This Had Better Be Worth It!

My mother used to tell us “Nothing worth doing is ever easy.” She used that maxim to motivate us to complete our chores and homework and strive to make top grades in our Advanced Placement classes. I remember her whispering it to me at my grandmother’s funeral when my knees went weak and I began to sob while kneeling at the casket and saying my goodbyes. Those six words have served me well over the years; they’ve seen me through heartache, professional challenges and dealing with the loss of friends and relatives. Now, they are my mantra for dealing with a different type of loss—weight loss.

As I continue my efforts to improve my health and fitness levels, I find myself relying heavily on my mother’s favorite maxim. Those six words are incredibly powerful when paired with steely resolve and an abundance of faith. After ten days of making an earnest effort to be mindful of my eating and exercise habits, the scale shows a seven pound weight loss! While seven pounds is only the tip of the iceberg (and the title of a Will Smith film), it is an accomplishment, nonetheless.

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Corn-ered: Confessions of a compulsive overeater

j0444116 Last night I ate an entire bag of corn. Not popcorn. No, it was one of those steamable 12oz. bags of corn. You might be thinking, “a bag of corn is not so bad.” But the true culprit here is not really what I ate, it’s whatever emotion I was feeling – or not feeling – at the moment that drove me to eat an entire bag of anything, despite not really wanting to.

If I was being completely honest with myself before “Corngate” last night, I’d have admitted that I was anxious about several things – finances, my health, the future, the suffering in Haiti and the rest of the world, how they’ll end LOST over on ABC. You name it, and there’s a small segment of my brain dedicated to thinking about it, or in last night’s case, not thinking about it. And while on a practical level I know that scarfing down an entire bag of steamed corn will not save even one Haitian life, in the moment, eating the corn, or the pasta, or whatever form my escape takes on that day, seems much easier than dealing with the issues that are heavy on my heart.

I’ve always been sort of a “fixer.” I hurt when other people hurt, I cry when they cry. And these past few weeks in particular I feel helpless to do anything about the suffering and pain I see around me. And as a life-long believer in a loving God, in times like these I question what exactly is going on with Him, and my inability to provide answers. That emotion snowballs into questioning my own life and decisions and I start to feel cornered. Continue reading Corn-ered: Confessions of a compulsive overeater

5 Super Foods we should be eating

I finally went to the eye doctor last week. After years of bragging about not needing glasses, reality and my 40th year caught up with me and as I pecked out a post, squinting and grimacing at the screen I finally relented and made an appointment with an eye doctor.  Like it or not, our bodies are aging and some of my over 40 friends are telling me it’s best to get on top of things now because after 40 it just gets that much harder. Even if they hadn’t told me, the creaks and groans I feel and hear in my body are signs enough. Enter Super Foods.

Super Foods are foods which are so nutrient-rich that they can help fight aging and illness. For years experts have touted the benefits of super foods for helping to prevent wrinkles, memory loss, vision problems, thinning hair and more.  From heart disease preventing salmon to bone building broccoli, super foods have more “bang for their buck” than your typical fare. If you’re anything like me, you might be struggling with weight and how much to eat. And while that can be a life-long battle, incorporating at least some of these super foods into your diet can be an easy way to help improve your health and well being, one bite at a time. Continue reading 5 Super Foods we should be eating

The warm-up kicked my…

j0400933 Last night during the first of our weekly “Fit at Forty” check-ins, I promised Rachel that the following morning I’d get up at 7 and either walk for an hour or work out for an hour on my Wii. Rachel wisely suggested that since I hadn’t worked out in a while that I start at 30 minutes instead. Thank God for wisdom.

This morning when the alarm went off at 7, I opened one eye and said “*&@##.”  Then good old fashioned shame kicked in along with a good measure of fear (Rachel said she’d be checking in with me and I was scared.) 20 minutes later I was up. A quick check of the local news revealed that despite this being Georgia it was 18 degrees outside. Walking was out and the Wii was in. Until that is, I realized my Wii remote batteries were dead and I didn’t have a single AA battery in the entire house. I had D, C and a couple of 9V – do they even still make those? – but no AA. So, I popped in my Crunch Fitness Cardio Salsa workout DVD. It is as funny as it sounds, and me trying to do it for the first time in a while is even funnier.

I was working up a good sweat moving to the Latin rhythms and laughing at the drummer’s highlights until Giselle said, “Alright! Now that we’ve warmed up, we’re ready to SALSA!” Warm-up? Warm-up! I’ve only done the warm-up?!? If the warm-up kicked my ass, this is going to be a long 30 minutes…


Grace is a blogger and Women at Forty editor who lives outside of Atlanta, GA. She shares her weight loss challenges and experiences weekly in our Health & Beauty – Fit at Forty section.

Why Margaret loves Queen Latifah, turning 40 and focusing on a better Margaret

So, I’m trolling the web for women talking and writing about turning 40 and come across this great post at a blog called Just Margaret. It’s called Why I love Queen Latifah and being a fan of “The Queen” myself, I checked it out. Turns out, Margaret is turning 40 soon, is “kind of” excited about it, has lost 25 pounds along the way, and like most of us turning 40 is doing a bit of reflecting…

Why I Love Queen Latifah
by Margaret Barney


This woman is amazing.

I *love* Queen Latifah. She’s intelligent, funny, incredibly talented. I see her on talk shows, and I just adore her–I want to *know* her because I get the sense that she’s just got so much love and goodwill emanating from her…and that she shares that with the people around her.
So, she was on Ellen the other morning. (I am also a huge fan of Ellen, for pretty much the same basic reasons.) And she’s talking about this being the year that she’s turning the big Four-Oh. Ellen asked her what she thought of it, and I was so thrilled to hear her say that she’s not all worked up about turning forty. That she’s sort of looking forward to it, and that she feels good about it.

I actually think that I really *love* that woman. Because her attitude about getting a bit older is right on! I guess it doesn’t hurt that I happen to be feeling the same way. But I’m thrilled to see my contemporary say loudly and proudly that, “Hell Yeah! I *am* getting older!” Older, better, growing and learning. My concerns, my quiet little “frettable” thoughts (I made that word up–‘frettable’–meaning something over which I will likely fret) are shifting. I worry less about appearances, more about substance. I feel as if I’ve only just begun (yeah, I know you hear the strains of The Carpenters when you read that!) and that there is opportunity awaiting me–mine for the taking.

Turns out…Queen Latifah’s birthday is the day before mine. She is exactly one day older than me (and shares the birthday with one of my older sisters). I always thought of her as younger than me, not that it mattered all that much to me, but I somehow was a little bit thrilled at how close in age we really are.
I’m kind of excited about turning 40. And admittedly, I’m also doing a bit of reflection–there’s quite a few more wrinkles than when I got married 10 years ago. Definitely more grey hair. I’ve not taken to covering those greys, either, and boy are they prolific! My feeling is, “Damn it! I earned those!” They’re my badge of survival. Not just survival…success!

And I’ve changed. I’ve grown. I’ve soldiered through some serious challenges in my time on this planet. And with Forty on the horizon, I decided to spend a bit more time focusing on my own health

Continue reading Why Margaret loves Queen Latifah, turning 40 and focusing on a better Margaret