SFLP: Part 8

At the beginning of this program, we talked about inner baggage, guilt, and things that weigh us down.  I’ve kept my posts here to a minimum and allowed time and space for thoughtfulness.  After all, anyone can give advice, pontificate, and wax eloquent.  But really, the DOING is up to you.  So how have you done on the internal part of this program?  Have you let the mental chatter slow you down and prevent you from tackling the physical parts of this journey?

I’d like to come full circle for this final post of the SFLP.  Have you uncovered those hidden things which hold you back from being truly and simply fit?  Are you finding that your motivation to exercise or eat right is REDEMPTION rather than FOR JOY?

For the rest of this week, keep your notebook close by, and write down your thoughts on “doing for joy rather than for redemption.”  See if you can find the source of your need for redemption in there.  You might just find that you aren’t so bad after all, and not really in need of “fixing.”  And then, maybe, just maybe, you might find yourself free to enjoy exercise and wellness because you want to!

SFLP: Part 6

How has your internal road trip been going?  Are you keeping notes?  Have you thought about the guilt you’ve carried around, about the ways you can simplify, about the role of fitness in your life?  As a coach, I often tell my athletes, “Pick one thing you can do better right now.”  Have you found one thing to do better?

For Part 6, I’d like you to think about your posture.

Proper posture will allow your body to operate more efficiently and effectively.  To achieve postural alignment, imagine a plumb line beginning at your ear and extending through your shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle.  Have another person view you from the side in order to get an objective picture.

Poor posture can cause muscle pain, limit performance, affect digestion, impair organ function, and increase joint wear-n-tear.  And good posture can actually improve your appearance by making you look taller and your stomach flatter.  And hey, who can turn that down?

Learn to recognize the warming signs of poor posture–backache, stiff neck, headache–so that you can correct it.  Develop an awareness of your body (called a kinesthetic sense).  Relax, and don’t tense up muscles you are aren’t using.  For instance, watch yourself in the mirror as you brush your teeth.  Are your shoulders up in your ears?  Do you hold you arms stiffly and up in the air?  Do you have your head tilted back?

Learn to breath and mentally scan your body for tense areas.  Re-align and soften those areas.  Get yourself back into “plumb.”  I often find that just dropping my chin down a bit reminds me to sit or stand taller and straighter.

Take note of how often you hold yourself in stressed-out posture.  Take note of how often you sit tilted-ly in your office chair or how often you lean to one side more than the other.

It will certainly take time to reverse bad posture habits that you’ve had for years, but I am guessing that the improvements in the way your body feels will be the positive reinforcement needed to maintain a new habit.




SFLP: Part 3

In Part 2, we looked at the burden of guilt that many of us carry and that can unconsciously drive many of our actions.  Since writing down your thoughts on what you might want to transform in that area, how have you felt?  Have you thought about what it might feel like to be free to simply BE and not feel motivated by guilt?

Let’s continue letting those thoughts simmer while we move to another topic:  our physical self.

One definition of fitness is “quality of life.”  Another definition includes things like cardiovascular health, muscular strength and endurance, body composition, and flexibility.  Either way, a fit person should be able to move easily and complete daily tasks.

Now, even if you already exercise or compete in sports, you might not be so diligent about stretching.  I know plenty of competitive athletes who even seem to take pride in never stretching.  To be sure, there are probably just as many studies that say stretching is a good thing as there are studies which say it’s useless.  For me, though, I just can’t deny that it feels really good to stretch and be flexible.

For Part 3 of the SFLP, I give you a challenge:  Stretch for just five minutes a day for the next seven days.  Even those of us with the least amount of free time to devote to a workout program can surely find five minutes before bedtime to loosen up.

In case you can’t remember back as far as junior high gym class to come up with some stretches on your own, you might want to consider the Sun Salutation from yoga.  It is a very simple routine that only takes a minute or two.  You can do three sets of the Sun Salutation easily in five minutes.

Here are two good explanations (with pictures) of the Sun Salutation:



Take the stretching challenge, and prove to yourself that you can do it.  Five minutes a day for seven days is very doable, and you will start the ball rolling on a simply fitter lifestyle.

SFLP: Part 1

“Observe all men, thyself most.”  Benjamin Franklin

Who’s up for a road trip?

For the next several posts, you can participate in an internal road trip of self-discovery.  I invite you to cruise all the highways and byways of your physical, mental, and emotional self.  And unlike a vacation, this is one trip where you will unload your baggage rather than pack it.

The Simply Fit Lifestyle Program is a multi-part overhaul of your current habits in which you try new things, learn what works and what doesn’t, and hopefully adopt new patterns which contribute to a healthier and more productive lifestyle.

Previous posts on this blog have emphasized the value of reviewing, reflecting, and re-doing.  So now, it’s time to put all of that into action.  Over the next few weeks, I will present a plan for “knowing thyself.”  There will be guidelines, suggestions, and ideas to ponder.  And as with most things in life, you can get out of it whatever you put into it.

