My Journey to Health Improvement 2015 – 2016

Many of you don’t know how does it feel like to be in pain 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.  Sometimes is more, other times is less, on a scale from 1 to 10  I go from 1 some days, my average range is 1 to 5 and when I work too much a few days in a row… I live with 10. This is due to an accident back in 1995 and a Major relapse back in 2004, when for 13 months it was very difficult to walk or do anything, I learned how to go “Outside the Box” even more.  Specially when your doctors keep giving you “pain killers and muscle relaxants” and tell you that is all they can do.   I am an open minded individual, optimist and one that believe that “Where There Is A Will…. There IS a Way”.  To make the story short 😉 through acupuncture, neuromuscular massage therapy, physical therapy, chiropractors and a very strong will to regain my health, the way I see it is “miracles happened”.  I am a single mother with so much to do and a household to run.  Giving up was not an option.  Finally in 2007 I was better and kept improving.  During that time I gain lots of weight.  By 2010 I had lost 5 sizes and was working more and what it seemed like going back to a “normal” life, even though I had some limitations I was able to continue working through a virtual office full time and with my business part time.  I had a lot to catch up to do.  By 2013 due to the extensive hours of work, I had another relapse.  This time I was in bed for 2 weeks. lost most of the movement of my right leg again and most of my right arm.  At times like that, when you are in bed you think a lot!  What to do now?  What is going to happen?  Time to go back to the doctors, it was no surprise to me, got more pain killers and this one particular doctor said to me…”You are lucky you’ve been walking all this time with your condition”.   Again,  I was not giving up.  That was August 2013, by October 2013 I was feeling better and met another acupuncturist (since my previous one moved out of state) , her first treatment was painful, but the results were amazing.  I walked in “dragging” my right leg and I was able to walk out of her office.  Here I was on the road to recovery again.  It took treatments, therapies, more neuromuscular massages and PATIENCE to heal my body again.  I was able to work, but was more conscious about my body and made sure not to go over my limit.  I learned to listen to my body even more and when the signal was given to me, I stopped for a while, rested and then continue working.  Little by little I kept getting better.  Finally by May / June 2015 it was time to start pushing myself a little further.

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“Please, be aware, I am NOT a Health Professional. This is what “I” did and what worked for me.  I do not have any herniated discs.  Only a curvature of the spine due to the accident and a series of muscles that torn twice and some minor issue with the neuromuscular system.  Consult your physician before starting on any exercises”

As a Health and Wellness Consultant, I meet many individuals, to many of them the main goal is to shed some pounds, to others is better financial health and to all is to be able to obtain optimal nutrition.  I share my personal experience with everyone that is looking to shed some pounds. The photo on the left have 2 pictures, the one with the Turquoise top was taken 1/1/2015 and the one with the black top was taken on 3/12/2016.  The biggest secret is to start moving more.  I know because even though I ate healthy, the first time I gained lots of weight due to the sedentary life while recovering from 2004-2007 and the latest from 2013 to 2015.  When you don’t move, the weight goes up.  I have used since about 2008, 2 DVDs, one for Tai-Chi for the elderly and the other of Yoga for the elderly with Arthritis.  Even though I do not have arthritis and now I am only 54, with my condition those were the exercises I was able to “almost” manage.  I did as much as I could.  Starting with 10 minutes, and that was a challenge.  I just kept increasing the time, learned how to move my energy standing on the same place by rocking my body sideways at the same time that I was moving my arms, crossing them in front of my body constantly like a pendulum.  An acupuncturist recommended me to move the arms like a pendulum from front to back, but my right arm doesn’t work that well with that movement and feels better crossing them in front of me.  The idea is to get the blood flowing.  If you try that for 5 minutes and keep increasing to the point that you can watch a short show while in movement….say 25 to 30 minutes.  You will feel the difference, your heart will start pumping blood for sure.  This is what I call my “Soft Aerobics Exercise”.  When you can hardly walk… imagine doing aerobics.

