Combine all ingredients into large mixing bowl. Kneed well. Chill mixed dough for approximately 20 minutes, then divide into three equally divided sections. Using wax paper place dough in-between (2) two layers of wax paper and roll until desired thickness. Flip crust frequently while rolling between wax paper and adjust wax paper to prevent sticking.
When desired thickness achieved, place crust onto appropriate sized stoneware and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until edges are slighty browned. (Please remember cooking times vary based on type of heat and oven used). Remove from heat and apply desired toppings. Return to 350 degree oven until cheese has melted and browned to desired color. Enjoy!
Need creative ideas; Try one of the following:
Combine all ingredients into large glass measuring cup. Utilizing immersion blender, blend ingredients until herbs are finely minced and oil appears opaque in nature; pour into portion size ziplock bags. Store and/or freeze.
My apologies for the foul language, but some things just have to be told like they are… injuries suck. It has been FOREVER since I have written, followed up with the business end of things, and truly enjoyed all of the joys of being physically fit.
I suppose never in my life have I ever really been “injured”. I know weird. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had a broken leg in 6th grade. A broken hand in 12th. A pulled hamstring on numerous occasions on the soccer field, but honestly — none of these injuries have ever compared to the shear frustration of a “unknown” injury that hurts your “lady parts”. For you men out there, I’m talking about your groin.
Yes, you read that correctly – and it totally sucks! As magical as having children is, pregnancy and childbirth is no joke. From 4 months in, it was pain. I couldn’t have been happier to give birth and not be pregnant. I thought then the pain would be over and I would be hitting the pavement back to my old self… I couldn’t have been more WRONG. For a full year, I gave everything I had to motherhood. I fulfilled the middle of the night feedings, nursing on the regular and doing everything possible to grow our healthy amazing little boy. By one year I decided I was ready to get back to me.. or the new me, whatever that was. I was soon to find out.
Three months into my running return. I remember distinctly, the Berry loop — 4 miles in; my calf was BURNING, but I was stubborn, insistent as a matter of fact. After all I had run a half marathon 8 months prior with minimal effort. But I couldn’t help but know something was wrong. A shooting ache and pain from hip to calf. But it would go away…If I just kept running.
Looking back I never considered the impact those crazy long 10 months and the 17 hour labor had my body. And yes of course there is the slight chance that the pregnancy and the delivery had nothing to do with it, but ladies, let all agree we know our bodies and we know the exact moment when it all changed.
So here I am 6 months in to this fantastic injury — yes, that is sarcasm there and my ass hurts on the daily. For real, who’s butt hurts — daily?! It is seriously the worst. The most perfect burn, ache and pain right across the right glute — awesomeness. For the first three months I was determined to run through the pain. Isn’t that what we do? It goes away. You pop some ibuprofen and move on with life. What happens when that doesn’t work anymore?
For those three months I trying to keep up with the ladies but I continued to fail. Finally I gave in. I sought help. Not once but twice. Did it help…sure — slowly. But help what? This SLOW long journey is unimaginably irritating, frustrating and in some ways so super depressing. Don’t get me wrong, I have been blessed to be surrounded by some great patient women and therapist but… well freedom is calling. It’s like I can smell the fresh air, the race energy and feel the runners high and am yearning to get there.
I never imagined being injured would be so much work. The constant stretching, rolling, lifting, appointments. All squeezed in to an already full mom schedule. Try rolling on a softball with a two year old climbing on you. I am sure the sight is one that could win on Americas Funniest Home videos. Let me tell you just how amazing it feels when said two year old jumps on you just as you hit “that” spot.
You surely become the odd lady in the corner office stretching with her foot up on the chair while typing away — very lady like I might add. A better sight, try sticking your hip out while you’re stretching at the copier – they make comedies about this! Seriously! This isn’t to mention what students must think when they walk into your office, only to see a bright orange roller that screams are you going to beat the he** out of me. Title, Crazy Professor going through withdraw beats student…
Being an athlete and a runner has been the greatest gift of my life. The shear freedom it allows me to have. The moments to clear my mind and simply be one with myself and nature is truly a gift. However, I sit here typing this absolutely FULL of frustration, I encourage you. Plead to you. Advise you. Listen to your body. Know your limits. Stretch and stretch often. Be patient and kind to yourself. Of all people I get it. Some days I think it is my soul purpose to see just how far and how much I can push my body, or at least I did.
From this moment on however, I will NEVER push through the pain. I will never overlook the absolute beauty that the body is able to provide, its ability to tell me when enough is enough. I never want to be back here. Being fit, free and active is a privilege, one I don’t think I can ever again take for granted.
Injuries are no joke. They suck and what sucks even more is losing control of the healing process and knowing it is one step at a time.
Run free. Run strong. Run well.
These that few weeks have been a whirl wind. I think that is putting is lightly. From the time I wake until the time I lie my head on the pillow, I think my mind spins, with only the ability to focus on what is right in front of me. I’m not sure if that is a blessing or a curse but somehow some way we make it through to the next day.
When I say that last few weeks, I might as well say that last 19 months. Some people might take on this motherhoods think with the ease of getting dressed every morning. I however feel, that I consistently have to work at it and by work, I mean WORK and struggle at it. At the moment of writing this I had to bribe my 6 year old, yes, I bribed her, with the opportunity to watch a UTube Kids, just so I could have a few moments of calm.
Now might I add that my day started at 530 is the morning with this same said 6 year old, vomiting uncontrollably and our 19 month old appearing to be coughing up everything and anything that might be in his chest. Needless to say, church as a big NO, and we have been cooped up inside for what feels like an eternity.
Most days this would make me go subtly crazy. Overwhelmed to say the least, however in the moment, life is… just what it is.
What was different about today? I just didn’t care. My normals quiet time, gone. In its place were back rubs and snuggles. Our laundry continues to be in mounds (yes, I failed to mention, our new machine picked today of all days not to work) and my trip to the gym will have to wait until tomorrow.
Today, I will steal away small little moments for myself. I will feel the ping of my Apple Watch when it says to breath. Lavender will be my friend. I will bask in the sunshine brightly coming through the windows, warm and strong — a sign of days to come.
I will live through the moment as a chance to just be. To do nothing except tend to the needs of the little humans that need me. As we get through today, with sick bellies and runny noses, we know that one day these days will end. One day these amazing humans will not need me, us or anyone for that matter and all there will be is calm. For now, we will steal this moments, short as they might be because calm comes from within.
I don’t often talk about supplements because well, I never thought I would be “old” enough that I would really understand and/or feel the NEED to take them.
I started taking a prenatal supplements during my first pregnancy and then while nursing. I then started to live on coffee and decided I should probably continue my multivitamin because my busy schedule simply didn’t allow me to have the “down” time I once had to have perfectly aligned meals.
While nursing I did some research on vitamins and their contents after hearing about heavy metals and some vitamins not containing the ingredients for which they said they did. I know disturbing. I was significantly alarmed due to my feeding another human being.
Needless to say over the last 6 years I have completed much research on health, nutrition, supplementation and vast amount of other body and functional health based information. In the process I have come to understand, beyond my years of education, experience and knowledge, my own personal eating habits fluctuate due to the everyday demands of my family, work and life in general.
I now have a pill case — I know right?! But I do, and I swear by it for time sake and for my peace of mind — literally! In it you will find, vitamin B complex, a multivitamin, vitamin D, GLA (amino acid), alfalfa, and zinc. Each having their own place in my health spectrum due to my busy life and functional needs.
If you don’t believe in supplements, I totally get it, thats your thing and I was once there to. I do believe that choosing foods wisely and obtaining nutrients from whole foods sources is the optimal way but I have to be real. Here, we are in the thick of diapers and dance class.
Choosing safe, pure and natural supplements can be difficult. I advise that you go to your local natural food store or seek out a natural company that provides for non-synthetic supplements that have been tests and regulated from an outside source.
I personally prefer Shaklee. I trust them so much so that I allow my children to use there child supplements as well.
For a limited time Shaklee is offering FREE memberships. Your one time membership gives you 15% off all future purchase. The peace of mind that it gives you for keeping you family safe is priceless!
There is something about checking your email and finding the new clothes you get to add to your line up!
This weeks pick is BY FAR one of my personal favorites. So much so, that I am afraid my size will be on backorder before I actually get the chance to order them for myself!
I was even more excited to show my husband that there are new releases for men this week too!! He is pumped that he will have new golf shirts and everyday shirts that don’t hold the sweat (because he sweats like crazy) and is super breathable!
Check out these Canyon Rose Flame Light & Tight Hi-Rise 7/8 leggings?! The color is AMAZING and the added subtle design just tops it off. Tell me, what do you think?
The Hi-Rise light & tight leggings are our most popular leggings with their high performance design that offers firm compression for perfect support, whether you plan to run a marathon or simply run the day.
The new releases for men are HOT! Not sure about you but my husband is PICKY when it comes to clothes. He is very outdoorsy and love leisure and comfort! These are right up his ally! Grey is my favorite! What’s your flavor?
