Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tactics Thursday

Did you do your brain dump yesterday? Have your life list ready? We will consider this list your forest. Now we’re going to get to the trees, branches, and leaves.

To start off, select the first three items on your list that you would like to accomplish. These are your first three "trees". I will give you examples:

1. I’d like to lose weight.
2. I want to go to Italy.
3. I want to begin exercising regularly.

These are good goals, but we need to be more specific. S.M.A.R.T. (refer back to my blog posting on September 26th) (CLICK HERE TO READ) So let’s get a better handle on these goals by adding details (or branches):

1. I’d like to lose 10 pounds by May 1st.
2. I want to go to Italy in the Fall of 2012.
3. I want to exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes and walk 30 minutes on the other four days.

Now you’ve got branches on which to climb up to achieve those goals. The next step is the leaves on those branches. You need to look at those branches, and determine the next steps necessary to get there. It goes something like this:

1. In order to lose 10 pounds by May 1st, I need to lose 2 lbs a month, or a little over 17 weeks, which is about a half a pound a week. One pound is 3,500 calories, so if I eliminate 250 calories a day between what I eat and burn with exercise, I will lose a half-pound a week. I can do this by sticking with my new exercise plan, keeping a food journal daily to check my calories, and being more intentional about my snacks. I’ll try to swap out a piece of fruit for cookies more often.

2. I will begin by research air fares and hotels in Italy, or by contacting a travel agent. Once I know how much it will cost, I will begin putting money away each week towards my new “Italy Fund”. If the trip will cost $3,000, for example, and I want to go on October 1st, I will need to save $75 a week. To save a little more, I can bring my lunch from home instead of eating out, I can make my coffee at home, and I can clean out my closets and basement and plan on a big garage sale in the spring.

3. I will block off time on my calendar three days a week to work out at home or go to the gym. For example, I will hit the gym on the way home from work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 5:30 7:00pm. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and the weekends I will walk at lunchtime or on the weekends in the mornings.

So you see, these are smaller, manageable “leaves” ways in which to reach those lofty goals. Once you’ve gotten comfortable in taking on your first three goals and breaking them down, take your next three goals and so the same… and so on… and so on. Now realize that perhaps some of your goals will take a long amount of time (for example, you want to finish your college degree). That’s okay. Take one course at a time. In five years you may be done – if you give up and say you can’t do it, you will be five years older and still have no degree. Slow and steady, wild woman! It can be done. It may take a lot of blood, sweat, tears, planning, prayers, and good old-fashioned gumption, but it can be done. Start that first step TODAY - turn over one new leaf towards the accomplishment of your dreams.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wild Woman Wednesday

Wild women are organized… or at least we want to be/try to be. I think we’re having so much fun that sometimes we have to steal time in order to get our lives less cluttered and more organized. As I look towards 2012, I do have goals, plans and dreams that are both fresh and new, while some are a continuation of the steps I’ve already begun on the journey. Some people turn up their noses and scoff when others make new years resolutions – truth is, many new years resolutions are like diets. You start off strong but create unrealistic, overwhelming goals, and the minute you stumble, you give up.

Ever thought about the meaning of resolution? It is a decree, a declaration, a decision, promise, pledge. It stems from the word resolve – determination, steadfastness, tenacity, perseverance. Ooo – those are wild women words! Wild women have tenacity, strength, and determination! You’ve got what it takes to succeed – maybe it’s just a matter of planning a little smarter when making those declarations of reaching those goals in 2012. We’re going to begin right now to put the energy and plans in motion for 2012. Look at that, you’re already ahead of the game!

Today we’re going to exercise our brainstorming muscles by firing up those synapses and doing what I call a “brain dump”. Today I want you to find 20 minutes to yourself without interruption (even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom). No music, no TV, no distractions. Just you, a pencil or pen and a few sheets of paper. Feeling excited? Good – this is YOUR LIFE! Now… begin writing everything you want out of life – places you want to go, experiences you want to have, dreams you want to achieve. There are no limitations, no criticisms, no “oh, I couldn’t do that” messages from the negative little gremlin we have sitting on our shoulder that wants to squash your spirit. Think/dream/write B-I-G!!! Be courageous and FREE. Pour your heart and soul into it – what do you want to be? Think about travel, finances, career, education, physical health, relationships, creativity, home, nature, giving back, your spiritual life, community. What books do you want to read? What books would you like to write!?!? You have endless limitless boundaries, let yourself go in complete freedom and enthusiasm and hope and spirit. Write until your fingers ache, flow everything through that pen onto paper. Go back and write some more. Put those wild woman thoughts and dreams and desires on those pages. It should be joyous and bodacious and a little scary. You may discover things about yourself you never even realized until this moment that you wanted! Remember – unbounded… no fences, no limits – your dreams are your dreams, and as you “put them out there” and see them on the written pages, you plant the seeds of life in them and they begin to take shape and grow and become reality... one little baby step at a time.

Tomorrow we will gather all your dreams together and you will begin the process of making them happen. See you then!


