Family Fun With The Kids

Thanksgiving week has begun and many fun family gatherings begin. It’s also the time we can have special time and fun with the grandkids to lure them away from electronic games. Here are two awesome activities friends shared and I thought you will enjoy them as much as I do.

 

Have great fun and send pictures, we will share them here!

 

3 Smart Tips to Ease the Struggle of Losing Belly Fat

The holiday season is beginning and so rises our sensitivity about our weight, that stubborn belly fat! It’s such a struggle to melt it, to even reduce it by one ounce. You are working hard and it is showing signs of toning your hips. You notice your slacks are not as tightly fitting around your waist and thighs. But there sits that belly bulge, not budging.

Sounds familiar? Many women, middle age and older can relate. Though during my later years, 60s and early 70s, my figure and weight remained within a normal range until six months ago. Within three months, following an episode of heart failure, I had gained between 8 to 10 pounds – all belly fat. This was new to me.

For the last three months I have been working on getting rid of – or at least toning down – a belly fat bulge above the waist. I noted that, after a four-week exercise program six days a week and diet adjustments like reducing carbohydrates and eliminating sweets, I had lost only ONE ounce if any and my stomach had not shrunk one bit. I was totally shocked and had to step back to re-evaluate anew.

“What was happening?” I asked.

A summary of issues contributing to belly fat built-up offer some insight. A bulge in your stomach results from a more complex combination of multiple factors, to highlight a few:

  • Hormone changes during post-menopause when belly fat usually develops following a drop in our estrogen level, setting off a hormone re-adjustment and imbalance.
  • Nutrition could be the culprit – a high carb, low fat and minimal vegetable diet overworks and tires the work of insulin, affecting a healthy metabolism.
  • Exercise, the lack of or wrong one, can impact where and how our fat is stored.
  • Stress has a significant impact on cortisol, a stress hormone that influences fat storage of the visceral fat (deep stomach fat).
  • Inadequate rest contributes to an imbalance in the overall metabolism.

It becomes clear that there is no simple and quick-fix answer to reverse the out-of-balance fat metabolism and storage.

The health science literature emphasizes that by being too eager to regain control of our body, women especially focus mainly on weight loss and not fat loss which is not the same. We intensify exercise by running faster or pumping harder as opposed to approaching a more intelligent exercise regimen that brings about metabolic changes. It all comes down to changing our mindset to work smarter instead of harder.

How and where to start to ease the struggle of losing that belly fat in a smart way? Here are three tips that finally got me on the right path to attack that stubborn belly fat.

  1. Patience – a tough one. Accept that there is no quick fix, especially as we get older. Evaluate your life style, how your body responds while considering the factors to belly fat build-up and test the adjustments you make. Re-adjust if no results and test again. PATIENCE! Allow the body to adjust on its own time schedule.
  2. Reward yourself with every small change you have achieved; may it be in nutritional adjustment, enjoyment exercise vs. stress exercise; changing rest patterns; intentional time for self.
  3. Celebrate milestones: stomach bulge one inch less; one pound less; feeling overall stronger by being able to weight lift a higher strength level.

Since we all are unique individuals and respond to activities, food, exercise, stress and life style differently, we have to get to know our body, listen to it, find out what works for us and adjust to a life style that supports a metabolic change unique to us.

Maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle is not about diet, exercise and calorie counting alone I discussed in my recent article: Heart Healthy Lifestyle – Are You Making These 3 Lifestyle Mistakes that Sabotage Your Heart Healthy Life?. It is about evaluating your life, activities, nutrition and habits so you can make adjustments you will adhere to. The key is to keep it simple and practical. Stay away from drastic changes. Avoid three common mistakes most people don’t consider and plan adjustments one step at a time – your heart will thank you for a long time to come.

What works for you may not work for me or vice versa. That’s why it is so important that we share information and support each other in finding our healthy life style.

Personal note: Once I had shifted my mindset and applied the three tips, the struggle had changed to a lifestyle adjustment that works for me and I enjoy more. And I was elated to celebrate my first pound lost and 0.5 inch girth reduction.

