W.O.W. – SUNNY SUNDAY 07/12/2015

“Sunny” – What would a Health Blog be without some uplifting, inspirational anecdotes and mantras?

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“…Many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know”

~J.K Rowling, 2004

If you have been following MissFit for any length of time, you may already know about one or more of her guilty pleasures. Some are more justifiable than others.

However, this month’s Sunny Sunday quote is brought to you by none other than J.K Rowling, the infamous author of the magical saga series of Harry Potter.

I invite you to read that quote one more time. Regardless of your stance on the book series or on magic, let go of your judgement and read it as coming from one human to another.

Are you able to? Is it humanly possible to leave your opinions about a speaker at the door and enter into the sanctuary of their mind’s eye and assume positive intent?

Seems as though the longer we are on this planet, the harder this is to do.

Is that because we know too much? Or not enough?

Something to consider.

With movies such as Pixar’s Inside Out storming the box office, we know that not all adults are too far gone into the Adulthood Abyss – that gaping vortex that sucks up innocence and swallows memories of a simpler time.

This Sunday, as you embark on a new week, be mindful of your child-self. Note its presence. Allow yourself to accept and be grateful for its existence.

Step away from the constant chatter of social media and the glowing screen of your phone and let your mind wander. Let it visit previous lives, or future lives; let is muse on friends and lovers come and gone; let it built a castle in the sky.

Let it unapologetically consider the possibility of living the live you once imagined.

 

Stay Well,

MissFit

Questions/Thoughts?

Comment below or email direct to write.with.ms@gmail.com

Defining ‘Minimalist’

Thanks to the Daily Post for creating another brilliant prompt. See Friday’s Photo challenge Here

“An artfully executed minimalist photograph is anything but mundane. It illustrates a moment in time, or an artistic perspective, with simplicity and grace.”

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In this Age of Constant Entertainment and Consumerism, it can be difficult to slow down long enough to think about anything let alone thinking of having, doing, or being LESS.

And isn’t that what we are told a Minimalist is?

For a while now, the term “Minimalist” seems to be used in conjunction with the fan-fare of ‘Going Green’, being vegan, reducing you ‘Carbon Footprint’, doing hot yoga, and living off the grid.

None of which I am going to pass judgement on, right now anyways.

The point is, being Minimalist doesn’t have to mean foregoing things you like and enjoy. You don’t have to join a convent,  swear off cursing [pun intended], and eat only root vegetables. Unless of course you want to.

Adopting a Minimalist attitude can [and should, by definition] be Simple.

Cut the crap, loss the excess, stop and take inventory of how you spend your time and with whom spend it.

Most importantly, recognize that being a Minimalist can simply mean that you see your place in this World. You understand how small, how minimal – yet poignant- you are. You understand that both you and this world are fragile and must be taken care of together. You choose to live in awe of this fact – instead of seeing it as a threat to your personal desires and whims.

 

Reward Yourself the Right Way

Reward Yourself the Right Way

What’s that saying? “The only things for certain in Life are Death and Taxes?”

Ugh. Not exactly a pep talk.

Who do I talk to about that…?

Well, regardless, let’s be honest…there is a third certainty in Life [some of us may like to tip our hats to Adam and Eve for this one]: Work.

I mean there’s that Monday through Friday work we do that we “sort” of get paid for – enough to prevent another serf uprising [although there are days…]

And then there’s the work that you don’t get paid to do – *cue the never ending Chore List complete with the items that you absolutely have to get accomplished [no, you cannot save that for little Timmy’s school project – the Science Fair is still a solid 5 months away]…

Let’s not forget the…um… how do you say, JOYS of marriage, parenthood and general interpersonal relationships. Those all require time, attention, and energy that you may or may not feel you have left after all that work we just mentioned.

With our reserves so spent – how could be possibly have enough energy left to devote to the willpower one must have to say, “No” to those two fine men in our lives, Ben and Jerry…?

