How to Stay Healthy & Fit During Life Challenges

How to Stay Healthy & Fit During Life Challenges

Shift HappensWhat to Do When Shift Happens

Ugh! I was fully prepared to begin a 90 day Nutrition Challenge this past Monday, when I got a phone call that derailed my preparations and intentions. I got a call letting me know that my elderly mother is facing a health challenge and I have been called to go there right away to help care for her for an undetermined amount of time. Since that phone call last week I have been packing up my Denver Apartment so I can drive from Colorado to Coastal Virginia within the week. I’m really feeling what it is like to be a part of the sandwich generation right now. Earlier this year, I moved back to Denver to be near two of my children during a crisis. Now, as my mother’s only surviving relative, I’m heading to Virginia to support my mother through her health challenge. I am grateful that I have the flexibility to pick up and move right now, as I’ve been able to show up to support my loved ones this year. However, that doesn’t mean that these cross-country moves only months apart are not stressful and disruptive to my life and work flow. This is EXACTLY what I’ll be sharing with you during this post, “How to maintain, or get back on your program.”

I had planned and prepared to run this Nutrition Challenge from beautiful Colorado, sharing beautiful mountain pictures of Colorado as I hiked as part of my fitness regime. I had stocked my little temporary kitchenette with the supplies I would need to weigh and measure my foods, journal, share my recipes and daily meal plans. The intention was to demonstrate how easy it is to learn to eat in a way that you can get your body to work for you, achieve your goals and be the best, healthiest version of you. I had planned to share my personal goals and progress with you (and I will still do that). Hmmm … what to do?

The Only Thing You Can Count On is Change

There is only one thing you can count on—change. There WILL be changes and life challenges, and it is easy to get off track at these times. That has already happened to me. This was a motivator for me to lead a 90-day challenge. I have the opportunity to share what I know about weight loss, the program I used 10 years ago to get in the best shape (and health) of my life, and to stay in great shape, and to demonstrate how this program works and can easily fit into your lifestyle. Sometimes even wonderful changes can cause stress or throw you off track. Things like a vacation, holiday, a new marriage, a change in your location or job, or a new baby or member in your household. Then there can be more stressful changes such as injury, illness, losing someone through death or divorce for example. My challenge is that for the second time in a year, I am moving across the country to help with a family crisis—part of the dilemma of some of us who are in the sandwich generation. So I’m packing, moving, settling in, and taking the role of caregiver, all with less than two weeks. My food shopping, eating and fitness routines will all need to change with this move; not to mention I need to practice some self-care to take care of my own health and well-being while packing up, driving from Denver to Coastal Virginia, and then settling into a new, temporary situation to care for and assess the needs of my elderly mother.

When Life Shows Up

Life events may throw you off, and surely will from time to time. I’m going to show you in this program what to do at these times. It doesn’t matter if you fall off your program. It will happen to everyone from time to time. It is more important that you get back ON your program of healthy eating and lifestyle habits, and that you have the tools so you know how to do it. The faster you can get back on the better. However, if you fall off your nutrition program for a while like I have, then it is very empowering to know that you have the tools and the knowledge to turn your body and your health around, and achieve the healthiest version of you whenever you are ready to jump back on. I have spent the past 3 weeks planning, preparing and am ready to implement the program, but I’m going to take my own advice … and postpone the beginning of the full on program where I plan to share my own program, tips, recipes and exercise. Instead, my posts will be about how to practice self-care and make the healthiest choices that I can during a time of some pretty intense stress and changes. I wonder, how many of you have spent an extended period of time caring for an elderly relative? I have done it before, and just as my physician friend warned me, it isn’t an easy job.

During times of Stress

During times of stress or challenge, your goal should be to maintain your current weight, health and fitness. It is not the time to push forward to the next level. If you are able to maintain during these times, consider it a “win”. It is a time for doing the best you can, and to make the best choices you can in your current situation. It is not the time begin a new program, which could actually add to your stress. Additionally, when under stress, your body actually produces a hormone (cortisol) that makes it more difficult to lose fat. I didn’t want to let anyone down because I’d promised to start a 90-Day Challenge this past Monday, but after reflecting on it, I realized in order to follow my own advice and to give participants the best experience, I need to do something different. I realized this it is NOT the time for me to be an example of how to do the program at 100% or move myself to the next level (following my own advice). What I CAN do is share with you my personal challenges, how I will make the best choices I can under some challenging situations. I’m looking forward to getting settled so I CAN focus and make my health my priority.

