Monday, March 26, 2012

I Love My New Pink Cup!

If you are looking for a way to add some PIZAZZ to your Health Journey this Spring, here is a simple and inexpensive tip: Buy just one new piece of gear or clothing.  The anticipation of wearing or using your new treat will be just the thing to push you off the couch! 

For me, my new piece of gear this Spring is my flowery pink cup that I carry with me just about everywhere.  Not only do I drink more water during the day (Something I've struggled with in the past - I'd get home and couldn't figure out why I was so incredibly parched.  Then I'd realize that I hadn't drank anything all day!), I'm also reminded to make healthy choices simply by carrying the cup.  Take the steps instead of the elevator.  Pass on the vending machine.  Go for a quick walk mid-afternoon.  To me it was worth the $7.50 I paid for the cup at Old Navy!

Me and my pretty pink cup!

 There are numerous other options:  Pick up a new shirt at Old Navy or Wal-Mart - the prices are SO reasonable!  Grab a new towel to take with you to the gym or the pool.  Add colorful shoe laces to your running shoes.  Buy funky patterned head phones.  Browse the thrift store for a new serving bowl for salads or veggies at dinner.  You don't need to spend a lot of money.  The simple fact that it is something new-to-you will add the excitement and motivation that you need to give yourself a little added momentum on your Health Journey this Spring.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chocolate-Banana Sipper

I was searching for a diabetic alternative to a chocolate milkshake for my residents and came across something yummy . . . the Chocolate-Banana Sipper!  I haven't tried it out on my family yet, but it was so good I couldn't wait to share it with you.

2 cups fat-free milk
1 banana, sliced and frozen (I had them in freezer for about 30 minutes)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Cover and blend until smooth and frothy.  Makes 4 (8-ounce) servings.
Calories: 122
Protein (gm): 5
Carbohydrate (gm): 23
Fat, total (gm): 1
Cholestorol (mg): 2
Dietary Fiber, total (gm): 1
Sodium (mg): 65

CONFESSION: My first batch was very good, but my second batch received better reviews.  The secret?  I added one scoop of sugar-free vanilla ice cream. 

As I continue my search for healthy recipes that my family will actually eat, I've had great luck at  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Trip to the Doctor Changed My Picture of Success

It started on Monday evening.  I came home from work and my ankles were HUGE!  By Tuesday my legs began to hurt because the skin was so tight and my head was roaring.  On Wednesday my wedding rings, which the week before spun around my finger, wouldn't budge and my chest burned.  Thursday I decided that it was time to call the doctor and make an appointment.  I expected to get in to see him in a week or two.  As I described my symptoms to the receptionist, she suddenly put me hold saying, "Just one second.  I better get the nurse."  The nurse?  Why do we need the nurse?  The nurse came on the line and asked me again what symptoms I was experiencing.  After going through my list she asked, "Where are you right now?  Are you able to come in . . . now?"  Maybe this was a little more serious than I thought.  I texted my boss and headed out the door. 

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I drove to the doctor's office.  I knew what the problem was - my blood pressure.  I had worked so hard to lose weight and improve my overall health so that get my pressure would go down and I could get off of those pills.   

I arrived at the office and they didn't even give me a chance to sit down in the waiting room before I was whisked to the back.  Yep - my pressure was back up.  WAY up. 

Fortunately, I have a FABULOUS doctor (Dr. Gerald Byers of Premiere Medical Associates). 

"Remember Lisa, skinny people have high blood pressure, too" he said to me after checking my pressure himself and seeing my chin drop to my chest when he read the numbers.

"OK, the simple fact that you used the word 'skinny' makes me feel a little bit better, but this still stinks!" I replied. 

Dr. Byers reminded me of what he told me a couple of years ago (This man either has an amazing memory or he takes great notes!).  I had three things working against my blood pressure: family history, stress and my weight.  I had taken care of and continue to take care of the weight part.  I still have no control over my family history.  Now I need to tackle the stresses in my life and how I am handling them.  I also need to go back on medication.  That was not what I wanted to hear.

Dr. Byers asked why I was so against being on the medication.  The first thing that I thought of was that that was what was supposed to happen.  You lose weight and get off your pills.  I thought of all the episodes of Biggest Loser that I had watched where they celebrated people getting off their medications.  The people were so happy and proud.  It was a sign that they were succeeding in meeting their goal of being healthy.

I've had a couple of days to process this.  I realize that I was putting a lot of my focus on those pills as my sole symbol of success.  In my mind, having to go back on them was a sign of failure.  Was that a realistic picture of success and failure?  No.  I can write a long list of ways that I have been successful in improving my health over the past two years - completing multiple 5Ks, fitting into size 14 jeans, JJ and Ellie asking to go to the gym to name a few.  Does it really matter that I have to swallow a pill once a day to keep my blood pressure under control?  No.  Is it a serious matter that without that pill my pressure is so high that I can't even safely exercise?  Yes.  Looking at it that way makes me realize that the benefits of taking my blood pressure medication far outweigh the benefits of being able to say that I take no medications.   

Besides learning the valuable lesson of re-defining what success looks like to me in terms of my Health Journey, I also was reminded the importance of keeping my doctor's appointments for my blood pressure checks.  I have to confess that I had been so excited to get off the medications that I didn't go to my last six month follow-up back in November. 

Another reason I love Dr. Byers - his response to reminding me of how important that is: "If I wasn't so proud of you, I'd be reading you the riot act about not keeping your last appointment.  Instead I will just say I better see you in two weeks for your blood pressure check."

Don't worry Dr. Byers.  I'll be there.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy March Fourth - One of My Favorite Days of the Year!

One of my favorite days is coming up . . . March Fourth!  Our family has been celebrating March Fourth for the past several years. It is the only date on the calendar that is a command . . . March Fourth . . . March Forward . . . Move on. It is a great day to set a personal goal for yourself and begin to teach your kids about goal setting. By this time, if you set a New Year's Resolution there is a good chance it's been long forgotten. This isn't about resolutions. It's about a goal . . . a measurable, achieveable, pleasurable goal.  Or as my friend Emily Jackson shared with me SMART goals: S=small, M=measurable, A=achievable, R=realistic and T=time specific.

Over the years my family has celebrated with games involving Tootsie Rolls (tootsies, toes, feet, marching forward!), yummy dinners with moving-themed food (wagon-wheel pasta, Rocky Road ice cream and "sneaker"-doodle cookies) and talking about goal setting. For the past six years we've traced the kids feet onto paper and then written our individual goals around the drawings. Each year we can review the goals from the year before to see if we accomplished them and see how much our children have grown. We started this when JJ and Ellie were 6 & 3 . . . you're never too young to start learning about the importance of goals! You're never too old either!  I'll be celebrating March Fourth with my senior citizens at work.

The celebration doesn't need to be expensive or extensive . . it can even just be a conversation over dinner! Or it can just be something that you do for you. Take a moment and think about what you want to achieve in life. To be healthier? To write a book? To learn a new language? To go to bed with a dish-free sink every night? Get more sleep? The possibilities are truly endless! What can you do THIS YEAR to MOVE toward reaching that goal?

Happy March Fourth!