Finally by May 2015 I was feeling ready for the challenge of getting back in shape. At that time I was finally able to make it to the Stop sign at the end of my road, it took me 1 year to achieve that goal.  That was when I knew it was time to go a little further every day, and when I say “a little further” I am talking no more than 20-30 steps.  Every time I did it and walked back home, I was experiencing 9picsMluciano 1-15to3-16muscle spasms… It sure felt like I had like 15 heartbeats around the right side of my body.  When I did not go out to walk, I used an “Airwalker” for about 10 minutes 2-3 times a day.  That is how I started.  I was finally able to walk 1 mile without any complications.  One day I wanted to be brave and walked further.  BAD move, as soon as I started feeling my right leg become numbed I saw my phone and I was right about to hit my mile walk.  Well, my leg stopped moving and it was the middle of the afternoon, I called a few people, no one was home, everyone else was at work.  What to do?  Either sit in the middle of the street or just make it home dragging my right leg.  That is what I did, believe me! that was the longest walk ever!  I just moved my left leg and dragged my right leg, I am glad that I use a walking stick and was able to maintain the balance.  By the time I made it home… I walked 1.30 miles.  Is not fun when you have the energy, but your body does not want to cooperate.   I am still at the 1 mile comfortable, every so often I go only a little further.  In the meantime I have been moving forward with the Yoga, starting with more yard work and getting toned little by little.

I do not believe in Diets.  I believe in a Healthy Lifestyle.  Since I started again moving more, even though I made the decision because my mind was ready on January 2015, it was not until May 2015 that I was able to move more.  It took me from January until May to reach a level of activity that I knew it was going to be able to make a change.   During the time of June 2015 until March 2016 I dropped 3 sizes. Like I said before, even though you might not be able to exercise, move, shed the pounds as fast as someone that can train for a marathon, you will be able to do it.  The secret?  Perseverance!  Don’t Give Up!  Don’t go into a Crash Diet!  When you start making changes in your life, start making better eating choices and learn how to adjust to the new way you are eating, you will notice the difference.  Of course, increase the physical activity and you will see a whole new you.  On a daily basis I use an excellent grade supplement, I have been using the same since 1998.  I also use my favorite shakes, I take at least one every day and when I want to manage my weight I alternate days when I have 2 with one meal and some days I have 3 shakes and some soup, they are healthy and safe, even my daughter’s endocrinologist approved them for her to use during her second pregnancy, when she developed gestational diabetes (she is in perfect health again now).  I even prepare a nice smoothie and share with my grandsons.  When it comes to food, there are so many alternatives.  When I want to shed some pounds, I substitute foods, I add more vegetables to the my daily diet, select healthier snacks like some Hummus with fresh peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli or any other vegetables.  I love to prepare many of my dressings for the salads using as a base Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and Cold Pressed Olive Oil.  Your imagination is the limit of how many flavors you can make.  I always have some soup made, I avoid adding noodles or rice, instead if I want something chewy I add some barley.  There are so many combinations you can use on your soups, you can make them all vegetable or add some meat.  I also like to add some grain, either lentils, split peas or beans.  It is all up to what you like and of course that you are not allergic to.

The idea here is not to go hungry.  Eat something, don’t wait until you are starving.  This is one of the reasons I keep a drink with me, it gives me a nice sensation of being “full” and also why I enjoy soups.  If I crave some food, I just serve myself a cup of soup, enjoy with with some tea and continue working.  I am blessed to be able to work from home.  When I go out to meet with clients, I have some nutrition bars and bring an apple, pear, orange or any fruits.  When I stay out longer than expected, instead of going through the drive-thru, I stop at a grocery store to buy some yogurt and 1 fruit.  That does the trick for me.  At times I’ve gone to the deli and order some cold cuts… they ask me how much would you like?  I reply… “Only about 4 slices”  so I get some cheese and some turkey breast and there is my quick meal.   It is so much easier to do this and stay on your track than getting a burger, fries and soda.   I do not like to say…”I can’t eat that” if I go out to a party, I enjoy the food, of course don’t go overboard with it, and for the next 2 days I make sure I enjoy 2 shakes and some salad.  Do I feel guilty?  No. It is part of living.  Once you see life this way and you are not on a Diet, it does not feel like “Oh my gosh!  I broke the diet!  Oh well…. let me keep eating and I start again later”  How many of you heard that before?

