Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Holidays From Ruby and Gracy - All Dolled Up!

They think that they need to act quiet when they're groomed and decorated. Happy Holidays from Al and I, but today the greeting is especially from Roob and Grace. They won't be clean and pretty for long!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Getting Political


I'll make it short since I've vowed not to get political on my blog. I got a little roused at Newt last week for claiming how poor kids in poor neighborhoods have no work ethic. That's an enormous generalization. I was a single Mom who lived in a lower rent apartment. In fact, I managed the entire complex in order to cover my rent. My Son watched me go from one job to another while shoveling snow from the walkways and dealing with management problems. So, Newt, you are not entirely correct about that ethic thing.

Secondly, I was insulted when Sarah Palin commented on how Polls were for strippers. Sarah, you don't have to believe in political polls, I don't either, but your stripper comment was really stupid.

My complaint today though is about Ann Coulter calling John McCain a douchebag. Seriously? A Douchebag. I will admit that John McCain is not my favorite, but isn't that REALLLLLLY tacky? Even sleezy?

Now, we have a debate coming up scheduled to be moderated by Donald Trump. Newt is the only one signed up so far. This is bound to be a narrow minded Good Old Boy, Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke bashing hour of television. Count me out. Wake me up when the righteous, bad hair, fat belly, has been, greed fest is over. I really don't like feeling this way. Can't we all just get along?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Better Than Sour Cream

Nutrition has become a large part of my job in the kitchen. How Al and I got to be as old as 59 ... going on 60 is beyond me. And the next thing you know, I’m reading labels for fat, salt, cholesterol, and more. I work to keep our weight in check while lowering cholesterol. I like to cook, and I love to eat, so it has become a major project to find good tasting foods that fall into an acceptable category.

The latest food that I’ve found is a sour cream replacement. Truthfully, most soy cheese replacement products taste like paint. But how can you have tacos, soup. or pasta without a little cheese of some sort?

On my last trip to the Whole Foods Market, I decided to try a product made by Tofutti, called Better than Sour Cream. Wow, this stuff is delicious! I had a dollop on my lentil soup last night and actually felt like I was eating comfort food! This stuff is really delicious! No dairy, no fat, simply soy. Great!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It Will Be Another Wonderful Vegetarian Thanksgiving

When we were just beginning our vegetarian transition many years ago, we were naive to assume that anything that wasn’t an animal was fair game .. er non-game. We really had a ball that first Thanksgiving stuffing ourselves with bread and butter, dressing with mushroom gravy, and don’t forget the pumpkin pie!

The wonder was ... “Since we’ve gone vegetarian, neither of us have lost weight.” We weren’t so stupid to think that the can of mushroom soup and the crunchy onion rings that went into the “vegetarian” green bean casserole was harmless. We were just in denial. After all, we were eliminating meat, so our commitment to Ahimsa (non-violence) and Tapas (austerity) were sacrifices that deserved reward and results.

With experience, we have changed our nutritional habits so much more. Not eating meat has so many positive aspects. Of course, there is the ethical choice of not eating animals, but the health benefits of cholesterol, obesity, and cultivating a pure and loving relationship with nourishment has changed our lives.

My mindset in preparing meals takes me back to my Grandma Nonny’s kitchen where she wore an apron and designated a time of day to lovingly prepare nourishment for the masses. She chose her foods according to what the garden was supplying on that particular day. This meant that we always had the freshest of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that were available and that the food was served within a couple of hours of harvest.

Our menu this Thanksgiving will be very much like Nonnys, but without the turkey. Most of the ingredients are the freshest at this very time of year. When making your stove top stuffing, don’t forget that walnuts, cranberries, apples, apple juice, onions and herbs are all still fresh from the garden. Sweet potatoes are fresh, and even honey is not too far past the summer months.

For mushroom gravy, I use a product from Bragg (www.bragg.com) It is a liquid soy protein that tastes a little like soy sauce, but better! This is another contribution to the overall protein content of the meal.

You can find many great Thanksgiving Vegetarian recipes at www.vegkitchen.com/tips/vegetarian-thanksgiving

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Snowing in Colorado

We SO thought that we would be retired and basking on a beach somewhere by the Winter of 2011. Although our house is not on the market at this time, we're watching the trends closely.

I'm not teaching horse fitness workshops at this time but will be scheduling workshops in Oregon as soon as the recession / housing market does something ... When will that be? Hee Hee. You tell me! Probably be at the end of 2012.

