28-Day Personal Spring Clean: Healthy Labs

Day #14! How has it been going? I have been making some changes that if I sustain in my diet, e.g. drinking more water and eating more veggies that will lead to better health.  A good sign that these changes are good will be evident in my lab work when I go see my doctor next. There are 2 very important labs that I want to discuss today, blood sugar and fat in the blood.

Glucose (Blood Sugar)

Glucose is the substances used by the body to generate energy for cellular function of all of the organs of the body. The normal range for blood glucose is 70 – 110 mg/dL. Low levels, called hypoglycemia, may cause hunger, dizziness, sweating, confusion, headaches, and shakiness. If it persists or becomes very low, it may result in fainting, seizures, and coma.  High levels of glucose, called hyperglycemia, that are consistent may be related to other health issues such as diabetes, cancer, or possibly caused by medications that you may be taking. This will need to be confirmed by a physician. Signs of hyperglycemia include dizziness, feeling tired or weak, blurry vision, thirst, frequent urination, skin infections, kidney problems, and more.  The American Diabetes Association has a quick test you can take to determine your risk for diabetes, at http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/tools-to-know-your-risk/?loc=atrisk-slabnav, and a few others tools.  If you are experiencing symptoms of either hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, contact a physician. This is not something to wait on and the effects can become dangerous quickly.

 

Fat

Fat, also called lipids, found in your blood if consistently high can lead to serious and sometimes fatal health problems, like heart attacks and strokes. Even people who appear to be physical fit may have hyperlipidemia (high lipid levels in the blood). Hyperlipidemia is hereditary. If one or both of your parents have it, you may be at risk, too.  There are no signs and symptoms that can que you in to see your physician for treatment. Your lipids levels should be monitored with your annual physician’s visit.

 

Lab Usual Range
Total cholesterol (TC, sum of fat in the blood) Less than 200mg/dL
High Density Lipoprotein (HDL, “good” fat carries the bad fat away.) 60mg/dL or above
Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL, “bad” fat leads to cardiovascular disease when high levels persist.) Less than 70mg/dL
Triglycerides (TG) Less than 150mg/dL

Chart is referenced from  https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cholesterol-test/about/pac-20384601

 

As we continue on this journey, my hope is this information will enable you to be more in charge of your health and support you in making better choices. I also find it encouraging that I am not on this journey alone. We can do it!

 

Have a marvalous day!

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28-Day Personal Spring Clean: Healthy Vital Signs

Day number 8! I hope that you have been reading, researching, and implementing some of the tips shared. I did not realize that when I started this journey, I would also start a major remodel on my home. The timing worked perfectly for these to coincide. I am spring cleaning with my health and with my home.  That will make for an interesting future blog topic or two.  Getting back to our health spring cleaning, weight and good nutrition are not the only indicators of good health.  Today, I will cover some vital signs that will give you a clearer picture of your health condition.

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According to John Hopkins Medicine, there are 4 vital signs that show the general health of a person:

  • Pulse
  • Respiratory rate
  • Body temperature
  • Blood pressure

When you go to your doctor and in the hospital, these are measured and assessed. Some pharmacies have blood pressure monitors in the waiting area, as well as blood pressure cuffs and thermometers that you can use at home.  For more information on how to get these measurements or take them yourself, ask your physician or pharmacist.  The Hopkins website, also, provides this information. I recommend that you review it.

John Hopkins Medicine Vital Signs

 Normal measures for these vital signs are:

Vital Sign Normal
Pulse 60-100 beats per minute (Some athletes and runners may have a lower pulse near 40 beats per minute.)
Respiratory Rate 12-16 breaths per minute
Body Temperature 97.8oF – 99oF
Blood Pressure Less than or equal to 120/80

 

Here are a few simple steps to check your pulse from Medical News Today

Using your wrist:

  1. Turn one hand over with your palm facing up.
  2. Using your other hand, place two fingertips side-by-side gently in the groove on the forearm, down from the fold of the wrist and within an inch along from the base of the thumb.
  3. When the position is right, you should feel the pulsation of your heartbeat.

 

To check your respiratory rate, count the number of breaths for 15 seconds and multiply that number by 4.

We will talk about some of these vital signs more in our later topics. I hope that you continue on this journey with me. Let’s learn, be better informed, make better decisions, and achieve the good health that we need to live our best lives. I welcome your comments and look forward to hearing from you. Have a marvalous day!

Day 6 of the Spring Clean: Healthy Diet

What will I eat? What we eat is the largest factor in how well our body functions and our overall health. You have probably heard the saying “trash in and trash out.” Well, that is true of our bodies, as well.  Our bodies require fuel to help it function optimally. Nutrition is key. Poor nutrition can deflate even the best workout. So I chose to discuss this topic as second in this series.

