I’m back from my uncle’s funeral in Virginia. I’ve been mostly silent this past week while away with family. Life is too short!! Sadly, we often put work, life, social obligations, community and just plain busy silliness in front of the most important things in life – like family, our own health and precious friends.
Listening to all the stories about my uncle’s generosity, and of how he gave of himself, his money, his resources and his time really inspired me to be more giving and try to make the most out of this life of mine. It inspired me to want to live a life worth remembering – a life that makes a difference even more than ever. It also reminded me how healthy it is to take time off, even when we think we can’t afford it or feel guilty for doing it. God blesses our sacrifices and wants us to build quality relationships. He wants us to take care of our body, and our loved ones.
Oftentimes people leave this world too early because of their unhealthy choices earlier in life. While uncle Mac was a great steward over his money, he wasn’t as good at taking care of his health when he was younger. Even though he quit smoking, his tobacco abuse early on ultimately took his life – and we weren’t done with him yet!! My uncle had bi-pass surgery years ago, surely due to the tremendous amount of stress he endured while he built his businesses. It was only recently (just weeks ago) we discovered he had lung cancer, and just a few days later he was gone. I was just celebrating his birthday, and now we are mourning his life.
We never know how much time left we have, but one thing we can do is make better decisions today – healthier decisions today. I urge you not to wait until your later years to lose weight, get healthy, mend relationships, spend more time with family or live a life more pleasing to the Lord. Tomorrow isn’t promised, and even if you have many more tomorrows, what you do today greatly impacts how healthy and happy your tomorrow is.
What are areas in your life that need improvement or prioritizing?
Here are a few things I feel I need work on.
- Live less selfishly, being more eager to give my time, money and resources.
- Quit putting work before God, spouse and family.
- Invest in family and quality friends.
- Do more kind acts for loved ones – from writing letters, sending pictures, to cooking and serving them in any capacity I can.
- Take care of my body so I can be healthy enough, for long enough, to take care of others.
- Rest more. I’m no good tired. I can’t bless anyone if I’m constantly exhausted.
- Live like I’m dying – because I am, eventually. This means I decide to spend my time, conversation and effort on things that are important and lasting.
- Constantly strive to maintain balance. In this hectic world, it is easy to get out of balance. Maintaining balance takes a constant effort.
- Learn to say no. I don’t need to please everyone. I need to please God, my spouse, my family and then my friends (in that order). BUT 9 times out of 10, if I strive to please the Lord, I’ll be pleasing to so many more people just by default. And for the ones I can’t please, I wouldn’t be able to please both them and the Lord anyway. :)
- Simplify. I will find more time if I can simplify my life and not try to squeeze in every bit of entertainment, material item or extra work in every second. We have so much added stress that’s unnecessary and not worth the extra stress. By letting go, and doing less, we can do more of what matters.
If you look at plant life, there are several factors that greatly determine a plant’s health including nutrients from water, soil and sunlight. There are clear symptoms when a plant lacks nutrients, but sometimes our symptoms aren’t quite as obvious to us.
If only we wilted and turned brown when we needed water, maybe we’d drink more. Instead, our symptoms for dehydration can be a slightly wilted spirit, headaches, sleepiness, dizziness, dry skin, or just being a little thirsty. The problem is, many of these symptoms we chalk up to a hard day at work, stress, age or health issues.
If a plant can go from completely wilted to standing up strong and proud just after getting a little water, think of what it can do for humans. Just because we don’t wilt to the ground doesn’t mean we aren’t in severe need of water.
The more coffee, alcohol and sodas become staple beverages, the less room there is for water. At least bottle water give us a way to take water on the go fashionably. However, many people still have a hard time spending money on the clear tasteless liquid.
Then there is the issue of food. Although I’ve never seen an obese plant, certain nutrient deficiencies cause plants to change in appearance. In a similar way, our appearance is a reflection of how we are fed.
Like a sick plant, we too can become sick from the foods we eat. Sometimes our body rejects the food, but most often the symptoms are small enough we actually get used to them. Over extended lengths of time of constant abuse, feeling poorly becomes common.
I will never forget my sister’s experience after a couple weeks of eating healthy. She never knew just how awful she felt until she discovered how great eating healthy felt. She simply didn’t know what she was missing.
