Monday, December 28, 2009

Giveaway Winner & Week #13 To Do List

Well good afternoon everyone! I can’t believe we are only a few days from starting 2010. Where does the time go? Seriously, I blink and a year passes.

Well today is an exciting one here at Certifiably Fit because I’m announcing the winner to my first ever giveaway. I was glad to see so many people participate. I put everyone’s name in one of my Christmas hats and had my partner, Gina, pick the winner this morning. Well, I guess I’ll get on with it since I’m sure you are just as exciting. The winner of the Black & Decker Handy Steamer and Rice Cooker is…..

Lindsay’s comment was:  “Sounds like it was a good easy way to make healthy meals is always a plus!

Congratulations! Please email me at with your mailing address and your new steamer will be on its way to you.

Well now that is out of the way it’s time to get to regular Monday business, which is this week’s To Do List.

Week #13- Programming for the Healthy Adult (Yeah I realize last week I labeled the week number wrong….oops!)
•    Manual- pages 327-342
•    Workbook- pages 103-104
•    Master the Manual- pages 77-82
•    Audio- Chapter 11
•    Flashcards- Chapter 11

I’m happy to report that I surpassed my goal of 90% on the online review test from chapters 7-10. I only missed one question which means I got a 95%. So go me! Anyway, with the extra time I have on my hands I already have read this week’s chapter, completed the workbook, and wrote out my vocabulary. Got in about 2 hours of studying this morning and was able to get all of that done. I’m starting to see I am making it through the material much faster than the start. I think a lot of it is because the material keeps building upon past chapters.  I likely will do a big review of everything I have done so far since I will complete this week’s chapter pretty early.

I’m super excited to also report that I got a lot of fitness related gifts for Christmas, including new workout DVD’s, a ropeless jump rope, a book, and  the new Wii Active More Workouts.  Be looking for some reviews in the next few weeks as I start using these. Did any of you get fitness related gifts this year?

Well back to enjoying my 2 week vacation. Hope you all had a nice holiday last week and that your New Year’s celebrations go well later this week.

Quote of the Day:
“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Monday, December 21, 2009

Week #11 - Flexibility / Giveaway Reminder

Well happy Monday everyone!

Look at this two blog posts from me in two days…crazy huh! I’m on vacation until Jan 4th, which means you might see some more posts from me than normal since I will have some more free time on my hands. Got to love working for a university where everything shuts down for about two weeks! Even better is that I don’t have to use my vacation days for the time off…it is all considered holiday paid days.

Anyway, as always since it is Monday it is time to get to this week’s To Do List.

Week #12: Flexibility

  • Manual: Pages 305-322
  • Workbook: Pages 97-99
  • Master the Manual: Pages 71-76
  • Audio: Chapter 10
  • Flashcards: Chapter 10
  • Online Review Quiz: Chapters 7-10

Again this is kind of a short chapter. I was able to read the manual and complete the workbook this morning. I’m thinking by Wednesday I’ll be done with the chapter’s materials and will begin doing the review of chapters 7-10 for the online review quiz. I’m shooting for a 90% again on that. If you are keeping track every review quiz so far I have gotten a 90% on so I figured I would make that my goal this time too.

I have to say that I’m really proud of myself because here I am a little more than half way done with my study plan and I am still feeling very motivated. Something that is helping with that is since I started this blog and people have been reading my story, I have had several people contact me directly looking for assistance with their own health journey. That right there is keeping me motivated to get this certification even more, because I do want to help others enjoy better health like I am enjoying.

Before I finish up here, just a reminder. You have until Sunday to enter my first ever giveaway! Go here to learn more.

Well I’m going to get going so I can catch up with some chores around the house. Hope you all enjoy your day!

Quote of the day: 

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself “~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, December 20, 2009

First Ever Product Review & Giveaway - Black & Decker Handy Steamer and Rice Cooker

Well hello everyone! For those of you in the Northeast, I hope you are all surviving this winter storm that came through this weekend. I am pretty much snowed in, as they are still trying to clear campus from the snow. Good thing I having no where I need to be.