Until then, the snow is falling! We're already making soup from our generous (dried) garden of 2011, and look forward to the upcoming holidays! Join me in a Yoga class on Mondays and Wednesday nights, or our snowshoeing on the golf course group is starting this Saturday November 5! We will meet on Saturday mornings at 8 am all winter! --- Kathy D.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kittens, Cats, Busting The Seams Of The Shelters

Denver shelters have over 700 kittens and cats right now. It's getting cold in Colorado. Human shelters can use blankets too.

Denver Dumb Friends League
(303) 751-5772

Denver Rescue Mission
(303) 297-1815
info@denrescue.org

Monday, October 10, 2011

March On, America!

Surprise. The focus of my blog and my life is to live and help others live healthier lives. My entire career was built on health and fitness. Loved it. Now, as a semi retired worker bee, at last, I have the freedom to speak my own truth without the threat of losing my job. This is about politics, and the health and fitness of our country’s citizens.

I have no intention of commenting on Mitt Romney’s faith, or Barack Obama’s birth certificate. This is about the social security deductions that came from my paychecks when I was a single mom in Aspen, of all places. Could I have used that few bucks to buy a meal for my son and I? Hell, yes! Could all of the people in the country that lost their homes have used a draw against their social security deductions that should have been in an escrow account? Hell, yes!

I’m a baby boomer. A child of the 60’s and 70’s when citizens marched and spoke up for their rights. I don’t care if it’s about Wall Street, or the banks, or the government. SOMEBODY took, or SOMEBODY allowed SOMEBODY to greedily withdraw my blood, sweat, and hard earned retirement insurance from wherever it should have been safe, and SOMEBODY needs to give it back.

March on, people! Eric Cantor, the grinning little Republican smart ass thinks you’re a mob. LOL. And congratulations on your tax exempt status. Be smart, utilize your skills and education, but march on. Do it until somebody is forced to recognize that we the people can no longer be robbed of our basic needs. We, our parents, and grandparents have worked for and deserve security.

To all of those greed mongers in the banks, government, and whomever deliberately caused our country’s meltdown, may you lose your home, your health insurance, and your dignity. I see many hard working family people now unemployed watching their children suffer. They would rather be in jail. They live in shame ... for YOUR sins.

March on, protesters! (Every person, every party) Grow up, Washington. America has had enough.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cafe Rio, An Affordable, Fast Service Restaurant With Vegan Options. THUMBS UP!

It sounds much healthier to call it a fast service rather than a fast food restaurant. When I visited the new Cafe Rio restaurant in Grand Junction, Co., I was instantly impressed by everything about their operation. Cafe Rio has restaurants in both the east and the western United States and is building more. In fact, they are open to the suggestion of new locations.

Cafe Rio claims to buy food directly from the farm. Not necessarily organic, but referred to as fresh, and I can attest to the freshness and the quality of the food put into my vegetable burrito.

The food is served in an aluminum deep dish with a cardboard top to take home what you weren't able to eat. The portions are enormous with the choice of black or pinto beans, plenty of fresh vegetables, USDA choice chicken, pork, beef, and salmon or sometimes other fish specials. My husband had Ahi Tacos. The great thing is that at www.caferio.com you can read about all of the foods that are specifically vegan, made with no animal products. There are no freezers or microwaves on the premises, as all of the ingredients are fresh. Homemade tortillas, pico de gallo, guac, and the prices, equally as fresh and fair. Although the food is put together lightning fast, once you take it to your table, the ambience is quiet and relaxing.

Now, here’s the clincher; Not only does this restaurant serve fresh, delicious, and affordable food fast, but they are philanthropic in their neighborhoods. They are involved in boys and girls clubs, glasses for needy kids, local schools, and many other kids programs.

Thumbs up to you, Cafe Rio! I give you a healthy and philanthropic THUMBS UP!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Yoga. It is a union.

Yoga. It’s not just exercise. The word Yoga means union, as in the union between the mind and body. The practice of Yoga is based on the 2,000 year old writings of the Sage Patanjali. The writings, called the Sutras, include the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga. Long story short, these limbs are statements of moral behavior that a practicing Yogi lives by ... or practices hard to live by. The belief is that if you live morally and ethically, and learn how to properly breathe while practicing the asanas (postures) that will cleanse your organs, clear your chakras, and clear needless chatter from your mind, you will become open to communication with the divine. You will reach the highest form of enlightenment.

