Posts Tagged health and wellness

Feel Good

I am sure you would agree that the summer weekends go by extremely fast. There are always a hundred and one activities to partake in, parties and bbq’s to go to and good olde lazy beach days to be had. So by the time Sundays roll around I tend to get a bit of anxious knowing I have a list of things to accomplish (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, food preparation, etc) so I feel ready and organized for the start of a new week.  Moreover, I am anal about it otherwise; I do not feel ready to start my week off on the right foot.     

I had so much fun this past weekend, I gave up my to-do list in lieu of more fun. By the time Sunday rolled around, I had accomplished nothing.  I went to a party, hung out with friends, and watched the Bunker Hill parade go by. By the time that ended, I managed to squeeze in a 6-mile run before I had to shower again and head off to a birthday party in the evening. I had a blast at both parties but especially at the birthday party.  It was an elegant house party in a beautiful five-story brownstone in the South End of Boston.  It was catered with delicious, mouth-watering food, a bar on every floor and an incredible three-piece band that played on the third floor and echoed throughout the house. The lead singer sounded like a mix of Harry Connick, Jr and Frank Sinatra. The music was fabulous, I met new people, laughed, and danced all night. In fact, I had a full dance card all night long so by the time I got home, it was late I was exhausted and my feet were aching something fierce. I also managed to feel a tad guilty and pissed off at myself for not planning better and getting anything done earlier in the day. I set my alarm for 5am and planned to get up early Monday morning and hit the gym before work, but I managed to blow that off in exchange for more beauty sleep.  

After a long day today, I came home feeling a bit of angst knowing I needed to get a lot done.  Instead of racing around and getting into a bad mood trying to get everything done, I approached it differently. I included healthier ways to lift my mood, spirit and health while getting everything done.                                                                                                                                        

1) Work it Out

You do not need pills or caffeine to flood your body with a rejuvenating flood of growth hormones. Research has found that doing squats and leg presses will greatly increase your natural production of the “youth hormone”. Increased growth hormone translates to an elevated mood, among other physical benefits. Keep it up with weight training, knee bends, push-ups, and rowing.  Then lace up those sneakers, grab a friend, and go for a run or power walk and have a good pow-wow while you are at it.  You are sure to feel much better in the end.

2) Smell the Joy
Research has shown that smell has a definite impact on our bodies and minds. When you stimulate the olfactory nerves inside your nose, you activate the limbic system of your brain, which is associated with moods and memory. This concept is instrumental to aromatherapy, a natural health tradition that makes use of the healing powers of plants with strong scents.  Use orange, tangerine or grapefruit to boost your alertness and joy.  Add a splash of lavender to create a happy yet calm mood.

Just put a dab of the essential oils from these plants on your temples, back of your neck, or acupressure points. Another option?  Get a ring to place on the top of your lamp, drop in oil and it acts as a diffuser and makes your room smell good.

3) Feel Fine with Flowers
There is a reason that flowers are the traditional get-well gesture. Colorful flowers have a powerful influence on moods; they can uplift your mood and even combat stress. One study found that during a five-minute typing assignment, people sitting next to a flowering bouquet were more relaxed than those who sat near foliage-only plants.  With that in mind I bought a bouquet of my favorite flowers, peonies, and put them in my bedroom and living room. 

Ah, what a difference these three simple things did for me. They lifted my mood, my spirit and health. In addition, I got everything I wanted to accomplish done, with time to relax and enjoy my evening and then blog about it, too. Now that was a chock-full and good day. I hope you try these tips and help the good feelings flow!

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Running Boston’s Run to Remember Half marathon

I am proud to be running Boston’s Run to Remember Half marathon Sunday, May 30th. It is a historic run through downtown Boston in honor of all of the fallen law enforcement officers. The proceeds of this race go to Kids at Risk Programs throughout the City of  Boston. These programs provide safe and nurturing environments encouraging inner city youths to make healthy choices and an alternative to gangs and acts leading to incarceration.  This race also benefits the following charities: American Cancer Society, Children’s Hospital, Determination and Team in Training.

This will be my second Half marathon. I am definitely a workout queen and weight train three times a week and run anywhere from 35-50 miles a week through rain, sun or snow!  There is nothing a good workout and run cannot do for me. It definitely sustains me and is the key to being my best self physically and mentally.

Last year, I ran the BAA Emerald Necklace Half marathon with a few friends. I had such an amazing experience that I had to sign up and do one again this year. I felt so accomplished and proud once I crossed the finish line and received my medal. What a feat! Not to mention it was the most stellar picture perfect fall day with breath-taking scenery and perfect sunny running weather. All I remember was that at mile 3 my competitive spirit kicked in and I was off. From there on in, I had ‘runner’s high’ and swear I did not feel an ounce of pain or stiffness my entire 13.1 mile run. I completed in less than two hours and was thrilled to have finished.

In preparation for this run, I have been clocking the miles with the same small and long runs I did last year and have been taking good care of myself, so I am hopeful for good weather and for my best run ever!

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Change Is A Choice

Tonight I watched The Biggest Loser and was inspired to get off my butt and write. I must admit, I love the show. Of course, I love the field of health and fitness, but more importantly, I love rooting for the so-called underdog! That inspires me the most– to watch these people commit to changing their lives.  It is powerful stuff!  GO Biggest Loser Contestants; I am rooting for you! 

Although the show creates a very controlled environment that is hard to duplicate in our normal day-to-day lives, the contestants learn key principles. They get an Education about food and exercise, which creates Awareness about themselves and making better choices, and they have an amazing Support system.   

These three principles are the key to getting through any obstacle in life, not just weight loss. However, in order to overcome a food addiction you need to get to the root of problem and find out what is driving the behavior. This is true of any addiction whether it is food, alcohol or drugs. Essentially, they all do the same thing, which is numb, the pain. As you see on the show, behind each contestant’s weight is a story.  A story that contains a lot of pain that was too difficult to cope with so they turned to food instead. 

And I have to say, I get that. As a young adult, I was anorexic and bulimic so I, too, have a story, which led me to that place of destruction. So I have been ‘there’ although at the other end of the spectrum, but the issue is the same.  It is never about the food; it is about your feelings.   

That is why I am so passionate about health and wellness today! I can tell you this, there is nothing more powerful than to be at the optimum level of health and fitness that I am today and help others to get there too.   

In fact, I am excited. Tomorrow night I will be co-facilitating my first support group for people with eating disorders. Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to tell my story to people who are in recovery and it has been the most powerful and empowering thing I have ever done for myself.     

The closing to my story that I share with them is this: I can tell you there is an incredible reward for working through your pain and all your “stuff”. It has led me to a newfound freedom I have never felt before. I look at things so differently today and I am a more compassionate, understanding, energetic and loving person. Who knew – it is truly amazing! The world responds to me differently and has become a mirror reflecting back to me all that I am in the form of new beginnings, peace, happiness; healthy relationships with others, and more importantly, a healthy relationship with myself. New opportunities have arisen; there are more smiles, laughter and peace within. The landscape of my life has changed drastically.  I now realize that life is precious, good and filled with greatness. With all that said, I would not change a thing about my past for it has led me to where I am and who I am today. And, I can finally tell you, I like this place. I like the person I am. And, I want to help others feel the same way about their life and the possibilities that exist for them. So cherish your dreams for they are gifts from your soul and blueprints to your future!

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