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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Vacation is Nice, but it's Great to be Home

Posted on September 11, 2020 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)


It feels good to be back home, although we miss our family out west very much. Thank you for your kind patience while I was away. I usually share a bit about some of our vacations that pertain to health, fitness, and Christian wellness. I thought I would do this again about Colorado, even though I've been to this beautiful state several times before. There are different angles and perspectives I believe might interest you on your journey to total health.


Wildfires Cause Air Index Quality Issues


As we drove from my daughter's home toward Denver, a haze hovered over the horizon, causing the mountains to disappear in areas. The closer we approached the city, as we looked toward the mountains, smoke particles in the air began to bother my throat and lungs, and make our eyes itchy. Denver health officials recommended in a news article to turn the recirculate button on in vehicles to filter out as much of the smoke as possible. It wasn't until almost Colorado Springs before the air cleared. Being outdoors with a low air index quality can cause breathing problems for anyone. Some of the hazards of breathing these particles can lead to asthma attacks, heart attacks, and strokes, according to the American Lung Association. People with asthma and COPD are especially at risk, as are those who have diabetes, heart disease, and bronchitis. The other hazard is carbon monoxide that makes it hard for your body to take oxygen into your organs and cells. The health of so many people is affected. Not only is horrible damage caused to the ecosystems of the mountains, the careless acts of individuals who caused these wildfires is mindboggling. What a tragedy in so many ways.


Exercise in places with smoke particles can be strenuous. The air must be filtered indoors to protect the lungs of those exercising in gyms or at home. If you visit an area with poor air quality from any wildfires, learn how you can protect your lungs from damage before engaging in any physically demanding activity.


Rocky Mountain High= Less Oxygen per Breath!


Ever since we arrived, I've felt a bit "off." So has my Boaz. "Hon, I feel like I'm on a Tilt-a-Whirl, and my brain feels foggy," I told him the first morning in this high elevation state. At first, I thought it was the camper being slightly unlevel, but that wasn't it. We left home at 342' elevation traveling to around 6,000' elevation. The oxygen levels are less dense, meaning you breathe in less oxygen than usual. According to the Rocky Mountain National Park Guide, altitude sickness can quickly occur around 8,000' elevation. We haven't had altitude sickness at 6,000', just a bit of adjusting to do. Since he has a hereditary heart condition and Mixed Collagen Vascular Disease affects my heart and blood vessels, we felt the effects more so than in the past.


Since we discovered this effect more distinctly this year, we needed to consider what we do. When we bought our camper, there was a bonus bike rack with it. Yay, bonus! We considered packing our bikes to take along. Then I thought about it and stated, "Wait. We shouldn't ride our bikes at that altitude. Walking would be way more than enough for us." It certainly was! Our hearts could feel our walks around the campgrounds and attractions because they have to pump harder to get enough oxygen. At least we gradually increased the elevation by driving rather than flying into Denver's airport. However, we decided to see the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, which took us higher, to around 6500'. Add the COVID-19 mask requirements, and suddenly, only climbing steps at this tourist attraction was strenuous. So, if you get the grand idea of doing your regular exercise or new physical activity in high elevation places like this, think again. Walk around at a higher altitude and sleep at a lower elevation. Gradually, acclimate yourself to the higher altitude with a leisurely stride, then go back lower to exercise. Depending on your physical condition, you will likely pick up your exercise at a higher altitude after a few days. At midlife, and with health conditions, check with your doctor about safely enjoying all those places like Colorado offer.


We drove up to around 9494' elevation to visit Cripple Creek. The elevation change was indeed noticeable. Walking was definitely quite a workout compared to home. At the Historical Museum near the gold mines, I felt more breathless. We were still wearing our masks while climbing stairs, which took on a whole new oxygen demand. I had to stand still at the top of the steps for a while because I actually felt like I would pass out. I also discovered a headache building up at the back of my skull. Altitude sickness, although mild, was noteworthy. We checked with each other to make sure we would be okay to continue. By the time we had toured the museum and town, we were ready to go back to lower elevation with more oxygen. I have to say that we were both exhausted by the time we visited with family. We felt as if we had been on a long bike trip on the trails at home! So, the whole elevation difference is a big deal for anyone. Due to these issues, we opted to walk for our exercise instead of a bike. It is always best to be safe, not sorry.


Let the Sunshine On


This sun-sensitive girl was reminded of how intense the sun is at a higher elevation. We took my daughter and her three children—aka. My grandkiddos— to Dinosaur Ridge Park. The temperature topped 100 degrees with a high to extreme UV Index, so I decked myself out with my UV50+ clothing and SPF 50+ sunscreen, topped off with a hat and polarized sunglasses. We had no idea how little indoor space there was until we had to wait an hour for the tour bus with three rambunctious kids. In no time at all, we had perused the gift shop and the tiny exhibit hall, so we had drinks and snacks from the cooler in the back of our van. I lost track of time as we took photos by the decorative dinosaur statues outside. Finally, our bus arrived! It had air conditioning, but each stop caused it to heat up again. I enjoyed watching my grandkids' faces light up as they listened to the tour guide and touched footprints, dinosaur bones, and other prehistoric clues left behind for us. Little did I know, the sun's effect on my health at that altitude would catch up with me the next morning when I woke up feeling like I'd been run over by a truck with blurry eyes and thick fog in my brain. I strained the limits of my sun protection, as good as it was.


High altitudes take you closer to the sun. Fewer clouds block these rays, too. This meant skin cancer might be more prevalent in places like this, according to the Boulder Medical Center. Protecting yourself from harmful UV rays is imperative.


Keeping up Christian Wellness on Vacation


You would think a vacation would fill up the wellness cup, but it invariably does not. The whole getting ready to go "thing" put stress on vacation. I had to rell my squirrely hubby that all the tasks he wanted to do needed to be put in priority order. My focus was packing to go and making sure dishes and laundry were clean, trash was taken out, and the mail put on hold. "Everything else has to wait," I stated firmly. I needed sanity and sleep to function on vacation.


