Hypocrite No More!!

Courtesy of 123RF.com

Have you ever been in a space where you gave advice that you had a really hard time following yourself?

That’s where I found myself A LOT over the past 8 years when it came to drinking enough water.

Sometimes I would do better… Once in a while, I would actually get on a roll and do great… But eventually, something would happen to knock me out of my routine and my fledgling habit would wither on the vine. And I would feel like an incredible hypocrite!

Over the Christmas holidays I decided that I was REALLY going to make a PERMANENT change! I mean, I KNOW the importance of drinking the right amount of water and staying well hydrated. However, KNOWING doesn’t always translate to DOING, does it?

I was recovering from broken bones and couldn’t do much else during the holidays, plus we weren’t working so I could really focus on my water intake.

I Googled “water apps” and found a suggested list of apps that could help me track my daily water intake. Some worked better than others, but in the end, I uninstalled them. What ended up working for me was getting a 64 oz. glass container, filling it up each morning, and then using  my Pomodoro Technique breaks to go drink between 8 and 16 oz of water.

I also took a 30-day break from coffee in January and replaced my caffeinated coffee and tea habit with hot water with lemon for those 30 days. It turns out that I REALLY like hot water with lemon, so I kept it up after January was over. So, not only was I able to count the volume that I normally drank in the form of coffee or tea (about 32-48 oz per day) as actual water consumed, but I also didn’t have to replace that volume with more water as I would have to do when I was drinking caffeinated beverages. It was like a double bonus!

I found that I was suddenly and quite effortlessly drinking between 96 and 128 oz of water each and every day!

My energy skyrocketed… My weight loss rebooted… My skin looked better…

It was incredible!

I’m now moving to the three month point of this new baby habit. Sometimes I miss, but most of the time I am very well hydrated. My body will tell me when I’m not drinking enough water (or when I’m drinking too much coffee – yes, I do drink coffee again, but only a fraction of the amount I used to drink).

So, for anyone looking to level up their hydration game, here are my tips:

  1. Buy a large glass container (64 oz is a good size) and fill it up with filtered water each morning.
  2. Try hot water with lemon as a replacement for some of the caffeinated beverages you may be drinking currently.
  3. Get an app or set a timer to go off every 30 minutes. Drink 8 oz of water each time the alarm goes off. Note: If you do this between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, you will drink A GALLON of water during the day. You may or may not need this much, but it’s a painless way to get the water down!

How much water should you be drinking?  Here is the rule of thumb that I follow:  Your current weight/2 + 24 oz from every hour of exercise + equal volume for any caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.

So, if I weigh 140 pounds, I exercised for an hour this morning, and I drank a 16 oz cup of coffee, I would need 110 oz of water today:  (140/2) +24 +16 = 110.

So, drink up!  Your body will thank you for it!

________________________________________

Proper hydration is one of the fundamental pillars of my new health and wellness program, UnREALogical Health.

 

I’ve Been Up To Something…

… And it’s AWESOME!!

For the past six months I’ve been working on a project that I’ve kept on the down-low with everyone except those people who have been involved. But now I’m ready to dish about it to the world!

Why so super secret?

Well, to be quite honest, I wanted to make sure it didn’t turn out to be a complete and utter disaster first. When I started this experiment back in mid-August, I honestly had no idea how it was going to go… It had the potential to be wonderful… It also had the potential to be a nightmare and go south in a big way.

So, there’s the backstory…

Last May I started a health coaching certification program. The program started out a little bit slow and I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick it out or not because – well, it was EXPENSIVE and I wasn’t sure I was going to get the ROI I expected. But, after several months, the lectures got very interesting so I stuck with it. I’m glad I did. The program is like the intersection between personal development and nutrition, so it really is kind of my jam!

Then, at the end of June, we held our amazing Breakthrough Summit at The Shores event here in Daytona Beach and during the retreat I had client after client come to me asking for advice on their nutrition – how to get better sleep, how to lose weight, how to just FEEL GOOD. So, at the end of the weekend, we were all sitting around and someone asked when I was going to create a health coaching program. I told them all that I had JUST STARTED the certification program. They persisted, so I asked them if I put together a group program would they all join it?  They all said “Yes,” so I committed to launching something in August.

But I was crystal clear with them all, I had NO IDEA what would happen or how it would all unfold. I told them I couldn’t promise them ANYTHING – they were my guinea pigs. Strangely, they all seemed to like that idea.

