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YOGA – The Secret to a Long Life


From the article:
Four Gentle Yoga Poses, by Maggie Finn Ryan

“We all know that chronic stress can do a number on our bodies because it causes our hormones—specifically, adrenaline and cortisol—to go haywire. Among other not-so-fun symptoms, too much cortisol can cause weight gain and suppress the immune system. But never fear: Yoga might help keep these hormones in check.

Research from the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Jefferson, along with the Yoga Research Society, showed that a one-hour yoga class can lower blood cortisol levels in healthy beginners. But total newbies weren’t the only ones to reap the benefits: the research showed that after seven consecutive days of practice, the one-hour yoga class still significantly lowered participants’ blood cortisol levels.”

“When you’re traveling.. Lose the mat and toss in a set of Yoga-Paws instead. The Hands-down winner.” ~Health Magazine, Editors Pick

The Secret of Happiness – By Rebecca Pacheco 

In other words, happiness is a skill and practice. Happier people do not have easier lives, with less hard work, grief, divorce, or financial strain than the rest of us. They’re simply more grateful for what they have and choose to be conscious of their contentment more often.

2 Cents:

If you can find the right yoga teacher (essential!), and the type yoga practice that doesn’t drive you crazy (and there is a wide variety!), taking up yoga can be one of the most impactful practices on the planet.

If you are into weight loss, often what no one tells you is that you are battling your hormones, which are like the specific matrix in each of us. A yoga practice is a non-prescriptive way to level out your hormones. And the best part is that it doesn’t require a PHD, or a lot of effort, or a ton of $$. The practice of yoga allows the body to integrate with the spirit, and that mindfulness will actually allow you to resist reacting to craziness with more craziness. It can be a natural Valium in the moment, but—happily—also in the big picture.

Denise Gaylord
Personal Trainer & Challenge Coach
Provincetown USA

Laughter and Losing Weight

Laughter and Losing Weight

So many things contribute to overall health and laughter is certainly one of them.
If you are looking for a path to weight loss, i usually see true change when people’s lives  are in balance and can also laugh easily.

Need proof? Don’t just take my word for it—here are some facts for “fact seekers.”
Findings from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Laughter improves your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more serious illnesses.
  • Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.Laughter relieves pain
  • Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.Laughter increases personal satisfaction
  • Laughter improves your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.

Deepak Chopra says, “the healthiest response to life is laughter.”

So let’s get started with a few jokes:

Q: What did the duck say when he bought lipstick?
A: “Put it on my bill.”
Q: What did the zero (0) say to the eight (8)?
A:  Nice belt!
Q:  A piece of fried chicken walked into a bar and asked for a drink.
A:  The bartender said “Sorry, we don’t serve food here.”

2 Cents:

First, thanks to Ellen and Ruth for their joke offerings!

And if the Dalai Lama were here I would respectfully tap his immense wisdom. I would ask him, how does one mindfully turn to laughter in response to life’s most difficult challenges? Because what I notice in myself and in others is that we can survive—with the help of humor—incredibly rough situations. As a result of our pushing back with laughter, life can look quite different, as our priorities themselves seem to shift. How can we keep the importance of our precious limited time consistently uppermost and present in our thinking, while at the same time “wearing it lightly”?  In doing so, it’s likely that any future tough stuff will more easily roll off our backs …

Well, a priest and a rabbi went into a bar …

Denise Gaylord
Personal Trainer & Challenge Coach
Provincetown USA

Stress and Weight Loss

Stress and Weight Loss

Is Stress Making You Gain Weight?

Do any of these apply to you?
•    Trouble sleeping
•    Feeling overwhelmed
•    Problems with memory
•    Difficulty concentrating
•    Changes in eating habits
•    Feeling nervous or anxious
•    Feeling angry, irritable, or easily frustrated
•    Experiencing burn-out from studying or schoolwork
•    Feeling that you can’t overcome difficulties in your life
•    Troubles functioning in class or in your personal life
*    Difficulty laughing easily

Fitness trainer Brandon Mentore says, “Stress plays one of the biggest roles in the entire weight loss process.” “Weight gain is almost always a response to some type of stress, whether it’s poor food choices, mental or emotional trauma, or lack of physical activity,” he says, “and when people pursue weight loss, that can also be a form of stress. Piling stress on top of an already somewhat stressed body can slow your progress.”

