Does the idea of using resistance bands make you well up with anxiety and not look forward to your workout? Do you find your bands constantly rolling up, slipping, sliding, or pinching? Never fear, I have a few tips for you!
I have used resistance bands in my gym, and with my clients for years and I do like to joke that using them is part of the workout. Getting the bands on and off and into the correct position can be a bit of a challenge and it does take a bit of practice. That, along with my tips below I hope you can find more use and joy out of the useful tool.
2) Resistance. Yes, they are called resistance bands, and that is their job, to provide resistance. Working out with resistance has been shown to have a myriad of benefits and bands are one of the many ways to challenge yourself in your workouts. They come in many resistances, and in my experience there is no general consensus among band manufacturers as to what colors or resistance terms mean. So you could have a blue "medium" band and a blue "light" band from different manufacturers. The best way to tell how much resistance the band will provide is to pull on it and see how it feels. Put your ego aside if you are new to using bands or new to a specific exercise, choose the appropriate resistance to execute the exercise well, and that may just be "extra light.
2) Position. When I say position I mean where on your body are the bands? For the sake of this article I am going to talk specifically about using the bands for lower body exercises. I like to use landmarks when choosing position and your bones are the best landmarks you've got. Bones never change or move, no matter your body composition, they are always the same. Notice your hip bones, your knees and your ankles, these are your landmarks. Bands should never go on the knee, don't mess with your knees y'all. But, they can go anywhere between the hips and the knees, and the knees and the ankles. Play around with different parts of the leg, as long as the band is horizontal. I find that the more firm the body parts the more likely the band is to stay so sometimes lower on the leg is better. You also might want to consider your clothing, shorts that allow for skin connection may be a better choice than slipper leggings or baggy sweatpants.
3) Tension. How far apart are your body parts from each other? You may need to have a wider or more narrow stance to make the bands work for your body type, this might not be your preferred way of performing an exercise but think of it as a necessary evil of band work. If the band is falling down in between every rep then you are not providing enough tension and you are making more work for yourself. Keeping your legs far enough a part in between reps and changes of exercises is in your best interest here, every time you have to readjust the bands there is more risk of rolling, slipping, and just plain funny stuff.
4) Body Awareness. This is the most important tip. Are you paying attention? No matter what exercise you are doing whether it's from Booty Bootcamp or it's an www.ladyboss.com/free?LB_aid=CoachChristine&LB_bid=8dadfc92After Burn at Home, you likely have visual photos and/or videos to refer to. How do you size up the the form demonstrated? We look in the mirror while we workout, not to be vain, but to pay attention to our form. If you have wonky form, malalignment, muscular imbalance, or any other issues and your band tension is being generated in a twisting or uneven fashion because of it during the exercise you are setting yourself up for rolling. If you do not have access to a mirror, take a video of yourself on your phone and see how you compare. Or have a knowledgeable person (like a coach, wink, wink) watch you and assess your form. There are so many things that can go wrong with exercise form and you want to be safe and effective. Slow down a bit, and put the time in to pay attention to your body and you will see those gains.
I hope these tips gave you a few ideas to take the pain out of using resistance bands. Don't be afraid to try different techniques, positions, and resistances till you find what works for you. Most importantly don't hesitate to ask for help from someone who knows exercise to watch you and assess your form, soon you'll be cruising through your band workouts without a second thought. If you need an eye on your form consider coaching, I'd love to see those squat videos!
If you rather hear me squak about this, than read...see below.
My Kid Eats BroccoliRead Now
Here is a scene from most mother’s lives at some point. You are exhausted, maybe your youngest isn’t yet sleeping through the night, or maybe your kid is sick. You’ve not had a good night sleep in a week and even when you do catch a quiet moment your mind won’t stop reeling over all the things you need to do, so then you struggle to sleep in those sparse moments. Maybe your partner travels or you are a single Mom, doing it all. Trying to wear all the hats, work, maintain the home, keep the tiny humans alive, probably some pets and houseplants too. When meal times come around you are pretty much praying the kids will just eat because if they refuse you may just cry. So you rely on convenient, easy and quick foods like mac and cheese and tater tots with loads of ketchup. Forget about making food for yourself, you know you shouldn’t eat the leftovers off your kid’s plate but by the time you’ve got it on the table you are ravenous so you give in, maybe you eat a spoonful right out of the pot, maybe you grab juuuust a few tots on the way out of the oven. Now the flood gates are open, you polish off the leftovers and carry on with your over extended day.
