In Praise of Fidgeting

I found the results of the following study intriguing:

The Mayo Clinic researchers equipped people with special clothing containing sensors that measured every calorie they burned by moving. They found that those little motions–scratching your head, getting up and stretching at commercial time, moving to another chair–make a huge difference. The “skinny” people tended to fidget away 350 calories a day more than the “overweight” people. That adds up to 35 pounds a year!

Some people are better at staying still while others cannot sit still. It may be difficult to change our unconscious tendencies, but we can change our environments and daily habits.

Consider the following “fidgety” tips:

• Take the stairs.
• Don’t waste time looking for the closest parking spot. Park, so you have to walk a short distance.
• Get up and stretch periodically while watching television.
• Don’t procrastinate. Whenever you think of a task that needs to be done, get up and do it.
• Keep dumbbells near your sofa, office, or reading area. Several times a day, stop and do a short routine to exercise your upper body.
• Walk during your lunch hour.
• Pace the sidelines at the children’s athletic games.
• Take a family walk after dinner.
• Walk briskly in the mall.
• Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of sending an email.

BTW…Fidgeting is also known as “interindividual variation in posture allocation.”

Any other “fidgety” tips?


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At the Life Balance Expo

Walking around the large conference room at the Guelph Curling Club, I could feel the positive energy emanating from the over thirty holistic practitioners and vendors, who had set up booths featuring an array of products and services.

Some of the highlights…

• Life Coach Pamela Van Nest asked me to spin the Life Wheel and then proceeded to share her insights. In late October, Pamela will be facilitating a one-day retreat at the Golden Pathways B & B in Otonabee, Ontario.

• Naturopathic doctor Aleksandra Gasinski chatted about the services offered at her Guelph office on Westmount Road.

Arlene Wisser’s enthusiasm was contagious as she discussed ISAGENIX products, solutions for weight, energy, performance and healthy aging.

• Financial coach Lorraine Graham provided a listening ear as I chatted about my retirement journey.

Lee Pryke persuaded me to participate in the VOXX life experiment. Impressed, I purchased a pair of VOXX socks…socks that promote better balance, stability, and range of motion.

Afterward, I went downstairs and listened to Liberated Living, a TED Style talk, delivered by Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Intuitive Counselor, Susan Stephens. During the interactive presentation, we learned all about stomach acid levels, essential vitamins and minerals, and the Sexy Blood Services offered at her office in Hamilton.

Susan ended the session with a tongue analysis of the group assembled. Our tongue colors ranged from white to soft pink to red. The ideal tongue is like that of a baby’s: soft pink with no line down the middle or tooth marks.

Only one woman (not me!) came close to that ideal.



In Praise of Spinach

Today is National Spinach Day, a day set aside to honor and consider all the delicious ways we can incorporate this nutritional powerhouse into our diets.

Here are 10 interesting facts about spinach:

1. During Catherine de Medici’s reign as queen of France, spinach was served at every meal. Many modern dishes made with spinach are known as “Florentine” in honor of Catherine’s birth in Florence.

2. The earliest written record of the spinach plant was found in Chinese, suggesting the spinach plant was introduced in China via Nepal.

3. Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint.

4. China is the world’s largest spinach producer with 85% of global production.

5. California accounts for almost three quarters of national production. Other spinach-growing states include Arizona, New Jersey, Texas, Colorado, Maryland, and Arkansas.

6. In the 1930’s, U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption.

7. Alma, Arkansas—the home of “Allen Canning Company” which cans and ships spinach—holds an annual spinach festival each April. Alma proclaims itself to be the “Spinach Capital of the World”…a title also claimed by Crystal City, Texas.

8. An excellent source of protein, calcium, folic acid, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K, spinach is also loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants.

9. A half cup of raw spinach counts as one vegetable serving.

10. Studies have found that eating cooked spinach and carrots – versus raw – results in much higher blood levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant thought to guard against heart disease and lung cancer.

On a personal note…

I look forward to my breakfast smoothie. Here’s one of my favorite recipes:

I start with one scoop of Sun Warrior Vegan Protein Powder (vanilla flavor). Recommended by my nutritionist, this brand contains brown rice protein and works well for anyone who is sensitive to eggs, dairy, and soy. I add one-half cup of blueberries, one cup of baby spinach leaves, and one teaspoon of cinnamon. I then add six to eight ounces of water and blend.

Do you have a quick-and-easy spinach recipe to share?


Reframing for Success

It is easy to be negative at this time of year. The mornings are dark, the weather is unpredictable, and spring is weeks away. We can find an excuse for each day and, if we’re not careful, we’ll slip back into bad habits.

In their book, The Ultimate Stress-Relief Plan for Women, authors Stephanie McClellan and Beth Hamilton recommend reframing by replacing negative thoughts with positive self-talk.

reframing

Here are some examples:

I’m too exhausted even to think of moving.
I always have more energy after I exercise.

I’m just so slow.
When I started, I was out of breath very quickly. I may not be a speed demon, but I have really built up my endurance.

My whole body hurts from that last workout.
If I stretch well or take a hot bath, my muscles will be warmed up, and I’ll be feeling no pain once I start moving.

I had to skip three days because I had a virus. It’s impossible for me to stay with it. Something always gets in the way.
Each day is a new day, and I can pick up where I left off.

It’s miserable out, so I think I ‘ll just sleep in this morning.
It’s raining too hard for me to enjoy my walk. I’ll try that new yoga DVD.

This was the most stressful day at work in a long time. I think I’ll make myself a drink.
I bet a good workout will help me burn off this tension.


The Right Treats

comfortballoonsWe can all benefit by finding the right treat or combination of treats that serve as “comfort food” for our brains. It is important, however, not to fall into the trap of selecting pleasures that come at a cost. For example, an hour of retail therapy may lift our moods, but over-spending will strain our finances. Eating that ice-cream cone or extra piece of cheesecake may calm jittery nerves and add pounds.

Continue reading on Madelyn Hill’s blog.


Happy National Food Day!

The main objective of National Food Day is to help people “Eat Real” by “cutting back on sugar drinks, packaged foods, and factory-farmed meats in favor of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and sustainably raised protein.”

realfood2

Here are 10 quotes to inspire positive changes in eating habits…

To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. Buddha

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients. Julia Child

Fill your plate with the colors of the rainbow. What pleases the eye pleases the body as a whole. Deepak Chopra

Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have. Winston Churchill

The first wealth is health. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. Hippocrates

Ignore the food police. Be a laughing Buddha with happiness in your belly. And indulge your appetite for the pleasures of food shared with good company or eaten alone, in peaceful contemplation of the fruits of the earth. Christiane Northrup

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Michael Pollan

Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners. William Shakespeare

Get people back into the kitchen and combat the trend toward processed food and fast food. Dr. Andrew Weil