New Year New You: Top Ten Fitness Tips

new-year-s-resolution-take-charge-of-your-health-nowNew Year, New You; right? Well it is January again, and are you wondering if you can really stick with your New Year’s fitness resolutions? If getting in shape, and staying in shape is one of yours, it’s probably not the first time you’ve tried it. I’ve spent a lot of my career studying why fitness programs succeed or fail and developing methods to help people succeed. So, Happy New Year, here are my Top 10 Tips to help you ward off decrepitude.

New Year New You Top Ten Tips

•  Start slowly and go at your own pace. Staying in your comfort zone separates the pain from the gain. You’ll get the most benefit with the lowest risk of injury, especially if you’ve been inactive for some time.

•   Find the right kind of exercise for you. Choose activities you like or at least don’t hate. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as taking a brisk walk.

•   Pick a time of the day that is most convenient for you to exercise.  Try to stick with that schedule. Studies show that people who exercise at the same time every day are more likely to stick with it.

•  Before getting out of bed each day, take a moment to visualize yourself fit. Thinking of yourself as a fit person will help make it happen. Professional athletes do this daily.

•  Keep an exercise log. You’ll get a feeling of accomplishment when you stick to your program and will be able to chart your progress.

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes with good support. Cotton is a breathable classic. But check out the super lightweight fabrics like cool-max that wick the sweat from your skin. When buying shoes, don’t feel weird about actually exercising in them in the store before plunking down the big bucks. I can’t tell you how many pairs of sneakers I have thrown against the wall before I learned this.

•   Exercise with a friend or family member. Supporting each other’s efforts helps keep you on track. One of my students loves to go mall walking with her friend in the early morning at speed and then coming back later for some retail therapy.

•   Music is a powerful motivator. Pick music you love that makes you want to move. There are fitness music companies that sell CDs with popular tunes played at specific beats per minute. They’ll tell you what speed works for particular types of exercise.

•   Consider professional guidance, especially if you’ve been inactive.  If you don’t want to join a gym or can’t afford a trainer, consider a beginner-level exercise video by a certified teacher so you’ll see the exercises demonstrated properly.

•   Set short-term, easily attainable goals, such as doing some form of exercise two or three days a week to start.  Change your goal when it becomes too easy.

It’s rare when anyone succeeds at anything right out of the gate. That’s why “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is a classic proverb. So if you fall off the wagon one day, just climb back on board the next. And remember you’re not a failure, you’re a success story in progress.

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Can Sleeping Less Equal Weight Gain?

Can Sleeping Less Equal Weight GainCan Sleeping Less Equal Weight Gain

Eating fewer calories, exercising more and still having a hard time getting those extra pounds off? Here’s a question for you: How’s your sleep?

I for one, every time I travel, seem to gain a couple of pounds just when I want to look my best.

I noticed that I tend to sleep less and intermittently when I am on the road. Once I settle again in a place, my sleep gets more regulated and I am able to drop those pounds.

I’ve adjusted my sleep pattern, as I have gotten older to help myself sleep better. The earlier I get up in the morning the better chance I have of getting to sleep that night and staying asleep for a longer period of time. I’m more energized, and when I eat, I eat less and feel more filled.

Can Sleeping Less Equal Weight Gain

It turns out that there are many studies that indicate that sleeping less then 7 hours can increase body weight. One recent study with several pairs of twins, found that the twin who slept more than 9 hours was about half as likely to gain weight as the one that slept only 7.

Sleep deprivation affects your hunger urge. If you sleep less, you feel like eating more and you probably do. That’s because not sleeping increases your body’s level of gherlin, the hunger hormone and decreases leptin the “I’m full” hormone.

A sleep study in Finland with middle-aged adults who had sleep problems found that women had greater sleep related weight gains than men. Though men were also affected. The study indicated that it seems the fewer hours you sleep the more calories you tend to eat the next day.

