Menopause, Belly Fat, and Weight Gain

Hello, and welcome to another Self Care Saturday post. In the month of April, I am focusing on the topic of Menopause. If you did not see my first post, you can find it in the archives.

Menopause is a fact of life. It is part of the middle ages, and there are different aspects of it. Just like kidney disease, dementia, or really any other topic everyone’s journey will look different. But, there are some main topics that are more common to all women going through Menopause, and one of those is belly fat and weight gain.

I encourage you to watch the full video below. There are no gimmicks here, no easy, or fast ways to lose belly fat, but good sound discussion on the topic. I am not promoting the course that she is selling at the end, I have no idea if what she offers is good, or not.

There are a few things I would like you to pay particular attention to.

  1. NEAT- I have talked about this before via using a step tracker, and getting up and moving every hour. I have two dogs, and one way I increase my NEAT is to take them out every hour, when I am home, from 8 am to 8 pm, even if it is raining. They love this! My back fenced yard, around the perimeter is exactly 125 steps. When I first started this I would do 2 laps or 250 steps. I now do 6 laps every hour. It is really a habit now, and I just do it. My dogs are used to it and will remind me. We play ball and enjoy the fresh air. Sometimes, when the weather is super lovely, I do my laps and then I sit on my swing listening to all of the nature around me. It truly is a beautiful part of my day.
  2. LBT- Licks, Bites, and Tastes. You will see what she means.
  3. The amount of protein they are promoting. If you have kidney disease or may be at risk of getting kidney disease please be very careful about consuming this much protein. I have talked a lot about getting back to stage 2, and while there are many things I think have allowed my kidneys to heal, consuming a lower end, but quality, amount of protein is one of them.

All in all, I feel like this is a good video, and lines up with articles and studies I have read. They do not promote any particular kind of diet, supplement, or gimmick. They do promote weight training, and I have discussed that before and how important it is for women to do weight training. They do talk a bit about heavy weights, and I urge you to go slow, especially if you are over age 50, and especially if you are over 50 with kidney disease. Please consult with your doctor before lifting heavy weights over age 50.

Once you hit menopause, and your estrogen begins to decline and eventually disappear, the fat you carry will shift from your hips and thighs to your abdominal area. Note, that they state the abdominal area is the last place most women will lose weight. You can’t target it via abdominal work, or decreasing sugar. It is a process, and most likely you will see results in your face, and chest, long before your waist.

You also will not need as many calories as you age. This is just plain true. So, you may not even realize how much you may be over consuming what your body needs.

If you would like to work with me as your health coach to conquer your health goals, send me a message via the contact form below.

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10 Ways To Be Happy For A Day!

OMG, welcome back to another Self Care Saturday post. I have not done one of these in about 6 months, because I had been working 12-hour shifts every single weekend. More about how that was not making me happy below. You may have read my post last year on how to be happy for an hour. I think it takes work, to practice self-care, to be a little selfish once in a while. Studies have shown that Americans are not happy, and while everyone has their own reasons for not being happy there are some things you can try to help improve your happiness. Baby steps, from an hour of happiness, up to maybe a year. This article will explain some ways that are proven to help you be happier, but I think some of these are more long-term than just for a day. Below, are my ten ways to be happy for a day.

