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Monday motivation – The importance of solid foundations for life.

Gold Medal

As you know, I was on my soapbox last Friday and I did promise to tell you about how I went from ‘Oops’ to ‘solid core confidence’. Before I go on, here’s a potted history of I ended up in the oops situation in the first place. It’s a common story. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

Cost Centre 1 was born 21 years ago, with Cost Centre 2 appearing 15 months later. Both of them received excellent postnatal care as well as early years care. I can’t say the same about my own postpartum care. Like many women, I tried for years to lose the baby weight but always looked pregnant no matter how much weight I lost. And to make matters worse, I was quietly suffering from stress incontinence. Running after the kids, coughing, sneezing – all common activities, lead to embarrassment. My self-confidence was at an all-time low. I felt fat, frumpy, and had a dampness problem.

At every well woman check-up I would ask if anything could be done, only to be fobbed off the usual statement “What do you expect? You had two babies back to back.”In other words, pad up and shut up!

Not willing to give in so easily, I tried kegel exercises. No improvement.

I spent a huge sum of money on a battery-operated kegel machine. No improvement.

I spent even more money going to legs, bums, and tums exercise classes. No improvement.

And then menopause appeared on the horizon and things got worse. I couldn’t go running anymore as it made the whole situation worse. Dancing? Forget it. And as for the hay fever season, I lived in fear of the next sneeze. If I was lucky, I’d feel a sneeze coming on, be able to stop whatever I was doing, cross my legs (and fingers) and brace myself for the oncoming explosion.

Sometimes I was not in a position to brace myself and the inevitable happened. I’d beat a hasty retreat to the nearest ladies loo and do as much damage limitation as possible. Damn it! Was I that old accident-prone woman already?

And then a chance comment from friend lead to a hushed conversation with her. She’d been in the same boat. Note the word “been”, past tense. She had regained control and was now on her own personal fitness mission now that she had a functioning core. I wanted this for myself.

Armed with the contact details of the women’s healthcare coach, I filled in the short on-line form and waited for the initial phone consultation. Looking back, this was one of the most important calls I’ve ever had. It was a life-changer. We agreed to proceed and meet in person to benchmark my current fitness levels, posture, abdominals etc.

After checking over my tummy and posture I discovered the reason why I always looked pregnant. I had spent the past twenty odd years with separated abdominals, diastasis recti to give it its posh name. Mine was five fingers wide, i.e. about 3″ (7.5cm) at my belly button! No wonder none of the exercises and machines worked!

With little core stability, the pelvic floor muscles had no solid foundation to anchor onto, hence the stress incontinence. And it can be reversed. As with anything in life, there are no 100% guarantees but with carefully planned exercises and an adjustment of food intake, improvements will happen.

After 6 weekly visits with my coach, and some homework, we measured the belly gap and it had closed to a smidge of a finger width. And my oops moments? They are in the past. The biggest revelation happened when I was asked to provide a midstream urine sample for the doc and managed it effortlessly. It wasn’t until I marched back triumphantly into the consulting room, that I truly realised what I’d been able to do. I don’t think the doc has ever seen such a happy patient, proudly proffering up a neat, tidy and more to the point, dry sample bottle. I felt like I’d won a medal.

So now you know why I am so happy to be able to run, dance, and chase my pup, and why a stable core is key to resolving the embarrassing moments for millions of women.

So if any of you reading this are facing similar issues or know someone who is, have courage. Find a women’s healthcare physio/coach and take back control of your core.

incidentally, I have some lovely healing smoothie recipes to share. They make getting your daily fruit and veg intake really simple and tasty.

Happy Monday everyone xx

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Tartan-clad Knights – #JusJoJan

Leta Hawk’s prompt, “Knight” really got me thinking. First into my mind popped the Moody Blues and their Knights in White Satin. I used to love playing that on the school grand piano when nobody was around. Strictly between you and me, I shouldn’t have been anywhere near the piano, never mind giving stirring renditions of whatever I fancied. I couldn’t help it. The piano wanted to be played. I only got caught once… I was in the middle of a particularly good bit in Stairway to Heaven, and had no idea the head of music was standing behind me. Oops!

