High Pressure Sales Pitch

Last Saturday morning as my husband and I returned from an early morning bike ride, we passed a 60-ish couple making their way to the entrance of a popular breakfast restaurant.

‘Making their way’ is a nice way of saying ‘huffing, puffing and waddling painfully’ toward the front door. Waaaaay too young to be moving that slowly and laboriously.

I felt sad for that couple because they have made choices that have severely limited their options for participating in life. I can’t imagine that biking, canoeing, cross country skiing, social dancing or even walking a trail are feasible for either of them. How can you care for grandkids, volunteer for church/community events or plan a fun vacation when you can’t move with any degree of ease?

As I (thankfully) keep getting older, I care about fitness much less as a means of maintaining a specific dress size and more about being able to maintain an awesome quality of life.

I’ve only said this about 4 million times on this blog…I just don’t understand why exercise is such a tough sell. idontgetit2

I can’t stand to hear people whine, “It stinks to get old.” Obviously, as we get older, our bodies start to show signs of wear and tear. Some of us are luckier than others as far as general health is concerned but we can all at least participate in basic maintenance.

I PROMISE it doesn’t have to hurt…just start moving your body in a way that feels good and it will have this wonderful snowball effect…you will want to move more so you will and then you’ll have more energy so you will want to move more so you will…





Another Awesome Stir-Fry Recipe

In my opinion, there’s really no reason to have a stir-fry recipe. I just cut up whatever meats and/or vegetables that are taking up space in my fridge, dump the whole mess into a smokin’ hot wok then then serve it over something grainy…pasta, rice, bulgur, quinoa, pearl barley, farro, etcetera.

I do think, however, it is imperative to have access to a few favorite stir-fry sauce recipes. I particularly enjoy this recipe for Easy Beef and Broccoli from Food.com.

I make the sauce exactly** as printed but the resultant dinner is better described as Easy Beef And Broccoli Plus A Little Chicken, Lots of Onion and Garlic, A Few Leftover Carrots, Lots of Bell Peppers Because They Were On Sale, Three Wilted Mushrooms, And A Half-Bag Of Sad Spinach Stir-Fry. I always double the sauce because by the time I am finished I end up with a mighty big pan of meat and produce.huge2


Happy Eating!

**Except that I use fresh ginger and garlic because powdered makes me sad.


Stronger Than Yesterday. Maybe.

During a Total Body Fitness class, a very astute, dedicated fitness buff asked an important question.

Penny wondered, “Should you increase the weight you workout with when the weight you usually use start to feel light?”

I responded with an enthusiastic, super-trainer, “Yes!”


A few seconds later, I got honest and admitted, “That was an unhelpful, smart-mouth response. A better answer is, ‘It depends’.”

Whether or not you should lift heavier depends upon your vision of fitness; your end-game as well as your physical abilities and/or limitations.

Although I instinctively told Penny that she should lift more, I don’t necessarily follow that advice, which is another reason I amended my answer.

Just recently, I decided that I don’t need to dead lift any more weight. I know that I could lift more with the proper technique and instruction. But I’m just not convinced that the increased risk of injury is worth the gain. So, I’m choosing to maintain my current dead lift.



On the other hand, I believe that I can squat and press more than I am now without risk but with noticeable benefit. As such, I will continue to push harder through these two lifts.

So what’s my end game? To become as strong as possible without injury.

Why? Because I love the way strong feels. I love the confidence that comes with being strong, I love having the physical ability to try new activities, I love having energy and endurance to spare.

Eventually, most of us find ourselves wondering, “Should I lift more? Jump higher? Run longer? Go faster? Push harder?”

Before you answer any of those questions, first answer this, “To what end?”




In This Day And Age It’s Hard To Eat Right

That’s the claim made in a radio advertisement for a top-selling nutritional supplement.

Seriously? If I were the manufacturer of this product, I would refuse to pay the agency that came up with that line. But, that’s because I am honest and smart. Apparently, this company is not ashamed of lying to a whole lot of people who are ignorantly and impulsively succumbing to this bogus advertising as they purchase the company’s snake oil by the truckloads.


I present you now with what is called ‘truth in advertising’:

Never in the history of the universe has it been easier to eat right.

Do you know why so many generations of Americans were raised on a ‘meat and potatoes’ diet? Because that’s what was available!

Ever read the Little House books? D’ya remember the long, hard winter when the Ingalls family survived for months eating only bread made from wheat seed that they ground themselves?

You’ve heard of that silly-ass, paleo-diet that claims to be based upon the types of foods eaten by early humans?  I found some awesome recipes on the paleo-diet website which made me wonder if any thinking person believes that clans of stinky, hairy caveman were dining upon Rosemary Orange Duck with Roasted Vegetables and Seared Scallops with Beet Relish? I was under the impression that early humans ate whatever they could knock down and drag back to camp.

How about Inuits in the not-so-distant past? Did you know that 80% of their diet was fat?

Personally, I find it ridiculously affordable and convenient to eat like royalty:

Right down the street from me is a small Family Fare with deli, produce, bakery, meat and dairy departments that are well stocked with a variety of foods that would have been unimaginable to a shopper 50 years ago.

Meijer, a couple of miles more down the road, has even more variety and quantity. Kumquats, kiwi, kombucha, jicama, star fruit, chia seeds…

When I want something more exotic, Grand Rapids abounds with Asian markets, Indian restaurants and Hispanic grocery stores.

Purchasing nutritional supplements, for the most part, is a sad waste of hard-earned dollars.(obviously, this excepts anyone who has a physicians recommendation to supplement her diet).

P.T. Barnum is often quoted as saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Please don’t be one of them.