And for the night out, Zyia has planned for that as well. In our busy house when we think of clothes, we definitely choose those that are versatile, quality and can be mixed and matched. Some might call that boring, we like to think of it as practical!
The men’s polo does just that! The hubs can wear it as an everyday Tee. Dress it up for a night out or wear it casually for a day on the course. The Men’s polo comes in sizes S-XXL and fits all body types!
Refocused Activewear is an independent distributor of Zyia active, an active lifestyle brand. It is also a culture that believes in embracing activity with excitement, vigor and delight. We feel that pushing your body and mind is easier and more fun with friends and family. Our mission is to inspire and uplift by making activity a fun and essential part of life.
Thank you for shopping with us! If you enjoy the products as much as we do, we would love for you to join our team in supporting a healthy, active lifestyle and earn while you do!
I write this unknowing what the final outcome will be, but I write it anyway. This is straight up, unedited thoughts of the gift of having more.
I heard this statement while driving into work this morning. I don’t know about you but I was never, have never and probably will never be a sales person. Money just doesn’t entice me. Don’t get me wrong, I get that we NEED money and yes it is totally fun to get new stuff or do fun things but I have never had that umph to get out there and sell anything?! For years now it has been extremely hard to focus on the idea of a profit when you run a business. I assume this is why for the last 10 years I have worked for someone else, providing care for those in need and enjoying every moment of it, truly.
Now here we are, several years later and as a mom, wife and women with a strict type “A” personality I needed a new challenge. Well what do you know, that challenge is coming to grips with the fact that I have and run my own business and with that am required to make an income to support my family. That’s a novel idea, but truthfully, a very hard pill for me to swallow.
Having always been an athlete, I spent the majority of my days in the gym, wearing fitness clothes rocking the world of tom boy sort of speak. Fast forward, and now I chuckle because my husband and I have created one of the most head strong “girly girls” I have ever met who loves nothing more then a tu-tu, ballet, make-up, pink and everything girl. Ok, highly irrelevant to current conversation or maybe not so seems my business is surrounded by the idea of fitness and health, but moving on.
As a practicing Christian, I am hard core into the act of giving. We in our household emphasis kindness, and leading by example. So when I entered into the world of business from my passionate world of healthcare to explore a long awaited passion and dream it was unnerving to me to ask for money for my services. I just couldn’t help but think that that broke all of the core values that have been deeply engraved into my being.
This internal struggle has been a work in progress. Over much listening to Dave Ramsey, the business boutique and my girl Rachel Hollis, I have gradually been able to crawl out of my shell, if not at least stick my head out.
That was until today. Today something finally clicked. I chuckle in writing this as, I have heard this phrase over and over and over again, “The more you have, the more you can give…” Then why are we so ashamed at having and wanting more to give away?!
At one time I used to think this was the most selfish statement in the world. As a mother, women and just simply a member of society it was embedded that if you took care of yourself or wanted “more” you were selfish.
I remember in my younger years, having spent so much time in the gym, running races and just being overall active, many people telling me that I was, “into myself for doing these things”. I remember how these words impacted my confidence. I remember clearly not wanting to tell anyone or go with anyone to any of these things because I didn’t want to be any of the names they were calling me.
As a mom, I can’t help but remember the feeling of hearing people talk about “those parents” that would go away without their children, travel or go for a night out and have a sitter or family watch the kids. I distinctly remember hearing people state, “I don’t know how they can do that” or “what kind of parents are they”?
So podcasts, yes the point of this post. The pod cast was talking about money and the discomforts that some folks such as myself have with it. Seeking more has always been uncomfortable for me unless I was doing it for someone else sort of speak.
Today it dawned on me. I give on a DAILY basis. There is never a time where I do not think, let me get that persons coffee, let me pay that toll, let me… you name it. Even when I only have $5.00 left in my budget for the the week, I will often use some of it for something for someone else. This has been embedded in me through the spirit of giving. Then it hit me, if I had more, then I could give that much more. What a novel idea?! The podcast, went on to talk about the people who anonymously pay off layaways on the holidays, or donate cares for charity. Wouldn’t this be great! It was like a light went off! Then I begin to think, how does this relate to everything I do everyday.
I speak this language, every day as I encourage women and mothers to get out of the background with their health. I mean honestly, this exact statement has been what I have spent the last year working on through dedicated self-care and personal growth?!
FILL your own cup first!
I have always used the analogy of the air plane with the oxygen, but I think for now, I’m going to find solace in,
“The more you have, the more you have to give”.
With all the hype and fad diets on the market today, as the founder of Refocused Wellness, I wanted our company to be and to do something different. I wanted an approach with a foundation that was one size fits all. I wanted people, friends, and family to find success in the easiest ways possible. Most importantly I wanted my clients achieve their best health for years to come. Going back to the basics for us, fit best.
For years as a critical care nurse, I couldn’t help but feel frustration, that on a daily basis, we cared for patients, making them feel better for only the moment. We sent patients home with instructions in hand. The biggest flaw I observed with this system was, we were granted such little time to provide our patients the education they needed to successfully care for themselves and manage their disease at home. Applying this understanding to disease prevention and the basic components of health proved to be another professional struggle. One exasperated, as day by day the formal education of nutrition and health basics are removed for elementary and high schools around the country.
Fact: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)16 estimates that eliminating three risk factors – poor diet, inactivity, and smoking – would prevent: 80%of heart disease and stroke; 80% of type 2 diabetes; and, 40% of cancer. **
In motherhood, I experienced the daily struggle of balance between the needs of others and my own personal desire to be fit and healthy. Pressured by societal demands and my own beliefs of what motherhood should be, I allowed my needs to drift to the “tomorrow” list, often resulting in resentment and disappointment. After life experience, self-reflection, and the desire to be more, I rallied the energy to address my own hierarchy of needs and found a renewed balance, joy and inspiration to be my best-self, if only to be the best role model for my children.
While here at Refocused it is NOT our goal to treat medical conditions, manage symptoms or anything of the sort, it is our goal to provide you with the tools to prevent disease from occurring or improving your lifestyle to prevent the progression of symptoms of your disease, through a proven successful approach. It is also our intention to support the philosophy of self-care, stress reduction and the simple importance of filling your own cup before you can attempt to fill anyone else.
6 Weeks to Better Health, was developed to meet the needs of even the craziest of schedules, through weekly goal setting, supported by education and guidance for success. Professionals are there to support you along the way, with daily group check-in’s and one on one weekly support. Your program is adapted to you and your needs are addressed specifically to assure your individual success.
Each week is driven by a new goal and focus that fosters healthy eating, daily exercise, and personal growth and development.
It goes without saying that NOTHING worth while is easy. True success and improved health doesn’t come without your committing to change. At Refocused, we succeed, when you do.
As our gift, we have had the true pleasure of witnessing the change in the lives of those who thought change couldn’t happen. We have been witness to the blessings that health has brought and transcended through families and children.
Perfectly stated, “Deal of a lifetime. My life is so different”. — RW client review
6 Weeks to Better Health Groups run quarterly. Next group staring February 2019. Register now and reserve your spot today!
**Mensah G. Global and Domestic Health Priorities: Spotlight on Chronic Disease. National Business Group on Health Webinar. May 23, 2006. Available at: http://www.businessgrouphealth.org/opportunities/webinar052306chron- icdiseases.pdf. Accessed April 17, 2007.
This years going to be different ~ its going too be freak’n awesome.
Ok let’s face it and be honest. Every New Year’s resolution has had a common factor and you know what, that scale is evil! I mean honestly, what does it tell you?
A number, and that number means (insert questioning, screw you face here)?
That number you just read tells you nothing about your body size, your body structure, your muscular composition, or anything else for that matter. Ask yourself, truly ask yourself, do you really need to stand on a scale to know you fell of the wagon this holiday season? Or you have complied with choosing to eat healthier? Doubtful!
I often find myself telling my nursing students… “Yes, but what does the patient look like?” Their heart rate is 120, they are sweating profusely, and look frightened. Oh, you just saw a bear… This sounds about accurate?! See just a number.
Hell yeah, I know what it feels like when you have worked so hard and are sticking to an eating plan. It feels great to see that number change and it encourages you to keep going! I am so there with you, but I just can’t help and think, as we head into a New Year with new goals, why is it that so many people, like myself, look at the scale and let who they are and who they will become be defined by…. a number?!
No matter how you put it the scale sits there, in your bathroom, staring at you as you enter into the New Year. Goal in hand, ready to concur the world. You take your robe off, just before you step into the shower, let out a sigh and secretly hope the number you see doesn’t put you an a tail spin for the rest of the day.
You then get in the shower, deflated, looking at your body and wondering… if only? I mean if only what?? If only you were 5 pounds lighter?
Yes, I get it. You see, I sit here typing this from a place of solitude. Of real life experience as someone who has STRUGGLED with WEIGHT my ENTIRE life.
