The process IS the goal!

      “My goal has changed from wanting to lose weight, to wanting to be strong and fit.                    I feel like I reach that goal every time I workout, every time I plan my meals,                                        every time I go for a walk instead of opting to not go for a walk.                        It is empowering and motivating and attainable… every day.”

I’m learning something:

Love the process, not the result.

I’m a slow learner, it takes me a while to process the world and myself and to believe that Jon Snow died, because he didn’t actually DIE, right? He’s coming back, right?

I know. I’m slow… like, a full Game of Thrones season behind and Winter is still coming and I just finished Season 5 and there is just no way he’s dead

I also had a hard time adapting to word processors, bank machines, VCRs, DVD players, thumb drives and now, I can’t figure out Instagram to save my life.  Slow learner.

But, on my fitness journey, what I am learning now is that I have been obsessing with the result, rather than the process, and therefore, the result has either eluded me, or come and gone in the space of one celebratory bag of chips and dill pickle dip. Followed by another. And another.

For the past few years, I have been fighting with my lumpy body over who is really in charge of the grocery list, and the pantry, and the liquor cabinet… me, or my tastebuds? Me, or my cravings? Me, or dill pickle dip? Guess who’s been winning?

I have been obsessing with the result… losing weight.

As I tried ramping up my exercise routines, cutting down my sugar, joining Weight Watchers, agonizing over every social event that required me to wear something other than tartan fleece pajama pants… all I was thinking about was the end result.

I’ll lose ten pounds and all will be right with the world.

I’ll get skinny and happiness will be mine.

I’ll look like those tiny women in the Old Navy ads and bliss will follow.

I’ll buy skinny jeans and be one of the cool people.

I never really embraced the process. I saw the diet, or the exercise, or the avoidance of bread as the means to an end… all sacrifices that would end once I got to where I wanted to be.

And… yeah, the sacrifices did end, and the result… went away. I gained back the weight, I gained back the lack of self-esteem, I gained back the inability to wear skinny jeans in public, because as soon as I reached the result I was hoping for… or even came within spitting distance of it… I gave up on the process and reverted to my old habits, my old routines, my old practice of eating my feelings, drinking my emotions and wallowing on the couch fantasizing about Jon Snow’s curly hair while inhaling half a bag of Sour Cream and Bacon potato chips.

Alright, so it was the full bag. Whatever.

Being a slow learner means that I have gone through this process several times over the last ten years or so. I’ve gained and lost the same ten pounds, ten times. It’s never been easy to lose it, yet I have consistently thrown caution to the winds once its gone and pretended like I earned a life-time guarantee on my abs and butt and those wobbly bits under my arms that says I can do whatever I want to my body after spending a few weeks working out. Like it will revert to what it was when I was sixteen, and stay there.

It doesn’t. It won’t. It laughs at me and chortles, “You’re not the boss of me!”

Here is what I have learned… the process is the goal.

Forget about the result… yeah, sure, you wanna lose ten pounds, whatever… but if all you think about is reaching that goal and quitting, then you’re doomed to gaining it back. If you see your fitness plan as temporary… “Gee, can’t wait til I can eat bacon and cream cheese again”… then you’re doomed to returning to whatever condition incited you to try to change in the first place. Fer realz.

Fitness is a journey, not a destination.

If I stopped exercising tomorrow, my body would begin the decline back to the debauchery from whence it has arisen! If I patted myself on the back for losing 20lbs and said “Yay! Done! Been there, done that, it’s over!” it wouldn’t be long before the wobbly bits on the backs of my arms would rear their ugly heads once again.

Are you on a fitness journey? Are you trying to lose weight, increase your fitness, improve your diet? It’s perfectly wonderful to have goals… but goals can come and go unless you make the Process the Goal. Make the process part of your life, and not just an uncomfortable visitor you’ve invited in to your home to watch G.O.T. until the season’s over and you can send him on his way and eat the chips and dip all by yourself again.

My goal has changed from wanting to lose weight, to wanting to be strong and fit. I feel like I reach that goal every time I workout, every time I plan my meals, every time I go for a walk instead of opting to not go for a walk. It is empowering and motivating and attainable… every day. Meeting your goals every day is so much more satisfying than straining for that distant desire of the elusive end result. I want to be fit… forever… and that means embracing, loving, and obsessing over the process. It’s the journey, not the destination!

