Monday, March 20, 2017

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 Challenge Week #12: CLUTTER CONTROL!

                           *"AFTER" Pic of my Closet                *Roll up Magazines for Boots

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
20-1-7 Challenge Week #12: CLUTTER CONTROL

My family is NOT inherently neat and tidy. Paper clutter engulfs our kitchen counters, home office and dining room table ten times faster than I can sort, record, and recycle. Scientific studies have well documented that visual clutter ADDS significantly to stress/anxiety, and that LACK of clutter does the reverse. I tend to be an all or nothing person, so when I start to spring clean, I obsessively purge one closet or room, taking the entire day. Point in case- in January, I literally took every single thing out of my walk-in bedroom closet (which had not been emptied since we moved in 20 years ago!), and then re-filled starting from scratch. It took NINE HOURS...but I am happy to report it has stayed beautifully neat with relative ease, especially since I donated an SUV carload to charity, considerably thinning out my wardrobe. Every morning, my clean closet makes me smile, and even motivated me to clean the adjoining bathroom drawers and linen closet- but I never reached beyond the master bath. 

So- this week's challenge canNOT be to clean a room every day, because like the rest of you, I can't spend a ton of hours on this! Since I have an "ahem" SLIGHTLY competitive nature, I decided to go with a ten minute, stopwatch (phone timer) controlled cleaning/organizing spree per day, racing the clock to see how much I can accomplish. I realize I have drawers that can't be touched in ten minutes, but I'm betting I can find at least 7 areas in my home that concentrated 10 minute purging can make a significant impact. 

What method should you use? Right now, the Marie Kondo method is certainly sweeping my Facebook pages, and I'll admit though I laughed at the "does this item spark joy" approach initially, I actually have found it to be very liberating, allowing me to "release" many things- especially clothing- to new owners, rather than tucking that old beloved shirt back into my stuffed drawer. I will confess that I now have three boxes set aside to mail off to create t-shirt quilts for our girls (yes, there's a groupon for that! I will no longer save this in the garage for that day that I take up this new craft.) As I cleaned, I ironically unearthed  The Clutter Diet from my clothing shelves- and found useful tips there as well, like using a rolled-up magazine to make your boots stand up (great use for my journals!) Whatever works for you!

BOTTOM LINE: This week I will challenge myself to daily 10-minute cleaning attacks on my clutter clusters, in the hope of decreasing visual clutter to decrease stress!  (*and I will actually DO last week's YOGA challenge. Typing this to hold myself accountable!)

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1:
At EVERY meal, I added one more COLOR (translation, one more serving of fruit or vegetable that is a different color than whatever I started with on my plate.)   

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: 
Put a new "twist" on my vegetables by using a new veggie spiralizer ($6 at the grocery store). I replaced pasta and rice with spiraled zucchini or yellow squash.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3:
USE a medication dispenser (for prescription AND my recommended vitamins).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: 
Daily 12 minute meditation (Kirtan Kriya guided meditation).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5:
Drink a glass of water four times every day (meals plus afternoon snack).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #6:
Exercise boost- add in a 10 minute BOOST to whatever your daily routine is for exercise. 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #7:
FLOSS. Honestly, putting a visual reminder with my pill dispenser worked like a charm for me- should have done this decades ago! 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #8: ZZZ Using the app"Sleep Cycle" is a great way for me to increase my awareness of sleep quantity and quality, and to actively take steps to improve.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #9: RESIST
Light weights every other day (at least two days minimum per week.)

20-1-7 Challenge Week #10: No W(h)ining
No alcohol for a week.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #11: YOGA Well, once I started vacation, I completely dropped the ball on this one. No point in lying, right? LOL! Good news is I am making the rules, so...I am actually adding the yoga challenge to this week's challenge, doubling up. Sometimes we all need "do-overs!" 



Monday, March 13, 2017

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 Challenge Week #11: A Bit O' Yoga

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
20-1-7 Challenge Week #11 

YOGA...As a family physician, I have recommended yoga for many of my patients. Honestly, I'm hard-pressed to think of anyone who might NOT benefit from yoga. For myself, however, yoga falls into the flossing teeth category- I KNOW I should do it, I know that "older me" is going to be mad at current me for not doing it, but I haven't been able to find a way to make it stick. So, here I go again- it's well worth another shot! Full confession- I have never actually attended a yoga class, partly because I am not blessed with the "flexible" gene, and have always been embarrassed when stretching in other aerobics classes. I have, however, purchased and used multiple yoga tapes and DVDs, so I am familiar with the basic poses and truly have found yoga beneficial...but have not managed to keep it an ongoing priority. For this week's challenge, I am shooting low and going to download a few different apps that target a brief yoga daily stretch. 

