Friday, July 30, 2010

FFF Diva Motivation: A Break Up Letter

Earlier this week I wrote a break up letter. Tough one. Let me know what you think...

Dear 250s,

We have had a great run these last 6 months although w/ ups & downs. Unfortunately I have reached a relationship w/ the 240s this month. Don't fret, because I'm leaving him for 230s by the end of Aug. I don't feel like settling. Hope you understand.

♥ Maureen

Monday, July 26, 2010

FFF Diva Reflection: When Things Aren’t Happening Fast Enough

On Perfect Timing: When Things Aren’t Happening Fast Enough
by Sonya Derian

“After winter comes the summer. After night comes the dawn. And after every storm, there comes clear, open skies.” ~Samuel Rutherford

I was talking to someone this week about his feeling that things weren’t happening fast enough. That with all he was doing, intending and putting out there, that more should be happening—and faster.

My question to him was, “Really? Should things really be happening faster? Or are you exactly where you’re supposed to be?”

There is a tendency, sometimes, to think we have it all figured out. When it should happen, how it should happen, who it should happen with—and before it’s “too late.”

We are powerful creators in life, but the truth is, we’re not in this alone. There are other forces at play, and for the most part, to our benefit.

Have you ever had something occur in your life that you had wished for years earlier, only to realize that now was the perfect timing? That in fact, you wouldn’t have been ready for it any earlier? That in retrospect, everything was leading up to the perfect moment of this unfolding?

We want to feel in charge of our lives. It makes us feel safe knowing that we have control. And to some extent, we have complete control in dictating our desires, in stating our ambitions, and in following our well laid plans.

But sometimes life has a way of throwing us curve balls. There is a delay in an outcome we are hoping to produce, or the timing doesn’t work out as we planned. We’re not where we think we should be, financially, socially, professionally, creatively, or romantically.

And yet even in this, there is perfection.

In other words, for those of you who think your time has passed, or it’s too late, or there is not enough time, I ask you: How do you know this? How do you know that in this moment, right now, you are not exactly where you are supposed to be?

That things are not working out for you, despite appearances?

I had a teacher who used to pose the question: “If everything is perfect exactly as it is, what is it that you are not seeing?”

In other words, what are you gaining from this situation that is perfect for your unfolding, right now; and how is this preparing you for the thing you desire?

We are always afraid our ship is not going to come in, or if it does, it did already and left without us. Our ship may come and go, but there will be another one and another one and another one. And another one.

We are coming into our own in the timing we need. For each of us it will be different, but for each of us, it will also be perfect.

Inspirational leader Mary Morrissey talks about Chinese Bamboo and how it is a very slow-growing and fragile plant. She says that if the bamboo is cared for, watched over and nurtured, in one year it grows two inches, in the next year it grows two inches, in the next year it grows two inches, in the next year it grows two inches, and then in the fifth year, it grows 80 feet!

This is how it is with our development. We intend. We make incremental changes. We show up for our success in whatever way we can. Over time, everything comes to fruition, harmonizing all aspects in such a creative way that if we were to look back on it, we would marvel at the perfection of it all.

We would know that we were making strides all along.

Trust in the perfection of your life and let yourself be fully where you are in the moment. Trust that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Know that what you have to look forward to is greater than what you are leaving behind.

And trust that you will “arrive” in time and on time, not a minute sooner.

Sonya Derian is the owner and founder of Om Freely, a company dedicated to helping people live out loud, tap into their power, and transform their lives. To pick up your free ebook: Om Freely: 30 Ways to Live Out Loud, please visit . Or check out her online store at:

FFF Diva Lifestyle: 10 things all single people must do

As a single FFF Diva, I know that my singe-dom status is because I wanted to be single by choice. Yes you heard right: BY CHOICE. Why? Well personally for me all of my serious relationships in the past were majority long distance (Southern California, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., etc.) and today I have been single for almost 5 months. Result: less stressful. I enjoy being single at this point in my life because a) long distance relationships require a lot of emotional & financial investment b) I would like to at least go on a date with a nice young man within a 75 mile radius of me c) NOT be someone's girlfriend until I get my life & priorities in order, because as the great drag queen Ru Paul always says: "How in the hell can you love someone else, if you can't even love yourself?" With that, below is a list I have found that is very motivating for a single man or woman (whether it be single by choice or not, LOL). Out of this list I have completed the following in my lifetime of dating/non-dating/etc. with my comments following after:

2. Wallow in the ache of a broken heart: Totally self-explanatory. Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom (emotional relationship rock bottom in this case) to really find who YOU are without someone. It's a nice trip to finding yourself.
4. Don’t come home all night: Talk about re-living my college years. Now that I am out of college and finishing up Graduate school I will say that I do this still, but definitely NOT quite as often. Haha.
5. Stand up for a cause you care about: ACTIVISM is my middle name. Might as well tell you all now that I am a very progressive young Democrat. But regardless of your party orientation...finding what you are passionate about and doing something about it is a great value not only to your own life, but to your community. I do social justice work at my local Catholic church and sing in the choir. I help to elect as many young Democrats (18-35 year olds) to office in the Bay Area (California). There are many things YOU can do in your own local neighborhood, community, and city and it doesn't have to be anything big, just something you are passionate about and truly care about.
6. Have a real adventure: Hahaha. I'll save that for another blog! ; )
8. Buy something hugely impractical just because you love it. Can you say designer purses?: From Dooney & Burke to Coach and everything above and below. <3
9. Develop a hobby: My hobby? Long distance running. Can you say marathon?
10. Be completely, utterly, wholly single for at least three months: I will say yes I have, but I will definitely say...a girl has needs. That is all.

