Has listening to the “experts” confused us right into being overweight and out of shape?

Just when you thought it was safe to cook a healthy meal “someone” decides for us that we are doing it all wrong.   I sure wish this “someone” or the so called “experts” would make up their minds or maybe we just need to stop listening and trust our common sense instead.

Social media and the internet provides us with more than enough information about the latest diet trends and fads.  There are scores of before and after photos, recipes, exercise plans and countless promises of weight loss and tight abs.

There is so much information out there that it is paralyzing.  It’s like putting a child in the middle of a giant toy store and telling them to pick one thing.

Cue major meltdown.

Yup..I feel like this alot…

 

They changed the rules AGAIN???

Despite all the knowledge being passed out and research being done  we are still facing an epidemic of obesity and inactivity.

What is the answer?  

I think it is different for everyone.  One size fits all doesn’t work here ( actually it doesn’t work anywhere).  We all have different lifestyles, different needs, picky kids, allergies, varying budgets.  The one thing we all have is the ability to slow things down and listen to our own wisdom and what works best for us.

The best advice I ever heard in regards to eating came from author Michael Pollen who said:

Eat real food

Mostly green

Not a lot

If you can only do two out of three of this list then I would suggest you pick: Real food and not a lot.  The mostly green part would be great but take that to mean all veggies and fruits and it may be easier.

Learning from our past may be the best new rule

I  noticed something very interesting when  I was looking at some old group photos of my grade school classes. (Yes this is when we walked to school in the snow, uphill…both ways. 🙂 )

Out of a class of 20-25 womans health children there were only one or two overweight children .

What has changed? 

  • We actually did walk to school or rode our bikes and believe it or not we also walked home for lunch and back.  We played on the playground while waiting to go inside in the morning and after lunch.  We had recess and we played after school.
  • We had a milk break in the morning but never snack
  • At home we never snacked after dinner. Ice cream was a treat
  • We never had soda in the house
  • Eating in the car was unheard of and fast food was rarely an option
  • We ate at the table. In the kitchen.  Always
  • The food was on the stove or the counter and not the table.  If you wanted seconds you actually had to get up and get it.  You either didn’t make the effort or got distracted by the family conversation and realized you didn’t want seconds after all.

So basically we got a lot of exercise and didn’t have food available all the time.  Treats were just that, treats. The kitchen was where we ate, no where else.

Pretty simple.  Don’t get me wrong there were things that needed improvement.  Adults routinely had quite a long cocktail hour every day, white bread was the norm and the amount  of butter used would make Paula Deen look like she used it sparingly.

I’m not about to wear a dress, high heels and my pearls everyday to cook much like they did in the fifties and sixties ( well Mrs. Cleaver did!) but I can reclaim some of the great habits and traditions from those times.  Sure is simple, easy and more importantly worked well because it sure looks like despite some great improvements we may have “new and improved” ourselves right into being overweight and out of shape.

All because we listened to those who keep changing the rules.

What is the one easy thing you can do now to improve your health?

Yup I am going to let you in on THE secret.  The BIG secret as to the ONE thing you can do to improve your health.  The one EASY thing you can do and I am not even going to make you read a whole lot to find out the big secret.

It is tempting though to write a whole bunch just to make you read it but that makes me crazy so I won’t do it to you.

Just don’t cringe when you find out what it is because I do have a little explanation about that makes a whole lot of sense and how you can get started.  Truth be told you are already doing it.

The big secret to improving your health NOW?

Get up and MOVE !  Run, walk, skip, bend over, touch your toes, reach high, reach low, bend to the side, bend over, sit down, and get up right up away.

JUST MOVE !!

Yup that is it.

By the way I didn’t just make this up.  It comes from an accredited source even though it sounds as easy as pie.

Here is the thing that got my attention.  Staying sedentary for five hours at a time is the same as smoking a pack of cigarettes.  WHAT???

The biggest obstacle people ( okay us)  face as we age is the immobility.  We get lazy, we don’t get up , we don’t move, stretch or bend.

So a few things you should know:

  • A Harvard study found that walking an hour a week cut the risk of heart attack in half for 39,372 women.
  • A moderate 30 minute walk a day substantially reduces the risk of getting tramadol breast cancer and/or surviving the disease.
  • Increasing the rate or intensity of every day activities had the same benefits of walking ( intensive yard work, stairs instead of elevator, parking farther away than usual, or washing your car, or walking your dog at a faster rate or farther than usual).
  • Basically anything that can increase the amount you move will benefit you greatly.

