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Laugh and Lighten Up

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I used to say to my kids when we would encounter a grumpy person, ‘at least you don’t have to go home with that person or even BE that person’.

Grumpy people are everywhere and they are toxic, so what do you do to fix them? Nothing. Nothing at all. Truly there is nothing you can do to fix other people who are grumpy. Just leave them alone to their own troubles. The trouble is that sometimes their bad attitude is contagious. How do you combat that?

In school, when I was there, bullying was dealt with differently. There were no ‘big plans’, campaigns, t­-shirt awareness programs. Right or wrong, that isn’t how it was dealt with. But one of my teachers told us how he used to deal with them. Just laugh at them. A bully needs you to be afraid of you, so laugh, they won’t know what to do. I have actually used this advice a few times, especially in traffic. Just laugh, smile, and be glad you are not that guy.

Many numbers are thrown around, but I've heard some claims that children laugh more than 300 times a day, but adults laugh less than 20 times a day. That alone makes me sad. In general we should all just smile more. Even laugh more. Lighten up!

So let’s look at some of the reasons to lighten up a little.

1. Laughter boosts your immune system. According to some studies, laughter helps to boost your immune system and may even increase the number of cancer ­killing cells in your body. Doing something that feels good and is good for you? Sounds like a good idea to me!

2. Laughter releases endorphins. When you laugh, you trigger a release of endorphins (those feel ­good chemicals). These chemicals are the reason that you feel so happy when you laugh.

3. Laughter helps us connect with others. Think about how you feel when you're laughing with someone. You feel connected, right? Even if you don't know the person well, you feel bonded with him or her. Forming connections has a positive impact on our lives ­­ and laughter is a great way to connect!

4. Laughter protects your heart. Apparently laughing has some healthy heart benefits. Laughing can lead to improved blood flow and cut down on high blood pressure.

5. Laughter keeps us present. When you're laughing, you're focused on whatever is funny in that moment. You're not worried about the past or the future. You're in the now. Though you might not realize it, laughter really is one of the best ways to stay in the moment.

I have been reading a book lately and loving it. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. It’s a great book that shows “The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work”. If you want a great read of real evidence that happy is better, this is your book. There is evidence in this book that says that your brain can’t tell the difference between a fake smile and laughter and the real deal, so just do it. You will feel better.

So go;

  • find that movie that cracks you up.
  • Read a funny book.
  • Startle your kids.
  • Play a silly game.
  • Tell a joke.
  • Something, anything, just laugh!

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?” – Unknown

Let’s Talk Gym Clothes

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I remember when I first wanted to go to the gym.

It made me think of when I was a kid and getting ready to go play outside. I was a very active child and my parents always encouraged us to go play outside. It was easy in the summer, just throw on a pair of shorts and a shirt and go. I spent a lot of days just like that. No shoes, barely dressed, just outside. Even as the weather changed, I would put on pants, sweatshirt, gumboots, and go. I would go rake leaves, chop wood, just being outside with my dad and our dog.

Fast forward to being married with three kids at home. Who has time to be that relaxed. As parents we encouraged our kids to play outside as much as possible, but this time, I was still inside. I had “Mom” duties and was usually the one who spent the least amount of time in the yard. When I finally was in a place and time to go be active for me, something had changed. I no longer had that body that I could just slip into anything and go. I had packed on enough weight that when I wanted to start to go to classes, gym, activities, I actually had to go buy something to wear. But what does a ‘big girl’ wear to the gym? I was too uncomfortable in shorts. Most gym clothes were made for girls that looked like they lived in the gym. It was tough in the beginning, but things have changed for the good in the last few years.

The reality is that you don’t need to have a whole new closet or dresser for your workout clothes, you just need to be smart with what you buy. Workout clothes have become ‘smart clothes’. They are actually made for you to sweat in and for movement so you don’t get tied up in your baggy t-­shirt. Fortunately there are several options for clothes. But unless you have a healthy bank account, you don’t need to spend a fortune on workout gear, just be smart. Most of the clothes out there you can just rinse and hang and it will be dry in a couple of hours. Yes, most can be machine washed but if you only get a few pieces, hand washing works well. My suggestion is to pick up a pair or two of crop leggings. They are surprisingly comfortable, most are adjustable,(so that as you lose size, you aren't changing pants too often). Shirts are, for me, a little more tricky. Lots hug my tummy, I still have self image issues with that, but if you get shirts too baggy, they will really get in your way. A light, clingy tank underneath makes me feel more comfortable, and as the weather gets cooler, it works like an undershirt like when I was a kid.