So check out the list and do an inventory check on your own single life (if you are single that is) and please feel free to share. I love report backs!

<3 FFF Diva Mo

10 things all single people must do
By Amy Spencer

1. Travel alone. Whether you’re trying to find your way through the Paris Metro or the London Underground, haggling over a painting in Mexico or choosing where to bed down in the Badlands, traveling by yourself builds a confidence you simply can’t get any other way. In an unfamiliar place, you have to make decisions by yourself, for yourself every day, which will build a self-reliance you’ll always treasure — even when you become part of a twosome.

2. Wallow in the ache of a broken heart. Oh, the pain. The agony. The pints of Ben & Jerry’s in front of the cable TV. Yep, getting dumped is beyond awful, but guess what? It’s the only way that you’ll develop the empathy you’ll need to be a better partner in a relationship. Because if you’re sensitive to the grief someone else has caused you, you’re less likely to do the same to anyone else. So, consider this painful milestone a lesson in karma that’ll serve you well as you travel through your dating days. Browse Local Singles at on Yahoo!

I am a: Man Woman Seeking a: Man Woman Near: 3. Spend a weekend with a married couple your age. On lonely nights, it’s common for single folk to envision marriage as a cozy scene from a classic film or mail-order catalog. But by spending 48 hours with a real couple, you’ll learn that in between the snuggling and pet names comes growling, bickering, silent treatments and maybe even a slammed door or two before they ultimately compromise. It will show you what married life is like, warts and all, so you won’t over-idealize the two-becomes-one phenomenon again.

4. Don’t come home all night. That’s right, wild thing. Crash on a friend’s couch, take your friends up on that offer of a last-minute trip… Once you have a mate, you can’t just take off on your own without explanation. And, truthfully, you won’t want to. So if you don’t have someone you have to call and check in with every few hours, take this opportunity to check out!

5. Stand up for a cause you care about. Whether you volunteer to help register voters for the next election (why not start early?) or convince your neighborhood or apartment complex to start recycling, get fired up over an issue while you have the time to devote to it. It will remind you that while, yes, finding your soul mate is pretty important, there are other issues at stake in the world that could use your help. And besides, the big-heartedness you’ll be cultivating is very attractive.

6. Have a real adventure. Learn to fly a plane, surf some big waves, or start your own business. Give yourself a thrill by doing something just for you, just for the experience — without having someone at home worrying about you or nagging you not to. Oh, and one more gift with purchase: Think about how much fun you’ll have telling your next date about your daring experience.

7. Learn how to take care of yourself. Being solo shouldn’t keep you from cooking for yourself, so learn how to make an impressive meal for one (even if it’s mac and cheese with your own added favorite extra thrown in). While you’re at it, learn how to back up your hard drive and sew on replacement buttons. You’ll feel strong and self-sufficient — and you’ll be armed with skills to share when you are in a relationship.

8. Buy something hugely impractical just because you love it. Once you’re in a relationship, you’ll start thinking about your partner before you purchase pricey items — not just “Will he or she hate it?” but “Is this where I want to be putting my money if we’re saving for a wedding?” The single life means a single bank account and an excuse to blow a wad of cash without (some of the) guilt. So, make yourself happy and buy something you crave, whether it’s an expensive vintage movie poster or a decked-out mountain bike.

9. Develop a hobby. Learn to woodwork, play acoustic guitar, speak French, DJ on turntables, or make digital short films for fun. Of course you can (and should) still have hobbies when you’re dating someone, but your solo time is prime time to devote yourself to something that makes life more interesting for you — and makes you more interesting to others.

10. Be completely, utterly, wholly single for at least three months. Hopping wildly from one relationship to the next can do you a disservice. Why? Because you’re never more ripe for self-reflection than when you’re on your own — and the more you know yourself, the more likely you are to find someone who’s right for the real you.

Amy Spencer writes about relationships and other topics for Glamour, Maxim, Real Simple and Cosmopolitan magazines. She personally swears by all of the above — though she admits to being a little too chummy with number 8 on the list.

FFF Diva Advice: 9 "Harmless" Habits That Age You

9 "Harmless" Habits That Age You
By the Editors of Prevention
Thu, Jul 15, 2010

It pretty much goes without saying that smoking cigarettes and frying your skin in the sun make you older, so kudos for quitting and slathering on the sunscreen religiously. But if you're trying to turn back the clock—or at least slow it down a little—don't overlook these other habits that may be sabotaging your efforts.

1. You keep your college bedtime
It's not uncommon for superbusy women to cram a day's worth of around-the-house to-dos into the late evening hours, a practice that pushes back bedtime into—eep!—Late Night with Jimmy Fallon territory. The problem with this is that too-little sleep is proving to be really, really bad for your health: Research links it to high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, and even just looking tired and older.

Act your age: We're not saying you need a perfect 8 hours every single night, but make sleep a priority more often and your body will thank you. Everyone's sleep needs are different; to find out what yours are, sleep experts recommend you turn off the alarm clock when you're well rested, and see how long you naturally sleep. (Most people need 7 to 8 hours.)

Instant Health Boost: 12 Quick ways to better your mind and body today!

