The Journey Never Ends…

never-quitAs I blog I have always thought to myself “what information does the reader want to know, will they find my personal spin on it entertaining yet informative, and will it make them a better, healthier?!…”. Then I consider what it is as a reader, myself, do I want to read about in the health and wellness genre. The thing I find most inspiring in personal blogs about health is the personal journey. Being able to say “hell yeah…I know what you are talking about…ME TOO!!” So when I blog I chose to relay my own personal experiences mixed in with information that one can use to further them along their own journey to health and wellness. I believe in being real about myself and my own struggles, and at times straightforward about what I believe it takes to become healthier.

That being said maybe I should catch everyone up to where I am in my life long pursuit of ultimate health and wellness, which includes my weight-loss/gain journey as well!!! Back in April I was doing well with my eating/exercise until my asthma got the best of me  and I ended up in the hospital for 11 days. For the entire 11 days I was on mega doses of IV steroids, then after discharge I was on oral steroids for another month. Before leaving the hospital I packed on nearly 20 lbs. I was so disgusted with the whole thing. For 4 months I fell completely off the wagon…no exercise…I ate what I wanted. So in addition to that I added another 10 lbs. I might workout once here or there but never very seriously. The end of August, I had a resurgence of interest when I had to buy a bigger size in my scrubs for work. I did good for a few weeks exercising, but my diet still left something to be desired!! Then my favorite trainer, Shaun T came out with his new workout Focus T-25 (no this isn’t a lead into an advertisement for this workout…) I bought it and started it on September 16. I started working on my diet two days prior on the 14th. To keep myself accountable I took pics and measurements and weighed and submitted all the ugly truth to the Focus T-25 Challenge!!! At this point I am currently on Day 25 of the program. I am in the midst of week 4 of the Alpha Cycle and have lost 7.5 lbs and 3 inches total. I feel amazing and can see the body changes already!!! In addition I have not had any diet sodas, chocolate bars, or artificial sweeteners of any kind in the last 4 weeks. I am working out 6 days a week and keeping a very strict eye on my food intake. Measurement days are always on Saturdays and I optimistic that I will see more success!!!!!

I think the point of this post is to remind everyone that we are all human, life happens and we falter, but the important thing to remember is to pick yourself back up, dust off your workout britches and get back in the game!!! If I have learned nothing else over the last 4 years, I have certainly learned that the Journey NEVER ends…

~B

“Self-Portraits Reveal the Truth About Body Image” A Profound Self-Discovery Article…

picture-1000-words-design-350I always find stories of healing and self-discovery so inspiring. This one is no different…

http://shine.yahoo.com/photos/self-portraits-reveal-truth-body-slideshow/

For me pictures were an eye-opener too. I have often spoken very openly about the power of pictures. Like returning from our San Antonio/Sea World vacation in 2009, getting home and uploading the vacation family pics and really seeing myself for the first time…reality set in and I saw what I had been denying for years. I recall sitting staring with mouth gaping open and thinking “how the hell did I EVER let myself get THIS out of control!!??!!”

There is really something beautiful and profound about moments of desperation, despair, and times when reality smacks you up side the head and you really finally see yourself for what you have allowed negative behaviors to turn you into. These are the moments in life when the seeds of change are sown!! It’s really rather magical how in our most weakest and vulnerable moments in life we can make the choice to change our lives forever. It only takes one dark moment of ugly-bottom of the barrel self-discovery to lead to the path of healing our bodies, minds, and spirits forever! What is even more so shockingly astounding is often times in these moments, change has begun to take hold of us and we do not even realize it yet!

Don’t forget to check out the article, you will be glad you did!!

~ B

 

Importance of Mindfulness…

157028_479939565395254_1152586017_nSo this morning I am going through my normal morning routine after everyone is up and out the house…which is reading and posting on Facebook. As I am catching up on the posts since my last visit, I see a post by a friend and co-worker. What she shared was a list of the  “12 Things Happy People Do Differently”. I read the list and based off my health and wellness studies, I know how these things can in fact lead to happiness. Where the list is profound, I found her comment to much more so…

Happiness changes the whole flow of your body ranging from energy and electrical impulses to the intake and output of fluid. Each one is vital to the body’s functionality. Why not encourage efficiency of bodily function with HAPPINESS?!”   - Shannon Drohn

This of course got me thinking about how important and powerful mindfulness can be. In Western medicine, and even our own practices we get so caught up with the physical, “treating the body”…that we neglect our mental and emotional well-being. Treating not only the body, but the mind and spirit are imperative for complete integral wellness; which we should all strive to achieve. In one of my recent health and wellness classes we learned that “the body is the mind, and the mind is the body.” In essence what transpires in the mind ultimately transfers to the body! (If you nurture and facilitate a healthy mind, the body will follow!) Living a life of intention rather than moving through life reacting, practicing gratitude, forgiveness, loving-kindness, being positive, participating in mindful practices, and finding healthy ways cope with stressors…all of this cultivates a healthy mind and spirit. Couple that with the loving our bodies by feeding it properly and partaking in physical activity and you facilitate wholeness, true genuine happiness, and the end result which is complete integral health and wellness!

