Thursday, May 29, 2014

I promise to catch up on the 28 day challenge soon. It is over with and I never got off of the starting block! My DHC challenge for this morning was to take a 5 minute, mid year assessment of where you are at. Firstly, I was shocked that it was mid year but I actually had already done this yesterday. Here is my response to the challenge..... Well this company's CEO says that I'm not doing well, not living up to expectations or meeting goals. I might not fire myself but a dock in pay might be appropriate if I were getting paid at all. Actually, I held a little personal assessment yesterday. I have several goals that I've been trying to get rolling for a long time. I was really hopeful with the new year and then life interfered with living. I'm not going to start whining because I have many dear friends with real troubles but lots of my time has been spent helping those friends and not working toward my own goals. My husband pointed that out to me yesterday while I was running myself down for not meeting career and financial goals for the first half of this year....or personal fitness and lifestyle goals either. He told me that what I had done for my friends would count for more in the long run. I know that is true and I was more than happy to help my friends but still in debt and angry at myself for it. The good news, this is a new day full of possibilities and opportunity and I'm, for once, feeling great.........if a little nervous waiting for that other shoe to fall on my head and interrupt my day. ;-)

I'm going to do my best to change this around and as a DHC friend told me, drop the defeatist attitude.

Some sound advice from a friend's DHC response: "Some simple and great guidance from Rhonda Bryne for 2014:
"Do whatever you can to feel good, because when you feel good, life will be good. The better you feel, the better life will get! Think about, talk about, and focus on the areas of your life that make you feel good, and temporarily keep off the subjects that don't make you feel good. When you do this one simple thing, everything in your life will get better, whether that's better relationships, health, money, or better circumstances with your job. Nothing in your life can ever improve until you feel better, and when you feel better, everything will improve. Make feeling as good as you can your number one priority for 2014, and it will be the best year of your life!""

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

I know I'm far behind on the 28 day challenge. Life's been extra busy for me lately and extra stressful. Thursday, I'll finally have a little time to tell you what I've been up to, what's been happening. Right now, I'm hurting and I can't go into details but I wrote this to explain a little bit about a toxic situation I'm in now and have been in for many years.

Friday, May 16, 2014

DAY 16
 Yes, you should juice. Without a shadow of a doubt, a daily low-glycemic green juice will help you thrive. My basic juicing rule is a 3:1 ratio—3 veggies to 1 low-glycemic piece of fruit. You can also add lemon as it has very little sugar. Cheers!  —Kris Carr

Chris Freytag's rule of the day: Focus on the two Rs: range of motion (ROM) and resistance. Research shows that moving through the full ROM for an exercise engages more muscle fibers, speeds fat loss, and helps you maintain more lean mass than if you add extra weight but shorten your movement. So before adding weight, make sure you're nailing proper form. (Watch this week's WOW video to make sure you're doing each exercise correctly.) When you're ready to start adding resistance, choose a weight that leaves your muscles fatigued after 12 to 15 reps. If you can easily pump out 20 to 30 reps of an exercise, pick up heavier weights.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

DAY 15
 Cravings or the desire to zone out for hours in front of the TV (or both) often stem from something more than a sweet tooth or a tired body. We use food and unhealthy lifestyle choices to numb out. Instead, find out what you really need. A day off? A back rub? Some breathing room from a loved one? Figure it out, then act on it.   —Kris Carr

Chris Freytag's rule of the day: This week's WOW is all about building more lean, lovely muscle. You'll be doing compound movements with light hand weights to tone and tighten every inch. As you work through them, focus on building your mental strength, too, by pushing through to the last rep. The stronger your willpower and mental muscles, the easier it will become to make exercise a habit and not a chore. Click here to download Workout of the Week #3.

