Being Objective. Becoming Strong.

I went to the gym today. It’s the first time I’ve worked out there in a while. I’ve been to yoga a couple of times, but now, I am set on going for more – to get out of my chair – a habit I’ve begun to fall into after work because I’ve worked a lot of 12 – 14 hour days in the past 3 weeks. I’m going to make a better choice. I know that working out makes me better – more diligent, more energetic, more into life.

So, I dragged myself there. Wasn’t into it at all, but there was an inkling of excitement that I was doing it.  I was there about an hour and worked out about 50 mins. I started in a spinning class. Not into it. Thought I might get hurt for some reason. Thought to go and watch The Five instead while I rode the bike upstairs. Bored. Went to the elliptical. Saw a woman who I’ve never seen with such energy before – she had a pep in her step and every part of her body! She was so energetic I thought she might be on something, but think she must’ve just been really into her Zumba class. I may take her class another day though Zumba is not my thing. It made me smile just watching her so peppily prancing around fully in every single move, and they were not all easy moves, and they were so fast. Not sure I’ll be able to do everything, but it will jazz me up. End up treadmilling: walking and running and walking, and finally stretching and hitting a couple of machines before I left, mildly sweating, but not soaked, as I would have been if I spun!

Listening to David Jeremiah in the background, and he is talking about self-discipline and the Holy Spirit and how we need Him to have it.  For sure. In listening to him, it is exactly where I am – practicing self-discipline right now to develop new habits and restore my body to it’s strength😊

It’s been interesting to look into my life objectively. I’ve been doing that over the past three days – seeing me in my life, where I am now, and what I am not doing with it with my free time. I’m glad I am not beating myself up or bogging myself down with my reality. My reality is good, but it’s got me alone and not engaged in anything out side of work. There’s been a lot of t.v. time and food involved. It’s okay. I realize I’m transitioning. It’s time to make some decisions.

It’s interesting how when we are objective we can make better decisions. I feel that way. I’m clearer because there is less static due to me not objecting to my behavior, but merely looking at it for what it is and where I am in my process right now.

In being more objective with where I am and deciding on what to do, instead of responding to my behavior objectionably, I’m able to choose a path reasonably.

I’ve just looked out on my life, as if I am out of my body looking into to my behaviors, actions, patterns, thoughts. Whatever I am feeling and experiencing, I am doing so as a spectator only, allowing myself to go through the motions, but aware of them and their consequences. There’s simply an assessment. Do you want this life? This is what you are doing. Is it getting you anything? Do you want this? Things are good, but if I do more, I will have more, and what do I want? It will not some on it’s own. I have needed a bit of downtime for certain due to the schedule I’ve had to keep these past weeks, but there is a new awareness in my life. What will I do with my time remains to be seen in a moment by moment basis, but I am aware and that IS GOOD.

My failure to perform on a large scare has had to do with the amount of what I feel I have or need to do. Do you ever feel you have so much to do in your life you are paralyzed by it and do nothing?

I’ve felt that way for the past 10 years almost. It’s debilitating. I’m making progress little by little, but also felt I’ve made no true progress, really. Maybe it’s just following through and finishing.

So, the sitting in my chair is partly due to strenuous work schedule and partly to do with debilitating, overwhelming nature of all my ideas and goals. Ike! So, objectivity is suiting me well and getting me motivated. I have found in the past that judgment is like a nerve-agent – paralyzing me into doing nothing. It’s just me. No one holding me back but me, if I so choose. No dog, no man, no kids, rarely see friends and family, so I have a lot of time! Well, not really, but I must do more than just watch television all the time with what little time I do have because that is so wasteful most of the time!

There is more to my lack of motivation, and I’ve realized, in part, it is because if I feel there is no reason to do my goals, like they will have not benefit, then why do them? It’s an odd place, but it’s partly where I am and another topic maybe for another time.

Anyway, coming home tonight, I felt good. Not that I’d had a great workout, but because I made the decision and I followed through on it, and I knew I was interested in going back, and not to get a better body, though I am looking forward to that, but to be stronger.

