Tag Archives: Health

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Two-in-One

HOW TO COMBINE TWO HOUSEHOLDS INTO A HAPPY HOME 

So, you said, “I do,” – but what does that mean about accepting your soon-to-be’s stuff, too? 

Regardless of how much you’ve both accumulated, combining two households into one can be a chore and a major headache, and lead to unnecessary strife. Here are some tips to make the transition easier. 

LABEL LOVE 

Prior to the merger of your life together, it’s time to look at everything you own. Overwhelmed? Devote 20 to 30 minutes each day to make piles and put them in designated areas that are labeled LOVE, LEAVE and WAIT. 

Keep what you LOVE. Get rid of what you label as LEAVE, and hold onto the WAIT list with a promise you’ll revisit within a time frame you and your beloved can agree upon. 

JUNK JAM 

Donating, selling and recycling your extras is best, but if you have a bunch of stuff you just want to get rid of, 1-800-Got-Junk is your jam. Seriously. You point and they make it disappear.

ADVICE MAESTRO 

Moving into a new home and want help on melding two households into one? Ask your Realtor for input. They know everything and everyone. 

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PRINCESS OF THE HEART

Four-year-old to hold court over annual Kentuckiana Heart Walk

By Mandy Wolf Detwiler 
Photos by Tony Bennett and Courtesy Images

AT FOUR YEARS of age, many a young girl dreams of being a princess. For Remi McCrite, being chosen as a princess to represent the Kentuckiana Heart Walk means much more. It’s literally a celebration of life, a success story that proves the sassy preschooler overcame not one but three life-threatening heart issues at just four months of age. 

The McCrites are originally from Kentuckiana, but patriarch Zach McCrite’s job took them to Oklahoma, where Brittany McCrite prepared to deliver the family’s first baby. 

“As a newborn, she weighed nine pounds, two ounces,” Brittany says. “We thought we had a healthy, large, slept-through-the-night, wonderful newborn. As life went on, she was sleeping a lot. She was choosing sleep over eating. That threw up a red flag. Then she started to get sick when we would feed her, her bottles. In October of 2015, after multiple doctors’ appointments, I demanded that some tests be run, and it was discovered that she had three holes in her heart.” 

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It’s not uncommon for newborns to have small holes in their hearts, but they usually repair themselves quickly after birth. Remi’s diagnoses were more serious than originally believed, and her parents wouldn’t take “she’ll be fine” for an answer. As it turns out, baby Remi had a ventricular septal defect (VSD), the most common type that requires surgery if it doesn’t repair itself; a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) that causes abnormal blood flow between arteries connected to the heart; and a patent foramen ovale (PFO) –– a more serious hole in the heart that didn’t close all the way. If not corrected all three defects could cause serious issues through adulthood and even death. 

“After that, we were kind of in a whirlwind and were told that she would have to have open-heart surgery as a four-month-old,” Brittany says. “Remi’s VSD was so large, there was no other option but surgery.” 

On Nov. 10, 2015, the family entered Oklahoma Children’s Hospital under the care of Dr. Harold Burkhart. “They said ‘Give us hours. You’ll see changes by the hour with her. And then it was days. ‘You’ll see even more progression.’ She did everything she was supposed to do in the healing process,” Brittany says. “We kind of treat November 10th as a second birthday with her, and we do cake with our family and celebrate her.” 

Eventually, she healed completely, a success story and another of two parents who weren’t resigned to take no for an answer. 

The family eventually moved back to Louisville, and Remi became a big sister to her two-year-old brother, Monroe. As another way to celebrate Remi’s accomplishments as a now spunky, princess-obsessed four-year-old, the family became involved with the Kentuckiana Heart Walk, this year scheduled for Sept. 21 at 8 a.m. at Waterfront Park’s Great Lawn. 

“We again use that as something for our family to be able to do with Remi,” Brittany says. “We’re ‘Team Remi’ and we are part of the community teams with the Kentuckiana Heart Walk.” 

extolmag_28_ad_final_page_085_image_0003Remi’s story touched walk organizers so much that they chose her as one of three representatives for the event. That means Remi’s dream of being a princess came true, with a tiara and red cape – and red Converse shoes all designed to represent what she, and others with heart issues, have endured. 

