Saturday Coffee Musings

Close up of cup of coffee with pink roseI’ve become dependent on water. Okay, yes, our bodies do require it to function, but I have developed an addiction to it. Perhaps more like a dependency on feeling great, which has a lot to do with the amount of water I drink when on plan, 100+ ounces a day. Give me one day of not drinking enough, then the next day (like today) getting even less, and this girl isn’t feeling all that marvelous. My brain gets fuzzy and I feel like a hangover without the party.

This goes for not eating healthy too. Yesterday was just a mess of not eating the right things and not getting enough water. It was day #2 of 16 hour shifts so to say I suddenly don’t feel so hot would be understated. Thankfully just a big tumbler of water and I’m starting to feel great again.

The pause button was pushed on my health journey the past few weeks. Thanks to continuing in a mostly healthy vein of food choices I’ve not gained  back a single pound, but I haven’t taken anymore off. One resident I care for informed me I needed to stop because she feels I’m “too skinny”. I’m not stopping and in fact my schedule is set to push the play button again on November 1st. I want to reach transition and maintenance by Thanksgiving. I want to roll through the holidays a yet better version of the already improved edition of me!

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Nana’s Super Heros

Today I had planned to spend my entire Saturday curled up in a chair with a crochet project and ongoing coffee. Instead the day was even better. My work community hosted trick-or-treating for resident and associates families and it was so sweet! The residents really enjoyed it and 2 of my grandchildren made it up for the event! So, now I’m going to curl up and crochet while I catch up on last night’s episode of Blue Bloods!

 

We had a touch of snow in Cincinnati in the wee hours of the morning. Just some wet flakes that  vanished upon impact with the ground, but still it was snow because it got THAT cold. NOT a good thing and this needs to stop at once. I’m not ready to be cold even if I do enjoy curling up in front of the fire to crochet.

Just when I was debating taking this fashion gingery color to a bit more brown, I received half a dozen compliments on it and how good it looks on me. Guess I’ll just refresh it and my roots and keep rocking the more red than brown locks! 🙂

 

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Tuesday Water Wonderings

It is water because I’ve already had coffee. And water is healthy. You know of late I am all about HEALTHY.

Today the scale said 158.5 and I was so shocked I got off, reset it, then got back on again. Holy pounds-be-gone….I’m down 28 pounds!!! Only 18 pounds to go until I reach my goal weight. 28 pounds of fat, gone in 2 months time. If it wasn’t happening to me I’d be skeptical. Heck I was very skeptical when my friend took off her 93 in 9 months (she has kept that off 3+ years). My daughter-in-law is now down 53 pounds in 3 months.  Again and again success stories in our Facebook group and across the nation in other groups. It works.

I still have anxiety every morning when I go to pull on jeans, fearing they suddenly won’t fit anymore, becoming tight. But alas, they are getting too big again. I’m out of all my skinnier-me jeans, all too large. Time to go shopping soon I suppose. Until I hit goal I will shop at thrift stores, no sense in paying full price for something that won’t fit a month from now. And health coaching is going amazing. I love it. I’m going to start studying to make it as a certified coach next month. This is too good not to share and help others accomplish.

Yesterday, and today really, are testing my ability to stay on plan. Mom ended up back in the hospital and it was freaking me out. But I have noticed water is my new comfort/coping mechanism, so I indulged in extra water. I made it through the day without caving in to the desire to go jump in a pint of ice cream. In fact the thought of that made me ill. My sister made the dreaded error of eating a nice, sugary, fat filled cup cake one day last week after 6 weeks on plan and eating totally healthy, and it DID make her physically sick to her stomach for 48 hours. Several folks I know have experienced this, as once you detox from crap your body is not real happy when you introduce garbage to your digestive system again.

I’m taking on clients as a coach now, you don’t have to be local to achieve serious results. This is NOT a diet, diets have a start and end. This is changing your lifestyle, it starts but never ends and the results therefore will hold! Contact me and we can talk and see if this might work for you.

