January 22, 2018

Staying Positive AFTER An Injury or Surgery

You might be thinking to yourself, is she kidding, everyone at some point becomes negative during the recovery process! My response to that is, you are ABSOLUTELY correct! We do, it is part of human nature for us, but at the same time, we also have the capabilities to counter act that choice.

Let me give you a little background to back up what I am about to say to you. I am a 37yr old single mom and I should have died not once, but 4 different times in my life. I have been told by doctors at 3 points in my life that I would NEVER walk again. I was told my life would NEVER be the same. I lived through 3 near fatal car accidents, my last being in the line of duty. The other thing that almost killed me was when I contracted bacterial meningitis. I have more titanium in my body holding me together than anyone should EVER have. I have gone through 20 surgeries to date, mostly on my lumbar spine, pelvic and left hip. So now that you know a little about me, let me tell you why I am a SURVIVOR, not a victim!Never believe words of people who have NEVER gone through what you are going through, and YES this includes the doctors treating you! You truly are your own worst enemy when it comes to your recovery! It is just like when we want to hit a PR (personal record), if we go into negatively, we might as well NEVER even try! But when we go into with a positive mindset, it is truly amazing what our minds are capable of putting our bodies through! Another thing about mindset, don’t be a stubborn or a prideful person when you reenter the box/gym. You do this; you might as well have just stayed home! Let me tell you this now and get it out of the way – YOU WILL NOT BE THE SAME PERSON AS BEFORE, throw out all your old goals and make new ones for the person you are NOW!!  Now, I am not saying that you will never get back to where you were, hell you might even exceed all your past PRs! What I am saying is your body has changed, PERIOD! There is no going back to the way it use to be. It is time to start finding out what works for the body you have NOW! This is probably one of the biggest struggles people deal with when in recovery. The second is the time from which the injury or surgery occurred to when you actually get back into the box/gym!

So let’s talk about that for a second, that down time can either be used to play the pity card or it can be used to start formulating a path in which you want to go. Only YOU can make this decision. Only YOU can decide if want to be the “oh woe is me” person or the SURVIVOR! And I don’t care how many cheerleaders you have in your corner, NONE OF THEM can do this journey for you! Matter of fact, there will come a point that if you hear one more positive word out of someone’s mouth, you literally might go insane!

In closing, let me just make one thing clear! An injury or surgery doesn’t define WHO YOU ARE…you do!  I am not going to sit here and tell you that it’s going to be easy, it actually might be the hardest fight of your life, and like me, you might have to fight it a few times. But what I will tell you is not only will it be worth it, but you will be stronger than you have ever been hitting any PRs!!!

You NEED To Change Your Lifestyle…NOT DIET!!!

There are NO miracle pills, injections, creams or surgeries…there are NO diet centers or diet fads…that will give you the healthy lifestyle you not only want, but deserve!!

Let me explain…I have been there, I have literally tried everything out there (no joke)…it was called being “desperate”.
When I say I have tried EVERYTHING, I am not kidding!! I have done all the silly “fad” diets, all the proclaimed “diet” and “fat burner” pills, to spending thousands of dollars on diet centers, to even starvation. Did they work…yes, but ONLY while I was on them! Why…because the only thing that changed was me following their directions, NOT by me changing my mindset! I knew I NEEDED to lose the weight, but I didn’t want to put in the effort to really do it. It wasn’t until my last attempt did something finally click!

You see, my last attempt was the Lap-Band Surgery, but I made a promise not only to myself but to my sister that I was going to use this as a “tool” NOT a “fix”. And that is exactly what I did. (Yes, I still have the band in, but I no long have restriction in it..meaning I no longer even use it as a too
l). What I had to do was not put my BODY on a diet…it was to FIX my brain and my heart first, my body would eventually follow!6 months prior to surgery, I started doing tons of research, I started asking questions to the right kind of people. I started learning about my body, about the inside. I read everything I could about nutrition. I finally made up my MIND that I was ready to make a LIFESTYLE CHANGE, not go on a diet! I also signed up for my first triathlon since prior to my first accident (at age 18). Instead of spending money on pills or diet centers, I spent it on buying a Tri bike, running sneakers, racing suits, an MP3 player, etc (all which I still have to this day…money well spent!). I started back swimming first and it felt great…I finally felt alive again! I literally was killing myself in the gym, I was working out 6 days a week, twice a day. I wasn’t losing much, but that’s when I realized I hadn’t cleaned up my eating (and even when I did, it wasn’t like I eat now, it was societies healthy eating…ya know the 100 calorie snack packs (GARBAGE)!! )!
There is nothing out there better than what healthy clean eating can do for you, your mind and your body. 80% of what your body looks like comes from the kitchen…the other 20% comes from what you do (physically).It really hasn’t been until these past 2 years…have I really noticed how true this is. Which, of course, has only made me want to know more! Knowledge is power! It’s amazing what certain foods can do for us…from lowering blood pressure, to flushing out toxins and repairing muscles….and it is all done NATURALLY!!!
It really hasn’t been up until this last year after my last 3 major surgeries that I really started honing in on my food choices, how to eat, when to eat, how much of what (protein, carbs, fat ratios), and the actual nutrient value of what I was putting in my body! My mindset changed again towards food…it no longer is food to me…it is FUEL! It’s what keeps me moving, it what stabilizes my health, makes my skin, hair and nails healthier, boost my immune system, aids in my recovery of not just workouts, but from surgeries. I do take supplements and I believe that there are ones out there that ADD to the nutrients you already are eating. No supplement should EVER replace actual food, EVER!!!

