You may have noticed I have not been keeping up with my blogging. Life has been busy and blogging took a back burner. In September you should see posts increase with some old favorite topics and lots of new ones. I won’t be offering coaching sessions, though. It wasn’t really lucrative and the field is crowded with big companies that offer to coach and have a huge budget to advertise. But, I will still discuss CKD, diet, exercise, and all other health and wellness issues. My traffic has still been decent and I need to upgrade the blog again to monetize it. So, if it looks different than it used to, that is why. Plus, my domain name may have to change as I did not continue the payment for it, which is OK because I am not coaching anymore. So, I will pick a new one.
Thank you to all of my followers, and new readers who have found this blog. I look forward to beginning blogging again, soon. In the meantime, I will share some of my artwork available on Redbubble. Now, you can purchase some authentic Health Buddy Melissa artwork.
Happy New Year! I worked all weekend, per usual, and it was a doozy. I slept so well last night that I am wondering if every day should be a doozy, lol. On Saturday I had a step count of 16,500 steps and Sunday 14,500 steps. That is a lot of steps!
Before I get into what to expect to read about on this blog in 2022, I want to recommend a book to all of my readers. The Obesity Epidemic is all about just what it states. I am not going to go into details, and I have not completed the book as of yet. It is kind of boring in parts, and some of it is kind of redundant, but it really is worth the read. This is not a paid post. I like to share information and products that I truly find worth investigating.
So, if you haven’t guessed I will be moving away from talking about weight loss either through calorie reduction or exercise. I will still discuss food and exercise because they are important just not in a weight loss kind of way. My Walking Buddy plan will always be available because walking is vital to good health. So, what will I talk about? Keep reading to find out.
I will be introducing a new Health Coaching Plan called The Better Me Plan. There are far more things to make better about one’s self than weight loss and fitness. I think the Health industry is totally obsessed with these two things and it is a shame. It will be rolled out this week or next.
I will start uploading the slides, with discussion, from my AKF Kidney Coach class that I have not been able to do in person since Covid started. I will do a new slide each week and people can ask questions, or leave comments. I will try to do a voice over with each slide to be uploaded to Youtube. I am hoping this will work as I think it makes it seem more like a live class if I am speaking and can be heard. These particular posts will most likely occur each Wednesday.
For the month of January I will be discussing retirement, planning for elder years, living wills, etc. If this ends up being a ton of information I will extend it into February. Since I am now taking classes my time for blogging may be pinched, but I don’t think so. My husband and I have a goal for this year to continue to spend down our debt, and be debt free before we retire, and to get all of our important papers in order.
On Foodie Fridays I will be discussing shelf stable foods in relation to having CKD. Eventually I would like to do short videos, but I am not equipped as of yet.
I will add in some other fun content for holidays, bone health, improving balance to prevent falls, funny stuff, and anthing else I find interesting to squeeze in here and there.
If you find any of this interesting be sure and follow this blog so you will get an email update every time I post something new. Always feel free to leave me a spam-free pertinent comment and I will gladly allow it, and respond to it. Share this blog with anyone you think might find benefit in it.
Well, the year is almost over. Another year is gone and a new one is set to begin. How was your 2021?
2021 was a stressful year for me. I had so much family drama, work drama, and just plain society drama. I hate drama. It drains me. That doesn’t mean I don’t deal with it. I am not a stick my head in the sand kind of lady. But, that doesn’t mean I enjoy it. I had good times too, with lots of laughs, and fun. I was able to get back to stage 2 CKD, maintain a 20-pound weight loss for over a year, met some awesome fitness goals, and I have started some new classes to start my profession in a different direction. I have been an LPN for my whole life since I was 17, which is almost 36 years. I love bedside nursing, with a passion. But, I am almost 53 years old and with about 10 more years to retirement my body is tired. Lifting, pulling, pushing, standing on my feet 12 hours a day, and that is just the physical stress of being a nurse. My body is tired, and I had a shoulder injury over the summer that took 7 months to fully heal, and now I have strained a neck muscle in that same arm from pulling on a very heavy patient. I just am not going to continue to do this to my body. So, two weeks ago I started a medical billing and coding certification class. Yes, this will be a desk job which I am not sure I will really enjoy, but I do know it is what I need to do to stay in the health care field. Once I am certified, which I hope won’t take more than 3 months, I will actively search for work in that field. So, things may change here on the blog. They may not, either. Just stay tuned. I also sit on the Board of Directors of a local dog rescue and will become the Secretary in the new year. This is a new adventure for me, as I have never been a secretary of anything, lol. I am learning to write grants for them. My last child will graduate high school in 2022 which means my homeschooling career will end. I am not sure how I feel about that. But, I do know change is good, and it is necessary. I am ready for whatever 2022 brings, I hope, lol! I still will be offering my coaching plans, so be sure and ask about them if you are interested in some Health Coaching.
