weightloss

Going on vacation and traveling for work is the downfall for anyone trying to develop healthy habits.Unless you are planning to never travel it is important to create a plan that works. I have couple hard fast rules for success on the road.

 

My travel bag always includes snack packs of almonds, a bag of clementines, peanut butter or almond butter

If you travel on a plane just purchase Justin Almond Butter Packets. Security threw away my un-opened almond butter.

Purchase 16 oz of water before you get to the airport. Make sure you finish the bottle before you board the plane and refill it every two hours on the flight.  You will have 32 oz of water completed before you exit the plane for a two-hour flight.  When you get off the plane don’t stop drinking.  Make sure you refill that bottle 2 more times.

If you travel by car, just grab a cooler and fill it with these yummies pictured above. Don’t forget the travel utensils. I would also add some prepared foods. Any of the recipes will travel well.  
If you are on the road and need a grab and go here are some good options

You can purchase these goodies at any supermarket and leave it in the fridge or cooler

http://www.egglandsbest.com/product/hard-cooked-peeled-eggs/

Turkey Breast sliced thick with prepared green vegetables. My favorite is roasted brussels sprouts at Whole Foods.   

How to order at emergency restaurant stops

Subway or any deli- My advice for any unsuspecting Subway patron.  Don’t do the salad. It is a scary adventure that is not worth repeating.  Order a sub with double protein and skip the bread.  You can add mustard. When I ordered my first sub without bread the butcher asked if I was from California, that is always a good sign.

Starbucks- Feta Cheese Wrap and skip the wrap

Boston Market – 1/2 a chicken with a double order of vegetables.

If you are stuck going to a pizza place because you are traveling with your kid’s sports team, don’t go in hungry with pizza and salad as your only option.  Try and add an order of chicken wings(not fried) to the order.  I have found that it is always a big hit at these team dinners.  
Don’t be manipulated by great marketing.  If something says “high protein” or “low fat” don’t fall for it.  Just grab your 200 calorie bag of almonds, peanut butter on a spoon or almond butter packets.

Cheats

If you see something delicious on a menu…order it and enjoy it. Don’t go on vacation and have a Snickers bar.  Just make sure you get back to the plan ASAP.

My travel workout.

I created this go-to travel workout because of my short-term attention span.  It takes me about 40 minutes.  You can add some extra minutes to the cardio if you want a little more of a challenge.

 

Run/Walk on a treadmill(on a scale of 1-10 it should feel like a 7) 5 minutes

20 pushups

20 air squats(make 10 of them jump squats for an advanced workout)

20 situps

20 lunges(10 on each leg)

Rinse and Repeat 4x (or more if you are feeling motivated)

My first marathon was an impulsive decision I made in my 20’s before my frontal lobe was fully developed. Since that first marathon, I have run a total of 5 marathons and was celebrating a conscious uncoupling from marathons for the past 10 years.

The first time I ran a marathon

  • iPhones did not exist
  • Texting was fancy
  • I listened to music on an MP3 (because the iPod was a passing fad)
  • I had 2 weeks to train.

I was a young mom with three babies, 4-years old and under. I had survived three high-risk pregnancies with three healthy girls and was a trainer in a gym. I was living the miracle and felt a little invincible.

I had two weeks to train. I had no idea I was even on Heartbreak Hill during the marathon.  I decided that when you are not running really fast it does not matter as much. I did not know how many miles was in an actual marathon.  There was no “search engine” to fully understand what a marathon entails. My training was a 9 mile run the weekend before and a chat with an experienced runner on the bus ride to Hopkinton. That bus ride probably saved me a trip to the hospital that day.  Who knew those water stations were important?

Currently, at 44 my life and legs have changed.  My girls are calling me excited about their college classes.  My father is not available to get nervous about my crazy life choices. And, my life has helped prepare me for this marathon.   I made the decision to run this time for, Cal, my running motivation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqvZabxJHqs

The training was going great until July. I had to take a month off because of weakness in my left leg and the summer heat.  Today I finally felt strong enough to run a solid distance.  It takes a lot of planning for me to run that distance, now.  I don’t understand how my body works but with a fully developed frontal lobe, I am very careful.

