Thursday, October 28, 2010

Not me...

This wasn’t supposed to happen to me…
Two weeks ago tonight I went into the hospital because I was having chest pains – it turns out I had a heart attack. Let me back up a minute before I go on…

All my life I have struggled with my weight – it is truly has a yo-yo effect. People find comfort in many things, I find comfort in food. Being single, cooking has never been a fun thing to do, so eating out has been a common practice for me – often drive thru food. I have been on every diet you can think of and am even a Lifetime Weight Watchers member (you wouldn’t believe this looking at me).

The next thing that has been a struggle for me is exercising. While many people love to exercise, I can think of many other things I would rather do than exercise. I have tried many different forms of exercise, and really haven’t found my niche. I joined #temt with the hope it would inspire me to workout more. It did in the start, but like in the past, it worked for a bit and then there were many things “ that got in the way” of me having the time to exercise.

All of this has not made me the most healthy person. Looking back there were many warning signs that I wasn’t feeling well, but ignored them or really didn’t notice them because feeling crappy was my norm. I never thought at 43 yr. old I would be having a heart attack.

Like I said, I went in 2 weeks ago today, I think I actually had the heart attack on Monday. I didn’t feel well, had chest pains – but I knew I had a lot going on that week and I needed to push through and keep going (BIG MISTAKE). So I continued to work, presented at a school board mtg., traveled 5 hrs. south to a site visit to Van Meter, Iowa. When we got back from Iowa, I was still having pains, but I didn’t go in until I opened this picture from my niece thanking me for taking to Berenstain Bears the Musical(picture above) – it was then that I knew I needed to go in because there were 7 children (my nieces and nephews) who I want to be there for in the future. So I called my sister…

To make a long story short – I had 3 blocked arteries – one 100% blocked and two 70% blocked. I had 2 stents put in, a three night hospital stay and some big lifestyle changes ahead. The result: I am feeling awesome, but have a long road ahead. I have a new heart healthy diet, am going to cardio rehab two days a week and have many dr. appointments ahead.

What do I want from the #temt?
1. Get an annual physical – I had not been to the dr. in years, this could have been prevented.
2. Please share any heart healthy (low fat, low sodium) recipes and/or websites – especially small portion recipes.
3. Continue to share and support each other in exercise – I really don’t want this to happen to anyone else:)

This has been a bump in the road for me, but nothing I can’t handle – especially with the support of others.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

8 Small Changes = Big Wins, Over Time! - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

When the summer was beginning to wind down, I knew that keeping up my workout routine was going to pose a challenge. I know I am not alone with this sentiment.  That was one of the reasons that we started TEMT: to keep up our motivation and encourage each other to find the time and ways to take care of ourselves!
Here are 8 small changes I am trying to make in my daily practice so that I don't lose my focus on staying healthy! They may not be new ideas for you, but putting them down here means I will remember to practice them. Feel free to add yours in the comment section as well!
  • Take the steps At my school, there is a very nice long staircase that separates the lower part of the school from the upper part. Since I get to school early, I have the perfect opportunity to "run" the steps a few times to get my heartbeat going. This is, of course, not a substitute for a session of "cardio" but over time, it adds up to increased minutes of active movement. 
  • 30 minutes is enough time to squeeze in some exercise I have always seemed to maintain this all or nothing approach to working out. If I don't have more than 30 minutes I often say, "I didn't have enough time to exercise today." I must fight this false notion!  I am vowing here and now to take 30 minutes of my lunch time at least twice per week to walk with a friend. It may not provide the "all sweaty" feeling of an intense workout, but it will help to maintain my fitness level.
  • Lift some weights I keep a pair of dumbbells under my desk and try to use them at least 3 mornings per week when I arrive at school. I can squeeze in sets of exercises to work out my biceps, triceps, chest and shoulders. 
  • Keep a bag in the car Sometimes one of my tutoring students will cancel, or I have a 30 minute period I can take to go for a run before getting in my car for the commute home. If I have the bag ready, I can find a place to change and de-stress with a run after a busy day.
  • Have healthy snacks handy  I don't know about you, but when I don't plan ahead with some healthy snacks, I am much more apt to grab something in the staff room. Fortunately, there are often healthy fruit or veggie snacks there, but I try to be prepared. When I take the time to nurture myself with healthy snacks, I am much more inclined to exercise as well.
  • Include the workout on that to-do list When I see it written there, the intention becomes more of a reality.
  • Set reasonable goals If you promise that you will work out 5-7 days per week, but have only been able to achieve a goal of 3-4, why not shoot for a slightly longer or more challenging workout? Make sure your goals are achievable and won't lead you to abandoning them altogether.
  • Be kind to yourself and don't compare to others!  I'm not sure how this one applies to others, but I know that I am my own worst enemy at times. I need to focus on encouraging myself, not criticizing or comparing myself to someone training for a marathon. When I meet a goal, I need to acknowledge myself for the achievement!
What has helped you achieve your fitness goals? Care to share your challenges and successes?