The “Other” Coffee Break

Posted: 3 days ago in Everything Else

theothercoffeebreakIf you are like me, you need a little pick-me-up in the middle of the day.

Sure, coffee can do it for you, but what has coffee done for you lately, except give you yellow teeth, bad breath, and the jitters?

Why don’t you try the “other” coffee break?

Let me explain…

A good friend of mine took my advice and invested in a Lelo.  Don’t know what a Lelo is? I suggest reading my post, “Have You Met My Friend Lelo? You Should!

Anywho, she was feeling a little schlumpish one mid-afternoon, like most of us do, so she made an appointment with herself to get to know her ‘new friend’ Lelo.

Well. What do you know? After her little “session”, she was simply bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  Her skin was glowing, her eyes were sparkling and there was a spring in her step. What a great idea! 

Now clearly, this can only work if you are lucky enough to work at home or can find a private space with a locking door. I don’t recommend that you do it on a sales call (though it might improve your sales if you let them watch). I’m kidding!

I don’t think my little recommendation will put Starbucks out of business any time soon, but it might just get you through the day in a better way!

Cheers-zzzzz!

MLK Quotes on Light & Love

Posted: 4 days ago in Inspiration

mlk-quote

Ball Check in Aisle 1!

Posted: 5 days ago in Health

ball-check

Where would we be without multi-tasking?  

Here’s a golden opportunity to take it to the extreme – but one that could quite likely save someone’s life. Your guy’s life, in particular.

Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable male cancers, yet many cases go undetected and may result in fertility, urinary and sexual complications – or worse.

testicular_diagram2One of the most common signs of testicular cancers are lumps, bumps or swelling of the testicles. Other than your guy himself, no one has more access to his parts and pieces than YOU. Yes, you. I’m assuming that if you have a guy, you are engaging in fairly regular intimate relations with him. That gives you VIP, up close and personal access to his balls. So – get to know them, please.

Do what you want with them recreationally, but also take note about what is ‘normal’ for him via a regular ball check. Balls come in many different shapes and sizes, but they should not morph from week-to-week or month-to-month. Any new shape, size, lump or bump should be evaluated by a doctor ASAP.

Something to note: not all lumps are cancerous, but only a doctor can determine this.

There is a caveat – since testicles are temperature-sensitive, the scrotum (or ball-sack) will expand or contract – raise them to keep them warm, or lower them to keep them cool. This can give the appearance of the testicles growing or shrinking, but that’s not truly happening. It’s a fun private ‘party-for-two’ trick, so give it a shot!

Other than that, keep your eye on the ball(s), so you and your guy can have a ball with them for many, many years to come!

Mediocrity Works for Me

Posted: 6 days ago in Parenting

MEDIOCRITY-WORKS

Some days, our girls think I’m a nut-job. Let me explain why.

Our back-to-school conversation usually goes something like this:

Me: Don’t push yourselves too hard. Take a breather from homework. Skip a practice. Sleep in tomorrow.

Kid: What’s wrong with you? Aren’t you supposed to be encouraging me, not discouraging me???!

Am I really the anti-parent? I don’t think so.

When I was growing up (and yes, we did have color TV and cars then!), my school day was from 9-3 with an hour lunch and at least one recess. I went to Girl Scouts once a week, and I think there may have been a few months when I took gymnastic lessons. That did not end well.

So yes, my mom pushed me to excel in school, seek out service opportunities and “go outside and play, dammit!”.

My kid’s day? It starts at zero-dark-thirty. Out the door at 6:45 and not back in until 8:00 most nights. Oh, but they get to have a whopping 20 minute lunch break! They play volleyball pretty much every day, all year long. They rush from the recycling club or National Honor Society meeting so they won’t be late for practice, throwing a protein bar in their mouths so they don’t collapse. Then it’s zooming home for dinner and 3-4 hours of homework. On a good day, they get to bed by midnight.

And guess what? My kids are slackers compared to most. I mean it.   Many kids juggle two sports year round, hold offices in student government and are active in their churches and other organizations.

I’m exhausted, and I’m just the taxi driver.

So yes, I am fine with mediocrity. In fact, I encourage it.

I would much rather my kids have some downtime for ‘Cultivating Boredom‘, let some creative juices flow, or just plain rest.

It’s all about balance. I wish that for your kids, and for you.

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Posted: 9 days ago in Lifestyle

sleep

Are you sleeping well every night? Do you wake up refreshed and ready to face the day?

