Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why Breath Is So Important

Lying in bed one night I found myself trying to go to sleep.  As I tried to focus on why I was feeling so anxious I realized I’d been going 100 to nothing all day and hadn’t taken time to relax.  My breath was shallow and quick.  My heart seemed to be beating a million miles per hour.  As I tried to take deep breaths and slow my breathing I found it almost uncomfortable to do.  What I didn’t realize is I had been training myself for months to breath that way because of the lifestyle I was living. 

Having 4 kids ages 21 to 14 life can be quite busy and challenging at times.  Not to mention stressful.  While I always take time to exercise and eat right, I don’t take a lot of breaks just to slow down and relax.  Even vacations are full of activities and things to do.  Many times I return from vacation more tired than I was when I left.  LOL!

So why is training our bodies to breathe properly important?  The way we breathe affects every part of and system in our bodies.  Breathing incorrectly can lead to problems such as dizziness, anxiety, chest pain, digestive issues, neck and shoulder pain just to name a few.  If we are under constant stress or if we continue to run our bodies ragged we may find we begin experiencing these things.  I know I was.  I even went to my physician for a complete physical.  When everything seemed to check out just fine I began to pay attention to what was going on when I would begin to feel certain things.  Usually it was at the end of a crazy day when I hadn’t taken the time to sit down and relax a little.  So I started a few times a day to work on re-training my breathing to be slower and deeper.

It only takes about 5 minutes 3 or 4 times a day to retrain your breathing.  Yoga & pilates classes are great ways to work on this as well.  The best way at home to work on this is to lie on your back with your hands on your stomach.  Breathe in through your nose for about 4 seconds and then hold it for a few seconds.  You should feel your stomach rise as you breathe in.  Exhale slowly through your mouth again for about 4 seconds.  Continue to repeat this for about 5 minutes.  While you may not notice changes immediately in your breath, over time you will.  I will say it definitely will help you immediately to relax a little and that is a good thing too.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms my first advice is to see your physician for a complete physical.  If everything checks out you may have the same issues as I did.  Even if you are not experiencing these things, learning to breathe properly in our fast-paced world can make a huge difference in the way you feel and your overall health. 

March Into Health

The month of March is definitely known for March Madness and centers around college basketball.  At my house in the month of March you will usually find the entire family creating their own brackets in hopes of having the most wins and eventually be the one who picks the winner of the NCAA Tournament.  We all have our favorite team and none of us usually has the same Final Four.  While all the basketball is fun during the month of March it is, also, the month known as “March Into Health” month.  There are many health days celebrated in March.  All you have to do is google “national health days in March” and you will see a different one for almost every day.

  In the last few weeks there have been many things happen making me want to take a serious look at health issues and share that information.  The fast pace of life and instant gratification life we lead, I believe, are costing us our health.  Society has gone away from the home cooked meal to fast food, take-out, and processed food.  Even when a meal is home cooked it usually is only semi-homemade.  The cost?  Our health.  I have to be honest I am as guilty as anyone of leaning on their convenience.

  One concern of late is visceral fat. It is different from subcutaneous fat which is the fat just under the skin that none of us likes to see on ourselves. Visceral fat, on the other hand, is found around the internal organs such as the liver, stomach, gall bladder, spleen, etc. and can’t be seen. Visceral fat releases inflammatory substance called cytokines which can damage your organs leaving you at risk for many health issues.  Some of these include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart  disease, stroke, insulin sensitivity, diabetes, cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, and even Alzheimer’s Disease. 

  There is only one way to know for sure how much visceral fat you may have and that is to have a CT scan.  However, there are scales that can estimate your level and you can, also, use your waist circumference to estimate.  For women a waist circumference of 35 inches and for men 40 inches or more is a good indicator that you may have high amounts of visceral fat and are at a higher risk for the above health problems.

  The good news is that visceral fat disappears twice as fast as subcutaneous fat.  By changing you eating and exercise habits you can make big strides to improving your health.  Reducing stress and getting the proper amount of sleep can, also, help.

