Category Archives: Living A Healthy Lifestyle-Published Articles

I write articles for PINK Magazine. This section contains reprints of Healthy Living articles. My articles share tips for living a healthy lifestyle and diet information. I include healthy recipes and weight loss information.

Q and A from readers

Skating Uphill

April Issue-PINK (2018)

By

Judith Lawrenson

 

“It’s that time again, ladies-We are going to do a little Q and A from readers about some new trends and findings in the world of nutrition and health so get ready to listen up!”

The Uphill Skater

 

I love to get questions from Pink readers and those who are using my blog. I want you to know that before I answer questions, I spend a lot of time and care looking in to findings and new thinking coming out of the world of what I like to call “life health” research. I look at life health as the entire package that is the totality of each one of us so broad questions are my favorites because answers so frequently interweave. Here are some of the things readers have been asking/talking about lately.

First, there is a new idea about weight loss-naturally that is a frequently asked question. I found some interesting information in a recent (March 2018) issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I love this mag and have taken it for a long time. The article on eating healthy stated that the new norm is weighing once a week at the same time rather than every day or the old thinking of : “I never weigh. I just go by how my clothing feel.” A few pounds may not show in your elastic waist band pants and baggy Tee, but if you weigh weeky you can catch yourself. They also say that positive food thoughts are far better than negative ones. In other words, don’t think of what you can’t eat and dwell on your unsatisfied cravings. Instead, eat all you want of good things and a full tummy might not still crave that cookie. I like that. I am a positive person and things like that work for me. How about you?

Next, another frequent question, especially on the bog, is about new food trends. What is up with something different to eat. Well, the new thing yet again is salads. I can’t believe the things people are putting in salads and or mixing with greens. It used to be chicken, then beef, then shredded pork and salmon, shrimp, mahi and on and on. Now, try some seriously mixed greens including sprouts and dandylion greens. Add some shredded beets, edible flowers, and dried apricots and you are getting close. Now think about designer olives and orange slices combined with slivered almonds. If you think this sounds trendy, just wait until I start on the dressings! Look on line for some unusual combinations that sound good for your tastes and just go from there. Oh, did I mention cornmeal croutons?

I watch TV just like everyone else and I see the commercials for rapid weight loss and I admit that it is really appealing, but that is now contrary to new science. Yes, that 13 pounds the first month is so tempting may work and even more weight can be lost I am sure through those plans but I will tell you 2 things you probably already know. First, they are certainly not cheap, and second, it may not last. Regained any weight lately? I have and it isn’t pretty I can tell you. A growing body of new research is now suggesting that very slow weight loss is far more simple, lasting, and healthy. Changing as few as 10 calories a day for every pound you want to loose works long term and on that old “ongoing basis” we so frequently talk about. So 20 pounds-200 calories. The easy part is that when you loose the 20 you start fresh with 10, 20 or however many more you need to loose so you never go over those old huge calorie cuts that mean starvation and binging. Dividing your goals into sections, I think, is easier psychologically too. What do you think?

Finally, I am asked frequently for recipies. There are tons on my blog (www.skatingupkill.com) but there are also some really great apps out their for all kinds of recipe ideas. Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, and on and on. You can also find regular stuff like taco pie, mashed potatoes, classic burgers, meat loaf, chicken fried steak and a variety of comfort foods. There are whole sites dedicated to cooking with different types of oils for example. One site or blog could not possibly contain the huge variety of foods to cook and ways to cook them, believe me! So, what are some good ones? Well, I like one called Cookbook Recipes, and I also like one just called “Eggs” but really best of all is simply to go to Google and type in what you are interested in cooking. You will probably get too much information but you will soon learn to narrow down and select. I have a ton of fun doing this and I hope you do to.

Farm to table and garden to kitchen give us all so many opportunities to eat heathy foods. I particularly love the garden ideas. I will talk a bit about this next month and share some interesting developments in container gardening. Stay healthy and always feel free to email me at jlresource@aol.com with ideas, questions, or suggestions.  Love, Judith

 

Cold Ugly February

 

Skating Uphill

By

Judith Lawrenson

February 2018

“February is cold and ugly, but to make up for it we have Valentine’s Day and a big President’s Day Weekend, right?”    The Uphill Skater

 

Yes, February is so very cold and we are all tired of it and know that it is not going away any time soon do we not? Well, yes we do. The question not becomes, “What are we prepared to do about it?” I for one am going to jump on it. I love Valentine’s Day and plan to think of something to do n the long weekend-so there. I know you get tired of tips and suggestions, but get used to it because here are some more-some ways to celebrate love and loved ones, good hearty foods, and something fun to do.

