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stop the flu!

- get vaccinated, if possible
- wash or sanitize your hands frequently
- cover your cough / sanitize surfaces
- stay home if you're sick!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

wait for summer and I promise I will rededicate myself to this blog :)

and don't tan.

eat your veggies.

that should tide you over.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'twas the night before fitness...er, Christmas.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the gym
Not a treadmill was running, no bike was a-spin;

The towels were rolled by the front desk with care,
In hopes that all fit ladies soon would be there;

But this fit lady was fast asleep in bed,
While visions of tempo runs danced in my head;

Then my alarm, in its loudness, went off with a clap,
Waking me up from my long winter’s nap,

When out on the street there arose a pitter-patter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Down the stairs I ran just like Paula Radcliffe
(If she broke an ankle and her knee was stiff).

The sun in the east crept up steady and slow
Trying to convince me it wasn’t ten below,

When, who just happened to run by in a blur,
But Girls Gotta Move and eight fitness bloggers,

With my fitness slave drivers, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment I was in for it.

More rapid than eagles their orders they came,
And they whistled, and shouted, and called us by name;

Run, Eat, Repeat! McSlacker! now, Tina and Jenna!
On MizFit! Jogger’s Life! Let’s go Fit Bottomed Girls!

To the end of the race! you won’t hit the wall!
Now sprint away! sprint away! sprint away all!”

And these runners had endorphins in great supply,
When they met with a hill, up to the top they’d fly,

So up to Central Park the ladies they flew,
With a group full of athletes—marathoners too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the street
Prancing and pounding of many little feet.

As I drew in my gut, and was turning around,
Down the trail Girls Gotta Move came with a bound.

They were dressed in spandex, from their head to their feet,
And their clothes were stained with bits of cream of wheat;

Racing bibs were safety-pinned right onto their backs,
And they weren’t followers—they were leading the pack.

Their abs—how they rippled! Their quads were so cut!
Their can-do ‘tude pulled me out of a running rut!

Their broken-in shoes were laced up like the pros,
And their quick stretches meant they were ready to go;

Wads of gum were held tightly in their teeth,
Matching sweatbands encircled their heads like wreaths;

They had infectious smiles and flat little bellies,
That made me wish they’d eat a bowlful of jelly.

I felt chubby and plump, like a jolly old elf,
But I really liked them, in spite of myself;

A wink of their eyes, and a twist of their heads,
Made me wonder if I’d soon be dropping dead;

They spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,
They picked up the pace of our run; then turned with a smirk,

And picking up their knees, elbows tucked, breathing deep
They gave us a nod, and the pace we did keep;

They ran to the finish, and to the team gave a grin,
Knowing our running obsession was to begin.

But I heard them exclaim, ere they ran towards the sun,
“Good health to all, you guys gave us a run!”


Monday, December 21, 2009

Homemade Lasagna

Here's a great recipe from my mother-in-law. It's a new take on lasagna...and it's delicious! You'll have leftovers for days!

1/2 to 1 lb. hamburger

1/2 c. chopped onion

garlic salt to taste

2 cans tomato soup

1/4 tsp. oregano

1/2 c. water (you can replace with a can of diced tomatoes)

2 tsp. vinegar

1/2 lb. lasagna noodles (12 noodles)

1 pt. cottage cheese

1/2 lb. grated Mozzarella cheese

Brown hamburger and onion. Add garlic salt, oregano, soup, water, and vinegar. Simmer until mixed well. In a 13 x 9 inch pan, begin layers with 1/3 noodles, then 1/3 cottage cheese and 1/3 hamburger mixture. Repeat for 2 more layers. Top with Mozzarella and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven. Let set for 15 minutes before serving. If made ahead and refrigerated, bake a little longer. Excellent to freeze.

Friday, December 18, 2009

have a healthy weekend!

Simple appetizers! Some looks complicated, but they all look delicious! (shrimp, anyone?)

Heart healthy gifts from the kitchen.

Here are some delicious must-have Christmas recipes!

The top 10 over-rated health foods of 2009...interesting!

