BLOG 183 RELATIONSHIPS & YOUR FITNESS JOURNEY
Whatever the goal(s) of your fitness journey, the adventure is mental and emotional. To succeed, certain behaviors, priorities, and choices do change. These new habits also affect our spouse, partner, best friend, siblings, parents, and so on. Our attempt to change means what was done in the past will not continue. With this change in ourselves, we find change in the dynamics of our relationships. We want people on our “good side” as we fight this fight. As we assert ourselves about what we eat, how we spend our time, and with the incorporation of exercise, not everyone is as supportive or understanding as we wish they would be. I’m sure you can relate to one or more the following scenarios.
We want the people in our lives to be cheerleaders, not coaches. If we wanted a trainer or coach, we would hire one. Picking apart what we are doing wrong is not the feedback we want to hear.
We want our network to participate. If we are dining out, let’s go somewhere friendly to healthy eating. Eat a clean dinner with me, don’t make we cook separate every time. It wouldn’t hurt you to hit the gym with me.
We want the person to listen, not judge. This is an emotional challenge to us, so sometimes we need to just hash out a bad decision. We don’t need criticism, advice, or empathy, just acknowledgment that they are aware we are trying and mama said there would be days like this.
We want to do non-food friendly hang outs. We don’t have to meet for lunch or a drink every time we see each other.
We don’t want to be tempted. Please don’t offer bites or nibbles. Please don’t try to convince me it’s okay this one time.
When you see me exercise at home or the gym, I don’t need your input. I don’t need you to laugh or question me.
We do not want them to be the food police. Support is great but this isn’t your role. I will let you know if I need law enforcement to catch me.
Communication is the key. We can’t expect our relationships to know how we are feeling each moment. It’s like when someone asks you if you are okay, you say you are fine, and then you explode at them. We can’t expect more, less, or really anything from someone close to us unless we openly and honestly express the message. This is not to say it will be understood, but when you assert your goals to others, you are also boosting your confidence that this journey is happening and you are doing it. As part of your journey, change the way you communicate to others as well. You will benefit physically and mentally from this.
BLOG 182 COBALT POISONING
Cobalt is an element in the earth’s crust. It is a byproduct of nickel or copper. It is used for high temperature allowing magnets, ceramics, and tools. Even though it is such a tiny element of our environment, this small amount is needed for our health and for animal health. It is actually found in vitamin B12. A deficiency can cause anemia. Overexposure can result in poisoning. This can happen when a person swallows too much of it, breathes in too much of it, or it is in constant contact with the skin causing irritation.
Recently, the metal used in hip replacements has caused a higher case of cobalt poisoning. This implant made of cobalt acts as an artificial hip socket. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. Metal on metal joints were introduced by manufactures as a solution to joint durability. A metal ball is basically situated in a metal cup. However, complications have occurred. Sometimes metal particles like cobalt are released when the ball grinds against the cup while walking, running, or during activity. These particles can then be released into the bloodstream. Inflammation and pain would start to be felt in the hip area if this was occurring. This can be quite serious, resulting in heart disease, kidney failure, thyroid disorders, or even cancer. Other signs of cobalt poisoning include fatigue, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and headaches.
Blood tests would reveal high levels of cobalt. If the levels are dangerous, removing the hip replacement is necessary. After removal, cobalt levels quickly drop. The longer the exposure, the worse the prognosis might be. Some patients never fully recover, especially if their kidneys aren’t properly functioning. Regular cobalt testing with bloodwork is highly recommended for anyone who has had a hip replacement.
There have been a number of recalls on these metal-on-metal hip replacements. There are also a high number of product liability lawsuits against these manufacturers. They are usually found liable, because even if they were unaware of the danger, they are still at fault. It is important to act quickly if one plans to take action against one of these manufactures because the statute of limitations is applicable against product manufacturers.
2.5 million Americans have a hip replacement. As we age, we become more and more at risk for falls and arthritis to the hip area. Surgery can put a person in the hospital for 3 or 4 days and then recovery can take 3 to 6 months. This is pretty serious and we don’t want future complications with this. Take preventative measures for your hip health through regular exercise, practicing your balance, and making sure your kinetic chain is in alignment in the lower body. Watch those knees and toes as they all relate to the hips. The hips don’t lie so avoid cobalt poisoning all together by sticking to that FIT Life.