I recently met a woman who was my age that was complaining about the cost of her recent pedicure.  I mean really complaining about it so much that I had to ask or suggest she just do it herself most of the time and then treat herself to a real pedicure every 3 months or so.  She shook her head no, it wasn’t possible.  She could no longer bend over far enough to reach her toes to paint them.

This woman had no real health problems, no arthritis or anything that would physically prevent her from bending over except she hadn’t done it in awhile.  She just hadn’t moved much and the really sad part is she had no interest in doing some simple exercises to be able to increase her ability to reach her toes.

So of course I went home and did all kinds of stretching ( I also clean my house intensely after viewing an episode of hoarders)!

So get up and move. Make it fun.  Dance, chase your dog, skip, challenge yourself to walk everywhere faster, touch your toes, ditch the remote, do your own toes, run up and down the stairs!

Just do it! 🙂

P.S.  Max keeps me moving no matter what the weather!

Get Moving

 

It’s about time..or not! Living without a clock for a day…what I discovered!

As promised I am posting about my day without all the time keepers in my life.  And as promised I am posting it “soonish” which has become my new favorite word.

So in my previous post ( find it here) I had a new awareness about time and what a hold it has on me.  I promised to go a whole day without using my watch  ( I’m addicted to the point that I wear it to bed) or any other of device that displays the time.

Before anyone says “Who has the time for this?”  I will share that it is such an anomaly that I would have a day free to do this and it was a luxury.   I even started to back out on Sunday night ( because seriously who has the time for this!) but since I coach people on how to get out of their comfort zones and since I am always hearing how people don’t have time to eat well, exercise, journal, meditate, or even just take some time for themselves I KNEW I needed to make good on my promise.

I reluctantly gave up my watch when I went to bed and wondered what the day would bring.  Oh I also covered up the most obvious time displays ( oven, microwave, computer, phone).

I actually didn’t officially start until 12:30 am thanks to my cat who woke me up because she got trapped in the garage and I had to disengage the alarm system to get to her…and there was the time shining at me on the wall display…I was half asleep so it wasn’t really my fault.

So in  nutshell here is what I discovered:

  • It was surprisingly easy to NOT know what time it was.  I was aware and careful and as the day progressed I REALLY didn’t care or want to know the time.
  • Couldn’t use the sun to gauge  it since it was raining and cloudy..oh well.
  • I was very focused and got a lot done ( this was a surprise)!
  • Without the clock and all those little voices in  my head telling me I was wasting hair loss time, I actually DID NOT waste time.
  • It was relaxing with no pressure to hurry up.
  • Some of what I think about time is habit and some of it is lies I tell myself ( no time for this, I can do this later etc).
  • With no clock to tell me what to do or how long to spend on things I found my own rhythm for the day.
  • I try to control it all the time but it really controls me.
  • I try to cram way too many things into one day which frustrates me and makes me feel unaccomplished.
  • Eating when I was hungry and not because it was lunch or dinner time was much more satisfying although my body went from “a little bit hungry” to “I am starving” in a very short period of time.

To be honest I thought I would hate this kind of day.  I thought I would be unproductive and frustrated and go through withdrawals without my watch or some other form of time keeping and it ended up being just the opposite.

I thought I would be all upside down without it and what it did was really turn me back to right side up!

I actually miss not keeping time and I quit wearing my watch to bed.  I don’t think I cured my procrastination habit but I certainly have some new awareness of how focused or unfocused I am…for some reason not looking at the time quieted all those “squirrel” moments that distract me from my intended tasks.

And in the end it was not about the clocks, watches or any other displays of time in my life.  It was and is about my perception of how much time I need, how I spend it and how I value or don’t value it.

So how about you?  Are you ready for a timeless day?  Want a little coaching about it?  Let me know here and we can get started.

And here is my favorite clock of all in my  house that loudly reminds me to “Go out and have some fun with your time”  Don’t you just  love it?

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It’s About Time!

I am having a new awareness about time.  All about time, where I spend it and most importantly why it seems to have  this hold on me all the time! ( pun intended)

Yesterday was a beautiful, unusually warm day here on the East Coast.  I decided to just take the day off and enjoy it.  Trying to ignore all the little thoughts that told me I shouldn’t do this was quite a task but I managed.  Still it made me think about what I do with my time, how I measure it and what would it be like IF I didn’t look at the clock at all for one WHOLE day.

Would I:

  • eat only when I was hungry?
  • pay attention to where the sun was in the sky?
  • use my time better if I wasn’t constantly aware of how much time I had left ?
  • not try and cram so many things into an impossibly short amount of time?
  • go a little crazy because I didn’t know what time it is?
  • get up when I was well rested and not to an alarm?

