Do you benefit from your benefits?

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I always say – If I could turn back time I would have gotten in shape (or never let myself get out of shape) much earlier in life. I also would have taken advantage of all the benefits my previous employers gave me. Tonight I want to toot the horn of Massage Therapy which is only one of the amazing treatments I use in the ongoing battle of staying healthy and mobile.

First off if you don’t use at least your massage therapy benefits through the current company that you are employed with I have to say YOU ARE MISSING OUT! People think that going to massage therapy is only for people with achy backs, sore muscles and sports injuries – this is not true! Even if you are an avid yogi (is that the correct term?) or do nothing physical in your regular life your body can benefit from massage even if for nothing but a bit of stress relief.

Years ago I took a bad fall at the beach one day, I’m 5 foot 10 and went legs up in the air and came straight down on my right shoulder snapping my head back as I landed – I know it sounds awful but if I told you the story in person I would have you in hysterics, it was what I like to call “an ego check” (basically when your ego is getting a little big and the world needs to bring you back down to the ground). Anyways within a month or so I started to have a weird pain in my right shoulder, almost like a muscle pull/twinge. I then noticed a small lump in the muscle/tendon at the base of my skull. I got the lump checked out by the doctor and she said to keep an eye on it and if it got bigger come back. Time went by and it didn’t grow but about 6 months later I started having these odd migraines. Out of nowhere I would start to see this tiny pixilated half moon on the right side of my vision, it would be accompanied by an uneasy feeling in my stomach. I would watch the little half moon grow bigger until it disappeared from my sight, then the migraine would start. It was debilitating and I had no clue what was causing it. I went back to the doctor who recommended I go to the eye doctor to check for anything going on behind my eyes – possibly even a tumor – you could understand my concern. Luckily my eye doctor didn’t see anything and I went on my inconclusive way. I went back to my regular doctor and somehow I was whining about my shoulder being sore (funny just recalling it now I remember I could barely sleep on my right side cause of the pain in my shoulder joint) and finally we put two and two together. She realized my whole right shoulder “girdle” was balled up and the muscles were all brutally tight.

I sought out massage therapy from our family’s massage therapist Murray at Glover Road Massage/Chiropratic in Langley. This man is magic! My Mom, sister, friends and even tiny Grandmother will attest to my claims! Within two visits to Murray my headaches were gone, the pain I felt in my shoulder when I slept on it was gone and I could even throw a baseball pain free again! Unreal! Granted some of the treatment was a bit painful I couldn’t thank him enough!

To this day I still see Murray on a monthly basis usually to loosen up my shoulder as there’s a bit of nerve damage from the fall and it acts up once in a while and also to help with my left knee/hip that I injured years ago. If your company covers you for massage DO IT! Even if it’s just a chance to escape from the world for an hour and relax I guarantee you won’t regret it!

Note: You may need to pay up front then be reimbursed, if that’s the case check to see if your benefits plan has an app for your phone, some companies it’s as easy as taking a picture of your receipt! My company Great West Life has an app, I simply enter the amount of the visit, who the visit was with, amount of time of the visit and the date and within 3-4 days I’m reimbursed through direct deposit into my bank account – AWESOME!

So if you have aches and pains or are an active person you should ask yourself – Are your benefits benefiting you???????

Xoxo

Mel

Maureen’s Personal Health Transformation

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This picture is taken after a bootcamp class in October 2010. I weighed approx. 150 pounds.

Hi everyone! Mel and I started this blog as a means to motivate ourselves and stay accountable with our fitness. We hope to share some of our personal struggles and help inspire a few people along the way. Writing this post is very difficult for me as I am a little embarrassed to post some of my old pictures. It always amazes me that sometimes we don’t realize how much our bodies have changed or the size that we are, until we see a picture of ourselves. However, I think it is a great thing to show people how much your body can change through nutrition and exercise. Check out Mel’s amazing transformation here: https://sisteractfitness.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/my-personal-health-transformation-what-a-doozy/

