While looking for what’s happening in the Women over 50 space online I came across articles telling me what I can and can’t do/have/wear. Can I tell you how tired I am of people telling women over 50 what NOT to ____________? (fill in the blank) Haven’t we earned the right to wear ripped jeans, ride a skateboard or own a white wicker chair if we want? According to many of the articles I read, among several other things, we should not do those.
I don’t want to ride a skateboard. I did try it in my 40’s
and quickly realized that I was not destined to rival Elissa Steamer for the
championship, but might be first in line to help an orthopedic surgeon buy a
new Beamer! (Steamer, Beamer … did ya see what I did there?) I did, however,
recently buy a white wicker chair for my bedroom. It’s where I was sitting when
I read that I shouldn’t have bought it, and where I am now writing this post.
I had just redone the colors, with a new set of bedding, a few pillows, and a couple of cans of spray paint, and realized I’d created a color scheme I’d been dreaming of for years. The only thing missing was a white, wicker chair. Within hours I’d found one on Facebook Marketplace, picked it up, and with the remaining can of spray paint it became the white wicker chair of my dreams … Voila! My dream room became a reality! It is bright, cheerful and makes me smile every time I walk in.
If skateboarding, princess ruffles, or ripped jeans make you happy, do it! To heck with what others say!
Aging is a gift, not a set of restrictions. We get to define what aging looks like … no one else! So, go outside and play or stay inside and read; wear all the makeup you want or none at all; color your hair or don’t; put boy band posters in your bedroom or go traditional; Embrace you!
Wellness is more than the food that you eat or the exercise you do. It’s about the whole of you. This health coach recommends surrounding yourself with joy & memories …
As a coach, I am always on a quest to gain ever more insight into both personal and professional growth. So, recently I read the book The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan and listened to over 30 episodes of Geoff Woods’ The One Thing podcast. I immediately recognized how their program would improve the outcome of my approach to wellness; Choose one thing to change, make it simple, do it until it’s a habit, then choose the next change.
The One Thing program added fuel to my One Simple Change philosophy! They recommend setting a time on your calendar when you focus only on that change, and track it for 66 days! Only then do you choose your next thing. They recommend choosing something that will make everything else easier or unnecessary. Just so you know, it’s often not the first thing you choose, but as you move through the process, an awareness grows and you wonder why you didn’t see it from the beginning! (No snickers from the peanut gallery when you hear my Ah Ha! moment!)
I journal every day. It’s been my practice for over ten years and has led me to new levels of self-awareness. However, it sometimes takes awhile. 😉 My first 66-Day Challenge was to plan what I’ll eat during the week on Saturday, shop and cook over the weekend, then each morning plan my day’s food by putting it into my tracking app. (I use Carb Manager, but My Fitness Pal works great as well.)
I printed out my 66-Day Challenge chart, stuck it on the
fridge, and found some gold stickers … I was pumped! I started on September 1st
and did it religiously for several days! Trouble was … I didn’t follow the plan!
Ah Ha! … I now have TWO 66-Day Challenge charts on the fridge:
One is for creating the plan and the other is for FOLLOWING the plan! I now have
gold stars on both, and the result? The weight loss stall that I was experiencing
is over and I’ve added 3 pounds to the loss column!
I have to follow a low-oxalate, diary free, gluten free
diet. I’m sure you can imagine that my food list is restrictive. Recently,
despite my former edict that Keto was the devil, I decided that my food list
would probably work best within the framework of a Clean Keto plan (I was close
to it anyway) and it’s been working quite well for me. I don’t experience
cravings, have tons of energy, no longer feel like an afternoon nap is necessary,
my fasting blood sugar is in the 80’s (it used to be 102) and to date I’ve lost
over 14 pounds.
More importantly is the sense of calm that I feel. The lack of cravings is totally unreal! I can sit with friends, surrounded by chips and salsa, bread on the table, or the most delectable-looking desserts and I DO NOT CRAVE THEM! I am no longer eating after dinner and that allows my body to rest better at night. I learned that I don’t need to be full or worried about the next time I will eat because my blood sugar is stable. I feel calm.
Speaking of going out with friends, there are Keto-friendly alcohols. Not that I indulge often, but a flavored vodka with plain soda water, dry white or red wine, or a whiskey on the rocks … yup!
In The One Thing, they compare your one thing to the lead domino … knock it down and all the dominoes behind it fall down seemingly without effort. Strangely, because of my one thing, creating a meal plan, I am better able to focus on everything else in my day. My office is more organized, my home is more organized, this blog got written … I do not feel like I’m crazy busy chasing things every moment. I know it sounds a little strange, but my entire being, mental and physical has relaxed. The dominoes keep falling!