As I write this, I sit in my 140# body, knowing that 27 months ago I was a strong 133# and fit as could be. I used to step on the scale at least every other day. Today our scale, is covered dust, sitting under our vanity, unused.
After some come to Jesus motivation, self talk, soul searching and much ambitions, it was time for me to look at my body as a product of love, strength and capability. It wasn’t easy. It took dedication. It took support of others. It took me looking into my child’s faces and asking, “who is the mom I want them to see?”
Let me ask you, what happens after you have met this goal? What happens after you get to the magic NUMBER that you were looking for? Then what …yes see, I’m not so sure about that.
When I first start working with clients, the very first thing I ask them to do and create a vision board. It can be as detailed or absent of details as you would like, but you need to have a vision. What does your goal look like? Now this is not for comparison purposes. This is for your own personal view of what “healthy” or “fit” looks like for you. Do this now. Close your eyes, envision, what is the BEST version, the healthiest version of yourself. Now write it down.
Once your vision board has been created we review.
The goals are endless, private and your own.
Now, We create a plan. We start where you are at.
The idea of a goal, a health and wellness related goal, is about creating a lifestyle that is attainable and individualized to work for YOU! This mean there is . NO . perfect. We take small steps. Sometimes we take REALLY small steps. Sometimes we even take steps backwards in order to learn to go forward again.
The cumulative impact of a multitude of small steps has the greatest outcome. Think savings account.
As you enter into the New Year, weight loss expectations in hand, consider your non-scale victories. What is it that you are trying to achieve? How do you fulfill that? How do you get there? Are there little baby steps you can take?
Start with a one day victory. You achieved it. Great! Can you do it again? Yes Awesome! What about for the next 5 days? You did! That’s amazing! Keep going!!
If you find you are in need support or just need some added accountability, check out our services on our nutrition and fitness pages. Better yet, join our LEAN and CLEAN wellness group for individualized support and accountability to make that changes that will last a lifetime!
For years I was an athlete. Actually I was two weeks pregnant with our second child, our precious son when I ran my most recent half marathon.
That was 26 months ago. The pregnancy with Logan was TOUGH. By tough I mean, I didn’t complain a ton (or maybe I did), but I was in CONSTANT pain. I slept on the couch most nights in hopes that sleeping sitting up would provide some relief to no avail.
Exercise was non-existent. I don’t think I could move far beyond what was needed for work, even though that was likely what would be the best for me. I remember my neighbor giving birth to her daughter two days before Logan. I couldn’t have been more jealous! When my water broke at 9pm June 26th, I was in heaven. This pain driven adventure was almost over… or so I thought.
Logan came at 1234! June 27th after 15 hours of labor. He was perfect in EVERY way. Our blond-haired blue-eyed boy. We somewhat wondered if he belonged to the mail man because lets just say, my husband and I both have dark hair and myself darker skin, but he is definitely ours.
Either way, he was the little man who completed our family. He was joy, a love and every moment fun and exciting. This was the first 6 weeks. It was summer, I was on maternity leave and life was good. The kids and I meet up with friends at the water park, at the splash pad and have regular play dates. Balancing it all seemed to be falling into place.
I always knew that life with two children would be difficult, for me anyway. I knew that balancing my time and being everything to everybody would be one of my biggest challenges, but I felt prepared for this. I mean everything was headed in the right direction. Nursing was going great. We were all settling into a routine. I was beginning to get active again. I had no complaints.
On a sunny summer afternoon, with a text from my mother, my world paused, it spun on its axis and I was in another place, totally unaware of who, how, and what I was supposed to be, feel, and carry on. The death of my stepfather shook the earth under my feet, took the wind out of my sails. My distress was so apparent that the same friends I had been hanging out, almost daily with, for the last 6 weeks began to worry. They saw me try to manage my day, balance the kids and be there for my family and I was losing it.
My daughter, got the brunt of it. I was sad mom. Probably sometimes mean mom. I definitely wasn’t happy mom, and fun mom was no where in sight. Three weeks of drowning in the chaos of this new world, a great friend reached out to me. She was well-meaning, loving and compassionate, but… I at the time wasn’t having it.
“Carolyn, You need help” she said. I thought she was going to say, go see a counselor, get some psychotherapy, but what she said I wasn’t prepared for. “You need meds, Carolyn. They help.”
All that registered in my mind was, “there is no way in hell-o, that I was going to take medication. I could do this on my own. It WILL pass. I am nursing. I AM NOT putting ANY substance into my child”. The drive home was a blur. At some point over the next 7 days, what she said resonated with me. “Carolyn, you can’t do this alone.”
Once the decision had been made I couldn’t wait for my follow-up appointment. I couldn’t wait to FEEL better.
JUST THE BEGINNING.
Getting on medication, Zoloft to be exact, was only the very beginning. I HAD NO CLUE what anxiety was, until I wasn’t anxious any more. I never thought my mind could be so calm. I never thought I would see the day, where I didn’t feel like I was going to snap, because the house was a mess, everyone was asking or expecting something from me or because, well, I just wasn’t freek’n perfect.
After a couple of weeks on the medication, I started to feel better. As luck would have it I also had to go back to work right about this time. While I didn’t exactly WANT to go back to work, I was at least prepared to do so.
FINDING ME AGAIN
Going back to work, was ok. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. The drive in gave me perspective and insight. I started listening to pod casts. I would talk to friends. I would brain storm. I had time for my mind to shut down and try to organize my thoughts.
One day in my travels, I thought about the last trip we took our daughter on prior to the birth of our son. It was to Disney. It was hot, and I was 7 months pregnant. I thought about how we sat on the tarmac for almost an hour and a half . When the flight attendant finally stood in the front of the aisle to explain us all of our boarding and flight instructions I was beyond attentive because I just wanted some fresh air. She explained, “should we have an emergency in flight, your oxygen mask will drop down from the overhead compartment. When it does, put your own oxygen mask on first, prior to helping your neighbor with theirs”.
I have never heard this statement quite like I did this day in my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I have heard these instructions many of times, but today, on this drive, it resonated. Why. Why, had I not thought of this to begin with? Why had I not even considered, how my lack of self-care was directly affecting my family. Why had I not identifies that putting myself on the back burner was limiting my ability to be the best wife, the best mom, the best friend, nurse, teacher, etc. How could I not see WHAT I was role modeling as an example for my children about self care?
IT STOPS TODAY
When I got home that evening, I honestly do not remember what I did. I don’t remember what I explained, if anything, to my husband. What I do remember is I told myself I would NEVER break a date with myself again. And by date, I am not meaning, regular scheduled activities like going for a run or meeting a friend for coffee. I am talking about EVERY DAY BASIC NEEDS! I was going to MAKE it a point that I, yes I, was going to have breakfast just like everybody else, and my daily coffee didn’t qualify as breakfast. If by chance I was hungry at 1030 and the baby needed a nap, I WAS going to get something to eat first. I was going to shower, in PEACE AND QUIET! I was going to sleep, truly sleep for a decent amount of time per night.
I know, this sounds like a fantasy for some while some of you have this mastered. God, bless you to those who just “get it”. I, however was not that gal — it took me some time to get there.
I started asking my husband for help. And ok, I love my husband but I had for all intents and purposes said, demonstrated and implied I had my shit together; He had NO clue I was drowning. I talked myself out of it being MY responsibility that EVERYONE needed to be satisfied, happy and have all their needs met before I addressed anything I needed to do for me.
I started saying no, to a full schedule that made me feel overwhelmed. Let me tell you, my kids, the are pumped when I say we are bringing store-bought cupcakes for their class party. “Thank you Sam’s Club, your cupcakes are, A-M-A-Z-I-N-G”.
Slowly but surely, I started to workout again. I tried soooo hard to wake up early, before the kids and tip toe downstairs, but somehow the snooze button had a pretty strong effect on me after being up during the night with a baby who either wanted to feed or just snuggle.
CHANGING MY FOCUS.
Gradually over time my focus on fitness changed from commitment to being physically fit, to my commitment to being emotionally fit. What a difference ONE decision can make. I started by reminding myself that even if I got 5 minutes at a time of exercise a couple of times a day, I WAS going to feel better. I told myself that even 100 pennies equals on dollar, while four quarters does too.
I reached out to old friends to go for walks in the park, with the kids, or short day hikes in the woods. I changed my diet. WOW, what a difference that made. While I have always eaten healthy, I was lax on many foods with high sugar content while I was nursing, providing myself with the excuse that I needed the extra calories. I committed to ME.
Slowly but surely, I saw how when I made sure I ate enough of the right foods, had enough water, or got even a short exercise in, I was HAPPIER. I had energy to come home and make dinner, bath the kids and do so happily. I wasn’t dragging, grouchy and tired. I FELT good! I was calm and kind. My patience soared. I could educate my children instead of critique. Life was more balanced.
I still wonder, at a time when I felt like my world was crashing, when my mind was spinning, when there wasn’t enough time in the day, how time changed? How is it that I am able to fit in one more thing without the apple cart spilling over. How is it that I didn’t recognize this before? I changed.
