Be the Best Version of Yourself!

My sister Kathleen, has started taking ice baths. She’s been adding 30#’s of ice to her bath water. She sent me a text on Saturday. “Just got out. Thank you for this. I am the best version of me when I do things like this.” Kathleen lives in NC. I wished she lived next door. We would have a great time together and I could send Thomas over there to hang out.

This is my morning prayer on the way to OutdoorFit.”Please help me be the best version of myself today.” It is a good reminder to do my best work. I know the importance of taking care of myself to allow the best version of me to come out.

September is my birthday month. I am now 68. I am strong, healthy and fit. I am not accepting getting slower as I age, I am getting better. There are so many things we all can do. I am taking a joint mobility class with Petra Fisher, which has already been so helpful. I started with the cervical spine and I am working my way down. I want my joints to be healthy, and have committed to moving them daily. It will help eliminate and prevent so many muscular aches and pains. Of course, I am sharing the movements with my OutdoorFit ladies.

I am focused on reducing inflammation in my body. It was my birthday and I enjoy indulging in special treats. Who doesn’t love a big bowl of Butterfinger ice cream? After a few days of overindulging, I wake up with a sugar hangover, I feel tension in my face and jaw, and I have itchy patches that make me feel like I am going to jump out of my skin. The sad story is that too much sugar is toxic to my body.

Here are 7 things I focus on daily to reduce inflammation and support my health.

  • Eat organic balanced low glycemic meals.
  • Eat 80 grams of protein.
  • Get a Good Night Sleep.
  • Have a good attitude.
  • Take my supplements.
  • Practice Wim Hoff breathing.
  • Exercise.

I get in a cold plunge when I can. Cold plunges are an excellent way to reduce inflammation! I usually end my shower with cold water. I am easing back in to the season. The water will be getting colder soon! Kathleen joins me in the ocean whenever she comes back home to NJ. It is always a crazy fun time.

Were my tips helpful to you? Are you aging well? The OutdoorFit ladies are aging well. We are all in this together. Please reach out. I would love to hear from you.

Love,

Mary

Get the dumb bells out!
Strength training is so important for healthy aging!

I am not a hot weather gal.

I have been struggling this summer. I am not a hot weather gal. It begins to wear me down and I have been feeling tired a lot of the time. I also declared the summer as Off Season for my cold water plunging. I take an ice bath only once a week instead of multiple times. I have been buying 32 pounds of ice on Saturdays after OutdoorFit. I fill the bath tub up half way and I can lower the temperature to 54 or so. I stay in for 11 minutes. I then save the bath water for a second dip in the afternoon. The temperature will be up to 68 or so, but it is still refreshing.

I have been going into the ocean once or twice a week. It doesn’t count as cold water therapy if the water temperature is 72 degrees, but it still feels good. Cold Water plunging is not an easy thing to do and yet I really miss it. It is so energizing and it changes my negative attitude quickly.


My last blog post was May 4th. I get up every morning, make myself a cup of bulletproof coffee and I sit down to write in my journal. I write my innermost thoughts and complaints down. I also write the list of things that I want to accomplish that day. I need to go back and see how many times I wrote down blog post and didn’t do anything about it. Do you have something that you tell yourself that you are going to do it and it continually ends up on the bottom of the to do list?

I am a member of The Little Bites of Joy Community. This month we participated in a habit challenge. I wrote I would publish a blog by the end of August. It has been helpful to have accountability. This will be published in August. I think I get three points for achieving my monthly goal. It is almost September and I am committing to a weekly blog post. There it is in writing!

Love,

Mary

Strong Legs and Glutes!

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!

LEGS AND GLUTES!

Let me know how it goes! If you are interested in joining us online or in person, please CLICK HERE to learn more.

Love,

Mary

Buckwheat Banana Bread

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.

Ingredients

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

Preparation

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a bread pan with parchment paper letting it hang over on other sides. Wish the dry ingredients together.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Store air tight at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Mary

Addicted to the Plunge!

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.

