It's so clean and refreshing, it's hard to be restrained. If you have four of these, you might as well have just had that strawberry margarita you wanted in the first place.

The Worst

  1. Scorpion. Or just about anything you'll find at the Kon Tiki Inn, Trader Vic's, or any place where a drink is referred to as "grog." If there's anything worse than mixing a lot of sugar-based alcohols together, it's mixing them with a bunch of sugary juices in a bowl that's big enough for six. Drink one of these, and be prepared to skip the entire drunken process and head straight to the hangover.

  2. Long Island Iced TeaLong Island Iced Tea. Forget the word "tea." There are no antioxidants to be found in this concoction of five different alcohols, sweet and sour mix, and Coke. A few of these and you might as well put in a wake-up call to Domino's.

  3. Red Bull® and vodka. If you want to be a supercharged drunk, here ya go. One of the main offenders of the hangover is your inability to sleep well after a night on the town. Nothing enhances the chance of seeing dawn's early light like a couple of these. The only positive is that maybe you'll dance all night and work off the calories. Hopefully, you don't have to work the next day.

  4. Jack and Coke. You might as well just mainline your whiskey. Nothing's better than Coke for creating a sugar rush. Adding alcohol to this mix creates the perfect atmosphere for a bar fight. The only saving grace is that being drunk impairs your reflexes. Losing a couple of late-night melees could lead to some restraint.

  5. Piña ColadaPiña colada. The only thing more densely caloric than alcohol is fat, and this baby combines the two, along with all the sugar you need to guarantee a hangover. The result is a virtually nutrition-free milk shake that contains half of your daily caloric requirement. The only possible bright side is that you're only likely to feel comfortable drinking one of these on an island where you have ample opportunity to shed the pounds you gained the night before.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Our Memorial Day Weekend

We had a family picnic down at Raystown on Saturday that was a lot of fun. Sunday was a bit of a lazy day, but Monday, Memorial Day, we headed to Grandview Cemetary here in town, as my husband's uncle Mike and his aunt Linda were in town for the unveiling of the monument they donated for the "Soldiers Circle at the cemetary. It was a proud day for my husband's family as well as all the families of the men and women that have served from this area.

Story from the Altoona Mirror:

"In Logan Township, crowds gathered to pay tribute to their war fallen, while California sculptor Paula Slater unveiled her tribute: "The Ascent of Heroism," a monument depicting the likenesses of veterans buried in Grandview Cemetery from seven U.S. wars, from the Revolutionary to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The statue is one-of-a-kind, for sure," said Peter Starr, president of the U.S. Navy League, who spoke at the event. "A lot of monuments depict nameless people, but five of the soldiers on this statue have the facial features of individuals who were laid to rest here. I think it really meant something ... to a lot of the people who saw it."

Altoona native Mike Hurm, through the Hurm Family Trust, paid for the monument, which cost nearly $80,000, event organizers said."

What was great was Admiral Bucchi from the US Navy was there and gave a speech. Admiral Bucchi is highly decorated with over 6000 flying hours, 1000 of them over hostile combat zones, and was an instructor at Top Gun. Very impressive, but the nicest guy!! It was an honor to shake his hand and be introduced to him. Senator John Eichelberger was there too, as well as the Blair County Commissioner. The momument is really a site to see, as I don't think there is anything more capitvating in this area, unless you go to DC to see the monuments there.

What the paper doesn't mention was that the artist Paula Slater handed out her sketched drawings of the individuals depicted on the statue in picture frames and gave them to the families. It was very touching.

All in all it was a low key, yet very memorable holiday weekend. Hope you all had a good one!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Washington DC Trip

On Wednesday, I headed to DC with my son's class. I had my son and three other boys in my little group, and aside from not being able to see everything we wanted to see, it was a nice trip. I slept most of the way there, as we had to be at the school at 6am, and we finally got situated and on the road at 6:45. We saw the Washington Monument, the WWII memorial, the Vietnam memorial, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and were able to catch a few places of the Smithsonian Institute at the Museum of Natural History, American History and Space Museum along the National Mall route. There is just so much to see there, and I guess in the past the classes used to spend the night, spending 2-3 days there instead of the 6-7 hours we were basically rushed through the place. This was my first time in DC, as well as my son's.

