If you are a friend and/or a follower of this blog, you know I was invited to travel to Memphis, TN last week to learn about the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Because of my own personal experience with cancer, this blog and my other social media outlets, they asked me to join 11 other bloggers from around the country to learn more about ts history, its mission and the possible ways we all can do our part to end childhood cancer (Adult and Childhood cancer!). There is so much I want to share from my three day learning adventure. This is the third year of their blogger tour and in total, they have about 70 bloggers nationwide helping spread the word through their amazing Blogger Ambassador Program.
Here are some high level, meaningful facts that resonated with me about St. Jude:
Families never pay. – If you are a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. you will never receive a bill. They do bill insurance but the family will not pay co-pays, lodging costs, food etc. Even if your child has to stay for an extended period of time. I know personally how stressed out I was thinking about the financial burden Scott’s cancer treatment was going to be. We had great insurance fortunately — but think about it – I was already overwhelmed and emotional about his cancer diagnosis in general. Add to that — how am I going to pay for this? Knowing that you would do anything to save the child/husband/family member you love. And then to walk into St. Jude and be told – don’t worry. We got you. First disbelief, then relief and you can focus on the big stuff – getting your child well.
Donations support the hospital. – Last I checked, 81 cents of every dollar donated goes directly towards research and treatment. Based on the info they shared with us, it costs $2.2 million dollars a day to run the hospital and research facility. No non-profit can claim 100% of their donations go directly towards their mission because there are always costs associated with running any non-profit. Considering what a large organization St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is, 81 cents out of every dollar donated is pretty impressive.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is making a difference. – When they opened in Feb 1962, their overall survivor rates were under 20%. Today, it’s around 80%. They also study other diseases like malaria, sickle cell disease to name just a few. Clearly, they are definitely making a huge impact that resonates globally. Their research is released to the public and freely available to any research facility, doctor, scientist and/or patient.
Danny Thomas – The story behind the building of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is inspiring. Mr Thomas made a vow and he kept it and enlisted countless friends and visionaries to help. He believed strongly “No child should die in the dawn of life” and who in their right mind would disagree.
They pay attention to details. – Here are few of the services and details I noticed:
- They have an on site school so kids can keep up with their school work.
- They have their own gardens so they can prepare food using the fresh product (farm to table) as much as possible. And when not possible, they work with the local CSA to grow the crops and offer a Farmer’s Market monthly on site.
- Their utensils, etc are as eco-friendly as possible.
- They have Child Patient Specialists to work with the patients to help them understand what’s going on in an age-appropriate way.
- Legacy Services – End of life is unfortunately something that does happen – they offer services and legacy keepsakes to help.
- Milestone Events – graduations, proms, dances, parties including No More Chemo parties!
- Wagons – when possible, the patients are wheeled around in red wagons instead of wheel chairs – keeping some of their childlike magic in tact.
- The Hospital – obviously it’s state of the art, but it doesn’t smell like a hospital. It may be because of the high end air filtration systems, but it was nice to not be inundated with that sterile, alcohol smell common to most medical facilities. And the walls are adorned with colorful, gorgeous murals and large images of their patients. It’s a warm, inviting place to be — which is awesome AND surprising since it’s not like the hospitals I have seen or visited before.
This trip meant the world to me – Seeing sick kids is hard but I was able to meet some amazing people (bloggers, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital staff, families, people from Memphis to name a few) and I left there feeling hopeful and inspired – ready to figure out how I can do my part to help. The topic of cancer has always been threaded throughout this blog — so helping spread its important mission and work fits in perfectly. I will be sharing more about my trip, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and ways we can all help, so stay tuned…
I’m still processing the St. Jude Blogger Tour. It was a heavy topic but I came back feeling hopeful, inspired & grateful. My new blogger friend Melissa Fenton talked about “turning guilt into gratitude” as we head back to our families and look at our healthy kids. Be grateful that we have healthy kids that can live their normal lives. I am taking that to heart and will do my part to end childhood cancer. I am even more forever changed..
I will share my entire experience in the next week — as it was full of information, emotions, fun and hope and what being a St Jude Ambassador Blogger means –including all the programs and ways people can get involved.
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Next month is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and there are a ton of ways to help, including a walk/run in many cities around the country. To search for an event in your community use this link: Find an event near you or Donate.
