DISCLAIMER:

live with physical challenges.
I am NOT a DOCTOR!!! I don't even play one on TV!!! It is my goal to live a more healthy lifestyle. Living well and being happy is what this blog is all about.

"Nothing,' wrote Tolstoy, 'can make our life, or the lives of other people, more
beautiful than perpetual kindness."

- Gretchen Rubin




I write about my own experiences and what works (or does not) for me. Nothing I write is to be taken as medical advice.

Only your health care provider, personal physician,Disclaimer:
I am not a doctor - I don't even play one on TV! This
or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.








Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wellness A-Z: R=Relaxation to Reduce Stress

R=Relaxation to Reduce Stress
Is it just me, or does it seem as though life on this planet gets more crazy with each passing day?  Go here, go there, do this, do that!  I was listening to a talk show the other day and the discussion was about how back when my generation was growing up, we used to be able to go to the neighbor's house, knock on the door and ask if Suzie could come out and play.  In this day and age, the mothers have to actually schedule play dates for their kids.  What a simple time I grew up in - and I'm so thankful!
 
Since life is such a hectic mess these days, how important is it to take a little time out each day to just relax?  Well, let's take a look at all the great benefits of relaxation:
  • Decreases muscle tension
  • Gives the heart a rest by slowing the heart rate
  • Increases blood flow to the muscles
  • Slows the rate of breathing, which reduces the need for oxygen
 How does relaxation make you feel?  Many people experience:
  • Less overall pain
  • More energy
  • More even emotional state - i.e. less anger, crying, anxiety, frustration
  • Better sleep
  • Greater efficiency, more productivity
  • Enhanced immunity
  • Better problem-solving skills
  • Increased concentration - better able to focus
A rule I abide by in my own life is K.I.S.S. which means Keep it Simple, Silly!!!
If anything - even my relaxation routine - gets too complicated, chances are I will not continue.  My personal relaxation routine is very simple indeed.  One power nap - every afternoon at 2pm.  I sleep one hour.  I do not set an alarm.  I've always awakened at 3pm.  I feel great for the rest of the day!  I'm more productive and a very happy camper with this routine. 

I reached out to my wonderful friends in my facebook group to ask how they incorporate relaxation into their lives.  These are ways to relax that are simple and anyone can do them:
  • Listen to music or a guided meditation CD
  • Walk along the beach (by the ocean)
  • Take a power nap
  • Horseback riding
  • Breathe deep and relax with the breath
  • Gently stretch
  • Lie down and rest at some point in the day
  • Take a soothing bath - incorporate some aromatherapy
  • Have your wonderful partner give you a massage (with the intent of returning the favor, of course)
Other ways to relax involve paying for services at a spa which may or may not fit into your budget.  If I have a little jingle in my pocket, I enjoy going to the spa for a facial.  There's just something about that...  it's so relaxing, and it makes me feel so feminine and pretty. 

Life is full of stressful situations and one of the best defenses we have against all the outward pressures is relaxation.  Every day it's important to just stop and "be".  It's okay if you feel foolish doing that at first.  Trust me, the more you purposefully stop and "be", the easier it becomes.  Pretty soon, you will wonder how you ever got through the day not doing it.

When I was a kid, I had a real problem taking an afternoon nap.  I fought going to bed tooth and nail.  Today, I can honestly say - when 2pm rolls around, I'm curling up in my bed saying bye bye to the cruel world for one hour of blissful escape into dreamland.  I love my afternoon nap - my relaxation!

Power nap guided relaxation.  Ahh...

http://youtu.be/vQcB6NI7cMo


Today is NATIONAL INSPIRE YOUR HEART WITH ART DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!  What could be more relaxing than art appreciation?  Whether it's paintings in an art gallery or a concert at the local hall, art has a way of speaking to the heart like nothing else.  Let some art inspire your heart today!




 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wellness A-Z: Q=Question Everything

Q=Question Everything
I took some journalism courses back in high school.  One of the first things you learn to do in order to create an interesting and riveting story is ask questions.  Most people know the basic questions in journalism - the 5 "W's" - who, what, where, when and why.

When you embark on a wellness journey, you have to be a good investigative reporter.  Read everything you can get your hands on, but know that you can't just blindly trust every single thing you read.  There are some pretty far-fetched claims out there, but by the same token, there are some perfectly legitimate and sound pieces of information out there.  It's up to you to determine what holds water and what does not.

Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions.  - Earl Gray Stevens

Sometimes the process to determine the validity of a claim is just as simple as testing the theory for yourself.  In fact, that is usually the best way to weed out the fabulous from the fake.  When I was told that a change in the foods I was eating would result in a lessening of my pain level as well as weight loss, I was very skeptical indeed.  As I began to eat a more alkaline-based diet and drink water and get enough sleep at night, the changes were nothing short of phenomenal.  Undeniable changes, really.

Be your own sleuth and sort through the maze of information for yourself.  I believe, especially regarding health issues, there is no one answer for every body.  We are all different and what works for one may not work for another.  You have to keep asking the questions and seeking answers diligently.

A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be. 
- Albert Einstein

The information super highway is overloaded now more than ever.  Unfortunately, I have not found the article that says chocolate (dark or otherwise) is alkaline-based.  Bummer! 

