EZine SPRING 2014
Happy spring! I’m thrilled to share with you the very first Stressipes® EZine. This bi-monthly online magazine is designed to help you create your absolute best—and stress-free—life. In each issue, you’ll find empowering, outside the box ideas from some of my favorite nutrition, food, fitness and lifestyle experts to help you eat and live better no matter what’s going on in your life. I’ll also feature some of my signature Stressipes®—remedies for how stress impacts your habits and behaviors—in each issue. Please email me what stresses you out and how those stressors affect your behaviors to firstname.lastname@example.org—I will try to address them in an upcoming Stressipes® EZine.
Not to be Debbie Downer, but my mother’s health recently and unexpectedly took a turn for the worse. In one day, life as I knew it as a mother of two, a wife and a daughter with a full-time job changed in an instant and forever. As I write this, my mother is finally home after a 5-week stay at a local hospital. She’s doing really well, but it will take time and patience before she’s fully back to her vibrant self. When my dad called to tell me my mom had to be rushed to the hospital, I hopped on a plane to get home from Utah (where my family was on vacation) to be with both of my parents. We’ve been at her side ever since. For the first few weeks of her hospitalization, we divided time with my mother between 8 A.M. and 8 P.M. each day and had an aide with her each night. Fortunately, because we both work for ourselves, we have been able to put most of our work aside to be there for her. Because I have household help and my children are older (almost 16 and almost 12), I am also able to care for my children and husband and to keep our routines relatively intact. All of this happening might seem like a perfect excuse to stop caring for myself altogether. But I knew from the get-go that I would work hard to nurture myself while caring for my family. I continued to make time to be active and exercise on most days (even if that has meant simply walking to and from the hospital a few times a day), eat well (sometimes I do give in to a small bag of chips or a few donut holes—I won’t lie), sleep, get a manicure or a massage and even see friends. These things have helped me feel my best and take the best possible care of my mom and family during this trying time.
Never in a million years did I anticipate or expect something like this to happen to someone in my family. Of course I knew my parents were getting older, but I never pictured the day when one of them would fall ill in such a dramatic and life-altering way. But caring for my mother and helping her get well has naturally become a top priority. And while this may sound crazy, on most days I have not felt stressed in the least. I can’t explain it, but I truly cannot remember the last time in my life I’ve felt this calm, centered and focused.
I’ve shared my personal story here, not as a plea for a pity party but as a way to say that no matter what challenges you have been or will be confronted with in your life, it is essential for you to find a way to ask for and get help, and to give yourself permission to care for yourself physically and emotionally. If you do that, you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever is going on and to be there and care for others. I’ve always expressed this sentiment in all the work I do, but never did I mean it as much as I do now.
Please use this premier issue of the Stressipes® EZine to find simple, stress-free solutions to help you spruce up your food intake, fitness routine or even your home. If you have ideas for future issues, please connect with me via email at the address above, or on Twitter or Facebook. And be sure to check out my website for more Stressipes®, blogs, videos and more to help you live and feel better each and every day.
With much love,
SPRING 2014 EZine COLUMNISTS
Want to feel great in those body-baring spring clothes? Try these 11 exercises recommended by Amie Hoff, founder of the New York City-based Hoff Fitness and creator of the FitKit. Together, these moves create an effective and enjoyable 20-minute strength-training workout.
Side Lunge Jump
Start: Step out to one side with toe straight and opposite leg straight.
Movement: Jump up, pushing off the bent leg to land in the same position on the other side.
Tip: Start with small jumps and land with knees soft, not straight.
Do 10 jumps to each side x 3.
Start: Exercise tubing goes under both feet, holding onto the handles. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, holding handles and hands on hips.
Movement: Using the outer hip, lift one leg out to the side as you stand on the opposite leg.
Tip: Try to maintain balance. Bring feet closer to make it easier.
Do 10 (alternating to each side) x 3.
Start: Hold a jump rope handle in each hand and the rope behind you.
Movement: As you rotate the jump rope up and over the body, jump so the rope goes under the body and clears.
Tip: Start with a pause jump between working up to a continuous jump.
Do 10-15 jumps, working your way up to 50-75 jumps.
Start: Stand in a squat position, hands on the hips.
Movement: Jump up and at the same time rotate the body in the air, landing on the opposite side.
Tip: Start with small rotations, working up to 180 degrees.
