Look & Feel Your Best

My Crazy Idea!

Author, engineer, and visionary Peter Diamandis said:

“The day before something is a breakthrough it’s a crazy idea.”

Ponder that and then consider that Fortune Magazine recently named Diamandis one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. His quote is one of my favorites and is also my guiding light. You see, I have this crazy idea . . .

To inspire and empower 1,000, 000 women to transform their lives by simply walking.

Where did my “crazy idea” come from? It came from the darkest time in my life. It came from years of struggling with identity, loss of dreams, loss of financial stability, loss of my home, loss of family. It came from the fact that during those horrible years, walking saved my life. In fact I credit walking (over 3,000 miles all told) with not only saving my life, but with transforming my life!

A key piece in my transformation was learning how and why walking is such a powerful activity. Once I began to truly understand the full picture of what walking does, I started sharing what I’d learned with every single woman I could. I was absolutely called to spread the word about walking because walking is truly the magic pill we’ve all been searching for.

To be more exact, walking is actually women’s multi-tasking miracle! Walking solves so many problems unique to women. Lifestyle Problems like not having enough time to workout even when we want to and know we need to! Health Problems like heart disease, bone loss, dementia. Mental problems like depression, anxiety, brain fog and trouble making decisions. Emotional problems like feeling isolated, wanting connection, needing community and support. Spiritual problems like craving a time and space for peace and yearning for a true sense of Self.

True Self-care, meaningful Self-care, healing Self-care is what walking provides for women.

In speaking with women about their health and Self-care I learned that many women feel woefully underserved by and estranged from the health and wellness marketplace. The products and services clogging the market are ridden with shaming messages—both words and images. When I spoke with women about their health and Self-care the need they expressed had a common theme: women want a highly effective, meaningful, time and cost friendly way to workout that fits their unique lifestyle and life-stage. That’s what walking does—more than any other form of exercise.

Walking is the ultimate way to care for ourselves every day.

So I gathered up everything I’d experienced and learned about how and why walking transforms our lives, the health and wellness problems other women had shared with me, my yearning to help other women and asked, “What should I do with this?

Because I know walking increases creativity by 60% and that walking is a proven problem solver, I took my question for a walk and my crazy idea came to me!

To inspire and empower 1,000,000 women to transform their lives by simply walking.

And exactly how was I going to accomplish that audacious goal? Well it turns out one crazy idea leads to another. Look for Crazy Idea #2 in next week’s blog post and in the meantime:

Good Gear + Right Route = Wonderful Winter Walking

Winter walking can be truly wonderful given the right gear and the right route. I lived in Minnesota for over 25 years so I know of what I speak! Here’s my winter walking guidelines for good gear and the right routes.

Good Gear!

Good gear isn’t necessarily expensive or super high tech. To me good gear is gear that fits well and does the job you need done. For winter walking you need gear that holds your body heat comfortably and also breathes. I recommend a “grounds up” approach starting with what you’ll put on your feet. If the snow cover is fairly light (less than 3 or 4 inches) well insulated hiking boots and wool socks will keep your toes toasty for your 25-minute brisk walk. Layer on some long underwear and wind pants or jeans to keep your legs warm and for your torso take the same approach— a long underwear top and a fleece or wool sweater. I like an insulated but light weight coat to cover my core; the main thing I want is wind protection. My final good gear suggestions are mittens or gloves, a neck gaiter and a good warm hat. There you go—you’re ready to walk!

Right Route!

The right route is one that’s easily accessible, safe, and beautiful. Easy access for some of us is right out the door, which is ideal. If your neighborhood is walkable, you can’t beat “out-the-door” for time management! If your right route is not in your immediate neighborhood, make sure it’s well-lit, has little to no ice, is well trafficked by fellow walkers, and is easy to get to so that you will indeed get there on a regular basis. My main right route criteria is no ice—one slip on a hidden patch of ice and your winter walk turns into a winter spill. Avoid this by walking routes that have full sun during the day and are walked frequently.

Keep it simple, easy and doable walking women and you’ll fall in love with wonderful winter walking.

P.S. Through the One Million Women Walking movement, I help you get the exercise you want in just minutes per day so your Self-care and your TO DO list both get handled! Join 1MWW on Patreon for $1/month to get the exercise you want, the accountability, support, motivation and encouragement you need, and the life transformation you yearn for! See you there—I can’t wait to walk with you!

