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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Let Your Creative Side Shine!

I have been attempting to find balance in my life. This has been going really well. Over the past few months I have been really trying to be more creative. I love being creative and I have let a lot of fun hobbies go by the wayside because of all of my work, school and volunteer commitments. My hobbies bring my family and I closer together and I have really missed them. When I paint, my daughter is right along with me painting. When I sew, she is right there cutting and handsewing. When I do something with furniture, my husband, father and kid are normally somewhere close by. It's great.

I have been letting the creative juices flow. I have been working on my other blog: and I am having a blast.

Check out this week's posts. Today, I posted my table transformation

I had this sofa table that didn’t quite go with anything else in my house and then there were the letters that my child scratched into it when she was 4. We tried covering it with table runners and other items, but it was just about to be thrown into storage. I didn’t want to totally get rid of the table. I purchased this from a furniture dealer at a flea market when my husband and I first moved in together (memories) and I absolutely hate wasting good furniture! So a makeover was in order.

My house has more of a french country feel and so I tried painting and distressing it.

I just love how it turned out. I started out only lightly distressing it, but then I just couldn’t seem to stop! Some may think I overdid it, but I love it. It really pulls my great room together now (although the great room still needs a lot of help).

You don’t have to get rid of something because it no longer fits your style. Try freshening it up. You could paint and leave it alone or you could paint it and distress it, stencil it, or apply contact paper to the top. Add fun new knobs and maybe a skirt to an old table. Let your imagination run wild and save that old piece of furniture from the landfill. There are times when no matter what you do the piece just isn’t going to work in your home. Don’t keep it, but don’t toss it. If you live in town, set it out by the curb on a nice day. I guarantee someone will grab it in no time. I have gotten some really cool pieces from curb shopping. If you don’t want to do that, stick it in a yard sale, give it to a friend, put it on Craig’s List or, but don’t throw it out. It will work great for someone else.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Weight Loss Revolution: Step 1 - Journal It!

I stated in my last post that I am tired of diets. I am also tired of hearing depressing statistics about how much weight Americans are gaining yearly. I just read a 2007 article posted on the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health website stating, “If the rate of obesity and overweight continues at this pace, by 2015, 75 percent of adults and nearly 24 percent of U.S. children and adolescents will be overweight or obese.” Are you kidding me? Seventy-five percent of adults by 2015? That’s really soon and I hope they were off in their numbers, but this should scare everyone straight.

Let me also say that I do not believe everyone is born to be thin. I am not classically thin. My percentage of body fat is pretty good, but I am thicker. I also have a lot more muscle on my frame than a lot of women because I lift weight a lot, therefore I weigh more. We cannot base everything on a scale. However, it can be your guide. You know if you need to lose a few pounds. I could probably stand to lose about 10-15. Just don’t attempt to lose weight and exercise because someone else wants you to do it. You have to want to be healthier for you and you only.

I am proposing we take baby steps right now to improve our health. I am not calling for a New Year’s resolution. I am simply saying that each and every one of us needs to take a very small step in changing our behavior and our health. I am never going to tell you to quit eating carbs and start eating low-fat everything. What I am saying is take it one step at a time. Example: If you drink 2 or more sodas per day, start paying attention to how many you are drinking and drink one less.

What is the best way to know how many you drink per day or how much you are eating? Start keeping a journal. This is step #1. Keeping a journal is the simplest and easiest way to improve your health. If you start keeping track of what you are eating and when, you will know better how to make changes. Don’t worry about tracking calories, carbs or fat grams.

Here’s what I want you to keep track of in your journal:

1. What did you eat? Just what you ate to begin with and if you had one helping or more. Later you can start keeping better track of serving sizes.

2. What time did you eat? Just the time of day will be sufficient.

3. How did you feel when you ate? How hungry were you when you started eating? How did you feel afterwards? For example, were you only a little hungry when you started eating and then really full when you stopped? Or were you really bored when you started eating, were you tired, depressed, anxious, happy, stressed, etc?

4. How much sleep did you get last night? You can log what time you went to bed and what time you got up if it makes you feel better.

5. What are you thankful for today? After logging all of the other stuff, I want you to quickly think of one thing you are thankful for today. Write that down. No one else has to see this but you. If you don’t feel you have a whole lot to be thankful for, just use being thankful for being alive or thankful for something small like your eye color, having hair, etc. Start anywhere and continue this daily.

Don’t make any excuses about having to wait to start a journal until you have gone out and purchased one. I don’ t care if you use the back of old envelope. You can also find free journals online. Get started right this second.

