Do you believe that you currently posses everything you need to succeed?
I love reminding myself that I am exactly where I need to be with the true story “Acre of Diamonds.” This story is about a farmer who lived in Africa and through a visitor became extremely intrigued in seeking out diamonds in Africa to make the big bucks. He chose to sell his house and travel the land. The farmer continued traveling, becoming discouraged as he was not coming across any diamonds. Tragically, the farmer’s funds ran out and he threw himself into a river and drowned.
Meanwhile, the new homeowner of his property discovered an odd looking rock about the size of an egg and displayed it on his mantle. A visitor stopping by was stunned and wide-eyed as he gazed at the odd rock, a world phenomenon, the largest diamond ever found!!! Hmmm….the property was full of them.
This farm became known as the Kimberly Diamond Mine, the RICHEST the world has ever known. The previous farmer was literally standing on his very own “acre of diamonds” until he sold his land to seek elsewhere.
What an amazing story. What treasures am I not looking at in the right light? The moral of this story has been present for me this week as I firmly believe that I am exactly where I need to be and have unique, personalized tools for success. Over my volleyball career, numerous game changing moments occurred when we were out of subs and without being able to change any players we could change the game plan. Changing the plan, not the players is precisely what I need to do in my life as well. After all, diamonds certainly have an odd look in their raw form.
Game changing plan:
1. SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE: I live in LAS VEGAS, how cool!!!! Born and raised in Colorado, it is so easy for me to talk about all that Denver has to offer, the community, the beautiful nature, etc. While Denver still holds a beloved place in my heart, each day I choose to celebrate this new journey with my most loving husband here in Vegas, connecting with genuine people, enjoying the desert playground and exposing myself in new ways…people don’t know what I’ve done or what I’m capable of until I show them!
2. CHOOSE TO SUPPORT MY BODY: Having health and energy is the foundation in accomplishing any goal. I am so blessed to be in my body and have the knowledge of knowing what foods best support me in feeling energized. My body is my player, on my team…forever…I want to plan to feel my best all the time! The more in touch I become with my body, the better I can plan ahead, from my workout level each day to food choices I make. Example: cereal does nothing good for me. It leaves me lethargic and craving more sweets. Plan ahead, have an alternative snack prepared for when that craving hits or get the cereal out of the cupboard completely.
3. I KNOW ENOUGH: Get over the fear of not knowing enough…IF someone else can do it, why can’t I? I don’t know what I don’t know until I seek, learn and discover that the odd rock actually is a diamond waiting to be discovered! Change the plan: set goals, write them in the affirmative each day, and share only with those I know will support me!
Will a refreshingly new level of diamond be exposed if you set your alarm just 5 minutes earlier each week to create more time in the mornings for a workout, journal time, or a sit down breakfast with family?
Experience discomfort, try new things and look at that odd rock with a new perspective. You ARE exactly where you need to be, equipped with the most uniquely fitted passions and tools to unravel something great. BELIEVE THAT : )
You can listen to the full story here:
I want to give a little shout out to my pops for his consistent love, leadership, playful spirit and letting me think I’m pretty rad when it comes to the outdoors. I mean, I feel like a bad ass when I get to tell people I go backpacking every summer, have hiked many 14ers, and started skiing when I was 3. Then, I remember two things: one, I grew up in Colorado and look like a novice compared to the masses and two, all props go to my Dad for instilling an adventurous, healthy lifestyle in me from the get go.
Here are 10 memories of connecting with my Dad through movement and how he led by example as my young, impressionable eyes watched him each day.
10. When my brother, sister and I were little, our parents would make a blanket bed in a wheelbarrow and as we all laid in it and gazed at the stars, they would take us on a walk. (Great full body workout for all you dad’s and mom’s out there)
9. Screaming with excitement and thrill as my wide eyes watched trees fly by in the birdie-light attached behind my Dad’s mountain bike. (It’s hard to beat a good bike ride when it comes to a cardio and leg workout)
8. Taking our dogs on morning walks together before heading to the bus stop. (getting your body moving first thing in the morning boosts your metabolism and mood for the day)
7. Sharing his daily jogging journal with me…way before I had any interest. (setting goals and keeping track of them is essential to any program, especially a health and fitness program)
6. Having a stretching poster hung up in their room I would sneak in and imitate the pictures. (daily visual and mental reminders can help keep you on track)
5. Spending hours with me at rhythmic gymnastics, encouraging me and giving me tips with his little knowledge of the sport. “That looked good, do that again!” (having a health coach or person who can encourage you and help you along your journey is a must)
4. Starting the tradition of annual backpacking trips, completing sections on the Colorado Trail each summer! (getting outdoors, getting physical and out of your comfort zone is a great way to change up your daily routine)
3. Taking me on mountain bike rides, without any mental prep of the challenging terrain I was about to encounter. (trying new things and being open to new experiences and new opportunities is key to life and certainly has applications to a healthy lifestyle)
2. For his diligence and dedication to walking. He keeps a pedometer and hits 100,000 steps each week! (setting achievable yet challenging goals will help keep you engaged in exercise and in life)
1. He accepts when I challenge him to a running race…even when he knows I’m gonna beat him ;) (spice it up with a little competition)
As I reminisce on the many memories and on-going adventures that are inspired by my Dad, I am so very thankful. With fitness in mind, doing this exercise made me realize that movement, the great outdoors and a sense of exploration has been instilled in me from a young age. Looking over this list, I love the theme of movement without structure. He loves these activities and wanted to enjoy them with his kids because it was playing, sparking curiosity, connection and laughter.