“Remi was chosen as a member of our 2019 Royal Court because of her amazing story of survival,” says Mary Fowler, walk director for the American Heart Association. “She is an inspiration and we love that her family now celebrates her Heart Day and her healthy heart each year at the Heart Walk. Even at four years old, Remi’s zest for life is contagious! As a Royal Court member, she will represent pediatric heart patients and share her story with our thousands of participants at the Kentuckiana Heart Walk and surrounding events.” 

 

Brittany hopes to bring awareness to pediatric heart issues –– but few can do it better than a blonde little girl in a cape and tiara. Remi will be a part of the opening ceremonies for the walk. 

“Heart-related issues don’t only happen to adults,” Brittany says. “We check in with a cardiologist once a year, but she’s growing as she should. She’s a spunky, opinionated, loving four-year-old. As first-time parents, it was our worst nightmare.” 

And for parents who suspect there’s something not quite right with a newborn? “For any parent, or mother –– they say motherly instinct –– go with your gut and demand that tests be run,” McCrite says. “Go with what you feel is wrong with your kid. This can happen to children. That’s why we submitted Remi’s story. And in a very humble, joking way, she says, ‘You know, Mommy and Daddy,’ you can call me ‘Your Majesty.’” 

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TO HAVE & TO HOLD (AND THROW) (category)

Creatively inspired by Ben Franklin Crafts in New Albany

By Morgan Sprigler

Wedding Season is upon us and the DIY options are endless. Crafting for a wedding not only helps cut down costs but adds a personal touch that won’t soon be forgotten. Can you picture yourself and your soon-to-be being showered in flowers as you exit your ceremony as husband and wife? If so, this is the DIY craft for you! Start saving all of the flowers you receive during your engagement to help out the budget and add that personal touch.

SUPPLIES:

• Dried flowers 

• Essential oil of your choice 

• Cardstock 

• Wooden sign 

• Paint marker 

• Sheer bags 

• Basket 

• Twine 

• Glue gun

 

Materials provided by Ben Franklin Crafts & Frame Shop 420 New Albany Plaza | New Albany benfranklinartsandframing.com 

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STEP ONE 

Gather flowers! I used a combination of flowers, leaves and herbs I found in my garden. Petals from my rose bushes, ivy from my flower beds, basil and lavender from my vegetable garden and hydrangeas from my hydrangea plants. I love the idea of repurposing flowers from your engagement parties, showers or bouquets you’ve received from friends and family over the course of your engagement. All you need is a little sunlight to dry 

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STEP TWO 

Make floral confetti. Combine all of your petals, leaves, etc. in a large bowl and add your essential oils. I went pretty heavy with my oil, as I love all things that smell great! Once you feel like all of your “confetti” is coated in oil, allow everything to dry overnight. 

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STEP THREE 

Make cones to hold your confetti. Starting in the bottom corner, roll your cardstock to create a cone shape. Glue the ends down to hold the cone together. If you find that there is an opening at the bottom of your cone, simply apply a dot of hot glue and pinch the ends together. Cut and tie a piece of twine around the middle, if you wish. 

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STEP FOUR 

Fill your bags (to have) and cones (to throw)! Fill your cones and your sheer bags full of floral confetti. The cones can be used during the celebration, and the bags can be used as gifts for your guests to use in their homes as potpourri. 

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STEP FIVE 

Create your display. I found all of my supplies at Ben Franklin in New Albany. They have an amazing selection of baskets, bowls and trays that could be used to display your creation. I also found a distressed wooden sign that I used to write, “To Have and To Throw.” So cute!! Assemble however you would like. 

Congratulations to all of you newly-engaged couples! This is such an exciting time in your lives. Enjoy every single moment! Wishing you so much love and happiness!

