Getting you back to the life you want to live.
D ecember 2018
B ack in the D ark
brain. For all of our amazing parts, the brain is the most so. The boss that lives at the top of our shoulders runs the show. For some, winter does not hold much allure. Maybe there were bad memories associated with holidays, overt and many stressors, maybe the lack of light or cold temperatures send the brain into a tailspin that seems too oppressive to pull out of. Brain chemistry and genetics seem like too much of a burden to overcome in the dark. My monkey brain runs with this thought and a research study on mice about epigenetics. Adaptation to environmental stresses is one of the most fundamental biological functions. Our brains don’t have to work at it — it’s a lower-level process. The more automatic, the better for saving higher function. There was an awesome study on mice a few years back, looking at the change in DNA — epigenetics — with exposure to high levels of stress. The amazing thing is, the mice DNA, once changed from overstress, could change back with nurturing. We are never immutable, as much as it might feel epically so sometimes. My wish for you is that you spend this time in the dark energizing your spirit. Make sure to get outside for those “sun breaks,” write letters, read deliciously inventive books, commit to be an instant pot soup champion — anything that brings you joy in a peaceful space. Even in the dark, the light always shines through. Shelly Coffman –-Shelly Coffman
Here we are, back in the dark. We’re approaching the winter solstice, and the dreaded (for me, at least) shortest day of the year. I, like most folks, thrive on sunlight (between 68-72 degrees, please). Winter is hard — go to work in the dark, come home in the dark, try to get motivated just to get motivated. And then there’s the fact that we are square in the middle of sugar season — starting with Halloween and ending with Easter. Dark plus too much sugar is a bad combination. The natural flow of life dictates that we slow down in the winter. It strains our systems to fight against it — the struggle is real. In Thoreau’s words, “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” You can run, but you can’t hide from the influence of winter, in your bodies, your minds, and your spirit. Winter is a time to look inward, reflect on what has been and what is to come. What I love about winter is both the silence and the opportunity to connect with others — family gatherings, winter parties, snow adventures. One of my favorite things to do is to snowshoe on a calm day, with fresh powder making everything hush. This quiet is productive too — it refills the tank of the spirit. When we are running on empty, which happens all too often this close to the holidays, taking the opportunity to fill the tank with quiet, silence, peaceful respite is a treat not to be missed. Many of you who have spent time with me know that I like to chat about the
Fitness fads come and go rapidly, but one decade-old trend is still growing in America and all over the world. It’s rise in popularity comes at a great time too, given the shocking obesity rates in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 40 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese. With the litany of workout and dieting options all over the media, choosing where to start can be just as confusing as deciding what to do. Luckily, some U.S. cities are starting to develop outdoor gyms in convenient locations to help their residents to get fit, shed extra pounds, and have healthier lifestyles. Outdoor gyms have been popular since China began installing them in its cities to promote physical fitness ahead of the 2008 Olympics. The fad traveled to parks across Europe and is blazing its way through the U.S. Are these gyms worth the hype? For most residents, the answer ADULT PLAYGROUNDS T he B enefits and D rawbacks of O utdoor G yms
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is a resounding yes, but there are some concerns users should keep in mind. T he B enefits Let’s face it: Gym memberships are expensive and getting to the gym can be a time suck. If you can incorporate a workout routine into your daily life, you’re more likely to stick with it. Outdoor gyms work great for busy parents who can take their kids to the park and get a workout in at the same time. They also work wonders for the casual walker who wants to jump in during their route. The gyms are usually installed in central locations, and they are open 24 hours per day. Better yet, the workout is free. The gyms can also serve another purpose for their communities. Cities can fill their vacant lots and parks with exercise equipment and promote healthy living. It encourages residents to engage with their communities through health and fitness. Many residents in areas with outdoor gyms have reported
feeling a stronger sense of community because of the friends they meet at the site. Some outdoor gyms have also expanded to include “green” options, where users generate
energy to light the space and the buildings near it. Other neighborhoods have begun to offer training and classes there, making personal-training expertise available for everyone. T he D rawbacks
Despite the numerous benefits of outdoor gyms, they aren’t for everyone. While these gyms can help people get fit, they don’t allow for progression. Marathon runners or expert weightlifters may feel left out at these gyms, and as newbies gain experience, they could easily plateau. Furthermore, fitness trainers warn that these pieces of equipment are assembled with little to no education about the best
way to use them. Fitness novices may feel overwhelmed or use the equipment incorrectly. Others claim the equipment is a gaudy sight for neighbors to have to look at. Despite these drawbacks, many supporters are passionate about the health benefits of outdoor gyms. As communities across America begin to embrace the outdoor trend, prepare to see one pop up in your town!
4 F itness G oal M istakes to A void S et the R ight G oals T his N ew Y ear
Choosing the right goal is perhaps the most important part of achievement. Be brave and challenge yourself this year, but increase your chances of success by avoiding these four common pitfalls. 1. G etting ‘T oned ,’ ‘B uff ,’ or ‘I n S hape ’ Do yourself a favor and delete vague fitness
numbers alone. Use multiple techniques, such as progress photos, measurements, and the way your clothes fit. 3. S etting U nrealistic G oals Challenging yourself is one thing; setting yourself up for failure is another. If you spent three years putting on weight, it’s not going to come off in three weeks. If you’re juggling a 50-hour work week with a family and chores, you’re probably kidding yourself by swearing to hit the gym every night after work for an hour. If you’re a hardgainer, trying to look like Arnold will be an exercise in futility. Don’t be afraid to push yourself, but set goals you stand a chance of achieving. Once you hit those successfully, set some new ones! 4. L etting I nstagram I nfluence Y our G oals Your favorite fitness Instagrammers may look like gods and goddesses online, but keep in mind that they’re only showing you their best selves on their best days with the best angles and lighting. Instead of trying to be someone else, focus on yourself! Just because they’re hitting PRs or rocking bikinis or eating a vegan diet doesn’t mean you have to. Decide what you really care about, then choose goals that will make your life better every day — even when the camera isn’t around.
