Be Totally Fit for Life!

 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 NIV

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The posts on this website are for informational purposes only. Please, check with your health care provider before trying any new exercise or weight loss program. You will find articles about health, nutrition, exercise, relationships, Christian wellness, self-image, the Bible, and hazards of the New Age movement prevalent in the general health, fitness, and wellness communities. My hope is to encourage you on your journey to total health as you live out your Christian faith.

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Renew God's Creation in You

Posted on January 17, 2020 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Image by Adrian Ward, Freely Photos.


Here I sit writing this blog post, with my Apple watch nagging me to stand. I record my physical activity, food intake, heart rate, and more. Unfortunately, it also has a Mindfulness section. I want to change this to prayer and bible study, but Apple doesn't let us swap out these features. How did we get to this point?


I've been thinking lately about how our current lifestyle is killing us. The cardiologist's office, where my husband and I go for our cardiac care, carries a heavy load of patients. I heard one man exclaim that he didn't need to watch his diet because it was the doctor's job to treat the results of his unhealthy lifestyle. This man came from a generation who believed "well-marbled meat" was the best, meaning that having fat marbled through a piece of beef made it an ideal purchase. But this mentality brought on a lot of cardiovascular diseases. It seems we would rather take a pill than eat healthily and exercise. We have spiraled downward in our unhealthy lifestyles worldwide; hence the reason for such devices to remind us to take care of our health.

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According to the National Institute of Health, unhealthy lifestyles cause illness, disability, and death (NIH). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 60% of the world's population lives unhealthy lifestyles (NIH). Unhealthy lifestyles account for "metabolic diseases, joint and skeletal problems, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, overweight, violence and so on, can be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle," states researcher Dariush Farhud (NIH). These issues have been brought on by sedentary living, eating unhealthy foods, stress, lack of rest and sleep, and more. We have drifted far from the Garden of Eden since Adam and Eve banished from it.


Read: Genesis 1:29-31, 2

Focus verse: 3 John 1:2


We were created to have fellowship with God daily.


Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden daily. They could see Him face to face. Now, on this side of the banishment from the Garden and Jesus' death and resurrection, we struggle to work devotions and prayer into our full lives. Jesus opened up our ability to come before God's throne anytime. It is through the study of His Word and conversations (prayer) with God that we can have peace, focus on life, and purpose.


We were created to move.


God didn't command any of the animals to care for the Garden. He gave this privileged responsibility to Adam and Eve, who was to help Adam with this task. When they sinned against God, one of the consequences of their sin was to have a harder time yielding food from their work. With all the modern conveniences doing our work for us, we have to create work in the form of exercise to stay healthy.


We were given every good thing to nourish our bodies.


God gave us all of the foods that come from the plants and trees, and later, meat from the animals to eat (Genesis 9:3). If we were to stay more basic with our foods containing fewer chemicals, preservatives, and processing, we would experience less disease, disability, and death as a result. Death and disease will still come from the Fall of Adam and Eve, but less from living a healthy lifestyle.


We were created to be with other people.


God created Eve to be a companion to Adam and help him tend the Garden. Since that time, it has been discovered that loneliness and isolation can cause many health-related issues. According to Dr. Amy Sullivan, Ph.D. of the Cleveland Clinic, loneliness accounts for anxiety, depression, and increased cortisol levels. She says, "Cortisol can impair cognitive performance, compromise the immune system, and increase your risk for vascular problems, inflammation, and heart disease." https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-in-your-body-when-youre-lonely/" target="_blank">(Cleveland Clinic). It is all the more reason for us to have fellowship and worship with other Christians (Acts 2:46-47).


From the very beginning, we had everything we needed, but now we must strive to make these happen.


If we are to be healthy, that is, totally fit for life, it is imperative for us to purposely spend time with God daily, eat healthy, nutritious foods, exercise, and find social connections with other Christians. Let us renew the ideal God set for us from the beginning, as best as possible. We may not be able to have the perfection of daily living Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden. Still, we can do our best by living a totally healthy lifestyle until the day we spend eternity with perfect spiritual bodies in the eternal presence of God. May you " prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers" (3 John 1:12).


Resources:

"Impact of Lifestyle on Health" by Dariush D. Farhud. National Institute of Health, November 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4703222/ ;


"What Happens to Your Body When You are Lonely" Health Essentials.Cleveland Clinic, February 23, 2018.

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-in-your-body-when-youre-lonely/


 

Holy Bible, New King James Version.Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson,

Personalize Your Healthy Lifestyle Plan

Posted on January 9, 2020 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)


Image by RKM and Charlaine Martin, 2020. All rights reserved.


My Boaz and I have been traveling around Florida over the Christmas to New Years while his work was on holiday shutdown. Walking, water exercise, and dancing kept us moving. Our meals were healthy and low calorie with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, especially the citrus fruit from my favorite citrus store! Mmmm, good! But there is more to healthy living than what we eat and what we do. I’ve had more recent orders from my doctor that means making other lifestyle changes.


 One of those adjustments for me is limiting sun exposure. Sure, Florida is sunny, but the sun can be just as much a health aggravator in Michigan when it peers out from the clouds. I’ve had to consider better eye protection from the sun’s rays with a new set of sunglasses that have better coverage than my Transitions lenses. If I don’t, then I get visual distortion from the inflammation in my eyes. I picked up some higher SPF sunscreen at 50+, but it only lasts so long before it needs to be reapplied. What works better for general coverage is SPF 50+ clothing that I found on clearance. A hat and sunbrella are helpful as portable shade. A cute rashguard set works well on the beaches. I did experiment one day wearing regular clothes and sunscreen with my Transitions lenses. I discovered partway through my day that overall exhaustion set in. My hands became hot puffy and tingly with painful joints (when I washed my hands and didn’t reapply sunscreen), and I began to have visual distortion. I found it interesting that my feet did the same as my hands even though they were in shoes and socks. In order to reduce flare-ups and inflammation, my Healthy Lifestyles plan includes good sun protection habits.


 

Another need of mine is stress reduction. Indeed, we could all use this one. It was tough to let go of my to-do list. It was essential to “BE” more than “DO.” I still posted memes from my phone and posed some questions, but I left most of my writing and projects alone. How freeing it was to enjoy excursions with my hubby without worrying about “stuff.” In 2020, I resolve to be kinder to myself about what I do and don’t do for my Healthy Lifestyle plan. Until we begin looking at the particular issues we face in life will we be better prepared to personalize our healthy lifestyles plan.


Make It Your Own


  Although there are set facts and principles for totally healthy living, some issues are particular to your needs. So what about you? What particulars do you need to consider for your Healthy Lifestyles plan? Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you make your personal list of considerations to be totally fit for life:

 

1. How much sleep do you get each night, average over a week? If this is less than 6-8 hours, you might want to add this one to make a plan to increase your sleep.

 

2. Are you pregnant or nursing? If so, you will need more calories and avoid certain foods, smoking, etc. to stay healthy and protect the health of your developing baby.

