Archive for the ‘SELF’ Category

I had an Eating Disorder, then I Received a Rose

It’s 2015 and I am 30 years old. I am 5’ 8’’ wearing shoes and I weigh 131 lbs. I am a size 2 at Banana Republic and a size 6 at Lululemon. In 2004, I was 18 going on 19 years old. My height was the same as today. I weighed as little as 110 lbs and tested at 9.9% body fat. I was a size 0 or extra small—a size 6 would have been extremely baggy. I was entering my first season as a Division I collegiate soccer player and I had an eating disorder.

Why it started?

It began with a speech from a high school track coach discussing leaning up for endurance sports. I internalized this talk as “time to cut out the fat from my diet.”  Skipping my favorite ice cream in the world, Greaters, turned into eliminating oils, fatty meats, peanut butter and cheese from my diet. At that point,I thought dietary fat would literally make me fat and anything containing what I considered too much fat would give me anxiety. Not too many people knew what was going on until I started dropping the weight.

My parents saw me at my first pre-season soccer game and took me home, ASAP. My heart rate lying down was 47 and 60 seconds later I stood up and my heart rate jumped to 88. According to my doctor, my heart had atrophied (my heart had to work too hard just standing) and I was officially told to stop playing soccer until I could get up to 120 lbs. I was frail, weak and completely unhealthy. I was losing my hair and I was always freezing. My energy levels went up and down. I started seeing two different Dietitians and I had weekly weigh-ins with a doctor on campus. I would drink 2 bottles of water before weigh-ins because I knew I hadn’t done what I was told to do. I knew I didn’t look good, but I wasn’t mentally strong enough to comply with what was necessary for my health. Of course I was seeing a counselor on a regular basis, but something wasn’t clicking. I felt completely out of control, yet I still controlled everything.

How I gained back control.

My teammates were amazing. They kept me strong and full of hope. They invited me to church and I went. They invited me to Athletes in Action, a campus ministry targeting collegiate athletes, and I joined them.  At this point in my life, any genuine support felt amazing. Later on in the school year, I signed up for a summer camp conducted by Athletes in Action that would change my life forever. One of the seminars was a female-only seminar. I walked into the room and everyone received a red rose with the same bible verse, “Let the King be enthralled by your beauty; Honor Him for He is your Lord.” Psalm 45:11.

Boom. This struck a chord with me. It felt like a stack of bricks being lifted off my chest and I finally had a taste of what recovery could feel like—a feeling of freedom with the loss of shame and guilt. I learned a lot in the seminar and since then I have slowly grown to better understand and appreciate that verse. I had to give it all to God and lay down my struggles. I was able to replace my eating disorder with a passion for nutrition and helping those that battle with their weight.

Guess what I continue to learn….no one… I mean NO ONE should define themselves by their weight.

No one is defined by their sport. No one is defined by being a regionals contender or being the best athlete in the gym. No one is defined by an idealistic family of two kids, a perfect house and perfect job. It goes much deeper than that and it comes from a place much higher yet 100% by your side when you don’t even realize it. The rose was more than a rose. It was a symbol that I was enough. It was a symbol of God’s perfect love.

During the holidays, it’s easy to get wrapped up into what the next year will bring.  New Year’s resolutions are made and we often strive for something that is either unrealistic or we hope for something within an unrealistic time frame. Instead of figuring out how much weight you want to lose in January or how much you want to squat by March, ask yourself what defines you and how will you let that flow through your life. I realize this is a very open and honest blog post, but I felt it was necessary during this time of the year. Tis the season for lots of roses.

Small Red Rose1 300x224 I had an Eating Disorder, then I Received a Rose

 

5 Facts about Heart Disease

With February being National Heart Month, this is the perfect time to commit to taking better care of ourselves. Here are 5 facts you should know about heart disease and disease prevention.

1. Heart disease and strokes are not just disease of the elderly.

Most of you probably know that  cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death in both men and women in the U.S., with heart disease and stroke being the 2 top killers, representing 1/3 of all deaths. But what might surprise you is that more than 200,000 of those deaths per year could be prevented and that 60% of those preventable deaths occur in people under the age of 65.  While there is an impression that CVDs and stroke are diseases that affect only the elderly, the reality is that those diseases are taking the lives and affecting the quality of life of relatively young adults.

Music Cardio1 5 Facts about Heart Disease

2. Thousands of lives could be saved if people recognized the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke and were treated promptly.

The classic “movie heart attack” shows a man clutching  his chest in pain and dropping on the floor, leaving little doubt that he is having a heart attack. And while that does happen in some heart attacks, in most cases the symptoms are not that clear and they are often different for men and women.

