Archive

Monthly Archives: May 2014
2

Good, Better, Best Bod Yet with DietBet

Alexandra Williams, MA
Alexandra jumping on mini-trampoline

Showing off the Bread Tumor I Need to Decrease

We recently posted about starting a DietBet, which is an online game where you sign up to lose 4% of your body weight in a 4 week span. If you make your weight loss goal, you share in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

That’s 28 days of focusing on your food and exercise. Getting proper sleep helps too. You can actually lose 14 pounds a year just by adding one hour of sleep each night.

The start date was just two days ago (May 27), and the pot is already up to $675, with 27 players putting $25 each into the game pot.

We’ve had a number of people ask us if it’s too late to join, hence this oh-so-loverly video saying, “Yes, you can still join.” [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q671QIDeH-U[/youtube] Okay, it’s actually Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady,” but it IS loverly! You don’t get an extra two days at the end (the final weigh-in is June 24 & 25), but you can do it! Speaking of weighing in, you do NOT have to publicly share your weight. Actually, you don’t have to privately share it in the group either. One “referee” at DietBet headquarters verifies your initial and final weigh in photos to keep us all honest.

For all the details, and to sign up, follow, follow, follow the DietBet road to become Good, Better, Best Bod Yet!!

If you wish to donate to the funds set up for the victims of the UCSB/ Isla Vista murders, go to this post.

And if you wish to hire us to speak about fitness, health and saving money through fitness, contact us at info@funandfit.org. Our operators are standing by (that’s us, and it means our cell phones are in our pockets).

24

Honor the Isla Vista Murder Victims

Alexandra Williams, MA

pic of father after Isla Vista shootingThis post was scheduled to be a reminder of our DietBet that is starting. But I live in Santa Barbara and teach at UCSB where the six murdered students attended. I am very sad, and all I can think about is the parents of the victims, Katherine Cooper, Christopher Martinez, Veronika Weiss, George Chen, Weihan Wang, and C.H. (I know his name has been published, but his parents have requested him to only be identified by his initials).

None of them were enrolled in my classes, yet they are all “my” students, just as they are yours. All of us MUST come together to insist on laws that keep weapons such as semi-automatics out of the hands of the mentally ill. No parent should have to go through the pain of being told their child has been randomly murdered.

Please watch the video of Richard Martinez trying to speak through the grief of losing his only child, and promise yourself that you will do something to make your children and my children safer.

If you wish to donate to the UCSB memorial that is being established for the six students, please click here.

If you wish to to donate to the Victims of Isla Vista Fund, please click here.

And please go hug your children, your parents, your siblings, and all those you love. pic of Miles, Aidan & KarinaThese are my boys and my niece. I want them to outlive me. Go in Peace.

Updated 5/26/2014: Richard Martinez, whose son was killed in the Santa Barbara shootings, said the following:

“Today, I’m going to ask every person I can find to send a postcard to every politician they can think of with three words on it: Not One More.”

I just sent a Not One More postcard to my elected leaders. Join me and send one today. #NotOneMore

 

35

Chicken-Wrapped Bratwurst in Honey Peanut Butter Sauce

Alexandra Williams, MA
picture of Bees Knees peanut butter

Whipping up some honey PB sauce

For Memorial Day, we have a lot of family coming to town, and I am the hostess who enjoys spending time in the kitchen, preparing yummy stuff for all of them. Inspired by “The Bee’s Knees” honey peanut butter that Peanut Butter & Co. sent me as part of their Yum Squad, I created a recipe that I think is a winner:  Chicken-Wrapped Bratwurst in PB Sauce.

First of all, I was just going to make chicken marinated in the sauce, but I accidentally defrosted chicken lunchmeat instead of chicken breasts, so I just defrosted bratwurst and figured it would work to wrap the chicken around the bratwurst! That’s my full disclosure on the way I create the cooking magic here at the Alexandra House of Cooking Infamy. I’m actually a vegetarian, so can be excused (somewhat) for my chicken confusion, right?!

