Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


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I Get So Emotional…

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…well not really, all the time, but I thought it was the perfect Whitney Houston song to use as the title for today’s blog.  2015 is not a year that I am going to have many fond thoughts of, in fact, in the words of my home girl Queen Elizabeth  (Her Majesty to you), this is fast becoming a year I shall not look fondly upon.  It has turned out to be an annus horribilis.  For those of you who think that I’m referring to someone more cheeky, annus means year in Latin.  

A lot has happened over a very short period of time, and I’ve seen the best and worst of people.  The one thing that I have discovered in all of this, is how important it has been to use my emotions productively.  This is something that Deepak Chopra talks about in his latest 21 Day Meditation Experience and you know I like to remind you that Dr. Oz highly recommends meditation to alleviate stress among other health benefits.  I still suck at it, but why quit trying?

In my favourite meditation to date, Deeps talks about what you should do in a time of difficulty.  I love that he says that being emotionally productive isn’t about “positive thinking as a solution or constantly trying to maintain an optimistic disposition.”  Rather, he wants us to make our emotions part of our support group.  How can we do this?

  • Be aware that emotions are tied to every choice that you make and you can’t always be rational.  I like being rational, but yes, I would say that in the scheme of things, emotions rule the day
  • Deal with emotions as a contestant companion and advisors.  In other words, don’t try to suppress how you feel – many decisions, good and bad, are made based on feelings and it doesn’t help to try to bury your emotions.  The one thing I have to say is that good or bad, I get everything out.  If I need to cry, which isn’t often, I do it.  If I’m angry, depending on how much something is bothering me, I tell the person.  If I’m happy or grateful, I say so.  Life is far too short to choke down feelings and I’ve noticed, at least for me, that there is something very therapeutic about getting things out into the open…and a good cry never hurts.  Deepak says that it is important to remember that every situation has an emotional component
  • “Pushing down emotions” or try to stifle emotions, they get “stuck” meaning, they just sit in your subconscious like a ginormous unhealthy dinner gets stuck in your tummy

There were a few other deep thoughts, but this was the gist of it.  I loved that he didn’t stress positive thinking or fake optimism as a solution.  I hate when people tell me to look at the bright side or that things happen for a reason.  I think I’ve written about this before, but I think that sometimes bad things happen to the best people and sometimes, you see karma in action.  I’m seeing both of these situations at once – but coping with each is less difficult, because I know exactly how I feel and today, that is what I most grateful for.


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Sleepy-Time Stress

eye twitch

Keeping one eye on the time…

I admit it – I’m a clock watcher and always need to know the time.  It’s productive during the day, so that I can get to meetings on time or meet people pretty close to the time we agreed on, but when you have insomnia, clock watching is just plain stressful.  You think you are the only one awake, in the world, and it’s a very lonely place to be.  I was reading an article in “Dr. Oz – The Good Life” and was a little disappointed.  Not because the article wasn’t well written and totally useful, but the cover tease was “Turn Off Stress So You Can Sleep-Pill Free”.  That is right up my alley – I hate taking sleeping pills, and not sleeping is a huge cause of stress.  When I eagerly flipped to the article, it was all about women who can’t get back to sleep…not my issue at all.  When I do have insomnia, it’s because I can’t fall asleep.  If I fall asleep, and wake up in the middle of the night, I can always fall back into la-la land – after I check the clock of course.

When I first started blogging, in January 2014, my first topic was all about insomnia.  In general, I do sleep better than I did a year ago.  Here are a few things that I think have helped:

-Eating more nuts – for real – I still eat two brazil nuts a day for the selenium and I eat almonds and walnuts every day.  Think I’m nuts?  It seems to work

-I’ve learned, the hard way, that as soon as I get an inkling that I’m about to fall asleep on the couch, I have to get up and go to bed – immediately.  If I fall asleep, for even 5 little minutes, my shut eye pattern is off, and I find it impossible to sleep

-A cool room helps – really, but freezing cold isn’t great.  Once I’m that cold, no matter what I do, I can’t warm up

