1
Mar

Sharon Coyle-Saeed Discusses DABDA

Sharon Coyle-Saeed’s March guest blog post is ready for you to read! Make sure to check back in April for her next post.

Happy reading 🙂

 

IMG_9329

As my social work internship for the coming year is working with hospice patients, I am re-reading the DABDA theory which Elisabeth Kubler-Ross coined. It is a processing of emotions upon hearing one has to face mortality quite sooner than they thought. They are steps one goes through when dealing with loss. I believe a more common term is, “the grieving process.”

DABDA is an acronym for the following emotions. The first D is for Denial, the A is for Anger, the B is the bargaining which occurs, the next D is Depression and the final A is for Acceptance. DABDA.  As I read through the chapters on the steps, I felt that this theory can be applied to losing one’s past life from a chronic disease. The loss that happens of our former self  and hope that this resonates with some of you as well.

The first emotion, which I would like to explore in this blog is the feeling of denial. The initial shock!

This can NOT  be happening to me and in some cases, thinking this is NOT happening to me. I was stuck in this one for awhile….and to some extent, still am (gosh, after all these years).

When I first learned about my diagnosis of ulcerative colitis in 1990, I thought that it was clearly a wrong diagnosis. I truly believed that it was because of drinking “tap” water.  I switched to Evian and did not see a difference. So, I moved on to flat out denial. I am not sick so therefore, I do not need treatment. I would  go for some periods of not taking my medicine(which I am not recommending. Just pointing out this is also an extreme effect of denial). I clearly recall auditioning and appearing in a community theater show, The Cradle Will Rock, and being so very ill and not even telling a single soul. It was a horrible isolation. Isolation, is also mentioned by Kubler-Ross, as a denial reaction.

I think I came to the realization that I was “not well”, when my local gastroenterologist said I needed to see an IBD specialist at Mount Sinai who sent me to a surgeon that same day. I had my first part of the J-Pouch surgery the next day. Clearly, this was a lot to digest(No pun intended). When faced with this extreme, I had to own to the seriousness that my condition had taken.

My next “shock” came when I started to have more frequent hospital visits in 2011 as a result of small bowel obstructions. I clearly remember my best friend, Theresa, after calling her for the umpteenth time and letting her know I was sick again, “I think it is a stomach virus or something I ate.”  She replied with, “It is not that. It is an obstruction.”  I was in TRUE shock. I truly believed with my whole heart that this was not chronic, and that I was just reacting to something outside of me and not something that was happening inside.

Is this healthy? Is this normal? It is not only the former two things, it is also a coping mechanism to deal with the stress of loss. In this case, our “healthy self.”  “I regard it a healthy way of dealing with the uncomfortable and painful situation with which some of these patients have to live for a long time” (Kubler-Ross, 1969, p. 52).

My feelings are we all can relate to some extent  to this state of denial and it is a normal feeling and okay to go through as long as it does not become so radical that we do not take our medications or deny our body’s limitations. This I still find challenging.

I have this inner core that says, “Tell me I can’t, and I will show you that I can”. Some say it is resilience. I say it is an inherited stubbornness(thank you Daddy). This worked to my benefit when I was told that it was highly unlikely to conceive due to the J-Pouch surgery and having a belly that is prone to concrete adhesions. That was all I needed to hear. I am happy to report I have two happy and healthy sons!

It also works against me many days when I do not pace and set limits to what my mind wants to do and when my body screams, “Stop! Enough! I need a break!”  Having any chronic disease or health condition, it is important to honor our body even more so and not see it as a weakness or a limitation.

I run myself to sheer exhaustion more than I would like to admit. I recall just last week when I visited my wellness doctor and told him, “I am hungry and tired.”  I thought to myself, you do not get any clear of a  message than that.  EAT AND NAP! EAT AND NAP! Which I am happy to say, I did both(fell asleep on one of the treatment machines after eating a baggie of gluten free Cheerios).  When I woke up,  I felt….refreshed!  Imagine that!

