Thursday, January 27, 2011

The State of OUR Union...

Tuesday evening Todd, Ginger and I cuddled up on the couch to watch the President address us, our country.  Regardless of your political stance and preferences, being involved and informed is important but above all, being respectful towards each other and our leaders has always been critical in my political point of view. [I can't imagine the challenge it is being the President, regardless of party affiliation. Being the President of the United States is a huge honor and one I have great respect for - Republican, Democrat, or something else, I will not be the person you'll hear "bashing" a President for any reason.]

Face it - we don't all believe, think, see or smell the same. Politics are no exception.
In President Obama's address he said this quite early:

"Now, by itself, this simple recognition won’t usher in a new era of cooperation.  What comes of this moment is up to us.  What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.  (Applause.)
      I believe we can.  And I believe we must.  That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us.  With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties.  New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans.  We will move forward together, or not at all -– for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics."

FYI - This post is not to discuss politics either.... I just had a few things to say and point out about what MY version of "healthcare reform" might be! :)

 As everyone of you know, I'm a healthcare worker, a total health advocate and "junkie". I truly WANT the best health for each and every person in the United States. It's a topic of discussion that I am quite passionate about. As I see it, and like President Obama said in his address, America's health crisis is a challenge bigger than politics.

President Obama has taken a big step to start change in our healthcare systems. I can't and I won't say I know all the in's and out's of the proprosals, but I do know and believe that changes do need to be made. Yea, insurance access is good and stuff... but to me, the "issues" I care most about haven't been discussed (or I've missed it) beyond The First Lady, Michelle Obama's platform on childhood obesity.

If I could make some changes [and I would if I could!!], mine would be along the suggestions of our FOOD supply and policy, and to our MENTAL/BEHAVIORAL HEALTH "system" (or lack there of if you ask me).

In a nutshell (I'm trying to make it a small shell), I believe that an overhaul of our mental health system would change TONS within the whole system. We can alleviate the demand, resources and wait times (for those admitting for assistance and those in the waiting rooms) of our Emergency Departments.... which would drastically change how the REST of the hospital works and runs. But also, by providing ADEQUATE assistance to individuals with psychological needs and substance abuse problems.... we could decrease repeats through the system and hopefully, the end result would ultimately create a healthier (mentally and spiritually) person/society.

Yea, that's big wishing, but hey.... you've got to start somewhere! :)

Now, as to my really BIG IDEAS! *grin*

- Support our Farmers once again
- WIC and other governmental support for food should allow and cover ONLY real food and those GREAT for the body - good ole broccoli, mangos, lemons, cabbage, root veg, bananas, spinach, whole wheat and hearty breads, milk alternatives (soy/almond/rice/etc), etc. Skip the processed crap that's "cheap" and convenient... I just don't understand how was as tax payers can sit back and fund programs that only make health issues (obesity, diabetes, hypertension, etc) WORSE and in the short and long run... cost us MORE in healthcare costs (b/c duh! - if you need help providing food for yourself and your family, you're probably getting help with your health coverage as well)!!
- Let people plant their own personal gardens (no HOA laws prohibiting this!!); we're not feeding the neighborhood
- BMI checks and requirements for insurance coverage and assistance  - no, I don't think you should be denied coverage b/c of your weight, but how much coverage and assistance you get, yes! Obesity is a serious epidemic in our society and extreme measures I think are needed to help "cure" it. (I'm not sure there is enough intrinsic motivation amongst our culture to change this but I believe that a "monetary" motivation of sorts will help reduce our nations belt line.)

(okay.... now get ready for it... my favorite!!)

- Prescriptions for PHYSICAL ACTIVITY! (FYI - there's a whole campaign for this moving up!)- For physicians to Prescribe exercise just like they currently do w/medications, PT, OT, Speech Therapy, etc. This too follows you on your medical record and if non-compliant... it will also show (in the patients numbers).
- Reward those of EXCELLENT health! I'm not sure how we'd do this... tax break, coverage cost break, a free lottery ticket.... not sure, obviously, but I think it's a motivating factor to help our nation TAKE CARE OF ITS SELF!!

And, like President Obama closed his speech, "we do big things". We, the people, need to do big things! Big things for US!

We're American's. We were founded by hard-working and determined individuals. When did we become so lazy and unmotivated about life's BASICS and the only life we have been given to enjoy?! Really...?

Love them or hate them... but you must admit, I make some great points and I have some great ideas! :)
Get up friends! Get moving for something. Let's help our country by helping OURSELVES FIRST!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Small Changes

For some people, making small changes in the way they go about their day to day activities is hard to do. For others, it's quite simple.

In my opinion, it's a state of mind.

Small changes that add more activity to our day often force a lot of excuses out the mouths of many. Why?! I have never quite understood the whole waiting 10 minutes for the elevator thing when the stairs are literally, right across the hall and you could have saved a lot of time (throughout the day) and worked your heart just a smidgen.

