Friday, December 21, 2012

We Only Have One Body

Optimum Health

There are choices we all can make to give ourselves the gift of optimum health and well being. Taking personal responsibility to care for your body begins by educating ourselves in healthy living. So many factors contribute to being equipped to care for your body. Many bad choices in the health arena will lead to disease. 

This article is set up to consider some key components and choices to consider which will lead to a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Habits 

MOVE THAT BODY - Our bodies were created to move. Many people work in situations where they sit all day behind a computer. If you have a non-physical job it is vital that you carve out time to get your heart rate up and tone your muscles.

RELAX - Your mind and body needs a break. Learn how to relax through using some relaxation techniques. 

EAT HEALTHY - Making sure you get all of the food groups into your meals during the day. The more raw veggies and fruits you eat the better. Most people just rush through life eating what they want to eat, working too many hours, sleeping when it's convenient and sitting around being lazy whenever they choose . Most of us have never stopped to consider how the choices we make each day will affect our future health . Many people take no personal responsibility for these bodies we were entrusted with ... Then one day an illness hits and health needs come to the forefront.

I don't think I need to persuade you that exercise is good for you. Exercise and health go together like a horse and carriage. We have been taught from the time we were in elementary school that we need to move that body.

The key is to find the motivation to do what we already know we need to do. What would it take for you to move that body? There are many avenues to choose from when it comes to activity. If you like sports then the choice is easy. A game of tennis, swimming at the YMCA, soccer or baseball with your friends will give you plenty of body movement.

Working on a particular part of your body that is flabby or out of proportion? Search You tube for an exercise music video with instructions and demonstrations that will target your problem area. Join a workout club and enjoy being with others as you exercise.
Walking is great for cardio health. A doctor just recently told my friend that she needs to walk 40 minutes a day or her body will accelerate in the aging process.


If you work long hours and tend to be a workaholic, listen to your body when it is telling you to relax. Pushing through on a continual basis will shorten your life and greatly reduce your quality of life
Long hours filled with stress throws the nervous system out of balance. Relaxation techniques will help you get it back in sync for a healthy body. It will also reduce stress and we all know that stress kills.
The relaxation response is more than taking a nap or flopping on the couch. It is a mentally active process which, when applied will leave your body calm and relaxed.


Relaxing music has the ability to take you from tense to serene. As you listen to the music practice this breathing technique. Take a slow deep breath in through your nose as you count to five. As you breathe in imagine the air going to your stomach.

Your stomach will balloon out. Now hold your breath as you count to five. Slowly let the air out through your lips. Repeat the process while listening to relaxing music. Your heart rate will slow as you practice this relaxation technique.

A full body message is the just the thing you need after a stressful day in the office. Your massage expert is trained to work the knots out and restore your sense of peace and balance.

Meditating and purposefully concentrating will slow your brain down when there are a million thoughts running through it. My form of meditation is allowing scripture to fill my mind. The best thing is to memorize a few verses or passage and then it is tucked away in your heart to be pulled out whenever needed. This practice of meditating on scripture fills me with life, truth and hope. I am currently memorizing Psalm 1.
Practicing relaxation techniques reduce stress symptoms by:  Slowing your breathing rate
  • Reducing stressful emotions like anger and fear
  • Increasing blood flow to major muscles
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Slowing heart rate
  • Improving your concentration
  • Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
As you read the list above do you understand that relaxation is not a luxury, it is a necessity. So to get started sit back relax and listen to the video I've posted. Do your breathing exercises to the rhythm of this angelic piece of music by the Cyltic Women.

Food and Supplements

Consider your eating habits. Do you live to eat or eat to live? We live in the land of plenty ... plenty of fast foods, plenty of fatty snacks, plenty of ice cream, candy and more. Junk food is just too convenient and luring for most of us to resist.
Many people say they are too busy to eat right. Living in the fast lane means grabbing donuts on your way to work, eating snacks at your desk then stopping for fast food on your way home. The pressure of the day takes precedence over any thought about the food we put in our mouths.