   Daily exercise is important to decrease body fat.  Exercise should be high intensity.  Interval training is a great way to increase the intensity in your exercise.  Strength training is important as well.  Strength training will increase resting metabolism.  A higher resting metabolism means you will burn more calories at rest and this will help with reducing fat. 

   As far as your diet goes you should be doing your best to eat as healthy as possible.  Know your numbers and by this I mean know your Basal Metabolism Rate (amount of calories your body burns in a day without activity) and know what macronutrient splits ( % of protein, fat, carbohydrate) you should be eating.  There are formulas out there to help with this or if you can’t figure it out you can always contact a nutrition specialist and they can help you.  Your diet should include plenty of protein and fiber rich foods and your fat and carbohydrate intake should be lower.  Be sure your diet is balanced and full of veggies and fruits.

  Finally, sleep and stress both can effect your levels of visceral fat.  You should be getting more than 5 hours of sleep and no more than 9 hours.  For stress try meditation and deep breathing exercises such as yoga.  Spend less time on your smart devices or in front of television. 

Making a few changes in your lifestyle can immediately start helping to reduce levels of visceral fat and get you headed towards a healthier you.  Make it a priority this month to March to Health!  Oh and don’t forget to do your bracket as the NCAA tournament is beginning.  It’s a fun way to enjoy the games.

Oh My Heart!

The month of February is a month that is spent celebrating love. There are images of hearts, cards with sweet sayings, roses, the colors pink & red, boxes of chocolates in heart shaped boxes, and I could go on and on. I love those things as any girl would, but for me it is, also, a month I reflect on Heart Disease and my Daddy.

Growing up my daddy always had a card and a box of chocolates in a heart shaped box for me and my sisters every Valentine’s Day. He would proudly give them to us every year in the morning before we left for school. I don’t remember ever not getting a heart shaped box of chocolate from him on this special day. I received one every year…….even well into adulthood.

You see Daddy, being born in 1926, grew up in the Depression in a single parent family. His father was killed in a farming accident when he was 8 years old leaving his mother with 4 children and one on the way. He was taught from a very young age how to love others by his own mother. She chose to keep the family together when others wanted to split them up. She taught him a love for family that to this day I try my best to to show mine.

Growing up during that time period was quite different than today. They didn’t have access to the information that we have today. They didn’t know about eating healthy or the dangers of smoking. During that time everyone ate lots of fried foods and smoking was looked at as cool or glamorous and was a part of normal every day life. My dad smoked his first cigarette at a very young age and it continued until just a few years before he died.

My dad passed away Easter Sunday in 2004. If he were alive today he’d be 92 years old. Because he smoked he had his first open heart surgery when I was in grade school. I still remember it to this day. Over the course of his life he had a second open heart surgery (this time a quadruple by-pass), a heart cath where they placed a stint in his artery, lung cancer (removed half of one lung), and then 3 years later he died of a second type of lung can. I still miss him very much and that is why this subject is so dear to my heart.

Based on a study by the American Heart Association, Cardiovascular disease accounts for about 1 in every 3 deaths in the United States. About 2300 Americans die each day from Cardiovascular disease, which is about 1 every 38 seconds. 92.1 million adults in America live with some form of cardiovascular disease. Leading the way is Coronary Heart Disease which accounts for about 44% of those attributed to Coronary Heart Disease.

The sad part about these statistics is that this is a preventable disease. Yes, some are more prone to it than others due to hereditary factors, but at the same time just by adjusting your life style you can help to prevent heart disease. The following are things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease.

First of all DO NOT SMOKE!!!!!! I truly believe had my daddy not smoked he’d still be here today at 92 years of age going strong. Smoking is one of the top 3 leading risk factors and contributes to more than 480,000 deaths in America each year…….41,000 of those due to second hand smoke.