2 Cents:

Failed weight-loss attempts can almost always be traced in part to the level of stress in someone’s life. When one is in a toxic relationship, or is over- worked, or has an imbalance or illness in the body, or is in a caretaker position, or has worries about finances or loss of a loved one—the list of stressors goes on and on—any of these can wreak havoc on your body chemistry. True weight loss will proceed in a sustainable way only when first your life is in balance.

Just since the beginning of 2017, I have seen more and more people at the gym where I work. Perhaps it’s a rise in people’s response to the recent political climate … or an inability to relax … or could it be seasonal? … or is it just random?  Hmmm …

Denise Gaylord
Personal Trainer & Challenge Coach
Provincetown USA

Sleep Apnea and Weight Loss

Sleep Apnea and Weight Loss

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Couple in bed, man snoring

What is Sleep Apnea?

From WEB MD:
“Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen.”

What Are the Effects of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children. Risk factors for sleep apnea include:
•    Being male
•    Being overweight
•    Being over age 40
•    Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or          greater in women)
•    Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone
•    Having a family history of sleep apnea
•    Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD
•    Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems

If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including:
•    High blood pressure
•    Stroke
•    Heart failure, irregular heart beat, and heart attacks
•    Diabetes
•    Depression
•    Worsening of ADHD
•    Headaches

2 Cents:

Sleep is one of the most highly under-recognized pillars of good health.

Ask someone you sleep next to or in close proximity to whether he or she can hear you snoring frequently?

Although frequent snoring is not in itself a definitive diagnosis of apnea, nevertheless many cases of sleep apnea are discovered this anecdotal way. Additionally, relatively new portable electronic devices such as “Fitbit” and Apple Watch have components that enable users to track their sleep and keep a consistent record of their sleeping patterns.

If you are concerned that you might have sleep apnea, by all means check with your doctor and get a sleep test. If by chance you have sleep apnea, be reassured that once it’s discovered you can get relief and avoid the health complications that apnea can cause.

Denise Gaylord
Personal Trainer & Challenge Coach
Provincetown USA

Spring is Coming – Spring is Coming – F.A.S Alert

Spring is Coming – Spring is Coming – F.A.S Alert

I’m betting that you—and just about everyone I can think of—want to develop arms that look really toned and don’t sag? Instead of the arms you sometimes see—and feel—while waving good-bye to people leaving you on a train/plane/car?  Sure, you want to make changes … and you’re far from alone.

But how the heck does Flabby Arms Syndrome (FAS) happen?

Well, if you are a woman, the additional fat stored in your arms may actually be thanks to hormones … that’s just our reality … so, yippee and yahoo!  But, wait! … Not so fast!  … Below you’ll find some tips to get you on track to great-looking arms.

Here’s an action plan to push back against FAS:

* Make it a goal to work at lowering your overall body fat, mostly by moving a lot throughout your day. Losing weight will result in more muscle definition. And you will notice that yourself, as the fat layer shrinks away and the muscles becomes more visible.

* Tech products such “FitBit and an array others can be excellent tools in your efforts to combat FAS. The great thing is that these devices keep us honest, because they track not only how much we actually move, but also how much we think we move! I strongly recommend you use a tracker (the iPhone 6 comes with its own). By the way, 10,000 steps a day of any combined activity is the current standard for effective weight loss.

