February Focus…Show Yourself Some Love

Happy February, Friends! It’s a new month, one which places a pretty heavy emphasis on LOVE! It can be so easy to love others far more than we love ourselves.

Well, I’m ready for a new focus; how about you? I chose to work on something I haven’t always been very good at…self-love! Or, in other words, self-care.

In the years leading up to my weight loss, I didn’t often put much thought or effort into my own preventative health or wellbeing, and a direct result was misery.

Fast forward to today…I am so stinking happy these days! Know why? I feel fantastic because I take great care of my body. It feels incredible to be healthy! How’s that for transformation?

Friends, let’s spend February examining what our bodies need. What check-ups or exams are you due (or overdue) for? Let’s take the next 28 days to get things scheduled and happening! Of course, while we’re at it, if you are responsible for loved ones, get them up-to-date too!

Have you gotten your flu shot yet this year? Yes, it’s late in the season, but if you have not done this yet, what are you waiting for? The flu is a SCARY BEAST this year and getting vaccinated not only protects you, but many others as well!

I’ll admit, I’ve been the biggest procrastinator when it comes to my vision appointments, but I came to a simple no-brainer this year when my eyes gave me some issues…eyes are a gift! And just like anything else, without proper care, I could lose that gift…in, well, the blink of an eye! I got myself there this week so I can mark that off my list too!

I don’t have a fun picture to share regarding teeth, but when’s the last time you’ve seen your dentist? Teeth are another one of those gifts, and I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to chew my food for the rest of my life! That’s why I get in for a visit every six months. That, and my biannual visits with my dental hygienist are some of the best therapy sessions of the year! See you in July, Wendy!

And let’s not forget annual physicals. Are you proactive about yearly exams? Or are you one that waits until you have symptoms to be seen? And if you are regularly seen, do you actually follow your doctor’s advice? To fully benefit from these exams, arrive with a list of questions/concerns. Be honest and open with your physician…tell him/her what’s going on. Don’t be embarrassed, be frank about anything you are dealing with.

In the past, I put off routine mammograms and that came back to bite me far worse than that machine ever could. Procrastination can lead down a scary path I’m not willing to hike again, believe me! Ladies, I can’t say this enough…if you are 40 or older and don’t already, get that mammogram appointment on your calendars!

If money is a factor holding you back from preventative care, look into community resources that are in place to help. Many areas have free or a sliding fee scale to help make health care affordable. So get in there for these important appointments…no excuses. YOU are WORTH IT!!!

These above are merely some basic, mindful ways to embrace health. Dive deeper if you find relief through therapy, health coaching, massage, acupuncture, reiki, chiropractic treatment, etc. And NEVER underestimate the benefits of proper nutrition and physical activity!

Yesterday, I took time to do something I’ve found paramount in the past for optimal performance. I visited Joan, my phycial therapist for a current foot/shoe assessment. Many places will do this consult FREE, just call and ask! A properly fitting/performing shoe can make a world of difference! How’s that for taking a step in the right direction?!?

Let’s spend some time this month thinking about what preventative ways we can care for ourselves. Make those appointments, Friends. Show yourselves the LOVE! It’s one more way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!


10 Ways to Win Your Week

Friends, I spent some time looking at the week before me…it’s a busy one. But I’m looking ahead for very good reason; I’m setting an intention, right now (as always), to be mindful of my time in order to win my week. Because when I do, I feel like this…

See, if I don’t gaze forward in awareness of upcoming events and possible triggers, the week will likely have its way with me, leaving unwanted consequences in its trail. By taking a peek at my upcoming week and making a plan of attack, I’ve already decided to win my week. Here are 10 ways I plan to do just that…

1. Set yourself up for success in the kitchen. If that means running to the store today, do it! Ensure that you have plentiful healthy food options that are ready for those on-the-go times throughout the week when you’d ordinarily make less than stellar choices. Keep some snacks handy throughout your day so you don’t even have to think…just refuel. If you want to take it a step further, purge all the junk that’s lurking in your cupboards!

2. Schedule your workouts. Look at your planner and place your workouts within. You will be far more likely to follow through if you’ve already made a plan of action. I promise!