If you want a good night sleep here’s are some things to consider:

  • Exercise: Don’t exercise too late in the day. So many of us go to the gym after work but it can keep you up at night. Late exercise can prevent the body from making sleep-inducing melatonin for several hours.
  • Caffeine: It can take 6 or more hours to wear off. Having that cup of coffee after dinner, even with a low fat dessert, may not be such a good idea.
  • Alcohol: A couple of drinks with dinner can wake you up in the middle of the night and make it hard to get back to sleep. I have a friend who swears by a glass or two of wine at lunch but never alcohol after 2pm. She says she sleeps like a baby at night. I think if I had a glass or two at lunch, I’d sleep like a baby at 2pm and be up for the night at 5.
  • Stress: And then there is our old buddy stress. We all have some level of stress and how we deal with it can keep us up at night. Getting yourself relaxed in quiet, dark, temperature controlled environment can relieve stress and induce a desire and ability to sleep.

So what’s it going to be, wide awake at 3am or getting that beauty sleep and waking up lighter and brighter on your toes? Learning to get a good night’s sleep is a process.

Can Sleeping Less Equal Weight GainDon’t stress over it, it may keep you up at night.

 

 

 

 

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Strength Exercises Outdoors

Try these strength exercises outdoors to jumpstart your strength exercise program this Fall.. You can enjoy the weather while getting leaner and stronger with these easy strength exercises.  No equipment necessary!

Take a look at these easy strength exercises on video!

And here are all the exercises written out!

Strength Exercises Outdoors

Here are five easy exercises to tone you up; no equipment necessary. Try doing them every other day. For the first three start with eight reps and build up to 16. For the last two (isometric exercises) hold for 10 seconds and build up to 30 seconds. With all these exercises, remember to exhale on the exertion.
In a matter of a few weeks you should feel your body getting stronger and see it get shapelier.

Warm-up by taking a 10-minute walk. By the tenth minute, it should be brisk enough for you to just barely carry on a conversation.
Stop at a wall, a tree or a fence, and do these five exercises: two for your upper body and three for your lower.

Strength exercises

Mirabai Holland Standing Pushup

Standing Push-ups: Stand facing a surface, with legs hip width apart and place hands shoulder width apart. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself down to the surface and then push back

Strength exercises
SQUATS: Face surface, legs hip with apart. Hold on for balance. Shift weight back into heels. Keeping back straight, abs pulled in; gently bend at the knees and squat to about a 90-degree angle. Hold for a moment, then, using just your leg muscles, return to an upright position.
Muscles worked: Front of thigh (Quads), Back of thigh, (Hamstrings) Buttocks, Abs

Strength exercises
Wall Sit: Stand against surface for back support. Holding on as needed for balance, slide down to a sitting position against wall, knees at about a 90-degree angle. Pull your abs in and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Muscles worked: Thighs and Abs

Strength exercises
Calf Raises: Face surface and hold on for balance. With feet together pointing straight ahead, slowly lift your body up on to your toes, while tightening calf, abs and buttocks muscles. Then slowly lower yourself back down again. Muscles worked: calves, abs, and buttocks.

Strength exercises

Upper Back Squeeze: Stand with your back to the surface, feet shoulder width apart.  Place hands behind you on surface. Straighten your arms behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Muscles worked: Back, Shoulders, Back of arms (Triceps)

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Exercise Outdoors: Cross Training & Hydrate

Exercise Outdoors Exercise outdoors in summer can be a challenge. Cross training exercises are a good way to mix up your workouts and give yourself time to cool off, drink water and stay hydrated in summer heat.

Although I’m away from home, in the mountains, and not as affected by this huge triple digit heat wave, I did get a wake-up call of my own that I thought would be important to share.  I was shooting an exercise video this week in 90-degree heat. It was hot, but I got on a roll and forgot about the time. Less than an hour in, I started to swoon. Not a good shot on an exercise video. I realized immediately what had happened; I’d gotten so involved, I forgot to drink water between takes. I can say from experience that it creeps up on you. So you need to take steps to keep yourself cool and well-hydrated when you exercise outdoors. Cross-train with strength exercises mixed in with your cardio gives you a lower intensity interval so you can drink water, stay hydrated and cool off.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine losing more than 2 percent of your body weight through dehydration puts your body at risk for heat illness. This is serious business. We’ve all read the stories of team athletes who have actually died.

