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
Yogurt is a staple in our home. Everyone eats it and before you know it you look in the fridge and it is time for another trip to the store.
Choosing the right yogurt can be a difficult task when trying to find one that is low in sugar, high in protein and nutrition without all of the additives, dyes and preservatives.
Grass fed, organic yogurts often come with a high price tag — what is the alternative, try making your own. For a total of $7.00 depending on where you shop you can make 10-12 servings fo grass fed, organic yogurt with little effort! Heres how:
**Recipe requires the use of an Instant Pot***
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.