Muscles used when running!

I had mentioned before that my daughter wants to be a police officer. I also mentioned that as part of her PE education this year she would begin training for the Physical Fitness test to be an officer. It is my goal to do it with her. She has to be able to run 1.5 miles in 15 min. I have completed this goal. I don’t know if it is running, or jogging, but whatever I did it. I am still doing it at least once a week, but I did have to stop for a bit because I have a history of Plantar Fasciitis and it was starting to flare up. Trust me if you have ever had it, you don’t really want it again. I am also 51 and have Kidney Disease, so I have to be sure and monitor for any symptoms of over stress or High Blood Pressure. I did get medical clearance from my kidney doctor to increase my intensity of exercise as long as I have no heart issues, which I do not. As a goal it is a great goal to have, but I must say just plain old fast walking is much more enjoyable and less jarring to the body. High impact aerobics is great, however for maintaining bone health as we age. You should start slow and increase slowly to be sure your body can tolerate it, and always seek approval from your doctor if you have underlying medical issues or have lived a sedentary lifestyle for an extended period of time.

See the image below to see all of the muscles used while running, or even jogging. The original source of the image is


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Self care sunday my fall/halloween miniature garden

Happy Sunday! It is another cool, dreary day in Florida. I do not mind the cool weather, matter of fact I welcome it. But, the gray, damp, dreary I could do without. I am a sunshine girl!

Part of my self care routine is gardening and yardwork. Yes, yardwork! I find yardwork soothing even if I am sweating to death. Last Fall I made a very smart decision to plant some baby Elephant Ears in old bins I had. They grew quite quickly over this past Spring and are regularly making babies. I have been able to propagate these two Elephant Ears into at least 20 new plants that have been planted all along my privacy fence. Why they regularly make babies in the container, but not as rapidly in the ground, I have no idea. I love plants that I can propagate and get more plants for free. Gardening is a work in progress for me. I plant a lot of plants in the Fall and then baby them through the Winter. Summer gardening is just too hot in Florida. I have been able to propagate and replant my Plumbago which is awesome on a trellis or along a fence line. My Confederate Jasmine has made a natural privacy barrier now along one fence line surrounding the back yard. Confederate Jasmine is a very fast growing, sweet smelling plant. I do have to trim it back quite a bit to keep it under control. I have not successfully been able to propagate any new Confederate Jasmine. Hibiscus is another of my plants that I have been able to successfully propagate and get new plants, as well as Mums. I try to plant only plants that can grow in this awful heat.

My miniature garden, and I am slowly building another, is an old wheelbarrow that one of the handles rotted off rendering it useless. It has been a miniature garden for over a year now. I simply change up the decor for different seasons. Right now it has a Fall/Halloween theme. After Thanksgiving I will create my Winter garden. It is not necessarily a Fairy Garden as I put Gnomes, and miniature people in their too. I forgot to add the little people, except for one witch, so you won’t see them in my images. I also forgot I bought some pumpkins and pinecones, that actually were for candles, but they didn’t work well in candles. I will also be adding them to the garden. The lights are fairy lights, that are solar powered. I paid 15 dollars for them on Amazon and they last forever. I plan on getting more of them. I have one other set that will be a cool Halloween decoration. Be sure to check back in about a week for a super easy Halloween decoration. Most of my miniature garden items are either handmade by me, see the terra cotta house, bought from the Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby, upcycled from other items, or purchased at a consignment store that I love. I keep my miniature garden under the trees so it does not get too much water.

