Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Minds Playin' Tricks on Me

Last month, I heard a radio DJ ask the question, “Why can’t we stick to our resolutions, people?” Immediately, a faint memory came back to me…

I have a penchant for gummy bears. Black Forest Gummy Worms are my favorite. I also have a weakness for Publix brand yeast-rise glazed doughnuts. They come in a half-dozen box with a little cellophane window showing the crust of the glaze reflecting the lights from Publix’s 20-foot ceiling. Mm. Typically, when I crave gummies or a box of doughnuts, I make a quick trip to the store and pick up a bag or box and eat most of the contents on the way home. Once I get home, I let the kids or Hubby finish of the bag or box, because I’m satisfied. As a matter of fact, I might not even think about gummies or doughnuts for another 2-3 weeks until the craving hits me again.

One day, I had the bright idea to abstain from eating these sweet, high calorie, unhealthy items, because I’m a fitness professional and I should be setting a good example, right? Right! So - in all my infinite fitness consultant wisdom – I decided to simply stop eating them. Period. I was proud of myself and held my head high as I drove past Publix on my way to a meeting. But something interesting started to happen. All through the meeting, my mind kept wandering to thoughts of green and red striped gummy bears. I actually thought I could smell their fruity sweetness at one point during our discussion. Weird.

As I drove home, I couldn’t stop thinking that I needed to pick something up from Publix. Maybe some milk or bread for the kids’ breakfast. I swerved into a space, walked boldly into the store, and purposely strode past the bakery section – which is on the opposite end of the bread and milk - to show myself how strong I was in my conviction to stop eating the perfectly glazed yeasty treats. I made it home that day without the doughnuts or the gummies, but I couldn’t stop thinking about them! I stood in the refrigerator and pantry looking for something to snack on, but nothing would suffice. I shut the door in frustration and pushed myself to do something – anything – to get my mind off the two objects I wanted more than anything at that precise moment.

Two days later, my desire to taste the flavor of Black Forest gummies and Publix doughnuts was so overwhelming that I caved. I got into my car at 8:45 p.m. with the sole purpose of purchasing and consuming gummies and doughnuts. I bought 3 bags of worms and a box of doughnuts. I ate 2 full bags and the whole box of doughnuts that night.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think someone reading this blog at this very moment is wildly craving something no longer allowed as a New Years resolution. Unfortunately, I think our minds are wired to crave what we can’t have. So instead of telling yourself “no,” enjoy in moderation and make eensie, teensie little changes that your mind and body can tolerate. Cold turkey changes may work for a few, but definitely not for most. Enjoy the start to 2010 and allow yourself the time and patience to make realistic and subtle changes that will last a lifetime… Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This afternoon

This afternoon, I lay in my bed looking out the picture window to the leaves falling in the backyard. I was deep in thought when the voices of about 5 little boys running through the leaves distracted me. I watched as my sons and their friends dodged and ducked each other, running between trees and jumping over exposed roots.
Eventually, they all clambered onto the trampoline – and my heart skipped a beat. Normally, only 2-3 kids jump at once, but there were 5 boys ages 7, 9, 10 and 11 jumping at once. All of a sudden I heard my 7-year old scream out and fall to the side. The other kids stopped jumping and ran to his side. I don’t think I took a breath during the 30 seconds that he lay still. All of a sudden he jumped up, laughing and screaming, “I got you, I tricked you!” And my breathing returned to normal and my heart starting beating again.
I continued to watch as they created games – grabbing stray balls from the ground below and aiming them at each other as they jumped and flipped on the trampoline. It was dangerous, but they didn’t care. They played with total abandon, not worried if 1 of them fell off. I watched amazed as 1 boy then another would topple over the edge onto the ground. He’d gingerly pick himself up, dust off the dirt and leaves, and climb back up to return to the game.
I immediately thought of my life as an adult. When did I stop playing with abandon and fear? When was the last time I allowed myself to fall off the edge, get up, dust off, and climb back in the game? When had I faced an oncoming ball head-on and jumped and dodged to stay out of the way, but was still laughing and excited about the challenge?
Sometimes I revert to the child I was. Playing hard, laughing hard, not caring if I fall down or get cut and bruised. But sometimes I’m concerned about how the game might affect my budget, my roles as a wife and mother, my position as a business owner and community leader. The trick is to find the balance – balance between playing with abandon and enjoying all that life has to offer (both the jump over the ball and the fall to the ground), and being mindful of the realities of being a responsible adult.
I’m determined to treat my current journey like a wild game of dodge ball on a trampoline with too many people. Bring it!


