Category Archives: Move Your Body

Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?

Healthy Happy EaterI believe it is, and I think  you will too after you read this article from the New York Times. I read it when it came out in April, tweeted it … and didn’t really take it to heart until now.

For the past 13 months, I have worked out at Camp Gladiator boot camp about three to five times per week, and now am training for a half marathon with long run/walk intervals on Saturdays. That’s pretty good, huh? Yeah but … all day long I sit on my butt in my office chair, then on the sofa all evening. Not good.

I started to have this nagging ache in my right knee a couple of months ago. I believe that it might have to do with the fact that I sit so much, because it only hurts when I first get up from sitting for a while. I ask my body to do intense physical activity for a few hours a week, and then I do absolutely nothing the rest of the time. How will I remedy this?

I’m going to move around more throughout the day, and strive for walking the recommended 10,000 steps. My boss just turned me onto a device called Fitbit, which tracks calories burned, steps taken, distance traveled and sleep quality. It’s available on the Fitbit website and at Best Buy, but I bought mine at REI because of their generous return policy. I don’t plan to return it of course, but I like to trade with retailers who have outstanding customer service. REI has free shipping right now too.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. In the meantime, read the New York Times article about the dangers of a chair-based lifestyle … and as Nathan Arizona says, “Move! Move! Move!”

“Go into cubeland in a tightly controlled corporate environment and you immediately sense that there is a malaise about being tied behind a computer screen seated all day,” says Mayo Clinic researcher James Levine. “The soul of the nation is sapped, and now it’s time for the soul of the nation to rise.”       


Filed under Move Your Body

Two Roads Diverged in a Wood, and I Chose … Swedish Massage

Two and a half years ago, I was a Weight Watchers member for the umpteenth time. I hate the idea of counting and measuring food, but as I struggled with my weight I would inevitably get humble enough to sign up yet again for another round of meetings. At this particular time, I heard about a new Aveda spa that offered memberships where you could get a monthly massage (or facial) for $59. I was spending $40 a month on Weight Watchers, not getting anything out of it but guilt and shame, so it was a no-brainer to decide to put that money toward a monthly massage instead. How decadent, how lovely … how smart. 

So what does this have to do with being a healthy, happy eater? Two main things:

  1. nuturing the body is a healthy thing to do
  2. counting and measuring food contributes to neuroses

Massage relieves stress, lowers anxiety, minimizes pain and stiffness, lowers blood pressure and boosts immunity. That sounds alot better to me than getting up early on a Saturday morning for a guilt-inducing WW meeting where you try to learn how to game the (digestive) system with faux food.

I have a sweet, beautiful, trim, fit friend who recently told me she was considering joining Weight Watchers to lose a few pounds. Everything in me screamed, “Noooooooooo!” I hated to see a person with no weight problem tap into the collective neuroses that tries to make food the enemy. My advice to her was to read Nina Planck’s book Real Food: What to Eat and Why. There’s so much misinformation about food – from the FDA, diet experts, nutritionists, the media, pharmaceutical companies, industrial food producers – that Nina’s book was like a gulp of fresh air after almost suffocating. Her approach is so intuitive, I immediately knew it was truth. Michael Pollan says her book is, “Persuasive and invigorating … a valuable and eye-opening book.” I couldn’t agree more!

So the next time you consider counting and measuring, or eating something that’s lowfat, nonfat, industrial-processed-supposed-to-taste-like-something-else … go have a massage (Hiatus Spa if in Dallas) and then enjoy some real food. Not sure what that is? Here’s what Nina calls The Omnivore’s Feast (p. 273):

  • Eat generous amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables daily  
  • Eat wild fish and seafood often
  • Eat meat, game, poultry, and eggs from wild, pastured and grass-fed animals often
  • Eat full-fat dairy foods, ideally raw and unhomogenized from grass-fed cows, often
  • Eat only traditional fats, including butter, lard, poultry fat, coconut oil, and olive oil
  • Eat whole grains and legumes
  • Eat cultured and fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso and sourdough bread
  • Eat unrefined sweeteners such as raw honey, evaporated cane juice, and pure maple syrup in moderation
  • Be well!