Symptoms in Men -

  • Chest pain, tightness, pressure or discomfort
  • Pain or discomfort in the neck, jaw, back, shoulders or arms
  • Feeling weak, light headedness, or faint
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms in Women –

  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual weakness
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Cold sweats
  • Anxiety

If you think you may be having a heart attack or think you may be witnessing one, act fast and call 911 immediately. There are medications available, the so-called  “clot busters”; if administered with within the appropriate time frame, they can minimize, if not prevent serious damage.

Those same medications are effective for strokes as well. If they are administered within 3 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms, there is a 75% better chance of having no significant disability 3 – 6 months after the stroke. Think of the acronym FAST to spot a stroke:

F- Face drooping

A- Arm weakness

S- Speech difficulty

T- Time to call 911

To help you spot a stroke using FAST, watch this video from Lafayette General Hospital.

3. You can reduce the risk of heart attacks by 80% following 4 healthy habits. Even small changes in these behaviors translate in significant risk reduction.

  • Regular physical activity. Moving  from being inactive to moderately active ( for example, walking 30 minutes a day 5 days a week) lowers  the risk by 50%.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. For those who are overweight or obese, losing as little as 3% of their body weight (200 lb person loses 6 lbs) results in “clinically meaningful” risk reduction.
  • Following a healthy diet. Women in the Nurses’ Health Study who consumed 3 half-cup servings of mixed blueberries and strawberries lowered their risk of a heart attack by 34%.
  • Not Smoking. Within 20 minutes of quitting, heart rate and blood pressure drop  to normal levels; within 2 weeks, circulation improves and within 1 year, the risk of dying from heart disease drops by 50%.

no smoking sign1 300x300 5 Facts about Heart Disease

4. It is never too late to get benefits from improving your health habits.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found men and women aged 45 – 64 who changed their lifestyle to meet recommendations regarding the  behaviors mentioned above, lowered their risk of a heart attack by 1/3. Lead author Dr. Dana King commented, “We want to emphasize that it is not too late to change, and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle don’t accrue only to those who have been doing it all along, but you can make changes in your 50’s and 60’s and have a healthier, longer life because of it.”  Dr. David Katz, Director of the Prevention Research Center at the Yale University School of Medicine also commented saying,

“healthy living is the most powerful medicine of all. It requires no prescription, and all of its side effects are beneficial. It can be tough at times getting there from here, but it’s well worth it and ANYTIME is a good time to start.”

5. Sex is good for your heart. (Maybe I should have put this one first.)

A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that compared to men who reported having sex 2-3 times a week, men having sex once a month or less often had almost a 50% increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

I know what most of you women are thinking, this was obviously a study designed and conducted by men. But at least one of the  researchers was a woman, Dr Susan A. Hall, and she commented,

“our results suggest that low frequency of sexual activity predicts cardiovascular disease.”

The bottom line is that the heart is the most important, hardest working muscle in the body and when it stops working so do we. Why not commit to take at least one step to improve your heart health? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure which step most men will be willing to take first.

 

Indigo Spa InSPArational Speaker: Michelle Poitier

“We need advocates when we can’t connect to our own inner strength.” – Michelle Poitier

Hilton Head Health’s Indigo Spa InSPArational Speaker for February, Michelle Poitier​, shared a snippet of her life’s journey during her lecture, “The Power of You”.  She spoke openly and personally about: how she’s a “surviror”; why and how she became an advocate for  survivors of domestic & sexual abuse and homelessness among female veterans, and those battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); and more.

MPoitier1 e1424441439441 281x300 Indigo Spa InSPArational Speaker: Michelle Poitier

 

“What’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.” – No Barriers Warriors

 

Her journey and what she’s learned along the way is truly inspiring.  Her “The Power of You” Lecture was filled with empowering words, endearing life experiences and so much more. Below we’ve shared a brief interview following her lecture where Michelle shared a little about herself and how she was able to connect her journey to Hilton Head Health Guests’ journeys.

 

Explain who you are and what do you do?

Why is it important?

How were you able to connect with Hilton Head Health Guests?

