Almost The New Year

Almost The New Year

The Christmas holidays have passed and the New Year is looming close.

It has been exactly one year since I began this blog and I started writing it for many reasons.

One reason is that I was looking for a creative outlet and I love to write.

Another was to share with other empty nesters that life does not end when the children become independent and move out–it is just a new phase of life.

But this blog has developed into more than that.

Along the way, these last twelve months I lightened my load and learned a few things myself.

I decluttered my life and home (although I’ve learned this is an ongoing process) of things I did not need, papers that were no longer useful and in a few instances people that were toxic.

I’ve lost weight, became a certified health coach and am living a healthier lifestyle with good foods, lots of water and exercise.

I gained more space in my house, my heart and my mind. I’ve gained more time and in many instances more peace.

I’ve gained-even more importantly-a great deal of perspective of what is truly important to me and my family.

2018 has been kind to me, but mostly because I have been kind to myself.

I am standing strong in my conviction that if something is not healthy for me-physically, emotionally or spiritually- then it doesn’t need to be in my life.

I am grateful for everyday of this year, even the difficult ones, and I am grateful for the people I share my life with–some close and some far–that have made this year so special.

In a few days we will raise a glass and toast the year that has passed and usher in a new one–

May 2019 bring us all more of the good, less of the bad and the strength and opportunity to continue our journeys.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

A Little Caffeine

A Little Caffeine

Each morning when I prepare my cup of hot tea, I use the time as a moment of reflection.

Sometimes I think about the tasks to complete on that day or I review in my mind events from the previous day.

Many times I use this time to think about events in the past and how those events have influenced where we are now in life.

Everything has a correlation.

The little jolt of caffeine from my tea also helps my brain wake up and see the connections.

It is important to take stock of ourselves, our thoughts, our actions, our goals and dreams.

It’s like making a grocery list that we can check off and use to remind us of what we need and what we don’t.

If you have a hard time collecting your thoughts about the multitudes of things we are responsible for or would like to accomplish — using your tea (or coffee) time is the best place to start.

  1. Brew your favorite tea or coffee.
  1. Use cups you like to drink from-something that is uniquely you.
  1. Breathe deeply and relax.
  1. Focus on the warmth of your cup and let your mind wake up to your thoughts.
  1. Listen to what your mind is telling you.
  1. Practice directing your thoughts to the things you are grateful for.
  1. Allow your thoughts to flow freely but be conscious of when you need to redirect your reflection back to positive things about your past, present or future.

It does take a little practice to train your brain to direct itself to some positive reflection but over time you will find that it helps to order your day and your future goals.

The added benefit of a little caffeine gets your brain activated and firing on your synapses and can many times help you see things more clearly.

All from a few minutes over a lovely cup of tea.

Enjoy your day!

Hamburger Hangover

Hamburger Hangover

My husband and I have been eating healthier and exercising for over a year now and we have been very pleased with the results.

We are healthier, sleep better, have energy and are fit.

We are not slaves to having to eat anything specific and we are not anti-gmo or only eat organic. But we do watch our portions and try to choose the best foods we can.

We hadn’t eaten in a fast food restaurant in a very long time.

So when we found ourselves at a function where only fast food was available we didn’t think twice about giving ourselves a treat!

I cannot describe how delicious my hamburger with cheese, all the way, with french fries was!

It smelled wonderfully and it tasted absolutely delicious.

We were hungry and we enjoyed it.

The next morning we both woke up rather sluggish.

I was very thirsty and nauseous and I had quite a headache.

My husband felt the same.

We had a hamburger hangover! It took all day, some aspirin and a great deal of water to get past it.

We were surprised and pleased. Our better living has really paid off and we are so healthy now that our indulgence reminded us of the reason why we don’t indulge.

Embrace the healthier lifestyle friends, it really is worth it!

Finding Balance

Finding Balance

It seems to be a popular idea these days for people to find a balance in their lives. Many people feel unbalanced–I guess.

But I don’t think many people seeking balance understand what exactly they are balancing. Honestly, neither did I–so I looked it up!

From my readings there are basically 5 categories we can divide our lives into:

1. Love and Relationships

2. Health

3. Work and Career

4. Financial

5. Spiritual

These 5 areas are each interdependent on the others so if one is out of whack, then very likely another area is probably out of whack as well….and so the search for balance is ongoing, and more of a juggling act.

If I look at our lives, mine and my husband’s, honestly, I’d have to say we are pretty balanced.