The 8 limbs of Raja Yoga, which I will list later in this article, are essentially ... I don’t want to say “rules,” but they are moral principles. You already know that when you’re in a life slump and you eat or drink junk until you can’t even stand yourself, the last thing that you feel is spiritual or Godly. When you wake up from your binge and go back to eating right and taking care of yourself, it gets better. Your mind becomes clearer, and you are able to exercise to get back to the top of your game. It is during these times of clarity that you are able to open your mind and body to a better relationship with the divine. Living, eating, and behaving ethically as your full time lifestyle is the goal.

This morning, I received one of my favorite Fitness Magazines with an all too common article claiming that the Yoga being taught in health clubs is a fitness class rather than a mind-body program. Some practicing “Yogis,” who live their lives according to the teachings of Patanjali have a problem with health club exercises being referred to as Yoga.

That’s one of those sketchy issues in life. Mmmm ... Who owns Yoga? I was raised speaking latin in Mass. Who had the right to change Catholic Mass into English and still call it Mass? I think that it’s universally understood what Yoga means on a health club class schedule. It means slow stretching incorporated with relaxing breathing. Some teachers incorporate the spiritual concepts, some do not.

Okay, so that brings me to my point. Does a latin versus english spoken mass bring you closer to God? Or, better yet, does a real Yogi who lives by the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga judge others for practicing Asanas and Pranayama for clarity of mind and body without knowing the rules? Do the people whom so shallowly practicing these limbs benefit from it? Do the righteous few really want for the basic Hatha Yoga classes to change their name to “Stretch and Breathe” for fear of dis-honoring the Sutras?

There seems to be a spiritual disconnect here. If you are indeed a practicing yogi, you should be interested in YOUR behavior, your relationship with the divine, and your own enlightenment. Taking the time to judge others for exercising, breathing properly, and bettering themself on any level is not okay.

Over the years I watched the medical profession set boundaries for massage therapists, then the veterinary boards stepped in to legislate animal therapies. The bottom line for this type of intervention is often more about money than skills.

The Yoga Alliance, a certifying organization has set new guidelines for Yoga Teacher training. More yoga teachers are being trained in the holistic teaching of yoga as it is meant to be practiced. The requirements for 200 hour teacher certification includes asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, chanting, mantra, meditation and other traditional yoga techniques.

My question is that if we are truly interested in teaching yoga as the Sage Patanjali had intended, we would not be becoming certified by a Western Alliance, we would be sharing the traditional information at no cost. This is how Paramahansa Yogananda’s Kriya Yoga is still shared. You need to study and practice the methods for a long period of time before you are accepted to practice. There are no free rides to enlightenment.

My advice to those who are concerned with what everybody else is doing, is to practice, practice, practice. Stretching and breathing properly (asana, pranayama) are only a couple of the first steps to practicing yoga as it was intended. People practicing basic Hatha Yoga at their health club are on the right track! Yoga, meaning “union” is the union of the mind and body. Breathing and postures together is where the union begins. Here are the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga;

Yamas - Restraints, something to be avoided.
Niyamas - Observances, something to be cultivated.
Asana - Yoga postures.
Pranayama - Regulation of breath.
Pratyhara - Sensory withdrawal / sensory descrimination.
Dharana - Concentration. One pointedness.
Dyhana - Contemplation. Meditation, one flowingness.
Samadhi - Self realization. Enlightenment.

If you are an experienced traditional Yoga teacher that wants change in the fitness style of teaching Yoga, volunteer your services and make that change! Namaste. kd

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Before and After ... Plant a garden!


Summertime is the bomb! We eat so much salad in August, I almost get tired of it. Almost. Yesterday I picked about 10 pounds of green beans. and the red lettuce is taking over.

Because of the weather in Colorado, we can’t plant until after the last weekend in May, so our season is short. That doesn’t really seem to matter. Checkout the first photo, taken before planting on June 1, and the second photo is of the garden today.

Everybody who can stand to save a buck on food, and has room for a few planters around the yard, could benefit from planting vegetables. This year I shopped worn out book shelves at garage sales and turned them all into planter boxes. I LOVE the summertime!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Life Is Rushing Forward

The fourth of July has already passed? Where’s it going? I turned 59 a few days ago. Yowza. It’s strange to think that when I used to refer to 10 years it was no big deal. Now, if I think about 10 years from now, I’ll be getting ready to turn 70. Now, that’s really something.

