Up until two years ago, my womanly life was great. Since I was a teenager everything was like clockwork. I’ve always known I was lucky while some of my friends have struggled with various problems. But as the Earth spins, everything comes back around and suddenly I’m in Hot Flash Hell! O yes my friend, the only thing you wanna do is lay naked on a bed of ice. When I feel a hot flash coming on, there is nothing to do but brace myself and hope it doesn’t last long. It’s almost like getting through a contraction. Breathe through it …… and concentrate.
Two of my friends were on a girls weekend trip where they were doing some shopping at the open markets in Round Top, when one of them exclaimed, “Girrrrrrl I need my Spray! The other turned just in time to see her showering herself with a fine mist of spray in the face. It seemed she had been having hot flashes and went to a health store where she was introduced to a spray called…….wait for it……..”Cool Hottie”.
Oh yes, the internet is flooded with information on hot flashes and many products for sale that have proven to help. I decided to try the least invasive approach and found some things that actually help with the severity of hot flashes. We all have our vices. For me they are coffee, wine and spicy foods, which are some are the main dietary triggers for hot flashes. Let’s get serious! If you know me at all, there is no way I’m giving up my coffee and wine but I do cut down on these things when HF visits. White wine instead of red seems to help as well. Unlike my business partner, Miss KCW, I’m not huge on exercise. Though very active it’s not the same, so I have started doing at least some type of exercise three times a week. It can be anything really. I mix it up and pick things I can do in and around my home. These things seem so obvious, but when you are in the hot flash haze it’s hard to assess what needs to be done. When mine started I was in a panic. There are many other options out there such as hormone therapy, prescription creams, natural supplements, sprays or what ever makes you feel better.
Things are looking up for me right now. Thank you Lord for cooler weather! I can put the “Cool Hottie” spray away until next year.
Recently my husband severed his Achilles feeding a chicken! That’s right you heard it right. The story is complicated so I’ll explain when I see you.
ANYWAY, we were sitting in the doctor’s office waiting to be seen after surgery and in my frazzled, stressed condition, I decide to treat myself for a minute and read. So I start reading about The Little House on the Prairie and suddenly my life seemed like a skate compared to the Ingalls and yet they were so happy. Seriously….. who wants to scrub clothes in a bucket, work in the fields and chase off the locusts. I mean who has time to cook three meals a day and do all of this! Yet their every happiness, their very existence, is created from the work of their own hands. Yet I’m walking around feeling sorry for myself because I’ll be picking up the slack! So I’m thinking “Work it out Sista! It’s not the end of the world. Get up and get busy.”
It really is true. I realize that I’m happiest when accomplishing tangible productive work—working in the yard, hand washing my dishes and even plucking away at my computer brings me happiness. This does not surprise Kelly Lambert Ph.D, who is, like me a mother, wife and all around Ma Ingalls. She has been researching the phenomenon she calls “effort-rewards.” When you do meaningful work with our hands, a kind of neurochemical feedback floods your brain with dopamine and serotonin. These happy brain chemicals are natural antidepressants, and we’ve evolved to release them both to reward ourselves for working with our hands and to motivate ourselves to do it some more. Dr. Lambert says Americans have become more depressed in recent years and at the same time we’ve experienced a decrease in purposeful physical activity. Did we lose something vital to our mental health when we started pushing buttons instead of plowing the fields? I know that seems extreme but it does make a point.
Dr. Pansinski says she gets that happy look what I did! feeling when she prepares a meal at the end of a day filled with the more intangible tasks of managing her medical practice. “We are programmed to reward ourselves when we accomplish things with our hands. I think for so many people, it just feels as though everything’s going so fast- life, kids, hundreds of emails a day. There is so little we do now that you can really see and hold on to. Working with one’s hands is a way to slow down, to savor, to take pleasure in life again.” It’s your brain rewarding you for a job well done. So I challenge you. Try it and see how a little elbow grease makes you feel.
Don’t expect me to become best friends with the washboard and plow but I’m going to try and get through this trying time with some busy work, faith and WINE. According to the doctor, it will be Christmas time before we are done with the Achilles ordeal. I say WE because I love my husband dearly no matter what comes into our lives.
P.S. Stay tuned for a good recipe for FRIED CHICKEN on the site!