“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” ~ Mary Ann Radmacher

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Tips

How was your Christmas? Are you able to take a few days off, or are you right back in the saddle of juggling? I hope it was peaceful and blessed. So now begins the countdown to 2012. One of the things we always wish one another, especially as the new year begins, is good health. This is something we should never take for granted, and something that we must actively pursue through eating right and exercising regularly. Our society has a quick-fix mentality for any kind of ailment – just pop a pill or get a prescription. It’s just not that easy! So what do you do when, for example, you have pain but don’t want to just take some over-the-counter or prescription medication?

Well, I happened to come across this article from Prevention Magazine that I wanted to share with you. Mind you, I am NOT a doctor and only pass this info along for general information purposes! That being said, I thought it was interesting, especially the counting backwards technique. Imagine being able to ease pain simply by counting backwards – next time I’m giving blood I think I will try this!

Please feel free to share in the comments anything you use to help ease pain. And watch over the next few days as we share ideas on how to prepare for the upcoming year!


Nature's New Pain Relievers
The best remedies for arthritis, back pain, migraines, and more that have science on their side

By Jordan Lite

Finding Relief
You're in pain, and ibuprofen just won't cut it. NSAIDs don't agree with your stomach, and you're wary of stronger meds. Fortunately, you have alternatives--natural ones. From herbs that attack inflammation to techniques that leverage the brain's remarkable healing powers, nature offers many treatments for conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even muscle strains. Here are eight natural remedies that may enhance or replace conventional antidotes, and leave you happier, healthier, and pain free.

Reduce pain from arthritis, shingles, or neuropathy
What the science says: An active component of chile pepper, capsaicin temporarily desensitizes pain-prone skin nerve receptors called C-fibers; soreness is diminished for 3 to 5 weeks while they regain sensation. Nearly 40% of arthritis patients reduced their pain by half after using a topical capsaicin cream for a month, and 60% of neuropathy patients achieved the same after 2 months, according to a University of Oxford study. Patients at the New England Center for Headache decreased their migraine and cluster headache intensity after applying capsaicin cream inside their nostrils.

How to try it: Capsaicin ointments and creams are sold in pharmacies and health stores. For arthritis or neuropathy, try 0.025% or 0.075% capsaicin cream one to four times daily; best results can take up to 2 weeks, says Philip Gregory, PharmD, a professor at Creighton University and editor of the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. But research on capsaicin and headaches remains limited--and don't expect stronger versions anytime soon: "Current formulations are better suited for more acute problems, like a sore muscle or an arthritis flare-up, than everyday pain and stiffness," Gregory says.

InflaThera or Zyflamend
Help ease arthritis
What the science says: Both supplement brands contain ginger, turmeric, and holy basil, all of which have anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric (a curry ingredient) may be the best: A component, curcumin, eases inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, according to the Methodist Research Institute in Indianapolis. Researchers are now testing Zyflamend in RA patients, but some experts are already sold: "Each herb has its own scientific database of evidence," says James Dillard, MD, author of The Chronic Pain Solution.

How to try it: ProThera, InflaThera's maker, will only sell to health care professionals, so your doctor has to order it for you; that said, it's reportedly stronger (and slightly cheaper) than Zyflamend. InflaThera's suggested dosage is twice daily with food. For the more readily accessible Zyflamend, take one capsule two or three times daily, but avoid it near bedtime--each pill contains 10 mg of caffeine (another version, Zyflamend PM, is reportedly less stimulating). Buy Zyflamend at or Or, save money and try curcumin to start: Taking 500 mg four times daily, along with fish oil and a diet low in animal fat, can ease arthritis, says Jane Guiltinan, ND, immediate past president of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

Alleviate acute injury or post surgery swelling
What the science says: This herb comes from a European flower; although its healing mechanism is still unknown, it does have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Taking oral homeopathic arnica after a tonsillectomy decreases pain, say British researchers, and German doctors found that it reduces surgery-related knee swelling.

How to try it: Use homeopathic arnica as an adjunct to ice, herbs, or conventional pain meds, suggests Guiltinan. Rub arnica ointment on bruises or strained muscles, or take it in the form of three lactose pellets under the tongue up to six times per day. Boiron ( is among the most reputable arnica manufacturers.

Relieve osteoarthritis inflammation and pain
What the science says: This red seaweed supplement is rich in calcium and magnesium. A preliminary clinical study showed that the ingredients may reduce joint inflammation or even help build bone, says David O'Leary of Marigot, Aquamin's Irish manufacturer. In a study of 70 volunteers published in Nutrition Journal, Aquamin users reduced arthritis pain by 20% in a month, and had less stiffness than patients taking a placebo.

