October 8, 2009

The airbrushing controversy continues.

I think it's important to keep people informed of tactics the media uses to create unrealistic pictures using airbrushing or other forms of retouching photos of models. These photos are everywhere, airbrushed to show an opinion of perfection in every form. The photos mold the model into something so fake and yet scream out to viewers that this is what they should look like to be considered beautiful. I don't agree with it at all - a beautiful person does not always include flawless skin, full hair, or a certain size. I'd rather be around a person who is kind and selfless than a sized 2 "flawless" model who can't hold a conversation without insulting someone. I'm a firm believer that beauty comes from within.

Because of my beliefs on this topic, I was glad to find this article on Yahoo!'s Shine website. It reports a well-known blogger who is pointing his finger at the infamous Ralph Lauren and scolds him for the way he portrays his models. The ad the blogger is referring to is a picture of a model whose waist is airbrushed so small that her head is actually bigger than her waist (not to mention her arms and legs which look siiiiiickly thin). Hopefully these types of spoken outrages will help lawmakers realize there needs to be a thick, strong line about what advertisers can and cannot do when doing retouching their photos. Click on the title below to read the full article.

"Image of ultra-thin Ralph Lauren model sparks outrage"

July 20, 2009

Muscle Building Monday

May I introduce my new FAVORITE lift: the shoulder press squat. There's probably a fancier name for it, but this is how I referred to it in the beginning so I would remember how to do it. :) I love it. I think I love it because I really have to concentrate to not fall over, and the more I concentrate on a lift, the more "enjoyment" I get from it. (Stop laughing at me. I'm being serious here.)

Shoulder Press Squat
works your shoulders, glutes, thighs, and calves.

Grab a weight bar or a dumbbell in each hand and get in position to do a shoulder press by bending your elbows to lower your hands to shoulder level, palms facing out. Squat down and inhale - you're ready to begin. As you exhale, push through your heels to come up from the squat until you're on your tip-toes while doing the shoulder press at the same time (push the weights in your hands straight up to the ceiling). You'll know you're timing it right when your arms almost fully extended (never completely extended) at the exact time you're on your toes. Slowly return to beginning position.

2 sets, 10-12 reps.

July 16, 2009

Exercising on a Budget

Years ago, I didn't have access to a gym or my own exercise equipment and I was bound and determined to figure out a way for me to still be able to lift even though I didn't have the budget to go make any purchases right away. Since then I've come across some friends and clients who were in that same position, and I could relate to their feelings of frustration! I shared those exercise failures and triumphs I had experienced and showed them some moves to try at home.

That time seems so long ago...like, almost 10 years ago. (Does anybody know an exercise to make time slow down???)

I've modified a few of those exercises over the years, figuring out what works and what doesn't. You can use inexpensive items commonly found around the house to help strengthen your muscles and get your heart rate up, but I posted my favorite one below, along with some exercises. Use these exercises separately or as part of a full body program.

Gallon of water. You know, the kind that have a handle on them and look like a plastic milk jug. Fill them with water or sand and weigh them to get an accurate measurement. Wa-la: homemade dumbbells.

walking lunges, holding H2O gallons in each hand
calf raises on stairs holding H2O gallon(s)
chest flies, bench press (use H2O gallons while lying on a bench, a bunch of pillows under your back, or the floor)
bicep curls, triceps extensions, shoulder press; all using H2O gallons

mountain climbers
jumping jacks

Just a few ideas to get you started. A few.

Do you have any modified equipment you've put together? As great (and cheap) as modified equipment can be, remember there are sometimes issues with safety. Not just any box can be used as a step box; those need to be big and sturdy enough to distribute the weight that's being placed upon it. If it's not sturdy enough, and you happen to step on the wrong part of the box, you'll fall. I've done it, and it's not pretty. So be careful when you attempt to make a piece of exercise equipment, but never give up. Something is bound to work!

July 13, 2009

Are you still RESOLVING?

"I'm going to exercise every day for 40 minutes."
"I will run 1.5 miles 3 times/week."
"I will not eat sugar."
"I will lose 15 pounds by June."

Roughly six months ago, people woke up to the new year with new goals, resolving to make themselves healthier in the year 2009.

Six months ago. Where does the time go?

It's time to rekindle the ol' flame of your resolution. What did you resolve to do in the year 2009? Are you still working towards your goal(s)? Have you achieved any of them? (Do you remember any of them?)

If they've gone by the wayside, it's time to remember, regroup, and replan.

Remember: What were your goals? What results did you want to see, and how were you planning on achieving those goals? Why did you stop?

Regroup: Get ready to make new goals for the second half of the year. They can be the same as your original New Year's Resolutions, or you can start over with Mid-Year Resolutions. Find some reasons to be motivated!