December 23rd, 2008
Journaling. It wasn’t called journaling when I was teenager, though. I kept a diary back then. I’ve kept a diary or journal since I was in the 9th grade. I’ve lost many of them, but the journals I recorded for both of my kids and the journals of my growth as a mother and entrepreneur are all in drawers in my bedroom.
Every once in awhile, I like to go back and read some of the early entries. My 10-year old loves it when I read to him from an entry I recorded when he was 1 or 2 years old. He can’t believe he did or said some of the funny stuff he did back then. The same is true for me. But let me digress for a minute.
I love to read. Everything and anything. Historical fiction; old English literature (especially Jane Austen and Joan Aiken); chick lit; biographies; English fiction (hilarious stuff out of these new fiction writers hailing from England); African American fiction (love that Eric Jerome Dickey); religion (all religions), philosophy, astrology and human studies (extremely interesting to me); inspirational; anatomy and kinesiology (it’s my business - gotta stay up-to-date, right?). I’m always totally engrossed in some deep tome.
Deepak Chopra. If you know who he is, heard one of his tapes or ever read anything by him, you understand why I can stop with simply writing his name. Deepak Chopra - the man is deep and he’s on point.
A couple of years ago, I picked up The Seven Spriritual Laws of Success by Mr. Chopra. It was on a table of $3 books at a going-out-business sale. I spent a month reading the book - a couple of days to read and digest each chapter. My plan was to put the 7 laws into practice a day or so after marinating on the content of each law. Right. I thought I was so deep and in-tune and all that. I didn’t know what the Hell Deepak was talking about in a couple of the chapters. And I was extremely frustrated that I couldn’t follow the 2 or 3 simple rules for putting each law into practice that was carefully outlined at the end of each chapter. (sigh). I put the book on a shelf and went on my busy wife, mommy, entrepreneur way.
Every once in awhile, I’d pull it out and review the outlines at the end of the chapter. But for a year, it was still frustrating that I didn’t believe that people (read I) couldn’t really live like that. Trusting, believing, giving completely of myself, living only in the moment, etc, etc. Now don’t get me wrong… I was GOOD on a couple of the laws. Take the Law of Pure Potentiality. You’re supposed to be still 2x a day and take moments to commune with nature - listen to water or a breeze, watch the sunrise or set. I’ve got that thing down to a science and it’s easy and comfortable for me. It’s the other 5 and a portion of 6 that was bringing your girl down.
I put the book on a table at the studio and didn’t read a page in it from February (when we started construction on the studio) to December 21. During that time, I kept two journals - 1 to chronicle every step, word and deed of opening the studio and the other was my normal “diary” journal.
Yesterday, I spent a quiet day in my studio wrapping up some loose ends before the holidays. I took care of some accounting and bookkeeping issues. I shipped off some videos and final holiday cards. I cleaned out my in-box and updated my calendar for the week of my return to the office. I returned about 50 past-due emails. I reviewed some legal documents. After posting a “Closed for the Holidays” sign in the window, I drove home to heat up leftovers for my lunch.
I’d brought Deepak’s book home in my cleanup of the studio. It was lying on the table next to my placemat. So, as I consciously chewed my food (I’m really in to paying attention to flavors and textures while eating), I slowly reread each of the outlines at the end of each chapter. What was crazy is every word made total sense. Each bullet point was something I am currently practicing in my life. And I get it. I really get it.
After lunch I wrote some of my thoughts about the year in my journal. Then I took a moment to read a couple of entries from a year ago. I compared it to what I’d been writing for the last couple of months. It was like reading entries written by two different people. The current entries were full of hope, faith, excitement and promise. The entries from a year ago were full of fear, frustration and being overwhelmed. A recently a friend asked me if I’d always thought and acted the way I do now, and I didn’t know the answer. Now I do.
Sometimes, we think we’re grown, but we’re not really grown. Someone can’t tell us we’re not grown, though. We have to experience something personally to know that we’re not grown. Growth is a continual process - it’s the purpose of life. Gaining wisdom through experience. I couldn’t understand some of the principles in Deepak’s book, because I hadn’t grown through certain experiences yet. The challenges of the last year of opening my studio while still being a parent volunteer in both of the kids classes; community volunteer; running the household while Big Maurice traveled for work; networking my butt off for the business at breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, happy hours, etc; teaching 10 - 13 classes a week, personal training clients, and listening with true care to the troubles and challenges of each student and member at the studio; being a good friend, sister, daughter, wife, mother to the people I cherish in my life. The balancing act would have been impossible to pull off well if I didn’t use the laws. And the personal changes required to make it happen was apparent in my journaling.
I don’t know what 2009 will bring me. Life is full of challenges, surprises (good, bad and in-between), and experiences. What I do know is I will have a chronicle of the journey to read and reread like the outlines at the end of a chapter.