Ice cream. Just one of the many “food rewards” media and culture has sensationalized as an item “you’ve earned.” Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with ice cream – did you look at that nutrition label [hopefully…] only like 150 cals! Hey! That’s not bad! Did you check the serving size though? A half cup. A half cup! I honest to god believe it takes more will power to only eat a half cup than to just not buy it altogether… Plus, might I add that the sugar rush you get from indulging in sweet food rewards [similar to the carb coma you get from starchy food rewards and the sluggish-I-want-to-nap-now effect from high fat food rewards] leaves you with LESS energy than before you “treated” yourself.

Cue Epic Fail.

You do work hard – and so does your body. You both deserve to be rewarded for said hard work.

Depending on your unique set of circumstances, there are some rewards that make more sense than others. Feel free to reach out to me and I would be happy to provide some recommendations for you!

In case you need a general yardstick… it’s very, very, difficult to go wrong with a nice warm bath [complete with lavender oil and Epsom salts to relax muscles that hopefully you have exercised today…], some candles for ambiance [whether you are solo or not…], and a nice red wine [complete with Resveratrol, known for its ability to block lipid accumulation in fat cells and activate the breakdown of already present fat cells – um YES PLEASE]. And, guys, don’t hate on the bath. Be comfortable in your masculinity to bathe in bubbles. It’s actually dead sexy.

Hydration Houdini

hydration houdini

At any given time your body is made up of approximately 60% Water at the cellular level [a.k.a. “Body Water”], so it should come as no surprise that Water is important for us. What you may not know is that fatty tissue actually contains less water than lean tissue, so much so that someone classified as morbidly obese [by current BMI standards*] could have as little as 20% Body Water – putting their body in a constant state of dehydration.

To help understand the severity of that statement and the role it plays in sabotaging your health goals – allow me to explain:

First and foremost, the manifestation of thirst and hunger often mimic one another [i.e. feeling weak, dizzy, cranky], making it considerably easy to eat when we should be hydrating and, consequently, consuming far more calories than needed. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that upwards of 35% of the time we give our body food when it really craves hydration.
35%
That’s over one-third of the time – an entire additional meal on a standard meal plan.

Being chronically dehydrated, obese and morbidly obese folks are more susceptible to this misguided craving and, consequently, more susceptible to consuming an excess of calories and maintaining their obese status.

Keep in mind too…not every liquid beverage on the shelf is an Equal Opportunity Hydrator…

cokeSoda – The added sugar not only adds calories with no nutrients, but dehydrates your body because sugar requires Body Water to metabolize it. The percentage of carbonated water in the soda is not enough to offset the deficit. Even if your thirst feels momentarily quenched, it is an illusion [a Hydration Houdini if you will…], you end up more dehydrated than before you drank the soda.

dietcokeDiet Soda – Ok, so you are probably thinking… no “real” sugar here so no problem? Unfortunately… this is not so. The artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks are considered “calorie-free” because they are made from properties the body doesn’t recognize as something it can use. Therefore it evacuates it is through the two primary ways of – well, evacuating: #1 and #2 […if you aren’t sure what those two are go ask your nearest 4th grader and make sure you don’t have Cooties. He will know.] This is consistent with the fact that these artificial sweetener properties have been known to cause bodily distress – gas, bloating, frequent urination, diarrhea – the latter two contributing to dehydration as well. Again, even if you feel a momentary thirst quench, don’t be fooled.

sports drinkSports/Energy Drinks – Moving right along, again, just the name has us believing it is good for us [!!!], has good things [!!!], there to rejuvenate us from the dregs of dehydration [!!!]…but alas, the opposite is true. Most every Sports and Energy drink on the market has some ratio of real to artificial sweetener in it. That’s how it gets its flavor. Refer to the previous two examples for reasons why these products do not equate to hydration. In addition to the sugar, these drinks are also typically fortified with some ratio of B- vitamin and caffeine infusion. From a nutrition standpoint, there is nothing inherently wrong with B vitamins or Caffeine, but by nature they are diuretics meaning an agent that increases the flow of urine…meaning you go #1 more…meaning you dehydrate faster and require more water to replenish than is available in these drinks.

