Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Guest post by Sara Beth Watson
Adaptogenic herbs have been used for thousands of years worldwide and are only now really gaining momentum in the west as we begin to accept herbs as medicine and not just as flavoring. Schizandra, Ginseng, Licorice Root, and Rhodiola are examples of adaptogens. Each adaptogenic herb is unique to a specific organ or bodily function. And each performs under the umbrella of boosting the immune system.
When we’re learning to deal with things, we’re adapting to them, which is what adaptogens help us to do really. As our bodies adapt to our surroundings, we become less sick, fatigued, and stressed. And that’s just the bare bones of what these amazing herbs can do. Overall, adaptogens are subtle rejuvenators. If you are trying to improve your sleep, alertness, mental acuity, or resistance to illness, for example, these herbs will help. We are not always talking dramatic change, but a general uplift. (I’m not sure if you can tell but I’m really trying to calm down as I am typing this because, legitimately, I’m in love with adaptogenic remedies).
Rhodiola is specific to brain and mood health. People who suffer from depression, other mood disorders, or memory loss can look to improve their conditions with this natural remedy. When our company decided to introduce Rhodiola and began formulating our capsules, I bought some from another company to test the effects. After a month I found myself writing and thinking more clearly.
Schizandra is a Chinese berry that has been useful in addressing sexual dysfunction and liver health, mostly in women, though great improvements for Erectile Dysfunction have also been noted in men. Over a year ago when Hanna’s Herbs introduced Schizandra I thought, “what the hey,” and took that to see how I felt. I’m already an energetic, happy gal but I’m here to tell you—I felt like a million bucks.
Adaptogens can work well for everyone, but the positive effects can become less noticeable over time. Say you decide to take Schizandra because you’re feeling fatigued. After a month you’ll see and feel the difference but after about 3 months the effects won’t be as noticeable. That’s the time to switch to another adaptogen and enjoy the benefits it can provide.
Quite a bit of skepticism surrounds adaptogenic herbs, mostly because of tricky marketers trying to make these herbs seem like a cure-all or a wonder drug. They’re not. You will not experience a miraculous event from taking adaptogens. But people who suffer from mood disorders, depression, sleep disorders, fatigue, social anxiety, sexual dysfunction, or memory loss should notice an evening out or lessening of symptoms. Even fun and fit, happy, adorable, outgoing, brilliant women can benefit from adaptogens!
Ok… I’ll make myself stop there. Hopefully I’ve gotten you interested with this brain dump. I’ve included a link to “Adaptogens—You Never Knew You Could Feel THIS Good” if you want to learn more. Or email me with your questions, as I love answering them (as you probably could tell). email@example.com
Bio: Sara Beth Watson has been part of the herbal world as Marketing and Social Media Director for Kroeger Herb Products./ Hanna’s Herbs. When she’s not researching natural wellness you can find her watching college football, being a vegetarian foodie, or enjoying the Rocky Mountains with friends.
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Researchers from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research looked at data about the diet, exercise and personality type of more than 7,000 people and discovered that personality definitely has an effect on weight loss and good health. Those people who, like “The Little Engine That Could,” believe they can change their lives through their own actions eat healthier food, exercise more, smoke less and stay away from binge drinking.
People who are more like Eeyore, (the donkey from Winnie-the-Pooh), believe that luck or fate are responsible for their situation. These people tend to be less healthy because they don’t see themselves as fully in charge of their own lives.
Simply said, a “can do” attitude leads to a healthier lifestyle. Join us now in a chorus of “Anything you can do I can do better!”[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO23WBji_Z0[/youtube] Men and Women Differ in Weight Loss Motivation
Interestingly, the motivation for leading a healthy life differs for men and women. Women are motivated by the desire to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, while men want physical results. Pump me up! Go Hans! Go Franz! Go Fun! Go Fit!
We asked the number one obesity expert and our go-to-guy, Dr James Hill, Executive Director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, for his take on this latest twist. (Get more of his insights on weight loss and obesity here: Lose 2 Pounds in 2 Days. You may also enjoy Lose Weight or Maintain Weight? prompted by another Anschutz professor, Dr. Holly Wyatt).
“It totally makes sense that expectations about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle would affect outcomes. Interesting that men and women have different expectations. I definitely believe we need different weight management programs for men and women – and not just for different expectations. Men and women approach weight loss very differently. Women have to have a comprehensive experience while men just need to understand what they need to do and do it.” Dr. James Hill
Aren’t we all lucky to have optimistic personalities so we can control our own health and weight outcomes? Info and education alone don’t cut the mustard … or pounds. The belief in our ability to make change is the ultimate tool to a healthy life at any age or either gender.