In the meantime, while you’re working on your 10,000 daily steps, here are three different exercises that can help build arm muscles, either on your own or in the gym:

  1. Kettle Bell (be sure to get instructions on the proper technique)
  2. Triceps Push-ups- (using body weight or free weights )
  3. Bicep Curls – (Using Bands or free weights )

2 Cents:

We all naturally want to feel stronger and more toned. That’s not—by the way—the same as “losing weight,” although the two frequently go hand in hand. Now in order to make these changes happen, here are two basic principles to keep in mind:

  1. In any kind of weight training, you basically need to work hard enough to make your muscles tired. Which is another way of saying that you must stress these muscles by using either your body weight, free weights, or weight machines. Each method is as good as the other. You do not need heavy weights to accomplish your goals, and you do need to make the muscles challenged by using them. Individual bodies will react faster than others.
  2. Pay attention to the quality of the food you eat daily. It really matters when you’re trying to build muscle. I urge you to consume “Clean Foods,” by which I mean food that’s grown in the ground, on a tree, or from plants. And, if you like, include animal protein. With all Clean Foods, the least processing the better.

Denise Gaylord
Personal Trainer & Challenge Coach
Provincetown USA

Ketogenic Diet Trend Examined

The Ketogenic Diet Examined 
Source: WebMD

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.  The diet is gaining much traction in the last five years as a weight loss practice for some, and health practice for others.

The diet is basically low-carb/high-fat with moderate protein. The type of fat is important in this deal, and being in “ketosis” is actually the goal. Only a blood test or urine test or breath test will indicate ketosis. This diet requires that many foods be cooked by the participant, as the foods needed to create the “fat burning result”,  are rarely available in the proper ratio in the “real world”. 

Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures.  The reduction of epileptic seizures is how this diet was found 40 years ago.

Here is what L.W. has to say about this diet.  She & I have worked together, and  I have been lucky enough to witness her progress as she found and practiced this diet:

I have been eating ketogenically for six months now. I have lost 20 pounds, many inches, my indigestion reflux is gone, and my anxiety is down. Prior to that, my eating habits were good, (low fat/low carb/clean food), along with moderate exercise. But I couldn’t move the needle—so frustrating and discouraging when I was trying so hard!

The Ketogenic diet takes time to adjust and adapt to, but after that it is not that difficult and you can still eat delicious food.”

Suggestions from LW in the link below:

2 Cents:

It is human nature to hope there may be The One Answer to weight loss or for achieving a health balance. The ketogenic diet may in fact help some people greatly, after so many other ways have failed them. And yet it is not to be messed with.

It changes your body chemistry as much as any pill or prescription can. (And that, in fact, points to the often-overlooked reality—food, in all its combinations, can be as powerful as medicine.) Acknowledging these realities should at least serve as a Red Flag before you attempt a ketogenic diet.

Some of you have struggled for years as a “sugar burner,” and have many challenges with regard to weight loss or other health issues. If you are willing to work with an informed doctor/internist and possibly a nutritionist, as well as having a complete blood work-up, you can likely make changes. Please do your research and create that kind of team to inform and guide you.

For the rest of us, we should begin to notice what foods help us feel energized (carbs/fats/proteins), and what foods do not. Every person is different.

Denise Gaylord
Personal Trainer & Challenge Coach
Provincetown USA

Kombucha – Fad or Fantastic

Kombucha – FAD or Fantastic?

The fermented tea drink has been around for centuries but recently became popular in the U.S. because of its purported health benefits. Regular drinkers of the tonic claim it aids digestion, sleep, weight loss and detoxification; stimulates the immune system, prevents cancer, stops hair loss, and improves liver function.

So what is Kombucha?
Often referred to as mushroom tea, kombucha is not made from mushrooms, but the bacteria and yeast that grow on top of the beverage result in a blob that resembles a mushroom. It is made by adding bacteria and yeast to sugar and black or green tea and allowing the brew to ferment.  Yummy 🙂

At first taste, kombucha tea tastes somewhat earthy, tart, with a little effervescence and a vinegar-like smell—maybe not so pleasing to the taste buds. To make the tea more palatable, juice is added to the base brew. But if you look a little closer, you notice little floating bits of bacteria in the unpasteurized beverage. Drinking four ounces daily of commercially available pasteurized kombucha tea is generally considered safe for healthy people. However, it would be prudent for pregnant women, elderly people, children, and anyone with a compromised immune system to avoid it.

