Wednesday, May 29, 2013



Fellow host, Stephen Tremp, approached me to help host this bloghop to help writers to get fit or keep fit. Many of us have gained a few extra pounds over the winter and now that SUMMER is here, this is a great time to start a new routine. My other co-hosts, Alex J. Cavanaugh and L. Diane Wolfe, have kept fit for years and have even guest posted on my blog about how they stay fit. AND NOW we are here to help you!

I am thrilled that so many have joined the hop and will offer their tips on how they stay in shape. If you'd like to hop along, please DO... Even if you just want to begin fitness and come along for the ride.  Say Hi, and offer your enthusiasm and excitement about getting healthy.

Let me begin by saying that I am not talking about a fad diet that will harm you or where you will lose a large amount of weight ONLY to gain it back plus a few more. I am talking about a life change. AND this doesn't have to be major. You can start by doing one small change at a time.

The first thing we all need to do is MOVE. WE are ALL guilty of spending countless hours at the computer. So this easy step is to WALK AWAY. No big exercise routine. Just WALK. Even if it is just around the block, to the grocery store, to the post office. If you can walk a half a mile to a mile a day, you are off to a wonderful start. Many of you have joint issues. I understand, I have arthritis. But movement is VERY important, even if you have this affliction. 

Another great way to move ... take the stairs. If you live in an apt, don't use the elevator. OF course if you live on the 20th floor, this won't work, BUT if you live on the second, third, or even fourth, try it. Start by going down, that is much easier. TAKE YOUR TIME ... breath deeply. You can do this.

Now for step two: Food. WE all love to munch throughout our writing endeavors. I have a few suggestions to replace those chips, crackers, cookies, and any other high sugar, high carb snack. No, I don't want you to munch on celery sticks or carrots, although they are a good substitute, they are hardly satisfying. ALMONDS are super delicious and have protein and good fats. Make sure you buy raw/natural... No salt, no roasted .... read the label and make sure the ingredients read almonds ONLY.

Fruits are another AMAZING snack. Apples are naturally sweet, and very satisfying. Slice them up, put a sprinkle of cinnamon on them and enjoy. Now for the past few years I avoided bananas because they are high in sugar, BUT I just recently came across an article that I would love to share with you. I don't know who the author is, but the person who sent it to me send pass it on... so I will ...

You will be awed by how healthy this fruit is for you!

"Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

200 students at a Twickenham school ( England ) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system..

Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chroniclercases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Many other cultures see bananas as a 'cooling' fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has FOUR TIMES the protein, TWICE the carbohydrate, THREE TIMES the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals.. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, 'A BANANA a day keeps the doctor away!'

Share with your friends!"

As a final note, I would like to share a personal experience with all of you. As many of you know I have be into health and fitness for the past three years. Having gained over fifty pounds from writing, I decided to take charge of my life again and have lost and kept of 85 pounds. But last week I actually had a small crisis ... for the first time in years, I dragged myself to the gym. And I mean dragged. I didn't want to go, I had NO energy, and I felt like crawling under a blanket and just watch a movie. Now most of may think ... "What's the big deal, Michael ... you can afford to take a night off! Besides, I feel like that all the time." 

EXACTLY! We all come up with ALL kinds of excuses not to workout. Well I discovered something that night. As I stumbled through my usual routine, I felt worse and worse. Seriously, I was crawling. SO NOT ME! After an hour of ab work and so lifting, I still had to do my cardio. The THOUGHT of a twelve mile bike ride was less than lusterful .... Every fiber in my body screamed NO WAY!!! GO HOME!!!! DROP INTO BED!!! I actually argued with myself (internally of course... otherwise I would've been taken away in a straight jacket. LOL). 

Inching my way to the bike, I then threw over my two-ton leg and plopped onto the seat. I set the bike at one level under my usual setting and pumped. It was sheer torture. It felt like an hour to do the first mile, but in reality it was only a bit over four minutes. The second mile mirrored the first. I increased the tension on notch. Mile three, I began to pump faster. My head cleared. Mile four only three minutes 35 secs. By the time I hit seven miles I felt GREAT... Seriously. The endorphins finally kicked in AND they really DO make you feel better. I breezed through the final miles and I trekked home in my usual time.