The Realities of Holiday Eating

May 28th, 2008
Last Friday, my husband and I drove the kids to Dallas, Texas for my sister-in-law’s college graduation. I love to road trip - I like seeing different places and trying new adventures with the kids. And the destination always seems to end up in some type of party. We like to party almost as much as we like to road trip - okay, more.
Anyway, after the graduation, we went to one of our relative’s house for a barbeque. The kids jumped on a trampoline outside and the parents flowed from kitchen to family room meeting, greeting and eating.
Now, I’ve never really been the type of person to eat large quantities of food at one time - I’m more of what you’d call a grazer. I pick and snack in tiny quantities all day long. At large gatherings, like this barbeque, I usually get a plate with tiny amounts of salad, chicken, collard greens - you know… whatever is there. And throughout the course of the day or evening, I’d go back for another little bit of this-and-that. And I love dessert. I’m picky about the type of dessert I like, but homemade cakes and muffins and sweet rolls - mmmmm. Again, I normally cut a little sliver of this and a corner of that and walk around until I see something else I might want to try.
Well, something about this particular barbeque in Dallas had me doing more than swiping quick little bites here and there. Maybe it was the perpetual smell of roasting rib meat, or the aroma of homemade barbeque sauce, or the sight of barbeque baked beans in a huge roaster prepared for the mass of family and friends that would come through the kitchen in the coming hours. I don’t know what it was, but I could NOT stop eating! I mean I ate non-stop for about 2 hours. And it wasn’t healthy food either - it was straight meat and cake! I don’t even eat that much meat on a regular basis, so it was really weird.
I felt so guilty, I made my father-in-law take me to the grocery store to buy veggies for a salad, 2 bags of cherries, a container of strawberries and some baked tortilla chips and pretzels. Guilt and the fact that my 6-year old doesn’t eat meat and would starve if I didn’t get him something he would like.
Back at the house with my bags full of goodies, I felt better. I washed the fruit and mixed them in a colander. I tossed the veggies for a salad in a big bowl and put it on the island with a couple of salad dressing options. And I started eating - again. At least it was healthy food my body was used to consuming, so I didn’t feel so bad.
When the kids came in from outside, they didn’t ask for chicken, or ribs, or baked beans. They went straight for the fruit and bottled water and chips and pretzels. Within two hours, all of the healthy food was gone!
Now, I don’t know what any of this means, but I told my husband the next day (as I lay back in the bed holding my aching stomach), “I truly understand how challenging it is for some people to change their eating habits. If I lived in a house where the main food choices were good smelling, delicious looking, unhealthy food and there were rarely healthy options, I’d find it a real challenge to lose weight and stay healthy.” I think I have a better understanding of some of the challenges the kids and participants in my fitness classes and healthy living programs are dealing with.
I felt really guilty as I was continuing to cut bigger and bigger slices of lemon pound cake onto my paper plate. I kept eating even as I felt my stomach angrily growling and rolling over while I continued to eat the ribs and baked beans. I knew I was full and, yet, I still went back into the kitchen for more when the conversation in the family room ended. Stuffed to the max, I kept picking up chips from the dish on the table and munching on it as we sat around and talked about current events. If people feel like I felt those two days in Dallas every day, I can only imagine the guilt and frustration plaguing them.
Well, I’m back home now. I would like to report that I immediately went back to my healthy eating ways, but I can’t. My 12-year wedding anniversary was Monday and, of course, we had to celebrate. We had two different kinds of cakes and they were both delicious!!! But I only ate 2 pieces yesterday, and I haven’t had any today. I ran my usual 3.2 miles this morning and I’ve been busy in the office all day. I’m back on track with my eating and exercise routine, but I now have a better appreciation of the struggles to eat healthy.