See the videos below for some great miniature garden ideas. Some are quite fancy and expensive, while others are more affordable. What about plants? The plants can be pricy. I get mine at Walmart, wait for their succulents to go on clearance. Even if they look scraggly succulents can come back to life with a little love. Trader Joes also has awesome miniature plants at very good prices. I buy a lot of my miniature plants there. Dollar Tree sells faux succulents which are awesome too. I often have to change out my plants as they do grow and can get quite large. I simply move them to a bigger garden, and replace them with smaller ones. I am trying to propagate some Ivy in the miniature garden right now with the hopes to transplant it in the Spring. If you prefer to order online there are tons of websites that offer miniature plants. They can be quite pricy, though. The fence in my garden is a Christmas fence, but it is a pain to get it exactly where I want it, so it stays in the garden all year. If you have some empty jars lying around you could make these illuminaries pretty easily, or use them as a Fairy House in the garden.

I have so much fun creating my miniature garden, and changing it with the seasons and holidays. It is fun, relaxing, and soothing for me. If you would like to learn more about how a Holistic Health Coach can help you with your own Self Care, you can use the contact form below to message me, or email me at for a free meet and greet. All new customers get their first month of coaching for 25 dollars.


Healthy Tip Tuesday: Get up and move!

If you have ever visited a doctor then you know one of the things they are regularly going to ask, or advise is to move more. To get more exercise, be more active, be physically fit. Unfortunately, they don’t often explain what those directions mean. They actually have a little bit of different definitions.

Exercise is deliberate, timed activity, usually aerobic or non-aerobic. It is on top of whatever activity you do throughout the day. For example I am a nurse. When I work I average 15,000 steps per shift. That is about 6 miles per shift. You would think that counts as exercise. But, not it is not. I did not plan it, it just is nature of the job. If I went home and spent 30 minutes walking on the bike path, that would be exercise. It was deliberate and I planned it, setting aside that time in my day to do it. The main goal is to increase your heart rate, and make you breathe harder.

Being active simply means that at least 5 days a week you are physically moving your body for at least 30 minutes. While it is true this could be exercise if you heart rate goes high enough, it could just be something as simple as gentle walk around the park, gardening or housework. For me I have set a goal to be active every hour by getting up and walking at least 250 steps each hour. This is an easy attainable goal for anyone to have. If you have a desk job, or are basically sedentary this is a good goal to start with. I use a Fitbit to track my steps, but I know that two laps around my back yard is 250 steps.

Physically fit is a more technical term as to how strong your muscles are, including your heart and lungs. Do you remember when you were in school and you had to take a Physical Fitness test each year? Remember squat thrusts, sit ups and all that horrid stuff? Well that is exactly that, a Physical Fitness test. If you would like to find out if you are physically fit for your age, use the contact form at the end of this post to message me for a free meet and greet. I like to consider myself physically fit. My daughter wants to be a police officer and she has to pass a physical fitness test. Because we homeschool, I have set up a regime for her to be able to pass it. I have decided to do it with her. I am 51 so I have already started practicing, she is 16. I can already do the pushups and situps. The 1.5 mile run in 15 minutes, well I can almost do it. I am so proud of myself I can not even tell you. Please remember it has taken me 3 years of gradual increase in exercise to get to this point. I did not go from couch potato to these kinds of exercises over night. It is a process. If you would like to have me help you create an exercise plan to suit your needs, use the contact form at the end of the post to send me an email.

If you would like to move more, via walking, check out my updated Health Buddy Melissa Walking Plan.


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Can Losing Weight Improve eGFR for People with CKD?

Updated 3/17/2021 When I was first diagnosed with CKD way back in 2017, one of the first things my Nephrologist told me was that losing weight would help my kidney function. Like many of us who are over-weight, I was yep here we go the fat bandwagon. But, apparently he was right. As I have been researching topics for this blog, and for my own personal knowledge of CKD, there have been a few studies on this topic. As with all things CKD there are not many studies, and they are not particularly large, and are often sponsored by companies with products to sell. But, some is still better than none. While I have very good muscle strength and do not find it difficult to build new muscle, even on a protein restricted diet, like most women who have had babies and have reached Menopause, I do carry extra weight around my middle and hips. I have never been super slim, even before children. I have always had a bulky strong look to me, and the smallest I have ever been was 20 pounds over where my doctor said I should be for my height. It is very hard for me to lose weight. I lose inches, but the weight just really takes a long time to budge. Because my ultimate goal is to heal my kidney function, or at the very least get back to stage 2, weight loss is a very important part of that goal. Through all of the trials and errors, I think I have finally found a system that will work for me, not just in the short term, but in the long term as well. It is not an easy plan, and it is not fast, either. But, when I stick to it strictly, I can lose a half a pound a day, safely. I may write an ebook, or I may make the info a pdf for my newsletter followers. I haven’t decided yet, and it will be some time before I am sure the results are not just water weight or something like that. Plus, I need to have my labs checked to be sure it is completely safe.