BLOG 181 APPENDIX
I’m not talking about the kind at the end of a book. I’m talking about your body part the appendix, which the thin 4-inch tube at the junction of your small and large intestine located in the lower right abdomen. Some say it has no purpose. Others say it is the storage unit for the good bacteria of our digestive system, coming to the rescue after a bad bout of diarrhea. For whatever reason, the good old appendix has stayed with us through evolution.
When the appendix is removed, well nothing happens. We only notice this body part when it has to be surgically removed due to appendicitis. The appendix really only gets attention when it becomes inflamed or infected and needs to be taken out. When a person is experiencing pain to the lower right abdomen, nausea, and vomiting, antibiotics won’t always do the trick. This leads to a surgery called an appendectomy. Without surgery, the appendix can rupture. Luckily, minimally invasive procedures are being used that help with quicker recovery, less time in the hospital, and best of all… less pain. Chances are slim of this occurring in the body. In fact, males are only at 8.6% risk and females only at 6.7% of contracting appendicitis. Having a low functioning immune system is a probable cause of having this and sometimes drinking contaminated water can be the culprit.
The downside of the appendix is that is can be a store house of tumors with cancer. This is another reason for removal. After an appendectomy, the chances of having Parkinson’s disease later on in life does increase.
So all in all, the appendix is sort of like that ugly vase your great aunt Suzy gave you that is sitting on the table that serves no pretty purpose. It is just there and probably would be better served to be removed from the setting. In the meantime, no harm no foul. But then when it shatters it’s time to clean it up and finally get it out of the house. The appendix is an interesting part of our body due to its “serve no purpose” nature. Since I’ve been working on my Doctorate, anatomy has been ever so prevalent in my life. The appendix is an easy one to remember thank goodness. A fitness journey must go on, with or without that appendix. I’ll never forget the time one of our FIT family members vomited during a workout. That was her appendix…. yep removed and back to workouts the next week.
BLOG 180 ICE MACHINES
As a gal who dislikes cold water, well now I have more reason to feel this way. Scientists have said that ice coming from ice machines have more bacteria than toilet water. Some restaurants have been labeled a “hygiene risk” after inspection. Wishful thinking would tell us that this is because toilets are cleaned more often than the ice machine ? Hate to rain on the parade with a hail storm, there’s no such thing as being too cold for germs. What’s worse is that the standard of ice from these machines is that the bacteria that does exist, is at least at a level that is safe for human consumption. So yeah, it’s still there.
The number of cases of stomach upsets has increased by 50% since the 1990s. The problem is the cleaning of the machines and scoopers. Enterococci and E. coli have been readily found. Feces contamination is just disgusting. Coliform, is what the bacteria is called. It is found in the fecal matter of humans and animals. One might think that ice is just water so how can it contain all this without us at least seeing it?? Well, poor hygiene, i.e. not cleaning the machines, causes this science project to occur.
McDonalds, KFC, and Burger King, have all been found guilty. According to, Business Insider, (2017), “The coliform bacteria, which is found in human and animal feces, was discovered in three out of 10 ice samples from McDonald’s, six out of 10 samples from Burger King, and seven out of 10 samples from KFC.”
Even that ice maker at home has bacteria. Have you ever cleaned your ice maker?? I’m guilty of never even considering this. Luckily, some drinks can kill the bacteria on ice, but mostly just alcoholic beverages.
We know that chewing on ice is bad for our teeth. Sucking on ice can cause a brain freeze. Ice can be used to helped with inflammation. So basically ice is all bad to me haha with it’s negative associations. Because it has been so darn hot, I see a lot of ice in those bottles at the studio. This topic came to as a discussion about my dislike of cold water. I am that person that orders water without ice please. Well, now there’s proof in the logic. Now I will go enjoy my warm water and not be selfish so you can have all the bacteria ?
BLOG 179 MOSQUITO BITES
Summer time brings those pesky, itchy, pink colored bumps to our skin. Mosquito bites are the result of the mouthpart of the insect puncturing our skin and feeding on our blood…. Yuck!!!! For most of us, they bother for just a couple days then go away. However, certain people have worse reactions (especially children) which can include swelling and soreness to the area. In children, this is called skeeter syndrome. We all get them, some more than others, so let’s explore these common “bites” further.
