Message from the Universe: “Don’t Take for Granted This Thing Called Life”

The other day after Zumba, one of my workout friends told me about a friend of hers who recently died in her sleep. Her body wasn’t discovered until four days after she passed on. She was 71 and had four sons, but was living alone.

My friend was shaken because she’s not that much younger than her friend. Also, her friend had shown no signs of failing health and was “perfectly fine” when they met up for lunch the previous week. Shouldn’t there be signs when one’s time is coming to a close?

Every now and then, the songs that play on my Pandora station or radio seem to contain a message from the Universe. For example, lines from a song by Anything Box keep playing in my head: “Don’t take for granted / this thing called Life.” In the context of my friend’s news, I realize how unprepared I am if I were to die suddenly, that I need to be more mindful of how I spend my days, and that I need take care of a few things sooner vs. later. After all, there’s no guarantee that I’ll reach the average US female life expectancy of age 78.94.

Here are some things that come to mind: Continue reading

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Lenten Challenge 2017: No Social Media

It’s been almost two weeks since I cut myself off from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Believe me when I say it’s been one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. Up until March 1 (Ash Wednesday), I had been spending a lot of time checking out my feeds and getting caught up with what’s happening in politics and current events. I hadn’t realized how much time and energy that was sucked up until I stopped cold turkey.  Continue reading

Behold the Starbucks January Tumbler—the Holy Grail of Creativity

Starbucks January 2017 Tumbler

Starbucks January 2017 Tumbler

One of the Christmas gifts HB received was the Starbucks January tumbler, which can be used to get a free grande brewed hot coffee or hot tea through the month of January. It’s the perfect gift for him because he likes his coffee black, and like most people, he depends on coffee to get him going in the morning and sometimes as a pick-me-up in the afternoon. Since he works downtown, there’s a Starbucks on every other block, so using the tumbler is no big deal, right?

This year, however, he’ll be working in various locations, which means it’s more effort to keep track of his tumbler and to make sure he’s maximizing his usage. And so, he has passed the Starbucks tumbler to me. He knows that I don’t like wasting things (almost to the point of it being an OCD), and I’ve just figured out a plan. Continue reading

Mama Sophia’s Magic Feather: How to Lose Vacation Weight-Gain in a Snap

I dreaded stepping on the scale after coming home from our Spring Break vacation to Orlando. Although I walked more than I have in a long time (20+k steps daily), I also ate lots of food that are weight-loss no-no’s—fried fast foods, sweets, alcoholic beverages, dairy. It was no big surprise that I gained 5 lbs. over the course of six days.

With a heavy heart, I headed back to the gym and got back to my training and exercise classes. I’d asked my trainer, Alex, if he had any Orenda Burn-Clean-Shape packets for a jump-start, but he had run out. I was on my own.

First two days of hardcore exercise—nada. Then I decided to try something else—something which I’d always had in the back of my mind. Why not cut out refined sugar and limit grains to one meal and see what happens?

Continue reading

Happy New Year Personal Reset (How I Lost 5 lbs. in 2 Days, Gained Back 4, and Lost It All Again—One Month Later)

Sometime before last Thanksgiving, my trainer gave me 2 days worth of Orenda Clean trial packs to try out. I was skeptical and leery about using it. First, it’s from a company that appears like a pyramid organization, which I despise on principle. Second, I noticed the powder mixes contain stevia, which I also dislike. Third, it had before/after pictures of people losing 40 pounds after using the program for 90 days—which made me wonder, is this weight-loss sustainable, or will I gain everything back (and then some) once I return to regular food. I put the packets in my drawer and forgot about them.

After the New Year, my trainer asked me if I’d tried the samples. I told him that I had been saving them for after the holidays and was planning to try the very next day. (Liar-liar-pants-on-fire, who got caught and was trying to save face.) So I kept my word and did the program for two days and was amazed at the results. Continue reading

Move It and Lose It: Tricks to Sneak in Exercise Throughout the Day

I always thought I needed to allocate a huge block of time to exercise in order to lose weight—a couple of hours each day. Who the heck has that time, especially after punching the clock, doing Mom duties, et al.?

As much as it would be nice to have the luxury of a huge block of time to exercise, it can be accomplished in bits throughout the day—as I learned from my trainer. It’s just a matter of changing your perspective and challenging yourself to sneak what you can throughout the day.

Here are some tips: Continue reading

Change Diet, Lose Weight (Go Figure!)

In addition to working with a personal trainer, one of the major factors that has contributed to helping me lose weight is changing my eating habits. What I’ve realized is that no matter how much I exercise, it doesn’t matter if I keep eating crap.

The turning point for me was having a Google Sheet where I record what I eat each day and the fitness activities/steps taken. I haven’t gotten to the point of recording portion-sizes and estimated calories yet. I know there are apps out there that do that, but it’s a pain to go through the lists and guesstimate if the portions/calories are correct.

Instead, I’ve opted to make healthier food choices and trust that my body will tell me when I am full. Note: it’s still a work in progress. I have days when my tummy-is-full sensor is malfunctioning. Or maybe I’m just doing a good job of ignoring it.

What I find amusing is that the idea of having to record what I eat sometimes makes me NOT want to eat. There is something good to be said about laziness. 😉

Anyway, here are some diet tips that have worked in helping me lose weight: Continue reading