On my fitness journey, embracing the process is the goal, and the results are the proof that it’s worth it.

If you have any questions about Beachbody programs, or want to join an awesome Fitness Challenge, or just want to say hello… find me here:

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Tricking the puppies

I don’t go to a gym.

We have a beautiful gym near my house, with fancy machines and fitness programs and people who flex and look better in spandex shorts than I do.

But I don’t go there.

Because, teenagers.

When you spend all day teaching teenagers, you don’t want them to see you when you’re doing things that make you gasp for air, your boobs flounce abundantly, and your spandex shorts cling ever-so-slightly-embarrassingly. You prefer to be teenager-less when you are doing those things.

High school teachers suffer. Teenagers are everywhere.

Those pesky part-time jobs they have that develop their character and teach them the value of a good work ethic and education and personal hygiene mean that everywhere I go, I encounter my students.

Buying tampons? Kid working at checkout.

Buying the bulk box of red wine, on a Tuesday? Kid pushing carts in parking lot.

Debit card fails at checkout? Kid stares at you, horror-stricken because you’re buying tampons, and the debit just failed, and the tampons are like, right there, and it’s a jumbo box, and the only thing worse is the next guy in line is a father of one of your students…

It’s a miracle I can go out in public at all.

So, I don’t go to the gym.

I work out in my Love’s garage, which I now call  The Gym because that’s where I… Work Out. I usually flex a little when I say it. “Hey honey, I’m going to The Gym. To Work Out.” I also waggle my eyebrows. He finds it alluring.

In The Gym, there is a wood pile, a huge freezer full of meat, the garbage and recycle bags (a small mountain of wine boxes), two old mattresses we haven’t thrown out yet… and eleven Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppies.

I work out at 5am. For an hour. Every day.

I can’t Work Out in the house because my Love is sleeping.

The puppies wake up the minute the door to The Gym is opened, and they express their love for me at the tops of their lungs. They scream their undying affection for my very soul.

It is a piercing, intense serenade which makes it impossible to think, impossible to hear the urgings of my video workout coaches to do “just one more round”, and, after about three minutes, impossible to do anything except cringe and cover your ears. Or give up entirely and snuggle them all because, cuteness.

But I shall not be thwarted!

I would rather brave the tintinnabulation of the puppies than the uncomfortable stares of my students and NOTHING will prevent me from Working Out and thusly, I contrive a way to trick the wee canines.

I have to trick them into believing that I’m not there. If they know I’m there, they want to nuzzle and scream their way into my aural cavities… not conducive to the flexing. First I feed them… they have a single-minded zombie fixation on kibble…

…and while they are climbing over each other in a frenzy, I push two sawhorses draped with sheets in front of the gate to their run, blocking their view of my workout space. I place my laptop close to the door, so it hopefully can still connect to the distant wifi signal from the distant living room… and I turn off the lights.

Yes. I exercise in darkness. It is, after all, 5 o’clock in the morning when all this super sneakiness is happening. If I leave the lights on… they’ll know I’m there

The puppies finish eating, I begin my workout video, and they snuffle and make questioning noises because they can hear and smell that someone is in their space, but they can’t be sure. It’s just like hiding potato chips from the children when they were young. They would hear the rustle of the bag as I sneakily indulged in the darkest corner of the pantry, but by the time they found me the evidence was hidden. They could sniff my deceit, like the feral children they were, but they couldn’t find the evidence. Sneaky McSneakerson.

The chips are the reason for my current need to workout.

The teenagers are the reason for my avoidance of the gym.

The puppies are the reason I’m posting this. Nothing will prevent me from my early morning workouts! Not even epic cuteness… and they are… epically cute…

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The price of a six pack

“Do Beachbody programs cost money? Yes. In four months I have lost 20lbs and 14 inches, without missing meals, or starving or eating weird supplements. Portion control, 30-minute workout videos, a protein shake… priceless!”

Having raised four children since I was nineteen… I grew up Frugal. Thrifty. An Economizer. All euphemisms for CHEAP. I am also, being a child of the era when all our needs weren’t met with a click or a swipe, very self-reliant. If I can’t do it by myself, well then, something’s wrong, right?