If you are using the excuse that you don't have time to think about eating healthy ... I suggest you think again! There are frozen foods available today that list calories, fat grams, carbohydrates and more. With brand names like Weight Watchers, Healthy Choices, Lean Cuisine and other food companies creating yummy packaged meals - it 's easy to stay on track and eat healthy.Visit your local mom and pop health food store to get healthy bars.

Make sure you are taking a whole food, chemical free organic vitamin supplements. Add to it a mineral supplement.

Take the time to watch the video below if you have NO clue what the difference between processed and whole foods.

Take Responsibility

MOVE THAT BODY - Choose an exercise plan that makes you feel good. Forget what Joe is doing at the YMCA. If you like to walk the stairs at the Dunes ... then that is what you should do.

RELAXATION TECHNIQUES: Keep stress at bay. Stress will accelerate the aging process. Stress messes with your emotions and can take years off your life. Try to see the positives in every situation. Even if something difficult happens in your life there is always a lesson to be learned or a perspective to be sharpened through the experience. You get to decide how you think about a situation - you have control over your thoughts. Reign them in and choose to be positive even in the hardest of times. Relaxation Techniques will aid you as you bring the stress down and bring your body into balance.

HEALTHY EATING - Educate yourself about the food you put into your body. It is either going to build or tear your body down. Watch the video above to begin your education.
Taking responsibility for your health will take a commitment and some planning. Once you place your health as a priority you will no longer eat without thinking, sleep whenever you feel like it or sit around and be lazy just because....Choose this day to take care of YOU! Learn all you can to nurture and care for the body entrusted to you. Choose a Healthy Lifestyle and make wise food choices that will care for and feed your body.

We only get one body - this one body. Let's commit to seeing that we give it our best shot!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My Weight Loss Story


Dating Years


Trying to lose weight can be a frustrating process. There are so many diet and exercise programs out there . It is difficult to know which program really works.

If you understand the vital role that nutrition plays in your personal health; it makes it that much more difficult to determine if the weight loss program is also good for your body.  

My daughter has battled with weight issues since she started birth control pills just before she married. She has a very interesting weight loss story she would like to share.

The two of us worked on writing the story together. As I looked at the pictures she gave me to post, I was stunned and thought "You really have come a LONG WAY baby!"

Her story is AMAZING and we hope it will be an encouragement to those who struggle with weight loss and/or recurring illnesses, Here is her story:

Our Wedding Picture
Wedding Day


For at least 12 years I have been saying, I need to lose weight. It took me all of those years to actually lose the weight and reach my goal. Friend’s have been asking me, “How did you lose all that weight?”

The answer is not a simple one; in fact it is hard to know where to start. I was sick a lot as a kid and I got worse, as an adult. 

The real success in weight loss came to me as a side benefit. In the process of learning about natural health alternatives, to build the immune system and address health issues, I also lost weight. I have finally lost the pounds and I'm at my pre-wedding; pre-birth control weight! :)

In order to begin my story of health and weight loss I’ll need to go backwards. A couple of months before I married my husband, almost 14 years ago, I was put on birth control by my Physician. As a result of the pill I gained 10 lbs. within 1 ½ month’s and had developed small blood clots in my lungs. I was immediately taken off the pill. I was disappointed when I could not lose those 10 lbs. and had to carry them with me on my wedding day.

Pregnancy Weight Gain - Babies and Bloating

Health Crisis

Ten months after Dave and I were married we were blessed with beautiful baby-girl twins; and I was left with an additional 65 lbs. While I was pregnant with the twins I was hospitalized with pneumonia. A couple of months after they were born I had another health crisis. I got very sick with spinal meningitis and was once again admitted to the hospital. My mom and sister took the twins for a couple of months while my husband split his time between the hospital and the babies. I was very close to death but God spared my life. After a long recovery I struggled to get the post-pregnancy weight off. The scales showed that I was going up and down a lot. After quite a few years of dieting and exercising, I came close to losing all of the weight I had gained with the twins. When I got pregnant with with my baby, 7 ½ years ago, I put on another 30 lbs. and my health was still very poor.

