6 Weeks to a Younger You: Week 4

August 31, 2011 at 7:05 am , by

Weights 3Do you feel younger yet? We’re in week four of our six-week push to a younger you, and we have weighty matters to discuss!

In previous weeks, we’ve been challenging ourselves to move more by measuring our steps with a pedometer and getting our heart rate up with some interval training. That’s great, but we’ve got to add in some resistance exercise to keep our bones strong and build lean muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn!

That’s why I keep these six-pound hand weights in my bedroom. I can do my bicep curls and squats while watching how well the new celebs cha-cha and samba on this season’s Dancing With the Stars. (I’ll be rooting for Chaz Bono, and let’s face it: he needs to shape up a little.) Or I can go out on my terrace in the gorgeous morning light and knock out three reps of 10s before the coffee has dripped. Join me! See four easy exercises here.

You know when celebrities shape up for an action movie and talk about their regimen? They always say they cut back on carbs and pump up the lean protein. A lot of women normally do the opposite. This week, try to get some protein at every meal. That could be eggs or Greek yogurt for breakfast, a big salad with  chicken or tofu and a sprinkle of cheese for lunch and some lovely grilled fish for dinner, for example. If you’re vegetarian, it can be harder to get enough, so you should pay even more attention to your  intake. Try to eat 120 to 140 grams of protein a day. Here’s a good chart to help you figure out how to get there.

We’re still cleaning up here in the Northeast from hurricane Irene, and almost everyone I know is sleep deprived right now. You may be, too, even if your weather has been perfect. Most American women don’t get nearly enough shut-eye to keep their brains in good working order. Make it a priority this week. Wind down early, avoid caffeine and alcohol, keep the room cool and dark and aim for at least seven hours. I co-wrote a sleep book just for women (with author Ellen Michaud; you can  buy it here). It’s full of great tips—best book I’ve ever read on the subject!

Ladies’ Home Journal truly believes in the power of doing good. Turns out, if you help others, it makes you feel younger, too! We have lots of good resources to get you started. Cheers to a younger you!

Photo by Stella Capuano

Guest Blogger: How Plastic Helped Me Find My Voice

November 3, 2010 at 1:20 pm , by

beth6-smThree years ago, I read an article and saw a photo that changed my life and helped me realize that I had the power to make a difference.  The article was about the growing problem of ocean plastic pollution, and the photo was of a dead albatross chick whose body was full of ordinary plastic pieces it had mistaken for food: plastic bottle caps, little plastic toys, even a toothbrush.  In that moment, I suddenly realized my direct connection to other living creatures on this planet.  Plastic was something I had control over, and I knew I had to act.

When I started my blog, Fake Plastic Fish, to keep track of my personal plastic consumption and report on plastic-free alternatives, I had no idea the impact and reach it would have or the lives it would change. I only knew I had to start with myself. Along the way, I have learned a few lessons about how we can take an idea or a cause that we care about and get results.

Trust your voice. How many of us have a great idea or cause we care about and feel that no one will listen to our opinion?  Learning to speak up is empowering. And all it takes is practice.  Speaking up to store managers about their plastic bags or visiting schools to talk about plastic pollution was hard for me at first. But the more I do it, the more confident I become.

Seek support. Yes, it’s important to start with ourselves, but real change takes many hands and voices. Writing one letter to a company is great. But encouraging others to write letters too, creating a petition, or joining an organization already working on the issue are ways to magnify your impact.

Use the Internet. The Internet makes it easier than ever to spread your message. Using my blog, Facebook, Twitter, email, and online petition software, I spearheaded a campaign to get Brita to take back and recycle their plastic water filter cartridges. Social media helped me connect up with other bloggers who could help me spread the word. And asking people to mail me their used cartridges made a huge visual impact.

Do your homework. Before contacting a company, writing a blog post or letter to the editor, or creating a petition, make sure you have your facts straight. Do some basic research. You don’t have to be an expert, and you shouldn’t let fear of being wrong stop you from acting. But having a clear understanding of the issue you’re tackling will give you confidence and help your cause.

Be persistent. Sometimes change happens over night. Once, I wrote to the owner of a small company about her plastic packaging, and she asked me to help her change it. Within one month, she had completely switched over to recycled paper. The Brita campaign, on the other hand, took 7 months of hard work and diligence. What kept me going was knowing that the only way I would fail is if I gave up early. Seeing a campaign through can be tiring but also incredibly empowering.

Give yourself a break. Persistence is important, but so is taking time out to rest and rejuvenate. Working nonstop is the way to burnout and disillusionment. For me, taking time in nature to remember why I am doing this work in the first place is what keeps me going. That, and playing with my rascally kitties who never take me too seriously.

What I’ve learned is that each of us has the power to change the world for good. We just have to learn to use it. When you care deeply enough about an issue to take that first step, a door opens through which you might never go back. —Beth Terry

blogher10-26a-sm-squareBy day, Beth Terry works as an accountant for a local home care agency, but nights and weekends she becomes an activist blogger writing about plastic-free living at FakePlasticFish.com. She’s a contributing editor to BlogHer.com and an advisor to the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Join Beth Terry via the web this Saturday, November 6, for the worldwide webcast of TEDx: Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an unprecedented event bringing together experts, activists, and artists like Van Jones, David de Rothschild, Jackson Browne, and Ed Begley Jr to speak about solutions to the plastic pollution problem. Beth Terry will add her voice to the mix, speaking about her plastic-free life and leading by example.

