Keeping up with Tai Chi

I have been practicing tai chi for nearly 4 years and couldn’t be happier with how it has changed my outlook and wellbeing. I began only taking one class a week, now I am in two classes a week and practice at home almost every day. It was the catalyst I needed to jump start my physical activity and wellbeing of becoming an empty nester.

I have been able to witness my body change through lifestyle changes in addition to my tai chi regimen. Tai chi works with the internal energy and channels it to be useful in physically ways. It physically works your muscles and joints to unify the breathing and improves circulation of the blood and lymphatic glands to increase the effectiveness of the immune system.

I have felt my physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing increase through tai chi. I never expected it to impact my life so much, I am so happy with who it has helped me become. I try practicing it as often as I can at home even when I don’t have much time.

I have learned a few techniques through tai chi that I use when I am stressed and feel my body and emotions acting up where ever I am.

• When I have feeling stressed or can feel a hot flash coming on, I simply sit down and relax by taking deep breaths. Breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth has been a tai chi technique that has benefited me in countless ways.

• When I need to release tension or frustration I tense up my entire body, from my toes to my forehead. I hold it for a few seconds then release my muscles and my tension and frustration.

• While I am waiting for water to boil, the oven to preheat, or a timer I do a few opening movements to open my body and my mind. It is really simple and when practiced with the breathing, can really help focus and clear my mind.

Tai chi has inspired me to try some other group fitness classes because of how much I enjoy being around others and working towards a goal together. I have heard so much about jazzercise from you lovely readers, I set out to find one. I found out my gym doesn’t offer it but I signed up for a zumba class instead. The woman at the gym said it was very similar and that they had replaced the jazzercise class with it. The first class is next week and can’t wait to see how I feel after it.

Until next time,



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.
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,


Feeling Ill after busy weeks

After these busy, busy weeks I am feeling a little under the weather. I have never had so much fun working and learning so much than I did over Valentine’s Day weekend. But running around like crazy has affected my immune system and made me feel ill.

Since my epiphany a while ago about natural remedies, I have been searching for different ways to nix illnesses before they happen. There are so many options that can help you feel better that are all natural and help you in the long run.

Here are some natural remedies you probably already have in your house that can help treat a cold or the flu.
• Not only does garlic make everything taste wonderful, it is a powerhouse natural antibiotic, antibacterial, and antifungal. It really is a super food! I use garlic very often but for potent illness fighting, mince 1-2 cloves and let them float in a small glass of water and drink it quickly. It might not taste the best, but it will help.
• Hot liquids have been a natural remedy for many years. But I swear by hot herbal teas and lemon water at the first sign of a cold. The herbs and lemon help amp up your immune system and kick that cold out. There are many herbs that are known to fight specific infections and illnesses like nettle leaf, ginger, chamomile, peppermint, and catnip.



• Cinnamon is good for stabilizing blood sugar and is also an antiviral and antibiotic. I like making cinnamon tea using cinnamon and honey. I find that it helps with coughing, scratchy throats, and congestion.
• Staying hydrated is key to fight an illness. If you have a fever it is extremely important to stay hydrated by drinking water and teas. Getting enough rest is also necessary. When your body is running in high trying to fight off whatever you have, it is important to get a few extra hours of rest to help your body reboot.
I know that WebMD is not the most reliable source for health related issues but there is a lot of information that helps initiate a search for reliable sources. The article 8 Tips to Treat Colds and Flu the ‘Natural’ Way, is a great place to start gathering natural remedy information.
Do you have a secret recipe or herb to help feel better when you are ill? I would love to hear more and try new natural ways to treat illnesses.
Until Next Time,

Fight Tiredness with Food

There are some mornings when I wake feeling like zombie; and today is most definitely one of those days.  I don’t know why I feel so exhausted some mornings and be fine on others.  I am trying to watch my consumption of coffee and limit myself to one cup a day, so I have been looking for other sources to “amp up” my energy and fight my tiredness.

I have found some yummy foods to keep me alert and awake when I hit the wall in the afternoon.  There are many other food sources that can give you energy, here are a few I like and have started eating.

•    Almonds make a great midday snack and will pick you up during a slump.  They are full of vitamin E, magnesium, and contain lots of protein to sustain energy and make it last all

•    I was not mad reading that dark chocolate can fight tiredness. 🙂 Chocolate contains caffeine that will ultimately boost your energy, obviously in moderation.  I read that as a rule, the darker the chocolate the less sugar and more energy-boosting components it has.

•    I am not a huge fan of really spicy foods, but spicy herbs can increase your metabolism and give you an energy boost.  Spicy peppers can also aid in digestion too.
•    Popcorn is not only high in fiber but is also an energy boosting snack.  It is low in calories too; when I don’t smother it in butter…  😀

•    Leafy green vegetables are full of iron and help keep concentration levels high.  Iron from leafy greens promote red blood cell circulation and keep you alert and concentrated.  Tiredness is really common when you aren’t getting enough iron, so eat away Popeye!

•    Eating a breakfasts filled with whole grains will keep energy heightened all day.  Although whole grains contain a lot of carbohydrates, they are complex carbs that provide a steady release of energy all day.

•    Getting enough water is very important.  I have been learning to love drinking water, but it is still hard.  Eating watermelon is a good way to get water and have a delicious treat.

By making small changes in my eating patterns, I will be able to prevent my morning sleepiness and afternoon crashes.  The best part of these tired fighters is they are healthy!