The next thing to pop into my head was Knights in shining armour and how thin on the ground chivalry seems to be these days. It is said that “manners maketh man”, but I’d include women in this too. Just being pleasant to each other makes life seem so much better.

And now that I’m home from doing my bit for Burns Suppers south of Hadrian’s Wall, I can say that in my little corner of the world, chivalry is very much alive. Normally I would have attended the Supper with hubby, and he, being the resident Scotsman, would have Addressed the Haggis. However, he is away on business this weekend so the task fell to me. This also meant I would be at a dance with no partner for the first time in my life!

To my delight, I had three kilted Knights making sure I was always in the dance floor, and one of them just happened to be our dance teacher so I was able to dance new dances without tripping over my feet or his. There’s a first time for everything!

I’m off to put my feet up for the rest of the day.


#JusJoJan is brought by Linda G Hill. The rules of engagement are on her page.

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A very busy weekend SoCS & #JusJoJan

This weekend I shall mostly be

  • Practicing yoga
  • Running
  • Speed walking
  • Waltzing
  • Two-stepping
  • Tangoing (well sort of. I only learned the steps two days ago)
  • Quick-stepping
  • Scottish Country Dancing
  • and Addressing a Haggis!

Phew!

Have a super Saturday everyone xx


This busy post was prompted by Linda G Hill – “movement”

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The importance of a strong core at Christmas time

This time last year, as I prepared for the annual office party, I went through the obvious checklist.

Dress

Shoes

Accessories

Hair

Makeup

Mani-pedi

Nice matching upholstery to make the most of my curves

… and then

Pads for the inevitable “Oops!” moments.

Damn it! Those things can really ruin one’s pre-party buzz. I must remember to visit the ladies before I hit the dance floor.

Fast-forward to last week. Two Christmas parties in one week. My check list was mostly the same, except for one item, those blooming pads.

In January this year, I stamped down my metaphorical foot, and said “No more pads. No more leaks. There has to be something I can do. I’m not going through the rest of my life being afraid to sneeze!”

A chance conversation with a good friend opened up an opportunity to chat with a women’s core training specialist. Within two months this lovely lady had worked miracles for me. I now sport a flatter, firmer tummy, and core muscles strong enough to allow me to get through the hay fever season, sneezing willy-nilly!

I’ve been mostly good at keeping up with the program since the course finished (Santa, please take note) and it’s paid dividends. Armed with this inner strength and confidence, I boogied my butt off at both parties. My only regret, apart from a stonking hangover, is that I didn’t meet this lady years earlier.

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One-liner Wednesday… I shall go to the ball.

Cinderella

“Life is not a fairytale. If you lose your shoe at midnight, you’re drunk!”

I have no intention of being careless with my footwear at this year’s office Christmas party, which is why my new dance shoes have ankle straps to secure the sparkly, glittering treasures to my feet.

I may turn into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight, but I fully intend to go home with both shoes in my possession, irrespective of any alcohol on board!


Today’s one-liner Wednesday is brought to you by Linda G Hill

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My conscious life blueprint – Social and Fun

Cinderella

This section of my Daily Greatness Yoga Journal was fun to complete. I love the first question –

“How can I have more fun?” Easy, win the lottery and stop working. Mind you that would involve me remembering to actually buy a ticket. Meanwhile, back in the real world, I’d like to spend more time on the ‘nice to do’ activities instead of always focussing on the ‘need to do’ stuff. The answer is to consciously plan my week and month, making sure to plan in some fun things to do every week.

The next question asked what new hobby or sport could I start? I used to enjoy dancing as a youngster, and am usually glued to the television on Saturday nights at this point in the year, watching Strictly Come Dancing. I want to learn to dance waltzes, Foxtrot, tangos, etc with hubby. As luck would have it, I saw an advert for dance classes for beginners, teaching sequence dancing.