 

10 Tips to Fight Fatigue

sleep deprived1 e1424283775175 10 Tips to Fight Fatigue

If you’re anything like me, that extra cup of coffee just isn’t doing the trick these days. The effort it takes getting out of bed in the morning feels like the same effort needed to run a marathon. Mustering motivation to get to the gym is like trying to get water from a dry well.  Winter fatigue has kicked in and the cold weather has us weary. Our physical and psychological energy seems dried up. Of course fatigue is not limited to the winter months but, boy oh boy, February seems never-ending.  So how can we put vitality back in our lives and a spring in our step? Here are a few healthy tricks for fighting fatigue:

  1. Hydrate: Fatigue can be a sign of dehydration. Your body needs lots of water to perform well so ramp up your water intake.
  2. Nap: It goes without saying that a good night’s rest is essential when fighting fatigue. However, a short 20-30 minute nap is also a great energy booster. Napping can be the perfect reset button for both mental and physical fatigue.
  3. Move: Limit the time you sit down. Sedentary behavior, like sitting at your desk or watching television, helps to promote fatigue.
  4. Move More: Research shows that a moderate, consistent workout just three days a week can provide a significant increase in energy.
  5. Laugh:Studies have found that 15 minutes of laughing has the same physiological effect of two hours of sleep. So hit a local comedy club, rent a funny movie or watch silly YouTube videos.
  6. Massage: Fatigue can be a result of chronic stress and worry. Massage simultaneously increases circulation and relaxes the central nervous system. Thus, it gets your blood circulating and reduces stress. (Try the Indigo Spa at Hilton Head Health).
  7. Oatmeal: Lindsay Martin, RD at Hilton Head Health, recommends having a complex carbohydrate for breakfast, like oatmeal, with a piece of fruit or nuts. Complex carbs offer slower energy release and keep you energized longer.
  8. Tea: Lindsay also suggests using herbal teas to boost your energy.  Find a tea that has a nice punch such as passion fruit or ginger.
  9. Fish:Omega-3 oils, found in many fish, may also boost alertness as well as quicken mental reaction. Studies have shown that eating fish can make people feel more vigorous.
  10. Vacation: There’s nothing like a short vacation for an energy reboot. A warm climate will help you refuel on vitamin D from the sun, heightening both your spirits and your energy.

What works for you to prevent fatigue?

 

The Transformation Continues: The Indigo Spa

There are many personal benefits and rewards that come from working at Hilton Head Health. One that I find particularly valuable is that the job keeps me honest. The old adage, “Do as I say and not as I do,” is not an acceptable standard at H3. In order to help others, I have to walk the walk. As a result, I often recognize the advice I’m giving others as some that I need to be living myself.

Spa TransformationBlog 300x300 The Transformation Continues: The Indigo Spa

Melt into Serenity

Rewind to yesterday when I melted into serenity while receiving an Indigo Moon, French lavender massage at Hilton Head Health’s new Indigo Spa. As I welled-up with joy during this 50-minute physical, mental, emotional and spiritual nurturance, I was reminded of why so many people pilgrimage to Hilton Head Health, and why it was my turn to experience the magic.

H3 is a place where many guests take the first step toward making themselves a priority. They are mothers that have taken care of everyone else but themselves for years; fathers and husbands who have sacrificed their health to achieve career success and provide for their families; adult kids that have been caring for aging parents; and students that have focused all their energy on academic achievement.

“A large percentage of our guests are people who have woken up to realize that somewhere along the line they put their health on hold, or the perpetual demands of life have caused them to abandon their passions.”

The Value of Touch

As I experienced the value of touch, the delight of pleasant fragrances, stillness, and the calming influence of soothing music during my massage, I was reminded that the needs of my career and parenting had benched my own self- nurturance. The Indigo Moon massage was not a luxury, as some would have me believe, it was a needed reset button. Granted, it was a kind reset button – a stressed induced illness could have provided a similar wake-up call.  All the same, it prompted me to slow things down a bit to give my mind, body and spirit much needed love.

Speaking of love, I love the spa’s tagline “The Transformation Continues.”  If transformation refers to the desire for a healthier and happier life, then spa services are the scenic path along that journey. Massage alone has many proven health benefits such as help with anxiety, digestive disorders, headaches and insomnia, just to name a few. Visit the Mayo Clinic for more, in-depth information on the health benefits of massage..

The Tranformation Does Continue

“Indeed, the transformation does continue because doing something nice for yourself creates a healthy mindset that carries over into the remainder of your day.”

It’s impossible to get a massage and then want to go out and wreck your body with unhealthy food or dysfunctional living. A massage is an expression of gratitude towards your body and gratitude for your body is a down-payment on protecting it.

So now that I have re-awakened to the awareness that whole-health includes doing caring things for my body, I am sure that I will make good use of our beautiful new spa (next on the list is the Healing Ocean Escape 80-minute massage and exfoliation). I hope you will join me in doing the same. I promise you will not regret it. The transformation really does continue…

Explore the Hilton Head Health Indigo Spa brochure of services here and take that first step towards your transformation.

