Mind and Body Health: Making Exercise a Priority

exercise elliptical, stationary bike and schanuzer
Elliptical or bike? Neither – Oscar always comes first

 

Only one of the exercise options shown above has seen much activity lately. If you guessed the cute, fluffy one, you’re right.  Oscar demands a daily walk and I’m happy to accommodate. The problem is, if I walk him that’s one hour gone. If I then work out, that’s another hour, if not more, gone. I know we all have busy schedules and lately I’ve really been feeling that pain, both in my mind and body. I just have not had the time, energy or inclination to make exercise a priority. I’ll admit I’ve been bogged down with other obligations and I’m obsessed with this blog. I find it hard to focus on a good workout when I’m preoccupied. If I’m not up to giving 100% to a workout I tend to think, why bother? WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

This is not news, we know this is wrong, but not until a recent bout of daily headaches did I realize what a toll this mentality had taken on my mind and body. I’m not a person who gets headaches, but this past week I could not shake a dull, nagging pain.  It was so draining and persistent, I thought it might be seasonal allergies. Headache aside, I decided to drag myself to my new fitness studio, FYFE Training (if you’re local, check out the spinning, tabata boxing and cross-conditioning classes). I’d been feeling guilty for not going because I felt my favorite instructor, Rory, would take note. I love Rory for her great classes and music, but also because she holds me accountable!

No sooner did I get moving, and Rory kicked my butt, did the headache disappear.

I was relieved, but also pretty mad at myself for reaching that point. I should have known that my sedentary ways had contributed to my fitness funk. From now on I follow Newton’s First Law of Motion- an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion. No more lazy-day headaches for me – I’m staying in motion.

What motivates you to stay active?

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Killer Heels: A High-Heel Art Exhibit

Now that's a pair of platforms!
Now that’s a pair of Killer Heels!

It’s been a busy week.  I had the opportunity to attend three uniquely fabulous events and I can tell you, in all honestly, I’m exhausted. Typically, I like to spread out my non-routine activities, but when it rains it pours. In last night’s case, quite literally. I’m happy to say that I’ve reached a stage of life where I want to see more, do more and live more. While I love crawling into bed at 8pm, I know I’ve got to push myself. If I don’t, what the heck am I going to blog about? While I am a bit tired, this week left me energized and excited.

I’m going to start backward and first tell you about last night. I figure once you hear about it you may want to rush out this weekend to see it yourself. Every few months I get together with a group of ladies for dinner and drinks. This time, we got wild and decided to take in a museum exhibit at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH. Not intrigued? This exhibit was screaming my name. It was the Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe exhibit and it was awesome! I drove 50 minutes and braved torrential wind and rain to get there and it was worth every second.

These shoes were off the chain – do people still say that?  They were extraordinary works of art. Christian Louboutins, Prada, Dior and Ferragamo were all represented among many other famous designers. And these weren’t typical killer heels you’d find in Nieman Marcus. They were spectacular statement pieces created for sake of the art and craft.

Perusing the displays, I was in shoe heaven. If you love high heel shoes like I do, the Killer Heels exhibit is a must.

The Killer Heels

sparkly pump at killer heel exhibit
So sparkly, so pretty. I just love a gorgeous pump.

 

Shoe art - high heel with flowers and nail gun
This was a working shoe. The heel was a nail gun.

 

Superhero shoe at killer heel exhibit
The Superhero

 

strappy pump with flowers at killer heel exhibit
Flower girl – love!

More to see at the Currier Museum of Art

Not a shoe addict? The Currier’s permanent exhibits are equally as captivating.  I found the space dedicated to modern furniture particularly appealing.  The featured artwork was big, bold and colorful and one piece had a 3D effect that was so mesmerizing my sister, Karla, said it made her dizzy. Personally, I think it was her four-inch platform shoes.  We all wore our own killer heels to pay homage to the shoe show.