Keep in mind the following:

  • Changes are not easy, so start with them gradually.
  • Check with your physician before making any drastic changes or starting an exercise program.
  • Take a good quality supplement on a daily basis.
  • Eat more vegetables.  Raw veggies are great snacks, there is your “crunch”.
  • Eat more fruits (please, if you have diabetes consult your doctor before making any changes to your daily diet).
  • You can enjoy healthy smoothies, add vegetables to them.  One of my favorites is Pumpkin Pie smoothie.
  • Learn to substitute certain foods, for instance instead of having a Tuna Salad sandwich on bread, I like to use Romaine lettuce as the “bread”.  What about some cabbage rolls made with chicken or fish, make a nice mix of peppers, onions, garlic, some fresh carrots, zucchini add it to the meat, mix, roll the cabbage, I love to sprinkle some parmesan cheese and bake.  Delicious!
  • If you have not exercised in a long time, remember doing only 5 minutes the first time is all right, don’t be frustrated with yourself.  I was in the beginning.  I was always very active and had to learn how to adapt to the changes.    Just be consistent and keep increasing the time 5 or 10 minutes at a time.  By the time 30 days go by and then 60… you won’t believe how much more you can do.
  • Personally I don’t like to weight myself.  I measure my goals on clothing.  I just look for a smaller size pants and try them every 2 weeks.  One day you will put them on and they will close.  The first time I started my journey I tried putting on a pair of pants that  woulPhotoGrid_1457739565648d go up only to about my knees.  I reached my goal then and now again.  The only thing this time I was able to pull them up with difficulty and needed about 8 inches or so in order to close them up.  For me, by working with one size of pants at a time it keeps me motivated.   Have you done this before?  How did it work for you?
  • I do not use any “diet” foods.  I use real butter, regular sugar or brown sugar on my coffee, sometimes I mix stevia with some brown sugar for my coffee.  I drink plenty water and I learned how to drink tea without sugar.  If I want some Hot tea I use some honey.  If I make it and drink it cold I don’t use sugar unless is the regular tea, then I add some Stevia.  I do enjoy mixing flavors like green tea with peppermint, green tea with oolong, green tea and passion fruit, green tea/chamomile.  There are so many flavors you can mix.  Oh!  and check your local garden store, one of my favorites is Chocolate Mint, you will be surprise of the wonderful flavor. By doing this, I avoid any drinks and at the same time I enjoy the aroma and different flavors.  What is your mood?  Do you feel like enjoying a nice Chai tea?  Are you craving those “fizzy bubbles”?  Try adding some seltzer water.
  • All of these are “My Personal Experiences” and opinions.  We are all different.  Learn how to listen to your body and be conscious of how much “YOU” can do.

I am a blessed person, at my age I do not suffer any other condition besides the one caused by my accident.  My back pain is my only condition.  Besides that I am a healthy individual.  I still have one more size to go and once it is reached it will be only time to maintain the weight and keep improving my physical condition.  At one point I was not able to climb stairs, now I have to go one step at a time, being careful, it is easier to go up than down the stairs.  That is another of my goals… climb stairs like a normal person, I will be happy to do it slow for now.  I remember when I used to go 3 flight of stairs while running and even with heels!!  I am not even thinking of doing that.  Again, where there is a will, there is a way.  I just go one day at a time and don’t give up.

I hope this will inspire many that just because they can’t work at the same pace of a person without any limitations, we can reach our goals… slower but nonetheless get there.   I am the one that goes to a Zumba class and the rhythm is not the same.  You know which one I am talking about.  My right leg and right arm have their own speed most of the time and is not the same as the left side LOL!   So instead of being frustrated, I laugh and have the DVDs at home as well.  At this time I have not been able to do a full class.  I pushed myself once and cost me 3 days of recovery.  Not my idea of fun.  I keep working at home at my pace, it is my solution for now.

I am Living My Life & Loving It!  Every minute of it!

Maritza

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