Friday, January 13, 2012

31 Days to Better Health - Day 13

Happy Friday!  I thought the weekend was never going to arrive.  I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to rest, relaxation and fun.

No surprise, my Thursday was spent again at Hopkins.  As much as I like the people here I am really ready to go and I know Dan feels the same way.  At least the weather today was gorgeous (we actually reached 61 degrees); too bad we only got to see it from the window.  However we have had some fantastic weather so far this winter so I don’t feel like we missed too much today.  J

What do you think are you enjoying the posts so far this month?  I know they have been very different from my usual posts but this is definitely another side of me, just not one I usually show here on the blog.   If you have any topic you would like me to talk about of any other suggestions don’t be shy.  You can either post a comment here or send me at email at

Here is the recap of what we have accomplished so far to remind us all of how far we have come during the first 12 days of January:

Day 1 – Defined Success and What is/was Holding Us Back

Day 2 – Determined our Purpose and Looked at Passion

Day 3 – Listed Our Goals for January

Day 4 – Listed the Things We Have Needed to Work on for a While

Day 5 – Looked at Optimism vs. Pessimism and Fear vs. Intuition

Day 6 – Practiced Conscious Eating

Day 7 – Hara Hachi Bu

Day 8 – Taking the Stress Out of Meal Time

Day 9 – Acknowledgments

Day 10 – No Excuses, Do it Anyway

Day 11 – Is it True?

Day 12 – Have You Really Connected With Someone Today?

What did you think of the post about connecting with people? Is this something you are good at or something that needs work?  I am guessing with all of us having crazy hectic lives and trying to multitask that most of us need to slow down and connect to others. I hope that post at least made of you aware of the issue. 

Motivation is a Decision:

If I had a dollar for each time someone told me that they would love to “do something” and would as soon as they got the motivation I would be rich.  Motivation is not some magical thing that comes down and bestows itself on you. People who eat healthy and exercise every day are not any different than you are. They are not born with some super human amount of motivation that you don’t possess. Motivation is nothing more than a decision. 

Let’s look at some common situations.  You get up in the morning and you know you should go to the gym but you really just want to stay in bed.  What do you do?  Here is the key thing to remember whether you hit the snooze alarm or get out of bed and put on your exercise clothes is a decision.

Now it is lunch time and you are getting ready to eat the healthy food you brought when someone says let’s go get pizza. What do you do? Do you do what you know is in your best interest or do you get the pizza. Darn it, there is another decision.  Are you starting to see what I mean that motivation is a decision?

I am sure some of you are thinking “I can see that it is a decision but how do I make the healthy choice in the moment?”  Great question, which really is the key here isn’t it?  It all comes down to what result you want. Is it more important to be healthy or to sleep in?  Are you committed to healthy food choices or do you look for little excuse to eat off your program? Only you know the answer to those questions.  I realize that it is easier for me to make the right decisions because of our health challenges.  However if I could go back in time and change my behavior and avoid this I would do it without hesitation.  That is the main reason that I continue to hammer that point home with you.  I don’t want anyone else to have to deal with what we do.

I found that information is power when it comes to making the best lifestyle choices.  There are certain books that once I read them there was no way I could go back to our prior eating habits.  Heck I feel guilty enough just eating a whole wheat roll with my veggie delight sub from Subway while we are at Hopkins.  There is no way I could put cheese, meat or mayo on that sandwich now.  Knowledge is power when it comes to radical lifestyle changes.  I don’t think any of us could or would make those radical shifts without knowledge.

Here are three books that I recommend for anyone who is serious about getting healthy. You don’t need to read all of them (though I did). However the more of you read the harder it is to deny the truth about cause and effect.

I think these three books cover everything that any of us need to know about the connection between health and nutrition. Of course you could be like me and collect a library or health books and that works too. 

Dr. Fuhrman’s most recent book, Super Immunity, does a fabulous job covering the details of what we should all be eating more and less of.  His approach is frequently easier to get on board with for omnivores since he focuses on what to include first and doesn’t prohibit meat but tells people that less is better and preferably no more than 5% of total calories.  I read this book in one day, I liked it that much. In fact I bought an extra copy to give away on the blog because I thought it was that good. Expect to see that give away early in February once the 31 days to better health series is over.

Overall I believe the best way to prepare yourself to be the healthiest that you possible is to arm yourself with the best available information.  You could do the same thing but researching different topics on PubMed but not everyone finds those articles easy to read.  I think you have to be a little nerdy (like me) to get into that stuff.