Perhaps “balanced” denial can be beneficial when it does not become too extreme. In the meantime, I am in the process of meeting different specialists, trying to listen to my body, but, also, push the limits on many days and admittedly, I still get very shocked when the pain of the obstruction comes. Is this really happening to me? Maybe it is just a stomach bug…..a 26 year long  stomach bug.

Hoping that you will leave a comment below to share how you feel denial resonates with your experience with your condition.  Join me next month to explore the next step of…………ANGER when we transition from, “This can not be happening to me!” to “Why the *#@# is this happening to me?”

Book Reference:

Kubler-Ross, E. (1969). On Death and Dying. New York, NY: Touchstone.

 

Author Bio: Sharon Coyle- Saeed: Health Activist, CEO/Founder of ibdjourneys:

 

Sharon CoyIMG_9124le-Saeed was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1990. She has three Associate degrees in Psychology, World Language, and Theater.  Sharon’s Bachelors is in Journalism & Mass Media with a Middle Eastern Studies minor from  Rutgers University. She is currently a graduate student of Clinical Social Work at Rutgers University with a focus on Aging and Health. Sharon just completed an internship at Robert Wood Johnson/The Steeplechase Cancer Center. She is a Reiki Master Practitioner, a freelance reporter for Gannett NJ, an IET Intermediate practitioner and holds certifications in EFT (Level One), Angel Card Reading, Angel Realm Reader and Aromatherapy (Stress Management, Essentials and First Aid). To help others is her sole and soul’s desire. 

1
Mar

#ePharma16 Self-attestation for #PatientsIncluded

epharma-logopi_whitespace2

  1. Patients or caregivers with experience relevant to the conference’s central theme actively participate in the design and planning of the event, including the selection of themes, topics and speakers.

– Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey), Matthew Zachary (@StupidCancer + @MatthewZachary), Randi Oster (@HelpMe_Health), Julie Cerrone (@justagoodlife),  were part of co-creation team, representing the patient voice both in development and on the platform.

  1. Patients or caregivers with experience of the issues addressed by the event participate[3] in its delivery, and appear in its physical audience.

Julie Cerrone (@justagoodlife), Tiffany Marie (@TiffanyandLupus), Cindy Chmielewski (@MyelomaTeacher), AnneMarie Ciccarella (@ChemoBrainfog), MarlaJan DeFusco (@MarlaJan), Dee Sparacio (@WomenofTeal), Alicia Staley (@Stales), Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey), Todd Bello (@bello_todd), Shakir Cannon (@bl00db0rn) – all in audience, many on platform.

  1. Travel and accommodation expenses for patients or carers participating in the advertised programme are paid in full, in advance. Scholarships[4] are provided by the conference organisers to allow patients or carers affected by the relevant issues to attend as delegates.

Scholarships awarded to: AnneMarie Ciccarella Cindy Chmielewski Shakir Cannon Tiffany Peterson Todd Bello MarlaJan DeFusco

  1. The disability requirements of participants are accommodated[5]. All applicable sessions, breakouts, ancillary meetings, and other programme elements are open to patient delegates.

Conference venue, and conference, fully ADA compliant; rest areas easily accessible; dietary options offered for those with food/immune sensitivities.

  1. Access for virtual participants is facilitated,[6] with free streaming video provided online wherever possible.

Conference live-tweeted by all mentioned above; sessions Periscoped by MarlaJan DeFusco (compensated in addition to scholarship as onsite e-patient journalist)