Posted by Altheatized at 1:20 PM 0 comments

I Love Music

February 15th, 2008
My family moved around a lot when I was young. No, my dad wasn’t in the military or anything, but we did relocate several times for various corporate opportunities that came up for him. Some people think that’s a hard life to have as a child, but I didn’t know anything different. And now it makes it easy for me to adapt to any environment and converse with many different people as an adult.
What’s interesting is that music was one of my only constants back then. Certain songs remind me of cities, activities, and trips. For instance, when we would roadtrip from Indiana to South Carolina in the 70s, John Denver or the Eagles would often be on the radio (if we got a radio station). I love the song Hotel California because it reminds me of beautiful mountain scenery while I relaxed in the back seat of the car. I think I love jazz because my father would play Take Five on his trumpet or listen to Herb Alpert and Chuck Mangione albums. My favorite jazz musicians are gone now, but I still lovingly listen to Grover Washington Jr and George Howard because of the appreciation I learned for it in the 70s. Additionally, my parents listened to old music like Motown groups and the Stylistics and, still a favorite, Sam Cooke. Those songs remind me of family and love.
Now I’m close to 40 years old with a husband, children and a mortgage. Interestingly, not much has changed in my taste in music. I still jump up and gyrate when XM radio plays Me So Horny by Two Live Crew. I still chill to Grover Washinton Jr’s Mister Magic. I still close my eyes and imagine the mountains when I hear the words “summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowin’ through the jasmin in my miiiiind.” I still shake my head at what I was wearing in 1985 when I hear Duran Duran’s Hungry Like The Wolf. I still get angry when kids call a DeBarge song a Biggie Smalls’ songs. I still want to head bang when I hear “… with a rebel yell, I cry more, more, more” by Billy Idol. I can listen to hours of mixed house music by artists and DJs like Lil Louie Vega or my good friend, DJ Oji. Living in Baltimore introduced me to B-more Club music, and I have wonderful flashbacks when I hear old Miss Toney songs (God rest his soul). I still throw my hands in the air when the go-go song by DJ Kool commands “put me in the water!” Visions of many dancehall parties (both in Jamaica and in the states) still come vividly to mind when I hear a Stone Love mix of old Tiger and Buju Banton songs. The combination of R&B and jazz created the wonderful genre of neo-soul, and I sometimes have to stop in my tracks to dance and sing out loud with Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and Raheem Devaughn. Like Erik Sermon said in his song with Marvin Gaye - “I wish music could adopt me!” And, speaking of rap music - part of the reason I fell for my husband as a teenager was because he looked like my favorite rapper of the day, Big Daddy Kane.
(sigh) I just realized there isn’t enough time or room for me to talk about all of my favorite songs, artists and genres of music. So, I will just give a shout out to two of my favorites which were not mentioned earlier in this blog: my favorite artist of all time - Prince. And my favorite album - Keith Sweat from 1988. Wait, maybe my favorite album is any album by LL Cool J. Ugh, I don’t know… I just love music.
My iPod and Apple TV are full of classics and new jams from a variety of genres of music. My mind is full of memories associated with every song I hear. Music is as essential to my life as the water I drink every day. I couldn’t imagine my life without it (and neither could my family and friends).

