2022 has been a busy and stressful time. My Dad went into hospice and my Mom fell and broke her hip getting my Dad a beer. Yes, he stills enjoys a martini and an occasional beer in hospice. They are both, 91 and have been married 70 years. They have lived a wonderful life together. There have been so many special moments these past 4 months with my parents. Dad and I have liverwurst sandwiches for lunch while watching Gunsmoke. I spent time with my Mom in the hospital drinking tea and watching A League of their Own together. It has been nice in so many ways.
It also has emphasized how important it is to take care of yourself. I witness what a struggle it can become. Things, I take for granted like putting on your shoes and socks or going to the bathroom. These activities are now very difficult or impossible for Mom and Dad. I want to stay strong and fit for as long as possible. I have begun to work on some new exercises for myself and my OutdoorFit ladies. We are working on our glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. These are the muscles that you use getting up off the toilet. Do you want to stay out of the nursing home? Keep your muscles strong!
Here is an exercise to get you started!
Let me know how it goes! If you are interested in joining us online or in person, please CLICK HERE to learn more.
This recipe was originally called Buckwheat Banana Cake with Yogurt-Espresso Frosting from Bon Appetite. I have tried different versions. I reduced the sugar, I use oat flour instead of whole wheat and I add nuts and blueberries.
I made it yesterday, I came downstairs and my son Thomas had eaten the entire top off of it.
Here is my recipe.
3/4 cup oat flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour I Love Big Bold Health Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat Super Nutrition Flour. It has super powers!
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 very ripe bananas
3 Tbs coconut sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 melted coconut oil
1/2 unsweetened Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup organic blueberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a bread pan with parchment paper letting it hang over on other sides. Wish the dry ingredients together.
Mash bananas and coconut sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Mix in eggs, melted coconut oil and yogurt. Mix in dry ingredients. Stir in blueberries and chopped walnuts. Scrape batter into parchment lined pan and smooth top.
Bake bread 55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let bread cool in pan for 30 minutes. Turn out bread on rack and cool completely.
I started ocean plunging back in September. Unfortunately, since the beginning of January, it has been too windy, and the air too cold for me to do my plunging in the ocean. I have been taking 5 minute cold baths 3-4 times a week, to keep in plunging shape. Andrea, one of my fellow plungette takes a cold bath almost daily. I’m doing my best to keep up, but I don’t bother with the baths on the days I have OutdoorFit. Training outside in the cold is enough for me.
Sunday, Sophie, our golden retriever woke me up too early. She likes to get up at 6am and I wanted to sleep in. I was annoyed and cranky. I knew if I took a cold bath, I would have a quick change in attitude and feel so much better. I filled the tub with tap water. There is no need to add ice when the tap water is 40.8 degrees. As soon as you get in, you forget all of your problems except that you are sitting in frigid water. I sit upright for two minutes and then try to muster up the courage to get my upper body in as well. I stay in for two to three minutes more. I wash my face in the end. Andrea actually dunks her whole head in. I am not quite there yet.
My husband, Dan is getting tired of the noises coming from the bathroom. Sometimes, he will come in to talk me through. He coaches me to get to the next step. He encourages me with helpful phrases like, “Suck it up, Buttercup.” I am so grateful for his support.
I am obsessed with the plunge. I had an immediate shift in my attitude on Sunday. I felt so much better, Cold, but better. I know if I wake up achy, a cold bath will take care of the tension. I have lost weight. I am sleeping better, and a friend told me that I looked ten years younger. It is a powerful tool. I know it is crazy and that is part of the appeal!
I love the connection with Andrea and Rosanne, my fellow plungettes. I text them every time I am heading into the cold bath. I need all the support I can get. When we started last September, I told Andrea we are going to be best friends. We don’t need to eat or drink together. All we need to do is to jump into the ocean for 5 minutes. We have formed a strong bond. Doing something with a touch of craziness will do that. Do you want to read more about the benefits? Head over to the previous blog post.
I asked my fellow plungettes to share what they love about plunging.