This post is not to ridicule anyone for doing anything that is trying to better their health…this is just an inside glimpse at my life and what I battled…and still do…it is an everyday choice I make to be and stay healthy! 🙂

“Scale” Weight

Are you type of person who wakes up every morning and steps on the scale? Then depending on what it says, decides your mood and what you decide to do for the day, in means of eating and exercise. Then you continue through the day rechecking your “scale” weight, only to get discouraged, mad, disappointed or even depressed that it is fluctuating from what it read that morning.

First, let’s talk about what the number on the scale ACTUALLY means. The most important is that if you see a number, it means YOU ARE ALIVE!! But really, your weight is made up of three main components – fat, water, and lean body mass (muscle, organs, and bone).  A regular bathroom scale can’t not give you these three separate numbers; you would need a body composition scale.  I have come across a scale I would buy for myself, not for the measurement of my weight, but for everything else it gives me. It’s called the Iron Girl Body Composition Monitor, and yes boys there is an Iron MAN one too! It measures your: weight, body fat %, body water %, muscle mass, bone mass, daily caloric intake, visceral fat and physique rating.  Can we just say…WOW!! This line of scales are amazing, they have one in the Iron Man line that actually helps you balance out your right side to your left (so say you have an injury to your left leg, it will help guide you into rebuilding it to match your right)!

(CLICK PICTURES TO GO TO AMAZON AND CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE LINE)

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Second, when you see a loss on the scale, do you know what it is you exactly lost? Is it water, is it fat or worse, is it lean muscle? The answer is probably no. But how can you help your mind understand this better…EASY, measure yourself! Take your measurements at your chest (females on top and under), your waist (maybe in 2 different sections), hips, arm, and leg. Another way to gauge composition in our body is by your clothes. You can do this in two ways: one by the clothes you fit into right now and then also by that goal pair of jeans. The one thing you don’t want to lose is your lean muscle mass. Why? Your muscle is what keeps your metabolism on fire. The more you have the higher your metabolism is, means the more calories your body burns. How can you not want more muscle!?

Third, would you rather weight 150lbs with 26% body fat OR weigh 150lbs with 18% body fat? Would you rather, at rest, burn 2000 cals a day or burn 2500 cals a day? I know I would much rather have the latter!

You see everyone who starts a weight loss journey, gets discouraged around week 3. Why? Well, if you every have seen the Biggest Loser, there first week weight loss is extreme, mainly because of water weight loss. Then their 2nd week is still pretty good, but then week 3 hits and it’s like a wall! Their smiles are gone, they are disappointed and confused. They have eaten the same way as the first two weeks and possibly have worked out even harder this week, but the scale barely shows it. If the composition of their bodies were measured too and were posted on the screen, you might see something very impressive, the loss of body fat was great and that their lean body mass went up. THIS IS A VERY POSITIVE THING!

Here is a wonderful friend of mine, Magda, she did a Paleo Challenge at her CrossFit Box for 52 days. During this challenge, she lost only 2lbs, if she never took before and after pictures, she would have never seen the body composition change in herself!

 Check her out at TriWellnessByMagda!

In the end, don’t give up when you see no loss on the scale when you step on, after all it is JUST a number. Ask yourself how do you feel, do your clothes fit different, can you see changes in your body (take progress pictures, it is easy to forget what you look from month to month, when you see yourself daily). Do you have more energy due to your new eating changes? Do you feel stronger when your workout? This is what is MORE important, than ANY number on a scale!

If you truly want a scale for your house…get a FOOD scale to measure your exact intake!!

The Most Over Used Phrase And It’s A Complete Lie!

“I am going on a diet.”

How many of you ever have made this statement? I know I am of guilty of it!