Until next time,


Solo Beach Day

My husband left yesterday for a business trip to Arizona for three days; so what’s a better way than to start my solo weekend at the beach.  Although I will miss his company I am excited to have some time for just me. I have been working quite a bit lately; although I love every second of it, I feel like I need to give myself a little break and relax. This couldn’t have come at a better time.

This morning I slept in and took my time drinking my coffee and reading the paper. It was so nice not having any commitments or places I needed to be. I actually read the whole paper AND did the crossword puzzle.

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When I got to the beach I found a quiet corner all to myself. I laid my blanket down and just sat and listened to the waves. I found myself slip into a meditative state, since Tai-Chi I find it much easier to find peace and really let go. My breaths matched the waves crashing in, calming my body and relaxing. I hadn’t felt this at peace for a while.

After I was done, I began reading a book Clara brought home for me. It was an old romance novel she thought I would like; and of course I did. It felt like I hadn’t had time to just sit and read for ages. It was good to not only lose myself in the calmness of the ocean but in the book as well.

To make the day even better, my menopausal symptoms cooperated and didn’t make me a sweaty mess. When I relax, focus on the present, and maintain a healthy lifestyle I feel so much better and feel my body taking steps in the right direction.


Sitting by the ocean listening to the wave’s crash made me forget all my worries and reflect on what makes me happy and everything I am grateful for. I think everyone needs a day to themselves every now and again.

When I allow myself to have a day to do nothing, I acknowledge the positives in my life and create a better environment for myself and my family. This is going to be a much needed relaxing weekend to myself.

“Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream.” –John Lennon

Until Next Time,


Menopause and Food

I feel like I haven’t talked about my menopausal life in a while, so here it goes.:)  I have been handling my symptoms much better since taking my health and well-being into my own hands.  Exercising and eating healthy has helped immensely, but I have been slipping off the healthy food choice train.  I really need to focus and start getting back into the swing of things.  My hot flashes don’t like when I eat poorly.
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I know from experience, you are what you eat when going through menopause.  I think my diet has been one of the biggest triggers for inducing symptoms.  I write down what I eat, when I eat it, and if I get any symptoms later I write it down too.  It has helped me determine what triggers different kinds of symptoms.  Continuing to learn and keeping track, I have been able to figure out what cause them and how to manage.
I stopped eating foods like chocolate, spicy food, coffee, and alcohol in the evening and my hot flashes and night sweats decreased, it was a mini miracle.  Since finding different foods cause different symptoms, I have been really focusing on keeping a food journal.

Since menopause I have noticed sugary foods tend to make me tired.  Sugary snacks cause blood glucose levels to rise and then sharply dip making you feel tired and drained.  By replacing sugary snacks, like candy bars, with fruits and nuts keep me awake and alert.

I used to suffer from insomnia very frequently because of hot flashes and night sweats.  When I eat natural carbohydrates like whole grain bread, I noticed it helps me fall asleep.  Eating large meals before bed also caused me to stay up all night.

Post 34-NancyBell (1)  Everyone gets moody once and a while, but I would notice myself getting quite the attitude because of my hormonal changes.  Eating omega-3 fatty acids like tuna, salmon, and mackerel helped stabilize my mood and attitudes.  Vegetables that are rich in B vitamins like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and beets also help stabilize my moods.
Eating more phytoestrogens in my diet helped me manage menopausal symptoms.  They increase estrogen and help keep hormones a little more in balance.  I eating more phytoestrogens through plant-based foods like soy, tofu, tempeh, miso, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, celery, rhubarb, and green beans.

I know it sounds corny but the phrase; eat to live, don’t live to eat, makes so much more sense since menopause.  I used to live to eat, indulging myself in comfort foods and not concerning myself with the result.  Since menopause I have changed that mindset, eating to live.  I feel so much healthier and am handling my menopause symptoms much better.
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I truly believe that exercising and eating well help control annoying symptoms.  If you have any other suggestions or tricks you use to combat menopause symptoms, I would love to hear about it, please comment below!

Until next time,


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.

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!
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,

Dealing with Night Sweats

My night sweats and hot flashes have been continually been getting better over the past month.  I think my hormones are being nice to me and trying to balance out a bit…I hope so. 🙂  There are many factors that cause and initiate night sweats for me; my environmental, psychological and behavioral situations can transform me into a fish at night.
Here are some tips that work for my symptoms
•    Wear loose clothing made of natural fibers to bed
•    Keep the bedroom cool and well-ventilated
•    Avoid spicy foods before bed
•    Maintain a regular schedule before bed
•    Avoid excessive caffeine…very difficult for a coffee-holic 🙂
•    Exercise regularly, not before bed

I also keep a personal journal of the frequency of my night sweats and hot flashes and what I think might have caused them.  This journal gives me an idea of how the night sweats and hot flashes were triggered and how to prevent it in the future.  I noticed spicy foods and light night snacks equaled a sweaty night for me.  Since realizing this I have been able to change my diet and have seen a difference.


It’s not always about what you are doing but what you aren’t doing.  Since I began eating healthier and exercising I have also noticed a decrease in the intensity of them.  I really believe that exercising is good for the entire body, I feel such achievement after every work out.
Emotional and behavioral tendencies also can cause night sweats.  Here are a few that affect me-
•    High stress situations
•    Anxiety
•    Disturbing dreams- nobody enjoys a nightmare
I was shocked to find out 75% of menopausal women experience night sweats.  I am glad I am not alone.  Although my night sweats have been kinder to me lately, I love hearing about what other people do to control them. You never know when you need better techniques to deal with them.


Please leave a comment on how you control your night sweats and hot flashes.

Keep Cool,

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,