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Today’s topic is not a simple one. There are multitudes of diets that are publicized, for example, Keto, Paleo, Atkins, Macros, Weight Watchers, and so on.  I am not here to validate any of these,  rather share the importance of a healthy diet and where to get more information on what that would look like for you.

Let me start by saying that my eating habits are not the best. I like sweets, salty foods, fried foods as much as I do the healthy ones.  I will probably not give up eating cake for the rest of my life to reach my weight goal and reach a healthier state of being. However, I can practice moderation, eat more of the good stuff, and occasionally indulge. Ah, the best of both worlds.  Where do we start to improve our diets? We go to a trusted source for information on health food. I recommend a few places to get this information.

Trusted sources:

  • The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control has a Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/index.html. On this webpage, you will find links to information on nutrition, healthy weight, etc. Take some time to explore. We need to educate ourselves on good nutrition so that we can make healthy choices and not just follow a diet plan blindly.
  • The United States Department of Agriculture, choosemyplate.gov, has a wealth of information on nutrition. Check out the “Start Simple With MyPlate.” It provides information on fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and a lot of healthy tips for your diet.
  • Local hospital websites – Search the website for a hospital in your community. Once you find their webpage, search nutrition or healthy diet. There often information on links to information on proper nutrition and healthy diet habits.
  • Your physician is an excellent source. Talk to him or her about your plans. They have information for you, or can even refer you to a nutritionist. Depending on your health condition and medical coverage, the nutritionist may or may not be at an additional cost to you.

 

My plan for this 28-day process is to do the following:

  1. Drink up to 4-8 glasses of water per day. There is varying information if 8 glasses is more than or what is needed. However, it will not be harmful to for me drink this amount of water. I will need to work my way up to 8 glasses. Although, it is much easier on days that I exercise. A cold drink of water is so refreshing after a workout. Remember: Good hydration is great for help to eliminate waste from our bodies, cells to function properly, promotes healthy skin, and healthy weight.
  2. Reduce, not eliminate, salt from my diet. I will be using sea salt or Morton’s Light salt. Limit sugary sweets to 1 serving 1-2 times a week. This means I can have a cookie on Wednesday and a slice of cake on Sunday. Some weeks, I may only have 1 and possibly none.
  3. Use a sugar alternative, like Stevia, and piece of fruit to curb a sweet craving.
  4. Increase my intake of vegetables. I love broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, kale, sweet potatoes, cabbage, etc. My morning smoothies will also help with this.

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  1. Reduce the starches in my diet, e.g. white potatoes, bread, and white rice.
  2. Eat until I am satisfied, but not full.
  3. Incorporate healthy fats, like olive oil and avocado.
  4. Eat a good amount of protein. I will opt for salmon, tuna, chicken breast, and ground turkey, instead of pork and beef.
  5. Plan meals for myself and my family in advance, so that I can use the leftovers for lunch the next day and avoid making poor food choices if healthy options are not available at home or work (in my prepared lunch).

 

Please share your thoughts as you join me on this journey. I know that we can achieve our goals for better health and make today a marvalous day!

28-Day Personal Spring Clean: Healthy Weight

We will start our 28-day Spring Clean with the topic of weight. Many of us judge our personal health by our weight.  However, in order to know if our weight is healthy, we must answer the question, what is a healthy weight?

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Per the Mayo Clinic, a “healthy weight means that you have the right amount of body fat in relation to your overall body mass. It is a weight that allows you to feel energetic, reduces health risks, helps prevent premature aging (such as worn out joints from carrying around too much weight), and gives you the best quality of life.”1 This is an excellent definition of a healthy weight. There are some key phrases that I want to point out to you:

  • “the right amount of body fat”
  • “feel energetic”
  • “prevents premature aging”
  • “best quality of life”

Basically, we do need to have some fat, energy to function, slow the wear and tear on our bodies, and live a best quality life. The next question is what is a healthy weight for you and me?

The Mayo Clinic, like many in the medical community, recommends using your body mass index (BMI). BMI is a better measure of body fat than the weight on the scale which includes, fat, muscle, water, tissue, etc.  The Mayo Clinic has made it easy with the use of a chart for you and I to find our current BMI, and with a target BMI of 19-24 to find our goal weight.  Click the link to access the chart:    Mayo Clinic BMI Chart

I created for our use a Spring Clean Progress Tracker that you can download.  Record your starting information and at the end of each week record your weight and hours of exercise to see your progress over the next 28 days. Some of us may or may not be able to accomplish the weight loss in 28 days to reach our goal weight. However, the purpose of this time is to place ourselves on a better path towards that goal.