22
Feb

Learn More About Bladder Cancer

Joyce

Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Bladder Cancer

By Joyce Paul

Bladder cancer affects a lot of us. I personally know at least a couple of people who have had the misfortune of developing this malady. When caught early, it is supposed to be highly treatable, but sadly, many people don’t discover that they have the disease until well after it has progressed to the point that available therapies can no longer help much. Sometimes, the oversight happens because of obliviousness to the symptoms or the changes occurring in one’s body; other times, it’s because even doctors themselves misdiagnose the cancer, initially believing that it’s some sort of infection or something else. A lot of us are very much aware of the symptoms and treatment options for other types of cancer like breast cancer, thanks in no small measure to the fact that it benefits from a highly developed advocacy network that holds marathon events for fundraising and encourages high-profile celebrities to join in promoting people’s awareness of it. Bladder cancer doesn’t get that much attention, and that’s why I’m doing my part in helping people become more knowledgeable about it. I’ve written this rather academic article about the disease, where I share some important details that could just help save lives. I hope that you’re able to share this with your family and friends, too. What is bladder cancer? Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the United States and the ninth most common cancer worldwide. While commonly seen as an ailment afflicting men, bladder cancer can be also found in women, with women having a worse prognosis than men. Hence, it’s important that more people are made aware of the disease. A good start is by learning more about the diagnosis and treatment options currently available. Diagnosis With an 88% percent survival rate if bladder cancer is diagnosed by Stage I, compared to 15% percent when detected by Stage IV, the early detection of this cancer is crucial. However, screening is not advised by major medical organizations when there are no symptoms present. These symptoms include hematuria (bleeding in the urine), urinary frequency (urinating every hour or two), and dysuria (pain while urinating). Since bladder cancer’s symptoms are very similar to other ailments such as urinary tract infections (UTI), a battery of studies are often prescribed once one manifests symptoms. These include the following:

  1. Urinalysis with microscopy, a required urine test that detects high-grade tumors yet may miss low-grade tumors
  2. Urinary cytology, a urine test that looks for abnormal cells
  3. Urinary tract imaging with intravenous contrast for patients with hematuria, often performed prior to cystoscopy
  4. Cytoscopy, which is a must when the patient’s symptoms include hematuria and no other causative factors are identified
  5. Transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT), which is basically an “incision-less” examination and surgical removal of the tumor itself

A recent study has also found that those who frequently exhibit UTI symptoms, and do not improve over the course of time or treatment, have a high chance of having bladder cancer. Hence, it is recommended that a detailed medical history and physical exam be performed once symptoms are exhibited. Treatment Like other kinds of cancer, treatment options for bladder cancer is based on the severity of the disease. For patients whose tumors are classified as non-muscle invasive (Stage I), or those whose tumors have not broken into the muscle layer of the bladder, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends TURBT. Based on several factors (depth of tumor invasion, tumor grade, likelihood of recurrence, etc.), the treatments below are implemented after TURBT:

  1. Immediate intravesical instillation chemotherapy
  2. Immunotherapy, which triggers and boosts the immune system’s own defenses to fight cancer. Bladder cancer makes use of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), a vaccine that’s also used to fight tuberculosis

Meanwhile, for those whose cancer is already classified as muscle-invasive disease (Stage II to Stage IV), the NCI recommends two options after TURBT:

  1. Neoadjuvant multi-agent cisplatin-based chemotherapy, followed by radical cystectomy (bladder removal). This is then followed urinary diversion, or reconstructing a pathway for the flow of urine outside the body.
  2. Radiation therapy with chemotherapy.

With the choice of treatment based on the severity of the disease, comprehensive testing is essential. Hence, those experiencing symptoms are advised to seek professional help immediately, as early detection is key to survival.   Author Bio:  Joyce Paul is a marketing professional from Genemedics Health Institute. Her interests lie in health and nutrition. She writes about these topics and contributes to different health and wellness blogs in her free time. She also participates in awareness campaigns for HIV and Cancer in her community. Her advocacy is to help people know more about fighting these diseases. Loves to cook, bake and take long walks with her 4 dogs (two Belgian Malinois, a Golden Retriever and a Shih Tzu).

17
Feb

Check Out a New Resource!