I decided to add caffeine to my life again and only drink one cup of tea before my run. I am still intermittent fasting which means it has to be timed perfectly in the day.  I am trying to add more yoga to my schedule. Today I crushed my 10 miles in under 90 minutes and was able to work a full day, walk the dogs, bathe the dogs, fold laundry and clean my house(“clean” might be a generous description of my house..cleaner is more appropriate).

I am thrilled that I hit my goal this morning and I am ready for next week. My goal is 11 miles.

 

 

“I have been eating your turkey chili for years and haven’t lost any weight.”

“I stopped eating bananas and my weight still goes up.”

…and this is why I don’t love sitting down and doing one nutrition session.  People usually pick and chose advice and get frustrated with the results.  Personally, I eat bananas and I don’t just eat turkey chili, but I am cautious with my sugar even from fruit and I enjoy my turkey chili.  I create recipes by looking on the internet and modifying them to fit in my plan. Success is not about one recipe or one piece of advice. Success is all about habits and lifestyle.

So, I thought I would review a day of eating on the road when I don’t have time to cook and I am not super careful. Currently, I am intermitting fasting with means I only eat for 8 hours in the day.

The day starts with herbal tea and water because I gave up caffeine…. I am not sure if this is a keeper but I am trying life without caffeine for 28 days.

11:30 My husband bought me donuts because we happened to be in a town with a 5-star donut shop. I have a donut shop yelp rule because I really love donuts. I had one bite of chocolate donut and one bite of coconut donut and hid the rest in his car.

I drank 3 bottles of 16 oz of water

1:00 We stopped off at a new restaurant in an unfamiliar town.  I ate steak tips with a side of steamed broccoli and a baked potato.

7:00 pm and I am home. I make my favorite breakfast while I eat a freshly picked apple.  I cooked my sugar-free bacon in a cast iron skillet.  I used the bacon grease to saute kale.  I cooked two eggs in the kale and covered the eggs with 1/4 of an avocado.

I bought my daughter some wonton soup because she had a nasty cough. I ate her soup broth with all the greens.

I thought about waking up my husband and asking if he knew where the rest of the donuts were but I stopped myself.

I drank at least 3 more bottles of 16 oz of water.

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking up is hard to do, but last week it felt great.  I just renegotiated my relationship with my neurologist.  Six years ago I started my journey with MS. I was tired and weak. Last week, I asked my doctor if we could stop seeing each other every six months. It was a long road to get to that appointment

FullSizeRender (59)

No, I was not pregnant in this picture. I was getting ready to send my oldest daughter off to college and I was exhausted, stressed and very sick but life did not allow me to make any changes. I was on a crazy roller coaster for the past six years with many ups and downs.

I made many changes in the past six years but this photo was the BIG change.  I knew that I needed to cut stress out my life and make a complete overhaul with my nutrition. I told my doctor that I was not going take any meds after I snapped this picture.

IMG_2332

Yesterday, I validated my decisions and I bumped up my MRI to every two years instead of every year.  I will visit with my neurologist every year instead of every six months.  I am still med-free. I continue to read my body and make adjustments.

I have learned to run from stress and make the necessary adjustments to my nutrition and fitness.

Two months earlier I was hurting.  My left leg was weak and my knee was killing.  My pain was around a 7 and I was tired.  I tweaked my life and it worked. I quickly eliminated stress.  I was careful with my distance runs.  I focused on some balance exercises and added more yoga. My favorite change was intermittent fasting.

I don’t have the perfect plan for success. My emergency phone tree is completely different.  The quantity and quality of my support network were overhauled.   I love my new village!  I will continue to make adjustments and I am little excited for the next chapter but I am cautious.

After my husband bought his first iPod, I reprimanded him for being suckered into spending money on a fleeting product. I don’t trust new things.  I hate following trends and I am anti-establishment.  I am difficult to manage and opinionated.

I have been faithfully pushing and following 6 meals a day for years. I have been taught that it is the best way to support a strong metabolism.  When I heard about intermittent fasting a few years ago, I was not interested. Anything that involves the word fasting feels dangerous unless God is involved.  My co-workers were raving about the benefits for years, but they were all guys. My daughter lost 20 pounds doing intermittent fasting but she considers ketchup a vegetable.  My other daughter started to send articles on the neurological benefits of intermittent fasting and hmm.  So when I was struggling with injuries, weakness, and brain fog I considered making a change to my nutrition.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my breakfast routine. I linger around the kitchen perfecting my bacon while watching CNN and FOX News.  How could such a beautiful routine be anything but beneficial?  The only way I could have survived the past year of morning news was my regular dose of bacon.