Replan: Obviously your previous plan didn't work if you have forgotten all about your resolutions. Why didn't your plan work? What roadblocks did you encounter, and how can you overcome those during the next six months? Don't just have a mental plan; write out your plan on paper, posterboard, your bathroom mirror. Acknowledge the roadblocks you have encountered or will encounter and ways you can beat them. Don't forget your support group and journal/blog entries for better accountability.

There is still six months left in the year, which is plenty of time to make healthy changes and achieve your goals. Don't give up on your New Year's Resolutions yet! Each new day is a great opportunity to start living well.

July 11, 2009

Today is 7-11.

Today is one of the "funnest" days of all: July 11. 7-Eleven. As in the convenience store. And everyone should know by now that they offer FREE slurpees on this day from 7a to 11p. Mmmm.....slurpees.

But is the free slurpee worth the extra calories and no nutrition? My opinion is, yes. Of course it's worth it, referring to a small or 12 oz cup. But that's just me and I'll happily tack on an extra 10-15 minutes of cardio so I can thoroughly enjoy a delicious summertime treat. :)

Here's the calorie amounts of your slurpee beverage:

12.5 oz White Cherry slurpee = 90 calories
12.5 oz Blue Rasberry slurpee = 90 calories
12.5 oz Cola slurpee = 105 calories
12.5 oz Mountain Dew slurpee = 90 calories
12.5 oz Pepsi slurpee = 82 calories

My fave is mixing the blue rasberry with red cherry. Blue layer, red layer, blue layer, red layer, lid on, blue up to the top. Insert straw. Delish.

*Yes, I'm aware there is a ton of sugar in this beverage. It's not healthy. But I have maybe 2 slurpees a year. I'm allowed a treat now and again, and so are you.

image from 7-eleven.com

July 10, 2009

Vacation + Exercise = ?

I just got home from the family vacay in the mountains. At a resort. With a spa and two pools. Maid service. And a fitness room.

Ah, the fitness room. I saw the inside of the fitness room for a total of three seconds; enough to scan the equipment and know it was all there for my benefit. And then I ignored it. Yes, I packed my running shoes and necessary clothing so I really had no excuses to not use the room, but I sure made up a ton. The most often used was "I need to spend time with my kids while on vacation and away from everything else" (I didn't have a computer!). So I improvised and still got my exercise on, despite my absence from the fully-equipped fitness room.

Hiking: We took the "local" gondola up the mountain and walked the trails. Since my three little tykes are 6 and under, vigorous hiking wasn't really an option for us. One way to burn calories on a nature hike is to increase your speed. Power walking is a great way to burn calories especially as you walk on an inclined trail. Contract your glutes and take long strides while walking for an added burn, but be sure to watch where you step so you're not falling over loose rocks or fallen tree limbs. (Side note: You get bonus points for carrying a toddler on your back. Or some rocks in a backpack. You know, whatever works.)

Swimming: There were two pools we had access to, and one of them was pretty long. My youngest is in diapers and he's most comfy in a floatable-baby-boat-device-thing. With the pool always crowded and only 3 1/2 feet deep, I found that I could push his float around the pool while kicking my legs, alternating from a normal scissor kick to butterfly kicks to side scissor kicks. I could really feel them working after 5 consecutive minutes of kicks, and baby boy loved the fact that he was moving and could watch other swimmers. As an added bonus I didn't have anyone throw dirty looks (or words) my way because we were able to avoid bumping into other swimmers.

Staying in: There are, on occasion, times when you become stuck in your room or in the hotel. Times like these make it nearly impossible to avoid the fitness room. However, there are other things to do, such as running the stairs in the stairwell. Sure, you may get funny looks from passerby's, but you'll be burning more calories. You can also stick to a full body routine in the comfort of your room, but avoid laying on the floors. Yuck. Or you could put a clean towel down.

And if all else fails, take a deep breath, and go. To the fitness room.

July 2, 2009

Yahoo! posted an article that I found to be interesting:

"Mississippi's still fatest, but Alabama closing in"

First off, I think they could have come up with a better title. Second, the article speaks of obesity populations in different states, and which state has the least and most obese adults. Colorado came in with the least number at 18.9% of the population, and Mississippi has the most, with 32.5% of the population experiencing obesity.

Regardless of where you live, this statement from the article has got to make you worried: "And obesity rates among adults rose in 23 states over the past year, and no state experienced a significant decline."

Not one state experienced a significant decline, but on a positive note, last year's report found the obesity rates rose in 37 states. So at least it's slowing down a bit.

June 30, 2009


So here I am, being honest. After all, what more could I offer to faithful readers? Or any reader for that matter.

Honestly, I've forgotten how to work out. You know, the importance of it, how to stick with it, why should I like it, and so on and so forth. Ironically enough my last post was on, what was it again? Oh yeah, motivation. Ironic.

