Category Archives: health

Donating Blood

recrossI forgot to blog about my experience with donating blood. In fact, I mentioned only in passing before, so I wanted to share more details on this.

My sister Robin donates regularly. She’s given gallons of blood, and although I can never hope to exceed her achievements, I intend in following in her footsteps and do what I can. She inspired me to start donating in the first place.

The first step is signing up and scheduling a donation. Go to Red cross.org and enter your zip code to find a local donation center. You will see a list of donation centers with dates and times to choose from.

donate bloodSelect a donation center then selection the time you wish to donate. You will notice that generally its blood, but you can also select to donate Double Red Cell. This takes longer and counts as 2 pints of blood, and not everyone can donate. I was told I had to be at least 5’5” and 150 lbs. I barely reached the requirements.

Once you make your choice, you will be prompted to confirm your appointment. You can get reminders sent to your phone if you need it. You will also get an email to confirm and instructions to follow at your appointment.

Once there, they will ask you some questions. You should also go through a questionnaire via the Internet before this and that speeds up the process.

The Donation Process– This shows you how the process works. And remember, you get cookies/crackers for free afterwards. The link also provides some tips before you donate such as hydrating before you go.

Currently, the Red cross is giving $5 Amazon Gift Cards to those who donate.

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Stepp’n up walking and diet

160 simI wanted to share my experiences for this month in exercise and diet, but this post if the things I use to help me along the way.

The reason I need to lose weight is a concern to get Diabetes. I’m already pre-diabetic. I also feel like a slug, with no energy, so very much out of shape, and want to increase my metabolism by winter so I can feel warm.

Here are my tools:

Fitbit Flex Tracker. I got this when I upgraded my phone last year, and the Fitbit was free. It’s a pedometer but has some nifty things to help with other things.

Currently, I’m working on 5,000 steps a day and hopefully will reach 10,000 by the end of the month.

Fitbit Charge This model of Fitbit includes a heart rate monitor.

Alarms– I can set alarms that buzz my wrist through the day or night. I can have it wake me, or set as a reminder, and can have a number of alarms through the day. Even alarms to remind me to walk.

fitbitFitbit App for iPhone– The Fitbit can be used with the computer only, but the app adds some additional features I enjoy. It tracks 250 steps you should be walking each hour of your waking day.

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Scans food and adds to your daily tracking. Just scan the barcode with your iPhone and it adds the calories and serving size to your tracking.

Other smart phones can also provide this feature such as myfitnesspal.com.

Weight Scale. I do not weigh myself every day. I might weigh through the week, but the pounds only count on Fridays. The human body can change weight due to water weight gain, and I also recognize that gaining muscle will also add to the scale while you’re losing fat.

Weight measure tape. I measure weekly, on Fridays, to see if there are changes. I’ve seen no change on the weight scale but found inches drop off.

Eating six times a day. I eat smaller three meals, each including fruit/veggies, lean protein, and complex carb. I allow for three snacks, but eat mostly veggies, fruit, or the occasional piece of deli meat like turkey or ham.

Lots of water. I drink more water, sometimes tea, and only 1-2 cups of coffee in the mornings. Water comes first, and hydrate through the day.

My first week of September? I lost three pounds, probably water, but feel better.

September Adventures

September is filled with goals. I felt if I shared them, readers can hold me to them. More importantly, join or support me in my endeavors. So here goes;

160 simLose weight. Being an old woman, this proves more difficult than before, and it wasn’t easy in my younger days. This means a contending a lower metabolism with exercise (walking) and watching what I eat. This goals also means to get myself in shape, get more muscle.

I want to fit in my old clothes but also have a higher metabolism so I can feel warmer in the winter months. Being a slug lends to being very cold all the time.

sugar freeNo sugar. Yep, you read that correctly- NO SUGAR for the month of September. I’m even avoiding sugar substitutes and processed foods. Veggies, fruit, lean protein, and mostly water and tea rather than soda. I drink Sugar Free Hazelnut creamer with my coffee in the mornings, but that’s pretty much it.

My hope is that cutting out sugar will get me more energy, I’ll be healthier, and my brain will work with more clarity…hopefully.

Purple Crocus Pen Rubber Grip Pen Write and publish regularly. I want to focus on fiction, but I have a few non-fiction projects ‘in the works’. Between short stories, a novel, and non-fiction eBooks,  I hope to earn more income.

I have a number of books published on Amazon.

amazon

duolingoLearn conversational Spanish as well as some German. I focus more on Spanish, but German is fun to speak with all the visceral pronunciation. I would like to have a basic conversation in Spanish, perhaps even understanding reading or watching Spanish TV. I’m using Duolingo.com which provides free language lessons via their site and smart phone apps.

