Seen On My Walk: Anna Maria Island, Florida

The author Karen Blixen, aka Isak Dinesen, said, “The cure for anything is salt water--sweat, tears, or the sea.” I concur. In fact I have followed her words like a prescription for much of this year.

I’ve been here on Anna Maria Island (AMI) for 5 months recovering from mold poisoning. AMI is a barrier island off the West coast of Florida. Think Sarasota/Bradenton and then a bit further and in the middle of the water. The far side of Tampa Bay.

April 29, 2019

April 29, 2019

One of the most important practices in my mold detox protocol has been a vigorous daily walk. There are many wonderful things about walking here on AMI. It’s beautiful, it’s hot (hot yoga hot but no studio required), and there’s an ocean to fling myself in when I’m done walking.

After a walk I am sweaty beyond belief, and slightly less moldy; it’s at this point that I walk into the ocean. Literally. I walk right in, keep walking until the water is deep enough to dive and then I dive and swim. Thus two critical elements of Blixen’s remedy are handled in one fell swoop: sweat and the sea!

May 16, 2019

May 16, 2019

The third, tears, is also a profound detoxifier. When I first got here and started my detox protocol (daily doses of activated coconut charcoal to bind with and remove mold mycotoxins, supplements to support me, gallons of high PH water every day) I was in a great deal of pain. My joints hurt, my eyes hurt, the headaches were stunning in intensity. My cognitive function was at a solid zero for the most part. I was, for all practical purposes, completely disabled. I was afraid, I couldn’t think, I was in pain, and I was incredibly frustrated with my situation and terrified about the loss of my health. I frequently found myself chest deep in the ocean, sweating and crying--Blixen’s salt water trifecta.

Science has shown us that crying holds unique physiological benefits, among them stress relief and pain reduction. Crying also fights bacteria, improves vision, releases toxins and aids sleep.

So I walked and sweated and cried and swam. And then I’d do it again. And over the months, slowly but surely, I’ve gotten better.

June 29, 2019

June 29, 2019

Along with my hot healing walks, I also walked morning and evening to soothe my soul, take in the natural beauty, and to welcome and bid farewell to each day. Being present with each day was a way to be as focused as I could be, stave off despair, and to accomplish what needed to be accomplished. Baby steps to be sure but steps nonetheless. Ever the lover of beauty, I took pictures on my AM and PM walks to share every day with the members of the One Million Women Walking movement.

As I prepare to leave AMI and return to Tennessee for a round of doctor’s appointments and health assessments, I was inspired to share some of my photos here. I self-assigned the daunting task of selecting my favorite photo from each month I’ve been here. So here they are, seen on my walks, an homage to this lovely island, the healing power of walking, and visual proof that the cure for anything is salt water.

July 16, 2019

July 16, 2019

The alchemy of walking and sweating, swimming and crying, has been life-changing and life-saving for me. I am grateful beyond words and hopeful once again. To learn more about my recovery from mold poisoning, and to activate walking’s Rx in your own life, join me and the members of the One Million Women Walking movement as we walk our way to the happy, healthy, long lives we all desire and deserve. I can’t wait to walk with you.

August 4, 2019

August 4, 2019

Walking Women: Karen Bacon

Today’s Walking Women Interview is with Karen Bacon of Queensland, Australia.

Q. Karen, what inspired you to start walking?

A. I am not sure that I had a bolt of inspiration to start walking, but I do know it started as time out on my own, when my kids were young. It was a mental reprieve from being Mum, a wife and an employee. Time to just be me.

Literally, I would sneak away to the beach to collect my thoughts, gain back mental clarity and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, which I have always found so very soothing to my soul! In those early days I had to wait until my husband was home to watch the kids, to have the chance to be alone!

Q. How long have you been walking?

A. I have been walking regularly on that same stretch of beach now for 30+ years and I have such a love for it! I feel it’s my sacred place, comforting when needed and inspiring most of the time. It’s the place I also go to sit quietly to reflect and be in my own thoughts. I also love to walk in any of our beautiful National Parks here on the Gold Coast in Australia, and I’m happy to say I live nearby quite a few.

Laguna Park, Karen’s fave to walk around.

Laguna Park, Karen’s fave to walk around.

Q. What changes have resulted from your walking?

A. I think anything you love to do has the capacity to change you, not only physically but in mind and spirit equally. There is nothing I love to do more than walk away my problems, it is a great equalizer for me. I have in my younger years, suffered from mild depression, and walking, along with exercise in general has been a lifesaver. Physically it helps keep the weight down, particularly getting older, so I can have the extra piece of chocolate if I desire! Yes please!

Q. What happens if you don’t walk?

A. I feel very sluggish when I miss a day of walking. My attitude is off and I don’t have the same clarity at the start of my day. I feel lazy, and don’t have the same focus in my work. One day I will allow myself falling off the bandwagon (I’m human after all) and obviously when not well, but most of the time the benefits of my walk far outweigh the occasional day of apathy.

