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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Squats Will Keep You Out Of The Nursing Home...Again.


The other day I was bringing some things into a building through a really heavy door, I mean really heavy. So no flies on me I wanted to prop open the door. Back and forth back and forth through the heavy door was nuts. I saw a huge rock just a few feet away from the door and it looked as though it had been used as a solution for my very problem previously. I went over and picked up the rock and propped open the door, it was heavy but I handled it. Done.

Then this woman walked up to me and said, "I saw what you did." Boy did my mind go to a million different places...what did she see me do? I didn't offer a confession and let her finish....

"I saw you pick up that rock and move it. You really are getting stronger, I never could have done that."

All of a sudden I realized what she was saying. The kettle bell, the squats, the heavy rope and the heavier rope, that damn heavy ball were all making a difference. I am stronger and I moved that rock, all by myself, I didn't think about it, I picked it up and I moved it. I could not have done that 6 months ago and now I am out there in the world moving big heavy rocks!

I am amazing!!

There are a lot of aspects to getting in shape but one of the most rewarding has to be getting stronger.

I am getting stronger, I can do 60 squats in one round of the circuit....and I can add the kettle bell to it. I hold a 20 pound kettle bell and do squats....or as my trainer says Sumo deadlift high pull...that's right I am doing a sumo deadlift high pull (take that #ageisjustanumber) without even blinking.

I have not hurt myself, my bad knee is better, my mind is clearer (stop laughing) I am not as depressed in the morning, I am not sore......

I am stronger 

All my numbers are where they should be.

And I am stronger!

The psycholgical lift from exercise is I look at hard things in my life and think, well it's not a Sumo deadlift high pull I have to do 60 times. I can do that.

There was a time walking from my bedroom to the kitchen was a job of epic proportions, now I hope on the rower and head for the shore...

Hold a plank, lift those weights, do some pushups, hit the heavy ropes.....and by the way no one cares that you are in your 60's.

Want to stave off joint issues? Get stronger

Want to have less depression? Get stronger

Want to walk faster? sleep better? Better balance? Get stronger

Walking is great but add some weights...not just every once in a while...do it regularly

Get stronger....

Want to stay out of the nursing home?

Do squats...the number one reason people have to go to a nursing home is because they cannot get off the toilet.

Squats will keep you out of the nursing home.

Get stronger!!


























Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What do you want?







Women are not very good at accepting compliments but we are very good at shrinking...we are also not very good at thinking we can BE anything...

How come? 

I would like to know because I suck so badly at accepting compliments I could move the curtains in a room. And giving myself permission to think I can be anything I want has not been in my wheelhouse. Reality is we have all been given gifts and talents...all of us. But when complimented on a talent or gift women notoriusly act small. We take compliments and store them away rarely looking or appreciating them. Instead of being grateful for what compliments are, an acknowledgment of a gift from God, we hit them back to the sender like a down-the-line tennis shot. Somehow it seems noble to stick our toe in the sand and engage in "mock humility". 

Marianne Williamson wrote my all time favorite quote. (It's long and can be found in its entirety in "Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "a Course in Miracles")  I am just using only a bit of it. 

"There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as Children do....as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." 

Notice this part, "We are all meant to shine, as children do."

As Children do....When I think of my children as little people they were such intrepid little performers! And talent wasn't a prerequisite - who cared if they had talent? They just wanted to experience everything! They used every part of their being and did it fearlessly. They drew pictures, wrote stories, performed cannonballs, danced, did cartwheels, played ball, they sang, they dressed up and performed monologues, they made movies starring themselves, they invented games, built forts, jumps and obstacle courses. We watched it, over and over and over. 

But then as we get older our inner critic gets louder and suddenly all we can hear is what we cannot do. 

Another Marianne Williamson quote....

"Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?"

Think about that, "Who are you not to be?"

And if you are brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous can't you do anything? 

So first believe then think about what you want.

Do you know what you want? I became so filled with fear over the course of my life that I actually stopped thinking about what I wanted, I stopped asking for anything, I didn't know what I wanted because I stopped thinking I could have anything...I did all I could to shrink. 

If you are not where you want to be.... what are you waiting for?

I believe you can do anything you can envision. And nothing was anything before it was a thought. Think about that....everything starts off as a thought...everything. From the chair I am sitting in to the food I eat everything started off as a thought. 

What do you want?





Noah keeps asking Allie what she wants and she says it isn't that easy. But it was that easy wasn't it? When she let herself really think about what she wanted, well she wanted Noah. And it was that easy.

What do you want? 

For me I wanted to feel better and be stronger because I want to give a Ted Talk...but I decided I was too old and it was all too late. I thought I was always going to feel old and out of shape. But then I started working out and that has been the first step to doing what I really want. When you physically push yourself it is amazing how that seeps into everything else. Find something that really challenges you, that forces you to get out of your rut and then you can do the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. For me doing something physical is almost magic. I don't know how to describe it except exercise has been medicinal, it clears my brain...my stamina is better, my balance is better and because of those things I am less fearful. Exercise helps me realize I'm not too old and there is still time to do the things I want to do. When I pound those heavy ropes I'm kind of a badass...

What do you want? Today, this day, sit down and write it out, because I know you know, just like Allie knew...because it's simple. 

You know what you want....write it down and send it to me.



Xuberance has changed my life and it can change yours also. Put yourself in the hands of a team dedicated to your health. From personal trainers that know more about you than you do, to a massage therapist who can literally take your pains away, to a dietician dedicated to your food health they all work together for your good. There is even a doctor who monitors your over all health. To be sure there are other ways to achieve this effect but I just don't know of a place that has everything under one roof the way Xuberance does. Call for a tour 702-750-9420. You won't regret it. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

New Season! New Ideas! More Success




I gathered my kitchen cabinet, my brain trust...the folks I love the most, the people who know me with make-up and without, My people...and I explained to them I have some fitness momentum but I am staring Thanksgiving right in the gobble-gobble. Heck I'm staring the holidays right in the Ho-Ho-Ho.