Summers are hard on working parents. Now that my kids are older, it’s hard to find camps to occupy their days and it’s even harder to figure out how to get them to the camps that are available. So many of them are only half day – and I am left wondering how am I supposed to work and get my kids to and from camp during the day? I am lucky at least right now in that I have quite a bit of flexibility with my current work situation and can handle what needs to be done but there are days when I feel less than adequate. Like today:
HB is trying out for volleyball and I forget to get her forms handled completely. I made an assumption that she could use a different form and it would be ok –and last night in a mad scramble we realized it was not going to work, so I had to rush to the Medi-Clinic at Target to get her a sports physical. Thank goodness it worked out but it was another reminder that this parenting deal is hard. Then Nate had a dr appointment that we had to rush to — and then I had to get HB to the actual try outs. I’m not sure how this would all workout if I was not an independent consultant and able to work odd hours of the day. It wears me out physically and mentally and I actually have it pretty darn good overall. I can’t imagine being a single parent trying to keep up with all of the parenting demands. It’s been a very trying week or so…
Fitness/Health Progress Update
I’m down another pound – so total loss is 13#s and even more body fat, although I’m not sure how much. I’ve been told by quite a few people that there is a noticeable difference in my arms and shoulders. They look leaner and strong! It’s been hard to keep focusing on eating right all the time, but I have been doing pretty good. Before I would say I was 90% true to eating clean. Now, I would say 75-80% true to it. It all comes down to planning and focus. I’ve been feeling stressed out and crunched for time – two saboteurs of progress. But -I will get there.
Beauty and Wellness
I don’t spend a ton of time on the blog talking about beauty products, but I do think looking your best is a huge part of living well. For the ladies, as we age – we should make sure we keep up with the latest skin care products, treatments and techniques. I’m lucky that HB, who is 14, is heavily interested in fashion and makeup because she helps me stay current. There are a ton of really great beauty products out there that do amazing things that weren’t available when I was in my 20’s or even 30’s. I’m not talking about contouring and thick costume-y make up either. I’m sure on some people those styles work, but for most of us – Just NO! Can you imagine walking into work with blue lips and a fully contoured face? I can’t and unless you work in a business that is all about that –you shouldn’t either. So, I was recently sent some Kat Von D Lock It products via a program called Influenster Vox. I had never used her products before — and they aren’t cheap but I have to tell you, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the concealer. It is lightweight, covers what it’s supposed to, and lasts. That along with the Lock it setting powder — I am sold. If you are looking for a high quality concealer – head over to your local Sephora and try it.
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I have some exciting news to share. Yesterday evening I invited to be a special guest for a St. Jude Blogger Tour – an exciting and educational three-day experience in Memphis, Tennessee this coming August where I will visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, tour the facilities and witness first-hand the holistic care doctors, researchers and staff provide to their patients.
I am beyond honored and speechless to be offered an opportunity like this which includes learning more about how St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. They are also generously covering my expenses for the trip! I have confirmed my availability and am waiting for additional information about this three day event.
I have been blogging regularly for over 8 years now, focusing on health, wellness and family inspired by my husband’s experience with colon cancer. I started blogging to keep people in our lives up to date on Scotty’s progress and treatment and during that time I found a passion for living healthy and fit. Live Fit and Sore was born out of that original blog and I haven’t looked back. I share the info and experiences to help others find support and motivation to make changes in their own lives, but more importantly, to keep myself focused on health and wellness. It’s a passion of mine and it has introduced me to the most amazing people and has brought me opportunities that I could not have even imagined.
I have no idea what to expect but I have always respected the St Jude’s Organization and am so beyond touched to be invited. I will share the details of my trip when they are confirmed.
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I didn’t see any weight loss this past week, but I also didn’t see any weight gain – so it’s still a win. I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t bother me though. I have been on point, eating well, no crap snacking and exercising as usual. You would think my body would step to it and show results. Although in fairness, I am about to hit that monthly time, so it could be the cause of the lack of results this past week. I’m going to go with that and see what next week’s weigh in produces. My clothes are looser and I have had more than one person mention that I am looking leaner -so I am going to try my best to focus on those positives. It’s not easy though. I want proof!!!
I’ve been doing a lot of exercises to open up my shoulders and chest during strength training. Not only is my posture less than stellar in general, I also tend to pull in during boxing as well. I’m becoming more excited each workout to see the changes happening to my arms. shoulders and back.
I’ve also been mixing things up too. Solidcore has opened in Ashburn, so I bought their opening rate special and will be adding that to my weekly schedule one day a week. With boxing and Body by Wayne training — it’s a pretty well rounded fitness routine that includes Core, Strength and Cardio Work. With two rest days each week –which I know I get asked about constantly. Working out is my stress releaser – it’s hard to take rest days but I schedule them just like other stuff.