TODAY. BALANCE. LIFE AND LOVE.
Today, life is still challenging. I have hard days and easy days. Sometimes, I struggle. I mainly struggle because my five-year old insists, or at least I think she insists, that she is 16. I beat myself up because I forget, LOTS of things. I am late, my kids clothes are messy and well my house, it is often NOT clean. But that is life.
Today, I embrace the imperfections. I accept my flaws, understanding full well that I am NOT perfect and well, am for once TOTALLY ok with that. I seek happiness and practice kindness, EVERY MOMENT I can. It is my goal to complete at least ONE random act of kindness per day. I go to church. I look out for others. Other people’s joy and success brings me true happiness.
Today. I run as often as I can with a tribe of women who motivate me to be better. Who share in my successes, and my failures. They can relate. They don’t judge. They are different. We are all different, but the same.
Today, I continue to take Zoloft because for me, at this point in my life, I am not ready to come off from it. I supplement with daily vitamins. I eat healthy foods. I exercise daily. I don’t beat myself up when I am NOT perfect. I get bummed that my clothes still don’t fit. My kids LOVE Mac and cheese and pizza is an EVERY Wednesday night deal. I find balance it the chaos. I LAUGH often. I don’t sweat the small stuff, or the big stuff for that matter sometimes. I have become a voice of reason. I can see where I am headed. I am a ROLE MODEL for my kids. I embrace disappointment as an opportunity to learn.
Today, I make sure I put my oxygen on first. I make sure my cup is full. And while at times it might be a wine glass, yes you are welcome to come over and enjoy one with me; when I removed my own expectations of myself everything fell into place.
Fitness and nutrition is about FEELING good. It is the FEELING behind wellness that is soo soo vitally important. Whether you are playing a sport, running a marathon or doing a workout video at home; sit and resonate about what that success, that motivation, that ability to be and do the things you desire to do.
In January 2018, I started a business, appropriately named REfocused Wellness. While I have no clue where this venture will take me, I LOVE the fact that sharing my journey is helping others. When I speak openly about my own personal struggles of not being enough, of tragedy and successes, someone else doesn’t feel so alone. I love using my experience, knowledge and personal growth that allows others to achieve their own goals.
For me, this is MY story. This is how focusing on myself, my needs, and a little self-care and compassion saved me from postpartum anxiety.
HYDRATION: With the holidays fast approaching it is only appropriate to focus on something that not only can distract you but also has the ability to give you more energy, beautiful skin and fight infection. .
Consider, your body is made up of 65% water – this is simply amazing. You’re skin, your blood, your eyes, your gut EVERYTHING functions with the presence of water.
I want you to consider what a raisin looks like. Now, a grape. These items are the exact same food source however their hydration status is significantly different, this exemplifies the cells of your body. The grape is fully hydrated, bountiful, sweet and juicy. The raisin while still sweet, is sticky, ugly and not very appealing in comparison. While this comparison might seem somewhat extreme, it its the truth in its entirety, in a simplified version.
Water plays a vital role, in digestion, aiding in the absorption of nutrition in the stomach, flushing out all the extra additives, preservatives and gunk that we ingest on a daily basis preventing sludge from building up. Have bloat? Drink a glass of water; Sounds backwards but yes, it will in fact help. Fatigue can often be a result of dehydration and the build up of toxins that are not being filtered by your kidneys and being cycled back into your blood supply (your pipes I like to call them).
Those of you who want to lose weight, HERE YOU GO! Proper hydrations is one of the very first steps in improving your metabolism and getting your body in the right direction. While it always feels nice to lose that first five pounds on a “traditional” and “fad” diet, most of that weight is water and it comes right back as soon as you get your body back into a state of hydration.
Looking to improve your fitness performance, drink water. Athletes with even the slightest bit of dehydration will experience a decrease in their overall performance.
As we move into the cooler months, hydration is just as important, if not more important then during the blazing heat of summer. During the cool months, you are not triggered to consume as much fluid as you are during the warmer months of the year. During these cooler months you likely workout indoors where you lose fluid through sweating just as you do any other time during the year. You breathe dry air. While this might seem minor, breathing dry air can dry out the nasal passages allowing bacteria and virus to collect, allowing for microscopic cracks in the skin surface and likely leaving you exposed to illness.
Check your urine. Yes your read this right. Your urine is the primal indicator of hydration and just how well your kidneys are functioning. Use the chart below… Falling out of a healthy range… Drink Up!
Try these ideas to monitor your schedule, make infused water and more:
I am always weirdly proud when I pee clear, like H#!! yeah, I’m so freak’n hydrated — Unknown
The first snow. It’s New England. In a 1764 farm home, it is peaceful and quiet. The woods stoves crackle, there is a faint sound of a television in the distance and the only other sound is the slight hum of the last load of laundry, the sound of a button, or maybe a zipper, clinking in the drier.
It’s funny how when you teach, learn and lead a lifestyle of health, we frequently look to all of the physical attributes of health. The additional weight on your joints. Daily exercise. The importance of stretching sore or overworked muscles. Choosing the right nutrition and eating organic. The list is endless.
Tonight, I think of the calm. The peace in your soul — finding balance. Getting to this place for me — took YEARS. And as I work through the path and journey to where I am supposed to be, I find that on occasion I take steps back. Steps that I don’t allow to define me but to give me momentum to continue to move forward. Each step defining personal growth.
The calm that surrounds me, is the comfort in the person that I am, the person I was meant to be. This person, naked to the soul, without makeup, without care, without the pressure of the world around me. My days are NOT perfect, but I choose to live each moment with gratitude, and this makes the moment just what they need to be for me.
You see, you as a person get to decide if you will react or respond to the events in your life. As you practice complete health and the action of responding, you gain the control over your actions and your behavior. Thus you have the ability to bestow kindness and respect to yourself and others, even in the most difficult of situations. Reflecting back, it wasn’t long ago, that I personally, used to define my self worth on what others thought. The way I reacted to situations, reflected exactly this. The clothes I wore, the car I drove, the party I never threw for my kids. I wanted to be the perfect mom. I wanted the perfect life. It was exhausting and I was failing. Failing because, this… wasn’t me. I wasn’t perfect and the sooner I realized it and stopped trying to be, everything was just perfect enough.
Today. Today I got to spend the day with my girl. And my heart is full. She is 5 and for the last 16 months her world has revolved around her little brother. It has been the hustle bustle of everyday life. Off to school. Off to work, dance, soccer, you name it. So today, when we had a sore throat, we took advantage. WE, mom and daughter, brought little guy to the sitter and WE spend the whole day, together. IT WAS AMAZING.
Ask me what we did. NOTHING exciting — or really out of the ordinary. We painted nails at home instead of going to the salon, had ice cream Sundays for breakfast instead of going out to eat, we cleaned our house dancing to Disney princesses and we played outside while we cleaned up the last bits of summer cheer before the snow fell.
Why was it special? because we spent this day without expectations. There was NOTHING special except for good, quality time. The sheer joy in her face when she watched her mom go down the slide, that nearly buckled on my way down, was only one word…priceless.
There will never be enough of these moments.
In this crazy world, where we rush, and go, and work and sleep, and work and sleep, the world passes us by. If for just one moment, we stopped, looked around, and really took in all of the things that truly mattered, we might be surprised just how much peace and happiness we would find. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
This is what health is about. When you ALLOW yourself to find you. To branch out from the norm. To be vulnerable, and kind, and compassionate. Stop looking around. Look within. You — are amazing… because you are you, and there is not one single person in this world that is just like you. You are special just the way you are. And that flaw you pointed out… that flaw, embrace it. That flaw might just be your greatest weakness, but your greatest weakness is your greatest strength.
Not sure about you but the holidays always have me like, “Hello”?!
Some how in the midst of all the wonderful food and delicious drinks I lose my inhibitions and start planning for New Years. I mean, New Year, fresh start… right?!
What if this year was different?
What if instead of throwing in the towel and bagging you goals, packing them up until New Years, you got out of your baggy sweater and the stretchy leggings, believe me, I’m not fooled I get it, and into the outfit you were really meant to wear.
Does the aftermath have you felling blah… I mean it is the holidays, aren’t we all supposed to be cheerful? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the holidays, however has only been over the last few years, I have made a conscious decision to be diligently and health conscious throughout the ENTIRE year and that means the holidays included. Why was this so important? because I could really ENJOY myself.
This doesn’t mean going without. I mean for real, my uncle makes the most amazing apple pie and you’d be crazy if you told me that I couldn’t have some. Though what I do do is find a balance in my decisions so that I don’t undo all of the hard work, feel good, self-love behavior that I have worked on all year!
This holiday Refocused Wellness is running a special on our holidays Health accountability group (on-line) as a way of saying Thank You and Happy Holidays.
Our 6 week On-line Health Accountability group includes:
For more information contact:
Or sign up today. Spaces are limited.