The trouble is that mosquito bites can carry parasites and viruses. Some parts of the world are greatly affected by the West Nile virus that these bugs. Other illnesses included yellow fever and malaria. A person’s inflammatory response can include fever, hives, and swollen lymph nodes. Typically, one should see if a doctor if after a bite a person they develop a fever, headache, or is have body aches.
Did you know that the only mosquitos that bite us are female?? Males do not have the blood sucking mouth part. Females need the protein from our blood to produce eggs. The “lady bug” fills herself with our blood and then spits it back into our skin which causes the itchy bump. They are drawn to the scent of our skin, sweat, and our exhaled carbon dioxide.
We should avoid areas that are mosquito filled and wear repellent when exposed. The strongest repellent is DEET. Wearing long sleeves and light colors is recommended. Mosquitos like standing water. Simple tricks at home can be changing bird bath water, unclogging roof gutters, getting rid of old tires sitting around, and emptying any flower pots or outdoor items that collect water.
Some funny but effective at home tricks to relieve the itch include toothpaste, oatmeal, honey, baking soda, basil, vinegar, onion, and garlic. So basically the really strong spices.
A few summers ago I was getting really bad reactions to the bites, with major swelling and redness to the areas. I’m an itcher so that didn’t help. However, infection can only worsen if you break the skin of the bite and have it exposed. The itching sensation doesn’t go away when we scratch, it only prolongs the scratching cycle. But that is some serous mental toughness to just let the bite be haha. I’m “bugging” out. I sort of equate mosquito bites to flea bites on our pets. They can be miserable. So this summer, I know I make you sweaty and mosquito tasty, but be sure to shower right after workouts, drink your water so it isn’t idle, and wear long sleeves and pants when you go for your walks and runs at reasonably climate friendly times.
BLOG 178 KETCHUP MUSTARD BBQ
Adding a little zing, taste, and pop… we love to dip, marinate, and top our food with ketchup, mustard, and/or barbeque sauce. These condiments practically go hand in hand with many of our traditional dishes. Ketchup and French fries. Mustard and hotdogs. Barbeque and chicken. And typical of our habits, we aren’t exactly dipping in moderation ? After all, every fry needs that red color on it before eating. Enhancing the flavor of what we consume just feels right, but maybe we should consider what these condiments contain. They can actually be the culprit of what has made the meal unhealthy.
Ketchup is packed with sugar, high fructose corn syrup and salt. That’s the flavor right?? Just because it’s made with tomatoes doesn’t mean it’s a vegetable. There are 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon and most of us aren’t limiting to one 1 serving. Besides the added sugar, ketchup is salt filled with 160 grams of sodium per tablespoon. Alone it is not a high sodium food, but considering we use it on high sodium dishes like French fries, the combo isn’t ideal.
Good news is that mustard is sugar free. It is also lower in sodium with 57 grams per packet or teaspoon. It may have been the first condiment ever used by humans. Egyptian pharaohs put mustard seeds in their tombs and Romans were the first to grind the seeds and make a paste. Its yellow color is actually from the turmeric that is added. I don’t have too much bad to say about mustard. It pretty much has no fat and no calories.
But when it comes to BBQ sauce that is a different story. In a two tablespoon serving, there can be 12 to 17 grams of sugar, 200 t0 300 milligrams of sodium, and all in all, that is 14% of the totals you should have in a day. It also has 22 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Needless to say, we don’t always stick to the one serving. Sometimes eating a boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast, but drenched in BBQ, can be just as bad as having fried chicken.
I didn’t even want to talk about ranch dressing…. ALL BAD haha.
I’m an advocate for clean eating. As my husband, says he wants to taste the food, and sauces hide what you are eating. Not to say that trying to get down plain chicken is easy without a little sauce, but know yourself and if every bite has to be dipped, red flag to steer clear of the sauce. Mustard and black pepper are my friends. Plus, think about the shelf life of these products?? Pretty gross considering they seem to last forever. Keep it simple. Extras add up that’s why they’re extra.
