It’s impossible

Balancing everything in your life is impossible. Prioritization and scheduling are key.

It’s impossible to do it all and achieve balance

It’s literally impossible to do it all. You’re trying to balance all aspects of your life, and there’s just too much. Work and family. Chores and friends. Clean out the closet. Read that book. Train the dog. Go grocery shopping. Sleep and everything else. Something’s got to give.

What gives is you …

There just are not enough hours in the day to complete everything. Usually when that happens the things that don’t get done are the things most important to you.

Should other things come before you?

You put family first. Your home. Your job. All those things are important, certainly, but without you, your health, your sanity, you won’t have those things.

Balance is the key

The only way to keep your sanity and stay happy and healthy is to have balance in your life. Balance work and family. Balance your chores with your friends. Don’t spend an hour a week training the dog when just a few minutes every day will give you immeasurable progress! Get the family involved! A shared load is an easier one. And if everyone helps, they’ll all have an investment in the outcome, ensuring its success!

How to get balance?

So, how do you achieve this balance? Prioritization is paramount. Write everything down that needs to get done. This will probably take the longest! Prioritize tasks. Make notes on who can help you with them. Call a family meeting and let everyone know that you’re feeling overwhelmed but that they can help you! You may be surprised at your family members’ willingness to chip in. Especially if you break jobs down into very small, specific tasks. If something seems like it won’t take a long time, it’ll get done!

A calendar will help

Now that you have your tasks, schedule their completion! A big wall calendar will keep the whole family on task. And if everyone writes in their jobs, their investment will continue and things will actually get done!

New Year’s Resolutions?

Have you made progress?

Turning the calendar page on your New Year's Resolution? It's not too late to make progress.How’s your weight-loss New Year’s Resolution going? We’re a week into February – have you made progress? It’s hard! I know! I want to eat bagels for breakfast, and mac & cheese for dinner too. But I know that won’t get me closer to my goal. I don’t want to get all hot, tired and sweaty exercising every day. I know those first couple of minutes are torture – so why put myself through that?

Exactly – why! The why of our weight-loss goal will keep us on track.

I want to have less pain in my knees and hips. I want to play with my dogs. I want to compete in agility.

Why do you want to stay on course with your weight-loss goal? Go on walks with your loved ones? Shop for hours? Feel good about trying on clothes? Travel? Run around with the grandkids?

Think about your “why!”

That’s the key! Thinking about your why! Your “why” will keep you on track.

I know that if I lost a couple of pounds my knees wouldn’t hurt quite so much. So I’m changing my eating habits to make that a reality. I’m sticking to my exercise schedule.

Yes, it’s hard to stick to those goals. And practically impossible to do without some help along the way.

Accountability is key!

Accountability is key. If you’re not accountable to anyone, there’s no motivation to stick to your goals. No matter how lofty your ideals, and how solid your intentions, without accountability it’s very easy to say – “tomorrow!”

There are different kinds of accountability too – and you don’t have to choose just one. You can be accountable to a coach – one-on-one or group coaching is great. Knowing that you have to report your progress is incentive to actually make some progress toward your goal.

And you can be accountable to yourself, although that runs the risk of days slipping by even though you intend to report in. Tools to keep yourself on track can include keeping a journal every day to mark progress and problems. Making entries in your calendar for your shorter-term goals, and making appointments with yourself to actually do the tasks you’ve set.

Most importantly, if you get off-track, don’t get discouraged. It happens to everyone. Get right back on track and don’t beat yourself up about it.

New Year’s Resolutions are Bad

Living Well Planner to schedule your happiness! You don't need to make New Year's Resolutions for that!

That’s my opinion, of course. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. If there’s something that needs doing, I don’t wait to resolve to get it done.

Why wait for a totally random day to start?

Yes, I know – the whole New Year, new start, new you thing. And there may be some validity to that sentiment.

But why wait? Will you keep your resolution more if you make it on January 1 than on December 27?

If the thing you’re resolving to do really matters to you – if it’s important enough to be called a “resolution,” then the date shouldn’t matter.