It wasn’t until about the last 2 years have I really understood and began to comprehend the difference between nutrition, diet, and eating. Want to know the difference? It’s easy…THERE IS NONE! Let me explain further.

What you eat every day IS YOUR DIET. That’s what it is called! It’s your everyday eating habits and lifestyle that makes up your nutritional diet. Did you happen to notice that all three words were used in that last sentence?

In order for you to change your diet to a healthier, cleaner diet, is a lifestyle change. I am not saying to go to the extreme tomorrow…I am saying start making a change weekly for the better. Some will be easy, some will be more challenging, but the results you get in return far outweigh ANY “suffering” you think you are enduring. TRUST ME!

You are probably wondering what I mean by a cleaner diet. It’s easy…EAT REAL FOOD! Can it be any simpler? The problem is, is that it is simple, people just don’t do it. Now what exactly is REAL FOOD? Here’s the low down, it’s anything that can be found in nature. If you can kill or grow it, EAT IT! So that boils down to meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, legumes, vegetables and fruit. If you want to eat even cleaner, you can eat organic, grass-fed and cage free foods. Though it is not a necessity, but choosing those options, you are guaranteed no extra preservatives, additives, or hormones in anything you eat.

How to start making changes? First, don’t worry about counting calories, weighing food or eating 5-6 times a day (to start). Just start eating REAL FOOD, eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied (this means eating slower and don’t stuff yourself, give your brain time to catch up to what you are doing). Also, center each meal around a high quality protein source.

As you start adapting this new lifestyle and way of eating, then you can start tweaking. What I mean by that is basing particular foods around different times in your day (which will be different for everyone). For example, if you are going to be training, you would want to consume a solid protein and fibrous carb about 30-60 mins prior too, then a fast digesting protein (like a whey protein shake) and a good carb source right after. I can explain this in further detail in another blog.

Lastly, don’t think if you fall off the clean eating, that you have failed because you haven’t. It’s only 3-4 hours until your body becomes hungry to TRY AGAIN!!

 

My Challenge

Well, as most know, I am doing a challenge to get my butt back in gear after a terrible 2011 (medically that is).  Let me give you a little bit of a background of what 2011 had for me…I started the year off pretty great…in the gym 5 days a week, but then it came to a halt when I had selective surgery in February, it was a surgery I was looking forward to for over 5 years and one I definitely deserved! Then just when I was able to start back up and moving again and got the OK from my Doc to return to the gym…my back gave. I knew it was serious but with NO insurance, I just suffered through it. I gave up the gym and reverted back to being bed ridden. Finally on Aug 9th, I couldn’t walk and my dad rushed me to the ER, basically for them to just turn me away without doing anything! They thought I was a pain pill shopper (yet I never once asked for a pain prescription…since I am immune to them all!). So my dad brought me home and made a call that changed everything. He called my old Neuro Doc from 10 years ago that did all my 3 previous back surgeries. My dad updated him on my situation (including the on the duty accident), this was Aug 12th…I was given an MRI that day and then told to report to his office first thing Aug 15th. Pushed in a wheelchair, I was told by my Doc to go directly to Cape Hospital for emergency back surgery, I had blown out the 3 discs above my last fusion he did 10 years prior. Again, I was bed ridden for 4 weeks, then slowly started feeling somewhat normal…that was until my left hip started acting up! I had an amazing friend, Amanda, who had a great friend, Edward, that she made a call too. Needless to say he is the TOP joint implant surgeon in the area! He told me to come in Oct 19th to see him…he took one X-Ray and then asked me how I was even walking!! I was schedule that day for a TOTAL LEFT HIP REPLACEMENT on Nov 3rd! He was a little concerned due to just being under anesthesia twice already this year, and also knowing that I have to be doubled dosed with it so I don’t wake up during surgery, but he pressed on! The day of surgery he went over the pain schedule…needless to say I cut him off and told him NOTHING works. He was like, “Are you telling me you are gonna have this surgery WITHOUT ANY PAIN MEDS to help?”…yep that is EXACTLY what I am telling you. He wasn’t sure how to take that. After all, I am only 36…how can I already be immune to all these meds!! Well, surgery was a success…12 hours later he asked if he could try a pain med cocktail with me over the next 12 hours to see if he could try to lessen my pain…I said sure. Well he monitored me closely…and I was alert, not loopy, talking fine and my blood pressure didn’t drop…so then he said I should have basically been dead…the mix he gave could put an elephant down. So he took me off everything and I just suffered through it. Finally on Jan 25th of this year, I got the OK to get back in the gym…and oh boy, did I take that seriously!! I gained 28 pounds over the course of 2011…and my joints can feel it!! So I need to get this extra weight off to get my hip flexors and back/core strong again. It’s my challenge…..

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