How to support friends and family trying to make healthier choices

Going through my own journey and helping many others work on their own journey, I’ve learned a few things about how to support people and not derail them. Many times people feel judged or even sabotaged by people who they are closest to. I don’t believe anyone does this on purpose and maybe just need a few ideas on how to word things during this time 😊

Don’t judge! Just don’t do it. The choices of another person are not your own. Maybe you enjoyed running and she enjoys yoga or strength training – great! You are different people. One of my favorite phrases I heard last year is “don’t should all over others”. LOVED it! Most people should on others because they think they are helping and sharing information. Unless you are the coach, listen and support. It’s really that simple.

Don’t be weird about food. Don’t add judgment to your friend’s choice. It can be as simple as offering food in a weird way. “Am I allowed to offer you cake” for example, leaves your friend with no good answer. Yes, elicits judgement and so does no in that scenario. Simply offer as you normally would and she will make her decision. When she does, remember it’s not you so no judgement. (I hope this goes without saying, but NEVER say “I thought you were trying to lose weight”)

Suggest different activities. Maybe you miss the social time with your co-worker over cake in the office kitchen. Now that she avoids it, you miss chatting. Try suggesting a walk around the office or eating lunch together. More often than not, it’s not the food itself but the time together. The same is true for getting drinks after work. Again you can go for a walk or try an activity together.

Most importantly- LISTEN! Change is never easy and always brings up emotions we don’t expect. Be there for your friend and/or family member and they will be there for you. It really is that simple 😊

What would you add or take out? What’s the best way someone helped you make healthy changes?

Arlene is Simply Healthy!!

This week’s Simply Healthy feature is one of my amazing students, Arlene!  I was lucky enough to meet Arlene when I began teaching and have been lucky to have her as a student and a friend ever since.  Everyday she can be found taking a variety of classes and enjoying time with fellow YMCA members.  She is truly special and I am so happy she has shared some of her tricks for leading a healthy lifestyle!!

Arlene

When did you begin leading a healthy lifestyle and how has it affected your life to this point? 

I guess I have to go back 37 years. I was always thin and not necessarily fit as the only type of exercise back then was Gloria Steven’s and we did tons of leg lifts and ab work but NO weights. 

I was 31 when I had my son and for whatever reason unknown to many, especially me, I gained 17 pounds during pregnancy.  Once David was born I went from a size 6 back then, it is now a 2, but with that said to a size 14. I looked as if someone blew me up like an air balloon. No matter what I did, starving eating a lettuce leaf and a hard-boiled egg, I kept gaining weight.  Finally, I was seen by Dr. Bernard Klinman the top endocrinologist at Mass General Hospital.  Because of my pregnancy something happened to my thyroid.  It took over a year and a half for the proper dosage to work.  At that time they gave you synthroid then waited 3 months and then raised the dosage an mg at a time.  Because I was eating properly and exercising, bringing my son to Gloria Steven’s each day and placing him in babysitting services (at a cost of $1.00 per class,) I began to lose this excess weight very slowly.

From that time to today I was so concerned about helping others find why they were overweight.  When my son was in nursery school, I became a Weight Counselor for 3 different companies over the next 5 years.  One dealt with a limited interview and having clients listen, over 4 weeks, to different tapes at night (cyber something was the name of the co.).  The second was a Thin from Within program developed that included individual counseling and group counseling sessions.  It also included 4 weeks of a tape program that you listened to at night.  

Believe it or not the 3rd company, 35 years ago, had a computer program that in today’s world would be ancient but we asked the clients what they ate, then placed the information into a program that told them how many calories their choice registered and placed them on a very limited (PROBABLY UNHEALTHY) but calorie perfect diet to lose weight.     

I then continued at other fitness programs available at the time and for years took my son with me. Unfortunately that was the time that “life time memberships” were offered. I then chose “2” that I remember 35 years later after signing it. It was their lifetime as corporations not mine and lost many hard earned dollars as each went out of business or closed their facility.

No matter where life took me exercise and healthy eating choices were an integral part of my lifestyle.   When my husband became very sick and I had to become a 24/7 caretaker the video world was my new best friend.  I purchased every video available and when cable TV brought the option of fitness TV, I then became their best follower.   Today, I can’t recall the exact instructors I followed but for sure I never ever stopped exercising. Because of the weight gain due to my thyroid I was a portion control person and a behavior modification person from my years of counseling.  