Even when gaining weight, it’s easy to get used to our new size. Then when we’re finally sick of it, we want results overnight. It would be unfair to expect a few drops of miracle grow to fix a dying plant in a short time so we shouldn’t expect to drizzle a few healthy ingredients in our life and get an instant miracle either.
Lastly, there is the importance of the right environment. Where I’m from, peach trees were everywhere. However, I know good and well I can’t plant a peach tree in my back hard and expect great things here in South Florida. Honestly, even if I planted an orange tree, I’m not sure how successful I’d be with the soil I have in my yard.
The fact is, just like plants, we can all thrive in the right environment. If we truly want to blossom, we need to plant ourselves in the right gym, and around the right people. Just like a plant needs strong roots, we need strong roots into our fitness community so we can take a hit when a storm comes.
Believe me, I’ve had experience trying to revive a dying plant too many times to count. Once the damage is done, sometimes it can take weeks or months to get the plant healthy again. After years of abuse and neglect we must expect it will take time to reverse the damage.
Like a dying plant, as long as there is a little life in you left, it’s not too late to start taking care of yourself.
Isn’t your time to blossom!
If I had a nickel for everyone struggling with their weight who responds with “I eat really healthy” when I ask them how many calories they eat. What that means is – they have no clue how many calories they are eating. But they want me to know how clean they eat and how hard they work in the gym, so they can try to convince me they are the exception to the rule and that they are just unable to lose weight like everyone else. This is when the Red Flag Goes Up.
Listen, I’m not saying everyone has to count calories. I’m also not saying eating healthy is wrong. Gosh no! Eating healthy is AMAZING – and can change your life. BUTTTTTT… what I AM saying is, if you have no idea how many calories you are eating, there is no way you can expect to lose weight. Guessing just doesn’t work. Eating clean alone probably won’t change the scale much. Eating organic can be super healthy, but not affect your waistline. Going on the next fad diet won’t always work either. Working out like a maniac alone won’t cut it either. (again, I’m not saying it NEVER works – some people will luck out and lose weight by just making healthier choices, but most people will not be as lucky)
When it comes to weight loss, most people can’t get results just on making healthier choices alone. The only way weight loss works is when you eat fewer calories than you are burning. You can either just HOPE you are eating less than you are burning, or you can count calories and KNOW you are eating less than you are burning.
If you can’t tell me how many calories you are eating every day, don’t tell me how healthy you eat, don’t tell me you never eat fried food or sweets, don’t tell me how much protein you consume, don’t tell me how you don’t eat carbs or how you’ve gone Paleo. While all of those things are great, and I bet your next doctor’s visit will be a good one, they tell me nothing when it comes to whether you should expect to lose weight or not.
How Much Did You Spend?
Here’s an example: Let’s say I just come home from shopping. I bring all my bags in the house and Steve’s eyeballs pop out of his head and he says “How much did you spend?” and my response was, “I shopped at Target. All the items I got were on sale. I didn’t buy anything outrageously expensive. I didn’t get anything frivolous – everything I bought I really needed and was very practical. I made a lot of smart choices.” I can tell you right now, Steve’s response would still be “so, how much did you spend?”
You see, Steve doesn’t care what I bought, he wants to know how much I bought ($$$$). He doesn’t care how how much stuff was on sale. Our check will bounce whether it was a smart choice or a dumb one. We either have the money or we don’t – whether I needed the items or not. All my bank account cares about is what’s coming in and what’s going out – it doesn’t care what I am spending the money on or how hard I work for the deposits.
This is how your body works. While healthy food will help your body look and feel better, your weight is your body’s account balance. You can either afford items, or not. If you can’t afford the extra calories (whether it’s in Snickers bars or grilled chicken and rice), you will gain weight.
So, next time you want to feel sorry for yourself for eating so clean, but not losing weight, it’s time you start managing your body’s account like you manage your checkbook. :)
Are You Up for the Challenge?
Not everyone needs to count calories. Some people are lucky enough to be able to make smart choices (because they really enjoy eating low-calorie foods) and do well managing their weight naturally. Some people are able to make healthier choices simply because they don’t struggle with some of the temptations others struggle with. HOWEVER, if you battle overeating, binging, sweets, carbs, laziness or yo-yo dieting, I believe you should count your calories to help you stay accountable and manage portions, high-calorie items and exercise. Remember, it’s not something you have to do forever – but it will teach you SO much!