So you see, it really does take more energy to push yourself to move THAN to actually move. I've always known this, but that night I honesty understood it.

You can do this. Taking the first is the hardest one. I hope you this helps. Remember to take is slowly and DON't hurt yourself. On the next hope I will be more specific about how to change your eating habits for a more healthy life. 

I would love to hear what you do to stay in shape. And don't forget to hop around and visit my co hosts and our blogger friends.

Also, if you have an extra minute, please scroll down to my previous post. Our friend Charmaine Clancy having an AMAZING giveaway!

Have a wonderful day everyone!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Who knew bananas were so beneficial? We eat them maybe every other day, although I do get an apple a day.
And we do snack on veggies around here.
Happy to co-host with you, Michael!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea what your post was about and as I was reading it I was eating a banana.
My youngest son used to like Banana and marmite sandwiches YUK!!!!!
loved your post,

Natalie Aguirre said...

I love apples and we eat a lot of bananas too. So agree on how important it is to move. I walk once or twice a day. And I've starting standing some when I work at the computer. We sit too much and with work, blogging, and writing, I sit WAY too much. It's really helped me lose some of those extra pounds.

Wish I could have joined the tour but I had something else scheduled today.

shelly said...

I love bananas. I eat one a bit before I work out. Excellent post!

Hugs and chocolate,

Suzanne Furness said...

Wow go bananas! In the nicest possible way of course! Thanks for an interesting post.

Laura Clipson said...

I never knew eating a banana had so many benefits! I don't eat them very often, but I think I'll start now!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I love bananas. I blend them with cold water, a little soy milk, and some berries for a smoothie. Tasty!

Stina said...

Okay, where were you, Michael, when I was in university nursing one too many hangovers? :D

One other thing you can do that helps, and I do it all the time. Find a parking spot away from the store entrance. That way you have to walk a longer distance, and it makes a closer spot available for someone who needs it more.

Laurel Garver said...

I've never been a banana fan, in part because they are so bland, but you've convinced me to eat them more often.

And you're so right that overcoming inertia is often hearder than the exercise itself. Isn't that a rule of physics? A body at rest tends to stay at rest? LOL.

Suzanne said...

Hi Michael, banana and peanut butter on toast - yum - but an occasional treat because of the calories!
Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe

Laura Eno said...

Bananas have so many good properties! If I try to eat one two days in a row though, it upsets my stomach. I have no idea why. :/
Moving around really is the key. We sit too much in front of the computer.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Michael - sensible advice here .. I like the walk upstairs I've almost always done that .. I struggle with the tube in London - but if the escalator is free ahead of me .. I put in a few steps ..

Love fruits and veg - I don't eat many bananas - but knew they were good for me ... though hadn't realised quite how beneficial they are .. thanks for highlighting all of these ..

Cheers and good luck with that arthritis - very unpleasant, but moving is essential isn't it .. Hilary

Stephen Tremp said...

A very thorough post! I love fruit and feel sorry for people who go on a diet that forbids fruit. Fruit is one of the great pleasure of life and we love making protein fruit smoothies!

baygirl32 said...

bananas are great :) potassium helps with muscle cramps and spasms too

Charmaine Clancy said...

Wow Michael, this post was just what I needed to hear! I had a big fitness kick last year, but have slacked off completely this year... I need to MOVE!

And I love bananas - Queensland is the banana state in Australia!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Now I know why I love bananas so much! :) I didn't know about those benefits, but I'll remember them!
Thanks for sharing that, and for sharing your personal story of the painful/hard to move workout.

Thanks for hosting this healthy hop!

Ella said...

Thank you Michael for sharing so much~ Bananas and coconuts for years were kind of put in the slot of too much sugar the other too much fat! Happy you posted this-I look forward to hearing more~ so important to share! I will go visit your other post, regarding Charmaine!