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XO,

Morgan

 

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RELAX & REFRESH

      screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-1-40-27-pmThe word Kula means “community of the heart” in Sanskrit, and that’s what you’ll find at The Kula Center – Southern Indiana’s destination for overall health and well-being. Services include yoga instruction, massage, health coaching, cupping and meditation. A float center will also soon open at the center, which is located at 802 E. Market St. in New Albany. Learn more at www.thekulacenter.com.


TIP: MORE THAN 8 PERCENT OF PEOPLE PRACTICE MEDITATION IN SOME FORM, AND MANY REPORT DECREASED ANXIETY, ENHANCED PERSPECTIVE AND A REDUCTION IN STRESS LEVELS. WANT TO GIVE IT A TRY? FIND A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL, DOWNLOAD AN APP OR GOOGLE “MEDITATION” FOR NUMEROUS WAYS TO BEGIN.

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Progress & Priorities

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-2-54-31-pmBefore: 180 lbs.

Current: 129 lbs.

The last time I stepped on the scale before giving birth to my daughter, I weighed 180 pounds and stood in awe.

I’d happily gained what I referred to as “love weight” after meeting my husband, an incredible cook whose food I loved to eat. But after a year and a half, I couldn’t fit into any of my pants and had resorted to flowy tops with leggings or dresses to hide what was underneath. It was time to get back in shape, except nothing seemed to work. I was exhausted, craved food I’d never been drawn to and thought age must be the reason my waist was thickening. It never occurred to me I might be pregnant. After all, I was 40 and had been on the pill for years. Thankfully, God had other plans.

Now here I was, hours away from meeting the daughter I’d carried for months, in awe. I had never experienced such love for my own body. I felt strong, beautiful and at peace, all 180 pounds of me…us.

Hours after labor, I cradled Olive in my arms while my husband slept on a cot nearby, grateful tears rolling down my cheeks as I looked at the two most important people in my world.

Less than three weeks after becoming a first-time mother, I was asked the dreaded post-birth question – “When are you due?” – while on a quick solo trip to grab a few items at my neighborhood grocery store. Surely, the stranger had not meant to be rude, so I laughed it off without correcting her, but the comment stung.

When I began to receive unsolicited Facebook messages and texts from people who wanted to help me get my “pre-baby body back,” I was deeply hurt. Well- intended or not, the offers were offensive. This mama was focused on learning how to parent (and finding pockets of time to slip in moments of sleep). What I looked like – what I weighed – was not for others to judge.

Instead of accepting someone else’s perception of me, I marveled at how this body had produced a tiny human and was now responsible for providing her what she needed to thrive. I knew I was, for the first time in my life, clinically obese and resolved to get back in shape when I was ready – not a moment before. Immersing myself in motherhood was the sole priority.

A year later, however, I grew tired of being tired. My joints hurt, my balance was off, and I lacked energy and stamina. I’d lost a little bit of weight without trying, but as a doctor gently pointed out, I was an older mom – 41 the day I gave birth – with a family history of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. My health needed to become a priority in my life.

So, I started working with a trainer and following a diet plan. But as soon as I lost a mildly noticeable amount of weight, I’d allow life to intrude, the excuses to flow and give up. I’ll start again Monday, I told myself again and again, sometimes lasting to the weekend but reversing any gains I made in the matter of a few days.

I didn’t feel like a failure; I just didn’t care. I was juggling multiple jobs, and working hard to be a good mom and supportive wife. That was enough, I rationalized. What I looked like did not – does not – define who I am. As someone who decades before had battled anorexia and bulimia for 10 years beginning in the eighth grade, this stance was proof my body image was strong, and I was proud of how I had evolved. But confidence and self-acceptance were not going to make me physically healthy.

I don’t quite know what sparked my resolve to get off the roller coaster of losses, gains and plateaus, but I woke up one Saturday morning ready for a change. Forget waiting for Monday. The time was now. There is no guarantee about longevity of life, but finally I wanted to do everything I could to lead a healthy one.

My method was simple: Reduce portions, know my calories, no skipping meals, eliminate alcohol, drink at least 64 ounces of water and exercise.

