Category Archives: weight loss & health

21 Day Cold Shower Challenge

Say what? Yes! I participated in a 21 Day Cold Shower Challenge with Ben Greenfield. I stood in a shower of the coldest water I could have for 5 minutes every day for 21 days. Not only did it benefit the Brain Trauma Foundation, I actually liked it!

I’ve been listening to Ben Greenfield’s podcast for quite a while now. His topics are so interesting and I’d heard at least two on the subject of cold thermogenesis before he announced the challenge. 

Some of the benefits of cold exposure are:

  • Lowering body fat
  • Increasing hormone levels
  • Improving sexual performance and fertility
  • Lowering blood sugar
  • Cutting food cravings
  • Improving adrenal function
  • Fixing thyroid issues
  • Enhancing immune function
  • Improving deep sleep quality
  • Increasing pain tolerance
  • Reducing inflammation

I had already been doing two minutes a day since hearing the first podcast so I figured it would be easy enough to take it to five minutes. Plus, it had the additional benefit of raising funds for the Brain Trauma Foundation

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The participants were all joined in a private Facebook group to share our daily experiences. We were encouraged to take a photo to post. After a couple of weeks, I thought mine were boring so I got some shower caps to liven it up.

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It was a fun experience and something I continue to do. We raised $3,644 for the Brain Trauma Foundation. So it was a great experience all around.

If you are interested in health and sports fitness and endurance, I can’t recommend Ben’s podcast enough. It’s always loaded with interesting and fascinating information!

 

National Walking Day!

Every day on snapchat, I encourage people to walk. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ll know walking is one of my true passions in life and that David and I have been walking for at least 11 years now. 

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Well, Wednesday is your chance to get started on a walking program. It’s National Walking Day! 

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The American Heart Association has the following suggestions for how you can participate in National Walking Day. 

  • Take a walk on April 6!  (We encourage a 30-minute walk.) 
  • “Donate” your minutes walked that day at #AHALaceUp. Whether it’s 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour, post your minutes on social media using the hashtag #AHALaceUp and help us reach a total “donation” of 100,000 minutes walked across America! Follow our updates all day.
  • Want to encourage friends and family to join you? Planning a walk at work or school? It’s easy! Get the free National Walking Day toolkit with tips and promotional materials here!
  • And follow @american_heart on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for news and tips on fun ways to move.

I hope you’ll give it a whirl. It’s so easy and you’ll feel great afterwards. See you there! And don’t forget #AHALaceUP. πŸ™‚

Go Red Girlfriend Moments

In November, I was contacted by the local Go Red coordinator and asked if I would be willing to host a Go Red Girlfriends Moment to take a stand for all the women in my life.

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What is a Go Red Girlfriends Moment??

A β€˜Moment’ is defined as an opportunity taken to spread awareness to women’s cardiovascular health, and to ask friends and family to join you in making a gift to the cause to take a stand for all women close to your heart.

I was getting ready to hit the road but I planned three “Moments”. They were small but important. 

I held the first Moment in Las Vegas. We met at Serendipity 3 for their famous frozen hot chocolate. Not something that is necessarily heart healthy but it’s not every day you share a treat like this. My two friends, Lyndzee and Lauren, joined me and we were able to talk about how they could keep their hearts healthy. 

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My next Moment took place in Tulsa at my home. I invited my friends for a glass of wine and some Christmas cookies. It was really getting close to Christmas and only two of my Tulsa friends were able to make it, Laura and Shelley. Yet, the message is important and as a bonus, these are two women I was excited to introduce to each other. 

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I scheduled my third “Moment” in Oklahoma City the same day Mother Nature decided she wanted to schedule an ice storm. I had to cancel this “Moment” and I was really disappointed since it would’ve been the largest. I made a donation for each of my friends who said they would attend and I hope to reschedule it in the future. 

The Go Red message is one that I believe in strongly. I’ve seen my own aunt be an almost text book story of how her symptoms didn’t look like a “typical” heart attack in men, the doctor sending her home, and my cousin insisting they figure it out. Over my years of volunteering for Go Red I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that particular scenario.

Ladies, know your numbers! Know the signs and symptoms of heart attack in women and be alert for your heart health and the women around you. Extra information can be found at the Go Red for Women website. 

Save Lives California Tobacco Rally

On Wednesday morning, bright and early, I carpooled with two other folks from the American Heart Association up to the state capitol in Sacramento. We were joining the many other groups that make up the Save Lives California Coalition for a tobacco rally.

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A special session was held to approve a package of six tobacco bills. 

