Getting fit and staying healthy

I am a fairly intelligent person. I know that excercising and eating healthy is great for my body. Yet, eating right and working out is something that is so hard for me to do regularly. Now, I’m not grossly overweight or obese my any means. But I’m carrying around about 20 extra pounds. I don’t want to get super skinny by any means, cause women should have curves, otherwise they look like men. So, I know I need to work on this.

Exercise

Yesterday I was reading about some of the benefits of exercise. Here are 7 reasons I should be exercising.

  1. It’s good for your heart. Getting all the blood pumping not only helps you sweat out toxins, but it also reduces your chance of getting heart disease. And if you happen to already have heart disease, it can reduce your chances of dying from it! wow
  2. It lowers your risk of developing hypertension AND diabetes. This is a major point for me. I should really print this out and tape it to my bathroom mirror. I have a family history of adult-onset diabetes. And that is definitely something I want  no part of. I hate getting pricked with a needle at the doctor for them to take my blood, so I certainly don’t want to have to stick a needle full of insulin into my body myself.
  3. It reduces your risk of colon cancer and some other cancers. Do women get colon cancer? I’m not sure. I don’t have a history of cancer in my family, well, except for lung cancer but I don’t smoke so I do not really see that as much of a threat to my health.
  4. It improves mood and mental functions. This should also go on a post-it on my bathroom mirror. Exercise can be a natural anti-depressant, which is great cause you don’ t have to worry about any nasty side effects or becoming dependant on chemical happiness. And who wouldn’t benefit from being sharper mentally. I bet this is really great for people that exercise when they get up in the morning. I’m not a morning person though, so I could never exercise first thing. I’d just end up hurting myself.
  5. It keeps your bones and joints healthy. This should really be shouted from the rooftops to women everywhere. Osteoporosis is a very real threat for women. I know I drink a lot of milk for this very reason. So, it’s great to see that there are other things that I can do to avoid getting this later in life.
  6. It helps you maintain a healthy weight. As I said, this is definitely something I need to work on. Realistically, I’d like to drop around 40 pounds or 2-3 pant sizes. That still leaves me in a healthy weight range for my height. I know that the best way to do this is a combo of working out and eating right. It’s hard for me to give up some bad-for-you food though, so this may take some time. I know that for you to lose weight in a healthy manner, you should try to lose 1-2 pounds a week. If that is the case, then at 1 pound a week, that puts me at my goal in about a year. That seems like long time! But I want to get healthy and stay that way, not drop it all off quickly just to gain it all back.
  7. It helps you to maintain your independence in your later years. I think this is something that we all want. I mean, who wants to be in a nursing home with someone else wiping your butt? Not me! Besides, when I retire I want to travel the world. And I can’t do that if i’m old and fragile.

Exercise also seems to help me sleep, except when I do it too late – then I cannot fall asleep for the life of me. Working out will also help to build muscle, and we all know that muscle burns more calories than fat, which means you can lose weight easier. Hopefully these tips will help you get on the right track to becoming fit and healthy.

This chica’s happiness revolution

For my morning break at work, I went outside to read some of  What Color is Your Parachute as I’m trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, even though I’m 29. When I got to the bench outside someone from my department was already out there on break and asked what I was reading. I showed her the cover and her face lit up immediately.

“Oh, I’ve read that!” she excitedly exclaimed. “Isn’t it a good book?” she asked me.

I shrugged my shoulders. “I’m not that far in,” I explained, “and so far I’m fairly certain that I do not even have a parachute.”

She studied me for a moment before asking, “Do you like it here?”

I thought about lying for a brief moment. “I hate it actually,” I told her.

“It’s obvious,” she said as she got up to leave. “I hope you find what you’re looking for in there,” she said as she tapped the front of my book.

I smiled. Then she said to me, “I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you smile! You should do that more often.” And then she went inside.

I didn’t read any of the book on my break as I was consumed with only one thought…

Am I really that unhappy?

Yes, I do not like my job and plan on fleeing from it as soon as possible. I’m in a great relationship though. No, I’m not where I want to be in life but I am confident that I will get there.

