Stop Thinking Start Doing

Michelle Graham

Are you someone who thinks about making changes in your life?  Wow, the possibility to change is endless.  What is your 2017 plan for a positive, meaningful year? Is your goal to take college classes, learn how to quilt, get healthy or just become a better, more focused, more driven person. Whatever the dream, the goal, the doing, the planning has to start from within. You have heard the quote or a derivative of it “If you can dream it you can become it.”  Well now is your big chance to be and do all that you can be in 2017. No matter the goal big or small what path will you forge to get there?

                I personally like plans!  I like writing them out, I like keeping lists and then crossing things off my list. Anyone who knows me or who has taken our YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program has heard me say 100 or more times “when you have a plan you have everything.” This holds true not just with getting healthy or making improvements in eating, but with many situations or goals in life. Big LOFTY plans are not necessary; it is the little plans, the attention to small details that make the difference.

                Start at the beginning, be specific and describe your goal accordingly.  If you don’t know where you have been, how can you know where you are going? Think about your goal, perhaps document what you like about it and what brought you to this place of change.  Reflection is the key to progress and making your goal an evolving blueprint is the key. Determine what the goal is, define it and then set some short and long-term goals to coincide with the proposed goal. Now what is your plan to achieve that goal?  Are you going to take some chances to get there and will you go out on a limb to really make it happen? Get uncomfortable and begin to push yourself in a way that perhaps takes you out of your comfort level. This is where true inner growth, awareness and innate change can happen.  Be open to the amazing possibilities that can come and most important be open to changing your behavior.

                Not everything always goes according to our master plan. You will need to be patient, be open to a bump in the road. The bump can lead you to places you never imagined.  Learn from the bump and then adapt and adjust the blueprint.  It is these times, these moments, that can really move the needle in the direction we long to go. 

                Most important, adapt and re-evaluate the route chosen. Don’t get stuck, continue to progress forward and stay focused on the prize, the end result.  Keep those goals challenging, specific, positive and flexible. Continue to challenge yourself through this journey of discovery. Try something new; take a class just for the pure sake of learning. Keep your goal short, to the point and specific. This is how you will get to where you are going. Your blueprint needs to be precise and to the point.  Instead of focusing on making a change in 10 different things focus on just one or two items. Next, we spend far too much time putting ourselves down, living in a world of “could haves” and “would haves.”  Instead radiate positivity, spend some time celebrating all the great amazing changes that you have made so far.  Write them all down and then celebrate, I mean really find joy in your progress and the changes that you have made so far. Being positive and kind to your self is vital; you never know how your attitude can impact someone else. Last, be flexible, be open and learn to be free from the things that hold you back from being where you really want to go. 

                The enjoyment isn’t always in the destination; it is most often the journey itself that brings joy and contentment. What will your 2017 journey look like? Will you decide to get out of your comfort level and check off some things on your bucket list? Don’t wait for an opportunity to seize the beautiful, quiet moments and make your mark and leave your stamp today. 

Winter 2016 Fitness: Quick Fitness for the Busy Life

At the Office Stretches

These five quick exercises are designed to alleviate the stresses placed on the body by working full-time at a desk job.


At Home Strength Exercises

The strength exercises in this video are designed for a quick, simple workout that doesn’t involve a gym, exercise machines or accessories.

The exercises were designed and performed by Jamie Wood, owner of Page Fitness Athletic Club in Watertown, and Reuben Pruitt, head trainer at Page Fitness. Video by Amanda Morrison, NNY Living Magazine.

A survivor’s marathon

North country woman beats stroke to run historic Boston race [Read more…]

What’s hot, what’s not in 2014

Michelle Graham

Michelle Graham

American College of Sports Medicine releases Top 10 list [Read more…]

Healthy change takes a village: Together, rural communities can combat alarming obesity rate

Michelle Graham

Michelle Graham

I recently became part of a coalition of individuals trying to make a difference in the health of children in our communities. The first meeting was an eye-opening experience. We reviewed the rate of overweight and obese children in our area, statistics that continue to be alarming.

The coalition brainstorms areas of weakness and tries to devise plans to get into these communities and bring support and resources to improve the health of their children and families. Nationally, on average, one in three children are either overweight or obese. In some of our rural communities, the rate is actually close to one in two. I find these statistics heart-breaking, but I believe we can help on a local level.

