Saturday, February 1, 2014

My 1st Experience with Acupuncture! Healing Hands Clinic

Hello all!

I am so pumped to write this blog post because recently, I got the opportunity to try something I have never, ever encountered before. I recently was provided the opportunity to try a new avenue in the health and wellness community...Acupuncture!

Andrea Maria Perullo de Ledesma, L.Ac., M.S. is probably one of the most impressive women I have ever met in my life. Not only does she speak several different languages but she has more than 5 years of education in medicine, Asian studies and experience in South Africa and China treating auto-immune disorders and HIV/Aids with Acupuncture. She has been running her own Acupuncture clinic for 6 years in Charlotte and offered to teach me more about it.

Andi talked to me about the real history surrounding Acupuncture including history about it's basis in Chinese history. Here are some of the things that I learned:
  • Each organ is associated with an emotion and a color
  • Your energy is supposed to flow downward through your body
  • Your spirit is called your "shen"
  • There are 12 meridians in the body that are associated with different organs
  • The tongue and the pulse can tell an Acupuncturist a lot about your health!
  • There are 3 pulse points in both wrists that correspond to different organs
Ok, so here was my experience. Andi sat down with me and talked about my medical history and the issues I was having that could be helped through Acupuncture. I discussed with her that I had A LOT of stress in the past month and that I have asthma.

She felt my pulse in both wrists and told me that my pulse is strong but "wirey" which made sense because that corresponds with stress. Also, she said that I have a "rebellious Qi" which means that your energy is running in the wrong direction.

The 3 pulse points correspond like this:

She also took a look at my tongue and told me 3 things:
1. I have a scalloped tongue which means that I have digestive issues
2. I have a strong crack in my tongue that indicates I could have problems with acid reflux
3. I have a coated tongue which also could show digestive issues or food sensitivities
So, because of what we discovered that because of my stress and asthma it corresponds to the liver and lungs. The liver is affiliated with the color green and gets thrown off by stress and anger. The lungs are affiliated with the color white and is associated with grief.
Once we talked about all of these things, I laid on the table and Andi placed the needles. The most awesome part was that I didn't even feel the needles going in! What I did feel was a slight tingling sensation through my extremities. Probably the weirdest part was that there was a needle that was put right at the top of my head!

She explained to me that I would need to lay and relax, meditating or sleeping for about 45 minutes. The time went so fast and I felt myself falling into a really deep relaxed state. I was aware and conscious but was so relaxed, I didn't want to move.

She removed the needles very quickly after the 45 minutes and put a delicious smelling oil on my head. As I slowly got up, I realized that I had a bit of queasiness in my stomach but besides that I felt so Zen and relaxed.
Aside from stress and asthma, I talked to Andi about the other things she treats with Acupuncture and she said that she works with a lot of women with fertility issues and has helped over 50 women get pregnant. She can also help with sports injuries, chronic pain and a slew of other things.
I highly recommend Acupuncture to others and especially Healing Hands Clinic with Andi. She was awesome, explained everything to me and made sure I had an excellent experience.

Monday, January 27, 2014

75 Days and Counting- Goals Update!

Today marks 75 days and counting until the big day! I am down to two and a half months until I walk down that aisle and I can't wait.

Alright so update on this past weeks goals and new goals for the upcoming week!

Here is what my exercise routine looked like for this past week.

  1. Sunday - 5.19 miles with the future hubby
  2. Monday - 3.68 mile hill run, 1.5 mile hill bike, mild weightlifting
  3. Tuesday - 40 Minute weighted circuit workout
  4. Wednesday - Rest Day
  5. Thursday - Heavy lifting day
  6. Friday - Rest Day (Gonna be honest, my arms and legs were super sore)
  7. Saturday - 5 mile hike with the pup and a full cleaning of the house (It was so gross and needed to be done)
He was pooped after that long walk!
I am happy to see it written down and that I got almost 15 miles in this past week!
Goals for this weeks workouts:
  1. Sunday - 4.3 mile hill run (completed) Dwayne and I ran the booty loop on Sunday afternoon
  1. Monday - Cardio Circuit training w/ Kettle Bells
  2. Tuesday - 5 mile recovery run
  3. Wednesday - Heavy lifting day
  4. Thursday - 20/20/20 workout (20 mins high intensity on the treadmill, elliptical and bike)
  5. Friday - Rest Day
  6. Saturday - Outside Run (hopefully) -4 miles
  7. Sunday - Walk the dog/Yoga
My goal is to slowly increase my miles per week up until the wedding while mixing in some harder strength training workouts. The end goal would be to tone up by replacing fat with some extra muscle so that I look toned in my dress. I don't want to lose any mass because I don't want to run the risk of my dress not fitting on my wedding day! What a disaster that would be!
I also have to tell you that we have our bridal team working overtime to prepare for the wedding, including the sweetest flower girl you will ever see. She is practicing hard as you can see in this video!

