Autumn Changes

Autumn Changes

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn–my favorite season.   You will forgive me if I become a little wistful.

When I was a girl I lived in a climate in which you could really see and feel autumn all around you.

There would be a nip in the air–no longer the warmth of summer, the winds would pick up and the trees.  The beautiful trees would begin to turn.   The bright and deep green leaves would turn to yellow and orange and red.

In Texas–the autumns are a little different.   But you can definitely feel when there is a change in the air.

The heat that seems to come from the earth itself subsides, not entirely, but in short waves.  The rains come and the dusk and dawn stretch out and seem to get longer.

In autumn we think of the harvest–reaping what we sowed throughout the previous months, until all is gathered and collected.

Autumn is the quiet time in the seasons. It is when mother nature slows down and folds in on itself and prepares for the long rest of winter–so that in the spring  she is rejuvenated and ready for the force of summer.

Our autumn in life comes on very much like mother nature’s.  Cooler breezes,  some rains, the changing of colors.  And the rest and quiet to continue on.

I am just entering my autumn–not fully developed and changing slightly, but looking forward to the changes, the expectations and the whole new world that is opening before me.

Like my favorite season–I am enjoying each year more than my last and am continuing to look forward to all the transformations.

Embrace the cooler weather–the relaxing days–and enjoy the autumn like never before.

5 Steps to Relieving Stress

5 Steps to Relieving Stress

Stress is the body’s way of reacting to and managing threats or strenuous demands on the body.  The more demands or threats we face from day to day the higher our stress levels.  These levels can get so high that it can affect our health–in a very bad way.

Headaches, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and changes in appetite are common side effects of stress.  Continued stress along with these common side effects can cause us to make poor decisions, have or cause accidents and generally spiral out of control until some develop anxiety problems, depressions and other illnesses that cannot be clearly diagnosed.

We must find ways to reduce and learn to cope with the stresses of everyday life.  This may look different to different people because we all handle stress differently.  Here are some sure fire ways to reduce stress in your life that have worked for me.

  1. Let Go.  Let go of toxic people in your life and toxic situations.  You know where you go and who you are around that make you feel stressed.  Limiting or eliminating these people, places or situations will help keep your stress level down.  You don’t have to feel guilty about it (adding more stress), just decide to wish them well and let it go.
  2. Understand that Everything Changes.  Nothing stays the same forever–we know this in our heads and in our hearts. The seasons change, the economy changes and we change as the life around us changes.  To help relieve some of the stress you are feeling just remember that “this too shall pass.”
  3. You Are In Control.  This is your life and you control it. If something is stressing you out on an ongoing basis–you can change it.  No one can dictate how you live your life. If the stress is coming from a financial situation or your work environment you can make the decision and take the steps to make the changes that work for you.
  4. Focus.  Understand and accept the things that are important to you and focus on those things.  Let the noise of all the other stuff going on in the world pass you by. When you keep your focus on the things that really matter–to you–everything else just extra. Keep your focus.
  5. Gratitude. When you have had a particularly stressful day, take a deep breath and think about all the things you are grateful for.  I bet, as you do this exercise, you will find that the things that were stressing you out are not on that list–so refer back to # 1 and #4.

It is so easy to get caught up in the negative energy of others–and that causes a great deal of unnecessary stress, but worse we continue to do the same things with the same people that are causing the major stressors in our lives and expect a different outcome. By using these 5 steps it has helped me cope with stress and learn to change the stressful circumstances.

I hope they work for you too!  Life is too beautiful to be stressed out about stuff that really doesn’t matter!  Happy Friday!

Speaking Victory

Speaking Victory

There is a Christian tenet of speaking victory over people or situations. I don’t mean speaking about victories–like celebrating goals or achievements that have been reached.

I’m talking about speaking–verbally and out load–positive outcomes, encouraging ideas and blessings to those around us as well as ourselves.

I had never really thought about it in this way–although I have known about this concept for most of my life.

And it is a concept that when put into practice works.

Think about this–when we are happy and we talk about it–usually other good things begin happening.

When we complain and dwell on problems, sickness or bad fortune–and those complaints come out of our mouths–things usually continue on a negative trajectory.