I remember when grandparents and others used to say “wait until you get to be my age.” I would mutter; “I’ll surely be dead by then. NOBODY gets that old.” Oddly enough, the time keeps passing.

I lost one of my best friends this past week. A massive stroke at the age of 58. This event made Al and I sit down to reflect and plan. What do we want to do for the next 10 years? Where do we want to be when we’re old?

Now, don’t take this as a suicide note or a panic attack. It’s just a wakeup call about all of the “my house won’t sell” excuses as to why I don’t live at the beach right now. It seems as though we all make excuses as to why we don’t have what we want, when it’s because we make excuses for the easier route.

Al and I have decided to give it a little more punch. We want to walk on the beach ... soon! Although our house is no longer on the market, we’ve decided to push a little harder for a healthy and fruitful future near the ocean. When? Where? TBA.

RIP my dear friend, Ritchie. You will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yoga For Strength

It's been a little over a month since I decided to return to a personal fitness program. I write about it, I teach others, but as the years started creeping in, I stopped practicing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, serious horse accident ... bad back, all of the above.

Yoga ... one baby step at a time. At first, I denied that it could be as effective as aerobics or some of the other more grueling programs that I've been on. Well, at first, I was a sow bug. Seriously. I had no balance, no flexibility, a sore back, and more.

I'm getting stronger every day! Not sure how the instructor got so far off the personal fitness track. I guess I should have taken my own advice sooner. Slow is better than nothing. And one other thing ... my back was hurting because I was treating my waist as a joint. Bend at the hip when you do your forward bends. "The waist is not a joint." That's my instruction for today.

No more sow bug yoga for me! Bring it on!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Little Inspiration

An old man walked on a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and drying up after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean. "Why do you bother?" the old man scoffed. "You are not saving enough to make a difference." The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. "Made a difference to that one," he said. - Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Time For Your Horse’s Program!

Man, the winter just drags on in Colorado. I wish that every horse owner had access to an indoor arena so that they could be completely ready for the competitive season. Unfortunately, they don’t. If you don’t have an indoor arena, you’ve still got to find a way to get your horse conditioned for the season.

This is April 12. The serious competitive season generally kicks off around Memorial Day. That’s six full weeks! If your horse is a healthy performance animal with last year under his / her belt, than six weeks is plenty of time, provided the weather allows.

On dry, good weather days, a long, slow ride is a great way to start strengthening your winter grazer’s legs and joints. Tendons and ligaments need conditioning more than muscles do, and they injure easily if not properly prepared for dynamic loading.

Now is a good time to sit down and design a plan for the next six weeks. It can be simple. First, some long walks. Then add some walk, trot. Then add some sport specific exercises (easy barrel patterns, figure 8’s, serpentines) etc. Maybe plan a trail ride with some friends in mid May, followed by a friendly competitive event with your friends at the end of May to blow the dust off of your hat.

This might sound like a real baby fitness program, but lots of people unload their horse for the July 4 event without any planning and end up with a lame horse. I assure you that your horse will be more willing and have a healthier season if you just give it a chance.

Now might be a great time to buy my book, The Fit Horse Companion!

Have a GREAT season! --- Kathy D.

Meditation Is One Cool Solution

As I’ve mentioned, I’m taking a Yoga and Meditation Instructors course. I’ve practiced Yoga off and on for many years, but never took it on as my main form of conditioning. As far as meditation goes, I’m jiggy, jumpy, and have never been able to sit for too long.

I’m learning a ton of detailed, historic information about yoga and meditation. As an athlete and trainer, I’ve always been good at sports, and winning points, or teaching a ridiculous number of classes to prove my level of strength. What a strange curve I’ve taken.

I’ve owned a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita, and have been considered an alternative thinker my whole life. I’ve written a Cranial-Sacral Therapy course that’s complex, and completely different from most forms of traditional massage therapy. But Kundalini Yoga? Wow. This is such new approach to clearing the body and mind, that I can hardly believe that someone actually came up with this design.

I tend to get humerous when I get into uncomfortable situations, so I’m going to have to admit that the practice of Kundalini Yoga felt down right embarrassing at first. The instructor’s video is showing him squatting down and panting like a dog. Okay. Or, he’s kneeling, with his tongue out. You want me to do that?