 

 3. Does your job require mandatory overtime, availability 24/7, or are you salaried working 60+ hours? This one is tough but necessary to corral. How can you protect your personal time and family time while meeting work obligations?


4. Do you have health conditions that restrict your food, environment, or other requirements? If so, list out what you should or shouldn’t consume, be around, or do. For example, someone with gout needs to avoid purines in certain foods, someone with MS may need to avoid excessive heat, or cancer patient in active treatment may need to watch out for sun exposure and avoid certain foods.


 5. Are you 50+? If so, there are considerations to protect your joints and dietary needs that are different than when you were younger. For example, heavy weights or high impact exercises should be replaced by joint-friendly exercise options.


 6. Are you diabetic? If so, you will need to modify your food intake, and your exercise to avoid blood sugar crashes, drink more water to stay hydrated, and eat healthy foods that promote better glucose control. Also, you will need to consider any injuries that aren’t healing well.


 7. Do you work at home or outside the home? How will this impact food prep, exercise, and devotional & prayer time?


 These are just a few of my thoughts you might want to consider. There are so many more that you likely can name. Jot all these issues down on paper or type into your smart device. One of the best ways to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle plan is to join a Healthy Lifestyles group or hire a Christian Health & Wellness Coach. If these aren’t options, then find someone who lives healthy from a Christian perspective who would be willing to be your accountability partner. Totally Healthy Living isn’t a cookie-cutter approach, but a personal journey toward healthy living with Jesus at the center of this new lifestyle.


Want to register for Healthy Lifestyles? Click here. Sessions begin soon!


May God bless you!

 

 

There's No Better Time than Now!

Posted on December 25, 2019 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


My hubby and I decided to go mall walking at a prestigious mall because it was too cold outside. One thing struck us: There were barely any Christmas decorations compared to previous years. The only real display was at the center with a castle for Santa pictures. Sure, stores had their decorations up. Of course, they want to sell Christmas gifts. But what gives? We discussed this discovery, speculating what caused the lack of Christmas cheer.


Our first thought was brick-and-mortar retail is taking a financial hit, so the decorating budget was cut. Then we considered the people around us. Many of them were from other countries, some from Muslim, Buddhist, and different religious backgrounds. Detriot's demographics have taken a significant shift over the past few years. It seems that Christmas is less popular and less known. What a time we live in.


 

Read: Luke 2:1-20


Focus: Luke 2:17-18 "Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds."


 

Mary and Joseph found themselves in quite an interesting time, too. They lived during the time of the Roman Empire, which included occupying Israel. The Jews were free to practice their religious observances. There hadn't been a prophet speak to Israel for around 4oo years, but an Angel spoke to Mary telling her she would give birth to the long-awaited Messiah. Inconvenient as it was, Mary and Joseph had to go back to Bethlehem to fulfill the requirements of the census, which hadn't been done since Quirinius, the governor of Syria.


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


The distance for them to travel was a considerable distance from Nazareth to the Bethlehem, known as the birthplace of King David, where they both grew up (https://www.bibleplaces.com/bethlehem/" target="_blank">BiblePlaces.com). Both of them were descendants of King David. It was not the closer town of Bethlehem. She was ready to give birth, but they did it with Mary on the back of the donkey. Bethlehem was ridiculously busy, so much so, they couldn't get a room. The stable where animals were kept was out back, and they were welcome to stay there. This was no cute, quaint wooden lean-to. It was a cave. We were amazed at the size of this cave when we visited Israel in 2017 with Discovery Cruises and Tours. They would have been in the innermost section to protect them from dangerous animals that could attack them. It would have been dark inside, so they would have to make their own light. All they had for the delivery were animal watering troughs carved from limestone, very abundant in that region. Trees exist in that region, but not of enough substance to build structures. The cloths available would be rags left inside by the owners of the animals (BiblePlaces.com). Possibly it was where guests could bed down their animals during their stays in the Inn. Not exactly a prestigious maternity ward for the King of kings.


At that same time, Roman roads were an exceptionally well-planned infrastructure making travel at that time very efficient. People of all sorts of backgrounds and religions frequented all of the Roman world. This is the stage set for the fantastic event to unfold: the birth of the Messiah, who would one day take away the sins of the world. The shepherds who were the first to see baby Jesus as told to them by the angels were able to go tell others about what they saw. This news spread like crazy! King Herod got wind of it, that's how quick this sort of news could spread. In fact, it was tremendously convenient for the magi, astrologers of the time, to follow the star to get to Bethlehem to see this newborn King. Of course, they needed directions, but they made it easily. In case you wonder about the wise men, the church in Cologne, Germany, claims to have their bodies, three of them, entombed inside the cathedral. Tradition talks about three of them: Belthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar (Brittanica). But our passage closes with the account of the shepherds telling about Jesus' birth and the people marveling that shepherds were the ones telling the news.


As Christians take their "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" and "Keep Christ in CHRISTmas" stances, I can't help but see the incredible time we live in. The Internet is a universal vehicle of communication all over the world, English is the universal business language, people travel easily worldwide, and foreign religions live among us. Just knowing the mall may reflect the newer demographics makes me consider the window of opportunity we have. Why do some believe we should have Christian utopia here? It's not a time to put up our protest memes, but a time to lovingly share the good news of Jesus while that window is still open. Someday will be too late.


Resources:

The Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV).Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.


"Magi: Biblical Figures". Brittanica.com. December 20, 2019. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Magi


"Bethlehem", BiblePlaces.com. https://www.bibleplaces.com/bethlehem/.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Jesus' Birthday the Healthy Way

Posted on December 12, 2019 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)


Image by Public Domain Pictures from Pixabay.


I don’t know about you, but most Christmases start around Thanksgiving and finally end around Valentine’s Day. Why? Because we get hooked on hyperflavoring, fats, sweets, and salts. Our notion of veggies looks more like overly mushy green beans—very few of them—doing the backstroke in mushroom soup sauce with an overall blizzard of deep fried onion rings. In fact, at family holiday gatherings, anything that looked like a recognizable vegetable or fruit was shunned by almost all. Who ate those? The person labeled health-nut and the diabetic who was scolded at the doctor’s office for too high of an A1C not long ago. That's who. Jesus' birthday can be celebrated by all when we offer healthy, delicious meals for this feast.


What Traditional Feasting Does


Rich fat and carb laden foods are accompanied by sugar and salt. Lots of it. Comfort foods, like what we see during the holidays, are addictive. They create feel good hormones like that of getting a prize or that of sex are released into the blood stream. We also associate certain foods with people, places, and times of year.(Psychology Today).This effect makes it hard for many people to go back to eating healthy on regular days. They are struggle to leave the Christmas on the holiday.