Here’s What I Can Do

I’ve committed to myself that I am going to do the very best I can to take care of myself and my body during this stressful time. I am totally ready to be on a consistent health/fitness program and make it my priority. I thought this was the perfect time, and I am tired of living in my “goddess clothes” which are very flowing and forgiving along with my yoga pants. I want to fit back into my size 4 jeans. However, while packing up an apartment and preparing for a cross country move, two very long days of travel, then unpacking and settling, along with knowing that I need to jump right in to help my mother, and giving myself a few days to settle and assess my situation before I can be the example of the lifestyle habits necessary to lose weight. There will be so many situations and circumstances that are not really in my control. Breathe in and breathe out —it will be okay.

Here Are My Challenges

Here are my challenges and what I’m going to do about them.

I’m Packing up my Denver Apartment and getting ready to haul myself, my car and all that I had in Colorado across the country!

Half of my cooking tools and utensils are being shipped to Virginia, and the rest of them are already packed. So, right now, cooking and being in control of exactly what and when I eat is a challenge. Also, I’m doing my best to conserve, and to use what IMG_3352 (1)groceries I have here. Last night, I did have a wonderful delicious and healthy meal. I love fish, and this meal was prepared with cod and dover sole that I had in the freezer and needed to use. white fish I had in the freezer and needed to use, Cod & Dover Sole (my protein), Spinach (a little bit of carbohydrates) and slivered almonds (fat). I’ll post the recipe. I added about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of rice to my plate, and I had a delicious and nutritious meal with the right ratios of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.Lucile's Creole Original Seasoning

Lucile’s Creole Seasoning that I used in this recipe comes from a Lucile’s Restaurant which has several locations in the Denver Area. I was delighted to find that I can purchase their seasonings online from their website at Luciles.com.

Responses to Stress

I’m Paying Attention to my Body’s Responses to Stress … and they are Very Real. This past week has given me a reminder that I am not invincible and I need to take care of myself!

Yesterday I took a “down day”. During some periods in my life, when I’ve been under stress my blood pressure will escalate and this has been one of those times. I have occasionally experienced “panic attacks”, although I hadn’t had one since I was a teenager until recent years. My blood pressure has been high over the past week, and I was taking measures to de-compress, destress, and get it back to normal … under 120/80. I’ve been monitoring my blood pressure several times each day. I’ve spent some time focusing on relaxing with meditation and yoga, I added magnesium supplements to may daily regimen. My efforts and attention to this have paid off – this morning my blood pressure was down to 117/78. NOTE: If you know or suspect your blood pressure is high, go to your doctor and discuss it with him. My choice of “handling this on my own” wasn’t ideal, and could have been dangerous. However, I know my body and believed I could take some positive steps to get my blood pressure back to normal. I was lucky—it is working. Still, I will keep monitoring how I’m doing with the goal of my blood pressure once again being under 120/80 regardless of the situation.  The lesson here is that you CAN take measures to improve your health. Chronic Stress is the #1 factor in many major health issues. Knowing how to manage stress is so important. None of us are immune to stress, how we handle that stress is another matter.

Healthy Eating On the Road

Well … I could say, “what the heck—it’s only 2 days”, and eat whatever is available while I’m traveling. However, I’ve decided I am not going to do that. I’m packing and taking some healthy meals with me, right off of my nutrition plan. Not only will this save me money not eating in restaurants, but I know my energy level will be much better eating the right size healthy meals as much as possible. I already realize that I will miss at least two days of exercise, and I won’t be drinking the ideal amount of water. I need to pack a 25 hours of driving time into about 36 hours, so I won’t be stopping much.

I’m planning on packing some meals in a jar to go in my cooler. Here’s What I’ll be packing:

  • Yogurt (or Cottage Cheese) fruit Parfait
  • Italian Meat & Marinara Stew
  • Tropical Mango Chicken Salad
  • Turkey/Cheese Roll-ups

These recipes are all about being “simple, fast & easy” not to mention delicious and made of the best quality, real foods (as opposed toFruit Parfait Packed processed foods) that I have available. I’ve already packed two containers, each with a cup of 2% Daisy Cottage Cheese (protein), 2/3 cup frozen mixed berries (carbohydrate), and about 9 whole raw almonds (fat).

