Fake News about Supplements

Last week we debunked some common misconceptions about healthy living.  This week, I’d like to delve into some common misconceptions about supplements.  Almost everyone I know, including myself, takes some type of supplement.  On this journey, I admit falling prey to some advertisements that claimed to have discovered the secret bullet of health.  Funny how these ads always include a free sample (shipping cost only), money back guarantee and subscription for endless shipments of future bottles.  Can I also admit to never renewing these subscriptions because the claims were false and I rarely saw any difference in my health.

Supplements are not regulated in this country, so it’s very easy for these marketers to make these lofty claims about health benefits.  Many people know they don’t live a healthy lifestyle and fall victim to the claims that they can fix that simply by taking a few pills.  Think of all the commercials you’ve heard, or ads you seen about this.  I’m not a good vegetable and fruit eater, though I’ve made tremendous improvements in this area.  Anytime I used to see those “vegetables in a pill or powder”, I thought I found my solution.  What I didn’t think about at that time was what happens to all the nutrients when the pill or powder goes through processing.

We have to be educated consumers on this journey because everywhere we turn we encounter somebody selling us something.  The number of life coaches out there is quite honestly scary.  There are so many companies who are using pyramid marketing schemes and empowering average people, not college educated in nutrition or doctors, to sell products to their friends, family and us.  Most of these companies have extensive supplement lines to sell and before you know it you’ve spent hundreds of dollars.  Please spend time researching anything you decide to buy and put into your body.  Read sites other than those of the coaches selling the stuff, or the manufacturer.  Dig deep to uncover the truths of any product and learn more about its true benefit, or risks to your health.

Here are 5 common myths about nutritional supplements*:

1. Myth: Supplements can help prevent or manage conditions like diabetes or heart disease.

Fact: Supplements aren’t intended to treat any specific health issue.

Nutritional supplements are NOT medication.  They can fill in nutritional gaps in a well-rounded diet nothing more.  There are some daily nutritional needs that are hard to meet through eating food alone.  Vitamin D is one example.  My doctor told me that it is virtually impossible for most humans to get enough Vitamin D through diet and exposure to sun alone.  Therefore, I do take a daily Vitamin D supplement, coupled with Vitamin K to aid its absorption.   Proper levels of vitamins in your body can help you feel better, but they are not a replacement for medical monitoring and treatments.  Proper monitoring of levels through lab work and blood tests could identify your nutritional gaps and needs for supplementation.

Takeaway: Supplements can be one piece of the puzzle in helping us prevent illness, although exercising and eating right are both more crucial.

2. Myth: Supplements can make up for your diet’s flaws.

Fact: You still need a well-rounded diet.

Supplements can’t replace a healthy diet.  People like me try to do this all the time.  I am not a great vegetable eater, so getting my daily allotment is a struggle.  Taking pills and powder to ease my worry seemed like a good decision.  However, when you rely on supplements instead of food you could actually be putting yourself at risk for other harmful effects.  For example, improper dosage of vitamins can increase their levels in your body.  This increase could cause side effects such as stroke or heart disease.  Many of these excess nutrients are stored within your body and not excreted.  They can build to and become toxic.

Additionally, most people also don’t take their supplements properly.  Most supplements are to be taken with food.  When you take a supplement, your stomach acids have to do all the work to dissolve the pill and send nutrients back out to the various body parts. When you take supplements with food, the nutrients in the pill bond with the food and you get the best delivery and absorption.  Skip the food and there’s a good chance your body will simply excrete most, if not all of the nutrients.

Take away:  Supplements can’t supply all the benefits of healthy eating.  Researchers have found about a million phytonutrients that you simply can’t get in a supplement, they are however available in antioxidant rich foods.

3. Myth: The best supplements are those labeled all natural. 

Fact: The only part of the label that matters is the nutrition facts.

Like other food sellers, supplement manufacturers are eager to capitalize on heightened consumer interest in natural foods.  In most instances, benefits to the consumer does not warrant the extra cost.    I shop on Amazon for most of the supplements I do take.  I find organic versions of smaller brands for far less.  When I started paying attention to the nutrition content I found it to be the same, if not superior.  Take the time to read the labels!

Takeaway:  What you should pay attention to is the nutrition information panel on the label.

4. Myth: When you hear a nutrient has new proven health benefits, it’s time to stock up.

Fact: The supplement may not be right — or safe — for you.

