…and From a Smile Comes Laughter

So I got a lot of feedback on the smiling blog and I was happy to learn that you are out there spreading “smile” to those around you.   You are doing wonders for your own health as well as spreading good cheer and good health to others!  Seems like conversation about smiling leads to laughter and that’s a great thing!  Feel free to read comments posted yesterday and add some, as well, to let others know what you are doing to smile or laugh more.  Though smiling and laughing may seem like a “silly” topic on a health blog, in fact…

It may be possible to incorporate laughter into daily activities, just as is done with other heart-healthy activities, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The recommendation for a healthy heart may one day be exercise, eat right and laugh a few times a day.”
–Michael Miller, MD, F.A.C.C., Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center

Yesterday I mentioned in a comment, that while I smile all the time, laughter comes a little harder for me.  Last night, however, I did find myself laughing aloud while watching Two and Half Men.  Not only does that show make me laugh, but listening to Mitch laugh makes it even funnier.  He has that great ability to let out a good hearty laugh that no doubt lowers his blood pressure and releases a lot of stress from the day.  Today my horoscope, quite ironically, says “Take a deep leap of faith and realize that laughter really is the best medicine.”  Coincidence?  I think there are no coincidences…

To go back for just a moment, I would like to report that I did hear back from my doctor’s office and yes, of course they will change the coding on my colonoscopy so that insurance can cover it at 100% since it’s my baseline screening.  That was actually pretty easy, so I am reminded that we must always advocate for ourselves and it really pays to check on the financial aspect of any procedures or tests BEFORE they happen, as after the fact may be just too late.  I certainly appreciate the doctor’s ability to be flexible and understanding and I will be going for my screening this week.  The good news is I might lose a pound or two in the process.

Time to get ready for Saturday morning class.  If you are joining me for class (I wish you ALL could so anytime you find yourself in the South Florida area I hope you will come be my guest ) let’s try to take our workout seriously while we take ourselves, much less seriously.  And yes, Carolanne, I can hear you laughing from downstairs in the locker room!  I think you should bottle that laughter, it IS infectious!

As I sign off I thought it appropriate to leave you with this…

A woman was hit by a truck. In her dying breath, she was heard to say, “Thank goodness. No more aerobics.”

Keep on Smiling

Thanks for some great emails and comments in response to yesterday’s topic…smiling!  Laughter, yes, that is a whole other blog and something I admit does NOT come so easy to me.  I can smile without pause, but it takes a lot to make me laugh.  I am wide open for suggestions …

Here it is the last Friday in January.  Hopefully by now you have crossed some things off of your new year “to do” list.  You probably have lost the weight you might have found over the holidays, as well.  Still struggling with a few pounds?  Here’s some ideas.

Make sure to eat protein as part of your breakfast.  People who eat eggs with their toast in the morning will lose 65% more weight than those that eat a bagel with cream cheese.  The protein in eggs helps control appetites, keeping you fuller for longer.

Try some yogurt.  Seems the calcium and other compounds in yogurt help stop fat storage and turn up fat burn.

Replace refined grains with whole grains.  Whole grains fill us up because they have appetite controlling fiber in them.  They also help control blood sugar, lower blood pressure and can even reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, such as colon cancer, just to name one!

Make water your best friend.  Remember that thirst often disguises itself as hunger.  Got a craving?  Try a glass of water first.  Got a craving for chocolate?  Try taking a walk.  Seriously.  Works for alcohol and cigarettes, too.  By stimulating the hormones and chemicals that make us feel good, walking is shown to stave off cravings after just 1 minute of stepping!  Try a 10-15 minute walk at a moderate pace.  You’ll burn a few calories, get in a few of the all important steps we should be taking daily and may just get you through a craving till it’s time to eat again.

For more tips like these, visit Realage.com- brought to us by my favorite doctors, Oz and Roizen, a bounty of great information and tips on health and weight management, can be found there.