Q. What does walking mean to you?

A. Getting into nature and being surrounded by supreme beauty helps me understand that we are so small in the scheme of things. It gives me a perspective I can’t find doing anything else. It is empowering to understand the world and everything in it does not revolve around you. As a physical exercise there is no better; you need nothing special and it requires of you simply to place one foot in front of the other. It’s availability to all is simple and pure!

Q. What advice would you give to women who know they should be walking but aren’t--yet?

A. Definitely the mental health benefits are worth talking about. If more women walked, the reduction in stress, anxiety and depression levels would be noticeable. To any woman who suffers from any of the above, I would love to say please walk every day for one week and see and feel the changes within yourself. It is enough to keep you going back for more.

Make walking easy for yourself. Go somewhere close by, local parks, the beach, your neighborhood, anywhere you can get to quickly and easily, so you can incorporate walking into your everyday routine. If something is easy for you to do, you will choose to do it more readily, and then it becomes habit!

Being in nature involves all of your senses, it allows you to feel grateful in every moment, and alive! It has a way of wrapping you in its arms and carrying you forward with joy! It sets you up for the day and is possible for everyone. Fight your excuses and reap the benefits of walking. You’ll be so glad you did!

Karen’s neighborhood in Palm Beach, a suburb of Queensland. What great walking!

Karen’s neighborhood in Palm Beach, a suburb of Queensland. What great walking!

Karen, thank you so much for sharing your walking story with us, you’re an absolute inspiration!

Karen Bacon is a Certified Life Coach, Spiritual Rutbuster, Writer, Speaker, and member of One Million Women Walking. She lives in Palm Beach, a suburb of beautiful Queensland, Australia.

Prior to becoming a life coach, Karen was a partner in a six figure, all-female trade service business in the construction industry. She was also a wife and mum, with a family she loved very much! Despite her successful career and beloved family, she always knew she was meant to be doing something else, something that fulfilled her and gave her meaning and purpose. Karen found it by looking within! Now she helps other women find their life calling, “Finding their Mojo”, so they too can live and work feeling fulfilled, happy and successful. As Karen says, “Life Coaching from the inside out”! Learn more about Karen and her work at Karen Bacon, Rutbuster Coach.

The Five Ws of Women Walking, Part II

In Part I of this blog series, The Five Ws of Women Walking, I shared WHY women have to walk. (WHY tidily encompasses WHEN and WHERE, illustrating the multi-tasking magic inherent in walking.) In today’s post I’m going to share WHO walking is for. To cut to the chase: EVERY WOMAN!

Walking is for every woman!

Having said that, here’s some questions for you:

  • Have you ever said, “I want to workout but I don’t have the time”?

  • Have you ever confessed that you actually hate they gym?

  • Have you ever despaired that you’ll never find a workout that works for you?

  • Have you tried yoga, Pilates, hot boxing, etc all to no avail?

  • Do you feel guilty and ashamed that you aren’t getting the workout you want and need?

  • Do you sit at work all day?

  • Do you feel lethargic, depressed, brain-fogged?

  • Does your body ache?

  • Has your doctor prescribed walking?

  • Is every day of your life packed full to the point of bursting?

  • Do you yearn for a break from it all?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then walking is for you.

Walking solves all these problems, obstacles, challenges and more!

I can hear you now saying, “Oh I know I should walk but . . .

My rebuttal is, “But what?”

  • But walking isn’t real exercise?

  • But walking isn’t enough?

  • But, you’re thinking, “I hate walking”?

  • But walking is boring?

I hear you still but no worries! In next week’s post, where I wrap up this series, I’ll address your “buts” by sharing WHAT walking really is. (And I’m throwing in a bonus HOW.)

In the meantime, sign up for the 1MWW newsletter, This Beautiful Walk, to stay updated on walking tips (for instance, a recent study showed walking backward improved short-term memory; I cannot make this stuff up), my own walking thoughts (walking increases creativity by 60%—it'‘s my moving muse), and news from the One Million Women Walking movement (how your $1/month membership is powerful beyond measure!)

Your Opinion Please!

One of the most entertaining activities on the 1MWW public Facebook page is voting for the cover for the upcoming month. I create at least two potential Facebook page covers and ask fans to vote for their favorite.

The photos I use are ones I’ve taken in years past, but they all correspond with the month they represent. I decided to broaden the monthly decision making by posting the choices here as well. Once you’ve chosen your favorite, jump on over to 1MWW on Facebook and vote. And while you’re there, LIKE our page!