Personally, I think if you are planning on spending money on gym gear, shoes are the answer. But for me, shoes are always the answer. LOVE them. Yeah, I know, nobody is looking at your shoes in the gym, but if you don’t take care of your feet, you will pay for it in your knees, hips, and back. So this is one of the only times where I will say out loud, cute is not the answer, function first.

So, let’s shop

Lululemon is my favorite. But when I started at the gym, I couldn’t fit there. Now that I do, they last the longest, fit the best, and the store has great service including hemming if you are getting long pants.

Old Navy is surprisingly great. They are a lot more affordable, have a larger range in sizes and have lots of styles and colours.

Under Armour, Nike, Reebok, Adidas all have athletic wear as well as most department stores. Most of these brands, by my experience, all wear well, look great, it just comes down to fit and size.

Don’t be afraid to try your clothes on and move around in them. The last thing you want is pants that roll down because the rise is too short. If you have a tummy, believe me, that will happen and not only is that embarrassing, it’s uncomfortable.

When shopping for shoes, again try them on and walk around, a lot. But make sure you talk to someone who knows what they are selling. Cheap is not the answer here. Locally here we have Kintec, The Running Room, and most other shoe retailers. Specialty stores look at how your feet land, cadence, and how you are going to spending time in your shoes. Are you inside, outside, running, walking, hiking, doing Zumba, or even general gym stuff? It all matters.

Finally, when you are shopping, don’t forget your unmentionables. Your girls will need support. Get some support. Not only will it hurt as they start to move to their own beat, but as you lose weight, you want them to rise a little to where they used to be. Also, comfortable undies is key. Most women sweat down there and you don’t want chafing if you can help it.

The key to clothes to workout in, is that you forget you are wearing them. If you are constantly adjusting them, you are not working hard enough and you can’t focus on what you are supposed to be doing. So as my mom would yell…GO OUTSIDE and PLAY! Be active and work up a sweat and look great doing it.

You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it. —Edith Head

Protein Fast Facts

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We are talking about protein today. Seems innocent enough.

We all eat it and need it. But it seems like that is where the ease of this topic stops.

Growing up, we all just ate what mom put in front of us. No questions, just eat it, or you will be sitting there a long time, right? I look back now as what I fed my kids when they were
little and I realize that I really didn’t know why I fed my kids what I did. Other than that is what my mom fed me. There was always some veggies on the table, a starch, and some protein. As I went through school, I took several foods classes. I have always loved to cook, but looking back I don’t remember a lot of why we ate what we did. There was always the Canada Food Guide, but that was it.

In the last few years, I have had a rude awakening about what I eat and what I should not eat. Our daily food intake has changed dramatically and as a result, Doug and I have managed to become much healthier and as a result much smaller because of what we do now. One of the things that we have learned more about is protein.

OK, fast facts:

  1. Proteins form the basic machinery of all cells.
  2. Proteins are made out of amino acids.
  3. Amino acids are not interchangeable: to synthesize a protein, each one of its constituent amino acids must be available.
  4. Many amino acids are essential—we cannot synthesize them, and therefore must ingest them as part of our diet. Many others are conditionally essential, and cannot be synthesized or converted at the rate we require them.
  5. Since we have no way to store amino acids for later use, our bodies have a daily requirement for them.
  6. Therefore, we must ingest each amino acid, roughly in the proportion we require it, every day.

As I researched protein, I learned how much we depend on them and that they are so essential to
everything we do. Even though all experts agree how important protein is to every function we have,
there are extreme opinions on how much we need to consume.

One of the curious facts that I learned is that elderly people need to consume as much protein as
young adults. As we age there seems to be supporting studies that say that one of the reasons that
seniors have weakened bones and muscles could be from lack of protein.

After sifting through all the murky data and interpretations, the minimum amount of protein required to
avoid losing muscle mass is around .36 grams/pound of body weight per day needed for growth and repair of muscles, bone, tendons, skin, hair, and other tissues. But we are talking about inactive, non-
athletic people here. If you are active, you need to up your intake.

Here are 10 foods high in protein that should be part of your diet.

1: Fish

Tuna, Salmon, Halibut, Snapper, Perch, Flounder and Sole, Cod, Tilapia.

2: Lean Chicken and Turkey

3: Cheese 

Cheese high in protein per ounce; Low­fat Cottage Cheese, Low­fat Swiss Cheese, Low­fat Cheddar, Parmesan, Romano. *Low or Non Fat Mozzarella and Cottage Cheese provide the most protein per calorie, full fat cheeses typically only provide 1g protein per 20 calories, and are less optimal sources of protein.

