My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for Health

KISS me slowly, sweetheart. In honor of breast cancer awareness month

Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon

Find help to remain strong when dealing with the challenges of Breast Cancer

Kiss me slowly, sweetheart, she whispered. It was another one of their games she had invented after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Life had been such a whirlwind before. Their schedules hardly allowed them time together. They would dash off to work at mornings and fall into bed exhausted at nights. With schedules and functions and staying focused on that damnable goal they would throw each other a quick kiss accompanied by a sleepy goodnight and drift off to sleep.

Why does it take something devastating to make us reevaluate our lives? How do we lose sight of the really important things so easily?

Sabina and Sebastian had been stunned after they had received the diagnosis – Sabina had Stage III breast cancer. In the midst of the decision-making, surgery and treatments they had needed help to just cope with it.

One morning as Sebastian had brushed her lips with a kiss, she had wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered, “Kiss me slowly, sweetheart.” She hated this terrible disease and what it had done to her body but loved this person she never knew her husband could be.

It was he who had told her to ask for the KISS  principle or any variations of it when she needed it. When things got overwhelming, she would say, “Keep It Simple, Sweetheart.”  Shortly after, that had morphed in any request she could invent that involved the word kiss and they had found pure, simple fun even in their tragedy as they tried to out do each other’s level of creativity.

Sabina had excellent doctors, her faith in God had been challenged and strengthened, her love for Sebastian had deepened, yet she knew tomorrow was not promised. She had to love and live well, today.

So whatever you are going through:
Find the “simple” in the midst of it
• Allow yourself to be loved
Have fun with those in your space
Remember your faith in God CAN bear up beneath tough challenges
• …and if you have someone to share a kiss with – take it slow and savor it – tomorrow is not promised.

Boot Camp Blessings – Physical, Spiritual & Emotional Training

The "Right" trainer has a vested interest in making you leaner, stronger, healthier, better

Challenged to Transform

I wanted to lay some ground rules after I signed up for boot camp, compliments of Sherri Adair/Best Self Magazine Atlanta, so I sent an email to Kevin at The American Boot Camp Company stating, “…I’ve never liked working out hard, I don’t really run…, I want to start at a comfortable place… I love my workout being fun…”

If I had done my homework I would have known that boot camp was not the place for that mentality— that’s like showing up for life, stating, “I don’t do conflict, I don’t do challenges and I want life to happen on my time, every time.

There are certain things we can change, but some things were designed to change us. Knowing the difference will determine how we respond to life’s challenges and who we become as we go through and emerge.

Here are 6 lessons about Boot Camp Blessings:

1. I wanted to show up for boot camp and just walk the park and listen to the birds. The rewards of a boot camp and those of walking the park are completely different – Choose the thing that will get you the results you desire.

2. At night when I’m tired and hurting I remember how much I hate boot camp. In the morning when I’m rested, I’m excited and eager to go – Don’t make decisions that can change the quality of your life when you are vulnerable and driven by your emotions, things have a way of looking better in the morning.

3. On Thursday after 6am as I knelt on the cold, wet grass, doing painful, ridiculous things that are supposed to tone me, lift me and shape me, with the head trainer shouting “WORK THOSE GLUTES!!” I found myself thinking, “I really don’t need that good-looking a bottom…”  In the midst of challenges, quiet your negative thoughts and focus on the big picture. Looking better is just icing — being healthier, stronger and a better you IS the big picture.

4. Every time I decided to “sit it out” I heard several voices going, “Come on Dona, you got this, you can do it!” The task of your trainer is to push you, stretch you, challenge you, encourage you and produce growth…. even when it hurts, angers and irritates you.

5. It’s Sunday evening and I’m more prepared for my week than I’ve ever been. Clothing? In car! Breakfast/Lunch? READY TO GO!  If you look at this the wrong way you can go through the discomfort, the difficulties and the pain of it and still miss it – Don’t miss the things designed to discipline and mature you. Be trained by them!

6. Do the work – exercise, eat right, rest well and expect to see results. The evening after my first workout I headed to “Y” to soak my aching muscles in their whirlpool. As I jumped into my tankini and boy shorts I looked in the mirror and declared, “I see results already!”

Love the ones you’re with

The challenge to love those closest to us is valuable training in learning how to love well.

A challenge to love

In another lifetime, years before I moved to the US, the gentleman I was engaged to gave me a cd with love songs that are intended to be used at weddings. Even though I later decided that he was not the person I wanted to share my life with, I still remember and love those songs.  I caught myself singing one of them a few days ago after working on a slide show for an article that was published in Best Self Magazine, Atlanta.

The article was about finding love, and Amber Salisbury, one of the experts who contributed to the article gave this valuable piece of advice, “Don’t wait until you are in love to start loving.” There were 40 tips total, but this is the one I held on to.