Prior to Clean Keto and the One Thing, I ate a primarily
Mediterranean Diet and when I tried to lose weight I was overcome with cravings
and could barely move the scale. If there was a chip in front of me, I was
going to eat it. I couldn’t stay out of gluten even knowing it wasn’t good for
Today, I eat better quality EVERYTHING, in the right proportions,
and find it quite simple. I cook meals that I’ve always made, minus the heavy
Oh, and I take my Juice Plus+ Blends every single day! Those
capsules, brimming with over 30 varieties of fruits, berries and vegetables,
add to my nutrition in such a big way … I would never go without them!
Here’s a sampling of my week: pastured organic chicken cacciatore,
mashed cauliflower, broccoli with butter, wild caught salmon with butter,
garlic and lemon, organic grass fed steak, organic grass fed meatloaf, cabbage
soup made with organic grass fed ground beef, pastured organic chicken wings, blueberries
and organic cream, homemade waffles with no-sugar-added ice cream, organic pumpkin
seeds, raw coconut butter, and coffee with organic cream.
I’ll update you as I go along and let you know how things
are progressing. I am hopeful that everything will continue to get better and
Would you like to learn more about how to identify your One Thing? Would you like to learn more about what diet might be a solution for you? Please fill out the contact form and I’ll get back with you.
You can get the book for free by listening to the podcast. You’ll get a PDF of the book by following the simple directions. Find it here! (Listen to the first episode and they tell you what to do.)
First, let’s talk about change. It’s hard! By the time we’re
50 and older, we’re darned stuck in our ways, right?!
In order to make changes last, we have to learn about how to effectively use discipline and willpower. In his book,The One Thing, Gary Keller says what we need is a new habit, not discipline nor willpower. Toss in enough discipline for a short time, while the habit kicks in, and we won’t need to rely on it to continue the behavior. Think about it: You don’t use discipline to brush your teeth, make coffee, get out the door on your way to work, put on your seat belt or start the car and put it in drive. Why? Because they’re all habits!
As he points out in the book, “… who would want to be, ‘disciplined’ anyway? The very thought of having your every behavior molded and maintained by training seems frighteningly impossible on one hand and utterly boring on the other.”
What about willpower? Mr. Keller shares research stating
that we have a daily reserve of willpower and over the course of the day, it is
depleted every time we use if for something, regardless of how trivial. It’s a
powerful thing, until it needs a nap! Kathleen Vohs, in Prevention
magazine (2009) used the analogy of it being like gasoline in your car. Every
time you start and/or run your car’s engine, you use some of your gas and
eventually your tank is empty.
Willpower is the same … resist that donut at 8AM, the French
fries at lunch, bite your tongue throughout the day, and when it’s 9PM and
you’re relaxing … BAM! the ice cream or potato chips begin their siren call
just when your willpower is at its lowest.
In The One Thing, Keller shares research showing that
when our willpower runs out, we revert to our default settings. Understanding those
settings is a step toward awareness but is not the answer. Managing our ‘tank’
of willpower is the solution. In the book, he points out several things that
deplete willpower: Suppressing emotions, or impulses, restraining aggression,
resisting temptation, trying to impress or doing something you don’t want to do.
Some of those are obvious willpower guzzlers but taking tests and filtering
distractions surprised me.
I understand that taking tests can be stressful, and as
such, made sense once I thought about it, but filtering distractions was an
AHA! moment for me. As someone with ADHD, I never realized how filtering
distractions was one of my major guzzlers, leaving me exhausted! A couple of
other things on the list rang true for ADHD as well: suppressing impulses and
doing things one doesn’t enjoy are big challenges. Knowing that they guzzle
willpower means scheduling them when the tank is full!
Other important factors in filling your tank include staying
rested and healthy eating. Eating properly, and at the right time sets you up
My willpower plan is to do important things first and try to
set up meetings for later in the day. However, it rarely works that my mid
mornings aren’t planned out, so when I get home in the afternoon, I take a
20-30-minute nap. (Alexa, set an alarm for 3:30!) That mental break, and energy
charge, tops off my tank so that I can finish up the important stuff while
still taking advantage of a reasonable bedtime.
There are so many planning tools available that finding one
that works for you, studying your willpower’s timing and your focused needs,
will probably require designing and redesigning your daily plan several times.
Also, we change, and our priorities change, often leading to a new plan.