I ran a little bit tonight, but was worried about my knee locking up and the fact that I haven’t in awhile so I was worried about how strong my knees are. I took it easy and ran only 10 minutes. That was what sparked my desire to work out more – to become stronger. At 48, I don’t like the fact that I feel a wee-bit feeble in my knees when I run, and had some issues this summer that led the doc to tell me no more running. So, my goal is to be strong.

There’s nothing like being strong. Knowing it is good too. Having your strength zapped or not being able to walk hardly – anything so simple that many of us do regularly and take advantage of, to be able to run freely and walk down the stairs without wobbling, is awesome. Strength feels so good. How do you feel? Do you feel strong? It’s a super feeling!

So, that is my new goal: Being Strong. I’m looking forward to this.

Here’s to good choices, following through, and being strong!

Holly

Intercession Prayer

This is a lengthy recount of how God miraculously prayed through me for a person I’d never met before to “provide everything I needed.” I’d later meet her that day. This story is about earnest prayer, seeking God through His word, being obedient to Him, and having Him answer prayers so specific and measured you know it is Him. This is one of the many ways God has used my “poor circumstances” to make himself known and real to me. He is marvelous and wonderful. For the rest of the story, my video ran out, you may listen to an audio podcast on http://www.hollycobrien.com. May you be blessed and grow closer as you listen. John 17:20 Jesus Prays for All Believers: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.”

May you believe and know God as your Heavenly Father and Christ as your brother and the Holy Spirit as your friend and helper. Amen.

Holly

Changing My Diet to Save My Brain

I have decided that this month, to start, I am going to dedicate to my brain’s health. I have over the past month or more noticed my memory has been shot. I am having a hard time remembering my students names, I am slow to recall random memories, and I feel foggy. I also feel confused a lot. I will say, I have been under a lot of stress with work working many 10 – 12 hour days. Maybe that is contributing to it too, and I am going to buy some adaptogens to help manage my stress levels with work which will persist for the next two weeks.

I went to the health food store yesterday and dropped almost $200 and nothing was for my brain.

I’m not being funny, but I do not remember why exactly my decision to do this for my brain started this afternoon.

(I remembered after finishing writing this blog that I worried about my brain after coming home from the beach tonight and walking up the stairs, and I felt, I’m not sure, but not right, again. An odd, and frequent occurrence these days!) My intention was to begin October as the first of the next 12 months attributing my changes in diet and exercise to my true desire for sustainable health.

I eat, overall, pretty healthily, but I do binge occasionally or overeat once in awhile, and when I do, like tonight, over-eating on sugar, I feel badly for my body. I never got full tonight, but the amount of sugar I ate was way too much to the point where I have an awful sugar headache, still, hours later. It was my dinner, plus a decaf latte b/c I knew this would be a last for awhile, but it’s awful for my body. I feel like this is a bit of a pattern as I write and really need to quell my desires more or maybe be more consistent and less drastic, my goal.

I have found I am much more disciplined, and it is no problem for me to be such, but I need reigns, I feel, or I have nights like tonight where I eat so much sugar I am in pain.

So, my worry about my brain feels legit. Too much sugar is awful for our bodies and brains, and, specifically, has been shown to cause brain shrinkage. I actually read tonight that Alzheimer’s is called Diabetes 3. Yikes. It’s not surprising. I believe most diseases are genetically triggered by diet. I do not have Alzeiheimer’s or dementia in my family, but I need to help my brain because I am too young to be so foggy! I began exercising again today too which will help for sure. When I was in my teens and early 20’s I was bulimic and ate a ton of sugar on a regular basis. In my late teens and until late 30’s, I alcoholically drank off and on. I have been “healthy” for over 10 years, but am still attracted to sugar, a lot, and it is just not healthy. I know and exhibit moderation mostly in my life, but because of my past and how I eat still at times, so much sugar, I worry about my brain – only because I am exhibiting these worrisome symptoms.

Normal brain, top. Alzheimer’s brian, middle. Alcoholic brain, bottom.

So, this month, I am going to begin with a cleanse of sorts, eating cleanly, and looking into foods that cleanse the blood and cleanse the skin because all disease begins in the blood and my skin’s melanin is no longer being produced in my legs. What’s up. But, I need to get my brain working better!

