Posts Tagged ‘exercise’


Your Body May Need to Diet, But Your Soul May Need a Feast…


We Americans tend to overeat and under-exercise.

Duh, right? But, while we spend an abundance of time trying to quell these tendencies of ours, how much time do we devote to making sure our souls and spirits are nurtured well???

Did you just take a big gulp? Yep, me too.

I hope, as you read my Wednesday posts, you will feel like you are addressing your soul just as much as you are exercising and eating right. Honestly? If your soul and spirit aren’t headed in the right direction, what makes you think you can conquer a weight or physical health issue???

Did you just gulp again? It’s okay. I have a plan.

As part of MIP’s Slow Reader posts, I’m going to bring to your attention some books and online readings that you can peruse to understand more of my spiritual journey and hopefully, chart a path for your own journey. Again, your journey may be quite different from mine because you and I are unique little snowflakes! But I am going to trust that God can bring to your attention the parts of these books that will inform your journey. 


You 3.0: Questions & Tips, Part III


Today we tackle general questions and tips I have encountered on my journey to a healthier me. And yes, this will be my last “dissertation” on fitness for a while. You can all breathe a sigh of relief now.

  1. What if I keep getting arthritis or I have a huge blister on my foot? Won’t that keep me from losing weight by not being able to exercise? Take 2 Aleve or some other pain reliever about 30 minutes before your workout and I bet the arthritis goes away. If you have a headache, chances are that your body is telling you that you need some hydration (aka water) or a sports drink (G2 to the rescue!), so try that first. They make moleskin for blisters plus hydrocolloid bandages. You can even cut the moleskin to precisely fit the blistered area. This stuff works great and is what got me through 3 days of walking 60 miles for the Susan G. Komen organization. Don’t let this stuff deter you from exercising. Let’s be honest–all these little excuses are just your way of whining your way out of a workout. How did I know this? Cuz I’ve used them, too. 🙂
  2. If the problem is more severe than some minor aches and pains, that is your body’s way of saying you need to alternate or slow down your workouts. On days where the feet can’t take the pounding anymore, I do yoga. Yoga helps my arthritis go away and helps me sleep! A lot of yoga poses can be done in a sitting position, as well. Don’t like yoga? Do sit-ups while you’re watching your favorite program or while listening to calming music. Other low-impact exercises also work. They may actually improve your weight loss ratio because you’re really varying your workouts!
  3. If you are having SEVERE pain or have a bad cold, STOP exercising altogether until you have this investigated by a professional and are cleared by them. This is a WARNING that you are either overdoing it or your body needs to rest! Take some vitamins to help your body recover from your illness or condition, but only take those that your health professional recommends. Drink lots of water. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap. Clean that treadmill (particularly if it’s used by multiple people!). In other words take care of you!
  4. What if I don’t like walking? Then, pick some form of exercise that works for you: yoga, using your game system exercise equipment and games, bicycling, dancing, etc. This is YOUR exercise routine–make it work for YOU! Just keep trying things until you find what works for you. If you need to, get a buddy to work out with you, so you’re accountable to someone. (I would pick someone who is roughly at the same fitness level as you or someone who is not too competitive or judgmental.) If necessary, hire a personal trainer for a month or two…to learn how to work out more effectively and to motivate yourself. Find what works and stick with it and change it up when it’s no longer working! You might enjoy walking or running outdoors more than that treadmill, so maybe just a change of environment will do the trick!
  5. Reward yourself when you meet a goal. Goals keep me motivated, so do make small goals for yourself. The first one may be to just work out one day this week for 30 minutes and that’s okay! Reward yourself with things you like, but NON-FOOD ones. My favorites? New, cute, expensive (well, at least on sale!) workout clothes! Why? Because I actually want to wear them and I look stupid wearing them elsewhere. Maybe it’s getting a new haircut. Maybe, for you, it’s a piece of exercise equipment or subscribing to some service that helps you track your fitness journey. Even though I just hit my ultimate goal weight, I still have new goals for myself! And thus…new rewards!
  6. Invest in good sox and shoes. It’s pretty hard to do this fitness thing for very long if you’re using inferior equipment and gear. You’ll minimize blisters if you wear really cushiony (Sure that’s a word!) sox. You’ll have fewer injuries or arthritis if you wear really good shoes (Go to a sports gear store and have them advise you on this!). You may pay out the wazoo (whatever a wazoo is) for this stuff initially, but it will probably last longer and prevent doctor bills. That’s just good common sense!
  7. Don’t compare your journey with others’ journeys. This is really, really hard for me to do, mainly because I sometimes want to have the same achievements and goals as others. There is nothing wrong with getting new goal ideas and tips from others, but don’t let that creep into making you feel bad about your own journey! Pat yourself on the back when you reach your own goals and enjoy those moments big-time!
  8. Change one thing each week. Research shows that it’s really, really hard to change bad habits. So, don’t try all of this at once. Make a list of everything you feel you need to change on the fitness front and pick out the smallest, easiest change on that list. Make that your first change. Small successes make you more motivated to change more things! When you’ve got that first one “under control,” look at the next easiest change and work on that one next. I bet, in a year, you will be amazed at how different your lifestyle is!
  9. My scale is my friend. No, really. My scale merely gives me feedback about where I am on my fitness journey. Nothing else! It does not define me! It’s a number ONLY. You will still be wonderful you tomorrow whether you gained weight today or lost it or stayed exactly the same. So, use that number on the scale to help you adjust your workouts and eating plan accordingly. Do NOT become punitive about this–just adjust stuff and see if it helps or not.

