Get the right running shoes for you

I have been trying to improve my running skills for the past years ,and I have learned and experimented with things that really makes "the ride" more enjoyable. Usually listening to the perfect playlist, having good earphones and controlling your breathing were the first steps I had in mind, but it seems to be not enough!

The right shoes for running

I have found out that wearing the right running shoes is mandatory if you're looking to have the perfect run. In the past, not only did I not ever get a good run but also and most important: I could injury my body pretty bad.

So I did some research and visited couple shoe stores  to find the right running shoes. After a treadmill test, I had discovered my feet were over pronators, which basically means that I strike the ground with my heel and it rolls inward onto the front... Then I bought the model with most support on the back and construction to wrap up my mid foot giving it a glove- like fit. Stability and support are strict needed in my case.

See back support of my right running shoe
See back support of my right running shoe

Get yourself a good posture

Also because all of that, I have started to rebuild my sense of good posture, as before I did not have good shoes, but now feeling confident and protected by my new companions, I gained the consciousness on how to move my whole body. In my daily walking routine I  have been trying to correct some mistakes made in the past by continuously repeating bad habits -  it's not as easy as it seems-determination and focus are keys to success!

tttt
my improved posture
rrrr
my old bad posture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIS video shows how I do walk on regular basis

THIS video shows how I used to walk over pronating my feet

You might also have either over pronation or under pronation. If you're lucky, you have a neutral running gait. Check your most worn running shoes soles to see which kind are you, they should look like one of these:

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The most damaged area are the ones in RED

Don't forget to ALWAYS stand on both feet!

And good luck running with in your perfect gait!

xo Carolina

 

 

Edited. First published on March 24th 2014.


Autoimmune Generation

Below are a couple of pictures of me with my beautiful mum - Maria Grace. They were taken a few years ago, at a time when she was much more the vibrantly healthy person I remember. My mum has been struggling with an undiagnosed autoimmune condition for over 15 years now. Although she has some good days, she is progressively getting worse. The concerning thing is - I have also felt lots of things in my own body, which remind me of her symptoms.

Prevention of disease

"Prevention is better than cure" yes, but I believe in the body's ability to heal itself. Do you? I also believe that through our pains, sufferings, confusion or other negative life experiences may come beauty, healing, joy, and much knowledge worth having!

I haven't worked out all the answers, even for myself; but I do know that all manner of fruits, vegetables, alkaline water, superfoods, light proteins, greens (yes they are vegetables, but I've doubled up as I feel we all should be consuming way more of them!), sunlight, fresh air, exercise, rest, and trust create an environment for the body and mind which has proven to promote healing and wellness.

Something I haven't shared, even on my own personal blog is that all I know and do on a day-to-day basis is because of many years of seeking, experimenting, reading and believing.

Mum and Me

We are living in an Autoimmune Generation. But whatever you're going through today, whatever your parents have suffered before you - please don't give up! Don't despair.

Mothers Day

Instead, go for a brisk walk... make a green juice! Start filling up your day with all the vibrancy from nature available to you. Read all you can, and fight with all your being. Lets create a revolution that turns Autoimmune conditions up-side-down!

Love Abigail O'Neill xxx

First published May  19th 2013, Updated in 2019


Mind Over Body: The Cortisol Effect

"THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS" 

If your mental well-being is not incentive enough to practice this motto, some science may convince you that it's at least worth an attempt for your physical appearance.  How you think may affect how you look. A positive outlook can help your body evade over-secreting stress hormones like cortisol which can take a toll on your figure.

POWER OF MIND OVER BODY?

When you stress, your mind alerts your body to react as if it is being threatened. Starting at the site of the hypothalamus in your brain, a cascade of metabolic events is triggered.  The anterior pituitary gland releases ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) which causes the adrenal cortex to produce higher than normal quantities of the "stress" hormone cortisol.

Chemical Structure of Cortisol

WHY IS CORTISOL REFERRED TO AS A "STRESS" HORMONE? 

During physical or psychological stress, your muscles thirst energy and cortisol helps to deliver it in the form of glucose to the overtaxed tissues. Cortisol mobilizes non-carbohydrate reserves of protein and fat by increasing the rate of gluconeogenesis which converts amino acids and triglycerides (building blocks of protein and fat) into usable energy.

