Tag Archive | wellness

my balanced life (or 95 days of movement)


There are ninety-five days left in the year.  I’m making a vow to myself and my body to make them ninety-five days of movement.

silhouette of running woman

Four years ago, I started taking yoga classes.  Yoga saved me.  During the lowest time of my life, yoga was my safe haven.

In 2011, things changed and I couldn’t make it to as many yoga classes.  So I started walking.  And then I started running.  In September 2011, I walked and ran my first 5K.   I finished.  Last.  But last beats the quitters behind me who stopped.  Even the quitters beat all those who didn’t start at all.

I walked or ran two 5Ks last year.  I kept running until November, when I fell and threw my hips out of alignment.

This year, I’ve struggled to get back into my groove.  The yoga studio closed while Carrie uses all of her energy to beat cancer.  There is a yoga class I take on Saturday  mornings, when I’m home.  And healthy.  I haven’t been since…when?  August?  Maybe July?

The last time I ran was the night before Nature Boy got mad, ran down the stairs, jumped over the gate and got bitten by my Rocky dog.  It was one of those hot, late night runs that sustained me through 2011 and mostly eluded me in 2012.  A slow, hot mile in shorts and a sports bra.  Nobody out but me and the moon.

After that, I went to bed each night thinking, “I’m too tired.  I’ll run in the morning.”  And every morning, I’d wake up thinking, “I’m too tired.  I’ll run in the evening.”

There are ninety-five days left of this year, and I’m done with excuses.  I’m going to fill those ninety-five days with movement.  If I’m too tired to run, I’ll walk.  If I’m too tired to walk, I’ll ride my beach bike.  If it’s too rainy to go outside, I’ll go to my yoga room and pretend that Carrie is there to push me to hold that position just a little longer.  Breathe just a little harder.

Between my birthday and the end of the year is when most people put on weight each year.  Between Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas goodies, it’s a challenge to get through the year without plumping up like that Thanksgiving turkey.

I used to say I dieted and exercised to get my old body back.  I’ve changed my goal.  I don’t want my 25-year-old body anymore.  I want a different body.  A better one.  One that is soft yet firm.  Toned and healthy.  Lungs that can fill me with oxygen.  Heart that beats strong and sure.  Legs that carry me to the finish line.  Arms that hold me in a handstand.  That’s the body I want to walk into 2013.

Move with me!  Let’s end 2012 in triumph and start 2013 in the best shape of our lives! 

my balanced life (or my HCG diet experiment)


I have probably tried every diet under the sun!

Before and after pictures for HCG diet experiment

before and after

In theory, any diet works if you work the diet.  I’ve lost weight any number of ways over the years but the pounds never seem to stay off for long after the diet is over.

Last month, I ran into two different friends who used the HCG diet to successfully lose thirty pounds in six weeks.  Since that is almost exactly how much I want to lose, I decided to give it a try.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I hadn’t weighed myself since sometime last year, so I was disappointed when I stepped on the scale and saw how much weight I’d gained since last year when I was training for two 5Ks.

But then again, I dress myself every day, so I wasn’t particularly surprised to see how big the number was, either.

The HCG diet seems to be one of the “it” diets right now.  I did some research (a/k/a googling) before starting the diet, and found more bad things than good.  But I couldn’t discount the two friends who had successfully lost weight (and kept most of it off for several months.)

In essence, the HCG diet consists of the HCG hormone, taken either through shots or drops taken orally.  I did the oral drops, six drops four times a day.

I took the drops religiously.  I even set a timer on my iPhone for each of the four times a day so that I couldn’t forget.

Following the diet was more of a challenge.  Two meals a day (lunch and dinner), consisting of one vegetable, one fruit and 3 ounces of lean protein.  And therein lies my diet fail!  Five hundred calories a day did not work for me.  At all.

The bigger problem is that one week after starting the HCG diet I got sick.  And stayed sick for the next three weeks.  A stuffy nose turned into a hacking cough, which turned into bronchitis.  I haven’t been that sick, for that long, in years.

My first week on the HCG diet, I lost five pounds.  Cue the celebratory confetti!