3.  Invite company to the fun. If you’ve decided to try a new class, take a break or lunchtime walk, attempt a new hike or adventure, or are just doing the same-old same-old take a friend along. It will feel less like a chore and more like a party with a family member, co-worker or bestie. Better yet, this person may turn out to be the best darn accountability buddy you’ve ever had.

4. Hydrate! Even though it’s winter and you may feel like you need it less…drink that water! Shoot for the recommended 64 ounces per day.

5. Make sleep a priority. Sometimes we have to get protective of our time to accomplish this, but you are worth it! Sleep goes way beyond just feeling rested…there are all kinds of important benefits/restoration a good night’s sleep provides your body. And did you know, the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between 18-64 years of age get 7-9 hours of sleep per night? Work on it!

6. Do what you love! Carve out a bit of time each day doing something you love. Whether that’s reading, crafting, gardening, playing a game, catching the latest episode of your inspiring podcast or simply meditating…do it!

7. Plan something to look forward to. Whether it’s setting a goal, registering for an event or planning a datenight, getaway or trip, put something on the calendar and make it happen. Without something to work toward, train for or eagerly await, we can feel stuck simply going through life’s daily motions.

8. Defend your time. Are you one of those people that says yes to all those extra commitments, only to find yourself feeling bogged down, trapped and overwhelmed? The magic word here is NO! Use it, mean it and don’t forget saying no to other people means saying yes to your wellbeing.

9. Don’t forget self care! This is also known as me-time. It is not selfish to do something kind for yourself, it’s necessary. Take time for a calming massage, soothing bath, facial, pedicure or nap. Take care of you! I challenge you to take it a step further and put ME-DAY on your calendar for an entire day each month and treat yo self. You will be amazed at how this enhances the rest of your month!

10. Look at the bright side. It’s there, within every situation, so look for and find the bright side in everything rather than dwelling on the negative. It might be tough at first, but you will find that silver lining if you take the opportunity to look. This is a most meaningful step toward a lifetime rich in gratitude.

This may seem like a lot to juggle, but the good news is it’s not rocket science. Start small in embracing these 10 practices; soon they will become second nature. Friends, have a great week and reach for the WIN!

Fine Tuning my Hospital Strategy

Friends, I drive past Mayo Clinic’s St. Marys Hospital Campus frequently. I was born here, had a fractured arm reset in second grade, visited the ER more times than I would’ve liked including my auto accident trauma drama. I honestly admit that each time I drive past, I thank the man upstairs every day I’m not there. I also send some positive thoughts upward for those that are.

I feel the heaviness of others when I pass by because I recall gut-wrenching days spent there with pretty heartbreaking outcomes for loved ones.

Unfortunately, yesterday found me there around the clock as my mother-in-law underwent a very delicate surgery. A day like that reminds me how fortunate we are to have world class medical care right here in our own backyard.

Before my weight loss journey, I would treat this day as the enemy…sedentary for hours in the waiting room, emotional binge eating to no end and panic stricken with worry and anxiety. Thinking back to my dad’s lung surgery simply haunts me. Thankfully I’ve learned to approach this kind of day with a more mindful strategy…take for example how I handled my husband’s surgery a couple years ago in case you missed it…

Despite the outcome, that turned out to be a pretty successful day. Recalling that experience, I was able to face yesterday’s uncertainty by putting my needs first, to take great care of myself so I could be stronger for others. Here’s what that looked like…

Once we got my MIL checked in and off to surgery and enjoyed a cup of coffee with her sister, I did something postive to feel helpful in this setting.

Someone will be receiving a pint of high-octane enthusiasm!

Next, I hydrated and fueled on something smarter than a blood donor center cookie…what better snack than an RX bar at a hospital haha?!? After a quick recovery I wandered upstairs…

The chapel was a beautiful place to release my concerns, leaving them to the guy in charge. Feeling peace filled, I returned to the waiting room for an update from my husband and his aunt. I spent some time blogging a great recipe, then it was off to lunch. I advocated for a place across the street, an escape from those four walls where I chose a nourishing lunch to be proud of…salmon salad for the win!

We were already starting to feel some exhausting effects of being up at 4 am, but our day was far from over. Heading back to the waiting room to find surgery was still underway.