Anyway as promised here is my first ever giveaway/product review here at Certifiably Fit. I’m pretty excited about this and hopefully you are too!

Let’s get some business things out of the way before I get to the review.
  • The following product was provided without cost to me by
  • I was not compensated other than getting to keep the product after the review.

Ok business done! Now onto the review.

Product: Black & Decker Handy Steamer and Rice Cooker

Product features (Taken from the box):
  • 4-qt basket with built in egg holders
  • 5-cup rice bowl
  • Drip tray with built-in Flavor Scenter screen
  • Water reservoir
  • External water-fill inlet
  • Water window with water level indicator
  • 75- minute timer with signal bell and auto shut off
  • Power indicator light

My Experience:
I was able to choose the product I got to test and I picked this product because, as a site that is focused on healthy living, I felt a cooking appliance that allows the user to cook with a method that supports healthy eating would be a great idea. I already was steaming food prior to this but I was using other methods such as in pots on the stove top and using the microwave.  I also picked this model based on the fact that the appliance is small (I have a tiny apartment), and that I have had good experiences with Black & Decker products in the past.

Steaming food by the way has all kinds of health benefits like: cooking without added oil or fats & helps preserve some of the vitamins that are lost during other methods of cooking. If you want to read more about steaming food check out the following sites:

To test out this steamer for the review, I steam cooked some chicken, some brown rice, and some cauliflower. I have to say the food turned out great. This was my first time having steamed skinless chicken breast and I seasoned it prior to putting it in and also used the scenter screen with garlic and it turned out with great flavor and very moist. It took less time to cook the chicken than it does with my normal method of searing on the stove then baking for the rest of the time. The rice also turned out good and better than my stovetop version. Only complaint on the rice was it took about 20 mins longer than the stovetop method. Finally I used it to steam a head of fresh cauliflower. My partner and I both thought it turned out perfect and we both swear it tasted better than the way I normally prepare it.

Below are my pros and cons to this steamer based on my experience.       

  • Small design
  • Easy to clean (most parts can be cleaned in the dishwasher on the top-rack)
  • Not complicated to put together or use
  • Manual included suggested cook times for common foods that are steamed. For my tests they were pretty accurate.
  • Timer and auto shut off – always a plus when multi-tasking in the kitchen

  • Side handles to the top – You have to use pot holders so that you don’t chance getting burned when lifting off the top. A top handle probably would have been better to eliminate that risk. However, you use the top to set the basket on when done which you couldn’t do if the top handle was there unless it folded in flat.

Anyway, from the experience I would recommend this steamer to a small household that are looking to have a way to consistently steam foods. Also, is great for those who have smaller kitchens and are limited on storage space since it is fairly small.

The Giveaway:
So I was able to work a deal with the member of the promotions team at CSN Stores to be able to offer one of my readers this steamer. So here is what you need to do to enter to win.

  • Leave a comment on this post by noon on Sunday, Dec 27, 2009
  • To get additional entries (one additional entry per task)
    • Announce this giveaway on your blog and email me with the link to your post.
    • Start following me on twitter and announce this giveaway on your Twitter, use the tag #certifiablyfit
  • You must be in the US or Canada (sorry my international friends)

The winner will be drawn at random and will be announced on Monday, Dec 28th in my weekly To Do post.  If you have any questions feel free to email me at Good luck!

I would like to thank Jamie, the promotions team member at CSN Stores for working with me to provide this opportunity. I wanted to point out that once the order was placed the product was shipped super fast and came in without damage. Also, checking out their site, I noticed that their prices are pretty reasonable so I wouldn't be surprised if I do some ordering from them in the future, especially since they have such a wided range of products.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Changes to Physical Activity During My Journey to Better Health

Good afternoon!