While we enjoyed Colorado, I also had to protect writing and studying time. Every time I posted the Bible Verse of the Day, I read it prayerfully. My Boaz and I discussed some of these passages togehter. Since it wasn't necessary to spend every waking moment with family members, I wedged in some of my own tasks. I also slept. It is amazing how much better I felt when I got enough sleep. I am a more planned, structured person, not the spontaneous person my hubby is. I set to work to keep some semblance of sanity in our vacation.


The morning I woke up feeling like I had been run over by a truck, after the Dinosaur Park trip, I slept in. My hubby, wanting to make sure I got my fill-up of family, "Are you ready to head over to your daughter's house?" he queried.


"No," I answered as I sipped my coffee, "I plan to get there around noon. I want to be the Grandma my grandkids want to see, not the one they wished would go home." It made a tremendous difference in my energy levels and attitude when we arrived at their home. I could be more composed, ready for their energy and antics. I could appreciate my daughter and each child with a clearer brain.


Before heading home, we made sure my daughter had a plan to evacuate if the air quality index took a drastic turn. I heard three possible options that made sense. I could conjure up several horrific scenarios, or I could trust God to take her through her plan to safety, if necessary. Trusting God with adult kids and grandkids took the stress off our shoulders, but we would still pray and keep track of the updates from the Denver Post.


We made some scenic stops to check out historic sites like the Pony Express Post in Nebraska. We love checking out different places on the way home. Vacation visiting family is good, but adding in tourist time helped us relax more.


When we were able to sleep in our bed at home, I slept like a rock! Ten hours worth with over 4 hours of deep sleep. That never usually happens! Whew. Now we can rest up for the next visit with our kids.


I hope you can see by my example that vacation is important. I know some of you dislike it when my posts aren't regular when we hit the road, but I don't automate all of them. I struggle to work ahead most days. This is life for me with chronic illness as a writer and fitness pro. If anything, may you find encouragement to take time out of this Cornovirus- Catastrophy riddled time to connect deeply with family while giving God praise for the goodness He has shown you. Also, I hope you've found some valuable helps from this post that you can put into practice. You are welcome to read the post at www.charlainemartin.com on this trip from a different perspective. Many blessings to you!


Resources:


 

"Altitude Sickness" by Rocky Mountain Hiking Trails

 http://www.rockymountainhikingtrails.com/altitude-sickness-rocky-mountain-national-park


Manitou Cliff Dwellings.

https://www.cliffdwellingsmuseum.com/plan-your-visit/

https://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMGBE5_Manitou_Cliff_Dwellings_Museum_Elevation_6530_Feet


Cripple Creek

https://www.visitcos.com/areas/cripple-creek/


"How Wildfire Affect Health" American Lung Association

https://www.lung.org/blog/how-wildfires-affect-health


Dinosaur Ridge Park

https://dinoridge.org/


"Sun Protection at Higher Altitudes" Boulder Medical Center

https://www.bouldermedicalcenter.com/sun-protection-at-higher-altitudes/

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Protecting Your Cash While Improving Your Health

Posted on September 3, 2020 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Photo by Robert Bogdan from Pexels


NOTE: This blog post is a rework from the October 30, 2019 blog post. These tips are all still applicable.


I am currently in the Denver area, visiting family. We went exploring the Rocky Mountain area. My workouts have been primarily walking due to the drastic elevation difference from home, which I will share more next week. While here in Colorado, it occurred to me this topic might be of interest to you. So, on the road and during grandbaby naps, I’ve pulled up these tips and resources from our Archives and dusted them off 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. Some book recommendations:

 

 Designed to Be Well by Erin King Younkins.

 

Celebration of Discipline (Revised) by Richard Foster


Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zaccharias 


I use these often in some of my groups. Watch for announcements about Healthy Lifestyles Groups registration.

 

 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 phrased, "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!

 

Sharpening Our Focus at Be Totally Fit for Life!

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)


Photo by Jennifer Farnan on Unsplash.


2020 is a year of challenges. The events thus far have shaken many people to the core. Why, God? Why me? Why this? Why that? Why? Almost like children who pester their parents for answers to absolutely everything and anything, social media is full of “Why?” This question brought to my mind a more focused version regarding Be Totally Fit for Life’s work and you. I may not have the answer to all of the why’s, but I do have the answer to why we do what we do here in this ministry venue. The answer is straightforward yet somewhat complicated at the same time.


When I started Totally Fit 4 Life, the former name for Be Totally Fit for Life!, back in 2013, I intended to raise extra money through online personal training. It was due to a cut in hours at the gym where I worked. Cheap gym memberships bit the private full-service club badly as large national chain gyms touted $10 per month memberships with no contracts. This membership format is the norm now, but it wasn’t then. My 40 hour work weeks dropped to 20 hours, causing this personal trainer, a newly widowed fitness pro trying to make it on her own, to look for other ways to pay bills. A personal trainer friend showed me how she got started, and I followed suit. She had a full schedule while I had zilch. What I did have were readers for my blog, a blog that shared a Christian viewpoint of health, fitness, and wellness.


Why? The Answer Makes All the Difference


I sit here today considering why I still do Be Totally Fit for Life! Certainly, how this particular ministry/business exists and functions today is this simple: Jesus is our Why. God took care of my financial needs in other ways. What He did was sharpen my focus, not the way some of you might wish, but how God wills. What I offer you today is more than a cardboard cutout, that is, a flat physical appearance-only weight loss mill. God has led me to give you a broader view of health, fitness, and wellness through a biblical lens because you are more than just your body. You are a unique creation lovingly fashioned by our Heavenly Creator for a grand purpose. He has given you emotions, relationships, a deep longing to connect to Him, and a perishable body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, for those of you who know Jesus as Savior and Lord. When we understand the answer is Jesus, it absolutely changes how we view health, fitness, and wellness.