How to try it: Marigot recommends 2,400 mg a day (two capsules) of Aquamin in tablet form, sold domestically in products such as Aquamin Sea Minerals and Cal-Sea-Um. A 60-pill jar of Swanson Vegetarian Aquamin Sea Minerals costs about $6 at

SAM-e (S adenosylmethionine)
Reduce osteoarthritis aches
What the science says: SAM-e is made from a naturally occurring amino acid and sold as capsules. Doctors aren't entirely sure why it tamps down pain, but it reduces inflammation and may increase the feel-good brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. Studies by the University of Maryland School of Nursing and the University of California, Irvine, showed that SAM-e was as effective as some NSAIDs in easing osteoarthritis aches; the California researchers found that SAM-e quashed pain by 50% after 2 months, though it took a few weeks to kick in. SAM-e produced no cardiovascular risks and fewer stomach problems than the conventional meds.

How to try it: Costco and CVS both carry it; a month's supply costs $30 to $60. Guiltinan prescribes 400 to 1,600 mg daily, often with turmeric or fish oil. SAM-e can interact with other meds, especially MAO-inhibitor antidepressants, so it's vital to talk with your doctor before taking it (and avoid SAM-e entirely if you have bipolar disorder). Also, inspect the packaging before buying, advises Gregory: Make sure the product carries a USP or GMP quality seal, contains a stabilizing salt, has a far-off expiration date, and comes in foil blister packs--SAM-e can degrade rapidly in direct light.

Fish oil
Relieve joint pain from arthritis or autoimmune disorders
What the science says: Digested fish oil breaks down into hormonelike chemicals called prostaglandins, which reduce inflammation. In one study, about 40% of rheumatoid arthritis patients who took cod-liver oil every day were able to cut their NSAID use by more than a third, Scottish scientists recently reported. People with neck and back pain have fared even better: After about 10 weeks, nearly two-thirds were able to stop taking NSAIDs altogether in a University of Pittsburgh study.

How to try it: Taking 1,000 mg is proven to help your heart, but you should up the dose for pain. For osteoarthritis, try 2,000 to 4,000 mg daily; for rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases associated with joint pain (such as lupus), consider a much higher dose of upwards of 8,000 mg daily--but ask your doctor about such a large amount first, says Tanya Edwards, MD, medical director at the Cleveland Clinic's Center for Integrative Medicine. (The same rule applies if you take BP or heart meds, as omega-3s can thin the blood.) Read the nutrition label carefully: The dosage refers to the amount of omega-3s in a capsule, not other ingredients. Nordic Naturals ( and Carlson ( are both reputable brands; for something stronger, GNC's Triple-Strength Fish Oil ( has 900 mg of omega-3s per capsule.

Methylsulfonyl-methane (MSM)
Improve osteoarthritis
What the science says: MSM is derived from sulfur and may prevent joint and cartilage degeneration, say University of California, San Diego, scientists. People with osteoarthritis of the knee who took MSM had 25% less pain and 30% better physical function at the end of a 3-month trial at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences. Indian researchers also found that MSM worked better when combined with glucosamine.

How to try it: Start with 1.5 to 3 g once daily and increase to 3 g twice daily for more severe pain, suggests Leslie Axelrod, ND, a professor of clinical sciences at Southwest. Patients in the Indian trial improved on dosages as low as 500 mg three times daily. Vendors of OptiMSM, the brand tested in Axelrod's trial, can be found at

Counting out loud
Soothe brief "needle stick" pain
What the science says: Patients who counted backward from 100 out loud during an injection experienced and recalled less pain, according to a recent Japanese study. None of the 46 patients who counted complained afterward, and only one of them could remember pain from the injection at all (among the 46 who didn't count, 19 said the injection hurt and 10 recalled what it felt like). Recitation might work by distracting the brain from processing the sensation, says study author Tomoko Higashi, MD, of Yokohama City University Medical Center in Kanagawa, Japan. The trick is probably only useful for short or acute periods, she says, adding: "The degree of pain reduction really depends on how well patients concentrate on counting."

Ease fibromyalgia or arthritis
What the science says: Qigong is an umbrella term for traditional Chinese-medicine exercises or techniques that integrate body, posture, mind and breathing to improve the flow of energy, or qi. Women with severe fibromyalgia reported 73% less pain after just 5-7 sessions with a qigong master, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Medical School study, and the benefits continued three months later. "I’ve never seen pain scores change so dramatically," says study co-author Afton Hassett, PsyD, who notes that larger trials need to be conducted to confirm these benefits. In other research, when qigong was combined with meditation, the pair helped patients reduce their pain as well as prescription drugs, according to University of Maryland researchers. And 83% of rheumatoid arthritis patients who practiced qigong for 1-2 hours a day reported greater improvement compared to 57% who received medication, Chinese doctors found.