Tomorrow’s Post: Pomp Romp…

You might also like: You 3.0: Questions & Tips, Part II, You 3.0: Questions & Tips, Part I, You 3.0: MIP Exercise Plan, You 3.0: MIP Eating Plan, You 3.0: Mindset, Part III


You 3.0: Questions & Tips, Part I…


Hopefully, by now, you have started your journey to better health.  If so, congratulations to you! Even if you’re not seeing results yet, you deserve congratulations for not being complacent and actually changing your habits. The hardest part is getting started, so kudos to you!

But, how does one sustain such a start, over time? That’s the biggest part of my journey–learning how to do this practically for the rest of your life without feeling deprived. And yes, I think I finally get how to do this now…I still have lots to learn, I’m sure, but I’ve been doing this for about 3 years now and I don’t plan on going back. So, here are the lessons I’ve picked up along the way, plus questions people ask me frequently:

So what do you do if you can’t exercise 99 minutes a day for whatever reason? Do at least 15 minutes of walking at one time. Park at the edge of every parking lot you encounter. Walk during your lunch hour (You can probably do 45 minutes right there!). Make yourself do household chores for 99 minutes each day. Mow the lawn with a walking mower. Play something other than video games with children or grandchildren (preferably your own, but you could babysit someone else’s, if need be!). Walk up and down the stairs when going to upper floors in office buildings, etc.

What do you do if walking isn’t your thing? I recommend yoga. In fact I recommend yoga even if you ARE walking. It will keep the arthritis and other aches and pains down to a dull roar and actually help your walking routine. And yoga can be done anywhere, anytime for just a few minutes a day. It’s amazing how quickly you start to sweat while doing yoga, too! And that meditation part is optional as far as I’m concerned! And you don’t have to look beautiful doing these poses. Do them in a closet, if need be.

Other tips for getting yourself in the groove:

  • Plug in that iPod and listen to your favorite music! My daughter listens to Pandora’s comedy channel while running and at least she’s laughing periodically while she’s panting away around a track!
  • Give yourself a goal. The DSL‘s parents just recently set the goal to run their very first 5K in honor of their 25th anniversary and actually beat that goal by several months doing a “Couch to 5K” running program via a free phone app. “Mom” even had to figure out how to do that while dealing with asthma. If she can do it, so can you!
  • Do something helpful for someone else. Sometimes the motivation we need is to help out those who cannot help themselves. I got started with the walking thing when my dearest friend came down with Stage IV breast cancer. I decided to do the Komen for the Cure 3 Day Walk, which consists of walking 60 miles in 3 days. The 3 day site has a training plan for couch potatoes like me and I used it! Because of my friend, I kept huffing and puffing my way through the training program until I could do the walk.
  • Put yourself first in this one area of your life. If you are unhealthy, chances are you’re not going to be able to adequately care for those you love when they have a crisis in their own lives. So, working on your own health is actually the most selfless thing you can do for them.
  • Learn a new skill. Some folks take dance lessons to get fit and have a blast while doing it. Some learn to cycle or do kickboxing. Whatever floats your boat!
  • Make it a priority! Other things come after your workout. My workaholic hubby manages to get up before dawn each day and finishes his workout about the time I get up. But, at least he doesn’t have to worry about making time for it that way. I prefer to do mine last thing at night for the same reason.
  • Break it up! Do 15 minutes before you get ready for work. Go to work. Do 45 minutes during the lunch hour. Work some more. Walk 15 more minutes after work. Go home. Get some household work done and help the family. Do 15 minutes after everyone else is in bed. Guess what? You just did a 90 minute workout without it disturbing your life that much! And research says that it makes no difference if you do it all at once or broken up like this!
  • Tell yourself it’s your patriotic duty. The reality is that if we don’t get healthy as a nation, this will actually affect our ability to compete among the other countries of the world one day because of the amount of money that will have to be spent on health care, etc. Don’t believe me? Watch “The Weight of the Nation” series by HBO.


Don’t miss next Wednesday: You 3.0: Questions & Tips, Part II…

Tomorrow’s Post: Back-a-whaty-it?

You might also like: You 3.0: Mindset, Part I, You 3.0: Mindset, Part II, You 3.0: Mindset, Part III, You 3.0: MIP Eating Plan, You 3.0: MIP Exercise Plan


You 3.0: MIP Exercise Plan

Heart 9

The other harsh reality about being healthy and fit is that you most likely will not keep off the weight you’ve lost unless you exercise regularly. Regularly does not mean every 6 months, whether you need to or not. Sorry to burst your bubble on that one.

So, what is the story on exercise accoring to research findings and the experts? Regularly means you have to exercise most days of the week. That’s a bare minimum of 4 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day. However, that’s the MINIMUM for MAINTAINING your current weight. If you want to actually lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories than you currently are eating and you exercise a MINIMUM of 45 minutes per day at least FIVE days a week. If you are middle-aged or even age-proficient (my personally favorite way of saying that someone is no longer a spring chicken), guess what? It gets worse (just like everything about aging). Because our metabolisms tend to slow down with the aging process, we actually have to exercise a MINIMUM of 60 to 75 minutes per day at least FIVE days a week  to see some actual weight loss. Yes, this just stinks…big time. But, we really don’t get a choice on this one, so we just have to put on our big guy or girl panties and deal with it!

So, here’s how I do it with a really busy schedule:

1. Buy a good treadmill. Did you know that, if you get a doctor’s note stating that you need to exercise for your health, you can write off the treadmill sales tax on your income tax? Yep, it’s true.

2. Resist the urge to use your treadmill as an extra place to hang your laundry.

3. Put treadmill where you will have to trip over it….regularly. That doesn’t mean your junk room, your closet, your basement or your garage. I think the most effective place for it is right in front of your refrigerator door.

4. Get addicted to some series on TV or to a really good book.

5. Mount a cool TV near that really irritating treadmill.

6. Put on some really cool (You interpret cool the way you want to–I prefer both meanings.), really comfy exercise clothing.

7. Get a G2 (That’s gatorade for Hefty bag-sized people like me).

8. Get an old towel.

9. Take the G2, the old towel and possibly that great book to the treadmill.

10. Get on the treadmill. Yes, you actually have to get on it to begin losing weight. (Yes, I think it’s unfair, too.) Stop whining.

11. Start the treadmill. If it’s been a while since your last workout, you may need to actually read the instructions for this part. (I personally believe this is why many men still have their beer bellies.)