Please share your thoughts and insights, your tips that worked for you or did not; or, ask questions. We love to hear from you!

To a healthy life!

Signals When Our Body Needs More Protein!

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????We know how essential protein is to keep our total body systems strong and healthy. But the question is: how much do we need and how can we notice that our body may not get enough?

No matter how youthful we feel in our heart, aging is part of life with inevitable changes. As such, our nutritional needs change to maintain health and vitality.

We know that our metabolism slows. We burn fewer calories and thus need less. But our nutritional needs, that means nutrient-rich foods, however increase. One of the essential nutrients is protein.

Mark Sisson opened my eyes when he described in his article “12 Signs You Need to Eat More Protein” 12 situations, signs and symptoms to alert us about our need to eat more protein. Some are well known while others are less talked about.

To listen to our body’s subtle signals is not that easy. It requires getting to know our body and being tuned to changes and responses. You will appreciate learning about managing a healthy, science-based protein balance Mark Sisson discusses.

Here are a few highlights among others that caught my special attention:

  • Age – it’s known that seniors process protein less efficient than younger people, thus needing more protein especially when being active, e.g., walking for an hour, gardening, resistance training.
  • You’re always hungry – protein most satisfies, curbs craving. “So if your stomach resembles a bottomless pit, try increasing your protein intake.” Add meat, salmon, some eggs to your diet.
  • Weight loss diets – when going on a weight loss diet be mindful that, by simply reducing calories to lose weight, you will end up skinny-fat which means having lost lean muscle mass. Even if the plan does not specify, add protein to prevent muscle mass loss.
  • If you are craving meat – give in and satisfy yourself. Your body might call for more protein.
  • Bed rest – eats at lean muscle mass, causing muscle atrophy. Muscle fibers become less responsive to protein. Being mindful of eating more protein will improve muscle function.
  • Experiencing chronic stress – continuous flood of stress hormones increase muscle and tissue breakdown; thus, as part of stress management, pay attention to eating extra protein instead of comfort foods, loaded with sugars.

Mark Sisson convinced me that adding extra protein to our daily nutrition could have multiple, unexpected benefits.  I immediately hard-boiled a few eggs to have handy for snack when the craving moment hits. I encourage you to do the same because a little extra protein can give us grandmothers that extra strength to have fun with the grandkids!

To Grandma Health!

A Review of Grandmothers’ 10 Commandments

woman with happy emoticonEvery grandmother knows the Do’s and Don’ts, the sacred commandments that keep us out of trouble when relating to the parents of our precious grandchildren. Why then do we need to carry a roll of duck tape in our purse? Because we know how hard it is to hold our tongue still and keep that mouth ‘shut!’

But do we always know when we break a commandment? Not always but we find out quickly when we do. After all, we only mean well and want to share our wisdom to spare those parents from making the mistakes we made, the later regrets. Or, we just want to make their life easier at times. Those are our intentions, at least most of the time.

When I read “The 10 Commandments for Grandmothers!” by Lisa Carpenter, I realized that I should have a copy in every room to remind me of my grandma role and not to slip into the parent role again. Whether I am a visiting grandmother of three grandkids and a grandmother-in-residence of another set of three, they remind us to stay within our grandma boundaries.

Honor the father and mother of your grandchildren for in most cases, they really are trying their hardest to do right by the children.
Thou shall not murder the dietary and bedtime guidelines set forth by the grandchild’s parents. At least not often. And only when chocolate or a request for just one more bedtime story is involved.”

I read the commandments smiling and feeling reassured that I am not the only grandmother who is running out of duck tape. That’s why I share them here. Actually, I suggest that Lisa rename the title to “The 10 [Happiness] Commandments” because they protect us from causing relationship harm in our  families. Would you agree?

I encourage you to read “The 10 Commandments for Grandparents” and print them for your quick reference. I did!

Are Our Kids Too Busy and Stressed to Play?

This is a MUST read article by Omid Safi, a Weekly Columnist: “The Disease of Being Busy” my daughter-in-law shared recently. It is insightful and hits a painful truth of our time.

“I’m so busy… I am so busy… have so much going on.” Sounds familiar?