Have a fantastic Friday.  Thanks again for you feedback and for stopping by once again.  I am off to eat an egg in a La Tortilla Factory wrap (thanks to Carolanne) and then out to train clients today.  I hope that you, too, will eat a well balanced breakfast that includes some protein, get in some walking when the cravings hit and remember to keep smiling.

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.

Mother Teresa

Smile, It’s Good for You!

In fact, a study done at the University of Helsinki, reported that  Optimists are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure or other early signs of cardiovascular disease than pessimists.

Every day we have a choice.  We can get out of bed on the wrong side, or the right one.  Which side we choose will determine how our day unfolds.  I believe we all have different chemistry, but I also believe that each of us owns the ability to be happy.

Each of us also owns the right to be the very best we can be.  Our physical, mental and emotional well being are determined NOT by what happens around us, but how we choose to react to what happens around us.

In my business, almost daily I run into people who have just set out on the fitness/weight loss/get healthy journey.  I an wholeheartedly excited for their chance to choose wellness over illness.  All too often, moms especially,  are so busy giving all their time, love and energy to their families that they feel selfish taking care of themselves.  Beware the trap, as you all have a right to be happy and in order to be happy, you have to be healthy and you have to take care of yourself, too!  In fact, if you don’t take care of you, how can you continue to take care of everyone else?

Yesterday a long time, long distance friend called to ask me a simple question.  “Why with grown children, a husband and a full-time job am I still doing everything for everyone?” she asked.  The answer was obvious.  If  any of us  keep doing things the same way day in and day out, why would we expect anything to change? I think the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Today I challenge you to smile when it’s hardest and make your health and happiness a priority.  Stop feeling selfish for taking the time to go to the gym or for a long walk with a friend.  You not only have a right to be healthy and happy, but you owe it to your loved ones and trust me, when those tight jeans fit again, you won’t be able to help yourself from smiling…and you might even end up being a great inspiration to those around you.  After all, what everyone really wants more than anything, is to be happy. Within you, today, is the power to start something very contagious.


Wednesday Morning Updates

I wish I could say I resolved any of the insurance dilemma, but I didn’t and I am sure this is just one small reason our health-care crisis exists!  Blue Cross says it’s up to the doctor to decide how he or she codes a procedure.  The doctor’s office hasn’t tried to call me back yet, but I will make some more phone calls tomorrow morning when I have the morning off from work.  It irks me to have to pay hundreds of dollars for a test that should be covered.  On the other hand, I don’t want to “cut off my nose to spite my face”… I feel for those of you who commented or sent me emails on this subject.  I do know we ALL have frustrations over our health-care and that just isn’t right!

Biggest Loser left me void of much comment.  I found Jillian extremely full of herself last night.  Don’t get me wrong, Melissa (red team) is far from my favorite contestant, however I don’t think it’s right to call someone a liar unless you have 100% first hand proof.  To suggest that just because she has been in this business for so many years she knows EVERYTHING about the science of bodies and weight loss is just wrong.  I have been in this business for almost 30 years and the more I know, the less I know…especially about woman’s hormonal bodies!  That Melissa lost 11 pounds last night after two weeks of a plateau means basically nothing, to me.  It does drive me crazy that they keep winning challenges but once again, I am reminded it is a game, and more importantly a TV show!  The cousins, Sam and Koli, are two of the nicest, most dedicated and non-dramatic contestants ever.  I am routing for both of them, though I know only one can win!  I am glad Michael is still on as he is so in need of the help.  I like Stephanie and look forward to seeing how great she looks as she continues to lose weight.  In the end, I wish they could have sent both Miggy and Migdalia home!  From the first week I saw eye of the tiger in Miggy, but her personality is too cold for me to feel any sympathy for her.  I did see a soft side to Migdalia when she was on the phone with her husband and child and I am actually glad she has a chance to see her husband before he leaves for Afghanistan.  The fact that the cousins gave those 2 a pass to call home, shows what special men they are.