Not only do we put on extra weight, around .2-.4% between Thanksgiving and New Years  we compromise our health (MSN). Much of what feels like extra weight is likely bloat. If someone is pre-diabetic, it could help them over the edge into type 2 diabetes. Certain foods during family gatherings are higher in purines which aggravates gout (Medical News Todayhttps://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315732.php#avoid" target="_blank">). Salt and fats makes blood pressure rise, so those with high blood pressure controlled by medication likely will find their blood pressure high anyway. Extra refined carbs and fats aggravate heart disease and cause inflammation in the body. You will feel yucky and lethargic, but happy. Ridiculous, huh?


I’ve worked with clients, who had been eating clean for a few weeks, come back from Christmas parties feeling like absolute garbage. After they learned their lessons, they took healthy foods along to share so they would stay well at future gatherings.


Why Feast?


There is a biblical foundation for feasts as celebrations. First, God commanded the Israelites to observe certain celebrations with feasts like the Passover (Exodus 12). Feasts were always a part of religious observances, often with a fast involved before the feast, weddings, and more. In Psalm 22:19 we read that the prosperous shall eat and worship and everyone who dies will bow before Him (Jesus). In Ecclesiastes 10:17-19 we see that there is a proper time for feasting and celebration that it brings laughter and joy, but not for the sake of overindulgences. There is a time to feast, but when the celebration is done, we should go back to living a healthy lifestyle.


How to Incorporate Them Into the Christmas Season


All those sauces are hiding your veggies that had the nutrients boiled out of them. They are laden with fats, salt, and carbs. Steamed veggies retain more nutrients when they still have a bit of crispness. Fresh cut vegetables like broccoli and carrots retain the nutrients your body craves. If you really like the taste of dips or sauces, lightly dip veggies into sauces for a light taste that highlights, not hides, the flavor of fruits and vegetables. If you like them roasted, use a healthy oil with a touch of herbs, but avoid too much salt. A light dash will do. This way, you protect your health, your waistline, and you feel a whole lot cherrier. It is a win-win!


As we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, do enjoy some of the seasonal treats, but we can choose to celebrate with God’s provision of healthy, nutritious food so we can function well through the season. It is good to not aggravate health conditions by overdoing salty, sugary, fat-laden foods. Such swaps as low-fat plain yogurt can replace sour cream. Even using non-dairy alternatives would improve the nutrition content and lower the saturated fats. Replace saturated fats with healthy fats like olive, grapeseed, and safflower oils. Fats are flavor enhancers, so you need them, just not as much as with the original recipe. Reduce salt or sugar, but increase the seasoning or spices to keep foods flavorful. Watch out for seasonings because they often contain a considerable amount of salt or sugar. Mrs. Dash is a great alternative, but not gluten-free for celiac or gluten-sensitivity.


Rather than adding glazes to hams, gravy to turkey, chicken, or beef, use bone broth instead. This amps the flavor when you increase spices with a touch of salt, since ham is already salty. Avoid brining or deep frying turkey, for Pete’s sake! Ugh. Bake, roast, or broast meats instead. You could inject seasoning into the meat or marinate overnight before cooking. You want your guests to absolutely love eating with you, not dreading it.


Incorporate sweet potatoes without adding anything to them because they are already sweet. Also, great for holiday festivities is wild or black rice with onions, peppers, and seasonings with some broth or bullion. Keep the carbs limited, though. So, rather than offering rolls, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, and rice pilaf, try simplifying your menu with wild or black rice pilaf and baked sweet potatoes. Leave out the gravy, but substitute with a broth sauce.


Desserts can often be healthy and delicious. Try using coconut milk instead of condensed milk. How about honey or maple syrup instead of cane sugar? You can use avocado in chocolate desserts like chocolate mousse pie with a crushed nut crust. The options are endless.


Looking for healthy swaps? Check here:


 Healthy Holiday Dish Swaps from Health.com



Healthy Holiday Food Swaps from Everyday Health



11 Healthy Holiday Ingredient Swaps from Active.com


A special note: Look for gluten-free on your meat labels. Use corn or rice starch instead of flour to make sauces. Do find out if your guests have food allergies as well. Corn starch could be deadly to someone with allergies to corn. Use cookware or foil baking pans to avoid cross-contamination.This way your menu will make your gluten-free and allergy-free guests breath a sigh of relief. With fewer carbs, it will make carb counting easier for your diabetic guests, too. Everyone who comes will feel welcome when you host.


Celebrate!

Enjoy celebrating Jesus’ birthday with a lovely feast. He is the reason for Christmas. May God bless you!

 

Turn Holiday Stress-Blues Into Bright Blessings

Posted on December 6, 2019 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)


Photo by Davidson Luna from Freely Photos.


So, I’ve been sitting at the island in my kitchen, sipping coffee while setting up posts for social media. Flurries flit about in a hazy gloom outside. This time of year is always rough for me, even though my first husband died seven years ago. The scene outside just adds to grief’s effect. You would think grief gets better with time, but I really think it only changes year by year. On top of grief is stress. Lots of it. We are finishing the final details for inspections as we visit with family, buy gifts, send cards, and, and, and. Two of the best things that help with it the most is looking forward to Jesus’ birthday and spending time with family we don’t get to see often. I finally pull together, but it isn’t without efford.


 

This time of year should be filled with wonder and happiness, but for many, it is rife with pain, heartache, stress, and gloom. Celebrating Christ’s birth should be bright and cheery. It can become your focus with a few tips that I found helpful:


1. Befriend a happy person. Most of my friends are total opposites of me. My hubby is also an optimist. When all I see is the dark cloud, they point out the sunny opening in the clouds. Even though they may annoy the bejeebers out of you, you need someone like this right now. And they need you. Together you help each other keep perspective. (Philippians 4:8 )

 

2. Write feelings and frustrations down in your “parking spot” until you are ready to go through them prayerfully. Doing this helps me sleep better. By writing or typing out what bothers you, you get it out of your head for a while so you can do other things. You can come back to pray over these to change your view when you are ready. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Corinthians+10%3A5&version=NKJV" target="_blank">2 Corinthians 10:5)


 

3. Make lists and prioritize what needs to be done when you plan to do it. This is something I need to do but often neglect until I find myself running around in circles. #1- gotta do. #2- need to do after #1s. Anything in the #3 category may not be that important, so feel free to let some of those items go.


 

4. Decorate anyway, but don’t go crazy. We've decided to do simple elegance rather than some decoration in every nook and cranny. One year, I bought an inexpensive tub of color-coordinated ornaments and garland. Voila! Done.


 

5. Keep gift giving simple. Order online to be shipped to the recipient or give gift cards to your loved ones' favorite stores.


 

6. Skip the cards. I have two boxes of Christmas cards in my desk to send, but I don't see how I will get them out. I may only mail them to close family and do everything else online. Send e-cards, texts, and greetings on social media to those you really want to wish a Merry Christmas.


 

7. Reminisce as you look through photos of the people you miss. We may put grief on hold, but eventually, we will have to face it. Enjoy sweet memories so you can make new ones, too (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians+1%3A3%2C+1+Thessalonians+3%3A6&version=NKJV" target="_blank">Philippians 1:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:6)


 

8. Instead of hosting, either allow someone else to host and offer to bring something to help or host but order the meal all ready to serve. All you have to do is prepare the space and welcome your guests.


