Let's Eat Together!

There is a buzz-phrase that has been circling the internet; “What you eat in private, you wear in public.” This rings especially true for many of those who have tried diet after diet only to remain stagnant. Or they lose the weight only to gain it back because the underlying causes and lifestyle choices have not been addressed.

Everyone needs to eat. Some of us eat too much, and some of us not enough. What matters most is what we eat. It’s easy to grab those quick meals, but generally speaking the nutritional value of fast food is not what our bodies need to run efficiently. There needs to be an even exchange of calorie intake to calories burned (or more or less depending on your body image goals), and an emphasis on key nutrients. You may feel full, but your body is confused and starving. We all need to eat, so let’s be mindful of what we put in the fuel tank.

When we eat in a social setting, everything can shift. It allows us to take the time to slow down and enjoy ourselves. A good bit of wisdom from writer Michael Pollan is to, “spend as much time enjoying the meal as it took to prepare it.” Rushing a meal can lead to stress, poor digestion, and overeating. In a busy would, it can be difficult to get everyone to the dinner table at the same time for a conversation as simple as talking about each other’s day. Conversations are what allow us to connect to people and create a sense of community. What better time to do that than while having a meal? We all have to eat right? Good things should be shared.

Eating with others can also motivate us to make better choices about what we eat ourselves and when we eat it. A sit-down meal is a great way to create a connection between healthy foods and good times. Be the role model for your friends and family and create dishes that nourish the body and soul. Developing a regular mealtime schedule with others helps to create a routine in our day and can control snacking. It helps prevent spontaneous emotional eating, keeps our blood sugar balanced, aids in digestion, and curbs overeating - not only for the need to leave some for others, but because someone else is watching and holding us accountable. Scheduled meals will also help your loved ones for the same reasons. Make their and your health a priority. Make it a challenge to eat with others as often as you can. Set aside the time, it’s worth it.

Pickleball Pals

“Pickleball” may have a name that sounds more suited to playground, but it is considered one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong using a paddle and plastic ball with holes, similar to a waffle ball.

Pickleball fever is still rampant across the country for people of all ages. It is especially popular with the retired population, since it is low impact and on a smaller court, yet still energetic and fun. While new courts seem to pop up everyday (usually over old tennis courts), pickleball court space is coveted every winter in the South by “snowbirds” like rare gold. Don’t let the fact that it is popular with people of age make you think the game isn’t competitive. While the game is easy to learn, it inspires the competitive spirit. As said by avid player Cheryl Lutz “There is no sorry in Pickleball!”

Want to check it out? Chances our there is a group near you! It is the perfect way to exercise with a group as well. Grab a friend or come alone and come out and play. Check out the Places 2 Play section at https://www.usapa.org/what-is-pickleball/ and play today!

The Power of Positivity

I’ve lost 90 pounds in two years. It sounds fairly impressive, and I so proud of myself, but it wasn’t easy. I had been trying to lose weight and failing for over 10 years prior. In fact, for those 10 years prior, I steadily gained weight despite myself. So what changed? Honestly, in hindsight it was the most obvious solution in the world. Positive reinforcement.

What does that mean? It’s a couple of buzzwords that get thrown around in self-help books here and there. It’s so easy to say, less easy to understand. For me, it meant looking in the mirror and treating myself like a whole new person. For ten plus years, I looked in the mirror and hated myself. Sure I was smart, kind, and likable, but I was also weak. Something was wrong with me, and I hated myself for not being able to fix it. I would glare at the mirror and call myself pathetic, and weak, and ugly. After all, I believed the best way to change was bullying myself into changing.

It didn’t work for me. In fact, bullying myself just kept building upon the issues that caused me to gain weight in the first place, and I found myself digging deeper and deeper into a hole that would take a long time to escape.

Then, one day, something in me clicked. I looked in the mirror and decided that the key was not hating myself. It was, in fact, loving myself. I said to mirror me “You are not weak. You have had struggles, but you are strong. Your struggles have made you even stronger, and you can grow from them.” As I write this it sounds so incredibly cheesy, but just like that I was on my way. It wasn’t easy, and honestly it still isn’t. The key was acknowledging my weaknesses and working on them, but also acknowledging my strengths and using them to combat the hard times.

So here are a few samples of the positive thinking strategies that got me through it all:

Keeping It Clean With Kiddos

If you’re a parent I’m sure you’ve gotten up in the night or early morning hours, the house still dark, and as you make your way through the house you step on that doll or Lego that was left on the floor – yep – then you have that try not to yell and wake the kids moment while silent crying. That’s been me a time or two!! Lately the craze at my house is to go into a room, dump out all the toy bins/baskets/buckets/etc. and then move to the next room only to do the same thing. So how do we try and stay organized and clutter free?

If it’s left on the floor it goes in the trash! No, just kidding! My girls are only five and two; they would be quite devastated with that rule. If you don’t already, invest in bins with lids or shelving with basket inserts. This has been a lifesaver for us and teaches the girls that everything has a place when they are done playing. Also, I really hate when toys are just thrown into a bin or shoved into a drawer. This particular part of me teaches the kids to value their possessions and treat them with care. In addition to proper storage, we make sure the girls clean up every night before going to bed. It’s kind of their last thing to do; it helps them get out any remaining energy before bedtime, and helps me so I’m not the one picking up after they’ve gone to bed. Because after a long work day, dinner, chores, etc. what parent wants to clean up their house?!

This week has been spring break at my house, so lots of cleaning out the clutter! Our girls don’t like to give any of their toys away but we convinced them they had too much. They donated 3 boxes, which is also something I recommend doing with your toys/personal belongings/trinkets/etc. at least once every few months. In their minds they just made more room for new toys which they will inevitably get for their upcoming birthdays! And the cycle continues…try not to stress too much about the mess they create while they are playing. Let them make the memories.

Finally, probably my best tip – create a schedule. If it’s written down weekly, such as vacuum on Wednesday, or organize toy room Saturday, you are much more likely to get it done! Don’t put off for tomorrow, what can get done today!

Call Home!

Email, Facebook, Twitter, and Texting, are all great ways to communicate in this fast paced world. But… what they are all missing is the sound of your voice!

For years now I call my mom every week, when I am driving home from roping practice. My first question is “How are you doing?” and she always answers “I am OK.” I know by the sound of her voice if that is true or not. I can tell when she in not feeling well or something is bothering her by not what she says but how she says it. It is important to me to hear her voice.

For her getting a call means someone is thinking about her. She lives alone does not drive and I think she just gets lonely and bored. I hear her voice change the longer we talk; there is more energy and more laughter. She tells me about the others who have contacted her; these calls truly increase the quality of her life. She always tells me when my son, Brock calls her, she tell me what a great kid he is (the rest of the family call him “brown noser”). She has family in the area, that stops over and checks on her, and I know she appreciates that, but it is hearing from those that she cannot see is very special to her.

I want you to start a new holiday tradition and call someone who needs to hear from you. Better yet, make this you News Years resolution and make it a point to call that person regularly