Italian StewBefore I leave I’m making another recipe from things I found in the freezer. I’ll call it an Italian Stew, with 1 pound of extra lean ground beef, a frozen package of Harvest Hodge Podge for vegetables, and a jar of organic marinara sauce, all from Trader Joe’s. I’ll spice that up with some garlic and maybe add a little Lucile’s Creole Seasoning. I’ll check the recipe and if I need a few more carbs I may add 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked brown rice to the recipe. This will make 4 servings. I’ll put them in containers, freeze two to be eaten after I arrive at my destination and I’ll take two unfrozen for the road. The frozen containers will help keep the unfrozen food cold during my trip, too!

Last, I recently discovered the Tropical Mango Salad at Trader Joe’s and I have a bag in my fridge. It is a complete salad in a bag and it is delicious! I’m going to add about 7 ounces of cooked, chopped chicken breast to that salad mixture and carry it in a container on the road.

So for now … my cooler is packed, and I’ll be hitting the road in a couple of hours.

 

 

Trusting in the Wisdom of the Universe

Trusting in the Wisdom of the Universe

Sometimes when something really BAD happens, it turns out the be a catalyst for something REALLY GOOD!

The project I had worked on for a year had to be scrapped!

In late April I attended Ken McArthur’s IMPACT event in Denver. I ended up “winning” the #1 spot for something called the Hot Seat. This is where you get to go in front of a panel of some very impressive and successful authors, entrepreneurs and online marketers to pitch your project. I decided to pitch the book project I’ve been working on for my #1 Client. Guess what happened? I pitched my client’s project and after 15 minutes one of the panelists got up and literally “pitched” the book across the room saying, “This book has been launched!” This seems like something “Bad” happened … my entire project was scrapped and it was recommended I let go of my #1 client. Instead, “something good” happened. The remaining 15 minutes the panel urged me to come to terms and find the best way to fire my client and start implementing the strategies I had suggested for him and put my time and energy into my OWN projects and create my own content and products. One of my good fiends in the back of the room literally was doing a happy dance and cheering the panel on. The panel convinced me of what I had suspected all along. There was no way for me to make this project a success without more funding and participation from my client. So, BAD NEWS … I lost my client and the income. GOOD NEWS! I am now focusing on myself, my projects and what I am to bring to the world!

My car got totaled

A few weeks later, at the end of a very long day, while moving into a new place I’d found to roost while here in Colorado, something unfortunate happened. Someone backed out of a parking spot … it was a blind spot because he was behind a big car and we couldn’t see each other, and he was in a hurry so he hit my car pretty hard. I wasn’t expecting that at the end of my moving day I would have someone take out the right side of my car, but he did damage from the front wheel all the way to the back bumper. My car drove just fine, but when I had it taken into the body shop and the disassembled it they found that it had done significant damage to my suspension … and my car was declared a total loss. BAD NEWS, right? Oh dear, I was so happy to have my little Nissan paid off, and suddenly I found myself out shopping for a new car, and something more appropriate than my Nissan Altima for driving through mountains and snow! So the good news? I got a nice check for my Altima, sufficient for a down payment on a new Subaru Outback AND enough to live on for another couple of months while I work on my website! YAY!

I had to find a new place to live

The circumstances around my move was another interesting story. I’d been house-sitting for almost 3 months in a beautiful and comfortable home, and had even had the opportunity to do some fairly extensive home improvement and landscaping for the owner. I had hoped that it might turn into a roommate situation where I could rent a room and have a place to land in the Denver area part time. I have an aging mother, and I’m her only living child and need to go spend time with her in Virginia. I have committed to being there to check in with her every three months. I have two children in Colorado and want to be here part of the time for them, too. I have set an intention to be have a home on both sides of the country. It became clear that was not meant to happen in the home where I’d spent almost three months house-sitting … so that seemed like “Bad News”. Right? Housing in Denver is expensive and I wasn’t ready to make a lease commitment. It seemed to me that I would be heading back to the East Coast to find my first landing space there, near my mother. Colorado is beautiful, and I didn’t want to have to leave. Virginia is also beautiful, but I didn’t feel ready for a longer commitment there yet. I kept wondering and asking, “Where am I supposed to be?” I was prepared to pack up and leave within 3 days, even though that didn’t feel right either. I kept reminding myself to trust the wisdom of the Universe, and maybe I did need to be East, and if not I trusted something would show up. I took Memorial Day to do a 10 mile hike and the idea that I may be packing to leave Colorado in the next 3 days was heavily on my mind and I was reconciling myself to the idea. When I returned that evening to attend my favorite drum circle, a woman showed up looking for me. She’s heard that I might be looking for a place to rent. She had a basement apartment with new floors, new paint, bedroom/bath and a large area for living and working (even with a big desk for my work!) … and the next day I moved in. It took faith to “trust” in the wisdom of the opportunities that would present themselves and the doors that were closing. Fear and resistance would have shut me down, so I trusted and reconciled myself that I may be leaving in a few days. It was no accident that this woman showed up “just in time” and wanted to rent her apartment to me for EXACTLY the amount that I had in mind. Miracles happen every single day if we are open to them. Again, a circumstance that seemed like it was “bad” opened the door to something much, much better.