-Dr. Oz’s sleep experts say you shouldn’t check the time, but I have to, and it helps me fall back to sleep knowing that I still have a couple of hours that I can get in

-There are times, when I just can’t sleep, that I do get out of bed and walk around, watch TV or read, just to get out of my room

Here are some new recommendations from “Dr. Oz – The Good Life: Your Fall-Back-Asleep Prescription (page 108):

1. Do some belly-breathing – I know I’ll never do this on my own, but I am doing Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey’s latest 21 Day Meditation Challenge, and I can always do one of the meditations to get in some deep breathing.  I still can’t do the meditating part properly, but I do deep breathe when I listen to D-OPRAH’s latest

2. Get Out of Bed – see above

3. Note and release your worries – this is a great idea – I’ll try this one.  Sometimes, I may have to type it into Outlook, so that I know that I have time set aside for the tasks, but I think knowing you have your “to-do’s” listed somewhere is comforting, at least to me

4. Take a mental stroll – you are supposed to visualize places that bring you peace – I’ll try it, not sure if I buy it, but it’s worth the effort

5. Listen to something calming – This works – I know you aren’t supposed to have iPads in your room, but I listen to podcasts and they put me to sleep and yes, I am admitting this here, Reality Steve’s (Bachelor Spoiler extraordinaire) Live Video Chats are a must listen an my own brand of Nytol – I fall asleep every Thursday listening to them.  I don’t watch unless he is talking to his dog Maddie – which is cute and priceless.  He’s never boring, but there is something soothing about the way he speaks.  Whatever works right?

6. Call in the pros – AKA see your Dr.

Today was a pretty good day with a lot to be grateful for – I’m off this week from work, I got to see my niece and I got to speak to the Shoe (not her real name, but a really close friend).  Not too bad – and no stress : )


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My Favourite Books

CharlotteWeb

Image courtesy of Harper Collins

I’m an avid reader – I even keep a book diary to record a list of all the books that I have read.  I only started keeping it in 1991, but if I were to guess, I’ve probably read well over a thousand books.  Why do I bring this up?  I was thinking about meditation, which is really being able to tune things out, and listen to nothing, not even your inner voice.  Well, it’s more than that, but that’s the gist for you newcomers to my deepness.  As much as I can’t do this, and I get distracted, I was thinking, I do that sometimes, about how when I read a book I love, I am able to tune things out.  Yes, I’m still listening to my inner voice, but it’s how I relax and de-stress which Dr. Oz and my home boy Deepak Chopra would both approve of.

I’m reading a book that I really like right now, “Wild”.  It’s not the best book that I’ve ever read, but it’s very well written and definitely worthwhile.  It’s the first book in a book club that we are starting at work and I definitely recommend it.  It made me enjoy reading again and also made me think of the ten books that really affected me – here they are:

  1. Charlotte’s Web – my top favourite book ever!  It’s the only book that I kept from my childhood.  Ironic, since I’m terrified of spiders, but it has so many important messages…you may be scary outside, but you can be beautiful inside, unlikely twosomes can become the best of friends, true friendship can last a lifetime, no matter how short that lifetime is, and more.  I always loved and identified with the underdog and this book, read to me in grade 2, was the start of all of this.  Even my beloved, and deceased dog Rascal was the runt of the litter and I loved him as much as Fern loved Wilbur.  I bawled my way through this book (driving my sisters crazy when I was a kid, reading it out loud over and over again) and bawled my way through the movie as an adult.  If you haven’t read it, it’s never too late.  My favourite line?  “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.  Charlotte was both.  THE END.”  Charlotte has always been my inspiration.
  2. The Last Lecture – this is a must read – there is simply no more inspiring, joyful book out there.  Yes, Randy Pausch was dying when he gave his last lecture, but he still loved life.
  3. Memoirs of a Geisha – just beautifully written – it’s as simple as that.
  4. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving is a quirky writer who isn’t for everyone, but this story is amazing.  So many things happen throughout the book, and you wonder why, but it all makes sense in the end.  The book’s protagonist is also an underdog, and you know I love an underdog.
  5. Angela’s Ashes – so good!  You’d think the poverty would depress you, but it’s written with humour and you can get lost in the story.  I loved ‘Tis too!
  6. The Harry Potter Series – trying to pick a favourite is like trying to pick a favourite child – you may have one, but whose dumb enough to tell the world about it?  It’s amazingly creative, shows that good does triumph over evil and the books become more sophisticated as the characters age – what’s not to love?
  7. Marley and Me – You may not agree with this one, but as a dog lover, I adored this book.  Especially the part SPOILER ALERT when the author is getting ready to say goodbye to his beloved pet and he does what I did – strokes his dog in all of his favourite places to memorize how he feels (I did this to my dog when he was trying to sleep, and as always, he was patient with me).
  8. The Book of Negroes – this was a difficult read, but so well written that you feel like you were on the slave ship.  It should be required reading in schools and for members of the Ku Klux Klan and other racists.
  9. The Book Thief – Classified as a Young Adult book, there is nothing about this book that meets that classification.  It was also a difficult read, and you have to understand a little metaphor, but a very important book, at least in my opinion.
  10. Julie and Julia – I know, autobiographical fluff, but it’s one of the books that inspired me to start blogging.

