Friday, March 27, 2009

Walk it Off Tone it Up!

I’m so excited! I participated in an online survey a while back for the chance to preview some exercise videos; last week I received some Leslie Sansone DVDs on my doorstep. The first video I’m sweatin’ to is called Walk It Off and Tone It Up. This workout is a blast; completely energizing and results-driven, just like Leslie Sansone herself! She guides me through the low-impact moves for 5 miles, but I can choose 1, 2, 3 or 4 miles for variation and flexibility. I love the use of the firm bands; they’re such a time-saver since I can get strength training while having fun with the cardio workout. There are two firm bands used singly or simultaneously to boost the workout.

I have had tremendous success using exclusively at-home workout videos. Leslie’s have been the best due to the low-impact moves that I was able to do when I was more than 100 pounds heavier, and are still extremely effective all these years later as they continue to tone and trim my healthier body! I am so thankful for these lifesavers: they save time and money. It’s incredible how simple an at-home workout can be to avoid stress related to getting the workout into my schedule; I don’t need to worry about the car, the weather, the gym hours. It’s great to just put on my workout gear first thing in the morning and have gotten the workout in before the rest of the house is awake! I believe these workouts make me a better person, a better wife and a better mom. What a gift!

Monday, March 23, 2009


Yesterday was a salt craving day.

Many years of dieting have taught me how to stay on my eating program and still enjoy the salty foods I need on a day like this. I indulged all day, the healthy-eating way: pickles, low-fat chips, fat-free cheese, diet soda, low-fat popcorn. There are times I need the salty stuff and have discovered that it’s better to simply go for it than to eat other foods instead, like I used to. I find it strange when the salt craving kicks in because it’s unusual for me. If I need to indulge, it’s usually the sweets calling my name. “Lisa…Lisa…Lisa” they chant. Those sweets know me well. The salt craving is different. “You—take care of me NOW” they say. My nursing friends could probably explain the medical reasons behind these occasional salt cravings, but the information doesn’t appease the need. And so I go for it.

Interestingly, our pastor spoke about salt yesterday, too. He clarified how we are to be “salty” to others—to enhance the flavor of our relationships with other people. The only way there’s any effectiveness from salt is when it’s in the proximity of the food it’s trying to flavor. Imagine eating a plain old white potato. The starchy, tasteless potato needs modification to be enjoyed. Imagine eating a teaspoonful of salt. Straight up. Salivating yet? Separately, these two foods, potatoes and salt, can be bland and unappealing.

Now imagine some hot crispy sticks of potatoes with salt mixed all around. Voila. Appealing, indulgent and delicious, the formerly plain potato has been kicked up a notch to a popular treat-French fries. Similarly, mixing it up with others can enhance any relationship. Together we can share a joke, and laugh until our bellies hurt. Together we can process our feelings and get reinforcement that we are on the straight path to self-discovery. Together we can smile, cry, hug and think. It’s in our connections we can become more than we are by ourselves. Proximity is key.

Today is a water-drinking day to offset the bloating from the marvelous sodium overload. But it was worth it. At times our bodies, and our hearts, have a craving and we simply need to respond. Now.

Do you crave salt today?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What is it about Mondays?

I like to look at the various days of the week as different ice cream flavors. Picture some of the interesting choices on the wall of your favorite ice cream shop: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Mint Chocolate Chip, Black Raspberry, Cherry Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Peanut Butter Cup, Moose Tracks. The weekends are commonly associated with a busy schedule; lots happening; like Mocha Chip Fudge or Double Chocolate Mint Cookie Dough. Tuesdays and Thursdays are a simple Vanilla, perhaps, or even Orange Sherbet. Wednesdays are perceived as a challenging day with their mid-week status combined with too much to do; Triple Chocolate Overload probably defines it best. Then there’s Mondays.

Mondays are just another day of the seven-day week, but their position at the beginning of most work weeks gives them an unfair reputation. What is it about Mondays that entitles us to wish them away to oblivion just because of their very existence? I’ve learned it’s about how we think.

What we think about creates a reality for ourselves whether or not it parallels the reality in which we live. We can choose the thoughts that enter our subconscious by weeding out the thoughts at the conscious level. We may think Mondays are dreary and burdensome, representing the start of more work, or catching up from the undone weekend activities. Another choice is to view our Mondays with an expectant hope for the start of another glorious week in our lives. Perhaps we can choose thankfulness for another day to be alive on this earth with new opportunities to fulfill our life’s purpose. We can decide to enjoy the start of the week for its indulgent gifts—start with a nut or two, add in some swirly confection and mix it all up in a delectable base.

What will be your flavor choice be next Monday? I think I’ll skip the Rocky Road and go straight for the Smooth Vanilla Nut Swirl.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Snow Day Meltdown

Smooth new snow, like creamy white icing, covers the ground and presents itself to be indulged. “Yaaay! Can we go and play in the snow?” is heard before breakfast. The kids are up and dressed faster than on any school day. The knowledge that school is closed for the day fuels them more than the healthiest breakfast imaginable.

Time to pull out the gear: snowpants, hats, mittens, scarves and boots. Time to cover the floor by the door with a towel to catch wet leftovers. The tedious prep time does nothing to diffuse the anticipation brewing along with my coffee while the children find their sleds and put on their gear. It warms my heart.

But there’s another underlying emotion brewing. My own first reaction to snow sounds more like “Ugh!” I do appreciate the kids’ joy and even tap into my own childhood sledding experiences to conjure a fond memory or two. The reality, however, is that snow days are meltdown days for me. My workload increases exponentially on these days with more laundry and hot-cocoa-and-popcorn-production while keeping the house from becoming a slushy mess in the meantime. Out they go to sled and play; in they come with snowy boots, wet pants, crusty hats and mittens and those rosy red cheeks. There’s never enough room to shake off the hardened snow from the crevices of the coats and cold weather gear. Time to wipe up the kitchen floor again. Time to run the laundry again.

Okay, so you may tell me I’m whining. You may tell me to enjoy these times; appreciate my life and especially my children. Believe me, I do. What’s really bugging me on these days that that my plans are interrupted. I am reminded that I am not in control. Not fun. Not fun at all.

The joy returns, however, when I take a minute and remember that it’s okay to be out of control. Why? Because God is the one who is in control anyway. I can rest in that fact alone, and then and only then, can refocus and enjoy my many blessings – children, home, warmth, clothes, even hot cocoa – and hold onto the hope that warms my heart to melt the cold snow. This hope reminds me once again that God is always there and always in control.

Springlike weather is in the air again. The snow has melted and the days are getting longer. The meltdown of my emotions bring me back to the joy and hope from God to mimic the happy sounds of spring which are even sweeter than smooth white icing.