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I’m down another 2 pounds this week. Which means I’m down 6 pounds in 3 weeks. Seems adding more protein, cutting out the majority of processed crap/extra snacking, and being focused – in addition to appreciating how much better I am feeling..mentally and physically has made all the difference. Funny how the old fashioned/no gimmick way works if you commit (which is the hardest part).
Slow and steady — is the name of the game; 1-2 pounds a week.
The other thing I have noticed, besides feeling better and my pants aren’t cutting off my breathing is my face looks less puffy. It’s one of those subtle things that most people don’t even notice but I do. I had been eating gluten and dairy at least once a week regularly for months, and it was causing inflammation and puffiness. I am starting to see that go away now that I am 3+ weeks into re-energizing.
So-am I doing anything mind blowing or off the charts to see progress? Nope.
First, my mind is right. I am all aboard on this — committed and focused and present.
Second, seeing progress and hearing about my progress from my support system around me. I try to surround myself with uplifting, awesome and like-minded people who give me props and understand the importance of lifting one another up- so we can all win.
Finally, I am making sure that when I go to eat – my first thought is what am I going to eat with protein. I am so used to eating more carbs – no matter the form – that I have to really make an effort to include a protein source each time I eat. I have not been eating enough protein overall. And even though it’s only six pounds, I have had a lot of comments about how much leaner and cut I am looking. I haven’t changed up my fitness routine all that much, but I am considered very active – so I definitely need more protein.
I have been using an organic veggie protein powder that I mix in my Ninja blender with almond milk and ice to get more protein. I also have been adding in a really great tasting and healthy super food/protein blend powder to give it an extra boost. The blends are made by a small company: Philosophie. I read about the founder Sophie and her products via an article a while back. Here’s the description from the website…
Each of the Philosophie Superfood + Protein Blends is vegan, raw, gluten-free, and has absolutely no filler ingredients. The detoxifying Green Dream blend, beautifying Berry Bliss blend, and energizing Cacao Magic blend contain nothing but the purest, most healing ingredients that have been deemed “superfoods” due to their exceptional nutrient density. Because these blends can be added to absolutely any food, it is easy to enrich every meal with the amazing health benefits of the world’s most potent superfoods. When the body receives optimal nourishment from these wholesome, plant-based sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals, it more readily releases unneeded material and toxins, leaving you feeling renewed and vibrantly healthy.
I have tried all three blends and like them all – although the Cacao Magic is my favorite because CHOCOLATE. I also read a pretty good review/comparison of another super food blend that shares my same views about Philosophie: Smoothie Food Fight: D’Vida vs. Philosophie.
So, there you have it – I’m sure you can sense my energy and excitement as I get closer to my goal — and I gotta be honest, it feels so good to be excited about it again.
This is a guest post by By Matt Riemann, ph360 founder and entrepreneur, who is introducing what I think will be a cool, virtual health assistant, called Shae™. The product will be available soon. Find out more here. Although I don’t accept many of the guest post requests I receive, the ones I do post are those that I personally find interesting and are relevant to my health and wellness philosophy. Please note: I have not personally tried the ph360 product, but I do have a real interest in personalized health care and wellness and am excited to learn about the up and coming technology that we will use to live better, healthier lives. The product ph360 is currently working on is part of an exciting trend of developing cool technology to help us live better and be smarter about health and wellness in our own lives…
You Can Stop Wasting Time On Trial and Error For Your Health, Your Diet and Your Fitness. The Answer To The Question – How Do I Get It All? – Is Here.
Imagine Gina and Marie have just signed up for ph360 – the personalized health program based on Epigenetics. These two have known each other since their college years and have always done everything together. Now they plan to go on a diet together to lose the 10 pounds they each feel they want to lose to get their bodies beach ready. They’ve taken twenty minutes to do the online questionnaire that will determine the food, fitness and lifestyle recommendations that will help them achieve their goals. They look at their diet plan and they are surprised to see so many differences! How can that be?
Well here’s how it works.
Although the two women may look the same to many untrained eyes, being roughly the same height and weight, without signs of obesity or large waist-to-height ratio, ph360 offers customized food, fitness and lifestyle recommendations to each based on their specific biotrend. This is part of what was determined by the online questionnaire they completed. Gina is a Crusader, according to ph360’s general biotrend, whereas Maria is a Diplomat. Though we can’t reveal exactly how we assess specific biotrends, they’re based on phenotypes which is just a small piece of the puzzle and that there are many more layers to their complex algorithm.