I to this day, 35 years later, do believe in behavior modification and portion control and any trick that works smaller plates measuring your food, logging your food and today I am a FIT BIT enthusiast.

It was a $100.00 investment but I log everything I eat and every program I participate in and even wear the unit at night and know how many hours I sleep and how long it takes me to fall asleep and how many times I wake up during the night.

Being honest with what I record and seeing my weekly report I believe keeps me fit and on track and healthy and truly happy that I have been the same weight within a pound or two over a lifetime…..

The joy of coming to the Y is a very personal and joyous part of each of my days.  The friendships I have made and the feeling of wellbeing has never been better as a 68 year old woman living alone and creating a life.  Only 2 years ago, after making that decision to sell my family home of 40 years, and creating a life alone is the gift that just keeps giving. 

What are some of your favorite aspects to healthy living?

Enjoying the choices I make to stay healthy and fit.  It allows me to enjoy: Exercising in a variety of group programs offered at the YMCA; choosing all of my favorite foods and eating them in moderation; and taking classes at CCCC (Cape Cod Community College) offered by Academy of Life Long Learning.

Do you prepare a lot of meals at home?

Yes, I cook for myself each and every night.  I make my meal times special, using my favorite dishes and wine glasses. My morning meal includes reading the Cape Cod Times; afternoon meal includes listening to music and catching up on articles of interest that I have saved and evenings do include a glass of my favorite Shiraz and watching the news of the day.

What’s your favorite meal to prepare?

The most amazing, exotic, healthy, huge salad I can prepare, including everything from salad greens, avocado, nuts, beans, artichokes, Flax seeds etc. to name a few ingredients off the top of my head.

What do you consider to be the key to your success?

Eating in moderation, not eating in between meals, always being seated when I eat, and choosing the proper plate/ dish or cup to make my choices special.

My motto for exercising is anything I do is better than nothing, I engage in a huge variety of programs, using modifications and good judgment  

If you had to name your greatest accomplishment, what would it be?

In the area of family, it is to have a wonderful relationship with my son and daughter in-law and my two grandchildren.

Overall, to begin each day being grateful for, what I do, what I have and who I am; and always embracing a positive attitude, smiling and feeling happy.

Do you have any current fitness or healthy living goals?

To stay healthy and fit, positive and happy and embrace each person I meet in a positive way each day

Thank you Arlene for sharing your story!!

Interested in sharing your Simply Healthy story? Email me, SimplyModernDance@gmail.com

Gabi is Simply Healthy!!

Hello to everyone over at Simply Modern Dance! My name is Gabi Walter, and I am the blogger over at my own site www.gabriellekwalter.com. I blog about all sorts of topics from health and fitness to current events and my own life experiences. I am a college student who is constantly looking to appreciate the present moment and find who I am with the world at my fingertips. I am so thankful that Susan has invited me here to talk a little bit with you about who I am and what I love to do.

Gabi Walter from www.gabriellekwalter.com

What was your aha moment?
My aha moment was the middle of this past summer. Last year I really got into running, slow at first and then I picked up my miles each week. An easy run became 6 miles in the morning. I run to clear my head and reflect on the day ahead or the week. It is my time to just escape the world and all its worries and just be in the moment of enjoying myself outside with my thoughts. I was making a new route when I came across an absolutely beautiful scene and thought, “life is wonderful and I am so truly blessed.” I get that feeling every time I run. I think about how thankful I am to have strong legs that get me to and from places, and a healthy body that can withstand anything this crazy life throws at me. Here’s a post I wrote about finding my love for running.

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Do you prefer exercising alone or in a group?
I often venture out on my runs alone, but I would rather prefer to exercise in a group. All of my boot camp sessions at the gym are in a group and I absolutely look forward to them each week. There is something so inspiring working out with others and seeing each other improve every class. The rest of the group is my motivation to keep going and push through a tough workout. We all rely on each other throughout the class for support, and it is that support that gives us the strength to reach our fullest potential.

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What is your favorite time to work out?
Mornings! I  am a morning person who is up at 6:30am even on the weekends! I swear I’m not crazy 😉 I have to start my day at the gym to give me that boost of energy I need for the day. I can work out at night sometimes if my schedule is restricted to only being free in the evenings. However, after dinner I am too tired to do much of anything.

