A Few Thoughts After What Happened In Las Vegas

Last week, our nation experienced a tragedy that shocked people around the world.  We are grieving the loss of fellow Americans and others that were visiting our nation.  I am having a difficult time holding back the tears while I write this.  My heart hurts.

The tragedy that took place was a harsh reminder that none of us really know when we will leave this world.  A reminder that it’s really important to focus on what matters most and living life to the fullest.

What comes to mind when you think of a life lived to the fullest?  I think that’s a really important question for all of us to ponder.  What do you really want in this life?

The lovely actress Sophia Loren was once quoted saying “I’d rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero.”  So simple, yet so profound.  To me that quote means she would rather live her life enjoying each day than be a slave to a scale or to a clothing size.  In other words, she is allowing herself to be free to LIVE.

When I was smaller than a size two I was criticized by photographers.  No matter how hard I exercised or restricted the food I ate, I still wasn’t perfect enough for them.  Constantly restricting myself to gain approval from others ended up being a prison and led me into depression.  When I decided  to stop caring about what others thought and shifted my focus to living a full life I got my joy back.

Allowing yourself to be free to live your life doesn’t mean that you stop exercising and eating well.  It simply means that you won’t restrict yourself in an attempt to manipulate your body into a size that it wasn’t naturally designed to be.  If your goal weight doesn’t allow you to enjoy the things you like in a way thats moderate and healthy, then you could end up being pretty miserable.  Or, in the worst case, you could harm your health.

Life is way too short to allow superficial things and ideas to control you and cause you to miss out on living life to the fullest.  Which is why I passionately recommend you design a life that is well balanced and brings you joy.  In other words, just be you.

When you allow yourself to “just be you” and live authentically, you are giving yourself permission to be free.  And with that freedom, comes peace.  Being at peace with who you are and what you are capable of at any give time, gives you the freedom to focus on the things that matter most and are most precious to you.

Make it a great week.  Spend quality time with the ones you love and doing the things you love.  Time and experiences are two things we can never get back so it’s good to invest our time wisely.

Shared with love,




Eleven Ways To Live Well And Age Gracefully

Happy Birthday - Jennifer Ledford - Age Gracefully

It’s my birthday!  I turn forty six years old today.  I have to say it’s almost surreal to me.  I often forget that I’m in my mid-forties because I still feel thirty on the inside.  While I may not feel like I’m in my forties, my age has allowed me to obtain a healthy amount of experience and knowledge.  And for that I am extremely grateful!

I actually like birthdays and embrace mine with open arms.  I’m not someone that has ever had the desire to resist growing up.  I’ve always wanted to be mature in my mind and young at heart.  To me, that’s the best of both worlds.

How To Live  Well and Age Gracefully

Over the past forty six years I’ve had the opportunity to learn quite a few things about life, fitness, health, and aging and since it’s my birthday I wanted to share some of them with you.

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.  I’m sure you’ve read this more than once.  The part I purposely left out of the famous phrase is “and it’s all small stuff.”  I left it out because sometimes the problem is not small at all.  It’s important not to get worked up over small things that can either be ignored or solved easily.  Limiting stress in your life is one of the top things you can do for your health.  When you limit getting stressed over the minor issues, you’ll have way more strength to deal with the larger ones.
  • Love yourself.  Some people confuse this with pride and are uncomfortable with the thought of loving themselves.  Loving yourself means you respect yourself and believe you deserve the best possible outcomes in life.  One of the first steps to loving yourself is to avoid negative self talk and to reject anything negative spoken over your life by another person.
  • Discover who you are and be authentically you.  This is huge!  There is only one you.  Learn what’s important to you and pursue goals that you desire to fulfill.  Sometimes that’s not always the “safe path” that a parent or counselor is suggesting you follow.  It may include some calculated risks.  Avoid the temptation to copy someone else’s life and go out and create your own legacy.
  • Share your gifts.  We are all designed with unique talents and gifts.  I once heard a wise woman say that she believed that one of the reasons our world has so many problems is because not everyone discovers and shares their gifts.  When we hide our talents the world misses out and so does the individual that possesses the gift.
  • It’s okay to say no.  Maintaining boundaries is one of the most important things we can do for our physical, emotional, and mental health.  It also helps us reserve our strength and energy for the people in our lives that are counting on us.
  • Forgive freely.  Forgiving yourself and others helps contribute to a healthy mind and body.  Research has linked unforgiveness to serious illness which makes forgiveness a really important part of your life.  I realize it can be tough to forgive at times, especially when the other person doesn’t seem to deserve it.  If you are having a tough time forgiving someone else, remind yourself that it’s for your own personal well-being to forgive the offense. Eventually your emotions will catch up to your decision to forgive.  I’m a spiritual person so whenever I am struggling with forgiving someone or even myself, I ask God to heal my heart and help me forgive.
  • Eat well.  We all need to eat so we might as well eat food that will help keep us healthy and vibrant-looking.  Focus on eating whole foods and limit processed foods.  Avoid things like high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils.  Make sure that you recognize everything on a food label’s ingredient list.  Learn to make healthy meals that you enjoy.  Take time out to feast with your family and friends.  Eat out at interesting restaurants that serve fresh ingredients.  Focus on eating for health rather than dieting.  Life is too short to spend it restricting yourself, counting calories, or feeling guilty about food.
  • Exercise.  It’s recommended that we all get an average of thirty minutes of exercise per day for health purposes.  Exercise at your own personal fitness level and choose things that are fun.  Exercise outdoors when possible for added stress reduction.
  • Drink plenty of water.  This one is easy!  Staying hydrated not only helps your metabolism function well it can help your skin maintain a more youthful appearance.
  • Have fun.  It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine so do it often.  Schedule fun into your week.  Be present wherever your feet are planted and look for the hidden blessings that are around you each and every day.  If you are struggling to find joy in your day it may be time for a change.  Maybe it’s time to find a new job, get some new friends, or try a new exercise routine, etc.
  • Keep growing.  I have the opportunity to work with people that are retired and the people that are thriving the most have not stopped growing.  Some of them went back to work part time while others are doing things like volunteering in their community, studying a language, traveling, exercising, taking cooking lessons. They are involved in politics, helping make documentary films, writing memoirs, and more.  In order to keep your mind sharp, you MUST use it.  It’s also important that you socialize and stay engaged.  It may sound appealing to retire and sit back right now when your schedule is not jam packed but too much “retirement” can have a negative effect on your mind and body.  It’s okay to take a year off from the rat race.  However, it’s a good idea to use some of that time to plan what you’d like to do next in your life.

Time is precious.  Spend it on the things that are most important to you and with the people that matter most to you.  Give yourself grace and avoid comparing yourself to others.  Life is about being your own personal best and that’s different for everyone!

Here’s to birthdays and a super blessed week!

With Love,