This week on Facebook, a viral video struck my interest and initiated this post. Take a few minutes for a little inspiration...

I encourage each of you [and myself] to stop finding and making excuses for small changes. Find fun in the simple things in life.... not just convenience. Do all those "corny" things you see on posters around the work place...

- Take the stairs
- Park farther away from the store
- Do lunges to the mailbox
- Race your kids to and from the car
- Build a snowman! 
- Walk your dog an extra block each week

.... and my favorite option... take a 15 minute (or more) walk with your sweetheart each evening! :)

Whatever you do.... HAVE FUN! Never torture yourself doing something just because someone else loves it. I'll never ask you to run a marathon if you hate running.... You can't get me in a Zumba class either. Find something you love and have fun! :)

If it's fun; it's not "work" and you're likely to keep up the GOOD WORK! :)

January is almost over.... keep working on your goals. Let's make changes we can stick with and make 2011 the best YET! Remember, you are always worth your investment!


My One Word

As we near the end of January, it's a good time for us to take stock of progress toward our New Year's resolutions. If you are making successful progress, I applaud you. If you aren't....well, there may be a better way. No matter if you are well on your way to successfully fulfilling your resolution or your resolution has not crossed your mind in the past week, it may be worth reconsidering our resolutions altogether. I recently heard about this interesting project called "My One Word".

"The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD. It’s okay to want to be a better you—and the New Year is a natural time to start. The question is, how? My One Word replaces broken promises with a vision for real change. When you choose a single word, you have a single focus. You are moving toward the future rather than swearing off the past."

I invite you to visit and explore choosing one word to focus on for the year. Best wishes for a successful and healthy New Year!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

 Soon you won't ask yourself why you do it. You'll ask yourself why everyone else doesn't.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nurse. Ummm.... Hello!? I need a NURSE!

That's right folks. It's official.... just in case you haven't heard.

 I don't think I have EVER been so relieved about  ANYTHING in my entire life! I had to clean a house in Greensboro Friday morning and once I was done, while Todd got his hair cut (it's a reserve weekend), I sat at my girlfriend, Mayah's house anxiously waiting for my results to be posted (approximately 48 hours after my 1PM test time). Mayah was I think equally as anxious. The sweet thing that she is also was well prepared for the emotional stress I was under. I personally don't think there is a better "cure-all" junk food than a Twix bar. Mayah had a stash of fun-sized Twix ready for celebratory or panic-induced consumption. [ fyi - yes, like many, i too suffer from emotional binge eating. ] 

Thankfully, about 1:45PM rolled around and after a continuous "refreshing" of the webpage, my results were available. I plugged in my credit card information and then made Mayah steer. 

I couldn't muster the guts to look myself. (I'm a major wimp when it comes to grades and all important, high risk result information!!)

After a few clicks, a few silent pauses and me pacing a path in to Mayah's kitchen floor - she sighed, smiled and before I knew it, she said "that's it, you're a RN!!!" :D

Screaming, dancing, hugging and a few slobbery filled kisses from Kadin (Mayah's handsome little man) began. I made a phone call. Sent a few texts. And most importantly, made the all important Facebook status change! 

I'm pretty sure I've not stopped beaming with excitement all weekend. Mama and Daddy B. has bragged to everyone here in Greenville. I know my parents, Aunts & Uncles, sisters and my wonderful Husband have each done the same.... It's so exciting. 

Now, I can totally say it was worth it. All the hoops. All the studying. All the hard work and sacrifice. It's been worth it. I can't wait to FINALLY be doing what I have worked so hard the last two years to do!! Orientation starts for me Feb. 7th at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem. I will be working in its ICU with some of my favorite Nurses ever! :) YAY!

I send my continued well wishes and luck to my fellow classmates awaiting their test dates and their results. I'm crossing my fingers for our class to have 100% pass rate!! I REALLLLLLLLY think it can happen! GOOD LUCK GUYS!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Exercise of the Day - Sumo Squat

Exercise of the Day - This is a little "treat" I hope to share a few days a week. After they are posted here, I will also add the "move" to my Exercise Page found on the menu bar on the Left. To get started, I want to share a really effective, heart reeving, thigh/butt/hip toning, and major calorie burning move with everyone.

I LOVE Sumo Squats! Mostly because by nature, I'm a multi-tasker. Sumo Squats kind of are too. You'll feel your entire lower body working just as hard as your heart will. Sumo Squats are also a good "basic" move to master that can be "built on" to make more challenges for your self.