3 Critical Questions to Ask About Your Workout

One of my goals in founding the One Million Women Walking movement was to develop an actionable tool to help you create health and wellness in your own life in your own way. I knew that I wanted to provide a method that was simple, doable, scientifically proven and highly effective. Why? Well you see . . .

So many women I’ve spoken with said they simply didn’t have the time to add anything complicated or time consuming to their lives—no matter how beneficial it might be. Great feedback! So I kept the 1MWW 3-Step Practice simple, understandable, and immediate by creating a health and wellness plan that you can start right now to benefit your health right now, regardless of your lifestyle or life-stage or how crazy busy your life might be.

We all need little victories and 1MWW is all about daily little victories. Because little daily victories add up to big life-changing results.

The mission of 1MWW is to inspire and empower women to transform their lives by simply walking. Daily walking saved my life (that was my big inspiration) and as I was going through the process of founding 1MWW, building the website, starting social media, I began comparing the ease and effectiveness of walking with other workouts. That led me to some core questions, which I want to share with you now: 3 Critical Questions to Ask About Your Workout.

  1. Does this fit for me? Does my workout fit my lifestyle and Lifestage or does it add one more thing to my To Do list that I ultimately end up resenting and feeling frustrated about?

  2. Does this make me feel better about myself? Does my workout really lift me up in a way that makes me grateful to be doing it?

  3. Does this truly support and expand my whole Self—my body, my mind, and my spirit? Does this workout give me a sense of being more whole, more in tune, more ME?

These might look like simple questions but there’s a profound truth behind them. The truth being that despite your best intentions or your doctor’s warnings or your own fears about your health, you won’t be able to fall in love with a workout that adds to your To Do List, makes you feel worse about yourself, or leaves you feeling fragmented and confused.

I want you to fall in love with your workout and with the YOU that does that workout. I believe you deserve a way to care for yourSelf (body, mind, and spirit) deeply and meaningfully every day. A Self-care practice that fits into your life starting right now, makes you feel really good about yourSelf, and gives you a sense of being on the wonderful, fulfilling journey of becoming the YOU you want to be.

So if you’re not satisfied with your current workout or exercise practice, ask these 3 Critical Questions and listen for your answers. You’ll discover if your self-care is lacking, is frustrating, is shaming or is perfect. My wish your you is that you find the perfect workout and that it elevates your whole Self and that you fall deeply and profoundly in love with it. And that it loves you back, big time!

Tidings of Comfort and Joy!

The Holidays can be an incredibly beautiful, wonderful, joyful time and they can be an incredibly stressful, awful, heart-breaking time. Dickens comes to mind, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

For many of us, the Holidays are a mix of good and bad, happy and sad, stressful and peaceful. So to even things out, I’ve created a series of Facebook videos, Tidings of Comfort and Joy, which have quick tips on how to lower your stress, take care of yourSelf (body, mind, and spirit) and take care of your endless To Do List.

Research reveals that a whopping 69% of us are stressed at the holidays about not having enough time. And 69% of us are stressed about not having enough money while 51% of us are stressed about giving and getting gifts. So much stress!

It seemed to me that a few holiday stress hacks might come in handy. Jump over to the 1MWW Facebook page to check out my Tidings of Comfort and Joy, peek at some of my daily walks and while you’re there, join us on Facebook—we do have fun.

We all need some tidings of comfort and joy around the Holidays and I’m happy to jump in with my humble offerings. Happy Holidays!

PS. Here’s the first Tidings of Comfort and Joy video for you—enjoy!

What I Hate

HATE is a strong word. An uncomfortable word, a word many of us have big feelings around. We’re not supposed to hate are we? The negative energy of hate can be phenomenally damaging if we become addicted to it and let it guide our thinking and behavior.

But that’s not the kind of hate I’m talking about here. I’m talking about a HATE that gets me fired up, that focuses my deep purpose, that reminds me why I do what I do and keeps me at it with passion and clarity. A strangely sacred, powerful hate . . .

HERE’S WHAT I HATE:

I hate when you hate yourself. And I especially hate the forces that took you to that awful, despairing, damaging place.

I hate your self-hatred and I hate what took you there and I’m sick of what took you there. I’m absolutely sick of it. I’m sick of you feeling bad about yourself, your choices, what you did and didn’t do. I’m sick of you not KNOWING your own value and worth and intelligence and applying them to your health and well-being. I’m sick of you looking in the mirror and shaming yourself for what you’re not. I’m sick of you looking to the next fad diet or supplement or “it” workout to fix you when in truth you aren’t broken. Dammit. What’s broken (and ugly and damaging) are the health “solutions” that start by telling you how you’re wrong and broken and what you’re supposed to look like and feel like when you’re right (aka buying their product/service.) This is hypocritical fear-mongering and manipulation at best.