I suddenly became aware of how many different places the time is displayed besides my watch ( which I wear 24/7) and this is the list I came up with:

  • the oven
  • the microwave
  • my ipad, kindle, phone, computer
  • the car
  • the cable box
  • my home phone
  • decorative wall clocks
  • my coffee maker

Wow it is everywhere which leads me to ask “Why do people always ask me what time it is?” This happens often because many people do not wear a watch and it’s much easier to ask me than skin care pull out their phone..arghhh.  My husband is so guilty of this and when I am feeling snarky I often tell him when he asks the time “Time to get a watch” !  It never works.IMG_2402

So I am going to walk my talk, step out of my comfort zone, be really upside down and go timeless on Monday.  Since I have to change all the clocks on Sunday anyways it will be the perfect opportunity  for me to put that removable blue painters tape over all visible time pieces in my house, on my gadgets and in my cars.

I am already twitching a little.

Often in coaching I am told that there isn’t time to eat healthy, exercise, or do the things that really matter to the client.

I get it.  I mean I really get it.  So this should be really interesting on Monday.

I’m not sure if its a coincidence or just one of those things where the stars align that I happen to have Monday free to do this.

So who wants to join me ?  I realize it’s a luxury to have the “time” to do this so even if it’s for a small part of the day please hop on the timeless train.

I’ll be on Twitter  @jenniferbross, my facebook page and instagram ( your upside down life)

Want to coach or try coaching?  Go here and we’ll schedule a free mini coaching session!

As always…take some time, step out of your comfort zone and enjoy life a little upside down!

Why October is the best month to….

I could fill this in with so many things but lets stick with our Fun with Food thing!  Not to be confused with Sheldon’s “Fun with Flags.”fun with flagsOops it looks like he is having fun with food as well!

So why is October one of the best times to focus on food and really get a handle on what we put on our plates and what goes into our mouths?  Because we know what is coming! ( Imagine scary music right HERE)

The ultimate in food fests is heading our way and as much as we try to deny it we cannot.  It is coming right at us like a missile and we won’t know what hit us until we step on the scale on January 1st and instead of that pesky 10 lbs we intended to lose its now 18lbs.  Yikes!

The average weight gain over the holidays is 8lbs.  Yup 8 lbs.  Think of the last thing you saw that was 8lbs.  It could be a baby, a sack of potatoes, a ham.  Puts it in perspective right?

That 18 lbs I mentioned earlier might be the size of your Thanksgiving turkey.

Wow…anybody else besides me think I just sucked the fun right out of “Fun with Food” ?

We do equate being social and having fun with eating.  Can you think of one event that does not have a food component?  That’s a tough one.

So while it may not be fun in the truest sense it will make you breathe a little easier come January if you start to have an awareness around the holidays, the food, the parties, the drinking and figure out how you want to be with it.

You get to choose.  YES it IS a choice and YES you can still enjoy the food and have fun and not cry and beat yourself up on January 1st if you dare to get on the scale.

Think about all the reasons excuses you use to have a free for all from Nov 1st – Dec. 31st.

Maybe yours include the following:

  • I have to have this, Aunt Tilly only makes this ONCE a year so its a treat.
  • Mom will be hurt if I don’t eat alot, its her way of saying she loves me!
  • It’s the holidays, time to let loose!
  • I dance better when I’ve had lots of wine
  • I need insulation for the upcoming winter months.

Any of these look familiar.  I think I have said every one of those except for the last one.

So in a rather long run on sentence ( my English teacher is doing spins in her grave) here is why those excuses don’t hold up.  Aunt Tilly only makes her special 1000 calorie a bite dish once a year because it is an evil antibiotics plot to keep you all coming to her house over the holidays since she won’t share the recipe and Mom is an undercover food pusher who could guilt even the toughest guy into eating more than he could ever imagine (she is actually an undercover agent for the government that specializes in making the enemy talk or in her case guilting them into talking) and if letting loose means your pants then go for it but if you really think you dance better after half a bottle of wine then go check out the videos your cousin posted on you tube and if the last one is true then get rid of your sweaters and your coats because you will be plenty insulated.

Phew… Hope you are laughing or at least smiling.

So have some fun with making up stories about how you are to navigate the holiday buffet, avoiding the things you can’t stop eating much like a ship avoids icebergs.

 Picture your Mom holding a piece of cake in front of you except you are not in your home you are in one of those interrogation rooms with a single light bulb ( remember she is undercover for the government)!

Figure out how you will get Aunt Tilly’s famous recipe and maybe even make it a little healthier.

The point here is that NOW is the time to figure out how you want to be with the “food thing” over the holidays.  If instead we have fun with our families and less with the food we will probably be happier when January rolls around.

