Hiking Providence Canyon State Park

I often hear people complain how hard it is to lose weight.

Let me tell you, losing 100 pounds was easy!

What’s actually hard is maintaining weight loss and not slipping back into ages old habits! It’s so easy to have a cheat meal here or there that becomes weeks of poor nutrition, to become disillusioned or bored with the gym, discover a new series on Netflix, or decide to take a little break because we can just jump right back in.

Believe me, I struggle with this a lot, and since moving to Atlanta two years ago it’s been a continual struggle as I emotionally ate my way through the move, MacKenzie’s wedding, Bradley’s enlistment, and now sheer boredom and loneliness has become my worst enemy. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who has dove into his own fitness journey and is now my “let’s get off the couch” motivator.

hiking Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

My handsome Spartan running motivator.

For the first time in years Audley is working 40 hours a week… a Monday-Thursday schedule. It’s so nice, but it didn’t take long for us to go stir crazy in the house on his off days. While scrolling through Instagram one day I saw pictures of this gorgeous location right here in Georgia; Providence Canyon.

Providence Canyon State Park / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

We decided to take a short road trip and get our rear ends off the sofa and away from the pantry.

Located about 2 1/2 hours south of Atlanta, Providence Canyon is actually the result of poor farming practices 200 years ago (many lessons learned), but it’s also a beautiful location for picnicking, exploring, and photographing.

in the base of Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

The stunning red, white, purple and pink sandstone walls that form the canyon might have you thinking you’ve gone out west, but I promise, you’re still in the South!

The canyon makes a gorgeous backdrop for hiking and exploring.

Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Hiking Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

There are roughly 10 miles of trails you can hike throughout the beautiful canyon. These various hikes range from easy to moderate in difficulty. Choose wisely for your level of fitness and health.  Each can take a couple of hours to five or more. You’ll be amazed at the different scenery as you wander through the canyon. One minute you’re in a lush forest and the next sandy desert. It’s a beautiful result from costly mistakes generations ago.

Overlooking Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon Wooded Trails / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

When hiking Providence Canyon you need to prepare accordingly. First, this is a state park, so there is a $5 fee to park. If you purchase a Georgia State Parks pass you can find all kinds of adventures throughout the state and only pay once! While strolling around the top of the canyon is relaxing and easy, going into the canyon is a little different. The grounds throughout the area are sandy and wet. Trails take you down and up hills, through forest areas and into various rocky fingers of the many canyons. Wear appropriate shoes for these trails; shoes made for hiking and that you don’t mind getting muddy and wet are best. Smalls steams of water flow all through the canyon floor. You also need water for drinking. Once down in the canyon there are no bathrooms or water fountains. We packed a small backpack with bottles of water.

And don’t forget bug repellant.  Mosquitos love wetlands.

Hiking Necessities / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Our lightweight Kavu bag holds several bottles of water and snack packs of nuts for a trail hike. Audley is partial to his Salomon trail shoes, and I love my Merrells. Shop for hiking/trail shoes that fit your feet well and work for various weekend adventures. Protecting your feet is so important if you are going to hike!

Hike Providence Canyon / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Dress comfortably for your hike. I wore leggings and a tee-shirt even-though it’s hot, just because of their water wicking ability. You don’t want blisters on your thighs from hiking and sweat rolling down your legs. It is NOT comfortable. Wearing pants also leaves less places for mosquitos to nail ya.

There is a longer hike through the canyon that you will need to pack snacks as well as extra water to take as it is pretty long. We plan to go back and do that one in the fall.

Canyon Floor at Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

img_6459canyon bottom at Providence Canyon / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Nature at Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon Lumpkin, GA / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Audley and I hiked over five miles in and around the canyon, then enjoyed a yummy picnic up on the rim.

Providence Canyon Picnic / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon was one time a thriving town. Remnants can be found throughout the park including an old wooden Methodist church building and cemetery dating back to the mid-1800’s. There are also old rusted out cars along the trail up to, but we didn’t explore that area to see them. We will definitely add that to our hike in the fall.