Later you lament in your head that those foods are definitely not going to get you towards your goals, and you feel guilty for eating them, but not only that, for feeding them to your children. But no one died, or starved today so, you’ll accept that as a win and try to do better tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and you do the same thing over and over again because you cannot catch a break. Sound familiar? I know I’ve been there. What I didn’t realize is that I was actually making things harder on myself when I was trying to make them easier. Who has time to prepare two meals? No one. And no one should be doing that. In the time it took you to whip up that mac n cheese you could have prepared a healthy meal for you and the kids, so how do you do that without meltdowns and/or the thought they may no eat it. Well, it is possible, but much like everything else, it will likely be hard at first, but it will ultimately be worth the rough patch. Here are some tips on getting the kiddos on board the broccoli train.
1) They won’t reject what they don’t see or taste. It may seem sneaky but what if you slid some protein or veggies into that mac and cheese, and just maybe swapped the whole milk for some non fat milk or my personal favorite non-fat greek yogurt? What if you used half the cheese packet instead of all of it? Or swapped refined white macaroni for whole grain? You don’t have to go all in at once, you can do it slowly over time and before you know it, everyone will be eating a much nutritious version of the old favorite. See my mac n cheese hack below)
2) Keep putting it on their plate. I’ve heard it takes 12, or wait 16, or maybe it’s 10 times to get a kid to try something, either way, you make it, you put it on their plate. Even if they think it’s icky or they push it around till it falls off, it’s there. You’ll be surprised by the power of persistence.
3) Model healthy eating. My husband and I eat broccoli, spinach, asparagus, you name it. We alway have greens and veggies with every meal, and our son does too. He sees us eating and genuinely enjoying our vegetables, so he does too. If this is not you, don’t fear, there is hope for you yet. Perhaps in pursuit of getting more healthy food on your kids’ plates, you’ll get more on yours as well. Make the ones you know you like first, then explore a bit…
4) Make it fun! If you are working on exploring fruits and vegetables give your kids an opportunity to pick something new to try at the grocery store or look through recipes together and pick one that has a new vegetable in it to try. Cook it together, let them help. Kids are way more likely to eat something they are involved in preparing.
5) Educate your kids on the benefits of vegetables. If they are questioners, like me, taking the time to explain to them “why” can actually make a big difference. “Because I said so” is not the answer, if you don’t know….then find out! We live in an age of technology and you can literally google anything right then and there, wouldn’t it be awesome to simply read off “Why is spinach good for you” when those “whys” come out? I actually did this and my son now literally east spinach right out of the bag, willingly puts it on his pizza, and sandwiches because he knows it makes him strong.
6) Make sure you are not using the kids meals as an excuse for yourself to eat unhealthy foods. I’m saying this because I did it! I had to have Graham crackers for the toddler, and then I would eat them all. Goldfish….are another likely suspect. The reality is, if you shouldn’t be eating it, your kids shouldn’t either and although neither graham crackers nor goldfish are inherently “bad” foods if you cannot resist eating the whole bag…..don’t buy them. There are plenty of other quick foods your kids can snack on, like fruit slices, that you can show down on too.
Will this be a perfect process in which you will nail all these strategies at one….probably not, but over time, implementing these strategies you and your kids will make the change. It takes a bit of patience in the beginning if you have been relying on these foods as they won’t want to eat something new, but when they get truly hungry they will and this will also help them understand real hunger cues versus simply eating to eat. If they are not hungry don’t force it. Just put the plate away for later and re-heat it if necessary when they are. This also doesn’t have to be a hill to dye on. if they really don’t like something, that’s ok too. I usually offer a food or meal twice in one day and if it’s rejected both time then I chalk it up as a no go for the day, I’ll try it fresh again another time. With this method you will find more healthy staple foods over time that you can mix in with the experiments. Be willing and understanding it may be hard at first but over time you will all be eating together (which has it’s own set of benefits) and enjoying healthy nutritious meals for the whole family.