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Does music motivate you?
Yes, absolutely! Whenever I am working out I have to have a playlist going or iTunes radio on. I set my pace or the repetitions I am doing to the pace of the music. I even challenge myself by trying to plank or do an ab sequence to a whole four minute song. “Run the World” by Beyonce is my go-to ab series song! “Stay the Night” by Zedd is one of my latest favorites. 🙂
How many nights a week do you cook dinner?
I make dinner every night of the week. Some nights when I know I do not have time, I make quick meals (sometimes resorting to leftovers). Other times when I know I have a lot of time that evening to put into dinner, I find myself experimenting in the kitchen and whipping up some great recipe that I end up having to share with my readers. I love to cook, so any free time that I have usually always ends up with me in the kitchen whipping up a new meal.

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Do you meal prep or make as you go?
Over the past month I have gotten into meal prepping, and I swear by it! By preparing your meals for the week ahead of time, it saves you so much time during the busy week. You have your meals all planned out and almost made, which then just requires some last minute assembly. This way you are not tempted to go for the first or quickest thing in the fridge, which can often times be unhealthy. My motto for meal prepping is to take the time now to save the time later. These are protein muffins I prep as snacks for the week. Click the link to get the recipe 🙂
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What’s your favorite recipe?
My readers know from my many WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday) posts that I LOVE CEREAL! I make all sorts of creations, but my favorite is my very own creation I call The Loaded Cereal Bowl. I mainly have this in the morning for breakfast, but it often sneaks its way into other meal times throughout the week. It is packed with nutrients, is easy to make, and will keep you satisfied until your next meal. Here is the recipe and how to make it for those of you wish to try this delightful concoction.

IMG_5640What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?

In 2011, when I was a senior in highschool, I was named the Distinguished Young Woman of New York. Distinguished Young Woman is a scholarship program for college bound young women. The judges score the contestants based on five categories: scholastics, interview, talent, fitness, and self-expression. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life going to nationals in Mobile, Alabama and meeting wonderful young women from all 49 other states. To hear more about my experience click here.

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What is your current goal?
My current goal is to complete the Buffalo Half-Marathon in May. I am excited to be running with my dad who is an absolute pro at triathlons and half marathons. I already run far distances each week of about 8 miles and feel that this is just the next step in challenging myself physically.

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What quote do you live by?
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I am a huge quote fanatic and absolutely LOVE this quote. I live by this each and every day. I try to inspire others to be better and do better in their own lives as I try and do in mine. Weather it be actively taking time out of your schedule for others or exchanging a smile with a stranger, every individual has the power to make a positive change in the world.

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Twitter: @Just__Gabi

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/gabiwalter

Thank you Gabi for sharing your story!  Please leave any questions or comments for Gabi below 🙂

Interested in sharing your own Simply Healthy story?  Email me at SimplyModernDance@gmail.com!

Xiomara is Simply Healthy!!

This week’s Simply Healthy feature is Xiomara! She is a busy mom of two little girls who runs a family market in Florida. In her “spare” time she runs 🙂 You can follow her story about running, fitness and of course, the market here. Here’s Xiomara….

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What was your aha moment?
I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a gym membership, even while I was in college I regularly went to the gym. But I gained almost 50 pounds during my first pregnancy. So loosing the baby weight was a great motivator.

Did you go all in or build over time?
I started training for my first triathlon in 2005. After that race, I had a couple of babies so there really wasn’t much time for training. I started running again after my second baby was born in 2008 as a way to loose the baby weight. Luckily for me I only gained about 25 pounds. After a few of years of running, I finally made the decision to run my first half marathon in 2012. It took me a while to get the courage to run that distance but I’m glad I waited until I was physically and mentally ready.

Do you prefer exercising alone or in a group?
While I enjoy group classes like spinning, I find I never make it to them. It’s just easier to get my running clothes on and walk out of the door.

What’s your go-to form of exercise and time to workout?
Running! First thing in the morning while everyone at home is sleeping.

Does music motivate you?
Yes! I recently drove to the park only to find out I didn’t have my ear phones with me. I turned around and went home to get them so I could run with music.

What’s your must-have song?
Lately I’ve been running with Pandora’s Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout radio station.

How many nights a week do you cook dinner?
I cook dinner probably five to six times a week.

Do you meal prep or make it as you go?
I used to go to the grocery store with an idea of what I was planning to cook during the week. The results were mixed. I would come home and forget some ingredient. I’ve recently started writing it down and sticking with it which has made it a lot easier.