My husband and I were so poor on our first anniversary that we decided to just stay home and do nothing and not to even exchange gifts. We actually had such a great time, we decided to keep doing just that and we cherish the tradition. We long ago decided to do a big Valentine’s Day instead and we have kept that tradition too. One of our best ideas was to plan and prepare a candlelight dinner for ourselves. We actually used a cook book and made a lovely 4 course dinner and secretly wrote each other a love letter and put it under the other’s plate. We had such a memorable evening that we now do that frequently. So, suggestion 1 is to find a thing you like to do with someone you love and give it a special twist and maybe it will take hold. It is so empowering to a relationship to have traditions.

Now, something fun to do on a holiday weekend? Well, since this column is about living a healthy lifestyle in all of its definitions, let’s look at something healthy. If you are able, financially and time wise, by all means pack up and go somewhere. Get out of the house. Do whatever you can to do that. Go for a drive, go to a granny’s house, visit friends, whatever! If you can’t, don’t worry. There are still other fun things to do just for a change. Here is a suggestion I read in a children’s magazine years ago and have used several times. I set up a room in the house as a craft camp. I moved furniture back and put up a card table and covered the floor with a big blue drop cloth and we went to camp for the better part of 2 days. We were home, of course, so we had naps, meals etc. but all other time was spent in the camp. We worked with paint, clay, finger paint, leggo, big blocks and so on, but we also made a woven mat to hang on the wall and some other great crafts. My husband got behind it too and took the kids, and a couple of their friends who came in on the fun, out to the garage to make a bird house. What a hit!

We also have done sort of a cook/shop/learn day as we took our staycation. My favorite tool for this is an old “Kids in the Kitchen” type cook book called “The Please Touch Cookbook.” It is old but still available online. It is a ring binder type paper back and quite cheap, I think I got mine for $2! It has crafts, recipes that are ALL winners, and fun learning experiences.  There is even a section on kitchen vocabulary that I think every “learner” should know.

One of the best tips I found in this book was one we all should know. Read the entire recipe together first and then check the ingredients. Duh, you say? So, that means you have never misread a recipe or been half way through and discovered you were out of eggs? Come on-like any of us believe that.

There are tons of other books and suggestions out there. Take a minute and get your ducks in a row so that there are no surprises, then see how much fun you can have on a staycation. By the way, I have reviewed the suggested book on my blog www.skatinguphill.com and included several craft hints and recipes. Also, I need to disclose that I get zero $$$ for anything I mention or review-just so you know.

February is here now so bundle up and put on a happy face. Maker something different, healthy and tasty for dinner and pack a surprise lunch. Walk outside and open the windows whenever you can and let’s see if we can make it through until March. Remember that the days get a little longer and there is that bit more daylight as we move toward Spring!  Love, Judith

 

 

Negative New Year’s Resolutions

 

PINK Magazine

January Issue-2018

Skating Uphill

By

Judith Lawrenson

“Okay, now for something really different this New Year. We are not going to make positive resolutions, we are going to make “not” Resolutions!”  Hmmmmmm

The Uphill Skater

 

Well, I have finally had a thought for making those pesky and guilt producing New Year’s Resolutions work. No more sappy attempts or broken promises on January 2. I am done. In fact, am overdone. I refuse to be stuck in place any longer.  In fact, I am as overdone and stuck in one place as Donald Trump’s hairdo-so what about that?

You have questions about how to make 2018 a great year, and I have answers. I really mean it about the anti-resolutions. First, I am going to resolve NOT to call my mother more often, write more thank-you notes, or even lose 20 lbs. I have resolved that for untold years and here I still am. So, what is the lesson with that fact? The lesson is obvious. All this silly resolving stuff has not and does not work. I recently read that most resolutions (94%) are broken before Valentine’s Day. This is really bad of course if you have resolved to buy your Valentine a special gift, you understand! And so it goes on-I can never remember who it was who said that the road to Hell was paved with good intentions, but I think he/she was correct. Personally, I stand with YODA when he famously said to Luke Skywalker, “Just do. There is no try.”

 

Yes, I know that we all must try. Without that “try” hope there is not much left to hang on to, is there? All I am saying is that we should give ourselves a chance to move forward without being locked in to these same old things we have been doing what we perceive as wrong and get on with what we think we might really want to do on a new basis, a new timetable, and yes, a new chance. There is a buzz around now that seems to me to be pointing us all in that direction. I have my own politics as do we all, but honestly, I feel in life and times and hope for a better future that we can look up not down.

 

Okay, you say. Washington DC is a swamp. Or, you might be saying that you can’t button your jeans without lying on your back on the bed. Or, you might be saying that you desperately need to send a text to your sick friend, save more money, eat less ice cream, or any number of things that seem important. Even more important that any or all of those things is what you are actually going to do about it. Not try to do, but actually do.

