Early Birthday Gift- Fitbit

fitbit-fancy-free-nancyMy daughter, Clara decided to come home this morning to have brunch with my husband and me; it was so lovely seeing her. She also surprised me with an early birthday present, a Fitbit. I am so excited! I have been wanting one for quite some time. All the reviews are great and it sounded like something I would really use. Clara even helped me set it up this afternoon!

If you haven’t heard about Fitbit’s, they are awesome little gadgets. The company’s slogan:

“Fitbit is dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lives”

… is exactly what I hope it does for me. Fitbit is a physical activity tracker that is supposed to help you become more active, eat a healthier diet, sleep better, and just make you a healthier person in general.

It tracks daily activities throughout the day including the number of steps you take, how far you have walked, and the calories you have burned. It also is able to tell how vigorous the exercises are and how many calories are burnt. What I think is one of the best aspects of the Fitbit, is that is monitors sleep quality. I would love to know how I am sleeping and if it correlates to the days I fell tired.

There is even a feature on it that will send me messages that are supposed to encourage me to keep moving and working hard. A few of my friends from Tai Chi have them too and we are able to become “Fitbit” friends and work together and encourage each other.

The data gets sent to my smart phone when I connect to Wi-Fi, I have gotten pretty darn good at my smartphone since getting it.  Clara showed me how to look at it on the computer and see how much I have walked and all the other features. She is such a digital guru. 😀

I am really excited to start using it and seeing how much I actually exercise and how it compares to what I eat. I am not necessarily looking for it to help me lose weight, but more to help me stay healthy, motivated, and have fun!

I will keep you updated on how I like my early birthday present and how it is working!

Until next time,

Nancy

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Everyone Wants Pretty Hands

Unfortunately, no one had found the fountain of youth yet. Today, while I was having my coffee, Clara was “Snap Chatting” me photos of her newly decorated living room. Yes, I said “snap chat”. She downloaded this app on my phone where you can send photos back and forth that only last for a couple seconds. I don’t really understand it, but she loves it. Anyway, I sent her a photo of me holding my cup of coffee and couldn’t get over how “old” my hand looks.
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I have never really spent much time looking at my hands, but I understand why they say your hands show all the signs of aging. I couldn’t stop looking at them in awe. I know I don’t look like I have aged as much as my hands show.  So I jumped on the internet to find some ideas how to get rid of these “aged hands.”

I read that hands really do show the signs of aging more than most parts of the body. The years of sun exposure, the exposure to the elements, hard work, and constant washing and scrubbing really take a toll on our hands. The skin on hands thins with all the exposure to daily life and more veins become visible, age spots appear, and it is common for hands to become dry. All of this information was pretty much common sense to me, and I wanted to know how to reverse that aging.

I found this website saying that taking care of aging hands is similar to the skin care during menopause; a subject I am pretty knowledgeable on. It suggested exfoliating your hands to remove all the dry skin before moisturizing. Buffing your nails also helps make your hands look younger. I never really thought about moisturizing my hands specifically, I just put lotion on them when they are dry, so this was a new concept for me.

The site also said the moisturizing and protection are the most important in having beautiful youthful hands. It said to use a good quality hand cream and apply it throughout the day to rejuvenate your hands.

After reading all of these articles I have decided I need to find a good hand cream to reverse aging. Do you use anti-aging hand creams? If so what kind do you use and is it effective?

Until Next Time,

Nancy

GARLIC, GARLIC, GARLIC -with a recipe!

its-only-garlicIf you know me, you know I love garlic! Thank goodness my husband likes garlic as much as I do or he would never want to kiss my permanent garlic breath or eat my fabulous dinners every night. 😀 Ever since I can remember I have always loved garlic, it was one of the only things that my taste buds never grew out of and I hope never will.

This afternoon I made “Artichoke and roasted garlic” dip for my hubby and his friends that were over and they loved it.