I think I am going to stick with the monthly topic themes. They keep me on a good blogging path. Also, starting in the new year I will be sharing the slides from the Kidney Coach program that I have not been able to do live since Covid. I will do one to two slides a week. Each slide will have a written explanation with links to the topic with further information. I am an American Kidney Fund Kidney Coach and I have been given permission to do this here on the blog to reach and educate as many people as possible. A lot of these topics I have already discussed on this blog, but not from the AKF program. I hope people will find this helpful. I really would like to do these in video or voice-over form to be uploaded to Youtube. We will see if I can figure that out, lol. I also would like to do some basic cooking videos and how I adapt them to CKD. That probably won’t happen until my husband no longer works from home sometime in 2022. So, for now, you will just have to read about it. One topic that has really intrigued me over the past month is a pantry or shelf-stable cooking. I think this would be near to impossible on a long-term basis for someone with CKD, but I will be doing some food posts about this. I generally avoid these types of foods and feel that is why I have had such good success with improving my kidney function. But, maybe there are some better options.
So, back to the topic at hand. What were my top 10 blog posts for 2021? Be sure and check out the very end where I share the most popular post of all time on this blog. They are not in any particular order.
The number one post on this blog since I wrote the post, is this one about which cheese is best for CKD. It actually should be a top 10, but I didn’t write it in 2021 so I didn’t include it. This tells me that people are searching for info on food and CKD.
That is my year in review! Here’s to 2022 and hopefully no more Covid! I am so over Covid and everything that goes with it. Leave me a comment wishing me a Happy New Year and I will reciprocate.
Hello, and welcome to another Humpday post. If you read here often then you already know a few things about me. One is that I have CKD and get lab work every 6 months, but I have been stage 2 for two cycles now. I had my lab work for both doctors done on Monday. Lipid panel for my GP and a renal panel for my Nephrologist. I have been feeling kind of yucky since I got the Covid booster and was thinking maybe I was slightly anemic. However, I am under a great deal of stress right now with my nursing job. I am thinking that is some of the reasons I am so tired. Anybody who has CKD knows stress is not a good thing. Anyway, I have a plan for that, it just will take some time.
My Lipid Panel has come down significantly. I have been fluctuating quite drastically. Whenever I try to lose more weight, by decreasing carbs, it shoots up super high. Then I modify my diet and increase my fiber intake, and it comes back down. This time was no different. I increased my carb and fiber intake and decreased fat and meat sources, and it came down, though not to normal. So, I still have to tweak my diet some. Statins will kill my kidneys for sure and I do not have any intentions of taking one if I can avoid it. So far my GP has been really good about monitoring the labs and not nagging about a statin. I have no symptoms of any heart disease so that is why she is probably not pressing the issue.