WHY IS TOO MUCH CORTISOL BAD ?

Chronic high levels of cortisol can lead to:

1. Weight Gain

When the adrenal glands chronically secrete more of the hormone than needed, adipocyte growth is over-stimulated, leading to enlarged fat cells.

2. Belly Fat

Body fat is categorized as visceral or subcutaneous. Subcutaneous describes fat beneath the skin surface and visceral refers to deep abdominal adipose tissue. Since there are more visceral cortisol receptors, when cortisol mobilizes triyglyerdes from fat reserves it deposits it more readily in the belly. Thus, added stress is often correlated to added pounds in tummy.

3. Acne

Although cortisol has anti-inflammatory properties, when secreted in high levels over an extended period, it can have the adverse effect. The immune system becomes suppressed and inflammation exacerbates. Oil glands are over-stimulated which can result in clogged pores and breakouts.

TIPS ON HOW TO REDUCE STRESS & MAINTAIN LOW CORTISOL LEVELS:

1. Retrain your brain

Practice positive thinking. When you catch yourself fixating on situations that you can't control or negative thoughts- actively steer your mind in a constructive direction.

2. Take a break

If you reach a plateau in work productivity and can't concentrate anymore, instead of getting all frustrated-simply take a break. Go for a walk or switch tasks and return to it later. This is a healthy practice for your mind and will increase your efficiency.

3. Live in the present moment

Don't dwell on the past or think too far into the future. This can flip your mind into a state of panic. Enjoy the present moment and don't try to solve all your problems in one day.

4. Exercise & Switch it up

Working out is a great stress reliever and should be fun. Try to workout on a regular basis and switch up your routine so that it is something you look forward to and not a laborious task. Maybe try alternating between gym, outdoors and group classes to maintain variety. Incorporate mind & body approaches to fitness like yoga or pilates.

5. Healthy diet

6. Minimize caffeine intake

7. Get sleep

8. Not all on you

If you are overwhelmed- don't bottle it up. It is cathartic to have a support system. Whether you seek solace in talking to a friend, family member, in religious faith or seeking professional help- do whatever best suits you.

 


EXERCISE = EMPOWERMENT

fitness-motivation3Lets talk about exercise! No rather... let's talk about EMPOWERMENT and how wonderful it is to feel powerful, healthy and sexy (or beautiful) in one's own skin.

I've always been an exercise lover. From quite young I loved horseriding, swimming, running long distances and dancing. I always wished I was a ballerina. More recently I've enjoyed mastering the art of surfing my 9.4 longboard, and probably less than I'd like, practicing yoga. Then I wrote a book! Yes, talk about a lot of sitting, eating, and radiation! I now well and truly know how that feels. In the last 3 years I certainly have exercised a lot less than I like to recommend, and, for many days, even weeks, I skipped exercise altogether. The awful thing is - the less you exercise, the less you feel like exercising, and the worse you feel all over - all of the time! The great thing is - The more you exercise, the more you become utterly addicted to the wonderful way you feel in all aspects of your life, and in every moment of the day or night! ;)

Most recently, I've been tapping back into my usual obsession with exercise... and LOVING IT. I've began Bikram Yoga once a week, throwing in the odd walk and surf, and its working wonders on my perspective, body, and strength.

Here I am trying on a new sporty outfit on my anniversary last week! I felt so so good!... EXERCISE truly does = EMPOWERMENT! I wore it to a local Bikram class, and I'm sure it helped me perform with even greater stamina! The more I exercise, the prettier and more energetic I feel which in turn makes me want to exercise more; which then makes me feel more satisfied and excited about life. This is the power of exercise. Let's tap into it!
photo (12)

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 3.04.11 PM

EXERCISE creates a dynamic shift in the way you feel. Don't think about it, 'just do it' as Nike says, and when you 'lose your breath', be sure to 'find your answers' ~ image Abigail O'Neill for Lorna Jane active wear - 2009

And remember... we're not living in heaven, so there'll always be some aspect of PAIN in a day! You choose. I choose. We either choose "Joy now (sitting around, choosing not to exercise), pain later (feelings of 'fat', 'ugly', 'moody', 'unhealthiness')" OR we choose "Pain now (exercise!), joy later (incredible feelings of 'elation', 'beauty', 'body acceptance')" – hmmm what's it going to be today?... I must confess after all that typing, I'm desperate for a beautiful walk in the fresh Winter air!

