There is Something Special about Spring

Photo by Banter Snaps on Unsplash

Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is.

Jessica Harrelson

I have spent some time enjoying the look, the sounds, and the smells of spring this past week. There are so many beautiful things about spring it is almost impossible to capture it all.

Nature Meditating

I don’t go into a full meditation mode, but more of an observational meditation. I start by the smells in the air and try to recognize where they are coming from. Right now, the Jasmine vines are in full bloom with the wind carrying an elegant fragrance that stops me in my tracks. You may not see the vines but you know they are around with the wind delivering the invitation to seek them out.

I then move onto sight, what am I seeing? Spring grass that is at its greenest; what a beautiful sight. Colorful flowers sprouting up everywhere creating a painting by nature. Water spouts in the ponds casting rainbows in the wind. Baby ducks swimming close together in tow of their mother. Birds flying, butterflies fluttering around, dragonflies zipping by, the list goes on.

When I move on to observing the sounds that go along with smells and sight, it pulls everything together. Sometimes I close my eyes to assure that I don’t miss sounds by focusing too much on sight. Birds chirping and singing is a sure sign that spring has arrived. How many different bird chirps am I hearing? The air is crowded with birds.


What does nature teach us during spring?

Spring is a time of new beginnings. No matter how bad the year before was, spring is always a new beginning. Although nature suffers great tragedy as well as humans in their wakes, forest fires can give way to new growth. Nature teaches us that even after a devastating loss, we can push through and be stronger than ever.

Spring teaches us that no matter what happens, we have the right to be happy. It shows us persistence and perseverance. It reminds us that life is delicate but we can start anew.

What is your favorite thing about spring? Take a moment, go outside, look, listen, and smell the spring in the air. In that moment of observation, get connected with your positivity. Visualize your future and think about the 1st step you must take to start down that path.

Catherine Bares

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Reduce Pressure on Knees

Photo by Marlon Lara on Unsplash

Did you know that losing weight reduces knee joint pressure?

According to a study conducted by Dr. Stephen Messier, 1-lb. of weight loss equals 4-lb. reduction in the knee joint load. Also suggested, individuals that lose 10-lbs would reduce up to 48,000 pounds of pressure for every mile walked. The results are a compelling case for weight loss associated with improving knee pain. Consider the workload over time, it can result in making a significant difference in knee joint damage, reducing overall pain throughout your life in the future.

Knee pain is a frequent issue that continues as people age. One factor that compounds this issue is weight.

https://www.livestrong.com/article/403363-one-pound-weight-loss-equals-reduced-pressure-on-knees/

Are you training with weighted vests?

After reading the facts about pressure on the knee joints, it makes me question the safety of wearing extra weight on stair climbers or while running. Over the years I have seen many types of training that I, myself, would not be comfortable with. Performing cardio with weights (hand weights, weighted vests, etc.) is one of them. The added weight will most certainly add to joint pressure. If it affects the knee joints, what about the hip joints?

As we age, those joints age right along with us. Will this strategy help everyone; probably not, especially if there are other factors weighing in:

  • arthritis
  • disrupted cartilage in the knee joint
  • cartilaginous breakdown
  • torn meniscus
  • etc.

Each case is different and everyone should consult with physicians before starting any diet and exercise program. If you have any of the mentioned concerns above, your medical professional can give you advice on which type of workout is best for your body type. I, personally, love to swim when I have joint pain. (click here to see reasons why swimming is a smart choice) It helps relieve the pressure rather than add to the pressure. There are many facilities now offering water aerobics for clients that suffer from arthritis and other joint related illnesses, especially hospital-based facilities.

What about foot pain?

I have a client and friend who has been on a weight loss journey for a year now and has had great success as a result of lifestyle changes. Her goal was to lose 40-lbs and she is currently 1-lb away from hitting her goal. We had a discussion about reducing knee pressure which struck a chord with her regarding her journey. She mentioned that she recently wore a pair of wedge heels that would normally cause the ball of her feet to hurt by the end of the day. After losing 39lbs, her feet did not hurt as she had come to expect it to when wearing those shoes. That’s a win in my book!