But more importantly when we speak victory over others it can many times change the life path for those individuals.

Here is how to do it. First you need to understand that life is fluid and ever changing.

Second, you need to believe that because life is ever changing we should be open to the fact that anyone is capable of anything.

And then thirdly, you share these beliefs with those you are speaking victory over.

For example, speak victory over your children by telling them, truthfully, that there is nothing that can stop them from accomplishing what they want in life.

Speak victory over your marriage by sharing with your significant other the things you appreciate about them. Thank them for their caring, hard work and understanding.

Tell friends positive attributes you like about them and how it has influenced your life. As you do this their victory will manifest in more positive attributes.

Speak victory over people who may be struggling and it just might give them a different outlook to their future.

And speak victory over yourself and you will soon see that all you need will find itself into your life just when you need it.

Use your words for good–Speak Victory.

Healing What Ails You

Healing What Ails You

Admit it…all of us have something wrong with us that we are trying to change.  And this may not be a sickness–but it is something that bothers us and we think about it all the time.

For some of us we may think we are: too tall, too short, too thin, too hippy, no hips, big chest, little chest, thinning hair, hair in places you should not have hair…

But for others of us we have pain in our backs, our joints, our neck. We are tired all the time and irritable. We get headaches, our allergies flare up–and not in a pretty way. We feel like the flu is coming on or maybe a cold. We are just not sure but we know something is wrong–so we go to the doctor.

And the doctors run tests, they check us over and they give us the diagnosis:  there is nothing wrong with us. Perhaps we are just over tired, stressed out. Get some exercise they say and try to eat better and they send us on our way.

Sometimes we believe them and go home–relieved–that we don’t have anything–even though we feel like we have something.

Sometimes we don’t believe them because we feel so lousy. So we go for a second opinion, or we seek out a nutritionist, a health coach, a trainer to whip us up into shape again.

There is a whole industry around fixing what is making us feel sick–but we overlook the most basic healer of all–ourselves!

We are the ones that made ourselves–and sometimes our families–feel sick. And luckily, according to the doctor, we are not sick–with a real diagnosable illness yet.

But if we keep doing what we are doing we are certainly headed for the lifestyle diseases:  diabetes, heart conditions, allergies, obesity, IBS, etc.

Some of us have these things but not to a level that shows up on the tests yet–just to a level in which makes us feel miserable because we know exactly what we are doing to our bodies.

Why did we do this to ourselves?  Well because it is easy and because it becomes an addiction.

Look in your pantry–if it looked anything like mine a few years ago–it is probably filled with boxes and bags, cans, jars and bottles. An abundance of food for our in a hurry, have to run out the door, lives.

If we start reading the labels on this abundance we will begin to realize why we feel so bad. And when I say we are addicted, I am really not kidding.  

We are addicted to sugar, to caffeine, to salt and a host of other things–including an addiction to getting our meals on the table quickly so we don’t have to waste time.

And these addictions are bad, because not only are they hard to break, but day after day, they contribute to even higher and more instense desire for the stuff that makes us feel sick.

This is what I did to get on the road to recovery in 2 steps, this was not easy and I struggle still but I am really starting to see the benefits.

1) I cleaned out my pantry and my refrigerator.

This happened in waves.  First and easiest–I took out everything that was expired or had been opened and abandoned and had gone bad.

Second, and to my shame, I ate the foods that were still good until we were out of them. I just could not throw things out.

Third, I stopped buying the stuff that is not good for us.  I started with chips and cereals, cookies, processed, boxed and canned goods etc. You get the picture.  

This process took me about 18 months. Mostly because there would be days when the sugary, processed, crunchy, salty fake buttery goodness stuff would find its way back into my home.

2) I started buying and making good foods.

The hardest part and my continued struggle today is finding good ideas for good meals that are interesting and tasty and easy to make.  For example, eggs are good for us and I love eggs but I cannot have eggs in every meal.

Plus I still like easy, fast meals to prepare and eat on the go!

I am continuously learning about nutrition to incorporate the best balance for me and my family.  

I have discovered protein drinks and shakes (and after trying everything on the market I could find–found a brand that works well for me!)

Now I am reworking all my recipes, and watching my portion size.  I’m still in Step 2.

