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Health Guide


I hope you enjoy this free Health Guide but more importantly I hope you use this guide to put in perspective your health and how you treat yourself. I also, hope that you will become more active in your health routine and I hope you know just how important you are.

Let's begin by discussing the the basics-eat right, exercise, strengthen your mind, body and soul.

In the end, I'll share my story.

To your health!

Let's begin.


Eat Right

Yes, there is a great deal of confusing and even contradictory information about diet, diets and what you should eat.

My advice is simple: If you eat something, notice how you physically feel afterwards not emotionally. Do you feel energized or just full or sluggish? Are you hungry again within an hour or so or are you fine? Ask yourself questions like, "Was what I ate worth the price? Are there healthier choices I can make so that I don't feel deprived?"

I know you know these but some other proactive things you can do are:
  • Add fiber
  • Eat small, frequent meals
  • Drink about 8 glasses of water a day
  • Eat whole grain foods
  • Limit meat
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Take vitamins and supplements especially if your diet is poor in variety
  • Eat a variety of foods
  • If you can, eat organically grown foods
  • If you must have chocolate or desserts, eat small portions

Healthy Guide: Exercise

This is going to be the shortest guide with only one suggestion.
Just move it, move it. Exercise.

  • Do what you can, when you can.
  • Don't overdue it if you are prone to over-doing but everything else is all good.

I like to play basketball, jog and play on the Wii Fit. My biggest problem is fitting in the time to actually play basketball or go jogging or even to pull out the Wii. Another problem specifically with the Wii is the temptation to play games like
Guitar Hero World Tour.  I suppose the games could be a reward for working out. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Seriously, the real solution to the main problem is two-fold.

  1. Find something you like to do and do it.
  2. Make a commitment to show up. Put it on the schedule or on your calendar. Make it your habit to play and/or exercise. Make it fun.

Healthy Guide: Regular Checkups

Dentist, Eye checkups, Physicals, PAP and Mammograms.
Schedule them and go. Don't give me excuses. I know them all. Make the appointments.

Healthy Guide for Women:
5 things You Must Do

1. Regular Pap Smear

Now, if you are a male reading this, please don't go and ask your doctor for a PAP smear.

This is a simple procedure and there is some discomfort involved but it is so important to get this done regularly.

2. Mammogram according to recommended guidelines

Again another important test to have done. Early detection and treatment can save your life. Just go and get the test if it is time or if you find a lump. Don't wait. In fact, if you need either a PAP smear or a mammogram, grab your calendar right now, find the Drs. number and call and schedule an appointment, as soon as you can. This does not mean to call next week or to schedule the phone call.
Just do it.

3. Eat Healthy- most of the time

If you read my story below, this will make more sense. Of course, you have to eat but there are so many choices and sometimes we slip into patterns of not making healthy choices. If you catch yourself in one of these bad patterns try to refocus on healthier choices.

4. Sleep

I can't say much here. I regularly stay up late but in my defense I generally get sufficient amounts of sleep every night and I get up at basically the same time every morning. I am not running on a sleep deficit. 

The problem is when you short change yourself on sleep regularly. We all know the effects of not having enough sleep and until you make the choice to go to bed earlier or sleep later there isn't really advice I can give you.

With sufficient sleep, you will feel better, be more alert and better able to handle the stress of a typical homeschool day.

5. Immune Defense

There are things you can do to bolster your immune system. Take your vitamins. Get extra rest if you feel like you are getting sick. Products like Emergen-C can give you an extra boost when needed. If you don't want to get a separate product, drink orange or grapefruit juice.

There are supplements that you can take. Use common sense with supplements. If you are taking 20 supplements a day that is probably too much and perhaps just focusing on eating a better diet might be an easier and tastier approach.

sunset GNU wikimedia

Healthy Guide: Your Mi

As a homeschooler, you know how important an education is to your child's future but I want to stress that keeping your mind active is also important.

Someday, your children will be out in the world and on their own. What will you do then? I hope that you will follow your passions whatever those may be.

