Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bearded Circus Ladies, Brain Fog and PNMs

     2012 was a year of health challenges, all with the common denominator of adipose tissue. Was it a metabolic disorder related to menopause?  Or was it just an addiction to coffee and sugar?  Who knows?  Mood swings, food cravings, impatience with mundane activities, and I was growing out of my clothes expanding to the level of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day inflatable!  Far beyond the weight margins that the bearded sword swallowing circus ladies, touting pink sequined, high wired tutus would possess,  I had become the token “fat lady, ” headlining the “Greatest Show On Earth,” my life! 

      It was interesting to see at 220 pounds, (with only myself to blame) how some people would respond to me. They say, "love is blind," and in my case, "weight gain was blind."  I never saw the extra pounds when I looked in the mirror, and truth be told, I think I still saw myself as 100 pounds lighter than I actually was!Well, I was just about to receive a taste of pastrami flavored reality!!

   One day, without an invitation I volunteered myself to give free advice to two men at a deli counter on muscle building activities, and their reaction to me was one of SHOCK!   Didn’t they know I was a college athlete, nutrition, fitness guru and doctor? Didn’t they understand that I had knowledge on many health subjects, and could contribute to their conversation, giving them insightful and helpful guidance?  Instead, they walked away (rather quickly I might add), with disgusted looks on their faces,( almost as if I had caused them to step, new shoes and all,  into an aromatic pile of freshly dropped cow dung) as if to say, “What would SHE know about exercise?  She’s a BLIMP!”  And the sad truth is, that I was, but hadn’t realized it myself.  You see, the heavier I became, the skinnier I thought I looked. (Also at that point in time, I was in denial, and couldn’t bring myself to step on a scale or to explore ownership of a full-length mirror, desperately needed for my own self- reflective discovery.)

  The truth is, I had been so busy helping others as a mother, wife, doctor, etc., that I had neglected my own health.  (Curb Alert: What the sandwich seeking guidance from the deli taught me that day was this: All of the care giving knowledge, experience and advanced degrees in the world mean nothing , if we aren’t actively practicing what we preach.  And just like the reaction I received from the lunch counter in the example above, “How are we going to deliver messages that will inspire others to get well, if we ourselves, as caregivers are obese,or over-medicated, undernourished or overweight? And speaking of being fashionable, where does the practice of wellness neglect, workaholic robotic ridden coffee addiction fit, in a “thin is in,” “stout is out” society???” Yes, this may sound shallow, judgmental and ignorant, but society can sometimes be shallow, judgmental and ignorant!! Some people will not connect with us at all as caregivers if we ourselves look sick. And some people, especially the wheat grass drinkers out there would rather eat a hamburger,  than to trust a GMO potato chip crunching, chain smoking caregiver with their own health.( Yes, this is harsh, and believe me, it struck a chord with me to watch these men walk away from me right in the middle of a conversation, but  I read a study recently that found that close to 35 % of caregivers are not healthy themselves!!! That Stat is astounding!!) The bad news is that stress is killing us, (or at least degrading our health by causing unhealthy habits.)  The good news is that we can band together as caregivers to empower each other to make lasting (maybe even life-saving) changes (which is what this blog is about), that will contribute to the over all health and well-being of our communities.  The bottom line is that people GREATLY depend on caregivers. And we as caregivers cannot possibly be present physically, mentally and emotionally giving our best to others, if we ourselves are drained, burned out, or chronically ill ourselves!

 Now, back to the story.  I would get body work done ( massage, acupuncture, chiropractic ), would eat brown rice and veggies on a daily basis, would pray like crazy, joined Curves (of course), and thought I was watching my weight but just wasn’t able to shake the pounds.  In fact, I would be so focused on my work, that I would go for several hours (unknowingly) without eating enough calories to sustain my health, and would then have a ravenous appetite, ready and willing to consume the entire contents of my kitchen in one sitting! (I’m exaggerating quite a bit to prove a point. I have never been a binge eater, but will confess to eating Italian leftovers!) However, the intense  hunger pangs I would quench after starving myself by not taking the time to eat, all day long, would happen around 2 AM.  Horrible habits indeed from someone who knew better, and my physique was bearing witness to these bad eating and sleeping habits. I resembled the woman in the TV ad who leaves the subway train with a giant cinnamon roll glued to her butt! (A strong and visual illustration indeed, of a lifestyle choice harvesting an exaggerated bodily response, but nonetheless,  bearing the truth on many levels-(butt included), because the choices we make on a daily basis IE: eating homemade gnocchi at 2AM,  can and do create our present reality!)

