Belly Fat Begone!

The reason I’m posting a picture of today’s lunch is that my WS (wonderful spouse) and I are on the South Beach diet.  Actually, I hate the word diet, so I’m going to stick with new, healthy eating plan.  It consists mainly of lean protein, plenty of veggies, some good fats, and basically VERY LOW carbs.  No white sugar at all.  Anything white we just don’t eat.  Now there are many, many, many diets and eating plans out there, but most are hard to stick to and require some real concentration (stress) on what to do and what not to do.  What to mix with what, etc.  These days I’m into simple.  So for us this is rather simple.  Anyway, I’m not promoting any diets here, but my WS suggested I take a picture of his lunch plate, so I did.

There is one thing I can recommend, though, even if you’re not watching your weight.  I’m using My Fitness Pal to record what I eat and how much water I drink.  Truly an eye-opener and it’s totally free.  It keeps count of calories, carbs, fat and protein.  For those of us who love chocolate (and we know who we are, right, Zannyro?) there’s always the Hershey’s sugar-free dark chocolate.  It does the trick for me.  Will I have to cheat once in a while and have a piece of carrot cake or something like that?  Yes!  Once in a while but not often.  I like how I feel now without the carbs/sugar.  Namaste’

Low-fat cottage cheese, grape tomatoes, Hebrew National 97% fat-free beef dogs, and baked zucchini with parmesan, olive oil and garlic.  I had one dog; WS had two 😉

Three Magic Words

How many times a day can you say you’re grateful for something, someone, an event that took place, or an unexpected surprise?  Start noticing and using the three magic words:

I AM GRATEFUL

Gratitude and smiling raises your vibration and it’s catching ….. so pass it around.  Stay in grace and when times get tough, get quiet and go within.  When we don’t go within, we go without.

And speaking of grateful, I’m now approaching 400 followers of my blog.  I don’t know where you all came from but I’m glad you’re here and I’m grateful for the interaction we have.  Namaste’

Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now

Tired Feet/Tired Shoes

Yes, these are the shoes I wore today and my feet are exhausted.  I spent the day implementing some big changes in the lives of my mother and stepfather.  They’re both 88 and we are having to move them to a new place that can provide the kind of care they need until end of life.  For those of my readers who haven’t had to do this, I surely hope you never have to.  It’s heart-breaking and yet I found myself “steeling” my psyche today to get the things done that needed to get done.  More questions than answers.

My stepfather, who is a former engineer and always wanting the facts, is now off in never-never land much of the time and it’s all happening so fast. My mother isn’t too far behind him in terms of her cognitive ability.  The good news is that at least they will be together until one of them passes on.

What have I learned?  Make it clear – crystal clear to your children/caregivers what you want for your end of life.  And we’re all going to get there.  No one escapes.  But hey, let’s all agree that while we’re still here we make the best of it.  What do you say?

Life is good.  Namaste.

Under the Palm

I took this simply because I love to stand under trees.  It reminds me how life can have so many different perspectives.  Imagine what it would be like to take a picture of this tree from the top.  That would certainly create a different image, wouldn’t it?

When I lived in northern California, I lived in a place that had lots of very tall redwood trees, which are just beautiful, by the way.  There was a stand of three trees with an opening just large enough for a person to walk inside, so I did.  And the most amazing thing happened.  There was complete silence once I entered into that space.  As I looked up I couldn’t believe the feeling I got. I still remember the feeling of complete peace and serenity.  I felt so protected and completely safe.  Did that stand of trees create some kind of vortex?  Maybe. Maybe it was a sacred space.  One designed by mother nature to cradle us for a short time.  A respite from the crazy hustle and bustle of everyday life; the perfect place to meditate.

The photo below is one I found that looks very similar to “my” redwood trees. Namaste.

Regina Recommends

Amazing how time is flying by.  Doesn’t it feel like 2011 is a distant memory?  For some, that might be a good thing.  For others, there are people, places and things that want to be remembered.