My Compulsive Behavior

February 10th, 2008
Prior to 1997, I was a rather messy person. I’ve never been one to spend an evening or weekend mopping, vacuuming or dusting. My bedroom was usually cluttered with mounds of unfolded laundry and shoes and purses and receipts and college memorabilia - well, you get the picture. But something happened. Well, 2 things happened.
First, my husband and I moved into our first real house. It was the cutest little brick cottage on an acre of wooded land in a wildlife preserve in a Baltimore suburb. We loved that house - therefore we took care of it and I kept it clean. But then the second thing happened…
I had no idea I was pregnant as I mountain climbed, played tennis, lifted weights like a body builder and danced like an Alvin Ailey wannabe. The realization hit us like a ton of bricks. What did we know about raising a child? But the baby came and we got the gist of what to do pretty quickly (we didn’t really have a choice).
I realized I had a compulsion in the last trimester of my pregnancy as I folded and refolded my coming child’s onesies and placed them lovingly in the cherry wood dresser we’d purchased just for him. My compulsion is folding laundry. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. In fact, I decided to write this blog because I just spent the last fifteen minutes carefully folding shirts from the dryer.
Compulsive behavior or a compulsion is defined as a psychological and usually irrational force that makes somebody do something, often unwillingly. I don’t just fold laundry - I make folded shirts look like a table in Abercrombie & Fitch. My folded towels look like a window display for Bed, Bath & Beyond. If I put the laundry away and find rumpled shirts in my sons’ drawer, I have to stop (no matter how late I am or what I’m doing) and refold everything and perfectly align them in the drawer before putting in the newly cleaned and folded shirts. It’s totally compulsive and irrational. My mother and brother tease me because they know I’m always doing laundry and folding clothes. I don’t even want anyone to help me because they never seem to get the crease right in the shirts. Or the the seams are not properly aligned on the washcloths when they’re stacked up. I know - crazy.
Now, I have no qualms about sharing this compulsion with you because I don’t think it’s a bad compulsion to have relative to some others I’ve observed and heard about. I do have others - music has to ALWAYS be playing around me, I MUST have popcorn at the movies, the kitchen HAS to be clean in order for me to cook in it - but they’re all pretty tame. And, I can survive for an hour or so without music playing, I can watch a movie without popcorn (if I’m chewing gum), and I can cook dinner without cleaning the dishes if I’m in a hurry or preoccupied. But the rumpled, wrinkled shirts or improperly folded pants and towels - naw. Can’t do it. I’ll start twitching or something. Seriously.
So now you know a secret about me. Don’t tell anyone.


February 5th, 2008
Like many kids this past Christmas, my boys got a Wii. As is typical with the kids’ video games, I didn’t have a clue and didn’t WANT to have a clue about how it worked or what the objective was for any of the games. But, like in the past, I let them talk me into learning how to play a game with them. I wasn’t thrilled about how long it took to create Mii - a little person saved on the Wii that’s supposed to look just like me - but the little brown woman with long hair and big eyes did look a little like me when we finally got done fighting over the features.
The first game I played was bowling. It wasn’t hard and it was something I could do with my 5-year old - no problem. Over New Years, we went to visit family in Mississippi and all of the kids were playing Dancing With The Stars on a cousin’s Wii. Now THAT was fun. But don’t think I just jumped in there with the 15 and under set… no, I watched and waited and shimmied in my chair until the older kids left and only the 8 and under were trying to figure out how to get the maximum points from doing the Cabbage Patch that I decided to jump in and “help.” 15 minutes later, I was actually perspiring a little! Maybe it was the cute little fur vest I was wearing and refused to take off because it matched the rest of my outfit, but whatever - I was warming up and working out.
I would have been fine if that were my last experience ever with the Wii, but what happened after New Years is the real point of this whole blog… One day my husband, a new-to-exercising former couch potato, was watching our boys run a Wii 400 meter hurdles against the neighbors kids when he decided to compete in a race. It was comical watching him tower above the heads of the young boys working his arms as fast he could. About 10 minutes later, he was losing a boxing match against our 5-year old. A few minutes after that, he was earnestly trying to win a Mario race against 7-year old twins and our 9-year old. That evening at dinner, he kept rubbing his upper arms. “Wow, I really got a workout today,” he exclaimed.
For the next week or so, my husband played the Wii like other people go to the gym once they start seeing results - religiously. I even got in on the action and raced him and the boys in a 100 meter dash and, I’m proud to report, I even won the 400 meter hurdles! (They only let me do that once.)
I’ve heard the reports of people throwing out shoulder joints and going to the emergency room with injuries, but in my household, the Wii is a pretty good substitute for a missed gym workout - at least from my husband’s point of view.