I definitely got my workout in by walking that whole time, and yesterday my feet were killing me! I didn't workout yesterday, as I was almost half asleep at work, so when I got home, my mother-in-law was over for a bit, and then I excused myself to go rest. Tonight I have my PT session with Eric, so hopefully it won't be too painful. If I don't get back to blogging until after the weekend, I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day. Get out there and do something fun!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm Not on a Diet!

Ok, so I had a bummer moment. Don't we all? If someone was excited and happy 24/7 I'd honestly want to know what meds they were taking, right? I've done a lot of thinking this weekend, and I've put on my big girl pants, and I'm ready to just tackle life as I see fit. True, my social life (which is usually anything after 10pm at night) will suffer, but that's life! I think I miss the interaction more than I miss the actual locations. I like dancing, and shooting pool and bullshitting with friends, but lately, most of it has all been just sitting around, watching a band, and see my friends get drunk, and watching others drama that to me could be easily avoided unfold. There's nights that I would sit there and try to remind myself why I even decided to go out. I think that's why I've been avoided it all. It's just not me anymore, ya know?

When grocery shopping with Crusher this weekend, there was a pack of cookies that I thought about buying, and he teased and made the comment, "Well, I could get them cuz I'm not the one on a diet." I knew he wasn't talking about my weight, because he thinks I'm just fine, but I did reply by saying, "I'm not on a diet either, I'm trying to change my LIFE!"

And it's true! I'm not looking for the quick fix, low calorie, starve, deprive myself diet. I'm trying to find and perfect a balance in my life between eating healthier, exercising more, so that I can enjoy something like that cookie when and if I choose to. Thing is, the further I go down this path, the less and less I crave those things. When and if I do, believe, me, I'm a grown woman, I'll friggin' buy it if I want it!

Anywho, I'm really feeling positive about the week ahead. One of the things that happened May 1st was my husband losing his job. He has a lead that I'm hoping pays off this week and he'll be back to work. For me, it's going to be hectic, as I have work, parent's meeting and spin on Monday and kickboxing on Tuesday. Wednesday I get to be at the school at 6am and travel with my son and the 5th grade class to Washington DC. I've never had the opportunity to travel to DC, so I think I'm more excited than my son is! Thursday it's back to work, and hopefully getting time in at the gym,and then Friday training with Eric. This last Friday was cut off to only a 45 minute workout with him. Just too much stuff going on, but again, I'm going to get a good night's rest and wake up to a brand new week.

By the way, all of you that read and comment on my blog (even those that read it and chat with me offline about it) I just want to say thanks! It's so great that people can be so inspired and motivated by others, and I really feel that way with a lot of you. Hope your weekends rocked and have a fabulous week!! *hugs*

Friday, May 15, 2009

Struggling / Apology

Lately I've been posting a lot of articles, and general info because I've been kind of withdrawn. A lot of personal things have happened recently, that were the consequences of others actions, yet affected me directly, and most of them all hit me on Friday, May 1st. It's been a downward spiral from there. The last two weeks have been busy as hell at work as well, which has only added to the stress and frustration, and I'm just in this funk that I'm trying desperately to rise out of.

On a positive note, I have lost 6 lbs in the last two weeks, even though my exercise regimen hasn't been up to par. I have so far to get to my goal, and only wish it would come off as fast as the insulin put it back on. I know I'll get there, but even keeping positive about it can be draining.

I guess I just wanted to apologize to my friends for not being around, not going out and not really keeping in contact. I've never really been one to lay my problems on others, so that's probably why I've been so quiet. If I stay away, I don't burden others... guess that's my view on it.