 

 

9. Make your Christmas tree a Count Your Blessings Tree. We did something similar one year. Our kids chose ornaments to put up telling why those were important to them. Try making some ornaments with photos, words of gratitude or blessings, or Christian symbols. When you look at it, it will lift your mood and bolster your faith. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+1%3A3&version=NKJV" target="_blank">Ephesians 1:3)


 

10. Bask in Bible passages allowing the Holy Spirit to heal your heart. We have an advent wreath that sits on our table. We use advent devotions from our church and pray before our Sunday meal. You could read Advent devotions or go through Bible passages topically at www.biblestudytools.org to read that are special to you (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+1%3A1-3&version=NKJV" target="_blank">Psalm 1:1-3).


 

Not everything is about exercise and food. Our hearts and faith need fed and exercised, too. Do try to get your workouts and eat healthy, but nurture your faith and emotions as well. May your Christmas cheer return to brighten your Christmas season. Christmas blessings to you!

 

 

Sing Thanks!

Posted on November 28, 2019 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)


 

Main Passage: Colossians 3:15-17


 

Key Verse: Isaiah 51:3 “The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”


 

When my children were young, they had a hard time not taking a nibble while everyone else had their eyes closed to thank God for our meal. Sometimes one child would poke the other with their fork, and the victim would yell, “Hey!” We would all look up, the "forker" would be corrected for inappropriate behavior, then we would continue to thank God. Their little squirmy bodies struggled to sit still, so my husband and I decided to give each one a song to lead as our grace for the meal. From that time forward, each child was eager for their turn to sing grace. “God is great and God is good. Let us thank Him for our food, Amen!” we sang in unison. It was a small sacrifice for them to take a short moment to thank God for His abundant provision for us.


 

This practice helped later when my husband became a pastor. We had many struggles financially and with difficult people in the church. Sometimes we didn’t know where our next meal would come from. We talked about what we noticed God doing in our situation like the clothing we needed came folded neatly in a garbage bag at the right time in the correct sizes, food left in our car or on our doorstep, a check in the mail at just the right time from someone who didn’t know our situation. Singing thanksgiving can make us grateful even when things don’t look so great because we know Who cares for us and provides our needs.


 

In Colossians 3, Paul addresses the church in Colosse about the clash of Jewish believers and those confused by the heresy of Gnosticism that snuck into the church. He encourages them to forgive each other, allowing peace to rule in their hearts because of Jesus Christ. Singing hymns, psalms, and thanksgiving would bring gratitude into their hearts.


 

In Isaiah 51:3, Isaiah prophetically addresses the exile of the Jews to Babylon 150 years before King Cyrus takes the throne of Babylon. Israel would lose their homeland, loved ones, and many possessions in their future. Their children would be taken into service by a foreign nation. What a grievous event for Israel in the future! In fact, if you go to Israel today, they are adamant about never being taken into exile ever again. They will fight to the very death to preserve their nation (Friends of Zion).


 

Whether living through tough times or plenty, by singing thanksgiving to God for all that He has done for you and your family will open your eyes to see the incredible goodness of our great God. He cares very much for you and your situation. Go on a God-watch during our holiday season. Find the various ways God has taken care of you, diverted bad situations from happening, preserved your life, and how He has provided for your needs. Share them at the dinner table to encourage each other strengthening each other’s faith. Sing thanks to Him over and over again.


 

May God bless you!


 

Resources:


New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Notes for Colossians 3, NIV Study Bible Notes. NIV Study Bible, Copyright © 1985, 1995, 2002, 2008, 2011 by Zondervan.


 Notes for Isaiah 40:1-55:13, NKJV Study Bible.Copyright ©1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.


https://www.fozmuseum.com/" target="_blank">Jewish Heritage Museum, tour with Discovery Cruises and Tours 2017. Museum website www.fozmuseum.com.

 

 

Create the Burn: Getting the Most from Your Workout

Posted on November 21, 2019 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Photo by ŞULE MAKAROĞLU on Unsplash



I got quite a workout the other day, considering that my last good formal workout was at an Air Force base gym. Indeed, I've gotten exercise lifting, carrying, going up and down steps, etc., which I could tell because it felt more comfortable than expected. I used my Apple Watch to track the workout, which links to an app where I earn points with Achievement and get paid when I reach 10,000 points. Well, I decided to do two 10-minute cardio bouts on the elliptical with my strength sandwiched in between. My numbers looked great from my first cardio segment. When I did my strength training, more functional training with the cable machine, I thought I recorded it. Wrong! I really wanted it recorded, so I did the same exercises again with the activity tracker doing its job. I felt a serious burn the very next day. Wow! Usually, that would be good, but for me, it was a bit too much yet. One major take away for you is how to kick up the calorie burn to burn fat without burning muscle. And be careful about overdoing your exercise!


Surely, you want to burn calories, help your heart health, or improve other health markers, so exercise is essential. The workout I did is a good one for many people since it is functional, whole-body work that you can do slow and easy, two to three times with more time, speed, and intensity. You can also time your reps on the strength by lowering your weight/resistance and go by 30-60 seconds, causing you to toggle between aerobic and anaerobic phases. Either way you choose, you can increase your base metabolic rate to burn fat without burning muscle.


*****Special Caution: Please, check with your medical provider before trying a new exercise program. Some of these exercises may be contraindicated for specific back issues, and this training method may be contraindicated for some heart issues.****


Here is the my workout:

Warm-up and Cardio—5-10 minutes


Treadmill, elliptical, or bike—pick a reasonable pace you can keep for the length of time you plan to work. Use your heart rate range to keep yourself in cardio or fat burn, which is 50-80% of your maximum heart rate.


Strength Training- 1 set of 10-12 reps (or for higher intensity and burn, time each exercise by 30-60 seconds)


Negative squats with the straight bar at cable machine (You can substitute with goblet squats if no cable machine is available)


Bent cable row with single-handle grip (sub: bent kettlebell row), 1 set each side


Underhand cable grip reverse lunges with the straight bar, 1 set each side (sub: bell pass lunges)


Hay balers up with handle grip 1 set, Woodchoppers down with handle grip 1 set (sub: same exercise using bands anchored) 

Wood chopper www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/standing-cable-wood-chop

Hay Baler www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/exercise-library/97/half-kneeling-hay-baler (except standing integrating full-body work Check my Happy Friday video for the alternative method I use).

Rotary torso twist with handle grip in wide squat position (sub: same exercise with an anchored band) www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/exercise-library/102/standing-trunk-rotation


Bicep curls with straight bar www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/standing-biceps-cable-curl


Tricep extensions with straight bar www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/tricep-extension.html


If only doing one set because it is new to you or you aren’t ready for more, finish cardio 5-10 minutes.


Cool down by walking at a comfortable pace for 2 minutes.


Stretch all major muscle groups.