Interested in learning about a product for dietary management of IBS? Our sharing hub is full of information about IBgard, a medical food. There are testimonials from doctors who have seen it work as well as from patients who have experienced it. A printable coupon to try IBgard yourself is also available! Check it out today. This message is sponsored by the makers of IBgard.


3
Feb

ICYMI: February #HAChat

Hi everyone! February 2nd was our #HAChat ! It was a fantastic success. Shout out to our host Jen Thorson who lead an incredible discussion all about heart health.

Below is a recap of the #HAChat so keep reading and remember to join in on our next #HAChat in March!

 

 

1
Feb

Parenting Consistently with an Inconsistent Disease

Hi everyone! Sharon Coyle-Saeed is back with her monthly blog post! Keep reading below, and look for her posts at the beginning of each month!

Parenting Consistently with an Inconsistent Disease

By Sharon Coyle-Saeed

IMG_8497

 

Prior to my health taking a turn in 2011 with more bumps than a rollercoaster ride, I was a proud , regal, and ready to pounce,  “tigermom”  with a tendency to hover in my side role as  a “helicopter parent” to my 6 and 9 year old sons.  Upon decluttering my closet this past month, I found a calendar from 2010 which had no less than five of their activities jammed into each day. A typical day would have a check list like this. Library Story time, check. Volunteer at the elementary school, check. Make interesting and balanced fresh meals daily, check. Laundry, iron and hang clothes by color and fan out the arms, check. Art lessons, check. Piano lessons, check. Magic lessons, check and karate (both at different times for each child as they were at different belt levels), check.

Also, both of my children were signed with a New York City modeling agency.  Which meant, at a moment’s notice, I switched my hat off from Treasurer of the PTA to stage mom. I still recall the days of picking them both up from school, and plopping them into a double sit and stand stroller while buying train tickets for NJ Transit, getting out at Pennsylvania station, and walking several blocks to their modeling shoots while making sure they were fed snacks, water and utilized their down time reading books that challenged their Lexile range.

I supplemented their studies at home with Kumon workbooks and any homeschooling activities I could get my hands on. Every moment was a teaching moment. The walls of our kitchen and living room were filled with addition and multiplication posters and maps of the world.  We even had a title for our home school and a theme song, “Elder Elementary,” named after the street where we resided.

Until one day, I had a pain which kept gnawing at my insides. I was diagnosed with peritoneal inclusion cysts. They were the size of two grapefruits resistant to aspiration, surgery was strongly suggested.  “It will be an in and out surgery,” they said. “You will be in for only 24 hours,” they said.  On June 6, 2011(my personal doomsday), I had a surgery which ended up in another surgery and a whole summer spent at Mount Sinai Hospital. I was released with a PICC line, TPN and a life that has never been the same since.  From 2011 till today, I have spent 50% or more time in the hospital. 2016 was supposed to break this trend. I hate to admit, but I am typing this blog piece from the hospital.

What was this tigermom who could out tiger the fiercest amongst them to do? Slowly but surely, I had to give up control. Unfortunately, activity after activity was dropped for no one was able to take them to and fro.  My sons primary after school activity became visiting me in the hospital, learning where the cafeteria was and eating way too much candy from the gift shops.

I had to let go of being the strict “overscheduler” and transitioned into the “lenient parent”, “the good cop” or “the all you need is love” mom. I did not have the heart for the short amount of time I was around them to bark out orders. So, I didn’t. Bedtimes that were a strict 8pm turned into a cuddle fest to whenever the heck they fell asleep. You don’t want meatloaf for dinner and rather have pancakes and fries? Why not? I think you are getting the picture.

IMG_8498

 

Zip forward to 2016. My sons are now 13 and 10. A few weeks ago, I had to step back to assess what is really going on here.   It could very well be the age, although I think there is more to it than that. Dare I say, they both have a tendency to sass back a bit? My husband and I tried to overcompensate for what we both felt was a very unfair and unfortunate web they got tangled up in. This led to the start of our sons developing some traits of Willy Wonka’s character, Veruca Salt and we all know she turned out to be a bad egg. I say the start of because I felt that all was still not lost. These are good kids who were craving consistency, discipline and some bad cops.