Acupuncture - wow!!!

August 17th, 2007
Where should I begin? I’ll just start from the beginning…
Several years ago, one of my clients began getting acupuncture treatments. She never told me why or what the end result was, but she used the term “wow” several times. Since then, I’ve wondered about acupuncture - will I really not feel the needles? does it really have any affect that I’ll be able to detect? how will I find a good acupuncturist that’s not some scam artist just poking me? is it expensive? etc, etc, etc.
In May, a girlfriend of mine starting visiting various acupuncturists in our area, but the second one she met, she raved about. I was so pleased with her review, I decided to stop wondering and find out for myself what it’s all about…
In June, I went for my consultation and first session. Dr. Kerri Winston-Slayton, the young lady who was my acupuncturist, asked several questions about my health, medications, lifestyle, stress levels, sleep patterns, eating habits, and physical ailments or concerns. Then she asked me to lie on my back on a massage table. While she worked, she explained the difference between the Japanese and Chinese approach and thought processes to acupuncture. “In the Chinese method, the needles are left in various points of the body, while the Japanese style is to take the needles out immediately after working with a particular section of the body unless there is a concern at that point.” Dr. Kerri uses the Japanese method - which was all good to me since I didn’t want to look down and see a thousand needles projecting from my legs.
My main concern at the first session was my left hip. I’ve been to physicians and physical therapists for an aggravating case of tendinitus that’s been hampering my jogging and fitness routine for at least two years. It was so bad that after any bout of exercise, I’d be limping or in great pain for the rest of the day. I hoped the acupuncture would relieve some of the pain, but I wasn’t completely trusting that it would. No lie - my friends and exercise partners can tell you - I haven’t felt pain in that hip since July. So, long story short - I was sold on acupuncture.
I went back in July for my second session and this time, I focused on the horribly tight and painful area between and above my shoulder blades where I carry all that stress I blogged about last month. I’ve been getting massage from various therapists for over 8 years trying to “get the rocks out of my back and neck” to no avail. In fact, massage is usually so painful for me in that area, I would sometimes be in tears during the session. (Side note here - everywhere else on my body is blissfully happy during a massage. I often fall asleep until the therapist gets to those knots in my neck/back and I start to cry like a baby - wimp that I am) So, without much hope for success, I asked her to work the acupuncture magic on my stress spot. When she first approached the area, gently touching, palpating and kneading my shoulders and upper rhomboids, I felt the pain immediately and just tried to breathe, like I was in labor again, to calm down. She applied the needles and, this time, left the needles in to work a little longer in the extremely tight area.
Now, it’s important for me to express something here. You may be wondering if I ever felt the needles. No - it simply feels like she’s tapping softly on points of my body. I can’t tell when a needle is in, being taken out or is still there when she’s done. So, I had no idea the needles were still in my back when she left me to relax and meditate at the end of the session. As the laws of science would have it, I had to go to the bathroom right then and there, and I couldn’t hold it any longer. So, I got up from the table to go to the restroom and was surprised to see a needle fall to the floor from my shoulder - uh oh. Anyway, Dr. Kerri took care of me, I relieved myself and 2-3 weeks later, some of the tightness and pain in my shoulders had subsided. I could actually give myself a gentle shoulder massage and roll my head around my neck without yelling out in pain. In fact, I’ve noticed that I don’t shrug my shoulders anymore when I’m in the office, driving or working on the computer - now that’s a first in about 9 years.
Two days ago was my third session, because now, I’m absolutely sold on the positive results of acupuncture on my physical and mental state. I didn’t really have any particular thing to focus on, so I just went because I really like it and I”m sure something is being improved upon in my body that I’m just not aware of. Boy was I right.
The first thing Dr. Kerri did was to put the needles in points along my shin just below my knees. While she was working, she asked me a few questions and took my pulse between injecting and removing needles. As she worked and I answered/talked, I felt my stomach jumping and gurgling and moving around. Should I not have eaten that banana and drunk that bottle of water before the session, I wondered to myself? But by the time she’d gotten to the fourth needle, I felt like I was in the last month of the 2nd trimester of pregnancy because something was really moving and kicking in my abdominal area - not in a painful, uncomfortable way, just weird and pregnant-like. So I asked, “Excuse me, Dr. Kerri, my stomach is really gurgling and moving around. Is that because of what you’re doing or should I avoid eating before my sessions?” She laughed softly and said, “It’s me. I’m working on your digestive system right now. It’s good to eat before your session, because it gives the digestive system something to work on when I get that area going.” Wow.
When my children came home that afternoon from school and starting running around like crazy lunatics and couldn’t focus on their school projects (yes, the kids in Georgia have already gone back to school - Thank GOD!), I was weirdly calm. When we went to the grocery store to get a box of donuts and brownie mix for their projects (don’t ask, just accept that they needed those items), I, for some strange reason, didn’t even CRAVE my favorite Publix daily-made yeast-rise donuts. Each child, my husband and my brother ate them for dessert that evening. I never even looked at them. (Seriously, Publix’s yeast ring donuts are my FAVORITE guilty pleasure food. Second is Black Forest Gummy Worms. Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm. So this was truly a serious miracle) That night, I slept so hard, I didn’t even hear the alarm ringing in the morning. My husband had to come out of the shower, turn it off and call to me several times to wake me from the deep sleep I was in (I’m usually a light sleeper). Wow.
Now, I don’t know if all that stuff is directly related to the acupuncture, but I’ll tell you four things - 1) I would have done anything, including hip surgery, to end the pain in my hip. Since acupuncture, I haven’t felt more than a twinge once in awhile; 2) I’ve had knots and rocks in my shoulders/upper back for the last 9 years. The fact that I can sit and type this without having to take a break and literally push my shoulders down from my ears is amazing. Only since acupunture; 3) I have NEVER gone in Publix one week before my menstrual cycle (I know - TMI) and NOT gotten a box of yeast-ring donuts and eaten two before I made it home. Two days ago it happened and I didn’t even WANT them! Acupuncture?; 4) I hadn’t been sleeping well since Sunday trying to prepare my 5-year old for kindergarten at a new school. I slept HARD two nights ago and again last night. I really think it’s the acupuncture.
Now I completely understand my client’s comments all those years ago - wow. There is a lot that Dr. Kerri explained to me about anatomy, the body, our systems and how everything is linked through various pressure points. I can feel the connections as she works. I don’t feel the needles and I’ve gotten more results in three months than I’ve ever received in the past 9 years of doctor and therapist visits. Wow is all I have to say to that.