Humor aside, I get it. I can see the correlation of Kundalini Yoga with Reiki, Cranial, and many other forms of traditional therapy, but in a different package. The teacher, www.anmolmehta.com is a respectful, fit, articulate expert. His detail and organization has made this new study really fun!

Kundalini Yoga includes many forms of breathing in conjunction with appropriate postures (asanas) for clearing and strengthening different areas of the body. The Chakras, of course, have been studied since man has existed, and the breathing and asanas are designed specifically to clear each one bringing balance to the system.

I am working hard to perfect the asanas, and the breathing exercises are really invigorating. If you’re a Yogi and you’ve never attended a Kundalini Yoga class, I would recommend giving it a try. You WILL find relaxation, and you will definitely find physical strength.

You will, however, have to leave your Western Fitness way of thinking at the door and open your mind to Eastern Philosophies. This is different. Wayyyyyyy.

I am challenged every day, then I follow my strenuous workout with a quiet, VERY relaxing meditation. I love that part. I never got to lay down when I taught aerobics! Thank you, www.anmolmehta.com You got me through the embarrassing part, and I get it! You are indeed a Guru. Everyone should be practicing Kundalini Yoga with you.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oh Yeah. Graduated From Sow Bug Yoga.

What a discovery the FitBall is! Being new to my old career of exercising for a living, I lost a little balance along the way. Ya think? Holy Moly. I must admit that my first couple of weeks have been tough. Now seriously. This is a person who used to teach visualization and balance to top notch skiiers! It is laugh-out-loudable to watch me trying to do a "Tree Pose" on one foot with my hands over my head. I have to give myself a break. That was in my twenties and thirties, okay? This is going on sixties, so I feel fortunate to be breathing while I'm balancing.

Actually, I am doing well with my daily yoga. It's been two weeks, and I'm on a daily routine and no longer falling over. I start with cardio ... about 45 minutes on the treadmill, then 10 minutes of stretching and warmup, 30 minutes of more difficult stretching and strength (with the aid of a flexball if necessary), and 20 minutes of meditation. Yeah! Not even April 1 and I'm spring trainable. Woo Hoo! Happy spring!

For the best information that I've ever found online for yoga and meditation www.anmolmehta.com GREAT INFORMATION!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Journey Back

It’s been a couple of weeks since I started toying with the idea of taking my retired, writing-about-fitness, no longer working out hind end back to the active responsibility of exercising. My ENTIRE career was spent on either leading some sort of fitness class or event, or training someone else to. It paid well enough to raise a child in Aspen, and it was a nice social outlet as a single Mom. But ... As I admitted in my last writing, I really dragged my ass when it came to the exercise part. I wasn’t lazy, but the clients were hard-core fitness buffs who relied on their bodies to make a living ... or better yet, win some sort of International athletic endeavor. They wanted a constant challenge!

So, I admit that once I retired I took a few years off to fit train horses, and teach equine massage. What a great job that is. I get to scientifically design perfect programs, then sit on their back while they do the cardio! Yeah, the hay is heavy, and riding is great exercise, but something in my soul misses the groups of like-minded people who want to be healthy and fit. I miss them.

Two weeks ago, when I began toying with my conditioning, I immediately began with a daily yoga practice. Are you kidding me? Yoga is not easy if you’re not somewhat strong and limber, but I found a gene in my makeup that is obviously related to the sow bug! You know, the one that goes round and screams “help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” It’s SO BAD that I dug out some old aerobic class tapes to see when exactly I had led a class last. 1996. Holy Cat-Cow!

It’s good. I have my ACE Personal Trainer Certification which now offers discounted AARP training to Baby Boomers and Older Adults. Each day, I’ll work harder to hold that downward facing dog asana for just a little longer. I’ll breathe better. I’ll walk farther. I’ll work hard.

I thought that all of those fitness related articles and even the book that I wrote would have kept me in better shape or at least burned a few calories!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Shhhh. Give Your Mind A Rest.

Get Quiet! I think it was JLo that recorded a song called Lets Get Loud sometime last year. Well, getting quiet is the hardest thing for my clients to do. I will admit. It’s the hardest thing for me to do too. The thing is that your subconscious can’t form new ideas when it’s on overdrive. In order to create new habits, you have to make suggestions that will be heard.