As I grew older garlic became more than just something I loved to add to foods because of the taste, I began adding it for healthy benefits. I consider myself a bit of a garlic enthusiastic and history buff. Way back in the ancient Greek civilizations garlic was prescribed to treat a variety of medical conditions. I agree with the Greeks and believe that garlic can do wonders for your body when you consume it the right way.

Here are some of my favorite benefits of garlic

• Garlic might help fight against hair loss because it has high levels of allicin, a sulfur compound that was found to treat thinning hair. To reap this benefit, rub sliced garlic cloves on your scalp or add it to oil and massage it in.

• I always turn to garlic when I feel a cold coming on. It is full of antioxidants to fight off your illness. I find that eating it raw in a salad or other recipes is the best way for it to boost your immune system. Garlic tea is also a good choice.

• There was also a study done a while ago that said that garlic could help control your weight. Even if it is just an idea, I am going to try it.  😛

• Raw garlic or garlic extract can help reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels lowing the risk of heart disease.

• Garlic is very nutritious and it has very few calories…so start eating your garlic!

There are so many benefits from garlic, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to eat it every day!

Here is my favorite Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Dip recipe-garlic-recipe

Ingredients-
• 2 heads of roasted garlic
• 6 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained, and chopped
• 4 oz. cream cheese
• ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
• ¼ cup mayonnaise
• ½ tsp. pepper
• 1 ½ cups shredded cheese, I like to use a blend of parmesan, asiago, and provolone

Instructions-
• Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
• In a large bowl or baking dish, mash the garlic until it becomes a thick paste then add and mix all the ingredients together, setting aside ½ cup of cheese for the top. After the mixture is thoroughly combined, top with the remaining ½ cup of cheese and pepper to taste.
• Bake for about 25-30 minutes and broil for about 5 minutes until the top is browned. Serve and enjoy your wonderful garlic dip!

What is your favorite garlic dish or side?
Until Next Time,
Nancy

Yearly Check-up, what I wish I knew when I was Young

yearly-checkup-important-fancy-free-nancy.jpgYesterday afternoon I had my yearly check-up at the doctors and I am very pleased with my health. I am very diligent when scheduling my appointments every year. I believe it is important to see a doctor and have tests done every year to make sure you are healthy and be proactive in keeping your body running well.

I was happy to find out that my blood pressure and cholesterol were normal, just a little on the high side but still normal, and that everything else is “A-Okay” and normal. I still have some hot flashes, but new-found healthy habits have helped me manage my menopause symptoms and actually lose weight and feel healthier.

My doctor was so happy that I have taken my health into my own hands and done research into healthy lifestyles for women over 50. It is such a rewarding feeling when the doctor compliments you on your health and tells you that you are doing a good job. He complimented me what I have done and what I am doing to continue my health journey and said it is exactly what I should be doing.

I want to share with you the easy things I have done that have helped me become a healthy woman over 50.

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• Making sure I get 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night has been one of the most important things I have done.

• Eating more fruits and vegetables has been one of the biggest changes in my lifestyle. I try having at least two veggies at every meal and at least three servings of fruit throughout the day. I have discovered a new love for cooking and baking with fresh fruits and vegetables.

• I just fully committed, but giving up soda will help me health in the long run. Soda is full of sugar and acids that are harmful for your body. I have really tried to drink more water and find ways to incorporate it throughout my day.

• Staring Tai Chi and walking has helped me found an appreciation for physical fitness. It is hard to explain the feeling of accomplishment after a good work out. I really enjoy exercise and try having fun with it.

• Spending time outside doing activities to keep me active is not only a good way to get exercise but get fresh air too. I feel so much calmer and relaxed after spending time outside in nature.

• Spending time laughing and enjoying the company of friends and family keeps me sane. As strange as it sounds, after spending time laughing and talking with my friends I feel healthier.

