Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Schedule Your Commitment

Committing to the gym has been monumental for my emotional well being. Exercising releases endorphins and makes me feel good. There are times, however, when getting from the couch to the gym is a struggle. Most of the time, I am excited to go work out. If I miss that window, however, and start cuddling with my dogs or scrolling through social media, it's harder to leave.

The remedy for my situation is that I now schedule in five workouts a week. Five. If I can get to the gym all seven days, more power to me, but if I can't, I know I am still lined up for five solid gym slots. Today, things happened that were outside of my control and I didn't get to the gym... yet. But instead of trying to stop the wave, I chose to ride it. I went where the day took me, knowing that my commitment to myself would not be compromised. And now, at 5:58 pm, I am looking down at my still-laced-up shoes, I am getting ready to go.

Yesterday, was leg day but I added HIIT to my workout. Today, I am doing a big, fat cardio workout... because I deserve it, and I have new kicks to break in. HOT PINK KICKS.
Rolling out, leaving behind my three little pups (who are being so quiet and awesome that I just want to snuggle and read on the couch with them beside me) isn't easy, but I know that when I come home, I will feel good about the choice I made and will still be able to enjoy my pups. If I can find the time and dedicate one hour of my day to my body (that's only 4% of my day), then you can, too.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Sun's Out!

Seeing the sun shine bright first thing in the morning makes my day. I'm not a fan of grey skies and rain (my son's favorite), though I do appreciate it's benefits.

While sunny skies in summer beg for a lake or shore day, a long hike or bike ride, it's very important to protect your skin. I know, I know, you've heard it all before. And maybe you think that sunscreen is more toxic than the sun (it's not, if you buy the right stuff), or maybe you want a nice dose of vitamin D (which you can get in a short period of time, and through supplements), or hey, you believe a healthy tan is possible if you use SPF to obtain it (it isn't). I've made every excuse in the book, eaten antioxidant rich foods, and laid out in the blazing sun to get any amount of color my skin could handle. It wasn't until my father was diagnosed with melanoma that I started to take sun damage (that's what I call a tan) seriously.

Melanoma commonly occurs in young people, unlike basal cell carcinoma, that tends to appear over the age of 40. It is possible to see basal cell in young people but it's more commonly not. Melanoma, however, spread to your internal organs, and if not caught quickly, it's deadly.

And if you get none of that in your lifetime, you are blessed, but your skin will probably look like wrinkled leather, and who wants that?

So, how can you keep yourself as safe and protected as possible? It's so easy. My dermatologist over at Sloan Kettering gave me some tips. When you wake up in the morning, brush your teeth, wash your face, and apply sunscreen to your exposed areas. Be sure to get your hairline, ears, and neck. If you keep your sun screen near your toothbrush, it will be easy to remember and become part of your daily habit. Many day creams have an SPF, which makes your routine even easier. Concealer is opaque, so that will help protect your face from the sun, too.

Always wear really good sunglasses, even on cloudy days. The sun's ultraviolet rays can harm your eyes, and cause things like macular degeneration, but it can also cause melanoma in the eye itself, which is a very tricky thing to discover and treat. See your eye doctor for an annual exam to increase your chances of finding issues early on. The more expensive the sunglasses, the better (for the most part). Look for glass lenses with a UV Category Filter 3, if possible. I just got the Chanel Pilot Summers and love them. Then lenses are super dark and very sturdy. Click here to read what the filter readings mean and why they are important.

My Ray-Ban Aviators (blue mirrored), I have many pairs of shades, are also a Category Filter 3.
Cheap sunglasses are a big no-no. The problem with them is that they provide shade so things get darker, causing your pupils to dilate. What it's actually doing, now, is allowing more unprotected light to penetrate your eye. Read more about that here.

With all this, you should be feeling pretty good. You'll putting SPF on all exposed areas (put it on before you get dressed so you don't miss the spot where your shorts meet your legs, or your sleeve meets your arm), including your ears and hairline. You'll have great sunglasses to protect your beautiful eyes and vision. Lastly, put a hat on! Your scalp can burn, too! There are great brush on dry sunscreens for your head; I use Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 50. They come in different shades (mine: fair). You can find it cheaper on Amazon and Overstock (where I get mine for $33), amongst other shops, but use the Colorescience link here to read about it, first.

If you aren't sold on all this, click here to see what sun damage has done, in terms of aging, to a trucker whose left side got tons of sun exposure through his window (YES, wear sunscreen while driving!) And if you don't believe that skin cancer is a very dangerous thing, that happens to young people, watch this. (Or put your head in the sand and hope for the best.)

Look, I understand this is tough. I hate applying sunscreen, and I miss having a tan. I miss seeing the signs of summer on my body. It looks pretty (for a while, at least) and feels like something magical. But it's not. It's a big, fat, lying deceptive thing, that tan. Tans increase melanin production to protect your skin, which results in a tan. It's a defense mechanism for your skin. And, by the way, a tan doesn't protect your skin from sunburn.

Please share this blog out with the people that you love. Please do your part in helping them succeed. If you are a parent, buy your kids those really expensive sunglasses that they want, even if it means eating ramen noodles for a week (and kids, if your parents do that, be sure to take great care of them and wear them all the time). Please buy really good sunscreen. Please set a great example for those around you. Don't comment on what a great tan people have, because you are perpetuating the idea that tans are a good thing.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

What Makes You Want To Move?

Regardless of what type of exercise you choose, you should have fun doing it. The idea is that if you are doing something you enjoy, you will want to do it more often, and it will be easier. My main source of exercise was walking one or two (or three) of my dogs, but I knew that I needed to get back to the gym to shape things up. I always love the weight room, but it's so much more fun when I go with my husband. We don't work out together, but we are in the same room, and seeing him there committing to his health really inspires me.

Look in the mirror. You'll see my husband (and gym buddy) snapping this photo for the blog.

It's not just the gym, or the walks, that make me happy. I am a huge fan of yoga. I've fallen away from it for a while, but recently went back to a class, and it got me motivated to return again. Fitting all of this into a busy schedule isn't easy, but it's certainly possible. I've gotten out my calendar and scheduled in gym time and workout time. This way, no matter what comes up, I know I've made a commitment to my health. It helps me choose the best time to eat for fuel, the best times to up my protein with shakes, and when to walk my dogs, make phone calls, and get everything I need to get done.

And when I walk my dogs, sometimes I turn it into a little dance.

Let me know what your favorite choice of exercise is, and what makes you love it so much. Life is fun, live long and be fit!