I remember as a child thinking that marriage must be one of the greatest things in the world, after all God made it. But the words to the song I had caught myself singing seem like words from a fairy tale when viewed in the reality of many relationships.

“Wherever there is laughter ringing
Someone smiling, someone dreaming
We can live together there
Love will be our home.
Where there are words of kindness spoken
Where a vow is never broken
We can live together there
Love will be our home …”

Seems simple enough. As a matter of fact, these would probably be the words we would use to state the kind of relationship we desire. But for many, after the wedding ceremony, followed by years of too many harsh and unkind words, disregard, disrespect, broken vows and the inability to remember the last smile; one may discover that loving the people closest can be downright challenging.

I believe that’s why the advice to start by loving the ones we are with, (right now) is so valuable. The relationships that we are in: child, parent, brother, sister, colleague, friend, are the training grounds for how we do relationships in the future. This is where we learn how to handle conflict, how to forgive, how to show respect, how to honor and love others and how to value ourselves. Insecurity, distrust, fear, jealously, low self-esteem or unfaithfulness will not magically disappear when the “right one” comes along.

Is there something that you would like to see changed? No, I’m not talking about in the other person, I’m talking about in you. You know that behavior that resurfaces more often than you’d like?  Those words you always wish you had not said, or that thing you keep saying you’ll do differently next time? or whatever your thing is that needs to be changed.

I’m working on my stuff too. I have one great desire, that is, to love well. I have to fight the relational dysfunction that I saw growing up, where love was more a feeling, and it seemingly was not understood that the act of love is a choice. In maturing I’ve had to relearn some things.  For, the lasting magic that we long for in relationships come by hard work. Working on, working through, working pass.

I refuse to live in pretense. I refuse to hide behind anything false. The mistakes I’ve made I’ve had to work through and work pass. However, my journey for emotional health and growth is one that I’m committed to and one that will last a lifetime.

As you pursue your emotional wellness journey, this is Dona Halliday challenging you to love the ones you are with, so that you’ll learn how  to genuinely love the one you want to share life with.

Add health to your breakfast. The absolutely best way to eat an eggo waffle

Add health to your breakfast

A healthy breakfast is good for you

I remember as a child we had to have breakfast, but, it had to be a “HOT breakfast.” So, if we were having corn flakes we would add hot milk to make it a “hot breakfast.”

The habit of prioritizing breakfast has continued into adulthood, and having a leisurely breakfast is one of my favorite things. 

I believe some of the keys to adding health to our breakfast and making it something we must do, are: Prioritizing our health, proper planning of our time, learning to mix things we love with things we may not love as much, and having fun with it.

For the past three mornings I’ve had some time to “play with my food” and I’ve discovered the absolutely best way to have my Eggo waffles.

This morning’s breakfast menu included:
1. Porridge: Quaker old fashion oats, soy milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey
2. Multi-grain Eggo Waffles
3. Brown eggs stuffed with soy cheese
4. Chopped bell pepper, red seedless grapes, spinach, celery, tomato, kiwi, and the kicker, cilantro

Dona Halliday believes she has the best way to eat eggo waffles

Breakfast - my favorite meal

Now, what you eat is important but how you eat it can make a huge difference. So I love taking my waffle, folding it in half then stuffing it with my eggs, fruits and veggies and sprinkling chopped cilantro on top. Absolutely no syrup!

Yes, yes, I know you have your favorite ways to eat waffles as well, but there’s nothing like delighting your taste buds, yet also making sure your body gets the healthy stuff it needs.

For 2011, challenge yourself to a healthier lifestyle and start with breakfast.

Weight, waist and food challenges

I had gotten up at 4:45a.m hastily pulled on my workout clothes and sneakers not so much as a declaration of my intent to exercise, but more so as a warning to both body and mind that spontaneous “exercise-like” activities MAY take place. My primary task was that of cleaning, but cleaning can provide great work-out opportunities.

I was on the far end of the room and had bent to pickup something, on my way up I had turned my head slightly and in so doing saw the mirror across from me. I gasped and stared at a figure very much like myself on the other side of the room — still slightly bent over — but the figure was different in that its middle section was spilling over the top of its pant. I froze, eyes only moving, darting left to right, up and down, then to my middle section, then left to right, up and down then back to my middle section, totally shocked by my muffin top.

I straightened, examining my side profile — something was terribly wrong, for it seemed that my middle section had grown vigorously bearing much resemblance to my protruding back section, and my back section was protruding much less than I remembered.

I stood, baffled. Then I quieted my thoughts and continued my cleaning. Mentally I started back-tracking my activities over the past few months determine to find what had gone wrong. I felt betrayed, for only two months ago I had made a decision to get my body “holiday-ready”. That meant I had those two months to tone and build more muscle so that during the holidays my body would be its own 24-hour-fat-burning machine to provide balance for any over-indulgences.

