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Archive for August, 2012


Posted on: August 31st, 2012 by Sandra O'Hagan 1 Comment


Last weekI was in the grocery store in the middle of the day feeling great after finishing my workout and preparing to go back to my studio for afternoon clients.  I finished shopping and got to the front of the store where every open checkout was lined up with 5 or more people.  I got in line and another lady came behind me and then another behind her.  The last lady in line was sighing loudly, looking at her watch and asking an employee of the store where she could find the Manager because she was not happy about this situation.

I began chatting to the lady behind me and commented how we are all so busy today and cannot tolerate waiting for anything.  She responded that she had returned the prior day from the east coast and was adjusting to the fast pace of Ontario again.  She told me that all the cars stop for pedestrians (novel idea) out east no matter if there is a cross walk or light.  One morning she stepped into the road where a car had stopped for her but another car kept going so she stepped back onto the curb.  Moments later, the car returned and the driver apologized as the sun had been in his eyes and he had not seen her.  I thought this was a great story to share as it showed the wonderful pace and courteous nature of our east coast neighbours.

I have worked with people all across Canada and admire those to the east and west for their pace of life.  The lady behind us did not get through the line up any quicker by complaining and having a near meltdown but for the two of us who enjoyed the moment to chat, it was a welcome break in our day.

A year ago, I would have been the meltdown lady.  Today I enjoy a less stressful pace and while I can honestly say I have not adopted the east coast pace, I do wish we could all slow down and be grateful for what life has to offer.

Take a moment next time you are out in public, remove your blinders, smile, chat and make someone’s day!  We only have this day and are not guaranteed another; enjoy it with gratitude!

“Forget yesterday – it has already forgotten you. Don’t sweat tomorrow – you haven’t even met. Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift – today.”  ―    Steve Maraboli,    Life, the Truth, and Being Free


You Feel Well…Why Worry??

Posted on: August 24th, 2012 by Sandra O'Hagan 4 Comments

Take your health for granted?  Why Not?  Feeling good must mean you are healthy right?

Why do people get their oil changed on their cars every 5000 kilometers?  Why do they get their ducts cleaned in their house every year?  Why do they fertilize their green lawns?  We use preventative maintenance on our cars, homes and properties but do not always feel the need to look after the most important thing in life; OUR BODIES!

Feeling well does not mean you are in good health.  What you cannot see or feel may be harming you.  Would you wait for your car engine to seize up before checking the oil?  Would you wait for the weeds and bugs to completely obliterate your lawn before taking action?  Why does it take an illness for people to provide their bodies with the preventative maintenance they need and deserve?

I have seen many older people signing up at the gym after having an obvious health crisis where they have lost mobility.  Why wait until you are debilitated to take action?

Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living requires adults perform cardiovascular exercise (running, biking, brisk walking for example) 5-7 days per week for 30 minutes to obtain substantial health benefits.  In addition, the requirement for weight or resistance training is 2-4 days per week and flexibility or stretching 7 days per week.  Measure your level of activity against these healthy recommendations.  Are you on track?

Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) reports ONLY 15% of Canadians are meeting the minimum 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity required per week.  This is a frightening statistic as the link between increased exercise and decreased risk of all disease including Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Cancer and Alzheimer’s, just to name a few, is undeniable.

I met with a new client last week whose first words were “I hate fitness”.  My reaction was you are perfectly normal but what set her apart from many other people was that she was in my studio because she realized the importance of introducing a fitness program in order to stay well.  She also realized she was not going to do it without help.  She made the first crucial step to her health and wellbeing and I am confident it will not take long for her to learn to embrace fitness and enjoy the benefits.

Next time you consider a tune up on your car, think about a tune up for your body to ensure you are living your best life!

Need help?  Check out your local community recreation facility for a fun class, walk, bike or play with your children or grandchildren in the park.  It all counts toward that 150 minutes a week to see “substantial health benefits”.  Do not forget the muscle work so include squats, lunges and lifting while you are at it and you will not only enjoy great health but the great feelings that accompany your workout.



Confused by Nutrition Labels?

Posted on: August 10th, 2012 by Sandra O'Hagan No Comments

Are you looking at the nutrition label on foods for calories? fat? sodium? all of the above?  Are you unsure what you need/should know to decipher all that information?

I had planned to help decode the mystery this week to eliminate the confusion that some people feel when viewing food labels.  After gathering a great deal of information, I came across an article from a wonderful site called Eat Right Ontario that I often recommend to my clients.  They already published an easy to read and understand article on Nutrition Labels that covered it all so I am going to defer to their expertise:

Take away 3 important points:

  • Watch portion sizes, especially with foods like cereal where the label provides information often for less then 1 cup and people typically have twice the amount at breakfast
  • Be aware the label you are reading recommends nutrient percentages based on a 2000 calorie diet so consider adjusting portions based on your recommended caloric intake
  • 5% is a little and 15% is a lot so be mindful of the percentage of fats, sodium and sugars in your food choices

Remember, you only have one life to live, make it SO Full of LIFE!

Sugar Beware!

Posted on: August 1st, 2012 by Sandra O'Hagan 1 Comment

We all love it; that sinfully delectable melt in your mouth taste of sweetness but beware the dangers of sugar in all its forms can be summed up in the following headlines:

Health Headlines: Toxic Sugar – Some experts want sugar treated like tobacco

Sugar Warning on ‘Healthy’ Drinks

Is Sugar Toxic?  Should the FDA add warnings to High Fructose Corn Syrup?

While there are many ongoing studies into the serious issue of added sugars in the foods we eat; there is no debate over many of the health risks associated with sugars. Sugar plays a significant role in diseases like Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension and Heart Disease.

One in four Canadians are obese and while there are many foods that contribute to this, there is no question that sugars are a big contributor to the problem. With an emphasis on decreasing fat content in the foods we eat, sugar has become more prevalent which is equally or more dangerous.  Sugar in processed foods being the most serious link to health issues.

Sugar is so prominent in our diets that research shows we are consuming about 20% of our calories from sugar.  It occurs naturally in fruit but is added to many other foods we eat including bread, milk, cereal and beverages.  In order to dupe savvy label readers, food manufacturers are hiding sweetness in ingredient lists by adding multiple sugar sources to avoid listing sugar as one of the main ingredients in foods. 

Here are some of the many ‘disguises’ for added sugars: honey, dextrose,  fructose, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, sorbitol, fruit juice  concentrate, glucose, galactose, lactose, polydextrose, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol,  maltodextrin and turbinado sugar.

The best way to avoid these disease causing ingredients is to eat natural whole foods like fish, organic meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts and avoid prepackaged foods as much as possible.  Stevia is a natural organic sweetener that does not typically spike blood sugars and can be used as an occasional alternative.

To limit temptations in the grocery store, stick to a shopping list and shop the perimeter of the grocery store avoiding the inner ‘danger’ aisles.

Remember; You only have one life to live; make it SO Full of LIFE!


Next time: Food Labels…are you confused?