Archive for the ‘Resolutions’ Category

So it has been some time since my last blog, and I apologize for that. I was heavily involved in a program to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner which I successfully completed. Many have asked when I was going to start up again – so here it is. I must admit that this blog was one that I wrote last year that was published in Today’s Charlotte Woman magazine. I wanted to share it again this year since many were not able to read it due to fact that the magazine is a local one. I also think that it is worth repeating especially given the time of year that is upon us.  

10, 9, 8,…3, 2, 1 and just like that the New Year has begun. With it comes the onset of yet another year’s worth of what I think to be one of the greatest mystifying concepts of all time: The New Year’s Resolution. Many have played the “game”, but how many make it to the finish line? Somehow, the resolution has developed into a right of passage that one has to go through in order to pay homage to the dawn of the new year. Well, I say, “Bah Humbug” to all that stress – because when all is said and done, that’s what the whole resolution thing has brought me in the past. A sense of stress. Sure, it’s the new year with its hopes of bringing fresh new opportunities and a chance to start over… to get things right, so to speak. I fully support the concept and wish luck to those embarking on yet another resolution-making spree. As for me, ho-hum… been there, done that.

But I’ll take a moment to play nice. If a resolution was in the cards for me this year. Maybe this would be the year I resolve to make my bed every day. But then I think: Why start now? It has served me well unmade for 40 years. It’s way more inviting when it’s not made, anyhow. Besides, who am I trying to impress?

Or, maybe I will actually attempt the feat of putting away my clean clothes from my laundry basket on a consistent basis rather than pulling them out on a need-to-wear basis. Nah! The end result is the same – eventually my clothes move from the basket to another location, and then the process starts all over again.

Oh, wait a minute! I have a good one. How about I make that oh-so-familiar New Year’s resolution to get skinnier…to get my body to where it actually matches up with the mental picture in my head? But then it hits me that it would require defying the law of gravity – woman’s enemy No. 1. And you know, I’ve heard duct tape is quite the versatile, all-purpose, fix anything- in- a- pinch type tool. Hmmm – I wonder!

This year, I have decided to sit the whole resolution thing out. Oh the sound of gasps everywhere. The arguments abound… “But it’s tradition…” or, “Don’t you want to reach for a goal?” Of course I do, but I want to do it with a mantra, not a resolution. My mantra for the new year is, “Strong is the New Skinny.”** And while I can’t take credit for the creation of that powerful statement; I can sure put it to good use. This year, I want to redefine what really matters to me. There was a time when skinny was my top priority every new year. So like I said, “Been there, done that”. I’m over it! Now, my focus is to be strong… strong in all the ways that encompass who I am and who I continually strive to be: a strong woman, wife, and mother, and one with a strong body, mind, and soul.

As this new year unfolds, I wish everyone all the best for a happy and healthy one. As for me, I will graciously bow out from any resolution chatter, but know that I’ll be rooting from the sidelines for everyone to make it to the finish line!

Happy New Year to all!!!

**Yes – I know what some of you are thinking: I have heard that statement (strong is the new skinny) so many times in the past year that it makes me ill now! Well this was written last year, and honestly I still think it can have value. Focus on being a strong confident person in everything you do. That strength is something that you can draw from in every aspect of your life. All the best to you and yours in 2014!

Are We There Yet?

Posted: June 13, 2012 in Goals, Healthy Living, Resolutions

Remember being a kid going on road trips and whining from the backseat of the car, “Are we there yet?”  This, of course, was before the dawn of iPods, DVD players in the car, or any other hand-held electronic device that occupies the time of many kids now a days when they set out on a trip.  I can remember playing things like I spy in the car to pass the time.  The best is when my family and I would listen to Billy Joel’s, We didn’t start the Fire, over and over again so that we could figure out every line in that song that was jammed packed with events that occurred throughout history!