I thought I would continue with my posts on the changes I have made on my journey to better health today by talking about physical activity. Like I did in the post about the nutritional changes I have made, I will break this post into the following: an overview of what I was doing prior to starting, what I started out doing, what tweaks I made along the way, what I currently am doing, and key learning points. Again, feel free to ask me any questions if something isn’t clear or you want more detail about something. 

  • Prior to Starting: Before I made the commitment to work towards my better health journey, I avoided physical activity in every way possible. I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch watching TV or surfing the web. Honestly, because I was in such poor condition health wise, even walking fairly short distances was difficult.
  • What I Started Out Doing: I started to add physical activity to my plan about 2 weeks into the journey. Since the weather at the time was cold since it was still winter, I began with doing Walk Away The Pounds DVD’s 3 days a week after work. You can see some the titles I used here.  The thing I liked about those DVD’s is that although they were challenging to me they weren’t so above my really poor fitness level that I couldn’t complete them. 
  • Tweaks I made along the way: There have been lots of changes that I have made throughout the journey. Once warmer weather was here during the first year, I switched from doing the DVD’s listed above to walking outside. I started with 30 mins a day and worked my way up to about 90 mins by the end of the summer. Here is a benefit to my job here, I’m off both June and July so I had much more time at my disposal to focus on getting workouts in. I also was trying to do more activity just by changing the way I did some everyday things like parking further from the store, taking the long way to the dumpster, etc. When the weather turned colder again, I switched back to doing the DVD’s. I had invested a little money into getting a couple of new DVD’s in the Walk Away The Pounds series to try to keep things fresh. I also was doing them about 5 times a week. By February, I was seeing that I was bored with doing the DVD’s. This is where cycling comes into play for me. I had gotten my Trek Hybrid Bike a few years before this and I had hardly used it. I kept thinking I wanted to have a stationary bike but I really didn’t have the funds to purchase one that would be good quality. I found an awesome deal on an indoor trainer   that I could attach my bike to that would allow me to use it like a stationary bike. So, I began riding 30 mins for 5 days a week. Once the weather got warmer that second spring, I started riding outside, and found I loved it! By the end of the summer I was riding 6 days a week for an hour. During that summer I also started to incorporate strength training by using dumbbells and resistance tubes and did that twice a week. Again the cold weather set in and I went back to indoor trainer and kept with my strength training. I started cycling outside once the weather got warmer and by the end of the third summer I was riding 6 days a week for anywhere from 12-18 miles at a time. Also during that summer, I was adding an hour walk in about 4 days a week in the evenings.    
  • What I’m doing now: Well I had a bike accident this past September that put an early end to my outdoor rides this year. (Note to self: taking a turn at 20 miles an hour when there is gravel, the road is wet from rain the night before, and your back tire is worn down is just asking for trouble!)  During my recovery, I switched over to my indoor trainer but it took about a month for me to really be able to do any strenuous workouts on it. I also was seeing that I was getting bored and a little frustrated with using the trainer during that time. So I knew it was time for a change up. I still wanted to stay in shape to cycle once the weather goes back to being warm but I also knew I needed to take a more balanced approach to my overall fitness. So currently I still ride on the indoor trainer, but I’m focusing on interval training when I do. I am also doing fewer sessions a week. To help balance out my fitness I have turned to doing workouts on my Wii, with their Active game, new DVD’s that are more challenging and more circuit training focused, and I have made my strength training sessions longer and more frequent. So far I am seeing changes and also seeing my overall fitness and strength changing for the better.
  • Key Learning Points:   I learned the following key things about physical activity that work for me: 
    • Starting slow was best for me and building up to higher levels of activity kept me challenged but kept me feeling like I was failing because I couldn’t do so many things in the beginning.
    • Riding my bike outside has been not only good for my physical fitness but is also good for my soul because it allows me to discover the beauty in nature in the areas I ride. 
    • Change, even though it makes me uncomfortable at times, is necessary to keep moving towards better fitness. 
    • The stronger I get the more confidence I gain.
    • I would much rather workout outside than inside.
So did you notice something about my progression with physical fitness? Maybe you didn’t pick up on it but I never once have stepped into a gym to workout. I even have a free membership to the campus gym because I’m an employee, but I have never gone there to work out.  There are a couple reasons for this. First, being that when my fitness level was so poor I was too embarrassed to go. Second, is I like doing things on my schedule and having all the tools I need at home takes away of the excuse the gym is closed. And finally, learning how to workout at home has taught me I can workout anywhere, including when I’m away for work or on vacation.