Anywho, I just wanted to wish you all a wonderful weekend, and say I miss ya, and once things start looking up, and I'm feeling good about it, I'm sure I'll be back around. :) Love You!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Talk About Inspiration - TBL Finale

How many of you watched the Biggest Loser Finale tonight? Are those transformations unbelievable or what!?!?! The glowing energy from the contestants was just incredible, some of them losing more weight than what they weigh now!! And the great thing is, they did it the right way. Through lifestyle changes that will hopefully stick with them the rest of their lives, and be past down from generation to generation. And, for the 3rd season in a row, a pink team member, Helen, won... GO TEAM JILLIAN! Did she call it or what?!? (You know I HAD to mention it, being a Jillian Junky and all.. lol)

For those that don't turn in, and think, oh, well they are in a controlled environment with trainers breathing down their neck, you are dead WRONG! Jerry, at age 64, won the prize for the people that were sent home from the ranch. He was there only there the first TWO weeks, and was able to leave, go home and beat out every other contestant that went home, including Ron who was at the ranch til the very end. Beating out people with more weight to lose, people 1/3 of his age, people with less health problems. He, like so many others prove that it's NEVER too late to stop making making excuses and instead of living a lie, start living a LIFE!

It's all about making that decision to change for yourself. You can't do it for anyone else. Sure we all have our reasons for losing weight, getting fit, being healthy, feeling good, having more energy, living longer, but at the very top of that list is just doing it for OURSELVES! No one's going to do it for us.

You don't have to hit the gym every day, just get up and get moving! Trust me, once you start, your energy will increase gradually, where you'll actually get too antsy to sit down and "vegg out" like so many people do. You'll WANT to get up and just MOVE! Whether doing extra cleaning, getting that project done you always said you should do, taking the kids to the park, or going bowling or skating with friends, or heck, even trading that beer or mixed drink for a water at the club, and dancing your ass off til you sweat!

Exercise doesn't have to be this dirty word that makes you groan and whine when you hear it. It's also something people have to stop saying "I have no time" to do. This goes out to no one in particular, because I've seen SEVERAL cases of people over the years that gripe about their weight online, looking for pity or sympathy, yet not once did I hear how they turned off their computer and did something constructive. "I don't have time to workout or exercise". Really? Because you've been sitting in front of that computer for 5 hours straight after dinner. I know I used to be guilty of it, and I know my hubby is guilty of it. Only difference is, I decided enough was enough, and used that time to do what I set out to do.

The people on TBL are so inspiring, because it basically gives us "worst case scenario" and shows you YES... IT CAN BE DONE! Honestly, if other people's stories of success aren't inspiration enough, what will be? People fall off the wagon all the time, but the difference between winners and losers are the winners will get back on over and over again and never give up!

Nite y'all!!!

Secrets the diet sellers don’t want you to know

There’s a lot of money to be made in promoting diet books, products and do-dads that claim to make it easier for people to lose weight and keep it off. But if they really worked, would so many people be overweight and struggling? Would we need so many products? Wouldn’t everyone just use the one that worked and then go on their way?

Weight loss secrets revealed

Brie Cadman at Divine Caroline recently noted a few weight loss “secrets” the diet industry doesn’t want you to know about. For example:

- You really do have to exercise, and probably more than you think. An hour a day is probably best for weight loss and maintenance.

- It’s easy to overestimate how many calories you’re burning and underestimate how many you’re eating, so don’t reward yourself with a treat every time you have a good workout, or you’ll never lose weight.

- You have time to exercise. Really you do. It may take sacrifice, but you can do it if you really want to.

- Eating more of anything — especially “diet food” — won’t help you lose weight.

- It’s not just calories in versus calories out; the quality and nutritional value of the foods you choose matters a lot, too.

- Your body, and the world around you, don’t really want you to lose weight.

- A diet won’t solve your problem; you need to change for life

If there were a secret, we’d all be thin

The diet industry is all about quick solutions that are supposed to be effortless and allow you to lose the weight you need to then go off the diet, presumably back to your old ways. But old ways are exactly what got you in the situation of needing a diet in the first place.

Even if diets worked temporarily — and certainly some of them can, for some people — they don’t do anything permanent if they don’t change your mindset and your behaviors. That’s why Kirstie Alley gained the weight back and then some; she thought she was through with weight gain and therefore cut herself immense amounts of slack.