From Andrea: “Plunging has a few fantastic benefits that keep me coming back to this seemingly crazy pastime. First and above all, it lifts my mood. Instantly. And after I do it, my brain feels sharper like when I’ve had a great nights sleep but better. When we go in the ocean as opposed to the tub, there is a feeling of connecting with the planet. And I believe it has sped up my metabolism a bit which is always nice. Finally, it has been a bonding experience with the two ladies who I do it with.”
From Rosanne: “I started to plunge this spring in my pond upstate as an entry into releasing fear around diving into a cold, sometimes dark body of water, after learning about Wimm Hoff and his ice baths. I began his breathing methods and found it’s benefits very helpful which led to my interest in having friends do the plunging together in the Atlantic ocean. The experience of being emersed in nature, with the brilliant sunshine and piping plovers encircling us was an amazing experience and has led me/ us to continue the practice. The bathtub is getting me through the winter and I am excited to return to the ocean with my fellow plungettes once the weather improves.”
This is my from my sister Kathleen who plunges in North Carolina: “Addicted to the plunge. When Mary first told me she was going into the icy waters of the Atlantic for 5 minutes – I thought she was nuts but also knew I had to try it. I have not had the chance to go into the ocean but live near a lake and have been in the sound. It’s exhilarating. My body thanks me every time. The aches disappear and my senses come alive. I’ve been able to do it most weeks – sometimes twice a week.”
I encourage you to give it a try. You don’t need to start with a cold bath. Turn the shower temperature to cold at the end of the shower. Breathe through it for 30 seconds. You will feel invigorated! Let me know how it goes.
I was at a Memorial Service in August. Afterwards, I sat outside eating wraps and cake with Andrea, a fellow church lady. We started talking about having your kids go off to college the first time and the stress and anxiety that it can cause. She said she had been working on some breathing techniques to help calm herself. I asked her if she had heard of Wim Hoff the “Ice Man”. She said yes and that it was working for her. I said we need to start jumping into the ocean. Wim Hoff is a big believer in cold water plunges. We waited until after Labor Day when the beach crowds had left, and started plunging for 5 minutes. This was a huge deal for me! I have lived 5 miles from the Atlantic Ocean for the past 40 years. I never really cared too much. I have never gone in the ocean without a lifeguard sitting on the chair watching over me. The whole plunging routine was making me so nervous. I would start getting anxious waiting for a possible text from Andrea, asking me if I want to plunge, and get worse from there. It felt like the old days when I was a competitive runner. I would get so nervous before a race. I hate feeling nervous, It is very uncomfortable, but I know if I don’t push myself I will never try anything new. I am getting better at it.
Plunging in the ocean has been life changing for me in so many ways. I am doing something new which I am usually very resistant to. I have stepped out of my comfort zone and my routine. It is so worth it. I have become good friends with Andrea. We are outside, doing something with a touch of craziness to it. I pick Andrea up in my Honda CR-V along with our friend Rosanne. My car is the beach car because I belong to a car wash club. Rosanne, another church lady heard what we were doing and she wanted in. Rosanne loves the cold water. She loves cold showers and plunging in her pond in upstate NY. We head off to the beach where there is always a free parking spot. It is beginning to feel like our beach. We have a turn around time of an hour and there is no food or drink involved. It is simple. It is the best!
Benefits of Cold Water Plunges:
Aids fat loss.
Boosts immune function.
Decreases stress, increases glutathione.
Helps your sleep.
If you have been following me you know I have not been dealing well with my stress this past year or so. I was taking supplements to help me manage. Since I started plunging, I have been able to stop the stress relieving supplements. I feel so much better. I am grounded, I sleep better and I have lost 5 pounds. I am taking better care of myself. I want to be strong, lean and able to handle the ocean in the winter months. I started eating liver and I have upped my weights at OutdoorFit. The liver is a bit of an adjustment. I am sharing it with Sophie the Golden Retriever. She is enjoying it!
Rosanne and I are in our 60’s and Andrea is a youngster at 50 something. It makes plunging even more special. It is never too late to try something new.