Focus = Purpose


My illness is not an accident, nor a hindrance to the work of Be Totally Fit for Life! Much to my surprise, God has sharpened my focus. Where I used to relate to a greater variety of people, I will be giving more time and attention to Christian mid-lifers and those with chronic pain and fatigue conditions. I have to work with the symptoms of multiple autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, and several allergies. I cannot pour out content for this blog consistently. Still, I can help people more effectively who are in this focused target group. Believe it or not, there are a lot of Christians in the health and fitness industry preaching and teaching similar messages. There are a lot of voices for a broad group of people. I believe God wants me to focus more on this particular group of people because they will be able to relate to me, a common connection people often make with a personal trainer. Even though more people can still benefit from what I offer here,  I have to adjust my focus on Jesus as our Why for Be Totally Fit for Life! in a more targeted manner.


Now, more than ever before, you and others like you need something from Be Totally Fit for Life! that helps you weather storms like the Pandemic, riots, and all that go with it. I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer about the direction to take Be Totally Fit for Life!, and one day, God dropped the entire series of https://www.betotallyfitforlife.com/healthy-lifestyles" target="_blank">Healthy Lifestyles in my lap. I couldn’t keep up with Him! This Jesus-focus on health, fitness, and wellness is the foundation of our Healthy Lifestyles series groups. I already had the names for the next two levels after Healthy Lifestyles (first 12 weeks). Then He gave me the details for Living the Disciplined Life and Navigating the Rapids of Change. People working through these groups and individual coaching sessions will receive the majority of my time and attention. Watch for more in January 2021. The original Healthy Lifestyles will start in October but will undergo upgrades for 2021.

 

Affiliate Links: By purchasing merchandise from affiliate links here, you help support our work at Be Totally Fit for Life.


I will still blog, but not as often, and minister through these teaching opportunities. I will also be working on my other website www.charlainemartin.com with other topics God has for me to address from a God’s Adventure viewpoint. You are welcome to follow me there, as well. Both sites will dovetail together over this next year.


Thank you for coming back time and time again. Your faithfulness to Be Totally Fit for Life! is a blessing. May God bless you.

 

Let's Get Personal: Why You Need Your Own Personal Stewardship Plan

Posted on August 13, 2020 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)


Image by Bangkarn Thanyakij on Pexels.


A couple of ladies came to me for personal training sessions together. Each was an opposite personality to the other. One was tall and slender, a bit athletic in her school years. Still, the other was short and stout without any athletic inclination whatsoever. This pairing was an interesting mix because the short one believed that whatever her tall friend wanted, she would do the same. It wasn’t long before they both realized this wouldn’t work. I still trained them, but gave each a personalized exercise plan, helping them meet in common exercises wherever possible. Each one also had different lifestyle needs. One was a stay-at-home mom, and the other worked outside the home with no children. They held a common ground they built from their school years, but the rest of their lives were totally different from each other. They loved their personalized plans, and both met their goals in their way and time.


Why One Plan Doesn’t Fit All


All too often, women grab a workout from the internet and a diet plan from somewhere else, then fizzle out within a month. It’s too much and not right for them. Not only is it not one-size-fits-all, but it also doesn’t always fit the lifestyle of every person. I believe what’s missing out there on the worldwide web is a healthy lifestyle plan that fits the individual and works with their Christian faith. I see too many Christian women jump into weight loss plans with a Zen base belief system. Christian faith and Zen Buddhism are not compatible, even though some try to make it work. I want to offer this concept instead: A Personal Stewardship Plan.


First, let me give you an idea of what Personal Stewardship means. Our bodies are not our own; they were bought by the blood of Jesus Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We were created to do the good works God intends since He created us (Ephesians 2:10). When looking at these two passages, we can easily see that we are specially created by God to do good works He plans for us, and our bodies belong to Him. Therefore, we should take care of these temples in which the Holy Spirit resides. Personal stewardship means taking care of this one body God gave us to serve God and others more effectively because we belong to Him. What we do is out of gratitude and worship for the salvation we have through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


http://


Get Your Own Now


A Personal Stewardship Plan is based upon the passages mentioned above. It considers your age, station in life, Christian faith, nutritional needs, exercise/physical activity needs, and your basic wellness needs. Your plan should be tailored to you. Why fit yourself into someone else’s program? You are uniquely created by our Heavenly Creator to do what He has called you to do. Maybe you are married with kids, go to church regularly, and work a full-time job. How can you coordinate all areas together to be more effective as a spouse, parent, and employee while serving God through your local church? Take the time to consider these areas and devise a plan that works for you.


Need help doing this? Ask me at [email protected] to help you put together a Personal Stewardship Plan, working out reasonable, doable steps you can put into action right away.


  Earn money for working out at Achievement! We both earn points when you join!

Avoid Temptation While Losing Weight

Posted on August 5, 2020 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (1)


Photo by Bridgette Thoms on Pexels.


I have to say that overindulgence is so mainstream. What I mean is so many people in our country think it is normal, and those who eat healthy, low-calorie foods are “unusual.” Our health insurance company requires employees and their families of my husband’s company to talk with a health coach about health goals. These coaches help you make progress, supposedly. The quirky thing is they don’t know what to do with someone who has health issues and lives a healthy lifestyle. One of them practically called me a liar when I told her what I usually eat and my fitness plan. “No way! No one eats like that.”


“Yes, way. I am a certified personal trainer and could do your job. I do eat healthy.” I replied. Although I have problem foods, I don’t keep them in our home. I learned a long time ago how to stay clear of foods that, if left alone with them, I’d devour them in a heartbeat.


Sadly, our society is hooked on unhealthy, high-calorie food that is low in nutrition. It is difficult for so many people to leave these foods alone because of their addictive qualities-- either chemically or emotionally. Like an addict looking for a “fix,” these individuals peruse the store shelves and restaurants for their favorite foods. They don’t fully realize what is happening to their health—eliminating these foods on one’s own is tough. If you know Christ, then you have an advantage: the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome being hooked and be able to walk away from it. 