Coach Christine’s Veggie Protein Mac n Cheese
1 c Whole grain pasta (I love shells personally)
1 tbs bulk cheese sauce (I buy mine from WINCO)
1 tbs nutritional yeast (same as above)
3 broccoli florets (experiment with different veggies is you like)
1 bag veggie crumbles (Boca, Morning Star, Gardien, etc....)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 c non fat greek yogurt
Pumpkin Spice Everything!Read Now
Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte
Did you know a grande pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks has 50g of sugar, 14g of fat, and nearly 400 calories? I always tell my clients “it’s not about the total number of fat or calories you’re consuming, it’s about where these are coming from.” 400 calories from artificial sugar and sweeteners is much different than 400 calories of pure pumpkin. This is an uncaffeinated version but you could easily add your fave coffee or espresso for a pick me up!
Detoxifying Pumpkin Smoothie
Who doesn’t love a good detox? This refreshing recipe has 23g of protein, which will leave you feeling full and energized for longer. Pumpkin and spinach bring a punch of fiber to this shake that could be a meal replacement on the go.
1 ½ cup of dairy free milk
½ can of pumpkin puree
½ banana, frozen
1 handful of spinach
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. of cinnamon
1 tbsp. of chia seeds, ground flax, or hemp seeds
1 scoop of LadyBoss LEAN protein powder
Optional: allspice and coconut flakes (for garnish)
Blend everything together until it’s a shake-like consistency.
Optional: garnish with allspice and coconut flakes
Lady60-Second Apple Pie
We couldn’t forget about our other seasonal favorite, apple pie! Although, apples are good for you, when you coat them with sugar and put them in a buttery crust, this changes the overall nutrition value. This recipe tastes nearly identical to a traditional apple pie, but is much quicker to make, and more healthy.
8 oz. unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop of LadyBoss LEAN protein powder
1 apple cut into pieces
1 tsp. butter extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
Handful of ice cubes
Optional: 1 piece of gluten-free graham cracker
Put all ingredients into a blender. Blend ingredients until it’s a shake-like consistency.
Surgery DayRead Now
I am tired. I know my husband has been through so much more today, but he snoozes, luckily. I on the other hand am restless and anxiety filled. I know I am operating on a seriously low battery and I keep intending to do more work but find myself darting off in so many directions I cannot focus. Not being focused does not serve for my best work, so I opted to try this writing distraction, and here I am. Sitting in the darkened lobby of the surgery recovery. We have been here since 5:40 am. I stayed with him through an hour to two of pre-op, where we tried to make jokes. We were visited by so many doctors, nurses and fellows my mind boggled. The team, the called themselves. They all seemed pretty savvy so we entrusted them with wheeling my hubby away, off to induction and surgery around 7:30 am.
I faltered, our previously decided plan of how to handle things seemed off. I didn't want to leave but knew I had to because our son was at the hotel with his Grandparents, waking up, causing chaos, wanting activity and liveliness. I knew his they could only handle this for so long before, being out of their element, they would feel overwhelmed so I swallowed my fear and raced back to the hotel for the most joyous hour of my day, Swimming with my son. We swam and played and I moved with purpose, knowing this is all I would get like this today, while I secretly panicked about work I needed to do, and being away from home, and a little surgery thing going on. No big deal, and every once and I while I would glance at my phone, not too much, but just every 15 minutes or so. Watching the text updates coming in.
Before I knew it we were on our way back to the hospital, the whole clan in tow, and the text came through as we headed through security that he was in recovery. A small sigh of relief, but I still had that twisting gut thing. Waiting in the waiting room, until shortly after I received the text that he could have visitors, and off I went to see my still very woozy partner. He was just as folks are when they first come to from anesthesia, sleep, uncomfortable, painful, abrupt. One second wanting not to see the incisions and the next, wanting to. then want his gown off his arms, asking random questions, squeezing my hand, just general uncomfortable behavior. He finally fessed up to his pain and they administered him a sleep inducing dose of pain medication and he drifted off. I stayed with him till they brought him out of the OR recovery and into a general recovery room. Then I once again went off to find the family.