Read my exciting March 2021 Kidney Update!

For the month of March 2021 I am giving away free coaching sessions related to Kidney Disease. Click to read more.

I found several articles on weight loss and egfr. But, I found this one easy to read, and with lots of information. Some of it you may not understand, but you will get the idea. My husband can lose weight very fast, I can not. I am not sure why, but I am sure it probably has to do with my CKD.,and%20without%20overt%20renal%20disease.

The article above talks about how difficult it can be for people with CKD to lose weight, especially if you also have Diabetes, or HTN. I do not have either of those, but I am right at the borderline for HTN. Again, weight loss will help keep my blood pressure in a good range. Weight loss will also help egfr by decreasing inflammation, proteinuria, and hyperalbuminuria. I do not currently have any of those, but I did when first diagnosed. I do get inflammation occasionally when I exercise too hard, but some of that is normal body response. I also have a tendency to retain water in my fingers. I always have, but if I am not careful it can get worse. Most of the time it is when it is extremely hot and humid and I have not hydrated myself well enough. I have labs done at the end of next month, so I will have a good idea how my diet and exercise plan is effecting my kidneys.

The article also talks about Bariatric Surgery for those with CKD who are morbidly obese and just can not lose weight. The study showed positive results. While I am not a candidate for Bariatric Surgery, and I believe in Diet and Exercise, if you just can not lose weight due to issues with your CKD, you might want to look into Bariatric Surgery to see if it is a viable option for you.

Obesity is such a huge problem in the USA. With Obesity being a risk factor for getting CKD, or at the very least renal dysfunction, there is every good reason in the world to lose weight. If you follow my Portion Distortion posts on Mondays, you will know that most of us are consuming way more calories in portions than is recommended. I read a blog where they lost weight just by controlling their portion size. They didn’t follow any other restrictions such as Keto, low carb, low fat, a certain amount of calories per day, etc, they just ate the proper portion sizes according to package labels. Hats off to them! Now I don’t know if they were successful in maintaining that, and keeping the weight off long term. But, if you stick with something for at least 3-6 months it will hopefully become ingrained and a habit in your every day lifestyle. Of course, family and friends are huge obstacles to losing weight. You have to have more will power to succeed than their will power for you to fail.

If I stick to my plan I can lose 1/2 pound per day, and I have already lost several inches on my arms, waist, hips, and thighs, but not my chest, sadly. Vacation was tough and I did not stick to it, and gained back 5 pounds of the 6 I lost. But, I am back on track and have lost 3 of those 5 in just a week. Follow this blog to read future updates and how I am progressing on my Diet and Exercise plan. Don’t forget to read the article. It has some great info.

I am also a certified American Kidney Fund Health Coach. This is a volunteer position. Before covid came I was setting up in person classes, but that didn’t last long. Now, they have approved for us to do virtual classes, which I am very excited about. I can reach so many more people virtually. Anyway , I am doing the first class next Wednesday. It is kind of practice to see how it goes and what I need to change. Then I will be doing them publicly. I will post the info here on this blog as well as my Health Buddy Melissa Facebook page, and my personal page. The class is free, and anyone can attend that can read and understand English. The first one for the general public will be in August, after my son’s wedding. I will try to do two a month. Right now I am using Facebook events as I am familiar with that format. But, once I upgrade this blog I can do them right here. Or, Skype and Zoom are other options. I thing Google Connect also could be used, but I have no idea how to use that. So, I will have to familiarize myself with that.