Here's a "why" question for you.  Why is lemon water alkaline?

http://youtu.be/WndFDIa6a0s


 

   

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wellness A-Z: P=Personal Best

P=Personal Best
In years past, I spent an inordinate amount of time wishing I was someone else.  I didn't have a desire to be anyone in particular (well, Audrey Hepburn comes to mind), but I knew I did not want to be me.  I did not want PCOS, I did not want to carry so much extra weight around, and I certainly did not want to be part of the diabetes club! 

At my lowest point I began to play mind games.  Once in a while I would see some nice looking woman and say to myself, "You know, if God would ask me to trade bodies with her, I'd say yes!"  Sometimes I still catch myself having those sorts of thoughts, but not as often.  I'm me.  I'm not anyone else.  I will never be a size 0.  I will never dislike chocolate in any form.  I am Linda - and nobody can be Linda better than me!

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.  - Abraham Lincoln

Do I still have these health issues?  Well, of course - but the difference is, now I am at peace with it.  I accept the PCOS and all the unpleasant and heartbreaking challenges.  I accept the Type 2 Diabetes and those frightening challenges.  By accept, I do not mean I am giving in to the challenges.  I mean I know it's going to be an uphill climb, but I can and will make the journey toward wellness.  Will it be easy?  No.  Nothing worth having is ever easy.

This journey is not about becoming someone else.  It's about becoming a better version of myself.  When I take care of myself - i.e. choose to make my physical and mental health a priority - then I'm better equipped to care for others.  It's easy to put your own needs on the shelf in order to care for others.  But the truth is, if you take care of yourself the way you should, you'll be better for them. 

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.  - Carl Rogers

Don't let anyone tell you that taking care of yourself is selfish.  Self-care is crucial and not selfish at all.  It's important - especially if you are battling a chronic disease.  Here's another way to think about it:  If you don't take care of yourself, who willIndeed!  The wellness "ball" is in your court.  What will you do with it?

Jim Rohn on Personal Best.  Get the most from every day! 

http://youtu.be/mnk-pzUAehs
    

Today is NATIONAL PUZZLE DAY!!!!!!!  If you enjoy doing puzzles then today is the day to start one!  If puzzles are not your thing, then you can just spend the day trying to figure some people out - because there are some folks who are a real puzzle to get to know!




Monday, January 28, 2013

Wellness A-Z: O=Omega 3's, 6's and 9's

Roll the dice - Viva Omega!
O=Omega 3's, 6's and 9's
It feels a little bit like we're in Vegas.  First they rolled a 3 and put the number behind the very popular omega 3's.  But wait - they rolled the dice again and there were omega 6's.  Then again - and there were omega 9's!  I'm waiting for the unveiling of the new omega 12's!!!

The difference in the three comes down to molecular structure.  Now, I'm not a scientist, but as I understand it, all fat is made up of fatty acids, and all fatty acids are composed of chains of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms.  At the molecular level, some fatty acids have long, fatty tails that bend in different directions.  Some are straight with no double bonds, or unsaturated fats, also referred to as monounsaturated fats, which have one double bond; and the polyunsaturated fats, meaning there's more than one double bond.

Fatty acid names and numbers correspond to the number of carbon atoms they contain, and determine where and how they bond and twist together with hydrogen and oxygen atoms.  Omega 3, 6 and 9 are all unsaturated fatty acids with double bonds in the 3, 6, or 9 positions. 

Omega 3's:  Of all of these, the omega-3's are the most important for good health.  Because they tend to suppress inflammation in the body, they are key to overall wellness.  Inflammation is the cause of many of the degenerative diseases that plague us.  Omega 3's counter the pro-inflammatory effects of omega-6's.

The parent molecule for omega-3 fatty acids is alpha linoleic acid (ALA).  Our bodies cannot produce this on their own, which is why it's so important to purposefully include omega-3's through supplementation or diet.  Unfortunately, in our Western diet the omega-3's are sorely lacking.  So we take fish oil caplets or incorporate foods such as wild-caught salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, trout, anchovies, walnuts, flaxseed and green leafy vegetables. 

Omega 6's:  The parent molecule of the Omega-6 family is linoleic acid (LA).  Omega 6's are abundant in our American diet!  It's in our common vegetable cooking oils, soybean oil, sunflower oil, canola oil and corn oil (but NOT olive oil).  Because it is so readily available, we have a heavily imbalanced ratio of omega 6's to 3's.  As we mentioned earlier, the omega 6's have a pro-inflammatory effect on the body.  It becomes clear that we need to increase our omega 3's and decrease the omega 6's in order to maintain a healthy balance.

Omega 9's:  Omega 9's are found in animal fats and vegetable oils. These are not an ideal replacement for 3's and 6's, and the body will eventually suffer from this.  There are tons of data pointing to the disease-prevention powers of olive oil.  This research is pointing to its high polyphenol content rather than to its fatty acid content as the origin of its health benefits.  Evidence points to a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting and anti-bacterial effect of polyphenols in the body. 

A little side note:  Since olive oil contains oleic acid, the same oil made by our skin glands, it is common knowledge that olive oil is one of the best kept beauty secrets ever.  From facial cleansers to lip exfoliation, olive oil works wonders to bring a healthy glow to skin. 

Viva Omega:  Mother Nature intended for us to eat garden-type foods (no, I'm not going to start singing a folk song!)  Getting a good balance of the essential and non-essential fatty acids is important to good health and wellness.  No one wants to live anything but a quality life - I want a good quality life, that's for sure! 