Last week I called a family meeting. I took the lead in the conversation and like parched nomads sipping water in a hot desert, I could see my sons eyes looking at me with a sense of relief.  I almost heard their souls call out softly, she is back and it was then I realized, they didn’t need less consistency when inconsistency came flooding in, they actually need more. We spoke about what extra activities they will pick up, the expectations on their classwork, the chores around the home they will do and most importantly, showing respect to their parents, each other, and elders.

Today, when my eldest son came to visit, I was curled up in a ball of pain. I did catch out of the corner of my eye him giving up his seat to make room for my mother to sit down. He listened to my words the other night and was putting them into action. I said to him, “I really like the way you just gave your seat up for your grandmother.”  It was then I knew that it is not too late and the kids will be okay. Just because I am inpatient, doesn’t mean I only need to be the cuddle and snuggle parent. I can also step up to the plate and take some of the bad cop away from their father who really kicked it into high gear a few years ago.

On the positive, my children have gained a lot from this experience of having a chronically ill parent. They have greater empathy. They also are extremely independent. They both wake up in the morning on their own, shower, brush their teeth, get dressed, make their own breakfast and walk out to the bus stop. I think my favorite story to share is from Christmas of 2011. I was hospitalized from right before the holidays up until the first week of March. They both insisted on not opening their gifts till I was home. A beautiful lesson of delaying their own gratification. Very tough for adults and proud that they both grew in this self-actualizing moment as children.

I don’t think I will ever go back to the fierce tigermom. I have changed my stripes. Nor will I go back to let them do what they want mom. Children need direction, support and guidance.  A balance between the two in this imbalanced unpredictable world of chronic disease seems to fit just right.

IMG_8568

Author Bio:

Sharon Coyle- Saeed: Health Activist, CEO/Founder of ibdjourneys:

Sharon Coyle-Saeed was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1990. She has three Associate degrees in Psychology, World Language, and Theater.  Sharon’s Bachelors is in Journalism & Mass Media with a Middle Eastern Studies minor from  Rutgers University. She is currently a graduate student of Clinical Social Work at Rutgers University with a focus on Aging and Health. Sharon just completed an internship at Robert Wood Johnson/The Steeplechase Cancer Center. She is a Reiki Master Practitioner, a freelance reporter for Gannett NJ, an IET Intermediate practitioner and holds certifications in EFT (Level One), Angel Card Reading, Angel Realm Reader and Aromatherapy (Stress Management, Essentials and First Aid). To help others is her sole and soul’s desire. 

 

28
Jan

Thyroid Awareness Month: Learn More from Joyce Paul

Common Thyroid Disorders and Their Treatments

By Joyce Paul

Joyce

 

The thyroid and the hormones it produces play an important role in regulating the body’s metabolic rate and the formation of bones. Disorders of the thyroid can have drastic effects on a person’s health and physical appearance.

In general, thyroid disorders may be grouped into 3 types. These are:

 

Hyperthyroidism

The first type of thyroid disorder is hyperthyroidism or the overactivity of the thyroid. This condition affects about 1% of the total US population. The disease is characterized by the overproduction of thyroid hormones T3 and T4, causing the processes affected by these hormones to speed up. Among its symptoms are fatigue, the presence of goiter, heat intolerance, irregular and rapid heartbeat, mood swings, and weight loss. Depending on a number of factors, such as the patient’s age, thyroid hormone levels, and the cause of hyperthyroidism, a patient may be recommended by the doctor to undergo any of the following treatments:

  1. Medication – To combat the effects of excess thyroid hormones in the body, the patient may be recommended to take anti-thyroid medicine. It usually takes about 12 weeks for the medication to make a noticeable difference. The treatment typically lasts for a year.
  2. Radioactive Iodine Treatment – Radioactive iodine is used to permanently destroy the overactive thyroid. The treatment renders the body unable to produce its own thyroid hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism.
  3. Thyroid Surgery – Thyroidectomy or thyroid surgery refers to the partial or full removal of the thyroid gland. Just like radioactive iodine treatment, thyroidectomy leads to hypothyroidism.