In any case, the recipe is below, and was pronounced a delicious success by the meat-eaters in my family. So it shall be repeated for the weekend. It’s a versatile recipe, eh!! (I’m channeling my inner Canadian for no apparent reason there).

picture of uncooked bratwurst in honey PB sauce

Wrapped up and ready to bake

Chicken Wrapped Bratwurst in Honey Peanut Butter Sauce

8 slices chicken lunchmeat
4 large bratwurst

Sauce
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey peanut butter
1/2 tsp curry paste (red or green)
2 minced or crushed garlic cloves
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
zest and juice of small lime (or 1/2 of regular)

Whisk together all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Put the bratwurst into the bowl and fully cover it with the sauce. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes. While it’s marinating, preheat the oven to 350. Put the bratwurst into a baking dish (or on a parchment covered baking sheet) and wrap the chicken slices around the bratwurst. Pour remaining sauce over the meat and bake for 45-60 minutes.

I baked it in a covered dish, so if you bake it in an uncovered dish or on a baking sheet, the cooking time might be somewhat less. And in case you’re wondering what I ate, I had the borscht, made from beets I grew in my garden.

Serves 4

picture of pb marinated bratwurst and borscht

Chicken wrapped Bratwurst in Honey Peanut Butter Sauce, served with Beet Soup

 

 

 

 

 

This is not a sponsored post, but Peanut Butter & Co. did send me two jars of Bee’s Knees. They also will send two jars to a U.S. resident who gets randomly selected in our giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy holidays to you and yours if you’re celebrating Memorial Day. Also, if you haven’t joined our Diet Better yet, why not? Lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks and win a share of the money in the pot. Only $25 to join. It begins on Tuesday, May 27, so eat that holiday food, then get a’losin!! Read our post about it or just click to join.

5

DietBetter: 4 percent Weight Loss in 4 weeks

Alexandra Williams, MA

Many people (mostly women) come to us for advice about losing weight. There are so many different ways to lose weight; some healthy, some not. We talk about realistic, healthy solutions.

lady on scale getting weighed

Weigh me up, Scotty!

With that in mind, we are about to start a four week DietBetter on Tuesday, May 27. You get 4 weeks to lose 4% of your starting weight. At the end of the 4 weeks, whoever’s hit their 4% goal is a winner and splits the pot. The amount in the shared pot depends on the number of people who join up.

 

With DietBetter we don’t tell you HOW to lose the weight, though Kymberly and I do have advice about the best diet for weight loss, the most effective way to get started , and the best weight loss methods according to research (hint: the answer is “it depends”).

What we like about DietBetter is that you choose the weight loss method that’s right for you, while they set the parameters to keep it healthy and safe. For example, if you weigh 170 pounds, four percent of that is 6.8 pounds, which means losing 1.7 pounds a week. Totally realistic, as we show in our post “Lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks.” Math + hard work = weight loss success + financial gain.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/79208152[/vimeo]

How DietBetter works:

1. Join up today and put $25 in the pot. You can join up after the game starts, but you are best off to join up in advance.

2. In the 48 hours before the start date of May 27 you post a starting weight photo that is verified by the DietBetter team (they send you a word to use, plus photo requirements).

3. Your weight is NEVER shared unless you decide to do so.

4. You can check in on the site as often as you like to share successes, frustrations, ideas, encouraging words, or even to ask us for advice.

5. Within 48 hours of the end date of June 28, you post your final weight. If you are a winner, you need to post a verification photo. If you did NOT achieve your 4% goal, you don’t need to post a picture.

6. Winners get their share of the pot via PayPal.

That’s it. I’ll be doing this too, as I still want to lose that last bit of the 10 pounds I gained back in December when I complained about being overweight and over the hill. Trying to lose weight on my own has gone okay, but not great. I am still not where I was six months ago, even with all my exercise and healthy eating. I’m motivated by money because I want to get my $25 investment back!! I also want to make money, though secretly I hope everyone is a winner. Oh, that’s another great thing about DietBetter – if everyone wins, they don’t even keep their cut. They believe so strongly in positive reinforcement that if we all win by losing, we all get back our full $25.