If you have tried eating better, eating smaller portions, working out more, etc but you’ve reached a plateau, maybe it’s time you start counting calories. You’ll be AMAZED with the results! Believe me, I’ve seen this time and time again – and I’ve watched people who have worked insanely hard not get results until they started counting calories. Are you ready to start moving that scale?! Commit to counting calories for 30 days. Unsure you can do it? Start with 14 days of calorie counting and then decide if you can do another 14 days then. I bet you surprise yourself!
Visit www.LoseIt.com today and download their app on your smartphone. I promise, it can change your life forever.
It’s not uncommon for kids to go off to college and gain weight. Parents aren’t there to buy healthy food, fast food becomes an easy quick fix for hunger, and new freedoms with less accountability typically doesn’t end very well.
I know when I moved out, Ramon Noodles were a staple food in my apartment. Luckily, I worked out and ran so I also was aware of eating healthier than most.
If you have a kid or friend in college, here are some helpful ways to encourage healthy habits – and if YOU are the college kid, I have tips for you too. First the parents…
10 Tips for Parents
2. Purchase some Protein Powder so they can supplement if they are not getting enough protein from whole foods.
3. Send an occasional gift card to a fast food place that is a healthier option, like a Sub or Salad shop vs McDonalds, instead of just sending money.
4. Ask them what they ate today. Accountability is a powerful thing. If they know you are going to ask them how they are eating, they may make better choices when ordering food.
5. Help them grocery shop. Some college kids have never seriously grocery shopped. They may have gone for a few items, but they may need your pointers on how to shop smart. Teach them what to shop for and what to look at (calories, prices, etc).
6. Teach them how to manage their money. If they can’t manage their money, they won’t be able to replenish food with healthy choices. Instead, they’ll turn to cheap options.
7. Don’t just hand out money like it’s going out of style. Kids would often rather go spend money on partying or new clothes than spend it on healthy food. Give your college kid a gift card to their neighborhood grocery store so they aren’t tempted to spend it on frivolous things.
8. Track their activity and sleep with the UP band by jawbone. This is a great way to see how active they are – and how much sleep they are getting. Anyone who joins your “team” (a group of friends and family using the UP band) can see each other’s activity.
9. Set some healthy rules. Even if your kid is all grown up, if you are paying for college, there should be some rules. Whether it’s a maintaining certain GPA, or a budget, accountability is important – especially when someone is on their own for the first time. While they may be in college now, they have zero experience being an adult. Your years of experience can save your child from making unnecessary mistakes.
10. Reward you college kid with things that support a healthy lifestyle. Clothes and money are great, but what about rewarding your child with personal training, a membership to a yoga studio, new running shoes, box of protein bars, fruit basket or small workout accessories like a gym bag, iphone arm band, etc. The healthier your kid is, the better he or she will perform in school – and the more confidence he or she will have on campus.
Ok, so YOU are the student and you want to know what you can do to not be another statistic of one more college kid that gets fat at college?
10 Healthy Tips for College Kids
1. Burn if off. If you admit you eat poorly, or you just eat too much, make the time to burn it off. It doesn’t require a lot of money to go for a power walk or jog. It will help you relieve stress, as well as keep you in good shape.
2. Go to the gym. If you have a school gym, USE IT! You will meet like-minded people there who can help support your goals.
3. Party, but don’t always drink. Most kids don’t want to feel like they are missing out so they hit every party they can. I’m not saying you can’t go have fun and socialize, but you don’t have to consume loads of alcohol calories every single time you go out. NOTE: Most people feel better holding a something (like a drink) when meeting people and are in new surroundings. Like a baby has a pacifier, have a go-to drink option that pacifies you, like a really cool water bottle or your favorite seltzer water.
5. Snack, Snack and Snack some more! The college life is a fast paced life. You are on the go a lot and if you aren’t prepared, you’ll end up STARVING and making poor choices. To avoid temporary hunger retardation (when you get so hungry you make really dumb mistakes), always keep snacks close, like almonds, protein bars, fruit, low-fat cheese sticks and greek yogurt.