EM Spring Clean Progress Tracker

Now, that we have a clear picture of where we need to be for our best health, here is some helpful information on our weight:

  • The best time to weight is in the morning. If mornings are too hectic, weight yourself at the same time of the day on the days you take your weight.
  • Use the same scale to avoid scale variability in sensitivity. Sometimes that difference between the numbers past the decimal point, for example 0.7 and 0.5, may make us feel differently.
  • The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommends that losing 1-2 pounds per week is a healthy rate of weight loss.2
  • Weigh once a week on the same day. Make it a ritual.  You may choose to weight yourself more often, but with a healthy goal of 1-2 pounds, you may not see much of a difference on a daily basis.
  • Talk to your doctor about your weight to make sure the goals that you set are healthy for you.

 

Be encouraged. This 28-day journey is the start and not the finish. As we journey together, incremental improvements will lead to lifelong habits that will keep the weight off and not cause us to rebound. This is a process. We are worth it.

 

References:

  1. The Mayo Foundation for Education and Research. 2019. What is your BMI. Accessed on 3/29/2019: http://diet.mayoclinic.org/diet/eat/what-is-your-bmi?xid=nl_MayoClinicDiet_20160426
  2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019. Losing Weight. Accessed on 3/29/2019: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html

Let’s Get Ready to Spring Clean

Spring is a time of renewal for the Earth. The trees have leaves and flowers that are blooming. The grass is turning green again. Birds are preparing nests for the arrivals of the babies. The air is warming up from its winter chill. The April showers lead way to May flowers.  It overall is such a beautiful time of the year. Which is currently in contrast to how I feel. My clothes are a little bit tighter and my energy level is lower than it was months earlier. To reach a healthier state of being, I have some work to do. As such, I decided to make April my month to do some personal spring cleaning of myself.

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Over the next 28 days, I will cover a variety of topics, such as healthy weight, diet, exercise, healthy lab values, healthy skin, vitamins, and much more. These topics are designed to build upon each other and facilitate a successful Spring Cleaning. I hope that you join me on this journey so that we can encourage each other and achieve goals together. I look forward to reading your comments. Also check out my Instagram (@everydaymarvalous), where I am more frequently posting pictures and daily words of encouragement.

Have a blessed Sunday.

The Joy of Raising Sons

I am the oldest of my sisters. I don’t have any brothers and so having 2 sons was a completely new and wonderful experience. I am enjoying every day with them. I am excited for the wonderful gentleman they are becoming and the possibilities that the future holds for them.

When I was pregnant, friends warned me about how fast they will grow. The best advice given was to pray for them, not only for today, but for the future, as well. I am that I heeded that advice. All of my prayers end with, “may God’s will be done.” The oldest is a teenager and  the youngest is on the brink of his teen years. It does go by fast, too fast. I’m blessed to see how my prayers for them have been answered and continue to be answered.

It is a blessing to be a mother. I cherish the privilege to help raise my sons. It is a joy.
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#momofboysforever

Happy 2nd Anniversary Everyday Marvalous

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The boys looking out from the 5th floor hotel window above Dallas Street, Houston, TX in 2015. This reminds me to keep looking up.

It was 2 years ago today that I first launched Everyday Marvalous.  Despite the joy that I get from working on my blog, a few other things came up this year that kept me from it. Some were of high priority like family and work, and there were some that were just time wasters.

Facing 2018, I realize that a few things need to change.

No. 1 – Aligning my every day with God’s plan for me and not my own. What God has for me is far greater than anything that I can give to myself or get from someone else.

No. 2 – Spending my limited and valuable time on what really matters most, God, myself, and family. (Note: It is not selfish to make yourself a priority before your family. By this ranking, my intent is to fulfill number three below. It is true, that better that you take care of yourself, the better you can care for your family.) 

No. 3 – Maintaining my commitment to a healthy lifestyle. I am a gift to myself and others. Without good health, I would not be able to offer to others as much as God has planned for me.

On this second anniversary, I am prepared to close out 2017 with thankfulness for all of wonderful things that happened and challenges from which I learned . Further, I am committing to make the needed changes so that 2018 will be even more fruitful.

This life we live is beautifully complicated and simple. The complication comes in with the challenges that we face.  However, if we keep our priorities in order, it simplifies our lives, keeps us focused on what really matters, and we find that we can more easily navigate through the challenges.

Blessings to you on this wonderful New Year’s Eve! It will be a “Marvalous” 2018!

 

 

More good stuff in 2017

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The year 2016 did not quite live up to the “sweet sixteen” that many had hoped.  We can always remember the negative so much easier than the positive. Every year brings it own set of blessings and challenges. This is what we call life. We must live it to the fullest. Let’s make a promise to each other to love more, laugh more, forgive more, grow more, and trust God more. I am starting 2017 with open eyes and an open heart.

Love and God bless to you all!