 

Helping Others Find Health

3 years ago I began a new career taking care of our elderly in long term care and dementia/ Alzheimer’s communities. At 51 this took a serious toll on my body, the long shifts, being on my feet all day, bending, squatting and lifting. My blood pressure was at an all time high averaging 145/95 and even higher. 2 days of back to back 16 hour shifts and I thought I was going to drop over. I felt like a slug trying to push through my days and my left foot developed a case of plantar fasciitis that was incredibly painful. On top of that I was bouncing between 187 – 195 pounds. I knew I had found my heart’s calling in healthcare but I also knew something had to change before I ran myself in the ground.

B and A.jpgI had been following a friend’s journey to better health and watched her transformation from a very unhealthy weight with a multitude of health issues, down 93 pounds and to amazing health minus those issues that were making her so sick. My daughter-in-law then began her own move to better health and went from dragging through the day with 3 kids to energy and stamina and so far 45 pounds lighter. I knew I was physically ‘sick’ and had to make some changes so I reached out to them. My own journey began at 186.5 pounds and feeling physically exhausted and mentally fatigued. After only 40 days of making healthy changes in my life my blood pressure is averaging 115/65, my foot is no longer hurting, and I’m 21 pounds lighter. I have the energy of a teenager and plow through my days with stamina. I sleep solid and wake up refreshed, and I’m just getting started.

In my job I care for those at the end of their life journey, walking beside them as they are writing the final paragraphs of their life, trying to help make this time as wonderful as possible. My heart is in helping people and I realized I can help those currently in the early chapters or middle of their life’s book by becoming a health coach and helping them find some of the physical health changes they are seeking. If you are looking to make some healthy, life long changes in your story, I’d like to pay this gift I’ve been given forward. Please contact me and let me walk a journey with you toward a better life.

My Journey To Health ~ Day 7

I’m SO excited! Today is day #7 of my journey and this morning I was down 7.1 pounds. On day 4/5 you enter fat burning, which is awesome because those pounds of lard have got to go! Today I moved 7 diamonds over to the Pounds Gone Forever wine glass, only 39 are left and I’m not stopping. This plan truly is great and if you stick to it, it does work. I’m so stoked that once I get further along I’ll be working to become a certified health coach myself, this is the best I’ve felt in years. And I felt good!

I get to eat amazing, healthy food on this too, like zucchini boats with shrimp…7oz of said shrimp which left me stuffed!

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What is not to love about this?

Last night one of the nurses had brought in $3 a piece cookies that were huge, loaded with caramel and brown sugar and I had zero temptation. I looked, contemplated my health and goals, smiled and said, “no but thanks so much for offering!” and moved right on by. Cookies in the break-room, same thing, just didn’t have a desire to reach for one.

Want more information? I will hook you up with my health coach, my wonderful daughter-in-law, she is down 37+ pounds in 2 months and has just 22 to go until she reaches her goal. Doesn’t she look fantastic?

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My Journey Begins

I made a decision a few days back, the decision to take back my health. I’m about to turn 54 and I’m not at all where I know I need to be to keep up the pace in my job or to live much longer as a healthy, functioning person.

I have an old and dear friend who has lost 93 pounds and kept it off for 3 years now. She looks totally amazing and is healthy along with having oodles of energy. I would look at her before and after photos and think “I want that”, but wasn’t willing to just spend 30 minutes sitting down to talk with her because I knew it was going to cost money and a change in lifestyle.

Now after 2 years of working as a STNA, I know that I must do something. I’ve tried various diets, programs etc over the years and that didn’t do it. I even changed a few things, but I’m still sitting back at 185 (down from 199 but holding) and my body is saying some not so nice things to me at the end of my shifts. 7 years ago I was at 155, still heavier than I should have been but 30 pounds less than today.  My blood pressure is creeping upward too, into the high range, no doubt from lugging me around.

I now work in an assisted living memory care community, so I’m not pushing and pulling lifts with bodies on them (a broda chair alone can weigh 90 pounds before you put the resident in it for the day, adding 200 to make a total of 290 pounds to push and pull up hallways), but I’m on my feet for 8 hours and still doing some lifting and a lot of squatting-to-standing. I need a change.

I don’t just want that, I want THAT!!!!