My renal panel I was slightly disappointed, but only slightly. Before January of last year’s first set of labs for 2021, I was hovering around 47-49 with my eGFR. So for 4 years that was my baseline after I recovered from the left kidney failing. I worked very hard in 2020 to lose weight, modify my diet, even more, deal with stress, and manage my CKD. The results were that in 2021 I was able to get my eGFR to 60 and 61, putting me at stage 2 for two cycles, or 12 months. I just had it done Monday, which would count for January 2022 and my eGFR had slipped to 57 and my creatinine was only very slightly above normal. Even though I had hoped it obviously was still above 60 I can live with 57 because that means that is my new baseline, 57-60 which means I still have room to improve. One very important correlation I have noticed is that when my urine Albumin is below normal is when my eGFR improves. Even though my urine Albumin was in the normal range this time, the last two times it was below normal, my eGFR decreased. This tells me having Albumin in my urine, even at normal levels is harmful to kidney function. The way to solve this is to decrease my protein intake, especially from meat sources, and processed foods, back down to 10-15% of my daily intake. I have been talking about this for some time how these foods are detrimental to the kidneys, possibly. I think the correlation is very strong in my case. Over the holiday week, I ate things I would not normally eat, prime rib, donuts, bakery bagels, chocolate, cookies, etc. My fiber intake decreased and my intake of beef and processed foods went up. Now, I am not saying I will never eat these things, but my moderation was not moderate enough. Plus, these foods are high in Phosphorus and Sodium. I think I have narrowed down the correlation between too much Phosphorus intake and how my body responds, my eyesight is worse, and my tastebuds are affected. I do not drink enough either, this time of year because it is not hot and I am not as thirsty. I have to work on this more. These types of foods are also generally void of potassium. I typically eat a lot of potassium. Typically at least a banana or potatoes every day. I have not been doing that for the last two weeks due to trying to follow a lower-carb diet. How do I know when I am not getting enough potassium? I get leg cramps, terrible annoying leg cramps. I had no bananas or potatoes in the house, but I did have mandarins. One of those relieved the leg cramps in a matter of minutes. Learn to know your body signals that something is amiss.
So, all in all, I am pleased with my labs, but I realize it could have been better if I had eaten better, exercised more, drank more water, and dealt with my stress levels better. I am sure my kidney doctor will want to repeat them in 6 months, so there is that.
Please note I am stage 3A to 2, not on dialysis, not a diabetic, controlled blood pressure without medication, take only Vitamin D and Sodium Bicarb. How I eat and manage my CKD may not be what you need. We are all different, however learning to manage your CKD, is vital to your wellbeing. If you would like to learn about how a health coach can help you, please use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email, or you can just email me at email@example.com you can simply click on one of my available plans below to learn more.
Tomorrow, I will share my top posts for 2021, things I will be doing with this blog in 2022, changes to my life I will be making, and so much more for the new year. Be sure to come back and read all about it. If you like this content please like and share to help increase my views and search engine ranking. I will also be discussing topics for monthly posts. Next week I have a super packed week, so I am unsure how much blogging I will get done.
Hello, and welcome back to all of my marvelous readers. Since it is the month of December, it is time for me to reflect on the growth of this blog, and the direction I would like this blog to go in. So, today’s post will have some updates, and a survey that is completely anonymous but will help me to steer my goals and marketing for 2022. This one is just a simple fill-in with your own words type of answer. I will be doing these surveys frequently, at least through the end of January. I already have a good idea of what I am thinking but feedback helps.
If you would please click here and take my survey. It is free and I won’t spam you. It is a Mailchimp survey and it may sign you up for my newsletter, but I am moving away from Mailchimp’s newsletter option. I really don’t care for it and I don’t get the results I want. I think getting more followers here that receive each new post is way more effective. Be sure to sign up to follow this blog and never miss anything I say, lol.
So, as I spend some time reflecting on 2021 I didn’t get my coaching business as ramped up as I would have liked to. A lot of this has to do with marketing, and personal changes in my life that sucked up a lot of time and stress to deal with. I did get some good leads with probable customers, but that is not paying customers. Of course, I would like to have at least one paying customer, lol. I think my prices are very reasonable, and I am flexible, so there are other issues at play. Traditional ways of marketing oneself are not my cup of tea, and I am not a salesman at heart. However, I do think there are some things I can do to help myself out.
Remember, right now I am a Health Coach, with a background in nursing. I work as an Independent Contractor at this time, with me being my only employee.
I need to focus more on creating good coaching plans and advertising those, instead of worrying about just blog content with plans immersed in them. I truly love to teach and if you read here often you know I have homeschooled both of my children to graduation, well the last one is almost done. I need to focus on that more, helping others learn about Health and Wellness and improving it. While I do not have the capability to do big long videos, nor am I sure I want to, I am going to do some voice-over videos for my Kidney Coach slides. AKF gave me the OK to add Kidney Coach items to this blog to reach more people, especially with Covid and social distancing. So be sure and watch for those. Outside of the Kidney Coach voice-overs, I may try to do some short cooking, meal prep, budgeting, goal setting, etc type voice-over videos. Every month I will share a Health Challenge idea. For December it is to do weight lifting 3 days a week. For January, I think I am going to focus on a no-spend budget challenge month. I will announce it soon.