July 11th, 2007
I love pampering. I think pedicures, taking vacations and just sitting around in my pajamas watching movies when the house needs to be cleaned is fantastic. Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m pretty laid back and I know how to “chill.” But there’s another side to me. My classmates from business school or the people who were in the Student Senate with me in college know a different Althea (and they like to remind me about that Althea all the time) - They know the professional, driven, business Althea. When I left my corporate job, chopped off all my hair (that was before the locs) and had children, I let 50% of the driven, business Althea go. She was a little too intense for me. However, 50% of her is still lurking beneath the locks, waiting for me to finish my Yoga sessions, morning meditations, and evening jogs around the soccer field where my son plays. As soon as I get into my office and start taking calls, going through the mail and bills, negotiating contracts, or discussing media opportunities she creeps out. I find myself subconsciously hunching my shoulders, rounding my back, breathing in short breaths and perspiring for no reason. The truth? I’m still stressed - just not as much as before. How did I find out? A massage I received 4 years ago told the truth. As soon as the masseuse touched the area between my shoulder blades just below my neck… ugh! It was so painful. To this day, I still have knots in my shoulders, and massage in that area is extremely uncomfortable and painful. I started acupuncture last month. It helped to end a pain I had in my hip for the last year. But those knots in my upper back? They’re still hanging on. I’m taking my own advice - patience and constant reminders to breathe deep and relax my shoulders when I’m in the office. Right now, though… I just took a break to force my shoulders down and roll my head around my neck. (Those knots are still there.)

