Making Peace with My Body

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

tumblr_kx1lagnvy91qah3ado1_500Sunday, I woke up tired, groggy from pain meds and in some discomfort from the angiogram I had earlier in the week. I had a million things I wanted to do, but decided to rest and have a low key day. I pulled out a legal pad, and the next thing I knew, I was re-writing the profile on my “My Fitness Pal” food log and fitness app.

I’ve resisted updating this profile, but it’s time for a fresh start. It’s been a crazy 19 months, to say the least. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write, and soon it came together as this blog post.

Six years ago I started a wellness program through my workplace and lost nearly 100 lbs. I didn’t know then that this transformation was preparing me for the fight of my life: a ruptured brain aneurysm in March 2015. It wasn’t an easy recovery by any means, but the doctors credit my survival to the fact that I was healthy and fit at the time of the rupture. (Thinking back to my rehab days, I don’t think I could’ve done it with any extra weight, but especially not an extra 100 lbs.!)

Thankfully, I suffered no permanent deficits, but my vocal cords were damaged during intubation, which has impacted both my voice and my breathing. Both are being treated and may get better, but for now my workouts are limited due to my constrained airway. Since around January, 2016, I’ve been doing light strength training with cardio on the NuStep and/or treadmill at a local gym. I’m definitely building strength, especially noticeable over the last few weeks, but I can’t do the hour on the treadmill or elliptical like I used to do.

mary patWith today’s weigh in, I’m officially up about 11.3 lbs. from the day I had the rupture. It doesn’t sound like much, but with my inability to exercise at the same intensity, it looks and feels like five times that amount. To add insult to injury, most of the changes have occurred between my waist and knees. I feel embarrassed, ashamed and worst of all, like an overweight short-haired-blonde Wonder Woman.

Today, I’m taking steps to make peace with myself and get a fresh start. My weight is up, and I look and feel much different, but that doesn’t take anything away from my miraculous recovery and my gratitude for surviving. I am where I am, and I’m thankful to be here. My body has been through a significant trauma, and if it took a weight gain to survive, that’s okay. If given the choice, I would’ve easily opted for the weight gain over dying. But because I do now appreciate life so much more, I’d like to lose some weight so I can enjoy it more fully and freely.

My journey starts now. I’ve set a goal of 22 lbs. to keep myself honest, but it’s less about the number and more about the way I feel.

Here’s to a fresh start and the beginning of a new chapter in my recovery.

Weighty Issues

By: Azure Stilwell

One of the issues with Bipolar Disorder and the medications I have to take is that I tend to forget things. I have alarms for everything: to remind me to take my medications, to get my son off of the bus, to wake up, to go to bed, and the list goes on. Yet even with these alarm clockreminders I still manage to miss a thing or two. It is very frustrating. So I always try to keep my posts honest and relevant to my ordinary life, which is why I share things like the following.

I am starting a weight loss journey. I went to see my primary care doctor and she suggested a meal plan and exercise routine, but after 3 weeks I have not been able to keep it going. I need accountability on a regular basis and someone to cheer me on. So I am joining the Livestrong program at my local Y, which gives cancer survivors 24 free classes beginning this month. I am also thinking very hard about re-joining Jenny Craig as I did have success with that program in the past. I became concerned (way overdue) during a recent hospital stay when I actually saw the number on the scale. Let’s just say being breathless all the time makes sense when you are carrying another person around.

I am hoping to find some great recipes that I can share with you. I will keep you posted on my progress. Today: 0 for me and 1 for my food baby. I am now putting an alarm in my phone so I am reminded of my next blog post. I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend. 🙂

Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler

LexMed Heart & Sole Women's Five Miler

Lexington Medical Center is pleased to announce it’s now the title sponsor of the Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler, which is set for Saturday, April 25 in downtown Columbia. As South Carolina’s premier all-women road race, Heart & Sole includes a five-mile run, and three- and five-mile walks.

For the past 14 years, the event has encouraged healthy lifestyles through physical activity and called attention to the issue of heart disease as the #1 killer of women. More than 2,000 women participated last year.

With a personal and supportive environment, the course begins near Finlay Park at Laurel Street, and winds through the Vista and the University of South Carolina campus before ending on the Taylor Street side of Finlay Park. This year’s event will begin with an opening ceremony at 8:00 a.m. featuring news anchors from WIS-TV, the co-sponsor. The five-mile race begins at 8:30 and the walk at 8:35 a.m. Top runners will receive cash prizes.

After the race, participants will enjoy special refreshments, entertainment and an expo featuring health screenings and local vendors.

We know you’ve got heart. And we know you’ve got soul. So, join us on April 25! We’ll see you at the start line!

General Registration

Registration is only available online.

For group of 7 or more people, registration is $23 before March 20. There will be no group registration after March 20.

Individual registration varies:

  • $28 before March 20
  • $33 through April 24
  • $45 on Race Day

Get Social

Learn more about the race on Facebook! LexMed Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler

Follow Every Woman Bloggers, Sherree Thompson and Crissie Kirby, who are training for Heart & Sole here from now until race day!