I posted this on a meme last week, “If we pray asking God to helps us with our will power to resist temptation, then we must be prepared to make a 180-degrees turnaround and walk away from it.” What I mean by this statement is that we can take our difficulty to the Lord in prayer. Since we are in Christ, we have access to the throne of God to ask Him for what we need and expect Him to answer it. What we fail to realize is our need to follow that prayer with the appropriate action. We must turn the opposite direction from the temptation and walk away. It sounds simple, but it really is tough to do. God’s Word says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV. When we trust Him to help us overcome temptation, He will indeed help us steer clear of it.


The only way I’ve found to truly overcome temptation is to follow these tips:


1. When the temptation is right in front of you, tell Satan to take a hike because you are a child of God.


2. Turn the other way with clenched fists, asking God to help you resist this temptation.


3. Unclench your fists, heave a sigh, and walk away from it.


4. Stay away from it!


It is far better yet to avoid temptation in the first place. Here are some practical strategies I teach my clients and group members to avoid temptations that could wreck your totally healthy living plan:


1. Clear tempting foods out of your home. It works best not to allow them to come in-- no exceptions.


2. Fill your fridge and pantry with healthy, nutritious, low-calorie foods that taste delicious.


3. Keep fresh-cut veggies and fruit available for snacking, without fatty, salty, or sugary dips. Learn to love them the way they are.


4. Allow yourself a small mid-morning snack of ½ a serving of carbs and ½ serving of protein. You can avoid a blood sugar crash this way, since a crash will drive you to hunt down food-- any  food. This can also be a great snack if you get hungry in the evening.


5. Set active, non-food get-togethers with your friends and family. If not possible, brown bag your meal or snack.


6. Never sit by the serving table at picnics or other events. Go up to get food once, then sit down as far away as possible—no seconds or thirds.


7. Give yourself six to eight weeks to detox from troublesome foods. The cravings will diminish. After that time, only allow yourself one serving per week of only one treat. It gives you something to look forward to at the end of your week. Sit down and savor it.


8. Avoid eating out except at restaurants with healthy and low-calorie options. Only order from those options.


9. Stay away from the fast-food drive-thru and cafes at the gas station. Pack your lunch or snack. If you accidentally left it home, stop at the grocery store to pick up what you need—healthy, low-calorie food.


10. Eat fresh fruit and veggies without dip, or a small salad, and drink water before you go to a special event that will serve food that isn’t good for you. Only get one small serving of what you want, but don’t go back.


You can absolutely do this with the Lord in the lead! Invite God to lead, guide, direct, and divert you in your food choices; He will always follow through. Your part of this prayerful agreement is to follow His direction allowing Him to show you the way away from temptation. May God bless you!

The Truth About Weight Loss

Posted on July 24, 2020 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)



 

Image by Ter Versalainen on PIxabay.


So many people I have worked with over the years wanted to lose weight for a special event. It was all about looking good. I remember a woman who wanted to look great for her high school reunion. She didn’t want to be “fat” when her friends from high school saw her after 20 years. We set to work, and she was diligent about exercise and food. She lost 40 pounds and looked fantastic! What she didn’t bargain for was the letdown after the event passed. Yes, her friends were surprised at how great she looked. Some of them put on more weight than she did over the years, which she gloated over. But the shallowness of her goal caught up with her. She put on 50 pounds when she returned to life as usual. Weight loss for the sake of weight loss is a waste.


What many dieters long for is to keep looking good and feeling great after the diet is done. Diets are short-term projects. Weight loss plans put people on track for healthy weight maintenance. The client I told you about is a representation of several who hired me to lose weight for a special event with no plans for after the fact. I think they believed that once they lost the weight, it would stay off for good. But it doesn’t work that way. Here are the three main reasons I’ve discovered that crash most weight loss plans:


1. It’s all about appearance. It doesn’t include the emotional, relational, and spiritual aspects of the individual. Let’s be honest. You want to lose weight to look better and feel better about yourself. Most people wanting to lose weight have this same goal. It is certainly good and noble to want to look and feel better. Still, the truth of the matter is, physical appearance is rarely the only issue behind the extra weight you carry. If it were that simple, every weight loss client I’ve worked with would be able to lose weight in their target time frame and keep it off. Voila! Appearance is only the tip of the iceberg, so they say.


 

2. Emotional connections make a big difference. Do you feel loved and accepted when you drown your sorrows with comfort food? Do you crunch out your stress with salty, crunchy snacks? Do you snap out your anger on something breakable like hard tack candy, crackers, or anything you can break? If the answer is yes, then you are likely a yo-yo dieter jumping from one diet to the next. Exercise? Nope, not if you can avoid it. You know well that just diet and exercise alone isn’t enough for you to lose weight and keep it off. The emotions behind your weight need attention before your weight loss plan sticks.


 

3. Spiritual health often shows in physical health. This reason ties in with emotions. Our deeply rooted faith issues lurk in the background. If God loved me, He wouldn’t have made me fat. Why would God let my husband leave me for someone else? Why would God make bad foods taste good and good foods taste bad? If I am a product of a dysfunctional family, then why bother care of myself? What it boils down to is a disappointment with God that creates a vacuum in our lives. He has given us all good things to enjoy, but not all things are beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:11-12) Sadly, you may try to fill that God-sized emptiness with food, people who aren’t right for you, and a fantasy to crowd out the deeply rooted disappointment with self. We often punish ourselves with food and inactivity. And to make matters worse, we tell God through our health actions that we are mad at Him by “making ourselves unlovable.”


 

Setting Your Sights on the Right Path


 

Relationships affect our emotions, which affects our relationship with God, and affects our waistlines. All aspects of our lives are tightly intertwined. You can begin making permanent change by doing these things consistently:


 

1. Influence the people around you for better total health. Instead of allowing people to pull you down into their unhealthy habits, encourage them to make positive changes with you, or spend less time with those people to emulate the healthy people around you.