My husband and I heard something on TV the other night that we found so disturbing we actually got our butts up off of the couch and found the email address of our senator and sent a message. I have only done that one other time in my whole life, but I did it when it really mattered to me. In all honesty, it turned out to be easy and what is even more surprising, I got a response-do you believe that? I am now on his list and I get emails from him. I am responding too.  This is new to me and I did it because I got mad-not a bad reason as it turned out!

Getting on with it, as it turns out or as I frequently say, as luck would have it, is actually good for your health too. It is good for your blood pressure and it is good for your stress levels. I am sure you can see why. You have done the right thing, eaten the right thing, said the right thing, and so on and so on. You are no longer sitting there stewing about, you have done something real.

This sounds a bit like I am saying that it is good, or maybe I should say better, for your health and general well being to do short term, anger related unplanned and random good things. But no, long term planning works too and in fact it can be your friend. It is that cool off period for that idea that seemed so good late last night or after a couple of drinks. It can also grow like a plant or hibernate like a bulb. I planted over 200 bulbs in my yard last fall and I can’t wait until this Spring to see what happens. I have also ordered a greenhouse. Yes, a real greenhouse. I saw it in a magazine and went off on a whim. I am so excited for it to arrive even though I am looking out at snow today. Finally, my other long term do was to get the kit from the ancestry place. When it comes, I am going to spit in the tube and see who my genes say that I am. Very exciting, yes?

This next year is going to be full of wonderful surprises. This nest year is going to be full to terrible disasters.  Which is your year? Happy New Year!

I know I said not to make big commitments, but do try this: Go to www.skatinguphill.com for old/new PINK articles, daily thoughts, recipes, and much more. Love, Judith

 

December, 2017 Merry Christmas-Whatever That Means To You

 

PINK Magazine

December 2017

Skating Uphill

Judith Lawrenson

 

“Merry Christmas-Whatever That Means to YOU”

                 Alternate Church Christmas Carol

 

Yes, it is actually true dear friends. Several years ago, my husband and I were invited to an alternate church service around Christmas time and we accepted. It was a most interesting experience I can tell you. And yes, the lead off carol was a tune called “Merry Christmas-Whatever That Means To You.” It was played on a big keyboard by a woman in a pirate costume and most of the people in attendance, not us, mind you, were dresses in some outrageous stuff. What a hoot, I thought, but as we drove home, my husband had a different take on the whole thing. He loved the fact that so many people gathered around this time of year to be together and share felllowship. After the sermon, the group spent nearly an hour discussing their many local service projects.  Who knew?

My point in all of this is to say something old, trite, and true. There are so many things in this world that really do matter. Why in heaven’s name do we spend so much time worrying and arguing about things that don’t? This is all a matter of opinion, of course, but still I would ask you to think about that a bit this holiday season as you meet with friends and family, party with office mates, attend services of your choice and decide whether or not you are going to say “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Seasons Greetings.

Speaking of all those things reminds me of some memorable buffets and cookie exchanges. NO matter what you think or believe, the food is still really good, right? So, let’s talk a little about how to make the least of the most and enjoy while still being able to button our jeans without lying on the bed our backs. I wish I had tons and tons of fabulous, yummy calorie free Christmas food ideas, but the truth is I simply don’t, and I bet you don’t either, do you? It all tastes good, has sugar and fat, looks sensational and calls out to one and all. Anyway, I actually do have a little bit of a plan and here it is.

First, I would ask you to remember Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. She was told repeatedly to eat something before the garden party so she would not appear hungry or greedy. Ha Ha, we all thought. That is really stupid. Well, no it isn’t. I like to eat a power bar and a cup of tea or a banana and some crackers or something before I go out to what I call a “pick up party.” I don’t mean where you go to pick up a date but where the food is all out and you have a plate and no will power. I know it is tough, but it does help a bit not to be starving when you arrive. This trick does not work at a dinner party where everyone sees what you eat and always urges you to eat more, of course. Especially if one of those people is your mother.

It also helps me in a backward sort of way to where something tight that buttons. I have frequently said that black elastic waist band pants are a girl’s best friend, but keep in mind that sometimes that best friend can turn on you and bite you in the butt-literally. Yes, you can breathe and walk around at the party, but when you get home all is revealed when you try to button up that lovely party dress you wore only once last year. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean, either.

My final holiday tip is very personal, and it involves the deep freeze and a change of heart. To keep from stuffing myself with really one of a kind things that only appear around the holidays, I would tell myself exactly that-this only comes once. To avoid that kind of thinking, I would ask the hostess if I could rather take something home for later. I would watch it at the party knowing I had something stashed for later. Yes, I know this sounds like someone with no shame and you are right, of course. My prizes were brought out of the deep freeze and enjoyed later, but you get, of course, that they still had the same number of calories, fat, sugar, etc. don’t you? Well, I finally got it too after I saw a Weight Watchers video on YouTube  about how people kid themselves into being 20 pounds overweight. Don’t you dare ask me why I so quickly ad clearly identified with it either.