Over-stressed parents and many grandparents, over-scheduled kids . . .

Omid shares an episode only too familiar in many homes:

. . . we went to one of the friendly neighbors, asking if their daughter and our daughter could get together and play. The mother, a really lovely person, reached for her phone and pulled out the calendar function. She scrolled… and scrolled… and scrolled. She finally said: “She has a 45-minute opening two and half weeks from now. The rest of the time it’s gymnastics, piano, and voice lessons. She’s just…. so busy.”

“Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored?”

Really, I urge you to read this article and you will understand why I send out a call to all grandmothers: Let’s sneak in every moment we can grab to play, frolic, giggle, be crazy with the grandkids to have some heart-felt silly fun!

Have all the FUN you can give and get!!

Could Delicious Soups Also Attack Belly Fat?

Could nourishing soups be your weight loss answer and maybe attack belly fat? Yes, Tony Carapinha will show you.

As I was browsing the YouTube channel to find fun videos to watch with my grandchildren, this video title “Magic Diet Soup to Lose Weight” caught my attention. Soup is perfect for this season as the days are shorter and colder in most regions. But the season of putting on a few pounds is approaching with all the holiday goodies ahead. After watching and listening to Tony preparing his soup, you will understand why I had to share this with you.

Studies have shown that most of the extreme weight loss diets may work initially but most people gain back all they lost and more once they return to their regular diet. Instead, the heart healthy approach to lose weight, especially belly fat, is  to adjust your nutrition that is right for you and your taste. Tony understands that.

Just like a lot of others, I tried many diet systems, bought a lot of books, joined a fitness Club, but continued to struggle with my weight.

In his personal case study “How I Lost the Weight” he shares how he tested and customized his nutritional lifestyle to his taste and comfort.  He likes soups, rich in vegetables and fibers, but low fat. But they are not “of a Diet kind” as he puts but rich in “foods that help you burn off the weight.”  I could almost smell the rich mix with herbs and spices. Tony is not telling us what to do but engages us in a conversation about healthy life style adjustments.

You have to try and prepare your own Magic Diet Soup from chef Tony Carapinha of his Cooking Channel “Cookingaround!” I certainly will!

To a Healthy Season!

Running Out of Ideas Playing With The Grand Kids?

upside-1What to Do With Grand Kids When You’re Out of Ideas?” Ellen Breslau asks. We grandmothers certainly can relate when after a long day together. You have baked some goodies, read stories and played all the games you could think of. Now you are a bit tired and your creative juice has dried out.
Ellen Breslau comes to your rescue with at least ten ideas of which some will recharge your own creative batteries:

  • Make a video instead of watching on your smartphone, iPad or any video device you have.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt; all kids at any age just love it.
  • Clean the house – add fun to it and you will have a ball.
  • Take out family photo albums with pictures of the kids and their parents when they were kids; kids love to see themselves and the stories you tell them.
  • Visit the fire station, pet store or sports store, . . . and many more fun suggestions.

You will note that, while reading about the various activities and their detailed descriptions, your imagination kicks in. You will enjoy just thinking of all the variations you could add. It happened to me.

This article, “What to Do With Kids When You’re Out of Ideas,” by Ellen Breslau is a keeper for your resource box. It will come in handy at one of those long, rainy days or weekends with the grandkids.

The fun you will have with your grandkids and they with you!

Day Trips To Enjoy Awsome Fall Sceneries

250x355River_in_autumn_fallA headline: “8 Fall Foliage Tours To Amaze You,” caught my attention as fall is showing its brilliance again.  Reading further: “Looking for leaves? Take a day trip down these scenic roads for the very best of what autumn has to offer,” I wanted to jump into the car and take the grandkids on an adventure ride to hear their:  “Aw” “Waw” “Cool” when driving through some amazing fall scenery.

Should you for some reason not be able to get away, let Kristen Sturt take you on a delicious virtual tour.  It will get you excited to change your mind and pack up this weekend for a day trip or even overnight to just soak up nature’s beauty at its glory. Or, if it is just a walk at a nearby park. I certainly will!

Nothing will uplift your spirit more and boost a joyful energy than the brilliant colors of fall!

