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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Coping with the winter blues

The colder temperatures are starting to return to Buffalo, NY.  This can only mean one thing.  In another month we will likely begin to see the return of snow to our area.   I love spending time outdoors during the spring, summer and fall months.  My long walks in the fresh air are emotionally uplifting and help me to unwind after a stressful day.  I wish I could say I enjoyed winter sports like skiing or ice skating.  Unfortunately, my preference is for activities I can do in warmer weather such as hiking or taking bicycle rides. 

Since I have moved to the the Buffalo area, I have learned how to more effectively cope with the long winters.  It is important that I exercise at least 5 days a week.  Staying active boosts my energy level and gives me something to look forward to.  I prefer going to the gym over working out at home because I enjoy the social interaction.  Fitness classes are a great way to try something new as well as providing opportunities to make new friends.

I enjoy going to church every week and staying active in my community. My friends organized a Girls Night Out and we meet one evening a month.  It is so important to make the effort to be social and get out of the house when you are feeling blue.  It will help take your mind off the isolation you might be feeling because you are spending more time indoors.  Meet a friend for a coffee or beer, go out to lunch, go shopping at the mall, or visit a museum.

Maybe you could look into taking a class through a community education program in your city or at a local college.  It is a wonderful way to learn something new.  If you stay busy, you might not be thinking so much about the lousy weather!

The challenges of staying healthy during the holidays

I don't know about you, but I find the most difficult time of year to watch my weight and resist temptation is the period of time between Halloween and New Years Day.  On Halloween I try to buy candy that the kids like but I can resist.  In other words, I won't buy bags of candy containing either Almond Joys or Mounds.  The problem I have with chocolate is that one candy bar can easily turn into one more and so on.  I am fortunate that after Halloween we do not usually have candy left because we get so many trick or treaters in our neighborhood.  Otherwise, I would find a way to share it so there wouldn't be treats around the house tempting me! 

My family and I have a tradition every year of eating our Thanksgiving holiday meal at a restaurant.  The best part is not having to deal with all the leftovers. This way we are able to enjoy the food and festivities for one day and not worry about counting calories.   The day after the holiday it is back to our normal healthy eating habits.  I love this because it enables me to spend more quality time with my family than if I had spent the day slaving in the kitchen.  Has anyone ever taken a cruise either during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays? If so, what was it like and would you recommend it?

Here is some food for thought as we approach Halloween.  The number of calories in a fun size Hershey's milk chocolate bar (16 gm) is 67.  Here are a few suggestions of ways to burn 100 calories after eating a treat!

- 15 minutes of gardening
- brisk walking for 15 minutes
- dancing for 20 minutes
- playing golf for 20 minutes
- 20 minutes of climbing stairs
- 10 minutes of aerobic exercise
- mow the lawn for 25 minutes
- 15 minutes of weight training

Friday, October 14, 2011

Toastmasters anyone?

Is there one thing you always wished you were a little better at? Something that could enhance your life but is very difficult for you?

One thing I have always struggled with is public speaking.  If I am with only one or 2 people, it is not an issue.  But whenever I am in a room with a larger crowd, I have a very difficult time joining in the conversation.  Writing is completely different.  I think this is because I have time to formulate my thoughts and make adjustments as I go along.

It's not that I do not wish to join in the conversation. I enjoy listening to people talk about their experiences .  The difficult part for me is that my shyness can be misinterpreted.  It is not that I am not interested in the discussion.   I never intuitively know the right time to jump in.  Sometimes I will have a thought, but before I can formulate the words to express it, the topic has changed!  I know funny, but this is something I have always struggled with.

This is one of the reasons I love writing this blog.  It is an opportunity for me to express my ideas and opinions in a public forum.  I have the time to carefully plan each posting and what I am trying to say.  I am writing about a subject that is very near and dear to my heart.  I know from personal experience how much better I feel when I incorporate exercise and a healthy diet in my daily routine.  Sharing my ideas and personal struggles with others passionate about health and fitness helps keep me motivated to stay in shape.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Staying young means never giving up on your dreams

Have you ever thought about what would be your dream job? Do you have a dream that you wish could become a reality? I have thought a lot lately about goals and ambitions and what I might try to do in the future.  I have been giving some thought to trying to become a licensed physical trainer during the less busy time of year for me at work.  It would be great to have the opportunity to work on the weekends at a fitness facility doing what I enjoy and love.  I am a numbers gal, but health and fitness is my real passion.  As my hours are part time during the late spring and summer, I would have the time to take on this new challenge.  I am heading into tax season and my schedule during the next few months will be very busy.

Are there any thoughts on the different trainer certification programs that are available? I am just beginning to research the topic and would appreciate any feedback that you might have.  Life is so short and it would be a shame to miss out on opportunities.  I don't want to look back at my life and have regrets.  It makes me think of the expression  "When one door closes another one opens; but we so often so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us".  While I have the youthfulness and energy, I know this is the time to pursue goals.

There are so many wonderful and inspiring people and I am blown away by their achievements later in life.   I may no longer be 20 years old, but I believe what keeps us youthful is to never stop learning and growing.  If anyone has a story to share about a goal or ambition they have achieved, I would love to hear it.