She stopped exercising and weighing herself and was ultimately horrified to learn she was pretty much right back where she started. Her story isn’t an uncommon one. In fact, it’s the very thing that keeps the diet industry in business: people who try diets, have some success and go off the diets, or get frustrated and go off the diets, only to gain weight, decide they need to make a change and try a different diet.

Stepping off that cycle and really changing the way we eat, our feelings about food, how we exercise and more not only will make us healthier individuals, it might make for a healthier society when some of those diet pushers start running out of clients.

(By Sarah E. White for CalorieLab Calorie Counter News)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mensa Monday

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's winners. Read them carefully. Each is an artificial word with only one letter altered from a real word. Some are terrifically innovative:

1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people, that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The Bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

4. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

5. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

6. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

7. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

8. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

9. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

10. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

11. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

12. Glibido: All talk and no action

13. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

14. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

15. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

16. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

And, the pick of the lot...

17. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Happy Mensa Monday! hehe

Thursday, May 7, 2009

9 Healthy Gift Ideas for Mom

By Joe Wilkes - (from, hence the references, but you get the

With Mother's Day just around the corner, the pressure's on to find a great present for a great woman who has cared for you, taught you right from wrong, and provided you with many interest-free loans over the years. Flowers are a favorite, but they wither and die quickly—not exactly a lasting gift. You could get chocolates or candy, because there's nothing like the gift that says, "Mom, here's my contribution to your adult-onset diabetes!" Or, you could look for a gift that tells your mother you love her and want her to be around for a long time to come.

1. Gift cards/certificates. Does Mom have a favorite hobby? Keep in mind that a hobby is something she enjoys—not something she does all the time. If she loves to watch the Food Network and subscribes to Gourmet magazine, a gift certificate to Sur La Table® or Williams-Sonoma® would be a great idea. If she cooks meals for the family while cursing and muttering vague threats of ground glass under her breath, the kitchen store gift certificate may be akin to buying the maid a new mop for Christmas. Find something she likes, or if you're completely unsure, you can get her a Visa gift certificate she can spend anywhere. But for extra points, incorporate the gift certificate into a day of retail therapy that you spend with her.

2. DVD workouts. Come on, you didn't think we'd leave out the obvious great Mother's Day present? Whatever your mom's fitness level or interest, there's a Beachbody® fitness program that's right for her. Maybe she wants to get her mantra on with Yoga Booty Ballet® Pure & Simple Yoga. Or maybe she'd like to kick up her heels with Turbo Jam®. Or maybe she even wants to get ripped to shreds with P90X®. Investing in your mom's physical fitness is a great way to show you care about her long-term health. And if you commit to doing the videos with her, you'll be the best kid ever! Even if you don't live in the same town, you can still make dates to work out together. Putting your mom on the road to a healthier lifestyle is one of the best gifts.

3. Phone cards. Prepaid long-distance cards make great presents, especially if your mom's a long-distance phone call away. This shows your mom that you value conversation with her and want to keep her involved in your life, even if it's not possible to live in the same town. Other variations on the gift of gab would be to upgrade her cell phone plan so she has more minutes to talk to you, or add a line to your family plan especially for her. These are all good ways to get Mom's words of wisdom on the go.

4. Clean the house. Or if you aren't inclined toward domestic chores, you can hire a maid service to give Mom a week off. This may involve some strategizing with Dad or consulting with Mom beforehand, as this could backfire if the maid shows up for an 8 AM surprise the day Mom decides to sleep in. This also depends on your mom's personality. If she's someone who likes things "just so," having a stranger come in to "mess things up" might be more stress than treat. Also, I remember from my childhood that nothing strained my relationship with my mother more than my poor quality control regarding household chores. If you're going to clean the house, and she has to re-clean it, it's not much of a present.

5. Cook a healthy dinner. Preferably at your place, where you can wait on her hand and foot. Cook her favorites or try to introduce her to some healthy new foods. This isn't a good present if you're a lousy cook or an easily stressed host. Try choosing dishes that can be prepared in advance so that you're not spending the evening in the kitchen while Mom's cooling her heels in the living room. The idea behind any Mother's Day present should be about spending time together. If you get stuck in the kitchen preparing the big meal, set your mom up somewhere in the kitchen with a glass of wine or a cup of tea. This way you can chat while preparing dinner. And do NOT let her help clean up.

