25
Jun

Miscarriage

I wanted to write this because I was talking to a friend the other day, and it really irritates me that the occurrence of miscarriage is so common, yet it’s something that is just swept under a rug… I feel like there is this silent group of women (and men) who have miscarried and that nobody talks about it.  I don’t quite understand why it’s such a silent topic because when you start talking about it, women start coming out of the woodwork that have gone through the same thing.  Is it because people don’t know what to say?  I wanted anyone out there who is silently going through this to know that you’re not alone. I also wanted anyone that has not had a miscarriage to have some ideas on how to react to someone that has lost a pregnancy.

I remember very vividly the first miscarriage I had.  My husband and I were greeted with a very big surprise before he had secured his “real job” and it was a scary yet exciting time for us.  We were paying rent to live with friends until we knew for sure where his job would take us.  I remember riding my bike home from work, getting home feeling crampy and my back was hurting.  I realized I forgot my keys at work and my roommates weren’t home so when I found out something was really wrong, I sat locked out in the garage crying until my husband got home from work.  The hospital told me to stay lay down and relaxed and put ice on my tummy.  The next day, an ultrasound confirmed the baby was  6 weeks, 5 days old and there was no heartbeat.  2 weeks later the actual miscarriage occurred, which was equally nightmarish.  We had already told our friends and family so I think “utelling” was the worst part.  Anyone that has had a miscarriage can relate to the feeling of failure, worrying about later pregnancies, wondering “will I ever have kids” and so many other emotions.

It’s completely normal to feel a huge range of emotions.  I remember going from happy to sad to angry to have a complete meltdown.  I remember hating God, hating my friends that were pregnant, hating my job (I worked at a daycare at the time) and hating anyone that said the wrong thing.  If you’ve had a miscarriage and are having trouble coping, call your hospital to see if there is counseling available or check out forums about pregnancy loss.  While it’s normal to be upset, long periods of depression are not healthy and you should talk to your doctor if there is a concern. Find a friend to confide in.   Take care of yourself and get some exercise.  This last message may tick some people off: It’s your body, but remember the father of the baby has emotions too.  You’ll be feeling a different sort of pain, but he will be confused and won’t know how to comfort you, and won’t understand the physical pain of a miscarriage.  Communicate and share your fears.  You don’t need to share every gory detail, but keep in mind a part of him will change too and he may need a little support.  Support and uplift each other.

If you have a friend that is going through a miscarriage and have never been through one it’s hard to know what to do.  Every woman handles a loss differently.  The best thing you can do is say “I’m sorry for your loss, what can I for you” and just listen to her.  As encouraging as it may seem to say “maybe now wasn’t the right time” or “everything happens for a reason” it probably won’t be comforting.  She will be wondering what caused it and why her baby.  DO NOT suggest things that she may have done wrong that caused a miscarriage (such a working out, stress, a glass of wine, riding a bike etc).  Just listen.  Suggest going for a walk or a movie to get them out of the house.  If you’re uncomfortable approaching them to talk but want to do something nice you can always send a card or flowers.

If you’re a man whose spouse is having a miscarriage, it’s okay to have feelings too.  I remember the hardest part for my husband is he did not know what to do with me.  I was a mess and he couldn’t fix it.  Time will heal wounds.  Take her out on a date, get flowers, and offer to listen.  Emotional support is really important during this time.  If she’s crying, hold her- don’t run away.  If she’s angry, understand she’s not mad at you, she’s mad at the situation.  If you are struggling with the loss, talk to someone.  I was shocked to hear my husband was upset about the loss.  I was so caught up in myself and how I was feeling I didn’t even think about him.  If sex is on the brain, don’t ask “so when can we have sex again?”  Intimacy may take some time, but don’t take it personal.  I think I would have decked my husband if he would have asked that question…

I wish I could say it gets easier if you have multiple miscarriages like me, but it doesn’t.  Fear replaces the joy in pregnancy.  You don’t tell your family for 13 weeks because you don’t want to look dumb.  You go through medical testing to find out if there’s anything wrong with your body or genes.  You watch friends get pregnant and have kids while you sit there trying to be happy for them.  You’ll still wonder why me, why my body and will I ever have kids.