What's a girl to do?

With my fitness/eating momentum humming along I am understandably.....SCARED TO DEATH!!
The previous "after Thanksgiving system" has simply been eat yourself into a coma, get up the next morning and curse if someone has used all the gravy - (because in the hierarchy of leftovers gravy is practically golden because who will make that again?) and then start over...this system is the regular deal until January 1.....I have been incredibly loyal to this system, I don't even know another system.
That's why I approached my people and asked them to help me come up with an alternate plan

Here are some of the things we came up with...

Thanksgiving week....Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are full on exercise days.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are careful eating days. What I mean by that is a good breakfast (today was 2 slices of bacon and 2 eggs - it got me through to dinner, happily. And that includes no samples at Costco) then a good dinner. No snacking, no sweets.

And then to Thanksgiving...we aren't going to have dinner? Of course we are, but that is where I am going clever. Instead of lounging around and having our usual bagels after the Turkey Bowl (football game in the morning) I am going to get some serious walking in. Then I am going to enjoy my dinner. I am going to enjoy my pie...But we have added some fun vegetables previously uneaten by the Tag clan before and I intend to make them a bigger part of the feast.

Friday I want to gather up the troops and go to a local state park called Red Rock Canyon and hike around...I'm shaking everything up. And then back to my warm, cozy house where we can put up the Christmas Tree while watching football. And yes I am going to have leftovers. But I am not going to stand in front of the fridge and just randomly eat things, like turning the whipped cream can upside down in my mouth,....I will have a plan to enjoy everything. Intentional living...

 After having enjoyed the holidays for 2 days on Saturday I am back! Lots of water, exercise and going outside more.

December will be intentional each day. I will have a treat on the weekend but not through the week. Since we are caterers and around rich food all the time I have been unconsciously eating, I get so tired during the month that I think eating will give me energy when in fact it takes energy away.

I will go over my plan each morning...I will repeat it to myself...that is how we make things real and keep them in front of us by saying it all out loud.

Sleep, water, exercise and planning. Nothing crazy, just a plan...a realistic plan.

I am also going to remind myself I can do this. I am going to say it, not just think it.

Another reason I am so intent on staying the course is a very important anniversary is tomorrow....two years ago I almost died from an aortic dissection. Very few people survive that little number and I realize I have been given another chance so I am intent, finally, on taking care of my health and my life. It took me a long time to process the entire event, but I am starting to understand a whole lot. Xuberance has helped me so much, my friend Patrice who guided me to this amazing place told me that Xuberance showed her things she never knew about herself. I know what she means now. When you really push yourself, when you finally get to that place where real change can occur, you realize how far you can go. I let preconceived ideas of aging cloud my potential. I thought since I was older that older people don't push themselves that hard. But if I can survive almost dying then I can swing that dang kettlebell, those ghastly heavy ropes and anything else I am challenged with. I intend to age...the alternative is a bit bleak, but I am not going to let conventionality tell me what aging will be like. Happy Anniversary to me!!!
Right after they knew I would be ok a friend of the family took this picture of two of my children

Fallon
Scout and Emma


These precious little girls are in my life now and I am so happy things worked out 2 years ago!!



I am happy to share the incredible news of Xuberance a new wellness center in Las Vegas Nevada. A full service center dedicated to helping you reach your highest health potential. With a doctor on staff, regular blood work, fitness testing, weekly therapeutic massage, a dietician on staff,  and expert fitness trainers you cannot go wrong on becoming your best and healthiest you.
4280 S. Hualapai Way Ste. 104 
Las Vegas, Nevada 89147
(702) 750-9420








Monday, November 12, 2018

Some Thoughts On The Wellness Journey

A friend asked me the other day about my wellness journey....

It has been a soul searching experience. What I don't like is how hard it is to eat the food the dietician proscribes. The food is great, it is doable on every level and his support is amazing, but I haven't followed an actual plan in years so to suddenly be accountable has been challenging.

So what am I doing to meet this challenge?

I work at it everyday and I experiment with food. When I find balance in a meal I don't crave food that  makes me feel lousy. This week the mid morning snack was Greek yogurt with agave and blueberries. It was a great feeling of balance.

I took that as a "win". A small victory but a win.

Part of my journey has been becoming aware. It's a simple thing yet so important. It's why the act of writing down what you eat is so important. We unconsciously do so many things that of course we lose track. I made a goal of writing down what I ate so that I could be aware of what I was eating. We are caterers and we taste food all the time. But when I am aware of what I am doing I eat intentionally.

Another part of my journey has been accepting the new "normal" that is my life. I take medication that slows down my heart and makes me so tired....so very, very tired, an offshoot of that is it also  slows down my metabolism also. My metabolism before the surgery was already sloth like, now I take medication designed to put cement in my shoes and you can understand how I feel. I accept I will feel tired, but I do not accept a "tired" life. I lift weights, do push-ups, I sling a heavy ball around and I am fierce with those damn heavy ropes. I do accept wellness is a challenge, but I do not accept it is a challenge I cannot handle.

I admit I assumed a lot of things when I started this, I assumed I was too old and too out of shape. If you feel this way you must find different voices to listen to. I know it isn't true because I am getting better.  Even if this week it is just finding out Greek yogurt with blueberries is better than a bagel you win, write it down and celebrate!

Write down a specific goal for the day.

The do it.

Then feel great about yourself!

When my son was in college he played football for a team that had a very long losing streak...very long. When they hired a new coach his first job was to teach each player how to win again because they had forgotten. He made them race to get water and then enjoy the feeling of being first. They raced on the field, in the weight room, they raced to see who could be first at breakfast, who got the best grades. Nothing was too small to compete over. They began to remember what the feeling of winning was like again along with a feeling of success and accomplishment. I have forgotten what it feels like to be in shape, to be able "to run and not be weary". I have forgotten what it feels like to say, "I'm full." But just like my son's coach made his players aware of what winning/success/accomplishment felt like I can remember what it feels like to make a goal and achieve it, to be aware of what I eat and to set reasonable boundaries. To feel that accomplishment, to revel in success. Those feelings build on each other and you begin to see who you can really be...what you can truly accomplish.