You may be tempted to just throw your hands up at this point and give up - but don't!  Let's review just how serious chronic inflammation in the body can be - how debilitating can the end result be? If your body does not have enough omega 3's you can end up with such diseases as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke or Alzheimer's - to name a few. It also lowers the LDL ("bad") cholesterol.

How many different ways can I say it? Your health really IS in your hands! The situation really has reached a critical point in the United States.  The National Institutes of Health has reported the majority of U.S. diets no longer contain the amount of omega-3 fatty acids needed by our bodies for overall health and wellness.  We know the facts - but what will we do with the knowledge we've gained?

When I get old, I want my neighbors to point and stare and say, "Oh crap - what's she up to NOW?"  I have no choice but to age - but I do not have to mature.  I don't wanna grow up...  you can't make me...  you can't make me!

Omega-3 fatty acids and the American diet.

http://youtu.be/68_L-xuApfk


This is going to tickle your fancy...  today is NATIONAL KAZOO DAY!!!!!!!!!!!    Well, what more is there to say???  Stick a kazoo in your mouth and be happy!  Why not???

   








Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wellness A-Z: N = Nutrition will Nourish

N=Nutrition will Nourish
People scoff at this notion all the time.  When I hear the half-laughs and see the rolling eyes, I have one simple remark to make:  test my theory!  Sometimes I am asked, "Ok - what do I have to do along with eating healthier foods?"  My answer to that is "Nothing - just eat raw for one week and then come back and we'll discuss how much better you feel."  

Most people are not willing to give clean eating a try - but a few have actually taken me up on the challenge.  At the end of the week, we talk again - and these people are truly amazed at how much better they feel!  Some people even report some weight loss in that short amount of time.  I ask if they increased their exercise.  Most tell me they did not even begin to exercise - they just lost the weight because of the change in eating habits.

It's sort of funny, because a lot of people tell me they feel sorry for me because I can't eat like everyone else does - because of my Type 2 Diabetes.  Well, the fact is, I'm eating the way everyone should strive to eat!  People who are not diabetic can still have such issues as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.  Everyone should keep a close eye on what they eat - and how much.  Although, truth be told, if you are eating the right foods - the quantity really becomes a non-issue.  The better a food is for your body, the more of it you can eat.

Honestly, I'm kind of glad I have Type 2 Diabetes!  It's really more of an added incentive for me than anything else.  If I did not have it, then I may not be as diligent as I am.  Since I want to maintain good health just as long as possible, I am more careful.  I'm glad I have to be more careful.  I'm not suffering because I no longer sit in front of the TV with a bag of chips!  That is not something I grieve, or wish I could do again.  Mindless snacking was once a part of my routine, but it has not been part of my life for quite a while now!  I'm so much happier and healthier without it!

Making good food choices is so beneficial in so many ways.  My mind is sharper than ever, my wit is keen and quick (which I love), I laugh more because I feel so much better, I'm more confident in my own skin.  I'll never be a skinny Minnie, but that's ok.  I know I'm doing all the right things and my body will be just what it's supposed to be as a result.  My health has returned.  My A1c is very happy.  I have a real sense of accomplishment and I'm proud of my success.  It's truly my passion to spread the good news about this one simple step - nutrition!

If you are still addicted to processed foods - stuff in bags and boxes, the nasty nitrates from the processed meats, and the soda - I invite you to take this simple challenge.  Replace all of that with good fresh vegetables and lemon water.  Buy organic if you can, but if you can't it's still alright.  Find some really good recipes - but keep in mind that they should not be cooked to death.  To cook vegetables to death is literally to kill the nutrition in them!  Steam for just a little while - they should still be crunchy when they're done.  I enjoy raw vegetables with just a little yogurt dip.  Right now I have a bunch of broccoli in the fridge with my name on it.  I'm looking forward to my morning snack!

There are tons of green smoothie recipes online.  Find one you think you'd like and try your hand at juicing.  Incorporate fresh vegetables into your diet and pitch the junk food for one week.  Give it a week and I promise you will consider making it a lifestyle.  You will feel so very GOOD!  Stay happy and healthy!

I like this green smoothie - it's got some "sweet" to it.

http://youtu.be/eXr8-jru1KE







 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Wellness A-Z: M = Meet and Manage Limitations

 
M=Meet and Manage Limitations
I suppose this is a lesson I learned as a small child.  In the third grade, my parents were told that I was reading and writing at a first grade level.  I did not see any tears or screams or hear "Oh No!"  Mom and dad remained very calm, cool, collected, and I remember there was a discussion about it.  There was no blame, no name calling and no raised voices.  No one got negative and gave up!

Meeting the limitations in life - or the challenges - with a degree of positive thinking and attitude goes a long way.  Dyslexia did not keep me from pursuing my dream of being an effective communicator.  I worked - I worked very hard to overcome this limitation.  Summer school and special education classes became the normal routine in my life.  Did it bother me when the other kids called me ugly names and made stupid gestures at me?  Sure it did.  There was bullying even back then.  But I didn't complain because I knew there was going to be a better life in the end.  And so there was - and is!  My story is not over yet - we're just getting to the good part now!

My parents were such great role models to me.  The way you face a limitation or challenge mentally makes a big difference.  If they would have belittled or blamed me for my disability, imagine the scar that would have left on me.  I'm so thankful to them because they just took the next step.  Whatever needed to happen next, it happened.  I have Dyslexia - but Dyslexia does NOT have me!  Do I still have to do eye exercises to stay strong?  Yes, I do!  I'll be doing those for the rest of my life.  Is it worth it?  Oh, you bet! 

