Imagine yourself standing on the top of a mountain. The sun is shining. Your hair is blowing in the wind. Your skin is warm and bronzed. You feel fit and lean, strong and powerful. You feel as healthy and alive as you’ve ever felt!
Anyone who’s completed a “successful” detox knows that’s exactly how it is to be standing at the supposed destination you’ve set for yourself. You relish a new-found radiance and are buzzing with pride from the compliments about your healthy glow and flat tummy.
It’s inevitable. You stand there at the top of this metaphorical mountain, with so much accomplishment behind you, feeling vibrant and energized, and you say to yourself, “I’m going to eat this way for the rest of my life.” And from the depths of your soul, you mean it.
And then … life happens.
The benefits of green spaces and natural settings are becoming more apparent all the time: reduced stress, depression and feelings of aggressiveness; an increase in overall happiness; faster post-operative recovery; a decline in ADHD symptoms in children — all of these outcomes have been verified when people spend time in nature. The outdoors make us happier, cause us to be kinder and can even give us bigger brains.
While you could say these kinds of benefits are priceless, there’s a new trend afoot. By assigning a monetary value to natural elements in a healthy environment, it is hoped that governments, businesses and others in positions of power will come to see that protecting nature makes good financial sense.
This concept of pricing ecosystem services and natural features — and allowing them to be bought and sold — is gaining wide acceptance among conservationists. But could this approach end up obscuring the unquantifiable, soul-restoring advantages of natural places and put them at even greater risk?
I love Yuzen for the great products and brands it introduces me to. (What? You haven’t heard of Yuzen? Read my review of it here.)
Case in point: These Dark Chocolate Covered Cacao Nibs from sweetriot. They’re like a healthy, chocolate-y, antioxidant-packed version of Nerds candy. (Remember Nerds?). Or this Lavender & Lemon Hydrating Lip Balm from Tilvee.
With every new season, Yuzen delivers the kind of eco-friendly-but-also-super-luxurious products that make me wonder, “How did I ever live without this?”
By The FIRM Master Instructor Robyn Smarr
I love summer! If you were listening to this post rather than reading it, you would surely hear me shouting this sentence as loudly as I possibly can.
Maybe it’s because I was born in the crazy heat of August. (I have a theory that people tend to favor the season in which they were born.) Or maybe it’s because I practically lived at the pool and the beach as a child. Or maybe it’s because I can wear flip-flops every day during the warm summer months (the best “shoe” ever invented)! Regardless of the reason, I find so much joy and rejuvenation during the summer.
Here are my favorite tricks for making the most out of your S-U-M-M-E-R:
It usually takes me seven minutes to get to my daughter’s preschool. Today, it took 27.
That’s because, for the first time in 18 months, I strapped my 11-month-old son into the double stroller and walked there.
I like to walk. Our family of four has one car, and in the two years that we’ve owned it, we’ve only put 14,000 miles on the odometer.
I’m not alone. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, nearly 80 percent of respondents look for homes in pedestrian-friendly areas and 59 percent would choose a smaller home if it meant less driving.
Still, I find that once I’ve gotten into the habit of driving someplace — my daughter’s preschool, the Trader Joe’s on the other side of the highway, the garden store — I tend to keep on driving there, deeming it too far to reach on foot. The funny thing is, once I decide to test walking to a destination once, I realize not only how doable it is but also how satisfying running that errand becomes.
So now I’m on a quest of sorts: to debunk the myth that certain places in my everyday life are too far to reach on foot.
Coffee: Is it good or bad for us? You might get media whiplash trying to figure that out. The truth is, I find this subject to be as confusing as you probably do.
After all, the media certainly doesn’t help clarify whether America’s favorite morning beverage is going to land you in the doc’s office or set you free with a clean bill of health. It’s no wonder so many of you shrug your shoulders in utter confusion as you refill your morning mug and get on with your day!
I know all about this adoration of coffee. I, too, was smitten and enamored with Coffea Arabica. We had our courtship during the 1990s, when I worked more than 80 hours in the emergency room and saw 30 to 40 patients a day.
I traded sleep for espresso, authentic energy for Haagen Daz coffee ice cream and normal circadian rhythms for high-speed, caffeinated adrenaline rushes.
But then, my body began to communicate to me what I had been attempting to ignore — that I needed to slow down and let the natural systems assume their proper course. You can read more about how I successfully turned my health around here.
As I began to tune into my body and provide it with what it really wanted — fresh, whole, real, unprocessed foods; sleep; relaxation; and the time to enjoy the life I had created for myself and my family — I was able to break up with coffee and make up with my health.
You can too, and I’m going to tell you how. But first, let’s discuss what makes coffee such a hot topic widely disputed in today’s health circles.
Congrats! You made it to the tenth and final week of the Better Body and More Energy Challenge! I knew you could do it.
For your last assignment, I’d like to you tie together everything you’ve learned about nutrition and fitness over the past nine weeks. Don’t worry — it sounds more daunting than it really is!
When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” ~Author Unknown
Hope is having positivity, belief and faith — in yourself. Hope is perseverance, because it doesn’t give up. With a little practice, you can make hope a habit. Not only will you improve your health and fitness, but you also will improve your life.
With only two more weeks left in our Better Body, More Energy challenge, I hope a lot of exciting things have started happening for you! Maybe you’re experiencing abundant energy (or at least more energy), a new outlook on health, or a brand new consciousness about your body. Maybe your day starts with a glass of water instead of caffeinated soda, and even if that is the change you take away from all of this, then I am happy you have made that progress!
By the time Week 8 rolls around, many of my clients already feel a sense of achievement. At this point my hope is that I have guided you to more mindfulness — whether it is just moving your body, replenishing water and nutrition or giving yourself permission to breathe and recover when you need it. What an act of love and respect to actually set aside time and put effort into healing, nurturing and creating the best you!
You’ve likely heard that interval training is effective for your body in many ways. The increases and decreases in heart rate make the body work harder and burn more calories per minute, and the increased energy output requires more fuel, which revs up your metabolism. In this phase you will also work on your explosive muscle strength, which the body needs but doesn’t get much of during steady-state exercises such as swimming, walking and regular strength training.