I am 5’4… I always wanted to be tall like Mel, who is 5’10 but unfortunately I got our dear Grandma’s height. When you are 5’4 a few pounds on your body makes a significant difference. As I have told you before, I grew up being an athlete. I have never been obese but have been overweight at certain points in my life. After two years of college soccer I stopped playing in 2005 and started packing on the weight. I ate Lipton Sidekicks all the time and adopted an unhealthy eating style. I went backpacking with my best friend to Australia and Thailand for 3 months and I came back with dark hair, a tattoo and weighing in at approx. 162 pounds. My families mouths dropped when they saw me and I guess 3 months of inactivity, cheap beer and food was showing through in my body. I had to do something!  I joined the running room and started training with my best friend for our first half marathon. I love to run and it has always been my meditation and my therapy. I slowly started losing a few pounds but didn’t really change my eating habits. I hovered around 150 pounds for about 4 years. Side note: It is amazing when I share this part of my life with my friends because although they realized I am more fit now, they didn’t realize how big I was until I show them the pictures.

In 2009 I lost a bunch of weight and got down to around 128. I wasn’t particularly muscular but started really watching my portion size and eating healthier. Image

I was happy with my body but I didn’t develop habits that were sticking with me. I still ate processed foods but did it in smaller portions. I had met my goal of getting skinny in 2009 but not fit and I didn’t set another goal for myself. I adjusted and slowly reverted back to my old ways of eating processed foods and not exercising. My brain and body thrives on exercise and when I don’t workout then I feel lousy which makes me eat crappy. In the span of one year I blew back up to approx. 158 pounds. This picture was taken when I was in Egypt in 2010. It still shocks me to look at this picture. This was taken almost exactly one year later.

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A few months later I moved to the Lower Mainland. Mel and I went for a couple runs and I was slowly starting to get back into shape. I started running again and ran another half marathon in May 2011. The following week I blew out my knee and was incapacitated. It took from May until August for my MRI to show a completely torn ACL, partial MCL tear and a fractured tibia. I was devastated. I had finally gotten back into soccer and running and now I was sidelined. I had to do something but was unable to workout. I started to really look at my nutrition and what I was putting into my body. I was determined to get my body as healthy as possible before I underwent surgery. Surgery for my ACL was February 2012 and I weighed in that morning at 145 pounds. I remember being proud of myself for getting down to this weight. I was determined after surgery to get back in the best shape of my life. I started eating clean and avoiding processed food as much as possible. I started lifting heavy weights and saw some huge changes in my body. I did the LIVEFIT trainer program in January 2013 with a couple friends and got incredible results. I weighed in at 127 pounds but had more muscle here.  Image

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My weight was approx. the same as 2009 but my body composition was significantly different. I had a lot more muscle in 2013. I was working out and lifting heavy 6 days a week and eating clean. I have tried my best to keep up with working out at this level. Currently I am running 4-5 days a week, paddling 3 days a week and still lifting weights. I have been working on trying to find balance with working out and eating clean. The best judge for me is my energy levels. I have low energy when I don’t workout and eat healthy food. I do have cheat meals because I do not believe in deprivation. I have learned through my experience that you can’t out train a bad diet. Nutrition is the main ingredient in looking and feeling healthy. Currently I weigh approx. 130 pounds and my weight fluctuates 5 pounds either way depending on my food intake. I do not weigh myself daily but chose to judge on how my clothes fit and how I feel.

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I look forward to having a healthy last year in my 20’s and continuing on with my fitness for the rest of my life. Thank you to everyone who has loved and supported me through all my different fitness levels. The ones who have run with me, hiked with me, paddled, walked, biked, surfed, yoga classes, etc. I love you all very much. I have now found a recipe for success that works for my body and I intend on continuing to use it. Please feel free to share your personal story with us. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you for reading!

Mo xo

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My Staycation- Having Gratitude For My Body

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Good morning everyone! I had this week off work and it has been fantastic. I started my week with watching this wonderful video from Amy Poehler on Body Image http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOWqSPJZtmA. In the video she talks about having gratitude for your body and the things that it does for you. Have you ever struggled with your body image? I am sure we all have but this video has some great tips. After being inspired by that video, I decided to make gratitude the theme of my staycation week. I can be very hard on my body and tend to expect a lot from it. Over the years, through experiencing a lot of knee injuries, I am learning to be more gentle with myself. So here is a little post on how I have incorporated gratitude for my body during my week off.