2. You have a soft spot for sweets
A sugar-packed diet can take its toll on your waistline, but now experts also believe it can make your skin dull and wrinkled too. To blame is a natural process known as glycation, in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs, for short). The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop; these damage surrounding proteins like collagen and elastin, which keep skin firm and elastic. Once damaged, springy and resilient collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Act your age: It's not easy to eliminate sugar completely, but limiting added sugar to no more than 10% of total calories can help. If you're a 45-year-old woman of average height (5-foot-4), that's 160 calories (or 10 teaspoons) from added sugar—about the number in one 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola or six Hershey's Kisses. By comparison, the average American consumes 31 teaspoons per day of added sugar, or the equivalent of 465 calories. Watch for stealthy sugar in unexpected foods, like salad dressing. Many prepared foods contain hefty amounts of sugar, but it's hidden under aliases—including barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, and turbinado—on ingredient panels.

3. You're stressed more often than not
You don't feel good when you're stressed-out—be it from work projects piling up, a miserable commute, issues with the kids, etc.—and there's good biological proof why you shouldn't. Stress increases the concentration of the hormones cortisol and norepinephrine in the bloodstream, kicking up blood pressure and suppressing immunity. Over time, stress that doesn't go away can delay healing, harden your arteries, and possibly shrink areas of your brain involved in learning, memory, and mood—talk about feeling older!

Act your age: Stress will never go away completely, but how you manage everyday blips can keep hormones on a more even—and healthy—keel. Deep breathing is the top antistress pick of Prevention advisor Andrew Weil, MD: He makes time for it at least twice a day. "It only takes 2 minutes," he says. "I do it in the morning, when I'm falling asleep in the evening, and anytime I feel upset." Try it: Exhale strongly through the mouth, making a whoosh sound. Breathe in quietly through the nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7, then exhale with the whoosh for a count of 8. Repeat the cycle 3 more times.

10 silent signs you're more stressed than you think.

4. You only exercise to lose weight
Exercise is one of the best turn-back-the-clock agents around, but too many of us don't reap its full benefits because we only associate physical activity with weight loss. If you tend to hit the gym in 2-week stints to shed a few pounds, but then take a few months off from physical activity, you're missing out on some major health perks. Research shows that vigorous exercisers have longer telomeres—cellular biomarkers that shorten as we age—compared with healthy adults who rarely work out. Being active consistently can help fight brain fog, reduce inflammation, and prevent type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions that crop up over time.

Act your age: Don't let your sneakers get dusty. Choose any activity you enjoy—be it walking, cycling, or dancing—and aim for a minimum of 20 to 25 minutes a day. Break it down, if you have to, into two 10-minute sessions. Slowly increase the frequency, duration, and intensity in small increments. If you miss a day, don't let it become a habit; just pick up again the next day.

5. You blast your iPod
Nothing makes you feel 80 years old like having to cup your ear and say "Excuse me?" to get your friend to repeat herself... again. Hearing loss typically develops slowly, the result of prolonged exposure to thousands of high-decibel insults to the ear, many of which come from exposure to everyday gadgets, like iPods or hair dryers. MP3 players set at 50% volume can pump out sounds up to 101 decibels, well over the recommended safety threshold.

Act your age: To ageproof your iPod, keep the volume as low as possible. Use noise-canceling earbuds to block out ambient sounds, reducing your need to jack up the volume. Wear earplugs when you're around other loud noises too, like the garbage disposal, coffee grinder, lawn mower, etc.

14 Everyday ways you damage your health.

6. You never see your girlfriends
Your friends were probably the meat and potatoes of your social calendar back in your 20s; now you spend most of your spare time shuttling your tweens around to their various get-togethers. But here's why making time to cultivate your friendships is so key: One study found that satisfying friendships predict longevity better than even close family ties, and they can protect against obesity, depression, and heart disease, among other health problems. No wonder you always feel reenergized after a marathon catch-up call with your best college friend or a girls' night out with your high school crew.

Act your age: Your friends keep you young—simple as that. So if hectic schedules keep you apart, consider carving a more permanent place in your schedule for friend time. Take advantage of Facebook or e-mail groups to stay in touch on a more frequent basis—even clicking through and commenting on a pal's recently uploaded vacation photos can help you feel closer.

7. You eat veggies—but not daily
You've likely heard that antioxidant-packed fruits and veggies can help you stay young. These powerful compounds fight free radicals that would otherwise wreak havoc on your body and skin, damaging cells that can lead to cancer and make you look older. But here's the rub: Antioxidants remain active for only a few hours and need to be continually replenished, so don't think you're set for the week after eating a big salad for lunch on Monday.

Act your age: ODing on veggies a couple of days a week or month—and skipping them the rest of the time—doesn't do your body any favors. To truly maximize their age-defying benefits, aim to eat antioxidants every 4 hours or so or with every meal.

8. You've shunned all fat from your diet
Cutting out artery-clogging saturated and trans fats is a heart-healthy move, but when it comes to your health and vitality, equally slashing unsaturated fats, like those found in fish, nuts, and olive oil, is like throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. One kind, omega-3 fatty acids, is the ultimate anti-aging fat, essential for protecting your brain, heart, bones, joints, skin, and more. Another kind, monounsaturated, can lower bad LDL cholesterol, raise cardio-protective HDL cholesterol, and decrease your risk of atherosclerosis. Plus, studies suggest that a higher intake of these fats may contribute to longer life expectancy.