For Gina, being a Crusader means she has mostly ectomorphic and mesomorphic tendencies. She has a body that can remain relatively lean without much effort, and can build good muscle tone with resistance exercises. Her bone structure is also related to her heightened sensitivity due to a more active nervous system. Her physical structure may also be an indicator of impaired calcium signaling, as well as a genetic predisposition to be naturally lean and remain so because she has a more favourable metabolic profile.
Maria’s higher level of endomorphy may increase her risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and breast cancer, but both are rather tall women, so their risk of cardiovascular disease isn’t too high for either of them. It would therefore be more prudent to focus on metabolic issues for Maria. Her physical structure indicates an active GRB14 gene on chromosome 2q24.3, which is a growth factor receptor that binds directly to the insulin receptor and increases her risk of type 2 diabetes.
So what does that mean for their diet?
Well for Gina, we’d recommend increased carbohydrates to ensure proper glycogen storage by the liver and muscle and give her plenty of legumes that will enhance mineral absorption, especially calcium for her bones. However, a low carb, high protein and fat diet we’d recommend for Maria would be ideal for her to prevent the onset of diabetes or insulin levels. The USDA Food Guide may actually be over prescribing pasta, breads and cereals for Maria, who should follow a Mediterranean style diet, with a low-carb twist. The low carb diet we’d recommend for Maria wouldn’t suit Gina, who could end up having lower blood sugar, concentration and fatigue after exertion than her more suitable higher carbohydrate diet would offer. Gina would also benefit from healthy fatty acids to protect her active yet sensitive nervous system.
The take home message here is to not overgeneralize what’s right and what’s wrong for healthy dieting.
Each person’s physical constitution, bodily needs and health conditions needs to be taken into consideration for an appropriate diet to keep the body healthy. Both Maria and Gina will reach their weight loss goals for their body, but they will need to do so differently.
In addition to general recommendations for the amount of proteins, vegetables, fats, etc. to consume in a given day, specific foods with their particular nutritional makeup may be recommended (ie: exactly what kinds of vegetables to eat and how often).
To learn more about exactly what kinds of foods are good for your body, which to avoid, and the amounts of each that would best help you reach your health, fitness and weight loss goals, please visit us at www.ph360.me. Right now, ph360 is introducing its next generation technology. Shae™, our virtual health assistant, is in development and you can be a part of it through our Kickstarter campaign.
Please note: As I mentioned above, I have not personally tried the ph360 product nor am I a part of their kickstarter campaign. The links above to their campaign do contain an affiliate link and I have been offered free membership once Shae is available. I have not been asked to personally give my approval for this product nor have I been asked to provide any statements in exchange for their offer. My opinions, as always, are my own.
I just completed a full week of the Body by Wayne challenge and guess what? I lost 3#s and 2% body fat in 6 days.
What am I doing, you ask? Here are the high level things that have been on point this week for me…
Focused strength training
Wayne has been guiding me each PT session on what strength training to focus on — and then supports, instructs me as I take on whatever challenge he has in store for me. I’m still boxing 3-4x a week as well.
Tracking my food intake
I’m back to square one and need to track my food so I can get real about what I am eating. I started using Fatsecret.com, which like many other programs out there, has a large database of food/nutrition info and counts my calories and calorie breakdown. It has been helping me be more mindful of what I am actually eating – which is key.
Added more protein
Most women don’t eat enough protein – it should be 30% of your total caloric intake for the day. It’s daunting most days, but I am aiming for around 140g of protein each day. To get that much, I am drinking a protein shake as one of my snacks using almond milk. The shake powder has around 20g of protein, and then I’ve been adding Cacao Magic, which is a superfood and protein blend with 10x the antioxidants of green tea, more magnesium than 3 cups of broccoli, and more calcium than a glass of milk. It adds another 10g of protein to my shake and tastes pretty good.
I needed some attention plain and simple. It’s been helpful to have someone else on my team, holding me accountable for the commitment I’ve made and getting excited when I did lose the weight this week. I am usually everyone else’s cheerleader –which is a role I love – but it’s nice to have someone (whether I am paying them or not) to be as invested in my progress as I am.
The good/bad news is there is no one special, outside of the ordinary thing I’ve done this past week to make progress – I’ve been focused, present and excited to take on the challenge of getting back on track. Outside of nutrition, it’s a mental game! And just like with any skill, you have to continually use it to make progress.