Those are the books – the ones that I remember and had the most impact.  I’m grateful to have read each and every one of them.  I’d love to hear your favourites too so leave them here, or tweet them to me @JillSchnei!


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Change Is In The Air

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I knew that 2015 was going to be a year of change.  I had that feeling on December 31st.  I just wasn’t quite sure what that meant for me.  So far, it has been difficult, but sometimes, not to sound like Polly Pureheart, those difficulties spur you to explore the unexpected.  One day, when my mother wasn’t having a great day, I told her that I would cook for her.  She would just have to be there for me and tell me step by step what to do.  After checking her life insurance policy, she agreed.  Not nice Mummy!  I spent the afternoon making soup for the first time, spaghetti sauce for the first time (beef stinks when it’s cooking – I’ll try to keep my chick-a-fish-a-veg-atarian self away from Elsie the Cow for the rest of my days), baked chicken breasts (not the first time, but only about the third time making this dish) and egg salad (BLAH – too smelly for me to ever eat).  You know, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  It’s just weird how someone just knows how much of everything to add without a recipe (my mother, not me).  So far, she’s survived the experiment.  I made the soup – pictured above, at home for myself.  It was ok day 1 but on day 2, I was about to gag on it.  It did have a lot of Oz approved foods – fresh onion (pre-biotics to super-charge my probiotics), carrots, celery, cabbage, snow peas and a package of dried vegetables and barley.  I probably won’t make it more than once a year, but it was nice adding something to my limited recipe book.

This will also be a year of trying new things.  It means a Zombie “Escape the Room Challenge” and Axe Throwing.  It means doing things that I’ve never tried before, even if they are outside of my comfort zone.  It means committing to a cut off time for work.  It means that in the interests of decluttering, that I actually un-friended someone from Facebook.  Not a big deal, but it was time to do a little tune up.  Why have someone there who clearly I haven’t had a conversation with in years?  I’ll be doing a little more of that in the future – but it was a start.

I also recognize that in order to live in a relatively healthy way, I have to learn how to cope with worry.  I dealt with being sick for most of January (which I wrote about).  This didn’t worry me, but it kept me from being able to write as often, or as clearly as I may have wanted to.  It left me a little fatigued, but that’s partly stress.  A huge work project finally came to an end, which caused me a lot of sleepless nights – but it went well, so that’s a relief.  Last, but most importantly, my family and I have to cope with a challenging situation – I can’t get into details, yet, but it’s not easy.  Luckily, we are supporting each other and for that, I am grateful.  Here are some of Dr. Oz’s tips for coping with worry (from doctoroz.com):

  • “Get More Sleep: One common complaint of distress is lack of sleep. It can put your brain on edge, which forces it to go into survival mode.
  • Meditation: The well-documented effects of regular meditation include lowered blood pressure, less heart disease, decreased chronic pain, and increased mental clarity.
  • Yoga: Dr. Oz recommends doing the 7-minute sun salutation yoga exercise every day. Not only does it keep him in shape, it keeps his mind focused and clear.
  • Teas and Other Calming Foods: Some foods and teas have natural components that help soothe the brain.”