Ha! Yeah, right. Me neither.

One of the most common complaints I hear from patients – and one that I sometimes have myself – is the inability to get to sleep or stay asleep.

Zzzzzzzzz…… WHAT!? HUH!? WHO!?

Since sleep is the only time that your body has to rebuild and rejuvenate, it’s critical that you get adequate, good quality sleep most nights.

How’s that, you say?  

Here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

  • Adopt a relaxing ritual before bedtime. For me, that means a warm bath and / or a cup of camomile tea.
  • Don’t have any caffeine or alcohol after dinner.
  • Turn off all screens (phones, iPads, TV’s, etc.) at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Have a small, high-protein snack before bed, like some cheese or a few nuts.
  • Keep a notepad by your bed to jot down things that may keep your brain spinning all night.
  • Keep your bedroom on the cool side (for me, that’s around 68 in the winter and 70 in the summer).
  • Try to wake up at the same time each day. On weekends if you’d like to try to ‘catch up’, take an afternoon nap rather than sleeping a few hours later.

Despite doing most everything right, it’s still not unusual to have an occasional sleepless night because life is a complicated bi-atch, isn’t she?  If that happens to me, I take a natural sleep aid like melatonin or valerian root.

Sleep is sacred. Don’t skimp on this very important factor in your quest for good health!

Get Fit. For Real This Time!

Posted: 10 days ago in Wellness

EIGHTWAYSTOGETFIT

I’ve been around many different gyms for many years.  I have observed so many different people doing so many different things to try to get in shape, and I’ve also observed quite a few things that I think ladies can learn from men.  I’ve done it all and seen it all, from Les Mills classes, to running a marathon, to week-long yoga retreats, to every fad along the way, and today I’m going to share with you my easy tips for truly getting in shape, in a way that’s sustainable. I hope you enjoy!

1

This is so simple, but it’s amazing how little I see it practiced.  Personally I do 7 simple weight exercises, then I’ll do maybe 15 minutes of cardio to get my heart rate up, 3 times a week.  So I’m in the gym for 30 minutes, 3 times a week, and that’s it.  If you like the sound of this and you’re having trouble coming up with specific exercises, try this seven minute workout.  That’s 14 standard exercises done without equipment hitting major muscle groups.  Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do other things which are good for you.  For example, I love long bike rides and rock climbing, and I’m a yoga teacher (more about yoga later), and I play community sports.  I also love taking long walks and hikes, especially when the weather is nice. Think of these things as extra credit for fun, not what you actually do to keep in shape.  When I’m taking a nice long walk on a nice fall day, that’s where I want to be more than anywhere else at that time.  Healthy habits like this are great!  They just don’t replace a standard routine like in the link above if you’re trying to get fit.

2

Sorry to single you out ladies, but this is the biggest difference I have observed between women and men.  A lot of women (and some men) seem to turn their workout into social hour, with hours of discussions and gossip and catching up.  There is nothing wrong with catching up with friends, but don’t do it on your fitness time.  Similarly, don’t rely on some TV show to get you through.  TVs in gyms are one of the worst inventions ever, not only do they distract you from feeling what’s happening in your body, but you shouldn’t be there long enough to watch anyway.  Remember you’re there for 30 minutes, 3 times a week.  Do it with no distractions, and no reliance on others.  The only thing worse than not working out is turning a workout into a waste of time.

3

This is another one aimed mainly at the ladies (sorry!) but I’ve found you’re usually the most guilty.  I’ve seen classes based hanging from ceilings, hitting fitness balls with drumsticks (seriously), jumping on trampolines, yoga poses on surfboards, and seemingly thousands of others. To make matters worse this stuff is usually expensive!  If you have so much fun doing a yoga pose on a surfboard that you’d rather pay to be there than be with your friends and family, then go ahead and do it.  But, remember this is NOT your fitness time, this is your chosen fun time. Your fitness time is 30 minutes, 3 times a week, and these fad classes do not replace that.  These fads are done in addition to fitness time if you find it to be that much fun.  Further they may be nowhere near as good for you as advertised.  Subway restaurant is a great example of claiming to be healthy through advertising, while the truth is far from it.  Remember, seeing marketing for something doesn’t mean it’s good or bad for you.  Marketing only means someone, somewhere is trying to make money.