Deb and I had been playing with our own dietary philosophies for a while and we had finally hit upon a formula that seemed to work… It seemed to work regardless of whether we ate high carb, low carb, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, omnivorous, etc. And, unlike so many other programs we had tried, it was simple, sustainable, and didn’t stop working as time went by.

In July, I contacted my guinea pigs and told them we would start on August 14th and that they needed some nominal skin in the game, so they each paid me a stupidly small amount of money and, voila, they were members of my “pilot program.”

Week-by-week, I wrote lessons on nutrition, based on what I already knew and what I was learning…

We sent mindset lessons from Deb…

There were recipes…

Exercise suggestions…

Videos…

Q&A…

It was a BLAST!

His insulin dosages have steadily been reduced since August – TWELVE times!!

But more than that, people started sending me messages that they were feeling better…

Their clothes were getting looser…

Health conditions were turning around…

They were sleeping better…

I was floored!  And humbled! And THRILLED!!

When the pilot program ended, most of the participants wanted to continue on. It was a decision point.

Deb and I knew we were on to something, so we decided to create two new programs:

  1. A 30-day Fundamentals program that focuses on 4 pillars of health and wellness as well as key mindset issues related to weight and illness,  and
  2. An ongoing month-to-month Advanced program that builds on the fundamentals program.

Our Advanced program is going strong and our first Fundamentals program finished up in mid-February. Again, it was terrific!

Now, our next round of UnREALogical Health Fundamentals is kicking off on March 12th and I’m inviting everyone to check it out.

It’s better than I ever imagined and I’m really very proud of it.

I’m Not Eating THAT!

Back in October Deb started seeing a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine for some digestive issues she had been experiencing for a while that we couldn’t seem to nail down the cause of. The doctor, FeiFei Liu, came highly recommended by some trusted friends and Deb has always been curious about the TCM arts. Deb had actually been waiting for the better part of a year to get an appointment with her because FeiFei had been in China for 10 months studying with an aging herbal master.

FeiFei described the healing process (a combination of acupuncture and herbal remedies) as a puzzle of bringing the body into balance – one organ or issue at a time. Of course, Deb and I are not incredibly patient people, but our way wasn’t working, so perhaps it was time to broaden our minds and embrace something new (or OLD to be more precise). When Deb came home from her first appointment with FeiFei she had a short list of dos and don’t – nothing crazy or extreme – and a recommendation to eat something called “Congee” for breakfast.

Now, I am always up for a new culinary experience, but when I consulted the Google and saw what Congee was, I was less than excited. Essentially, congee is rice porridge – rice cooked in water or broth until the grains essentially disintegrate and it looks something like the bowls of gruel served to the orphan children in “Oliver Twist.” It really looked terrible.

Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT a picky eater. I’ll pretty much try anything. However, I have never been a big “porridge” person. I like oatmeal, but it’s always on the sweet side. I never liked Cream of Wheat or Cream of Rice when I was growing up. To be quite honest, the texture of them activated my gag reflex. And to make matters worse, most of the recipes I was finding for Congee were savory. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it and I found myself in full on resistance mode. I wanted NOTHING to do with this Congee stuff.

Deb was amused by how deep I was digging in my heels on the issue, but the very thought of rice gruel made me sick to my stomach. So, I did what I do when faced with something I don’t want to deal with. I didn’t deal with it. I ignored it. When Deb would bring it up, I quickly changed the subject. This went on for weeks before I finally relented and went on a quest for a Congee recipe that I thought I might be able to stomach. This is the recipe I found and I tell you now, before God and the entire blogosphere:

I was WRONG!

This Garlic Beef and Onion Congee from Food & Wine is AMAZING and has become a staple in our breakfast rotation. Don’t be as resistant as I was. Give it a try!

  • 1 cup raw long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • One-inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

How to Make It

In large pot add stock, rice, salt and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Stir occasionally so that the rice doesn’t clump or stick at the bottom. Simmer the congee for about 1 hour or until the congee is thickened and creamy.(NOTE: I used a slow cooker – just dump the stock, rice, salt, and ginger in the crockpot and cook on Low for ~8-10 hours – and it worked great).

While the congee is cooking, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the oil, and then stir in the onion and garlic. (NOTE: I also added about 2 tsp. of sesame oil) Cook for about 1 minute or until soft, and then stir in the beef.