I impulsively made a decision to start intermittent fasting over a week ago. I rushed home to finish my dinner by 7 pm. It took a lot of self-control to make changes to my nightly routine but I stopped myself from grabbing another spear of asparagus and so it began.

I am loving this new plan.  I have so much energy and more time in the day.  I believe we should all become students of our own body.  The first few days were not great but things started to change.  My family knows not to call me 15 minutes before my feeding. My girls compare me to a vampire because of my attitude toward to 8-hour feeding schedule. Only two weeks in and I am not as crazy. I am more relaxed and my pain is gone. My brain feels different.  I have my six-month neurology appointment on Thursday and I am feeling pretty good about my choices.

 

You can google “the importance of 6 meals a day” and find a lot more articles promoting the benefits.  I would encourage you to watch the youtube video at 13.58 and research the research.  No one should tell us how to think because they don’t know how we feel.

What is intermittent fasting, and is it healthy?

 

 

I will keep going on this until I don’t feel well.

Of course, living with lupus affected me in different ways; joint pain, numb extremities, difficult pregnancies and exhaustion would be the side effects of the disease but it would not define my life.  Initially I was terrified,  but as I began to navigate around life’s detours the landscape of my life changed. I changed.

When I was diagnosed with MS as a mother of three young girls, I used my life experience with lupus to help propel me forward.  I knew nothing about this new autoimmune disease but thanks to the Internet I had an opportunity to be terrified and calm all within one double-click.

Living with two chronic diseases changed me as a parent, partner and friend.  I lost patience and gained a new level of empathy. I knew pain and realized that I must respect the boundaries of my life without setting any limits to my potential.

I learned 

I must challenge my body every day. I run almost everyday with a phone and a mental note about who I could call if I don’t feel well.  I position myself by the door in hot yoga classes, to make a fast exit if something doesn’t feel right.  When I see a hill, I sprint to the top and catch my breath before I #HIIT the next hill. Being uncomfortable in this life was the only way to transform my life.

Follow me on Instagram and see my nutrition and workouts.

I need to listen to my body. I take a day off from life if my body demands, but I don’t take many sick days.  If I have pain I go see a Dr, and make sure my actions will not make me worse. Fear of pain is more debilitating than pain.

I can say no.  My time is precious and I have learned to be selfish.  Someone once told me that,  “You can’t clean someones else’s gutters, if your gutters need to be cleaned.” 

I will only surround myself with positive energy and love.  I  started to “block callers” out my life.  Today was a gift that was not going to be wasted on the wrong people.  

I do not let obstacles stop me from my goal. Obstacles are just opportunities to learn something new.   Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success. C.S. Lewis

 

My life was the example of respecting the boundaries of life without accepting any limits. I learned that being in fear of pain and failure was more debilitating than pain and failure. Wasting time obsessing about excuses would just slow me down, and grandiose failures were not as painful as setting limits.  My life lessons changed me as a mother/coach.

In high school, when my kids complained about sore muscles, illness, exams, coaches or teachers I listened.  My response was consistent and I reminded them words are cheap, just do your job.  I never filled their head with false praise. Participation trophies would be tossed in the trash. Life never gave you a trophy for just showing up.

If you want more play time , be better. If you want to do better on a test study smarter(not always more).  When they were injured makes sure it was not serious, but don’t waste an opportunity.

There was nothing worse than running with your mom who just had a lumbar puncture and suffering joint pain.   Yes, I get it hurts…so what.   There is nothing wrong with being average, but I was never going to manipulate the system to get my kid more play time or a better grade.  Everyone struggles along the way but it is how we get back up and learn from failure that matter.  And, I was a master at failure.

Anyone who watched my girls navigate a jungle gym or tryout for high school sports would be suprised with their future.  Both girls were recruited to play Division I sports at universities that exceeded their expectations.