So, are you in? Click on this link to join. Four weeks. Four percent.

 

 

photo credit: lady on scale – Clarita

We love it when we can share good news with you – If you have watched any of our videos about improving your posture, you know we are fans of good posture. In celebration of National Correct Posture Month, our friends at BackJoy are rewarding those who commit to improving their posture by awarding the first 500 people who participate in the #PosturePledge celebration with a FREE SitSmart Posture Plus ($40.00 retail value), You’ll also be automatically entered to win a fabulous grand prize. All you have to do is choose one of the ten simple actions listed on BackJoy’s Posture Pledge Facebook page.

It’s a good bet to subscribe to our blog and listen to our radio show. Experience some of the best leaders in the health, wellness, and fitness world every Wednesday morning at 8:00 PT/ 11:00am ET. Listen in (better yet, call in to 866-472-5792) to our new radio show Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers with guests who offer practical advice and cutting edge solutions to your active aging challenges. You’ll find us at voiceamerica.com on the Health and Wellness channel.

7

Hiking at Sky Ranch Fitness Spa: My Naughty Dog Story

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Sky Ranch trailAre you ready for a low class poop story to reveal how high class the Sky Ranch Fitness Spa experience is? First, to cut to the chase: If you are looking for a beautiful, healthy, intimate spa getaway that emphasizes hiking, movement classes, personal attention and nutritious meals, this is the place for you. (Read our post asking what your health is worth) Now back to the part of my week that was really stinky!

Last month, Alexandra and I were invited to Santa Barbara County’s newest week long wellness resort. With accommodations at the world class Bacara Resort, and adventures throughout the county, we left Sky Ranch Fitness quite impressed with the level of passion, instructor quality, and commitment to improving guests’ healthy living habits.

My notiebook from Sky Ranch Fitness

They spelled my name right!

Chef's meal Sky Ranch

This smelled great, unlike poop dog!

We especially loved the looooong, calorie burning hikes to places even we had not seen in our 30+ years living in Santa Barbara. Starting our day at 6:15 with a stretch or “foundation” class was worth waking for. Ending the day with a massage, or visit to a local winery for an exclusive dinner with a top level chef made me feel pampered and almost ready to move to a ranch.  Or to have a personal chef at the very least.

However, it was the daily 3 hour hikes I really loved. Ok, maybe at the time as we were going uphill, both ways, in the heat, forever and ever, I might have moaned and whimpered a bit. And sung the Gilligan’s Island song. A Three Hour Tour. From coastline to mountain to meadow, Sky Ranch Fitness Spa took us on trails they had spent months researching and culling to provide the perfect options for a range of guest levels.

Gaviota hike with Sky RanchThe hikes were so lovely and the staff so encouraging, offering so many great water bottles biomechanical walking tips, that a FUN thought occurred to me. Would it be ok to bring Kila princess doggie number one best and most loyal pup in the whole wide world who lives to run and walk and move and groove, as she still needed her daily walk? (Confession – I also did not want to have to miss the Sky Ranch afternoon classes, drive home, and walk Kila after spending the day exercising.) Or would it be tacky and intrusive to be THAT person who had to bring her dog along? So I asked Sky Ranch owner, Stuart Gildred plus checked with the other hikers. who all said “no prob.” Yeah, we had a great group of comrades the week Alexandra and I were at Sky Ranch Fitness! Since Tuesday’s hike took place on owner, Stuart’s private ranch, it seemed the perfect day to pack Kila in the Sky Ranch van and tote her along.

As Kila’s human guardian, I knew she would be easy to control and sweet with other people and animals.  Plus I keep a sharp eye on her as she zips up hill and down dale. Except for that one minute I lost sight of her (possibly due to some heavy breathing on my part on a steep hill that necessitated a “photo opp” stop.) The fink! In fewer than 60 seconds of unsupervised excitement, that rat’s patootie of a pup found the freshest –as in wet, greenish brown, and still fermenting — cow pie ever. And rolled in it. A lot. All over. As in totally covered in sticky, stinky, socially unacceptable poop. Remember we came in a van? How was Mz Stank Thang going to get home?