I can lose weight all by myself, thank you very much.

Paying for a fitness program? I don’t think so.

That is something I do not do. I do not pay for things that I can do myself… I don’t have a housekeeper, I don’t take my car to be detailed, I don’t buy frozen entrees.

But…

Crossing the threshold of fifty has turned my body into a bizarre foreign entity over which I seem to have no control. The skin on my neck is doing this weird crepe-paper thing that makes me look like I have turkey wattles. My uterus, who has never really been my friend, regularly puts on spikey crampons (is it a coincidence that it rhymes with tampons? I think not.) like mountain climbers wear to climb Everest, as she tap dances on my pelvis.  My intestines rebel against the most benign intrusions… acid reflux, from water? Seriously?

The wattles… the traitor uterus… the burning guts after one bite of toast… the weight gain that I just can’t seem to control…desperate times call for desperate measures!  And again, I refuse to become a slave to menopause! I refuse to become a stranger in my own body! But I discovered I needed help to reinvent my body and myself.

Do you know what my first Beachbody program cost me (21 Day Fix)? Less than $10 a day. After the initial enrollment (where you get the videos and the portion containers and the Shakeo cup), the second and third months cost me about $4 a day.

Do Beachbody programs cost money? Yes. In four months I have lost 20lbs and 14 inches, without missing meals, or starving or eating weird supplements. Portion control, 30 minute workout videos, a protein shake… priceless!

My Money Stats

  • Before I started the 21 Fix program, I wasn’t meal planning and I was spending about $5 a day at the cafeteria to buy my lunch, which usually ended up being something made with mayonnaise or chocolate chips. Muffins. Pizza. High carb ugliness that hurt my belly (I’m a teacher, and believe me, you do NOT poop at school!) and didn’t give me the stamina I was craving.
  • Before I started the 21 Fix program, I was buying a bottle of wine pretty much every day. Between myself and my Love, that’s two glasses with supper, which isn’t terrible, especially when you read those devious health reports telling you a glass of red wine every day is good for you. But, a bottle of wine a day is about $12, (unless you get excited about the new Apothic brand and then it creeps up to $20 a day), but being Frugal, I tend to buy my wine by the box which brings the price down to about $4 a glass… so I was spending roughly $8 a day on wine. Wine, which makes me sleepy, and can give me a headache, and does nothing to improve my energy levels although I am quite cheerful under the influence…
  • Before I started the 21 Day Fix program I was buying a coffee on my way to work every morning. $2 a day, $10 a week. Wait…I still buy a coffee. It’s coffee, people! I’m just a woman, I’m not a Superhero! So… lets just ignore the coffee bit, ok?

So… before Beachbody, I was spending roughly $25 a week on lunches and $56 a week on wine for a total of $324 a month on things that made me lethargic, unhealthy and depressed because I was lethargic and unhealthy. During my four months using the Beachbody program I have spent approximately $166 a month on things that have energized me, transformed my outlook and motivated me physically and emotionally.

No brainer.

When I consider how much money I have spent over the years on my kids’ extras… hockey, tennis, swimming, horses, travel, summer camps… and I never blinked at those bills. The kids enjoyed those things, and it made them happy, productive, well-rounded people. Now, they are all grown (but still expensive! Don’t kid yourself, the money continues to flow in an unending stream toward the progeny) and here I am cringing at the thought of spending a few dollars on my own health and well-being? Seriously?

Psshhaw.

Beachbody programs cost me LESS than I was spending making myself miserable.

No. Brainer.

(Oh, and, little disclaimer here… I don’t have a six-pack, despite the title of this blog post. I just thought it was kinda catchy. I have a belly 🙂

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Fifty is the new forty… right?

“With a lifetime of experience at my feet, and a feeling that I have just barely begun at my fingertips, I’m looking around myself and wondering… what next?”

Why is it so hard? (…said no fifty-year-old woman, ever.)

(Bahahaha! Sorry. I can’t help it. I work with fifteen year olds, OK? I once said, to a grade 10 Art class of mostly boys: “It’s just paper maché paste… get in there and get your fingers wet. Don’t be afraid to get dirty!”. You can imagine the chaos. It’s a miracle I’ve haven’t been fired yet.)

Why is it so hard to know what it is that you want to do?