I must share that I am really working at hari hachi bu and I think, in return, it’s working for me!  I have just wrapped my mind around eating until I am not full, something new for me who finds getting full nearly impossible most of the time.  In other words, I hardly ever got 100% full anyway, so now I just stop trying!  Since I do eat something every 3 hours or so, it’s really not so hard to just eat the portion I dole out and be done.  At the end of the day, my calorie intake is pretty perfect.  Less focus on full, more focus on satisfied.

Off to start my Wednesday.  Hope yours is a wonderful one and as always filled with peaceandfitness.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like…Healthcare?

Next week I am scheduled for a baseline colonoscopy.  Though I admit to avoiding doctors whenever possible (I call it the “don’t get sick/don’t get hurt” theory) I also believe that certain screenings are worth their weight in gold, so next week I am scheduled for what I thought was a baseline colon screening.

Yesterday I got a call from someone at the facility where this test is scheduled to take place.  Apparently, when they checked with my insurance they learned I had a $250.00 deductible due the morning of the procedure.  Not a problem. Upon asking, the woman also told me I would be receiving 4 different bills after the procedure, representing the 10% I owed for each the physician, the facility, the anesthesiologist and the lab. I then asked Mitch to call our insurance provider to see why this wasn’t a covered screening since it’s recommended at a certain age, just like a mammogram.  I also remember paying all these bills after Mitch had this same screening about 2 years ago.  The phone call to Blue Cross/Blue Shield opened up a great big can of worms.

Insurance says if this is a routine baseline screening I should be covered 100% (of the agreed upon amount) for all aspects of the procedure.  I then called the facility back and they told me I had to talk directly to the doctors office because the doctor had put this claim in as a medical necessity as opposed to a baseline screening.  Made no sense.  Speaking with the doctor’s office, they enlightened me.  In my consultation with the doctor this past fall, I mentioned (when asked) that my sister had a few polyps removed when she had her first colonoscopy.  This statement, it seems, constituted some sort of family history that allowed the physician to code my screening as a medical necessity.  My guess is there is more money to be paid to the physician for a medical necessity than the agreed upon amount that would be received for a routine screening.  The very worst part of my conversation with the doc’s office is that I was told he won’t be in all week because he is on hospital rounds!  What, no cell phone?  No blackberry?  No email?  Are things really that bad for the doctor’s these days that they cannot afford to be reached?  Seems crazy that I can be, you can be, but they can’t be!?!?!

I am going to refrain from ranting, moaning and cursing because that is NOT what this website is about!  I will not name names, because that seems like such bad karma.  I am going to connect with my insurance company this morning and try to learn what constitutes family history as well as what my right is to a baseline screening that is covered by insurance.  Great questions suggested by my sister when I called her to vent.   I hope to then be able to share that knowledge with you.

Almost daily I am told stories of medical woes.  If you know me personally, you know this stuff infuriates me.   It’s no small wonder why our health care system is failing!!!  I have lots and lots of ideas about reform, but nobody has asked me.

Thanks for “listening.”  It’s important to me that my blog always has a point and it’s never just an endless ramble.  My friend Judi, who works doing billing for physicians, taught me years ago to always ask all the financial questions ahead of time.  Never assume anything.  You may have a procedure at a place that’s on your insurance only to find out the doctor isn’t.  Or vice-versa.  Or maybe the doc and facility are covered on your plan but the lab or anesthesiologist are not.  The possibilities are endless.

If you are like me and don’t care for surprises remember to never assume.  You know what happens…

I’ll let you know what I learn as this unfolds.  Have a great Tuesday.  Tonight is Biggest Loser!!!!

If you are local tonight is cardio fusion at 6pm and Pilates/yoga fusion at 7pm at Tamarac Fitness Center.  Come check one or both out!

If you know someone who is 65 or over, make sure to tell them about SilverSneakers.  Classes are taking place at a gym or center near you.  If you are in Broward County, you can find me tomorrow at Bally.  SilverSneakers classes at Tamarac Fitness will be starting in February and I will keep you posted on an exact date as it nears.