After the 3rd miscarriage and several tests, I was diagnosed with “Lupus Anticoagulant”, a blood clotting disorder that displays symptoms in the form of miscarriages and also leaves me at a higher risk for blood clots and stroke.  It was scary but manageable.

I was fortunate enough to finally carry a baby girl full term and she is my world!  It was hard to bond during pregnancy and for several months I felt disconnected from her.  I didn’t feel like it was “real”.  My fears of losing her drove me to stop working out intensely and I was faced with the onset of stretch marks and the idea that for the first time in my life I was supposed to be gaining weight.  When she started to become very active and we named her, I started to feel like it was really happening and God was going to bless us with a healthy baby.

When she was born, both her father and I cried tears of joy.  She is now 2 years old and I’m fortunate to share everyday with her as a stay at home mom.  I realized the stretch marks and cesarean scar are worth every precious minute with her.

Even with the presence of our daughter, there is still a lingering fear in my mind.  Will the second child be born with little complication?  Will we be fortunate enough to experience no further miscarriages?  What happens if we cannot have a second child for some reason?  The unknown scares me, but I still keep faith that if it’s meant to be God will make it happen.

If you’re struggling with fertility or multiple miscarriages, never give up hope.

Written by Michelle Phillips, mother and avid CrossFitter at Wausau CrossFit.

Category : Guest Writers | Uncategorized
22
May

Staying Fit and Active Through Cancer Battle

Written By Guest Contributor Melanie Bowen

The philosophy on activity and physical fitness while going through cancer is rapidly changing among the medical community. While rest used to be advised, many studies show that physical activity and fitness activity help reduce the stress factors of cancer treatments. Particularly with aggressive treatments, fitness routines reduce the symptom of fatigue. While there are still some treatments that require rest, you can still perform activities to alleviate the strain, build energy, reform muscles and stay physically fit. Whether you are recently diagnosed, undergoing treatment, or in recovery, here are 3 levels of activity to build into your daily routine to get you started.

Beginning Your Routine

Low impact exercises are a great way to start exercising routines if you haven’t exercised in a while. For those who are just getting started, light exercise with minimal movement provides the best work out. You can increase your activities based on how comfortable you are with exercise.

In some cases, for those who are receiving treatment for mesothelioma, breathing exercises can really help to loosen the lungs and improve respiratory functions. Yoga and tai chi are two physical activities that move the body and improve breathing. Low impact exercises are also helpful when getting started with exercise routines. Strength training, cycling, rowing, elliptical machines and short walks give cancer patients and survivors a place to start that steadily increases their fitness level.

Spice It Up

You can also upgrade your fitness routine once you feel comfortable with light exercise.  Start with low impact exercises at first and then move into more difficult activities. Moderate exercise includes activities that will get your heart rate up but also require more energy. You can move your physical activities into the water by doing water aerobics or swimming laps. If you started a light routine of biking, build upon your low impact exercises to go for longer bike rides. As you increase your endurance and build muscle, you can start lifting weights regularly, begin jogging and even take on cardio exercises.

Go Hard

Running is the ultimate way to get fit. Athletes train with running exercises to increase their breathing control and endurance. If you have issues with weight or weak muscle strength due to chemo and radiation therapy, running and jogging help your muscles get acquainted with daily exercise. This activity can place a lot of strain on a repairing body, but it can also help improve your endurance, strength and muscular growth.

You can ease into running by speed walking and running for short distances and then finally moving into a slow jog and even bursts of sprinting. Change up the routine by taking classes such as high-energy aerobics like Zumba and kickboxing. Martial arts training is another physical activity that many enjoy who are battling cancer. You can take karate as a way to learn about your body, gain muscular strength and improve your body’s mobility.

There are many ways to exercise and improve your vitality throughout your battle with cancer. Your routine will focus on your own strengths and weakness. As always, consult a doctor before going through any vigorous activity. Once you begin a routine, stick to your goals and remember not to push yourself to exhaustion. It’s important that you start exercising for a small period of time and build up the amount of time that you partake in physical activity. Staying hydrated and wearing appropriate clothing will also ensure that you don’t overheat or dehydrate while you’re working out.

Written By Melanie Bowen

Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness.  To read more from Melanie, visither blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.