When you exercise in the heat you can lose up to five cups of water per hour. So it’s important to drink water before, during, and after vigorous exercise. The rule of thumb is to drink 2 cups of water a couple of hours before you start exercising so you are fully hydrated. Remember to bring that water bottle with you and drink a cup of water every 15 minutes or so while you are exercising. Don’t wait till you’re thirsty. If you’re thirsty, you’re already getting dehydrated.

But you’re not done yet. You need to drink another 2 cups over a two-hour period after exercise.

Sounds like a lot of water. It’s not. It’s just making up for the water you lose when you exercise in the heat.

Pouring water over your head during exercise won’t help you rehydrate, but it does make you feel better. A study at Cal State Fullerton with trained athletes showed that athletes exercising in 92-degree heat in a controlled setting felt cooler and that the workout was easier to perform.

But you know what Noel Coward said about “mad dogs and Englishmen.” Give yourself a break. If you can, exercise outdoors when it’s cooler, early mornings or late afternoons when the sun is less direct. Try finding shady areas.

Instead of keeping up your brisk pace for the whole workout, break it up. Go at normal pace for a bit, do a short light interval and then pick up your speed again.

Another idea is when you exercise outdoors do cross training exercises. Add intervals of strength training between shorter bouts of cardio. You’ll get a chance to drink and pour some water over your head too! Stop at a wall, a tree or a fence, and do these five exercises: two for your upper body and three for your lower.

Exercise Outdoors Video

Here is an Exercise Outdoors video with some easy cross training exercises to tone you up, no equipment necessary. 

Exercise Outdoors: Strength Exercises Using Your Own Body Weight

With all these Strength training exercises, remember to exhale on the exertion.

Standing Push Ups: Stand facing a surface with legs hip width apart and place hands shoulder width apart. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself down to the surface and then push back upright again. Muscles Worked: Chest, Triceps, and Shoulders

Calf Raises: Face surface and hold on for balance. With feet together pointing straight ahead, slowly lift your body up on to your toes, while tightening calf, abs and buttocks muscles. Then slowly lower yourself back down again.
Muscles worked: calves, abs, and buttocks.

Squats: Face surface, legs hip with apart. Hold on for balance. Shift weight back into heels. Keeping back straight, abs pulled in, gently bend at the knees and squat to about a 90-degree angle. Hold for a moment, then, using just your leg muscles, return to an upright position.
Muscles worked: Front of thigh (Quads), Back of thigh, (Hamstrings) Buttocks, Abs

Wall Sit: Stand against surface for back support. Holding on as needed for balance, slide down to a sitting position against wall, knees at about a 90-degree angle. Pull your abs in and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Muscles worked: Thighs and Abs

Upper Back Squeeze: Stand with your back to the surface, feet shoulder width apart. Place hands behind you on surface. Straighten your arms behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Muscles worked: Back, Shoulders, Back of arms (Triceps)

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Stretching Routines: Gogi Tendon Organs ?

Stretching Routines: What Do Your Gogi Tendon Organs Have to do with it?