My daughter-in-law got with this friend of mine (we all go way back) and started down her journey and has lost a sizable amount toward her own goal. She even decided to take the plunge and become a health coach. She is now my coach. And when I start seeing success I’m jumping in too so I can help other people make a healthy turn around.

I plan to post photos, blog entries and encouragement for others who want some inspiration. And if you see the results you seek you can contact me and I’ll hook you up with my health coach.

Yes, it is a financial investment in the beginning, but I realized looking over my bank statement that I actually spend about this amount on iced coffees, breakfast and lunch at the drive thru when working, or when I’m out and hungry. I’ve invested a lot of money to get here, a little more to get healthy only makes sense.

Day One will be as soon as my tools and food arrive (and yes you do transition to your own foods over time), when I will post my official weight for the start of the journey and photos. I’m sticking myself out there because where I am now doesn’t matter as much as where I’m going to be!

Some Life Lessons On Boo-Boos

I didn’t get to be 47 years old and not learn a few things along the way.  Some are fun lessons, some funny, and of course there are some that are out right painful.  Some lessons are a direct result of our own actions, often in the form of unpleasant consequences while others are served up without pre-ordering, they are just a part of living life.  Within all of these is the ability to learn, be shaped and emerge a better person or we can walk away from what we were taught and carry grudges and bitterness that eat at the heart and soul, making us mean, ugly, hateful beings.

Long ago as a child I believed that if I fell down and skinned my knee, a band-aid and a kiss from mom would make the boo-boo all better.  The reality is the boo-boo was not all better, the injury was still there under the bandage,  covered and hidden.  Mom’s kiss was love but it couldn’t heal the hurt on it’s own.

Bandages come in all shapes, sizes and designs.  There is a band-aid for just about every taste, even casts for broken limbs now come in colors, seasonal designs or with sport team emblems on them.  The dressings over the wounds served to keep them covered and safe, aiding in the healing process that was taking place underneath the covering.

Some boo-boos healed quickly and were forgotten, other lacerations were slow to heal and could be easily bumped and reopened to bleed and continue to cause pain.  Some of the cuts will leave scars that can be tender for a long time, reminders of the physical trauma that was suffered.

Injuries to our hearts are no different than those to our bodies.  Of course I do not mean the physical, blood pumping heart, but that part of us that FEELS emotion.  It is interesting to me that something we cannot locate within the body, that has no apparent physical substance, can feel pain so intense that it is often experienced on a physical level.  The bandages for our hearts also come in a variety of shapes, sizes, people, events…it is endless what will help cover the brokenness and start the process to healing.

I knew that the day would come when I would suffer the loss of my husband.  His job carries that risk every time he is on duty.  I always knew in the back of my mind that one day my worst fears would be faced and he would be gone from my life, I just always assumed it would be through his death not by his choice to end our marriage.  While I could only imagine what the pain of that loss would feel like, nothing could have prepared me for anything so intense.  At times it was so bad I could hardly breathe and I wanted to die just to make it stop.  I cried more in those first few months than I think I have in my entire lifetime.  In that time I learned there is pain so incredible that you cannot even describe it in words.  I also learned that it is very similar in it’s healing process to that of losing someone to death, all stages of grief will be experienced.

Broken hearts are the worst kind of boo-boo we can suffer.  Those breaks come in all levels of severity from scraps to shatters that are seemingly beyond repair.  Some hurts will heal without leaving a mark, others will have deep scars that will fade only ever so slightly.  And if you have your mom around, count on her to be the first to put a band-aid on it, kiss it, and try to make it all better.   I learned several important lessons in healing this broken heart, that a shattered one requires a LOT of bandages, and probably hundreds of changes to those dressings.

Like a serious physical injury, those first few weeks the best thing you can do is NOTHING.  Try not to use that injured heart, just cover it and try not to further bump or bruise it, time and rest are what is required.  The initial bandages are strictly protective in nature, wrapping it and keeping it safe.  Family and close friends are often those very band-aids, as they wrap you in love, allowing you to fight the bacteria that threatens to infect the open sore.  Love and support are the antibiotics in the earliest stages of the healing process, hugs, shoulders to cry on, ears that listen even when you aren’t making a bit of sense.  The people that love you dress those wounds, protecting you while you lash out irrationally and try like hell to make sense of it all and put the pieces back together.  They are your ICU team while your heart is on life support.