You are way bigger than you imagine, and you can do way more than you ever thought.

Every morning dedicate the day....write a reasonable goal in 3 categories each day for health, mind and spirit. Health could be drinking enough water, mind could be reading something challenging and spirit could be forgiving everyone you come in contact with.

Ponder for a moment before you write your challenge down.....then as you write it down commit to doing it. Then do it.

At the end of the day "return and report". When you succeed, honor it with joy! When things don't go as planned examine what went wrong and how you could have done better. You are the project manager of your life so treat this journey as a job. That idea annoyed me at first but then I realized how seriously I take my work and how causal I was with my health. I have been on this journey for only 3 months and many, many things are better. I am a work in progress and realize I have not taken care of myself for a long time.

But I am getting better.



My wellness center, Xuberance, has been instrumental in helping me regain physical confidence after a very difficult recovery from an aortic dissection. The trainers have been patient, incredibly instructional and never let me do more than I can...but then they never let me do less than I can  either. I feel safe there and that feeling is paramount in my life right now. 
For more information call 702-750-9420





Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Some Days Are Just Wonderful!

Voting Day was a big deal in my home growing up. My father always took me along.  I went right in the voting booth with him, the curtain closed and there were levers to pull. My father let me pull those levers, we did that together. Everyone knew us at the polling place, people named Old Tom, and Shirley...Aunt Stuff and Billy Joe, Billy Bob and Bubba. People who worked so hard for the little they had. They were mostly fishermen as we lived on the Gulf. But there were car mechanics, and plumbers, there were landscapers and bartenders. My dad knew them all, from the man who ran the feed store to the folks who ran the small grocery we were a group of folks who leaned on each other and helped each other. We rooted for the small high school team on Friday nights, laughed and argued with each other at the county fair over who made the best chocolate cake. We attended weddings and funerals...we were a true small town in Texas. And all of those people were accounted for at the polling place every Election Day. No one missed....

I hope my chidlren have those kind of memories of Election Day. I have only missed one election that I can remember. But I do know that it is my responsibility to vote...it is my “burden of the community to bear” and I do it happily with honor. Most of those people who surrounded me at the polling place had been in one war or another and I do it for them and for all the ones who have gone since.

I am so grateful to live in America. So grateful to cast my vote...I hope all the winners do the best job they can, they are responsible to us.

So please go Vote!!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A New Day...New Start



Remember how you felt the first day of school? Everything was new and possibilities were endless? Your shoes were new and your lunch box was filled with great food because mom wasn't burnt out yet. There were new people to meet, a new teacher to torture...the possibilities were endless!

And the same when the year is new, another opportunity to start over and renew. Remember the feeling you had to write down goals? Make resolutions? The idea of a "new year" was thrilling...the possibilities were endless!

It's in all of us to renew, to reassess, to simply start over, because we want to try new things, we want to learn new things. We want to break bad habits and create new great habits. As I said it is part of who we are. 

Then that little voice pops up, the one that whispers in our ear.....

"you have tried this before and failed"

Then the endless possibilities floats away when we decide to listen 


We are all hard wired to fail, expect it,  because first we are hardwired to learn, grow and progress. One of my favorite quotes comes from Thomas Monson..who said, 

"God left the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon. He left the electricity in the clouds, the oil in the earth. He left the rivers unbridged and the forests felled and the cities unbuilt. God gives to man the challenge of raw materials, not the ease of finished things. He leaves the pictures unpainted and the music unsung and the problems unsolved, that man might know the joys and glories of creation."

As we are solving problems, inventing things, creating things, writing songs, painting pictures and just thinking of things to do. We will fail...sometimes many many times. But we must start over.

Starting over, facing a new day, picking yourself up is joy!...not failure. 

Have you faced the same problem a hundred times until you just want to give up? Vincent Van Gogh said, " If you hear a voice in your head that says you cannot paint, then paint! That voice will be silenced." 

I have to start over too, just like everyone else. So when my vacation interrupted my "wellness routine". I became discouraged and I have found it so hard to get back on track. When we returned it was to the blessing of work but...work is also a great excuse not to exercise and with holidays approaching certainly not a time to eat well. I assessed this journey yesterday....strapped on my big girl pants and went to Xuberance to work out. Did I want to? No, because I knew how hard it was going to be. And I wasn't wrong..but I cannot give up, I cannot go back where I was when I am not even close to where I want to be. My trainer Anthony and I spoke honestly to each other. I told him what I wanted to do...nothing. He told me I had to decide right then what I wanted to do. I could live through a few hard days and be back on track, or stop.

Give up? Never!!

This quote embodies my truth...

"Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering." - Dr. Steve Maraboli

Without health I cannot do the things I want to do. Without losing weight I will not be able to chase grandbabies, I won't be able to MOVE!! Moving is getting easier..do I give up now? Last year I would have, this break would have given me the excuse to start over in January and I would have struggled through the holidays. No! So I went back, it was hard but I did it. 

Anthony believes I can do this, and I only need one person to believe in me, but I have a whole team who believe in me. Jeremy the dietician at Xuberance believes in me (no reason why, because I am his worst client - he is almost a counselor embodied in his nutrition knowledge with me) Paula who greets me every day encourages me to work out, eat well and get a massage! Dr. Docasar who carefully devised a list of supplements I need and gave me the good news that since I have started at Xuberance all my numbers are within range. Darling Gene and Lisa Carrejo who own Xuberance are personally invested in my success, they know everything I am doing. (They followed me on facebook during my vacation and asked how my cheesesteak was...red face) I have incredible support at Xuberance, but I have to plan my food, I have to go to the gym and work out....I still have to work this plan. And why has food been my achilles heel? I don't know, but I intend to make it my greatest achievement

The Obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition." - Zen Parable

I never really thought of myself as courageous, but after reading this quote I saw myself and then realized it does take courage to reach your goals, to believe in yourself and to accept a life without constant comfort. 