6 Weeks to Better Health
6 Week Health Accountability Group (On-line) Regular Fee: 150.00; Holiday Special ends Midnight December 31st, 2018. Next group starting December 13th, 2018.
Payment does not guarantee immediate participation. ALL clients must verify the ability to safely participate in a nutrition and fitness program prior to enrollment in program. Refocused Fitness + Nutrition Llc, reservers the right to deny services and/or participation related the safety of current health status and/or has the right to request medical clearance for documented health conditions prior to enrollment.
Boil Rotisserie chicken (bones included) in large pot for approx. 2 hours. Remove when meat easy to remove from the bone. De-bone both and chicken. (Using Mesh Strainer can assist in this process).
Add de-boned chicken and broth back into large stock pot. Add all ingredients with the exception of the noodles. Simmer on low/medium heat for 1/2 hour or until vegetables are al dante or desired texture. Stir in GF noodles and serve.
Top with fresh shaved parmesan cheese.
Yes mom, I know your not feeling like there is anything magical about that mom bod of yours. I don’t care how fit you are, in shape, how much you run or how great you eat, lets face it, once that body of yours has grown, prepared and delivered something the size of the average watermelon, there are things that just can’t possibly be put back in place.
And maybe you really are one of the few that don’t have the glorious stretch marks and don’t pee with you cough and sneeze. Just show us some empathy when we cross our legs. Oh yeah, it amazing. Lucky you. However, for those of you like me, I have my “love marks” as we call them in our house and quite honestly I am damn proud of those marks. We have two AMAZING cherubs that blessed me with the everyday memories of just how amazing this life is, and how truly blessed I am, to have a body that has the ability to create life.
But friend while your body is truly amazing, beautiful and special because of all this jazz, your body is a machine that is far more awesome then what is imaginable.
Let’s think for a moment. Now that you have these amazing little beings, you rush around day in and day out trying to meet their needs. You are up at the crack of dawn because, lets face it, someone needs to go to the bathroom, another needs a drink, and one didn’t have a nap the day before. Because of this dreaded action, this said cherub went to bed early and decided it was party time shortly after you finally close your eyes. Your exhausted, but it doesn’t matter. You are going to fulfill this role and you are going to do your damn BEST regardless because, well that is just. WHO. YOU. ARE.
You go girl. You are a force to be reckoned with. A model for all moms. You are amazing and you truly should be proud of yourself for being so incredibly giving, caring, loving and just an overall amazing mom! Don’t look around. Yes mom. I am talking about you. YOU ARE AWESOME!
Do you every go through the day, as a habit, doing all the things on your “list” only to think to yourself, “ I am exhausted”? And when the kids come home from school with a runny nose or an upset stomach, do you cringe because you know for sure it is going around the house and you will be sick FOREVER?? Girl, I get you. Been there. TO MANY TIMES.
But one day – I chose to put the pieces together. Or I like to say the light FINALLY went off. What was I doing. TO. MYSELF? See, the body is simply AMAZING! It is the most amazingly magnificent well oiled machine. Ok, well oiled might be stretching it at this point, but seriously! Have you ever thought about how is it that you are able to push through the day, no matter how tired, frustrated, exhausted you are and somehow you make it all work. You amazingly get your kids to where they need to go, celebrate parties, suffer through teachers conferences, PTA, soccer games, dance recitals and you wear your best asset, a smile. You remember everything and when you do forget you laugh and joke about how your head is still attached and everyone is alive…
YOUR FIRST CLUE: Forgetfulness. GIRL YOU HAVE TO MUCH ON YOUR PLATE.
Seriously. No really. Please, don’t hate me. You truly are amazing, BUT your body is NOT made to be going in one hundred different directions. To put it bluntly your body really is like a well oiled machine and well if you keep the oil changed, rotate the tires, put gas in it, clean it from time to time, it will last just long enough to pass it down to your first born.
But lets say you don’t change the oil. You look at the little sticker in the upper left hand window and you chuckle inside. You chuckle because you think to yourself, I’m 2000 miles over and there is no way in he!! I’m getting to the dealership this week. So, you wait. You wait just long enough to be headed to soccer practice and feel you car sputtering. You are able keep going just enough to get off the next exit and pull into the abutting gas station. The attendant offers to look under the hood, only to explain that the the engine is seized because you didn’t have enough oil. I get it, YOU WOULD NEVER DO THIS.
Then why my friend, why are YOU running on empty?
You see, your body is NO DIFFERENT then the car you drive. That you depend on, day in and day out, to get you, your family, your friends, and your pets, to every single place you want and need to go. Yet, every day you go to bed late and get up early. You skip breakfast because you don’t have time and grab a coffee and a bagel at the local cafe. Lunch consists of a salad from the salad bar because you are trying to watch your weight and dinner… who eats dinner? It occasionally consists bowl of cereal or if your lucky some left over pizza or Mac and cheese. Exercise is not a MUST, it is an IF. The list goes on. Friend you are playing second fiddle to YOURSELF!
Ok, so maybe this is a little drastic but come on, you are not alone WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE or are still there. Balance is HARD. But friend you body is AMAZING. Ever little part of it from you hair and your eyes to the amazing curve of your legs but your making yourself sick!
Every day that you are running round “helping” everyone else you are hurting yourself. Your well oiled machine is out of gas, or lets just say you are using the lowest grade of fuel possible. You are putting your body in a state of alert, at all times ready to take on the world. What you don’t see is in your body, you are actually only one cough, one sneeze from being sick. You are one hour short of falling asleep behind the wheel. You are one step shy of a marathon.
What would you say if you had a way out? A way to have more energy to get through the day? At the end of the day you didn’t mind the scheduled teachers conference or sitting for an hour at dance class? Soccer games didn’t seem daunting and you wardrobe is one to be desired? What if?
Friend, its time to take back control of your car.
You deserve the front parking spot at the theater, after all this is YOUR show. Give your body the tools it needs. Wake up early and MAKE TIME FOR YOU. Ask for help. Heck make your cherubs help. I’m here to tell you, YOU are worth it and you will be a BETTER mom, friend and person because if it. YOU will FEEL better. You will have more confidence, more energy, and most importantly you will enjoy the moments you have to share.
Friend you are SO worth it. Need a tribe? Thats what we are here for.
Ok, lets talk. I’m a SUCKER! I’m a sucker for putting everyone else needs before my own. I mean, seriously, it is SOOO much easier to play with slime when your daughter asks, then to hear her innocently, with the cutest most apologetic smile, tell you that she only got a “little on the couch BUT she got it out all by herself” (insert deep breathe here). Or better yet. It is amazing to be just getting into your grove, with your favorite song, when your asked for another snack because the one you got before you got on the treadmill, just wasn’t what they had in mind.
EXCUSES, I’ve used them all.
Lets be real. If there is an excuse to getting out of exercise or rationalizing why I can have ice cream for dinner, I have used it and probably used it more then once. You see, just because I know better, doesn’t stop me from ALL of the same, every day, real life struggles of every mom, wife, and women around who has a tendency to put everyone else’s needs before their own.
And I’m sorry, who the hell has extra time anyway?? And if you have the time, how to you conjure up the motivation to everyday give it your all?? Lets’ face it, your exhausted, you lack motivation and then of course their is the why? Why am I going to torture myself today?
OR why not??
So this morning I got up. I got up far before the sun came up. NO, I didn’t want to, but I wanted to. You see, two years ago it was my turn to be fit, strong and free. Then I had Logan, our second child. Becoming a mom of two stopped me in my tracks. I was dumbfounded at the amount of patiences, stress and simply overall change that this would have not only on me, but on our family as a whole. The dynamics that were changed was unsurmountable and truly there was nothing we could do about it. We rolled with the punches as most families do and somehow, so far, everyone is still alive, fed, clean and clothed. So I suppose we are doing alright.
In the midst of all of this, we were a family of two working parents and children in childcare, while trying to start a business on health, fitness and being the best self your can be.
Humm… Interesting. How can you develop a business, founded on the goals you only wish to achieve? Really the goals were founded on the person I once was and dreams, I once had. But wait. It really wasn’t. What had changed was me. What had changed was my perception, of the events in my life, and how I perceived what was important.
So one by one, mom started to put the pieces together. The first piece was to change my mindset. Who cares if I don’t exercise today, because both kids are sick and the laundry is overflowing? Does it really matter that I ate that Mac and cheese last night because it was the quickest and easiest thing I could shove in my face in the midst of getting the kids bathed, books read and getting them settled off to bed. Only to do it again tomorrow. The answer: not really.
But you see here is the caveat; I had to change my perception of what it was that I WANTED and NEEDED to do. The balance of what I call life. The juggling act of wife, mom, nurse, teacher, friends, family. You name it. To say I was failing wasn’t entirely true, but I finally took the time to see where I was at, were I was going and where I wanted to be… and I was headed in the entirely wrong direction. There was a HUGE missing piece. What was I doing to fill my own cup?