Act your age: Remember that fat isn't inherently evil, and it won't make you fat per se. About 20 to 35% of your daily calories should come from fat (mainly healthy, unsaturated fat) like those from the above sources.

9. You can't recall when you last had sex
Yep, sex feels good and does wonders for your mood, but it's also fantastically great for your health. Research shows that people with active sex lives have stronger immune systems, less pain, a lower cancer risk, healthier hearts, and less stress. The best news: It can even make you look younger—up to 12 years, a study shows.

Act your age: Rekindle the romance between you and your partner. To shake things up, try making the first move next time. "Some women are not active participants in their sex lives," says Pat Covalt, PhD, author of What Smart Couples Know. "A lot of men would like to be touched more, seduced more. Everyone wants to feel wanted."

Original Article Link:

Friday, July 23, 2010

FFF Diva Motivation: "How to Improve Your Run All Day Long"

Hi friends, fans, and other FFF Diva followers!

It has been about two months since my world turned upside down when I decided to leave my last career to finish my MBA graduate school program (3 classes left & counting). I went from working well over 40 hours a week and enjoying at least 2 or more hours a day in my car (commute), while trying to take care of family (I have no kids--I live at home), & battle a weight loss journey TO working in a slow paced job at a law firm 15 min away from home, enough time to take care of my grandparents while have a social life, & FINALLY take back control of my weight loss journey by training for my SECOND running marathon this year. Ah yes and I am 25 years old and very Filipino.

What's my point?

I am so happy, because instead of pursuing happiness I am creating it! I always complained about my commute, and although I loved my career how demanding it was, and so on & so forth. When I made big life decisions in May regarding my career I was also making big life decisions for my family and health. Because I now work a hell of a lot closer to home we didn't have to hire a caregiver to come to our house to take care of my 80-something year old grandparents. Because I have a shorter commute and a flexible work schedule I can really focus on all the things associated with training for a marathon (running schedule, training schedule, etc), and most of all be prepared & plan ahead for my daily nutrition.

Other fast fun MO-tastic factoids:
1) I am a wedding officiant and will be performing two wedding ceremonies in August and October 2010. One will actually be at a kiddie amusement park! You may call me Revered Maureen or Rev Mo for short. No seriously.
2) I am running my second marathon in San Francisco this October 2010. My first marathon was in Los Angeles on March 21, 2010 (my 25th birthday)!
3) My sister and best friend Leilani is moving to El Paso, Texas next week. This means I will be a primary caregiver to my grandparents. Therefore, yesterday I became certified by the American Red Cross in CPR for child/infant/adult, AED, and basic first aid. I'll be working on a disaster emergency plan & survival kit(s) for my house, car, & office.
4) Most of my go to karaoke songs are either by ABBA or Cher. Typical.
5) This Sunday I will be running the beautiful Wharf to Wharf Race which is a 7 mile race from Santa Cruz to Capitola. I am running it with my sister Leilani and the wonderful ladies of my 6am outdoor cardio boot camp OPERATION BOOT CAMP. Results and photos to follow!

My life has changed drastically in the last two months, and everyday is a new adventure, but it's totally okay with me.


Anyways, below is an article I found that really had some great tips on how to improve not only your run time but your running motivation. I know I need whatever support I can get.

Last note before I go:
If this is your first time reading my rambling blog...THANK YOU! : )
Also, if you have been a long time reader & supporter BIGGER thank you. Why? Because you have seen me at my best & my worst. It's been about a year since I started this blog and I have received so much love and support from friends & total stranger all with the same goal: TO TAKE BACK OUR LIVES--THE HEALTHY WAY.

All the best,
FFF Diva Mo <3

"How to Improve Your Run All Day Long"

By Liz Plosser
Runner's World

A typical day is filled with obstacles that threaten your five-miler. It might be the staff meeting doughnut fest that could sabotage a workout, or the exploding inbox of e-mails that makes it tough to unplug and lace up. And then there's that Conan habit that could have you reaching for the snooze button instead of your shoes.

Whether you exercise in the morning, afternoon, or evening, how you go about your day has a direct impact on the quality of your run. "All of the actions we take during the day can enhance or hinder our workouts," says Aimee Kimball, Ph.D., director of mental training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Center for Sports Medicine. "Eat smart, get enough sleep, stretch your legs, and those actions can lead to a faster pace, less fatigue, and better attitude when you run." To perform your best, you've got to plan your day right. Here's how:

5:30 A.M. Don't Hit Snooze
Morning runners should resist the temptation. Unless you're chronically sleep deprived, get up with your alarm and run. "Once you get going, you'll feel better, and the running will help shake off the sleepiness," says Thomas Balkin, Ph. D., chief of the department of behavioral biology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. "The occasional night of inadequate sleep will not have catastrophic results."

7 A.M. Shower
Start your postrun shower with at least a few minutes of cool water for a mini version of an ice-bath. "Cold water constricts blood vessels to reduce swelling," says Michael Conlon, P. T., of Finish Line Physical Therapy in New York City. Haven't run yet? Crank the faucet to warm, and then afterward, stretch while toweling off to loosen up tight muscles.

7:30 A.M. Drink Water
And continue throughout the day. "Your urine should be pale yellow," says Lisa Dorfman, M. S., R. D., director of sports nutrition and performance at the University of Miami. "Clear urine probably means you're overhydrated. Apple juice-colored urine could mean you're dehydrated."