Also, I will focus on a high protein and high fat diet with low carbs, and no processed carbs which should help my brain fog clear. Lots of cholesterol, too. Brain fat needed! Pulling my book, Grain Brain, off my shelf tonight, I read about how low cholesterol levels doesn’t allow the brain to work well, and those individuals with low cholesterol are at a much greater risk for dementia. Bring on the eggs! I did just remember I bought MCT oil at the health food store which will help my brain hopefully!

Eat me. I’m good for your brain health!

I am coming to terms with the fact that I need more discipline in my life and operate much better with it, on a regular basis.

Because our brain exhibits plasticity and can regenerate, I am clear on what I need to do. So, here’s to my brain’s health and the overall health of my body for the next month, starting with the following:

  1. Elimination diet
  2. Movement
  3. Good fats
  4. Herbs and good veggies
  5. Lots of water

Thank you for reading. Here’s to all of our health!

Holly

Coffee on God – How God Used my Poorness to Build our Relationship

A brief story about the building of a relationship with God through Him simply showing me how He is for me, even on buying me coffee in my need. He doesn’t see some things as frivolous. He used my need to build my relationship with Him more. I love that!!
It’s funny how the Lord uses my poorness, financially, to build a more experiential relationship with Him. I love How He provides for me every time whether it is a cup of coffee or camera or fixing my car, he made a way for me to either have it done, have it done for me, or make it super cheap!
“Delight yourself in me and I will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Giving out of My Poverty

This vlog includes a time when I was living in England when God blessed me moments after I gave all I could, 5 measly pounds. 5 pounds in the tithing bag showed up to me in a 150 return over the next 3 months! He always has shown up in my need. Thank you. Faithful God. https://youtu.be/dh2CHsohvgw

How Consuming Lycopene before UV Exposure Saves Our Skin from Collagen Breakdown 

Craving the Color of Food: Intuition of the Healing Body

Have you ever craved specific colors of food? Likely. I know I have, but it wasn’t until I was on the way home from the beach one afternoon many years ago when I inferred that the reason I was craving tomatoes was likely because of the sun, somehow.

What I thought of next was when I used to go to Dewey Beach, DE a lot in my early 20s or Ocean City or any beach town really, and what restaurant is always packed there? The pizza joints or Italian restaurants! Why?

Pizza Rat

Well, I got home and pursued my questioning to see if my inference about the relationship between red tomatoes and the sun was there at all. It was.

Turns out, lycopene, one of several carotenoid phytonutrients, has been shown in many studies, see below, in both humans and other animals, to provide benefits against collagen breakdown and tumor expression in the skin after UV radiation from the sun. It’s good news!Caratenoid Flowchart

I did not really think much beyond how lycopene helped to protect us against sun damage after that. It was common knowledge it destroys our DNA which is one of the reason for cancers, but I never really considered, why wrinkles?  I was just interested in knowing how fascinating the body is in intuiting what it needs to heal itself – in this case, from sun exposure – and finds a way of letting us know too.

I’ve typically always been driven to food by what I crave believing that my body knows best what it needs, even when I may not understand.

The Science of Wrinkles and Crinkly Toes!

So I have been out and about in the sun a lot lately over the past month or so and had begun to get a great tan. I stay under my umbrella mostly because it’s so darn comfortable, Holly love Beachand I know I’m still getting rays, but I do opt for the open blanket sometimes over the covered beach chair. Also, I’ve been out a lot exercising and exposing myself to the sun’s rays that way, too.

I have always been perplexed that my feet never seem to tan like the rest of my bod. I guess it’s the angle of them to the sun, but even when they have the most exposure, they still seem to keep a bit of a palor☹

I was looking down at my toes recently, and though my little pigs were white, I noticed they were crinkly, a bit like a French fry. Odd. Miss Crinkle toes! 😊 Why was that, I wondered?

Well, one thing I thought was that I considered I’d been out in the sun, and because they don’t seem to tan or burn, I never apply sunscreen to them. Besides, who has wrinkly toes!? Was it the sun exposure that was making them crinkly, I wondered? Yes, it likely was. I’d look into it!

