Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hard Core Facts

Obesity is a factor in 1:5 deaths in the United States.

I'm normally a very emotional person and the way to get my attention is through my heart; however, sometimes I need whacked over the head with some hard core facts. 

Obesity can be a direct factor in the following potentially very serious diagnosis: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some cancers.
The good news is that unlike many of the health crisis we face, research has identified three key reasons why we struggle with being overweight.
Three key modifiable risk factors to obesity are lack of physical behavior, sedentary behavior and diet.
The word MODIFIABLE screams out at me from that sentence.  I remember my doctor telling me that he sees three factors in my life causing my high blood pressure - family history (Can't change that!), stress due to being a caregiving spouse with two young children and a full-time job (Difficult to change that!) and basic lifestyle choices leading to my being overweight (Totally have control over that!).
Research shows that staying active and making healthy food choices directly lowers your chances of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and some cancers.
For me, it is very motivating to know that I have some control in my health.  I want to live a long and active life with my children.  I want to be around to encourage them and annoy them and experience life with them for many many years.  I can't control my family history.  I can't control if I will be hit by a bus.  I CAN control if I eat 2 Oreos or the entire pack in one sitting.  I CAN control if I lay on the couch or go for a walk.  I CAN control if I pack carrots for my lunch or hit the vending machine because I'm craving something crunchy.  I CAN control if my family watches a movie or goes out to play tennis.
Healthy choices - it's truly as simple as that!
Information from the National Institute of Health website.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Two Reasons Haircuts are Good for My Mental Health

"What are we going to do about your curls?"

I looked up at Kelly from behind the magazine I was reading.  Her eyes were focused on my daughter's beautiful spiral curls, but her words were meant for me. 

"I don't have curly hair," I replied.

"Yes you do."

A specially trained curly hair stylist, Kelly and I had met through a mutual friend who had taken one look at my daughter's hair and sent out an SOS.  My daughter has beautiful hair just like her Aunt Leigh and Great-Aunt Jo on my husband's side of the family, but we had no idea how to take care of it.  Kelly was quickly taking care of that! 

"You definitely have curl in your hair, Lisa.  Let me show you," Kelly said indicating with a nod that I should head back to the sinks.  I was met there by her assistant.  Thus began a new relationship between me and my newly discovered naturally curly hair . . . and a new line item squeezed into our household budget under Lisa's 5ks . . . Lisa's Hair

Prior to meeting Kelly, if you would have asked me what my least favorite physical feature about myself was I would have been torn between my chin fat and my hair.  I have never liked my thin lifeless hair.  As a result, I didn't worry about it much.  It was just there.  Haircuts were at the bottom of my To Do List.  If it was a crazy week, I'd cancel and reschedule.  No big deal.  But now, after learning a new way to wash and dry my hair, I absolutely LOVE the fun bouncy mass of curls on my head!  I consider my routine visits to Kelly Elaine Inc an important part of maintaining my Mental Health!  Crazy week?  Too bad - I'm getting my haircut!  Here are the two reasons why:

1) I feel better about myself.  Let me be honest - I know that I should be happy with the body (including my hair) that God gave me; however, how I look impacts how I feel about myself which impacts my confidence which impacts my day.  I live with my hair everyday.  For most of my life every time I looked in the mirror I would say to myself - "I don't like my hair."  In my chubbier years when I didn't have a full length mirror in my house I still had to look at my hair several times a day. 

Over the years I had great stylists who gave me great haircuts, I just didn't like the hair that they had to work with.  By introducing me to a new wash/dry routine and more natural hair care products, Kelly helped me discover that I have great hair.  Fitness Reloaded founder Maria Brilaki wrote in her blog, "Not liking how your body looks . . affects you everyday.  Becoming friends with the mirror means a huge boost in how you feel everyday."  Now when I look in the mirror at the natural hair God gave me I say to myself  "I love my hair!" with great enthusiasm.  I feel so much better about myself which impacts my confidence which impacts my day.  I can be having a crappy day; yet, when I wash my hands in the bathroom I can look in the mirror and find at least one good thing - my hair!  (I'm still working on the chin fat - but one thing at a time!)

2) I have the positive anticipation of a stress relieving hour-long vacation every 6-8 weeks.  In my life I am always needing to have a Plan B.  If Jamison doesn't feel well and can't drive the kids to school, then I will call my friend Emily.  If a member of my staff calls off, then I will call Tiffany to help me cover home care assignments.  If I can't get home in time to pick-up JJ from practice, then I will call my dad to help me.  I call that Negative Anticipation.  Always anticipating what could go wrong and being ready to deal with it.   All of this Negative Anticipation can really weigh me down if I let it.  So I've found that making sure I am including Positive Anticipation in my life to be vital to reducing stress and maintaining my sanity.  One thing I positively anticipate every 6-8 weeks?  Getting my haircut!
It is important to say at this point that Kelly owns one amazing salon - Kelly Elaine Inc (https://www.facebook.com/KellyElaineInc)!  She offers free beverages from pop to wine to beer.  Her cats and dog are there to greet you.  For animal lovers, it is very relaxing to have a cat curl up in your lap!  During the warmer months, you can sit outside on her private soothing
patio and let the sun dry your hair rather than sit under the dryer.  Plus, Kelly and her assistance Victoria are a complete riot!  They make you feel welcome and have you in hysterics before you even sit down!  And - her prices make it possible for me to fit my appointments into our tight budget with just a little squeeze.  Stepping into her salon is like a mini-vacation . . . a brief escape from the realities of my life.  I leave feeling refreshed and energized.  In my opinion, how you feel about the salon you are going to and the person cutting your hair is just as important as how you feel about the cut and style you walk out the door with.

Are you in need of a vacation but can't afford to get away?  Could you use a break from your daily routine?  Have you been feeling BLAH?  Pick up the phone and make a hair appointment - it's a great mental health treat!

Here are some fun pics to show off Ellie and my curls.  These are from our first visit to Kelly Elaine Inc back in January 2012.

Ellie before her cut & style
Ellie after her cut & style

Me after my wash & style


Check out the new book that I am a part of . . . INSPIRE!  Available on Amazon through my author page - Lisa Hamer Jenkins.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Such a Simple Task - Why Don't I Do It More Often???

Three words. 

Cut up fruit.

Such a simple task.  It literally takes seconds to cut up an apple.  Not much longer to rinse off a handful of cherries and put them in a baggie.  Minutes to slice a watermelon or cantaloupe. 

So why don't I do it more often? 

When I am packing my lunch in the morning, I'm always in a rush.  So I end up grabbing my pre-packaged cheese crackers and my low-fat yogurt.  (Today I actually grabbed the entire pound-size bag of pretzels and stuck it in my purse!)  Meanwhile, the fruit I bought with good intentions sits and rots on my counter or in my fridge.

Tonight I put my good intentions into action.  I washed the delicious looking bright-red cherries I bought and put them in several small baggies.  I sliced the watermelon I bought and prepared a container for me to put in my lunch leaving the rest for my family to inhale tomorrow.  I set out a washed Pink Lady Apple along with the apple slicer and a baggie so the apple is ready to be cut at the last minute tomorrow morning.

It's a tip I hear all the time - prep your food ahead of time so that you can grab the healthier snacks just as easily as the pre-packaged ones.  It makes perfect sense and it is so easy!  I hope that my action steps tonight lead to successful snacking tomorrow which will lead to future nights of fruit prepping!

Happy Snacking!