I believe our health and the ways we're supposed to get healthy are defined by a lot of shoulda/woulda/coulda expectations that are deliberately disempowering vs empowering. That the message, the subtext of much of what we consume around health is at the core shaming vs healthy. Negative vs positive. And creates dependence vs independence. All of this from an industry that is supposedly dedicated to your health and well-being. How can health and well-being start with shaming and self-loathing? How can you love yourself when you’re given a starting point of focusing on everything that’s wrong with you? It doesn’t make sense and I hate it.

I have a completely different belief about you, your health, yourSelf and your life! I believe you hold the power to create true health for yourSelf (body/mind/spirit) in ways that are authentic to you and your life.

That power comes from knowing yourself, caring for yourself, valuing yourself by discovering your unique formula. You have a unique very personal individual "formula" that's right for your body, mind, and spirit. That formula--a combination of what you think, what you do for exercise, what you consume for fuel and fun, how much or how little sleep you get to renew and heal-- is for you to discover for yourself!

Health, wellness and self-love simply don’t come in a “one-size-fits-all” package. Just because keto/green coffee bean extract/hot yoga Pilates barre/intermittent fasting works for your BFF does not mean it’s going to work for you.

The real problem is that if it doesn’t work for you, instead of thinking, “Huh, that didn’t work for me—that’s not my formula, I’ll try something else,” you think “Oh my god there is SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME! This is working for her so clearly I’m doing it wrong or I’m not trying hard enough or I’m not focused enough or committed enough or I’m not enough.”

The self-shaming, self-blaming, self-loathing talk starts up and pretty soon you hate yourself. Keto/green coffee bean extract/hot yoga Pilates barre/intermittent fasting just took your power away from you and I hate that.

Fortunately your power is innate, it’s your birthright, and even though it was taken from you, you can reclaim it. This power is yours right now today.

If you’re in a pattern of self-hatred, you can’t just STOP and automatically START loving yourself. That’s a transformational journey that will take time, support, compassion, humor, and growth. It’s a journey of change and change is challenging. Change is rigorous work but it’s doable work!

To begin and ultimately succeed in the transformational journey of changing from where you are right now to loving yourself you need to:

  • Know why you want to change.

  • Ignore the gimmicks, the instant gratification, the body ideals, the “experts”, the latest diet/pill/fad.

  • Get back to basics: move more, walk, eat “live” food, drink water. All steps you can take today without any extra/outside influence.

  • Allow the basics to create your solid foundation of health and self-care.

  • Have a community with strong connections that support you in changing.

  • Give your changes time to take hold and take effect.

  • Ask for help and ask questions—don’t go it alone!

  • Celebrate your successes and forgive your fails.

  • Turn your fails into successes by learning from them.

These are the steps of the transformational journey. The steps that lead you from self-hatred to self-acceptance to self-care to self-love. The steps that will change you and your life for the better. And I hate anything less for you or anything that attempts to lessen you.

You are the only YOU we’ve got on this small spinning planet. We need you at your best—your brightest and fullest and most powerful—to bring your unique gifts into this world. No one else but you can do YOU so please take care of you. Truly love YOU on a daily basis with your unique formula—your secret elixir that’s yours and yours alone. There’s real power in knowing and living your formula on a daily basis. The one ingredient you’ll never find is self-hatred. It’s just not in the mix.

(Wondering about the photo on this post? I thought you’d never ask. That’s my soapbox. I throw it down and jump up when I’m good and passionate and ready to let fly with some truth, like I did just now. If you’d like even more truth, get your copy of my free e-book, The Truth About Women Walking to get started on your transformational journey today.)

Cool Tips to Make Your Autumn Walks the Best Walks Ever!

I will confess freely and openly: I LOVE WALKING IN THE FALL! It’s my favorite time of year to get my walk on. The more hours I can be outside walking, the happier I am. I think I store up the Vitamin D, the golden light, the smells and sounds to replay and re-experience during winter’s long dark hours. Although winter walking is really fantastic too if you know how to layer, which brings me to my cool tips for you, the first of which is layering.

