fit over 50, Health blog, self care

Sometimes Our Mind Breaks As Well

“It’s not always the heart.  Sometimes the mind breaks as well.”  r.h. Sin

We live our lives trying to measure up.  But measure up to what?  Perhaps to a standard that was set by our parents, a teacher, by society or even by religion.   I get it.  You’re the female who works tirelessly to make sure everyone else is comfortable and happy.  You overthink and stretch yourself, because you want to be enough more than enough.  There are only a certain number of hours in a day, and you want to attack those hours.  No regrets.  At the end of the day, when your head finally hits the pillow, you wonder if you should’ve done more.  Could you have been more perfect?

The answer is no.  As always, you went over and beyond what was expected of you.

But people have dropped out of your life, haven’t they?  And it hurts like hell.  You’ve been shocked, disappointed, and sometimes abandoned.  Left to wonder what you could’ve done differently.  Maybe if you’d been softer or more authoritative … prettier or more outgoing  … thinner or more educated.  What if you hadn’t lost your temper?  What if you’d spoken up about what was bothering you much sooner?  What if you’d let more things slide?  The what ifs are endless, and they wear on you.  Maybe if you had been enough, you would have been more worthy of love.  I mean, bottom line is that if people stop loving you, then something must be wrong with you.  Right?

The answer is no.  You are enough.  The problem isn’t you.

But there are other women who have it all together.  They have perfect relationships with their families and they are successful in whatever they do.  They’re accepted and happy.  You see them out, don’t you?  They’re the ones who are always fixed up head to toe, wearing a smile.  They must be doing something that you aren’t doing.  What is the secret?

The secret is that there is no secret.

When we compare ourselves to others, we diminish the grandest act of God.  You are his most prized creation, created in His own image.  No one else in the world is exactly like you.  What makes you unique (you know, those things you see as flaws ) those are what make you so beautiful.

That woman you see out and about in town who “has it all together”.

Stop.

Picture her in your mind right now.

Yeh, she’s just like you.  She looks in a mirror and sees all the things she wishes were different about herself.   She’s had broken relationships, she’s lost her temper, she’s said things she wishes she’d never said and has done things she wishes she could un-do.  She balances work and family and hits the pillow at night just as hard as you do.  We’re all far more alike than we are different.  Some just wear better masks.

Sometimes our minds break.

We forget life isn’t a competition … that there are no winners or losers.

The truth is, no one is doing life better than someone else.  We’re all doing our best.  If you’re breathing right now, you’re winning.  Period.  So stop looking for what’s wrong with you and start seeing all that’s so perfectly wonderful about you.  When you begin to love yourself, others will love you back.  What you believe about yourself, others will believe.  And your strengths far outweigh your weaknesses.  Trust that and go with it.  There’s no need to fake it until you make it, because you’ve already made it.  You are enough.  Today, this moment, you’re everything you need to be.

As for those people who’ve left you and who’ve stopped loving you.

To those people who’ve made you feel like you’re not enough.

Let them go.

There are people who want to love you just as you are.

 

 

 

 

fit over 50, get healthy

ULTA Must Haves & Five Exercises You Should Be Doing At Home Everyday

Hair and skin care are everything.  If you’re forty-five or older, you’ve figured that out by now.  As we age, our skin and hair lose their vibrance.  Heck, we may still feel like we’re in our prime, but we look in a mirror and see a stranger gawking back at us with crinkles, wrinkles, sags, bags, and drabby dry hair.  We have at least one foot in the grave with all hope gone until we discover ULTA.   (Cue the sound of angels singing)  The Generation Xers and Millennials believe ULTA is hip and chic, created for them.  The real scoop, though, is ULTA was created for those of us who are no longer climbing that hill.  Let’s stop, raise our hands high in the air, and thank God for ULTA … am I right?

Here are a few of my ULTA must haves and the reasons why I must have them:

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Tinted moisturizer is like putting a heavenly dew on your face that will even out your skin tone and make you look as fresh and new as Springtime.  An over exaggeration, maybe … put this stuff is the bomb.  My favorite pick is Derma E’s Tinted Moisturizing BB Cream with SPF 30.  It has bilberry extract, which improves skin tone;  vitamin C, which brightens skin;  and vitamin E, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  I apply it over my regular moisturizer, which helps it to go on my skin much easier.  I apply it to my face and go.  It’s my makeup.  Nothing else.  It’s so much lighter than traditional foundation or powder makeup, and as we age, often times, less ends up being more.   You can find it here.