What’s your favorite recipe?
My favorite recipe would be my grandma’s beef stew. I recently made it and it keeps getting better every time I make it.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?
My greatest accomplishment to date was given birth twice to two beautiful, healthy, smart and funny little girls. They make me want to be the best version of myself.

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What is your current goal?
My current goal is to run more trail races this year. Normally I mostly run road races, but this year I would like to run 3 trail races.

Blog: http://www.parkesdale.com/blog
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/xiomeeks
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/xiomeeks
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/xmeeks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/xmeeks

Thank you Xiomara for sharing your story!! Please leave any questions for Xiomara in the comments 🙂

Interested in sharing your Simply Healthy story? Email me at SimplyModernDance@gmail.com

Courtney is Simply Healthy!!

This week’s Simply Healthy feature is Courtney!!  You can follow her journey at The TriGirl Chronicles.  I hope you enjoy Courtney’s story as much as I do 🙂

Courtney from The Tri Girl Chronicles

Tell us a little bit about you…

I’m a recently married runner turned triathlete. I have a Bachelors in health education, a Masters in health promotion, am a certified k-12 health education teacher, and a nationally Certified Health Education Specialist. I love all things related to health and fitness and am completely fascinated by the human body and all the incredible and awe inspiring things it is capable of. I truly believe anyone can accomplish anything they set out for with the right mind set and work ethic because we are all capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for.

What was your aha moment?

Growing up I was always pretty athletic. My parents had my brother and I in sports our whole lives. I started running track at age 12; joining my school districts modified team. I ran track through my junior year and qualified for states a number of times. In college I played Rugby for two years, and my senior year I ran on and off here and there. My now husband convinced me to register for a 5k that year. I assumed my many years as a successful runner and my here and there running would carry me through, but it did not. I walked a number of times, got frustrated, cried, and fussed during that race. It was a big eye opener to me that my previous years of track weren’t going to carry me my whole life. After that I took my first real job post college graduation. It involved a long commute and I ended up hating the job. It was a complete mental, emotional, and physical drain for me. Again, I stopped running. In the summer of 2011 I saw a number of people I had gone to high school and college with participated in the Iron Girl Syracuse Triathlon. I saw the pictures and posts about it on Facebook and thought “I can totally do that.” So on November 1st, 2011, I registered for the following year’s race. At this point I was at my heaviest weight ever and very unhappy. But I now something to focus on and train for, and on August 5th, 2012, I stood on the sand at Oneida Lake Park ready to run my first triathlon. Crossing that finish line was the most difficult yet emotionally transcending thing I had accomplished. It helped shape me into the healthy and active person I am today with my eyes set on running a full Ironman Triathlon in 2015.Courtney from The Tri Girl Chronicles

Did you go all in or build over time?

It’s always been an on-again-off-again thing for me. I tend to jump into things in life feet first and I don’t always think things through. I signed up for that first triathlon not owning a bike and not having swam competitively since my single abysmal season on my school’s swim team in eighth grade. So I guess I really kind of go all out. I’m an all or nothing type of person.

Do you prefer exercising alone or in a group?

I’m definitely better solo. I know how to push myself and can easily train alone. However, my husband is a great running partner and I’m just starting to attend my local triathlon club workouts.

What’s your go-to form of exercise?

Running always has been my go to. It’s such a cathartic thing for me. However, I find a long, solo bike ride to be incredibly freeing. And as I work on my poor swimming skills I’m also learning the silence of the water can sooth the soul and make me feel completely rejuvenated.Courtney from The Tri Girl Chronicles

What’s your favorite time to work out?

In the morning. I hate the getting up part, but I like that it doesn’t feel like it’s interfering with the rest of my day, or like I have to move something else or give up time elsewhere to do it later. Also, I find that starting my day off with a workout sets me up to make better choices the rest of the day.

Does music motivate you?

Sure! A great song can push me to run harder or faster or carry me longer. But I’m also starting to learn that going sans music allows me to focus more on myself and let my training help me become more connected to myself. It’s really empowering doing a workout without music and only focusing on yourself.

What’s your must-have song?

I love running to anything Pitbull releases because the beat his songs are usually at tend to be perfect for a hard or fast run. For cycling I like things with a softer, more rhythmic tempo to them, like Avicci’s Wake Me Up, or John Newann’s new song Love Me Again.