As a general rule of thumb – By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
Aim for a half gallon [64 oz] of quality h2o each day. coconut waterAnd if you are doing sustained activity that results in sweating, in addition to water, I recommend drinking chilled, unsweetened coconut water with a pinch of sea salt to replenish electrolytes and sodium/potassium pump channels on the cellular level.

 

*BMI score greater than 30 is considered obese and greater than 40 is considered morbidly obese. BMI score is essentially a ratio of height to weight used to make generalized categories of health “normalcy”. It does not take into account the weight contributed from lean muscle mass and therefore should not be considered a strong measurement tool for overall health and fitness.

Weekly Writing Challenge

I chose an originally drafted poem of mine for Today’s Writing Challenge

NIGHTINGALE’S SONGnightinggale

It’s true what They say,

Whomever They are,

They’re right when they say: To Be Still is to Go Far.

Our World, so fast-paced

With the 3G, 4G, and telecom interlaced.

Our Children are learning how to love more things, but understanding less how to Love

Caught in the hustle and bustle, the traffic-jam mess,

We Work more and Live less.

To turn off the noise, to shut it all out,

One must cease to rush, to pass, to shout.

So different from what arrogant-laden society boasts,

We must seek to give Humility our high toasts.

Find the things that make your heart smile,

Be it knitting, painting, swimming a mile.

You won’t find Life’s answers at the end of a bottle

Nor will you find Life’s passions at a drug rave,

Amidst sweating bodies full throttle.

Listen,

Lie Down.

Not to Sleep.

Just to Wonder.

Open your Mind’s Eye to the years gone by.

Breathe Deep.

Drink it all in.

You are who you are now because of where you’ve been.

Slow Down.

Body and Mind

Feel yourself removed from the daily Grind.

Shut off the peripheral sounds.

One

By

One.

Until the last floorboard has creaked

And the nightingale’s song is gone.

For it’s true what They say,

Whomever They are,

They’re right when they say: To Be Still is to Go Far.

The First Step to a Less Painful First Step

first step

Can we all agree that the picture here is adorable?

And that we would all shake our heads in agreement if this saying was plastered on some Self-help magazine?

“Yes, yes”, you would all say, “you can’t sail the open sea if you never leave shore!”

And then we would all join hands and talk about our hopes and dreams and how great things are going to be…

Sounds good.

But what if that first step is more than just a little “scary”? What if that first step actually causes you debilitating pain? You know the one I’m talking about: that first step of the morning-swing legs over bed ledge-get ready to face the day-oh-oh- my god-the pain-my heels…not today…not today…”

That is no way to start the day.

And it certainly is not going to motivate someone to get active. For most of us out there, the thought of going to the gym or lacing up shoes for a jog is already daunting enough as a conceptual activity. Throw in shooting pain induced from simply applying body weight pressure…? Um, no thanks. Not happening.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons [AAOS], two million people are treated annually for this “first step of the morning” pain. Its fancy name is Plantar Fasciitis, or to the laymen, simply, “Heel Spur Syndrome”.

Cue: Mini Anatomy Lesson

What is plantar fasciitis?

Simply put, plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia – the thick band of tissue that runs fasciaacross the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone [aka “calcaneus” bone] to the toes and supports the arch of the foot.

Remember, inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, so if your fascia is inflamed it’s because the tissue has been ripped, torn, or possibly stretched past its normal capacity.

How Do I know if I have plantar fasciitis?