 

Hypothyroidism

The second type of thyroid disorder is hypothyroidism or the inactivity of the thyroid and the lack of T3 and T4 hormones in the body. Compared to hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism is easier to manage and has an opposite effect on the body. Slowed down metabolic functions may manifest in symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, and weight gain; the patient may also have poor appetite, hearing, and concentration. Long-term thyroid hormone replacement therapy is needed to treat the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Some thyroid hormone replacement programs also include exercise and nutrition regimens to help curb the physical changes caused by the disease.

 

Growths and Cysts

The third and final group of common thyroid disorders is made up of growths such as goiters, nodules, cysts, and cancers.  A vast majority of the diseases under this category do not cause signs or symptoms until the growth is big enough to impede breathing and swallowing. Still, people at risk for these conditions must remain vigilant so the condition can be detected and treated at the earliest time possible. Common treatments for diseases under this group include:

  1. Radiation Therapy – Typically used to treat thyroid cancers, radiation therapy may come in the form of external beam radiation, radioactive iodine treatment, and internal radiation where a radioactive seed is planted inside the tumor.
  2. Surgery – Thyroidectomy can be used to treat obstructive thyroid growths, cancers still contained within the thyroid, and hyperthyroidism. It is also a viable treatment for pregnant women who have thyroid growths.
  3. Hormone replacement therapy – Treatment for thyroid growths and nodules typically render the body unable to independently produce thyroid hormones. Hormone replacement therapy is used to address hypothyroidism. It may also prevent cancer cells from returning, and slow the growth of cancer cells still in the body.

 

 

Author Bio:

Joyce Paul is a marketing professional from Genemedics Health Institute. Her interests lie in health and nutrition. She writes about these topics and contributes to different health and wellness blogs in her free time. She also participates in awareness campaigns for HIV and Cancer in her community. Her advocacy is to help people know more about fighting these diseases. Loves to cook, bake and take long walks with her 4 dogs (two Belgian Malinois, a Golden Retriever and a Shih Tzu).

 

19
Jan

WEGO Health Guest Blogger: Nate Rich

Capture

 

Diet Tracking With MyFitnessPal – You Are What You Eat!

By Nate Rich

If you would have asked the 500+ lbs. version of Nate Rich to measure and record everything he ate and drank, he would have thought you were crazy. Well, sometimes the “crazy” way is the right way, and it certainly was for me. Remember, Earth being circular was “crazy” too. To most people, the concept of recording everything you eat and drink sounds ludicrous. However, to fitness fanatics and casual dieters alike, taking detailed notes on the caloric value is a huge aid to maintaining a specific diet plan. Perhaps equally important as the amount of calories consumed is the specific macronutrient breakdown. Although there are many ways to calculate you food and beverages, my absolute favorite is digitally with a program and website called MyFitnessPal.

Let’s go back to 2009 when I weighed over 500 lbs. After the devastating loss of my Dad from heart failure, who meant everything to me, I decided to get serious about losing weight and would not stop until I succeeded. I went from drinking a couple liquid diet shakes a day (sub-500 calories per day), to low carb Atkins-style dieting, to 10 other random diet concepts. The road to losing 300 lbs. was full of failures, but each failure led to another option. One of those options was the concept of recording what you ate and drank, so you could actually grasp the caloric value of everything, and understand your macronutrient intake. At first, it just seemed like a bunch of work for no reason, but the more I got into it, the more I learned and was able to tweak my diet. Some days I would feel starving, and others I would feel almost bloated. Without a record of what I ate (and at what time), I really was just guessing as to what could be the problem.