I’m not saying it’s easy.  I’m just saying you can have a good time, celebrate, enjoy the food but not act like its your last meal. I can say this because I have been there and  when I did plow into the food like there was not tomorrow January 1st was not fun and I wished I had made different choices.

An upside down moment for sure.

If you are having trouble figuring out what what will work for you then how about trying out a complimentary coaching session?  Go here to get that on your calendar and get a head start on your plan for the holidays.

Lastly, if you do have relatives that make a family favorite please make sure someone has the recipe or knows how to duplicate it ( even if it is 1000 calories a bite)  I would love to have some of my grandmothers famous dishes, especially her buckwheat pancakes but sadly no one has the recipe. 🙁

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And my grandma really did know how to have fun!’

If this finds you hanging upside down then don’t forget to enjoy the view!

Lessons about freedom from a dog leash..who knew?

Well if this isn’t the perfect post for Your Upside Down Life because it’s perfectly upside down. I had no idea when I picked freedom for our theme for July that I would learn about freedom from a dog leash.  I don’t think anyone would put freedom and dog leash together especially when it really has nothing to do with putting a dog at the end of the leash.

Our trusty dog leash had a mind of its’ own.  It was constantly disappearing and reappearing and causing me immense amounts of stress especially when I was in a hurry and needed to get the dog out before I left the house.  Our dog, Max, has a mind of his own as well and will take off in a flash when not on a leash, return about 30-45 minutes later, happily covered in mud.  Just what I don’t need when leaving the house.  So the leash is NOT optional.

I had tried setting hard and fast rules about where to keep the leash but SOMEONE in this house would constantly NOT put the leash back in its designated home.  And that someone would be me.

Things needed to change.  I could no longer leave the house stressed out, in a bad mood and mad at everyone especially myself.

I had no idea one dog leash could cause me so much distress.

Finding a good permanent home for the leash was the easy part.  Putting it there after every walk with Max made my head hurt.  In case you haven’t guessed I was not “born organized”.  I had to think about it EVERY time for a long time.  I know they say ( whoever “they” are) that it takes 21 days to change a habit.  Well they never met me or my many NOT born organized friends.  I didn’t keep track but it took months and a conscious effort on my part to put that dog leash back in the drawer each and every time.

Even though I slip up now and again, it feels weight loss amazing to reach in that drawer and the leash is there EVERY time. Simple I know but it frees me from last minute stress and that one simple habit is helping me alleviate stress in other areas of my life.

There is an old saying that “being organized means you are just too lazy to look for stuff.”  I love that saying because it makes me laugh  but the truth is I was tired of looking for stuff like my glasses, my phone, the cordless home phone, my favorite pen.  You get the picture.

The dog leash craziness taught me a couple of things:

  • patience with myself   ( it took months to train my brain with this habit)
  • acceptance ( lots of my creativity comes from being “random” ( thats a fancy way of saying disorganized) and its not a “bad” thing just part of who I am
  • slowing down   I had to slow down and consciously put the leash away

All of the above “freed” me from negative self talk, wanting to be something that I was not ( naturally organized) and gave me permission to just slow things down which I learned was a major part of the problem.

What I have noticed that by changing this habit of constantly losing the dog leash I am suddenly aware when I randomly put my glasses, phone, or keys somewhere they do not belong..this little voice says to me … “Oh no you don’t!  You will be looking for those in about 2 minutes…put them where they belong”

That little voice suspiciously sounds like my mother but I’ll take it!

And now when I see the leash I smile. I love my creative side. It is part of my essence but I also love that I can learn to be more organized and less stressed.

The leash  came with Max ( the endless shedding dog) when we adopted him. I love the irony of the design on it. Who knew it would teach me peace and freedom?

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Quit Eating and do this instead!

We are obsessed with food and we can’t live without it.  This time of year pumpkin recipes, ideas for football game snacks and holiday parties are plentiful.  Our state fair is in progress and its all about the fried food.  Everything  from fried oreos to fried sweet rolls wrapped in bacon and covered with sugar.

We eat.  We eat a lot.  I’m guilty of it for sure.  I love food.  Who doesn’t?

I just got back from a dream trip to Italy ( fair warning you will hearing a lot about it )  and a couple of things about Italy:

  • It’s hard to find a bad meal in Italy..it is all divine even at the smallest dive
  • They LOVE their food.
  •  I’ts more than food to them it’s a way of life.
  • Fresh food is delightfully abundant.  In NYC you might find a Starbucks on every corner.  In Rome you will find a fresh market.

And yet Italians rarely eat.

No they do not.

They dine.

You might argue that it’s a matter of semantic or words but I promise you there is a big difference.