Stay well, strong, spoiled!! xxx Love Abigail


Go for Gold part 2

Now the London 2012 Olympics are over, we have enjoyed over 2 weeks of top sports. We have celebrated the many medals that have been won by hundreds of athletes, and we have honored them in their home countries and cities they come from.

The Dutch Olympic athletes are honored by thousands of fans upon arrival home
The Dutch Olympic athletes are honored by thousands of fans upon arrival home

Every 4 years the Olympic Games are held, this year it was the 30th time. They originated in Greece. In the past years, London has had the Olympics 3 times (one time was cancelled because of World War 2). I wonder when New York can host it... they lost from London this time, but I am sure they will get it at some point!

Sports bring people together. Athletes, but also the people who cheer for them. Countries come together. The world comes together. People get motivated. Their hearts are full of joy and adrenaline. Kids get inspired and might start practicing a sport instead of watching TV after school. If you like the hectic and crazy times of the Olympics or not one thing is for sure: It will make a lot of people healthier. Because when you just work out just a little bit, or a little bit more, it will make you feel better. It will make your blood circulation better, therefore your toxins are released better and you are getting healthier every step of the way.

I remember Matthew McConoughey said once: "break a sweat a day, it does not matter what you do as long as you do something each day" And that quote always stuck in my mind.

So: EVERY TIME YOU EXCERCISE AND BREAK A SWEAT YOU ARE IMPROVING YOUR HEALTH. Go for it!

Next up: the London 2012 Paralympics. These athletes have worked just as hard as their Olympic colleagues, but they also had to overcome a disability. I think all athletes, Olympic & Paralympic, are true inspirations.

London Paralympics Equestrian ad
London Paralympics Equestrian ad
London Paralympics ad
London Paralympics ad

There is one athlete who will actually compete both in the Olympics AND Paralympics at London 2012.  It is Oscar Pistorius from South Africa, the "Blade Runner".  I hope to interview him sometime and find out his inspiration and story... it is amazing that science gave him 2 artificial "legs" so he could not only walk, but actually run and compete with the best athletes in the world. I love science that improves people's lives!

Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius, picture from his Wikipedia page.

I am looking forward to these Paralympic Games as well, will you watch? August 29th to September 9th we can!

Love, Lonneke


How to get rid of the cellulite NATURALLY

I want to share some tips on How to get rid of the cellulite naturally and How to Tone your body for this summer!

This is what I do every day, those tips are very easy because its all-at-home body care. There are many expensive treatments and massages to help minimize the cellulite, but eating a fresh whole food diet, drinking water and exercising will make your body looks amazing all year around!

1.  Pure water with a lemon.

Start your day with a big glass of pure water with a freshly squeezed lemon juice. This will help to flush and cleanse your body from the inside. Giving you a fresh start of the day.

2.   Dry brushing.

Before you step into the shower, give your self a good dry-brushing all over your body, concentrating on  your legs, thighs and butt.

You can purchase a natural brush for the body at any health food store.

How to dry-brush:

-      Standing completely naked and dry in your bathroom, start brushing you body using short strikes ALWAYS toward your heart. Start from your feet, then legs, behind the knees, thighs, butt, hands, arms, stomach.

Dry-brushing increases circulation of the skin. It stimulates the lymph canals and helps your body to get rid of the toxins. Dry brushing helps shed dead skin cells, which help improve skin texture and cell renewal.

 

3.  Cold show.

After you dry brushed your body, jump into the shower, wash you body using natural chemical-free body soap like Dr. Bronner. When you are done, take a quick icy-cold shower. Cold water will tighten your skin, improve circulation and strengthens immunity.