4

I promise this is the last one aimed primarily at the ladies!  Perhaps this is a shock to some of you, but you do not need exercise classes.  Zumba may be really popular right now, but believe it or not the human race survived just fine without it for many years.  If you need an exercise class to be motivated, then my recommendation would be to work with a life coach to become motivated again, not to go to more classes.  If you are reading all this and still insist that your life would not be complete without exercise classes, then go for it but remember they are your fun time, not your fitness time.  You still need 30 minutes, 3 times per week on your own IN ADDITION to these classes, if you choose to do them.  And remember there are always choices you can make, for example a bike ride outside in the fresh air instead of a stationary bicycle in a hot, sweaty room sounds like a wonderful choice to me.

5

Today’s yoga classes often are missing the entire point.  This is the result of our culture rubbing off on yoga, instead of the other way around. Yoga practiced correctly is great for you, but you aren’t there for a workout, you are there for your mind.  Physical benefits will come as a side effect, but not as the primary reason you’re there.  Maybe this is tough to grasp by just reading, which is why I always recommend you at least give it a try.  Any class which stresses only the physical part is not yoga, it’s an exercise class, and remember we don’t need exercise classes.  If you are going to attend a yoga class then you should leave feeling both relaxed and energized, not dehydrated or zapped.  (If you’re reading this wondering how you can feel both relaxed and energized at the same time, then you need to try yoga!) Yoga, practiced properly, will teach you how to listen to your body, how to not push yourself too hard, and how to relax.  Long-term, yoga will teach you how to avoid judgement of others and how to make your self-talk better, so I really do recommend you take 1 or 2 classes per week, but stay away from any fad class trying to mix yoga with something else to make it more interesting.  Yoga practiced properly creates awareness and change in you, and nothing in your world is more interesting than that.

Bonus!  What you didn’t know about yoga

Yoga was “invented” thousands of years ago in India because men would sit and meditate for 8 hours per day and get uncomfortable after awhile, so they created poses to help them sit for longer.  Naturally, the Western world ignored the 99% which included sitting and meditating, took the 1% that didn’t, and turned it into a multi-billion dollar industry with rock star teachers, saunas as yoga rooms, sex scandals, $200 yoga outfits, and millions of facebook profile pictures.  Be aware of this the next time you see a teacher turning yoga into acrobatics, encouraging you to push yourself the whole time, trying to sell you very expensive clothing, etc..  If you really love your specialized class so much that it beats time with friends and family, and you believe you can avoid injury, then I guess go ahead and do it.  Just remember this doesn’t replace your fitness time, it doesn’t even count as yoga time as the mental benefits are lost when you’re pushing so hard physically and/or straying from a traditional practice.

6

Nothing will ever derail you faster than an injury.  If you workout nonstop for 2 weeks and then you’re injured for one week, you’ll be in worse shape than a person who worked out much easier for 3 weeks straight.  So, don’t ever push too hard.  I see this happen a lot in exercise and physical-based yoga classes, so be always aware.  Similarly, if you take a boot camp class that leaves you sore for 3 days, then what is the benefit?  You’re better off doing 3 easier workouts than one hard one, no matter how hard you worked on the one.  I discovered this myself when I ran a marathon, sure it’s cool to say I did a marathon but the 3 weeks of recovery left me in worse shape afterward than if I hadn’t run it.   Anything which is so strenuous that the soreness keeps you from doing things later in the week is often not worth doing, and it likely leads to injuries down the road.  Injuries often occur in these super “hard’ classes, and these fad classes, so be aware of that too.

7

Do not be one of those people who rewards a great workout with some enormous meal.  Unless you’re an Olympic swimmer, you are likely burning 300 calories or less in a workout.  Make it super-strenuous and you might get up to 400. That is contained in one helping of barbecue SAUCE at some restaurants, not even counting the meal.  You will never out-exercise a bad diet, so never go down this path.  Create a healthy diet and things will change for you way more quickly than anything you do in the gym, healthy living always starts in the kitchen.  Maybe I’ll do another column in the future based on simple healthy dieting, but for purposes here just remember you cannot out-exercise a bad diet.

8

Whether you’re slightly sick, slightly hungover, stressed at work, stressed at home, there are no excuses good enough to avoid a workout.  The link above is a workout that can be done anywhere, including a hotel room, or next to your oven while it’s preheating.  As long as you’re not injured, you’re good to go.  If President and Michelle Obama can stay in shape with all they do, then so can you.  You have time, and you are going to be motivated as soon as you start to see results.  Make your schedule and stick to it, no excuses.