Holiday tips are not worth the paper they are printed on unless of course it is in PINK Magazine. Holiday times are so unique and special and so not about food that the real things get buried all to frequently. To that end, I am going back to the beginning of this article to wish you a Happy Holiday, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas or whatever it all means to you. Christmas presents, trees, and decorations started coming out here before the Halloween Candy was even half gone, but I still remain undampened. I love Christmas and I love it’s meaning and purpose. I know it is not even the real date of Christ’s birth, and I do not care about that either. To me it is about rebirth as much as it is about birth and I look always toward a time when Peace on Earth  is a reality. We are assured that it is coming, so keep it in your payers. Love, Judith

New, Yes, Really NEW, Holiday Eating Tips PINK Magazine, Nov. 2017

“Put down that turkey leg, girl, and slowly step away from the buffet. You know you can’t eat that, you just dipped it in gravy!”

 

All right, the holidays are no longer coming up, they are here. The time is upon us. Maybe a party or two? When it is a pot luck or covered dish, we all like to bring our favorite best thing and when everybody does this it is an evening of feasting/disaster. Some dinner with friends can turn ugly pretty fast when you add a couple of glasses of wine and some good fellowship. I mean ugly in the calories sense, of course.  I am sure you know the drill.  Gathering means eating and eating means eating well. It’s a tradition and in all honesty, it is a tradition everyone loves and enjoys.

In the past I have shared many tips about how not to gain that holiday 10 pounds and I know everyone has taken those tips to heart and done every one of them. For example, you always fill your plate with veggies, no dip, and step well to the other side of the room and never go near the food again, right? You pour one drink and sip it all evening and when someone offers you another drink you reply that you already have one. You mix, mingle, chat, dance and have fun with friends and never think that you are really there for the fabulous food, do you?

Okay, I know that I am only kidding myself with all of this and you know that if you think you will really do all of these things you are kidding yourself too. Life is simply so good around the holidays that some things just cannot be passed up. One cannot say that this kind of pie or this particular drink will be here next week so why have it now. Why not wait a little bit since you may be a little stronger next time that temptation comes along? We get that it is actually NOT coming along again. No turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie etc. until next YEAR never mind next week. Same with Christmas candies and people’s extra special dish. You know what I mean and don’t pretend you don’t.

I frequent use, among others, the excuse that holiday time is the ONLY time I can or will have certain types of homemade candies that my daughter-in-law makes or the fudge my friend gives out to the neighbors. Even people who don’t usually holiday recipe handed down from some person in the family who did not get the memo that sugar rots your brain. Here it is NOW and it will not be here in May and that is a fact so you better eat up.

Well, Hello You Silly Person-Have you not heard of a deep freeze. Yes, here it is-tip one. I learned this from a friend just recently and I plan to do it this year for sure. Freeze stuff. Make your own TV Dinner in a Tupperware container and include turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and anything else that says Holiday to you. Make up 10 of them. Freeze pie. My favorite is pumpkin and I really like the kind my daughter in -law only makes for Thanksgiving. I will ask her to make two instead of one and I will add a bakery bought apple to fill in and I will freeze in individual portions the other pie. Lucky me, my husband does not like pumpkin pie-yes, that is one of the reasons I married him if you want to know the truth.  Freeze anything and everything you love and pull it out any time. If it is good enough for Marie Callendar, it is good enough for me.

Here is tip two. I can sum it up in one word-WALK!  Last year when it got cold, I took off my Fitbit and started to hibernate. I totally regret it and I am really mad at myself for it. I bet you never get mad at yourself for something, do you? Anyway, not this year. I dug my Fitbit out of the dirty clothes basket, don’t ask, and I get up and walk even if it is only a block or two. We recently visited some friends who live near Washington DC and they got up at daybreak to walk their dogs. We had our dog with us so we got up too thinking we would plod along for a while then come in for coffee but OMG when I looked down at my Fitbit we had walked nearly 3 miles. I was in total shock that I could do that. I felt so fit and buffed and jazzed until my friend started to show slides of their 120 mile walk through the Alps. Oh, well. It inspired me just enough to start doing it myself-no, not walking through the Alps, but at least walking a bit each day.    My dog is thrilled I might tell you. Your will be too. Just ask him!

Here is your final tip and it is a good one-trust me. Look in your closet for what you think you might be wearing for events and put on the outfits in total and stand in front of a full- length mirror.  When I say in total, by the way,  I mean accessories and all. Think about how nice you look in a dress that is not too tight and zipped/buttoned up easily. Now think about how much you like this dress. Finally, think about how much this dress cost you and whether or not you can afford to replace it.