4.  Grapefruit Essential oil.

Add a few drops of a Grapefruit essential oil into your natural body cream. I love Coconut Oil, so I add essential oil into my coconut oil – the combination makes it especially gorgeous and it smells AMAZING! Concentrating on your legs, tights and butt, moisturize your whole body giving yourself a nice massage. The essential oil of grapefruit is extracted and compressed from its peel and has many beneficial properties as being a disinfectant, stimulant, antiseptic, aperitif, lymphatic and tonic.

5.  Exercise.

Pick your favorite exercise and just move your body; walking running, jumping, dancing!

 

LOVE, VAL


Inspiration: the key to life?

We all find Inspiration in many ways. Whether it is from others, nature, travel... it surrounds us every single moment of our waking hours. But how to stay inspired?- sometimes I find that hard! I am inspired for a moment, but prolonging that inspiration takes some practice.

Always keep your eyes open, at all times, stay present whenever possible, and allow yourself to breathe in that inspiration.

Inspiration isn’t just a one-time thing. You’ll need it on a regular basis.
When you practice the above — keeping your eyes open, staying present, and breathing in inspiration — you get better at it. It becomes a skill ( it is important to look at it as a skill, as it is something you have to practice) you can use at any time, and you’ll use it often.

Some tips for keeping the inspiration coming:

  • Work with inspired people – one of the best ways to stay inspired is to work with creative, energetic, positive people.
  • Read daily – varied things, from blogs to magazines to books of all kinds.
  • Get outside – nature is one of the biggest inspirations, and you’ll miss it if you’re inside all day. What is better then fresh air in the early morning, a brisk evening walk at sundown... pure bliss to me.
  • Talk with new people – they’ll always expose you to new and interesting things, if you’re open to it.
  • Break out of your routine (this is huge for me as I can be a natural creature of habit!) – see things from a different perspective. Take a new route home. Go to a new restaurant. Visit someplace new in your area.
  • Find time for silence – it’s more inspiring than you might think. Unfortunately, not enough of us do it, and it can feel lonely at times (this is especially difficult for us living in NYC)
  • Exercise – or at least get moving. It helps the blood to circulate, and gets ideas moving around. Some of my most inspired thoughts come when I am walking around the city.
  • Don’t just feel inspired. Take this inspiration and use it, be moved, and do something. Channel that inspiration into creating something amazing.
  • Put that something out into the world, and in turn, you will inspire others.

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” ~Vincent van Gogh


Off day? Instant pick me ups!

We all have days that just feel off, even the most positive person on earth. Maybe you got some bad news, maybe it's raining, maybe you feel overwhelmed by your schedule, or maybe you just woke up in a bad mood for no particular reason. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, try these things first:

SMILE
Especially when you don't feel like it. Even if you don't 'smize', simply smiling with your lips triggers your brain to release endorphins. Smiling makes you more attractive, major plus! It is also 'contagious', the easiest way to make the world a better place in a small way ;) What else? It literally improves your health by lowering your blood pressure and boosting the immune system.

Still need some help? Here are my go to pick me ups
Instant pick me ups
Sayings & Quotes

BREATHE (properly, that is)
Take a deep breath and exhale all the way. Relax all your (probably tensed up) ab muscles, I guarantee you that will already feel better! I truly believe that this is why people feel like they need a cigarette when they're frustrated, they need to breathe all the way... In fact, I think I will write a more detailed post on breathing soon, it is something most people could do better (I know this sounds weird, but it's true).

EXERCISE
Run for 30 min, put your 'aggression' into lifting some weights. You have all this extra (negative) energy, why not turn that into something positive. I guarantee you: you will feel better.


ZOOM OUT
List all the things that you are thankful for and that you have going for you in life. Trust that things will get better, because deep down you know they will eventually.

FRIENDS
Your friends will always make you feel better, that's why they're your friends! Go out for a drink, go shoe shopping, share funny stories, laugh, hug, just hang out, even if your busy schedule only allows you 20 min of downtime. It will put you in an exceedingly better mood and you'll be more productive as a result.

And if aaalll this doesn't work, give yourself the day off and watch your favorite comedy movie. 'Dumb and dumber' always does the trick for me!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TViEzHJrMcM&feature=related [/youtube]