Keeping your mind actively learning isn't difficult to do while homeschooling. Read along with your children. Read age level adult books on the topics they are studying. Live to and love to learn. Our world is fascinating. The people are intriguing. The ideas and concepts of others can be enlightening but we have to make an effort to explore and seek out what the world offers.

Try new things regularly in front of your children and be honest in your assessment. It is ok not to like everything....just be careful of how you respond. Children will mimic you and you don't want them to say, "Ewwww, this is disgusting," after trying Grandma's new turkey recipe.

cross light by Wing

Healthy U Guide: Your Soul

What nutures and lifts your spirits? Every homeschooler I know leads a very active life, at times running to so many things that it becomes stressful. It is important to recognize when you are feeling stressed and before it gets to a breaking point, pay attention to the signals and take some time to unwind, calm down or to relax.

I have gotten to a point, where it is difficult for me to relax. I feel guilty if I spend the afternoon reading a book but I know there are times when I need to do just that. I get a feeling that I need to get away, I need to set aside the worries and frustrations and I think you too know when you need to do that. Heed those times and take the break.
If you have to, schedule it in your calendar. Unless of course, you like feeling stressed, worried, anxiety ridden and depressed.

Walk outside, go on a field trip, read a book, meditate, pray, close your eyes, take a nap, have a piece of chocolate, create something, draw, paint or do an activity that engages you so much that you can only focus on that one thing and free you from the worry trap.

Signals to Watch For and Heed
  • Frequent headaches
  • Persistent lack of enthusiasm
  • Restlessness
  • Abnormal mood swings
  • Unusual female pains
  • Persistent insomnia
  • Unusual lumps
  • Unusual skin changes
  • Intense sadness/fear without cause
Generally, you know when something is wrong. Admit it and get help. 

Healthy U Guide: Organization

Some people are naturally organized, and can keep everything straight and neat even with children running around...I haven't quite mastered that yet but I do have a few suggestions that work for us.

  • If you have rules about where things need to be, make sure everyone knows the rules.
  • Put things away when you are done working/playing with them.
  • If you are a paper piler, de-pile on a regular basis.
  • Clean up spills right away, pick up trash and throw it away.
  • Recycle, if you can and have the room, if not either throw it away or give it to someone who recycles.
  • Do mini clean-ups. Have everyone help. We do a 5-10 minute pick up and the room is usually acceptable. 5 people doing 5 minutes of cleaning = 25 minutes of cleaning time.
  • Give the children chores and hold them responsible....do not do the chores for them unless they are sick.
  • Bathrooms-swish and swipe daily and clean the shower after you take a shower with a little bit of soap and a scrubby pad.
  • If you have room, designate a place for all school related items. Use organizational items to store and keep papers and books.
  • Keep counters/tables/ clean and floors swept. Assign one person to sweep in the mini clean up time if you don't like to sweep.
  • De-clutter often. Get rid of anything that doesn't fit, work or you don't want or need. Use common sense here-don't let your children get rid of their math books because they don't want them. :)
  • Create a short daily routine that works for you and covers the areas that bother you the most, for me those areas are the floors and the counter tops.
  • Socks can be rubber banded together before being thrown into the washer. Then the matching is done and the washer will get to eat fewer socks.

sunset GNU wikimedia

Healthy U: My Diet Story

I do not have a diet plan to sell you. I don't have miracle drugs that will help you lose weight and I am not going to recommend any amazing new diet discoveries.  I am going to tell you my story. Of course, you have the option to not read it.

As a teenager, I was not concerned about my weight. That probably was an oddity but I was active and ate regularly and wasn't overweight.  I ate what I wanted to eat but it is important to note, I lived on a farm and I didn't have access to junk food or a lot of candy and sugary products.

As an adult things changed. With each new pregnancy (I was pregnant 5 times) I gained weight. By the time I hit my 40's I weighed as much as I did when I was pregnant full-term with my first child. At first, this bothered me. I tried to lose weight. I watched what I ate....and not just as it went in my mouth. I wasn't totally inactive and I did exercise. The weight just would not come off. 