DAY 14
 Keep emails short. Establishing a clean, brief style of communicating may cause unease at first, but people will get on board and be grateful. If possible, check email twice per day, once in the morning and once mid-afternoon.   —Kris Carr

Chris Freytag's rule of the day: Create a reverse bucket list. On the days when I'm feeling less-than-100%, I look at my reverse bucket list to find my motivation to keep going. This piece of paper includes all the things I've already accomplished. It reminds me that I can do anything I set my mind to, and inspires me to achieve even more. Create your own and refer to it whenever you feel frustrated or want an extra hit of motivation

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

DAY 13
 Wrangle your stress. We hold so many issues in our precious tissues. To handle them, try meditation, hiking in the woods, pottery, yoga—anything that gets you out of your head and into your heart and body.    —Kris Carr

Chris Freytag's rule of the day: I like to rearrange the four letters of "diet" into "edit." A diet supposedly means eating healthy, but because you're often cutting out entire food groups, diets lead to deprivation. Eating healthy should be a pleasant—not miserable—experience. In contrast, editing means making healthier choices and being conscious of what you're putting into your body, and allowing yourself indulgences every once in awhile. Here are 16 amazing healing foods to get you started.

DAY 12 Cook a couple of meals on Saturday or Sunday, and you'll have several healthy weeknight dinners ready to go. Double or triple your favorite recipe and freeze the leftovers for a quick meal when you're in a pinch.    —Kris Carr

Chris Freytag's rule of the day: Take a breather. You've made the pledge to follow this challenge for 28 days, but don't get bogged down thinking each day has to be perfect. You're allowed to stumble and mess up. Make sure you set aside a moment to just relax. You'll feel better and more committed to reaching your goal. Try these 2-minute tricks for a happier, more refreshed you.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

DAY 11
 Set a digital curfew. Strong light from electronics can disturb your sleep clock by tricking your brain into thinking it's daytime. Choose instead to curl up with a good book; the virtual world will still be there in the morning.    —Kris Carr

Chris Freytag's rule of the day: Move! There are 2 types of activity: programmed and spontaneous. Think of programmed activity as scheduled workouts, like your WOWs, that require you to slip on your fitness clothes. Spontaneous movement is everything else: your walk to the coffee shop, your extra lap on a wooded trail, your stroll around the office to say "hi" to someone in another department. Just a few little bursts of activity throughout the day can reduce your risk of chronic health problems, including weight gain and cardiovascular disease.

This has been a stressful week and an altogether upsetting day. It's a long story and very personal. Even though I've shared some pretty personal stuff in the past, this time it concerns someone else and out of respect for their privacy, I will just keep my mouth shut. I will say that I went above and beyond to help a friend and then they turned on me, blamed me for their own failings. It happens. So, I was upset, both angry and hurt and more than a little confused. I was not being the most pleasant person to be around this morning but instead of getting angry at me for my nasty attitude, my sweet husband understood. He kept advancing with an olive branch and eventually, the fog.... or more likely steam....cleared from my vision and I was able to see his offer of an afternoon walk as the gift that it was. I consider it a gift because it was exactly what I needed. I not only had a new attitude once I'd spent some time out in the gentle sunlight, soaking in the beauty around me and spending some time with my sweetie but I also had a new perspective on the situation. Yes, that spontaneous activity can be a wonderful thing. So, the next time someone tells you to go take a hike, don't get mad, just start walking. :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

DAY 10
 Include yourself on your to-do list. Many of us are caregivers by nature. Today, put your own self-care first. Choose 1 to 3 non-negotiable activities that will help you feel better.    —Kris Carr

Chris Freytag's rule of the day: Start your workout with a dynamic warm-up, a type of active stretching that preps the muscles and joints for activity, by performing lower-intensity movements like these. Save static stretching—the kind where you hold a pose—for after your workout when your muscles are warmed up. Always hold each static stretch for 20 to 40 seconds and stop immediately if you ever feel pain. The calm, relaxing feeling of a good stretch is a great way to end an intense workout. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

 Accept where you are right now. It takes courage to embrace your current situation, to be present and loving toward yourself exactly as you are. Can you change your circumstances? Absolutely! But even talking about change puts us in the future. There's definitely a time for that, but for now, be where you are.    —Kris Carr

Chris Freytag's rule of the day: Clutter weighs you down and is a major source of stress. Don't hang on to things just to hang on to things. Filter everything by starting with this question: Do I really love it? If you don't, recycle or donate it, and fill your home only with the things you love the most

 People who have fun, glow. They literally look younger and more attractive because they're content and happy. So be your own executive nanny and schedule a non-negotiable play-date ASAP. It doesn't have to be long. It just has to happen.    —Kris Carr

Chris Freytag's rule of the day: Maintaining your physical balance is just as important as finding a balance between work and play, because it's a use-it-or-lose-it principle. The more you work it, the more likely you'll be playing golf at 75 instead of tending to a broken hip. Balance moves require your entire nervous system and body to work together, and they force your core to work overtime.