• Taking time each day to reflect and be thankful for the life I have has made me a happier and positive individual. It is so important to mental and emotional health to feel grateful and reflect on each day to see the positives.

I have made so much progress and transformed my life for the better over the past couple years. It is very rewarding hearing that it is all paying off. I never thought I would have become this person I am today. Each day is a baby step in the right direction, I just have to keep truckin’ along!

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Giving Up Soda for Good

I have decided today I am going to give up soda for good. I have really limited my soda intake over the past year or so, but every time I allow myself to have one I immediately regret it and end up paying for it. I love the taste of a fresh diet coke in the afternoon, but the coke doesn’t like me. I always end up feeling bloated and unhealthy. There are so many positives about giving up soda, I really need to commit and I know I will be successful.

Even though I don’t drink soda often, it costs money that I don’t need to be spending. I saw a statistic once that if you drink just one soda a day it costs about $365 a year. I could use that money to treat myself or spend it on something healthier.

Not that I needed much motivation to stop drinking soda, I found some great reasons why giving up soda is great for you and your attitude. If you are a soda drinker, maybe you will find a few reasons why life can be better without soda.

• Giving up soda might actually help you live longer. Because of the high sugar content in soda, it causes you to age faster similar to cigarettes…yes, cigarettes. Reading this really made me want to give up soda and hydrate on fabulous free water.

• Soda has been connected to childhood obesity….not that I am a child but still very interesting, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, and gout. As an aging woman, I want to keep my body as healthy as possible to prolong my active life.

• It is known that soda is not good for your teeth because of the high sugar content, but the acid is also damaging to your smile. The acid causes your teeth’s enamel to erode and leave your teeth vulnerable to other health problems.

• We have all heard of vegetable oil, but have you heard about brominated vegetable oil? It is a chemical banned in Europe and Japan because it is used as a flame retardant and is linked to memory loss, nerve disorders, and behavioral health problems. Brominated vegetable oil is used in sodas like Mountain Dew and other fruity flavored sodas.

• Water is cheaper than sodas, better for you, and will actually hydrate you. I don’t need much more convincing.

I am excited to finally give up soda for good. Having a few sodas during week has been hindering me to live the healthy lifestyle I want to live. I don’t think it will be that difficult giving it up because there are so many other options that are better. Wish me luck!

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Staying Healthy during the Holidays

With Thanksgiving right around the corner I need to make sure I stay on track with my healthy lifestyle.  I can’t even imagine how terrible a family party already packed with people would be if I got a hot flash right in the middle of it.  I am going to make a commitment to myself to stay on track.  I have loved the way I feel each day I am focusing on me and my health so I am not going to let the holidays change that.

healthy-holidays
I am making commitments and goals for myself this holiday season.  Instead of keeping them to myself, I am going to share them with all of you so I can be held accountable.  Hopefully it works! Here are my 5 commitments and goals to abide by this holiday season
1.    I need to make sure I plan time for exercise.  Since beginning working out I have noticed a positive change in my stress and my menopausal symptoms.  I am going to try to make sure I exercise at least three times a week for about an hour.
2.    With food so abundant everywhere, I need to make sure that I am conscious about what I am eating and how much.  I have come so far with my healthy lifestyle I don’t want to fall off the track.  I am going to make sure that I eat until I’m satisfied and not stuffed.
3.    Drinks have so many hidden calories and sugar.  I have been doing well drinking water and only having one cup of coffee a day.  I need to make sure I focus on drinking water and only having a FEW yummy holiday drinks!
4.    Munching is a problem for me.  With an array of delicious appetizers it is hard to stop.  By the time were about to sit down to eat, I am usually full from the appetizers.  I am really going to try to control that, and if I do eat them to eat fruits and veggies instead of the cheesy and hearty ones.
5.    Lastly, I am going to focus on having the best holiday because my children are going to be here so much in the next two months! I AM SO EXCITED!
healthy-treats
So here they are…I am going to be honest and try to follow them; number 5 shouldn’t be too difficult.  I will make sure to tell you about my highs and lows this holiday season.  Keep me accountable friends!