Do you have any pain reduction stories related to weight loss? If you do have any stories, please share them with us by leaving comments. They can be success stories or no results, don’t feel constricted on the topic.

Catherine Bares

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Smoky Mountains

I recently had the opportunity to take a trip so, we packed up and headed to the Smoky Mountains. Here are some of the things we ended up doing on this trip.

Cades Cove Driving Loop

Near the Smoky Mountain, National Park Campground, you will find an amazing wildlife viewing area that we love to pass through – Cades Cove Driving Loop. It’s an 11-mile, driving path that loops around the cove and offers many spectacular views.

Valley of Rich History

The Cherokee Indians hunted Cades Cove for hundreds of years but no evidence was found of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. Cades Cove offers a wide variety of historic buildings and historic information about the people that lived there.

  • 3-Churches
  • A working grist mill
  • Barns
  • Log houses
  • other restored nineteenth century structures

Wildlife Viewing

Over the years, we have been blessed with many wild life sightings while driving through Cades Cove:

  • White-tailed deer (Huge bucks, fawns, does, button bucks)
  • Black bears (Grown adults, cubs of many sizes)
  • Turkey
  • Coyotes
  • Hawks
  • Red Wolves-Which are not in the park anymore.

Many years ago the park released Red wolves into Cades Cove in efforts to restore wild wolf populations in suitable areas. Unfortunately, their efforts failed and the remaining wolves were captured and moved. Many were recaptured after straying from the park onto private land, 6 were killed – either hit by cars or killed by humans. Out of 33 pups born in the wild, only 4 survived. The wolves couldn’t find enough food to eat in this mountainous area. Many wolves left, presumably in search of prey, and some of those that remained succumbed to disease, parasites, and starvation. During one of our early trips to the park, we were blessed with a sighting of a Red Wolf and came across him later carrying a turkey in his mouth. I treasure that memory.

Wildlife viewing tips

Biking

Experience the cove on a bike. The loop road is closed to motor vehicle traffic until 10:00 am every Saturday and Wednesday morning from early May until late September to allow cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the cove. You can rent a bike at the campground store. It is strongly recommended to wear helmets and required of any children 16 and under. Visit the Campground Store Website.

Hiking

Hiking was high on my priority list. Since we visit Cades Cove several times during these visits, we chose to hike a trail in the Cades Cove loop – Abrams Falls, which offers up a scenic hike and a beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail.

  • 5.2 miles round trip
  • moderate difficulty rating
  • parking lot

Hiking is one of my favorite, fitness activities. I find that the Smoky Mountains features cooler weather which means I don’t have to fight off mosquitoes, and the view is breathtaking. I find it risky with large drop-offs and slippery paths so, be sure to take precautions. You don’t want to end up in the E.R. as a result. Cold and rain can come up quickly, so do the research; what is the weather going to be like, what clothes to wear, what shoes to wear, what should you bring, etc.? Once, during my hike, a storm rolled in, causing the temperature to drop and I found the path extremely slick. I didn’t want to fall as a result, so I slowed my pace and kept a close eye on the path.

Pigeon Forge Titanic Attraction

There is something about the Titanic story that has always captured my attention so, we stopped in to see the museum and was quite pleased with it. The owner of the museum is none other than John Joslyn, who led a dive expedition to the Titanic site 2 years after it was discovered. As a result of his dives, 2 museums have opened up in Branson and Pigeon Forge, which exhibits some of the largest, permanent collections of the Titanic artifacts, and memorabilia. Guests enter a unique world that showcases exact replicas of the beautiful, handcrafted Grand Staircase.

Passenger Story

Each guest receives a card with a story of a passenger that was aboard the Titanic. At the end of the tour, their fate is revealed. My passenger survived the accident and her story turned out to be surprisingly interesting.

One tip I would like to offer: At the end of the tour, we had the opportunity to take a picture. The Grand Staircase was superimposed in the background and the picture is beautiful and professional looking. I wish I knew how well that photo would have come out, s0 I would have dressed nicer. As a result, I was unhappy with my picture, but that was my own fault. Other than that, this attraction deserves 5 stars!