Category : Guest Writers
17
Dec

What does that number on the scale mean?  It doesn’t distinguish muscle weight from fat weight.  Two people, each weighing 200 lbs, can have two very different body types.  One may have a significant amount of body fat within those 200 lbs.  The other may be exceptionally lean, with a great deal of developed muscle.

Your weight can also fluctuate quite a bit throughout the day, depending on how much food and water are in your digestive tract at that particular moment.  And your clothing can play a part in that number, as well.  So it would be important to weigh yourself at the same time every day, wearing the same clothes (or no clothes) just to be consistent.

A person can start out weighing 150 lbs, exercise and eat clean for 3 months, and weigh 150 lbs after those 3 months.  Why is there no change in weight?  Because the fat was replaced by more muscle!  However, even though this person weighs the same after 3 months, the physical form of their body has changed.  This is because muscle is more dense than fat.  If you have a pound of fat next to a pound of muscle, the fat takes up more space.  This is why a person who has a significant amount of fat looks “flabby” and a person who has little fat and a greater development of muscle looks “lean.”

I had to step on a scale every 1-4 weeks at the doctor’s office every time I went in for a pregnancy check-up.  I had a routine where I would look straight ahead at the wall after I stepped on the scale, so I wouldn’t see the numbers displayed just below my growing belly.  There were a few times where my doctor would look at my weight and tell me I had gained too much or too little since my last visit–without giving away my actual weight number.  My mind would go nuts with that information, and I’d have to control it with positive thoughts: “you weigh exactly as you should right now,” “you are very healthy,” “of course your weight is getting greater–you are growing a life inside of you!”  I still have not weighed myself since having my last baby and that is because I know that no matter what the scale read, I would feel like it wasn’t good enough, which would trigger negative thoughts in my mind and feelings of anxiety and/or depression in my body.  So instead of weighing myself, I gauge my health, and whether or not I need to lose body fat, by how I FEEL physically, how I LOOK in the mirror, and how well I FIT into my clothes.

If shortly after you step on a scale you develop negative thoughts, which in turn create negative feelings within your body, then I suggest you hide, remove, or donate your scales.  Get them out of your house, immediately.  If your scale is somewhere where you will see it every day, you may be tempted to step on it.  If you are not mentally strong enough to prevent or overcome negative thoughts or feelings of anxiety or depression, then you should not be using a scale.  Remember, negative thoughts only hurt you.  You can set yourself back significantly after working so hard at changing bad eating habits and creating good exercise habits.  The mind—ego—is exceptionally good at being critical and judgmental, especially on its own body.  I suggest you gauge your physical status by how you feel in your clothes and how you look in the mirror.  If the same pair of jeans you’ve been wearing for 2 years are starting to get tight–or you see some chunk that didn’t used to be there–maybe it’s time to reevaluate your consumption and exercise habits.  If YOU are not happy with how YOU look and feel, then do something about it!

scale

Category : Uncategorized
24
Nov

DSC00431

Over the past 2.5 years, I’ve witnessed my body immensely change throughout two pregnancies.  I regained my pre-pregnancy body within about 8 weeks after giving birth the first time.  It has been 7 weeks since I gave birth to my second son, and I’m still working towards getting back in shape.  It’s a bit more difficult this second time, but with proper nutrition, exercise, and positive thinking, I’m well on my way.

My body has been put under a lot of stress over the past few years—muscles, tendons, and tissues expanding and shrinking in a short amount of time.  Pregnancy, labor, delivery, and post-partum life was incredibly difficult for me—physically and mentally.  I hated being pregnant.  I hated the restrictions (e.g. no lifting).  I had no energy.  I had body pains everywhere from muscles being stretched to their max, and from carrying around all that extra weight.  During the second pregnancy, I felt like I would vomit every time I thought of eating healthy food (all I wanted to eat was pizza and ice cream for the entire first trimester).  Six weeks before my due date, I tore my right abdominal muscle after lifting too much (carrying around a toddler all day and lifting hay bales finally got the best of me).  After that, I had to wear a brace and couldn’t lift anything for the rest of the pregnancy because I was in so much pain.  The pain I experienced during labor and delivery was incredible—absolutely terrifying.  Then came the wonderful post-partum days, where I cried every evening at 5:00 for no good reason.  I felt like a crazy person for about a week until my hormones leveled off.  Five months after my first son was born, I experienced my first panic attack.  I ended the day in an ambulance ride to the emergency room because my mind made me believe I was dying.  It’s been fourteen months since then and I’ve overcome panic attacks and anxiety through self help books and programs—NOT medication.

