The Productive Woman 009 – Getting Healthy and More Productive [podcast]

_podcastTemplateTons of studies show that healthier people are more productive, but modern life makes staying healthy and fit a challenge for all of us. How does health impact our productivity, what are the basics that contribute to good health, and how can we get healthier without spending all our time thinking about it?

Tip of the Week: Use empty Altoids tins to organize small items in your desk drawer or kitchen junk drawer. Check out this photo to see how Altoids tins can help you organize.

Tool of the Week: The Fitbit helps you monitor your health and can help motivate you to move more.

Topic of the Week: Getting Healthy to Get More Productive

How does health impact our productivity?

  • Many studies show that healthy people simply get more done.
  • When our health is poor, we have less energy, less mental focus, less resistance to things that are bad for us, and less ability to cope with stress and bounce back from crises.

What are the basics that contribute to good health?

  • Diet/nutrition – quality fuel in appropriate amounts
  • Adequate exercise – movement is good for our bodies and good for our attitude
  • Adequate, quality sleep
  • Sufficient water

Some simple tips for getting healthier:

  • Set small goals.
  • Don't wait for the perfect situation — a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.
  • Do something every day.
  • Get a physical exam.
  • Change your habits in small ways.
  • Combine exercise and socializing / relationship-building.
  • Write down what you eat.
  • Eat a little bit better each day.
  • At a buffet (or any meal), fill half your plate with a salad, a quarter with other vegetables, and only the remaining quarter with lean proteins and starches, and eat the salad first.
  • Improve your posture.
  • Get more/better sleep.
  • Educate yourself.
  • Don't give up – if you mess up one day, start over the next.


The Most Important Body Language Signal for Success,” by Carol Kinsey Goman,

5 Health Hacks for Higher Productivity,” Todoist blog.

Your Ultimate Guide to Health, Wellness, and Productivity,” by Erica Murphy, Levo League, July 16, 2014 — tons of links to helpful articles on various health and fitness topics.

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?”, National Sleep Foundation.

Sleep Through the Decades,” by Gina Shaw, WebMD.

The Consequences of a Lack of Water,” by Louise Tremblay,, November 27, 2013.

Why Your Brain Needs Water,” by Joshua Gowin, Ph.D., on Psychology Today online.

What about you? Which area of your health do you struggle with most? Is there a suggestion from this week's episode that you'll try tomorrow to move toward a healthier lifestyle? Or can you suggest a tip that works for you and might help others get healthier and more fit? Please share your thoughts or suggestions in the comments.

Subscribe to The Productive Woman in iTunes or subscribe in Stitcher, and join the conversation at The Productive Woman on Facebook.

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

Four Daily Habits–From Jeff Galloway’s blog

Farm, 1-2011 snow, swing2

It's that time of year, when we start thinking about what we want to accomplish in the new year that's just about to begin. As I'm thinking about those things, I just re-read Jeff Galloway's blog post from earlier this year and thought it was worth sharing. Sometimes we just make life way too complicated. I plan to pay attention to these, starting right away. I'm just listing his four habits, but I encourage you to click over to Jeff's post and read the brief explanations.

1.     Set aside half an hour every day for yourself.
2.     Don't sit–walk!
3.     Eat more frequently.
4.     Help someone exercise.

[From Four Daily Habits That Can Change Your Life]

I also highly recommend the recent Lifehack article I've linked to below.

If you were to start doing Jeff's first suggested habit above, how would you spend that half-hour?

Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

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Weight Management Tips from Someone Else

scale (Photo credit: Judy **)

My friends who think about managing their weight might enjoy reading John Saddington's recent post at Tentblogger on his top ten tips for weight loss. Nice concise presentation of the basics of healthy living. I've blogged about this before (here and here), but I really liked the way he said it. His blog is aimed at helping other bloggers, so the post talks about weight loss/management in the context of blogging life, but the tips are good for anybody who needs to lose weight or, really, even just wants to be healthier.

Check it out.

Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . . 
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

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One Approach to Getting Thinner & Fitter (Part 2)

Last summer, I published a couple of posts about my weight-loss journey. I gave a little bit of my background, and a list of the eight simple steps I followed, here. Then I elaborated a bit on the first four steps here, promising at the time that I would elaborate on the final four “soon.”

Well, it's not soon, but here are my brief explanations of the other four steps I followed. Before reading this post, you might want to click on the links above to read the first two posts in this series.

5. Keep healthy snacks handy.

Everybody I know is busy. Most of us have multiple demands on our time – more things to do than we have time to get them done. When you're frazzled and running crazy, it can be easy to just grab whatever's handy to satisfy those hunger pangs. Unfortunately, too often what's handy is some nonfood junk item that might not even really be what we're hungry for. It's just there, so we shovel it down while we drive on an errand or work at our desk.