  1. Spend time with friends, especially friends you may not see often. This morning I went to a small local flea market with a friend of mine, and then we stopped at this cute little coffee shop to visit. It was maybe 2 hours tops that we were together, but it was lovely. I don’t generally like to spend money on only myself, but you know what, why not? I spent maybe 35 dollars total getting some awesome produce, some skin care products, coffee, and a banana muffin that we split. We even face timed some of our coworkers who are still working at the place we both left.
  2. Sit in the sun. I love the sun! Yes, I know you have to be careful of skin cancer and all that. So, for the first 15 minutes sit out with just bare arms and legs, if you can, and then apply sun screen if it is needed. The sun energizes me and makes me feel good. Plus, your body will make Vitamin D and you may not have to take a supplement. You might not sit there all day, but maybe you will.
  3. Take a dog for a walk. A nice hour walk is both good for you and the dog. If you don’t have a dog there are plenty of shelters and rescues that need dog walkers. Check them out. I promise you will be happier for it. You can even make extra money walking dogs. Check Rover.com, Craigslist, and Indeed for people looking for dog walkers. Walk several dogs, even better!
  4. The article states that just planning a trip, even if you never take it will make you happier. Bleh, no! I say plan a day trip, then take it! Whether you take it alone or with someone just take it.
  5. If you hate your job find a new one. Stress from our jobs is the number one cause of unhappiness in my opinion. You need to do something you love! Pick a day out of each week to start researching job openings, and then applying. If you need to improve your resume, or work on job skills, there are plenty of internet sources that are free that can help you. You will feel better about yourself and be happier.
  6. Learn to live within your means, or a minimalist lifestyle. What does that mean? Don’t buy stuff you don’t need. We are a junk driven society that thinks we need to have new furniture every year, and a new car every other. 50 outfits, with matching shoes, I mean it just isn’t necessary. All that stuff is not going to make you happy, so spend a day getting rid of anything that you don’t wear or use, and then commit to not buying more.
  7. Eat better foods. OK, I put this one her because I urge you to try to eat better for a whole day and then see if you feel any different. Eat whole foods, unprocessed, low salt, low fat, and low sugar. I think you will be happier with how you feel, and knowing that you are nourishing your body not just feeding it.
  8. Turn off social media. Yep, for a whole day no social media. Even better would to turn your phone off for a whole day.
  9. Do a craft, or a hobby. I don’t craft much anymore due to the arthritis in my hands, but this blog, and writing is a great way for me to find stress relief by helping others and ultimately that makes me happy. Each blog post takes about an hour of time, some longer, a few less. I also love photography, now that I don’t really paint anymore.
  10. Forgive someone. This one may actually have to be a long term goal if the hurt will take a long time to get over. But, forgiving others is for you, not for them. You will be able to have closure, resolution, and move on. Even if they deny they hurt you, or don’t accept forgiveness, you will have a weight lifted off your chest which will always make you happier. Choose a day to sit down and contemplate how you want to approach the person that needs forgiveness. Write it out and practice what you will say. Don’t worry about how they respond that doesn’t matter. That is on them. You can only control yourself.

I hope this list will help you find happiness for a whole day. Let me know in the comments, like and share if you will. If you would like to use me as a Health Coach to help you meet your wellness goals, send me a message with the contact form below to arrange a free consultation.

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Scary Saturday History!

Hello, and Happy Saturday! I haven’t had a Saturday off in months. So, today is a rare treat.

Did you know there have been lots of other Epidemics and Pandemics in history? Some of them were pretty scary too, being that modern medicine is what it is. Even basic cleanliness and having soap was scarce for some of these historical illnesses. Imagine not being able to wash your hands, bleh! Without gloves, face masks, social distancing or even the knowledge to know to do these things, lead to a lot of deaths.

Be sure and watch the short video below to learn about some of these very scary times in History. Don’t lose any sleep over it though.

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why i hate my salad spinner!

Happy Saturday! I am glad you are here. If you watch a lot of Youtube videos, like me, then you might have been convinced to buy a Salad Spinner. One of my most favorite chefs said in one of his videos that you simply could not live without a salad spinner, unless you wanted to shake your lettuce dry for days. LOL! I am paraphrasing. I don’t remember his exact words. This post may contain affiliate links.

But, I can tell you I hate the thing, and I see no redeeming qualities to owning one. I can see a million of these things probably sitting in a garbage dump somewhere. If you want to save about 25 dollars avoid buying one.

Pro’s of owning a salad spinner:

  1. It makes a really big salad bowl, or mixing bowl.

Con’s of owning a salad spinner:

  1. Price. I know I don’t buy the most expensive brand of anything, so my 25 dollar salad spinner was probably more on the affordable side. Let that soak in.
  2. It is big, and takes up a ton of space in the cupboard, or on the counter. If you have limited space this thing is really just a monstrosity.
  3. It is loud and awkward.
  4. You can easily shake your lettuce, and not for days, for just a few minutes and get the same effect for free.

Don’t buy one, unless you really like to waste your money, or say you own the newest kitchen gadget.