“It’s Just Another Manic Monday”

Happy Monday.  I have just a moment to sit before I feed the dog, myself and get ready to start my work morning.  As I have mentioned before, I love Mondays for the opportunity to start all over.  It’s as if every Monday morning we are reborn and have a chance to get things right that we may have struggled with before…sort of like a “do-over.”

Today I’ll be drinking lots of water to flush my system.  I’ll be eating foods as close to their natural state as possible…heavy on the fresh veggies.  I’ll workout just a little differently than I did last week.  Maybe that means I’ll workout  just a little faster, or just a little longer, or lift a little heavier, or change-up a routine, entirely!  Maybe the dog and I will walk a different path when we head out together or maybe a change will be as subtle as altering the position of my hands when I do push-ups.  Whatever the change is, I will make some today, because I know our bodies respond to being tricked and changing things up is the best way I know how to do that, safely.

Exercise consistently, but within that consistency, change is important!  Give some thought to the tiny changes that you can make today.  Small changes add up to big results!

Have a marvelous Monday!

Today, Feng Shui

Well over a decade ago, my good friend Dolores, who I have known since Junior High, introduced me to the wonderful world of Feng Shui.  Feng Shui translates literally to “wind-water”. Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of placement. The goal of Feng Shui is to achieve harmony, comfort, and balance, first in ones environment and then in one’s life.  Dolores began this very subtle introduction by moving a red plant in my yard so it sat between my home and my small above ground swimming pool.  Too much water was no good and I needed some fire (red) to absorb some of the water in order to improve my finances.  Seemed kindof quirky at the time, but it’s important to know that this woman has a master’s in library science and is married to Ted, otherwise known as Dr. Ted, a successful, Manhattan podiatrist.  They are not really what you would call anything close to quirky, people.  So we kept the red plant right where it was.  After returning to his office after the weekend, Mitch called to let me know he had a bonus check of some sort sitting on his desk.  He suggested we keep the plant right where it was.  This began our love affair with the art of Feng Shui.

Though delving deeply into this art, we learn much about where we should place what in each room and trust me this can get very detailed.  We work to balance all the elements of the earth to create a peaceful, harmonious environment that allows us to flourish in all aspects of our lives.  To me,  the first step in this process is the most important and costs absolutely NO money.  This is cleaning out and getting rid of things that are just taking up space and cluttering our homes and lives! Today, I will be doing just that.  From showering my dog and getting rid of some of his old toys, to cleaning out my closet and donating some things I have worn in a while,  my main goal will be to create more space so positive energy can flow more easily around my home.  My good friends Debbie and Jeff were on vacation this week and cleaned out, all their closets as well as the files in their office.  Debbie commented that even though you can’t see what’s in the filing cabinet draws, it feels cleaner just walking in the room.  That is a perfect example of Feng Shui in action!

I recently read the 25 tips to lose and maintain weight loss, sent to me from Weight Watchers.  On the list was the tip to clean out the closet.  Get rid of the clothes that are too big on you.  You don’t need them anymore and should NOT give yourself the option of gaining back weight because you already have the clothes!  Make it a financial burden to gain back weight.  Move your smaller clothes to the front of the closet where you can see them first to help stay focused on your long term goals.  For all of us, when we actually go through our closet item by item, its amazing what we might find!  My client and friend Jane has an organizing business.  She says every time she organizes a closet with a client, the client ends up making money.  This is because they find items they didn’t know they had.  That might be clothing but it’s often actual money, unused gift cards, or items they purchased but forgot about when they became “hidden” in the closet.

Jane contends, just as the practice of Feng Shui does, that organizing our closets, pantries,  homes, cars  and offices, makes us happier, healthier, wealthier and more at peace with ourselves and our surroundings.  If you would like more info on Feng Shui, take a walk through the bookstore or google it and you will find more than enough to get you started! Remember that your discards are someone else’s treasures, so make sure to donate your no longer needed items to friends, family or a charity of your choice.  You’ll feel doubly good!