The package included:

  • SBX2-5/ABX2-6, which would add electronic cigarettes to the existing definition of tobacco products;
  • SBX2-6/ABX2-7, which would add hotel lobbies, small businesses, break rooms and tobacco retailers to the list of smoke-free workplaces under state law;
  • SBX2-7/ABX2-8, which would increase the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products to 21 years old;
  • SBX2-8/ABX2-9, which would require all schools in the state to be tobacco-free;
  • SBX2-9/ABX2-10, which would allow local jurisdictions across the state to tax tobacco; and
  • SBX2-10/ABX2-11, which would create an annual Board of Equalization tobacco licensing fee program (California Healthline, 7/17).

Cigarette smoke related disease is the most preventable cause of death. The measures above should not only save money to the California health care system, it will also save lives. 

The day started with a press conference in the park. 

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Then we were broken up into groups and we visited the lawmakers on our list asking them to consider supporting the bills, giving them the reasons they should support them, and sharing our personal stories. 

My group included Jang, a heart attack, stroke, survivor, heart, kidney transplant wonderman and three medical students from UCSF: Rachel, Iris and David. 

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It took us a while to get cleared to go into the building.

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But when we did, my group and I visited all of the lawmakers on our list. I thought we did a great job of presenting our case and were received very well. Then Jang and I decided to visit one of our local assemblymen. He hadn’t received a visit from anyone so we were happy we stepped outside the box on that decision. πŸ™‚

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I read this morning that the bills passed the Senate. I hope they will become laws and more control will be placed on the smoking and second hand smoking here in California. 

 

 

Bay Area Wellness Symposium

On Tuesday, I was invited to attend the Bay Area Wellness Symposium put on by the American Heart Association. Although the focus was on workplace wellness, because I’m interested in health and fitness, I was very excited to attend!

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The day started with  welcome followed by a panel interview. All of the panelists spoke about the employee wellness programs they are operating at their companies. They are doing some innovative things and they are getting lots of participation which equals healthy employees and healthcare cost savings.

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Then we had a little Zumba before the break. It was fun to watch the whole audience participate but it would’ve been hard not to want to follow the lady who was leading it. She was upbeat and fun!

 After that, there were two break out sessions to choose from. I chose the session on Fit-Friendly Worksites. I don’t currently have a job, but if I did, I would want it to fall in line with these guidelines. I think it’s a great opportunity for people to be motivated by their co-workers to optimum health. Excellent idea that I’m also hoping I can figure out how to translate to our apartment complex here. 

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The morning ended with a keynote by Jeffrey Pfeffer who spoke to us about Dying for a Paycheck. His preseantion was about his research into the negative effects of workplaces on our health. He was funny and extremely interesting!

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I’m glad I learned about and decided to attend the Bay Area Wellness Symposium. Not only did I take away some great information, it also allowed me to start connected with the American Heart Association in the Bay Area. πŸ™‚

 

 

The Strawberry Tree

Yesterday, I videotaped part of my walk so you could see the strawberry tree. Then I ate the strawberry I picked up.

Y’all, those things are awesome! Really, really sweet. The outsde is pretty bumpy and I didn’t care for it so much but the insdie? Delicious! David wouldn’t even try it. His loss. I didn’t die so it’s all good. πŸ˜€

Here’s the video. πŸ™‚

 

The Bong of Health

I start every morning with warm lemon water. 

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While I’m warming the water in the kettle, I take my lemon and peel it, being careful to leave as much of the white pith behind as possible. Then I cut it in half, take out as many seeds as I see and toss it in the Vitamix. I add 32 oz of warm water and blend. Voila! Instant detoxifying healthy hydration. 

TannyRaw, whom I follow on YouTube, pours hers into a glass vase and calls it the bong of health. Although I haven’t gotten a vase to drink mine out of yet, I still call it that because I love the terminology.

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Here are some benefits of drinking lemon water in the a.m.

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Now why wouldn’t you want all of that? πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking and Falling

You know how I’m always going on and on about walking? Well, it turns out it’s good for you. ::hee hee hee:: I found this video when I was looking around the intenet. It’s pretty funny. 

 
It’s true that the benefits of walking just 30 minutes a day are numerous. I’ve been walking consistently for 10 years now. What started out as a way to get out of the house so we could talk about our nephew who was a bit of a handful has turned into something I would miss terribly if I had to go without.

I sleep better, feel better and look better. We are always surprised how, at 54, we are on no prescription medications when so many people we know, who are younger than us, are. It’s become a way of life for us. 

It can for you, too! It’s super easy, inexpensive, and fun. I just found a new walking path that I really love the other day. It has several hills but also STAIRS! The stairs go under the CalTrain tracks and when I get to them, I run up and down several times. I’m up to 14 now.

Yesterday when I walked, there were work guys at the other side of the tunnel. I asked one guy if it would be okay if I ran the stairs and he said it would be fine but he didn’t really seem like he meant it so I told him I’d just do them tomorrow. 

As I walked, I remembered the stairs down to the Guadalupe River Trail where I typically ride my bike. When I got there, I ran them. 