Nonno and Nonna looked a little worse for wear so I took my son and we ran around the campus for a bit, literally, from the parking garage to the playground, and back again. Until finally I made him a deal that if he listened exceptionally and came with me to eat some vegetables in the cafeteria, he would earn those slick cars he saw in the gift shop. He was all onboard for this so we had some fun, and then ate some salad bar in the cafeteria. He dutifully ate his cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, and tofu and told me he liked spinach because it makes him strong like Popeye. Perfect. He earned his cars so we snagged those with the understanding he would be allowed to play if I could work a bit, a routine he is familiar with, so he agreed and off we went to work and play good hour until my inlaws returned. They saw me working away and stressing and offered to take him to play a bit more if we could go eat dinner after and I agreed, I needed the brain break, so I worked about 30 minutes more and they returned.
I was incredibly grateful to have them, but I am not going to lie, I was a wilted flower at dinner. I could not really get into seeing the boats on the harbor, or conversation for that matter. I was tired and cranky. I still am. There is no food up here, and I am about to sleep on a couch that looks about as comfortable as a vinyl covered bench seat in an old pick up truck. I ate a scoop of Lean with water and a mashed up banana, because it's what I had. Thank goodness for lean, it did the trick, and funnily my husband can only eat broth and jello so he was envious of my proteiny concoction.
I wish I could say I feel fully at peace now with this over, I was hoping so but I have anxiety about the pathologist report. I am optimistic and hoping for and expecting the best, especially since the surgeon said everything went and looked as they planned and suspected. So my hope is the pathology is the same, or better, curative and complete are the words I am affirming daily. Right now I am comforted by how quiet it is in here, the gentle click, click, clicking of my keyboard. The strange whirring sound of the elevator going up and down and my eyelids grow heavy. I hope I can turn this brain off, to be fresh in the morning, to tackle some work and get my husband home.
I had the honor to be on Good Morning Reno this morning, bright and early to show and chat about some healthy snacks for back to school! I chose these recipes because they are quick and easy to make, I am talking 30 minutes of prep for all 3, tops, and no bake or super short bake times. They provide a big bang for your time, and will leave you with healthy, homemade, grab and go snacks all week long, probably longer. So ditch the bars, and pre-packaged junk, and have some real food! These are great for as the kiddos are running out the door in the morning, to put in lunches, or as quick afterschool snacks to fuel them for sports, homework, play and everything in between. Last but not least, they taste great (which is important for the kids, let's be real) and they are filled with protein, to keep them fueled and feeling full longer, which will help them make more nutritious choices throughout the day. Here is where you can find the super quick recipes I shared on the show, and find out about ingredients and more! Don't forget to grab the magic ingredient.
Protein Mini Muffins
These are my son's favorite, and they are quickly becoming a staple in our house. Grab the recipe here and the delicious protein powder I use to make them here. Bake time is 10 minutes, you cannot beat it!
Protein Pop Tart
These literally take 2 minutes to make and they are such a great grab and go snack you can get creative with. Find this recipe here.
Gluten Free Energy Balls
Find this quick and easy, bake free and satisfying recipe here.
Remember that with a good lunch box and an ice pack no food is unavailable, you do not need to turn to processed foods out of convenience or storage worries. With a little extra work on the front end you can provide you kiddos with delicious, and nutritious foods inexpensively and in little time. Some of my personal favorites that require no prep or baking are veggies, the more colorful the better, if you are really short on time you can even buy them pre cut. Pair those with a healthy fat, like natural sun butter, or hummus. Another great pairing is a non-fat or low fat cheese stick and a piece of fruit. Fruits like bananas, and oranges are great as they come in their own earth friendly container! Kids will follow your lead, they should eat what you eat, so remember to set a good example and practice what you preach. When your plate is diverse and colorful, so will theirs be. Include them in preparation of these snacks and in meal planning and prep, and having a say in what you are making as well as ownership in the process will encourage them to explore foods they may otherwise not eat, enjoy the process, and make it more likely they will actually eat the foods your prepare! Win win!