This journal is for your eyes only. I want you to be the one to really give it a look. Keep this journal for a week or two. After that, take a look at the journal and see where you think you could make some changes. Maybe you find yourself snacking needlessly on junk in the middle of the afternoon when you are tired or bored. Start preparing for that mid-afternoon slump by bringing healthy snacks. Ger up and take a quick walk in the afternoon to wake yourself up before the snack. You may find you have more energy. Are you eating breakfast every morning? Is it the right kind of breakfast? Do you have enough energy? Are you getting enough sleep?

Sleep can play a key role in your health. I will post more on sleep later. For now, start your journal and find out where you are. Happy journaling!

This post can also be found at

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year's Resolution or Revolution?

Happy new year everyone. It is January 4th and this is officially the beginning of my new year as I see it. I start back to work today after a nice week off and has it been a lazy one. I spent most of my time playing Wii with my 7 year old and doing crafts. It was a lot of fun and it is time with my family that I would never give up.

I know this is the time for everyone to start their New Year’s Resolutions. I am sure you have on their to lose weight, right? Who doesn’t? I was at the grocery store on New Year’s Eve. I was walking through the center aisle when I came across a book rack filled with diet and exercise books. I was not in the least bit surprised by this being New Year’s Eve. Many people started their resolutions at the first of the year and diet book sales are probably through the roof. Glaring at me were titles such as, The Full Plate Diet, YOU on a Diet, The G.I. Diet, The Big Breakfast Diet, and The Eat Clean Diet to name but a few. I cannot deny the fact that I have been more than interested in reading diet books over the years. I have always looked for the final diet that would be the answer to all of my own weight issues. I was looking for the inspiration that I needed and not finding it in these books. I was young and didn’t have family to inspire me to take better care of myself. I am not exactly overweight, but I have always struggled to keep my weight under control. I have tried numerous diets for very short periods of time only to lose weight and gain it back.

Well, I for one am sick and tired of diets! I am tired of the celebrities and “doctors” promoting all of these fad weight loss plans encouraging yo-yo dieting and unrealistic practices. These practices have not worked and our country has gotten fatter and fatter despite the billions spent on the diet industry.

I have an idea. It’s not a new idea. I want to make 2010 the year that we all stop the crazy
“dieting” and restrictive eating practices. Make this the year to become healthier and leaner not because we think we aren’t skinny enough. No, I want you to love your body and who you have become. Take a good look at your body’s abilities this year. Are you still able to walk or run? Are you able to utilize your body for the purposes for which it is meant? If so, then be thankful! Thank your body and take better care of it. Be appreciative of your body this year. Become a better role model for your family this year. Don’t cut out all of your favorite foods. Enjoy them in moderation and stop punishing yourself when you do enjoy them. Just get back to eating healthier for the next meal. Stop feeling deprived. If you know that you are overweight and need to take off a few pounds than do it, but do it slowly. You did not gain that weight in a week and you aren’t going to lose it in a week. If you had started losing weight slowly six months ago, you would be thinner by now right? Start now and see where you are six months from now. Do not obsess over it. Treat your body as your vessel. This vessel of yours needs to be maintained. You wouldn’t pour garbage into your gas tank and expect your car to run well so why would your body?

Make this the year that you see your doctor. What is your family’s health history? Does heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, strokes, etc run in your family? If so, what can you do to prevent these diseases? Let 2010 be the year we begin to prevent disease instead of having to treat more and more people for preventable disease and illness. Let’s take back our health and this will eventually help us lower our healthcare costs.

One of my favorite stories is about an 84 year old man that I met a couple of years ago. He came to a trail run that I had planned. I was curious about this man and so I ran alongside him. He was fully capable of chatting the entire way and he told me his incredible story. He had been in his sixties when he discovered he had cancer. He was given 6-12 months to live. He decided he was not ready to die and gave up smoking. He became a vegan and gradually took up running. He was cancer free at the time of our run and said that he had run approximately 24 marathons at that point. He had not been physically active prior to his sixties and was a smoker. This was clear proof that you can change your lifestyle at any age.

I hope that I am never in his situation. Cancer runs through my family like a freight train. Those that do not die of cancer live to ripe old ages. Both of my living grandparents are close to 90. I want that to be me someday. I want to improve my quality of life years and live well like the 84 year old man I met that day. My grandfather turns 90 in March. He is still living in his own home. His mind is very clear. He has been helping my aunt build a home across the road from his by drawing up some of the plans and overseeing some of the work being done. He is quite capable of making his own decisions and still gets around well. I want to be like him. He is my inspiration.

Skip the resolutions this year. You will have forgotten them by February anyway. Resolve to change your life - period. Take baby steps and you can make these changes permanently. I will be with you along the way. Good luck and I hope you live a long happy and healthy life.