IMG_2333

Running along Boathouse Row after a Regatta

At the age of 43, MS has given me some detours, my skin feels like it on fire at times, I have pain in my jaw that will stop me in my tracks, my left side has noticeable weakness and yet last weekend I charted a new path with this disease.Last weekend I went hiking for the first time since I was diagnosed and to celebrate my marriage of 22 years.  I was scared because of the weakness on my left side and my recent balance issues.

At the age of 18, I hiked my first mountain with my boyfriend, at the time.  When I told him that I needed a gallon of water at the summit, he carried my water in his pack.  I was young and fit and struggled to climb to the summit.  Half way up, I remember asking him if we could just turn around at the first nice view. I was young and in shape and struggled with no pack up that first mountain. I finished that hike with his support and that gallon of water at the summit.

firsthike

Of course, I was engaged immediately after that hike.  After being married for 22 years it was a good test of any relationship and it was why it only took us two weeks to know we ready to get married.  For the past 22 years we have both carried that back pack.  I carried his baggage as much as he has carried mine.

On our hike to celebrate 22 years married and 25 years together, I wanted to carry the pack with not just my water but all the supplies.  I flew up the mountain and ran with that full pack. I have improved with age, experience and my family and friends.
 

My husband did take the pack as soon as we hit this sign.

IMG_4220

It was a good call because the pack was so heavy that I almost fell back a couple of times. So, although I feel like I have #nolimits… I am #nofool.  I am conservative risk taker.

At 43, I am still married to the boy who carried my pack.  I have learned the difference between respecting life’s boundaries and working through the pain.  I believe that pain is weakness leaving the body only if you your respect your body.

I have been warned to not run, be careful with the heat and don’t get too tired.  I take naps but they are short.  I run on hot days and love my hot yoga classes.  MS is a mystery to me and I continue to learn more and more about this white matter disease everyday.  My journey is unique but my lesson is universal.

#fuwhitematterdiseases

 

 

 

I try to be careful when discussing my journey with MS.  MS has a different plan for each person and the healthiest path is not determined by the patient with the strongest will. This disease is not something you can see with the naked eye, but it is real and the pain and symptoms are concrete.  When my path was altered three years ago, I looked at my life and reassessed my relationship with mind, body and spirit.  

Spiritually, I learned that for me God’s will, or the power of prayer, is not my private genie in a bottle. I can not believe there was once a time in my life when I wasted a prayer on helping my children do well in team tryouts. Sorry girls, you are on your own at tryouts, both God and I have a previous commitment.  I also vividly remember a tearful conversation with my dad regarding my relationship with God.  I struggle with that conversation on a daily basis. One of the things I miss most about my dad was being around his faith and his connection to the church.  I was naive before, and pain was only a pinprick compared  to my life after 2013. My definition of a miracle changed and I now understand that miracles are not perfect packages wrapped up with a bow.

Honestly, my change in nutrition and fitness was an accident.  I always followed a calories in calories out accounting with my nutrition and I exercised everyday without a plan.  I figured if I wanted to eat I should just run to balance out my calories. My weight was never an issue for any of my doctors or for me personally.  I took a fitness job in 2013 that forced me to reassess my thoughts on the subject. I was hired by someone who I considered to be crazy about his nutrition.  He was always talking about sugar in the American diet and he was obsessed with the science of exercise and nutrition.  Along the way, out of respect for his patience and the love of my job, I experimented with the program.  I was not following a diet, I was creating my own plan.  I believe that this relationship was a small miracle.

As my life was moving in a new direction, I listened to the song “God’s Promise” by Ellis Paul on repeat during all my runs. I realized we are not guaranteed a safe life.  We do have control and yet we have no control.  I am still spiritual but my life has forced me to look at this world in a different light.  That shift in perspective wasn’t easy for me to grasp.

In 2014, I felt sick before going into my MRI.  I had been avoiding this disease because life had become so painful. I knew my body was failing me and I had to make changes.  I went for a run in the rain before my MRI and made a promise to myself.  It was my epiphany and I took a photo of that moment. I had made sacrifices to survive the past few years and I was ready to be different.  