Providence Mothodist Church / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Cemetery / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Cemetery at Providence Canyon / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Providnce Canyon Cemetery / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Methodist Church Building / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

If you are looking for a quick weekend adventure and an opportunity to get off the couch, a trip to Providence Canyon is definitely worth making! I won’t say hiking is a way to lose weight, but it’s a great way to explore where you live (statewide or regionally), get in some fresh air, and get moving!

Being sedentary is hazardous to your health.

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Hooray for gorgeous days and beautiful places!!!

Enjoy the views and let me know what you think!

Looking down onto Providence Canyon Trails / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon State Park

8930 Canyon Road
Lumpkin, GA 31815
Stewart County

 

Wellness Wednesday: InTown Salt Room

While I no longer train clients or write much about it, I still train myself and keep up with health and wellness trends as I continue to strive to be healthy for myself and my family. Over the last couple of years I’ve really learned becoming healthy is very much a mind game as much as it is a physical game. In order to be truly healthy we must maintain a good relationship and balance between our minds, bodies, and spiritual lives. I have loved dabbling and studying homeopathic ways of healing the mind and body, and have been fascinated by certain methods from cryotherapy to essential oils for a while now.

If you read any health publication you’re likely to find an article referencing the benefits of pink Himalayan salt. It doesn’t matter if you have added it to your diet or added a salt lamp to your home, so many people I know have tested the waters using this useful organic mineral and are discovering a few of its benefits.

Last week I was invited to visit the InTown Salt Room located in the historic Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta. While you can sometimes find a Salt Room experience in a spa setting, the owner of InTown Salt Room, Carrie Wright, is proud to have the only space fully dedicated to salt therapy in Atlanta.

Salt Bricks made from salt mined from the Himalayan Mountains

Intown Salt Room, is a technological and modern 1,000 square foot space with 6,000 pounds of Himalayan salt incorporated in the decor. It’s a serene setting from the moment you walk in, and you carry that serenity while feeling at peace when you walk out!

The salt covering the walls, floors, and through the building was mined from the salt caves of the Himalayan mountains and imported.

Intown Salt Room offers two unique salt room experiences, a Breathing Room and Meditation Room. Each breathing and meditation session is 30 minutes, where you simply sit in a zero gravity chair, relax to calming music and breathe.

The “breathe room” is a private getaway of Himalayan salt,” infused with the purest of salt air. Breathing in a dry salt room, known as dry salt therapy, can cleanse your airways and allow you to take in more oxygen for a deeper breath. In addition to respiratory benefits, dry salt can have a positive effect on skin and be naturally calming to help relieve stress, anxiety and fatigue.”

The treatment, known as dry salt therapy (or halotherapy), dates back hundreds of years to Eastern Europe (where it was noticed the miners of salt had less respiratory issues than others in the same communities), and is purported to offer a variety of health benefits. These include relief from respiratory ailments such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, colds, ear infections and sinusitis, as well as skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes and rosacea, as well as aiding in inflammation according to the Salt Therapy Association.

The “Meditation room” combines Himalayan salt with sound therapy to help you relax. “Slip on a pair of headphones and sink into one of their zero gravity Wave Loungers built with Acoustic Resonance Technology™, for a whole body sensory experience. This mind and body meditation encourages you to be present and calm, leaving you rested and rejuvenated.”

Completely rested and rejuvenated was exactly how I felt as I left the meditation room.  Honestly I felt like I didn’t have a single care in the world.

I really want a wall of salt bricks in my bedroom now.

While you can certainly do a salt room on your own, visiting with a friend is a great way to relax and enjoy this spa-like and unique experience! I invited Tammie ( Talking with Tami ) to accompany me. As relaxed as we were when we left the salt room, lunch out seemed to be even more laid back and enjoyable. We were both so relaxed!

I found myself completely absorbed in both salt room experiences, and I think I could definitely become a believer in the idea of salt therapy. This experience is definitely something I am open to doing again, and often.

Check out a salt room experience near you and let me know what you think?

Fit(…ish)

Food seems to be the theme of my postings lately, which is just fine as I really love food.  At the same time, I do feel guilty posting so many unhealthy recipes and meals out when I try to maintain a fairly healthy lifestyle.

I often refer to it as living Fit…ish.