The second risk factor is physical inactivity. We live in a world of sedentary individuals and my fear is the next generation will suffer even more due to the obsession with video games and activities which require not activity. Based on the research done by the American Heart Association in students grades 9-12 only 27% got the recommended amount of exercise being 60 minutes per day. Also, according to that study girls got less exercise than boys. So…….get up and EXERCISE!!!!! Be active and find something you enjoy doing.

Another risk factor is nutrtition. Being the mother of 4 active boys I understand this. It is so much easier to run through the drive-thru than take the time to pack a more nutritious lunch or dinner. Being on the go there are not a lot of healthy “take-out” options out there. The other problem is processed food. Yes, just like take-out, it is much easier but the affects on our heath far out-weigh the benefits. In moderation these things are not a bad option……..but as a replacement for whole foods……well lets just say there is no comparison. If you look at a label and can’t pronounce it……..it’s probably not good for you.

Other risk factors include obesity, high-cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. If you suffer from any of these things your risk for heart disease increases. If you have a family history you should be checked regularly for these things by your physician. Also, during a pregnancy, if you have had gestational diabetes you are at a higher risk for developing Type II Diabetes and should have your blood sugar levels check periodically…….even if you appear to be in good shape.

Taking care of ourselves by not smoking, eating right, exercising, and having regular check-ups can reduce the risk of heart disease tremendously. We owe it to the loves of our lives………our family. This Valentine’s Day one of the best gift you can give those you love is to take care of your heart and to be healthy for them for a long time to come. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and give those you love a HUGE hug.

(All statistics from “Heart disease and stroke statistics 2018 update: a report from the American Heart Association,” published online ahead of print January 31, 2018. DOI: 10.1161/CIR.000000000000058.)

New Year New You – Love Others and Speak Well of Them

My intentions for todays blog changed somewhat over the course of the last week. This past Sunday was my dad’s brother’s birthday (Uncle Lee) and my sister and I decided to go see him to wish him a Happy Birthday. After spending several hours talking to him and listening to stories about family, friends, and the town he grew up in that taught the kids (and I don’t mean the education they got in school…..as I recall, Uncle Lee called it “Common Sense” education) I knew I had to change direction just a little. He mentioned how the family was always happy, even during some of the most dark times you could imagine.

How is it that someone can say they were always happy during the darkest of times? To give background, my daddy’s family lived in a small, rural, Texas community. When my dad was 8 years old his father was injured in a farming accident and died several days later. He left a wife (pregnant with my Uncle Lee), my dad, two older sisters, and a younger brother, Jim (who later died in a car accident at 15 years old). My grandmother only had about a 7th grade education. How do you provide for a family like that during the depression? Well, she did. She and the community taught my dad and his brothers and sisters about love, compassion and hard work. They grew up with a strong sense of “All for one and one for all,” as my Uncle Lee put it. There was never a thought of self. It was all about each other and the people around them. It was a true love for family, friends, and even strangers. They never spoke ill of anyone and if I am truly honest I can look back at my time with my own dad and I can’t remember one time he had anything bad to say about anyone……..even when I knew it was someone who had done something to offend him.

Ephesians 4:29 talks about only speaking what builds people up. Proverbs 15:4 says, “the soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” Boy does it ever! Proverbs 18:21 says the tongue has the power of life and death and I believe we can see that in the world we live in today. Many of our problems today are a direct result of what we speak or what has been spoken to us. The Bible says in Matthew 12:34 “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” I believe many of our hearts are pretty dark. From our own hearts is where the joy or hurt that lies within us comes from and what causes us to speak ill of ourselves and of others. This was the main reason I addressed loving yourself in last weeks blog.