2015: New Year, New You?

By: Lexington Medical Center’s Laura Stepp, MA RD LD CDE

Every New Year’s Eve millions of people think about or do make a resolution. But, what is a resolution? According to the Merrian-Webster dictionary, a resolution is “the act of new years resolutionsresolving” something. Resolving is further described as “the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones.”

Often when people make a New Year’s Resolution they resolve to change something big or to do something great, better, or more. While everyone’s resolutions are genuine and meant to be helpful to either self or community, a resolution to do something big such as run a marathon, do a triathlon, walk 10,000 steps a day, or the #1 resolution – to Lose Weight or Be Healthier – often ends up unachieved. What starts out with so much enthusiasm at the beginning of the year generally fades by February or March. We see it all the time; the health clubs are crowded so you wait in line for the treadmill or stationary bike and the exercise classes are full.

Unfortunately by February and (definitely by March) the health club is almost empty. Why do we see this? What happened? Did everyone just give up on all those resolutions? Did they decide losing weight or being healthier isn’t important? Of course not! They likely forgot the definition of resolution: “The act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones”.

We have to be SMART about our resolutions in order to achieve them. Like everything we do, there are steps to achievement.

SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant and Time Bound

Here is an example. You resolve to Change your Diet to Be Healthier:

Specific: What about your diet do you want to change or improve? Decide what this means for you. It could mean:

  • Cut back on portion sizes
  • Eat less processed food
  • Eat out less often
  • Eat less fast food
  • Eat more vegetables and/or fruit?

Then state exactly what you want to change. For example,

“I will switch my chips at lunch for vegetables”.

“I will eat fruit versus something sweet/candy for a snack”

Measurable: Give your goal a numeric value. For example,

“Daily, I will consume ½ cup chopped vegetables with my sandwich.”

“I will add one extra serving of vegetables to my dinner.”

“I will bring my lunch to work three times a week.”

Attainable: Think small – one change at a time. Work on one meal at a time, one day at a time. Making more than one change every 3-4 days can become overwhelming which can lead to all good intentions being abandoned.

Realistic: Honestly ask your self, “Can I do this?” And, state your change, your new habit in a positive manner. For example:

“I am going to eat one piece of fruit once a day for lunch or afternoon for a snack instead of chips or cookies.”

“I am going to add one new vegetable weekly.”

“Every week I am going to experiment with one new vegetable, preparing it in different ways to see how many ways I can enjoy it.”

Time Bound: Set a firm time limit to achieve a goal and gauge your progress. For instance, consider making one change a week. You could keep a food log for one week to check your progress. When you have accomplished the initial goal then set a new goal to build on the one you have accomplished.

Changing one’s lifestyle is a journey and must be treated like a long term adventure. Breaking down a goal into manageable parts makes it easier to see progress and stay motivated. It also allows to adjustments when necessary.

Be SMART and have a Happy New Year!

If you are interested in having help with your healthy nutrition goals, contact Laura Stepp, Outpatient Dietitian, at 936-4132.

Pumpkin Spice: Splurge, Then Substitute

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Ahhh, how I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes! Although it came out extra early this year – August 14th, to be exact – it signals the start of Autumn for me. I treat myself to one Pumpkin Spice Latte during the season, and I’m waiting until it’s cool this year, maybe early October. Why just one, you ask? Because that yummy Pumpkin Spice Latte isn’t just packed with flavor. It also has:

  • 380 calories, as many as seven Chips Ahoy! cookies
  • Eight grams of saturated fat
  • 49 grams of sugar, nearly double the amount found in 16 ounces of cola
  • 51 grams of carbohydrate, almost as much as four slices of white bread

No one buys a Pumpkin Spice Latte thinking it’s a healthy drink, but YIKES! More than one of those could derail even the healthiest eater!

Pumpkin Bites

This year, I’m getting my favorite seasonal spice via a couple of healthier, but equally delicious treats:

Pumpkin No-Bake Energy Bites: I first tried these over Labor Day weekend, and they’re wonderful! They’re a great on-the-run snack and/or pre/post-workout treat.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothies: Compared to the same size Pumpkin Spice Latte, it has half the calories and sugar, a third less carbohydrates and even a nice amount of fiber! And it’s cold and extra refreshing during those still-warm September days.

What’s your favorite fall food? Do you have a healthier version or do you just splurge during the season?

Hop, Skip and a Jump

By: Katie Austin

Where did the summer go? Can you believe we are already midway through September?

I don’t know about you, but it seems as though the months are just flying by! They say time flies when you are having fun, so this girl must be having a lot of fun. 🙂

I do love this time of year as we transition into Fall and cooler temperatures. Mother Nature moves over to warmer colors, and college football in the air. (Go Gamecocks! Sorry, just had to work that into my blog somewhere…LOL.)