I have already changed the color theme and my logo.
Read 10 interesting things about me.If you or someone you know would like to learn more about my Health Coaching service, please use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email.
I have decided, at this time I do not want to do affiliate marketing, but if businesses reach out to me to request a review I will consider each request. I do not care to promote items, companies, businesses, products, etc without even trying them myself first. That just makes no sense to me.
Hello, and Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. My thoughts are with everyone in the path of Hurricane Ida, this morning, and as it weakens everyone in it’s path. We had just moved to Florida when Hurricane Katrina hit LA 16 years ago, yesterday. I remember watching the devastation on the TV and thinking do I really want to live in these hurricane areas. But, I grew up in upstate NY, and blizzards and very low temps were a real thing there too. So, here we still are. We have actually only had to evacuate one time. We have stayed for Cat 1’s and 2’s, and I have to say those are plenty scary enough, especially with kids, and pets to worry about. Anyway enough of that. Keep them all in your prayers, and if you can help out, please do so.
This is a quick topic, today. If you would like to receive my twice monthly Mailchimp newsletter, please sign up below. I share content that I don’t share here, recipes not shared here on the blog, plus offer coupon deals on my Health Coaching programs. Right now I am offering a deal on my Walking Buddy Plan. Sign up to get the savings code in next week’s email, or I can just send last week’s newsletter after you sign up. Everyone gets my free portable smoothie recipe, that is kidney friendly.
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Yep, today is my 52nd birthday! It was a beautiful day and I finally was able to get in my pool after getting all sweaty and gross with the treadmill, yardwork, and gardening. Then some family fun! We went to my favorite Japanese Steakhouse and I had Filet Mignon. It was 4 ounces of pure perfection. I only eat steak once or twice a year. So I really enjoyed it. It is way too hot to bake a cake, and I didn’t want all that anyways. We picked up some fresh deli chocolate chip cookies, and they were perfect. I may even have some vanilla ice cream later. Dairy is another thing I do not have very often, but I do love ice cream every now and then. If you read here then you know my reasoning for the eating lifestyle I have chosen. It is not body shaming, fat shaming, or any other negative self image. I am on a weight loss journey, but I also am on a fat loss journey, and journey to end CKD.
Since Sunday is the day I typically talk about exercise I thought I would discuss it in relation to age. Keep reading.
All this month, to celebrate my birthday month, I will be talking about fitness after 50. It is perfectly possible to get and stay fit after age 50. Granted there are more things to consider as we age, namely injury, but it is very doable. Most importantly to prevent injury is to warm up properly, cool down properly, and listen to your body. It will tell you if you are over-working it.
If you read here a lot, then you know I had a goal to do a 15 minute mile on the treadmill. I achieved that some time ago, and do it regularly. But, now to increase my endurance I want to do a 10 minute mile on the treadmill. This will mean I will have to jog, or run, I am sure, rather than speed-walk. I tried it this morning. I was speed-walking, but could only get 3/4 of a mile in 10 minutes, though I can not say that is bad. Having goals is good! As long as my heart rate stays in the moderate target zone, I am good. I do go over a bit sometimes when it is really intense, but as long as I can talk and breath, and keep it short lived I am ok with it. My blood pressure has not been effected by it. According to a fitness test I looked at, it was for men, not women, if you can run a mile in less than 7 minutes and 20 seconds, then your fitness age is 25. Wow! So, maybe once I can walk it in 10 minutes I will go for the run. It is really fast, trust me, and intense. I couldn’t find an age fitness test, like the men’s one, but on average a woman age 50-54 would run 1 mile in 13 minutes and 20 seconds. So, any time faster than that would make your fitness age younger.