We urge our kids to make a decision and make a choice and move in the right direction of their chosen future… but how are they supposed to know what they want, when we barely know what we want, and we’ve been alive half a century?

Am I alone here?

Am I alone in constantly wondering what it is that I’m looking for, or is this normal? Am I the only fifty-year-old-empty-nesting-divorced-woman who looks around at her noisy-yet-purposeful-and-well-ordered life and wonders… what the fuck?

I am a teacher. That is the profession that I have committed decades and degrees and dedication to developing. And I love it. Mostly.

I fell into it.

I wanted to be an archaeologist. I wanted to travel the world and dig up lost civilizations, until I had one child and then another (and another and another!) and I realized that King Tut wouldn’t appreciate being cast as a pale second to hockey games and gymnastics practice… and I changed my major to English and I volunteered in my kids’ classes and I earned my BEd at the age of 35… and I love my job.

I do.

But is it what I was meant to do?

Sometimes I’m a good teacher, sometimes I suck.

Sometimes I feel I made the right choice, sometimes I wonder how I will ever survive the next ten years ‘til retirement.

When my children were young, they consumed my life. I miss that focused dedication, that sense that this is what I was meant to do. I loved raising my babies, all the mistakes and bad choices notwithstanding… I will never say I was a great parent, I erred continuously, but all I wanted was their health and well-being, and that unconditional love and focus and effort was my unquestioned purpose during those years.

Now I’m fifty.

Now my kids are grown.

Now what do I do?

Two of my children have found their passion, and are following their bliss with determination and focus… two of my children are still searching. I am with them. I am searching for my next focus, my next passion. It is so hard to watch your children search for their life’s work… they need education, they need experience, they need the dedication to see it through… and you want to just wrap it all up in a neat bundle for them and say: “Here. Here is what you need, my darling. I love you eternally, you amazing person, you!”

I wish someone would do that for me.

At fifty.

With a lifetime of experience at my feet, and a feeling that I have just barely begun at my fingertips, I’m looking around myself and wondering… what next?

I am a teacher, I am an author (ha!), I am an artist (ha, ha!) and now I am a Beachbody coach (har dee har har!)… I am still searching.

I want so much to do… something!

If you are also searching… follow me on my journey as I explore fitness and health and how to stop drinking red wine every day…

Fifty is the new Forty, right?

What does that even mean? I want more from every moment… I just have to decide what that is!

Right now… it’s my fitness, my health, reclaiming my old body and making it work. I’m excited about my fitness journey, but I’m still searching…

Are you….?

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Focus your intention

There’s a paradox in the starting of a fitness routine.

It only takes a little bit of time… but you have to fight to squeeze it in.

You have to want to start it… but you have to really want to keep going.

It’ll make you feel better… but it’s gonna hurt to get there.

So… it’s easy, but it’s hard.

Why can’t it just be easy, painless and quick instead of hard, ouch-y and slow?

Fitness programs are successful when you are ready to be a success doing them. I have spent the last several years wishing to be fitter, planning to exercise, thinking about losing weight… and indulging in sporadic fitness adventures that fizzled before I really saw any results. I tried Weight Watchers but it didn’t excite me enough to stick with it. I kayaked until the black flies got too bad. I biked until my ipod died. I cut out wine… for two days.

I wasn’t ready.

I didn’t want it badly enough.

I couldn’t maintain my good intentions because I was focused on it being easy and quick, instead of becoming an enduring part of my daily habit.

“Weight loss doesn’t begin in the gym with a dumb bell;                                                                      it starts in your head with a decision.”
– Toni Sorenson

It’s been really hard for me to start… and now I can’t stop! My internet died the other day in the middle of one of my streaming workout videos and I was wild! I’m getting out of bed twenty minutes earlier (4:40 in the am, people. Try it! It’s awesome!) so I can squeeze in two half hour videos before work. I’m planning my day around being able to get out to walk, or bike… pushing supper later, spending less time online… and fitness has become my routine, on a daily basis. It wasn’t easy to get here, but the more I focus my intention on my own wellness the more motivated I am to get it done.

One of my favorite Beachbody videos starts with that imperative… Focus your Intention. Remember why you started. What is it that you want? I’m finding that this idea motivates me through my day as well as through my workout. When I focus my intention for the day, I feel successful, I feel powerful, I feel motivated.

