Archive for March, 2013

HALT

As someone who works with kids in recovery, we often talk about awareness.  Awareness in our thoughts, movements and actions.  There are times when something feels out of sync.  When that happens, a sense of chaos can be felt.  We start to lose important things, irrational thoughts or behaviors occur, we become forgetful.

 

In traditional 12 step programs the acronym HALT is used.  This stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.  HALT is an amazingly useful tool in self-discovery, self-care and recovery.  It offers to opportunity to reflect on our current needs for that moment.  I know myself that when I am hungry I get extremely irritable.  Or if I am tired I get cranky.  Knowing these signs allows me to address my need at that moment.

Learning to use HALT (in or out of a 12 step program) so we become aware of our feelings, is a portable and practical tool we can use everyday.  I encourage the next time something feels out of sync, just HALT and see if you can make a shift.

be well-

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Simply put: it’s GOOD for children

Saturday night we had the pleasure to spend quality time with some friends and their child we hadn’t seen in a while.  There was laughter, great conversation, delicious food and lots of love.  Throughout the evening, it was very apparently this was a close-knit family.

Part of our conversation was talking about Family Week in Provincetown.  This is a time of year when families of all shapes and sizes come together.  Family Week is the largest national gathering of the LGBT-headed family community in the United States and this year marks their 18th annual event.

Families in the LGBT community have undergone much criticism in the past about how wrong and unfair it is to children to have same-sex parents.  I beg to differ.  And so does the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Last week the AAP published a report titled Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian.  Here is the abstract to the report:

Extensive data available from more than 30 years of research reveal that children raised by gay and lesbian parents have demonstrated resilience with regard to social, psychological, and sexual health despite economic and legal disparities and social stigma. Many studies have demonstrated that children’s well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents’ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents. Lack of opportunity for same-gender couples to marry adds to families’ stress, which affects the health and welfare of all household members. Because marriage strengthens families and, in so doing, benefits children’s development, children should not be deprived of the opportunity for their parents to be married. Paths to parenthood that include assisted reproductive techniques, adoption, and foster parenting should focus on competency of the parents rather than their sexual orientation.

This report comes at an important time in our life as the Supreme Court will hear cases in regards to Proposition 8 and DOMA this week.

Many of our friends in the LGBT community have growing families and I am delighted that we have the opportunity to be part of their family.  After all, it takes a village…

be well-

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Foot Prints in the Snow

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It is days like this that I often look to the ground, not only to see where I am going, but to see foot prints left in the snow.  These foot prints can tell how a person walks and therefore, suggest there might be muscle imbalances between two sides of the body.

Looking carefully at the picture above, I can tell many people walk with at least one foot externally rotated and some often walk by dragging the heel a bit before placing the foot to the ground.  Now to be fair, some are likely wearing heavier shoes or boots than normal which can cause gait to change a bit.  But for the most part, this is probably how the person walks normally.  When the foot is externally rotated it often means weakness through the glutes.  Weak glutes can cause your pelvis to tilt forward. This not only puts more stress on your lower spine, it pushes your lower abdomen outward, making your belly stick out–even if you don’t have an ounce of fat.

Here is a link for a few easy at-home, no equipment necessary, exercises to help strengthen your glutes- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM9hgXBn8jI

I encourage you to take a look at the foot prints you leave behind and see if there’s a story to be told.

be well-

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1 in 1,000

me with Nikki Myers, creator of Y12SR

This spring will be four years since I began my journey with yoga and the recovery community.  I attended a Yoga Journal Conference and Nikki Myers, creator of Yoga of 12 Step Recovery (Y12SR), was one of the presenters for a three-day immersion class.  Just a few months earlier I had completed my 200 hour teacher training and my friend Mary and I were about to embark on bringing yoga to the 12 Step community in Boston.  This immersion class was our first step.

Mary and I bring different perspectives to the recovery community.  Our goal was to help others use yoga as a tool, an adjunct to recovery, instead of a replacement for a meeting or sponsor.  Nikki has been our primary teacher along the journey.  And I am excited to share that Nikki along with several others are offering a four-day FREE online conference from March 17-21, called Recovery 2.0 Beyond Addiction.

We are surrounded by addition all the time.  Look around and see the growing epidemic of childhood obesity and Type II diabetes.  These are preventable diseases caused by addiction.  The top five addictions people focus on are drugs, alcohol, sex, money, and food.

One in one thousand make it to long-term sobriety, meaning 20 years.  Experts in the field of addiction and recovery will be sharing their tools to help you have a successful recovery and successful life.  Just to name a few of the experts presenting:

  • Tommy Rosen (host of conference)
  • Nikki Myers
  • Rolf Gates
  • Richard Branson
  • Noah Levine
  • Sukhdev Jackson
  • Trudy Goodman
  • Guru Prem

Any person affected by addiction- AA, Al-anon, NA, OA, gambling, sex or any other, this conference is for you!  There is no other resource that offers such a diverse, yet connected community than what Tommy Rosen has put together.  I invite you to join me and countless others as we move along our journey.