I purchased a cooler, prepped all of my meals except breakfast, scheduled workouts on my calendar and set a routine: Wake up, drink 8 ounces of water while packing my meals in my cooler, get ready for the day with my husband and daughter, make a simple breakfast, go to work, eat lunch, eat again four hours later, spend time with my daughter, eat dinner, prep for the next day, eat a snack before 8 p.m. if still hungry, go to bed.

If I had an evening meeting or event to attend, I’d eat beforehand so I wasn’t hungry. When offered a cocktail or some sort of delicious treat, I’d decline, explaining I was on a mission to get fit.

When life threatened to get overwhelming because of work duties related to coverage of the Kentucky Derby and my husband’s campaign for Floyd County Commissioner, I researched a local meal service called MacroMan and started ordering freshly-made meals from them to supplement what I was preparing.

As my clothes began to get looser, my motivation, energy and productivity strengthened. Sure, it felt good to have my waist back and zip up a dress I hadn’t been able to wear for the better part of three years, but what I valued most was my decreased anxiety, calmer approach to stressors and mental sharpness. I called it “getting my groove back,” though it was nothing more than setting a goal of getting healthier and – finally – proving to myself I could do it.

I’ve lost more than 50 pounds since my all-time high of 180. My goal now is to lose more body fat, gain muscle mass and continue increasing the strength of my heart and lungs through exercise.

These days, when I feel my motivation waning, I take a moment to stand in awe and remind myself I’m worth being a priority.

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Tried & Tested

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-3-00-23-pmBy Angie Fenton

I AM IN NO WAY AN EXPERT WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTH AND ALWAYS RECOMMEND CONSULTING WITH A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL BEFORE EMBARKING ON AN EXERCISE AND DIET PLAN, BUT HERE ARE SOME TIPS THAT HAVE WORKED FOR ME.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Thanks to the internet, I’ve found a zillion healthy, simple ways to cook chicken and make my own dressings for salads. There are also numerous Facebook pages dedicated to healthy eating. I often take screenshots of recipes – the easier the better – and save them in a photo folder on my phone. Then, when I’m ready to go grocery shopping, I write down exactly what I need so I’m not wandering aimlessly. Whatever you do, be sure you do your homework before you commit to getting fit.

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Prepping meals takes some time, but it has been worth it. While I don’t force myself to eat if I’m not hungry, I think of my body like a furnace: You’ve got to keep the fires stoked if you want them to burn. Although I prepare most of my food, I also make purchases from MacroMan – MacroManMeals.com – a locally-owned meal prep service that has dishes for every taste. The food is delicious and has helped immensely when I need something to grab and go and don’t have time to figure out proportions or calorie counts.

DON’T CHEAT – TREAT

Even though I slip and still use the terms “cheat meal” or “cheat day” on occasion, I loathe the negative connotations. I also finally had to admit a “cheat moment” for me often became a “cheat month” or more, so I don’t allow myself to have them in the same way I used to. For example, instead of eating pizza, I treat myself to a healthy-ish dinner of, say, steak, something I don’t eat on a regular basis. Or, in place of ice cream, I’ll have low-fat frozen yogurt. The treats (usually) suffice and I don’t feel it necessary to full-on cheat. On the rare occasions when I have resorted to eating unhealthy foods, I start again on my journey the next day and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

KICK THE COCKTAILS

As much as I love a glass (or three) of wine, alcohol isn’t on my diet plan, and it’s been months since I’ve had a drink. My cocktail of choice now consists of sparkling water, lime juice and a coconut-flavored drink by Bai or club soda, lemon juice and mashed blueberries. I now think of alcohol as unnecessary calories and a trigger to slipping back into old eating habits I’ve worked really hard to break. When I recently considered having just one glass, I grabbed a bottle of water and forced myself to weigh the pros (there weren’t any) and cons (there were many). I may indulge in the future, but for the present time, it’s not for me.

SEARCH FOR SUPPORT

My husband has been a constant source of support, which is helpful, and I have a few friends I reach out to as well. I also occasionally share tidbits of my journey on social media. Accountability is important to success. Search for support in whatever way works for you.