I highly recommend Gary Keller’s book, The One Thing. Read it, listen to it, work with it and see where it leads. There’s also a podcast and planning sheets. Check it all out here!
As always, I love giving presentations on wellness. Check out my offerings here, and check the calendar for what’s coming up. You can learn more about Juice Plus+ here for the simplest change!
What does Lifelong Learning mean to you? Do you think of taking
formal classes in person or online? Maybe you think of traveling and learning
new customs and languages. What if I told you that every single day you are
learning something, and when you get intentional about it, it expands and preserves
your ability to think, create, form memories and hang onto them?
My mother always said that she’d always be of sound mind
because she worked a crossword puzzle every day. While crosswords are great, if
you’ve done one every day for 60+ years, it’s probably not much of a stretch
for you. Now, if you tried to do Sudoku … that would be a stretch!
The key to keeping things fresh and exciting is to get
yourself frustrated now and again. When I hear Boomers say that they have no
interest in learning “those danged smart phones.” My response? It’s one of the
best things you could do for your brain!” Getting out of our comfort zone and
feeling stupid is exceptionally good for our brains as long as we push through.
Every time you push yourself to figure something out, like
how to send an email, open an app, order from Amazon or send a text (to the
right person), you are building new neuro pathways. For those who find technology
easy, putting together a chair from IKEA or putting in a new doorknob or dead
bolt might be the challenge. It’s about what’s new for you.
You know those things you do without thinking? Making the
coffee, brushing your teeth, following the route to work or the gym every day? Maybe
it’s the order in which you put on your pants or socks and shoes on autopilot.
Well, here’s some happy food for your brain: change it! Yes! Move the coffee to
another cabinet, put your toothbrush in a different space, choose a different
route, and put the left foot in your pants first instead of the right!
Just like water, our brains use the path of least resistance,
and that is the neural pathway that you developed early in life. According to
Deborah Ancona, Professor of Management & Organizational Studies at MIT, “By
the time we get to the age of 25, we just have so many existing pathways that
our brain relies on, it’s hard to break free of them.”
When your brain is young, it’s much more flexible which
makes it easier to learn, but even though we’re no longer 25, we can still
learn, and doing so imparts great benefits. It’s about using your brain in new
ways rather than the comfort of the pathways we created when we were young. If
you use math regularly, but rarely read, you might want to build a habit of
reading, and vice versa. If you love to read but aren’t comfortable delving
into science or math, sign up for a class that pushes you to use your brain in
a new way.
Building the new pathways doesn’t happen overnight. That’s
why we often take on a challenge, then quit when we are tired or too busy
thinking, “I’ll just do this the easy way tonight because I had a stressful day.”
The new neural pathway isn’t deeply ingrained to stick, so it becomes even
harder the next day. If you want to build that pathway, support your brains
youthful plasticity, you must persevere despite wanting to fall back into your
comfort zone. (Sorry)
Many colleges around the country offer classes at a reduced
rate. In some cases, there is a needs-based assessment, but often the only
requirement is that you are 50+ years old. In Johnson County, Kansas the Community
College allows those aged 60+ to take credit classes for $16/semester hour.
There is a special enrollment date, and you have to have a current admissions
application on file.
So, to wrap up, give yourself permission to explore
something new and don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen overnight. Just keep
at it … your brain will thank you!
In Case You Missed It (ICYMI): It seems we all have a need to simplify, but how do we do that without losing the memories we’ve attached to our precious things? Check it out here!
You’re over 50 so I know you’ve collected a few things in
your life. You might be like my friend who has saved ticket stubs and playbills
from every concert and performance she’s attended, you might have saved every
dog collar or your children’s toys, or you might be like me and have some of
your children’s artwork, a few of your parent’s items, jewelry or even furniture.
There are also the things you’ve collected as well. For example, I have a peace
dove necklace that was purchased in 1970 at the San Jose flea market.
The necklace has a story attached to it … everything we
collect has a story attached to it, every ticket and playbill of my friends and
every dog collar or child’s toy. You see, the things we collect mark our
memories. But, and this is the important part, they aren’t our memories.
With or without the item, we have our memories.
As you think about simplifying, consider leaving a book of
memories. Your family might not be interested now but they, or the next
generation, will be curious one day. I have a ceramic bull that was in my home
growing up. It’s anatomically correct. (yeah, weird) I would love to know the
story behind it, and the conversations it provoked, but I never will.
Our stories die with us. We can change that and simplify at
the same time. A book of memories is a way to hold onto the memories, not the
items. Not just holding onto them but sharing them. Imagine how free your space
will feel when you give some of your things to your kids or grandkids. Don’t be
surprised by what they don’t want. When that’s the case, donate!