I have Type 2 Diabetes - but Type 2 Diabetes does NOT have me!  I refuse to be defined by the limitations I live with!  That is not going to happen.  With this disease, I have decided to learn just as much as I can about it and fight it with every weapon possible.  Every day I just thank God that He has given me one more day to fight.  If it's a day with no further complications from the disease, that is a great day!

Today I can read (and I read a LOT).  I love all forms of communication!  If what I write in this blog can help someone else, then my work here has not been in vain.  It's my hope and prayer to receive more opportunities to write about the alkaline lifestyle and the impact it has had on my Type 2 Diabetes.  My A1c has never been happier - and numbers don't lie.   

Have a happy and healthy day!

What can I say?  Sometimes these cute videos win out!!!

http://youtu.be/pTgOLLmTQI0
 


Hey, guess what today is?  It's NATIONAL SPOUSE'S DAY!!!!!  So, if you're married, do something sweet for your significant other.  It might just make them speechless - and wouldn't that be a first for most of us?






 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wellness A-Z: L = Love without Fear

L=Love without Fear
Have you noticed how often the word love is used - out of context?  I've heard people say they love their new car, or they love the way their new blue jeans fit or they love their new coffee mug.  Really???  For Pete's sake!!!

Loving an inanimate object lessens the value of love.  - Linda Palmer   

Love is a precious gift from our Creator.  God is love.  Love is meant to be shared with other people, but for some reason it has become this catch word that loses ground every time it's used inappropriately.  Oh, I've done it too - I think we all have.  We almost do it without thinking about it!  I love this new coffee I bought.  Sure.  What I'm really trying to say is that this new coffee is the best I've ever tasted - but the word love is much too strong a word to use and my choice of words should be more accurate in the future.

My philosophy is:  It's none of my business what people say of me and think of me.  - Anthony Hopkins 

I can't speak for everyone, but when I meet people and begin to invest time and effort in trying to establish a relationship - I feel very vulnerable during that process and I'm afraid of getting hurt by them.  If we were brutally honest, we'd admit that there are certain expectations we have of others - and they have certain expectations of us as well.  I do not make friends easily and I don't love everyone without fear - fear of rejection or fear that I'll get hurt.  I admit that I've basically shut myself off from others at times in an effort to keep my heart from getting hurt again.  Is that right?  Well, probably not. 

When I worked outside my home, people actually told me they thought I was afraid of other people.  So, you see - this really is an area where I'm still in the infant stages and taking tiny baby steps to get better.  I do fear people because I have been hurt quite badly in the past.  It's my feeble effort to guard my heart I suppose.  Some people are mean - and mean people suck.  I just need to realize that not all people are mean - not all people suck.

No fear exists where his love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn't have perfect love.  - 1 John 4:18

God's love is perfect - I get that.  So if the Holy Spirit lives in me then I should have perfect love as well.  If He lives in another person then they should have perfect love too.  Why is this such a high hurdle for me?  I don't understand.  But I know that forgiveness is a huge part of loving.  If you keep score of a person's faux pas - and they keep track of yours - you are not going to have perfect love, that's for sure! 

All I can say is - I'm working on it.  I'm trying to open up a little more every day and when I do, it seems I find more love from others along the way.  Perfect love gets rid of fear.  I'm tired of being afraid of people and what they might do to me.  I've decided that I can't control what others do, but I can sure be the person God wants me to be.  God wants me to love everybody. 

For there are these three things that endure: Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love.  - 1 Corinthians 13:13

So in my quest for wellness I'm paving the way with LOVE.  What others do is their business.  I'm not perfect and my love is not perfect - but I'm in touch with the one Who's Love NEVER FAILS.  Every day I choose to love, no matter what.

Hillsong - Perfect Love.

http://youtu.be/_zslw6WulFo


Today is NATIONAL OPPOSITE DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!  So, whatever you expect from me - guess what?  You're gonna get the exact opposite!!!  Wow - I may have a junk food diet today.  Hmm...  am I feeling that stupid?  Maybe not.   











Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wellness A-Z: K = Keep a Wellness Journal

K=Keep a Wellness Journal
I don't suppose this is something that guys could necessarily relate to, but when I was a little girl, I kept a diary.  My first diary was white with little pink hearts on it.  It had a little lock on it and I'm the only one who had a key.  I wrote (well, printed) all of my little secrets in it.  I told my diary everything, from how I loved Danny Edwards in Kindergarten and wanted to marry him someday to how I thought my mama's newest pair of glasses made her look "mean".  My diary knew things that no one else knew.



Nowadays I don't write secrets in a diary, but I do still keep a journal - a wellness journal.  I do this for several reasons, the first being accountability.  Every morsel I eat and every move I make gets recorded.  Each time I test my blood sugar - good or bad, it gets written in the journal.  Writing everything down makes me more responsible for my actions.  A couple of days ago I was experiencing some major stress and my blood sugar went crazy high.  I wrote down what happened and how it made me feel and what I was doing to try to lower my blood sugar.  I imagine my blood pressure was elevated as well, but I didn't take it.  One demon at a time! 


When everything is recorded, it makes it easier to go back and detect any patterns in blood sugar and behavior or blood sugar and food choices - and I also record blood pressure when I check it, although I don't keep as close an eye on it as I do my blood sugar.  My bad - I probably should. 