Now, I still search for the bigger feelings beyond getting sweaty. This comes in all forms from the rush of a bike ride, working out in a group setting or with a friend where I can connect and have the accountability of someone else there with me, playing with a new piece of equipment, learning a new exercise, or preparing for an upcoming race or competition.
I challenge you to think of someone who inspires you to get active. Take five minutes to make a list and feel the motivation as you physically write down the ways you are grateful and enjoy moving your body! A, this is brilliant as your mind can only hold one thought at a time, make it a positive one. B, it will give you ideas of how you can inspire others to get active as well! Just this morning a best friend and I wanted to meet for coffee…we put a physical twist on it, we chose to walk at the park with our warm beverages and chatter.
I offer my thanks to all those fathers and men who have given their time and devotion to help bring this gift of movement to life. Personal thanks to my daddy for your living example of health and active play. I so look forward to our upcoming backpacking trip!
Let’s talk about sugar. You are at birthday party and celebrate with a serving of cake and ice cream. Consciously you are enjoying a sugar-filled treat with loved ones, wonderful. What about when you sit down to a bowl of cereal, a can of vegetables, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread, sipping on a soft drink throughout the day at work, coffee with cream and sugar in the morning, some more coffee with cream and sugar when you hit that mid-afternoon wall. Sugar is everywhere and as humans we are naturally drawn to sweet things. So without eliminating sugar from our diets, (heck, that’s impossible…I love a sweet treat), let’s become more conscious about the amounts of sugar we are consuming and the effects it has on our bodies.
Just having celebrated Memorial Day, we are proud to be Americans! Are we also proud of being addicted to sugar? As Americans, we consume 150 pounds of sugar per year, 55 pounds of white flour per year and 53 gallons of soda per year. WOW! In comparison, on average we consume 8 pounds of broccoli per year (wa wa). From the liberal recommendation of the USDA, we should consume no more than 10 teaspoons of sugar per day, yet we are consuming 32 teaspoons of sugar per day! This isn’t all coming from our occasional piece of birthday cake. Let’s gain some knowledge on where all this sugar is sneaking into our diets.
- Lemon poppyseed Clif Bar contains 21 grams of sugar, or 5 teaspoons.
- Chocolate-glazed cake donut from Dunkin’ Donuts contains 14 grams of sugar, or 3 teaspoons.
- 16-ounce Starbucks Frappuccino contains 44 grams of sugar, 10 teaspoons
Like the many names you may want to yell while working out, sugar too has many names and will read on labels as corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, glucose or fructose. When sugar comes in these forms or as sucrose (refined table sugar), it lacks the ‘good stuff’. Not only does this cause more stress on our bodies to digest it, the body must deplete its own stored minerals and enzymes to absorb sucrose properly. As well as being nutrient deficient, foods high in sucrose are often empty calories, in which, our bodies are consuming high levels of calories but still lack nutrient value so trigger additional hunger signals. Along with additional hunger signals, sugar can cause havoc on health through depression, mood swings, chronic fatigue, type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, high cholesterol, decreased immune function, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, acne, PMS, ADD, cancer, binging, hormone imbalance and belly fat. With the ability to limit sugar intake, health, moods and energy increase while fluctuating insulin levels that cause belly fat, decreases!
In order to be successful, it’s not about eliminating negative things, but adding the ‘good stuff’ in to make your feel more bountiful! So let’s chat about the benefits of unprocessed sugar. Unprocessed sugars are found in whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits, and contain vitamins, minerals, enzymes and proteins. When these foods are chewed, cooked and digested, the natural carbohydrates break down into separate glucose molecules and enter the bloodstream evenly, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients.