I find it so interesting that if the Mayo Clinic calls sitting the next smoking, why in the world are there no treadmills in waiting rooms? Think of the power they could generate to make Mayo greener too?!? I mean, just a thought, Friends.

It was time for me to move more, so I racked up some steps exploring this fine historic piece of Rochester like a tourist.

The courtyard was a great place to breathe deep!

Then back inside for an educational look at St. Marys beginning, like this first operating table designed and constructed by Dr. Charles H. Mayo in 1889! There are some pretty cool relics in that heritage hall.

Back upstairs to the waiting room where it is now well into the afternoon…still in surgery. I take some time to catch up on e-mails, school notifications, scheduling, snack. This place is still filled with nervous people and energy and it isn’t long before I’m back out wandering the halls to avoid them.

A stop in the gift shop for an essential oil boost gave me some energetic support I was hoping for. I continued out onto the grounds to this amazing little place.

What a thoughtful spot for some peaceful meditation. I sort of lost myself there, lost all track of time. I received a text that although surgery was still in progress, we were being moved up to the ICU floor, so I headed that way. And just like that, I was validated for my efforts…

Hit my 10,000 step daily goal…BOOM!

More family joined us and soon I was feasting on a well-balanced, calorie counted hospital cafeteria dinner that was AWESOME. It was time to settle in for some relaxation and zone out on the NFL Kickoff.

We didn’t get word from the surgeon until nearly 9 pm that the day’s efforts had been a success…nearly 12 hours I might have spent worrying, I left the impatiens to the flowers outside lol!

We knew she was in the hands of one of the world’s finest neurosurgeons…so thank goodness I’ve learned that worry changes nothing but my blood pressure and weight!

After some reflection and time spent within those walls, I am fired up, now more than ever, about wellness as a defense against aging/illness. It was an exhausting day for all of us, but I slept well knowing I had taken great care of me…put my Best Foot Forward!

I look forward to driving past that hospital again soon, filled with gratitude for what miracles they work there but thankful every day that I don’t need one!


Self-Avoider or Advocator? That’s the Question!

Fellow FIT BFFs, I have a confession to make. I have a ridiculous tendency to ignore my basic needs; do any of you relate?

Here’s an example…I’ve been struggling with knee issues for 8 months. After cortisone and physical therapy didn’t solve my issues, rather than pursue further care, I settled by overlooking the pain, limitations and frustrations. Day after day, I allowed this to continue by not making its resolution a priority. Although it was keeping me from activities I’ve desperately missed (RUNNING), I simply ignored it. Now how ridiculous is that?!?

If this was my husband or either of my kids, I’d be on it! Why do I still struggle with this idea? Why did I put me off for so long? After messaging a friend over the weekend, I realized it was time to address this. Of course he was right. What the heck was I afraid of? Yeah…I won’t even go there haha!

So yesterday I called Sports Med and made myself an appointment. But it isn’t for another few weeks. I needed relief now…more relief than icing can provide. I looked at my shoes and realized I’d been putting myself off in that department too. There was nothing left to do but get to the running store!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had my gait analyzed, and was kind of surprised to find I needed an entirely different type of shoe. Mallory, the shoe guru at TerraLoco had me try a couple options and I knew the instant I put these Hokas on that I’d found the ones!

My cat completely agreed with my choice the minute I got them home…oh, Spanky!

I could hardly wait to get to the gym this morning to get my new kicks on the track. And do you know what? Although my older shoes still, theoretically, had many more miles to go, my new ones felt a hundred times more supportive!

I guess I took a step in the right direction, who doesn’t want dynamic stability? Ha!

I’m actually looking forward to that Sports Med appointment because with today’s diminished pain, I’m already happier…think of what no pain will do for me!

While I was at this self-advocacy thing, I decided to give my comfort zone another square kick in the behind. Following last year’s multiple episodes of mammogram/biopsy/surgery drama, I realized it was time for me to make my annual date with the boob-smasher…yikes!

Although this was the very last thing I wanted to do, I picked up the phone and scheduled that too. Why give it any more energy or power than it deserves…time to just get er done!

Friends, can you relate? Are you a self-avoider or advocator? Is there something important you need to deal with that you’ve been putting off? It’s time to treat yourself at least as well as your loved ones. And if I can do it, so can you. It’s just one more way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!