The anticipation and excitement for the arrival of the destination can be overwhelming especially as a kid.  Of course the journey to get there can also be excruciatingly boring as well. Then something happens as adults.  Time seems to fly much quicker and before you know it there is no time to be saying, “Are we there yet?” because it is already here or has already passed us by.  Sometimes we are so consumed by a variety of things all at once that we miss the journey altogether.  And it is that very same journey that can teach us so much about ourselves, about life, and who we are and who we want to be.

Many of us set specific time frames to which we want to see certain goals completed.  Ever want to drop a few pounds for a particular event?  Perhaps an upcoming wedding, reunion, trip, etc. had you formulating a plan.  Maybe you gave yourself a date that by the time you reached it you wanted to have stopped smoking, have given up sweets, start exercising, etc.  But what happens the day after that date has come and gone especially if you didn’t accomplish the goal?  Do you just quit, or do you continue? 

I have had a realization this week as I am preparing for an upcoming photo shoot.  (Wow – it sounds like I am somebody really important when I say that – hahaha).  The date is quickly approaching, and I am nowhere near where I want to be in terms of leanness and muscle development.  Due to that fact, I have been a bit apprehensive and almost threw in the towel figuring there is no way that I can get there by next week so why bother.  Yup, I know – a completely defeatist attitude.  So I got to thinking about it, and I came to this realization…just because I may not be where I had hoped to be for that specific date, there is no reason that I can’t continue my journey right here, right now, as well as when it is all over.  The photo shoot will come and go, but the real issue is will I let me goals go with it.  Most of us are familiar with the saying that life is a journey, not a destination.  So for me this photo shoot is just another stop on my journey.  It is certainly not my destination.  In reflecting on it, I was also able to begin appreciating all of the things that I have been doing along the way and not just focus on that one day.

I share my story with you in the hopes that in the future if you set a goal with a specific time frame, you will approach your thinking differently especially if it doesn’t happen.  So the next time you say something like, “I want to lose 10 pounds by such and such a date” – don’t forget that if that date arrives and you haven’t attained that goal – just adjust your sails and continue to make it happen. 

So even if you “aren’t there yet” – savor the journey, take pride in what you are actively doing to reach your goals and if you lose your way – chart a new course.  We have the choice to whine the whole way and be miserable (which will most likely result in never reaching the goal), the choice to let internal and external factors trip us up, or the choice to appreciate the journey (the good and bad) and all the steps that we take to better ourselves all along the way. 

Keep pushing forward!!!

 

In today’s world we have become a society that loves our instant gratification.  With the dawn of great technology along came things such as never being away from your email; not having to sit through commercials if you have a DVR; being able to buy things from the internet on your phone; and the list goes on and on.  I’m thinking that patience is not one of our finer qualities.  Who’s with me on that?  

Quick fixes are another thing that have become more common place.  We don’t have time to deal with long drawn out issues.  Right?  I am all about the quick fixes when it comes to certain things.  Ah, here’s an oldie, but goody – putting clear nail polish on a stocking snag to prevent it from running anymore!  Am I dating myself?  Probably!  But if you know what I am talking about then you are right there with me!  But eventually if those quick fixes are not taken care of properly they will just be around again and potentially on a larger scale.

Too many people have been lured into this quick fix mindset when it comes to their health.  Have heartburn?  Here. I’ve got a pill for that.  Have a migraine?  Here. I’ve got a pill for that.  Please DO NOT get me wrong.  I am not discounting the use of proper medications for the right reasons, and I am certainly NOT making light of heartburn and migraines or any other medical conditions for that matter. Just examples people – don’t get your feathers in a ruffle!  The point that I am trying to get at with all of this is that we can’t continue to put band-aids on all of our ailments and expect them to miraculously disappear.  They may go away for the time being, but what happens when they crop back up again?  Continue to pop a pill?  Increase the dosage or try a different pill? Or should we start with being a detective and looking into what may be the root cause of the issues: diet, lack of exercise, lifestyle choices, lack of sleep, too much stress, etc. For the sake of this blog – I am going to focus on food and the choices we make as being the possible instigator of many of these ailments that afflict people.  I know full well that there are many people on life-saving medications and ones that control major health issues.  Those are not the ones I am referring to in this post.  Having had my brain surgery I am extremely aware of the need for certain prescriptions, and I am thankful that medical advancements were able to produce them!