Watch my whole spiel here: https://www.kolotv.com/video?vid=547397702
Happy DistractionsRead Now
Here I am sitting on a plane, winding up our family travel for the most part. I have three days I imagine will be whirlwinds, getting back into the swing of things before we zip off the San Fransico for my husband’s surgery. I feel refreshed and re-invigorated to do what I am passionate about. A slew of positive things have occurred on this trip, most importantly including some quality time with my husband in relaxing circumstances. My instagram thrived with fun photos.
I was a living testament to the importance of building and maintaining healthy habits. A few times I poked myself in the mirror to see if I was getting a bit soft, who wouldn’t, but my trip activities were a happy blend of time spent in the gym and exploring via the most active ways I could find, from running, hiking, biking, boating, calisthenics and more. I tasted and enjoyed a myriad of vegan and vegetarian foods all of which I enjoyed, not all exactly on path, but quite a bit were. The first stop I made when we got to Connecticut was to a grocery store. I loaded up on essential travel goodies, including stevia, protein powder, pb fit, protein bars, and veggies and fruits that I didn’t have to refrigerate. They actually proved to be essential provisions that kept me from “hangry” bad choices so many times.
Travel does not need to be an excuse to go totally off the rails. You can maintain the habits you have built and not feel like you have to start fresh all over again every time you return home. I am very eager to get back to my pull up bar, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t feel like I’ve had huge gain losses over the last ten days and if anything I feel like the rest was much needed and going to allow me to come back stronger and with renewed excitement. The same goes for my work habits over this trip. I maintained my responsibilities but I defiantly too a much needed step back and allowed myself to put down the phone and computer and resist all the shiny pennies of responsibility at least until now. Here on the plane I am diligently working away on client notes, and playing catch up on the special projects I have been working on (which are so awesome by the way LadyBoss’ get ready!) I have some exciting opportunities coming up as well and I am looking forward to crushing my goals as I go forward.
Today I am reading : Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris , which is one of those books I’ve been picking up and putting down and I always find nuggets every time I read it.
Today I am listening to: More Tim Ferris (probably why I thought to pick up TOM again) we listed to his interview with Seth Godin today on the ride to the airport.
I am continuing to focus on finding gratitude and living in the now and that seems to be fueling things along nicely. We are hoping for smooth sailing into and out of this surgery on Monday and I am thankful for all the support and stories we continue to get. The stories have serious been amazing! At the wedding we attended this past weekend many friends told me tremendous stories of survival and perseverance through some really rough stuff. I cannot say enough how empowering it feels to be supported and not feel alone in this path we are walking with my husband facing the possibility of cancer, and what that means for us as a family. We continue to be strong and optimistic, eternally gracious for the happy distractions of joy, family, love, and possibility.
Presence and GratitudeRead Now
A little update about how things are going for us. Before all this kidney stuff came up we had been planning a family vacation to the East Coast for my brother in-laws' wedding and some summer fun with family. We were concerned of course that my husbands' surgery might conflict with our travel and to our surprise it worked out perfectly to not conflict. We went back and forth on what to do and decided the best course was to go, have fun, enjoy each other and our family, and be grateful for all we have and can do. It wasn't necessarily in the plan but it has turned out to be an opportunity to live it up a little and I am also tremendously grateful for that. We decided to extend our trip a bit and leave a few days earlier so my husband could roll in some work with his impending surgery and recovery as well as take advantage of the travel and the close by family.
As I sit here in a hotel room in Killington, VT looking at the mountain top out my window, I feel so many warm happy feelings. This was always our dream, that I wouldn't be strapped to the gym and I could travel with my husband on his work trips to these beautiful and fun places. We are blessed that he loves his job and that I can now work from my computer wherever I am and know that the gym is in good hands with my amazing staff. Our son is in Connecticut enjoying the beach life at his Grandparents, cooking pizza with his Nonno, and watering the garden with his Nonna, making memories he will remember forever. Both my husband and I work during the day, he spends most of his time in meetings and me on my computer or phone, but I get to workout, enjoy the pool, and the other amenities of the ski resorts.
