The Scariest Things About Halloween


Let me preface this entry by saying that I LOVE HALLOWEEN.  I am all about The GreatPumpkin,  the costumes, the scary noises, the haunted houses, the tricks and of course, THE TREATS.  It makes me sad that Halloween is NOT what it was when I was a kid.  My friends and I came home from school, grabbed a pillowcase, picked a neighborhood and exhausted it until dinner time.  Home for some real food and back out to another neighborhood we would go.  When our kids were little, we were always “the Halloween house,” complete with scavenger hunts, the haunted “garage,” bobbing for apples, costume contests and pinatas filled with treats.  It sure is nice to be young and enjoy this day without thinking about the consequences of those treats.

Every year I am disappointed to be reminded how bad peanut butter cups are for us.  (They seem so harmless with all that yummy, peanut butter).  In fact, 3 miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter cups have more sugar than a glazed doughnut, and if you happen upon the novelty pumpkin shaped ones, 170 calories and 16 grams of sugar in ONE.  Just half a pack of Skittles has more sugar than a scoop of Haagen-Daaz Cookies and Cream Ice Cream.  Nine Twizzlers, as many calories as a Wendy’s Double Stack Burger.  A “fun size” Butterfingers has 100 calories and 10 grams of sugar.  4 little squares of Brach’s Milk Maid Caramels has 160 calories and 16 grams of sugar.  OUCH.

If you insist on picking at the candy your kids bring home, or what’s leftover (some parts of the country may be extra slow tonight because of the crazy weather most everywhere) consider working out this morning.  Lifting weights today will help reduce your blood sugar levels for at least 12 hours post workout.  Drink a ton of water through the day.  The more full you feel, the less likely you are to give into the candy cravings.  Think dark chocolate.  Maybe buy yourself your OWN indulgence so you won’t give into the stuff in the bowl.  A few tootsie rolls will satisfy your sweet tooth without packing on the pounds.  If you must indulge, do NOT exceed a few hundred calories.

Many of us still can indulge for this night and honestly, one day of eating candy might be do-able for those of us that don’t have blood sugar issues.  This year, a big concern is that Halloween falls on a Monday.  The candy we eat today, will no doubt create cravings tomorrow.  That is a recipe for a week’s worth of failure if we give in. With Halloween marking the beginning of the eating holidays (that don’t end until the New Year) it’s important to remember that Halloween is a ONE DAY event.  Today I will be at the gym teaching all morning (hope to see some of you there)  and then training this afternoon.  Tonight I am hoping lots of little ghosts and goblins will show up and finish ALL the treats.  Tomorrow, any leftover candy in my house goes to the office with Mitch.  What will you do with yours?  Don’t let it haunt you, but do have a fun Halloween.


I Hear You, Mother

“Nature has no mercy at all.  Nature says, “I’m going to snow.  If you have on a bikini or no snowshoes, that’s tough.  I am going to snow anyway.”

–Maya Angelou

Sending warmth, sunshine and love to my family and friends in New York.  What a trick Mother Nature has played on this day of the eve of Halloween.  Spooky.  Crazy.  Stay safe and sane.  Take care of each other.  Love one another.  Mother Nature is watching!  Earthquakes, tornados, October blizzards…Mother Nature is clearly trying to tell us something.  This girl is listening.

Hoops, Apples and Happiness

Men's Health Logo

Some tidbits I found in Men’s Health Magazine:

EXTRA SLEEP CAN IMPROVE BASKETBALL GAME– A study done at Standford University found that sleeping an extra 2 hours a night for 7 weeks can improve shooting accuracy by about 9%.  Hope our dream team read that, too.

THE NEWEST MUSCLE FOOD — An apple a day may bring more muscle your way.  While studying muscle atrophy at the University of Iowa, researchers discovered that ursolic acid, a compound found in apples, not only slowed down muscle atrophy but also stimulated muscle growth.  Putting apples on my grocery list, for sure.

