self-care

Wondering Where I've Been? Well . . .

It’s like this: I’ve been gone for the past months due to mold poisoning.

The good news is that I am detoxing successfully and recovering. I cannot fully express how profoundly grateful I am to share that good news.

These months have been terrifying, confusing, frustrating beyond words and extremely humbling. I found myself disabled by a silent, invisible enemy that had the audacity to maliciously invade my body and brain and wreak havoc. The worst of it has been the impairment of cognitive function. That’s a fancy way of saying I couldn’t think or remember or strategize to save my soul--thus the terror.

Blessedly for me I have a phenomenally supportive family who circled around me with some really good group decision making, much needed resources, and endless amounts of patience. Thanks to them I got to my sister’s home in Florida where I have been detoxing and recovering.

Recovery has been slow, with a few setbacks. The setbacks are almost always brought about by my impatience with the process and my frustrations at not being able to do what I used to do. It won’t surprise you to know that when I hit a setback, I go for a walk. I walk a lot. In fact walking is once again saving my life--literally.

I’m also following a detox protocol with doses of activated coconut charcoal, which bind with the mold mycotoxins and remove them. I’m taking very high quality supplements to support the process. I walk, I eat live foods, I drink at least a gallon of water a day, I meditate, I swim, I sleep as much as I can. And I’m healing.

Recovery time from mold poisoning can be anywhere from 6 months to a year or more. (I’ll keep you posted.) For now what I want you to take away from this post is this: if you suspect there is mold where you live or work, do something about it. If you suspect you have mold poisoning, get help now.

I am not an expert on the subject matter, just a woman deep in detox and recovery. That being said, here’s two excellent resources where you can learn more. I highly recommend that you do:

Dr Ann Shippy, MD. Check out her “Could It Be Mold?” Fact sheet and her book, Mold Toxicity Workbook.

Dr Mark Hyman, MD’s Broken Brain Podcast with Dr. Shippy: Is Toxic Mold Causing Your Symptoms?

I’m on my way back now, I’m working a bit again, the 1MWW movement is growing, and I’m grateful. That’s where I am now. Next week I’ll be back to talking my walk! In the meantime, please take a moment to sign up for our newsletter.

This Beautiful Walk, the 1MWW newsletter will arrive in your inbox twice a month filled with walking news, walking inspiration, and most likely some of my truly awful puns. I’ll see you there!

Author Rachel Aldrich Rader!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

In honor of this special day, allow me to introduce Rachel Aldrich Rader, author of the just released, Stop Making Yourself Miserable, How to Climb off the Diet and Exercise Hamster Wheel and Step Into Authentic Wellness. I’m especially thrilled to be bringing this interview to you on Valentine’s Day because Rachel is all about Self-love and Self-care and how these are the absolute starting point to authentic wellness. Welcome Rachel and her timely message!



Q. Rachel, I love the title of your book. Where did it come from?

A. I am glad that you love it because coming up with the title was the hardest part of writing the book for me!

I spent 7 years working as a personal trainer in gyms, studios and people’s homes. Most of my clients were women. They were different in many ways but the one thing that everyone had in common was that they were unhappy with their body in some way and hoped that a good fitness routine would be the thing that finally clicked for them.

It made me realize the subtle messages that women receive from our culture. We have this vague notion that our bodies aren’t quite right and we need to fix them. We do that with some combination of diet and exercise and when we don’t see the results that we think we want, we change that combination a bit and try again. Over and over and over again. The result is that we’re stuck in this cycle of thinking “I just have to get it right, this time it will work!” In the meantime, we remain unhappy in our bodies convinced that the problem is us trying to force ourselves through diets and fitness plans that are not authentic.

I wanted to wave my arms, jump up and down and yell “Stop!” There is so much noise out there in the fitness and wellness world. Women spend a tremendous amount of energy on trying to change their bodies. And most of the time, it doesn’t make them happy! My message is all about noticing the patterns that we are stuck in and intentionally opting out.

Q. There truly is so much noise out there—I completely agree. To that point, you let us know right off the bat that we’ve been lied to and worse, that we’ve bought into the lies. What are the lies that are really aggravating you these days?