Photo credits: CreativeCommons.org – infomatique (multi-tasking woman)
Do you have a personality? Then take control of your healthy life and subscribe to our YouTube channel and our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click on the icons in the right sidebar ——–>
Back in mid-July I had foot surgery to remove bone spurs and fuse my big toe joint. I spent two days in bed, then got bored and uncomfortable. Remember my one-legged workout a few days after surgery? When I had my knee reconstructed (soccer injury) I was 38 and the doctor called me old (technically, he didn’t say I was old, he said my knee was. Do you see any difference?). That kind of triggered my competitive side and I did my rehab so diligently that I was released to teach weeks sooner than the doctor had predicted.
Now I’m in my early 50s and I knew the doctor would have a plan for my recovery. My Plan #1 was to cut the recovery time in half, but I got squelched by the doc. Turns out there’s no exercise regimen that can make bones fuse faster! Curses. Foiled again. So I went with Plan #2: Exercise everything except my left foot. Hey, that would make a great title for a movie.
The doc didn’t say, “Stay off your body,” he said, “Stay off your left foot.” That means there was a lot of strength training (seated, lying down & one-legged) and cardio (aqua, rowing machine) I could still do. So I did.
As of last week I’m officially allowed to use 99% of my foot (the tip of my toe is still off-limits) so no ballet or plyometrics. My solution? To accept an invitation to walk the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco in mid-October. No, I’ve never done a half-marathon before. Yes, my foot still swells up after a long day. No, I’m not ready. Yes, I am a stubborn cuss.
At first I said yes to the half-marathon because I like to say yes. But I surprised myself by the dedication and determination I’ve put into working that treadmill to train for the 13 mile walk. I hate the treadmill. Even if there’s a movie on with Clive Owen and Denzel Washington! Damn, they are fine! Excuse my drooling digression.
I really want to be able to do 13 miles of walking by October 14. I want to be ready and not have pain and swelling. I truly don’t know if I’m being foolish or determined. It’s out of my comfort and normal routine zone. I am a group fitness instructor. I do classes. With music and people. And variation. So why the heck do I feel so attached to this idea of walking the hills of San Francisco?
Am I trying to prove something to myself or all you youngsters?
Am I seeking a challenge because I like new adventures?
Am I looking for a way to come back from surgery as quickly and as strongly as possible?
Am I looking for a way to leave the frustrations of not having full choice & control over my body behind me?
Am I afraid that my body isn’t as cooperative about the demands I place on it as it was 20 years ago?
Am I trying to show that a reconstructed knee and foot aren’t indicative of who I really am, which in my mind is a strong, fit woman? Gah, I hate the phrases “middle-aged” and “older” if they are applied to me.
Am I just looking to lose that last 5 pounds?
Truly, it’s probably all of the above and more. All I know is that I really want to complete the event within the allotted time frame. And I really hope my foot will be ready, because my mind sure is! Wish me luck. If you have suggestions for walking shoes that have lots of space on top, let me know, as the top of my foot right above the big toe joint really starts to hurt in shoes after a few miles.
If you have had an injury or setback of some sort, let us know how you dealt with your comeback!
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
So what news about boosting your brain through exercise did we glean from our brush with an intellectual celebrity?
(Ok, Dr. Ratey actually said “anti-aging,” but we are not against aging. We are for aging as actively as possible, so I reworded the phrase. Literary license, people!). Dr. Ratey stressed this heavily in his book and presentation: nothing compares to the effect of movement when it comes to living life “younger” as nothing makes our brain cells work harder than exercise.
While we may not see results right away from our workouts, we reap MENTAL benefits within moments. The super important neurotransmitter is BDNF — Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. BDNF activates learning when we perform cardio. As Dr. Ratey (aka, my BFF and dinner buddy “John”) says, “BDNF is a crucial biological link between thought, emotions, and movement. Our neurotransmitters offer ‘cerebellum training’ during and after each aerobic bout.” That clear-headed feeling we get from working out is literally a head full of enhanced brain power and activity. Dr. Ratey offered this “insta-result” fact as a way to motivate ourselves to move more.
New experiences and challenges enhance our cognitive skills (be smarter, stave off the odds of dementia, keep our memory strong, add brain matter and circuitry throughout life). Maybe we take a walk that goes left instead of right; or we change up our morning routine somehow. Perhaps we add intensity or complexity to an action we are already performing. Apparently the experiences we can create for ourselves to stay mentally strong do not have to be huge or entirely new. Even small challenges rewire our brains for the better. If you are in a workout rut, snap out of it (to quote Cher’s character in Moonstruck).