It you want to start keeping a scheduler or planner, I understand that most start on January 1. But you can take a blank sheet of paper and state your resolve – plan out your days – before then. Some planners, though, can start whenever you like because you write in the dates. Like the Living Well Planner (pictured).

To state, “I resolve to lose 25 pounds in 2019,” without truly committing to that goal – or any other – is setting yourself up for failure. In fact gyms and health clubs offer incredible deals for the New Year because they know that their resources will be stretched thing for just a few weeks. Most people who join a gym or health club at the start of a year drop off in a month or so.

Why? Because people just aren’t committed to the goal of getting fit. It really takes an effort to work out 3, 4 or 5 days a week – especially if you’re driving to a new place, pushing yourself in ways that it hasn’t been pushed before (or in a long time), showering and changing clothes in a locker room with strangers all around you. I give people loads of credit who actually follow through with that any time of year!

Even more difficult than working out at a gym or health club is the mind-shift required to make the change in your behavior. It’s hard to conceive of eating differently. Or acting differently. It’s too easy to do the same things we’ve always done than to commit to a change.

You have to really, really want something badly to actually make that change. And flipping the page on a calendar doesn’t usually qualify as motivation. Things have to get bad – so bad you can hardly bear to look at yourself in the mirror. You have to reach a point where the status quo is intolerable. And then you can start to discover the ways you can change to produce the results you want.

So don’t make resolutions this January 1. Instead, spend time with family and friends. Spend time reflecting on the various aspects of your life. Are you happy? What areas aren’t you happy about? Are you unhappy enough to want to change things?

Think about where you want to be and how you want to feel a year from now. Will the direction your life is pointing to take you to that place and feeling?

If not, think about how you want to change things.

11 States in 13 Days

Mountains, rivers, streams …

I’m still recovering from my marathon driving trip through more than ⅕ of the United States. Booker and I traveled through 11 states in 13 days. Over mountains, over rivers, over bays, over the Gulf of Mexico, over the Atlantic Ocean, over bridges, and through countless construction zones. Healthy traveling is not always easy, but I did my best.

The hard part

I disposed of Hurricane Irma-damaged items from our storage unit in Marathon, Florida, and packed the rest in my Subaru Forester to bring home. I cleared the unit out completely.

The good part

Sunset over the Gulf of MexicoI ate some delicious local seafood and maybe the best pressed Cuban sandwich ever! (Not at the same meal.)

I visited good friends in Marathon and heard of their hurricane horrors.

Other friends and I shared our experiences with our soon-to-be all-natural gray hair. We each stopped coloring our hair at about the same time.

Saw some incredible sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico while I was in Marathon. Met Katie and Adam, a cute couple staying at the same hotel, and took their sunset-kiss picture, now used as Katie’s profile picture.

Had wonderful down-time in late afternoons for a few days, just reading and watching the waters of the Gulf. Booker didn’t quite understand, but he was willing to lay on his cot and get treats for doing nothing.

After a few great days in Florida, it was time for the next phase of our trek. On to Virginia and a new puppy!

Puppy time!

Booker’s six years old and Tango is nine. The other dogs in the household (my sister’s Frenchies Teddy and Torque) are 8 and 4, so the time for a puppy is now! We’d never had two Boston Terriers at home at the same time, and thought that the dynamics would be good. Booker would have another Boston to chase, and to chase him. He’s always trying to get the other dogs to chase him, and it never works.

The breeder who showed Booker’s father to a breed win at the Westminster Kennel Club show had a couple of 10-week-old little boys that I could choose between, so that was an opportunity not to be missed! I figured that I could swing up to Virginia on my way home to the Chicago area.

The bad and ugly

Arriving in Brunswick, GA after driving for 8+ hours that first day leaving Marathon was a nightmare. I had reservations at one of the moderate chain motels. They mistakenly put me in a no-dog room, and when I inquired about it, they moved me to a dog room. OK. I understood…

Except that this room smelled, and the locks didn’t work. I complained about that and the manager checked me out. Yup – kicked me out. Homeless on the streets.

Brunswick is not a bustling town and I was able to get a room at a dog-friendly motel a couple of miles away. (That reminds me – I should post a review about that first motel.)

Destination reached!

