Tower Garden

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I just learned about one of the most amazing things!  It is called a tower garden.  This thing is so amazing, you can grow plants, indoors, all year round, with NO dirt!!!  It uses aeroponics.  There is no weeding, since there’s no dirt, and you can have fresh greens or whatever else you like all year long.  I am definitely getting one of these, although I will have to put it in the back bedroom and make it a NO CATS ALLOWED room!  One of my cats, Lightning, will actually get up in a chair at the table (which I discourage vehemently) and try to take greens off of my salad plate.  I DO NOT allow my cats anywhere near the table, but she loves trying to steal my greens.  Most of the time I just drop one or two on the floor for her so she will not be tempted to get up to the table.  Anyway, as soon as I get one I’ll post pictures of it so you can see how cool it is!

Here is a video telling about it…it’s so cool.

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

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So, you’ve decided to accept yourself, today, like you are.  Because, I mean, what choice do we really have?  We are who we are today.  Yes, we want to improve, whether it’s our weight, our health, or our attitude, but this is what we have right now.  And hopefully you’ve found a friend, spouse, or relative to walk with you on this journey.  Now, start with baby steps.  You know the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  Living the L.E.A.N lifestyle is the same way, we start with one little thing and go from there.  So choose one thing that you want to start doing differently and get started.  I’ll give you some good ideas to start with and you will find that you can think of some on your own, too.

  1.  Start moving more.  Even a little bit of exercise helps a lot when you are used to living a sedentary lifestyle.  Start walking, even once a week at first, then as you get more comfortable, walk farther, more often.
  2. Eat more real food.  By real food I mean things that grow in the ground, things that start out being alive.  Fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meats all qualify as real food, but more importantly, try to eat these things in the most minimally processed way as possible.  Processed foods are really not good for you, especially if they have a lot of added ingredients that are supposed to enhance the flavor or lengthen the shelf life.
  3. Laugh more.  Laughing is good exercise for your abdominal muscles.  A good laugh can be a workout, and a lot more fun for some people! 🙂  Watch a good comedy or just get with some friends who make you laugh and have some fun!  Laughing also releases the feel good hormones in your body that help you heal.
  4. Rest.  When I say rest, I don’t necessarily mean sit on the couch all night instead of doing something productive (like wash dishes..ugh,I hate washing dishes).  What I do mean is try to actually relax.  For some people this means reading a good book, or watching a television show, or even cleaning ( weird I know, but I know some people who find it really relaxing).  Most of all, make sure you are getting enough sleep.  If you are having trouble sleeping, try drinking chamomile tea before bed.  It tastes really good and it helps you to wind down.

The most important thing is don’t be hard on yourself.  This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Life is full of amazing things to do and eat and experience.  If you get the chance to go to the Cheesecake Factory with a friend, go…eat some cheesecake, experience it!  Love every bite, and don’t feel guilty afterwards.  This life is about love, joy, and trying new things, and it is to be enjoyed.  Don’t focus on quitting, focus on trying new things, good things, better things, then your body will eventually quit those things on its own.  Give yourself some grace and lets just take it one step at a time!

Fat Vs. Muscle

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One of the things that can be so discouraging for people when they first start out trying to lose weight is that they start losing pretty quickly and then they either stop losing and gain a little back.  Most of us have heard the saying “Muscle weighs more than fat”.  Actually, it doesn’t matter if you have five pounds of fat or five pounds of muscle, it’s still five pounds.  The difference really is in the amount of volume in comparison.  Five pounds of muscle takes up less space than five pounds of fat.  If you are exercising along with changing your eating habits in order to lose weight then you are going to be building muscle.  You will lose fat, and the numbers on the scale will certainly go down, but when you start building muscle those numbers may go back up just a bit.  Try not to focus so much on the numbers, but more on how you feel and how you fit into your clothes, that will be the true test.   Below I have added a picture that gives you a visual about the fat vs. muscle statement.

fat-v-muscle

Coffee, my favorite drink

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I have always loved coffee, ever since I was a little girl.   My grandmother on my mother’s side would often have just a little bit of coffee left in her cup after breakfast was over and she would always let me drink that little bit.  When I was in high school, I started buying instant coffee since my mom didn’t ever drink coffee.  Then I was introduced to brewed coffee and I thought I was in heaven.  When Dunkin Donuts came to our town it was all over for me.  Over the years I have worried about drinking too much coffee and when I was around twenty seven I developed fibroid systs.  I was advised to quit drinking regular coffee and switch to decaf.  I tried for a few weeks, but I found that I just didn’t like drinking decaf by itself.  So, I started mixing my coffee 1/2 regular and 1/2 decaf and that is how I drink it today.  I have become a lot more discerning in my tastes though, or I have become a “coffee snob” as one of my new friends calls me.  I like good coffee, I will admit it.  I have found the older I get, though, sometimes coffee can be a little acidic and the more you drink it, the more your stomach kind of complains.  Recently I found a new brand of coffee that I really love.  I have been drinking it for a couple of weeks now and I have not noticed it bothering my stomach at all.  It is called Simpatico Low Acid coffee.  I was a little skeptical when I bought it, but I really wanted to check it out.  They have a dark roast and a regular roast as well as ground or whole bean coffee, my favorite is the regular dark roast mixed with the decaf medium roast.   Oh, and just in case you’re wondering if drinking coffee is bad for you, they’ve done some studies recently that show that coffee may actually be good for you.  Thank God, because quitting just doesn’t seem to be on my radar at all!