Do 10 x 3.
Squat Jump with Frog Clap
Start: Stand in squat position, butt back, knees behind the toes.
Movement: Jump up with explosive move and clap feet together.
Tip: Bend legs as you jump for more challenge.
Do 10 x 3.
Start: Lie on your back, one leg bent with foot on the floor, other leg straight on the ground, hands behind head.
Movement: Using your obliques, lift the straight leg and at the same time lift the opposite shoulder blade up and over to straight leg.
Tip: Try to keep hips on the floor.
Do 15 to each side x 3.
Start: Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart and bend the knees as if squatting.
Movement: Staying in a squat position, walk across the floor keeping the legs wide.
Tip: Keep the chest lifted up.
Do 15 steps forward, 15 steps back x 3.
Side Plank with Leg Lift
Start: On your side, propped up on the elbow, directly under the shoulder and feet with the body in a straight line, hand on your hip.
Movement: Keeping the hips up, lift the top leg up as high as possible.
Tip: Keep your hand on your hip.
Do 5-10 seconds, working up to 45 seconds, on each side.
Start: Lie on your back, knees bent, with resistance band across your hips, holding the ends tight with your hands on the floor.
Movement: Tighten you glutes and raise your hips to a bridge position and hold for 4 seconds.
Tip: Keep your abs tight and try to maintain balanced hips.
Do 20 x 3.
Want some motivation for spring? See what personal trainer Joel Harper has to say to help you improve your life and boost your fitness this season and beyond.
NAVIGATING YOUR GOALS
If you’re like me, you’ve found that this year has zipped by. With spring now in the air, I find it to be a great time of year to do a quick check to make sure that I am living life to the fullest. I also try to make sure I take advantage of everything this new season has to offer. I always ask myself, “What are the positive things I can do for myself to boost my fitness and live a better life over the next few months”? Here is YOUR chance to get busy on your goals. Grab a pen and paper and take 5 minutes to quickly jot down answers to the 6 questions below. There’s only one rule: you must think outside the box and be brutally honest with yourself.
1) From 1-10 (10 being the best) how well did you stick to your fitness goals so far this year? If you didn’t earn a 10, why not?
2) What is something that someone else is doing that sounds thrilling to you?
3) What top 3 positive and top 3 negative feelings did you experience so far this year?
4) What 3 feelings would you like to feel this spring?
5) How much clutter do you have in your life?
6) What are 3 specific steps you are willing to take to achieve your goals?
I have found that most successes are gained from going after specific positive feelings and by taking specific steps to achieve them. Personally, I want to feel “STIMULATED.” So that drives my actions to change my course and try new things. I have also discovered that the more I clear out the clutter in my life the easier it is for me to move forward. Use the 6 questions above to identify what is not working for you, what exactly you want out of life and how you plan to get it. If you face your goals rather than fear them, you’ll have a much better chance of achieving them.
FULL FORCE AHEAD!
Want to infuse some of the beauty of the season into your home? Here are 5 tips to spring up every room of your home from the fabulous Ed Libby, founder of Ed Libby & Co., an international event design team responsible for creating innovative and glamorous events worldwide.
1. Bet on bulbs. Purchase gorgeous bulb flowers that are in tight bloom from your local florist. Add them to colorful pots in your dining room, and watch spring happen indoors as the flowers bloom before your eyes.
2. Bring the outdoors in. Spring is the season for flowering branches and trees like quince and pear. With a few well-placed vases filled with these long-lasting beauties, you won’t need to look out your window for picturesque park-like views.
3. Opt for color. You can change things up to give your home a fresh feel for spring. For example, using brightly colored placemats, napkins and pillows can easily add spring cheer to any room.
4. Fall for fruit. Fresh seasonal fruits make a great centerpiece for a spring table. Pile a single type of citrus fruit like lemons, limes or oranges in a large bowl and mix in a few spring flowers to give any table a fresh and festive look.
5. Use your senses. Adding floral, spring-colored sheets and fresh flowers to any bedroom can bring both the look and smells of the season to your sleep and relaxation spaces.
Want to put some spring in your meals and snacks this season? Try these outside the box ideas (and a great recipe) from Jackie Newgent, culinary dietitian and author of the new book, The With or Without Meat Cookbook.
Be playful with fruits. Spring is the time to be on the lookout for fresh fruits of the season. Berries, cherries, and more are popping up locally right now. Savor them one by one. And incorporate them into otherwise ordinary savory dishes for their bursts of natural sweetness and color.