I have been thinking about that question. If someone told me about an outdoor workout in a church parking lot with women in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s , I would applaud them but would have no interest in joining them. I would be wrong.
OutdoorFit is how I keep in great shape without hurting myself. I created OutdoorFit 15 years ago. It has evolved as we have all gotten older. We all want to look good and have our pants fit. I also know the importance of functional fitness and being able to get up and down off the floor. I create my workouts with function in mind. I will do an exercise like bicep curls and then have the ladies get down on their mats and do mountain climbers. I include squats in every workout. We start the workout with a warm up that includes 20 squats. Squats are key to healthy independent aging. They develop strong quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, which allow you to get down and back up again. Squats are also very effective for urinary incontinence. They strengthen your pelvic floor and make jumping jacks a breeze!
I am able to modify my workouts for any fitness level. If you can’t do your pushups off the ground, I have you do them off a bench. If you can’t manage going up and down off a bench, I just have you hold yourself in position.
Elaine, the queen of OutdoorFit, joined the group when she was 79. She is now 83. Her first workout, I thought she was going to fall over because her balance was so bad. I had her work next to a bench so she could catch herself if necessary. . Elaine was impressive! She kept coming to OutdoorFit and within 2 weeks her balance was so much better. She has gotten stronger and her endurance has improved so much. She is an OutdoorFit superstar!
Elaine comes to the workout three times a week. She comes with her resistance band, 8 pounds weights and her mat. She is always fashionable dressed, today she showed up in her favorite “Good Karma” shirt. I thought it was the perfect outfit for our video.
He was Smart, Athletic, Good Looking and Drove a 1961 Red PV 544 Volvo is the title of a 3000 word chapter that I wrote, and after much personal anguish, didn’t submit. I joined a women’s group last spring called The Wild and Wise Women. They decided they wanted to write a book together. We were each asked to write a chapter about the effect of the pandemic on our lives, and the importance of community during this time. On some level, I thought it would be good for me to write a chapter. I love the idea of being a writer, even though it has never come easily to me. I envision being Diane Keaton in the movie Something’s Gotta Give. I am sitting at my desk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, writing an amazing chapter that everyone wants to read, and finds fascinating. The truth is, I spent months not writing it, and when I did sit down to write, I didn’t enjoy the experience. I ended up with a knot in my right shoulder from bending over typing on my Mac computer.
The deadline for the rough draft was the end of September. I read the draft again and again. My editor is my husband Dan, who is also the smart, athletic, good looking guy who drove a 1961 RV 544 Volvo. He read my chapter, and told me I was all over the place, but I could change it around. I knew that, but I didn’t want to spend another minute on it. I spent the afternoon having a melt down. Why? Was it because I wasn’t handing in my homework? Was I quitting on myself, or was I upset I was letting the Wild and Wise women down?
The real question is why was it so hard to decide one way or the other? I got together with Vicky of 2 Grandmas and A Microphone, and we talked about resistance and self sabotage in the video. Do you struggle with making a decision ? Do you procrastinate ? We all do. It was helpful to talk with Vicky. I hope you will find it helpful as well.
Who knew I would need to put Fun on my to do list? I am seeing a Health Psychologist and she suggested I find time to do Fun things. I am a homebody. No one ever called me the Fun one. When I was a kid and visiting my Grandparents in Saint Louis, my family would be going out to do something Fun on the last night and I choose to stay home with Pop and Gram and watch TV. I never liked going to my friend’s house for sleepovers. Once, I was invited to a party and I told my friend that I wanted to stay home and pull dandelions.
I am beginning to feel like I need to get out and do more. My tendency is to say no. I guess I need to start saying yes.
“What would Julia do?” I am asking myself this question more and more. Julia is my niece who is living an amazing life. I blogged about her before. She said her secret is to fill her day with Fun things. I am starting out with the goal of doing one Fun thing a week, and see how it goes. Baby steps for me. This week I have been invited to a neighbor’s pool. I met her walking in the neighborhood. I am connecting with someone new. I think there are bonus points in that!