12. Increase the speed of the treadmill one “notch” at each commercial break or scene change. If reading, increase it at the end of each page, section or chapter. Try not to fall off the treadmill each time you do this.

13. Stay on that treadmill until you’re reaching for that towel or G2 like your life depended on it. For me this happens at the 50 minute mark. Why? Because I exercise for 99 minutes per day 5 to 7 days per week. Yes, you read that right. And yes, I worked up to this, starting with 30 minutes in the beginning. And I’m in my mid-fifties. Stop whining.

14. Slow that treadmill down about 90% of the way through your workout, gradually.

15. Get off the treadmill when snails can crawl faster than your walking speed.

16. Collapse on the floor and let the dog or cat lick the sweat off of you. Easier than getting in the shower–trust me. But, when you recover next week, you might want to wash off the dog slime in the shower. Then, clean the dog slime off the shower walls. That’s part of the workout.

17.  Repeat each day and vary the walking routine. (Most treadmills come with a variety of walking workouts.)

You better be reading this while on your treadmill. 😉 Yes, the treadmill has to be moving…and so do you. Stop whining.

Don’t miss on Friday: You 3.0: Tips and Tricks

Tomorrow’s Post: The last person to ever encounter Morrie…

You might also like: You 3.0: Mindset, Part I; You 3.0: Mindset, Part II; You 3.0: Mindset, Part III; You 3.0: MIP Eating Plan


You 3.0: Mindset, Part III…


As you may recall, last week I asked you to consider several questions about eating, exercising and just plain living. Considering the answers to these questions helped me to shed more than 30 lbs. recently. I have kept it off for several years now and I think this is largely due to thinking through these questions. So today I have some more for you to consider and I promise…these are the last ones! (I heard you–you just said, “Hallelujah!” or “Thank God.” Don’t deny it!):

  1. Do I need to clean out the pantry and the refrig and the “stash” (Yes, I know some of you hide food from your family.) so that I’m less tempted? I often designate one side of the pantry or a couple of shelves to “my food” so that I’m less tempted to eat the junk food that everyone else in my family insists on having on hand. *sigh* Remember—I’m still “in progress,” too! This may get better after the DS goes to college. I sure hope so!
  2. Am I ready to actually design a way of eating and exercising for the rest of my life? If not, then stop reading this now until you are. Why? Because you do have to do this the rest of your life. The reality is that you’re aging (even if you’re a teen!), so your body is going to start rebelling about this and keep rebelling for the rest of your life. So unless you’re willing to make a sensible diet and exercise plan that you can keep going for the rest of your life, this won’t work. End of story. Deal with it. It’s reality. But, you can do this!
  3. Is it easier for me to count calories, points, fat grams, carbohydrate grams? Is it easier for me to do portion control? Is it easier for me to weigh my food? Is it easier for me to just have the food put in front of me, ready to go? Is it easier for me to avoid restaurants? (The portion sizes and calorie counts in most restaurants are ridiculous!) Do I have time for meetings?
  4. Can I work exercise into my routine? Do I do better with 4 workouts a week ? 5 per week? 6? 7? Again, I defy research and actually do better with 7. Why? Because I can get really, really lazy if I skip one. I change them up, so that the intensity is lighter one day and harder the next.
  5. How often do I need to weigh myself? Experts say to do this once per week to keep your morale up. Actually I do better knowing, each and every day, exactly where I stand. It determines the intensity of my workout and gives me feedback about what foods pack on the pounds and which ones don’t seem to bump it up even an ounce. I do have to tell myself it’s ONLY a number and not who I am.
  6. What are my strengths? Are you great at keeping records? Then, log everything you eat and go to town with spreadsheets! Are you a writer? Then, journal about how you’re doing and how you’re feeling! Are you a reader/researcher? Then, google about diets and exercise to your heart’s content and find the tips that work for you. Do you get lost in TV shows? Then, plant that TV next to a treadmill and work out to your favorite program. I bet you’ll workout longer than you thought! Are you a brilliant chef? Then, take healthy foods and conjure up great recipes of eats for all those days when you don’t feel like eating “diet food.”  Do you like to do crafts in the evening? Great! Just don’t eat while doing them! Use these things to your advantage!
  7. How do I sabotage myself? I tend to take the chip bag to the couch with me and before I know it, I’ve consumed the whole bag! I also tend to eat everything that’s in front of me, whether I’m hungry or not. I can make a mountain range out of an anthill, particularly if it’s an opinion about myself as I try to change my health in a positive way. So, I have to have a battle plan for when I do these things. They are going to happen—I just have to have ways to cope with all of this nonsense!
  8. What is the best thing I can gain if I do this? I have some real health concerns that could take my life at any minute and so, when I want to be a bum about eating right or exercising, I remind myself that I want to hold a grandchild in my arms someday. That future grandchild is what gets me off the sofa and onto my treadmill. So, is the teeny bikini the “best thing”? Is it getting a date with that one person you’re dying to go out with? Is it not having to take medication that you hate taking? Whatever it is, keep that idea firmly in your head at all times! And no, no one else gets to judge your “best thing,” as long as you don’t turn it into an obsession!


