Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bringing me down to earth...

(From left to right: Mary, Erica (my sister!), Asha, Dionne before the Prom for adults with special disabilities)

Too often we loose sight of the things that really matter in life because we are so concentrated on things that don’t. I am reminded of this every time I visit my sister. For those of you who don’t know, my sister was born blind and autistic. She lives in a group home not far from my parents’ house with three other girls who are also handicapped. While Erica, now 25, cognitively remains at about a five-year-old level, she is a bright, vivacious, intelligent woman whom friends, family and acquaintances have learned so much from.

I often catch myself complaining about petty things, forgetting to be grateful for the simple things in life. There is nothing that can put things into perspective for me and bring me down to earth faster than visiting her. The ability to walk, run, see, hear and move our bodies and minds as we please is a luxury, not a right. It amazes me even more how happy and content they are in a situation where you or I would feel helpless and defeated.

You may find this post uncharacteristic of me (as I typically write in a more humorous tone) but I thought this was important. Stress is a major contributor to weight gain and our lives are full of it. We create it by being constantly accessible to friends, family and work and we are bombarded with negativity on various forms of media. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in it all but since very few get the opportunity to go to a place like my sisters and have this experience for themselves I thought I would do my best to pass it on to you.

Be happy with who you are and grateful for what you have. Take a moment to put your problems aside and imagine a world where you are confined to a wheel chair, have never seen a sunset, or never heard your own voice. Think about all of the things that you have, not what you lack. Enjoy the simple things in life and take a deep breath every once in a while. Remember that good health is body and mind, being emotionally stable is just as important to your health as staying active and eating well.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Summer Slim Down

Does it get any better than Jessica Alba circa Into the Blue? Her athletic build is enviable but it’s not fair to compare yourself to her. I included this pic as motivation, not as a realistic goal. Staying in shape is important to a healthy lifestyle but you need to do what is best for your body type and be content with that. That said, slimming for summer and the constant threat of being bikini ready is daunting but not impossible, as long as your goals are realistic.

If you’ve ever uttered the words “my diet starts Monday…” prior to polishing off a large bowl of Noodles’ mac and cheese (with extra cheese), this post is for you. The great thing about slimming down for summer is that you are no longer limited to just working out in the gym. The hard part is that it’s long term (unlike slimming for spring break) and the cheeseburgers and beer are cheap and plentiful.

If fitting a workout into your schedule is your problem, try the buddy system. Pick your buddy wisely though, your best friend may not be the ideal person. You need someone that will push you, isn’t their for social hour and will set a time and day to go without bailing on you.

If summer grub is your roadblock, try slashing calories where you don’t need them. Eat a cheeseburger without the bun or fruit instead of fries. Drink plenty of water, which does wonders on your body.

You’ve been cooped up all winter, take your workout outdoors! Bike, hike, run, walk, rollerblade, swim, the options are endless. Try incorporating your social life into your fitness life. Go for a walk around the lakes and gossip with your girlfriends instead of meeting for lunch or drinks.

Something is better than nothing. People think if they don’t have an hour to spend at the gym there’s no point in going. Do crunches during the commercials, take the dog for a walk, anything that gets you moving is worth your time.