As children we are typically happy and extremely loving. The world hasn’t quite gotten it’s grip on us yet. I believe that is why Jesus says in Matthew 18:3 unless we become like little children we will not enter His kingdom. But what happen? Where does the depression, the anger, self-loathing, putting others down, and all the negativity come from? I would bet if each one of us looked hard enough we could pin point the moment things began to change and I would bet it started with something someone said or did that impacted you negatively and made you question yourself. Before I go on can I just say that is the evil around us and you are a precious and wonderful gift from God with a divine purpose!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For me it was my 8th grade year. Prior to that, I was one of the happiest people on the earth. I had a strong Christian belief and I never questioned anyone’s motive. Towards the end of the year my school was having elections for Student Council President. I had been Vice President the year before and pretty much should have been a shoe-in for President. Evidently, my running had offended someone. Without going into detail I was literally boo’d when I came onto the stage to give my speech (in front of the whole student body) and when I left after I was done. Although I smiled the best I could and gave my speech proudly I was devastated on the inside. As I started paying more attention to things being said about me, many of which were not good, I started to believe them more and more. From there detrimental behavior followed and the vicious cycle began……I was not good enough……This thought process lead to talking bad about others to make myself feel better about me or participating in things I never thought I would. This, I believe, if where things like drug use, alcoholism, eating disorders and bullying begins. Just take a look at the increase in these things especially the suicide rates among young people. It is scarey to say the least.

How do we break the cycle? I’m glad you asked. I will start by saying its not easy and honestly I don’t have it completely figured out. The nasty beast raised its head in my life just this past weekend. Ugh! I hate it when that happens. The starting place is to begin with what I talked about in my last blog. I’m no psychologist and certainly not a professional counselor and if you are dealing with serious issues I recommend getting help from a professional. I am just a human being with my own experiences and I know what has helped me. The place I had to start was with myself. I had to quit believing the lies the evil one kept whispering in my ear. Once I felt better about myself, loving others became so much easier. Start making efforts towards others. Whether its family, friends, or strangers just lifting them up makes a world of difference. Smile all the time, even when you don’t feel it. Say hello to strangers. Don’t turn your eyes away. Engage in a positive way with people. Give sincere compliments. Take up for someone who is being unfairly treated. Don’t gossip. Find positive things to say about EVERYONE……….even those who you disagree with or who have hurt you. Most of all forgive!

My daddy passed away in 2004 at the age of 77. It wasn’t until after his funeral that I truly realized the man he was. This very humble hard working man had a packed church of people saying farewell. Some of them were students of his from his very first teaching job and others childhood friends. There were business associates and current friends. As I talked to more people that day and since then, the one thing they all have said is they never heard him say anything bad about anyone. Soon after my dad’s death my mother gave my two sisters and I a poem he use to carry in his wallet. I never even knew he carried this but I want to end by sharing it with you. This is what I want to strive for. This is what I want to be. I hope you enjoy it and I hope it inspires you as well.

I Know Something Good

Wouldn’t this old world be better
If folk we meet would say –
“I know something good about you!”
Then treat you the same way?

Wouldn’t it be fine and dandy,
If each handclasp fond and true;
Carried with it this assurance –
“I know something good about you!”

Wouldn’t life be lots more happy
If the good that’s in us all,
Were the only thing about us
That folk bothered to recall?

Wouldn’t life be lots more happy
If we praised the good we see?
For there is lots of goodness
In the worst of you and me!

Wouldn’t it be nice to practice,
That fine way of thinking, too?
You know something good about me!
I know something good about you!

Author Unknown

LOOK WHAT’S HERE!!!!!

I can’t wait for mine to get here!!!!  Get them before they run out.

Just go to my webpage Faithfitnessbytracey.com and click on Products & Supplements and then click on Advocare to order!!!

Celebrating the Easter Season

th (11)

I could not call myself Faith Fitness by Tracey if I didn’t spend time during the Easter season to talk about my faith. It is Easter that represents everything about my faith. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” He loved me so much that he allowed his son to be sacrificed on the cross…..for me….and everyone!!!! I am the mother of 4 boys……I know I couldn’t do that. What an amazing love. I can only hope to live my life in a way that tries…..and I do mean tries because I am by no means perfect…..to be like Christ was. I want the people who know me to know Christ because of how I treat and love them. Do I make mistakes…..you bet I do every single day. It’s because of God’s son I know I am forgiven in those moments I fall short.