-Start with just your body weight. Eventually, ADD (a safe) WEIGHT! Your legs carry you around ALLLLL the time. They're STRONG. Make them work harder with more weight (plus, you'll burn more calories)

-Even if you don't have great knees, you can do this one
-Watch your knee-toe positioning. In any exercise (lunge/squat/etc), your KNEE should never move forward, over your TOES. Focus on keeping a 90 degree angle (or so) with the ankle/knee. Eventually this angle can get smaller - but no matter what, your KNEE, when looking down at it,WILL NEVER GO BEYOND YOUR TOES. [if they are, you're doing it WRONG and risking injury]

Here's a video link by if you need a demo
  • Stand with your feet as wide apart as possible while pointing your toes outward.
  • Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Hold for a beat, exhale, then press back up to starting position. Repeat.
Keep your shoulders directly over your hips at all times. For best results, don't lean forward or let your knees extend beyond your toes. Keep your abs drawn in and don't arch your back.

How many do I do? 
- I personally like time-challenge-intervals; where I do as many repetitions as I can in a certain amount of time. For example: 25/30/45/60 seconds. Rest for an interval. Repeat.

-Repetitions, if you're a counter, you'll probably do best just counting reps. Set a goal of 12-15 reps for at least 3 intervals.

-Resting - this isn't a time to sit down, guzzle water or take a phone call. EVER. In exercise, a rest period is simple to relax the working muscles (including your mind) and hit a reset button to DO IT AGAIN! Don't let your heart rate come back to resting. It doesn't have to stay in your throat, but don't make it think it's done working either.

-TIP -  to really get the butt burn, push your weight through your heels and SQUEEEEZE your thighs and butt cheeks when you're pushing up. I promise, you'll feel it. :)

*Remember - If you're heart is pumping harder, you're BURNING calories.*

And I Wait...

Well, yesterday was "D-day".

The big exam I've been working for the last two years to take and I have to wait. Thank goodness I'm not having to wait weeks or months even. Friday is long enough!! I was cool, calm and I felt very collected going in.

Leaving - was a different story. When I got to question 72... I realized I was getting close to the magic number: 75. (On the NCLEX you can have a minimum of 75 questions and a max of 265. It is a computerized adaptive test that adjusts to the level you are testing at. The higher the level you're testing... in theory, the less questions you will have. But there is always the chance you're bombing it and it will still end at #75.)

Well, I finished #72 and moved on. #73. #74. Then I hit #75 without really paying attention and then, my screen went blank and turned solid blue.

I felt so sick to my stomach. Seriously. I left there in shock that 1.) it was over and 2.) I felt like I knew NOTHING it was asking of me!!!! ugh!

I immediately went to FTCC to see a few classmates, drop a few things off and pick up a few things. Every instructor that saw me had nothing but Positive thoughts and comments... which helped me get over some of the stress, but overall. I still left and woke up this morning nervous as hell. I HATE THIS FEELING! AH!

So, I got to thinking about stress and all the incredible things this BROAD physical response does to enhance our skill/focus in the short term and how it can seriously wreak havoc on us in the long-term or chronic sense.

So - What is Stress?
Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger – whether it’s real or imagined – the body's defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response.

The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life – giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.

Chronic Stress:
The body doesn’t distinguish between physical and psychological threats. When you’re stressed over a busy schedule, an argument with a friend, a traffic jam, or a mountain of bills, your body reacts just as strongly as if you were facing a life-or-death situation. If you have a lot of responsibilities and worries, your emergency stress response may be “on” most of the time. The more your body’s stress system is activated, the easier it is to trip and the harder it is to shut off.

Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. Long-term stress can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.

Many health problems are caused or exacerbated by stress, including:

  • Pain of any kind
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema

How do we know how much is TOO much?
Because of the widespread damage stress can cause, it’s important to know your own limit. But just how much stress is “too much” differs from person to person. Some people roll with the punches, while others crumble at the slightest obstacle or frustration. Some people even seem to thrive on the excitement and challenge of a high-stress lifestyle.

Your ability to tolerate stress depends on many factors, including the quality of your relationships, your general outlook on life, your emotional intelligence, and yes, even your genetics.

The following are some of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress. The more signs and symptoms you notice in yourself, the closer you may be to stress overload

Stress Warning Signs and Symptoms
  • Cognitive Symptoms
  • Emotional Symptoms
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability or short temper
  • Agitation, inability to relax
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sense of loneliness and isolation
  • Depression or general unhappiness
  • Physical Symptoms
  • Behavioral Symptoms
  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing) 

Keep in mind that the signs and symptoms of stress can also be caused by other psychological and medical problems. If you’re experiencing any of the warning signs of stress, it’s important to see a doctor for a full evaluation. Your doctor can help you determine whether or not your symptoms are stress-related.

Well, this is usually the hard part about stress. Everyone will tell you to eliminate those stressors in your life for optimal impact on your health, but we'll be realistic... you can't just quit your job or kick the kids out of the house permanently. And you can't go to nursing school without taking the NCLEX eventually! So, we have to learn to cope.