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The Derma E Ultra Hydrating Alkaline Water Eye Gel is a magic roller filled with cool healing gel. It hydrates the under eye area, making your eyes appear younger and less puffy.  I use it at least twice a day and am hooked.  It’s less than fifteen dollars, which makes it very affordable.  Think of it like a lipstick.  Apply it whenever you want that fresh glowing look.  You can find it here.

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The Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer is currently my go-to moisturizer.  I recently listened to a podcast that featured Dr. David Sinclair, and now I’m onboard with his take on the anti-aging benefits of resveratrol .  This moisturizer contains resveratrol, as well as jojoba, shea, and vitamin C.  It’s pricey, but it leaves my skin feeling completely hydrated … more so than any other moisturizer I’ve ever used.   Moisturizing morning and evening is a must for healthy skin.  I use serums as well (if you’re not using an hyaluronic acid serum, order it now), and the moisturizer goes on AFTER the serums.   Apply using upward strokes, and don’t forget your neck.  You can find this moisturizer here .

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Are you into fitness?  Then you absolutely need a dry shampoo.  If you’re anything like me, you don’t always have time to wash your hair, so having dry shampoo on hand can be a life saver.  In addition, because dry shampoo lengthens the time between shampoo, blowdryer, and flat iron, it’s actually a healthy alternative for your locks. It’s important, however, to invest in a good dry shampoo.  If you purchase a cheap brand, you’ll find it might leave a weird residue on your hair.  For the record, I’m a weirdo when it comes to dry shampoo, so I go outside to apply just so I’m not breathing it.  You can find Big Sexy Hair Dry Shampoo here. 

As we age, not only are losing vitality in our hair and skin, but we are losing muscle and becoming weak and flabby.  In fact, after age thirty, we lose 3-5% muscle mass every decade.  Many people have the misconception that you have to join a gym or a fitness class to be fit, but the truth is you can workout in the comfort of your own home.  Here are five easy exercises you could begin doing at home today and everyday to fight back the flabs:

  1. Push-ups.  Three sets of twelve.  Even if you have to start on your knees and work up to a full push-up, you need to bite the bullet and start doing them.  Within a few weeks, I promise they become easy peasy.  Push-ups are beneficial for building upper body strength, working the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders.
  2. Planks.  Three sets on elbows or hands for one minute each. Planks strengthen your spine, your rhomboids, and your abdominal muscles, which promotes strong posture.  Good posture means you’re keeping your bones aligned properly, and that’s very important as you age.
  3. Crunches.  Three sets of twenty-five.  Crunches strengthen your abdominal muscles and core, improving your posture and balance.
  4. Squats. Three sets of twenty-five.  In addition to tightening your glutes, squats improve core strength, overall mobility, range of motion, and natural hormone production.
  5. Donkey Kicks.  Four sets of twenty-five.  Like squats, donkey kicks tighten your glutes and improve core strength.

Just my thoughts,

~Mel

fit over 50, get fit, get healthy, Health blog, Uncategorized

Attention Online Dating Scene, Homecoming Queen, and Future Running Machine: Your Costume Is Everything

“Costume is a huge part of getting into character.  Your body soaks in what you’re wearing, and you turn into someone else.”  ~Jane Levy

Relationships.  Dang, we make them difficult, don’t we?  I mean, it’s actually simple if you think about it.  In each relationship, we play a role and wear a costume.  As long as we stay in character, those relationships roll along without too many bumps in the road.  In one relationship, we’re a daughter, and in another, we’re someone’s mom or grandma.  At times we’re a friend or acquaintance, a student or teacher … a neighbor, sister, cousin, aunt, employee, or employer.  Suffice to say, we’re many things to many people.  And in each role, we put on a distinct costume, whether we realize it or not.

We offer a friendly smile and thank you to the bag boy who pushes our overloaded grocery cart out to the Suburban that’s literally rocking in the parking lot, locked and loaded with a couple of wild kiddos who just got out of school for the day.  (Ummmm, yeh, that very detailed example might be personal to me.)

We offer a completely different smile and thank you to our mom when she takes the time to cook our favorite meal.