2. Bury the fantasy. Being the princess at your wedding is lovely, but there is a whole new life with your spouse ahead of you. Why not dedicate yourself to living a healthy, balanced life of love together? Invest in your marriage and your health with consistent Bible reading together, eating healthy, and exercising together. Build a rock-solid marriage that will stand the test of time.


3. Get your priorities straight. A healthy total life balance means leaving work at work while allowing yourself some free time to distress. Put your own primary health needs as a number one priority, along with your time spent with God. Doing these will re-energize your marriage and family, as well as your church, work, and community.


The people who succeed in weight loss are healthy and secure in their worth within their relationships and grow toward maturity in their relationship with God. You can have that, too, when you plan with a greater intention than just weight loss. Partner these with a reasonable healthy eating plan and workout routine to work toward a totally healthy lifestyle you can live with.


What elements are missing with your weight loss plan? What areas do you want to succeed in for better total health?


May God bless you!


 

More great reads on this topic around the internet:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/the_faith_and_health_connection

http://www.catholicdigest.com/wellness/body-soul/faith-and-fitness/

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/strengthen-your-faith-through-physical-exercise

https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/5/3/801/htm

 

Happy Trails! Safely Enjoying the Trails During the Pandemic

Posted on July 3, 2020 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (2)


Photo by Victor He on Unsplash


I have to say that 2020 has been a troubling year full of uncertainties. We’ve all felt cabin fever of Stay-at-Home Orders and can’t wait to get back to normal. This summer is a difficult one, especially with travel plans put on hold, many families are opting for stay-cations. Even with a Pandemic hovering over us, we can still enjoy hiking and biking on the local trails safely.


My Boaz and I have been able to bike on the trails without issues. The last time we rode on a local trail, it was a mixed bag of people who were cautiously social distancing and those who threw caution to the wind. The ones most concerning were under thirty years of age. Since our interests are different than theirs, we were able to dodge them pretty well. Keeping distance from other riders and hikers was critical. We are considering riding again over the holiday weekend. Still, We are concerned about the number of people who will have the same idea. How can you safely enjoy the trails with COVID-19 concerns?

 

Here are a few ideas to help you have a safe, healthy workout on your local biking and hiking trails:


Try to go at non-peak times, like early in the morning. The fewer people sharing the trail with you, the less possibility of exposure to COVID-19, and the less likely you could spread it to others. You will have a higher demand for oxygen, which means you will inhale a lot more air and expel more airborne particles into the air. If you don’t have other people breathing in your air space, you will reduce the number of water droplets hovering around you. You will also avoid possibly contaminating others; after all, it’s not just about us.


Wear a mask to be safe and protect others during outdoor activities. Follow the CDC guidelines for face masks to help prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus. Makes sure they fit correctly covering both your nose and mouth, especially as you pass people along your route. When no one is near, you can uncover your face to reduce overheating and feel free. Remember that your mask can become contaminated on the outside. Keep that side away from your face and don’t touch it. Avoid scratching the itch that invariably comes when you have it covered with a mask!


If you are running or cycling, try wearing a neck gaiter made for outdoor activity. You spew more airborne particles because you breathe heavier. Some neck gaiters are made for outdoor exercise like cycling and running. Here is what the CDC says about wearing face covering in high-intensity exercise, “People who are engaged in high intensity activities, like running, may not be able to wear a cloth face covering if it causes difficulty breathing. If unable to wear a cloth face covering, consider conducting the activity in a location with greater ventilation and air exchange (for instance, outdoors versus indoors) and where it is possible to maintain physical distance from others. “ (CDC) Reduce your exposure by going to less populated trails and at less popular times. Double your distance between you and others who aren’t in your family. Avoid breathing their direction to protect them as well as you.


Don’t congregate at the trailhead and other stop points. People like to gather because they are sick and tired of being isolated, but don’t let your guard down. Wear a mask and maintain social distance when it is unavoidable. Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it if you touch anything when you are unable to wash your hands. Avoid using public toilets and water fountains whenever possible. Of course, if you do, be careful! Bring your own water in a sealable bottle.


When you finish, go home and clean up. Clean your bike, wash your clothing, and take a shower. Not only do you get the trail dust and pollen off, you also wash off bacteria and viral particles. If you have something with you that you can’t wash or sanitize, leave it out in the sun for several hours, which may break down viruses and bacteria (BBC


Boredom doesn’t have to be an option this summer. Enjoy outdoor exercise and activity safely!


May God bless you!


 

Related articles on the Internet:


Walking Safely during Cornavirus by Very Well Fit.


 

Running During Coronavirus Pandemic by CBS News. 

 

Wearing Face Masks When Exercising Outside by the Guardian. 

 

Can You Kill the Coronavirus with UV Light? by BBC News. 

 

Cloth Face Covering Guidance by Center of Disease Control.

 

 

Active Couple Time = Stronger Bond

Posted on June 19, 2020 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)


Image by Everton Vila @evertonvila on Unsplash.


This is an Encore! post from 2017.


I'm not sure if I shared why my hubby decided to ask me out, but here it is: I love to bike- that is, ride a bicycle. You see, after my first husband died, I made a five-year plan for myself. Because my first husband wasn't much for exercise or physical activity, one of the goals I had on my list was to begin riding a bicycle on the bike trails. My first husband was a sweetheart, but I struggled with not doing physical activities together. This time around, I wanted someone who would ride a bike with me. After being single for almost a year, I decided to date again. The local dating scene was overwhelming, which made internet dating appealing. I decided that everyone on a dating website is looking for someone, so I joined a couple. I sat down at my computer to write my profile. I included cycling in my list of activities I enjoyed. After several dates that turned into disappointments, I reluctantly checked the messages in my inbox one evening. Much to my surprise, I found an exuberant message that set me back, "If your profile is true, we've GOT to meet!!!" I found out later that my now-hubby was surprised to see riding on bike trails as one of my hobbies. He liked all of what he saw in my profile, but the cycling was a bonus. This is one of the activities we enjoy doing together today.