Setting Examples

July 2nd, 2007
When I was very young, my parents used to drive far distances to compete in running road races. 5ks, 8ks, half and full marathons. We’d drive hours to go to a road race, and sometimes we’d make it a family trip and stay over night (my favorite memory is the Corpus Cristi Seafood Festival Road Race in Texas). My early memories are of spaghetti dinners with the families of other runners; men wearing short shorts and mesh tank tops just like the women; the sun not quite up yet as the runners warmed up with slow jogs and stretching; getting bananas, yogurt and juice for free from the sponsor tables; handing out little paper cups of water along the race trail to sweaty runners that grabbed them, sipped and threw the cups on the road; walking with my mom and dad after the race as they “cooled down”; waiting and clapping when they annouced runners we knew in each age/gender class. The mantel above the fireplace in my childhood home held my parent’s running trophies until I was coming home to visit with my husband and children. I didn’t realize how much running and the healthy way of life my parents had created for my brother and me played a part in my development and making me who I am as an adult. I run. I’ve always run. I run for relaxation and to think. It’s my mental getaway from reality. Sometimes I try to run fast and it hurts my knees and hips, so I go back to jogging slow. As I get closer to 40, I realize that running is as much a part of me as waking and sleeping. When I don’t do it, I miss it. When I’m stressed, I wake at 6:30 a.m. and find my Adidas and running shorts and head for the local track or the park. My parents didn’t take us to the road races to teach us anything - they were just doing what they loved and had no choice but to bring their babies too. When I’m at the track at night, my boys and their friends are right there playing ball or pretending to be Jedi knights from Star Wars as I run around them, admonishing them for screaming too loud or hitting someone too hard. I hope that when they grow to men, they’ll have the same desire to be outside, doing something physical just like I did when I grew up. How many parents and mentors really realize the affect and impact they’re having on a child? I wonder if my parents realize that their lifestyle choice in the 70s created the foundation for who I am today and, in turn, affects their grandsons today? I guess I’ll see the results in about 10-15 years…

My Hair

June 11th, 2007
I have a pet peeve. It’s in regards to my hair. In a couple of printed magazine and newspaper articles, my hair has been referred to as braids. I’ve been asked numerous times if they are extensions. My hair is not in braids, nor are they extensions. They are loc’ed. What is loc’ed you might ask? It is the preferred term for a natural hairstyle popularly known as dreadlocks. Dreadlocks were first worn by members of the Rastifarian religious group in Jamaica. One of the religious rites includes not combing or cutting the hair. Bob Marley, who began practicing Rastifarianism in 1967, made the style popular when he became an international singing sensation and human rights activist. I am not a Rastifarian, nor do I practice any of the Rastifarian religious rites. I do, however, love the natural curly, kinky texture of my hair - so I wear it naturally coiled into itself. I wash it once or twice a week (and yes, it takes forever to wash and several hours to dry) and I maintain a neat look by separating the individual locs once every couple of months. When I’m making a video or preparing for a presentation or show, I go to a “loctician” (a hair stylist that specializes in grooming and styling locs) to give me a clean, polished and unique style. I have been wearing my hair naturally since 1992 (meaning no chemicals or perms) and I have been loc’ing my hair since 1995. I keep it cut to the middle of my back because I don’t like to sit on my hair, and because it gets really heavy when I’m trying to exercise. Why do I refer to my hair as “locs” instead of the typical term “dreadlocs”? Because I don’t think there is anything dreadful about naturally kinky hair - I think my locs are beautiful and healthy. They even look good on Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean! So now the mystery of my hair has been solved… Check out my next blog about my first acupuncture session. Awesome!!!