A few stock items the Foot Doctor [aka “podiatrist”] is going to assess to determine if you have plantar fasciitis are :

[1] the type of pain – pain categorized as “stabbing” pain is dominant with plantar fasciitis

[2] timing and duration of pain – always associated with pain that is worst in the morning or after long periods of standing or sitting and then gradually lessens as the day progresses and movement continues

[3] where the pain is located – associated with maximum tenderness on the bottom of the foot in front of heel and when toes are flexed in an upwards position. If you only meet some of these pre-requisites, your podiatrist should take an X-ray to rule out stress fractures in the foot , heel, and ankle.

Why Might I have plantar fasciitis?

As mentioned above, it results from fascia that has been forced to withstand conditions that overwhelm it on some level causing it to rip tear, or stretch. Being that it forms the sole support [pun intended, but literally…] of the foots arch, the fascia is naturally very thick and sturdy; this is a great thing for the arch under normal conditions but renders it inflexible and unable to stretch the way we force it to sometimes. The top 5 factors that contribute to the ripping, tearing, stretching, and ultimate inflammation of the fascia are:

[1] obesity

[2] sudden increase in impact activity (i.e. new runner)

[3] tight, inflexible calf muscles

[4] naturally occurring high arch (and not wearing the proper shoes for this arch type)

[5] chronic, sustained impact activity (i.e. long-time runner)

Common Consequences of plantar fasciitis

Obviously, pain, we’ve sort of covered that – so what else?

Well, because as humans we tend to shy away from the uncomfortable, anytime there is pain in the body, we subconsciously “favor” the pained area. Now sometimes this is necessary – like with a broken bone – when additional pressure can cause immediate, threatening damage. However, the idea is that you are getting that broken bone taken care of ASAP and not hobbling around on it for years. BUT those suffering from inflamed fascia often go months to years before seeking proper tools for recovery because [as mentioned above] the pain tends to lessen as the day goes on – and let’s face it – anymore, unless we are coughing up a lung or bleeding from the eye ball, we can’t stand sitting at the doctor’s office…using our precious PTO to sit in the most sterile, yet germ-ridden places on the planet? Only to see the “No cell phones” sign? And the drab receptionist starring you down as you curse the crummy 3G network? “Heel Pain-Schmeel Pain” you’ll say…

You laugh, but it’s so true.

The problem is, when you favor your feet over time, you end up causing knee, hip, and back problems because everything else shifts over to compensate for your “favoring” technique.limp gait

Another common thing we see along-side plantar fasciitis is a heel spur. A heel spur is simply a growth of the heel bone in an area it isn’t naturally projected to go. When it comes to plantar fasciitis, this projection is on the underside of the bone where the fascia is connected. heel spurThis makes sense because, remember, the ripping and tearing happens when the fascia is stretched too far, so your body, in all its infinite wisdom, tries to take care of the problem on its own and figures “hey, that fascia isn’t getting any longer, so let’s just grow some more bone! If it sticks out further and the fascia is connected there, it won’t have to stretch so far!”  Sort of brilliant for autonomous functions actually.

***Please note, if your podiatrist recommends removal of the heel spur as the sole resolution [last pun I swear…] to “solve” your plantar fasciitis, I strongly urge you to seek a second opinion as that is a rather invasive idea that rarely yields a solution.

What can I do to help myself if it is determined that I have plantar fasciitis?

Wiggle your nose, touch something purple, spin a quarter turn to the  right…and voila!

Just kidding.

[Wait, unless that worked for you, then please contact me directly and we’ll join the circus together…]

I’m going to level with you, most of the online information is misleading.  For instance, there are hundreds of articles about plantar fasciitis “foot stretches”.

Yikes! This should blow your mind…. Remember this whole problem started from stretching, did it not?  Two wrongs do not make a right. As for the night braces and steroid injections… huge waste of money and very little research to back up longitudinal success.