Thanks again! Blogging than biking ;D

Anonymous said...

You packed so much information in here. Food choices are so important, and making a choice to be healthy is also huge. Your Part 2 section is really cool. It's got so many neat tips for feeling better.

Unknown said...

Great tips, sweetheart. Thank you for Saturday, I needed to hear those words. You are one of the most wonderful people I have ever known and am so grateful we crossed paths.

Crystal Collier said...

Wonderful suggestions/thoughts! Fitness is definitely a process. It takes 21 days supposedly to establish a habit, so if we take the elephant one 21-day bite at a time, whole fitness should be entirely reachable.

Cherie Colyer said...

Thanks for all the great info. I now want to go out and get bananas. Although, you did take the fun out of eating almonds. My favorite kind are roasted. :)

Thanks for co-hosting the hop!

Michelle Wallace said...

My hubby and I lived in an apartment for 13 years before we bought the house we now reside in. The block was quite small, and only had four levels, but NO lift! And we were on the last floor.That meant walking up and down 4 flights of steps...
Can you imagine what it was like at month end, when we had grocery packets to carry?
Thanks for co-hosting this bloghop, Michael!

Unknown said...

Thanks for co-hosting this hop-- great theme. Bananas got a bad rap with some low-glycemic diet plans, but they are a great food and you point out some of their better benefits. Here's to the sweet fruit (and for an extra treat, I like to add a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter to it sometimes!)

Annalisa Crawford said...

I have one or two bananas a day. It's the sugar in processed foods you need to stay away from rather than natural foods. Keep It Simple, Stupid :-)

LTM said...

Bananas really are the miracle fruit! Weren't they once called like Nature's perfect food or something?

Dang. I'm going to eat a banana now... LOL!

This is a great post! Thanks, BB~ <3

Karen Walker said...

Michael, I recently discovered the benefits of bananas, too. I eat one a day now. And thank you for that inspiring story about pushing thru fatigue. I so wanted to give up when I woke up this morning and now I won't.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Bananas are great for you, but I dislike the gnats that seem to come along with them, especially in warm weather!

Am so glad you pushed yourself. It's easy to get out of the habit of working out regularly.

Thanks for co-hosting the blog hop!

Mary Montague Sikes

Marta Szemik said...

I was just thinking what to grab for snack and a banana now sure looks good. Some great tips Michael.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Fruits and vegetables are my go to foods. Only I should put vegetables first because I eat more of them. Staying away from sugar is my biggest challenge as I'm an addict! said...

Thanks for co-hosting and sharing some inspiration, Michael. Getting through that first few minutes or miles is the hardest, as you so well describe.

Re: bananas. I'm about to grab one. Thanks. Several years ago, I felt really sick. They ran some blood tests, and my levels were normal except for Potassium. Bananas were a yummy quick fix.


D.G. Hudson said...

Bananas are getting the attention they deserve. It provides potassium too. Great info.

I use weight training with free weights and walking every day.

Because of staying fit, we had no problem walking everywhere in central Paris when we visited. (We climbed 300 steps plus to get to the top of the Arc de Triomphe - although being at the head of the line going up, I couldn't stop if I had wanted to).

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks for co-hosting Michael. My husband is always telling me I eat like a hamster (lots of fruit and nuts) who knew it was such a good thing!

Morgan said...

Holy bananas! Add this post to my gee whiz collection. Really interesting.

And loved the story you shared, Michael. I know I ALWAYS feel better after a run. It's gotten to the point that if I skip a day, I'm not myself. I have to pump the music and push myself to exhaustion for me to feel accomplished for the day.

And I've LOVED reading all of these posts! What a great hop! Makes me mad I didn't participate. Though I do feel like I am just by commenting! LOL.


SK Anthony said...

I love bananas! Great information here, Michael. I too feel better after a run, if someone had told me I would like it as much as I do last year I would have laughed in their face lol

Anonymous said...