Another 8 hours of driving the next day brought us to Chesapeake, VA. I could have continued the final hour to the breeder’s home, as she kindly offered me her guest room, but didn’t want to impose for an extra day.

Nothing cuter than Boston Terrier puppies!Early the next morning I drove to the breeder’s house. It’s on a beautiful street, with established homes and mature trees. I wasn’t entirely sure which house it was because the numbers on the mailboxes were mostly worn. But then I saw her van in the driveway with a license plate that was unmistakably that of a Boston Terrier owner. I parked next to her, walked to the door and rang the doorbell. After a bit she opened the door, exclaimed that I was there and gave me a big hug. Her husband, who was traveling, called at that moment to let her know that someone was at the door. The wonders of a “Ring” doorbell!

Booker and I were warmly welcomed, we met the puppies, and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Long trip home

Our trip home was completely uneventful (thank goodness!), but long (16 hours over two days) and inconvenienced by much construction on our route. The puppy was a champion traveler and slept for much of the drive. I was very happy, though, to park in front of my house and not get in my car for over 24 hours after that!

Takeaways for you:

Things to keep in mind when embarking on a long trip:

  • Keep your cool! Everything can be worked out. One way or another. Breathe deeply when things don’t go as planned.
  • Family comes first. When things didn’t go right, foremost on my mind was keeping my dogs safe, cool in the heat, exercised and fed when needed.
  • Stay fueled. It’s much easier to keep your cool when you’re not starving. Fortunately, on a driving trip it’s no problem to keep healthy snacks on hand – for both my dogs and me! And healthy meals are easy to find. Salads are great, with healthy proteins included. If you’re using really good quality ingredients, minimal dressing is all that’s needed. A dip of my fork’s tines is plenty. As for the car – I’m a bit cautious, and look for a gas station when the needle creeps close to ¼ tank.
  • Exercise when you can, but don’t stress about it. When I’m back to a regular routine, I’ll get back to intense exercise. Walking while on vacation is the best way to see new places, meet fun people, and work off that full feeling.

Still stiff and sore

Sore four days after the workout!

Renegade row - one of the killer moves in Saturday's workoutYou all know I work out four or five times a week. And I don’t baby myself. I try to do a challenging workout and push myself every time. Saturday I did a workout that I’ve done numerous times in the past. It’s not an easy workout, but I usually don’t have to modify it (much…). But my lower body is still stiff and sore four days after the workout!

Every time I sit down or stand up. Every step I take. I’m sore. (Sounds like a song, right? But it’s not…)

I’m no stranger to muscle soreness

Since I’ve been exercising for many, many years, muscle stiffness is nothing new to me. But it doesn’t usually last this long!

So, how do we recover from having sore muscles from exercising?

On the mend?

In a nutshell, do more! Keep on exercising. Keep moving. Hydrate! Yes! When we’re sore after a workout, it’s important to keep moving. The recovery, while not fast enough, is much faster than if you baby yourself and be sedentary. The more you move, the faster you’ll feel normal. I’m hoping. At work, I try not to sit more than 20 minutes at a time anyway, but this week I’m up every 10 minutes and walking around. It’s easier to get up the next time if there’s less time between! I still feel like I’m waddling (inner thigh soreness), but it’s getting better.

And yesterday I walk / ran – almost my normal workout for a Monday. It hurt, but I did it.

Hydrate!

And hydrate! Drink more water. It’s possible that I neglected this step on Saturday, the day of my workout, because I was busy the rest of the day. Drink water during your workout, after your workout, the rest of the day of your workout – and every day after that! It’s good for your overall health, as well as helping your muscles heal!

Be better

Be a little better

Keep trying - full plank with one arm and one leg.Just a little – be better today than you were yesterday. Try for a little more.

It’s easy to plod along, day after day, doing the same things, eating the same foods, seeing the same people, that we forget that we have a limited time.

Sorry – don’t mean to be morbid here, but isn’t that what life is all about?

If not, then why bother?

Trying to be better today than you were yesterday? Otherwise, why bother doing anything at all.

Whatever your goals are, don’t you want to be a little closer to reaching them today? Just be a little better.

Set big goals

If you have big goals, great! Set big ones – you don’t have to meet it all in one day.

