Monthly Archives: March 2015

A Challenge, are you up to it?

This week, I had the pleasure of hanging out with my Aunt Millie.

Aunt Millie (in red), my mom, my two kids, and me on the day of Little Miss's christening.

Aunt Millie (in red), my mom, my two kids, and me on the day of Little Miss’s christening.

Aunt Millie is my mom’s middle sister. She’s the aunt who never married, who lived with and cared for my grandmother until the day she died. She was the fun aunt.  Growing up, she was the one who got down on her knees and played with us and laughed with us.  She’s my brother’s godmother at baptism and my sponsor for Confirmation.  She is very near and dear to our family.

Sadly, Aunt Millie is succumbing to age.  Now that she lives alone, she’s become a sort of shut-in.  She screens her calls and doesn’t go out.  She’s stopped taking her medication and seeing her doctors. She’s showing signs of dementia, forgetting things from minute to minute.

And she lives in a different state.  With my mom and I being her closest family.

With her health deteriorating, my mom and I have decided that it is time to move her out of her house and into an assisted living facility here in New York.  These last few days I have been touring these facilities with Aunt Millie, showing her the best ones within her price range.  We’ve finally chosen one where she will be best cared for and we believe that she is excited to get started. She knows that she can’t handle her home anymore, she knows that she’s not in the best of health anymore. We believe she is ready to move on and part with her former way of life. And we couldn’t be happier for her.

Watching my beloved aunt go from independent working woman to the forgetful, sweet, simple soul she is now has been so devastating.  My grandmother had dementia before she passed, and it seems as though Aunt Millie is following in her footsteps.  And living alone where your family is over and hour away is scary.  I hold my breath every time I call her, waiting to hear her pick up the phone.  When she doesn’t answer I fret and worry until she calls me back. I wish she was close enough that I could just hop in the car and go to her house. But with my children dependent upon me for everything, it’s near impossible to take a day off.

Where am I going with this, you may ask.  This month the From Left To Write book club is revisiting a past reading, Thrive, by Arianna Huffington.  In it, she issues a challenge to her readers to slow down, unplug, get more sleep or practice yoga or meditation.  Kim, our fearless leader and head book nerd at FLTW is encouraging us to take one of those suggestions and attempt a seven day challenge.

Having already given up Facebook for Lent, I have decided that my challenge will be to take better care of my brain and my memories. Alzheimers.org.uk suggests that dementia may be hereditary, so I want to start taking some steps to keep my brain healthy so that maybe I won’t forget who my children are, or where I am, or when the last time was that I ate when I’m in my 70’s.  Maybe I won’t become like Aunt Millie, alone and maybe afraid because she can’t remember where she is or how she got there.

The Mayo Clinic states that although there is no sure-fire way to prevent dementia, there are some things you can do to help.

  • Keep your mind active.Mentally stimulating activities, such as puzzles and word games, and memory training may delay the onset of dementia and help decrease its effects.
  • Be physically and socially active. Physical activity and social interaction may delay the onset of dementia and reduce its symptoms.
  • Quit smoking. Some studies have shown smoking in middle age and older may increase your risk of dementia and blood vessel (vascular) conditions. Quitting smoking may reduce your risk.
  • Lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure may lead to a higher risk of some types of dementia. More research is needed to determine whether treating high blood pressure may reduce the risk of dementia.
  • Pursue education. People who have spent more time in formal education appear to have a lower incidence of mental decline, even when they have brain abnormalities.

    Researchers believe that education may help your brain develop a strong nerve cell network that compensates for nerve cell damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Maintain a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet is important for many reasons, but a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in certain fish and nuts, may promote overall health and lower your risk of developing dementia.

So, here I go.  Wish me luck.  I’ll let you know how I do in about 40 years.  And I challenge you to take care of your brain, preserve your memories, and live a long, healthy, and happy life.

In the meantime, I can’t wait to get Aunt Mille into her new place to my family and I can enjoy her company again and maybe, with her finally getting medical care, she’ll come back and we’ll get a glimpse of that wonderful independent woman again.

This is an original ROSCMM post. This post was inspired by Thrive by Arianna Huffington who challenges women unplug and sleep more to create a balanced life. Join From Left to Write on March 19th as we discuss Thrive. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

thrive

Copyright 2015 Mastermind Mommy

Categories: Book Club, Family, From Left to Write Book Club | 4 Comments

No More Excuses

This month the from the From Left to Write Book Club is reading Maria Kang’s The No More Excuse Diet. As a member of the book club I have received a copy of this book for free for the purposes of this blog post.  

Maria Kang is the founder of the not for profit Fitness Without Borders and the mom featured in the controversial photo entitled “What’s your excuse?”.  The photo, featuring Kang in her workout gear and smokin hot body and her three children, went viral in 2013.  Many saw her as an inspiration, others saw her as a “fat shamer”, making people feel bad because they don’t look like her.

Personally, I saw it as an inspiration.  If she can do it, why can’t I? What’s my excuse? My excuse is that I am lazy and losing weight is the hardest thing in the world for me.  I love food and I don’t want to stop eating the foods I love.  And exercise is hard.  It’s so much easier being lazy and staying fat.  

But…

In my new place, I have to climb stairs. 

Huff puff. 

I have two kids that need to be everywhere at the same time. 

Huff puff.  Oh, my back! 

I have a very energetic dog who needs exercise or he becomes destructive and annoying. 

Huff puff.  Oh, my back! Oh, my knees! 

I assist my boss at the dance studio with a class of three year olds.

Huff Puff. Oh, my back! Oh my knees! Oh, my feet! 

And then there’s this…



This is the costume that I will wear on stage in front of a couple hundred complete strangers (and a few not so strange) when those three year olds perform their dance for their recital in June.

Now, I know nobody is going to be looking at me.  They’re all going to be looking at those adorable little girls in their sparkly tutus and bright pink bows. And those little girls are the ones they should be looking at.  

But I have to look at me. 

And I don’t like what I see.  

And I intend to do something about it. 

I’m already on my third day of eating under my calorie goal.  The weather hasn’t been nice to me this week, so walking the dog or getting to the gym hasn’t happened yet, but it will. I’ve learned that my body needs to trust that it will be fed consistently so that it won’t go into starvation mode and store fat instead of burn it.  I’ve learned that drinking all that water really wakes you up in the middle of the night.

This time five years ago I was twenty pounds lighter, what the hell happened? How do I get back there? How do I get past that? 



I am NOT making excuses anymore.  

Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid issues all run in my family.  My kids need to see their mommy healthy and finally happy with the way she looks.  And I need to teach them new eating habits and the importance of exercise. 

I need to do this.  They need to learn it from me

So, what’s MY excuse? I don’t have any.  Not anymore.  Thanks Maria Kang. 

This is an original ROSCMM post. This post was written for the From Left to Write Book Club and was inspired by The No Excuses Diet by Maria Kang, a copy of which I received for review purposes. All opinions are that of Jennifer herself unless otherwise noted. Copyright 2015 Mastermind Mommy

Categories: Family, From Left to Write Book Club, Weightloss | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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