I’ve signed up for Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey’s latest 21 Day Meditation Experience in March.  I also have 3 other meditations streamed.  As I’ve mentioned, I will always struggle with it, but so many doctors recommend it, that I’ll never stop trying.  I’m already a tea lover, so that’s never an issue, but I am going to see what foods help cope with stress.  I’ve also got to give yoga another try – maybe a laughing yoga class, because I have such a hard time taking it seriously?

Today is Family Day in Ontario, and as always, I like to end on a note of what I am grateful for.  Today, in honour of Family Day, I am grateful to my family, frousins and friends that are like family.  I’m lucky to have all of you.

I


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Soaring Like Beagle and Other Holiday Angst

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Image courtesy of picgifs.com (and I’m pretty sure Charles Schulz deserves some credit)

As I’ve written time and time again, Dr. Oz loves meditation and introduced me to my homeboy Deepak Chopra or Deeps as I affectionately like to call him.  I’m currently reading one of Deeps’ earlier books, “The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire”.  As I’ve been voraciously reading the book, I found, in parts, that I had to suspend my own skepticism and embrace things that I usually find to bordering on hooey.  There are many wonderful parts of the book including a very true equation for luck.  If you decide to pick up the book, you’ll find it on page 123, “Opportunity + Preparedness = Good Luck”.  So true – I can tell you that I’ve been told, that I’m pretty lucky when it comes to finding jobs, or rather having jobs find me.  Au contraire, my freres – it’s all part of the divine equation that Deeps laid out so succinctly in his book.  I believe that Randy Pausch also highlighted this very fact in one of the best books ever written – “The Last Lecture”.  There is some degree of the universe helping me out, but most luck that I’ve experienced is self-generated, where opportunity met preparedness.

Yes, there are many amazing parts to the book and he breaks down meditation, providing this klutzy meditator with some tools to help me increase my health with this Oz approved practice, but there is some stuff that’s just beyond me.  He lost me with identifying archetypes.  I think mine may be a princess of some small nation like Denmark.  Mostly because you get all of the benefits of British Royalty (like a lovely tiara and some travel) with none of the crazy stalkers and paparazzi following you around.  I have a feeling that’s not what he’s thinking about though.  Then came the moment that I realized that I may lack the depth to pursue my goal of listening to the vibrations of the universe…In one of the blondest moments of my life, I read, “Become an eagle; experience the world as a soaring bird” (page 162) as “Become a beagle…”.   Yes, I pondered the statement and was wondering if it was possible to experience life as everyone’s favourite beagle – Snoopy.  A good five minutes of thinking later, I re-read the sentence, and boy, did I feel like a dummy.  I’ll keep trying, but I’m not so sure I’ll ever get this stuff right.  My good friend gave me a Chopra Centre gift card so that will definitely help!

You know, Dr. Oz has a huge section on how to avoid weight gain and to enjoy the holidays in a healthy way. I’m going to spend some time reading them and reporting back, but I think it’s also one of those times of year when maybe, it’s ok to say, I’m just going to give in to the dark side. I love seeing my friends and family during the festive season, but I, like many think that maybe we are taking the commercialization a little bit too far.  I celebrate Chanukah and for the most part, appreciate the simplicity of the holiday.  I was in a book store yesterday and saw a doll called “Mensch on a Bench”.  Instead of being amused by this “Elf on a Shelf” take off, I was a little taken aback.  Christmas and all of the trappings are great and meaningful if that’s the holiday that you celebrate, but Chanukah is the “Festival of Lights” – all you need is a Menorah and maybe a dreidel or two and you are good to go.  We don’t have an equivalent to Santa Claus – there is not Hanukah Harry, so Mensch on a Bench makes me feel like we are having a “me too – see, we can be fun” kind of moment.  I’m not religious in any way shape or form, but I don’t believe that we have to shape things in a certain way in order to enjoy the holidays and the more simple celebrations are just as meaningful.  I love the Christmas decorations and nobody sings a Christmas Carol better than Kelly Clarkson.  I love going to Christmas parties and joining in the fun of the season, but I am happy with the traditions that I grew up with too and have never felt that I was missing out on anything by having Chanukah. What could be better than Chinese Food and a movie on December 25th? OY VEY – is all I have to say about this Mensch on a Bench business.  Just enjoy yourself, no matter what holiday you celebrate.