I would be lying if I didn't say we sometimes have bad moments, hours or days. We are still spending every available minute researching, following up, and soaking up every bit of information we can from stories of others, podcast, doctors, articles, you name it. We are also sending a big "THANK YOU" to everyone who has sent us resources or told us an uplifting story or shared their own experience. We are listening to and reading them all and they have been tremendously helpful. It makes us feel so not alone in this journey, and gives us more and more hope every day.
Sometimes that punched in the gut feeling creeps back in, and we wonder if we are doing enough. He wonders constantly, should he do this diet, should he cut out this thing, there is so much conflicting and confusing information. But the journey is his, to face uniquely in his way. I can only tell him what I think I might do where I in his shoes, and to be honest, it's hard to say what I would feel were the tables turned. We are making what we think are the best decisions together for our family. We feel that surgery is the best course of action, along with a few supplements recommended by the naturopath to hopefully give the potential cancer less chance of spreading. He continues to maintain his healthy diet and lifestyle, eating all the vegetables, working out everyday.
I continue to try to improve my own health and fitness as well. My plan was to take my after photos for the Oxygen Challenge 5 before we left but the entry was not open and I have not had a chance to take them since we have been on the road. It has honestly worked out for the best, I am still getting good hard workouts in and eating very well. I hope to get them taken before the wedding Saturday, and I think this little bit of relaxation and family time will actually pay off in my benefit in my body composition. We shall see.
For now we are focusing on living in the moment, and being grateful for it, just as it is. He even convinced me to go zip lining yesterday and I am not a huge fan of heights. I said "yes!" right away so I couldn't have time to think about it. I cannot say, in this instance, that stepping outside of my comfort zone was hugely gratifying, it scared the crap out of me, but it was definitely something I will remember we did together, and I was amazingly beautiful up there at Gunstock Mountain in New Hampshire. My husband just got a kick out of the fact I did it, so I guess it was worth it. Living it up, being present and maybe getting a little brave, and that is a good thing.
In the WoodsRead Now
Whew, these past few days have been a bit of a blur. Thank you all who have reached out, supported and sent love and prayers our way. After 3 days of hustle we have seen, a general practitioner, done the referral hustle, seen a urologist in South Lake Tahoe and another in San Francisco. Things have been moving fast, but that is good. The current and recurrent opinion is the kidney has got to go and surgery is scheduled for August 19th. Which seems far away but the surgeon re-assures us this has been there growing for years! Thank goodness for that back MRI. He still has no symptoms. So here I am, recovering from a literal rollercoaster of emotion. Feeling in one moment empowered and strong and in the next like a weak kneed child, moments from vomiting with fear.
I have had so much love and support from my clients and co-workers. And the advice I have received has been phenomenal. I already knew LadyBoss's were BA and resilient, and the community is priceless, but I love the willingness to be vulnerable and honest and share real life experience. You ladies are THE BEST! Also from my IRL community, including my business partner, family and friends. I've felt very out of control the last few days, which is a scary experience, but knowing you are all there and sending love has been HUGE.
It's my inclination to believe everything the docs are saying... these guys have some heavy hitting resumes and we busted our asses to get in to see them and as quickly as we did. I like to think I can understand what they are talking about and they have all been straight shooters, which we appreciate, and also talking to us like humans not a patient and his wife. Everyone has been great and professional. I am grateful we've had practice at this, grateful I have built to courage to not care what other people think and be assertive in what we need and finding information. They are saying this surgery will likely be curative but it's 95% cancer, based off it's appearance, size and location. They say, they kick this things ass all the time. Sooooo. We are onboard with that. Today I am trying to immerse myself in the normal, find gratitude in every moment of work which I am so thankful to have to keep my mind occupied, and doing what I love (how great is that!?!). We've created this life for a reason, because we love it, and that in and of itself makes our base so solid. That tightness sneaks into my gut every now and then, but I am trying to shut it up lovingly, mainly by running into the woods, up a mountain, and breathing, a bit of crying maybe too. Movement, nature, and breath has been so beautiful and centering. I can see the future clearly and it's going to be great. He is strong, healthy and determined.