Having had this experience, I know how powerful the human body is and what incredible potential we all have within us.  We can go downhill fast with poor eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle, and negative thoughts. We can improve our minds and bodies with proper nutrition and exercise.  We can overcome any physical and mental setbacks we experience in a lifetime with the skills we learn.  I am here to teach you those skills.  I have learned them myself and have a strong desire to help others.

I am telling you all this because I want you to believe that I understand what each and every person is capable of—negatively and positively.  My body endured the stress of two pregnancies in a matter of two years, and I regained my pre-pregnancy body both times and improved my mental state as well. I did it, I know it can be done, and therefore I know any human can do it.  Any person, man or woman, can achieve the body (and mind) they desire, and I can help in the process.  I WANT to help!  So if you are someone who desperately wants to get into shape, or someone who needs to improve their lifestyle because of health concerns, or someone who just wants some structure in their workouts, go to www.salonspafitness.com to book a personal training appointment with me, Stacy, the newest addition to The Salon, Spa, & Fitness Studio.  Starting December 3, I am available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, anytime between 7:00 AM and 2:00 PM. I look forward to working with you!  And remember that exercise is supposed to be FUN!  Let me help you find that enjoyment.    – Stacy Martin

Category : Uncategorized
24
Oct

ChealseaRunning2

So this week I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how we talk to ourselves internally, and what we also believe about ourselves. Have you ever caught yourself thinking “I’m so fat, lazy, stupid, etc, etc”? Most of us could say yes. We hold ourselves to these high standards and then when we don’t meet them or things don’t go our way we bully ourselves via our internal monologues. I remember thinking these awful things over and over throughout a day, and by the end of the day just feeling so exhausted and beaten down. I’d tell myself I was fat and lazy and stupid. And I believed it.

I think our internal monologues shape a lot of what we believe about ourselves. I challenge you to really pay attention this week to what your self talk is like. Is it positive? Negative? Make a conscious  effort to stop the negativity. Try to change gears, and do something different. Often working out will help to quiet the negative talk. Sometimes I ask people to make an effort to think positive things about themselves. I think it’s important to have things you like about yourself and to focus on them as well.

I came across this quote from C.S. Lewis, “We are what we believe we are“. And as I thought about it, I realized how my own self perceptions have changed on my fitness and weight loss journey. When I first started working out and trying to eat clean I would often think about how fat and unworthy I was. I would think “I am not an exerciser….I am just not a runner… or a swimmer… I am not a health nut….” I never felt like I would loose the weight.

Slowly as I began working out, gaining confidence in myself and what my body was capable of, my self talk/beliefs began to subtly change. I began to think “maybe I can do this…..I do kind of like to work out and sweat….I like eating healthy and learning more about nutrition”. As I met my fitness goals, these thoughts turned into “I AM runner. I AM a triathlete. I AM a health nut :) ” As my beliefs and definition of myself changed, so did my body, and vice versa.

Now I define myself as an athlete, personal trainer, clean-eater, I find it is a lot easier to be those things. I am not fighting a negative internal monologue. And, being a much more positive and self confident person has led me to keep pushing myself. I want to exercise and eat healthy, because that’s who I AM. I look forward to work outs and trying new healthy recipes. I enjoy thinking of myself this way. And to be honest other people know this is how I define myself and they come to me for help with their health/fitness journeys. Which is so awesome!

So, I challenge you to listen to what you say to yourself. How do you define yourself? Is it positive and healthy? If not how can you change your self talk and self perceptions? You CAN control what you say and believe about yourself. Make a conscious effort this week (and always!) to stop the negativity. It is up to you to define yourself, and to live the the life you want :)

Category : Uncategorized
16
Oct

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how we create and SUSTAIN change in our lives. I think that many of us make short-lived changes in our lives in our attempts to be healthier. We start a workout and diet on a Monday and maybe last a week or two. Or sometimes we even make it to our goal weight/size and then the back sliding begins!