I will forever be grateful to my friends at Xuberance who have given me every opportunity to get healthy, my most important job. Some health problems occur out of the blue, but many are preventable. Dr. Docasar gave me the good news that my blood work is great so I am off and running! 

What challenges are you facing that just a good shove won't cure?



Sunday, October 21, 2018

Xuberance - Energy, Excitement and Cheerfulness!

Last week I had a personal setback in my quest to well being. I knew this journey was not going to be without a few bumps but what I wondered about from the beginning is could I handle those bumps or would I just give up? My natural assumption that I am too old to change to a completely new health regime would have some serious proof...right? And no one would fault me, I could go back to occasional walking, intermittent weight lifting and maybe some chair aerobics. I could make jokes about putting on my bra and pulling a muscle in my shoulder, or reaching for the remote, hearing a snap, and then not being able to walk. 

But for the first time quitting is not an option...... I am going to see this through. 

The minute I panicked about such high blood pressure everyone at Biometrix went into overdrive. They took my blood pressure before clearing me to work out, they ordered new blood work and then made an appointment for Dr. Docasar, who is our resident doctor (think of that). I wish I hadn’t panicked but my recent history gives me pause on most things health related. Long story short, my blood work came back the next day and Dr. Docasar was able to read everything. In the three months since I have been attending Biometrix my numbers are  completely normal! Including the inflammation number that was most troublesome to me. 

I am so relieved about my improving health (my weight number is improving, but is the hardest number to budge) and it is all because of the instruction and care I have received at Biometrix. Which leads me to the next chapter, I have great news! Biometrix is rebranding themselves and will now be known as.....wait for it.....Xuberance...and that it is just how I feel about this amazing wellness center. The definition is “the quality of being full of energy, excitement, and cheerfulness; ebullience.” 

Nothing describes what I want for myself better. Full of energy, excitement and cheerfulness.





They are not affiliated with any other club. They are now free to explore every possibility in the wellness field. They will continue to offer the best personal trainers in the Valley. People who know their clients so well because progress is measured with each workout, and when each work out is over the next workout is being designed. Every aspect of your well being is monitored. Diet and Exercise are the obvious parts, but then there is massage therapy once a week to work through issues I thought was just part of getting older. I had a terrible pain in my hip that Jeff the massage therapist worked out. It was like magic. I already mentioned Dr. Docasar who does all the medical appointments and reads all the blood work. She is also is a hormone savant and recently diagnosed a friend of mine with exactly the right bioidentical hormones and literally saved her a substantial amount of money not to mention a better diagnosis. 

I have a long way to go yet with relearning how to eat, but I meet with the dietician each week for new ideas and a constructive pep talk. 

I will continue....I will not give up....and I will live a life with far more LIFE in it!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

And The Journey Continues -

No journey ever went off without a hitch and my adventure is no different. It is annoying but I'm just going to learn from it and move on. I had a long standing appointment with my primary care doctor last week, she wanted to go over some blood work I had done before I started going to Biometrix. It was a really hard week, I had a full weekend as we did our annual "Fall into the Holidays" and then an Octoberfest for some incredible clients. But the part that was the hardest was my little dog Sadie passed away. Dogs just have our hearts and it was sudden and quite awful. But I did my best to be Scarlett O'Hara and pulled it all together then soldiered on.

The doctor visit started badly as I saw the PA who didn't know me or my history. (There is nothing wrong with PA's I just wished she had read my chart before she came in the room) She asked very few questions, noted my blood pressure was high and it went downhill from there. She read from some paperwork listing the medications and vitamins I needed without taking a breath or asking me if I understood. So I got up,  told her I would think about it, and left.

I was depressed for the rest of the day...I want to get better, all better. But this PA made me feel old, infirmed and hopeless. I know I am improving, I feel better (well, except for the doctor visit) my clothes fit better, but I want to be all the way better.

Which brings me to last Friday morning When I took my blood pressure at home. It. Was. So.  High. Why? My cardiologist has cleared me to exercise but still reminds me "it could happen again" which does not engender any confidence. Before I started going to Biometrix I always wondered if I would leave the treadmill alive because the thought "it could happen again". When I arrived at Biometrix I told Anthony (the trainer) my blood pressure was pretty high that morning so he asked me to have my blood pressure checked again just to be on the safe side. What gym does that? I went to Brianna who took my blood pressure, she does all the blood work, EKG's, and other tests that have to be performed. She is medically trained and knows exactly what she is doing. After taking my blood pressure she cleared me but it was still high so she insisted I come back and have it taken again after I worked out.

My blood pressure didn't go down.....

So Brianna went back to her computer and scheduled more blood work along with a meeting with my Biometrix doctor who now knows me. It is confusing to have so many different opinions from so many doctors. A Primary doctor...a cardiologist and a heart surgeon...they all terrify me and non are on the same page. My page.....The cardiologist was upset because my surgeon ordered an angiogram, my cardiologist doesn't spend more than 3 minutes with me but during that 3 minutes was able to tell me not to listen to my surgeon about extra testing. He didn't check my blood pressure or look at my blood work. Some doctors just want to keep you alive, they are not interested in whether or not you are really living. I am relieved to have one doctor who sees me all the time and is available to me monthly if I need it.

I am thrilled that my wellness center (and that is what it is....it's not just a gym) has trained people to help me get better and not just revive me with a requisite defibrillator in case I pass out. They are there to prevent problems. I want someone to help me before something happens. Biometrix is a one stop shop, they will do the testing, the evaluating, and the healing. I am having more blood work done Tuesday and then the next Tuesday (not a season later) I can meet with the doctor who knows me, knows how hard I work out and knows what to do to actually help me.

