Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2014 Goals

Image Courtesy of Vlado / Freedigitalphotos.net

I know it's a little early to really start writing about next year's goals but I'm one that likes to read and skip ahead.  I'll continue adding to this list through the end of 2013 as needed.
  1. Continue to work towards reaching my goal weight.
  2. Sell or donate the clothes that are too big for me now.
  3. Meet new people (in person not just online).
  4. Partner with some places to host fit clubs.
  5. Make a social media schedule and stick to it so I'm not always on.
  6. Start making money with the Beachbody business to cover my expenses.
  7. Have $100 per week additional spending money.
  8. Have at least 2 blog posts every week.  (Need more guest posters!)
  9. Finish organizing and send out a monthly newsletter to subscribers (sign up on the sidebar).  (Sent in November & December)
  10. Upgrade my cell phone to something with better internal memory.  (Ordered a Samsung Galaxy Ring 12/31/13. Hope It works!  It really sucks!)
  11. Increase monthly page views from ~2000 to 5000.
  12. Decide what to do with Casually Cassi - keep separate or merge?  (No longer using Casually Cassi.  Any product reviews will appear here.)
  13. Add #TASTYTUESDAY featuring healthy recipes, mostly with others' guest posts but sometimes my own.  (Doing but not consistently.)
  14. Continue working on improving my overall health.
  15. Evaluate coaching certification programs to decide where I want to take this business.
  16. Find personal development programs that pique my interest (and keep it!).
Have you started writing out your goals for next year?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

ONEDERLAND with a Cold

It's finally official!

I dropped another 3.2 lbs this week.  Monday was a scheduled rest day as the last "day" of the Body Gospel program.  I took another rest day Tuesday.  Then Wednesday I just did Core Revelations but still felt weak.  Stupid colds.  The rest of the week I did a Leslie Sansone walking DVD.

I'd ordered the Slim in 6 program to use with the challenge starting November 4.  I'm going to try the bands this time around. Just not sure what kind of schedule I'm doing yet but I have one more week to figure that out!

Saturday I made a quick trip to Goodwill and picked up a couple of size 16 jeans that fit nicely.  It was annoying having to wash the darks every 3 days since I only had three pairs of pants.

I made today a rest day to get into the groove of starting Slim in 6 on a Monday.  Since I'm not doing anything new, just mixing up my existing programs, there shouldn't be any issues.  I was so bored today.  I went out into the garden this afternoon and pulled up the dead plants and dowel rods.  I used the weed whacker to chop up what I couldn't pull up.  This one deep root I used the pickaxe on to remove (well, I hope I got it all LOL).

Pretty Strong Medicine

Monday, October 21, 2013

Body Gospel Week 4 at GOAL #2

Well, my official weigh in didn't put me in ONEDERLAND....just .1 lbs shy.  There was no workout scheduled for Tuesday morning but I think if there had been it might've made it LOL.  I still reached a milestone anyway!

Images Courtesy of Stuart Miles | Freedigitalphotos.net

Yes, that's 20% / 50 lbs of me gone since March.  This is the lightest I've been in over 7 years!  I got my 50 lb charm at the Weight Watchers meeting and added it to my collection.

This week during the Body Gospel workouts I had some weird tummy thing going on.  It never lasted much beyond the workouts so I have no idea what it was.  Then Friday afternoon I got a sore throat that I've been fighting with all weekend.  Tonight it turned into a cold as my nose keeps dripping.

This final week's workouts were Strength & Spirit, Power & Praise, Core Revelations & Stretch in the Spirit, and Body Revival. This morning doing Strength & Spirit I could feel the weakness setting in from the cold.  I was shocked to see that I'd burned so many calories even while feeling like crap!

Today was the final workout of the Body Gospel program.  I'm not sure what I'm doing between now and the Slim in 6 for the Holidays Challenge starting November 4.  Maybe I'll lay out all the DVDs and do the old "eeny, meeny, miney, mo" every day to see what workout I'll do each day LOL.

My Halloween costume is pretty much complete.  I just have to figure out how to do my hair, what to wear on my legs, and what shoes to wear.  It was suggested that I do a rockabilly hairstyle but most of those have bangs.  What are your thoughts?

A side by side comparison of last year vs this year...

Pretty Strong Medicine

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Body Gospel Week 3 in ONEDERLAND

At my weekly weigh in I dropped another 4.2 lbs, just 1 lb shy of my 50 lb goal!  I can see ONEDERLAND!  In fact, if you follow this blog on Facebook you would've seen that I hit this the very next day when I had blood work done.  What a difference 6 months makes!

Here's to my official weigh in Tuesday night being in ONEDERLAND!