 

A Letter to Re-Inspire Your Resolutions

Dearest Alumni, Future Guests and Hilton Head Health Followers,

I have decided to write each and every one of you a personal letter—via H3’s blog.  Not too long ago, I received a photo from a very successful alumnus.  The photo contained bags of clothing she can no longer fit into because they are too baggy. She called it a “moment.”  To this day, she continues to share her moments with me; they are heartfelt and motivating.  Another “moment” was the day she sat in an airplane and was able to fasten her seat belt for the first time in over ten years.  I have a picture of that as well.  Can you imagine the overwhelming joy?  About 5 months after this experience I received another snap shot of her at a New Year’s Eve party…looking confident and beautiful in a stunning black dress.  Her journey is so inspiring and I hope all of you get to hear it someday.

JANS OLD WARDROBE1 A Letter to Re Inspire Your Resolutions

This year, I want to encourage you to savor and appreciate your moments.  Some of you may be seeking these victories and feel like you are at ground zero.  Some of you may be down 10 lbs. since the start of 2015.  Some of you have just returned home from our facility and are experiencing the H3 High.  Soon enough it is going to be mid-March and the New Year’s rush of getting to the gym may have slid and the motivation to continue meal preparation can become a battle.  I want you all to keep after it like the alumnus I shared above.  No excuses and always learning.  She always believed in herself and never let a meal of cheese, wine and bread get in the way of her progress.  She has developed a wonderful relationship with food and she doesn’t let 12 hour workdays get in the way of her fitness.  Get this: she continues to make new goals and set out for something “bigger.”

Take pictures, write in a journal, cook your own food with healthy ingredients, find fitness routines you enjoy, purchase new clothes, buy new shoes, share your success, tell yourself you have what it takes, believe in yourself.

 

My absolutely best,

Lindsay

 

 

3 Unconventional Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s 2015! And as always, the New Year means New Year’s Resolutions. At the top of the year, everyone is excited and revved up to make life changes and become a healthier, better or stronger person in one way or another. But how long does this ‘excited phase’ last before your resolutions are long forgotten and you’re back to your old habits? Do something different this year! Try these 3 unconventional tips to help you follow through with your goals.

Resolution Calendar pic 300x300 3 Unconventional Ways to Keep Your New Years Resolutions

1. Focus on what will make you happier.

In order for you to get the best possible results from your resolution, you need to focus on the right type of positive change. Think outside of the box. Figure out the answer to this question: “What could I do to be happier?” Once you know what would make you happier (becoming more active, drinking more water, eating more healthy), begin listing the steps you’ll need to take to change that resolution into a reality.

2.  Create a “To-Don’t” list.

As you think about your “to-do” list for the New Year, remember what you don’t want for the New Year. This helps you make your goals more realistic and more attainable. For example, your to-do’s might be: you do want to lose 15 pounds and you do want to have more time with your family and children. But, you don’t want either activity to interfere with the other. Once you make your lists, you can create solutions for the don’t list. In this case, you may want to create a schedule that incorporates more family time and designates your workout time. This keeps you accountable and helps make your resolutions more concrete.

3.  Put yourself in charge.

You have control over your resolutions. No one else does. Others can give you advise and support you, but no one else can make your resolutions come to life for you. Take responsibility for your life and the changes you want to make. With this type of attitude, you are more prone to stick with your plans and realize how much power you truly hold.

Now that you have some guidelines, start revamping your 2015 goals for the “New Year, New You” Contest presented by Hilton Head Health and Yummie by Heather Thomson. Your New Year’s goals could win you a 3-Day, all inclusive stay at Hilton Head Health and the chance to meet Heather Thomson. See full contest details here.

 

Bermuda Triangle of Food Holidays

Now that the triad of food-centered holidays is surrounding us, it can be difficult to follow the healthy routines we’ve created for ourselves to follow. All the leftover Halloween candy along with the pies, turkey and extra calories in the coming weeks are enough to push us into the eye of the storm. But there are subtle ways to overcome these temptations and make it out of the Bermuda Triangle of food holidays without sacrificing all our health and wellness goals.