And when hubby brings home flowers, he gets his own special sort of thank you.  Boom-chicka-wow-wow, right?

It’s a costume.  A familiar role.  And it’s as predictable and boring as dirt.  As long as each role we play remains in its designated box, those relationships will remain dirt,  predictable and familiar.  The message is pretty obvious.  Don’t ever, ever, everrrrr treat the bag boy like he’s hubby.  haha.  It’s much safer to stay in the box and to be dirt.

Some roles are easy.  As moms, for instance, we know exactly what our role is, don’t we?  The moment that baby is placed in our arms, we put on our motherhood costume, and you couldn’t rip that costume off of us if you came with a mechanical claw, a couple of raging bulls, and fifteen knife-wielding zombies who haven’t eaten in weeks.   We are mom, dagnabbit, end of story.

The role of employee, employer, teacher, student, and acquaintance are straight-forward as well.  These roles are far less emotionally driven than the role of mom/child, but we know what’s expected of us, and we can easily meet those expectations.

Other roles are more hairy-scary.  Kids rebel.  Grandma’s sometimes overstep and spoil too much.  A neighbor might not like the color you painted your house.  And a best friend might choose a new friend.

If a child would remain true to his role by respecting parental authority, his life, and the life of his parents, would be so much easier.  If Grandma would support parental authority and willingly give up her Matriarchal superpower, more families would stay intact.  If Joe-Blow neighbor would support his neighbor’s right to paint his house chartreuse green, there would be no need for fences or home owner associations (preach!).  And if every best friend valued the gift of having an old friend who loved her way back when she had braces put on her bucked teeth, used pasty white Clearasil to cover zits on her face, and went through a third break up with the same loser guy … then friends would be friends forever.

Are you getting the general gist of how life-altering these roles are?

Well hold on, because if you have a significant other, things become even more complicated.  What role do you play in your relationship with your significant other?  Are you the princess who is adored and cared for by your prince charming?  Are you an equal partner where you both demonstrate mutual respect and decision-making authority?  Are you submissive to an all-powerful partner … or are you the power player?  Is your significant other somewhat like a father figure?  Or more of a best friend?  Were you high school sweethearts?  Or did you meet on Tinder when you were sixty?

Whatever the role, our romance began somewhere, and that beginning continues to direct the relationship.  For instance, I have a friend who married his high school sweetheart.  She’s a couple of years younger than him and was crowned homecoming queen her senior year of high school.  To this day, more than thirty years later, he still refers to her as his homecoming queen.  In his eyes, she is forever his high school love.  I’m actually fairly certain she hasn’t aged a single year in his eyes.

I have another friend who complains to her husband all the time.  “Why don’t you do this?”  Why did you do that?”  “You make me so mad!”  She badgers the man constantly,  but her husband always responds with (insert a grown man using a baby voice here):  “I’m sorry, honey, will you forgive me?” … then he gives her a bear hug, a kiss on the cheek, and tells her he loves her.  She rolls her eyes, giggles, and tells him she loves him too.  This goes on every day and has for more than two decades.  I think she complains just so he’ll hug her, kiss her, and tell her he loves her.  It seems insane to me, but this has worked for them for more than twenty-five years.  They’re one of the happiest couples you’ll ever meet.

There’s another woman who was a widow.  She met her (current) husband on Christian Mingle.  He was a widower, too.  Their entire relationship has been built on how fate magically and mysteriously brought them together through internet dating.  They’re both in their late sixties / early seventies and talk about how they met all the time.

Each of my examples demonstrate a role and a costume.  It’s the normal, predictable, and expected that make up the foundation of what makes those relationships work.  The dirt, so to speak.

God forbid if the high school sweetheart in my first scenario ever ceases to see his bride as his homecoming queen.

In the second scenario, what would happen if the man’s wife did her normal complaining, but instead of receiving the typical hugs, kisses, and I’m sorry, the husband started accusing her of complaining too much?  What if he called her a pain in the — you know what?

And in the third example, I hope there never comes a day when the former widower tires of gloating about meeting his bride on an internet dating site.  I hope they both continue to acknowledge their magical, mysterious, fateful meeting … until death parts them.

The small roles that are played out in relationships hold tremendous power to make or break a marriage and/or relationship.

So what does this have to do with being fit and healthy?