It’s true that getting our communities healthy takes a village. When we pull all of our resources together, incredible things really can happen. No one has all the answers. That is why collaborating and using all of our resources can truly put you and your children on the path to better health. [Read more…]

Exercise key for cancer patients: Improved mood, reduced fatigue, lower risk among benefits

Michelle Graham

More individuals than ever are seeking healthy lifestyle programs. Cancer patients and survivors are a very interesting and complex population seeking to maintain good health. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working with many individuals who were either fighting cancer or fighting to stay cancer free.

A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, frightening and downright depressing. Fear of the unknown during a cancer diagnosis looms heavily. But there can be hope during this time of crisis. Exercise can be key in the treatment of cancer on many levels. A person’s social, physical and mental well-being can each be treated and embraced through a good exercise program during and after a cancer diagnosis.

The fact that exercise and proper eating can prevent certain cancers is well documented. According to Dr. Kerry Courneya, a cancer researcher at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, recent studies show that higher levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of recurrence of some cancers. This is great news for those diagnosed and affirms that it is never too late to get started on a good, well-rounded program tailored to your needs. [Read more…]

Motivation: how to find and keep it

Michelle Graham

Path to a healthier, fitter version of yourself takes patience

What is your motivator for good health and better fitness? Is it your family, an upcoming athletic event or your doctor who just informed you that you’re at an increased risk for a specific disease? No matter what your reason, getting and staying motivated with regard to a better fitness plan and health can certainly seem overwhelming and daunting. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines motivation as a force or influence that causes someone to do something. The question is: What are you going to do and how will you get to your healthy destination? [Read more…]

Q&A: Nicole Garnsey, nutritionist

From juice cleanses to natural foods, we ask a nutritionist

Registered Dietician Nicole Garnsey sits with healthy food props she uses to educate clients at her Washington Street office in Watertown. Photo by Justin Sorensen/NNY Living.

Nicole Garnsey is a registered dietitian, certified dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator who owns and operates Feed the Soul Nutrition, Watertown. We asked her about some of the latest health trends, nutrition and healthy eating to help on the path to wellness.

NNYL: What are some trendy foods that you’re hearing a lot about lately? [Read more…]

A happy heart is key to a healthy life

Start with simple changes in diet and add regular exercise

Michelle Graham

If you take care of your heart, your heart will take care of you. With heart disease the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States, it’s more important than ever to care for yourself and your heart. When you use the right tools, implementing good practices to improve heart health is really not so difficult. It’s all in the execution of a well-thought-out plan of attack.
[Read more…]

Achieving healthy: Building a team of ‘wellness advisors’ an important strategy for success

A prescription for a healthy lifestyle comes with many doses of Northern New York services.

Basic pointers of eat right, exercise and don’t let stress take over your life may be easier said than done, but agencies and organizations throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties continue to evolve in offering guidance in achieving overall improved health.

What it takes to be healthy in 2013 already exists throughout the north country with a multitude of physical, mental and social health services.

It also takes more than one person, organization, idea or goal to improve the health of the entire population, according to Faith E. Lustik, health planner with the Jefferson County Public Health Service, Watertown.

“We’ve been working with partners on a variety of issues that affect policy and environmental change,” she said. “We designed a snack policy for schools and any youth organization. It’s a ready-made kit and outlines calorie contest you should limit snacks to.”

Jefferson County Public Health Service also is developing healthy fundraisers, because, she said, sending children out to sell a box of chocolates and other goods is conflicting with the message community agencies are trying to spread.

“We want to focus on kids because we can hopefully change the future and our statistics,” Ms. Lustik said. “When we’re working with kids, we’re really working with adults because they make decisions.”

Jefferson County Public Health Service is one of many agencies in Jefferson County participating in the Community Coalition for Children, which aims to fight obesity early on so it won’t cause health problems into adulthood. As part of those efforts, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County received a $20,000 grant award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to survey Jefferson County residents and to help agencies address needs to improve access to fresh produce and expand physical activity programs for low-income families.

The communities-working-together concept has also been adopted in St. Lawrence County, where the Health Initiative has worked collaboratively to improve the health of St. Lawrence County residents and the region’s residents.

Health Initiative Executive Director Ruth A. Fishbeck said eating right and getting physical activity is the main message that won’t change, but the initiative has ways it’s trying to make that standard statement fresh and exciting. Last year, the agency launched FitPix, a program where it helps restaurants develop alternative, healthy food choices on their menus.

“Our goal of the project is to get more gluten-free and diabetic (diet) options,” she said.

While nutrition isn’t the only component, Page Fitness Athletic Club head trainer Jamie S. Wood said it’s most important.

[Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of this story. For the full version, please see NNY Living in print or subscribe.]

Rebecca Madden is a Johnson Newspapers staff writer. Contact her at 661-2375 or rmadden@wdt.net.