What is your philosophy on living a healthful life?
I am updating this page, April 18,2019, after spending two years living and working in Kuwait, and then spending the better part of a year making the move to life in Spain. The adventure allowed me to step back into education for a short time, and it allowed me to travel on the other side of the globe. Many lessons were added to my life list, and more new doors have opened. As we settle into our lives as residents of Spain, I am returning to my online business of supporting healthy living.
I began my journey towards health on the very narrow path of diet and exercise. Those two focuses brought me far, but I never seemed to be at peace with my life or body. It wasn’t until I did the “inside” work that everything came together. Here are the pieces I’ve put together for my healthy life:
- There is no one diet for everyone. Nor is there one right diet for you for your entire life. Nourishing your body requires you to listen to your internal wisdom, daily.
- Feed your body FOOD, REAL FOOD. Our bodies are fabulous creations. The computer processor that is our brain and mechanical functions of our bodies cannot be purchased or upgraded by placing an order with Amazon. Our bodies came fully loaded, a gift from our creator. Our job is to take care of them. When fueling your body, use high-grade fuel, REAL FOOD. Real food comes from plants and animals (unless the vegan health style best suits you), not laboratory or factory manufactured food-products.
- MOVE! Everyday. Our bodies were made to be used. The saying, “use it or lose it” fits here. When we deny parts of our bodies the opportunity to function as they were made to, they begin to atrophy. Remember to use all parts of your body, not just the vanity muscles that look good on magazine covers. Target the muscles that will help you sit down in or rise from a chair, pick up a grocery bag, go up and down stairs- activities that move the blood through your body. Love your body more than skin deep.
- Rest regularly.Your body is busy all day. Getting enough rest allows your brain time to reset and recharge. Adequate sleep also makes weight loss easier and improves your sex life. Enough said!
- Have a spiritual practice that connects you, mind, body, and spirit. There is no one “right” practice, but there are a few criteria to consider while discovering yours. Does your practice help you connect with nature and the world around you? Does your practice make you feel less alone? Does your practice connect you to your own inner wisdom? Do you feel re-energized and content after you have practiced?
- YOU are worth the time and effort! There is NO ONE else who can make you happy or healthy! You must do this for yourself. You are worthy of a happy life, and being healthy is a key ingredient to create that life. Let that person in the mirror know how much you love him/her, and start acting like it today.
What kind of exercise do you do?
First, I don’t think of my movement as exercise. I consider all of my movements health enriching. After reading Katy Boman’s Move Your DNA,I came to realize how important all movements are, and that we need a VARIETY of movement for optimal health. While organizing my thoughts for this section,I realized how much my “exercise” has changed. Here’s what I’m doing these days:
Because we have been traveling so much these past two years I have had to find new ways to fit movement into my life. While we were in Kuwait, I had only 30 minutes each day before work* to exercise, so I did a lot of short workouts, with a few days being very high intensity. I made time one day each weekend for a longer workout. I learned that I could be healthy with a variety of activities that didn’t wear me out every day.
*I did get lots of movement at work as I always chose to walk the stairs and spent lots of time roaming the halls and participating in classes.
We are finally settled in Spain. We have considered joining a gym, but somehow I’m happy with the variety of workouts that I picked up while we were vagabonds. I do high intensity aerobics 2-3 times a week, pick up weights at least once a week, fill in the rest of the week with yoga and spend lots of time walking around town to get places. I have shepherded my favorite DVD’s around the world and purchased an Apple DVD player to use with my laptop. I’ve found some on line workouts, especially Erin Stutland’s Shrink Sessions, and the yoga app, Asana Rebel, that keep me moving in a variety of ways. Exploring the world has helped me explore new ways to move my body. Can’t say that my “routine” gets boring.
What does your diet look like?
I’ve been on every diet out there. I’ve been a vegetarian, even a vegan for a while. I’ve eaten raw. I’ve tried Perricone, Suzanne Somers, Pritikin, Ornish and I’ve even been Paleo. But these days, I’m a clean-eating omnivore.
I begin each morning with a lemon, cucumber, and some type of green (think parsley or cilantro) smoothie. I created this combination when I tried to copy the lemon mint drinks we were enjoying in the restaurants in the Middle East. I find my morning drink is a great way to hydrate, alkalize and get greens into my body. Beginning my day with this drink feels sort of virtuous. Makes me want to keep making good food choices, but if I don’t, at least I know I did one thing good for my body today.