 You're worthy just sitting still. In music and art, the beauty comes from the notes and lines, as well as from the spaces between them. Sometimes doing nothing is the best investment in your health.   —Kris Carr

Chris Freytag's rule of the day: Think energy, not calories. When you're creating your meals, remember that calories are just units of energy. How do you want to fuel your body? With processed foods and chemicals that burn out quickly, or with nutrient-dense foods that power you through with sustainable energy? Think about calories as fuel, and you'll be more likely to reach for healthy foods automatically.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Prevention 28 day challenge day 6

DAY 6 
 Don't wait till you're digging out the lone Tic Tac at the bottom of your purse to figure out that you need snacks handy. Instead, carry travel size edibles that will power you through the day, such as individual hummus tubes, instant oatmeal, and apples.   —Kris Carr

Chris Freytag's rule of the day: Your weekly dose of 150 minutes of cardio does more than just help you slim down. Staying active—whether you go on a walk with a friend or head to the gym for a Zumba class—makes your feel better. So when you're thinking about skipping a workout, remember that you'll feel happier, less stressed, and have more energy if you suck it up and pull on that sports bra. Ten minutes into your workout, you'll be so glad you did.

Okay, so far, I'm not doing great with this challenge. Today was our annual visit from our horse vet, Dr. Melissa Hamilton. First I didn't sleep because I worry about whether all of the horses will cooperate and if I'll even be able to get a halter on Riley or Mouse. Thankfully, it took a little sweat but all went smoothly. Still, I've been going on little but steam and caffeine since 5AM. After Melissa left and a very unhealthy, take out lunch was eaten, I lay down and took a nap. Now, I'm heading out to the grocery store and plan to stock up on some healthy foods so we won't have to depend on the fast and unhealthy for the rest of the week. We are cutting hay so it will be a busy and tiring week. I will be burning some calories but I don't think I will be able to throw myself full tilt into this challenge until after the hay is up, my obligations to my friends and family are finally complete and I feel as if I can both breath and think again. If I'd already made these healthy choices and the exercise habits before all of this work and stress came on, I'm sure I'd have no problem continuing with them and incorporating them into my day. But for now, I feel as if I'm falling behind yet another deadline..... day 6 already? Sheesh.
FYI, Horses and Vetch..... Our vet visit went very smoothly this morning. Dr. Melissa Hamilton is the best and even the Diva wasn't too disagreeable with her.....although she put on a few minutes of the "I'm so scared" act which has gotten her results in the past, Sande is not so easily fooled by Ms Mouse's theatrics any more much to Mouse's chagrin, lol. Steve is in the middle of cutting hay and he started a discussion with Melissa about the toxicity of vetch. She told us that Hairy and Crown vetch are the highly toxic varieties. There are over 140 varieties of vetch in the US. The one which grows so prolifically is Vicia Sativa or the Common Vetch. The fact that it does seem to be growing everywhere concerned us so I did a little research. I called the Ag Extension office, who are always helpful, but they told us that they really weren't that knowledgeable of the individual vetch varieties toxicity. I told him that I was search on the web for info and he told me to stick to .edu and .gov sites which I did. It took a lot of searching but I finally found two sites, on an FDA site and the other from Rutgers and this is what I found. Turns out that, although Hairy and Crown varieties are highly toxic throughout the plant and should never be fed, most vetch are safe except for the seed or bean which contains ingredients which can range from highly toxic to nutrient blocking which can cause several symptoms if eaten in sufficient quantities. Evidently it takes large quantities because it is far more toxic to chickens than it is horses and cows seem to have no problem with it. As for use as a forage, whether intentional or accidental, the plant itself seems to cause no harm and is commonly used in some countries, Australia and Mexico, as a primary forage for horses. Still, we aren't taking any chances. We will soon be spot spraying pastures already in use and cover spraying the large pasture that we are currently using as a hay field. This plant though does grow like a week, literally. It is so easily spread by birds and other wildlife that I don't know if we can ever eradicate it totally but the small amount that remains shouldn't be harmful or even too much of a temptation if we keep the rest of the pasture growing. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Prevention magazine has started a 28 day fitness and health challenge. I'm already three days behind because I'm just now checking my email which always builds up to an enormous amount when I don't check and clean it up every day. Sooooo, question is, does anyone want to join me on this challenge? If you do, here is where you can sign up to get free exercise and meal plan and daily email newsletter:

Here's the catch up:

DAY 1: Chris Freytag's rule of the day: Eat clean. We know that avoiding processed junk zooms our bodies to health, but it is so easy to get off track. So this month, we're recommitting to filling the fridge with the foods that make us feel as good as they taste. To help you clean up your diet and reap the benefits (weight loss, decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer—and more), check out our simple rules for eating clean.

I was doing so well with eating clean when I was gluten free for four years. After my scope this year which showed no damage from celiacs, I added bread and other foods containing gluten back into my diet. Perhaps the damage done was just healed. I am having another scope in two months and since I'm now consuming gluten like a mad woman, we should be able to see the effects. As far as healthy eating goes, the gluten shouldn't have made such a difference as far as watching the ingredients lists on grocery products. What changed that was the horrible stomach bug that I had a few months ago. Starvation for a week can radically change your attitudes about food and what you crave and desire. With me it was red meat in the form of real cheeseburgers and steaks. Perhaps my body was craving the meat because of the severe dehydration and nutrient loss I suffered but that doesn't explain the sudden craving for sugars and pastas and did I mention sugar? The good news is that I've started craving healthy food again. Despite that fact, I had a cheeseburger for lunch and it was delicious and I did enjoy it. I realize that I desperately need to lose weight. I also know that I don't want to fill my body up with ingredients I can't even pronounce. So, I do plan to start thinking about what I'm eating, reading the labels but also trying to eat as green and close to the vine as I possibly can but also, I will indulge myself occasionally with a cheeseburger, a piece of chocolate or a bowl of ice cream. What would life be without the occasional indulgence? But the word OCCASIONAL is significant because it will be neither special or an indulgence if I make a habit of it and it also won't be a fraction as enjoyable.

DAY 2: Set an intention. What do you want to achieve this month? Renew your health? Lose a little weight? Restore your confidence? Write it down and post it somewhere you'll see daily. —Kris Carr

Okay, I'm going to write this here and then I'll also put it on a post it and stick it on my computer because that way, I will definitely see it daily.

My Intentions:
To develop an exercise habit by promising to do something every day of this month and trying to improve each day.
To begin to monitor what I eat more closely not only for calories and fat but also for sodium, sugar and those unknown ingredients you can't pronounce.
To gain more confidence in myself and begin looking out for myself occasionally as much as I do for others.

Sure I want to be fitter, I want to be thinner and I want more confidence but I think setting out my intentions as a process rather than a goal will get me there a lot faster than just stating my goals with no clear road map.

DAY 3: Get clear on your feelings. Do you want more energy? More space? Do you want to feel lighter? Once you know, you can reverse engineer your success from that space. Feelings 1st. Outcomes 2nd. Ultimate alignment, check! —Kris Carr

Feelings? What do I really want? I definitely want to feel lighter and not just physically but emotionally. I want my life to be more balanced and organized. I want more energy. I want to better manage my time and priorities.