The way to combat this is to plan ahead. Keep healthy snacks handy — things that you like but that will contribute to health. I love fruits and vegetables, so I try to make sure I always have a couple of apples or bananas in my office, or some grapes or cherry tomatoes or a bowl of fresh blueberries. Whole wheat crackers and a bit of peanut butter or a slice of cheese can be satisfying. For “emergencies,” I usually have a couple of protein bars in my desk — not the perfect choice, but better than a Snickers bar. A handful of raw almonds or walnuts can stave off starvation until mealtime.
A little advance planning helps ensure that you've got something healthy at hand when life keeps you from a decent meal.

6. Start small, and increase gradually.
When I first made the decision to lose my excess weight, I had been a couch potato for years. I sat at a desk most days, and by the time I got home at the end of long stressful work days, all I wanted to do was drop on the couch and watch TV while I ate my dinner. So it would have been insanity for me to head out the door for a five-mile run first thing. I would have keeled over before I reached the end of my driveway. So I started with just ten minutes on the stationary bike. It wasn't much, but I made a commitment to myself to spend that ten minutes every day. After a week or so, I started adding a minute or two every few days. Without realizing it, I was getting stronger, and before long I was up to thirty minutes a day.

It didn't take me long to get bored with sitting on the bike every day, so I tried our treadmill. This was new for me, so I cut back to fifteen minutes of brisk walking. Over time I added a few minutes each day until I was up to thirty minutes a day of walking. Then, rather than add more time (because I had little time to devote to exercise), I amped up the speed, alternating a minute of jogging with five minutes of walking, and I increased the incline a little bit. Eventually I increased the jogging time and reduced the walking time, until I could jog thirty minutes at a stretch.

To add some variety, I decided to get adventuresome and take my “run” outside when the weather permitted. Of course, running outside on uneven ground is different from treadmill work, so I again readjusted my time and pace. I reverted to brisk walking, going only as far as I was sure that I could make it back home. At first I could only make it a half mile or so, but I again pushed myself a little each time, going a little farther, and then a little faster, until I had worked my way up to being able to jog as much as four miles at a time.

Too often in our determination to make a change, we push too hard, too fast. Baby steps might seem less effective, but you can sustain it over the long haul if you start slowly and increase gradually
7. Get help when you need it.
After a year of working on my own, walking/jogging almost daily and watching what I ate, I had lost about thirty pounds but then hit a plateau. No matter what, I simply couldn't get those last fifteen pounds or so to budge. I'd done enough reading to know that I needed to add another component to my program — strength training. Not only does building muscle help boost your metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day, but strength training can help strengthen your bones (battling the onset of osteoporosis) and helps create the muscle definition that makes you look more toned and fit.

The problem was, I had no idea how to do any of that. After talking with a friend, I decided to seek professional help. I joined a gym and signed up for sessions with a personal trainer. My intent was to learn how to use the various machines and free weights so that I could do strength training on my own. It didn't take me long, though, to realize that I simply was too much of a weenie to make myself do that hard work by myself. So several years later, I still have regular sessions with my trainer at the gym. Besides helping me learn proper form and use of the equipment, Pasquale motivates me to try harder. I have accomplished more with his help and encouragement than I ever thought I was capable of.

Not everyone can afford the expense of a gym or a trainer, especially not on a long-term basis. But the principle still applies. If you need the encouragement of group accountability to stick to your healthy eating plan, then seek out a Weight Watchers group or other support system. Try just a few sessions with a trainer, either private or small group sessions. Talk to a nutritionist if you're not sure what you should be eating. Take a fit friend to lunch and ask her to share her secrets with you.

Don't be afraid to ask for help.

8. Take one day at a time.
Losing weight and getting healthy is a long-term, lifelong endeavor. It's not about going on a diet until you lose that ten pounds, or exercising for awhile so you'll look good for your class reunion. Long-term health requires long-term commitment.
That can make it seem overwhelming, though. If I thought that I could never eat another bowl of chocolate ice cream, I might just go crawl under my bed and cry. But although I always keep in the back of my mind that this is a lifetime choice, I focus on one day at a time. Today I'm going to go outside for a run. (Not, “I have to run every day for the rest of my life.”) Today I'm going to choose healthy foods. Today I'm going to remember to drink plenty of water.

Some days go better than others. Some days I'm hormonal or overstressed or tired. Some days I “slip” and overindulge in the treats I love. But rather than deciding it's hopeless, I simply give myself some grace for that day, and start over again on the next day.

So there you have it: the last of the eight key “rules” I've tried to live by on my journey toward getting to a healthy weight. What works for you? Leave a comment with your suggestions — or your questions.

New E-book Release – Free for Kindle Feb 22-26

ANNOUNCING New e-book release by comedic author, Janice Hanna Thompson: I Must Decrease: Biblical Inspiration and Encouragement for Dieters.

I haven't yet had a chance to read this book, but it sounded like fun, and the author is making it available in Kindle e-book version for free just for the next few days. Read on to find out how to get your copy! 

