Posts Tagged ‘health’


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: Mindset, Part II…

walking at sunset

On Wednesday I started discussing what I have learned from my 2 year journey to losing weight. At the time I started I was well overweight by most objective standards. Today I am at a healthy weight with a 15 lb. cushion (and that’s the way I like it!). Many have asked how I did it and to me, the most important part was changing how I think about me, my weight, my fitness and my eating habits. As much as you may hate me saying this, it really is a battle of the mind first and foremost. If you choose to think that you can diet for a specific period of time and then binge afterwards, you might as well just forego the whole diet thing altogether. I asked you to consider 5 questions on Wednesday…to thoroughly examine how and why you eat, how and why you do or don’t exercise and who you are as a person. Everyone is different and my path to fitness and health will most likely be different than your path. But, these questions helped me identify what would and would not work for me and I hope they do the same for you:

  1. When do I tend to overeat? I am a mid-afternoon and late evening snacker. This is my big battleground.  At first I tried not to eat after 7 pm. Total failure! So, I have to have foods I like on hand that don’t contain too many calories for those snack attacks late at night. I had to experiment to find foods that quelled the “hungries!”
  2. Why do I overeat? In my case, it’s usually because I’m watching TV or I’m bored or tired. It’s essential that you understand why you do this. Do you eat when you feel sad? Do you eat when you’re angry or frustrated? Then, be ready to combat this head on, with some coping strategies. It’s probably better for you to punch your pillow or cry it out or hop on a treadmill than to eat yourself into a heart attack or diabetes. The pillow, your red, blotchy swollen face, and your tired, aching body will recover—your heart and metabolism may not. If you’re trying to squelch a memory of a bad childhood trauma, then you may need a professional to help you figure this stuff out.
  3. Do I like to exercise in the morning or at night or at noon? When do you have the most energy to exercise? The PH is an “early bird” and gets his workout in before I even get up in the morning! I, on the other hand, prefer to work out in the “dark of night.” I sleep better doing it late at night (This defies research, folks. I’m just weird!) and I have more energy then, since I’m a night owl. The PH just shakes his head at this pattern of mine. It’s okay—I groan and roll over in my bed when he gets up at o’ dark thirty for his little pattern.)
  4. Do I like to exercise alone or do I need an accountability buddy? Most studies will say that working out with someone usually works better.  Again, I defy research here. I find that it’s hard to find someone with the same fitness level and the willingness to put up with all the idiosyncrasies of my health adventures that often invade my workouts. So, I work out alone, on my enclosed porch, where I can wear really stupid combinations of t-shirts, leggings, shorts, sox and tennies without being critiqued by the fitness fashion police.
  5. Do I like working out outdoors or indoors? While I usually enjoy my outdoor workouts, I hate taking a flashlight with me to work out at night and many areas where I would do this are not safe for a female alone at night. So, I usually work out indoors. The lighting in my neighborhood is still sparse and we have “varmints” in our neighborhood that are just as nocturnal as I am. Remember: I like to work out alone—in a “No Varmint” zone.
  6. Do I have any health conditions or changes in my general health that should be monitored by a doctor while I work out and change my diet? If so, be smart and check with that doctor first before making major changes. I agree—it’s a pain, but then dying from a too-kamikaze workout is usually rather painful, too. I think you should opt for the doctor-inflicted pain myself.


Don’t miss You 3.0: Mindset, Part III next Wednesday, May 14th!

Tomorrow’s Post: MaryAnn is a songwriter???

You might also like: You 3.0: Mindset, Part I, Lessons Learned from Visiting Sam Moon for the First Time, Absolutely, & It’s All About the Splash


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’.