What are regrets exactly? I think I’ve come to a place in life where I don’t believe in them….don’t buy into or sign up for them. After all, I love my life today. And the road I’ve traveled to get here has made me who I am. So yes, mistakes have been aplenty but each one has gotten me here, to this place that I am today that is perfect for me. I completely believe in the plan that God has for me and I know that He loves me unconditionally. I am where I am because of decisions that I have made, good and bad, and because of where God has led. It has been a long process for me. But I think, even dare to believe, that perhaps I have found true happiness. At times I doubt what I feel because after all that I’ve been through, I don’t always have enough faith in my own feelings. Sometimes it’s hard to trust them.
Girls are taught from the time that we are very young that we should be polite and accommodating. I struggle with this all the time. It’s like I have a saint on one shoulder saying “Don’t rock the boat, go along, don’t state your true feelings because you might offend someone” and then on the other shoulder, what seems like it could be the devil saying “be you, act how you feel and say what you think”. Why is it that the one that says to be me seems so wrong? I do believe that self-sacrifice is important at times but one has to recognize the difference between being kind and being empty inside. Did I pass this trait onto my own daughter? I hope not because I have recently discovered that it’s really ok to be ME! In fact, it’s necessary. It is simple but so, so complicated and profound. Why did I think that I had to sacrifice me in order to please others? And how can one ever hope to be their best not being themselves? It’s imperative to be happy with yourself before you can ever hope to have any kind of relationship with someone else. It’s taken me years to learn this. You mustn’t worry about meeting others’ expectations at the expense of being yourself. “Never let the voice of reason drown out the cry of your heart.”
Part of my learning has to do with the relationships I’ve had. I won’t blame anyone but myself here. I’ve made choices that, as I stated before, I have no regrets about. It’s gotten me here. I had so much to figure out and I truly believe that the only way for me to get here is down the road that I traveled. And I have to say that I am so happy in my life today that I feel compelled to proclaim it. So forgive me if this is a bit gushy. I’ve messed up a lot of things but each time, I’ve gained a little understanding. Now I have a man in my life that loves ME. He is able to love ALL of me because he is so comfortable with who he is that he can allow me to be me. And I know that I can be all of me when I’m with him. He doesn’t want to, or need to, control me. I didn’t think that this kind of relationship really existed. He tells me that Nirvana exists on the other side of your comfort level. So what happens if I completely, unconditionally, irrevocably let go and fall in love? It scares the shit outta me. But I’m drawn to him. I can’t turn away and I don’t want to. He believes in me and gives me the courage to leap. Taking this chance is scary but what do we do? We leap with faith because God does have a perfect plan. Right now I’m not going to think about the destination of this adventure. It’s enough knowing that the journey will be amazing.
Lady Gaga said it best:
“I need a man that thinks it’s right when it’s so wrong
Tonight, yeah, baby!
Right on the limits where we know we both belong tonight
It’s hard to feel the rush, to brush the dangerous
I’m gonna run right to, to the edge with you
Where we can both fall o’er in love
I’m on the edge of glory, and I’m hanging on a moment of truth
Out on the edge of glory, and I’m hanging on a moment with you”
The effects of sleep deprivation are slowly gaining attention amongst fitness and wellness professionals. Getting adequate sleep quantity and quality is not only essential to optimizing mental and physical recuperation, it may be essential to preventing obesity.In a recent study published in the journal Sleep, researchers from Wake Forest University reported that getting less than 5 hours of sleep or more than 8 hours leads to increased intra-abdominal fat when compared to those who sleep for 6 or 7 hours.
More than 1,000 African- and Hispanic-Americans were interviewed to obtain information on sleep habits, nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle. They also participated in a CT scan, which was used to assess both visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat. Baseline measurements were then compared to a re-assessment at 5 years.
Participants who slept less than 5 hours a night experienced a 32% increase in deep abdominal fat over 5 years, while those with averaged more than 8 hours of sleep increased by 22%. Subcutaneous abdominal fat increased similarly.
After factoring in lifestyle factors such as total calorie intake, education levels, physical activity and smoking, sleep duration persisted as an independent risk factor for increased abdominal adiposity, especially in participants under 40.
Researchers offer broad speculation to explain the cause and effect relationship of sleep to fat gain. The primary explanations involved increased daytime fatigue, which limits energy to participate in physical activity. In addition, some believe in the potential for sleep deprivation to inhibit appetite-suppressing hormones, thus leading to overeating.
Although this study replicates previous finding on sleep and abdominal fat, it is the first to assess this factor in minority populations.
Hairston, K.G., et al (2010) Sleep Duration and Five-Year Abdominal Fat Accumulation in a Minority Cohort: The IRAS Family Study. Sleep. 33(03): 289-295.
Amy Norton. (2010) Sleep habits linked to fat gain in younger adults. Reuters Health. March 1st.