I was so busy running around trying to care for everyone else, cramming as much as I could into every 5 minute slot that was available. I was out straight until the time I hit my pillow, fully exhausted, yet mind still racing about the list in my head of things that I needed to do tomorrow! I mean for real girl, get it together you life is passing you buy!
I was being super dependable, super reliable to my peers, my students, my kids and my friends. I was giving it my all, or so I thought I was…
Then one day, during my two hour commute to work. YES, TWO HOURS. I know. Who the HE!! commutes two hours to work (girl, I do) it came to me. I’m going to crash. Here I am, preaching, encouraging, spewing words of health, wellness, balance, fitness and life, and I had yet to figure it out myself.
Some might take this opportunity and say, well, that sucks. Life is life and these are the cards I have been dealt. Well, that’s just not me. See I was born stubborn, almost to a fault, and really, I’m the type of gal that well, if you tell me “No” — I’m likely going to try just that much harder… and I have to say on that day, on the back country road in New Hampshire, leaves just starting to change and show their beauty, I for the first time truly looked around to embraced the peace and quiet and relished in the down time. The moment where I could, breathe, cry, scream or sing if I wanted to. I could do anything I wanted to do and nobody could tell me any different. WHY HAD I NOT SEEN THIS BEFORE?! This time was MINE. I own it. I have no choice but to be here in this moment, on this drive, headed in this direction, so I was going to own it.
Ok, so I’m driving and I’m running at the same time?
Ha, nope. Did you just try and picture that. What a great sight that would have been I’m sure and if I could, I would have happy done so. After all, in my busy day, I used to get sooo frustrated with my commute and what it took away from me, from my kids, from my family. I could be cooking dinner, or heck what an amazing run I could have in two hours!! TWO HOURS!!
Then it hit me! I have control of this! I HAVE CONTROL OF THIS!
Who says I can’t have it all? Who says their is not enough time in the day?? This whole time I was talking myself down a negative spiral of all the things I told my self that I COULDN’T do! I can’t, Maddison has dance. I can’t, we have dinner at that time. I can’t, I need to… sound familiar. All the while I was wallowing in resentment that I NEVER HAD TIME FOR ME!
And so it started. It was time for change. It was time to stop allowing myself to feel the guilt that I PUT ON MYSELF to be the person that I FELT society said I should be. I enlisted the help of my friends. I ask for more help from my husband. I created a schudule and on it, I actually scheduled in time for ME. EVERYDAY there is a slot. A 30 minute slot that is JUST FOR ME. And yes, this time might just happen to be at 430 in the morning, before much of the world is up. But I am grateful for that, because it is a time where I can just breathe. I can live. I can feel the rush of the cool, wet fall air, as the rain mists and the street light glow, enjoying the conversation of a good friend.
So you see, YOU CAN DO whatever you CHOOSE to put your mind to.
You CAN still be successful, in your dreams, in your goals, in your desires, without giving up all of the other things and roles you find so important.
We have an EXTREMELY powerful tool and it is called the mind and it can amazingly push us towards our most impossible goal or it can leave us defeated wishing we could have only tried harder.
So girl, Stop. What are your goals? Have you always wanted to be thinner? Have you dreamed of losing the last 10 pounds of baby weight? Have you tried to run that 5K you told yourself you would do by the time you were 40 only to back out because you didn’t think you would be ready in time? Or do you simply fantasize about the day you will have the energy to get through the entire day without feeling absolutely exhausted and actually enjoy being able to physically play with your kids.
I mean, the goal is YOURS. YOU CAN DO IT. You CAN do ANYTHING you truly put your minds to. But first you have to TRULY believe you can. There is no might. There is no maybe. The only worlds that can cross your lips is HELL YES, I CAN AND I WILL DO THIS TODAY!
THIS life is short. MAKE IT. OWN IT. I mean really girl, your daughter just asked you for some of your drink and your cup is empty.
As a kid I savored the smell and taste of fresh tomato sauce. As a health conscious mom – I love that I can bring these memories and comforts of childhood into my own home. Fresh, nutritious and family friendly.
(All ingredient with ranges can be adjusted to desired taste)
***Makes approx. 8 (4 cup) portions. ***
If freezing — add 6 oz. can of organic tomato paste when dethawed.
This recipe is the property of Refocused Fitness + Nutrition LLC ©
Easy #1: HYDRATE! Put the coffee down (Don’t hate– momma needs her coffee to) but on a serious note — its not helping you. What color is your urine? #drinkup
Easy #2: GET RID OF SUGAR! Sure an ice cream on a hot day sounds fantastic, but its psyching out your body. Sugars has your body doing the happy dance for all of an hour and then it crashes leaving you craving more.
Easy #3: EAT VARIETY. Are you TRULY what you need? Your busy! You eat on the run. Eat? what is that? When our diets lack our bodies #suffer. How does it tell us it needs more or needs cleaning? #Fatigue.
Easy #4: “Fill in the gaps where your diet lacks”. As we age our bodies do not absorb as well as they used to. #bloat. Furthermore, our foods sources are often traveling long distances, ripening in route. What does this mean for you.
As with ALL dietary modifications, supplementation or fitness programs, always consult you healthcare provider for safety and interactions with currently health practices and/or treatments. The information provided in this article is strictly those expressed by the author.
If you are reading this you are likely like myself, acutely aware of the recommendations and changes within the health and fitness world. As a nutritionist, nurse and personal trainer, I’m always cautiously curious when I learn about new “trends”.
LETS START AT THE VERY BEGINNING.
MACRONUTRIENTS — proteins, carbohydrates and fats — essential nutrients the body requires in large amounts to maintain optimal function. For healthy individuals, the recommendations for macronutrients averages by the 60/30/10 rule. Sixty percent of your daily caloric intake should consist of complex carbohydrates, 30 percent healthy fats and 10 percent of your daily intake should consist of lean protein.
Now you might have noticed some key works in there. COMPLEX. LEAN. HEALTHY. Remember these. Each of these words hold significant value for you in reaching your nutrition, fitness and health goals.
PROTEIN– WHAT IS IT?
Protein is a macronutrient used by our bodies to assist in muscle growth and development, healing, immune function and the building blocks to much of our bodies structure. Protein comes from multiple sources, however is mainly found in animal products in its complete form.
Protein is not made by our bodies and therefore must be consumed to make sure we are maintaining the daily recommended amount of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Being vegetarian, vegan or using alternative protein sources doesn’t limit your ability to meet your protein goals. It is important however to make sure you are choosing foods to create complete proteins assuring your consuming all of your essential amino acids and getting your best bang for your buck.
Carbohydrates, also known as saccharides, as a general rule, are sugar. Sugar is converted to glucose in the body and is the most usable form energy for the body.
While the molecular structure of carbohydrates is quite complex, the most important concept to understand is how quickly the food that has been consumed breaks down into its smaller components and becomes sugar that is usable to your body.
Complex vs. Simple Carbohydrates. It’s all in the name.
Simple carbohydrates. They are simple. They consist of one or two saccharides that are connected together. This allows the body to break them down into their pieces very quickly for energy. Simple carbohydrates increase your blood sugar quickly as well, important to note if you are diabetic. High intake of simple carbohydrates will often leave you feeling tired and/or hungry shortly after consuming, resulting in the craving for more.
Examples of simple carbohydrates. Desserts, ice cream, chocolate, white pasta, breads and rice, etc.
Complex Carbohydrates. Are complex, or hard. These carbohydrates consist of many saccharides all connected together that make it more difficult and take a longer time for the body to break down the food into its multiple parts to use for energy. Thus spending more time in your belly, and providing an increased feeling of fullness for a longer period of time. Foods that are dense, hearty and provide a wealth of health benefits such as heart health, gut health, immune and brain function.
Examples of complex carbohydrates. Whole grain breads, brown rice, quinoa, oats, etc.
Need a visual? Simple carbohydrates are one or two lego blocks connected together. Complex carbohydrates have multiple lego blocks connected together. If you were to take apart the lego towers one by one, which one would take longer to separate to build something else. The body ultimately does the same thing with carbohydrates.
This is anything that exceeds the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. This meaning for an 185 pound individual, the consumption of protein would be greater then 67 grams per day. This is often completed while significantly reducing your carbohydrate intake.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER.
For clients with chronic medical conditions, obesity class I, II, or III, or training athletes, high protein diets can be a great short term tool for rapid weight loss when the benefits outweigh the risk. It is important assess your health, fitness and nutrition goals and seek out the support of a trained/licensed individual to guide your progress.
High protein diets or any strictly restrictive diet should not be maintained for extended periods of time. The most effective and safe dietary plan is one that promotes balance of all macronutrient groups, complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
As someone who thoroughly loves to work out, I am always looking of new things. There is just something about being active for one solid chunk of the day. Whether it is simply a brisk walk with a friend, a run on the rail trail, or a quick work out video, the state it leaves me in after is almost euphoric.