· Heat blueberries with maple syrup for a better-for-you pancake syrup.
· Puree pitted cherries with ketchup for an intriguing turkey burger condiment or puree with a spicy barbecue sauce for a sweet-hot grilling sauce for chicken.
· Prepare fresh salsa with strawberries instead of tomatoes and serve with grilled fish or fish tacos.
Just add vegetables. There’s no better time of year to start getting more veggies into your eating plan than when produce is plentiful at your favorite market or farmers’ market. Make it a goal to always fill at least 50 percent of your lunch and dinner plate or bowl with vegetables.
· Pile sandwiches high with various lettuces and other leafy greens.
· Grill or roast several asparagus spears to make as asparagus “bed” on which to serve your meal.
· Toss a handful of fresh baby spinach into fruit smoothies for lovely springy green appeal.
Consider less meat or meatless. At least most days of the week, swap part (or all) of your meat, fish, or poultry entrée with vegetables. Your meals will be more interesting and ultimately better for you.
· Rather than making a 2-piece chicken entrée, cook up skewers or stir-fries with both chicken and veggies to make Hummus Grilled Chicken and Bell Pepper Kebabs.
· Swap places on the plate. If you usually have main dish meat and a side vegetable or whole grain, switch them to enjoy a main dish vegetable or whole grain and side of meat.
· Choose vegan from time to time. In place of one fatty steak, try two portabella or cauliflower “steaks”. Then pair with a protein-rich side, such as beans or edamame.
Go for extra herbs. Fresh herbs add so much aroma and eye appeal to dishes. Plus, they count as vegetables. Grow them if you can. And think of herbs as an integral part your meals, not just garnishes or afterthoughts.
· Finely chop a generous amount of fresh herbs, such as basil and tarragon, and stir into simple scrambled eggs.
· Toss fresh mint leaves along with salad greens to create a truly refreshing salad.
· Stir chopped fresh cilantro into steamed brown rice to create a more memorable side with an Asian or Mexican flair.
When I asked my Facebook/Twitter followers for their biggest food challenges for which I could provide some Stressipes®, Carla W. from Voorhees, New Jersey revealed the following:
Oftentimes, if there is a work deadline approaching or just plain ‘ole life going on –and especially if they collide—all bets are off…my schedule goes out the window, and planning meals and well thought out snacks becomes an inconvenience. At such times, I tend to resort to oatmeal, or peanut butter and jelly on potato bread or a Snickers bar and some Hot Tamales. What can I do to eat better when life gets in the way?”
Voorhees, New Jersey
Carla’s problem is far from an unusual one. Whether you get that call from school to pick up your sick child, there’s a medical emergency in your family or a sudden work obligation, a change in your schedule can leave many of us scrambling not only to eat but to make mindful food decisions and choose healthful options.
If you find yourself in a similar boat to Carla, here are 3 Stressipes® to help you when your schedule gets thrown off kilter:
1. Stock a stash to have in a flash. In your desk drawer, purse, briefcase or pantry, keep on hand a nice supply of nonperishable foods that come from the basic healthy food groups that can easily be combined to create smart snacks. Examples include unsalted nuts and seeds, nut butters (like natural peanut and almond butter), low fat milk boxes, dried fruit (without added sugar), unsweetened applesauce, low sugar granola bars and whole grain and high fiber crackers and cereal.
2. Rely on standbys. For those times when you can’t prepare an elaborate or multicourse meal, you can whip together a few easy meals with some staple items. For example, you can make a bowl of low fat yogurt topped with whole grain, high fiber cereal and nuts; have a toasted whole grain English muffin topped with a scrambled egg with cheese and a cup of low fat milk; or use canned, drained black beans, cheddar or Mexican cheese and salsa to make a quick quesadilla. Or make a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread, or replace the jelly with slices of banana (you can freeze whole bananas so you’ll always have one on hand for sandwiches or even smoothies).
3. Set yourself up for snacking success. If you know that candy bar, pack of cookies or bag of chips will call your name as a quick and convenient on-the-go snack, make sure to look for a piece of fresh fruit, some nuts, plain low fat milk or yogurt to have before you dig in to the treat. That way you’ll fill up first on something that provides nutrients and hopefully leave less room for the empty-calorie treat.