So, there it is, ladies. Let me know either by email (jlresource@aol.com) or go to the BLOG at www.skatinguphill.com to talk about holiday tips and good recipe ideas to share and finally and BTW Donald Trump, for what it is worth, has just come out and instructed the faithful base to start saying Merry Christmas again. I never stopped-Did you?  Love, Judith

 

 

 

Life Beyond Our Control-PINK Magazine, Oct. 2017

 

“This article was meant to be about how to maintain good bone density, but when I sat down to write, I just couldn’t do it!”        The Uphill Skater

 

You know, as I literally watched all of the recent storms, earthquakes, and floods destroying people’s lives and property it was so horrible it almost did not register after a while.  Places I had been and things I had enjoyed seeing were simply gone. Images of those just standing in wonder looking at where their property used to be were haunting accounts of uncontrollable events.  If we think  the loss of a home or tree or bridge is so devastating, imagine those who have lost loved ones.

The massive earthquake in Mexico was also devastating for many who could ill afford that tragedy in their lives. Crumbled buildings and infrastructure in the streets surrounded by, again, the bewildered and now desolate will stay with us for a long time.  Many lives lost and so much destruction.

Then, for a change of pace, I watched one of the news stations, then another and finally yet another. It is hard to say that it was actually worse, but it was very close. Missiles, bombs, terrorists and refugees are awful, but how awful too are we? Fighting among ourselves for what? Money, power, influence, greed-I, like you, could go on and on. Hired thugs beat old ladies who are demonstrating for women’s health clinics because they are carrying American flags. Many who have received huge benefits from the American way of life refuse to honor the flag that has flown so proudly over our country.  How in the world are people getting away with this? Where is conscience and gratitude?

The best or worst part of all of this is, as I said, that we get to see it all eye to eye on TV then have it all parsed out and explained to us and for us for the next days on end by a variety of biased people speaking only from their own perspective. They call them “talking heads” but I call them “formers.” Listen to introductions and you will see what I mean. It is the former head of, and the former chairman of, and the former CIA chief, and the recently fired now former leader of and on and on. Don’t you wonder how many of these people they can drag out from their living rooms to pretend they have current knowledge? Well, I do.

Interestingly enough, I am sitting here looking out my window at a truly beautiful sight-trees, flowers, mowed and trimmed lawns and best of all, children playing. Nice cars are driving by, people are walking or jogging, and I have just had a really good lunch.

It is so difficult to know what to make of all of this, but I am going to go back to my basics and back to the reason I write this column: It is all about you and your healthy lifestyle. If you think that sounds selfish, you are wrong. The world is made up of single individuals doing what they do and you are one of them-nothing more, nothing less.

I for one have quite a guilty conscience so I try to do something about it. I have been very blessed so I try to,  in some small way, pay that forward to make a change in someone else’s life to justify all of us using up the planet. I am going to tell you some of the things I do, and this is not meant as something you should do, bragging, or even suggesting. It is simply what I do. You my do much more or much less-that is up to YOU!

I support a student in Cambodia. He is a sophomore in college and it has taken him so long to get to this spot, he has a farm, a wife, and two children. When he graduates he wants to be a teacher.  I am a former teacher so I picked him with that in mind. He writes to me monthly and I get to see his progress and grades. I am comfortable with the fact that he exists and that he is on a good path. His name is Yon Yen. I also help to support a missionary woman in the Ukraine. Usually I like a charity that I can see. I am selfish that way. I like to look it in the eye. That is not always possible though.

Through my church I support most causes that come along as we have giving opportunities for those kinds of things. I love that my church does that. I also help with school supplies for a local Jr. High. I have been on a mission trip to Haiti and I was deeply influenced by what I saw. Anyone who has ever been on a mission will understand the conflicting emotions involved in “helping” people for a week then going home. It is so different, but not the least bit less important, than volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club every week teaching a child to read. Everything helps. Anything helps. Do what moves you.

Enough preaching. I promise to do the bone density article and to talk about the eat clean-stay lean movement and to lose 10 pounds and everything else that is good. I am sure you will be doing the same. So, go to www.skatinguphill.com for discussions about food plans, mental health, product information and some honest advice. This blog is safe, free and I hope interesting. Until next month, Love Judith

 

 

September Resolutions-Not January! (PINK Magazine, Sept. 2017)

 

“New Year’s Resolutions in January are so over done. Let’s start the real New Year, the School New Year” right with some REAL resolutions!”

The Uphill Skater

 

Everyone makes those same old same old resolutions every year and we have talked about this before, dear friends. Don’t say you will call your mother, write thank you notes, and lose 20 pounds EVER again. Promise me? As school starts, let us pretend that this new start for so many young people can actually be a new start for us too. It is never too late to be early-Okay, that is not as silly as it seems. How many times have you driven past a house with the Christmas lights up in May and laughed and said that they must be early? Have you ever not gotten to breakfast until it became brunch? When you party until 2:00 getting up at 11:00 is early-right???