6. Trade going to the club, for going to the fitness club. Gyms can be a great place to socialize and hang out. It’s a lot healthier than going to bars. If you don’t hesitate to pay a cover fee at a night club, then you shouldn’t hesitate to pay a day fee at a local gym. Trying different gyms around town can not only be fun, but it can help you learn what gym you like most (and which one has the cutest boys). Hey, don’t laugh, I may be old, but I still remember what it was like to be college age!
7. Stay active. It will be tempting to sleep the weekends away, but it’s super important to stay in some kind of healthy routine. While sleep is also important (and if you need it, of course catch up on it!) however, sleeping until 1pm and lazying around the apartment isn’t smart either. Make plans to go to the beach, go to the pool or play a game of ultimate frisbee or volley ball. The more you stay cooped up in the house, the more tempted you are to eat – as well as hide your growing belly. NOTE: The more you are in a bikini, the more likely you are to be careful what to eat. And, if you are in a northern college where it’s cooler, you can still stay active and accountable in other ways.
8. Weigh yourself. Out of site, often leads to out of mind. If you have a healthy outlook on your weight, weighing yourself can help you catch weight gain before it’s too late. Otherwise, you may just think you are a bad laundry person and shrinking all your clothes. :) Sometimes seeing your weight in big digital numbers is enough to keep you on track.
9. Eat smaller portions. If you are on a broke college girl (or boy) budget, and all you eat is fast food, at least eat less of it. Divide meals in half and stretch each meal out. Not only will you feel better, but your money will go further too.
10. Get good sleep. College kids are often sleep deprived – normally just because kids would rather party, they have full schedules, or they just don’t manage time well. Force yourself to go to bed early when you can. If you can’t fall asleep, try taking Sleepy Time tea to help you get tired so you can get the rest your body and mind needs.
The only way to get our muscles to grow is to USE them. It requires effort. If we want to gain muscle mass it requires us lifting HEAVIER things, working HARDER than we currently are. Over time, the things that once seemed impossible & challenging are much easier.
The same goes with our faith. Whether it’s faith in people or faith in God, faith is like a muscle. It only grows if we use it. Once we use it, test it, challenge it and grow it, daily struggles, questions, stress, doubt, all the heavy weights in our life, feel light because of our ever-growing stronger faith.
Today I write on faith, because faith is an important part of our spiritual health. Before you tune me out, continue to read and take what you want from this. Even if you apply it in everyday life with your loved ones. I think there is a message here for anyone – whether you believe in God or not.
Think about it, how healthy can we be if we are fit on the outside, but broken down, insecure and weak on the inside. Even people who don’t believe in God, have a deep desire to have faith in something or someone. They may put their faith in money, a job, a diploma, a spouse, a friend, science, teachers, bosses, politicians or their own physical abilities or taent, but humans are born to want to have faith in something.
Think of it this way. How often have we said “once I just graduate, or when we can get everything paid off, everything will be much better” That’s faith, faith those things will improve your life. So much so, you will continue to go to school even if it kills you, and you will try to paid down those bills even when you are dying to spend more money. You also have faith your car will stop when you apply the breaks. You trust your debit card will work when you swipe it through the card reader. Why do you have faith in such things? Because you practice it, you’ve tested it over and over again. So, you practice faith already, but it’s time for you to pick up the Big Boy faith weights.
The same way a client thinks “there is NO WAY I can lift that” and then they lift it anyway, if we want our faith to get stronger, we have to start trusting God with bigger things. We need to constantly challenge our faith muscles like we do our skeletal muscles. Why does it matter? Many studies have proven people who have faith are healthier. Part of that is a no-brainer. I mean, people who are trying to improve their spiritual life are less likely to destroy their body with drugs or stupidity. They are (should be) more obedient citizens and they are more disciplined. I also believe a lot of the added health benefits is from having more faith.
More faith means less stress. For instance, have you ever had a boyfriend you couldn’t trust? How unhealthy was that relationship for you? I bet you were more stressed, insecure, tired, full of constant doubt, skeptical, thinking the worst all the time, and maybe even downright depressed. However, take the same you in a different relationship where you trust your boyfriend. You feel loved, confident and stress-free….you are relaxed, healthy, rested and at peace.