If you are supporting aging parents, this is a great way for
you to honor them and build their legacy. Ask them about the things they’ve
surrounded themselves with, and if they’re having to consolidate, offer to create
a book of memories for them.
Here is how I am creating mine. It is both on the computer
and printed (put together in a binder with sheet protectors). If I get super motivated,
I might send it out to be bound into a book, but for now, the important thing
is to start recording. An excerpt:
This peace dove necklace was purchased at the San Jose
Flea Market in 1970 when I visited with my friend, Gary.
I thought I was the
coolest, hippy chick! The reality? I was a 21-year-old mom of a 3-year-old, living
a very un-hippy life back in Mundelein, Illinois. (That miniature golf outfit …
100% polyester worn with dark suede Minnetonka moccasins!
But, my heart? Totally hippy chick!
remember some of my favorite music: Woodstock,
Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Jethro Tull’s Songs from the Wood, Revolution by the
Beatles, and artists galore including, Peter, Paul and Mary, Simon and Garfunkel,
Joan Baez, John Lennon and George Harrison. That list is endless! And of
course, you couldn’t play with toy guns or soldiers and we had tie-dyed tees,
black light love posters and India print bedspreads!
(When I put it all together, I’ll add more about Gary, but
not for y’all.) 😉
When I no longer wear the necklace, I’ll be able to give it
to one of my kids without regret, because the memory will live on in my book. I
imagine myself, when I am less able to get out and about, and my space is much
smaller, being able to bring out my book of memories. It will make me smile to
know that my grandkids won’t wonder where the anatomically correct bull came
from because that will be in there too.
What will your book look like? I’d love for you to share a
story or two in the comments!
Maybe it’s not quite the official watermelon season, and some of my sustainable friends might give me grief, but those little ‘personal’ watermelons are in stores and are very tasty at this time of year. (I prefer to call them snack size since I consider any watermelon my ‘personal’ watermelon … size matters not!)
Watermelon is my favorite food and I have gone without for months. No longer! Sweet, crisp and cold it is my idea of perfection. Don’t take my word for it; here are some facts about this amazing green striped orb:
Watermelon has more lycopene than tomatoes; 20mg per six cup serving. Why do you care? Lycopene is an incredible antioxidant! Researchers have found evidence that shows by including it in your diet you can positively impact heart disease, cancer (most notably lung, stomach, breast, cervix and prostate), diabetes and osteoporosis. Toss in a side of anti-aging support and watermelon is a big winner!
By watermelon’s antioxidants corralling a bunch of free radicals it reduces the damage they can cause. Damage that includes the inflammation of arthritis, severity of asthma attacks and the stickiness of cholesterol which leads to atherosclerosis
One serving increases free arginine, supporting lower blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.
Watermelon is loaded with Vitamin A, C, B6, B1, potassium and magnesium offering strong support for your immune system.
The amino acid compound, citrulline works in conjunction with the arginine it forms to relax blood vessels causing watermelon to be known as a natural choice over Viagra for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
It is a vegetable that belongs to the same family as pumpkin, cucumber and squash … who knew?
Due to its high water content (92% water) explorers used watermelon as a canteen. (Okay, this created a cartoon in my head of a bunch of people in khaki, walking single file through the rain forest, each carrying a big watermelon. Sorry.)
Watermelon is gaining a reputation for its versatility as well; add it to salads or smoothies, create frozen summer treats or, if you’re like me, just eat it cold and crisp from the fridge! Whatever you do, don’t try to freeze it … you’ll end up with a disgusting, slimy red mess.
In today’s world of instant gratification, watermelon is something that you have to get while you can. Enjoy it knowing that you are getting crazy good health benefits!
Stress is a killer. It’s that simple. It might seem like you have no options, but the reality is that you do. With that in mind, let’s look at how to discern how you can best reduce the stress in your life. We’ll start out easy and move into the more challenging areas:
Exercise. This is basic. Exercise reduces the stress load by burning it off.
Eat nourishing foods. The healthier your diet, the better equipped your body is to cope with stress.
Get enough sleep. If you’re overworked and running from one thing to another, make a list of what you need to get handled the next day right before you go to bed. Chances are you will quit waking up in the middle of the night with a long to-do list running through your brain.
Drink water. Water flushes the toxins from your body. Stress creates more toxins. Drink water.
Meditate. If you don’t know how, check out what’s available on YouTube or at your local library. If you want a more personal approach, find a teacher who will help you.