If you eat too fast, you probably eat too much. “Aaaargh! I gotta run! I’m late! Somebody’s going to be mad at me! Give me that donut! Gobble! Gobble! ... oh man ... my stomach hurts.” Ever done that?

Research shows that taking time to de-stress is what will teach your mind how to eat more slowly, think more thoroughly, stop behaving impulsively, and relax! Of course it’s acceptable to get loud now and then .. How else will you burn calories? The point is to take the time to clear your mind and have some positive thoughts. Take 10 minutes today. Sit, breathe, and let your mind go completely blank. Do it for 10 minutes. Have a good day.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting back in shape at 58 ... It's my job

I taught aerobics for over 30 years. Even when I was young and really fit I always had a last minute feeling that I really didn’t want to do it. Leading others in a grueling workout was so strenuous! I did it many times a day, year after year. I was truly one of the fittest people in town. Although I enjoyed the feeling of being the envy of everyone else, I’ll have to admit something.

If I hadn’t been the teacher, I wouldn’t have done it at all! At the age of 35, after winning top honors in racquetball on a state, regional, and national level, I decided to retire. Why not? I had been dragging my bootie out of bed for years to teach classes and play sports that really required endurance.

I made up my mind that I would walk to work, ride my bike, ski, hike, and find other ways to stay in shape. I lived in Aspen. Of course there were other ways to stay as fit as I was. At least until a few years went by and I started to gain weight and lose my condition.

At the age of 40, I decided to make my debut back to teaching. I taught a bodyworks class with weights, a prime time abdominal class, and even did a step class or two. It was fun being back, and again, I found the top of my game again. That is, until I got burned out and my body didn’t like the hard pushing again. Again, I retired from teaching at the age of 45.

At that time I was fortunate to be able to retire from Management in the health club business altogether. No more folding towels, no more rush hour at the front desk, no more tourist season in Aspen. What a break.

I went on to spend time with my horses. I rode in the hills, exercised them, massaged them, and generally made my life at the barn what my life in the club had been. I wrote a program on Equine Massage, and taught thousands of people the ins and outs of proper sports taping, stretching, and exercise programs. I even wrote a book about it. This was a really wonderful time in my life. My horse was aging, and he was fit and properly cared for. His performance at the age of 20 was better than most horses half his age. Then came 2007 ... and the recession. Most people could hardly afford to own horses any more, let alone give me money to get them fit.

Now I’m 58. Selling a few books ... sitting at the computer writing about fitness, both human and equine. Doing a little massage. Doing a little fitness coaching ... lecturing ... walking on the treadmill, but not pushing hard as though I’m in front of a class. Even though I try, I know that I’m only there to motivate my lazy self, and that I’m not in front of others.

So, help me out here. It’s killing me. Is it time to go back to teaching? Is it actually time to create a class for people my age? If I were coaching me, I’d ask; “What is it going to take for you to become fit again?” or “What are you willing to do to get back in top shape?” Mmmm. This is that same Socratic HOUNDING that I use on my clients that are overweight.

The answer? I guess I’ll bring that to my next self-coaching session.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Defending Your Weight

I watched a TV program last night that was a scream fest of a bunch of men and their overweight wives. I felt such compassion for the wives who were desperately trying to defend themselves, calling themselves “human.”

The problem that I’m having is that nobody, including a plus sized model, ever mentioned “health.”

The number on the scale is one thing. The issue is, how is your health? If you’re 20-30 pounds overweight, and you do not struggle trying to exercise, your blood pressure is low, glucose is normal, and cholesterol is normal, then you can defend your weight while monitoring your numbers. This doesn’t mean that you should be eating as much pizza and ice cream as you want, this just means that your weight is not currently proving to be a health risk. Currently, I said.

HOWEVER ... The years go by and your body doesn’t process the extra fats as well. Eventually, the extra weight may or may not drastically change your health numbers. This is what matters the most.

Self esteem is a funny thing. Even if your health numbers are normal, you may have self esteem problems because of what other people think of your weight.

My advice is to keep exercising. Maintain a healthy diet. Watch your numbers. Then, if somebody is harshing on your weight because they have a problem with the way that you LOOK, kick their ass! Just kick their ass.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Training For A Breathing Marathon

It is a known fact that a person can live for days without food, less time without water, and only minutes without breath. Surprisingly, people give less effort to proper breathing than they do to any other form of health and fitness. People work hard at dieting and exercising so that they will look better, but proper breathing can affect your looks too. Your skin will look better because it will show less stress in your expression, and your cells will receive more nourishment. The lymph system will remove debris more effectively, so your body will glow with better health.