If you would like to learn about using any of my Health Coaching services, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page, after the images, to contact me. Or, you can email me at Ask about my brand new It’s A New Day, 30 day coaching plan.

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My Top 10 Reasons to Exercise

After having my second child, exercise became almost non-existent.  Though I felt we were active as a family, and as homeschoolers, my physical activity was few and far between.  After being diagnosed with CKD I knew a total lifestyle change was warranted.  Exercise always seemed like a chore, something I had to do, especially in the beginning.  Being out of shape I got tired very quickly and ran out of steam.  Now exercise is something I do every day because of the benefits to my life.  You will not see being skinny, or weight loss as part of my reasons to exercise.  I have moved past all that to be the healthiest and happiest I can be.

So, what are my top 10 reasons to exercise?

1-  To increase and improve balance.  Before I was diagnosed I was very unsteady and would sometimes fall.  No one was sure why and I was deemed clumsy.  A lot of it had to do with the toxins that had built up in my body, but some of it was due to a lack of exercise and balance training.

2-  To increase and or maintain muscle strength.  Anyone who has kidney disease knows how exhausting it can be, and muscle wasting is a huge risk especially for dialysis people.

3-  To increase and or maintain bone strength.  Another risk for kidney patients is the risk of bone fractures.  Weight-bearing exercises can play an important role in maintaining bone health.

4-  To keep my lungs healthy.  Exercising increases oxygen demand and keeps the lungs working efficiently.  Especially right now with Coronavirus and the ill effects, it has on the lungs.

5-  For heart health.  The heart is a muscle and probably the most important muscle in the body.  Exercise works your heart muscle making it stronger.

6-  To relieve stress.  Stress is sometimes called a silent killer.  It wears you down, and your body.  It causes damage that often is invisible.  Exercise is a great stress reliever and setting a time every day to exercise will help you make it a routine in your day.

7-  Sweating helps remove toxins from the body.  Now mostly it will be sodium, but if you have kidney disease sweat from exercise can help remove excess sodium.  Obviously, you have to be wise here.  Too low of a sodium level in the body can be just as dangerous as an excess.

8-  I like my body changes.  My body has changed over the last year and a half when I started exercising on a regular basis.  I am firmer, stronger, and leaner.  I am never going to be thin, but I can feel more fit and fabulous.

9-  Better sleep.  I work out in the morning, and some studies say don’t work out before bedtime.  But, I say if you can work out and go to sleep then do it, rather than not.  I sleep so much better when I have had a good exercise day.

10-  Brain health.  Just like with the heart, exercise increases blood flow and oxygenation to the brain.  This can only be a positive thing.  Exercise your brain!

Do you exercise?  Why?  Share your thoughts in the comments. Read about my new Walking Buddy Plan, newsletter subscribers can save 20% in one month.


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Sweating on Sunday: Pilates

Happy Sunday!  Before I get into the workouts I am doing for the next couple of weeks, I want to mention that anyone can join in the #walkingchallenge by posting their walking stats to Health Buddy Melissa Facebook page.  I post on Sunday, but your week can be any start and end day.

I have been exercising regularly since Jan 2019.  In 2018 I did some more walking, but not a real schedule of exercising.  I was diagnosed with CKD in Jan 2017.  2017, was a rough year.  I was so weak and tired from being ill, and it took a long time to start feeling normal again.  I definitely don’t want to do that again.  So, exercise has been a regular part of my daily routine.  I have slowly started to increase my length and intensity of my exercise routines, being mindful of staying in the moderate heart rate zone.  If you would like to learn about heart rate zones, and how to find your maximum heart rate zone, use the contact form at the end of this post to message me for a free meet and greet via email.