I also get really annoyed by the salads I see some Youtubers make. I mean seriously, the supplements, and whatever weird extras they are adding to a salad, or taking with a salad are ridiculous. If your salad is going to be a meal I can see adding a little protein, and fat, but other than that a salad is pretty healthy already.

What is my favorite salad recipe?

Wait for it.

Romaine lettuce, good quality tomato, Vidalia onion chopped pieces. If I am feeling really spicy I will add about .12 of a cup of roasted sunflower seeds, some chopped red grapes, and a bit of chopped chicken or turkey. My favorite salad dressing is 1 tbsp. of original Kraft Catalina dressing. Full fat! Gasp! That is a whopping 258 calories. Eat some fat with your salad! Your body won’t absorb all those wonderful vitamins and minerals without some fat. Vitamins A,D,E, and K are Fat Soluble vitamins. Your body will not absorb them without some fat. Fat free dressing, fat free cheese, or whatever will not absorb these vitamins. Healthy fats can also be used such as EVOO and make your own salad dressing.

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self care saturday: Massage

Hello, and Happy Saturday! I am still waiting on my Covid test results so I can come out of quarantine. If you are not on my Mailchimp mailing list, join below, then you don’t know that I was exposed to Covid at work. Even though I am vaccinated, and was wearing my mask, I did get symptoms 6 days after direct exposure. So, I have been tested 3 times now, twice with the rapid test, and yesterday with the PCR test. If this does turn out to be a breakthrough infection than it is very important for the health department to know about it. I was fully vaccinated as of March 10th. That is the two weeks post second dose. That is only four months ago, and my immunity should not have started to drop off already. I was actually quite ill for about 36 hours. So, now I wait. I really hate waiting and being in quarantine isn’t a whole lot of fun either. This post may contain affiliate links.

I try to leave Saturday for Self Care topics. However, we should try to do Self Care at the very least a few times a week, if not daily. If you can only squeeze it in one day a week then it is definitely better than nothing. This week I am talking about Massage for Self Care.

Massage has many Health benefits. Here are some.

  1. Massage can teat some disorders such as: back pain, muscle pain, joint pain, stress, anxiety, High Blood Pressure, and Insomnia.
  2. Massage can help support chronic diseases like CKD, Diabetes, and Cancer. Support in this context means it can help to alleviate symptoms. It does not mean cure.
  3. Massage can promote deep relaxation and calm.
  4. Reduce muscle tension and increase circulation.
  5. Reduce stress hormones and stimulate the Lymphatic System.
  6. Increase joint flexibility and mobility
  7. Help the recovery process for soft tissue injuries
  8. Increase mental alertness

Massage can be lengthy or short. There are many different types of massage. Some people may not like to to be touched in a massage kind of way by others, so self massage can be learnt. It is quite simple. And further if someone is really unsure about self massage something like Reiki, where the hands do not actually need to touch the body can be tried.

Whether you choose to hire someone to give you a massage, use Reiki, or self massage it is important to remember to set the mood. Be in a calm, quiet place. Decide what time of day is best for you to get your massage. I think most people find a massage at the end of their day would be very relaxing and promote good sleep. However, if you are looking to gain more energy than a massage at the start of your day may be best. Even after a hard exercise session a massage would be perfect. I prefer self massage, or Reiki, when I am outside in nature. The sounds of the birds, feel of the warm sun, make me feel calm and relaxed. If I were to choose to do it inside I would prefer a dim room with lovely candles and soft music. If candles bother you, you can always use an essential oil diffuser to add lovely scents, or they can be added to the oil of your choice. Lavender is very common as a stress relieving essential oil. Make sure people in your home know you are having Me Time and you should not be bothered for a bit. Turn off your phone, or put it away so as not to distract you. Maybe you just want to do a quick massage before jumping in the shower. That too is OK, but try to have a time for just you where you can really enjoy the massage and the self care it promotes.

Some special considerations for massage:

If you are pregnant, have skin rashes or infections, there is a possibility of broken bones, or there is a life threatening illness, in these cases a doctor’s clearance to receive a massage, or Reiki therapy would be prudent. Massage for children is probably going to be controversial. I would say at the very least parental consent would be needed and possibly present for the entirety of the massage, or Reiki session.