I wish all these proven health benefits came with the warning – be careful. Some supplements don’t interact well with others and may actually cause more harm than good.  It’s important to speak with a certified nutritionist and/or your doctor about the combinations of supplements you are taking, or plan to take.  Again, many could have unintended consequences on your body.

Takeaway:  Talk to your doctor or a dietitian to find out if it’s worth it, especially if you have a medical condition that could be compromised by large doses of certain nutrients.

5. Myth: Multiple single-source supplements are better than multivitamins.

Fact: For healthy adults, a multivitamin is sufficient (with some exceptions).

Takeaway:  Multivitamins are sufficient with the following exceptions – calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and omega-3. 

*Based on the article, 5 Myths About Nutritional Supplements by Debra Witt

Quick & Healthy Lunch Recipe:

Apple Fennel Chicken Waldorf Salad

  • 1 organic granny smith apple chopped
  • 1/2 c chopped organic fennel bulb
  • 1 head romaine lettuce chopped (or butter lettuce)
  • 4-6 oz chopped grilled chicken breast
  • 1/4 c feta cheese (if dairy tolerant)
  • 1/4 c chopped walnuts

Salad Dressing

  • 2 tbs full fat organic greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs organic dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs red wine vinegar (I used fig condiment vinegar this week)

Mix all ingredients in large bowl.  Top with salad dressing.  Great lunch that I ate every day this week!  The dressing reminded me of a creamy Russian dressing.  Bold so go easy on it. I put it on the salad and tossed.

For the chicken, I grilled on my Optigrill three breasts for the week.  I chopped the fennel ahead and stored as well.  I guess you could make the dressing in a larger batch as well, but I like my dressing fresh.  My salad was easy to assemble all week.  One day this week I subbed the lettuce for spinach and the apple for red grapes.  The dressing on that day was organic lemon juice and olive oil.  Equally as good.

For Valentine’s Day, please share my blog with one person you love.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fact vs Fiction

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about the impact of marketing on those looking to either lose weight, or live a healthier lifestyle.  It’s truly confusing when you are bombarded daily with these ads and miracle claims.  Remember my test, if it’s a “quick” fix it’s totally bogus.  Reclaiming one’s health can’t truly be a “quick” fix.  If it were, all these marketing folks preying upon us would be out of business.

Reclaiming one’s health is a life journey and requires work.  It also requires us to be educated consumers.  I wanted to share some common marketing myths and facts.  These are habits I have adopted for over a year and they have been proven through research to have positive impacts on the body.

The bottom line is you need to read and learn.  Be a critical consumer, especially when it comes to your health.

Marketing Lie: “Gluten-Free Bread is Healthier than Bread Made from Wheat”
If you’ve already given up traditional grain-based foods, you’ve made a wise decision!
But if you replaced these foods with their commercial gluten-free counterparts, reconsider.  You see, most gluten-free breads, cereals, pastas, crackers and cookies use ingredients that are not much better (and in some cases, worse) than those made with wheat!

Like any processed junk food, these products usually contain chemical preservatives, soy protein, dough conditioners, industrial seed oils, corn and rice syrup… and often, GMOs.
And that’s not all, because…The Ingredients in Most Gluten-Free Products Will Also Send Your Blood Sugar Soaring!In place of wheat flour, most gluten-free products – and many online recipes for that matter – use flours with glycemic values that are off the charts, including:

Corn Starch
Rice Flour
Potato Starch
Tapioca Starch
Sorghum flour
Millet

Here’s what Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, has to say about these unhealthy alternatives…“These powdered starches are among the few foods that increase blood sugar higher than even whole wheat. It means these foods trigger weight gain in the abdomen, increased blood sugars, insulin resistance, diabetes, cataracts, and arthritis. They are NOT healthy replacements for wheat.”                                                                  (Nutrition Watchdog)

Marketing FACT:”Drinking lemon juice elixir  each morning has strong health benefits.”

Drinking a lemon juice elixir each morning, as soon as you wake up and before you put anything else in your stomach, is an excellent way to start your day. It stimulates digestion, expels toxins from the liver and supports your digestive enzymes for a busy day ahead.

Once again, the ingredient requirements are strict: your water should preferably be spring water from glass bottles, but if this isn’t available then filtered water will do. This ensures the base for your tonic isn’t introducing new toxins into your body as you drink it — that would be a bit counterproductive. Next, as above, your apple cider vinegar should be raw, organic and unfiltered. When apple cider vinegar is filtered, the health-giving SCOBY or “mother” (an accumulation of beneficial bacteria and yeast that turns the apples into vinegar) is removed, and we definitely don’t want that.

