Tag Archives: holiday season

Your Healthy Holiday Reading Guide

A good book can make things a whole lot cozier while you’re relaxing by the fire with a warm cup of cocoa. Enjoyable reading can also help pass the time as you travel back and forth between family and friends over the holidays. The 12 books on this list cover a range of health and wellness topics (Healing, Lifestyle Choices, Spiritual Reflection, Relationships, Attitude, and Workplace Satisfaction), and they have all been vetted by yours truly. Each of these books has impacted my life in a profound way. I believe that whichever one speaks to you is worth investing a little time in. Give yourself the gift of some soul-searching and/or nuturing this season. These books are sure to do the trick. Healthy Holiday Reading

 


*Healing*

Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can

“Both visionary and practical, Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can presents a bold new account of the development of human consciousness and spirituality over the ages, and examines the dynamic global transformation of attitudes about healing. To help you get and stay on the path to wellness, Dr. Myss provides rituals and prayers for gaining a symbolic perspective on your life issues; for bolstering your personal power; and for connecting with a universal divine energy. Dr. Myss’s breakthrough views on energy medicine and her active approach to healing life issues and physical illness will help you overcome the mental blocks that keep you from becoming well.”

The Language of Letting Go

“Melody Beattie integrates her own life experiences and fundamental recovery reflections in this unique daily meditation book written especially for those of us who struggle with the issue of codependency.

Problems are made to be solved, Melody reminds us, and the best thing we can do is take responsibility for our own pain and self-care. In this daily inspirational book, Melody provides us with a thought to guide us through the day and she encourages us to remember that each day is an opportunity for growth and renewal.”

 


*Lifestyle Choices*

The Power of Habit

“In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.”

Ultrametabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss

“For many, losing weight is a never-ending struggle, especially since our bodies are designed to keep weight on at all costs; it’s a matter of survival. But a medical revolution is under way, showing us how to work with our bodies instead of against them to improve nutrition and ignite the natural fat-burning furnaces that lie dormant within us.

Drawing on cutting-edge research about nutrigenomics—the science of how food talks to our genes—Dr. Hyman, author of bestsellers including The Blood Sugar Solution, The Ultra-Mind Solution, UltraPrevention, and The UltraSimple Diet has created a method for losing weight by eating the right foods to detox and manage food allergies.”

 


*Spiritual Reflection*

Proof of Heaven

“Dr. Alexander’s brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back. Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle.

Alexander’s story is not a fantasy. Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. Today Alexander is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.”

The God-First Life; Uncomplicate Your Life, God’s Way

“There are thousands of how-to books for improving various areas of life―self, relationships, finances, fitness, business, marriage, family. And there are nearly as many books written for believers offering a framework for the “right” approach to a new life in God.

In The God-First Life, Weems shows that true success in our walk with God and in life in general is not an issue of need, but an issue of order. Brilliantly unpacking the simple Scripture in Matthew 6:33, Weems gives a fresh and practical perspective on what Christian “discipleship” is about. Bringing clarity, depth, and simplicity, Pastor Weems makes clear core truths that have been misunderstood by many Christians and non-Christians alike.”

 


*Relationships*

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

“Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge! How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life?

In the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today.”

The 4 Seasons of Marriage

“Spring, summer, winter, fall. Marriages are perpetually in a state of transition, continually moving from one season to another―perhaps not annually, as in nature, but just as certainly and consistently. Sometimes we find ourselves in winter―discouraged, detached, and dissatisfied; other times, we experience springtime with its openness, hope, and anticipation. On other occasions, we bask in the warmth of summer―comfortable, relaxed, enjoying life. And then comes fall with its uncertainty, negligence, and apprehension. The cycle repeats itself many times throughout the life of a marriage, just as the seasons repeat themselves in nature.
The seasons of marriage come and go. Each one holds the potential for emotional health and happiness, and each one has its challenges. The purpose of this book is to describe these recurring seasons of marriage, help you and your spouse identify which season your marriage is in, and show you how to enhance your marriage in all four seasons.”

 


*Attitude*

Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life

“You’ve heard the expression, “Attitude is everything.” But can a positive mental attitude make all that much difference in your personal and professional life? Deborah Smith Pegues, author of the bestselling 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, believes strongly that it can.

In Choose Your Attitude, Change Your Life, Deborah explores the root causes of 30 negative attitudes, their impact on your life and relationships, and how you can learn to think positively instead. As a result, she helps you recognize and conquer counterproductive behaviors, such as criticizing the choices others make, being inflexible, and being indifferent to the needs of others.”

Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change

“Is it possible to live well when the very ground we stand on is shaky? Yes, says everyone’s favorite Buddhist nun, it’s even possible to live beautifully, compassionately, and happily on shaky ground–the secret being that the ground is always shaky beneath us, and everyone who has ever learned to be happy has done so with that understanding. Pema Chödrön presents a simple Buddhist practice that we can use to commit ourselves to a life of profound sanity, even when it seems like there’s only nonsanity all around us. Using this practice, called the Three Commitments, can really change things.”