As you enter into this Easter season…..remember the sacrifice…..remember the forgiveness…..but most of all remember the love. May God bless each of my readers in the coming week.

The 3 C’s – Choice, Chance, Change

We will never change if we don’t make the choice to take a chance!!!! Our life is many times a result of the choices we make. Start making positive choices. It begins with taking a chance on working towards having a healthy life style.
fed942f9a13c43e01e096a206c9fc7cb

BLACK FRIDAY FITNESS SALE – DON’T MISS OUT!!!

DONT MISS OUT ON THIS HUGE BLACK FRIDAY SALE GOING ON NOW!!!! SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PROGRAMS HAVE BEEN DRASTICALLY REDUCED. P90X2, P90X3, LES MILLS PUMP, COMBAT Just go to my products link and click on “Beachbody” then follow the Shop prompt to the Holiday Sale.
Facebook-20141126-082434

Youthful Skin – It’s More Than Washing Your Face

I recently had a conversation with a friend about all the things it takes to keep our skin looking youthful as we age. So many people today take such drastic measures to try to look as young as they can. Too many times they end up looking like something straight out of a freak show. I am by no means against a little extra help here and there if that is what you choose to do. For me I choose to age gracefully. Unfortunately we all will age but there are things you can do to keep your skin looking years younger. The sooner you begin the more these things will help but beginning at any age will help.

In my opinion your skins best friends would be a healthy diet, exercise, limited sun exposure, plenty of water, essential fatty acids, amino acids, and good hygiene.

Lets begin with a healthy diet. Eating lots of foods high in antioxidants will do wonders for your skin. Fruits and veggies not only help you maintain a healthy weight but also keeps your skin looking younger. They help fight off all those free radicals which can age you prematurely. Also a diet high in lean protein helps as well. Protein is the building block to muscle. Having more toned muscle helps with the elasticity of the skin. By maintaining a healthy weight and not having large increases in your weight also helps maintain the elasticity of your skin. So how you feed your body makes all the difference.

Now lets talk exercise. Exercise helps in maintaining weight but it also plays a huge role in building muscle and maintaining muscle. Resistance training is very important the older we get as our body slows down in producing growth hormone. Muscle helps burn fat and as stated earlier helps the elasticity of the skin.

Now we have all heard what sun damage can do to our skin. Sunscreen is a must for healthy skin. The more your skin gets sun burned the more damage is done and the more you age. I grew up in the age of laying out in the sun with baby oil on and tanning beds. I have to admit if I hadn’t done those things I would have aged so much more gracefully. With sunscreens and spray tans now there is no excuse for damaging our skin in the sun. I’m not against a little sun but always wear a minimum of 30 SPF sunblock. You will still tan a little but you will not burn. If you have very fair skin you may need even higher SPF. I also use a facial sunscreen every day and the foundation I wear has an SPF of 15.

Staying well hydrated will also help you to look younger and will also help your skin be more healthy looking. Your skin appears fuller and small lines and wrinkles are less noticeable. You should at a minimum drink your body weight in ounces of water each day. Being well hydrated also helps all your body’s organs to function properly. If you are dehydrated it puts stress on your body causing your systems to not work at their best.

Another important thing in aging gracefully is making sure you supplement where there is deficiency. Amino acids (glutamine, carnetine, arginine, bcaa’s) and fatty acids (omega-3) all aid in keeping the skin, hair, and nails looking healthy and youthful. As we age our bodies don’t produce these things as efficiently as it once did. I highly suggest researching the effect supplementing amino acids and fatty acids has on aging.

Good hygiene is a must. You should wash your face every night before bed. Never sleep in your make-up. Exfoliate your skin regularly with a scrub. Also, use warm water but not hot water as that can dry the skin. Use moisturizers and lotions regularly as well. Nothing looks older than dry skin.

Finally, staying away from things such as smoking, alcohol, and drugs will keep you looking youthful much longer. Also, trying to live a life that is not stressful will help to. Regular relaxation whether through a favorite hobby or activity or getting a massage is a necessity to staying young and looking your best.