Finally, the lemon should be organic, to ensure its skin isn’t riddled with nasty pesticides and other harmful chemicals.

These health tonics work best if you keep at it — make sure you drink them as directed for at least a week to begin experiencing the myriad of health benefits they offer.                  (Liivi Hess)

My Lemon Elixir Recipe

  • 4 oz organic coconut water
  • 4 oz filtered spring water (I have home delivery service)
  • 1 tbs BRAGGS Organic Vinegar
  • 1 tbs Santa Maria Organic Lemon Juice
  • Dash of cayenne pepper

On days when I am doing an Intermittent Fast protocol, I omit the coconut water and do 8 oz of filtered water.

Marketing Myth:Low Fat Diets help you lose weight.

Low fat everything has been the craze now for decades and look around. What has that wonderful bit of advice done for the bodies you see? We’re fatter, sicker, and more addicted to sugar and carbs than any other time in history. And, we’re passing these habits to our kids.

FACT:Fats are not to be feared – they’re to be embraced.

They do not make you fat; rather, they help your body regenerate your power hormones. Testosterone, the ‘strength’ hormone, for example, is the direct result of cholesterol and dietary fat intake. That’s right: “Cholesterol” isn’t a dirty word! Your body needs dietary fat and cholesterol in order to produce ANY AND ALL vital hormones.

People on low fat diets look drawn, gaunt, and weak. They are often sick, sometimes to the point of literally breaking down. And, they can never just enjoy eating out. Every meal and every gram must be accounted for. Do you really think this will make you younger? Of course not… it will worry you to death if it doesn’t kill you first!                                                  (5 Steps To Looking 10 Years Younger By Steve & Becky Holman)

Marketing FACT: Avoid chronic dehydration to look younger.

Water isn’t just “good for you” — water burns fat. Water suppresses hunger. Water renews your skin. Just drinking 12 ounces of pure water every day can take a few years off your face in a matter of weeks. You’ll also drop fat, have more energy, and save your kidneys and liver from chronic overwork.

When your kidneys are taxed from too little water, your liver has to take over. Now, get this: Your liver is your number one fat-burning organ. Do you REALLY want it processing liquids and toxins rather than BURNING FAT? No way, right? Well, grab a glass of water, and watch the mirror. Within a few weeks, the change to your face and body will be noticeable.                                                                                                                                                         (5 Steps To Looking 10 Years Younger By Steve & Becky Holman)

Be careful of amounts you consume.  I just read a program that required drinking one gallon of water per day.  There is such a thing as too much water and it can have negative effects on your body.  The best rule of thumb I’ve heard is aim for 1/2 your body weight in ounces.  Water is a struggle for me.  I shoot for 5 – 17 ounce bottles per day.  I use a Swell bottle to carry my filtered water with me and refill it during the day.  It is stainless steel lined and insulated.  I got mine on Amazon.  Great investment.

MIRA Double Walled Stainless Steel Cola Shape Water Bottle, 17-Ounce – Mandala 

Declaring My Why

This week I viewed a short video talking about the cycle of failure that often surrounds weight loss programs sent to me by Danette May.  I’ve talked a lot about that myself, so I am always curious to learn more.  We all truly want to be successful and sometimes we just need the tools to get there.  You know the hardest part isn’t losing the weight, right?  It’s the keeping it off and maintaining those healthy lifestyle changes you made to get there.  Hence, the cycle of failure surrounding lasting change.

Personally, I don’t do big swings up and down with my weight and health.  I have learned, after years of trying, to maintain where I am.  That is good and a celebration to be had.  Others are not so fortunate.  I know many who have huge swings in their weight.  What unfortunately happens is when you return to prior habits, you end up gaining it all back, plus a bit more.  It is so disheartening and sad and truly a phenomena I’d love to change.

Enter the clip I watched, with a simple easy addition to my healthy lifestyle journey.  This blog is actually all about what this person was saying, but I liked her explanation as to why it is so critical.  Basically, she said that one of the reasons people don’t hold on to the lifestyle changes and weight loss is because they lose sight of their WHY.  The reason they started the journey in the first place.  Once the weight is off and they feel better the WHY slips to the back of their thoughts and sure enough the old habits creep right back in.