~B

Random Thoughts on Intention and Reaction…

Its odd…I am unusually Zen considering everything going on in my life. Maybe I am finally learning. Maybe my mindfulness practices are paying off… Maybe with age comes wisdom?!? I dunno…

Sometimes things happen that are out of our control. These feelings of helplessness and losing control facilitate fear, worry, stress, and anxiety. What most of us do not know is that we actually really DO have control. We control how we react to these situations. We control our attitude and mindset. We can choose to change our way of viewing things.

In order to maintain equilibrium, integral health and wellness, wholeness, and authentic happiness we must learn to use intention in all that we do, rather than merely going though our lives reacting.

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~Brandy

Encouragement and Infinite Wisdom from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr…

 

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Taking the first step in any endeavor is the scariest. This is not different for our health and wellness goals. Whether it be eating healthy, exercising, or participating in mind/spirit practices…have faith and know that you can and will succeed.

JUST TAKE THAT FIRST STEP…

~Brandy

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: “Five Months Later…a Relapse, a New Year, a lil Honesty, and getting back on the horse!”

In my previous blog today I made a commitment to making new realistic goals to get back on my path to healthy living.

” My first goal for today is to get up and move,

more specifically I am going to grab my fur-babies,

and a family member that wants to tag along and

we are going to take a Sunday afternoon stroll!”

I am happy to report first mini-goal ACCOMPLISHED!!! Granted it wasn’t walking, and the fur-babies didn’t tag along. Slight change of plans, but exercise nonetheless. I know it wasn’t much, and 4 months ago biking 4-5 miles was nothing. But having just got out the hospital Friday, not being back at baseline with my breathing, this was a huge accomplishment for me today!

On a side note I want to thank my daughter Savannah for biking with me and being gracious enough to give me the kick in the ass that I requested in my previous blog!

~Brandy

 

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Five Months Later…a Relapse, a New Year, a lil Honesty, and getting back on the horse!

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When I started this blog my intention was three-fold. My first goal was to motivate others. My second was to educate, provide information, and food for thought based off of my personal experiences and what I am learning in my health and wellness classes. Finally,  my last goal was to motivate myself by doing so for others. Blogging, talking about my trials and triumphs aided me in the accountability department. This was to be yet another tool in my arsenal to continue down the path of ultimate health and wellness.  And it was that and so much more! What I was saying, led others to talk, lines of communication were open and my message was getting out there. This was so empowering.

As with so many things in life we get busy, bogged down in the reactive, fear-based, stress-filled, not enough time in the day, blow and go cray cray world we live in. Then it all comes crashing down…stress, worry, anxiety leaks in despite your best efforts to maintain contemplative practices for the mind and body to fend off these evil fends. The arch villains have breached the sanctity and security of your home-base (your body.)  The super-badies have a foot-hold in your lair and they are inviting their friends. It’s a full on strike, invading your defenses (your immune system.) Granted you are fighting the good fight, but it isn’t enough – BOOM. Now you are sick! For me, an asthmatic, it has always been important for me to keep emotions, feelings, that naughty Mr. Stress and his side kick Boy Worry in check. In addition to virus’, bacteria, the weather, all of which I have little or no control over; having an emotional overload leads to asthma attacks. With a very elaborate combo of these  issues, in September of 2012, I landed myself in the hospital for 4-5 days.

Now this was the beginning of relapse for me! Let me back up a bit and explain why I use the term “RELAPSE.”  I have mentioned stages of change previously in another blog. (see TTM or transtheoretical model of change) This is the most popular stage model in health psychology today.

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There are five stages of change in the TTM. The stages of change are:

  1. Precontemplation (Not yet acknowledging that there is a problem behavior that needs to be changed)
  2. ƒContemplation (Acknowledging that there is a problem but not yet ready or sure of wanting to make a change)
  3. ƒPreparation/Determination (Getting ready to change)
  4. ƒAction/Willpower (Changing behavior – less than 6 months)
  5. ƒMaintenance (Maintaining the behavior change – more than 6 months)

Many of the experts in the subject area add an addendum to the 5 stages by lending focus to an extra stage…Relapse (Returning to older behaviors and abandoning the new changes.)

….So earning myself an admission to the hospital led indirectly to my relapse. So here comes the honesty. When the doctors start talking about admitting me to the hospital my mind goes into Panic mode. The only thing I can think of is…..”IV STEROIDS” UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…..They are talking and all I can hear is the self-defeating negative voice in my head talking about gaining weight from steroids, having to hold off on exercising for a while, and the ravenous cravings that will be coming along with swelling and bloat. (in fact i think my blood pressure is going up just thinking about it now…EEK) I know it will take several weeks for the steroids to be purged from my system, which leads to more negative thoughts. I cannot even think about the important thing, positive thinking and concentrating on healing…NOOOO I am too busy rustling up more stress and worry. When I did finally get well and discharged from the hospital I got sent home with 2 weeks of steroids. After this I had a hard time getting back on track, which is unusual as I am always over-eager to get back to my practices. After-all I had been in the maintenance stage for over a year. For the rest of Sept I worked out once, my eating was sporadic. There were periods of normal healthy eating mixed with binges on sweets. October rolls around and I exercise three times that month, but my eating habits were back on track. Of course at the end of of October I had a really bad asthma attack and ended up at the ER and then sent home with more steroids. Nine days this time. And of course the self-defeating voice was back, its like a vicious cycle. After this I worked out twice in November and once in December.By November I said the hell with it, its the holidays and I am going to enjoy myself. So I ate what I wanted, exercised three times in two months, and had the intention of starting over a few days after Christmas. On the 27th of Dec I started back eating well, no problem. Butttttttttt the exercise just wasn’t taking off yet.