IMG_2332

In 2014, my MRI results were consistent with what my body was telling me. My wonderful neurologist looked me and my MRI over and said it was time to start treatment.  New lesions had developed and I was not well. Since I am stubborn, I had already made the decision to try my own form of treatment first.  I asked for one year with no drugs. He was polite, but definitely not pleased with my plan. He actually said, “so you are one of those.” I was aware that proper medical treatment can slow the progression but nothing can repair what it destroys.  I was starting a game of Russian Roulette and was going all in. We parted ways with the agreement to meet again in 6 months.

I came home that day and sent an email to my closest family members.  I let my family know that if they did not bring me joy I was cutting them out.  When I was first officially diagnosed I sent a text to the closest person in my life and she responded with silence.  As time went on, that relationship would alternate been silence and toxicity.  I did not open up to a lot of people at the time, so this was exceptionally painfully.  I would say it was more painful than any of my symptoms.  The decision to be selective with my family and friends was a big part of my healing process.  I am lucky that my life is filled with wonderful people, but to cut one person out was tough.  

I changed my nutrition.  I stepped on the scale and was open with my journey.  I encouraged people to join me and found strength in the success of people around me.  My nutrition is always a work in progress.  In the beginning, I focused on cutting sugar out of my diet and increasing lean protein.  Now, I have eliminated almost all processed foods and cut all forms of sweeteners out of my life.  I have a few cheats a week but let’s just say I like what Tom Brady has to say about nutrition.  There is a reason why there will be no human growth hormone scandal with that guy, even if people will be feeling his balls for the rest of his career.

I assessed my body’s strengths and weaknesses and designed a fitness program.  My workouts focused on balance and building strength in my weakest areas.  I tested the waters with hot yoga.  I understood the concerns with this disease and getting overheated.  I had not experienced those symptoms and for some reason always felt better when I warmed up on my runs.  I was nervous about hot yoga, but I felt great when it was over.

I settled into a routine.  I would be outside everyday for a 4 mile run to soak up the all important Vitamin D.  Sunshine has a big impact on my mood as well.  I would lift three to four times a week focusing on making my weaknesses my strengths. When I lift I add 25 minutes of HIIT training. On the days I did not lift, I try to make it to a hot yoga class.

I surrounded myself with positive energy and love.  I was open with my story and let some wonderful people into my new world.  I continued to put my kids first because they bring me joy.

I missed my six month appointment because of a scheduling issue. I finally saw my neurologist after twelve months. He was pleasantly surprised during my visit and I give him credit for not wanting to be right and just wanting me to be healthy. In twelve months I had lost a significant amount of weight and felt great.   My supportive husband was by my side for this appointment and it was a moment.  At the end of my appointment my skeptical neurologist told me to not change a thing and said,”you still have MS, but you look good.” We scheduled the next MRI for six months.

This past week I went in for my MRI.  I  began to question my decision to play Russian Roulette.  Maybe I was just ignoring my symptoms and the MRI would show the secrets of this disease. I have discovered that I am an expert at lying perfectly still for 75 minutes in that machine.  The techs like to comment on the extent of the exam and I do feel like a warrior when I walk out of that basement at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  All scans are emotionally and physically draining.  I have run marathons and I feel like this ranks up there with that level of intensity. The MRI results were better than I could have expected.  My disease has not progressed! No new lesions and one past “suspected” lesion was not well visualized. Each lesion is scar tissue and tells me how the disease is progressing.  This was great news.  

After the MRI, the meeting with the neurologist went even better than the scan. We chatted and this time he was ready for my stubborn personality.  He confessed that I looked so good six months ago that he reviewed all my tests just to make sure I actually had MS. He was still confident with the diagnoses and impressed with my health.  We argued about Vitamin D and he eventually won after we agreed that the blood work would be the deciding factor.

After my appointment, I celebrated my body by going for a run and participating in a hot yoga class.  Honestly, I did want to take a moment to celebrate by lying on the couch with a cupcake. Going for a run when I was not in the mood was my little miracle for the day. Now my life is full of small little miracles everyday.

I want to share my journey because I learned so much in the past few years.  My body is a work in progress.  I would prefer not to have this disease, or Lupus.  I would prefer to be pain free and for everyone in my life to never experience a moment of heartache.  I believe that my pain made me stronger for today.  I know to not take the status quo for granted.  

You could be having your best moment right now, so be grateful.