As time passes all the stages of grief are a given, I’ve been through all 5 stages, a few more than once.  Only recently has acceptance hit.  Anger,  bargaining, denial and depression have tapered off, anger being the last to finally shrink away.  As I went through those in the process, many people and things continued to be the applied bandages that brought about the healing, things I’ve covered in detail in previous  blogs.  The key to getting from where I was to where I am, I believe, was allowing myself to FEEL it all, experience the pain and the laughter, the memories, to ask the questions that have no answers, to vent, cry, scream, be mad, deny, get depressed, feel better and finally, accept.  It cannot be changed so just ACCEPTING it all.   Many firsts have come and gone, with many more on the road ahead.  My heart has gone from being wrapped tightly in a full covering of bandages to just a small band-aid or two in particularly raw places.

In this whole process I re-learned many things that I knew but needed a good refresher course to truly understand.

Emotions are powerful forces, driving us to do and say things we never dreamed ourselves capable, both good and bad.  Not all of those things will be wise and rational, often they will be knee jerk reactions with long reaching consequences.  Love is the ultimate medication in the arsenal against infection in a wounded heart.  Pain causes anger, and anger left to fester becomes hate, and that is an infection to the heart.  Like bacteria in the wounds of our flesh, hate eats away at the good, spreading itself like a cancer until the heart becomes dark with rot and decay.  Forgiveness is the antibiotic that attacks the hateful, bitter decay, and with that love both given and received,  it will heal the heart and help make it whole again.  Scars are left behind but with daily doses of on going forgiveness and love, those don’t have to be so tender.  Both love and hate are contagious in nature and we must chose which we want to spread around.  The choice will either bring forth a healthy, happy heart, or an ugly, nasty mess.

Late last night while my 4-legged band-aid was curled up against my cheek, purring as she fell asleep, I was mentally picking at the scab still on my heart.  I was thinking a lot about my daughter and conversations I’ve had with her of late, blogs I have written and things I have been feeling.  While I had let most all of it go, accepted it and was moving forward, I was hanging on to a little bit of the anger.  Nothing severe, just something to toy with because sometimes it is easier to be mad than let hurt be felt.   But that anger can be as cancerous as hate if not dealt with and it was time to let it go.  One of the best ways I could think of was to go back and focus on the good things about my marriage.  There was a LOT of good, 90% of it was good per Pete himself.  And he is right, though I’d even say 95%.  I walked away a far better woman than I was 23 years ago.  In many ways I don’t know the man I see right now, but then I don’t know all of what is in his head and heart either.  But I don’t need to know or understand, just to forgive him and love him, and let him work through his own issues.  No more calling him loser, Lord Voldemort, etc.  Focusing on positives, and forgiving him,  allowed me to remove the scab  leaving a tender scar beneath it.

I will always have a special place in my heart for him, we fought a lot of uphill battles as a team.  We shared a lot of love and a lot of tears through the years, and we raised two awesome kids into incredible adults.  In ending my marriage I learned a very important lesson about happiness.  I lived for so long to make him happy, that I forgot to put me and my happiness at least on par with what I did for him, if not first at times.  Perhaps that is what is so liberating lately in the many things I’ve done for me, finally taking care of me, my wants, desires, goals….MY happiness.  I woke up this morning with a huge weight off my shoulders, I had finally dropped that boulder I was carrying when I forgave, and now I am able to walk with even more of a skip in my step and a song in my heart.

It struck me that perhaps it is no accident that our emotional heart is felt in the same location as the one pumping our life blood through our bodies.  Without that life blood, we die.  Without a healthy emotional heart that is happy, seeks to live and love, we become an angry, bitter, hateful people.  We can chose to be happy or chose to hang on to grudges, bitterness and anger.  My choice was to live.

My heart is still tender, and will remain in that protective box where no one can harm it again, but it is off life support, out of ICU, in fact it is checked out of the hospital and is getting better every day.