Offer new services on my web sites. My writer’s site will have Book Cover Design and editing services, while my pagan site will have ecourses, workshops, and ebooks. I hope to have this all done and up by the end of the month.

Minor goals include:

  • Drink more water (no or only a little soda)
  • Practice Morning Pages (I’ll blog about this soon)

I’ll post regularly on my goals. So with perseverance, the end of this month, I’ll be slimmer, fitter, published, working more, speaking Spanish, and finding more things to achieve.

 

 

Diet, exercise e-motivations

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This is a Fitbit Flex wristband I’ve been trying out for the past few weeks. Wow. Its been quite enlightening on my activity.

Fitbit Flex monitors your steps, and even your sleep if you remember to tap the band before you lie down. I don’t bother because I know it monitors movement, and I know I can have issues with insomnia and not move because I have a dog that sleeps with me, and I don’t want to disturb her.

The band is waterproof and sweat proof. Parts include the rubbery band with a tiny monitor you have to periodically recharge via the included USB cord.  Charges last for almost a week.

You connect with Fitbit.com to check your progress, add foods you’ve eaten, and there’s also an area to compare yourself with the average (if you pay the annual membership fee of $49.99 yr). The other stuff is free.

It works with a number of app, so I’ve chosen to connect my MyFitnessPal.com (free)account and my Striiv (free) account.

028MyFitnessPal has a very cool iPhone app where I can just scan my foods with the code, and it automatically adds it. This also tracks exercise, water intake, and gives some charts on your fat, protein, and carb ratios.

Striiv is a bit different. Unless you’re using a Striiv device, there’s no access to anything through their site. They do, 029however, have a neat iPhone app that tracks walking. It also includes a cute little game where the steps you take earn you coin and energy. The game reminds me of Farmville, but it’s a little village with magical creatures in it. The challenges are fun to do such as ‘reach 500 steps in 10 minutes’.

You don’t need a device, but the device makes it more accurate. There’s also an android version.

My workouts are basic. I visit the gym three times a week to use the treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike (depending on my mood), and then I use weights for 10-15 minutes. I will then walk the dog down along the river.

IMG_1594 (374x500)I walk Pepper on days I don’t go to the gym, and sometimes on days that I do. She loves it, since she can sniff all the smells and explore in the woods. 

Diet is just calorie counting, although this time I do focus on less carbs, more lean protein, and low fat. I try to stick to 1200-1300 calories a day. If I go over a bit, no biggie.

Coping versus wallowing

SHAR9Just look at that face. It doesn’t look like someone who had such severe depressions she nearly killed herself in her twenties, does it?
Last year, I ended my two year relationship with my therapist for depression. I felt good about it, despite being ‘cast adrift…on my own’, and I miss my therapist because she was such a positive element in my life. But I was better. It was time to move on-
I felt I’d share a few of the realizations that helped me get there, but you must also understand the reasons behind my depression;
I accept that my depression was not a ‘chemical imbalance’ but the fear, doubt, and low self worth I carried with me all the time. I accepted that I will never be 100% free of depression. It’s because I’m human, and part of being human is feeing bad such as anger, fear, and sadness.
I still deal with low self-worth from time to time, but I remind myself that I do accomplish things, am loved, and work towards a better tomorrow.
I learned the words spoken to me by my parents (and other people important in my life) became my inner voice, and that often said I couldn’t do that (for whatever reason), and I wasn’t good enough.
This was a huge revelation, because I realized that my negative thinking was trained into me. But I also found, I can change that voice, switch to something more positive.
I realized I wallowed instead of taking action. I let myself go into deeper depression, gave into ‘circular thinking’ rather than focusing on solving the problem.
With story writing we learn that its not the SOLUTION to the conflict that ends a book, but the RESOLUTION. Sometimes the character succeeds, but sometimes find a way to accept things they cannot change, or they find another solution altogether.
I would get paralyzed to doing action because if I screwed up, I had so many people pointing that out to me.
Since embracing the fact that I am a klutz, not too coordinated, and have issues with ‘attention to detail’, I find mistakes not so much daunting or defining on me as a person. I recognize that I need to make mistakes more because I’m still in the process of undoing all that doubt. I need to screw up, so I can be comfortable, even confident in trying new things.