A friend of mine told me that taking care of our health is job one. No one is going to do it for you, no one is going to work out for you, or take important tests, no one is going to stop you from overeating....this is a solo event. Don't think this blog is just for older people...good health starts early. If you aren't taking care of yourself now you will have to fix it when it is so much harder. Like me...I'm older and heavier and the whole thing is harder.

Learn from me and take care of yourself now.....if you don't feel well today find a way to get better.

Don't settle for less, you don't have to.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Donna and the Rotten,Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very Bad Day....





One thing I have learned from the experiences of my life is...people have a lot in common. We may differ in our interests, politics and religions but we all have the basic things in common. For instance, we all have days we don't want to do anything and it is especially unfortunate when that day coincides with a full schedule of things we really have to do. 

I am having just such a day which is why I am writing this. It's my effort to pull my can out of what appears to be a very "stuck" place.  

First what do surgeons do when they just want to look at puppy videos and eat fries, but they have to do open heart surgery? What do airline pilots do when they just don't "Feel like it today?" How about your dentist? For those of you who love coffee how important is your barista at Starbucks? And I can tell you first hand what happens when your dry cleaner has a bad day...you will get a wrinkled suit back and never see your white shirt again. 

How in the world do we turn around just such an awful day, especially when we still have to "Storm the Bastille"  (a reference to the french revolution I enjoy using because who doesn't enjoy the drama of a good revolution?) 

So I decided to tackle the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day



I hate the feeling that comes with hiding from life. I know better than anyone that there are no guarantees so we need to live each day to the best of our ability and it can be done. We do not have to give in to an average day of sloth. ( I am putting a codicil here that excludes major emergencies. I don't want you to whip out this blog to follow if you are being chased by a bear. Common sense screams for some obvious exceptions)  

1.) If you are facing tasks you just don't want to do, revisit the 5 second rule. I can tell you it does work. 

2.) A part of the 5 second rule is something you cannot avoid and that is you must trick your brain. Accept the fact your brain wants to protect you, so if you put out there "I do not want to do it" (It being whatever you fill in the gap for) your brain will find a million reasons you shouldn't do "it").  Make the decision first for whatever "it" is and then schedule a reward. I know this sounds hokey but it works. 


3.) Do it with Friends! Can I just tell you how important my trainers and friends have been with my fitness journey? You have to have friends...people who stand next to you and assure you it can be done. For me I assumed I was too old, too out of shape and it was too late. I think a lot of people my age and even younger assume the ship has sailed and focus on how to do aerobics from a chair.  I have literally shocked myself at what I can do in the gym. I am lifting more weight, I am doing the exercises faster and I am starting to actually enjoy it. The trainers at my gym will not let me feel as though I cannot do it. They believe in me and that is a great thing since I often do not. I know I used to be able to do the things they ask me to do, and I find myself trying to bargain my way out of those dang kettlebells, but they assure me I can do it. I know the constant squats have made my legs stronger, lifting weights has made my posture better, I'm not as tired as I was and nothing makes a person feel better than leaving the gym after a hard workout knowing you did it. Every person at Biometrix feels the same way but that common feeling motivates us to help each other. When you are having a bad day tell people! Let them share their energy...it works. I don't know my gym friends past the hour I am there but when they are working as hard as I am and tell me I can do it, or I am looking better, or just a pat on the back.....it helps!! And nothing has helped me as much as my trainer Anthony did last week when he got in my face and assured me I was not too old when my brain was telling me I was and I was not too out of shape and that I could indeed do it! Find people who support you and want you to succeed. Everyone has a day they just want to slide down to the ground next to the wagon and let the wolves eat them so find a friend and let them know you are having a rotten day and you need some encouragement. It will help!! And be there for them when they need it.



4.) Here is one I love....competition! That is one thing I will always respond to...so today I am join my buddies at the Biometrix gym on a "30 Day Meal Challenge". I am meeting with the Dietician later today (yes I tried to cancel that meeting but after writing this blog I decided to just do it) and I am going to compete with myself on the hardest part of fitness for me.....the food. Competing with people is fun, it brings energy and that is what I need to help me. 


Bad days are going to happen but we are in charge and we don't have to let things happen to us when we can make things happen for us. Writing this has helped give me a plan, and I am sure you have things in your life you can utilize by just looking around. Come and work out with me! I assure you it is the fountain of youth. It is hard but getting up from the couch used to be hard also. Take the 30 day challenge with me...nothing is harder for me than limiting my eating...but I am going to do it! And I will keep all of you up on great recipes I find and tricks I use to fool my brain.....










Sunday, September 16, 2018

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Years ago I met a couple in Texas who would be a long standing influence in my life. I was working in a major Tennis complex in Houston and they were daily players. We became very good friends and when I moved back to Las Vegas they would come to visit often as Mr. Miller had business here. They were both brilliant and caused positive change wherever they went. Mrs. Miller leaped off cliffs in her attempt to get people to understand her passion which was water conservation, Mr. Miller's passion was Mrs. Miller and he did all he could to support her. The first time I visited their home in Houston I saw the display of crystal turtles he had. There was Baccarat and Lalique, Steuben and Waterford just so many turtles. I had to know why and when I asked he said, "My motto is Slow and Steady wins the race so people started giving me turtles" Nothing elaborate but he went on to describe his take on life which is getting up everyday and working toward his goals. He told me progress comes in small increments, you may not even see it for days or weeks, but one day you will wake up and because you have worked steadily you will notice it's a bit easier, you are better at it...you aren't complaining as much...you might even be happy! I knew them a long time and they did not value anything that came too fast as it would not sustain. Real success only came after steadily chipping away at your goal. When my children graduated from high school I gave each of them a turtle with the motto....

Slow and steady wins the race.

Over the last few months I have been writing about fears, new exercise life, challenges, endurance, goals, and did I mention fear? I know I did but I mention it again because fear is my bugaboo. I have let my fears get in the way of almost everything. I almost didn't start Biometrix because of it. I have studied fear in an effort to overcome the crippling effects of something that is only helpful if you are being chased by bears. Fear will keep you from reaching your potential and what is more awful than that? I am learning to let things go, to concentrate on positive outcomes instead of negative ones. Using the motto Slow and Steady wins the race I have been patient with my progress and tried to relax as I steadily chip away at my fears.