Image courtesy of stockimages / Freedigitalphotos.net

This week I did Gospel Glory, Power & Praise, Core Revelations & Stretch in the Spirit, Strength & Spirit, and Body Revival & Core Revelations.  The Core and Stretch combo exerted the least energy (about the same as I do emptying the dishwasher).  This week was also different because my rest day was scheduled as Friday instead of Saturday.  Next week it's on a different day.

Monitoring my workouts this week:
  • Body Gospel & Core Revelations ended up being the longest workout, probably because of the pause switching from one video to the next.  Otherwise Strength & Spirit would be considered the longest.
  • Core Revelations & Stretch in the Spirit was the shortest workout.  This resulted in me burning the least calories that day as proven by the average and max heart rates being the lowest.
  • I burned the most calories doing Strength & Spirit.
  • My average and max heart rate were the highest during Gospel Glory.

Our team is having a Beat the Treats Challenge starting October 28 to scare off some pounds and be trim for turkey time.  If you're interested in this challenge there will be a webinar Wednesday night with all the details.  Register here for the webinar.

Pretty Strong Medicine

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Coping with General Anxiety Disorder through Daily Exercise

I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) during my Freshman year of college but they said it wasn't anything to warrant treatment.  So on top of everything else I've had this condition lurking in the background.  Who knows, it could be the core of some of my bigger issues.

Today's guest post comes from Ryan Rivera, founder of the Calm Clinic.  He's personally suffered from various anxieties, failing to improve with medication or standard therapy.  Ryan sought out other ways to overcome his conditions.  He now shares his experiences and inspires others to overcome their anxieties.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / Freedigitalphotos.net

Generalized anxiety disorder is not your garden-variety anxiety that people experience normally day-to-day. It is sometimes far worse than the ordinary. It can be an exaggerated form of worry that some people may be experiencing. The cause of worry may be varied and some may not be even a cause for worry. About nine and a half million people in America suffer from this mental disorder. Health experts say that current treatments have very little success and these therapies have been marred with a lot of drawbacks. However, there have been new studies to indicate that daily exercise can help people with GAD and even prevent side effects and the expense of current modality of treatment. Let’s take a look at how actually regular exercise can help people overcome their irrational and sometimes overtly annoying anxieties.

The study

There has been a study conducted by researchers at the University of South Carolina purportedly indicated that exercise can be a great help to people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder. In fact experts believe that only exercise can help in great lengths those patients of GAD without great exposure to side effects and even undue expenses. The study showed that not only exercise not only helps people cope with anxiety it is also great against depression.

The results

In the study, a group of women were subjected to a six-week exercise training program. A significant percentage of women that have been engaged in various exercise programs saw having remission on their GAD. The performance is very encouraging however there is a general consensus that the study is not large enough to get a very conclusive answer and even explain the mechanism on how increased activity can help patients with GAD. That is why the researchers are looking for ways to expand their research to include additional funding. The researchers believe that there is a need to fully explore the effects of exercise on the disability and mental challenges that are posed by GAD.

The theory

Some researchers surmise that the increased activity has something to do with the ability of the brain to produce serotonin. Serotonin is a key hormone that helps people become less anxious and happier.  Serotonin has been known to be raised through increased physical activity like exercise. Some health organizations in the world like the United Kingdom’s National Health Service have recommended that people with mild depression should engage in exercise rather than taking anti-depressants. However the validity of the use of exercise to counter generalized anxiety disorder and depression has yet to be fully grasped. Experts agree that there is a need to have a larger and better study to understand the effects of exercise on people with GAD.

The effects

A lot of researchers are looking at the direction on how exercise can help increase tryptophan availability in the body. The hypothesis is that when the body gets tired the levels of tryptophan increase which naturally lead to better serotonin synthesis. There are many pieces of evidence showing that fatigue indeed increases plasma tryptophan. It is unclear if activity can increase serotonin levels.

The mood

There is no doubt that aerobic exercise can improve the mood. The body is meant to move and as such people that are sedentary are prone to feel depressed and even show signs of anxiety. The study suggests that the exercise itself and not the perceived rewards of working out is the reason why serotonin levels increase.

The diet

Aside from exercise, GAD suffers can also get better help with increasing serotonin levels though diet. A diet that is rich in tryptophan-creating nutrients such as potassium, vitamin D and magnesium can be an effective anti-depressant if paired with regular exercise.  The idea is to increase the levels of protein and carbohydrates so that tryptophan in food gets delivered to the brain in order to purify it to create serotonin.

The relation of serotonin and exercise has long been established and has been found to be an effective way to counter the effects of depression, anxiety and stress. Serotonin has been touted as the key reason why people become less depressed. In depressed people, the level of serotonin has been seen at its lowest prompting experts that serotonin levels are the reason why people often suffer from irrational anxiety. Researchers have been looking for the Holy Grail of treatment for GAD since current slew of treatments and therapies are not exactly great to control the anxiety symptoms.