 

On a later date in his area, he decided to take me out for a ride to Lexington Harbor near Lake Huron. Please, remember my goal was to BEGIN to ride on the bike trails. I was still getting my "training wheels" going. He had two bicycles: one was a European touring bike meant for long backpack trips, and a lightweight older long-distance bike with a very hard leather-covered seat. Guess what this girl with fibro got to ride. Yep! I was scared to death that I would get left in his dust. It turned out he was left in mine. I pedaled my heart out, thinking he was right on my back fender, yet it turned out he was a long way behind me huffing and puffing to keep up! No, he wasn't out of shape; in fact, he was a runner with high cardio endurance. He was just shocked at my speed. I was shocked that I left him that far behind. My backside hurt so bad from that hard seat.


All in all, we can laugh about it now. We've ridden that same route a few times since. Now, I take my own bike. I keep telling him he makes my heart pitter-patter when he goes cycling with me because he does. Cycling is one of the many activities we love to do as a couple. Doing physical activities you both enjoy will help make the bond between you stronger. It certainly has for us.


 

Be a Dynamic Duo


 

If you both need to manage health conditions or want to be healthy in tandem, do physical activities together you both enjoy. These can be some of your best dates. Yes, work up a sweat together! Here are a few suggestions about physical activities and exercise with dating or marriage relationships:


 

1. Focus on the activities you both like and leave the ones only you like for your own time. We both love cycling and walking together, so we do these regularly. My Boaz hates swimming and working out in the gym. My first husband would walk with me or aqua jog in an aqua belt with me, but that was about it. If you have to drag him or her reluctantly behind, it will only cause frustration, which leads to arguments.


 

2. If you don't know, explore some that sound interesting to both of you. We've talked about taking dance lessons together when my hubby retires. We also discussed canoeing or kayaking, although we haven't done them together yet. Discuss what sounds exciting and give it a try. If you both like it, keep it. If you don't, then drop it. Super simple.


 

3. Make a list of these activities you both like and prioritize your list. Write down what you both want to do, then put a priority order on them beginning with the ones you are willing to do regularly. Stick with the top two or three, or rotate through your playlist.


 

4. Exercise together will help you both enjoy staying healthy and maintain a healthy weight. We both have Fitbits and use the MapMyRun app on my phone to record mileage, time, and calories burned. By looking at the stats together, it gives us accountability to each other, but neither one is each other's "trainer." Exercise is much like play, so consider it your Play Date. Don't be your sweetheart's trainer. Nope.


 

5. Schedule regular activity date times. We try to cycle weekly to bi-weekly depending on weather and other events on our schedule. We also try to walk together a couple of times a week. If you know you will be doing these together regularly, it gives you both a time to anticipate.


 

6. Talk about the highlights of what you did afterward. We discovered a new part of the trail this time, so we explored, then decided we wouldn't do the graveled part again. The dust gets into the gears, which could ruin them. We also didn't like so many traffic intersections because we couldn't get a good pace and keep it. But we did like the scenery like the river with small falls and the wildflowers. Discuss the highs and lows, then plan for the next time.


 

7. Don't spend a lot of money. We already had our bikes separately, and he already had the bike rack. The only money we spend is for the gas to get to the trails and something to drink afterward. If you budget for your activity like any other date (you do still date each other, don't you?), you can avoid arguments over the money. Money is one of the most divisive areas couples argue over. Be lovers, not fighters!


 

Spending fun, active time together will help you build a stronger bond between you. You can also stay healthy for each other for a longer, happier, more active marriage.


 

Discussion starter: What physical activity will you share this week?


 

May God bless you both!


 

New Image 2020: Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

 

 

Walking through a Minefield: Managing Safe Practices with Chronic Illness

Posted on May 22, 2020 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (2)


Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash


Thank you for continuing with me this month as I’ve focused on specific health conditions. I hope you have been encouraged, or someone you know. with fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases like Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Celiac Disease, and many other chronic pain and fatigue conditions.  I've received some positive responses from a number of people on social media throughout the month. My hope is to create a greater understanding through the blog posts and memes.


The most significant concern on a lot of people’s minds is how to move forward as states begin to slowly open up. Please, consult with your healthcare provider about your concerns because this post is for informational purposes only. I will share what it’s been like for me and what my own plans are.


Yesterday, I went to the grocery store because I was tired of having to schedule my grocery curbside pick up for more than a whole week ahead. Not only that, I only received about one half of my order, since giving the store acceptable substitutes with my allergies was difficult. I only needed a few items, so I shopped in the early afternoon. Much to my dismay, many shoppers in the store didn’t wear masks. Several did. Some employees had masks either around their necks or below their noses as they stood gabbing in the aisles with each other. I found myself feeling a bit paranoid wearing the N-95 mask I use when I have to deal with my dust mite allergy. Thankfully, I could dodge and weave around these brazen individuals. One, in particular, was a 30-something woman who seemed unconcerned about social distancing. I, on the other hand, was determined to maintain it or boldly tell her to back away. I was successful, but it was so disheartening that people like this are more concerned about their freedoms than helping everyone stay safe from COVID-19.


Moving Forward with Caution


Attitudes here in Michigan aren’t favorable with the Stay-at-Home Orders our Governor made. Neither is the progressive opening of our state accepted with open arms. The rebellious self-focus greatly concerns me. I do sympathize with those who have lost incomes, but churches and emergency systems are available for them. How many people have to die before the reality of this virus finally sinks in? Cancer patients with low white cell counts, people with HIV, and those on immunosuppressants are at significant risk. So are people with breathing problems, heart disease, obesity, and more. I suppose it will be a matter of time before it personally affects them. For us, we are already keenly aware of our mortality. I, for one, will proceed with caution because it will be like walking through a minefield.