I eat meat, fruit, veggies, salads, some starchy foods, and even have desserts. I don’t measure anything or count any calories. I focus on getting lots of fruits and veggies into me, keeping my carbs low and ENJOYING every bite that goes into my mouth. I do drink wine and have cocktails. Once again, I savor what I consume. Slowing down, being present and appreciating what I eat makes my body feel good.
I should add here that getting plenty of water every day, throughout the day, is also an important part of my diet. Sometimes I add herbal teas, fresh fruit or veggies with spices such as ginger root to my water, but nothing sweet or sticky to gum up the works. I find many times when I think I’m hungry, I’m just thirsty, so I make sure to drink a glass of water before reaching for food.
What are your spiritual practices?
Since I have come to understand the importance of the mind/body connection I have made time for daily spiritual practices.
- Before I bolt out of bed in the morning, while I’m still in that nice groggy state, I practice mindfulness. I picked this up from the founder of Mindfulness Meeting Place.
- When I am completely present I set my intentions for the day. What am I going to do, and most importantly, HOW am I going to do it? My mantra, “Because I always have a choice, I choose love.” (Deepak Chopra)
- I make time to read books, articles, and blogs that nourish my soul. In 2007, I realized that some of the things I was reading and watching were affecting me physically, including knots in my stomach and tightness in my chest. That’s when I made the decision to walk away from negativity. I no longer “consume” anything toxic to my mind or body and I DO make time for things that nourish.
- I journal. I write my intentions for how I want to be and what I want to create. When I feel like I’m not getting anywhere, I read entries from months and years in the past and think, “Who was I when I wrote that?” Or best of all, “WOW, all of those dreams came true!”
What kind of rest do you get?
I get regularly get 7-9 hours of sleep, usually from 11pm-7am. I save energy too. By not putting toxic food or information into my body, I’m not wasting energy to overcome unnecessary negativity either. This frees up energy for all of the fun I’ve been having these days.
What medications and supplements do you take?
As the health system in Spain does not offer hormone therapy to women “of my age” I no longer take hormones. I have opted for Chinese herbs through an acupuncturist to help me with the hot flashes. We have just begun, and I am open to success, so only time will tell.
Beyond the herbs, I continue my magnesium supplements to keep achy muscles at bay.
What do you fear?
After years of therapy and self-reflection, I’ve learned that all of the bumps in my life have come from not feeling good enough. Once I gave up the need to be perfect in order to be good enough, my life changed. Instead of having a perfect body, I began loving the one I have and doing everything I could to make it a healthy body. Once I really loved my body, I quit beating it up with over the top workouts and harsh denying diets. Instead, I began listening to it and feeding it real foods, giving it plenty of rest and moving throughout the day. I also monitor what I consume, mentally and emotionally. Once I began to love myself and stopped letting others walk on me, they either changed or slowly receded from my life. And, wonderfully supportive people appeared! Now I share my healthy life with people I love and who love me. I am driven to eat foods that support my health and don’t find myself as hungry. I MOVE! a lot, but don’t beat myself up. I rest deeply and awaken energized.
Yes, the fear still lurks deep within and there are times a deeply buried wound is opened; instead of letting it ruin my day, I acknowledge the fear, thank it for its usefulness in my past life and assure it things are different. If I find the feeling hard to shake I practice tapping (EFT). I tap, breathe deep and cry a bit. And then I go on with life, focusing on all of the wonderful things in my life. My fear and I take one day at a time and love every minute of it!
What do you love?
- I love life! It has taken me years to get here, but today I love all of the days of my life. In particular though, I love nature. As much as we enjoy living in the city, we make an effort to enjoy nature every chance we get, whether it’s in a park, a trip to the mountains or just standing under a tree appreciating the green leaves against the blue sky, nature is my thing.
- I also love making a positive difference in people’s lives. Whether it’s massage, listening to someone’s story or being a teacher, I am present and available for the positive in everyone.
- I love to cook, and I love to entertain. Having a houseful of people sharing food, drinks, and good conversation makes my day.
- And of course, I love my husband. I am grateful for him, and each day we have together. He is the one person who really SEES me, understands me and loves me. He may laugh at how weird I am sometimes, but I know that he accepts me, no matter “who” I am today. Over the 20 years we’ve been together, we have grown and changed. Not all of it easy, but worth the effort. I love the “WE” that we’ve become.