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My Forever Journey

The last two years with COVID have been a wake up call. I am 67 years old and have survived a bout with the disease however that was not the challenge for me. The staying at home with two hungry grandchildren led to my undoing. We had way too much fun cooking, baking, eating and ordering out. I gained 18 pounds over the last two years and developed inflammation in my joints.

So fast forward to February of 2022. Ever since menopause I have had what I call an allergic reaction to chocolate, especially dark chocolate. I react to it with migraines which is so unfair. This year post Valentine’s Day after consuming too many chocolate covered almonds I ended up in the ER with confusion and high blood pressure. These can be symptoms of a Transient Ischemic Attack in vessels of the brain. Sometimes a precursor for stroke.

Talk about a wake up call! I knew that when I got out of there I had to make some drastic changes. Life as I knew it was over. After being scanned, poked and prodded I found out the results of all the testing: high cholesterol, moderate build up in Coronary arteries, migraine, and obesity. Time to take control over my health.

First step was agreeing finally to take a Statin drug to lower the cholesterol. That worked beautifully and brought my LDL down to healthy levels. Second step was to find some help. I asked a close friend and coworker who has a large health and wellness practice to mentor me in diet and exercise. I also enlisted the support of my family. My husband is going on this journey with me for which I am grateful.

The third step was beginning a journal during my prayer time in the morning. Asking God for His guidance with why I’m overeating and using food as a drug. Food has been a source of pleasure, reward, solace, entertainment, and basically an emotional crutch as far back as I can remember. I have examined why I overeat during other times in my life and I have learned a lot about myself but there are still places within that need healing. I know that as I learn and grow personally food will become just a source of fuel, not my go to friend.

That brings us to today. This series of posts will be about my journey to optimal health and I invite you to come along. Maybe you need healing in this area too. I will share my successes and failures and the forever plan that I’m following. We can be healthy at our stage in life. In fact, it’s been my experience that once the kids are out of the house I now have time to focus on me. For those of you who are younger, start taking care of your health now!! For once your health is gone, life becomes a huge struggle.

I welcome your comments just know that I will be approving what is published here.


Viral Humor

Even though being sick is not a funny situation, we still need a sense of humor surrounding the quarantine and staying home circumstances.  Also, I believe that laughter is the best medicine. So here are some of my favorite funnies.  I’m posting them so that all of us can find some joy in our day.

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Day 7 Detox

This isn’t for weight loss though it can be a great side effect. The 21 day plan is for detoxification. Ridding your body of pollutants, preservatives, and helping your cells to work better. It’s also a great jumpstart for a healthy eating plan. Having said that, I weighed myself at the beginning which everyone should do and then I weighed myself this morning just for some extra encouragement and that’s what I got. I’ve lost 15 pounds!


Holistic Health or Turn off the TV

Back in the day, holistic health referred to the whole person, an undivided approach to wellness. I had a professor in nursing school who taught the theory that all illness is caused by emotional reactions. For instance, since cold germs are always present, we “catch a cold” when our immunity is weakened by grief or stress. I agree with her, that human beings are made up of physical, emotional, and spiritual selves and they cannot be divided for the purpose of treating disease.

This theory was brought home to me this winter. I have joined an exercise class made up of women who are older than I am. The main topic of conversation is ailments, MRI’s, physical therapy, acupuncture and the latest health report on the news networks. The prevailing attitude is negative about life in general. Granted, getting older is not for the faint of heart, but this stage of life is no more difficult than any other stage, it’s just different.

Now I ask you, if we are a whole person and wellness comes from being well in every aspect of that person, why do we treat the physical and neglect the emotional and spiritual parts? These women spend a lot of money on the latest treatments for their physical ailments, yet they ignore the stress caused by watching the nightly news or the anger that has not been addressed in decades, or the grief and hurts that have not been resolved or the basically negative worldview.

Western medicine seems to diagnose and treat the physical ailment without considering what emotions, or spiritual beliefs lead up to it. Stress, we are finally acknowledging is a contributing factor but is there a concerted effort to treat that as well? I think if we payed attention to the mental state, emotional history, and all the body systems that contribute to disease we would have more keys to treatment and prevention.

If the women in my class delved into their emotional state, worked to change their mental outlook and turned off the TV, I believe their physical health would improve. The atmosphere in our class would be more upbeat and optimistic. Am I the only one who thinks like this? Weigh in, let’s continue the conversation.


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Biking in December

IMG_0382Living in the Mid- Atlantic region means temperatures are in the 30’s and 40’s in December. Everyone I talk to puts their bikes in the shed and looks for indoor exercise venues. My advice, don’t be so quick to table biking outdoors. There are always days when the temperature moderates and warm biking gear works well. I even found a pair of heavy weight biking pants at WalMart. Old school lined leather gloves with tapered fingers are great for changing gears and keeping hands warm. If you are prepared you can still bike until Christmas.