As a first responder, I can attest that specific masks and gloves protect not only the wearer but also the people around them. We were well-trained to be careful of blood-borne pathogens. Blood can spew into the air with some wounds. We had to assume everyone had HIV, SARS, and other scary diseases. These viruses also spread through saliva. People spit when they talk.Those droplets are small most of the time, but a good mask with filtration reduces the risk of being infected or infecting someone else. Cloth face covers like neck gaiters are not good protection. I will continue wearing a mask in public until the all-clear has sounded by those monitoring the Coronvirus activity. I just saw a Menards ad that has filtration masks in boxes of 50. They limit two boxes per customer. These masks can be effective if the sides don’t gape. If they do, then a cloth, like a large handkerchief or neck gaiter, would help. I’m considering a face shield to prevent getting this awful virus as more people go without masks in public. Paranoid? Maybe, but safe it good when so many people have the illness without showing symptoms.


As far as the gloves go, if you put them on correctly, you don’t share your germs, but the viruses that are already in your surroundings. In the case of the store, if you put them on just before you go in, anything you touch in the store that has germs are the germs that spread. The people without them are sharing their own and what is already there. If COVID-19 is present, you want to leave it in the store. Click here to see how to properly remove gloves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxfbYvbtH4k. Toss the gloves in the trash outside the store, or put in plastic bag and tie handles together to toss in your trash that goes out to the curb. Sanitize your hands before you touch your door handle or steering wheel. Use sanitizing wipes on your purse, wallet, car door handles and anything else you touched. Sanitize everything you bought, let it sit for a while in the garage or entry way before taking into your home. Be careful with your mail and packages. We wipe everything down with a sanitizing wipe or spritz with rubbing alcohol allowing to dry before opening and bringing it into our home. This is the plan we’ve followed at our house and will continue to follow.


How to Find Peace in Chaos


Even though I know Jesus as my Savior and know I will spend eternity with Him when I die, I don’t feel ready to die. I want to see my grandchildren grow up and start families of their own. I want to see my Boaz enjoy retirement. I don’t want him to lose me early, but grow old together. I want my mother to see Jesus, not another one of her children die before her time to go. I don’t want my adult children to lose another parent too early. Their grief would be unbearable. I want to publish the books I’ve started. There are many more moments with family and friends I want to enjoy before I go. Of course, God has numbered our days (Psalm 39:4-7). He is God. May He calm our fears so we might use wisdom in this Pandemic shining the Light of Jesus in this dark world. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. Be calm while practicing due diligence. We have hope with no need to fear. Lord Jesus, protect us and calm our hearts that we may walk wisely in this craziness. In Your Name, Amen.

 


Resources for Consideration:


Wearing A Mask To Reduce The Spread Of Coronavirus Will Not Give You Carbon Dioxide Poisoning by Victoria Forster. Forbes.com. May 12, 2020.


 

COVID-19: How much protection do face masks offer? by Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinic. May 19, 2020.

 

 


Face shields a more effective deterrent to COVID? by E.J. Mundell. WebMD. April 30, 2020.


https://www.consumerreports.org/food-shopping/how-to-protect-yourself-from-coronavirus-when-grocery-shopping/" target="_blank">How to Protect Yourself From Coronavirus When Grocery Shopping by Toby Stanger. Consumer Reports. April 30,2020.

 


Here’s How to Clean Your Groceries During the COVID-19 Outbreak by Written by Shawn Radcliff. Healthline.com. March 30, 2020.

 


 

Coronavirus (COVID-19): What People With Asthma Need to Know, by Allergy and Athma Foundation of America. May21 ,2020.

 

 

Managing Sun Sensitivity in Autoimmune Diseases

Posted on May 15, 2020 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Image by Alicia on Pixabay.

(Also Preventing Melanoma for Skin Cancer Awareness)


 

I’ve been sun sensitive since I was a teenager, before the advent of sunscreen. Remember that baby oil tanning? Whoa! I’m surprised we survived that experience! I used to break out in a terrible red itchy, burny rash wherever my skin was exposed to the sun. They used to call it sun poisoning. At any rate, when sunscreen came out, it helped for short durations. Then UPF 30 was awesome! I could stay out in the sun longer without a rash or burn. Not any more. In fact, I came back into the house yesterday after working in the garden, feeling utter exhaustion before I usually should. Why? I think my jeans and garden gloves didn’t keep out enough of the UVA/UVB rays from the sun, but I know my UV protective shirt, hat, and sunglasses did their job. Sun sensitivity is a huge issue.


As for the “photo” part, I’ve always sneezed when the sun gets in my eyes. Within the past few years, I noticed visual sensitivity to certain types of light and sunlight. Where I am around a lot of fluorescent lighting, an abundance of twinkle lights in Christmas displays, and lengthy exposure to bright sunlight-- even with my Transitions lenses-- I get visual distortion that drains me of energy which causes brain fog. When it’s terrible, I feel an awful sensation around my heart. Sometimes, I have terrible migraines from these. So, I’ve had to take drastic action to prevent additional symptoms from taking up residence damaging my body. This same issue is true for so many people with autoimmune diseases.


The Lowdown on Sun- and Photo-Sensitivity


People with fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases, especially lupus, scleroderma, and mixed connective (collagen vascular) disease, are often sensitive to the sun’s UV rays and some types of light. Certain medications can cause sensitivity, like chemotherapy for cancer and meds for autoimmune conditions. People who have melanoma and other forms of skin cancer must avoid exposure to the sun to prevent the re-occurrence of skin cancer. A lack of certain vitamins can also cause light sensitivity. It is our immune system’s response to these light sources that trigger an adverse reaction.