There are so many things to do in the Smoky Mountain region. If ever traveling that way, make sure you visit websites and do some research. There are many places you can stay. Cades Cove is a major attraction for my family. So, when we visit the Smoky Mountains, we like to stay in Townsend. It’s the easiest access to Cades Cove and take Wears Valley Road when we venture into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Catherine Bares

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Why Drinking Water is Important

5 Major Functions that Water Aids in

  • In the blood, water transports oxygen, glucose, and fats to working muscles and carries away metabolic by-products such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid.
  • Water helps urine eliminate metabolic waste products.
  • Water aids saliva and gastric secretions, which helps digest food.
  • It lubricates joints and cushions organs throughout the body.
  • In sweat, it dissipates heat through the skin.

Did you know that your body will retain less water if intake is sufficient?

How can water help weight loss?

  • When water takes place of sugary beverages or juice, it results in a reduction of total calorie intake.
  • Drinking a glass of water before meals and snacks can help an individual feel full and consume fewer calories.
  • Maintaining sufficient amounts of water can help the body to function more efficiently, especially in the areas of maintaining ideal body temperature during exercise and increasing fat utilization.
  • Its common to mistake thirst for hunger. Click here for my recent post: are you hungry or thirsty
  • Drinking water helps decrease the desire for other sugary, high calorie drinks.

What type of Water is Best?

Water that does not contain sugar or artificial sweeteners is best. Excessive consumption of artificial sweeteners can stimulate hunger. When that happens, it can derail your health goals and eating plans as a result.

How Much Water is Enough?

Making changes gradually can help reduce the daunting affects and help contribute to permanent success. Start making small increases. See what works for you. A doctor or registered dietitian can help you determine the amount of water that is right for you. I have included a quote from the Mayo Clinic’s website below as a reference.

How much water do you need?

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:

About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.
What about the advice to drink 8 glasses a day?

You’ve probably heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” That’s easy to remember, and it’s a reasonable goal.
Most healthy people can stay hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than eight glasses a day might be enough. But other people might need more.

Factors that influence water needs

You might need to modify your total fluid intake based on several factors:
Exercise. If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss. It’s important to drink water before, during and after a workout. If exercise is intense and lasts more than an hour, a sports drink can replace minerals in your blood (electrolytes) lost through sweat.
Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid intake. Dehydration also can occur at high altitudes.
Overall health. Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Drink more water or follow a doctor’s recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones.
Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. The Office on Women’s Health recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.4 liters) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 liters) of fluids a day.

www.Mayoclinic.org

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog,

Catherine Bares


 

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Why Do We Eat Too Much At Night?

I don’t know about you, but I am an emotional, night time eater.  I find if I follow the Circadian Rhythm, and hit the sack earlier in the night, I do much better and experience less urges. (Click here to read my blog on  the Circadian Rhythm)

I have a good understanding of what triggers my night time eating but, I  still fight it when I do not go to bed by 9:00 pm.

Findings from the International Journal of Obesity

The International Journal of Obesity conducted a study to better understand why evening hours pose a high risk for overeating and unhealthy snacking.

Blood tests were used to measure stress and hunger  hormones, but participants also related their subjective levels of fullness. 

Researchers discovered that the time of day significantly influenced hunger levels, with stronger perceived appetite in the evening than in the morning.  Eating the test meal later in the day also reduced blood levels of peptide YY, a hormone linked to smaller appetite. Additionally the findings suggested that stress may increase hunger hormones more in the evening than earlier in the day and that hormonal influence on  appetite appears to be greater for people prone to binge eating.

July-August 2018 ACE Fitness Journal

One of the suggestions that the article made for people who are vulnerable to late night eating, should be counseled on strategies to overcome the sensations.

What  else can we do?

  1. Perform light, evening, cardio exercises to reduce stress: walking, bike ride, etc.
  2. Consume more calories during the day 
  3. Eat high-protein, fiber-rich foods at dinner to suppress hunger 
  4. Avoid late night screen time: television (lots of late night fast food commercials can increase cravings), phone time, computer time
  5. Shut down all electronics 30 minutes before bed
  6. Block all light coming into your sleeping area

Remember: I am not a licensed Nutritionist or Life Coach.  Any information I share are from 3rd parties.  You must do your research and seek direction from your doctors/nutritionists before you make drastic changes in your exercise routines, eating habits, vitamin and mineral intake.  