BLOG 177 ALMOND BUTTER VS PEANUT BUTTER
Both taste amazing!!!! Most of us can eat almond butter or peanut butter right out of the jar. We grew up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Celery and peanut butter. Peanut butter cookies. Almond Joy candy bars. Chocolate covered almonds. Roasted almonds. Licking your lips yet?? Actually, this gooey goodness loves to get stuck in your teeth. A popular choice for sure. The National Peanut Board said that 90% of homes has peanut butter in their cabinet. So let’s see which one stacks up as the better choice on your fitness journey.
Both of these butters are heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. These are the type of fat that helps lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Almond butter has 5 grams of monounsaturated fats versus 3.3 grams in peanut butter this fat type per tablespoon. Winner: Almond butter.
Fiber is a very important component of our eating and most people don’t get enough. A good digestive track requires adequate fiber. We need 21 to 38 grams per day depending on age and gender, so every little bit helps. Almond butter has 1.6 grams of fiber per tablespoon versus 0.9 grams in peanut butter. Winner: Almond butter.
Vitamin E has many antioxidants and these butters contain this fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin E is also important for our immune system. Almond butter has 4x the amount of vitamin E than peanut butter. Winner: Almond butter.
Both butters contain minerals we need including iron, zinc, potassium, and calcium. Almond butter is a better source of all of these minerals. Winner: Almond butter.
Check out this calorie comparison…. If you took one cup of peanuts it has 854 calories versus one cup of almonds which has 546 calories. So take these grounded and you see the calorie difference. Winner: Almond butter.
I’m an advocate for almond butter. Every better decision adds up. There isn’t much bad to say about it expect maybe the pool of liquid that forms at the top of a new container. Other than that, almond anything and I’m in. Of course in moderation and with portion control. Every BODY can incorporate almond butter on their fitness journey, provided no nut allergies. Read the labels, find the best brand available to you, and hey top a rice cake with some almond butter and that’s a great FIT Snack ?
BLOG 176 BONES, JOINTS, LIGAMENTS, & TENDONS
Orthopedics 101: what makes up our musculoskeletal system?? In order for our body to move, the joints, ligaments, and tendons must work together. If a person has a disease, injury, or condition, affecting any one of these parts, nerve signals are interrupted and movement is hindered.
When you think of joints, think of two parts of the skeleton being fit together. The bones are connected by joints. Joints are also called articulations. Here’s the lineup….
1. Bones are lined with cartilage so they don’t grind against each other; it is the covering at the end of the bone
2. Bones are joined to bones by ligaments, so where 2 bones meet that is a joint; ligaments are important for stability
3. Muscles are connected to bones by tendons. Technically, muscles are not part of the joint, but stronger muscles help protect the joints.
You know that cracking sound we sometimes hear with movement?? When you flex or contract a muscle which takes place at the joint, the ligament stretches with that joint. When you straighten out that joint, the ligament helps to pull the joint back to its normal starting position. This means that ligaments are a major part of movement, but over time, they start to lose their elasticity. This loss of stretch makes the joint have that cracking noise from bone on bone.
Tendons are important for our range of motion with movement. They’re found in smaller joints like fingers and wrists. We use tendons a lot, especially at the wrist. A tendon’s job is to make sure you can bend your wrist, but not too far.
After years of constant use, our joints can develop arthritis. This especially occurs in the knee, hip, and shoulder areas. The knee joint has 3 parts, the hip has 2, and the shoulder has that one that seems to be commonly injured.
Tendons and ligaments do wear out. They do not grow or repair themselves. A baseball pitcher has repetitively used their arm and shoulder to throw the ball as hard as they can over and over again. After a number of years, the rotator cuff is done. Then it’s surgery.
Long story short, our body sure does do a lot for us to produce movement. As I type and while you read, movement is occurring even in the eyes. We have to appreciate what we have and if we don’t use it, we lose it before that expiration date comes our way. Your fitness journey is a lifelong commitment to your health, so exercise wisely, fuel your body right, and MOVE!!!!
BLOG 175 3rd HAND SMOKE
We all know the hazards of smoking. The person actually smoking is at risk for many health problems. Second hand smoke can lead to emphysema and lung cancer. But have you heard of 3rd hand smoke (THS)?? This is the less visible type which consists of all the particles and chemicals that land on basically every surface in the smoking area. It can be on the person’s clothes, in their hair, on the floor, and on the furniture.
