Lifestyle

How To Choose Your Healthy Habits

Everything about breaking and picking up habits is hard. First, you have to recognize that your habit is bad, which is often the easiest step to accomplish. Second, you have to make a conscious decision to change your ways. Most people have woken up and said “You know what? Today is the day!” But very rarely has today been “the day.” So that brings us to the hardest part of all of the habit-breaking steps: actually implementing it into your daily lifestyle.

We’ve all tried to break habits and failed miserably at one point or another. Breaking and adopting habits is a part of being human. I gave up soda one time (for 2 weeks) in 2003. My friends still bring it up. People want to do better for the most part. But failing is also a part of being human. How can you choose habits you know you can stick with? Should you implement all the healthy habits at once? Or take it nice and slow? Read my quick tips for choosing your habits and keeping up with them:

Recognize your good habits:

There are very few people in this world who don’t have good habits. Even if you think you don’t, I assure you that you do. For example, maybe you think you drink wine too often (everyday perhaps?), but you only drink a glass or two a night. A good habit is to wait until the nighttime to have your glass! It’s also a good habit to only have one or two glasses!

Recognizing your healthy habits means you recognize that you have it within you to change your ways. By understanding that you are able to make a change in your life, you gain more confidence and determination when choosing to change yourself.

Maybe make a list of the habits that you’re proud to have. Or if you’re not in the mood, just stop right now and think of one good habit that you possess. For example, while most of my friends put extra salt on their food, I don’t and I’m happy about it (no matter how bland food can taste at times!)

Think about the habits that make you feel bad:

After deciding what you’re already good at, it’s time to take a step back and acknowledge what you don’t do so well. Everyone on the planet has bad habits, even the healthiest and most on-top-of-it person you know! (AKA, midnight eating over here.)

There are a lot of steps in the habit-making/breaking process, and the most daunting can be picking the habits that you should work on. Most people overthink this step! You know what makes you feel bad about yourself. These things are the first things you should choose to change. Hating on yourself for not drinking enough water is barely a way to live your life. Drink more water already.

What do you think about everyday? Maybe it’s the intense guilt you feel when you buy an overpriced and oversugared coffee every morning. Maybe it’s the stomach ache you get after eating a carton of ice cream even though you know you’re lactose intolerant. These bad habits should never stand in the way of your happiness or daily life. Buy the lactose free ice cream and eat away.

Familiarize yourself with the types of habits:

Many different websites and papers like to break habits into psychological or sociological groups. While these can be helpful, I’ve found that sometimes they can be overwhelming. So I’ve compiled a small list of different habit groups that I could think of that might help you choose your habits:

  • Exercise and Diet (ex. losing/gaining weight, getting active, etc)

  • Health (ex. taking your medicine, avoiding an allergy, etc)

  • Motor Habits (ex. swearing, rocking your foot back and forth, etc)

  • Spiritual (ex. praying, attending service, meditating, etc)

  • Mental Health (ex. releasing feelings, seeking help, spending too much time online, etc)

  • Sleep Habits (ex. sleeping well, sleeping for correct amount of time, etc)

  • Social Habits (ex. the way you interact with others, spending time with others, etc)

I know there are plenty more but it might help to choose a category that resonates the most with you and then focus on that.

Recognize your incentives:

Incentives, or things that entice you to do what you do, are super easy concepts and learning about them can help you understand why you do the things you do and why you should or shouldn’t.

There are three types of incentives: economic, social, and moral.

Economic incentives are pretty straight forward. They have to do with gaining money or material objects. For example, a pretty good economic incentive for not buying a coffee everyday is that you’ll save hundreds of dollars in the long run. Or limiting you credit card debt is a good economic incentive as well.

Social incentives involve doing things based off of what others will think of you. For example, most people base their looks (like their hair, clothes, presentation) off of what other’s will think. Many people choose to lose weight due to social incentives because they believe that their weight changes the way people see them. You be you and be happy regardless. As my mom would say, “Who cares what someone else thinks.”

Moral incentives are slightly different. They involve choosing to do something based off of your concept of right and wrong. Moral incentives can be the main reason a person chooses to change their habits. For example, drinking a liter of soda per day is something everyone knows is wrong, especially for their body and well-being. Yet, we guzzle tons everyday. I love when I walk into the cafeteria at work and my clients start stashing soda everywhere.

By knowing what makes you want to pick/drop a habit, you are more likely to stick with it. For example, if your doctor tells you to start taking a heart medicine, you will probably do it and then stop for awhile. But if your doctor tells you to start taking a heart medicine because you might die if you don’t, that’s a pretty strong economic, social, and moral incentive to start taking your medicine. Interesting story here: I refused a certain medication for months. My Rheumatologist was all over me. I had been in the hospital and just couldn’t recover. My main concern was that I had to sign that I would not get pregnant again and I wasn’t ready to be officially done. Plus, who gets to decide that for me? Not you, Mr. Rheumy. This goes on for months and I was getting sicker and sicker. Mr. Rheumy was not a happy camper. I’m sitting in his office and he brings it up. I of course start rambling and he listened for as long as he could. He leans over and gets inches from my face. “I no longer care what you think. I’m going to save your life and you need to realize that. So, back down. If not, find a new doctor.” Well well. Guess who saved my life. Multiple times and still is 13 years later. Now we are like an old married couple.

My team. Vanessa Hill, CRNP and Dr. Winn Chatham. Both are at UAB in Birmingham, Alabama.

My team. Vanessa Hill, CRNP and Dr. Winn Chatham. Both are at UAB in Birmingham, Alabama.

What can you afford to do about your habits?

Habits require A LOT of effort, time, determination, and sometimes money. It’s important for you to understand how far you’re willing to go to stick to a habit or else you might get burned out. For example, you might really want to run a marathon in a couple of months, so at the beginning of your training, you say you will run for one hour each day in order to prepare. However, you forgot that you have a huge project coming up at work and that your daughter has theater rehearsal every weeknight and that your friend asked you to feed her cat every other morning. This poor planning will result in you coming home one night, exhausted, and telling yourself that you can afford to skip one day of running. But then you do it the next day, and the next, until it’s the morning of the marathon and you haven’t practiced at all.

While this might have been an extreme case, it still serves as an important reminder to cater your habits towards your lifestyle. Let’s face it, most habits are hard to stick to. It would be hard for anyone to run an hour a day, regardless of their job, family needs, and/or prior commitments. But those things on top of your already-hard goal spells out absolute disaster.