The next three weeks consisted of me gaining and losing the same two pounds, so that at the end of four weeks, I had a net five-pound weight loss.

I was so sick the last three weeks of the diet, the only exercise I participated in was coughing hard enough to bruise my breastplate.

Even though I only lost five pounds, I consistently saw a difference in my body each week.  Every Friday morning, I took pictures in the same bikini.  For once, I wanted visual proof of the effects of my diet!

At the end of the fourth week, I decided I’d had enough.  I’m too busy to be that sick.  And my body couldn’t seem to get well while I was on the diet.

I haven’t given up the desire to lose thirty pounds.  (Well, call it twenty-five now, thanks to the five pounds I lost on HCG.)  But I am determined to find a way to lose the rest of the weight without throwing my body into a tailspin!

Question:  Do you struggle with weight issues?  If so, what are your best tips for taking off, and keeping off, extra weight?

my balanced life (or finding my margin)


keep calm and go to the beach

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the need to find margin, that slice of space needed to prevent overload in a busy life.  Michael Hyatt writes about it here.

Margin is not something that comes easily in a busy life. I’ve been feeling the crush of deadlines and responsibilities the last six months.  I’ve talked a lot about needing to get away.  To create a little margin away from my day-to-day responsibilities.  But being able to actually make that margin in my life just wasn’t happening.

Right now, my business schedule doesn’t allow me to be away from my office for more than a day here and there.  That is a reality that won’t change in the near future.

Which means the most margin I can carve out right now is a little weekend trip.

When I do get away, I need to find somewhere close.

It also helps to know which setting is most relaxing to me.

For some people, it’s the mountains.

For others, it’s a big, bustling city.

But I find peace at the beach.

sunrise on Hilton Head Island

I am blessed enough to live fifteen minutes from the beach.  But even that entails packing a day bag, towel and chair, snacks and water bottles, and then sitting in traffic.

This weekend, my friends were sweet enough to lend me their one-bedroom beach condo on Hilton Head Island.  The commute to the beach was grabbing the beach chair and my beach bag and walking across the street, over the boardwalk and across the sand.

I was there to watch the sun set behind the beautiful condos dotting the beach, watching the sky change from blue to pink to black.

I was there to watch the sun rise above the pine trees and sea grass.

The most strenuous responsibility I had was holding my book up high enough to avoid the waves and moving my chair in and out, following the tide.

A nice long walk at end the day.  An early morning jog to start the next.

Short walks back to the condo for naps as needed.

Paradise.

Margin.

Peace.

Whatever you want to call it, I found it this weekend.

I have a few hours left before I have to make that big fifteen-minute commute back home.  My teenager awaits my return.  As do my four dogs.  And my fifty pound backpack of responsibilities.

But for now, I’m going to grab my beach chair, beach bag and beach read and head back to enjoy the last of my time away.  My margin.

Question:  Do you schedule margin in your life?  That break from your responsibilities that gives you the chance to recharge and rejuvenate? 

adventures in dating (or a love like that)


Sufi poet Hafiz

I adore love stories.  Sometimes I’m lucky enough to meet someone who shares their love story with me, like George and Faye.  Sometimes I get to watch a love story in action, no words or explanations needed.

My beautiful friend and yoga guru, Carrie, is braving Stage IV ovarian cancer.  Her path has been littered with obstacles since her diagnosis.  Blood clots.  Unsuccessful chemo treatments.  Bowel blockages.

Overriding everything is the strength and love of her husband, Herman.

Carrie was hospitalized two hours away from home for a month.  Herman was there every day until he had to return to work.  Then he commuted back and forth each day after work.

Their love story has had the same highs and lows that all long-term relationships have.  But where the rubber met the road, there’s Herman, standing tall, a gentle giant.

Now that Carrie’s back home, Herman works full time then performs home inspections in the evening and on weekends.  The full-time job provides health insurance and living money.  The home inspections pay for Carrie’s medication, which are averaging a thousand dollars a month.

Carrie is the original outdoor girl.  She was raised in rural Pennsylvania on 100 acres in the mountains.  She’s more at home in a kayak on the river than in a store.