4: Lean Beef and Veal (Low Fat)

T­Bone Steak, 1 Piece of Beef Jerky, Pork Loin (Chops)

Sirloin Roast, Ham, 1 slice of bacon (8g) provides 3g of protein.

6: Tofu

1 cup (252g) of firm tofu,1 cup of soft tofu,1 cup of tempeh

7: Yogurt, Milk, and Soymilk

8: Beans (Mature Soy Beans)

Kidney Beans, White Beans, Lima Beans, Fava Beans, Black Beans, Mung Beans.

9: Eggs (Especially Egg Whites)

1 Egg White (33g) provides 4g protein,  1 cup of scrambled eggs (220g) provides 22g protein.

10: Nuts and Seeds

Peanuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Sunflower Seeds, Flaxseed, Mixed Nuts.

 

Other than adding more protein overall to our diet, the most crucial thing that we did breaks most rules that you see out there. Just before bed we eat. Yup, eat. But not just a bag of chips, bowl of cereal, carb rich snack, but a serving of protein. This was explained to us in this way. Your body is like a wood burning stove. If you have ever been camping and this was the heat, the last thing you do before bed, is put more wood on the fire. It keeps the stove warm all night and hopefully, there is some warmth to start the day with rather than a cold stove. If you eat protein right before bed, it has the same effect. Your body keeps its metabolism up while you sleep and you start the next day with a head start rather than a ‘cold stove’. So, right before bed, we will have a serving of greek yogurt, or a protein shake.

After all is said and done, you need to do what is right for you. Keeping a few thoughts in mind.

● Everyone’s body is different, don’t compare an athlete with someone who is sedentary.

● Eat protein at every meal. It helps in the breakdown of carbs and keeps you full longer.

● Seek advice from an expert. Just because your doctor went to school for a long time, it doesn’t make them an expert in everything.

● Listen to your body. Most people don’t pay enough attention to what their body is telling them.

● Drink water. Regardless of what other things you try or change, drink lots of water.

● Sleep. Make sure you getting enough sleep. Your body repairs itself as you sleep.

 

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.  – Doug Larson

Getting Older Sucks

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Getting older sucks!  There I said it. Getting old sucks!

Ok, that’s been established. Having said that, what are our options? Well, there really are two, stop aging, not really an option for me, or age with just a little more grace.

We have just celebrated a birthday in our house. Doug, my husband turned 52. We have a lot of birthdays in our house, as most people do, but when we have a birthday you get to pick what you want for your birthday dinner and what kind of dessert you want. When the kids were little, we had a lot of hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and pizza dinners. As we are all adults now, dinners have progressed…a little. Our youngest will probably still ask for mac and cheese this year even though she turns 19. Desserts are now more likely to be pie rather than cupcakes, but nobody complains.

This gets the mind thinking about getting old. My parents, both in their seventies, are struggling with multiple health challenges, but thank God, we still have my parents, Doug’s have already passed. Every morning I watch Doug get out of bed and creak and crack as he heads to the bathroom. I think about him getting old, then I get out of bed and snap, crackle, pop myself. Is this normal? Does everyone get out bed like this? The answer is of course no.

I remember bouncing out bed in my twenties, nothing hurt. Nothing cracked. Nothing ached. Nothing felt old. Well ok, I have never bounced out of bed. I am not a morning person. But you know what I mean. So, am I supposed to ache like this?

Well, the way I see it, you can get up in the morning drudging the day because you ache, creak, crack, are stiff, because you hiked 10km before breakfast, or you can ache, creak, crack, and are stiff because you can’t remember the last time you broke a sweat that wasn’t caused by getting out of the chair quickly or extra spicy chicken wings.

If you are blessed to keep aging, then you should in some way take care of the body you have. There are a lot of people that would love to have a family member age just a little bit longer. Our minds are trapped in a world where we still think of ourselves, when we were in our “glory days”, but our bodies are not trapped and have kept on aging.

There are tonnes of things to do to age a little better. So pick one, or two, or more. Just do something. I used to think of aging as a bad thing and now, I am grateful for getting the opportunity to do so.

Find what works for you.

● Eat just a little healthier.
● Lose a few pounds.
● Find an activity that you love to do and do it.
● Use your mind in ways that have nothing to do with work.
● Spend time with people younger than you.
● Enjoy the time that you have.
● Laugh a lot!

You know you’re getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you’re down there. – George Burns