Today’s exercises are:

1.       Commit to learning more about nutrition by reading a book rewritten by a reputable source.  Log onto you library’s online system to see if you can reserve any of the three books listed above.  If you need more suggestions let me know I can recommend many more than these, but I think they are a great starting point.

2.       Give yourself a deadline to have the book finished.

3.       Mention the book you will be reading to your friends to see if any of them have read the book.  Who knows you might be able to start a healthy book club at your office.  Wouldn’t that be a fabulous way to spend part of your lunch hour? 

Progress on my goals:

1.       Newsletters – Guess who actually spent some time working on this project today while she was at the hospital?  Okay it was me.  Yay me.  ;-)

2.       Body Bugg – Eleven days in a row wearing my bugg and going strong. I think this has become a habit again.  ;-)  It will be nice to get home so that I can get back to exercising and give the bugg something to measure.

3.       Date with Dan – We will be getting back to this very soon once the crisis is over. For now we are spending lots of time together I just wouldn’t call it a date. We are hoping to have a nice date weekend coming up.

4.        Measuring calorie dense food – I have been nibbling on nuts and seeds at the hospital and adding them to salads.  I need to fill you in on the articles that I brought home from the hospital. The dietitian and I got on the subject of nuts and seeds and he was kind enough to print out a few articles for me.

5.       Working on my business – I put two hours in to listening to webinars yesterday for ideas.  I did the same thing on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I guess I am doing more to work on the business than I thought.

How are you doing making progress on your goals?  I hope you are pleased with what you have accomplished so far. If you think you haven’t made enough progress don’t beat yourself up. Just decide what you are going to work on tomorrow and get to it. In order to change you simply need to make a little progress every day.  Keep your eye on the target!


I asked you to continue to write daily acknowledgements so that you develop the habit. In order to remind you to write your acknowledgements I am going to share a few of mine each day for the remainder of the month.   On a “normal” day I write acknowledgements soon after the activity, before they fall out of my head. But I wasn’t focused on that again yesterday so my list is much shorter than usual.

·         I actually made it out of the house this morning before 8:15am. This may be a new recent record for me.  I know I always say that I am not a morning person but really that is an understatement. In the past one of my employees bought me a coffee mug that read “I don’t do mornings” and sadly it was dead on.  It is amazing what I am capable of when it comes to my husband.  ;-)  It must be love to get me moving that quickly in the morning. 

·         I took time to make myself breakfast before I left the house in the morning.  This was mostly because Dan thought it was important but I was the one who had to execute it so I give myself credit for that. 

·         I made time to work on both my newsletters and business while I was at Hopkins today.  It appears I am proving to myself that there are no excuses huh?  LOL

·         I am glad that I took more time to chat with the dietitian at Hopkins. He was kind enough to print out a few articles for me based on our conversation. This really does prove that there are a lot of nice people in the world when you take the time to pay attention doesn’t it?

·         My fur children got plenty of mommy time this evening before bed which they appreciated and I liked it too. I know our fuzzies are feeling a little confused because I have been gone more than usual and Dan isn’t home at night.  But they are almost behaving like grown up cats during all this.  I thought that deserved a little special attention as a reward for being big cats.  I love that our children love their parents so much. Whoever said cats are standoffish obviously never met our cats or any other Turkish Angoras. Our babies are very loving toward both their mommy and daddy.

·         Before bed I took the time to relax and soak in a hot bath. While I cooled down from the extremely hot bath I turned down the lights and listened to a little instrumental jazz to begin to relax.  It is important to take time for yourself when you are a caregiver.  You don’t want to burn out now do you?

·         I was feeling a little pity party coming on last night so I took like to relax and meditation.  There are times when we all need to just slow down and get our bearings.

Did you write your acknowledgements today?  I hope so!  Please take the time to appreciate the good things that you do every day.  Even with all the chaos that is swirling for me now I find that taking a few minutes to write my acknowledgements helps me to reevaluate my day.

Random Observations:

It is interesting what happens when you ask other people for help….usually they help you.  Go figure!  ;-)  I am one of those people who is notorious for not asking for help.  I learned long ago that it was easier to do things myself and most of the time that is what I do, it is faster and I then I have no one to blame but myself when it doesn’t happen.  This strategy is fine until you have more tasks that you can possibly accomplish on your own.  That is what has been happening to me recently with everything that is going on. I have been very pleasantly surprised by the help I have gotten from others. Thanks everyone!  I hope you know how much I appreciate the help.