6. Spa treatment or massage. After all she does for everyone, doesn't Mom deserve a day of pampering and beauty—or at least an hour? Most day spas offer a range of services, from a simple manicure or facial to a full-body makeover. There should be something for any budget. If money's no object, you could even make it a full-blown weekend at a spa. And of course, it's even better if you accompany her to the treatment. If you're strapped for cash or don't live someplace that is spa-adjacent, make your own spa day at home. Give yourselves facials, rent some movies, make some healthy salads and smoothies, put on some Enya, and just bliss out with Mom.

7. Make your own gift basket.No one knows what your mom likes better than you do. You can pick up a wicker basket at your local World Market® or Pier 1 Imports® and fill it with goodies you know your mom likes. Fresh fruits are great. Or her favorite beauty products, like hand creams or perfume. Scented candles or artisanal soaps are also great non-candy additions. You can also check out Beachbody for some good ideas, like ActiVit® Multivitamins. Remember when your mom told you to take your vitamins every morning? Now you can return the favor. Beachbody's Joint Support Super Formula is another great supplement to throw in your gift basket, as is Total Health Women's Formula. Or maybe some fitness gear products like Weighted Gloves to go with that Turbo Jam or some new yoga gear to accompany Yoga Booty Ballet Pure & Simple Yoga. Whatever you put in the basket, make it something you know your mother will like. The real gift is the thoughtfulness that goes into putting it together.

8. The gift of music. In writing this article, I asked my mom, of the gifts I'd given her over the years, what she enjoyed most. While I'm sure there is a soft spot for the macaroni-and-glitter projects of my early years, her favorites were mix CDs that I gave her when I was in college and too broke to get her anything store-bought. But I was able to put together a couple of CDs of songs that I knew she would like, and she appreciated the customized music and finding out about new artists. Later in life, when I was less of a burden on society, I would get her concert tickets. And when possible, I made the concert part of an evening we could spend together.

9. Time and thoughtfulness. After I asked my mom about her favorite gifts, I asked what she thought were the best presents that any mother could get for Mother's Day, keeping my fingers crossed that the answer wasn't jewelry. She told me that the thing that any mother wants is to spend time with her thoughtful child. And while that's hard to wrap, it's a present you can give your mom all year long. Let's face it, your mom's got a basement full of misbegotten gift ideas you've come up with over the years. And while you should get her something tangible for Mother's Day, just so your brother doesn't make you look like a jerk, the most important component of that gift should be that you give of yourself, not just of your wallet.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

From overwhelmed to empowered

Do you feel overwhelmed? The way out is to focus on now.

Whatever you failed to do in the past does not matter now. Let go of any thoughts that could draw you into anxiety about the future.

Give your attention to the progress you can make in this moment. Focus your energy on the valuable contributions you can make from where you are, with what you have.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed, you can easily and realistically choose to feel empowered. After all, this moment with all its rich possibilities is open and available to you.

What you can do right now is enough. Confidently take action and see for yourself.

Take a clear, positive, decisive step forward. Choose now to be fully engaged in making progress, and nothing will have the power to overwhelm you.

-- Ralph Marston

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Weight Loss: what you drink may be more important than what you eat


Published: May 5, 2009

A calorie is a calorie, even if it comes in liquid form.

And when it comes to losing weight, watching what you drink may be more important than what you’re eating.

We know sugary sodas can pack on the pounds.

But new research shows what you drink may be more important than what you eat if you’re trying to lose weight.

“When they compared sugar beverages to food, if you cut your calories in drinks that have calories you lost more weight,“ said family physician Dr. Lane Reed.

Doctor Reed at Baylor points to research out of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

In an 18-month study of 810 adults, researchers found that a reduction in liquid calories significantly affected weight loss after six months much more than a reduction in solids.

“They found reducing one serving of a sugar drink a day will lose a pound in 6 months, without exercise or diet changes,“ Reed said.