BUT, if you feel like you can do more, repeat 1-2 more times. Keep a moderate to brisk pace with all exercises. Always cool-down and stretch major muscle groups when finished. You will discover, like I did, if you did too much for you. Use this feedback to adjust your next workout.


 This workout is excellent for your core. If you notice, there are no distinct ab exercises like crunches or curls. The reason is we have worked our core over and over merely by holding the abs firmly (core engagement) during the entire workout. The negative squats and lunges are great for somewhat achy knees because it reduces stress on your joints, but not for bone-on-bone arthritis.


The intensity, speed, and number of sets you do will kick up a great burn—both calories and fat burn. As it is, one set as laid out burned 266 calories for me, except add one more strength training segment at 52 calories for a total of 318 calories! All muscle groups were worked in common movement patterns for activities of daily living. Each person’s calorie burn will differ based on weight, age, gender, and base metabolic rate. You want to increase your base metabolic rate for a continued fat burn between exercise sessions.


If you consider the work you do at home, work, church, and other ministries, this workout strengthens you to do more for a longer time. You can rake leaves, mow the lawn, shovel snow, load groceries, and more with ease. What better way to take care of yourself while you take care of others!


 I will post my Happy Friday video with a demonstration of the strength exercises with my home equipment. I don't have a cable machine, but I can demonstrate how to safely perform each exercise. The links are great helps, but I couldn't find some of them online.


By the way, here are two links that you will find valuable:


Achievement—a medical study group that gathers data basically pays you to exercise. You can earn points for reading articles and answering surveys. If you join by clicking this link tinyurl.com/yasdzru9, we both get 250 points! When you earn your $10, you will feel like you accomplished something. This offer by Achievement is good until November 26, 2019.


https://caloriecontrol.org/healthy-weight-tool-kit/get-moving-calculator/" target="_blank">Calorie Control Council—this link has calorie calculators. The one I linked is for calories burned during exercise forms and physical activities. There are more calculators available on this website. No, I don’t get anything for sharing this link. https://caloriecontrol.org/healthy-weight-tool-kit/get-moving-calculator/" target="_blank">caloriecontrol.org/healthy-weight-tool-kit/get-moving-calculator/.


 

Enjoy creating a burn in your workouts. May God bless your week!

 

How to Enjoy the Christmas Season with Diabetic Loved Ones

Posted on November 14, 2019 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)




Image by Becca Clark from Pixabay


November is National Diabetes Month, which lines up very well with a season in which sweets and carbs are highly prized as part of holidays from Halloween through Valentine's Day. I would like to share a bit about my Boaz's encounter with pre-diabetes, but also the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Also,  ways you can help people with pre-diabetes, types 1 and 2 diabetes have a safe and enjoyable Christmas holiday season.


 

Pre-diabetes Hits Home


 

My hubby noticed puffiness in his feet and ankles one day. "I need to get back to running regularly," he stated. But exercise was only a temporary fix for this swelling. He began complaining of not feeling well, too. One day, he asked me if there was an odd bump in what was actually a straight line where he was looking. I checked the line out and said, "No, Hon. There is only a straight line." So he went to his eye doctor to ask about it. He was given a grid chart to check his vision daily. Still, we had no idea his blood sugar was higher than usual. That is until he went for an annual check-up, and the blood work showed slightly elevated blood sugar, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic. Keep in mind that I cook very healthy meals at home. However, his metabolism is sluggish, even when exercising. Type 2 diabetes runs in his family, but he attributed it to his family's traditional Southern cooking. It is quite possible a hereditary disposition exists alongside Southern cooking kicks family members into type 2 diabetes. When we discovered what was going on, I started making super low-carb meals for him. He only eats food on the low category of the glycemic index. He has lost some weight, the puffiness in his ankles is gone, the bump in his vision is gone, his blood sugar is in the normal range, and he feels so much better. Catching pre-diabetes early and correct it rather than to allow it to transition into type 2 diabetes is essential.


 ***** Special Note: This article is not to be construed as medical advice. Please, consult your medical provider.



Types of Diabetes and Differences


 

Pre-Diabetes


 

There are distinct differences in the types of diabetes, even though someone may be insulin-dependent it doesn't mean they have type 2 diabetes. First, let's look at pre-diabetes before transitioning into type 2 diabetes, with blood glucose levels higher than usual, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic (Mayo Clinic).


 

Pre-diabetes, or fasting blood glucose levels of 100-125mg/dL, according to the American Diabetic Association, often has no symptoms. It is usually discovered in routine blood work done at an annual medical exam (Mayo Clinic). Those who do have symptoms may have the same symptoms as someone with type 2 diabetes (Diabetes.org).


 

The treatment for pre-diabetes is lowering carbohydrate consumption while increasing fiber content and balancing with low-fat proteins. Also, pre-diabetics benefit significantly by consuming fresh fruits and vegetables from the low glycemic index (GI Index), reducing or eliminating pre-prepared meals, avoiding added sugar, while adding aerobic and strength exercises three to five days a week for at least 30 minutes per day. Of course, you will also lose weight as a great side benefit of a healthy lifestyle change (UPMC). The doctor will periodically check blood sugar levels to help the patient make positive progress and review medications and supplements to see if they are causing some of the problem, like corticosteriods, glucosamine chondriotin, and some heart medications. He or she may have the individual use a home glucose monitor. Prevention is key to avoiding type 2 diabetes.


Type 2 Diabetes


 

Type 2 Diabetes is a tremendous concern for several reasons: vision loss, neuropathy of feet, damage to vital organs, stroke, high blood pressure, and the potential for amputation of toes or feet due to gangrene-- a serious infection-- in poorly managed cases (Diabetes.org). This type of diabetes is significantly common here in the U.S. due to our highly processed foods, frequency of consuming fast foods, and high consumption of snack foods.


 

The pancreas slowly decreases insulin production, making it difficult for the pancreas to handle the amount of glucose coming into the bloodstream. Fasting blood glucose levels for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is 126 mg/dL or higher. The doctor may do an oral glucose test. If blood sugar levels are between 140-199 two hours after drinking a sugary liquid for this test, the person would be considered pre-diabetic. 200 mg/dL or higher indicates diabetes. Diabetic coma usually happens when the person's blood glucose level is 600 mg/dL or higher. Another measure is the A1C, which gives a better overall view over three months of how well blood glucose is being managed. An ideal A1C is between 4% and 5.6%. Understanding your numbers with type 2 diabetes is critical (WebMD).


 

This type often occurs in adults, not children. Some pregnant women may have gestational diabetes, putting both the mother and baby at risk. It usually resolves after the baby is born, but must be managed well during pregnancy. Symptoms include: extremely thirsty, urinate frequently, unusual hunger, fatigue, dry mouth, itchy skin, blurry vision (WebMD). Some people say that someone with undiagnosed diabetes has a fruity smell to their breath. People who have had high blood sugar for a long time frequently get yeast infections, have sores that don't heal well, and pain or numbness in feet or legs due to damaged nerves (Diabetes.org).


