My beautiful friend Karen recently had the rug pulled out from under her, health-wise. And yet she rose to the occasion and has become am amazing inspiration for so many people — including myself. I am so moved by Karen’s journey (not to mention her courage), that I asked her to write a little about what she’s gone through, in hopes it might move and inspire some of you. I know Karen inspires me daily. No matter what we might be facing, there is hope. In fact, like Karen, we can become the hope. It’s all about taking the next step (no matter how small of a step it might seem to be).
And for those of us (including myself) who sometimes complain that we don’t feel like exercising, Karen’s commitment to fitness and to being her best self is incredibly motivating. Don’t believe me? Keep reading…
My Friend Karen’s Story in Her Own Words:
I am a runner, love to cycle on the road or better yet on the trails. I play tennis two to three times a week. I am an athlete and cant ‘t seem to get enough of the great outdoors. The running, biking and tennis came to a screeching halt December 24, 2014 (yes — Christmas Eve) when I was diagnosed with not one but two cancers — ovarian and uterine.
I had surgery that morning and stayed in the hospital for a few days until I went home to start my recovery. I began my journey by walking around the island in my kitchen, I could complete four laps before having to take a break. After a week of this I was ready to get outside, however living in Michigan in January can be cold – really cold.
We had record low temperatures this past winter but it wasn’t going to stop me, I layered up and was out the door going for my walk. I started by walking around the block and then around the block twice — three times. It was then I started putting the miles on and found myself walking for over an hour at a time in the bitter cold and snow. I then began my 18 week chemotherapy program the end of January. I also went out for my first run (okay — slow jog) since my surgery ten days after my first chemo and I was never so happy.
“I am a runner and I am running,” I would tell myself — “Chemo or not!”
Backing off from tennis for two months while my 12″ incision started its healing process, I decided to pick up come spinning classes at my club. These activities continued through my treatment, not every day, slower on some days than others, but on my good days I was out there doing something and having fun doing it. When I rang “The Bell” (see picture of this event) on May 28th in celebration of my last chemo treatment I felt like I was on the podium after a big race and I had just won 1st place.
I am the winner and I have won BIG! I am a SURVIVOR and ever so blessed to have the medical care, my husband, friends and family along with the mental and physical strength and drive to be where I am today. Today I celebrate and am so grateful to be cancer free for 7 months.
I have just returned from a three week trip to Moab, Utah, Fruita, Colorado, and Prescott, Arizona — where I was mountain biking on some of the best trails, running and getting back to the mountains and the great outdoors. Happy trails and may they always lead you on a wonderful journey.
Photos Source: Karen B. (Used with permission.)
Did you hear the one about the plus-sized burlesque dancer who not only knows that she’s “fat” but also that she’s beautiful? Lillian Bustle recently gave a powerful TEDxJerseyCity talk, during which she admitted to being a wife, someone who’s fat and — most important — someone who’s beautiful. Says Ms. Bustle, “We as women are programmed to tell each other that we’re not fat because to many people — both men and women — fat is the worst thing that you can be. I’m five foot three, so I call myself short. I’m married, so I call myself a wife. I weigh 240 pounds, so I call myself fat. And I am beautiful, so I call myself beautiful. And I’m all of those things at once.”
I applaud Ms. Bustle’s attitude and spirit. Self-worth and self-love are two of the main mental ingredients necessary to create positive change (including getting to a healthier weight — no matter what you define that number on the scale to be). I have stated in a recent post that if we actually love and care for ourselves — even as we are now in this very moment (no matter how many pounds overweight or no matter how far away from any kind of goal) — we become more likely to encounter faster success.
Think about it… If you know a good friend or family member that’s facing a challenge, you want to help them out. But if it’s someone you have distaste for, you don’t really care if they succeed in their quest or not. Well, time for you to think of yourself in a more affectionate way and afford yourself the very same degree of care that Ms. Bustle affords herself.