Slow down. Make a list of all that you do and rank everything on it by A) How much you enjoy it, and B) How much it stresses you out.
Next, find solutions for some of the stressors. If you can’t see your way to solutions, ask for help. Often we’re too close to see what actually can be done. Even if the suggestions aren’t workable, one might be the seed of your eventual solution.
Take the least enjoyable and most stressful item off of your plate. Often we find that our jobs fit that description and while it would be great if we could just walk away, that isn’t always practical, but we can look at ways to make our job more enjoyable and/or less stressful. We can also plan our exit which often gives us a bit more control and a sense that things will improve. In the meantime, take the next item that fits the criteria off your plate.
Journaling is a great way to identify what you like about your current situation and what you don’t. Then you can journal about what you think you’d like to be doing. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find what you next step can be. That is exactly how I became a health coach.
Use this exercise regularly to find the stress-causing factors in your life. They do change, you know.
A word about taking something off your plate … ladies. Women have a tendency to say yes far too often, feeling it’s their job to take care of everything and everyone. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard, “But, if I don’t do it, it won’t get done!”
So what? Unless it’s a matter of life and limb, or something so important that you couldn’t stand it if it didn’t get done, let it go. You do know that volunteer coordinators know exactly who will say yes the easiest, and who will say yes if approached in a certain way and that they go to the easiest people first? Don’t be that person!
Volunteering is wonderful! It’s amazing! It’s a gift to the giver and the receiver! Unless it’s just too much. So, volunteer when it’s the best fit for your life. Do not overcrowd your plate or you will pay the price down the road with chronic illness and potentially early death. Yikes!
Get out and get moving! On the flip side is the stress from a lack of outside stimulation. For some people going to work is the only outside activity they have. This can be incredibly stressful as well. Research shows that people who are connected to others, who have healthy social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer.
It can be challenging to find friends when you are on your own, either without children or with grown children. Kids make it easy: Parents tend to congregate where there kids are, and conversations strike up organically. What can you do when you’re not at that stage of your life?
Try out new churches. If you find one that resonates, join some of the classes or groups that they offer or volunteer to help out.
Volunteer at an animal shelter, library, hospital or performance venue.
Join library book clubs.
Take classes (fitness, art, dance) through your local park district or college.
Check out MeetUp.com for groups with similar interests. There are some very active groups that hike, walk, bike, kayak, visit theaters, concerts, symphonies, go to wine tastings, restaurants … the list is endless!
Always remember that it takes time and courage to form friendships. Relax and enjoy the activities that you’ve chosen and when you meet someone you think might be a friend outside of the class, consider inviting them to meet for coffee. Over time, friendships will begin to form.
Whatever your first step is in reducing the impact of stress on your body, I urge you to begin today, right now, like immediately. This is important stuff and it will impact your health for years to come.
If you, or someone you know, would benefit from a Strategy Session, in person or over the phone, just visit my website at http://www.healthworkskc.com/
Thinking peaceful thoughts!
Nancy Oglesby, the Practical Health Coach
simplifying healthy lifestyle changes
About that dairy stuff you’re eating so much of … You know, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and milk? According to Dr. Bruce Berman, data indicate that middle-aged women who consume greater amounts of calcium from dairy are at significantly higher risk for hip fractures than women who receive their calcium from non-dairy sources. Add to that the fact that the United States leads the world in dairy consumption and has the highest incidence of osteoporosis and one can only assume that the American Dairy Association has more clout with USDA than science.
Osteoarthritis affects a lot of women over 50 but if you don’t have it now, or have it in a non-debilitating way, you can ward off future problems by doing a couple of things: Walk. Start slow if you’re sedentary, building speed and distance over time. Ladies Home Journal has a great set of exercises and stretches designed to get you started and keep your joints in good shape. (http://www.lhj.com/health/fitness/stay-strong-workout/ ) Diet can also be a huge factor. For more information on how a certified health coach can help you achieve your health goals including building an exercise plan and nutrition plan that supports your joint health, contact me.
What leaves you with increased confidence and a smile on your face? (No, I’m not going there!) Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be jumping out of a plane or zip-lining, although those are definitely out of my comfort zone. It can be helping serve dinner at a homeless shelter or playing games with families at a Ronald McDonald House. Maybe it’s joining a gym and braving the first few times you work out there feeling out of place or hiring a certified health coach to help you figure out how to adjust your diet and lifestyle to get leaner, stronger and have more energy. Whatever it is, do it now. The satisfaction you feel with yourself and your life will increase exponentially.