Until next time,
Nancy

First Tai Chi Class

I just got home from my first Tai Chi class and feel wonderful!  I had been anticipating this day since I signed up at the end of August.  It wasn’t quite what I expected but it was perfect for my wants and needs.  I feel rejuvenated and satisfied with my first class.

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I was nervous what to wear and if I would be “good” at it, but once I got there I had this sudden feeling of confidence; it was great.  I wore my new workout capris and tee shirt to the first class…I really like shopping for workout clothes now. And after reading Beginning T’ai Chi by Tri Thong Dang I felt like I had a basic knowledge and was ready to give it a try.  Not everything I read I implemented in this first class but I think it will be useful in my tai chi future.  (I really enjoyed it, so I hope I stick with in for a while hence “my tai chi future”)
We began the class with loosening movements to open up our joints and relax our tight muscles.  My hamstrings were sore from biking a couple days ago, so the slow flexibility moments really helped stretch them out.  We learned a sequence of postures through the hour class.  I found myself focusing on my body and the feeling each movement gave me.  It was hard for me to go at such a slow pace at first, but I got into it after a while.

I loved my first tai chi class so much, I can’t wait for next week’s.  I think the thing I was most excited about was that I didn’t have a hot flash the entire class!  I am not sure if my hormones were just being nice to me or if the slow movement and breathing help subdue the flashes?  Either way I am very happy about it!
I think I am going to suggest my husband and friends to join my class, maybe I will wait until after a few classes to make sure I really love it.  🙂   After this first class my body feels great and I feel like I cleared my mind and centered my thoughts.  It really is an exercise for the mind, body, and spirit.

Until next time,
Nancy

P.S. If Bobby knew I was taking a Tai Chi class, he would laugh so hard.  He thinks I am the clumsiest person ever.  I don’t think he would even believe me if I told him.  It will have to be my little secret for a while. 😉

tai-chi-cat

Ready for the Next Step

It has been another great week of healthy food choices and physical activity. I am very proud of myself for the dedication I have put into the past two weeks. My husband has been very motivating and supportive of everything I am trying to do. I’m still having hot flashes but they are not nearly as bad as before. I really think my little lifestyle changes are beginning to work.

I am still going on bike rides a couple times a week, taking the stairs as much as I can, and doing workouts in my living room. On Thursday while I was biking through a park near my house, I rode past a group of people doing, what I think was T’ai Chi. It looked really calming and something that a beginner would be able to do. When I got home I started researching some information about T’ai Chi. It seemed very interesting, so I found a book online and decided to go out and get it.

From the first few pages I read of Beginning T’ai Chi by Tri Thong Dang, I realized I had no idea what T’ai Chi is or what it’s about. T’ai Chi is a holistic method of self-healing; exactly what I wanted in a fitness class. It focuses on the form of moving meditation and a philosophical way of life. T’ai Chi not only offers a physical benefit from practicing, it also has psychological and spiritual benefits. I had no idea that T’ai Chi had so many rewards. Tri Thong Dange illustrated T’ai Chi in a way even beginners can understand.

tai chi book

After reading a bit of Tri Thong Dang’s book, I felt that T’ai Chi would be a great beginning group fitness class. Not only would it benefit me physically, it would help me center my thoughts and feelings, a perfect supplement after becoming an empty nester. So, I decided to sign up for a T’ai Chi class…wooh my very first group fitness class. J The next session begins September 27th right in the park by my house. I can’t wait!