Today, I’m grateful that I got to spend time with my family to celebrate the festival.  We went to visit our cousin who had a little accident and it was just nice to be together, even if it was in a hospital.  I’m grateful to my poor mother for pushing through back pain to prepare the best latkes ever and for always making the holiday about what’s important no matter what religion you are – spending time with loved ones.


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In the Twitch of an Eye

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Geepers creepers, where did I get twitching peepers?  For the last week or so, my right eye has been twitching.  Never being a medical alarmist, I didn’t think twice about it until it got totally annoying.  I decided to check into what my good, imaginary friend, Dr. Oz had to say about the topic.  Some of his videos on the doctoroz.com website didn’t work, so Share Care it was for me.  I got these little nuggets of information – the truth about twitches if you will:

  • You shouldn’t worry if they last less than a week
  • Go see a doctor if your eye closes all the way
  • You should also visit one if there is any discharge from the eye
  • It usually resolves itself on it’s own

They say that the twitches tend to happen when you are stressed, which I am or fatigued – guilty as charged.  I did notice a big improvement today and I never did have the “you should head to the doctor” symptoms.  I guess it’s resolving itself, but it did remind me of my vow earlier in the year to work to live and unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, it’s been a bit of a live to work time in my life.  I do recognize that I need more rest and that perhaps it’s time to listen to some more Deepak – again, I’m not a meditation fan, but he is so nice to listen to that I fall asleep and getting more rest is important when you are feeling stressed – right?

This post is quick – like my eye twitch, but how much can I really write about so small a problem?  I’ll just end it now with a little note of gratitude because I had a not so bad day.  It was busy as always, but I got a free coffee today – a plus!  I got to see a good friend today for lunch – another plus and I got to write for you (and me) finally after a little delay.  A plus for me, so I continue to be…

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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Revisiting Meditation

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Image courtesy of chopracentermeditation.com

By the end of January, the first month of my blog, I realized that I’d have to at least try meditation.  Dr. Oz recommends it as a healthy way to de-stress, and you know I’m all about what Dr. Oz tells me to do.  Well, I won’t be cooking with coconut oil – because it’s not healthy, but I have been doing my best this year to follow him down that yellow brick road.  I finally worked up to trying meditation for the first time in my life in April.  I blogged about it for the full 21 days of Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s (affectionately known as Doprah to me) Meditation experience.  If you recall, I loved listening to Deepak and sometimes even Oprah, but mediation proved very difficult for me.  My mind wanders too much…I worry too much that I’m turning into one of those people that I regularly make fun of, sometimes to their faces…and most of all, the perfectionist in me was worried the whole time about “doing it right and write”.  Right in the sense that I was going to be a great at finding my inner Om, but really it was more like a big Um  to me.  The other part of “doing it write” was that I had to do each mediation twice. Once to do the actual meditation and once to transcribe it for you.

I liked listening to Doprah enough to do it again, but I’m still not very good at the whole thing.  I signed up for their latest meditative exercise – “Expanding Your Happiness”.  This time, I decided not to blog about it except for one or two “revisits”. Every night at bedtime (still too late to be Oz approved), I bust out my iPad and listen to that day’s musings.  Every day like clock work, as soon as Deepak  – we are on a first name basis – signals it’s time to begin the meditation, I’m out like a light until he comes back on to signal that our time’s up.  It’s like the  best nap this almost reformed insomniac has ever had!  The only problem is that I’m missing out on the important part of the practice – meditating.  Maybe the whole point of it this time is just to take what I like from the whole thing and stop stressing over not doing it the right way.  I think I came to the same conclusion when I finished the first experience.