BOTTOM LINE: This week I will bring back a "bit 'o yoga" in my life by adding in daily guided yoga stretches through using 5 Minute Yoga & Daily Yoga Apps. 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1:
At EVERY meal, I added one more COLOR (translation, one more serving of fruit or vegetable that is a different color than whatever I started with on my plate.)   

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: 
Put a new "twist" on my vegetables by using a new veggie spiralizer ($6 at the grocery store). I replaced pasta and rice with spiraled zucchini or yellow squash.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3:
USE a medication dispenser (for prescription AND my recommended vitamins).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: 
Daily 12 minute meditation (Kirtan Kriya guided meditation).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5:
Drink a glass of water four times every day (meals plus afternoon snack).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #6:
Exercise boost- add in a 10 minute BOOST to whatever your daily routine is for exercise. 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #7:
FLOSS. Honestly, putting a visual reminder with my pill dispenser worked like a charm for me- should have done this decades ago! 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #8: ZZZ Using the app"Sleep Cycle" is a great way for me to increase my awareness of sleep quantity and quality, and to actively take steps to improve.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #9: RESIST
Light weights every other day (at least two days minimum per week.)

20-1-7 Challenge Week #10: No W(h)ining
This was tough! It's amazing how much we can associate a beverage or food with relaxation/celebration/reward, and I definitely missed my wine with dinner. As I head off to spring break vacation in California, I will enjoy wine- but this is a great exercise to repeat every few months to be sure that I am not exceeding medically recommended limits.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 Challenge Week #10: No W(h)ining!


Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
20-1-7 Challenge Week #10 No W(h)ining!

Do you enjoy a glass or two of wine with your dinner? Me too! Wine in small amounts is happily shown to be medically beneficial. However, many of us do not limit ourselves to the "up to one 4-oz glass of wine for women, and up to two 4-oz glasses of wine for men." How much wine is too much? If you stop at 2 glasses every night with dinner, and have no hangover or other obvious ill affects, is that okay? Well...

Medically, the evidence shows us what I already stated above- women should not exceed one 4-oz glass, and men should not exceed two. (Grab a measuring cup next time you pour wine at home, because odds are good that your "one glass" is actually two servings.) During my training, when a fellow medical student asked "how much is really too much", a wise older attending physician taught us a helpful rule of thumb. What's "too much"? If your doctor told you today that you MUST completely give up (insert substance or activity of choice here) for a month, and your first reaction is a small sense of panic...then you are drinking/eating/doing too much of that item. As such, throughout the year I periodically do a self-check and give myself at least a week long break from whichever food/drink/activity has crept up to "need" levels. [Note to self...social media check-ins during the day are likely next on my list.] 

BOTTOM LINE: This week, no wine! (If you are playing along, please note that this means no alcohol of any kind...I simply do not drink beer or hard liquor, outside the occasional margarita.)

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1:
At EVERY meal, I added one more COLOR (translation, one more serving of fruit or vegetable that is a different color than whatever I started with on my plate.)   

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: 
Put a new "twist" on my vegetables by using a new veggie spiralizer ($6 at the grocery store). I replaced pasta and rice with spiraled zucchini or yellow squash.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3:
USE a medication dispenser (for prescription AND my recommended vitamins).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: 
Daily 12 minute meditation (Kirtan Kriya guided meditation).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5:
Drink a glass of water four times every day (meals plus afternoon snack).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #6:
Exercise boost- add in a 10 minute BOOST to whatever your daily routine is for exercise. 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #7:
FLOSS. Honestly, putting a visual reminder with my pill dispenser worked like a charm for me- should have done this decades ago! 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #8: ZZZ Using the app"Sleep Cycle" is a great way for me to increase my awareness of sleep quantity and quality, and to actively take steps to improve.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #9: RESIST
Adding light weights back in to my routine is a keeper- love how quickly I can see improvement. Down side- because this was not every day, I needed extra reminders. I think I will be more consistent if I keep this as a set time every day, but alternate weights and stretching. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 Challenge Week #9: RESIST


Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
20-1-7 Challenge Week #9 RESIST

Resistance training should be included at some level for all adults, regardless of fitness level. Increasing lean muscle mass through resistance exercise has been shown to have numerous benefits, including increasing your resting metabolic rate, reducing fat (and related, reducing risk of developing type 2 diabetes), improving mobility and decreasing falls, enhancing cardiac health (through improved lipid profiles), improving bone density and even improving self-image. So why don't we all make time for it?