And then this happened...

I made a clerical error at work.

When I first realized I had to face this head on I panicked and developed nausea immediately. Fear appeared immediately. And then I had a clear thought..."you have been practising for a chance to prove to yourself you can overcome fear, use what you have learned." I didn't calm down right away, but I didn't throw up either.

I am happy to say I have functioned this entire weekend knowing I have to face it first thing Monday morning....very unusual behavior for this fearful girl. My usual MO would be to slip into the fetal position and stay paralyzed without the courage to just face it, deal with it and move on.

I know the hard work I have done at Biometrix by working out three days a week lifting weights, doing wall sits (by the way they are awful...30 seconds has never felt so long) and squats and rowing and and and has allowed me to see I can do hard things. I didn't realize a commitment to working out that has made me physically stronger could also help me with emotional strength. When you improve one part of your life other parts cannot help but progress.

Change is not easy. Facing hard things is not easy as I am heavy into avoidance, but I can do it. I find a great deal of strength in my faith. The other day I listened to a talk about having faith the size of a mustard seed and how that is all you need to move mountains.

Do you know how much faith that is? Not very much.

Get started with this much faith by believing in yourself.






Tomorrow I am expecting a miracle, success, and a positive outcome. This attitude has not come quickly, but I believe in concentrating on the positive aspects of everything and not expecting things to change quickly. I have gained strength from the little successes I have experienced and I know tomorrow will be a large success because I am facing the problem and I will deal with the outcome. 

I have already won....and it feels so good!








Monday, September 10, 2018

Monday for the Win! The Journey Continues...




This is my wall ball....it weighs 10 pounds and has been incorporated into my life to strengthen my core. For the uninitiated it is cleverly named "Wall Ball" because you pick it up and throw it against the wall.

Not hard, right?

Right....

For me, all the exercises in the gym are hard, but this one is particularly so because I don't have a "core". It was iffy before my surgery, afterward I thought a strong core was a thing of the distant past. One of the first personal assessments I made in the hospital was the state of my body. After looking past the wires, tubes and needles I noticed a very, very long incision down the front of my back that seemed to end any thought of future physical activity.  Because everyone was so happy I was alive I didn't want to bring up the fact that perhaps my physical factory warranty had run out. I did ask my nurse if I would ever be normal again? Will I walk without fainting,? Will I lift things again? Will I ever do a pushup again? I do not mind telling you it seemed like an impossible possibility. My nurse looked me square in the eye and told me I could improve but it was up to me if I did a push up again, then I realized pushups were just a metaphor for my "new" life. It was going to be up to me.

Until going to Biometrix I didn't have a starting point, because there were so many ways to approach "wellness". (should I take you back to wall of diet and exercise books on my shelves?) They have a tried and true measure. For one hour I am taught how to do each exercise correctly, what part of the body that exercise will focus on and then they convince me I can do it.



But I still have to get started. I still have to find my shoes in the morning and get in the car to go there, and according to Mel Robbins this "Activation Energy" creates the initial spark to create change.

You need that spark to just get going....think Big Bang!

Getting started might be the hardest part but it is the catalyst to continued success.

I have been using this new technique - after experimenting with many ideas that might help continue my momentum and to spark a change in my eating habits which remain my nemesis - called the 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. It is designed to get us to take action when we don't want to and there is always something we don't want to do. We all struggle with something...feel better?
Here are two things she discovered:

  • Knowing what to do will never be enough.
  • Knowing why you need to do it will never be enough.

If you don't start doing the things you don't feel like doing, you will wake up one year from today and be in exactly the same place. 

This is truth...my life proves it




If you have an impulse to act on a goal or change, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea, because your brain is designed to protect you. 

Change requires you to do things that are:
  • Uncertain
  • scary
  • New
And your brain is designed to protect you from things that are:
  • Uncertain
  • Scary
  • New

As soon as you start to change there is a system in your head designed to stop you. But there is a solution and it works!! Regardless of what you need to change try the 5-Second Rule



Count backward....5,4,3,2,1 and do whatever you haven't wanted to do

Get out of bed
Don't take another drink
Tackle the project
Go to the gym
Don't overeat
Forgive someone
Forget someone
Speak up

Whatever it is in your life you avoid use this system to compel yourself to action...you must have action to get started. Count backward and see if it doesn't work. 


"Whatever your goals are, show the world, and yourself that you're serious by taking action, however insignificant that action may seem, RIGHT NOW. Because when you physically move, your brain starts to build new habits. When you do something you you're not used to doing, you are in the act of building new habits and erasing existing ones. "Mel Robbins

5,4,3,2,1.....



I do know how simplistic this sounds, but it works. My wellness journey at Biometrix has kicked my can all the way down the road. The exercise regime is hard but I do it. For one hour they watch everything I do, they spot me, cajole me and I do it. Some days it is harder than others, but I have continued to do it. They do great things within the confines of that gym but I have to follow through with the other 23 hours of the day.... something I have never done before.


Bottom line is I still have to honor my commitment to do it. I have always known what to do...and Mel Robbins is right, that has never been enough. 

I have been told it is too late to change, it isn't. I have been told I cannot lose weight, I can. One doctor told me I would be a couch potato for the rest of my life, I will not.

Just because I didn't do this earlier doesn't mean I cannot do it now. And that certainly isn't an excuse for not realizing a goal.

I intend to change my brain and put the high carbs away....I intend to eat high protein and lots of veggies. I will throw that wall ball against the wall as many times as they say I have to...I will do squats, I will lift weights, and I will flip this rope all day long.




I am still at the beginning of my journey, but it is a journey I intend to stay on. Last week at my cardiologists check up all the numbers are improving, for whatever reason God has given me another chance at life and I intend to use it wisely.