Running For The Health Of It

A lady who works out with  our awesome group of super-cool 45&Betters, proudly announced after a recent class that she had broken a barrier… For quite a while, she has been working to get her weight below a certain number on the scale and for the first time in decades, she has done it.

She looks great and most importantly, she feels great…”better than I have in years!”
Her announcement generated a big round of high fives and congratulations for all of the healthful choices she has been making, after which our beaming teammate admitted, “I’m so sick of salads!”
Now, if you have been reading this award-winning blog with any regularity, you know what I was thinking. Of course, I didn’t rain on this woman’s parade, but I wanted to ask, “Then why are you eating salad??!!”
But I know why she is eating huge bowlsful of lettuce every day even though she doesn’t want to…because that’s what people on a diet eat.
I am absolutely in favor of salad…I eat heaps of green stuff everyday. And I LOVE it. If I didn’t, I would eat something else that was tasty-to-me and packed with vitamins and minerals.
Why do I care that this lady hates salad?
Because, statistics are grim for people who lose weight quickly. Radical, quick changes rarely end up being life-long. Even though people who make these big changes usually find themselves feeling energetic and experiencing improved health, most of them will revert to their old way of living within 2 years.
I believe it is because most people who take this approach, are running away.
Running away from mirrors and scales and BMI charts. Running away from insults and judgments.  Running away from physical pain, weakness, instability, shortness of breath. Running away from feelings of embarrassment and insecurity as well as frustration with their own perceived lack of discipline, willpower or self-control.
Runaways are lost.
They’ve found the courage to leave one miserable place only to find themselves in another miserable place.
They believe that  leaving behind their old lives and former selves guarantees that the next stop will surely be better if not downright perfect.
Instead of running away, we need to be running toward something. In fact, even crawling forward at a snail’s pace is better than sprinting into the great unknown.
If your vision of health and happiness includes piles of salad, then eat piles of salad. But you can’t sustain a lifestyle that involves long stretches of hunger, weird eating habits that require you to deny yourself, exercises that you hate or compromises that leave you feeling resentful.
This is a good time to repeat the always-inspiring, never-tiresome ILLM mission:
Becoming healthy and fit is a process.
The journey toward building a healthy mind and body should be undertaken with the same enthusiasm you would have if you were embarking upon the adventure of a lifetime.
Which of course, you are.

Peaceful Eating Part 7…The Wrap-Up

Clearly, I am passionate about and convinced of the need for each and every one of us to feel confident in our own ability to discover and honor our physical selves.

I have no interest in shaming, screaming, begging,or bribing as a means of forcing my opinions upon anyone. Of course, I wish every woman would join me on this side of the fence where the grass is so much greener.


Here’s a brief summary of and links to my last 7 posts for those of you still timid about stepping over, under or around that proverbial fence:


  1. Hunger is your friend. Not because it’s a good thing to walk around hungry and agitated but because hunger pangs are a sign from your stomach that it is time to refuel. People who notice and honor their body’s signals are creating a mind/body connection which is the best way to develop a life-long, peaceful relationship between your heart and head.
  2. Aside from any specific, physician-prescribed diet, YOU are the best authority on you. Yes, you can make great decisions for you without charting, measuring and/or weighing either your body or your food.
  3. If indeed, you would like to forever throw off the chains of the diet mentality, this is the path, my friend.
  4. Research, experiment and enjoy. Learning to eat well is fun.
  5. Move because you want to in the way that you want to.
  6. Actively meditate. You don’t need to put one more thing on your to-do list. Meditate as you move, eat, relax, etc…
  7. Remember that reconnecting with yourself isn’t all lovey-dovey. And that’s okay.

I will end this series with the following thoughts:

If you would like to find relief from the constant internal battle being waged between your brain and body, you might consider finding your way to peaceful eating, moving and being. You could give it a whirl knowing that, if you hate feeling empowered and self-assured, you can always go back to implementing exercise and diet programs into your life.




Peaceful Eating Part 6.5…It’s Not All Rainbows And Butterflies

I’ve been writing a lot about noticing and meditating and awareness and mindful living. I’ve gone so far as to suggest that your physical activities and meals are great meditation material.

Many of us equate ‘meditation’ with peace, calm and tranquility. While this may indeed be the case, the practice of meditation can also bring some unpleasantness with it.

  • How frustrating is it to be trying to release your thoughts when you notice yourself thinking, “I need to quit thinking!”?
  • What happens when you are able to silence the chatter in your head? Sometimes, some very unpleasant emotions or memories come crashing in to fill the silence.
  • Do you sit comfortably listening to calming music in a dimly lit, lavender-scented room with great love and compassion for humanity coursing through your veins only to have it dissipate the moment you step back into your messy, busy, chaotic life?

Even though, I have narrowed the scope of mediation to  include only eating and moving, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that you should always come away feeling warm and fuzzy.

In fact, you may embark upon what you hope will be a lovely, serene stroll on a nearby trail only to end up feeling less than serene as you begin to notice you body in action: you become aware of your shoulders rounding which is causing you to crane your neck which is subsequently feeling crampy. You might notice parts of your body rubbing against each other which makes you feel unhappy with your body composition. You might find yourself uncomfortably warm or out of breath.

The fact is, many of the sensations that previously went unnoticed because you were always thinking of something else will now be first and foremost in your mind. Believe it or not that’s good. You have to know your body in action before you can begin to make the adjustments necessary to move better.


Similarly, you might find your eating meditation doesn’t always end well. Maybe you discover that you really don’t enjoy the texture of one of your long-time favorites…say Big Macs. Or you notice that you really feel bloated and uncomfortable after eating boxed cereal. Maybe you just do not ever think you will be able to convince yourself that kale is edible even though you know it’s packed with buckets of vitamins and minerals.

Only when you become aware of a problem or contradiction in your health habits,  can you begin to consider alternatives.