Tonight, I’ll be sleeping through – I mean doing a meditation about feeling hope.  It’s very timely since it’s all feeling a little overwhelming right now.  I don’t lack hope -and I’m pretty sure that things will get better.  Having hope has gotten me through quite a few crises these last few years.  Right now, I just need a little reminder from Deepak that every cloud has a silver lining, it’s always darkest before the dawn and all dogs go to heaven (just checking to see if you were paying attention).  I do have a lot to be grateful for.  Monday, for example was  a good day.  I got a free coffee at McD’s – the best coffee in Toronto as far as this tea drinker is concerned.  I bumped into my former cube neighbour at the office on my way into work yesterday (after she called “Schneidy” about 27 times to get my attention).  She made me laugh and reminded me of how glad I am to have her back even if she doesn’t sit next to me anymore.  I had a new employee start who seems lovely. I got to watch Bachelor in Paradise and make fun of my niece for being pretentious.  Last but not least, I had a fun idea for a post that I think will teach us all some important life lessons…sort of like what we learned from darling Gwyneth Paltrow – just a reminder in case you missed some of my thoughts on the lady : ) https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/plop/ and  https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/plop-part-deux-dos-due-zwei-twee/ 

Even though I’m feeling a little run down, I’m still…

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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New Topic – Re-Evaluation

Pondering

 

I spent some time pondering my blog today – hence the picture that I took in Norway glancing out at the water with HUGE mountains reminding me of how insignificant that I am.  It’s a long weekend in Toronto, and one of my favourite ways to end it off is to just take a day and chill out. I always have the intention of being wildly productive, but just taking the time to do exactly what I feel like doing usually wins out.  Today, I read a life-altering, quality book that should be on everyone’s reading list.  “I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends – Confessions of a Reality Show Villain” by Courtney Robertson.  It’s a semi-tell-all from the former The Bachelor Finalist and ultimate winner.  Is it literary genius?  No – but it was very entertaining and a book that I could plow through really quickly.  Thanks Reality Steve for reviewing it on your site, realitysteve.com – that’s how I discovered it.  I usually read more high-brow fare, but every now and then, a little fluff is nice.  Doing my laundry always makes me feel productive, and it allows me to sit around and read while I wait for the washer to finish or in between folding loads.  Oh, the exciting life this blogger leads – you should all be jealous, but it’s such an ugly, tawdry emotion.

Back to my pondering.  Every few minutes while reading the holy grail of all things Bachelor, I thought about what I would like to write about this month.  I was reminded that I have a habit of picking of words ending in “tion” as my topics.  Case in point:

  • January – hibernation (ok sleep, but it has to work for my point to be valid)
  • February – beautification
  • March – nutrition
  • April – meditation (well, it ended up being about meditation so close enough)
  • May – inflammation
  • June – hydration (work with me here, I know it was about getting ready for summer)
  • July – vacation

So, for this month, I’m picking a biggie – re-evaluation.  Some of you may feel that this should be my December topic – au contraire – I think it’s important, as I close in on the last quarter of my year of following Dr. Oz’s advice, to take time now to get back on track with the good changes that I’ve made that may have fallen a bit by the way-side, keep up with what is working, and re-visit some things that haven’t.  I’ll be doing Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s new 21 day meditation experience, eating Oz-ily and trying a few new things on my road to good health.

So what am I grateful for today?  Long weekends when I can see my closest friends and have a day to myself to just relax even if it means doing a few hated house-hold chores to help me not feel like a total sloth.