Dr. Reed says cut sugary sodas and fruit juices and you’ll see an immediate difference on the scale!

Renee Boyd is taking on the challenge, opting for unsweetened tea, instead of her favorite soda.

“Trying to lose weight. Hoping that this will help, said Boyd.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Retrain Yourself to Think Positive

A key element of changing your attitude is changing your self-talk, or internal monologue. Your self-talk is that chattering conversation you have with yourself all day long, whether you are aware of it or not. It's the voice in your head that says, "I'm too fat" or "I'm not good enough." I don't need to go on, do I? You know what I'm talking about!

It's this kind of useless negativity that keeps you from being the best that you can be. Well, it's time to turn it around once and for all. You need to retrain yourself to think positive!

Imagine what would happen if you changed the dialogue so that it sounded more like this: "I can lose weight and be healthy, exercise to the best of my ability, and get stronger and better at it every time I do it." Your self-talk can make the difference between happiness and despair, success and failure. I can promise you that if you start making your self-talk more positive and affirming — and less defeatist and self-depreciating — your whole life will change for the better.

Tip: Rewrite Your Thoughts

Now that you know how important it is to have the right attitude in order to reach your goals, pull out your journal again. Review what you wrote last week. Doesn't it feel good to read the positive thoughts? Don't you just cringe when you read the negative ones? Start retraining yourself. Change all the negative thoughts to positive ones. For example, take "I feel so gross when I eat the whole bag of chips" and turn it into "When I eat healthy, I feel great. And when I feel great, I look great." Hang in there — before you know it, you'll be able to "rewrite" negative thoughts in your mind.

- Jillian Michaels

Friday, May 1, 2009

Spooning with my Trainer

Yeah, thought that title might get your attention.. LOL. Another evening with my PT Eric. It actually went a little better than the last time. Of course I still struggled, but not to the point of wanting to give up (or the tears from last week! LOL) Started off with 15 mins on the elliptical, and then onto the weight room for pullups, presses, lower ab work and squats with a weight in one hand, going down, touching the ground, then up and raising the weight up over my head, and again with the other arm.

Then it was onto "Spoons". What is that you ask? Well, the look I gave Eric was priceless when he said we were finishing up with that, and one of the big guys in the gym even was like "ugh.. it's tough!" Ok, so off we went for this "Spoon" exercise.

We went into the big room where the floor exercise classes are held, but at that time done for the day. He took 20 plastic spoons and laid them in a line on the floor about a foot apart from each other. What was I to do? Start at the first spoon, keep my back straight, squat, pick up the spoon, stand to engage the abs, and squat back down and place it back on the floor. Squat down pick it up again and move to the next spoon. Squat down, drop, squat and pick it up again, then squat and pick up the 2nd spoon. Move to the 3rd, squat to place each spoon down, and then squat to each one up individually, and so on down the line of 20 spoons. Can you guess the amount of squats?? Well, Eric was right. I DID just now calculate the number of squats I did. 402!! Is that crazy or what?? We bullshitted while I was doing it, taking a break to grab some water, and although it took some time to get through it, I DID IT! I joked halfway through that it was past 8pm, as my time with him is 7-8pm, and he basically said, I better finish up then! LOL

I guess after my frustration yesterday, I did realize that I AM seeing some changes. Maybe not the changes right now I want so badly, but changes in my endurance and strength. While it may not show on the scale or in my clothes (yet) there HAVE been positive changes. I never would have thought in a million years that I could do that many squats AFTER just having done 45 minutes of him working me out.

I changed my schedule with him for May before I left. I'll have spin Monday nights, and Saturday morning (when I can get on the list), kickboxing Tuesdays, train with Eric Wednesday and Friday, and have Thursday and Sundays as my lazy days. My legs shook as I walked down the steps to the parking lot, and I was passed out by 9:30 after having dinner with Liam. I'm glad I still see the light, and hopeful about my weight loss. I'm viewing it as, right now, I'm getting the strength and endurance it's going to take to really hit things hard, and kick this thing into gear! Have a great weekend everyone!! *hugs*