What is it that makes these changes “stick”? How do we make these changes a lifestyle?

I truly believe making that these changes permanent is a mindset. Are you thinking that once you reach your goal you won’t have to keep these habits up? Or that you won’t have to work so hard, and can relax a bit? Well you’ve got to let that go. You’ve got to realize and accept that you need to make changes you can maintain for a lifetime. It all starts by making small changes that you know you can have success with. Then as you have success maintaining these small changes you begin to add in other small changes. These small changes all add up to a healthy lifestyle. By starting with small attainable changes you are less likely to fall back into your “old” habits.

Now I get it, you’re thinking “that’s really overwhelming to think of making a change forever”.  I encourage you not to think of it in terms of forever. Think of these changes and this lifestyle as something you are going to do “just for today”. Take each day at it comes. Each day will add up, and you will begin to see changes in your body and how you feel, which will also help you maintain the changes you’ve made! You will get more comfortable with your new lifestyle/routine and it will begin to feel natural.

So start today. Make small attainable changes and take each day as it comes!

Category : Uncategorized
20
Aug

ChelseaGoals

Do you have a goal for your health and fitness?

What is it??

Is it something general like “I’m going to eat healthier”, “I’m going to work-out more” “I’m going to lose 5lbs” ? Don’t get me wrong having a general goal is fine. However you exponentially increase your chances of success when your goals are S.M.A.R.T.

Have you heard of SMART goals? Maybe in the workplace? In doing some research about my own goals and goal setting I came across this acronym, which is credited to Peter Drucker circa 1954.

S, stands for SPECIFIC- so that would be something like I’m going to workout five days a week, 2 strength training and 3 cardio for at least 30 minutes a day. See how much more specific that is than just “working out more”?

M, is for MEASURABLE- so how will you know you’ve met your goal? How will you know you are doing well working towards your goal. As in the above example the number of times a week worked out is measurable. As well as the length of time worked out is measurable.

A, is for ATTAINABLE- so the goal should be challenging, but also doable. Don’t set yourself up for a huge failure. Research how long it generally takes to get to your goal, ie running a 5k, losing a certain amount of weight healthily, or whatever it is you are trying to do.

R, is for RELEVANT- figure out why your goal is important to y0u. What will you stand to gain from completing your goal? What will you lose if you don’t complete your goal?

T, is for TIME- Your goal should have a time table. When do you hope to be done with this goal in particular? Do you want to put a time limit on the steps leading to your goal?

Ready to make a more specific goal now? Hopefully the above acronym gets you thinking and planning! By being so specific and thinking through what you want to do, you are much more likely to complete the goal and feel successful and motivated!

There are a few other points that I think are also important to goal setting and achievement.

DAILY REMINDER: First, have a daily reminder of your goal. It can be something like a picture placed on your mirror, a phrase on your calendar, an outfit/swimsuit hanging in your closet. Just something to remind you what all this hard work is for.

REEVALUATE/TRACK: Next, constantly be reevaluating how things are going and if your goal needs to be modified. Track your progress in a journal or whatever works for you. If you are consistently not meeting your plan for your goal then retool what you are doing so it is possible for your have success.

ACCOUNTABILITY: Also, find a way to be accountable whether it is a workout pal or a trainer. It can even be your journal that keeps you accountable. You need to know how you are doing! Or sign up for a race/event. You will have to train to be ready, and once you pay your money to do it, it is much harder to back out.

GAME PLAN: Have a plan with mini goals leading up to your big goal. Also have a plan for setbacks and how you will deal with them. Have a plan for how to deal with situations that may cause a set back. For example, I look up calorie counts at a restaurant before I go, and  decide before I go what I will eat. That way I don’t get there and make a bad choice because of social pressure or temptation.

REWARD!!!!:  Lastly, have a reward for yourself for reaching your goal, or even meeting your mini goals that make up your goal.  It helps to keep you motivated, especially if you’re not seeing big changes yet, or it is taking a long time to reach your goal :)

So good luck in creating your SMART goals and achieving them!!! I’d love to hear about your goals and how you are going to meet them :)

Category : Guest Writers | Uncategorized