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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26 Weeks and Counting – What A Burn

It’s official – my journey down the yellow brick road to good health is half-way over, or at least my experiment in taking Dr. Oz’s advice. It has been an enlightening first half.  I’ve learned things that I never would have given a second thought to, I’ve made changes that have made a big difference in how I feel and I’ve tried things that I never thought I ever would be interested in.  The latest thing that I’ve tried, admittedly on the advice of my dermatologist, has been a chemical peel.  He recommended that I get three of them to help with my annoying acne problem.  I had my first last Friday.  It all starts off in a very relaxing manner.  You have a traditional facial first including a scrub, steam and extraction (which I love).  The main event was next.  A 70% glycolic acid solution was applied to my face from the forehead down.  The reason they start with the forehead is because it can tolerate the acid for the longest period of time.  The acid stays on your skin for about 2 minutes and feels like your face is getting a sunburn.  Once the two minutes were up, I had to wash my face with lots of water twice. I then had a calming cream applied, followed by sunscreen.  So what were the results?

My skin was red and blotchy and looked really oily from the cream.  I was warned that my skin would “crust” in parts and to use Polysporin or petroleum jelly on it.  I ended up breaking out, but only one zit has really had any staying power.  My skin feels softer, but I haven’t seem anything amazing – yet.  According to Dr, Oz, “You’ll see the results of a superficial chemical peel when your skin heals, generally within two to three weeks.”  I’ll wait patiently and keep you posted.  My next peel is scheduled for the end of July.  If your doctor recommends a chemical peel, follow their instructions.  This includes wearing sunscreen since your skin will be pretty sensitive for a few days.  I hope it makes some sort of a difference.

So, what is the most important thing that I’ve learned in this half year?  I’d say that I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.  I also think mindfulness is crucial.  I think more about my health when I make a decision.  I try to stick with the things that make me feel better – it isn’t always easy, but I’m doing my best and isn’t that all we can really ask ourselves for?  I could list everything that I’ve keep up – ok – I will:

  1. Probiotics every morning – I really think these have made a huge change in how my tummy feels
  2. Prebiotics where possible to super-charge my probiotics.  This includes eating at least half of a banana most mornings or no longer avoiding onions
  3. Watching what I eat to avoid inflammation and to feel better.  I’m not perfect.  I’ve lost around 18 pounds, but 80% of the time, I’m on the money and I do feel better.  I’ve starting following Dr. Oz’s 2 Week Rapid Weight Loss Plan once a month, not to lose weight, but because, overall, eating that way makes me feel better.  It’s totally not sustainable, so I eat the DASH way, the other 2 weeks with occasional cheats.  
  4. Researching what I put in my mouth – this means being a bit more critical about certain pieces of Oz sanctioned advice (coconut oil ring a bell?).
  5. Eating nuts – really, they help with sleep – I’m convinced of it.
  6. Sleeping in a cool room.  I do sleep better, not perfectly, but better.
  7. Meditating – I didn’t love the actual practice – just Deepak Chopra’s teachings, and if trying more meditation means that I get to benefit from someone much wiser than me, well, practice makes perfect.
  8. No shampoo faux-hawks.  Being more careful when I wash my hair has meant fewer tangles and fewer split ends.
  9. Zinc supplements – I still take these daily – I’m not sure if they’ve helped my skin, but I have to say that my immunity is better.
  10. Getting a mammogram – this was really important for me since breast cancer runs in my family.  Yes, it wasn’t pleasant, but early detection is worth the 5 minutes of discomfort that I suffered and it literally was 5 minutes for all of you chickens out there.
  11. Dandelion tea – I hate this – it tastes like dirt.  It can’t all be good news : )

There have been many more changes that I have made – mostly small ones, but eleven seems to be a nice round number or at the very least, two straight up and down ones.  I hope the next 6 months are as beneficial as the first 6 have been.  I know that Dr. Oz has detractors, and some of this is deserved, but he also provides a lot of really beneficial advice, so today, I’m grateful for my favourite TV doctor and to all of you for following me or reading my blog.  I struggled a bit in June with a demanding work schedule, but I won’t let that stop me from completing this experiment.  I’ll be revealing a new topic in my next entry – something really fun for me.  Until then, I am…

Gratefully yours,

Jill

 


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Meanwhile, Back to Inflammation and 29 Weeks to Go