The Pilates video below is probably from the ’90s and is 45 minutes long.  This is not a beginner’s workout.  Please do not start your exercise journey with this video.  You need to build up to it.  It is 45 min in length and after 30 I am done.  I will slowly work up to 45 minutes.  I felt this in my legs for 2 days after.  After doing the Pilates I do the 20 minutes Brisk Walk video, also below.  This gives me a nice rounded day of exercise.  I am only doing the Pilates 2 to 3 times per week, depending on how sore I am.  On the days I don’t do them I am just doing Aerobics.  Follow this blog via email to receive my weekly newsletter, or use the contact form below to message me.



Sweating on Sunday: Step Aerobics

I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had picked up the duration and intensity of my workouts.  My labs have all been good, and my kidneys are stable.  I now lift weights twice a week, instead of once, and have started doing step aerobics.  Now, I do not yet own a step.  I used to, but I must have gotten rid of it.  I am too cheap to pay too much for one, so until I find one at a bargain price I will just do the steps without it.  Trust me you still are getting a great workout, and honestly, if you are new to step aerobics or clumsy learning the steps first, off of the step is a good idea.  It is very easy to trip and fall, and injure oneself.  I like the Cher video below.  I used to do this way back in the ’90s and surprisingly stored away in my brain I still remembered the steps.  The teacher of this video has a much more difficult video.  I tried it today, and it is very hard to keep up.  I don’t give up, though.  I do 30 minutes of the step video, starting at the 9-minute mark, and then a 15-minute fitness walking video.  That way I get a 45-minute routine and I don’t get bored, which is very easy for me.  I will do this for a while and then change it up again.  I really like Zumba and the line dancing videos too.

Remember to stay in your target heart zone for exercise.  Step aerobics is not low impact and your heart rate will go up pretty quickly especially if you are a beginner.  Stay on the floor and leave out the arms if you need to.  It is still great for balance and brain training to learn harder choreography than just walking.

On Friday I wrote about how I made our weekly meal plan more kidney-friendly for me.  Sunday, today, is technically a new week, but I added it to the Friday post.  We are having BLT’s and I had talked about the bread, however, I am going to try an egg wrap to replace the bread.  I will let you know how that works out.  I am doing that because I am doing low carb after lunch to see if it works with weight loss.  Stay tuned.

If you would like to use my Health Coaching services, use the contact form below to email me for a free meet and greet.  All new customers get the first month for 25 dollars.

Also, don’t forget to check out myHealth Buddy Melissa Facebook page to follow my 2020 #WalkingChallenge and to join in if you like.



You Can’t Fix Your Outside Until You Fix Your Inside

Updated 4/21/2021 I forget now who said that quote, but it certainly has a lot of meaning.  I am sure it can be used in reference to any number of issues, but for this post, it will be used in reference to body weight and size.

What do I mean by that statement?  It could mean different things to different people.  People who are overweight are overweight for different reasons.  Or if there is some other external feature that you are unhappy with, there may be lots of reasons for this. Read on for more.

1-  Some people are overweight because they simply overeat.  They may not even realize they overeat, or possibly are eating the wrong types of foods that are higher in fat and calories. Or, they may drink their calories without even realizing it.  So, until you fix the inside problem of consuming too many calories either by not knowing how much you are eating or simply eating the wrong foods, then the outside of the body won’t change because weight loss will be difficult.  How to fix this?  Keep a food journal for a month.  Write down everything you consume including liquids.  Write the serving size you eat and how many calories consumed for each food.  This can be time-consuming but is vital if you overeat.  At the end of the month review your journal and figure out how many calories you were consuming.  Do this lovingly and in a non-judgemental way.  This is to help you not beat yourself up.  Be committed to keeping up with your journal.  Once you have all the information see how many calories you should be consuming in a day compared to how many you actually did.  This will allow you to see where you need to make changes.  A Health Coach can help you with this.