So maybe you are confused about my desire to be a personal trainer but I don’t workout in a gym. Well my plan is to ultimately start my own personal training business and train people from their homes. I will likely start with a part-time job at a gym while I still hold my current position, to get experience but eventually I will break out on my own.

Questions for you:
What does your fitness plan look like?
What changes have you made over your journey to better health?
Are you a gym person, workout from home, or a combo of both?

Quote of the Day: 
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Monday, December 14, 2009

Week #11- Strength Training Program Design

Well good morning everyone!

Hope you all had a great weekend. I can’t say the same considering I was dealing with a very frustrating work related situation yesterday. Let’s just say I was so angry I ended up going for a run at about 8pm. Oh did I mention I really don’t run! Crazy thing is this past summer I had attempted to get into running and I was struggling with my endurance to really do any distance. So either my endurance has improved due to changes I have made in the last few months in regards to working out or the anger was just fueling my abilities last night. It did help with the frustration so that may become something I use when I get really stressed out.  I will say this I am very happy that Friday will be my last day until Jan 4th.

Anyway, enough my work stress. It is Monday so that means To Do List time!
Week #11- Strength Training Program Design
•    Manual- Pages 267-302
•    Workbook- Pages 89-93
•    Master the Manual- Pages 65-70
•    Audio- Chapter 9
•    Flashcards – Chapter 9

Like I mentioned last week, Chapter 8 was really a short chapter. By Thursday morning I had all of the work for the week done. I contemplated moving right on the Chapter 9 then but decided to do a full review of what I have done so far instead. So that means Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I spent my study time reading all the previous chapters, reviewing my notes, and going through all the flashcards. I have to say the review was quite encouraging because the materials that were tough for me the first time around was much easier and actually made more sense.

Was glad to see my last post on using foods to help with moods was helpful for some. Just a note to some of the comments that were left, I do use light therapy in conjunction to a couple of other strategies.  The light I use can be found here. I have had this light for almost 3 years now and I absolutely love it. It has been very helpful for me.

Well I need to get to studying for the day so I’m going to get going. Stay tuned because sometime this week I will be running my first ever giveaway. Have a great week!

Question for you:
What do you do to help when you are frustrated or angry about something?

Quote of the Day:
“There are three secrets to managing. The first secret is have patience. The second is be patient. And the third most important secret is patience.” ~Chuck Tanner

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Managing Moods with Food Choices

As someone who battles each winter with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), I am in constant search of strategies to manage my symptoms. This afternoon, while surfing the net like I often do, I came across a great article on food choices that can help your mood. Feel free to check it out here.

I thought I would take some time to talk about which of these I have been including in my daily diet. I’m a strong believer that nutrition can play an important role in managing depression, and a lot of times those who are battling with depression don’t realize that nutrition can help. They list 6 tips on things you should be doing that will help you feel good and 3 things you should avoid to help as well. Let’s break it down by each one listed in the article and I’ll talk about how these relate to what I include to help me.