But already I feel (and see) the benefits of these changes. I feel better, I have lost weight, I have more energy–many of my aches and pains have gone away.

And I did this myself!  I am healing myself by learning and changing for the better.  It did not happen overnight, but it did happen–I did it and so can you!

What challenges do you have in making the dietary changes you need to change the symptoms that ail you?  Drop me a comment or send me an email at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com.

We only have one life–Have fun!  

The Extremes

The Extremes

If you have been following my blog you know that I am on a journey to make my life the best it can be…faster, smarter and better…and hopefully give you ideas for your life as well.

Along this journey I have been examining life have have learned a great deal about myself, others and life in general.

Part of what I am digging into is human nutrition–me being the main human I am examining. I mean really, how can we live our best life if we are sick and tired all the time?

I for one was sick and tired of being sick and tired–so I was ready for the changes I am making and up to now am happy and better for it.

With that said I want to talk about changes–and when they go wrong–and that usually happens when we mere people take things to an extreme.

Most–but of course not all–people make nutritional changes to their diets because they want to lose weight. We realize we cannot continue on the upward trend the scale is making.

So we go on a diet–and we lose weight–and then we go back to our merry lives and we gain it all back and more…so we go on another diet.

I know…I’ve done it this myself and so we conclude that those diets don’t work.  Are the diets to blame? Or the dieters?

In my opinion it is neither. Here is what I mean:  We start a nutritional program and we are committed to it and we lose weight.  Both the program and the person are successful UNTIL we encounter something that doesn’t fit in the program.

Like donuts brought in by a generous coworker, an invitation to a baby shower or a birthday party.  Or Thanksgiving and Christmas come around again–and the diet is broken.

The real reason this happens is because most diet programs and the people following them–yes, including me–take them to an extreme.

If the program calls for no sugar, we try to cut out every drop of sugar in our entire lives. A no carb diet? We kill ourselves making sure we have not one gram of carbohydrates. Low fat? We cut out anything with any kind of fat–even the good fat that our bodies need!

Then there are the fad programs that call for eliminating everything but one component in order to lose weight: The grapefruit diet: only grapefruit; the coffee diet: black coffee 3 times a day! The banana diet–well you get the picture.

These ideas are not sustainable and they are not healthy!

Some can be very dangerous because it changes the functions of the body and can cause major problems–especially if you are seriously cutting back on carbs or not getting enough vitamins and minerals needed for healthy functions.

However, I do believe that all diets or nutritional programs have good ideas that can be used to make lasting change.

And change is the hardest part of all of this.  Instead of going to extremes each one of us needs to find the nutritional program that works for us–stop making excuses and then just make the life changes we need to be healthy and happy.

No extremes, no excuses.  Make your life better–faster and smarter.

Send me your comments on how your nutritional plan is going (or not going!)  or email me at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com with your thoughts and questions! We are all here to share and help each other!

 

To Diet or Not to Diet

To Diet or Not to Diet

As I have been studying and learning and experimenting with different “diet” options–I have come to a profound conclusion:  Diets don’t work.

I know, most of you knew this already.  That is not to say that all the diet books and experts and suggestions are wrong. Diets don’t work because people that try them–me–do not take our lifestyles into account.

Diets are part of our lifestyles–and our cultures.  As Americans we embrace food like–well hot dogs and apple pie! We celebrate the diverse cultures in this nation by going to Chinese on Tuesdays and Mexican on Thursdays.

In between we eat all the “stuff” we buy at the grocery store that is so convenient and instant and tastes so good because it is processed and full of chemicals that mimic salty, sugary, soft, crunchy, flavorful yummy stuff.

Never mind that most is artificial and full of preservatives so they can sit in the warehouse, then the store, then our pantries–until we are ready to eat them.

And yet, we want  to be healthy and fit. So we go on a diet, we join the gym and we rock it! We lose 10, 15, sometimes 20 pounds–look great–feel great, and then stop. We go back to eating all the things we “gave up” during the diet, we stop going to the gym.

Slowly but surely the pounds come back and sometime they bring additional friends–making us heavier and in worse shape than before.