Two things.

First, to feel alive, you MUST have relationships.  And if you’re going to have relationships, you’re going to be much more mentally and emotionally healthy if you succeed in them.  Grab hold of your role, embody it, don’t change your costume, and respect the boundaries each unique relationship in your life has established.   Some of those boundaries have been put in place by God, some by society, and some by our own volition.  Whatever the case, treasure them, protect them, utilize them, and keep peace.

Second, if you really want to become fit, you need to wear the costume and play the role.  Buy the yoga pants, ladies.  Wear the sneakers.  Pull your hair back in a pony and sock a cute strapback cap on your head.  If you dress the part, and if you embrace the role, you’ll succeed in every area of your life, including in fitness.  Your body soaks in what you’re wearing, and you turn into someone else.  Do you want to become a runner?  Dress the part.  Do you want to become a yogi?  Dress the part.  Then join a gym, hire a trainer, buy a treadmillor an elliptical machine, or take part in a regular exercise class.  It’s not only important to dress the part, you have to actively play the role.

Every time I run a race, I look forward to being given my bib and number.  It makes me official.  It makes me a runner.  The 5k race is a role.  My bib and number is a costume.  My body follows what my mind believes … and it works.  Every.  Single.  Time.

The method is so simple, perhaps it’s too simple, yet we sometimes miss the obvious.  Why do we make life more difficult than it has to be?  If a fifty year old woman can still be her hubby’s homecoming queen more than thirty years later, you can certainly be fit and healthy.

Just my thoughts.

Mel

Fitness

Ten Seconds A Day To Change A Life: Why A 50 Year Old Special Needs Mom Is Competing For The Title Of Ms. Health & Fitness 2018

What would make a 50 year old special needs mom enter a competition called Ms Health And Fitness?  Is it a mid-life crisis?  A shot at fifteen seconds of fame?  Nah.

I entered this competition because of Kaylee.

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Kaylee is a good friend, she’s funny, loves to give hugs, always has her nails perfectly painted, and is also a dancer.  She’s part of a dance class with other girls who have special needs, and I’ve had the awesome opportunity to be a spectator at one of Kaylee’s performances.  Upon just a single glance, it’s immediately obvious how the entire dance crew feels music down deep in a place the rest of us haven’t experienced.  Kaylee’s big sister spins her around on stage in her wheelchair, and I promise, there’s not a dry eye to be found.  It’s an unforgettable sight to see as joy always radiates from this beauty’s face.

Speaking of the wheelchair, Kaylee is confined to it … and her home isn’t handicap accessible.  Her momma, as a result, has to carry her when moving her from room to room.  Recently, her family was scammed by a person who was supposedly printing and selling t-shirts to fundraise for Kaylee.  The money was going to be used to widen hallways and doorways in their small mobile home to give Kaylee and her wheelchair more freedom.  Family and friends pitched in to purchase the t-shirts, and more than one-thousand dollars was raised.  But it was a con.  The money is now gone right along with the man who crafted the scheme.  In his terrible wake is Kaylee, who is in need of money to make improvements to her home.

I entered this competition because of Jessica, Leslie, Graham, Hannah, Nick, Dustin, Amber, Jared, Heather, and Kevin:

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These silly willies are my best buddies.  They’re quick-witted, charming, kind, loyal, hard-working … and they have intellectual disabilities.   Graham is in charge of recycling at the Trousdale School, and he is always spreading the message of saving the earth.  Leslie was recently honored the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame “Heart of a Champion” award for being a multi-sport Special Olympic superstar.  Hannah has Autism, and she is a brilliant actress.  Jessica is an artist.  Nick and Jared can sing every word to most country music songs.  Dustin and Kevin have Down syndrome, and both have dance moves rivaling anyone on Dancing With The Stars.  I guess you could say each are differently abled in the most spectacular sort of way.

As they’re getting older, though, their parents are aging too.  And the worry of what the future will look like is a viable concern.  Every special needs family faces the burdensome reality of the circle of life.  In response, the Trousdale School in Cleveland, TN is getting ready to build an incredible residential center that will house my best friends.  It will have around the clock supervision and care while encouraging independence, creativity, friendship, and personal growth.  But money is needed to get this project completed.

