Welcome, All, to a brilliant Tuesday!
The daffodils in my yard and clear bright mornings tell me that spring has sprung – even though the thermometer continues to chase me back inside for a heavier coat. Over the winter, many people are well known to experience the doldrums and a relatively new affliction – Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to the National Institute of Health, “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) refers to episodes of depression that occur every year during fall or winter. Symptoms improve in spring and summer.” Affecting women more often than men, SAD disturbs our sleep, energy, and weight among other things. So, what is the underlying issue? No-one is entirely sure but there is a growing body of evidence that suggests the decreasing levels of serotonin (a feel-good hormone, produced by the body in response to natural sunlight) in the late-fall and winter months is one of the major contributors. As these levels drop – the body uses a mechanism to combat this “detox.” It causes you to crave carbs. Do you recall our conversations in which we talked about how carbs affect the brain specifically. When they reach the brain, the sugars act directly on the opiate receptors producing a quick and intense “high.” This fix is very easy to obtain and your body becomes addicted to it. As Robb Wolf says, “It’s easier to get a crack-head off his rock” than it is to get a housewife off her bread.
In the attached article on a recent “Weight Loss Discovery” called paleo that was printed in the 4 April, 2011 edition of First for Women magazine (graciously provided to us by one of our loyal members) the author gives us hope for the spring! “Studies conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge indicate that you won’t miss those foods as much now as you might have a few weeks ago. That’s because low levels of Serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical that dips during the winter’s dark and dreary months, are a driving force behind women’s appetite for carbs. But serotonin levels climb as winter gives way to spring, so carb cravings fade. What’s more, grocery stores are now brimming with fresh produce at great prices, so sticking to the plan is easier.” For those of you who have continued to have small issue with cutting down on the starchy carbs and grains now may be your best opportunity to make that final leap!
Lately, the blogosphere has been all abuzz about the power of spring and how this time gives us all a great opportunity to take pause to reflect, recognize new challenges, and charge forth. Yesterday Jeremiah brought us a call to arms. Today I will flood you with the calming, healing effects of solitude and meditation. Many weeks ago I came across an article on Don Matesz’s blog on “Ten Reasons to Practice Mindfulness Meditation” that I wanted to share. Many topics have come up between now and then and it kept being pushed back. Well, last week HealthFitness sent out two daily tips on the subject and Mark Sisson hit us up as well. Here is what they have shared with us:
1. Mindfulness meditation can help you eat better and lose weight.
2. Mindfulness training can help you stop binge eating.
3. Mindfulness training can improve your awareness of the physical effects of stress. .
5. Mindfulness training changes grey matter density in regions of the brain.
6. Mindfulness practice improves mood.
7. Mindfulness training can also make you smarter.
8. Mindfulness training can help you manage pain.
9. Mindfulness practice can reduce useless or harmful repetitive mental activity.
10. Finally, mindfulness practice might help you live longer.
These are the bullet points. Each one has a write-up on the post that provides more information about it.
HealthFitness Tip of the Day – 3/24/2011
*** Today's Tip: MEDITATION CAN LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
Studies show that a particular type of meditation—Transcendental Meditation (TM)—can lower blood pressure. TM involves the repetition of a word or phrase, known as a mantra, for about 20 minutes while seated in a comfortable position with the eyes closed. Learning TM is not difficult, but it is best to have a qualified instructor teach you. There are many forms of meditation, but this technique has been the most widely studied form and the benefits can extend far beyond lowering blood pressure. Other benefits include: improved sleep, less tension and stress, sharper memory, more self-confidence and inner calm.
Source: American Journal of Hypertension.
HealthFitness Tip of the Day – 3/26/2011
*** Today's Tip: A MEETING TO KEEP
Have you ever considered a regularly scheduled meeting with yourself?
A quiet hour each week can help clear your mind, so that you continue to deliver your best at work and at home. Consider using this time to reflect on your goals, recent achievements or even areas of conflict.
This can help you ensure that you have a healthy balance, which is critical for overall good health.
Source: Harvard Business Review
I consider myself a pretty social person, but I’ll admit I need my “cave” time – those periodic hours away from everyone and most everything. After a long and compact business trip, a joint vacation with extended family or friends, the ruckus of the holidays, or a week of house guests, I hit my threshold – beyond which I slip into an irritable, irascible version of myself. Usually my wife catches it before I do and gently reminds me to retreat for a time until I’m fit for society again. After a brief self-imposed seclusion (usually a day of ), I’m as good as new.
Do you practice solitude, meditation or yoga? Is daily journaling or playing an instrument a daily part of your day? Hit reply all or comment and tell us about it!
Workout of the Day:
Warm-up: 2 rounds of 15 – Jumping Jacks, Shoulder Mobility, Push-ups (5 reps), Walking Lunge, Samson Stretch, Squat (hold bottom 15 secs)
Work-out: 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 reps for time – Push-ups, Overhead Squat w/broomstick
Each time you have to stop the push-ups, start back up with a different type (i.e. diamond, wide, narrow, tricep, feet elevated, clapping, weighted, handstand, etc…)
Substitute Air-Squats if you cannot do an overhead squat properly
Comment of the Day: This lifestyle will always be with me and I’ll never go back to the way I was before. J As for the comment on making goals and acting on it, that’s something I began doing this past weekend actually. By creating SMART goals, it gives me something to try to attain and makes me feel better about myself!
“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be “happy.” I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter and to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.” – Leo C. Rosten
We are going through a time in which people half a world away are finally standing up – to matter, to make a difference. Take some time for yourself today. Reflect, be calm, listen. Then act.
To making a difference. And knowing.