Bottom Line
The claims are greater than the science can prove and the safety factors require careful consideration. Drink it in moderation if you enjoy it; be warned, it may be an acquired taste. And don’t drink it because of the overstated benefits. Kombucha is not a cure-all or magical elixir, but it does have some beneficial bugs similar to yogurt, kefir, or other probiotics that contribute to a healthy gut.

From Wellness Mama Magazine: 
The most logical concern I’ve seen with kombucha is its potential to cause dental problems. Since it is high in natural acids (but still lower than most sodas), it can be harmful to the teeth. OraWellness wrote a great article on the specific way kombucha affects teeth and how to consume it without harming your teeth. These include: drink it all in one sitting, don’t sip it throughout the day, and swish with clean water (don’t brush your teeth) right after.

2 Cents:

What is becoming clear is that, as we age, the digestion of food sometimes becomes compromised. So even with “perfect” attention to your food choices, certain genetic tendencies can contribute to nutrients not reliably translating into energy (remember food=energy). Your liver and/or spleen might not work ideally now, so even if you consume wonderful food, the body may not efficiently digest it into the best energy. Hence the big “probiotic” trend to add healthy bacteria to help digestion.

Kombucha seems to accomplish that for some—just remember it has alcohol and also may not be ideal for pregnant women. There have been more issues with homemade kombucha and production safety. I do think it will soon fade as a FAD, (mostly because of it’s taste), even though a  percentage of people (maybe 3 out of 10) may benefit greatly. And be sure to heed the teeth suggestion if you drink it daily (see above).

Denise Gaylord
Personal Trainer & Challenge Coach
Provincetown USA

7 Minute Workout

NY Times – Gretchen Reynolds May 9, 2013

Hey All….I Double Dip Dare you to try this 7 minute workout right now!

Exercise science is a fine and intellectually fascinating thing. But sometimes you just want someone to lay out guidelines for how to put the newest fitness research into practice.

An article in the May-June issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal does just that. In 12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall, it fulfills the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science.

“There’s very good evidence” that high-intensity interval training provides “many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time,” says Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., and co-author of the new article.

The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each, while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.

Exercise science is a fine and intellectually fascinating thing. But sometimes you just want someone to lay out guidelines for how to put the newest fitness research into practice.

2 Cents:

When you think about it, we all move every second of every day. Even when we sleep, our breathing in and out has us moving our chest muscles.

So the question that comes up is: if we all move, all the time, then what is exercise?
Does using a gym membership, or playing a sport, or running a race become the only way to exercise?

Really what you need is to push your body sometimes. In order to slow down the aging process, it’s important to regularly move in such a way that you breathe heavily and are aware of your effort—how hard you are exerting yourself.  So, since we don’t chase mountain lions to get our food anymore, here is an effective regimen from the New York Times for getting some hard exercise in a short amount of time: The Scientific 7-minute workout.

And science is proving that less is more.  Yahoo.

Denise Gaylord
Personal Trainer & Challenge Coach
Provincetown USA

Your Mother was Right!



Your Mother Was Right:

Why You Should Eat Your Broccoli, Plus a Delicious Recipe To Get You Started

President George H.W. Bush was famous for exclaiming in 1990: 

“I do not like broccoli, and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid, and my mother made me eat it, and I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”

This bold statement enraged U.S. broccoli farmers in California who, within a week, had shipped 10 tons of broccoli to Washington, D.C. in protest. It fortunately was then donated to local homeless shelters.


2 Cents:

Your mother was right—eat your veggies!

Lots of people want to know “What should I eat?” In my practice I encourage someone trying to change challenging eating habits to start small. That is, add onething to your daily eating routine. And Instead of trying to eliminate something from your eating habits, consider adding one thing. Broccoli can be a great choice!