In the meantime we are going to do our research and seek out alternative treatments and ideas. He even had me listening to a podcast on the way down to see the surgeon that I would have picked out on positive mindset and the power of the mind, lol. I love it. Doc says basically live your life. So we've got some travel, family time, work, and a wedding to look forward in that time which is fantastic for if nothing else the distraction....and the joy! Our team is strong, and we will persevere. If nothing else we are finding the best in the little kick in the butt to prioritize what is important, what and who we love, being together, getting away from the grind, putting the phones down, closing the computers, and experiencing life more.
Keep sending your love and resources, and I will keep updating this page as things come about. I am looking forward to enjoying our summer and I will worry about surgery when the day gets here, for now we've got some life to live! Keep sending your prayers, strength and love, we are forever grateful and blessed to have such community.
I’m Not Giving UpRead Now
For the past week and a half or so I have been vaguely referring to some stresses I have been facing in my personal life through social media. I have shared with my closest friends and family over the past week, and because it’s the health of my husband that I have been concerned about I have not shared it publicly until we could discuss how he felt about that. Honestly I didn’t even ask him, because I didn’t want to put any undo stress on him about a seemingly trivial thing. I didn’t suffer in silence, we have each other of course, but although a side of the story is mine to tell, it’s not my kidney. Nevertheless with his approval, completely unsolicited, here I am to tell what we’re facing:
My hubby has had back issues stemming from an incident at work many years ago. He has had back surgery in the past and he’s pretty dang tuned in to his body. He keeps his core strong, but he also has an active and twisty lifestyle, thanks to skateboarding, snowboarding and well, just our lives. He scheduled a recheck MRI recently for his back because he’s been having some flair ups. The MRI showed a recurrent disk narrowing but more alarmingly a mass on his right kidney. After this finding we had a few days of super stress, trying to figure out what this means, navigate making a plan of attack to find answers but mostly miscommunication and irritation over the unknown, and our own personal coping styles.
That suffering was not without purpose. We have been down a similar road before when he hurt his back many years ago. Likely because I have worked in Veterinary medicine for so many years I have a more assertive style in dealing with medical things, I ask all the questions, and understand the lingo, the information and appointment run around, etc… With the back injury, I found it frustrating to get information from him if he went to appointments he would downplay his pain and not as questions, not out of a desire not to know but just an ignorance of what questions to ask or what to say to get what he needed. It’s given me a tremendous amount of empathy to know what folks deal with trying to advocate for themselves and get the best care.
There has been some divine intervention here I am sure of it, because after an initial day or two of falling back into old patterns of not co-operating (admittedly my own, because my initial way of dealing is to perhaps hope it will go away and he can handle it himself, sorry love) but now we are back to working as a team, I am on board for appointments, asking all the annoying questions, and interpreting the jargon. When the second MRI that was ordered to look at the actual kidney came back, we read the report together over the phone. Seemingly the best case of a potential worse case… large isolated mass on the right kidney. No invasion of lymph nodes, or other organs seen on the MRI.
Now we navigate the ins and outs of referrals and diagnosis. Fingers and toes all crossed a thousand times it’s not the big C. He is confident and brave, which makes me feel the same, but I would be lying if I didn’t waiver hour to hour and minute to minute between slobbery breakdown and total normality. It’s confusing. Outwardly he is healthy and robust as can be. He’s a super healthy dude, living the same lifestyle I do, eating whole vegetarian food, exercising, and enjoying life in one of the most beautiful places in the world. As health history risk factors go, he has none. It feels good to work together, like we are solving some puzzle together. I feel it’s already brought us closer, but my fears linger.
My main hope in writing this is that I will find the support, community and resources we need right now. We need stories of triumphs and overcoming. We know we will be stronger for it. As for myself I am two weeks out from submitting my “after” photos for the Oxygen Challenge 5. I am not giving up, I am not throwing in the towel on my goals because life has happened again. I am working harder in the gym, where I know it’s my time and it’s cathartic. I am eating cleaner and I am focused even more, because that is what we need. He’s not stopping, he’s still working his ass off and crushing his workouts. We have work to do! He needs me to show up, strong and as focused as I can be because we are a team, and I hope he will continue to tell me what he needs so we can face it together. I am saying “no” to things and managing my time a bit differently. The story hasn’t changed, nevertheless we persist.