How to try it: A skilled practitioner can help you reduce your discomfort in 3 to 9 treatments, says Master FaXiang Hou of the Qigong Research Society ( Start off with a class or use an at-home video like Francesco Garripoli’s "Qigong Beginning Practice" (available at at least one hour a day, either first thing in the morning or right before bed. Once you’ve got the hang of it, 20 to 30 minutes a day can keep pain at bay, says Kevin Chen, PhD, who led the RWJ study. Find a teacher near you at the National Qigong Association Web site (

Relieve arthritis; migraines; low-back, menstrual, or post-operative pain
What the science says: When pricked with tiny, essentially painless needles, your body releases endogenous opioids, its natural painkillers—but for reasons scientists are still figuring out, the benefits last longer than the chemicals’ analgesic effect. Recent research has yielded stunning results: people with knee arthritis reduced pain by 40% after 6 months of acupuncture that began as twice weekly sessions and was gradually reduced to once a month, according to researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who also found it can relieve low-back pain. Overseas, scientists in Europe used acupuncture to cut medication use in half among migraine sufferers—and, in another study, ease menstrual pain. Post-surgery patients needed less morphine after receiving the needle pricks, a recent Duke University Medical Center review found.

How to try it: For acute pain, try 5-8 treatments; experts say you’ll need 8-15 sessions for chronic pain (in the UMM study on osteoarthritis, significant improvement took 14 weeks). Nearly half of employers offer health insurance that covers acupuncture, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey. Contact your state’s acupuncture board or your insurer to find a licensed practitioner. Get more information on acupuncture and how it can help ease health problems.

Glucosamine and chondroitin
Protect cartilage from osteoarthritis
What the science says: Glucosamine is a natural compound used in the formation and repair of cartilage, according to the Mayo Clinic. Chondroitin is made from shark and cow cartilage. Both are thought to help build or protect joint-cushioning cartilage—the same material that breaks down in osteoarthritis. The combination can help people with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study: 53% of users felt their pain decrease by half.

How to try it: Take 500 mg of glucosamine three times a day alone or with 400 mg of chondroitin sulfate. The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database suggests glucosamine sulfate over glucosamine hydrochloride, though many brands contain both.
Published November 2011, Prevention | Updated December 2011

The materials contained on this website are provided for general information only and do not constitute any form of medical or health care advice. We assume no responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement and accept no liability for any loss or damage that may arise from reliance on the information contained on this site. Links to other websites from these pages are for information only and we accept no responsibility or liability for access to or the material on any website which is linked from or to this website.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Toxic Thursday

My name is Linda, and I’m a chocolaholic. Oh yes, I may be a personal trainer and practice nutritious/healthful eating, but I love me some chocolate 24/7. The problem is, I fell off the wagon in the last few days. I haven’t been stuffing myself with all the goodies of the season, but I would walk by a cookie here, eat some Hershey’s kisses there, and to tell you the truth, the more I ate, the more I wanted. Until yesterday, when I was unwrapping kisses so fast the sparkle of the red/green/silver foil flashed and glittered around me like a string of holiday lights on a Christmas tree! Yes, girlfriends, I was a chocolate chipmunk-cheeked mess just waiting for insulin shock to set in.

And this morning, I paid – dearly! I have a sugar hangover. Thankfully, no headache, but I am slow and sluggish and feel like I’m walking through a sea of Jell-O. I slept hard, and when I awoke this morning, instead of saying cheerfully “God is good, it’s morning!” I fell out of bed groaning “Good God – it’s morning?!?!?” I think instead of blood happily coursing through my veins I have molten chocolate oozing slowly. When I practically crawled onto my scale this morning, I swear I heard it say “Tsk…tsk…tsk… I TOLD you so!” as it registered the numeric proof of my overindulgences.

Let me say yet again that food isn’t bad, and there’s nothing wrong with eating anything you want – including the aforementioned fare which is everywhere we turn at this time of year. However… it is when I eat and eat without reserve or intentionality that it comes back to bite me on my ever-increasing butt! I have to honestly say, it just isn’t worth it. My brain is fuzzy and my energy levels are woefully depleted. Granted – a mouthful of chocolate truly is taste bud bliss, and dark chocolate has some wonderful properties… but I have learned my lesson.

So here I sit, green tea and bran muffin in hand, asking you to join me as I exercise my restraint muscles over the remaining Christmas feasts. I think I’ll leave the cookies for Santa and reach for a big ol' bahonkin' crisp, delicious salad and plate of veggies, which I find myself craving today, along with a huge ice-cold glass of water with lemon.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wild Woman Wednesday

Wild women – there’s only three shopping days left, and you know how crazy people can get. Last night it was rainy here in NJ, and I counted three fender-bender accidents in a 10-mile commute. Everyone is so busy speeding around they aren’t paying any attention to others. So what can a wild woman do?

Wild women can exercise their put others first muscles today. If you’re in a line, let someone in front of you – whether it’s at the grocery store, in a department store, or in a traffic line. If you’re in a fast food line (I know some of you are succumbing to this easy way out – and I understand – just don’t make a habit of it), pay for the person behind you. Just tell the checkout clerk to tell them Merry Christmas! Imagine the good will you can start – perhaps it will be a chain reaction! Look for ways to cheer someone up today and practice random acts of kindness. Pay for someone else’s coffee. Put a love note under your spouse or child’s pillow or in their pocket or lunch bag. Bring in some healthy snacks to work to try and counteract all the junk food, candy, and cookies. If you’re single and have the time, or if you’re a mom with kids, offer to babysit for another woman with kids for a couple of hours so she can have some down time. Grab a girlfriend and treat her to a mani/pedi together. The possibilities are endless, and you are creative, so think of something. Help a sister out.