I do not particularly like exercise, at least not long, boring, intense exercise. I quite enjoy walking, swimming around in my pool, gardening, yardwork, and I love dancing. But, these shorter, more intense workouts get me results in a quick amount of time. I also do not enjoy long weight training routines. Weight training is vital as we age, however. More on that in a future post.
Hello, and happy Memorial Day weekend! I would like to take a moment and thank all of those who serve and protect this great country. I have to work tomorrow so we don’t have any great plans. We had a small family cookout yesterday, and some pool fun today. I was actually able to safely get in the pool now that my shoulder is getting stronger again. Hooray!
So, what about all this talk of change? I am a true believer in self reflection, observing, learning, and then changing if needed. I have had the domain name healthbuddymelissa.coach for a year now. I do not really see any benefit at all to having it. So, change #1 I am probably going to let that expire and this blog will go back to being called healthbuddymelissa.wordpress.com I am good with that. I am keeping the blog name Health Buddy Melissa.
Possible change #2- letting go of my paid gmail account. I have not yet decided on this and I am actually leaning towards keeping it. It is secure and perfect for business purposes.
Change #3- Do I want to keep the premium paid option of WordPress, or just go back to the free version? The only two benefits to the paid version that I have is paid ads, which honestly I have only made a fraction of what I paid for the upgrade, and that I can add a Paypal button. I really don’t need to have that option either, as it is required to have a meet and greet before purchasing anything from me anyways. The only thing I can not find a definite answer to is whether I can still add my mailchimp newsletter signup on the free version, which of course I want. I am just not sure it is worth 96 dollars.
Change #4- I will be moving away from the Health Coaching part of this blog. This means the 30 day coaching plan will become inactive. My available plans page will be revamped and updated. While I still have my Health Coaching certificate it really is not serving me all that well. The market is saturated with Health Coaches as it is. I will be moving more towards my Wellness Certificates in Reiki, Guided Imagery, Herbs, and Essential Oils. I will be creating new graphics and plans all during the month of June. I will also be continuing with my monthly Wellness Challenges, and creating new paid content with updated paid content as well. These are Meals with Melissa, Lose Weight with Melissa, and Crafting with Melissa. These will all be revamped. You will see a newly updated disclaimer as well.
Change #5- Some new topics to target. Since I am still targeting the Middle Ages, 40-65, retirement, brain health, safety, mobility, diet, exercise, making money and relationships will be some of my targeted topics. You can’t be well if you can’t find a job. I will also be doing affiliate links, and possible paid reviews. I used to do these years ago on my Homeschool blog, which I really should get back to. Now that I will have a Senior next year, and then that is it, I can target Homeschool Consulting as a way to share my knowledge. I will only do affiliate links for products I would use myself, and honest reviews of any item I would review. If you would like to join the affiliate link website I joined, click here.
I probably will change the color scheme and logo as well. You will start to see these changes rolling out on June 1. I still have time to decide on the upgrades.
For the month of June I will be doing three different weeks of targeted topics.
June 1-7 will be Hurricane Preparedness. I will be expanding on the one post I did on this topic last year. It will cover a lot of things we did not think of until we actually had to evacuate for one.
June 8-21 This will be my two week Zero Point Food Challenge. You may have seen some people do these and it is based on a zero point food list from Weight Watchers. There will be a small catch, so be sure and follow along. I will share what I eat everyday. You do not have to be a member of my mailing list to see how I do. I will post right here on the blog.
June 22-30 This will be all about Brain Health.
So, June is going to be a very busy month with a lot going on here on the blog.
I would love to have you join my mailing list. Each week I share content not shared here on the blog and right now you still get a smoothie recipe for free.
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As promised I have decided on my first freebie for 2021. These will repeat each month, with a different theme or topic, and limitations. Be sure to read the whole post if you are interested.
March is National Kidney Month. I have decided for March to give away 25 free coaching sessions based on the topic of Healthy Kidneys. You can only receive one free coaching session, and the session is 30 minutes in length via Zoom or Facebook Messenger. You will need to complete my Health Buddy Intake Assessment, email it back to me and have it handy for your 30 minute coaching session. Here are the exact steps to follow. Once I have met the 25 cap, no more free sessions will be given out in March. You do have to be at least 18 years of age, and able to read and write English. I do not speak any other languages. Also, if I start to receive weird, and or dating type messages from men, I will limit this to only working with women. Sorry, but I am over that. If you are not serious about receiving coaching then please don’t waste my time, or yours.