    Filed under Head Trip, Move Your Body

    Healthy, Happy Eaters: Wear Vibram FiveFingers (if you don’t already!)

    My brother, the healthiest, happiest eater I know, first told me about Vibram FiveFingers. He actually ran barefoot before buying this “barefoot” footwear. My brother’s a real athlete (even competed several Ironman Triathlons), and I never considered myself to be one, but I’ve really gotten into working out outside with Camp Gladiator

    Right out of the box, these shoes made a huge difference in my form and speed while sprinting. Here are two comments from CG this week, inspired by my new shoes which I’ve just had for a week. One trainer to another, “Did Kelly run track in high school?” No, sir. A contender friend to me after an extra fast sprint lap, “You just rocked that lap!” I answered, “Yeah, it’s the shoes.”

    I’d thought about getting some Vibrams for a while, and I’m so glad I finally did. One of the trainers at boot camp is very knowledgeable about VFF, so she gave me great tips. While sprinting, exaggerate the motion: like high knees in front and butt kicks in back, landing on the balls of my feet. I did this, and I felt like Michael Johnson! For jogging, she said to take small steps and land on the balls of my feet. For more instruction, see the FAQs on the VFF site.

    Mark Sisson, primal living guru and author of The Primal Blueprint, recommends going barefoot or wearing these shoes. Why? Because the human foot is a marvel of natural engineering. As the Vibram website says,

    “The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised … Stimulating the muscles in your feet and lower legs will … make you stronger and healthier … improves your balance, agility …”

    Here are six reasons why Vibram recommends wearing FiveFingers:

    1. Strengthens Muscles in the Feet and Lower Legs – wearing FiveFingers will stimulate and strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs, improving general foot health and reducing the risk of injury.

    2. Improves Range of Motion in Ankles, Feet and Toes – no longer ‘cast’ in a shoe, the foot and toes move more naturally.

    3. Stimulates Neural Function Important to Balance and Agility – when wearing Vibram FiveFingers, thousands of neurological receptors in the feet send valuable information to the brain, improving balance and agility.

    4. Improves Proprioception and Body Awareness – those same neurological receptors heighten body awareness, sending messages about body mechanics, form, and movement.

    5. Eliminates Heel Lift to Align the Spine and Improve Posture – By lowering the heel, our bodyweight becomes evenly distributed across the footbed, promoting proper posture and spine alignment.

    6. Allows the Foot and Body to Move Naturally, Which Just FEELS GOOD.

    I bought my Vibram FiveFingers Bikilas at Whole Earth Provision Company in Dallas. The shoe fitter recommended the Bikila version for running on pavement, which is where most of my running is done. I LOVE them! For years I’ve worn a super supportive version of Saucony running shoes, for which I was fitted at the running store. In my Bikilas, I feel liberated; running feels more natural. If you wear VFF, will you tell us how you got into them … and what you think about them? Be well.

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    Filed under Have Fun, Move Your Body

    Take the Primal Blueprint Challenge

    Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple is starting his Primal Blueprint Challenge today. I’m taking the challenge, and I invite you to do the same. You don’t have to buy anything; you don’t even have to sign up. Check out Mark’s invitation:

    Here’s a summary of the Challenge:

  • Challenge #1: Eat Lots of Plants and Animals
  • Challenge #2: Avoid Poisonous Things
  • Challenge #3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace
  • Challenge #4: Lift Heavy Things
  • Challenge #5: Sprint Once in a While
  • Challenge #6: Get Adequate Sleep
  • Challenge #7: Play
  • Challenge #8: Get Adequate Sunlight
  • Challenge #9: Avoid Stupid Mistakes
  • Challenge #10: Use Your Brain
  • Visit Mark’s website to learn more. There is a wealth of information there. My brother, who has been the healthiest person I know for the past 20 years, turned me on to Mark’s Daily Apple. I’ve done pretty well following the primal principles, most of which coincide with Nina Planck’s Real Food, this summer. I’ve consistently lost one to two pounds each week. I feel amazing: my energy is high, my mood is positive, my mind is clear, my hair is thicker, my confidence is way up. Go for it – you can do it!

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    Filed under Move Your Body, Real Food Education