THINK OF YOUR WORKOUT AS PROZAC — (it’s better than Prozac, in my humble opinion)  A study at the University of South Carolina revealed that exercise may make you half as like to suffer from symptoms of depression.  The peak benefit seems to come from 150 minutes a week of total physical activity which includes walking and yard work.

Is Facebook Making us Fat?

FACT: According to a recent study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, JUST 15 minutes of resistance training can elevate your resting heart rate for a full 72 hours after exercise.  This means if you actually set aside 15 minutes a day to workout,  you can help burn off your gut AND build muscle faster than we ever thought possible.

This is such incredibly encouraging news, but still it seems the number one excuse for NOT exercising is a lack of time.

FACT:  The Nielsen Company has determined that the average U.S. Facebook user spends about 6 1/2 hours a month JUST on their site.  This does NOT account for ANY other time spent on the many other sites most of us are browsing, peaceandfitness included!

Do the math.  Then remember “when we change the way we look at things, the things we  look at change.”  Keeping this entry short and sweet and will keep these stats in mind moving forward.  I REFUSE to be part of anyone’s excuses!!!

15 minutes.  Seriously.  We can ALL do that.




Whole Lotta Love Tuesday Mitch and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and had the pleasure of having lunch at Season’s 52, in Boca Raton and I LOVED it.  Mitch has been there several times before, but I don’t get out of my 3 mile radius much (seriously) so this was a treat for me.  I ordered their farmer’s market vegetable platter and it was fabulous.  It came with a small (really small) piece of tofu with ponzu sauce but there were so many yummy veggies, the tofu was enough.  Asparagus, butternut squash, broccoli, red peppers, fresh beets and a side of cranberry tabbouleh colorfully decorated the plate and the taste was every bit as good as the aestheticc appeal.  Mitch had the rainbow trout and said it might have been the best meal out he has ever had!  The atmosphere is so nice and the prices were very reasonable (especially for “Boca.”)  And yes, you have to love their mini-indulgences…their dessert tray.  Served in shot glasses, I did have to step out of my comfort zone and taste the chocolate peanut butter mousse which was definitely not vegan, but hey….it was our 30 year anniversary celebration.  Had to let my hair down a little!!!!  It was insane!!!  The rest of the choices looked equally as insane!  The waiter told us they change up their menu 4 times a year (hence “Seasons”) and we hope to go back and experience the change of seasons.  Whatever YOUR eating style, this place has something wonderful for you.

Since I have been wanting to revisit tennis, a game I haven’t played since pre-children, some 30 years ago,  Mitch grabbed us some racquet and balls and we hit the courts on Tuesday.  I had one goal, and that was to be able to make a connection between the racquet and the ball.   We both played much better than we expected, though clearly we are not at all ready to be anywhere near other people…yet!  After almost an hour of play, we were laughing and sweating and looking forward to the next time. I LOVED the experience and felt great getting out there!  Yesterday I definitely felt some soreness in my obliques and forearm, which once again proves that every activity you do recruits different muscle fibers.  Tennis is often called the “sport for a lifetime,” and competitive tennis burns more calories than aerobics, inline skating or cycling according to Dr. Jack Groppel (PhD) an internationally recognized authority on the application of sport science to human performance.  Additionally, it is fabulous for the cardiovascular and nervous systems.  My only concern is that one sided sports tend to put a lot of overuse on some muscles, while leaving others idle.  This is often a recipe for injury, (can we say tennis elbow?) so I wouldn’t suggest playing more than twice a week, with rest days in between, and I would DEFINITELY suggest this not be one’s only form of fitness.  Pilates (or yoga)  is an ideal compliment to any one-sided sports as it pays very careful attention to our imbalances and focuses on creating symmetry.