Add some whole foods that are naturally sweet into your diet the and see if it provides any satisfaction to your sweet tooth. Some of my favorites are sweet potatoes with cinnamon, apples with nut butter, steamed veggies or oatmeal with cacao powder and maple syrup. Have fun playing with some new energy snacks and share some of your favorites! You have the power over sugar, so make choices that support your body, energy and your relationships! Honestly, my moodiest times come from overloads in sugar. Suddenly I’m engaging in a conversation that is turning south, noticing I don’t sound like myself…not good. So in honor of happy moods and sharing joy in relationships, my husband, Mike and I are celebrating our first anniversary today and will choose to get active and eat real foods because we know this best supports how we feel about ourselves in which we can more lovingly enjoy one another!
Starting with sugar, ending with love….strange how it’s all connected
Get your head out of the gutter folks! Below was a question my professor asked in my anatomy/physiology course. I thought it was worth sharing.
What are some lifestyle changes a person can make to help to improve overall health? List at least 3 and describe the benefits of each.
In my opinion, the 3 very important factors for a positive lifestyle change in an individual to improve overall health is, weight loss, coronary artery disease, and stress. What you will probably notice is that the three components actually overlap with one another in some capacity to help in the overall health improvement in the individual suffering from one, two, or all three of these symptoms.
First we’ll discuss weight loss. One of the most important things one can do to achieve long-term weight loss and management is to set realistic goals. “It may seem obvious to set realistic weight-loss goals. But do you really know what’s realistic? Over the long term, it’s best to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week, although initially you might lose weight more quickly than that if you make significant changes — just be sure the changes are health supporting. To lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day, through a lower calorie diet and regular exercise. When you’re setting goals, think about both process and outcome goals. “Exercise regularly” is an example of a process goal, while “Lose 30 pounds” is an example of an outcome goal. It isn’t essential that you have an outcome goal, but you should set process goals because changing your processes — your habits — is a key to weight loss. Also make sure that your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited. An example of a SMART goal is aiming to walk for 30 minutes a day, five days a week for the next three months, and logging your results” (Mayo clinic staff 2010).
Some of the health benefits that come with reducing one’s weight are increased energy levels, lower cholesterol levels (LDL, VLDL), improved breathing, improved mobility, reduced aches and pains in joints, improve sleep, decreased risk of “coronary artery disease”, reduce or eliminate diabetes, reduce “stress” physically, emotionally, and mentally. This can be achieved by following two simple guidelines, eating healthier foods, getting and staying active.
“Adopting a new eating style that promotes weight loss must include lowering your total calorie intake. But decreasing calories need not mean giving up taste, satisfaction or even ease of meal preparation. One way you can lower your calorie intake is by eating more plant-based foods — fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without giving up taste or nutrition.
In particular, get your weight loss started by eating a healthy breakfast every day; eating at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits daily; and using healthy fats, such as olive oil, vegetable oils and nut butters. In addition, cut back on sugar, choose low-fat dairy products and keep meat consumption to a 3-ounce portion (about the size of a deck of cards).
While you can lose weight without exercise, exercise plus calorie restriction can help give you the weight-loss edge. Exercise can help burn off the excess calories you can’t cut through diet alone. Exercise also offers numerous health benefits, including boosting your mood, strengthening your cardiovascular system and reducing your blood pressure. Exercise can also help in maintaining weight loss. Studies show that people who maintain their weight loss over the long term get regular physical activity” (Mayo clinic staff 2010).
Second we have coronary artery disease (CAD). The thing with CAD as with weight management is that we as individuals make the choices that affect our lives in either a positive or negative way. By making a conscious decision to make a positive change, all you ‘ll need to do to succeed is to implement it. With CAD, there are some things that we are either born with or just develop with time. We can’t choose to change it, but we can manage them i.e. age, sex, and family history. Some of the changes that we can make are sometimes the things we’re already doing to cause them such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, high stress, and lack of sleep. With the exception of smoking and sleeping, everything else can be controlled and managed to some extent by following the guidelines from the weight loss section. Annual check ups with your physician is all a choice you can implement to monitor your heart’s health.
“Lifestyle changes can help you prevent or slow the progression of coronary artery disease.
- Stop smoking. Smoking is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease. Nicotine constricts blood vessels and forces your heart to work harder, and carbon monoxide reduces oxygen in your blood and damages the lining of your blood vessels. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack.