You can do this – you are a big-hearted, wonderful wild woman!!!!! Be a surprise blessing to someone else today – you never know how much it might mean to that one person.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tangled in the Tinsel Tuesday

Omigosh, has it really been a week since I’ve blogged? Sorry, I’ve been tangled up in the tinsel!! But I’m back on track. Are you tangled up as well? How’s the shopping going, and the parties, and the planning? Are you all ready, mid-way to madness, or haven’t even started yet? (Ummm… if you’re in the third category, may I recommend gift cards??) Are you buzzing from the combo of endless cups of coffee, Christmas cookies and candy?

Okay, let’s work our detox muscles today. Stop, take a breath. Now let’s take inventory. Where are you as of today? Look at your list, check it twice. You’ve still got a few days left, so don’t despair and feel completely overwhelmed. If you feel as if you will never get it all done, see if you can volunteer some family members to split the workload, or maybe buddy up with a few friends and work together as a team to help one another. Secondly, serious consider downsizing whatever has to be done, and give up the perfectionism that might be causing your nerves to break quicker than a fragile ornament. Finally, try to find something funny about it all – you MUST maintain a sense of humor!!!

Now about your nutrition – I know I’ve said it over and over, but just remember to eat lots of healthy foods (what I call eating clean), and eat sensibly and mindfully with all the cookies, fancy holiday meals, etc. It’s not that you can’t have it – just take it easy.

One little stress-buster I like to use is a simple breathing technique. Breath in through your nose slowly for a count of 5, hold it for 5, and then blow it out slowly for a count of 5 (like you’re blowing out birthday candles). Do this 10 times throughout the day. It will help.

We’d love to hear what’s going on – so please, write and comment on what you’re dealing with this holiday season, and how you’re coping and succeeding!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Motivation

How was your weekend? Good? Bad? Indifferent? Are you doing the hustle-bustle dance of shopping? Spending happy times with family and friends? Overwhelmed? Fighting the blues? Maybe a bit of everything? It’s not uncommon to have our feelings/emotions ride the holiday roller-coaster, especially if we are eating more sugar and junk than we’re used to eating. It is amazing to me how much food can affect our emotions. Now I’m not talking about eating carbs as comfort food. I’m talking about the physical changes that sugar can produce in our system to frazzle us more than when the one light burns out on the tree and the whole thing goes dark!

According the Franklin Institute, glucose is the form of sugar that travels in your bloodstream for your brain power, and is the only fuel normally used by brain cells. Too much sugar or refined carbs at one time can deprive your brain of glucose and compromising your brain’s power to concentrate, remember and learn. Too much sugar gives you a spike, but then drops and you can feel spaced-out, weak, confused and nervous.
Irritability can result when high glucose levels go uncontrolled. In adults with diabetes, the constant battle with high blood sugar can lead to feelings of anger and frustration, according to Mayo Clinic diabetes educators Nancy Klobassa and Peggy Moreland

The best way to avoid the sugar crazies is to monitor how much sugar you eat – just be mindful and intentional of what you’re eating. Remember, a craving will normally pass within 15 minutes, so walk away from those sugar-infested brownies that are caroling your name (“Fa-la-la-la-la…scoff me down now!”). Remember how crummy you feel when you have a good case of the sugar blues, or how bloated you feel when you’ve eaten more sugar than is healthy for you – is it really worth it?

You can have your cake and eat it, too – in moderation. Exercise caution, and have fun baking those cookies with the kids or some friends – just be sure not to eat the batch once they’re out of the oven!!



Friday, December 9, 2011

Fabulous YOU Friday

Today I’d like you to exercise your tender eyes and take a good, long look at how wonderful and beautiful you are right this very minute. You see, I’m so tired of all the hype and smoke and mirrors of the media regarding women and image. Commercials for mascara that promise you the same look as the models who are wearing about three pair of false eyelashes; housewives of “pick a rich city” with million$ who have people come in to do their hair and makeup before they ever step out the door; women with long, luxurious locks that are nothing more than fake extensions/pieces. I recently heard an interview with a famous singer/performer who said she wears Spanx and four pair (yes, four) of control top panty hose before she ever squeezes into her “almost” outfit and goes out on stage.

One website I researched said that the average American woman is 5’4” tall and 140 pounds, while the average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds. By the way, most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women. And let’s not forget that most of the print ads are airbrushed! On the website, when discussing unattainable beauty, it was written: “Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that media images of female beauty are unattainable for all but a very small number of women. Researchers generating a computer model of a woman with Barbie-doll proportions, for example, found that her back would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body, and her body would be too narrow to contain more than half a liver and a few centimeters of bowel. A real woman built that way would suffer from chronic diarrhea and eventually die from malnutrition.”

