New Study on Sleep Limits the Hours Needed

Friday, July 31, 2015
Getting Enough Sleep is Part of a Healthy Lifestyle New Study Suggests (photo by LivligaHome)

So many of us struggle to get enough sleep. A new study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has actually lowered the recommended hours we need to sleep to seven. Looked in one way, it doesn't seem like much of a change-- it is a drop of a mere hour--from eight to seven. But from my perspective I find it encouraging! Now I only need to figure out how to sleep two more hours a night instead of three.

All joking aside, chronic sleep deprivation is a big problem in the United States. A lack of sleep has been found to confound and exacerbate a whole host of other diseases like obesity, hypertension, high blood pressure, and diabetes, to name a few.

Surprisingly, this study "is the very first time the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society have put together a [recommendation]," says Dr. Nathaniel Watson, president elect of AASM, co-director of the University of Washington Sleep Medicine Clinic, and member of the consensus panel. "This was an evidence-based process where we really scoured the medical literature to really assess the best evidence out there." The report was just published in the journal SLEEP by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Sleep Research Society.

In an article written in TODAY Health, Dr. Watson touches on what I think is a very important point. This is what he says: "This is the first step in our desire to change the conversation with society about the overall importance of sleep," Watson says. "Sleep is a personal choice, like what a person eats or whether they exercise. People need to start viewing [sleep] that way and make healthy choices."

It is about how we live our lives. Embracing a healthy lifestyle includes many things from how we eat, to how we exercise, to how we choose to spend our free time. And now we see it is also about how we sleep.

"Sleep well to live well. This is not a matter of opinion. There is strong science behind it," says Dr. M. Safwan Badr, past president of AASM, chief of the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, and member of the consensus panel.

One more compelling study to make me committed to working on improving all parts of my lifestyle, making it as healthy as possible. Only two more hours to go for my ideal sleep!


Great Healthy Living Quote #157-- How far can you go?

Monday, July 27, 2015

How much of a risk taker are you?



New Numbers Show The Obese Are Doomed to Fail—Is there a Solution?

Friday, July 24, 2015

I hate being defined by a statistic. Don’t we all? Especially when the statistic tells me I am doomed to fail. A recent study by University College London analyzed data of 278,000 obese people from the years 2004 to 2014 who were found in the UK's Clinical Practice Research database. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, shows the odds of a clinically obese person achieving normal weight are just 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women in a given year. Individuals in the study were somewhat more successful at managing enough weight loss to improve their health, defined as dropping at least 5 percent of body weight. But they often did not maintain the lower weight. At least half of those who lost 5 percent of their body weight regained it within two years, and more than 78 percent regained it within five years. Ugh.

Why are the results so poor? Why is it so tough for people to succeed in losing and keeping off unwanted pounds? Researcher Alsion Fildes thinks it "might be because people are unable to access weight-loss interventions or because the interventions being offered are ineffective -- or both." Who can argue with that? But I think this assessment only deals with part of the reality people face as they grapple with staying healthy, losing weight and maintaining weight loss.

The reality is we live in a world of over abundance. Studies have shown that every culture that has access to more easily available foods, and especially highly processed and pre-packaged foods, ends up having to grapple with obesity. Even the French have doubled their obesity in a mere 10 years. It is all about the world we grow up in and live in day-to-day.

If we are bombarded by visuals from tv, magazines, billboards, computers, iPads and cell phones showing us heaping amounts of foods saturated with salt, fat and sugar it is easy to see how we are brainwashed to eat more and eat unhealthy foods. Every time we are served food especially at restaurants, we are over served. When foods are served and packaged in sizes that encourage overeating, it is not hard to understand why so many overeat everyday. It also doesn’t help that we cook less at home and eat more and more pre-packaged foods that are calorie dense rather than nutrient dense. And to top it all off, food is a core part of all the “feel goods” in our lives. A holiday is not considered a holiday without abundant and decadent foods. Overeating is actually encouraged and celebrated.

In a world that brainwashes us and encourages us to overeat, and actually celebrates our overeating, it is no wonder more and more of us are becoming obese and staying that way. How can we change this unhealthy trend and sustain that change in a world that does not currently support that change? We change the environment we live in. We demand the world change around us.