I set my intentions on having a home on both sides of the country. Now, in fact, I do have a place to live in both Colorado and Virginia. It hasn’t happened exactly the way I envisioned it, or at least not yet. However, I have to recognize that was what I had asked for, and the Universe as orchestrated and manifested it. I could have resisted the process and gone kicking and screaming, thinking that “bad” things were happening and everything is just awful. Instead, I stood back and said, WOW, this is exactly what I asked for, and it is happening in a very different way than I had imagined, and even sooner that I thought it could. I know there will be a time that I need to go back to Virginia and spend an extended time there, and I am prepared to do that. Part of me looks forward to that time and I am staying open and flexible as to when that might be. I am waiting and open and trust that I will be shown the right time.

My website had to have a complete over-haul

So now for more bad news … right? My poor little website has been sadly neglected while I’ve been working on other people’s projects. My graphic designer convinced me to convert to a new theme, which I was happy to do since my old theme didn’t seem to be working correctly and I couldn’t work out the snags. Unfortunately, the NEW theme was having issues, too. Finally between the designer, the hosting company and me … we decided my entire site needed to be scrapped and begin all over with a new WordPress Install. Argh! Well, maybe that isn’t so bad, anyway. So much of my content lacked strategy, and my “About” page was written a decade ago, and I won’t even be saying the same thing, nor will my website be “about” the same content that it was before. So it SEEMS like having to completely start over with my website was another something “Bad” … but now I see it was the very best thing, and it actually is forcing me to create new content, implement new strategies, and explore new ways to add value to my posts and content. So it turned out to be something GOOD!

Here is the lesson

We must learn to trust the wisdom of the Universe and the wisdom of Uncertainty. It is so easy to get upset when things don’t go the way we think they should. It is easy to become fearful and resistant in those times. Many folks live their lives this way, and it causes so much stress and unhappiness, and even disease. Unhappy people tend to also be physically unhealthy. I’ve heard it said that it is not wise to argue with the Universe. When things don’t seem to be going the way we think they should and doors are closing, it is time to look opportunities. Often times, what we need and where we need to be is something or someplace that we don’t even know existed. It is important that we be open at these times, and have awareness that many times our challenges are actually opportunities in disguise. I don’t think it is any accident when people and circumstances show up for us, just in the nick of time. If we set our sights on some goal or accomplishment that we want to achieve, it may not happen exactly as we expect. There may be road-blocks, challenges, and unexpected events along the way. Keep going as the mystery unfolds. Life is a journey and we have the choice to navigate life’s challenges kicking and screaming or we can choose to enjoy the ride. This doesn’t mean there won’t be heartaches, heartbreaks, real challenges, uncertain times, nor that “bad things” don’t happen to good people. Life can be messy at times, for sure. What it does mean is we have choices in how we navigate through the changes and challenges in our lives, and we can learn tools and strategies to navigate these times.

I am grateful for my life and for the people and experiences that  even the most challenging times have allowed me to experience. Some might say I have led an adventurous and exciting life. Others may see the heart-ache and anguish from some very difficult times and circumstances I have navigated and have asked me how I have managed to stay sane, much less happy and positive. Trust me, it has not all been easy, and I have processed grief, anger, disappointment, depression, deep sadness, despair and  some days I got though by reminding myself, “if I can just keep putting one foot down in front of the other, I will make it through this.” Our experiences and challenges make us who we are. I believe in a phrase I found in a book when I was a child “the obstacles in life will make us bettor or bitter, and we have a choice.” When I read that quote I decided right then, I would choose to have my challenges make me better, and I didn’t want to be bitter. Thank you for that little green and white book sitting on the nightstand at my grandmother’s house. It made a difference.

 

 

 

 

 

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