SO what does work? Well, since tight calf muscles are the top contributing factor for all three of our priority population mentioned above (those who are obese, those who have sudden increase in impact activity, and those who long-time impact athletes), I have three solid recommendations:

[3] Massage and loosen up the calf muscle for a few minutes daily – if you are going to STRETCH anything, stretch your calf muscles. There are several simple stretches you can do that do not require professional assistance or equipment. Below you will see some pictures showing common household items that you may use to assist in calf stretches. This is a great start. For those looking to take it a step further, MissFit swears by foam rolling Click on that hyperlinked texted to read the post about safe foam rolling.

Image result for calf stretch with chair

[2] Do some kind of activity to help shed excess weight – in conjunction with healthy eating habits, select low-impact aerobic activity such as swimming, recumbent bikes, and the elliptical machines.

The #1 most successful way to recover from plantar fasciitis is to wear insoles specially designed for the degree of pronation [aka “collapsed arch] you suffer from. These can be fit and ordered through your pronationpodiatrist but could be upwards of $100. Honestly, if worn consistently as prescribed, insoles alone can reverse the majority of complications of plantar fasciitis because they re-align the foot, arch, ankle, and back and give the fascia the rest it needs to heal properly. If that doesn’t sound like it’s worth $100, feel free to start out with over-the-counter shoe inserts for some relief. Lastly, and equally as important, is the shoes that you put the insoles in.

This video does a remarkable [and adorable] job of explaining the Do’s and Don’ts of shoe buying for plantar fasciitis. Check it out and please let me know if you have any other questions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be A-Ware

sand timeAccording to Merriam-Webster, contemporary synonyms for “aware” include alive, cognizant, mindful, sensible, alert, and observant; the archaic meaning was more akin to being “wary” or “vigilant”
As a noun a “ware” is defined as a thing made from a certain material or that is designed for a particular use.
Now, as an adjective or a noun, that doesn’t sound so bad right? As a matter of fact, if someone called me an Aware Ware, I may just have to blush and curtsy…

After all, they did just refer to me as a sensible, observant thing designed for a particular use, no?
I suppose it beats “Hey, you”…

Why am I encouraging such a ridiculous name? Where is this particularly odd musing coming from?

The dregs of my conscious, that’s where… I recently spent A LOT of time with my brain.

Allow me to explain.
Just last week I spent 76 hrs and 14 mins without my cell phone.
No cell phone…
No mobile telephone…
No handheld computer that connects me to the globe…
No Facebook at my fingertips…
Imagine such a thing…
The only Tweets heard were those echoing from the actual vocal chords of a flying creature… The only way to get help if I got lost driving would be to pull over and talk to a fellow human being… The only music I could stream was from that magic knob in my car that somehow signals to an antennae for radio waves AND I had to suffer through periodic interludes of advertisements that I was unable to skip or fast-forward through…

TRAGEDY

Imagine, 40 waking hours of not knowing if someone was trying to share a link, post a video, or got-forbid just check in with me…

CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT

The first 15 minutes were the worst.
It was remarkable how little it took for me to suddenly feel so unnatural…so foreign… so…alone.
It’s terrifying how much safety we have made ourselves believe our phones offer.
Not only was I Linus without his blanket, but Work…was…looooooooooooooooooong.
Any idea how often you look at your personal cell phone during work?
I promise whatever number you are thinking is a gross underestimation.
I must have looked for it a dozen or more times even though I know I didn’t have it.
I had no idea how dependent I had become on my phone to fill up those tiny little blips of time…no idea that at some point we must have decided as a culture that every millisecond needed to be accounted for… a sound byte for every miniscule moment of silence between the chaos; every brief mental mind gap filled.
Being the salmon-swimming rebel that I am, I was annoyed with myself… I found that, despite certain efforts, I was among this culture; I too had forgotten gaps in structured thought could be so plentiful, and so necessary…
Part of the philosophy behind what I teach my clients is the importance of Awareness.
Whether you are trying to lose weight, manage allergies, fight cancer, get a promotion at work, raise out of an episode of depression, or any other goal related to your Self, you have to be in tune with said Self; You must constantly take inventory of both internal and external stimuli and then analyze and categorize it.*
You must take time to ask self-reflective questions like: How does a certain thing, person, or event make me feel emotionally? Physically? Spiritually?
What then do you do with the answers you have given yourself?
How do you start to effect change for the negative elements discovered?
How do you surround yourself with more of the positive elements you uncovered?
Notice I said above – “You must take time”. I did not say “make time” or “find time”.
Yes…Time is yours to take, and do with what you please.
But, Beware, Time is what it is – constant, unchanging. It’s the one thing you cannot buy more of no matter how rich you are. You cannot find it, because it cannot be lost; what you perceive as lost time is merely time you took and used in an unproductive way.