Many people equate resistance training with mandatory GYM attendance, and when that habit falls off, the weights disappear. However, small free weights (3-20 pounds) easily fit into our homes, stored under a bed or in a corner. I admit to having a small collection with various covers...pictured above is my favorite 5 pound set. Don't have any? Head to your favorite super-store and add them to your shopping list, because this is NOT a big ticket item- you can easily find some for less than $10. 

How often should you use weights? The good news here is that 2-3 times per week is plenty, as you should not lift weights with the same muscle groups two days in a row. 

Do NOT jump in to resistance training by seeing how much weight you can lift- that's a recipe for injury. Note that MY weights start at 3 pounds (for triceps) and 5 pounds (for biceps and other upper body work). I max out on home weights at 10 pounds- which is plenty for my small frame. Please talk to your doctor if you have any chronic medical challenges (from diabetes, to seizure disorders, to hypertension, to arthritis, etc) before you launch in to a new strength training program, and if a personal trainer or physical therapist is an option- go for it! If you are like me, and have had plenty of instruction on proper technique but have simply fallen off the weight lifting wagon, simply "START LOW & GO SLOW". 

BOTTOM LINE: This week I will re-introduce some basic low level resistance training into my exercise routine, starting with 3 and 5 pound weights for upper body toning. 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1:
At EVERY meal, I added one more COLOR (translation, one more serving of fruit or vegetable that is a different color than whatever I started with on my plate.)   

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: 
Put a new "twist" on my vegetables by using a new veggie spiralizer ($6 at the grocery store). I replaced pasta and rice with spiraled zucchini or yellow squash.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3:
USE a medication dispenser (for prescription AND my recommended vitamins).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: 
Daily 12 minute meditation (Kirtan Kriya guided meditation).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5:
Drink a glass of water four times every day (meals plus afternoon snack).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #6:
Exercise boost- add in a 10 minute BOOST to whatever your daily routine is for exercise. 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #7:
FLOSS. Honestly, putting a visual reminder with my pill dispenser worked like a charm for me- should have done this decades ago! 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #8: ZZZ Using the app"Sleep Cycle" gave me a great visual display of the time I spent in bed and very accurate assessment of the time I was actually asleep. I do not know how they translate the awake/asleep/level of sleep into their "sleep quality" percentage (so I cannot vouch for the medical evidence accuracy), but I found the overall feedback very useful and will continue to use this (or another similar) app for the next month or so. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 Challenge Week #8: ZZZZ

[Photo credit: L. Lampert & her precious puppy, Tucker]

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
20-1-7 Challenge Week #8 ZZZZ

How many hours do adults need to sleep at night? The throw down answer is eight hours, though it varies from 6-10 hours on an individual basis. However, with the introduction of electronic screens into our bedrooms, many of us are using screen time to wind down...which is at least a double whammy on our sleep. Social media sites can suck us in to story after story, and fully advertised "addictive" games like Candy Crush can easily steal an hour of precious sleep time. Meanwhile, staring at that blue-lit screen in the last hour or two before sleep is tearing down the quality of our sleep. SO- 20-1-7 challenge for week #8 is all about the Z's and improving both quality and quantity of sleep.


  • First- I will use an app to make it easy to keep track of the actual time I am spending in bed (both awake and asleep). Fitbits work well for this, too
  • Second- I will cover my clock so I don't check the time when I wake up (which I typically do several times/night).
  • Third- I will turn the figurative clock back and read an actual, real-life book for 15-30 minutes before I head to sleep (and commit to no electronic screen in the hour before bed).


BOTTOM LINE: SLEEP restores our brains and our bodies, so this week will focus on assessing and improving my own "sleep hygiene". 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1:
At EVERY meal, I added one more COLOR (translation, one more serving of fruit or vegetable that is a different color than whatever I started with on my plate.)   

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: 
Put a new "twist" on my vegetables by using a new veggie spiralizer ($6 at the grocery store). I replaced pasta and rice with spiraled zucchini or yellow squash.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3:
USE a medication dispenser (for prescription AND my recommended vitamins).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: 
Daily 12 minute meditation (Kirtan Kriya guided meditation).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5:
Drink a glass of water four times every day (meals plus afternoon snack).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #6:
Exercise boost- add in a 10 minute BOOST to whatever your daily routine is for exercise. 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #7:
FLOSS. Honestly, putting a visual reminder with my pill dispenser worked like a charm for me- should have done this decades ago! 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dr. Grimes 20-1-7 Challenge Week #7: FLOSS


Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
20-1-7 Challenge Week #7

This week is a straight-forward nod to both our future "older" us and our dentistry colleagues:   FLOSS!! 


