All Posts tagged healthy living

Good Choice, Bad Choice: I’m Taking Up Golf

Ann Loyola

Ann Loyola

My best friend had told me what to expect. She predicted that my husband would come up with his own helpful ideas for burning some calories and that I needed to be prepared.

“Husbands always come up with the same brilliant idea about new ways to exercise,” she said with a slight tone of disgust.

She was right. My husband broached the subject just a few days ago, suggesting that:


1. It’s something we can do together

2. It’s fun

3. We already have the right equipment. No need to run out and buy weights, trampolines or a thigh-master when we’ve got all we need right here, babe.

All of the women out there know exactly what I’m talking about, right ladies?

Yup, he wants me to golf with him.

Golf has become my husband’s passion in life. It’s grabbed him by the throat and dragged him from his home and family, separated him from his lawn mower and hunting dogs, and left me with broken tees rattling around in my washing machine.

For my birthday, I got golf clubs. For Mother’s Day, I got lessons with a pro. My husband apparently believes that I should put aside my hostility toward his addiction and join him.

In my quest for less fat and more muscle, I’ve embraced walking, bike riding, and light hiking. I’ve been invited to try Zumba, some of the local fitness centers, and yoga. All of these activities make sense to me. Golf doesn’t make sense.

I don’t find anything physically natural about a golf swing. Let’s see: wrap your hands thisaway with your thumb here and your palm there, twist your body like a spring (a spring!), don’t bend your elbow but do cock your wrist, keep your head down, stick your bottom out, pivot your weight from this foot to that foot, and for some icing on the cake, hit the ball. Are we having fun yet?

The main problem that I have with golf is that I’m a beginner. I feel awkward and I can’t wear the cute golf-girl clothing. So far, the only thing I like about golfing are the spunky little carts and drinking an ice cold beverage on the 8th hole at Targhee Village golf course.

Ann Loyola golfingDo I want to close myself off to learning new things? No, even though my enthusiastic attempt to learn how to snowboard ended abruptly with a double-fractured tailbone and a four-week intimate relationship with a blow-up chair donut, I do want to be open to new experiences. It’s time to swallow my pride.

For the betterment of my mental health by learning something new, I’m going to golf with my husband and take lessons. For my physical self, I’ve set a goal to be able to walk 9 holes by the end of September.

Disclaimer: This blog discusses my personal wellness goals and is in no way a soapbox to tell anyone else how to eat, exercise and/or live their lives.


Good Choice, Bad Choice: Gonna Climb That Mountain

Ann Loyola

Ann Loyola

Disclaimer: This blog discusses my personal wellness goals and is in no way a soapbox to tell anyone else how to eat, exercise and/or live their lives.

Last week, I was riding my bike at a sure and steady pace as my teenage children shouted words of encouragement from their positions at least  46 miles ahead of me.  I noted the upcoming hill and geared down. My kids were perched on top of the hill and looked concerned.  My son shouted that I should get off my bike and walk up, perhaps fearing that he and his sister would be unable to drag me home when I collapsed mid-incline.

Hah. Watch this, nonbelievers!

I made it to the top of the hill by furiously stomping on the pedals.  After some fist pumping and Rocky-like chest pounding, I glided downhill.  The wind rushed against my cheeks, the leaves on the trees were fluttering.  What a great feeling to be back on my bicycle!  I had a total ankle replacement last October and although my surgeon had told me I’d be able to ride a bike again, I had been worried.  Not anymore.

Over the next four days, I walked like a first-time bull-rider.  Apparently, my big push up the hill mountain resulted in various pulled muscles between my lower abdomen and upper thigh.  (Okay, it’s my groin area.  It’s not funny.)

I spoke with a physical therapist from High Peaks Physical Therapy, Michelle Christensen.  After hearing my tale, Michelle suggested that I should have progressed more slowly and eased into my hill-climbing activities; plan a warm up and a cool down. She was pretty certain that my adductor muscles had been strained, and the lower abdomen pain showed weakness in my core muscles.  A cyclist herself, she also recommended that I avoid zipping straight to the lowest gear on my bike and instead try higher gears with more efficient revolutions for incline cycling.