Oh yeah - we wore that! Karla in silver, me in zebra killer heels
Oh yeah – we wore that! Karla in silver, me in zebra.

 

Planning your own trip to high heel heaven? Visit The Currier Museum of Art for hours, admission and other information.

Stay tuned for future posts on a great interior design presentation, and a fun cooking class!

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Shades of Gray: Madison Reed Root Touch Up Review

Madison Reed Root Touch Up for Gray Hair
My Madison Reed Root Touch Up – This stuff really works for gray roots!

Gray hair: A family hand-me-down

I’m not afraid to admit that beneath my curly brown locks is a head full of silver strands. I don’t associate my gray hair with age because it’s something I’ve been dealing with since my twenties.  My hair color is hereditary – my dad has a full head of gray hair and has since he was young. It’s something I’ve accepted. Don’t misunderstand, I accept my grays, but I don’t yet embrace them.  I’ve been coloring over them since they first appeared.

Coloring my hair has become as routine as a trip to the grocery store. I tried doing it myself at first, then I graduated to a professional colorist who I see so much that she’s now practically a member of my family.

Keeping up with gray roots: My touch up solution

My color frequency has reached an all-time high to the point where I can’t keep up. When the dreaded “roots” appear and I just don’t have time for a trip to the salon, I’ve found a product that works surprisingly well to extend time between colors. Madison Reed Root Touch Up is my gray-be-gone go-to. Before I discovered this product, I was using a fill-in crayon that 1) wasn’t a great color match and 2) was messy.  Then one day, this product popped up on my Facebook feed.  I don’t know how Facebook knew I had this need (I don’t recall googling anything gray hair related,) but I chose not to worry about all-knowing social media and just took advantage of the message – buy this, you need it.

My Madison Reed Root Touch Up before and after

I picked it up at Sephora and damn, if it didn’t live up to every one of its claims. It was easy to apply and offered near complete coverage. The color match was great (it comes in seven shades) and it didn’t come off on my hands or pillow. Now, the moment I see gray peeking through, I grab my Madison Reed Root Touch Up and I’m good to go until my next scheduled color.

I put together my own before, after and in-between so you can see a true life example. No Photoshop or professional lighting needed – the end results are great without them!

My before and after - Madison Reed Root Touch Up
Going, going, gone! Madison Reed Root Touch Up gets the job done.

 

You can learn more about this and other products on the  Madison Reed website.

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Benefits of Drinking Water: Can You Have Too Much?

 

benefits of drinking water
glug, glug, glug

“Drink More Water,” They Say

In keeping with this week’s mission to get back on a healthy track, I’ve resumed a very on again, off again effort to drink more water.  For years we’ve heard the advice to down 64oz of H2O per day. I’ve tried it and at times I’ve succeeded.  I can even remember the first time I truly set my mind to this task, a friend randomly said, “Wow Beth, your skin is glowing, what are you doing?” Ooh, I thought, there really are benefits of water. Well, like any great idea, my marathon water drinking days phased out. Why? Well, in the first place the 100 times a day I had to run to the bathroom eventually became too much.  It was uncomfortable and disruptive.

But, I’m willing to try again despite the bathroom issue and the fact that drinking more water leaves me feeling constantly cold. My question is; do the benefits of drinking water outweigh the drawbacks? It’s said that most people don’t drink enough water. When Julia had a fainting spell recently, every doctor and nurse we encountered pushed that she needed to drink more water.  She’s an athlete, so that made sense – but I was surprised at how consistent the message was.  From the ER staff at Lawrence General to two cardiologists and every nurse we saw at Tuft’s Floating Hospital, they all emphasized that the benefits of drinking water are real. If they are all saying it, then it must be true, right?

Drinking Too Much Water?