When I think about flossing, I remember a commercial from years ago with a spunky elderly woman munching on a carrot, saying "you don't have to floss ALL your teeth- just the ones you want to keep!" And then I think of my 94 year old mother-in-law, who kept all her teeth beautifully functional by doing just that...and then I wonder why the heck I cannot seem to maintain this simple habit.

Logic has it that if we brush our teeth twice a day, every single day, then we should be able to add flossing to the routine, but my experience is that most people do not. I find plenty of motivation to floss the month (or at least couple of weeks) before each routine dental appointment, but then I seem to fall off the wagon. However, I'm ready to give it another go...so I'm trying a new technique this week. 

Using a medication dispenser has me back on track taking my prescription medication and my doctor-recommended vitamin supplements, so I am going to try to mentally LINK flossing with taking my medication by putting a note in my pill box. 

Use whatever reminder works for you. I'm grossed out by yucky teeth, so sticking a picture of that on my bathroom sink would only turn me away, but I know other people who have used this for motivation. Conversely, a picture of a GORGEOUS toothy smile might motivate others. PS. With Valentine's Day tomorrow, perhaps thinking of kissing someone special- and how much nicer that image is with healthy teeth and gums- will spur us on this week! Also, if your Valentine treats include chocolate or other sweets...extra dental care is another "valentine" we can give ourselves.

BOTTOM LINE: We all KNOW flossing helps our teeth and gums, but most of us need some extra reminder/motivation/nudge to make this a daily habit. Figure out your nudge, and DO IT!

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1:
At EVERY meal, I added one more COLOR (translation, one more serving of fruit or vegetable that is a different color than whatever I started with on my plate.)   

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: 
Put a new "twist" on my vegetables by using a new veggie spiralizer ($6 at the grocery store). I replaced pasta and rice with spiraled zucchini or yellow squash.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3:
USE a medication dispenser (for prescription AND my recommended vitamins).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: 
Daily 12 minute meditation (Kirtan Kriya guided meditation).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5:
Drink a glass of water four times every day (meals plus afternoon snack).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #6:
Exercise BOOST! I actually enjoyed this challenge, and completely changed up (added to) my daily walks with our dogs, adding in at least an extra mile or two on new roads every day. And bonus- for the record- the scale budged in the right direction.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 Challenge Week #6: EXERCISE BOOST


Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
20-1-7 Challenge Week #6
When my  patients are frustrated with a lack of measurable results despite sticking faithfully to a new exercise routine (translation, not enough pounds lost on the scale), the temptation is to blame poor metabolism, hormones and age. And sure, those things all play a role!  Ultimately, we have to agree that WHATEVER your metabolism is, and whatever food choices you are making, if the scale isn't budging, then what you are doing...simply IS NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU. Period. It doesn't mean you aren't exercising and aren't eating healthy foods- it just means you can't keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. That's the definition of insanity, right? And yet, how often we fall into that pattern. 

So- this week's challenge is not to change anything you are currently doing, but to ADD in a TEN MINUTE "BOOST" to your exercise routine. 

What counts as a BOOST?
ANYTHING that kicks it up a notch, by either increasing INTENSITY (walk faster or walk/jog), increasing DURATION/DISTANCE (add on an extra street or a second lap if you are walking in your neighborhood), or CHANGES MUSCLES (exercise bike, elliptical, rowing or swimming). 

For example, shove the pile of clothes off your exercise bike and give it a whirl! Or turn on music and DANCE for ten minutes- that will start your day with more energy AND a smile!

BOTTOM LINE: If the scale won't budge (after a month), accept what you're doing isn't working and start making changes by adding exercise BOOSTS to your current routine.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1:
At EVERY meal, I added one more COLOR (translation, one more serving of fruit or vegetable that is a different color than whatever I started with on my plate.)   

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: 
Put a new "twist" on my vegetables by using a new veggie spiralizer ($6 at the grocery store). I replaced pasta and rice with spiraled zucchini or yellow squash.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3:
USE a medication dispenser (for prescription AND my recommended vitamins).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: 
Daily 12 minute meditation (Kirtan Kriya guided meditation).

20-1-7 Challenge Week #5:
Drinking a glass of water FOUR times daily. I started off great, drinking my water before each meal and in the afternoon, but found myself cramming in several glasses of water in the evening a few nights...which made for sleep interrupted with bathroom breaks. So I'm typing now with my second glass of water next to the computer because I realize that I can easily drink more water by taking a glass with me when I head to my desktop. Whatever works!