Blueberry breakfast drink (not so smoothie)

You will need a pint sized mason jar with a good lid.  You can also use a plastic shaker jar if you prefer, I just personally don’t care much for using plastic.

In your pint sized mason jar add the following ingredients:

1-2 Tbsp. organic chia seeds

2 Tbsp. old fashioned oats (not instant)

a couple shakes of cinnamon, sometimes I add nutmeg too

Add unsweetened almond/coconut milk (or your preferred milk) about 3/4 full.  Add enough blueberries to fill the jar.  Give the jar a good shake and refrigerate until you’re ready to drink it.  If you like your drink a little sweeter you can use sweetened milk, or add a splash of agave nectar, or honey.  I try to shake it a few times before I drink it just to keep everything separate.  The longer the drink sets, the more liquid the chia seeds will absorb and they will expand a little bit.   If you choose not to use the oatmeal you will have to shake it often for the first few minutes to keep the chia seeds from clumping up.

Next Step

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I have found that any time I’ve wanted to change something about my life, or improve on something I’m already doing, it’s always easier with a friend.  My son and I started going to the gym a while back and I have never liked going to the gym.  My husband and I joined Planet Fitness back in January, because they opened a new site right down the road from my job.  A bunch of people from work go there right after they get off work as well.  The great thing about Planet Fitness is that there is no judgement.  If you have never worked out, it doesn’t matter.  You can wander around and check out all the machines and they even have instructions on how to use them right on the machines.  I definitely needed this, because if I had to figure out some of them on my own I’m sure it would be hilarious.  The only problem with us joining is that my husband works a lot, most of the time until later in the evening and then he’s really too tired to go to the gym.  And if I come home from work and sit down, I’m not going back out again more than likely.  So, my son decided he wanted to go to the gym to get in shape and he probably liked the idea of mom picking him up at school on those days as well.  I don’t know why it is, but the days that my son doesn’t feel like going to the gym, I usually decide not to go as well.  It’s not that I don’t still want to work out, it’s just that it’s better when there’s someone with you.  Maybe you’re not like that, maybe you like working out alone, but most of us do better if we have someone there telling us to keep going when we want to quit, and giving us an additional reason to go.  That’s another reason I like zumba so much.  Doing zumba with a bunch of other people motivates me to keep going, even when I’m tired and my arms are burning and my legs are burning, I want to keep going.  So find a buddy, someone with the same goals as you have and work together!  It’s a lot more fun!

Where Do I Start?

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Most people want to change their lifestyle, but they really don’t know where to start.  It can be very overwhelming, especially if you haven’t been taking good care of yourself so far.  The very first thing I would suggest is take a look at the motivations for your change.  Are you overweight and want to lose some weight?  Are you making way too many visits to the doctor and missing way too much work?  Are you tired and out of breath when you don’t really feel like you’ve done much.  Are you trying to look better so that someone will love you or love you more?  Some people might say that it really doesn’t matter the reason why you want to lose weight, get in shape, or just plain get healthier.  I disagree.  The very first thing you have to decide is who are you doing this for?  For years I worked at losing weight and getting in shape so that I could be like my older sister who was always smaller than me.  She is also shorter than I am and has a completely different body type, but that didn’t matter to me.  In my mind, she was prettier, thinner and got all the boys, so I wanted to be like her.  The problem is that no matter how hard I tried, I could never really be like my sister and I wasn’t supposed to be.  We are inundated with images all the time, on the internet, on tv, and in magazines, and we are expected to believe those images are reality.  Unfortunately, most of the pictures of actors and actresses are photo shopped, they are not reality.  That doesn’t stop us from wanting to look the same as the perceived beauty that we see every day.  The most important thing I’ve learned in the last few years is that we are all made differently and that’s the way it is supposed to be.  We’re not all supposed to look the same!  Each one of us is beautiful just the way we are and the first step is to accept ourselves, like we are today, before we decide what changes need to be made.

My very first blog post

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writing

A few years ago I started noticing blogs from friends, people who wrote books, pastors, teachers, and so on, but I never thought I would ever have a blog.  I thought, “What do I have to say that anyone would want to hear?”  I hope that I do have something you want to hear, so I’m going to give this blog thing a try.

I am a certified health coach.  Basically, what that means is that I want to make a career out of helping people.  I’ve always wanted to help people, but unfortunately that can become trying to “fix” people who don’t want to be fixed. 🙂  A few years ago I started getting this feeling that there has to be more to life than just punching a clock and being stuck inside all the time.  I moved to Virginia because I wanted to be able to enjoy the outdoors more, but it seemed like I was not really able to get out in the weather because I was working all the time.  So I decided to get certified as a health coach so that I could start helping people and enjoying what I do for a living at the same time.  My job is a great job, I have employers who have seen potential in me and helped me grow continually, but it doesn’t give me that feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment that I thought it would.  The great thing about being a health coach is that I am not trying to help someone who doesn’t already want help, people come to me for advice and support, because they know they need it.  I have several different workshops available, if you are interested comment on this post and I will send you all the information.  Thanks for reading my very first blog post ever!

~Marcia