A year later, my attention was pulled away from my weight loss issues and pulled toward finding answers for my baby’s health crisis. When she turned a year old, she got very sick with an ear infection and pneumonia. She was put on an antibiotic which quickly developed into a severe rash. The physicians tried three other types of antibiotics and with each one her hive-like rash worsened. She was pulled off all medication when the physician diagnosed her with Stevens Johnson’s disease which is a very serious and dangerous illness.

My little girl had huge blister’s (looked like she had been burned) all over her body from head to toe; her eyes were even swollen shut. I learned that she got this disease as a result of being allergic to antibiotics and possibly Motrin. I didn’t know anyone could be allergic to antibiotics! I Thank God that her little body healed and the ear infection and pneumonia were gone. The scary part of this whole thing was that her physician said she did not know what they will do for her when she gets sick again.

I was frightened. If my baby girl could not take antibiotics what would happen to her the next time she got sick? How could I keep my baby healthy? The thought of her getting sick was very scary to me. These questions sent me on a mission to find information about healthy alternatives.  I’m happy to share that my little girl is now a very healthy child and when she gets sick I’ve been able to use the holistic approach to nurse her back to health.

Health Issues

As I wrote earlier, my health still was not good at all. I was put on all kinds of medications that never helped me. 

I struggled with lung issues and ended up in the hospital at least 4-6 times a year. I had severe breathing problems which resulted in pneumonia, bronchitis, pleurisy and pericarditis (fluid around the heart). 

My family Physician and pulmonary specialist just told me I have very bad lungs and the nurse practitioner told me I had the worst lungs she has ever seen. They put me on inhaled steroids and albuterol, saying I would need them for the rest of my life. 

Along with this good news they told me I could not go out in the cold without covering my face with a scarf; If I breathed in one breath of cold air my lungs were affected, that’s how sensitive my lungs were.


On top of the lung issues I was dealing with hormones that were out of balance. My family physician was not listening to me. I wanted alternatives and did not want to be on meds the rest of my life. I didn’t want to take meds to cover up my problems; I needed them fixed!

Four years ago I switched Doctor’s. Although my previous physician was convenient and only a mile away from me, my health was not improving. Upon a recommendation I decided to make an appointment with a Doctor who was located about an hour away.

Although I was nervous to be so far away from my doctor, since I used to go to him monthly with all of my problems, I chose to drive to this doctor because he was willing to help and he really listened to me. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I found a physician who was not only willing to take me seriously and listen but helped me get off ALL my medications too.

He addressed my hormone imbalance first. After having my blood work/saliva tests done he found I was extremely deficient in progesterone and Vitamin D; these two imbalances alone could have been the reason I couldn’t lose the weight and contributed to my breathing problems. On top of those issues I had hair loss on the front top of my head…not cool!

The Doctor explained that all of these things were treatable and he gave me options. He put me on a natural progesterone cream and on vitamin D supplements. Doctor Stempky also diagnosed me with GERD. The GERD’s was affecting my lungs, which was one of the underlying causes for my lung issues. The medical community would have put me on acid reducing medication for the rest of my life. … As I studied on Dr. Mercola’s Website and researched I found that these pills are actually acid blockers and that people with GERD’s don’t have enough acid to begin with.

The acid reducer would take care of my symptoms but it would also keep my body from absorbing the nutrients in my food. Dr. Stempky also allowed me to work with Jyl, a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, to get my GERD under control using holistic alternatives. I’m happy to say that I no longer have issues with GERDS!


This story was not easy to write, there were many steps to reaching my weight loss goals with lots of twists and turns. Turning my focus to being proactive with my health resulted in many changes in my life.  I changed the way I feed my family. I wanted to establish healthy eating habits. I made little changes, one at a time as I taught my family about the importance of a healthy diet. I started out by getting rid of all white bread/rice and white sugars. I have taken it even further, in the last 4 years, 90% of what I buy is certified organic whole foods which have not been processed and are free of chemicals, preservatives, hormones and GMO’s (genetically modified foods.) My goal is to serve my family lots of fruits and vegetables, mostly raw; we also drink lots of purified water!