Here is how I break it down and some suggestions for finding your own balance.

Love and relationships. We have a great relationship with each other and with those around us. How? We are honest, respectful and loyal to those we allow in our lives.

Yes, I said “allow”. You see, you don’t have to allow people in your life that don’t treat you well–that is–with honesty, respect or loyalty. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them all the time but you do have to respect them as individuals.

Health. Our health, both physical and mental, is, in my opinion, very good. We strive consistently to be better. We eat right, we exercise, we get enough sleep.

We don’t abuse alcohol, drugs, sugar or anything else that would harm us.

We feel good and we look good–at least we think so!

Take care of yourself–no one can do that for you!

Work and career. We work. We work a lot. And we enjoy it. Of course there are days that are difficult just like in every job, every industry and every career.

That does not mean we would ever stop working because it makes us feel good! We are contributing to the fabric of our family, our community and our nation.

Work. Work hard and work with enthusiasm–it always pays off.

Financial. This category is easy. We spend less than we earn, we save for things that are important to us. Period.

Spiritual. We believe that there is a higher power than us. We call him God. It is our belief. We feel that everything happens for a reason and are grateful for our relationships, our health, our work and the safety of those around us.

Find your spiritual side, meditate, give thanks. The positive energy will come back to you.

The balance is found between these quite easily if you think about it.

We work in organizations in which we respect people and the work we are doing.

We work to provide a better life for each other and the family.

We spend within our means.

We stay healthy so we can continue working and enjoying the benefits of our work–getting paid.

We are grateful to the higher power that gives us these opportunities.

If you are looking for balance I encourage you to look at each of these areas in your life and how they fit together for you.

The balance is attainable if you really want it. As long as you are true to yourself and take responsibility for your choices you can find the answer. The search is over–your balance is found.

Meal Prepping Lessons For Life

Meal Prepping Lessons For Life

If you have been reading my blog for a while or if you know me personally you know that planning things (everything) is definitely my thing. So in an effort to eat healthier and maximize my grocery shopping I have begun meal prepping.

This has become a very popular trend in many households. And it is imperative for people and families that are trying to live a healthier lifestyle as a new way of life.

Beyond that there are many lessons to be learned from this process.

First you will have to plan for 5 meals a day for 7 or 14 days times the number of people you are responsible for feeding.

What does that teach us? How important our resources are…time, food, imagination, and the freezer.

In your life you are going to want to maximize your time, be grateful for all the things we have (like unlimited foods and freezer technology) and have fun-use your imagination!

Second you have to be able to think out of the box.

Meal prepping has to be varied. You can’t pick 4 meals and rotate them through your meal plan…you will get so tired of your routine that you will slip and quit this newly found and positive habit.

So learning tip, find at least 14 recipes that you can rework in quantity and nutritional value that you can use to add variety to your cooking and eating.

Don’t try to cook all 14 at a time! That’s just crazy–and exhausting–think out of the box, but don’t throw the box out!

Learning to be forward thinking, numbers oriented and how to use strategic skills are very good things to know in this ever changing world of ours.

Third we need flexibility in our lives–especially in our eating habits.

There was a time and place for cooking a big meal and the family ate together–at a table–every night. Children were expected to eat was was made or not eat at all.

While I don’t think we should be short order cooks, in this very busy life we have created prepping meals ahead of time means we can still eat together without having to eat the same things.

This small change teaches us we can meet the likes of all the eaters in our lives and still provide them healthy meals…save time and money…and avoid the fast food line!

This also teaches us that what is important is not the quantity of a food that is important but the quality of the nutrition we are providing those we love.

And fourth, especially in households with kids, we should involve all the family members in the process of meal prepping.

Each person can have an age appropriate chore to be done as part of the meal prepping process. Someone can do all the cutting and chopping, while another mixes and cooks and yet another can keep the area and tools clean.  Dishes won’t do themselves you know!

This teaches us the best lesson of all–with teamwork much more can get accomplished than just challenging the world alone!

The family who preps together–stays together!

Happy Monday! Leave a comment below and let me know if you are a meal prepper!  What is your favorite go to recipe?

Calories In and Calories Out

Calories In and Calories Out

The hardest part in trying to create a nutritional plan that works is keeping the proper count of calories. Why is this important?  Well because just like you cannot run a car without gasoline a body cannot run without calories. And running the body is what we are all about.

Although some diets and nutritional gurus may say that counting calories does not matter when trying to lose and maintain a healthy weight–they are relying on other processes of the body–like manipulating the way a person’s metabolism works to reach their weight losing goals.

