March Reflection

"Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try."

~Gail Devers, Three-Time Olympic Champion in Track and Field

 

On January 1, 2017, I resolved to make this year a Healthy Abundant Life. This would be the annual theme to carry me forth for the next 12 months. Every month I track my progress to see how I am doing, how far I have come. And, I invite you to come along with me!

It has been nearly three months since that inspiration day. I have had some good days and some not so good days, but on the whole I am still on track.

Take another look at your New Year's declaration of "I am going to________________ ." How are you doing? Are you still on track? Fill in the form below to let me know your progress, obstacles, difficulties...

Here is my synopsis for this past month:

Clean eating while traveling in Alaska - Apple, grapes and carrots served in the upside down mini tripod. A little bit of art fun with our snacks.

Clean eating: What does it mean to me? Actually it is simply being aware of the nutritional value of the foods I eat. It is a lifestyle that allows me to be conscious of food options and the realization of the power I possess to choose wisely.

Throughout the month of March, I purchased more whole foods and less processed items. (Processed food are categorized as having more than 5 ingredients on the package label).

I have opted for high-nutrient foods that fuel my body yet keep caloric count down. Here are a few changes you might want to try:

  • No fad diets. Just a simple weekly meal plan that includes meat, fish and meatless dishes with plenty of fruit and veggies. Lean protein, complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats are the building blocks of healthy and nutritious meals.
  • Food in its original packaging is better than processed foods. Instead of orange juice, I eat an orange for breakfast along with over-night oatmeal packed with dates, dried cherries, coconut, almonds and yogurt. High fiber, low calories.
  • Apples, pears, carrots, celery and nuts are my go-to choice for mid-morning and afternoon snacks as they are portable and require minimal prep work.
  • Bananas, my preferred bedtime snack, are loaded with fiber and relaxing tryptophan for only about 100 calories.
  • Every weekend I hard boil eggs for a quick snack or lunch time salad throughout the week.
  • Olive oil is my choice for cooking and as a salad dressing with a bit of apple cider vinegar.
  • More meals with less food is better for digestion and metabolism. Small loads are easier to burn.

 

Exercise: Simply put, conscious movement is an important role in a healthy lifestyle. Walking is easy; hiking is a bit harder, but the rewards are greater. My goal is to get outside and experience the budding of spring. Oops... Mother Nature threw a curve ball mid March with a whopping Nor'easter of 20+ inches. I still have hopes that spring will come real soon. Snow boots are the current fashion while sneakers and hiking boots are waiting in the wings for their turn to perform.

This month I have extended my exercise program by adding a deliberate, slow-movement weight lifting regiment for muscles strength. Recently, I read that 30-40% of muscle cells are lost by age 70. (Ugh... !) As a result, metabolism slows down causing fewer calories burned leaving us with increased body fat, sluggishness, brain fog. It is my goal to reverse this process with a diligent exercise program. Benefits: Increased strength, stamina and sculpturing of a healthier body.

 

Cats fully understand the benefits of napping, a reserve of energy for running, pouncing, climbing and stalking. On average they snooze 12-16 hrs/day.

Sleep: Lately I have noticed more articles on the benefits of sleep. According to Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, "Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body for health."

Here is a good reason to catch more ZZZ's: from a recent study, sleep deprivation is linked to disease and premature death. "Because we are asleep, we don't see the benefits of it," says Robert Stickgold, a well-known sleep researcher and an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

To achieve my goal of Healthy Abundant Living for 12 months, I need to be more conscious of relaxation, meditation and sleep. I need to make sure that sleep time is non-negotiable. How about you? Is adequate sleep on your radar?

 

Purge and organize:

Income Tax Day is quickly approaching and preparations continued for the first two weeks of this month. My first task was to organize the necessary paperwork for my accountant. While meticulously perusing the files, both paper and digital, I selected the information needed and purged those that are no longer relevant. The shredder got plenty of work as I systematically went through both file drawers. By the time I finished gathering documents to support tax filing, my files were slimmer and ready to accumulate the 2017 information. The large envelop was delivered to the accountant on March 17, plenty of time.

Click here to read more on Tips to Stay Secure During Tax Season.

 

Building and Maintaining Relationships:

  • 6 days traveling to Iceland with my sister, her husband and my Scotland travel companion/roommate, Chrisy. Weather was perfect with lots of sunshine, abundant snow-covered lava fields, rapidly moving rivers, ice cascades cloaking the waterfalls and several evenings of spectacular Northern Lights that filled the sky. Who could ask for anything more?
  • Monthly NAPO-CT meeting of educational sharing and camaraderie of colleagues is my office water cooler. Lunch followed with a special friend.
  • Book Club - reading The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. Learned a lesson or two on the mechanics of flight as well as the human nature of fierce competition.
  • Very busy month at Bushnell Theater as I volunteered for several different types of performances from Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, to Adam Savage Brain Candy, to Theresa Caputo (Long Island Medium), to Jersey Boys...  Lots of fun and a great community of fellow volunteers.
  • And of course, time with grandchildren is always the best! No school days due to snow storms and professional development half days allowed lots of time to play legos, movies, bowling/indoor mini golf, hiking and reading. The sleep over was the best. Plan to do it again next month!

 

Gullfoss (Golden Waterfall): There was nothing golden about Gullfoss on the day we visited. Thick layers of ice cascaded from the top edges giving this spectacular, untouched beauty an opportunity to display the force of nature as it roars into a rugged canyon with walls reaching up to 230 feet in height. Gullfoss is just one stop on the Golden Circle road, located in South Iceland. It is on the Hvítá (White) river which is fed by Iceland´s second biggest glacier, the Langjökull. On a sunny day when the light is just right, a shimmering rainbow can be seen.

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How are you doing with your resolutions? Sticking to good habits? Fill in the form below to let me know your challenges and accomplishments.

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