For people with autoimmune disease, it can often trigger a flare that attacks the skin, eyes, and some organs even long after the sun exposure is passed (Benaroya Research). For someone like me, my body’s response to sun exposure can lead to the development of another autoimmune disease. It could also turn the current symptoms of lupus and scleroderma into a full-blown development of one of these diseases. When my doctor told me to AVOID THE SUN, he wasn’t kidding! 


Coping with Photo-Sensitivity


I’m certainly not a pro yet when it comes to handling sun exposure gracefully. I have learned and implemented several sun survival strategies that may be beneficial to anyone who needs to avoid the damaging effects of the sun’s rays.


1. Cover up. The notion of smearing my whole body in sunscreen after my morning shower isn’t enticing. First, it feels greasy no matter what the sunscreen companies do to prevent it. Second, sunscreen, especially using a good sunscreen SPF 50 and higher year around. So, I discovered UPF (sun protective) clothing. At first, the prices were scary until I found different outlets and discount shopping websites. I found UPF 30-50 clothing, with fabric specially treated, to block out 95%+ of the UVA/UVB rays of the sun. Many are moisture-wicking and cooling. I’ve slowly added to my stock of hats, gloves, neck gaiters, shirts, pants, and a couple of dresses. When I researched the effectiveness of these fabrics against regular clothing fabrics, they are more effective than your basic long sleeve t-shirt (NIH). However, the NIH found that Hanes Beefy t-shirts are just effective at blocking the sun’s rays. Can you imagine wearing one of those with your jeans in July and August? No, thanks! A list of companies is provided with links below. By the way, you will have to wear sunscreen on any areas of your body exposed to the sun.


2. Protect those eyes. Your basic polarized shades are usually adequate, but for someone like me, there isn’t enough coverage. Sunlight gets into your eyes from around the frames. You could buy those ugly sunglasses older adults have to wear when they’ve had cataract surgery, but there are some great alternatives. I found mine at Walmart in the accessories department with larger lenses, wider sides, and stylish. They are full spectrum protective and fit over regular glasses without looking weird. A few brands are listed below with links.


3. Slather up. No. I repeat, No, baby oil!!!! Instead, using a full-spectrum sunscreen of 50+ is imperative for those with sun sensitivity. Chemical-based and light-reflective types abound. Some people love the ones with zinc oxide, while others hate it. You have so many brands available at differing price points. It’s easy to find one. Don’t forget the backs of ears, finger and toenails, lips, and bottoms of feet – if you are lounging by a pool.


4. Portable shade. I was impressed by how many people in Hawaii carried their shade with them—an umbrella. I call them sunbrellas. Do you remember the Victorian parasol? Those ladies were onto something! Now there are umbrellas with UPF 50+. Many of these can be found in your local discount stores, like Walmart, Amazon, and more.


5. Enhance your environment. As much as I love the view of nature from my large kitchen window, it is also a challenge in the afternoon. The sun streams in. Although windows have some UV light filtering capability, they don’t keep out the UVB. Your car windows also don’t have adequate UV light protection. There are many types of shades and curtains available that you can put up for your home windows. A special UV window tinting and clings for your car windows can also help.


As you find ways to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV light, you will also protect yourself from skin cancer, an essential factor for anyone. The founder of UV Skinz shares on the website that she lost her husband to melanoma, so she started a clothing company to help people prevent skin cancer. We could all use precautions against something so preventable.I would love to hear how you protect yourself from the sun and other photosensitive issues vital to you. If you found something valuable here, I would love to hear from you! May God bless you!


UPF Clothing Companies


NOTE: I do not have affiliate links for any of these. Actually, I don’t have any affiliate links at all, so I receive nothing if you choose to buy from them.

Columbia www.columbia.com  To find, simply type UV or Sun protective clothing in the search bar, or you can click on “benefit” and check sun protection. Sign up to become a member and get discounts, rack up points for $ off, etc.

Land’s End www.landsend.com Search for UV protective clothing to find what they offer, which is a reasonable amount

UV Skinz www.uvskinz.com Sign up for their emails to get a discount on your first order.

Vapor Apparel www.vaporapparel.com I’m more acquainted with their products through Amazon and Walmart.com, but it looks like a good, fair-priced company.

Coolibar www.coolibar.com Sign up for their emails and get a discount off your first order.

Solbari www.solbari.com This is one of the more expensive companies, although not the most costly. Sign up for their emails to get a small discount. I ordered their products from Amazon.com.

Duluth Trading Company www.duluthtrading.com I like this company for more durable clothing. You will need to search for UV protective clothing to find what they offer, which is quite a bit. Sign up for their emails to get discounts, sales, and free shipping.

Dick's Sporting Goods www.dickssportinggoods.com They carry UV protective clothing as well. Type UV protective clothing in the search.


Sunglasses with excellent coverage, full-spectrum protection


Check here for more information about what to look for in sun-protective eyewear https://fsastore.com/learn/eligibility/how-to-choose-the-best-sun-protective-sunglasses

Solar Shield www.solarshield.com and Walmart.com I bought my sunglasses from Solar Sheild for around $20 a pair at Walmart.

Coolibar https://www.coolibar.com/accessories/sunglasses.html

Foster Grant www.fostergrant.com

Panama Jack https://panamajack.com/collections/sunglasses


 

As for Windows in your home or car, check with Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, Auto Zone, and Walmart. I haven’t bought any yet, but I am looking for my home windows.


Resources for More Information:


Lupus Foundation of America https://www.lupus.org/search?_limit=10&_page=1&keywords=sun%20sensitivity&_sort=relevance&language=en

Kaleidoscope Fighting Lupus https://kaleidoscopefightinglupus.org/lupus-and-photosensitivity-when-the-sun-is-your-enemy-2/

Scleroderma News https://sclerodermanews.com/blog/2016/07/22/the-magic-of-summer/

Skin Cancer Foundation https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-prevention/sun-protection/sun-protective-clothing/

Benaroya Research https://www.benaroyaresearch.org/blog/post/getting-outside-summer-autoimmune-diseases

 

 


 
















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