Monday, August 20, 2012

Inching Your Way to Waking Up Earlier

Do you wish you could wake up earlier without being tired?  Improving your diet will help.  So will going to sleep earlier.  But sometimes going to bed earlier doesn't help if you aren't tired and can't fall asleep.

Inching toward your new wake-up time can help your body to adjust gradually. If you are planning to travel somewhere with an earlier time zone or just want to wake up earlier so you can fit in your workout before your day takes off, try setting your alarm just 15 minutes earlier.  It's not hard to do the math, but within 4 days, you'll be getting up an hour earlier without your body rebelling.  You'll also be able to fall asleep earlier because the shift will be gradual.

Watching the Olympics until midnight this summer got my sleep schedule off a bit and I'm inching my way back before school starts again.  The thought of waking up 2 or even 3 hours earlier seems crazy, but with a gentle step-by-step approach, I'm sure I'll be fine.  It's worked well for me in the past and I'm happy to have this little trick up my sleeve!  TTFN!

Inchworm photo by Glen Edelson Photography.  Olympic photo by JustinTime.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Perfectly Healthy Eating . . . Possible?

If I could only make my vegetables look (and taste!) this good every day, I think I could base my diet on them, don't you?  I've started many healthy eating plans and do so well for so long, then somehow veer off a little.  It's quite frustrating.  I start to wonder -- can I ever stick to my eating plan perfectly?

I heard a friend speak a few weeks ago about perfection.  She said that she can be perfect with her new goals just fine for a few days, even a week, maybe two!  But life's unplanned glitches somehow disrupt her plans and she finds herself back where she was before, where she is no longer perfectly aligned with her goals.  She said she stopped telling herself to do her best because she'd do her best for awhile, fall off, then go back to mediocre.  She decided to tell herself to "do her better" because she could keep up with that all of the time and wouldn't keep going back from trying to sustain perfection to slipping back into her old habits.

I'm trying to sort this out with my eating because in my mind, I want to eat the most nutrient dense foods that I can.  But I don't always stick with that plan.  Switching away from "black & white thinking" isn't easy.  It's pretty common, actually.

I often hear b&w thinkers say things like, "If I could just stop eating, then I could stick with that easier than trying to stick with my diet."  Yes, couldn't we all?  But we like our food and we NEED to eat.  We need to keep eating and to find the balance within that eating realm.

I don't believe that eating everything in moderation is the answer.  Even toxic foods in moderation are toxic. Perhaps adopting the Line Upon Line precept (from Isaiah in the Old Testament)  -- learning and improving a little at at time, may be more helpful over all.  I know I'm all about results if I'm going to change my eating.  But I can get non-weight loss results from healthy eating changes, even if just gradual.  That can sustain me until the weight loss comes.

Marilu Henner had a great mantra in her weight loss/healthy eating books -- "Progress, not perfection."  I kind of forgot about it until just this minute, but it's a great motto to remember as you work toward eating healthier. If you aren't perfect, just be happy with the progress you're making and continue forward.

Top photo by musical photo man.  Bottom photo by vistavision.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Beauty Tips with Conditioner

My favorite conditioner right now is the Kirkland brand from Costco.  It's super thick (could be watered down to save more $ if you'd like -- same with the shampoo) and keeps my hair really moist and feeling wonderful.

I learned a few beauty tips with conditioner over the years that have become helpful for me.  

I credit the first one to Marie Osmond.  My aunt had a book about Donny and Marie in the 70's and in one of Marie's chapters, she wrote that whenever she took a shower, she would comb out her hair while the conditioner was still in it.  Combing it while the conditioner was in was much easier than after because the conditioner makes your hair more slippery and the comb doesn't take out as much hair. No more tangles!

The next conditioner tip is something I learned from Marilu Henner.  She was the first person who taught me the health benefits of cutting out dairy in her Total Health Makeover book.  She included money-saving beauty tips throughout her book and one of them was to use conditioner in the place of shaving cream when you shave your legs.  You don't need much and it really does give you a slippery surface without having to lather up.  

Here are the ingredients for the Costco conditioner if you'd like to see them:

Kirkland Signature Moisture Conditioner Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Stearalkonium Chloride, Propylene Glycol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Hydrastis Canadensis (Golden Seal) Extract, Algae Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Protein, Polyquaternium-37, Fragrance, Decyl Oleate, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

Working Up to Loving Cardio

If you hate cardio, you may not think it's possible to ever learn to enjoy it.  But it is.  You can work up to it (no fun to hear the word "work" in that sentence, huh?)

I've always loved stretching.  That's probably the easiest form of exercise I can think of.  Not true for everybody, I've learned.  My husband, who is MUCH less flexible than I am doesn't enjoy it at all. I imagine he could work up to it, too, if he'd just take it slowly.  Hopefully, he will because it feels wonderful and has so many health benefits as you get older.

I, on the other hand, have not enjoyed cardio for most of my life.  My best friend growing up was on the track team and loved running long distance and was super fast at sprints.  I got winded pretty easily and didn't enjoy it.  I'd try to like running, but never went very far without hating it and giving up.

Then one day in college while I was giving running another try (I needed to lose weight!), I got lost running and it was getting dark.  I kept running instead of stopping to walk, as usual, and ended up running 6 miles.  I was amazed that I could do it!  I continued on for a few years after that, always looking forward to my run right after classes were over.

Since then, I've found that I love cardio and look forward to the workouts IF I'm on top of doing at least three 40-60 minute cardio workouts a week.  If I fall under that (or especially if I stop doing my cardio all together), I end up back in drudge mode because I just don't have the stamina or strength for it.  

So don't give up if you think you're just not a runner or a cardio junkie.  You can be if you want to be AND if you work at it.  Start with 20-30 minutes without stopping and yes, work your way up to longer sessions.  The energy you'll get and the fat loss that will follow are well worth the effort!

(Photos courtesy of Lululemon  -- LOVE their fitness wear!)