My journal has come in handy at appointments with my doctor.  If she asks me for details regarding something specific, I can just refer to the journal for an answer.  So many times I don't remember particular details from day to day, but I know it's all written in the journal.  


Writing everything down has helped me limit the intake of certain starches.  For example, I learned that potatoes, pasta, white rice, milk, most cereals and breads can make my blood sugar rise quite a bit.  These are foods I've basically had to avoid as much as possible.  Some other foods don't seem to have an affect on my blood sugar.  Cinnamon is my friend and helps me lower high blood sugar every time.

You can't change what you don't acknowledge.  - Dr. Phil McGraw

It takes a personal revelation of sorts to finally come to grips with Type 2 Diabetes.  There are basically two reactions that people have - and they are related to the "fight or flight" reaction.  People are either going to go into complete and utter denial - they will avoid ever having to deal with their diagnosis and pretend it does not exist (flight) - which ends badly - these are folks who develop complications early on because they have not taken care of themselves.  Others are going to stand up to the disease and do the work and learn everything they can about how to fight it tooth and nail.  That's me - count me in!  I don't want complications early on because I want to live a good quality life.  I will not choose mere food over my health.  My quality of life means so much more to me than eating a bag of chips!

I record my weight every day.  In this way I notice when foods or lifestyle factors are getting me off track - or maybe they are helping me lose more weight.  I can take note of what I've done that helped - and just hopefully keep doing it.  I have also noted sleep patterns - times I wake up in the night or times I take naps in the afternoon.  Any temptations to go on food binges are also noted.  Sometimes a craving will make me crazy - I write it down and possible reasons why I may be craving that certain food or type of food.  Once in a while I just have to get some Chinese takeout.  I think there must be some nutrient I'm missing that is in Moo Goo Gui Pan.  

The journal makes it easier for me to stay on track.  It is not a fancy journal - just a notebook that I keep at my desk.  There are wellness journals that you can purchase if you choose to get that fancy.

If you are seriously trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the more information you record, the better.  Here are a few items that I record in my journal:
  • Food intake (breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner) and blood sugar before
  • Water and liquid intake
  • Sleep patterns (number of hours - uninterrupted) Naps, Catnaps in the chair
  • Exercise (type, length, blood sugar before and after)
  • Symptoms of illness (migraine, cold, flu, sinus, allergies, reactions)
  • Pain or fatigue (sciatica, neuropathy, foot pain, frozen shoulder)
  • Skin changes (acne, rosacea, rashes, dark patches)
  • Hormones (my personal favorite)
  • Alertness (ability to settle down and think clearly - or not)
  • Bowel habits (another fav)
Keeping a journal has helped me pick up on subtle changes that I would not have noticed otherwise.  I think so much clearer and more rationally after I've eaten cauliflower.  I don't know why, but that is true.  Cauliflower is my brain food.  Why?  Who knows??? 

Complex carbohydrates make me sleepy!  I'm snoozing big time after eating things like potatoes, pasta and bread.  My blood sugar skyrockets and I just need sleep.  I don't like that feeling - I can't be productive when I feel like a slug.

Benefit of journaling.  
http://youtu.be/YBeYKPcYxBQ

Today happens to be NATIONAL COMPLIMENT DAY!!!!  Husbands need to pay special heed to this information.  If it's been a while since you paid your wife a compliment, you'd better make up for some lost time!  There are some things we never get tired of - like when you say, "No, those pants do not make your fanny look too big!"  We really like that one! 

 


Today is also BELLY LAUGH DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This is my favorite holiday because it's my excuse to be happy for the day!  I pop in a Jeff Dunham DVD or a Chonda Pierce DVD and I'm good to go off to Belly Laugh Land!!!!!!!!  Enjoy your day - and laugh your a** off!!!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wellness A-Z: J = Journey with Anticipation


J=Journey with Anticipation
My physical body was a wreck. I was not taking good care of myself and in return my body was not being kind to me. I dreaded getting up in the morning and frankly if I didn't wake up - it would have been fine. The physical un-wellness had manifested itself in some psychological ways as well. I didn't think anyone liked me (let alone loved me), I never thought I was worth anything and mirrors became taboo in my life. Up to the point when I was diagnosed, I was in major depression and in complete denial about my downward spiral.  I mastered the art of the fake smile and phony laugh.

You need to listen to your body because your body is listening to you. 
- Dr. Phil McGraw

When the fight or flight response is inevitable - when you have no choice but to choose one, and you know you really cannot choose flight - I mean, you have a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes staring at you - where will you fly to?  You can't escape it - although I've seen newly diagnosed patients who give it a try!  They find very creative ways of sinking into denial.  I'm so thankful I had the presence of mind to realize this is not a diagnosis I had the ability to escape.  I had to fight it the best way I could.  And fight I have done - and fight I will continue to do!

You cannot be who and what you are unless you have a lifestyle, both internally and externally, that is designed to support that definition of self.
- Dr. Phil McGraw


There comes a point during the battle when you sort of ease into the routine and you sense a sort of anticipation about life that you lacked before.  In my case, I was so sick (and evidently did not realize just how bad I felt) and when I began to feel better, it was like a blindfold had been removed from my eyes!  Life was no longer a chore to be done every day - there was some joy inside me for the first time in a very long time!  I began to journey with anticipation!  I looked forward to each new day with brand new enthusiasm!

