Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why is Family such an Important thing to have?

I enjoy a great many things and find that at times we don't put enough emphasis on that which is Family.  This statement is such a true representation of what that importance is. Through family we find ourselves as we give and receive support.  Family brings out the best and worst in each of us. As we yield to and serve others we learn to love them and ourselves in the process. Many of us could never approach this form of selflessness in any other way. There is something about a mother or a father, a son or a daughter. There is a connection there that binds us and asks more of us then we are normally willing to give. When we are true to ourselves and follow our feelings and share openly and honestly with our loved ones we remember why family is important. And we are well rewarded for our sacrifice as it enables us to better appreciate who we are. On the other hand, when we yield to our selfishness and take our family members for granted or treat them poorly we lose our sense of self-worth and begin to despise those whom we once loved.

In our day-to-day interactions with our family we find out by our words and actions what kind of a person we are and what's most important to us. The character Levin in Anna Karenina put his family first and found himself through faith in God focused by his suffering. In the story he explained, "my life now, my whole life, independent of anything that can happen to me ... every minute of it is no longer meaningless as it was before but has a positive meaning of goodness with which I have the power to invest it." This "positive meaning of goodness" that Leo Tolstoy began to unravel in Levin's life with the birth of his son can be acquired by each of us as we strengthen our own family relationships.

Our families hold the keys to understanding and appreciating ourselves. Who can relate better to us then our own brother or sister that shared so many experiences with us? Who can love us more selflessly then our own mother or father who sacrificed daily for so many years to raise us? The better we understand our parents and siblings the better we understand ourselves. This understanding is most completely achieved as we look to our family's heritage with the help of our oldest living relatives. By discovering the customs, practices and traditions of our ancestors we uncover truths about our parents and ourselves. We find out how our grandparents treated our parents and so on from generation to generation. We discover the ambitions and fears of our forefathers along with their failures and triumphs. In the process of learning our family history we uncover our past, understand our present and shape our future.

Family is important because we are important and we need a group of loyal supporters. It matters what we think and feel and nobody cares more about us than the members of our families - at least, that's how it should be and it starts with us. The better we are to our spouses, children, parents or siblings etc. the more they will want to be better to us. When we can count on each other and lean on each other then family works. If we waltz in on family when it's good for us and run out when it's bad for us then we're not doing our part and will not find fulfillment there or elsewhere. Family is not only for our pleasure or entertainment but for all facets of life: for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do we part - we need a family and that family needs us. When we support our families we find ourselves supported.

Use Support Our Families to remember how important your family is to you, and let your focus for lifestyle change encompass every aspect, and include every aspect of your family - they are the MOST IMPORTANT part of your life.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mama Maria!!!
Meeting Notes: Wednesday 16th

(This Session was videotaped, and will be uploaded shortly)

This past Wednesday night meeting was amazing, and the turn out was awesome!  A handful of the ladies from 90Days2Life were immersed in Mama Maria's yummy cooking techniques and sampled some heavenly delights from her instructive class.  The emphasis was on using key ingredients that you can use from your very own kitchen, and incorporate into your everyday cooking.


SeaSalt: Sea water contains 84 different mineral elements, and these same minerals are found in our body. According to modern medical research, 24 of these elements are essential for life (you will die without them), and many researchers believe that we need all 84, in proper balance, of course.

Garlic contains a compound called allicin which is a powerful antioxidant. Allicin is also responsible for producing that unique garlic taste and aroma. Antioxidants, like allicin, help protect the body from damage by removing free radicals that are produced as part of our body's natural metabolism.

Cayenne Pepper:
Cayenne is the greatest blood circulation stimulant known. Cayenne increases your blood circulation immediately within seconds, more than any other herb.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil:
The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of ant oxidative substances. Olive oil's protective function has a beneficial effect on ulcers and gastritis. Olive oil activates the secretion of bile and pancreatic hormones much more naturally.

Apple Cider:
 Apple cider vinegar helps extract calcium from the fruits, vegetables and meat it is mixed with, helping in the process of maintaining strong bones. The potassium in this vinegar also helps in eliminating toxic waste from the body. The beta-carotene helps in countering damage caused by free radicals, helping one maintain firmer skin and a youthful appearance. Apple cider vinegar is good for those wanting to lose weight. It helps in breaking down fat which helps in natural weight reduction.

Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is very high in citric acid, which helps the body fight off colds. Lemons and the juice also acts as an antioxidants. Lemon juice is also a liver stimulant and can control irritable bowel syndrome. It can control conditions like constipation and diarrhea. It can also help in helping heart burn, some bloating and even helping in subsiding gas pains.

Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is a good sweetener to use if you are trying to protect the health of your heart. The zinc supplied by maple syrup, in addition to acting as an antioxidant.  The trace mineral manganese is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. One ounce of maple syrup supplies 22.0% of the daily value for this very important trace mineral.

These key ingredients are amazing in stimulating the full ability of your body to break down key minerals in your foods, boost your metabolism, and give you an extra-boost of anti-oxidants.  

The main dishes that were prepared and sampled were (recipes to follow):

1. Lentil Soup

2. Red & White Cabbage

3. Baked Mashed Potatoes

4. Squash, Yam & Sweet Potato Mix

These recipes, in part, each used one or more of the above ingredients to flavor and enhance the dishes.  The recipes are easy to follow, and are low in fat, salt, and sugar.  They do not have a high-glycemic index, which means you won't experience your insulin skyrocket through the roof, and will avoid your fat pockets from storing extra sugar.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Married, In a Relationship, Possibly dating? This one's for you.

... You'd never think to put Health & Wellness into the mix when it comes to relationships, but what little we understand in that it is essential to our relationships...  They say that men and women alike do not care much about anything once their with someone..  They become self-focused on stresses, money, priorities... and "Other" responsibilities..

What many of us don't understand is that while having all these others priorities line up at our door, what's missing in that list of priorities is spending time with ourselves & our partner in order to keep adding to the stability and growth of our relationship.

Trying to medicate any failing relationship is difficult especially as Couples forget themselves, forget about going out together, forget about spending time in physical activities together, and many soon discovers that they are slowly losing each other to "the world" around them.

However, let's look at the bright side, although dull and negative the above may seem.. there's actually a few cures that work!  The following tips could help you improve your relationship with your partner:

Look at the pounds you've possibly gained since being a relationship.
Engage yourself in physical activity together in order to shed those extra pounds or just to tone up; he'll love you for it and he'll even experience some added bonuses to his libido as he gets active with you.  Your partner loves your curves and every muscle, but trust me, when you "Chase that SEXY", he's going to be all over you in such a way; you'd never have expected it. Remember to try to be the person you want to be, and your partner will notice the difference, trust me!

Spend some time with your hair, body, and skin care.
You work hard, you're taking care of business, yet you let your skin and your hair look dull and dry. Look as attractive as you can be, even if you're exhausted. These little things are important because it let's your partner know you care about yourself, and in turn that you also care about him too. Your husband at this point will willingly stop watching that television you so hate, and pay attention to you.

Take a cooking class together.

They say that couples who cook together, stay together.. that and well there's so many other things.. but with a man.. food is the ultimate way to his heart.  Maybe it is high time you spend a little cash, and start learning to cook some amazing healthy dishes, but incorporate him in the mix.  We forget that guys like being involved, we just need to invite them into our little world.. so get out there, and sign up for your next Gourmet Cooking Class!

Book a Boudoir Photo Shoot

This is such an ultimate self-esteem boosting thing to do!  It's an awesome gift to your significant other, but what's really great about it is you get to be the super model for a few hours!  That camera has only eyes for you, and you can let as loose in any way you want, knowing that your spouse is going to probably forget all about Cosmo and Wonder where that lovely little sex pot came from???.. Can you feel that power coursing through you already?

Don't sweat the small stuff.

I know that as women we have a tendency to over think things, we allow our own strange ideas to overcome us, and many times plague our relationships with negativity.  Learn to be a virtuous woman.  Know that you are priceless, and that you are the key to inspiring absolute confidence in your man.  A man needs to safely trust in his partner, as you are his confidante, his rock, his shield - and worth more than any ruby to him.  Remember this the next time to try to nick pick at him over something insignificant and trivial..