7:45 A.M. Eat Smart
Morning runners need carbs (for energy) and protein (for muscle recovery). Dorfman says. Running at noon? Opt for fruit with oatmeal or a whole-wheat bagel. "The meal before your next run should be the most carb-rich of the day," she says.

8 A.M. Dress for Success
Choose footwear with good support and cushioning. Avoid narrow shoes — squeezing into them after a midday run can exacerbate blisters and pinch swollen feet.

9 A.M. Ignore Your Inbox
"Reset your e-mail so it doesn't 'ding' every time you receive a new message, and check it as infrequently as you can," says Marsha Egan, author of Inbox Detox. "It takes four minutes to recover from any interruption. If you check e-mail 30 times, that's 120 minutes of wasted time every day." That's time you could use to work out.

10 A.M. Snack
Eating a 200-calorie mini-meal (energy bar; yogurt) two hours before a lunch-hour run will fuel your workout. It'll also help you resist the conference room doughnuts, which may make you feel lethargic, cranky, and achy during your sweat session.

10:30 A.M. Take a Walk
Stretch your legs every 60 minutes. "Get blood flowing to your leg muscles to alleviate stiffness," Conlon says.

11 A.M. Chat Up a Coworker
"Talking about your running goals makes you less likely to blow off a workout," Kimball says. Tell your colleague you registered for a 5-K to solidify your commitment.

1 P.M. Prioritize Protein
Morning and afternoon runners need to make protein part of their midday meal for muscle recovery. Running at night? Protein is still important, but you'll need an extra dose of carbs for energy.

2 P.M. Wrap Up a Tough Task
Distance mentally taxing projects from your run. A recent study reported that people who did a challenging job before a workout stopped exercising sooner than when they didn't strain their brains before hitting the gym. "You don't train as well when you're mentally fatigued," says study author Samuele Marcora, Ph. D.

4 P. M. Use Visual Cues
" My running log is the background on my computer," says Chicago marathoner Nate Cook, 32. "When I look at my progression of mileage, it puts me in the mood to run." (For more, see "Desk Inspiration," below.)

5 P.M. Tune In
You can listen to any music that motivates you, but cueing up a running playlist is ideal, says sports psychologist Costas Karageorghis, Ph. D. "Runners associate workout music with the bodily sensations of running, and that shifts their mind-set toward superior running performance."

6:30 P.M. Refuel
"Morning runners need evening carbs to fuel tomorrow's run," Dorfman says. Lateday runners need protein. "A liquid-based meal, such as hearty soup with beans and a glass of milk, is comforting," she says.

8 P.M. Get Ready
If you're a morning runner, set out your clothes for tomorrow's workout, so you're not digging through a laundry basket looking for clean shorts at 5:30 a. m. Afternoon and evening runners should pack their gym bags now—you're more likely to forget a towel during the morning rush.

9:30 P.M. Unplug
Avoid using your TV, computer, or BlackBerry in the 30 minutes before bedtime, advises Edward Suarez, Ph. D., a sleep researcher at Duke University. A bright monitor can make it harder to fall asleep. It can also inhibit the production of melatonin, the hormone that alerts the body it's time for bed. A solid night of shut-eye will make it easier to power through tomorrow's run and will also aid muscle recovery.

Desk Inspiration
Your office's four gray walls may not be inspiring surroundings — yet. Aimee Kimball, Ph. D., suggests ways to get a mental boost from your workspace. —L. P.

Hang an image of an athlete or loved one you admire. Or post a picture of yourself from a race where you PR'ed to remind yourself what you are capable of.

Decorate with running paraphernalia. Hang a postcard from the city of your next race, post bib numbers and finishers' medals, or keep your gym bag in plain sight.

Log onto The Loop @ Create a profile, interact with others, and track training progress. "Social support keeps you motivated," Kimball says.

Monday, July 19, 2010

FFF Diva Tips: 6 Tips to Deal When You Feel Out of Control

6 Tips to Deal When You Feel Out of Control: When Your World Gets All Shook Up
by Genny Ross-Barons

“Why worry about things you can’t control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?” ~Unknown

I celebrated an anniversary recently. It was the night I experienced my first, and hopefully last, earthquake.

My husband and I had retired for the evening as usual—said our goodnights and went to sleep. I was jarred awake at 2:30 AM by him trying to pull me from our bed. At the same moment I heard the most deafening roar. Could a freight train be barrelling through our loft?

Our attempts to escape the upper level were hampered by the violent shaking. As we stepped forward we were propelled side-to-side. We were being tossed like rag-dolls as we scrambled down the stairs, only to be greeted by the sound of glass objects smashing from below.

Skirting around the shards of broken stemware, we fumbled with the house keys and made our escape to the front porch. The same instant that we arrived outside, the 7.3 earthquake stopped as abruptly as it had started.

We were fortunate that our home did not collapse on top of us, that in our community there was no loss of life, and the tsunami that we were warned about never materialized.

Although we were lucky and it only lasted sixty seconds, I put earthquakes at the top of my list of things I never want to experience again.

So why celebrate the anniversary of such an event?

One minute your life is normal. You carry on not giving a thought to what may be. You are the master of your destiny. Then something beyond your control happens—your world gets all shook up.

You have no control over the event specific to you, but you do have the power to decide how to deal with it. The following six things you can control when dealing with an earthshaking event.

1. Offer help to others.

When you focus on someone else’s emotional or physical needs, instead of dwelling on what has happened to you, you’re too busy to think about what happened; and you feel a sense of accomplishment instead of hopelessness.