Here’s the two contenders for March, 2019. The first is a photo I took in March, 2014 of a late snow, which stunned just about everyone, including this redbud tree. The second photo was taken in March, 2013 on a Sunday drive through the country south of Nashville. In a beautiful twist of fate, this same drive with this view is one I take frequently as my horse is boarded at a barn just down the road.

MARCH, 2019.png
MARCH, 2019v3.png

There’s the back story on these two photos—the rest is up to you! Thanks for voting.

My Crazy Idea!

Author, engineer, and visionary Peter Diamandis said:

“The day before something is a breakthrough it’s a crazy idea.”

Ponder that and then consider that Fortune Magazine recently named Diamandis one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. His quote is one of my favorites and is also my guiding light. You see, I have this crazy idea . . .

To inspire and empower 1,000, 000 women to transform their lives by simply walking.

Where did my “crazy idea” come from? It came from the darkest time in my life. It came from years of struggling with identity, loss of dreams, loss of financial stability, loss of my home, loss of family. It came from the fact that during those horrible years, walking saved my life. In fact I credit walking (over 3,000 miles all told) with not only saving my life, but with transforming my life!

A key piece in my transformation was learning how and why walking is such a powerful activity. Once I began to truly understand the full picture of what walking does, I started sharing what I’d learned with every single woman I could. I was absolutely called to spread the word about walking because walking is truly the magic pill we’ve all been searching for.

To be more exact, walking is actually women’s multi-tasking miracle! Walking solves so many problems unique to women. Lifestyle Problems like not having enough time to workout even when we want to and know we need to! Health Problems like heart disease, bone loss, dementia. Mental problems like depression, anxiety, brain fog and trouble making decisions. Emotional problems like feeling isolated, wanting connection, needing community and support. Spiritual problems like craving a time and space for peace and yearning for a true sense of Self.

True Self-care, meaningful Self-care, healing Self-care is what walking provides for women.

In speaking with women about their health and Self-care I learned that many women feel woefully underserved by and estranged from the health and wellness marketplace. The products and services clogging the market are ridden with shaming messages—both words and images. When I spoke with women about their health and Self-care the need they expressed had a common theme: women want a highly effective, meaningful, time and cost friendly way to workout that fits their unique lifestyle and life-stage. That’s what walking does—more than any other form of exercise.

Walking is the ultimate way to care for ourselves every day.

So I gathered up everything I’d experienced and learned about how and why walking transforms our lives, the health and wellness problems other women had shared with me, my yearning to help other women and asked, “What should I do with this?

Because I know walking increases creativity by 60% and that walking is a proven problem solver, I took my question for a walk and my crazy idea came to me!

To inspire and empower 1,000,000 women to transform their lives by simply walking.

And exactly how was I going to accomplish that audacious goal? Well it turns out one crazy idea leads to another. Look for Crazy Idea #2 in next week’s blog post and in the meantime:

Walking Creates Health: Part II

In Part I of this series, I introduced this definition of health, “The state of being free from illness or injury.” When it comes to how and why walking creates that state, many women are familiar with the physical health benefits realized by our bodies.

I’m a huge fan of these benefits because walking truly is the magic pill we’ve all been looking for in terms of how to have a healthy body. Here at 1MWW there are two walking components to our walking Practice:

  1. Taking mini-walks throughout the day to avoid the damage done by excessive sitting.

  2. Going for a brisk 25-minute daily walk.

Mini-walks (optimally a 5-minute walk after every 30 minutes spent sitting) create a solid foundation for your health by offsetting the damage done to your body from sitting. (Learn more about that here.) A brisk 25-minute daily walk is a walk that’s fast enough in pace that you can’t sing but you can still talk. I recommend a lunch time walk, especially for 9-5 working women.

When put together these two simple steps bring you the following benefits:

  • Reducing your risk of heart disease up to 40%. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the U.S. This alone is a great reason to get your walk on!

  • Improving your metabolism, which allows you to manage your weight.

  • Burning an extra 1,000-3,000 calories per week.

  • Lowering your LDL (bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL (good cholesterol).

  • Increasing your bone density.

  • Maintaining healthy joints.

  • Toning your legs and core. (Core muscles include your abdominals and your pelvic floor muscles.)

  • Lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers.

  • Reducing back/shoulder/neck/hip and joint pain.

That’s a substantial list of benefits that add up to a greatly improved quality of life. And I have to say, that’s the tip of the iceberg. Walking treats or prevents over 40 diseases. If the pharmaceutical industry was able to package up all of the benefits derived from walking and put them into a single pill, that pill would be priceless! But you can have them all for free. That’s the beauty of walking.

Next week we’ll dive into the mental benefits derived from walking. Walking truly is a miracle “drug”—that’s why it’s the #1 prescribed doctor prescribed exercise. In the meantime, move more and take a brisk 25-minute daily walk. You’ve got some great reasons already!