1. Seek out foods rich in vitamin B12 and folic acid

  • Like the article states, folic acid is usually found in beans and greens & vitamin B12 is found in meats, fish, poultry, and dairy. All of these are found in my everyday diet throughout the year. The only one that I don’t eat is fish. So check on including foods with both for me.
2. Enjoy fruits and vegetables in a big way.
  • Prior to me starting my journey to better health I was really lacking veggies and fruits in my diet. Not surprisingly, my SAD symptoms were pretty bad back then. It’s good to know that a benefit from having several servings of both daily is helping my moods.
3. Eat selenium-rich foods every day
  • Whole grains, beans and legumes, lean meat, low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds, and seafood are all good sources of selenium. Interestingly enough, other than seafood, all of these appear in my diet as well. So it looks like I’m 3 for 3 so far.
4. Eat fish several times a week
  • Oh no here is one that I don’t do. But I’m just not a fish kind of girl. The article goes into a little more detail to point out that this suggestion is based on the fact that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in the particularly fatty fish, are thought to have a positive effect on mood. To make sure I’m consuming my omega-3’s I try to include other sources like walnuts and flaxseed. I also supplement with Fish Oil pills which are a source of Omega-3’s. I would prefer to get my nutrition needs met by foods, but in this case I just can’t bring myself to eat fish so I do supplement in hopes it helps.
5. Get a daily dose of vitamin D
  • So during the summer months this is not a big problem since I get outside everyday in the sun, but in the winter since I live in the Northeast this is hard for me to get from the sun since the intensity of the sun isn’t there to help produce vitamin D. They talk about our primary source of dietary vitamin D is in fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, breads, juices, and milk. Some of these are things I include but not in levels where it would provide me all the daily requirement, so again this is a place where I supplement. I found out in a blood test about a year ago that my levels where on the low side, on the suggestion of my doctor, I started to supplement. Since beginning supplementing, my level has come into the normal range.
6. Treat Yourself to 1 oz of Chocolate
  • Oh this is one I am practicing several times a week. I have a piece of 85% dark chocolate after lunch a couple times a week. And here I thought I was just treating myself! Good to know that my treat could be helping my moods during the winter.

So if you were keeping track I employ 5 out of the 6 suggestions. It was nice to see that I already have been doing what they were talking about in the article. I think that those 6 are things that are components of a healthy eating plan anyway.

Now on to the 3 things they list for limiting in your diet. Wonder how well I do in implementing those.

1. Reduce foods high in saturated fat

  • This shouldn’t be a surprise. I already do this. Again I think this is just a component of healthy eating anyway. A few weeks ago, when I posted about my little experiment about tracking my food for a couple days, I was happy to see I never was above the American Heat Association recommendations of 20 grams.
2. Limit alcohol carefully
  • I hardly ever drink alcohol so this one is fairly simple for me. I have several reasons I don’t drink very often, but the main one is that alcohol has little nutritional value and just doesn’t seem worth the calories.
3. Don’t go crazy with caffeine
  • At one point in my life I was constantly wired on caffeine. No wonder I had periods of insomnia! Now a days my caffeine intake is limited to a cup of coffee at breakfast and an occasional cup of hot tea. I have one rule with caffeine and that is not to drink it past 3pm.

Questions for you:
Are you doing the things listed above in your daily diet?
What other things are you doing to manage your moods with your nutrition choices?
What other strategies are you employing to help you manage and maintain good moods?

Quote of the Day:
"Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale." ~ Elsa Schiaparelli

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nutrition Changes I Made on My Journey to Better Health & Some Random News

Well hello everyone! So like I mentioned before, I am hoping to start blogging a little more often to give you more to read every week. I got a lot of good ideas from the comments and also after talking to some of my friends. I have lots of posts in mind so keep tuning in because I’ll be blogging about all kinds of fun healthy living topics. And maybe, just maybe I’ll start including some pictures…fun and exciting right?

I thought I would start with some of the nutritional changes I made on my journey towards better health. I will be featuring three other posts on the topics of changes that include physical activity, stress management, and emotional health in upcoming posts. Before I get into that, I want to point out that these are the things that worked for me and won’t necessarily work for everyone.  I have a strong belief that each of us need to find healthy eating plans that work for us and that it is not a one plan works for all kind of thing.

Continuing on…. I will give you an overview of what I was doing prior to starting, what I started out doing, what tweaks I made along the way, what I currently am doing, and key learning points. Feel free to ask me any questions if something isn’t clear or you want more detail about something.