 


*Workplace Inspiration*

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead

“Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and is ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, she gave an electrifying TEDTalk in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. Her talk, which became a phenomenon and has been viewed more than two million times, encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.”

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

“Mark Twain once observed, ‘A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.’ His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus public-health scares circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas–business people, teachers, politicians, journalists, and others– struggle to make their ideas ‘stick.’

Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures)– the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of ‘the Mother Teresa Effect’; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.”


Wishing you a physically, mentally and spirutually healthy season! Happy reading!

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

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3 Elite Trainers’ Advice for the Holidays

Give

It’s the holiday season and sharing is caring, right? Today, I’m hosting three awesome trainers on WellnessWinz. They are doing us the courtesy of sharing their go-to tips for the season (which we all know can be a challenge to juggle…both in terms of shopping and decorating agendas and figuring out how to approach the holiday buffet spread). Enjoy these three pros; they’re keepers.


Allison Blake 1

Alison Blake is a NASM Personal Trainer and an Arbonne International Independent Consultant. Alison has trained for bikini competitions and recently got married! One of her group exercise classes is a favorite of mine – she knows how to work the glutes, let me tell ya!

Alison’s Advice: Give to Yourself

“During the holiday season we spend a lot of our time with family and friends. We get to see relatives that may only come around a few times per year. Many of us travel to stay with relatives or host them for days at a time. Many great memories are shared, but it leaves us with very little alone time.

Waking up an hour early, maybe even before the others are awake, and using that time for exercising, stretching, meditation or prayer can make a big difference around the holidays. We can re-charge our batteries and give something good to ourselves, since most of the day will be spent giving to others.

By beginning the day with a healthy mindset, we help ourselves make healthy choices throughout the day (like resisting the urge for the second helping of mashed potatoes or pie). One example is to go for a walk or a run. If the weather keeps you indoors, try push-ups, squats, lunges and planks. The bit of effort that exercise takes can give us a greater appreciation for the moments we share with others. ‘Tis the season of giving,’ but we cannot forget to also give to ourselves.”


 

Kevin deadlift

Kevin Mullins is back, folks! Last year, Kevin was a guest on WellnessWinz, writing the very popular article: Men’s Health Next Top Trainer Weighs in on Women. Kevin offers fantastic content for fitness enthusiasts via his blog: Kevin Mullins Fitness. Oh yea, did I mention that Women’s Health recently named him one of America’s 10 Hottest Trainers? Get it, Kevin!

Kevin’s Advice: Choose What Matters

“During the holiday season our social calendars can burst at the seams with calorie-bombing events. Weekends become full of holiday parties, happy hours, and dinners and drinks with family and friends. This time of the year is beautiful for its ability to draw us closer to those we love, and for that reason, I often coach my clients to relax and enjoy the holiday spirit. This does not mean exerting a blatant disregard for their training and nutrition habits. I often ask my clients to point to the one or two holiday activities that mean the world to them and tell them to enjoy. Even I look forward to a couple good whiskeys with my father every Thanksgiving, and a few stocking-stuffer candies on Christmas. These are my ‘gives.’

For everything else, we should put it through the test: Is it worth setting us back from our goals? Is there a way to do it without going overboard? Can I train that day to help offset the calorie loads?

Overall, I recommend working out over the holidays and eating most meals as you normally would. You’ll be better prepared to say ‘no’ to deserts, another round of drinks, or a late evening with friends when you keep your habits consistent.

For the indulgences, choose what matters most to you and enjoy, but be sure to pick what actually matters. Don’t just say ‘yes’ to everything!”


 

Jessica B 1

Jessica is a former collegiate swimmer who knows a thing or two about hard effort in the pool – and the gym! Jessica is a Certified Personal Trainer who lives in Utah and enjoys a spectrum of outdoor activities (her Instagram pictures make this city girl very jealous). Also, Jessica recently started a blog: JBrauzFit.com where she offers lots of creative workouts and tips, especially for strength training. Fun fact: Her cat is named Pinot Noir. Yes, a trainer with a cat named after wine.

Jessica’s Advice: Hydrate – Move – Relax!

“As the holidays are approaching, many people are busy doing last minute shopping, decorating and tidying up before their loved ones come over for all of the festivities…But what are these people doing to prepare for their health?

Some people may be freaking out, cursing left and right, ‘ah, hell. I haven’t been eating well this past week so I might as well just let it go for the holiday parties too…’ It doesn’t have to be this way if you plan ahead. Proper planning will keep you from feeling out of control towards the year’s end.
Here are some tips that I have found helpful during the holiday season:

1-Drink water! I know, I know. We all want to indulge in some amazing holiday cocktails (and I do too!) but it won’t hurt to have a glass of water for every cocktail/wine you consume. Plus, your head will thank you the next morning. Quick tip: Stick with wine or light beers if you’re concerned about calories. These beverages won’t have as many as specialty cocktails and heavy brews.