Being able to grasp what you eat, how much you eat, and how it affects your weight, energy levels, and brain functionality (seriously!), is the primary reason why I believe recording your diet is of use. You have the opportunity to realize your “low carb diet” is actually a “high carb diet” because you thought Sweet Potatoes were considered vegetables. Or, you have the opportunity to analyze your diet and find out that perhaps you are so bloated recently because you’re favorite “diet condiment” is actually loaded full of sodium unexpectedly. We all want to pretend like we know everything about food and diet, and that “I’m not stupid enough to eat something with so much sodium” but I am telling you certain things fall through the cracks that can create a roadblock for your goals. Some of the biggest surprises for people are cream in your coffee, oil while cooking food, carbohydrates in everything (always a surprise), and the biggest one is the sneaky grams of sugar that are everywhere.

My personal preference for tracking my diet is MyFitnessPal. Nowadays, I do not use this religiously every single day while I am maintaining my body weight, but I bust it out any time I see myself gaining weight and want to get serious again. It is a great “check yo-self before you wreck yo-self” tool (Lol, yeah. I just wrote that).

MyFitnessPal is a website with applications for all smartphones. With ease, you can record your body weight, food intake, beverage intake, and even exercise routine. There is a seemingly infinite list of foods, drinks, supplements, and condiments in their standard database that you can search for while adding your meals. If somehow your specific item is not in their database, you can add it with ease. It really is the best diet tracking database I have used.

Tracking your macronutrients is highly undervalued in the mainstream dieting approach. Of course the caloric value of foods matter, and of course the total amount of calories you eat matters. However, it really does matter how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, fat, fiber, and sugar you are consuming. I have seen people tell me that they are on a low-carb diet, but they are eating a TON of vegetables throughout the day. This is not a bad thing, however their vegetables of choice were carrots which are heavy in carbs (sugar). On a low-carb diet, you are relying on ketosis to lose fat, which requires very low-to-no carbohydrates. So, without tracking your macronutrients you may not realize that all of your vegetables are derailing your low-carb diet plan!

Another great feature is that there is an endless history so you can track your progress over long periods of time without losing any information. Let’s say you’ve gained some weight, but you remember a time last year when you were your leanest and felt your best. You can simply look back to that time by searching date or body weight, and peek into what exactly you were eating and drinking during that time. It can be a great way to get yourself back on track.

Overall, I personally use MyFitnessPal, and highly recommend it for anyone. Even if you aren’t trying to lose a bunch of weight, it is still a great way for people to actually learn and understand what they’re eating. It is mostly true that you are what you eat, and tracking what you eat is a great way to manage your diet and body goals.

 

Author Bio:     Hi, I’m Nate Rich, and I weighed 525 pounds about seven years ago. Today, I am 300 pounds lighter, a body builder, a world traveler, and extremely successful in business and in my personal relationships. What happened between then and now is a story of total body and life transformation, which began in the face of extreme adversity. I conquered that through determination, motivation, and my own personal routine of fitness and living healthy.

 www.builttoberich.com

Twitter & Instagram: @builttoberich

FB: facebook.com/builttoberich

28
Dec

New Year’s Goals with a Chronic Disease a.k.a. When Things Don’t Go Right, Go Left

Here is our January blog post from our monthly blogger Sharon Coyle-Saeed! Remember to check out our blog each month to read more from Sharon. Happy reading!

make a

New Year’s Goals with a Chronic Disease a.k.a.

