Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘exercise’ Category

And So It Begins…

Image representing MyFitnessPal as depicted in...

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Yesterday – with the inspiration and invitation from one of my blogging buddies – I decided to join to begin counting calories – log the food I consume and exercise I indulge in.  This is an excellent online program much like weight watchers – and has a wonderful app for the iPhone as well.  Several of my friends, my own husband and daughter have decided to join me in this effort to get into shape.  What is great about this program is that you can get daily encouragement from others who are also on a quest to eat right and exercise more.  I can see their progress in little status updates on my home page – whether they were “under their calorie intake”  for the day – or if they “lost a few pounds” since the day before – or how much they exercised – and just what kind of exercise they did.

And so it begins…

Eating healthy – counting calories – stepping up the exercise in an attempt to feel better and have clothes fit looser – and get into wind shape so those stubborn fat cells will come OFF!

I have a goal – to loose a few pounds and get into walking shape for our cruise to Alaska in September!  What’s your goal?

It is hard to be and stay disciplined – so I love the fact that others are on the same quest as I am – just knowing we’re all in this together.

Come and join me!   I’ll help take the drudgery out of taking off a few pounds and getting into shape.  No one but you will see your starting weight and measurements – and if you choose to add me or other friends you have – we will only see your progress and the things you do to make it happen.

Come and find me – I’m cindyluuhoo – I would love to walk along side you in your fitness goals –

as YOU begin!


God Bless

Day 8 – Sticking My Neck Out – Literally.

Nuat phaen boran or Thai massage, side-lying p...

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I carry my stress and tension in my upper body – neck, shoulders, arms, upper back and have done so for years.  Unfortunately – over time – it takes its toll.

I am under the care of a good chiropractor and now have a wonderful massage therapist too.  I really noticed problems starting last year when I had to direct  theater productions.  Since we only had done two of them a year – it is not something my body is used to.   And in directing during rehearsals and then in the four performances I use muscles that I am not accustom to – throwing my neck and shoulders in a foreign position and taking much therapy to resolve.  This year before I had to have a ‘conducting week’ I made sure I had a massage – a really deep tissue one – actually it was a Thai massage which was wonderful and gave me extra movement, elongating some of the muscles I was going to be using.  It really helped.

This last Sunday I went to a new massage therapist – someone highly recommended by a friend from church – and she was really excellent.  I felt like I got the best information and advice – as well as free massage lotions (she makes her own) and other gifts.  I probably learned more about the muscles in the neck and back – and what can happen over time due to poor posture and bad habits – (playing the piano, sitting at the computer) like we all develop if not careful.  It has sent me on a search to help correct some of the problems that have already started in my neck and back – and she even suggested acupuncture to help with some of it – as that procedure has greatly helped her.  I have even looked into using a Rolfer – and have been searching for information and testimonials from people who have received help by using this type of therapy and with similar problems to mine.

In the meantime though, it’s amazing what help you can find if you do a ‘search’ on the internet – and there are many exercises on youtube and other websites for the neck.  One site in particular gave some wonderful neck and spine stretches – and another video used some light weights to help get that posture back in the right place – instead of the head pulling forward – as happens to most of us as we get older.  Very good information – and I have been following this good advice and feel better in just a couple of days.  Amazing!

Last week – as part of my birthday present – Greg bought me a new office chair.  Not the cheap kind either – but one of those chairs with the lower back support.  It’s like a dream to sit in this chair – and easy to sit taller and better when you have a supportive chair to sit in.  It arrived yesterday and I was all SMILES when sitting in it to teach piano lessons – it made one of my students giggle 🙂  And of course they ALL wanted to sit in my new chair.  It looks like something from Star Trek!  Very cool!

I’m also back to yoga – as my massage therapist says there’s nothing better.  I have a weak wrist so it makes it dicey – but it is so good for my neck, spine and shoulders – so I am doing them anyway – modifying the poses where I have to.

At night before bed – I have 3 neck stretches that I’m doing.  Talk about a long good stretch!  Wow.  These are amazing.  I am sticking my neck out – literally. I also now sleep with a body pillow – as per the suggestion from my chiropractor.  It gives that added support to the hips and shoulders.  He sleeps with one all the time – and if you want to know the best way to sleep – ask your chiropractor how he sleeps.  I figure if it’s good enough for him – then I should be doing it!

Here’s to good posture and healthy ‘sticking your neck out’ moments 🙂

God Bless

Apple Pie For Breakfast?

A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pumpkin pie s...

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I’m not much of a ‘sweet tooth’ – but I DO have some things I REALLY like and these can tempt me like no other.

1. Caramel Chocolate Bar from Harry & David.  It’s the best thing I”ve ever had.  Ever.

2.  Homemade pumpkin pie.  It has to be homemade.  I’m a snob.

3. White Chocolate Mocha’s or Americano’s from Starbucks.  Again, I am a snob.

4. Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream from Baskin and Robbins.