Feeling extra ambitions today, I decided I needed to go shopping to find some new workout clothes. The sweatpants and baggy tee shirt I’ve been wearing aren’t cutting it anymore. I went to Dicks Sporting Goods and found some good sweat wicking capris and shirts. And guess what…I actually tried them on and loved them. J I can’t remember the last time I bought fitness clothes. I am taking this lifestyle change seriously, I can’t wait to see how just adding a little activity and healthy eating can change the way I feeling.

work out clothes

I’m very pleased with my accomplishments after this week. Healthy eating, physical activity, new workout clothes, and a new group fitness class to look forward too; I couldn’t have had a more productive week.

Until Next Time,

Nancy

A Pinterest Addicts New Lifestyle

I have been doing so good keeping up with my exercise routine this week. I got my husband to join me three times this week to go cycling, I’ve been making a point to take the stairs more often, and I did a living room workout twice this week. I may be speaking too soon, but I am feeling healthy and active. There is just something about being active that changes your mindset and makes you have a great day.

I have been trying to eat healthy, but it is just so hard. I am used to making quick meals for the kids that were easy and not necessarily that healthy. I want to commit this upcoming week to eating healthy AND keeping up with my activity schedule.
I am aware of what makes food taste good and how to use fresh ingredients, I struggle in portion control. I need to be conscious of how much I’m eating and pacing my consumption. I read that putting the food in a different room while you are eating, makes you think about how much you’re eating and prevents you from getting seconds or even thirds. And if you do decide to get more, you have to get up and walk to get it. I think this is a great idea; I am going to try that this week and see how it works.
I feel like Pinterest is such a good place to get motivation, workout ideas, and recipes, I think it’s safe to say I’m a Pinterest addict. This morning I pinned a bunch of recipes I want to try and found some great boards on eating healthy. Better Homes and Garden has a board called healthy dinner recipes, it is so many different recipes.

pinterest-nancy-2I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted and not gain any weight, but now that I am a woman of menopausal age, it is important to be aware of what kinds of food are going into my body. If I stay motivated and keep going in the direction I am now, I will be managing a healthy lifestyle in no time.

Thanks for reading!

Nancy

No more comfort food

This weekend was pretty tough without the kids. I tried coming up with ways to continue my new healthy lifestyle to help with my menopause symptoms, but I was not in the mood for healthy food or exercising. I found it extremely difficult to keep my mind from wondering to the kids and what they were doing. Needless to say I definitely indulged in some comfort food and spent way too much time on the couch; not helping my hot flash situation at all.

This weekend was filled with doughnuts, pasta, chocolate and everything in between. I am really regretting it now…and so is my waistline. It felt like I was up all last night from night sweats. It really made me reevaluate my goals and how I want to take care of my body and my symptoms. Menopause just has so many lovely symptoms. I have noticed a slow weight gain since I began my transition into menopause. I really need to keep up with my healthy lifestyle to help with the hot flashes and the weight gain. I need to get in the right mindset and really commit to creating this lifestyle change.

After my cup of coffee and a quick read through of the newspaper this morning, I felt groggy and weighed down. The aftermath from this weekend is not very pleasant. I really wanted to have a productive day. I decided to go on a walk to the grocery store down the road to pick up some HEALTHY food for dinner. I have never walked to the grocery store before, but I really enjoyed it. I ran into a few friends along the way and got to chat about Bobby’s big move and the latest news in the neighborhood.

After getting back to the house from my walk, I was beginning to feel better. I really need to keep adding exercise into my daily routine. I really enjoy cycling, so I’m going to try to convince my husband to either go for a bike ride or walk with me three times a week for 30 minutes. It will definitely be a fun way to get moving and have fun with my husband.

I just opened a Pinterest account and found a bunch of good workouts that I can do at home in my living room during the day. You can find my Pinterest account here http://www.pinterest.com/nancyfancyfree/
Hopefully I find motivation each day to keep doing it…maintaining the hot flashes should be enough. J I think I want to find a group fitness class to take. Having exercise planned with a group, will hold me accountable and make me want to better myself. Any suggestions of good classes to take are welcome. 🙂

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Until Next Time,

Nancy