Quick review – back in 2006 I lost 70 pounds, and I was successful at maintaining a healthy weight for 5 years. I thought I had it licked, that I’d never see those pounds on the scale again.
Fast forward to 2011. My mom was in her 2nd year of battling cancer, and I was flying back and forth between Colorado and Florida every couple of months. My time was so stretched, I also stopped coaching that year. Summer 2012, Mom was in the last stretch of her fight, and I was there to help my dad take care of her. For three months, I barely stepped foot outside their house. After she died and I came back home, it was winter, and I was working through my grief. I had packed on some pounds through the ordeal, and I had zero motivation to exercise.
After a few months, I got a little gumption back, and started to work out with a trainer. But I was unaware of some degeneration in my neck until our 3rd week of workouts, when my legs suddenly went right out from under me on the step machine, and my arms became tingly and numb. That brought my workouts to an immediate halt, to be replaced by physical therapy sessions. That was in March 2013.
At that point, I wallowed for awhile. I pretty much completely stopped paying attention to what I ate, and didn’t exercise at all. And over the next 10 months I gained back all of the weight I had worked so hard to get rid of back in 2006, plus some.
We spread Mom’s ashes in September, and October was the one-year anniversary of her dying. I had a few months there that were pretty dark. In November, I got sick with a chest cold that just hung on and on. Going out in the cold air would trigger coughing fits, so for three weeks I was housebound. I deep cleaned my house, moved the furniture around, and loaded up a truckload of things for the thrift store. I think the physical act of clearing out my environment helped clear the mental fog as well. The last week of December I felt suddenly energized and ready to plan out my strategy to get back into shape.
Fortunately, the physical therapy is working, and at least for now I have escaped the need for surgery. The numbness in my arms is gone, with just some residual weakness in my hands. But I still can’t trust my legs not to switch off if I’m exerting myself. Thus, the recumbent bike, instead of the daily hikes I used to take, mixed in with some work with a fitball and free weights. I have my nutrition and exercise plan all worked out, and I engaged my husband’s support by doing a challenge with him to see which of us will lose the most by May 1.
I am posting daily updates to my Google+ page to stay accountable, and reporting the results of my weekly weigh-ins on Sundays.
Change takes the right frame of mind – a person has to be ready to commit, then plan and prepare, and get the needed support. I’ve laid the groundwork, and I’m confident that I will succeed!
It turns out that our bodies are pretty smart. When we eat, our body gets ready to receive lots of fuel. We think we’re fooling it by eating something that is artificially sweetened and low-calorie. But we’re not. It can tell that it’s not getting the amount of fuel that it anticipated. So what happens? Our whole balance between the feelings of hunger and fullness get messed up. Powerful chemicals flood our brain and body, making us want to eat more and move less. And the more our body slows us down, the more of what we eat it puts into fat storage.
Always hungry? Always tired? Then forget the empty calorie non-foods. Give yourself some real fuel!
Lunch Suggestion: A whole-grain wrap smeared with smashed up avocado, sprinkled with salt & pepper. Add some meat shreds or slices, and whatever veggies you want – lettuce, tomato, broccoli, shredded carrot, sprouts, and some sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, or walnut crumbles – roll it up and enjoy. Or make it vegan by using legumes instead of meat – garbanzos, kidney beans, etc, smash them up with the avocado to make a spread. Not enough? Have two! *GASP!*
Yes, I just gave you permission to actually eat. Real food. You must have enough good fuel. Because the next step in breaking the cycle of always hungry / always tired is to get moving. Enough good fuel and exercise are what will break your body out of the phantom calorie paradox, and reset your natural feelings of hunger and fullness.
This is a reprint from the Breast Health Awareness Group. If you’ve followed me for some time, you know I strongly support breast thermography for women, and have made the personal choice to replace cancer detection (mammograms) with cancer prevention. My mom is fighting Stage 4 breast cancer, so this is something very close to my heart.
You likely know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. But rather than become more aware of breast cancer, why not become more aware of breast health… or breast cancer prevention?
Although mammography is referred to as the “gold standard” for breast cancer screening, breast thermography is becoming more commonplace, with Dr. Christiane Northrup referring to it as “The Best Breast Test” in part because of its ability to “detect breast cell anomalies long before mammography can detect cancer” (Click here to see the article.)
But any test that looks for cancer is an “after the fact” test: cancer has already developed. Women know that early detection saves lives, the premise of October’s Pink Ribbon campaign, but women don’t want to detect breast cancer: they want to prevent it. They need a “before the fact” test.
Enter Risk Assessing Thermal Imaging (RATI). It is an advanced form of thermography available in Colorado through The Thermogram Center, Inc. RATI helps women to visualize inflammation in the breasts due to potential risk factors for breast cancer such as lymphatic congestion, systemic inflammation, and/or excess estrogen stimulation.
When risk factors are suspect, risk factor management can ensue with educational support and professional healthcare guidance. The Thermogram Center offers risk factor education by way of the book, “Better Breast Health – for Life!™. It covers 35 risk factors with strategies typically involving modifications to diet, lifestyle, stress management and detoxification, which are recommended under the guidance of qualified functional healthcare providers in the local community.
According to Tirza Derflinger, imaging technician for The Thermogram Center, “Nearly 80% of women who follow their initial RATI session with risk reduction strategies see a decrease in inflammation and the thermal findings associated with breast cancer risk in their subsequent RATI session.”
Is a woman’s breast cancer risk factor identification, education, and management her best offense towards prevention? The potential is certainly encouraging and counter to the myth that women are powerless… just waiting to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
For more information on “Better Breast Health – for Life!™ or RATI in Colorado, visit www.ThermogramCenter.com or call 303-664-1139.
*** Enrolling Your Doctor’s Support
Each breast client is offered the handout , “Communicating with Your Doctor” to enroll her doctor’s support for safe screening via thermograms and ultrasounds. This handout also provides the diagnostic code needed by her local doctor to order an ultrasound, if warranted.
Because of my naturally sunny nature, many people are surprised to learn that I have an ongoing boxing match with depression. I’ve inherited a genetic neurological disorder. Aside from the physical manifestation of trembling hands, some if its effects are anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and depression. The hand tremors started in my late teens, and most of the time aren’t really noticeable. The first panic attack came in my early 30s. And I can anticipate the symptoms to continue to worsen with age. Ah well, it is what it is.
I have found that nutrition and exercise are very effective tools to minimize and cope with the effects. But one of the best “treatments” is kindness.
One of my friends just brought me a quilt that she made specially for me, choosing fabric she knew I would love. It is a precious gift which I will treasure. But knowing that someone spent their thoughts, time, and effort just for me is even more precious. In those moments when, against all logic, the black cloud settles over me, I can remind myself of this.
We often use phrases like “simple kindness” or “small acts of kindness.” The truth is, there is nothing simple or small about it. What may seem insignificant to you could be a lifeline to another person.
We don’t all have to make a quilt, but we can share a smile, a voice message, an e-mail. We never really know what other people are experiencing, so rather than withdrawing our friendship because it feels like we’re getting the cold shoulder, we can reserve judgment and continue to extend “simple” kindness.