People with type 2 often start with an oral medication to control their blood sugar along with dietary changes and exercise. As a diabetic gets older, or with poor management, they may need to inject insulin.



Type 1 Diabetes


 

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that is diagnosed most commonly in children and young adults. It has nothing to do with their eating patterns. The immune system mistakenly attacks the pancreas causing it to stop producing insulin. Symptoms show up with a matter of days or weeks (CDC).


 

Along with the symptoms described in type 2, affected children, teens, or young adults may begin vomiting due to ketones that build up in the system, threatening possible kidney damage. They also lose weight quickly. This is a life-threatening disease that must be well-monitored and controlled with insulin for the rest of their lives. Many type 1 diabetics have insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors attached to their bodies to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Avoid blood sugar crashes by taking special precautions balancing insulin and food intake. Hypoglycemia, blood glucose 70 mg/dL or lower, occurs when there is more insulin than blood sugar. It causes blood sugar to rapidly drop to scary low levels. It is imperative to carry glucose tablets or candy as an emergency sugar supply in case of hypoglycemia (Diabetes.org).


 

Considerations for Holiday Gatherings


 

Family and other holiday gatherings are like navigating a minefield for all types of diabetes. Because most foods are high in processed carbohydrates, sugars, and fats, but low in healthy low-carb options, diabetics either don't eat or they eat foods that significantly elevate their blood sugar. It is better to steer clear of alcoholic beverages for a few reasons. Still, it does spike blood glucose for pre-diabetes and types 1 and 2. Type 1 will consider carb count for intake versus insulin they need to inject, so save the packaging so they can do their calculations. Diabetics who are not insulin-dependent will need to choose their treats carefully. Even though diabetics may balance their carbs to insulin ratio, it is inconsiderate to not have sweeteners like Stevia or Equal for coffee and tea. Also, serve unadulterated fruit and vegetable options. Consider spiralized zucchini in place of pasta, riced cauliflower instead of rice, low-fat cheese cubes with whole-grain crackers. For more ideas, visit Healthline.com and Diabetes.org. Ask your guest for suggestions, as well. Your diabetic guest may also need a quiet, out-of-the-way place to check blood sugar levels. Let them know ahead of time where they can go for privacy for their blood sugar checks. The bathroom is usually busy with lots of guest, so a bedroom or an office makes a great private space.


 

If you feel put out accommodating a guest with food concerns, consider this passage, "To love him [God] with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." Mark 12:33 NIV. If you were the person who had pre-diabetes or diabetes, how would you want others to treat you? Many options are easy to have available. Let your guest(s) with pre-diabetes or diabetes know what your menu, ask for suggestions, and ask them to fill in any gaps. Kindly keep packages available in the kitchen for them to look over. You would be surprised how many sugar-free options have a lot of carbs in them. Your guests will greatly appreciate your willingness to care for them. Consider it a gift you give them.



Refrain from parenting your guest, even though you mean well. Let them make their own food choices since they are already monitoring their blood glucose. If this person looks glassy-eyed, is unusally fatigued, and shaky, they may be suffering from hypoglycemia. If so, they need to consume sugar right away. Offer candy or honey to them and help them put it in their mouth. If they pass out, call an ambulance. Do NOT try to give them anything by mouth if unconscious as it can cause choking (WebMD).Stay with them monitoring their pulse and breathing. Keep other guests out of the way and have someone watch for the ambulance and bring paramedics to the place where the diabetic is waiting. 

 

Summary


 

Pre-diabetes is a precursor for type 2 diabetes and can be turned around to avoid becoming diabetic. Type 2 diabetes differs from type 1 in that type 2 is a combination of hereditary factors combined with overconsumption of carbohydrates and sugars. These cause the pancreas to reduce insulin production. Whereas, type 1 is an autoimmune disease that develops in children, adolescents, and young adults, regardless of their food choices. Pre-diabetes and type 2 can be improved or eliminated by regular exercise and dietary changes. Type 1 will never be cured. Still, a healthy diet and exercise can help this person live a quality life in spite of the necessity of lifetime insulin dependence and stringent glucose monitoring.


 

Simple options exist to accommodate diabetic guests. Allowing them to celebrate the Christmas season with you joyfully is a great gift you can give them. Both of you will be greatly blessed!


Resources:

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prediabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355278


www.pinnaclehealth.org/wellness-library/blog-and-healthwise/blog-home/post/taking-steps-to-reverse-pre-diabetes


www.diabetes.org/diabetes-risk/prediabetes


www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type1.html


www.diabetes.org/diabetes/type-1


www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-2-diabetes


www.diabetes.org/diabetes/complications


www.gisymbol.com/about-glycemic-index/


www.healthline.com/nutrition/dash-diet


www.webmd.com/first-aid/low-blood-sugar-hypoglycemia-treatment

 


New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


 

 

How to Become Totally Fit for Life without a Lot of Cash

Posted on October 30, 2019 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)


Free image from Vistaprint


I am currently in the Phoenix area, visiting family. We went exploring the White Tank Mountain Park and worked out at the Air Force base fitness center this week, thanks to a pass from my step-son. While here in Arizona, it occurred to me this topic might be of interest to you. So, on the plane and during grandbaby naps, I’ve pulled these tips and resources together to help you be totally fit for your life without breaking the bank. Good stewardship is always a good thing!


Food


I believe I’ve covered this several times in multiple ways but will tackle this in a basic summary and give you additional links to help.


1. Leave pre-prepped meals at the store and cook your own. Some stores you can order your groceries and pick them up on the way home. A host of meal prep kits might be helpful, but the ones at the supermarket are more cost-effective.


2. Shop more of the perimeter of the store and buy bulk food items. Only buy what you will use in volume and can freeze for later.


3. Make more than enough for your meal. Eat appropriate serving sizes, then freeze the rest for another day.


4. Shop ads, download digital coupons and use loyalty programs to your advantage. For some weird reason, some of you may not do this, but it is well worth the effort.


5. Meal plan. It doesn’t take a lot of time. Request my meal planning sheets to help.


6. Avoid health food store fare. Only purchase what you absolutely must from stores like this. 


7. Cut down on special drinks. Use filtered water from your faucet or fridge. Add slices of fruit to a pitcher of water for a bit of flavor.


Links for more ideas and resources:


www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-get-fit-and-healthy-on-a-budget


www.healthline.com/nutrition/19-ways-to-eat-healthy-on-a-budget


www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/budget

 

Exercise


Exercise is challenging for many people with families, but it isn't impossible to do without spending a bunch of money.


1. Is working out at home is stressful? Shop gym options carefully. Will it meet your current and future needs? Which would be the best deal among pay as you go, monthly vs. annual memberships?


2. Can you use the gym at work? Either pack your gym bag and put in your car or keep them in the locker to avoid forgetting them.


3. Can you work out at off-peak times to get a better rate? Would a 24/7 gym fit your needs?


4. Do you need childcare? Find one with free childcare during your classes or work out time.


5. How about a home gym? Skip pricey home gym sets. Put together your own: decent cardio machine from the local sporting good store, bands, hand weights, stability ball, suspension straps, mat.