For me - Exercise and cleaning are my major stress relievers. I am CONSTANTLY changing up my exercise routines to keep me from getting bored and to continuously keep challenging my mental and physical fitness. Cleaning is also a big one for me - it not only helps me get a little anxiety out while scrubbing a sink/floor, but the cleanliness in turn helps minimize organizational chaos and clutter... which creates more stress for me. So, We just keep it neat. :)

Other techniques you can try or use include:
  • Help someone else by volunteering
  • Have lunch or coffee with a co-worker
  • Call or email an old friend
  • Go for a walk with a workout buddy
  • Schedule a weekly dinner date
  • Take a class or join a club

Like your physical health, our mental and emotional health are extremely important!!! Holistic health.

Many people put off and/or flat out ignore their mental well-being.  Face it, like a "sick-day", we all really need mental-health days. Just as your physical health requires time and energy to build or maintain it, so does your emotional well-being. The more you put in to it, the stronger it will be. People with good emotional health have an ability to bounce back from stress and adversity. This is called RESILIENCE. You can remain focused, flexible, and positive in bad times as well as good.

So, today is kind of a mini-mental health day for me! :) I really am just way overwhelmed with worry and fear that I haven't passed this HUGGGGE step in my nursing journey... that I need to not think and just deal. Yes - there will be lots of exercise and cleaning done today. Probably something really yummy for dinner (and yes, Vino!)... and maybe even a nap with my sweet and super snuggly Ginger-snap. :)

I hope you all can take some time to focus on YOUR mental health. Where are you on the stress pendulum?Are you ready to do this:

 Or are you already like this?

Either way, you probably need to work on how you deal with stress. We can't live in the world we live in without needing to put our feet back on the ground and do what we need to do. BUT - we don't need to add inches to our waists, destroy marriages and families, induce and/or exacerbate heart disease, put off sex (it's one of the best stress relievers available!!) and loose control of ourselves.

Take care of yourself first, and then you can take care of everyone else in your life. Remember the saying: "if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"? Well.... this is the perfect time to think that way!

Have a great day friends! Please do something for YOU today. (preferably, not a trip to Cook-Out for a milk shake though.)


I got a lot of information for this post from an article by Melinda Smith, M.A., Ellen Jaffe–Gill, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last modified: November 2010

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Hazards of the Couch

My friend, Serena, sent this article to me to post on my blog! It's perfect! :)

I hope you each enjoy it as much as we did! Thanks Serena!!

The Hazards of the Couch From the New York Times, By Roni Caryn Rabin

January 12, 2011

The Hazards of the Couch

Sean Marc Lee/Getty Images
"Many of us sit in front of a computer for eight hours a day, and then go home and head for the couch to surf the Web or watch television, exchanging one seat and screen for another. Even if we try to squeeze in an hour at the gym, is it enough to counteract all that motionless sitting?

A mounting body of evidence suggests not.

Increasingly, research is focusing not on how much exercise people get, but how much of their time is spent in sedentary activity, and the harm that does.

The latest findings, published this week in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, indicate that the amount of leisure time spent sitting in front of a screen can have such an overwhelming, seemingly irreparable impact on one’s health that physical activity doesn’t produce much benefit. 
The study followed 4,512 middle-aged Scottish men for a little more than four years on average. It found that those who said they spent two or more leisure hours a day sitting in front of a screen were at double the risk of a heart attack or other cardiac event compared with those who watched less. Those who spent four or more hours of recreational time in front of a screen were 50 percent more likely to die of any cause. It didn’t matter whether the men were physically active for several hours a week — exercise didn’t mitigate the risk associated with the high amount of sedentary screen time.

The study is not the first to suggest that sedentary activities like television viewing may be harmful. A study last year found that men who spent more than 23 hours a week watching TV and sitting in their cars were more likely to die of heart disease than those who sat for 11 hours a week or less, even if they exercised. And a 2009 study reported that young children who watch one and a half to five and a half hours of TV a day have higher blood pressure readings than those who watch less than half an hour, even if they are thin and physically active.

Another small study found that when overweight adults cut their TV time in half, they burned more calories than those who watched five hours or more a day. Children whose TV time is cut tended to eat less, but that wasn’t true for adults. And the light activities adults filled their time with, like reading and playing board games, actually burned more calories than watching TV.

In both the United States and Britain, people are spending three to four hours a day on average watching television, said the study’s author, Emmanuel Stamatakis, of the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London.

“This is excessive,” he said. “It is more than 20 percent of total waking time for most people.” And, he added, “it’s 100 percent discretionary.”

During the study’s follow-up period, from 2003 to 2007, 325 men died of various causes, and 215 suffered a heart attack or other cardiac event. Even after adjusting for differences in weight, smoking, occupational physical activity and risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure and other longstanding illnesses, as well as marital status and social class, those who spent four hours or more of their leisure time in front of a screen each day were 50 percent more likely to have died. Those who spent two hours a day in front of a screen for entertainment were 2.2 times more likely to have had a cardiovascular event.