MOVE IT

You don’t have to join a gym in order to exercise, although being a member of one can help with accountability. I have a number of friends who swear by Four Barrel CrossFit (you get a workout and a great community of supporters), love Planet Fitness (clean and open 24-7), thrive on personal trainers that come to your home (Ryan Schrink of Schrink Personal Training is THE best) and, for the ladies, have had big success at B.You. I belong to a gym and also exercise at home. Some days that means going for a walk or dancing to the “Trolls” soundtrack with my 2-year-old. Whatever you do, get moving and regularly.

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A Weight Loss Journey I’m Afraid to Share

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-3-17-35-pmMY NAME IS ZACH MCCRITE and I am an addict.

I’m the same sort of addict as one you probably know or are related to or might even be yourself.

I’m no different from the guy who can’t kick the crack habit or the gal who just can’t stop smoking or the one who bellies up to the bar night after night after night.

I’m just like those people. I’m just like you.

I’m an addict. My addiction is food. And it always will be.

Since November 2017, I’ve lost 80 pounds. Now, I’m proud, don’t get me wrong. But I hesitate to talk about it. Much less celebrate it.

Please forgive me for this different kind of weight loss story. A lot of this piece will probably be all of the hesitations that I feel about sharing the story in the first place.

For instance, when our fearless editor-in-chief insisted that this would be a good topic to swing at in the latest issue of the best publication in the Metro (pardon the brown on my nose), I hesitated… again (you will see a growing theme).

In the end, I reluctantly said I would. I hope she still feels good about her insistence now that I’ve written it.

Regardless, I hope it resonates, because my hope is that this space is more a tale about the successes and failures we all endure in our lives – both health-related and otherwise – and how we deal with them.

That said, the hesitations to share my story are plentiful.screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-3-17-22-pm

I FEEL GUILT, EVEN WHEN I LOSE WEIGHT

Partly because it opens old wounds. Talking about it opens up the pain that I know others share about not being looked at like the “rest of the crowd,” but becoming so used to it, you joke with others about it.

Hesitation also comes partly because I feel guilty for how my weight affects the people who choose (or, in my family’s case, have no choice but) to include me in their lives, but have to rearrange their cars, houses, weekend activities, big ticket purchases, vacations, etc. to accommodate “the big guy.”

And even more hesitation because – and I know this is backwards, but – I had found a personality inside this humongous frame that I thought some people were starting to latch onto. And that felt good, even if my health sucked!

But one of the biggest hesitations is this.

I’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE

Back in November, I tipped the scales at 377. As of this writing, I’m weighing in at 297 lbs. Awesome, right?

But, I’m sure most of you know how the story sometimes goes from there. The majority of people with weight issues do the “yo-yo” a lot. Get fat, lose some weight, feel good for awhile, use food to celebrate because “we deserve it,” put all the weight back on.

Rinse. Repeat.

The latest yo-yo for me began around four years ago, when I had worked my way down to about 270 lbs. from 388 in a little over a year. And then…

Rinse. Repeat. Back to 377 just six months ago.

No rinsing or repeating this time. At least not yet.

And that’s one of the problems: I keep saying “yet” as if I’m destined to put it all back on again.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happier than I’ve been in quite a long time. My parents, my wife, her parents and our extended families have been beyond supportive. Life is good.

But, I got so used to being fat that, even with a lot of weight gone (and plenty to go), I get into this seemingly-neverending internal struggle where my inner voice is telling me, “Hey man, you’ll be back up here in the 400s eventually,” and I come out of the gate swinging saying, “Nope, not this time.”

Ring the bell. Let’s go. Let yet another weight loss fight begin.

I throw a left jab at the inner voice. Then a right uppercut.

But, like George Foreman in “The Rumble In The Jungle,” I’m in that boxing match with my inner voice, swinging and landing punches (and shedding pounds) like I never have before.

Jab. Jab. Jab. Right hook.

But my inner voice won’t budge. It’s taking every punch like it’s been hit with a feather as my energy and willpower are nearing empty.

Jab. Panting. Left hook. More panting.

All the while, my inner voice is whispering back at me.

“Is that all you got, Zach?”

Apparently, my inner voice is as strong as Muhammad Ali.