There are 11 types of chemicals that when left on surfaces, are considered carcinogens. This is all bad because these are cancer causing. Off-gasing is when the chemicals have landed on the surface but then release back into the air as gas. It seems toxins are released everywhere from cigarettes. These toxins can then interact with other chemicals in the environment. These toxins then are either inhaled, ingested (they land on food), or absorbed through the skin. Overtime, these toxins continue to accumulate and become more and more harmful. Let’s say a person smokes in their car, obviously these chemicals just keep piling up.
Children are the biggest victims of THS. Children sit and play on the floor. They put their fingers in their mouths and touch surfaces.
It is important to be adamant about not smoking in your home or vehicle to avoid THS. Studies have shown in a house left unoccupied for 2 months, these chemicals were still present. Acidic cleaners, especially vinegar, can help with some of the cleaning.
So what is the best solution to avoid third hand smoke?? Well, quitting smoking. Nicotine is highly addictive and studies have shown it is nearly as addictive as heroin.
Smokers enjoy the “kick” from inhaling nicotine. The head change from nicotine entering the bloodstream, releases adrenaline and creates a euphoric feeling with dopamine.
Smoking doesn’t just affect the smoker. Besides, who wants the title of being called a “Smoker”?? Habits die hard, but find better addictions to fill the void…. like exercise ? Don’t make your heart work any harder than it already does. At least 3 people are affected by that cigarette: the smoker, the person inhaling the smoke from the exhale, and the person who just gave the smoker a hug. So THS is just another reason to “kick” smoking.
BLOG 174 MEDITATION
On our fitness journeys, we train our bodies, but we also need to train our minds. Inner awareness, focusing, redirecting your thoughts, and developing concentration, are all benefits of meditation. Other positive associations include improved mood, sleep improvement, more self-discipline, and less symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Emotional health is also boosted by the reduction of depression and anxiety. Others say it has bettered their memory and attention span. The list goes on to include decreasing blood pressure, pain reduction, and helps fight addictions.
But to be honest, meditation stressed me out more. Sitting in stillness actually increases my anxiety. As a Women’s Health Magazine Action Hero, I read the magazine from front to back each issue that comes out. And well, I really related to Jenny Everett’s article in the July/August 2018 edition, called “Micro Meditations”. Now this, I can handle. Multitasking meditation is right up my ally.
The alarm clock in the morning isn’t exactly a gentle start to the day. But staying in bed for 2 minutes to take a few deep breaths, listen to the birds, and stretching out the body, is a much better way to ease out of bed. An abrupt jumping out of bed to rush the getting ready process doesn’t set the best tone for the day.
Smell the coffee, and stop burning your mouth trying to get it in. Stop adding sugar and taste the java.
A shower has many scents, sounds, and temperatures. Feel it. Feel the fresh water. Don’t just hop in and hop out.
The make-up routine for women or shaving process for men can be good for focusing the mind for the day. It actually makes you feel good about yourself before getting to work to meet deadlines and hustle.
Even when taking the stairs (which you should), think about each step. A lot of muscles are working in that body to produce movement.
When someone compliments you, be grateful and think about it for a few moments after. Smile that someone said these words to you.
When driving, turn the music off. There’s a lot of noise to the rest of your day. Let the mind focus and be in the present. Listen to sounds of the car and to the road.
When you say thank you, mean it. Explain why you are grateful to the person. So often we say it but don’t mean it. Appreciation and acknowledging someone else’s effort or kindness goes a long way.
Instead of being frustrated while on hold on the phone (because we love the world of automated phone directories), be happy you have some time to just get this task done. Maybe slowing down for a moment is okay.
When on a run or walk, maybe no music, no phone, just you. Be in the zone of that run. Let the body and mind feel good and release those positive endorphins.
And when eating, just eat. No distractions. Take bites, don’t inhale. Smell and taste that food in front of you. Mindful eating helps with portion control and even weight loss.
Finally, when it’s time for bed, scan the body from head to toe. Breathe in and breathe out to just breath. Aches and pains subside when you just sink the body into the bed. Clear and declutter the day.
So these are what I’ve started to do. I think they’re very helpful tips to include on your fitness journey. A little meditation here and a little meditation there feels pretty darn good. Your mind and BODY will appreciate thank you.