DAY 4: If you're not interested in going full-tilt vegan, make plants your main dish and animal products the side dish, and while you're at it, dump the processed white stuff, especially sugar. Reduce your consumption of animal products to 2-3 times per week and do your best to avoid factory-farmed meat. —Kris Carr

This one will be harder. I realized when I tried to eliminate sugar from my diet for a candida cleanse that sugar hides in so many foods, especially processed foods. I also really love the other "white" foods, potatoes, pasta, rice. I think I need to cut down on those also or else substitute sweet potatoes for the white ones, veggies for the pasta and stick with purple rice (which I like much better than brown but I still won't be giving up the extra fiber.) Now to my other sins.....the first is cheese and butter....butter not such a problem to give up especially since I most enjoy it with foods containing sugar but cheese, geeze! We use cheese on everything or practically everything. I try to stick with lower fat varieties but let's get honest here, low-fat cheese is really an oxymoron. Okay, meat only 2-3 times a week.....hmmm? I can do it but it will be hard since I have to make food that satisfies my husband also. Of course he...unlike me....can live on beans and rice so that would be an option for veggie days. Also, I wonder how they feel about fish and shellfish? I'll keep working on this one.

DAY 5: Just say 'no'. It's easy to get bogged down by to-do lists and commitments. I've caught myself saying things like, 'Once I'm over this hump I'll have more breathing room.' But here's the thing about humps: There's always another one. Saying 'yes' may feel good, but a gentle (yet firm) 'no' is often what your body needs. —Kris Carr

 I think I discussed this at length a few days ago because of all of the commitments I've made lately that have me stretched to my breaking point and so stressed out. The problem is, all of these 
tasks and commitments that are causing me so much stress have been voluntary. In other words, I'm doing it to myself! So, I think the first person I need to say no to is ME. 

This is the Week 1 Exercise Plan
I will post the recipes as I try them. I think it may be a few days before I start the diet part in earnest because I have the vet coming out for the horses' annual exam tomorrow and so many tasks I'm behind on that I don't know when I'll be able to sit down and make a grocery list much less get to the store. BUT I will make every effort to make this happen in the next few days. I'll also be adding the squat challenge below. I was doing this before that awful bug and it was helping me tremendously. Squats are the best exercise. So, I'm going to make this one a habit again.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Epiphanies Come in Threes

Yes, I do know that statement usually applies to celebrity deaths and plane crashes but good things can come in threes also. And even though some realizations are as painful and difficult as childbirth both usually result in extreme joy.

I've been realizing a lot of things about myself lately. Sometimes we just have to wait until our eyes open up so that we can see. I think that is the nature of an epiphany, it is usually something that was there all along but then one day there is a flash of genius and you finally become aware of a great truth. I guess it is true that we see the light when we are ready for it but some of mine have been a long time coming.

One thing I've realized and this is because I laid out the puzzle pieces of my life a few posts ago, hoping that it would spur me into finally getting started on some long term goals. Then my DHC challenges of late have all been about prioritizing and deciding what is most important and what is not. I started thinking about how I spend my day avoiding working on this house and also how, all of my other plans and activities have mentally hinged on getting the house done. At least that was how I was seeing it. Suddenly my eyes opened on this one. I remember a bible verse that said something about where you spend your time is where your heart is. I don't think that is necessarily true. It should be true but in my case it is not. I've neglected my horses, I've neglected my art, I've neglected my body and health all because of this obsession with a huge and overwhelming task that I'm getting no where on. So, epiphany number one: spend more time doing the things I love, making progress in areas that I can, controlling what can be controlled and hopefully, those puzzle pieces will finally start falling into place. And even if they don't, I will be much happier just because I'm spending my time where my heart truly is.