All right, what can we healthy life style people actually do in September, that lovely Fall/Autumn time of the year that simply begs a different start? Stay tuned for three excellent (If I say so myself.) suggestions.

Every study I have read in the last I don’t know how many years has said that taking a class is good for your mind, heart, soul, health etc….In other words you should actually DO it. Keep your mind active as well as your body. Sure, do a jig saw or a cross word puzzle, but much better is some kind of a class where you actually interact with other people. The local Community College near me just sent out s brochure with classes ranging from Italian to ballroom dancing and tons of other lectures on a variety of subjects in between. Local high schools frequently offer evening classes, libraries and Senior Centers offer bridge, quilting, and in my local, they even offer tap dancing. Personally I love yoga so that is my fit. If you don’t want to go out or meet anyone new, take an on-line class. I recently learned to play Canasta. Okay, it is not neurosurgery, but it was quite a lot of fun.

Next, and yes, this is a repeat, move around a bit more. As I said, I do yoga and sometimes in a class, but more often, on the floor in my bedroom. I have a little TV on my dresser and I use DVD yoga classes and I am usually in my PJ’s. Walk, swim, go to any type of class or just clean house. House cleaning burns 100 calories every one half hour! Exercise classes and groups are everywhere mentioned above and even more places. You trip over them if you are not careful. I once did Silver Sneakers at a yacht club. It was taught by someone’s granddaughter who was visiting for the summer. We had a ball. Just be sure you don’t go out for lunch and ice cream after every class and don’t ask me how I know people do that.

Finally, I challenge you to do anything new. Yes, that is pretty broad, but think about it. Try a new food. Buy a new piece of clothing or (yes!) new shoes. Walk a new direction. Call an old friend or a new one. Go to a different church just once for a different take on your Sunday morning. Go to a movie you think you might not like. If you cook, try a new recipe. Just this week I went to a Farmer’s Market and picked my own blue berries and peaches and made a really wonderful ice cream topping. Paint a wall or wall paper an area. Refinish anything that is not moving around. Buy and read a new magazine. Read a book and share it with someone. Plant some bulbs. Make a pretty flower arrangement for your table. Yes, you can use grocery store flowers bought while you are shopping for that new recipe you are going to try. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Just try it once and see what happens. Let me know-go to www.skatinguphill.com and I will post your comments on the blog.

Finally, here is something I will really use to give you a challenge. Patch up an old quarrel. This is a tough one and I have had it on my heart to do it this month and I will make a real effort so I feel I can challenge you. Sit down and really thing and pray over what may have caused the estrangement in the first place and decide if that cause was really worth the pain. Someone smarter than me once said that hating someone is like you taking poison and expecting THEM to get sick. Bad feelings are toxic. Resolve something and feel better.

Try all of this and share results. Life is so valuable and precious. Health, both mental and physical, is of the utmost importance. If you don’t believe me, just ask someone who has neither.   Love, Judith

Plan to Fail PINK Magazine, Aug. 2017

 

Yes, as much as this column has over the years told you to always be positive, I am now telling you that you should actually plan to fail.  As shocking as this may seem, I recently read as book about successful goal achievement that had a whole chapter devoted to how to cope with failure and still maintain not only your goal intention, but your self esteem and conviction as well. Living a Healthy Lifestyle, the tag line for this column, has frequently discussed the topics of both goal achievement and self esteem but in the context of success, not failure. OMG, ladies, how could we ever actually fail?

Okay, I am paraphrasing and putting my own slant on this idea, but this is the aim of my comments-failure is bound to happen along the road of life. It is not always going to go your way. You won’t always lose those 5 pounds in the first week. You won’t always get that promotion. He won’t always call on the Monday after a Saturday date.  I may be just guessing here, but I don’t think you will win the millions of Lotto dollars you see on TV. Sometimes life just does not roll your way or mine. When I tell you to plan to fail, I mean just that. Some people call it a Plan B; others call it a fork in the road, and so on. I call it a goal reset alert.

As we set goals for ourselves, the first thing we should do is to be realistic. Yes, you already knew that I am sure. One does not plan to run faster than the speed of light. It is all right to plan to walk your dog up the block every day. That is a good goal. Even a goal as simple as that can be stymied by rain, a hurt knee, a sick dog, and a hundred other things. All I am saying is that you should plan for that and so not let it deter you from your main intention which is to get more exercise. Plan B? Walk around your house, exercise to a DVD that you bought for just that purpose, watch a TV exercise show. Do you see what I am saying? Keep that goal but give yourself what I call “failure resets” as a fall back that keeps the main idea in place.