5,4,3,2,1 !!!!!!

Everyone explore this technique with me and let me know how it works for you...My friends at Biometrix have subsidized this wellness journey for my blogs.






Friday, September 7, 2018

Meet Ann Cannon...

One day at least 15 years ago my friend Ann McMullin told me I needed to read a column from a Salt Lake City Newspaper by a woman named Ann Cannon.(Yes Virginia we used to print out the internet every morning, roll it up with rubber bands and hand it to young children who peddled off on their bicycles and delivered it to folks in their homes to read) I loved her column. I laughed, cried and pondered her words as she wrote about her children and husband, her mother, TRQ - the rodeo queen, her dad the football coach, her dogs, baseball, her faith and life itself. Her funny and often poignant stories inspired me to write. The little bit I was writing had been silenced by the voices in my head that whispered to me I couldn't write. I allowed those words to keep me from writing for years. When blogging became a thing I stuck my toe in the world of words and wrote with total abandon not knowing where it would take me or caring if I was even good.

Then one day I wrote to her telling her how much I loved her writing and what an inspiration she was for me to write again.

And she wrote back!

So I wrote to her again

And she wrote back!

We wrote to each other for years with my family referring to Ann as my "cyber friend". I did what I do when I don't like what someone has said to me...I ignore them. Ann told me I could write and nothing meant more to me. When I would tell her it was too late in my life to write, she assured me it wasn't, so because of her I kept writing.

I cannot tell you how important Ann has been to me in other ways as we wrote to each other during some of the most difficult times of my life. I will never forget how kind she was as I grappled with depression, anxiety and fear. She rejoiced with me as I began to find the other side of it all and would  just keep encouraging me to write.

Just write.

Then she accepted my invitation to fly here and speak to my woman's group. When I picked her up from the airport I felt like we had known each other forever. We were not just cyber friends but had the best story to tell!

I am excited to tell you Ann will be the special guest at our 2nd annual "Fall Into the Holidays" so I asked her to write a little about herself.

I will turn it over to Ann so you can see for yourself how much fun we are going to have on the 29th of September!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi! My name is Ann Cannon and I am eager to meet you all on September 29th at Ray Ray's awesome "Fall Into the Holidays" event.

Oh.   Wait

Maybe I should introduce myself first. Donna suggested I share some interesting facts about myself, so here goes.

1.) I went to Charles and Diana's Wedding - if sitting in my living room while wearing a robe and an old lady hat counts as going to Charles and Diana's wedding.

2.)  I was present when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016 - if sitting in my living room while wearing a fake Cubs jersey counts as being present when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016.

3.) I've spent many, many New Year's Eves in Times Square with Dick Clark - if sitting in my living room while holding one of those noisemakers you buy at the Dollar Store counts as spending time in Time's Square with Dick Clark.

I know I am exactly like Forest Gump that way!

Meanwhile I've published a book called "I'll Tell You What" which is a collection of columns I've written over the years for the Salt Lake Tribune. There are also some original pieces about my father, LaVell Edwards, long-time head coach of BYU's football team.

Because I think it is so important to capture our life experiences in writing I'll be conducting a workshop that will give you an opportunity to write down a few holiday memories of your own.

I am looking forward to meeting you all and hearing your stories!

For more information about Ann, check our her website at www.aecannon.com



Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Journey Continues....3 Steps To Successfully Making A Change

It is personally humbling including everyone on my journey of change. I also enjoy it...It helps me stay accountable and offers an opportunity to introduce the amazing process I am using. My journey is "real time" and when you go along for the ride nothing happens suddenly. I don't have an "After" picture....just a whole lot of "right now" pictures. When you are along for the ride you experience the whole thing....running out of gas, great accelerations, the engine not starting and maybe not even reaching the destination you planned for.


The real story is change is hard with no guarantees or magic bullets.

OK, that sucks.

But I should know that since I have a shelf full of magic bullet diet books that didn't work and bottles of magic bullet diet aids that didn't work and wonderful workout clothes (in another size). I should have a clue that magic bullets don't work.



A longtime facebook friend recently posted that she lost 70 pounds. I was so happy for her, but wait, HOW? She is about my age so that dispels the notion women cannot lose weight "later" in life. I just wanted to know how so she told me her diet...

No sugar, lower carb intake, rarely eats dairy (except for homemade lactose free yogurt) lots of fresh vegetables and fruit and a little meat. 

Poof! 9 months of staying on that plan she lost 70 pounds. There's the magic....there is no magic.

OK, that sucks.

My problem is I want something that will do the work for me, as my fabulous grandmother Minnie always, always said to me, "Donna Lynn I'm not afraid of work, I can lay down right next to it and go to sleep!" I want to take a pill and not have an appetite. I want to put on new workout clothes and be a size 8. I want someone to clean out the refrigerator and restock it with only fresh vegetables, fruit and homemade yogurt and I want the protein portions controlled and ready when I am.

I want magic but so far it has been illusive.

But wait..isn't there magic?

One year ago my husband had a terrible heart event that most people don't know much about. When he was having a hard time breathing we took him to the emergency room. After an angiogram they discovered his heart was functioning at 15%, his blood pressure was very, very high and his sugar numbers were too high to repeat.

15% is the number we focused on. His heart was functioning at 15%...

When the doctor came out and told us we were terrified, I had survived a huge, scary emergency that traumatised my family and now we were facing a similar situation with Raymond. The doctor went on to tell us surgery wasn't possible because too much damage had occurred. He needed to change everything about his life. He needed to take the medicine he was ignoring, the diet he was careless with needed to improve and exercise that he wouldn't do, needed to start. It was a scary week at the hospital, but we left with hope. The doctor told us if he changed, his heart would rejuvenate, he could get better. He went on to explain that when a heart is given the opportunity to heal it will find a way to transport blood. He had two arteries that were no longer functional, but the heart would find another way. He just had to change and there would be an opportunity to heal, if not the doctor said he had about 2 years.

