All Posts tagged wyoming blog

Good Choice, Bad Choice: That Stage in Life

Ann Loyola

Ann Loyola

I was so thrilled.  I could feel the tightening of my quads and the firming up of my gluteus maximus after six bike rides.  Then I broke every rule known to womankind and asked my children if they noticed the change in my physique.  I turned my back to them to help them assess the improvements.

My daughter raised her eyebrows and looked sorry for me.  My precious son said “Mom, you’re at that age when no one cares about your hiney.”

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth …  Remaining calm, I explained to him exactly how long he was grounded.  Then I rushed to my bicycle and took off down the road, determined to noticeably tighten my derriere immediately regardless of the 13 years it had taken to get it to this magnitude.

I was panting and getting a good sweat going when a blaze of red passed me, slowed down briefly to say “Hi! Gorgeous day, isn’t it?” and then rode off.

He was in his late sixties.  Nicely clipped beard.  Very nice legs. He was wearing “can’t pinch-an-inch” lycra from top to bottom, a direct insult to my shapeless cotton tee shirt and baggy shorts.

Gorgeous day, indeed.  I was reminded of something our orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Mo Brown, told me about the senior citizens in our Valley.

Dr. Brown said he takes care of sports-related injuries in our seniors; torn ligaments from skiing, broken arms from rodeoing, hurt shoulders from bucking hay, bursitis from rockclimbing.  In other words, these people aren’t falling out of their rocking chairs. They’re riding mountain bikes and breezing past younger bicyclists while wearing bright red lycra.

I breathed some lingering dust and resolved to care deeply about my hiney and the rest of me.  I’ve made a promise to myself that I would reach my BMI goal by eating healthier and exercising wisely; no excuses about my age, chronic issues or love of chocolate. While I understand that it has taken years to get to my current BMI level, I’m having a hard time being realistic about how long it should take to get back into noticeably better shape.  I’ve decided to meet with a registered dietitian and my physician to set a goal with reasonable expectations.

I made a bad choice asking certain teenagers about the size of my posterior.  I’ve now chosen to base my motivation on the fine examples set by our active senior residents rather than the teens in my life.  And that’s a good choice.

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.

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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.

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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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