6. Do you like classes, but can’t afford the gym? Try Exercise on Demand, Youtube, and videos. Borrow videos from your local library. Only do Youtube workouts with reputable instructors/groups. Not all teach well, teach for your specific needs, or carry liability insurance in the event you become injured due to their neglect or poor instruction.


7. Are you 50+? Look for Silver Sneakers or other programs sponsored by your insurance at your gym. You can save a ton of money this way, but your options will be limited. Make sure it meets your needs.


8. Does your church have exercise classes? Do be cautious of mind-body exercise classes, though, because they may be New Age with a Christian name. I always recommend PraiseMoves classes, which include PraiseMoves (alternative to Yoga), Mira! (alternative to Zumba), PraiseWaves (water), PraiseKicks (martial arts exercise), and Bold and Beautiful (just unveiled, so I’m not sure). Look for a class near you.


Links for more resources:


www.thefinancialdiet.com/7-ways-to-get-fit-without-going-broke/


www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-get-fit-and-healthy-on-a-budget


www.verywellfit.com/exercise-on-a-budget-1231127

 

Spiritual Support for Christian Wellness


Christian wellness comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ. That being the case, the best way to be well is to put that faith into practice. This means finding ways to gain insight from the Bible, commune with God through contemplative prayer, being part of a healthy church family, and going on “God Watches”, that is, seeing God’s work in your life and around you. It can always be budget-friendly, but we should always give to help the church we attend to do ministry and help missions and ministries through above-and-beyond giving. After all, what we have comes from Him first.


Tips and Resources for Christian Wellness:


1. Free Bible apps for your smartphone or electronic device. You can read passages in your quiet time, listen to the audio Bible on your commute, and subscribed to Bible studies and devotionals. Of course, if you use it, please support it. Here are a few:


a. YouVersion Bible—Quite popular with several reading plans.

b. Biblegateway—I use this one the most and subscribe for a small monthly fee to use an incredible library of Bible study tools.

c. Biblestudytools.com—has several free study tools and a topical index of Bible verses.

d. Blue Letter Bible—has serious Bible study tools, including Greek and Hebrew word study tools.

e. Olive Tree Bible—the app is free with several translations. Some versions and tools may have a nominal fee to use.


2. Prayer time is always free. You can track your prayer requests and praises in a notes app on your smartphone. There are several apps you can use as your prayer journal, and some are free while others are not. Do discern carefully, though. Some may integrate New Age practices.


3. Relieve stress through Lectio Divina, prayerful Bible contemplation. All you need is your favorite translation of the Bible, a notebook, and a pen. I recommend NOT using your smart device due to the distractions of notifications.


4. Note the times you notice God-moments. Write down when you see an answer to prayer, a God-incidence, or hear someone say something to you that meets a need you have (that they don’t know). The reassurance of God's interaction with you and that He cares about what troubles you will bring tremendous peace.


5. A couple of book recommendations:


Designed to Be Well by Erin King Younkins.

I plan to give a book review on this book sometime in November.


Celebration of Discipline (Revised) by Richard Foster

I use this often in some of my groups.


Marriage and Family


Christian marriage is the hub of the family, not the children. Everyone in the family feels secure with your marriage is healthy. The best ways to keep your marriage healthy are:


1. Spend quality time together. Such things like dreaming, discussing important topics, and making decisions together strengthen marriage relationships, and intimate time.


2. Argue for a solution instead of fighting to win. Conflict should help you grow not to tear you apart.


3. Appreciate your differences as strengths. God brought two different people together for a reason.


4. Tell each other you love each other every day. Let it be the first thing you tell each other.


5. Pray and read devotions together. Allow Jesus to be the center of your relationship.


6. Never argue in bed. Table it until an agreeable time.


7. Build each other up with honest praise.


The best resources for help with relationships are through Christian ministries and the church:


1. iBelieve has a list of 25 best marriage resources here

www.ibelieve.com/relationships/25-best-christian-marriage-resources-to-help-your-marriage-thrive.html


2. Celebrate Marriage with Jay and Laura Laffoon. Blog/vlog, conferences, and more. Ask family members for a Date Night for a Christmas or anniversary present. jayandlaura.com/


3. Focus on the Family resources—Thriving Family magazine and online articles. They have counseling, as well.  www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/


4. Your pastor or a local Christian counselor are great places to start if you have issues you can’t solve on your own. Some insurances will pay for some marriage counseling sessions with a licensed clinical counselor, so check your policy.


Parenting


Parenting certainly has its challenges, but Christian parents need Christians resources to help, guide, and direct for peace to reign at home. These are some tips I learned to use with my kids:


1. Encourage your child to do his or her best, rather than scold them for something they failed doing. Correction may be best phrasedm "Good work thinking this through.  It might work better if you did this ___________ instead."


2. Balance praise with correction, which may be difficult with some children.


3. Let them know there is safety in your leadership at home by maintaining healthy parent/child boundaries.


4. Find ways to reward your child that aren’t food-based, unless it is a special outing.


5. Encourage physical play indoors and outdoors. Some children will need more than others.


6. Appreciate each children for his or unique qualities.


Don't beat yourself up for making mistakes, though. Keep trying to make healthy changes to build a better parent-child relationship.Great parenting resources that are free or low cost:


1. Focus on the Family—podcasts, blogs, books, and more. www.focusonthefamily.com/


2. Crosswalk.com—several articles and tips for parenting children of all ages. www.crosswalk.com/family/parenting/


3. National Center for Biblical Parenting—a conservative Christian ministry with many resources, classes, and more to help you raise your children from a Christ-centered approach. Some resources have fees, so read carefully. www.biblicalparenting.org/default.asp


This blog post might seem like a laundry list. If you consider being totally fit for life physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually, then putting some of these ideas and resources to use from each area will help reduce stress, live healthier, and find purpose and meaning in your life.


What are some of your favorite ways to be totally fit for life?


May God bless you!

 

The Challenges of Breast Cancer: Building Up During and After Treatment

Posted on October 24, 2019 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)



(And for Those Who Support Them)



As most of you know, I don’t sport pink ribbons or pink anything for breast cancer. Why? Because I support survivors and their families regardless of the type of cancer. My family has been affected deeply by several family members and friends: my first husband, colon cancer; two aunts, breast cancer; uncle, bone cancer; friends, melanoma; friend, breast cancer; neighbor, colorectal cancer; colleagues, multiple myeloma; classmate and relative, blood cancers. Now you understand why I don’t sport pink. But if you do, by all means, support your friend or loved one in this manner. Since it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I do want to help breast cancer warriors and those who support them in any way I can.