Vicky Perry and I got together for 2 Grandmas and A Microphone. The topic was doing Fun things! We talked about jumping into the ocean, riding bumper cars at the Fair, taking tango lessons from a Russian instructor and Pickle Ball. Maybe, I am becoming the Fun one!
I am so grateful when I have a good night’s sleep. I know it is so important if I want to feel my best and have sustained energy throughout my day. It is frustrating when I don’t sleep well and feels like a waste of time laying in bed at night, not sleeping, and waking up tired. I was talking about sleep at OutdoorFit last week and one of the ladies suggested I take a Benadryl. I knew it wasn’t the answer for me but I had gone too many nights without sleeping well so I decided to take one. I slept better but I woke up groggy and had to rely on a cup of coffee to get myself going. I have been reducing my caffeine consumption so I don’t want to wake up feeling like I need a cup of coffee. I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. I know alcohol is a sleep disruptor. I am now drinking 5 ounces instead of my usual 8 ounces. I am making small changes which are making a difference. I didn’t give up the wine and coffee completely because that would make me cranky.
I have been trying different routines to help me sleep. Here is the latest one that is working!
A hot cup of Mineral Calm and a scoop of collagen protein.
(Protein is great for immune function and muscle repair. It is good to take it at bedtime. There is regenerative work going on while you are sleeping.)
1 Stress Relief (Ashwagnda)
1 Chewable Calcium Magnesium
1 Pure Rest (Melatonin)
2 doTERRA Serenity
It might seem easier to pop a Benadryl but I don’t wake up groggy with my new bedtime routine.
I love having a pretty yard but I don’t want to work so hard at it any more. Last year, I planted vegetables in my back corner garden next to my limelight hydrangeas and blue kazoo spirea. I did harvest a few cucumbers, and I had butternut squash that grew out of my homegrown compost. It was all kind of a mess. It was a lot of work without much reward. This year I’m simplifying the yard. I am slowing down and not being so impulsive, I am committed to making the back garden a more permanent garden. I had our struggling concolor fir taken down. It was our live Christmas tree years ago and grew to be a very tall tree. It never looked good. I finally had it taken down. Now, I have more sun in the corner. I moved 7 At Last roses from the front yard to the back. They are beautiful apricot colored roses. They were in the front yard and the deer just loved them for early morning snacking. I was tired of spraying them with Deer off.
By moving the roses to the back it has simplified my foundation planting as well. I put down a nice layer of mulch and it looks good.
I am so grateful that I am able to do my own work. I stay strong, healthy and fit. My OutdoorFit workouts keep me that way. Interested in learning more about OutdoorFit? Click here. You can get in shape in a short amount of time and maintain your fitness level working out only a few days a week. You will be able to do what you want to do. Do you love gardening, or chasing your grandkids around? Maybe it is keeping with a 5 month old golden retriever puppy. It is important to embrace being Fit and Fabulous…Aging Optional and OutdoorFit!
I love a good decluttering challenge. I have done a few of them, and I always feel better when my house is clean and tidy. It brings me great joy to open the door of the tool shed, and to have it in order. When I am stressed or agitated, cleaning out a drawer or decluttering the office brings me peace. I might not feel better when I am actually doing the project, but I am always grateful when I am done.
When Sophie the golden retriever came to live with us, I decided it would be best to pick up the area rugs. I feel so much better with them gone. She is not chewing on them, I don’t have to worry about her urinating on them, and I don’t need to vacuum them. I can just sweep the floor at the end of the day. There is something very therapeutic about a good broom in your broom closet.
Having the house in order makes me feel better, and messy surroundings make me feel agitated. However, there is a part of me that knows spending my days cleaning is not enough. I have been feeling flat. I need to be creative, but I have been avoiding writing my blog posts or promoting OutdoorFit.
So, here I am sitting at my desk writing. I need to find the right balance between taking care of my family, the house, Sophie the dog and my creative endeavors. Progress!
How are you doing? I hope you are finding happiness in your day. What projects are you working on? Have you started gardening yet? Are you spring cleaning? Are you writing a best selling novel? I would love to hear from you.