Surviving the Food Holidays Tips:

  1. Setting Intentions: Before attending any dinner or event decide how you want to feel at the end of the evening. Setting an intention helps enhance healthier decision-making.
  2. Out of Sight Out of Mind: Minimize environmental triggers by socializing away from the food.
  3. Buffet Reconnaissance: Survey all the available food at a buffet-style dinner before picking up your plate. This way you will know exactly what you want before having to walk the gauntlet.
  4. Bring Insurance: If you offer to bring a dish to a party, bring something you know is on your food plan, thus ensuring you have at least one healthy choice.
  5. Check-In: Mid-meal check in with your fullness level. Let your head catch up with your stomach with a 3-5 minute eating interlude.
  6. Feed Your Brain: Your brain is primed for pleasure when it comes to holiday meals. Help your brain reach satiety faster by taking several bites of the part of the meal that you like the most. This is not the time to save the best for last.
  7. Turn Down The Volume: Make a commitment to enjoy your first go-round of yumminess. Decide not to go back for seconds all through the holiday season in order to minimize volume eating.
  8. Wine Warning: Minimize calories and unhealthy choices produced with alcohol consumption by having a non-alcoholic drink spacer between cocktails. Try sparkling water with lime in between each glass of wine.
  9. Be Leftover Savvy: Take or package all your holiday leftovers in single portion containers so that you won’t be tempted to overeat the following day.
  10. Last But Not Least: Holiday meals as special as Thanksgiving come only once a year so savor every bite by focusing on mindful eating. Give the food the reverence it desires. Put your fork down in between bites. Take in the sight and the aroma of the meal before diving in. Reflect on gratitude for the bounty before you.

Happy Holidays!

 

How to Progress into a Pull-Up

Here at Hilton Head Health, fitness is more than just weight loss. Fitness is about building physical and mental strength. Fitness is about discovering a better you. Fitness is a way to show yourself  “I can.” What better way to show yourself  “I can” than building the strength, stamina, and dedication to complete a pull up?

Progressing to a pull-up varies from person to person depending on body-type and current fitness level. Having said that, the muscles used in a pull-up are the exact same for everybody; Latissimus Dorsi and Biceps being key. A great place to start with this progression are these three exercises below:

Bent Over Row:

The bent over row teaches you to keep proper spinal alignment. It also strengthens the Biceps, Lats, and other upper back muscles.

Lat Pull Down:

This exercise very closely mimics the movement of the shoulder joint in a body weight pull up.

Body Row on TRX:

This row begins to train your body to control itself while working the shoulder joint. This is important for making your nervous system smarter and creating synergy in all the muscles in your body .

There are always more exercises that can be done to build up to and improve the pull-up, but this is a great place to start.

 

I’m Tired of Fitness Models Trying to Motivate Me!

InsidePhoto 300x242 I’m Tired of Fitness Models Trying to Motivate Me!

I’ve made peace with the ubiquitous, stork-like representations of women that seemingly glow with flawlessness. Despite attempts for normalcy like the Dove Real Beauty Campaign, I still don’t see images in magazines or on billboards that look remotely like me. Somehow, I’ve acquired a discreet acceptance with this strange injustice. I know my acquiescence may sound like giving up or turning a blind eye, but really, it’s more about where I want to focus my energy. Instead of fighting an obstinate fashion community, I’d rather help women tap into gratitude for their unique, loyal body.

Recently however, my truce with the media has been threatened. It’s difficult enough being inundated with images of unblemished waifs, but now a new unsavory trend has emerged. Glistening fitness models with full chests and six-packs are being used to sell the idea of wellness and health, and serve as fitness motivation.

The unfairness of this practice gets my dander up for a myriad of reasons. Instead of motivating women to workout, images of fitness perfection can leave women feeling that their present workout regimen is inadequate. Comparing yourself to others is an unfortunate reflex. It’s like scratching a bug bite. We try not to do it but we just can’t help ourselves. Unfortunately, this seemingly innocuous habit can put our much cherished motivation in peril. When engaging in comparisons, it’s usually our exercise efforts that take the hardest blow. Images like the one above feel like the first punch.

For most, becoming as fit as the models portrayed in these pithy little fitness motivation photos is just as unobtainable as having the 5’11”, 117-pound perfect body of a supermodel. Yet, their message implies that with enough willpower and determination you can achieve it. They want me to believe that they represent the image of fitness and that my power-walk just isn’t going to cut it.

To all of my Hilton Head Health buddies, help me fight back! Let’s show the world what real bodies look like getting fit. Not the before and after, just the “I’m exercising now and feel good doing it” photo. Whether it be a picture of you at H3 during one of our programs, excursions and activities, or just getting fit at home, we’d love for you to share! Add your motivational one-liner if you want. Share this blog and post your photo in the comments. Let’s show the world what real fitness and motivation looks like! Be your own fitness motivation model!EndPhoto 300x225 I’m Tired of Fitness Models Trying to Motivate Me!

 

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