The psychology of eating is profound. To succeed against the battle of obesity we have to acknowledge its effects and use it to our benefit instead of our detriment. We can start in our home. There are easy changes we can make. Here are some proven-to-be-successful ideas. Limit prepackaged foods. Those we have should be stored out of sight. Have a big bowl of colorful fruit prominently displayed in our kitchen as the first thing we see. Cook more using fresh, whole foods. Make sure the dishware, glassware and serveware we use is right-sized so we no longer automatically encourage over serving ourselves at home. Serve food in the kitchen, not at the table. Pick healthier recipes. Shift the focus of holidays and celebrations from over eating to relishing special foods.

We can encourage other family members, friends and our community to be part of the health focused transformation. This is not a one-person issue. We can demand food corporations change their packaging sizes as well as unhealthy ingredients. We can insist advertising changes on all fronts. If we want to succeed we have to take action and start doing things differently. Trying just to eat less will never work long time.

We respond to the environment we live in. As all of us can see we are doing a great job of mirroring the current environment of over abundance. Now is the time to start transforming the world we live in to reflect the healthy lifestyle we all want to live in and, quite frankly, deserve.

There is a solution. We are not committed to a life of failure. We do not have to give in to a life of obesity and ill health. Let’s take action together. 


Great Healthy Living Quote #156-- what we play is life

Monday, July 20, 2015

Go for it!~

#WhatWe PlayIsLife

You Ate Lay's Potato Chips--Now What!?!

Friday, July 17, 2015
You know the phrase: "You can't just eat one!"

With summertime comes more outdoor barbecues, picnics and pool parties. It is hard to resist the potato chips that seem to always be present at these parties. Sometimes you just give in. Remember to always portion and not just stand by the bowl and eat the chips. Put them on a plate and walk away. It is key to manage the indulgence and any possible guilt. Guilt can cause havoc with our psyche and press us into overindulging.
I came across a listing of foods we sometimes treat ourselves to. I like how the facts were broken down, including the various ways we could burn off what we just ate. It allows us to take responsibility and avoid the guilt. I hate looking at potato chips on my I can avoid it!

Here are the facts:
You ate: 3-ounces lay’s potato chips
Calories: 450
Fat: 30 grams
Now burn it off with:
135 minutes of miniature golf
90 minutes of car washing
50 minutes of rock climbing

Now go out and enjoy the summer! And Live Vibrant!


Great Healthy Living Quote #155-- waiting for the perfect moment

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ever been tempted to wait for the perfect moment?



Food is a Doorway

Friday, July 10, 2015
How often do we hit our head against the wall or closed door? (Photo by LivligaHome)

Our relationship to food is so complicated. Part of our over eating is simply years of bad habits that are hard to break. We can also use it for solace as our comfort and numbing drug to the challenges in our life. The hardest part is recognizing that food can be a symptom of other more serious personal problems in our lives.

For years I literally swallowed my inner hurt with every bite of food. I couldn't voice it, so I swallowed it. The problem was the hurt would be dampened for a few hours, even a day, but it would always come back. Not dealing with my inner pain ended up causing me more pain. I got to the point where I just couldn't do it any more. How often do we hit our head against the wall (or closed door) repeating the same action to no positive effect, over and over again, until we realize nothing will change until we face our troubles and the need to shift to a new way of being?

We all know it is not easy facing our demons but I can now tell you it is worth it. My relationship with food has changed tremendously. I have lost 50 pounds and kept it off for nearly four years. It is very, very rare for me to ever stuff my face to fill a void. Even that continues to evolve and diminish. Now I love being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. The memory of the bad things that happened to me are there and I have learned how to deal with them instead of hiding behind food and pounds.

I share this with you because I truly believe we can change our relationship with food. It does require our willingness to dig deep and walk through the doorway to a better way of doing things.