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And fell.

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These stairs are a little wider than the other set I usually run and I think I just adjusted wrong. But I’m okay. My face and phone (nor anything else) aren’t broken and I just have a couple of bruises.

Anyway, all’s well that end’s well. Get out and walk today. It’s such fun and you’ll feel better for it. I won’t even expect you to do stairs. Yet. πŸ˜‰

White Shorts Are Just So…White

A couple of weeks ago, my pageant director made a change in the wardrobe requirements for the pageant. She had originally said we needed denim shorts for an event where we would wear our pageant tee shirts. I was happy with that because I saw that the contestants last year had to wear white shorts and white shorts are not something I wear. Ever.

White shorts are just so … white.

And see through.

But the wardrobe change that came forth was white shorts instead of the denim shorts. Along with that, white shoes. I don’t wear white shoes. Ever.

Except walking shoes but those get dirty so fast they are white in name only.

This change threw me for a bit of a loop. Being new to San Jose, I wasn’t sure where to find a store that I could buy white shorts from. Now, after searching for white shorts, I’m a pro at finding any store in a 50 mile radius. And I think I can get there without using GPS. Bonus points.

By yesterday, I was really running out of options and the pageant is two weeks away. I have two pairs of white shorts here at the house. One that I ordered online that doesn’t fit and one that is my plan Z if I can’t find plan A.

My biggest problem is the fact that my waist is so small compared to my hips. There is always a HUGE gap in the back when they fit everywhere else. I went into one store last week. I saw there on a rack, “Gapless Waistband!” I was so excited!

“Get me into a dressing room with a pair of those shorts!” I told the sales lady.

I rushed to try the shorts on seeing the finish line of my white short search looming in the near distance. 

I put the shorts on, zipped them up, and… probably the biggest gap I’d seen in any pair of shorts I’d tried up to that point. In fact, it was so big, I actually came out of the dressing room to show the sales lady.

“You see? This is what I’m dealing with,” I said as she sadly shook her head.

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So yesterday, in one of my last ditch ideas I thought of Lane Bryant. Over the years of being overweight, I shopped at Lane Bryant a lot. They have cute clothes. They also have long jeans that are truly long. They start at a size 14 which is where I am right now. 

I went in and walked up to a lady folding shirts. 

“I need your help urgently to save my life,” I said.

“Okay,” she replied, not looking up from what she was doing.

“I have to buy a pair of white shorts for a pageant I’m competing in in two weeks. I’m not having any luck and I hope you can help me.”

She finally looks up. “We don’t have your size here.”

OMG! Did I just hear what I thought I heard??!!! She doesn’t have my size.

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Stunned, thrilled, happy, excited, I trailed after her as she went to get a size 14 off the rack and take it to the dressing room. I never told her what size I was but size 14 is the smallest size they carry. 

The shorts fit, they look good. Woo hoo! While I was trying to calm down because of the fact my search for white shorts was finally at an end, I completely forgot what she had said to me earlier until after I left the store.

I paid for the shorts, thanking her profusely for saving my life.

She said, “You’re beautiful. Good luck in your pageant!”

I thanked her again and left. As I was going down the elevator, I remembered again what she said to me about not having my size. 

White shorts purchased + being told at Lane Bryant “we don’t have your size” = day made! πŸ˜€

T is for Tea

So you know I’m a coffee achiever but sometimes I actually like to have tea. Mostly because of their health benefits, not because I prefer them, ever, to coffee. 

Right now there are three teas I have nearly every day. The first is green tea. Now, I don’t like the way green tea tastes, brewed, in a cup. I do, however, like the way it tastes in my morning smoothie. I think it’s strange, myself, but it works! The benefits of green tea are numerous and I willing to accept the health benefits of the tea in addiction to the benefits of my green smoothie each morning. πŸ˜€

The next tea I have each day is Oolong Tea. Somewhere between a black tea and a green tea, this tea is also beneficial for healthy skin, healthy bones, and combating the signs of aging. I drink a couple of cups a day because it peps me up without spinning me out. It’s also said to help with weight loss and, if that’s true, I won’t say no. πŸ˜€

Finally, we love to have a cup of chamomile tea before we go to bed at night. I see it sometimes as a  tea choice in restaurants and wonder how the person who drinks it during the day manages to make it through the afternoon or even get to their car. Chamomile lulls me quickly and soundly to sleep without any chemicals and I love it. I love the way it tastes, too. 

So there you have it. I do like to drink iced tea when it’s really hot. But I almost like it too much and will drink it instead of water. So I make sure I drink a gallon of water first. Then, if I have any desire for more to drink, I’ll let myself have iced tea. 

What kinds of teas do you like? Do you use tea bags or loose leaf tea? I’ll be listening because I do like trying to tea! πŸ˜€