Question of the week:

Do you have workout goals for this week? If so, what are they? What motivates you to get going and what might stand in your way?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Guest Post: Stephanie Clemmer and a Triumph Over 25 Pounds

Hi all,

I have known my friend Stephanie for several years now and am really happy to say that I have watched her and (hopefully) helped her a little bit discover the drive to lose 25 pounds through exercise and healthy eating. I am so proud of her and because of her amazing work, I asked her to write a guest post for me to post on my blog.

Here is her guest post and I offer a huge congratulations to Steffi and her weight loss!

Steffi in Summer 2012 (left) and 2014 (right)

"My name is Stephaine Clemmer and I have always struggled with my weight. I've tried the crash diets, diet pills, the "magic" shakes, and finally I think what worked for me to get in the best shape of my life, GETTING ENGAGED!

I was at my all time heaviest, I was not happy.. I never wanted to have my picture taken, always compared myself to other girls and said why can't I look like that. Well November 16th, 2012 it all changed.
(left) Starting weight vs (right) 1st years progress

My amazing fiancĂ©, Craig McClintock, asked me to be his wife! I could not be more excited to spend the rest of my life with such a caring person who always saw the best in me and pushed me even when I wanted to stop. He made my life so much better. So, of course my first thought was omg I need a dress. I wasn't happy with myself so I said come the new year, I will get into the best shape of my life for my wedding and find a dress I'll look awesome in. January 1, 2013 comes around and I made sure that I went to the gym with all the other resolutioners. I had a gym membership for about a year before I actually became, I guess you could say "obsessed" with it, but never really stuck to it until after I was engaged. I started on the elliptical and getting in other forms of cardio. I cut out fast food restaurants, tried to eat more fruit and vegetables, and also had a team of five or six friends in different states who had a private Facebook group to help motivate each other. Another incentive for losing weight that my friend found for me was an app called, Every Move. This app offers rewards for discounted health food, sneakers, fitness gadgets, and a ton of other things - this was awesome so I definitely stuck with recording my activities. I also tracked my calories using MyFitnessPal, which is AMAZING.  

When starting my weight loss journey in 2013, I started working out 5-6 days a week and started watching what I ate. I also tried ViSalus which is a nutritional shake from Body By Vi. I used the shakes for about a month and a half and lost 8 lbs so I was excited. I just couldn't do with the two shakes a day so I cut my 90 day challenge short. I still use the shakes every once in a while. I tried the Special K diet for 2 weeks because it said you could lose up to 6 lbs every in two weeks, so my friend and I were believers so we tried it out. With this diet, I lost 4.2 lbs. After this challenge, I fell off of the "crash diets" and "magic shakes" and just decided to keep better tabs on my calorie intake and exercise. I started taking gym classes such as Cardio Fusion (a mixture of strength training and cardio) as well as Les Mills Pump. While doing these classes I was also getting into the habit of running as I had signed up for my first Half Marathon. In May of 2013 I ran my first half marathon in 2 hours 46 mins. I was so excited to be able to finish. At the end of May 2013 I was down 20 lbs. I started to slow down a little on running and tried to start building some muscle, and continued with Les Mills Pump classes - I did however, do a few 5k races throughout the summer. In November 2013 there was a new race added in Pittsburgh which was the EQT 10 Miler and I definitely had to sign up for this. Two long distances runs in 2013 was an achievement I never thought I would ever accomplish, it was an amazing feeling.

Eventually I noticed I wasn't losing the weight as quickly as I was before, and I was at a plateau for a good 5 months and come January 2014 I told myself I would get back to my 5-6 days a week working out as we were only 4.5 months away from the big day. Since January 1, 2014 I have been working out 5-6 days a week, started eating clean, and recording my calories better. I am officially down 26.2 lbs as of January 24, 2014. I began my journey at 166.8 lbs, and now weigh 140.6 - I am 3 lbs away from my High School weight, and 5 lbs away from my goal weight.

Tips for the weight loss journey: Get a fitness gadget - I started with a FitBit Zip, got the Jawbone UP and now have the FitBit Force and I absolutely love them - you have friends you can compete with so it makes it fun and I'm an extremely competitive person. If you have a friend into fitness - recruit a friend to be your gym partner! Try to eat clean, Set realistic goals, reward yourself - I reward myself with new running shoes or a mani/pedi. Lastly, switch up your routine every 4 weeks.

Struggles along the way: Sweets - my biggest downfall. Convenience - meal planning was not really ideal all the time so this caused me to slack off sometimes. The Plateau - this was my biggest struggle because I went 5-6 months without losing any weight and constantly fluctuated 2-3 lbs and couldn't understand why I wasn't losing until I changed up my diet and added more strength training into my routine.

My goal now is to lose my last 5 lbs maybe 10 to be at my absolute IDEAL goal weight and continue to add some muscle definition or as some call it "tone up". The big day is May 12, 2014 in the beautiful beach in the Outer Banks, North Carolina and I am beyond determined to look amazing in my gorgeous Maggie Sottero dress.. If I can do it, ANYONE can."

Note from Mackenzie:

I have to say how proud I am of Steffi. Losing weight, sticking to a plan and getting into exercise can be a very difficult thing to stick to and she is one of the few people that I personally know that stuck with a plan and didn't stop until they achieved their goals. I am so happy for her and I give her so much credit.

Great job Steffi!