terms like these from your vocabulary; they don’t mean anything, and there’s no way to achieve them without a concrete definition. For instance, once you understand that “toned” really means “lean and muscular,” you can create a workout plan that helps you shed fat and reveal muscle. And “in shape” can have different meanings depending on your current fitness level. To you, does it mean completing a difficult WOD, losing weight, or reducing your blood pressure? Be as specific as possible when creating your goal. 2. L osing a L arge A mount of W eight Losing lots of weight is fine as a long-term goal, but it will take a while. To prevent feelings of discouragement and failure, it’s best to create smaller milestones to hit along the way. Decide what you can realistically achieve during a manageable period of time — perhaps 3–6 months — and make that your first goal. While the scale is a handy tool to evaluate your progress, don’t rely on these
Don’t wait until January to get started. Decide ahead of time what you want to achieve, make a plan now, and set yourself up for success!
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S urviving the S eason of S weets H ow to I ndulge Y our S weet T ooth W ith L ess S ugar
Cookies, cakes, and pies, oh my! The holiday season is brimming with sweet treats of all kinds. Sometimes it can feel like candy and sugary desserts are around every corner, and yet you still want to indulge. However, when you consider that over 50 percent of Americans are insulin-resistant, prediabetic, or diabetic, that piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream starts to look more dangerous than appetizing. During the holidays, how can you satisfy your sweet tooth without worrying about consuming excessive sugar and calories? Skip the candy and go for the fruits and nuts. Keeping a bowl of fruit and nuts nearby can help keep sugar cravings at bay. Dried fruits, such as cranberries, pineapple, or apricots, are both sweet and nutritious. Just be sure to check the packaging for added sugars. You can even make your own dried fruit with a food dehydrator. This way, you are completely in control of the ingredients. No matter what you do, just be mindful not to overindulge. Dried fruit is high in sugar and calories, but the fiber and vitamins make fruit much healthier than just about any other sugary treat. Another way to cut down on your sugar intake is to use dark chocolate in all your chocolate-based treats. Dark chocolate has about half as much sugar as milk chocolate, twice as much healthy fat, less cholesterol, 4–5 times more iron, twice as much potassium, fewer carbs, and more flavonoids
If you have a recipe that calls for chocolate, reach for the dark stuff, whether it’s dark chocolate chips, cocoa powder, or baking chocolate.
While it may seem as though everyone and their grandma is overindulging in sugar this season, know that you have the choice to opt for healthier sweets. And come New Year’s, you won’t have to spend the first few months of 2019 working off that extra cookie weight.
30-M inute C auliflower S oup
and theobromine. The antioxidant properties of the theobromine and flavonoids make dark chocolate as good for your heart as it is for your soul.
This hearty soup is a quick, easy, healthy addition to your holiday table. It can also be made vegetarian by substituting chicken broth with vegetable broth.
• 1 small head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cored and sliced • 1 leek, chopped • 1 medium onion, chopped • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth • 1/2 cup heavy cream • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil • Salt and pepper, to taste broth, and cream. Simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes. 3. Using a blender, purée in batches until smooth. 4. Top servings with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of pepper.
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1. In a large pot over
medium heat, melt butter into warm oil. Add onion and leek, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, about 10–12 minutes. 2. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cauliflower,
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Back in the Dark Outdoor Gym Popularity Page 1 4 Fitness Goal Mistakes to Avoid Page 2 Indulge Your Sweet Tooth With Less Sugar This Holiday Season 30-Minute Cauliflower Soup Page 3 How to Slip and Fall the Right Way Page 4 I nside T his I ssue
S lipping and F alling W hen Y ou C an ' t S top the F all , R oll W ith I t
O ne S tep at a T ime It’s important to move cautiously when you’re on an icy sidewalk. Make sure to keep your feet flat while you’re walking and your hands out of your pockets, which will help you balance should you start to slip. It also helps to spread your weight out evenly by not walking with your feet close together. Try not to be distracted when you’re walking on ice — keep your eyes forward and make sure you know where you’re placing your feet. K nowing H ow to F all Unfortunately, even with all the precautions in the world, falls still happen. While no one has invented a way to trip and fall gracefully, there are a few ways you can avoid a serious injury when it does happen. If you find yourself starting to fall, lean forward to help prevent a direct impact to your spine or
Slick roads and icy sidewalks become part of the landscape every winter, and every year the risk of falling is very real. For many people, avoiding a fall can be difficult enough without ice coating every walkable surface. Young or old, here are a few ways you can stay on your feet this month. I f the B oot F its The correct footwear can save you from a nasty tumble or heart-stopping slip. Finding boots that are specifically designed to keep you steady on a slippery surface is a must. It’s also a great idea to buy waterproof footwear to keep your feet warm and dry in the snow. Ice cleats can be helpful as well; they slip over your regular shoes and give you the added grip you need. If you don’t want to wear your winter boots anywhere but outside, bring an extra set of shoes with you so that you can switch once indoors.
the back of your head. Try to roll with it, or, if you’re falling backward, try to land on your bottom. Also, try not to catch your full weight with your arms or hands, as that can lead to broken arms or wrists. If you do slip and fall this winter, it’s important to address your injury. It’s better to seek out medical attention than ignore the problem, which can only get worse the longer you put it off.
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