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How to Get Back On Track After An Illness

I cannot believe a week and then some has gone by…

Ok, so first of all, I apologize for not sharing the pictures from Thanksgiving dinner!   There are a few posted on my flickr page you can check out.  After Thanksgiving, life kind of got a little crazy and all of my best laid plans were sidelined.  My 21 month old got sick…then I got sick…then my husband got sick…then my daughter decided to start having sleep problems…

My lovely somewhat structured days became complete mayhem! I was canceling classes, clients, and meetings…no blog posts got done.  I even strayed from my normal healthy eating — but only just a little.

Even in the mayhem, I stopped to think about how this fairly normal thing like sickness got me off track — in many areas of my daily life.

I realized that I’ve been living the high life lately.  I’ve been moving along nice and evenly…almost on auto-pilot. No crazy changes to my schedule. Mila’s behavior was steady and I was able to prioritize each day — including my workouts, my food, buying food, preparing food.  But then, BAM! Mila got sick, then  me…then my husband.

Today I was complaining about all of this — whining really, then it hit me.  I need to follow my own advice.  I realize that I’ve been giving so many people ideas/tips on creating their own healthy lifestyle that I completely forgot about doing what I need to do to keep my own life in order and moving forward.

So, last night I made some plans and took some action to turn things around:

1.  Did a challenging but not super strenuous new Red Carpet Ready workout Valerie Waters released to her membership club.  It focused on posture, but also on some different exercises to isolate the butt & hips.  As a side note to this, I re-watched her current season of Red Carpet Ready TV which is a must see if you want some quick motivation and excellent tips on staying fit & healthy.

2.  Sat down and created a food plan for the week. I did a lot of copy/paste because I probably won’t be creative this week, I just want to stick to it.  I did manage to eat clean throughout my few days of being sick (I ended up eating way less due to my sensitive tummy).  Today, I ate 100% clean. Re-affirming the 25 days of Clean Eating for holidays challenge set in motion by my friend Mary Bess (check out her blog post here!).

3.  I also decided to join my new friend Sheila of Live Well 360’s 25 Days of Self-Appreciation.  For me this is going to be really challenging.  I don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about the things I’m happy about myself.  I’m not sure why that is, but I know that when I do take a moment to reflect on my strengths, my spirit is definitely rejuvinated and I get pumped to get moving again.
Even though it’s after the 1st…this will now take me into the new year!  Join in for a little self-appreciation and see how it can affect your life!

Check out what happened on my Day 1 of the challenge…What gift did I give myself on the first day of Christmas?


4.  As if 2 of these 25 Day Challenges wasn’t enough, I’m also doing a 25 Days of Pilates for Me Challenge.  I am challenging myself to do a pilates workout or focus on challenging pilates exercise for myself each and every day for the next 25 days…and do what my body asks me to!  This is really a way for me to re-ignite my passion for pilates.  Just like everyone else, teaching the same ‘ole exercises, the same ‘ole way gets boring…the best way to amp that up is to do new workouts, breakdown the moves in the workout and then share with others.

5. And guess what I’m going to do this week (in fact I’m starting probably as you read this!) – PLAN & TAKE a little downtime.  I was not taking enough time for myself to just veg out and do nothing! No more email reading late at night or even tweeting. Sorry guys!  I am going to watch Dexter, play World of Warcraft, or maybe just sit and watch the steam rise off a hot cup of tea.

You can see that when I get an itch to plan and create a strategy for my success, I don’t stop at one area of my life.  I like to make sure that multiple parts are covered.  I’ve been kind of surviving on auto pilot for about a month now — not really taking my own advice, reviewing my goals, re-newing my intentions or even taking time to think about what I want out of life.  So, after this past week, this type of “holiday house cleaning” was in order!

I hope you all take the time to do the same — I already feel a little more calm knowing I’ve paid myself some needed attention. If you realize that your workouts, your eating, or maybe even just your own downtime has suffered, take action immediately to get back on track.

Now I’m off to do my pilates for the day.

**One final word…I just realized something cool!  My Challenges fit really well with my whole theme for living these days Mindset, Movement and Clean Eating – well, in broad strokes of course.

See you soon with updates on my 3 December Challenges.

I’m Getting Hungry Already…

I just finished a great Fat Burning workout from Valerie Waters and am definitely feeling like an Action Hero Babe!

Next up, I’m getting ready to head out to the grocery store.  The plan is to pick up my thanksgiving ingredients today in the morning before the mad rush hits later this afternoon!

I promised I’d share with you my Clean Eating Thanksgiving Menu — so here goes…

Keep in mind that I’m only cooking for myself, my husband and my daughter…this seems like a lot of food but the amount I cook will be a little less, so we don’t waste too much but still have enough left for yummy leftovers.

I took most of my recipes and inspiration from The Healthy Irishman and Live Well 360 websites.  I have cooked many of their recipes and am always happy with the results!

Turkey – Doing a Stuffed Turkey breast from The Healthy Irishman

Not sure yet whether I’m doing the Rice & Herb stuffed or the Persimmons/Couscous stuffed…

Basic Stuffing – My husband wants me to just make good ole stove top, so I’ll have to oblige!

Mashed Potatoes – They aren’t a huge trigger for me, but my hubby wants these.  Again, I won’t go overboard, but I do enjoy me some mash taters sometimes.

Green Beans/Almonds – very basic and fresh!