Some tips for keeping extra holiday friction out of your relationship!

So it's a little late for an advent calender...but pick your favorite! 25 healthy holiday goodies!

4 back strengthening exercises.

Professions with the most risk for catching the cold/flu.

Some tips to soothe a sore throat.

be safe preparing for Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

holiday health myths

There are many health myths floating around, and here are a few relating to the holiday that I found on health.com:

Myth: Sugar makes kids hyperactive

Release the candy canes! Children who eat sugar act no differently than those who have none, according to 12 placebo-controlled studies.

One study found that when parents thought their children had been given a sugary drink (it was sugar free), they rated their child's behavior as hyperactive.

“A lot of occasions when kids are exposed to sugar are when they are most likely to be super excited, running around, and acting out,” says Dr. Carroll.

Myth: Suicides increase during the holidays

While the holiday season is a joyful for many, it can also be stressful or depressing. But a 35-year study on Minnesota residents found that suicides did not increase on or around Christmas or any other major holidays, including birthdays, Thanksgiving, or the Fourth of July.

Research from all over the world, in fact, shows that suicides are actually more prevalent in warm, summer months—a pattern that scientists can’t quite explain. While suicidal thoughts should be taken seriously at any time of year, there’s no reason to think that this month is especially dangerous.

Myth: Poinsettias are toxic

A 1996 analysis of 22,793 poinsettia cases reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers revealed no significant poisoning.

It's possible to become ill by consuming a large amount of the plant, but it’s rare, even in small children and pets, says Edward Krenzelok, PharmD, director of the Pittsburgh Poison Control Center and Drug Information Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

Some studies suggest that poinsettia sap can be irritating to the skin.

Myth: You lose most of your body heat through your head

An old military study found that people in Arctic survival suits (but no hats) did lose a great deal of heat from their heads. But if you wore a swimsuit, you'd lose heat evenly across exposed body surfaces—and no more than 10% from the head.

“We often hear parents say that as long as their kids are wearing a hat, they feel that they’re sufficiently dressed,” says Dr. Vreeman. “Of course they should bundle up for protection from the cold, but they should be equally concerned about gloves and boots as well.”

Myth: Eating at night makes you fat

There's no research to support the belief that eating before bed causes more weight gain. There are benefits of eating meals at consistent times, but only because it helps limit overall intake of daily calories.

“The time of day a person eats is not as important for overall weight gain as the amount of calories eaten during the day,” says Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo PhD, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Avoid your favorite go-to comfort foods before bed, she says, but don’t fret if your dinner gets pushed back a few hours.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Stress

The holidays are stressful. With students, it coincides with final exams and projects. Trying to go to school, raise a family, work part/full time AND enjoy/provide the holiday cheer canbe exhausting. Here are some ideas from the Mayo clinic to remain stress-free (or close to it) during the upcoming weeks:

Recognize holiday triggers

Learn to recognize common holiday triggers, so you can disarm thembefore they lead to a meltdown:

  • Relationships. Relationships can cause turmoil, conflict or stress at any time, but tensions are often heightened during the holidays. Family misunderstandings and conflicts can intensify — especially if you're thrust together for several days. On the other hand, facing the holidays without a loved one can be tough and leave you feeling lonely and sad.
  • Finances. With the added expenses of gifts, travel, food and entertainment, the holidays can put a strain on your budget — and your peace of mind. Not to mention that overspending now can mean financial worries for months to come.
  • Physical demands. Even die-hard holiday enthusiasts may find that the extra shopping and socializing can leave them wiped out. Being exhausted increases your stress, creating a vicious cycle. Exercise and sleep — good antidotes for stress and fatigue — may take a back seat to chores and errands. To top it off, burning the wick at both ends makes you more susceptible to colds and other unwelcome guests.

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.
  2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
  3. Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videotapes.
  4. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression too.
  5. Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives: Donate to a charity in someone's name, give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange.
  6. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That'll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
  7. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it's not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, tr y to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
  8. Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.
  9. Take a breather. Make some time for your self. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
  10. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

Take control of the holidays

Don't let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you may find that you enjoy the holidays this year more than you thought you could.