The winner of Ms Health And Fitness 2018 gets a whopping $20,000.00.  And if I win, half the winnings will go to Kaylee and half will go toward the Trousdale School’s residential center.  That’s the reason a 50 year old special needs mom would enter this kind of competition.  I mean, let’s get real.  The rules encourage contestants to use professional photos.  And as a mom of two cuties who have special needs, I barely have time to snap pictures with my iPhone.  Want to see what I’m up against?

These are my fellow competitors:

 

This is Anna Neal, the very fit young woman who won the competition last year:

 

Aaaaaaaand.  This is me. (You guessed it, a picture snapped with my iPhone):

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While I totally think I could rock this title … and while I’d love to have the opportunity to showcase the special needs community … I realize it’s a looooong shot.  haha.  The greatest stories and victories, however, usually come from the longest shots.

I’m not as young and beautiful as the other contenders, but I definitely qualify because health and fitness are life to me.  Four years ago, I was so overwhelmed with many different things life was throwing at me.  It got to a point where I was I living each moment waiting for the next panic attack.   Anxiety looks different for every person.  For me, panic attacks would come out of nowhere and would cause my body to start shaking violently.  It was completely out of my control and frightening.  Finally, I reached a point where I had to make a change.

My choices were to spill my guts to a therapist or to hire a trainer who would push me physically to a point of spilling my guts out on the gym floor.  Studies show it only takes five minutes of aerobic exercise to stimulate anti-anxiety effects in our bodies, so I chose the trainer and have never looked back.  Panic attacks, fear, and feelings of inadequacy are a distant memory.  I work out with my trainer five days a week and run at least one mile a day.  So far this year, I’ve competed in ten races … I earned first place in one of the races in my age group and took second in two others

 

I entered this competition because of Hope and Charlie:

One day, I may be in Kaylee’s mom’s shoes and find myself needing assistance in widening a doorway or in buying a piece of therapy equipment for my own kiddos.

One day, I may not be able to care for Hope and Charlie, and they may need a residential center where they can thrive while being loved and kept safe.

Kaylee represents my life.

The Trousdale School represents my life.

I also entered this competition because I’m proud to be part of the differently abled community.  Daily, I see all the special needs mommas on social media who are in the trenches … loving, serving, and spilling themselves out for those who have been placed in their care.  Advocating.  Training.  Celebrating.  Holding out hope for the brightest future.

Those moms represent my life too.

It only takes 10 seconds per day for the next six weeks … and voting is free:

click here to vote!

And remember to vote every single day for Kaylee and for my best buddies!!!!

(A big thanks to all who have already voted!!!)

Just my thoughts,

~Mel

 

For all who have asked, here are the official rules:

Round 1: TOP 25 (Starts June 19th and Ends June 28th, 2018) – Selected Entrants will be divided equally into seventy two (72) groups. Public voting will help reduce each group to the top twenty-five (25) models.

Round 2: TOP 10 (Starts June 28th and Ends July 5th, 2018) – Public voting will help reduce the top twenty-five (25) to the top ten (10) models in each group.

Round 3: TOP 5 (Starts July 5th and Ends July 12th, 2018) – Public voting will help reduce the top ten (10) to the top five (5) models in each group.

Round 4: Group Winners (Starts July 12th and Ends July 19th, 2018) – Public voting will help reduce the top five (5) models to one (1) preliminary winner in each group. Second place group finishers will advance to the Wildcard Round.

WILDCARD ROUND (VOTING RESETS)

Round 5: Wildcard Round (Starts July 20th and Ends July 22nd, 2018) – Second place group finishers will be divided evenly into twelve (12) groups. Public voting will determine one (1) winner from each Wildcard group. Wildcard winners advance to the semi-finals.

SEMI-FINALS (VOTING RESETS)

Round 6: Semi-finals (Starts July 23rd and Ends August 2nd, 2018) – Preliminary group winners and Wildcard winners will be divided evenly into twelve (12) semi-final groups. Public voting will determine one (1) winner from each semi-finals group that will advance into the finals.

FINALS (VOTING RESETS)

Round 7: Finals (Starts August 3rd and Ends August 9th, 2018) – Public voting will help reduce the top twelve (12) finalists to the one (1) winner of the Ms Health and Fitness competition (the “Grand Prize Winner”), subject to such individuals compliance with the Rules and any other applicable terms and conditions in connection with the Competition.