I didn’t give hubby much of a chance to think about it before I rang up to enquire about joining. I was reassured that the attendees range from ‘experienced’ to ‘complete novices’. At least we fall into the category of ‘very rusty’ but have some experience of sequence dancing, thanks to compulsory Scottish Country Dance classes at school.

We were nervous but excited at the same time as we arrived for our first lesson. By the end of two hours we had met loads of lovely new people, giggled our way through our very first waltz and got sore feet. In the spirit of having more fun, I had to go shopping for new shoes – dancing shoes. The dance shop assistant was most helpful and grinned broadly when she asked what I wanted in a dance shoe and all I wanted was sparkles.

I am now the proud owner of a pair of silvery white shoes with a glittery top coat on the leather. The light glints off the glitter particles beautifully when I whirl around. They make me feel like I am a little girl playing dress-up in my favourite princess shoes. What could be more fun?

We now know three dances reasonably well. We are going to the club’s Christmas party, a black tie event, which means, of course, more retail therapy. After all, I will need a pretty dress to go with the shoes, preferably one with a skirt that swirls and swishes with every turn.

It looks like my fun mission is to be the little girl again, playing dress-up for real, and going to the ball, just like Cinderella. The main difference will be, I have no intention of being home before midnight, let alone leaving a shoe behind.

 

Happy Monday everyone!

 

 

 

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Looking after my health and body

Health and Body

I’ve come to realise that I get heaps of inspiration for writing while walking my dog. As I squelched through the mud, pup tearing across the fields with her ears flapping in the wind, a pile of leaves took flight. Looking around, I could see some trees seem to have eagerly embraced the changing season and are showing off their Autumn colours, with a few trees clinging desperately to Summer Green, all be it, quite faded and lack-lustre.

Kicking through the leaves got me thinking about life, as you do. The health and beauty industry would have us be the green leaves, determined to stay forever young, with their anti-aging skin products, multivitamins for the over fifties, hair dye for those pesky greys, not to mention those awful adverts for life insurance. So here’s a few thoughts from the field –

  • I can try to hold back the tide, but I’d end up soaking wet
  • Time waits for no man, or woman for that matter
  • Why do we try to defy time with so-called anti-aging products? Be the autumn leaf and embrace the change
  • Should I look to my mother’s example for how to live my live?
  • Or should I be a pioneer and create my own path?

On returning home and completing mud removal, I settled in to start my lovely yoga journal. There is a whole section called “My conscious life blueprint”, the first part of which concerns health and the body. It asks questions such as

“What is my specific goal/outcome?”

“Why do I want it?”

“What must I do/be to achieve it?”

“How will I make it happen, and by when?”

“What might get in the way?”

Goodness me. It’s like writing an essay and being in a therapy session all at the same time!

Once I got over the size of the planner, it was quite a fun job – got me thinking about my view on health and age, and the thoughts that popped up on my walk. Last month, I wrote about my experiences with Dr Northrup’s 14 day ageless goddess plan… the ups and downs and things that got in the way. This planner seems to be an extension of the goddess plan.

I have decided I am not following my mother’s path for menopause and beyond. From my point of view, it didn’t work for her, and I’m sure as hell not doing that to me or my family. It’s taken me countless hours in therapy to undo the damage.

Instead, I like the look of my own path. I’m trying to let loose my inner crone, chosing a more holistic approach to this stage in life. I am escaping the age cage by not conforming to anyone’s expectations of how I should be “at my age”. I’m banning that expression for a start. Age is only important for cheeses and fine wines!

Instead, I am following the guidance of my Daily Greatness journal which advises daily affirmations, daily yoga (obviously, it being a yoga journal!) meditation, getting in touch with your intuition, doing something that gives you pleasure, and getting your body moving in new ways.

 

So here are my goals for the health and body section –  to weigh about the same as I do now in one year’s time (I’m within my BMI range), to increase my flexibility and stamina, to learn to ballroom dance, and run a 5km fun run with my daughter.

I’d better getting planning. After all, failure to plan, is planning to fail… or something along those lines. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Wishing you all a wonderful, fun weekend.