Hi, Michael. Lots of great tips! Bananas are a delicious, versatile, healthy food.

Susan Oloier said...

Michael, you have helped me tremendously in becoming healthy! I now feel lethargic and out of sorts if I don't exercise. Thank you for, well, being you!!!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Michael, happy to meet you. New follower here. I always take the stairs and try to walk as much as I can. We Indians are lucky, bananas are one of our favourite fruits, everyone has them. Never knew that they had so many health benefits.

~Sia McKye~ said...

We have bananas in the house every week. I usually have a couple a week and they are a great snack along with apples and other fruit. I LOVE uncooked almonds. Did you know it's a great source of non acidic protein? I use sliced almonds in cereal, salads,desserts, and just to munch on.

Walking is something we do naturally. Just a matter of extending that a bit. Keeping in motion does help with arthritis as do stretches. Keeps you limber.


Louise said...

Wow, I never knew there were so many health benefits to bananas. I guess I'll have to work at getting over my aversion to them. Seriously, the smell alone when I peel one for my kid makes my stomach turn, but ... maybe it's time to be a grown-up and just get over it!

S.P. Bowers said...

Wow, bananas seem like the magic food.

Adding those little things that keep us moving during the day are really what a healthy lifestyle is all about. Thanks for the great tips.

Al Diaz said...

Ever since I became vegan I have eaten more fruits and veggies than I think in all my life. It is still tricky to get a balanced diet for me, though. Many forbidden things.
I am trying to keep myself moving. At least 3 miles is my minimum to run everyday. I've just reached 4 like two days ago. It felt like winning gold, hahaha. I'm aiming for 5 but it will take time as sometimes I don't even have energy for to complete the 4. But I'm doing ok, I think. Better not to rush. Thanks for the recommendations.

Mark Means said...

Excellent post and now I feel vindicated over my love of bananas! :)

You're so right...we all have the excuses..the hard part is coming up with ways to disregard them! :)

Thanks for hosting!

Gina Gao said...

I love bananas! This is a great post.

Jennifer Lane said...

I love bananas, apples, and almonds! Too bad I also love cookies, cakes, and chocolate LOL.

Congrats on your sustained weight loss--that is really hard to do. Keep up the good work!

Shell Flower said...

Great advice! I love your story about NOT wanting to work out and feeling so much better afterward. I had a similar experience on Saturday, not wanting to move, but ended up walking across town and up to the lookout at the top of the arboretum, then had the energy to bike to a barbecue that night, feeling great. The days we feel the worst are the days we need a workout the MOST a lot of the time. Now, off to eat a banana...

Shah Wharton said...

I love bananas. I love them with custard, on a sandwich, on their own. But they hate me. I have IBS and they aggravate it something rotten. I still eat them now and then, but I have to do so along with Buscopan. :( Great tips, and eye-opening information. X

Shah. X

Jo said...

As an addition to your banana list, I suffer from cramp a lot and the docs put me on pills to cope. A friend suggested a banana a day, lo and behold, it almost wiped out my cramp completely. If I hadn't liked bananas before I sure would now.

Rebecca Green Gasper said...

Bananas are great! And so important to get moving :) Sometimes I will jump up from the computer and hula hoop while I am brainstorming or I will hula hoop through my fav TV program! :)

Ruth said...

I am really good at eating healthy. I am not so good at exercising. When I can get outside, I am fine. And once I start exercising, I am fine. Finding motivation sometimes it the hard part.

Bevimus said...

Thank you so much for your wonderful comment and for hosting this fantastic blog hop! You rock so hard!

I'd actually read that article about bananas in the past but the rminder is a good one as I don't buy them often.

And I relate SO MUCH to your story. My first few years of karate (seriously YEARS) I had to DRAG myself each and every time I went. I wasn't always successful and every time I didn't go I felt SO HORRIBLE both mentally and physically that I finally learned "You can not skip class". There are sitll many days, most days, when I would sooner go home and just relax- and hey, I work hard, don't I desrve it?- but I don't give in anymore because as you ponted out I ALWAYS feel better once i'm out there.