But listen, these are just ideas.. there are so many more.  Ideas that can engage every aspect of your relationship together, and as someone who's been married for a very short time - I'm learning the importance of balancing my "priorities".  You can experience your marriage in so much more of a heightened and euphoric state..  but like I say and with what I've learnt, success isn't hard, it's just work.  Take some time to put a little work into possibly the most important relationship in your life and you will notice the difference - I promise!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Last 10 Pounds...

It's a beautiful Non-Raining day; take advantage of it!

Why is it that losing the last 10 pounds is so difficult? For many people, the first 20 or 30 seemed to come off steadily, but now everything has slowed down and summer is almost here. It feels like no matter how religiously you stick with your program, that needle on the scale isn't moving -- at least not downward.

We’ve talked about many different factors but we haven’t talked about is how muscle plays a big part in our ability to burn fat… remember though, if your body is toxic, your fat isn’t going anywhere.. read Justyna’s handouts about this… … muscle mass raises your resting metabolism which helps you more efficiently burn -- rather than store -- calories.  Loss of muscle has proven to be as hard on your health as gaining fat. Gaining muscle is actually more important than aerobic exercise in the long run.

Here are 10 tips to shed those last lingering pounds.

1. Stabilize blood-sugar levels. Overweight or obese people tend to have highly fluctuating blood-sugar levels, resulting particularly from weight gain around the belly; this sounds like a lot of us? Excessively irregular blood sugar levels cause a domino effect of body changes beginning with the secretion of hormones that in turn promote insulin resistance and other phenomena that cause you feel sluggish and to eat more. The more you eat the more you want to eat, and the less you want to move.

2. Spoil your appetite before you get to the high-fat, high-calorie part of the meal. Have a bowl of vegetable soup or a salad (with dressing on the side to dip your fork into) before the main course.
3. Eat a solid breakfast with adequate protein and a reasonable number of calories. People who skip breakfast tend to either eat a high-calorie snack later or they will themselves to wait until they are starving, and then pig out late in the day when they are the least active. If you skip breakfast, your metabolism rate drops and your body stores more calories as fat; Ladies are you with me?!?!
4. Get out the weights or the bands and do resistance training to build muscle mass. Muscle weighs more without looking like you've gained weight, and it burns more calories than fat does.  Even running with weight bands or pushing something is a great way to pack on more muscle..
5. Increase the intensity of your exercise. The exercise program you started with doesn't create the same metabolic challenge as your fitness improves.  You need to regularly up the intensity of your workout to continue to lose weight. Add 30 minutes to your run (or walk) every two weeks or bump up the intensity level on the cardio machine.
6. Eat fish oil. Fish oil has been shown to boost metabolism, improve fat burning and increase carbohydrate storage in muscle.  Recommended dosage is 6 to 12g of total fish oil per day or 3 to 6g of combined DHA+EPA.

7. Eat protein with each meal. Eating always sparks metabolism, but the rate we metabolize depends on the type of food we eat. If we eat fat, our metabolism increases by two to three per cent. Protein increases it by 30 per cent. Carbs by nine per cent.

8. Keep your eyes on the prize. The last 10 pounds are the hardest because you already feel so much better and fit into a smaller size.  But originally you may have wanted to look good in a bikini. Remember that.

9. Have a support group of like-minded people.. OMG, what’s this, a group?.. That’s right! Especially when you are down to the last 10 pounds, it’s just soo important.. that being said, whether we’re at the last ten or we’ve past that mark.. this group is a system that isn’t dissolving anytime soon!

10. Be realistic. Losing those last 10 pounds might mean cutting out all the extras and becoming a bit obsessed with this one part of your life. Don’t go nuts; a more balanced life is better than an obsessed one!

Enjoy your day, and remember – it’s not just about the weight, or the exercise, whatever happens in the mind will manifest itself in the body.. so take care of yourself, and lean into the amazing support group you have available to you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mental Health - Do You Know your Facts?