A. One big misconception is that fitness or wellness has to look a certain way. That it has to look like a fitness routine and a diet. Generally when a woman feels unhappy with her body, she’ll start thinking about one or the other. Or if she already has those things as part of her life, she’ll try to tweak one or the other to make it just right. Again, getting stuck in the cycle of looking for “The Answer” in one of these places. What happens is that she adds to her stress and takes away from her wellbeing. The truth is that wellness is individual. “The Answer” looks different for everyone.

This leads to another misconception. That is that if something works for one person, it will work for someone else. We are so connected with each other through social media. It is an easy trap to see what someone else is up to and think, “Oh, she looks great, I should do what she’s doing,” without considering that her lifestyle, her body, her goal is completely different. Any habit that you set out to create has to be in line with who you are, not based on someone else’s life.

Another major myth is that diet and exercise are the big pillars of a healthy lifestyle. And if you find yourself believing this one, you’re not alone and it’s not your fault! Weight loss is a 60 billion dollar industry. Just think about that. This is an industry based on convincing you that your body is wrong and you need to fix it - and they have just the product or plan to help you out! It’s easy to see how we have come to believe that if our body looks a certain way and we’d like it look different, we just need a new diet or workout. The truth is that of course nutrition and movement matter, but they are only two pieces of a big puzzle that, again, looks different for everyone. Stress plays a huge role on how the body’s systems work. Sleep makes a difference. How you monitor your thoughts and manage your emotions matters. It’s worth taking the time to look into all of the things that affect your health. You are a whole person, you’re not just your calorie count or your workout schedule.

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Q. Rachel, you’re so clear about addressing the whole person, the whole self on a very personal journey to health and wellness. What are your specific steps for us to stop making ourselves miserable?

A. The first is to take a realistic look at where you are now. What types of messages are you internalizing from outside sources and from your own thoughts? Is your inner monologue empowering or discouraging?

Next is to sift through those thoughts and weed out which are the messages that you’re receiving from this weight-obsessed culture and which are your own voice. This sounds easier than it really is! When you’ve been internalizing these message for years, or decades, it takes a bit of introspection to decide what you really, truly want for yourself.

With that internal guidance, it’s then possible to create an authentic goal or vision for your life and your health and decide what you’re going to do to get there.

Setting the strategy involves looking back on what you’ve done in the past and pinpointing which elements have worked well and which haven’t. It all requires being very, very honest with yourself and recognizing that you really are the boss. It’s not your trainer or your friend or even your doctor. You are the one with the power to unapologetically live this lifestyle that you want, and it really has to be what YOU want. Oftentimes, women are stuck in “shoulds”. It takes a little bit of time to be really real.

Don’t rush and don’t give up on whatever it is that you truly desire for your life.

Know that things will not work out perfectly, they never do, and that’s ok. There will be times when you’ll have to regroup or even completely change your plans and neither of those things equal failure.

Q. Rachel, your message and your method are so inspiring and so hopeful! What’s your hope for your readers?

A. My hope is that my readers will feel empowered. A lot of women go through life with this vague notion that whatever they are doing in terms of fitness and wellness is wrong. They are pretty sure that they know what they’re supposed to do, what they’re expected to do, but they just can’t quite get it together enough to get it done and reach this magical place where all is well and they are at peace with their body. The message of my book is to take notice of that thought pattern, to stop it from continuing and to build the lifestyle that brings them joy.

Q. Rachel your book needs to be in the heads, hearts, and hands of every woman in this country--where can we get a copy?

A. The book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rachel, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your wisdom and caring with us on this Valentine’s Day. Your book is a loving gift to give ourselves and I’m so grateful you wrote it! Thank you!

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Rachel Aldrich Rader is a Wellness Coach, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and a former perfectionist. She is a lover of Mexican food, red wine and crime novels, and is grateful for a career where yoga pants and sneakers are considered professional. Rachel lives in New England with her husband, three boys and one judgemental cat.

Follow Rachel on Instagram or Facebook, or join her fabulous Facebook group, Wellness Over Weight Loss!

Walking Women: Peggy Hubbard!