For this writer, as the days fly by, it seems that the happenings need to be recorded somehow.  Many of us have blogs for passing along information, sharing our feelings, baring our souls, etc.  But for those who don’t like to bare their souls in the public domain, there’s an alternative for you to shout from your soul or whisper from your heart.

PENZU is an online private journal and it’s absolutely free, secure and easy to use.  Of course, like most free programs, you can upgrade to premium but you don’t have to.  It functions just great in the free version.  I used to keep a handwritten journal (several, actually) but have found recently that I can type faster than I can write, so it’s Penzu for me.  I’ve found that I sometimes  start my entry with bitching, moaning and complaining, but by the end I’m finding something to be in gratitude about.  I think it’s important to write it all down. Some experts say we can even write our way to good health.  If there’s truly a mind/body/spirit connection, and I believe there is, then why not write for a better overall sense of well-being?  Personally, I believe writing in a journal to be a great stress reducer.  Why?  Because we get to write anything we want and there’s no outside forces judging us for it.  The worst critic will be our inner one.

I love how Penzu says “Free Lunch Does Exist.”  Pretty clever and they aren’t kidding about it being free.

Namaste.

 

 

“P” is for Patience

I’ve always been the one who says to others, “P is for Patience.”  It’s a subtle way of saying “chill out, relax, don’t get your knickers in a knot, etc.”  Well, today I had yet another opportunity to practice the “P” word.  I spent the afternoon with my 88-year old mother and stepfather.  Two walkers in and out of the car and two portable oxygen tanks that go with us everywhere we go.  And go we did!  Haircuts, toenail trims, shopping at Walmart (ugh!), then on to pick up prescriptions.

I am truly exhausted, mentally and physically.  I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t want everything perfect.  And when something doesn’t go perfect, they get agitated.  And that seems to creep its way up the back of my spine and into the base of my skull.  Beep, Beep!  Headache coming on!

I try to stay calm and ask my heavenly Father for the grace and patience that I seem to lack at times.  Oh and another thing I asked for today was more of a sense of humor.  Lo and behold, as I was checking out with their stuff at Walmart, the cashier told me a quick but very funny story.  It was just what I needed.

Am I grateful that I can be there for them?  Sure.  Do I want to live to be that old and in that physical condition? Definitely not.  They are not experiencing the golden years now.  That time has long since passed for them. Now they are just trying to make it safely to death.  Sad, but true.  I guess if I can make that road a little easier for them to travel, I will.

This will be my last post for 2011.  I hope you all stay safe and have a jolly good time ringing in 2012.  I’ll start my new 365 project on New Year’s Day with the first of my 365 photos.  Right now my dear husband and I have a thin crust Papa Murphy’s cowboy pizza calling our names.

Namaste!

 

 

Coming Soon … A Photo a Day

WordPress just put out sort of a challenge to all of us who have our blogs hosted with them.  It’s all about blogging every day … the 365 project … which for me will mean that I plan to post a new photograph every day for 365 days of 2012.

This means that I will actually take a new photo every day or that I will post from my archives every day … one or the other.  I have about 2000 photos stored on my computer, and I don’t want to be lazy about this, so it’s got to be simple … on the days that I don’t take a new photo, I will pull one from my library and write about it.

So if any of you, my dear followers, don’t want notification of my new posts each day, then you can unsubscribe or just delete.  Won’t hurt my feelings at all. Besides posting photos, I will be adding information that I think may be of help to others.

This all begins on Sunday, January 1, 2012.  Get ready for a great new year!  (I hope it’s as stress-free for all of us as it can possibly get.)

Namaste!

Give Yourself a Break for the Holidays

The holiday season can be so joyous and yet produce some real (but unnecessary) stress. Don’t let your holidays be ruined by nerve-racking experiences. Here’s some inspirational insights to help you keep your stress to a minimum this year.