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The question I’m asked most often is have I kept off the 100 pounds that I lost over the last several years, or like many who undergo such a drastic transformation, have I put it back on?

The truth is, I’ve gained and lost the same 20 pounds multiple times over the last two years, staying fairly consistent with someone in maintenance.  I know very few people that don’t fluctuate with their weight over time.   The key is maintaining, knowing when to make changes and catch yourself when falling back into bad habits.  At this moment I am on the heavier side of that 20 pounds.  While I know how to eat and how to exercise, I am still am emotional eater, so when stress sets in (moving, owing taxes, transmission going out in my car, having a car accident….) I eat.

{And y’all, I do love food.}

The gym is still my best friend, which really helps with maintaining my weight, and I do eat pretty healthy throughout the week.  Recently though, maintenance is not enough and I really want to finish the journey that began over four years ago.  I’ve not posted on a healthy lifestyle in quite a while and with summer right around the corner, there is even more desire to feel great as well as a desire to look good before vacations and weekend adventures.

Even though the calendar announced spring, winter and dreary weather seems to be lingering around.  When the weather is dreary I love a flavorful soup for my lunch!

Using simple, but fresh ingredients, this quick recipe for one makes a delicious and filling meal full of healthy benefits!

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Add to your shopping list, organic chicken bone broth, baby kale, yellow bell pepper, purple potatoes(just because they are so pretty!), garlic, lemon, baby bellas, and avocado oil.

 

Purple-Potatoes | Fiddle Dee Dee

First, you’ll make a lemon based chicken broth for your soup, then add the veggies (starting with the potatoes so they can soften), simmering for the flavors to blend and the kale to wilt.  Baby kale is not as bitter as traditionally served kale, so I really like using it.

Kale-and-Potato-Soup-Ingredients | Fiddle Dee Dee

I top my soup off with a little avocado oil for the addition of a healthy fat.

Avocado-Oil | Fiddle Dee Dee

Season with black pepper and you have a savory soup that leaves you filled with energy instead of feeling lethargic and bloated.

Kale-and-Potato-Soup | Fiddle Dee Dee

You can print off the full recipe for Simple Kale & Potato Soup here.  Just double it if you want to share.

Here’s to kicking off a healthy spring and reaching all of our goals!

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New Year Resolutions to Make (That don’t Involve Dieting)

Once again the time has arrived; January, where we all make a list of resolutions or goals that we want to accomplish in the upcoming year.  Some of these we will keep, some of these we will break in a matter of days.

While I have not polled my friends, based on many conversations and Facebook statuses, it seems a common theme of most resolutions seems to be diet and weight loss related.  These are also the goals that are broken the quickest.  In this battle of the waistline that I have fought for the last several years, I have learned many things.  The most important of those lessons is that winning the war for your health is a mind game.

Practicing mindfulness in many areas of your life is a sure way to make improvements!  When you have your mind in the right place, the weight loss and good health often seem to follow, so today, I’m offering fifteen suggestions (in no particular order) to make your New Year’s resolutions that don’t involve dieting, but will improve your health!

New-year-resolutions

*Organize your schedule.  Buy a real day planner.  Color code your family and write it all down.  Don’t allow yourself to over-schedule your time and let busyness consume you.  Be mindful of your time and what you are doing with it.  Take a few minutes each Sunday night to look at your week and adjust what you can to make your week as stress free as possible!

college girl planner

Two of my three girls keep color-coded planners as well

*Say “NO” more often.  It’s definitely OK.  We tell our kids no on a regular basis; now learn to say it for ourselves.  Don’t add more to your plate than you can handle or you will find yourself gasping for air wondering where your days, weeks and months have disappeared.  If you are already in charge of multiple projects, try delegating so that you aren’t in charge of every detail.  Save your sanity and say no to more.

*Unplug after supper.  If you are spending your evening answering email and text messaging, it’s time to step back.  Leave your job in the office and savor your moments at home.  Set a pretty table and linger to talk with your family longer after dinner, read a magazine, cuddle with your spouse; there are so many better ways to spend an evening at home.  There have been numerous studies that say unplugging helps you calm down and even sleep better.