The foods that we eat have the potential to make us healthier or less healthy. Sometimes the effects are not clearly seen immediately but will be a delayed reaction that can take years to make its presence known.  

If you are a diet soda drinker and/or a lover of non-fat processed and sugar-free foods you ARE taking in artificial sweeteners.  One such sweetener is called aspartame. 

Thank you to http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-side-effects.html for providing the following list.

Adverse reactions and side effects of aspartame include:

Eye
blindness in one or both eyes
decreased vision and/or other eye problems such as: blurring, bright flashes, squiggly lines, tunnel vision, decreased night vision
pain in one or both eyes

decreased tears
trouble with contact lenses
bulging eyes

Ear
tinnitus – ringing or buzzing sound
severe intolerance of noise
marked hearing impairment

Neurologic
epileptic seizures
headaches, migraines and (some severe)
dizziness, unsteadiness, both
confusion, memory loss, both
severe drowsiness and sleepiness
numbness of the limbs
severe slurring of speech
severe hyperactivity and restless legs
atypical facial pain
severe tremors

Psychological/Psychiatric
severe depression
irritability
aggression
anxiety
personality changes
insomnia
phobias

Chest
palpitations, tachycardia
shortness of breath
recent high blood pressure

Gastrointestinal
nausea
diarrhea, sometimes with blood in stools
abdominal pain
pain when swallowing

Skin and Allergies
itching without a rash
lip and mouth reactions
hives
aggravated respiratory allergies such as asthma

Endocrine and Metabolic
loss of control of diabetes
menstrual changes
marked thinning or loss of hair
marked weight loss
gradual weight gain
aggravated low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
severe PMS

Other
frequency of voiding and burning during urination
excessive thirst, fluid retention, leg swelling, and bloating
increased susceptibility to infection

Additional Symptoms of Aspartame Toxicity include the most critical symptoms of all
death

irreversible brain damage
birth defects, including mental retardation
peptic ulcers
aspartame addiction and increased craving for sweets
hyperactivity in children
severe depression
aggressive behavior
suicidal tendencies

Aspartame may trigger, mimic, or cause the following illnesses:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Epstein-Barr
Post-Polio Syndrome
Lyme disease
Grave’s disease
Meniere’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease
ALS
Epilepsy
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
EMS
Hypothyroidism
Mercury sensitivity from Amalgam fillings
Fibromyalgia
Lupus
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) 

You can see by this very comprehensive list that what we may be ingesting (daily for some) can have a very negative impact on our health.  Keep in mind that this is only ONE of the many food additives that is present in some food and drinks.  So that migraine/headache that you have been dealing with just may be result of that diet soda habit.

Gluten is another trouble maker that is present in many of the foods eaten on a daily basis.  “Gluten is a strong elastic protein found in wheat, rye & barley that provides structure and elasticity to baked goods. These strong protein bonds-that give bread its shape & texture are difficult to digest and often adhere themselves to the gut wall. Our immune system releases toxic compounds to try to destroy the gluten proteins resulting in inflammation of the small intestine wall. Chronic inflammation results in a leaky gut which results in the more chronic inflammation in our body. Chronic inflammation is the root of chronic disease.”*

These are just a FEW of the many gluten–associated medical concerns as presented in the book Dangerous Grains by James Braly, M.D., and Ron Hoggan, M.A.