Today’s Walking Women interview is with Peggy Hubbard of Lewisburg, Tennessee.

Q. Peggy, what inspired you to start walking?

A. Several years ago I was working a full time job and caring for a disabled husband. Each day melted into the next and I was losing my identity to my roles in life: business owner, caregiver, volunteer. One way to squeeze out some private time was to wake very early before the day’s caregiving duties began. One morning the sun was out and spring had arrived to Middle Tennessee. So, I leashed my beloved dog, Pepper, and we took off walking up a country road that led to our home. I discovered sights, smells and sounds I had not noticed from the car. I knew I had to give myself this gift over and over again. A habit was born! 

Q. How long have you been walking?

A. I’ve walked/hiked consistently for 6 years.

Q. What changes have resulted from walking?

A. Naturally my body changed as my legs and lungs became stronger. My soul opened to the joy of a sunrise, the smells of fresh hay, and the sounds of nature waking for a new day. I found joy in the baby goats at a nearby farm and took time to stop and watch their prancing and playing. I happily waited for the neighbor’s horse to exit the barn and head to the fence to greet Pepper with a quick snort. So, patience, a badly needed trait, was gained. The sound of my feet and Pepper’s paws hitting the ground became nearly hypnotic as I thanked God for all His goodness and grace.  

Q. What happens if you don’t walk?

A. Recently having a hip replacement has helped me understand how central walking is to my life. After a couple of weeks of being unable to move much I became stiff and unable to sleep well. Now that I can once again walk I’m limber, feel stronger and sleeping better. Mentally I find that walking keeps me grounded and causes me to take the time to practice gratitude which keeps me in tune with my blessings - which are many.  

“This photo is from Henry Horton Park. I love the walking trail there and love that this hollow tree looks like a heart...heart healthy walk!” ~ Peggy Hubbard

“This photo is from Henry Horton Park. I love the walking trail there and love that this hollow tree looks like a heart...heart healthy walk!” ~ Peggy Hubbard

Q. What does walking mean to you?

A. Walking is so much more than getting from one place to another.  It’s the opportunity to take in nature.  It’s the opportunity to find the path less traveled and saunter down while taking in the delicious sights, smells and sounds.

Q. What are your biggest walking challenges/obstacles?

A. Like most people, time and weather are often challenges. But now that I get the senior discount at our well equipped Rec Center I have many options for rainy day walking and the hours give me a safe place to walk after dark. Sometimes my heart wants to tackle trails longer and steeper than my body desires! 

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

A. Take it one block at a time. Start by perhaps thinking of things that bring your life joy and voice gratitude for them. Use the time to experience your own breath, the feel of your body moving and the sounds of your feet connecting with Earth.

Peggy, thank you so very much for sharing your walking story with us. You’re an inspiration in every way!

Peggy Hubbard is a State Farm Insurance Agent.  She maintains an office in Lewisburg, TN and conducts business throughout the state. She is also an adjunct instructor of Criminal Justice at Columbia State Community College, a Rotarian currently serving as an Assistant District Governor, a volunteer for several charitable organizations, a lover of nature, and a member of One Million Women Walking!

Peggy is married to the marvelous Paul Kingsbury who is her frequent hiking partner, travel companion and all-around best friend. They have two adored kitty cats, Libby and Lizzy. Peggy loves music of all kinds, reading both fiction and non-fiction, and exploring nature.  

Peggy’s passion is using her skills and talents to help others be their very best. She loves to be surrounded by positive, happy friends and believes in a hands-on approach to charitable work. 







Feel Better Today

“What keeps you motivated to walk every day?”

I was asked this excellent question by an audience member at a speaking event last year. My response?

“I walk for 90-year-old me. I walk today for her—for the woman I’ll be tomorrow. Because I want to be walking when I’m 90 and beyond.”

This is absolutely one of my primary motivators for moving more throughout my day and taking a walk every day. However, it’s not the only motivator by far. In fact I have a much more immediate, incredibly satisfying, instant gratification motivation:

I feel better.

I feel better every time I walk. It’s that simple and yes, that self-serving. I like feeling better. I really like being able to get up and do something, on my own volition, that makes a significant difference in how I feel: physically, mentally, and spiritually.