I love life today!  I smile for no reason.  I laugh for no reason.  I feel great and I'm happy for the first time in a very long time!  Today I look forward to my future and more joy in my journey!  Bring it on!  

A few years ago, I was listening to Dr. Phil on TV.  He was counseling a couple about their rocky marriage and asked both of them, "How much fun are you to live with?"  I asked myself that question and I was really ashamed of the answer.  I had to admit I was absolutely NO fun to live with - none!  I've made some great strides since that time, I'm happy to say!  Today I am a lot more fun to live with.  I became a better role model for the kids I taught, I became a better co-worker, I became a better wife, and I became a better friend.

Awareness without action is worthless.  - Dr. Phil McGraw

When you make the decision to take care of yourself, everything else falls into its proper place.  I have a great journey ahead of me - and I don't want it to be something I just have to go through with a sense of gloom hanging over me.  I want to journey with a sense of wonder - with anticipation!  Tomorrow is very exciting to me now.  Let's DO this!

Anticipation - it's a GOOD thing!!!

http://youtu.be/JTC5e4aIAgU

Today is NATIONAL HANDWRITING DAY!!!!!!!!!  Spend some time today practicing your handwriting.  Good penmanship is a lost art these days, since we have computers and usually type most of our correspondence.  Your handwriting tells a lot about your personality.  It matters whether you have good handwriting or not.  And yes, spelling counts!  **wink**




 




Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wellness A-Z: I = Imagine Wellness


 
I=Imagine Wellness
The seed of any intention is a thought.  The seed of any action is an intention.  Most people get tripped up somewhere in making the intention into an action.  We speak so often of "good intentions" - but fall short of actually taking action on them.
 
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right. - Henry Ford

On my journey, I've discovered a very important tool that helps me turn the intention into action.  Imagination.  Some call it visualization.  It's that process of seeing the progress you can make before you've actually made it.  It's quite helpful and keeps you from having such a negative attitude while trying to accomplish a positive result. 

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.   - Albert Einstein

It's all too easy to sit on the couch and have the best of intentions.  I should get outside and take a walk, or I should make better food choices (as I eat the bowl of mac and cheese - don't laugh - I've done it).  Intentions do matter, don't get me wrong.  The problem is, they just don't get you there.  If you can insert that little stepping stone called imagination or visualization - then you're on the way to action, which leads you toward some real realization of goals!

Everything you can imagine is real. - Pablo Picasso

You can know the right thing to do - we all know the right thing to do.  But when you begin to grasp the concept of seeing it realized - and begin to work on it as a result of seeing it - that's when real changes begin to happen!  It gets very exciting at that point!  When mere intention gets turned into passion because of imagination/visualization - it begins to fall into place.

Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere. 
- Albert Einstein

There is head knowledge and there is heart desire.  Imagine you are already where you want to be, and incorporate what you know with what your heart desires.  Before long, you are seeing results because it's true that imagination will get you everywhere!  Want it in your heart - know what you need to do in your brain - see the goal in your mind's eye - and GO!

Get up each morning, look at yourself in the mirror, and see yourself not as someone who is overweight or out of shape, but as the someone you will become.  - Dr. Phil McGraw

No it's not easy.  Nobody ever said that a wellness lifestyle was easy.  Will I mess up?  Sure I will once in a while.  Will I keep messing up?  Well, if I keep messing up, I must not have wanted it very badly.  If I don't care enough to stop making poor food choices or start being more active, then I guess I should not complain when the weight comes back on and my clothes don't fit like they need to - or when my blood sugar gets cranky, should I?

Imagine wellness.

http://youtu.be/ZuDacA4iCGc



       


            

Monday, January 21, 2013

Wellness A-Z: H = Hold on to the Hope Rope

H=Hold on to the Hope Rope
Wish I could do that!!!
Remember having to climb that rope in gym class when you were a kid?  Well, I was the kid who couldn't climb up - I could not pull myself off of the knot, to be honest.  A kid in my class, Craig Hodges, could climb that rope and touch the metal at the very top and fly back down again.  That kid was part monkey!  I'd love to have a conversation with him now.  Ah - I'll bet he could still climb that rope!  

I see my supply of hope as a rope - my rope of hope.  Every day it's my goal to maintain wellness.  I begin my day on my hope rope.  I feel the knot underneath my feet.  I'm not satisfied to stay there though.  I need to climb until I can reach up and touch the metal piece at the top.  Every time I make a good choice, drink lemon water, take a walk, ride my bike, eat healthy foods, have a good attitude and get plenty of sleep - I've inched up that rope toward the metal piece at the top.  

When you try something new and fail, hope is the voice that whispers in your ear and reassures you that you don't have to quit completely - it's okay to try one more time.   - Linda Turner Palmer

But there are some days when I start out good - feet firmly planted on the knot.  I inch up a little bit and then something happens and I lose my grip just a little bit - and I slip.  I'm not all the way back to the knot, but I'm not climbing any higher.  That's when my hope rope whispers that it's just a temporary setback and I can keep going in the right direction if I just begin making better choices again.

It's an amazing visualization.  I've used it for a long while and it's difficult to explain why it works, but it does.  

To have a constant feeling of hope inside makes all the difference in your attitude toward anything, and ultimately in your final result!  Even if you fail completely, it's never too late to start again, wiser for having at least tried.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.