Let me know what you find when you clean out your closet.  Last time through I found that I actually fit into some of those jeans I moved to the front of the closet and it doesn’t get much better than that!


Happy Yoga Day USA.  

Yoga Day USA is all about spreading the word on the incredible power of  yoga.  The brainchild of the Yoga Alliance, this day is dedicated to sharing the health and wellness benefits achieved from this fantastic practice.  All across the country,   from small studios to huge outdoor festivals, classes of all levels will be offered free of charge all in hope of inspiring individuals who may not otherwise participate.

Wherever you are, you can simply google Yoga Day USA, 2010 and find all the info you need.  If it’s your first time, or if you have been away from yoga for a while or even if you are a already a seasoned yogi, it’s a great day to connect with the positive energy of the event.

Yes, my local readers…I will be sprinkling yoga into my non-yoga class this morning.  A little bit of yoga is better than no yoga at all!


In recent times, and more globally, the term “namaste” has come to be especially associated with yoga and spiritual meditation all over the world. In this context, it has been viewed in terms of a multitude of very complicated and poetic meanings which tie in with the spiritual origins of the word. Some examples:

  • “I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me.”
  • “I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.
  • “Your spirit and my spirit are ONE.
  • “The Divinity within me perceives and adores the Divinity within you.”
  • “All that is best and highest in me greets/salutes all that is best and highest in you.”
  • “I bow to you. The light within me honors the light within you.”

Much more than a word, these are just some of the beautiful translations for Namaste.   I hope you will fill your day with peace and yoga and find “upward bliss with downward dog.”

This and That and Yoga Day…

Good morning.  Here’s to another Friday.  Though I need to keep this morning’s blog on the short and sweet side, I do what to mention a few things…

Yes, Rita…there is a spot in Greece that’s “blue.”  I believe that Ikaria, Greece was the latest blue zone to be researched and labeled.  Over one-third of the inhabitants there live past the age of 90.  Additionally, they suffer from 20% less cancers, a whopping 50% less heart disease and and there is virtually NO dementia there.  They, like in the other “blue zones,” have a great sense of community and connection.  They nap daily and stress less due to their lack of time urgency.  They consume lots of wild greens and beans and eat very little meat and sugar.  They don’t consume as much fish or grains as the other areas, but surprisingly eat a lot of potatoes.  This makes me smile.  I love potatoes and hate what a bad rap they have gotten!  I don’t think potatoes are making us FAT.  I think too many calories and not enough activity are making us fat.  Like all the other areas in the “zone,”  the people of Ikaria are mountain people, obviously getting great exercise just by climbing!  For more information, just google the Blue Zones or Dan Buettner.  There are some great articles and videos.  I think the easiest way to food shop like you are in the zone, is to simply shop the perimeter of your grocery store and avoid the aisles–and the meat!  Just limiting your meat intake to less than once a week can add almost 4 years to your life.   Carole W., you taught me that YEARS ago.  Thank you.

Tomorrow is Yoga Day.  Anywhere you are, you should be able to find a free yoga class, event or workshop near you.  Many studios are holding fundraiser to benefit the people of Haiti, in coordination with their yoga events.  I hope that you can get out and treat your body, mind and soul to a yoga experience and feel the positive energy of the world, uniting.

Rita, commented about the news article yesterday, suggesting that sitting for too long can actually shorten your lifespan and cause health complications.  I clipped that article yesterday morning and put it in my son, Kyle’s room, for him to read when he got home from his day’s work as a web developer.  We all know being sedentary is so unhealthy, yet reading it like that, in black and white was very frightening.  When so many of us are at our desks and computers for hours at a time, we need to make every effort to get up and walk around whenever possible.  Use every excuse you can to move around your offices and homes.  Your life depends on this!

Thanks for checking in today.  Your continuous (and growing!) support is greatly appreciated.  Keep spreading the word, keep moving and thinking hara hachi bu and have a fantastic Friday.