Cook the beef for about 10 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Stir in the soy sauce, and then remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the chopped cilantro.

Pour the congee in serving bowls and top with the beef mixture. Serve the congee hot.

This recipe makes 6 hearty portions. It thickens substantially when cooled (think cold oatmeal), so I added more vegetable stock to a saucepan when reheating.

 

Really, this is now one of my new favorite recipes! Today I am making a 3-bean version (substituting a can each of red kidney beans, black beans, and great northern beans for the ground beef). I’ll let you know how it turns out!

My Top 10 Tried and True Tools for Getting Your “Diet” Mojo Back…

I want to talk about a subject that I think a lot of us may be dealing with, which is how do we get our healthy eating mojo back now that the holidays are over so we can keep moving toward our health and wellness goals? When January 2nd rolled around, I was totally dealing…

via Angie’s Top 10 Tools For Getting Your “Diet” Mojo Back — Cheslow Achievement Group

A Funny Thing Happened During My Run…

A Funny Thing Happened During My Run…

How I spent most of the holiday

As some of you may know, my Mom has been battling a severe respiratory disorder since last summer. In October I made plans for my son and me to travel to Virginia during the holidays to spend some time with her. On the day were flying up to Virginia, I received a call from my sister, Anna, that Mom had taken a turn for the worse and she was going to drive her up to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville to be checked out.

No worries, I quickly did some mental gymnastics, rented a car, contacted my ex-husband to see if I could bring Josh to him from the airport, and planned to then make the 2-ish hour drive from the NRV to Charlottesville. Our sister, Jennifer, lives in C’ville and had offered up her home as basecamp for us for as long as we needed to stay. The flight from Orlando to Roanoke was on time, I dropped Josh off in Christiansburg, grabbed a venti Starbucks, and headed for Hoo-ville.

I stopped at the hospital and saw Mom first thing. She was better than I expected her to be, which put my mind at ease to some degree, although I knew things were not good. I left the hospital and made my way to Jen’s. It was great to get there and see that not only were Jen, Sabrina, and Anna there, but also my Dad and Step-Mom had stuck around as well! It had been a long day and the next few promised to be stressful while Mom underwent a lung biopsy and we waited for some definitive diagnosis of her condition, so we all called it a night shortly after I arrived.

You can see how thrilled I was about this run…

The next morning I woke up early and felt stressed out. I looked at my phone and saw that it was 30 degrees outside. I debated going outside for a run, but I didn’t have any running tights with me – only shorts. I had promised myself I would run at least 6 miles while I was there. I don’t like the cold… I didn’t want to go… But I got dressed anyhow. I put on my Cannondale thermal shirt, my long-sleeved Space Coast Marathon race shirt, and my prized Ironman Florida Name hoodie (this will be important later), my compression shorts, running shorts, and sneakers, hat, and gloves and headed downstairs.

My sisters were on the sofa talking and enjoying coffee. I wanted so badly just to grab a cup and sit, but no, I had WORK to do! Races don’t train for themselves and all that stuff. Jen told me about a great running path and out the door I went. I have played what happened next over and over in my mind, trying to make sense of it… Trying to figure out what exactly happened, and the truth is that I have no freaking clue, but I’ll relay as best as I can remember.

I turned on my running playlist, hit GO on my Garmin and started a slow jog down Jen’s street. I turned right, making my way to a traffic circle, feeling great even in the cold, and thought I should probably make my way to the sidewalk instead of running in the middle of the street. At that moment, my right ankle rolled outward and I was unable to recover my balance. What happened next probably only took 0.5 seconds, but it seemed to take 5 minutes. It was one of those moments like when Neo dodges the bullets in The Matrix. I felt myself falling, I knew I was going down and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

Years of martial arts training kicked in and I evaluated the possibility of doing a front fall, but I was falling sideways and couldn’t figure out how to straighten myself out. My next thought was literally “PROTECT THE GARMIN!!!” so I pulled my arms into my core and tried to throw myself into a forward roll. I landed in a tuck on my left shoulder and thought all was well until I heard a sickening “SNAP” inside my earbuds. I knew I had just broken my collarbone. I finished my fabulous forward roll and stood up (I should have gotten style points if nothing else). I surveyed my situation… I could walk… no blood… nothing hurt THAT bad… OH GOD, THE GARMIN… Whew, it wasn’t even scratched… Maybe I could just go 3 miles instead of 6… No, that’s stupid, clearly I had a broken bone. So, I turned around and walked back to my sister’s house. She was walking her dog and came up to me on the street. I told her I thought I had broken my collarbone. I went into the living room to sit down while Jen went to fetch Anna and they figured out what to do with me. I sat there with my eyes closed, going inside my mind, evaluating… analyzing… trying to figure out a way to make this not so… Then, I heard Anna say she would pull the car around and we would go to the ER. I stood up to walk to the front door, took one step and then everything went black.