This past weekend…

Oh how I miss the past weekend and, yet, long for the coming weekend. I thoroughly enjoy the time spent with my family.  I am working to focus on the really important things in life, like family, good health, and a strong relationship with God. When I consider these things, I realize how blessed I really am. Then all of the inconveniences, disappointments, or plans that just don’t quite work out seem insignificant. So on Wednesday, I will fondly remember this past weekend and look forward to the one coming. Here are some pictures from that weekend. Enjoy. Have a “marvalous” rest of the week!

 

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Fancy new hair cut on Friday!

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Watching Ted and the boys pass the football in the front yard on Saturday.

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Sunday, in the kitchen making meals for the family. Dinner was fresh steamed broccoli, shrimp scampi with angel hair pasta, and for sandwiches later I made tuna fish salad. It was all delicious!

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My new favorite picture of my hubby and I ready to leave for church. Who left the power cord plugged into the wall?

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These are my favorite Vince Camuto shoes from  a few seasons ago. Love them!

What I’m Excited About

 

The past few weeks have been full of work and a lot of fun. There are some things lately that I am really excited about and have enjoyed tremendously.

5. Stila HUGE Extreme Lash Mascara – It will make you look like you have on false lashes!

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Copied from: shop.Nordstroms.com

 

 

4. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick – It smells delicious and the Fiery (red) is a vibrant and beautiful color.

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Copied from: shop.Nordstroms.com

3. Fruit Smoothies – I have been preparing these at home with bags of fresh fruit that I freeze so that they will be ready to blend every morning. I blend it with coconut water, apple juice, whey protein, spinach, a drop of lemon juice, and my bag of fruit. Healthy and delicious! (Thank to the Real Ladies of Lakeridge below for getting me started on the smoothies!)

 

2. Diner en Blanc Dallas – It is one of the most fabulous night of the year in Dallas. You get dressed up in white, pack your dinner, table, chairs, and are bused to a secret location to party the night away with at least 2000 other people.  If you have not heard about this, please, check it out on Facebook. There are many other cities that host these events, like New Orleans, Altanta, Paris, etc. It will certainly fascinate you. There is no experience like it. I love it!

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We are dressed in white and ready to go.

 

1. The Real Ladies of Lakeridge – These ladies are new friends of mine and neighbors. We share the love of good health, fitness, healthy eating, and having a great time together. Our walks are filled with great conversation and laughter. These ladies are so much more to me than a walking group. We encourage each other with activities to promote good health, support philanthropic events together, socialize, pray for and spiritually encourage each other. These ladies are more like sisters and a blessing in my life.

 

These are some of the things and people that I am excited about lately.  What about you? It doesn’t have to be a big event to get excited. Blessed is the person who finds joy in the small things in life. When you do, it makes the big events even more spectacular. God Bless! Have a marvalous weekend.

 

 

 

Missed you!

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I am back from a very long absence of blogging. There have been major events in our family and my work that required my time and attention. My blog, Everyday Marvalous, is my passion and creative outlet. This is a great opportunity for me to share that things that I love and enjoy, gives me a voice beyond my social circle, and hopefully encourages others to live a life of love and fulfillment. I have also missed you, too. I appreciate all of the kind words and thoughtful feedback that you have given me. I am so grateful and feel so blessed.

This morning, I want to share one of my favorite Psalms with you. I have incorporated this into my daily prayer. I hope it blesses you, as it has me.

XOXO

Marva

 

Psalm 150 (NIV)

Praise the Lord.

  Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

 

The BombMom.com

Sometimes thinking about the past weekend really helps me get through Mondays. This past weekend was a great one. I was able to enjoy watching my sons participate in a swim meet on Saturday. They are really good swimmers and continue to amaze me. My children are truly blessings to me.

Sam and Sol

Motherhood is the hardest, most fulfilling, and best job that I will ever have. So, I treasure the moments when I get to watch them and pat myself on the back for doing a great job with them. Yes, I said pat myself on the back. Although, they make me feel appreciated. I fully recognize that I am the “bombmom.com.” That may sound a bit overconfident. However, too often, we, Moms, look and the bumps in  our children’s lives and think that we have failed them in some way. Our children, like us, are not perfect. Ideally, we would all like to learn from the mistakes of others. However, there are times that we are at the center of the lesson. Therefore, I take these situations as opportunities for my children and I. Note: I am not talking about severe life lessons as the result of criminal activity or worse. I am referring to the natural bumps along the way, like forgetting to put their homework in their backpack, talking to much in class, or finding out that someone was not really their friend, etc.

We, Moms, need to give ourselves credit for doing our best. Our best is what our children need. When we give them our best, so do they in return. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor now and in the future when your children are older. To all the mothers who read my blog, I officially proclaim that you, too, are the “bombmom.com.” Have a great start to the week!