There is magic....because one year later his heart is functioning at 62%. His blood pressure is normal and his diabetes is under far better control.

My husband today with the whole family

We can change, we can get better. Don't let anyone tell you that you are too old or too young or too busy. We all have obstacles to overcome in order to achieve what is best for us. Living in a world filled with temptation is hard, we revolve around fast food and convenience stores. We are constantly falling down and we need to find the motivation to get up, move on and succeed at what we truly want.

There are ways to prevent defeat, I promise. These are the 3 new tools I am using. By the way this works for any change you want to make.

1.) Believe you can make the change. We often start a change journey half heartedly. We are filled with excuses why we cannot change, and the only reason for that is it is HARD to change. Accept that...it's hard and don't beat yourself up over that either.  We want a quick fix, but it simply does not exist. Analyze your life and write down the hard things you have already accomplished or overcome and realize you have the ability to do hard things. The life you have already lived is proof you can do hard things. Get a pen!  I know you have done many difficult things...write them down. Do you beat yourself up because you ate dessert and now you believe you don't have will power? Me! That's me!! I have plenty of will power and I have done very hard things in my life. I know I can do this, I know I am powerful and I can make this change because I will feel better. Because what I really want is to continue taking care of my family, I want to live life and I cannot do that without my health.

2.) Find a tribe. Find people willing to support you, educate you and cheer for you. For me it has been Biometrix because They are specifically trained for folks like me. You know, the ones who do not think they can lift a heavy weight 15 straight times, or pop that rope, or do so many squats you think you are now shaped like a question mark.  No one has ever been able to get me to believe in myself the way they have. You must find a tribe. I have lots of other tribes also by the way. I have a writing tribe, I have a church tribe, I have a best friend that never says she is too busy for me. I have a mommy tribe, a gardening tribe, a neighborhood tribe, a government tribe, a political tribe (I will never reveal their names we are a covert group!) a business tribe, a facebook/Instagram tribe, a food tribe, a decorating tribe and my ultimate tribe...my family. Lean on them and be there when they need you also.
Part Of My Biometrix Tribe


3.) Be specific in what you want and expect to do. Nothing was ever created without a thought first, followed by a plan.  You will not change without knowing what that change will look like. Your brain wants to help you, tell it what you want to do each day before you do anything else, and then continue throughout the day reaffirming those plans. Be specific in what you expect to do and then at the end of the day return and report. In your "report" write down what you did that worked and what didn't. Then - without any negative phrases at all - write down how you will avoid that set back the next day. Live an intentional life by using intentional words. Not If, when. Not could - Will. And focus on just one day....today.

My wellness goals are very simple and just an example, yours will be different.

  • 10,000 steps each day, be active...park far away, use the stairs, go for a walk, dance, sing and dance....be active!
  • Eat food that looks like the container it originally came in, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish (I have to throw in chicken but without the feathers)
  • Train 3 days a week at Biometrix
  • Write goals each morning and affirm throughout the day. Return and report at night and make necessary changes.
  • Celebrate every single win! Right now I consciously get up from a chair without touching anything. It's just a bad habit to help yourself up, so don't. Due to strength training (squats) it is becoming much, much easier. That could be a win I overlook but I won't. So we went to the movies.
  • Drink 8 bottles of water. I know its a lot of water but it is very important.
These 3 suggestions for change (any change) will work, I hope this is an agent of change for you as well.


See that heavy ball? I use that...I am kind of awesome

Tara....part of my tribe






My friend Cameron killing the box jumps - no I will not be doing this.




Notice there is never just one exercise? She is doing 2 things at once...my brain often just rebels, it is only used to walking...

Sometimes I think I have stumbled on Caligula's Lair









Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Few of My Favorite Things....

Word of mouth!! It is the best way to advertise, so when one of my best friends started a blog called In Fine Taste I wanted to share it. 
Dianna and her daughter Alyssa's lives have revolved around finding delicious food and trying new recipes. Dianna's background comes from years of travel and teaching culinary arts with her daughter Alyssa by her side. The recipes, tips and beautiful pictures are a delight and I have been inspired following their blog and instagram posts. 


This salad on Sunday was front and center at our home and it did not disappoint! 3 ingredients and taste you won't soon forget. 



Their recipes are easy to follow and the cooking tips are ones you will use over and over again! Instagram is @InFineTaste




In November of this year, my friend Elaine Ambrose will introduce a memoir that took twenty years to write. She is a bestselling author of humor but this book is a complete departure from her body of work. I have been moved by her personal stories of an intense but difficult father who had the forethought to build a trucking business after World War II when the concept of frozen food first began. He created an actual empire hauling food throughout the Northwest, but didn't count on his success to destroy his health and his family. Elaine writes about her life with a dysfunctional family in a way many of us can all relate to and learn from. "Frozen Dinners" culminates in a dramatic courtroom scene as a lawsuit for the estate's assets destroy the family and propel Elaine's mother into dementia. I am thrilled to announce Elaine will be at my home February 16th, 2019 for a book signing and writing workshop.


The last of my favorite things this week is a skin care routine. When I shared it with my life long friend Roxane last week she loved, loved, loved it so I thought I would put it out there for consideration. Disclaimer...I have sold Mary Kay for 8 years (without once ever signing anyone up - my claim to fame) but I have been using it for probably 20 years. I depend on a very streamlined regiment of facial wipes to clean my face, collagen cream eye cream and moisturizer. The firming eye cream got me through 8 years of very early mornings with very puffy eyes...and the night cream has retinol in it. I certainly don't have perfect skin but a dermatologist asked last year what collagen I was using because he could tell the difference in my "older skin".  It is a great affordable product and I have drop shipped it all over the country. I can tell you it has made a difference.....
PS the new mask is incredible!






Sharing our favorite things is the bases of some of the best lunches we have with friends, right? So let others know what works for you, what you like and where to find it.

Now go on out there and make someone happy!