The video below is the only complete body self massage video I could find. Here are some Ayurvedic Oils you may wish to try in your next massage. Please note I have not personally tried these oils. I am not saying Ayurveda is any better than any other kind of massage therapies.

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chronic kidney disease symptoms and self care management!

Welcome to Self Care Saturday! If you read this blog then you know I have CKD, and that I had a recent experience with a shoulder injury and poor pain management. Symptoms when you have CKD, and poor management of those symptoms are a huge self care problem for kidney patients. While most doctors will focus on dialysis kidney patients want management of their symptoms long before they need dialysis. I found this video below from Canada where they are more focused on empowering Kidney Patients to self advocate for self care. The video is short but so worth watching. The lady at the very end had the most powerful question be sure and hear it. If you have stage 3 CKD you will see what I mean.

Reiki may help you with CKD pain, stress, relaxation, better sleep, etc. If you are interested I am now offering Distance Reiki Sessions.

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self care Saturday: Resting when you are injured

Happy Saturday! This is not what I intended to talk about today, but because I have reinjured an old shoulder injury even typing is incredibly painful. So, short and sweet today. I am admittedly not good at slowing down, or taking it easy, especially when it is absolutely gorgeous outside and I have tons of things I would like to be doing, like gardening and such. I did manage to mow one tiny spot in the backyard, but my husband had to start the mower for me and I mowed with with one hand. I can still enjoy the weather just sitting still, lol. I can’t use the weed whacker or dig at all, or rake. I did get on the treadmill but I had to keep my right arm immobile because even walking it was pulling on my shoulder.

So, that is it. I am sitting still, resting my arm and relaxing. A nice change for me. If you have CKD like me, then you know how challenging it can be when you are in pain. There are not a lot of options for pain relief that are either effective or safe for the kidneys. I will do a self Reiki session before I go to sleep and that usually will help a lot to relax and sleep. Right now, rest, immobilization, Tylenol and heat are my choices. I don’t find ice comfortable.

Have a wonderful Saturday, and I hope your weather is as lovely as mine!

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relax it’s the weekend!

Whether it is on a Saturday, or a Sunday, don’t forget to take some me time and just relax. For me it will be tomorrow, Easter Sunday. I tend to do my relaxing on Sunday anyway, except when I work and then my Monday is my Sunday. I think it is hard to just relax and not stress about backed up laundry, dishes, meal planning, school, work, family, friends, etc, etc, etc. Some alone time to relax and thing does a body good. So make sure you squeeze some in. Monday, or Tuesday I am sharing my coaching giveaway for April. I am giving my mailing list members a chance to sign up first. Are you doing my April Health challenge, toning up the triceps? Be sure and let me know in the comments how you are doing, or join my mailing list to see how I am doing.

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10 ways to be happy for an hour!

Happy Self Care Saturday! Today is also International Earth Day. There is an old Chinese Proverb about being happy. I have adapted parts of it to suit my self care needs. Below are 10 ways you can be happy for an hour. Happiness is key to Self Care though everyone may have their own definition of what it means to be happy and whether it is achievable. To me happiness is a state of feeling free of stress, burdens, worry, strife, work, demands, etc.