Steps to receive a free 30 minute coaching session:
Use the contact form at the end of this post to message me with free coaching session as the topic.
Once I have received your email, allow up to 24 hours for me to respond, I will send you the intake assessment form. Complete the form to the best of your ability and email it back to me. You will need to print it out, fill it in, take a picture, or scan it, and email it back to me.
Once I have received your completed form I will contact you within 24 hours to schedule your free coaching session. Your coaching session does not have to be in March if you can’t meet my schedule.
If the topic of Healthy Kidneys does not relate to you in some way, and you have other health issues, then try a freebie another month, or you can always ask about my paid coaching services. Things that a health coach can help you with, related to Healthy Kidneys are: food choices, labs, talking to your doctor, where to find resources and information, blood pressure, exercise, stress, bone health, prevention, slowing progression, gaining and or losing weight. There may be others, but that will give you an idea.
Always remember that a Health Coach coaches you to learn to reach your health goals by making smart, achievable goals.
If after your free session you would like to learn more about my 30 day coaching plan, that will be provided to you.
Happy Monday! What do you think of my new logo, and color scheme? I think I need a brighter more colorful one, too, especially for social media. If you read this blog, then you already know I have had CKD since 20`17. You would also know that it has been my goal to get back to stage 2, which is an eGFR above 60. In early 2018 I got so close, at 58, but my blood creatinine was stubbornly still elevated enough to keep me at stage 3, Through the years I have read, studied, researched and tweaked my diet, among other things, to try and figure out how to get my creatinine levels down, but still consume enough protein to have a good and active life. I think I have finally perfected it, because when I had my labs done on Friday I was at stage 2, with an eGFR of 63. I was so excited! My urinalysis results came back on Saturday, and that confirmed it for me, because all was good. Getting here was hard enough, maintaining it will be even harder. If you ever have had to follow a restrictive diet you know how hard it can be long term. It has to become habit so that it just becomes natural. BTW I have checked and while most experts say it is uncommon to get from stage 3b to stage 2, they do not say it is impossible. Always have hope!
So, how did I do it? Well for one thing I still need to speak to my Kidney Doctor. I see him next week. He is kind of a Debbie Downer so I don’t know as he will be as optimistic as me, especially since when I was first diagnosed he basically said there was nothing to do except wait for Dialysis. Ha! It has been a long 4 years, and a lot of stress and hassle from family, friends and even coworkers about my dietary needs, and other lifestyle changes. You may have read my article on losing weight to improve eGFR. In that article I talked about how losing just a little bit of weight can help improve eGFR. In October I started a lower carb diet. I followed that diet for 4 months and was able to lose 15 pounds. But, then it stopped working. So, I went to a Carb Cycling type eating plan, which after a month has caused me to gain back 4 of those pounds. So, I am going back to the lower carb way of eating, and increasing my exercise intensity. So, was the source correct, was the weight loss the reason for the increase in my eGFR? Possibly, but I think it was a combination of things. In 2018 when it was 58 I was following a very particular way of eating, and I read an article that reinforced that thought in the Fall of last year. I have been doing that since September of 2020 and I think that is the main driver of my progress. Before, I go any further, I have to say the lower carb diet appears to have increased my Cholesterol above normal, and my LDL. I mention this because if you read some of the experts out there they are stating that eating higher fat diets, and even saturated fats, will not increase your Cholesterol. This does not appear to be true. I need to get these levels back down so I will be going to a lower fat diet along with the lower carb diet. I can’t sacrifice my heart to save my kidney, or lose a little weight. That makes absolutely no sense. I will be requesting my bloodwork be repeated in 3 months to check that progress. The next set of kidney labs, probably in 6 months, but he may want to do sooner, will tell me everything about the changes I have implemented. No, I did not follow Lee Hull’s book, before anyone asks me.
If you sign up for my mailing list, my next newsletter will explain the dietary change I made that I think has returned my kidney function to stage 2. If you would like to learn more about my Health Coaching Services, leave me a comment, use the contact form, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org