Ask yourself if your expectations are realistic. Are you going to be getting together with family members that you normally prefer not to be around? Do you feel obligated to buy gifts for people who you aren’t really close to? Do you get invited to events that just don’t appeal to you but you feel obligated to go?  Believe it or not, these types of scenarios take place every year for millions of people. Why? Because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings so we sacrifice our own and then become resentful. If you want to stop that cycle, then just think carefully before you decide what to do. If it’s a NO that you decide upon, say it as politely as possible but make it very clear that your answer is a firm NO. If it’s a yes, then realize you committed yourself and see it through (hopefully in a very enjoyable way).

Are you scheduling too much in too little amount of time? No one has more than 24 hours in a day. Try to remember that as you plan your pre-holiday events and accept invitations. Enlist the use of a calendar or day planner, either paper or electronic, so that you can feel some measure of control over your time. And don’t feel bad if you’ve overlapped something by mistake. Just inform the parties involved and they will understand. We all make mistakes, especially at this hectic time of year.

Do you have a holiday budget or are you over-spending? Over-spending can be the biggest source of stress because we know what will happen … we have to pay for those items sometime. If not now, then later. Just the dread of getting the credit card bills in the mail is enough to keep you from having a good time during the holidays. Stick to a budget. You’ll be so glad you did come January when all the lustre and shine of the holidays has disappeared.

Sometimes our holiday stress comes from missing loved ones. If someone you love has passed on, change things up this year so that you can make it through this rough patch. There are lots of support groups with people going through the same kind of grief at the holidays. Tap into that for some healthy and supportive ways to cope. Last year at Christmas I just let myself “be” because my brother died in September. So I was pretty easy on myself and so were others around me. Of course I missed him, but attending a grief support group was a lifeline for me.

The holidays can be the worst time of the year for us in terms of taking care of ourselves. My advice is to make sure you’re eating healthy meals and drinking plenty of water. Dehydration (yes, even though it’s not warm outside) can sneak up on you before you know it. And water supports every organ in your body. And if you plan on doing some holiday drinking, be sure to increase your water intake. And I sure don’t want to take the fun out of those holiday parties. It’s just that all those high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie foods can wreak havoc on your system. When you increase your water intake, it dilutes the sugar concentration and that’s good for your system in all ways.

This may sound crazy because of all the running around we’re doing at this time of year, but exercising is really important. Take a walk out in nature, ride a bike, do yoga, etc. Any form of exercise can be a phenomenal stress reducer. Also good for lowering blood pressure, which could rise when crazy Aunt Mildred walks through your front door on Christmas Day.

One of the best things about the holidays is that more people open their hearts to acceptance and forgiveness. If there’s someone in your life that you will be around this year that this applies to, give it a try. Even if it’s a silent blessing from your heart to theirs. After all, the season really is about love.

The holidays are supposed to be a great time. Take good care of yourself and practice things that will eliminate some of the stress. I hope these tips help you.

The most important tip of all is to just breathe. In through the nose; out through the mouth. Long, slow breaths will do the trick.

Merry Christmas!

 

Seven Ways to Minimize Weight Gain While Quitting Smoking

As an ex-smoker myself, I know that giving up cigarettes is one of the best things you can do for your body, but the fear of putting on weight may hold you back. While a few extra pounds are actually healthier than puffing away, here are some ways to minimize weight gain when you quit smoking.

1. Drink lots of water. The easiest way I found to drink more water was to use my refillable water bottle and add a slice of lemon each time I filled it up. For the times when you’re on the run and can’t be bothered with lemon slices, there’s a product in most grocery stores called True Lemon. It’s pure lemon that has been crystallized and it’s 100% natural. Just pour it into your favorite water bottle and go!

2. Snack on crisp, cold veggies. Snacking can be an addiction all by itself when you’re trying to quit smoking, so if you find that it is, stick with the cold veggies like celery. Celery is an alkaline vegetable which is very good for your system. OK, so what if you add a little peanut butter now and then?  It’s OK if you’re not overdoing it. Radishes, zucchini slices and baby carrots are all good as well. Much healthier than a cigarette.