Do Good: Calling All Difference-Makers

October 4, 2010 at 9:20 am , by

DifferenceMakers_splashDo you make a difference in your community, or know a woman who does? Maybe she started a local charity organization. Or she finds the time in her busy life to volunteer for a cause that’s close to her heart. We’re looking for these amazing women for our Difference-Makers Contest!

Nominate your difference-making lady today and she could be featured in an upcoming issue of Ladies’ Home Journal and on Better! Don’t know a difference-maker yourself? We bet someone in your community does: Help us spread the word! Click the “Share” button above to share with your family and friends via email, Facebook, Twitter and more.

Do Good: The Secret To Being A Rockstar Volunteer

September 13, 2010 at 9:18 am , by

p_101560376_M_wWe talk about Do Good a lot here at LHJ, because we believe that if everyone does just a little good  (whether that’s volunteering or an act of kindness) the world can truly be a better place. We’ve run into so many amazing and inspiring volunteers over the course of our coverage, and I wanted to share what they all have in common. Whether it’s Ruth Crane, who turned her experience with cancer into a way to touch the lives of other cancer patients, or Shara Mondy whose own background has helped her realize how important it is to give people a fresh start on life, these ladies are volunteer superstars. But they’re also ordinary women, just like you and me. They have families, jobs, busy lives.

As someone who is only aspiring to help others like these women do, I wanted to look for the common thread. What made them get up and take action? I think it’s the decision to tackle a cause they truly cared about. Never underestimate the power of passion and a personal connection to your cause, whatever it may be. Of course it’s important to do good in many ways, large and small. Participate in your local school’s canned food drive. Help collect clothes for the needy at your church. Throw a few dollars into the tip jar. But if you’re looking to make that leap into volunteering more often, find a cause that means a lot to you and your family. Did a family member die of a certain cancer or disease? Raise money to find a cure. Do you have a skill or talent? Teach kids or seniors, and brighten up their days. Or turn your hobby (say, knitting) into something that gives back (donate knitted scarves during the holidays). You can even enlist other people to create and donate with you. Did you see first-hand the devastation after a disaster like Katrina? Get in there and help rebuild. Not sure where to start? Try a search with Volunteer Match for an opportunity near you.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the do good causes and campaigns out there these days. In the face of so much that needs to be done, sometimes we feel like we can’t change anything. But these awesome women that LHJ profiles every month prove that we can. Find your cause and go for it. When it means that much to you, it’s easy to make time in your life–and make a big difference.

Do Good: We’re Looking For Amazing Volunteers!

April 19, 2010 at 9:52 am , by

Do you know a woman who goes the extra mile for a worthy cause? Ladies’ Home Journal and WE Volunteer are looking for outstanding volunteers for our first annual WE Do Good Awards. All you need to do is tell us how this special woman has given back to her community and has inspired others to do the same. Does she travel to help people in need in other countries? Did she start a charity organization to benefit a cause that’s close to her heart? Or maybe she’s a busy mom who finds the time to volunteer in her community and get her whole family involved.

If you know an amazing woman who deserves recognition for her efforts, nominate her today! She could win one of three great prize packages that will give her a special treat and help her give back, plus a trip to New York City for our awards event, features in LHJ magazine and on WEVolunteer.tv, and a subscription to LHJ.

Do Good Challenge: Help Foster Kids in Need

March 15, 2010 at 9:22 am , by

l_101529846_M_wThis month we’re challenging you to make the days a little brighter for disadvantaged children in your area. After you read the story of Texas mom Emily Gertson (right), who collects pajamas, school supplies and toiletries for kids in foster care, we know you’ll be inspired to help out in your community. “I learned that these kids are often removed from their home with just the clothes on their back,” Gertson says. “I wanted to give them something that would help them feel more comfortable and less scared, and new pajamas seemed like a good place to start.”

So how can you help? Collect toiletries, PJs, suitcases, bags and backpacks and donate them to your local Child Protective Services agency. Or you can walk to raise money for foster-care organizations with a group like Walk Me Home. Want to help one-on-one? Find a child to mentor in your town, or guide a child virtually through a program like vMentor.

Resolution #1: Doing (Even More) Good This Year

January 4, 2010 at 10:49 am , by

volunteers-nologo-150x200As you know by now, doing good is a big part of our mission here at LHJ. We truly believe that even the smallest good deeds add up to a better world. So that’s why we’d like to take a time-out during this season of resolutions to remind our readers (and ourselves) to make doing good a priority this year. Making a list of goals for 2010? Don’t forget this one!

So let’s pledge together: This year I will do more good. Whether that’s holding the door open for a stranger, buying a cup of coffee for a coworker, donating money to a cause I care about, or giving my time to volunteer, I will make an effort to do something—even if it’s just a small act of kindness—every day this year.

Need some ideas to get started? Check out our Do Good page, 31 ways to give back, family volunteering ideas, and 9 heartwarming acts of kindness.