Thursday didn’t go exactly as I had anticipated.  But I realize that life is not entirely predictable.  Dan is in a good place and he is getting good care and that is all that is important now.  *breathe*

Again today I was reminded how fortunate I am to have worked in health care.  If it weren’t for that this situation would be much more stressful than it is.  I can’t imagine all of this going on and not knowing what is happening and why.  This situation has really reminded me how difficult it is for most people when a loved one is in the hospital.  From that perspective we are very fortunate.

Dan has a mysterious fever that is keeping him in the hospital now. They have cultured his blood twice and both are negative as is the urine culture.  There is nothing in his lungs either according to radiology. Basically he is running a fever and no one knows why so they are hesitant to release him. While I appreciate their concern and caution I would really like to get him out of here.  I believe that people recover better in the comfort of their own home. Not to mention I know Dan really needs sleep now.  He looks exhausted and I understand since he has been here since Monday and hasn’t gotten more than naps here and there since he arrived.  *sigh*  Let’s hope today is the day we get to make a break for it.  *fingers crossed*

On my way to the car last night, I parked across campus in the Weinberg building again since I think that parking facility is the safest.  I noticed this sign at the elevator.  Do you see it?  Meditation room!  Love that, I will need to scope that out the next time I am in Weinberg for an appointment. If the building were closer to where Dan is I would be using that meditation room now. However at the moment I don’t want to be that far away from him.

I have mentioned a few times that Hopkins in huge but I don’t think most of you realize what I mean by that. I snapped a few pictures Friday on my way in give you an idea of the enormity of this place. More people work at Hopkins than many small towns in America it is that large and they have a new state of the art facility opening in April.  When you realize that this place is here and this huge because of the sickness in the world it is a little overwhelming.  While I am glad it is here (for obvious reasons) in my perfect world there wouldn’t be a need for something as huge and state of the art as this.  Expect to see the pictures in my next post.


So….I was at Hopkins again on Thursday.  Seriously I really want to be done with hospitals for a while.  I miss the days when life was getting up going to work, complaining about my commute and not getting enough sleep.  On many levels life was much simpler then.  Of course I also know that the choices we made then have resulted in where we are now.  I really hope that at least a few of you will start to seriously question your lifestyles.  Trust me you don’t want to deal with the stuff that we do, and you can do make changes now that will help you to avoid it.  Don’t say you are too busy (like I would have in the past), just do it.  Please!

Joe and I (the dietitian) had a nice talk about the health benefits of nuts and seeds.  He said that he recommends them all the time to patients who frequently argue with him. They will say “but nuts and seeds are high in fat” while they defend the healthfulness of unhealthy foods.  He doesn’t understand why people believe nuts and seeds are bad but suspects it is due to the “fat free craze” of the 80s and 90s. If you are as old as I am you remember those days too I am sure.  According to Joe, and I agree with him completely, nuts and seeds (unsalted and preferably raw) should be a regular part of your diet.  He cautions that you need to be careful with quantities if you need to lose a few pounds, but that they are a healthy source of fat and are a great replacement for meat and dairy.  I will be talking about this later when I have more time.  Can you tell Joe and I have hit it off?  LOL   Poor Dan I know he feels like he is surrounded now. ;-)

One of the nice surprises about being at Hopkins is that I keep running into people who I used to work with which I haven’t seen in a decade.  It is nice to have some time to chat and get caught up.  People have been very supportive and that is very sweet.  I think all of us tend to downplay our work relationships.  However we all spend a large part of our days working.  If you can make a good friend there do it.  You can never have too many friends in life like I wrote about yesterday. 

I am still a little shocked that I was able to get some work done on both my business and newsletters yesterday.   Clearly I am proving my point that all us need to stop making excuses and just do it, me included.  Any of us can say we are too busy, too tired, not in the mood, or make up some other excuse for why we aren’t doing what we know that we should. But ask yourself are those excuses helping or harming you. I think we all know the answer to that question, don’t we?  Just try to do a few things every day to make progress on your goals.  Remember successful people don’t have anything you aren’t using other than determination.  You can call on your determination too.  J