- Control your blood pressure. Ask your doctor for a blood pressure measurement at least every two years. He or she may recommend more frequent measurements if your blood pressure is higher than normal or you have a history of heart disease. The ideal blood pressure is below 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, as measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
- Check your cholesterol. Ask your doctor for a baseline cholesterol test when you’re in your 20s and then at least every five years. If your test results aren’t within desirable ranges, your doctor may recommend more frequent measurements. Most people should aim for an LDL level below 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3.4 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). If you have other risk factors for heart disease, your target LDL may be below 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L).
- Keep diabetes under control. If you have diabetes, tight blood sugar control can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Get moving. Exercise helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and control diabetes, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure — all risk factors for coronary artery disease. With your doctor’s OK, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity most or all days of the week.
- Eat healthy foods. A heart-healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains — and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium — can help you control your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Eating one or two servings of fish a week also is beneficial.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk of coronary artery disease. Weight loss is especially important for people who have large waist measurements — more than 40 inches (102 centimeters) for men and more than 35 inches (89 centimeters) for women — because people with this body shape are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease.
- Manage stress. Reduce stress as much as possible. Practice healthy techniques for managing stress, such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing.
In addition to healthy lifestyle changes, remember the importance of regular medical checkups. Some of the main risk factors for coronary artery disease — high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes — have no symptoms in the early stages. Early detection and treatment can set the stage for a lifetime of better heart health” (Mayo clinic staff 2010).
Last but not least we have stress management. I look as stress as a major component and precursor to a lot diseases and conditions we contract in our lives. If you click on this link: http://www.stress.org/topic-effects.htm, you’ll see the effects of stress on the human body both physically and emotionally. “There are numerous emotional and physical disorders that have been linked to stress including depression, anxiety, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, immune system disturbances that increase susceptibility to infections, a host of viral linked disorders ranging from the common cold and herpes to AIDS and certain cancers, as well as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. In addition stress can have direct effects on the skin (rashes, hives, atopic dermatitis, the gastrointestinal system (GERD, peptic ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis) and can contribute to insomnia and degenerative neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. In fact, it’s hard to think of any disease in which stress cannot play an aggravating role or any part of the body that is not affected (see stress effects on the body stress diagram) or. This list will undoubtedly grow as the extensive ramifications of stress are increasingly being appreciated” (AIS 2009).
There are many ways to reduce stress, weight management and exercise can help reduce and control stress levels. Those are but only two, and I mentioned them specifically because like my intro, I stated that “What you will probably notice is that the three components actually overlap with one another in some capacity to help in the overall health improvement in the individual suffering from one, two, or all three of these symptoms” (Hsu 2011).
There are also what I consider active and passive treatments to stress. Active is physically doing something to reduce stress levels, while passive is having an external component aiding in the reduction of stress. One is not necessarily better, it’s just options that suits the individual best. “Just as stress is different for each of us there is no stress reduction strategy that is a panacea. Jogging and other aerobic exercises, different types of meditation, prayer, yoga and tai chi are great for many people but when arbitrarily imposed on others, prove dull, boring and stressful. There is certainly no shortage of stress relievers and in addition to the above, various progressive muscular relaxation exercises, autogenic training, deep breathing, massage therapies, visual imagery and self hypnosis practices are popular. There are also acupuncture, acupressure, biofeedback, Alexander, Reiki, Feldenkrais and other bodywork and postural techniques. Some people find that listening to music, hobbies, volunteer work, keeping a daily journal of events and how they feel, laughter, playing with pets, taking short breaks or shopping help them to relax. Others find relief for their stress related symptoms from aromatherapy, nutritional supplements like chamomile, spearmint, kava kava, adaptogens and St. John’s wort or even sitting under a pyramid. There are also prescription tranquilizers, sedatives, hypnotics, antidepressants and beta-blockers for specific complaints. In addition, a variety of cranioelectromagnetic stimulation devices have been found to be effective and safe for anxiety, insomnia and drug resistant depression. Strong emotional support from group therapy, family or friends is a powerful stress buster” (AIS 2009).
Mayo Clinic staff. (2010 December, 18) Weight Loss: 6 strategies for success. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/HQ01625
Mayo Clinic staff. (2010 July, 2) Coronary Artery Disease. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/coronary-artery-disease/DS00064/DSECTION=lifestyle%2Dand%2Dhome%2Dremedies
The American Institute of Stress. (2009) Effects of Stress. AIS. http://www.stress.org/topic-effects.htm
The American Institute of Stress. (2009) Stress reduction, Stress relievers. AIS. http://www.stress.org/topic-reduction.htm