She sells Arbonne, whose sign of success is a white Mercedes.

Since Carrie’s diagnosis, Herman bought a previously-owned, white Mercedes SUV, lovingly restored it and outfitted it with a rack for Carrie’s kayak and stand-up paddle board.

I’ve talked to Herman a few times.  Asked him how he’s doing. Whether it’s standing outside her hospital room, or meeting at the now-closed yoga studio, or talking on the phone to coordinate visits, the answer never changes.

It doesn’t matter how I am.  Nothing matters but Carrie.

Carrie and Herman having a loving moment in happier times

I want a love like that.  The selfless love of Sufi poet Hafiz’s poetry.  The selfless love I see in Herman when he talks about Carrie.

Sunday was a special day for Carrie.  A day of fasting, prayer, healing thoughts and positive energy.

In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus tells us, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Carrie’s friends each did something Sunday for her healing. Some friends fasted.  Some prayed.  Some sent Reiki.  Others sent positive thoughts of healing – imagining Carrie whole and well, her smile lighting up the room. All sent love.  None more than Herman.

my year of balance (or Regina Mae floats away)


I take care of my body with intention.  I practice yoga.  I get acupuncture.  I do detoxifying foot soaks.  I get rainbow oil treatments.  I tap using EFT.

yin-yang symbol

I am a Reiki master.  I meditate.  I pray.

Four years ago, I was overweight, stressed and unhappy.  Perimenopause meant hot flashes and out of control emotions.

Four years ago, I started my journey into holistic medicine.

Four years ago, I started seeing my brilliant acupuncturist, Dr. Rahmie Valentine.  Week by week, her needles worked their magic on my meridians, or energy channels.  Lying on her table, I feel myself float away.  From the table.  From my troubles.  From my pain.

As my meridians opened up, I saw definite, palpable improvements to my body and my emotions.  My hot flashes went away.  My emotions came under control, allowing me to stop using Lexapro.  My digestion cleared up, resolving a lifetime struggle with IBS.

During one of my treatments, I mentioned to Rahmie that I had inexplicably started doing yoga at home.  She referred me to Carrie Peterson Wandall, who became my beloved yoga instructor.

girl in downward facing dog yoga pose

Yoga helped me get in touch with my body.  It helped me start to hear what my body was trying to tell me. I lost twenty pounds in yoga.  I learned what peace feels like in my yoga classes.

After surgery, I told Carrie that I felt like I just couldn’t shake the anesthesia.  I felt like I was walking through a cloud.  She referred me to Barbara Bock, R.N., Ph.D.

Barbara is a registered nurse who earned a Master’s Degree in Health Care Management and her Doctorate in Health Care Administration.  Barbara spent years in traditional medicine before her own health crisis led her to holistic healthcare.  She is a Reiki master and Licensed Massage Therapist who uses her life experiences and intuition to change people’s lives.

Barbara introduced me to the world of detoxifying foot soaks.  After the first soak, I felt like a new woman.  I slept better.  I had more energy.  I felt lighter as I walked out of the treatment room.

reiki hands and om symbol

Carrie also brought me to Reiki.  “Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.”  Carrie introduced me to Bob Calabrese, who gave me my first degree attunement, and Vivian Quattlebaum, who gave me my second degree attunement.

Eric Burns gave Carrie and me our Master attunement together.  I met Eric at one of Carrie’s Holiday Restorative classes.  She lined up several Reiki practitioners to go around the room and give Reiki to the participants as we laid in various restorative poses.  When Eric gave me Reiki, my entire body tingled.  To this day, I’ve never met a more powerful Reiki practitioner!

Four years after starting my journey into holistic healing, my body is healthier than it’s ever been.  Yoga and meditation are easy ways for me to keep in touch with my body and mind on a daily basis.  Monthly acupuncture visits keep my meridians flowing.  Rainbow oil treatments are the newest feel-good addition to the repertoire.

I can’t wait to see where this journey leads me next.