Break up the big goals into more manageable chunks, and that way you can set a mini-goal to be better at every day! If you don’t, it’s all too easy to be overwhelmed by that great big goal staring at you. Lose 50 pounds? Impossible in a day or even a week, or a month! But two pounds this week? Absolutely! Resolve to be chocolate-free for two days. Even for me, that’s probably doable. And then maybe cut out a piece of bread a day. Or maybe every other day.

Mini-goals on your way to the big ones

The point is, your mini-goals should lead you on your way to achieving that big goal, but still be doable today. And when you reach that mini-goal, celebrate and make a new mini-goal. And that’s how you lose 50 pounds. Or launch a business. Or whatever big goal you have in mind.

Today – be better

For today, think of that goal, and be better.

Or think of a few goals to choose among. Then think of what would make you happiest and put the rest on a back burner. You’ll get to them.

And in the meantime, be better today at something than you were yesterday!

Almost fall! Time to prevent them!

Prevent falls this fall!

It’s almost fall – and it’s the time of year to prevent them! You know that I’m a huge advocate of practicing your balance to prevent falls. I interviewed Kathleen Cameron, Senior Director of the Center for Healthy Aging, a while back about preventing falls – http://fitness-over-50.com/2017/07/prevent-falls-my-interview-with-kathleen-cameron/ .

I even developed a series of simple exercises anyone can do to improve their balance and prevent falls in just minutes a day. And I run a Facebook group with ongoing balance challenges.

Sleepwalking through balance exercises

I became complacent about doing (or not doing) my balance exercises and fell!I became complacent, though. I’ve been sort of half-heartedly, sort of somnambulently performing the balance exercises myself.

And I fell Friday night. Granted, it was while I was carrying my 20-pound Boston Terrier over a 2-foot fence, but it gave me a wake-up call, all the same!

Naughty puppy!

Booker had jumped the fence (within our larger fenced back yard – it’s an area we don’t want the dogs to go in) because he thought he saw a chipmunk. There was no other wildlife in there, he was just being a jerk. In the heat of the moment he jumps the fence with no problem but can’t seem to figure out how to get back. I climbed over the fence – angry, short-tempered – and as I was climbing back out my foot caught in the top of the fence and I fell. Naturally, I didn’t want my dog to get hurt, so protected him. My face seemed to catch the brunt. Fortunately, just scrapes and bruises. There doesn’t seem to be any deeper damage.

It could have been worse, but …

And perhaps because I do some balance work, I was not hurt as badly as I could have been. But, I knew that I’d been slacking on some of the balance exercises!

So, with renewed commitment, I’ll be focusing much more on practicing balance and preventing falls.

It is almost fall. And after fall is winter, and ice and snow. Slippery stuff. It’s easy to slip and lose your balance and fall. Why not do just a few minutes of balance exercises a day to try to prevent any falls you can! Read my interview with Kathleen (http://fitness-over-50.com/2017/07/prevent-falls-my-interview-with-kathleen-cameron/) to see the statistics on just how prevalent falls are, and then commit to prevent the falls that you can!

 

Make time for what you love

Make time for me!

Training Tango, my Brussels Griffon dog, makes me happy!I believe that a crucial part of fitness is happiness. So often we put ourselves after everyone else and don’t do things we love to do. I think that’s backwards. First of all, you should make time for what you love! Even if it’s just a few minutes.

For me, my happiness is training my dogs

You know I love to train my dogs. It makes us both happy. So every day I spend just a few minutes training my dogs! Before work, before the dogs have an opportunity to get on my nerves so that I don’t feel like spending time with them, we do a little training.

This is not the training that will make us champions, in just a few minutes … but maybe it is! Regardless, it is a great start for my day. Doing something that I love and that makes me happy is a wonderful start to any day! (The picture above shows Tango, my Brussels Griffon, improving his core strength – sit and stand on the balance disk.)

What’s the thing you love to do?

Maybe dog training is not your thing. Does reading a book make you happy? Me too! 5 or 10 minutes may not sound like a lot of time, but you can probably finish a chapter in that! Gardening? 5 minutes every single day can get a lot of weeds pulled! Do you love to write but “can’t find the time?” Needlepoint? Jigsaw puzzles? Give happiness a try! Spend just a few minutes every day and you’ll be surprised at the difference in your attitude!