Catherine Bares


 

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#Determination Quote & Video of the week


 

“You’ve got to get up every morning with Determination if you’re going to go to be with Satisfaction.”-George Lorimer

Determination Definition: 1. Firmness of purpose,  Resoluteness  2. The process of establishing something exactly, typically calculation or research.

How often do we wake up with determination?  Do you ever think about it?  Is it automatic with you or do you take a few moments in the morning to plan our your day?  Use the voting  buttons to answer!

Strong Determination Video

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Room Atmosphere for Better #Sleep

Did you know that your room atmosphere can set you up for better sleep, or even sabotage it? According to an article I came across in the July/August 2018 issue of Health Magazine, you can “set yourself up for snoozing success by arranging the most restful room possible.”

Block Out Noise

“….Even if you don’t wake up, noise can disrupt your slumber and cause restlessness, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and changes in breathing patterns, explains Cralle.”These interruptions can lead to fragmented sleep, which makes it harder to reach the deeper, more restorative stages.”” 

Take A Whiff

“Create a bedtime ritual…….30 minutes before sacking out is a simple effective way to cue the body to rest, says Sara Panton, essential – oil expert and co-founder of Vitruvi. Not only are there certain scents that encourage drowsiness, but the very act of setting up a routine helps signal to your brain that it’s time to start shutting off.”

Blend of Essential oil Scents that Panton suggests: “7 drops of lavender, 4 drops of frankincense, 4 drops of cedar wood, 2 drops of bergamot.”

There are many different types of products you can buy that emit scents.  I am a big fan of natural sources such as plants and flowers.  This article suggest diffusing essential oils.  I am not making any recommendations on what to use. You do the research and choose a source that best suits you. If you have pets in the home make sure you do the research on essential oils.  I am not an expert on the matter but, I have come across some concerns online.  Whether there is any truth to it, I do not know.    However, I do not recommend any chemicals such as air fresheners, candles, etc.  Visit the American Lung Associations website to further educate yourself on common household products that contribute to indoor air pollution. 

Stay Slightly Chilled

“Body temperature regularly fluctuates throughout the day-it’s usually at its highest in the afternoon and lowest in the early a.m.  So if your room is hot, your body will work all night to cool down-and if your’re sweating, you’re more likely to wake up.  The sweet spot: 65 degrees, according to the National Sleep Foundation.”

Improve Ventilation

“Room Stuffiness can hike nasal congestion and hinder your ability to breathe while you doze.  Per a study in the journal Indoor Air, people who kept their window open overnight felt more alert the next morning than they did when it had been kept closed.  If you live in a city and opening your window exposes you to noise, crack it open for 15 minutes during the day instead.  No windows? No problem.  Invest in a plant like a peace lily, which naturally purifies air. ” 

Dim The Lights Early

“Not only does light send “stay awake” alerts to the brain, it also has an effect on circadian rhythm” (read my blog on When to eat, when not to eat to better understand the circadian rhythm) “which controls your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, explains Lawrence Epstein, MD, assistant medical director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  Brightness also stops the production of melatonin (the tired hormone), suppressing your sleep signal.  While you actually kill the lights when you get in bed, you actually need to dim them much sooner.  Switch from overhead lights to lamps around dinnertime to help your body wind down.” Facebooklinkedinyoutubeinstagramby feather
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Are you thirsty or hungry? You may be thirsty.

Years ago, I discovered that when I feel cravings for food come over me it was really my body dehydrating and was sending me mixed signals.  I went looking for an article that can help explain the process and found one on www.livestrong.com

“Thirst Occurs when your body needs water.  When you do not drink enough water, your body receives mixed signals of hunger.  Dehydration causes you to believe you need to eat when you really need liquid intake.  Sometimes you eat food out of boredom.  Keeping track of what you drink and eat will help stop overeating.  It will also clue in to how much you drink a day, and what your liquid needs are.”