Do you feel unfulfilled in your day-to-day life? Do you feel anxious or fearful much of the time? Do you avoid situations that make you anxious? Do you worry that you are going to panic, or go crazy? Do you feel sad, depressed or down most of the time? Do you feel tired and/or lack energy most of the time? Do you have trouble sleeping or do you sleep too much? Do you find it difficult to concentrate or make decisions? Do you have feelings of worthlessness or guilt? Have you felt frightened or panicky for no apparent reason at all? Have you been feeling anxious or worried most of the time? Do you feel that you are stuck in your life situation and don't know a way out?

Do you know that most of us suffer from many of the above problems, yet choose to ignore them....

Often times the mind wanders this world untrained and suffering from many debilitating disorders that we may class under excuses, or work-life-balance issues.  It is the mind which creates the vessel and it is the mind which allows consciousness to fulfill the role of consciouness in our life's process to become the cause of the experiences you wish to have. Each individual defines itself by the experiences it has and creates an identity that acts like a container or vessel to hold the experiences and reality that the consciousness has. This vessel acts as both a safe and secure space yet what we don't seem to see that many times it goes uncared for and unourished.  It acts like a cage of our own making and limits our ability to follow-through on decisions or keep to our goals. 

Are you still with me? 

See the thing is, we can concentrate on the body all we want, we can exercise and eat healthy to our hearts content, but if our mind is a transient for negative thought, or already filled with doubts, anguish, or emptyness, what good does this do to us as a whole? Everything that happens in your life, and everything that happens in your body, begins with something happening in your consciousness. Your consciousness is who you are, your experience of Being.  You decide what ideas to accept and which to reject. You decide what to think, and you decide what to feel. When these decisions leave you with residual stress, you experience the stress as if in your physical body.

This is why it's so important to plug in, and to take on change... Support groups such as 90Days2Life provide an interactive learning experience in a safe, friendly, caring environment. Our group meetings are interactive, inspiring, educative, and fun. The group offers a social network of people who in turn all suffer from their own mind & body problems, yet we are all in support of each other...  I truly believe this is key to what you need to achieve in life, and how you will obtain the change you wish to see...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sometimes We Doubt Ourselves

When you start exercising, there may come a time when you start to doubt yourself. Maybe it's because you're not getting the results or maybe you just haven't found your exercise groove yet. Or, maybe it's because it's February and your New Year's resolutions are starting to lose their lustre under the pressure of a long, dark winter.
This is the moment when many exercisers give up, feeling like a failure, but it's what you say to yourself at this critical moment that can actually lead you to success.
You know what I'm talking about: A pep talk. Pep talks are, by definition, peppy and you may feel about as peppy as a wet mop. You may even think that talking to yourself is weird and, if that's the case, you can always put your cell phone to your ear and pretend you're talking to someone. Either way, reminding yourself of a few important facts may be just what you need to keep going.
And for those of you who regularly lick this motivation thing, I'd love to hear how you keep going. Be sure to leave a comment or, even better, post your tips at the end of this post for everyone to enjoy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Your Awakening

This Message was Sent to a Group of us recently, and then posted by a 90Days2Life Member, but I thought I'd put it on the main page because it really struck a chord. 

A time comes in your life when you finally get it...  When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere, the voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH!

Enough fighting and crying, or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes, you begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening...

You realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world, there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you and in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are ... and that's OK. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process, a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process, a sense of safety & security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process, a sense of peace & contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself and the world around you, is a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. You begin to sift through all the junk you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look and how much you should weigh, what you should wear and where you should shop and what you should drive, how and where you should live and what you should do for a living, who you should marry and what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children or what you owe your parents. You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.

You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with and in the process, you learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive and that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a by gone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don't know everything; it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes.

You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love; and you learn that you don't have the right to demand love on your terms, just to make you happy.

You learn that alone does not mean lonely. You look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you "stack up."

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right, to want things and to ask for the things that you want and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands.

You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less. You allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you, to glorify you with his touch and in the process, you internalize the meaning of self-respect.

And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So you take more time to rest. Just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul; so you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that for the most part in life, you get what you believe you deserve and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen, is different from working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it's OK to risk asking for help.

You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time; FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears, because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear, is to give away the right to live life on your terms.

You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions, you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers; it's just life happening.

You learn to deal with evil in its most primal state; the ego. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.

You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted; things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about; a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself, by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart's desire. You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind, and you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

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