What do I want?

How am I going to get there?

When my intention is clear, my effort becomes second nature.

Focus your intention, and go for it!

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I refuse to be defined by my uterus!

How can I possibly be a Beachbody Coach… I don’t have a Beachbody body! I have sagging bits, and lumpy bits, and bits that wobble. I haven’t worn a bikini since I was fourteen. Hells, I haven’t worn a bathing suit for ten years! Swimming? Shorts and bra and tank top. Weird, but it protects the innocent. No one needs to see that. Right?

WELL.

Here we are.

I am fifty. I’m a high school teacher, a mother of four, happily divorced, and struggling with the spectre of menopause on the horizon. Have you noticed, as soon as you approach a certain age, that anytime you mention that you’re tired, or cranky, or hot, or sad your well-meaning friends immediately leap to blame the Meno? Perimenopause, Menopause, Post-Menopause…it’s as if, once we cross the threshold of middle age, we are defined by our ovaries and we’re powerless to overcome the chaos that is our destiny… well, I say… NO.

A resounding NO.

Over the last few years I have become… tired. I get sad easily. I get hurt easily, emotionally and physically. I’ve steadily gained weight, not oppressively, but steadily. Probably five pounds a year. Once upon a time, I could pick up an aerobics class, or increase my walking and I would notice the change in my body. Used to be, I didn’t have to work very hard to stay moderately healthy. Those days are over. I have fat where fat has never been before. I can feel the bulge under my arms, my lower back jiggles when I walk, my thighs rub together and my boobs each weigh as much as my weiner dog. And these physical changes directly affect my emotional well-being. I don’t want to go out, I don’t want to dress nicely, I expect people to not like me. I anticipate failing at my various endeavors, because… I suck. Look at me! I’m a lumpy middle-aged woman with wattles and an aching cervix! How can anyone possibly like me?

Well, I say… NO.

I refuse to spend the last half of my life… yes, HALF, that’s a lot of years, people… being a victim of my own deficiencies. I REFUSE to allow menopause to turn me into a person I don’t recognize. Having spent thirty years raising my children and caring for my family, I am now going to take care of my body and my brain so I can enjoy my adult children actively instead of from behind a wine bottle, propped up on the sofa, crocheting dishcloths and complaining because the chips are too far to reach.

Enter: Beachbody.

Three months in, I’ve lost fifteen pounds and fourteen inches.  I’ve gone from dreading starting the 30-minute video exercises, to looking forward to them and doing TWO videos a day. I’ve gone from barely managing to shuffle my way through the 21 Day Fix modified (thank you Kat-On-My-Right, you awesome thing you!) to shuffling my way through 21 Day Fix Extreme with uncoordinated forays into Core de Force and PiYo.

Am I still jiggling? Yes.

Am I still having periods that drain my life essence like the Niagra unleashed? Yes.

Am I still sore after every workout? Yes.

But I’m so much happier! I am dealing with stress and anxiety so much better. I am wearing clothes that fit and getting compliments on my appearance. I am feeling alive and engaged and eager to see what else I can do. My Love has told me that my ass is smaller!

And I know I’m not alone.

I’m betting there are others like me out there wobbling a weary path to the snack aisle and hating themselves for it.

Getting older as a woman doesn’t have to be like that. It can be different. You can be different.

Are you, me?

If you are interested in learning more about the Beachbody programs, or you  want to share stories about your uterus, or you just want to say hello, please do so! You can message me here on my blog, or you can connect with me through these channels:

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Fit at Fifty…?

About a year ago I went to a specialist about my acid reflux.  I didn’t know it was acid reflux at the time… and who decided to call it reflux anyway? What a disgusting name. No one wants to admit they have reflux… its like telling someone you have explosive diarrhea, or burning vomit burps. These are secret things.

Reflux. Pooping. Peeing when you sneeze.

No one wants to know.

(If you’re squeamish about the reflux, feel free to stop reading here and skip to the motivational message at the bottom of the page, I won’t judge you.)