I'm admitting it openly to all who read. I've slacked in the exercise department of life for a few months. Now you know.

Sometimes it's hard to have heard 100 billion excuses for not exercising. They tend to stay with me and shout at me in my head when the loves-of-my-life and work should be coming first. But guess what. You really do have time to do what you want; you just have to make the time for it. There's 24 hours in each day (duh) and you have to make room for what's important to you.

Moving on and a more positive note, I have decided to rejoin the exercise community as of yesterday. And today I decided to post about it and get this blog moving again. Also, C.J. and I are having a 6 week challenge to see who can "improve" their health the best. Still not sure how we're going to measure that, but we have 6 weeks to decide.

Monday: took measurements (yikes!) and weighed in (yikes, yikes!!). 20 minutes of intervals on the eliptical (1 min hard, 2 min medium) with a 3 minute warm-up and 5 minute cool down. Lifted. And I've found a new lift that I really, really like. Mostly because it takes coordination and strength. (It's an emphasizing kind of day today.) So I'm looking to lose this 5 lb weight gain due to neglect of exercising and going overboard with the treats over the next 6 weeks.

That's where I'm at. What about you? What have you been doing the last 3 months?

March 15, 2009

Your reason?

Reason(s) I will exercise today:

I'm training to decrease my mile time
I've got to lower my blood pressure
I'm going to be stronger
I'm will reshape my body
I want to see my kids graduate from high school
Oh, those "skinny jeans"
I love getting fresh morning air & seeing the sun rise
It's part of my daily routine
I'll see so-and-so in step/spinning/kickboxing class
I like seeing more definition in my muscles
My iPod exercise music list is THE BEST
I ate more than I planned last weekend
The 5k is coming up
Looking forward to some "me time"

What's your reason?

March 12, 2009

Frustration = Motivation

There are some emotions felt in life that can be used to motivate you to exercise. Mostly they are the negative feelings that give us a surge of bad energy. If you really try, you can turn this negativity into something positive. Harboring ill feelings within us isn't healthy (especially for your heart) and you've got to learn to let those things go.

Scientifically speaking, exercising releases endorphins that help put us in a better mood. Why not move your muscles for 20-30 minutes when you're stressing over something to help you feel closer to your normal happy?

IMO frustration has GOT to be my number one emotion that gets me moving. It doesn't matter if it's been a single person, a group of people, or a people-less situation that has sent me through the roof; if I'm frustrated I will exercise to help get rid of those feelings. (On the flip side of that, I'll exercise when I'm happy too.)

Do you exercise to help you feel better? Consider that the next time you're ready to punch a hole in the wall. :)


March 10, 2009

A random title wouldn't suffice.

Oh, thanks for asking. Actually I'm particularly indecisive today on a variety of topics, including but of course not limited to what to write for my next wellness article, what design to use for the background of my personal/family blog, how I should structure my new fitness blog, if I should peruse the Internet for a while or begin my aforementioned wellness article... Yes. Dot, dot, dot because that list is continuing a mile a minute in the twisted confines of my brain tissue. BTW, I loved studying the brain and the heart in my anatomy class in college -- both times I took it -- and figured really, how difficult could it be to become a brain surgeon? Seriously? Not to demote the position of brain surgeon by any means, but merely the fact that if you wanted to be a brain surgeon, you could become one simply because you wanted that position in life. Note that I had to take anatomy twice, clearly stating that I had no desire to be a brain surgeon.

Perhaps the indecisiveness stems from the lack of sleep I've encountered. I can now fully appreciate Ambien commercials and the help that little pill provides to many during the dark hours of the night. Apparently my body gets a kick out of the practical joke of tricking my mind into thinking that 4-5 hours of sleep is the only rest my body needs for the next 19 or so hours. Get real. (The wakefulness is usually due to the little princes and princess who randomly wake in the middle of night needing comfort, and my problem is falling back to sleep in a timely manner.)

Despite this and the many other reasons for my inability to make a decision, the day trudges along. I'm hopeful at some point during this day (or night) I'll once again resume normality and press forward with sharp decision-making skills.

And that, my friends, was one attempt to clear my head. Hopefully I can get back to work now. Keep striving to live well!


March 6, 2009

New Look!!

I'm super excited about my new logo -- and a BIG THANKS to my new friend Echo over at Echo Ect. for her creative thinking!!

You all know I've got three kids that keep me busy (among other things) and my family and work has been taking priority lately, hence my lack in blogging. I'm hoping to get back into it very, very soon, as well as launching a new site in general. Until then, continue to Live Well!!


February 18, 2009

6 weeks ends...this week!

Well how did you do on your push-ups?? I had a busy 6 weeks...a funeral, a wedding, TONS of work, and sick children...but I managed to keep up on the routine. In the middle of it my wrists began to hurt and I think I strained some chest muscles (both hurt pretty badly) but after a weekend of rest all was well again.