Great post, Michael! Thank you!

Michael Di Gesu said...



Thanks for dropping in, posting, AND leaving such great suggestions!

You all motivate me to continue with staying fit and healthy to keep on WRITING!!!

I am SLOWLY working through the list ... ALMOST HALF way, SO I will hopefully make to all of you by tomorrow afternoon.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I love bananas and almost always have them in the house. I used to do a thing in health class where the kids drew the name of a food out of a hat and then they had to research and prove it was the closest to perfect food. Banana always won. Thanks for hosting the blog fest.

Nicki Elson said...

Bring on the bananas! See? I knew that dessert couldn't be all bad, hehe.

Thanks for telling the story of pushing yourself through the workout - I'll bear that in mind next time I'm dragging. And thanks for the hop!

Li said...

I don't like vegetables, so I spend a lot of time hiding them in tomato sauce, casseroles, etc. Fortunately, there are more juices available that also contain veggies. I walk and work out with free weights to keep fit. One thing I added - sitting on an exercise ball while watching TV. Bouncing gently works your legs, as well as the core muscles and sense of balance.

Ella said...

Congrats to you Michael on your Rocking award! YOU do rock ;D
I am sorry about the arthritis, but happy you are exercising and managing it!~

Carrie-Anne said...

I actually have climbed up more than 20 flights of stairs! I was hanging out at the campus library on Yom Kippur between services, and couldn't take the lift to the floor I wanted. It was fun to walk up all those flights of stairs and see a new part of the library.

I love spinning and PowerBall, and agree about the healthy snacks. I love nuts of most sorts, pita chips, and low-fat corn chips.

Ian Anderson said...

We try to walk every day that it's nice outside - the boys really enjoy it, too! I've always loved to swim, it's easy on the joints.

Bananas are a hit around our house. I heard that the phrase "an apple a day" should actually be a banana a day...good stuff!

The Words Crafter said...

I read that same article! This is great advice, Michael. I'm going to incorporate some of it. I need this! Thanks for the post :)

Gillian Morris said...

Great blog hop.

Denise Covey said...

Good news. Bananas are one of my favourite foods...and I just love frozen banana in my almond milk smoothie. Yummo.

Lydia Kang said...

You are chock full of good advice! Thanks for hosting, Michael. This is a very good thing!

Tina said...

I want a banana!!!! Seriously, I always keep them on hand, but had no idea of all those benefits. Yup, dragging yourself there is much harder than doing it...
Tina @ Life is Good

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I am going to go buy a bushel of bananas!!

I really should force myself to do more. I used to, but now I drawn to my keyboard like a moth to a dingy light bulb. It seems I can never work enough on books and blogs. But I have to do it differently, having too many of my own, crawl back into bed and watch a movie days.

Misha Gerrick said...

Wow those were some seriously interesting facts about a banana.

I must say that my weight is one aspect to my life that I really REALLY struggle with.

Because most of my most important goals are reasonably sedentary, I end up not moving, as you say.

I've now cut our refined sugars and carbs, which makes me feel great and is making me lose weight like you won't believe. Without me starving myself.

Then, I've been fencing again, which is a great way to get moving, but it's only once a week, so I want to get my family's treadmill fixed so I can walk every day. Also, will be starting Yoga next week since it's also really good for one's health.

Finally, water. It's so important to drink enough water. Especially when you're a writer in need of a clear mind.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Gimme dat banana! (thats actually a song....YouTube it)

Elise Fallson said...

Excellent post Michael! I so agree with you on this. For many (myself included) it really is a life change. (:

Anonymous said...

I'm really not a fan of bananas but I wish I was, especially after reading this post! I always knew they were good for you, although I have to admit I didn't realise quite how good.

I can also totally relate to what you said about it taking more energy to push yourself to move than to actually do the exercise. Motivation can definitely be a struggle sometimes.

randi lee said...

All I have to say is that I'm tweeting and facebooking this post!!!!!