Though I am excited about the new season, I do worry about keeping up my new health routine. As I shared in my last post, “My Aha Moment,” my husband and I started a simple exercise/eating healthy ritual that’s helping us to gradually lose weight. During the summer, school is out and we participate in many outdoor activities. But as schedules get busier and activities move indoors, I worry that I will go back to old habits. I don’t want to lose my momentum, and I want to be sure that our recent changes become lifetime habits.

How can we accomplish this, especially during the holiday season?

I pondered this question for a while. I went back in time, remembering when I finished chemotherapy and needed something to motivate me. My body was weak and my muscles atrophied. I wanted something to focus on, a way to take steps toward getting back in shape. I found the Avon Walk and joined a team to walk 39 miles.

That’s what I needed to do: find events that will provide opportunities to exercise while giving back and helping me stay focused. Perfect!

I recently participated in a Habitat for Humanity Women Build, which was a women-only event. Boy, I had no idea sod could be that heavy!

habitat for humanityI am registered to participate in two events this October: the Walk for Life (10/18/14) and to walk 39 miles in the Avon Walk in Charlotte, NC (10/25-26/14).
avon walk

See the links below for volunteer opportunities at an upcoming build or to register to walk:

There are many other events taking place this Fall that are just a hop, skip and a jump away. A quick Goggle search and you will find several to choose from.

Don’t get me wrong, we are still walking and watching what we eat. These events just offer different ways of exercising.

Remember to keep your health toward the top of your list and to keep moving.

 

 

My Aha Moment

By: Katie Austin

lightbulbHave you ever experienced that one moment that changes everything? I don’t mean in a bad way. It’s that “aha” moment when you suddenly realize something and it sets you in motion, changing your outlook completely?

My “aha” moment happened to me earlier this summer. We were together with family and friends at a local outdoor volleyball tournament. The weather was great, sunny and warm. Laughter was in the air and it was just a great weekend with everyone. No better way to kick off the summer!

On the last day while gathered in a group, one of the topics we talked about was health and fitness. I mentioned that I was going to start a workout routine, eat better and start taking my health seriously. Then it happened. That moment that changes everything! My 19-year old son, Brandon, leaned over to me and said “Momma, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you should to talk about what you ARE doing and not what you are going to do. You will feel better about it.”

WOW! What could I say to that? I couldn’t get mad. Well I could, but how do you argue with the truth? He was right! I thought back over the weekend and realized that my first response to a friend that I haven’t seen in years was to immediately made excuses for how I looked rather than enjoying the conversation. What was I thinking? Like they really wanted to hear about why I wasn’t where I wanted to be?

In my latest post, Life After Cancer Treatment, I opened up and shared my feelings/struggles post treatment. In short, I simply jumped headfirst back into the pool of life without thinking about how I was going to swim/stay afloat. Now, after this “aha” moment that I had with my son, I realized that I needed to focus on action and not words. I needed to stop talking about the things I was going to do and act on what it is I wanted out of life. It was time to make today my tomorrow!

So, first step – get back to a healthier version of myself. I didn’t want to do this alone, so I recruited my husband! We sat down that next weekend, decided on what our goals would be and how we could take baby steps to accomplish them.

Here is what we came up with:

  • Walk 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes each time. This is a start. If we want to add more when time allows, we can do so. We have to start somewhere and this worked with our schedules.
  • Try to lose 1 pound per week. Would I love to lose more? Yes! But I needed to be realistic. If I lose 1 pound per week AND it stays off, then that works just fine. I wanted to send those extra pounds packing for good! 🙂
  • Monitor what we eat. There are several free apps that you can download to your phone or use from your computer. We love MyFitnessPal because it has made tracking our eating habits easy. For instance, you can use the barcode to scan in items that you purchase. How cool is that! I would caution you that you may instantly go into shock when you see what you have been actually eating…I did! That in itself can be an “aha” moment, especially when you find out how many calories you consume during a meal eaten at your favorite restaurant!

This has been the BEST decision and we love catching up on things as we walk! Typically, you will find us walking the Lake Murray Dam during the week because we have found that it forces us to start and finish. You can start on the Irmo side, walk to the Lexington side, walk back to the Irmo side, and you have walked approximately 3.6 miles. You can walk less or more, and star or stop where you want to. It is up to you. There are others out there walking so if you are walking alone, throw on your headset and listen to your favorite music. You will be met with smiles and a beautiful view of the lake, so you can’t go wrong 🙂

Lake Murray Dam

Ok, you are probably wondering if we are seeing results…. I saved the best for last! ☺ Drum roll please!

We are finishing our 9th week and to date, my husband has lost 25 pounds and I have lost 12.8 pounds! We still have a ways to go, but making small changes over 9 weeks has really helped us to stay committed. We find ourselves motivated, having more energy, and enjoying the outdoors more than ever!

“You don’t have to be great, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Zagler

Remember to start small, set realistic goals and know that every step you take is moving you closer to where you want to be. It’s not how quick you get there but how much you enjoy the journey!