And I was tired of getting beat by him.

SO I ASKED FOR BACKUP

Let’s go back to April 2017 for a second. My wife was pregnant with our second child – a boy (Monroe officially joined the family a couple of months later).

My weight was climbing (again), and I had been bumming because I lost all of the weight the previous time around due in large part to not wanting our firstborn child, Remi, to be subject to an obese father. But, she was born and my inner voice had told me, “Mission accomplished, now come on back to the dark side.” And I had.

Anyway, we knew our health insurance deductible for the rest of the year was going to be met with the birth of Monroe in July, so I threw it out there joking, “We should go ahead and get all the medical work done we need if insurance will pay for it all.”

I threw out the option of weight loss surgery, but I figured that wasn’t even possible. I figured insurance wouldn’t cover such a thing.

But, the more and more my wife and I talked it out and researched it, we started to find that this sort of thing was, indeed, covered by our insurance plan with one big, fat (no pun intended) contingency: I had to be medically supervised for six months on the same diet and exercise plan to prove that I was invested in this process and not gain one pound over that time. I was to come in to the doctor once a month for a weight and wellness check.

Only then would the insurance company decide whether or not to count the surgery as “medically necessary” and, therefore, covered at 100 percent by insurance.

“OK, then, I’m in. I’m doing this,” I remember telling myself. Only to hear the inner voice tell me over and over: “Six months without gaining a pound? Yeah, right.”

And I’m not gonna lie. There were times I was convinced the insurance company was going to come back and say “denied.”

But there was one more hurdle. One more hesitation that’s tough for me to share.

There was a part of me that was sort of hoping I would get denied the coverage I needed to go on with the surgery.

I was ashamed that I was even using this route. I didn’t want to tell anyone I was going to have the surgery. Why? You know why.

Because everyone would’ve thought I took the easy way out.

I was already having nightmares about how people would talk about me after the surgery.

“Zach is so weak. He couldn’t do it the old-fashioned way, huh?”

It was debilitating. On one hand, I NEEDED HELP to reach health goals that I had not been able to maintain. I still do.

On the other hand, I hated the very notion that people would consider me weak-minded for not being able to lose weight and keep it off the traditional way.

I can remember the justification I made in my head. “If the insurance company denies me, that’s OK. I’ll still be fat, but I can work on it again, and when I lose all this weight on my own, everyone will look at me as strong.”

I could hear my inner voice chuckling.

Anyway, the six months rolled by. I lost a little weight on my own and the insurance company, to my surprise, accepted the cost of the surgery in full.

I was a mixture of scared and ecstatic. Scared to tell my friends and family that I was taking the “easy” way out.

But then I started to attend all of these meetings with Dr. John Oldham and my other doctors at the Bariatric Center at Baptist East Hospital in preparation for the surgery. They wanted to make sure I knew this wasn’t an easy fix. It was cemented into my head that this was going to be tough.

I couldn’t leave the place any of the umpteen times I went without hearing something to the effect of “Remember, this surgery is just a tool in helping you lose weight. If you don’t use the tool, the tool becomes useless.”

In other words, I have to get over the psychological addiction I have with food as well. The vertical sleeve gastrectomy procedure, commonly referred to as the “sleeve” would remove 90 percent of my stomach. Ninety percent.

But, the addiction to food for many can be so overwhelming that the stomach removal just doesn’t matter. The patient still eats even though they receive signals of being full way quicker than they ever had before.

It’s yet another reason I am afraid to share my story. Because here I am – my story thrown on paper with ink that will last forever – and if my addiction wins out over my new “tool,” I’ll want to literally eat every one of the magazines this story was printed on as a way to shred the evidence of me having ever told my story.

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But, that’s the chance I took on Nov. 6, 2017.

Pain after surgery was real. Making me walk an hour after leaving the surgery floor as to get my body back to normal as quickly as possible – not fun. Eating broth and drinking liquid protein shots for days upon days after the surgery – not fun. Watching others chow on the delectables I used to shove down my piehole without taking a breath – sometimes not fun.

But, all worth it.