The biggest problem is that these diets do work–at least for a while.  They work as long as you keep to the parameters of the diet strictly. The minute you change anything in these diets the weight comes back–with often a few extra pounds–that the body will save for the next time the body experiences these manipulations.

We forget that we are not meant to be on a the roller coaster of diets–we were made to follow a nutritional plan that provides the needed calories for the energy of living.

So scientifically, if you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight–you need to know what is going in and what is going out. And more complicated yet…you need to understand what calories you should be eating for optimum nutrition.

The way I see it there are two major challenges:  accurately counting the calories we are taking in and accurately counting the calories we are burning.  When we eat, we usually think we are eating less calories than we are actually eating–and we are usually not burning as many calories as we think we are burning.

Regardless of the challenges–it is important to note that becoming a healthier you is so important that the counting frustration should not stop us.  This is a learning process.

The best way to measure the amount of food in your servings is to use measuring cups and a food weight scale.  Most solid foods should be weighed while more liquid foods can be measured. Being consistent in weighing  and measuring your foods will help you in keeping an accurate count of the calories.

Once we get “used” to the meals that work best for us nutritionally we tend to stop measuring and weighing.  A chicken breast is a chicken breast right?  No. They come in all sizes and when we stop measuring–the calories creep in.

As with everything that is important in your life–I’m afraid to say–you are going to have to write it down. Keeping a food diary is the best way to know what calories are going into your body. (If you are not a fan of writing things down, I’m sure there is an app for that.)

On the counting calories out side–the same applies.  Every activity burns calories–but each person burns calories differently based on their weight.  The more you weigh the more calories you will burn during any given activity.

There are online calculators that will help you track the number of calories you are burning in any given activity or work out.  Keep in mind that to get an accurate count you have to be diligent about entering the accurate time an activity took place and also the level of intensity that you completed the activity.

Walking a mile slowly does not burn as many calories as walking a mile quickly while swinging your arms. And you can’t count walking for 60 minutes if you stopped and spoke to a neighbor for 10 minutes–you can only count 50 minutes.

Ultimately, though, the only way to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to know what comes in and what comes out. There is no scientific way around it. Creating this type of lifestyle when it comes to nourishing your body and keeping fit is much more sustainable.

Count your calories and your blessings! We live in the greatest time of nutritional knowledge–embrace it!

Have a great day today!  Leave me a comment or send me an email at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com…I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sky is The Limit

The Sky is The Limit

Part of the fun of reaching the empty nest stage of our lives is that we can take advantage of new adventures. And our bucket lists are long!

I am not as adventurous as my husband but I encourage him in his ideas and hobbies. One of his dreams was to skydive–and just a few days ago, on the 4th of July–he did just that!

It was quite exhilarating–and I did not even get on the plane!

I was very nervous while my husband was very excited.  He boarded the plane and I said my prayers.

But I have to confess that once the plane took off down the runway, my excitement also began to grow.

Twenty minutes later, as I watched the sky, a tiny dot jumped from the plane and he began his free fall.  I was stunned and excited and terrified all at the same time while MY feet were set firmly on the ground

The parachute opened and my husband floated beautifully back to earth and made a very graceful landing in a red, white and blue parachute.  He–and I–were smiling from ear to ear, that he had completed a goal on his bucket list.

And even now–a few days later–the excitement of the adventure is still with us.  What is also with us is the knowledge that for the rest of our lives the sky is the limit to what we want to do and accomplish.

It is a very good feeling to know that the only thing that holds us back is ourselves.  Luckily we are learning to let our hair down and go where the winds (literally) takes us.

This experience reminds us that, especially in this country, if we work hard there is nothing that we cannot do.

In this country–we have been able to have our home, educate ourselves and our children, become professionals and secure a comfortable and hopefully adventurous future.

In this country there is nothing a person cannot do–although I find a great deal of people wasting their time arguing and trying to change what is right, what is written, what is established and what is true.

I believe they have not created their bucket list and instead of working towards their goals and dreams they are floating about looking for what that ideal is.

You see, I truly believe that each bucket list is as different as the person who creates it. And it is best if you surround yourself with people that will encourage you in your completion of it instead of just being one in a crowd of people who all think alike.

Be original!  Be bold! And be you! We are all in the perfect time and place! The sky is the limit!

Have a great weekend!  Next week–I think we will work on those bucket lists!

Comment below or send me an email with your thoughts! I’d love to hear them!