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September Mixed Bag

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As I write this my last kid is departing the nest that temporarily repopulates during the summer months. As has become my pattern over the past couple of years, I give the sad feelings some space to wash over me before setting them aside and giving myself permission to put the focus on me-time! I have a lot going on and some things I’m especially looking forward to in the coming weeks that mostly have to do with me. It feels luxurious to allocate so much time to my own improvement and amusement but such is the season of life I’m in – I plan to take full advantage of the pleasures of an empty nest! This month’s mixed bag includes my newest wellness journey, the power of streaks, the memorabilia category and semesters abroad. Please enjoy!


Zoe is the world’s largest Health and Nutrition Study

Back in the July Mixed Bag I wrote about my frustration with an extra-stubborn layer of (peri-menopause induced) belly fat that appeared on my waistline this year and refused to leave. I had just read The Galveston Diet and was embarking on a 16:8 version of intermittent fasting. I had so many DMs coming off that post (it’s always comforting to hear that others are experiencing the same struggles!) and one of them in particular got my attention fast. It was from a Nordstrom colleague I worked with for many years and she recommended I check out  the Zoe Health and Nutrition Study. When I did I was blown away by the size of the study, the stature of the participating institutions and their data-based approach to personalized nutrition. I immediately signed up. The skinny is this: Zoe uses data from your gut biome, blood sugar and blood fat to provide insights into your body’s responses to different foods. Using their broad data set and your personal info, they give you recommendations of what foods to eat more of, what foods to avoid and strategies to mitigate the negative effects some foods have on your system. My friend’s experience was compelling, and once I learned more about the study I was excited to get started.

I will get my personal results back in a couple of weeks but am already learning about what foods spike my blood sugar, what foods help promote a healthy gut biome and some strategies I can implement right away. Through the Zoe app and their podcast (so good, highly recommend!) I feel like I’ve taken an updated course in nutrition, using the latest and greatest data from the study and debunking much of the nutrition/weight-loss lore I’ve accumulated in my 53 years. If you have a weight-loss goal like me, want to mitigate menopause symptoms or are just going for a longer health-span you have to check this out!

P.S. The intermittent fasting thing is working well and I have been able to incorporate it into my lifestyle fairly easily. Six pounds have come off since I started and I feel better and not really hungry in the mornings like I feared I would be, even with my early AM workouts. Still a ways to go but it helps to have forward momentum and I can’t wait to layer on my personal nutrition recommendations from Zoe, due mid-Sept so stay tuned!

The Power of Streaks

I’m excited to start tracking habits as streaks in my new app

Another ‘me’ thing I’m working on is incorporating some new habits into my life. As we all know, starting a new habit is hard, especially if it isn’t something that comes naturally. My renewed interest around this topic stemmed from a recent teeth cleaning appointment where I was warned by my dentist that I really needed to do a better job using a threader to floss around (and under) my implants. Now, first off I am a terrible flosser to begin with. Semi-sporadic at best, neglectful at worst – and that is just with regular floss,not a high-maintenance threader-situation! I had been skating by with my bad flossing habits by seeing my hygienist 4 times a year, which seems like a lot of work to get around flossing but it had been working for me for many years. When my dentist mentioned casually that she’d hate to have to re-do my implants she got my attention. I had to figure out a way to start flossing with the threader on a consistent basis.

This is where my affinity for streaks comes in. I have learned that my brain responds well to keeping a streak going, as evidenced in apps such as Peloton and Duo Lingo (going very well BTW, I’m at 51 days so far!)  The nudging and reminding I get from the apps is helpful, and the feeling of satisfaction I get watching the streak grow is powerful. So I thought maybe if I employed some kind of streak-tracker it would help me keep up with the flossing.

Turns out there are a million streak-tracking apps out there! I chose Habit because it had thousands of 5 Star reviews and a free version. Once I set up my Flossing Habit other ideas started popping into my head (25 air squats/day, 4 fermented foods/week, daily cold shower) of things I would like to become habits but have thus far proved challenging. I currently have all 4 above examples captured in my app and plan to add more as new ideas reveal themselves. If you are looking for a way to adopt something new and integrate it into your lifestyle this is a great solution!


Some of my memorabilia from back in my 20’s

This is a little inside tip from the world of organizing that I thought I’d share for anyone who is on their own decluttering and organizing journey. All those random things you’ve saved to remind you of a time, place or person? They are all memorabilia. Think of Memorabilia as a broad category and you will save yourself a lot of time and frustration when organizing your home. This may sound obvious but based on my experience it isn’t. Memorabilia items tend to be spread out across many spaces in the home. High school yearbooks in one closet, photo albums in another. Baby clothes kept for posterity in the attic, letters from college in your home office. Husband’s college papers in his closet, wife’s heirlooms from her mother boxed up in the garage. There are so many things we keep as memories from our lives, our parents lives and our children’s lives and most of it is scattered around and not accessible. One of the most frequent comments I get from clients is how they never thought of that stuff as belonging to the same category before. Once we have gathered and identified it it’s a lot easier to organize it and hopefully find one dedicated space where it is kept. Oh, and it will also likely be one of the largest categories taking up space in your home, you just don’t realize it!

Semester Abroad

Semester Abroad in Barcelona

My daughter Charlotte is off to Barcelona for her semester abroad!

My middle daughter left this weekend for her semester abroad in Barcelona. Lots of feelings were happening in the days leading up to her departure, not the least of which were my fond memories of my own semester abroad in London circa 1991.

I made a list of essentials in case you have a kid who is planning to go abroad at some point, edited from friends’ advice and the plethora of info in the Flown Abroad Facebook Group. It’s got links to my carefully researched choices, click the button to download!

I’m going to miss Charlotte at Thanksgiving but I know she’s going to have a wonderful experience, just like I did 32 years ago!

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