That had not worked, my body said OVER-INDULGENCE in bold, large letters. The last two weeks’ over-indulgences of blueberries muffins, delicious large ones; cold and creamy, melt-in-your-mouth almond and coconut ice cream; moist and must-have-been-made-in-heaven strawberry pound cake; and those perfect pies with the flaky crust — sweet potato, pumpkin, pecan … and certainly not enough “exercise-like” activities, had produced some undesirable results.

I’m not obsessed with my weight, at 140 lbs and a height that varies depending on my choice of elevation, the experts say my weight is normal. But abdominal fat can adversely affect our health, as a matter of fact I learned that it’s important to watch our waist number.

I believe in striving to be healthy. Sometimes my quest for healthy living is easy and at other times it’s a challenge. It’s been a challenge for the past few weeks.

As I write this post, even though I am not hungry, I had nuts and a cookie and I’m thinking about the coconut ice cream that is in the fridge. I’m also thinking about those delicious homemade waffles my brother brought over this morning. I’m thinking it would be really nice to have them with scrambled eggs and crisp, crunchy turkey bacon. I’m wondering what happened to the last piece of sweet potato pie, I don’t remember eating it. I’m wishing that I had not eaten all the turkey neck bones last evening, those had been sooo good. I’m thinking about food — delicious, pleasurable, satisfy-me-now comfort food — but I’m not hungry.

Discipline reminds me that physical food should feed physical hunger, so I have to say no to eating for the rest of the evening and re-enforced the need to get back to a consistently healthy lifestyle.

Yet the holidays are far from over, and tasty goodies will taunt and tempt us with whispers of “Come, have some. That’s all? Come, have some more. You know it’s ok, it’s the holidays.”

Though I will still allow myself a little over-indulgence once in a while, I understand that moderation is key, as I become ward of my waistline, watcher of my weight and exercise willpower in my choices.

I need nourishment — Eating for our health

"I need nourishment"

"Eating for our health"

My favorite meal is breakfast, my favorite kind of food is breakfast food. So as I pulled up to the table to have breakfast – a bowl of fruit (blueberries, pineapple, kiwi), with waffles, eggs, spinach, bell pepper, celery and a cup of hot tea; I was very surprised when the thought crept into my mind, “you should have some cookies with that.” There definitely was a traitor in the house. I don’t ever recall wanting cookies for breakfast and as I thought it could not hurt because my breakfast was healthy enough, I went back to my purpose for eating, “I need nourishment.”

That’s what I say sometimes instead of “I’m hungry.” “I need nourishment” reminds me that I eat mainly to nourish my body and not just to satisfy a hunger. It helps me to be consistent with eating foods that are geared towards a healthier lifestyle and not give in regularly to comfort foods.

It may be surprising to know that even though healthy eating is important to me I don’t do guilt trips when I don’t eat healthy. I allow myself the occasional splurge and fortunately my body and brain have been trained to desire healthy stuff  so every once in a while after my 6 scopes of soy cream or my 20 plus cookies, or Cheetos, my body declares that’s enough and I have no tolerance for them for a few months.

Remembering why we eat is a good start to moving towards healthier eating habits. Our bodies are so intelligent and when trained can be a guide to establishing its own healthy eating patterns. Accept the challenge and start training your body by feeding it those things that are healthy and then listen when it tells you it no longer desires the unhealthy foods it once craved.

Work what works for you–Finding your fitness groove

Finding your fitness groove

"Saturday morning at-home exercise"

Class is over, we’re standing in the “Y’s” parking lot talking, 3 beautiful women, 3 different body types, all committed to our particular exercise routines and with different goals in mind. I’m the leanest of the 3, and lest you think I’m boasting, let me say that I’m a black West Indian who believes my heritage dictates that I should be packing at least a little bit of “junkiness in my chunkiness.” So several years ago when my doctor hinted at high cholesterol and I changed my eating habits and my hips disappeared I was not pleased. Years later, my healthy eating habits have remained, I’ve kicked up my exercise routine and I said good-bye to hips.

I’ve realized, though, it’s not only important to know the fitness level you want to achieve, but finding your personal fitness groove is paramount — that is, a routine that is fun, flexible, works and can grow into a life long habit.

I had committed myself to 2 nights at the “Y” (1 hour of yoga, 45 mins of cardio box and 1 hr of Zumba.) However, I wanted to exercise more often without having to give more time at the “Y”, so I needed to find something that I can do at home consistently. I have a range of dvds– pilates, yoga, dance, taebo and more but in the past I’ve lacked consistency. So now, every morning Monday to Friday I get up at 5am. I mix my chores with exercise and then I dedicate about 20 mins to jogging in place or dancing, a little yoga, planks, push ups, and I’m energized to face my day.

Does it work? Can 20 mins a day make a difference? My body says it can, consistency is key. So find your fitness groove and work what works for you.

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