Abdominal distension/bloating

Asthma

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Bone Diseases

Calcium deficiency

Celiac disease

Crohn’s disease

Dementia

Eczema

Emotional and behavioral disorders

Headaches (persistent, recurring. Migraine like, often not responsive to conventional therapies)

Iron deficiency Anemia

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

And the list continues.  Unfortunately it contains issues that are on an even grander scale than the ones listed above.  Many people feel just fine and don’t display any issues and are unaware that gluten is indeed beginning to take its toll on their body.  I, personally, avoid gluten at all cost as well as artificial sweeteners and other foods and ingredients that can create a toxic environment in the body!

So before you continue to search for that magical pill, inspect your food for ingredients that may be causing your issues and the types of foods that you are eating.  I have talked about two in this post, but there are many more out there such as MSG, food dyes, soy, dairy and grains (yup – I said grains) to name a few.  Be your own best advocate for your health.  Remember from one of my previous posts – be proactive, not reactive!

Wishing you all good health!

 “Humans evolved for thousands of years on the micro-and macronutrients available from plant and animal food.  You are genetically programmed to grow and thrive on a naturally derived diet.  Nearly all of the chemical compounds added to food have never previously existed on this planet prior to their creation in some chemist’s lab…The majority of the human race is currently engaged in a massive involuntary experiment on a scale that has never been seen in the history of the world.”  (Dr. Joseph Mercola) 

*Thank you to the Hail Merry Facebook page for providing that description in one of their recent posts.  If you are not familiar with Hail Merry products they are amazing ~ especially the raw chocolate macaroons.

Ever have a cut that was bleeding and you didn’t even feel it UNTIL you saw it and then all of a sudden the pain kicked in?  It is amazing the power of the brain.  You are going along oblivious to the fact that you are injured and it is not until your brain gets wind of the fact that injuries and blood are typically synonymous with pain that you even begin feeling the pain.

Our brain can be our most powerful asset, and yet it can also be our most powerful detriment at times.  It is all in how we use it.  Our thoughts have a direct bearing on our actions.  Think negative thoughts all the time and our very being will be brought down due to those thoughts. Our whole outlook on things can become clouded.  Think in a positive way and somehow the world seems like a much brighter place and our actions will reflect that positivity.

A perfect example of the power of the brain presented itself in the gym yesterday.  A friend of mine, who is an amazingly strong woman and whom I admire for her determination, was squatting and cranking them out like nobody’s business!  She effortlessly did a squat with very heavy weight so delicately balanced on her traps.  When she finished she was shocked at how much weight she did.  She hadn’t realized that in her head she had the wrong weight – a much lower one at that.  But because she had thought the pounds were lighter than they really were and that was what her brain knew – she cranked that squat out believing it was the lighter weight and therefore knew she could execute it seamlessly seeing as she had done it so many times before. All the while she was really doing something much heavier!  She ended up breaking a record yesterday, and I truly believe it was because she kept telling herself that she could do it.  No doubts, no fear – only mind over matter!  So proud of her!  

So how do we harness the power of our brain?  For starters, in my opinion, we need to shift our thoughts to more positive ones.  Stop with the “I can’t…” and “I’m not…”! “I can’t lose these last 10 pounds… can’t get that promotion at work, etc.”  “I’m not strong enough…not pretty enough…not thin enough…not smart enough, etc.”  I will admit that this is something that I am working on for myself.  If we don’t set higher expectations for ourselves than we have nothing to strive for, nothing to help us reach our true potential.  It is easy to get stuck in a place of self-wallowing if that is where you have been for sometime.  It tends to become all you know and worse off – all you expect.  Every one of us deserves better than that. 

When someone gives you a compliment do you ever hear yourself saying, “Thank you, but…”?  Just accept the compliment with a thank you and move on!  Don’t discount the good that someone just recognized in you with a BUT!  But nothing!  Challenge yourself to decrease your negative thoughts each day.  It may be good to start with an awareness of how many negative thoughts you actually have. (Some of you may not even wrestle with these kinds of thoughts.  I commend you for that!)  This may be extreme, but worth a try – wear a rubber band on your wrist and every time you are compelled to think those vampire thoughts that suck the positivity out of you – snap that rubber band!  That will get you thinking differently. 