This is what we saw everywhere and because we stayed in some very small local towns so I can guarantee it is not just for tourists.

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We laughed that every spare space, be it in an alley or just on corner, the italians would find a way to put a table there. They love to dine outside and watch the world go by.

Coffee is everywhere but not once was I served in a “to go” cup.  People premier-pharmacy.com took their time and sat down to drink it ( even in busy Rome).

There are no drive thru’s and not once did I see anyone eat in their cars .  Of course the way they drive that would be a disaster anyways.

We even drove past a picnic one day complete with a table, red checkered table cloth and real wine glasses.

What would happen if we actually sat down and dined rather than just eat?  What if we made it an experience, took our time, used real plates,and  real cups?  And what if we did this even if  we were dining alone?

I know what would happen because I experienced it.  Food would be enjoyed,  eaten slowly and with purpose.  It would be an experience to savor.

Maybe the problem with weight in this country is not so much what we eat but how we eat.  I know some of you are thinking you have no time.  I get it, and yet you only need to start with one meal.  Try it.  See if it makes a difference.

If you need a baby step then start by asking for a real cup at Starbucks ( they have them, I promise)  Sit down, sip and  breathe.

So don’t eat today. Instead dine with purpose and pleasure.  It will make a difference.

 

 

Weather Wimp or Weather Warrior?

Since January we have seen a winter that threatens to never end.  And just as we get a taste of spring, Mother Nature sends snow, a cold front and now torential rains and tornados.

Mother Nature is a big old tease.

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Even the plants are confused.

Trying to get out in this to run, walk, or cycle has been a challenge and a convenient excuse for us weather wimps.

I mean who can blame us?  Who would go out in this stuff ..

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Weather warriors that’s who, like my friend Ron. Except for extreme conditions like blizzards and ice storms I uusually see or hear about those weather warriors that are out there getting their workout in and enjoying every aspect of nature….

AND

making this weather wimp ( and others) feel guilty as we trudge off to the comforts of the gym.

I could make the argument that us weather wimps are a little higher on the sanity scale but in reality I am in awe of the weather warriors

I do entertain thoughts of  “Are they crazy, am I lazy or am I just being smart” ?

Even as the weather has gotten better I find myself procrastinating ..waiting for the perfect day of no humidity, 65 degrees and sunny with just a whisper of clouds.

If I only want to run or bike pain relief outside about 5 days a year then I am good.

But  I want more.

So what is the secret to getting out there when its not ideal conditions?

There is the old standby of having a running, cycling, walking buddy .  I know that works because for over 10 yrs I walked with my friend Fancy at  5am every week-day morning and the the only time we cancelled was for ice or torential rain.

I think the real secret to transitioning from weather wimp to weather warrior is simply habit.  When it’s something you have ingrained in you like brushing your teeth you aren’t going to let most weather get in your way.  There will be those occasions when its just not safe to go out there .  When if it’s a habit and  the weather turns colder or hotter you are getting use to the changes gradually instead of heading out there cold turkey after a long absence.

I’m getting out there and will let you know if making it a habit can actually turn a weather wimp into a weather warrior.  Let’s do this!!

And as usual. even after careful proofreading, any leftover typos or grammatical errors are my gift to you and a reminder that we are all perfectly imperfect.

 

 

Sage advice from my 87 yr old Mom

How many times did I roll my eyes at advice my Mom gave?  Too many times to count and now I wished I had listened a little more carefully.  There is, however,  one piece of advice that she gave everyone everyday without even opening her mouth.

It came to mind recently when there was a news report that researchers have discovered that stress is contagious.  I laughed at that one.  That is old news to anyone working in a high stress job.  Those researchers could have saved a lot of time and  money if they had just talked to a few nurses.

I know from experience that when everything is hitting the fan it makes a HUGE difference if the nurse in charge stays calm.  The same situation looks and feels vastly different when the charge nurse  is losing her cool.  I’m sure that can be said for any stressful anti anxiety situation.

As Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD said in her book “My Stroke of Insight”:

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Here is another contagious stress inducer: Multi tasking.  I am sooo guilty of this.  As a matter of fact I was thinking about this blog post and my Mom’s advice as I was racing to get out the door and started to laugh.  In the midst of multi- tasking and rushing I dropped and broke 3 things, tripped and did everything poorly until I slowed down and gave myself an extra 5 minutes.  That is all it took, an extra 5 mintues

So what advice did my Mom give us everyday without opening her mouth?  Here it is and it still hangs in her kitchen.

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Sometimes it is the simplest solutions to the biggest problems that work best.

Thanks Mom and Happy Mother’s Day..a little early.