Question: What do you do to take care of your body and soul?

adventures in dating (or miss independence)



lit sparklers

Three years ago this month I leapt madly toward independence.  It was like jumping out of a tenth floor window of a burning building.  Sometimes, it doesn’t matter if there is something waiting to break your fall.  Where you are is so bad, you have to take that leap of faith.

Asking for a divorce was the scariest thing I’ve ever done.  I tortured myself with self-doubt.  What if I was wrong?  What if he was right, and we were supposed to stay together?  What if the separation destroyed our kids?

What if I went through all the pain of the separation and then ended up with someone else exactly like the one I left?

What if I ended up ALONE?  I couldn’t imagine a fate worse than being alone.

I found a dead Monarch butterfly on my back patio around that time.  I saved it, wrapped in tissue in a Premier Jewelry box.  Whenever I was tempted to call my ex, I’d pull the box out.  I’d remind myself that if I stayed in my marriage, my soul would be as dead as that little butterfly.

Three years later, I look back on the woman I was like she’s a character in a book I read. Her grief is a distant memory, more like something I’ve watched on TV than lived firsthand.

Her anger and bitterness a distasteful chapter in a book I never want to read again.

power to choose

I’m thankful for my beautiful children, who worried about me and took care of me as much as I took care of them.  We grieved together.  For a family lost.  A husband and father absent.  For what could have been.  And never was.

As I write these words, tears pour down my cheeks.  A reminder that maybe the pain isn’t as distant as I thought.

I’m thankful for my friends who remind me of Jeremiah 40:31.  But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” 

My friends stood next to me.  They soared with me when I could.  They ran with me when I couldn’t.  They walked with me when that’s all I had left.

A couple of times in the last few months, I’ve thought to myself, I love being single.  Or, I like being single more than I ever liked being married.  It’s taken most of the three years to get to this point.

Being alone doesn’t scare me anymore.  I know there will always be people in my life.  Family to love.  Friends to lean on.  Boys to play with.

It takes time to get to this place.  And it’s a good place.

Maybe it’s because I’m in this place that Nature Boy finally found me.

Nature Boy is my biggest surprise.  He drifts in and out of my life like an unanchored boat.  When he’s around, he brings peace and stillness.  He soothes my soul.  As I soothe his.

Five years before I met him, I pointed out his sailboat to my photographer sister.  She snapped the pic and it’s been hanging in my office ever since.  From my desk, if I look left, there’s a picture of Sweetness.  If I look right, there’s a picture of Nature Boy’s sailboat.

Serendipity?  Fate?  Whatever brought Nature Boy to me now, I’m in a good place to enjoy it.  Enjoy him.

Question:  Have you declared your independence yet?  Or are you happily dependent?

my balanced life (or Regina Mae lies down)


lady bug on a gardenia

Sometimes a balanced life means lying around and not doing a thing but smelling the gardenias.  So, that’s just what I did today.

Lying on the couch on the back patio, enjoying the breeze from the ceiling fan, I let myself be swept away in Nora Robert’s newest adventure, The Witness.  The closest I came to productivity was transplanting my peace lily and separating it into two pots – one for the yoga room and one to go back to the office.

Normally, my days are frenetically filled from sun up to sun down.  Usually, I welcome the activity.  I embrace the harried pace of my life.

But some days, I enjoy the opportunity to loll around, enjoying the ceiling fan and the air conditioning.  Catching up on a new book or two.  Clearing out the DVR.

Today I’m taking an electronic moratorium.  No cell phone buzzing.  No texts pulling me away from the plot line of my book.  Hush Facebook.  Whatever it is can wait.  My mind needs to breathe.  My muscles need to relax.

My body has been sending me signals.  Panic attacks.  The fall at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.

palmetto tree overlooking the marsh

This weekend, I’m taking heed to the warning bells.  I have nowhere to be.  Nothing much to do.  Except breathe and enjoy the scenery.

As each hour of this restful day passes, fight or flight signals ebb and wane until all is quiet.  In my mind.  In my heart.  In my soul.

I’m going to go watch a movie now.  Maybe in a little while, I’ll light up the grill.  But then again, maybe I won’t.

Question:  What is your body telling you?  Are you listening to it?