“Hills first, then mountains,” she said gently, not realizing that truthfully, my “mountain” was a slight incline.

It occurs to me that portion control – or lack thereof – has contributed mightily to my health decline.   When I apply portion control to my recent wellness adventure, I can see that I took too big of a portion of bike riding. I understand the benefits of pushing myself and getting sore muscles, but I don’t need to injure myself in the process.

I think that portion control has a lot to do with quality, too.  I can choose to eat three milk chocolate Lindt truffles or a grilled halibut with green beans and the calories may be the same but the benefits to my body are quite different; not that I’m giving up on Lindt truffles.   Similarly, exercising appropriately for one hour has to be better than overdoing it.

I know that riding my bike was a good choice, and I have another trip planned this Saturday as long as my strained muscles heal.  (Not funny, folks!)

Meanwhile, I’ve lost a pound.


Good Choice, Bad Choice: A Hospital Marketer’s Health Blog

Ann Loyola

Ann Loyola

Disclaimer:  This blog discusses my personal wellness goals and is in no way a soapbox to tell anyone else how to eat, exercise and/or live their lives. 

Before I get started with this adventure tale, I’ll share my health profile with you so that you can understand the inside jokes, excuses and rationalizations that have helped me reach my current state of health.


  • Age:  53
  • Height:  5’10”
  • Weight:  As if!
  • Female, married, mother of two teens
  • Chronic conditions:  hypothyroid, systemic lupus (photosensitive), arthritis, clinical depression
  • Total hip replacement, right hip
  • Total ankle replacement, left ankle
  • Prescriptions:  levothyroxine, methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, fluoxetine, folic ad and occasional prednisone shots (kenalog)

As Oprah says, here we go:

The first question I have to ask myself is “How did this happen?”

About a month ago, my mother came across some photos during her exploration of the basement flotsam and thoughtfully dropped them in the mail for me.

There I was, all of 28, hanging out with friends at a Park City club called “Cisero’s” (pay attention to that name because it comes back later in the story).  I was hot, folks, and I don’t mean sweaty.  I WAS HOT.

Of course I’ve aged.  Everyone does.  Wrinkles and gravity have changed my appearance and that’s okay, kind of.  Not really, but that’s not the point.

As I recall, the photo was taken after I had ridden my mountain bike from Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake City to the old town park in Park City, whereupon I laid my smoking bike down in the grass and proceeded to play three hours of sand volleyball.  After a brief break to change my clothes, I headed to the club to dance, of course.  And have my picture taken.

Back in those heady days, I had a BMI (body mass index) of 15. BMI is a basic indicator for body fatness and can be used to determine specific health risk factors.  Under 25% is generally okay. Click here to get more info on BMI.

Now I’m a 53 year old woman with a BMI of 35.  In the gentlest terms, many BMI charts declare this as “obese”, which I’m sure everyone can agree is an unpleasant word.  There is no good will attached to this word and thus I’ve trained by brain to always delete that “o” word and replace it with another “o” word:  overweight.  I can deal with that, kind of.  Not really.  Sigh.

As I looked at that old photo and reminisced, I made a vow to eat less, exercise more and perhaps put blonde streaks in my hair.

So last week at the Farmer’s Market, I was happily carrying a large Dutch apple pie back to my car after a fortuitous visit at a booth called “Cicerolls” where premier baker Sue Cicero had sold me one of her homemade pies!  The serendipity of this occurrence (Cisero/Cicero) wasn’t lost on me although I didn’t bat an eye about buying the pie.  I made a good choice when I bought the pie because how can it be wrong to buy a homemade apple pie from Sue Cicero?  I made a bad choice when I ate a quarter of the pie immediately upon my return to my office.

The answer to my question is pretty clear.  I know how this happened and I know I can do better.  My goal is reach a BMI of 27 within 10 months.  My mantra is this:  make less bad choices and more good choices.

Ann Loyola is the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Teton Valley Health Care. She lives in Alta with her husband and two children.


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