Care to join me, then?  From what I have observed in my own life and in the goings-on around me, it seems like I am not the only one ready for a change.  So, if you, like me, are ready for something new, hop in the driver’s seat, put the top down, throw it into first, and let’s go!

Food (and other stuff) for Thought

A few quick Wellness Facts-n-Tips for your Wednesday!

  • According to the Journal of Functional Foods, a small study showed that people who ate yogurt containing the probiotic strains L. amylovorus or L. fermentum for 6 weeks felt more energy and lost weight.
  • Dandelion greens are high in beta carotene, Vitamin E, calcium, potassium, B Vitamins, and zinc.  Considered a “bitter,” dandelions support digestion and make an excellent kidney tonic.
  • After publicity about certain barefoot running cultures such as the Tarahumara in Mexico, exercise enthusiasts and runners everywhere embraced minimalist footwear for every athletic endeavor.  The theory was that adopting a footstrike as if one was running barefoot–that is, landing on the forefoot–was healthier.  However, more recent studies about the running patterns of those barefoot cultures have shown that their footstrike varied with their SPEED.  At slower speeds, the barefoot runners actually landed on the rear or middle part of the foot.  At faster speeds, they landed on the middle or front part.
  • Coconut oil has recently come into favor for its healthful properties.  But be aware that it is the VIRGIN coconut oil that has the good stuff, not the partially hydrogenated version found in some fast foods.  Virgin coconut oil contains beneficial medium-chain fatty acids and lauric acids.  It also has a higher smoke point (350 degrees) which makes it a good choice for sauteing and stir frying.
  • Even though they are both simple sugars, fructose and glucose are processed differently.  Glucose seems to signal a satiety message (‘I’m full!”) to the brain, while fructose does not.  In other words, fructose will not cause you to feel full but glucose will.

(Information taken from the April 2013 issue of the IDEA Fitness Journal.)



Product Review–Everyday Throat Spray

‘Tis the season for colds and flu, and having been sick for way too long last winter, I was thrilled to find a great product that seems to be a miracle worker for me. A very helpful man at the vitamin store recommended Everyday Throat Spray (www.everydaythroatspray.com), and I will be forever grateful to him.

Osha Root

Ligusticum Porteri (Osha Root)

This is Osha Root, which is the key ingredient in the spray.  According to the Everyday Throat Spray website, Osha is antibacterial and antiviral.  It has a great reputation for fighting respiratory illnesses.  (In reading up on Osha Root, I found this lovely website:  http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/osha_root.php.  Lots of good information there.)

The spray also contains Echinacea Angustifolia, Licorice Root, Ginger Root, Peppermint, and Colloidal Silver.  It sells for $10, and is available in stores and through the website.

Of course, I’m no doctor, and I don’t even play one on TV, so please remember that this is just my opinion here.  Please check that this formula is safe for YOU to use.  Certain people should not use licorice root or Echinacea, for example.  Do your homework first!

Wishing you good health!



What do slumped shoulders signify to you?  A furrowed brow?  Most of us are pretty adept at reading and understanding body language.  For example, if you see someone standing stiffly, arms akimbo, foot tapping, you probably know this isn’t a good time to ask your boss for a raise.

Clearly, our bodies reflect our mental states.  But did you ever think that the mind and body are really more like ONE entity than two?  Think about it this way:  if you are stressed and tired, sitting with your own shoulders slumped and brow furrowed, you will likely feel worse.  The slumped shoulders will create muscle tension in your back too.  But if sit up straight, take a deep breath, and let your shoulders relax, you will probably feel a little better.

The study of the relationship between mind and body is an old one.  Practitioners have gathered observations about the shape of the body, the curve of the spine, even the lines on the forehead.  Ken Dychtwald, author of “Bodymind,” explains the connection, saying, “I have discovered that (the) body and (the) mind are reflections of each other and that the emotions and experiences which have formed my personality have affected the formation and structuring of my muscles and tissue.”

Here’s one example of how our emotions and experiences are reflected in our physiology.  Consider the top half of the body compared to the bottom.  The top half of the body has to do with communicating, thinking, and expressing.  The bottom half relates to our foundation, stability, and groundedness.  If you were to compare the two halves of one person, what would the proportionality say?

Picture the cartoon character Yosemite Sam:  giant head, barrel chest, teeny legs.  Now, Yosemite Sam was always yelling and shooting off either his mouth or his six-shooter.  He’s a perfect example of how the top half (expressing) is out of proportion to the bottom (stability).  I don’t think anyone would ever accuse Sam of being stable.

If you are interested in learning more about what your feet or your forehead says about you, check out Dychtwald’s book.  I also highly recommend “Reading the Body” by Wataru Ohashi.  Now sit up straight!