Recreational screen time has an “independent, deleterious relationship” with cardiovascular events and death of all causes, the paper concluded, possibly because it induces metabolic changes.

One possible mechanism, demonstrated in animal studies, is that being sedentary may affect lipid metabolism. Prolonged inactivity appears to sharply reduce the activity of an important enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which is responsible for breaking down circulating blood lipids and making them available to muscles for energy, Dr. Stamatakis said. Lowered enzyme activity leads to higher levels of fats and triglycerides in the blood, and to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise has very little impact on the enzyme’s activity, he said.

Extended sitting may also lead to high levels of low-grade inflammation, which can also lead to heart disease, Dr. Stamatakis said. A marker of low-grade inflammation called C reactive protein was about three times higher in the study participants who spent the most time slouched in front of a screen.

The study focused on recreational screen time because it’s the easiest to curtail, Dr. Stamatakis said. But he encouraged employees who work at computers all day to get up and take breaks and short walks periodically."

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Last week I asked at "Your Numbers". Did anyone actually find these out or does anyone KNOW their numbers?! Here are the numbers again:

Know Your 5:
  • Blood Pressure
  • Waist Size
  • Weight
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood Sugar 
When you get some time, take about 10 minutes to watch Dr. Oz's video's on these 5 Life Saving Numbers:
Know Your 5: Lifesaving Tests, Pt. 1
Know Your 5: Lifesaving Tests, Pt. 2

 Dr. Oz is one of a few people in the "Public eye" of whom I see really trying to make changes in our society. He is on the front lines some could say of the Life Saving Business, often literally. I LOVE his passion for helping people make CHANGES in their lives that impact them in ways they never thought possible. Dr. Oz cares about the holistic health of a person and never fails to get that point across. No, I don't watch every episode of his TV Show and no, I don't read everyone of his books.... but he really is inspirational. As someone who shares the same passion of helping others help themselves, it's nice to see someone (Dr. Oz for example) share the resources and skills they have actually make an IMPACT.

 *warning - i'm getting on my "roost"*

I often feel so many of my friends, family members, patients and many members of our society don't take the time find or make an IMPACT. We're all way too busy making excuses; for ourselves, our parents, our kids, our job... and my least favorite - our time.

Trust me, we can ALL find the time to do what it is we WANT to do, Right? We can all watch our favorite TV Shows, eat at our favorite restaurants, drive nice cars (with nice monthly payments), drink all the wine/beer/liquor we want .... and then when it comes to doing something GOOD for ourselves, WE CAN'T!?!?!?

I'm really sick and tired of hearing a gym membership costs too much - $30? 1.)Dinner last night cost that much. Stay home and fix something good for yourself with your family a few nights a week and you've saved your gym money. 2.) Don't worry about a gym - turn on Exercise OnDemand from your cable company and pick a workout; buy a used DVD online (I find them for like $6 after shipping), or heaven forbid - get outside and WALK

Please don't tell me vegetables and fruit take too long to prepare and that's why you don't eat them - Seriously? Wash. Dry. Peel (maybe). Eat. What's so hard about that? Okay... put it in a bowl with a few others too! :) If you want to get real fancy, steam them...

You're too tired? - well.... I'm going to go out on a limb and blame Lazy. When you just sit around at work and then come home and sit some more... of course you're tired. Your brain doesn't have any oxygen!! GET UP AND GET MOVING!!! Exercise has been proven over and over and over again to help fight fatigue and promote mental health. Here's an article from about this too!

I could go on, but I'll tread lightly this morning. :) You're welcome.

So, I'm no Dr. Oz... heck, I'm not even a Registered Nurse (yet!). But I want to make an IMPACT! I want each of you to make one too. Maybe it's in impact in your spiritual health. Maybe it's in your bikini this Summer. Who knows, maybe it's the impact of your incredible biceps.

Get motivated to have others ask YOU how! That's making an IMPACT. Like a ripple effect.

Learn your risks by being informed. "Knowing Your Numbers" is important for making the changes that make an IMPACT on your well-being and ultimately your livelihood.

*slowly stepping off my "roost" for now* 

Here's to a wonderful day! LOVES!
- a.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Meet Ginger

Holy Cow! We're parents. 

A puppy-parent that is! :) Todd and I are now parents the a precious little "Shorkie" (Yorkie, Shih Tzu mix) named Ginger. She is the sister pup of my sister's (Megan) pup, Charlie.

I didn't quite know we'd become puppy parents this quickly, but the opportunity knocked and we took it. Time to take another thing off my resolution list! Ginger has been so good too. She is about 15 weeks old and teething like mad, but she is taking to her crate at night very well, isn't a big eater (well, how much can 3.2lbs eat?!), sleeps like a champ, is listening well and hopefully by this weekend will have mastered her box training so when I start working again she's not having too many accidents in her little "ginger zone" while we're gone.