All mammals play, so the more we can bring joy and playfulness into our workouts, the better off our brains will be. At the very least, play reduces stress. Lower chronic stress levels are related to a healthier life and stronger brain. In short, make exercise fun. Does this mantra from Fun and Fit sound familiar? If your current routine A) doesn’t exist; B) is not fun; C) is ho-hum routine, then challenge yourself to try new activities until you find the ones you enjoy. Like how you can combine tips 3 and 4 here?
Those were the highlights from Dr. Ratey’s talk. If you are keen to get even more keen, read Spark, ideally right after working out… at Rancho la Puerta! That would be a really smart move!
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Working in a construction zone on TV isn’t the easiest environment to look super cool and totally hot in. My heart says “stilettos!;” my producers say “work boots, Tanya! Fortunately for me and you there are ways to look your fabulous best on camera. During the 12 years hosting “Sell This House” and “Sell This House Extreme” on A&E, I’ve had plenty of time to succeed and fail famously! I know what works and what’s embarrassing in front of a camera! I hope you can gain some fun and good advice from my experience.
Of course the first and most obvious tip is to exercise and eat healthfully, but it goes so much further than that. (Well, that is unless you have the body of a Cirque Du Soleil contortionist who looks SUPER HOT turned upside down and backwards with a toe in the left nostril balancing on one hand all while wearing an anteater costume.)
With that being said, here are my tips!
1) Be truthful to yourself about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Don’t wear tight jeans if you have muffin top. After giving birth, I know what this feels like. My choice is to wear the very cool LuLuLemon elastic waistband, very hip cargo pants. Or lose the muffin top by kicking up the exercise into high gear!
2) Clip in hair extensions. This is my best kept, not so secret anymore. I have nice hair, but on days when my hair looks flat–especially on rainy days–I give my hair a little beauty boost! Extensions come in different lengths and can be matched exactly to any hair texture.
3) Floss and whiten your teeth. Crest Whitening strips are the cheapest and most effective way to get a bright smile. You can’t get away with anything less than clean, healthy, white teeth on TV especially with close up scenes.
4) Apply your make-up correctly. Make-up changes the way you look in general so learn how to apply it. Go to a store with a cosmetics area and get a personal lesson. The biggest mistake you can make is choosing the wrong colors. Your foundation, for example, can make the difference between looking tired, or sexy and totally hot!
5) Lighting is key. You can look and feel like crap (possibly from a hangover from the night before) and great lighting will make you look spectacular! It can take 10 years and 10 pounds off! On my show, I’d say I’m lazier on some days than others when it comes to make-up but with great lighting I can go from Dracula to Diva in the flick of a switch!
6) Even in you’re in a miserable mood, you have to look incredibly happy. Sounds easy, right? In 12 years on the show I’ve been on a roller coaster ride of deaths, disappointments, and a lot of behind-the-scenes drama. Then there were the times I had to run to the toilet from either food poisoning, pregnancy, or post-party debauchery! But no matter what, or how hard it might be, when that red recording light goes on…….SO DO I.
7) Always have great posture or EVERYTHING sags! On TV, everything you do and wear is magnified, so if you’re sagging even just a bit, on screen it looks like you’re sagging a lot! And NEVER sit all the way back on a soft comfy couch when that camera is on…….unless you want to look like a toad. Sit right at the end of any chair or couch, boobs out, back straight, shoulders back, head up and legs crossed at the ankle! Do this and you’ll look like a queen on TV!
9) Clothing and color are critical. The camera hates white and fine or busy patterns. I always wear bold solid colors such as red, blue or purple to my auditions because they’re flattering, aren’t distracting and they pop on camera. Royal colors are perfect! If you want to be a Queen on camera dress to look like one. A queen never wears dull, boring, or drab colors.
10) Never shoot you from an angle lower than your shoulders. This is the difference between looking 15 pounds overweight or 15 pounds slimmer. Always have the camera shoot you from a high angle! The same holds true for the digital camera you use every day. YOU’LL LOVE ME FOR TELLING YOU THIS!
P.S. If you’re lucky enough to have a crew to work with, bring snacks and drinks to the set. This thoughtful gesture puts everyone in a good mood! A happy crew does their best to make you look HOT! Remember – the crew has the power to be naughty or nice, so be good to them and they’ll be good to you. By the time I find out how crappy I looked that day, the show has already aired with millions of people watching. And you know how some people love to let loose on the internet with their opinions about your looks!