I believe in being the best you can be – at any age or size. Be healthy first and foremost. If you are working out and seeking to drop some weight to be at your best health, that’s great. But be sure right now to take good care of yourself and each day walk out of the house feeling beautiful. One of the things I encourage every woman to do is wear pretty undergarments – there’s something delicious and wonderful about knowing you look pretty darn hot under those clothes! Do it for you.

More importantly, are you beautiful from the inside out? How’s your attitude? Are you loving and kind? Are you fun? Do you make others feel special? Do the words that spill forth from those glossified lips drip honey or venom? There’s no cosmetic in the world that paint on the kind of loveliness that radiates from a beautiful heart and soul.

Remember always, wild woman, that there is no one else on earth quite like you – you are a one of a kind treasure. Please always see that amazing creature looking back from your mirror. And if you're going to a holiday celebration this weekend, knock 'em dead, girlfriend!!!

Blessings, and a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tips Thursday

Yesterday I blogged that I would be sharing some tips on how to handle eating through your holidays. Here’s some ideas that I have either used myself or have heard about, and I hope they’ll help you as well!

1) Eat before you go! There’s a rule that you should never go to the grocery store hungry, and it applies to parties as well. Eat some thing before you leave your house – especially protein, which fills you longer. Have a hot beverage (coffee, tea) with it to add a little fullness. Then you won’t be grazing over the food all night.

2) Stay away from the cheese! Once ounce (about the equivalent of a pair of dice) run you about 120 calories. Needless to say, you pop 10 of those little bad boys with some crackers, and you’ve already eaten pretty much a day’s calories! Instead, go for the veggies – all you want – as long as they’re not dipped into dressings that are drenched in calories. Go for salsa instead. Just remember to fill up on the veggies and fresh fruit.

3) Use a small plate! Less loaded, less bloated!

4) There is no such thing as bad food. Just don’t go crazy with it – eat a tiny bit of it, so you will have the taste and satisfaction of having it. One small (or half) of a brownie is fine, it’s when I eat those three and four that I’m in trouble!!!

5) Stick to seltzer water or wine spritzers if you are consuming alcohol. Nurse one drink all night. Stay away from the mixed drinks, its loads of empty calories. Of course, one glass of champagne is nice!

6) If you are eating dinner at someone’s home, just take small portions. Aunt Sophie will be happy you’ve eaten her special dish, but you don’t have to succumb to family pressure to EAT! EAT!

7) Drink a LOT of water before and during meals. Oh yes, and if you are drinking, drink a large glass of water in between drinks – better yet, opt not to drink (see #5).

8) Station yourself as far away from the food as possible – make yourself take a hike over to the buffet and think it over before you get there!

9) Don’t skip dessert. That’s right, don’t skip it. Just have a little. It is the holidays and we all want to enjoy it. (See #4)

10) Eat only until you are full, and then stop and move away from the buffet or table, or move your plate away. Don't keep eating just because it tastes good.

11) Give yourself 10-15 minutes before you go for seconds. It takes your tummy that long to tell your brain you are full/satisfied, and chances are you won't really be hungry in 20 minutes.

12) Be mindful and intentional about everything you choose to eat. We consume WAY too many calories when we're just sitting around talking, or "picking". Choose well.

Most of all, remember how blessed you are to be enjoying your holidays with family and friends, and thankful that you have such an amazing choice of foods. Have fun, be safe, and eat healthy!

Please write in and comment about other ideas you may have to handle food at the holidays!!!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wild Woman Wednesday

Wild women give… from their heart, of themselves, and often! We often do it at personal time, expense and energy. Therefore, we often burn out… especially at the holidays. I’m laughing, because I think of the phrases “give till it hurts”, and “give blood”. Well, I actually did give blood this morning at our local blood drive! Think about it -- it is a great way to give back to the community, so consider that as a gift this year!

I received via email a very good article from Prevention Magazine this morning about ways to reduce stress and give the season meaning. I’d like to share that with you today, so exercise your eye and brain muscles as you read it, and be sure to ask the same questions to yourself and perhaps your family. You might be surprised at their answers.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Tips Thursday, where I will be discussing ideas on how to handling eating and food at those holiday get-togethers and parties. You won’t want to miss it – and tell your friends to join us! Don't forget -- for Christmas devotions, recipes, a poll, and all kinds of holiday goodies, visit my Christmas blog! CLICK HERE

By Joan Borysenko, PhD , Joan Borysenko, PhD, is a scientist, psychologist, inspirational speaker, and author of Inner Peace for Busy Women and Inner Peace for Busy People.

So call me Scrooge. I got to a point several years ago when just thinking about the Christmas-Hanukkah season made me want to run away. Life was busy enough without the shopping, cooking, spending, and partying that these holidays always entail. The sight of Martha Stewart creating gigantic, glowing wreaths from scratch and baking batches of perfect designer cookies was utterly depressing. How could I ever measure up? Better just write the family an apology and hide in a hotel--or, better yet, someplace on Maui--until New Year's Day.

Holidays are often stressful, but ideally they can be oases in time that nourish us emotionally and spiritually and reconnect us to our best selves and to one another. Taking a few minutes to think about the following four simple questions can reduce holiday stress by helping you focus on what's most important to you.