Schedule your happiness time!

Living Well Planner to schedule your happiness!Perhaps the start of your day is too jam-packed with getting ready for work or exercising for your little nugget of happiness. Don’t rely on “maybe I’ll have time later!” that we always do. Schedule it! Make an appointment with yourself for those 5 minutes of happiness. Do you usually have a little bit of down-time in the late afternoon? Early evening? Schedule your happiness time! If you use your smartphone for your appointments, even go so far as to set a notification. Be happy – you’re worth it!

If you have been wanting a great appointment book and planner that can be tailored to you, the Living Well Planner might be just right for you! And this week, you can get the brand new floral design at a special price! I’ve used this planner, and it is substantial!

Are you getting enough sleep?

Are you getting enough sleep?

If you’re an adult in the 21st century, chances are you’re not getting enough sleep. Our screens bombard us. Our diets undermine us. The TV is blaring. The stereo is on. The dogs are barking, or snoring, or making some other noise. The outside light is penetrating our eyelids. Too many distractions are keeping us from the single most important, easiest thing we can do for our health.

You need sleep for your health.

Poor sleep is linked to weight gain

For those of us concerned with our fitness, studies have shown that poor sleep has a direct connection to gaining weight. It might be hormonal, or we may just be too tired to exercise or watch what we eat. But the fact remains that if we don’t get enough sleep, we have a tendency to be fatter.

On the other hand, good sleep is linked to eating fewer calories. Food for thought!

Focus and productivity

Studies have also shown that people who get enough sleep have better focus and increased productivity. Good sleep has been shown to improve problem-solving skills and memory performance.

Athletic performance

Studies have also shown sleep to be directly correlated to speed, accuracy, reaction time and mental well-being among basketball players. On the other hand, not sleeping enough leads to slower speed, weaker grip and more difficulty in performing physical activities.

Other health risks

Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep causes a greater risk of heart disease and stroke, Type 2 Diabetes and depression.

The moral?

So, the conclusion we can draw is to turn off your screens, turn off the TV and the radio. Get better window coverings. Take the dog to the vet to find out why he’s making all those noises! (You know that I won’t tell you not to sleep with your dog!) Your health and your sleep are worth it.

Fried food without the guilt

A better way to fry food

Air-fried zucchini and peppers. Delicious without extra calories from frying.What’s better than the taste of fried food? Fried food with fewer calories! Eliminate the guilt when you eat air-fried food! The air fryer gives you taste without the calories! We love our air fryer. Seriously love it. Despite its cuteness (it looks like R2D2 on our counter), our air fryer delivers yummy food in  very little time.

Technicalities

Technically, the device doesn’t “fry” food. It’s a mini-convection oven that circulates hot air around the food. You put your food in the basket along with some oil and turn the machine on. Excess oil drips down to the outer basket, where it’s easy to clean out. The result is delicious!

Zucchini and Peppers

The picture above shows a dish we made recently – just sliced zucchini and peppers. You can see the start of nice caramelization – we couldn’t wait to dig in. We put sliced vegetables in the air fryer and tossed them with a teaspoon of olive oil. Set the fryer at 400 degrees for 8 minutes or so. When it beeped, we shook the basket and reset the fryer. We could have let it go another few minutes but we were hungry! Delicious! So much more tasty than steaming, with not many more calories.

Try Sweet Potato Fries for a New Taste Sensation

We’ve sliced sweet potatoes and air-fried them. Absolutely scrumptious. And Yukon Gold Potatoes too. We’ve even re-heated gyros meat. All the fat from the meat dripped into the lower basket and the meat was crispy and delicious.

Even after a few months experimenting with our air fryer, we’re still learning new ways of using it. We’re trying new foods and, honestly, have not been disappointed.

Here’s a good choice:

Check this one out on Amazon! (I may receive some form of payment if you click this link.) You may notice some product links on the “Stuff I Love” page. I will only include products that I really do love. The air fryer? It makes me very happy, and my taste buds delirious!