Janice, can you tell us a little about your non-fiction e-book book, I MUST DECREASE?
Sure! As a comedic author, I usually write light-hearted stories. I’m known as the funny girl. I get the giggles and chuckle my way through most situations. When it came to my weight, however, I had very little to laugh about. Most of my readers didn’t realize the health crisis I was facing as a result of the added pounds. I needed to get things under control, so I started counting calories and watching what I ate. Out of that came my non-fiction book, I MUST DECREASE (which released in paperback in 2005). The book is set up in a daily devotional format and it meant to bring humor (as well as dieting tips) to Christians who need/want to lose weight.
Why did you choose the title I MUST DECREASE?
The title came as a result of a prayer time at church. I’d gone up for prayer and the gentleman praying for me used the scripture (John 3:30) as he prayed for me: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” For whatever reason, it got me tickled. I’d never thought about that particular scripture having anything to do with dieting before, but it suddenly felt right.
Can you tell us about the layout of the book?
Each day’s devotion offers the following:
·      Ticklers: A humorous quote or “thought for the day” to tickle your funny bone.
·      Tidbits: A “Did You Know?” area offering tidbits of information from multiple sources.
·      Traps: Common misconceptions and/or food “traps” we often fall into
·      Tricks: “Tricks of the trade” to help you stick with your plan
·      Treats: Clever snack and food ideas for the healthy eater
·      Testimonies: Personal testimonies of others who’ve faced the weight loss challenge and won (including some prominent personalities)
·      Treasures: Daily scripture reference
·      Tips: Devotional for the day, based on the daily scripture above
·      Turning Your Focus: A variety of ways you can reach out to others
·      Today’s Food Choices: A reminder to write down your daily food choices
·      Thoughts on Paper: Encouragement to keep a daily journal entry
Why did you choose the humorous approach?
Being overweight is nothing to laugh at, but most people who want to lose weight are tired of the serious “Thou shalt not” approach. Many are ready for a lighthearted look at weight loss — a practical devotional approach that offers scriptural advice in a way that encourages and never condemns. I decided to share light-hearted ways that dieters could lose weight and still keep their humor intact. This way I could keep my funny bone intact while losing weight.
Who contributed to the book?
I MUST DECREASE contains tips and testimonies from several well-known (and much-loved) Christian authors, including Mary Connealy, Lena Nelson Dooley, Martha Rogers, Kristin Billerbeck, Laurie Alice Eakes, Carrie Turansky, Marcia Gruver, Deb Ulrich, Gina Bishop, Pam Hillman and Lynette Sowell. I adore these ladies and am so grateful for their input.
Who can benefit from this book?
I would say that anyone concerned with his or her weight (or the weight of a loved one) could benefit from reading. Whether you want to drop five pounds or 150 pounds, this is the book to help you achieve that goal. 

Can you tell us about the special feature?
This e-book version of my devotional contains a few of my favorite low-cal recipes. Bon Appetite!
What sort of feedback have you gotten from readers so far?
Here’s what one Amazon reader had to say: “This Book Works! I loved this book. As soon as I started reading I was not only motivated to lose weight, but inspired that I actually could this time. I lost 39 lbs and feel free from the bondage that food can put you in. This is a lite-hearted book with biblical principals as well as helpful hints to rid yourself of unwanted pounds without “Dieting” or “Dieing” to eat. The journal pages have been so instrumental to my progress, do not read the book without using the journal section daily!” May 26, 2011 (by megamomma)
Why did you decide to offer the book for free for the first five days?
I love the Kindle select program and thought it would be fun to jump-start the process by giving away the book from February 22 – 26. Readers can download the book for free by following this link to I MUST DECREASE.
Can you tell us about your I MUST DECREASE Facebook group?
I would love to! More than a year ago I started a private group on Facebook for a handful of ladies (like myself) who wanted to have the camaraderie of fellow Christian dieters. The group has since grown! Men and women are welcome to join us, but if you do, be prepared to share recipes, along with fun tips and tidbits from your personal journey. What happens in I MUST DECREASE stays in I MUST DECREASE! That’s why the group will always remain private. To apply to the group, follow this link to I MUST DECREASE.
What happens when the “freebie” days end?
The book will still be available for purchase on Amazon (and eventually on Barnes and Noble).
Any advice for the road?
Sure! Make sure you write down what you eat every day. This simple process forces you to look at the calories/carbs you’re consuming. It also makes you very aware of the slip-ups! I use a great site called, which I highly recommend!


Award-winning author Janice Thompson also writes under the pseudonym Janice Hanna. She has published nearly eighty books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children’s books and more. She particularly enjoys writing light-hearted, comedic tales because she enjoys making readers laugh. In addition, she enjoys public speaking and mentoring young writers. Janice is passionate about her faith and does all she can to share the joy of the Lord with others, which is why she particularly enjoys writing. Her tagline, “Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever Afters!” sums up her take on life.

Connect with Janice!
Twitter: booksbyjanice
I Must Decrease Facebook page