Don’t miss You 3.0: MIP Eating Plan on Friday!

Tomorrow’s Post: A book is a poem? A poem is a book? (And I thought I was long-winded.)

You might also like: You 3.0: Mindset, Part I, You 3.0: Mindset, Part II, Lessons Learned from Visiting Sam Moon for the First TimeAbsolutely, It’s All about the Splash


You 3.0: Mindset, Part I…

banana split

One of the post-DD-and-DSL-wedding perks is that I am 33 lbs. lighter these days. People still come up to me and say, “Wow! You look great!  What did you do?”  I offer up my journey to “MaryAnn 3.0” only because the “Battle of the Bulge” is often a very painful, back and forth journey for many people and not because I think I have it all figured out.  For all I know, tomorrow I may gain 33 lbs. But, for those who truly want to win the battle this time and want a little bit of hope, here is how I approached it and the lessons I have learned along the way. I have greatly modified my original version of this, so it may seem quite different for the FB readers! And since the original version was ridiculously long, I’m breaking this up into “bite-sized pieces,” so that it’s a little more easily “digested.” (Did you really think I would talk about dieting without throwing in some “groaner”-type humor? C’mon…you know me better than that!)

So, today’s “theme” of the bite-sized pieces is “mindset.” My “journey” began with the realization, one day, that I really do know how to lose weight and get healthy. I don’t need another diet book. I don’t need more gym equipment or another gym membership. I know what to do, because I’ve already tried a bunch of weight loss methods. So, the counselor in me decided I needed to get honest by answering a pile of questions about how I like to eat, workout and think! Folks? This was the key to my success. If you honestly answer these questions and design your “plan” around who you are, then you’ll succeed, too!

  1. Do I enjoy cooking? When they were handing out the cooking gene, I apparently thought they said “hooking,” and avoided the line. The only time I enjoy cooking is on holidays, so if I’m going to diet, it has to involve as little time in the kitchen as possible. And I have noticed the more time I spend gawking at food, smelling food, cooking, doing dishes, and cleaning my kitchen, the more I eat. So, I don’t watch the Food Channel, don’t gawk at FB and Pinterest food pics and avoid my kitchen like the Bulge-bonic plague that it is. Step away from the Food porn!
  2. What kind of time do I have to devote to healthy cooking? When I started this little “battle plan” of mine, I was in grad school, doing my counseling intern hours, working, studying for comps and helping my daughter plan her wedding. In other words, I had zero time to cook, even if I had gotten the gene.
  3. How much money can I budget for eating in a healthy way? While I do think that, over time, you will come out about even on the money spent for healthy eating, the fact remains that changing what’s in your refrig and pantry is going to take some initial cash outlay, if you’re like most Americans. And no, eating up the bad stuff first is not okay. I know how you think.
  4. Do I eat breakfast? Studies show that if you eat protein in the morning, you will most likely lose weight or weigh less. So, if you’re not a breakfast person, here’s your first “battleground.” I recommend trying to drink something by no later than 9 am, at first, to get yourself in the habit of consuming something in the morning. Then, work yourself up to having that protein. If you have to, work yourself backward from noon in 15 minute intervals.
  5. Do I snack regularly? If not, you’re probably sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Yes, eat more often. This is how Dolly Parton took off her weight…she  broke her 3 big meals into 6 smaller meals, spaced evenly throughout the day. This causes your metabolism to work more efficiently. Dolly has kept her weight off, utilizing this little lifestyle change…for decades. I think all the weight went to her wigs.