This post from the Institute for the Psychology of Eating I think says it well:

Food is a Doorway - Our challenges with food, body, health, and weight, are essentially a doorway. They position us in knocking-distance of the door. It’s easy to stay on the doorstep and do all kinds of dieting, exercise, or strategies that ultimately don’t work. It’s easy to sit at the doorstep and wonder why we can’t find an opening. Knock on the door. It opens up right away… And quite suddenly, you’ll begin to find yourself in a new place with new possibilities. Of course, entering any new place or space can be uncomfortable. The truth is, none of us know where the door leads to until we knock and open. The doorway to our food challenges might lead us to where the real action is – unhappiness in a relationship, loneliness, past hurts, past abuses, unfulfilled desires, a lack of connection, a deep desire for people who understand us, a longing for authentic communication, the need for greater purpose in life, and so much more. Food is simply this symbolic place where we often enact these greater life challenges when we are unable to confront them head-on. In truth, the door is always open to you. Are you ready to walk through? 



Great Healthy Living Quote #154-- life can be delightful

Monday, July 6, 2015


Taking on a New Sport: Kayaking

Friday, July 3, 2015

Sit-On-Top Kayaks sitting on top of our car (photo by LivligaHome).

My husband and I just celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary. Keeping active, enjoying the outdoors and exploring something new have remained important objectives of our lives. We are fortunate to live in a state where just about everybody else shares the same objectives.

We have many friends who love to kayak. Every time we heard about the fun adventures they had and the stories of nature they observed, it made my husband and me more and more interested in trying it out. Many years ago on a vacation we had borrowed a couple of kayaks from family members and remembered enjoying the experience. Then when we were visiting our daughter and her husband the week before our anniversary we happened to go shopping in a mall with a Cabelas sports store. They had all their kayaks leaning against the outside of the building and on sale, with impressive discounts. We had to stop and talk to someone about the kayaks and kayaking. It was just too tempting. We decided it was the right time to take on a new sport: kayaking! With our anniversary a week away we thought it was the perfect gift to give each other. We opted for a sit-on-top kayak. Here is what we have learned about the sport and how to have fun doing it:

Types of kayaking. There are 5 types of kayaking: recreational, whitewater, sea, surf and touring. We knew from the beginning we didn’t want to start out whitewater rafting. We wanted to start the sport on lakes and reservoirs as recreational kayakers.

Good for your health. Kayaking has many health benefits. Specific health benefits include:
  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Increased muscle strength, particularly in the back, arms, shoulders and chest, from moving the paddle
  • Increased torso and leg strength, as the strength to power a canoe or kayak comes mainly from rotating the torso and applying pressure with your legs
  • Reduced risk of wear-and-tear on joints and tissues, since paddling is a low impact activity.

We particularly liked the idea that we were reducing the wear-and-tear on our joints and tissues, especially with my recent challenges with my knees.
Equipment needed for day kayaking. The first 3 items on the list are a must; the other items will make it a more enjoyable experience:

·      Paddle
·      Life vest (PFD)
·      Waterproof whistle
·      Waterproof gloves
·      Sun hat with a rim and an adjustable drawcord
·      Water shoes or sandals
·      Quick drying clothes with UV protection
·      Sunscreen
·      Waterproof pouch with carabiner or ties to put keys and other essentials
·      Binoculars
·      Waterproof camera

All geared up (photo by LivligaHome).

Opens up many new doors to travel and discovery. Just in our state alone there are so many lakes and reservoirs we can travel to and enjoy. There are so many, in fact, it will take us years to visit them all! Access to them are more often than not free or charge a nominal day fee and can be reached within a days drive. As we have recently discovered, we have many within a couple of hours of our home.

Great for swapping stories. Getting out there on the water allows us to see the world from a different point of view. We discover new animals each time we go. This past time we identified a yellow-headed blackbird in the tall grasses at one end of the reservoir. Beautiful. Very fun to talk about and share.

Since starting this new adventure we have bought a season pass to our local reservoir and have found a way to go there each weekend we are in town. Each time we go out on the lake we have new experiences. The weather, the birds, the fish, the other people out there kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, paddle boating, fishing, swimming and picnicking make it memorable each time. We are loving it.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Originally posted on Sheila's Blog in