*Speaking of sleep, go to bed early.  Our sleep is when our body and mind recover from the day.  We need rest.  You can always record that late night show to watch on the weekend or even catch it onDemand.  Rest is so much more important than a show.  Make your room a sanctuary from the world (no TV, etc… ), dress up your bed with fabulous sheets and covers, and dive in to rest at night!

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*Take care of yourself.   Seriously, if you don’t take care of yourself, who is going to do it for you?  Enjoy downtime and don’t fret if you are not busy.

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Go to the gym, take a walk, indulge in a hot bath, read a book, eat more fruits and veggies and less Chick Fil A, get a hair cut…  Little things go a long way to taking care of yourself.

weight-training

*Go Outside.  Yep, take a walk around the neighborhood.   Head off to a dog park and play with your furry child.  Plant a flower garden. Visit a local state park and walk.  Try following a couch to 5K plan.  Stroll through a farmers market.  Just get out more and sit less.

local-farmers-market

*Explore where you live.  I know we all don’t have a Central Park, Williamsburg or Stone Mountain …. OK I live 15 minutes from Stone Mountain, but there are plenty of options for exploring.  Visit a state park and walk the trails or rent a canoe for the afternoon on the lake.  Investigate a little local history and walk or drive around looking for historical locations.  Take a day or weekend trip with the family to a touristy destination in your state.  There is a big ole world out there, and it begins in your backyard!

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*Turn the TV off.  Open your mind to reading, enjoying a new genre of music, visiting with your family, or even preparing a gourmet dinner every once in a while.  With so much negative and trashy stuff on TV these days, turning it off only enriches your mind! Turning it off also adds a considerable amount of time to your day! Just so you know, I’m not saying never watch TV.  We all need our Chip and Joanna fix, the excitement of a Georgia Bulldog football game, and to enjoy the cheese of the Hallmark channel regularly, but don’t let it consume you!

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*Let go of toxic people.  There is always that one person who is never at fault for the things they constantly complain about in their lives.  The one who spends more time being jealous of you than being happy for you. The one who demands all the attention no matter the occasion and is mad at you when they don’t receive it.  And the one who is always at the center of drama “yet never knows why.”  I’m not saying never speak to them and to just drop them, but there are far better people to have in your circle of friends, I promise.

 

*Eat out less and cook more!  Not only does this benefit your checkbook, you know exactly what you are eating!  Who wants a ton of additives and artificial ingredients as well as other people’s DNA going into their food, when you can easily control every aspect of what your are dining on.  You can meal prep on your off day or fix a little extra with supper the night before.  And there is nothing wrong with a yummy sandwich on whole wheat bread and crisp veggies for lunch at work.  You’ll feel better eating real food, and you might find yourself tightening your belt a little as well.

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*Drink more water.  Replacing common beverages like cokes, juices, and booze with water can have a significant impact on your health and wellness.  Staying hydrated with water can also improve your physical appearance and keep you feeling full.  When your body is dehydrated, you often think you are hungry, when you really aren’t.  If you are bored with plain old water, dress it up with fresh fruit and a little mint!

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* Find a new hobby.  Learn a new lettering technique, to cook French cuisine, a new language, try weight lifting or barre,  or paint and rearrange your own house.  Extend yourself!

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*Give back.  There are days I feel so locked up in myself its hard to remember there are people who need us.  Read to the elderly at a nursing home, become a mentor, volunteer in a soup kitchen, work an after-school program… this list goes on and on of ways you can help others.  You will encourage someone else by giving back, and you will feel better not focused on just yourself.

*Forgive someone.  This is not for them, but for yourself.  Holding onto grudges or feuds has a negative impact on your health both mentally and even physically as stress and anxiety develops over the issues.  Sometimes you just have to say I forgive you, apologize for whatever you may have done as well, and let it go.  What the other person does with the forgiveness and apology is on them.

*Finally, practice gratitude each and every day.  We all have bad days, but even on the worst of days, there are little things that are still good.  Practicing gratitude improves your mood and attitude.  Try to keep a list throughout the day (write it in that day planner you’ve invested in) so that you are focused on the good things in your life no matter how big or small.

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Nothing like ending the day with a little peace of mind.

Happy New Year my friends, and I wish you much success with your resolutions!!

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