A little over six months later, my excitement and enjoyment of life is outweighing all other feelings at the moment – although, I know this story of all of my worries would likely prove otherwise.

But I share my worries because I think they are important to the overall story.

In the end, I’m ecstatic because I know getting this tool would help me reach my ultimate goal of not being an obese parent for my children. They are about to turn 3- and 1-year-old, respectively.

I’m glad I still have a little longer to push more weight off before they start to have true memories with their father that they’ll tell their kids about down the road, much like I had with my dad, and still do.

And, believe me, I’ve still got a long way to go to get to a “healthy” stage. My journey has just started.

In all, the real reason I ultimately decided to share this is so when someone else is struggling with the decision to change their lifestyle forever, that they know that they’re not alone.

It’s a lifelong battle.

I’m here to help. So are others. You are not alone. You need the accountability. So do I.

Because I’m an addict.

And I’m happy.

Photo by Jenny Branson

When Politics Get Personal (And Getting Fit Turns Political)

Photo by Jenny Branson

Photo by Jenny Branson

By Angie Fenton

This is not a political column.

That needs to be said upfront.

I grew up in a household where

talking about politics was rarely, if

ever, a topic discussed out loud, and

I am still more comfortable listening

to political views as opposed to

divulging my own and engaging in

political talk. I often feel like that’s a

rarity – I mean, listening to someone

else’s opinion instead of exclaiming

my own – though if I said as much

on Facebook or Twitter, I’m sure

someone would attempt to shame

me for saying that, but whatever.

My husband, Jason Applegate,

spent e ight (long) months

researching a passion he’s held for

a very long time. Then, he officially

declared he is running for Floyd

County Commissioner. I fully

support him but am just that: his

support. Still, this is not a column

about him or politics (though I do

encourage you, wherever you’re

located and regardless of your

political affiliation, to exercise your

right to vote…and if I’m called to talk

politics, well, just know I’ve spent a

lifetime of listening and am ready to

stand up and speak if necessary).

But this is a column I wrote for

the now-tabled Extol Sports, Extol

Magazine’s sister publication, and

it is and will remain a column about

getting fit as it was in the other

publication. So…

What I didn’t realize until Jason’s

candidacy began was the role his

campaign would take in terms of

how we approach getting fit as a

family, which has been the focus of

this column since it first debuted in

Extol Sports, our (again) now-tabled

sister publication, in January 2017.

Suddenly , si n c e Jas on’s

announcement, work and life

responsibilities have included a

schedule requiring advanced

planning as well as a family

commitment to fitness and fun.

While social media and print, radio,

digital and television options to

spread the campaign word are vital,

nothing is more effective than inperson

interactions. And that means

hitting the streets on foot.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve

really benefited because family

walks – which include our 2-yearold

– have become a priority. So,

too, has meal planning. Stamina

and endurance are imperative on

this journey, and carving out time

together is important as well, now

more than ever.

Instead of flying into the start

of a new week without thinking

beyond Monday, we’ve made it a

point to plan out the week’s meals

and preparing what we can ahead of

time. We have to. That saves money,

of course, and also forces us to think

about what we’re putting into our

bodies. Garbage in, garbage out is a

cliche of the past, but when you make

it a point to ingest food intended to

fuel your body, you feel better. We

are proof of that.

While in the past it has been easy

to end the day by sitting on the couch

and watching yet another episode of

“Sesame Street” before our tot goes

to sleep and then staying up way too

late working on our computers, Jason

By Angie Fenton

and I have a newfound commitment

to getting outside before dinner

(weather permitting), walking our

four dogs with our young one and

talking about anything but work.

It’s funny how much happier that’s

made us. It’s wonderful how much

healthier it’s making us, physically,

spiritually and emotionally.

We still fail and falter. That’s just

life. We also refuse to give up.

This mama built a body who

has become an amazing little

person. And I’m still committed to

competing in another bodybuilder

competition one day soon like I did

years ago.

For now, though, I’m going to walk

and support those I love and have

fun with my family while focusing

not on politics but on this journey

we’re fortunate to call life.

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2018 Imagine Awards