When Things Don’t Go Right, Go Left

By: Sharon Coyle-Saeed

Way before it was the “in” thing to do, I was creating vision boards at the age of 7.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do in my life—become a Broadway star.  By the time I was a senior in high school, I had my life mapped out step by step with goals broken down into individual to-do lists, and timelines. With new headshots in hand, signed with a manager and finishing up playing the lead in the musical, “Gypsy,” I was ready for my close up Mr. Demille.  My whole world came crashing down the summer after I graduated high school, when I was struck with severe Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  After major surgery, I remember waking up from a medical coma and still writing a to-do list. It read something like this. “Get catheter out, get breathing tube out, get drainage tubes out, get staples out, get NG tube out, get picc line out and then, get the heck out.”

What about those life goals though? What about the theatrical endeavors?  Well, to be completely honest, I was crushed. Losing my colon was not as devastating as the loss of my first love—theater.  It is very challenging to speak about the death of that part of me till this day.  However, being raised as a tomboy with the mantra, “toughen up,” I brushed myself off, and got back into the saddle once again, and again, and again, and again. I would like to think this is resilience. Although, it is probably that I inherited my father’s stubbornness gene. Through the years, I learned how to adapt and adjust. Of course, I get disappointed, but I don’t let it get me down. 

Every year, for the pending new year, I have the audacity to make very specific goals, knowing that at any moment, an obstructed bowel resulting in an elongated hospital stay, may disrupt these dreams.  No wait, they are not dreams. My resolutions are one a very detailed word document, as if I am responding to a Fortune 500 company RFP (Request for Proposal).  Let me explain further.

They are in five categories: physical (tone up, eat right), tangible measurable ones (like learning Spanish, cleaning clutter, or going to a conference), relational (spending time with friends and family, helping children achieve their goals), emotional (laugh more, don’t sweat the small stuff), and spiritual (be in the moment, pray more). Every year, I go all in full force thinking and believing I will reach ALL of these goals. Last year, I created 76 of them! Yes, you read that right, 76!!!! Guess what? I actually reached many of them. Thing is, if you aim higher than you think you can, you will attain more than if you set the goals too safe. So, go for it! Write down anything and everything you can think of doing and becoming!  Why not?

Why not? Because I have a chronic, and sometimes serious disease Sharon, and what if I am stuck in the hospital half of the year? This rang true for me this year. Okay fine for the past four years.  I hate to even write it, but this year, I was in the hospital for 7 months out of 2015. Yes, there were some goals that I had to adjust.  Like going for my Master of Social Work is going to take me 3 years, not 2. I was scheduled for Reiki Master training in October, and finally did it in December, and some goals I just plain old missed like, “stay out of the hospital.”  However, I do believe that by having this road map, it gives some sense of direction and purpose when everything else seems to be crashing in around me.

What about the theater goal? My lifelong dream? Sometimes when things don’t go right, we can go left. For a few years, I directed and choreographed a show for over 300 children at my son’s elementary school which was very gratifying, have taken vocal lessons and belt out tunes while driving, and did a musical fundraiser to benefit Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Some goals we can adjust, some goals we grow out of, and many we can accomplish! If you can conceive it, and believe it, you can achieve it!

As the year comes to a close, I start to create resolutions for 2016! Of course, at the top of my list is, “stay out of the hospital.” BRING IT ON 2016!  I am so reaching that goal this year! What is on your list?

 

Author Bio:

Sharon Coyle- Saeed: Health Activist, CEO/Founder of ibdjourneys:

Sharon Coyle-Saeed was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1990. She has three Associate degrees in Psychology, World Language, and Theater.  Sharon’s Bachelors is in Journalism & Mass Media with a Middle Eastern Studies minor from  Rutgers University. She is currently a graduate student of Clinical Social Work at Rutgers University with a focus on Aging and Health. Sharon just completed an internship at Robert Wood Johnson/The Steeplechase Cancer Center. She is a Reiki Master Practitioner, a freelance reporter for Gannett NJ, an IET Intermediate practitioner and holds certifications in EFT (Level One), Angel Card Reading, Angel Realm Reader and Aromatherapy (Stress Management, Essentials and First Aid). To help others is her sole and soul’s desire.