Monday:

My back has been a bit of a mess lately. When I was in my early 20’s my friend and I got rear ended and my back has been messed up ever since. So I decided that I would give back to my body by addressing this pain. I hit the gym in the morning and then went to the chiropractor. I finished my day with an amazing facial at Spa Utopia. I received a gift card from a loved one awhile ago and this was the perfect time to use it. Spa Utopia is heaven for adults. I spent awhile in the steam room, snacked on dried fruits, drank cucumber water and received an amazing facial with a foot massage. I highly recommend going there if you need to relax. Make sure you go early to use the amenities and escape from your cell phone for awhile.

Tuesday:

Our sister Katie came out to visit and we hit the Fort to Fort trail in Fort Langley. It was a gorgeous day to be outside. During the afternoon I went to massage therapy with Murray Schwabe. He is amazing! If you need a great massage therapist he comes highly recommended by Sister Act Fitness. http://www.glovermassagetherapy.ca/ During the evening Katie and I went for an intense paddling practice and took in the beautiful sunset.

Wednesday:

A met up with my girlfriend and headed to Vancouver for her maternity photo shoot. The images are going to be breath taking! Check out Karolina Turek if you want an amazing photographer. I took the day off working out and gave gratitude to my body by doing some gentle stretching for my back and legs.

Thursday:

Saw the chiropractor again this morning. I am determined to get my back in shape and feeling strong before I head back to work. In the afternoon I gave my body some serious rest time. I threw on American Hustle and relaxed. You’re welcome, body… The evening was spent in the rain at paddling practice. It was still a great night.

Friday:

Woke up and hit the gym for a solid legs workout. My knee rehab is coming along nicely and I am still lifting light weights but here was my workout today:

Lunges 3 sets- 10 reps (20 pounds 😦  )

Calf raises-3 sets- 20 reps (70 pounds)

Hamstring press- 3 sets- 20 reps (55 pounds)

Leg press- 3 sets- 10 reps (90 pounds)

One leg deadlifts- 3 sets- 15 reps (20 pounds)

20 minutes on the stationary bike and I did some ab work as well.

Mel and I are hitting Nature’s Fare this morning to stock up on our favourite healthy food and snacks. I have a lot more gratitude planned this weekend such as  a walk on the beach with a friend’s dog, chiropractor, healthy food prep and more paddling.  How do you show gratitude to your body for doing the work it does for you? We want to hear your suggestions.

Mo xo

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Coping With Change- The Healthy Way

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Mo here and I would like to discuss the dirty C word…CHANGE. I have been experiencing some major changes in many areas of my life at the moment. I am the first person to say that change is quite difficult for me. I normally try to avoid change at any cost but I have often found that the more I resist, the more painful it is. There is unplanned and planned change. I am a type A planner to the core. I have even been known to try and plan being spontaneous. Lately I have found that I can only focus on today and the challenges that lay ahead of me. So here is what I have been doing to work on dealing with the changes in my life:

1. Sleep: do your best to regulate your sleep. I try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. Our bodies actually need a sleep schedule. If you are having a hard time sleeping try drinking something that will help you calm you. I try to have some chamomile tea or a Bob Marley Mellow Mood. Marley’s Mellow mood is super tasty and has made me have a long nap in the middle of the day before. Mel also recommends Valerian Root which can be found in Marley’s Mellow Mood.

2. Eat Healthy: I know it is shocking that Sister Act Fitness would recommend eating healthy but you are what you eat. When I am stressed I have been known to visit some drive thrus and possibly be found eating in bed while watching Dance Academy. Yikes! (If you don’t know what Dance Academy is then you are missing out. It is a show for 16 year old ballerinas so naturally I am embarrassingly in love with it. ) Try to get all your nutrients in and drink tons of water. You may be tempted to eat crappy but it will only make you feel worse.

3. Ask For Help: Sometimes you need to yell and scream for help and the real people in your life will come running. I am extremely grateful for the people in my life that have been there for me to lean on. I learn that friends have so many different ways of helping in times of change and it is important to slow down and ask for the things you need. Take my sister for example, who is currently channeling some Italian mother,  as she is busy creating a paleo inspired pizza for me as I write this.  There are the friends who will listen to you for hours or the ones who take you on fun adventures to distract you. Whatever works for you, you need to have people in your life who support you. One day when your feet are back on the ground and your head is clear, you will be called for other’s to lean on.

