Posted in Monday Blog

Do you want to be happy, lose weight, and have a better memory?

sports-1050966_1280I started an exercise program a few months ago. I’d tried to make exercise a habit many other times in my life, but I always ended up making excuses and falling back into a sedentary lifestyle. A few factors made it harder for me to adopt a fitness routine. The first was that I grew up in a family that didn’t exercise regularly. My father’s favorite activity when he was home was sitting in front of the television watching his favorite shows. My mother enjoyed walking but had some issues with her legs and couldn’t keep it up. Another strike against me was my weight. I was an obese child and, although I lost weight in my teens and early twenties, the pounds crept back on as I entered my 30’s.

I became a member of a gym, but like most people, wasted the money by always finding a reason not to go. I purchased a treadmill and only used it a few times. I even hired a personal trainer to come to my house, but I found it too costly and could barely do the exercises she suggested. When I joined Jenny Craig to try to lose weight, I expected the program to include exercise. However, they stressed following the diet first. As the pounds started to come off, I felt more able to perform even the basic moves of getting up from a chair, walking up and down stairs, etc. When my counselor suggested I try some Leslie Sansone walk-at-home videos, I took the beginner ones out of the library and then purchased a few that I liked. I alternated them and, as my counselor suggested, followed the recording twenty-minutes three times a week to start. When it was nice, I also took walks outside. Eventually, I felt that I could exercise longer and increase my pace. I also started to add short jogs to my walks.

After 18 months on the Jenny Craig program and having lost 60+ pounds, my weight loss is slowing down, but I’m now walking 30 minutes every day. There are days I have to push myself and days I can hardly make it through the half hour, but most of the time I feel great afterwards. I especially like a morning routine that helps wake me up and get my day to a nice start.

jackbenimbleBesides helping to keep one’s metabolism high to help weight maintenance and loss, exercising has many side benefits. Everyone knows it’s good for you, but not everyone is aware of all its benefits. Like the nursery rhyme, “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick,” exercise can truly help you clear any hurdle. It’s a safer stress reliever and mood lightener than any anti-anxiety pill or anti-depressant. It has even proven to aid one’s recall and brain function. It is even believed to slow aging and prevent many illnesses from heart attacks to strokes to high blood pressue and even cancer.

circleI’m not a doctor, but I recommend starting slow and always consulting your physician before you start an exercise program. If you are severely overweight or lead a very sedentary life, you need to build up your endurance slowly. The  main thing is to keep at it. Set up a routine. Schedule a time to work out. Thirty minutes a day is all it takes, even if you break it up or begin with 20 minutes three times a week as I did. Another important tip is to keep moving throughout the day, not only when you exercise. I have one of the Apple watches that monitors your daily activity. It requires you to try to close three circles that measure the amount of exercise you’ve completed: the additional calories you’ve burned through activity; and the optimum of standing you do during the time you wear the watch. It even alerts you when you’ve spent too much time sitting which has also been found unhealthy even for people who exercise regularly.

Below are some links to articles about exercise benefits. After reading them, I hope you consider making exercise part of your life so that you live a longer, more productive one.

http://greatist.com/fitness/13-awesome-mental-health-benefits-exercise

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/how-exercise-can-help-you

http://www.iphoneincanada.ca/news/apple-watch-activity-circles-motivate-users/

 

 

 

Posted in Monday Blog

What do you think I want for my birthday?

Happy BirthdayIt happens every year. Before my birthday, I know a dozens gifts I can use, but as the time to celebrate grows closer, I can’t think of one thing that I actually want. My husband, a last-minute shopper who nevertheless likes to present me with gifts early, starts to email me links to suggestions a month before.

This year, as that special day approaches on May 9th, he proposed buying me an Apple Watch because he thinks I would like one. He offered to take me shopping to look at some, and I agreed. But, before committing, I considered other things I might want instead. After all, Apple watches aren’t cheap and, although I’m worth the expense one day a year, there might be something even better I might like.

I rack my brain but, of course, I come up with nothing. Sure, I could use anything to do with writing which is my current passion. I already purchased myself a gift, the “Get a Book Deal 101” course given by Kathy Ver Eecke that I hope will help me land an agent for my work-in-progress. I can always use new clothes, especially since I’ve gone down ten sizes and lost over 60 pounds since last year on Jenny Craig. It’s probably best then that I avoid my favorite Black Forest birthday cake, but maybe I can splurge on a healthful dinner at Seasons 52, a restaurant my husband and I had dinner at for our anniversary last July and vowed to try again but have yet to do so.  Speaking of food, it just so happens I’ve been invited by a co-worker to a lunch buffet at an Kiran Palace, an Indian restaurant, on my birthday. Since it’s a cuisine I have yet to sample, I’m looking forward to a new culinary experience. Maybe I can check it off my bucket list. That night I’ll be attending a concert when my daughter sings in the chorus for the Middle School concert.

So what else would I want for my birthday? Another year of good health is always welcome. Enough money to pay my bills is also nice. My pre-teen daughter talking to me for more than five minutes and agreeing with just one thing I say would be awesome. Even cooler would be her dad taking me out for a date night. If I think bigger, winning the lottery would be a super gift. Being able to control time so I have just as much as I need to complete everything I want and need to do would be another perfect present. Getting on the New York Times Bestseller list would be the icing on my cake.

Fantasies aside, I really have everything I need already, but I’ll try the Apple Watch, anyway. By the way, my husband’s birthday is just two days after mine, but I’m not asking him what he wants.

Here  are a few links to birthday gift ideas for those who are stumped as to what to give their spouses, parents, friends, or even what to ask for themselves:

From the Dallas South News: http://www.dallassouthnews.org/2013/04/01/5-most-common-birthday-gifts/

From dgreetings: http://www.dgreetings.com/gift-ideas/birthday-gifts/for-friends.html

DIY birthday gift ideas from Topdreamer: http://www.topdreamer.com/23-diy-birthday-gift-ideas/