As a summary: create a good routine, do it for 30 minutes 3 times a week with no excuses, keep a good diet, don’t overdo it so you get injured, and don’t pay attention to advertising and/or fads. Add in yoga for your mind if you’d like. Anything else you include is only because you find it fun, not because it replaces this 30 minute routine.

David Kravitz

About David Kravitz

David is a life coach, yoga instructor, PhD Mathematician, software engineer, world traveler, daily blogger, salsa dancer, survivor, and an all-around nice guy. As a life coach, David works with clients looking to reboot their life. His favorite kind of client, regardless of shape or size, is someone who embraces the challenge of re-building the world they want to live in, and re-creating how they look at life. According to David, those people discover a passion that unleashes their self-worth, better job satisfaction, and stronger relationships. Namaste!

Vanity Sizing Can Kiss My…

Posted: 12 days ago in Mirror Mirror

vanity-sizing

Numbers don’t define me. Not my age, my weight or net worth.  

My clothing size, however, stumps me. Not so much because I care what that number is, but because on a given day, I can fit into pants that are a size 8. Or 4. Or possibly 6.

What’s up with that?

Why is there no standard in clothing like there is in shoes? Do some manufactures really believe that if they put a Size 4 tag on a size 8 pant that I’ll somehow feel thinner or sexier, so that I’ll buy more?

In reality, it just pisses me off.  

I don’t care for shopping to begin with, and don’t really have a favorite store. With that being said, is it really necessary for me to bring 3 or 4 sizes of every piece of clothing into the dressing room? Just to be sure?

Let’s get real; vanity sizing is enough to make me run for the hills.

On a recent trip to Athleta — and I love Athleta I bought two pair of yoga pants. After trying on my two favorite styles in every freaking size, I ended up with a small in one style, and an XL in the other, and they were the same brand! Wait, what?

And then I had the bad sense to go jean shopping. I know, I know — I said I don’t like shopping, and I don’t.  I just had a few free hours sans responsibility, and truly, the last time I bought workout pants and jeans was circa 2012, so don’t judge me.

Back to the jeans. I was happy to wiggle my way into a size 27 Hudson jean, and pulled a pair of Seven for All Mankind‘s in the same size off the rack just to see which ones made my booty look better. Couldn’t get those over my knees. The 29’s? Nope. Finally, I got into a size 31, but that still gave me a muffin top. What the hell?  

Can someone please give this girl a break?jeans

2-4-6-8. How many sizes at this weight? 8-6-4-2. I have not a clue, do you?

The takeaway here? Don’t get down because you’re a size 31 in one brand and a 27 in another (respectively). How you feel about yourself and where you are in pursuit of your individual health goals, is all that matters. At the end of the day if you love how you look in a pair of pants, well then, that’s the end all be all.

PS: I ended up with the Hudson jeans, and to their credit, my hot hubs wolf-whistled me when I wore them that night. Mission accomplished!

Spanx It Up, Baby!

Posted: 17 days ago in Mirror Mirror

SPANXBABY

I heart you, Sara Blakely! 

sarablakely_png

No offense to all my lovely, curvier ladies out there but I originally thought Spanx were for women on the plus side of the spectrum.

That was, until I tried them on — and in that moment, the angels sang!

Well Hell-oOo, mama!! Who knew I could look so smooth?  

If you have an outfit like that – that makes you like how you look, but not love – Spanx are your new BFF. If you’ve been following my blog, then you know my back fat woes – and that’s just the beginning. Even at my thinnest, I’ve always been a bumpy-bulgy kind of girl, but I’ve learned how to dress to complement my body. Every once in a while, I put on an outfit that looks good but not great because of a little muffin-top or tummy bulge – so I Spanx it! And even the back fat that I loathe so entirely, goes undercover.

There are so many variations for pretty much any kind of outfit – pants or dress, short or long. My favorite piece is a long tank, as it hits all of my least favorite areas without needing to deal with the peekaboo crotch.  I’m glad they have that little peephole too, because lord knows once you peel those things down, you may never get them back up… especially after a cocktail or two… in a bathroom stall… balancing on your Manolos. Not a pretty sight. 

I digress!

Spanx can’t transform a size 16 into a six; the woman who comes up with that idea will be the first self-made trillionaire, I’m sure. They can, however, give the illusion that you’ve shed those last few stubborn pounds or took up pilates. Truly glorious.

Invest in some smoothing undergarments like Spanx and you will be very happy you did.

Spanx for reading!