That’s the beauty of walking.

Walking makes you feel better right away. This has been proven by countless researchers in a variety of areas. Walking boosts self-esteem and mood, resets your metabolism, refreshes your thinking, and renews your spirit. You can make yourself feel better by walking. You can chose walking every day as a way to feel better. And who doesn’t want to feel better? Because feeling better, is better.

FEEL BETTER TODAY. GO FOR A WALK.

PS Here’s how I can help:

  • Download my free e-book, The Truth About Women Walking, to learn more about how and why walking transforms your life.

  • Join the 1MWW movement on Patreon.

  • Hire me to speak at your next event!

  • Form a 1MWW Chapter at work, for your bookclub, for your professional group, for your women’s church group! Contact me and I’ll share the simple 1MWW Chapter Guidelines with you. Note: All members of your Chapter must be members of 1MWW on Patreon.

3 Critical Questions to Ask About Your Workout

One of my goals in founding the One Million Women Walking movement was to develop an actionable tool to help you create health and wellness in your own life in your own way. I knew that I wanted to provide a method that was simple, doable, scientifically proven and highly effective. Why? Well you see . . .

So many women I’ve spoken with said they simply didn’t have the time to add anything complicated or time consuming to their lives—no matter how beneficial it might be. Great feedback! So I kept the 1MWW 3-Step Practice simple, understandable, and immediate by creating a health and wellness plan that you can start right now to benefit your health right now, regardless of your lifestyle or life-stage or how crazy busy your life might be.

We all need little victories and 1MWW is all about daily little victories. Because little daily victories add up to big life-changing results.

The mission of 1MWW is to inspire and empower women to transform their lives by simply walking. Daily walking saved my life (that was my big inspiration) and as I was going through the process of founding 1MWW, building the website, starting social media, I began comparing the ease and effectiveness of walking with other workouts. That led me to some core questions, which I want to share with you now: 3 Critical Questions to Ask About Your Workout.

  1. Does this fit for me? Does my workout fit my lifestyle and Lifestage or does it add one more thing to my To Do list that I ultimately end up resenting and feeling frustrated about?

  2. Does this make me feel better about myself? Does my workout really lift me up in a way that makes me grateful to be doing it?

  3. Does this truly support and expand my whole Self—my body, my mind, and my spirit? Does this workout give me a sense of being more whole, more in tune, more ME?

These might look like simple questions but there’s a profound truth behind them. The truth being that despite your best intentions or your doctor’s warnings or your own fears about your health, you won’t be able to fall in love with a workout that adds to your To Do List, makes you feel worse about yourself, or leaves you feeling fragmented and confused.

I want you to fall in love with your workout and with the YOU that does that workout. I believe you deserve a way to care for yourSelf (body, mind, and spirit) deeply and meaningfully every day. A Self-care practice that fits into your life starting right now, makes you feel really good about yourSelf, and gives you a sense of being on the wonderful, fulfilling journey of becoming the YOU you want to be.

So if you’re not satisfied with your current workout or exercise practice, ask these 3 Critical Questions and listen for your answers. You’ll discover if your self-care is lacking, is frustrating, is shaming or is perfect. My wish your you is that you find the perfect workout and that it elevates your whole Self and that you fall deeply and profoundly in love with it. And that it loves you back, big time!

What I Hate

HATE is a strong word. An uncomfortable word, a word many of us have big feelings around. We’re not supposed to hate are we? The negative energy of hate can be phenomenally damaging if we become addicted to it and let it guide our thinking and behavior.

But that’s not the kind of hate I’m talking about here. I’m talking about a HATE that gets me fired up, that focuses my deep purpose, that reminds me why I do what I do and keeps me at it with passion and clarity. A strangely sacred, powerful hate . . .

HERE’S WHAT I HATE:

I hate when you hate yourself. And I especially hate the forces that took you to that awful, despairing, damaging place.