To Be Continued on Friday: You 3.0: Mindset, Part II…

Tomorrow’s Post: I wish all my rivers were mink…

You might also like: Absolutely,  It’s All About the Splash, Think You Don’t Have What It Takes to Change the World…Think Again, Lessons Learned from the Woman’s Exam Day…


Lessons Learned from a Routine Examination…


Warning: You may want to get two of your favorite beverages first.

Some might think this is an inappropriate topic for a post. I tend to agree. However, you know me…inappropriate is my middle name.

Each year around this time MaryAnn goes through “the annual check-up” nightmare. Oh. Joy. Not. The first one, the dental check-up, is usually pretty easy, except for the things I outlined in my previous post! The next one is my annual heart check-up, thanks to having two heart attacks for a very weird reason at too young an age. Last, but certainly not least, is the dreaded “ladies” exam scheduled for next month. But, here is the “fun” that awaits me each year for the annual heart exam.

1. They weigh me at this exam and if my weight is too high, I get a “lecture”. This would be why I stopped scheduling this exam right after Christmas.

2. Based on the possibility of getting the lecture, I think I could qualify for an OCD diagnosis–I can’t seem to quit weighing myself 4 times a day the week prior to this exam.

3. There is an inverse correlation between “days to go before exam” and the number of Lean Cuisines in my freezer.

4. Based on the fact that I’ve actually considered taking more fiber pills before this exam to avoid the dreaded lecture, I think I also now qualify for an eating disorder. Note to self: Buy stock in whatever company makes Fibercon.

5. The possibility of MaryAnn actually running on her treadmill goes up dramatically the week prior to the exam.

6. You can walk/run for 99 minutes on your treadmill before you have to reset it for the rest of your workout. The most effective workout program on the treadmill? Stealth Killer Mode.

7. I now evaluate my clothes on how heavy they might be on that torture device known as a scale.

8. I am not allowed to eat or drink anything prior to my exam. That’s basically like saying, “Don’t look down!” to a person rappelling off a cliff.

9. The chances of me getting a migraine from not eating go up dramatically the day of the exam because the first available exam is at 4 pm in the afternoon. Does swallowing pain pills qualify as eating or drinking?

10. The lab techs at my exam are intent on bleeding me dry. I think they have been watching too many Twilight movies. The lab tech does look a lot like Bella.

11. The lab techs always ask me why I turn my head away from them as they bleed me dry. How long have they been doing this?

12. The lab techs always ask me a question that requires me to look at them just when they jab me with that big ol’ needle. Oh, and I forgot my smelling salts.

13. My blood is still red. Too red.

14. I’ve been going to this exam for 14 years and my medical file (I’ve never changed clinics.) is now entering “Volume 3” status. Yet, on the one occasion I don’t bring my plethora (You’re welcome, DD.) of medicine bottles with me (because I didn’t have time to rent a U-Haul), they will ask me for all the drugs I’m on, including milligrams per pill. Here’s a thought: how about consulting Volume 3 for all of those milligrams? You prescribed them, silly clinic. Oh. And another thought: When you call me to remind me of the appointment and not to eat or drink, how about suggesting I bring all my bottles with me??? Oh. Wait. That makes sense and would be too convenient for me.

15. They require a urine sample. See # 8. I’ve resorted to jumping up and down in the restroom. I sure hope there are no hidden cameras in that lab restroom. That door where you put the specimen makes me very nervous…easy place to put a hidden camera, if you ask me.