- Samuel Beckett
 
Failure is defined as quitting completely.  Giving up.  Throwing in the towel permanently.  As long as you keep getting up, dusting yourself off and making yet another attempt at success - you are not a failure!
To have the hope rope to hang on to has made such a difference.  I have more successful days now because I have hope on my side.  I have stopped quitting and have referred to setbacks as "detours in my journey" - they are not dead end roads, they are just little side streets I turn and drive down once in a while.  I find my way back to the main road eventually and life goes on!

Got Attitude???

http://youtu.be/lWUWuRFYSSM

 
Today is SQUIRREL APPRECIATION DAY!!!!!!!!!!  These cute little critters provide hours of entertainment, especially in the fall and winter months!  Today is the day we need to take a moment to show them we appreciate their efforts!  Take a moment to put some food out or just spend a few minutes watching them in your back yard. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wellness A-Z: G = Generate Good


G=Generate Good
The household I grew up in strongly believed if you didn't have something good, positive or uplifting to say about anything, you just didn't speak!  As you seek wellness in your life, that seems to be a non-issue really because you begin to feel so very good inside - all you want to do is generate good and positive and happy expressions to those around you.  There is a lot less grumble and a lot more play.  It just makes sense - when I'm taking good care of this body, it gives me only the best in return.  Good thoughts, good attitudes and good actions. 

When I'm hitting on all four cylinders and my body feels good, there's not a joy zapper around who can ruin my day!  - Linda Turner Palmer

Have you ever wondered what makes happy people, well... happy???  Are they necessarily more wealthy or famous than you?  Probably not - well not in the way you think.  The next time you meet someone who seems genuinely joyful and happy, take a look at what they eat and how much activity they include in their day.  How much water do they drink?  How much rest do they get?  Do they include some form of meditation in their day?  Does that matter?  Well, frankly, yes - it all works together to create one very magical potion for wellness and that makes you want to generate good!

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well. 
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Does this mean there will never be any stress ever again?  As much as I'd love to say it does, sadly, I have to say it does not.  I will say, however, that it does mean you will be better equipped to handle the stress that comes along.  That "fight or flight" instinct will be better nourished and you will be sharper in thought and quicker in deed than you were before. 

I'm not a happy, silly, playful person every single day of the world - but I'm a whole lot more so now than I ever was before.  I like how I feel and I want to feel good so I can generate good all around me.

Generate Good Energy.

http://youtu.be/DYZVSmMMnQ0



What's black and white and waddles like a waiter?  Well, it's a penguin, silly!  Today is PENGUIN AWARENESS DAY!!!!!  So, today would be a great day to bundle up and go out to the zoo to see some penguins!  Generate good and Have fun!






Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wellness A-Z: F = Feel for Real


F=Feel for Real
There are certain events in life that automatically put our emotions on a roller coaster of sorts.  I call these "large life situations".  My very first one was when I entered high school.  It scared me to go into such a large building and know that I was a mere Freshman.  It felt a little more like being the "fresh meat", as I recall.  Then I experienced the same sort of anxiety going off to college.  I had reason to because I really got lost and did not do well at all. 

Marriage is another opportunity to lose your emotional stronghold.  There are so many adjustments to be made and it's easy to lose your own identity for the sake of your spouse.  His needs and wants come first, therefore, you lose a part of yourself.  It's something you do willingly because you love someone. 

It's taken me a long time to finally learn this lesson, but it's alright to feel what you feel.  It's not alright to dump a sad story on others, but it's perfectly alright to validate your feelings instead of stuffing them with pizza or whatever else you can find.  These days, if I'm sad - then I'm sad.  I don't find food and try to compensate for feelings anymore.  When I feel sad - I acknowledge I feel sad and I cry it out.  I deal with emotional issues - emotionally instead of physically.  What a concept!

Overcoming emotional eating is much like overcoming any other addiction.  My weakness will never be completely gone.  There will always be a temptation to reach for food when I'm sad, stressed, upset or angry.  The fact that I am now aware of my behavior is a large part of changing my behavior!  For years I would just mindlessly reach for a cupcake or something when I was stressed, upset, sad or angry.  I've learned that part of true wellness is the ability to think about your behaviors and control what you are doing.  Now I ask myself, "Is this behavior in the best interest of my overall wellness?"  I'd love to tell you that the answer is always "yes" - but that would not be true.

It's not a good idea to flat out deny any feelings.  I'm not suggesting that you have a crying jag in the middle of a restaurant if you feel sad.  There are appropriate behaviors in certain situations.  I am, however, suggesting that you not stuff those sad feelings with comfort foods in the hope that you will feel better.  Continue to eat healthy food, no matter how you are feeling.  Validate your feelings and deal with them emotionally.  Cry.  Talk to a good friend (make sure it really is a good friend and not someone who just wants the "scoop").  Seek a qualified counselor if you need to - but know how to keep yourself from stuffing those feelings with food. 

Food is not going to repress the feelings for very long - and it will just make you feel worse when you gain weight.  You'll end up being even more upset and angry with yourself for making the wrong choice.  It's an awful cycle! 

Don't reward yourself with food...  you're not a DOG!
Don't punish yourself with food...  you're more precious than you think you are!

How to overcome emotional eating.

http://youtu.be/X_ryIDTbiKc


A friend of mine is visiting the United States from the United Kingdom.  He made the observation that we as Americans seem to be obsessed with popcorn!  He was amazed at the selection of popcorn we have on our grocery store shelves!  I had to laugh because I guess it's just something I grew up with and never noticed before!  Today just happens to be NATIONAL POPCORN DAY!!!!!   Enjoy!!! 