Enjoy the upcoming holidays!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fitness Basics &; Getting the Most from Your Workout

The Mayoclinic offers some advice on starting a fitness program. It's important to remember that starting a fitness program doesn't mean tomorrow you will run a marathon when you haven't exercised in weeks. Exercisings is one of the greatest things you can do for your health, but it doesn't have to be monumental. Consistently and correctly, small amounts of exercise can do so much good for your body.

First, Mayoclinic says to think of your goals. What exercises do you like? Acknowledge your limitations before you begin a program.

Stretching and Flexibility

Stretching is a powerful part of any exercise program. Most aerobic and strength training programs inherently cause your muscles to contract and flex. Stretching after you exercise promotes equal balance. Stretching also increases flexibility, improves range of motion of your joints and boosts circulation. Stretching can even promote better posture and relieve stress.

As a general rule, stretch whenever you exercise. If you don't exercise regularly, you might want to stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility. When you're stretching, keep it gentle. Breathe freely as you hold each stretch. Try not to hold your breath. Don't bounce or hold a painful stretch. Expect to feel tension while you're stretching. If you feel pain, you've gone too far.

Aerobic Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise can help you live longer and healthier. After all, aerobic exercise reduces health risks, keeps excess pounds at bay, strengthens your heart and boosts your mood. Better yet, aerobic exercise can be done in short bursts or longer sessions. So what are you waiting for?

For many people, walking is a great choice for aerobic exercise. In fact, walking is one of the most natural forms of exercise. It's safe, it's simple — and all it takes to get started is a good pair of walking shoes and a commitment to include aerobic exercise in your daily routine.

Of course, there's more to aerobic exercise than walking. Other popular choices include swimming, bicycling and jogging. Activities such as dancing and jumping rope count, too. Get creative!

Strength Training

Strength training can help you tone your muscles and improve your appearance. With a regular strength training program, you can reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently. Better yet, strength training doesn't take as long as you might think. For most people, two to three strength training sessions a week lasting just 20 to 30 minutes are sufficient.

Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Free weights and weight machines are popular strength training tools, but they're not the only options. You can do strength training with inexpensive resistance tubing or even your own body weight. With proper technique, you may enjoy noticeable improvements in your strength and stamina in just a few weeks.
The Mayoclinic gives advice on eating and exercise and how to time the two for maximum results.

  • Eat a healthy breakfast. Wake up early enough to eat breakfast. Most of the energy you got from dinner last night is used up by morning. Your blood sugar may be low. If you don't eat, you may feel sluggish or lightheaded while exercising. If you plan to exercise within an hour after breakfast, eat a smaller breakfast or drink something to raise your blood sugar, such as a sports drink.
  • Time your meals based on their size. Eat large meals at least three to four hours before exercising. You can eat small meals two to three hours before exercising.

    Most people can eat snacks right before and during exercise. The key is how you feel. Do what works best for you.

  • Don't skip meals. Skipping meals may cause low blood sugar, which can make you feel weak and lightheaded. If you're short on time before your workout, and your choice is candy or nothing, eat the candy because it can improve your performance, compared with eating nothing. But keep in mind, all candy is high in sugar and low on nutrients, so a snack of yogurt and a banana would be a better choice. Know that for some people, eating something less than an hour before exercise can cause low blood sugar. Find out what works for you.
  • Eat after your workout. To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session if possible. Women, in particular, may need protein after resistance training.

They also remind you to eat carbohydrates, especially cereals, breads, vegetables, pasta, rice and fruit. You should also drink plently of water and remember your past experience. Eat what feels good for you and don't try to overload your stomach or your body!

Remember, exercising is important, but you can do it at your own pace and accomplish your health goals with an individual plan.

A good goal is starting with 15-30 minutes of aerobic exercies (remember that walking to school can count!), adding a day or two of streching or strength training during the week. Try to build to an hour a day, and see the FAQ for the 2008 recommended guidelines for adults.