How many nights a week do you cook dinner?

Not many, actually. My husband and I work opposite schedules so we both fend for ourselves. He cooks his meals fresh everyday where as I am a big fan of food prepping and precooking so I only have to reheat. So once a week usually, but I cook everything for a whole week that one day.

Do you meal prep or make it as you go?

Prep, for sure. It’s such a time saver and it keeps me from not knowing what to have for meals and just grabbing something to go.

What’s your favorite recipe?

Right now I’m loving on turkey tacos with tons of onions and peppers mixed right into the meat. Just reheat some precooked mix, pile onto a big lettuce leaf, and top with avocado and it’s delicious. I also really love salmon and veggies.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?

My greatest accomplishment was definitely this past summer as a whole. I lost all the weight I gained while working my crappy job that I have since left, got married, ran my first half marathon, and ran two more sprint and one Olympic distance triathlon. I was fitter and happier than I had ever been this past summer and I can’t wait to have an even greater season this year.

What is your current goal?

My current goal is to make it out of my upcoming race season alive and with new PR’s for some of my repeat races. I’m running a 77.7 mile relay race in April, and very difficult and hilly 40 mile reverse triathlon in May, my first half Ironman in June, a handful of sprint and Olympic distance triathlons July through September. Then I’m rerunning the same half marathon in October. It’s going to be difficult but I know I can do it. Long term I plan to race Ironman Chattanooga, my first full iron distance triathlon, in September 2015.

Courtney from The TriGirl Chronicles
Blog: www.thetrigirlchronicles.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TriGChronicles
Instagram: http://instagram.com/trigirlchronicles
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/CourtneyTGC/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetrigirlchronicles

Thank you Courtney for sharing your story!  Please leave any questions for Courtney in the comments 🙂

Interested in sharing your Simply Healthy story?  Email me at SimplyModernDance@gmail.com

Jackie is Simply Healthy!!

My first Simply Healthy featured blogger is Jackie!  You can find her blogging about her journey at Gone Running.  Jackie struggled with an eating disorder for many years.  She bravely shared her story as a part of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.  Please take the time to read her story!!  Here she is….

Jackie from Gone Running

What was your aha moment?

My “aha” moment came for me when I realized that 1) if I continued in my eating disorder I would die from it and 2) my 2 little girls would watch my behavior and follow in my footsteps. I’d do anything to spare them from suffering as I have. So I began to fight harder than ever before to overcome my eating disorder and that pummeled me into the world of running/fitness that has become a healthy lifestyle for me.

Do you prefer exercising alone or in a group? 

I typically exercise alone. I have 2 kids, so juggling their schedules and my husband’s busy work schedule is hard to coordinate with others. I do group spinning class 3 times a week and boot camp once a week, those are fun to do with others. My weight lifting (2-3 times a week) is usually alone and my running is mostly alone, except for a few occasions a friend will join me.

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Do you use music when you workout?

I love to run with music most of the time, it keeps my mind busy, but there are some mornings that I will leave the headphones behind when I run in the dark and it is such an amazing thing to hear the sounds of the world waking around you as you speed by on a run.

How many nights a week do you cook dinner?  Do you meal prep or make it as you go?

I try to cook at home at least 3 times a week and make enough to cover the other days. We eat out at least once a week when we meet my husband for dinner on the weekends. I am a make as you go kind of girl, you’ll find me in the grocery store 3 or 4 times a week as I pick up fresh produce, meat, fish, etc.

 

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?  What is your current goal?

My great accomplishment to date is overcoming my eating disorder, something I once thought was impossible; the second greatest would be the finish line of my first half marathon a few weeks ago.

My current goal is to continue to improve my half marathon time and complete at least 6 half’s this year and five 10 mile races. I am aiming to run my first full marathon in January 2015!

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Blog: http://jackiesoutforarun.wordpress.com

Twitter:https://twitter.com/jackieklayman

Instagram:http://instagram.com/jackieklayman

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jaegiggle/

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/jackiesgonerunning

Thank you Jackie for sharing your story!  Please leave any questions for Jackie in the comments 🙂

Interested in sharing your Simply Healthy story?  Email me at SimplyModernDance@gmail.com

 

Fun with Fit For Moms!

I am so excited to share another fun collaboration with Fit For Moms!  Here is the video and link to the blog post!  If you aren’t following Fit For Moms, be sure to check it out for some great info 🙂