I explained to the Internalist, who was at least 105 years old, about my discomfort when I ate or drank or breathed and he chuckled at me, which is something I loathe. Don’t chuckle at me, Venerable Health Specialist. I have come to you seeking solace. I’m really upset about my gorge. I am not an hysterical woman. I am a woman with a burning esophagus.  A woman who has birthed four children the size of raccoons, and who knows the meaning of the word discomfort.

“Go get undressed and we’ll get this taken care of,” he chuckled. Cadaverously.

I waved my hands in the general area of my throat, not understanding the naked-under-a- paper-johnny-shirt requirement, but I have always been an obedient child and so I complied. He offered me pills while he palpitated my feet.

“You just need the right medication,” he said.

“The problem is up here,” I beckoned to him as he examined my kneecaps.

He asked me how many units of alcohol I consume per day, politely skipping my nether regions and digging his arthritic fist into my spleen.

“One,” I smiled, pleased with myself for being honest and feeling we were now making progress toward the source of my angst.

“One glass of wine a day shouldn’t be a problem,” he said to my spleen.

“Oh,” I giggled. “I thought one unit was, like… one bottle… haha, you know, like, how many bottles of wine do I drink a day… ha…ha…”

He didn’t giggle. Or smile. He asked me to get dressed. Not once did he look down my throat, not once did he ask me about my health history, my diet, my exercise habits. He did not appreciate my jokes. I felt decidedly disinclined to like or trust him.

And he offered me more pills.

I know there are wonderful, essential medications on the planet that are necessary for many people to lead productive lives due to the debilitating effects of various chronic health issues. I am just one woman, and I have always been weird when it comes to medication. I couldn’t stand to take birth control pills when I was young… I just felt morally opposed to the entire concept, and the Pill made me weepy and bloated and miserable… but…I had my first child at nineteen, so I may not qualify as the voice of reason.*

I refused his magnanimous offer of pills… to which he replied:

“Oh, you’re one of those women.”

…followed by more chuckling, which made me wish I could summon my mysterious brethren of “those women” and we could collectively strangle him… and I gathered my clothing and my dignity and climbed on my high horse and rode the hell outta Dodge feeling entirely certain that 105 is far too old to still be palpitating women’s feet in the name of gastrointestinal science.

In my outrage, I researched. Revenge research. I changed my diet. I drank more water. I began to investigate exercise programs that didn’t terrify me. It was like rage-healing. The doctor pissed me off so much I decided to get healthy. That’ll show him!

And I started to feel better.

Not overnight, and I still feel the burn if I eat too much, or too quickly. Eggs are a problem. They stick in my craw like swallowing silly putty. But I’m not medicated. I am managing my health, and being proactive about making changes that both keep me away from pharmaceuticals and out of the hands of chuckling Internalists.

In January, I started the 21 Day Fix Beachbody program. To date, I’ve lost 15 lbs and 14 inches. My commitment to my Beachbody program is part of a transformation that began for me because I felt my body was starting to fall apart. There is a direct line from Dr. Venerable Health Specialist sniffing my toes a year ago, to me enjoying a Shakeology protein shake and working out every day now. To me enjoying so much more of everything, because I refuse to become a stranger in my own body.

I suppose I should go thank him, but he’d probably hold out the johnny-shirt again and you never know how one of “those” women will react to the johnny-shirt.

What is the motivational message, for those of you who skipped the rambling bits? Be proactive with your health.  Choose nutrition and exercise and relaxation methods that make sense to you, that motivate you and that energize you. Oh, and don’t be afraid to use words like reflux. You’d be surprised how many people will totally get what you’re talking about!

Libby’s coaching website:  http://www.beachbodycoach.com/LBroadbent

(I am in the process of becoming a Beachbody coach! I am wildly excited about this new adventure, and will be blogging about my process as I explore what it means to be Fit at Fifty!)

(Yes, I turned FIFTY this year. No, I was not delighted.)

(I absolutely refuse to let Fifty define my wobbly self. Even if it means eating chickpeas and kale. Which are actually quite good. And make you poop. Which no one wants to hear about.)

*Disclaimer: I in no way advocate ignoring the medical advice offered by doctors and practitioners. I do believe, however, that sometimes we turn to medication before we explore the source of the problem and begin to make solid, sustainable, healthy changes in our lives that will improve our overall health and well-being. I am advocating a healthy lifestyle, not as an alternative to medications, but as a solid foundation for a stronger body and mind.