Best hike dog ever

Scratch, but don’t sniff.

Yes, she and I were facing social pariah status. Here is where you get an example of the level of service the Sky Ranch Fitness Spa offers. As we sweated our way back down the trail to Stuart’s ranch and the van waiting to take us back to an amazing lunch at the Bacara Resort, Stuart came up big! He brought over his hose to wash off some of the semi-dry, half squishy and still wet poop that could have fertilized an entire field.  Then he fetched several towels from his personal stash. Towels I suggested would not recover from the duty they were about to perform. Towels that no human will want to touch ever again despite the cute, pink horsey theme they had going on.

And to top it off, the Sky Ranch staff and Stuart would not let me rinse, stash, pay for, nor burn them. They allowed me to abandon them in the parking lot where they said they’d take care of it. Trust me that these no pink horsies showed through the brown and green layers any more. Like the 1987 movie, these were Untouchables. And Kila was still Unpettable. But van Acceptable.

picture at Bacara running drills

Doing drills outside. I beat the trainer at least once.

My point is that if you go to Sky Ranch Fitness, you will get this level of service, attention, and kindness of heart. From the Bacara maid to the certified fitness instructors to the owner himself, the Sky Ranch staff had our best interests in mind from morning to night.  You will play hard and be rewarded for it. Though it’s only fair that you wash your own poop covered dog.
And now for some pictures of our week to really make you want to come to Santa Barbara! And maybe even to move more than usual as we head into summer.

 

 

Hiking near Gaviota

I claim this land as mine!

Hiking near Gaviota

Shh, don’t tell her that my arm is dripping sweat onto her hat.

 

Hike over to our blog to subscribe and listen to our radio show. Experience some of the best leaders in the health, wellness, and fitness world every Wednesday morning at 8:00 PT/ 11:00am ET. Listen in (better yet, call in to 866-472-5792) to our new radio show Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers with guests who offer practical advice and cutting edge solutions to your active aging challenges. You’ll find us at voiceamerica.com on the Health and Wellness channel.

 

9

Best Workout Surfaces

Alexandra Williams, MA

As a boomer and group fitness instructor with one reconstructed knee and a fused big toe (both due to soccer), I am always mindful about the surfaces I exercise on. Some surfaces hurt; others feel cushiony and safe. Whether you have an injury or are trying to prevent one, it’s smart to work out on a forgiving, protective surface.

pic of Regupol process

From Rejected to Recycled to Regupol

In order to share the best information with you, I went last week to Pennsylvania to check out a variety of floor surfaces as a guest of Regupol, German-American makers of rubber sports and fitness flooring made of recycled tires.

Last year we wrote a post about running surfaces in answer to a reader question, which you’ll want to read. One main point from that post is to pay attention to the three S’s: Springback, Shock absorption, and Stability. In the pictures below, you can see that I tested every Regupol floor in a variety of workout modes. I even ran (which many of you know I gave up after my knee surgeries). The three S’s were there in all cases, and I had zero joint pain. I even felt daring in a sense, because I could try stuff I had been afraid would hurt previously.

Over two days we visited Shane Victorino Nicetown Boys & Girls Club,

pic from visit to Boys and Girls club, Nicetown

John of Regupol (and “Rocky” movie expert). P.S. I suck at basketball.

 

Horsham Athletic Club,

pic at Horsham Athletic Club

I can fly!

 

Villanova University Basketball Training Room and Football & Olympic Sports Training Room,

pic of Regupol flooring at Villanova

V for Very light weight (or Villanova University)

 

Lancaster Mennonite High School,

Running on the Lancaster Mennonite High Regupol track

Yup, I RAN the track. All the way around. (photo credit: Michael Gaio of Athletic Business)

 

Franklin & Marshall College,

pic on the track at Franklin & Marshall U

Running, Pole Vault & Steeplechase. No idea about two of those.