  • Prior to Starting: Before I made the commitment to work towards my better health journey nutritionally I was clueless as to what was healthy and what wasn’t. Basically I ate what I thought tasted good and I ate a lot of it. I also didn’t eat for long stretches of time and would then eat a whole bunch in one sitting. I ate a lot of fast food, prepackaged meals, and hardly any whole foods.  

  • What I Started Out Doing: I started out following the South Beach Diet. This was a good program for me to start with because it had structure to it. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to count calories because I had found in the past that made me feel a little crazy about food.  It was my stepping stone into finding that I liked to learn about how food works in the body and other concepts of nutrition. I followed the plan very to the letter until I had lost about 60lbs. I was eating 6 times a day and was following their recommendations for how to structure meals and snacks and what serving sizes where.

  • Tweaks I made along the way: Like I mentioned above I followed the South Beach Diet for the first 60lbs I lost. As I started learning more about nutrition, through reading everything and anything nutrition related, I started to wonder if the reduced level of carbohydrates was really healthy. Also, my fitness level had increased to the point where I was starting to have symptoms of early muscle fatigue because of lack of adequate carbohydrate replenishment between workouts. So I started to cut back a bit on the amount of protein I was consuming and added in additional servings of whole and minimally refined sources of carbohydrates.  This took a bit of experimenting to find a balance that worked for me but eventually I figured it out. During the experimenting period the weight loss part of my journey stalled out a bit but it was a very important part of the journey because I actually learned what exactly works for my body.

  • What I’m doing now: Well I’m eating 6 times a day still, which I love because I rarely feel like I’m starving. I strive to find balance in each meal I have and use snacks to fill in the rest. I balance my main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to include a lean protein source, either a whole grain or starchy vegetable serving, at least one serving of non-starchy vegetables, and either a serving of dairy or a serving of fruit.   I still don’t count calories really but I do pay attention a little more than I did to start with. For example, I make snack selections that clock in between 100 -200 calories. I also know overall that breakfast clocks in as my highest calorie meal, followed by lunch, and then dinner. But to give you what my calorie intake is each day is not something I can do off the top of my head. As far as what I’m eating I try to eat mostly whole foods, avoid added sugars, avoid overly processed products, avoid trans-fats, watch my sodium intake, eat many servings of veggies and fruits a day, get at least 2 servings of nonfat or low fat dairy, and stick to lean protein sources both in the form of vegetarian choices and meats. I follow a 90-10 principle which means I eat how it is listed above no less then 90% of the time and the other 10% allows for occasional indulgences. A large majority of my food is stuff I cook myself but I do go out to eat occasionally. One of these days I’ll post what a typical day looks like to give you an idea of what my food intake looks like.

  • Key Learning Points:  I learned the following key things about nutrition that work for me:  
    • Eating 6 times a day. Having only a few hours between when I eat works really well at keeping me feeling satisfied all day long. I find I am rarely famished which makes it a lot easier to make rational and healthy choices.
    • Balancing meals helps me feel satisfied and keeps me on track with proper nutrient intake.
    • Experimenting, although slowed the weight loss part of the journey for some time, was an important process for me to learn how to trust my body to tell me what it needs. I still continue to experiment because I know as time goes on nutritional needs can change.
    • I can have an occasional indulgence and not get thrown off my healthy path. I just jump right back to clean eating and go on with my day. 
    • Through the process I found passion for being creative with my cooking skills. I can cook some pretty awesome meals that even my friends who don’t eat the healthiest love.   
Like I mentioned above finding a healthy eating plan is an individualized process, and in my opinion there is no set plan out there that works for everyone. I think that is why there is so much conflicting information out there about nutrition, especially when it comes to results of studies about different things that relate to nutrition. To develop my plan taking the time to learn about the different core concepts of nutrition, keeping up with health related research, and reading the personal stories of others has been helpful. Taking information I gathered there and then trying out different strategies out is how I have developed what works for me. Below are some links of places I gather health related information, including information on nutrition, to help you get started on collecting your own. Note that I’m not posting blogs, you can find those listed on the left under My Must Reads Blog Roll.