Victims-to-Victors of Breast Cancer


Cancer is a voracious beast! I became keenly aware of the awkwardness and struggles of women battling breast cancer and their families while working in health and fitness. SHLAP! SHLAP! went the rhythm of the swim coach’s angry arms as he struggled with breast cancer threatening his wife’s life. SPLASH, SHLAP!!! as he flip-turned, the swim fins spraying water onto the deck. It was as if he was slugging it out with cancer himself on his wife’s behalf. She survived breast cancer. A couple of years of treatment later, her doctors pronounced her cancer-free. Cancer is never a single person’s nemesis. It is a threat also to family, friends, churches, and communities.


Standing before me was a beautiful 40-ish lady who specifically asked for me to work with her as a Team Survivor member. She was anxious to get back what she lost to cancer with a scholarship from for six personal training sessions. She didn’t look like a cancer victim/survivor, but she was. Her short-term memory suffered from the treatments, so I had to repeat everything in each training session as if it were her first. She feared lymphodema, so we trained her arms conservatively to avoid causing lymphatic drainage into her arms. Her progress was fantastic, so she paid for six more sessions to learn how to best continue on her own. I wish more of these amazing women were as fortunate as her, but each one sought to regain their abilities to do what they wanted and needed to do, lose weight, and feel more energized. Exercise elevates their self-image.


Benefits and Tips for Exercise During and After Treatment for Breast Cancer


***This should not be construed as medical advice; instead, it is for informational purposes only. Please, check with your medical provider before trying any new exercise program.****


Exercise is helpful for breast cancer survivors to reduce the chances of recurrence. No one knows why, but studies show a safe exercise program designed for breast cancer warriors not only reduces it coming back, but it increases the quality of life, reduces depression, increases daily function, and aids restful sleep. (BreastCancer.org 1) It may play a role in regulating hormones and insulin that stimulate cancer growth (cancer.org ,3) One tip my husband's oncology surgeon at the James Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio told us regarding his colon cancer is chemotherapy drugs are stored in fat cells. As you burn fat, it releases chemo drugs into your system slowly, which helps fight cancer cells. You need to know what your doctor’s recommendations  are for your exercise with your particular treatment plan. Radiation treatment, surgery scars, and breast implants make a difference in what exercises you do and how you do them.


These are exercise tips, according to BreastCancer.org(2) and Cancer.org(4):


1. Always warm up before exercise and cool down afterward. Use some dynamic stretches as part of your warm-up to carefully increase your range of motion. Scar tissue and stiff muscles need particular attention.


2. Avoid repetitive arm movements, especially overhead. You want to prevent overstretching and possibly causing damage. Wear compression for lymphodema to avoid swelling.


3. Focus on form, rather than doing more time, reps, or weight. Proper form is helpful for daily tasks.


4. Do Activities of Daily Living type of functional training regularly. It will enable you to maintain doing those tasks you need and want to do.


5. Do light to moderate level cardio exercise as tolerated. If you are in treatment, only doing endurance exercise like walking or riding a stationary bike for a few minutes at a time is adequate to increase your stamina and help you sleep better.


6. Rest as needed. Chemotherapy and radiation damages cells, both cancerous and healthy. As your body builds back, it requires energy, making your need to rest greater than before cancer. You can do short bouts of activity scattered throughout your day if that works for you. Otherwise, rest on bad days.


7. Hire a specially trained personal trainer for your cancer recovery. This professional will help you design a safe, progressive exercise program you can use for a long time. They will also give you modifications you specifically need for your workouts and to use in classes. Personal training for half-hour sessions at the beginning is usually adequate. When you finish your treatments, you may need one-hour sessions to build back to your normal levels of activity. Let him or her know your budget so they can work with you. Let family and friends know personal training packages make great gifts. Check Team Survivor for a program near you.


8. If chemo fog affects your memory, ask your trainer to give you written descriptions based on the ques he or she uses (my suggestion from experience). Ask if there are any online videos or photos of exercises in your program so you can remind yourself on days you work out on your own. If you have to ask your trainer for reminders more than twice on days you work out solo, then set an appointment. Also avoid interrupting them during a training session with someone else. Your trainer has other clients to train as well. When they are not working with someone, they are usually plotting exercise programs for clients and making calls to meet their clients needs. You are one of those clients, so please be respectful of their time as you would want others to do.


9. Always cool down and stretch after your workout. It will help you avoid soreness and stiffness later. It also helps reduce stress. Stretch for 15-30 seconds each area of the body, but if it is too much to hold for 30 seconds, hold it as long as you are able exhaling as you move into your stretch. Continue breathing while you hold your stretch. It if hurts, stop.


10. Even after you finish treatment and feel you can do your regular activities, get a maintenance workout program you can do for the long haul. Continuing exercise will help you maintain your function, while working toward a healthy weight if you gained weight. Make exercise and healthy eating part of a healthy lifestyle for life.


I recommend checking with Team Survivor at teamsurvivornw.org/programs/ to find a chapter in your area. You can connect with personal trainers and coaches who work specifically with women who battle various forms of cancer. I worked with a branch in western Pennsylvania.

 

A Quick Note to Those Who Love Breast Cancer Warriors


Cancer is tough on the victim and loved ones. My husband faced colon cancer stage 4 for four years. Walking through his diagnosis and treatment was painful for both of us. Sometimes I had to dress him or help him with bathing or going to the bathroom. I had to learn about his type of cancer, surgeries, and treatments because he struggled with his options. Sometimes, I had to ask questions that didn't come to his mind. I also needed to know what I would face with his care at home. Although he communicated well, when he was quite ill, I created a communication system with home healthcare and friends who came to spend time with him while I worked. When our daughter got married a year before he passed away, I had to step in to get the clerk to wait on him as he struggled with fatigue and pain. She was intent on avoiding him altogether. Love making with your cancer warrior wife may have to wait or change. Your breast cancer warrior will need you in so many ways.


You can support your warrior by letting her know you are with her every step of the way. Love knows no bounds, including the physical changes that come with surgery and chemotherapy. Learn as much as you can about the type of cancer she faces and the treatment plans so you can cooperate with her doctors. Encourage her when she feels like giving up because the fight is fierce. Help her choose a wig or head covering, but honor her choice to bare her head if she chooses. Advocate for her when she struggles to make choices or faces the ignorance of the people she encounters. Respect her needs and wishes sexually. 


Would you like to briefly share your cancer story or your caregiving story for your breast cancer warrior? Feel free to do so at [email protected] or in the comments below. Let us know how we can pray for you.


May God bless you!


Resources


1. “Exercise” by Miller, Roberge, and Bryan. June 22, 2019. BreastCancer.Org www.breastcancer.org/tips/exercise



2. “Exercise Safely”May 10, 2016. BreastCancer.org. www.breastcancer.org/tips/exercise/safe



3. "Moving to Help Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer" by the American Cancer Society. October 12, 2018. www.cancer.org/latest-news/get-moving-to-help-reduce-your-risk-of-breast-cancer.html



4. “Exercises After Breast Cancer Surgery" by the American Cancer Society. September 18, 2019. www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/treatment/surgery-for-breast-cancer/exercises-after-breast-cancer-surgery.html Note: This web article includes some great exercises and more tips than what I've included in my blog post.

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