Thanks for reading, hopefully I will have the energy and the bravery to continue to write about this. Maybe some time I’ll even talk about it. Right now I don’t know that I can, or at least in this moment I cannot. Send hugs, encouragement, resources, and stories! I am researching voraciously, but we still don’t know what exactly we are dealing with so trying not to go down too many black holes of analysis. I truly feel we are all stronger together, and I am grateful we know what we do. I am grateful we have so much to be grateful for, our family, our lives filled with love and adventure, our beautiful home and community, and so much much more. Till next time.
Stronger every day,
Summer is upon us and with warmer weather comes the allure of summer vacation and travel. Whether your summer vacation is a romantic getaway or a jaunt with the family to visit Grandma, you don’t need to give up your healthy habits you have worked so hard on creating. Think about all the time and effort you have put in to get here, not that taking a week off is going to negate all that, but it will be much easier to return to your regular routine when your vacation ends if you keep it up to some extent while away. Here are a five tips to keep you on the road to your best health and fitness life, vacation style:
1) Think about how you can incorporate fitness organically into your vacation in a fun manner. Planning to do some sight seeing? Skip the car, and find out if you can you do it on foot or via bicycle, kayak, paddle board, or other human power modality? Or maybe you can add some of these activities into something you already have planned. A day at the beach is great, but playing frisbee, or football with the kids makes it extra special. Or take some of the time on your towel and practice yoga or an After Burn at Home workout to earn that cool dip in the ocean.
2) Research fitness amenities before you go ensuring you have a plan ahead of time. If you are planning to stay in a hotel or resort , does it have a fitness facility and/or pool? If you are staying at a home, camping, or another type of lodging what is near by? Depending on the type of vacation you are on you may find great places to run, or hike. Playgrounds and parks are fantastic workout spots and you can keep the kids happy at the same time. Maybe there is a great fitness facility nearby that offers day or week passes. Know before you go, so you can make an informed decision about your lodging and have a plan for how you will get those workouts in so you are not giving yourself an easy out because you don’t have a place or space to exercise.
3) Bring lightweight and easily packable equipment along. Things like resistance bands, a yoga mat, or a TRX strap can be easy to travel with and can make for great motivation to get it done. You brought them along so you better use them, right!?! Put that mat right where you can see it everyday on your vacay as a subtle yet effective reminder to get it done!
4) Bring healthy food and snacks if possible. If you are traveling by car, bring a cooler and keep it well stocked with health snacks and prepared foods. My clients often ask me for ideas on what to bring while traveling and my answer in this scenario is an enthusiastic, “Anything!” If you have a cooler you can bring along all the faves and I highly recommend you do, because no matter how careful you are you cannot fully control foods you do not prepare. Hidden calories and unwanted macros in foods can add up. If you can, always bring your own. Activities like camping offer a fun challenge to cook healthy foods in a new environment, and nothing tastes as good as protein pancakes made on the camp stove before a day of hiking and exploring!
5) If preparing food is not an option scope out your food options ahead of time, know where the healthy picks are and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need when it comes to the way foods are prepared. I’ll often ask for sauces and dressings on the side to avoid over dressed food, and choose baked options over fried. Know your LadyBoss blocking method and look at menu options as blocks rather than complete meals and order accordingly. For example you see they offer salmon, broccoli, and quinoa in separate dishes or as sides. You know salmon is a protein, broccoli a green veggie full of fiber and quinoa a complex carbohydrate would make a well balanced plate, ask if they can be served together. Boom! Healthy food on the go.
The idea of vacation is to have fun and take a break from the norm. That doesn’t mean you have to throw all your gains out the window, it also doesn’t mean you don’t get to indulge a bit or have a great time. Coming back from vacation and returning to everyday routines can be daunting as it is, keeping up with your fitness and nutrition regimen while on the go will make the transition that much easier, this is a lifestyle after all! Remembering that food is fuel for adventure and activity, and moving your body will lend to experiencing a place in a richer more rewarding way is key. Don’t get caught on the sidelines of your vacation and let it run you, take the reigns, plan, move and enjoy!!!