What is Faith?
Faith is not a religion. Faith is an action based on what you believe. Faith is defined as “confidence or trust in a person or thing. Complete trust.”
We have faith in the people who we get to know and love – and that know and love us back. We don’t put much faith in strangers, so how can anyone expect to trust God if He is a stranger to them. A simple fix is to spend more time getting to know our God, and give him the opportunity to prove He is trustworthy – which is proven over time. (God says “…test me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malacai 3:10)
As a man in love desires to prove his love to his bride, God desires to show how much he loves us and He can’t do that if we don’t give him a chance and trust Him or get to know him. Once He has won our heart, we will trust Him more – and the more we trust Him (and build those faith muscles), the more our faith will continue to grow stronger.
Doubt, the Faith Killer
Believe me, we all have our moments of doubt. I know I do, and we do the same things with our loved ones too. We can easily let a window of doubt slip into our thoughts where we wonder if they are trustworthy, or we wonder if they will let us down. That’s normal because we are human. Yet, the only way to truly find out is to continue to trust them and get to know them better.
Unfortunately, this is where we go wrong with God. As soon as we have doubts, we quit. We not only quit trusting Him, but we quit the whole relationship. Can you imagine how crappy our marriages and friendships were if we quit every time we had a doubt or fear? Well, we’d have no friends or marriage for one, but life would also be very lonely and hopeless.
I challenge you to start training your faith muscles. If you lack faith or don’t believe in God, maybe it’s because God is a stranger. No one can expect you to trust and believe in the unknown. Take time to get to know Him and trust him more – and watch your faith muscles begin to bulge! You will not only benefit spiritually, but your body will thank you too!
Today Joyce Meyer talked about when she first started working out with what she called little “dog-bone” 3lb weights, and how heavy they felt (this is a pic from her video of her making fun of herself struggling). Yet, now, she lifts 20-25lbs dumbbells (GO JOYCE!) and laughs at how hard those lighter weights once were.
As our faith grows, things in life that were once difficult to have faith through are like those dog-bone weights. You will be able to carry heavy loads in life with ease and enjoy the victory of experiencing strength in the Lord. CLICK HERE to watch her awesome teaching on faith.
“I can do all things in Christ who STRENGTHENS me.” Philippians 4:13
Don’t you want to be STRONGER – inside AND out? I know I do!
Today’s matching motivational image:
#1: I thought it was silly that I don’t take fish oil, but I’m making sure my dog takes it. Of course if it’s THAT good for him, it would be THAT good for me too. Duh!
#2: I am HORRIBLE with taking vitamins. I believe in them, but struggle to remember to take them. YET, I haven’t forgotten to give Marley his supplements once since I started. How ironic is that? So, I can remember to take care of my dog but I forget about my own health? How messed up is that?!
Solution: I decided to put MY supplements with HIS supplements and every time I give him his fish oil, I’ll take my supplements too. It’s a simple solution for a girl like me!
4 Healthy Rules to Follow:
1. Treat your body as good as you treat your kids (or furry kids) and loved ones. You aren’t going to be very helpful to either one if your health deteriorates.
2 Take it right when you think of it, even if it’s not ideal timing. The truth is, taking something when you think about it is better than nothing. If you are like me, you may put it off to take it when you aren’t drinking coffee or when you are eating a meal, etc as suggested. Sometimes you just have to take it when you think about, or you may not take it at all.
2. Find a trigger to help you remember to take your supplements and/or medications. Whether it’s feeding the dog, like me, brushing your teeth or eating breakfast, if there is a good pattern in your life that you never miss, add your nutrition ritual to it.
3. Find the perfect place for your supplements. If you are a neat freak like me, you probably like all your supplements tucked away and hidden. Well, unfortunately, out of site, often means out of mind. Try to find a place where your supplements can be seen on a daily basis – as well as convenient.
Click HERE to get Doggie Diet Tips: The trick to improving your poosh’s good looks.
Some of you may have noticed I have a new addition to the family. (I almost feel sorry for my Facebook and Instagram friends who have to endure the million pics I’ve been posting! Sorry guys!) However, if you were one of the lucky ones who’s newsfeed hasn’t been filled up with all my pictures, and you are in the dark, I am now the proud mother to a 10 month old baby boy.