    My larger than life appearance led people to believe I was eating all day long but instead, I wasn’t eating the right amount of foods at proper intervals throughout the day, and this habit of not eating enough nutrient dense foods on a regular basis (overfed and undernourished), was throwing off my equilibrium. My dietary schedule was continually sending my body into the express line at the starvation and fat storage discount depot, and when body chemistry is thrown off due to a lack of nutrients and empty calories, it not only leads to obesity, but can also lead to deadly consequences like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. So, as you can see, I was creating challenges for myself, which if left undone, could have led to my demise, all because of poorly planned and executed life-style choices.

      Now, here comes the important part of what I am sharing with you today: As caregivers, many of us whether we are health professionals, teachers, parents, therapists, ministers, etc. All of us are educated people and know WHAT to do to be successful on a wellness program. And what works for your neighbor,   may work for you, because science works!!!  HOWEVER, (and here is the ZINGER), THE KEY TO ANY SUCCESSFUL TRANSFORMATIVE PROGRAM IS PERSONAL MOTIVATION! This is true, it is personal motivation, and  PM is the missing link that is the key to finding success in EVERY program out there. People always know what to do, they just have to know how (not WHAT, but HOW) to make it relevant to THEMSELVES! Finding relevance in their own personal situation. The carrot before the horse.

   Those of us struggling with our weight are “shoulded” to death with the “whats.”  People are shoulding all over us putting guilt trips on us throwing the WHAT TO DO’s or SHOULDS in our faces! And who wants to step in a pile of “should” other than the guys at the deli eating pastrami sandwiches???? LOL!!   (IE: We SHOULD eat right, we SHOULD get enough sleep, we SHOULD drink plenty of water, we SHOULD, we SHOULD we SHOULD. . . . . etc. “And this is WHAT you SHOULD do!” How many times have overweight people heard THAT one?)

   However, (and here is part two of the most important part of what I would like to share with you today), only a few of us have ever found our ” personal nugget of motivation.” PNM’s are what creates the relevance needed to create our daily action steps that will catapult us into successful results beyond our wildest dreams!! Once I found my nugget of motivation and created my plan using highly researched nutritional tools, and knowledge based physiology there was NO STOPPING ME. And it is far from over for me.  I am still very much a work in progress.  I have lost 60, but have 30 more to lose, while having fun getting healthy without brain fog, without high cholesterol, without high blood sugar and without cravings and 2AM garlic laden meatball feedings!!  And, my sincere motivation for sharing this information, is to save lives because caregivers save lives every day, but caregivers are also becoming obese, burned out and the victims of poverty and disease!! This is true. Many caregivers are underpaid, or not paid at all. Or others, like myself have had a history of not taking care of their own health as well as they have taken care of others! So caregivers need to stick together to help each other out, because the world needs us to be healthy. And more importantly, the people who depend on us, need us to be healthy!!   I am writing this blog to help you to find your own “personal nugget of motivation,” because once found, you can accomplish anything. (We will get into the details of how to do this in a later blog.) I truly believe that if I can turn my health around, SO CAN YOU!!!!!!  (OH. . . . Wait a minute!  This isn’t the end, yet!)

     So, as the story goes. . . . . . back in 2012, after finding my PNM,   I bit the bullet by getting a physical, and my vital signs were just shameful. My blood pressure was high, my total cholesterol was high, glucose levels were high, liver enzymes were off, hormones were on another planet somewhere  taking  roller coaster rides in La La land, and I had Gout, making my toe feel like it was in labor having twins! But wait, we can’t forget the brain fog.  I would go into one room, forgetting what I went in the room to get in the first place, losing my keys, glasses,  shoes , cellphone  and even my bra a few times, only to experience  the same repetitive adventure of losing EVERYTHING again, on the next day, and the next, etc.  This lack of concentration was so bad at one point in time, that I considered an early retirement, and almost got my nose pierced (a sign that I had really lost it.)  Then it happened, all hell broke loose in a matter of minutes, right before my eyes right out there on the highway at the stoplight in front of Best Buy!!
(To be continued on 9/12/2014)

Copyright 2014 Caregivers Get Fit! Mama  Nicey

The information in this blog is information. It is not meant to be a replacement for getting medical advice from your own health professional regarding your own individual health challenge or condition. Dr. Denise will not diagnose, treat, or give direct personal consultations/advice to you on this blog for any medical condition, but will give general examples, and scientific research on many different health topics.  How you decide to use the information is between you and your own medical/ health professional.

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