Stretching RoutinesStretching: What Do Your Gogi Tendon Organs Have To Do With It?  
Here’s a little video with the answer.
Have you tried to pick a coin up off the ground lately? How about tying your shoes? Have you switched to slip-ons? What about reaching over the coffee table to scoop some dip on the other side? Remember when you didn’t think twice about those maneuvers?
Sounds like decrepitude is setting in. Or maybe you’ve just lost some Flexibility.Flexibility is range of motion around your joints.
There are two types. Static flexibility – how far you can stretch and hold a body part, and dynamic flexibility – how much range of motion you have when you move.
Both are important. In fact I consider Flexibility one of the 3 main components of fitness, along with Aerobic Capacity and Muscle Strength.
I recommend a flexibility program that incorporates slow dynamic movements like Tai Chi, as well as static stretches like Yoga.But in my experience, Flexibility is the most ignored component of fitness. We do our Cardio and our Strength training but, unless we’re regular Yoga or Tai Chi, practitioners, Flexibility is not on the menu.
Why not? I think there are a couple of reasons. First, I think we don’t get it.It doesn’t make our muscles stronger or our figures shapelier. We don’t realize how valuable flexibility is until we try to do something we used to take for granted, like reach around to the back seat to get our sunglasses. Even then we toss it off with, “Well, I guess I’m getting older”. We somehow don’t connect with the thought, ” If I’d been doing a little stretching all these years, it wouldn’t have felt like I was going to rip something just then”.Secondly, there’s been lots of press about conflicting studies on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of stretching.
Some studies say stretching improves athletic performance. Others say they’ve proved the exact opposite. Some studies say stretching helps prevent injury. Others say it has no effect on injury prevention. There’s enough conflicting buzz to make you not want to bother.That’s too bad because all that buzz masks the fact we do know stretching does help you gain and maintaining flexibility.
Does stretching help prevent injury or aid athletic performance? I DON’T CARE.
I want to stay flexible as I age. I want to be able to pick up coins, tie my shoes and grab my sunglasses. Give me my dose of flexibility training!Even if we were flexible as kids, as we get older, connective tissues, our tendons and ligaments, tend to lose water, shorten, and become stiffer. So we get less flexible. But it’s not too late.

Even if you’re not interested in the fine practice of Yoga or Tai Chi, barring some medical issue, there’s a simple way to help hang on to the flexibility you have, and work on getting some of that youthful flexibility back. A few easy stretching exercises may be the difference between living tight and living flexible.

I stretch every day. Easy for me to say, I teach a stretch class. But just a few minutes, three times a week, can make a real difference. I’ve seen students of mine go from really stiff to pretty darn flexible in a few months, without trying hard.

Stretching, when done right, feels delicious while you’re doing it, and even better when you’re done. The kind of stretching I do is relaxing and meditative. I find it melts my stress and energizes me while keeping me flexible. I’ve developed a stretch exercise technique I call Moving Free. It’s evolved some over the 30 years I’ve been teaching it. I use a fusion of modified static stretches from Dance, Yoga and classic fitness as well as dynamic movements adapted from Dance and Tai Chi and Kinesiology.

Here’s a video with some lower body stretches you can try at home.

As if that weren’t enough, There’s more to stretching than just flexibility. I think stretching is a form of meditation that creates a sense of well-being and promotes peace of mind. When I finish my stretching routine I have a more positive outlook as well as the feeling that my body is more alive, more accessible to me. Try it and see.

Chances are that pretty soon you’ll be able to find your shoes simply by looking down.

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Fab Over 40 Hosts Fashion Flash Blog

Fashion FlashFashion Flash is hosted this week by Fab Over 40.com. Creator Kari gives you the straight skinny on honest 40 plus beauty maintenance options without injectables or surgery.

The rest of our Fashion Flash bloggers are up to our necks in Fashion, Beauty Health & Fitness and Pre-Holiday Deals. Click in, Read up, Find out..

 

 

Menopause and Weight Gain: What You Can Do About It

hike-2006A study from the Mayo Clinic has revealed that menopause and weight gain are linked because proteins that store fat do it better when estrogen is lost after menopause.  They also cause fat to be burned by the body more slowly so weight gain after menopause is hard to fight. Something else happens too.  A study in the Journal of Obesity points out that post menopausal women gain about 12 pounds following menopause. And even women that don’t see weight gain after menopause experience a shift in body shape that expands their waistline.

That’s because lower estrogen levels cause fat to shift from hips and thighs to the belly. Belly fat has been linked to higher incidence of heart disease. So menopause and weight gain is a serious health issue, not just a cosmetic one.

So what does one do about menopause and weight gain?