 Here she is yesterday morning taking a little morning nap.

Here is our precious fur ball playing with Todd. It was so cute watching her and Todd play together and then all of a sudden she walked up his back, to his neck and made herself a little perch. This picture is a little blurry, but at least you can kind of see what she was doing!

Well, now that you know what I've been up to this week (after Todd recovered from a really NASTY bug Monday - Wed.), I'll get back in my routine soon. I hope to have another post for you guys this evening. 

Time for a run... xoxo

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The China Study

Happy Sunday to everyone! :) I hope that you have each had a restful and relaxing weekend.

We had some friends over yesterday and had a wonderful time catching up, sharing a few drinks and passed around the newest little man in my life, Parker. Parker is the most handsome (and very bald) 3 month old son of my college friends, Holly and Patrick. I would post a picture, but the one I happened to snap is so blurry that Parker actually looks like he has "fuzzy" hair..... But, he is quite adorable. Lacey and Rance were also here too. It's so nice to spend time with the people you love so much. It's just crazy (both Lacey and I agree) to watch your close college friends.... the ones you experienced ALL (the good, bad and ugly) of college with, become amazing parents! Thank you all for spending time with us in our home.

I hope that you all have been able to work on your "Homework" from Friday. I have received MANY emails, messages, and text messages thanking me for something I have said on this blog - ALREADY! It's amazing! I am so honored to help ANYONE who wants to help themselves make a change to be a happier, healthier human. You may all ask my husband, but for years I have been so passionate about YOU! :)

YOU are all my friends, my family, my loved ones, my co-workers, my classmates, my bosses, my patients, etc.... and I love each and every one of you. Keep working hard on you. I'm here to to help where you need me to.

I have A LOT of great stuff to share and talk about this week. Get READY! Until then... Todd found this great article about The China Study.  Click the hyperlink to find a brief article about this incredible study completed by Dr. Campbell in China and Taiwan. This plant based diet is ultimately the concept Todd and I strive to live by... but we have our own name for a "Veggie-centric" diet.

Have a great night friends!! More tomorrow!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Your idea of "Healthy"

Americans Falsely Believe Their Diet Is Healthy

A friend of mine posted this article on her FB wall yesterday. I was immediately smitten. But LOOK at what it says!!! I'm shocked... yet, not that surprised.... sadly...

- Nine in 10 Americans say their diet is healthy but only a quarter limit the amount of fat or sugar they eat, and two-thirds don't eat enough fruit and vegetables

- Few Americans count calories or weigh themselves, but when they were asked to self-report their weight, four in 10 were off-track. - A third said they were at a healthy weight when they actually had a body mass index (BMI) of an overweight or obese person
- One in three adults is obese
- Losing weight is the second most popular new year's resolution after quitting smoking
- When asked why they didn't eat more vegetables, the most common reason given by the poll respondents was
  1. that they thought they consumed enough already
  2. they are hard to store or spoil too quickly
  3. someone in their household didn't like vegetables
  4. vegetables take too long to prepare or are too difficult to prepare
  5. fresh vegetables are too expensive
  6. don't like vegetables

I'm still kind of FREAKING OUT! What happened to those mothers who used to make you "eat your vegetables!"?!?! WHY AREN'T THESE MOTHER'S AND FATHER'S EATING THEIR VEGETABLES?!!? ugh!

This weekend I would like to encourage everyone to do a little bit of HOMEWORK:
1.) START TRACKING YOUR FOOD - watch what you're eating (write it down, count it, make post-it-notes, use a calorie tracker app on your phone, whatever) and your calories. Get a method going and stick with it... we need a good weeks worth of info/numbers, but two weeks is better.

2.) KNOW YOUR 5 - For any hardcore Dr. Oz fan, you'll know what I'm talking about. This weekend, find out the following numbers [or at least 3 out of 5]:
  • Blood Pressure
  • Waist Line
  • Weight
  • Fasting Blood Sugar (everyone probably knows a diabetic who checks their sugars - don't eat or drink after 10PM and before you eat/drink in the morning, go visit your friend/family member and check your blood sugar)
  • Cholesterol - Okay, I know if you don't know this number you can't get it over night w/o a MD appointment. So, if you haven't had your cholesterol taken in the last 12 months MAKE AN APPOINTMENT! If you have had it checked, how was it? How are is your HDL (good stuff), LDL (low-down dirty stuff) and your Triglycerides?

Now, next week we will channel Dr. Oz and help make sense of these numbers and I'm going to start  talking a little more about food labels, fat, sugar, etc.

I hope you all have a WONDERFUL weekend. Get outside, regardless the weather, and enjoy yourself. Take the kids. Take the dog. Take a friend. Take your mother-in-law. Take your spouse... or just go alone. Get some sunshine on your skin (yes, even in the snow the sun can still shine). 