5. Nanaimo Bars.


Yesterday Greg and I were on a ‘date’ for lunch in downtown Renton – and walked next door to a local Starbucks.  I ordered my coffee and was patiently waiting for it at the pick-up station – when I heard Greg laughing and engaged in some ‘fun’ banter with another male customer over by the pastries.  Naturally I didn’t want to miss out on ANY fun (life is so serious – when there’s fun and laughing I am drawn to it).  So I walked over and found that they had been joking about which pastry was the most ‘healthy‘.  It was hilarious – as NONE of those are very healthy – even the ones that say ‘low-fat’ yeah right.  We gave our opinions and he said ‘Well I figure I better eat something healthy – I’ve been eating apple pie for breakfast since Thanksgiving‘.

We all had a good laugh – it was great – a total stranger talking about food and pie and Thanksgiving and beyond.  I told him that he should consider that apple pie is actually pretty healthy – if you think about it – it has fruit in it after all.  And I told him – if you’re feeling too guilty about the sugar content then you could just have one of those ‘sugar free’ drinks with it – that should cancel out all the calories from the pie.  He thanked me and said that make total sense to him – with a wink and a grin.  So fun!

There’s only one pie I would even consider having for breakfast – pumpkin.  Homemade.  Enough said.  Oh and you can leave the whip cream off.  I mean – it is breakfast after all.

Have an awesome day as you struggle to eat all the leftover ‘sweets’ and pie from Thanksgiving.  You have to get into shape for the other things that are coming at you this month – so take it slow.  Baby steps toward Christmas eating.  You can do it!   Jillian Michaels work-out anyone?  Ugh.


God Bless

Attempting To Be A More Healthy Me

Official seal of the National Organic Program

Image via Wikipedia

After watching a video and reading more information this past week on ‘The Diet Solution’ – which is NOT a diet at all but just a smart and healthy way to eat – Greg and I decided to make a few changes in some of the things we have been eating – in an attempt to be healthier and live longer.  Mostly just stop eating sugar – and the wrong kinds of bread.  So in reading information on bread – it was determined that only the ‘sprouted grain’ bread is the best kind and will not mess your body up.  So the only place they sell it is at whole foods or health stores.  We found one in Renton and I must say – it is expensive but really good.  Lots of nuts and natural grains which I love!

Also only sea salt is the best salt to use – not that other stuff they sell – I was way ahead of the game having only used a sea salt grinder for the last couple of years.

And of course – organic foods – such as dairy, meat and eggs – which again are expensive. But since we are trying to be healthy – we did buy a few things in the organic section of the grocery store.  I always  knew that there was an organic section in Safeway – but it seems to be growing as more and more people are wanting those foods.  I’m hoping as it is more in demand – the prices will drop.

And we did have fun shopping for organic foods – and chicken with no hormones and lots of veggies.  We also picked up a product called xylitol which is a natural sweetener – made from sugar alcoholic – no preservatives and is actually good for bones and teeth.  It’s an amazing sweetener.  Those other sweetener packets will kill you.  Of course everything eventually will – if you live long enough.  So for us – it’s baby steps.

I think more people are becoming healthy and want to live longer more productive lives – and so organic foods are going to become more the way to go.

Right now I am just going to try some different choices.  I will still drink my coffee with vanilla creamer – but when I have tea I will put xylitol in it.  And since I already love nuts – that’s a very healthy and acceptable snack.  Any fruits and veggies are great – I love to grill them or stir fry them in a little butter or olive oil – and both of these are a great natural way to go – none of that margarine or butter substitutes.  Luckily we’ve been using real butter and olive oil for years.  I love sweet potatoes, avocados, fish, chicken, and occasionally red meat – all of which is fine if it’s hormone free – and the fish needs to be wild – not farm raised.  And my turkey this year for Thanksgiving will be an organic one – which I’m told tastes WAY better anyway – so Yay!!

As for soy products – they are apparently bad for you – and that’s fine with me because personally – I don’t care for the taste anyway.

Mostly anything that is natural – or a real food is okay – there is no diet involved with just eating healthier and making better choices.  And not eating sugar – or at least cutting back is just a good idea for everyone.

For lunch I made Greg and me  a B.L.T.A. (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and avocado) with sprouted grain bread and organic mayo.  It was amazing. Last night we had grilled salmon and veggies.   One thing about eating better and not starving yourself – is a change in your metabolism – which makes you leaner and more healthy.

No sugar?  Yes – I can do it – in an attempt to be a more healthy me.

On a funny side note – our 19 year old son Shawn came home last night and looked in the fridge, freezer and pantry – marched up to our bedroom (it was after midnight) and said, “Mom – you weren’t kidding when you said you were going organic – EVERYTHING is organic – where’s the REAL FOOD!”  We got a good chuckle over that – and we won’t be starving our son – he will see to it I’m sure ☺

Time for a nap – and tomorrow I will continue – and do my yoga stretches and elliptical too.  I know I can do it.