Harness the power of your brain to move forward in life.  Tackle those things that have been holding you back head on because it is all in your head!  No time like the present.  And remember – “Attitude is the seed of all successes and all failures.  What you plant is what you reap!”

So…what are you currently planting?

Reflections On A Year Gone By

Posted: February 12, 2012 in Resolutions

I decided to make this blog about a very personal and emotional time in my life as a way for me to reflect on that time, make peace with it and look to the here and now for all that life has blessed me with. If we want to have clarity and perspective in our life then we need to resolve whatever may be getting in the way of our happiness and moving forward.  Remember that our emotional health is a huge component of our over-all health and it can then impact our physical health.

Please bear with me on this blog.  It was my way of putting this past year to rest.  I have learned from it, appreciated all that it taught me, but it is time to move on!  Writing this has helped me to do just that.  Future blogs won’t be this long – promise!!!

Exactly one year ago today (2/11/11), I received a phone call that rocked me to the core.  I still remember the exact words spoken on the other end of the line… “Joanne.  It is a good thing we went ahead and did the MRI because we did find something.” 

Rewind to the beautiful weekend of January 29th of 2011 and my husband and I are away for an amazing marriage retreat hosted by very dear friends on the serene island of Kiawah, SC.  It had been the first time in countless years that Craig and I were actually able to be away together.  When the opportunity arose we jumped on it and didn’t care about the expense or the fact that we had no one at the time to watch our son.  We just knew we had to go.  That decision was to be a monumental one that we didn’t even know at the time and on that weekend one simple conversation would then become one that would forever change me.  See it had been a couple of years since we had moved down to NC, and I never researched any family physicians.  I had all my other doctors, but not a general practitioner.  I knew that I was due for a physical and having  just turned 40 was another factor.  It was then that a simple statement from one of the other women on our trip would ignite my life-changing journey.  She was making small talk about how she had just been to her doctor and it was when she proclaimed how much she absolutely loved him that my ears started to perk up.  Next thing I knew, a few others began to chime in as to the fact that they go to him as well and love him too.  With that, I got the name of this beloved doctor and was determined to make that phone call when we got home.  And I did just that!

Craig and I had the most incredible time on that weekend and wanted to make it last so we decided on the way home to stop in Charleston, SC.  It was a beautiful 70 degree day in SC in January and we took that opportunity to walk all over town.  It was in downtown Charleston that I found this great hat store.  For some odd reason, I had all of a sudden developed an affinity for hats.  Now, in all my 40 years, hats were never really part of my wardrobe, but now I had to look at them whenever I saw them.  This will have more bearing as my story continues.

February 7, 2011 – my appointment.  That morning I met the most amazing, caring doctor – Dr. Alexanian.  He listened to everything I said and never once did I feel he was rushing my appointment just to get to the next person.  During the course of our discussion, I had mentioned to him that I had been having headaches on a daily basis for well over a month.  So of course the usual suspects were mentioned – hormones (I did just turn 40), lack of sleep, stress…but it was when I mentioned that come to think of it I had been noticing difficulty with expressing my thoughts into words – that Dr. A. looked up from his note-taking and said that he would feel more comfortable if we just scheduled an MRI to rule out anything.  Yet again – a decision that would take my life on a very different course.

February 11, 2011 – my MRI appointment.  At the time I had been working full-time including Saturday mornings and Fridays were my day off.  I had been at this job for over two years and rarely ever – if at all – filled in for anyone on Fridays.  That day was my coveted day off!  But that day a friend was in a bind and called on me to help her out. I was hesitant due to the fact that I had my MRI appointment in the early morning and wasn’t sure that I would be able to make it there on time and, of course, because it was my day off.  I decided to cover for her anyway.  Yet another decision that seemed so insignificant at the time in the scheme of things, but one that played an important role.  It was towards the end of my duties for that day that I got the call; the news that they had found something on my MRI – the news that would bring me to my knees.  Somehow in the midst of the shock and disbelief I was able to utter the words of what was wrong to my friends at work.  Right then and there I had my first built-in support team.  That decision to go to work that day provided me with the comfort of being surrounded by friends.  On any given Friday I would have been home – alone- trying to catch-up on house detail.  But not this day.  I think back to what I would have done if I were all alone or out running an errand by myself. 

In the days leading up to my surgery which was scheduled for March 4th, I drifted in and out of a whole host of emotions, but the overwhelming response from family and friends kept me going. Our church group dropped everything on Valentine’s Day to be with us in our initial stages of shock; family headed into town; and emails, cards, and food flooded our home – even from people we didn’t know.  We were so thankful for each and every touching gesture!  But ultimately no person, no card, etc. could give me all the strength I needed to face this head on.  I had to decide that for myself.  And so I made the decision to keep living my life as I normally would which included working out and be conscious of my food choices.  Oh how easy it would have been to throw in the towel, wave the white flag and surrender to every comfort food know to man – but I didn’t!

During the entire time between my diagnosis date and my surgery date – I had one small headache.  ONE!  Why now did my headaches mysteriously go away when I had been having them everyday for a month or so leading up to my diagnosis?  My brain surgeon said that he didn’t even think that the tumor had anything to do with the headaches because of where it was positioned on my brain.  Hmmm….call it what you want, but without those headaches occurring on a daily basis I might not have even made the doctor’s appointment as soon as I did.  You know – life gets in the way!

March 4, 2011 – day of surgery.  That day I felt a sense of calmness come over me.  Friends stopped by to pray with us before we headed out to the hospital and our pastor met us there to be at my side.  Amazing people!  Post surgery, as the anesthesia was wearing off, I remember being asked if I knew where I was to which I replied – “Club Med?!”  I remember the nurses on the intensive care unit telling me that I was the healthiest person on the floor that day.  I am so thankful that my determination to eat right and exercise played a major role in my quick recovery.  I did allow myself to indulge in the peanut butter bars that were specially made and delivered to my bedside from wonderful friends of ours.  I am told that I actually demanded them!  I’m claiming lots and lots of pain medicine as my reason for not clearly remembering that fact.

The pathology report on the tumor had come back with another twist.  There were atypical cells and the tumor was rare and aggressive.  That meant 6 straight weeks of radiation was the next course of action.  My brain surgeon was able to spare my hair during the surgery, but it would be the radiation that would take a great deal of it away.   Enter the hat obsession!  There was a definitive reason now why I was prompted into my little hat buying spree. 

Another thing that made me go hmmm….Months before my diagnosis I had met with a friend who recommended a book called My Stroke of Insight.  It was written about a woman who had a stroke and needed to learn how to use the other side of her brain and appreciate its differences.  In retrospect, I found it so fascinating that of all the topics out there, my friend had suggested a book about the brain and issues with the brain.

February 7, 2012 – annual visit with Dr. A.  I hadn’t seen Dr. A since last year and we were recalling all of the events.  He asked me if my recovery was difficult and I told him that considering someone had just sawed into my skull and messed with my brain – it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated.  He confirmed what I already knew – that my relatively quick recovery was due to my good state of health prior to the surgery.  He also said that if I had gone into that surgery with other health issues to contend with that it would have been a different story. Things could have been more difficult if I had been a diabetic, had blood pressure issues, etc.  So on those days when I said no to treats that were calling my name or when I didn’t feel like exercising but did anyway – I now know why.

We all make decisions every day – some significant and others mundane – and most times we don’t give them a second thought.  We may never know the impact that some of those decisions have had, but one thing is for sure…every decision you make concerning your health will affect you in one way or the other.  But sometimes the effects will not be seen for some time.  I knew that my decisions to eat right and exercise were the right ones despite how hard they may have seemed at the time, but I had no idea the scope of the bearing they would have on my surgery and recovery.  I could not have prepared for the news that day from an emotional stand-point, but my physical health (aside from that thing called a brain tumor) was in the best condition that it could have possibly been. 

Thank you for coming on this journey with me!  Please take a moment to be thankful for all that you have and make a promise to yourself to try to change one thing that is negatively influencing your health.  It is never too late to change and your body will thank you for it, and I am sure your loved ones will too!  You just have to decide to do it!

Wise Words To Live By…

Posted: January 5, 2012 in Resolutions

As you pack up all of your holiday decorations and a bid a farewell to another holiday season, you may be thinking of the hope and the promise of what lies ahead for this New Year of 2012.  Have you gone through the ritualistic motion of setting goals for yourself  like so many do with the passing of the old and the dawn of a new year?  Did you dance in the delight that the goals you set for 2011 actually saw the light of day?  Or did you bid adieu to 2011 feeling somewhat bummed that yet another time in your life has passed where you had all good intentions but never followed through?  What ever the case may be, it’s time to be present in this moment – the right here and now – so that we can set ourselves on a course to a successful 2012.

So I thought a good quote, sort of a pep talk, if you will, was in order to set things straight for this New Year.  I chose the wise words of an oh so very astute man, character, icon, a pinnacle of insightfulness…………….the one the only……………Rocky Balboa!  Chuckle, snicker, gasp – I get it.  I bet you were waiting for some big name philosopher – weren’t you?  Nah – I chose a man of the people – for the people.  And now without further hesitation I bring you Wise Words To Live By…

“Let me tell you something you already know.  The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.  It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.  You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.  But it ain’t how hard you hit;  it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.  How much you can take, and keep moving forward.  That’s how winning is done.  Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth.  But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not point fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody.  Cowards do that and that ain’t you.  You’re better than that!”

Right about now you may be questioning my choice of quote and how exactly I thought it was apropos for the start of 2012.  Let me share my line of thinking.  It can be incredibly difficult for many of us to look at our mistakes, failures and lack of follow through and take responsibility for them.  It is much easier to make excuses, blame others, blame the world…  And sometimes it just may be that it is not our fault, but I think most of us can recall times when we looked to someone else, or something else, to blame for our downfall.

It is time to buck up, own up and hold our heads up!  Each moment in time is a time to do the right thing, or fix what we didn’t succeed at the first time around.  We don’t have to wait for a new year!  There was never the promise on our birth certificate of a life filled with only beauty,  love, peace, and joy.  Along with all of those comes the ugly, hate, unrest, and pain.  So if we are lucky enough to plant our two feet on the floor another day – it’s time to make peace with that fact.

And now the grand finale of my blog – the tie in to health since that is what this site is all about.  Many resolutions involve getting fit, getting healthy and losing weight to name a few.  However many of those same resolutions never make it to the action stage.  I want this year to be different no matter what excuses you had in the past, or what life dealt you.  Not for nothing, but this is coming from a person who had a brain tumor in 2011!  So I know all too well how hard life can hit.  But the plain and simple truth is that we give up so easily on our health – on ourselves – WHY?  Aren’t we worth it?  We can’t change the past, but we can certainly write some aspects of our own future and when life has other plans for us – get the eraser out and rewrite a new course!  We are all worth it!

Much health and happiness in 2012!

Joanne

 

In my last blog I discussed our reactions to stress and to control the things we can in order to have good mental health.  How is that working for you?  Might you consider that one of your resolutions for the New Year? 

So let’s move on and chat about the one area that we have absolute and total control over (barring any medical conditions) and that is……wait for it……can you guess?………FOOD!  Now I know what your thinking – But… but when I am stressed I can’t control what I eat!  When I am at another person’s house surely I can not control what I eat – I didn’t prepare the menu!  What about traveling?  Oh my friends, I can go on and on.  The plain and simple truth is that no one makes us eat anything.  It all comes down to a choice.  I can choose to eat that half-gallon of ice cream when I am stressed and deal with a variety of emotions just waiting for me as I scrape – um – lick the last contents of that container.  Or…I can take a completely different approach that doesn’t involve food.  I understand that our frame of mind can impact our decision-making skills, but ultimately it is still up to us.  How bad to you want to see your goals to fruition? 

So if we make choices that are not going to have a favorable outcome and could negatively influence our goals, but we do it anyway – we need to own it and move on.  Accept it, learn from it and get over it.  Wallowing in self-pity, making excuses, feeling guilty and/or blaming others will do nothing for our frame of mind and can lead to self sabotaging all of our efforts.  What’s the point in that?! 

If what I have written is really resonating with you, then you have to make a choice to get back on track and again –  Do yourself a favor and GET OVER IT!

Happy New Year to all, and here’s to making all of our goals come true!

Cloudy With A Chance Of Madness!!!

Posted: December 21, 2011 in Resolutions

And 100% madness it is!  I am specifically referring to this state of chaos we call the holiday season.  This time of the year can bring out the best and worst in people.  The road to a perfect holiday season ripped from the pages of Better Homes and Garden often leads us on a path paved with stress, uncertainty and downright panic.  It’s not like we have any idea when the holidays will arrive each year so that we can plan accordingly!  wink, wink…  Of course the economy seems to be a perpetual black cloud looming in our lives that can dictate how we carry out our holiday celebrations.  But economy aside since it is out of our control (unless you have a solution), let’s focus on what we can control.

Most everyone will have stress in their lives this holiday season.  We know that it doesn’t just happen this time of year, but it does seem to be magnified right about now.  So what makes the same type of stress – say preparing to entertain guests – have a very different impact on people?  Well in the words of Maureen Killoran, “Stress is not what happens to us.  It’s our response to what happens and response is something we can choose.”   Wow – now that’s deep!  Let me ponder that for a moment………………………………….okay – so what she is saying is that today while sitting in an endless line of not moving traffic only to have some one cut me off when it did indeed start to move, my reaction was a choice?  You betcha!  Wouldn’t you like to know what choice I made?  I could have had my Italian temper rear its ugly head, or remained calm knowing that there is nothing I can do about traffic or other people’s actions.  All I can control is myself!

This time of year we need to gain clarity and perspective on the madness.  Control what we can so that our mental health stays in balance.  We tend to forget that our mental health is an important component of our total health.  Mental stress will begin to take a toll on our bodies and will manifest itself in ways that will cause our physical health to be compromised.  

This year let’s put faith, family, love, and peace over this often unattainable idea of the perfect holiday season and certainly over all this madness! 

Wishing you and yours all the best!

Word Association

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Goals, Healthy Living, Resolutions

Let’s play a little word association game…

I am going to say a word, and I want you to say the first thing that comes to mind.

Ready?

I say healthy…you say_____?

So what came to mind? Maybe you thought of diet, exercise, skinny, or even uggg. The point is that healthy is too general and can conjure up so many words and images, but the important factor is what does it REALLY mean to YOU?

Have you ever set a goal for yourself to get healthier?
What did that look like?
How did you know when you achieved that goal?

Many of us would like to think we are healthy already and then there are those of us that want to begin that process. So it’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we really know what good health is, or if we’re on the right track. What one person thinks of good health may be very different from what another thinks. The holiday season is upon us!!! Now is typically a time when we begin assessing the goals we set for us when the New Year began and whether or not we managed to see them to fruition. Many will repeat the pattern of setting new resolutions and more often than not, this includes some aspect of getting healthy.

If you DREAM this then you have got to DEFINE it.

Lose weight – how much?
Bring the blood pressure down?
Get off certain medications?

Whatever the goal may be, you need to be specific so that you know when you have reached it. Next step is to DO it!

What are you waiting for?
What is holding you back?

DREAM it…DEFINE it…DO it! 1, 2, 3…

Let me ask you again…I say healthy… you say_______?