Speaking of physical fitness and symmetry, I read a great, informative article about Cross Fit this week.  I am pretty sure it was in this month’s issue of Men’s Health Magazine.  I definitely understand the theory behind it and understand how people LOVE it and get so hooked and high from it!  The idea of being fit “across the board,” really appeals to me and makes so much sense.  All too often I have witnessed people who could, for example, out bench-press anyone else in the gym, but ask them to do a pose like downward dog and it is too great of a challenge.  I have always subscribed to the fitness model that looks like a triangle…strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexiblity.  Without one, the triangle falls apart.  Maybe us, too.  Unfortunately, the author of the article, a one time cross-fit attendee, highlighted some negative aspects as clearly this type of training is mostly for the young, the competitive and the extremely driven.  It is not without it’s own risks, including working through reps when muscle fiber is already too fatigued, just to name one very obvious one.  If you are interested in trying a Cross Fit WOD (workout of the day) there is probably a facility near you.  Though this started back in the 90s, only recently has it been cropping up on every corner.  If you want to see more about the WODs, you can find LOTS of you-tube videos!  Check em out.  Cross Fit is DEFINITELY not for this blogger, but it might be right for you.

Be smart, be safe and get some peace, health and fitness and LOVE on!  Have an awesome VFT.  I am always grateful to you for stopping in.

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One for All

After a couple of days away,  there is much to share, but last night was Biggest Loser, so let’s focus on that for today.  It is week 6 and the challenge is for the 10 remaining contestants to pull together (an “all for one,” theme) and lose 100 pounds.  If they can accomplish that goal, everyone will have another week on the ranch.  This being the Halloween week, the kitchen is decorated with cobwebs, skeletons, spiders and of course would not be complete without candy.  Lots of it.  Dressed as the Bride of Frankenstein, Alison tells them they can eat a pound of candy, to gain a one pound advantage.  If they each do that, they can earn a 10 pound advantage…tempting, but will they?

Working with different trainers is…different.  Jessica, thinking positive, suggests that this might be a good shake up for their bodies.  We watch Bob push Vinny to new places on the treadmill and Dolvett has a heart to heart with John.  I actually had a few moments of liking Dolvett, last night.  We also learn that Ramon and Jessica are a couple.  He looks VERY smitten, though I don’t see that same glow in Jessica’s eyes.  Doesn’t mean it isn’t there, I just didn’t see it.  She better not mess with my boy.

The challenge finds them hunting and gathering apples and then carrying them through a maze in an attempt to gain a 5 or even 10 pound advantage…150 pounds of apples = 5 pounds, 200 pounds of apples = 10 pounds.  It’s not looking great for Joe who is having a really hard time with the maze, but in the end they pull it off.

Bonnie (she does have heart, but is she really still on the ranch!?!) wants to play a trick on Bob and pretend they ate all the candy.  I guess it’s her Halloween trick, which is all in the spirit but I HATE tricks, and so does Bob.  We are both way too serious to laugh at those things!  Needless to say, they pay for it in the last chance workout where Vinny and Joe have to carry a wheelbarrow filled with candy AND Jennifer!  We also see a romantic picnic that Ramon surprised Jessica with.  He also tells her that he loves her.  Did anyone hear her response?  I don’t think it was “I love you, too.”  Anna has a talk with Jessica, reminding her to be careful of the distractions a relationship will bring.

And then it’s time for the scale.  Turns out NOBODY ate candy, so the only advantage is the 10 pounds from the maze challenge.  They need to lose about 9 pounds each to all be safe.  This does NOT happen.  John put up the biggest loss, 10 pounds, making him the biggest loser for the week, and assuring him another week on the ranch.  We were once again reminded that this is a reality show when Sunny, who miraculously lost 14  pounds last week, put on 5 pounds this week.  What exactly did Bob have her do last week to take off that much weight?!  I really want to know.  Whatever it was, it proves that quick weight loss doesn’t amount to long term weight loss.