What does this particular holiday season really mean to me? This Christmas will usher a new grandson into my family and the world. To add to the delight, my son Justin and his wife, Regina, are naming him after my dad, who died nearly 30 years ago. I am already overflowing with gratitude and planning the holiday around little Eddie's arrival and his mother's comfort. Thinking through what's most important to you about the holidays this year, and then honoring that with your time and resources, sets the tone for how meaningful your celebration will be.

If spiritual significance is what matters, you need to prepare for it. My friend Elisa's annual December ritual involves getting together with three old friends for an afternoon to reflect on the question, "How is the Christ child being born inside me this year?" Each woman takes a turn talking about a spiritual quality--or a service project--that she feels quickening within her. One year, Elisa spoke about a desire to help the homeless. She started volunteering at a shelter twice a month, and by the next Christmas, she was collecting personally meaningful presents for the homeless people who came there. She knew that Ralph needed new shoes, for example, and what size he wore. When she asked me for a donation, she had a list of people and their specific needs. Although I contribute to the homeless several times each year, the money goes to a general fund. But because of Elisa, Ralph--a person who is very real to me now--has shoes.

With whom do I want to spend the holidays? My husband Gordon's son and his family are very clear about holiday visiting. They come to Colorado for Thanksgiving but stay home in Arizona for Christmas in order to establish their own family traditions. Anyone from either side of the family is welcome to join them for Christmas--or not. There's no pressure or expectation, just clarity. And that puts everyone at ease.

Establishing whom you'll visit, or who will visit you and for how long, can avoid hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and time crunches. Loving communication, with a clear statement of what you want to do and why, is the key to arranging family get-togethers. If the presence of a distressing relative at a family gathering is too difficult to manage, you have the right to set healthy boundaries by turning down an invitation or by not extending one. Be prepared for consequences. You may be greeted with anger, wounded silence, or guilt-tripping. However, that could be the beginning of honest communication and reconciliation--a true holiday miracle. You need to decide if it's worth the risk. How much time and money can I spend? Getting real about your resources helps minimize stress before and after the holidays, when those mind-bending credit card statements show up. The key to giving from the heart with clarity and integrity lies in making a budget. Decide well in advance how much time and money you have to spend and then stick to those limits scrupulously.

My friend Connie, for instance, has more time than money. Every year she allots about $100 for Christmas gifts. That amount allows her to buy jars for the jams she prepares in the summer and baking supplies for the candies and cookies she makes during Christmas week. I always look forward to her homemade goodies, which bring some old-fashioned cheer into our home. In recent years, my family has confined our gift giving to children. Adults get charitable contributions in their name. The Seva Foundation, for example, provides money for eye surgery for a person in India or Nepal. A small gift can help restore sight to a blind person. Now that's a miracle. A gift to the Red Cross can help families rebuild their lives after this year's devastating hurricanes, and it will surely help others in times to come. Donate online at American Red Cross.

Are old traditions meaningful? You change and grow year by year, and so does your family. So old traditions may no longer make sense. For years I continued to make my mother's traditional fruited gelatin mold for Christmas--the one with maraschino cherries peeking out from the center of canned pineapple rings. It took a few years after her death for me to admit that hardly anyone touched the fabled mold anymore. The sight of those Day-Glo cherries nestled in artificially flavored gelatin just wasn't appealing to a health-conscious crowd. So I made a bold strike for freedom. The mold is history. We put a picture of Mom on the table instead. It's much more meaningful to reminisce and to celebrate her life rather than her cooking. The tradition of displaying pictures of our loved ones who have passed is new. We hope our children will keep it going when we're gone, making the holidays an opportunity to give thanks to those who came before them and to inspire those who will remain when they, too, have passed from this world.

My wishes for you this holiday season are fruits of the spirit--love, joy, and peace. Taking the time to think about what the holidays mean to you is the foundation for a stress-free, peaceful season of light. May you and your loved ones be blessed, and a blessing to this world.

Tips for a meaningful holiday Sponsor a needy child from overseas in honor of your family. (Try Save the Children or Christian Children's Fund.) A few cents a day gives a child food, clothes, and an education. If you have kids, they will enjoy the letters from your "adopted" child and will experience the joy of helping others. Make a pact with a friend to complete your shopping a week before the holidays begin. Check in with each other to keep on target. The holidays are much more meaningful without a mad dash to the finish.

Let go of holiday guilt. Even if you don't send out cards this year (or if you get to it in February), your cookies go unbaked, and the dog eats Uncle Harry's gift, your loved ones will still love you.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tickle Me Tuesday

We all know those people who go through life with big ol’ sourpuss face – like they’ve been sucking on lemons. These are the folks that will find the negative in ANYTHING! I think of them as idea snipers, energy vampires, and wet blankets who seem to glory in find any and every inconceivable reason why something cannot be accomplished. They stand with the iron clad list of rules in one hand, and the past in the other. “Well, we’ve ALWAYS done it THIS way…” or “But this is what the rules say…” Stick to the routine, the same mundane, the path of least resistance – that’s their mantra. Oh, I don’t think they mean to drag everyone down – maybe it’s the way they were raised, or life has just been hard on them. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be a monkey wrench in a great new idea, nor take the joy out of the moment. The saddest thing is, in my estimation, is that these are the folks that rarely seem to spontaneously break out in laughter or find the delight in everyday living.