When I opened my eyes, Jen was standing over me asking if I was okay. “Of course I’m okay, I’m just going to the front door.” Then I realized I was crumpled in a heap on the living room floor. I had passed out cold. I tried to get up again, but my legs just wouldn’t hold me and down I went again. I remember thinking that this must be what it feels like when people collapse during a race and just can’t get up and get moving again.

At that point, the idea of taking me to the ER was ditched and an ambulance was called. I was told that it looked like every ounce of blood in my body had vanished and that I was white and pasty and obviously in shock. While we were waiting, Jen got Deb on my phone and I just started bawling! I told her how badly I had effed up and that I had come to Virginia to help and all I was doing was making things more stressful for everyone, and how was I ever going to be able to start my Ironman 70.3 training program on time now… She assured me everything would be fine in a way that only Deb can.

After we hung up, I noticed that my shoulder was really starting to ping and so I closed my eyes and again went inside my own head and dealt with the pain – which is just what I do when I hurt. It’s quite effective. I didn’t open my eyes again until the EMTs arrived, who were, BTW, FANTASTIC!  Well done Albemarle County, well done! They evaluated me right there on the living room floor, asked me what happened, what hurt, etc. That was the first time I mentioned rolling my ankle. They carefully took my shoe and sock off and I saw the huge lump on the side of my foot for the first time. SUPER!

They got me out of the house and onto a stretcher and into the back of the ambulance where they started getting all the vitals and stuff. They said my vitals were quite impressive as was my pain tolerance. Then the most horrible part of the whole entire episode happened. They had to CUT my clothes down my left arm to assess my injury. Bye bye, Ironman hoodie and marathon race shirt (from my ONLY standalone marathon). I nearly started crying again. Once I got to the ER, it was kind of a blur. More vitals, the right sleeves of my beloved hoodie and race shirt cut out so a proper blood pressure could be taken, more assessments, x-rays, drugs, but hey, ZERO WAIT TIME!! #bonus My dad and step-mom showed up… Jen and her daughter came back… Anna had come in the ambulance with me – it was a freaking family reunion, but it was AWESOME, I’m not gonna lie. I have really missed my family!

We passed the time joking around until a doctor came back and delivered the news I already knew. I had broken my left clavicle and had an avulsion fracture of my right 5th metatarsal. Basically, when I rolled my ankle, my peroneal tendon stretched so far that it snapped the end of my 5th metatarsal off. Happily, it was not floating so no surgery would be required – just lots of time in a boot.

Can we just talk about how HUGE this foot is for a moment? 😮

I left the ER a couple of hours later with my arm in a sling (clavicle fractures like mine rarely require surgery and are not casted), a crutch, a plaster splint, and a way too small walking shoe. Thankfully, my step-mom had a zip-up hoodie in her car because they finished cutting off all my layers and I was left with my sports bra and shorts – and it was 28 degrees outside!

I spent the next few days in a pseudo-haze of hydrocodone, but all-in-all everything went great. Mom had her biopsy. We got some answers – not enough of them, but some. My dad, step-mom, sisters, and sweet niece couldn’t have been more amazing caretakers. Anna and I had hours of much needed (and longed for) conversation. We all made the very best of a truly suck-ass situation.

I flew home on Saturday and got picked up in Orlando by a wheelchair at the plane door – Deb made me promise – which was weird and surreal. Deb and Erin took great care of me during the holidays. It was frustrating to not be able to do all the Christmas cooking and things I normally do, but I was so grateful to be surrounded by people I love. It’s easy to focus on the things that are going wrong while losing sight of everything there is to be so incredibly grateful for. I was determined to be present for the holidays and enjoy them, regardless of the “perfection” of the circumstances, and our Christmas was terrific.