Plan to save a portion of your paycheck every month and do not be deterred by a mascara sale, but do take the opportunity to double up and make a final payment on a charge card that is making you pay 19% interest. In the long term you will be able to not only make it back, but perhaps even up your savings amount.

It is also good to change a goal that has turned out to be unrealistic. Maybe you thought you could finish that project in a week, but it looks like a bit more than that if you plan to do a good job. Make “doing a good job” the goal instead of that finish in a week deadline that will compromise quality. We are all stubborn and prideful when it comes to meeting goals and that is a good thing until it becomes a road block to actually completing something that not only means you have finished, but finished well. All I am saying is that if that happens, don’t let it get to you and don’t let others question your reset. Don’t let “Oh, you didn’t finish on time” take the place of doing a job that will earn you more kudos and self esteem than you would ever have had if you finished on time and did a half way job. That “poor to fair” rating sticks with you for a long time, honey.

These truths apply so much to things like portion control and food choices.  Let’s say that  you decide to only have 900 calories today and someone brings homemade éclairs to the break room.  Perhaps you will chose to tough it out, but you may also have one and watch it at dinner time, or simply wait until tomorrow to reset your goal. If this is part of a long term plan, and it certainly should be, one day and one slip will not kill anyone. You must just know that it is a slip and not a reversion to old bad habits. In fact most surveys dealing with food consumption tell us that to deprive yourself of the occasional slip is eventually going to take  you to binge failure hell.

Back to the plan to fail or what I would better term as “open options.” That sounds a lot better doesn’t it? Yogi Berra has said famously that when you come to a fork in the road you should take it. I am seconding that comment. I am also adding that you should look forward to the possibility that things may not go in one and only one way to be successful. Plan carefully but always look to the future as an open book rather than the list you have pinned to your fridge. I think you may well redefine success, but enjoy the things that go in a way that makes you happy. After all, in the end isn’t that what makes life interesting?   Love, Judith

 

PS-Look for new recipes, reprints of Skating Uphill  articles, and interesting comments  at my BLOG: www.skatinguphill.com.

 

New Challenges, New Information-Exercise!

Skating Uphill, PINK MAGAZINE, JULY 2017

By

Judith Lawrenson

Honestly, if I read another article about exercise I think I will just sit here and be ill. No, I guess I better not just “sit here” to be ill. I need to walk around-right?

The Uphill Skater

 

Oh, I know, I know, exercise is good for you. I have often said, though, that it is not really a weight loss tool. You cannot possibly exercise off all of the calories you consume. Well, just as everyone is convinced of that fact, more information has emerged showing how actually important exercise, even mild exercise, can be for a huge variety of reasons-who knew?

Experts are coming forth almost daily with results showing the benefits of even moderate exercise. They say that even moderate movement-a new term-can reap huge health rewards. In the newest issue of The Good Life, the Dr. Oz magazine, he calls exercise the “drug I want you all to take” and goes on to list 11 major health conditions that are helped by even low impact movement. He lists things like better sleep, adding healthy years to life, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, and lower risk of both colon and breast cancer.

Most important of all, to women at least, is his statement that heart disease, well known to be the biggest killer of women, can be reduced by nearly a third with moderate exercise. I think that is so very important.

A friend of mine had what they call a heartbreak heart attack and her Dr. told her the same thing. She started about six months ago with a walk that went up to the end of her block and back. Believe me that was not very far. In the last six months she has lost 20 pounds and gone from a size 14 to a size 8. She walks about two miles a day which does not seem like much to you guys who do the big runs and huge gym work outs, but it has certainly worked for her and I am in hopes that it will work for me too. My dog hopes so as well since he loves to walk more than anything.

So, do you have to go to the gym and break a sweat and take another shower, change yet again, and make 2 hours for you to say that you have exercised? Well, no you don’t. New research, and lots of it, says it does not take much. I know you have seen and been reading some of the same things I do but I can’t resist the urge to put a little recap out there. You can count yard work and housework. You can Do you lift when you do laundry? Lift that load five times instead of one. Get up during commercials and walk around the house-NOT THE KITCHEN- and you already know that!

Go on line. I have used Sparkpeople.com in the past and I really like it. I have also downloaded several apps onto my tablet and phone that I think are great. I especially like one called “Calories in Food” which breaks down literally anything you eat. I know counting calories is out these days, but I still use it and I still look at labels and I hope you do too. Some people advise finding a buddy or group either real or virtual, but honestly that has never worked for me. I think it makes it easier to play the blame game when others are involved. In the end, it is just you and that is always a reality. Do what suits you best though.

My next favorite exercise, right behind walking the dog, is to dance. I was never a prom queen or any kind of a dance lesson kid but I have always loved just moving to the music. I swing and sway, bop and jive, flail my arms and do the cool jerk all to either Pandora or one of the music channels on my TV. If I am not by myself I feel a little silly, but so what? I may feel silly, but I also feel energized and good. Try it.