This really makes sense to me and honestly it is true.  I have shared so many of my tips and strategies for maintaining this healthy lifestyle.  They are tools that helped me hold on.  I’ve shared my drive and motivation to keep going, even when injured, to move my body every day.   I’ve even shared that this month I added meditation to my morning routine, albeit short, to keep my mind free from stress.  Well, unfortunately not totally living stress free, but working toward it.  It’s very hard to keep stress out but I am building some walls around myself as we speak, yes walls!  That may be my next topic – People Who Care too Much or People Pleasers…

The short, simple idea the video I watched gave me is to not only Declare My Why, but to write it down and return to if often.  I definitely declared my why when I started this blog.  Read my first post here to refresh your memory if you missed it. Keeping My Memories        Taking my very personal journey public was a big step for me.  What I don’t yet do though, is return to my WHY, look at it, reflect on it.  I’m thinking a vision board may help me with that, but not the average one.  It’s truly never been about imagining myself in a sexy beautiful body, though that sure would be lovely.  Rather, it’s about seeing myself as a HEALTHY, HAPPY GRANDMOTHER surrounded by her beautiful family and KNOWING who they are!!  It’s about living my life to the last breath and living it to the fullest.

When I declare my why I say, “I REFUSE to allow Alzheimers rob me of my memories!  I REFUSE to suffer the fate of my grandmother and mother!  I REFUSE to lose!”  This is my motivation and my drive.  It pushes me out of bed when I don’t want to get up and exercise.  It pushes me to think about what I am putting in my mouth.  It helps me hold on to the gains I’ve made these past years and continuously pushes me forward. It helps me not stray too far off the path, even though there are bumps along the way.

Please take a moment this week and drill down to discover your why.  Why do you want to lose weight, or get healthy?  If it’s to look good for a special event, that may not bring about lasting change, for once the event is over old habits may creep back in.  Think beyond one event or moment in your life.  Think bigger.  Let’s all put on some armor as we attack this challenge, for this quest is truly a battle.  Let’s wage war on those old nasty habits and banish them once and for all.  Declare your why boldly!  Write it down, paste it visibly in your living space.  Look at it often, especially in those dark moments that will surely come.  Hold tight to your WHY and it will be the power that pushes you through this journey.


I love to share quick recipes I’ve discovered and enjoyed.

Recipes(Courtesy of Danette May)

Beet Wrap 

  • Organic Red beets (shredded)
  • Ezekiel Organic Sprouted Tortilla 6″
  • Grass fed, hormone free Feta cheese crumbled
  • Homemade Hummus
  • Organic arugula

Spread hummus on tortilla (1 tbsp), layer on red beets, small amount of feta and arugula.  Wrap and eat.  I used both raw and cooked beets.  I personally preferred cooked, but many prefer raw and the crunch.  P.S. – I’ve HATED beets my whole life and would never even put one in my mouth.  I tried and loved this wrap. A favorite lunch choice.

Homemade Hummus (courtesy of Danette May)

  • 1 1/2 c organic chickpea (cooked or canned)
  • 1/2 c of the bean liquid or water
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 c Sesame Tahini organic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp organic lemon juice, or juice from 1 organic lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Put all in Vitamix or blender, blend and serve.  DELICIOUS, simple and clean!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gimmicks and Quick Fixes

With the arrival of Memorial Day I’ve noticed a barrage of weight loss commercials and ads.  Glossy photographs of skinny, fit people who have supposedly wrapped, shaked or pilled their way healthy.  It’s time to once again prey upon our panic that it’s bathing suit time and we still live in our winter bodies.   Promises to lose ten pounds in five days.  Promises to drop unwanted belly fat without exercise.   It’s really sad how many people fall victim to these promises.  Thousands of dollars are spent each year looking for the magic and thousands of dollars are wasted.

Lucky for me, I’ve only fallen victim to one or two of these gimmicks.  I’m pretty conservative about what I put in my body.  Anything that involves chemicals is out and most of these gimmicks involve some type of chemical you’ll either ingest or put on your body.  What most people don’t get is that these gimmicks and quick fixes will not bring lasting change because they don’t include a lifestyle change.  So, even in the unlikely event you drop the weight, the minute you stop ingesting or wrapping, you will be right back where you started, minus a few dollars.

