I’m in the throes of baking pies, doing laundry, and finishing up last-minute details for the annual Running of the Turkeys 5K race tomorrow. In the midst of all the hurry and endless sticky notes covered with items yet to be completed, I want to stop for a moment to think through my reasons for giving thanks this season:
- the amazing women I’ve met and come to admire in the More training groups
- my courageous clients who commit to changing their habits and follow through with their goals
- my parents and grandparents who gave me wonderful memories and traditions
- my sisters; no matter what happens in our lives, we’re always sisters
- the Ryan men, who bring smiles, laughter, sometimes tears, and always love and pride to my life
- 3 coaching buddies who help clarify dreams and thoughts into cohesive plans
- mentors throughout the years who encourage and cajole me to expand my professional horizons
- paths in my life that opened up when least expected, and always bring something to be treasured
- the beautiful places I’ve lived in; no matter where, they have a special place in my heart
I’ve been reading much of Fred Buechner’s books lately, and if you’re not familiar with this beloved author, head out to the library now and search out one of books. Today, and hopefully for a long time to come, I’m planning on focusing on one of his quotes I read in an interview with him:
“I have discovered that if you talk to people as if they’re your oldest friends, for as long as that conversation lasts they are your oldest friends.”
quotation from: “Ordained to write: an interview with Frederick Buechner”, Christian Century, September 11, 2002.
When was the last time you really pushed yourself to do something difficult? Something you hadn’t done before? Something that maybe even scared you just a little?
It’s far too easy to become complacent with our lives and stay within our comfortable safety zone. Maybe you walk the same 2-3 mile route every day. Or you go to the gym and do the same exercise routine. Or you really would like to try out a vegetarian diet but can’t get out of your meat-eating routine.
Here’s an idea: set a date and push yourself out of your familiar safety zone. Pick a realistic goal, something that’s a bit beyond what you normally do, but not so crazy that you’re going to hurt yourself trying.
Here’s a personal example: Suzanne, Fern and I joined a Master’s Swimming group in Bennington. We can all swim, but this is definitely out of our comfort zones. We’re learning flip turns, which for me involve quite a lot of water in my nose, ears, sinuses, and other unpleasant places that leave me coughing and gagging. But you know what? I’m getting it! Even better, it’s fun and I feel a true sense of accomplishment at the end of every swim session.
Another story: Marie ate an overall healthy diet, but decided to take it up a notch after a heart attack. She’s feeling even better than before the heart attack, has dropped weight and dress size(s) and her zest for life has zoomed to new heights. All because she decided that eating sweets and foods with saturated fat just aren’t as important as feeling great. She pushed out of her comfort zone, took a risk, and celebrates each day of her full and exciting life.
What are you going to do to step out of your comfort zone? Let us know and we’ll support you all the way. If you need some help, contact me for a few coaching sessions to help you establish goals, develop a game plan to make those goals a reality, and celebrate your success.
Quote for today: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”
A recent discussion among my colleagues reminded me of what we fondly call “the apple test”.
Here’s how it works: you decide you want a snack. But what type of snack do you really want to eat? If you think you want a cookie, or a donut, or a candy bar, or even a handful of peanuts - ask yourself this question: would an apple do the trick?
If you’re really and truly hungry, then eating an apple would of course satisfy your hunger. The problem is, we don’t usually turn to fruit for a snack, and instead grab something else.
Try this the next time you’re searching through the cupboards, staring at the refrigerator, or lingering in front of the vending machine down the hall: would an apple satisfy me right now?
Let me know how this simple test works for you!
Every grocery store carries healthy foods, but some stock a wider variety of fresh fruits and vegetables which we all know are crucial to good health. If you have a choice, where do you shop for groceries? Does health play into your choices, or is price or location the most important reason?
According to a recent story in Health magazine at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27573342/ 10 grocery store chains stand above the rest in terms of delivering a variety of healthy foods.
I live in the northeast, and one of the top 10 is present in my area: Hannaford. I appreciate that they strive to stock a variety of local produce. They also hire registered dietitians to be present in many of their stores, providing nutrition education and recommendations at the point of purchase. Great idea!
The entire top 10 list follows:
1. Whole Foods (I seek these out when I travel; they’re my #1 tourist destination!)
3. Harris Teeter
4. Trader Joe’s
7. Food Lion
8. Publix Super Markets
How many times have you heard you should take vitamin E, vitamin D, or folic acid to prevent heart disease?