What have I been spending my time on lately, unpaid work for other people. I've been trying to arrange our high school reunion and I've been doing it all on my own. Everyone else wants a reunion but no one is lifting a finger to help me. It's frustrating, it's scary because I have to get enough people signed up, agreeing to attend to get the price down on the place, meal and activities and so far, only half the number I need have been courteous enough to even respond. I also have been helping a friend with a charity run that he's planning to do. I'm more than happy to help with this but at the same time, frustrated because my friend seems unable to think about anything but the actual run and no one else is stepping up to help out. Being me, I've taken it on myself to create the website, design the Tee, organized the tag along runs (it is 113 mile trek he's taking on), take care of the financials and send out press releases. I'm wondering where all those people are who said they'd help with fund raising and organization? Still, I'm happy to do this work but the stress is really getting to me. I'm tired, depressed and moody and my face has broken out. I've not been a happy camper but still I keep trooping along. Once this work is done and the project is rolling along smoothly, I have to get together my graduation gift for my nephew, Charlie. I took photos of him and his girlfriend before their prom and I want to get those printed and possibly put into a book for them. Great idea but that too takes something I'm short on lately, time. There are a dozen other tasks and commitments that I'm behind on and none of them are bringing in any money for us or getting me any closer to those long term goals for me and my life. Which brings me to epiphany number two: I have to start valuing myself and my work enough to get paid for it. I've been working nonstop for several years now and not getting paid for anything. I have to stop giving work away and I have to get over this fear or embarrassment of actually expecting people to pay me for the work I do. True, the three examples above are not ones where I expect payment but there are plenty of other cases where I let people talk me into doing work for free or talk me into deep discounts. It isn't right. Even though I made my living at art for over 25 years, I still feel as if people look at me and say, "Oh, that's just Sande. She's not a professional. Her work isn't worth anything." Maybe no one thinks that.....but me. It's time that changes. It's time that I say, "NO MORE!" and I begin to value myself and my work enough to say, "I deserve to get paid for this and I'm good enough to expect a fair value for my work!" You're getting a Sande Elkins original, damn it! Expect to pay for it.... mucho dollars....mucho, mucho dollars!

Okay, I did say three epiphanies........ A huge part of my problem is and always has been that I'm a people pleaser. I try my best to keep everyone happy. I bend over backwards to help others but rarely is the favor returned. I've always been the family peace keeper and always end up getting hit from both sides when the mud starts flying. That all has to stop, too. My self worth has been built on other's opinions of me. The problem with that, those people almost always have their own agenda. In other words, the "opinionated" usually knock you down just to build themselves up. The second problem with that, I'm judging my own self worth on the opinions of people who usually aren't important in my life. I've spent too much time trying to please or trying to impress all of the wrong people. I've listened too often to critiques by people with ulterior motives and judged myself based on those critiques. It's time that I gained a little confidence and a whole heap of self worth. I need to stop basing my actions and beliefs on the way anyone else feels about me but myself. I've never understood that statement, "What other people think of you is none of your business" because I've always been way too sensitive to what other people were thinking. But the truth is, whether or not it is my business, it shouldn't matter. They are going to think what they think but in the end, only I know the truth behind both my actions and words and my own feelings and in the end, my thoughts, feelings and opinions are the only ones that matter to me. I have to get not only confidence but I need to get a little gumption and say, how I feel and think is just as important as what you feel and think and my opinion of myself is the only one that matters because it's the only one I have to live with and be responsible for.

So, I'm growing. Fifty-eight years old and still learning, who would have thunk it?

One more thing and maybe this is an epiphany as well....but then that would mess with my theory of threes so we will just call this an add on........ I've started eating gluten again. In fact, I've been binging on foods that I have not eaten in four years but in the past few months, they haven't just been staples of my diet but obsessions. The good news, I'm losing the urge to eat breads, pastries and pasta and I'm starting to crave healthy foods. So, I'm hoping that this gorging of myself on whatever I desire is coming to an end. It all started after that week when I was too sick to eat anything.... or at least couldn't keep anything I ate down. I guess starving made me appreciate food more and when I was able to, I indulged! That was two months ago and I've been a very, very bad girl. I have to get back on the program and start eating a healthier and more balanced diet...... and exercising and sleeping well again, neither of which I've done since being sick. For the last twenty years, I've been saying that I need balance in my life but so far, I have not achieved that goal. I have to decide what is really important in my life. I think with health and nutrition and everything else in my life, I haven't been seeing the forest for the trees. It's time to change that and start setting mini goals, little hills, and forget about those major mountains until I get to them. Once I climb all these little hills, that mountain just might be a piece of cake.