I dunno, maybe I am rather miserable. If so, how does one find happiness? Or is happiness supposed to find you? And why is it called finding happiness, is it really lost? Maybe happiness is there all the time and there’s just something blocking it from shining through. A big, ugly anti-happiness cloud. That’s what I call my mother, but that’s another story entirely.

I think that maybe all of us have happiness in us, which is where the finding comes in. Somewhere along the way, it’s gotten buried beneath all the masks we wear and the stresses of day to day life.

For some of us, being happy can be as simple as choosing to be happy. Write a little mantra of ‘today I choose to be happy’ and stick it on your bathroom mirror. As you’re getting ready in the morning, read it aloud to yourself.

Positive thinking is an easy way to let your happiness shine through. By eliminating negative thinking, you are only leaving room for positive thoughts, and thus happiness is born. Avoid negative thinkers.

Surround yourself with other happy people. Much like laughter (and the sniffles), happiness is infectious. Study them, and then do as they do.

Do something to make someone else smile. Sounds simple enough and maybe even a bit lame to you, but do not discount its effectiveness. Sometimes it can be something as simple as holding the door for someone with their arms full of stuff. Remember the pay it forward principle?

Fill your day with things you love. Okay, so maybe you have to work in Finance to pay your bills, but you can still have things you love throughout the day. Love comic books? Treat yourself by bringing some to work to read on your break. If you can listen to music at work, listen to your fave bands. Keep photos on your desk of places and people that you love. Talk to loved ones on your breaks if you can.

Get to know yourself better. By knowing yourself better and being more attuned to your emotion-meter, you will know what does and does not make you happy. An easy way to accomplish this is daily meditation, which clearly I need to work on starting today!

New drivers, please stay home

People’s driving, or inability that is, continues to amaze me. On my commute to work this morning, I got behind a driver that would stop a good car length behind the car infront of her. This is not a problem except that she felt the need to slam on her brakes to make the stop. She also continued to do this once we got on the interstate. I’m not sure why. Usually the brake-slammers are talking on a cell phone, but she did not appear to be doing as such. She has nothing to blame her bad driving on but herself.

I like to call people like her ‘new drivers’ because I like to think that they drive like assclowns because it’s new to them. Maybe they don’t have a lot of experience. And they’re nervous.

My real problem with ‘new drivers’ is the fact that they are out at rush hour. Rush hour traffic is bad enough without the addition of ‘new driver’ mucking it all up.

Speaking of bad drivers, why is it that I can get on the interstate to go to work and the slow lane is the only one that does not have a lot of traffic in it. I can go the speed limit almost the entire way to work simply by riding in the right lane. I don’t like to do this though. Why can’t people follow traffic laws and ’stay right except to pass?’ My favorite is when I am in the center or left lane and people are going below the speed limit and I have to actually pass on the right. I don’t like to be forced to do that. I always try to give people a chance to get over, but they never do.

Even better than that is when some assclown switches lanes to get infront of you as you are coming up on them for no reason at all. There is no one in front of them, they are not in an exit-only lane, there are not bumps or potholes in their lane. They just want to be an asswipe. That is the only possible answer. And it seems to happen on a daily basis. Or maybe it’s just where I live? Maybe it’s only the people here that are mentally challenged when it comes to driving.

Good Activities and Exercises for Better Balance

Your balance and coordination decline as you age. But you can keep that from happening by doing the following exercises. Keep in mind that that you should engage your core muscles when you do them.

Walk on a thin line.

Run a tape on the floor. The length depends on the length of the room, but it should be long enough for you to be able to make several steps. Walk on the tape, make sure you do not step out. This is an easy exercise for mind-body coordination.

Walk on a balance beam.

This is the progression of the earlier exercise. This time, you won’t pretend walking on a balance beam, because you will be walking on an actual balance beam. Have two people hold you from both sides in case you’re scared you might fall off. But try to progress by walking on your own, forcing your mind and body to do all of the work.

Balance on one leg.

This the most basic exercise for training your core, hips, and thigh muscles for balance. For your safety, do this exercise somewhere near a table, sturdy furniture, or anything you can grab on to if you tip your balance.

Start with both feet on the floor. Then slowly raise one foot and bend down to reach for it. You should be standing on one foot with the other foot held up, knee bent forward. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Switch feet. Repeat this exercise four times for each foot.