Home-made Cranberry Sauce – also a recipe from The Healthy Irishman and featured on Red Carpet Ready TV a few days ago.

>>doing one other veggie dish – but it’s gonna be a russian one – so maybe a beet salad.

Dessert will be:
Pumpkin Cheesecake from Live Well 360.

Check back for pics of my dinner and a few after dinner surprises!

Back Pain Advice from My Mom!

Many of you with back pain have most likely scoured the internet for ways to relieve your pain, possible reasons for your pain and maybe you’ve found a bunch of solutions you can do right at home. It’s true that while the experts will be able to give the specific diagnosis (usually) for your back issues, often the search for relief continues after you leave the doctor’s office.

In my 3rd Back Pain Article, I wanted to talk to someone who is an expert on back pain. My mom. She is not unlike many of you who suffer day in and day out with some form of real chronic pain. On her recent visit this past week, I sat down and asked her a few questions about what she’s doing to deal with the ongoing saga of her lower back pain.

The Facts:

Degenerative Disc Disease in lower back – near tailbone.
Also has signs of arthritis and spinal stenosis in her back.
Osteoporosis as well in her cervical spine.

What the Doctors Told Her:

Take medications prescribed.
Go To A Specialist.

What the Specialist Said:

Surgery was probably the course to take – this would entail removing bone pressing on nerves.
Take these medications.
Do these exercises/stretches.
Come back in 14 days.
*The experience at this office was less than positive for my mom. She has an appointment with a new person tomorrow. So we’ll see how that goes.

*Keep in mind that this is what my mom chose to do for herself. Nothing in this article is a replacement for seeing your own doctor and getting your own diagnosis.  If you do any of the exercises listed in this article, you do them at your own risk.

The Story in a Nutshell

*It’s very summarized but you’ll get a basic picture of what’s going on:

Last October (ish), my mom fell at work and hurt her elbow. She suffered for more than a full year without seeing a doctor or trying to find out what was wrong. Sitting was painful, laying down was painful, working was painful. Finally, she started a series of tests with her General Doctor and then with a more specialized spine center. This is when they diagnosed her with the conditions I’ve listed above.

My mom decided to try the medications and do the exercises. At the beginning walking wasn’t an option yet — it hurt too much. Now, she’s added that back into her routine. My mom was not interested in doing surgery at all – so decided to find another specialist who could give her more information and additional options for pain management.

Q & A

Instead of having her rehash the last year of pain, I decided to ask her questions that I thought might be important for other people suffering with lower back pain. Even though everyone’s condition is slightly different, it’s always good to know other people’s experience.

Q: What exercises given to you by you physician have been the most beneficial?
A: Cat helps the most, even though I don’t feel coordinated when I do it.

Q: What is your favorite exercise prescribed by the physician?
A: Laying On Back, Stretching Knee to Chest. 1 leg is straight. Bring 1 knee gently in toward chest.

Q: What movements cause you the most pain — even if it happens later as a result of a type of movement?
A: Twisting & Reaching (mostly to above her head, but sometimes will cause pain to twist and reach below her waist) This is even without holding anything – just the act of reaching is uncomfortable.

Q: Since you spends the majority of your day on your feet, what do you do on a typical day to manage your pain and get through it with the least amount of strain?

1. Takes Motrin every 4 hours.
2. Stretches in the morning before work and in the evening after work.
3. Does lower back stretch where you sit in a chair, open legs to side and let hands reach to floor (as often as she can while at work)
4. Takes walks during all breaks during the day
5. Takes her time during the day – paces herself.
6. Tries to not get worked up about random issues at work – the stress of work often makes her back hurt more than reaching/twisting.
7. Pays attention to her body.
8. Limits reaching & picking up things out of her reach

Q: What advice does she have for others dealing with chronic/daily pain?

1. Figure it out for yourself
2. See a doctor but get ready to be a part of your own treatment. Meds don’t always work the way doctors expect and you need to be aware of this. Also, understand the issues with back surgery and that many people continue to have problems after. That said, your condition can also improve after surgery.
3. Find ways to change how you do everyday activities.
4. Drink More Water – try to eat as healthy as possible.

It seems pretty simple, but she has done a lot of experimenting to find the things that work for her. She gave the anti-inflammatory medicines a chance. She even took Prednisone – with side effects that she did not like at all. She was even taking a muscle relaxant called Flexeril for awhile. She didn’t feel any relief from these medications and only suffered side effects.

Looking forward, my mom is seeing a new doctor tomorrow. Hopefully, they will give her some additional options, maybe even suggest some physical therapy to help her do the exercises correctly.

If you have any questions or advice based on your personal experience, please email me directly or comment below!

Also, check out these other recent back pain posts:

Pilates Solutions for Back Pain Review

Pilates for Lower Back Pain ?

Last Word: Take Charge of your health. You have to the push the doctors to help you sometimes. Don’t take no for an answer. Be open to new solutions that don’t involve surgery.

Pain-free Thanksgiving!

Hey everyone! I recently had a review published on about Pilates Solutions for Back Pain. I know that many of you have different conditions from simple strained backs to overstretched or tight muscles.

No matter what your problem, no one wants to be dealing with back or body pain of any kind during the holidays. When I found Lynda Lippins Pilates for Back Pain 30 minute audio class, I immediately wanted to share with as many of my pilates students as possible. Now, I’m passing the information on to you!

Check out my Pilates Solutions for Back Pain review and consider making this part of your holiday workout program.