Click here to join the conference (for FREE)- http://www.entheos.com/Recovery2point0/

be well-

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Tears of Success

The story of Angela is very special to me for many reasons and in the end, I imagine there will be many tears of success.

http://www.valleynewslive.com/story/21525676/woman-shares-her-struggle-after-gaining-250-pounds-in-4-years\

Angela, along with many other Americans have struggled with weight.  What makes her story unique is that she was once a fitness trainer and found herself downward spiraling in the other direction.  In four years she gained 250 pounds.  Now the battle begins.

With the help of her former boss, Mariah Prussia, owner of Xtreme Measures in Fargo, ND , Angela is battling her way back to life rather than falling toward death.  What makes Angela’s story so special to me is that I am inspired by people who are willing to make the effort to change their lives.  Changing lives means we address our emotional battles too.  Once a decision is made to better our lives, many other things fall into place.  One might see:

  • weight loss
  • increased energy
  • better quality sleep
  • a boost in courage and self-confidence
  • better communication skills
  • stronger bonds with our partners, friends and family

Know that you have self-worth.  There is meaning to your life.

If you would like to follow Angela’s journey- http://sozojourney.blogspot.com/

Send me a note to ambruck@gmail.com if you need help beginning your own journey toward a better life.  I have resources all over the country and we can provide you with the tools which are right for your needs and goals.  While the first step is often the most difficult, it is the most important.

be well-

 

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I’ve got Sole

Besides babysitting, the very first job I had was working at a shoe store.  I began as a stock girl and worked my way up to retail.  Between the various sports I played and working at the store, shoes have been a large part of my life.  More so for function and less for fashion.  So it should come as no surprise that I often take notice of what shoes my clients are wearing when they come in for a workout.

Our shoes can share a lot of information about us.  Some look fresh with bright colors, as if we pulled them right out of the box.  Others have holes where the toes are beginning to poke through.  The soles of the shoe can tell stories in of themselves. They show if we need a lot of cushion or prefer to be a minimalist.  There are obvious signs showing if we are heel strikers verse the forefoot, neutral verse pronation verse supination.

Mizuno- helps to keep from over pronating

Nike Free- less control and transition to minimalist

Nike Free- less control and transition to minimalist

New Balance Minimus- looking to achieve a closer experience to barefoot running

New Balance Minimus- looking to achieve a closer experience to barefoot running

Depending on how my body is feeling a particular day will determine which pair of running shoes I grab.  Most days I will go for the New Balance Minimus.  These are an extremely lightweight shoe that creates a barrier between my foot and the surface I am running on with a low heel to toe differential.

Below are a few tips from Runners World when looking to buy new running shoes:

Do’s-

  • STRING IT OUT.  Your heel should fit snug, but not tight, says Carl Brandt. “Laced up (but not tied), you should be able to slide your feet out.” Lacing your shoes up through the final eyelet minimizes slippage. There will be some heel movement, but it shouldn’t be uncomfortable. Any irritation you feel in the store, adds Brandt, will be amplified once you hit the road.
  • THE THIRD DIMENSION. A shoe’s upper should feel snug and secure around your instep, explains Brandt. “When people tell me they feel pressure and tightness, they need more space.” If an otherwise great shoe has hot spots or pressure under the laces, try lacing it up a different way (check out Runnersworld.com/lacing for alternative lacing techniques) before moving on to the next shoe.
  • SPREAD OUT A LITTLE.  Your foot should be able to move side-to-side in the shoe’s forefoot without crossing over the edge of the insole, says James. You should be able to pinch a quarter inch of upper material along the widest part of your foot. If the shoe is too narrow, you’ll feel the base of your little toe sitting on the edge of the shoe last.
  • WIGGLE ROOM. Feet swell and lengthen over a run, so make sure there’s a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe (which isn’t always the big toe) and the end of a shoe. A friend or shoe fitter can measure this while you stand with your shoes laced up. Your toes should also wiggle freely up and down, explains Super Jock ‘n Jill running store owner Chet James. “Wiggle room protects against front-of-the-foot issues.”
  • CHECK FOR THE BENDS. Check the flex point before you put on the shoe, suggests Carl Brandt, owner of San Diego’s Movin Shoes running stores. You can do this by holding the heel and pressing the tip of the shoe into the floor. The shoe should bend and crease along the same line your foot flexes. An improperly aligned flex point can lead to arch pain or plantar fasciitis, while a lack of flexibility leads to Achilles-tendon or calf strain.