One of my 'life-savers' during this process was substituting two meals with a healthy smoothie. 

I have always loved smoothies and I got very creative with them during this time. I made banana smoothies, strawberry smoothies, strawberry banana smoothies and fruit juice slushy.  

The nutritional basis for all of the smoothies is a really delicious protein powder mix. I've tried many types of protein mixes ... this one is by far the best. Here is the basic recipe:


  • 8 oz.milk
  • 1Scoop Replace
  • 6-8 ice cubes
  • 1/2 banana on hungry days (optional)
  • Plain Yogurt (optional)
Mix all ingredients in a blender. I have a 2 cup blender that works perfectly and makes the clean up easy. Pour into large glass and enjoy! This protein rich drink got me through the thick of my food cravings. It honestly tastes like a milkshake and it's hard to believe that it is healthy. I still make them, only once daily now, because I crave them and they satisfy my sweet tooth.

  • 3/4 cup any 100% Fruit Juice
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup strawberry yogurt
  • Handful of ice (experiment)
Pulse grind in your blender. The consistency of this drink is exactly like a slushy. It is so refreshing. When I get a thirst craving, a pink grapefruit slushy hits the spot.  A fruit slushy is NOT a meal replacement: 1/2 cup fruit juice equals 1 serving fruit per day.

 Exercise and Clean Air

There are many different decisions and life changes which pushed me toward a healthier life. After Haylie's and my health issues were addressed, I added exercise to my healthy eating habits. I began running 4 years ago. When I first attempted running, using our local track at school, I couldn’t even make it 50 yards; I was so out of shape/breath. I just stuck with it and by the end of that year I was running ½ of a lap!

I also use an air purifier which has helped me with my allergies/lung problems. About two years ago I added an HVAC probe, that cleans the air in the ducts, and have not had to go to the hospital since.

My Doctor cannot believe how far I have come; he said I am in very good health! He is very happy with my progress. In the last few years I have only seen him for a physical. I have continued my running and I’m happy to say I can now run 3 to 4 miles with no lung problems.

I’ve been free of lung issues for the last 2 years! Although I was told my lungs could not handle the cold air - I now RUN in the cold. Last Thursday was the first time I ran in the cold, I ran 3 miles with the outdoor temperature at 40 degrees. Sunday, I ran 3 miles with the outdoor temperature at 26 degrees.

I want to thank my husband who never made me feel bad about my weight and he never treated me any differently. He only encouraged me. There are several people and sources that helped me.

I found a holistic physician online, Dr. Mercola, who helped me understand alternatives to medication. I am thankful that he shares his knowledge on his website. I use him often as a resource. Click on his name above to read about his background. Type in any health topic in the search box and you will find all of the articles written on a particular health issue.

Another resource I follow is Dr. Oz, who is open to alternatives and is very up on the latest information on health. I have also found a Certified Holistic Health Practioner, Jyl, who owns a Health Food Store called Lakeshore Natural Health. Jyl, along with her daughter Rebecca, has helped our whole family with health issues ranging from nutrition to natural treatment for sun allergies, ADD, lack of focus, GERD’s, arthritis, hormonal imbalances and more.

My new goal is to firm up and tone. Hoping for a 6 pack! I follow Rob Martin on facebook. Rob is serious about health. He is a personal trainer and family friend. I also gather helpful information and tips by reading weekly newsletter.

Wow, this was way more detailed than I thought it would be - I hope it encourages you.


Source: My Pictures
Source: My Pictures


New Clothes!
New Clothes!
Source: My Picture

Recommended Reading - Doctor Mercola

The No-Grain Diet
Amazon Price: $4.79
List Price: $16.00
Dr. Mercola's Total Health Program: The Proven Plan to Prevent Disease and Premature Aging, Optimize Weight and Live Longer!
Amazon Price: $30.70
List Price: $19.99
The Metabolic Typing Diet: Customize Your Diet to Your Own Unique Body Chemistry
Amazon Price: $5.79
List Price: $15.99
Take Control of Your Health
Amazon Price: $17.95