Tanya has been entertaining audiences with her quick wit, connection with homeowners and vast knowledge of lifestyle tips for years. She currently resides in the Los Angeles area with her husband, and daughter Ava.
Photo credits: Used by permission from Tanya Memme
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Filmed at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Resort. Ain’t that place just super purty and inspiring?
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Readers: Who has suffered from lower back pain? How did you work through it?
The Ranch staff know how much Kymberly loves Dr. Ratey’s research and book about the link between exercise and the brain (more from Kymberly in an upcoming post about her dream-come-true experience of meeting Dr. Ratey, who is very droll and excellent company), so they invited us to come down while he was a presenting guest. Try to feel our pain, as we had to choose every hour between lectures, massages, pool classes, group fitness classes, hikes, meditation, and eating organic, vegetarian food. Yeah, exactly. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful (trivia: did you know that Rancho la Puerta: Golden Door has a long history with Pantene?)
Actually, our pictures can show you some of the beauty that is the Ranch.
Thank you LongSailSports, for the cool googles and GELIE bag! Perfect timing for this trip!
I dedicate the picture above to John Poole, as he has a tremendous love for squirrels and their antics.
Did you know there are many activities you can do when you are (still) recovering from foot surgery? I even took a water class, then did laps, right after 3 miles on the bike and a mile on the treadmill. I was
awesomely awesome somewhat nauseous afterward!
I was so gracious; I let them use my glutes as the model for these male torso sculptures.
Every day at the Ranch, I was asked about my compression leggings and socks by Zensah. You don’t have to have foot surgery to be a fashionista, by the way!
Yes, I woke up at 5:45 to take the morning hike to the organic garden and kitchen for breakfast. But look at the picture below and you’ll see that it was totally worth it!
Before Kymberly left town to visit her daughter at college, she made this short video that has some gorgeous views of the Ranch. Take a look.
By the way, if you are considering a trip to the Ranch, don’t listen to the dire warnings about Mexico. Rancho la Puerta is only 43 miles east of San Diego, and about 2 miles over the border at Tecate. You are escorted the entire way in the Ranch shuttle and you never have to leave the spa (although
we lots of people like to go into town for pinatas, chocolate, wine, lard-based donuts)!
Have you ever gone to a spa? What did you like best about it?
We want to give a shout-out here to our friends at Mr. Steam. They had nothing to do with our trip to Rancho la Puerta, but they do offer us the same feeling of spa luxury with their products. We’re proud to be ambassadors for them!
Guest post from Phil Tucker
We are at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Spa in Tecate, Mexico taking yoga classes and attending a presentation by John Ratey, MD, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. So you get the benefit of a guest post from one who knows yoga much better than we! Phil Tucker is an avid yoga practitioner and general health and wellness advocate. He’s looking to feel ever younger as he grows older! Please make Phil feel welcome by leaving comments. THANKS! K and A
Does that sound a bit much? Then consider this: yoga is often described as a form of ‘moving meditation.’ You strive to perfect all the different poses to clarify your mind and ground yourself in the present. By bringing all of your focus and attention on the entirety of your body, you find you don’t have room to worry about dinner or whether you are going to finish your work in time. Instead, you have to be fully conscious of what each part of your body is doing, and in doing so, you switch off your mind and find a sense of peace.
It goes deeper than that though. At the end of each yoga session you experience the final pose known as Savasana, or ‘corpse pose’. This is most beginner yogi’s favorite pose, as it simply involves lying on your, back, arms out, fully relaxed, with eyes closed. Usually the instructor will play soothing music. Many people find that they tend to drift off to sleep as they relax ever deeper. Why do they sleep? It’s not just because they’re tired. It’s also because beginner yogis often have the most active minds and the greatest levels of stress. Savasana is meant to provide practitioners with a final opportunity to still their minds and experience the universe through only their spirit and bodies, but beginners, who are often exhausted by too much thought, will often slip away completely into sleep.
That is how yoga can truly make a difference in both your mental health and general well being. It affords you the opportunity to still your thoughts and release your stress for not only the hour that you are on the mat, but for a long period of time once you step off it. One could say that the point of yoga is to help you live a conscious life, to be self aware and fully present in your life, and it helps you do that by grounding you in the moment, energizing your body, and helping calm your mind.
Photos: Provided by Phil Tucker via Flickr
Readers: How has yoga changed your life (for those who practice it? What would motivate you to try yoga if you have not yet done so?