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4. Look for Moments of Joy: One of my co-workers decided we should spin in our office chairs this afternoon and called it a joy moment. I had a big smile and my face and thought that she made a very good point. Another joy moment for me today was my sister dragging my ass to the gym and noticing my hard earned muscles have not disappeared in the last couple of weeks. Try your best to see the things in your life you can be grateful for. We all have them, even in moments of uncertainty.

5. Listen to Your Body: If your body needs a bit of extra rest, take it. If your body is craving exercise, meet up with a friend and hit the gym. Be kind to your body. In times of change and uncertainty it is not uncommon to be exhausted. Do not beat yourself up and learn to be gentle. In my work I teach Non Violent Communication and it is focused on gentleness and compassion. It is often easier to be gentle and compassionate with others but remember that we need to be kind to ourselves too. Listen to yourself, you ultimately know what you need.

6. Put Your Feet on the Ground: Often when I am experiencing a lot of change, I have a great deal of anxiety. A simple technique for alleviating anxiety is to place both your feet back on the ground and press your toes into the earth. It is important to come back into your body and out of your head. Remember that our bodies cannot tell the difference between what our minds are creating and what we are actually experiencing. If your head is creating disaster thoughts then your body will respond accordingly. Deep breaths…

What are your tips on embracing and dealing with change? We want to hear from you!

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Thanks for reading!

Mo xoxoxo

 

It’s Almost Here- Scope Time

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Hey! It’s Mo tonight and I am holding my breath waiting for Friday. I have had some problems with my left knee for over two years now and on Friday I am having a Scope done to find out my fate. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that I will not need surgery again. Ahh genetics are a wonderful thing. My Dad and my Grandma both have had a lot of knee problems and it turns out so do I.

In May 2011 I ran a half marathon and played three soccer games in one week. The result was my ACL being completely torn and my MCL having a partial tare. I also had a small fracture in my tibia. Well… it wasn’t really the exercise but playing in a co-ed soccer league has it’s risks and a guy hit me from the side while going for a ball. Truth be told, I was having a really good game which made it more devastating. It was a terrible time and the most disgusting feeling I have ever experienced. We had no idea what was wrong with me and it took until August 2011 to be diagnosed from an MRI. I underwent surgery in February 2012 and started a very long recovery process. I gave up soccer for the time being and after going to the gym with my friend Julie’s husband (he is a physiotherapist) I took up lifting weights. I fell in love with lifting weights and the results it had for my body. I gave up on sports for awhile and focused on living in the gym.

A big push from my husband and brother-in-law got me back into playing reverse 2’s volleyball in the spring of 2013. We set up a net and played a lot of games and in tournaments. I was finally getting to be competitive which is something I crave. As my luck would have it, I went up for a big hit (as big of a hit as a 5’4 midget can do) in volleyball and ended up hurting myself again. I think I may have rolled my ankle and my knee gave out trying to compensate. I was screaming on the ground because of how scared I was to go through this process again. My Dad showed up about 30 minutes after I did it and gave me some wonderful words of wisdom “next time your ankle goes then just fall over.” Which I mean is great advice when you are already laying on the ground injured. Thanks Dad! Anyways, we went to the hospital and waited 4 hours for x-rays and no results. I spent a few weeks back on crutches and icing like crazy before I slowly started to go back to the gym. I took my rehab time very seriously and built back up to going to the gym regularly. One of the things I have learned from the professionals is to strengthen your butt and hamstrings to help your knees. We typically think to strengthen our squads to help support our knees but women need to strengthen the backside. Squats, lunges, and deadlifts are great exercises. Please seek out professional advice before starting any rehab process.

I saw my surgeon in November and he determined that he wants to do a scope to see the extent of my damage. So on Friday I will get put under and get my results. I am praying I don’t need surgery because the pain is very minimal currently and I do not want to go through this recovery process again.

Anyone else ever had knee surgery or other surgeries? How have you stayed with a healthy lifestyle given those challenges? I am taking up outrigger paddling this year as a way to have that competitive side but still take care of me knee. 2's