This year’s fad involves wrapping your body in chemicals to lose inches.  It amazes me how so many people willingly place chemicals on their skin.  Our skin is one of our largest organs.  Creams and rubs placed on it get right into our body’s systems through our pores.  It’s actually the quickest entry to our body.  Why would you willing rub unknown cancer causing agents on your skin rather than change your eating habits or exercise?   Why would you risk your health to lose inches that will be back in a short time?  It makes no sense and I wish people would hit a pause button and really read and research before rubbing anything on their body.  Would you smoke a pack a day if it meant you’d lose an inch in a week?   Likely not.

Other commercials I’ve watched on sleepless mornings involve drinking our way thin. Some of the shakes contain healthy nutrients, so this could be slightly better.  But, the minute you stop drinking shakes and eating the same old food, your weight will go right back up.  Seriously, do you plan to live on shakes forever?  Without food overhaul it won’t be a lasting change.

What about all these juice cleanses.  Drinking juice all day long.  First, our bodies have the ability to detox themselves.  That’s actually the purpose of our liver.  Filling up on sugar found in juice for hours on end is not healthy.  Juice from organic fruit is healthy, yes, but anything in excess places a strain on our body’s digestive system.  We surely do not need gallons of juice in one day or week.  One glass is quite enough for health purposes.

What about HCG drops, or injections to rapidly drop thirty pounds in less than a month.  These pregnancy hormones are another of the latest trends in weight loss. These drops, coupled with a 500 calorie a day diet promise great results.  People, can we think for a minute here.  Do you really need to take drops that mess with your hormones to get results?  Umm, I think if you starve yourself and only eat 500 calories a day you’d lose weight without the drops.  So, what are you gaining here except chemicals messing with hormone balance and unhealthy eating.   Our bodies need way more than 500 calories to sustain themselves.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but someone has to say it, there are NO quick fixes or gimmicks that will give you what you seek.  It takes hard work and discipline to win this battle.  There are no answers to be found outside your heart and brain.  You are in the fight for your life and looking for shortcuts in bottles, wraps or pills will likely cause more harm than good.  At the very least, you’ll be a bit poorer and still unhealthy.  At worst, you’ll find yourself in a real health battle for your life.

Today, I’m asking you to rethink the notion that quick is better.  Resist the pressure from friends to jump on the latest bandwagon.  When someone tells you they dropped all their weight through some quick fix, congratulate them and walk away fast.  Resist temptation to plunk your money down because I guarantee within a short time that person will be right back where they started.  Think about it and I’m sure you already know someone whose been through this cycle.  Read and read some more about anything you are thinking to try.  Don’t just read the site of the product or people that sell it.  Read the research and reviews.  If it’s quick and easy I guarantee it’s built on bull—-.

Join me on the long, slow path to lasting change.  Treat your body like your temple and don’t place chemicals in or on it.  Whenever possible eat organic, healthy whole foods.   Commit to moving 30 minutes per day, drink lots of water and get restful sleep each night.  That’s seriously all you need to do to be healthy.  Nothing more and no chemicals required.

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Food Not Supplements

Have you ever counted the number of supplements you take and thought it excessive? Have you ever wondered if you were wasting your money, or mixing things that shouldn’t be mixed?  I’ve taken as many as 20 pills at once and wondered what my stomach must be going through digesting all that at once.

The supplement market is booming with sales through the roof.  Totally unregulated, these companies can make any promise they want. Most prey upon unsuspecting, many times desperate people.   I am one of those people who has purchased so much stuff on my quest to be healthy.  I have taken enzymes, herbal supplements, hormone replacements, vitamins, shakes and the list goes on.  I have spent a small fortune on this stuff and taken it unquestionably.

I’ve been to several nutritionists and doctors, each with their own lists of stuff for me to buy and take.  Each sold me on the magic pill to solve my problems.  It didn’t matter that I was asking them for help in fixing my dietary habits.  It didn’t matter that I said I wanted to get my health on track through food choices.  Each time I was told that wasn’t possible and I needed supplementation.   I even remember going once to JennyCraig and telling them no thanks when I looked at the ingredients in their food. At that time I was already cooking from scratch with whole foods.  They became extremely unsure and defensive when I asked to see the ingredient list for their foods.

I began to do research about supplements and became quite disturbed.  I could actually be doing far more harm than good by taking all this stuff.  It was time I faced the thing I was trying to avoid. My food choices were horrible and no amount of suplemention would ever fix that.  There were just way too many pills going into my body and it had to stop.   My first step was to get a true picture of what my body needed, or was lacking.  I went to an antiaging doctor and had a full battery of tests, including blood, saliva and urine analysis. Then a profile was created to show my levels of vitamins, minerals, cholesterol, hormones, etc.