The only way to get rid of that belly fat is to lose weight everywhere and sculpt your body with exercise. Let’s talk calories. 1lb of weight equals 3500 calories. So to lose 1lb a week exercise 200 calories off with about a half hour of moderate cardio a day and eat 300 calories less every day. That 500 hundred multiple by 7 days will get you on the track to lose one pound per week. What can make this process easier is combine cardio with strength exercises. Try this anti menopause and weight gain routine.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday do 30-60 minutes of moderate cardio exercises like Brisk walking, swimming, biking jogging, or dance exercise videos.

For more info on at home exercise programs for women over 40 visit www.mirabaiholland.com

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It’s Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion FlashThis week’s Fashion Flash host is the No Nonsense Beauty Blog by Deb Chase. We all want to look and feel beautiful. But there’s more beauty nonsense flying around than there is polin in  the air. Deb cuts through the beauty blah blah and offers you real solutions to real beauty issues.

The rest of us Fashion Flash bloggers are no slouches either. We’ve got the real deal in 40 + Fashion, Beauty, Health & Fitness, and Real Deals for the Personal Shopper in all of us.

Menopause and Weight Gain: What You Can Do About It 

A study from the Mayo Clinic has revealed that menopause and weight gain are linked because proteins that store fat do it better when estrogen is lost after menopause.  They also cause fat to be burned by the body more slowly so weight gain after menopause is hard to fight. Something else happens too.  A study in the Journal of Obesity points out that post menopausal women gain about 12 pounds following menopause. And even women that don’t see weight gain after menopause experience a shift in body shape that expands their waistline.

That’s because lower estrogen levels cause fat to shift from hips and thighs to the belly. Belly fat has been linked to higher incidence of heart disease. So menopause and weight gain is a serious health issue, not just a cosmetic one.

The only way to get rid of that belly fat is to lose weight everywhere and sculpt your body with exercise. Let’s talk calories. 1lb of weight equals 3500 calories. So to lose 1lb a week exercise 200 calories off with about a half hour of moderate cardio a day and eat 300 calories less every day. That 500 hundred multiple by 7 days will get you on the track to lose one pound per week. What can make this process easier is combine cardio with strength exercises. Try this anti menopause and weight gain routine. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday do 30-60 minutes of moderate cardio exercises like brisk walking, swimming, biking jogging, or dance exercise videos.

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Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion FlashIt’s Fashion Flash Monday! I’m Mirabai Holland of Moving Free with Mirabai, your host this week. Our team of Fashion Flash Bloggers have a passion for Flashing the latest and greatest in 40+ Fashion, Beauty, Health, Inside Info and SHOPPING. All for your immediate consumption! You’re invited to the party right here, right now.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts.

 

 

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Best-of-Everything-After-50-logo-for-FF-groupPositive Living Advocate Barbara Hannah Grufferman wants women to have a more balanced life . . . starting with this simple exercise! 

 

 

 

 

 

society-wellness BANNER_FASHION FLASHIf you looked in the mirror this morning and said to yourself “I need a face lift”, Society Wellness shares how to get a healthy, holistic, non-surgical face lift.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fashion Flash Fitness

As for me I’m enjoying the last few weeks of fall fitness outdoors; and I suggest you do the same.

But if you haven’t been exercising in a while, and you know you have to do something, but you hate the thought of it, I’ve got the solution. Ease-in! Getting fit shouldn’t feel like getting your teeth drilled.

It should be pleasant today so you’ll come back and do it again tomorrow.

MyFashion Flash Ease-in DVD gives you a chance to Ease-in to the best shape of your life starting with just 5 minutes a day. And get 15% off by using this CODE: AUTUMNFAB at Checkout! BTW and it will work on all of my other videos too! Come and visit me at www.mirabaiholland.com

 

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Weight Management Through Thick Or Thin

Weight ManagementSummer into Fall is when many of us have a problem with weight management.

The key elements of weight management are learning to control portion size, eating a balanced diet, getting in touch with your hunger and exercising on a regular basis. Though exercise has always helped to burn calories, lose body fat and keep muscle tone, exercise alone will not keep your weight in check. Eating only when you are truly hungry can help you stay on track. Many of us engage in emotional eating: we eat when bored, depressed angry or even happy. To curb this tendency we must reckon with our inner selves. This can be getting on a scale, putting on a pair of pants that used to fit, and writing down what we are putting into our mouths.