And here are some things that helped me:
I accept I will fall apart now and then, that’s okay. I am allowed a bad day or week. Its when it lengthened into months or even years you should seek help. But being sad now and then is part of what makes us human.
I’m allowed to make mistakes. That mistakes are essential to reaching goals, because it shows you if you’re doing it wrong, and to change the course of action. I seem to make than the average, but if that’s my learning process, so be it.
I focus on the positive rather the negative. You might think “oh that’s so Pollyanna’, but it really does work. You still gain benefits from synthesized happiness. And if you think happy thoughts are not ‘in reality’, what makes you think your negative thoughts are reality?
I remove stresses and triggers that might put me into a depression. I recently stepped down as organizer of a business meetup group because I realized I have a full plate of responsibilities and taking that on would only stress me out.
I also keep people who love drama, or wallow, or stress me out at a distance. Some, I cut out of my life. I cannot express how much better my life is for doing that.
I surround myself with positive people. I have two wonderful groups of people I organize that have people who share positive thinking. The writers group offers feedback and encouragement, while the Wiccan group offers a spiritual side to grow and learn.
You may not have a group of people, but I think its important to have people in your life that will hold you up, not bring you down. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of broken people who work from such weaknesses as jealousy, anger, fear, doubt, etc, and they tend to drain rather than inspire, but you must also understand to also offer the best parts of yourself in relationships.
This is why I try my best to not share negative stuff to friends or even family any more. I don’t want to wallow, or drag them down, but to inspire, make them laugh, and feel good about themselves. I might mention something now and then, but I find my overall outlook on life is for the better by not giving energy to the negative stuff.
Being a gamer, I think, also helps. Consider problems as a quest or mission, and you have to figure out how to solve it to level up. Winking smile

Clutter and repairing the dog bed

Home

Yesterday, I worked on cleaning and organizing the upstairs. I’m still not done, but its been cathartic and energizing to get things in order.

Considering I still have this stupid cold, I’m amazed I have the energy, but I figure the sweating and exertion helps work the cold out- at least, I hope so.

IMG_3117One tip I can share is that I snap photos with my iPhone of the places I want to organize and clean. I also take measurements of dimensions so when I find a basket or bin to buy, I can get the proper size. And its all stored on the phone.

Take for instance, the photo of the top of my washer; The stuff is okay, I guess, but I don’t like seeing all the cleaners. I want to get a box to store everything in, or maybe get shelves higher up on the wall.

IMG_3105You won’t find Narnia in this closet. I promised myself that if I don’t lose 5 lbs this month, the ‘skinny clothes’ will be removed. That way I get incentive to lose weight, and if I don’t, then I clean out the closet and have more room.

Take note of the three pairs of black shoes. What the heck was I thinking? I’ll get rid of two pairs, because I don’t need three pairs of the same color and I refuse to wear heels any more.

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This is our dog’s bed. Note how flat and yucky it is? So I take a photo to remind me that I need to fix it. I’ll rip the seam, remove the innards, wash the outside, and stuff it with the two pillow stuffings you see in the upper left corner. Pepper will get a fresh, clean, re-stuffed bed to sleep on.

MantisDavid found a Praying Mantis in the root cellar (he’s organizing stuff in his areas, too), and so I brought it out to the grape arbor to find bugs there. It feels like good luck when I find a mantis around the house. Its lucky for the yard, anyway. Maybe it can eat the Stinkbugs that keep showing up.

Its official- I’m not crazy

4600_108730196188_404209_nSo, it’s official; The depressoin therapy is done. I talked to my therapist today on the phone and we discussed my progress and ending the session. We both feel I’m ready.

When I went in for Major Depression, I told her that  I didn’t want drugs, and I didn’t expect her to ‘fix me’, but that I was looking for coping strategies. I’ve had depression for years, so bad, in fact, I nearly killed myself in my early 20’s. It was just awful; wavering between apathy and severe despair, I realized that I didn’t want to die as much wanting to end this terrible pain I felt.

Then I had this realization- death is permanent, with no ‘take-backs’. There’s no ‘do-overs’, no resets. Death is final. It is a very permenant solution to a temporary problem.

By living, I get to try a number of things to fix it. I manage to crawl up out of the despair,  but depression kept dragging me down. I finally decided to find the coping strategies I needed to deal with it.

I manage to crawl up out of the despair,  but depression kept dragging me down. I finally decided to find the coping strategies I needed to deal with it.

I also recognize that depression, like many emotions, is part of being human, part of the human condition. We get angry, happy, sad, and yes, depressed from time to time, and that can be normal. It’s when depresson screws up day to day living, when it continues for a prolonged length of time, you need to get help.

I had to discover causes of my misery, and to find methods of coping rather than wallowing and whining. It’s not a constant state of being- or it shouldn’t be constant. My way of thinking was toxic, and I needed to learn how to ‘think happy’.

Change is not easy. It takes time, but its worth it in the end. I’m still a work in progress, but I think I’m ready to stop the therapy sessions. It’s nice to know they are there if I need them, but I doubt I’ll need them.

They should, in my humble opinion, give me a certificate or lollipop. Heck, I should get something for achieving this, right? I might treat myself to an ice cream sundae later this week, but for now, I’ll settle on the knowledge that I’m better, I’m improved on my way of coping.