I hate your self-hatred and I hate what took you there and I’m sick of what took you there. I’m absolutely sick of it. I’m sick of you feeling bad about yourself, your choices, what you did and didn’t do. I’m sick of you not KNOWING your own value and worth and intelligence and applying them to your health and well-being. I’m sick of you looking in the mirror and shaming yourself for what you’re not. I’m sick of you looking to the next fad diet or supplement or “it” workout to fix you when in truth you aren’t broken. Dammit. What’s broken (and ugly and damaging) are the health “solutions” that start by telling you how you’re wrong and broken and what you’re supposed to look like and feel like when you’re right (aka buying their product/service.) This is hypocritical fear-mongering and manipulation at best.

I believe our health and the ways we're supposed to get healthy are defined by a lot of shoulda/woulda/coulda expectations that are deliberately disempowering vs empowering. That the message, the subtext of much of what we consume around health is at the core shaming vs healthy. Negative vs positive. And creates dependence vs independence. All of this from an industry that is supposedly dedicated to your health and well-being. How can health and well-being start with shaming and self-loathing? How can you love yourself when you’re given a starting point of focusing on everything that’s wrong with you? It doesn’t make sense and I hate it.

I have a completely different belief about you, your health, yourSelf and your life! I believe you hold the power to create true health for yourSelf (body/mind/spirit) in ways that are authentic to you and your life.

That power comes from knowing yourself, caring for yourself, valuing yourself by discovering your unique formula. You have a unique very personal individual "formula" that's right for your body, mind, and spirit. That formula--a combination of what you think, what you do for exercise, what you consume for fuel and fun, how much or how little sleep you get to renew and heal-- is for you to discover for yourself!

Health, wellness and self-love simply don’t come in a “one-size-fits-all” package. Just because keto/green coffee bean extract/hot yoga Pilates barre/intermittent fasting works for your BFF does not mean it’s going to work for you.

The real problem is that if it doesn’t work for you, instead of thinking, “Huh, that didn’t work for me—that’s not my formula, I’ll try something else,” you think “Oh my god there is SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME! This is working for her so clearly I’m doing it wrong or I’m not trying hard enough or I’m not focused enough or committed enough or I’m not enough.”

The self-shaming, self-blaming, self-loathing talk starts up and pretty soon you hate yourself. Keto/green coffee bean extract/hot yoga Pilates barre/intermittent fasting just took your power away from you and I hate that.

Fortunately your power is innate, it’s your birthright, and even though it was taken from you, you can reclaim it. This power is yours right now today.

If you’re in a pattern of self-hatred, you can’t just STOP and automatically START loving yourself. That’s a transformational journey that will take time, support, compassion, humor, and growth. It’s a journey of change and change is challenging. Change is rigorous work but it’s doable work!

To begin and ultimately succeed in the transformational journey of changing from where you are right now to loving yourself you need to:

  • Know why you want to change.

  • Ignore the gimmicks, the instant gratification, the body ideals, the “experts”, the latest diet/pill/fad.

  • Get back to basics: move more, walk, eat “live” food, drink water. All steps you can take today without any extra/outside influence.

  • Allow the basics to create your solid foundation of health and self-care.

  • Have a community with strong connections that support you in changing.

  • Give your changes time to take hold and take effect.

  • Ask for help and ask questions—don’t go it alone!

  • Celebrate your successes and forgive your fails.

  • Turn your fails into successes by learning from them.

These are the steps of the transformational journey. The steps that lead you from self-hatred to self-acceptance to self-care to self-love. The steps that will change you and your life for the better. And I hate anything less for you or anything that attempts to lessen you.

You are the only YOU we’ve got on this small spinning planet. We need you at your best—your brightest and fullest and most powerful—to bring your unique gifts into this world. No one else but you can do YOU so please take care of you. Truly love YOU on a daily basis with your unique formula—your secret elixir that’s yours and yours alone. There’s real power in knowing and living your formula on a daily basis. The one ingredient you’ll never find is self-hatred. It’s just not in the mix.

(Wondering about the photo on this post? I thought you’d never ask. That’s my soapbox. I throw it down and jump up when I’m good and passionate and ready to let fly with some truth, like I did just now. If you’d like even more truth, get your copy of my free e-book, The Truth About Women Walking to get started on your transformational journey today.)