As a group they lose less than half of their goal, 43 pounds.  Ouch.  With John safe, that leaves 9 of them up for possible elimination.  Ironically, even though Sunny is the only one to gain weight, her name never comes up and is never written down.  It is clear that Jen is weighing them down with her negative disposition, forcing even part of her own black team to write her name down.  A couple of people wrote down Ramon’s name, but that is simply because he is a big threat.  Jennifer ends up with the 6 votes and turns and walks off without even a single good-bye.  At home she is doing amazingly well down 102 pounds and running twenty miles on the weekends!  We see her in a one-size fits all dress that she had her eye on before the ranch.  Great job, Jen.  See you back at the marathon!

More From the Land of OZ

The great and powerful Dr. Oz has spoken and offers these 20 tips to help you lose weight AND keep it off.

1) Eat 5 or 6 times a day.  3 meals, 2 snacks.

2) Close the kitchen 3 hours before bedtime.

3) Chose a few healthy meals and snacks and stick with them.  The fewer the choices, less temptation.

4)  Ditto with snacks

5) Keep those healthy meals and snacks around you at all times.

6) Stash emergency food like fruits, nuts and edamame.

7)  Read ingredient labels.  If the first 5 ingredients include sugar, syrups, trans fats, (anything hydrogenated) saturated fats, non-whole-grain flours (enriched or bleached) DO NOT EAT!

8)  Use healthy oils like olive or canola instead of butter (and may I add, use those sparingly!)

9)  Use a 9-inch plate for meals.


11)  Don’t leave food out on the table after you have made your plate.

12)  Ask for half portions at the restaurant and have the rest packed up to go.

13)  Or share your order

14) Eat more plants than fish 🙂

15) Eat more birds than beasts (or refer to 14)

17)  Keep portion sizes sane.  Chicken or fish = a deck of cards, brown rice or whole-wheat pasta = a baseball, low-fat cheese – 4 cubes the size of dice, oil = a poker chip.

18) WALK every single day.  NO EXCUSES.  Build up to 30 minutes a day.

19) Once you are doing 30 minutes, get a pedometer and try to do your 10,000 steps a day.

20) Stretch for a few minutes after walking not just to stay limber.  The stretching has a meditative effect that helps with cravings.

These aren’t my 20 tips, but they are good ones.  Many of us are all ready doing most of them.  Perhaps adding a couple of these tips to your day will help keep you motivated and on track.  Worth considering on a Monday morning.  Personally, I find having a stocked produce bin really important.  It also helps me a lot to know what I am having at each of my meals, well in advance, leaving less to temptation!  Do you have some tips you haven’t shared with us?  Please do!

Looking forward to my first experience at Seasons 52. With nothing on the menu over 475 calories AND a vegan menu option, I am excited to finally try this place.  Will let you know what I think, later in the week.  Thanks for stopping in and have a magical Monday…and thank you very much for your feedback.

Thanks, Johnny
I’m thankful for a pair of shoes that feel really good on my feet; I like my shoes.

I’m thankful for the birds; I feel like they’re singing just for me when I get up in the morning… Saying, ‘Good morning, John. You made it, John.’

I’m thankful for the sea breeze that feels so good right now, and the scent of jasmine when the sun starts going down.

I’m thankful…

Johnny Cash


Why couldn’t Dracula’s wife get to sleep?

Because of his coffin.

Why didn’t the skeleton cross the road?

He didn’t have the guts.

Why do ghouls and demons hang out together?

Because demons are a ghoul’s best friend.

I always remember an expression my friend Erica would use.  When laughing about something, she would say “I am not laughing AT you, I am laughing NEAR you.”  Turns out, she was on to something, big.  By now most of us have heard that laughing produces endorphins, (the feel good hormones we also produce when exercising) but a recent study revealed that laughing heartily with others is much more likely to boost those all important endorphins, than laughing alone.

Laughter has been shown to improve our circulation, immune system, blood sugar levels,  pain tolerance levels,  sleep and so much more.  One study at Vanderbilt University claims that laughing burns a good amount of calories, too!

Make a great Saturday and don’t forget to spend some time laughing with others.  It really just might be the BEST medicine.