I’m a fan of being comfortable when I’m walking and the key is layering. I keep it simple and make sure I have a warmish layer (fleece or a light wool sweater) to which I can add a windbreaker--with a hood. I carry light gloves and an ear band or hat in case the temps drop or the wind really picks up. I’m more of a fan of hiking pants than jeans or leggings/tights, the main reason for that being versatility and pockets. And on my feet? Lightweight hiking boots with good support and socks that fit and wick.

This combination of layers is lightweight, easy to grab and go, and keeps me comfortable for a power walk or a full day of outdoor exploration. Layering is the key.

My next tip has to do with the two essentials for autumn walking: water and your camera! We too often neglect hydration when the summer heat is gone. That’s a huge mistake! Take water with you and drink it often. If I’m going for a power walk I’ll hydrate before I start and make sure I drink a full glass when I return. If I’m out for the day, I carry at least two liters with me.

And your camera is critical this time of year. The golden light--the incredible color of trees, the slow revealing of the contours of the land as the leaves fall away--capture all of this because this fleeting season is truly one of the most beautiful! The camera on your phone is more than adequate to record your walk so that you’ll have a visual memory later on. Do this--you’ll be so glad you did!

My last tip is to walk at different times of day and in different places. Get a group of pals together for a sunrise walk in your local park or snag your significant other for a weekend away. The light at sunrise and late afternoon to sunset is heart-stoppingly gorgeous and worthy of some effort. And a lunchtime walk under fall’s blue sky is a walk to remember and be grateful for.

There is a sense of aliveness that comes with being outside during this transition season. A glow about the day that you bring back inside with you and keep going with a fire and a sense of satisfaction. Revel in these golden days by layering up or down for comfort, hydrating, walking wherever and whenever, and capturing the moments that speak to you. They’ll speak to you for years to come.

Happy walking!

Making a Decision That Really Changes Your Life

You’re at your favorite coffee shop deciding whether you’re going to order a cappuccino or an espresso. You like them both and you know either one will be made and delivered right away. Ahhh--immediate gratification. So the decision here really boils down to which one you're in the mood for.

Other decisions, like deciding to lose weight, get in shape, and build your self- confidence, can’t be dependent on whether you’re in the mood or not. They are going to take time. And dedication. And commitment. Alas, your coffee will be long gone.

Here’s the difference between a coffee decision and a life-changer--with a life- changer aka a change in habits--you need to return to the core of the decision over and over again as you feel yourself wavering/faltering. You need to decide to really change your life and stick with that decision over time. Deciding something, truly deciding is a profound act--it’s your promise to yourself. It sets your intent for what’s to come and holds you in that intent.

Wanting to change something about your life means you are yearning for the life transformation it will bring you. What’s required is that you give yourself the opportunity for that transformation to take place. If you can’t do this as the first key step, you will sabotage yourself.

There are four steps you'll need to take to avoid the trap of self-sabotage. They are:

  • Be willing to take action.
  • Be willing to suspend judgement of yourself and whatever process you're using to make the change.
  • Be willing to give the process the time required for change to take place.
  • Be willing to ask for and receive help when you need it.
     

I won’t insult you by telling you change is easy if you're "really committed". Commitment is a big component of making a lasting change but it's certainly not the whole picture. To succeed you need to open your life to the entire opportunity for true change. Go into the experience open-hearted and open-minded and willing to practice the four steps I just mentioned. By doing so, you give yourself the gifts of time, energy, and curiosity that will create the changes you yearn for and so richly deserve. Most of us self-sabotage because we simply don't give change all of the resources it needs: time, energy, curiosity, and our willingness. And please, please ask for help! Going it alone is a sure way to fail!

Think seriously about the following questions when you are considering making a change in your life. These questions are a great way of testing your readiness and commitment to the change you want. Ask yourself:

  • Am I truly ready to take action?
  • Am I truly ready to suspend judgment of myself and this process?
  • Am I truly ready to give this change the time it requires?
  • Am I truly ready to ask for and receive help when I need it?

If you can answer yes to these questions then you're ready to change and ready for your change to succeed. True change requires a decision that you make over and over again during the change process. Back your decision up with appropriate action and thinking during the time required and make sure you get the help you need when you need it. Then and only then will you realize the change you want. 

Let's get changing!

It's National Women's Health Week!

National Women’s Health Week begins on Mother’s Day every year. It’s a reminder for us to take care of ourselves ladies, and to make our health care a priority.

My belief is that health is not a static point we somehow arrive at. Health is a series of thoughts, choices, and actions throughout each day across all the days of our life.