He’s just a baby, but he is already about 30″ tall and weighs 130lbs. He may not be human, but he thinks he is. My big new baby is a Great Dane Puppy, named Marley Beaux (Bo). (We are experimenting with names…he came to us as Marley, but we kinda think he looks like a “Bo”. Anyway, I’m completely in love!
Last fall I lost my Great Dane, Tank, after 12 fantastic years. Although I’ve had dogs all my life, I took Tank’s death harder than I ever could have imagined. He was my best bud when Steve was away doing both reality TV shows, which was 3 months at a time. We had a special bond. I’m not sure if it’s the breed or what, but we were much more closely connected than any other dog I’ve had. Steve and I were both devastated. Our house was eerily quiet.
Well, we finally decided it was time to get another dog – and there was no question it would be another Dane. The short story is we ended up adopting Marley from a loving family (with 2 toddlers and 2 other Danes) who felt Marley needed more attention and love (which we were HAPPY to give!). It was love at first lick!
Honestly, I forgot just how great being a pet owner is. I also never dreamed I could love another dog like I did Tank. I also started to notice he added a new healthy component to my life. Over the last 2 weeks, I noticed I made more time to just enjoy life. As a workaholic, I have a hard time stepping away from work, but Marley forces me to take more breaks, get outside, relax and even play more. I’ve even noticed that my activity on my Jawbone UP band (activity tracker) had even increased.
This past Saturday I took him to dog training at Pawprints, where Marley went through what I call Doggie Boot Camp – complete with obstacle course, running, swimming (pictured left with my sister’s dog & Marley) and all kinds of cool stuff. At the end of the day, I looked at my activity on my Jawbone UP and I had walked 13,153 steps which is roughly 6.5 miles (compared to a normal pre-pet Saturday day of leisure taking only 6,000-7,000 steps). Then I got to thinking, Marley is so GOOD for me!
So, I did some research to learn more about all the health benefits of owning a dog. Study after study has consistently proven that pet owners are healthier than the average person. Take a look!
15 Health Benefits for Pet Owners
- They increase activity. One study showed that people who have pets were 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of daily activity than a non-pet owner. Their desire to walk and play reminds us to get out and get moving too – and I’d have to agree!
- They help ease people out of isolation. Dogs are great conversation pieces and make people feel more comfortable facing the world “alone” – because, while they are not with another person, they have a loving companion.
- They help people handle stress better. One study showed people with a high-stress job and high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets.
- They help children’s development. Studies showed children who suffered from wither severe ADHD or Autism showed lengthened attention spans. Pets also teach children responsibility and how to communicate with others better.
- They help boost children’s immune systems. WebMD says “If a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies– 19% vs. 33%. They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. In addition, they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals — a sign of stronger immune system activation.
- They are match-makers. Approaching another person out of the blue can be nerve-racking, but approaching someone with a dog is easy and almost always welcomed. The dog gives people something to talk about that is natural and comfortable, making the initial conversation much easier. Whether you are looking for a date or enjoy meeting people, pets make it easier to make more friends.
- They are calming. In a world full of hustle and bustle, people are in great need of “calming down”. Pets help us slow down, stop and smell the roses – or in this case, pet the dog. Playing with a dog actually elevates levels of serotonin and dopamine, nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.
- They are good for your heart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets, which showed owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- They speed recovery. When someone is stuck in bed recovering from surgery, or who has limited mobility, a pet can lift their spirits and boost recovery time. One study showed when a dog was part of the medical team, the patients’ anxiety scores dropped by 24 percent. When a human volunteer visited the patient, it just dropped 10 percent. Without visits, the patients’ conditions didn’t change, he says. (read more about therapy dogs)
- They give us a sense of empowerment. Once you have trained a pet to obey your command, it is very satisfying for a pet owner to have a certain level of control, even when life can be completely out of control around you. This sense of empowerment can boost confidence and encourage people to take better care of themselves.
- They make you laugh. Laughing is so good for you, but many of us don’t do it nearly enough. Laughing relaxes your muscles, releases endorphins, boosts your immune system and relieves stress. The more you laugh, the better – and pets tend to do some pretty funny stuff (like getting into the bathtub for no reason and making adorable faces like this, pictured right).