2-  Some people are overweight due to the medications they take into their bodies or possibly metabolic issues outside of their control.  If this describes your situation speak with your doctor to learn ways to help you overcome these issues.  Sometimes this can not be overcome and learning to accept and love your body will be the healthiest step you can take.  A Health Coach will be able to help you learn to do this.

3-  Some people are overweight because they are inactive.  Most people think they are way more active than they really are.  This is a sort of denial that maybe is due to guilt of just not wanting to exercise or saying there is no time.  Trust me I used to do this too.  Then I started to change my perspective.  Exercise should not be an I have to, but rather I am happy I can.  I can walk, jog, run, ride a bike, swim, hike, do aerobics, lift weights, whatever type of exercise I may want.  I am happy and blessed that this is true.  Once I started seeing exercise in that light, my mindset completely changed.  It is a privilege to exercise, now.  So, that is how you fix your inside, change your mindset.  Convince yourself that exercise is not a chore, but something you should want to do because you can.  Conquer your thoughts!  A Health Coach can help you.

4-  Probably the most important meaning of the statement, you can’t fix your outside until you fix your inside, is for those who overeat for emotional reasons.  This is probably the most difficult to overcome.  Having a bad relationship with food and the mindset that goes with that will leave you always trying to get off the rollercoaster of diets, binging, purging, self-hate and abuse.  I mentioned before I started watching the TV show My 600-pound life.  So many of these individuals suffered a traumatic experience in childhood that caused them to turn to food for comfort and it carried on into their adult lives.  Undealt with trauma is something that will be a stumbling block to achieving the outside appearance you desire if it does not get dealt with.  Now the individuals on the show are obviously extreme examples of emotional eating, but so many people suffer from this.  They eat when they are stressed, anxious, sad, angry, depressed, lonely, etc to cover up the feelings they are experiencing.  It is an addiction like any other addiction.  I would love to say a Health Coach can help you with this, but a professional that is experienced in addiction and undealt with trauma should be sought out in these situations.  A Health Coach, however, can help you get started in finding a specialist who can help you and provide accountability and support once you are established and seeking counseling.

All of these situations above require patience, love, kindness, and perseverance.  Having a good support network will help immensely.  None of these things are fast or easy.  They take time and hard work to be effective and long-lasting.  Fixing your inside so you can fix your outside, is the very first step anyone should take when they have the desire to lose weight or change their body appearance.

If you would like to work with a Health Coach to help you, or to deal with the stress of being overweight, use the contact form to message me about my 30 day coaching plan. For the month of April, I am giving away coaching sessions to 10 lucky people. Click here to read more and how to sign up.


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Sweating on Sunday: Muscles Targeted in Pushups

Updated 4/18/2021 So, last week I moved away from using light dumbbells to trying bodyweight exercises.  Since I have CKD I am not allowed to lift heavy-weights, so I thought pushups would work better for muscle toning and increasing strength.  After increasing the number of reps by one each day, I started to notice pain under my right breast.  So, I stopped for a day to see if the pushups were the issue.  It appears it was and when looking at the image below you can see why.  I probably overworked a muscle that I don’t think dumbbells target, the Serratus Anterior.  It is not worth the pain as I have to lift residents at work also.  So, for now, while it heals I will go back to dumbbell work and then do a lower number of pushups for a few weeks before adding more reps. Update: That injury has healed and I have moved up to narrow arm pushups, or triangle pushups for my April 2021 Triceps Challenge. So far I have had no more pain in the serratus area.

Pushups are a great way to tone and strengthen with no equipment needed.  You can do them anywhere and they are quite effective. The muscles targeted in a standard pushup are: pects, delts, triceps, abs, front serratus, and corocorabrachialis. Do you do pushups?   The image below source

Don’t forget about my Walking Challenge.  Follow along with Health Buddy Melissa’s Facebook page.  You can use the contact form at the end of this post to message me with questions or to sign up for my weekly newsletter. That challenge has now ended. For 2021 my goals are to run a mile and a half in 15 minutes, and do at least 12,500 steps per day.


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