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Remember this guy?  I promised that I’d come back to inflammation and that will be the subject for the rest of this month.  Need a reminder?  Here is a link to the blog that I did way back in the day…https://jillschnei.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/an-inflaming-introduction/.  I also want to remind you of how inflammation is defined: According to the Honor Society of Nursing, “Inflammation is your body’s natural response to destroy or get rid of dangerous substances like allergens or bacteria. Sometimes, however, your body attacks itself, leading to different parts of your body becoming inflamed. This can affect your organs and bones and cause pain, swelling, and redness.” According to Dr. Oz, it can clog up your arteries contributing to heart disease, cause cancer, diabetes and a host of other issues.  This is a huge topic and just a little over two weeks will not likely give me all of the details that I need to fight inflammation in my body.  As I mentioned the first go-round, people use inflammation like a buzzword, never really understanding the meaning of what it is.  It’s like Gwyneth Paltrow  who likely speaks to how riddled her body is with inflammation.  Really, it’s very dangerous and in order for me to live my healthiest life, I’m going to do some investigating.  

According to doctoroz.com, there are five ways that you can take to ward off inflammation.  They include:

-Aspirin – this doesn’t just help prevent heart attacks, there is evidence that it can help prevent other diseases including Alzheimer’s and colon cancer.  You shouldn’t take aspirin or any other medication without speaking to your family doctor.  I can’t take aspirin – I get horrifying, need to visit the doctor heartburn from it.  If I’m told later in life that I need it, I’ll revisit it then

-Omega 3 Fatty Acids – these are beneficial in preventing heart disease.  Luckily, I’ve been eating a lot of flaxseed, walnuts and more fish than I’ve ever eaten in my life.  I used to avoid fish like the plague, but now I’m ordering it more often when I eat eat.  Salmon is good but unless it’s fresh, it can taste a little fishy.  Arctic Char is nice too – and it is also a good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  If you really aren’t a fish person or would like to be more open to it, halibut is a great fish to try.  It’s mild tasting and has a meatier texture.  I also tried branzino recently and really liked it, but I can’t tell you if it is a good source of Omega 3’s so stick to the other fish that I mentioned and I’ll get back to you on that one.

-Fruits and Veggies – I’m not going to go into any great detail on this, but we all know that it’s important to especially eat a lot of vegetables.

-Liquid Anti-Oxidants – this one was a little weird – they recommend drinking orange juice particularly after eating an unhealthy meal.  I’m not sure that I buy that, plus OJ is very high in sugar.  I’ll let you figure that one out on your own.  I drink it once or twice a year and it has to be Tropicana Pure Premium (and no they didn’t pay me to say that – it’s just the best tasting juice outside of squeezing it yourself).

-Move – exercise can reduce inflammation…we all know it’s good for us.  I’m going to have to start doing it more than once or twice a week.  I signed up for a barre exercise class (it’s a Groupon) – I’ve always wanted to try it, so why not do it to help decrease inflammation in my body?

For more details, check out the article at http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/five-ways-fight-inflammation.

I can’t believe that 23 weeks have gone by already.  It seems like only yesterday, I was writing about meditation.  Oh, that was the day before yesterday.  I can’t wait to see what they next 29 weeks will bring – new learnings, new experiences, new purses!  I haven’t spent any money on pursuing Dr. Oz strategies because I’ve been too busy doing the meditation experience.  I am doing another 2 weeks of the Rapid Weight Loss program – over the last couple of weeks, my eating hasn’t been as good as it had been for the last two months, so I wanted to get myself back on track.  I don’t feel as poorly as I did last time, and I can even get the smoothies down in 15 minutes.  I think I feel better partly because I’m used to eating the Dr. Oz way anyway.  I just didn’t want to let bad habits go on for too long.  I still had leftover flaxseed and protein powder from the first time that I did the plan so I was able to just get started right away.  Here is hoping that this will help with some of the inflammation in my body.

Today, I am grateful that some friends helped me unlock the next levels of Candy Crush – I know, I know.  I’m pathetic – but it is addictive.  I’m off to conquer level 51!  Until tomorrow…I am…

Gratefully yours,

Jill