Now don’t get me wrong. I wish I was in far better shape then I am, BUT I will get there. Runs are not nearly as fast as they used to be. My hips still hurt from child birth. And my butt jiggles with the best of them (haha) However, just as I tell my clients, have patience. As a mother of two littles, one 13 months, the other 5 years, I take advantage of the little moments that I can steal away. #consistancywillgetyouthere
Late last night however, I decided it was time to take some special time out for mom. Two years ago a wonderful friend introduced me to Power Vinyasa Yoga at a Baptiste Affiliate studio. I immediately fell-in-LOVE. I started going almost every day and had never been so strong and flexibly in my entire life. This practice is so wonderful in its’ ability to manage joint and muscles pain. Such a blessing! Unfortunately, when I got pregnant with my son, the heated studio was frowned upon by my OB, so I was forced to take a break. A break that extended far longer then I would have liked.
This morning however, after dropping off the kids, it was almost as if my car drove itself there. In the last 13 month I have never felt sooo fantastic. Seventy-five minute of pure bliss. I must say, I was far out of the loop, behind on poses, needing to take a break into Childs Pose but just being there to practice was unbelievable. My mind was silent…for once. Those of you with children, surely can relate… My world is rarely silent.
Now, if you are afraid of sweat, I strongly recommend you bring a change of clothes (or splurge on the awesome clothes they carry) and embrace the suck. You can find solace that EVERYONE around you is sweating just as much as you are. My body and my clothes were drenched — a true sign of all the work, energy and toxins, my body was working through and releasing… yours can too.
Now for those beginners out there, everyone is welcome and has to start somewhere, so don’t get bogged down in the name Power yoga. It simply means you are constantly in motions, or “flow” unlike traditional yoga with slower movements and transitions.
Seriously though, the single best part of this work out, is what it does for your mind. Throughout the 75 minute workout, you are so focused on your body. The dynamics of it. How your joints are moving. If you need help, the teacher guides you to make sure you are safe and effective, while you focus on your breathing finding balance. Before you know it you are there. The blissfully end.
Savasana. You laying down. Flat on your back. Hands at your side facing up. All your bottled up energy, stress, suppressed feelings come to the in waves and release from you body.
Basking in the absolute peace of the moment.
Haven’t tried it, search for a studio close to you. You deserve it.
After waking up this morning congested, head stuffy, and my eyes wanting to stay shut for days, it only made sense to talk about inflammation. I laid in bed with the familiar sinus pressure I had not felt in some time. For those of you, like myself that suffer from allergies, you likely know exactly what I’m talking about. Pressure in my cheeks, just next to my nose, traveling right under my eyes!
I have suffered with allergies the majority of my life. Born with the beautiful triad, eczema, asthma and allergies (hence the sarcasm). 😉 For years I chose to deal with it the best I could, taking my inhaler for any and all exercise, on humid days and whenever I was sick. Sickness during winter became the norm. I had eczema on my ankle so bad it bled, leading me to seek out the best moisturizers on the market. Shortly after having my first child, we both got really sick. She recovered well, I did not.
The beginning of the end.
I remember one day clearly, I had been sick for 10 weeks. I know tell me about it. I was counting them because I thought I was losing my mind. It was all upper respiratory. I couldn’t breathe. My face and my head hurt. I was driving to drop her off at day care and then head to work. I was almost there when I simply gave in. I couldn’t do it any more. You know those moments when you are just completely exhausted, you barely can move your body, and you are just so drained from feeling sick… that was me. In a split moment, I called the doctors and was in route to be seen.
Needless to say after two rounds of antibiotics, nasal spray, an antihistamine and an allergy medication, I was feeling better. This was the start of my journey to getting rid of these allergies once and for all! My provider had recommended I stay on the allergy medication year round because of how sick I had been getting. So, that is in fact what I did and it worked!
Taking the allergy medication absolutely did work… for some time. But gradually I started to have flare ups again. You see, I didn’t change anything else. The allergy medication was serving as a bandaid and it needed to be changed. I have always eaten healthy, whole grains, lean meats, vegetables, you get the idea. I was physically fit. I worked out every day. I was doing everything right… It was here I started to think about the the route cause of allergies… inflammation.
The basics of inflammation.
Let’s start at the beginning.
When your body is exposed to anything it doesn’t like or anything that is not supposed to be in or on it, it tries to get rid of what it doesn’t like. This is your bodies natural protection. The brain sends special fighters to the place where the substance (chemical, food, bacteria) is and it tried to get rid of it. Your body is so awesome, that it knows it has to send the army to fight it off quickly. It opened up your vessels (arteries), making them bigger, to get the army there as fast as it can. This is why when you have a cut or an infection on the surface of your body, you see redness. This redness is inflammation! Yeah! An ah-ha moment!! As the army shows up it releases its’ weapons, sticky, mucousy fluid, to mobilize, eat and get rid of the invaders (this is the phlegm, stuffiness, etc.) I know gross… but.. it’s the truth. I actually think it’s kinda fascinating!
Here is where the problem lies.
With allergies and reactions to the foods we consume, inhaled chemicals (household cleaners for example) or products one might put on their skin, the body responds the same way as the cut on your skin but inside your body where we can’t see it. For those who suffer, we can most definitely feel it! What would happen if you continued to cut your skin and it continued to become inflamed? Ok… maybe a bad example but you get the idea. You have continued swelling and quite honestly would be in a lot of pain and discomfort. Sounds kinda familiar.
Hopefully this has made sense up until this point. It is important to remember that when your body is “fighting”, your immune system is weakened and your body is under a state of stress– a vicious cycle. For those with uncontrolled allergies, the body remains in this state!
How does what I eat cause worsening of my eczema, asthma & allergies?
Over the last year and a half I have been studying and eating by the elimination/autoimmune diet. I was determined to get to route cause if my allergies and get off the Claritin all together (something I was honestly petrified of). What I found was my healthy diet was actually HURTING me!
The problem with my healthy diet was, I was consuming all of the items that was putting my body on high alert. Gluten, corn, dairy, soy and sugar. This is without mentioning the cleaning products that were in our home! (Bury my head now – I was doing it all wrong). When your body is in a high alert state from inflammation, if it is exposed to any additional item it will potential react to, the response is magnified, causing a larger amount of inflammation.
First things first.
Getting rid of gluten. Wow! That was hard! Do you know gluten is in EVERYTHING!!! From salad dressing to soy sauce, never mind my granola I LOVED so much! I did this for a few weeks and then worked to remove the next item…sugar! I wasn’t so happy about this one either! Removing sugar even included all the “healthy” sugars I thought I was eating, honey, agava, etc. My favorite ice cream was out the window. I continued this pattern with each possible allergen until I had done the best I could to get ride of them. The most interesting change we made was changing to grass fed meat/animal products. I was well aware how animals were fed, but had not placed into this context for our family. What this meant for me and the meats we were eating was, even though we were choosing “antibiotic free”, the means we were consuming had been fed grain, corn etc. eventually transferring these products to me when I consumed them! Even my morning protein shake had to be changed!! As a busy mom, I didn’t think I had time for this, but I didn’t have time to feel crappy all the time either.
Next up. Removing household chemicals + toxins.
Here, I really didn’t know where to start. To begin, I live in an 1764 Farm House. Old post and beam = constant cleaning and maintenance. What worked best for me was to jump in head first. I purchase a Get Clean Starter Kit consisting of all green/toxin free products and started ridding our home of everything that was “normal” to me. I can’t lie, I kept a few of my chemical laden products around just in case the products I had purchased didn’t work— thankfully they were short lived. We were able to transfer over without any problems and haven’t looked back.
After a couple weeks in my new eating plan and a chemical free home, I was getting closer to my goal. With the purchase of an Alfalfa supplement (known to work against inflammation/allergies) I finally felt comfortable coming off my Claritin.
The first day I was perfectly fine. The second day the same. The third day still ok. For a few weeks, each morning I was apprehensive, waiting to have even the slightest bit of congestion. It never came!!
Over time I have been able to introduce items back into my world. I have found I am ok with small amount of dairy and soy. Sugar is a big NO-NO. So is gluten. I’m very cautious and aware how they make me feel. I can often tell if made poor choices the day before. So this morning as I woke up, I reflected on my choices. I had taken the kids out with my mom to get dinner at a Mexican restaurant. As the kids played, my mom and I enjoyed conversation and a sangria. I remember thinking, “I’m going to pay for this in the morning”. It was coconut and lime—it tasted delicious, to good. Full of all the sugar I wasn’t supposed to be enjoying. Better choice next time.
Would you like more information on how to get started? Ideas about what might work best for you? Send me a message and I would be happy to work with you.
As always, if you are under the supervision of a medical profession, seek guidance and approval prior to taking any nutritional supplements and/or making changes to your prescribed diet.
Your at the doctors office. Your sitting on the table, or maybe you want to call it a bench. The white paper is draped over it and it smells like….well, it just smells like all doctors offices smell. Musty.
