Boston Strong: Resilience and True Grit in Action
4/22/2013 11:14:00 AM
Wow. What a month. I had intended to write about energy drinks this month—the good, the bad and the unsafe—but that can wait until May. This month I will write instead about the resilience that Boston showed after the historical and tragic week of the Boston Marathon.
I recently read a business article that advised women in particular to “Develop resilience and ‘true grit.’ Be strong enough to do what is right.” I dedicate this blog to the entire Boston community this month, where we had to prove in body, mind and spirit what resilience and true grit are really all about: rising to the challenge in the face of adversity, and coming together to ultimately overcome it.
It was a tough week in our city as we dealt with the senseless tragedy that took the lives of four of our people and injured 176 others. The “Boston Strong” mantra ...
Music: The Great Motivator (or not)
3/11/2013 4:08:00 PM
Most of us have an mp3 player we listen to when we work out, whether we’re walking, running, at the gym, cleaning the house or, more recently, shoveling snow. But there are others of us who don’t listen to music at all during our workouts, either we don’t think of it or simply choose silence instead of a pounding beat to urge us on.
Music as a motivator was the topic of an interesting article in Runner’s World magazine a few years ago, where scientific evidence suggested different benefits from different types of music. But there were also benefits to no music as well, and in fact some people find music distracting to the natural flow of thoughts they experience when they work out. Another article pointed out that some of us are “associators” when we work out, which means we prefer to tune into to what we are doing ...
The 5 Foods You Must Eat
2/12/2013 10:49:00 AM
Tired of wondering what to eat next? Or tired of complicated diet plans that tell you what to eat? For those of us watching our weight, it’s a constant chore of making decisions and, most importantly, making the right decisions several times a day.
For myself, the less I think about food the better. The more decisions I have to make, the greater my chances are at making the wrong choices at least some of the time. And if I’m making those decisions while I’m actually hungry? Forget it, all bets are off—chances are I’ll just eat what I want, and that most likely won’t be a salad.
So less thinking means sticking to a list of the best foods available and making sure I include several of them in my meals every day. Then if I overeat, I am overeating on the best foods, not the worst.
Here are ...
My Most Important New Year’s Resolution: Balance
1/8/2013 10:45:00 AM
The last blog I posted was back in July when I was nose deep in work and completely out of balance. I was involved in an aggressively-paced project that demanded my full attention and left me running on empty but going a mile a minute. Exercise took a back seat, as did all the other activities I have come to enjoy that keep me active and healthy throughout the year.
Ironically but on purpose, that last blog was about managing stress in our lives. While it was certainly a stressful time for me, I also knew it was necessary in order to achieve a couple of professional goals I had laid out for myself. And most importantly, I knew it was temporary—I just needed to get through it. I did get through it and accomplished the goals I had wanted, and have no regrets. However, I’d make some different choices ...
Here Come the Holidays: Managing the Temptations
10/30/2012 3:22:00 PM
So here we are going into the holiday season after what hopefully was a healthy and fit summer. You set some goals for yourself, got into a groove, and made some progress, only to have the temptations begin. It starts with Halloween, continues with Thanksgiving, and (hopefully) ends in December with Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever you celebrate. It all equals food and a lot of it, and usually not salads.
It’s typical in January after the frenzy of the holidays for most of us to find that we’ve fallen away from our exercise routine, gotten back into the cycle of eating foods with a lot of fat, sugar and salt, and packed on a few unwanted pounds as a result. Our big step forward just took a big step back, in just a handful of crazy weeks.
But it doesn’t have to go that way this year. The key to ...
Part Two: Reducing the Stress in Our Lives
10/22/2012 10:49:00 AM
In Part One, we looked at the sources and reasons for certain types of stress. Now we will look at practical tips and tricks for preventing, managing and eventually reducing (or maybe even eliminating!) stress in our daily lives. How nice it would be to sit down after dinner without a long “to do” list still rattling around our heads, or sleeping through the night without waking up thinking about a particular situation or person. Reducing our level of stress will lead to better sleep, better nutrition, more satisfaction with our lives and a much higher level of happiness on a daily basis.
Let’s cut right to the chase with tips on reducing the level of stress we feel.
1. Avoid overscheduling and set realistic goals. Practice doing “enough” without doing too much. And be sure to schedule down time into your busy schedule for fun or relaxation.
2. Prepare ...
Part One: Rooting Out the Stress in Your Life
10/16/2012 3:36:00 PM
So here it is, summer, which tends to be a more relaxed time of the year. Most people have vacations planned, or at least some long weekends. It’s not the holiday season, it’s not the start or end of a school semester, it’s usually slower at the workplace, we tend to be outside more, and the sun shines more frequently. And yet, so many people still feel stressed out.
Feelings of acute stress are caused by our natural instinct to protect ourselves against some direct threat. We have an involuntary “fight or flight” reaction that helps us to survive. It is what enabled our primitive ancestors to flee from predators or fight for their next meal, and it is what provokes us to jump out of the path of a speeding car or become argumentative when we are insulted.
But what about the non-acute stress that can affect our daily ...
Foods That Fight Fat
10/9/2012 4:04:00 PM
Wouldn’t it be great if you could actually eat to lose weight? Well, guess what, folks: there are actually foods that actively burn your fat and help you lose weight. It doesn’t matter that these foods have calories of their own—their chemical impact once digested targets body fat and works to reduce it. And no worries, I’m not talking about fruits and vegetables (though they are among the best fat-busting foods out there).
Check out the top five foods below and make sure to integrate them into your daily calorie intake. These foods, coupled with strength training, are your two best friends when trying to take off those extra pounds.
Despite conflicting reports about cholesterol in eggs, this food is a nutritional powerhouse. Eggs are loaded with protein, omega 3s and other important nutrients, and they keep you feeling full longer. Much of the nutritional value is in the ...
Do What You Think You Can’t
10/2/2012 9:01:00 AM
Growing up with an older brother was both a blessing and a curse. It was a curse when he would take my candy, change the channel when I was watching TV or try to make me cry. But it was much more of a blessing as I look back now and realize how instrumental he was in making me who I am today.
The two things I remember hearing from him as kids are, “You can’t do that - you’re a girl” and “I dare you.” Those two statements pushed me through my childhood, beyond my own limits, and motivated me to try things I honestly didn’t think I could do. Whether it was jumping from a high rock into a lake, getting behind the plate to catch his fast balls or taking my turn riding the bike up and over his Evel Knievel jumps, I did it. Sometimes it ...
A Body at Rest: The Importance of Sleep
9/24/2012 9:00:00 AM
If you’re like me, you reach the end of your day and still have things you want to do before going to bed. I used to stay up until 12 or 1 a.m. every night and then had to drag myself out of bed the next morning at the last possible minute. I probably averaged 6 hours of sleep a night back then.
Then I read an article that explained that adequate sleep — which is 7-9 hours per night — is not only vital for optimal productivity, it also plays a critical role in preventing disease. In fact, research shows that insufficient sleep (less than 7 hours per night) contributes to a greater risk of depression and anxiety, increased risk of heart disease and cancer, impaired memory, reduced immune system functioning, weight gain and a greater likelihood of accidents. Who knew?
Most surprising of all was the fact that ...