  1. I think lots of people will agree with this. If you want to be happy for an hour, take a nap. I am not a good napper, especially for only an hour, but just lying quietly with my eyes closed and resting is wonderful. I don’t have to actually fall asleep. That generally just makes me feel icky.
  2. Take a walk in nature for an hour. Not a sweaty, heavy breathing exercise kind of walk. A peaceful, slow, gentle walk someplace you find beautiful and quiet. This could be anywhere. You also don’t have to walk the whole time. You can sit and appreciate your 5 senses, sight, hearing, smells, touch, and taste. Be sure you are not on your phone, and it is silenced, and that you are either walking with someone who is quiet and not talkative, or take your dog.
  3. Volunteer for an hour. We volunteer once a week at a dog rescue. Helping dogs rescued from shelters that may be kill shelters, or have been abandoned and unloved is so rewarding. If we lived closer I am sure we would do it more often.
  4. If you are more of a sociable person make sure to set aside an hour at least weekly to be with family or friends. If it can’t be in person then do a video chat, or talk on the phone. If you are more of an introvert this may not be your best option.
  5. Get a massage or mani pedi.
  6. Do gardening. If you have not learned the art of gardening and how wonderfully happy it can make you, then you are missing out. Getting your hands dirty and learning to grow your own food or beautiful flowers makes me very happy. Plus today is Earth Day.
  7. Treat yourself to a meal out, order in, or have someone else cook for a meal. You may not do this daily, but at least weekly. Check out Meals With Melissa.
  8. If you can afford this hire a maid for an hour a day, or even an hour a week. I know that would make me happy.
  9. I know this one is weird but I am really quite happy cleaning my pool. Maybe it is because I get the warm sun on my skin, no one is bothering me, no phone, no kids, no husband, just me and the pool. During the Summer months I clean my pool everyday.
  10. Try being crafty. I know people say they are not crafty or artistic, but you may surprise yourself. An hour a week, or daily if you can, may make your very happy. Some things you may not have considered as crafty are: learn to play an instrument, paint, draw, crochet, knit, pottery, photography, writing, learn a new language, learn sign language, computer graphics such as create an app, glass etching, and so many more I may not have thought of.

I am sure there are others that I didn’t include, exercise or going for a motorcycle ride comes to mind. What is your favorite way to be happy for an hour? Share in the comments.

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quitting the soda habit

Soda, the drink with no nutritional value, yet so many of us love it. I used to drink 1 Pepsi a day, for years, and I mean like most of my adult life. Just one, no big deal. Right? It had become a habit, just something I did, like brushing my teeth. I was not much of a coffee drinker so the caffeine in the Pepsi is where I got my energy. I knew soda was bad for me. I knew it increased my chances of getting Osteoporosis, yet I drank it anyways. When I was diagnosed with CKD in early 2017 I quit the soda, cold turkey. It wasn’t as hard as I expected. Soda, most people know is high in sugar, and has some sodium. But, it also is high in added phosphates. Dark sodas are, light sodas are not, but I am not advocating for drinking those sodas instead. Phosphates in high amounts can leach calcium from the bones leading to an increased risk of Osteoporosis. If someone smokes, takes birth control and drinks dark sodas, the risk increases exponentially. With CKD the added phosphate in sodas puts strain on the kidneys and can also lead to an imbalance in calcium leading to bone diseases. I do once in a while enjoy a Sprite when we eat out. Once in a while I will have a Pepsi, or Coke, but it is almost never anymore and I don’t find it refreshing.

If you have tried to quit soda you may notice that water is boring and bland. Finding something delicious to drink can be challenging when you are trying to make a healthier drinking choice. I was given a Books A Million gift card for Christmas. Last week I was in the city where the store was located so I stopped in. They were having an awesome sale so I was able to get two new cookbooks at great prices. I love cookbooks and I think they are a fading thing of the past. I found a drink in Eat What You Love, and I would like to share it with you. You can modify it any way you like. In the recipe from the book, she uses peaches but I imagine blueberries, or any other berry would be splendid also. We planted a peach tree last Summer and it is starting to get buds now. So, I am hoping to be drinking this a lot this Summer. It only has 45 calories per serving. If you are not supposed to drink ice cold beverages this is not a beverage choice for you. It has 10 grams of carbs.

You will need:

1 cup cold unsweetened tea. She says black tea, but I will most likely use green tea as it is my preference.

1/2 cup frozen peach slices. Mine were flash frozen fresh last Fall.

1 1/2 tablespoon or 2 packets of granulated sweetener. I use Stevia in the Raw. If you use regular sugar the calories will be higher.

3/4 crushed ice

Simply put it all in a blender, I have a Nutribullet, and blend until it is all incorporated and serve right away. As the ice melts it will thin out. That’s it, super easy and refreshing. If you are on fluid restrictions ask your dietitian if this drink is good for you. Remember that tea may decrease the absorption of iron you eat so be cautious of drinking tea with meals.

If you are interested in making lifestyle, eating habit changes to better improve your health, check out my It’s A New Day health coaching plan.

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