Rest up. Recharge. Relax. Your WHOLE you probably needs it. :) 
I love you guys! Keep working on you and loving every fabulous inch of yourself!  xx

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Your Best Effort

    "No one can please everyone. Your mental peace is more important. If you are in peace, then others around you will feel peace. So your best effort should be to work on yourself." ~ Baba Hari Dass
     I found this quote this morning on my Bikram Yoga instructors facebook page. Instantly, I knew I had to share it with you guys! 
    Not long after that, my entire plan for today's post was out the window. A high school friend of mine had posted on her FB wall that she was ready to lose some weight and wanted perspective of her friends on what routines, dvds, etc. worked and were worth giving her energy and time to... 
     After reading several of the responses (Wii, P90X,etc), one person said 30 DAY SHRED! Instantly I knew I was in on the commentary. I'm a hard core Jillian Michaels fan. I have almost all of her DVDs, I've practically read all of her books while wasting time at Target and get her emails everyday. So, yea... I love her.
    She's just a bad ass (and she knows it)! JM doesn't waste your time, gets your heart REEVING, makes you burn in places that burn major calories and best part is, she'll get you ripped! :) 
    I digress. Back to my friend...

    While we were in High School my friend, (whom I'll keep anonymous since I haven't asked her permission to use her name) we'll call Susie Q., was hit by a drunk driver. To this day she still suffers from MAJOR back issues. She's run the gamut trying to cure her aliment, but so far her MD's think she's "crazy" and no chiropractor will touch her (which I can't blame them). Recently she met with her primary MD and together they both agree that losing some weight will likely help this issue (as do I!).
    After exchanging a few messages throughout the day, Susie Q. told me, more or less, that it practically "kills" her to "go out and play with her 2 year daughter". After that, she said that it was because of this (her back injury and pain) that she is overweight. My eyes teared up and my heart got a little gooey. I can't even imagine what it would feel like to not be able to play with your own child...  
    ugh, Susie Q.! You are going to do this!! You can! :) You are going to play with that precious little girl of yours just like you want to!!
    For Susie Q. and anyone else out there with such a limiting factor (i.e. knee/back pain, obesity) on your ability to do certain physical activities/movements this is my "advice": 
    FIND A POOL! Go at night. Go in the morning. Go whenever you can. I don't even care if you wear a sweat suit instead of a swim suit (you just might have to ask the pool manager about that though). YOU HAVE TO USE THE POOL!!! You don't have to know how to swim, but if you do, even better. If you have a fear of water, time to suck it up and find someone to help you overcome this fear.... Likely, this water is the only way you're going to save your life! 
    Here are a few articles to help you get started and focused: Pool Running Technique ; Check Out This Great Pool Workout!
    Total Body Pool Workout 
    Also, here's a video with beginner and advanced exercise ideas
     Water allows the body to move more freely and with a little helpful resistance. Water gives the body a little buoyancy that optimizes movement of the extremities and preserving the joints. Research shows that exercising in water improves flexibility while relieving stress. "Water tones the whole body, yet it also relaxes you, so it's ideal for people with injuries and back problems," says Nicole Forsythe, a water fitness instructor at the Delano Hotel's David Barton Gym in Miami.
    Of course (what we all already know), any exercise is better than NO exercise - but without some major changes to WHAT and HOW we eat, no one will see the body changes or the pounds drop off like they would like. 
    SOOO - For my friends and Susie Q., get moving. Start looking at your food differently and find your motivation. For Susie Q., her beautiful daughter is her motivation. 
    Find your focus. Jump in and love your body. Love yourself. 
    Good Luck Susie Q.! You're going to be phenomenal. :)
    - a. 

    How big is your plate?

    *Click on the title above to see the article

    This article reminds me of what my parents would say when I put more food on my plate than I could eat - "Son, your eyes are bigger than your stomach." All great chefs will say we eat with our eye's first, but I don't think overfilling our plates is what they have in mind. Unfortunately, we live in a society where overindulgence is the norm and many perceive bigger equals better.

    I love to read about history and discover all the things we can learn from our past. As this article points out, our plates (and maybe even our waistlines) were not always as big as they are now. Here's to hoping we can learn a lesson from this page in history and live healthier lives in small plate at a time!