When you are comfortable with this, do it with your eyes closed. Without visual cues, your core will work harder to keep your balance.

For some variation in this one, you can instead use a good balance trainer board for the same effect.

Swing your leg.

Stand on one foot and raise the other foot about half a feet from the floor. Raise your arms to your sides. Then swing the raised leg forward and backward. Next, swing it sideways. Attempt to keep your body firm. This engages the core muscles. Repeat the same steps for the other foot.

Squat on one leg.

This is an advanced version of the squat and should only be reserved for people with advanced level of fitness. It hits your thigh and butt muscles more than the typical air squat. It can be hard on the knee, so be careful.

Start with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Raise one foot and point it forward. Then attempt to lower your body until your hips drop just below your knee. Then push your hips back up. This could be hard. One tip is to hold on to the wall or a chair as you go down and up, making sure your thigh is doing much of the work, not your arm. Try to do as many reps as you can, and then switch feet.

If any of these exercises cause pain or discomfort, stop right away. Go to your doctor to find out what’s wrong. Certain conditions may make certain exercises hard or impossible.

5 Vacation Diet Tips

For many people, vacation is an excuse to forget about healthy diet. If you’re on a particularly long vacation, watch out what you eat. You don’t want to get home unable to fit into your clothes. You can still try the local cuisine in your destination, but don’t overindulge.

Know your destination.

Every place has its own local foods, but one thing is for sure. There are healthy foods as well as not so healthy ones. Looking up local foods online before you even get there allows you to identify foods that are good.

Pack healthy snacks.

Eat your meal before traveling, too, so you won’t have to get hungry in the middle of your trip. If you expect the trip to be several hours long, pack a full meal.

Avoid being tempted to buy high-fat or sugary snacks at the airport or train station by making your own turkey sandwich or salad, which you can eat on board. If you have little time for preparation, spread peanut butter on whole grain bread. You can also pack nuts, dried fruit, or low fat crackers to eat if you get hungry. The Kitchn has some good idea for snacks.

Be careful when dining out.

You can’t cook at the hotel unless you’re booked to a room with cooking amenities. Most travelers don’t choose such lavish accommodations and don’t really like the idea of cooking when they’re supposed to be spending the time immersing themselves in the community.

The tip to make sure you end up with nutritious foods, which don’t make you pack unwanted fat during your vacation, is to order baked or grilled meat or fish. Usually, foods that are prepared with simple methods have lower fat and sugar content than those prepared with a lot of ingredients.

Stay away from fried and creamy foods. Opt out on foods with sauces and toppings. Cheese, mayo, and butter can add so much unnecessary calories.

Drink distilled water instead of soda.

It’s tempting to grab a can of soda after you have basked in the tropical sun and are feeling thirsty. A can of soda has more or less 100 calories. The same amount of water has zero calories. It’s easy to ingest too much sugar in your body by drinking several bottles or cans of soda in a day. But if you’re in a foreign country or anyplace where you’re unsure of the water quality, opt for bottled distilled water instead. Carry a bottle of water wherever you go.

It’s okay to taste the local delicacies.

After all, you visited a new place to learn about its culture and cuisine. Why restrict yourself to a few options when you can have a few bites of what that place has to offer? Having a few bites is different from overindulging yourself. A shot of a local wine isn’t so bad, so is a serving of their popular dessert or dish.

6 Tips on Vacationing with Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend

romance

Going on a vacation with your boyfriend or girlfriend can be a memorable or a disastrous experience. How can you make sure your vacation doesn’t ruin your relationship?

Plan your vacation together!

And make sure you both agree on the plan. You should agree on where to go, where to stay, and what to do. Plan your itinerary and budget. Agree on the duration of your vacation. When you’re there, you won’t have to discuss about your schedule and you know exactly what to do.

Never overestimate your time.

If you think you can spend ten things and go to ten places in one day in a foreign town, think again. Ask anyone who has been there. Most destinations allow you to check out a few places in one day. Usually, you would be too preoccupied in a single spot alone that you will only have time for three or so stops. If you rush from one stop to another, you won’t enjoy each place and you will quickly feel worn down.

Pack snacks.

Pack snacks during your trip. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 3-hour car ride to a beach resort near home or a plane ride to the Caribbean. Have something you can munch on, especially if you or your lover is someone who gets grumpy when hungry.