Friday, January 18, 2013

Wellness A-Z: E = Embrace the Chaos

It's finally Friday again, and you've endured yet another long work week.  How is your stress level today?  If you're shaking your head from side to side and rolling your eyes right now, I'll take that as a sign that it's not so good.

When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny. 
- Paulo Coelho

E=Embrace the Chaos Around You
Life does not come with instructions and the fact is, change is inevitable.  You have a choice whether you will embrace the messy chaos that usually comes with change or not.  People who roll with the punches are much happier and healthier than those who do not.  What in the world ever made us think that before things could change, they needed to seek our approval to do so?  Change will happen whether it's a change I like or not. 

The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.  - C. JoyBell C.

Make a deliberate decision to go with the flow.  Do not mistake that for surrender of moral ground.  Believe and keep the faith you cling to, but don't let the change going on around you steal your personal joy.  Don't be a hater of anyone, ever.  When you hate you become an automatic stumbling block.  When you love you become a stepping stone.  Embrace others and love people where they are right now.  Love moves mountains.  Hate forges valleys.

How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.  - Steve Maraboli

I've made it a point in my own life to worry about my own sins and shortcomings.  There are many, and I don't want anyone else to concern themselves with them.  They're mine and I know what I need to do.  I let others worry about tending to their own gardens.  Judgement and hate have no room in my life and I hope others will respect me in like manner. 

Love the sinner, hate the sin? How about: Love the sinner, hate your own sin! I don't have time to hate your sin. There are too many of you! Hating my sin is a full-time job. How about you hate your sin, I'll hate my sin and let's just love each other!  - Mark Lowry

There is going to be change as long as there is life.  It's the one constant we can rely on.  Change is not simple, it's not neat and tidy.  Change is usually a huge mess and wrapped in chaos.  The better we can adapt to the ups and downs related to it, but more healthy we will remain.

This is really funny!  I have my own story about the Atlanta airport!!!  Maybe I'll share it with you sometime (it involved an overnight stay) - sigh! 

http://youtu.be/GQ6pQRRaeXI




Today is WINNIE THE POOH DAY!!!!!!!!!!  It's the birthday of author, A.A. Miline.  Let's find out what Pooh bear has to say about embracing chaos.

   



“And really, it wasn’t much good having anything exciting like floods, if you couldn’t share them with somebody.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh


“Later on, when they had all said “Good-bye” and “Thank-you” to Christopher Robin, Pooh and Piglet walked home thoughtfully together in the golden evening, and for a long time they were silent.
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what's the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What's for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting to-day?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It's the same thing,” he said.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wellness A-Z: D = Vitamin D from the Sun


 
 
D=D From Sunlight
To begin with, I thought I'd post this quiz I found in the online version of the Berkeley Wellness Letter.

True or False (answers at the bottom of this post)

1. For bone and muscle strength, vitamin D is as vital as calcium.
2. Cod liver oil is your best source of D.
3. Two cups of milk supply all the vitamin D you need daily.
4. Yogurt is also a good source.
5. The latitude you live in can make you deficient in D.


Vitamin D is the only vitamin that is also a hormone and does not have to be consumed in food or supplements.  You manufacture your own when your skin is exposed to the sun.  We often hear about the dangers of over-exposure to the sun, but rarely do we hear about the significant benefit of exposure to the sun.

Most of us are aware of the fact that vitamin D is essential for good bone health.  The current recommended intake of vitamin D is 200 IU (international units) for those under 50; 400 IU for people aged 50 to 70; and 600 IU for those 70 and older.

The pain of conditions such as fibromyalgia can often be relieved with a modest increase in vitamin D.  Some research has linked chronic vitamin D shortages to diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.  People who do not spend enough time in the sun have a higher risk for developing certain cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer, as well as multiple sclerosis, which is more common in northern regions.

A fair skinned person can get as little as 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure on your face and arms at least twice a week and not need to consume any vitamin D in foods at all.  Darker skinned people should strive to stay in the sun for a bit longer.  I used to think that sitting near my large picture window in my living room was providing some vitamin D benefit since the sun comes streaming through, even in the Winter months, however, I have recently learned that sitting by a window with sunlight shining through is of no benefit whatsoever!  Glass blocks the kind of light that stimulates vitamin D production.

If you are a sun worshipper in the Summertime, it's still a good idea to apply sunscreen to exposed skin!  The benefits far outweigh the risks in this case.  If you just use common sense and sit in the sun the recommended amount of time without sunscreen, then you will receive the ultimate benefit of vitamin D. 

Answers:
1. True. Without vitamin D, you cannot absorb calcium.
2. False. It’s very high in D, but poses health problems.
3. True, but only if you are under 50. Milk in the U.S. is fortified with 100 IU of vitamin D per cup and is the primary dietary source.
4. False. Yogurt and cottage cheese are not made from fortified milk. They have no D.
5. True. In Canada and the northern U.S., there isn’t enough sun in the winter months to stimulate human skin to manufacture D.


Vitamin D and Diabetes.

http://youtu.be/4l7yTe257lg




Today is NATIONAL DITCH THE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS DAY!!!  You get the point - if you made resolutions and they aren't working out for you, this is your opportunity to ditch them!  If that's how you wanna roll - fine.  I'm not ready to quit yet.