Exercises that synchronize movement and breath have the power to control depression, anxiety, and other stress related disorders. Tai Chi and Yoga have become very popular substitutes to conventional medications for many medical conditions like high blood pressure, eating disorders, and even psychological disorders.

When you breathe in a shallow style only including your chest, you are not breathing deeply enough to remove excess Carbon Dioxide from the body. This, of course, can cause fatigue, and even many forms of dis-ease if not corrected by learning how to practice deep, meaningful breaths.

Unfortunately, a lot of de-conditioned people enter into an aerobic program without first preparing their heart and lungs in a more basic program, and don’t continue because they are breathless and uncomfortable.

Another very important reason for deep breathing exercises is to cleanse the lymph system of toxins and debris. When the heart is working to accelerate the circulatory system, this acceleration causes the lymph system to carry away destructive debris. Deep breathing can stimulate this process. A sluggish lymph system can be the cause of a variety of health problems.

By learning gentle and rhythmic breathing techniques, and taking it gently, you can be on your way to a more relaxed, and healthy body with a willingness to increase the effort and move on to more aggressive exercise. By gentle, I mean taking it slowly and not exhaling with such force that you feel like passing out. I mean simply a concentrated effort to breathe from your belly in a slow and rhythmic manner. Just BREATHING from a lower part of your body allowing the lungs to fill and empty will be a good teacher that will surely lead you to something more.

Beginning with a 10 day program of 10 concentrated, relaxed, deep belly breaths is a perfect starting place. Once your cardiovascular capacity begins to improve, you will want to do more.

Keep in mind that there are many styles of breathing, and the advanced Yogis practice some styles of faster breathing that might make a beginner feel like passing out. Let’s begin with a relaxing, rhythmic, and basic method.

First, you will begin with a full exhalation. This will completely empty the lungs allowing for you to begin by filling your lungs with fresh, clean air. Also, we will begin by breathing through your nose, both in and out, with very little force. Again, if you are a beginner, you are thinking about proper, rhythmic, and deep without force. It should feel natural.

Begin by sitting in a comfortable position with your hands on your knees. The floor is okay, but if you are not comfortable, or if that causes you to lean forward, try sitting upright on a large pillow or stool with a completely straight back. First, exhale slowly through your nose until your lungs are completely empty. Flatten your abdominal muscles causing your diaphragm to tighten and push all of the air out of your lungs, then take a short pause (count to 2.)

Next, expand your belly as you breathe in, concentrating on filling your lungs. Then, repeat a full exhale flattening your belly to put pressure against your diaphragm to completely empty the lungs, count 2, and repeat.

This beginner breathing exercises should be done with no effort. If this is your beginning effort, you should be concentrating on rhythm and not effort. You should be counting to 4 with each breath, practicing for 10 minutes each day.

Once you become comfortable with this exercise, you can increase your exhale to 8 counts. Remember, this initial breathing awareness should focus on training your abdominal muscles to aid your diaphragm in expelling all of the air from your lungs, and to get used to deeper breathing.

Eventually, you will become an efficient breather and should research more aggressive yogic breathing like Fire Breath, or Nasal Breathing.

Ask about my MP3 Download which has an audio backdrop to practice your rhythmic 10 minute breathing exercise.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Join Me For A More Positive Outlook

Writing positive affirmations has been one of my favorite methods for training clients over the past several years. First, in the seventies, I wrote them down. Then, in the eighties, I was drawn to a cassette deck with an internal mic. Wow, did I think that I was modern! In the nineties, I worked at the radio station so that I would have access to studio equipment. How cool is the age of technology? Merry Christmas to me, I now have a MacPro computer with Garageband! What is Garageband, you might ask? Too cool. It's a software program already loaded and ready to go. There are background music choices, sound effects, and it's pretty easy to put together.

I invite you to share in my first project, Positive Thoughts, Positive Life by going to my website, www.kathyduncan.com and clicking on the music link. This is a generic meditation devoted to more positive and confident thinking. I hope that you will participate by using the meditation three times a day for twenty one days in order to develop a more positive and open attitude. You'll see! --- Kathy D.

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