Through that process, I learned exactly what supplementation, if any my body needed.  I learned that many vitamins we take really just pass through our bodies without absorption, literally money down the toilet.  I learned most people are Vitamin D deficient and it is a falacy  to think the sun will take care of that.  I learned that you can indeed get what your body needs from food, but it can’t be genetically altered, or hormone laden.

I buy whole food whenever possible. I buy grass fed, hormone free meat. I have eliminated almost all dairy. I do eat hormone free fresh mozzarella.  Not sure I can give that up.  Whenever possible I buy the goat version.  I take Vitamin D (with K2 to insure absorption) and two herbal supplements to support my adrenals which were in late stage adrenal fatigue.  I drink one PowerShake a day (organic full fat! coconut milk 8oz, handful of organic (blueberry, blackberry,strawberry whatever I have), half organic banana, tsp vanilla, two ice cubes) and one “green” whole food shake (Purium) made with two scoops of greens mixed with water.   That’s it. All the rest comes fropm good, clean, delicious food. I cook my meals and they do not come in cans, bags or jars.

I am sleeping slightly better and when I recheck my levels (every 6 months), I’ve been mostly in good levels.   Vitamin D was hard to get in range and my hormones have had some fluctuations, but otherwise I’m in a good place.  I’m urging you to take inventory of your pills. What are you putting in your body today?   If you are swallowing a ton of pills, it’s time to pause, learn and change.

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Excuses

My family was all home for Mother’s Day last night.  I enjoyed a few glasses of wine and their company.  This morning I woke with a slight headache and it’s raining and cold outside.  I really would love to stay in my bed and do nothing.   Suddenly that voice starts in my head. You know the one, “You can skip the workout today.”  Just do it tomorrow, or later, or…  Excuses are easy to find and hard to resist.

I probably can name every excuse you’ve ever thought of because I’ve had them all.  Here’s the truth about what happens when you use them though, they derail you rather quickly.  For example, if I had rolled over today and said I’d do the workout later today, it likely wouldn’t have happened.  Later, I’m sure something would come up and I’d then make another excuse and say, “I’ll just take today off and get back on track tomorrow.”   Then tomorrow the cycle would start all over again.  Before you know it I’ve missed workouts and start losing my drive to do them as the routine has been broken.

One of the best way to deal with excuses is to schedule your workouts on a daily planner.  Write them down and think of them as a work appointment, or important meeting.  They are not negotiable and not to be moved around.  Adopt a no excuse policy.  Unless you are medically excused you must do it, no excuses, just like your job. If you have a fever, are vomiting, or have a true medical issue you must listen to your doctor.  Otherwise, game on.  Listen to your body though.  If you are sluggish, consider walking instead of running.  That’s a great modification that keeps you moving and on the path to health.

Let’s talk more about modifications because like apps, there’s a modification for almost everything.  I’ll share a bit of my journey to illustrate this point.  I suffered an ankle injury years ago.  After that, every now and then my left ankle would feel like it popped out of place.  I’d circle it and it would pop back in.  This went on for years.  Fast forward to three summers ago.   I was running a lot of inclines on the treadmill.  Really pushing myself and loving it.  One day I noticed my ankle was swollen.  Then I noticed the swelling was not going down.  I wasn’t really in much pain, but concerned enough to get it checked. I had a torn peroneal tendon from years of that popping and use in running hills.   Surgery followed and a beast of a recovery.  Now this is an acceptable excuse for not working out, right.  It could have been, but I tried super hard to stay on the path.  I was non weight bearing for six weeks, in a boot for three months and unable to walk correctly for almost a year.  What could I possibly do?  Swim!  I started as soon as I was on a cane, so that was three months into recovery.  I walked myself on a cane into the gym, to the pool edge and into the pool.  I was kind of embarrassed, which is ridiculous, when I did it but I did it.  Getting in and out was the hard part.  Did I love to swim?  Nope.  Did I hate it?  No.  It gave me hope that I could continue when really I just wanted to give up.