I researched studies done on the specifics of sun and wrinkling, and yes! The sun causes wrinkles because it destroys our collagen – the connective protein fibers in our skin, tendons, cartilage and muscles which provides structure and elasticity. It is THE most abundant protein in our bodies, and when we are exposed to the sun, specifically the UVA rays, our body actually responds by programming certain enzymes to destroy it! Ouch.

Beach burn

I must have known that at some point, but the biology behind how is more interesting. Turns out, the sun’s UV rays trigger our DNA to make specialized proteins, enzymes, specifically, MMP-1, collagenases, to do their job, and  destroy our collagen! Crike!

Why did I never know or realize this before, I don’t know. I love my enzymes – they are likely the most favored part of my body because without them, I would not function and would die😊 But on a less drastic note, they are specific to every chemical reaction in our body, and I am not looking to deliberately trigger the one’s designed to destroy my collagen to do so.

I panicked! What? I’m programmed to wrinkle when I go into the sun, literally? I didn’t know it was that bad. I was petrified to go back out. Long-shirts would be in my future as I went out. I’d already been feeling a bit burned and don’t like the thought of that.  And, a V-8 for the ride over to the beach, for sure.

Me and Pat
(Photo: My visiting brother and me after a day at the beach!)

2 weeks or so I came home from the pool craving orange! Luckily, I had a lot. I ate and drank everything I had. Carrot juice, sweet orange peppers, and dried apricots. Though I had orange juice, that I was not craving. I checked into my craving online.

Orange fruit and vegetables containing plenty of beta carotene

Turns out, beta carotene is another carotenoid, like lycopene. Lycopene acts differently scientifically in our skin, though. B-carotene acts as a precursor to Vitamin-A which promotes fibroblasts – connective tissue that produces collagen and contributes to healthy skin, whereas lycopene prevents enzymes from being produced that break itself down, essentially!

I must have known these things about the carotenoids before, but making sense of how they work scientifically and applying to my real life makes in all the more interesting, and fun! Being out in the sun basically serves to destroy our skin in a certain sense, and I needed the nutrients to make the fibroblasts I needed to make more connective tissue to repair what skin damage I’d caused by exposing myself to that light! Right? I love it!! Body, Brilliant!!

Back to Lycopene – The Sun & Tomato Cravings – The Body Intuitive

Turns out, lycopene, which is most abundant in tomatoes, inhibits the effects of MMP-1 collagenases. (Enzymes typically end in -ase, and often their prefix reflects the substrate on which they act. Another example, lipase. Lipases break down lipids, or fats).

Many studies support how lycopene, an MMP inhibitor, intervenes on our behalf preventing collagen breakdown and therefore, wrinkles. I have included 4 different studies here, 2 of which discuss the aforementioned relationship between lycopene and MMP inhibition, 1 of which supports how topical MMP inhibitors reduce basement membrane destruction, in rats, which leads to wrinkles, and a final study which looks at lycopene’s impact on tumor formation in rats.

Control Group

If you are interested in reading the whole study, click the titles. I give a brief conclusion of the author’s findings, as well as a breakdown on what they found.

  1. Title: Molecular evidence that oral supplementation with lycopene or lutein protects human skin against ultraviolet radiation: results from a double‐blinded, placebo‐controlled, crossover study

Conclusion: Assessment of gene expression revealed that UVB/A, as well as UVA1, radiation significantly upregulated steady‐state levels of HO‐1, ICAM‐1 and MMP‐1 mRNA in skin of volunteers who were either untreated or had been treated with placebo. In marked contrast, TNC (Fig. 3), as well as lutein (Fig. 4), treatment significantly inhibited UVB/A and UVA1 radiation‐induced gene expression.

The Breakdown: What this means is that when subject were exposed to different types of radiation, the genes for collegenases were turned on stimulating breakdown of collagen, but once supplementing with a lycopene-rich TNC (Tomato Nutrient Complex) or leutin, another cartotenoid, the genes that code for making the collagenases were inhibited after radiation, preventing the breakdown of collagen.