Do not spend your Time; Invest it.

Be Aware of those idle moments…
Use them wisely, for they are the Wares from which you create change.

*I explain more about this tailored awareness process in my private sessions; if interested, please reach out I would be happy to connect with you on this.

New Year’s Re-Solution

2014

Well, the calendar doesn’t lie…another year has truly come and gone and come again.

And, most likely, so have your Resolutions… What is a resolution anyways? Linguistically, it is related to the concept of resolve… ironically… we often lack the resolve we need for our resolutions.

For the purpose of this article, let’s expand our semantic minds and breakdown the term into its prefix and its core: “Re” and “Solve”/“Solution” – essentially “to solve again”.

Operating under this notion, I want to offer up a different kind of Resolution to my Readers.

I want to challenge my Readers to “re-solve” some of the issues in their lives in a way other than the standard “I will do this”, “I won’t do that” mantra that most Resolutions are born from.

The first step is still going to be to Identify Issues.  When meeting with clients I always recommend achieving issue identification through a “funnel” method – simply meaning to start with broad, general realms of your life and work into more specific, singular items.  This method is helpful because normally, when asked about what they feel needs improving in their lives, my clients will laughingly say, “Everything!”  While they may be chuckling as they say it, they are actually serious and the truth of their response is what overwhelms and prevents them from taking necessary action steps to begin with [think of how when you have a big project and so many things need done you just don’t know where to start…same concept].

Example [using funnel method]:

My Health

Chronic diseases/disorders

Lifestyle/ Habits

My Weight

Self Esteem

Obstacles

Fears

SO the root of all evil is not Money, but Fear.

Fear, is, more specifically, simply Fear of the Unknown.

What is the best way to combat the Unknown?

Simple.

Remove the “Un” part.

This year, instead of vowing to do or not do something, vow to educate yourself on a piece of the ultimate goal and be amazed [and celebrate!] the results that will follow.

For instance, instead of having a New Year’s Resolution of “I will Lose 20 lbs before Swim Suit Season” – tweak [not twerk] that resolution to say “I will educate myself on food labels”. Or “I will learn more about classes my gym offers”. The action step is in knowledge building [which WE ALL can do]; rather than in the end result [which WE ALL can talk ourselves out of believing is possible].

Let’s look at one more example. Instead of having a New Year’s Resolution to “Pay off my Student Loans by 2016”, re-solve the issue by deciding to learn more about re-payment options, to understand your interest rates, or to learn about loan consolidation.

By reframing the resolution to emphasize the “Means” over the “End” you reduce your chances of “failing” to achieve your resolution because your focus is on the [seemingly] lesser building blocks to the ultimate goal – thus keeping daily success realistic and tangible. Additionally, by educating yourself on contributing factors of a particular issue, you are equipping yourself with issue-specific know-how and consequently heightening your confidence in your ability to actually make progress towards said goal. And therein lies the key to actually achieving something – believing you can.

**note** You can start with any troubled category of your life and the lowest common denominator will always be fear. I haven’t been given a category yet that I could not trace back to fear in one form or another….I would love to hear from all my Miss and Mister Fits out there; contact me today!