- They fight depression. Pets provide companionship, unconditional love and make people feel important and loved. They keep people in a healthy routine, and help keep them active and social. One doctor said he personally witnessed people eliminate antidepressants by the simple act of obtaining a dog.
- They can detect cancer. Next time your dog sniffs you out, you may want to pay closer attention. There have been multiple reports of dogs sniffing out cancer. One woman reported her dog keep sniffing at a mole and even tried to bite it off. The mole ended up being a malignant melanoma. Another dog correctly detected cancer in 33 out of 37 samples of people’s breath and stool that scientists had collected.
- They help prevent diabetic crashes and seizures. Many untrained dogs have shown behavioral changes when their owner’s blood sugar crashes or is about to have to have a seizure. Therapy dogs are trained to detect a drop in blood sugar or oncoming seizure before the owner begins to feel the symptoms, warning their owners in time to prevent an attack. (learn more about Diabetes Alert Dogs and Seizure Alert Dogs)
- They have healing powers for the elderly. Pets help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity in elderly people who often live alone. They also reduce depression and loneliness, associated with aging or illness, as well as take their mind of physical problems, loss and aging. Even Alzheimer’s patients benefited, with fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a dog, or you’ve been trying to convince a loved one you need a pooch, now you have 15 really good reasons to back you up! :)
Funny Video: Who Got in the Trash?
Awesome video: And God Made a Dog
“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” Peter Drucker
“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” John Lennon
“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” Woody Allen
How many times have you gone for a run, or workout, and thought “that stunk!” If you’re like me, it’s happened countless times. It’s so easy to beat ourselves up, but we need to focus on our consistency and following through – no matter how crappy we feel like our attempt was.
Before my grandmother died, she gave me a hand-written book of all her favorite sayings, stories and scriptures (Priceless right?!). I keep it out and read from of it on a regular basis. Today, I turned to this page (pictured here with pictures of the book and my grandmother). The saying was from Dr. Peter Marshall, a preacher and Chaplain of the United States Senate in 1947.
“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.”
This quote got me thinking about all the great things I’ve wanted to do but didn’t do because I was putting it off for a “better time” – as if a better time will ever come.
Are you planning or doing?
A great example of this pattern is people who need to lose weight and get in shape. SO many people make the best plans. They choose a diet, join a gym, buy the perfect running shoes, get the best supplements – and then something gets in the way or the wait to get started. Unfortunately, most people don’t do anything at all if they can’t do it 100% but this little quote has a powerful punch, and reminds us that a little something done is better than anything you had planned but aren’t doing.
The same way I’ve heard people say there is no good time to have kids, there is no perfect time to start a diet or begin working out. The only right time to start is now. You will always be busy. Stuff will always come up. It will always be challenging, and it will never be any easier. If you have been putting stuff off because you didn’t feel you could give it 100%, don’t fool yourself into thinking doing nothing is better than doing something. Nothing is never better than something.
Whether you apply this to your personal life, spiritual life or physical body – it’s time to start doing what you can with the time you have now. If you don’t have the time to do what you want, then start thinking about what you CAN do – because nine times out of 10, you CAN do SOMETHING.
Worrying Can Cause:
- Lack of sleep or insomnia
- Panic attacks
- Fast heart rate
- Inability to concentrate
- Muscle tension and muscle aches
Web MD explains that when you worry for a long time, you have excessive fuel in the blood that isn’t used properly (like pinned up energy to use for exercise or activity), which can cause a host of other major problems like:
13. Suppression of the immune system
14. Digestive disorders
15. Short-term memory loss
16. Premature coronary artery disease
17. Heart attack
Stress is not what causes health problems. It’s how you handle stress in your life. If you don’t handle it well (or at all), and you just worry about it – eventually it WILL come out and attack your body. You cannot pin all that anxiety up without exploding eventually.
6 Ways to Handle Stress Better
If you catch yourself worrying, here are a few things you can do to control it so it doesn’t affect your health:
- Exercise - People who worry, tend to be very frustrated because they can’t do anything about their current problem. Exercise, hands down, is the best way to relieve stress and get out your frustrations. It also will help you fall a sleep better so you don’t stay up thinking about your problems.