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Loni's All Purpose Spray

    A BIG thanks to my girlfriend, Loni, for helping me check off another goal on my check list already!! She sent me this GREAT recipe for her homemade All-Purpose Spray.  Be sure to check her blog out too! Loni is SUPER creative and a world renowned multi-tasker like myself (but she cooks more).  :)

    One thing you can do to fulfill all of these needs for just a few bucks is to mix up a batch of homemade all-purpose spray. I keep a bottle of it in the house at all times and use it on everything from the counter-tops, to the dog toys, to my car interior. It’s cheap to make (once you have the initial ingredients), takes less than two minutes to mix up, is non-toxic, environmentally sound, and makes everything smell wonderful. A no brainer, right? Here’s the recipe.
    You’ll need:
    A 32 oz. spray bottle (reuse an empty cleaning spray bottle or you can buy spray bottles at just about any grocery/big box store for a couple of bucks)
    • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar (always buy the off-brand cheap stuff. It’s like $2 a gallon)
    • 1 cup hydrogen peroxide (also go for the cheap, big bottle)
    • 1 1/2 tsp castille soap (i.e. Dr. Bronner’s)
    • 30 drops of tea tree oil (worth the $6 investment for a bottle – it also serves as an antiseptic)
    • 30 drops of any other essential oil of your choice (I like lavendar, rosemary, lemon verbena, and citrus oil in particular is yummy & pretty cheap)
    Pour all of those ingredients into your spray bottle and then add water to fill it up to the top.

    What's YOUR Resolution?

    Any new year brings with it "a fresh start". I was at work yesterday and almost everyone was talking about their resolutions. Facebook has been littered with all my friends talking about their goals for the year. The Today Show hasn't stopped running segments on a variety of resolutions.

    So, what's yours?! 

    Todd and I have given this question a lot of thought lately. We still haven't really made any, but we've talked about several. For me, like everything else, I struggle to make up my mind or just do ONE thing.  Here's a variety of what I hope to accomplish (not limited to or by all means, ALL of my goals):
    • Start a blog (DOING!)
    • Go to church more 
    • Run a half marathon (13.1 miles)
    • Run a full marathon (26.2 miles)
    • Possibly get a dog (I know, CRAZY!)
    • Eat BETTER (less sugar, no diet soda and more REAL food)
    • Move out of Salisbury
    • Love my Husband even more
    • Pray more
    • Clean my home with more natural products (vinegar and baking soda)
    • Visit my sister and brother-in-law
    • Visit Rebekah and Paul
    • Go on our Honeymoon (Europe!)
    • Run with lots of little girls
     Whew! That's already a lot... but I can do it. So, again, what are you doing this year?! 

    I know you can accomplish what ever your resolutions and goals are for 2011 - as long as you work towards them! 

    You can't start to lose the weight if you don't CHANGE something. Drink more water. Add more fiber. Walk to your mailbox. Walk with your sweetie after dinner for 15 minutes. Make your prayer time while you walk/run. Meditate. Learn where your food comes from. 

    Whatever you do, love yourself enough to - JUST DO IT and don't stop. No excuses! Give it a week and it won't be so hard. Give it 21 days and it's a habit. Longer - It's a LIFESTYLE.

    GOOD LUCK! :) Let's get this year moving and groovin'. Here's to a happier and healthier YOU! 


    Monday, January 3, 2011

    My Roost....

    So, it's a new year. Good grief, it's 2011 already! 

    Yes, I have decided to get on the blog-bandwagon. I am really excited about it too! As if I'm not on my computer enough already, lets just add ONE MORE THING to the list!

    On a serious note though, I really think (or hope) that this blog will give me the voice to help encourage and motivate its readers to love and to take care of  THEMSELVES. Years ago, if you asked me about being a "teacher" I would snarl my nose at you and say "NO WAY!"... well, apparently Nursing School help me learn that like my mother, I am a great teacher. 

    Best of all, I LOVE IT! 

    I may not have it perfected, but the passion is there to help those who want to help themselves. Health and wellness is a topic most people view as a physical and/or dietary subject. Although important, diet and exercise are just two components of what MUST be a holistic approach to health and wellness. [Mind. Body. Spirit.]  

    A lot of healthcare workers don't practice (personally or professionally - grr! but that's for later) this approach either... but it is making a comeback! YAY! 

    You love your family... so love yourself enough to take care of this big, beautiful body that GOD made for you to enjoy with them, in communion with Him, and to DO what His PURPOSE is for you to do on this earth. 

    I look forward to sharing my thoughts, opinions, ideas, words and adventures with you! :) Thank you for joining me (and most of the time, Todd). 

    Okay - well, I have to quickly state that this blog is MINE (in a round about way). I initiated it as my "soapbox" of sorts. I will do my best to be nice, kind and pc.... but I'm really good to say how I feel or what I'm thinking too, and that might not be so nice, kind or pc. I want people to participate in this process with me - ask questions, give feedback and have fun!! (ugh, there's the TEACHER in me) I want everyone who reads this to take something from it, even myself. BE OPEN MINDED. It is not my intention to hurt feelings, make people mad or have hate mail coming my way... Please don't be petty or stupid about stuff. We aren't in high school anymore (thank goodness) and we should all have the coping skill of "shaking it off" well developed by now. If not, then we need to work on that... maybe that can be a subject o post about. :) HAPPY reading.