Another example is choosing to go completely vegan for a month. For average people, it can be incredibly difficult to get a full stomach while going vegan, especially if they don’t have the money to spend on bulk fruits and veggies or the time to spend planning out their meals. Now if you are a planner, then you start chopping those veggies.

If you really want to stick to your goals, choose habits that aren’t completely impossible. Understand your lifestyle and day-to-day commitments before deciding on a habit.

Understand what it takes:

Habits are super hard to make and break. That’s why they have such a bad reputation. By understanding the effort, determination, and time that goes into making yourself better, you will actually be able to stick to your goals.

Understand that you might fail a couple of times, but getting right back up and finishing what you started is a sure-fire way to become a happier and healthier you. Stay tuned for the “Great sugar detox of 2019” that I’m currently smack in the middle of.

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What is my ending comment: It’s simple. Take care of business people. You only have one life. Live it great and FOR YOU. Listen to the professionals if you need help. YEEESSS!

Love, Molly

Halloween

I absolutely love Halloween! Every part of it… The scary stuff, the candy, the cute little kids so excited, the decorations, all of it. It’s just a fun time and my all time favorite holiday.

I have many people that ask if I limit my kids treats during Halloween and after. The answer is no. I rarely limit my girls intake of anything. (Except, my youngest and the 192 small cups of strawberry ice cream left over from an event. It has been her life mission to finish them all. So, she is currently in a 2 a day limit phase. She’s pissed of course.)

I just don’t teach that limiting things is the best decision. It makes you want them more and you feel a sense of being left out. And that is a bad place to be and will cause a spiral down like you’ve never seen! I have had a bowl of Halloween candy sitting out at my house for weeks and my girls haven’t touched it. If they want to eat the entire bowl and feel crappy later, then that’s a lesson they will learn on their own. They know that candy doesn’t really matter and they don’t feel left out when not eating it. So, it’s not that important to them. If they want a piece, they eat it. I’m not the mom that hears the candy wrapper and comes flying around the corner and slaps it out of their hand.

Now, I will say that I limit/don’t buy/am aware of what is in my house. I’m not trying to say that my girls have free reign of the cabinets though. Actually, they do have free reign, but I buy what’s in the cabinets.

Point of this post: Finding a better way this Halloween and the days after when the candy is hollering obscenities at you from the candy bucket.

Healthier Halloween Ideas:

  • Moderation - Set a limit for yourself and stick to it!

  • Eat a sensible meal before participating in Halloween activities. That way you are less likely to go for the huge candy bowl.

  • Only give away candy that your family does not like. This has always been my strategy.

  • Make Halloween about more than just candy. Carve pumpkins, arts and crafts, make healthy snacks or have Halloween games for the kids


Type 1 Diabetes

Often kids with type 1 Diabetes are left out of all kinds of events, but why? One of my best friends, Paul has an adorable daughter, Sydney with type 1 Diabetes. I have listened to him discuss her limits a million times. The neatest thing is that she is thriving as the most gorgeous 12 year old. She dances, has tons of friends and isn’t restricted at all by her disease. Yes, she takes care of herself and monitors her blood sugar closely, but that hasn’t stopped her at all. It just makes her even more adorable and unique. I asked Paul if he plans to restrict her on Halloween and he said no. He doesn’t want her feeling left out or different in any way. She also has a younger sister, so why treat one a certain way and the other a different way. I understand that completely. I’m sure he will watch her closer than normal without her feeling as if he is. Actually, I know he will. She is dressing up as a banana. How adorable is that? (I have one dressing up as Jesus and one as Madonna, complete with pointy corset and all. I know - don’t lecture me. I will make sure they are in church this weekend.)

I have studied carb choices and blood sugar levels extensively, but I was amazed at some of the carb values in candy! Here is one of my favorite links from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

www.jdrf.com  for more info.

www.jdrf.com for more info.

Sydney is excited and said that trick or treating is her favorite thing about Halloween. I asked her if she felt left out at all and she said sometimes but her friends are very understanding. She also said that she isn’t worried about eating certain things, because she keeps herself in balance.

And she said it best -

I can eat almost anything, I just have to take extra care of myself. A lot of people have it and they are fine. Just stay balanced.
— Sydney Swanger
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Either way Mom and Dad, Halloween shouldn’t be about just the candy. Try and limit sugar every day, not just on Halloween. Go for the fruit based candies, popcorn or pretzels if you are concerned with your kids eating too much and killing each other. If your child reacts differently to one type of food, then limit it. They will survive without Cheetos. (That’s a reference from a friend whose child was allergic to dyes but still wanted Cheetos.) We want what is best for our kids!

100 Calories of Halloween Candy

  • 5 Starbursts

  • 2 Twix, Minis

  • 1 Reese’s PB Cup

  • 3 Kit Kat, Snack Size

So, just like Sydney said - Take care of yourself (or your kids) and everything will be fine. Have fun and I can’t wait to see all the costumes. My cat is super excited about her costume, even though she is currently sleeping on it. Enjoy your day and I hope Michael Myers doesn’t get you.

Love, Molly

5 Ways To Improve Sleep

Oh, the dreaded sleep word. This is a hot topic around me. Mainly, because I sleep very little. It is the hardest thing for me! I can take 50 sleeping pills (exaggeration, don't call my mom) and still not sleep. I've tried it all with no luck. I will eventually sleep though. I may stay up for a few days and then sleep 12 hours one night. My body is weird. Or messed up. One of those. 

Enough about me. Let's discuss better sleep. And just act like I am a great example. Sleep is vital! Countless studies have been done on the effects of your health and your sleep patterns. Stress being a huge component. I can site study after study, but we all know what we need- more sleep. 7-9 hours being optimal if you work out. 6-8 if you don't. I can also give you all the statistics and ideas for better sleep, but again, you have to find what works for you. Here's my favorite graphic from Precision Nutrition on the signs that your sleep habits aren't working for you. 

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You get the idea, don't just sleep more, sleep better. You truly have to find what works for you. Trust Me. Decreasing stress is a great start. Here's some ideas to begin with. 

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1. Exercise. Believe it or not, exercising has been linked to a better quality of sleep. It allows our body to rest better and recover adequately. Give yourself ample time before heading to bed though. Especially if you are doing a hardcore, adrenaline pumping workout. Sleep allows your body to deal with the stress of losing weight and gaining muscle. Think of it as your reset button. Allowing the muscles and body to refuel and repair. 

2. Unwind. This is a big one. Find something that allows you to unwind prior to lying down. I am notorious for sitting down about 9 pm and starting my "other" job. I have to just put my computer away at least an hour before wanting to fall asleep. I also don't watch TV in my room. Maybe reading is your favorite thing before bed. Or a warm bath. Or meditation. Meditation is wonderful for falling asleep quickly. Just find something that isn't bothering you or making you think. Relax and meditate 10-15 minutes prior to heading to bed and you should fall asleep much quicker. 

3. Practice. Finding a good routine is soooooo important. Going to bed and waking at the same time each day is important for your sleep patterns. Just like we begin training our kids for an earlier bed time a few weeks before school starts each year, we have to do the same for ourselves. So, practice going to bed 10 minutes earlier every few nights until you reach your desired bedtime. And stick to it!

4. Watch your health. Pay attention to your health and sleep patterns. Sometimes, changing patterns can mean that something else is going on. If you feel something is abnormally off, discuss it with your doctor. Sometimes we have gone too hard and just need some extra sleep, but sometimes we are fighting getting sick as well. Pay attention and seek help if needed. 

5. Find help. Before you even ask, yes I have seen a doctor about my sleeping. If you have tried everything and still can't manage to sleep well, please look for help. Lack of sleep over time can really be detrimental to your health. Ask for help!

Thanks for reading my 5 Ways To.. series. If you missed the others, they are located on the blog. Go take a nap!

Love,

Molly

5 Ways To Destress

Destress? What's that? HA!

Stress:

  • Stress causes adverse health effects in 43% of adults.

  • 75+% of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

  • Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death in adults.

  • Stress is a major hazard of the workplace.

  • Stress has been linked to issues in the home.

So, what can we do to destress? 

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1. Exercise. I'm not just saying this because I work in the fitness industry, but fitness is a vital part to keeping your stress under control. Even a simple, 10 minute exercise break can drop your stress levels significantly. It doesn't have to be a huge thing, just anything to get your heart rate going. My company has shown a big rise in productivity with employees that exercise on their lunch break. They are happier, calmer and more productive. So, find an exercise program that you enjoy and destress. 

2. Meditate. Meditation is a wonderful way to center your mind and relax. True meditation allows you to release negative thoughts and energy and center your thoughts to a more positive focus. There are numerous apps that will assist you in mediation as well. A few of the ones leading the field are Headspace and Calm. Both are very user friendly and will guide you through different variations. Starting and ending your day is a start. Sit quietly when you wake and right before bed; close your eyes, breathe in and out for a 2 count and allow yourself to relax your muscles. With each breathe, relax a new muscle group. 

3. Breathe More. Sometimes all we need is to step away and take a few extra breathes. Closing your eyes and breathing in and out slowly will instantly calm you. So, during high stress times, stop and feel your breathes, listen as you breath in 2 and out 3. This almost acts as a reboot! 

4. Find Something Fun. My company has recognized that often fun can change the work environment and boost morale. They have implemented outside activities and events. Teams are going to ballgames together, racing go-carts, trying new restaurants, having meetings at my fitness facility, scheduling meetings outside during breaks and so on. Team members are loving the change and it has had a huge impact on their stress at work. I recently launched a corporate softball league and they have absolutely loved it! One senior manager sent me and the President an email stating how much that one activity has single handily changed her department. People are happier, interacting with each other and excited to come to work. The effect- less stress. Sign up for a Zumba class or an art class. Anything that you find fun and can look forward too. 

5. Seek Help. As always, if your stress is out of control and your health is beginning to decline, seek medical help. There are numerous ways that physicians can assist you with destressing. 

I know that stress is a touchy subject and we all have some level of stress in our lives. But finding the balance that works for you is key.  

Much Love, 

Molly 

 

Friday Faves 4

It's Friday again! I know I say this every Friday - but this is my favorite list. 

1. My 'I Eat Carbs" towel. I found this adorable towel in a small shop in North Carolina and had to have it. It's so me! I have the "carb talk" several times a week it seems. Good carbs should be your friend! They aren't mean. The mean girl just spread a rumor about them and now everyone believes it. Don't go along with the crowd, be your own person. A carb eating person. Then you'll be happy and have tons of energy. You'll lift harder and get some much needed fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals. If you are a fad diet follower, order this towel and use it everyday so you can be reminded to not always listen to the rumors. 

Cost: 7 hour car ride + $9.99

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2. Tarte Concealer. First off, I'm a Bobbi Brown makeup snob. I'll say that up front. I was out of concealer and happened to be in Ulta killing time when I asked the most adorable salesperson what type of makeup she had on. Next thing I know, I'm cheating on my Bobbi Brown consultant and driving home with a tiny bag of $188 worth of stuff. *See mascara below. Anyway, this stuff is phenomenal! Worth every penny and all the sudden I don't look like I've been up for four days straight. Even though, I have been up for four days straight. Or maybe, I'm just hoping I look better because, again $188 is missing. It is also a vegan product which I love and it does not need a finishing powder. (That saves me $9.99 right there.) Again, I'm loving this product. If you see me in person, please comment on how rested I look. I'll act like I'm actually rested. 

Cost: $27 

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3. Benefit BadGal Bang Mascara. Again, Olivia from the Hoover Ulta somehow managed to send me home with some awesome stuff! I have really long eye lashes so I go through a lot of mascara. I have tried them ALL. I usually use a cheap mascara from Target and I generally like it, but I go through tons. I've tried expensive stuff before and it was never worth the money. I really like this! It works with a few swipes and stays on all day. Even through multiple fitness classes. Try it!

Cost: $24

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4. Toufayan Gluten Free Scoopable Pita Chips. These were a BOGO item at Publix several weeks ago and I grabbed a bag. My oldest loves pita chips so I figured I would try them. They are really good! I'm not a huge eater, so I can eat a few chips and be satisfied. I was afraid that the flavor would be too strong but it's not. If you are someone that enjoys the crunch of a chip but are trying to break your addiction to the sogoodbutbadforyouchips, try these guys out.  

Cost: $2.50 ish on sale

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5. Green Valley Organics Yogurt. If you have been following me at all, you know that I'm trying a new eating plan and adding yogurt was on my list. I do try and stay lactose free because I have the weakest stomach on the planet so I grabbed this yumminess at Sprouts. I also try and stay with the plain (or Vanilla) variety to limit my sugar intake. I ate this for a snack at work with some fresh pineapple. It has quickly moved into my favorite brand. The yogurt market has blown up with a million brands and varieties. And they are not all created equal!! Most are full of sugar and calories so really check the ingredients! 

Cost: $1 ish

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Enjoy!

Love, Molly

Where's my beach body?

There's that one girl. You know the one. The one that wears cute, matching outfits to the gym. Her hair looks awesome. Her eyeliner is perfect every time. Everyone seems to love her. She is just plain adorable. And you want to be her SO bad.

Why do we compare ourselves to others? It's a normal reaction! I do it often!

In my business, I hear it regularly. "I want to look like this for my vacation." I have a client that has a pair of pants hanging up in her room and she tries them on every weekend to see how much further she needs to go.

We all want to be THAT GIRL. I have trained that girl. I have been that girl. I have several on my staff. They ALL want to be someone else. I promise. I try to encourage all my clients to be the best version of themselves. It's not always a bad thing to have something to aim for, it's when we obsess that things turn nasty very quickly.

So, are you ready for the beach this year? Here's a MASSIVE secret.. Even "that girl" thinks that she isn't ready. She doesn't exist really. Even the most beautiful model wakes up feeling bloated some days. She binge eats at night while watching This Is Us. And in all honesty - do we really want to be "that girl"? OH, THE WORK. I have had the privilege to work with some extremely fit people. It takes an astonishing amount of work. Like, pulling cold, bland chicken out of your pocket every hour. I had one that was so tired of lugging her gallon jug of water around that she painted and named the jug. She would proclaim, "Me and Betsy are here to work out." 

My clients have success because they don't go overboard. Now, if you hire me to train you for a Ms. Olympian fitness competition, then you better stock up on some chicken at Costco. But most of us are not training for a once in a lifetime event. We just want to look decent on the beach. So, how do you get to that spot?

You start improving something. Anything. That one thing that you feel you can control and succeed at. I walk in the gym constantly and think, "Why does everyone have their shit together but me?" I think at least once a day while training a client, "Yeah, I haven't worked this muscle group in like 5 years." It's ok though. No one has their shit together.

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Everyone has issues. I can't get enough sleep at night. My cat loves throwing up grass right at my bedroom door. I can not stop eating those new chocolate chip cookies I made. At least three times a week, I will inevitably leave my perfectly portioned macro lunch at home. I only ate a cup of green beans for dinner last night. I could go on and on here. 

No one can escape the reality of family and deadlines and the thermodynamic laws that govern metabolism.
— Krista Scott-Dixon

So, find something that you can be confident about and pack your bags. Great legs? Pack the shortest shorts you can wear. Not ready for a bikini? That's ok, pack a super cute one piece. Maybe you didn't make the cut for the Sports Illustrated models this season, but there's always next year. Again, pick something to do or focus on and start there. I've been dealing with some serious health issues and all I can seem to lift the past two weeks is my feet. So, I've been walking an extra 20 minutes each day. It's not in my plan but it will have to do. I'll start back weight training soon. 

Need help? (We all do at some point!) Then, give me a call. Or comment below. I just had a very successful personal trainer hire me because he couldn't get himself motivated and on the right track. Within two weeks, he was beyond happy with his progress. Just having someone to watch you and gently nudge you along can sometimes make a world of difference. I also run nutrition groups regularly that I would love for you to get in. They are full of information and a great success for many. Like I said above, sometimes you just need a gentle nudge in the right direction. One nudge leads to another nudge which leads to that call from Sports Illustrated. 

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No matter where you are - go and enjoy the summer. Enjoy your vacation! I mean, don't eat a dozen pastries each morning from that adorable shop around the corner. Let's aim for maybe 2 each morning. Happy Summer!

Love, 

Molly

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Friday Faves 2

I'm so excited that it is Friday again! Thanks for all the messages from my first Friday Fave post. Who knew that people like to see what I like? 

This week was an event that my team (and some other awesome people) had worked very hard on! I enjoyed being with them and bringing tons of awareness for Cancer. My team has several events coming up and we are running in all directions so we were excited for the first one of the season to go smoothly. 

Event season = Stress season & a lot of sleepless nights & a million miles on my car & many many cuss words. Luckily, I have trained my team to run as fast as I do. I'm also fairly consistent with my workouts and nutrition, so that keeps me going as strong as I can. 

Here's some of my favorite things this week:

1. Beau. It's kinda like, let's make Molly into a cat and then name her Beau. She is moody, has a bad attitude, is lazy, is full of energy and only likes eating off antiques. She's pretty much my twin. I truly never wanted an animal, but somehow Beau found us. She saved me during a horrible time in my life and has been a wonderful blessing to us all. Last Sunday, she was nasty because I wouldn't let her wonder outside. But, she has been sweet this week. She enjoys traveling between houses (I live at 2 places) and enjoys coming back to my town home because she knows that her sisters will be there. She gets so excited to see them! It usually doesn't last long but she puts on a good face for a few hours. And the birds are back in the backyard, so life has purpose again. And I moved a plant, so an assault has been going on. Either way, she has been one of my favorite things this week!

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2. Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend by Trader Joe's. I have several friends that carry this everywhere in their purse. I'm not joking. Stacey will pull it out in a heartbeat. I finally bought some my last trip to Trader Joe's. It's $1.99 and I needed to clean my purse out so I figured I could see if I needed to find a spot for it for those serious seasoning emergencies. I am a huge sea salt (sea :) below) and sesame seed fan so anything that combines the two and I'm over here stuffing it in my purse anytime I go out to eat. I add it to anything. Avocado, baked chicken, roasted vegetables, baked potatoes... It does not have ANY preservatives, sugar or other crap. It's wonderful for a different flavor on chicken. Clean your purse out now. 

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3. 30A Olive Oil. My sister-in-law, Stephanie works at 30 Avenue shops in Inlet Beach, Florida and for Christmas she gave a bottle of olive oil from the 30A Olive Oil Co. She is the ultimate gift giver and has given me some awesome things, but this has by far been my favorite. I sat in a conference a few years back with a group of corporate wellness directors and the main speaker was the owner of Simply Infused in Birmingham. It was a huge eye opener and I haven't bought cheap olive oil since. It truly makes a big difference in the quality and taste of olive oils. 30 Avenue is a gorgeous shopping and event center just minutes from Panama City, Florida. 30A Olive Oil Co. has a stunning store full of wonderful products. I've tried several of their olive oils, balsamic oils and seasonings and they are ALL fantastic. I guard my bottle like a hawk when it's out because I will beat you if you waste the excellent stuff. Good luck finding it when it's put away too. Honestly, you will lick the bowl. If you are ever in the Inlet Beach area, 30A Olive Oil Co. is a MUST. Or you can shop online and buy everything they have and they will ship directly to your house. 

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4. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. My parents always have pink Himalayan sea salt on hand and I began buying mine in bulk from the best place on earth, Sprouts. It's said to be the cleanest salt available and has numerous nutritional benefits, including over 75 minerals. Average table salt is actually very processed and I try to limit my sodium intake, so I prefer using Himalayan salt. The taste is stronger so I use much less and it brings the taste out of foods more. Like I said, I buy a scoop out of the bulk bin at Sprouts and put it in a container with a lid. It sits on my counter and I just grab a pinch when I need it. I googled benefits of Himalayan salt and here are the top ones: Improves respiratory problems, balances your pH levels, aides with digestion, air purifier and aides in sleep. Apparently, I need to eat gallons every day. I hope you give it a try!  

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5. My New Tabata Abs Workout. I've had some clients traveling a lot lately and I'm always trying to keep them active when they are gone. Tabata is high intensity, quick, interval workouts. I completed this workout several nights at home after dinner. It's easy enough to finish but hard enough that you feel like you did something. It can be done in a hotel room, your living room or anywhere that you can put a mat down. I have a full series coming up soon but for now- here's my ab workout. (I actually have tons of free workouts on my site if you haven't looked!)

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There's my favorites from this week! Let me know if you try something. I love hearing from you! Have a wonderful weekend! 

 

Love,

Molly

School is in session!

Happy New School Year! I hope all the kiddos are settled into school and enjoying themselves. It's no secret - I despise the school year. It's monotony and running everywhere trying to stay alive. And someone needs $10 by tomorrow. And someone needs the damned poster board for a project at 9 pm. Did we not need this poster board at 6 pm? And I forgot to buy lunch meat, so you will be eating carrot sticks and bread. I hate it all!

My girls also attend schools that are 50 miles apart. 50 MILES. Not 5, 50. Yeah, it's easy. On Fridays, one gets out at 3:12 and the other 3:15. It's joy. And I live right in the middle. Either way, I am backtracking or something. We do car pool and one parent works closer to at least one kid, so that works. It is just a logistical nightmare. But, we make it work. We two-wheel it into gas stations and holler for the kid to get out or jump in. And off we go. It works. And now, my oldest is driving and plans to start driving at least one day a week. That's another topic though! Eek. 

Both my girls are also picky with food and I might be a little picky about what they eat... so, they bring their lunches. I taught them early on to help with making their lunches. Because, let's face it, if I'm in charge their lucky if they show up with actual food! I tend to forget...  I've lasted four weeks so far this school year, I'm sure I'll give up soon! I place a big basket with snacks on the counter and they can grab what they like. I also try and keep the refrigerator stocked with yogurts, natural juices and cheeses. But there was also this -

The 2012 candy corn incident. This actually came out of my mouth- I swear.

Me: My child has only candy corn in her lunch box? Well, I like for them to be independent sometimes.
Teacher: Maybe she can be a little less independent tomorrow.
Me: I will give you credit for that statement.
Teacher: I’m glad.

Child gets in the car that afternoon.

Me: What did you pack for lunch?
Child: Candy corn.
Me: I heard.
Child: Yea, my stomach hasn’t felt so good.
Me: Uh huh, maybe you should have wrapped the candy corn in turkey or something.
Child: You’re gross.
Me: Well, you’re the one who packed candy corn for lunch.

My family still laughs about the candy corn incident. My brother laughed for days and days. 

My gorgeous 11th grader.

My gorgeous 11th grader.

Annabelle, Anna and Kaytie.

Annabelle, Anna and Kaytie.

My mini me and Beau.

My mini me and Beau.

My beautiful 7th grader.

My beautiful 7th grader.

Here are a few of the lunches I have made this year. 

Carrots (organic from my dad) and celery with homemade ranch dressing. Turkey and cheese roll up. Cherries and strawberries. Snack cake and water. Score!

Carrots (organic from my dad) and celery with homemade ranch dressing. Turkey and cheese roll up. Cherries and strawberries. Snack cake and water. Score!

This is one of my favorites! I love making roll ups and sending to school. My girls love them too. This has turkey roll ups, cheese cubes, cauliflower, green pepper, cucumber and apple slices. With my homemade dressing again! They grab what they want and another score!

This is one of my favorites! I love making roll ups and sending to school. My girls love them too. This has turkey roll ups, cheese cubes, cauliflower, green pepper, cucumber and apple slices. With my homemade dressing again! They grab what they want and another score!

I typically only send chips or pretzels with my girls 1 day a week. I think they take chips from their dads house a few days, so I try and curb chips from being brought every single day. I have friends that say they don't care what their kids eat at school, as long as they are eating. I disagree. I don't mind if my girls eat crap sometimes, but not constantly. One daughter has a friend that will barely come to our house because she claims she don't have anything to eat or drink when she's there. I have a ton of food, just not soda, chips and cookies. Sorry. 

My girls don't have sugar crashes and caffeine headaches either! Wonder why? Mom win. 

Kids will try you and prefer the sugar snacks and crap! Just don't give in. It's really simple. And don't make a big deal if they do choose the not so awesome choice. I had a mom try and hire me as a nutrition coach for her overweight daughter. It did seem that genetics was playing a role in her weight but the more I dug around, the more I started to feel sorry for this little 9 year old. The mother was naturally slim and ate fairly well. (and was a licensed social worker!) The father was not slim and ate poorly. The mother CONSTANTLY talked about this. She made comments to the little girl everyday. She told the little girl to take the trash out each afternoon because that would add some exercise to her day. She labeled foods with signs that said, "Not for you ___." She made comments like, "You are so beautiful, hopefully you will lose your baby weight." She truly did not understand why her daughter was hiding foods in her room and gorging herself when she went to friends houses. She asked for my honest advice and I gave it to her. And I lost a client that day! She was to blame 100%. She bought the bad foods. She shamed her daughter daily. She bought the older, slim daughter cute outfits and bought this child clothes from discount stores. She made her daughters weight HER issue. She was ashamed to have a chubby daughter. I did tell her that she needed to reevaluate her thought process and to imagine how she made her daughter feel. I did tell her that she needed to consider counseling for herself. She did follow my advice somewhat. 

There's one thing I try hard to never do around my girls - discuss weight. I have never mentioned to one of them about gaining weight. Losing weight, etc. If they mention my weight, I will answer their question and that's it. I don't call myself skinny. Or fat. I don't use the word diet in my house. I will explain to them if I'm doing some type of exercise program or trying a new food plan, but the D word is never used. If they want to discuss some diet fad, I will discuss the benefits and cons. They are curious about nutrition and exercise and not scared of it. That was my goal. Mom win again.

Here are some great options for kids: 

Veggies: Carrot Sticks, Celery, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cucumbers

Natural Peanut Butter (Not the low fat version please!)

Pretzels, Baked Chips, Pita Chips w Hummus

Greek Yogurt

Fruit of any kind

Here's one of my favorite graphics for you -

brunch (1).png

Also, be a good example for your child. Don't be frantic and go running to slap the chips out of their hands! Fix a variety of whole and fresh foods and you eat them too. Don't make a huge deal out of food. Food is for nourishment remember. My youngest has just started running cross country and she has really gotten heavy into her diet. I gave her some suggestions and answered her questions but I have kinda stepped back hoping that she would think about her diet on her own. I strategically placed some veggies and fruit around. I accidently made a smoothie with fresh fruit one morning. She loves any type of fruit and immediately jumped on that. After a few runs, she began saying things about her eating and how she felt better when she ate good. No comment from me. It was all I had to not roll my eyes and scream "about time someone in my life says that." Two weeks in and she has taken control of her eating with no help from me (except I did buy the food she put on her grocery list). I am so proud of her! I hope she can maintain this even after her season is over. Especially, since candy corn season is among us. Have you tried the Candy Apple kind? What's going on there? 

Try and make one healthier choice a day this week for your kids. Put the veggies and fruit in their lunch boxes. They may not eat it at first, but they are noticing. Keep doing it each day and you might be surprised what happens. 

Good Luck,

Molly

-Be curious about nutrition and exercise and not scared of it.-.png

Staying Active Despite having a Chronic Pain or Inflammation Disease

One of my talents- I am a master of disguise when it comes to hiding pain. Am I proud? Sorta. Does it bring me comfort? No. I am a personal trainer, group ex instructor and fitness blogger that manages to put on a strong front while in ridiculous pain.  I've written about this before and I have also spoken to many groups on this topic and have managed to compile some data. When I walk into a room to speak, I generally can put you into 2 groups. 1. The give up group. 2. The wants to give up but will die swinging group. 

In my years of having Lupus and belonging to several support groups, online and in person, the one's that have lost their battle are always in the "give up" group. Always. Maybe it's a coincidence for me but I don't feel it is. They have the sad, I don't care look. They don't care what they eat, how they survive, they are just trying to survive somehow. This is a bad and lonely place. 

I'm going to hopefully push you to the other "fighter" group. There are some things that I do and have taught people in pain for years to do that has always kept them on the fighter side. Don't worry, you can walk over to the other side occasionally, just don't hang out over there. 

1. Grieve. This took YEARS for me to master (or sorta kinda). I'm not sure I can even speak on this because I've done such a pathetic job here, but pretend I know what I'm talking about. It's imperative that you grieve for your life that you thought you were living. If you have been diagnosed with something as debilitating as Lupus, regaining your life just as it was years ago is probably not going to happen. I'm sorry to say that but it's just a fact - your life is forever different. Take time to grieve that fact properly. Grieve that adorable, spunky sweet girl. The one that could climb hills and hills. Is she forever gone doomed to a wheelchair? NO. I swear. After years, I can say that I am in better shape than before my diagnosis. It's painful and sucks ass, but I can do it. Allow your family time to grieve as well. They are also losing one way and needing to understand the new way.

2. Find your inner strength. Trust me here. You're going to need some major strength and it has to come from you. Unfortunately, I have tried every approach possible and I have learned that you can't put everything into your spouse or children or doctor. Or cat. I go through spells and I will actually say, "I'm hunkering down, so let me do it my way." My partner - oh geez! That tactic does not work well. But, after several years, we have found a common ground. The pain and stress are remarkable and I have to shut my outside world down at times or I won't survive the day. It isn't a jab or direct hit at him, I am turning my survival mode on. I have no idea how I've managed to still be standing, but I believe it's because I have something within me that has managed to take over. And when I have gained some strength, I will walk back up to him. He has adjusted to my strategy finally but he has also shown me that I can't handle it all alone at times.

3. Find other "fighters." Let me introduce you to some of my friends. We all have severe health problems and we have managed to find deep friendships with each other. I have two great friends, Alanna and Katina. We all have the same doctor and spent time in chemo together. What's the difference here? If you randomly open my phone and see our group texts, you would be wildly surprised. We are honest at all times with each other. One will nicely ask 'how are you' to the group.  And we answer with a barrage of explicits about what is truthfully going on. The others listen and encourage with the same amount of explicits. We just understand. We laugh when one of us goes down with something major, again. I told them that I dislocated my knee and several weeks later, I sent a message about my recent issue. "I guess I broke my neck." The comments and laughs that came back were fantastic! It was funny people! I was getting hurt every single step I took for months. It became hilarious. My partners at the gym started laughing too! It is so stupid how much we deal with at times and sometimes you can't help but laugh. We also are better researchers than most. Fighters surround themselves with knowledge and they aren't afraid to use it! Find a group of fighters and they will be your best asset. I have put concerns on something out to friends all over the country and they have responded with answers and things that I have taken to my doctor. I knew of a research drug being studied before my doctor. Fighters find ways to survive no matter what. Learn to be a fighter.

4. Know your limits. This is a brutal reality. You have to know your limitations and what is going to hurt you in the long run. This is something that sucks the most. Chronic sufferers live each day with something nagging them and we will go to great lengths to quieten this. Unfortunately, it never quietens. Spend a week in the sun, spend two weeks feeling like you were hit by a truck. Eat bad for a week, it will take my stomach three weeks to level out. Go heavy in the gym and I'll spend weeks with a swollen knee. It truly hurts when I have to explain why I can't do something. It makes you feel like you actually are sick. Ironic. But, you have to find your limits. My oldest daughter would ask to swing all day, every day. "Swing, please," she would beg. No one understood, but I actually lost the mobility in my right hand for almost a year. It hurt constantly, but I hid it well. The thing that hurt it the most, pushing a swing for some reason. I tried everything. Pushing with my hand closed. Pushing only with my left hand. Pushing super hard several times and then stepping away to rest my hand. I tried bribing her with sugar. Toys. But, all she wanted to do was swing with me pushing her. I started telling her no. It was the only way I felt I could help my pain in my hand. (I do still have terrible guilt about not being able to play with her. I imagine that she doesn't even remember this.) Either way- I knew my limits. 

5. Do your best. I have tried all kinds of approaches to feel better. Hello... I am a personal trainer that works in a gym full time. And I hold a Nutrition license. It's imperative that you continue to exercise and eat healthy. I have had several doctors tell me that the only reason I am not crippled (their word, not mine), is because I have always worked out. Insert the fighter group again here - The fighters continue regardless. Maybe we are masters of our pain thresholds or maybe we are just fighters. Or maybe something happened in our childhoods that taught us this vital skill. I happen to believe that it has to do with your surroundings and support systems. If you treat me sick, I will show you not sick. If you treat me not sick, I will eventually show you sick anyway. But, do not remind me because I can do as much if not more than you. Even sick. I live with my reality everyday and I don't need someone reminding me. I will talk to you about anything if you ask me nicely, but I'm not going to discuss it on my own. Because, unless you feel my pain or live with me, you will not understand how hard I try to do my best each day. In my years of speaking to chronically ill patients, I can also tell you this - we hurt more just knowing that we are affecting the people close to us as well. By bringing it up, you are reminding us of this as well. I can say that I truly do my best every day. I may sit down and play on my phone at work, but I'm really trying to divert my attention away from my pain. I may have an unorganized pantry with random foods in it, but if I can't cook tonight, my girls can find something. I may have pulled a random pain pill out of my boyfriends glove compartment last week that I hid in there for emergencies. It was an emergency dear!

I learned at a very young age that I had to be strong for myself, that other people won’t always fight for you. They may care for you, but nobody can do the work of building you up like you can. This disease has been at times the most defeating thing I’ve ever experienced because there is no control over it. I want to keep it real and say that I fight everyday but that’s not the truth. Some days I don’t fight at all. That use to make me so emotional and depressed but what I realized is sometimes not fighting is still a form of fighting.
Katina

6. Don't be a dumb ass. You have to listen to your doctor and your body. I have fought remarkably hard and I still get lectured by my doctor. However, my doctor is at the top of his field. I have laughed and lectured other doctors about being wrong though. I do not have a bone sticking out of my armpit idiot girl resident from three years ago. There is an idiot here, but it's not me! I have been with my doctor for 11 years and he knows me very well. He says something and I listen. Listen to your body too. Is jumping at the trampoline park really a good idea after you spent two days with a swollen knee? Do you get sick and feel worse after eating crap for a few days? Don't be a dumb ass - your body is giving you the signals to make some changes. Change your diet and see how you feel. I swear that you will survive two days without corn chips. (They are over there on the table staring at me. Just staring.) Hire an awesome nutrition coach. I know one if you need a suggestion. 

7. DO NOT GIVE IN. Being diagnosed with a disease, suffering an injury, or just losing your way is not a reason to give up. If you want to lay on the couch everyday and whine about how shitty your life is, then do that. But don't wonder why your family is concerned, why you are gaining weight, why you suddenly feel even worse, why your kids aren't hanging around as much, why your finances are getting worse, etc. Get your ASS UP. Walk to the bathroom every hour. Walk to the kitchen. Walk to the mailbox. Turn the TV off and reflect/meditate. Here's a true story that I have only told to one group. I only told it because a lady was crying in the front row. (We are still friends.) My oldest had just started school and I was at home with my youngest. I was at my sickest and had started working from home because I couldn't load up the little one, drive and work all in the same day. Well, Haley Jane was a little spit fire. She needed to be right near you. And talked the ENTIRE time. I just wanted to sit and suffer but that couldn't happen. I finally figured out how to help us both. We had three trees in our front yard and we went outside. I concocted this ridiculous game with these trees. We would walk around the trees in varying ways. Once she learned the game, I would sit down. I would sit there and tell her what to do. Everyday, we went outside and played this game. I would sit down immediately and tell her what to do. I essentially just ran my two year old until she gave up. After a few weeks, I made a loop with her. Then two. Then we added the mailbox. Then we added the neighbors tree. It wasn't much to a high impact trainer but it wasn't me sitting on the couch. And yes, it hurt like hell. I was brutally sick, but I wasn't going to give in.

I had a great friend that gave up. She hired a driver if she ever got out, which was rarely. She hired a cook. She had a housekeeper. She had nurses that came to her. She hired a lady to do her shopping. She would shop online and find something and then have the lady go buy it at the store. She would then tell her family that she had went and bought it. She often told me that she was done fighting. She didn't even want to walk to the bathroom alone. She suffered greatly. She got up, walked to the bathroom and sat down and died on December 15, 2006. She was 51. Her daughter later told me that on Christmas morning, the family came to the house to have Christmas anyway. They had explained to the grand kids how they wouldn't be getting any presents from their grandmother because she of course had passed away weeks before and they assumed she hadn't purchased gifts. The families arrived and began having Christmas. Everyone had brought gifts and placed them under the tree. When they began opening, they noticed gifts addressed to the grand kids in their mother's handwriting. The grand kids began opening these gifts and they were prerecorded story books from their grandmother. Recorded in her own voice, all with a handwritten note telling them how much she loved them. There was even one for an unborn grandchild. I was at her house on December 10th and she gave me a Christmas angel that I still put out every year and say a prayer for her grand children that she clearly loved tremendously. I also ask her why she gave up. Why she didn't fight just a little harder. She was able to walk, eat, talk, cook, drive - yet she felt she couldn't. It was stated that she died from low blood pressure and complications from Lupus. It may be rude of me to say, but I feel she gave in to her disease years before and had stopped fighting. She did not have to die. Her husband was asleep in the bedroom and she never woke him up to say she wasn't feeling well. She always woke him up to help her to the bathroom, this night she didn't. Her unborn grandchild was born just three months after she died, she could have been there. Maybe it was her time to go and nothing could have stopped that. Or maybe she gave up.

I fight for my husband and son. They are the ones that keep me going no matter how bad I might feel. I also fight to prove that I don’t give up that easily!
Alanna

I truly understand how hard it is to wake up "differently" than you used too. I understand the constant issues and concerns. I understand the incredible burden that is placed on your shoulders. I understand the desire to stop and give up. For some reason, you have been made differently or been given something else to handle. The most exciting part is that you can show your true strength and somehow climb out of this. I show my girls everyday that a mother can accomplish so much even with crippling issues. I may holler or react harsh on my bad days, but I also make homemade cupcakes with little ABC sprinkles for the first day of school every year. I may not have pushed my daughter for five straight hours 12 years ago on the swing, but she does get a birthday cake made by me each year. Most importantly, they have been taught compassion and independence. 

So, despite your struggles, I encourage you to continue staying active and to fight for yourself. Do it for you, no one else. You are enough - I promise. 

Alanna is going to die because she has no makeup on! Alanna, Katina and myself at our chemo treatment.

Alanna is going to die because she has no makeup on! Alanna, Katina and myself at our chemo treatment.

Love, Molly

 

Find Your Fight

I'm going to keep this short, because I could talk about this topic for hours. 

I have been in the health and fitness field for a million years. Here's the secret that I have noticed with all my clients, friends and family - 

You have to find your fight. 

It can be anything. Something small, large, sad, revenge or a simple comment. Eventually, everyone finds their one thing that they decide to fight for.  I've had clients getting married, marathoners that aren't able to pass this one milestone, a dad unable to pick his daughter up, cancer patients, and women feeling that they aren't their best selves. And there was the guy who played college baseball and started coaching his son's team and wanted to feel awesome again. The grandmother that couldn't keep up with her teenage grandson who had recently moved in. I've had several girls that wanted desperately to get pregnant. (I'm currently 100% at helping them get pregnant. Ok, there have only been 3, but they followed my nutrition and fitness plan and next thing you know, baby is coming!) 

These people came to a place that they knew things needed to change. Sometimes, they have no choice. I'm one of those people. I suffer from a stupid and remarkably painful autoimmune disease. It really is stupid. I can think about a joint and wake up the next morning with an injury on that joint. It's awesome and a great gift. But, I'm an overachiever and very stubborn so don't try it. I injured my left hip. It was brutal. I get it better, then my right kneecap spontaneously dislocates. I start limping around and there goes the right hip. I spend countless hours in orthopedic offices and physical therapists. I'm feeling 75% back and I suffer from a neck injury. Eighteen months later and I am still not back to working out much. It sucks ass. 

My only hope is to just find my fight and keep going. I may be holding an extra 7.4 pounds now and I look 90 years old when I go down stairs, but whatever. I know my body and disease and beginning a new program right now would only cause me to fail. I have found what I need to fight for. It's my businesses, my girls and my relationships. I struggle every single day with things but I have to stay pointed forward. My days are a roller coaster and that's ok. I try to express my feelings (that's a huge weakness of mine) and redirect my attention.

Like today, these words actually came out of my mouth to my ridiculously patient boyfriend, "I'm not feeling so awesome today, so I need you to tell me I'm pretty at least five times in the next hour. Thanks." I'm not perfect. And he's a loser because he only told me four times. Come on. 

I encourage you to sit and really imagine what you want. Write it down. Then sit and think how you can achieve this. It doesn't have to be huge or moving across the country or something. Just imagine a small task to move you forward and start working towards it. It takes 21 days to make a habit. 

Once you prove that you can fight, imagine how fast you will start moving towards that goal. 

So, find your freaking fight. 

Love,

Molly

 

Ask yourself why you aren't in my circle? Or are you?

I am launching a new program in two weeks that I'm SOOO pumped to give you. I started several people a month ago and they are loving it and seeing great success. I hand picked them because I knew they would give me honest feedback. And they have! I can't wait to let you see it. Are you in my circle so you can get the news as soon as I launch it? 

An Authentic Place

Hola. I just returned from Tulum, Mexico. I want to write today on what I'm feeling in my current life. Finding an authentic place. A place where colors are brighter and the world is seemingly better. I started a journey four years ago to find what makes me happy or maybe a better term - who I am. It has not been an easy four years, but I am proud of my current place. I have found an authentic place where I seem to have a good place in my mind of what is ok. I was reminded of this about a zillion times in Tulum. We started our Thursday with a remarkable breakfast at Ziggy's and then off to the Tulum Ruins.

The Healthiest Sick Person Alive, Part 2

Hey guys.  Sorry I haven't kept you all in the loop about my surgery.  I tend to retreat in tough times.  So, I retreated and am just now barely looking out from behind the sheets. I did finally turn a light on in my room today.  So, I'm days ahead of schedule.  I'll be in the real world by April possibly.  Surgery went fine.  The surgeon stated that things looked much worse than he expected but he was able to repair everything successfully.

The Healthiest Sick Person Alive

Well this sucks.

I am stuck in the middle of being a public blogger and the most private person ever.

Well, the time has come for an explanation.  Let me reintroduce myself.  I am a Corporate Wellness and Facility Director, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Group Fitness Instructor with 15+ certifications, Wellness Coach, Precision Nutrition Coach, single mom of two, blogger AND the healthiest sick person alive.

Day 26 to 40 - Sweetness

I'm thankful for a ton this past week.  It's been different, very weird and very very busy. I'm thankful to have finished an event that has been in the works for 4 months.  It was a success and I spent time with some of my favorite people!  I wrote a post very important to me this week as well.  It was very hard and I received a bit of slack for it.  I enjoyed writing it and it helped tremendously to get the thoughts out.  Thanks to my friends that gave me support from it.  I wrote it by myself and I know the real meaning behind it.  And my close friends and love ones do as well.  I'm thankful for that.

Day 38 to 40

Today was not a great day.  It was overall tough but I am blessed to have my infusion nurse of five years with me.  Dorothy is the best nurse E.V.E.R.  She never gets flustered even when my blood pressure is in the 40's. She will just look and ask what my problem is.  And throw in a lecture about working out too much. Thankful for lovely, genuine people like Dorothy today.