Have a great Sunday!


God Bless

Heart Of A Hummingbird

Five things I learned today:

1. Never assume that you can pull/push/lift as much weight in the gym  as a previous person on the machine has.  What a SHOCK when first using the machine – if you don’t adjust.  (Those MEN!!!)

2. Never be intimidated by men in the gym.  They serve only to scare women into thinking they are wimpy.  And it works.

3. Never workout on the elliptical machine next to two men – even if one of those men is your husband.  It’s just wrong.

4. Never compare your heart rate to your neighbor’s.  My heart rate is a good 20 beats higher per minute than Greg’s is – and that’s just standing still.  On the elliptical – FORGET IT!

5. Never take your hands off the ‘heart sensor’ – or it will yell at you.  For me it is good to push past the ‘normal’ perimeters  of what is ‘safe’  or normal on the machine –  because my heart rate is always faster than normal.  And I’m okay with that.  I have to make the adjustments and be okay that I’m weird.

Greg tells me that I have the ‘heart of a hummingbird’ – and I guess that’s the way it is just going to have to be.  As long as I can have the ‘soul of an artist’ then all is well.

God Bless

Yin and Yang

“I’m doing the work!  I’m baby stepping it!!” Bob from “What about Bob?”

The other day while doing “the work” in the gym I found myself caught up in a “Doctor’s Program” that they play in front of the treadmills and ellipticals on the flat screen tv’s above us.  It was very interesting because it was a program on women.  And not just ANY program – a program on basic concerns woman have as they enter mid-life – and get older.  It seems there are a great many myths  associated with the aging process for women and excercise and health is right up there with these myths.

A lot of women do not exercise or train with weights because they are afraid they are going to look like a man when they are done.  Not true.  No matter how much I do bicep curls, for instance – I cannot even see my biceps – oh they are there – deeply hidden – but there is no real substance or shape to them – like a man.  Simply because women have extra body fat – we’re born with it – it’s to make pretty babies with.  I kind of like that I do not in any way resemble a man – and so does my husband – who much prefers my curves over the way a well-built guy looks – any day.  I’m glad for that!

But weight training (working out with machines that have weights on them) is essential for any good exercise program – because it increases weight loss because you are building muscle mass – burning more calories over a longer period of time.  We got that straight from a personal trainer at our club – and this information was reinforced  on this medical show.  It is not always the fun thing to do – but you will get longer lasting results if you do it.  Greg and I workout 3 times a week – alternating legs, abs, arms and chest.  It seems to be working great – and when we do about 30 minutes of weight machines then he goes to the elliptical and I go to the treadmill – for about 30 minutes – I’m still a “baby stepper” – but I AM doing the work!

Another thing  women can do to stay young is stay out of the sun.  More and more experts are telling us – too much sun ages you quicker than just about anything so don’t do it!  Plus it is NOT good for you! I look young for my age because I do not spend any more time in direct sunlight than necessary.

Also – too thin is not attractive as you age.  All the movie stars and models would try to present a different view-point on this – but thin women wrinkle more and look older quicker than women with a few pounds on them – and that includes the face.  All that dieting and you’re just going to look old faster and before your time.

Balance is the key.  I eat healthy and sometimes not so healthy.  We all do.  But I try to live a life of balance. Exercise – but don’t obsess over it.  Eat healthy but don’t obsess over every little thing you put in your mouth.  BALANCE.

I try to live a life of balance in all things – but I’m a “hyper optimistic” person – which means: I want to try new things – go on new adventures and dream BIG dreams – which sometimes are not based in reality.  I sometimes take too much on – and since I’m a “finisher” – I complete EVERY task I take on.

Here is an example of something that happens every time I walk into the gym with my husband Greg:

I see the spinning class – and the water aerobics class going on and I will get wide-eyed and very excited and say to Greg, “I want to do those classes – I can do those”!  And my dear husband Greg says, “No you can’t”  Now before you’re too hard on Greg – let me just tell you a little about him.  He is what I would affectionately call a “pessimistic passive/aggressive”  – what I mean by that is this:  he will say something negative with a smile on his face.  He is very used to having to “reign me in” and be a stable and patient influence over my crazy ideas.  I guess he’s the “yin” to my “yang” – or the “Ricky” to my “Lucy” – you get the idea.  I will say, “you’re a glass half empty kind of guy, aren’t you”? – and he will reply, “No – I’m just someone who lives in the real world – where women like you shouldn’t be doing every exercise class that there is available – Zumba is enough”  Yes.  I do LOVE my Zumba class on Friday night ☺

Well that’s about all I have to say on that subject for today.  I hope everyone is being healthy – eating right and doing some exercise!  And staying young in body and in mind!

God Bless!

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