- Eat healthy - You need to fuel your body with good food if you want to feel good. Unfortunately, people who deal with a lot of stress tend to eat poorly, and eat more – as if to get some type of temporary satisfaction when they are so unsatisfied with other areas of their life. Poor choices may help you feel better for a moment, but they will leave you lacking the energy you need to handle the rest of the day – and the weight you gain will leave you even more discouraged.
- Slow down - many people who are stressed out, try to keep busy to keep their mind off things. They tend to work longer hours, stay entertained, avoid quiet and self-medicate themselves with alcohol or drugs. What they need most is what they avoid most – silence. This is where yoga is very good. You get to stretch tense muscles, control your breathing, meditate and even pray. Remember, you can’t go 100 miles an hour without eventually crashing. You need to purposely slow your body down to prevent wrecking your health.
- Rest - This is something that often times will not come naturally. You will have to FORCE your body to rest. Even if that means taking a mild sleep aid (like Tylonel PM), it is imperative you get the rest you need to stay both physically and mentally healthy. If you miss rest, you are setting yourself up for a ton of other problems – and you’ll have even more to worry about, with no energy to do anything about it.
- Limit or avoid stimulates – If you are a big coffee drinker or smoker, you are probably making things worse. You need relaxation, not stimulation. If you don’t plan to give it up, then you need to give your body a way to blow off steam. Take a walk or jog, workout, play a game of tennis, go to the batting cages or driving range, or take some boxing lessons. If you are going to stimulate your body, let your body use that stimulation to be active.
- Get help – If you feel you can’t do any of these things on your own, or you have tried them and you are still dealing with excessive stress and anxiety, see a doctor. Seek professional counsel and talk with a friend. It is super important that you have people who care about you monitoring you, supporting you, and helping you through this difficult time. Whatever you do, don’t go it alone.
Are you a chronic worrier? Read 9 Steps to End Chronic Worrying
Every where we go we are inundated with weight loss commercials, diets, exercise gimmicks, workout fads and commercials for healthy food. Just by all the commercials alone, it is clear everyone knows America has a weight issue.
149 million Americans are overweight or obese. We suffer $208 billion in lost productivity and $46 billion in direct medical costs as a result of our weight issue. One out of three youth are overweight, and one out of six is obese. And, if a parent is overweight, their child has a startling 70% chance of being overweight or obese too. So, it would only make since that anyone who wants to make money would jump on the weight loss bandwagon to sell us something to fix our problem.
So how do diet and fitness brands try to grab our attention? They don’t attempt to hook us by listing health risks or obesity facts. No, they capture our attention with six-pack abs and hot fit bodies. Why? Because our outer body is more tangible and real to us. It’s what we see. But what about what we cannot see?
Rolls of fat are bothersome, and tight jeans are frustrating. Our outer layer of fat speaks to us every day. It stares us in the face and screams at us constantly – but what if your organs, blood and bones could talk to you and explaim how your weight affects them?
This picture (posted above) is a look inside the body of a person who is overweight vs a person at a healthy weight. Look at how crowded the overweight person’s organs are. Look at how the body fat shifts their joints out of whack and changes their posture.
Let Me Hear Your Body Talk
If your body could talk, your heart may ask you for a much-needed break, and complain about how hard and fast it’s been beating. Your lungs may tell you how cramped they are and how badly they would like to expand more so you could perform better. Your bones may cry for relief from carrying such large loads day in and day out. Your blood might be too busy yelling at your artery walls to even have time to complain to you about your cholesterol issues. Each blood drop is probably yelling “pardon me, coming through, make a way” because of all the build up it has to dodge or squeeze through every second of the day.
We take life for granted. It’s not that we forget the fact we are alive, but we neglect to realize all the work it takes to keep us alive. We have such high expectations for our body. We expect our body to perform well even when we treat it like crap. We act surprised when we have health issues when, if our body could talk, it’s probably been struggling for years.
Sure, weight loss looks great, but we can’t forget about how much better weight loss looks on the inside too. Don’t you think your body deserves a break – and maybe even a little pampering? It’s been working so hard all these years. Let’s take good care of it, so it can continue taking good care of you.
Today’s Fitness Motivation: