Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More power to you!

Yesterday’s Star Tribune featured a wellness article with tips to “boost your energy instantly.” Many of the tips were taken from two recently published books: Get Energy! Empower Your Body, Love Your Life by Denise Austin and Jim Karas’ The 7-Day Energy Surge. Here are a few of my favorites with direct quotes italicized:

In the Morning:
Eat breakfast to jump-start your metabolism. “Breakfast kicks off your day and makes you feel better. Include a mix of protein and quality carbohydrates into your meal, says Denise Austin, author of "Get Energy! Empower Your Body, Love Your Life."

Crank up some tunes. Crank up your favorite music to wake you up and get you moving!

Let in the light. Open up the drapes and blinds and let in the great outdoors, including sunshine!

Sit up straight. This simply not only improves your posture but opens up your chest so you will your lungs with more oxygen.

At your desk:

Allow yourself mini breaks. Denise Austin suggests that we break up our day by taking 5-minute breaks throughout the day and advises us to stand up and stretch. These simply stretches get the blood and oxygen again flowing to where we need it: our brains.

Breathe deeply. Deeper breaths bring more oxygen to the brain, again, where we need it most.

Sip green tea. It's packed with anti-aging antioxidants, reduces inflammation, hydrates your body and can boost metabolism to help you slim down, Karas says.

Eat regular meals. Breakfast is important, but so is eating at regular intervals. Eating at regular intervals keeps our blood sugar balanced.

Have an energetic day and stay strong! TTFN, Michele

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mileage and four week focus

It was a beautiful Easter Sunday for central and southern Minnesota! Warm, about 63 degrees. We took advantage of the beautiful afternoon to go on a first “family” bike ride of the season. That would be Oma and Opa, our son, Josh and his wife Autumn and their two kids, plus one more grandbaby. We rode over 12 miles back and forth to Minnehaha falls. Enjoy a few pictures.
Nani rode all 12 miles. She is 8!
Josh and Opa along trail.
Autumn with Burley and Nani trail riding!
Minnehaha Falls!
I continue to do well with exercise. I figured out some of my mile totals today. Since February 13 (when I started using a pedometer) I logged 189 miles walking. This amounts to about 3.25 miles per day! As far as biking, I have put on 100 miles since February 18. Not a lot, but then again, our biking season has been iffy until just recently. Over the last three days I rode 12, 16 and 14 miles respectfully. The Tour de Cure is only 4 weeks away now. I need to be able to do 31 miles in under 3 hours. Right now I am riding about 10 miles per hour. I hope to increase this pace to about 12 miles per hour when I ride the Tour. This week I hope to make one 20-mile ride and two more 15 milers.
My hybrid bike is super comfy.
Bike bags make it great to haul things around when doing errands.
Speaking of the Tour (May 21), I am going to make it my goal to stay really focused in the next four weeks with my eating. I REALLY would like to knock off another 5 pounds. This would put me in the low 180s the lowest I have been in many, many years. To do this I plan to stay right around 1200 calories a day, plus bike and walk. These four weeks will go by quickly, focus will help me to downsize. What about you, what goals do you have in sight for the next four weeks?

Have a great start to your week and stay strong. TTFN, Michele

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Decision-making is mentally taxing

Probably no surprise to any of you reading this post: but guess what? Decision-making is mentally taxing. The Economist reported on a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences where rulings by a judge in an Israeli courtroom depend partly on when the judge last had a snack or a break. "In this study the plaintiffs were asking either to be allowed out on parole or to have the conditions of their incarceration changed. The researchers found that, at the start of the day, the judges granted around two-thirds of the applications before them. As the hours passed, that number fell sharply, eventually reaching zero. But clemency returned after each of two daily breaks, during which the judges retired for food. The approval rate shot back up to near its original value, before falling again as the day wore on. The researchers offer two hypotheses for this rise in grumpiness. One is that blood-sugar level is the crucial variable. This, though, predicts that the precise amount of time since the judge last ate will be what matters. In fact, it is the number of cases he has heard since his last break, not the number of hours he has been sitting, which best matches the data. That is consistent with a second theory, familiar from other studies, that decision making is mentally taxing and that, if forced to keep deciding things, people get tired and start looking for easy answers. In this case, the easy answer is to maintain the status quo by denying the prisoner’s request."

While there are many ethical and judicious meanings and ramifications to this story, I bring it up because it resonated with me in relation to becoming healthier. We make decisions every day about the foods that we eat including when we are fatigued or hungry. Before I started on my getting healthy quest, I would grab just about anything to eat when I came out of a long stretch of the professional work that I do. I am guessing my blood sugar was low, too, plus I know I was mentally fatigued, thus easy to come by snacks were a fix. But, not any more. Although I have not kicked the habit of working long hours I am WAY better at having healthy snacks that I can grab, mindlessly at times, and all around 100 calories. I am guessing that your own habits have changed too. Right??

I also want to report that it was a good week in terms of exercise. I am not all the way back to my pre-bronchitis exercise regime, but I did get in over 20 miles on the bike this week (and it is only Thursday!) and about 10 miles of walking.

Have a great weekend! michele

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Greetings!

Greetings on a Fine Monday Morning!
It is a cloudy day in Minnesota, but mild temperatures (about 50 today). Sunday afternoon, hubby and I went back to the farm after about a 3 weeks absence because of all conference travel. It was good to get back. Time is helping us to process our loss and move forward. Remember how some of my themes for the New Year are downsizing and organization?? Well, nothing like a fire to assist you in those efforts! We began in earnest the process of emptying out the house of the rest of the contents. All items need to be cataloged as best as we can for our insurance claim. I am taking pictures of everything with my iPhone and will input later into a spreadsheet. We filled about half of the dumpster with smaller pieces of furniture and about 30 large construction type bags full of our books, CDS/DVDS, my research files and books (!?!?!), toys, kitchen and other stuff. Here are a few pictures:

The one above is actually of the inside of one of our pantry cupboards. You can see the soot outline of the items that were on the shelf, plus the drizzle of water spray down the back

Good bye to Woody...
Hubby in the dumpster...
This one reminds me that despite what happens in life the grass is greener
and the promise of spring is in the air!
It really was not as bad or as emotional as I thought it might be. We were both matter of fact. We wore gloves and masks the whole time. Kind of weird when you are using a port-a-potty on your own property!! We are still researching all the possible “what will we do” including nothing, rebuilding or selling. I will keep you up to speed.

I finally kicked the bad case of bronchitis-like illness I carried around for the last 10 days. I still have a residual cough, but feel great. Today I will head out for a long walk and hopefully a short bike ride. Eating was really on target this weekend. I am hoping to get to a new all time low before the Tour de Cure.

Hope you all had a good weekend. Stay strong and TTFN, Michele

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rekindling and Firing Up!

It is now only 5 weeks until the Tour de Cure, a cycling fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association on May 21. So, this week I have re-committed myself to putting my best foot forward to prepare for this bike tour. It is something I never thought that I could do, and I am going to give it my best effort. I am overcoming my inertia and status quo stance and getting fired back up again to move forward in fitness. With 5 weeks left to go, I know I have enough time to train and prepare for my 31 miles. Bike riding season has barely started in Minnesota, however, I have already completed two twenty mile rides (one at a National Seashore last week in Florida). So, Tour de Cure here I come. This will be my weigh (way) of rekindling my resolve toward my own fitness goals despite the other recent events.

This last photo is one I took on our last morning in Florida last week before we left for New Orleans. So, Jackie: here is my sunrise shot. To me: nothing speaks to the promise of a new day like watching a sunrise over a body of water.
Have a great weekend everyone! TTFN, michele

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hello!

Hello Bloggers and Readers!
I would like to thank-you all for your kind words throughout the last three weeks after we lost our farmhouse to fire. Despite our loss, I feel we were very fortunate and actually are quite privileged. My ruminations have been all over the place. I always come back to the fact that we, our lives, were not lost, just our memorabilia, material goods and playthings. At this point, it is still too early to make a decision about whether we will rebuild, sell, or what. But, we are talking about it, and with our adult children, too.

For about the last week I have been traveling to two conferences related to the professional work I engage in. Both are research-oriented conferences, the first in Orlando, Fl and the second in New Orleans. I presented one paper last week; tomorrow I present the other. These are intellectually stimulating conferences for me and help me to keep the recent events in perspective. I think you all know that I am a professional educator, an academic. These are challenging times to be a teacher or in my case a teacher educator/researcher. Our profession is under assault as many of you know. Teaching is a complex endeavor. The sessions I have attended, the research that I have listened to and the conversations that I have had, help me to know that there is much to be hopeful for, but, much that saddens my heart.

This is of course a weight loss blog, so you are probably wondering how I am doing on my journey. "Okay" is what I have to say. Not bad. I have not weighed in for a while but I can feel that I have not lost any weight. I have kept up my exercise fairly well these past few weeks, but that is not enough for me. I know I need to find my mojo again and the discipline that I had for so long. I will. You know I will.

Thanks again to all of you for sending well wishes and inquiries about how I was doing during my absence. I look forward to catching up with you all in the next days and week. Stay strong everyone, Michele