Bring your own cash.

Whether you’re choosing a holiday destination anywhere in the country or traveling abroad, you need to have cash handy. Finding a bank or ATM to get cash can be inconvenient and can eat into your travel time. If you are planning to go to a foreign country, have enough cash converted to their currency. Either of you probably holds the budget for your entire trip, but it’s still wise to keep some cash in your pocket for emergency cases.

Plan a day or two where you go to different places.

It is a good idea to have some time apart. You can’t always do the same things and go to the same places together. At some point, your differences will get in the way. If you don’t like to go a museum and your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to, plan a day wherein you can let each other go see places you want to see. This way, you both enjoy the trip together without restricting each other. The mistake is to let the other person do all the itinerary plan without considering your preferences or to do all the planning without considering the other person’s preferences.

Do something memorable.

Add a thrill to your vacation. Aside from lying on a beach bed under the sun, consider doing something more adventurous, like hiking mountains or trekking caverns. Being thrilled together can add a whole new level of experiences into your relationship.

Best Snacks to Eat Before Bedtime

bedtime snacks

What if you crawl to your bed realizing the dinner you had wasn’t too satisfying and you’re famished and you’re craving for something to snack on? Sleeping on rambling stomach after a not so satiating dinner is not a very good idea. A 150-calorie snack before bedtime may just do the trick of making the hunger pangs go. This isn’t binging on your bed, by the way. And, it needs to be something that won’t interfere with your sleep.

What to munch on?

Crackers with cottage cheese

This is a good carb and protein snack that may just put your brain into sleep mode. Cottage cheese is rich in protein, which your brain needs to make tryptophan, a sleep-promoting amino acid. Crackers, on the other hand, give you carbohydrates that make tryptophan more readily available to the brain. For better sleeping benefits, put a slice of kiwi on your crackers. Kiwi contains antioxidants that work on neurotransmitters that help you nod off.

Rice?

You were not expecting this. If the new research on rice is true, then eating rice can actually help you doze off at night. Rice has a high glycemic index, which helps in the production of melatonin and tryptophan, two things you need for better sleep. Don’t over-indulge, though. Get a small bowl rice. Add some milk on it.

Ham and Cheese

A slice of ham and cheese gives you a snack that is rich in tryptophan and casein. It may give you a bit more calories than necessary, but not too much to make you gain a pound, unless you do it every night. Did you know casein improves your metabolism? You have one more reason to eat some cheese.

Walnuts

Walnuts are rich in melatonin, and eating walnuts is a sure way to raise the levels of melatonin in your body. As mentioned, melatonin is important in regulating your sleep patterns. People who are low in melatonin tend to suffer from insomnia. But because walnuts, or any type of nuts, are high in calories, a handful before bedtime ought to do the trick.

Whole Grain Toast

Whole grain bread is rich in complex carbs, which don’t raise your blood sugar levels. You don’t need high sugar levels right before bedtime. Whole grains also have significant magnesium content. Low levels of magnesium may cause insomnia. It so happens that 7 in 10 adults lack magnesium in their diet. To boost the dose of magnesium, spread almond butter on your toast.

Banana and Milk Smoothie

You need calcium and vitamin D to sleep properly. Get these nutrients from low-fat milk. Banana adds flavor without adding sugar. It also adds vitamin B6 and magnesium. Your brain needs vitamin B6 to make serotonin, another neurotransmitter responsible for lowering your alertness.

10 Fun Outdoor Games for Adults

Summer should be lively. Why spend the rest of the warm season indoors when you can enjoy with your friends outdoors? You don’t even have to go to a festival or a summer holiday to have fun.

Lawn Twister

You didn’t think you can play fun games on your lawn? Well, spray painting circles on the grass changes all that. No more qualms. Just paint circles and the lawn, and you have lawn twister board you and your friends can play on. Make that otherwise boring Saturday afternoon fun and crazy.

Jenga

Stacking game isn’t just for the living room. You can make your own 2×4 giant Jenga set and play with it in the backyard. No time to make your Jenga board? No problem! Go to your home improvement store, and see if they could cut boards of the same length for you.

