Archive for May, 2009

Turning It Around

LiveLiving Image 8085Their story is similar to that of many others. My coworker, Patsy, 34, and her husband John, 37, had eaten poorly and avoided exercise until they received a wake-up call. Patsy had been gaining weight since her high school days. By her 20s she was eating out regularly and worked a sedentary job which didn’t afford burning many calories. During her pregnancy she ate high calorie dishes from week to week. By the end of pregnancy she weighed nearly 300 pounds. After their son’s birth she loss some weight yet she continued eating poorly and remained inactive. Over a four year period her weight gradually increased.

John’s weight had yo-yoed since his college days when pizza and cafeteria food were the staples of his meals. During Patsy’s pregnancy he ate just as much as she did. He also worked a sedentary job. But then in 2007 John was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. The 275 pounds on his 5 foot 9 inch frame became a major concern.

Often too tired to prepare meals, the couple had developed a habit of reinforcing bad habits by agreeing to dine at restaurants or order take out. Changes had to be implemented to overcome their health concerns.

Here’s how Patsy loss nearly 90 pounds and John loss 82 pounds in one year:

Made no excuses:
“It was a gradual process,” Patsy said. She started walking for a few minutes each day and within a weeks she advance to the elliptical machine. Later resistance training was implemented and both Patsy and John discovered they actually enjoyed working out together. Ensuring there were no excuses to miss exercising when on vacation or business travel, they packed resistance bands which enabled them to do exercises like lunges, squats and other resistance training.

Planned dinners:
Instead of eating takeout Patsy and John planned meals in advance and prepared healthy snacks for work and outings that kept them away from home for hours.

Became an inspiration:
After losing the weight John was able to stop taking medication for high blood pressure and diabetes. His success inspired many of his colleagues and kept him and Patsy focused on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle not just for themselves but also for their son.

May 29, 2009 at 4:22 am Leave a comment

Finding the Sacred Space in Your Home

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Have you ever thought about finding a place in your spirit that is better than sitting near a brook in a quiet forest, hearing the peaceful water flow? Click here to read more about “Finding the Sacred Space in Your Home” written by Dan Martinez and narrated by Ann-Leng Martinez in the May – June issue of LiveLiving Christian Health and Wellness eMagazine, Sacred Space.

May 28, 2009 at 1:42 am Leave a comment

That Doggone Alarm Clock!

LiveLiving Image 8075One of the hardest things to do in the world is to get up early when you are sleep deprived to the annoying, nagging ringing of an alarm clock.

I have discovered that life doesn’t always allow me to get those 8 hours of sleep a night that my body so desperately needs to run at full capacity. Instead, I have found myself doing last minute finishes on the project at work, getting kids settled in for bed, or one of the other hundred reasons that pop up at the last minute preventing me from going to bed on time. However, sometimes I have found myself in bed and at the right time but only to lie there with my eyes wide opened thinking about all the things that need to be done the next day. Then just when I fall asleep, I hear this sudden sound: No! It can’t be my alarm. I just went to sleep I say to myself. “Yes, it is I,” bellows my drill sargent– my alarm clock.

One exercise I’ve used to help my body transition from sleep to activity and awareness or from activity to sleep is a gentle stretch. You can perform this spinal stretch in the mornings when you wake up and at night before bed.

Spinal Stretch:
1. Sit with your legs crossed, pushing your sit bones into the floor and lengthening your spine by pulling your shoulders back and reaching up with the crown of your head towards the ceiling.

Make sure both of your sit bones remain on the floor throughout the entire stretch.

2. Place your left hand on your right knee. Inhale through your nose and lengthen your spine. Exhale through your mouth and twist your body to the right, and then return to the center.

3. Next, place your right hand on your left knee. Inhale, and lengthen your spine. Exhale, and twist your body to the left, then return to the center. This is one repetition.

Perform 3-4 repetitions in the morning to help get you up and moving or at night to relax and remove the tension from your muscle and prepare the body for sleep.