Perhaps your earthshaking event is your company closing, leaving all its employees jobless. You are rightfully devastated by the news, but you know you’re capable of updating your resume to pursue a new job.

What about the person who works beside you and has never written a resume before? Why not suggest you work together to prepare both resumes? Arrange to do mock interviews for each other. A trial run can help alleviate the nervousness, fine tune your own skills, and could just outright make you laugh when you are at a time in your life when you need it most.

2. Look at the event as a not so gentle reminder.

It is so easy to take your life and people you love for granted. When something shakes up your world, it might just be the reminder you need to appreciate everyone, including yourself.

It is easy to perceive there are more important things to do rather than spend time with your loved ones. You don’t have time to go for a walk, or sit together and talk. You have to get the kids somewhere, or perhaps finish that report.

And what about for yourself, when is the last time you took even a few minutes just for you. There’s always tomorrow—right?

When an earthshaking event happens, be grateful for the reminder that you can’t count on there being a tomorrow. Find the time for the people that matter to you, including yourself right now!

Looking for the silver lining like this goes a long way toward helping you deal with it and returns a sense of control in a situation that you didn’t initiate.

3. Respect and accept the strength of forces larger than yourself.

The smartest people in the world, with the best resources, could never stop an earthquake from happening. Sometimes you need to accept that there are forces larger than you at play. Accepting that you simply cannot control everything is an integral part of dealing with difficulties.

4. Appreciate twists in the adventure.

Limiting yourself in fear of what you can’t control will do you no good. Appreciate the adventure of not knowing what might happen next.

Roller-coasters, bungee-jumping, sky-diving and many other man-made attractions are put in place to give people an adrenaline rush, a sensation that while it is happening, you are out of control and terrified. The pay-off is when it is over! Your heart is racing, your palms are sweating and perhaps you are even feeling nauseous—but you did it!

During the earthquake and after, I felt all those emotions and physical sensations. For days I was paralyzed with the fear of it happening again. The more I gave in to that, the more out of control I felt.

My ability to carry out normal daily tasks was being hindered. With every aftershock I would become instantly sick to my stomach. I would tense every muscle in my body and experience a headache that would further limit my ability to function.

I’d been told the aftershocks could continue for a month or more. I needed to find a way to deal with them to gain back a sense of control.

When the next aftershock hit, I envisioned that I was on a roller-coaster. I relaxed into the motion instead of trying to fight it. While not 100 percent effective the first time, at least I avoided a headache and losing hours of my day. By using this technique I got to the point that I could make it through an aftershock without any problem. It became an adventure—a game.

By considering your earth-shattering event an adventure, you become a contender, no longer a victim holding yourself back. You regain control and are better prepared to find ways to get through it.

5. Consider how it helps you grow.

Every experience is a life lesson. You will be wiser, emotionally stronger, and perhaps have some newfound knowledge or skill in an area you knew nothing about before.

You and your family used to eat out all the time. But now, loss of a job means you no longer can afford to do that. At times you’re not sure how you can even afford to make a meal at home. Out of necessity you get creative. You seek out recipes that are most economical, invent a few of your own. You discover a passion for cooking.

You were considering going back to school for retraining—but had no idea what you would study. Maybe now you do. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs achieved their status from having to deal with a situation they had no control over.

6. Be proud of yourself.

As you work through an earthshaking event, give yourself credit for every step forward. By acknowledging your achievements no matter how small, you regain trust in your ability to fix what you didn’t break. You empower yourself to take the next step. Besides, the situation is beating you up enough—don’t help it!

Earthshaking events will continue to happen in our lives; we have no control over that. But we do have the ability to control how we respond. While in the midst of such an event it may seem hopeless and unbeatable but you can do it.


Genny Ross-Barons lives on the tropical Island of Roatan, Honduras. Originally from Canada, she spends her days in this idyllic setting on the Caribbean Sea, writing about day-to-day life on Roatan – When not Independently Wealthy or Old Enough to Retire, at and as DJ Genevieve, on sharing Roatan with the world.

Monday, July 12, 2010

FFF Diva Article Research: A 6-Step Plan to Speedy Marathon Recovery

A 6-Step Plan to Speedy Marathon Recovery

By Coach Jenny Hadfield

Congratulations, you’ve finished the marathon! Now what? Complete marathon recovery can take anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending on the intensity of your race performance and your race-day recovery strategy. Truth is, post-marathon recovery is inevitable, but the speed at which you recover can be drastically improved by following a few simple post-race tricks.

Six Steps to Speedy Marathon Recovery
Marathon recovery begins the minute you cross the finish line. Keep walking at least 10 minutes after you cross the finish line to allow your body to return to its resting state gradually. Get your medal, take your photos, pick up your gear and keep walking. It will allow your heart rate and blood flow to return to its normal state as well as reduce the risk of blood pooling in your legs which can cause fainting. Get up and walk around 10 to 15 minutes every few hours for the rest of the day.

Refuel depleted muscles as soon as possible with a meal that includes carbohydrates, protein and sodium. Fuel is most efficiently absorbed in the first 30 to 60 minutes post-race. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, banana and sports drink is one example. If you struggle with eating post-race, try a liquid recovery drink. Recovery drinks are formulated with everything you need to refuel your body--carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes and fluid. A good ole can of V-8 or chocolate milk works well too.

