Archive for: weight loss
Living in a rural state like Maine, it’s easy to get spoiled by the solitude. With no traffic to speak of, nights are still and silent which makes for a perfect sleeping environment. It also makes it easier to get startled when an errant noise jolts you out of bed with your pounding heart leading the way. Isn’t it amazing how much we don’t think about our hard-working hearts until they remind us in a big way? Since February is a month in which we celebrate the decadence of Valentine’s Day along with the prudence of heart health month, let’s find a happy medium to enjoy both!
Early in the 2013–2014 football season, I had every confidence that I would be watching my beloved Packers play in the Superbowl this Sunday only to see my hopes fade as Aaron Rodgers was out with an injury for several games and, of course, a playoff loss that quickly ended their season. So, I turned to my runner up, the Patriots, and, yet again, my dreams were dashed as were theirs when they lost to the Broncos. Undaunted, I pinned my faith to the fast & furious 49ers. As you can tell, I don’t place any bets on my predictions! At least my fourth favorite is playing in the Superbowl this year, although, I’d better not say to whom I betroth my allegiance for fear of jinxing the outcome. The reason for my football rant is seated in what you’ll be doing this Sunday and beyond. Drinks and snacks will be the norm for Superbowl Sunday and, while it’s okay to share good cheer, you may want to rethink your cocktail concoctions.
My first memory of soda, or “pop” for you Midwesterners, was a coca-cola machine my sister got for her birthday. All the neighborhood kids crammed into our kitchen to witness the creation of this fizzy concoction formerly reserved for special occasions or the rare trip to McDonald’s for a burger and the drink of our choosing. I guess I was just a weird kid, but I never acquired a taste for carbonated beverages which remains to this day. Little did I know that my distain for such childhood delights would pay off in the long run. How about you? Are you a soda freak? If so, the dangers of what you are sipping may surprise you.
Did your grandmother ever have a tried-and-true remedy for whatever ailed you? It usually came from ingredients she gathered from her backyard garden or root cellar that transformed into a stinky, sticky concoction she would rub on your chest or stick under your tongue, right? My grandmother’s cure-alls were cocoa butter and Vitamin E. Regardless of the nature and severity of your complaint, she’d say, “Just rub some Vitamin E on it and you’ll be all set,” with such a commanding tone that you were convinced it would work. And, actually, it did more often than not! Maybe Grandma was onto something after all and science is backing up her home remedies with even more E-vidence.
Bill Murray is one of my favorite comedic actors…I don’t know how he does it, but for me, he just stands there funny. From iconic SNL skits to wacky movies like Stripes and Groundhog Day, Murray portrays an ordinary guy who comes out on top no matter the circumstances. As we begin the new year with lofty resolutions and grand plans to transform our lives, I suddenly thought about Bill Murray in “What About Bob?” Bill plays Bob Wiley, an off-centered but endearing phobic who receives misguided advice from Dr. Leo Marvin played by Richard Dreyfuss in the form of the doctor’s new book entitled Baby Steps. Fearful of everything, Bob takes his book and his pet fish in hand and baby-steps his way to Dr. Marvin’s vacation home. “Baby steps get on the bus, baby steps down the aisle…baby steps into the elevator…I’m on the elevator!” Maybe we could take some advice from Bob and take consistent steps instead of quantum leaps to achieve our goals this year.
For some odd reason, I never seem to have a very stocked refrigerator. Maybe it’s my tendency towards minimalism or perhaps my propensity for reducing clutter behind closed doors like pantry shelves and closets. Either way, more often than not, my cupboards tend to be on the bare side, that is, until my relatives arrive in town! My mother has the opposite problem, a fridge so full that food and condiments spill out of ever door and shelf. Growing up there was never an utterance of “there’s nothing to eat in the house!” So, with the arrival of family this Christmas, it will be my turn to stock the shelves, and overload the refrigerator — it will be a foodie’s paradise for at least a week. While this time of year lends itself to over-indulgences, shaking the salt habit is one simple thing you can do to stay slim this season.
Like most of the country, it’s cold and snowy today. Hard to believe that it’s still officially autumn as winter won’t arrive for another few days. Even though I grew up in the midwest and have lived in Maine for a number of years, I still get a little grumpy when the cold weather arrives. I will say, though, that one advantage to living in Maine in the wintertime are the stunningly brilliant blue skies and abundant sunshine. The problem is that by the time those golden rays hit us, they’ve lost their power to warm us up — not to mention the fact that the sun sets around 4pm this time of year. Beyond frosty fingers, less sunlight means we have to work a little harder to get a very essential vitamin that is a dynamo at warding off disease. Let’s find some ways to supplement our sunshine with dominating vitamin D.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an investor, squirreling away my hard-earned lawn mowing and babysitting money in my passbook savings account at our local bank. At a young age I knew the importance of compounding interest and the benefit of investing in my future. The same rules apply to your health — the more you invest in it at an early age, the better return you’ll get on your investment in the future. Are you well-invested? If not, there are some simple investments you can make right now to ensure you’ll reap those healthy dividends.
Now, I’ve never been one to dream about food but I have to say that after living in New Mexico for a few years working at White Sands Missile Range and Holloman AFB, I developed quite a taste for green chilies. As a meat & potatoes midwestern girl, spicy foods seldom, if ever, made it to my plate. So, it must have been the captivation of the high desert, the thin air, majestic mountain ranges, or even the expansive, clear night sky that drew me into not only the scenery but the culinary delights of the southwest. Little did I know that my indulgence into these potent peppers was a healthy one!