May 26, 2009 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

What Are You Eating

OrangesAnd God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.” Genesis 1:29 NKJV

wild honey“Also my food which I gave you—the pastry of fine flour, oil, and honey which I fed you—you set it before them as sweet incense; and so it was,” says the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 16:19 NKJV

Blessed foodAnd He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. Matthew 15:36 NKJV

May 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

Silence Spoken Here

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I spent a day and half in total rebellion. “What do you mean I can’t talk while eating,” Click here to read more about “Silence Spoken Here: The Dining Room a Sacred Place” by Etta Malcolm in the May – June issue of LiveLiving Christian Health and Wellness eMagazine, Sacred Space.

May 20, 2009 at 11:03 am Leave a comment

Are You Strong and Stable

Maintaining muscle strength in my back and abdominal area has been very important for me over the years. As a person with scoliosis I appreciate bodybuilding enabled me to build and maintain muscles to support a healthy physical condition. If you are looking for ways to increase strength and stability and decrease back pain the Swiss Exercise Ball is one great solution. I find that Swiss balls are great for building strong core muscles and working muscle stabilizers. The core muscles have deep stabilizers that are attached to the spine. Stabilizing muscles not only protect joints, but also support proper alignment. Unfortunately, stabilizers are rarely ever worked and as a result many individuals become at risk of developing muscle weakness or dysfunction. Effective physical training should include strength and endurance of the stabilizers. Swiss ball exercises are a great way to work your stabilizers.

Here are a few exercises that can be executed using a Swiss ball that can be very effective:

Abdominal Crunch
Lie face up with Swiss Exercise Ball under the hips, low back and mid back. With feet on floor, bend legs to 90 degrees and align knees over ankles. Cross arms over chest, hands to opposite shoulders. Move ribcage to pelvis as you lift mid back off ball. Low back and hips remain touching the ball. Release and repeat.

Prone Knees In
In a face-down position, place your feet and shins on the Swiss ball and your palms on the floor, hands aligned under shoulders. Bend legs, pull the Swiss ball toward your head. Continue to bend your knees until your thighs are close to your chest and tailbone points toward ceiling. Release and repeat.

Saw
Sit upright on Swiss ball, arms extended to your sides at shoulder height, legs extended in front of you, and heels on floor. Rotate torso to right while maintaining a neutral positioned pelvis. Inhale into rotation, then exhale as you draw navel to spine and bend forward, touch left little finger to right little toe. Breathe into flexion and slowly exhale as you return to starting position. Repeat other side.

May 18, 2009 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

Fig Newtons

LiveLiving Image 8025Fig Newtons! I am talking about those chewy and moist cookies my husband absolutely loves! One sleeve of them just won’t do. No, to satisfy his appetite for them it always takes two. He recently offered me some, but I kindly told him “no thanks and no way.” “They’re made from figs and they’re delicious” he said. I asked if he had taken a close look at the nutritional data and he had not. Our seven year old overheard us talking and said, “Daddy, if you keep eating those you’re going to look like a Fig Newton!”

Cookies like Fig Newtons can add on the pounds. My husband always thought that the fig fruit made the Newtons a healthy choice. There are many products that may seem healthy but are laden with calories, refined flours and sweeteners. The center aisles of grocery stores are usually where these foods are found. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid those aisles though.

Here are a few simple tips I use as a guide in making healthy choices:

1. Satisfy your sweet tooth with unsulphured brands of dried fruit. They tend to expire quick but they contain no preservatives that could potentially cause digestion problems like sulfites.

2. Looks for foods with whole grain ingredients and a minimum of 5 grams of fiber in each serving.

3. Avoid or consume in moderation any foods with the following ingredients:

Artificial colorings
Artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin and sucralose
High-fructose corn syrup
Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils
Sulfites

May 15, 2009 at 3:07 pm Leave a comment

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