P.S. If you haven’t already, grab your copy of my free e-book, The Truth About Women Walking. I wrote it to share the transformational power of walking with you. I believe every woman on the planet needs to know the truth--it’s that important. Why? Because walking can save your life, your mom's life, your daughter's life, your sister's life, your BFF's life. That’s important to me, to you, to all of us. Download your copy, get empowered and blown away, then share The Truth About Women Walking with every single woman you know.

2018: My Wish For You This New Year

The new year is upon us and we’ve resolved to change, to create new life-altering habits, to reach hitherto unattained goals. This is all well and good and is one of our most beloved traditions–to turn a new leaf with the turn of the year, thus we make New Year’s resolutions in the most sincere, well-meaning way possible.

I truly hope you achieve each and every one of your resolutions this year. I hope 2018 is your year–your breakthrough, breakout, yell-it-from-the-mountaintops year that blasts you into the life you’ve always dreamed of–the life you desire and deserve.

And while you’re putting action to your resolutions, I wanted to share my 2018 wish for you. It starts with a bit of knowledge that (when put to action) will change and possibly save your life. The knowledge is that 25 minutes of brisk walking on a daily basis can add up to 7 years to your life. Let me repeat this another way: if you walk for 25 minutes every day, you can extend your life by 7 years. That’s 7 more New Years, 7 more year’s worth of resolutions. That’s quite excellent really.

Here’s the life-saving part, which I consider a very big bonus: walking is an antidepressant, it improves cognitive function, increases creativity 60%, and there is now evidence that it may retard the onset of dementia. Walking also prevents or treats over 40 diseases and walking halves the risk of dying from a heart attack for those of us in our fifties or sixties. Walking truly is the magic pill to health and happiness.

The other great news is that walking brings benefits at whatever age you start. The more active you are, no matter when you start, the more benefit you are going to have.

Wondering how this knowledge is connected to my wish for you for 2018?

I know that walking is the easiest way to create happy, healthy, long lives on a daily basis. And I believe that if more of us are living happy, healthy, long lives we’ll become a force that changes the world for the better. I am all about changing the world for the better. And you are too.

So for you to be happy, healthy, and creative, which enables you to realize your dreams and help the world in the way you intend, I wish you would use your newfound knowledge and take up a 25 minute daily walking practice. It will change your life and every step will bring you closer to the life you desire and deserve, the life that will bring your gifts to a world that is ready for them right now.

I wish your feet on the street, the sidewalk, the hallway, the stairway, the path, the road, the trail.

Get your walk on in 2018! We’ll all be glad you did.

May Is Women's Health Month!

May is our month ladies--Women’s Health Month. And May 14 to 21 is National Women’s Health Week. So let’s make this month our very best and really focus on ourselves and our health. Here’s two tiny tweaks that will add up to big health changes when you do them every day!

Tweak #1
Walk! My number one piece of health advice for all women--WALK!

A 25 minute brisk daily walk can add up to seven years to your life! And that’s just the beginning of what walking can do for you! Walking is the ultimate all-in-one multi-tasking miracle for women. In fact, a recent study done in Australia reported that staying physically active is far more likely to determine a woman’s future risk of heart disease than other well-known factors including smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure. Walking takes care of our whole Self--body/mind/spirit like no other exercise.

Starting right now add more walking to your day and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come! Here’s some tips on how to work walking into your day every day.

How To Work Walking Into Your Day Every Day.jpg

Tweak #2
Drink Water! I cannot say enough about drinking water.

Your body is 60-70% water. You can do the math and figure out how many pounds/gallons of water you’re carrying in your body mass--it’ll blow your mind.

I carry nine gallons of water. Thank heavens it’s distributed throughout my body! I can’t quite fathom hauling nine gallon jugs of water around with me every day.

Here’s why drinking water is so important: according to Brian Richter, Chief Scientist for the Global Water Program of The Nature Conservancy, “With a deficit of as little as one quart you’re likely going to start losing some cognitive function, alertness, and ability to concentrate. If you lose a gallon you’ll start feeling pretty lethargic, and you’ll likely have a bad headache. If you’re down two gallons you’re going to be sick enough to be in the hospital. Three gallons and you’re in the morgue.

Now consider that during a normal day we breathe, urinate, and sweat out about three quarts of water. We could easily be in the zone between some loss of cognitive function and bad headache. Not fun. That mid-to-late afternoon headache you get on a daily basis? Guess what--it’s dehydration. Continuously replenishing your body’s water is the key to staying hydrated and hydration=health.

So for Women’s Health Month, put away the sodas and drink water. And if you want to really hydrate, drink the best water on the planet, Defiance Fuel. (Look for a detailed post on Defiance Fuel soon!)

So there’s my two tweaks to turn May into your healthiest month ever.

Walking + Drinking Water = A Happy, Healthy, Long Life. And that’s what I want for you!

Happy Women’s Health Month!