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As women it’s very easy to say we know we should make our health care a priority but it’s another thing entirely to actually do that. We take care of our family, our friends, our work, our home and our other responsibilities before we care for ourselves. Frequently that means there’s very little time, energy, or money left for self care.

This is why I want you to start where you are today and take just a few baby steps in the direction of your health care. Today, choose to move more throughout your day. If your work mostly involves sitting at a desk, get up every 30 minutes and go for a brisk 5-minute walk. This simple action stops the damage caused by excessive sitting and will create a rock solid foundation for your health. Experts have shown that moving more throughout the day, (aka organic movement), is what humans are designed to do to be healthy. It’s that simple!

Once you’re moving more, add a 25-minute walk on your lunch break to up-level your health exponentially. This simple action can save your life. Walking lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity. And walking increases creativity, self-esteem and adds up to 7 years to your life.

Over time--just a few months--you’ll begin to see and feel changes in your body, your thinking, and your emotions.

SUMMARY:
To prioritize your health move more throughout your day and go for a 25-minute walk at lunch. Simple small steps that add up to a happy, healthy, long life.

Happy Women’s Health Week Ladies!

Winter Walking Inside

It's true that sometimes the weather is just not user friendly when it comes to walking outside. Dangerously cold temperatures, blizzard conditions, or icy walking routes can make it almost impossible to walk outside safely. And why risk your health to workout? 

The best solution is to have a go-to indoor walking route in the location where you spend the most time. If you're a work-at-home person like me, that route can be as simple as up and down the stairs for 25 minutes--that's a workout, trust me. Or if your home is one story, the hallway and routes through connected rooms does just fine.

If you go to the office every day, look for long halls, stairs, and empty conference rooms to get in your laps.

The other great solution is your local mall. Many open their doors to walkers prior to retailers opening for business. This creates wide open walking areas that you might really enjoy. Granted you'll have to brave the weather to get there but once there you're in a heated location with facilities. That's not bad for a bad weather day!

If you know you'll have days when the weather is just too dangerous to be outside, prepare in advance by sleuthing out your best indoor routes--at home, at work, or at your local mall. Come springtime you'll be so glad you've been walking and you will welcome the warmer temps and better conditions with open arms and happy feet.

I'm A Solivagant, Are You?

Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, said, “I like good strong words that mean something.”

Those particular good strong words of hers are one of my favorite quotes. I’m a lover of words and one good strong word I’ve recently learned and fallen head over heels in love with is: solivagant. I fell in love with solivagant when I realized that it explicitly describes who I am–both my inner Self and my outer Self!

A solivagant is a solitary wanderer. A person who revels in the act of wandering alone–preferably in destinations and locations they have not previously visited.

As a writer, I am most definitely a solivagant. Writing is a journey into the unknown–to destinations and locations we’ve not previously visited. As writers we journey to take an idea and pull it from the unseen into the seen by putting words to it. Then we put the words together in a way that not only conveys our idea but also makes sense to our potential reader. Then we do it all over again. Our solitary wandering into ideas that become words that become stories that become our work makes us solivagants.

So if you are a writer, you are a solivagant. We must revel in the act of wandering alone–otherwise we’d never write anything! Personally I hold writing to be mythic in its essence. It’s the hero’s journey every time we pick up the pen.

As for my outer solivagant–I am a daily walker. I walk alone and I frequently wander. I delight in visiting a new park, a new trail, a new river walk or neighborhood or city. On my walks I find inspiration, solutions to problems, a sense of calm and peace and empowerment and always a return to myself in the rhythmic, simple movement of walking.

I’m often asked why I prefer walking alone and it’s because of that sense of returning to self. While I enjoy (and prefer) walk and talk meetings to “sit down” meetings, and I love hiking with family members (that’s a tradition), my daily walks are a time for me to re-center, recalibrate, refresh, and renew. I can only do that in silence, and the awareness delivered through my five senses, my feet on a trail, a view in site, and a curiosity for what’s around the next bend.

We women who want to grow and change are all solivagants in terms of the inner journey to destinations and locations not previously visited. And if you were to take up wandering by yourself in the physical world as well, you’d be a twofold solivagant–like me.

J. R. R. Tolkien famously said, “Not all those who wander are lost”, and solivagant or not, I never feel lost, rather I wander to find myself–in both the inner and outer journey.

So embrace your solivagant and go for a wee wander. You might like it. You might just find yourSelf.