Today I head back to the orthopedist to get another round of x-rays and see how I’m healing and develop a plan to get me back to a point where I can start training again. My training plan for IM Gulf Coast 70.3 is supposed to begin on 1/21… I don’t know how realistic an “on-time start” will be, but maybe I can get clearance to ease back into swimming… or aqua jog… or run on the elliptical in my boot. We’ll see.

At the end of the day, I DO believe that everything happens for a reason, and I believe the reason for my unfortunate injury was threefold:

  1. It broke a pattern and allowed Anna and me a much needed shared experience to open the door to healing some old wounds. It was totally worth it and I’d have it happen again tomorrow if that is the ultimate outcome.
  2. It taught me a valuable lesson about letting go of control and allowing other people to take care of me for a change.
  3. It gave me a pause in my “training” (if that’s what you would call what I’ve been doing for the last year) that I desperately needed. It gave me time to think about what is really important to me regarding triathlon in 2018. Is it REALLY so important to do another Ironman RIGHT NOW? And it has me HUNGRY to get back in the pool, on the road, and on my bike!

Let’s do this, 2018! I’m predisastered and ready to go! 🙂

 

 

 

Are We Having Fun Yet?… The Holiday Edition — Cheslow Achievement Group

This is AWESOME for this time of year and SO TRUE! Just wanted to share!

Image Credit: Rebekkah_ann/iStock by Getty Images Handling the inevitable stress, tension, and disappointment of holiday gatherings… It’s a scenario that plays out across the globe every holiday season. Families come together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. But how long does the celebration last before someone gets their feelings hurt and walks off to sulk…

via Are We Having Fun Yet?… The Holiday Edition — Cheslow Achievement Group

I Am Not A Dog…

I Am Not A Dog…

Deb and I have been playing around with intermittent fasting for a while now and it has really proven to be a game-changer for us so far (I’m sure I’ll blog about it when I have more data), but I’ve noticed something recently that has really caused me to stop and think. I realized that when I want to “reward” myself I go to food 100% of the time!

For example, yesterday was “balcony cleaning day” here at the condo. On the last Saturday of the month, we are allowed to break out the hoses and scrub brushes and clean the outside porches and just blow the water over the side. It’s a pain in the ass, but it makes a big difference – especially after Hurricane Irma completely salt-blasted our sliding doors and windows. The thing is that we always “reward” ourselves after porch cleaning with a big breakfast – either I make eggs, bacon, pancakes, etc. here or we go out for breakfast. But, since we were fasting yesterday, there was no big breakfast and I was jarred by how sad that made me and how unmotivated I was to clean the porches.

Then, I started thinking about it… I do not have a single non-food reward system in place anywhere in my life!

What the hell?  I’m not a DOG!

But it’s true!  Whenever Deb and I start planning something that will make busting our butts to getting some big project done “worth it,” we automatically go to food… dinner out at our favorite restaurant, munchies in front of an episode of Star Trek, comfort food, etc. … ALWAYS… 100% of the time. And that’s just crazy! Is it just me?

I have resolved to come up with some non-food rewards that I can go to when I need something to spark my motivation in the moment. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

  1. Take a nap.
  2. Sleep in!
  3. Spend an hour away from my phone or computer.
  4. Eat lunch outside or at least away from my desk.
  5. Take a vacation day from work to do whatever I want!
  6. Unwind with a movie of my choice.
  7. Plan a long bike ride with my friends.
  8. Subscribe to a magazine I’ve been wanting to read.
  9. Buy a new song for my running playlist.
  10. Invest in some moisture-wicking workout socks.
  11. Buy a new sports bra.
  12. Come home with a bouquet of flowers.
  13. Sign up for a race.
  14. Splurge on a new running outfit or tri-kit (Hello, Tri*Fe Tri).
  15. Go for a mani/pedi.
  16. Treat myself to a massage!
  17. Get fitted for new running shoes at a running store.
  18. Plan a weekend getaway with Deb.
  19. Go to a yoga class.
  20. Plan our next dream vacation!
  21. Get a new hairstyle.
  22. Go to the local farmer’s market.
  23. Have a tourist day and do some of the fun things our town has to offer visitors (NOT Disney, thank you very much)
  24. Buy some new accessories for my bike.
  25. A new pair of earrings.

How do YOU reward yourself? Help me build my list so I can stop letting PIZZA be my reward!