It was then that my attitudes towards food became dangerous.

On some levels I accepted my weight, but I certainly did not want to gain more. Unfortunately, it seemed like if I even ate small portions, or in some cases looked at a dessert I would gain weight. If I ate normal portions.  I gained weight. If I didn't eat my body went into survival mode. Also, if I overate, I gained weight.

I suspected my thyroid was not working right....but everytime I had thyroid tests they came back normal.  

I wanted to quit eating but I'm not stupid. I knew I had to eat but when the topic or  idea of eating came up, I noticed I was cringing internally as if I had been slapped. 

Preparing meals, planning meals, hungry children and husbands became something I didn't want to deal with or do anymore. I focused on preparing quick, easy meals they could and would eat. I showed them how to make them. Ok, that was a good thing. The motive was wrong but it was a good thing to teach them to cook.

I was extremely frustrated with the whole situation and I knew food was part of the problem.  Another part of the problem was my attitude and the lack of truth in information about what you need to eat to be healthy. There also is so much quackery in the diet industry that I didn't trust any of them.

I was beginning to give up. I was obese. I tried to accept that; some days I could accept it, some days, I could not.

Now, my eating habits weren't all that bad, some of the things I was doing were the right things to do. I did them consistently.

I drank water.
Limited caffeine, dairy and meat.
I ate vegetables and small portions.
I even exercised regularly.

I went to the doctor for a regular check up. The doctor's advice was to eat less and exercise more.  I tried. For months I took the children to a track 18 miles away just so we could jog. I did jog for at least 30 minutes, 2-3 times per week, but my weight only went up.

My frustration increased and again I focused on trying to accept my weight. I prayed for help. It came.

In December of last year, some strange things began to happen. During that time of the month, I felt like I was bleeding internally. Yes, I know what that feels like. I attributed this feeling to stress over traveling and the holidays. I shouldn't have done that. The next time I had my cycle start I ended up in the ER. The pain was horrible, I was freezing cold and I wasn't a priority in the ER. I asked for a blanket. They didn't have any. They brought me a sheet. I couldn't stop shaking. I couldn't get warm.  Again I felt like I was bleeding internally and having contractions. No, I wasn't pregnant.  I suspected I was going into shock. I thought, maybe then they would take me back to see the doctor.

Finally, they took me back. The first temperature reading they took didn't even register. They ran all kinds of tests, gave me fluids and treated me ok but as the tests came back clear they had no idea of what could be wrong and gave me that feeling like I was wasting their time. Eventually, the pain subsided and they told me to go home. I was glad to leave but I knew something wasn't right and I knew I had 28 days to find out what was wrong and get it fixed.

I made an appointment with a new OB/GYN doctor and he did some follow up tests and eventually surgery. I will spare you those details.

After the surgery, which didn't find any real problems, like cancer or tumors or cysts, I noticed that I started to lose weight.  I didn't really do anything differently but this was encouraging. I made a few adjustments like exercising more again and eating and eating wiser and now I have lost several pounds. For the first time in years I am below that full-term weight. I am hopeful that I will continue to lose weight but I can only say my weight loss is not because of anything I am doing differently. It is due to God's intervention into my struggle.

The good news is that even though I may never really enjoy food or see food as anything other than something necessary for survival, I can now eat without hating every bite. I still make as few meals as possible though. It was a scary and dangerous path my own mind and body was taking me on and I am thankful to be off of that path.

The point of this story, is that sometimes there is no apparent reason for weight gain or loss. There likely is a cause, but it is not always what you expect it to be or what other's expect or believe.  You know when something isn't right. Don't wait to see if there is a problem or brush it off. Get it checked out before it gets worse. Take the time to be aware of the signals and heed them.

I have shared this story in hopes that if you are having some health problems and you know that something is wrong, you will be proactive and get help.

Do you have a health story you would like to share that could help other moms?
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