3. Choose sugar-free gum and mints, but keep in mind that most of the artificial sweeteners are laden with chemicals so go easy on the gum and candy unless it’s made with Xylitol. Xylitol doesn’t spike the cravings for sugar like most artificial sweeteners.

4. Take a walk after meals, especially when you know that craving for nicotine is going to kick in. It sure did for me, especially after the evening meal. During the day wasn’t as bad because I always seemed to have things to keep me busy. So be aware of your “trigger” times and take a short walk even if it’s just around your house. The urge to smoke will go away in a few minutes. Taking a few deep breaths can also minimize the craving for a cigarette as well as reduce your stress level.

5. Buy a gym membership with the money you are saving. Keeping the weight gain at bay can be tricky without increasing your physical exercise. And having a place to go where other people are trying to improve their physical health will be an added bonus … a great support system. A monthly gym membership, in most instances, will cost you far less than a months worth of cigarettes.

6. Ask yourself if you are really hungry before snacking. A lot of times we’re not really hungry; we just think we are. That’s the best time to drink some water, chew some sugar-free gum, or get out of the house and take a walk. Then if you’re still feeling the hunger, get a healthy, low calorie snack.

7. Replace cigarette breaks with bursts of exercise or stretching. Yoga and Tai Chi are both really good stretching routines and help you breathe better and take your mind off of eating. There are some excellent videos available free online.

Do not let the fear of weight gain hold you back from quitting smoking. With the advice in this article, you can become smoke-free without sacrificing your figure in the process. Remember, all cravings, for nicotine or food, will pass in a few minutes. Hang in there!

Managing Tinnitus

If you suffer from tinnitus (or persistent ringing in the ears like me), you know that this condition can often feel crippling and extremely frustrating. Tinnitus is not a hopeless condition, however, and there are specific steps you can take to manage it.

1. Identify food triggers. Salt can be one of the worst culprits because it reduces blood flow to the head, including your ears, eyes and brain. Saturated fat is another contributor to decreased blood flow so Keep an eye on labels of what you normally eat. Try to eat more healthy fats like Omega 3 fatty acids in fish, nuts, vegetables and avocado. MSG is converted into glutamate, which intensifies tinnitus and will usually be labeled as monosodium glutamate. Avoid it if you can. And then there’s sugar. Americans are way too indulgent when it comes to sugar and it can really elevate your tinnitus symptoms. If you have a sweet tooth, try to satisfy it using fruit, especially fruit that is high in fiber.

2. Stress can often exacerbate tinnitus, but before you start taking any over-the-counter medications for stress or anxiety, please see your doctor. Sometimes meditation helps. I find that while I meditate, my mind is completely off the ringing in my ears. Another thing that makes sense to try is playing some soft, soothing music at night while trying to sleep. Before I did this, the ringing and buzzing in my ears actually kept me awake. You might also consider getting a white noise machine, which can be used at night or even during the day, depending on what you do for a living.

3. Avoid alcohol, as it can often make ringing in the ears worse. For some people, it doesn’t seem to have any effect, but for others, they report that when they consume alcohol their tinnitus seems to be more prevalent. It’s hard for me to measure that particular one, since I don’t drink alcohol.

4. Try apple cider vinegar. I use it three times a day not just for tinnitus but for the general overall health benefits it provides, which are too numerous to mention here.  Do an online search for benefits of apple cider vinegar and you’ll see what I mean. Personally I recommend the Bragg brand because it’s organic and has the “mother” in it. The mother contains the natural enzymes and minerals which are important for our bodies’ optimal health. Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar can be purchased in the health food section of most supermarkets and the recipe for the daily health drink is right on the bottle.

5. If you feel that you just can’t live with your tinnitus any longer, consider counseling to learn ways to cope. There are health care professionals who deal with this condition specifically so seek the right one, even if you have to go through many. There are also countless websites that can give you insight from others who have this condition. Just be careful and use your common sense when approaching any health issues.

Understanding tinnitus and the conditions that can exacerbate it can often feel like a relief. So take charge of your condition and make choices to help manage this condition!

Best of luck to you and Namaste!

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