Outdoor Chess

You do remember that giant chess game in Harry Potter, don’t you? This may tend to sit on the expensive end of the list, but may be worth the money you spend. The chess pieces can add an interesting ornament in your backyard on ordinary days. Make sure you make pieces light enough for you to move them around conveniently. You don’t want to feel like you’re lifting weights while playing, do you?

Backyard Bowling

You can lay a board on the grass that will serve as your lane. Collect plastic bottles for your bowling pins. Use a tennis ball. A badly constructed lane spoils the fun. If you have a flat pavement somewhere, bring your game there.

Lawn Scrabble

Creating scrabble pieces can take some time and eat into your cash reserves, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Once you’ve set your giant board or improvised one and you’ve painted letters on your tiles, you should be ready for your big scrabble party. Invite friends! Have a barbecue or something.

Backyard Plinko

It’s easy to make an improvised Plinko board. You just need a board, some nails, and thin boxes. Voila! A carnival game in your backyard. Make sure the space between the nails are big enough to allow your ball to pass through. Assign cool prizes for the slots in the bottom.

Colossal Connect 4

This one is probably the most challenging to make. If you can find a colossal connect at your toy store, lucky you. If not, then you can pay for a handyman to make one for you. It’s not a bad idea.

Yard Dominoes

You can buy a 9ft x18ft board, from which you can cut 28 pieces of 3.5”x7” boards. Cut 1-cm circles on paper. Paste the circles on the boards. Presto! You have improvised dominoes.

Giant Beer Pong

This game on an open field, but if you have a wide backyard space, you should be fine. This makes use of a lot of buckets or trashcans. You can borrow from neighbors if they’re generous enough. Use a basketball or a volley ball.

Lawn Matching Game

This is a no-brainer. All you need are cork tiles. Paint figures on them that you use for your matching game. It’s essentially for kids, but adults may just enjoy this game, too.

8 Tips for Better Communication Between Couples

How you and your partner talk with each other affects the health of your relationship. After all, good communication is vital to any relationship, be it romantic or professional. Nothing is not resolved over a nice and careful exchange of thoughts.

Say what you need.

Instead of immediately pointing out what you think is the other person’s mistake, start with pointing out things you need — more time, more attention, more thoughtfulness, etc. This way, you would not sound as though you are blatantly criticizing them, and they would not feel as though you are attacking them.

Listen when the other is talking.

Talking about issues entails listening. When your partner is talking, keep yourself from interrupting as much as possible. It’s so tempting to respond angrily to some points you disagree with, but raising your voice while the other is talking only fuels a heated argument that doesn’t resolve anything.

Ask questions. Do not assume.

Many people rely on their hunches too much. Hunches can be a product of our personal biases and irrational thinking and can sometimes backfire wildly. Never make unfounded assumptions. Ask your partner about something that is bothering you before jumping into conclusions.

Insert not past issues.

Past issues that you have resolved need not be brought up in current argument. Just talk about your current issue. Digressing is not only illogical but is also adding insult to injury. The next thing you know, you’re talking about more than one issue and you end the day with animosity for each other.

Acknowledge your shortcomings.

You might have done something that has led to this predicament in your relationship. Or you might share the bigger role in it. If you want to patch things up, there is one thing you need to do — keep your ego at bay. We tend to go on a defense mode and rationalize our mistakes. This is a good way to injure a relationship. Know your faults, and admit them.

Be sensitive to your partner’s feelings.

Choose the right words when resolving issues. Just because it is their fault doesn’t mean it’s right to disrespect them and burn them with invective. Everyone makes mistakes. Your partner is not a perfect machine incapable of making mistakes, and just because they make mistakes doesn’t mean you can hurt and break them.

Calm down.

Don’t engage in an argument when you are angry. We tend to get irrational when we are angry. We tend to assume. We tend to think we are immune to errors. We tend to lay all the blame on the other person.

So if you are fuming, get out. Have some fresh air. Come back when you’re calm, and commence the talk.

Try considering the other person’s perspective.

Something may seem right from your perspective, but try imagining yourself in your partner’s shoes. Try to understand their motivations. This way, you would gain some insight into their behavior and choices, helping you understand them. Ask yourself this question: what would you have done if you were in their situation? Of course, this doesn’t apply to every situation, but it’s worth understanding why your partner acted in a way they did.