Love,

Mary

Temperature Check

Would I be working out with these older women?

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 Millner, Fit and Fabulous!

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.

Enjoy!

Love,

Mary

No one ever called me the Fun one.

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!

What do you like to do for Fun?

Love,

Mary

A Good Night’s Sleep.

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!

Bedtime Routine

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.

Here is a link for the products that I use.

I know so many of us struggling with getting a good night’s sleep. I hope this is helpful.

Love,

Mary

Giving up my nightly glass of wine.

Friday on the New Moon, I began my 28 Day Fit and Fabulous Program. I was excited to start on the New Moon. It is a great time to set your intentions, consider what you want in your life, and what you need to let go of.

The first 7 days of the program, you have to let go of alcohol, sugar and grains. You can have dairy, but very little. I thought it would be perfect to start on a Friday. You are always more motivated in the beginning of a program, and the weekends can be a challenge. The biggest issue for me is to give up my nightly glass of wine.

By Friday afternoon, I could feel the stress and agitation building because I knew I wasn’t having a glass of wine that evening. It is amazing how much power one glass of wine has over me. I was painting the trim in the mudroom, while listening to a podcast called Sober Curious, to motivate me. Saturday and Sunday were easier. I took a nap Saturday and meditated on Sunday. I also took late afternoon walks on both days. All of these things are great stress reducers. Now, we are on Day 4, and… BIG NEWS! I noticed that my hands aren’t achy. My diet is usually very clean. Making a few small changes like giving up my nightly glass of wine and crumb cake at coffee hour on Sunday have reduced the inflammation in my body and my hands feel just fine.

I was at a New Moon dinner Friday evening. It is always a big deal to get myself to go out at night, but I went. There was a woman complaining about her aches and pains. I felt like telling her to put down the wine and quit eating grains and sugar. Statements like that don’t go over to well at a party. Maybe she will read this blog post.

What you put in your mouth really does matter. Everything, I eat or drink for the next 7 days will nourish me. I am grateful for that!

Love,

Mary

Shopping and Makeup.

I am not a big shopper or makeup person. I try my best to buy what I truly love and let the rest go.

I like to give and receive functional gifts. Black Friday has now become a long weekend rolled into Cyber Monday. I did shop for myself. I love Boom by Cindy Joseph. I bought the Boomstick Trio.  Color, Glimmer and Glow will be in my makeup kit! The Boomstick Trio creates the look of happiness and I don’t need a mirror to apply. They are made from wonderful ingredients like beeswax and honey. I love how the products smell. The color stick is fantastic. I use it as a blush, eye shadow and lip color. The Glo stick is a moisturizer that you can use anytime anywhere. The Glimmer stick is a push for me. It feels a bit fancy. I thought I would step it up for the Holidays.

Here is a video that I created in 2015 with my friend Wendy. I am not a makeup person. It has over 16,000 views about me wearing makeup!

I also like to buy myself beeswax candles from Vermont HoneyLights. Vermont HoneyLights is a small mother daughter business in Bristol, Vermont.  Shawna and Bonita are passionate about making beeswax candles. They are concerned about the survival of  honey bees. They know the importance of using natural ingredients and supporting  hardworking beekeepers. It is my once a year purchase to celebrate the Year. I love beeswax candles. They smell amazing, they give off negative ions which make you feel good. These are the only candles that I use. If someone gives me a candle, I usually re-gift them. Just this morning, a friend gave me her own homemade candle. I told her no thanks, that I only use beeswax candles. She is a wonderful friend that I can say things like that to her without hurting her feelings. She will give it to someone who will love it.

I have to begin to shop for my family’s Christmas gifts. I have one great idea in mind, but I don’t want to give it away just yet. I am buying from a company where 50% of their profits go to buy a particular product for people in need. It will make a great gift!

I am focusing on keeping things simple by shopping local and supporting small businesses this Holiday Season.

What kind of gifts do you like to give? Do you like to make things to give as gifts like my candle making friend? I am always looking for creative ideas. I would love to hear from you.

Love,

Mary