Guess what - new research shows taking these supplements doesn’t decrease your risk of heart disease.
We know that eating a healthy diet that’s primarily fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats (or even better - vegetable protein such as legumes) and healthy types of fat definitely decreases risk of heart disease. But when we try to isolate individual nutrients, such as vitamins or minerals that are the cause of this protective effect we come up short.
The answer lies in eating food, not popping supplements. Do your heart a favor by incorporating these simple changes into your daily lifestyle:
- eat a piece of fruit with every meal
- serve a double portion of vegetables at lunch and dinner
- enjoy legumes as a protein source (vegetarian chili is a great example) instead of meat one or two times per week
- make sure most of the bread, cereal, and grain products (rice, barley, pasta) you choose are whole grains
Check out this delicious two-bean chili recipe from the Michigan Bean Commission: http://www.michiganbean.org/recipes/071.html
They also have a wide variety of other recipes that incorporate legumes. Enjoy!
Kids don’t like to eat healthy foods.
Do you believe that statement? It seems that many adults actually do believe that kids won’t eat anything unless it’s bright blue, filled with additives, and covered in sugar.
I disagree. Kids actually like a wide variety of foods, but the key is exposure. If kids aren’t exposed to new foods, they don’t eat them. When kids aren’t given the opportunity to try healthy foods in small amounts, a variety of times, and in the company of family members who enjoy these foods themselves - they may never learn to enjoy healthy eating.
Don’t despair, because there’s a fantastic website that’s packed with tips, suggestions, and recipes to encourage our kids to eat and enjoy healthy foods. Check out http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/?page_id=102 and put some of their strategies into practice in your home this weekend. Drop us a line and let us know your favorites!
Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in the same old exercise routine? Perhaps you’ve been taking the same exercise class for years, or walking the same route every day, or following the same strength training program.
Breaking out of your routine gives you three benefits:
1. You use muscles in different ways, which gives you increased strength, endurance, and flexibility.
2. You challenge your mind to learn a new routine.
3. You open yourself up to new experiences and meeting new people.
This past week I tried two new exercises, and I feel great! OK, a bit sore in some places (those pesky muscles that I’m using in different ways are letting me know about it) but overall I’m energized physically and mentally.
Two friends and I joined a master’s swim class. Not only did we get a great work-out, but we also met some friendly new people and had a ball in the pool. Then tonight I went to a beginner’s spin class, led by a very thorough and fit spin instructor who made sure each student got a fantastic workout. I met more new friendly people and I’m excited about getting out on my bike again next summer.
Here’s a challenge: what new fitness activity can you try this month? Keep your mind open to the possibilities as they appear. A ballroom dancing class? An outdoor hike you’ve never experienced? Tai chi, yoga, or Pilates? Try something new and let us know how it feels both physically and emotionally.
I just found out the date for the 2009 More half-marathon in NYC has finally been confirmed! Put April 26, 2009 on your calendar and get ready to start training!
Last year 50 area women participated in our Training for More program to walk or run the 13.1 miles of the More half-marathon. This race is designed for women over 40, but if you’re a younger female you can also participate. Guys - you’re shut out!
If you participated in the 2008 training program, look for additional information soon about the 2009 program. If you want to participate this year, welcome! The only requirement is that you complete the required forms, have your physician’s permission to participate, and are willing to give it a try. We schedule walking and running training sessions on various days and times to meet as many different schedules as possible. I provide detailed information on walking, running, shoes, and clothing; nutrition and hydration; mental strategy; and how to make your goals a reality.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Commit to the training program. Yeah, it will be cold, snow, and possibly even some sleet thrown in for good measure. We live in New England! The key is to dress appropriately and wear great shoes.
- Put yourself a bit higher on your to-do list. You may need to have someone else start dinner, or skip cleaning the house on Saturday morning to fit in a training session. You’re worth it, you have goals, and you’re going to make those goals a reality!
- Stay tuned for more information. Post a note or a question here, or email me directly at Lynn@LynnGrieger.com if you have questions.
I had so much fun last year walking, running, and getting to know every person in the training group. We’re a fantastic group of women with diverse interests, ages, shapes, and athletic ability. We all worked together to meet a common goal - finish the half-marathon smiling - and we did it! This year should be even more fun.