Within a few hours of finishing, soak your body in a cold bath, lake or ocean. Fill the tub with lukewarm water, add ice and soak for five minutes. Just like a baseball pitcher’s arm post-game, a cold water bath will aid in decreasing inflammation, thereby speeding the recovery process. Avoid hot tubs post-race. Although they sound like a lot more fun, the heat can impede recovery.

Sip fluids throughout the day to replenish fluid losses. Monitor your urine for adequate hydration levels. If your urine is pale yellow like lemonade you are adequately hydrated. If it runs dark, continue to hydrate. If it is clear, hold off on fluids as you may be over hydrating. Continue to replenish fuel and electrolytes (sodium, potassium) by eating small, frequent meals throughout the day.

Schedule a massage two or more hours post-race. Massages too soon to finishing the race can create more soreness. Massage can have a dramatic effect on post-marathon recovery times, and they are a wonderful reward for finishing a long season of training and all 26.2 miles. You can also perform your own massage with some of the products on the market like "the Stick" and foam rollers. They are great for deep tissue massage for hamstrings, calves, thighs and hips.

Actively rest with lower impact activities like swimming, cycling and yoga for seven to ten days post-marathon. Give your body and mind a full week off the demands of running, and it will reward you with an efficient recovery. Running too much, too soon post-marathon is the quickest way to an injury.
Follow a reverse taper when returning to your running regimen. That is, start with a few 30- to 40-minute easy paced runs and test the waters. If things feel good, gradually increase the duration and frequency of the runs. Keep the running intensity easy for at least three weeks post-marathon. And most importantly--listen to your body. If there are lingering aches and pains, consider taking a few more active rest days and let things heal completely.

Coach Jenny Hadfield is the co-author of the best-selling Marathoning for Mortals, and the new Running for Mortals and Training for Mortals series. Coach Jenny has trained thousands of runners and walkers with her training plans.

FFF Diva Accountability: Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Operation Boot Camp Activity (AM):
My legs hurt after today's 6am session of Operation Boot Camp. We did "Jump School": we split into 4 workout stations all focusing on a jumping movement (i.e. frog jumps, squat jumps). Each station 90 sec. Rotate. Repeat. FUN-ishment: Burpee frog jump contest in the parking lot, which I won. My reward: Running from one end of the parking lot & back before the rest of the campers finished or more burpees. Total win.

Food Log:
Meal 1: banana
Meal 2: large cup of black coffee, 1 old fashioned donut
Meal 3: 5 baby carrots, 1 toasted whole wheat english muffin (110 cals), 1 tsp of fat free cream cheese (15 cals), 3 slices of turkey (30 cals), 1/2 cup of spinach leaves
Meal 4: 14 multi-grain wheat thins (140 cals), small black iced coffee
Meal 5: grilled chicken, small biscuit, 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes
Meal 6: nothing

Sunday, July 11, 2010

FFF Diva Food Logging: Time for Accountability

During the month of June I experienced many highs and lows. I changed jobs, I started school again for my MBA program, connected with old friends, made amazing new friends, training for my 2nd marathon (26.2 mile Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco), my sister finalized her date of moving to Texas in August, lost 10 lbs, new reponsibilities and finally realized what my next career would be. Bottomline: LOTS of changes. One thing I wanted to change for the month of July was accountability. I already kept a food log for my sessions with Operation Boot Camp, but I never placed it on-line regularly. I plan to place my food log on-line once a week and also share what changes my OBC trainer's suggest for food/eating changes. Should be fun!

<3 FFF Diva Mo

Thursday, July 8
Meal 1: protein bar, large cup of black coffee
Meal 2: protein shake
Meal 3: feta cheese & lettuce in a toasted whole wheat sandwich thin, 1 cup of tomato soup
Meal 4: large iced coffee, 1 whole wheat bagel with fat free cream cheese
Meal 5: nothing
Meal 6: nothing

Friday, July 9
Meal 1: protein shake
Meal 2: 16 almonds, low fat mozzarella cheese stick
Meal 3: grilled chicken & veggies in a whole wheat pita
Meal 4: protein bar
Meal 5: nothing
Meal 6: banana

Saturday, July 10
Meal 1: large black cup of coffee, 1 serving of ensure
Meal 2: 5 slices of low fat salami, 15 multi-grain wheat thins
Meal 3: 1 pepperjack cheese stick, 1/2 cup of baby carrots
Meal 4: 1/2 whole wheat english muffin, 1/2 cup spinach, 1 tsp of fat free cream cheese
Meal 5: 1/2 cup of green grapes
Meal 6: 2 small chicken soft tacos (w/ veggies & salsa), diet coke

Sunday, July 11
Meal 1: turkey sausage patty, whole wheat english muffin, egg, 1 cup of milk
Meal 2: 1/2 cup of spinach, 1 pepperjack cheese stick
Meal 3: 15 multi-grain wheat thins, 5 slices of low fat salami
Meal 4: banana, 1/2 cup of baby carrots
Meal 5: diet coke, small pork chop, 1/2 whole wheat english muffin
Meal 6: nothing

Goals for this month at Operation Boot Camp:
1. run 1 sub 13 min mile
2. lose 10 lbs
3. attend camp on time 5:45am (enough time to check food logs)

Friday, July 9, 2010

FFF Diva Food For Thought: July is National Blueberry Month!

From the Registered Dietician from Operation Boot Camp - San Jose:

Did you know that July is National Blueberry Month?