2- Work it out with a 20-30 minute workout in the a.m.! I like to do more metabolic resistance-type training during the holiday season; combining strength and heart rate boosting to torch fat!;) Here is a MRT workout to try:

Barbell pyramid complex:
-Do the following reps for each exercise: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2. (ladies be mindful and start with the barbell if you have never done this before, or complete it with dumbbells)
-Exercises: Deadlifts, Bent Over Row, Front Squat, Military Press, Reverse Lunge
-For added intensity, complete burpees over the bar in between each set!

3- Don’t deprive yourself. If Grandma just made some amazing Christmas cookies, or your mom made her favorite peanut butter balls, enjoy and have a couple of bites! You don’t need to stuff yourself silly, but sampling at parties is just fine. Enjoy the holiday! Laugh with family and friends and don’t stress too hard if you slip up. It will be okay!”


 

HUGE thanks to Alison, Kevin and Jessica for taking the time to share their professional advice with WellnessWinz readers! You guys are awesome.
Yours in health and wellness,
Maggie
wellnesswinz blue sea

Gratitude: Why I Love My Thick Thighs

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m asking readers to reflect on the following two questions: “What is your favorite part of your body?” and “What is your least favorite part of your body?” Now, let’s assess our answers and what they mean to us, starting with a little bit of my personal story. Today, I will share what has been my greatest insecurity through the years…

If I had to answer the first question myself, I would probably say my hair. I love that I’ve never dyed it and that it falls straight no matter what I do to it (even though that’s annoying when I want it curled…ahem, wedding day hair disaster…it was one thick, knotted and stringy mess by the end of the night). I love that my hair is the exact same as my mother’s and father’s and that the combination of my espresso locks and deep brown eyes has caused strangers to ask if I’m related to one of my older brothers (who yes, could very well be my twin if not for the five-year age difference).

0693-Maggie_and_Casey

If I had to answer the second question…well…that one’s even easier. Since I was little, I’ve always had thick thighs. Other little girls’ shorts would hang loosely around their spindly legs while mine would sometimes cling awkwardly or bunch up at the crotch. My inner thighs are no strangers to chafing.

I vividly remember sitting beside a friend in elementary school one day. She looked from her lap to mine and said “look how much bigger your legs are than mine.” I blushed. Another time, I was in a swimming pool during the evening. The underwater lights cast shadows to the pool’s floor. A friend commented that she was told she has “perfect legs” because there were several diamond-shaped gaps between them when pressed against one another. I looked to see if my legs had the same gaps….nope. No gaps. Thigh to thigh, I had Just one single inverted triangle shape from hips to toes.

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As I got older, I noticed that I didn’t feel comfortable wearing skirts as short as my peers. If anything hit above mid-thigh, I felt I looked bulky. I craved the long, lean look that so many other girls seemed to have. I wondered how come I couldn’t get that same look, no matter how hard I tried especially since I wasn’t overweight. I was athletic. It seemed my days in high school playing field hockey didn’t help my cause. Even my dad would comment at how my legs transformed during pre-season (in field hockey you’re basically in a squat position for the majority of the game…go figure). Dance team practice would kick off right after hockey season ended. I would pull tight black spandex pants up my legs and groan.

In spite of my insecurities, I never let my legs get me down for too long. I have always been proud of my athleticism and there is little I can do to change the fact that genetically, my body prefers to store fat down south rather than in my stomach. The thickness of my thighs has threatened to be my undoing, but I have been quite decisive that I will never let them make me too self-conscious. In fact, my husband even likes them. 🙂

Who cares if I’ve had a few stretch marks on my inner thighs since middle school? So what if I have a tad bit of cellulite at the very tops of them (even at my very leanest body fat levels)? My body is healthy and strong. For THAT, I give thanks. For THAT, I applaud my legs. They have carried me through several marathons, the deserts of Arizona, the ocean depths of the Bahamas, and nine different sports. How on earth could I despise them? They have given me everything. They have given me freedom and energy to engage with the world around me. Their strength may even be what cushioned and protected me from more severe injury during a potentially life-threatening accident.

Shamrock Marathon! 030

In moments when insecurities have crept in, I’ve noticed that I’m not as caring and considerate of others as I want to be. The times in life when I let myself get hung up about my appearance were also the times that I wasn’t very selfless or giving. I don’t know about you, but that’s the opposite of how I want to live. I want to strive to always love others with openness and unbridled affection.

Can you take something you DON’T love about yourself and see it as a benefit? How do you take your “deficit” and see the positives in it? Ultimately, our greatest strength can also leave blind spots and what we perceive as our greatest weakness can also be viewed from a different, more positive light.

During this upcoming holiday season, I challenge you to adopt an attitude of gratitude. If you do this, then you will be more prepared to give to others. By loving ourselves first, we are primed and ready to have a giving heart. Isn’t that what the holiday season – and life at large – is all about?

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Yours in health and wellness,

Maggie

wellnesswinz blue sea