Don’ts-

  • Buying for looks. “Some runners are too concerned with fashion, and we try and steer people away from that. Often, when they get a shoe that looks cool, they end up coming back in a few months and saying, ‘This shoe hurts me. I had a problem with it.’ When you buy, think feel and fit, not fashion.”
    —Bryan Mahon, Philadelphia Runner , Philadelphia
  • Not asking for deals. “When you’re ready to pay, ask if there are any discounts available for running club members. Most specialty stores offer discounts from 10 to 20 percent; we offer 10 percent to our local track club. It costs $20 to join it, so if you buy two pairs of shoes, your track membership is paid for.”
    —Tim Rhodes, Run For Your Life , Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Buying shoes that are too small. “Tight-fitting shoes lead to blisters and black toenails and that kind of thing. Women in particular are used to wearing their shoes close-fitting, as they’re often more self-conscious about the size of their feet. We like to say, ‘Play the piano with your toes,’ meaning the fit should be roomy enough in the forefoot—about half an inch—but not sloppy.”
    —Mike Johnson, Road Runner Sports , San Diego
  • Shopping at the wrong time of day. “A lot of times people come in the morning and say, ‘This is the shoe I need.’ Then they’ll come back the next day and say, ‘I wore them at 5 p.m. and they were too small.’ Your feet start swelling in the morning and they don’t stop until about 4 p.m. That’s as big as they’re going to get, so always buy your shoes in the evening.”
    —Tish Borgen, Running Room , Minneapolis
  • Assuming your size. “People assume that a size is a size—that an 8 in a Nike will be the same as an 8 in a New Balance. But sizes differ because of different lasts (foot forms), the different shape of the upper, and the way the shoe is stitched together. Have your feet measured every time you buy, and always try the shoes on for fit.”
    —Johnny Halberstadt, Boulder Running Company , Boulder, Colorado

With the Boston Marathon just a few short weeks away and many other races around the corner, I thought this would be a great opportunity to write about our soles.

be well-

 

 

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Evolution…

Since Friday evening I had a clear idea of what my posting  would be about today.  When I signed into WordPress just now, a little trophy appeared saying Congratulations and Happy Anniversary.  It’s been three years since I wrote my first post.  In that time I feel like there has been an evolution of my writing, my topics and myself.  This blog began as a simple idea to help bring massive amounts of information to my friends and family in a way that provides tips, tools, and ways to improve their life and those around them.

This idea of evolution is a great way to segue to my original post idea for today.  Friday night I attended a local collegiate basketball game.  I was there to support a dear friend of mine and the incredible program she has built.  Just being in that gym brought back so many great memories of my childhood all the way to present day.  Sports had a major impact in my life and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have many roles over the years.

It started from the time I could walk.  There was always some sort of ball, bat or glove in my hand.  My parents still have the original jersey I wore when I was three years old.  My dad had enough brothers and sisters that they could field their own softball team.  One of the first memories I have is running around the ball field and tripping over a railroad tie.  I skinned both my knees and it wasn’t long until my Uncle Ronnie scooped me up to clean me off in the concession stand.  While he was wiping me clean I was enjoying a Fun Dip.  I remember playing t-ball in the back of the church where there was a wide open space.  Many of my friends and I learning the game that I would play for the next 25+ years.  While we began to learn the basic rules of the game, it was so much more than that.  It was about having fun, playing with your friends.

I remember around third grade or so we were practicing layups in gym class.  It wasn’t long before I was teaching and encouraging some of our more non-athletic friends the proper technique.  Maybe this should have been a sign of things to come in the future.   There are great memories of my brother and I playing one-on-one in our basement with a Michael Jordan hoop and min basketball.  He beat me ten out of ten times.  He has mad skills.

When it came to junior high I started to play multiple sports year round.  I would play volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and softball in the spring.  It was also about this time that I really began to understand the importance of teamwork and leadership.

Once high school arrived the importance of teamwork and leadership only grew.  While it was very exciting to be young and often playing at a higher level, I learned how to be humble and grateful for what I did have.  Playing high school sports helped to build confidence, self-esteem, great relationships, communication skills and more.  I was determined to play college sports.  This meant I had to make decisions in high school that could affect my future.  So I became a homebody.  Not in a hermit type of way.  But my parents made sure that I knew that if I were to ever attend a party where alcohol was present, that could ruin my chance of playing college sports.

I did earn that college scholarship I worked so hard for.  While I may not have been the most talented player on the team, I sure did have fun and learned so much about the game and life all at the same time.  I feel extremely fortunate to have played for the Dragons while at MSUM.  And in some ways, it saved my life.  During my sophomore season is when they discovered an irregular heart beat.  Had it not been for the coaching staff putting heart rate monitors on us during that preseason, my life could and I imagine would be very different right now.

Once my competitive career ended I had the opportunity to coach at the high school level.  When I was first asked if I would be interested in the  job, I said yes immediately.  But then the two athletic directors wanted to give me background information.  The softball program had won very few games in their previous few seasons and it was often the sport girls go to when they get cut from all the others.  I said, “I like a challenge.”  The job was mine.  So with my first ever real coaching job I had 17 girls on my team.  Only four had any playing experience prior to our first practice.  With the help of those four players, we took a team that had gone 1-12 the season before to a winning season of 11-3 and won our conference tournament.  I went on to coach another two seasons and ended up with a 29-12 record.  Those three years were some of the greatest moments of my early adulthood.  I am forever grateful to Courtney and Tim for asking me to be their coach.

Now that I have become more of a spectator, I love being surrounded by the game.  And that could be any game/sport.  There is so much emotion, from the players to the coaches to the fans in the stands.  There is heartbreak when losing a close game and there is humility when there are blowouts.  I feel lucky to have played so many roles over the last 35 years of my life.

What I will remember most about the evolution of sport, are the wonderful, life-long friendships I have made along the way.

be well-

 

 

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