For as long as I can remember, I have had an affinity for water. Maybe it’s because every state I’ve lived in from the time I was born was near a body of water. From the expansive Great Lakes, the calm shores of the Gulf of Mexico to the rocky coast of the northern Atlantic ocean, I love the water. As a sports enthusiast, water is the one medium you can enjoy year round. Last Christmas, we had the rare occasion to skate on “glass ice” at my parents’ lake home. In college, I lived on the shores of Lake Superior. Chilly for swimming but an incredible snow maker in the winter. Living in Maine, I have even bigger reasons to love the water…I can get lobster year round! For those of you who love surf more than turf and think crab, lobster and other crustacea are rare indulgences, it’s time to put it back on your plate!
Sorry to have missed you last week. My parents were in town for a visit and we had a very full schedule of activities. One thing I notice about spending time with my folks is how many characteristics we share. I love working on projects with my dad as much as I love shopping adventures with my mom. This photo is from a trip I took with my mom to Eastport, Maine — the easternmost city in the United States — how cool is that? I’m fortunate to have amazing parents who are kind, loving, generous, fun and loaded with talent. You may or may not be in the same boat with your folks — the good news is that you have the power to do something about it.
Like all good Italian families, we had a huge garden when I was a kid. My inventive father cleverly created an outdoor carpet template with holes cut strategically to allow the plants to thrive while keeping the weeds at bay. As a result, our garden was a veggie producing machine! With an overabundance of produce, I learned about 100 different ways to prepare zucchini. Little did I know just how good it was for me and can be for you too.
For most of North America, August ushers in the dog days of summer. Here in Maine they usher in the beginning of autumn — I am not kidding you. Our temps have already dipped and, just yesterday, I saw a maple tree whose leaves were already turning — come on, tree, seriously? It would make sense then that you never find a parked car with the windows cracked this time of year. Actually, it’s not the weather that keeps them shut. Around here, if you leave your windows cracked open, you’ll be met with a seat full of cucumbers, squash and zucchini! Every Mainer knows about twenty ways to use a zucchini and the rest leave a trail around the state. The good news is that these healthy harvests produce some great nutritious dividends as well. Today, we’ll focus on the cucumber.
Did you ever see the animated movie, The Incredibles? It’s about a family of superheroes who must keep their super powers secret in order to fit into a suburban lifestyle. Of course, when evil threatens, you can’t keep good superheroes down! My favorite character is Edna, or “E”, a tiny yet extremely high strung designer tasked with creating costumes for “gods” as she described the cast of super heroes she clothed. Her biggest gripe was “no capes” after several super heroes met their demise with tragic wardrobe malfunctions! As kids, I’m sure we all had fantasies about becoming superheroes. Maybe a super you isn’t so far off thanks to the exciting new world of Epigenetics.
Have you ever caught a whiff of coconut and it immediately triggers an image of a tropical paradise with warm sandy beaches, waves lapping ashore, a chilled umbrella drink in hand, and steel drums playing in the distance? Or does that just work for me? Coconut is obviously one of my favorite scents and flavors of summer. Unfortunately, coconut is considered a forbidden fat-laden food found in rich, decadent cookies, pies and cakes. Let’s bust through coconuts crusty shell to reveal some amazing health and fat-loss benefits.
In high school, my brother and his buddies started a band. Not only were they a crazy-talented bunch, they also had an uncanny ability to throw a concert together on a moment’s notice and fill the room with 300 or more avid fans. Last summer, they got the band back together for a one-night-only concert on the lake. It was a blast and we’re looking forward to an encore this year. It proved to me that you can go back and relive experiences from your past. With summer in full stride, maybe it’s time to shake up your fitness routine, rekindle some passions of your own and maybe even cultivate a few new ones.
If you have been a user of my workouts for any of the past 15 years, you will notice I do not do jump roping as part of my written programming. It does not mean I disapprove of jumping rope, in fact, I have many years of jumping rope when I wrestled and played football in high school and played rugby in college. We also used jump ropes while on deployments when visiting on submarines or boats when in the SEAL Teams. I just never pushed jump roping as a training option when the focus of my writing has been mainly running, rucking, swimming as a cardio foundation.
However, after learning about this new jump rope called the Crossrope (www.crossrope.com) at the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Tactical Strength and Conditioning Conference, I actually have added jump roping to my training programs.
Although I’m fascinated with ancient history and artifacts — I could totally be Indiana Jones, whip and all — I’m not a huge fan of museums. Everywhere you go, there are signs saying “Do Not Touch.” Truthfully, doesn’t it make you want to touch everything that much more? The same may be true when it comes to off-limits food. The more forbidden it is, the more we want it, right? If you’ve hung in there with me all month through the litany of what-not-to-eat’s for weight loss, you may be wondering if there is anything left to eat! The good news is there are some fun foods you can enjoy this summer guilt-free.
Now that I’ve conquered the mini scooter world, I’m upgrading this summer to a Vespa (thanks Mom!). For an Italian girl, it just doesn’t get any better than that! Because it has more power than my little Bajaj, I had to go to scooter school — otherwise known as a mandatory motorcycle safety course. Of course, with more power comes more responsibility so I’m going to have to learn how to handle my classic Italian dream machine from starting, accelerating, maneuvering, avoiding obstacles and stopping safely. If your desire is to upgrade to a better, more powerful body this summer, you’ll need to know the rules of the “ripped” road.
Last summer my dad gave us a scooter he’d had in storage for quite a while. It’s a little bitty thing — think motorized bicycle versus high powered rocket — but man is it fun to ride. We did some basic maintenance on it over the weekend, checking tire pressure, replacing gear box fluid, etc.. You could tell it had been idle for years by the black, sticky fluid that drained off. Now it’s running like a champ. It is amazing what the right fuel will do for a simple engine to help it perform at its peak. If you’re looking for leaner abs and a carved physique this summer, maybe it’s time to give your muscles a tune up too.