 

and the Regupol America facility. During the tour, in addition to checking for comfort and support, I paid attention to additional details that I feel are important:

Sustainability

In 2011, Regupol America became the first company in Pennsylvania to earn a coveted GreenCircle certification. Sustainable manufacturing utilizes processes that are non-polluting, conserve energy and natural resources, and are economically sound for the community. During the factory tour, we learned that the waste is practically zero. Actually, the only thing I remember them mentioning as trash is the plastic wrap that encases the ready-to-ship flooring rolls. Oh, I also learned that “Regupol” stands for REcycled GUmmi (rubber) POLymer. So German!

Acoustics and Absorption

If you’re a grunter, singer or screamer, you might be happy to be in a workout area that absorbs those sounds! And if you are someone who drops your weights (very few exercises exist that actually require you to do so, by the way), you will want an absorbing floor that doesn’t disturb the exercisers below (can you tell I’ve endured years of teaching where the sounds of dropped weights on the floor above are louder than my group exercise music?).

Olympic-Level Quality

Some of the tracks we visited are exactly the same as the the one on which Usain Bolt won the 2009 Berlin World Championships. If you have a kid headed to university who wants to compete in Track and Field, this might be a deal-maker.

The moral of the story (I’ve always wanted to say that) is this: if your joints hurt after exercising, switch to a better surface. Such things DO exist. Now I’m working on a plan to convince Regupol to recycle some of their flooring as sandal soles. If my childhood huaraches from Mexico can have tire pieces glued on as soles, my adulthood sandals surely can have an updated version, right?!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, nor was I asked to write this post. Regupol paid for my trip to Pennsylvania. They even shared local trivia about the “Amish Mafia” (some sort of TV show) and the “Rocky” movies!

 

24

Energy: Can a 57 Year Old Have More Than a 20 Year Old?

Alexandra teaching Drums Alive with energy and style

Drums Alive helps keep me alive and lively!

“How do you have so much energy?” a student asked me after my 8 a.m. cardio class one week. I am 57. My university students are about 20.  What do you think I gave as my answer? More to the point, if you want to gain energy and reduce fatigue, especially post-menopause, what can you do?

After I gave my response, I walked back into the gym and taught two more classes – one Drums Alive ; one strength training on the ball. Once I was done teaching, I started thinking further about her energy question. Although it was really probably a compliment with no answer expected, I did ponder it as a sort of research question. You know, in an anecdotal sense, as I haven’t done any research on myself (trying two cigarettes in 7th grade sort of counts as self-research I guess. I smoked the wrong end, as we were hiding in a dark basement, so couldn’t see. Turned it around, inhaled deeply, almost died from coughing. End of smoking career).

First, the answers I rejected as to the genesis of my energy:

  • Genetically gifted
  • Good luck
  • Students are super listless, so I look energetic by comparison (though they do look a bit like pale vampires during mid-terms)
  • I’m bionic
  • Energizer batteries shoved up my … nope, that’s not it
  • Optical illusion due to room lighting
  • Crowd hypnosis
  • Lots of caffeine (hahahah. I drink decaf coffee every few weeks, and think soda is evil)

Want to know what I told her? Three words: Exercise, Nutrition, and Willingness

Exercise makes you tired, not energized is short-term thinking. You can reduce fatigue &… Click To Tweet

Exercise

Applying our energy at Lizard's Mouth with Tamara Grand

Top of the mountain and top of our over 50 game via exercise with hormone expert, Tamara Grand, PhD.

Most non-exercisers will think, “Hey, wait just a sec. Exercise makes you tired, not energized. W.R.O.N.G. That is short-term thinking. In the long run (and 57 is the long run, I assure you), the cardiovascular system becomes more efficient when it is challenged with exercise. I’ve been teaching for 35 years, plus I danced and played soccer before that. So even when I had anemia in my 20s, I still had lots of energy. This post we wrote with 7 of the top reasons people exercise will enlighten you. And this other post with the other top 7 reasons will make you smile. Or so we hope.