The most important thing is to stay as easy as possible. I do not need to tell you that if it is easy and you form a habit your plan will stick and if you set small goals you will keep going toward the big one. We have discussed goal setting several times in the past so I will not go into that side of the exercise equation except to say that maybe this time around you do not set any really big goals. Don’t say the old 10 pounds line or the belt buckle hole goal. How about just saying you want to feel better? Try it.

Summer is here big time and yes, it is hot and humid. Go to a pool or go to the beach. Try a water aerobics class or just paddle up and down. Walk on the beach in the early morning or just dance in your air conditioned family room. Stand up during a commercial and trot around the coffee table. You get it-just do something!

Your Total Healthy Environment

PINK MAGAZINE  JUNE, 2017-By Judith Lawrenson

“Environment is the totality of what surrounds you so for the optimum healthy lifestyle one should surround oneself with only things that are good, happy, and productive.”

The Uphill Skater

 

Okay, yes, I am actually the Uphill Skater and yes, I often quote my very own self. So, what? As an advocate for living a healthy lifestyle I would be a pretty poor example if I did not believe what I tell you, would I? I also admit to subscribing to many, some say too many, magazines. I try to keep up with food trends, health updates, and new surveys. Some would find this quite a chore, but actually I love it. It gives me great pleasure to share what I have learned. My friend  Elizabeth Millen is that type of person too. I think perhaps anybody who is a really great teacher must be that sort of person as well.

In this month’s Skating Uphill I would like to share with you some new findings that are really old. I know, I know, this happens often doesn’t it? Something is passed off as brand new when actually you “already knew that.” It is like the “new” findings about eggs-I and you already knew that eggs were good, versatile, and healthy. How many times do we actually need to be told that same fact? So, this month I will share with you, dear friends, some of the “new” thinking about how we spend our lives. Here is the new SOS-You are a part of a big totality of all of the things in your environment! How about them apples? Did you already know that? Well. I thought I did too, but let me just put a few things together for you. It does indeed paint a bit of a different picture.

Your “total environment” is all of the things that surround you physically, emotionally and mentally. Starting with the term emotionally, have you ever heard the expression toxic friends? Well, that is not just an idle term. The word toxic is used for a very good reason as it turns out. Bad people in your environment can actually affect your health. Being constantly angry, afraid, tense, uneasy or in avoidance mode can take a measurable toll on your blood pressure, nervous tension, and yes, even eating habits. That works two ways as well-both over eaters and under eaters can have causes that are traced to toxic relationships. Look at those with whom you surround yourself. Do you enjoy their company? Are they a positive influence on your life? Very simply, do they make you happy? It is pretty easy to handle this type of thing if it is an acquaintance or non-relative, but in the workplace or at family gatherings it is not so easy. Sometimes you just have to sit by Aunt Mary who tells you how fat you have gotten or you must work with Bob who tries to take credit for your work, but at least you are aware of these pitfalls and can try to avoid or make the best of them. Beware though of things like loving that bad boy or staying in a relationship that you know may become abusive. Think about a way to change roommates! After you read this, just take a few deep breaths and a couple of minutes and evaluate what I have said.

Your emotional and your mental environments are closely related obviously. Mental health in my mind though has a couple of different components and is tied as closely to emotional health as it is to physical health. Mental health is not just about feeling happy. Mental health is not mood or sense of humor. Mental health can be a life breaker. Conditions like OCD or mild depression or even anxiety attacks must be taken very seriously. More serious mental issues can be obvious but even in some of those cases signs and symptoms are overlooked or misunderstood. Did you know that over 70% or young people in juvenile detention have treatable learning disabilities? Statistics like this seem shocking but so often behaviors are seen as only that rather than signs of real issues.  I do not intend for you to be going around checking out other people for mental health issues; what I do mean is for you to look at YOU and perhaps gauge and evaluate whether or not you are where you would like to be.

I have asked you to do several difficult but important things this month, but here is an easy one for a change. No, it is not to eat healthy food although that is never a bad idea. I will ask you to surround yourself with things you like. Change the color of a room. This is not so hard or expensive in these days of one-coat paint and those little edger things. Go out and buy some plants or flowers. If you cannot afford this, cut some branches and put them in a vase. If you watch HGTV (Yes, I am a devoted Joanna Gains fan!) you will see that they pick anything and put in a clear glass pot, Mason jar or whatever and it looks great. Plants also give off oxygen so they are good for you as well as being restful and attractive. Buy a new blouse in a pretty color.

Okay, I will stop preaching now. I only close by asking you one more time to close your eyes and take a deep breath and list mentally four things you really love in your life. Then list four things that you don’t like.  Check out the Skatinguphill.com blog and see you next month-Love, Judith