About the Author:

Ryan Rivera is not just a health writer but an advocate of healthy lifestyle habits as well.  He believes that diet and exercise are man’s two most important protections against the debilitating effects of stress, depression and anxiety.  Please visit his calm clinic review for more helpful information.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Body Gospel Week 2 + My First Challenge Group

I was up a pound this week I think because of TOM. Gotta kick it back up next week!

Early September I won a Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor as a part of Britton @ My Big, Beautiful, Life's Blogger-Versary giveaway. It arrived in Thursday's mail so I used it during Friday's workout.  I'm going to try to remember to take a picture of the recordings every day and post them on Facebook.  Would you rather see the heart rate, calories burned, or both?

I did Body Revival, Power & Praise, Core Revelation, and Stretch in the Spirit this week.  Both times I did Power I was hot and red afterwards.  My face stayed red even after a shower.  Could that be from my heart rate reaching the high end of the target range several times?

The foot straps on the Body Gospel bands aren't adjustable.  They stay on my feet but are still quite loose and sort of move around during some of the workouts.  Either my foot is smaller than everyone on the DVDs or someone used too much elastic on my straps.


I'm excited to host my first challenge group next month!  You saw my progress doing Slim in 6 half-assed in the summer heat. Just imagine what I could do in cooler temperatures!  So I'm hosting the Slim in 6 for the Holidays Challenge starting November 4th.  I'd love for some of you to join me on this adventure!  Please RSVP to the event and send me a friend request so that I can add you to the group later this month.  Be sure to purchase Slim in 6 so you can play along!  (I think you'd need to order by 10/28 to make sure it arrives in time with standard shipping.)

Pretty Strong Medicine

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Good health at 40: Three quick ways to boost your health & fitness!

This being the first time for guest posting I'm not sure what all to put on an introduction.  Sure I've read several other's guest posts but my things always tend to be different.  I listed my request for guest posters in a few places and of course received some replies with topics no where near what this blog is about.  Carly was the first to respond with relevant topics.  I hope you enjoy!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

They say 40 is the new 30 for women. After all, age is just a number and does not have to define you. While you may not sure if you feel that way right now – with all types of shifts in your body and those hormones starting to rebel – there are some ways to boost your health and fitness so you feel young(er) again.  Here are three ways you can start changing your physical and mental outlook:

1.    Get Moving! Despite running from here and there – between work, taxi service for the kids, and family life – you may still have a sedentary lifestyle that has you moving less than you should. Exercise and an active life are two of the best solutions for stress, anxiety, and troubled sleep. Regular exercise also helps to decrease your chances of chronic diseases by keeping your body in top-performing mode. You will be able to strengthen muscles and alleviate pain while reducing the risk of bone fractures and arthritis. Even 20 minutes a day of brisk walking can make a difference. Working in other movement can be fun and also help keep you from stiffening up. It could be dancing, tennis, or golf.  Plus, if you pick outdoor exercise, you can give your body a little bit extra Vitamin D from the sunlight that helps re-energize you. If you can’t get outdoors, be sure to get up from your desk every half hour and do some stretching and movement to keep those joints working! It’s that old adage, you have got to use it or you will lose it!

Creative Commons image from Pixabay.com 

2.    Take Your Vitamins. As you age, your body’s nutritional needs change. Not staying attuned to these changing needs can lead to vitamin deficiencies that then zap your energy and slow you down. Although the jury is still out on whether vitamins really make a difference – with some swearing by them and saying just one supplement makes them feel on top of the world – it is well worth trying. Of course, a balanced diet can be the best solution for your body, it may be that you are still missing out on certain vitamins and minerals that could help provide you with the energy need to be that super woman. Some vitamins can help with bone health and your immune system, which are important because, as women age, these are trouble spots that can slow us all down. If you are not necessarily keen on taking tablets every day, focus on adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet that are full of some of these same vitamins.

3.    Catch Those Zzzzzs. The power of sleep makes an incredible difference in your physical appearance as well as your mental and emotional outlook. Those who can get between seven and nine hours a night not only look fresh and younger, but they also have a brighter outlook and are more alert. However, many women in their 40s report sleep troubles and chronic insomnia, which they never previously experienced often related to hormonal changes. To ensure a good’s night sleep, there are natural sleep aids, including herbal remedies, which address these hormonal changes. You can also prepare your bedroom and yourself for sleep by creating a quiet and cool environment and removing any stimuli like your smartphone and television. That regular exercise in tip 1 also can go a long way to catching up on your beauty sleep!

Creative Commons image from Pixabay.com

Of course, there are many other important ways that you can look and feel younger, including drinking lots of water, staying social, and balancing work and personal life. However, these three ways can go a long way to creating the physical and mental energy that will have many people guessing you are a lot younger than your actual age!

Carly W is a writer working on behalf of Nature’s Best.  In her spare time she enjoys walking her two lovely doggies and cooking up delicious meals.