Last month, I was asked to visit NOVA Plastic Surgery to try out one of three treatments (I was given a choice) and share my visit and experience via social. I firmly believe taking great care of your skin is an important part of living fit and sore. As we get older, we have to do more than just rely on good genes and youth. Getting regular facials and other treatments should be done regularly, not just as an occasional treat.
I also believe investing in good, high quality skincare products is important too. I currently use products by SkinMedica but have also used Skinceuticals (which is sold at NOVA Plastic Surgery) in the past and highly recommend either.
After researching and talking with the staff there, I opted for a hydrafacial. I was considering doing the BBL facial which uses a laser, but after they looked at my skin and the lack of overall sun damage, they suggested going with the hydro facial. So, that’s what I chose…
What is a HydraFacial?
HydraFacial MD is a deep facial cleansing treatment that utilizes natural plant extracts, peptides, acids and earth minerals to deeply hydrate, nourish and energize the skin.
No part of the body is exposed to the elements as much as your face – UV rays, wind, smoke from cars, what we eat, make up, normal wear and tear – all fill your face and pores with toxins and debris. This can give you a dull tired look, making your skin sensitive to breakouts, blemishes and age spots.
The 20 minute HydraFacial MD treatment revitalizes your skin by cleansing, exfoliating, extracting impurities, and restoring essential nutrients.
The treatment took about 30 mins and other than some slight stinging from some of the products, it was painless and fairly relaxing. During the treatment, the esthetician was very good about explaining to me what each product was and its benefits and making sure I was not in any pain.
I took a before and after pic (shown below) and what you should notice is how refreshed and dewy my skin looks after the treatment. It’s been a few days now, and my skin is slightly peeling (which is expected) and has kept the glowing and refreshed look. My skin feels softer and I have been complimented many times on how great my skin looks. I asked how often people go get one of these facials and was told many clients get it on a monthly basis. I can definitely understand why — it really does refresh your skin and you leave feeling relaxed -which was an unexpected bonus.
I recommend giving it a try if you have been wanting a facial that cleans deeply and revitalizes your skin. The staff at Nova Plastic Surgery could not have been friendlier and nicer as well. They took the time to talk with me about my skin and evaluate which treatment to go with and I was never made uncomfortable.
Thanks to NOVA Plastic Surgery for inviting me in to try the Hydrafacial treatment. Although I did not pay for the treatment, there was no expectation on their part to influence my review. My opinions here are my own and I would recommend the treatment and NOVA Plastic Surgery.
This past month has been pretty stressful for me – and I’m not going to sugar coat it. My eating has gone to shit. The little excuses I have made have added up and now are full blown standard operating procedure and it’s not good. It’s being triggered by stress and emotional stuff going on but sliding back into old habits is not the path I want to revisit so it’s time to refocus. I am heading out on vacation next week. My long road trip will give me time to think about what’s going on and some much needed time away from what is triggering all of these feelings. Not to go into detail – it’s related to professional career issues and I know it’s only a matter of time before I need to make some hard choices.
But, let’s talk about refocusing on health and wellness…
I have mentioned before that I am a big fan and a long-distance friend of Christmas Abbott. She has always been kind to me and has embarked on an amazing path of helping others in a big way. She recently sent me a copy of her book: The BADASS Body Diet. I haven’t gotten all the way through it but when I am back from vacation, I plan to start the diet and workout plan recommended.
I already am appreciating that she doesn’t write for a one size fits all body type. She identifies three types of dieters -—Modifiers, Gainers, and Maintainers—and the suggested approaches can be tailored depending on which one you resemble. From the reviews I have read, many mention the suggested approach is simple and you aren’t left feeling super hungry. Although I have heard that many times from many other fitness and wellness advocates, I trust Christmas. She comes from the same world I am used to – women who lift and aren’t afraid to be strong.
Some of the book is fluff and entertainment but, that’s all part of selling the approach to those who still believe thin is better than strong. Those that live and die by the number on the scale. Just like any diet or approach recommended, one size does not fit all. My advice is to read the book – ‘meet’ Christmas, learn her story and understand how she approaches diet and fitness. From there, you can tailor it or not – to meet your own health and wellness goals.
I’ll share my experience from time to time as I start to incorporate her advice in my own fitness and wellness approach…
Buy the BadAss Body Diet by Christmas Abbott directly from Amazon and let me know what you think!
Christmas Abbott: The Badass Body Book (Amazon Affiliate Link)