That brings us to the New Year. As a side note I am not one for making New Years Resolutions, I feel like they just set me up for failure…maybe that’s the wrong mindset to have, I dunno. So I continued on with my healthy eating habits and said its a new year dammit, “I need to exercise.”  Finally I got up off my ass and did something on Jan 7th. Granted that has been it. (as embarrassingly sad as that is to have to admit..but true nonetheless…) Of course I was plagued with yet another illness last week which lead to a 24 hour stay in the hospital, yes asthma again, and yes more IV and then oral steroids to follow. I got out Friday the 18th. Just seems like its been an endless spiral health-wise for last four months.

And now here I sit, drenched in the guilt and disappointment, covered in the shame of allowing myself to have gotten so off track for 4 months. Disgusted with myself for allowing the negativity to permeate my being so much so that I stop doing the things that I know my body, mind, and spirit so desperately need to live an intentional, purpose driven, heart-centered life. I am mostly just angry at me. I am angry because I accepted the excuses I handed myself, I self-sabotaged my health and wellness path with mines and traps. And instead of persevering and being the fighter that I know that I am, I just plopped on the ground said the hell with it all and watched the last 4 months slide by.

I guess it’s not all for nothing, I did gain a few things from this Relapse… 1- 25 lbs. and 2 – the knowledge that I am human, imperfect and fallible.

So the question is WHAT NOW? What do I do? and How do I get back on track?  The expert and technical answer is…

  • Evaluate trigger for relapse 
  • Reassess motivation and barriers 
  • Plan stronger coping strategies

What this means is I need to do several things….

  1. Self-reevaluation – I feel as though I accomplished this step this morning. Writing this particular blog ended up being very therapeutic! Being truly honest with myself for the first time in months has lifted a heavy weight off my shoulders. I feel purged, refreshed, and ready to begin again. (For real this time..NO….REALLY!!!) 
  2. Control External Stimuli  – this involves surrounding myself with positive images that motivate and inspire me. This also means controlling the external things that trigger my unhealthy eating. Not buying sweets, or if they are here keeping them out of sight. This also includes curbing and controlling those stimuli that keeping me from getting up and moving or exercising, such as usage of the cell phone, laptop, nook, and other things that keep me sedentary. There is a time and place for these things as long as it is not all-consuming.
  3. Re-Involve My Support Structure - This entails involving my friends and family back into my motivation,inspiration, and accountability process. I have always been very lucky to have a strong support structure. My family and friends, when asked and involved have always been more than willingly to help me on my path to getting healthy. They support me, compliment me, motivate and inspire me, the are also very well adept in the art of kicking my ass when I need it. FOLKS….I think it may be time for that swift kick in the ass!!! JUST SAYIN….
  4. Make a New Plan - Making a plan, well..it takes planning! lol This one I will give a great deal of thought to and come up with a comprehensive plan by the end of the day. (I will update my blog on that later..)
  5. Make New Realistic Specific Goals - I have a knack for goal setting. The really great thing is when I am motivated NOTHING stops me from achieving my goals. I guess I am stubborn that way! (ask my friends and family…) My first goal for today is to get up and move, more specifically I am going to grab my fur-babies, and a family member that wants to tag along and we are going to take a Sunday afternoon stroll!  I am GOING to log and watch what I eat starting now…(as I have been eating all morning…I am ravenous…(in fact had a frozen bean and beef chimichanga with cheese and FF sour cream and taco sauce before I started this blog!) because the steroids make me want to eat everything in sight, if I must eat or snack it will be healthy and appropriate portions.
  6. BE POSITIVE - Out of all of these, this step is really the most important! But I am already ahead of the game…on Jan 1 I started a gratitude blog, a 365 days of good project, and the January Moments that Matter Instagram picture journal Event. All of these are great projects that forces you to see the good and positive things in your life. Its only been 20 days since I began these projects but I am already better for it. Participating in these activities makes me appreciate life and all the wonderful, positive things it has to offer. I think my favorite is the gratitude blog. Gratitude is so powerful, it is diagnostic, curative, and humbling.

Now that I have written a book here, I should wrap up.I think the moral to this story is everyone is human, including myself! We are wonderfully imperfect and fallible. No matter how imperfect we are or how many times we fall…with intention, determination, and motivation we can get up…dust ourselves off…get back on that proverbial horse and ride again!

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~Brandy