Category Archives: healthy habits.

warm up and cool down routines to improve your workout.

cool down stretch

What happens before and after you workout is key to lessening your chances of injuries and sore muscles. Here are some quick routines to help you warm up before you workout and cool down before you call it a day.

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how to relax: just breathe.

how to relax

Some days it feels impossible to catch your breath. For me, yesterday was such a day. With the minds of three little boys to sharpen, with the hearts of three little boys to shepherd, with clothes to be ironed, with groceries to shop for and food to prepare, with dust bunnies accumulating in every corner, with thoughts and prayers burdened for struggling friends, with year-end accounting and taxes looming on the to-do list, with commitments to keep and seemingly no time to tend to them, sometimes it just starts to feel like I can’t catch a break or a breath. Know the feeling?

This perceived struggle to breathe has nothing to do with faulty lungs, but it has everything to do with the need to relax. To let go. To find peace. To realize that all I can do is one thing at a time. To just breathe. To do what I can do and not worry about the rest. So today I’m sharing what I’ve learned about how to relax: it is absolutely essential for health, it takes conscious effort, and the easiest way to relax is to just mindfully breathe. Continue reading

luxurious herbal facial steam.

Herbal Facial Steam

In the middle of all of life’s craziness, some days you just want to feel like a princess. Your stress level is a little high, your skin is dry and dull, and a little extra pampering never hurt anyone, right? Give your skin (and yourself) a little treat with a luxurious herbal facial steam. Continue reading

the art of exercising with kids.

the art of exercising with kids

As a homeschooling mom of three busy boys, I know how difficult it can be to get anything done, let alone make time for exercise. But may I encourage you not to make this your excuse? Exercising with kids can be tricky for sure unless you are a rise-before-the-kids-do kind of person. I try to be up in the morning before my kids, but honestly my consistency with early rising is dismal. So even if you can’t seem to drag yourself out of bed before everyone’s awake (welcome to the club), there are lots of things in life we simply have to accomplish in a day, and one way or another we manage to get them done (when was the last time you went without dinner?). So why not make exercise one of those things that just has to be done? Start your day with a boost of energy, a sense of accomplishment, and the upper hand on improving your overall health. Continue reading

the best move to tighten your waistline.

Want to tighten your waistline? The obliques are the muscles located at the sides of your abs, along the rib cage. Toning the obliques is key to a tight, fit waistline. The problem is that many of the moves designed to work the obliques involve twisting the upper body and improper form can cause injury and compromise results. The side jackknife is a slow, simple, and very effective movement targeted at the obliques. Continue reading

plank rows for upper body fitness.

plank rows

Given the right equipment and enough resolve, the chin-up/pull-up is superior to most other upper body workouts. But…not everyone has something to pull up from…and not everyone wants to work that hard! While no single move that I know of will have the same effect, the plank row comes very close to working the same muscles without the Spartan-like determination, strength, and confidence. The basic plank is a deceptively difficult move by itself. Making it a plank row by adding an alternating row makes the move even more challenging in terms of balance (improving your core strength and stability) and adds another element of shoulder, chest, and upper back work. Continue reading

how to do a basic plank.

basic plank

The basic plank is an isolation move that engages a good majority of the muscles in your body but the primary focus will be on your core muscles. Conditioning your back and abs not only helps you to look better and stand straighter, when toned and healthy, these two muscle groups make us feel good all over. Continue reading

meal planning – a formula for success.

menu planning

Would you like me to give you a formula for… success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You’re thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all… you can be discouraged by failure / or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that’s where you’ll find success. On the far side. ~ Thomas J. Watson (founder of IBM)

So…failure rocks…but it doesn’t feel like it. One sure fire way to fail when it comes to eating right is to go into it without a plan. Here’s a little story from my life: I was all excited to make something out of nothing for dinner and then share my stroke of genius with the world…but it was kind of…blah. And I’ll admit I was a little frustrated with my apparent lack of ingenuity. Trust me, this isn’t the first dish I’ve tried to recreate only to find that everyone wants toast after they gag down their obligatory first serving. But if Mr. Watson was right, if I keep on making mistakes, I’ll be successful in no time! Awesome. Enjoy that bowl of failure kids, we’re on our way to success! Continue reading

how to do bench dips.

bench dips

One good way to prevent your triceps from sagging is by toning them with bench dips. As with most bodyweight exercises, you get more than just one benefit out of the bench dip. You’ll also work your shoulder, chest, and core muscles. The position of your body in relation to the bench determines which muscles are worked the hardest during the exercise. Continue reading

appetites, cravings, and addictions.

appetites, cravings, addictions

As adults one of the biggest giants we face is that of our own self will. We live as servants to our appetites, our cravings, and yes, our addictions to food. Dr. Douglas Graham, author of The 80/10/10 Diet, puts it this way: “Appetite is…the socially acceptable word for craving, which in turn is the socially acceptable term for addiction.” Call it what you want, but our choices for nourishment often have very little to do with hunger and very much to do with emotion. We eat because we are happy. We eat because we are sad. We eat because we are celebrating. We eat because we are grieving. We eat because we are stressed. We should be eating to nourish and strengthen our bodies and praying to nourish and strengthen our spirit. Continue reading

how to do squats.

squats

Your upper legs and glutes are powerful fat burning machines when in prime condition. Squatting is a basic human movement, but many of us have poor habits and/or weak muscles to support the movement. The major muscles worked in the squat are your upper legs and glutes, but to perform a squat well you must also engage your core muscles to prevent lower back injuries.
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understanding caloric density.

Caloric Density

One way to evaluate your food choices is to understand caloric density. A quick look at the caloric density chart above shows us the differences between low-nutrient, high-calorie foods and high-nutrient, low-calorie foods. Continue reading

how to make time for exercise.

No Shortcuts

“I don’t have time to exercise” is probably one of the most common excuses for not making exercise a part of our lives. We really have maxed ourselves out these days, but we have to find ways to take care of our bodies. We make time for the things that are most important to us. So I encourage you today to evaluate your life and see where you can find some time to get your body moving. It doesn’t have to be an hour long workout 5 days a week. Just learn how to make time for exercise somewhere in your day. It can be something simple like the 3 simple moves to tighten & tone that I shared last week. Or you can work it into your other daily routines. Continue reading

why all oils are bad for you.

oils are not health foods

Nutritional “wisdom” often changes as new research is done. Sometimes the research is sound and should be heeded. More often the research is funded by industries interested in promoting their product and the results are skewed in their favor. Culinary oils are no exception. When scientists successfully genetically modified rapeseed to get rid of two of its undesirable properties, canola oil was born and marketed as the “healthy” alternative to regular vegetable oil. Olive oil has had its time in the spotlight as the “best” cooking oil, with some dietary regimes even recommending direct consumption of olive oil by the spoonful. More recently, coconut oil has been pushed as the wholesome choice and is widely used in all kinds of “healthy” recipes for baking and indulgent treats. While there is some truth to the fact that certain oils have more desirable qualities than others, or at least less undesirable qualities, they are not and never will be health foods. Just as a “better” cigarette will still lead to lung cancer, a “better” oil will still lead to clogged arteries. Continue reading