Nutrition

It’s probably an unfair match-up between my eating habits and my university students’ because they are part of a demographic famous for eating (to say it delicately) crap. I require them to eat a healthy breakfast, yet I don’t actually monitor their personal lives, nor am I all that sure that their definition of “healthy” matches mine. However, I do nag give them friendly advice about what constitutes a suitable breakfast prior to working out. In our radio interview with personal trainer, author, and biologist Tamara Grand, PhD  you can hear her excellent advice about clean eating for women over 45 (though her advice works for all ages). I have taken her “tough love” advice about no longer being able to eat as I did in my younger years (due in part to estrogen and other hormones).

(Want a free transcript of the highly rated interview with Tamara? Find out how to get your very own copy of Menopause, Midlife, and Weight Gain by clicking the link. Scroll down to see Bonus #1)

Willingness

What the heck does this have to do with energy, and what do I mean by willingness? I really just mean attitude and being willing to do what it takes to be healthy and fit. I am not a of fan of the word “willpower” when it comes to moving and eating for health because it’s too easy to feel it’s a battle, and I don’t want to fight with myself. Trying to think succinctly, I’d say that I am pretty good at “If / Then” decisions. For example, I walk a lot. And when I walk I don’t actually like to sweat. But I think, “If I walk up the mountain road for an hour, then I’ll have done my 10,000 steps (my daily goal) for the day.” Or “If I choose not to eat cookies or ice cream when I crave an evening snack, then I’ll be that much closer to my weight goal.” I think of the choices, then make conscious decisions. I essentially have a bargain with myself. Luckily, most of my bargains lead to a happy, energetic resolution!

Willingness, not willpower will help you gain more energy, especially women over 50 and post… Click To Tweet
picture of Alexandra being goofy

Take That, Age Assumptions!

I’m tempted to say, “Suck it, youngsters,” but I like my youngsters, and was once one myself. So I think I’ll just say, “Try to keep up. Maybe by the time you’re 50 plus, you’ll have lots of energy too!”

For those of you above 50 (or know someone who is), do you have more energy now than you did then?

ACTION: Live longer, more energetically, and better when you subscribe. Enter your email; have us come to you twice a week with professional, proven, active aging answers.

Alexandra Williams, MA

 

Sign up to start "youthifying" today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21

5 Foods to Eat to Defy Your Age (And 5 to Avoid)

rances Largeman Roth, Eating in Color Food to Eat

Foods to Eat to Look and Feel Great

Diet choices you make affect your aging process. Are you eating to bring youth and vitality to your life? Or could you be ingesting foods that age you? We recently interviewed Registered Dietician nutritionist and bestselling author, Frances Largeman-Roth to find out which foods extend our life and which shorten it.

Kymberly: The advice Frances shares is so achievable and easy to incorporate, we decided to share the highlights here. Makes me wish she’d asked which foods make my legs longer.

Interestingly, it also turns out your food choices can greatly impact your skin. Plenty of great products are out there (one we’re aware of being Instantly Ageless skincare), though finding the right one for you can be an involved process. Meantime, if you want to feel good and look good, then eat well! Let’s find out how and what.

using the remote to watch tv and drink beer FOods to Eat

No Just No

Avoid These Unless You Want to Look Like You’ve Been Smoking for Years

  1. Sugar
  2. Sodium
  3. Trans-fat
  4. Alcohol
  5. Caffeine

 

Blueberries, Strawberries, Citrus

Yes. Three colors you’ll look good in. Or will look good in you.

Eat These If You Want People to Ask “Is That Your Sister?” When It’s Your Daughter

  1. Blueberries
  2. Cocoa flavanols
  3. Red foods: watermelon, tomatoes, apples
  4. Broccoli and Brussel Sprouts
  5. Flax seed

Wonder what else will improve your skin? Go here: What affects your weight, skin, and brain function?

Perhaps you’d like to identify more foods to eat that help you stay youthful. Then read this post: 12 healthy food trends

Action: If you really want to slow and show the aging process who’s boss, subscribe to our blog.

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

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