Archive for October, 2020

WHEN IT COMES TO “HEALTHY”, DON’T ASSUME!

We all know the expression, “When you assume you make an ASS out of U and ME.” As human beings, we naturally look at each other and make immediately judgments—it’s just the way that we’re wired.

Let’s imagine two, 55-year-old women. The first woman is very thin, has virtually no muscle mass, has elevated cholesterol and blood pressure, has low bone density and poor cardiorespiratory fitness. (She doesn’t exercise.) The second woman is 25 lbs overweight, is muscular, has a perfect lipid profile, low blood pressure, strong bones, and runs 20 miles a week.

Here’s the irony: When we look at the first woman, we naturally ASSUME that she’s healthy.  Likewise, we ASSUME that the “chubby runner” surely can’t be—not with the way she looks. Over the past 17 years I have worked out with a lot of people and I can assure you that being healthy and fit comes in all sizes and shapes.

I’m not saying that being overweight is a good thing. In fact, if you are overweight, losing 5-7% of your body weight can lead to great health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and blood sugar. However, I NEVER want weight loss to be achieved through dieting, since diets don’t work. It can be achieved, though, by making long-lasting lifestyle changes.

Several years ago, I popped into my local hardware store to pick something up right before I was going to teach one of my fitness classes. A lanky, 50-ish year-old man helped me.  Right before I left I jokingly asked, “So, are you going to come to my exercise class now?” He looked me straight in the eye, ran his hands down his body in swooping gesture and said, “Does it LOOK like I need to exercise?” He ASSUMED that because he was thin, exercise wasn’t necessary. This is a very dangerous assumption.

Bottom line: There are plenty of VERY unhealthy, thin people walking around. Don’t obsess over THIN. Instead, do your best to focus on being HEALTHY. That means, try to eat as much food that comes from the ground, move your body as much as possible, get plenty of sleep, reduce processed foods from your diet, lift weights, drink water, stretch, talk to yourself with kindness, find a hobby that makes you happy, learn something new, connect with people, breathe deeply, find your sense of spirituality, read a good book or watch a good documentary. All of these contribute to good health. And whatever you do, don’t assume!

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TUSCAN PORTOBELLO STEW

This is a quick, easy, delicious and super healthy stew that will warm your bones on cold, rainy (or snowy) days!

ingredients

2 large portobello mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup white wine or vegetable broth

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups chopped fresh kale

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

¼ teaspoon salt

½  teaspoon pepper

2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

directions

In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the wine. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes, kale and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Add beans; heat through. Discard bay leaf.

(recipe found on  https://www.tasteofhome.com/)

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ROASTED HONEYNUT SQUASH

My favorite thing about the fall is the variety of squashes that appear everywhere. Have you ever tried a honeynut squash? They look like miniature butternut squashes and are DELICIOUS! Keep your eyes peeled for these little gems! They are sweet, nutty and packed with nutrition!

ingredients

2 medium honeynut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

4 teaspoons butter

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 teaspoons pure maple syrup (optional)

directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Arrange squash halves cut-side up on a baking sheet. Place 1 teaspoon butter in each cavity. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cinnamon. Roast until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.

(recipe found on http://www.eatingwell.com/)

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OH THOSE THE NON-EXERCISING INJURIES!

My client’s husband, let’s call him George, has a challenging back—he has a few herniated discs. To keep his back in check, George exercises regularly. He has a home gym with everything he needs, and has figured out a therapeutic exercise regime to stay healthy. My client says that his form, when exercising, is exemplary.

George never endures injuries while exercising. However, when he steps out of his home gym, he runs into problems. Often, when he bends over to pull out the weeds from his garden, BOOM, his back goes out. The same thing happens when he’s shoveling snow or moving furniture around his house. In order to prevent this from happening, George should approach these activities just like he does when he’s working out. He needs to consider “weed pulling” an exercise just like a squat, a deadlift or a chest press. If he does this, he will change his form—he will bend less and use his legs more so that he won’t have as many back issues outside of his gym. 

George isn’t alone. Most of us “committed exercisers” rarely get hurt while we are exercising. That’s because we are focused on our body position, engaging our core muscles, and looking in the mirror to make sure we are in proper alignment. Simply put, we are paying close attention. In real life we need to do the same thing. We have to focus on our form when picking up a laundry basket, going down the steps to the basement, or strolling with a friend on a dirt path.

Lately, several of my clients have sustained minor injuries, such as twisted knees, sprained ankles, and fractured elbows, all stemming from a lack of attention. I can tell you with certainty that I’m guilty of this as well. Most of the injuries that I sustain come from when I’m working, NOT when I’m exercising. These minor injuries set us back physically, which then leads to an emotional upheaval.   

PLEASE be careful! Now that the season is changing, it is getting cooler and darker. Soon, we will change the clocks and we will be in even more darkness. We are also still in the throes of a pandemic and immersed in a political quagmire. Given all of these factors, we have to work extremely hard to stay mentally healthy! Since exercise relieves stress, improves sleep, helps reduce depression, and increases our sense of well-being, PLEASE stay as vigilant as possible when you’re not exercising! This way you can keep moving, which will help preserve your sanity.

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