While I can be nauseatingly positive, I have also found myself with a lousy attitude of “Nope, won’t work, can’t do that, I’m just gonna sit here and look at the world through grey-colored glasses!” I can be as cantankerous and stubborn as the next gal, especially when I’m stressed and tired and overloaded.

So here’s my suggestion for today – let’s all really exercise our laughter muscles. Look at the humor in a given situation – look hard if you have to, but make a concerted effort to find something at which to smile, laugh, or give it the old bahonkin’ belly laugh! Hunt down the ho-ho-ho, honey! Find the fun. If someone is annoying you, imagine them speaking in a squeaky voice. Turn the tables on a bad situation. For example, last Thursday I was coming out of a building, walked around the back (where, thank goodness, no one could see me), and I just PLOP – tripped and fell flat on my hands and knees. The good news was, nothing was broken and my favorite gym pants weren’t ripped! I just laughed at myself, and was thankful there was no audience to see my bruised knee and ego! When I think of one person who is a professional wet blanket, and has more whine in her than most vineyards, I just think of her as Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, and then try to think how sad it must be to live like that – it helps my heart stay tender, and my brain from exploding.

Do something outrageously at home! If the hubs or kids are acting up at the dinner table, start a food fight! Okay, it’s not exactly the prim and proper way to discipline and you’ll have to clean up afterwards, but imagine the laughter and the memories – priceless! Sit down and watch a comedy movie or sitcom. Find time to laugh. Never lose your sense of humor – it is crucial to survival.

Giggles and blessings,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Messy Monday

I don’t know about you, but my internal clutter is reflected in my external life. I tend to get a bit messy or lax when I’m juggling too much and racing around. I don’t put things away as well as I normally do, and it just makes life that more difficult for me. The shoes get tossed in the closet, the mail on the desk, and the messier it gets, the more frustrated and internally messy and unorganized I feel. You know those shows on TV where they go in and try to help hoarders clean up their lives? Well, while my house/car/desk aren’t like that, sometimes I feel as if my mind is – little pathways to the main events, with stacks of thoughts piled sky high on either side.

Today let’s work on exercising our unclutter muscles. Take one or two 15-minute blocks of time and declutter your desk, kitchen, office, bedroom – wherever it’s looming at you the hardest – and declutter. Then… get a pad and paper and write down/declutter your brain with things that you need to do. At least that way you’ll have it written down – oh yes, and make sure it’s all written in one notebook, or phone – NOT on sticky notes or a bit of paper here or there!!

Start the week off right, because it’s only going to get more hectic with each passing day for awhile. Breath, declutter and feel internally and externally lighter.


(illustration by Paul Foreman)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Take Off Thursday

Start your engines, ladies, because today is the official start of the holiday season, December 1st!!!

The sugarplums are gearing up to start invading our dreams, Santa will be on every corner ringing his bell for a donation (so be sure to keep a buck in your pocket at all times and give generously), the schools and churches will be gearing up for kids programs, people will be stringing their lights outside in a mad array of unmatched colors and bulbs, and the shoppers will be out in droves to share in the madness. And so begins the time of good cheer, friendship, financial disaster, and insanity.

I will try to be giving some tips and tricks to help you organize the tinsel-covered tasks while you seek out the quieter, holy season of peace, love and joy. Today we begin preparing our heads, our homes, and our hearts.

So what is “take off” Thursday all about? No, it’s not like the shot you hear as you begin a race, although it sometimes seems that way as we rush to accomplish everything on our lists. No, today I want you to exercise your toss it out muscles. Spend about 15 minutes today to go through your closets, household items, and rooms and see what you can eliminate. Find ten things to toss – clothing, duplicate kitchen items, toys that the kids no longer use. If the items are in good shape, donate them to your local Good Will or Salvation Army. You know there will probably be a lot of stuff coming in on Christmas that will clutter your house/life, so begin making room. Get the kids involved if you have them, so they can learn how to give to others. Do this for the next few days… just keeping going through the house with a critical eye, asking yourself “Do I really need this?” If you haven’t used it or worn it in six months, get rid of it!

Then sit down with a cup of cocoa (because, after all, it is the first day of the holidays, and that demands cocoa!), and begin to take off some of the anxiety and stress in your life – unclutter your mind and spirit and heart. What things are weighing you down? What would life look like if they were all gone in the morning?
What little tiny thing could you do today to walk towards that goal of a less cluttered self?

Ready? On your mark… get set… GO! You’re about to embark on the best holiday season of your life!


P.S. Also visit for a daily advent message, and lots of Christmas goodies!