Welcome to the Happy Grandparents Week!

Image by Photostock, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Photostock, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Though I had planned to post a more pragmatic article of a stubborn health issue on belly fat most of us struggle with, it just came to my attention that The American Grandparents Association (AGA) announced Happy Grandparents Week! They celebrate the week of September 7, 2014, to the 12th as a Feel Grand week Week.

What a great theme: Feel Grand! Check it out! AGA will celebrate with daily Feel Grand newsletters filled with tips, giveaways, and games – everything is aimed at helping you stay happy, healthy, and fit for many years.

I love the daily topics for the next five days AGA will address this week. I thought it would be fun to follow along with maybe some extra thoughts. The topics are:

  1. Monday: Feel Wise – Explore strategies to keep our brain healthy and sharp.
  2. Tuesday: Feel Energized – Suggestions to feel our best.
  3. Wednesday: Feel Loved – Get inspired to love our heart and our whole self.
  4. Thursday: Feel Strong – Simple tips boosting our inner and outer strength.
  5. Friday: Feel Healthy – Learn to keep our hard-working body in tip-top shape.

The Feel Grand theme and daily topics so well address the philosophy of Fun, Fit and Healthy Grandma. We should have a fun week!
To get us into the mood, let’s start today with an upbeat attitude and think about the effects it will have within and around us.

An upbeat mindset helps trigger optimism. Negative events or issues inevitably come up. It’s how we react to them will make the difference. In fact we can rewire our brain to view life within a positive frame.

A friend told me (true story) that recently she and her husband were so frustrated with each other and quarreled back and forth. Suddenly, both burst out laughing when they sensed how ridiculous their issues were.

A fun tip to quickly shift your mood:

My favorite exercise with the grandchildren is to enter a laugh contest we make up like: who is the first to laugh; who has the funniest laugh; who laughs the loudest; who shows the first tears from laughter; and so on. Before we know it we all laugh heartily and have great fun.

Have a wonderful sunny day, even if it rains! Talk to you tomorrow.

To your best health!
Ute

Flower Rises From the Dark

My little rose greets us again after almost giving up

You may think what a weird title this is. And it is. But I did not know how else to describe my long absence here on the site. Let me just say: “I am sorry!”

My little rose and I went through a cycle together. Yesterday morning, after a rest and withdrawal for several months, a big red smile greeted me. The signal was clear: life has returned and it’s time to connect again.

We can get so wrapped up in all that overwhelms us at times: illness, slow recuperation, loss of a loved one, loss of purpose, and so goes the list. Sometimes we just cannot put together what would make sense to us and how to explain to others. Nor could my little rose when all the leaves drooped and dried despite all the care it got.

No, I will not discuss ‘depression’ today. Rather, let’s focus on life. That’s where the energy flows.

I want to celebrate everyone who is responsible for pulling me out from under. Little do they know! It is a community of family and grandchildren specifically, friends, a doctor, a coach; it is the magnificent nature around, the birds who greet me every morning and wait for their treats, and the brilliance of flowers. Above all, it is the Spirit beyond my comprehension.

Writing is a wonderful world to hide in, to become alive within, and to gain strength when feeling vulnerable in the outside world. We can talk and yet be so still. No matter how weird, how funny, how sad, . . . it’s all irrelevant. I wrote a lot and am ready to share again.

A kindle book on women’s heart health is approaching the finishing chapter. While writing it and researching the topic I gathered a number of short notes. I feel compelled to share all the information and insights I have gained.

To my dismay I realized how limited the information on women’s heart health is and even less circulated in the greater medical community. And, compared to men, research specific to women’s heart issues is yet so negligent. But, I also found that there is a heightened awareness among scientists and health professionals that the knowledge gap between men and women has to close.

In addition, I am waiting for approval of an article on women’s belly fat and the complex factors involved most diet and exercise programs don’t address. And much more!

May this post encourage and support you: whenever you feel down or overwhelmed, be patient with yourself and trust that your rose in your soul will bloom again.

Stay tuned, I will share it all and I am looking forward to hearing your experience, events and stories of life!

To your health and life enjoyment!

Ute