“Dehydration Symptoms”

“Dehydration symptoms include constipation, thirst, dry skin, a sluggish feeling, dizziness, dry eyes and decreased urine output.  Drinking eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day will help prevent dehydration.  If you have these symptoms, seek medical help.  Symptoms of diabetes include dehydration.”

“Feeling Tired”

“If you do not get enough to drink on a daily basis, you will feel tired.  You will feel hungry because your body thinks it needs food for energy.  This sense of feeling tired relates to your body not taking in enough fluids, which help your body function better.  Your body’s organs need water just as a car’s engine needs fuel to run efficiently.”

click on the link above to read the entire article.

I am not a nutritionists, I am just sharing information that I think helps me feel better.  Always seek medical advice when you experience changes in your health.


 

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#Exercise is a Potent Mood Booster

I am a firm believer in exercise helps reduce depression symptoms.  I came across an article in  Shape Magazine, April 2018 issue, that supports the feelings I get when I exercise on a regular basis.

“The Happiness Workout” article says, “However you slice it, exercise is a potent mood booster, according to findings in the American Journal of Psychiatry.  In the largest study of its kind, which followed more than 33,000 adults over 11 years, researchers determined that just 60 minutes a week of exercise could significantly cut your risk of future feelings of depression, no matter how intense the workout or how you break it up. “Because we followed people who didn’t initially have depression over time, our results suggest that exercise could prevent depression”” says study author Matthew Hotopf, PhD

Catherine Bares

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Better Understand #Cravings

Happy Halloween Everyone.

I came across an article, “Outsmart Your Cravings” by Jacqueline Andriakos,  in Health Magazine’s, May 2018 issue.  I thought it was interesting so I wanted to share.

According to the article,  “Cravings are driven by a number of factors, including hormones, emotions, and even your surroundings”.  There are “biological and psychological pathways of cravings”.  “it becomes a lot easier to stop them before they get out of control” says Ethan Lazarus, MD, director of the clinical Nutrition Center in Greenwood Village, Colorado. What are some “common craving provocateurs and the mechanisms behind them?”

  • Your stressed out
    • “When you’re under a lot of pressure, it drives cortisol up, which in turn can stimulate cravings for foods high in fat or sugar.” “Your body wants foods that may trigger the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain to help you feel better…”
      • solution: “replace the craving with something else that makes you fell good.”  “This could be a hobby you find joy in, like yoga or reading.”
  • Hormonal shifts such as PMS
    • “some women go through cycles of low serotonin, which can intensify cravings…”
      • solution: “you’ll want to do activities that boost serotonin so you don’t go looking to do that through food.  “that could be a workout, or increasing your light exposure (which ups serotonin naturally) by spending more time outdoors.”
  • Sleep Deprivation
    • “while we sleep, our fat cells produce hormones like leptin and adiponectin, which reduce appetite and insulin resistance.”  Dr. Lazarus explains “if we rob our bodies of the sleep we need, even by 30 minutes, we get up hungry the next day and wanting carbs.”
      • Solution: “You can short-circuit munchies born from sleep deprivation by having a healthy breakfast as soon as you wake up that combines unrefined carbohydrates with some protein and good fat in order to stabilize your blood sugar, and in turn, help prevent out-of-control snacking as the day goes on.”
  • You’ve Created Bad Habits
    • “Many cravings occur because we connect memories with particular foods.” “These types of yearnings are usually more psychologically driven then physiologically driven.”  “cravings are sensory, so the harder you ruminate over it, or smell it, or actually see the food you’re wanting, the more you will think you have to have it.”
      • Solution: “This may mean keeping these foods out of your home.” “Sometimes the very act of identifying a psychological-based craving is enough to overpower it.”
  • Dieting
    • “Strong urges typically happen after periods of limiting yourself.” Allegra Gast, RDN, owner of Aloha Nutrition in Oahu, Hawaii states that “for some people, it’s possible that their body is looking for a nutrient that it’s not getting enough of.”
      • Solution: Dr. Lazarus says, “don’t let your gas tank get empty.”  “I recommend people eat fives times a day.” and also suggests “having at least 15 grams of protein at every mini meal.

To read the entire article, find the May 2018 issue of Health Magazine. You can find them online, ask people on social media if they have a copy or check with your local library.

Catherine Bares

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