I really love the increased definition in my shoulders, arms, and upper back. I also did bent-over-rows to work my upper back so my front and back muscles would be more balanced while doing the push-up challenge.

What were your experiences? How much did you improve??

February 7, 2009

Bragging Rights...

People's HealthBlogger Awards

People's HealthBlogger Awards - Best 100 Winner!


I placed within the top 50! Thanks for all of your votes!!

January 9, 2009

P.U.C. details

I announced earlier this week that I'll be starting the push-up challenge soon. "Soon" will be this Monday (Jan 12), and it'll run for six weeks. I plan to take a week or two off to rest, and then I'll start up again.

I know a couple people wanted to do this too, and if you want to stay on the same schedule then you'll need to do your initial test on or before Monday, and then do three days each week. Leave a comment here with your initial number and I'll have these posted. Every couple weeks you're instructed to do another test, and we'll post those numbers too so we can watch our progress.

Happy pushing!

January 8, 2009

The "correct" way to remove snow.

Here it is, the beginning of January, and my house has already seen way too much snow according to yours truly, of course. Los niƱos adore the mounds and mounds of it surrounding the house. Rumor has it's we're a month ahead of our typical snow schedule, and don't I know it. I've shoveled just about all of it off the driveway and sidewalks (hubby's been home in time to do it once). I see snowflakes start coming down and my first thought is, Seriously, more snow to shovel? Enough already!! One month down, 4 1/2 more to go. *Deep sigh*

Since I don't have a snow removal wand, or a snow blower at that, I know I need to do a few strategic things to keep my back safe as I shovel the unwanted "stuff" off to the side. I came across a fantabulous article that reinforces the basics. Here's a brief synopsis:

Digging Your Way Through Winter: Tips for Snow Shoveling
Jean-Jacques Abitbol, MD, FRCSC
Orthopaedic Surgeon
California Spine Group, MC
San Diego, CA

~ Wear a hat, thick gloves, and good boots.
~ Choose a shovel with a curved handle for better posture.
~ Choose a shovel with a plastic blade instead of a metal blade because plastic is lighter.
~ Hand placement on the shovel is important. Keeps hands farther apart for better leverage.

For more tips from Dr. Abitbol, see his article from spineuniverse.com by clicking on the title. For those of you who have people to do this daunting task for you, lucky you. And for those of you who don't have the faintest idea what it's like to look out your front window during the winter and see snow sticking to your property, you'd better be outside running.

Live well (even when it's snowing)!

January 7, 2009

To: All Biggest Loser Fans

I know just about everyone on the face of the earth has heard of the reality show The Biggest Loser, which means just about everyone knows of Bob and Jillian, the insanely wonderful trainers that help people learn how to transform their lives.

Jenn and Erin over at Fit Bottom Girls were incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to interview the oh-so-famous Bob Harper and have posted it on their blog. If you have a few minutes, go read it (and try very hard to avoid any jealous fits)!

January 6, 2009

Normalcy anyone?

Is anyone else struggling with getting back to the normalcy of life now that the holidays are over? Good grief I'm still sleeping in, thinking twice about eating healthy (cake was actually on the breakfast menu this morning), and my kids are in p.j.'s until lunch time. Perhaps it's got something to do with the fact that the large windows of my house cannot hide the snow that continues to fall (and the cold air that comes with it), or maybe it's due to my head cold and the constant coughing and runny nose (ew). Either way, my body is NOT ready to return to pre-holiday status.

I know it's only technically day 2 of the new week, but I should have bounced back by now. Time to really gear up and get going. The mind has GOT to be stronger than the body. I really don't need 10 hours of sleep every night. I really do need to eat a healthy breakfast (with protein) to start my energy levels off right. Come on body, get in touch with the "finer" things of life!

What do you do when you're not feeling like doing what you're supposed to do? How do you overcome those setbacks?

January 5, 2009

It's on.

I'm starting the push-up challenge again! I loved the improvement I saw a few months ago after I did it the first time, and now that the holidays are over and it's a new year, I'm trying it again to see how much better I can do. I want to hit 90-100 by the end of this year!

The last time (a few months ago) I tried this, I had others join in to compete. I'm going to do this in cycles (do the program, off for a couple weeks, do the program, off for a couple weeks) until I reach my goal. Any takers who want to compete??

My initial test: 15 push-ups (sad, since my final number at the end last time was 33)



Katie from Quasi's, Kelsey, Katie S and Kaci -- you'll be getting your shirts as soon as you email me your address! thinkwellactwelllivewell@gmail.com

Thanks to all of you who participated! Keep thinking positive about yourself daily!


January 4, 2009

Something to check out...

Every Gym's Nightmare is having a give-away for a shirt here if you're interested! Looks cute & comfy!