Treating the Holiday Food Hangover

You know how the movies always treat a hangover with some weird concoction that is based on raw eggs and worchestershire? Well food hangovers during the holidays beg for treatment as well. After the Thanksgiving all-you-can stuff buffet which ended with trying every dessert on the table you feel horrible the next day. Your stomach is crampy and your eyes are puffy. Food hangovers can be every bit as painful as alcohol hangovers.

So, I’ve developed a quick reboot that settles down my system and prepares my body for the next holiday onslaught. Hopefully, it will also dampen the temptation to overeat rich food again.
Invest in a basic juicer. Anything that will handle raw fruit and vegetables with the peels. Then follow the recipes the next day after a night at the buffet.

> First major tip, drink lots of water with fresh lemon throughout the day.

> Breakfast with Pear Nog which was published a few years ago on this blog. Search for it under Healthy Recipes. It’s a combination of greek nonfat plain yogurt, two ripe pears, plain soy or almond milk and a scoop of plant protein powder. I like to flavor it with vanilla and cinnamon.

>For midday I like to eat a clear soup with chicken broth, tofu, carrots, and snow peas. Our local Chinese eatery makes a great soup like this without msg.

> When I’m hungry again I combine peeled limes and oranges with a handful of fresh cranberries, carrots and apples in the juicer. Experiment with the combinations and quantities. I like to drink at least 2 cups worth.

> Then, dinner is a spinach salad with lots of fresh vegetables and if I’m really hungry some steamed pasta or brown rice. More juice works before bedtime and add some fresh mint leaves if you have them available.

I’ve found that this formula restores my sense of wellbeing and I feel so good that I don’t always want to eat every rich concoction that I see. So try it and give me some feedback on how it worked for you.


Menopause – What to Do After the War

For those of us who have made it through menopause to the other side or have lived with someone who has made it, this post is for you.  Do you feel like you have battled in a war with your own body for years?  For me, there were nine years when I was uncomfortable in my own skin and my emotions were volatile.  I was definitely in warrior mode.  Always spoiling for a fight and feeling like I had to wear body armor to deflect the hurts that were flying toward me.

It was like being in a battle.  Of course, it is also the stage in life when your children are separating from you with all of their hormonal tactics and your husband is going through his own losses.  This war absorbs who you are and your purpose in life until all you are doing is fighting to survive.

Well, now the battle is over, your body has changed and it’s time to clean up the battlefield and help the wounded.  You can take off the armor and put your sword in the corner. Bring the pain, disappointment, anger, bitterness and lack of forgiveness to the surface so you can heal and move to the second half of your life.

Restore the relationships that you slaughtered.  Reassure everyone that your emotions are stabilizing.  Express your feelings, taking responsibility for them.  Ask for forgiveness and in turn forgive.  Call your children and let them know that you love them.  If you still have a husband, let him know that you love and respect him as well.  Take time to think about who you are and what your purpose in life will be from this day on.

It is also a good time to check your level of physical wellness.  Maybe it’s time to put your body back together.  Begin with a physical exam and face the changes that you need to make for optimal health.  Building a life of no regrets is the next task. .  Have you done all you can do to improve your well-being?

These are the issues you will be dealing with until you can free yourself from the past. You can overcome.  Living in peace is the reward.  Admit that you were gone but now you are back and the menopausal war is over.


Owning My Skinny Genes

The genetic results are in.  I am what is known as a Fat Burner.  In order for me to reach an optimal body weight I need to keep my Fat consumption under 30% of my total calories per day and I need to workout intensely at least 3 times per week.  The MET total for the week needs to be a minimum of 13.  The MET is a value assigned to different exercises.  For example, riding my bike outdoors with hills for 45 minutes is an 8 MET activity.

So, what does all of this mean?  That for me fat is the problem, and lofat eating is the way to stay healthy.  This genetic test has confirmed some things that I already knew about my body and has given me a definite path.  No more stabbing in the dark, wondering if I should go hi-protein, lo-carb or a balanced approach or Mediteranian or Asian, or fasting for 2 days per week, etc., etc., etc. It is such a relief.


Pampering Instead of Chocolate

When you come home from a tiring day and need a reward, instead of reaching for the Hershey’s kisses in the freezer, continue on into the bath and give your dry winter skin a prize.  Whether you are a shower person or bathe in a tub, you can take at least 30 minutes for a face peel, hydrating masque, sugar scrub and body butter.  Your skin will feel wonderful and the chocolate will be forgotten.  My favorites, Artistry brand of course, Essentials Hydrating Botanical Spa Collection.