What we forgot was our lifestyle–not the foods. Our diets are not something we can do for a while and then we can stop when we reach a specific goal. Diets were never meant to be “a temporary eating phenomenon”.

A diet, by definition, is the sum of the food consumed by an organism or group. A noun.  Dieting–the verb–is the deliberate selection of food to control body weight or nutrient intake. So we verb the heck out of ourselves!

The question becomes are we happy living like this? In a constant argument with ourselves about our food choices. Feeling bloated and swollen and uncomfortable in our own skin.

I was not. So I have been experimenting with all kinds of diets to see which one “fit”. Of course, they didn’t “fit”–not for long anyway.

If you are in your 40s or 50s, like me, or beyond you know this will not work–because we have been experimenting like this most of our lives.

What I failed to admit to myself (because I am pretty sure I have known this all along) is that is not the food–it’s the lifestyle. The lifestyle brings with it the food.

As part of the master plan I have been working on is a major change in lifestyle. I have decided that I will eat a scientifically researched and proven healthy diet of what my body needs to function and thrive, in the amounts that it needs and nothing more. The optimal word is NEEDS.

Some, I know, are with me on this journey–they have already accepted and embraced–what I am coming to know as truth. Others know this to be true–but are just not ready yet. Its ok…

Having this lifestyle means that I am going to respect my meal times, the portion sizes of my meals and the foods I will include in meals. And everything else is unnecessary.

My lifestyle has to change, so my foods will change, so I can live the healthy and fit life I want to live.

In the next few posts, I will take you through part of my journey and why this lifestyle sounds better and feels better each day!

Don’t forget to love yourself today! And have fun!

Changes, Changes, Changes

Changes, Changes, Changes

I knew  once I was an “empty-nester” that everything would change. That I would change. And that things needed to change.

Change is inevitable–it happens everyday and sometime we don’t even know we are changing.  Most of the time change is for the better–sometimes though we don’t change or we resist change with all of our being and I wonder why we do that?

2018 is my year of massive change–from accepting that my birdies are becoming independent, to decluttering the house of past “stuff”  (and I am in no way from being finished!), to rethinking my future plans, and generally trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!

Who knew all this change would feel so good?  If I had known I was going to enjoy it so much–I would have changed many things, many years ago!

I am meeting new people and having new experiences and generally just having a ball.  Who knew?

And so I wonder why we, as humans, resist change so strongly.  Why we push back when things change, and why we generally have a bleak outlook that somehow “change” will be bad.

Imagine if nothing had changed in the last 30 years.  I certainly would not be writing a blog right now–since it would not exist. Nor would you be reading anything like a blog on a smart phone, laptop or tablet.

Communication between people would still be, well–unchanged!  We would be talking on a telephone that is ATTACHED to a wall–by a CORD! And we would only be able to talk to one person at a time–getting a busy signal if you tried calling a phone number that was already engaged!

By the way, all our phone numbers would be written down in this little alphabetical diary called a Phone Book–not saved in Contacts!

(For those who are young enough to have no idea what I’m talking about, suffice it to say that you are living in a spectacular time of amazing technology!)

Things have changed so much! And we mere humans have changed with the things–whether we wanted to or not, or whether we consciously noticed we were changing in the first place.

Who would have thought 30 years ago that we would be buying bottled water!  We used to drink it right out of the tap–without filtering it! And now we don’t even think twice when we plop down $1.25 for a bottle of WATER!  

I used to pay 10¢ for a cold Orange Fanta in a glass bottle!  Ah, those were the days–but these days are phenomenal!

Change is everywhere and it ensures that our minds are engaged in learning everything that is new. It opens new horizons for us that we never thought possible.

We are better informed and better able to locate information than ever before!  If we don’t remember something, don’t know something or need a step by step video on how to do something we can just go out into the internet and “Google” it!

Even if we are unsure what to type in to find the right result–we could just ask SIRI–and she’ll be happy to find it for us!

Yes, change is good! It’s exciting and dynamic.  Everything that is not changing or resisting this natural change is being left behind, falling apart or doing severe damage to the people it affects.

Embrace the changes in your life–it is good,  it is necessary and it’s fun!

What changes are you enjoying the most? What changes have been the most challenging? What do you wish had not changed, and why?

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