Don't Get Burnt

  1. Title: Lycopene inhibits matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression and down-regulates the binding activity of nuclear factor -kappa B and stimulatory protein-1

Conclusion: UVA irradiation of the human skin fibroblasts led to a 10–15-fold rise in metalloproteinase 1 (MMP-1) mRNA.

Lycopene and β-carotene did not protect on their own but in the presence of vitamin E, their stability in culture was improved and the rise in MMP-1 mRNA expression was suppressed, suggesting a requirement for antioxidant protection of the carotenoids against formation of oxidative derivatives that can influence the cellular and molecular responses.

The Breakdown: The difference here is that this study shows how Vitamin E is needed along with lycopene in order for mRNA not to express the MMP-1 protein collagenases. mRNA is made from DNA which in turn makes protein, or in this case, does NOT make protein, the collegenase.) This makes more sense because lycopene, along with other carotenoids, are fat-soluble, meaning they need fats in order to be absorbed.
tomato puree+PLUS+       Vit E

  1. Title: Possible Involvement of Gelatinases in Basement Membrane Damage and Wrinkle Formation in Chronically Ultraviolet B-exposed Hairless Mouse

Conclusion: Topical application of a specific matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor, CGS27023A, inhibited ultraviolet B-induced gelatinase activity in the epidermis, and its repeated application prevented ultraviolet B-induced damage to the basement membrane, as well as epidermal hyperplasia and dermal collagen degradation. Ultraviolet B-induced wrinkles were also prevented by administration of the inhibitor. These results, taken together, suggest that ultraviolet B-induced enhancement of gelatinase activity in the skin contributes to wrinkle formation through the destruction of basement membrane structure and dermal collagen in chronically ultraviolet B-exposed hairless mouse, and thus topical application of matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors may be an effective way to prevent ultraviolet B-induced wrinkle formation.

Breakdown: Repeatedly applying a topical, non-specified MMP (collagenase) inhibitor – a cream that prevents collagen breakdown – damage to the basement membrane of the dermal skin layer was not created, as a result, neither then were wrinkles.

Wrinkles are caused by damage to the basement membrane which can be mitigated by non-exposure to UV light or by exposure to an MMP inhibitor (such as lycopene😊) before exposure to UV light. Check out the electron microscopy photos, below, of the basement membrane before and after exposure to UV light over time. Recognize that wrinkled look?

Basement membraneFigure 1. Changes of basement membrane ultrastructure in UVB-irradiated mouse. Mouse skin was irradiated with UVB (total 5 J per cm2) for 10 wk. (a) Non-irradiated control skin. (b) Basement membrane began to separate from basal cells after 2 wk of UVB irradiation. (c) The basement membrane damage became more severe after 5 wk of UVB irradiation. (d) Many disruptions of basement membrane were observed after 10 wk of UVB irradiation. Scale bars: 1 μm.

  1. Title: Tomatoes protect against development of UV-induced keratinocyte carcinoma via metabolomic alterations

Conclusion: Overall, male mice that consumed tomato-containing diets developed fewer UVB-induced skin tumors compared to male mice that did not consume tomatoes.

The Breakdown: The conclusion, above, sums it up, but see graph below. The only significant difference in tumor development is in the rats fed a tomato diet with the lycopene, not a tangerine-tomato diet, even know they did develop fewer tumors, also.

41598_2017_5568_Fig1_HTML

So, what’s the take-away?

Eat your tomatoes (puree – the best source of lycopene) or have a V-8 before you hit the beach or even go outside, and, make sure you take a tablespoon of oil with it or pop a Vitamin E in order for your body making to prevent making collagenase which will be set to breakdown your collagen otherwise, and cause wrinkles.

You want to keep your beauty as long as your body allows.

Eat what your body craves because it is often something your body needs. Our bodies are made to heal themselves, and can, as long as they have the nutrients they need to do it! Let your body work for you, not against you while you still engage in those outdoor activities you love. And, just for the record, keep applying sunscreen, too, for added sun protection. You skin, your largest and most visible organ, is one we want to keep looking young and supple for as long as possible.

Corn popping

I hope you found this helpful, and have learned something new and interesting.