This year, after getting myself back in running condition, I sustained a femoral stress fracture, right side. Man did that do a number on my mental state.  I mean seriously, how much can one girl go through?  I was told 20 week recovery and NO swimming, biking, yoga, walking for exercise, or anything.  Wow, this was going to be a real challenge.   I decided to make this time about my arms and upper body.  Operation sexy arms I dubbed it.  I did my thirty minutes daily in a chair.  I modified my workout streaming and completed pretty tough upper body workouts in a chair.   I used a program that broke the body into sections and did thirty minutes a day.  This was because you really shouldn’t work the same body part when weight lifting every day.  Each day I worked one of the following – back, arms, shoulders, chest, abs.  I cycled through with one day of rest.   I did this for six weeks time.  Then I added in cardio when I was able to stand, but it was truly modified because I couldn’t put any pressure on my legs.  No jumping, squatting or anything.   It wasn’t much cardio, but I pumped my arms a lot and it was psychologically uplifting.

I am sharing my story to say that it can be done if you refuse to use any excuses not to do it.  I’ve had so many things happen to me that could have truly taken me off this path.  I’m not going to lie, it would be far easier to take the excuse.   It would be easier to take it and nobody would really blame me for doing so.  But I’ve come too far to lose now.  I am tougher than anything and know there is always someone who is worse off than me.  I’ve seen people in races I’ve run with one leg, no legs, blind, obese or fighting cancer.  They aren’t taking any excuses to not get out there.

This journey is about digging in deep and pushing through.  Get the calendar out today and plan for your thirty minutes a day (minimum) of exercise.  Write it down and do it!    No excuses allowed!  You will be so happy you did and trust me, eventually it becomes a habit, like brushing your teeth.

I’d love to join you on your journey.  Join me on Facebook on Reclaiming My Health to share your story.

Change

I have clothes in my closet in three different sizes.  I have my “skinny” clothes that I refuse to throw out because every few years they fit again.  I have my regular clothes that fit most often and I have my “fat” clothes that I never want to wear again.   I’ve thrown out my size 12 clothes as I will NEVER wear those again and throwing them out made me commit to that.  Why do most women have multiple size clothes in their closets?  Because we generally go through these cycles of change.  Lasting change in our bodies and minds takes time. We have to accept this fact or we will never stay on the path long enough to achieve it.

Change in our mindset has to happen to help us push through when the going gets tough.  Let’s face it, most of us are emotional eaters.  We eat when stressed, depressed or even happy.  We seek comfort in food. It’s not realistic to think we will just block out stress or emotional issues in our life.  Finding better ways to deal with them is our best tool and “comfort food” shouldn’t be our go to solution.

One way I’m trying to deal with the stress of my life is exercise.  It is a great distraction and stress reliever.  It doesn’t even have to be hard.  If I’m sitting in my office and feel stressed, rather than going to the dreaded snack drawer, I grab my notebook and go walk the building.  I visit classrooms and change the channel in my brain.  These visits can do just as much for me, if not more, than any cookie ever could.  Can you walk around the block during work?  How about at home, put the kids in the stroller and go?  Can’t get out, buy a treadmill and walk when they are napping.

Another way I’m trying to control my emotions is through yoga.  A regular yoga practice is very good for the mind and body.  I practice Baptiste yoga, which is done in a heated room, 3-4 times a week. (Currently not allowed due to injury but May I’m back). When the class is over, I feel emotionally ready to face my day.  This practice is more than just “exercise”.  It’s truly a personal journey to reset your inner voice.  If you are saying you are too fat, not flexible enough or interested, I’d say yoga is for every body.  Anyone can practice and there are so many variations available to choose from.  Take a gentle or restorative class and I guarantee you’ll be hooked for life.

Last week I talked about celebrating small victories along the way.  This too helps control our emotions around this journey.  The photograph for this week’s post shows 5lbs of fat vs 5 lbs of muscle.  They are both representative of the same amount of weight, but they look drastically different, don’t they?  Print this photograph and hang it near your scale to remind yourself that we are changing our bodies. A daily workout will help reshape your body.  Your scale may not move at first, which is why I keep saying to take measurements.  Even if your weight remains the same, think of our photograph.  You are reshaping the muscles and they are far more compact than fat.  If your clothes are fitting, it’s working despite what the scale says.

I hope you are willing to commit to this  journey.  It is hard and you will face many challenges along the way.  Try to be proactive and seek different ways to deal with the stresses in your life.  What’s working for you?   I’d love to hear from you here, or join my private Facebook group.  Send me a message to be added to the group.

Next week we will talk about excuses.  Have a great week.