16. I now qualify for a paranoia diagnosis in the DSM.

17. The procedure to “properly” collect a urine specimen is longer than the instructions on how to launch a NASA rocket into space. This might explain why insurance companies are reluctant to pay for “experimental medical treatments.” Jus’ sayin’.

18. # 17 does not help with # 16.

19. The nurse insists on placing actual metal contact points all over the trunk of my body and then hooking me up to an electrical device. And they stick on like post-its. Note to self: Buy more stock in 3M. When do they bring in the bucket of water to pour on my body? Oh. Wait. I might actually drink some of the water and that, of course, would be disastrous.

20. # 19 does not help with # 16.

21. Now, I have to run on a treadmill. I don’t “do” running. And I’m wearing street shoes. How about adding “Wear sneakers” to the ever-growing list on # 14? And since I have maxed out my treadmill on minutes per workout for the last month in preparation for this exam, they’re all ticked that they can’t get my heart rate above the “I’m bleeding out of my ears” level. They continue to increase the speed until I fall off the treadmill and bang into the adjacent wall. 

22. At least I’m in the right place for stitches.

23. As I limp out of the clinic, I pay my exorbitant co-pay that Obamacare was supposed to be paying.  The bleeding continues.

24. As I get in my car, I think, “And I don’t have my test results back yet.” See # 16.

25. The result of the exam? I now have a new prescription…for anti-anxiety meds. The bleeding continues.

26. My car drives straight to McDonald’s and orders 3 Big Macs. Not me…the car. I’m still in shock.

Point to Ponder Challenge: What annual exams or tests have you been putting off because of fear, laziness, or busyness? Your health is at risk, if there are some on the list you haven’t done or you don’t know what exams or tests you should be having. If you know you’re procrastinating, get busy and get at least one of them scheduled today…the “lecture” shouldn’t stop you! If you aren’t sure what you need, consult a trusted medical source to find out. If you can’t afford such an exam or test (or insurance won’t cover it), google local places that may be willing to do some screenings for free (or at a reduced price) at a health fair, etc. You cannot work if you are sick! You cannot take care of your family if you are sick! You can’t study (at least not well!) if you’re sick! If you are fearful of the test/exam, take a friend or family member with you and let them know about your fear. Usually, reality is not nearly as bad as our minds envision! And yes, the above was “dramatized” just to get you to giggle about all of this as you go forward and get proactive about your health.

Tomorrow’s Post: I am…not done with the book I am…supposed to be finished with. Might have something to do with being traumatized from this exam. Jus’ sayin’.



Heart Attacks Give Me a Headache…

           Heart - Sky

What do psoriasis, migraines, arthritis, and gum disease all have in common? They are all newly-discovered risk factors for heart disease. If I had my two heart attacks today, I could no longer answer “No” to every heart disease risk factor question. Why?

Because I have had migraines for nearly 47 years and they don’t appear to be permanently going away any time soon. But, they, in and of themselves, are a huge risk factor for heart disease now. The kicker is that one of the meds I was taking to prevent migraines in 1999 actually increased my risk for heart attacks! In fact, several medications that I was taking back then for various “routine” health conditions were all huge problems for someone at risk for heart attacks!

Those who experience auras with their migraines are much more at risk for heart attack than those who don’t. So, if you are a migraine sufferer with auras, that means you need to eat right, exercise regularly and talk to your doctor NOW. You might be on a medication that could throw you into a heart attack just like me, since this is a relatively new finding!

Also, not getting enough sleep can increase your risk! What?! Yep, that’s right. Why? Because a lack of sleep increases your stress level and stress can increase the inflammatory response of the body. So, knock off the coffee in the afternoon and choose decaf or better yet, simple little water.

What else does this mean? We should all be brushing and flossing our teeth regularly. Such a simple thing to do, but how many of us slack on this? And if your arthritis is out of control or your psoriasis is out of control, you need to be talking to your doctor as well. Why? Because these are all inflammatory diseases and there is now a link between inflammation in the body and the potential for having a heart attack.