Photos Source: Mic.com
I know I’m normally blogging (blathering on?) about food and nutrition. But can we just take a moment, pre 4th of July weekend, to acknowledge that summer’s finally here? Of course, this can be a great time to get outdoors to add even more physical activity to your day. Not only will being outdoors add to your bottom line (or lack thereof) when it comes to your healthy life outlook, but it will also allow you to soak up some healthy Vitamin D in its natural form from the sun.
But whatever your outdoor activity, make sure you remember the sunscreen. The FDA recommends that we apply SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 at the very least. But that rule doesn’t apply to everyone. My personal dermatologist says we should be wearing an SPF level of 30 to 40 even for daily activities. Thus, you’re encouraged to take your own “sun history” into account.
If you rarely burn and tan easily, SPF 15 is might be right for you. But if you are very pale (like moi), have numerous freckles and/or red hair, then you should use a much higher level of SPF. If you’re not sure which level of SPF you should be using, make a quick call to your doctor or dermatologist to get their professional opinion. After all, the skin you save may be your own.
And no matter which level of SPF you’re using, this same rule applies to us all: Reapply the sunblock every 2 hours (moreso if you’re sweating or just getting out of the pool or ocean).
To find out which SPF level is right for you, click here
For more information on the FDA Guidelines regarding SPF levels, click here
Photo Source: WeeklySauce
Who cares if summer heat is beating down on most of us? It’s still a great time of year to make my Chunky Turkey Chili recipe (the same one featured in my latest book, Weightless: My Life As A Fat Man And How I Escaped). Recently, I visited my local farmers market, where I purchased fresh spices (see picture, below) to use when making this recipe. And I have to tell you, it turned out great. So visit your farmers market for these ingredients (if you have one nearby) or buy the freshest versions of these ingredients as you can. Then join me in making this fail-safe recipe that’s a winner whether you’re trying to take off excess weight or simply working to maintain the success you’ve already achieved. Bon Appétit!
Ingredients (in order of appearance)
5 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
3 white onions, peeled & chopped
2 (two) 7 oz. cans of diced green chilies (mild or hot – your choice)
3 tbsp. fresh garlic, chopped (can also used jarred, but without added oil)
4 tbsp. chili powder (more if you dare)
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (more if you dare)
2+ lbs. lowfat ground turkey
1 (one) 6 lb., 6 oz. can (or several cans that equal the same) of ready cut diced tomatoes (in their own juice, no added sodium if available)
4 large bell peppers, chopped
In a large pot (the bigger the better), add the olive oil and chopped onions. Cover and cook over medium heat for several minutes (until the onions begin to soften).
Next, add the garlic, chili powder and cumin. Mix it up and then add both cans (liquid and all) of the diced green chilies to the diced onion. Cook covered, over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Next, add the ground turkey — making sure to mix all of the meat into the mixture while keeping the turkey from “clumping” together (work to break it up into loose pieces/bits). Continue to cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (and de-clumping the turkey when necessary).
Once the turkey is cooked through, add the canned tomatoes and chopped bell peppers, mix thoroughly, then cover and cook on high heat until the contents reach a boil. As soon as you see that your mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to LOW and cook for about 20 minutes more so all the flavors mix together and blend to perfection.
Makes approximately 18 servings
A Few Helpful Hints
Add a small green salad with carrot shavings and balsamic vinegar along with two to three multigrain crackers to create a complete meal.
After preparing this big batch of chili, I divide it into portion sizes (usually two per storage container) and then, after the containers cool off, stick them in the freezer. After a day or so of thawing (in the fridge) you can zap it in the microwave for a quick, delicious dinner anytime during the week. (You can even store single size portions and take the chili to work for an easy and delicious, microwavable lunch!)
It should be noted that this stuff is so good that you can even serve it to your friends who aren’t on a diet. (Trust me — they’ll never know they’re eating something super healthy.) I’ve even made a big batch of this recipe as a dip for parties and served it with multigrain chips along with sour cream and cheese on the side.