Questions for you:
What does your healthy eating plan look like?
Do you experiment with your eating to find what works for you?
Is there a website or book you think I might want to check out?

Some random news to share with you while I have your attention. I received the steamer that I mentioned in my post here  so get ready for me to post a review and run my first ever giveaway soon.

Also, I received in the mail today my giveaway win of VitaMuffins from over at Cranky Fitness .Once I get a chance to try them out I’ll review them for you here. Big thanks to the people over at Cranky Fitness and to VitaMuffins!

Quote of the Day:
“We must eat to live, and not live to eat.” ~ Henry Fieding 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Week #10 - Strength & Endurance & New Post Content Ideas

Good morning everyone! Hope that you all had a great weekend. Well it is Monday so you all know that means it’s To Do List time so let’s get to it.

Week # 10 – Strength & Endurance (Whoo Hoo I’m half way there!)
•    Manual – Pages 247-265
•    Workbook – Pages 81-86
•    Master the Manual – Pages 59-64
•    Audio – Chapter 8
•    Flashcards – Chapter 8

This is a fairly short chapter, which I found out yesterday when I was able to read it all in about 45 mins. Most of the chapters take me anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half to read. I started the workbook pages this morning and am already half way through that and it is only Monday. I’m thinking that if I get through all the materials and feel confident I might start next week’s chapter early.

So I have been thinking about adding to the type of content I post here and posting more frequently so that you have more to read each week. So here are some thoughts on what I am thinking and I’m open to hear what you think.
•    My daily workouts
•    Fitness related products I am using and my pro/con lists to them
•    What I’m eating/ recipes of my homemade dishes
•    Hot news topics that are health/fitness/nutrition/emotional wellness related and my opinions on them

Questions for you:
•    From the list above which topics would you like to see?
•    Are there other topics you would like me to post about?

Well I should get going and get my day rolling. My count down is on to the end of the semester. In two weeks my students will be gone for winter break and that means I get a full two weeks off from work. I look forward to this break every year and am feeling the need for it right now.

Quote of the day:
Time And health are two precious assets that we don't recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted. ~ Denis Waitley

Friday, December 4, 2009

Emotional Battle Series: Battle #3: Managing the Emotions of Feeling like You Don’t Fit In

I think that a big desire we as humans have is to feel like we fit in with the world around us. It is in our nature to be social by forming relationships with others and ultimately grouping together to form smaller communities within our society structures. So what happens when you make a lot of changes to better your health and you begin to feel like you no longer fit into the community and the larger society structure around you?

This is one of those battles that I think probably derails a lot of us from the quest to better health and that is the reason that I think it is so important that it gets talked about. I think that this struggle happens because, like it or not, we as a society have trouble accepting and embracing people who are different than ourselves. For the purpose of this discussion when I refer to society I’m generally talking about the society of the United States, however some of this I think is global. From my observations, we are quick to ostracize those who are different and because of this we relay a message that being a true individual is not in your best interest. This can be seen clearly in all kinds of ways in our society through things like racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. I don’t think there is one person out there that hasn’t at one time or another felt like they . didn’t fit because of how others have reacted to things that made us different. I have much more I could say on this but I want to move forward.

On my journey, I have struggled with the emotions that come with feeling like I don’t fit in anymore because of the changes I have made to better my health. After several months into my journey, I started to feel like my new behaviors, thoughts about health, and my new lifestyle were so different from those around me. It has been one of those battles that is one I am still developing skills of coping with it but I feel like I have gotten much better at managing it as time has progressed.  Below are 4 lessons that have been key when it comes to me managing these feelings.

Lesson # 1: My feelings aren’t always the best predictor of reality.