Here’s to your health. Cheers! V8

Holly

Bingeing to Freedom

Despite the working out, because of my bingeing behavior, I actually gained about 4 fat pounds, as evidenced by as scale at Publix, and the tightness of my pants around my booty in my big jeans, and one of my pairs of pjs being about two inches too short, due to said booty! Oh well, it’s only weight! There’s always this month – and my new smart goal: no sugar – the weight will be gone in no time.

I’m two weeks in into my 2nd smart goal, and that is, simply: no sugar – that is, no ho-ho’s, cakes, brownies, donuts, pies, ice cream, candy, cupcakes or the like that I’d been indulging in in my last month (minus ho-ho’s) of pigging out during teacher appreciation week, the last week of school, and just because I went for it all month long while engaging in my 1st smart goal which was working out for at least 20 minutes/day, 4x/week. Writing my blog about that even found me ½ into a pint of ice cream at the time! Love ice cream!

One thing I noticed while I allowed myself to eat so piggily with respect to content and amount, was that I didn’t allow myself to do it because I told myself that famous lie of, “I’ll quit tomorrow!” I actually found myself saying that at one point, and just recognized that as the binge mentality that it promoted, until the next binge, and I believe that may have been a big turning point. Just finally giving myself full permission to eat without recompense, I pigged out so much I found myself disgusted!

I have decided to do this no sugar thing now, too, because of actually feeling so physically ill as a result of all the poor dietary choices I made over the month of May. It felt gross!

So, for my first SMART goal, I exceeded what I set, and only hit the minimum part of my fit goal maybe 5 times max, all month. I found that once you’re out and about, 20 minutes is nothing, it flies by – this is why it’s so smart! If I walked, that went by super-fast which worked out for me when I didn’t want to exercise at all, but whether walking, riding my bike, yoga, swimming or running, I typically exceeding my 20-minute time interval by at least 2x as much and up to 5x. As indicated, one thing smart about this smart goal was that it is realistic and timely – the R and T of the SMART. If I had to work out for 40 minutes at a clip, I would have been deterred, but I typically worked out more than that anyway! So, because it’s so easy and so many positives came from it, I’ve decided to keep it, and have!

I like going out and walking now or biking – whatever I decide to do – I mix it up, break up my day, get some exercise, some fresh air, a new perspective, I get inspired and remember what interests me – plants (and photography – some photos included from a graveyard I walked one night – love bark!) – those beautiful plants I see all the time as I walk – and I just began to take time to be in the present moment, whatever it is, I would find a smile. It is normally always good and positive, and it’s only for 20 minutes, minimum😊

Frangipani 1 Yellow

Despite the working out, because of my bingeing behavior, I actually gained about 4 fat pounds, as evidenced by as scale at Publix, and the tightness of my pants around my booty in my big jeans, and one of my pairs of pjs being about two inches too short, due to said booty! Oh well, it’s only weight! There’s always this month – and my new smart goal: no sugar – the weight will be gone in no time. I’ve already lost about two pounds it looks just from being off of sugar in these past two weeks. I can feel and see it in my new jeans, too.

Bark Peeling

I realized too that when I remove sugar from my diet, I eat a lot less, and typically don’t have the resulting fullness. A domino! I realize that a healthier relationship with food spills over into the rest of my life in a good way. Another domino. Mentally, a shift occurs creating the positive domino effect. One thing always leads to another. Food is so key to many facets of my life.

I am well-aware of my mental state and my approach to food. There is always a tie-in.  The more positive I am and eating well, the better my life is. The better my life is, the better food choices I typically make. I have noticed how I take certain behaviors out on what I choose to eat. Like I take my mood out on my food which is what I am doing to myself, as well. Once I realized that, many years ago, I could easily check myself, and make another choice, but it’s interesting what relationship we have with food. It’s a direct correlation and indication to where we are mentally, in my case anyway.

Maybe I’ll always have a thing with food – it is one of my favorite things in life – it’s sensual and delicious. I love it. But for the rest of this month, I am loving it a little less, and loving my body a little more by honoring this beautiful temple of mine God gave me. That’s the SMART thing to do!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have … Therefore, honor God with your bodies.

Cheers,

Holly 😊

 

Frangipani Pink