Your waiting. Who isn’t waiting in the doctors office. You grab a magazine. One of those great gossip magazines (insert sly face) you know the one. It has the whole story of how Prince Harry and Megan are having a baby… and you sit and you wait. Good information in there isn’t there? Is her dad going to meet that baby??? Your buying time. Waiting for the doctor, or maybe its a PA to come in and give you the all clear.
You know its been a while since you really committed to being healthy, but what’s a few extra pounds. And please, its summer. EVERYONE indulges in ice cream or two. I promise when fall comes, I’ll get on track and life will be all good. Life’s all about balance right? So my balance is a little, we’ll say skewed.
You hear talking. Then foot steps. There’s a knock on the door and in walks this guy. He’s not young, but not old, just kind somewhere in the middle. He takes his fancy badge, logs onto the computer and clears his throat. Here it comes. You know he’s going to tell you something. Its just the way he clears his throat. There is so much more behind that noise. You take a deep breath. You look at your swinging feet, that can barely touch the step on the… yeah whatever its called. Your mind’s blank. What could it be? It can’t be anything that bad. I’m young. I do walk… sometimes. I had a salad yesterday. Despite my hopes, he speaks.
“So we got your results back. You know the ones for the diabetes test”.
Yes, I mean lets be real doc. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since you told me I really should be tested.
“Your results show that your A1C was 9.4”.
Your mind scrambles. 9.4, 9.4, 9.4 what the HELL does 9.4 mean????? You want to run but your glued to the… Bench…table… oh who cares what it is right now.
“Is he telling me what I think he’s telling me? Is he telling me that I tested positive for, diabetes— like sugar diabetes?”
And just like that, the stillness lingers. It feels like it’s a lifetime of silence, but then you find the words… “So what does that mean?”
Maybe this isn’t quite your story. Maybe you got a phone call at home, at the office or in that car. Maybe you already truly knew you had diabetes and it really didn’t come as a shock to you. Whatever your experience, having diabetes can be life changing.
~What is diabetes? The quick and dirty.~
Diabetes is when there is too much sugar in your blood. Easily stated. This can be a result of a couple of thing. Your bodies pancreas either 1.) does not produce insulin, 2.) it does not make enough insulin, OR 3.) the insulin it does make doesn’t quite work right.
Yup Ah-hah… Soooo, What is insulin??
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Its’ primary job is to allow for the sugar we eat to be used by our bodies for energy. It acts like a lock and key. The insulin, is the key. It binds to the small little building blocks of our bodies called cells and opens the door that allows the sugar to enter and be used for everything that we do!
When there is no insulin or not enough, the sugar that you eat is not able to get to where it needs to go, causing it to stay in your blood. More sugar consumed = more sugar in the blood.
Thinking of your blood and the pipes the blood travels through (arteries/veins) as if they are garden hoses can be very helpful. What would happen to your garden hose, if you got a lot of sediment or sludge in it. I imagine it wouldn’t flow very well and the water pressure you need isn’t quite what you get… you get the idea. Sugar makes you blood thick and sticky, sticking to the wall of the hoses in your body and blocking the smaller garden hoses all together. This commonly happens in areas such as the eyes, the kidneys and the legs. Have your feet been tingling lately? This might be why.
It is important to remember that there are two different types of diabetes. You likely have been diagnosed with Type II (we like to call this type adult onset). Type I diabetes, sometimes called Juvenile Diabetes often affects children, often is autoimmune in nature, and is NOT a result of lifestyle choices.
In Type II diabetes lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise play a significant role in your diagnosis and the management of your condition.
~Now That I have been diagnosed, What can I do about it??~
Beyond adhering to the medical regime that your provider has set for for you,
The best way to manage you nutritional and fitness needs is to seek the support of a certified individual whom is able to sit down and review a thorough plan that meets your specific needs.
The following recommendations are the same for healthy individuals looking to prevent the onset of diabetes and/or any other chronic medical conditions.
Exercise and Physical Fitness needs. If you are someone who is not physically active, the first thing to do is obtain clearance from you provider, that exercise is safe for you. Even when you are doing something that is perceived as “healthy”, there is the potential of doing more harm then good.
Once you have obtained clearance from your provider..
Start slow. Set up small incremental goals such as walking for 5-10 minutes (2-3x per day) this can be adjusted accordingly to you current exercise level.
Strength training. Using low weight, start doing basic weight training exercises that incorporate balance as a part of your routine. Balance is important for joint strengthening and for joint safety. Yoga is a great option for this because it uses your own body weight as the resistance. Do not compromise form for weight. Trying to lift to much weight compromises the movement of your joints and can result in injury. Nobody has time for that!
Consistency. Find your purpose. Whether you have had diabetes for years or are newly diagnosed, there is always room for improvement. Recognize your goal. Clearly identify all the reasons you want to manage your disease. Do you have children or grandchildren? Need more energy? Sick of running to the bathroom every half hour? Whatever your reason is write it down and put it someplace you will view it on a regular basis. Need a reminder, a puzzle doesn’t create a picture by one single piece, yet if the time is taken to put all of the pieces together you are able to clearly see the results.
Have questions? Needs more information and/or support? Please feel free to reach out!
Physical health is very important when it comes to chronic disease prevention. Nutrition is equally as important. Information related to this is readily known and understood. When working to balance our health, we often lose focus on the implications, physical and mental stress has on our bodies, Releasing substances like cortisol and other stress hormones the reek havoc.
When thinking about wellness, surely the first thing that comes to mind is food — my favorite! And exercise of course. I am a firm believer that what we put into our bodies is what we get out of them and how we treat our bodies is how they will perform. Would you believe me if I told you, the foods you choose to eat influences your mood?
Have you every considered how mental clarity and joy influences your abilities to achieve your fitness goals? Coping — one of Many building blocks to finding balance in challenges we face on a daily basis. I am sure, it can be agreed that everybody’s stress level is different — but who doesn’t love checking off the boxes of things to elevate stress.
In my own search for peace and balance I have chosen to research and practice minimalizm and being one with the things that are most important. Time management and gratitude for personal and financial independence are major factors that influence stress reduction. Working full time has its perks — a steady paycheck, a consistent job to go to and a routine. Woot, woot!
I am thankful to LOVE my full time job, I love the people I am surrounded by and the ability to talk and educate openly about the human body — but its fair to say, it fulfills only the tip of the iceberg as it relates to health and wellness. Communicating here, brings a ton of joy — something broader then the classroom. It is amazing to think you have the power to guide your own personal health and well being. Have you ever been around someone who is so balanced and positive that you can almost feel it radiating off from them. YOU can be this person too!
Remaining mentally focused takes time and practice. Just as a diet and exercise takes time to become a habit so does the practice of mental well being.
While I was exploring my own journey I stumbled upon a pretty enlightening podcast with the topic of Finding the Balance in Your Own Life. I thought it helpful to share the four main point….
When reflecting on these four recommendations, I found I had a lot of work to do and I wasn’t truly sure where to start with all of them. I found that since having our second child I wasn’t doing any of these. I kinda felt like I barely had time to sleep. Over the last few months, I have started to MAKE THE TIME to initiate each one of these and I can honestly say, it has been a huge success and relief. Life is so much less stressful when everything has a home. I held onto things for the “just in case”. Unfortunately, I was paying for it in other ways.
I have started working out again. WOW, added bonus! It is kind of an unspoken word in our house that if mom is short or appears to feel overwhelmed mom needs to make sure she gets her run/workout in. Some days are better then others but like anything else I am continuing to try to make sure my physical and mental being align.
Date night. Another conscious effort here being made. While I love this time aways, I found this step to be challenging. As a working mom who adore my kids it is a real challenge to leave them yet again. After doing this a few times and having an absolute blast, I am reminded that I am more then just a mom and need to be a wife, friend and person independent of them as well. Truth is, having this time makes me a better mom, and allows me to be more present and focused when I am with them.
A side gig. This one I found to be the most difficult. After starting Refocused Fitness and nutrition, I really struggled with what I wanted to do that wouldn’t take me away from the family more then I already am and yet supported my core beliefs. I have tried side gigs in the past, but kinda felt that I couldn’t fully support the mission and thus chose to move one. What I did learn however from this though process was I needed to find my nitch. Something I believed in but more importantly wanted not only for myself but for my family.
For me that nitch was Shaklee — a company that is founded on environmentally friendly cleaning, nutrition and beauty products, you can check them out at https://refocusednutrition.m.myshaklee.com/us/en/whyshaklee.html. Its simply a company that works for me and my family and love the results and safety I have seen with them. Whatever you choose to do, I encourage to find your nitch and run with it.
Remember, you don’t have to start in any specific order, each person walks a different journey. Where ever you choose to start seek to make sure you give yourself time, demonstrate patience and build upon you strengths both to progress forward and to forgive yourself for your imperfections. Each step you take to reduce you stress load, brings you one step forward in the direction of health, healing and overall balanced wellness. God Bless!
Sometimes it’s hard to satisfy a sweet tooth when you are doing all you can to maintain a balance and choose healthy eating. With a little creativity, those same healthy choices can give you the secret to indulging without the guilt!