And, yes, smothering broccoli in butter or cheese is still better than not eating it at all!  But try this stir fry recipe from Dr. Andrew Weil, which should encourage you to add this versatile and nutritious veggie to your diet:

Spicy Garlic Broccoli with Pine Nuts


Garlic and broccoli seem to go hand in hand, one flavor beautifully complimenting the other. A light soy dressing and toasted pine nuts round out this savory dish. Opinions vary as to whether broccoli is neutral or cooling. It is often prescribed by Chinese doctors for eye inflammations and nearsightedness.


1 ½ pounds of broccoli or broccoli rabe

¼ cup pine nuts

1 ½ teaspoons (expeller-pressed) canola oil

1 ½ teaspoons roasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon hot chili paste or ¾ teaspoon crushed dried chiles

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 ½ tablespoons rice wine or sake, mixed with 2 tablespoons water.
Sauce (mixed together in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved):

1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Trim the ends of the broccoli, separate the florets, peel the outer skin of the stem and cut it on the diagonal into 1-inch lengths.
  2. Toast the pine nuts until golden in a 300°oven, turning them occasionally so that they cook evenly for about 20 minutes.
  3. Heat a wok or large skillet, add the oils, and heat until hot, about 20 seconds. Add the chili paste or crushed chilis and garlic, and stir-fry, tossing with a slotted spoon over medium heat until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Turn the heat to high.
  4. Add the stem sections of the broccoli and stir-fry. Pour in the rice wine and water and cook, tossing, about 30 seconds, then cover and cook about 1½ to 2 minutes, until the stems are just tender. Add the florets or leafy sections and toss over high heat, cooking for about 1½ minutes, or until just tender.
  5. Add the premixed sauce and toss lightly for 15 seconds. Add the toasted pine nuts and stir-fry a few seconds to combine the ingredients. Scoop the ingredients into a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Two Surprising Choices For Weight Loss That Could Not Be More Fun



Two Surprising Choices For Weight Loss That Could Not Be More Fun!

Option 1: Take a vacation! It’s my strong belief that in setting up your weight-loss plan it’s important that you experience the sensation that comes from completely unplugging from your usual environment. And step aside—at least temporarily—from the latest of life’s problems. So often I observe in my clients the continuous revved-up feeling that accompanies the “doing, doing, doing” of a busy life. It is overloading the senses and can result in eating for comfort without even knowing it. For many of us, the stress hormone cortisol is being released waaay more than is healthful. Stress from the demands of an overactive lifestyle can create hormonal imbalance as well as an inability to refresh with good sleep. Cortisol imbalances make weight loss almost impossible. So unplug and breathe deep!

Option 2: Treat your body to massage!  In many areas of the United States, it is thought that massage is a luxury or merely an indulgent way to get “rubbed” or “stroked.” However, as with yoga, massage is highly misunderstood as a proactive health pursuit. Talented masseuses have a practical and intuitive ability to use their hands to help open the fascia around the muscles and stimulate increased circulation. In some cases, weight gain can be caused by the body not efficiently digesting and allowing toxins to be removed. And, yes, we are back to that stressconversation, because therapeutic massage can be very helpful in countering stress. How do you relax without drinking, smoking, eating, or texting your way through an emotional overload?  Here’s an idea: try massage (ask around for a local recommendation) and consider it like getting your teeth cleaned—only much more fun!  

Here is a link explaining how massage helps you lose weight: Five Ways Massage Helps You Lose Weight!


2 Cents:

Weight loss advice is the number-one request that I receive. And it can be a simple fix for some and more complicated for others:

“Move more and eat smaller portions” may seem like the most obvious starting point. But for most of us there are layers of understanding and individual factors that can combine and contribute to one’s ability to lose weight. One frequently overlooked aspect of weight loss is the need to move toward a life balance. Many of us have hurdles to leap in order to find enough time or ease to arrive at a work/ life balance. But the effort to do so is well worth it!

A really stripped-down version of this is:

  1. Slow down—Get more quiet time in nature without your devices!
  2. Allow more self care—Treat your body as though it will be with you as long as you are on the planet—because it will be! Indulge in body lotions, stay thoroughly hydrated, and get in touch with your body by means of massage.