For me, weight management is a constant struggle but it is one I embrace and so can you. Remember, the real reason for food is to keep us alive and well.

Weight Management Techniques

Choosing healthful foods is integral to feeling good and possibly preventing diabetes, cancer and heart disease and numerous other health problems. Between fast food and vending machines, it’s often a challenge to eat basic foods that are not prepared or processed with too much salt, sugar and preservatives. Yet a wealth of fresh vegetables, fruits, dried beans, whole grains and nuts are available if you just know what to look for and make time to prepare nutritious meals.

As we age, our immune systems become more vulnerable – especially if we are recovering from illness. The food and agriculture industries are allowed by the FDA to use a multitude of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and even insect-based dyes to produce as much food as cheaply, and therefore profitably, as possible.

The movement toward organic foods and support for local farming in the U.S. has grown as more people become aware and concerned about the untested and unlabeled additives in our food supply. Although organic foods are often more expensive, the cost can be balanced by avoiding non-nutritious prepared foods – such as snack items, candy, sugary sodas and frozen meals – while choosing fresh produce, dried beans, whole grains and a limited amount of low fat dairy and lean meat and poultry.

Here is an important meal tip; eat a healthy breakfast. Why? Because it will give you energy to last through the morning so that you are not ravenous and prone to overeating at lunch. For the longest-lasting energy, balance three types of food in your breakfast: A serving of whole grains (a piece of whole wheat toast, a half-cup of oatmeal or a serving of whole-grain cereal per size listed on the package); two servings of fruits (which can include a glass of 100 percent juice) and a bit of low fat protein – such as yogurt, an egg, reduced-fat cheese, or skim milk on whole grain cereal. In calories and nutrition, it will beat a sugary, fatty pastry any day. Studies show that women who eat a healthy breakfast each day have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight.

Informative food-related web sites are:

Center for Science in the Public Interest (www.cspinet.org)
American Institute for Cancer Research (www.aicr.org)
USDA Food and Drug Administration (www.nutrition.gov)
Organic Consumers Association (www.organicconsumers.org)

For more info on at home exercise programs for women visit www.mirabaiholland.com

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Triglycerides: Skinny On Your Hidden Fat

TriglyceridesTriglycerides Your Hidden Fat:

Triglycerides:  A too-thick waistline, plus high levels of a fat called triglycerides in the blood can greatly increase risk of coronary artery disease. Triglycerides are both produced by the body and ingested through the food you eat.

High triglyceride levels can increase your risk for heart disease and are more common among inactive people with larger waistlines. Normal triglyceride levels are below 150 mg/dL. The risk of developing coronary artery disease doubles when triglyceride levels are above 200 mg/dL.

Triglycerides are called the hidden fat because they are too often overshadowed by the highly publicized LDL bad cholesterol.

However triglycerides are above 200 mg/dL and “good” (HDL) cholesterol is below 40 mg/dL, a person is at four times the risk.

The good news is that a study at Duke University Medical Center has produced some surprising and encouraging results.

Triglycerides: How Aerobic Exercise Helps

Moderate aerobic exercise like walking a half hour at least five days a week can signicantly reduce the triglyceride levels in the blood as well as boost your HDL (good cholesterol). Burning 200 calories or so on that half hour walk doesn’t hurt either.

The study also showed that more intense exercise did help with belly fat but produced only half the triglyceride lowering results.

So my recommendation is: consult your doctor, find your triglycerides level and get clearance to exercise.

If it is elevated and belly fat is not an issue do moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking or cardio dance. If you also have extra belly fat, consider adding strength training exercise every other day to raise your metabolism and help your body burn more fat.

Don’t over do it. Ease-in. Start with a few minutes a day of something fun. Pleasure is the key to sustainability.

Couple this with a low fat diet and moderate alcohol consumption and you’ve got a recipe for better quality of life and maybe even a longer one.

For more info visit www.mirabaiholland.com

 

 

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