In addition, you should know the heart attack symptoms and get yourself to an ER or doctor’s office immediately if you experience these symptoms. Lastly, you need to be eating right, taking your vitamins, and exercising regularly, not only to prevent heart attacks, but also to increase your chances of surviving one, should you have one. A woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 2.5 minutes; a woman has a heart attack every minute. Heart attacks are the # 1 killer of women and I came ridiculously close to being a part of that statistic in 1999.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are too healthy to have a heart attack like moi. Be smart. Be the hero. Do your job for those you love–take care of you!

Point to Ponder Challenge # 1: Visit this link to learn more about how migraines (and taking certain contraceptives) can increase the risk for heart attacks. 

Point to Ponder Challenge # 2: Are you getting enough sleep at night? (Preferably 7-8 hours per night) What can you do to change that pattern, if not? No more caffeine after 3 pm? Yoga or pilates before bed? Drinking warm milk (has tryptophan and is actually pretty tasty with some sweetener and Mexican vanilla!) before bed? Turning off the TV? Reading a book? Praying? Singing (Probably best to do this in your head, if you have “roomies”!)? Taking a warm shower? Lavender Pillow Spray? Make a “sleep log” and see if any of your interventions are working.

Point to Ponder Challenge # 3: Psoriasis sufferer? Visit this link and then make a visit to your doc if new meds may be warranted.

Point to Ponder Challenge # 4: Bad about brushing/flossing your teeth regularly? No? Visit this link to learn why it’s important. Then, get busy and brush those teeth and keep that floss handy!

Point to Ponder Challenge # 5: Arthritis bringing you down? Visit this link and learn what you can do to reduce your risk for heart disease by curbing arthritis’ impact on your life. Then, go exercise! Yes, exercise. It actually reduces arthritis over time. And I highly recommend a Tempur-Pedic bed, if you can afford it…my arthritis is almost 100% gone because of exercise and that cushy bed. And I sleep a whole lot better, which just took care of Challenge # 2! Boom! I love it when a plan comes together. 🙂

Tomorrow’s Post: The Man of Misdirection


Wanted: Temple Carpenters

Hard hat


Today the Bible fell open to 2 Chronicles 7. Here are a few verses that jumped out at me today: “Solomon completed building The Temple of God and the royal palace…the projects he had set his heart on doing. Everything was done–success! Satisfaction….God appeared to Solomon that very night and said,…”I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice, a house of worship….I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from Heaven…From now on, I’m alert day and night to the prayers offered at this place. Believe me, I’ve chosen and sanctified this Temple that you have built: My name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always.” (The Message)

Somewhere I recall reading that after Jesus died for us, our earthly bodies became temples for God, because if we accept this fact, then God lives in us. So now apply that to what I just wrote down above. He has chosen our bodies for sacrifice and worship and when we are seeking God in our bodies, He is with us, ready to listen…He’s alert all the time to our prayers. He has stamped His name on us forever and He is ever watching us and over us and His heart is in us always.

WAY cool. This does not mean that we shouldn’t go to our local churches on Sunday, but it does mean worship and attentiveness to God can happen anywhere because we have “portable temples” (very appropriate for an iPod generation) and that, when we build ourselves according to God’s building code, he is there ready to listen and to be with us even when we feel the most alone.

Gotta go do some temple building…the projects I have my heart set on doing for the wonderful feeling of success and satisfaction…a little exercise…a little sacrifice/service…a little worship of a truly cool living God. Do hard hats and treadmills go together?

Point to Ponder: In what areas of your life is the “temple” only partially built? Physically? Mentally? Emotionally? Spiritually? What activities could you undertake today to further build your temple? Exercise for 30 minutes or more? Eat right? Read a thought-provoking book? Permit yourself to fully feel the effects of a past or current event? Read your Bible? Get ‘er done! 🙂

Tomorrow’s post: Lessons Learned from Two Heart Attacks Too Soon