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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'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 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

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 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 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!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

And The Journey Continues....Endure!!!

When I woke up from my surgery I knew pretty quickly challenges lay ahead. I didn't know how many, or to what extent, but I was alive and ready to take on all comers. 

I mean I lived, right? Wouldn't that qualify as the hard part? 

Oh the things we think...

My body changed its shape after the surgery -  it was part of the door prize.

Forget what four children or menopause did to me....

Or gravity...

Nothing like emergency open heart surgery to alter a body in ways you never thought was possible. I remember someone visiting me in the hospital and whispering in my ear, "I am so glad you are alive I bet you lose some weight from this." It's true I have been on a diet since 8th grade but even I winced at that one. I've tried Atkins, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem...none have really been effective so lets try open heart surgery! Yes!! That's the ticket! Why didn't I think of that before?

Oh, good grief....

The first few months after surgery I realized none of the muscles in the front of my body were working at all. There had been several tubes inserted there and of course the actual incision reached all the way down to there. I couldn’t suck in my stomach if I tried and then inexplicably I gained 25 pounds. How is this possible? Everyone else I read about said they had no appetite after surgery, however my appetite seemed to survive the trauma just fine. Like a cockroach after an atomic bomb. But I kept saying "I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive". I survived as a little round person wearing the exact same clothes everyday because nothing else fit. If I tipped over I would simply roll around like one of those funny little black bugs. And yet I still chanted, "I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive"

But now as you know I am exercising, pumping iron, slinging ropes, bouncing off large balls and jumping on ellipticals! Three days a week the good people at Biometrix put me through what can only be referred to as the absolute best way to get into shape. But it isn’t easy...

You know I give it my all, it’s just that I get to all a little faster than everyone else. Sometimes it's all I can do to just get to the gym. I look at them and wonder if they are kidding when they suggest I do something I haven't done in years. My evil angels are always looking out for me and whisper in my ear, "Are you crazy? Go back to bed, leave that stuff to the young people who have no real sense anyway. They watch the Bachelor for hell's sake!" And then I hear Anthony, Sarah and Josh tell me age means nothing unless I let it. They remind me I won't get hurt, be too sore to walk or give up." And that's all I need..someone to believe in me, because unfortunately I don't. So not only do I have to regroup the physical I have to regroup the psychological and stop listening to voices who tell me its too late and I am too out of shape. I am all that is in the way, and I am the only one who can get out of my way.

Those voices are lethal if you are trying to change. So I stop when I hear them and say the most simple thing imaginable.


No need to scream it, just say it. A voice comes into your head that is negative in any way. Stop what you are doing and say to yourself


Now you try...


Hopefully you didn't say it out loud, not everyone reads my blog, don't frighten people. But when those thoughts come and whisper you can't do it, you are too old or tired, you don't have time, people will laugh, no one thinks you can do it, you don't think you can do it, you will get hurt, you don't have anything to wear, and then the's just too late. None of that is true. You can get into better shape, you can lose weight if you want to. But no one can do it for you. You have to make the effort to change and you have to find the right voices to listen to. 

I admit the exercises I do sometimes feel like dating a Rubiks Cube, but that's because I haven't done anything but walk in a long, long time. Lifting weights isn't easy and getting stronger isn't happening fast, but I know it's getting better. This morning when I finished my circuits (we do 3 exercises to a circuit and there are either 3 or 4 circuits) I still had a will to live. I also know (because Anthony told me) that my recovery rate is getting better. They take our heart rates about 8 times during the workout and measure how quickly our heart rates go up and how fast they go back down. Who knew recovery time was a measure of fitness? 

Next time we start the discussion of food...which is everyone's challenge. But we are going to face it, challenge it and light it on fire!!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Squats Will Keep Me Out Of The Nursing Home

I am convinced squats will keep me out of the nursing home, and staying out of the nursing home has suddenly become job one. After my surgery and recovery I didn’t realize but I lost the ability to do certain things. 

Some very simple things....

Like easily getting up from a chair, getting up off the floor and standing on one foot. 

See how you do....

Start with getting up from a chair without using the arm rests or even putting your hands on your knees. If you have some difficulty then you probably have issues with your legs and lower body strength....weak quads. What is the best exercise for underused quads? That’s right, squats...and being able to get up easily from a chair will keep us all from the nursing home. Develope a habit of not using anything but your legs to lift yourself out of a chair.

Now getting off the floor....Your goal is to sit on the floor without touching your knees, legs, hands or arms and then get back up....unaided.

Go ahead and try it.

I’ll wait here.

Did you do it?

If you didn't, strengthening your core will help tremendously. And keep at it until you can get up and down without help. Then do it every day. The ability to get up and down from the floor is a big test of agility and agility lengthens your lifespan.

Now one more....balance. Fold your arms and raise one knee for 30 seconds. Can you do it easily? You know the commercial, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” right? It’s imperative that we work on balance so we don’t fall. Balance is the key to staying upright and I cannot tell you how many people I know that attribute a simple fall to subsequent knee surgery, shoulder surgery or hip surgery. My dear friend Teri Daly, fitness instructor extraordinare, has her clients stand on one foot in the morning while they brush their teeth and the other one at night. Easy....nothing hard here. 

Speaking of getting up in the morning (and sometimes it is hard, right?) motivational speaker Mel Robbins gave an incredible talk about pretending NASA was in her bedroom. When the alarm goes off she counts down “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” and then launches herself out of bed in order to fool her brain. After going through a really difficult period she needed to fool her brain into getting right up in the morning rather than hiding in bed.  I have incorporated getting up from a chair with her rocket blast launch. I feel kind of powerful as I jump up from my chair - arms raised like Superman. It really does fool your brain into thinking you are way more powerful than you really are.

If you fall short on these little tests don't worry, the great thing about our bodies is it's never too late. Last week we found out after my husband took his echocardiogram that his heart has gone from functioning at 15% to an amazing 62% in just 18 months. All from diet, exercise and some incredible medicine. It's true I have let my core go to slush, my quads are mush and my balance is sadly wanting but each day it gets better. The instructors at Biometrix have designed a program to strengthen my core which is foundational to a healthy functioning body. After the surgeon took out my chest tube and I saw that that incision I thought it was all hopeless and I was convinced I would never be the same. I won't be the same because I will be better. I am already standing straighter, my energy continues to grow and some of the exercises are getting easier. I know for a fact that only a habit can subdue another habit. My habit on fitness has been to give up when it got hard or my life got too busy. Now I understand I cannot do that any more and have the quality of life I want. You don't have to hobble after you get up from a chair, you don't have to have help getting up from the floor and you can have great balance which will give you the best opportunity to remain agile and upright. Get strong, it's not too late, and you will be so happy you did.

My new mantra really is....

"Squats will keep me out of the nursing home"

Biometrix is partly subsiding my journey to fitness! And the trainers there are carefully trained to get you strong without you getting hurt or even too sore. It has been a remarkable experience.