Last night when I got home I started preparing for Dan to come home.  I know he won’t want me to fuss over him but of course I am going to.  After all it is my job to fuss; it is in the marital contract I am sure.  J  I got some almonds soaking so I can make him a different flavored nut in the dehydrator. I also am starting making a grocery list to make sure that we have fresh veggies on hand for juice.  While the diet at Hopkins has been vegan it isn’t healthy by my standards which I am sure doesn’t surprise you.  I plan to do a lot of fresh vegetable juices, salads and soups for a few days to get him back into balance. When they tested his potassium and found it low I thought “duh” he hasn’t had hardly any vegetables in 4 days is it any wonder.  *scratches head*  I said the same thing when his bowels weren’t moving. He normally gets 60+ grams of fiber per day and in the hospital he is getting less than 20 even with the nuts, seeds and dried fruit I am adding to his trays. No doubt his GI system is wondering where the real food is. Before you ask, yes I did say both these things to the medical staff who were commenting on his potassium and bowels.  People, really!   By the way, I am sure that I am the family member from hell, but that is okay since I see it as my job to take care of my husband.

Our good friend Louis is coming to town from Delaware this evening. We were hoping to get together either Friday or Saturday but planning is not easy now since we don’t know when Dan will be let loose.  Can you tell this whole hospital is getting in the way of our personal life?  LOL  J

Overall my week is really going fine all things considered. I am staying on top of what is going on with Dan, the blog and most of the things I need to do at home. All the tests they are running on Dan have come back with positive (as in good) results.  Now we just need this silly fever to come down and we should be out of here.  Please send happy thoughts our way if you have time we would both really appreciate it. 

Happy thoughts:

I am still on my happy thoughts campaign. Have you started trying to focus on what goes well in your life?  I was surprised how much this impacts my overall attitude each day.  As dark as life can be sometimes we all have things to be happy about no matter where we are and what is going on.

·         I arrived at Hopkins early Thursday and was able to park in the Weinberg garage. This is a bit of a walk to the main hospital but I feel much better knowing that where the car is parked is safer when I am leaving the hospital at 10pm at night. 

·         All the Lab results continue to come back well.  Overall everything is going as well as it could.  Now if we can just get his fever down we should be out of here.  *woo hoo*

·         I managed to get a little rest last night which was good. The fur children have been stuck to me like glue because they are confused by the changes in our routine.  The four of us (me and the 3 cats) all huddled together last night in the bed.  It was good to have them in the bed to keep me company since I am not used to sleeping alone.

·         Today (Friday) we had a very sweet nurse (Lauren) who is nearly vegan.  *woo hoo*  It is wonderful to see people in health care that “get it”.  It turns out she also lives near us and does the same route I do through the neighborhood. We are going to keep an eye out for each other when we are out getting some exercise.  A vegan neighbor, who knew?  I love that I am meeting more vegans in Baltimore this is huge for me.  *happy dance*  It is really nice to not feel so “alone” in this city.  Someone new to share recipes and restaurant suggestions with. Love that!  J

·         We have had a great group of people caring for Dan in the hospital.  We have both been very pleased with the care he is receiving.  As hospital experiences go this one has been less painful than most.

·         Joe (the dietitian) and I had another quick discussion this morning about ALA and the conversion to EPA and how much ALA to get to optimize your levels of EPA.  See I am really always like this all the time; it isn’t something that I just save for the blog. He printed out two articles that I hope to be able to find time to read later today so he and I can chat about them before we leave.  I also brought in my copy of “An Evidence-Based Approach to Dietary Phytochemicals” to share with him which he had not seen before. I think Joe is starting to understand why Dan calls me the nutrition Nazi.  LOL

·         It is another beautiful day outside today. The sky is blue and the sky is practically cloudless today.  I love seeing the sun shining so brightly.  Blue skies seem very optimistic to me though I don’t know why that is. 

·         Even though I am not getting a lot of comments on the January posts the hits are racking up and that thrills me. I hope that means that you are enjoying what I am writing and are sharing the links.

Signing Out:

Things are progressing well at Hopkins and I just heard that if the CAT scan is all clear, which apparently the last thing they can check regarding Dan’s fever then we are out of here!  That news gets both a woo hoo and a happy dance.  You have no idea how much we want to get home.  Please keep your fingers crossed for us.  Hopefully the post tomorrow will be coming to you from the comfort of my favorite chair in the family room like normal. 

I hope you have something fantastic planned for your weekend.  Whatever you decide to do enjoy yourself, enjoy your friends and family and have a wonderful weekend.  Talk with you again tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Happy thoughts and prayers coming your way! I don't comment each time, but I do read your blog every day and you are making a difference in this world. :)


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