Ok, so I hate to say it but sometimes reality and my feelings can be polar opposites. I’m not saying I’m crazy because it happens to all of us sometimes. Think about it for a moment…how many times have you felt like something was impossible but were able to do it? How often have you swore up and down you would never get over your feelings of hurt and loss when something goes wrong only to see months later that you are totally over it? How often have you sworn someone did something with malicious intent just to hurt you just to see later that it had nothing to do with you? Well when it comes to feeling like I wasn’t fitting in because of all the changes to my health sometimes it’s been my feelings not matching reality. I was fitting in, I just was overly focused on worrying about what others were thinking about my choices.

Lesson #2: It’s cool to not be normal when it comes to my approach to health

So it took some time for this one to sink in. I realized that what is classified as “normal” when it comes to approaching health in the United States is not an approach that leads to good health. The Standard American Diet (SAD….it sure is sad if you ask me) seems to be leading to all kinds of increases of poor health diseases and conditions. The lack of regular physical activity that also seems to be normal also doesn’t support good health either. Add in what is viewed as normal for sleep, stress management, and other factors that affect health and I am proud to say I’m not normal!

Lesson #3: Not everyone has my best interests in mind
In the beginning when I would get feedback about my new way of life it would totally throw me for a loop. When I would get feedback that seemed to be negative about my new choices I would feel like I was not fitting in. People have encouraged me to indulge in unhealthy foods, have called me too healthy, have made comments that I shouldn’t loose any more weight, have accused me of having food issues, called me boring because I go to bed at a decent hour, and many other similar comments. Took me a long time to realize but I started to see that most of these comments have been made because of the other person’s own guilt about their own choices. For example, several of those who made the comment I shouldn’t loose anymore weight are those who are overweight themselves.

Lesson #4: Those who really matter are those who accept my healthy lifestyle

During my journey I started dating again after having been in a long term relationship for several years. Boy, was that a whole experience in itself which I will post about at another time but I wanted to point out something I learned during those dating experiences that relates here. I dated several women who struggled with my healthy lifestyle. My healthy lifestyle was one thing I wasn’t open to negotiating. I recognized that once they couldn’t accept it or it was triggering their own issues with their health choices that our relationship was not going to progress.  It was realizing those relationships weren’t going to work that I recognized that those who really matter in my life are ones who accept my healthy lifestyle. Luckily, about a year I met someone who does accept my healthy lifestyle, and we have been together ever since.

Well I will leave you with the following question:
Do you ever feel like your healthy lifestyle triggers feelings of not fitting in and if so how do you manage it?

Quote of the Day:
“Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?” ~ Fanny Brice

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Exciting News!

Well I have some exciting news to share with you all. I’m going to be doing my first product review & giveaway soon!  Even though it’s going to be a little while before I will actually post the review and run the giveaway, I couldn’t wait to share the news. Yeah I’m one of those people who can’t keep exciting news a secret for too long. Ha Ha!

I have been working with Jamie, a member of the promotions department of to make this all happen.   In case you aren’t familiar CSN Stores it is based out of Boston and they have several online stores. When I was first contacted, I was given the choice to do a review & giveaway with one of three of their stores. Well considering I have the smallest apartment on the planet, I was not in need of dining room furniture or bar stools, but I can always make room for cookware.  Also, considering this is a health and fitness blog I thought it would be an easy tie in to review something from the cookware site and talk about how the product can be used to prepare healthy foods.

After browsing the site for a product that might be fun to try out to prepare healthy foods, I made the choice to review one of the steamer/rice cookers. I steam food and make brown rice and other grains all the time but I have never tried it with an appliance that is solely dedicated to doing it. So be ready in the near future to see my review of the one I picked, what meals I prepared to test it out, and some information on the benefits of steaming.  Also, be prepared to comment to have a chance to win one for yourself.  

Well I need to get back to resting since I'm under the weather today. Don’t forget tomorrow is Friday and that means a new post in my Emotional Battles Series will be posted. See you tomorrow!

Quote of the Day: 

“To ensure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” ~ William Londen