FACTS: Only one main variety of blueberry. They are grown in four US areas (Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon)

SELECTION: Choose plump, juicy deep peruple to blue-black fruits

STORAGE: Keep refrigerated, does not ripen after harvest

HEALTH BENEFITS: Cholesterol and sodium free. High in fiber (6 grams/cup, 12 grams carbohydrate, 60 calories). High in vitamin C. Excellent source of disease-fighting phytochemicals anthocyanins and ellagic acid which have been shown to protect against the signs of aging and my reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

FUN FACTS: North America is the world's leading blueberry producer, accounting for nearly 90% of world production. The blueberry of the genus vaccinium, is a native American species. Early settlers cherished the fruit as a staple ingredient in foods and medicines.

Enjoy Your Day in a Healthy Way,
Lisa, RD
(and FFF Diva & OBC Camper Mo)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

FFF Diva Article Research: "Phys Ed: Your Brain on Exercise"

July 7, 2010, 12:01 am

Phys Ed: Your Brain on Exercise

Jim Wehtje/Getty ImagesWhat goes on inside your brain when you exercise? That question has preoccupied a growing number of scientists in recent years, as well as many of us who exercise. In the late 1990s, Dr. Fred Gage and his colleagues at the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute in San Diego elegantly proved that human and animal brains produce new brain cells (a process called neurogenesis) and that exercise increases neurogenesis. The brains of mice and rats that were allowed to run on wheels pulsed with vigorous, newly born neurons, and those animals then breezed through mazes and other tests of rodent I.Q., showing that neurogenesis improves thinking.

But how, exactly, exercise affects the staggeringly intricate workings of the brain at a cellular level has remained largely mysterious. A number of new studies, though, including work published this month by Mr. Gage and his colleagues, have begun to tease out the specific mechanisms and, in the process, raised new questions about just how exercise remolds the brain.

Some of the most reverberant recent studies were performed at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. There, scientists have been manipulating the levels of bone-morphogenetic protein or BMP in the brains of laboratory mice. BMP, which is found in tissues throughout the body, affects cellular development in various ways, some of them deleterious. In the brain, BMP has been found to contribute to the control of stem cell divisions. Your brain, you will be pleased to learn, is packed with adult stem cells, which, given the right impetus, divide and differentiate into either additional stem cells or baby neurons. As we age, these stem cells tend to become less responsive. They don’t divide as readily and can slump into a kind of cellular sleep. It’s BMP that acts as the soporific, says Dr. Jack Kessler, the chairman of neurology at Northwestern and senior author of many of the recent studies. The more active BMP and its various signals are in your brain, the more inactive your stem cells become and the less neurogenesis you undergo. Your brain grows slower, less nimble, older.

More Phys Ed columns
Faster, Higher, Stronger
Fitness and Nutrition News
But exercise countermands some of the numbing effects of BMP, Dr. Kessler says. In work at his lab, mice given access to running wheels had about 50 percent less BMP-related brain activity within a week. They also showed a notable increase in Noggin, a beautifully named brain protein that acts as a BMP antagonist. The more Noggin in your brain, the less BMP activity exists and the more stem cell divisions and neurogenesis you experience. Mice at Northwestern whose brains were infused directly with large doses of Noggin became, Dr. Kessler says, “little mouse geniuses, if there is such a thing.” They aced the mazes and other tests.

Whether exercise directly reduces BMP activity or increases production of Noggin isn’t yet known and may not matter. The results speak for themselves. “If ever exercise enthusiasts wanted a rationale for what they’re doing, this should be it,” Dr. Kessler says. Exercise, he says, through a complex interplay with Noggin and BMP, helps to ensure that neuronal stem cells stay lively and new brain cells are born.

But there are caveats and questions remaining, as the newest experiment from Dr. Gage’s lab makes clear. In that study, published in the most recent issue of Cell Stem Cell, BMP signaling was found to be playing a surprising, protective role for the brain’s stem cells. For the experiment, stem cells from mouse brains were transferred to petri dishes and infused with large doses of Noggin, hindering BMP activity. Without BMP signals to inhibit them, the stem cells began dividing rapidly, producing hordes of new neurons. But over time, they seemed unable to stop, dividing and dividing again until they effectively wore themselves out. The same reaction occurred within the brains of living (unexercised) mice given large doses of Noggin. Neurogenesis ramped way up, then, after several weeks, sputtered and slowed. The “pool of active stem cells was depleted,” a news release accompanying the study reported. An overabundance of Noggin seemed to cause stem cells to wear themselves out, threatening their ability to make additional neurons in the future.

This finding raises the obvious and disturbing question: can you overdose on Noggin by, for instance, running for hours, amping up your production of the protein throughout? The answer, Dr. Gage says, is, almost certainly, no. “Many people have been looking into” that issue, he says. But so far, “there has not been any instance of a negative effect from voluntary running” on the brain health of mice. Instead, he says, it seems that the effects of exercise are constrained and soon plateau, causing enough change in the activity of Noggin and BMP to shake slumbering adult stem cells awake, but not enough to goose them into exhausting themselves.

Still, if there’s not yet any discernible ceiling on brain-healthy exercise, there is a floor. You have to do something. Walk, jog, swim, pedal — the exact amount or intensity of the exercise required has not been determined, although it appears that the minimum is blessedly low. In mice, Mr. Gage says, “even a fairly short period” of exercise “and a short distance seems to produce results.”
Related Posts with Thumbnails