Then I remembered a conversation I had with an acupuncturist I visited a couple of years ago. We talked about my general sense of wellness and ending up at water and health.  She had me stick my tongue out and proceeded to tell me I was waterlogged.  What? She said I’m probably drinking too much water and the “foggy head” I complained about was due, in part, to drinking too much water.  “Drink when you’re thirsty,” she said. She told me that while there definitely are benefits of drinking water, you have to listen to what your own body needs. And not every body is the same, so why should we all be drinking the same recommended amounts of water per day? I was intrigued by her comments and liked her Eastern medicine approach.

I stopped guzzling absurd amounts of water and, if I’m being honest, I didn’t see much difference, but I sure as heck enjoyed not having to run to the bathroom every 15 minutes.

Water Intake: Finding What Works for Me

So now what? To drink or not to drink? I’ve decided to employ my life motto – everything in moderation.  I’ll be cognizant of how much water I drink and be sure to drink enough to reap whatever benefits of drinking water that I can, but not so much that I feel like I could float away at any given moment. I do believe there is a correlation between water and health, I’m just not sure how much water to drink for my body and my personal activity level.

Tip: When I know I could use a glass of the cool stuff, but I’m not in the mood, I throw in a splash of cranberry juice, a lime and a straw. Suddenly, it’s like sipping a cocktail.

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Healthy Eating Habits: Tips to Stay on Track

a step toward healthy eating habits
I don’t want to look!

Getting Back on Track

I hate saying “back on track,” yet I say it a lot. It’s my go-to phrase after too many weeks of poor eating and exercise avoidance the likes of a lazy sloth. I allow myself to reach a point of personal disgust when I finally say, enough! Tomorrow I’ll get back on track (it’s always a Sunday, as if starting fresh on a Monday is really going to make a difference).  The thing is, I don’t want to get back on track; I want to stay on track. I want healthy eating to be the norm not the goal that always seems out of reach. Back in January my column, Matters of Life & Beth, I discussed my success with the Dukan Diet.  That was the last time things were going well as far as minor weight loss goes.

The Not-So-Sweet Side of Sugar

Now, here I am again trying to get my eating habits under control. And the truth is, I don’t need a diet, I just need to say no to everyday indulgences and get back to day to day healthy eating. This means eating in moderation, drinking a lot more water than I do and cutting back on processed and sugary foods. My biggest problem when it comes to a healthy diet is sweets – once I start, I can’t stop. Easter really did me in yesterday. Sugar is to me like alcohol is to an alcoholic… bad, bad news. The more sugar I have the more I crave, but it doesn’t end there. The sweet stuff makes me hungrier in general, which then leads to over eating on a bunch of other bad foods.

It’s as if the sugar goes directly to my brain shutting down all sensible thoughts about healthy eating.

I spoke with Samantha McCarthy, MS/RD, a registered dietician at my gym Cedardale Health & Fitness for some guidance, and here’s what she had to say:

“The problem with sugar is that it can be really addictive. Trying to cut sugar out or at least decreasing the amount in your diet can make a humongous impact.”

This includes artificial sweeteners because it’s not just table sugar, but the sugary taste that can lead to cravings. I didn’t realize that…good info.

Healthy Eating Tips to Stay on Track

Sam also suggests being mindful of what you’re eating and planning ahead. This is probably the biggest challenge for me, but if I can make it happen, I know I’ll be glad to get off the roller coaster of good and bad eating habits. Here are her top tips for maintaining your healthy eating habits:

  1. Don’t think of healthy eating as a diet, because if it’s a diet it’s temporary. It has to be part of your lifestyle.
  2. Cut back on the sugar – if you can do that you’ll be cutting out a lot of the junk in your life.
  3. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
  4. Plan and prepare ahead of time.

Today, I’m back on track and my fingers are crossed that I stay here. Thank you Sam for the great advice.

Do you have any great diet tips or healthy eating ideas that help when living a healthy lifestyle? I’d love to hear them!

To book your own session with Samantha McCarthy, MS/RD, contact her by phone at 978-373-1596 or online at Cedardale-Health.net.

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